Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Chewing the Cud over GMT and BST…..

CowVery soon I will give the hour back which I received 5 months ago. In seven months time I shall reclaim it.

I don’t know who is the beneficiary of my sixty minutes, nor do I know who returns it.

I do know that every year since the day I was born I have, with great philanthropy, parted with an essential essence of my life – my time – but comforted in the knowledge that I only permitted it’s borrowing on a short term loan.

I gave it free, without interest, yet if time was indeed money, I could have become very wealthy over the years had I charged for it.

After all, if I asked my bank manager for a loan he wouldn’t give it to me for free just because I promised to return it promptly after seven months. The difference of course is that my time is priceless, and although it is unique it has no monetary value.

I can invest it, I can spend it, I can save it and I can waste it. I cannot hold it. I cannot keep it. I cannot preserve it. It is gone in a moment – and lost in a memory.

I can think of nothing more valuable, more essential than time, yet it is not oil, not gold, not silver, not platinum. My time is more precious than metals and minerals, but it is all mine – every single second of it. It’s value is incalculable.

At 02.00 on the last Sunday of  March (as is always the case) I will say hello to British Summer Time, or on the last Sunday of October, return to the dark days of Greenwich Mean Time.

It’s an economic decision that I have no choice over. A few years ago the UK government considered the Daylight Savings Private Members Bill to abolish GMT and align the British Isles with CET (Central European Time), which would have meant more light at night and less light at morning. Longer summer evenings, and maybe an hour more light in winter resulting in longer darker mornings. It would have suited the more southern English, but not the northern Brits. In any event, the bill was rejected, and it’s not likely to reappear again for some time.

Any change in daylight saving policy won’t change the orbit of the earth, no more than it will stop the sun from rising and setting at inconvenient times for commerce and industry.

The cows in the fields will chew the cud regardless. The sheep will be fairly laid back and the pigs are unlikely to grunt in dissent. The cocks will continue to crow at dawn, and the chickens will lay their eggs without cracking up at the stupidity of it all.

The EU will be happy because everything will be standardised. But they tried that with the Euro and look what happened.

They can mess around with money. Surely we can’t allow them to mess around with the clocks as well?

I just don’t have the time for it.

March 26, 2016 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, General, History, Humour, London, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The bowlers holding the batsman’s willy…..

cricket picExplaining cricket and it’s terminology is akin to lecturing about quantum mechanics or the string theory in particle physics.

Cricket is a sport synonymous with England. Just like Rugby it has influenced the world. General terms like “It’s not cricket” means that it is not sporting behaviour. To “bowl a maiden over” does not mean you have scored in a nightclub, assuming a maiden still exists in such establishments. Yet a “maiden” is a virgin. It means that out of six balls bowled, no runs (points) were conceded.

Unless an individual has ever played cricket it is unlikely that they will understand it. Unlike football or tennis where the rules of the game are reasonably simple – cricket will baffle the greatest armchair enthusiast. Cricket is a legacy of British influence around the world. In India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Africa, Afghanistan, France, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies and even the USA, to name a few, and all regard it’s rules and phrases as a common language.

For the uninitiated here is an overview. A failure to understand is not a reflection on an individuals intelligence. A cricket match is contested between two sides each of eleven players. When one side is “in” the other side is “out”, and it is the job of the “out” side to get the “in” side out. This is achieved by dismissing the batsmen on the “in” side by several methods.

When a side is batting it is called an “innings”, and will last as long as each batsman can hold his wicket. the wicket is what the batsman must protect at all costs – if someone says “you’re on a sticky wicket” it means your position is precarious. Unless that is, if they hold their innings for quite a long period and score an extremely high number of runs, in which case the captain will “declare” or “forfeit” the remainder of his innings. It’s a tactical decision, and he is hoping the opposition will not be able to match his side’s number of runs in the available number of overs. Failure to declare can result in the match drawn, even though one side has more runs than another. In business, If your boss says he’s “holding his wicket”, it means he has control of the situation and hanging on.

When a batsman is bowled out, a new batsman goes in. When both sides have been in and out, they do it all over again, and this is called the second innings. If your boss suggests you have more than one innings, there is hope for you yet.

Eventually, if all goes to the wire, only one batsman will remain, who will not be allowed to bat on his own – he’s the last man standing. This last man, however, may not necessarily be the eleventh or last man who went in to bat. Indeed, the last man standing could have been one of the first men in, if he was never out. If your boss says you are the last man in, the chances are you are doomed.

