In other football….

Newcastle 3 – 0 Bordeaux – I watched this game online whilst Billy was at the match, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a great performance by Newcastle against a very poor visiting side, with some very pretty football at times. Cabaye and Obertan stood out for me.

Newcastle 0 – 3 ManUre I watched this one on TV with Billy and Raji and hoped (against expectation) that Newcastle would return the favour City had done by beating Sunderland, but alas, it was a below par performance from the Toon I felt.

England 5 – 0 San Marino This was a Friday night fixture so we were playing darts in the pub and I could only keep half an eye on the game. It seemed a very poor game and I saw the first 4 goals but missed the 5th. A win as expected, but nothing to crow about really.

England P – P Poland I settled down to watch this game and couldn’t believe the farce that followed! Poland have a purpose built stadium, with a roof. The forecast was for rain, and indeed, 4 hours before KO it was pouring. The Polish team chose not to close the roof and the pitch was too sodden to play. Then the roof wouldn’t close because of the heavy rain and yet, with roof still open and rain still pouring, it was decided to wait and see if the game could be played an hour later! You couldn’t make it up! I did actually keep the ITV coverage on throughout all this as the team, especially Adrian Chiles, were hilarious! Fair play to them, they had me in stitches with comments about the absence of any groundsmen (and their forks) and understandable bemusement at the ref throwing his ball in every corner of the pitch (just in case one corner was playable?) πŸ˜€

EnglandU21’s 1 – 0 Serbia I didn’t watch this one but was HORRIFIED by the shambles after England scored and the racism directed at our players. Serbia need banning UEFA – no excuses! πŸ™

England 1 – 1 Poland At last the game was played on Wednesday evening but it was very poor. I felt it was a case of “let’s just get the game played and get home lads” (for which I couldn’t blame them) though I expect the pitch condition will have played some part. It’s also rumoured that our players were given sleeping tablets the night before – unbelievable if true, but it might explain their slowness! At the end of the day, the game is done with, we got a point which will hopefully do.
ITV Highlights here

Washout!

Last weekend I visited mum for the first time in 6-weeks – a long overdue visit indeed! I planned to go down on Friday night after work and after Raji’s birthday tea and birthday cake (I made coffee and walnut cake as this was what his mum used to make for birthdays.) I did have slight pause however, as the weather sites gave an amber warning of flooding in mum’s area, with yellow warning through the Lakes area, but in the end I decided to set off and see how I got on, turning back if I felt it necessary. The drive through the “yellow warning” area was pretty difficult with strong winds, torrential rain and in some areas, flooding – but nothing I haven’t driven through before so I just slowed down, took it easy, and came through it. When I got to the “amber warning” zone the sun shone, there was no rain, and the roads were dry! So I arrived safely at mum’s. πŸ™‚

We did get some things done but the rain returned and we couldn’t sort out the garage as hoped so that’s still to do another day. We used our time constructively still, and we had our usual fun and laughs of course. We also enjoyed watched the Spain v France Euro2012 quarter final. It was a comfortable win for Spain and an enjoyable match to watch as we finished our dinner time wine πŸ™‚

I drove back in sunshine on dry roads – until I got 20 mins away from home when a monsoon hit! I did make it home in time to watch the England v Italy quarter-final though I could have done with it being settled in the 90+ instead of going to extra time and penalties! Italy deserved their win, it has to be said, and given the fact that I don’t think England has any world class players really we did better than expected in this competition. I did correctly predict who would score their penalties and who wouldn’t too. Finally I crawled off to bed to get my much needed sleep before the working week began again.

