Sky rugby – the cliché of the Titans

This has nothing to do with Eldred Pottinger or Afghanistan but I’m taking the opportunity to offer up an idiot’s guide to commentating on the Lions tour if you work for Sky TV. All you need to do is repeat these meaningless and increasingly irritating phrases at irregular intervals throughout each game:
1.      The get-go
2.      Asking questions
3.      Set down markers
4.      Hard yards
5.      Worth the admission fee alone (especially when the stadium is empty)
6.      Hard-wired into the Springbok DNA
7.      Nobody said it was going to be easy
8.      Carry/carries
9.      Moving through the gears
10.  Grab the game by the scruff of the neck
11.  Sensing the scent of blood
12.  Half-time oranges
13.  It’s not rocket science
14.  Asking more questions
15.  The next score is absolutely crucial
16.  The game was always go to the wire (sic)
17.  His go-to man
18.  Arm-wrestle
19.  Questions being asked (again)
20.  Game of two halves

And here’s one comment almost worth the admission fee alone:
‘He’s absolutely hoofed that into the Sheriff of Carmarthen’s honker.’

The tragic British graveyard of Afghanistan

Yet again British troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan and claiming they have not suffered defeat. It’s a bit like the knight in Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’ who wants to fight on even though he’s lost both arms and both legs.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, claimed attacks such as 9/11 had been prevented from ‘occurring from Afghanistan’ in the period since adding that ‘not a day goes by’ without him thinking of the 457 UK lives lost.

The fact is the British military has always met its match in Afghanistan. We are leaving without any sort of ‘victory’ exactly as we did in 1842.

On that occasion, an entire army had been wiped out. We sent in ‘an army of retribution’ which did its best to devastate and intimidate the population then got the Hell out of there before it, too, was trapped by General Winter.

The incompetence of our first foray into Afghanistan was astonishing – but almost 200 years on, has it really changed all that much? I certainly don’t buy the idea that this time we were ‘not defeated’.

We were worn down, worn out and slunk away – undefeated ‘on the battlefield’ maybe, but defeated all the same.
Another pointless, meaningless Afghan tragedy.

Coming soon: Close of Play

I’ve recently finished a new, short novel called ‘Close of Play’ about plans to build a housing estate on a village cricket ground. It’s an amusing little number and preview copies are already available on Amazon. I say preview advisedly because I haven’t even seen them yet (waiting for a few samples from the printer) and they will definitely be revised, changed and generally improved. But if you’re reading this, feel free to buy a copy in its raw state.

Verse and worse

I’m trying to put together a separate website hIGH wATER
called ‘High Water’, which is the title of a little booklet I’m planning to produce consisting of 22 poems the picture here is the basis for the cover and the title).

Some of them are OK, some are doggerel; that is to say, bits of rhyme which make some sense but are hardly great art. Still, this is an innovation for me and some of these poems are on topical issues (the Great Pandemic, for instance) which means they won’t be in the booklet because they will be out of date before anything ever gets printed.

Still, if you have read this far, have a look at the High Water website (which, please bear in mind) is still a work in progress. It’s not as if we have all the time in the world to get the thing right. Oh? Actually we do have all the time in the world. Ah well, it requires expertise which some of us may not possess in abundance. Anyway, here it is…

Peace? Not much chance

In Afghanistan, nothing much changes, only the weapons become more lethal.

The United States is optimistic for a peace deal with the Taliban so they can finally escape from their fatal involvement in the country.

But the country’s scarcely a stable entity given that it now has two rival governments, one led by Ashraf Ghani, the other by his supposedly-defeated presidential rival Abdullah Abdullah.

According to the Asian-Pacific magazine ‘The Diplomat’, the country’s elections are increasingly fraudulent and most people don’t even bother to vote any more.

It seems the country is more or less ungovernable. As it has been for centuries.


Lessons from history

We should feel sorry for the Iranians. Their one-time cradle of civilisation has been usurped by mad fundamentalists who are reducing a great nation to impoverishment.

The country has often sought dubious allies. The First Aghan War, which saw the destruction of the British army, came about because Persia allied itself with the Russians in threatening to invade India.

Eldred Pottinger held them off at Herat – chronicled in my novel – but the British invasion of Afghanistan took place anyway as a means of protecting India’s North-West frontier from Russian and Persian (Iranian) invasion.

Thus are military disasters made. Tragically, the Persian ayatollahs don’t seem to have learned from the past any more than George W Bush and Tony Blair did.


Christmas in Kabul, 1841

Well the good news is that I have bought into some new promotional thing which is supposed to make sure my book, ‘The Trials of Eldred Pottinger’, christmas in kabul 2is widely promoted on tinernet.

The bad news is I’m not sure it’s any good. Have a look and see for yourself. You’re supposed to be able to read some of the pages, listen to a bit of audio (me, reading about Christmas in Kabul) and watch the promotional video.

Oh and feel free to pass it on to friends, relatives and anyone else who might be interested: