Live! (knobber) blogging from a holiday by mistake.
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A romantic weekend away in Brighton with the fragrant mrs onionbagblogger. Yeah, like Withnail, we've gone on holiday by mistake again.
It all seemed like such a good idea, late Friday night. The offer of the keys for a friend's caravan by the coast. A dress rehearsal for the obb early retirement when I plan to live the life of a hermit out of the back of a coastal caravan before I hit forty. Which should be sometime before the next general election. Wishing the days away, etc.
Anyway, the planned 6am Saturday morning great getaway didn't materialise; too much booze the night before, sinking a couple of bottles of red from the wine cellar, trying to steady the nerves as I contemplated forty eight hours away in the company of the fragrant one.
So here I am, platform 13 (an omen for sure) at Clap'ham Junction waiting for the Caravan Express. Thankfully I've got everyone's favourite ultra compact sub price notebook for company. It sure beats conversation with mrs obb.
Holiday reading is being considered: a copy of The Economist or Viz? The Fat Slags & Pork Swords front cover has swung it for me.
The train's now boarding, Brighton here we come. Bolly outside the caravan before lunch.
Leaving London. Next stop: Croydon (and if the definition of London is a liberal lifestyle with citizens demonstrating tolerance, Croydon definitely isn't in London.)
The Whitgift School is though. Surrey are about to start day two of their County Championship match at 'home' to Somerset. Half the carriage is emptying at East Croydon, obviously not caravan bound by the coast. I'm tempted to join them. We're loaded up with enough booze to see us through until day four at The Whitgift. And then some.
Come on the 'rrey!
mrs obb gave me the ultimatum of 'cricket or the new carpet.
I actually want a new carpet.
Caravan by the coast, here we come, sadly in the company of some Croydon Palace boys, who have uttered more profanities in the two minutes since they boarded than I have typed words in the past half hour.
Blimey - and we're in Brighton. But not for long. Currently sitting on the top deck of a bus bound for Peacehaven, hopefully to find some peace. Brighton is bustling. Leicester Square by the Sea. I had the choice whilst waiting at the bus stop of either buying a Chelsea kit from the Brighton & Hove club shop (what?) or getting a tattoo on my forehead. Probably of the Chelsea club badge. Thankfully the bus arrived to save me from such boredom.
Ah look - there's the sea.
Withdean Lido looked enticing, if empty, from the top deck of the bus with Nina Simone and Mr Bojangles as the soundtrack on my iPod.
Peace and plonk in Peacehaven for lunch.
Destination semi-retirement reached. And it's bliss. Sitting on the caravan veranda, overlooking the sea with a fresh pot of tea. Soon to be replaced by something slightly stronger.
The plan is: there is no plan. Two days of drinking tea / fine wine where appropriate; a bit of reading, lots of listening to catch up on and the occasional walk along the empty beach below.
This could be the most boring LIVE! (knobber) blog since I went to the cricket last week.
Taking afternoon tea on the veranda. I've not moved in the past two hours to be honest. A lunch of stuffed olives, pitta and dips, finished off with a cheese plate. Cheese = port of course, although perhaps not for this time of the afternoon. The first bottle of red of the weekend made an appearance. The rich fruit aroma was complimented with a fresh sea breeze blowing a slightly bitter taste into the bolly.
Predictably, I then fell asleep.
I've had a slight fall-out with mrs obb, debating that traditional domestic issue that often leads to divorce:
Exactly who did Sir Trevor Francis sign for after leaving Forest in '81?
I was right, she was wrong. Arsenal my arse. It was Man City, of course, and I claim ownership rights of the caravan.
I think the South Coast sun is deluding her. There's some babbled talk of 'playing passey' on the beach before the afternoon is out. Time for another bottle of red, I reckon.
A mixture of the Brighton sun and the Monte Velho (ratio 1:9 I'd say) is getting to us both. mrs obb told me to 'duck!' as a wooden owl on rooftop of the adjacent caravan moved the same distance (stationary) as it had the previous hour.
Meanwhile, I mistook the veranda fencing as 'being able to see the sand on the beach.'
Perhaps it's time for passey?
A late afternoon stroll to wash away the lunchtime excesses, and prepare for the carnage of the evening ahead. The route from the veranda down to the very remote sea front involved walking past the only five Yoof in all of Peacehaven. They weren't at all peaceful.
