31 October 2019

No Ordinary Balls



Or maybe #ARSWOL? Saturday's visitors are Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates. The game on November 2nd is the first 3pm kick-off of the season at home.

Saturday football was traditionally always a 3pm kick-off.  And then once the Premier League was created to make football into a business rather than a sport for the working man, it all went to shit.

TV money may have given us the chance to see talents from across the globe, but it has corrupted the sport. The match going fan is the least regarded.  

We still pay a high price for our tickets and yet at the whim of the TV companies, games are switched to extreme times and places. Often far away where public transport is not available.  A trip to Liverpool with an 8pm kick off.  The return to London when the match finishes nigh on impossible. TV and it seems the Premier League doesn't give a shit. 

So let's make the most of the 3pm kick off.  We don't know when the next one will happen!

29 October 2019

Movember 2019

Now that is frightening!  Sorry if you were eating when this popped up.

It's the shave face.  In the previous post asking to you sponsor me for Movember  I showed the full beard face.

That was shaved off without too many injuries although I nicked my bottom lip and it has been bleeding on and off since.

By Friday, the official starter's gun for a month of tache growing, I'll have shave again to start off smooth..... 

So please, spare even the minimum £3 and sponsor me.  My links are all over the place.

It's 15 years since I had my first go and that was a charity called Tacheback. Pretty much the same ideals as Movember but now defunct.  Shame as I raised a good few quid in the two years I did it.

Maybe this year's Movember will morph into Decembeard?  

Book Review: Tell Me I'm Wrong by Adam Croft

Tell Me I'm Wrong

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A very popular magazine in the UK has a section called "Pseuds Corner". It highlights some of the inanities of life and the people that fuel them. Some of the reviews I read on this forum (Goodreads!) are pretty much there too.

I admit that I have enjoyed all of Adam's Culverhouse and Knight books. In fact I expect I gave them 4* on completion. I am a little saddened that finishing book #8 led to no #9.

This one I found very hard to get my teeth into. I don't mind a murder strewn book, but for some reason I was a bit queasy about the child killing as the opening murder.

From there I read on and as some others have said the twist wasn't that much of a twist, more a spotlight shone and not difficult too guess.

Not Adam's best book by a long chalk,

Book Review: No Rest for the Wicked by Adam Croft

No Rest for the Wicked

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really interesting short story.

I got this free as I subscribed to Adam's VIP club. I had a bit of a struggle to get it onto my Fire but in the end it was worth it.

A local murder, across the road from the copper's house. Who could have done that? Read it to find out.

28 October 2019


It's hard work trying to think of an abbreviation for Stevenage Borough that fits into three characters for a hashtag.  No doubt some expert will come up with a better one. Anyway.

Some 28 years ago I worked for Grand Metropolitan in Harlow.  

My work colleague Nigel was from Cambridge but lived in Stevenage. Rather than take his kids to Cambridge United he opted for his local, then non-league, club, Stevenage.  I went a few times.  They won the Conference one year but weren't allowed into the EFL (Football League as it was then) as the ground wasn't up to the right standard. In 2011 and in their first year in the fourth tier they beat Premier League Newcastle 3-1 in the FA Cup.

So a £20 concession ticket bought.  Let's hope for good weather on the day!

The match on November 16th will be my first visit to their stadium since 1990.  Now. 

Where to park? Had thought of going on the bike but the weather in November is liable to be poor, so it will be by car. Parking is across the road in the local country park. Better get there early then.

Update 11th November

Game cancelled due to both sides having players on international duty!

God only knows when it will be replayed. 

27 October 2019


Today's visitors to the jelly strength Fortress Emirates was Crystal Palace FC. 

Unusually though we find them only a point and a place behind us in the league table. More often than not they are in the relegation places at this stage of the season. 

Their manager Roy "Woy" Hodgson, former England manager, has them working well.

Or so it seemed until Arsenal took a two goal lead in the 7th and 9th minutes. Goals from set pieces not from forwards but from centre backs Sokratis and Luiz. 

On 30 they were level when VAR, Video Assistant Referee, overruled the onfield referee and awarded a penalty to Palace after Zaha seemed to dive over to get it.

Onfield ref, Martin Atkinson, had already, showed Zaha the yellow card for the dive and given a free kick to Arsenal. 

The annoying thing is not VAR itself but the time it takes to make a decision. If the muppets watching on TV are quick to contact the ref, why the long delay? They will have seen something to have queried the initial decision in the first place?

Palace equalised after the ball was lost in midfield. And a cross fell to Ayew, another player that seens to have inner ear problem affecting his balance, to score.

From then on Palace time wasted. Dived at every contact and Arsenal threw everything at it. 

When Granit Xhaka was substituted midway through the second half a lot of the crowd cheered his name and then as he slowly left the pitch they booed. He apparently took off his shirt and threw it to the ground and is reported to have told fans to "f off". 

