75. Knowing Me, Knowing you!

Christmas of 1980 was a good one.

No T.V. Dinner turkey.  (I’ll save that one for another day)

The sisters had moved out of the house, so I had all the presents for myself! I got the usual Beano annual, assorted chocolates etc. But the one thing I got that I still love to this day is the ABBA greatest hits Vol 2.

Still A great song!

Before I ramble on about ABBA let me just mention another record I got that year. Jona Lewie’s Stop the Cavalry was not meant to be a Christmas song. That’s just the way it turned out. I think it was the Christmas bells and tubas playing that gave that impression, oh and the line “Wish I was at home for Christmas.”

It was meant to be a protest song against war, but everyone just remembers it as a great song that was held off the number one spot by a School Choir and the sympathy for John Lennon after he got shot on December 8th, Way to ruin my Birthday Mark David Chapman.

best greatest hits record EVER

So back to ABBA, Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Anni-Frid formed the Swedish mega group. Or was it Alfred, Betty, Boris and Angela as Alexi Sayle called them in the Young Ones.

ABBA ruled the 70s and early 80s and I loved the melodic wonderfully catchy tunes, and I still do. My love of ABBA ditties has never gone away. So when the ABBA revival kicked off recently I was all ears. The revival being of course the stage musical Mamma Mia and the same titled movie.  The Stage show I haven’t seen but the movie is great.

But hold up!

Wait right there!

Mamma Mia wasn’t where the revival started folks, and if you think it did the you are wrong so ner, ner, ne, ner, ner!

Shooby Do wah

The Revival started with the brilliant 1994 Australian smash hit Muriel’s Wedding starring Toni Collette. If you have never seen this film it is one that you need to own, not just rent, or borrow. If you rent it you probably wont want to give it back anyway. The story of Muriel is one of the ugly duckling who tries her hardest to escape the drudgery of her life and to one day have that big white wedding. Muriel, when depressed has a habit of listening to ABBA tunes.  I do have to say there is actually one of my favorite songs of all time in this movie, and it is not an ABBA song.  It’s a type of song that I call an “Oh cool,” song.  I have a list of “Oh cool,” songs that I shall have to blog about at some time.  Why is it called an “Oh cool” song?  It’s because when it comes on the radio you say “Oh Cool,” and turn the radio up as loud as it will go. One of those songs is Sugar Baby Love by the Rubettes. I’ve always loved the start of this song, a great opening to a tune, which only comes second to Cars by Gary Numan by a hair!

Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

Muriel’s wedding is one of my go to movies whenever I’ve got nothing to watch or there is nothing on T.V.  Theres a couple of other things I go to. Almost Famous, The Princess Bride and Lilo and Stitch. All classic movies.

Mamma Mia is by no means a classic, it does however have some great songs. What removes it from classic status is that it has Julie Walters in it, who played Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. It’s not the Harry Potter role that holds the movie back. It is that I remember Julie Walters from the old Victoria Wood T.V. show where she played a character called Mrs Overall. And whenever I see her on the screen that’s who I think of.

Mamma Mia

I’ve been getting a lot of grief lately from the Wifey that I like ABBA songs. So what if I have an ABBA station on my Pandora account. So what if I have a fondness for show tunes. Don’t read anything in to it.

If you don’t love ABBA songs there has to be something wrong with you. How can you not dig the Dancing Queen.

Posted in Movies, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

74. The Tale of the Missing Glasses

Before I go on with the Tale of the Missing Glasses I would like to mention a few things.

This made me laugh

First of all, within the next few days my blog will pass the 10,000 hits mark which amazes me totally.  When I started writing it was just to grumble on about wasted youth and all the things I miss. And now a year on the blog hasn’t changed one bit! I’m still grumbling about wasted youth and all the cool things I miss. With the occasional cool thing I love too.

A big thank you to all my regular readers too and all those who comment, Pennypup, Kenn, The other Ken, my old pal Steve Batt, Lolabees, Linda Hunt,  to name but a few. Your comments are what keeps me going, after all as I have said elsewhere on this blog, comments are like crack to a blogger!

and now, as promised…..

(insert fanfare here)



A long time ago on a continent far, far away lived a small boy. We shall change his name to protect his identity.  David was aged six and did all the things small six-year-old boys did. He would go to primary school (Elementary), he would pull girls pig tails, he would throw stones (another story for another time) and he would love to be the center of attention. Nothings changed much there…..For David I mean, not for me, my name is Dave and we would never want the two to get confused.

So let me see, six years old, I, I mean David would still have been enjoying 1976 and all its flared trouser goodness. His Father was still working night shift at the printing factory, Moore Paragon (I only use the name so it will show up on a search engine) and he very rarely saw the light of day. I had a hunch for the longest time that he was in fact a vampire. The clues were very subtle. Staying up all night was a big clue.  Waking me, damn, I mean David up in the middle of the night to watch old black and white vampire movies. Needless to say that when his Father went outside the sunlight caused him major discomfort, especially around the eyes.

