Last Picture of Summer

Do you remember summer? It was that first week of August for us in London. The days were very hot, the nights were unbelievably humid. Cycling to work was difficult in the heat as you suffered dehydration. Sleep was difficult as the bedroom was too humid and warm, even with no duvet on and the windows open and fans on.

(For those in the USA/ Canada reading this, then note we don’t have air conditioning in homes here in impoverished England)

Well, anyway, what has this got to do with anything? Well Friday was my last day at work before a week’s holiday. I left work at around 17:00 to cycle home. Now our office is air conditioned and has tinted glass, so I wasn’t aware of the weather outside. As I cycled out of the basement garage, it was rather dark. In fact so dark that I had on not only my “summer lights but my full mid winter lights as well. It was drizzling so I put on my shower jacket as well.

The rain started to increase as I rode the 12 miles home. In fact when I say rain, I mean thunder, lightening and rain. I have never ever cycled in such heavy rain, not even on the penultimate day of my LEJOG in 2009. At one point the gap between the flash of lightening and the clap of thunder was only 2 seconds. I was obviously soaked right through, but well its only water.

The rain was so heavy that at times I could not see the road and in places I couldn’t see the kerb a the edge of the road. No worries about this. I have ridden in rain before. What did cause me a problem was that the rain was so heavy it was getting into my eyes and affecting the contact lenses I was wearing. I had to stop on several occasions to dry my eyes so the contact lenses would stay in my eyes. I have worn contact lenses for around 27 years now. The only time I have ever had this problem before was back in 1999 at the infamous Newcastle v Sunderland match which was Gullitt’s last as Newcastle manager.

Of course after I got home, the rain stopped and the night was rather pleasant weather wise and company wise.Sod’s law at play!

Today, Michelle, Josh and I went out in lovely sunny weather for a bike ride down to Romford, Collier Row and back via Hog Hill. As we got around a mile from home, we stopped at a set of traffic lights and said it looked like it was going to rain, at which point the heavens opened. I sprinted for home from there, leaving the others to make their own way home. Why?  Well not because I’m selfish, but because I was trying to get home to get the washing off the line. Yes domesticated me!

The weather then cleared up again, only after all the washing was off the line and hung inside on the clothes airer. So we set off in the car for that sophisticated sea side resort – Southend on Sea.

On sea? Not sure why it is “on sea” as it is on the River Thames, not the sea. After a paddle in the new fountain, which was Drew’s handiwork, we sat on the beach wall had a drink and enjoyed the sun. We then went for the obligatory fish and chips inside a cafe. Just as we ordered our food, the heavens opened again. Not that it seemed to affect the English Defence League hordes who were in town.

The EDL mob seemed to consist of tattooed skinheads and that was just the women.Tonight revealed they were in Southend as C4 were filming the EDL leader at a meeting. The EDL were apparently hoping to show they were not a bunch of skinhead yobs. Well on today’s turnout, they failed. This is not to be taken as a also tonight, I comment by me on their politics, merely the appearance of the people I saw.

Tonight, for the first time in months, I have had to turn the heating on.

Summer? Just a distant memory it seems. I suppose its my fault for getting my car’s air conditioning fixed this week.

August 20th 2011

Sometime in life there is no need for words

However, owing to the Premier League blocking me posting a you tube clip of the goal from Ryan Taylor today against S*nderland, I will have to use words.


Actually, the goal can be seen here

What more is there to say except

1. Only one defeat at the home of the Mackems in 32 years

2. We are still waiting to hear Mrs Doubtfire Bruce’s choice of record to be played when they win at home against us. Its more likely that Bruce will be sacked before they win at home to us

Success and congratulations

Today is the day many thousands of 18 year olds dread yet also look forward to. Its the day the A’ Level results come out

This young chap managed to pass all his A Levels


He got the grades he wanted and is off to the university of his choice. I think it is a tremendous achievement and something to be proud of. The message of congratulations and support are well deserved.

