Sutton 0 Northampton 0

My first match in 2022 was a goal-less game between two teams near the top of the division. A good crowd of nearly 3,600 saw Sutton hang on for a draw after having a player sent off 15 minutes from the end. Overall, not a bad game. As a boy I may have watched Northampton play, having been taken to a match by my dad when he lived in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Sutton 0 Northampton 0

After a fall

Exactly one week after a fall on a muddy walk I ventured out for a 6 mile hike on familiar ground. No problems, which is encouraging, though I’m not without pain when it involves sitting or bending. Early days.

A fall in the mud

A lovely, frosty morning. An ideal day for a long walk. The mobile café, 4 miles into my walk, was open. A bacon roll and coffee would keep me going for another 3 or 4 hours. Onwards and the narrow path was on a slope and the frost had melted making the path dangerously slippery. The soles of my boots were clogged with mud. I should have been more alert to the danger. I wasn’t and my feet went off sideways and I fell onto my right hand and thigh. Covered in mud I did what I could to clear up the mess. I was in some discomfort in my left side and back. I thought I could continue my walk but thought better of it. A 2 mile walk to a village enabled me to pick up a bus home. Several hours later I’m out of sorts and finding it painful to get out of an armchair but otherwise pain free. I wonder how I’ll be in the morning. I’m too old for falls to be a good idea. Maybe I should upgrade the boots to something with a deeper tread. Note to self – I’m no spring chicken and need to be more careful.

Foggy, sunny, glorious Box Hill

There was thick fog when we arrived at the bottom of Box Hill but this quickly cleared as we ascended. A third of the way up we came across a group of A-Level students from Birmingham who were incredibly friendly and chatty. A case of friendly northerners – but does Birmingham count as ‘in the north’?

Chilly Gonzales

My son, now working in Berlin and learning to play the piano, has introduced me to the classical piano music of Chilly Gonzales. What a find! Enjoy and explore.

A new chess board

Our dad gave us a chess set when we were kids. Somehow my brother got the board and I got the pieces. Several decades later I’ve belatedly treated myself to a new board to replace the crappy, cardboardy thing I got from who-knows-where. The new board even has the letters and numbers to assist me when I’m following the games of the grandmasters – cool!

Son, next time you’re over from Berlin, we must have a rematch!

[Note to self: Next time I take a picture of a chess board, ensure the pieces are lined up properly in their squares…]

Claremont Landscape Gardens

Arrived only to realise I’d forgotten my camera. Annoying! So it was my crappy iPhone camera that recorded this morning’s trip, aided by an app capable of recording in raw (not jpg) format, so the images are OKish.

Just a walk

What better in these miserable times than a hike in familiar countryside. It was just short of 8 miles and there was the usual coffee and KitKat of course. The sun was out for a while though walking south into the low-lying winter sun often meant looking at the ground rather than the surrounds. It was cold but not very cold. A chat with my son in Berlin is always a pleasure. It felt good to be out.

Christmas fun

Christmas is a great opportunity to play games with the family.

In the one game of chess I was able to play with my son, who had played hardly any chess, he played well to get a draw after 5 hours of play. We had just the two kings at the end – which is not a winnable position – I think I blew the ending, but the result was probably the right one overall.

Other games we played were mini table tennis (my son usually wins, though in close contests), carrom (my son always wins); Ticket To Ride, a great game we haven’t played enough of (my son won); Chinese Checkers and Labyrinth (with the little ones)