Sunday May 17th
Where have I been? Not that any of you are vaguely interested.
I've been in Salisbury for a few days. I've been looking after my grandson and I've been in Milton Keynes. More on this shortly.
There has been much in the news to comment on such as Sturgeon acting as if she is leader of the free world rather than 4m Scots. It really is time she got back in her box.
The RMT are planning on screwing up everyone's Bank Holiday with yet another strike.
Ed Balls has been to the Job Centre with not a lot of luck. No vacancies with the Muppet show, Gromit has no use for him as he has Wallace, and the local circus has more than enough clowns.
Talking of clowns and Muppets what can I say about Manu Tuilagi. The world at his feet and what does he do. He pees on it.
Exeter miss out on the play offs by points difference. Leicester sneak in, as do Saracens, which will please Paddy O'Fez (who has been noticeable by his absence since the General Election result was announced).
Glasgow snatch top spot in the Pro 12 on points difference after beating Ulster.
England will represent Great Britain in Rio after their 4th spot in the 7s World series. I can hear Wee Jimie Crankie tut tutting at that right now.
OK, lets get off to Milton Keynes. Stadium MK, which is a fabulous venue by the way, hosted the first and only mass get together of those privileged enough to have been selected to be part of the RWC 2015 volunteers. 4000 volunteers bedecked in a pale blue t-shirt sat in the sun were treated to a conveyor belt of stars: Dallaglio, Greenwood, Serge Betsen, Maggi Alphonsi, the MIGHTY Shane Williams, John Inverdale, Jason Leonard, Bill Beaumont and the beautiful Laura Wright (the voice of an angel). The speeches were intended to inspire, and they did. Greenwood was very funny and it is clear, based on a two minute standing ovation, that Jason Leonard is truly loved by rugby people.
The corporate bull came from Coca Cola who are obviously ploughing shed loads of cash into the tournament. The big team photo shoot included everyone waving their 'souvenir' bottle of Coke. Not me.
Laura Wright entertained the crowd with a stirring rendition of Jerusalem with the massed ranks offering up the verse. Excellent.
As a miserable old cynic I can honestly say I was inspired and am looking forward to playing my part, albeit minor, in RWC 2015.
Oh, and the stash the volunteers will get is top draw. Most definitely wearable post event, except maybe the lime green baseball cap.
Next training days in July, and then in August.
Tuesday May 12th - 08:30
From the feedback I have had both the mini awards day on Sunday and the Senior awards dinner on Saturday were excellent affairs. Well attended and great fun. Well done to all.
A special mention to Sandra and Jacqui for their efforts in particular and to Tracey, Geering and Rosie for their support in organising the events.
No sooner has the season ended that the structure for next season arrives. It is an early start with the league season kicking off on September 5th. We now await the exact fixtures.
The big boys season continues with the race for European places and the ridiculous marketing bull that is the play-offs. Why can't the team at the top of the league be crowned champions? Money, money, money. Aviva want their day in the sun and the teams and RFU want the money.
Pathetic really when so much is written about our elite players not getting sufficient time off from the game. Start with getting rid of the play-offs. You win the league you get promoted, you win the league you are crowned champion.
It is looking as if the two Italian clubs will default on their payment to the Pro12 league. If that happens London Scottish and London Welsh are waiting in the wings to replace them. Is that a good thing. I don't know, but I guess it means less travel, maybe a better level of competition, and it will suit the two London clubs as the Premiership will sooner rather than later become a closed shop of 14.
The Muppet of the weekend is Bai of Leicester. A long ban should await but I guess another sop to the mandarins of the professional game means he will be given a slap on the wrist, a hundred lines, and told to stand in the corner for a few hours.
Gatland insists George North should not play again this season. The players interest at heart or vested interest? Both probably, but I tend to agree with him. Saints are flying without him so let him be fresh for RWC 2015 and the start of the Aviva season.
Hoorah. Soccer has been dragged into the 21st century. Technology helped give the right result as the Swansea Jacks beat the international XI masquerading as Arsenal last night. What a miserable so-and-so that Wenger is.
