Monday, 28 September 2009

Monday catch up.....

We took a trip to Belper on Saturday to watch the reserves draw 1 - 1 with Staveley MW.

Wasn't a classic but enjoyable all the same. The Belper team included 5 players from the 1st team squad and some good football was played, particularly in the 2nd half as the players, I guess, "got used" to one another.

My photo album from the game is here:

I was surprised that Tom Pressman - son of Kevin and the "regular" reserve keeper - was not there but learned he has signed for Buxton and was pushed straight into their first team because their keeper had tonsilitis!!

Andy Fretwell was his understudy and played very well. I don't think the reserve team management crew have anything to worry about but I wonder how many other clubs have lost both 1st and 2nd choice keepers in the space of about a week!

It was a fine day, sunny but cool, and once again, we stopped at Bakewell for fish & chips. Didn't hang around long after we'd eaten them though - it "dropped cold" very quickly as the sun went down.

Sunday - in the morning, sorted out the pictures from Saturdays game and published the album above then after lunch, went out in the garden for a couple of hours "tidying up." The Duchess cooked Roast Pork with Yorkshire pud and all the trimmings which as usual at Nortoner Towers, was eaten around 6 pm (A relic from the days when our son played Sunday football, we always ate "Sunday Dinner" in the early evening after all the "football business" was sorted during the rest of the day.)

So - Monday rushes around before you know it but..... "Squirrel Trapper" strikes again!

My post before last reported the "trap and release" programme (with regard to squirrels), currently in operation on the Nortoner Towers Estate - well today - late afternoon, we trapped another of the little blighters! After eating our evening meal, we drove out to Porter Clough, near Ringinglow and let the thing loose up there. The trap will be reset tomorrow evening and hopefully, we'll get rid of another one of the vermin. (There are at least 2 more roaming around.)

Tomorrow evening it's Belper Town v Shepshed Dynamo in a league game and we'll be off down there to hopefully see a Belper win. Ther are no guarantees because the team's form has been a little inconsistent although last time out, against Sheffield FC, Belper played some of their best football of the season.

We'll see (and I will report as usual.)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

An interesting read - for the smaller football clubs...

There's a bloke called Paul Fletcher who writes a blog on the BBC web site. My son put me on to him and I've now "linked" him to this blog (see list on right.)

One of his latest entries explains why Accrington Stanley find themselves £308,000 in debt to the tax man.

Read it here:

My mate Mossley Smiffy made mention on his blog (Six Tame sides - link on right) recently that Hyde United look like folding because they can't pay a bill of around £120,000 - or the equivalent of one week's wages for some Premier League footballers.

Now you know why I watch and support Unibond league One football as much as I can.

Friday, 25 September 2009

It's all 'Appening!

Been a busy week on the Belper Town front!

Knocked out of the League Cup on Tuesday evening (2 -1 , away at Mickleover) - match report through the Belper Town link as always and pics by Tim Harrison are here:
Before the game, goalkeeper Leigh Walker announced that would be his last game as he was re-joining Sheffield FC! The Sheffield FC statement says he only joined Belper because he saw there was instability at Sheffield FC and Belper were in a serious push for promotion. The statement adds that "since Leigh has never won a medal in football and Belper were pushing for promotion, he left with our blessing."

Now I'm not one to pass comment as you know but the phrase "Glory Hunter" initially sprang to my mind! Interesting too that last Saturday Leigh had what I thought was one of his best ever games for Belper Town. Our opposition that day? Sheffield FC. Hmmmmm..... as they say!

Anyway - he's gone and we've signed a guy called Martin Kearney whose former clubs include Alfreton, Hucknall and, rather ironically, Sheffield FC. The management duo have also served a "7-day" notice on Adam Ogden, who was our goalkeeper a couple of seasons ago. Andy Carney reckons he wants two strong goalkeepers (he's correct again of course) and that's why we've signed Martin and put in an approach for Adam.

So as I said - it's all 'appening on the footie front. Work has picked up a little too this last couple of days and although we are way off being out of the mire yet, there are encouraging signs that the market for our hollow steel might just be picking up a bit. We'll see.

Plans for the weekend? Belper Town Reserves v Staveley MW tomorrow (the first team have no game) and gardening again Sunday. Got several areas of the Norton Towers Estate to sort out.

By the way - can't recall if I mentioned it but we have been plagued by squirrels this last 2 years and the little swines have been gnawing away at the lead on the flat roof of my kitchen bay window. I only had the thing re-leaded last year and it cost me the guts of £1500 so I am more than a little dischuffed.