On the plus side, petrol has got slightly cheaper and was only Β£129.9 at mum’s so my weekend trip cost me less than expected and I invited Billy out for a very cheap tea after work on Tuesday. (He was playing cricket Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to the calendar so it was probably the only time I would see my husband all week!) However, Monday’s game was rained off and changed to Tuesday instead! πŸ™

Ironically Wednesday’s game was also a washout but we’d decided to have our date Thursday anyway so stuck to that, and watched the Spain v Portugal semi-final which was pretty much what you’d expect from a derby – both sides scared to lose so a cagey affair. This game also went to extra time and penalties but I couldn’t manage another late night so left them too it. In the morning I was utterly convinced I’d see a smug-faced Ronaldo all over the net, but to my delight Portugal had been beaten πŸ˜€ I don’t mind too much who wins now; I just didn’t want smug-face winning πŸ˜‰

On Thursday I worked hard all day and was looking forward to my date with Billy in the evening. We get so little quality time together and eating on our way home from work is one of the best ways for us to get it, and a rare treat these days. At 3pm a storm hit – a storm of biblical proportions, with the sky going black and torrential rain bouncing off the pavement and crashing back to form mini rivers. Staff all round the hospital were checking on whether they were likely to get home with floods affecting the roads and trains and people made appropriate arrangements to stay with colleagues/friends/family or even in the hospital, and others waited it out until much later in the evening before going home. There were a lot of sirens whizzing past and clearly the storm had caused considerable chaos.

Photos courtesy of Roger:
Hexham high street flood
Hexham flood
Flood in Hexham

Happily, by the time I finished the sun was out again and I met Billy as planned ready to relax for the evening with dinner then watching the football. We decided to go to the Heart which has been recently taken over by a lovely couple who are rebuilding its reputation as a good food pub. We received a friendly welcome and after debating which of the delicious options on the menu to choose went for the beef stottie with gravy – with some chips as a side order. All the food is freshly cooked to order so we sipped our drinks while we waited and were just starting to unwind nicely when Raji phoned Billy. He was stuck in Prudhoe after the floods! I was very surprised he’d even tried to come home as I assumed he’d have stayed over with a colleague. Billy spent most of our meal trying to find out what the situation was with trains, buses, roads etc. In between, the food was amazing – a generously filled stottie with melt-in-the-mouth beef, a little boat of gravy, 2 roast potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding – plus our home-made chips too! Gorgeous! We even gave in to temptation and had a home-made dessert each (raspberry cheesecake with Chantilly cream for me and warm sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream for Billy) Divine – 10/10! πŸ™‚

Throughout all of this, phone calls were going back and forth between Billy and Raji – he had walked to the next stop on the train route to find no trains there either and proceeded on to the next, hoping for a bus if not a train (obviously I’d had a drink so couldn’t drive, and as far as I knew the roads were impassable anyway.) To cut a very long story short, there were none and he ended up getting a taxi from there, arriving home at 10pm – thankfully just as I was going to bed so at least I could finally relax knowing he was home safely.

We did watch the Germany v Italy semi-final but unfortunately with only half an eye as we were both trying to find out how to get Raji home. Italy dominated the game and fully deserved to win – the two goals from Balotelli were outstanding! (Nothing was stopping that second from going in!) Now I don’t know whether to want Mario or Merlin to win the final – guess I’ll just be a neutral and enjoy it πŸ™‚

All in all then, this week was rather a washout – summer? What summer? πŸ™

Chronicle flood news
BBC flood news
ITV flood news

Patriotic Weekend

On Friday night I cheered on England in their second group game of Euro 2012 and like most of the country haven’t been confident of getting in to the knock-out stages so was watching more in hope than expectation. It has to be said that the team had already done well to draw against France, (a game I’d watched in the pub after work which was rather nice) but Sweden have been a bit of a bogey team recently and it wasn’t going to be an easy game. However, as it turned out, it was an entertaining enough game and even took me through some of the range of emotions that City do as we went 1-0 up, 1-1, 1-2 down, 2-2 and finally made it 3-2 πŸ™‚ We don’t have a particularly strong squad and I’d say no world class players as such, but they do seem to have some grit and team spirit to call upon which is all to the good. This results means only a draw is needed against Ukraine next game and we’d go through to the quarter-finals.

