Get a Grip

The media seem to have finally woken up to the fact that snow has fallen in the UK. This couldn’t be related to the fact 3 flakes have fallen in London overnight could it?

Well today was the day

a) Much of England struggled to cope with snow

b) FIFA named the hosts of the 2018 ands 2022 Football World Cup Finals. England lost out to Russia in the competition for the 2018 tournament. Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 tournament. England were not in the running for that as the 2022 tournament would not be held in Europe.


Reading the newspaper websites this morning, they went on at length at how the South East struggled yesterday with the light dusting of snow down here and in more than one instance made no mention of the North East or Scotland which has several feet of snow and has been like this for a week.

It is a perennial feature of the media in the UK, whether written, radio or TV that unless it happens in the South East, it doesn’t exist. This applies to anything, not just the weather.

Gatwick Airport, some 30 miles south of London is closed until at least 6 am on Friday morning. It has been shut since Tuesday night. Its amazing that Newcastle airport where there has been far more snow has been open almost continuously, but less snow & warmer weather and Gatwick has to be closed completely. I do know that Gatwick area does get more snow than over this way, but even so, its laughable the airport is closed for days at a time. I’m sure airports in Scandinavia or Canada manage to open in the snow.

The media are reporting that up to 40% of people did not get to work today. I appreciate that a lot of people will have worked from home, as I have. (I took my laptop home last night just in case). i wonder how many people, who knew they would get paid anyway simply did not make any effort to go to work, but did manage to get out to the nearest shopping centre to do some Christmas shopping? Me, cynical? Never!



The outpouring of bile on the internet from some of the narrow minded xenophobic English people serves only to highlight why we are not the most popular race. There is an arrogance that we almost have the right to host the tournament.

shut up blatter go lose some weight you fat git that world cup should have been ours

russia have the staduims too far apart, stupid visa rules, racist fans, staduims not even built, well too expensive to get there
lots more reasons….

The latter post seems to ignore the fact that:

a) We have equally stupid visa rules for non EU citizens wanting to come here

b) We have racist fans -this was posted by a Chelsea fan who seems to forget that when Paul Canonville scored for Chelsea the Chelsea fans refused to celebrate as he was black.

to quote from an extract in the Daily Mail of his autobiography

When he climbed from the bench to warm up, Chelsea supporters screamed: ‘Sit down you black c***’, ‘You f***ing w*g, f*** off’. Then they started to chant: ‘We don’t want the n****r, we don’t want the n****r, la la la la’. A banana landed near his feet.

‘I felt physically sick,’ recalls Canoville.

…’This went on for two-and-a-half years. Even when I scored it was like: Nah, it’s still 0-0, the n****r scored, it doesn’t count. You’re going, “What did I hear?” I didn’t even go home and tell anybody what was going on

Racism in English Football 

We also still have a hooligan problem as witnessed last night after the Birmingham v Aston Villa League Cup tie. FA-probe-Birmingham-v-Aston-Villa-violence.html

c) Expense – it is as expensive for Russians to get to England as it is for English to get to Russia

d) Stadiums – it is part of FIFA aim that there is a positive legacy left in a host country. So Russia getting lots of new stadia will fulfil this better than England who would have built very few stadia

At the end of the day, it would have been great to see the tournament held again in England, but the fact its not going to be there is a minor disappointment in the great scheme of things.


As I said above, I have been working from home today. There seemed little point in struggling into the office when I could do everything at home. The down side for me is that I have had to pay for heating and lighting to be on in my home all day. Obviously if I had gone to work I would have saved those costs. No cycling for me today. One look at the street outside would explain why I have not ventured out, never mind freezing temperatures.

I would like to get out on my bike and get some miles in. If this weather is going to remain, then I am going to have to consider getting the turbo trainer out and riding in the house. That does not fill me with excitement. Riding a turbo trainer is not the most exciting prospect.

This time of year is rather quiet on the cycling front. apart from cyclo-cross racing, there is little competitive riding going on. Road cycling will start to crank up in the new year as teams get away to warmer climates for training camps and then early season racing.



