London Busman’s Prayer

The 73. My bus to work. From Stoke Newington to Marylebone High Street. From the ridiculous to the sublime.

The 73. My bus to work. From Stoke Newington to Marylebone High Street. From the ridiculous to the sublime.

Our Father who art in Hendon

Harrow Road be thy name

Thy Kingston come

Thy Wimbledon

In Erith as it is in Hendon

Give us this  day our Berkhampstead

and forgive us our Westminsters

As we forgive those who Westminster against us.

Lead us not into Temple Station

and  deliver us from Ealing

For thine is the Kingston, the Purley and the Crawley

For Iver and Iver

Crouch End.

The Remarkable Joe Connolly and his boys incl. The unseemly incident of the board eraser and the superglue.

Now it’s around this time of year as schools go back after the summer holidays, that I get to being nostalgic for the old chalk and talk routine. It is six years, give or take, since I set foot in a classroom and with each passing year, the thought that never again will I have thirty rapt faces, hanging on my every word (even if it is only outlining the perils that befall them if they don’t hang their coats and bags outside my room) catches me unawares.  I miss it you see, which is funny as when I am still working, each eve of a new school year, like every Sunday night, but much worse, fills me with trepidation and dread.

And before people start hollering ‘hypocrite’ and other Latin words; there is much about the job I never care if I never see ever again, such as ‘computerised admin systems’, ‘standardised assessments’ and truckloads of spurious, meaningless pupil data, that follows them round, year on year like a bad smell. Of course I like to keep up to date with educational debates. In fact I laugh like a drain when I hear IT is now to be referred to as Computer Science. Who knows, at this rate it isn’t long before we see the return of Divinity and the teaching of Rhetoric.

But listen; today you are in luck for you are about to get three stories for the price of one – which is pretty good value I reckon in these times of austerity, though I am not one hundred per cent sure where I get cut in on the deal.

Still, the last school I teach at is called Kingsmead an old 11 – 18 Secondary Modern turned comprehensive, which sees its fair share of ups and downs, mainly downs and is located on the edge of a trading estate in South Harrow. After I take up my post, my attention is soon drawn to a Maths teacher, who appears to be of an endangered species – if you believe Mr. Gove and the Tory Party, an extraordinarily gifted and inspirational teacher.  Joe Connolly. Now although I never actually see one of his lessons, his classroom is located next to the staff room with a connecting door, which he is in the habit of leaving open so many a time I hear Joe’s lessons and come to the conclusion that here is a guy who knows what’s what, has a genuine interest in crumbchasers and their welfare, has zero problems with discipline and a good sense of humour.

And he never wears a tie.

Well it so happens that I am not long at Kingsmead when Joe, a single man, begins the adoption process of first one 11 year old boy Danny, and then his younger brother David – and here you’ll have to forgive me, because as for the detail about the process, the boys’ circumstances and backgrounds, I know very little; which I appreciate seems like sloppy writing, but the truth being: private matter, I never think it my place to ask.

Suffice to say, however that these are very troubled boys, particularly Danny, who displays challenging behaviour from the outset. Joe gives the boys a decent home, cares for them and nurtures them. Not only this, but Danny and later David come to Kingsmead. Personally, a greater sacrifice I cannot imagine, as naturally the bulk of Danny and David’s teachers circumvent the school’s disciplinary procedures to complain about the boys’ behavior directly to him.

Young people at school. Causing trouble. Probably

Young people at school. Causing trouble. Probably

I teach Danny when he is in Year 8. It is a good job I have eyes in the back of my head and a few other places besides, as he is a handful sure enough. Anyway, I am teaching them about ‘Guernica’ which is a painting by Picasso he makes in 1937 – as Communist and staunch supporter of the Republican cause/He has no other ideas what to paint (Delete as appropriate)

To try and make it a bit more easy to understand I compare it to the despicable mortar bombing of the Sarajevo Marketplace which just happens.

guernica

Now one Monday morning Joe stops me in the staffroom and says like this.