The Olympic Torch came to town on Saturday afternoon and though I confess I can’t excited about the Olympics, it seemed a shame not go and see it since it was on the doorstep, so Raji and I wandered up to town for a look. Although it was drizzly it was warm enough and no hardship to stand waiting with the others in the fair-sized crowd. We’d picked a spot where we could see the torch as it came round the bend by the hospital and were satisfied that we could see the road clearly. First a bemused looking cyclist appeared, cycling slowly along the route to ironic cheers πŸ˜‰ Eventually a radio station car appeared and a man hopped out, told us the torch was 4 minutes away, then he (and the car) turned round and went back the way they came – bizarre. A good ten minutes later some police cars and bikes came along – the lead car raising a laugh when the driver held out a cardboard replica of the torch πŸ˜€ In drabs and drabs we had more police, a couple of floats and finally another car with a sign on it telling us the torch was “just 6 minutes away” ! Hmmmm. AT LAST! It ARRIVED! THE TORCH WAS HERE! Apparently! Thanks to inconsiderate people in front with children on their shoulders, suddenly I couldn’t see a thing. πŸ™ I think it did catch a micro-second’s glimpse of the torch but I couldn’t even tell you who was carrying it at the time or to whom they handed it! Still…. for the record I was there πŸ™‚

When I returned I sat down to watch the Trooping of the Colour which I’d recorded earlier. This year it was the Coldstream Guards (dad’s regiment) trooping their colours which made it even more special for mum and I (we were exchanging texts about it even though Mum had seen it in the morning) I hummed along and foot-tapped to the marches (especially Figaro which is the slow march of the regiment and my favourite.) The coverage was somewhat extended with this being Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee year – what an amazing lady she is – so I got to enjoy it all in full.It was wonderful πŸ™‚ I had a few tears, but thoroughly enjoyed it and felt very proud to feel a part of it all.

Proud to be patriotic? Me? Heck yes! πŸ™‚

Seized!

After spending Tuesday removing icebergs from defrosting the fridge freezer, Wednesday was supposed to be a usual Wednesday for me – gym, shopping, education meeting. I was just going to add cleaning the oven in the afternoon.

So off I went to the gym and had a good workout. Came home, grabbed what I needed to go shopping and went out the car. I started the engine and pulled away……….. or rather, I didn’t. The car moaned and roared and was dragging along the ground. What on earth….? So I tried again, with the same result. I tried reversing – same again. Agh!

I got out and studied the back passenger side wheel and saw marks on the road where it had dragged. I noted the position of the wheel (by “clocking” the location of a couple of landmarks) and tried again. Nope, still no joy. I got out and looked at the wheel again and could see that the wheel had not turned at all. Oh dear! What to do?

Ah, of course! Google: “seized wheel on car“. Brilliant – obviously a common problem though I’d never heard of it before in all my years of driving.

Back outside I went, explaining to Billy that I was going to loosen the wheel nuts and try moving forward and braking, backward and braking and hoping to loosen the locked brakes that way. Did we have a tool for that then, he wanted to know. Well thanks to my brother, whom I had asked to show me some (very) basics when I got my first car, I knew that we did and that it would be in with the spare wheel in the boot πŸ™‚ Sure enough I found the gadget, removed the hub cap and set to work loosening the nuts. Girly level brute force didn’t work but I found that by sort of rocking back and forth, I could gradually loosen them sufficiently to turn the tool properly and I managed to do two nuts before Billy came out and volunteered to do the other two.

I then tried driving back and forth but the wheel was still seized tight, much to my frustration. So I went inside and called the friendly Kwikfit chappies and was asked technical questions which scotched any notions I may have that I know my way round a car as I hadn’t a clue (brake discs or drum? What?) I’d been doing the right thing apparently, though since I hadn’t used the car for a couple of weeks and the weather had been damp which can affect the brakes, it might be that a tap or two with a soft ended hammer might help things along. Back to the car with hammer in hand….

Nope, still no joy. Agh! OK, one more thought occurred to me and with nothing else to try, I went with my instincts and crawled under the car and squirted everything attached to the wheel with good old WD-40. I left it for a bit and then went out to try again. Although I didn’t get the loud click/crack I was expecting, I suddenly realised the car was moving freely. Hallelujah! πŸ™‚

I tightened the nuts again, but as I have motorway driving to do wasn’t going to chance anything so I drove slowly down to Kwikfit and got the helpful people there to tighten them for me. YAY! Job done! (Mind you, I don’t think all that did the tyre any good! Fortunately it’s a new enough tyre that it should be OK for a bit.) Running short of time, I decided to nip over to Aldi for a few bits of shopping, return home and then go to the meeting before going back out to Tesco for the rest of the shopping later.

