Monthly Archives: June 2012
It always happens in 3’s
Today bought 3 shock results/news items in the world of sport.
Firstly we discovered that David Beckham had been left out of the GB Olympic Squad by Stuart Pearce who, in his infinite wisdom decided he had a strong enough midfield and so picked Manchester City defender Micah Richards ahead of him. (Yes, the same Micah Richards who refused to be on stand-by for the England Squad for Euro2012). When he only had the choice of three over 23 year olds, it seems bonkers to me that Beckham wasn’t chosen – he was part of the Olympic flame handover ceremony in May, bringing it to Britain for the torch relay. He also played a major role as a sporting ambassador when London won the 2012 bid, and has made no secret of his desire to captain Team GB.
So then we came to this evening’s entertainment! Starting with the Euro2012 semi-final between Italy and Germany. With the Germans the strong favourites I don’t think any of the neutrals watching could believe the happenings on the pitch! The Germans were rubbish and the Italians were magnificent. Two sensational goals from the super-loopy Mario Balotelli catapulted them into the final against Spain on Sunday. There was a wee flurry in extra time where the Germans were awarded a penalty and despite a brilliant strike from Ozil to make it 2-1, it was too little, too late and Italy were the victors.
That just left enough time for me to switch over to BBC2 to see the world No.2, Rafael Nadal, get beaten in the 5th set in the 2nd round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol, a player who is ranked 100th in the world!
This charming Czech player modestly said in his post-match interview:
“I know Nadal is only human. Nadal played a good match but I think I was a little bit better.”
The last few games that I was able to watch definitely proved this – he was exciting to watch and I was rather sorry I’d elected to watch the football instead of this tennis match but they were both equally unexpected results which is always refreshing for the armchair sports fan!
Oh well, that’s enough excitement for one day – only the Final on Sunday and the 2nd week of Wimbledon to look forward to before the Olympics – how will I cope???
Should this be happening in the 21st Century?
I have just read the most awful story on the BBC News Website!
Headed up “The ‘baby box’ returns to Europe” it goes on to describe how these boxes, which were common in medieval times, where people can leave an unwanted baby, have been making a comeback in recent years!
Supporters say that a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street – but the UN says it violates the rights of the child.
“Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that every child has ‘the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents’ – when a child is abandoned, this right is violated” (source University of Nottingham)
The idea has taken off in various locations across Europe and the statistics currently available from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are:
Boxes by country:
- Poland – 45
- Czech Republic – 44
- Hungary – 26
- Slovakia – 16
- Lithuania – 8
- Italy – 8 (approx.)
- Belgium – 1
- Netherlands – 1 (planned)
- Switzerland – 1
- Vatican – 1
- Canada – 1
- Malaysia – 1
- Also exist in Japan and the US
The law in some countries encourages their spread in popularity – in Hungary, for example, it was changed so that leaving a baby in the official baby box was deemed to be a legal act amounting to consent to adoption, while dumping a child anywhere else remains a crime.
Further details discovered about a box in Berlin was that once placed in the box, the baby is apparently supported by the full facilities of a maternity unit. As soon as a baby is in the hatch, an alarm rings and medical staff come, even as the mother walks away unseen. The baby is cared for in the hospital and then fostered before going into the legal system for adoption. In the early period, mothers can return and retrieve their child, but later they can’t – adoption is final.
It’s difficult to find out the full figures of how many relent – the critics of the system say that in Germany it is well-appointed, with the best facilities, but in some of the poorer countries to the east, baby boxes are less well organised.
But at one baby box in Hamburg, for example, there have been 42 babies left in the last 10 years. Seventeen of those mothers have then contacted the organisers, and 14 have taken back their child.
The argument for these boxes has to be that they have to be better than providing no facilities at all and babies being abandoned and perhaps left to die, exposed to the elements.
The argument against is that it sends out the wrong message to pregnant women that they are right to continue hiding their pregnancies, giving birth in uncontrolled circumstances and then abandoning their babies.
There is no clear right or wrong in this – it is an argument between well-meaning people. The one voice never heard is that of the mother who walks the path with the baby she bore secretly hours earlier, to return without the bundle. Her tears and how she feels can barely be imagined.
Today’s Guest Blog Posting is about a cause that is extremely important to a couple of my friends whose children have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This is a very dangerous and debilitating illness that strikes out of the blue with very little warning. Please watch the video I’ve posted and pass it on to all your friends – we need to raise awareness. Thank you.
Only in Scotland!
Football -v- Sperm Whales?
Last night there was a huge, foootball-shaped hole in my evening. For the first time since 8th June there was no Euro2012 action and the TV schedulers failed to take advantage of this fact and give us anything else worth watching!
At least tonight things are “back to normal” with the quarter-final match between the Czech Republic and Portugal kicking off at 19.45.
Czech Republic captain (and Arsenal player) Tomas Rosicky is still nursing the Achilles injury he picked up against Greece in the second group match but is hoping to still play and the Portuguese don’t appear to have any injury worries and are expected to name an unchanged side from the 11 that defeated the Dutch in the last game. The same starting line-up incidentally that Portugal used in each match during the group stage – the only team to do this!