Strange thing is this week we found dead squirrels in the garden, on 2 consecutive days. Not a mark on 'em but 2 rigid corpses required disposal. Don't know if it's lead poisoning or if a neighbour has been putting down poison.

Anyway - some months back, I bought a "squirrel trap" but up until this week, I haven't bothered to try it out. Set it up Wednesday evening though and it worked a treat - I'd left the trap by the garden hedge with a few peanuts inside and this morning, there was a squirrel trapped in there! (Think it's the "Big Old Daddy" who's been causing most of the damage.)

So - this afternoon, after I finished work (did I tell you we finish early on Fridays now - It's ACE!!) me and the Duchess took a drive to the outskirts of Sheffield and released the little blighter in a wooded area on the edge of the city! (I had planned to shoot it with my BB gun but bottled out at the last minute.) That means we've seen the back of three of the little sods in one week - and the trap will be reset over the weekend!

I know some people think they're all fluffy and cute but they ain't, I promise you. Vicious little b*st*rds who cause damage to house and garden. "Tree rats" is all they are and this is confirmed by the fact that they can be legally killed because they're officially classed as vermin.

Right - steak and chips for tea again - the Duchess is preparing it as I type and there are some mouth-watering aromas drifting up the stairs.... See Yer!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Catch up -

- with the last couple of days for anyone who is interested.

We went to Belper on Saturday to see Belper draw 2 - 2 with Sheffield FC. It wasn't a bad game and a draw was probably a fair result, although Belper did have what seemed to me a "legal" goal disallowed and Sheffield scored in the 6th of 5 extra minutes to draw the game. (The ref indicated 5 mins added time but played nearly 7!)

Danny Hudson scored a lovely headed goal to make it 1 - 1:

And I went a little bit "mad" with the camera, finishing up,with about 230 photos of the game. The best of them (about 49) are here:

As usual, link to the Belper website on the right for a proper match report.

Sunday was spent editing the photos, creating and publishing the album above and then I was out in the garden, cutting the hedge which runs down the side of the drive. I don't really mind cutting the hedge - it's all the tidying up afterwards that's a pain in the bum and technically, it's not my hedge anyway.

The young fella who lives next door is supposed to be responsible for it but I can't leave it to him. It's already twice the height it was when he moved in and it's hard to cut it properly without the use of stepladders.

Settling back into work yesterday after a long weekend was always going to be difficult but you get through it don't you? No choice if I wanna keep enjoying long weekends and day trips out!

Oh well - better go and see if I can sell some steel......

Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday evenings are usually my favourite part of the week....

.... but not tonight! Just after half time and it's Blades 3 - 1 Owls in the Sheffield Derby game. Looks like we'll have to suffer the gloating of the red and whites on Monday!

Anyway, the purpose of this message is to update you on the 2 days off work which I warned you of in my last post.

Thursday - set off at about 10 a.m., headed for Accrington to find the craft shop the Duchess wanted to see. It's certainly well-stocked and we spent a good 30 minutes looking around (Well - Sheila was looking - I was around!) On the way, and about 3 miles outside Accrington, we decided we needed a bite and a cuppa and ended up in a Little Chef. Nice food but expensive!! The Duchess had the Early Starter breakfast and I had a Bacon Burger. With two teas the bill was £17.50!! Still, we were on a "day out" so who cares!

Our next stop was the RSPB reserve at Marshside near Southport. It's an "open site" with no charge and, basically, roadside parking. The hides we visited weren't bad but we saw nothing unusual. Enjoyed it all the same! Took some pictures of course - here's a couple -
View from Nel's hide:

Serenity personified:

We then drove into Southport - somewhere else we've never been and to be honest - we were a little surprised at the size of the place. I checked later and found the population is around 100,000 so as I said - bigger than I thought.

We parked the car up on the Promenade and then, after paying 20 pence for a pee (!!!), we wandered into the town centre for a look around.

There is a fabulous "shopping street" called Lord St: and after a stroll down there, we headed back toward the prom On the way we passed by the smallest pub in Britain: I'd been in touch with a good mate of mine who lives in Southport and we'd arranged to meet up with him after he'd finished work. Dave (or Penfold as he is known amongst Belper Town faithful) had tipped me off about parking and the best fish & chip shops - y'know - all the important stuff!

The three of us enjoyed a fish & chip supper and then Dave headed back to the gym (where he'd been going before we waylaid him! Mind you - he didn't take much persuading that a fish supper was a more attractive option than the gym!) and we set off back to Sheffield, arriving home about 9 pm - tired but having enjoyed a smashing day.