I mean, its not every day that one achieves such a tremendous achievement. Despite the increase in the number of people going to university, it is still a huge achievement.

I have to say that I am incredibly proud  today.

I am sure you will all agree that my achievement in raising a child who gets into university is something special. Oh and I suppose Tom didn’t do too bad either in passing his A’ levels.

The stress of waiting for the results to be published I think far outweighs the stress of the revision leading up to the exams. The waiting and not knowing where or if you will be going to University is no picnic. Now after waiting 2 or more months for his results, Tom has only 3 weeks or so to prepare to go to university and sort out what he needs to buy or to take with him. 2 months of inaction and now a mad 3 weeks or so of rushing around buying and making arrangements.

The alcohol will be flowing tonight and a few drinks will be sunk in celebration. That is just Michelle & I, no idea what Tom is doing. Think he is going out with his class from school.

Well done Tom, I’m proud of you.

What a waste.

No, this is not an article about the waste of my footballing talent or my great academic genius. This is a factual blog, not a work of fiction. I’m not Jeffrey Archer. Mind you, I wish I had his money.

This blog post is prompted by recent stories in the news. Yesterday morning as I set off for work and rode past Ilford Police Station, a large area was taped off and ominously, the forensic officers were wearing white boiler suits. This usually signifies a major crime has taken place. Forensic do not wear white suits to take fingerprints from your broken window after a burglary. The area was still taped off on my way home last night.

Sadly, a 17 year old male had been stabbed following a disturbance involving 2 gangs of males at 0400 after a private party. Sadly he died some 9 hours later in hospital. What a waste of a young life. He was somebody’s son, somebody’s child. A life ended before it had begun. No doubt at least one or more others will end up in prison possibly facing a life sentence as a result of this incident.

Only this week, a 16 year old child has been charged with the murder of a 60+ man in Ealing last week. The gentleman’s life was taken as he tried to put out a fire during the riots last week. He was apparently kicked and stamped to death for trying to defend his business against looters. What a waste of at least 2 lives, that of the victim and the life of the 16 year old who is looking at a lengthy period in custody for his actions.

That brings me onto the riots themselves. I will start by mentioning an event in the run up to the riots. On the Thursday before the Tottenham riot, a Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police in a taxi in the Tottenham area. The Metropolitan Police made a number of decisions, one of which was the delay in notifying the deceased’s family and appointing a liaison officer. More importantly however was the information leaked that in the incident a police officer was shot, and his life only saved by his police radio which took the brunt of the force of the bullet. The implication of this is that Duggan had been involved in shooting at the police. A week later, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) released quietly under cover of the riots, a news item confirming the bullet in the police radio was actually a police issue bullet and therefore this officer was shot by the police. This was probably a ricochet.

This was the BBC story on the day after the shooting Notice the line “it is believed that one shot was discharged from an illegal firearm inside the car” This was nonsense as the police already knew the deceased had not fired a weapon even though he did have an illegal firearm.

Strange that the police initially spin stories that the victim was to blame and had acted in a way that meant the police had to kill them. Then further down the line the truth emerges and it is shown the police had lied and lied to deliberately get off the hook. Do I hear you mention Jean Charles De Menezes back in 2007 in Stockwell, an innocent electrician going to work who was killed on the orders of the (in my opinion) incompetent Gold Commander that day Cressida Dick.

Now given that I have ridden the last 2 years in the USA to raise money for police officers killed in the course of duty, you may wonder why I am so critical of the police here. Well, there is a big difference between supporting the police doing what is a difficult and dangerous job and the police deliberately lying and perverting the course of justice to cover up their mistakes. I am not necessarily criticising the 2 killings. I was not there and was not operating under the pressure those officers were in each incident. What I am criticising is the Metropolitan Police and their deliberate lies and smear campaigns against the victims. Take a look at the Crown Prosecution Service’s website at You will find there lots of references to treating victims properly. There are any numbers of initiatives looking at the treatment of victims at all stages of the Justice System. Yet here we have the police deliberately lying to blame the victim eg Duggan fired at police; Jean Charles De Menezes ran from police, he was wearing a padded coat that looked like a suicide bomb etc.

