Tuesday, June 10, 2014

World Cup memories etc.

Rik Mayall has died at the age of just 56. What a shame. I was a bit too young for the Young Ones, but I did watch Bottom, a lot, and he was absolutely hilarious. Like him I once came off a quad bike, although I didn't fare nearly as badly as him. I rolled it and couldn't move from underneath it. This was on my cousin's farm in 2004.

Last weekend, as usual, was tiring even though I didn't do that much. On Saturday I met up with that woman and we went for a drive around the coast, north of Porirua where she lives. We "clicked" better this time, but I don't know, she's still one of the 98% (at least) of people I find scary after any length of time.

Last night we tried a new game called Fallen Lands. It had a fairly low goblin quotient and was therefore more my cup of tea than some of the stuff I've tried (endured?) recently. The game panned out unexpectedly, as I struggled to gain territory early on, and ended up with fewer territories than both the others. To everyone's surprise, including mine, I was the winner. I beat Tracy by one point. Spending less money to acquire territory proved decisive. After that relatively short game, we played Timeline. Tom and Tracy talked about Neal Stephenson's books at length, and Tracy, who wanted me to jump on the bandwagon, lent me Quicksilver. It's 900-plus pages and fairly heavy subject material; I hope she doesn't want it back for a while.

So Rafael Nadal is French Open champion ... for the ninth time. That's just crazy - nobody wins nine of anything, not on the men's side anyway (Navratilova won nine Wimbledons). I wish I could have seen the women's final between Sharapova and Halep. I see a score of 6-4 6-7 6-4 and I just know it must have been a good match. Sharapova's three-set record is phenomenal.

Another World Cup is almost upon us. It's hard for me not to have World Cup memories when I come from the so-called home of football. In 1986 I was six and ideologically opposed to football; I paid no attention to any of the games. I remember the unusual-sounding names of Uruguay and Paraguay, which I'd never heard of before, and getting excited because apparently someone had won a yellow car. I watched lots of game shows as a little kid; winning a yellow car seemed perfectly plausible. The 1990 competition in Italy was the first time I'd ever properly watched football. It was probably Pavarotti that did it for me, as well as England's run to the semi-finals. They scraped past Cameroon in the quarters. Just the word Cameroon sounded exotic and colourful. In the semis England lost to Germany on penalties and Gazza (a.k.a. Paul Gascoigne, who the whole nation had gone crazy over) was in tears. In reality there was a lot of dull, defensive football on show in Italy, but the English squad arrived back home as heroes. Surely next time they would win it. Of course the next time they didn't even qualify, and it's never been the same since.

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