Showing posts from July, 2012


On reflection, I feel quite privileged to have attended the first proper day of the 2012 Olympics. We were always looking forward to going, and the anticipation had grown steadily since we realised we had tickets for four finals on the first night of the swimming gold rush at the Aquatics Centre. That anticipation increased exponentially after the jaw-dropping opening ceremony on Friday night. Danny Boyle served up an idiosyncratic take on the unveiling of the Games. His masterstroke was the perfect combination of drama, spectacular, humour and relevance across three centuries of historical, social and cultural highlights. Daughter No 1, a confirmed Mr Bean fan, nearly split her sides when Rowan Atkinson turned up to guest his one-finger performance on Chariots of Fire. Granny was almost in tears at Emeli Sande’s rendition of Abide With Me. She wasn’t caught out by too many tunes in the tribute to great British pop and rock either. Perhaps only the Prodigy and Dizzy Rascal seemed g

Let the Games begin...

“Let the Games begin”, says the latest in a very long line of e-mails from the helpful girls and boys at London 2012. “One day to go”, I’m told, just in case I’d missed a moment of the countdown. With the BBC’s gargantuan Olympics coverage cranking up to full swing, it’s hardly possible. I did snigger a little at Fiona Bruce, with an old fashioned mike pinned to her lapel, sounding like she was reading the news from inside a toilet bowl. I don’t think the studio had been  quite sorted out by Tuesday night. (By the way, does anyone else find those BBC adverts featuring computer enhanced superhuman athletes with bursting, rippling muscles and etiolated bodies jumping and diving about the place just a bit too suggestive of the effects of drug enhanced training regimes? Surely a bit incongruous in a climate of public revulsion at such abuse in sport. No? Just me then.) On the eve of the opening ceremony, I think I am ready. I’ve checked the rules, regs and travel for Saturday: get

Jet Stream

Britain’s summer of sport continues a heavy legged squelch through sodden conditions. Those dreams of shiny hot days of sport formed back in a baking May have rusted under jet stream driven downpours. The test series between the Windies and England was a poorly attended damp squib, the one-day series more so. Racing has never seen so many fixtures abandoned in the main turf season. The British Grand Prix was played out in front of empty seats because petrolheads couldn’t get to flooded car parks. The build-up to Thursday Open at Lytham St Anne’s has dominated by observations on wind and climatic conditions. Andy Murray briefly lifted our spirits under a Centre Court roof that was pulled back and forth with the regularity of the shelf on a penny falls machine. However, the tarnishing qualities of excessive rainfall are only partly responsible for the unsettled mood hanging over sport just now. This week’s disturbing revelations in a Westminster Magistrates Court show the e

Mug Punting - the book

Well it's taken a while, but I've finally got round to editing and cleaning up Mug Punting the book. This mighty tome (!) is now available through Amazon on kindle here . It's  really the forerunner to this blog and collects some early, cringeworthy stories of punting misadventure and mishap.  Hope you enjoy it. Any comments welcome.  As flavour, here is one of the penultimate chapters about my first foray into horse ownership... The Charming Dash The horse that I own a tiny fragment of, Dashing Charm, is belatedly making his seasonal debut. Connections (technically, I guess that should include me!) have settled on a low-key Huntingdon Sunday fixture. He’s running in a bumper, the second race of his career.  Finding a race for him has had more false starts than your average General Election campaign. Set backs have included a cough, a cold, weather too wet and weather too dry. Talk about wrapping him up in cotton wool. You’d think this horse was a full brother

26 of 52

"Do you want this spare notebook?" I offered to daughter no. 1. "There are plenty of unused pages in it."  "Oh, yeah', she thumbed through the leaves. "It will be good for my revision".  "Ignore all those lists", I said, "Chuck 'em away if you want. They're just names of race horses." "Yeah, I'd worked that out Dad. You don't write about anything else!" So, this is a forlorn effort to prove that I do have some other hobbies. I really, really do. The Guardian has been running an excellent 52 Weeks photo project on Flickr, in which I am thoroughly enjoying participating. Check out this fine  gallery  of the contributors. The idea is simple enough: capture an event, moment or view that makes each week memorable and post it to the group. As a brief, this is tougher than it sounds. I have strived to meet the challenge of searching out, or happening upon distinctive images for each post. Sadly I ha