Friday, February 27, 2009

Golf

Back on the golf course today, even though I swore I would never play again after the last game....

Funny sort of game really. Last time out I shot 97 but felt like I had played really badly. My ball striking was poor, yet I got lucky with a few errant tee shots on the par 3's which rolled onto the green and salvaged something out of what could have been a terrible score.

Today, I shot a truly abysmal 102 (52 out, 50 back), and yet felt I played much, much better and was dealt a few really harsh blows by the very blustery conditions. I had way too many double and triple bogeys, and much of my wedge and short iron play still sucked, yet I hit 8 fairways (despite the treacherous winds), averaged 200 metres on my drives (had 3 over 220 metres, which is getting on for the longest I have ever hit), and averaged 1.8 putts per hole.

I had two great up-and-downs to save par on a couple of par 3's, and played some great 150 metre hybrid shots out of fairway bunkers, so there were lots of positives. Unfortunately I hit only one green in regulation (and even that one I went on to 3 putt!)

Like I say, it's a funny sort of game, because the score card really isn't everything. 50% of golf is in the head. And the other 50%.... well, that's in the head too!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tiger's Back!

Yes, Tiger Woods makes his eagerly-anticipated return tomorrow. I thought this Nike video was funny...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Twitter Spoilers

I was forced to unfollow someone on Twitter today.

This was nothing to do with the depressingly regular instance of blocking someone who only wants to garner followers or spam me with some get-rich-quick scheme, but was necessitated by a difference in philosophy - what I wanted from Twitter was not what he wanted to give.

Social networks can be a boon or bane, and Twitter can be both at the same time, unfortunately. The small posts make for a neat medium for transmitting news items and regular updates. Twitter is how I get a lot of my tech news right now, since it is full of people who have more time, inclination or professional need to scour the internet for interesting tidbits.

If, however, I want more details, I have RSS readers for that and I can go get my sports results, for example, at my leisure.

And herein lies the rub. Twice in the last week I have taped a sporting event to watch later. Twice in the last week some bright spark has announced the result on Twitter. No.... "cover your eyes, here it comes" announcement - Twitter, after all, does not lend itself to that.

It's no big deal, but it highlights the need to carefully assess what each Twitterer is offering. I followed @putt3r because he had some useful golf-related insights in general. But now I have had to unfollow him because he announces tournament results as soon as they finish, and he is in a time zone which usually means I will see the results before I even get a chance to record the program, let alone watch it.

I have also unfollowed a couple of people who insist on giving me a blow-by-blow account of their particular favourite sporting event as it happens. WTF? This is like radio commentary but without all the excitement....

The "always on" nature of Twitter can be one of its greatest strengths - it can also make it one of the biggest pains in the ass.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Golf Disaster

Attempted to play golf today - complete disaster.

Played like a monkey. No - played like a right-handed monkey using left-handed golf clubs. Actually - played like a right handed monkey using left-handed golf clubs and suffering from a severe, debilitating twitch during the downswing. And one eye. And a wooden leg.

And monkeys can't even play golf (this is a fact - they are too short to drive the golf carts)

That's how bad I was.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When Buffalo Attack!

This is the most amazing wildlife video I have ever seen...

Don't be tempted to stop watching before the end

Friday, February 20, 2009

Death Of The Language?

I was shocked to read this today.

I'm not sure what disturbs me the most. Are those in charge so out of touch that they believe that encouraging the use of unreadable slang in class will help kids learn? Or do they think that it is a good thing that they are promoting illiteracy when they should be teaching those kids how to construct a grammatically correct sentence with minimal spelling errors?

I am not sure where all this will lead, but it can't be good.

Lunch today with Clive and Fabi who introduced us to a new place (for us at least) in the heart of Nimes. Le Chapitre, 2a, place du Chapitre (Tel 04 66 84 93 15) serves excellent French/Italian food at reasonable (though not cheap) prices. We all chose from the 20 Euro menu, and my tarte fine (goats cheese and serrano ham), followed by risotto with pesto, tomatoes and dried serrano ham was superb. The tiramisu was nothing to write home about, but we will definitely be going back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Doubt

Saw Doubt at the Semaphore tonight, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.

Streep and Hoffman are superb as usual, Streep putting in a performance that even had me forgiving her for that abysmal Mama Mia fiasco. This film is not nearly as heavy as you might think from viewing the trailers, relying often on moments of real humour to move it along at a brisk pace. 90 minutes flew by, and I heartily recommend this one

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Golf At Last

Yes, after what seems likes months of bad weather (it's weeks really, which is still pretty unusual in these parts) we finally get back out on the golf course.

