18 September 2017

Orlando City Soccer Club

I think I have become the 2017-18 season Jonah.

All the teams I have some history with are struggling.  Even the Arsenal.

But with the club of my childhood,  Oldham Athletic,  currently bottom of League 1 in England, and Zbrojovka Brno bottom of the Czech League,  it looked like my new international team in Orlando would be okay.

Sadly from being top of their MLS division they have failed to amass more than 4pts since I booked tickets and have sunk to 3rd from bottom.

Two places further to drop down the table  to match the others!!

At least Arsenal have managed to get to 12th of 20 in the Premier League.

Hopefully, Hurricane Maria withstanding,  they will rally when I am there at the end of September.

New Helmet - LS2 Wave

I have been looking of a light open face helmet for a while and missed out on some bargains over the summer. As the autumn sets in though, when you maybe don't want face and weather to meet, there are more bargains.

So I bought a LS2 OF561 Wave .  

It fits well and should do the trick for short rides out locally in the summer.   So it's in the wardrobe.

I chose the Titanium colour as another matt black helmet might not work!

17 September 2017

Poppy Zip Tags

Guessed at what they will call them. Look like a good idea.

Bike stuff especially could do with some of these.

The British Legion are apparently trialling them in South and West Yorkshire!

So have to wait and see if they are produced in time for the start of the Poppy Appeal next month.

I could do with a few for bike gear and hoodies.

16 September 2017

The Shard - Been. Done.

We were on the 1002 HS1 train from Folkestone West.  A coffee to sustain us on the 58 minute journey and it seemed that we were arriving.

A few minutes on the Northern Line and we were at London Bridge Station. The Shard View is signposted from in the station and we were there quickly.

Once checked in and through airline style  security we were in the first lift and whisked to the 33rd floor. Then across the hall and upto the 69 floor for the first viewing level.  Another coffee and a base at a table and chairs. Then we could take in the views. And take some pictures.

The difficulty is getting photos without too much glare from the windows.

The views are stunning over London but the weather wasn't good enough to see some of the landmarks they said you could.
From the Upper View there's not much difference except you can look up and see the top of the tower itself.

From here we decided it was lunch time. So down we went again. Two swift lifts and into the street.

We decided to head for Borough Market. Passing some pubs full of Leeds United fans. All carefully watched by police and a fair sprinkling of dogs.

The market is now gentrified. Where it would have been filled full of produce for the locals,  stuff brought in locally,   it is now more international. 

Cheese from France,  Italy and even Spain.  Olives from Greece. Plus restaurants.
We chose Maria's Market Cafe. A steak bap for Claire and a lamb one for me. Lovely. Can recommend.

We had a walk around. Only buying some goats cheese from French Comte.

And then with Reggie at home we decided to walk over London Bridge to get the Tube back to St Pancras.

We got a great view of the Shard and some other buildings. 

Once across the bridge we crossed the road. The view of the Monument is spectacular.

Then off to Bank Station to get the Tube. Our London day trip almost over.

Tower Bridge

St Paul's Cathedral

Thames Sailing Barges and HMS Belfast

Some further information:

St Paul's Cathedral - https://www.stpauls.co.uk

15 September 2017

The Shard

A while back I was sent a free train ticket by Southeastern Trains. Maybe as a reward for their poor service over many years. It covers two people on their services.

Anyway it has to be used by the end of the month and so I thought a day trip to London would be good.

Since we have had Reggie we've not been able to have a day trip anywhere without taking him. We have tailored trips to include him. London isn't one of those places. 

So we have arranged for a local dog walker to come and collect him. Gulp.

He has been for a visit for Reggie to meet him. But hopefully with us not there Reggie won't attack him. One of Reggie's problems is that he can't be allowed to be at the front door when it is answered to visitors.  If he is out back and the visitors are in the lounge he runs in and wants then to play with him. Fingers crossed.

Looking for things to do and Claire saw the Shard was open. A search for tickets revealed many ticket agencies selling discounted tickets. I chose this one: http://www.attractiontix.co.uk/tickets/the-view-from-the-shard

I booked for tomorrow.  We can see about lunch at nearby Borough Market. 

