Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Some Fiscal Common Sense - 2066 Years Later

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC)
What have we learned in 2,066 years?
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
                                                                          -  Cicero    55 BC
Evidently nothing.....
Thanks to Maynard, who took time off touring his estate and bossing his hirelings to send me this in a missive. According to Maynard, Cicero was a nice enough chap, but a bit of a swot at school. Happy memories!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Our Lady of Rugby and the Conversion of Wales

Our Lady of Rugby
There is a Catholic shrine to rugby! Well, to Our Lady of Rugby to be exact, and as a fellow Welsh blogger explains, this may explain how France managed to get to the World Cup final on Sunday!

Ah, you see Wales: return to the Faith of your Fathers and you too could embrace rugby glory, for the greater glory of God.

In the end, beset by Protestantism, we achieved 4th place. Not bad all in all, having lost our essential players Adam Jones, Sam Warburton and (who'd have thunk it) Rhys Priestland. Now if we can become a land of priests, if we can reignite the Land of our Fathers with the Faith of our Fathers and bring back the glory and beauty of the Age of Saints, the next World Cup will surely be ours for the taking.

Warren Gatland! Are you listening? Get on your knees. Get to Confession. Take your Rosary to training. You've gone to Catholic Poland to freeze your players' proverbials off... now take the next step and make the Welsh squad a Catholic force to convert Wales, Europe and the world via beautiful, majestic and sublime rugby.

As the great-grandson of Welsh rugby legend HVP "Viv" Huzzey, I demand no less!

There. That's that sorted.

St David - Ora Pro Nobis.

Teacher Training? Watching Rugby!

Quite a few of the local schools are "closed" today as an inset day, which I believe is for teacher training.

I wonder how much of that teacher training will take place near a TV, with the Australia V Wales match, live from New Zealand, in the background? or the foreground?

Well I suppose it is 'team building'.

Another bacon sandwich Mr Williams?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Welsh Assembly Vote to Ban Smacking - Oh Hoorah!

Politicians need telling-off
I'm sooooo glad the Welsh Assembly thinks that a government should make the smacking of children illegal.

After all, it's not as if youth unemployment is rising, or that drug addiction is a problem in towns across Wales, or that youngsters can't afford to buy houses... real issues needing real solutions.

How refreshing rather that they want to stick their noses into family's affairs and stop parents teaching children right from wrong with an occasional smack in extreme circumstances (running into roads etc.)!

They say smacking can lead to abuse: but abuse is already illegal. We may as well ban everyone drinking the odd beer, as that could lead to heroin use. Or ban us all driving 30mph on the streets as that could lead to driving 60mph in our towns.

I've got an idea though. Let's ban politicians: because at the moment putting them in office does inexorably lead to ridiculous laws and nanny state stupidity.

They should be made to go sit in the corner, stop passing silly measures and made to write out "I must deal with real problems that impact on peoples lives and communities" 500 times.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Alain Rowland: Should've Gone to Specsavers

"The card is yellow, right?"
Rumour has it that if you bet on the All Blacks to win the Rugby World Cup final next weekend against France you'll get less back then you put down.

I read this morning that Alain Rolland (the "red card ref") sells mortgages in Dublin. Can we blame him for the Credit Crunch? Anyways, it could be worse, he could be an estate agent. He certainly oversold Sam Warburton's 'aggressive' spear tackle.

I don't think he acted in a partisan way, it was clearly just over-implementation of the law, but one has to ask if it was for the rugby authorities to put in a ref in a Wales-France game who is half-French and half-Irish (Wales having just beaten Ireland). It certainly leaves room for those who want to point the finger at the possibility of the ref being the "16th Frenchman on the pitch."

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Welsh Rugby Rule #1: Beware Any Referee with a French Name!

What can I say? What a terrible day for Wales and for Welsh rugby!

We knew we were going to win, then one terrible, terrible referee decision robbed Wales of a cup final place, and Wales (and all our new friends in the rest of the UK!) of a wonderful occasion next weekend.

I know it seems wrong to some people who don't like  rugby, or who don't understand Welsh passion for the sport, in a world where people face real suffering, war, and so on... but boy oh boy.

"We wuz robbed" is an overused cliché in sport. But it seems more than apt today. France struggled to hold even the depleted 14-man Welsh team back.

Yes I know there is poverty and suffering in this world. But please go easy on us Welsh today. We've gone from euphoria to melancholy, not so much in the blink of an eye, but in the flash of a card.

Even Cardiff City slipped 2 points by drawing a game to Ipswich in which a goal that the linesman flagged against was given to the disbelief of everyone! It's just been one of those days.

I was up some ladders painting the front of the Chez Hurley this afternoon and as the neighbours came out, and as red-clad people went to and fro, there was only one topic of conversation. And it wasn't the resignation of Liam Fox!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Save the Old Roath Steam Laundry Building - In Memory of Betty!

This is the "old laundry" in Roath, Cardiff along Marlborough Road. There is a campaign to stop this beautiful building being torn down for new housing, and to turn it instead into a community resource, saving the building and giving a valuable centre for everyone in Roath and Penylan.

If you want more info contact the people who put the leaflet out - details on their poster pictured below.

You'll be surprised to hear I wasn't around in 1898 when the "Roath Sanitary Steam Laundry" was opened, despite some rumours to the contrary.

No, you see as a cute, adorable and cherubic child in the halcyon days of the 1970s, despite strikes, the four minute warning, the three-day week etc. etc., I had not a care in the world beyond what was for tea, collecting Panini football stickers, playing with toy soldiers at home and what we would play at dinner time in school.

