EDitorial ± 29-Nov-2006

TT0607, Week 3

Second match in three days -- some weeks are like that -- and the Defiants included not one, not two but the full complement (have you lost weight?) of three players, each ready, raring and roaring to go. Grrrr, we are tigers, et cetera. Ahem.

Shame that the opposition were top-notch. Fortunately we landed a preposterous number of nets and edges, a possible by-product of a home table coupled with sweaty conditions, and enough to secure one of our total of two points. Poor kid I was playing could only gape and cuss as I hit an edge to win the first end, got several more to take the second, then snatch the third with a lob which plopped on his side of the net. Technically he did more than gape, throwing his bat onto the floor and berating his tally of zero fluke shots. Only a game.

Having lost in straight ends against the same kid, AC was looking good for a point from his next match on the fifth and final end, going 6-0 up. His opponent, Gritty McTenacious, rallied back to 8-8, had a matchpoint, blew it, before AC woke up and banged away the winner, a shot he clearly enjoyed.

And what of Mr KC? There was what the police might call an incident when Kev served, hit the net, and had the point called against him by AC, the impartial umpire. Kev insisted that (a) it had glanced the opponent's side and (b) he'd abide by the ref's decision. Their chap helped by graciously offering to not accept the point. As I say, an incident. Let's all move on. Which Kev certainly did by taking an end in his final game and playing really rather well.

Not a disgrace to lose 8-2 to such a good side, but not when you need when you're down, down, deeper and down.

EDitorial ± 27-Nov-2006

TT0607, Week 11

When you're weary, feeling small, and there's trouble over Bridgwater, plus others continually beat you at ping-pong, you gotta do what the pros do -- go back to basics and dig out your lucky T-shirt.

Mine's a black and white effort that says "RAVE" and features logos for both BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Five. No Live, just Five. Dates back to the glorious if sonically dodgy days of R5 on AM -- we didn't have no DAB back then -- and a radio presenter who did a rather good Elvis impression. That DJ was Rob Brydon. Rave went out on a Friday night from 10.10 to midnight (adds my shirt), and had the odd phone-in comp. I think I may have recognised the intro to a Talking Heads track to secure my prize. I certainly remember standing in the kitchen waiting to speak, feeling nervous, listening to the live feed down the line. Simpler times.

Well, it made all the difference. Just me and JetSet Andy tonight aiming to drag the BT Defiants off the bottom of the table (shame) and, at the tenth time of asking, we finally won a game. No, seriously. And nice of our opponents not to field their best player. Me and the Tee had a jumpy if winning start, then beat their reserve player (the one with the hip replacement), and rounded off the night outspinning their third guy. Andy coulda shoulda also got a maximum, but hey, we'll take the victory.

EDitorial ± 23-Nov-2006

TT0607, Week 10

Full team on display this evening, and we even had a brief practice at lunchtime. After all, not long now until the 2012 Olympics. Didn't do us a great deal of good, going down 3-7, though that is a full three more points than our previous outing.

KC did his customary so close and still so far routine, winning the odd end and losing certain games 9-11. AC had flown in from LAX, lagging sleep, whereas I was plain lax and flagging from the off. First game was against that rare quantity, a female TT player, who set about knocking me off the table. Went to the fifth end, nine-all, and I displayed some ungentlemanly conduct in sneaking the victory. Which turned out to be my one and only point.

All credit to the carpenter in the opposition team, who takes his name from the initial letters of months 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, and who hammered the lot of us. Did you see what I did there?

EDitorial ± 21-Nov-2006

Dolmio, October 2006

Today finds us three weeks / 21 days / 500 hours / 30,000 minutes through the 11th month. Christmas lights are on in town, mighty chilly this evening, and still have yet to do last month's Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order). Tut like an Egyptian.

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. October 2006 was spent:

  • with the West Wing gone, adapting to Geena Davis as the eponymous Commander-In-Chief
  • fixing Spanish omelettes when nowt else in the house
  • learning loads about Apollo from Andrew Smith's marvellous Moondust
  • arriving about a year late to Lazy Sunday
  • admiring the sheer inventiveness of Cube
  • donning my luminescent Lidl yellow cycling top for winter
  • waiting for Robin Hood to catch light
  • attempting to clear accumulated cuddly toys, old books and general tat from the loft
  • avoiding the queues for a quick peek at the Book Of Kells
  • downloading Private Lawns by Angus & Julia Stone only to find it given away on a Word CD
  • giggling along at Jack Dee -- who'd have thought? -- in the fantastic Lead Balloon

And that was October 2006.

EDitorial ± 13-Nov-2006

Shrewd With The Crafty

This morning was milder than Penrod Pooch's manners. Funny that, I always thought his familiar name was Henry. Whatever did happen to that HKP wristwatch?

Yes, mild:

  • meek's
  • inoffensive
  • little
  • dogsbody

Less favourable heading home. Cyclist fella was on my tail from the get-go. He undertook me near the Heath shops. I cruised past him coming up to the control tower. He whizzed past me at the start of the Grange Farm cycle path. I motored past him at the second underpass. He bumped up on the pavement to take advantage of a pedestrian crossing, tut-tut. I sailed past alongside the Welcome To Ipswich sign and stayed in top, feeling the pain, to leave him behind. You don't get that driving along in your car, or at least you shouldn't.

