Yep - it snowed fairly heavily last night. Got up bright and chirpy at 0630 hrs to see 4 or 5 inches on the ground and thought "bugger". Due in work at 0745 - normally I get a bus about 0720 which "just" makes it, but as I was walking to the bus stop this morning I was thinking "No way will it get up this (ungritted) hill". Waited for a few minutes with a load of others before deciding to start walking - I can get out of Mossley towards a place called Grotton - honest - where there are more buses to Oldham more often. Made it there and jumped on a bus that went about 400 yards before hitting gridlock ! Didn't move for about 10 minutes, so thought "Sod it - might as well walk the rest of the way" (about 4 miles !).
Got to the office about 0840 and sorted out walk (loads of bloody Sky Magazines !) before going on an "inclement weather" brief and being issued with some new toys. We got a set of shoe snow chains and a pair of "spikies" - rubber things you put over your boots that have small metal spikes on the bottom. Once I got to the start of my walk I popped the spikies on - and they were REALLY good - even in 4 inches of snow - so I managed to complete pretty much on time - bus home was running (hurrah !) and when I got home I rustled up a Shepherds Pie for tea (still well into this cooking lark ...).
Believe it's just started snowing again, but do I care ?? It's my "day off" tomorrow, and I'm taking it !!! (Thursday might be "interesting" though ...) .
... the easy option ... that's "easy option" as in "I was only there in spirit". Once certain that the game was definitely on, it was a case of find a pub with ESPN that would be likely to be showing it. I ended up killing two birds with one stone - my first visit to the "Rising Sun" in Mossley since Richard and Charlotte took it over several weeks ago - and being a Monday night I ended up with a room to myself with an HD TV as well ! Not seen too much of HD TV before - well impressive (naturally out of my price range for home though !).
Anyway - to the game - Orient started the better - more fluent, good passing game ... and then - Luke Holden did a classic "played for and got ..." - and yes many people would call it a dive !! From the ensuing free-kick, Brownhill played the perfect ball for (ex-Mossley !) Ciaran Kilheeney to get on the end of it to put the Bloods 1-0 up. This certainly dented Orient, and Droylsden were certainly the team on top up to half-time. Second half was a different story mind - Orient by far the better team and the equaliser was more than deserved (unfortunate on Droylsden keeper "Phillo" but ...). In the end it was probably the right result - and with the weather getting colder and colder and the wings getting slippier and slippier, I reckon both teams were happy with a draw at the end. Norwich City will have to wait a bit longer to see who they will be playing in the 3rd Round.
As the weather gets worse - rumours of snow tomorrow - I reckon that the telly may well be the only option for the next couple of weeks. Next Wednesday will be the next TV opportunity with FC United taking on Brighton in an FA Cup replay(ESPN again !) - but we can live in hope for some "real stuff".
Got a whole pile of "new gear" from work today (interesting when you consider - officially - that my fixed-term contract finishes on December 27 th !!) -new fleece, cagoule, shirts, three different hats (!!) to name but some ... yet another "perk of the job" - expecting payback tomorrow !! Today was bad enough - highly dodgy underfoot (first bag normally takes about an hour - today, nearly twice as long !), but it did improve as I headed "lower down the hill" towards Oldham centre ... and Mondays are meant to be "light" - ha !!
Finally can't leave today without saying RIP Leslie Neilsen - straight actor who found fame with "Police Squad" and the "Airplane" films. When I heard the news it was a case of "Surely they can't be serious" - but yes they were ... .
... well Saturday afternoon - I ended up making a large pan of French Onion Soup - because I can (and we had loads of onions !) - now residing in the freezer - then over to Rochdale in the evening for large meal @ friends and a bit of Trivial Pursuit - and today a walk around Hebden Bridge taking in the Rochdale Canal, Blackshaw Head, Colden Clough and Heptonstall. A few pictures at
Football this midweek - no bloomin' chance - I don't have a ticket, but I don't even hold out much chance for the Droylsden v Leyton Orient FA Cup game tomorrow night (although - if on - I may adjourn to a hostelry somewhere that's got ESPN !!) - we'll see ... in the meantime, I'm getting the call of a comfortable bed followed by several large red bags full of packets - eek ! .
