Oct. 8th, 2016 12:33 pm
keresaspa: (Gus Goose)
Such is the regularity with which I go to Edinburgh these days that it hardly seems worth mentioning.

But let's anyway )
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
In between the bouts of running around and waiting on phone calls that have dominated my life these last few weeks I recently discovered a shock few spare minutes which I proceeded to waste watching This Morning for the first time in several years. I know that at the best of times it was always an odd show but even by their standards it was out there. Pip Scofe and Willoughbooby were sat there as usual, facing some numpty who was sitting on the floor for some reason. It was then that I noticed said numpty was dressed head to toe as a fucking Dalmatian!

I've never been a Moral Majority sort of person and I know we're supposed to be terribly broad-minded and acknowledge and celebrate every perversion we encounter these days but I don't think I've ever had a hell-in-a-handbasket moment quite like the one I did watching some tosser in a dog-suit demanding attention for his weird ways. Apparently he was there to promote some "documentary", inevitably on Channel 4 (who apparently decided to take a rare break from kicking the poor and underprivileged for this dreck) about human pups, indicating that there are loads of these bastards wasting thousands on this crap. As I say to each his own but the more I encounter nonsense like this the more I am forced to concede that the human race has officially ran out of ideas and appears to be heading to the end of its natural purpose. What do you think, Julian?

My sentiments exactly, champ. See me about that spelling, though.

If I may I'll sum it all up with a bit of apt doggerel:

One, two, I smell poo
Three, four, dog-shite on the floor
Five, six, something about dicks
Seven, eight, this rhyme idea isn't great
Nine, ten, you're not dogs you idiots. No matter how much you spend on daft suits you're still men.

The scanning is a bit off but the message stands. If they really want to live like dogs de-ball the weirdos and then destroy them. Sheesh.
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Every time I post to this now I seem to begin with a note to excuse my absence due to the paucity of updates. What can I say, less than auspicious days recently. In the meanwhile however a standing engagement in Edinburgh took me across the sea once more and, as ever, I shall betell the events.

Lay on, MacDuff )
keresaspa: (Percy Sugden)
It's convention that I recount in some detail the events surrounding any journeys I make for the entertainment of the reading none so I suppose I shouldn't break from that tradition following my recent excursion to the occupied territory of Scotland. So without further Apu:

Edinburgh and environs )
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
I have very a vague recollection of riding a tricycle out the back yard (no gardens in those days, we wuz poor but we wuz happy) when I was around two or three but details are sketchy at best as to whether it was actually mine or not. Beyond that I've never had any involvement with pedal contraptions in my life. Whilst every child would happily free-wheel through the barrios of Belfast and its environs the notion never appealed to me, being something of a lazy little git and also (little did I know) struggling with the reduced energy levels that haemochromatosis imparts. As a consequence not only have I never owned a bicycle but I can't actually ride one and the few occasions on which I have attempted to utilise a static exercise bike I invariably pedal backwards, a bizarre affliction caused by a combination of my lack of cycling knowledge and my laterality.

As time has gone on my feet have become my mode of transport and given that something like 75% of my a-to-b movements are now accomplished by walking inevitably cyclists have become my natural enemies. Just as cyclists hate the drivers so we walkers detest the cyclists with their horrible attitudes, their silent speed and their flagrant disregard for the rules of both the road and the pavement. I've lost count of the number of times I've expelled a sexual swear-word after some bike bugger who suddenly whizzed past my shoulder at a dangerously close distance or who, upon encountering a red light, suddenly mounted the pavement to speed at pedestrians. And don't get me started on the hateful tossers who ride a bike to walk their dog (dogs being runners-up in the walker's natural enemy contest).

As a consequence you don't need to guess how much interest I have in those long, drawn-out cycling contests like the Tour de France. Well, stone me because suddenly the Italian version is taking place on my bloody doorstep. Strictly speaking it hasn't even started yet but I am without doubt completely sick of it already. Now we all know that I'm a total droopy-drawers and as such the enforced jollity and enthusiasm that has arrived along with lycra-clad steroid guzzlers might be appealing to all of my fellow denizens of Farsetshire but for me they can cram it with walnuts.

