Thursday, October 28, 2010

South of Thickthorn - again

South of Thickthorn – the end is nigh – or is it?

The most entertaining anecdote in Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island occurs when he discusses the English preoccupation with roads and their preoccupation with the best way to get from one place to another. For anyone who has ever been regaled by the locals encyclopedic knowledge of the road network this is a must read. It reminds me of the apocryphal Irish story of the local Paddy who when asked how to get to Carrickfergus replied, “Sure, I wouldn't start from here.”

In a self-congratulatory wave of over optimistic balderdash, the EDP announced that the government had at last agreed that despite the desperate economic times, the remaining stretch of the A11 south of Thickthorn would be dualled; thereby finally linking Norwich with the rest of the world. Whiskey, foxtrot, zulu!

Let us leave for a moment the drip drip drip of irony so thick it makes molasses in January seem positively runny and rejoice!

Wait a minute – let's not crack the champagne quite just yet.

With considerably less fanfare and with a complete lack of journalistic integrity, the EDP soon announces that the construction work is unlikely to start before 2012-13. Ministers, when quizzed, confirm that the money to dual is definitely committed, but not quite so committed that it is actually available. Confused? You ought not be. Governments are very good at dissembling information with enough caveats to make the average football manager seem positively erudite and the epitome of linguistic elegance.

Amidst all the balderdash has anyone actually noticed that this “battle” was lost over 30 years ago when some eejit decided that the M11 should go from London to Cambridge – despite the fact that the A11 goes from London to Norwich. With a stroke of the bureaucratic pen, Norwich was condemned to sit on the side lines and wait for a government hand out in order to get a descent road link. Hello – we're still waiting!! To add insult to injury Look East reports on a new link road to provide fast access from a Cambridge business park to the M11!! Where are the reporters asking how money can be found for this, yet the A11 will have to wait? Call themselves journalists?

I can see Rivers of Blood as the A11 money (yes, it's definitely committed says the Minister over and over again and again) is pushed further and further into the future – perhaps till after the next general election when, low and behold, certain facts will have come to light which were not available when the original decision was taken and must be investigated thoroughly with another public inquiry which can not possibly report until 2014-15 – but the money is definitely committed, says the Minister. Ad nauseum.

So, where do we go from here?

Probably nowhere, slowly.

Suggest you get Bill Bryson's book and have a good read.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Winning isn't everything - it's the only thing!

Chiefs must get offence untracked soon!!

Chiefs 3-0 – and ugly. And probably lucky as well. Defence excellent – special teams awesome – offence almost non-existent.

Rookie tight-end Tony Moeaki is the leading receiver. Running game is very good to excellent.

So, where's the problem?

Simple – one word (actually two) QB. Unless the Chiefs can get the passing game untracked, their good start will be for nought! You can't win in the NFL unless you can pass the football - unless you are the Baltimore Ravens and your QB is Trent Dilfer.

Where do we go from here?

It's unpopular, but it's probably more to due with the coaches than the players. Chiefs QB, Matt Cassell, is not making plays – that's for sure. But, what plays are being sent in? Is he failing to execute, or is he just not getting the right calls from the side-lines? Reading his comments on the Chiefs web site you'd be excused for thinking he's putting up all-pro numbers. He's all smiles and all enthusiastic. What he needs now is a good game with big numbers.

So, after all the gloom the Chiefs run into the Colts and actually do quite well, but they lose. Why? See above. With the defence making Manning look almost ordinary and the running game operating well it only took some spark from Cassell and a famous victory would have been there for the taking.

So, what went wrong? Cassell. Cassell. Cassell. Although he didn't get much help from his receivers (surely they can't keep dropping easy catches forever, can they?), the truth is commentators are already questioning his ability to be an NFL quarterback. The Brodie Croyle mob will be unpacking their knives and sharpening them in the garage soon.

Cassell has a few more chances – but only a few – starting today at Houston. If the rest of the team fires as it has been and he can't move the offence, then his time is running out faster than a pig with diarrhoea!