31 October 2012

Capital One Cup

Everything has to be sponsored now. You can hardly turn the TV on without advertising as programmes are sponsored by some product or company. Mostly nothing to do with the program or the product?

Maybe it's cheaper than simply paying for an advert slot?

And so it is with football.  Long after shirt sponsorship became the norm the stadiums themselves started getting new names.

My Arsenal are currently playing at "The Emirates Stadium" in Islington, North London. Sponsored by the airline of the same name. 

I suspect the trend came from the US, and has taken over all across Europe. Schalke, where we go next week in the UEFA Champion's League, have the Veltin's Arena. Many German clubs have modern stadia built for the 2006 World Cup, where sponsorship was the business plan.

The Football League Cup has been sponsored for years, by the betting company Littlewoods, by the Milk Board, by Coca-Cola and now by a bank - The Capital One Cup.

The bigger clubs that have commitments in European competition have fewer games to play and generally get lucky with a lower league team or if they are unlucky, a fellow Premier League team.

Arsenal got lucky with League 1 Coventry.  A changed side to give some youth and no-goods a game conquered the lower league visitors 6-1, earning a trip to Premiership strugglers Reading.

My brother and I were supposed to go on a mini-Wild-Hogs ride over there. I have been ill recently and even had a day care of the NHS for tests in hospital. So I bottled out.  He still went.

I watched the game on TV.

My seat was kept warm by my brother's bag.
The game was roller coaster.  Arsenal made 11 changes from the game on the weekend.  And after 35 minutes were 4-0 down. Admittedly one of the Reading goals was scored in his own goal by an Arsenal defender, and another was helped into his own net by the 4th or maybe 5th choice goal keeper with a feeble punch!!

Then they fought back, 4-1 on 45, 4-2 on 64, then 4-3 on 88 and almost unbelievably drew level on 90 minutes.

The game went into extra time. Two further 15 minutes halves.

Then they went ahead 5-4 on 103 only for Reading to make it 5-5 on 118.

Then in a mad last two minutes Arsenal scored twice more in the 120th and final minute to win 7-5.

Arsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger said it was a tennis score rather than football.

PHEW!

Although I watched on TV I am disappointed I wasn't there. You cannot beat the experience of being there. It's why we have live sport. No matter who we are we can live our lives through the players we idolise. I don't believe this can be said for movies or TV.

Supporting Arsenal is a roller coaster of emotion each and every game. We have a billionaire majority shareholder. He doesn't spend much money. His teams are relatively unsuccessful.

As evidenced by his St Louis Rams being ritually slaughtered by the New England Patriots in an NFL game at Wembley on Sunday.

Other clubs have been bought by Russian oligarchs, or Arab oil barons. They've all spent millions and millions, and proved you can actually buy success.

There are other games tonight and then some worthies will make the draw for the next round.  Please let us get Bradford City from League 2 at home.

Pie and Mash @ Castle's, Camden

 
Castle's Camden NW1

I was at a school doing to work and when it came to lunch I thought I'd try Castle's in Royal College Street in Camden.

I've been here before but it would have been twenty five or more years ago when there was a bike dealer nearby called Maitland's.

It's a more modern shop than the other local shops in Islington, no tiles and no old fashioned wooden benches but the pies are nice and it is cheaper than Manze's in Chapel Market.

All in all a good excursion and nice to find a street or restaurant/cafe not filled with yuppy pillocks like most areas where banks have located their new offices!
 
Double Pie & Mash and Liquer

30 October 2012

Zombie Nurses

A few more Zombie (Nurses) from the Alice Cooper concert on Sunday.




Movember!!

After a few years since I last took part in Movember I have signed up again.  Nowadays the pledging of money is done on the Internet and the hassles of collecting money has been shifted to the charity and off the person that takes part.

I have posted my link - http://uk.movember.com/mospace/2865109 - on my Facebook page but forgot about Blogger!   Although I have slightly more FB friends than blogger followers and to be honest you wouldn't fill a small room with them all added together, I have managed to get £55 pledged.

This heady amount means I am currently #1815 in the UK. Much better than my standing in the Fantasy Motorcycle Racing........

So if you want to contribute, feel free.  They take dollars and euros and all kinds of convertible currencies......

I have also joined a team called "She Wore" that represents one of the supporters groups at Arsenal - http://uk.movember.com/team/581661.

EU press release says MEPs and EU Council agree on Type Approval Regs

The EU Parliament has issued a press release saying they are happy they've now closed a deal on the Type Approval Regulation and seem pleased that they've got the EU Commission to promise it will have done a cost analysis in 4 years time.

Perhaps that'll be enough time to ensure they have gathered some evidence to justify the move...