On Monday we had the Belfast marathon, the annual spectacle of sweating nonsense that renders every May Day in Belfast a junk day in which it is impossible to get anywhere. Now we are to have four days of solid disruption just to determine which jacked-up pedaller gets to go on to the next stage or something. God knows public transport in Belfast is bad enough but for the next few days it is going to be so slapdash that it might as well not even exist. Belfast will become every bit as impassible as on any 12th of July and all for a substantial loss and the possibility of advertising (because there are apparently a significant number of people in the world who have never heard of Belfast but will do so because a bicycle ride is here). Give me strength. I know that the local mugwumps are obsessed with brining daft one-offs to this city but this is one we really could have done without. At the best of times this is a congested hell hole, where the simple chore of getting from one side of the city to the other can take over an hour by pubic transport, but with all this nonsense doing anything will be virtually impossible, particularly for those without cars and who have impaired mobility. But who cares, eh, we have a bunch of juiceheads on bikes that nobody has ever heard of so it's all worth it. Had the council ever bothered to invest in a transport infrastructure that doesn't rely on the roads all of this might have been no big deal but they haven't and a result for the second time in a week the city has to come to a standstill for some silly little race. Why this couldn't have been dumped in the Glens of Antrim or some other hick place that no sod ever goes is beyond me, rather than ballsing up a whole city just for bloody cycling.

Put it this way if I don't get to the matches on Saturday because of all this tripe then I'll be frightfully cross with the organisers. Rotters.

Dun with it

Dec. 8th, 2013 06:47 pm
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
Dunmurry is a suburb of Belfast or Lisburn (depending on your perspective) that used to be a separate village but has now been swallowed up by the expansion of both larger settlements. It can essentially be divided in twain between the Catholic and Protestant parts, the former represented by the republican Twinbrook and Lagmore, the latter consisting of Dunmurry village and a couple of outlying loyalist estates that are strictly speaking in the village of Drumbeg but generally included as part of Dunmurry. Dunmurry is, frankly, a shitehole and stands alone as probably my least favourite part of the greater Belfast area with even the soul-destroyingly horrid Upper Knockbreda Road left in the shade.

Despite this, as part of my quest to visit every football ground of intermediate status or better in said greater Belfast area (I'm taking the limits of the Metro bus service as the edges for now, meaning that ten remain unvisited, a doable target by the end of the season), I found myself in the selfsame Dunmurry yesterday. Dunmurry Young Men play in Division 1B of the Northern Amateur League on a bit of grass that they have erected a fence around. Despite the fact that you can watch the match from the main road they still expect two quid entry at a level where higher up clubs often charge nothing. You then have to stand on a five feet wide gangway between a broken wooden fence and their clubhouse to watch a match taking place about twenty feet below in a hollow. As if the ground isn't a big enough dump some inconsiderate tosser decided that for the entire ninety minutes their hateful bastard of a dog would be free to run back and forward barking its head off and getting in everybody's way. The brute spent a good two minutes sniffing my crotch and wouldn't bugger off no matter how much I told it to do so, spending the rest of the time generally annoying everybody by marching back and forward and yapping non-stop. Call me old fashioned but if I'm expected to shell out two quid to watch a bunch of amateurs I really would rather not have to spend the evening removing dog hairs from my clothes into the bargain. I'm not a dog person (nor a cat person, or a children person or an anything that hangs around your legs making a nuisance of itself person come to that) so I really hate the tendency that some dog owners have of foisting their beasts onto everyone whether they want them or not. If you must bring a dog to a football match put a leash on it or better yet stay the hell away. Nuisances.

