An evening with the Military and some F1

An evening with the Military and some F1

It’s been an odd week.

I was reminded on Friday that we’d had a bank-holiday at the beginning of it, but in the 4 days between, I’d managed to forget all about it. Moreover, I’ve had to look back through my notes to see exactly what I have been doing this week, because the mind seems to have gone on holiday and forgotten to take me with it.

I went up to the Honorary Artillery Company’s open evening at their base in the City of London on Tuesday. I knew where it was as I’d managed a site not far from there for a few years, but, being a working military base, it is not generally open to the public so the nearest I’d managed to get was sticking my nose through the gate on my way past.

I was quite surprised to see a mass of grass, about the size of a football pitch contained within the grounds. There are a few places in London that have large, concealed open spaces (if that is not an oxymoron) but this one had the best kept lawn I’d ever walked on – it was like a deep-piled carpet, being military all blades of grass were of uniform length, naturally.

Amongst the things to see were a host of military vehicles, an RAF Chinook helicopter, some Police cars, lots of weaponry, some different groups involved in a touch-rugby tournament (why is it called “touch-rugby” when that is the one thing you are not allowed to do?), a display by the cavalry, the HAC band, and all sorts of other bits. It was quite enjoyable and I’ve since had contact from someone in the organisation chain that wants to use a couple of my pictures for some kind of promotional thingy – they want them for nothing, I’d like to be able to raise an invoice. Negotiations are ongoing!

On the way back to Liverpool Street, I bumped into someone I knew so we had a quick pint in the newly opened bar/restaurant thingy on the station itself. Unusually for these places, it sells Real Ale, so I might have to pop in there again – purely in the interests of research, you understand?

Friday’s post saw the arrival of annual insurance renewal forms. I’ve not made any claims in the past 12 months, yet they want to put it up; quite frankly, by more than I’m prepared to pay. Shopping around has already commenced, once I’ve found a close enough deal I’ll be onto the current lot and begin beating them down – just in case discussions don’t go my way and they call my bluff when I threaten to cancel!

I was supposed to be going out with a group of friends on Friday night but got hit with an attack of CBAitis (Can’t Be Arsed), for those wondering! It was bound to get messy and as I’m still technically ill, I thought discretion was the better part of valour. I’m rather glad I avoided it, reports live from the scene and during the aftermath were quite disturbing – not my kind of thing at all, strip-clubs…

Saturday saw some great sunshine, but the law of sod had played a joker and I had to wait in for a delivery, which I was notified left Bedford at 12:30 and was here by 15:12. It was supposed to be here on Friday, but it was a promotional offer from Amazon Prime…

Today saw the climax of the English Premier League. Readers of the first of my ramblings will recall that I’d become a temporary QPR fan as soon as Southampton were promoted. Today it was do-or-die for the boys from W12. I’m not about to write a match report, but I will say that anyone who saw this, be they an avid supporter, a regular fan or a total newbie, can’t have failed to have occupied the edge of their seat for the whole 90 mins of the Manchester City v. QPR game. It had everything you could hope for, which showed the EPL at its unrivalled best and disgraceful worst, all around the world. QPR lost after giving the rest of the world a lesson in how to defend for half an hour with 10 men against a side that needed a win to secure their first top flight title in 44 years and their first since the inception of the EPL. But, by virtue of results elsewhere, QPR remain in the EPL for another season, despite the loss, which means I and my QPR friends will get to have two days out in the coming season. I can’t wait for the fixture lists to come out!

I did speak to Mr. QPR after the game today – he and a couple of others had watched the game in a bar somewhere in Shepherd’s Bush and at the time we spoke, were on their way to QPR’s ground in Loftus Road. Quite why, I know not, but I doubt he’ll remember or care in the morning!

A slight aside; I was in Mongolia in 2006 when the fixtures were released and at the precise moment Mr. QPR sent me an SMS to let me know the dates of our home/away matches, I was at least 20 miles from the nearest road and over 30 from the closest development that passed for civilisation. But, mobile phones being what they are, I had a full signal, so I gave him a call and hang the expense! To be talking football when I was so far from everything I knew was kind of surreal, but I enjoyed the bit of banter and we both swore oaths to attend each other’s games. We’ll do the same in the 2012/13 season, but this time, in the top division and with the world watching. For the last time, possibly ever – You Rrrr’s!!!

I am now officially back to being a Saint’s fan.

Prior to the football, I watched the Spanish Grand Prix. It will be the last one I watch on Sky’s new F1HD channel as the cancellation takes place on the Friday before qualifying for the Monaco GP. I have to say that Sky really have gone all-out to try and bring something new to the viewers which they have in the way of interactive features and additional programming, but it is the race itself which really matters and they use the FOM-TV feed like everyone else. For the remaining races it’ll be the BBC (who really should have ditched something else instead of their F1 rights deal) or coverage from one of the foreign broadcasters on 13E or 19E satellite positions, using my new satellite PC card – the Amazon delivery…

To be honest, it’s not a hardship, whilst away last year I had to watch two races via a Russian broadcaster; watching with the sound off is one thing, but watching a daytime race when it’s dark outside took some getting used to! All of that aside, it was great to see a Williams car back on pole position and even better for them to get a win – I was lucky enough to meet Frank Williams many years ago at an F1 test day up at Silverstone – a lovely man. Happy birthday, Sir Frank.

Whilst writing this, I’ve just heard that there has been a fire in the Williams garage at the Catalunya circuit and that some mechanics have been taken to hospital for treatment. Not such a good ending to what should have been a day of celebration – I hope they all make a full recovery.

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