About Me

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I'm Fred. I arrived on the scene in 2002 in a paper bag. I was given as a birthday present. I live with "Him" and "Her". I spend a lot of time on my shelf above their bed thinking. We also spend quite a lot of our time on our Narrowboat "Jophina II" . My blog is about my thoughts and experiences.

Monday, 28 June 2010

The weekend

Well that’s that for England. What more can I say.

They spent the day on the narrowboat yesterday with friends so didn’t watch the match. Everywhere was eerily quiet except when they were going through a lock where there was a boat moored up with the occupant obviously watching the match. From within the darkened hull came what can only be described as cries of frustration, despair and anguish; says it all really.

Incidentally there was a nasty moment with the new hat – it blew off! Fortunately it didn’t go in the canal but it was a close thing!

Wisely or unwisely He mentioned my blog to a number of people on Saturday night (maybe one Indian Lager too many?) so if, as a result I have new readers, then welcome. My web statistics need a boost!

Friday, 25 June 2010

A new hat!!

They went to the Lincolnshire show earlier this week. After wandering around looking at Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, Goats and all manner of other beasts, except Bears of course, they visited all the trade stands which seemed to entertain them. He bought himself one of those Australian Hats to wear on the narrowboat although I suspect he’ll wear it other places as well!

It must be his age!!!

Thoughts on the World Cup so far......

Now I’m not a football bear usually. I don’t have one of those shirts which “owners” make their bears wear to support a particular team so I should be thankful for that. He doesn’t take much interest in football normally ( more of a Rubgy fan) but has been watching various matches from the World Cup.

England’s performance or lack of it in the first two matches was disappointing. They just seemed to lack any drive. To see France and Italy knocked out so early on is a surprise but, to be honest, adds a little spice to the whole business. The performance of the Japanese team has been, in His totally non-expert view, very creditable. They play as a team (unlike the French) and with energy and enthusiasm abounding. Setbacks are taken in their stride without histrionics and they just get on with the business of playing the game and winning the match.

The performance of the French team on and off the pitch has been a different kind of entertainment. A friend of his sent him a copy of an article which appeared in The Economist which seems to sum up how a game (football is a game isn’t it?) and society become inextricably linked and reflect the everyday tensions of living. I particularly like the photograph at the end. Allez les Bleus and don’t bother coming back seems to sum it up!

Three neuroses on their shirts
What the travails of Les Bleus say about modern France
Jun 24th 2010 | PARIS

BAFFLED, shaken and finally repelled, the French have watched aghast at the existential drama that unfolded this week in South Africa, on the pitch and off it. World Cup winners in 1998, France were eliminated from this year’s tournament without winning a single game, and flew home in disgrace. But it was the team’s performance off the pitch that so appalled the French, described by the sports minister, Roselyne Bachelot, as a “moral disaster” that had “tarnished the image of France”.

The fiasco began with a dressing-room row, in which a star player, Nicolas Anelka, yelled insults at Raymond Domenech, the coach. The French Football Federation sent Mr Anelka home, prompting a mutiny by the players, who refused to train for the next match. As recriminations flew, the captain, Patrice Evra, said that the problem was not Mr Anelka but the mole who leaked the row. The unloved Mr Domenech called the players “imbeciles”. Players and staff rowed in front of the cameras. President Nicolas Sarkozy even held a crisis meeting in response.

The affair has provoked much agonised introspection. Aime Jacquet, the victorious 1998 coach, said he was “ashamed”, describing the team as “the laughing stock of the world”. Le Monde, the bible of the Paris intellectual, described the team as “a mirror of French society today. Dominated by tormented egos and star salaries, cut off from the reality of the country and their fans, split into clans”. Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister, called it “an appalling soap opera”. Jacques Attali, an economic adviser to the president, hoped that the affair would “act as a wake-up call” and show the French they could no longer “be satisfied with past glories…glory is the worst enemy of power, and nostalgia the worst poison for the future.”

The debacle, and the reaction to it, says as much about French neuroses as it does about football. First, there is the prickly matter of race and religion. Most of the French squad are black, and many are Muslim, including Mr Anelka, who is a convert to Islam, as is Franck Ribery, who is white. The 1998 triumph was hailed at the time as a turning point: the country finally recognising, and celebrating, its multicultural make-up. Since then, between banlieue riots and talk of burqa bans, France has struggled to integrate its minorities. (Of the 23-man Algerian squad, 17 are French-born.) The team seems to reflect these tensions, with rumours of tribal divisions. Sensitivities are so acute that to criticise the players’ values, discipline or team spirit—one philosopher called them “a gang of yobs with the morals of the mafia”—is to be accused of racism.

Second, it exposes French distrust of money and globalisation. In a country that still has a wealth tax and whose president has declared laissez-faire capitalism “finished”, the footballers’ fabulous incomes—many earned playing for English clubs—are regarded as undeserved, if not corrupting. The World Cup fiasco, said Fran├žois Hollande, a Socialist leader, revealed “the excesses of French society: money, individualism”. He dismissed the French side as a “team of traders”. Even Rama Yade, the junior sports minister, denounced the team for staying in a five-star hotel.

Lastly, there is the constant tension between the French and authority. The French tradition of rebellion reaches way back, past 1789 to the 1358 Jacquerie revolt, and beyond. With continuing scandals about ministers’ perks, unrest is once again in the air. On June 24th protesters against proposed pension reforms took to the streets. This rebelliousness makes France, like its football team, particularly hard to govern. As more than one commentator pointed out, the only unusual thing about the players’ mutiny was that it was probably the first time that French millionaires have gone on strike.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

30 Seconds to Impact

He’s just finished reading this book which is written by the Captain of the BA aircraft which crashed at Heathrow in January 2008 with, happily, no loss of life.

He found the book fascinating not just because things to do with aircraft interest him but because it was a clearly very personal and at times emotional account by the Captain and his wife of how the incident affected them as individuals and as a family. This was from a number of perspectives including how the company handled the incident, psychological issues relating to a "near death experience", how the press pursued them for information (literally driving them into hiding) and how fellow employees reacted to him after the incident.

In short he wasn’t able to put the book down.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

A good Bank Holiday Weekend

Gosh what an exhausting weekend!
L was home from Uni which was nice. Saturday was a bit of a miserable day with rain and they seemed to do jobs like shopping, tidying up and stuff in the garden/greenhouse.
Sunday He together with L & C went to Twickenham to see England play the Barbarians. Evidently it was quite a good match although England who were leading by quite a margin at half time lost the plot a bit in the second half although they ended up winning 35-26. They all seemed to really enjoy it and C took a video of Him (apparently) singing “Jerusalem” although he looks more like a Goldfish to me! He says the atmosphere at Twickenham is great although with 41,000 people there it it was only half full.
On Monday they were supposed to all go to their boat for the day but it didn’t happen. Nik ( L’s boyfriend) came for lunch, C went off to a party in the afternoon and He took L back to the station in the early evening.
Good times!


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