And, just to add insult to injury, no bus came for half an hour so I was stuck in Dunmurry for thirty minutes longer than I wanted to be. Thankfully though I have now ticked off both grounds in Dunmurry village and will, with any luck, not need to visit the godforsaken place again. Roll on next Saturday when I can be in the much more salubrious surroundings of the Monkstown estate. Much more like it.
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Monkstown is one of the historic old townlands that make up of County Antrim and it is - along with Carnmoney, Glengormley, Jordanstown, Whiteabbey, Whitehouse and Whitewell - one of the seven villages formally merged in 1958 to form Newtownabbey, a new town on the outskirts of north Belfast that is now Northern Ireland's fourth largest settlement. Inevitably, what with Newtownabbey being, for the most part, solidly loyalist, there are a number of loyalist sink estates dotted around the area, but the place is probably best known for it's medium-light industrial estates (heavy industry is all but dead here now outside the shipyard and even that is only kept open to stop the UVF coming out in insurrection). Canadian telecom giants Nortel were formerly a big wheel in the area but the recession claimed them and their factory is now a memory. Despite this the Nortel social club continues to exist and their football club, formerly known as Standard Telephones & Cables, continue to function under the moniker Nortel FC. With Donegal Celtic kicking their heels on account of their previously documented failure to enter the Steel & Sons Cup it was to this area that I decided to decamp today, in order to watch the aforementioned Nortel face the might of Comber Rec in the Premier Division of the Amateur League.

My decision was informed by the good grace of the otherwise execrable Translink Metro bus service to bring back the £2 Saturday day ticket meaning that I could be spared the near nine mile hike and thus was free to explore the outer reaches of the Greater Belfast non-league scene. Nortel's Monkstown Avenue home is on the edge of Cloughfern, an area I don't know very well, so I had a right job finding the place, especially as the entrance to the ground was for no particular reason concealed from all view. In the end I was lucky to make it in time for kick-off, despite arriving fifteen minutes early. Mind you, that's pretty typical of this place as most football clubs, bar the very biggest, get very shoddy treatment from their local councils when it comes to grounds and I suppose Nortel should be thankful they have one at all.

NAFL rules demand that all intermediate teams must at least have a fence round their ground and that's about as far as Nortel have gone in terms of development. Still it didn't put the supporters off as a decent crowd turned up, including about twenty or thirty from Comber (pretty embarrassing given that last week, two leagues higher, I was one of only nine who made the short trip to support DC in a losing effort at nearby Distillery) and, for some reason, two separate and completely unrelated miniature schnauzers. The match itself was, rather surprisingly, a total belter. Less than five minutes in Comber had a penalty, a cheaply given-away affair in which the Comber man backed into the defender until he fell for it and put his arm across the Comber guy, allowing him to crumple as if hauled down. For all the good it did them though as the Nortel keeper saved it and it galvanised the team as they took a 2-0 lead, with their number 11 running riot down the flank to set up two goals for the number seven. Nortel dominated the first half and could have had a few more, missing a couple by inches and hitting the bar.

Comber came back after the break, helped by some duff refereeing, and were soon back in it with a well-taken goal. Then all hell broke loose. A strapping, bald and rather fat gentleman wore the number four shirt for Comber and had put in a good shift in defence when he suddenly lost the bap and took a swing at a short shaveling who had come on as a substitute for Nortel. Naughty boy received his deserved marching orders and the game became rather needlesome thereafter but ten man Comber refused to lie down and scored a second with a wonderfully struck free kick. The man advantage soon told though as the profligate Nortel had wave after wave of attack, finally bundling the winner in late on with what appeared to be an own goal by the Comber keeper. A couple more could have been added, including a strike that hit the post, but in the end 3-2 was to be it.

Monkstown Avenue is unquestionably a poor ground, even by the standards of the league, it's very difficult to approach and the whole industrial estate vibe is rather soul-destroying. But despite all this the football on display was a wonderful exhibition of blood and thunder enthusiasm and was as good a way as any to spend a fine autumnal day. And heck, DC could do worse than have a look at Nortel's number eleven whose passing was startlingly accurate for this level. DC's administrative screw ups were ludicrous and an embarrassment to the club but if all these off weeks can be filled up with football like this then I'll not really mind after all.


Nov. 9th, 2012 08:12 pm
keresaspa: (Only Me!)
Until last week I had never in my life witnessed a Linfield match in the flesh. I had been to their ground a few times but Northern Ireland being the tinpot operation it is Linfield's ground is also the national stadium so those appearances for cup finals and the like, none of which involved the holy spirit aspect of the Blues Brothers trinity (unless one includes SV Hamburg of course, although nobody really does). Now, somewhat ludicrously, I am to see them two Saturdays running, as - following last weeks demolition of Donegal Celtic - I will be on the terraces at Solitude tomorrow, seeing Cliftonville hopefully give them a closer run for their money.