The last time we played the greens were solid as concrete and several of them were still partly obscured by snow. Not that that affected my game at all - I can play crappily under all conditions...

Today is no exception. After a promising practice session where everything I hit soared straight and true, it quickly becomes apparent that I have peaked before even teeing off. Shot after crappy shot turns into a dismal 51 on the first 9 holes, and it is only the warm sunshine and empty fairways ahead of us that persuade me to keep going.

With a 23 handicap (26 course handicap at Vacquerolles) I need to shoot 98 or under to play to my index. Amazingly I turn in a 46 on the back 9 to give me a respectable total, but this is one of those times when the score flatters. I hit several appalling tee shots which somehow keep rolling - in the case of both par 3's on the back 9 they roll right onto the greens allowing me to get par. In all, I manage 4 pars and a few bogeys to get that score, to balance the seemingly endless double and triple bogeys on the first 9, but I still didn't feel I played well - more that I got lucky.

For some reason, for example, I cannot hit a wedge shot to save my life right now - I think it is time to go back for lessons.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Curry And Sand

Not together, you understand, but one after the other.

We meet up with Axel & Wendy and Sarah & Steven (and associated offspring) at the curry restaurant in Lunel, which turns out to be excellent once again. I have the korma and Lynne the karahi and they are both very tasty - certainly the best we have had in this region of France.

After catching up on S&S' adventures in Oz and misadventures with their builders, Lynne and I carry on with Harry to the beach at Grandes Mottes. Surprisingly for such a cold day, the beach is packed (well, as packed as they get round here) - maybe it is enough that it is sunny after all the rain we have had recently, 'cos the French (at least in the south) are not normally renowned for trekking around in the cold, preferring to wait for temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celcius before they take their winter coats off!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Polite Society

Over a very nice curry dinner at Jan & Alex' tonight, we are reminded of one of the strongest reasons we had for moving to France several years ago.

The other dinner guests are William (the mayor of Cannes-et-Clairans) and Christine, and their daughter, Paloma. In England, we would have run a mile on seeing that dinner guests had brought young children (I would guess she is about 8 or 9). The usual reason for dragging kids to a dinner party would be for the parents to abrogate all responsibility for their brats for the rest of the evening while they get steadily pissed, said brats getting louder and more obnoxious (and frequently getting pissed themselves having located the booze store in the garage when no one was looking)

Initially, of course, they would completely ignore you, not even looking up from their Nintendo DS to acknowledge your existence. As the evening wears on, they might deign to move from in front of the TV to demand food different to that which everyone else is eating - definitely to include chips - before returning to the TV to eat it on their laps.

French children are different. Paloma immediately stops what she is doing as we arrive to greet us with a polite hello and the traditional three kisses on the cheeks. She participates in conversation when spoken to by the rest of us, always at a very adult level. She sits down with the adults for the meal during which she is a model of restraint, speaking when spoken to, as she eats the same food as the rest of us (despite the fact that the chances of her having tasted such spicy food at home is pretty much nil). Once everyone has finished their food, she excuses herself to watch TV quietly in the other room while the adults chat, and at the end of the evening we receive three more kisses and a polite "good night".

In short, she is a pleasure to have around, and this, we find, is typical of French children.

I realise generalisations are dangerous - that there are a few English children who are raised correctly and there may even be a few obnoxious French children around (though we have yet to come across them).

But the other thing about generalisations is that they are generally true, and this particular one will ensure that French society continues to be one in which politeness, respect for elders and the importance of family life is drummed into children from an early age, and which will - long after English (and American) society, having long since eschewed the aforementioned qualities, has continued its inexorable decline into the depths of hell - ensure that France remains a country in which it is a pleasure to live.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Death of a Diplodocus


Death of a diplodocus
Originally uploaded by bobwalder
Harry's willpower finally deserts him and the result is diplodocus guts all over the sitting room.

Thing is, it's never HIM who has to clean this mess up, is it?

New Videos Of Harry On YouTube

New videos of Harry available on my YouTube page (click here to view).

Whatever Happened To Free Speech?

This article in the Telegraph just reinforces my post from last Thursday, and makes me even more glad I moved out of the UK if this is where it is heading.

"Free speech is about understanding that some people hold a different view from you, whether you like it or not. When we start to alert the "authorities" to thought crimes we really are one step away from the dystopian world that Orwell invented as a warning, not a prophecy.