Still with it? Right. Time for some explanations. Two innings per side will occur in international test matches. A test lasts for five days. Up to five tests can be played over several weeks, called the First to the Fifth Test respectively, when the event is hosted by one country, whose opponent is another (the tourists). Whilst many matches may result in a grand trophy, England and Australia play each other every two years for a small urn of cremated wooden bails from 1882 -The Ashes – which is a prize more sought than any silver or gold cup.

The length of a cricket match is dependent on the number of overs per side. That is the number of balls the bowlers are permitted to bowl. There are six balls to an over. Therefore if a match is limited to ten overs per innings, (in “one-day” cricket, for example and county games) then after sixty balls have been bowled, the innings’ end, regardless of how many wickets are left (if any).

Wickets in this case are the number of batsmen who have not come to the crease (still in the pavilion), which is the demarcation line from the stumps where the batsman is allowed to hit the ball or defend his wicket, and also the last point for the bowler to execute his delivery. If the bowler steps over the crease after his approach run, then it’s a “no ball”, and a score (or run) is given to the opposing side. If a bowler successfully bowls his over without any runs being scored by the batsman, then he would have bowled a “maiden over”.

The stumps are three 28inch high pieces of wood which comprise the wicket, with a total width of 9 inches, and balance two small wooden objects known as the bails. There are two wickets, one at each end of the pitch, which is 22 yards long from stump to stump with each wicket defended by a batsman. The bails must dislodge from the stumps for the batsman to be out.

In the surrounding oval shaped playing field, with a diameter of roughly 160 yards, stand the fielders of the side which is “out”. With the exception of the wicket-keeper (who crouches behind the batsman’s wicket being bowled at) and the bowler, there are nine fielders who can take up positions from Silly Point to Square Short Leg (very close to the batsman), Silly Mid Off and Silly Mid On (midway between the length of the pitch), and Long Off to Deep Fine Leg (boundary cover), as well as another possible 25 positions, and all with equally silly names.

It is their job to prevent the batsmen from hitting the ball sufficiently for them to run between wickets, or hit the ball to, or over, the boundary thereby scoring an automatic four or a six. The fielding side can either prevent this by catching the ball whilst in flight (caught out), or retrieving the ball from the ground and returning it by aiming it at the wicket, in the hope that it will reach its target before the batsman returns to his crease (“run out” or “stumped”).

The batsman can also be bowled out by the bowler if his ball hits the wicket, or even be given out if the ball hits his leg, which is called LBW (leg before wicket). The wicket-keeper is the batsman’s nemesis, and is ever keen to knock off the bails at any opportunity after catching the ball when it flies past the wicket – always in the hope that the ball clipped the bat or the batsman strayed outside his crease.

Over the course of a match, the ball (which is red, extremely hard, made of layers of core cork and leather, and must strictly weigh between 5.5 – 6oz) cannot be changed unless under the strictest rules of the game. A ball should last the complete innings and at least 80 overs in test matches.

This prolonged use can affect the properties of the ball and influence its flight. Consequently a bowler will polish his ball on one side by rubbing it around his groin area, or on the sleeve, which results in the characteristic red stains on his whites (trousers). Polishing it in this fashion can determine the “swing”, and some bowlers will spit on the ball prior to polishing. Ball tampering is a serious offence in cricket, and any form of physical interference, other than spit and polish, is forbidden.

The match is won by the side which scores the highest number of runs over the two innings in the set number of overs, and on the aggregate over the five tests, regardless of whether all players have had their day at the crease.

And now the big question. What is a googly? It’s a ball bowled by a right-arm spin bowler, designed to confuse a right-handed batsman by appearing to spin from leg to off, but actually spins in the opposite direction. Hence the term “to throw a googly”, meaning to confuse or upset an opponent, either in sport or business.

Finally, a batsman is only called out if the umpire says so. And he won’t say so, unless he’s asked. How’s that? That’s right! “Howzat” is the challenge to the umpire in order to get his reaction, and he will raise his index finger if it’s a good call. If anyone sticks up a middle digit in response to his decision then he’ll likely be dismissed, because that is, along with all other forms of ungentlemanly conduct, certainly not cricket!

Note: The title of this post refers to a commentary by Brian Johnston during a test match at the Oval in 1976, when Michael Holding of the West Indies was bowling to England batsman Peter Willey. 

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Education, Humour, Sport, USA | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t forget your hat…………..

“Are you English?” asks the charming stranger who has suddenly appeared. “I love England. And the girls! Belissimo!” he bellows, whilst kissing his palm and throwing the residue into the breeze. “What size are you sir?” he continues “I have some leather jackets here. I’ve just been to a fashion show and I don’t want to return to Naples with any stock left over, so I’m going to give you one for free!”

