That’s the group won then: Switzerland 0-2 England.

Swiss roll anyone? Or should I say we rolled over the Swiss. A lot of people (including myself) had been critical of England since the World Cup finals and were not expecting a clean sheet and a win in the first and arguably the toughest game in European Qualifying Group E.

The first half I thought England were rubbish but in the second half they pretty much had things under control despite the Swiss growing in threat over the course of the 90 minutes. Wayne Rooney didn’t do a lot but he certainly did enough. His counter attack and lay off to Sterling to dink the ball past three defenders for the opener from Welbeck was like watching someone playing FIFA 14. It was counter attacking football at it best and proof that it only takes a moment of creativity to score a goal but it was pretty much all there was to shout about in the first half.

England looked much hungrier and pushed harder in the second half and looked the team more likely to score the next goal. The Swiss are by no means a bad team but they certainly aren’t a class side. Apart from Behrami. I rate Behrami highly, he certainly is a player that will grace the Premier league at some time, and I could see him at a club like Tottenham or Everton and doing a pretty damned good job. Switzerland did threaten on a couple of occasions, Hart making an easy save from a deflected shot and an offside decision that also lead to a good shot that made the England cross bar vibrate faster than all of the atoms in Nagasaki in 1945.

In the end Lamberts simple lay off for Welbeck who was able to take his time and place his and England’s second goal was more than sufficient to keep the media wolves at bay for a while at least and so Roy can enjoy an expletive free press conference tomorrow morning. Although if I was Roy I’d walk in, give the press pack a middle finger and say “Fuck you all!” before turning around and walking straight back out.

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Photograph: Peter Klaunzer/EPA

With the toughest game of the group already won, and other group members being San Marino, Slovenia, Estonia and Lithuania we could all be forgiven for thinking we could win all ten group games in qualifying but as England fans we all know they won’t make it that easy for themselves. And even if they do, we’ll be screwed once we get to the 2016 finals and have to play some proper teams.

Oh well, qualifying is good enough these days. We can’t ask for much more than that can we?

Peace.

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Summer, where did you go?

September has crept upon us and flashed itself out of the blue. Where did the summer go? I can’t remember us having much summer, but the little that I do remember was nice. I don’t think many of us will be complaining. Merely weeks ago we were all sweltering in the muggy, humidity that the British summer offers us (“Its not like that abroad is it?” They kept saying, “You know the sun in Spain” – it’s the same sun brainiacs. Weather, climate, that’s what you mean, but now I’m being pompous for the sake of it.)

I always look forward to the summer and my mood starts to dip around October as the realisation that getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark is here for another 5 months or so. I don’t expect my mood to go anywhere this year as it’s been a pretty down year all round. 2014 has been a year of one bad event and bad news after another. I’m not talking about The News, I just mean generally hearing about terrible things happening to people I know. It’s been relentless. I’ll be glad when this year is over. Actually on reflection I think that the dark weather may come as a relief as it marks the end of this all round shitty year.

It’s been good on the interest front. The Wolves have been amazing since January and continue to do well but these days my heart isn’t in that as much as it used to be. I suppose football really aint that important most of the time, but its great when you’re great (with nothing to care about you can care about anything.) The book research has gone well too but I’ve had far too many long breaks for my liking and find myself well behind schedule but again dark nights and cold days will give me the reason to lock the door and draw the curtains and get on with that.

One great interest of mine is growing and that has been a terrible year too. I started too late this year, then had problems getting things growing and largely started all over from scratch even later still. It’s not been a complete disaster, its been OK, but I’m hoping for bigger and better things in 2015. But like I’ve said in the grand scheme of things, selfish interests that I’ve bored many of the readers of this blog with, aint that important.

Summer has come and gone, but so will the autumn and the winter too. The seasons keep on rolling around, I hope good news and luck does the same thing too. Its still a little early to be looking at January 1st 2015 but a tiny part of me has a beedy eye on it already. Wishing my life away you may think, but it’ll be nice to wave good bye to this year.

Its been a year where I’ve gradually found it harder and harder to have any kind of inspiration or thoughts that I want to share here. But I’ll still be around and I’ve no doubt the old, talentless hack in me will return with lots to say about nothing.

Right I’ll end this on a song…

Peace.

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Remembering Noz.

It’s a tough old world that we live in.

This last weeks news has been terribly hard to take and so sad and heartbreaking. When I say news I’m not talking about “The News” I’m just speaking about the sad news that a friend, a brother from another mother, a man named Mark, has passed away.