‘We are at IKEA at the weekend, Danny, David and me, when all of a sudden Danny stops and says: It’s that Picture!’

He sees a reproduction of ‘Guernica’ and goes on to explain what it is all about; that there is a war sometime in Spain and this war is a Civil War, like the war in Bosnia. And the artist paints a picture of it and his name is Picasso. It seems Danny gathers a bit of an audience as he tells his tale, one of whom turns out to be an Art Lecturer at the University of something or other, who congratulates him on his explanation. Well, as you can imagine, I am delighted with what proves to be a highlight of my time at Kingsmead.

Well, from the get-go no one will give you odds of 100 to 1 that Danny makes it to the end of year 7, let alone year 11. But he does … Well almost.

You see Danny has a long running spat with his Maths teacher Deputy Head and school sex pest Mr Garter, in his lesson one day as the end of the school year is in sight he exacts a spectacular, not to say audatious humiliation of his nemesis. While Garter, King of the Comb-Overs, who walks like he has a pound coin between his butt cheeks, is not looking, nimble-fingered Danny squirts the whiteboard eraser with superglue. You can imagine the rest. Truly, there is a weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42) It is the Straw which Breaks the Camel’s Back (Glasgow Central 16:45) and Danny is banished into the wilderness.

Whereupon Danny gets a job and buys a scooter.

Danny and David are all growed up now. In fact Danny’s son Barry will be starting secondary school soon. I wonder if he goes to Kingsmead?

Please note names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

C Andy Daly 2013

Bones

… all of which goes to prove that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drunk.

Now, where was I?

Ah Yes. I have here scribbled on the back of my hand in biro ‘Write about bones’.  So I will.

A handful of broken ribs – which point to the likelihood of a punctured lung, four or five fractured vertabrae, a broken ankle and a dislocated shoulder and elbow.

No. Not the haul from some archeological dig, but the injury list after Rye House Rockets speedway team play host the Ipswich Witches in a League Cup clash. The riders who take to the track in this particular form of motor sport on powerful 500cc machines without brakes, are sanguine about the possibility of injury. The stock reply when quizzed is

‘Well, that’s Speedway isn’t it?

And indeed it is.

Not surprisingly, you find exactly the same mindset in the more glamourous, higher profile, yet equally dangerous ‘road racing’ classes of motorcycle sport, for example Moto GP and Superbikes.

The Moto GP race from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last week was an exciting three way battle to effectively see whose collarbone lasted the longest.  Dani  Pedrosa whose bone was not plated after his injury and was therefore relying on nature to take its course.  Jorge Lorenzo, who broke his in practice at Assen in June, flew home to Barcelona to have it plated that evening, returning the following day to ride to fifth position!  –  (only to high side at the Sachsenring in the very next GP and twist the titanium plate, meaning fresh surgery as a result). Then there was rookie Marc Marquez leading the championship in his first year. He dislocated his collarbone in the morning at Silverstone yet rode to second in the afternoon GP race.

Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez locos!

Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez locos!

Not surprisingly, the motorcycling fraternity have a robust lack of sympathy for other sportspeople, particularly top flight professional footballers who over-dramatise or feign injury. While many a time I have seen speedway or ‘road racers’ dust themselves off after the most appalling looking falls or collisions and rejoin a race, or if the referee so decides, to take part in a re-run.

Safety First!

Improvements in safety at road circuits in recent years, such as gravel run-offs have meant far fewer serious injuries or fatalities, likewise in Speedway, where air fences are mandatory in GPs and the Elite League (Though not in the lower leagues) But this in itself means the bar becomes raised a notch higher, with some riders prepared to take even greater risks resulting in what seems to be a worrying trend to riders succumbing to multiple injuries.

And so to this week’s quiz. Whose legs are these?

