Friday, November 24, 2006

Snowflake, unfortunately lost another kitten this week. Frosty. Well, technically he wasn't under our care. Him and his two sisters had been surrended to the vets where they were going to be spayed and neutered before they came to us. As soon as they put the little guy under anesthesia his heart stopped working and despite a valient effort from the vet he could not be resucitated. A necropsy revealed that he had really bad hypotrophic cardiomyiopothy and probably wouldn't have lived very long anyway. Although we never had him in, it still hurts when this happens as our mission is to save these little lives.

Fortunatly his sisters survived and are doing really well. They are in our house as foster kittens. They are 18 weeks old can called Tinstle and Mistletoe.

Finished Reading:

"Talking God" by Tony Hillerman.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Here is a video of Hartlepool victory at Accrington Stanley last Satuday. Hartlepool are in the dark shirts.

I had a "surreal" experience on Monday afternoon. I had the opportunity of watching Hartlepool United live in my living room in Raleigh, North Carolina on The Fox Soccer Channel. Not a very good game, which ended in Hartlepool winning a penalty shoot-out after a dire 0-0 against Rochdale in the first round of the FA Cup. Little Victoria Park looked nice and the field was in a very good condition. I wonder when this very, very rare opportunity will occur again?

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Obviously this is an American experience, but, one that I really enjoy. Starting with sitting down relaxing watching the Macy's Parade, eating Turkey dinner and just relaxing with the family. A great time!!

I am Thankful for my family and the opportunities that I have had in this Country. Thanksgiving is a very special time for Jenn and I, as it's on Thanksgiving Day 11 years ago that we actually started dating. I was visiting her and family in Edna, Texas (about 100 miles southwest of Houston) for my first Thanksgiving. I am very thankful for that first Thanksgiving!!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Finished Reading:

"The Miracle of Dunkirk" by Walter Lord.

I listened to:

"Symphony No.2 "Resurection"" composed by Gustav Mahler and performed by The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez.

This is the last of the Classical CD's I have in this country. I have many more back in England at my parents. From now on I will only post when I listen to a new one.

I listened to:

"Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears)" composed by Osvaldo Golijov and performed by The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wednesday was a very sad day in our house. Barney died. Barney was a foster cat who was really part of our family. His brother Fred (left) and he (right) came to us in October 2003 and have been with us ever since. They both have a weird disease that causes the immune system to be over active. They have fought it for a long time, but, Barney finally lost the battle. He was my special cat. They both shared my home office with me and therefore spent a lot of time with me. Barney used to sit on the desk with me or on my lap whilst I work. He was a pleasure to foster and I am very grateful that he was in my life. The photo above, taken just a few weeks ago, shows him looking healthy and happy and sums him up.

He deterioted very rapidly, and, he was ready to go. The last thing he did was lay in my arms and purr. I will miss him a lot. His brother Fred is home and still fighthing. He is doing better than I thought being on his own and I hope he will fight for a long time yet.

Good bye Barney: I love you and miss you.

Score Update:

International Rugby: England 23 South Africa 21

Internationl Cricket: England drew with New South Wales. Warm-up Match

International Football: Holland 1 England 1. Friendly.

Rugby Union: West Hartlepool 25 Liverpool St. Helens 26. National Intermediate Cup.

Football: Accrington Stanley 1 Hartlepool United 2. League Two. Pools move up to 13th place.

American Football: New York Giants 20 Chicago Bears 38. The Giants fall to 6-3 but still lead the NFC East Division.

Ice Hockey: Carolina Hurricanes 4 Buffalo Sabres 7
Carolina Hurricanes 2 New York Rangers 1
Washington Capitals 1 Carolina Hurricanes 4. The Canes have 25 points and are still 2nd on the South East Division, but, they closed the gap on Division Leaders Atlanta Thrashers to 2 points.

Basketball: Miami Heat 72 Houston Rockets 94
Houston Rockets 84 San Antonio Spurs 92
Houston Rockets 101 Chicago Bulls 100. The Rockets move to 6-3 and stay 1 game behind South West Division leaders, San Antonio Spurs.

College (American) Football: North Carolina State 9 North Carolina Tar Heels 23. State fall to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the ACC. They are in 6th place in the ACC Atlantic Division.

College Basketball: Duke Blue Devils 86 Columbia Lions 43
Duke Blue Devils 72 Georgia Southern Eagles 48
Duke Blue Devils 75 North Carolina Greensboro Spartans 48. Duke are 3-0 on the Season and ranked 10th in the Nation.
North Carolina Tar Heels 103 Sacred Heart Pioneers 81
North Carolina Tar Heels 73 Winthrop Eagles 66. UNC are 2-0 on the Season and ranked 2nd in the Nation.
North Carolina State Wolfpack 63 Deleware State Hornets 43. NC State are 2-0 on the Season.

This weekend is one of my favourite events of the year. The annual Wake County Library Book Sale. They sell of about 500,000 books to raise money and re-stock. This morning I bought almost 40 paperbacks for 50 cents. We will go back tomorrow to see what is left and get a box for $5-00. A great cause and a great bargain.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

I finished reading:

"Prey" by Michael Crichton.