Today - taking it relatively easy. Took Sheila's car to the garage to arrange MOT and servicing (week after next) then hopped a bus into Sheffield city centre to get meat and veg for the weekend from Sheffield Castle Market. Back home - lounged around, Sheila cooked steak and chips for tea and now you're up to date (Oh BTW - Blades won 3-2 in what I understand was a cracking game. I recorded it and will watch it later.)

Tomorrow - Belper v Sheffield FC. Should be a good game and the Sheffield side should include former Belper Town captain Jon Hobson who I guess will be "up for it" to say the least!

I'll tell you all about it on Sunday! (Right now I'm going "incommunicado" before my Sheffield United mates start texting/e-mailing/facebooking me!) See Yer!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A couple of days off.....

I decided that since I worked 4 mornings last week when everyone else was off, I'd book a couple of days off this week.

So - tomorrow and Friday are the allotted days and I shall complete my working week at 4:30 this afternoon! Can't wait!

The basic plan is a visit to Accrington tomorrow and depending on the weather, somewhere else photogenically worthwhile on the way back home. Not that I'm saying Accrington is not photogenic - I wouldn't know - I've never been. It's just that there is a shop there called Topaz Crafts which the Duchess wouldn't mind having a look at so as it's "somewhere to go" on a day off, we'll do it tomorrow and then work our way back to Sheffield as the mood takes us. I LOVE unplanned days!

Friday - who knows - that may yet be another "unplanned" day out but we'll see. I'll report back later.

Not much of note has happeened since Sunday. Work is still slow but we have seen something of an upturn I guess. (When you start from zero, one is an improvement though innit!)

We have a server based network here and all of last week and most of this, the "system" has been down. We've been having back-up problems for a while and as the plant was closed all of last week, it seemed a good time to thoroughly investigate so our IT guy has uninstalled all the files and software and done a complete "start from scratch" reinstallation job. We'll see if the problem recurs!

Anyway - lunchtime over - time for all of us to get back on our heads......

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Another Sunday afternoon...

....and I've been a busy little bee! Mowed the back lawn (Ha!! - Lawn!! - 'Ark at me!! Hahaha!) and conducted various other "tidying the jungle" tasks!

Anyway - it's been a good week and weekend on the whole although it was a bit of a downer when my son and his wife set off back home to Holland on Saturday morning - doesn't seem like they've been here a whole week but they're planning to come over again during the Christmas holiday so there's that to look forward to.

They spent Sunday to Wednesday in the Lake District and Scarborough and we went out to dinner at the Bowshaw Inn Carvery on Wednesday evening. Then had a great time watching the 2nd half of England 5 - 1 Croatia!

On Friday evening we went to Bakewell for fish & chips. It's such a lovely place to sit and relax and enjoy the River Wye although I have to say the goose and duck cr*p all over the path by the river is NOT attractive! On the way home we stopped at a point overlooking Fox House and watched the sun go down:
A beautiful sight!

Yesterday, the Duchess and I went to Goole to watch Belper Town in League action against a team who've just had their manager/centre half resign. You wouldn't have thought it to see them play, especially 1st half when they probably just shaded the game, even though the score was 0 - 0 at half time.

In the end, Belper won 2 - 1 with a tremendous 35-yard strike by full back Adam Burley. It could have been more but for a missed penalty and two excellent saves by the Goole keeper late on. You can read a complete report by clicking the "Belper Town" link on the right.

A "random" picture from the game:.......and the rest of my photo album from the game is here:

So - back to work tomorrow morning (that thought is the part of Sunday I really don't like!) Things might be a bit hectic because the plant has been on a planned maintenance shutdown for a week so there'll be some paperwork "catching up" to do. I've been into the office for 4 mornings so it won't be as much of a shock to my system as it will to that of some of my colleagues!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Bored out of my tree last night I began flicking channels on the telly and found the "Liverpool TV" channel. They were showing Watford v Liverpool from season 1985/86.

The result was Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool but the thing that struck me as I watched the whole of the 2nd half was the differences between football then and now.

For a start, they were playing on a pitch which had a huge area around the centre circle which resembled something between a beach and a swamp. The goalmouths were in a similar state. As the Duchess said - even Juniors in the park don't play on that sort of pitch these days.

It was really strange to see players passing back to the keeper from the halfway line just to waste a bit of time but it dawned on me as the game was drawing to a close that in the whole 45 minutes I saw, not one shirt was pulled, not one player dived and in fact, although there were plenty of tackles, there were only 4 or 5 free-kicks for foul challenges and 2 more for offside!

Even when challenges were penalised, the fouled player got up and got on with it - no physios on the
pitch at all, no mass protests from players encircling the ref. And no-one wearing gloves or bloody tights either!