Is Britain now adopting a position where people who support suicide bombers and jihad are able to make known their opinions without legal challenge, whereas those who oppose them cannot?"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Everyone's An Expert

I am increasingly amazed at the number of people Tweeting and Blogging who claim to be experts in the field of new media, internet marketing, and so on.

In my day (hello... sounds like a lecture from my dad coming up...) you would probably expect to spend a few years specialising in something before your peers might reluctantly grant that you might possibly be considered something of an expert in the field.

These days, any spotty oik with a PC seems to think that posting a few grammatically incorrect irrelevancies on a blog entitles them to claim the aforementioned titles of "Internet Marketing Expert" or "New Media Consultant".

I was followed on Twitter by someone of whom I had never heard yesterday, so I did a little digging. His Twitter biography states
"Well I'm a internet marketer,infopreneur, enterprenurer,and a sports fanatic...and love to help people with there problems."
and alongside it is a headshot of an individual wearing a hoody. No, really!

OK... where to start....

Quite apart from the obviously bogus claims (more on that in a minute), it's hard to take seriously anyone who (a) wears a hoody in a pic designed to promote his professional services, and (b) cannot be bothered to spell check his main biography entry. Of course, even if he had managed to catch "enterprenurer", my guess is he would still not have realised "there" should be "their"... ah well....

So this guy - who doesn't actually have a web site of his own - is offering his professional services as a PR/media consultant to help promote other people's sites. I am not sure how anyone could resist his sales pitch:
"hey havent talked to you in a while....but remenber when we talk over email,i offered to promote your website with all kinds of differnet ways to promote your website.......well I'm gonna do us both a fab....and I'll do it for free....if any one eles out there wants website to be promoted talk to me and I'll do it for free all i ask is when you start making sales give me 5% of it"

Sounds tempting, huh? He even claims to have a team of people "wot he has trained" ready to help out (probably the other teenies in his skateboard gang).

But then he goes and spoils the professional pitch by revealing less-than-impressive technical credentials such as (a) he is in his final year of school (so plenty of business experience then?) and (b) by asking basic web-related questions of others, like:
thanks....hey how do i creat a website like you....telling the world all about me...like you do

Awwwwww... I was so close to offering him a job, too. Thing is, I am not picking on this kid (I have not named him, and will not), and if this was a solitary incident I would be more inclined to offer him a few pointers. But it is not - there are hundreds of examples of this nature which I can actually find, which means there are probably thousands of these guys peddling their (there) sub-standard wares to an unsuspecting public.

Hopefully, not even those new to this "new media" gobbledegook will be suckered into employing one of these yahoos - surely spelling and basic presentation skills still count for something, even if we no longer require you to have several years of experience in a subject before deeming yourself an expert.

With every man and his dog claiming to be an internet marketing "expert" these days, we should all remember that classic definition of the word: "X" = the unknown quantity, and "spurt" = a drip under pressure....

(PS. Before the arrival of the inevitable caustic comments regarding my own spelling, I should point out that (a) I am aware that "hoody" can also be spelled "hoodie" - both seem acceptable (in terms of spelling, if not in terms of fashion sense) - and (b) I am British, so all those words you are going to complain about do in fact end in "ise" in the Queen's English, and not "ize" as you might believe)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sinsans Walk

Another month has passed and it's time once again for Bryan's monthly walk in the rain.... except that today it's not raining!

It is, however, ankle deep in mud at the beginning of the walk around Sinsans, which just means that the numerous dogs which have joined us on today's walk get the chance to jump up at everyone with muddy paws and knock them over.... oh the joy!

With 6 dogs in evidence it is quite a pack event at the front, with some jostling for position and supremacy, interspersed with some attempted shagging of Minnie by Harry - much to the annoyance of Max (Minnie's boyfriend/life companion). Boo and Scruffy, meanwhile, eschew mingling with other dogs in favour of much more interesting stuff like chasing passing cyclists - much to the annoyance of the passing cyclist!

The weather is superb, the walk is well researched, and a good time is had by all, but particularly Harry who turns up in the back of the car at the end covered in mud!



Forgive the quality of the photos - I only had my iPhone with me. Roll on summer for the new iPhone and let's hope they beef up the camera to 5 mega-pixels rather than the speculated 3.2.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Living Will

Last night, the two of us were sitting in the living room and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

She got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out my wine.

She can be such a bitch!