IMG_1010

And now especially for you, here’s the weather X X X

And another thing…

What in the wide wide world of sports is going on? Just what is it that makes the current crop of TV presenters, particularly weather reporters and those fronting documentary programmes think that it is acceptable to address the viewing public as though we are stone-deaf retards?

Condescending delivery with certain words painfully enunicated at volume as though they were shouting down some deaf dowager’s ear trumpet is a characteristic trait. “RAIN … tomorrow … It’s going to RAIN!” – Peter Cockroft of BBC South East’s weather team being by far the worst offender.

Then there is the ‘Sexing up’ of  what would otherwise be agreeably dull documentaries by a team of academic ‘pin ups’ Exciteable  media-savvy types such as Neil ‘the hair’ Oliver (hon. Phd) , Dr Alice ‘Breathless’ Roberts, Prof. Brian ‘Big Bang’ Cox over-enthuse like children’s TV presenters (imagine the Blue Peter studio full of puppies)

Big Bang

Big Bang

Hair

Hair

Breathless

Breathless

We are hooked and reeled in by same with the promise of the revelation of long-hidden secrets. Well when I finally do see a documentary which really does tell me something I  don’t already know about the Valley of the Kings, I swear I will eat my Doc Marten boots: Bouncing soles and all.

Is there a special department of the BBC which trains them all to be so intolerably enthusiastic, in the same way BBC announcers were coached in the dark art of Received Pronunciation back in the 40s and 50s?

Thank Goodness for Mary Beard.

Copyright Andy Daly 2013

Diamond Jubilee 2012

So, how was it for you? As with the last Royal occasion I remained aloof and uninterested. Until it started of course, and then became glued to it, as if it were the only thing that mattered. I’d had the intention of having my say about it from the outset. About the unfathomable wonder that people took in the river pageant for instance. Perhaps it is just me. I have never found the grey/brown sludge of the Thames particularly inspiring anyway. Not when compared for instance with the majestic Tyne or the proud Mersey. With its flotilla of seemingly random belfry, boats and barges it looked an untidy sodden mess. I couldn’t help thinking it would be at least as interesting – if not more so, to stand on the motorway bridge at Scratchwood services on the M1 and watch the traffic passing underneath for four hours.

And then there were the reactions of the star of the show herself. There must have been some deft editing going on by the TV boys and girls as all the highlights clip compilations seemed to show radiant smile after radiant smile. Well I was watching the coverage quite hard and I didn’t see too many of them. In fact, for a lot of the time she wore a face (if you will pardon the expression) like a slapped arse. On stage after the concert for instance, she looked for all the world like she was standing in the queue for the meat counter at Sainsburys. I thought it unfortunate, too that she did not engage the eyes of the readers in the catherdral, who after all their preparation and rehearsal, at the big moment found themselves rewarded with a view of the top of her hat.

Perhaps she was taking forty winks. In fact, maybe all things being considered, we were all asking a bit much of an eighty six year old, whose husband had just been taken in to hospital.

Then, while collecting the snippets for this piece – sounds grand doesn’t it? – on You Tube, I came across a comment which praised Stevie Wonder’s performance on monday night, but was extremely abusive about the Queen. It made my blood boil (and this is  coming from someone who still rates the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” as one of the best records of the last fifty years) and then I realised. This particularly spiteful peice of online invective didn’t just reflect on our monarch. Yes this Jubillee weekend was about the Queen and the House of Windsor with all their foibles and faults (after all who would we have on our money otherwise? David Cameron? No thanks) but its real stars were the hundreds of thousands packing the Mall for the concert and processions, or lining a wet and dismal Thames, or the millions who arranged street parties or events. The people who came out because they wanted to. And who did so in the most endearingly eccentric way that could be only British, in an atmosphere of joy and inclusivity. Faces painted, silly costumes, home made crowns, union flags everywhere, sleeping out in the park. These are the people who lie in baths of custard for Children In Need or who go to work dressed as clowns for Comic Relief, whose sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters are flown back from Afghanistan, maimed or in boxes.

