Saturday, July 28, 2012


...and yes, he did do well.

Danny Boyle, that is.

The opening ceremony was something to behold. Not the overblown faff of previous events. It was different and perhaps not what people were expecting. But surely that is a good thing. It did celebrate Britain for what it is. It had a bit of everything really. Tongue in cheek, particularly with the Queen and Bond but that what being British is. Not being totally serious all the time.

I wonder what the Prime Minister made of the NHS portion of the ceremony. Perhaps a bit too left wing for him. After all, the ceremony was celebrating the NHS and what a wonderful service it provides, yet the PM is intend on selling it off to private companies.

I liked the caldron as well. 200 and odd petals which raised in to one. That was well done and hats off to whoever came up with that one. No missed arrows when lighting it!

Surely a Knighthood is on the cards for Boyle and rightly so. A job well done, that's for sure.

Friday, July 27, 2012


The Olympics start today. I used to avidly watch them. These days, I'm less inclined to watch. I was in Australia for the Sydney edition but didn't really watch them. I did get to Sydney for the end of the Para Olympics. Does that count?

Athens and Beijing I really didn't bother with at all. I suspect the same thing will happen this time.

That said, I'm quite interested in seeing the opening ceremony. Danny Boyle is directing it which is quite a left field choice. I like his work - Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Sunshine, 28 Days Later. Heck, I even quite liked A Life Less Ordinary!

I wonder what he has in store?

I can't see it being the contrived nonsense that we witness from Beijing in which the voice of the little girl wasn't even the voice of the little girl at the ceremony. Stage managed to the max. Pathetic.

Danny Boyle, over to you.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have had arguably the worst working week ever. It has just been a complete struggle from the first hour to the last hour.

At the start of the week I had to tell 3 of my students that they had failed. Never easy at the best of times and especially when I need to do it face-to-face. Two of them were close to tears. You don't want to see grown men cry. There is a time and a place and in my classroom isn't really the time. I can understand though. Passing means a shot at promotion. A big incentive.

I have been working on a project led by the Operations team. Essentially they want to 1 day training program for 250 staff. Lesson plans and all the support materials are areas that I quite enjoy getting involved in. I like trying to be creative and incorporate activities into my classes. A draft was sent over to Operations team. Feedback was positive. A subsequent meeting has seen them change the goalposts somewhat and ask that X, Y and Z are included. What they are asking for changes the focus of the program. It was meant to be an 'Introductory' session but its morphing away from that. I fear topics will be introduced and we'll skim over them rather than getting more involved. My Boss has now got involved which should complicate things further. Next week we'll see what's what but it's a distraction I don't really need or want.

Elsewhere, I'm getting stress about outsourced staff and their English levels. I'll have to get involved in that. Again. It's all a big mess really. Departments want to cut costs, so hire outsourced staff. Fair enough. But then they all complain because of the level of skills of the the outsourced staff. Well, if you pay a pittance what do they think will happen? All this rears it's ugly head from time to time. People moan and complain, a 'resolution' is found. Then some time down the line - it could be months or years - it all happens again. Same cycle.

And the Upper Intermediate level class I have at the moment are likely to fail the course. They really are not or close to the level they need to be at. It's like they have never heard of some of the areas we cover. When they talk, the tenses they use are all over the place. An example was using 'will' to describe a past experience. What the hell?! This is a student who wants to be cleared at Upper Intermediate level! Their final test is next week. Miracles might happen. But not on Monday's.

Oh and it's Ramadan.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Scottish football did the right thing. A minor miracle has occurred!

Common sense has prevailed and the new Rangers will start again in the 3rd Division. That was the only real outcome otherwise their would have been a riot with a lot of very unhappy football fans, me included. I hope that lays the subject to rest and that in 3 weeks time, the football itself can do the talking.

It will be interesting to see how many clubs survive due to Rangers going down. They will lose money because Rangers won't play them twice a season. I find it hard to fathom how 2 games a season and the revenue generated can have such a big impact. Perhaps these clubs should take a closer look at themselves and cut their cloth accordingly. The 'bubble' was always going to burst and they should have planned for it. What we may see now is the lack of foresight by them.

Or they can attract fans back. Simple really.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I'm fed up.

I'm fed up of Scottish football.

