They’re comin’ home, they’re comin’ home… :-(


Good morning folks

I trust your weekend was splendidly superb and that this finds you in tiptop form.
An emotional week…


After a 36 year absence at the “Copa Mundial” Peru sealed their fate against the French side on Thursday and their World Cup dream is over :-(

Here is the weekly Monday morning blog at your service.

Out of the cup :-(

Thursday was a tense day, everybody was saying “Si”, “Si”, “Si” and “Two nil minimum” but the hard, cold fact was that they had to beat the French and stats were wayyyy against them.

Due to the time difference all matches here at early doors, but on  Thursday it was a respectable 10am kick-off, the only problem (for me) was that I had to be at work early so I had to resort to listening to the game on a crackly wireless on the bus. The plus side was that my usual 90 minute commute, became a record breaking 31mins, door-to-door, why can’t Peru play every day? The bus driver was on a mission to get me to work before the final whistle and he did, meaning I caught the last, tense 13 minutes. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a yellow card given to the wrong player (later retracted and re-dished out) and despite 33 million fans wishing them on with everything, it wasn’t enough and a 1:0 defeat saw them out, even if they do put a cricket score past the Aussies on Tuesday, (expect 11 men up front in the Socceroo’s box!)


It was a sad feeling across the city all afternoon and indeed all week, but a different kind of sadness. I never once heard a bad word against the “Blanquirrojas”, less so in the ever-proud press, who build up all the nation’s players, even if they commit a proper howler.

Peru can hold their heads high, they may not have won a game (nor scored a goal, yet), but just getting to Russia for them was like holding the trophy aloft after the final!

They’ll get a heroes welcome when they get back here for sure!

(It appears that many, many fireworks were bought in advance as my neighbourhood resembles a war zone every night these days!)

The resident Colombianos are still in with a shout and they appear to have put all their money together for fireworks tonight.

Arriba Peru :-)


Bigmouth Strikes Again…

Peru may be out and Colombia may still be in, but after Sunday, Inglaterra also seem quite capable!

3Thanks to JB for the lend :-)

(I knew it was an omen yesterday when I saw an old bloke buying an England top and three huge bottles of Rum!)

Based purely on pre-World-Cup form/guesswork, when asked at work whether I thought England could win it again after 52 years, I said I thought (I didn’t use the word “predict” as that would insinuate that I have some sort of clue what I am talking about) they might go past the first group stages, but not to win it outright.

Well, after a Tuesday Tunisian toenail-biter, today’s score was outrageously good.

If I could go back in time I might have moderated my language a bit more…

When pushed as to whether or not Ing-er-land could go all the way, I said that I would streak around the football pitch at work, if they did win, I’d even wear a Union Jack bowler hat!

Now, bearing in mind that my work is located inside an all-girl’s university, this kind of behaviour might not go unnoticed, nor be particularly encouraged!

After Sunday, should I be worried???

(I haven’t seen any Union Jack bowler hats for sale anywhere here!)


I may have to wear a Harry Kane mask to disguise my identity…

harry-kane-england-panama-world-cup-2018_1ldwpg7nssrxl1rddjy5s31r7xThis man wants to see me lose my job and dignity!