And may God bless ’em.

Highlights: The concert on monday night, I have to say was spectacular. I can’t stand Tom Jones. Brilliant voice, but his choice of material is lamentable, especially “Delilah”, but surprise surprise, he made a cracking job of it, even managing to make it sound relevant and contemporary. Grace Jones Slave to the rythmn and Madness of course!

The African Childrens’ Choir and this; the stunning Diamond Choir with Will Todd’s “Call of Wisdom” from the St Paul’s service.


© Andy Daly 2012

Amy

Amy,

I never knew you, we never met, but your Music thrilled me, moved me, made me want to dance, groove, cry … it even made me angry. And by ‘Music’  I mean the whole shooting match, from lyrics to (at your best) to fantastic, gutsy performance. I regret never seeing you live: indolence / laziness on my part, I’m afraid. The best compliment I can pay you is that after buying ‘Frank’ on-spec;  in Womack’s words I played it: ‘ over and over and over again till the  grooves (were) gone …. Your writing was so mature, so knowing … I don’t know enough about you to judge whether you lived it, or were  just a good observer. I suspect I know which. Either way, blessed with  that wonderful voice and a childhood/adolescence ( it seems) steeped in class music, you were too good to be true.

I hope all the cheapskate tabloid and  gossip rag hacks who tormented and took the piss out of you are happy now. This is what they wanted. Their outrageous behaviour fits quite comfortably into the News of the World Code of Practice methinks …

Normally, I think the epitaph Rest in Peace is a lazy, over-used waste of words,  but in your case, it does seem quite fitting. Wherever we go when we shuffle off this mortal coil, I only hope it’s cool for you Amy, and that you get the peace you didn’t have in the all too brief shooting star sparkle that was your life as it arced across our otherwise dull and dreary sky.

In fact, it looks even better in Latin:  Requiescat in pace. Whaddaya think? (What did I do before ‘Wikipedia’?)

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011)

 Requiescat in pace

The Carbon Fibre’s In The Kitty Litter

I know this is a bit of a specialist subject, but  lately I’ve become fascinated more than somewhat by the work of three pairs of British motorcycle  racing commentators, namely Julian Ryder and Toby Moody who cover Moto GP, Moto 2, and the 125 class, for British Eurosport. Jack Burnicle and former rider James Whitham who commentate on World and British Superbikes, also for British Eurosport; and Nigel Pearson with former England rider and ex-World Longtrack champion Kelvin Tatum, who cover the Speedway for Sky Sports.

(Moody, Ryder, Burnicle, Whitham, Pearson and Tatum)

So, what is it that makes them all so compelling? What common links exist between these six disparate characters, other than their habit of hanging around in twos at race venues? Obviously, as befitting of people in their position they are almost all completely immersed in the world of motorcycle competition – and in  particular their own areas of specialism in the sport, either as a former rider (Whitham, Tatum) or as serious enthusiast (possessor of  frighteningly comprehensive encyclopaedic knowledge, Ryder; highly articulate, often comically tongue-tied Moody, informed ‘giddy spectator’ Burnicle and Pearson, genial apologist for Speedway, everyone’s ‘Love it or loathe it’ sport)

I used to think commentators were superfluous – I think some still are. Dave Lanning, the voice of Speedway in the ’70s changed that. A good commentator, I feel should not be there simply to give you information, or explain; for example in the way  you might have to explain to those who have never attended or watched such an event before what is going on: especially when it means everyone who has is forced to hear it again and again. (Hope you’re reading this Tony Millard)  A good commentator should be in that place where audience and sportsperson meet; they should engage with the experience that their audience is having, develop and deepen it. This is what Lanning did. He knew the riders, the teams, the tracks, a ‘sufficient’ amount about the machinery to explain the reasons why riders did  the things they did and why events on the track took the turns they did. (No pun – honestly!- intended) with authority and humour. Watching speedway today, I sometimes find myself slipping into ‘Lanning-Speak’ as, distracted, I mentally commentate. (“Oh I say! What a fine piece of speedway!” “It doesn’t get much tighter than that, you could throw a handkerchief over all four of them” “He’s going out to the fence, he’s taking the high, wide and handsome route”)

Do any of  my crop of six come close to the Big Man? Well let’s say they are at their best, when, like sharps of flint they crackle and spark off each  other with a vitality that the common herd can only watch and envy. Okay, maybe that’s going a bit far in some cases, but tune in to British Eurosport, or Sky Sports, catch this lot on form and you’ll see what I mean.