I’d not seen him for a short while, and I know his family and his friends are hurting especially bad. His family are like my family and have been for close to twenty five years. I knew his cousins first and his brother and then got to know him. He was known as Noz and I know on occasion I asked him why he was called that but he never really explained it, but Noz you’ll live on in my heart for ever. I dunno what else to say at such a sad time but your passing has touched every single person who ever met you. You were a good guy, a sweet guy, a funny guy and I can say with great pride and honesty that I never heard you say a bad thing about anyone. You took the piss, you had a laugh and you liked a smoke and drink. You were a good honest Black Country bloke and you made everyone feel so happy, you warmed the hearts and damn you were hilarious. I won’t share any memories, they are just for me and the people who knew you and I’m not prepared to incriminate you or anyone else at this stage. I joke of course! It was always harmless fun.

Time spent with someone counts for a hell of a lot more than time spent apart but it’s now both of those positions that are upsetting for me. Knowing I was a mate, knowing I’d been an absent mate in his and many other mates lives in recent years, only tells me I need to be a mate again. Only I can’t now and that is not something I can make amends for. I can only apologise mate. Everyday-life takes over sometimes; I never stopped thinking about you. Every time I was in the garden growing stuff I’d always pass you a thought as you were an inspiration to me, you opened my mind to something I now love and hold very dear. Thank you mate, you inspired me there friend. I’ll grow you a sunflower every year from now on that’s for damned sure.

I just want to end this by saying, a lot of people think that when you have a lot of loss in your life it makes it easier and bearable but it really doesn’t. Death of a loved one, be it family or friend, isn’t like changing a puncture. Eventually you can become really good at changing punctures, so much so that you hardly remember the first time it happened and your heart sank. Every single time the phone goes and you answer it to hear the news that someone you knew and cared about has gone you hurt and it never hurts any less regardless of who it is or how many times it has happened.

Your life feels emptier, because it is.

May you rest in peace Mark and whether you are in heaven, a sunbeam, or reborn somewhere else, just know you were loved and will be missed a hell of a lot by more people than you could’ve imagined. 

Peace and love. 

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Quintessentially lazy.

I have been a stranger around wordpress in recent weeks. My inspiration has almost all dried up and that has never happened in all of the time I’ve been blogging here. It should be concerning me but it’s not at all. I’ve been worrying a lot about the Bilston Town FC book and procrastinating about writing up what I have rather than just getting on with it. I’ve been struggling to cope with the heat but that appears to be going away for a few days now, odd dreams and nightmares have been keeping me up at night and I’ve been having terrible anxiety linked to nothing at all. Also in July it was the eleventh anniversary of the death of my 16 year old nephew, he would have been 27 in July too and that has weighed on my mind along with some unfortunate news for a few mates at work that has also been very upsetting. All in all I think I’ve just diagnosed my anxiety in a paragraph. I should really relax and take a moment to smell the roses but I get bored really easily and find if I’m not watching something I want to watch on TV, reading something I want to read or doing a task that I need or want to do I end up moping around like a spoilt child. I’ve often wondered if I’m depressed or bipolar as my moods really do swing wildly from euphoria to self loathing and back again but I hate the doctors and find my doctor is too obsessed with me stopping smoking and drinking completely rather than deal with the reason I’m their to see him so I don’t waste his or my time.

All of this coupled with the fact that I am very lazy. Last weekend I barely moved from the house, something the missus would often moan at me about but this time she managed to join in and do very little too, I think I’ve converted her! As I’m getting older I’m getting more and more lazy and expect that I’ll be wheelchair bound or bed bound through almost choice in the near future (I’m actually looking forward to it, especially the bed baths from the district nurses).

Well I soon have a week off work and I hope to fill the time with daily activities, its such a shame when you have time off to do nothing with it. Hopefully its just what I need to get myself back into the swing of life. If I’m not around for a while don’t worry, I’ll be back. Hope you’re all doing well in blogland dear constant readers.

Peace.

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Palestine.

Life under clouds

But wanting cloud nine.

 

Freedom for all

Nothing’s defined.

 

Told to retreat

Your hands twined.

 

“It’s not yours

But it’s mine.”

 

Drink water

Want wine.

 

Looking for,

A peace sign.

 

Want freedom.

Free Palestine.

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One post about gardening and growing.

I promised myself a while ago that I wouldn’t post about gardening and growing mostly because of my street cred. But of course as I no longer have any street cred, in fact I have bailiffs knocking the door for the repayments on the street cred I borrowed from a loan shark in 2006 and still haven’t paid off despite using all of the street cred within 6 months with an APR of 1,458%.

About ten years ago or so when I first caught the gardening bug the spring and summer months seemed to go on for ever in the same way that the school summer holidays seemed to flow out in front of me like a never ending weekend back when I had nice white teeth and nothing better to do than fuck about on a Commodore Amiga and watch Vids at 2.30am on channel 4 (remember Vids? It was cool as fuck! My favourite was that loud shouty welsh guy… anyway.)

