Category Archives: Off the beaten track

Off The Beaten Track 6

BBC Radio 4 has a morning Book of the Week slot on week days, it’s not my usual listen, but due to intriguing descriptions in the Radio Times I’ve recently tuned in.  I’ve been enthralled by the stories concerning two remarkable women, one trying to escape Nazi occupied France, the other honestly chronicling the effects of living with early onset Alzheimer’s. Both have deeply touched me and I will definitely be buying the books, although I admit that the subject matter are areas I would normally shy away from, finding them upsetting to think about. But the indomitable spirit of both these women shone through the readings, and I found myself eagerly awaiting the next episode, in a kind of “wondering way”. Those ten 15 minute slots taught me more about life, survival, history and compassion than anything I’ve seen on TV.  The books are as follows:

NO PLACE TO LAY ONE’S HEAD Francoise Frenkell (Pushkin Press, £16.99)

My interest was caught when the Radio Times commented the book was initially published in Geneva 1945, and then seemingly forgotten until discovered in a French attic in 2010. A second edition was issued in French and now an English translation has been made. A firsthand account of a Jewish woman’s survival and escape from the Nazi’s in France, printed perhaps in the first few weeks of Europe peacetime in 1945, and then untouched until re-discovered in a modern day world.  Wow!

Frenkell came from a Polish Jewish family, was highly educated to degree level (I believe) having studied in Paris, and ended up opening a French bookshop in Berlin on discovering no such facility existed. Her clientele was illustrious, business brisk and successful and the future looked bright in early 1930s Berlin. Then the rule of Hitler and the effect of his policies kicked in. I listened as her beloved bookshop managed to avoid destruction as it wasn’t on an official destroy list. How she had to leave it behind and flee in the night, traversing through Europe from city to city, always somehow avoiding major crackdowns, or invasion, by a matter of days. Her skirmishes with authority and her escape attempts to reach Switzerland, finally successful. Frenkell’s words seem to be beautifully translated into an eloquent yet matter of fact way, and I listened with my “heart in my mouth” most of the time. I punched the air when her escape was successful and breathed a sigh of relief. My overall feeling was one of admiration for Francoise and her determined nature to survive in an intolerable society. But there was anger as well at the same society for its blinkered rule of law. It seemed to conveniently ignore, no doubt because of her Jewish ethnicity,  the fact Frenkell had all the necessary documentation (residency papers, visa) to live peacefully in France and to travel with ease to Switzerland.  My listening ended with Francoise setting foot in Switzerland where she survived the war to write her memoir, about her life before Nazi rule in Europe and her escape from it. The French publishing company Gallimard discovered Frenkell passed away in Nice in 1975 at the ripe age of 86 but could find no relatives.

SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW Wendy Mitchell (Bloomsbury £9.99)

My listening journey with Wendy began with her describing a “fog in her head” and inexplicable falls whilst she was out running. Doctors suggested she could have had a stroke, having discovered a heart condition that was fixed through surgery. The fog continued and eventually a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s was made after a seemingly painfully slow series of visits with health clinicians. Her description of looking at online videos of people living with the condition was searing, the initial thought of “but these are old people nearing the end of their lives” before finding one of a man in his late 50s like herself, who described his experiences in a mirror like fashion to her own.

Wendy worked as a NHS administrator known for her powers of recall and organisation skills. Slowly she had become aware that her grasp on things wasn’t the same. When she told management of her diagnosis the only thing offered was early retirement, there was no procedure to try and enable her to work within her remaining mental capabilities, which were still considerable. Her co-workers brilliantly rallied around to make tasks less stressful and more easy to deal with, enabling Wendy to continue in her job as long as possible. With unexpected early retirement foisted upon her Wendy decided to use her time attending conferences, doing speaking engagements and becoming a leading advocate for those living with Alzheimer’s & Dementia. Through this work she hopes to educate people to have a better understanding of the condition. I was certainly educated as I listened to excerpts from Mitchell’s book. Hearing how familiar things can suddenly seem strange and confusing, city living becoming too noisy to deal with, the use of technology to help try and trick her condition, the coping strategies Wendy uses to deal with the sudden onset of panic. It was illuminating to literally “see the world through Wendy’s eyes” and to hear how her condition is slowly taking over her mind. Her articulation is heartfelt, honest and at times perhaps unconsciously funny with a wry humour, like her wonderment at experiencing a gliding session and how quiet the flight was, whilst knowing she wouldn’t remember a thing about the safety video if disaster struck. The realisation “if you don’t use it you will lose it” after taking a three week break from her work and finding the computer keyboard incomprehensible for a few hours. How the person she is today is someone she doesn’t really recognise anymore, yet for the joys she has lost (like TV shows, long novels, cooking) an appreciation for new joys (short stories, poetry, old familiar films). I shared Mitchell’s sadness and resigned acceptance when her extra income from government support was removed, having been deemed fit enough to function on a daily basis.  Much of the “medical tests” used depended on the person remembering how they were before, a ludicrous concept when you consider the nature of an Alzheimer’s condition. Wendy’s resilience and determination to live life to the full for as long as possible was utterly compelling. Once again I had found a woman living in a difficult situation, making the best of it and triumphing in a way against the odds. Somehow both Francoise and Wendy made me feel empowered too.

In closing, I will mention a book that has been on my bookshelf since 2001. It’s called HAPPY TIMES by Lee Radziwill (sister of Jackie Kennedy Onassis). I read about it in a Sunday newspaper supplement, and asked my husband to look for it in America when he visited a few weeks later. There is little dialogue in it and is mainly a gorgeous photo book, rather like a family album. I’ve delved into it many a time, but only really read the dialogue this week. I’ve been happily updating my photo album with recent activity pictures, and from Wendy Mitchell’s book there is a strong element of how important photo’s can be for memories. We live in such uncertain times; I’ve chosen to look for the joy in things as much as possible. Photography is a passion and a joy, and my husband suggested I look at Happy Times again and actually read it. A quote in the introduction says it all for me: “I believe that without memories there is no life, and that our memories should be of happy times. That’s my choice”.


Off The Beaten Track 5: FA Carlsberg Trophy Final 2015

On Sunday March 29th at 1330 North Ferriby United faced Wrexham on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium to contest the FA Carlsberg Trophy final. Both teams started brightly but Wrexham quickly imposed their league supremacy, when Louis Moult opened the score line in the eleventh minute. From what I could ascertain from the BBC Radio Wales commentary, Wrexham remained dominant at least until half time with the score remaining at 0-1. The game appeared to be beyond North Ferriby’s reach when Jay Harris scored on 59 minutes, or at least that was the impression given by the Radio Wales commentary team who implied Wrexham were in “cruise control”. However, that did not take into account the heart and guts displayed by the “little men” from the East Ridings of Yorkshire.

The critical point of the game seems to have been the 72nd minute substitution of Dean Keates the Wrexham captain, when my audio feed began to describe the Welsh side as disappearing! North Ferriby Utd also seemed to have altered their formation to 4-4-2 compared to Wrexham’s 4-3-3. Suddenly the two front men for North Ferriby were causing trouble and Wrexham were struggling without a natural sitting midfielder, as all three on the pitch were inclined to go forward. Under this resurgence North Ferriby forced Wrexham’s keeper Coughlin to concede a penalty and captain Liam King slotted home to bring his team back into the game. It was now 1-2 with 76 minutes on the clock. With new found confidence North Ferriby (known as The Villagers) put increasing pressure on their opponents and were rewarded, when substitute Ryan Kendall scored to equalise four minutes from time. At 90 minutes the score was 2-2 with four added minutes on the clock. North Ferriby still pressing hard could have pulled off another goal to seal victory before regulation time was called, when Clarke’s last gasp effort produced a fantastic over the bar save from Coughlin. This ended a catastrophic fifteen minute period for Wrexham where they failed to peg back their opponents. At the 90+ minute boos rang out from the Wrexham fans end of the stadium.


I wondered if the better fitness of the Wrexham team (known as The Dragons) would play a part in extra time, especially with the Welshmen having fresher players on the pitch. And although The Villagers appeared to be dead on their feet they kept running none the less. Wrexham’s right-back Steve Tomassen had no real support from the second half onwards, and endured a particularly torrid time from the pace of Jason St Juste. It was from this area that St Juste supplied the cross into the box for Kendall to head in North Ferriby’s third goal. A bit of a fluke with the ball having taken a wicked deflection, but a downward glancing header from Kendall ensured Coughlin picked the ball out of The Dragons net. For the first time North Ferriby were in the lead at 3-2 on 101 minutes. Just before the first fifteen minutes were indicated, Wrexham’s Manny Smith just missed connecting with a toe poke to equalise. Despite coming agonisingly close to scoring Wrexham fans once again indicated their displeasure at the team.