I'm fed up with the self serving, small mindedness of clubs who do not think of the bigger picture or indeed the fans. Their customers!

The back story is this: Rangers went into liquidation. They no longer 'exist', but have now been bought over and are 'new' Rangers. The top division - the SPL - voted that they should not be allowed to play in the division. In Scotland below the top division are 3 other leagues under the umbrella of the SFL. These teams then had to vote to see which league the new Rangers play in. History suggests that a 'new' team must start in the bottom league. However Rangers were the biggest club in Scotland and TV contracts etc rely on them being in the top division. Or at worst, in the division below with a view to being promoted within a season.

Today saw the view by the SFL about which league they should go. The 1st or 3rd division. The fans want a clean slate, starting in the 3rd division. Sporting integrity in tact. The money men don't. They want Rangers in the 1st division and back in the top division within a year. The money men have been cracking the whip and using bullying and blackmail tactics to force the SFL to vote them into the 1st division.

Happily and rightly, the voted them into the 3rd division.

I'm delighted. It had to be. No question of it. This though will not be the end of it which is a total joke. The league starts in 3 weeks time yet no one knows what the hell is going on. You can be sure the money men will try some stunt to get their team back in the top division and that makes me sick. They should be strung up for treason or something equally damning. It's the national game and they are trying to bring it to it's knees.

There has been absolutely no leadership at all. Why, with 3 weeks to go until the start of the league, is this still not resolved? It's all become a farce. A laughing stock. Each of the major 'forces' behind the scenes are faffing about. Sort it out. And sort it out for good of the game in Scotland. The greater good. And soon.

Furthermore, why was the McLeish report on Scottish football not accepted when it was published in 2010. The recommendations haven't been headed. What was the purpose of it, if it was going to be ignored?

Well mister money men, resign. Go now. And here's what we should do. Each team plays each other twice. Maximum. Who wants to watch 4 meeting a season between 2 teams. No one. A winter break is a must. Who wants to sit and get frozen on a wet, windy Tuesday in deepest January. No one. Drop the price of a ticket. £10 for adults, £5 for under 18's. It's not rocket science. Drop the price, market the team and the 'game' as an event. Add a thousand people to the gate. Get schools involved. Kids go free with an adult. More people inside the stadium, more atmosphere and with it, more revenue. You don't just go to a game, sit and watch it and go home. You buy a program, you get a pie and a drink. Surely that's the way to make money? A pyramid system must be set up. I'm not saying that all Scottish football's ills will disappear overnight but goodness, get people interested and get people involved.

Otherwise, it's bye bye baby.

Monday, July 09, 2012



That is the sound of time flying by at a rate of knots. It was May, and now all of a sudden it is July. I have no real idea how that happened at all. But, it's July and we get on with it.

July in Dubai is hot. Really hot. It's not much fun. I can 'cope' with it so long as I'm not outside for anything more than perhaps 30 minutes. And that's at night. Daytime, it's less. I'm sure I've written about all this before, so I'll not labour the point. What I will say is that we had rain. Yes, rain. In the desert. In July. It wasn't a massive downpour, more like 15 minutes worth of light rain but rain is rain. It was enough to get the roads and pavements wet. Do we need any further evidence of climate change?!

Since I go back from Scotland, it's been a bit hectic particularly work wise. There seems to be a bit of ill feeling between colleagues. It's mostly to do with everyone not having equal qualifications despite being at the same level. I'm pretty relaxed about it as I've done the studying and have qualifications to suit the job. Others don't. Let's just say, change is coming and some folk are not very comfortable with that.

We've had a few people over to Dubai as well.

The missus had her High School friend over with his new wife. In fact, they came over on honeymoon! Both of them seem very happy together and that's great news. Delighted for them. Also, one of my old mates for Korea stopped over on his way back to Britain. Always good to catch up over a beer or two!

What else?

Starting to get more 'adult'. By that I mean, the important stuff like house insurance, life insurance and turning thoughts towards buying property and setting up of a Will. Yes, very adult. The time has come. I can have no complaints about it and let's face it, people tend not to think about all that kind of stuff until it's too late. Better late than never. I'll be happier when I know everything is in place.

And that's about it for the moment. How long this 'creative' urge lasts, I do not know.