All this meant the day flew by without me cleaning the oven – but since I was proud of sorting the car almost by myself, I decided to let myself off the hook πŸ˜‰

In fact, I rewarded myself by watching the England v Holland friendly and enjoyed it. I was interested to see what Stuart Pearce did with the team and tactics and to see how the players performed. A win would be nice but it wasn’t the be-all-and-end-all. I did actually get engrossed in the game and was pleased to see some passion and pride from the players. Holland were extremely tough opponents but to manage to get 2 goals back showed heart, though I couldn’t argue that the late Holland winner wasn’t deserved. A nice way to spend the evening after a strange sort of day πŸ™‚

Play first – then work!

Last weekend, we had no darts game on the Friday night as we’d had a bye in a cup competition, and there was no football at the weekend, giving a rare entire weekend in which to be productive.

You may recall that the previous week at darts, I felt I needed some practise as I was so rusty and my team-mates volunteered to help. So it was that on the Friday night, Paul escorted me to the cricket club (as Billy had only just got home from work and wanted a shower and change before joining us) and we were joined by both the Rogers, Graham, Raji and Billy. We played a couple of team games and since we were a man short, I played twice – thus giving me extra practise. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening with some of my favourite people – and we were even provided with food – which is usually only done for league games – and we certainly hadn’t pre-arranged any. It’s one of the reasons we so enjoy playing at the club – we feel so welcome there and can relax in a pleasant atmosphere.

Whilst playing, we were also able to keep an eye on the Montenegro v England Euro 2012 qualifying match. I’m rather glad we had the distraction of playing our darts as the football looked less than inspiring to say the least. A couple of times I was amazed we didn’t concede, so much space was given to Montenegro’s attacking players! In the end the 2-2 was a lucky escape for England I thought, and fair play to Montenegro. England were poor, and Rooney’s red card incident mind-numbingly stupid! There was no red mist, no heat of the moment – his face showed clearly how deliberate his actions were and he deserved the red card. Stupid, stupid, STUPID man! (And for the record, I would be saying exactly the same were he a City player (heaven forbid!)

After playing Friday night, the rest of the weekend was hard work – but satisfying.

On Saturday I spent the day, in the rain, tidying the garden ready for winter. Having been caught out by the early snow last year, I was determined not to have it happen again this year. So I cleared away all the dead foliage and the weeds, emptied the smaller, bare pots of earth and stacked them for over-winter storage in the shed. I arranged for a friend to have the two 5 ft+ fir trees as they’ve outgrown their pots and need to go in the ground now. I put the garden furniture away and sorted the shed so that our 20 5L bottles of water are to hand in case of need (we’ve been caught out a few times with no water supply). I then collected up all the rubbish and swept up the worst of the dead leaves, spilled earth, bits of cat litter and thick moss, and finally took it all down to the tip. On the way back I treated myself to a tray of winter flowering pansies for Β£3, and then planted them in the remaining pots and wall planters. I don’t expect them to do much over winter, but it’s always nice to have a little splash of colour as things get milder, but before spring is properly here. The only thing that remains is to jet wash the concrete but I think I need to apply common sense this time and get Billy to do it – the work really is to heavy for me and I’ve always regretted it when I’ve pushed myself to do it in the past.

For the rest of the weekend I did the usual chores, plus some baking – Millionaire’s shortbread and an apple crumble πŸ™‚

Amazingly, at the end of it all, I didn’t ache as much as I expected – must be the gym sessions paying off (yes I’m still going and am gradually increasing my limits.) πŸ™‚

Wales 0 – 2 England (Euro Qualifier)

I had a busy weekend, finishing up my busy week, but I took time out on Saturday afternoon to watch England play Wales. I enjoyed the game and I thought England looked comfortable with the system, which I liked the look of very much. (4-3-3)

The only thing about the occasion which I didn’t like, was the booing of the national anthems before the match – there is no excuse for it. Welsh fans booed the English anthem first, but I still don’t believe booing back was justified. We don’t choose our nationality, but we have every right to be proud and patriotic – coupled with a responsibility to respect the same right for others.