An artists rendition of the missing glasses.

To protect his eyes he had the top of the range sunglasses. Were not talking raybans here were talking the super-duper flip-up and down-able clip on cheap plastic sunglasses.

1976 was a hot summer if I remember rightly. The sort of summer where some vampire could really do with a pair of sunglasses. And for most of the summer there was not a problem. Sunglasses were always available at the owners whim. Until that fateful day where the glasses went missing. Dun Dun Dah.

I didn’t create this image, I stole it off the internet. See bart simpson image

My father was not a happy camper, I mean David’s father was not a happy camper, I really must try harder to keep these running gags going.  He searched everywhere for his glasses, but they were nowhere to be found. David watched his father do that crazy thing where someone who is looking for something will return to the same spot time and time again because they know that is where whatever item they are looking for was.  As the days went by the frustration grew, and grew, subsided a little, grew some more.  And then Autumn (fall) came and sunglasses were not needed, and soon forgotten.

And then Winter came along. When Winter came along something happened. My great (Davids great) hide and seek spot was taken away.  During the summer the coal bunker in the back yard was always empty and being small I would hide in there and use it as a secret base. somedays it would be a rocket ship, or a tank, but in Winter it became a boring coal bunker. With that in mind something else happened in Winter.  In our front room we had on of those coal fires with the glass door on the front. When lit it would heat up the whole house, and probably the neighbor’s house too.  Open fires have always been something David loved. The way the flames dance around, the ability to toast crumpets in your front room!

almost what our coal bunker looked like. I would have put a pic of a crumpet but i’d have wasted time licking the screen

Man, I want a crumpet now.

With butter dripping in the little holes.

Now, I’m hungry.

O.K.  sorry, had to go eat something, back to the story.

Fires, as you all know have that smell to them. Outside it’s the wood, a coal fire has its special odour too. The first fire of Winter 1976 had a special smell too. The smell of burning plastic.

Fortunately for David, the smell did not last long and the rest of the family were just confused as to what the smell was.

But as, dear reader, you have guessed. During the summer David had placed the glasses in one of the slits in the fireplace. And there they waited for their fiery demise.

And now you know what happened to the missing glasses. And so does the rest of my family……I mean Davids.


Posted in Bury St. Edmunds, Family, Random | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

73. Piracy, TV and Dreams.

Those who know my mother know what this item has to do with shopping

I was going to write a nice long piece about going shopping at supermarkets, but quite frankly it bored the hell out of me. So I scrapped that for now. I tried, honest I did to finish it, but it just wasn’t going anywhere.So it was time to move on and write about something else. Which is good because while I was staring at the page pondering if I should mention Golden Nuggets breakfast cereal I had a couple of better ideas.

One of these ideas was to ramble on about the 1980s again. Well a small part of it.

We got our first VCR around about 1984 just about the same time as Channel Four showed up. For Americans and people born after 1984 in the UK in the homeland for most of my youth we only had three TV channels. BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV. Now-a-days there are twenty million channels and still nothing on. Back in the days of the three channels, there was always something on. Benny Hill, The Young Ones, Porridge, Open All Hours, Tales of the Unexpected, Top of The Pops.

Always something.

Channel 4 original logo.

Channel Four popped along and was supposed to give us more of always something on. What we got was Countdown, Fifteen to One and the Paul Hogan Show. Not really stellar stuff but still worth watching. Until we got the afore-mentioned VCR.

A VCR meant you could watch any show you wanted, when ever you wanted. Novel stuff back in the day. I would tape sit-coms and watch them over and over, something I still like to do. Back then it was The Young Ones, or Hancock’s Half Hour*. now its The Big Bang Theory (Possibly the greatest sit-com ever).

Then came the movie rentals. Not your Blockbusters or your Hollywood Video stores. Oh no, it seemed every small store had videos to rent. And they had all the classics. OK they had all the really bad movies that no one would ever want to watch. I remember renting Escape to Victory, over and over because it was the only thing I recognised. That and Smokey and the Bandit and the Cannonball Run.

Argh. Piracy bad!

People didn’t buy movies back then, and there certainly wasn’t a Wal-Mart $5 bin. So the creative amongst us did what we could. We found someone else with a VCR and linked them up and copied as many tapes as we could.  Remember kids, home recording is killing the movie industry. That would be why they have billions of more dollars than I do.

One of the films that I acquired by my skills at hooking up VCRs was the underrated classic, Electric Dreams. A movie way, way, way ahead of its time.

Electric Dreams (1984)

The movie starred that mega-star of the screen, Lenny Von Dohlen.