Given Linfield's somewhat shady reputation and the sectarian differences between the two sides tomorrow's game is to be an all-ticket affair, a fact I only discovered by accident when I happened to visit their site last night. The page directed me to a link where I could purchase one online but, like so many other places, they refuse the virtually useless Maestro card that the Bank of Ireland saddled me with meaning that the only option was to hotfoot it up to the Cliftonville Social Club today and buy one in person. Helpfully the website told me that the Social would be open "standard hours" but at nowhere on the site did it tell me what those hours were.

Still, onwards and upwards. On the off-chance I sauntered the five and a half mile hike up through the grotty thoroughfares of New Lodge and the River Streets before finally arriving at my destination, only to find the whole lot locked, bar a little back door where a lorry was dumping off a load of booze. It being three o'clock I was disheartened to be told by a woman who was holding the fort that tickets would go on sale at five o' the clock and no earlier. Those of you familiar with the Cliftonville Road (that would be only [ profile] queenmartina and [ profile] burkesworks to the best of my knowledge) will also be aware that, barring Solitude itself and three Neapolitan mastiffs, it has absolutely nothing to recommend it to visitors and five minutes of standing staring at huge, spectral hellhounds would still have left me two hours and fifty five minutes to kill on arguably the city's most featureless main road. SO, I was left with only one recourse, turn on the legendary Keresaspa charm at mien host in an attempt to get her to bend the rules> What do you mean, what charm? I admit it's well hidden but I do tend to have a way with middle aged ladies for some reason and this proved no exception as a combination of flattery, sob stories and a little Roger Moore eyebrow action saw me depart at ten past three with my ticket sold a full 110 minutes before it was supposed to be available. Advantage Varnsen, I believe.

Of course this being a Saturday in Belfast in 2012 my route tomorrow will inevitably be disrupted by the Orange Order reaping the rewards of ignoring Parades Commission rulings by again being allowed to march past St Patrick's. All to do with Remembrance Day and laying wreaths in Belfast's answer to the Fields of Grammary, Shankill Cemetery, a good two and a half miles away from St Patrick's, but never mind. Were parade organisers sensible people they would simply march up North Street, a city centre continuation of the Shankill, rather than Donegall Street, which leads to the Antrim and Crumlin roads but not the Shankill but I suppose they wouldn't annoy anybody that way. It is my own traditional route (perhaps uniquely) to walk up the Shankill whenever I am going to Solitude but I reckon I'll give it a wide berth tomorrow and once again travel via New Lodge as, not only are there likely to be a bunch of flute band knobheads who have been drinking since about seven in the morning on the prowl but I also know that the Linfield supporters bus will be leaving from the Royal Bar and I doubt they would be prepared to offer me a lift over. So well done chaps for once again making Belfast on a Saturday that little bit more nasty and unbearable. Take a bloody bus to the graveyard like normal people!
keresaspa: (Percy Sugden)
As I strutted along the scenic Shore Road today, wending my way to the delights of Abbeycentre and Longwood Retail Park (surely tha shizzle of shops), I happened to see a Rottweiler in a local park/bit of grass keeping people from instant death on the M2. He looked fat, tired and ready for the knacker's yard. It then occurred to me that this once ubiquitous breed has, along with its more slender and statuesque cousin the Doberman Pinscher, suffered one heck of a fall from grace recently. There was a time when a spide wanting to play the hardman had three options, namely the Rottweiler, the Doberman and the Pit Bull. The latter has remained a constant of course, giving us the evil eye as it gazes up at us with its enormous head and grinning maw, its testes dangling as if to say "come on dog warden, I dare you to attempt to enforce the Dangerous Dogs Act". The Teutonic twosome, on the other hand, have seemingly been relegated to the fourth division of canine spidery, finding their spaces filled by the previously alien American Bulldog and the once rare but now dime a dozen Akita. A recent stopover in Bangor (isn't the Bloomfield estate just darling) even revealed that the muscular Japanese spitz is now as common in the provinces as it is in the "capital". I just wonder how and why these changes happened? Certainly the beast looks a right hardnut but that coat would need a lot more care than the average ecstasy-popping yahoo could be bothered doing whilst even a Great Dane struggles to match the intimidation factor of the glowing eyes of a Doberman at night. Confusing to say the least. And whilst we are at it what is with the sudden infestation of Siberian Huskies in Belfast? With global warming and the city getting hotter it hardly seems the time to start importing Arctic animals. Mind you its not that warm just in case any sod gets the notion to bring a bunch of hairless dogs and force me to emigrate. Give me a standard Bull Terrier any day of the week - there's something about their hefty bodies and proud aquiline features that for some reason appeals to a lardy big nose like myself but I can't think what it is.
keresaspa: (Chalky Whiteley)
I took a walk along the Lagan towpath today, a place my uncle Billy, who gave me my love of walking and whose fourth anniversary was yesterday, used to take me when I was a kid. I hate to sound a Philistine but isn’t nature boring? In my ongoing efforts to ditch some timber I have been covering plenty of miles but I have to say that my first forage into the (comparative) wilderness left me pining for the delights of the Shankill and the Newtownards Road. Trees and a river are nice to begin with but after miles of the buggers it all becomes a bit samey. Add to that the constant joggers coming up behind you with their phlegm, the inconsiderate dog owners who think leash laws apply to everybody except them, paths suddenly turning into bogs without warning, the total lack of signs meaning that if you don’t know the area like the back of your hand then getting lost is inevitable and worst of all the bloody cyclists and the appeal of it all seems a bit lost on me. I can see why cycling is being encouraged in order to lessen pollution but why is it that whenever facilities are laid on for cyclists it is always at the expense of pedestrians rather than the blasted cars that are causing the problems. Or could it be that the government assumes only poor people walk and that their votes don’t matter? Still, one thing I know for sure is that you’ll never make a country boy out of me – give me crumbling buildings, dodgy estates and smog over all this clean air and plant life any day of the week!

