A 2 Z

V3 Mulsanne Park – sporting triumphs and utter dejections

When our third child was quite young he went along to Saturday morning football at Mulsanne Park. We were never sure whether Mulsanne rhymed with frying pan or window pane. I was of the former camp but others in the family claimed the latter. Being of all seeing all knowing disposition I am of course right though the argument was never truly settled and I doubt that anyone cares or even realises it was an issue.

The boy was never going to make it as a footballer. I recall a beautiful spring day when the sun was shining and for once it was a pleasure to have to perform parental duties and take him and his pals out to Nettleham. There have been other times when the icy blast of a gale blowing across from the Urals  made me wonder why he wasn’t more interested in jigsaws as a hobby but this was not one of them. It was a perfect day for football.

Conditions that are right footballing are also ideal for other activities. At Mulsanne Park these conditions are, where the parents are concerned, good for sipping a cup of tea purchased from the pavilion and chatting with other parents. Some people are more interested in following the on field activity and I must say that to some extent I fall into this camp. However I do feel that I can with a degree of concentration adequately multitask and also drink tea and chat. I know not what the chat is about – as far as multitasking is concerned “remembering” is one task to far.

You should know I am not one of those competitive parents who shout instructions from the sideline and remonstrate with the ref when he thinks that a decision has not gone the right way. Still I do like to celebrate the on-pitch success of the boy. I can be very loud in my appreciation. No wilting lilly I.

This brings me to the other point about ideal footballing conditions and that is what is good for football is also good for spring growth. In the case of Mulsanne Park this might be a renewal of activity in the hedgerows and also on the playing surface itself. We like the new growth in the grass even though it means work for the lawnmower.  Unfortunately grass isn’t all that grows on a football pitch. Daisies also flourish.

On the beautiful day in question the lad was dawdling in the outfield and his attention was caught by a certain daisy. This daisy must have been a fast grower because the pitch had not long been mowed. The daisy clearly merited closer inspection.

Now one of the aspects of the game of football is that people run around the field kicking the ball this way and that and there is a good change if you stand in one spot that the play will eventually come your way. On this occasion with daisy inspection in full flow the opposition winger came thundering towards my lad who was totally oblivious to anything other than the daisy. The winger shot past and with only the keeper between him and stardom made certain of his place on the scoresheet and no doubt of lasting fame in the history of Nettleham Under 6’s football.

The boy looked up and trotted over to some other part of the pitch, neither jubilant nor utterly dejected.


poems poetry

Echoes of Madness

The Lawn, early morning silence,

the city had not yet stirred.

Footsteps in the dew

stopped to listen.

The hair blown breeze

danced around a face

focussed on a sound,

a growing whisper, a cry.

Doors slam, heavy boots,

dissident murmurs of the past.


The dew lifted and

came the shriek of innocence,

children hide and seek.

“No ball games allowed”

A remnant of old order,

echoes of madness

calming under the palm.


5 laptops in the front room

I walked into the front room. There were the four offspring all sat there with laptops open. I soon joined them. Anne beavering away in the kitchen; steak pie. The fire struggled to light. Apparently the wrong kind of paper. It’s going now. A little tlc from Tref. We are listening to QPR v Liverpol over tinterweb. Liverpool are winning for a change. QPR are firmly entrenched at the bottom of the league.

Joseph and I had a lovely six holes of golf. His game is coming along. Had his first par put today. Missed it but it will come. There were few others out. People are bunkering down over the holidays though the weather today was fine for golf. Cold but no problem if you wrap up properly. I bought a new thermal hat with the Lincoln Golf Club logo. Ten quid for cash. Could’t find my Himalayan hat before leaving for the club. Would be disappointed to lose that one. I’m sure it will reappear.

After the game we had a drink in the clubhouse. Joe had a hot chocolate and I had a warm Guinness (as opposed to Guinness Extra Cold!). They had set the place up for New Year’s Eve. Only around 50 people signed up for it apparently whereas they normally get 80 or so (apparently). Not my kind of thing.

Back home the fire is now going and I’m on another Guinness. It’s quite relaxing sat here with the kids listening to the football. It would probably not be the same if we were losing.

Back to work tomorrow. I have some prep to do for my BBC appearance on New Year’s Day. Talking to William Wright (@MrWilliam) on BBC Radio Lincolnshire about technology developments in 2013.

Before golf today Anne and I went for a swim. They normally have lane swimming at Yarborough Leisure Centre at lunchtime on a Sunday but today they were short staffed so part of the pool was “roped off” and there was just the melee of the general swim. I’l be back in the pool tomorrow morning before going to work.

Anne is still beavering away in the kitchen but Hannah has gone out downtown on the lash! A very social animal is our Hannah. No worries 🙂

That’ll do for now. 2013 i going to see a big increase in the amount of content on philosopherontap hence these posts that are more of a diary entry than art but I’m sure it will develop in the right way.



Lincoln Steep Hill in September #FindBritain

Lincoln Steep Hill in September
Lincoln Steep Hill in September
3rd law prose


click here for part1

I’m back in my usual seat in the corner of the kitchen. It’s a pew we bought from Anne’s church, St Peter in Eastgate, for £130. I’m told that the going rate at auction is £30 but what the heck. It’s charidee. £130 is what the new flexible seating costs per seat.

The church’s loss is my gain. As seats go it is absolutely rock solid. Bedded in by thousands of bottoms, mostly now dead and buried. There is something poetic about having it in the kitchen with me, a confirmed atheist, sat on it writing. I also eat on it of course. The kids fight to sit on it when we are eating.

the art gallery

Guest Beers at the Victoria, Union Road, Lincoln

Hook Norton Old Hook 4.6% £3.15
Batemans GHA 4.2% £2.95
Batemans Hooker 4.5% £ 2.95
Hook Norton Double Stout 4.8% £3.25
Spectrum Spring Promise 4.5% £3.15


The function room is back!