Even though the European Ombudsman found that the Commission had a case to answer as it had failed to supply supporting evidence for the proposals on anti-tampering, and even though the UK Government felt it necessary to do its own impact assessments as the Commission's offerings weren't robust, the EU Parliamentarians have pressed on regardless.

Campaigning to date has certainly lessened the blow and now the anti-modification rules included in the regulation will only apply to bikes under 48hp (as opposed to all bikes as originally intended), but this is still a terrible day for 'project Europe'.

The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee IMCO (who lead the parliament on this and who seem deaf to the needs of the consumers they are tasked to protect) have only to rubber stamp the agreement before it goes to the full EU Parliament, or Plenary Session, on 19th November 2012.

The technical detail is still to be finalised, but under the Lisbon Treaty the bureaucrats still have over a year to complete the 'delegated acts' which contain them.

So not only is much of the rationale for this regulation unsubstantiated, it won't even have been fully written before our Parliamentarians vote it into law.

As disappointing as this is, we should not be too downhearted, because all the letters we wrote and awareness we raised, did make a difference. Remember those early amendments for ABS on everything from 50cc up, or the desire to remove from sale all aftermarket parts which may improve performance or alter the power-train from standard?  They've now gone and riders who choose a bike over 48hp in future will still be able to modify it, for now.
But the precedent has been set, both curbing modifications and being prepared to pass legislation without any evidential base.

Our own Dept for Transport (responding in a letter to the (UK) Transport Select Committee) has just stated that they expect the compulsion of ABS on bikes over 125cc (through this EU legislation) to mean 70 fewer fatalities each year. That's almost an amazing 20% which doesn't match any of the studies that have been cited or indeed what the UK concluded in its own assessment of the proposal last year! But it should be easy to measure if they're right and all the research is wrong. Perhaps even they just can't be bothered fighting any more and would rather paint the legislation in a good light.

Motorcycling is a very small lobby, but it's only because we work together we even manage the representation we do and with every issue we address, the cumulative effect is that legislators are taking notice of motorcycling, especially in the UK.

You may already be aware of the advances being made to stave off the worst excesses of the new Road Worthiness Test (RWT) Regulation (reported last week)  and if we are completely successful, the UK will get to keep the MoT we have. Of course we are being aided in this by the car and caravan lobby as this RWT will affect them too, but that is a perfect example of why all riders should involve themselves with riders' rights, because sitting back and hoping someone else will preserve motorcycling will mean we never have a voice.

You can read the whole (short) EU press release on the

euhandsoffbiking

website, where you can also grab a t-shirt for £5 and help fund the continuing campaigns

--   Paddy Tyson  Campaigns Coordinator  Motorcycle Action Group  www.mag-uk.org  01926 844064  

29 October 2012

Alice @ Wembley Arena

Wembley Stadium
A few pics from last night. Blogger has it's own way of organising photos uploaded together from the iPhone app.

The first one was above. Wembley Stadium playing host to an NFL game between Patriots and Rams.

The pics below not quite in the order as taken though....

Performers at the Arena
Spider
Zombie Nurse
Ghoul

In keeping with the Halloween theme the foyer was filled with performers dressed as zombies and other undead.  My favourite was the nurse.......  ;)


Loaded were good as the first support act but to be honest I only knew the Guns 'n Roses numbers. They did suffer some mixing problems as the vocal was almost obscured by the band.

Ugly Kid Joe were better than I expected after the two singles from 15 or more years ago. Sound was better too.

Another Zombie Nurse
Another Undead and Me!
 Alice was simply superb. A show as well as music. He played all the classic hits plus some less well known songs.

Great night but a 2 hour drive home in pouring rain wasn't so wonderful.

26 October 2012

More on Euro Super MoT

Earlier in the week we heard that the French Assembly had rejected the proposal by Euro bureaucrats to introduce the so called super MoT.

Two other countries had also rejected the proposals.

And then this week the UK Government's Select Committee on Europe also rejected it.

We already have a testing regime that has annual tests for road worthiness and it has worked well for us.

Maybe only a battle won but the war continues.

Whitstable Toy Run - December 2nd

It's that time of year again when we tog up into the horrible conditions and go on the Toy Run.

It is the same date as most years on the first Sunday in December. Hopefully it will be a mild day and people will turn out as usual in the many hundreds to make the day a success.

25 October 2012

Budweiser Cup

Clubs have US owners. Now we have a US brewery sponsoring the Football Association Cup aka FA Cup.

The FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world and pre-dates everything except the formation of the very first clubs, after all, you need clubs to take part. More here: http://www.thefa.com/thefacup/more/history

Okay the beer purporting to be Budweiser is made over here and used to be owned, along with Pillsbury and Burger King, by a former employer of mine called Grand Metropolitan. My interest died in 1991 when we were laid off.