During the second period North Ferriby heroically soaked up the pressure from Wrexham who had all their team in the opposition half for much of the time, with as many as seven players in the box at one point. The Villagers Nathan Peat cleared off the line and Danny Hone put in a brave sliding tackle just before Wrexham’s Bishop pulled the trigger. It was inevitable though that this Welsh onslaught could not be repelled forever. On 118 minutes a vicious half volley from Louis Moult gave Wrexham an equaliser to make the game at 3-3 after 120+ minutes.


Here is a breakdown of how the penalty shootout panned out with each team having to take SEVEN penalties to find the winner. Which keeper would turn out to be the hero of the hour Wrexham’s Andy Coughlin or North Ferriby’s Adam Nicklin?

North Ferriby went first.                                 Wrexham went second

Liam King SCORED 1-0                                    Wes York SCORED 1-1

Nathan Jarman SCORED 2-1                        Andy Bishop SCORED 2-2

Ryan Kendall SCORED 3-2                             Conor Jennings SAVED 3-2

Jason St Juste SAVED 3-2                               Neil Ashton SAVED 3-2

Tom Denton SAVED 3-2                                   Louis Moult SCORED 3-3

Matt Wilson SCORED 4-3                              Blaine Hudson SCORED 4-4

Nathan Peat SCORED 5-4                              Steve Tomassen SAVED 5-4

FA TROPHY WINNER North Ferriby United: 0-1 ht; 2-2 ft; 3-3 aet; 5-4 pens.

Going into this match North Ferriby were in ninth position in the Conference North Division and Wrexham fifteenth in the Conference Premiership Division. Never before until now had a Conference North side beaten a Conference Premier one. North Ferriby certainly punched way above their weight but deservedly won the trophy. It was Wrexham’s accolade for the taking but they inexplicably conceded their advantage.

North Ferriby is a community in the Kingston-upon-Hull area with a population of just under 4000. No doubt many of them were in the 14585 crowd at Wembley where they witnessed a dream come true. I’m sure Jason St Juste was happy to live the dream and receive a winner’s medal, having given up the opportunity of representing St Kitts & Nevis in an international qualifier against Turks and Caicos Islands, to appear at Wembley.

I heard all the action unfold using a battery operated analogue AM radio because I was out of range for the Welsh DAB radio service, and I had no reception for my phone so was unable to use the BBC Radio player app. Thank goodness for old technology, as it was certainly an unforgettable experience listening to the commentary as The Villagers won the FA Carlsberg Trophy. Well done lads and many congratulations on your wonderful achievement.

Off The Beaten Track 4

Radio has always been a great love of mine, and I’ve come across some heart-warming stories associated with the medium in recent weeks, that really made me smile.

ANGEL RADIO in Havant Hampshire

This wonderful radio station was featured in a BBC news feature that I saw quite by chance in early December. Angel Radio is run by a group of people largely over the age of sixty and broadcasts music aimed at a more mature audience. Any music produced up to 31st December 1959 CAN be played whilst anything younger is off limits. The Angel Radio library thus spans music production from 1900-1959 and includes about 126,000 shellac 78’s records. With an audience outreach of around 40,000 in the Havant area, broadcasts can be picked up on FM (101.1fm) and online ( In addition to the nostalgia, the radio station also provides news and information that is particularly relevant to an elderly listener.

As Offcom are reviewing community radio licence agreements in 2015, Angel Radio successfully managed to raise £5000 from their listeners and supporters, to apply for consideration for an enhanced licence. The application form was put in at the start of December and the outcome will be known in August. Only one other applicant was received and that came from the current licence holder The Breeze, a much larger and more commercially backed organisation from what I can gather.

Having been on air since March 2002 Angel Radio hope they can win the bid to enable them to broadcast to a much wider geographical area in the Portsmouth region. I really hope they are successful in this endeavour, for the elderly can feel particularly isolated in this modern technological age. For a generation who grew up listening to the “wireless”, having a radio station today that plays music and dramas specifically from their youth is an invaluable asset. Angel Radio provides a wonderful service that effectively provides a reassuring hand of comfort and companionship for their listeners. It seems a relatively unique service that should without question be actively encouraged to expand.