As an Arsenal fan for 55 years I have never booed my own players. Never booed the team. Even during the shit years in the 70's. 

VAR or should we call it VDR, Video Decision Referee, once again intervened and overuled a third Arsenal goal. At the time of writing some 90 minutes after the game ended we still don't know why. 

There were no complaints from Palace players to suggest an infringement in the build up to Chambers being fouled in the six yard box and the ball bouncing to Sokratis to slam dunk. No goal. No penalty either. 

Game ended 2-2.

Movember 2019

Getting closer. 

The rules are that on November 1st everyone should start with a clean shave and that entrants  keep growing a tache for the whole month. 

From what I have seen there are people whose facial hair grows like quickfire bamboo. I mean that within a few days they have a lush tache. 

I am starting from a full beard position. More to shave off.... 

Please sponsor me:  https://uk.movember.com/donate/details?memberId=2865109

This year is also FIFTEEN years since I grew my first tache for the Tacheback charity.  I followed that early success up in 2006 - http://invictamoto.blogspot.com/2006/08/tacheback.html

14 October 2019

Press Release - Shock news on Derbyshire Police Bike Theft Ranking while Thames Valley Police contradict themselves

Derbyshire Police have contacted MAG to apologise for an administrative error that resulted in bike theft stats being quoted incorrectly.  The revised figures see Derbyshire tumble in the rankings from 1st to 25th. Meanwhile Thames Valley Police has revealed data that allows MAG to rank them 29th.

Derbyshire Police's Freedom of Information Officer explained in a letter to MAG's central office that: "As a consequence of further searches by our analysts it has been established that the original figures as supplied are wrong and, therefore, should be disregarded. The revised figures are:

2017 - 437
2018 – 414

This revelation strips Derbyshire of its top rank in the Bike Theft Rankings, with the new figures revealing a theft rate of 1 in 62 bikes stolen as opposed to the originally published 1 in 776. Meanwhile, despite communications from Thames Valley Police to MAG stating an inability to provide the data within the constraints of the FOI legislation, a separate FOI request to TVP from MAG Regional Rep, Tim Peregrine, brought a confused and contradictory response.  The response that Tim received contained a letter stating:

"Please note however that the vehicle type is selected by the officer dealing with the report and may not be a completely accurate reflection of the vehicle type".  The figures provided in an attached document were inconveniently broken down by financial year as opposed to calendar year.

The figures were thus presented as "for the date range 01/01/2017 – 31/12/2018 broken down by financial year".  The quoted figures are were:

2016/17: 244
2017/18: 1053
2018/19: 734

MAG has therefore taken the total figure across two years to be 2031, and averaged that to 1015.5 per year.  This places Thames Valley Police at 29th in the rankings.

When asked to comment, MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, who has been responsible for collating the ranking data said "it's probably best that I don't."

The new data has now been published in a revised document which can be found at: 

12 October 2019

FIM Meritum Award

Seems like a lifetime ago that I went to my 5th and final FIM Rally and earned my Meritum Award. 

11 October 2019

Press Release - MAG appeals to Anne Sacoolas "do the right thing"

The Motorcycle Action Group appeals to Anne Sacoolas: "do the right thing"

On 27th August 2019, the car being driven by Anne Sacoolas, wife of a US Diplomat, collided with a motorcycle being ridden by 19 year old Harry Dunn near to RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. The car was allegedly being driven on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision.    Tragically Harry died shortly after the collision.  Despite informing the police that she had no intention to do so, Sacoolas left the country before an application by Northamptonshire Police to the US Embassy to waive diplomatic immunity had been considered.

This story has been well covered in the media with Harry Dunn's parents appealing to Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to intervene.  

The response from Donald Trump has infuriated many with its 

There are a number of aspects to this story that MAG intends to address at a future point, but out of respect for Harry and his family and friends, we will await the final conclusion of this tragic event before making further comment.

MAG does, however, join many others in calling directly to Anne Sacoolas to do the right thing, return voluntarily to the United Kingdom and face fair and impartial due process.

MAG campaigns for justice for all motorcyclists who fall victim of accidents caused by the actions of other road users.

9 October 2019

Press Release - MAG members call out unworkable policy decisions at AGC

On Saturday 28th September, at their 45th Annual Group Conference (AGC), MAG members generated a strong and uncompromising message regarding what hey see as unworkable and unrealistic transport policies that are being promoted by politicians of all colours.

During the Conference, a series of proposals made by former MAG National Chairman, Neil Liversidge, were discussed and put to the vote.  All passed; most by an overwhelming majority.

The proposals progress and solidify MAG's position, which promotes freedom of choice in personal transport, and an integrated transport system that works for all members of society, the economy and the environment.