These days the months flash past, I mean its July for god sake. We’ve already had the longest day of the year, its getting darker out there every day folks and it feels like I’ve barely started out there and I’m assuming this year that I won’t get everything done as I’d hoped and planned back when the long cold evenings of January gave me time to just sit and plan the year ahead as far as the growing season went (yes I do that too, and I know owe more street cred to that loan shark, dammit!)

The strawberry bed that I so carefully and lovingly constructed about 5 years ago has now become the wild wild west of strawberry beds. The neatly constructed, well spaced plants have seen season after season and vine after vine produced that now the strawberries themselves compete with themselves for space and only the strong plants survive, the surrounding area including the lawn has not been spared this half decade slow invasion across one corner of my garden and I think it may be time once the current fruiting season is finally over to start digging up the plants, extending the bed and starting again but I can’t fault the crop. I wish I was less lazy (and less busy, yes I’m moaning about writing a book again!) and I’d make three ton of jam or freeze them or do something. Weirdly I’ve tried my damnedest give them away but can’t seem to shift them fast enough, it’s sad but I do throw away a lot of strawberries. Maybe I should punnet them up and get down the car boot sale ay?

The other ever present is the rhubarb which again grows for fun, you can’t really kill them I don’t think. I just cut it all back at the end of the year and bury it in compost and the next year there it appears again bigger and better than ever. Very tasty indeed but again a cropping plant that produces much more than I could ever entertain eating, but its better to have your cup runneth over I suppose.

The tomatoes were very slow starters for me this year, it took them weeks and weeks to germinate and so they are not as well established as they usually are for this time of the year, a couple of tiny tomatoes appearing but nothing much. I’m very disappointed as they are the first cropping fruit that I ever grew. I grow them in a weird way in memory of my dad who died in 2002. He loved gardening, and would be amazed to see me making any effort gardening, but the only edible he grew was tomatoes. He bloody loved them! I’ve 6 plants growing 3 tomato and 3 cherry tomato. Fingers crossed they all come at once but again at the end of the year laziness will see me throwing away buckets of green once rather than making chutney. When I’m retired I will, if I don’t die trying to earn a pension which is what is more likely these days.

The peppers are looking good, they too, like the tomatoes, took their time in appearing and so are not as big as I’d like but the last few weeks of sunshine with some over enthusiastic watering, have grown and bushed and are showing already a good crop is upon me there. They have dozens of fruit buds and I’ve got 6 plants so I’m hoping for many a nice pepper stuffed with cottage cheese on my salads come August and September.

The two cucumber plants I have managed to grow are a miracle. I planted about a dozen seeds and none of them appeared and I actually retrieved all of the seeds from the pots and then replanted them after drying them out and somehow 2 grew. They are vining like triffids and 1 of them has a nice large (if nobbly) cucumber appearing. I can’t remember the variety so I dunno if they will be small and abundant or large and few but either way I’m looking forward to chucking those, sliced naturally, on the plate with the stuffed peppers.

Spuds, my favourite thing to grow just because they are 100% carbohydrate so it’s like making your own chips! And you can do a hundred things with them. They really do fill you up and the ones I’ve put in this year are going really well. I got 10 seeds from Aldi for a quid and put them in pairs into 5 large tubs and they are going great. When digging over my compost in March I found a Rooster spud from last year too that had survived a mild winter in a compost bin almost perfectly intact and it had started to sprout so I made room for that in an old Belfast sink that has been left upside down and largely empty and unused in my garden since I first started daring to go out there and try any of this stuff. That rooster plant now stands at 3 feet tall as I type this and is flowering. I dunno if it’ll produce anything as I’ve never grown my own spuds from a previous year, in fact I wasn’t sure you could. I always understood that seed potatos were produced at great altitude to avoid diseases and give them the best chance, maybe I was wrong. But I’ll be digging that plant up in the next week or two and see what I’ve got. I might cut the plant down in the next couple of days and let any potential spuds harden off in the soil as this keeps the skins on when you boil them. If they taste nice I might keep one back (hidden beneath soil as its father spud) and grow them again next year.

I’ve grown peas this year for the very first time, and considering how easy and common a plant they are for gardeners I’m surprised I’ve never done it before. I’ve already had many pods off and shelled the goodness from within and they have been the most fantastic peas I’ve ever tasted. I still have plenty left to harvest but they are being attacked very badly from slugs and moths and are struggling to cope. I may be cropping the lot in the next week too and take the plants out and composting them. I dunno what I’ve learned from my first year other than moths and slugs like to eat them, I need to find a better position to grow them in to avoid such attacks or find other plants I can grow nearby to draw the attentions of such pests. To be continued in 2015.

The dwarf French beans are doing terrible. I dunno why. The plants look healthy and very green but they aren’t showing any signs of beans yet. I’m not very hopeful but one good handful of beans to stick on a plate alongside some carrots, peas and spuds for one lunch in late September will do for me.