It’s been a while.

Sometimes you get a feeling and when it comes you just have to follow your instincts. It works for rooms just as much as the punters that occupy them.

So we lost the function room.

It went, disappeared, vamoosed to a place where function rooms go where no-one even knew it was there, where nobody could book it or ask questions. Can we change the seating? Do you do food? Can we have a late bar?

What went wrong?

No-one knows for sure. We got there for early doors one evening and there was the sign: “Function room closed until further notice”. What had happened? Human curiosity took momentary hold but none of the bar staff would come clean. Perhaps they really didn’t know. It was a mystery.

It was there one day and gone the next.

It spent time out of our lives which were poorer without it but we coped. We soon forgot it had been there at all. Occasionally someone would bring it up in conversation but by and large it had gone. Then we stopped talking about it and went back to our usual beer-inspired bar room banter. Where’s the cheapest place to buy car batteries? One hundred and one ways to cook with mushrooms. Guaranteed ways of getting an upgrade to business class on a long haul flight! Not!

Where did it go?

Only it can tell us that. Function rooms are notoriously discrete. What goes inside a function room stays inside a function room. It’s part of the contract. It’s what makes the relationship work. It’s kind of special. And anyway it wasn’t there for us to ask.

Then one evening we came in.

Something was different! Something had changed. We looked around. The condiment tray was there in its usual place on the mantelpiece. The blackboard had a different list of guest beers but that was normal. Guest beers come and go.

I looked at the notice board.

I probably stared at it for some time before the realisation hit me. I was only half concentrating, listening to the conversation at the small round table where I was sat. There it was!  A new posting  shouting at me in bold  black lettering on white paper .

“The Function Room Is Back”

The staff carried on as if it had never been away. Nobody mentioned that time in our lives where it had not been a part of our lives. We still carried on talking our undoubtedly witty conversations, the meaningless drivel that should stay inside the pub, where it belongs.

But now there was more.

Christmas Parties @ The Victoria. Bookings now being taken. Speak to the events coordinator at Charlotte House (or Neil).

The function room is back!

The Burton Road Strip

Burton Spice

The food here,
Is hot stuff
If you can take it,
Or simply tasty
If you can’t,
Delivered to your door
If you can’t make it
In person,
Deep karma
In the form of
Chicken korma
Tikkas all
The right boxes.

photo by Andy Benn

photo by Andy Benn

White Hart Hotel

It used to have a wonderful lobby/reception area before they changed it.


Boxing Day Rugby Match, 2004

Boxing Day at any rugby club in the country is when the true spirit of the sport emerges and its innate entertainment value is brought out by the bottle (seems a better way of putting it than bucket load).  Just as Christmas is a time for families to come together the traditional Boxing Day sporting event sees anyone that has ever been involved in the wide community of  rugby turn out to meet old friends and for some festive fresh air and exercise. The outcome is usually hugely amusing, the rugby flowing and people discover their shortcomings under benign and understanding circumstances that all can enjoy.

These days it is often the only game of rugby a veteran plays in the year.  An old trooper who has long hung up his boots will root them out of the cupboard when his son or his daughters’ husband comes home for the holidays in a desperate attempt to keep in touch with his youth and to show he can still do it.  It is a well known fact that a rugby player never retires.  It is simply that the gaps between matches get longer and longer. Indeed at a recent holiday in Center Parcs this rugby writer dug out his old shorts to play badminton with his kids and not only did they refuse to play with him in his old gear but they frogmarched him to the sports shop to buy a more modern, longer and therefore trendier and more acceptable kit. Harrumph.

At Lincoln Rugby Club,  Boxing Day was a beautiful crisp winter’s day.  Even though the midday the sun was low in the sky and the ground was largely frozen around fifty players old and new turned out to do battle on the ice rink.  If this had been a league match the game would have been abandoned before it started but there was one hundred percent consensus that the game was important enough to carry on.

Because Lincoln only have the one strip there was some objection because of the cold conditions to the notion of playing one side in “skins” and it was decided that one team would just turn their shirts inside out. As Chairman of Selectors Keith Younger read out the teams individuals would troop over to one side or the other just as they still do in school during the break when the two captains pick their own team.  Those not chosen were not too dejected because they knew that they could keep their coats on for another half an hour on the touchline.

This truly is a family day at Lincoln Rugby Club and a number of families turned out to play.  In the vanguard was Geoff Newmarch who brought three grown up sons along for a game, followed by Adie Smith and son Tom. Other father and son pairings included the Smalls, Dudleys, Woods and Woodthorpes.  The Younger brothers added a fraternal slant and Malcolm Withers at the young old age of 68 turned out in a museum piece of a scrum cap that has preserved his good looks through six decades of the sport.

Referee John Kirk turned out in a Father Christmas outfit that bulged so much after his Christmas lunch the previous day that everyone present felt that he would never get down that chimney again unless he put in a real effort at slimming in the New Year. John kept the game flowing as never before – nobody really wanted to slow down for a scrum or lineout because it was too cold.

At half time as the teams changed round and those players yet to have their turn came on several bottles of port were distributed together with oranges soaked in chilli vodka.  If anyone minded the vodka no-one mentioned it and in fact it was so cold that it may be the case that no-one actually noticed the difference from the normal healthy orange segment.

As for the game itself?  It ebbed, flowed, it entertained, kicks were booed and individual performances were cheered, many tries were scored and nobody kept the score. Old timers received knocks that reminded them why they didn’t play any more and of all the players on the pitch no one person gets a specific mention other than Pete Webster who likes to see his name in print. Well played Pete.  Well played everyone.  See you in 2005.