Tag Archives: south africa

Things I am grateful for #28/365


Booze.

Or, more specifically, red wine. Or, even more specifically, Shiraz.

My mate, Markham, reckons I love a snifter of Shiraz because my taste buds are shot due to my many years of smoking. (You’ll be pleased to know I’ve quit now.) I think he may have a point. Subtlety has never been one of my strong points, whether in my choice of food, drink or personality traits.

Shiraz is usually a pretty full-bodied red and I prefer mine from South Africa or Australia. Although, it did come to prominence in South East France. But they call it Syrah. (As do quite a few other countries.)

There’s debate as to where the name comes from. The obvious candidate is Shiraz in Persia. (Now, Iran.) Others say Syracuse in Sicily. To be honest, I don’t care. I don’t want a history lesson, I just want to drink it.

baghe_eram_shiraz

Shiraz, Iran.

 

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Shiraz, Stockport.

 

If anyone needs me, I’ll be down the offy.

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Things I am grateful for #16


Birds of Paradise.

Or, Strelitzia, to give them their botanical name.

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They are native to South Africa and got their name from their resemblance to the actual Bird of Paradise.

Apart from being so beautiful and surreal, they are an incredible feat of nature-engineering.

What’s really clever about them is that when Sunbirds perch on the spathe, (that’s the sheath that looks like the beak), the weight of the bird triggers it to open and deposits pollen on the bird’s feet. So when it flies to another flower… well, you get the gist.

How cool is Mother Nature?

photo-of-bird-of-paradise-flower

Strelitzia_larger

BVbird_of_paradisePhoto

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England to dissolve national team


News just in:

After England’s trouncing at the hands of our Royal Family’s ancestors, the FA have decided to dissolve the England team so the English public do not have to suffer the abject humiliation and embarrassment we have had to endure ever again.

The FA is changing tack and becoming a sofa retailer, Capello is going back to his previous job selling fruit and veg in a Napoli market, and the entire England squad have applied for South African citizenship rather than bother coming back to Blighty.

It is my sincere hope that virtually all of the  culprits of the 2010 debacle hang up their jerseys and pledge to retire from international football as they patently lack the guile and creativity to perform at this level.

The quality of the Premier league is frequently talked about as being the best in the world. If this is so, it is clearly as a result of the amount of foreign players plying their trade over here and nothing to do with the ragtag bunch of inept, lazy and cowardly cretins that represented our nation. The very least they should do is man for man apologise to the nation.

Our only hope is to send all our first born sons from here on in to South America to learn how to play the beautiful game. Once they have mastered the arts of: passing, shooting, tackling, controlling the ball in less than two touches, crossing the ball, heading and saving the ball, they may come home and pull on an England jersey.

On a positive note, I thought Germany were fantastic and completely played us off the park. Irrespective of whether Frank Lampard’s goal had been given, Germany were the worthy winners having done something our boys failed so dismally to do – play football.

Out of the 23 man squad here are the ones who should sleep with the fishes:

ROBERT GREEN

DAVID JAMES

JAMIE CARRAGHER

ASHLEY COLE

GLEN JOHNSON

MATTHEW UPSON

JOHN TERRY

GARETH BARRY

STEVEN GERRARD

FRANK LAMPARD

AARON LENNON

EMILE HESKEY

WAYNE ROONEY

JERMAINE DEFOE

FABIO CAPELLO

And here are the ones who can sleep with whoever they want.

JOE HART

MICHAEL DAWSON

LEDLEY KING

STEPHEN WARNOCK

MICHAEL CARRICK

JAMES MILNER

JOE COLE

SWP

PETER CROUCH

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Will someone please throw in the towel?


Watching England getting thrashed 0-0 by Algeria was like watching your only child being pummeled in the boxing ring to within an inch of his life.

As a footballing nation, we have always expected too much and delivered too little. But I have never witnessed England perform so ineptly. Rudderless, bereft of ideas and technical incompetence were just a few of the good points of my national team.

After the USA game, Robert Green came out and said that 999 times out of 1,000 he would have saved the shot he fumbled. As an ex-goalkeeper, (yes, I was the smallest goalkeeper in the world), I think he should save that shot 1000/1000. It was billy basic. Straight at him. I can make that sort of mistake playing Sunday League. But a ‘world-class’ keeper on 80 squillion quid an hour – come on, it’s your job. The entire nation should not have to poo their pants every time a ball is kicked straight at you.

I have always been a realist and never quite succumbed to the delusions of grandeur that the team and the media purport to. But in my heart of hearts I have always hoped. And dreamed. That somehow – magically, we could play great football. That we could pass like the Spaniards, dribble like the Brazilians, defend like the Italians, shoot like the Argentinians and have the humility of the Faroe Isles.

At least when England return to Blighty on Thursday we can all sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the tournament. Not that there looks to be much on offer from the rest of the teams, save for Argentina.

The Mighty Leeds United’s Jermaine Beckford would have fayred better than messers Rooney, Heskey, Crouch and Defoe. (Did you know, a North Korean goalkeeper has scored more goals than Emile Heskey?) In fact, I think a Royal Mail postbox has scored more goals than Emile Heskey.

If…

…England are to have any chance of getting Slovenia to roll over they will have to play, not like their lives depend on it, but like they are playing an exhibition match. It’s the end of the road for Lampard, Gerrard and Terry. They’ll be too old by the time the next world cup comes around. So here’s their chance. Take it. Grab it. Play like it doesn’t matter. Because I’d rather see us go out playing great football than progress playing the way we did against Algeria. Normally, my Irish mates rip the piss out of me when England lose, but after the Algeria game I think they felt a bit sorry for me. Now that is embarrassing.

I did a post a week or so before the tournament why England wouldn’t win the world cup. (I didn’t think we would beat the USA.) And after that performance I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the TV pundits who said we would win the next two games. (Even though we should expect nothing less from such morons.) After the USA game I thought Algeria could quite easily get something out of the game against England. So are the pundits inept or just jingoistic? Could I get a job as a pundit? Here’s my prediction for Wednesday: England 0 Slovenia 1.

I think FIFA need to make some radical changes to the set up for the 2014 world cup. I propose that any player playing in a country’s premier league should be eligible to play for that country’s national team. If it did get through it would be interesting to see if any English players would make the first XI.

ENGLAND 2014 NATIONAL TEAM

1. CECH

2. IVANOVIC

3. EVRA

4. VIDIC

5. VERMAELEN

6. ESSIEN

7. MALOUDA

8. FABREGAS (He’ll be back)

9. DROGBA

10. TORRES

11. TEVEZ

Oh, and Fabio… please play Joe Cole.

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