... home from work (heavy day for a Saturday !) - quick whizz round the message boards/league fixture pages ... and - as expected - a complete "white out" as regards "real" football (although I've just turned the telly on for a bit of AFC Wimbledon v Stevenage - well it's close !). Even Oldham Boro in the Vodkat League (often a handy fall-back during "iffy weather") has fallen victim to the elements ...
Work - the "packet count" is rising - aargh - this was yesterday ...
... and it was a "touch worse" today ... advice received is "It won't get any better between now and Christmas !!", so itlooks like it's "Grin and Bear It" for the next four weeks ...
What to do now - everyone talks of Christmas shopping - which is fine IF you know what you want to buy, which at the moment I don't. No way will I do the aimless wandering - "in - buy - out" is my method, so it's time to put the thinking cap on ... and there's always the internet I suppose (i.e. put more pressure on the postie !!) ... .
... I think this takes the proverbial biscuit !! Looks like Northern Rail are attempting to "cash in" on the Christmas Rush ... check this screen dump from the NationalRail website (click for big !) ...
This weekend's "realistic" options (that's the Trafford Centre in the middle !)
... are pretty much zero I reckon. As predicted, the Mossley game tonight was postponed, and with tomorrow's weather not looking to rise above zero, I can't see too many options being available on Saturday ... It will be a crying shame if the football is decimated this weekend - Mossley for one would have been looking to "kick on" after the 6-0 win on Tuesday night, and keep that winning momentum/mentality going. Might have to do some more overtime instead - I've done a bit in the afternoons this week - and ended up finishing in the cold and the dark (so I've just bought myself a head torch off EBay for £3.69 !!!). Got a bit of a bonus earlier this week as well - a Christmas card from Royal Mail ... containing 50 First Class stamps - just need to find 50 friends now !!!
Every little helps !!!
Anyway - enough for now - it's nice and warm in our front room (new boiler working well - just need to go out in the cold more often to help pay for the damned thing !), and another early-ish start beckons ... .
Ben Richardson's new "Bluetooth" set (and no he's NOT "stroking the liner" !!!)
At last ... a night where chances were turned into goals !!! 4-0 up after 30 minutes, 6-0 at the end - can't complain really (OK it could have been double figures given Mossley's total dominance but ...). My only worry at 4-0 were the 'hints of frost' that started to appear on the pitch (shades of that Durham City game) - but fortunately it never became an issue. Some not-so-brilliant pictures at
It was bloody cold (my excuse and I'm sticking to it !!) - but Mossley made light of the conditions - maybe we need this kind of pitch EVERY week ... the weather forecast for the next few days may well create this - but is more likely to result in a glut of postponments. They were putting frost covers down after the game to try and keep the pitch sweet for a reserve game on Thursday - but personally I wouldn't hold my breath.
So - up to 15th in the league - and if the chances to goals ratio from Tuesday night CAN continue ... there's a few more teams in the Evo-Stik 1st Division North due a stuffing - look out Salford on Saturday ... weather permitting ... .
A fairly relaxed day "on the beat" today - did some early morning overtime and offered my ageing body for some afternoon overtime, but not required (obviously the Christmas rush has not yet arrived - I wasn't even asked to work my "day off" tomorrow - bet they ask me next Wednesday - as in my birthday !!).
Home at a reasonable time then and sorted out some tea - we've FINALLY run out of curry now (see Saturday !!), and whilst "twiddling around" with various foodstuffs, I had a bit of a Dandy Warhols binge on the CD player - as in
Two FINE albums indeed ...
Got a text early afternoon (from a number I'm not sure of - ever since I changed my phone, I lost a lot of numbers - but whoever you are/were - ta !!) letting me know the FA Trophy draw - and strangely enough all "Four Tame Sides" have managed to avoid each other:
Droylsden v Hinckley United Curzon Ashton v Altrincham Stalybridge Celtic v Nantwich Town Alfreton Town v Hyde FC
Looks like Curzon are up to provide another "shock", given the present state of Altrincham (who must still be reeling from their 7-0 hammering at Crawley at the weekend). I'd put my money on Droylsden and Stalybridge to progress, while - sorry Hyde, but it's going to take one hell of an effort to get past Alfreton who are on fire at the moment.
