Not looking for Tom Brady?

And that title should confuse everyone, because beyond a passing mention, this blog has absolutely nothing to do with him, its a me/Kate moment.

For those who arent up on facts, Kate is definitely my biggest American friend, and is well up in top few in world, in truth. Thing is, she is definitely, and deservedly, Oklahoma State in college football, and I’m Kansas State for reasons best known only to myself. In NFL terms, she is New England Patriots, as she lives in the area, and I’m Buffalo Bills, again mainly for reasons best known only to myself. Judging by Clara Johnson’s birth area, she would probably be Oklahoma if she ever cared, but anyway…

The thing is, in US time zones at least this last weekend, our 2 colleges were playing each other on Saturday, and our 2 NFL teams were playing on Sunday. For me, both actually happened Sunday, due to time difference, but besides that…to say the teasing on both sides was mild would be to exaggerate the matter! For those who care, 2-0 to Kate, though the Bills gave them one hell of a game, for sure. We certainly didnt give the amazing Tom Brady (yes, I actually follow him on Twitter) an easy time, for sure.

OK, video time returns. Given I’ve only just used Oklahoma, I’ll go with a piece from the late, great Kirsty MacColl instead


Retirement home, on the beach?

OK, fine, they think its all over, well it pretty much is now, lol. No, I’m not talking about the current government, though that might yet prove to be apt. But being strictly politically neutral on UK matters…well…? No, seriously, I mean my little break in the sun.

Of course, the sixty four million dollar question is, has the break in the sun done my back any good? Well, I’ve been taking less pills than usual, so I guess thats a good sign, but how long the effects will really last when I get back to the UK, who knows? I certainly havent missed not hearing all about the chaos at home over Brexit, and other stuff, for sure.

Yesterday, I headed to Vila Real De Santo Antonio as planned, and had a look around. In a sense, its more my sort of town than Faro would be, more peaceful, laid back, and dare I say it, old fashioned? Sadly I didnt get to Spain, as I reached the ferry terminal after town, and lunch, to see it pulling out for Ayamonte, across the river, in a different country, and given the next one wasnt for another hour in the off season, I didnt wait. That would have put me on the 2.30 ferry across, so earliest back at 4.00, and then needing to get back to Monte Gordo, all would have got a bit late for me. Maybe another time, maybe not, who knows?

Today, as I have done most days (gentle exercise, which is good) I took my stroll down along the front, and down part of the boardwalk, over the beach. I did some shopping, a little bit more than I’d planned, but nothing too dramatic. Oh, I got one of those coats, seems they had a zip up version as well for same price, so deal done! So I guess at some point soon I’ll need to go into work looking like a 30’s film star, lol. No, its silly really, I dont need a winter coat, but… Yes, I found the PIN for my credit card, but then found they only took cash, no cards, aargh!

I must admit, if, as I hope, I can retire somewhere with all year round warmth, then Monte Gordo has done a pretty good publicity job this week. I know its off season, but its quieter than the more popular end of the Algarve, its pleasantly warm, even in mid November (70 today), and cost of living is definitely lower than the UK too. But whether I will be in a position to make it happen, who knows? Will it even be possible once we’ve left the EU to move out here easily? Rolls eyes… Who me, a remain vote, well, you might think that, but I couldnt possibly say! 😛

Last amusing note, before I close for this holiday. There is a spa at the hotel I’m staying at. I did notice on their website that the spa does those body wrap things, and I’ve always fancied that. Go into my cocoon as the ugly caterpillar, come out the beautiful butterfly, yeah, I wish! So today, with budget sorted, I went to see how much it was. Yes, as I expected, way above what I had left, 80 Euros, for admittedly 80 minutes of pure pampering heaven. So, a fair price, but… To be honest, it was pretty much all above my budget, but I guess a 4 star hotel with spa (I’d say closer to 3, but anyway…), thats probably going to be the case. The thing was, they had a special offer for a hot stone massage, at 49 Euros. for 50 minutes of pampering, which I could just about scrape together. But anyway, being practical, I checked on Google, and it said not advised for people with Osteoporosis issues, so I ended up passing. Probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry with boring old me!