Elsewhere, whilst he was the butt of more than a few jokes, as well as the source of plenty of ire, round these parts my thoughts are still with good old Bryan Robson at this time. I spent a lot of time attacking him during his spell in charge but the Great Escape will live long in the memory and will always be to his credit, no matter how much he missed the opportunity to build on it the following season. As a player he also made a fantastic impact at the Hawthorns and, despite his slightly acrimonious departure, was probably the best player to be developed at the club since Tony the Bomber and is one that has certainly not been matched by any youth product since. He was a tough boy in his day and so there has to be plenty of hope that that toughness will see him through his biggest challenge yet. Good luck, Bry.

And lest I forget my annual tradition - St Patrick's Day is bad, all countries are inherently equal, there's good and bad in all, where you are born is not a reason for pride, blah blah blah. Well it wouldn't be this time of year without me going on some nationalism is sin against the Holy Spirit tangent, would it?

And, just like yesterday, because it is after midnight
Day 17 )
keresaspa: (Miki Sugimoto)
Two points about the changes in Sky Sports News. The departure of the channel from Freeview means that the only reasons I have for keeping the blasted thing are weekly showings of King of the Hill (which will be ending soon anyway having been axed) and Important Things with Demetri Martin (and I'm getting a bit bored of him anyway). Given that I never watch DVDs now it might be time for my TV to hit the road soon. On the other hand the revamped channel remains on the main TV on Virgin Media and I have to say it looks bloody awful. Horrid widescreen format with all the writing on-screen tiny and illegible and too much flashing and movement going on. The only thing Rupert Murdoch got right and now they've naused it up. Bloody change!

And now because I can think of nothing to talk about but still feel a determination to keep this thing going I will go old school and roll out a survey, as taken from [ profile] queenmartina.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Evil Timbo)
Been an odd last few days in chez moi. I was out the back having a feg at about 2 on Friday morning when I heard a strange wailing sound. I thought no more of it until three in the morning when suddenly the power went out and, being the drama queen I am, I suddenly convinced myself that it was a visitor from the other side come to claim my soul. The power came back PDQ although I endured a sleepless night as flights of fancy took over. Woke up the next day to find that the whimpering had actually been a dog that had wandered into my neighbour's garden and deposited itself there. The mutt appeared to be in the final stages of dying as it would hardly react to any stimulus. Eventually, after a lot of faffing about that seemed to involve half the estate, my neighbour's hippy boyfriend took the beast under his wing and nursed it back to health. I really must remember to stop letting my imagination run away with me.