People are jockeying for places in the contest to oust Sepp 'the bung' Blatter at FIFA. Ed Balls is out of a job and could step in. He is good with 'Balls Ups' and his wife who plays out wide on the left would be glad to get him out of the house.
The election system has come under some scrutiny with the papers making the same point as I did about the apparent unfairness of a system that delivers one MP for a party with over 3 million votes. It also asks the good question about the turnout of 67%. Why did a third of eligible voters not bother? For the record the first past the post system might be perceived as unfair but, in my opinion, at least it has a better chance of delivering a government that can deliver policies, right or wrong, rather than an ongoing bun fight about who should have power.
Finally, the new Bob Crow, is our Nicola. She did very well during the election. I was very impressed with her. The time has come now however for her to stop wasting the taxpayers money by jetting between London and Glasgow at every opportunity and to accept she is not a member of the Westminster Parliament. The fact she took centre stage yesterday with the new SNP MPs smacks of someone who is becoming megalomaniacal. The time has come to let Uncle Alex take over the role of William Wallace and try and change history, as did the makers of Braveheart.
Sunday May 10th - 11:00
Congratulations to Horsham on their resounding victory in the Bob Rogers Cup yesterday, held at East Grinstead RFC. We were well beaten by a very well organised and pacey side.
Am I downhearted? No!
We have used close to 60 players in our 1st XV squad this season and yesterday we put out a very inexperienced side. I am proud of the fact we even made the final, especially as there were several players with no more than 10 senior, let alone 1st XV appearances between them out there yesterday.
It has been a long season what with the league, the Intermediate and Bob Rogers Cups. The boys deserve a rest.
Horsham were very impressive. I liked the way they played, looking to exploit their pace out wide at every opportunity. They will do very well in our league next season, especially if they can keep their squad together, but it won't be a stroll in the park.
The extended East Grinstead set up is very nice and they did a great job as hosts yesterday. Thanks guys.
Due to prior family commitments I wasn't at the awards dinner last night so can't bring you the award winners. I am sure someone will let me know soon enough.
The Quins v Bath game on Friday was excellent to watch but as 'Daggers' pointed out the use of the TMO is getting tedious.
The Wasps v Leicester game was also a cracker. Wasps have clearly made the right move going to Coventry and it appears their bond issue has been a fantastic success.
Geoff Parling left the field with concussion again yesterday. It might be time for him to take a look in the mirror and ask himself the retirement question.
I see The Gruaniad has picked up on the story about the South Sea Islanders who are being lured into (lucrative) contracts that prevents them from playing international rugby. The outcome of this will see Samoa and Fiji putting out sub-standard sides in RWC 2015. This will devalue the sport and cheats the supporters who have spend their hard earned cash on tickets. I am getting very disillusioned with our sport as money dominates more and more. (I wonder if any of the excellent Horsham players on show might be lured away with the promises of riches elsewhere).
Congratulations to South Africa and Fiji who have qualified for the 7s tournament in the Rio 2016 Olympics.
To build on my comments on the ridiculous championship play-offs I have been reminded that London Scottish couldn't go up even if they had beaten Worcester and then Bristol (who will win today).
Friday must have been the best day ever for the sale of ceremonial hari-kari swords. First Clegg, then Milliband, followed swiftly by Farage.
For those of who are gloating at the swathe of blue across England let me remind you that the ultra left wing Sturgeon (one commentator called her a Stalinist) is already kicking up a storm. The big storm however will be when old fish face gets back into pole position. He has already contradicted Ms 'never had a proper job' Sturgeon by saying Scottish Independence is back on the agenda. Well Alex old boy, and you the reader, I think you need to be reminded that UKIP received twice as many votes as you did but only has ONE seat. This highlights what a pathetic system we have in that a party with significantly less support than a bunch of neo-fascists can cause so much trouble. SNP - get back in your box and concentrate on cutting out the booze, the fags and the deep fried Mars bars that so blights your beautiful country.
