Day 79 – When will I learn?

Football is back. Some football at least.

German football has been back for a while, but we don’t get German football down here. (Yes, I know zat zere are vays und means, but…)

Now, Spanish football is back and Supersport do carry La Liga, so I chose to watch some Spanish football last night. Until really late, which has left me a bit knackered this morning. When will I learn?

Yesterday’s evening game was Valencia against their city rivals Levante in a bawdy, raucous local derby.

Without fans.

I’ve been watching football since before I can even remember. But last night’s experience was a little surreal. Crowd noises (and they were even appropriate crowd noises) over the PA system – volume building as Valencia went forward, an “oooh!” for a near miss – and did I really hear whistles for an unpopular decision by the ref with the lockdown haircut? (ok, that last one might have been the brandy).

Valencia were all over Levante like a persistent duvet for most of the second half, but only managed a well-deserved goal with one minute to go. I was tempted to head upstairs to bed by this time: yes, entertained, but tired now and not comfortable enough to lob another log onto the fireplace. But I stuck it out for the 5 minutes of injury time and was rewarded with some delicious controversy in the 8th minute of those 5(?) when VAR (remember that?) overruled a free kick decision for Levante and made it into a penalty.

The crowd were incensed. Both of it.

The penalty provided a suitably surreal conclusion to an altogether weird experience, with the goalkeeper not even bothering to dive and the striker almost confused as to what to do once he’d scored it.

For the record, it finished 1-1: a last second smash-and-grab job by the boys in red and blue.

There are another four La Liga games on the TV today and I have a heap of ironing to do (OMG! Glamorous life of a top blogger!!!), so I think we can all see how the day is going to pan out.

Of course, real football only starts again on Wednesday…

which is going to be an even weirder experience…


Day 26 – Really missing footy

Another day. No football.

I’m getting very tired of seeing this. You could argue that simply not opening up the app would prevent the daily anguish of seeing this message, but then if there was – by some massive stretch of the imagination – a surprise game of togger, you wouldn’t know it was coming.

Can you imagine how awful that would be if you only found out after the fact?

Sadly, it’s not likely to be right any time soon though, so maybe I will actually take a chance and spare myself the regular torture and associated depression for a little while.

Exercise news

It’s going to be a post full of mixed feelings and news. Highs and lows. Plusses and minussessesus. Pros and cons.

I’m getting there. Back into gym, back into hitting my weekly exercise goals, back into feeling a bit more fit and healthy. If I were twenty years younger, putting this in much effort and doing this much exercise, I’d be a model of abs, sinew and one big bicep by now. But I’m not that age anymore, and it all take so much longer to get back into shape.

Add to that my sudden weaknesses around beer and big baguettes for lunch, and you’ll see why things could be going more quickly than they actually are. I’m going to switch on my will power for a while and see if I can improve the situation. God only knows where I’d be if I wasn’t getting to gym most days.

Augustus Gloop.

And there’s more. I’m playing some friendly football on Sunday in an attempt to get myself a bit more match-fit (hopefully) ahead of a return to the real thing towards the end of next month. The bad news about this is that it’s brought back memories of that Sunday morning friendly session. I’m going to be much more sensible this time around though: if it gets bad (and at the moment it’s forecast to be 28ºC in the shade, which is manageable), I’m going to stop, instead of trying to die. It’ll be my first kick of a ball in three months. I’m looking forward to it, albeit with a little trepidation.

Next week brings with it the start of the Running World Cup – a thing that I’m doing because I would be exercising anyway, so why not have some fun with it? My knee is doing ok on the treadmill, so why wouldn’t it do ok on the road? I’ll test it on the football pitch over the weekend and see if it survives that.

The future is bright: as long as I can start eating a bit more healthily and drinking a bit less. Sadly, neither of those things is going to happen this evening, thanks to a visit to the local curry house with the Molton Brown boys.

But who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Both ends

It seems to me that I may have been burning the candle at both ends.

I’m tired and there’s wax everywhere.

It’s purely self-inflicted: the 2 hour time difference back to the UK means that at the moment, the football starts late and finishes very late. That means that I get to bed later still and yet the early morning school wake up still needs doing each day.

I could give the football a miss, but then also, I couldn’t. Last night’s games were too exciting to go to bed, and then there’s that difficult FOMO feeling as well. Since I’m not playing football at the moment, I need to get my fix somewhere: and that includes my social fix as well. 20 years ago, I could have watched alone and then written an email or blog post about it, but now, I can watch alone and then we can agree on just how bad the referee is with near immediacy on Whatsapp.

It’s not the same as going down to the pub and having a pint, but it is cheaper, safer and a whole lot less effort. Do we connect in the same way across a network as across a table? Probably not, but then I don’t think that the two are mutually exclusive. So sure, I use social media to communicate, but I still talk to people*.

It’s the FA Cup this weekend, which means less to me than the league, but I’ll probably watch some games anyway (and chat about them with friends). However, that fixture pile-up means that there is league football on three nights this week. I’m not quite sure how I’ll survive with so little sleep, but I’m still going to give it a go.

Just as soon as I’ve cleared up all this wax.



* when I have to

On loadshedding (this time around)

Good afternoon from Cape Town.

I’m sitting here writing a blog post to take my mind off the fact that I will be missing at least the first half hour of Sheffield United’s match at Norwich City because there’s loadshedding (“rolling blackouts”) and we’re being loadshod right now. There are no electricitys.

How am I writing this, then? Well, my laptop has a battery. However, the router does not have a battery, so I’m writing this offline with the intention of uploading it once the power comes back on again at 4:30.
I could connect to the internet via my phone, but that gets properly pricey after a while (because data in SA is ridiculously expensive), so let’s just wait for (only slightly less expensive) fibre to come back on and then I’ll get it done.

Sadly, as an average SA consumer, I don’t have any choice when it comes to being loadshod. I pay my bills, I pay my taxes, and yet I still get very little in return. In the current (no pun intended) situation, nothing at all. And so you just have to get on with life. But that doesn’t mean that I must be content with the way that things are. Just because we are powerless (slight pun intended) to change the situation, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be irritated about it: normalising loadshedding is not a healthy way to deal with a problem which has been brought about by mismanagement, corruption and general kakocracy.

And so for several hours each day, we walk this weird tightrope between sighing acceptance and fully justified anger.

I fully admit though that it is, more than ever this time, beginning to wear me down a little.