Ok he was in Home Alone 3 and a load of TV stuff.

His biggest role has to be Miles Harding in Electric Dreams.  Miles is an architect who wants to design an earthquake-proof brick. Struggling with this he goes and buys a computer which helps him with everything in his life. It can lock the doors, turn the lights off. Very handy indeed. It also helped him with his work.

Virginia Marsden with her cello!

In the meantime Madeline (Virgina Marsden – in her second movie ever) happens to move in the apartment above Miles. She plays the cello and is involved with a big orchestra. And of course that becomes the love interest.

So what do we have here? Geek with computer. Love interest. Music. All good so far. So What could go wrong?

Miles just happens to spill something over his computer that ruins it. Or makes it better depending on your point of view.  Trouble is the computer, voiced by Bud Cort (just saw on IMDB that he was in Dogma – another great movie), now has a life of its own. And he has fallen in love with, you guessed it, Madeline.  The computer flirts with Madeline through music and Madeline falls for it. Well she falls for Miles, who she thinks is creating the music.

Hilarity ensues.

OK it gets really sad because Edgar (the computer) gets obsessed and jealous.


I don’t want to spoil the ending for you if you have never seen it. But here is the problem. I went on Amazon looking for a copy to show the kids, and I can’t get it!  The 1984 minor hit is available on DVD, but only region 2!  I’m in region 1 dammit!

I want to see this movie again!!

Until I do I’ll have to make do with the soundtrack. Great songs from Phil Oakey, Jeff Lynne, Culture Club. I have them on my I-phone and have been enjoying being “Together In Electric Dreams”

*There will be a blog entry about the great Tony Hancock at some point.

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72. Magic, Monsters and Time

I’ve often talked about my love for the 48k Spectrum. A computer with about as much brain power as an egg timer.

What the Spectrum games did have for the most part was playability.  One game company was a master at the playable game and that was Ultimate – Play The Game.  Ultimate games were the ones that always got a high rating in crash magazine and were always the ones that people wanted to copy!  Remember you could copy games back in those days, those wonderful days of tape to tape recording.

scary things lay within!

There are many games I could mention but I’m going to talk about just one. The fantastic Atic Atac.  The game was released in late 1983 and I “cough” bought my copy soon after. Crash Magazine loved the game and so did I.

The game story goes a little like this, your character, either a knight, a wizard or a serf, has been locked in a castle. The only way to escape the castle is to search the numerous rooms looking for three parts to a golden key that will unlock the front door. Easy stuff huh?

Well no.

There are a lot of other locked doors that need colour coded keys to get through, trap doors and evil monsters that will suck the life out of you in a heart beat.

to quote my daughter, those graphics look like a five-year old drew them.

I would play this game for hours. I’d get two parts of the golden key and then run out of life. One thing I never did with this game (although I did with others) was cheat. The classic spectrum cheat “poke” was easy to do, but I wanted to complete this game without it. Though being fourteen years old my will power was stretched to breaking. I would get frustrated at getting so close and yet still trapped inside the castle. But I never cheated and I never completed the game either.

To use the line I have used so many times before, “Time goes by and things change.” and yes I got older.

A lot older.

In the distance now I can barely remember 1983,84, or 85 or 86 for that matter. And now twenty years plus my thoughts are on other things. Work, marriage, children, beer. All these things get in the way of completing goals in your life. Though as I teach my soccer kids, you should never give up, on your dreams, on your games, on yourself. Never give up.

Atic Atac on Acid!

So why should I give up on Atic Atac?


Thank heavens for Retrospec. A group of great people who love spectrum games as much as I did, but as they are a lot smarter than I am, they wrote an up to date version of Atic Atac (and many others).

So I downloaded this great version and have been wasting time playing it again, remembering those youthful days, remembering those scary monsters and my way around the castle.

My daughter asked my what I was playing and I told her this story, and she loved the game and thought it was fun. So I showed her what it looked like in 1983 and she laughed. She thought a five-year old could do better graphics. I had to explain to her that back in those days that was state of the art game graphics, and the picture I was showing her probably took up more bytes than the actual game did!

Games were simple and life was simple when you were a kid. But a challenge is a challenge and I finally completed the game.  I got all three parts of the key and waltzed out of that castle like a champion. I did it as the knight character.


So really I’ve only completed a third of the game. I need to now complete the game as the wizard and the serf!

challenge accepted!

Play the game for yourself by clicking this link Atic Atac at Retrospec.

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71. Hurrumph, or How I became a Grumpy Old Git.

I don’t know why I started to think about this today, but wishing for things, or wanting things that you never get seemed to pop into my head. Theres been a lot of things I’ve wanted and never gotten. But as you get older these things get less, though more focused on certain things. Lets say a retirement to a nice secluded beach for instance.

