"Builders bum's" and "The art of coming second" "A Welshman Living In England - by Rob Burge (England, UK)

From the Web 1.0 days I bring you The Forum. To preserve them for posterity as Geocities can no longer be found but also it's fun to re-read some of them.

6th September, 2001

The art of coming second
Let's start with the sporting triumphs of summer 2001 from our fair isle (inc. Ireland). Umm! No, sorry can't remember any!!!!!

The best way to sum up our conquests can be summarised in one word…dire.

So what were the results that were so 'dire'…
Rugby Union: British & Irish Lions lost to Australia.
Cricket: England lost the Ashes (again) to Australia.
Athletics: Great Britain came home from Edmonton with a total hoard of 2 medals.
Great huh????
Well, we're used to it so, after a couple of days of slagging off in the national press and the usual excuses of no money and it's the governments fault, we all sit back, shrug our shoulders and watch re-run's on telly of the 1966 football World Cup and Ian Botham beating Australia in the 1981 Ashes series (the last time we won it).

We have an incredible attitude towards these things. Maybe that's why we don't actually win anything anymore. We're all too interested in Nintendo, Sony Playstations and chat-rooms and therefore find no personal pleasure in taking part in any kind of team orientated sports. Real shame, although I think I also fall into that category as well. All too keen to go down the pub and watch sports instead of taking part myself. Mind you, I have this bad back you see ...and it's always playing up ... must be a slipped disc or something ... doctor told me to take it easy ...I'd love to play, I really would .. I was almost picked to represent my county when I was younger ... honest ...Yeah, I'd love another pint Ta!

OK, so we're not all that bad. We've had a few successes as well. Did you know that we have the best 'Hop-Skip-&-Jump'er in the world? (they now call it the triple jump to try to make everyone accept it as a real sport) and we are the leaders.

We have the undisputed Triple Jump:
World Champion (Jonathan Edwards),
Olympic Champion (Jonathan Edwards),
Commonwealth Games Champion (Jonathan Edwards),
World Record holder (yes, Jonathan Edwards again)
So, Australia, stick that one where the sun don't shine! So much for all your bloody kangaroo's now huh? Now, we, Great Britain, have at last, a talented rival to compete against Skippy.

To be fair, last Saturday, England played Germany in a football World Cup qualifying match. Germany is our greatest rival and whenever they play us, its war. Everyone watches. The country virtually shuts down, the pubs are full and it's a great atmosphere. Problem is, they usually beat us.
But this year IT WAS DIFFERENT.
Great game.
First Germany scored after 6 minutes, then we equalised after 12.
The tension mounted ..
2 minutes before half time England scored again. We were 2-1 up going into the second half.
Did it stop there? Oh no.
A few minutes after the re-start Michael Owen (he's Welsh really) scored his second.
3-1 to England.
Then ..
4-1 to England (with a Michael Owen hat-trick). The English crowds at the game in Munich went wild. The German fans started to leave the ground. They thought it was all over ..
It was now!

For the first time in 50 years, Germany had lost a World Cup qualifying game, on home soil, in Munich. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Of course, now the bookies have slashed the odds on England winning the World Cup to 9-1 so we're starting to build them up in readiness to knock them down when they don't meet up with our expectations. Time will tell. They beat Albania (look it up in your atlas's) last night 2-0 and only have to beat Greece next month to automatically qualify AND put Germany out of the World Cup for the first time in 50 years.

'Builders Bum'
For those that don't know, we're having a few alterations done to the homestead. Or, as our neighbours put it "The East Wing". I like to call it the "The Jaguar Wing" as most of the money to pay for it came from the Coventry car maker from my last few contracts.

Finding builders at the moment is not an easy task. Most don't return phone calls, and those that do say they can't even look at the plans for another 3 months!
One local builder not only rang back, but came round that very night to collect the plans to quote against. Sure enough, 3 weeks later we had a quote. He could start in 2 months time, 2 weeks after we returned from our holiday's. Suited us fine. He got the job.

On the morning of the agreed start date Adrian (Boss) duly turned up 3 hours late with an empty skip and his work force of Dwaine (brickie) and Ian (builder). John was sick. They started with great relish, knocking down a dividing wall (plasterboard) in the garage. They then filled the empty garage with a cement mixer, various buckets, several planks of wood and a ghetto blaster. "Tomorrow" we were told, "the scaffolding will go up". It did. 1 week later! Well, half of it anyway. Enough for Dwaine to reach up and rip our slates off (and some of our neighbours as well). Luckily they waited until the very week that rain started to fall. And so it stood, for 2 weeks, due to problems matching the colours of our bricks or something!

But today, progress was made. As well as Dwaine, Adrian (Boss) and Ian (builder) also turned up to help (John is still sick!) and the walls are going up. Adrian & Ian lasted 3 hours before leaving Dwaine on his own again. Enough time for 2 cups of tea and a quick re-arrange of the planks. "Tomorrow" we were told, "you will see a huge difference".

The other great event of the day was the removal of the skip (now full). Another empty one is being delivered tomorrow in time for all our neighbours and those from miles around to turn up and dump all their crap in it. Best fun we've had so far is guessing what will turn up during the night. One morning it looked like someone had replaced all their windows cos the old ones ended up half filling our skip. When they were put there we have no idea.

When I get the time, I'll update my website with piccies of the alterations, and, if I get the chance, Dwaine and the gang. Though probably not John, "He's still sick"!

Next Forum instalments: First time golf for the common man and KFC - Barcelona Airport style.



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