So here you are walking around Rome somewhere near the Fountain of Trevi, minding your own business, a snout buried in a street map and suddenly a car pulls up. The driver asks for directions and then discovers you’re new around here too. (Hello? He sounds suspiciously Italian!)

“I’m sorry but I’m only a visitor here myself” you reply with a friendly and concerned gesture. You’ve just given him his cue!

“My goodness, what a nice man” you think. He offers the garment through the window, hoping you’ll caress it like a kitten. Are you smitten? Who cares? It’s free! Just as you’re about to thank him for his generosity and walk away, out drops the metaphorical bombshell.

He’s got an empty tank, and worse, he’s lost his wallet with the credit cards and cash in them! Well do you say to yourself “dear oh dear, the poor man. How is he going to get home? I must give him 50 Euros at once to help him reach his destination? After all, he’s been kind enough to give me a free leather jacket!” Or do you return it to him with a poverty stricken look upon your face, perhaps with a few choice words to suit the moment?

That little scenario happened to me on three occasions in one day. There’s a small platoon of these peddlers around this beautiful city. I was prepared the last time however. Before my lost friend could utter a word I was primed. “Keep your jacket” I said proud and bold, “I’ve got no money!” That sorted him out alright. He happily drove off looking for someone else. He didn’t drive too far either as less than 200 yards further he was accosting some other poor mug (I mean tourist). The nerve of the man!

It struck me then that perhaps I was standing out like a sore thumb. Well, of course I was! It couldn’t have been clearer than if I had “tourist” stamped across my forehead with a flashing neon arrow pointing at it. So I looked around and noticed that the locals all dressed rather stylishly. Italian men in Rome like their hats. I don’t mean any old hat, no no, I’m talking about fedoras together with a tasty flowing scarf worn with aplomb. That was the solution my wife suggested. So off we trotted and bought a trilby from a charming little milliner a stones throw from the fountain. I already had a scarf, it was January. I was made! After that, I happily roamed around Rome free from harassment. Yes, nobody messed with me, it was clear that I was a local lad!

What then, is the moral of my little tale? It is this. Just because you are a tourist in Rome (or anywhere else for that matter) doesn’t mean you have to look like one! So if you’re wearing a baseball cap, carrying a back-pack, have photographic gizmos slung around various appendages, and a bum-bag around your hips, be prepared for the worst. You’ve flagged yourself up good and proper, and you can happily explain to the custom officials how you acquired all that leather wear.

Provided you don’t do this you should pass with flying colours. Reconnoitre the places you are keen to see by climbing on board a hop on/hop off tour bus. They’re one of the few good values for money. Get up on the top deck, plug in the commentary, then plan your route. Most of the great sites are within reasonable walking distance, but remember…. if you want to get ahead, get a hat!

March 23, 2015 Posted by | Culture, Education, Europe, Humour, Italy, Travel | , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Walking Dead – A Game of Scones

walking

Catching up with the last episode of The Walking Dead our intrepid heroes have all managed to make it to “Sanctuary”. The usual convoluted strorylines have played out, with back stories of the main characters, indeed, this is becoming a soap opera, the difference being that the ever present threat of dangerous dead people are forever present.

It’s reached the stage that the enemies are not zombies, but real people. It’s an interesting development, and necessary to fill out a simple survival tale. The survivors have resorted to basic animal instincts to survive, for in a world of Zombies, nobody can be trusted, chaos ensues, and basic instincts akin to mediaeval times take control.

How much more shock can we endure. As I have mentioned in other posts, the Walking Dead is an excuse for gory violence on a grand scale. Children either commit murder or are victims of it. Adults teach the children how to fire arms. Messages are written in the blood of zombies because pen and ink are not available. Which is quite astonishing, because when the survivors raid a shop they never pick up any sensible things like writing instruments. They often find tinned fruit, and seem to have an unlimited supply of matches to light a fire.

They have been wandering around Atlanta for four seasons now, and the weather has been ambient. The most sinister villain was English – The Governor – ok, he was played by an English actor – and a nasty piece of work he was. But he was the smartest because he knew about local government control – mad, but focused – a bit like Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London (I was going to say without the crazed look in his eye…but on second thoughts…!)

Unfortunately David Morrissey (said Governor) completely flipped his lid and went rampant on a gorefest of murder and mayhem – resulting in his own demise. It’s strange that if he had kept his head (and his eye patch) he would have been a great leader – after all, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king! In the Land of the Zombies he would have been Emperor!

Still, David at the mid-season break was killed off, and our motley crew of survivors were scattered to all points of the compass.