It was funny tonight at dinner, I got asked why I was drinking Coke, when everybody else was drinking wine, so I explained about the painkillers, and all that. Again I wonder if thats just me being extra cautious, as I know people taking those pills, and drinking booze, and being fine, but…I am being boring, lol!

Tonights video is a song that might have passed most people by, especially as its now 33 years old! The late, great, Kirsty MacColl for your delight


They’re on the beach!

No, not me, though I suppose its possible I might get there in a weeks time, while on Cape Cod. Mind, assuming it arrives in time (and my faith in the company concerned is limited to say the least), I do have a cute swimsuit, with skirt arriving, though I’m planning on it being more for sunning purposes, than swimming purposes, outdoors at least. I suspect working my body in water would do my body good, so maybe after I get back, if I can find the time…?

Now, if you’ve been following this blog for more than 4 years, you’ll know what I’m talking about tonight, but as I suspect thats a small number, lets roll with it. Nearly all horse racing takes place either on turf, or on a variety of all weather surfaces at various race tracks throughout the world. There is even supposedly a race meeting on snow in Switzerland, but dont quote me on that.

But once a year, in Ireland, they take an everyday beach, and turn it into a race track! Yes, its that memorable day when Laytown races took place. Nowadays its 6 races, over a straight track, with a maximum distance of 7 furlongs (7/8 mile), with a maximum of 10 runners per race, but it used to be more. A round track, to run longer distance races, which went closer to the sea used to be used, until safety issues cropped up, and sadly fatal injuries to horses, so now its just the latter, probably for the best. There may even be other beach race meetings in the world for all I know, but this is the only 1 I know about.

I’m still saying that I want to go there one day, but here I am, at 59, still not done. But hopefully, some time, I will! Part of the snag being that its held early in September, and tends to be just before that holiday of mine, so fitting it in, just doesnt work. But yes, I was fortunate enough to see it on TV tonight, as good as its got so far!

I just wonder how similar the surfaces used for all weather/dirt racing are to racing on a beach, no idea? Well, except that only the beach has water creeping closer to the race track as the evening goes on!

The video? Well, I suspect most of my readers have never heard of Kirsty MacColl, and even if you have, this wasnt one of her bigger hits, so…

They dont need to know

Yes, first of 2 blogs today, special treat.

I discovered this morning, care of my ‘friends’ at Facebook, that it was one year ago today, that Harlean Stephanie Carpenter entered the world. Not the first time a Harlean Carpenter had entered the world (3.3.1911), but she had a different middle name! And yes, to keep things easy on people who knew me as Steph, or Stephanie, I kept that as my middle name. Fine, without that, Clara, for Miss Johnson would have been tempting, but anyway…I know, deed poll job, not an actual birth, though it felt like a rebirth, so…

Thats right, it took a whole 9 days after arriving back in the UK to get the matter sorted out, what took me so long lol? A couple of months later, I got the passport sorted out, and… Yes, that was not fun, one identity in life, and applying for jobs in my old name, but given you have to have ID for those matters…

Still hoping to find someone who can transform my looks so that I look like the other, more famous Harlean Carpenter, but mad scientists seem to be in short supply at present!

So yes, if anyone wants to buy Harlean a ‘birthday’ present, I wouldnt mind, but in truth, I’m just glad I can really be me, cut off all ties from my past self, and just enjoy life. Yes, thats right, I still have to remember the old name, in case I need it for references, or anything, but beyond that, Stevie Nicholls, who was she? 😉

The video. Not a version of this song most will remember, because the Tracey Ullman version is the famous one. But this is the original, which for me at least, is the better one. Sadly I cant find a live version of Kirsty singing it, video, or otherwise, so this is the best I can do.