Why People Just Don't GET The Kindle

The Kindle 2 was launched yesterday to huge fanfares from Amazon and underwhelming responses from journalists. Why is it that some people just don't GET the Kindle, and similar eReader devices?

Of course, it all depends on your physical reading preferences. In our house, my wife (Lynne) and I are diametrically opposed in our views of eReaders. I like them a lot, she hates them and the horse they rode in on. She loves reading books - I think the physical handling and smell and feel of books has a lot to do with it, but she will also point to the fact that she finds computer (and eReader) screens hard to read for long periods of time (true) and the battery will always run out halfway through a gripping chapter (also true - and particularly inconvenient if your choses eReader device is also your mobile phone, as in my case).

Now me, I LOVE eReaders, and genuinely think they are the future, and that all forms of paper-based publications will eventually die a death. I don't have any difficulty in reading books even on my relatively small iPhone screen (I use the eReader app) and I love the fact I can pick up from where I left off with my latest novel while I am stuck in a doctor's waiting room.

But the biggest advantage of the electronic book to me is choice. When Lynne and I go on holiday, at least one suitcase is usually stuffed with books - a carefully chosen selection that has to see us through the entire holiday ('cos there are never any English language bookshops where we go!) However, half way through the holiday I will often have a hankering for some other reading material - a book which is still at home on the shelf. Or maybe I just want to look something up - a bit of quick research for an idea I just had.

This is where the eReader really scores. Loading 1500 books onto a single device is not useful from the point of view of providing 1500 books to read before the battery runs out, but it IS useful in providing choice. Today I can read a thriller, tomorrow sci-fi, the day after, comedy. And so on. I can select form my entire library at any point in time, depending on my mood. And, of course, with the Kindle, I could also browse newspaper and magazine subscriptions.

So for me, the Kindle is a no-brainer. I want one. At least I would if it weren't for a couple of minor obstacles:

1. Price - It is just way over-priced. Amazon needs to sell it dirt cheap and make money from the content. Given the way people will use a device like this, it has to be cheap enough (and easy enough to restore from scratch and re-populate with content) so that leaving it on a bus or train (or dropping it in the sea) is not a big deal. This means a $50 price point, not $360

2. No European release - here we are on the second major release of this device and you STILL cannot get one in Europe. What gives?

3. I would prefer WiFi over 3G (or give us both, at least) - clearly this is also the biggest stumbling block for a world-wide roll out, so why not add WiFi and make it a non-issue?

There is also talk about the Kindle content making it to the iPhone, which would be nice, since then you only have to buy once and can choose your reading platform and switch between the two as required - Kindle if I know I am going to be doing a lot of reading, or iPhone when I find myself stuck on the underground unexpectedly (how unexpected could THAT be?)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Social (Network) Niceties

I have been using Twitter for a while now, and have quickly passed from the "what do you do with it?" phase to the "what would you do without it?" phase. But there is a side of Twitter which irks me greatly.

On the upside, it is an extremely useful medium for acquiring snippets of information, links, pointers or "the mood" of a group of people, although it can sometimes take a bit of work to sift through the dross. As with anything to do with the Internet, the signal to noise ratio can be high, and you have to experiment with who you want to follow to make sure you don't get swamped with irrelevancies.

I use it for personal and professional stuff, and have Profile Peeks, searches and filters set up in my Twitter clients (I use Tweetie on my iPhone and EventBox on my Mac desktop) to try and streamline the information-gathering process. At the same time, the dynamic nature of the relationship each user has with Twitter means that you can reach many people in a single stroke with your Tweets and Re-Tweets, allowing you the opportunity to broadcast your own snippets of information or links to other sites.

But what about the downside? Well, it is not something I have had to deal with personally, since I do not have thousands of followers, but I have noticed a nasty side to Twitter when reading through the time line of someone like Stephen Fry (@stephenfry).

Just last night, for example, the wonderful @danspring wrote directly to Fry: "Stephen Fry has been removed - I'm no longer a follower. The man updates shit 24/7! Bye, bye @stephenfry".

This from a man whose Twitter content seems to consist almost entirely of football results and the price of plums in Sainsbury's... See, if you don't like Stephen Fry, why follow him in the first place? If it turns out that his Tweets are not as interesting as you thought, why not just quietly unfollow him? Why resort to calling him out publicly?