Seems that the "postponed" youth game at Mossley yesterday was an effort to protect the pitch for Tuesday's first team game against Trafford - this could be the first of many given that there is a first team, a reserve team AND a youth team all attempting to play on the same pitch ... and we've all seen the abundance of berries on the bushes which apparently means the upcoming winter is going to be ... heavy ...
Ashton United are taking on FC United in the Evo-Stik League Cup tonight - fingers crossed they do well - and get a decent crowd as well. It's not been a good week at Hurst Cross - some low-life scumbags (an identikit would probably show shaven head, sticky-out ears and a hoodie - just an educated guess) broke into their Social Club last week and emptied the safe and the fruit machines. Wouldn't it be an interesting exercise - if the perpetrators were caught - to put them on the centre spot at 1930hrs just before kick-off and just allow the entire crowd to get over the fences and walk slowly towards them - from all sides of the ground - and when the fans get to the edge of the centre circle ... turn the floodlights OFF for five minutes. Now that's what I would call "Community Payback".
So - day off tomorrow - plans so far include taking Mrs Smiffy to work in car, taking car to garage for a service, taking body to doctors (they're taking some blood out of me to check for "stuff" - I've lost nearly a stone in weight over the last 12 months, and it would be nice to know why !!) - after that ... who knows - maybe I should start thinking about Christmas presents because I'm sure "days off" will 'disappear' between the start of December and Christmas Eve ... oh yes football tomorrow night as well !!
Edit at 2137 - Ashton United 3 FC United 1 - I've been listeming to FC United Radio - and a very patronising pair of commentators as well ... .
... well, after doing the recycling (where do these cans and wine bottles come from ?), the supermarket trip and "tweaking" yesterday's pics anyway !
Something to look out for tomorrow is the draw for the 1st Round Proper of the FA Trophy - plenty of local interest with four of the "Six Tame Sides" in the hat - and with the draw being regionalised, the odds on an all-local tie are that much shorter.
Anyway - all suitably relaxed for another week "on the pavement" ... .
... it was the "same old story" at Seel Park yesterday - profligate in front of goal, and over-generous at the back. For 35 minutes Mossley more than matched their higher-placed opponents - but then it all went wrong when Rothwell scored an absolute screamer to put Lancaster in front - and to lose a second goal just before half-time gave Mossley a mountain to climb (albeit playing "downhill" second half). This wasn't helped by some "Santa Claus" defending 10 minutes into the second period when Kenworthy effectively finished the game as a contest. Credit Mossley though - they kept plugging away up front and were rewarded with a couple of cracking "consolations" - but there was a fourth goal (with more comic cuts defending) for Lancaster sandwiched in between. Pictures at Mossley 2 Lancaster City 4
Home after the game to an enormous "home-grown curry evening" (there were eight of us scoffing bhajis, samosas, chicken curry, cauliflower and potato curry, chick pea curry and red kidney bean curry) - followed by some of those "sticky sweets" (they were bought not made !!) - all washed down with a few ales (me and Andy) / wines (everyone ese). A fine evening ... and guess what WE'RE eating for tea tonight ...
Had actually been looking forward to an afternoon's footy today (had "time off for good behaviour" !!) with Mossley Youth playing Prescot Cables Youth - but it has been postponed for reasons unknown -bugger !The "roller-coaster" continues on Tuesday night however when our "old friends" Trafford are the visitors to Seel Park - it's about time Mossley turned some of these so-called "games in hand" into three points - let's see what Tuesday brings ... .
Cast your mind back to 1981 - unpopular government - inflation in double figures - unemployment over 3 million - riots in Toxteth, Brixton, Handsworth and Chapeltown ... never mind Charles and Diana are getting marrried !! That'll take people's minds off "stuff"... follow that with a war in 1982 and popularity is assured ...
