Archive for June, 2009

What a match!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Did you see the match last night?

Andy Murray playing against Stanislas Wawrinka. What great tennis. Long rallies of powerful skillful shots with both men playing really well. At one point the match could have gone either way. When Murray got a break of serve against Wawrinka, he later lost that advantage when Wawrinka broke back and things were even again. After two sets each they were battling it out for the deciding set. Andy Murray looked absolutely exhausted. But he struggled on and managed to win, to the delight of the crowd whose support and encouragement he needed.

All Andy’s matches have been played third in order of play on Centre Court, which has been really good news for me! I work part time in the afternoons, and wanted to change my hours to mornings while Wimbledon was on so that I could watch it, but someone else had booked the two weeks off which meant that I couldn’t change. But it didn’t matter, because I’ve been able to see all of Murray’s matches after I’ve finished work!

Each one of them well worth seeing. He plays proper tennis, with power and skill and tactics and it’s so good to see long rallies back again. That’s what tennis is all about. There was a time after the brilliant tennis of the Borg and McEnroe era when tennis just wasn’t worth watching. Racquets were made out of new materials which made the play so fast that it just consisted of a series of aces – a fast powerful serve that shot straight past the server’s opponenet without any chance of it being returned. I even stopped watching Wimbledon in that era. I’m so glad it’s changed. I’m not quite sure what they’ve done to bring back ‘proper’ tennis, but I’m glad they have.

Yesterday history was made. The new roof which wasn’t needed during the first sunny week, was closed for the first time and Murray’s match with Stanislas Wawrinka was the first men’s match to be played under it. So Andy Murray is the first man in history to win a match at Wimbledon under the roof. That’s something to remember for pub quizzes!

It’s a good thing that the roof was closed because with the artificial lights it meant that they could carry on playing even though it was late. They didn’t have to stop for poor light. Play continued until 10.38pm, which was the latest finish in the history of Wimbledon, delaying the Ten O’Clock News by nearly 40 minutes.

If a match has to be suspended because of rain or poor light and can’t continue until the next day, it can completely change the play and the result. It’s much better to get the match finished in one go, especially for the fans on Henman Hill, (or is it Murray’s Mound now?) who have travelled a long way and probably queued for a long time to get in. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to go home and miss the end of a match because of the light. Yesterday they were able to sit in the darkness and watch the whole match on the big screen.

Murray is now through to the Quarter Finals for the second time, but it won’t be plain sailing for him. He has some challenging opponenets to face and beat if he’s going to get to the finals. I hope he recovers well from the exhausting match he played yesterday to give him the best possible chance in his next match. He still has a lot of work to do, but he does seem to be capable of it. Wouldn’t it be amazing if he became the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry 73 years ago.

Meeting the people

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

When I arrived home the other day, I noticed quite a few people chatting to householders on their doorsteps or in their gardens and I wondered who they were. I did notice that one of them looked familiar, but couldn’t place him.

A few minutes later there was a knock on the door and there on my doorstep was my newly re-elected County Councillor. I congratulated him on his re-election and he thanked me for my support. (See leafleting)

He had knocked on the door so that he could introduce me to the Parliamentary Candidate and then I realised who the familiar man was! Of course! I’ve seen his photo in newspapers and leaflets. So I wandered down the road to meet him. It was good to have a chat with him, but it was also good to know who the visitors were and that they were bona fide.

I’m very glad that my County Councillor was re-elected. He’s already stopped the local District Council doing something that would have been very unpopular with householders and about which they claimed to be having a public consultation. It wasn’t very public though, because I hadn’t seen anything about it, even though I had been looking out for it.

He was re-elected with an increased majority and he put that down to a letter that his opponent sent out a few days before the election. He said it was full of things about him that were untrue, and his opponent was hoping that the letter would swing peoples votes. Well it did, but not in the way he expected. It backfired and voters were so affronted by the nature of the letter that they voted for the winner even though some of them hadn’t been planning to do so before they received the letter!

I’ve heard of this happening in other areas too. What a shame that politics has to get dirty even at this level when all that should matter is doing the best for the people.

why are you shouting?

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Why is it that when people speak into mobile phones they feel they have to shout?

Sometimes there may be background noise that makes it necessary to speak loudly, but I’m sure that isn’t the case all the time.

Yesterday I travelled by train on a journey of about 15 minutes. As soon as I got in, a phone rang and the girl who answered it shouted into it. I was subjected to intimate details of what she and her boyfriend had been doing the evening before. It was a lovely quiet train, and there was definately no need to shout, but that didn’t make any difference. I wanted to have a nice relaxing journey enjoying the scenery, but I had to spend my time fending off converstaions I didn’t want to hear.

Fortunately after a couple of stops and 10 minutes or so, the girl got off the train, still talking into the phone, but immediately another one rang behind me!

Maybe if I’m forced to listen to a conversation I don’t want to hear I should go and sit next to the person and join in! I wonder what they’d say if I did that!!

council tax

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I pay my council tax by standing order because I like to know what’s going to leave my bank account each month. As the Council insist on being paid a year’s council tax in 10 installments, I have to set up a new standing order each year because the bank can’t cope with having a break of two months before making another payment.

April is the start of the new Council Tax year, and when I received my bill, I remember thinking that I must set up the new standing order. Having thought about it, I actually thought I’d done it, and by the time I realised that I’d forgotten about it, my first payment of the year was nearly 2 weeks late.

Within a couple of days of sending the first payment, which obviously hadn’t filtered yet through, I received a letter from the Council telling me that if I didn’t make a payment within a few days, I would be liable for the whole year’s payment at once, and they also threatened me with bailiffs and seizure of my goods.

I was horrified to receive a letter of such a threatening nature when they can see from my records that I habitually pay on time by standing order, and as it was the first payment of the year, it was obvious that it was an oversight in setting up the new standing order. A polite reminder would have been sufficient. I have complained about the intimidating nature of their letter, but they’re not interested. They say there’s nothing that they can do about it as it’s an automated letter. That’s a load of rubbish. Of course there is something they can do about it.

I’ve asked them how many elderly vulnerable people have died of a heart attack on receipt of one of these letters, but they say that they don’t keep these statistics.

My circumstances have just changed which means that for the past two months I have overpaid my council tax. I’ve filled in all the forms, but I’m told that it’s going to take 9 weeks to do the paperwork before they know what my new payment will be, This means that they will have owed me money for around three months. They don’t seem very bothered about this. They obviously have one rule for people who owe them money and another for people that they owe money to.

I have contacted them and pointed out to them that although they have owed me money for over six weeks now, I have not written to them and threatened them with bailiffs and seizure of their goods.