Then you have the idiot @stephen_fry who tries to scam Twitter users by passing himself off as Fry, and blaming Fry for being too touchy when he gets caught out. He now claims that he should be able to do whatever he likes because - in his words - he has a comprehensive education and he is dyslexic and, anyway, it was supposed to be a parody not an impersonation... yeeeeeahhhh right....

There are a number of fakers on Twitter, unfortunately, grabbing celebrity names as Twitter IDs and then passing themselves off as said celebrity? Why?

Of course, you have the opposite too - top quality Twittering from the genuine article whose identity is called into question. Take @harry_winston, for example. There are those who don't believe that a Labrador can post to Twitter.... clearly a misconception since, who else could be bothered to post on behalf of a 40KG mutt with a penchant for dead things?

The Day After Tomorrow

No, this is not another Movie night review (though I did quite enjoy that film).

I was just thinking about the movie as I read through the news stories from the UK over the past week or so. Schools closed, workers not (working, that is), buses and trains cancelled (probably more from the drivers staying at home than any serious snow-related blockages), motorways at a standstill, people abandoning cars and scurrying for council-run emergency shelters, wild animals on the loose eating small children (Ok.... I made that last one up....)

And whilst it did look like a bit more snow fell than usual, one has to ask the question "would our parents have stayed at home?" No, and our grandparents not only wouldn't have stayed home, they would have cleared the roads and paths with their own bare hands before work. Britain is getting soft.... (actually, I think we passed "getting" a long time ago.)

The Federation of Small Businesses said the cost to Britain's economy through lost productivity could be as high as $4.3 billion. So much for global warming ;o)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Movie Night

After a dull day doing chores (well we have to remove half a ton of Labrador hair from the house at some point...) a nice pasta, glass of red wine (Chateau Langlade oak aged Prestige) and a good movie are the order of the day.

We settle on "Burn After Reading" directed by the Coen brothers. Pitt, Malkovich and Clooney in outstanding form - absolutely hilarious and highly recommended.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Weather Woes in Haiku


Cold grey leaden skies

Winter clouds bring too much rain

When will I play golf?

:o)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

No Explanation Should Be Necessary

Given the concept of free speech and the inalienable right of the blogger to spout crap, I should never have to justify anything I say here. This is MY soap box, and if you don't like what I have to say then you can always.... well, I guess you know what you can always do.... ;o)

However, following some "feedback" I received via Twitter following yesterday's post I thought I would clarify something.

I am not a racist. I am not a bigot. Anyone who knows me well knows that. Anyone who THINKS they know me via a few 140 character Tweets or the odd blog post here should probably put their brain into gear before attacking me. Read yesterday's post again....carefully this time....

I am NOT anti-gay. I am NOT anti-muslim. I am NOT even anti-Milton Keynes.

What I AM is anti-PC. This wave of "political correctness" which has swept the UK will be the death of British culture, if such a thing exists any more. Positive discrimination never works, and yet we see it practised time and time again in Britain now as "minorities" (often not that minor, in reality!) are given preferential treatment over the masses, and the authorities cave in left and right in an attempt not to offend them - rewriting laws, rewriting books, even rewriting history wherever it is deemed "offensive" or too "pro-British". THAT was the point of yesterday's post.

It upsets me that we have to watch what we say at every turn. It upsets me that certain groups can appropriate words that once were perfectly innocent - to have aspirations to be a "gay batchelor" these days has very different connotations to when our parents were young. And apparently we can no longer sing about "baa baa black sheep" or tell stories about "three little pigs" for fear of upsetting some ethnic group or another. I will leave you to figure out which....

What is being forgotten these days is that tolerance is supposed to work both ways. The great "multicultural society" experiment which has consumed governments for the past few decades has proved, like communism, to be a total failure. MULTI-culturism will never work - the old ideal of the "melting pot" only works if everything in the pot does indeed melt, infusing the separate ingredients with elements of each other to achieve a harmonious whole - a tasty stew, if you will, rather than a hodge-podge of separate ingredients which nobody likes.

And this means that we cannot simply subvert or jettison our heritage for the convenience of others. Songs and stories should be allowed to survive, but put into some sort of historical context for the children of today in order to highlight WHY such things became offensive over time and why it might no longer be appropriate to use them. Classics which have survived generations should not suddenly be re-written to eliminate non-PC words or phrases - but people should be educated as to why they must no longer be used in polite society.

Is that naive of me? Maybe - children in the school yard will always discover something they think is offensive and use it, but they will get that from the internet these days, not from reading Enid Blyton. So is it really necessary to butcher or ban Enid Blyton in order to satisfy the cravings of a few PC-Nazis (oh, damn, am I still allowed to talk about Nazis?)