Some bling nonsense blasting from five different mobile phones, a fag in one hand and a beer in the other. Bare chested as well. And that was just the females.
mrs obb felt slightly intimidated walking past them. I can still cut it as a younger member of society; I swaggered past them as though I had jock rash, winked at the girls and said 'aye' to Yoof.
'Fuck off, granddad.'
Anyway, the beach was worth the character assassination alone. We had a competition to see who could be the first to find a crab. I suggested looking inside Yoof's pants.
'Is the chalk bed man made?' asked mrs obb.
Yeah, just like the Lakes where you come from, love.
The rock pools were infested with sea snails.
'Are they edible?
Do you think they get excited when the tide comes in?'
So many questions, so many reasons to find a girlfriend who can pass a basic MENSA test.
We trampled along the chalk bed, impossible to avoid crushing the occasional sea snail.
'You tend not to think about it after a while,' observed mrs obb.
Yeah, I bet the poor buggers feel the same way as well.
With the evening tide rapidly ascending around us, I had thoughts of making the weekend news as: Oddball couple washed out to a peaceful end in Peacehaven.
I found a lone rock to scramble aboard and as the waves washed around me, I claimed sovereign rights for the Democratic Republic of Onionbagblog. No North Londoners, no Petrol Heads and no knobbers. In the land of limited modern interweb access, the man with an ultra compact sub price notebook is King.
'Get down you stupid knobber,' said mrs obb. 'The evening booze fest is about to begin.'
A rather large gull has taken up position on the roof of our caravan.
'That fucker will rue the day!' etc...
He's for my pot.
Oh dear. One bottle of Monte Velho too many.
A breakfast of croissants and coffee on... the veranda. Phew, rock 'n roll etc.
Rain overnight, which when trying to sleep inside a caravan, sounds something like sheltering underneath a corrugated iron roof whilst someone pelts you with maltesers.
The plan of attack is... read / drink / sleep. And not necessarily in that order either. A coastal walk may feature, then it's back to Brighton at some stage late afternoon and the train back to obb HQ II.
Aha - here comes the sun.
Back from a brisk walk along the beach. Despite my booze fuelled boasts last night, I can confirm that I am no King Canute. I stood proud once again, at the peak of obb Island and ordered the waves to stay clear of my shores.
I got a soaking in the process.
Later on during the walk we discovered a new species. It's best described as giant squid with unique red imprints resembling some form of lettering running alongside each tentacle. Turns out it was a slashed, washed up bike inner tube.
I now feel slightly guilty for adding my own graffiti message in chalk to that so lovingly inscribed by some local historian type along the beach walls detailing the unique, historical rarity of the Peacehaven chalk bed.
I apologise, but over a million years of progress and yep, I have mastered the form of pissed up wit, whereas our fossil friends haven't.
Back on the veranda... sipping tea. Yellow lycra is a hit with the local bees.
'They think you're a big flower, as mrs obb just observed.
She has her head down in a book called The Long Divorce.
I've come back to Cut The Crap, for the first time in almost twenty years. I think we needed that distance apart to be honest. Not exactly The Clash's finest moment (you'll need to dig deep within the three disc set of Sandinista! to find this,) but still, it meant a fair bit to me back in the day.
I came to the Clash late. Far too late. I was still in short trousers during the Filth & Fury days. Two Tone was my thing and The Clash were washed out and just not relevant by the time pork pie hats were part of your school uniform.
And then sometime mid '85, out came Cut The Crap. The cover appealed to me more than the concept, and £3.99 at Selectadisc and the job was a good 'un.
Not being familiar with the power of both the music and the message in London Calling, Cut The Crap came as quite a surprise to me. It saw me through to the end of '85, almost obsessively, by which time I was in full Style Council mode.
The teenage stereo is fickle and very unforgiving.
So why come back to Cut The Crap some twenty years later? Well, you know... A bit of an iTunes reorganisation and I realised that I wasn't a digital Clash completist (like Punk never happened...)
A touch of overnight torrenting, and there it was first thing this morning, all loaded up and ready to synch with the pod.
Critics hated Cut The Crap at the time. With Topper Headon kicked out of the band to feed his habit, and Mike Jones pushed aside ahead of Uncle Joe's ego, this was Clash by numbers. It's the sound of The Clash falling apart around Strummer. No wonder he disowned the record during his later years.