Happily, our players soon silenced the home crowd by scoring inside quarter of an hour – a Lamps pen followed by a lovely goal from Bent. After that, Wales looked like they might concede a few more and the first half was all about England. Credit to them though, in the second half Wales came out fighting and made a more entertaining game, managing to stop the scoreline changing.

Scott Parker was my MotM, though for once, the team played very much as a whole which was good to see. That said, I can’t say I really noticed Rooney until he got booked!

I was glad I took time to watch this game, though I shan’t go getting too excited as I know very well that England, like City, tend to be consistently inconsistent! πŸ˜‰

Sunderland 1 – 0 City

I’d have liked to have gone to this game, it being a local one, but sadly, finances didn’t allow, so it was good old Online Footy again for me.

The starting line-up was unchanged from the one that beat Liverpool 3-0 so I was cautiously optimistic of getting a result – though I had warned Newcastle supporting colleagues not to rely on City as they could only be relied upon to do the unexpected!

From early on, this was an edge of the seat match – and it brought new meaning to the phrase β€œend to end” – the ball fairly skipped through the mid-field on its way to either end and all the action seemed to be at each end. City looked bright and I felt, were fairly comfortably on top in terms of possession. Scoring, however, proved another thing entirely – and Tevez’ chance of scoring from a lovely Yaya pass, was described as β€œunmissable” – evidently it wasn’t! I still don’t know HOW he came to miss, but indeed he did. (To be fair, he didn’t quite appear to be on top of his game, though not for a want of visible effort.) Yaya Toure looked really impressive and though the score was 0-0 at half time, I still thought we’d score and hopefully take all three points.

I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for the two team talks in the break! Sunderland’s must have been positively inspiring, whereas ours must have fallen on deaf ears. Inexplicably, City looked a shadow of what they’d been in the first half and Sunderland started to look like they might score. As the game drew to a close, I’d resigned myself to a hard won point and if I was honest, felt it would be a fair result in the end.

And then we went and did it! In the 90+ minute, Micah gave away a penalty – despite the tackle not being malicious, it was certainly a penalty. I couldn’t watch. I had to watch. Could Hart pull off a save and maintain his clean sheet? (The clean sheet which those blasted commentators had harped on about throughout the game! β€œCity have yet to concede in any competition this season” …etc.!) Answer: No! Sadly not, and Bent scored the winning goal.

I was absolutely gutted! Unbelievable!

Credit to Bent though, because as soon as the final whistle had gone, he went to console Hart.

Ho hum. A reminder, if needed, that this IS City, and that means being predictably unpredictable! We could do without the international break now really, but let’s hope the boys come back fired up to thrash Blackburn next game (which will also be my first live game this season. πŸ™‚ )

By the way, on the subject of the internationals (Euro 2012 qualifiers) how refreshing to see SIX City players in the England squad πŸ™‚ Well done City and well done to the players (Hart, Barry, SWP, Lescott, Milner, and AJ)

England and the World Cup

We’ve watched several of the World Cup games including quite a few that didn’t involve England – and it’s certainly been a strange tournament so far. Some big teams have gone already (France, Italy…) and we’ve seen some of the world’s best footballers missing chances and mis-passing the ball. I do think this ball, coupled with the altitude in some of the South African stadia has given players some problems.

As a viewer, I HATE those wretched vuvuzelas thoughaccept the point made by a South African based City fan – that

…the problem is that so many none football fans were there and don’t know how and when to blow the vuvuzela.If you go to PSL game they help create the atmosphere as they are blown rhythmically and if the user is really good even tunefully.It is also used to represent a fighting stick and is used to point while singing “hit the dog” in Zulu. So you would almost see a crowd wave moving backwards and forwards towards the pitch rather than around as in a Mexican wave.

