Stazjia’s Commentary

Archive for August 2008

Kevin Pietersen

Originally uploaded by barberseville

If winning all those medals at the Beijing Olympics wasn’t enough, we’re now winning cricket matches – will wonders never cease?

The new captain, Kevin Pietersen seems to be living up to his nickname of ‘Teflon’ even if he only managed to score 5 runs at the wicket himself. Freddy Flintoff more than made up for it with an unbeaten 78 in the 2nd innings, and claiming two South African wickets with his bowling.

England’s Samit Patel played a key role in England’s victory with a maiden 5 wicket tally.

England 296 for 7 (Bell 73, Flintoff 78) beat South Africa 170 (Amla 46, Patel 5-41) by 126 runs

Currently England are winning the series of one day matches 3 – 0. They play again at Lord’s on Sunday, 31st August and the final one of the series takes place on Wednesday 3rd September in Cardiff. Happily, England is in the position of not being able to lose!


Acrobatic artists perform on the memory tower in the National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.

Acrobatic artists perform on the memory tower in the National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.

I always feel sad when the Olympics are over. I’ve loved pretty much all of it except football and boxing but you can’t like every sport. Of course it’s great that Team GB exceeded all expectation for winning medals and came fourth in the medal table. They won 19 golds 13 silvers, and 15 bronzes giving a total of 47 medals in all. Now the focus shifts to improving on that total in the 2012 London Olympics.

Commentators are saying that the GB athletes arriving home today have no idea how wildly excited most people are about their achievements. They say it won’t really hit the athletes until they see the reactions to them. They are having a news conference at Heathrow then going home. There will be a celebration of their victories in October. I think the fact it’s being held in October indicates that the authorities didn’t expect anything like this number of medals and weren’t prepared for a large scale celebration.

Photo taken on Aug. 24, 2008 shows the eight-minute performance prepared by London, host city of the next Summer Olympic Games in 2012, at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest) in Beijing.

Photo taken on Aug. 24, 2008 shows the eight-minute performance prepared by London, host city of the next Summer Olympic Games in 2012, at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest) in Beijing.

It’s nice for it to be a happy surprise rather than another dismal disappointment although with a few notable exceptions, athletics wasn’t good for us. Is that because we are producing fewer outstanding athletes or that our training and coaching systems for athletics aren’t as good as they are for cycling, swimming, sailing and rowing? I can’t believe that we can produce outstanding performers in these sports but not in track and field. I am sure that there is going to be an inquest into why track and field athletes, by and large, failed to perform to the high standards set in other Olympic sports by British competitors.

Apparently, in swimming and cycling the selection process is ruthless. If an athlete isn’t improving, they are removed from the financed training program and their place given to someone who can improve and benefit from the program. This brings up another point – much as most people admire Paula Radcliffe for her guts and her outstanding achievements – why was she allowed to compete when she obviously hadn’t recovered from her stress fracture? She admitted she hadn’t been able to do the necessary training. Would any less famous athlete have been allowed into Team GB in those circumstances? I don’t think so and nor should they be. Her place could have been filled by another marathon runner who might have had no more chance of a medal but she could have gained valuable experience for the 2012 games.

I added pictures to the lens on Torquay and some quotations, pictures and a list of major characters to the one on Bleak House. I’ve done more work on the latest lens – St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

I’ve found some good You Tube videos for the St Paul’s lens. I haven’t used either of the two below but they are interesting too. The first one is obviously a propaganda film made during World War II but it does give a good impression of what it must have been like to suffer under those air raids.

London Can Take It! – One Night During the Blitz of World War II

Amazing Grace Sung by Christine Collister in St Paul’s Cathedral, London

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

I didn’t think I’d want to start a group but I class some of my Squidoo lenses as Art and Design and I just couldn’t find the right group for them. The ones I’ve done on Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Susie Cooper, William Morris and Art Deco fit right into Art and Design better than anywhere else. I have some more lenses of this kind in mind as well.

I don’t want this to be my own exclusive group so I spent the afternoon searching for other suitable lenses and sent invitations to the good ones that have information, not just links.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Last night BBC1 TV broadcast a documentary on the breeding of pedigree dogs here in the UK. I thought it was shocking although not exactly news. I was shocked at the levels of complacency and wilful ignorance amongst breeders about what they were doing.
This is a quote from the documentary and webpage:

“People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals.”
Professor Steve Jones University College London

They showed pictures of prize winning dogs today from certain breeds and then compared them to the same breeds in years gone by. In each case shown, the characteristics had got more extreme and more detrimental to the animal’s health and/or quality of life.

When the breeders were questioned about breeding from animals carrying a genetic defect, they refused to discuss it, completely pooh poohed its importance or just plain lied.

The RSPCA’s chief vet said on the program, “The welfare and quality of life of many pedigree dogs is seriously compromised by established breeding practices for appearance, driven primarily by the rules and requirements of competitive dog showing and pedigree dog registration.”

It is so scandalous and yet the Kennel Club behaves as if it has little or no influence. Representatives of the KC said that members would leave and breed outside of their rules if they tried to ban extreme characteristics, breeding between closely related dogs (eg mother, son, brother, sister, etc), and breeding from dogs carrying a genetic disease.

At least people buying pedigree dogs would have some degree of warning if that happened. They would know that breeders who no longer bred their dogs under the (revised) KC rules were not willing to abide by them and that puppies bought from them might need expensive and prolonged medical treatment. They might also be buying a dog that would be in extreme pain and have a very shortened lifespan.

Read more or see the Pedigree Dogs documentary online.

Britain claimed the Rowing Men's Four title at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, finishing the 2,000-meter final race in six minutes and 6.57 seconds.

Britain claimed the Rowing Men's Four title at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, finishing the 2,000-meter final race in six minutes and 6.57 seconds.

Today was a fantastic day for Great Britain at the Olympics. We won 4 gold medals as well as silver and bronze.

All the predictions were that we would win several medals today and this was proved right. The one a lot of people here in the UK wanted to win most was the men’s coxless four 2000m rowing because that’s the one we’ve won in previous Olympics with Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinson. Who can forget Pinson sobbing his heart out when he and his crew mates won the gold at the Athens Olympics four years ago?

Everybody watching the final today must have had their heart in their mouth because it looked, with 500m to go, as if Britain was struggling to get a medal of any kind. The team put in another effort, pulled hard and started to overtake the boats ahead. It was almost unbelievable when they crossed the line about half a boat length ahead of the silver medal position. I was watching the race on TV all on my own. As the team began their big pull and started to gain on the other boats, I leapt to my feet and started jumping up and down waving my arms in the air like a lunatic. My dogs certainly thought I’d taken leave of my senses.

Rebecca Adlington wins gold in world record

Women's 800m Freestyle: Rebecca Adlington wins gold in world record

The first gold winning performance I saw this morning was Becky Adlington winning the Women’s 800m freestyle. She won in magnificent style, there were no worries at all that anybody would catch her. As an added bonus, she broke the world record for the event which had stood for 19 years. The record had stood at 8 mins 16.22 secs and was set in 1989, when Becky was about 6 months old. Her time was 8 mins 14.10 secs. This comes after winning gold in the women’s 400m on Monday, making her the first British female swimmer to win gold since Anita Lonsborough in 1960. Her win today made her the first British swimmer of either sex to be a double gold winner at the Olympics for 100 years.

Hoy wins second gold medal

Men's Keirin (Cycling): Hoy wins second gold medal

We did so well in the track cycling events and got two more gold medals todays. One was for the Men’s Keirin and this was won by Chris Hoy who had already won a gold for the Men’s Team Sprint yesterday with his team mate Edgar Ross winning the silver.

The other was for the Men’s Individual Pursuit and this was won by Bradley Wiggins in another great performance in which he broke the Olympic record. As an added bonus, Britain’s Stephen Burke won the bronze.

Bradley Wiggins poses with his gold medal.

Bradley Wiggins poses with his gold medal.

May2008 Blue Joules Wellingtons

Originally uploaded by CarlYnot

How sad I am now. The biggest thrill of the week is buying a new pair of wellies (wellington boots). They are bit like the ones in this picture.

When we moved house in March, somehow my old wellies got lost and I’ve ruined a pair of shoes taking the dogs for walks in wet grass. I thought it was ridiculous and finally got round to buying a new pair before my shoes fell to pieces and I got trench foot.

That’s what country living does for you – a highlight of your week is new rubber boots!

Another delight of early morning walks with the dogs is seeing all the slugs in the grass on the common. It’s been an exceptionally wet summer this year and every morning, the grass is covered with them. I hate slugs but I detest treading on them so I miss the birds, butterflies and wild flowers because I have my eyes fixed on the ground trying to avoid stepping on a slug.

The other thing I hate is when the dogs get ticks. I don’t like trying to pull them off in case their heads get left behind so I spray them with a tick killer. They are so disgusting and repulsive. They start of really small, in fact it’s easy to miss these parasites, but they swell up as they feed on the dog’s blood.

We can tell it’s a cool summer, we’ve had no dog fleas at all (touch wood). That’s something else I hate. As soon as I see a flea, I start itching every where. I treat the dogs before they get them at the start of the summer and again if I see any. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people who haven’t bothered and the fleas jump out of the carpets as people walk past – uggghhhhh.


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