23 January 2020

Push The Boundary - Oldham Athletic Fans' Group

I joined this fans' group to push for some action at the club where I saw my first ever football match as 4yo way back in 1959. This season is the 60th since I started to go.  Let's hope it ends better.

I used to go with my Dad, Claude Devall, who was one of the blokes that kept the supporters' club running.  In a small scrapbook we have pictures from the Oldham Chronicle of him painting the stand during the summer break.

He used to go and sit in the stand with his buddies from the club, John Hartshorn and Vinnie (I don't know his surname) and leave me to stand behind the goal, often with my Aunt Linda (Shaw now Johnstone) and her friend Anne.

In those days the club was about where it is now, near the foot of the fourth tier, then called the Fourth Division.  A few years before the two regional third divisions, North and South had been merged into Third and Fourth.

After the highs of being in the Premier League when it started in 1992/93 and staying for two years before bombing out they eventually find themselves in League 2.

Several ownerships later and things are on a knife edge.  As an "exile" I try to get to as many games in the South and East as possible. I have to fit these in with being an Arsenal season ticket holder,

League Tables for the first Paul Devall season as an Oldham Athletic football fan.

The link is to the report from PTB on a meeting they had with the owner and a couple of directors: 

22 January 2020

MAG calls for fair treatment in charging infrastructure

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a doubling of funding for on-street charge points on 21st January.  The Motorcycle Action Group has welcomed news of this funding, but raises concerns about the suitability of provision for owners of electric motorcycles.

Speaking on Monday 21st January, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We want to make electric cars the new normal, and ensuring drivers have convenient places to charge is key to that. By doubling funding again for charge points on streets where people live, and opening up data we are helping drivers easily locate and use affordable, reliable charge points whether at home or on the road."

The Motorcycle Action Group, whilst welcoming the announcement, has, however, raised concerns that national and local government thinking is demonstrating a blind spot when it comes to the provision of charging infrastructure that meets the needs of motorcyclists. MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented "I have had many conversations with local authorities, infrastructure hardware suppliers and other bodies that reveal little, if any, consideration of the needs of motorcyclists when it comes to charging infrastructure.

We support and promote the use of electric motorcycles just as much as conventional internal combustion versions, but if we are to see progress in the electrification of the motorcycle fleet, then some serious debate needs to be had on the specific needs of motorcyclists when it comes to the question of charging.

With the constant threat of motorcycle theft at the forefront of most riders' minds, owners will need provision of facilities that allow secure parking at the charging locations.  This is before we even start to question the technical and ergonomic aspects of charging facilities. To date, I can see no evidence to suggest that these questions are being asked or addressed.

I am calling on the charging infrastructure industry and government to take a long hard look at the needs of motorcyclists when it comes to charging infrastructure.  We cannot afford the option to switch to electric to be denied to motorcyclists simply because no thought was given to charging these machines."

18 January 2020


Home to Sheffield United on a Saturday at 3pm. If that isn't a rare occurrence I am the President of the US....

Once again due to our position in the table we are playing a team above us.

At least the train was on time at Folkestone West.

The game. We played better and started well. Scored almost on the stroke of half time and then late on conceded the equaliser.

No home games for a month. Great.

17 January 2020

MAG looks forward to more motorcycles in Cardiff

This week, Cardiff Council launched a Transport White Paper, which lays out an ambitious 10-year plan to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the Welsh capital.  Proposals include a congestion Charge which is expected to exempt motorcycles, a move that will inevitably increase the prevalence of this transport mode.

When London introduced its Congestion Charging Zone back in 2003, it too exempted motorcycles from all charges.  Modal shift to motorcycles is universally accepted to help reduce congestion and thus also emissions. Studies show that a 10% modal shift from cars to motorcycles will reduce congestion by a staggering 40%.

MAG'sDirector of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented "We broadly welcome the approach of a universal congestion charge on all larger vehicles as opposed to complex emission-based charging schemes when it comes to solving the urban congestion problem, and improving air quality.  The logic of an exemption for single-track vehicles is obvious when starting rom a congestion perspective, enabling a much simpler policy approach that achieves the same results as the confused and administratively burdensome emission charging model which revolves around the complexities of Euro ratings.  An important additional bonus to an increase in the prevalence of motorcycles on the road was also observed in London, where collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles significantly reduced.""

We look forward to seeing an increase in motorcycles in Cardiff and will be engaging with Cardiff City Council to ensure that the benefits of motorcycles are fully embraced, supported and encouraged."

Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, added "This is a great news story to start a new decade.  Let's hope we see many more as MAG pushes to get motorcycles put back where they belong: at the heart of transport policy."

15 January 2020


Today rejoined both the Motorcycle Action Group and the Triumph Owners MCC.

I joined MAG many years ago and then fell by the wayside for a while. Although I did campaign in the SOC for us to affiliate as well as with the BMF, successfully.

I was involved locally with the MAG group but dropped out. Now I give them my money and let them do the riders' rights work.

12 January 2020

Dungeness Polish Memorial

Today we had a short drive to Dungeness to walk Reggie on the shingle.

We go there quite a lot and have seen this memorial to the Polish pilots killed during the Battle of Britain.

But today there are more memories at the site. Wonderful to see.

10 January 2020

T O'Leary 2

Things moved quickly. I found a reference to Timothy on the Greatwarforum.

A guy was actually looking for Jeremiah O'Leary. One of the posts contained a jpg of the 1901 Census.

Claire's gran was the youngest child listed.