When you are younger though you want everything. EVERYTHING I TELLS YA! And with every commercial that came on during children’s T.V. or every home shopping catalogue my want list would be more. Though I’m sure if I got everything I wanted then I would not have been happy. I would have however a whole load of great 70s toys that I could sell on EBay for a nice profit.

Pinball Wizard.

One of the things I wanted was a pinball machine that was being advertised by F.W.Woolworth. I remember at the time almost being sick wanting this damn toy. It looked so damn cool on T.V. with its electric lighted score counter. I would have been fantastic to have that in my bedroom. It would be like having an arcade all to myself and not have to put a quarter in the slot.

Hmm. I’m sure the fun factor would have been very limited. and I’d have scratched up the plastic, or broken bits off it. It as you can see is made of a sturdy material that is made to last. I think it was for the best that I didn’t get this.

Don’t knock the table, Damn!

I did however have Domino Rally. A great little game, you set up the dominos and knock them down.


It normally took several attempts to set them up right, and then about two seconds to knock them all down. Now the reason they never stood up right properly I never understood until I worked in plastics, shame on you Domino Rally employees for not cutting your gates properly. And the reason it took about two seconds to knock down was you had about a handful of dominos to use for your “course.”  This was an evil plot from the company for you to buy the expansions packs and add-on products that I never got.

Yoda Man!

X-wings, Tie Fighters, I loved my Star Wars Stuff. I had a nice little collection. And when the movies came out the commercials for the toys were awesome.

O.K. I just went back and looked on YouTube and the commercials I found weren’t that great. Downright creepy to be honest. So I added the commercials below so you can make your own mind up. My point was going to be this. On the cover of the box (or in the commercials as my memory thought) the play sets were awesome. Look at the AT-AT in the snow setting with all those characters (each sold separately).  My rebel army could have kicked the empire in one episode! because I had three storm troopers.  I wanted to own everything that was made by Kenner. I guess that’s down to a great set of movies and some fantastic advertising by Kenner. Now in 2012 I just wish I owned the toys, in the boxes! I could retire a rich man!

Did you hear about Mustapha Knevil? He tried to jump 16 nuns in a steam roller!

Two action figures I never had were the Six Million Dollar man and the Evil Knevil figure. (just so you know I had to resist mightily from using the word DOLL.) My friends had them. So I got to play with them. The Steve Austin figure was cool with the roll up skin and the bionic eye. But really what did it do? Not a lot. In fact I think it’s a prime candidate for being dragged behind a school bus as in Napoleon Dynamite.

The Evil Knevil doll (damn, I did it) came with a bike so it had promise. Though again I didn’t have one.  I’d see my friends winding the handle for all they were worth and see the bike zoom off and fall over. I’m sure if I had one I could have got it to fly up a ramp and jump 16 hot wheels cars. But I never got the chance. I did however get to use my friends one to annoy their family dog!

I’d also like to know why one of my favorite games never turned into the Olympic sport that it should have been. Again T.V. lied to me. I never got to play Connect Four in a stadium like on T.V.

I’d have been awesome at it!  I could have got a gold for England.

Hmm. Now there’s an idea, a board game Olympics!  You heard it here first folks, I claim copyright!

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70. Summer Holiday

Oooh Lumey, its School break time!

Another post about holidays? really? Yep, that’s what you are getting.

Last entry was about killing two birds with one stone. Having a vacation and doing my hobby at the same time.

This time it’s a little different. I want to do some time travelling.

My darling daughter #2 is currently on summer break from school. A joyful occasion for any child. My daughter spends her valuable time, by sleeping, eating, painting nails, sleeping, and watching TV.  I explain to here that there is this whole big thing called “outside” that she could go enjoy, but no. She would rather spend the day texting her friends, rather than actually hanging out with them. She has two and a half months of nothing to do and that’s what she does!

I was never like that as a child, especially the nail painting bit. I was out at all hours getting up to no good and as long as I was home before the street lights came on all was good.  Ah those glorious days that seemed to last forever. Though it was in fact only six weeks because in England kids have to go to school more days of the year. I’d have killed for two and a half months! But no I had to make do with six weeks.

And I made every second count, every day of my Summer Holiday. . .

Believe that you will believe anything. Yeah I went outside and kicked a ball about, but most of the time I stayed home and watched summer kids TV. And the shows were great. Looking back one of my favorite shows was called “Why Don’t You..” The show was made by kids, for kids and the idea was that you should switch off the TV and go do something less boring instead. A great idea that all kids should follow. Problem was if I did go do something less boring instead, then I wouldn’t have been watching “Why Don’t You..” I sat there watching how to make a swimming pool out of out railway tracks, or something like that and thought that would be cool. And then when I did go out I’d just go play knock down ginger instead of creating anything worth while.