Different game altogether now innit? And with the exception of the introduction of the "back pass rule" it's not totally changed for the better.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Belper Town 2 - 0 Carlton Town

Back to some sort of normality on Saturday! After the midweek "Cup Upset", Belper returned to League action with a 2 - 0 win over high-flying Carlton Town.

Man of the Match Dean Oliver takes on a Carlton defender

The rest of my effort is here:
I say "effort" because it isn't one of my best albums! I didn't get pictures of any of the key moments, including a penalty to Belper, a Carlton player red-carded as a result of the foul which gave away the pen, Belper's 2nd goal.....

And Tim Harrison shot off on his hols directly after the game so I can't link you to his album until he gets back so you'll have to bear with me!

It's been a great weekend - my son and his wife are over in the UK for the week and arrived at ours about an hour before we got back from the match. It was great to catch up last evening and we'll do more of that later in the week because this morning, they set off for a couple of days in the Lake District (my daughter-in-law, coming from Holland, just loves hills because she doesn't get to see many in Rotterdam!!)

They are back in Sheffield on Wednesday evening having returned via Scarborough and Otley (I know - Otley - don't ask - it's a long tale which I'll tell you about later!)

It's a "Maintenance Shutdown Week" at work next week so there are only a couple of us in the office and only a small maintenance crew in the plant. I've organised to work Monday to Thursday (8 til noon - mornings only) so it shouldn't be too hard a week. I'm there simply to acknowledge any faxes or e-mails from customers/suppliers who haven't read the circular "We're Shut Next Week" notices we sent out.

Anyway - it's "mashing time" or "brewing time" depending where you come from so I'll go and make the Duchess a cup of tea and see if there's anything remotely worth watching on TV (although I'm not holding my breath!)


Friday, 4 September 2009

Friday afternoon thoughts....

..on the week just passed.

As I said - Belper Town were dumped out of the FA Cup by Holbrook MW on Tuesday evening but the replay was apparently badly tarnished by scenes of violence at the end of the game. Reportedly (and I wasn't there so I have to rely on reports) a Holbrook "reserve" ran on to the pitch at the end of the game to "get at" Ben Walker, the Belper striker. In this guy's opinion, apparently, Ben had got one of their players dismissed for a head butt. Belper coach Gary Middleton intervened to stop the attempted assault and got a head butt in the face for his trouble, (again - apparently.)

The Holbrook manager, "didn't see it" but it is reported elsewhere that the guy involved is suspended pending an enquiry by the club.

Snapper Harrison's pictures (including shots of the scuffles at the end) are here....
And as ever - link to the Belper website and read two reports on events that evening.

Anyway - that's gone now and the next game is tomorrow - Carlton Town at home - and that won't be easy. Carlton have just been awarded "Team of the Month" for August and so will be flying I would expect. In contrast, the Belper players seem to be lacking in confidence at the minute but we just hope they're fired up after the cup exit and can get off to the good start they'll need. We'll see.

Rest of the week? Only a couple of things to report. The Duchess was at a Junior League Meeting on Tuesday evening and a Girls League Meeting Thursday night . I had a mild dose of the trots earlier in the week (which is why I missed the cup replay) and whilst Sheila was in her meeting on Thursday, I wandered around Meadowhall and with my usual keen eye, picked up a Logitech webcam and "free bonus headset" for £9.97 at WH Smith. RRP? £39.99!! Bargain or Wot!!

For some reason, my old webcam and microphone don't work with the new PC and since the Duchess and I use these items (and Skype) to keep in touch when I'm travelling, we needed a replacement. Anyway - got my bargain home and found the "free bonus headset" is a single "iPod-type" earpiece with a small microphone on the same cable. Really "fiddly" and the connection to the PC is a "dual wire" which means we'd have to unplug the speakers everytime we wanted to use the mike.

So - the "bargain" goes on eBay next week (might get £15 for it d'you think?) and I will revert to plan A which was to get a Microsoft webcam with built in mike for £19.99.

Being creatures of habit - it's off to the chippy in about half an hour then a relaxing Friday evening spent allowing the beef & onion pie and chips to slowly digest whilst not having to fret about work tomorrow. I think Friday evening is probably the highlight of my week. (Sad, I know, but generally, I'm a simple soul who is easily pleased!)

Report on tomorrow's game follows ASAP!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Belper out of FA Cup

Just seen on the Belper forum that Holbrook MW won the FA Cup Preliminary Round replay at their place tonight.


A concern is the comment that Belper missed a penalty at the death and there was "...trouble on and off the pitch."

Doesn't sound good at all!