More of the same.

Sunday 24th of June was another scorching day and I woke before nine after not getting to sleep until about 0300 as I was reading.

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I was not too hungry so just had a jumbo sausage roll for brekkie. I know you good people like to keep up with my breakfasting habits (I said with my tongue firmly in my cheek).

After midday it was time to settle down for the second England game of the campaign against Panama. Everyone expected England to win comfortably against a tiny nation of four million inhabitants who had amazed everyone by even qualifying but I think that only the most optimistic of England supporters would have seen the manner of the 6 – 1 win.

If you are a UK resident you will have read or heard about it as the media have spoken of little else since. If you are not a brief precis is that England were 5 – 0 up at half-time, Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, John Stones the central defender was unlucky not to convert his two goals into a hat-trick and Jesse Lingard scored a superb goal. All sorts of records were broken but let’s not get carried away just yet.

Whilst watching the second game which finished Japan 2 – Senegal 2 I made my Father his tea as pictured. OK, it is all shop bought and I can do better but it would mean completely re-stocking a fairly bare larder so shop bought ribs, beans and oven baked chips (fries) provided us with a tasty evening meal. It was a decent enough game to watch but I don’t think either side has enough to progress too far.

Spare rib dinner.
Shop bought but tasty.

The final game of the day ended Poland 0- Colombia 3. Poland were rubbish, there is no other word for it. Colombia were clinical in their finishing and are potential opponents for England in the next round.

After that it was my evening pilgrimage to the Monty for a few journal entries here, a couple of pints and the usual “craic” with my mates.

Again, I shall run straight on to the next entry as this one has been so brief.

Monday the 25th was a scorching day and with the forecast suggesting tht it is here to stay for up to two weeks. UK is apparently currently hotter than Athens and Miami. Unbelievable but I am not complaining.

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The first event of note was the noise of a motorcycle pulling up outside and it was my kid brother although I really should stop calling him that as he is a retired man now. He is a member of the  and he had been away for a few days with a few of his friends from the CNX Riders Club (UK), most of whom had come from the mainland. They had been “treated” to quite appalling weather most of the way over but fortunately it had been glorious for their trip with over-heating (the riders, not the bikes) being the major problem.

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Father and son talk bikes as always.

The magnificent beast you can see in the images is exactly 40 years old but it still looks pristine and sounds wonderful, it really has a beautiful note. Unlike some of his friends machines it is completely original and has never been resprayed or rechromed. For those of you not of the biker fraternity, a large part of the CBX attraction is the instantly recognisable logo (pictured).

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As you can see, my brother even has a suitable keyring.

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I really have to get him to take me for a run on it before I go, especially in this weather. If we don’t get the CBX out, we could go on his Honda VFR or huge BMW tourer, he really does like his bikes. I suspect that at my age the Beemer might be the most comfortable bet especially with my back!

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It’s not burnt, I like it that way!

After the “breakfast” snack pictured the first football match of the day was Uruguay vs. Russia. Russia are in the finals by virtue of being hosts and it is probably just as well as the general consensus is that they were very average coming into the tournament and probably would not have qualified on merit. Uruguay were 2 – 0 up in the first half courtesy of two set pieces, the first a superb Luis Suarez free-kick, and then Russia had further problems by having a man sent off after about half an hour. The game was being played in punishing 33 degree heat in Amara and it was always going to be difficult for the Russians after the dismissal and so it proved. With ten men they had a hard time and the Uruguayans put the final nail in the coffin right on the stroke of normal time with a third to inflict the largest ever Russian defeat in World Cup finals. Yes, they go through but they will need to get back to the form of the first two games if they want to go much further. Uruguay look a good side.

Due to the way the games are scheduled now this match was on simultaneously with the Egypt – Saudi Arabia game which the Saudis won 2 – 1. Perhaps the highlight of the game was a superb save by the Egyptian ‘keeper who is the oldest ever player to appear in the finals at 45 years and 106 days. Well played that man.

I really don’t know why they changed the scheduling half way through the group stages as previously I could (and often did) watch all three games one after the other but that isn’t possible now. Two games are played simultaneously at 1500 BST and another two at 1900.

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Tea for two.

After I had made and eaten dinner with my Dad it was time for a little lie down. It is undoubtedly a lot to do with my advancing years and a little to do with the heat but I need a little dozette most days. I woke up in time for about the last ten minutes of the first half of Portugal vs. Iran with the former leading 1 – 0. During the break I learnt that in the other game in this group, which was being played simultaneously as explained above, that Spain were 1 – 1 with Morocco and remarkably the North Africans had scored first.

In the second half, Ronaldo did what he does best and dived for a penalty but justice was served when the keeper saved from the same player. After that it just became niggly and Queresma behaved disgracefully with a most appalling piece of play-acting followed shortly afterwards by a vicious bodycheck that he was lucky only to earn a booking for. Another dubious VAR enabled penalty late in the game gave Iran an equaliser to earn a 1 – 1 draw.

News came through at 83 minutes that Morocco were leading Spain 2 – 1. Remarkable. The Spaniards did manage a late qualiser to finish 2 – 2 and top the group. Spain and Portugal both go through from that group.

I rounded off the day with a wander to the Monty and a couple of pints with some mates before home, a read and off to sleepybyes.

Stay tuned and spread the word.

The day I became a herpetologist.

Friday the 22nd was better weatherwise and I didn’t feel like having breakfast so you will be spared that particular report for this day.