Here is a great quote I saw yesterday:

"And they still have got the soul of San Jose Earthquakes. I'm sorry, but...No, I'm not sorry; I'm proud to say it: They were a crackin' team in San Jose; It was a tragedy how they were ripped away from the Bay Area--and they've taken it to Houston and given them a beautiful present."

It was said be former football player, coach and commentator, and a fellow North-East Englander, Ray Hudson on 8th November.

I finished reading:

"The Bible". I read a chapter everyday before I start work. It is to allow me to focus, even if it just for a short period of time, my thoughts on to God and Jesus to try and get myself in the right frame of mind before I start the day. I can't remember when I started, but, it was certainly before I left California. Now I have finished what am I doing? Yup, go right back to the beginning and start with Genesis. I will probably post when I finish each book of The Bible this time around.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

MLS Cup Final 2006. A day of mixed emotion. My team the, Earthquakes obviously no longer existed. However, with the team moving to Houston most of the players that we grew to love and follow where on that team. So, with Houston winning the Championship I have to be happy for the players, but, they should have been playing in San Jose blue, not, Houston Orange.

However, there was some news this week, when the new prospective owners for a new San Jose Earthquakes opened a new office in San Jose. It's a long process to get the Quakes back, but, it is a start.

Score Update:

International Rugby: England 20 New Zealand 41
England 18 Argentina 25

International Cricket: Prime Ministers XI beat England by 166 runs. One Day Internationl Warm-up match.

Rugby Union: West Hartlepool 11 Middlesbrough 24. League 2 North. West Stay in 3rd place.
Raleigh 48 Atlanta Old White 7. Friendly.

American Football: New York Giants 14 Houston Texans 10. The Giants improve to 6-2 and are still in 1st place in the NFC East Division.

Ice Hockey: Ottawa Senators 2 Carolina Hurricanes 3
New Jersey Devils 3 Carolina Hurricanes 2 (Over Time)
Carolina Hurricanes 5 Washington Capitals 0
Carolina Hurricanes 6 Pittsburgh Penguins 2 The Canes have 21 points and stay in 2nd place in the South-East Division, closing the gap to 6 points on Division Leaders, The Atlanta Thrashers.

Basketball: Houston Rockets 107 Dallas Mavericks 76
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets 96 Houston Rockets 90
Memphis Grizzlies 80 Houston Rockets 86
Milwaukee Bucks 93 Houston Rockets 97
Houston Rockets 103 New York Knicks 94 The Rockets move to 4-2 and are in 3rd place in the Southwest Divison 1 game behind Division Leaders San Antonio Spurs.

College (American) Football: Texas Longhorns 36 Oklahoma State Cowboys 10
Kansas State Wildcats 45 Texas Longhorns 42. Texas are 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12. They are in 1st place in the Big 12 South Division and ranked 4th in the Nation.
Texas A & M Aggies 27 Nebraska Cornhuskers 28. Nebraska improve to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12. They have won the Big 12 North Championship.
North Carolina State Wolfpack 23 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 31
Clemson Tigers 20 North Carolina State Wolfpack 14. NC State fall to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the ACC. They are in 6th place in the ACC Atlantic Division.

College Basketball: I am not really a College Basketball fan, but, as I am the Triangle area I must at least follow the "Big Three" - Duke Blue Devis, North Carolina Tar Heels, and North Carolina State Wolfpack.
North Carolina State Wolfpack 92 Wofford Terriers 88. State are 1-0 on the Season.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Finished Reading:

"Twentieth Century English Masters" a collection of short biopics of Edward Elgar written by Diana McVeagh, Frederick Delius written by Anthony Payne, Ralph Vaughan Williams written by Hugh Ottaway, Gustav Holst written by Imogen Holst, William Walton written by Hugh Ottaway, Michael Tippett written by Ian Kemp and Benjamin Britten written by Peter Evans.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Finished Reading:

"Airframe" by Michael Crichton.

Finished Reading:

"Geography of the USSR" written by J.P.Cole in 1967


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A taste of home.

This week I am back in the Bay Area of California for some meetings in Walnut Creek. Yes, we had some tough times when we lived here, but, it is a good place to visit and catch up with some friends, although it is definatly not the same coming here on my own and having to leave Jenn at home.

There are a few things that have happy memories from when we lived here. The San Jose Earthquakes, some very good friends, my church and Mr Pickwick's. Mr. Pickwick's is an English pub located in Concord, California. It's a place we found were they made "proper" fish n' chips. We often went there when we feeling down or a touch homesick for England.

Tonight, I went back there again. I had Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas, Curry Sauce and Brown Sauce with a pot of PG Tips to drink. In the next booth to me there were two English gentlemen talking, one a Geordie and the other from the London area talking about West Ham United. A definate lump came to my throat!!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Finished Reading:

"Disclosure" by Michael Crichton.