The position defined by these proposals rejects the proposed 2040 ban on the sale of internal combustion-powered vehicles, or any similar ban at any other date.  Promoting freedom of choice, the position rejects assumptions that electrification of the entire vehicle fleet in the UK is achievable.  It does, however, support electrification and improvement of an affordable public transport network, which will naturally encourage voluntary reductions in the use of private transport.  Finally, the introduction of fully autonomous vehicles on UK roads is opposed, due to the evidence suggesting that they will never be sufficiently safe on a road environment that must necessarily accommodate motorcyclists and cyclists without segregation.

A further resolution, brought by Life Member, Stephen Kearney, also reaffirmed the central role of motorcycles in MAG's vision, which promotes motorcycles as the most efficient and least polluting fossil fuel-powered transport mode.

Neil Liversidge said "We recognise that transport needs to change given the UK's dense population, but dictatorial measures such as banning ICE vehicles are not the way to do it. Put in a proper public transport system so people have a real choice, and let them keep their bikes and cars and way of life.  A lot is talked these days about respecting different cultures: well, we have a culture too and we demand that it is respected also. ICE vehicles have brought massive benefits to millions of people that electric vehicles will never realistically bring.

People have realised in the last few years that they have taken too much for too long from politicians who don't really represent them at all. This is the people pushing back… and it's only the beginning."

Speaking after the Conference, MAG Vice Chair, Andy Carrott, who chaired the event, said "This has been another very successful AGC, where MAG members from around the country came together to celebrate and recognise the work of the many volunteers that make MAG the effective organisation it is today. The meeting faced some tough questions, and there is never unanimity of views, but these resolutions were well debated from a range of perspectives. It was evident that members at the conference support an integrated transport network, with drivers and riders alike free to choose their transport mode (with both ICE and electric vehicles as part of the mix), without increased risk to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists. The fact that we can hold these controversial discussions in such a respectful and balanced way gives great credit to our members and the organisation."

7 October 2019


Another sunny day at the Emirates.

We had expected a rainy cold day but in the end it was glorious. Unfortunately the game wasn't as good.

Arsenal dominated the first half but only had David Luiz' first Arsenal goal to show for it. 

Plenty of huff. Little puff in the end. 

Second half was Bournemouth on top. Both sides kept on huffing but neither looked like scoring.

Pierre Emerick Aubamayang struck a post in the dying seconds.

Three points in the bag. Up to third behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

5 October 2019

Wireless SD Card

Although I tried a similar idea some years ago I thought this was worth visiting.

The previous attempt involved using a "named" maker. That wasn't much of a success. Sandisk's support was totally shit = sell a product. Realise it is rubbish and then don't support it anymore.

So surely only an idiot would try again.

Well. Idiot or not I bought one. The unbranded Chinese version came in a few days from an English mailing point. 

It works pretty much the same as the WiFi in my Samsung compact camera. Power on and it broadcasts a wireless signal. 

Check the WiFi on the phone and choose the SDWiFi option and then open the app to copy the pix across to the phone or tablet. 

The card is actually an adapter and takes any size Micro SD card and I have a 128gb card in the slot. 

So far it works. 

3 October 2019


Tonight at The Emirates we entertain Standard Liege from Belgium in the Europa League.  

Their fans have been arriving all afternoon and as I sit in the office preparing this and getting ready to head up to the stadium, they are on the newly paved area outside Highbury and Islington Station singing and generally enjoying themselves. The drum is a little annoying though.  

As is usual the police presence is very light and they are keeping a watching brief.

Maybe a lesson to be learned from this instead of the almost Nazi tactics employed across Europe.

A few of them were a little naughty earlier as they let off fire crackers in the tube station at Kings Cross.

So let's have a good game and hopefully no surprises like the one our neighbours from nearby Middlesex got when they were on the receiving end of a 7-2 thrashing, at home, from Bayern Munich.

The starting eleven featured Bellerin returning from long term injury. Also starting were Tierney, signed from Celtic in the summer, and another returnee from injury Rob Holding. 

Also in that eleven were Martinelli, Willock and Nelson. Another trio of young and hungry players. 

Liège weren't very good. Goals from Martinelli (2), Willock and Dani Ceballos saw them off 4-0. 

Another good win. 

2 October 2019

Book Review: In the Name of the Father by Adam Croft

In the Name of the Father (Knight & Culverhouse Book 6)In the Name of the Father by Adam Croft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The usual fare from Adam and his pair of mismatched but oddly symbiotic coppers. A bit more personal detail added for curmudgeonly Jack though to open things a little.

View all my reviews

1 October 2019

Welcome back, Mo legend

Can't see any images? Click here
Paul Devall
It's Mo time!
Things are about to get hairy.

Paul, you're back. We're chuffed. Let's do this.

Congratulations, straight off the bat.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: you're changing the lives of men across the world by raising lifesaving funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. It's huge – be proud.
Where to start this year? We've got you covered. Use the checklist below to hit the ground running.
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Time to get face-deep in Movember

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Movember 2019

Movember 2019 is only a month away.  

Click on the links below to sign up to fundraise yourself, or on the donate button to donate to my account.

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