At the end of the day, it is my firm belief that (a) the vast majority of "normal" people never actually recognise the offensive nature of these things, and (b) the vast majority of those people who are SUPPOSED to be offended by them never actually are.

It is down to that smallest minority of all, the PC-censors, to tell the rest of us what we should be ashamed of, and then go about imposing the most ridiculous of changes in response.

And you know what I have also noticed? That those shouting the loudest about the scandalous slur against Milton Keynes residents never actually live in Milton Keynes....

END RANT

And whilst on the topic of discrimination and tolerance, how about this story. Only 116 years to integrate the sexes.

Those uppity women. What next - the vote?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sex, Politics and Religion

The three things you should never discuss at the dinner table...

Well we don't have sex, but politics and religion we got in spades. Firstly, how we we be so complacent as to allow significant historical monuments rot away, especially when they have contributed so much to our nation's security in the past.

I am talking, of course, about Bletchley Park, which appears to be ineligible for any sort of government funding (well, they have no money left, of course) or lottery funding. Wot, no lottery money? How come?

Not gay enough? No single black lesbian mothers involved? Not muslim enough? Too close to Milton Keynes? After all, who wants to remember one of the birthplaces of achievements which helped win the second World War?

Well, I would like to - I have been a few times, and it makes for a fascinating day out. And if you would to help, you might try banging your head against this particular brick wall by going to the Online petition - Save Bletchley Park.

Onto my second rant of the day.

Peter Hitchens is very outspoken, and very rarely errs on the side of political correctness, and these two qualities endear him to me greatly, even if I do not always agree with his opinions. Of course, he has it wrong in his latest blog entry.

The police were not scared and were probably not lacking leadership - quite the opposite, in fact. My guess is they had been given very clear instructions not to antagonise the muslims, 'cos that's what we have to do, these days, isn't it? Not antagonise them. Grovel. Basically let them do what they want.

In stark contrast, the police were allowed to behave normally when confronted with a single, unarmed, gobby journalist, and he was probably lucky to walk away with all his teeth.

Breakfast for Kestrel

This slide show is pretty self explanatory.

Little did we suspect when we put out the bread and seeds under the olive tree that we would be setting up this unsuspecting starling in quite such a spectacular way.

Don't get too squeamish if I tell you that it was the screaming which alerted me to the goings on, but I didn't feel empowered to interfere given that this same scene will be played out several times a day outside our garden.

If I had succeeded in chasing off the kestrel I would have been left with a starling with a huge hole in its chest which I would then have had to put out of its misery (and the kestrel would have had to go kill another bird for its breakfast!). Nature in all its savage glory...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Risque d'Inondation

That's what it says on our weather forecast right now, and friends of ours in Salinelles have been warned to vacate their house tonight as the Vidourle continues to rise.

It is no joke when it gets to this stage, and all of us round here can still remember the last time Sommieres suffered in 2002 (see pic).

Here's hoping the rain passes and we get a day or two respite.

On another topic, in being informed of the new development plans for the outskirts of our little village, I find to my delight that we have a web site devoted to the village (and the plans). Fascinating (at least for those of us who live here....) with some lovely old pics. The thing that fascinates me is that when you study those old pics - some of them VERY old indeed - the heart of the village has changed very little since they were taken (right down to the same old lady sitting outside the front door in one of them).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rory Breaks His Duck

After two near misses recently it was nice to finally see Rory McIlroy lift his first major trophy since turning pro only two years ago, at the same time becoming the youngest winner - at just 19 - of the Dubai Desert Classic.

He kept us on the edge of our seats though! After playing some outstanding golf and leading for the first three days he seemed on the verge of running away with it as he sunk five straight birdies on the back 9 on the final day to garner a 6 shot lead over Justin rose with only four holes remaining. Rose ploughed on regardless and McIlroy's nerves started to get the better of him as he dropped three shots on the next three holes.

McIlroy and rose went to the 18th with just a stroke separating them, and with Rose on the green and McIlroy in the bunker things were looking bleak. You could hear the chomping of fingernails from the crowd as Rose two-putted and McIlroy made what he described as "one of the best up-and-downs of my career" to win the tournament by a single stroke.

Nail-biting stuff that kept me on the edge of me seat this afternoon, and a great antidote to the terrible wet weather which persists (yes, it's persisting it down right now in fact!) in making it impossible to play golf ourselves.