(Thanks blubok1, hope you don’t mind me sharing that with a wider audience)

As for England – what can I say? It’s just like watching City! After the first game v USA I wasn’t impressed but hoped we could up our game. Like most of the country, I was fairly optimistic that we’d beat Algeria so was not particularly worried about this game. After a beer and hotdogs meal to get us in the mood, Billy and watched the match together. And were shocked at just how poor it was. You could have been forgiven for thinking the players had never met before, hated playing football and had no desire to win at all! The passing was woeful and no-one looked comfortable on the ball. Having given the team their full support (somehow it was possible to hear this despite the vuvuzelas), the England fans were perfectly justified in booing the team after the full time whistle. Not at all good enough boys!

So it was with little optimism that I settled to watch our last group game, England v Slovenia, on Wednesday afternoon (having booked the afternoon off my clinic weeks ago – lucky I have a nice boss πŸ˜‰ )On the plus side – we were being shown on the Beeb and not ITV (who like to play with artistic camera angles, meaning missed action, and they have awful commentators and pundits. We also usually lose on ITV!) and we were playing in red instead of white – we seem to do better in red.

It was a better team selection and tactics I thought, and the players looked more interested and energetic. We kept possession, passed well, knew where team mates were and trusted them to do their jobs. Once Defoe scored, the players relaxed even more and looked more confident – and had more chances, but the game remained a one-goal-affair. (It has to be said that the Slovenians played a VERY defensive game and even though a point could see them through to the next stage, they really should have just gone for it, I felt.) It was slightly nerve-racking to watch in the late stages of the game, as only one goal wasn’t much of a cushion. However, it sufficed and England got the job done – it even looked like we’d miraculously top the group. Eventually though, the USA scored late in their own game to take first place. Still, England are through to the last 16 which, based on the game against Algeria, looked in serious doubt so let’s be thankful.

So the last 16 teams have now been decided and the first knockout round looks like this:

26/06 – 15.00 Uruguay – South Korea
26/06 – 19.30 USA – Ghana
27/06 – 15.00 Germany – England
27/06 – 19.30 Argentina – Mexico
28/06 – 15.00 Holland – Slovakia
28/06 – 19.30 Brazil – Chile
29/06 – 15.00 Paraguay – Japan
29/06 – 19.30 Spain – Portugal

It’s difficult to predict how England will play, but I’d hope they will be up for this game against the traditional rivals, Germany. I’m not confident though as Germany look good and play quite a slick game – then again, maybe we’ll enjoy a nice open match. (We’re on the Beeb again and playing in red, too πŸ˜‰ ) You’ve got to think Argentina are likely to beat Brazil, so even if we do get past Germany, I seriously doubt we’d beat Argentina – who I think have every chance of winning the competition. I won’t mind eating humble pie if I’m proved wrong though πŸ˜‰

Of the other games, Spain v Portugal should be good – hopefully Spain will win that one. My predictions for the next round then, are: Uruguay; USA; Germany; Argentina; Holland; Brazil; Paraguay; Spain. Then again, it’s been a funny competition so far and anything could happen. Which is, after all, why we love the beautiful game πŸ™‚

Patriotic Day (Trooping the Colour + England v USA football)

In keeping with my mood at the moment, I spent Saturday watching a LOT of TV! (Unheard of for me.)

In the morning, I watched The Trooping of the Colour, exchanging texts with mum as she was watching it too of course. It always amazes me when they say that many of the men have not taken part before. Dad did it for many years during his 22 years service in the Coldstream Guards – and I still remember the delight in 1977 when he was shown on TV filling the whole screen when the camera zoomed in on him.

Although it was “only” the Grenadiers (lots of friendly rivalry between the regiments) they did an absolutely outstanding job and particularly impressive given that they haven’t long been back from Afghanistan. The whole event made me reminiscent (the WEEKS of boot polishing beforehand); weepy (Figaro, the Coldstream slow march, gets me every time – and makes me remember dad trying to teach my brother and I how to slow march. I still can’t do it, it’s very hard); and above all – proud. Well done to all who took part, it was fantastic.