Tracks such as We Are The Clash almost felt the need to reaffirm the band, even if the punk cabaret meets terrace anthems tunes were a million miles away from The Westway (although sounding just up the road from the cyber punk of Mick Jones' B.A.D.)
This Is England stands out as an '80s anthem. No surprises that it hasn't aged very well; it's about as relevant in Gordo's fag end Britain as listening to Lonnie Donegan at the petrol pump.
Having allowed Mr iTunes to play Cut The Crap once this morning, I can't say that it will live with me for a further six months this time round. Give 'Em Enough Rope is up next in the digitised, non-linear world of iTunes.
Blimey. My first music post (on what was originally a music blog!) in months. There's life in the old punk yet.
If it weren't for Steve McLaren, then the white vans would be driving up and down the Old Kent Road this summer proudly flying the flag of St George ahead of Euro 2008. But it needn't be a summer spent mowing the lawn as you wait for the big kick off and the chance to live the dream all over again (and hey, Charlton fans, I bet you wish the past nine months had been but one big dream.)
Nope, there's sport-a-plenty taking place here in South London over the summer months. You just need to know where to look.
An obvious starting point has to be The Oval. Having a leading Test match venue right on our doorstep is not something to be sneered at, although the prices for the Test matches do deserve turning your nose up at; two tickets for a day out at the Test when New Zealand are the visitors in SE11 in June, and then South Africa at the end of August, is just slightly more than I pay for my Dulwich Hamlet season ticket. And just like the football, you can't guarantee a home win either.
Keep it local however and Surrey offer a cheap 'n cheerful alternative with first-class county cricket on offer at The Oval through until the end of September. Surrey Membership is a bargain at £150, gaining you access to all matches, as well as the hallowed walls of the John Major Room. Just remember your P's and Q's, especially when using the toilets adorned with pictures of out former Great Leader.
South London Stormisn't a weather forecast for the next few months, but a truly local Rugby League club showing that the 'other' code isn't all about clogs and flat caps. The Storm play in the heart of South London in, um, Thornton Heath. With an emphasis on club development at different levels, the Storm are keeping the code alive in South London. And admission is free - FREE!
June signals the start of the strawberries and cream season down in Wimbledon. But don't be fooled into thinking that tennis is simply something you watch whilst waiting to quaff champagne at the Henley Royal Regatta. The excellent tennisforfree.com campaign has had huge success in recent years in getting inner-city tennis courts opened up for free use. Southwark Park, Sunray Gardens, Tanner Street, Belair Park and Brunswick Park all participate in this scheme in Southwark. Likewise Wandsworth Park across the border. Shame on Lambeth Council for not signing up and still charging kids to use the facilities at Brockwell Park, Clapham Common and Kennington Park. You cannot be serious, etc...
The Tour of Britain spins into South London (sort of) on 7th September as part of the first stage of the weeklong race. Although the 10km circuit is based across the river along the Victoria Embankment, crossing the Thames for one week only in the year to watch an elite team of cyclists has to be worth the effort.
If all of this inspires you to start your own spot of pre-season training, there's still time to get in shape (just) ahead of the Crystal Palace Triathlon on 21st September. A swim in South London's only indoor Olympic size pool, a cycle around the lovely park and then finishing off with a sprint finish in the grand old stadium. Yeah, right...
Which should take us nicely through to the start of the new football season. Don't forget the pre-seasons: Palace have L*******r (get down!) at home on 2nd August; Charlton fans can plan for a nice jolly away at Brighton on 26th July, whilst Millwall can look forward to Shelbourne, Bray Wanderers, UCD and Exeter City - all away.
Phew - I think I'll need a holiday after all of that.
Velo-whacked, lovely lido refreshed and all roads lead to a gloriously sunny South London afternoon and the final day of play between Surrey and Yorkshire at The Oval. After a morning of extreme exertion, you'd get better odds for me collapsing in my Member's seat rather than a Surrey collapse at the crease.
Four days of high pressure cricket and we're heading for... a draw. Dontcha just love the County game? The 'rrey are currently on 183-4 in their second innngs; 466 on the board for their first knock, 525 for the visitors. Captain Butch has to decide very soon to force the match or settle for a draw. I plan to sleep through it all to be honest.