I have rarely drunk the brand. The US version was a cross between a chemical spillage and washing up water, albeit after the dishes had been removed. The UK version is bland and just another pilsner/lager.

The Czech version is however a different proposition. A decent strong flavoured pilsner not from Plzen (the city that gave its name to the type of beer) but České Budejovice in southern Bohemia. Not an attractive town but worth a visit for the beer and breweries; Budweis Budvar and another called Pivovar Samson.

Of the two, I prefer Samson to the blue and white labelled Budweis.

I last went in the 90's for a day trip from Zastávka when I had a day off school. The youth hostel was basic and the beer halls very "rustic" but the beer was perfectly served up.

So where was this going before I got side tracked?

Oh yes, the FA Cup. What is called the First Round Proper gets underway this weekend. Small local clubs however been playing through a myriad of rounds to get this far and by November, there are a few minnows looking to make their names, fame and fortune, at the expense of bigger fish.

Good luck to the minnows.

 

Alice Cooper's Halloween Night of Fear

Three days away and I hadn't really thought much about it until an email arrived on Monday from Wembley Arena.

Even then I printed it and promptly forgot about it.

Checking the Transport for London (TfL) website reveals engineering works on London Underground set to start about 2300 on Sunday. Or about the same time as 10000 people spill out of the Arena!

So drive. Checked local parking and the nearest one to the arena is £20. I usually baulk at that, but given the alternative hassles booked it anyway.

Plant a Poppy 2

This is the third poppy posted. 

Sgt Timothy O'Leary is Claire's Grandmother's older brother, killed at Windy Corner near Bethune in September 1915.


23 October 2012

Plant a Poppy

Charles Devall
Pictures courtesy of the Royal British Legion's "Plant a Poppy" website.

I did three one after another but only two made it through the moderator before close of business.

William Devall
You can have a look here.

MCN Fantasy Road Race

InvictaMoto:

Overall Points:             742
Overall Position:          40998
Game Round Points:    100
Game Round Position: 31709

Consistently score higher in the round but never get much higher overall. Proves I am not a very good chooser of race teams!!!

21 October 2012

Bikers lead protest against Cleddau Bridge tolls


The nearest bridge to me is the Dartford Crossing. Originally just a double tunnel under the Thames and then they built a bridge as the tunnels couldn't cope with the traffic.

About three years ago they dropped charges for motorcycles.  There was another concerted action by local riders to hold up traffic, the police did get a bit lairy but in the end, charges were dropped.

To get through the tolls now you are expected to queue up with the other vehicles and then the barrier is raised and you can proceed. Not ideal.  There is plenty of room to have opened a lane or two that were big enough for bikes, even fat arses like 'Wings, and save us queueing. But that is way beyond the comprehension of the private company that the Government sold out to.

Schalke '04

With the "Indian Summer" not really going to happen the decision to take the car rather than the "Wild Hogs" bike trip is now a reality.

Shame, but safety and comfort have to come first.  It should be comfortable in Neill's Avensis! Plus the car will give us room for a little shopping! Christmas is coming. Beer.

We have decided to stay in the hotel right by the Veltins Arena. It's a short walk across the car-park and means we have a quick exit after they let us out! We booked two as soon as we knew the date of the game and as it was booking.com we could cancel right up to the day before.

I might suggest that Neill takes the Arsenal stickers out of the car. You never know!

The hotel is the Arena Hotel.

The car is booked on the Shuttle for 0920 on Tuesday and back on the 1820 on Wednesday.

Now which shirt shall I take for this game?

The Legend's Number and my nom-de-plume

18 October 2012

Hospital Blues!

Have had a bad headache for the better part of 36 hours.

Went to the docs and sent on to the ER.

Been here six hours in William Harvey. Great care from all the staff but no nearer yet finding out what is the cause

Tramadol are quite slowly working.

Updated:  In the end after an MRI scan and a cardiogram they decided that maybe the problem was associated with my ear infection of a couple of weeks ago and maybe sinusitis or migraine.

I already suffer from a version of migraine where I have the headache and associated flashing aura and tunnel vision.   Usually I pop a couple of pink Migraleve and in a couple of hours we can kiss the problem good bye. If caught early enough, then it is gone quicker. This time it is different.

Five days since the headache started and it is still pulsing through my head but the drugs seem to have lessened the pain.

The hospital said that if the headaches continued into or even beyond the weekend that I should contact my GP again and at the moment, late Sunday, I still have a dull headache. At least this bugger has moved to the top of my head from above my right eye. Not as strong but still there....

Hopefully back at work soon.


15 October 2012

Schalke

I was hoping that we could have a "Wild Hogs" sort of adventure on the trip to Gelsenkirchen for the Champion's League match on November 6th.