So, to business. My key areas of interest comprise:

  • PLOC
  • Background knowledge/Response to ‘On-Track’ events/Observational Skills
  • Favourite sayings and creativity in use of euphemisms for the word ‘Crash’

My findings are attached below:

 

(On board chasing Moto GP traffic. Let’s face it, you’d have to be bloody nuts wouldn’t you?)

(Ben Spies: making some noise in his first season of Moto GP – I knew he would)

PLOC: (or to give its full title Point of Loss of Control) – usually with reference to voice, but may apply to bodily functions as well, this denotes a point in a race: a frantic start, a particular passing move, fierce tussle, spill, collision and so on which is momentous enough to cause our commentator to lose all self-control in relation to both his immediate environment (the commentary box, his partner and any guests) as well as his listeners/viewers: affects  the volume, tone, timbre of voice and its level of hysteria as evidenced in ‘breaking’, shouting, screaming and in one or two cases singing.

  • A particular feature of Moody’s work, where PLOC is often found to have been reached, before the end of the first sentence. For example at the start of practically every Moto GP. Toby’s voice shifts semi-tones, up and down mirroring the riders’ changes of gear. This is made even more entertaining if his commentary position leaves him unsighted and relying only on the local TV director’s footage. Toby gets more and more tongue-tied and frustrated as he is unable to see who is who, but continues regardless: …. and look! Casey Stoner’s made a BRIIIILLIANT start on the …(up semi-tone) oh! but he’s being OVERTAKEN by  who……? Now THHHHAAAAATTTS (up semi-tone) Capirosi. But No! It’s… ( down semi-tone ) NICKY HAYDEN … Loris Capirosi … (down semi-tone) as they go into the right hander (up semi-tone) But where’s Stoner? WE’VE LOST CASEY STONER! (up a whole tone) etc…
  • Ryder avoids the hysterics. He is the ‘Steady Hand’ to Moody’s emotional outbursts.  His main problems when excited are forgetting to breathe and using unfeasibly long sentences.
  • Nigel Pearson and KelvinTatum feature quite strongly here I am afraid. For example, Pearson continuing to shout in a most disagreeable manner, despite the finish of the particular race he is supposed to be commentating on: “WELL, HAVE WE GOT A MEETING NOW, OR WHAT, KELVIN TATUM?” I just wish he wouldn’t expend so much of his (apparently limitless) energy trying to convince us we’re watching great racing. I think we’ll be the judge of that, Ta.
  • Tatum, too, is capable of allowing himself to rapidly spiral out of control, although he seems to take many of his cues from Pearson;  indeed, at times they will chorus in unison; for example, over a skilful piece ‘fence-scraping’  “Ohhhhhh! HOW did he do that?!” Nevertheless, he falls short of that daemonic, possessed quality that transforms Pearson from affable host to deranged nutcase: “IF YOU’RE SITTING AT HOME WITH PIZZA TAKEAWAY AND THE FOOD HAS GONE ALL OVER THE FLOOR DUE TO THE EXCITEMENT OF THAT RACE, PLEASE FORGIVE US!” Nonetheless, I do think it terribly endearing, however that Pearson and Tatum continue to model themselves on 70’s TV regulars, Fozzie Bear and Kermit. Next time you see the dynamic Sky Sports duo doing a discussion to camera, wearing their silly big headphones (What are they listening to: Deep Purple?) and nodding sagely in agreement at appropriate intervals, think Muppets.

