Greenwich in Winter

We are fifteen minutes drive from Blackheath and so often go there at the weekend, then walk to Greenwich. Blackheath is a lovely village with a big ‘common’ at the top.

It is a nice spot to go for a coffee and is a little less busy and cheaper than Greenwich itself. There is a new spot opened called avocado something or other (forgotten the real name), they do seriously good avocados though, even if seriously expensive!

Otherwise, Montpelliers is nice during the summer to sit outside with coffee, read the news and watch the world go by. There are a few other nice places also, cafe rouge if would like a petit French experience for lunch and there is an argintinean restaurant which does good pizza and lots more.

Once done with coffee there is a lovely walk through the common, past a nice old church. The common is very open with very few trees, a lot of kids with kites and people playing football.

The walk leads you to Greenwich park which probably needs no introduction.

I grew up in the countryside but had to come to London to see a fox!

There is an observatory in the centre and walking to the end of the park brings the maritime museum. After that you can continue into Greenwhich village, some photos of that…

Stumbling on

I have supported Liverpool since the age of 11 or 12. In Ireland, at least when I was growing up everyone supported either Liverpool or Man United. So a premier league ‘derby’ in Ireland was Liverpool VS United. Many of my school chums back then initially supported Liverpool but then as the balance of power shifted towards Manchester there was a slew of transfers in that direction!

I kept the faith though, I suffered for a lot of years and in many cases on my own. I did my part with regards recruitment – I signed my brother Gerald and sister Betty (whom I don’t even think liked football) to the cause, I think I also converted my cousins in West Cork, or at least had a positive influence on them. My youngest brother Liam was allowed support United as I thought it was healthy to have a little rivalry in the house and I think I felt like I had done my bit. Liam lost interest anyway but I’m still a fan, though my interest has waned at times.

I remember listening to the crackle of 5 live and Alan Green on my dads radio with Gerald (my brother), often in the middle of winter. We couldn’t hear a thing and the noise always seemed to got worse when the action happened – ‘Gerrard…great Michael…..tackled by Hen..Beckham….Robbie Fow….’ and then an explosion of crackly noise! You knew something had happened of significance but you weren’t always sure what it was, but it was the worst kind of torture because you were never sure which team had struck the mortal wound to the other! These are nice memories to have looking back really and I do value them but I think, still we did suffer for our team!

I also remember being told to grow up by mum when Man United beat them in the FA cup final – she could never understand my sorrow. I was 11 or 12 but it was the last time I cried about football because I think I soon after realized it was only a game. That is kind of my attitude to this day – I love to see them do well but I don’t get too upset when they lose.

And I learned from one of the best supporters of anything in my dad. His sport is Ireland’s own indigenous hurling. It is a great sport and I think soccer could learn a thing or two from it. It is full of passion, love of the game, but also loyalty. I digress slightly but my dad loves hurling probably more than he loves me and he definitely loves Waterford more than he loves any one thing in the world. It really affects his mood though and the Monday after Waterford have been knocked out of the championship is the end of the word – for everyone. I don’t think it is worth that anymore.

So I learned from watching him but I also learned from my own experiences. I remember going to Anfield for the first time with another massive Liverpool fan – my friend Anil. We came over from Ireland assured our tickets were in place but when we arrived it seemed like something had gone awry at the ticket office and our entry was in doubt – I couldn’t believe it after coming all the way over – I think if I didn’t get in that day it would have ended my ties with the club as the taste would have been too bitter!

We got in at the last as the confusion was cleared up – it was really only on Anils clear head and thinking though. Once we got inside we headed straight to the sidelines to get as close to the players warming up as we could and there they were, all the lads; Stevie, Pepe, Crouchie. I felt like waving at them as I new them so well. It is the strangest kind of feeling but then you realize and remember that they don’t know you at all. I thought there was an unhealthy unbalance in this relationship and I think it sunk home then a bit. One way relationships are never good.

None the less I really enjoyed the experience and was happily able to return the following year with my brother and I think my support levels recovered a bit. It was the era of Rafa Benitez and Liverpool were really good – they got to two champions league finals, winning one and became the top ranked team in all of Europe at one stage. I got carried away – we all did and I remember not getting too excited by them winning the FA cup. It seemed like a matter of time before thy won the league and ended the wait. Then it all fell apart.