Me and my big mouth :-/

 Xena Princess Warror – part II.
I have a mate called Steve who is a very handy cyclist (especially Cyclocross, which is a sport for hardmen/headcases, or preferably both!)
When we worked together at the Library, he told me that he had been to Yoga a bit and he’d got much fewer injuries as a result and less/fewer/no injuries is always a plus.
The Library was a brilliant place for anybody who liked sport, mainly down to the facilities and open abuse of flexitime! As it happened there were also Yoga classes with a wise old yogi called Zena (no surname, yoga types don’t need surnames, especially with names like Zena, plus I think she was born before surnames were invented!)
In spite of knowing upfront that I was the World’s most inflexible human of all time and that I was nailed-on to be diabolical at anything that involved trying to touch one’s toes, I gave it a go, what could go wrong????
The first class (of two) went somewhere between badly and terribly. I hid at the back best I could and tried not to attract any attention (with my minus-coordination in a room 12ft x 4ft with wrap-round mirrors). The best bit was at the end, the “relaxation” phase, (which had a name,  like all the moves, none of which I remember), I was completely out/asleep when she snapped her fingers, bringing us back to reality. I even went home and tried some stuff and gave myself a migraine trying to stand on my head, best save myself for the next class I thought…
Class II (my all too premature swansong) was more intense. I was punching way above my weight and most/all of the class were at another level.
Zena was on to me from the start and rather than letting me goof my way though another hour of her mystical instructions, with my uncoordinated arms and legs, she started to lose some of her yoga-cool and got frustrated with her unsupple subject.
Xena-lucy-lawless“WTF is wrong with you man!”
The relaxation phase wasn’t very relaxing this time and although I wasn’t frogmarched out, I was told indirectly not to come back, ever!
I couldn’t touch my toes even if I took a bus there!
End of my yoga career – part I…
Start of yoga comeback – part i…
Until Thursday that was, the same day as the football.
Work have been running some “get-fit/healthy” type programs for a while now. Free fruit and nutritional advice (enforced for some! We have an annual “check-up” and anybody outside the limits was told of this in an “encouraged” entrance into a special club!)
Plus, the offer of yoga classes, the first email about which I (sub)consciously deleted.
My boss stressed that if people didn’t go to the second class (the first was free, the second was only a few quid), it wouldn’t be continuing, so along with another lad (who knocked) I signed up and hoped I could hide at the back!
On the day itself it went ok, the teacher was a really laidback Argentine, with an accent as thick as he was horizontal. Sebastian from Yogafuxion was the man! My mat was reserved at the front!
Immediately he clocked me for what I was/am, especially useless but keen.
I couldn’t do a lot of it and I get confused easily, especially when told what to do in quiet Argentinean Spanish slightly below the volume of some kind of Indian flute music, but it was really good. I reckon an hour of that a day could change anybody, even a neurotic radge like me!
Without sounding like a scruffy tree-hugging hippy, (I did once want to disappear to Albaicín in sunny Andalucia, but that is a different story), I think it works.
Will it continue?
Watch this space…
One last game…
Is it wrong to reminisce?
I’ve always reminisced, even as a young lad.
Rose-tinted spectacles? Things not great now? Just hark back to the past and it all seems ok again!
Rugby (League) is a sport that I have always loved, from about the age of 7, when I used to squeeze in my Grandad’s mate, Ken Lynton’s Rover (Ken was a Rover salesman, so he always has a new Rover, “The working man’s Rolls Royce”. I used to have to squeeze in as there were about 7 of us used to go the thankfully short hop to Barrow-in-Furness, always arriving in time for opening time at Dave’s pub (I can’t remember Dave’s second name, he used to charter fishing boats out of Walney Island, but I was only 7 and I digress). Pints of bitter for the adults and “Asteroids” for the young ‘uns. After 4hrs of drinking pop and lo-tech video games, we would run to Craven Park and pass our tickets back to each other, (Barrow faced financial difficulties in the 80′s, I now feel partly-guilty!)
Anyway, this lame tale isn’t actually about Barrow RLFC (pre-Raiders days), more about my last game for my beloved BLSSC, the British Library Sports & Social Club (or other acronyms I cannot mention). We were the lower league of underdogs.
British Library Boston Spa Site_gallery_display
You need 13 players for a league team (a union side has 15 players, we had a struggle getting 13, in fact we had a struggle getting double figures!)
There were a handful of very, very skilful RL lads, some very handy RU lads, some lads who followed the sport/knew the game and a few chancers/dreamers (like me), so we (cough, cough) had to borrow some “ringers” now and again, not cheating, just helping out.
As we were part of the Civil Service, we were up against sides like “Garth Prison Service” (screws and cons), “Leeds Post Office” (some bloody tough rounds in Leeds) and the all-encompassing “North West” which basically had every nutjob and psycho from Wales to Scotland!