NAS CAMPANELLA Australian News Reader

My husband heard this news reader being interviewed on Radio 5 and mentioned how inspiring she sounded. I found a podcast of the broadcast and had a listen myself and wasn’t disappointed. Nas Campanella has a radio voice that is pure velvet to the ear, silky smooth, authoritive, composed, warm and intelligent sounding. Nas reads the news for TripleJ on ABC radio in Australia and although that may not sound particularly inspiring, her journalistic journey is a bit more incredible when you realise Nas is blind. She also has a medical condition (Charcott-Marie-Tooth) that has left her with limited sensitivity in her fingers, so she was never able to learn Braille. Nas has been able to utilise technology developments in computing, to facilitate her education in school and university and now the workplace. But the stand out quality that Nas has nurtured throughout her life is the ability to REALLY LISTEN, something she inevitably has to do in her job having to contend with four sound feeds at the same time! As I listened to this young woman talk about her background and job I could only marvel and applaud what her determined spirit has already achieved. I’m sure Nas Campanella will be a broadcasting name known worldwide one day.

You can see Nas in action here.

Radio 4: Archive Hour: Singing Together

Having missed the original broadcast, I only heard a small fraction of this program on the BBCi Radio Player before “buffering” lost my connection. But it was enough to let my mind go on a trip down memory lane to my days at Cleland Primary School. Like thousands of schools before and since the 1970s, my class tuned into the BBC “Singing Together” series on Mondays at 11am. We had our specially commissioned “seasonal songbooks” with words and music to sing along too. In my day the songs spanned folk tunes from around the world, and to this day I still remember the first verse of “Troika” from Russia! Another one I recall is a real tongue twister from England “I Had Four Sisters (beyond the sea)”. I can’t remember if we ever put a musical accompaniment with the songs, although triangles, tambourines etc. were available in the school stores. I suspect not for fear of disturbing the other classes but I did enjoy our little classroom choir efforts. I heard enough of the program to learn that Singing Together began as a means of bringing together children evacuated during WW2 and boosting morale. Singing Together having started in September 1939 was a regular schools broadcast for nearly sixty years.

To my utter delight I discovered my mother-in-law (a former primary school headmistress) had a small batch of “Singing Together” song books from between the 1960s to 1980s. And one of them from the 70s I recognised immediately, even though I hadn’t clapped eyes on it in about 27 years. Opening it up I instantly remembered the songs and tunes and began to sing even though I don’t read music. This resulted in my husband’s uncle following my lead at the piano and a lovely hearty sing-along ensued. We had all got together for my mother-in-laws birthday and she remarked later, what an unexpected joy it had been to hear something again from her teaching days.


Off The Beaten Track 3

May 2014 was a good month for quirky bits of news coming my way about cultural, language, sports and women’s issues.

Four Minute Mile

The 60th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s sub four minute mile occurred on the 6th of May. I was listening to a BBC Radio 4 program called “More or Less” on Sunday the 8th and was intrigued to hear a report that suggested a four minute mile MAY have been run in 1770!!! Professor of Sports Science Peter Radford (former Olympic Bronze medallist runner) is fascinated by pre-20th century athletic endeavours, and has correlated old “documented evidence” of athletic prowess over the years. Using statistical analysis to weed out the more ridiculous claims Peter determined that some of the written evidence may carry some credence, and that an average time of four minutes to four minutes 13 seconds may have been possible times for the mile distance run in past centuries.

So we come to costermonger James Parrott (seller of fruit/vegetables and fish) who was challenged in 1770 to run a mile in less than four and a half minutes. The wager was 15 Guineas a substantial amount to James of probably around 3-4 months wages. The measured mile went from the Charterhouse Wall in Goswell Street in London to the gates of Shoreditch Church. Both the contender James and his challenger would have had independent umpires with watches, which would be locked in a box once started. The box would have been driven by horse and carriage to ensure arriving at the finishing line before the contender. When James Parrott crossed the line on a cool May 9th 1770 the time attributed to his efforts was four minutes exactly. He had won his bet, and a report in the Sporting Magazine was made (although some years after the event).

Peter Radford (like myself) is not so ready to dismiss this athletic endeavour as “fantasy”, as watches/ time keeping and other means of measurement had advanced enough by 1770 to be reasonably reliable. And with a lot of money being at stake the event would have been run scrupulously. But there does seem a tendency to rubbish claims from say before the modern day Olympics began in 1896. At the end of the report I was incredibly disappointed to hear Sir Roger Bannister say that Parrott’s achievement was “inconceivable and not at all credible”. Sir Roger’s sub four minute mile fame wasn’t in anyway being taken away from him, and I think he could have been a little more charitable. After all, if you think about it, today’s builders/architects still look back in wonder at the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. So who knows what else man could have achieved before the “modern age” of athletics?