It’s a sad loss – a villain true was Morrissey. I equate his demise to the execution of Richard Sharpe in the Game of Thrones. I mean whatisname….(long pause).. Ned Stark aka Sean Bean (or vice versa).

Focus for Gawds sake!

On the subject of Game of Thrones….hang on, that’s a different post! Meanwhile, back in Atlanta, our heroes were dispersed but seem to have all met up again in a strange place which offers safety. Of course, there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye, and something sinister is afoot. I don’t really know what it is – I’ve never read the comics (oops, I mean “graphic novels”) but it looks like the hero Rick (English actor Andrew James Clutterbuck aka Andrew Lincoln) has found his mojo and is about to unleash hell.
What would Hollywood do without the English? Indeed, what would Game of Thrones do without us?
On which subject, I must make an observation. Surely if the zombie apocalypse happened in London, we English would have created some order by now – you know – contingency, bureaucracy, trade, pen pushers, administration, home guard, colonel Blimps etc? How about the Women’s Institute and Salvation Army? After all, we all like a brass band and a cup of tea with crumpet. A Game of Scones! Clearly Atlanta isn’t ready for all that.

April 12, 2014 Posted by | Arts, Books, Culture, Game of Thrones, Humour, The Walking Dead, United Kingdom, USA | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Walking Dead – the 2nd Amendment Showcase….

wd

 

**Possible Spoiler Alert**

Having caught up with the Walking Dead, after its mid-season (4) break, I am left defending my initial observations herehere and here, back when it all began.

The problem with the drama is that it’s walking in circles. Series one saw the motley group of survivors attempting to find somewhere safe to live. Series two found them on a farm which got overrun and they had to leave, getting dispersed in the process; series 3 found them in a prison; and series four sees them overrun, back outside, and dispersed yet again.

Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Books, Education, Film, Game of Thrones, Humour, Religion, Science, The Walking Dead, Travel, USA | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Pope, the Philippines, Argentina and the British……

 

Sanfernando

Hey! Smoking is bad for your health!

The Via Crucis is the re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion
on Good Friday.

Held in San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines, it has become
famous for people being nailed to the cross.

There are currently 34 men enlisted to participate, with
an estimated 50,000 people, from home and abroad, expected to visit and observe.

Known as "Maleldo" (Holy Week), it will be held in the last seven
days of March.

This year will involve more security and traffic control,
and steel railings will be in place surrounding the crucifixion site, because
the chicken wire used last year proved useless against the ever growing crowd
of onlookers.

Well at least they are not using barbed wire. In addition
there will be a higher presence of medical tents and emergency vehicles.

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March 19, 2013 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, General, History, Humour, Religion, The Philippines, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Harlem Shake – Choreomania

There used to be a medical term for this: St Vitus’ Dance.dancing plague_0

There’s an outbreak of exhibitionism going on, which involves people losing their sanity and gyrating like demented chimpanzees.

Also known as “Dancing Mania“, it was a social phenomenon that particularly occurred in Europe during the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people dancing erratically.

It’s also been known as “epidemic dancing” and scientists described it as a “collective mental disorder”“collective hysterical disorder” and “mass madness”.

Historically previous records indicate that they took place in times of hardship.

There were also suggestions that people suffered from some kind of poisoning, stress, or tension caused by natural disasters – a collective shared stress, and many danced to relieve themselves of the stress and poverty of the times. Another popular theory is that the outbreaks were all staged.

Yet here we are in the 21st Century and a similar thing is happening. What is possessing seemingly normal people to behave like blithering idiots, from a plane load of people hysterically dancing in the aisles at 30,000 feet, to miners underground in Australia – most of whom have been fired as a consequence? Why would people risk losing their jobs, ignoring health and safety, just to expose themselves as a bunch of lunatics seeking attention on the internet?

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March 4, 2013 Posted by | Arts, Current Affairs, Education, Europe, Events, History, Humour, Science | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Solar Superstorm and Asteroid 2012 DA14

SunwikiAnother end of the world scenario hoves into view – not
quite Armageddon but one which will cause much inconvenience.

The warnings of a
solar superstorm are particularly relevant today.

They occur every hundred years or so and the last one was back in 1859. The world was in gas-light
then, and industry was powered by steam.

There was no telephone network, cellular or otherwise,
and the only satellite in orbit was the Moon.

So no aircraft, no GPS, no computers, no internet, and no
electricity, ergo no power stations.

Yes, solar superstorms happened in the
past, but it would merely have been a storm in a teacup.

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February 8, 2013 Posted by | Current Affairs, Education, facebook, History, Humour, Religion, Science, The Walking Dead | , , , , | Leave a comment

Janine Tugonon brings the House down!

janine tuganon

As if the Philippines House of Representatives didn’t have enough to discuss, they found time recently to suspend business in order to honour Janine Tugonon.

What has the 23 year old achieved in order to earn this prestigious commendation?

Did she win the Nobel Peace Prize? Is she in the vanguard to alleviate poverty? Does she head up a charity to fight world hunger? Has she discovered a cure for malaria? Has she devoted half of her life to campaign on the environment? is she a UNICEF Ambassador?

Sadly none of these things – she has in fact achieved something much more worthwhile, she was the first runner up in the Miss Universe pageant.

Note the term “first runner up” – a euphemism for coming second. Yes, she didn’t even win it!

Ms Tugonon’s claim to fame is that she is a beauty queen.

So beautiful in fact that House Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla of Bacoor City introduced a resolution to honour her, which was easily passed by the lower chamber, resulting in the lawmakers suspending their
sessions in order to meet and applaud her. Apparently her achievement has “earned the admiration of Filipinos around the world”.

What, one wonders, would have happened had she won? No doubt a public holiday would ensue, preceded by President Aquino pinning a medal to her ample bosom.

The proposer (Mrs Mercado-Revilla), other than being a member of the House of Representatives, is also an actress, married to fellow actor and senator Bong Revilla.

Her recent exposure was last December when she became embroiled in the Reproductive Health Bill; appealing for “sobriety to avoid making reckless actions” during one of the proceedings of the Bill (no 4244).

It was notable because she asked for certain portions of the transcript to be removed. She took particular umbrage to the remarks of a fellow representative (Rodante Marcoleta) who said that her husband “is so
fertile that just passing him by can make you pregnant”
.

Every Bong is good for a Bang presumably.

Anyway, her emotional dramatic performance didn’t wash with the deputy speaker Lorenzo Tanada III, whom she accused of being arrogant (too bad there isn’t a TV Channel for all this), who was heard to say “I don’t
care if she gets angry, she must learn to follow the rules”
.

Since then Marcoleta has apologised for Bong bashing, and Tanada also apologised saying he didn’t mean to hurt Lani’s feelings.

The deputy speaker implied that he was rather tired – having presided for two consecutive days on the RH Bill, “which may have made his tone condescending”.

Since then of course, Lani has popped up again, this time proposing a very important cause – ie recognising the fact that Miss Philippines came second in Donald Trump’s Miss Universe competition (which incidentally was won by Miss USA) in Las Vegas.

(If you are exhausted reading this, I admire your constitution for getting this far, but spare a thought for your humble author who chose to write this stuff.)

What does it all mean? Before I answer that, it’s important to know that I am an advocate for the Filipino people, that I am a concerned observer, and that I care deeply about that country.

But as an intelligent and fair critic, modest and without malice, I fear for the nation because it is led by people who are at best naive or ignorant, and at worst just downright self-serving.

Senators are more likely to be personalities from television and film, or the sporting arena, who rely on the electorate to vote for them because of the image, and not the substance.

There are major issues confronting the Philippines. Corruption, over population, poverty, conservation, exploitation, health care, unemployment, deforestation, marine destruction, deprivation, slums, housing,
terrorism, infrastructure, territorial disputes, and an exported workforce doing menial tasks around the world who are not protected by their government and used and abused, yet still expected to pay their dues to the
state.

The Philippines Tourist Agency proclaims the country as the place to visit, yet fails to mention that there is not one direct flight from Europe, and the last (KLM/Air France – Amsterdam to Manila) has suspended
its service.

It fails to mention that Philippine Airlines (PAL) is not permitted by the European Union to operate in it’s airspace. It fails to mention that PAL is controlled by the huge conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

A brewery controlling the national airline! It’s enough to drive you to drink!

In the meantime that seat of state, with all its incumbency suspends it’s activity to ogle and reward a beauty queen.

It’s as if the Philippine Islands are a mere playground for the elite.

It is in fact the world’s largest and best golf club. Full of privilege for the wealthy and the rest merely wander aimlessly around it seeking the lost balls.

Update: PAL finally met EU status in November 2013 and are now flying direct non stop from London Heathrow to Manila twice a week.

 

 

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Arts, Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Europe, Events, General, Humour, Politics, Religion, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Move down ladies and gents – Knife wielding incident at Buckingham Palace!

"They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace; a man got
tasered and went down with malice"

Continue reading

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Europe, Events, General, History, Humour, London, Photography, Politics, The Philippines, Travel, United Kingdom, USA | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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