It only recently opened fully after the terrible events of June 3rd when it was one of the scenes of an Islamic terror attack.

Photos etc to follow. 

8 September 2017

MAG supports Anti-Theft Demo in London

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) in London is calling on all riders to back the movement's strong demand for action against the crime wave affecting both motorcycle riders and the general public.
Tim Fawthrop, MAG's spokesman in London, is issuing a call-to-arms over the crime wave affecting riders in the capital and beyond which has directly harmed the motorcycling community – especially in recent months.

Tim says 'I'm asking you to come and join our demonstration this Saturday, 9th September 2017, in London, to show the level of anger amongst riders regarding the continuing crime wave which has blighted biking over the last 12 months.  The ride begins at 10.30 am in Regent's Park before proceeding to Parliament Square and then heading east. The route taken will ride through some of the areas most affected by motorcycle theft and moped-enabled crime.

Tim is speaking for every rider who's been affected by the attacks and thefts.  'As anyone who follows the news will know, there were some terrible recent assaults on riders who were at work doing their delivery jobs.  The injuries to these victims are potentially life changing.  I know many riders who've been affected, and luckily a lot of the time the attempted thefts and assaults have not been successful.  But this is no way for riders to be treated in a theoretically law- abiding society. The anger is at boiling point now, and it's entirely understandable that riders want to strike back.  MAG continues to advise against vigilantism and invites all those who want to be heard to join the demo on Saturday.'

Previously, Tim has called on riders to share what they know about the criminals with police.  'The authorities can and should deal with them, but they need your information to do that.  Call the police now, and help to apply the weight of the law to these lawless and stupid thugs. Let's show a united front against bike crime, by turning out en-masse on Saturday.'


3 September 2017

Sloe Gin 2017

After a remarkable 11 years since we last put gin to sloe, Claire took over this time and started a new batch.

This time we are without the luxury of Gilbey's finest gin and have once again delved into Aldi and their oddly named Oliver Cromwell Gin.  I am not all that sure the Puritan would have been a great drinker, but it seems whilst they liked a pure life, the odd spot of booze was acceptable.

I had a look back through the blog to see when we last made some, and the following link was the result: https://invictamoto.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/sloe-sloe-quick-quick-sloe.html

In the cupboard we still have a few bottles.  Nearly 3/4 of the Gilbey's, and about half a bottle of  a 2008 brew that was given to me by Chris Spencer, a former colleague at Islington.

We even have a little of Claire's Dad's version from 2006!  

And how does it taste?  It has aged pretty well. Of the three I think the 07 is the best. It is quite amazing but you would never know they were basically gin with added sloes!  They all taste like sherry! 

A glass of the Gilbey's and some olives

Folkestone Triennial

Every three years Folkestone has the arts festival known as the Triennial.

Artists from across Europe and the UK create works that are displayed around the town.

Here are a few of the works.

2 September 2017

Up for the Cup

The FA Cup. The oldest football cup competition in the world.

The smaller clubs began playing early in August and today in the third round of games called the First Qualifying Round my local club, Folkestone Invicta, began their attempt to reach the First Round Proper.

It's this round where the Football League clubs from the third and fourth tiers on the pyramid come into play.

Invicta are in the 7th tier.

The opponents today were Greenwich Borough from the division in the Isthmian League, currently named after the sponsors Bostik.

Plenty of huff and puff.  A mistake ked to the visitors going ahead after only 8 minutes. Invicta pulled level just before half time but were generally the better side but 1-1 was about right.

Into the second half it was more of the same but surprisingly it was Borough that scored first.

Invicta pressed and pressed and a late and clumsy tackle saw the visitors reduced to ten men with a red card for a second yellow card.

It wasn't long before Invicta drew level.  A fierce shot into the bottom corner.

With some time wasting angering the home fans the game came to a head.  A few skirmishes. What we call "handbags".

The pressure continued and after a long break for an injury to the Borough left back saw them reduced to 9 men.

The last few minutes saw them fighting a rearguard action until a corner and Invicta scored a third to win the game, 3-2.

A superb game for home fans and neutrals. For a tenner it was great entertainment.

30 August 2017

The Three Amugos

Not a misprint.  Or a typo.