Xabi Alonso left for Real Madrid. To be honest I think his loss was as much psychological as anything else as he grew in reputation as a player with every day away from Liverpool. I blame the fans – they lost faith in Rafa and the team. Things went down hill quickly, Roy Hodgson was brought in and to be fair he never stood a chance. He got a few months but everything had got so negative it would have been hard for anyone.

King Kenny was brought in to save the day and results picked up for a while but it didn’t last and the final nail in the coffin was hammered when Fernando Torres left. I’ll not talk about Fernando as his story is a sad story and every one knows it. That was the worse moment for me as Liverpool supporter – it was et tu ‘El Ninio’. You are leaving too. A part of Stevie G died that day and apart of the Liverpool in me died too. I don’t know if I will ever get that back.

I felt like I have been through a great many highs and lows as a Liverpool fan but I think I will always support the team. I think though at times Liverpool (and other clubs doubtlessly) take supporters for granted and should give more back. I live in London these days and try to go see them once or twice a year. You need to pay for a membership before you any real chance of getting tickets though and basic membership is around 26 pounds. I got a membership for both my brother and I this year and made the mistake of telling him that I was gonna get tickets for both of us an Xmas present.

I was gutted when I logged in on sale day to find all tickets had gone! I was disappointed to have to tell my brother that I had failed in getting the tickets but I was a little angry and disappointed with Liverpool Football club too. I wrote to them asking if I could transfer my membership to next year as I had little need for the membership this year. Despite persistence I was repeatedly told what felt like ‘computer says no’. I was angry because I felt that Liverpool were using my loyalty towards them against me, assuming that I would sign up again next year regardless. I guess they think, what is he going to do, support Man United? – ha ha ha. I wouldn’t do that of course!

I think if football clubs are to continue to do well they need to support the fans back. There ticketing policy doesn’t seem wholly fair and I think it needs a review. I have invested a great deal of time, money and emotion in watching and supporting my team over the many years and I think I should be seen as more than just a customer. I don’t expect Stevie to come over or wave at me when I go to a game but I expect a little bit more back from Liverpool in situations like this where I have spent my hard earned money and to no avail.

Sterling Effort

I think the coverage of Raheem Sterling’s reported decision to sit out England’s qualifier was unfair and very unhelpful to the English team, British football not to mention Liverpool.

He is still very young and as one of Liverpool and England’s outstanding talents he should be protected. Statistics have shown that he has played a lot of games and he probably did feel that he needed a rest. Whether he was being over cautious or was in fact need of rest, I believe the issue should not have gotten the coverage it did.

It is negative and must be massively distracting for everyone involved. Hodgson is getting criticized for disclosing that it was Raheems decision not to play, Rodgers and Liverpool are being accused of putting the idea in Raheems head and being overly protective of their players and Raheem is being painted in a poor light also. The player’s focus should be on helping his club and country – how can it be with all the nonsense floating around his head.

A lot of older senior player like Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand backed him and said that they thought he was brave and I agree I think it showed courage to admit that he was tired and couldn’t help the team and in fact would probably would only injure himself. I think to be be honest he might have shown a little bit of innocence but even at such a young age I would guess he knows his body better than anyone else and his opinion should be respected and I think his honesty should be also be respected.

I do think that Hodgson will regret having handled the issue in the way that he did. People should realize also that the media looks for controversy and don’t always have a vested interest in the truth. The truth is Raheem Sterling is a great player and should be protected and encouraged – like all young people.

It will be interesting to see this weekend how he deals with it. Hopefully he bangs in a few goals for Liverpool against QPR!

What to do with old Candles

IMG_20140926_184247Candles are great. Particularly moving into the darker months, they can positively affect peoples moods. Their original purpose was to provide light and scented ones are quite popular now also.

I go through a fair few each year and have discovered there is a lot of waste in terms of the amount of wax and sometimes jars that are left over. I don’t like throwing out so instead I try to recycle them. A few small ideas follow.

You can order the wicks online together with the silver disks that are used to anchor the wick. They are not expensive, I think I paid about 3 pounds for a set with p&p this might have been around 5 altogether.  Then all you need is the wax and since we are recycling that’s not a problem.

I tried putting all the left over wax into the oven and then heated the candles up so that they could be reused but I discovered this to be a bit messy and if the candles are scented, lets just say your dinners could be smelling of roses.

You also have to be careful not to put the temperature up too high as glass could shatter and break. Then your oven would smell of roses! You can get candle warmers online and I believe them to not be very expensive – this is probably a better and more foolhardy approach.

