Saturday 29 May 2021

Belonging: Football Trivia

The one thing that John Lennon and I have in common is that we both went to Quarry Bank Grammar School in Liverpool (a couple of years apart). Quarry and The Liverpool Institute (alma mater of Paul McCartney) were the two most sought after prizes of the Eleven Plus Examination and two persistent rivals for the Liverpool Grammar Schools Football Cup.

St Johnstone have just become the fourth football club in history to win both the Scottish major trophies in the same season. The unusual and outstanding thing about that is that all the members of the team were born in Scotland.

That made me think about my school football team and then the amateur teams I was involved with when I left school. 

The chant for my school team at the inter-school cup final (and any other matches for that matter) was:

Chuneranna chuneranna chun chin chee

We are Quarry, Quarry are we.

Chuneranna chuneranna chun chin chow

Quarry never lose, Quarry win now.

Followed by suitable roaring.

(I've put that totally irrelevant bit of information in simply because I remembered it.) 

What was important then was that you could only play for an amateur team if you were encompassed by the name of the team. So only Quarrymen played for Quarry Bank. Only members of NALGO played for the NALGO team. And so on. I wonder if it's still the same.

Interestingly I've just looked up that across Liverpool FC's entire history 823 players have represented the club and only 17 per cent of them have been from Merseyside (and, presumably even fewer from Liverpool). What I found even more interesting is that 43 nationalities have played for the club.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Thick As A Plank

When I was reading a post by Cro yesterday morning a comment was made:

"As someone with a vast store of general knowledge in my bonce, I rather like the mental exercise that some TV quiz shows provide - including "The Chase", "Mastermind" and "University Challenge".....but I dislike slow-moving and banal quiz shows in which they spend more time guffawing than posing proper quiz questions."

Cro responded that it's the latter type that now seem to be proliferating and that he recently watched part of a Mastermind 'Celebrities', which was simply appalling. One contestant managed to obtain 5 or 6 (he thought) points from his two lots of questions. 

The follow up comment was: "Normally 'Celebrity' means 'as thick as a plank' ".

One thing I do not like is people assuming that a lack of stored trivial (or any) knowledge is the same as being 'thick'. It smacks of arrogance.

When I was reading law I was told that I would never get good exam marks because I couldn't remember all the case names, regnal years and so on. It's true. I can't. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I have an appalling memory and always have had.

What I could do, and was complimented for my ability at, was to analyse the issues. Given the fact that in 20 years of advocating in planning inquiries I only lost one case I advised was winnable, I am satisfied that I'm not thick.

Doubtless there are many people in my life who have regarded my appalling memory and complete lack of interest in storing trivia as 'being thick'. Fortunately there are others who hold a different view. 

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Too Many Containers

I thought I'd try some short sharp posts dans le style de Cro Magnon. This is the first.

I recently went into Boots for some multi-vitamins. My wife of 27 years started me on them not all that long after we were married. I've been taking them ever since. We've been separated nearly 30 years.

Boot's usually have vitamins etc on 3 for 2 offers (cheapest one free). I only wanted one (multi-vitamins) and nothing else. However 3 for 2 is a good offer given their £9 price tag.  So I bought 3. When I got them home I realised that, given their size, I couldn't get them all in my medicine drawer. So I emptied the second and third into the first container. How ridiculous is that? Three bottles' contents easily fitted into one. The tin of soup gives you the size of the bottles. So I now have 540 days' supply of the tablets. 

What a waste of space and plastic.

Sunday 23 May 2021


This morning I received a Messenger message.  Right out of the blue.

It was someone from whom I've not heard for a long time. Last Christmas I didn't send a card.

Having said that, the person and her family were very important to me at one time having been part of my New Zealand life and having stayed with me here on Lewis. It seemed a shame to have lost contact. They have always remained in my thoughts. I have a natural tendency to keep in touch with people who have been important in my life even if it is only sporadically. I hate losing contact even with people on the other side of the world living in a world I inhabit in spirit but no longer inhabit in body.

By the time we'd caught up it was as if there had been no time lost. We were totally at ease notwithstanding  the hiatus. 

I've learned a lesson today. 

Do you naturally keep in touch with people in your past life?

Friday 7 May 2021


A few days ago I had BBC Breakfast on in the background waiting for the local news when I heard a statement that the most successful band in British History was on. It is called 'Little Mix'. I, for one, had never heard of the band. Okay so they obviously make the sort of music that I don't listen to now but if they were the most successful band ever I'd have expected to have heard some mention of them at some stage.

I was brought up in Liverpool in The Sixties so I was, of course, very aware of groups such as The Beatles,  The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Hollies,  Herman's Hermits, The Searchers, Credence Clearwater Revival, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkle, Pink Floyd, Manfred Mann, The Monkees, The Mamas and the Papas, The Moody Blues, Procol Harem, The Everly Brothers, The Shadows, Deep Purple and doubtless many more. 

I suppose we all tend to remember the groups of our youth more than those of later years (although perhaps I'm wrong in that supposition). However since the Sixties and Seventies I've only been aware of a relatively small number of groups that have made the Really Big Time.

Monday 3 May 2021

Thoughts on Release From Lockdown

I am amazed at how out of touch I feel when I have been away from Blogland for nearly a month. During lockdown Blogland was a place of normality for me. After all Blogland has seen me through a great deal in the last 15 years whilst I've been writing and reading blogs. Blog friends and acquaintances have come and gone (and stayed) but it's been there as a comfort blanket during my New Zealand life as well as life here on Lewis. It's seen me in France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Italy as well as Australia and touring New Zealand when I lived there. 

Blogland has been part of normality during lockdown too.

When we were in full lockdown for six months last year I rarely went out except for walks. I met people a lot on video chats and the good old telephone. Like everyone else social life and things like meeting to play bowls all stopped.

However, unlike most of my friends, despite me being a social animal I did not miss socialising. I enjoyed having no commitments. I enjoyed waking up and looking at the weather and deciding it was a perfect day for the garden or a walk or writing letters or working in the workshop/garage out of the rain. 

I could well understand the angst of people living in a multi-storey flat cooped up with other family members with no space and probably having to work from home or home-school. I would have hated that.

Now that things are returning to 'normal' and my diary is full and I have to be aware of the day and the time I am realising just how much I actually enjoyed lockdown. I didn't just endure it. I truly enjoyed it.

Now, though, I will get on with enjoying life again and now that I'm home from hospital and getting back into my Island routine I shall, hopefully, also catch up with all my Blogland pals and find out what you've been up to.