And of course as I just mentioned, I have carrots growing too. I’ve had reasonable success with this crop every time I’ve tried to grow them. This year I have sieved the soil to an unbelievably friable condition before growing them. I was considering adding a lot of sand but had none to hand when I put the seeds in and so just used heavily powdered soil. So far so good they are growing very well and I expect at least one (maybe two) monster carrots. But ultimately if I can get a fair few normal sized ones I’ll be happy. Cooked or grated up on a salad they are great. Organic carrots are an absolute treasure and again are so easily grown with a little care and thought. Hopefully the height I’ve planted them at will foil the low flying carrot fly but I guess we’ll see.

Last years yellow onion bulbs which never appeared and survived my clear up of the garden in November have this year grown. I was hoping they’d bulb up nice and fat having weathered the winter but instead they are all going to seed. So I’ll just collect the seeds. I am a big saver of seeds and I will be saving anything that I can be it edible or just flowering but I have no idea what to do with the little black seeds that you get from onions. I had an onion flower a few years ago and I saved the seeds and planted them and had no joy at all. If anyone can share any advice about that I’d be more than happy to listen.

I’ve managed to nurture a poppy plant to nearly 4 feet tall, it produced five flower heads, two have flowered one after the other. Its like they are taking it in turns to appear. The 2 flowers have now become those seed pot pepper pot heads that again I’ll be saving as seeds but I’ve had no luck with propagating wild flower seeds. It appears to me that nature is the best propagator for some things and poppies are certainly one of them.

Anyway, I’ve gone on longer than I had anticipated but it’s been nice sharing this one gardening post of 2014 with you. I’ve enjoyed it so much though I cannot rule our others.

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Peace.

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No one matters in Camerons Big Society.

The Big Society is a myth, it’s a joke.

I know this when I read that kids are eating from bins in Fenton in Stoke.

I wonder what David Cameron and his cabinet full of millionaires who are wholesale selling off our social housing, our national health service and our safety nets for the poor and unfortunate, think when they hear that children are going through bins like foxes and racoons to find something to eat because they are so hungry. Is this the Big Society Mr Prime Minister? How’s your dinner, you cunt?

This Conservative government, propped up by Liberals, by fucking Liberals, are continuing to let the poor and the disadvantaged scrabble around like they live in some pre-Victorian hell hole while they continue to tell us that we’re all in it together and the sacrifice is worth it in the long run, go and get fucked!

Fenton is half an hour drive from Bilston; it’s about 28 miles away. This shit is happening on my fucking doorstep. Why are kids so hungry that they are eating out of bins, foraging like a rat for other people’s leftovers? Why is this happening anywhere in Britain? It’s disgusting. We’re a country that now has a food bank (or two or three) in every town and city nationwide. Why is that? Why are people left starving and hungry by a system that has so many billions slushing around in it? What do they want the poor to do, grow there own food? Steal it? Photosynthesise? This government makes me sick.

We have 2m unemployed in this country today, or put another way – if they get £7,000 a year each in help they are a net cost of £14bn to the tax payer, sounds like a lot ay? Let’s look at the numbers.

The cost of running Trident is £2.4bn a year. We spent £4.5bn bombing Iraq and occupying it. The royals cost us each 52p a year. £100bn a year goes on policing nationwide.

The government takes £9.5bn a year in tax from tobacco, £15bn a year is collected from alcohol taxation, £154bn from income tax, £105bn is collected in national insurance each year despite the NHS only costing us around £98bn and of course most of that money is moving from public to private sector as its all slowly sold off. Where does the £7bn go that is collected for health spending but isn’t actually spent? Bombing brown people? Nukes? MPs business chummies pockets? Hmmmm. The £7bn extra collected just for the NHS would pay for half of the unemployed as I’ve offered here as a £14bn cost.

£6bn is raised in vehicle excise duty and £3bn in air passenger duty. £1.3bn is raised from landfill tax and nearly £3bn from customs duty. £26bn is raised in business rates, but we all know about humongous business entities avoid paying billions more just by saying they don’t want to or by having friends in high places. £4.6bn is raised every year from public purse investments, where the government just takes our cash and invests it for profit and £26bn is collected in council tax which goes to the regions it’s collected from (mostly in administration, salary rises and pensions). £3bn is raised on stamp duty from shares, I don’t know many share holders in anything, in fact I know not one. I bet the rich as holes hate this tax. The nation as a whole is a thousand times the total value of all of these figures wealthy thanks to savings and bank accounts and money stuffed into mattresses and piggy banks. We are one of the most successful and rich places on the face of this planet of ours.

We (the country coffers) will have more incomes than the ones I’ve mentioned here too, no doubt about that.

I could go on but my point is this: in 2014, with a Liberal assisted government, why are kids eating from bins?

Where does our money really go?

We can’t vote with our feet, we should vote with our vote.

Makes you think,

Peace.

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