Finally, I don't suppose you watched the VE Day parade through Moscow's Red Square. Very impressive indeed, especially when you watch alongside a RAF Wing Commander giving an excellent running commentary on the armament on show. Now if you think Sturgeon is a power crazed lunatic then what about that Putin.
Kids are back. Must go.
Friday May 8th - 07:20
As you pour of your papers this morning, whether it be the Gruaniad or the Torygraph or the Organ of Truth or the Current Bun it is indisputable that the die has been cast and that dye in Scotland is yellow, and across swathes of the rest of Great Britain it is blue. Whether that is for better or worse only time will tell.
There have been some winners.
Wee Jimmie Crankie, nee Sturgeon, has proved herself a powerful orator, a canny debater, and a motivational leader.
David Macaroon has won through despite some very flaky promises and very vague guidance on where the money to invest in the NHS will come from.
UKIP have continued to take a sizeable share of the vote (despite not gaining seats in the House)
When you have winners you have losers
Gromit is the biggest loser with his party being annihilated in Scotland
The Lib Dems have almost been wiped off the political map.
The SNP because it is alleged that in some constituencies their members behaved as if they were living in a banana republic by intimidating voters at polling station and instigating anarchic activities at the hustings
Nicola Sturgeon because it will be old fish face Alex Salmond who will now hold the power...... again.
The pollsters for being crap at polling and predicting.
Finally us the British public as the campaigning has become one massive marketing junket with little opportunity for us the proletariat to interact.
Today, disputed by the Russians by the way, is the 70th anniversary of VE day. A day that saw the final vanquishing of that fascist lunatic Adolf Hitler. The Russians, who lost 10 million citizens during the Great Patriotic War, many of whom were shot by the Russians themselves, celebrate VE Day tomorrow with a massive Red Square parade.
For the history buffs the dispute arises because the surrender was signed without the Russians present. The ceremony had to be restaged one day later with the Russkis present.
In Rugby news Talupe Faletau has had an offer of a dual contract withdrawn as he dithered and dallied too long about signing.
London Welsh and London Scottish have had speculative talks about joining the Pro 12. Interesting.
Bill Meakes of Gloucester gets only two weeks for an act of thuggery. Pathetic. No wonder some parents are pushing their kids away from rugby.
England will kick off their RWC 2015 campaign in their away strip.
Got to go ....... Friday Club beckons.
Thursday May 7th - 08:25
The doors are open and the biggest X Factor show on earth is underway. Why am I bleating on about this? Simple! It is IMPORTANT and it is about time people woke up to that fact.
The team to face Horsham on Saturday at East Grinstead (k.o. 14:30) has been announced and is now on the website. Yet again we have had to dig deep into our playing resources but the boys WILL BE ready.
In the rugby pages yet more about players plying their trade overseas (France) should be selected for England. I am losing the will to type any more on this subject.
Likewise it is the time when clubs start to announce their new signings. More and more of these are from overseas meaning home grown talent is being squeezed out. Before long rugby will be like the Premiership. Can you imagine Quins v Sarries and only 5 England qualified players on show. Cast your eye over the recent Arsenal v Chelsea team sheets.
I also hope those clubs aiming for the big time realise the financial resources required to achieve the goal. I also hope the clubs paying players at clubs below the Championship have their houses in order. Clubs with CASC status are prevented from paying players. I also hope that all their HMRC returns are in order.
Gloucester have been given the chance to get into the Champions Cup following their win in the Challenge Cup. If they get to the play-off against the top 14 side Madness prevents them playing at Kingsholm. That is a Madness concert of course as opposed to the madness of level 7 clubs and below paying players up to £200 per game.
Today's geography question is: where is Krasnoyarsk?
Answer: Siberia, Russia
This is where Newport Gwent Dragons or Cardiff Blues could be playing in the Challenge Cup next season. RC Yeniesi-STM have qualified for the tournament ahead of Romania's Baia Mare.
Must go, there is a debate on TV about Britain having a national bird. The way the election campaigning has progressed I reckon any tit would do.