Finished Reading:

"The Rivals, America and Russia Since World War II" written by Adam B. Ulam. An interesting read, but, as it was written in 1971 dated as far as current events are concerned.


Monday, November 06, 2006

I listened to:

"Symphony No.8 in E Flat Major "Symphony of a Thousand"" composed by Gustav Mahler performed by The Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

Yesterday was the birthday of a good friend of mine, Lak. We first became friends when she was actually a placement student working for me at Inco (Europe) in London in 1992-1993. Lak is a Sri Lankan. After she left her placement she went back to Sri Lanka for a vacation and invited me to go and visit. I spent a fantastic two weeks there seeing some magnificent scenary and the some of the most friendly people one could imagine to meet. I became good friends with her, and her family. When she got married to Andreas a couple of years later I was invited to be a part of her wedding party as a groomsman. A great honour of which I will always be grateful. She is now living in Germany with Andreas (who is German) and her two daughters.

Sri Lanka, obviously came heavily into the news a couple of years ago with the devastation of the Tsumani. Many of the places that were destroyed I had seen and been to. The beauty I remember was no longer there. However, they are a strong, proud people and will go on stronger than ever. All the people that I new over there survived with out any harm coming to them.

I would thouroughly recommend a visit if you have a chance to go to this spectacular island. A great place, great people and great memories.

The photos in this post are: The one at the top centre is of Lak and I had the top of The Sigiriya Rock Fortress, The one on horses, is myself, Lak and her cousin Dhamikka, who also becamce a close friend riding through the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya. The one next to it is the temple in Kandy and the final one is a photo taken from a boat as we left the coast into the Indian Ocean to look at the coral reef. This is one area that was devestated in the Tsunami.

Desert Music

I can see the values
So long cherished,
So long help dear -

When life was gentle,
Security was key,
Time enjoyed -

There once was harmony,
Tunes so clear,
Melodies so fresh -

Another poem written during the Prom 1991 series. This was after listening to "Desert Music" composed by Steve Reich during a late night Prom.

7th August 1991- The Royal Albert Hall, London, England.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Last week I had to go to Wood Dale, Illinois for work. Wood Dale is a suburb of Chicago.

Chicago, in my opinion is good city to visit, but not a place that I would like to live. The main reason, I would guess is the cold weather. It's the tenth time that I've been there. This time it was all work and no play so there was no chance to see any of the city. Except that is a fantastic view of the downtown as we flow over Lake Michigan on our approach to O'Hare Airport on a beautiful clear day.

We have visited some places in the City in the past. The three that come to mind that I can remember are The Art Gallery, Sears Tower and Brookfield Zoo.

I think the Art Institute of Chicago is my favourite. A very good collection. It also hosts Jenn's favourite painting, The Child's Bath painted by Mary Cassatt (right).

The Sears Tower was a great experience. We went to the top on clear summer day and had a fantastic view of the city. Over Lake Michigan, Soldier Field, The Buckingham Fountain, Wrigley Field and all the other famous landmarks. I would definately recommend a visit.

Brookfield Zoo
, a famous zoo was a bit dissapointing. I think having visited The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro makes it look poor in comparison. However, I have also seen worse. Any way to conserve and protect the animals and wildlife of the World had to be good.

The next cats we fostered were out first kittens. They were found by the partner of our realator in her neighbourhood. We agreed to take them. There were five of them. Two boys - Winston (a fluffy black kitten - below on my lap) and Gladstone (a little fluffy tabby - top centre) and three girls - Clementine (a black kitten - below below on Jenn's shoulder), Maggie (a fluffy grey kitten - left on my lap) and Blair (another fluffy grey girl - below on the toilet seat). We called them the "Prime Minsters" kittens as they were named after: Winston and Clementine Churchill, William Gladstone, Margert Thatcher and Tony Blair. They were about 8 weeks old and scared, especially Blair who was almost feral. It wasn't long before they came around and all got adopted out to their new "forever"homes. I know Blair is doing very well as we kept in touch with the person who adopted her.

Score Update:

Rugby Union: Sheffield 16 West Hartlepool 28. League North Two East. West slip to 3rd place.

Football: Hartlepool United 1 Doncaster Rovers 3. Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Hartlepool United 0 Barnet 1. League 2. Pools slip to 16th place.

American Football: New York Giants 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3. The Giants improve to 5-2 and stay in 1st plave in the NFC East Division.

Ice Hockey: Atlanta Thrashers 2 Carolina Hurricanes 5
Carolina Hurricanes 0 Montreal Canadians 4. The Canes have 14 points. They are in 2nd place in the South Eastern Division, 7 points behind Division Leaders, Atlanta Thrashers.

Basketball: Utah Jazz 107 Houston Rockets 97. The Rockets are 0-1 on the Season and in 5th place in the Southwest Division 1 1/2 game behind Division Leaders New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

College (American) Football: Nebraska Cornhuskers 34 Missouri Tigers 20. Nebraska improve to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12. They are in 1st place in the Big 12 North Division.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Finished Reading:

"Rising Sun" by Michael Crichton.