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With all the rest of the family away it was time to knuckle down to some housework as you can see and laundry and ironing was very much the order of the day. I am becoming quite domesticated here although I hate ironing with a passion. The afternoon was spent in the bar so I could use the internet and my mate Ritchie turned up with yet another beautiful guitar, this one a Fender semi-acoustic, so that was another bit of a play although nothing that could be classed as a jam. Even the barman got involved and proved to be a decent player himself. Things like that just happen in the Monty and are seen as quite normal. It is a great bar.

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Ritchie being unusually shy for the camera.

Here is the football report for the day.

Brazil beat a spirited Costa Rica side 2 – 0 although they left it late for their goals and then the battling minnows of Iceland took on Nigeria but could not repeat their earlier heroics with the Africans running out 2 – 0 winners. In the final game Serbia took on Switzerland. The Serbs had a dream start when they scored after five minutes and then the Swiss equalised. It was heading for a point apiece until the Swiss managed a winner in the last-minute of normal time.

I didn’t see much of the middle game as I had to go home and prepare dinner for my Father who likes to keep to a set routine and has his evening meal at 1700 every day. No problem, I can manage that. On my way home I stopped at the great little village butchers I mentioned in an earlier entry and which I always refer to as Anderson’s as it had been in that family for years. It has now been sold and I suppose I should get used to calling it Wilkinson’s but old habits die hard. I am glad to see they die hard in this shop, whoever now owns it, as the service is still ever so friendly and the locally reared meat is still excellent. I bought a couple of pork chops and did them with a honey and mustard glaze which turned out OK. If you are wondering about my lack of variety in the vegetable department it is due to my Fathers dietary requirements as he is very limited in what he can eat.

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With dinner over for Father there was still one more feeding assignment I had to undertake and so I walked down to my brother’s house to feed the lizard as I mentioned before I had agreed to do. The main meal was easily prepared as that consists of putting some rocket and spinach on a plastic container lid and leaving it in the tank so hardly Michel Roux cuisine but he seems to like it.

The second course was much more interesting. Whilst predominantly herbivorous, my scaly friend is partial to a little dessert of something small and preferably still wriggling and so I fed him a few live maggots held in a long pair of tweezers and he fairly wolfed them down, he really does like one or three. It was difficult to do as I was running out of hands but I did manage to take a video of the event which I think turned out pretty well under the circumstances. If I can ever work out how to do it I will post it here.

I also availed myself of my brothers wi-fi to do a bit of internet work and after that it back up the hill to drop my kit of at home, check on Father and off to the Monty for a couple of pints before home for another good sleep. It must be the country air!

Again I am going to carry straight on as it is another couple of fairly short entries here.

I awoke at about 1100 on Saturday 23rd June which is fairly late for me here and a quick look out the bedroom window showed me that it was already a very good day. Looks like the forecasters might have got it right for once.

I shall start with the usual breakfast image and you may be wondering where the customary Ulster Fry has gone. I opted for a bacon sarnie instead as I was thinking ahead which is unusual for me. All shall become apparent shortly.

I watched the first game of the World Cup day which was Belgium v. Tunisia and ended 5 – 2 in favour of the Europeans with a very late second for Tunisia adding a touch of respectability to the scoreline of a very one-sided affair. Belgium were great with Lukaku, Hazard et al firing on all cylinders. Some friends of mine who know about the game had them as a good bet to go far in the tournament and it certainly looked like it here. It will be interesting to see how England fare against them in their last group game.

S.Korea 1 – Mexico 2.  Mexico were the better side and deserved the win but the late consolation goal by Son was a peach and the highlight of the game.

I was only half watching the game as it was approaching 1700 which is dinner time around here. I mentioned a bit of forward planning and I did not have my fry-up earlier as I was planning one for Father for the evening meal. For purely logistical reasons I knew he had not had had one for a while and I remembered that he was certainly partial to this particular Northern Ireland delicacy. I am not sure I have ever met someone from the Province who didn’t and even the veggies merely substitute Quorn sausages and skip the bacon etc. I’m not sure how the vegans manage.

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Like Father…………..

I got to work on the pans and knocked up a couple of plates in a few minutes which we put a serious hole in as the image shows. I promise you that was not staged, we really did clear the plates. Father confirmed that it was indeed a long time since he had eaten a fry and that he was very pleased with it.

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…………..like son.
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We didn’t leave much!

With the washing up done it was time to settle down for the third game of the day and one that I was really looking forward to, Sweden vs. Germany.

It was a German must win game after the Mexican defeat and another defeat here would have sent the defending champions home. Sweden scored first courtesy of a terrible ‘keeper error and Sweden pressed with lots of chances late in the first half. Germany had not been impressive but the manager must have given them a rocket at the break and equalised after three minutes in the second half. A German player was sent off late in the half and they looked all but dead and buried, a notion that was confirmed by a great save by the Swedish keeper on 87 minutes. Never write off the Germans, my pick to win the Cup before the start. They finished strong and Kroos scored with 20 secs of the five minutes injury time left to give them a victory they probably didn’t deserve.

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Paddy sorting out the next “golden oldie”.
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Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh Macarena.

As usual I went to the Monty in the evening where my mate Paddy was on the decks doing his DJ bit. Even though there were a good number of young people there, he played lots of old stuff which they seemed to love. Musical tastes in Northern Ireland have always tended to look back rather than forward. It suited me nicely as I lost all interest in chart music about 1990 although he did play some newer tracks towards the end. It was a bit mad and I felt right at home, it literally was like I had never been away. Tandragee really is a timeslip and naturally I was late back.

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Everybody had a great time.

I promise I’ll get round to writing something of interest soon as this is very much really for my own benefit so stay tuned and spread the word.