Thursday, October 12, 2006

I knew I was probably wasting my time but yesterday at the dentist’s I asked if I could book a check-up for a year’s time. He smiled indulgently and said their diary didn’t stretch that far. My guess is I’d have got the same answer for six, three and possibly even just one month ahead. This is an ad hoc society. Which is not all bad; I got yesterday’s appointment at a day’s notice.

Up in the hills yesterday, I picked up a notice at the local council’s offices entitled “Assistance programs for farms attacked by wolves”. I hadn’t realised they got this close. Other than the estate agents, of course. Interestingly, the brochure bears the logo of both the Galician government and of the EU. But not of the Spanish government.

When I woke this morning the silence was so devastating I feared an asteroid had hit the earth. But it only meant it was a public holiday. No screeching traffic, no clanging cranes, no pulsating pile-drivers, no barking dogs and, best of all, no banging, bawling and blubbering next door as they get ready for work and school at 7.30. And then I realised my nice-but-noisy neighbour – Tony the Bawler – was scheduled to depart for several weeks on his oil tanker today. Life can be good at times.

Finally, a couple of quotes of possible interest to those who, like me, felt the England football team’s performances couldn’t get any worse than last summer’s . . .

England's players may have thought their premature World Cup exit this summer was the lowest they could go, but that was before last night when they crashed down a few more levels with a performance of incoherence that was crowned by absurdity.

The abandonment of 3-5-2 had the effect of another door clanging shut on the England illusions that have become not so much contentious as pathetic. After the evidence of bankruptcy - moral and technical - against Macedonia at the weekend, the possibility that a system of play discarded by all the recognised powers of the game might somehow magically restore poise and conviction was always remote. But in practice, as the Croats surged into the game almost at will, it became something more than a long-shot tactical lunge. It became an escape from the reality of England's plight, and one conducted at a stuttering snail's pace.

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