Later I watched the first half hour of South Korea v Greece in the World Cup – Greece were simply awful, and I don’t miss Samaras πŸ˜‰

I then did the ironing whilst watching a film before watching Argentina v Nigeria with Stephen. What a great game and the Nigerian keeper was outstanding – Tevez, Messi et al should have won by 5 or 6 goals otherwise.

Then in the evening, it was time for the big game – England v USA. I don’t think many England fans have been filled with optimism once Capello named his final squad – and the starting line up was less than convincing too. However, all seemed well when Gerard scored early on and the USA looked to have little chance of getting one back. THEN the commentator started waffling about Capello being happy to go in at half time one up, and I said he’d cursed us and the USA would now score. And they did! πŸ™ Sadly, it was due to bad keeping by Green and I suspect the media won’t let him forget it. I admit James would have been my preference with Hart as second, but that doesn’t make Green a poor keeper nor should he take all the blame. Our front line were fairly poor too, and had chances to put us back in front. It finished 1-1 then, but hopefully as we now drop altitude for the next games, and perhaps feel a little less blasΓ©, we can go on to perform well. On the plus side, I did think the team played well as a team – rather than the individuals they have been in the warm-ups. Come on England!

Unexpected Break

Just before the bank holiday weekend I found out that Billy was making me a cricket widow for the duration, and that my colleague and I were swapping work days the following week, meaning I had the Tuesday off work too. Hmmm, what to do with the extra time? Sadly, everything that needs doing around the house costs money – which I don’t have. Then mum said I was welcome to go and visit her if I fancied it – so off I went πŸ™‚

I drove down on the Saturday, arriving in time for lunch – which was accompanied by a bottle of wine (between us!) so we had a lovely lazy afternoon and evening. Mum is a very bad influence (I suppose she could say the same of me) because we had a Dominos pizza for dinner. YUMMY! Amongst other things, we watched Britain’s Got Talent – and now I’ve had to watch all the semi-finals since I returned – and Nel has got in to it too! πŸ˜€

On the Sunday, we walked up the road to get some plants for mum’s garden and were then going to go to Tesco – only we discovered that the England v Japan friendly was a lunchtime kick off, so we scrapped that plan and just went to Costco instead. As ever, we got a lot for our money and buying in bulk saves us both having to get some items for a good few weeks. We got back in good time to settle in front of the TV for the match – beers in hand πŸ™‚ The game was simply dreadful – you’d never believe these were players trying to claim their place on the plane! Thank goodness for the Japanese defence! We can only hope this game was a ploy to lull other World Cup teams in to a false sense of security – if not, we’re stuffed!

On Monday, the weather, which had been rather cold and very windy, picked up a bit. As luck would have it, mum had tried to put the heating on over the weekend, only to find it wouldn’t work, so she had an engineer from British Gas coming out sometime Monday morning. He turned up first thing, which was really good, and managed to sort everything out, despite our jokes between ourselves that he looked far to young to know mum’s fairly elderly system πŸ˜‰ We were a bit puzzled as to why he went up in the loft, but maybe he just fancied a nose at some cobwebs and a couple of obsolete water tanks πŸ˜€

We then went to Tesco, both the home and wear shop, then the grocery one – I’m so good at helping spend mum’s money! πŸ˜‰ In the afternoon, the weather was lovely so we did some jobs in the garden – mum planted her plants, and I put a new plastic waterproof roof on Rocky’s little wooden house whilst mum washed his bedding.


Anji starting
Anji roofing
Rocky flirting
Rocky playing

I drove home on Tuesday morning with a very full car boot, having (again) relieved mum of things she said she didn’t need, but of which we could make good use. I’m sure we always get the better end of these deals.

It was a weekend of being a little lazy, combined with doing a few jobs, lots of eating, lots of boozing, and lots of laughs πŸ™‚ (It was slightly reminiscent of last year when I was staying with her to help with things after her op, only she’s almost back to normal in terms of what she can do, although she is still in pain from the nerve damage.) I think it did us both good, and was even more enjoyable for having been an unexpected last minute arrangement. Thank you Mum.