Wake me up when there's a wicket.
Blimey, my forty winks didn't even get into double figures. Ally Brown has been bowled for 6, leaving Surrey on 183-5. This could get interesting. Even more so with a text from the Glam Girly Friend saying she may pop in after buying up the entire West End boutiques.
Still no Hairy Back Man so far this season. I'm getting seriously worried. Maybe he has been engulfed in hair over the winter months and has turned into a wookie? (Ground regulations clearly state NO wookies allowed.)
Legendary Lobby and his pals are sitting but a can of Carling spray away. If you can't beat them, etc. Sod the sleep. Chin chin.
A truly bizarre incident mid-wicket: Umpire Nigel Cowley left the field of play, 'injured.' The call went out for a replacement square leg umpire. Cometh the hour, cometh the Surrey Head Coach, Alan Butcher. Dressed in his Surrey brown (urgh!) trackie, Butch Snr took on square leg duties for a couple of overs.
This is like Sir Alex being asked to run the line in the European Cup Final.
The 'injured' umpire Cowley then returned to mid-wicket, miraculously cured. I suspect he was caught short and went for a dump.
The game remains 'interesting' in the way that the LibDem shadow cabinet can be defined as 'interesting.' Fascinating for some, utter boredom for those who don't give a shit. I fall into one of the camps.
My niece's son was feeling his bottom aggressively.'
The battery on my Mr BBC ball-by-ball commentary is buggered. Seems like so is the niece's son for the bloke sitting behind me.
Surrey on 226-4. GGF expected soon.
Game dead, and with immaculate timing, the GGF has arrived fashionably late. Good job too: she's bought back up batteries, so Mr BBC ball-by-ball commentary is GO! Shame there's not a lot to commentate on.
Surrey are on 270-5, Afzaal is on 97. Declaration after his century, maybe? Or boredom for the remaining 25 overs with only the GGF for humour value.
Speaking of which, she informed me upon her arrival that she is wearing Goochie perfume. The ex-England captain isn't the obvious choice for fragrant endorsement, but having given the GGF a good sniffing over, I certainly would.
Ah - see means Gucci.
Come on the 'rrey!
Back at base, taking late afternoon tea with the GGF in the garden. The game came to a sudden halt sometime before 5:00. I was too busy sniffing out eau de Goochie on the GGF to give a shit. And so four days of fine cricket (fantastic double century from Butch, ably supported by Matt Nic, a no-show 100th Century from Ramps) has come to a close with no winner. Batting and bowling points aplenty. Next up for the 'rrey is the trek to Croydon for the Whitgift festival.
Live! (knobber) blogging from day two at The Brit Oval, spotting dead pigeons in the outfield (see cricket pages of today's Times...)
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Afternoon all, and a big HELLOOOOO! from The Oval for day two of this fascinating County Championship clash. Surrey declared on 466, following a magnificent double century from Mark Butcher. The Brown Caps (urgh!) grabbed a breakthrough shortly before lunch with the Tykes currently on 50-1.
The usual lull of the OCS Stand has been broken up by an OAP swingers orgya day away from the classroom for a bunch of South London ankle biters. I'm all for promoting the summer game, but I reckon I might have to show the little pups some cricketing etiquette before tea. Five pints of Carling and they'll be fine.
Saqulain is stretching right in front of me on the boundary. I never knew you had to wear a box down below for fielding.
Oh, hang on...
Come on the 'rrey!
Aye aye, things are looking up. Fans of the County four day game will no doubt be familiar with the certain demographic that the format attracts; single, bearded, old males should cover all bases. But get this: a couple of babes have just plonked themselves right in front of me. It's either the appeal of my WiFi dongle thingy, or just a better view of Saqui's box.
Welcome company, all the same.
It's just gone rather overcast right over The Oval. Definitely not a South London Summer. Possible rain for later in the session, probable for Friday. No matter. The 466 Surrey knock sets them up well with five batting points already on the board.
The babes have put jumpers on. I feel like doing a John Terry and blubbing my eyes out like a little baby.
Bring me sunshine...
50 up for McGrath. Game within a game now starts as Saqui has been brought into the attack. The Surrey bowler has more spin than Alastair Campbell on a fairground waltzer.
Making the most of the free tea in the Member's Bar - TRUE!
