22 February 2020


Another draw. Orient fortunate that the referee was a homer.

A free kick when the Oldham player, Misselou, played the ball and it should have been a corner.

In the end Latics far better team in the first half and Orient edged the second. I suppose a 2-2 draw was a fair result.

It doesn't seem that way when the goal came directly from a mistake by the referee.

16 February 2020


Yesterday was Reggie's annual checkup and his booster jabs. Everything is covered under his VIP plan except the kennel cough booster that cost £31.



Refreshed from their winter break in the sun and sand of the Emirates, we had expected a rejuvenated Arsenal to be taking the game by the scruff.

And so it seemed for a few minutes until Newcastle found their feet.

In fact they could have gone ahead but a save from Leno saved the team from the agony of falling behind.

0-0 at half time didn't give any clue to the second half. 

Steve Bruce, the Newcastle United head coach must have been the happier man though. Arsenal had been marginally the better side but hadn't made the breakthrough. 

A cross from Pepé was headed home by Aubameyang and we waited for VAR to confirm.

VAR has been such an intrusion into games that it is difficult to know if you can celebrate straight away.

Pepé doubled the lead when he shot in from inside the box.

Arsenal then dominated the game before Özil and Lacazette added the icing on the cake in the closing minutes.

On a day when Storm Dennis was disrupting the country it was great to get back to winning ways and in the "Arsenal Way".

10 February 2020

Flood Alert.

Not a great sign when the Environment Agency sends the automated flood alert warning to you.

It warns of flooding along a 25 to 30 mile stretch of coast. We live about half way along that stretch and about 400 yards from the sea.

All that is between us and the beach is a flat army firing range made up of shingle and then a road...

The warning is for the remnants of Storm Ciara and the high spring tide mating together for mayhem.

High tide due at 0015. Or about an hour's time.

More fingers crossed.


It didn't happen. We moved bank and that sort of stuff upstairs and I sat up until nearly 1am 'just in case'. 


Bought my ticket today online - Oldham Athletic away at Leyton Orient.

It's at the end of my week off for half term and so I need to weigh up whether to buy my weekly season ticket to include Saturday or travel on a cheap day return.

There was a note on one of the supporters pages that there was an allocation of 256 tickets.

It only opened to non season ticket holders today, and I have ticket 120....

We'll see when we get there. It's February 22nd and a 3pm kickoff.

MAG News - Motorcycles in bus lanes set to improve air quality in Cambridgeshire

MAG has welcomed a Cambridgeshire County Council move to consult on Motorcycle Access to Bus Lanes as part of its proposals to improve air quality.  A tireless campaign by a local MAG activist has seen the Conservative leader of Cambridgeshire County Council pass a motion proposing a consultation on motorcycle access to bus lanes.

MAG has mounted a sustained campaign to get the role of motorcycles recognised in Cambridgeshire and particularly for motorcycle access to bus lanes.  Having gained the support of local MP, Daniel Zeichner, engaging with Councillors and officers and making formal representations to the Highways Committee, confirmation was finally received that "the Council Leader announced in December that [Cambridgeshire County Council] will be consulting on allowing motorbikes in bus lanes as part of the climate change strategy action plan."

In a motion passed by the Council on 19th December 2019, the council committed to a raft of measures being incorporated into its environmental strategy consultation proposals.  One of those measures was "Consulting on the use of bus lanes for electric vehicles and motorcycles and scooters."

A local activist, who has been closely involved with the process, commented "I am delighted by this progress and look forward to the consultation being released in the near future.  What is particularly rewarding is the fact that the policy proposal has been recognised as part of the wider environmental strategy plan, not simply as a road safety issue."

The motion, brought by Cllr Steve Count, did face an amendment brought forward by Liberal Democrat Cllr Lorna Dupré.  The amendment would, amongst other things, have totally removed the bus lane access clause, but was not passed by the assembled Councillors.  The motion was therefore passed without amendment.  The motion also caused controversy for its stance on charging motorists in clean air zones.  Cllr Count said the Labour and Liberal Democrat controlled Cambridge and South  Cambridgeshire councils "seem obsessed with charging motorists" as the "only solution" to poor air quality.  The remarks were made on his blog ahead of the motion being brought at Cambridgeshire County Council on December 19.  The motion as passed states that the Council is opposed to "pursuing charging proposals at this time".

MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: "This recognition of the wider benefits of motorcycles and the need to support them as a sustainable transport mode is wonderful.  The proposal for motorcycle access to bus lanes specifically promoted in this way, as part of the council's climate change strategy, is a first to my knowledge but, I hope, not the last.  Local authorities and the national government need to recognise the fact that single track vehicles, be they human or mechanically powered, are a truly sustainable solution. Simply grouping motorcycles with cars is lazy thinking that neglects the potential benefits of this transport solution.  If reducing emissions by promoting modal shift to motorcycles as well as pedal cycles can avoid the need for charging motorists as well as motorcyclists, this is a win for everyone."

Book Review: Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Dark Sacred Night (Renée Ballard, #2; Harry Bosch, #21; Harry Bosch Universe, #31)Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As soon as I saw this book appear on the Kindle list I had to have it. I am a commuter reader. I have an hour on the train in the morning and again in the evening.

I have to admit I have read all the Bosch books and have seen all five series on Amazon Prime. A bit of a junkie but with limits to how much I'll spend...

I wasn't disappointed. The cold case "hobby" stories mixed with Ballard working live cases goes together well.

In his old age Bosch is starting to make mistakes and stepping even further over the boundary. The only thing I thought was missing was some closure on the SFPD corrupt cop stream and Harry's future....

View all my reviews

9 February 2020

RBLR Non-Attendance Rally 2020

This year's Non-Attendance Rally is open for bookings.

All proceeds to the Poppy Appeal.

This year I booked early and managed to get the booking number down to 56. Must do better next year.

Fred Hill Memorial Run

Today should have been the annual MAG run to honour the activist and refusenik, Fred Hill.

Fred had been against the imposition of the mandatory crash helmet law when I was introduced in the UK in 1973.

He was imprisoned several times for failure to comply and for refusing to pay the fines imposed by the courts.

He died in Pentonville in London in February 1984.

The run was cancelled for the first time in many years due to the possible danger from 80mph winds care of Storm Ciara battering the UK and the South-East currently.

It was a blessing in disguise for me as the bike has no MoT and can't be legally ridden on the road.

I have been several times and once actually led the group from the Ace Café to Pentonville.

The new date is March 1st. 

This appears to be the only picture of Fred astride his Honda with the copper close by.

Fred Hill and Copper

8 February 2020

Illegal Eagles

What better way to spend a cold winter's evening in Folkestone.

The Illegal Eagles at the Leas Cliff Hall. Once again in February!

Another superb performance from what has to be the best tribute band in the world.

They don't try to dress or look like the Eagles but can sing like the original band members. 

Each of them accomplished musicians in their own right.

I didn't take any photos this time as I was more interested at listening to the music.

Back in 2021?   

7 February 2020

MAG News - Motorcycles not in 2035 ban

On Tuesday 4th February, Boris Johnson launched the UK-hosted UN climate summit and announced that he would bring forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2035 - or earlier if possible - and include hybrids for the first time.

As with all such long range, broad announcements, it was not clear what the detailed policy would be and how it would be implemented.  As such, the announcement caused a flurry of speculation and guesses for motorcyclists, with conflicting conclusions drawn.

As always, MAG has taken the sensible approach of seeking clarification.
Speaking to Phil Killingley, Deputy Head of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) at the Department for Transport, MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, received confirmation that the 2035 ban does not apply to motorcycles. 

Colin commented "We are pleased to hear that the ban from 2035 will not apply to the sale of petrol-powered motorcycles.  Our membership consists overwhelmingly of petrol-engine bike users who do not wish to see the very thing they love banned.  Yet it is clear, speaking to the Department, that the threat remains. It will not surprise anyone that the debate over electrification is also taking place in MAG, with a range of views expressed.  The task ahead is to plot a sensible, evidence-based approach in a subject area that ignites great passion and emotion."

On Tuesday 4th February, Lembit Opik, MAG's Director of Communications & Public Affairs, attended a key meeting in Parliament where Visiting Professor at Oxford and Imperial College London, Gautam Kalghatgi, explained why petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles cannot, in reality, be banned by the 2035 deadline.  

Professor Kalghatgi argued that the largescale adoption of electric power creates enormous and, as yet, unsolved problems.  Lembit said "this is a highly complex issue in which all factors need to be weighed and the impacts fully understood before decisions are made.  The answers for motorcycles are different to those for cars regarding readiness for electrification and impacts on users, so it's vital motorbikes are considered separately to cars and vans."

The government is consulting on the 2035 proposals, telling stakeholders: "We are aware that stakeholders will have a diverse range of views on this subject and both Ministers and senior officials will be engaging closely to understand what those are." 

The subjects that they want feedback on are: the phase-out date; the definition of what should be phased out; barriers to achieving the ambitions set out in the consultation; the impact of these ambitions on different sectors of industry and society; and what measures are required by Government and others to achieve the earlier phase-out date.'

National MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, added: "MAG is on the list of stakeholders and will be engaging fully with OLEV so that the views and opinions of our members are fully represented."

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