You can also try melting the candles in hot water – I haven’t tried this approach but might in the future.  I discovered an easy way instead though is that you can just wait for your candles to stop burning and provided your quick – you can pour in the leftover wax before it hardens.

As is said back home in Ireland:

An té nach bhfuil láidir ní folair dó a bheith glic.

The man who is not strong needs to be clever, enjoy your candles!




Always look on the bright side of life

I am reading Robinson Crusoe at the minute and came across a passage. As you probably know he is stranded on a desert island and more than most he doesn’t have much to be positive or thankful about, none the less he compiles a list:

Evil. I am cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope of recovery. Good. But I am alive; and not drowned, as all my ship’s company were.

Evil.I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the world, to be miserable. Good.But I am singled out, too, from all the ship’s crew, to be spared from death; and He that miraculously saved me from death can deliver me from this condition.  

Evil.I am divided from mankind— a solitaire; one banished from human society. Good.But I am not starved, and perishing on a barren place, affording no sustenance. I have no clothes to cover me. But I am in a hot climate, where, if I had clothes, I could hardly wear them.

Evil.I am without any defense, or means to resist any violence of man or beast. Good.But I am cast on an island where I see no wild beasts to hurt me, as I saw on the coast of Africa; and what if I had been shipwrecked there?   I have no soul to speak to or relieve me. But God wonderfully sent the ship in near enough to the shore, that I have got out as many necessary things as will either supply my wants or enable me to supply myself, even as long as I live.

Fantasy football

I do EPL fantasy football each year and normally do quite well but this year I am bottom of every table that I am in. I don’t know why but it feels like I’m trying too hard at times.

I’ve played my wildcard after four games and I got less than thirty points as a reward. I panicked the week after and put Diego Costa in, I had to take a four point  hit as I need to make a another substitution to get my boy Costa in. Costa hit the post but pulled a blank for probably the first time all season.

It has also been a bit of a funny start in some senses. Chelsea have started really well. Jose Mourinhio keeps on playing Costa despite the fact that he is always reported as injured. This stopped me from putting him in earlier.

Also Liverpool have been a bit up and down which is probably due to all the new changes and the loss of Saurez. Chelsea look very good and it looks like they will slog it out Man City for top place. I

t has been difficult enough to know how to pick from these two teams though as they have so many good players. it seems a little clearer now. In terms of last years dependables, Ya Ya Toure has had a very slow start to the season and he has always been one of my bankers. Sturridge has been injured and Ramsey seems to have lost his form a bit.

As I write Liverpool have conceded a late goal to Everton so no 6 points for Moreno – disappointing but I hope I might get a few bonus points for Sterling!

Patience is a virtue and it is one I will need to rely on. It is like a scab that you keep picking at, sometimes the best thing to do is realise that you have done too much and leave things a lone for while. So that is what I have done this week. I have left my team alone. Lets see how I get on.


Slugs to This

I’m trying to learn how to do a bit of gardening. I have been picking up a few bits and pieces for a while now and have figured that although it can be enjoyable there are also a fair few challenges. One is Slugs.

I have quite a collection of slugs at the minute. They love my small patch of garden. God bless them, they are not mans favorite being in the sense that they are messy (they leave a trail), eat your plants and invade your space. I’m worried about the eating my plants part primarily and have been looking for solutions to the problem.

You can exterminate them. One solution is to put a bowl of beer in the back garden. The poor snails like a drink as much as anyone but unfortunately they can get a bit greedy for it and headless, they tend to get drunk and drown in their beer bath. There are a variety of chemicals which I’m sure you can use also but alas as a lover of all creatures great and small, I don’t want to kill them.

My dad is a good gardener and I think he suggested salt so I have tried that – jury is out on that one. I have also been told that egg shells are quite good in that they are good for the soil anyway and the ragged bits irritate the snails enough to keep them away – I don’t want to hurt them but it is less cruel than killing them I suppose.

One really good suggestion I saw is to relocate them. You can do this by picking them up one by one but a better suggestion is to turn pots on their side or slightly upside down. Snails like dark places – I guess the sun dries them out. I discover this myself accidentally recently but it didn’t occur to me to relocate them at the time. I’ve tried it again since and they don’t seem to repeat what happened accidentally. I’m guessing its because its not quite as sunny now as we leave winter. Maybe I’ll try it again next summer!