Big wicket for the 'rrey with Pedro Collins trapping McGrath plum for 53. The big shout went up, and so did the finger. Nothing to do with the babes sitting in front of me, but the signal for McGrath to go for a walk.
The sun is back. Highs and lows, swings and roundabouts; for every babe in her bikini sitting in front of me, there's a bearded OAP taking their top off. Male and female.
Saqui the spin master has trapped his first victim. Adam Lyth attempted a drive, only to be caught by Butch in slips. The visitors are wobbling (avoids mentioning babes in bikinis) on 124-3. Another wicket before tea for the 'rrey would turn the screw as I stir the PG Tips
Pigeon watch: I've been asked to relay the feathered story from The Times. Basically a flying rodent went down off a slog from Mat Nic yesterday. Never say die, etc, the little fella attempted a comeback but came to a thudding halt somewhere in mid-wicket.
Matt Nic was apparently distraught. Pigeons are the parrots of the pet world Down Under.
Rather concerned that my lovely MacBook is in firing line for feathered revenge. The little shits are flying overhead rather too close to call. At least a pigeon poop would keep within the white MacBook colour scheme.
First Suit of the day has arrived. He's either got the best job in the world, or the worst.
Back at base. A bit of a broken day. Work commitments cushioned in on the cricket, and I wasn't really in the right frame of mind for a full on day of cricket. Gotta pay to play etc.
Live! (knobber) blogging from The Oval, optimistic of Mr Ramp's 100th Century, trying to avoid Sir Geoffrey.
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Afternoon all. Another Wednesday, another afternoon session at The Oval. Expectation was high as the umpires strolled out shortly before 11 this morning. Nothing to do with the majestic Mark Ramprakash and the chase for his 100th Century, but me, back at onionbagblog HQ II, hopeful of finishing the early shift in time to catch some play before lunch.
Not a chance. On Both counts. I logged off for a late lunch around 1:45, just as Mr Ramps was walking back to the pavilion. Hey hoe. There's always that second innings. Or even Whitgift away next week. It's a long old season and the odds are that Mr Ramps will reach his landmark long before I make play before lunch.
Yorkshire are the visitors in SE11 for the next four days. High excitement indeed with both sides genuine contenders for the County Championship. The sun is shining, although not within my range; Darren Gough in slips is blocking out the rays with his barrel chest, on what is his last appearance at The Oval in his final year in the Championship.
Surrey are batting on 143-4, looking like they have survived a dodgy spell after lunch. I blame the cheeseburgers 'n chips. Mark Butcher is in splendid form on 66. Yorkshire have their first bowling point. Time for my first can.
The re-building proess is well underway for Surrey, both on and off the field. Butch is in the nervous '90s on 94, all to the backdrop of the old Surrey Tavern being pulled down behind the Brown Caps captain.
In true Crap Match Report style, here comes the retraction: No Goughy. i blame the booze, as ever. Still, there's one hell of a lard arse out in the field for Yorkshire. Is Gatts having an Indian summer?
'Once again, it's swinging up in Nottingham,' so said Mr BBC ball-by-ball commentary. That was always my experience behind the Fox Road stand back in the day after five pints of cherry brandy and cider.
Anthony McGrath has just taken the cherry in his hand with Butch on 95.
The legendary Lobby is sitting nearby.
Game just about even ahead of tea with the 'rrey staging a fine comeback.
Teabooze at The Oval. Surrey on 213-5 with Jonathan Batty caught behind on 26. Butch made a brilliant century and is still at the crease (well, taking tea) on 109 not out.
It's been all about the 100's today. Anthony McGrath took his 100th first class wicket shortly before tea. Wot No Centurian Mr Ramps?
Twinkle Toes had his moment in the sun though, being presented with the April Player of the Month. Given the arctic conditions, I would have given it, so to speak, to the GGF for getting off her shagsick bed for the first game of the season.
Note to self: Don't wear knobber yellow lycra on a South London scorcher summer afternoon down at The Oval. A local behive is trying to colonise me.
Final session is about to commence.
A brilliant 150 from Butch, backed up abely by Matt Nic who has played a steady supporting role to bring up the 100 partnership with Surrey on 301-5.
It was oh so different at Nelson when Butch came close to running the Aussie out.
After a sun tan of a day, time to put on the cricket tank top. None of this poncey England nu streamlined shit. Old school hand knitted.