Oh, officially, the first appearance of Harlean Stephanie Carpenter was before the deed poll, due to one lovely friend in Hollywood. Thanks to Eden for that. Yes, Harlean went to the Magic Castle, not Stevie!

Well, one thing has been decided at least!

And no, its not yet which job from millions of offers that I’m going to accept. I wish! Though today at least, I didnt get a job rejection. Didnt get offered a job either, but I’m on a reserve list at least, having impressed a potential employer, so we will see, and hopefully that will mean I’m pre approved the next time they’re looking, anyway. Yes, its a job in the financial industry, so if someone fails their credit test, then I’m ready to jump in. Well, thats the hope, and the plan at least.

No, what has been settled, and booked, is the fact that I’m going to New England in September, regardless. Yes, the flight is now booked, the train fare, and hotel the night before, so its going to happen, definitely. Hey, who knows, it might be just before I start University life!

But yes, I’ve held back long enough, trying to get things sorted, but the deed has now officially been done! And yes, I’m really looking forward to it, and seeing Kate again. No, I dont know what she has planned (beyond a fairly relaxing time), but thats nothing new!

Flying with American Airlines, via JFK, in the seats with a bit more leg space. At least that gives me something good to look forward to, guaranteed.

Right, tonight, you get a choice of videos, or of course, you can play both. The first is the official video for the song, but I’ve used this before, a while back

But if you dont mind non moving pictures, this is McColl, and Billy Bragg, live!

They don’t know about us

Funnily enough, on Friday I was on a day shift at work, so therefore got home in time for the weekend local news and sports program. As is the way with the ‘wonderful’ coverage of sport on BBC Yorkshire, under normal circumstances, when it comes to Rugby League coverage, nothing exists below the Super League. You would never know there were 2 leagues below that, with plenty of local teams, if you didn’t, like me, support one of them.

Now this weekend, there were no Super League matches, as it was the last 16 round of the knock out, Challenge Cup. And yes, my team, the Keighley Cougars, proudly lurking in the Championship division below were still in the competition. So were Hunslet, a league below us, but you would never have known from the coverage! But fine, as I say, all this is nothing new.

Funny thing is, we won! Alright, only against Swinton, not one of the big names, but now we’re in the last 8! But seriously, unless we draw another Yorkshire side, do I expect them to mention us, probably not! I know, money talks nowadays, but it would be nice if we get a little acknowledgement from time to time. Mind, giving credit, where credit is due to the best county, nearly all the West Yorkshire sides got through. Hunslet had an impossible task at Wigan, and Featherstone lost narrowly to Leigh, but otherwise, Leeds, Castleford and Bradford all joined us in the last 8, Bradford slightly against the odds though.

Lets be honest, pretty much the only reason Bradford still has a rugby team is because the league management has backed them financially. Without that, they’ve spent so rashly over the years, they are in big financial trouble. Which amuses, and annoys us little Keighley fans, as we share the same district council! To say they get preferential treatment over us, would be to put it mildly! So yes, there is nothing more that we would love, than to draw them in the quarter finals at home…and beat them! Unlikely, but we minnows can dream…

Even the BBC might mention us then!

The video, well the singer is Kirsty McColl, the woman in the film definitely isnt, I have no idea who she is. But I cant find a live video of Kirsty, so…seems quite apt

The thank you speech

I’ll just keep this brief tonight, if you’ll forgive me, time is getting on, and given I fly back tomorrow night, I need to get a good nights sleep tonight. Besides which, its been a long, and wonderful week, but it might be beginning to catch up with me now. Either that, or equally possible, I’m now so stress free, and relaxed, that the brain is just switching down a bit. Might well be the latter, I havent slept this well in a while, and that seems an obvious reason why, just relaxed.

I will fill out more details after I get back, I promise, but for now…Lets face it, it will be 1 blog posting I wont have to concern myself as to the subject matter lol!