In the cup we were drawn away against “Halifax Post Office” who were basically the Siddal RL regular team, who played week-in/week-out in the upper leagues of amateur RL. It was late in the season and I was going on my holidays to Greece the week after. I never liked “last-game-before-jollies”, I always felt on edge, but we had a game!
The pitch was a grassy slope clinging on to the side of the Pennines. It had been sunny when we left work, but this was deepest, darkest West Yorkshire and the sun wasn’t really shining where we were going (for us anyway).
We got the downhill run in the first half and I clearly remember the ball being kicked off in my direction, now catching a kick-off ball can be a game maker/breaker. If you drop it, your confidence is gone, the opposition will kick to you all game for you to drop more catches and they will capitalise on every mistake!
This ball was high enough to have snow on it, I had my eye on it but not the incoming prop’s forearm!
What had happened to me?
It was a proper “birds-around-head” moment. I don’t remember trying to play the ball several times as the Ref kept telling me to stop, I was out of it. The grass was long, how had I banged my nose so hard, the pain was mega but I felt no blood so carried on, until I was sent off/replaced, talking more nonsense than usual…
I did go back on after 10 minutes and got back into it, until I tried to tackle their flying full-back and got one finger (left hand ring finger) in his collar. It was a Physics lesson in unequal forces and I felt a peculiar “PING” as my finger bent backwards (the wrong way) 180º…
As I watched the full back run in another unimpeded try, I looked at my hand and felt puzzled, that one finger wouldn’t move but I felt no pain at all, so I played on.
(We didn’t win).
As was always the case, we ended up in their social club for a few. The ref was a dodgy sort selling all manner of knock-off gear in the bar, then back to Leeds for a full night out, and somehow getting up and to work in time the day after.
Jersey-Finger jersey+finger+remains+sticking+up+when+you+make+a+fist
Two days before my holidays, I still couldn’t move my finger so I went to the Quack’s.
He looked at me sternly, wrote me a letter and sent me straight to “Jimmy’s” (St. James’s Hospital, not Saville, who did live in Leeds at the time).
“Couldn’t I wait until after my holidays?” I asked.
“Only if you want them to cut your hand open to the wrist and have a tendon grafter from your ankle” was the convincing reply!
Jimmy’s it was then.
They sent me straight to the operating theatre and I woke up resplendent with an impressive piece of fibreglass/plastic scaffolding and a piece of fishing line tied with a metal bead through the middle of my nail. Hard to describe, but known as “Jersey Finger” (not to be confused with “Mallet finger”). Thanks to the good old NHS, I was in and out in a day. 11/10.
Cutting a long story short, I went to Greece, spent a fortnight not being able to do lot, had to keep my hand out of the sun and dry, when it was 42ºc
Then I had 6 weeks of Physio, then when the scaffolding was removed I had “Wolverine arm”, as the hair growth had gone mental in the dark.
Saddest of all, it was the end of a rather short, non-illustrious, but very enjoyable RL career.
The kick-off incident would also come back to haunt me later…
Jeffrey Bernard is unwell!
I do find myself worryingly drawn to/inspired by tragic characters; the late great Oliver Reed, Tosh Lyons, Pete Doherty and Jim Morrison, (I could add Elvis to that list too).
One man whose book made its mark on me was the infamous Jeffrey Bernard, best described as a brutal drinker and part-time journalist (along with other additions to his CV; boxer, building labourer, kitchen assistant and coal miner, but mainly a drinker round the bohemian bars of Soho, old London Town.
His doctor once asked him straight “Jeffrey, why do you drink so much?”
To which he replied “It stops me from jogging!”
(Incidentally he was also third-cousin, twice removed to Sophie Dahl!)
As well as a drinker, he was also a legendary and fearless punter.
He wrote (full-time on a part-time basis) for the old Sporting Life, Private Eye and The Spectator, in which his sporadically regular absences at the last minute prompted a column notice “Jeffrey Bernard is unwell”, which went on to be a highly successful Keith Waterhouse play, with Bernard played by the likes of Peter O’Toole, Tom Conti (not the boxer), James Bolam, Dennis Waterman and John Hurt, to name but a few.
(He wrote a number of classics, but it must be noted that the “Catholic Family Prayer Book” is by a different Jeffrey Bernard).
All of the above rambling is just a tenuous link for my current health issues!
This blog (and FB memories) show me two things:
1) That I have a terrible memory.
2) That I have a terrible memory.
So both the above problems are helped by weekly reminders.
Life in Lima is highly unpredictable, but I can set my watch with the fact that I will start with a stinking cold in May, which after 4 weeks goes  onto my chest, which is a pain, especially as I am usually coming back from some injury and unable to run, increasing my training despair-frustration-despair-frustration cycle!
I went to the “Specialist” a few years back and he took some fancy images which told him/me I had “Sinusitis” and needed an operation, which I didn’t fancy, nor have.
Possibly caused by my “deviated septum!”