Snow, What Snow?

Well the media is telling us that the country is shivering under a blanket of snow and the country is at a standstill. Apparently, the whole Eastern side of the UK is paralysed by snow.

I’ve been checking on Google maps and Seven Kings is in Essex, which is on the eastern side of the UK. So obviously we are suffering with the snow here right? Well, that is not exactly how I would describe it. In fact if I look out of the front door, there is approximately 1mm of snow in places.

I wish the media would get things in perspective. It snows in winter- get used to it. When it snows, it causes roads to be blocked or more dangerous. It happens every year.

Similarly, the council are not going to be able to empty your bins this week if the roads are blocked or dangerous. Get over it. There are worse things than missing or late rubbish collections for a week.

As for trains getting delayed or cancelled in the South East during the snow, but not in the North of England. This happens every year. There is actually a reson- other than calling the trains soft southern engines. It is because when they electrified the railways to the South of London, they chose to use a 3rd rail rather than overhead power lines. The third rail freezes over preventing the trains from picking up the electric current and hence they stop working. Why South London Trains Stop in the Cold

Who ever decided the 3rd rail system was the way to electrify the lines seems to have got it badly wrong for our climate.

To be fair, on Tuesday morning there was a very light covering of snow here. I took the decision not to cycle to work, mainly because I was worried the roads would freeze before I got home. I did not fancy cycling in icy conditions. By the time I walked to the end of my street and onto the main road, there was no snow! Even at home time from work, there was nothing more than a very light sleet and most definitely not icy roads.

Wednesday brought a frozen street and definitely to icy to ride down, so I went to work again by public transport. Once again, the main road was clear, but it was much colder today and it was icy on my way home. I am happy I made the right choice today in not cycling to work. Still not much more than a light dusting of snow though.

I was due to be providing a training session to CPS managers tomorrow in London, but that has been cancelled as too many people indicated they thought they would have problems getting to the training centre. It may be that I’ve been lucky in Seven Kings, as I know our York office was closed today owing to weather issues. I understand those who made it into the office and were sent home had to wait for the roads to be cleared again before setting off home.

I know from speaking with Michelle in Horsley near Newcastle, that things are very different there. The school she works at has been closed on Monday,  Wednesday and is likely to be closed the rest of the week. There is a couple of feet of snow or more there. The village she lives in is pretty much cut off. Rather surprisingly her dogs who hate going out in the wind and rain love the snow and can’t go out often enough! Given they are Jack Russell dogs, I would expect them to be unhappy in the snow- but then again I am not a dog. Now, I know that will come as a surprise to some of you.

Ruby on The Garden Bench

Michelle’s dog Ruby on the Garden Bench in Horsley

Lion & Lamb Pub in Horsley

The Lion & Lamb Pub in Horsley

Well we are into December now, and I still have not got any Christmas cards written, nor any presents bought. Most people get a Christmas Card list that grows longer each year- not me. I seem to send less cards each year. I start with a long list of people I intend to send cards to, then pare it down. Am I wrong not to send cards to those I see in person and can send my greetings in person? I think I’ll buy a couple of goats for an African village and tell people I’ve done that instead of buying them a present.  I think most people would prefer to have the goat to put in a curry or a stew. Mmmmmm goat curry – rather nice. I’ve not had it for a long time though. When I was a student living in Moss side in Manchester this was a regular takeaway on the way home from the pub.

Thursday is the day that FIFA decide who gets to hold the football world cup in 2018 and 2022. England are bidding to host the 2018 tournament. However, the controversy over the BBC Panorama programme this week alleging that FIFA voting members were as corrupt as the IOC members used to be, will not have helped England’s causes. BBC Panorama Fall Out

I have to say that in my view people’s reason seems to have gone out of the window. Too many people are accusing the BBC of scuppering England’s bid or of being unpatriotic. Those people would do better to ask why we are bending over backwards to curry favour with a corrupt organisation. I’d rather us not win the right to stage the tournament than to win the right corruptly. There can be no justification for corrupt practices and I’d rather we did not lower ourselves to the level of corruption.