Metropolitan Police bosses should hang their heads in shame. They should be in the dock facing charges of perverting the course of justice. Harsh you say? Well the police charged someone this week with perverting the course of justice for burning the clothes they wore allegedly at the scene of a crime. If that is a crime, then surely deliberately lying about the actions of a deceased man is as well. It is so much worse when you think that the victim cannot defend their name from these false smears. How awful that must be for the families of the deceased in these cases.

I’m not even going to mention in detail the foul and awful lies South Yorkshire Police spread after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when they accused Liverpool fans of robbing and urinating on the corpses of fellow fans who had died as a result of amongst other things policing failures by senior officers.

This brings me onto the riots themselves. The riots started after a protest over the killing of Duggan. Let’s assume for a moment the protestors had a valid grievance against the police re Duggan’s killing in North London. How does that explain looting electrical stores, sports goods stores, phone shops and jewellers all over London and England? Not to mention the arson, not only of shop premises but flats with people still living inside them. What have any of these premises got to do with the killing of Duggan? It was not a protest about policing but an excuse for looting and greed by thugs.

The details of people appearing in court makes grim reading, hundreds of children charged with offences. Some out looting with their parents. We’ve had people working as learning mentors in schools, law and other students, others with decent jobs all looting to satisfy their greed. We hear so much rubbish about “we are getting our taxes back”. From whom, a fellow tax payer by destroying their homes and businesses? If protests were directed at police etc, then it may be understandable, if not acceptable. Similarly as some people are claiming it is a protest against the government, then why target businesses and individuals?

What a waste of careers for so many for the sake of a pair of trainers, or in one case a bottle of water.

Make no mistake about it these riots were about greed and nothing more. There are inequalities in society, but looting a 52” plasma TV or a pair of trainers and burning someone’s home with them still in it is not a protest against anything .

He is Risen

The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I wasn’t dead, just sleeping on the sofa – honest.

Its been a month since my last proper blog post. A month in which I was burgled (yet again) and had 2 laptops and other things stolen.

A month which saw Michelle and I in church at a wedding – not ours…this time….

A month in which I have had a new patio laid in the rear garden to create a BBQ area and space for a new bike store (aka a garden shed).

A month in which I have purchased a BBQ and actually used it. I know, I know, I’m responsible for the rain we’ve had.

A month in which the new football season has started.

However, best of all its a month when I have spent lots of it with Michelle and Josh staying here along with Charlie and Ruby, Michelle’s 2 Jack Russell dogs. Its been like having a real family. Having someone to grunt at on a morning when I get up  as I’m a grumpy git. Having someone to have my home cooked tea on the table. Someone to treat me the way I don’t deserve.

Can I just say that Michelle is a star and makes a perfect housekeeper. In fact the position is hers if she will accept. It was only 4+ years ago when she applied for the position!

Today Michelle gave me the great news that she and Josh will be staying here an extra week. I can’t tell you how good that news was to hear.  I only now have to find a way to get her to make it permanent. Any ideas?

What else have I done? Well, I have cut the grass, been to see Harry Pothead Potter and Cars 2 at the cinema. etc. I’m getting to be a domesticated old git I hear you say. Well actually I hear you say I’ll never be domesticated but am just an old git. Harsh but true.

So that is all that has been happening in my life. Well, now I have given you a whistle stop tour of my life, I will hopefully be posting more often in future.

I would like to give a mention to someone I have never met or communicated with. Confused? Well, Mark Allison from Shotley Bridge has just ran 3100 miles from LA to New York in 100 days. An incredible feat. It is something that one cannot comprehend. He did it to raise money for The Children’s Foundation and St Benedict’s Hospice. His blog is at RUN GEORDIE RUN. To date he has raised approximately £80,000 for the charities. His achievement must be worth a few pounds of your money.