Meanwhile back in the real world I was going to talk about the Russian elections but, given certain other news elsewhere I would just like to go on record as saying that Putin is a big manly son of a gun who won yet another famous and deserved victory. In the spirit of this development I will now turn my unskilled hand to something that all the kids on here seem to think is the funniest thing ever.

Enjoy children and try not to tell me "omg j00 suck at t3h macros" as I'm fully aware that I do.
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
Performance art. Can any two words in the English language strike the same mix of fear and boredom into the heart that this particular combination invariably manages? There's always a slight whiff of the menopause about the whole thing as it evokes thoughts of middle-aged middle-class women with dyed red hair 'finding themselves' by donning horrendously unflattering leotards and rolling around a stage whilst impersonating cats. "It's genius" say the beard-strokers whilst in the back of their head thinking "cripes, I wish I was at home watching Coronation Street with a cup of tea and a Curly-Wurly". Never mind that the health service is falling apart, waste a couple of million so as some knobhead called Giles who did a term at Central Saint Martins can fill a paddling pool with keech and sit in it for a couple of days. God knows we couldn't survive without having people drinking their own piss!

I mention this because apparently some never before heard of arsewipe has decided that eating a corgi is now performance art. Yes dear, good for you. We all know the only way to draw attention to foxes (like we haven't heard enough of those ginger sheep-worriers to last a lifetime) is by going on the wireless and pretending that a plate of beef hotpot is a mashed up Welsh dog with stunted legs. "To me it was, as an art piece, exhilarating" he has claimed. To me it was a middle-aged nobody with serious self-esteem issues and no discernable talent looking to grab a bit of cheap publicity by trying to shock the so-called nation of animal lovers. You've had your five minutes, now please run along.

Let it be known that I'm not sticking up for Phil the Greek here but anybody with half a brain knows that the only things he loves more than animal cruelty are xenophobia and making the beast with two backs. That people choose to ignore this as their monarchism apparently overrides this mythical British sense of animal rights is not going to be changed by a pillock tucking into teriyaki dog with stilton soufflé mushroom on some radio station that nobody listens to anyroad. Mark McGowan - truly a prat amongst prats!
keresaspa: (Beatrice smoking)
We often hear from scabs like Evan Davis that the weakness of the dollar makes it an ideal time for pillocks on this side of the world to start getting stuff from the burger-eating invasion monkeys on the other side of the bourne. Never knowingly being anything other than a pillock I decided to take advantage of this last month and bandied onto e-bay to shell out for a couple of Shonen Knife albums from the Plott Hound state (North Carolina to the non-dog types). Now, I'll give the boys their due as the lark about it being cheaper certainly was true, as the pair plus postage came to under fifteen sovs for two items that are harder to find in this part of the world than an honest Blairite. Still, I wonder at the wisdom of a postal service that decides, rather than send the items from NC direct to Belfast or, at a push, to London then on to Belfast, to send the items to Germany, thus holding them up ages and ensuring that I finally got my grubby mitts on them nearly a month after ordering. Yes, cheaper, but an absolute pain in the tuckus waiting ages on something and not knowing whether you've been cozened, there's been a balls-up at the Royal Mail or it's just par for the course. I'm not sure if I got a bum steer here or if this is normal practice but I'll be wary of taking advantage of the weak dollar again...for about three seconds.

There again, it is the little things that are sent to try us. During the recent clearout of my uncle's house I chanced upon an old sepia photograph of some long-forgotten relative or other who bore a vague resemblance to Heinrich Himmler. I have absolutely no idea who he was but for some reason I thought it was ace and made a point of trousering it. A couple of days later it disappears from my house and what followed was a frenetic comedy of errors trying to find the thing which included, but was not limited to, pestering the local Oxfam to dig out some books that had been donated in case it turned up amongst them. Sunday it was, when a drawer in the kitchen was being cleared out and guess what turned up in the middle of assorted old Christmas cards and school reports? As I said earlier, I have never knowingly been anything other than a pillock.

Well, I believe I have bored you all enough for one day with mundane tales of life's tribulations. A fresh box of John Player Specials rests in my jacket pocket and I can now hear them calling my name so I must give in and go set one of them aflame. Happy landings.


keresaspa: (Default)

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