So for now, my biggest, and most grateful thanks go out to Kate, who has made a wonderful companion for the week. She has done a lot of wonderful things for me this week, and its all been so appreciated. While on the subject, I’d like to thank her AO (adored one), and Fenway the dog (before he nips my ankles for forgetting him lol) for letting Kate loose for what has been a really super week for me. Hopefully we can get together again at some point in the future, that would be great.

I also want to thank James for being a wonderful companion on Wednesday, and for taking me somewhere special. As I say, more details soon! You are a wonderful guy, it was a pleasure to meet you again, and look forward to a repeat in about 18 months time, for a bit of a longer stay.

And alright, thanks to both New England, and New York State for providing me with such wonderful places to visit.

No, I’m not going to do a blubbering Kate Winslet performance at this point, just provide the music video. I have used it before, but its just too apt not to use now.

Its not that far…

As promised, the second Kirsty McColl video at the end of this piece, this time one of her own songs. And yes, the title to this blog is a line from the song, not the title for once.

I think that the lyrics for this song have some meaning again today, or certainly did a couple of years ago when the whole economic situation started to go wrong. As a good number found out, its really not that far from an uptown apartment to a night on the A train lol! Well, maybe not quite that far, but you get my drift. The trouble was, it wasnt just the people that created the mess that found themselves in this situation, I only wish it had been!

I was lucky, even more so at my age! Made redundant 2 1/2 years ago, I managed to pretty quickly walk into another job. Then a year or so later, that department was getting closed as well! Luckily I was one of the ‘desired few’ that they wanted for a new role, even if now, just a year later, it doesnt seem like the same position! Yes, I’m getting stressy about things, and I only wish I thought ‘something new’ would be easy to find, but at my age, and the current economic mess, well I wont be holding my breath.

In the time I’ve been on the MC Forums, some have lost jobs, while others have found them, some of them indeed the same people. Hopefully nobody has yet had to sleep frozen on the church steps, though I’ve roughed it in my time, mainly when the money ran out near the end of my lengthy US trip in 2003, and I will always owe great gratitude to a Mission Hall in Seattle for helping to keep me going till it was time to fly home! Lets just say that was an eye opener though, and leave it at that!

So I send this message hoping that everything could be perfect for everyone, but know its not going to happen, so I’ll just do the best I can.

I dont know if there is a ‘Madison’ in Seattle, but if there is, I probably walked down it! I suspect Kirsty’s was in New York though!

Hope you enjoy

New England

No, sorry Kate, James and anyone else who assumed so, this isnt about my holiday, though the title at least is rather apt. The sentiments are about something else entirely though.

Many  assume these were the lyrics originally written, not true. Lets face it, Billy Bragg would have looked a bit silly if they had been! What is true is that he actually tweaked them for Kirsty though, and what a great job he did of it. These lyrics pretty much sum up the teen/early twenties years of many girls, the whole boyfriends thing, the pill thing (if they are wise), and of course, the sex. And then the jilting by him lol! And yes, I suspect we all went through it, some of us with both sexes lol!

No, I dont want to change the world, and I suspect this England isnt as bad as I portray it sometimes, though some matters do annoy me, but hey, I have to live with it. A new England, not sure if that would be good or bad, I suspect it depends who runs it, lol! New England was very nice, though whether I’d say that living through, and trying to get to work in their winter might be another matter? See, holiday did get mentioned after all! 😛

Thankfully I’m now to old to be a mother, even if I did have such desires, but thats for the best, I would have made a lousy mum! Though who knows how I would have reacted, had it happened?

As some readers at least will know, Kirsty is no longer with us, taken in a tragic accident in Mexico a few years back now, but will never stop me being a great fan of her music, thats for sure. These arent her lyrics, as I said, but they are her style of lyroics all the same, as I will prove in the near future, already got another words/video set to one of her songs all worked out.

For now, enjoy a talent taken from us at far too young an age