Caption contest

Ecuadorean players stretch during
a training session in Bad Kissinngen,
Germany, June 21, 2006. Ecuador will
face England next 25th June in the
second round of the FIFA World Cup
in Germany. AFP PHOTO/JAIME RAZURI

£5 (or $ equivalent) Amazon gift certificate for the best caption. Entries in the comments box before kick-off (1600 BST), please.

England 2, Sweden 2

Are there any Habs who didn’t watch?

Once again, I “watched” it on the FIFA website while working hard (2 p.m. in Houston). The little box furnished by Emirates Airline is very informative. It tells you everything that’s happening in real time. It even posts photographs of the action. But it ain’t the same as watching or at least listening to it.

So . . . it’s 38 years since England beat Sweden. EEK! However, we won Group B and don’t have to face Germany in the next match. And, knowledgable nephs., what are our chances against Ecuador?

BTW, it’s nice to see some comments down there. I was getting ready to subject y’all to some Baseball news, such as the fact that Roger Clemens returns to the Astros tomorrow. YEAH!

USA 1, Italy 1

I thought the USA played pretty well. What do you think, Habs? Didn’t you think the referee was a little free with those red cards? How about an unbiased opinion?

Or didn’t any of you watch the match?

Got another question for you, too. The announcers over here say “FEE-fa“. Is that standard, now? I seem to remember it being pronounced “FY-fa”.

Eng-LAND!

Thought I’d be able at least to listen to the match at work on the internet. It was not to be. Five minutes before game time (10:55 a.m.), BBC Radio Five cut off its international listeners, citing copyright rules or something like that. I frantically searched the internet and twiddled my radio dial for some kind of audio feed, but there was none to be found.

So I kept my eye on a score box on the FIFA site for 90+ minutes (while working, of course). You have no idea how dull it is to watch Possession columns and Shot columns and Foul columns for 80 minutes, and then to see the Goal column record a “1” for England with no accompanying crowd roar. There was a roar, wasn’t there?

But we won. YEAH!

And where was everyone else during the match? Nick?

I know I'm not perfect, but . . .

…it’s that lay/lie thingie again. Paul points out the first sentence of the first paragraph of today’s tennis report (.pdf version here in case it disappears) in The Times.

HIS symbols were laying on the dirt, his bandana, a single tennis ball and his racket, in a perfect triangle.

CRINGE.

Paul predicts that “dictionaries will define this usage as standard within 30 years.”

WEEP.

And while we’re about it — shouldn’t there be a semicolon after “dirt”?

Britain's oldest man

Henry Allingham is still going strong. David advises that he celebrated his 110th birthday last week. He now lives at St. Dunstan’s National Centre in Brighton as he is completely blind.

Here’s the St. Dunstan’s press release:

On Tuesday 6th June, St Dunstaner Henry Allingham celebrated his 110th birthday. On Wednesday 7th June, friends and staff at St Dunstans, Ovingdean, joined Henry in his birthday celebrations with bucks fizz and birthday cake.

His birthday began at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne with a traditional English breakfast followed by a fly past from the RAF consisting of two Tornadoes from 31 Squadron. He was joined by his family, ranging in ages six weeks old to over 50 years old, who flew over from America to celebrate with him.

Henry was born in 1896 in East London and moved to Eastbourne in the 1960’s with his late wife, Dorothy. In April 2006, Henry was awarded the freedom of his home town of Eastbourne by the mayor. A few weeks after this, he moved to St Dunstans as a permanent resident.

Henry served in the Royal Naval Air Service from 21 Sep 1915 as an Air Mechanic and transferred to the RAF shortly after its formation in Apr 1918 as a Rigger Aero Aircraft Mechanic until his discharge on 16 Apr 1919. He served in the North Sea and France and is the last surviving British veterans of the Battle of Jutland.

David also sends a link to the Wikipedia entry. Note the secret of Allingham’s longevity: cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humour!

Tennis and Football

Nick sends photographs from the French Open Women’s Singles Final. Here’s one of a view from his seat as Svetlana Kuznetsova serves to Justine Henin-Hardenne. Henin-Hardenne won the match 6-4 6-4.

He’s now heading to Germany for the World Cup.

We watched England beat Paraguay on Saturday morning while eating breakfast. It wasn’t as exciting as the following Group B match between Sweden and Trinidad & Tobago, but it was great to see England win, even if they were expected to. John, of course, had a bundle of questions as usual about the sport. I’m a little rusty (finding it especially hard to explain the offside rule), and have been busy looking up the answers in readiness for the next match. I had no idea there have been so many rules changes since I left the country in 1975.

My summer reality show

For our American readers who are feeling bereft now that American Idol and The Apprentice are over (incidentally, the Apprentice winner this year was a Brit!), may I recommend Hell’s Kitchen? The season première is tomorrow night on Fox. It’s a hoot! Same kind of format as The Apprentice — wanna-be chefs vying for a job working for the ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, nightmarish Chef Gordon Ramsay. There’s a lot of cooking and fights and humiliation. John and I picked it up in the middle of last season and loved it.

Watching this show may make you appreciate your employer.

New boat


David and Libby are becoming shipping magnates. They’ve just bought a share in a new boat. This time it’s a narrow boat moored on the Grand Union Canal. As it had already been launched the owners had an “anointing” ceremony instead. Pictures in the Emsworth Habs album.

So, David. Tell us more. How many does it sleep? How many owners? Do you know them? How often do you get to use it? Can you use it year round? Is the Grand Union Canal the canal that Dad fell in during one of our holidays? Do you work your own locks? Do you still have the Drascombe Longboat?