These are my own ramblings. No trees were destroyed in their production. No harsh words were exchanged with anyone. No stones were turned. There is no need to read between the lines.
There is no overall theme running through this site - it's basically a set of fairly random thoughts on things that have caught my imagination in the years since I left gainful employment behind.
You can see the various topics on the menu to the right - I hope you will find something there of interest to you.
21 January 2016
'Winter' has been a long-time coming this year - and after barely a week of colder weather it may be about to disappear again. Hardly seems to have been worthwhile buying all those warm coats and jumpers over previous years, as they'll not get much wear each year if this winter is the way things will be in the future.
"Whatever happened to .....?" is a thought that occurs to me more and more these days. Perhaps recalling how things used to be is an inevitable element of growing older? I remember thinking, when I was younger, that 'old' people seemd to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy bemoaning the way that life and customs had changed - with phrases such as "when I was young" or "in my day" peppering their conversations.
Nothing wrong with that, of course, provided that what follows are observations, comments or comparisons, rather than complaints, longing for the good old days or a refusal to accept that life has changed. By the way, after giving the matter some thought, I have concluded that even within my own lifetime, 'the good old days' were often nothing of the sort. Summers weren't really warmer, pop music wasn't really better, football wasn't really more exciting and fashion wasn't really more sensible.
Anyway, before I begin to take my potential to offer interesting social observations too seriously, I will start my "Whatever happened to ...." series with one about football:-
"Whatever happened to - playing your best players in the FA Cup?"
It's not that long ago that the FA Cup held a grip on the nation in January and February every year, mainly because of what is still called 'the romance of the Cup'. This translates as the opportunities for smaller, unfashionable, poorer clubs to rub shoulders with the teams in the top divisions and to dream of being drawn against one of the big name clubs in the 3rd or perhaps 4th rounds. Are you old enough to remember Hereford (Southern League) v Newcastle, Wimbledon (Southern League) v Leeds or Sutton (Isthmian League) v Leeds? In those days the excitement generated by such ties was enormous and was due in no small measure to the fact that the big name clubs would field their star players on what often amounted to cabbage-patch pitches. This was the chance for supporters of the small clubs to see the big stars in action. I remember going to watch Arsenal play at Yeovil, then in the Southern League, in the 3rd round in 1971 - on a ridiculously cold midweek afternoon (the match having been postponed the previous Saturday) and on a pitch that sloped alarmingly from side to side. Nobody gave even a thought to the possibility that Arsenal would do anything other than play their strongest side and that is exactly what happened - no playing a few squad players to give them a run out. Would that happen today? Of course not. Liverpool played a complete reserve side at Exeter recently - and even teams from the lower divisions make wholesale changes for cup matches.
Does it matter? Probably not. It's a bit of an insult to the Cup itself and to the smaller teams, and it's a bit much to expect fans to fork out to watch reserve teams playing. On the other hand those fans now get the chance to see these top name players and clubs every week from the comfort of their own living rooms or at the local pub, courtesy of the multiplicity of tv channels, so it's not as big a deal as it was years ago. Nothing stays the same, so maybe we just accept that this has changed and be grateful that we can remember when there really was some 'magic' about the Cup.