At the moment the hope level is fading after frost this morning that was just about melted to slush on the windscreen meant that winter has arrived.

I do have the bike gear for cold weather but have become a fair weather biker again! Maybe as I was in Spain in mid to high 20's (centigrade) temps that I am feeling it more than I might otherwise. Let's see how the weather progresses....

Kent Centre Pet Food Run 2013

The 2013 Kent Pet Food Run will be the same in format as last year's.  I have been running Pet Food Run's in Kent, since I returned from Bedfordshire, since 2003.  Each year I keep sating it will be my last and I think this one will be.

Despite publicising the run to local clubs and branches of local one-make clubs the run is mainly a few if us from the Kent Centre SOC and the Kent Riders.

This year I have invited my local MAG group to join us.  It is also advertised on http://www.bikerspost.com/event/84


The run will start from Maidstone Services at 1200 for the ride down to the Blue Cross at Northiam.  Full details in the link above.

13 October 2012

Malaga Airport

Luggage loading!
I used to love watching all the activity of the airport and as a family we would get the bus to Heathrow for an afternoon of plane watching from the Queen's Building.

It's not as fascinating now but still interesting to watch the activity surrounding the grounded aircraft.

Last view of La Colina

Last view of La Colina, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

(Click to view original)

The last view as we sat waiting for the train to the airport. Although the ticket said T2 it was actually T3.

Queues long as expected as it seems Monarch have one set of check in desks that take all flights....

In the end all safely aboard and away on time, packed like sardines in the A300 with nine seats across the body!!

Sunrise at La Colina

Sunrise at La Colina, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

(Click to view original)

11 October 2012

Not tonight?

Repellent... works.
The one night I didn't apply copious amounts of this stuff and I was rewarded with a 3am mosquito hunt.

It seems to work but I got complacent and paid the price.

The little bastard that bit my foot and both ankles left me feeling that I stepped in boiling water.

It's been dead and flushed for 20 hours. Time to roll-on.

If anyone out there that reads this post knows anything about Johnson's "Off!" please let me know.

This stuff is good, but "Off!" is simply the king of the jungle.

7 October 2012

Anniversary Evening

Walk down to the beach again. Ended up in an heladeria and pizzeria.

The "El Classico" game was on tv and it wouldn't be right to watch, would it?

In the end the the decision was taken for us as every bar with the game on the screens was packed and seats out of view were plentiful.

In the end pasta and a pizza with a beer was our 12th anniversary dinner.

Seduced!

I can see why people are seduced into wanting to move here!

A week every year for me in October is a chance to walk about in light clothes, have no fear that it will rain and it is warm and sunny.

If only I had a marketable skill. Sadly, you will never be able to retire rich on the money I could earn using my CTEFLA qualification.

Wedding Anniversary!!!

Married to Claire for 12 years today.

6 October 2012

Torremolinos 2012



Click to follow the link

For the holiday in Spain I created a new blog to cover the week.

Delayed!

What you don't want to hear at an airport. Even worse when the Monarch airlines automated message arrives with the loud ringing of the phone before 0800.

Checking the app for Gatwick Airport shows the flight delayed from 1625 to 1840! At least.

I called Monarch and was rewarded for my 10p a minute 0871 number with information to arrive as ticketed.

So we arrived at 1408!!!

The security checks are still in place. Laptops out of their cases, shoes and belts off... Beep! Claire's hip sets off the alarms. Beep! Something on me sets off the alarm. Maybe the rivets on my jeans? The waist button?

Can't be my money or phone or watch as they are in the tray along with everything else?

We both endure the frisking. They even dig out a magic wand for Claire.

Then we are let loose into the shopping mall that Gatwick South has become. Like IKEA you follow the road through all the shops before being vomited (you want to after 60 different perfume counters) into the normal part of the terminal where you can sit and look miserable when it all goes tits up.

So lunch was in Costa Coffee, and then a walk around the shops. Good offers in JD Sports on Team GB gear...

And now to find a seat to while away the next 3 hours.

3 October 2012

Damned Ear Infection

Paracetamol 500
Woke up in Monday with a slight neck ache. It got worse during the day. By the time I got home from work I was tired and not hungry.

It got worse and worse. The paracetamol tabs did very little to help so went to the docs.

Ear infection. Who'd have credited it!!

I hope it improves before we fly to Spain on Saturday.

1 October 2012

Not long now...

Five days and holiday...

Although headline temps don't look too different it is the yellow sun icon I prefer!

But dry and 24 seems okay. Fingers crossed next week is the same!!!

Star Wars - The Last Jedi

After all the build up.  Next week. Booked tickets for Friday 22nd.