Great theme tune too!

Now what I did love each summer break was the cartoons. I’m not talking about that rubbish Anime that my Darling Daughter #1 watches. I’m talking real cartoons, the Hanna Barbera classics.

My favorite has always been Top Cat. How can you not love a cat who is quick-witted, up to no good and always giving a poor police officer a hard time. It’s hard to believe that when I was watching that in the 70s that the last episode ever made was in 1962 and that there was only ever 30 episodes made.


Everyone of course loved Scooby Doo, but now it’s cult classic status has been ruined by two dodgy movies. Though if they are going to make a movie of a cartoon, perhaps they could do Captain Caveman. Now I wonder how many of you when you read that actually read “CAPTAIN CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVVVVVVEEEMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAN?!” or how about The Wacky Races, that would make a great movie.  I loved Dick Dastardly and always wanted him to win the races, but he never did. It’s a great thing for kids to learn, cheats never prosper.  He never even got a break in Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, even a little pigeon could best them.

Richard Briars narration made this rock!

Now the american cartoons were great, but I think our American cousins missed out on some classic British Cartoons,  Mr Ben, Henry’s Cat, Rhubarb and Custard,  Jamie and the Magic Torch, Willo the Wisp, Count Duckula. I think though in the States you did get Dangermouse, the worlds greatest secret agent.

Lets just hope they didn’t dub the voice like they do with Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank engine!

One For All and All for one, Muskerhounds are always ready!

Thinking hard about it, the last cartoon (other than the Simpsons and Family Guy) that I actually loved was Dogtainian and the Three Muskerhounds. Since then, no cartoon has even come close. Take the Three Musketeers stories and turn the characters in to dogs! Classic.

Hope I jogged a few memories, what were your favorites?

Oh I forgot Hong Kong Phooey!

Posted in Holidays/Vacations, school, Television | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

69. Soccercation or When I’m Sixty-Four.

The world is a curious place. So many things to do, so many places to visit. And in all my forty-two years I’ve visited very little of it, which is kind of sad really. I’ve travelled, less than some, more than a few others. If I was to put a finger on it, I would say I’m an average human being who has only one problem when it comes to wanting to do and visit amazing places. 

A distinct lack of finances.

If only I was a wealthy man I would spend my free time visiting the great places on the planet and finding that one magical place. The one I want to retire to.

The furthest North I have been; Perth, Scotland.

The furthest East I have been; Luddington, Michigan. (I find that one kind of weird! Don’t know why)

The furthest west I have been; Calella, Spain.

The furthest south I have been; Key West, Florida.

So how does one find the land of happiness if you can’t afford to travel out of your own back yard? Easy, you kill two birds with one stone. You find a hobby that gives you the opportunity to travel once in a while.

This is where I came up with the idea for my Soccer vacations, or “Soccercation” as I call it. Now the tournaments in Clio, Romeo and Coldwater Michigan where great. But not really what I’m looking for in a retirement destination.

In 2010 I was lucky enough to take a team down to Wellington, Florida to play in the AYSO national games.  Wellington is the home of the International Polo Grounds and a great place to play soccer.  One of the great things about Wellington though is its proximity to West Palm Beach. That is where we set up camp. Each night after the games we would end up sitting on Juno Beach watching the crystal blue water, picking up sea shells and genuinely being at peace with the world.

Last week I got lucky again and got to go to the 2012 National Games in Knoxville, Tennessee. Great soccer and great people.  I must say I did enjoy the pool with a view of the main road, though the BBQ food was to kill for. And how can you not love a restaraunt called Soccertaco! I love my food, but so far I think that Florida has the lead on being a place to retire too. After all who wouldn’t want to live in Key West, or any of the keys for that matter.

Pic by my pal Sally.

But then my next Soccercation is in the planning stage right now. In 2014 the National games are in Santa Barbara, California. I’ve never been that far west on the planet so I’m looking forward to that, but other than the soccer I’m looking forward to doing something I’ve wanted to do even before I moved to the U.S.  The great American road trip. Instead of flying, we are planning on driving the 2500 miles there. I will get to see America. Hundreds of different places, different mom and pop restaurants.  The return leg has already become the most exciting because I can cross one of my bucket list things off. I am going to get the chance to go to Elephant Butte, New Mexico! Not only is the name funny but I hear it is a wonderful place to visit.

So my Soccercations will continue until I find that happy place where I can settle down and finish my days in peace and quiet.  After all isn’t that what we all want in life. That little slice of heaven. I still think mine has a beach, and perhaps a wide-screen tv with the soccer channel on it.

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68. Burn Baby Burn.

Beach Construction.