  • Of the six, Burnicle and Whitham are probably the most restrained. In Whitham’s case, a riding career which saw him reach the heights of success, tempered by a catalogue of injuries that would make an orthopedic surgeon wince mean he has the ability to commentate with authority and experience. Add a touch of dry, gallows/paddock humour and he’s your man. Having been there, seen it, done it, he doesn’t tend to shout about it much. He finds more satisfaction teasing Burnicle, the enthusiast who comes across more like Whitham’s Dad.

(The irrepressible Rossi. Doesn’t like hospitals! )

Background knowledge/Response to ‘On-Track’ events/Observational Skills

  •  Background knowledge I am happy to report is very good in all cases and in some excellent.
  • Jack Burnicle, for instance, can always be relied upon to give you that extra insight:  (Re: Colin Edwards, World Superbikes and his choice of tyres) “Colin  had a hard on in practice earlier, and I bet he wished he had a hard on now” and “Simon only weighs 63kg and most of that’s his ears!”

(Casey Stoner)

  • Whitham: (My job) “is to get across the subtlties of what is happening, what strategies they might be evolving, what’s going on with the tyres and so on” In response to track action, the assured Whitham sometimes employs an elegant spoiling tactic. When something he has said is about to be contradicted by actual  events as they happen (to be fair, not very often):  He diverts attention away to another area of the race course ” Look, Jack  Now ah knew that were gunna ‘appen. I knew sooner or later someone were gunna open a Heineken umbrella on that bit o’ banking …. I mean … “
  • And then there  is Ryder. He is eagle-eyed and has (seemingly at his fingertips) a mass of information about riders, and their pedigree, bikes, engines, teams, gossip, rumour, lap times, records and is able to – and this is where he scores trillions of points – put all this in context for the casual viewer. For example, as a result of watching coverage of free practice at the new Spanish Aragonese track, I now have a much more complete understanding of ‘wet’ tyre technology. It might not get me very far with the man on the Clapham omnibus, but if I ever find myself in the paddock on a wet raceday, I’ll be able to say: “Yeah! get the wets on, they’ll grip without compromising speed too much, Why? because … er … the heat … um … err … and the little bits … they squash … sort of … and …  Hang on a sec. I’ll just ask Jules”

(Going down the road)

  • In responding to on-track action, bear in mind that our six will know many of the riders personally. A close shave (or God forbid worse) for one or a number of  competitors elicit a uniform response, though these vary in their intensity and level of empathy depending on the circumstances. So we get:

“OOHHHHHHHHHHH!” (Ryder and Moody)

 “OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!” (Pearson and Tatum)

“OH NO! OOOOOOOHHH  AHHHHHHH  OOOOOOOOOOOH….!”  Poor Burnicle seems to feel every bump and scrape himself as riders come off and hit the hard asphalt or gravel traps: He then, to add insult to injury,  admonishes the fallen rider: “Oh Leon, what have you done? You silly boy!’ for his recklessness/speed/ill-timed braking/poor choice of tyres/big ears.

Whitham is more matter of fact “I see what’s ‘appened,  he’s front-ended on braking, going int’ corner, so he’s hit the deck fast.  Aye, he’s moving across that tarmac, mind you he’s missed t’ kerb. Nah, he’ll be all reyt”

Tatum seems to take an unhealthy over-interest in the trauma suffered by fallen riders as he puts each spill under his ‘Pain Microscope’

“If we take a look at that again Nige you’ll see … Ohhhhh! Look at him getting thrown around like a rag-doll … and thump on his head! … And now the bike runs over him! That’s got to hurt. Let’s have another look …..”

