Guy Fawkes is the only one of the 1605 bomb plotters that most people remember; along with the rhyme –
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
An event re-enacted in the English bonfire and fireworks tradition that continues to this very day … Even though modern restrictions have stopped having fires in every street along with roasting potatoes in the flames and rock hard plot toffee.
In March 2016, a deal was announced between the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Australian broadcaster Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) awarding the rights to create a version of the Eurovision Song Contest for countries in Asia.
Initially the contest was expected to start in 2017 but that slipped to October 2018 due to organisational and political issues.
This week we heard that the Eurovision Asia Song Contest was cancelled, and as of now, the EBU has no plans to hold such an event. But this news came solely from Wikipedia – and with no confirmation from the EBU it could be that a 2019 launch is still possible.
However it looks like Australia will get another entry in the next European contest – and, no doubt, get a better result than the British entry … again!
Everyone who cares is already fully aware of what happened last night. And there are more than enough comments and opinions flying around to render anything extra from Grandad superfluous. So just adding our bit to the chorus of thanks for a great effort by everyone involved.
Looking forward there is still that play-off for third place but that can only be an anti-climax after the earlier rounds.
And as the football euphoria dies down we have the prospect of witnessing some dangerous games being played by politicians of all parties on both sides of the Channel. A wrong move here would mean that we will all suffer – and for well beyond the 2022 World Cup …
It’s hard to believe but the situation for England is unchanged one week further on – continued dry, sunny weather and still being in contention at the FIFA World Cup.
With lawns around the nation baked yellow, burning moorlands, political turmoil and bumper exposure for Budweiser we face the final two games for the four teams that remain.
Clearly everyone backing England want the final match to be on Sunday – especially since the alternative is a pointless match to determine a meaningless third place on Saturday.
What more can be said but … Come On England!
England is enjoying that rare situation of having a football team still in the FIFA World Cup and a continuous spell of dry, sunny weather. A combination that is both exceptional and one that puts a strain on the nation’s drinks supplies. Clearly a situation that the beer and soft drinks suppliers did not allow for in their sales projections … even though closures at the carbon dioxide suppliers may have contributed to the threatened shortages.
At the football England’s progress has been made that much sweeter by a degree of schadenfreude at the early departures of Germany, Argentina and Portugal. However tonight’s game against Colombia may be too tough a barrier to England’s hopes of a quarter final place. But a win tonight – along with forecasts of continued warm weather – could clear out the remaining stocks of drinks Chez Grandad well before the weekend.
It’s More Than A Game – Two games into the FIFA World Cup and England have already scored eight, yes eight, goals. Even though this is already old news for millions, Grandads supporting England just had to register it here. It might never happen again in a life time!
Model Solution – After our posting about hydrogen powered trains comes the news that Cadent have speculative plans to build a hydrogen gas plant somewhere on Merseyside. Cadent have floated the £900m HyNet project – with claims it could reduce environmentally-harmful emissions and could create or secure thousands of jobs over 30 years.
However this scheme does not produce hydrogen cleanly from water and electricity but rather through breaking down natural gas into, mainly, carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen. Essentially producing much the same quantity of harmful CO2 as would burning gas in the conventional way. It is a scheme totally dependent on a method of safely storing all the CO2 produced. Cadent claim that this can be done by pumping it into the gas fields under the Irish Sea that are due to be decommissioned soon.
Many doubt that this scheme will get tax-payer funding since domestic gas heating is scheduled to be culled by 2030 – and that’s just twelve years away. However Merseyside industry may see this as a way to get around their own restrictions on burning natural gas – especially if funded by the tax-payer.
As the 2018 football world cup competition starts in Russia many Grandads must be experiencing a mixture of hope and resignation. Coming from a generation that saw England’s only victory the intervening twelve competitions seem a long series of anti-climaxes much worse than even the annual Eurovision Song Contest put-downs.
Despite this the World Cup does provide the prospect of a national event that even extreme activists will not be able to link to Brexit or climate change. So let’s hope for a degree of success for the England team since many of us just need a break from a growing frustration with our weak and ineffective politicians. Many other sports have made big strides on the world stage – can this year be the time for British football to get back to the top?
Beers and TV remotes at the ready for 4pm today and then through the other games that build-up to England v Tunisia at 7pm on Monday.
No more mentions of Brexit here as long as England are still in with a chance! And if they win – who will be worried about a EU-free future?
Never Heard Again – Rather than being a simple case of I told you so – the Eurovision Song Contest result could make the staging of next year’s contest in Israel more politically charged than the organisers would have liked. If the venue chosen is Jerusalem then it will be difficult to maintain the event’s ethos of being a camp, foolish spectacle. However the basic problem for the organisers remains the fact that the results rarely represent the best in European music.
Model Solution – Despite Grandad’s reservations it seems that at least one company already has plans to fit hydrogen power plants instead of diesel engines – so meeting the Government’s green target and avoiding further electrification work. It has been announced that Alstom plan to modify the existing Class 321 design to take hydrogen tanks and fuel cells – because their new hydrogen train prototype being tested in Germany is too large for the restricted UK clearances. I guess it will be up to existing operators of Class 321’s to decide if they want to convert. And it is reported that Eversholt Rail are going to do just that. However Grandad must be missing some parts of the jigsaw here since the existing Class 321’s are already electric powered – via overhead cabling. No diesel engines will be replaced by fitting hydrogen power to Class 321’s. One possible explanation for incurring the significant (?) costs involved would be if Eversholt are hoping to extend their existing routes to towns that lack overhead power.
Monster Mash – Yesterday the EU Ombudsman opened an investigation into the controversial promotion of European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s right-hand man, Martin Selmayr. This follows complaints lodged by Dutch and French members of the European Parliament about his method of appointment. However Selmayr seems unconcerned and Juncker has threatened to resign if the appointments are reversed. So a combination of thick skin and political whitewashing will win the day … possibly!
Yesterday was, for some places in England. their warmest April day for decades – with Sheffield claiming to have had its highest maximum temperature in April since 1882.
So things look set fair for that rare event – a dry and sunny St George’s Day weekend. True by Monday, the actual patron’s day, the weather may have reverted to type but at least we will be able to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.
The weekend starts here …
In the next few days the BBC are due to announce their shortlist of songs for the 2018 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Then, following the pattern of recent years, a Eurovision You Decide show will allow a public vote to select the final entry. This year the show will be on Wednesday 7 February in Brighton and makes an attempt to gain some much needed credibility through employing 2015 winner Mans Zelmerlow alongside Mel Giedroyc.
But even before the BBC’s shortlist is known the bookies are rating the UK down in 24th place with regular front runners Sweden, Russia and Australia occupying the top three slots. Given our recent poor performances, the lack of incentive for ambitious artists to enter and the political climate, such a low level of support at the bookies is to be expected. Especially when we hear that Sweden has scheduled five national song heats just to get down to a shortlist; with other nations having even more entries to pick from. While the tiny Italian enclave of San Marino (population 33,000 or one tenth the size of Croydon) has scheduled four heats…
With Australia hoping to launch a separate Eurovision Asia Song Contest the smart money is backing them for the top spot this year – assuming that they don’t suffer from another reversal at the hands of nationalist / political voters.