Being a soccer coach comes with its downsides. One of which is having to be outside. What’s so bad about being outside? Weather is outside, that’s what! Weather is never just right. It’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too humid, too dry, too wet, too much snow, not enough snow. Blah, blah, bitch, bitch.

The world is full of outside. As one giraffe once said ‘aggh, nature, get it off of me!’ 

I’ve been outside a lot in my life. Normally its at some event,  family trip or gathering, perhaps it’s just a quick dash from the house to the car, but it is outside. And outside is dangerous.

Another beach, this time with my cool cousin Karen.

When you are a kid you don’t realise the dangers. Outside is fun. Though kids today are basement dwellers who never leave their x-boxes.  Outside when you are a kid is when cool things happen. A trip to the fun fair, getting some ice-cream, playing some soccer, building sand castles, flying a kite. When you grow up its getting price gouged at the fun fair, your teeth are too sensitive for the ice cream, putting your knee/back out at a soccer game, getting sand in places you don’t want sand, spending five hours untangling a kite string. You get the picture, I’m a miserable old sod!

Problem is, outside has struck again.

This past weekend I took my U-12 boys soccer team to a tournament in Coldwater, Michigan. The boys have had a great season. Fall and Spring league champs, Fall Fest tournament winners. So taking them to the Section tournament was a no-brainer. And as this tale is not about them I’ll finish by saying they came 4th, a great effort as they played some great teams from Michigan and North Indiana.

Kids, remember, SUNBLOCK saves you from looking weird!

Smart people would enjoy the warm weather. Me I would have enjoyed it too, if I wasn’t busy coaching. I was also too busy it seems to add any sunblock. The outside, or to be precise THE SUN, kicked my ass this weekend. Looking like a man auditioning for a band called the Red Man Group I cheered my boys on. 

You would think at the age of 42 that I would know the answer to life the universe and everything, but yet I can’t spend two seconds with a can of spray that can stop my skin peeling off like a leper.  And it’s not like it has not happened before. More than once have I suffered from sun stupidity. 

You swim in that?

As a kid a trip to the beach was a cheap day trip and sometimes we got to spend a long weekend in a caravan on the coast. A swim in the sea would wash off any sun cream the parents put on. Back then it was never water proof, but it did attract sand and bugs.  Just a quick tangent here, take a look at the picture to the left. The North Sea. To my American readers who think that the sea is blue, yes it is….in Florida.  The North Sea is a swirling freezing cold mud puddle of pollution. I always say if Jesus walked on water, he probably did it on the North Sea.

I’m off too Knoxville, Tennessee next week for the AYSO National Games, a week-long soccer tournament and a great place to improve my tan. I’m taking plenty of sunblock, but as a coach I can’t even remember to wear a watch, how am I going to remember to put on sunblock?

What I’ll do is left the Wifey rugby tackle me, and force spray me before we hit the fields.  Great Idea. 

Well perhaps not.

When we were in West Palm Beach for the 2010 National Games we got to spend a lot of time at Juno Beach, a place where I could retire to in a heart beat. So being the nice Wifey that she is she sprayed me down. Great, safe fun in the sun.  What my darling Wifey failed to tell me is that half way through the can, it ran out. 

I call this the superman look!

Hey Tiger!


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67. I Dream About Movies.


They say that genius and insanity are not that different. Well this blog entry is leaning way to the left of the latter. Probably the dumbest thing I’ve done in a while and for sure a huge waste of time.  I’ve mentioned my before my passion for lists before a couple of times and now I’ve gone and done another one. I’d wanted to put together this list for a while and never got round to it. Time is a valuable commodity in my house what with work, soccer, soccer paperwork, sleep, eating.

So with that in mind, I put off what I was doing just to make this dumbass list. It is important to note that it took me a week of spare time in the evenings to do, and at several points during that time I thought to myself, “why the hell are you doing this?”

Proof that I actually did this crap!

The closer I got to the end though the more those thoughts went away and the results were quiet interesting. Well to me anyway.

Now I hear you cry, what is this list about. Well I shall explain thus.

For a long time I’ve always pondered who my favorite actor  is. If I was to make a snap decision I would have to say Morgan Freeman, what a class guy on-screen, from playing Red in the Shawshank Redemption  or God in Bruce Almighty.  I just enjoy everything he does. So you would think that because Morgan is my favorite actor I would own all his movies.

Not so. 

If there is a God, please let it be Morgan Freeman.

I have only a few Morgan Freeman movies that I own. So perhaps, I mused, Morgan isn’t my favorite actor? So who the hell is? How could I work this out? Well the simple way to work it out is to just look and see who the stars of the movies I own are, count them up and work it out. But I’m not a simple guy. I also thought about all the bit players, there are some actors who have never starred in a movie, but have been in loads of them. So to be fair I would have to add them to my list. 

