Deadline

I am SOOOOO ready to get back to playing football again. Tuesday nights are a bit of a nightmare Chez 6000, so while I’m not playing, I’m doing my level best to help out with taking kids to various places. That way, when I can play once again, and I can’t take kids to places, we can at least look back over the year and note that I did take some of the kids to some places at least some of the time.

The only thing holding me back now is this bloody calf, which sadly, I do need to chat to a Physio about. Medical expenses can like to be absolutely ridiculous this year. Not quite one hour at the cardiologist cost over R4000, but as was pointed out, that’s a tiny fraction of what an actual cardio incident might cost, and that’s a reassuring way to look at it.

The calf is a weird one. I can do everything except run. I can walk up huge hills at 6kph. I can walk for 10km around the neighbourhood. I can use a stepping machine. I can do a cardio session. No issue.
But 20 seconds into a gentle jog (ok, it was a bit longer here, but…) and we’re back to square one. And downhills are worse than uphills, which makes me wonder if the calf actually knows what it’s doing.

I read this article which told me I was getting old, but did have an interesting link to L5/S1 lower back trouble (which I’ve had since I was 16) in elite athletes (which I’ve been all my life). Just weird that it’s never manifested itself in my calf until now, but I guess that’s where the age bit comes in. If “the science” is to be believed, that is. [rolleyes emoji]

But it needs to get sorted and it needs to get sorted before 19th July, which is the last Tuesday before the anniversary of my Covid infection. And I am determined not to let this keep me out for over a year. Whatever it takes to be on that pitch, I will be there.

Because like I say, everything else is ready to go: I haven’t been this fit since… well… just before I got Covid. Whether I can ever get back to that level, I don’t know, but there’s no harm in trying and hoping.

So I’m very ready to get this one little thing mended now and get going again.

The Last Day

Yesterday’s climax to several of Europe’s top football leagues was every bit as exciting as any neutral could ever have hoped for. Of course, no-one is completely neutral in these matters: I can’t recall any game where I actually didn’t care at all about who was going to win. After all, we all have our little foibles and favourites and many reasons whey we hate the dirty, scab bastards from Nottingham.

And you can spin it any way you want, but Bill Shankly was right: winning is everything. And thus I know readers who will be happy and readers who won’t be happy this morning.

For me, looking across England, Spain and Italy last night (the leagues I watch) and the bits that I was mildly invested in, I got two out of three at the top (one having been decided long ago), and one of out three at the bottom (from yesterday).
Not great, but still better than the one that I was really invested in, which didn’t happen at all.

So now we are about to enter a period of quiet evenings in front of the family instead of the football. Of having to learn and talk about cricket (wut?!?) to distract ourselves, or face up to the crushing reality of South Africa’s economic predicament (I’ll take the cricket, please). Of betting on the likes of FCs Honka and Petrzalka, instead of the Blades and Real Madrid. Of blissfully early nights and lower stress levels.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself. Bring on the 30th July.

Day 570 – Weekend

After my being broken yesterday morning, we had an enjoyable afternoon out at a friend’s place with sparkling conversation, delicious not-homemade pizza and lots and lots of sitting down. It’s hard to say which was the best bit, but the sitting down was very nice.

Then home just in time to see United bounce two goals in in the last ten minutes to beat the mighty Stoke City:

…and then early to bed.

It’s been a bit of a lazy Sunday. We’re looking forward to the return of our prodigal son, who has had the worst weather for his Scouts survival weekend. Cold (9C), Wet (26mm) and Miserable (3 sad faces*). In the meantime, I’ve lit the fire (the SA equivalent of having to switch your central heating on again) and played some lackadaisical pool.

I’m about to go and sit in front of Everton v West Ham, and even if it’s really exciting, I absolutely reserve the right to fall asleep on the couch like an old man. If the caps fits…

* I don’t know what the SI unit is for Misery

Day 453 – Rain and England

Over 100mm of rain today has soon put me in my place as far as celebrating the lack of winter goes.

Never mind though. We had a successful trip out to The Flats this morning to renew some passports (no, we’re not going anywhere), and there’s a free-standing fireplace to light and an England game to ‘look forward to’ this evening.

Yes, I enjoy watching football, and yes, I’m English, but I’m no huge fan of the England national team.
Sure, I’ll watch them and I’ll support them, but it’s not life-ending for me when they don’t do well.
‘Nice when they win, meh when they don’t’ sums it up nicely.

I was saying recently that this is likely because when I was growing up, the England team had no relevance to me. All the games were played at Wembley. That was somewhere I’d never been and never seen – it meant nothing to me. (It still means very little to me.) So it was always based in London, and London was a long way away and… well… had no relevance to me. Added to that, the fact that none of my heroes were ever involved, and you really shouldn’t underestimate the effect that can have on a young kid’s level of interest.

Then there was the playing style. English domestic football was always more physical, more rough and tumble; harder and faster. And yet when I watched the England team, they always slowed it all down and played to the foreign opposition’s strengths instead of their own. I never understood that.

Aside from the matches of the 1990 World Cup, most of which I spent in Germany and had to be seen to be a total England supporter, I can only think of one other memorable England game: the 2001 5-1 win against Germany. For some reason (beer, probably) I felt like a proper fan that evening, as we watching in the Britannia in Headington before heading down the Cowley Road. That was a fun day.

But look, I’d much rather be watching Sheffield United: then and now.

That said, it’s either the England game or sitting outside in the rain, so I think Ill still be watching this evening.

Day 446 – Some photos

(at last!)

Just a quick in-and-out (careful now) from me here today, because I have to play football half an hour and I’m n kilometres away from where I need to be to play football at that time.

But I did manage to edit some photos – mainly of birds – from the weekend: here they are.

Here’s a Little Egret having a bad hair day, just to get you in the mood.

I know that these are feathers (I did Biology for GCSE), but the term “bad feathers day” doesn’t really exist, and I’m trying to be whimsical.

Have a lovely evening. As mentioned, football for me, then the Ramaphosa announcement, then France v Germany, at least one of which should be an absolute humdinger. Two if we’re properly lucky.