Given the "Wenger Out!" post earlier in the week. We are still going to spend a tenner** each to sit in our grand (cash not surroundings) seats at the Emirates Stadium to watch the second string and yoofs take on League 2 Doncaster Rovers.

History is on our side. In 8 meetings since 1901 they have come out on top only once, 115 years ago.
More credibly we last played them in 2005 and the game ended 2-2.

Given the "sell, sell, sell" attitude of our under-fire manager and the clowns on the board we may see them extend their winning streak to 2 from 9 in 116 years.

Fingers crossed Amugos!

** plus £1.65 charges on top of the ticket!

Car Insurance - Insignia

It's getting on for that time of year again when my car insurance is due. I used to be with Direct Line but the quote gory higher and higher every year and so I started trawling the comparison sites to get a better quote.

Last year this turned out to be the insurers that sell under the banner of the RAC motoring organisation.  They had the cover I wanted and although not the cheapest quote, were the cheapest of the companies I had ever heard of.

This year my renewal arrived and they quite matter of factly tell me that this year my premium will go up £50.  The car is a year older and therefore less valuable.  The risk hasn't changed much. So it is back to the comparison sites.

What has really happened is that premium last year was a new business discounted amount. This year they are trying to get some of it back. Sadly for them I will go elsewhere.

29 August 2017

Wenger Out!

Sunday 27th August 2017. 

A day of infamy.

Our glorious team of Arsenal Gladiators went out in the Anfield sun to do battle with the Lions of Liverpool and came back battered and bruised.  Humiliated some may say.

The lack of fight from highly paid professionals leaves a nasty taste in the mouths of fans. "Wenger Out!" is the cry on those same battered lips. 

"Wenger Out!" is the cry from even committed Gooners and ex-players like Ian Wright.

The apologists for the French Professor keep repeating the mantra that he has done so much for the club in the 20 years he has been in charge. So many victories. Invincible even.

"It's not his fault" they cry in return, but the "Wenger Out!" Cries begin to double, then double again.

"How is it nor his fault?" The cry goes up. 

His starting eleven contains one of the finest right backs in the country starting on the left. He leaves out a German international centre back and plays a rookie who has been shite in his last two appearances. Another German international isn't even on the bench.  He plays a Spanish Left-back at centre back.

Remember who the World Chamions are? Germany.

He leaves the record signing centre forward, who cost £52m, on the bench and plays a guy that has the ball control of  a snail and the goal tally of a retarded sloth.

On top of those slight errors he plays two players that have been agitating to leave.  

One of whom has been "Mr Sicknote" up to now and the other actually leaves the day after for a rival club - see update below - one game player after he had a stomach pull and then a cold, or was it the other way around.  It means that it was late August before he made an appearance.

The former is huffing and puffing inside twenty minutes as the game isn't going the way he wants. Another German international floats through the game ineffectively and then also starts to wave his arms like a sulking school child.

They ship too many goals to lose 4-0. Each one was a personal cock-up by a player that led to Liverpool taking the ball and a few passes later scoring.

With the game lost and beyond the wit of anyone to look like we can drag something from the burning embers,  the great leader brings on £52m man and the other French striker.  Both of them rivals for the same French international starting place. Both of them see little of the ball as it seems the remainder of the starting XI seems unable to get the ball to them. Or simply are incapable.

The shit and the fan come together.  Wenger looks shaken in the post match interview. He refuses to answer the question about the "Wenger Out!" banners and shouts from the fans that have travelled 200 miles on a Bank Holiday Sunday with little of no public transport available and with expectations of getting home sometime in the wee small hours.  Thank you Frank Sinatra for naming them.

He whispers the usual platitudes about players not being on their game. Once again he defends the clowns he put on the team sheet.

At least there is an international break for a week or so before we have another attempt to play.  With 15 clubs above us in the table we are lucky it's one of the ones below us; Bournemouth. 

Another galling thing is that we were f*cked by a Liverpool side playing the game that we used to play before Wenger numbed all the talent out of the players. Pressing to win the ball. Quick passing and a fast counter attack.

When even Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, the club's two highest goalscorers, are both almost in tears to see this humiliation and both sense there is something rotten at the club, then rock bottom can't be far away.