At the pre-match press conference today, Rosicky, sporting a beard along with the rest of the Czech squad, said he and his team mates would continue to grow their facial hair for as long as they remained at the tournament.
“We look scary as a team. Hopefully they (the beards) will get worse and worse,” he joked.
Of course, if you don’t like football, you could always watch Ocean Giants on BBC2. The last in the series, this documentary (narrated by Stephen Fry) explores the vocal ranges of marine mammals. Failing that, there is always Emmerdale and Lewis!!!
Temper your expectations!
Tonight we watched from behind our sofas as Wayne Rooney marked his England return with the goal that secured a place for England in Euro 2012’s last eight – but it was a rough passage eased by helpings of good fortune and controversy against Ukraine.
Ukraine, however, will complain long and hard about a contentious second-half incident when Marko Devic’s shot clearly crossed the line before it was scrambled away by John Terry, only for the officials to remain unmoved. The incident immediately revived the debate about goal-line technology, with a final decision on whether it is introduced expected to be taken in Zurich on 5 July.
England will of course regard it as a measure of justice for Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany in Bloemfontein at the 2010 World Cup – but it was also an illustration of how they rode their luck for long periods in front of a predictably partisan home crowd in Kiev tonight.
The Ukrainians immediately demanded a goal and their claims were vindicated as replays showed the ball crossed the line before Terry’s intervention.
Before the game manager Roy Hodgson had said England could dream a little – ahead of the confrontation with Italy in Kiev, they can now afford to dream a little more.
But lets not get too carried away! We get so above ourselves in these tournaments and the nation as a whole always seems to think that the England team can win the whole thing! This is quite clearly unlikely to happen while are unable to achieve No.1 status in the FIFA World Rankings. We are currently No. 6 in the world and No. 4 in Europe, meaning the very best we should perhaps be hoping for in this competition is 4th place and anything better than this is a bonus?
Sorry – you might not like that, but it’s true!
Where are they now?
As a child of the 70’s I was a regular in the audience at Top of the Pops. It got so bad that sometimes my parents were known to moan when we watched it the following day – “Are we going to see anyone else but you?” as I always managed to get myself on camera for the bulk of the show!
Happily, most of the tapes must have been destroyed as I’ve yet to see myself on any of the re-runs on BBC4! I have, however managed to come across this tape of a rehearsal for a 1975 show which shows you what a good fun show it used to be to work on and to watch!
OK, we know where Noel Edmonds is these days but the David Essex stand-in? If you know who and where he is, please let me know – not to mention Legs & Co who must surely have hung up their dancing shoes by now!
Home at Highbury
If you’ve got a spare £795,000 knocking about, you could own a luxury apartment built on Arsenal’s former ground, Highbury. The iconic art deco East Stand and West Stand exteriors still stand as part of the development.
Sir Gary of the Barlow
It’s been a good few weeks for Gary Barlow. After the success(?) of the concert he masterminded at Buck House, comes a week when he continues to dominate the tabloid headlines!
At the beginning of the week, his Jubilee single “Sing” reached No. 1 in the charts and he was awarded Premier Inn’s “Celebrity Dad of the Year 2012”
It is the first time Gary has won the accolade and he was chosen in a public vote. The X Factor Judge said winning the award felt “amazing”.
And then, today, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List it was announced that he has been awarded the OBE in recognition of his services to the entertainment industry and to charity.
I can’t help but think this last one must have come as something of a disappointment. There have been many calls for him to be knighted and Sir Gary does have something of a ring about it. But, more importantly, when us commoners regard the OBE as something being awarded for “Other Buggers Efforts” it’s just a wee bit of a smack in the face perhaps? – discuss!
There’s only one Theo Walcott!
When substitute Theo Walcott came on to the pitch against Sweden on the hour mark last night, England were trailing 2-1 and staring defeat in the face – again!
England, who had been leading through Andy Carroll’s bullet header going into the break, conceded twice during a wretched 10-minute period after half-time to leave them deep in trouble. But new manager Roy Hodgson’s decision to replace James Milner with Arsenal attacker Walcott had an almost instant reward.
Within four minutes Walcott collected a cleared corner on the edge of the box and equalised with a 20-yard shot that deceived Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson and was a sight to behold – surely a contender for goal of the tournament?
14 minutes later, the England winger burst into the penalty box, went past two Swedish defenders and crossed for Danny Welbeck to flick in the winner – job done!
It was a game-changing contribution from the 23-year-old, who was making his first appearance in a major tournament and scored his first England goal for nearly four years.
Oh yes, and did I mention the fact that he plays for Arsenal?
Here’s what was said by the players and pundits:
“I wouldn’t say I was the game changer. It’s always nice to come off the bench and show what you can do. I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t played.” – Theo Walcott
“I’m happy with the finish and to get three points but it was disappointing to let in two goals. We came back, we stuck together and the team spirit showed.” – Danny Welbeck
“Great game, wonderful result and that customary gut-wrenching feeling of watching England. Nothing quite like it.” – BBC Match of the Day presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker on Twitter
“I think Ashley Young is gonna have to make way for Wayne Rooney.” – Former England striker Ian Wright on Twitter