(Thanks to a kind postman in Halifax many years ago for breaking my snout and for me not realising for over 20-odd years. Always wondered why one nostril never worked since then…)
After wheezing my way through one night too many this week I found myself at the Hospital at 8:45am on Sunday morning. (It is shut on Saturdays and open Sundays).
Nobody had told my doctor though, as my 9:15am appointment sailed past and he rocked up at 9:50am.
Still Ill…
After some uninterested prodding and poking, he gave me enough pills to make Bez blush and start my own Chemist! I did have other thoughts, but my GCSE Human Physiology Vs. 10 years at University wouldn’t be a fair fight, more thoughts on that some other time…
I shouldn’t need to eat much over the next month, as I’ve got all these to chew through for 30 days. Good job  there are no major sessions until July 28th…
4Reopening the Hacienda? Pills, no thrills and guaranteed bellyache…
Second-class return to Dottingham please…
Which, apart from popping more pills than the entire cast of Trainspotting I & II, means my usually hopeless pronunciation had been under-par this week.
move 2
Summed up best in this old AD.
The rocky and doubtful road to Yungay…
Only one short run this week, which was slow and wheezy and probably unwise!
My supersaviour Maro was doing a sterling job of fixing my knee too.
With just 4 weeks until the UT69/LMT race, I have my doubts and to be honest, I’ll be pleased/surprised to be still alive the way I am going!
Playing it by ear, the one that still works and isn’t full of wax (again)…
Dream on Dreamer…
Fridays, Saturdays and any holidays are never good nights to get any kip around these parts, due to the Chinese Restaurant band downstairs playing the same 3hr set until 2am, which is just bass vibrating through the entire building with drum solos and whooping thrown in.
So, I can generally get some beauty sleep from 2am onwards, but the “Dawn DIYer” upstairs doesn’t want me getting too much shuteye, as he invariably starts hammering and moving furniture around 4am. (It is a big building and impossible to tell which flat it is coming from, otherwise I would have had words, believe me…)
Anyway, I must have drifted off into a yogi-induced-trance at some point last night, as I was back at the Brewery (again). In the Bottling plant they had some amazingly-good-in-theory-but-desperately-diabolical-in-real-life machines called “Laser Guided Vehicles”, LGVs, the yellow peril!
A brilliant invention for warehouses with no people.
These robots were supposed to bring materials and save time, but they often “got lost” or went AWOL, which caused more work than they saved. The poor things had  a wretched life (in Bottling 24/7 for starters, at least we went home occasionally) and their sensors saw tiny things (like a piece of plastic), but not big things (like FLTs), they had “blindspots”.
In my slumber I was frantically trying to get a rogue LGV off the A64, which was quite close to the the factory, but only after crossing two fields, a pond and the Albion’s football pitch (when it wasn’t under water). I couldn’t coax it back in for love nor money and when the hammering began again (back in real life land), I laid there panicking!
If it was 4am, I had to get to work, if I was on days, but what if it was night and I should have been on nights and I was dreaming in bed. The stupid dream had been so vivid/I was so tired that it took me a good 5 minutes to remember where I was and where I worked!
Raiders round-up.
Hmmm, an extreme “away” game (in Canada) against Toronto Wolfpack!
Well clear at the top of the league, the Wolfpack are basically an all-star international/Canada national side. Whilst Barrow have come close a few times, they’ve never beaten them and playing that far away away is a HUGE advantage.
Raiders-v-Toronto-65Happier times at home…
The mighty Shipbuilders travelled with only 14 players (one sub), injuries have been piling up game after game and we lost a convincing 64:0 :-(
However, always take away any positives and I will do with this quote:
The Cumbrians have been fiercely competitive all season, particularly against the Wolfpack having fought out two very close encounters, but were never really in the contest and had little in response to Toronto’s superior quality and man power to leave them winless from three attempts in Canada.
Back at home to ‘Allyfax next weekend, onwards and upwards!
And finally…
I’ve always liked Madness (The Magnificent Seven/Nutty Boys, not the state of mind I mainly live in here in Lima). Before they became aging stadium rockers, they made a film “Take it or Leave It”, which makes me thinks ominously about imminent house move #38…
I best explain our route carefully to Alfredo to avoid THIS!
Have yourselves an outstandingly great week.Cheers
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper
p.s. Next week HOUSE MOVE #38 :-/
It was always on the cards…
Due to many reasons, we are on the move again.
Next week could be a very, very short blog! (This week has been an extended 12″ rambler).
Mixed feelings, best summed up in this quote from Fear and Loathing…
We’d gone in search of the American dream, it had been a lame f### around. A waste of time. There was no point in looking back. F### no, not today, thank you kindly. My heart was filled with joy. I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Algier, a man on the move, and just sick enough to be totally confident..
Overloaded car (KS)

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