Early evening treat to kick off BBC4's Science Fiction Britannia in the form of an old Dr Who starring Sean's dad, Mr Pertwee, or as The Boy calls him, number 3. Very first outing for Worzel as the man from Gallifrey, recovering in hospital after his regeneration and borrowing a mirror to admire his new features. As fascinating to watch for all the 70s paraphernalia: a trimphone, numerous old cars, and a strange looking sunken shower. Those plastic Auton figures, straight from the doll factory, are still disturbing too.

Which didn't really leave time to read about pyramids with The Boy, type up some percentage homework for Middler (felt her writing was too scruffy), cajole the printer into believing that it *didn't* have a paper jam, catch Jerry Seinfeld on The Daily Show promoting Bee Movie, make coffee, feel spooked by Spooks, then contemplate the kitchen after an earlier roast dinner.

And with Mark Radcliffe well into his first half hour, to start fitting a rear light to Wifey's boneshaker. At which point Ingvar's Law raises its head: how can the darn thing be upside down? Still, only 11pm, plenty of time to apply rational thought and fix it. Let's hope it stays put tomorrow.

EDitorial ± 8-Nov-2006

Girl Trouble

Home at 1830 bearing pouches of fishy cat food, coupla cans of chopped toms, Wiltshire ham, "C" batteries, you know the score. Pleasing kitcheny smell of freshly cooked pizza pervaded, but that wasn't all, oh no, that wasn't all.

Wifey was coated up and heading out to (yet another) skool mtg, leaving yours truly to deal with the remaining pizza slices -- yum -- plus:

  • Middler sulking upstairs having fallen out with her departing mother over what to wear for the up and coming Victorian day,
  • Eldest fretting over latest maths homework -- not too bad -- then switching to a fret level of onze re French devoirs ("I can't do it", "I'm rubbish", "Bruno chasse le facteur", etc),
  • then the cerise sur la tarte in the form of a phone call from a fraught wifey: hi, sniff, I've scratched the car, sniff, again, sniff

Oops. Spilt milk. It's only money. Take a look in the morning.

Meantime the male 40 per cent of the household calmly proceeded to prepare a shoe box of goodies for Operation Christmas Child. Was pleasantly surprised to witness The Boy's apparent non-material bent, happily packing the box with a bouncy ball, toy car, stationery items and his now-too-small woolly Spider-Man hat. We chaps, you know, we just get on with it.

Later, for some light relief, looked up wifey's biorhythms for today only to read this:

Today your barometer of emotions is jumping from high to very low. Take it easy and have a cup of tea; tomorrow is another day.

Now-now-now-now now-now-now-now (that was the Twilight Zone theme).

EDitorial ± 6-Nov-2006

TT0607, Week 9

Here we go again. Less than ideal prep for tonight's ping-pong, trying to explain the puzzle of percentages to an overwrought Middler, unfresh from a late night playing with fireworks.

Lousy game tonight: didn't win any points, didn't win any ends, and outscored by Newbie Kev. No edge, no motivation, no nothing much at all.

We briefly threatened to avoid the whitewash come the doubles, and I should mention Kev's final shot. Was their matchpoint, 10-9 up, so we just needed a single point to take it to a deuce. Into a rally, and their guy knocked it wide. Now, I've been attempting to coach Kev into being a little more cautious; just get the thing back and let them make the mistakes. So what does he do? Goes for a wild winner and smashes the ball into the net. Summed up our night.

EDitorial ± 4-Nov-2006

Muse, The Point, Dublin

Had been on the Dodo wall pad for months before rushing to meet us last Friday: drop off kids, drive to Stansted, fly to Dublin, bus to hotel, walk to venue, watch Muse. Here's a taster from an intense night:

Small bit of upfront online research had revealed The Point to be walkable, apparently, from our bijou Liffey-facing hotel, a fact confirmed by a nice lady on the airport bus. She'd mentioned a boardwalk, and sure enough there's a well-lit and smartly street furnitured walkway all the way out there. Began walking on our own and finally arrived in a snowballing crowd: SOLD OUT, said the sign.

Our standing tickets put us in the heart of the action, closely surrounded by, well, young people, space becoming ever more at a premium in anticipation of the lads appearing. Bovine cries of "Muse!" echoed round the hall. 9:30pm and on they came, and what a noise, in a good way.

They'd been fittingly awesome at Glastonbury in 2004 -- from the comfort of an armchair in front of the BBC2 coverage -- and they sure make a racket for three lads from Teignmouth. Have to love frontman Bellamy for his Thom Yorke voice, Brian May guitar stylings and his Philip Glass piano work. That man sure can perform.

Supermassive Black Hole was everything you'd expect a song of that name to be, and Knights of Cydonia -- maybe about that face on Mars -- was anthemically singalongable. Left with our ears ringing, deaf to the world but happy.

What impressed the kids, though, on our return was our celebrity spotting. Not of Jeffrey Archer, strolling around the Dublin airport bookshop, but of none other than one of the Chuckle Brothers on the Stansted bus. No slacking!

EDitorial ± 2-Nov-2006

TT0607, Week 8

Maybe it was the parent's evening that ran late. Could have been rushing home to get the kids fed. Perhaps even listening to Grandaddy in the car on the way there that got me way too mellow: guess who lost the go in the go-for-it?

Whatever it was, went straight into my first match against someone I've ALWAYS beaten and lost in straight ends. Still felt I'd win when two games down, matchpoint to him. Didn't.

Made up only slightly by following game: lost first two points, then won the next 11 in a row to win that end. Hard to believe but that man Cassy got a maximum while I scraped one lousy point: the boy did good, esp. in a great game against their Ken.

And why is it that Tesco don't sell fireworks after 8pm? We should be told.