Divergent Language

The divergence of the Korean language since war split the country was reported on Al Jazeera. A short report highlighted how the political divide had created not only social and economic differences but language ones too. With North Korea being somewhat suspicious of the outside modern world, their attitude to foreign words and western influences are markedly different to that of South Korea. As a result an academic study found that about 52% of words in general were not the same but this variation increased to 66% when used in professional terms. It’s clear that this “schism” in the Korean language is a direct cause of the people having two opposing government ideologies influencing their lives. It’s no surprise to find that the modern day westernised South Korea has words and terms probably not used in the more traditional and isolated North Korea. What I find fascinating though is just how much the language has changed in such a relatively short space of time. Variations in English are to be expected as it’s spoken in many parts of the world involving many people/countries/cultures. But Korean is a much rarer language spoken by relatively few. South Korea has been exposed to influences from around the world whilst the North remains much the same as it was before the war. So I wonder if the North Koreans speak a “purer” form of the language or if they themselves have altered it unwittingly as a direct result of the political clout of one family?

West Bank Bus Driver

I was delighted to see a BBC news report (this weekend) on Najaa Asia who has become the first woman bus driver in the town of Tulkarm in the West Bank. Najaa decided to turn her passion for driving into a career and earned her licence to carry bus passengers in April. Since then she has taken to the roads as the ONLY woman bus driver and is flying the flag for women and equality in an intensely male-dominated region. Well done!!!!

Japanese Sumo Wrestling

It seems that the traditional sport/art form of Sumo in Japan may face an inevitable decline. At the weekend an Al Jazeera report highlighted how the Japanese no longer particularly aspire to become involved in the sport. Many foreigners now form the core stables of participants especially those from Mongolia and Russia. The regime demanded by Sumo is also very taxing, particularly eating high calorie foods to maintain weight. This in itself could pose major health risks to the individual and combined with an almost “monastic” type lifestyle of training, is decidedly unappealing to Japanese men. With attendances declining and revenue falling, this manly Japanese tradition could one day be confined to the history books.


Off the Beaten Track: 1

My blog is called Angies Allsorts for a reason, because my interests tend to naturally gravitate toward lots of subject areas, the more obscure the better. I have a hospital radio show with the same name, as I like to try and play a blend of music that would satisfy most peoples’ tastes. It’s rather like the saying from Forrest Gump “just like a box of chocolates, a little something for everyone”. My “Off the Beaten Track” theme will dip into subject areas that have caught my attention recently, but may not have made a huge impact on the mainstream news. This week I look at science imagery, engineering, sport (diving, football, figure skating) and name games.

Congo Engineering Helps Control Traffic Congestion

Kinshasa, the capital of The Democratic Republic of Congo, suffers like many other cities from overly congested road networks. However, thanks to the innovation of Congolese engineer Therese Izay things are set to improve. Izay has developed two traffic robots which tower over the busiest intersections of the capital. Immune to bribery; which the local human traffic police have been accused of; the robots are able to report traffic violations back to a central computer system. The robot has red lights situated within its huge body and green lights on its arms which can extend. Turning to face each junction in turn the robot can ensure both pedestrians and drivers can traverse safely. Therese Izay runs a women’s technology cooperative to promote women’s engineering and hopes that her innovative idea may be taken up by other African nations and beyond. It is both a brilliant and yet simple idea, to a perplexing problem suffered throughout the world. This story (seen on Aljazeera) made me smile and think “just genius”.

Scientific Photo Exhibition

Listening to Radio 5 I was very happy to hear that this year’s Wellcome Image Awards will be exhibited in four major science museums in Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester and Cardiff. Eighteen fantastic images depicting a world normally unseen by the human eye can now be viewed thanks to the innovation of scientific imaging techniques. The images are also displayed in the window of the Wellcome Trust Headquarters in London, and I went to see them specially and was not disappointed.

Technology Helps Shoppers

Clifton Village Stores near Ashbourne in Derbyshire is a convenience shop with a difference, it’s a vending machine situated in the car park of the Cock Inn pub. The only grocery shop in Clifton closed over twelve years ago and until now villagers had to travel to the nearest town for everyday essentials. With little or no bus service in the area, unless you had access to a car, residents had a long walk, or had to do without. Now villagers can buy everyday essentials; (stocked with around 80 varieties of goods); in the same way as you would buy a coffee at a vending machine. Everything from toilet rolls, dog food, teabags, beans, eggs, bacon etc can be sourced from the machine. Just pop your money in, tap in the requisite food code and your item will be dispensed using a “soft edged” technology retrieval system, to ensure even the most delicate of items remain in pristine condition. The machine can email suppliers when stock items get low, thus ensuring a reliable and fresh stock supply is always available. I literally just caught the tail end of this story on a BBC Midlands broadcast and thought what an innovative and useful concept it was.