At last we could be on the right path.

9 January 2020

Researching WW1 - T O'Leary

It looks as though we have visited the wrong T O'Leary!  

Claire's Dad, Victor,  had a grave reference for a T O'Leary who could/would have been one of his uncles killed on the Western Front in 1915. Where he got this from I have no idea, possibly from his brother Mick.

I located the cemetery from the name and service number and off we went for a day trip. This was probably 10 years ago.

Wanting to find out more I found the Royal Irish Rifles and all the other former British Irish regiments were now under the banner of the Royal Ulster Regiment.  They have a website and some volunteers that find what they can for people inquiring.

I got a long email yesterday with loads of photos and copies of documents based on the name, regiment and service number.  It came back as Thomas O'Leary born in Stepney, not Timothy O'Leary born in Cork!

I wrote back and thanked them for all their work and told them of the name difference. I said that whatever, Thomas was worthy of a visit and someone remembering him.

They replied this morning and thanked me for going and laying the RBL cross (twice!) and gave me some information on Timothy. This one has more info such as a mother's name. So now we are trying to find out from Mick what his grandmother was called.  Fingers crossed it was Catherine or Kate.

Timothy's father is listed as Timothy deceased.  Claire thinks this might be the right bloke as her grans's older sister was called Catherine/Kate and put on a boat to the USA from Cork in 1902 or thereabouts. She may have been named after her mother.

It all hinges on an O'Leary family tree and on Mick being able to recall what we need!

7 January 2020

StickAir - Switzerland

With our 2020 Roadtrip for the summer in the planning stage I set about checking whether or not we would be passing through or near some of the low emission zones (LEZ) in the countries we are planning to visit.  Currently the route will go through France, Italy, Switzerland, France again, Belgium and France to channel port.

I already have the Crit'Air sticker for France to go in the car later in the year, and once I have found a way of keeping the windscreen clean so that it sticks properly!

But what of the other countries?  Switzerland seems the most obvious as we will be there for some miles and days.  They have a system called StickAir, it looks very much like the French system. At the moment it only covers the area in and around Geneva.  We aren't going there.  So no need for another sticker!  They ought to combine it with the motorway vignette which at 40CHF is a lot of money for a tourist visit.

StickAir Switzerland


The balls rolled a little unkindly for us last night and we have been drawn away at Bournemouth in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.

Given the performance last time we were there, this is a worry.

Luckily, the "big" clubs seems to have been given easier routes to the 5th Round.

6 January 2020


Tonight's the night.  Arsenal under new manager Mikel Arteta face "Dirty" Leeds United.  

Of the "Big Six" clubs we have the most difficult lower league opposition and a potential banana skin as Leeds are top of the Championship and going well.

Hopefully tonight we put put out a full first team and beat them.

After the morale boosting win over Manchester United on New Year's Day we will kick on and regain the level we have come accustomed to under Wenger.  Consistently in the top 4 and once again we start winning the league and cups!

Fingers crossed that we are taking this cup seriously.

Aftermath - January 7th.

I have had time to calm down and so the expletive laden post has been past by!

Another game of two halves. A bit like the West Ham game a month ago. At least the excuse then was we were away to a team near us in the Premier League table.

Last night we were terrible in the first half. Leeds were by far the better team. All the armchair experts viewing across the globe must have thought the team in light blue were the Premier League team and the others were the Championship.

Admittedly Leeds are top of the Championship and they played a mixture of pace, pressure and a little of the old "Dirty Leeds" in a first half where if they had been better in front of goal they could have been ahead at the break.  Instead it was all square thanks to the crossbar, Martinez in the Arsenal goal and some last ditch tackling from the Sokratis and Xhaka.

Arteta seemed very animated unlike his predecessor "Dick" Emery.

At half-time it must have been Fergie-Time in the dressing room, with Arteta getting out the "hairdryer".  A different Arsenal came out.  Loads of pace and attacking from the whistle.  With a little more self management Reiss Nelson could have bagged a hat trick.

In the end, it was he that scored the only goal of the game from close range. Appeals for offside pointless as there was a Leeds defender on the goal line as well as the keeper.

Not the best performance over 95 minutes. VAR intervened twice to investigate possible red card incidents and then did nothing. At least it didn't eff up the game like it has done so often since introduced in August.

The fourth road draw was made before kick off and Arsenal or Leeds would play away a Bournemouth.  At least no replay this time, unlike our North London rivals who could only draw at Middlesborough despite having Jose "The Special One" Mourinho as manager....  Hahahaha.

2 January 2020

MAG News - New Year Message

MAG starts the New Year determined to make a difference

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the UK's leading voice for riders' rights, is looking forward to driving the agenda for riders' rights in 2020: here's how.

MAG is gearing up to a new year of activities defending riders' rights and contributing to the decision-making process at national and local governmental levels.

Selina Lavender, the Chair of MAG, stated that whilst there had been substantial challenges during 2019, MAG's personnel are refreshed and ready to work just as hard during 2020.  "We have engaged with Local Authorities, Government and Transport for London, to name only a few, to represent motorcycling and the positive contribution it brings to the table.

We have already contacted both new and returned MPs following December's General Election and look forward to working with them on behalf of motorcycling and riders' rights throughout the year ahead."

MAG will continue to engage with Government and Local Authorities
wherever a need to protect riders' rights is identified and looks forward to building on the relationships forged during the past year and developing new ones too.

MAG invites riders, dealers, mechanics and manufacturers to join MAG and help create a united voice for the common good of the riding community.

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