The walk to school was a short one, and there en route was the old laundry, better known to us at the time as Marlborough Carpets - for it was they who occupied it at the time (they later decamped to Penarth Road).

The front of the old laundry had two gates, allowing vehicular callers to pull in via one and drive out through the second, if they were dropping off or picking up via the front doors. All very 'Downton Abbey' so far.

They also took to parking their fork lift truck outside the front of the shop, and what else could guarantee the attention of boys walking home from school than a fork lift truck? It speaks of adventure, of dreams-fulfilled, of industrial hijinks. Think Biggles - but scuttling around a fore-court, rather than over the skies of Flanders.

Thus it was, as a dare if I recall right, certain little legs scuttled over to the fork-lift truck. Then a school chum took to pressing the up/down button, and the fork lift kicked into life and whizzed and whirred loudly. As you can imagine this shocked everyone, and little legs scurried away as fast as they could.

Still, we weren't discovered and the fork lift remained in situ in the days ahead, and so it became a dare to get over to the fork lift as quietly as possible, push the button for a split second, and then get out of there immediately before being discovered.

Oh the naughtiness of it all. It all stopped ingloriously when Old Ma Hurley asked who had been doing such naughty things. Oh oh. It seems Betty the Crossing Lady had, from the side of the old laundry, through the railings, witnessed the little people up to their split-second adventures and naughtiness.

Old Ma Hurley's spies throughout the community had struck once again!

So if not for me as a naughty herbert pottering home from school, if not for Old Ma Hurley, if not for the fork lift truck, then vote to save the Old Roath Steam Laundry building for the memory of Betty the Crossing Lady (RIP).

Campaign Launched
Sign the Petition

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Y Gogledd: The Rise of the Cymry - or Just Pub Talk?

Celt & Saxon Kingdoms circa 500AD?
Sterling news! Some of the Hurley Clan have marched north to reclaim the Celtic Kingdom of Rheged from the Saxons and Danes who took it via intermarriage and stealth, even after it passed to the Welsh Kingdom of Strathclyde (from whence William Wallace - Wallace meaning "Welsh" - came to deliver freedom to the Welsh, Scots and Picts of Scotland).

They followed two pathfinders (codename Uncle Pat and Auntie Mary) who were brave enough to travel north into the icy wastes of what, incredibly, is today part of England!

Yes! The Welsh are marching to free the Cymry 'Men of the North' and I have reports back from an elderly man (codename Old Pa Hurley) that he has indeed discovered evidence of ancient Welsh culture "up North."

A pub serving Brains Beer* no less, has been confirmed back to base by two elderly men (let's call them Agent Joe and Agent Pat), reported to be "grinning widely" and with a strange gait in their movement.

At this stage, further reports of them painting half their faces blue and shouting "FREEEEEDOM!" whilst kicking a rugby ball up the high street, have yet to be confirmed.


*I am still looking for sponsorship!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Catholicism, Cats, Llywellyn's Moggies and Heaven

I read somewhere that many Catholic bloggers are meant to love cats. I would happily count myself in that number, notwithstanding our new pet, Patch the crossbreed Jack Russell and Lakeland Terrier.

So, in order that the Catholic bloggers who do look in from time to time, here's something to keep you happy, even though it is a bit cheeky - Welsh being one of the oldest European languages etc. etc.

If Latin is the official language of Heaven, then surely the angels must converse in Welsh on their dress-down Fridays.

Oggy oggy oggy: an old Welsh poem written by the bards - originally "moggy, moggy, moggy" - about Llywellyn Ap Gruffydd's three pet cats.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

You Gotta Feel Sorry for Fiji - And the Green Duck

Patch has been settling in well to his new family this week.

Being a rescue dog he was very nervous at first, though always well behaved, this did lead to a few little "accidents" especially when left alone at night.
Like a Wales V Fiji game - no competition

Funniest moment of the week was when Patch "coupied" down to 'squeeze one out' only for someone to come along and see him, shout "no" and take him out into the garden quickly. Just a little nugget of poop was left on the kitchen lino. Hearing the commotion one of the children came hurtling through the kitchen door (eager not to miss out on the "fun") excitedly asking "where's the poop?" just as he trod in it! Not so much egg on his face as pooh on his shoe.

Gradually though, with patience and love we've got him doing his ablutions when out. Yesterday we gave him a bath in the garden and now he's coming out of his shell a bit more.

We took him out yesterday to a car boot (where I picked up a really beautiful 1950s Daily Missal in superb condition for £1.50, and some equally great condition 60s Ladybird books for 5p each).

On the way home we stopped off at a pet shop to get some doggy shampoo, and we tried various treats and toys to see what Patch liked.

On the treats he wasn't bothered. Doggy chocs, biscuits, bones and all manner of fun treats. We thought he was going to be the same with the toys. We tried rubber balls, fake sausages, all sorts of bright, noisy, bouncy and squeaky things. No interest from Patch Hurley.

Then we flung a large green and yellow duck to him and the rest, as they say, is history.
In for the kill - it's Sixty Six, Nil!

Now he plays with it, runs about with it. Even though it is almost a third the size of him! It looks quite comical.

Even this morning as I sat thoroughly enjoying the Welsh team putting on a bulldozer of a performance against a Fijian team known for its physicality (66-0!), Patch sat biting his big green duck.

Come on Wales! Sorry Fiji. Come on Patch! Sorry duck.