Whilst in a coffee shop on St Patrick’s Day, I picked up a newspaper sport section to glance through. It was mainly filled with football matters (about 75%) with the Liverpool 3-0 win over Man Utd, and the Tottenham/Arsenal derby the big features. Then rugby followed as the weekend had seen the conclusion to the six nations tournament, and the new F1 racing season had a write up along with the T20 cricket news. Any other sports were relegated to the last page, and had little more than a paragraph at best each. Though not surprised by this I was a little disappointed, for although I love my football, I get rather fed up with the same thing being forensically examined wherever I look. Other things do happen in the sporting world, and other sports do exist, though we only seem to see them on mainstream TV during the Olympics/Commonwealth Games. So what’s happened recently which I feel should get a bit of acknowledgement.

Diving: Matty Lee and Daniel Goodfellow at the tender ages of 16 and 17 respectively won their first senior medal in competition, securing a Bronze in the 10m synchronised diving event in Beijing. A second FINA Diving World Series Bronze medal was secured in Dubai and the guys got the most points in the contest (80.64) with an inward 3 ½ somersault dive. Tom Daley also won a solo Bronze in Beijing but came 4th in Dubai narrowly missing another medal.

Football: Robin Van Persie suffered a sprained knee after the European game at Old Trafford where he scored a hat-trick against Olympiakos. He looks to be out of action for 4-6 weeks, and the injury made the news on radio, TV and the papers. His recovery will undoubtedly be helped by his clubs access to the best medical facilities and experts in the game worldwide. However, I read this week about a young man who suffered a horrific injury playing football, who will probably recover with the help of the best that the British NHS facilities can provide. Playing in the Calor League Southern Premier Division Chippenham’s midfielder Rob Dean took to the pitch on Tuesday 18th March to play against Hungerford. With about half an hour on the clock Rob endured a terrible tackle, which resulted in him suffering a fully dislocated right knee and a twisted tibia. It looks like he will require total reconstructive surgery, and just reading about his injuries made me feel a bit queasy. Rob Dean required paramedic attention for around 45 minutes on the pitch before being taken to hospital, and the referee rightly abandoned the game.

Figure Skating: The World Championships begin in Japan on March 26th, and I had to trawl through the internet for web page articles, to find out what was going on. Several big names with Olympic medals will NOT be in Japan including: Ice Dance couple Davis & White (US) and Virtue & Moir (Can), Men’s Patrick Chan (Can) and Women’s Kim Yuna (South Korea) and Adelina Sotnikova (Russia), Pairs Volosozhar & Trankov (Russia). Some exclusions have been by personal choice as Chan and the American/Canadian couples decided not to compete, whilst Kim Yuna retired after her last routine in Sochi. But unusually the Russian medal winners have only been named as substitutes for their country, and so will only compete at the World Championships if an injury occurs to the first choices in their discipline. In the Men’s discipline one of Canadian participants Nam Nguyen has just been crowned World Junior Men’s Champion, although he is unlikely to pose a major threat to the hot favourite Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan). For the Women’s event the Italian Carolina Kostner Olympic Bronze medallist is probably the highest ranking, but it will be interesting to see what European Champion Julia Lipnitskaia (Russia) and US skater Gracie Gold can do. With so many of the dominant “big-names” being missing there could well be some interesting results, even perhaps involving the British Ice Dance couple Coomes & Buckland, who won Bronze in the Europeans. During the Olympics the judging found fault with their compulsory dance routine and they were heavily penalised, both in the team and individual events. Yet it was the same routine that helped win them a Bronze in the Europeans! So who knows what might happen, but I shall be keeping up with the Figure Skating World Championship news on the web.

Name Game

Race horses a lot of the time can have some peculiar names, but occasionally you can see the inspiration behind them, and so it was when I came across FiftyShadesOfHay.

In the Torino v Livorno match over the weekend a hat trick was scored by Ciro Immobile to secure a 3-1 win for Torino. This made Immobile the top scorer in Serie A on Saturday and so clearly there is nothing wrong with his mobility in front of goal!!