Roll forward to 2011 - unpopular government ?? (well certainly one that no-one voted for ...) - already got a war (a very unpopular one at that) and that's where the comparison falls down ... ish - unless you include the student "riot" at Tory HQ - maybe I'm getting old but they just don't make riots like they used to ... and unemployment is 'only' about 2.5 million ... HOWEVER ... you could argue that the government is being pro-active in "announcing" the wedding of Wills and Kate before the public sector cuts really bite, and VAT goes up and benefits go down ...
.... oh, and that (multi-millionaire and ex-Thatcherite) Lord Young - he's a bit of a card isn't he ?? I was reminded of the Comic Strip's "GLC" (you young 'uns should Google it !) when the actor taking off Horace Cutler (then leader of the GLC) was campaigning and came up quotes like "You've never had it so good !" and "The shops are FULL of potatoes !" Low interest rates indeed (if you've a mortgage) - your savings - if you have any - are knackered, your gas and electricity is going up by "slightly more" than inflation (!), and of course the Christmas bonus - a VAT increase ...
Hey ho - time for bed - work calls (or will do) at 0545hrs, before Mossley continue their rollercoaster with a home game against Lancaster City followed by a "Curry Evening" @ home ... .
... pretty much as "first thoughts" ... but with added photographs (these damned night game pix still need a tweak here, a tweak there and a little bit of TLC - but I'm fairly pleased with this lot !!) Stalybridge Celtic 4 Droylsden 0
Other observations - it was BLOODY cold - just what you need after a day out in the bloody cold - and being a skinny wretch I have very little extra "baggage" to hold onto any extraneous heat !! Now if I was a REAL Celtic fan, I'd have been well warmed by that performance. Sometimes the words "local derby" can mean very little to players (especially if they ain't local ...), but the message had certainly got through to the Celtic squad last night - they hustled and hassled and competed for the full 90 minutes (I was thinking of saying "competed like Tigers" - but that probably wouldn't have gone down very well !!!). So much so that Droylsden were very much second best ... and towards the end, Celtic were ripping through the Bloods defence at will - all "stuffing" had been completely knocked out of the visitors. I won't say too much more about the game - check out the official report from the Celtic website.
Another cold day today - however I finally got my new "playing out" coat - and judging by the time I finished today (after a "touch" of o/t) the colour is probably about right !!! Check out ...
There was a large pile of boxes all containing lots of other bits of the "new uniform" - but apparently we're NOT allowed to have them .................... yet ................. reasons - unknown !! Rest of the week will involve getting cold, getting warm - and vice versa !! .
Tear up form book - turn-up - shock - unexpected- and all that sort of stuff. It was an easy 4-0 win for the home side against a team that had hammered Boston United 4-0 only three days earlier. Don't care what they say now, but the Celtic fans amongst the 626 crowd could NEVER have expected that. Celtic didn't make Droylsden look ordinary - they made them look poor ...
Pictures tomorrow night - only just got home after mercy dash to Tesco before catching last train home ... .
Been to quacks - apparently I'm still alive - although it's blood test and chest x-ray time (I appear to have lost rather a lot of weight over the last 12 months - even though I look and feel healthier than I have for a good few years !) - so I need a bit of an MOT.
Now ... off to Ashton to print some piccies, buy some clobber, check out vino and buy tonight's tea ... .
... sorely tempted to do another album from Saturday - from the Harrogate point of view ...
... in fact I will.
... but not yet.
Day off = loads to do - first doctors, then sort out some photos for a famous Stalybridge Celtic player (to pass on tomorrow night), then head for Ashton to print same, buy some "winter wear" for underneath postie uniform - and check out cheap chateaux wines in Aldi !!! Oh and sort out dentist appointment.
... it was £15-30 day return ... ... the trains to Harrogate ran to time ... ... the trains home did not ... ... it got colder as the day went on ...
... when I got home, our evening visitors had not yet arrived - a slight problem on the motorway involving the car bonnet "flying off" at 60 mph !!! This meant I had time to add a couple of extra "hot starters" to the evening menu, viz Chorizo in Red Wine and Patatas Bravas, before they eventually arrived. Believe it or not we finally finished our evening meal at about 0045 hrs ... !!!Went for a walk in the Dovestones area today - not the best, but a walk's a walk (especially without a heavy red bag on the shoulder !) Will check out the day's snaps quite soon as well ...
Mitch Benn (comedy) or Joe McElderry (Christmas lights "switcher on") - think we got the better deal !!
... for nearly cocking up my Friday night - and on behalf of all those families and other people "left on the platform" at Ashton-under-Lyne for COMPLETELY cocking up their Friday evening. We (me, Mrs Smiffy and daughter) were off to see Mitch Benn (from Radio 4's "Now Show") at the Dancehouse in Manchester - many of the unfortunate people stranded at Ashton (and those crammed into an overcrowded and 20 minute late train) were hoping to see the "Christmas Lights Turn-On" in City Centre Manchester. We were 25 minutes late for our "pre-match meal" at Zouk (excellent food - and once they knew we were in a rush they pulled out all the stops) - and made it to the Dancehouse with seconds to spare. Excellent gig - probably helps if you know who Mitch Benn is and what he does (musical topical satire/comedy in various styles is probably the best way to put it), and fortunately daughter had gone straight from work "in her car" so we didn't have to face the trials of Northern Rail to get home.
So what can Northern Rail do later today - yes it's Harrogate RA v Mossley and we're all going on the train ... (suffice to say - we're leaving ourselves plenty of time !!) .
... well it took a time coming - but 4-0 in the end was no more than Mossley deserved - after getting off to a flyer with Callum Byrne's screamer (I was still "setting up" hence the poor snapper effort), Mossley then contrived to continue what they've been doing all season i.e. create loads of chances and put bugger all in the onion bag. they were certainly comfortable for most of the 90 minutes (OK Ossett had one disallowed but it WAS the right decision) - comfortable enough for Ossett to "adjust" their game plan from "nice but harmless" to "roughhouse" - it failed as Mossley managed to get three more goals in the last 10 minutes to make the score more realistic. Some pictures at
As I mentioned last night/this morning (!) this win moves the Lilywhites up to 14th place - and there are still some games in hand which brings the play-off positions into view (but it IS only November - so enough of that !). Time to get a bit of a run together first - and Saturday will be an interesting test at Harrogate Railway who've had something of a resurgence lately (including a win at high-flying Chorley). Remember me saying my Saturday "days off" never coincide with a decent away game - I was wrong ... a nice train trip to Starbeck beckons ...
A bit of overtime this afternoon saw me out in the dark in an unknown area of Oldham checing my A-Z under street lights - time to indent for a head torch I feel ... and I'm starting to get that "Christmas is coming" feeling - not only loads of bloody catalogues but an increase in packets/parcels as well - I guess the word is "eek !" .
... was Monday and Tuesday at work (learning how to wrap up warm now- fingerless gloves to the fore, plus the "hat that makes me look like a plonker ... but a warm plonker !!").
So - having just defrosted from today's efforts (one and a bit walks - o/t - Christmas IS coming) - 'tis time to go out and get cold again up at Seel Park where Mossley are taking on Osset Albion (minus Darren Barrick !!). "Plonker Hat" will be on show as well !!!
... a long day indeed ... up at 0530 for work, knowing full well I wasn't going to make to Chester for the Mossley game (a real bugger - at the moment my "Saturdays off" are just not coinciding with the juicy away games), so I did a bit of "over-overtime" to follow the early doors o/t and normal time - getting home about 1350 - just time for quick change, grab bag and off out on the 1411 bus to Hyde - got there about 1457 to hear with ref's whistle (the early start was just the beginning of his "catalogue of cock-ups" !!).
Hyde have struggled this season - and were propping up the Blue Square North table at 1500 hrs - but they started brightly enough. However the ref soon made his mark by continually ignoring the foul challenges on Dale Johnson - which got Tigers' Manager Neil Tolson "a mite upset" - upset enough to eventually be given the red card and banished to the stands (terraces ?). Despite all the efforts of Johnson and (my MOM) Shaun Whalley, the only goal of the game came from midefielder Dean Stott who hammered home through a crowded box just after the half-hour. Many more chances were fashioned - but bad luck, bad finishing and "linesman interference" didn't help - personally I reckon a bit more width up front would take some of the pressure off Johnson and Whalley as well. Hyde were under the cosh for a good part of the second half, but seemed fairly comfortable at the back ... until the last couple of minutes when the ref "lost it" completely. There were shouts from the Harrogate players for a penalty - and it looked as though the ref had signalled same. However an over-long "discussion" with his assistant saw an offside decision given instead - much to the chagrin (good word !) of the visitors.
So Hyde climb off the bottom - a victory which I think they just about deserved - and here are some pictures from same ...
A couple of Stalybridge "connections"- Harrogate had ex-Celt Lee Ellington up front - Kieran Gonzalez (young keeper who trialled @ Bower Fold at the start of this season) was on the Harrogate bench - and I reckoned their number 5 Jake Picton was the spitting image of a "young Paul Sykes" - see what you think ...
Home (via the "Sportsman" for a swift one) before out again to a 50th birthday party in Stalybridge (Christine and Adrian - old friends from the Buffet Bar) before catching the last "rail replacement bus" (some things NEVER change !) and fiddling about on the pc for an hour or two ... knackered and bed !
Sunday - a few jobbies to do after this - recycling, shopping, cooking etc etc (it's a wonderful life on your one day off - done 6 days out of 7 this last week - moneygrabber !!) - so I'd better get on with it ... .
You need to read the Mossley Message Board to get the full SP - but for the uninitiated, it's a "loyalty thing" that seems to crop up every now and again on the Mossley Board - to be honest it's probably the same on 99% of footy boards - Are you a loyal fan ? Will you go through hell and high water to get to a game ? etc etc etc. Fact is these days people will say "No" for so many reasons - so many valid reasons as well - so it just seems pointless churning out these "Where were you ?" posts ... supposes it makes some people feel good (superior ?) - but all it does for most people is p*ss them off !!!
(No doubt there will be a special award ceremony to the "Elite 4" who made it to Ossett last Tuesday - I'll probably give that a miss as well ...).
... but after getting totally wet through this afternoon (I thought I'd get away with it - but unfortunately 14 "sign fors" - recorded delivery - and 2 "specials before 1pm" put paid to that - involved a lot of re-jigging of the walk 'on the fly' to get to the two "before 1pm" addresses - and a lot of "dead walking") -so yes wet through. Home at a sensible time mind - and now drying out, but the weather is, if anything, getting worse - so I'm staying in, and cooking a chicken and chorizo stew - if necessary I CAN get a note from my Mum ... .
... in the FA Trophy ... if you were Mossley ... Harrogate Railway Athletic away on the 20th November ... as in two places below Mossley in the Unibond 1 North ... as in bottom ... oh well ... que sera sera and all that ...
Other local games see Curzon Ashton at home to Solihull Moors (another poss upset on the cards there), Stalybridge Celtic away at Vauxhall Motors (one of their "bete noir" teams), Hyde away at Leamington (who are doing well in the Zammo Premier) and Droylsden at home to Stourbridge (four places below Leamington in 10th) - should really expect three victories out of four there (but I ain't predicting which three !!).
Tomorrow will see my first trip of the season to Woodley Sports (OK just outside the "STS" zone, but the easiest option of the evening) to see their League Cup game against Garforth Town - and hopefully to find out a little bit more about the sudden departure of Manager Jim Vince after a VERY brief stay (official line is "irresolvable differences" ... hides a multitude of sins eh ?). Mossley are back in league action - but away at Ossett Albion ... don't know if he still plays for the Albion, but - if he does - Manager Shaun Higgins should beware of one Darren Barrick (second from the right below) ...
... and if further details are required I suggest a chat with Belper Town Manager Andy Carney ...
(and feel free to put two and two together ...) Meanwhile ... November is upon us- which means less Hallowe'en ...
A sticky end for one pumpkin out on my "walk" today ...(suitably Photoshopped for effect !!)
No real football tonight - so that's your lot really ...
The "25 minutes later update" - courtesy of the West Riding FA suspensions list ...
... which is actually a "sine die" ... which makes a lot of this post rather pointless really ... .