Monday 28th August 2017. 

We awake on Monday to the news that Want-Away2 has indeed gone to a rival for what last year would be a mind blowing £35 to £40m!   Why the f**k did Wenger play him at Liverpool the day before.  He must have known the deal was done and all it needed was the player to sign and the Russian Oligarch signs the cheque. 

Rumours persist on the sports channels that the German international dropped in favour of the Rookie also wants away and has been talking to Inter Milan of Italy. We are resigned to players leaving. It's no longer a surprise.

The international transfer window closes in about 52 hours after me writing - 2300 on the 31st August - by then "Sicknote" will have f*cked off to a rival and we will have no room to manoeuvre. Wenger will then do as he has already done in the past,  repeat the same error, and panic buy.

We panic bought a Brazilian centre back from Spain. He's gone back already. We panic bought a Spanish striker and he wants away. He wants a chance to play for his country and from the bar or at best the bench at Arsenal he won't achieve that.  It's World Cup next year BTW.

The apologists go on about it being only three games.  We have lost two. We have a -4 goal difference and we are 16th.  Manchester United have spent more millions on players and have won all three games and are already six points ahead of us and how many goals....... 14!!!!!

In modern football - goals are worth a point at the end of the season.

Time for Arsene to quit. Go back to France and buy a nice cottage and spend the years and years of millions of pounds he must have stashed away.


Wednesday 30th August 2017

And the story has changed.

Want-Away2 has decided that he doesn't want to go the Chelsea  (sounds like a song title) but wants to go to Liverpool.  The club responsible for the shafting on Sunday... So are we supposed to think that he knew this before Wenger picked him to play. Or just coincidence.  

Whilst all this is going on we have shifted a full back with long service,  but into his last year of contract, to West Bromwich for £7m.


Sicknote has been pretty quiet after being caught laughing on the bench soon after Liverpool scored their 4th. But reportedly has asked to leave. Manchester City offer £50m. Arsenal turn it down. 

Then WantAway2 is reported to be going to Liverpool for £40m.


The club has apparently received two bids for the Spanish striker. From Deportivo, where he wants to go, and Levante, who are the club's preferred buyer.  Read "offered more money" for preferred. 

So that's £47m today. How much tomorrow on the last day of the window.

And no one coming in.


Thursday 31st August 2017

The transfer window is closed.  At 11pm it was met with a fanfare and a countdown on Sky Sports 1.

In the end the we have offloaded  Spanish striker to Deportivo on loan for the season. OS that should save the wage bill.

Sicknote stays.  The club made a desperate attempt to sign a replacement from Monaco and had agreed a massive £92m fee but that fell through so he stays with us until the January window at least. Some will say this was a token attempt as it was never going to happen.  A kind of "cover your arse" move in case Sicknote left and we were another man down.

A whole host of lesser cast members left as well either free or for the token £1m. At least we have brought in about £73m in revenue and only spend £46m.  

Kerrching again!

And are the fans happy.  Wait and see when AFC Bournemouth come to the big city.


Want-Away2 -  Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
Long Service Full Back - Keiran Gibbs
Another German International - Shkodran Mustafi
German international centre back - Per Mertesacker
Rookie - Rob Holding
Record Signing - Andre Lacazette
Sloth - Daniel Welbeck
Other French Striker - Olivier Giroud
Sicknote - Alexis Sanchez
Spanish Striker - Lucas Perez
Brazilian Centre Back - Gabriel
Spanish Left-back - Nacho Monreal
Finest right backs - Hector Bellarin

20 August 2017

From the Shoebox Archive - Variety Pack

There are many shoeboxes in the archive. 

Like many archives like this a lot of the photos are pretty uninteresting to anyone else. Plus the other problem...

Where the heck were they taken!! It's easy to remember who the people are in them. But so many I have no idea where or when they were taken.

This couple of scans are places and events I do remember! It's a bit lazy but I have scanned three together! !

First up. A trio of Lisbon photos. 

Secondly,  a mixed bag from Rome (top), Murcia, (bottom left) Madonna in procession around the city at Easter and bottom right, me and Andrew Pratt after the National Rally.

Lastly a picture of my TDM850 outside the old house in Hythe.