Favourite Sayings and creativity in use of euphemisms for the word ‘Crash’

  • Pearson insists on wishing stricken riders “All the very best” – Is it just me ? Isn’t that  the sort of thing you write on a Christmas Card?
  • Pearson: “Chris Louis in the pits there, and apologies if you heard one or two words which you may have found offensive”
  • Tatum: (Every week) “Y’know Nige, very often in the re-run it is not the rider who was leading the race when it was stopped who wins”
  • Tatum: “Well, Nige they’ve just not come to the races”
  • Ryder: “Valentino’s shoulder”
  • Whitham: “I knew that were gunna ‘appen.”

 Crash Pronunciation:/kraʃ/: collide violently with an obstacle or another vehicle. Not to be confused with a ‘Moment’ (When a rider almost comes to grief) Crashes are otherwise known as an ‘An Off’ ‘, ‘A Front/Back End’, Dropping It’, ‘High Side’ (When the machine bucks the rider off after going into a rear wheel slide),’Going Down The Road’  ‘Throwing the baby out with the bathwater’

but by far my favourite is from Toby Moody ‘The carbon fibre ‘s in the kitty litter!’ (Incidentally, there is one ‘bogus’ in the above list. Can you spot it?)

So in conclusion, between them, in spite (or perhaps because of) their foibles, idiosyncracies, things they say that drive me nuts, I enjoy their company. After all, if  it gets too much, I just turn the sound down.

Closing note: The Spanish Aragon GP 2010: King Juan Carlos presents winner Stoner with the trophy. Event sponsor’s logo given pride of place!

Links:

Moto GP

British Superbikes

World Superbikes

Elite League Speedway

Let me take you back to the dirtrack

James Whitham

KelvinTatum

Nigel Pearson

Julian Ryder Twitter MotoGPJules

Toby Moody Twitter tobymoody

 Neil Spalding  Twitter Spalders

Andy Daly   Twitter andydaly25

 

Jack Burnicle

Nigel Pearson ‘Take Away’ Quote: Jeff Scott ‘Showered in Shale’ Methanol Press 2006

This post is affectionately dedicated to those brave men who risk life and limb week after week at racetracks around the world for our enjoyment, namely Julian Ryder, Toby Moody, Jack Burnicle, James Whitham, Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum.

First published  Sept. 2010

© Andy Daly  2010

Bloody Hell

I feel I cannot let the events of this weekend go by without some comment.

It certainly puts things into perspective when you see images like those from Japan. It makes you realise how insignificant we are, and how slender is our grip on all that we rely for our survival and all that we hold dear. Both, if we are honest we blithely take for granted – sometimes because we are ignorant of them, while other times because we are simply absorbed by things which seem vitally important (Such as ‘Blogs’ for instance) but which are in fact mere distractions.

It makes you realise that despite our technological advancement; our ability to control the atom, engage in forms of mass communication our grandparents could not even have imagined plus our knowledge, skills and techniques which allow us to conquer just about any form of terrain or habitat on our planet, we are just as fragile, bewildered and helpless as our ancestors. We really haven’t come that far at all.

What has been most startling and moving about all the TV footage I have seen is the composure, stoicism and dignity of the survivors and those involved in the rescue and repair operations. In fact, the nation as a whole. An example to us all.

© Andy Daly

Image: Japanese Cherry Blossom: http://superwomanquest.wordpress.com/

Bike

David Mason’s GM  speedway Bike photographed yesterday at Rye House practice session.

Engine is a  single cylinder, 499cc 4 Valve 4 stroke air-cooled single overhead camshaft. Weighs 26kg. approximately 80+ BHP, dry clutch, runs on Methanol. 0 – 60 in under 3 seconds.

Beast!

© Andy Daly  2010

Bird

Swan: genus Cygnus,  family Anatidae. Photographed 2 days ago at Amwell on some canal or other. Length:  approx 1.5 m (60 inches) Wingspan: 3 m (10 ft) Clutch: 3 – 7 (eggs) Runs on roots, tubers, Mothers Pride, Hovis, Warburtons. Mess with its clutch and there’s a good chance you’ll do 0 – 60 in under 3 seconds.

Beast!

© Andy Daly  2010