Are you insane? Well to some I might seem a little insane. Why the hell would you do this? Why does the mountain climber climb the mountain? Because he can. 

Although I am close to a nut case, I’m not a full-blown weirdo yet. I shall wait for the alzimer’s to kick in for that. So to make my task a little easy on me I set up a few rules for myself. If I didn’t I would send myself round the twist.

Alan North, Police Squad and Highlander! Love it.

Rules are thus: Using IMdb.com for my references I would go through each of my numerous DVDs and list the actors an actresses. But I would only use the first 15 listed. I figured if you are not in the first 15 you can’t be that important! Secondly, if the actor was too lazy to add a photo then you’re out too. Which was a shame because I always liked Alan North. And thirdly I would use movies and sit coms, but no animated movies. And fourthly there is no fourthly, so it was all down to the listing and the constant questions from my wife of “what the hell are you doing over there?”

2945 data entries later, 2132 actors and actresses from Aaron Eckhart to Zooey Daschenel all counted and sorted in to a nice little chart.  The goal to find my favorite actor has come down to this.

Ta-da. The results. Who will it be? I guess you could scroll to the bottom and cheat, but where’s the fun in that.


Ronny Cox

Tied in 9th place 1,666 actors with only 1 listing. Of course I’m not going to list them all but a few notable names are Alfred Molina, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Andy Garcia, Anthony Hopkins (another one I would have chosen as my favorite), Billy Connolly, Harvey Keitel, Minnie Driver, Noel Coward, Rachel McAdams, Ralph Machio, Richard Dreyfuss, Ricardo Montlaban, Richard Pryor, Ronny Cox,  Robert Shaw, Sam Rockwell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Steve Martin, Steven Berkoff, Sydney Pollack, Tim Allen, Tommy Lee Jones, Val Kilmer.


Some guy from a movie I really like.

Tied in 8th place 263 with 2 listings, these superstars; Alex Winter, Albert Finney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Murray, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Michael Douglas didn’t even make the list by the way!) Christian Bale, Christopher Lambert, Cuba Gooding Jr., Deep Roy, Donald Sutherland, Emily Blunt, Emma Thompson, Frances McDormand, Geoffrey Rush, Gerard Butler, Giovanni Ribisi, Hugo Weaving, James Cromwell, James Whitmore, Jeff Bridges, John C. Rielly, John Candy, John Cussak, John Malkovich, Jon Heder, Kelly Preston, Kevin Kline, Lauren Holly, Luis Guzman, Maggie Smith, Randy Quaid, Russell Brand, Sean Connery (another one who I would have put at number 1), Terrance Stamp, Tim Roth, William Shatner.

One of those guys who pops up in every movie!

Tied in 7th place 112 with just three appearances on the list.

 Alec Baldwin, Alec Guiness, Amy Phoeler, Ben Stiller, Bill Nighy, Billy Zane, Cate Blanchett, Dakota Fanning, Dan Aykroyd, David Prowse, Erick Avery,  George Carlin,  Halle Berry, Hugh Laurie, James Earl Jones, James Franco, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason Mewes, Jeff Goldblum,  Jennifer Garner, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Kate Hudson, Kevin Bacon, Lea Thompson, Liam Neeson, Liev Schrieber, Maggie Gylenhaal,  Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Sacha Barron Cohen, Terry Jones, Toby Mcguire, Tom Cruise, Will Arnett, Willem Dafoe, Wynona Ryder, Woody Harrilson.

Julie Walters

Six place tie goes to these Celebs with 4 listings. Adam Sandler, Barry Pepper, Bernard Hill, Brendan Fraser, Brian Cox, Carrie Fisher, Drew Barrymore, Eddie Murphy, Elisabeth Shue, Ernie Hudson, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, Ian McDairmid, J.K. Simmons, Jeff Daniels, Jim Parsons, Jon Farevau, Jonah Hill, Julie Walters, Kathy Bates, Meryl Streep, Michael Palin, Miranda Richardson, Rik Mayall, Samual L. Jackson, Sigourney Weaver, Stanley Tucci.

Kirsten Dunst.

Fifth place with five listings goes to these 20 players.

 Anthony Daniels, Emma Watson, Ewan Mcgreggor, Famke Jannsen, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Johnny Galecki, Keanu Reeves, Kirsten Dunst, Michael Caine, Natilie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Sean Astin, Stephen Fry, Steve Buscemi, Timothy Spall, Tony Robinson, Will Farrell, Will Smith.

Christopher Lee

The next nine came in fourth

Thanks for taking part

Close but no banana.

 Alan Rickman, Christopher Lee, Frank Oz, Julia Stiles, Morgan Freeman (so close!), Orlando Bloom, Richard Griffiths, Robin Williams, Rupert Grint.

IN THIRD PLACE! with seven listings

Top Placed Actress – Helena Bohnham Carter


John Cleese

This parrot is no more!

Matt Damon

Matt Damon!

SECOND PLACE with eight listings.

Daniel Radcliffe

Harry Potter

Johnny Depp

Captain! Captain Jack Sparrow

Tom Hanks (actually the one I thought would win this!)

Can you ruffle my hair Mr Hanks?


IT’S A TIE FOR FIRST PLACE with nine listings each

Jim Carrey

Ace Venturer, the mask, and my favorite the Majestic

Rowan Atkinson

Blackadder, Mr Bean, Scooby Doo!

So what does this prove. I like comedies? No it proves I really do waste my time on stuff! Thanks for reading. More toot coming soon!

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66. And You Think You Got It Tough.


I’m in a bad mood. I wasn’t in a bad mood, but now I am. One of my work mates who I go out of my way to help decided that when I asked him for some help that he wouldn’t return the favour. Thanks dude, way to be a team player. Then to top it off I got home to a funny smell. One of those smells when you walk in the door and you instantly know what happened.

Murray the Great Dane had exploded!

In the kitchen.

Blocking me from access to my beer.

Of course my dog hadn’t really exploded, But his Butt did. The worse case of diarrhea I have seen since my eldest daughters encounter with a dodgy chinese meal.  My kids were both home, so of course neither was smart enough to let him out, so I was left to clear up the after effects. So with peg on nose, rubber gloves on hands and a song in my heart I cleaned up Lake Sm-Erie!

So like I said I was in a good mood. But I’m sure it will take me a while to finish this post and I have to go coaching later so when I get home from that I’ll be back to my normal happy self. So I better make the most of this mood.


For those who have somehow forgotten or just haven’t been paying attention, or are new or just don’t care, I am English. NOT BRITISH. Yes technically I’m British, but I prefer to be classed as English. Britain includes Northern Ireland and I don’t want to be associated with those ragamuffins. You Southern Irish, you are fine. I have some very good friends in the south, But you are not part of the U.K. So you don’t count.

For anyone under the age of, for argument’s sake lets say 18, which happens to be the age of my eldest daughter this blog entry is aimed at you. And as I write I realise that somewhere my Mother is laughing and thinking, what comes around goes around. But you crazy kids don’t realise how good you have it these days.

What got me to thinking about this was today when I was picking up daughter number two from her school and saw this.

Tax payers money at work.

My daughter doesn’t ride the bus, we have her in school of choice so we have to drive her everywhere. But I looked at all these busses and got back to thinking about my high school days. County Upper had about 1200 children attending in those days, about 1000 now according to wiki. And for all those kids we had two school busses, and they were for the kids who lived outside the town. Anyone else had to walk it. Rain, snow, rain, rain, you get the picture. All these kids jumping on busses here, getting dropped off at home. I’d have loved that.

A bike!

I had to ride my trusty five speed racing bike the 1.4 miles from my house to school. Going to school was fine. Not that I actually did much studying while I was there. But the bike ride was fine. Early morning, crisp Suffolk air in my lungs, bag with my hardly used schoolbooks slung over my shoulders. Peddling without a care in the world. That would be because the ride to school was all downhill. I’m not talking your Michigan almost flat down hills. I’m talking your big, freewheeling at 200 miles an hour down hills. Zooming as fast as you can head tucked down by the handlebars for aerodynamics because I knew one day I would beat a land speed record. There would be plenty of us Westley Estate kids walking, riding bikes etc. It was a regular march of the penguins played out by a group of 12-16 years olds. And I loved every second.

Beetons Way Hill.

Going home on the other hand was a nightmare. Tired from a long day of counting train cars during math class and getting stomped on during rugby or field hockey, I then had the long trek home. The ride seemed to take twice as long as the morning run. The main problem was Beetons Way hill. Great in the morning, hell in the evening. according to walkanomics.com the hill has a grade of 5%.  Which sounds about right, but it felt a lot steeper and being a young kid it certainly gave me a work out. And I’m sure from all the moaning and groaning that everyone else loved it as much as I did. Too my knowledge only one kid died, and I wish I was joking about that. But I’m also sure that if there was a school bus ride I’d have taken it in a heart beat.  Kids over here are spoiled. Make them walk! it would certainly give them something real to moan about, rather than there’s no snacks to eat.


How lucky are these kids? Not only to they get taken door to door but when they get home, the dishwasher has already done their job for them, so they settle down to play computer games and what do the get (left) fantastic graphics, what did I get (right) Manic Miner 8 bit graphics. Spoiled I tells ya. But all those fancy graphics never make up for manic miners playability!

OK I have no idea where I was going with that tangent. So I’ll just say, kids keep off my damn lawn, show your elders some respect!



Posted in Bury St. Edmunds, school | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments