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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Going My Way - Paul Weller

During the week, I received another e-mail, inviting me to do the On-Line Training, ready for the net stage of my Pack Training, 'Talking Tactics'. This was always going to provide a challenge, as experience of On-Line Training at work has never been good - I had to do some training twice as the site didn't register that I had done it, despite an e-mail confirmation and a certificate that of course I'd put in a safe folder, but couldn't remember how safe. I have drawers like that at home. Maybe there should be an App where you can record where you'e put something. Knowing me, I'd call it something different when I wanted it.

I decided to ally my weekend's training with a visit to the town where it all started over 175 years ago. Rugby. I combined it with a guilt trip for the wrinkles, having let them down the week before. 'Of course I love you mum, but Saracens are in the Final'. Little did I know that they would also blow away the media favourites, Bath. Dear Media, there is more than one way to win a rugby match and it is the range of styles that is interesting. Defence is interesting, Scrummaging, when does properly, is interesting, otherwise we have a game called basketball. Anyway, 3 tries to 1 for the League's top scorers, Saracens, not Bath proves the fact. But I digress.

Rugby is a town dominated by a huge concrete tower that looms up on the horizon whichever way you enter Rugby. Ironically it is the cement mill? or would you call it a factory not any homage to Rugby's famous residents? On the way we visited Ryton Organic Gardens. I shocked my mother, not by my outrageous behaviour, but she thought I'd taken her to a garden centre. Garden Centres are, in my opinion, for people who have given up living. Flowers and plants are beautiful, but looking at garden implements, Mrs Bridges Chutney, and Cotton Traders' middle aged leisurewear does not equal entertainment. From what I could see, Ryton is how gardens should be, higgledy-piggledy with weeds (green manure), unstructured flower-beds, bees, vegetables mixed in and a sense of chaos. A lovely colourful vegetarian menu, where people come for the food, not just the obligatory coffee and cake after the visit.

Onto Rugby. Having taken the detour, I came at it from a different direction that I would have planned, so we seem to go around the outside before unlocking the secret of entry. It isn't as charming as other towns close by, such as Warwick and Leamington, but has buildings stretching back to the 16th century and traditional independant shops in the town centre along with the usual Stepford Wives stores. Our first visit was the Library, Museum and Art Gallery, as there was a modern art exhibition. Mum, bless her, in a stage whisper, complained that she didn't like it, as she couldn't see what it is. Credit to RugbyThink though, a medium sized Midlands town having an annual art exhibition, art coming to the masses.....and later this month a Festival of Culture. At the entrance, there was the tourist information, where the rugby souvenirs, with for the sport and town, were displayed to celebrate the coming World Cup.

This was followed by a quick visit to see the schools ground where William Web Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it, and to the small rugby museum, next to the Webb Ellis store, where I succumbed to buying my first of what will be many souvenirs of the World Cup. The store had leather balls from the 19th century as well as a pigs bladder. The size of the pig's bladder amazed me. It must hold about a gallon - I bet there's a lot of people over 50 who would be envious of it, as there would be no need to have any night time trips to the bathroom. The museum is quirky, has some beautiful stained glass windows in it, mixing international rugby memorablia, with local bits and pieces such as club ties and a Newbold shirt from up the road. There are lots of eateries around, a countdown clock, and a traditional market to give the place a vibe. We ended up in a Weatherspoons, named after the founder of Rugby School, Lawrence Sheriff (No not Thomas Arnold) that celebrated other famous Rugbians, Rupert Brooks, Frank Whittle, and the only honest men to enter Parliament, the Gunpowder plotters. My first rant, how the hell did it take so long to produce my salad, 10 minutes after the Wrinklies brown food came out? How difficult can it be to chuck some rocket on a plate, but it took forever. Obviously don't make them that often, whilst the 2 for 1 'something and chips' can be turned round quickly...

I will re-visit the town, closer to the start, to visit the fan zone and maybe walk around Tom Brown's Schooldays. Rugby will be one of the places to be this World Cup.

So I needed to tackle the on-line training, pardon the pun. I opened my e-mail In Box to access the link, to find an e-mail asking me for my final Final payment. YES! All done and paid for. I'm going to the World Cup Final. Here's hoping England will be there too. After opening the link, the fun started. The training wouldn't play. I had to unblock pop-ups, but where? I've joined the Apple brigade, after years of cursing Windows, so had to hunt around for 10 minutes until I could find the pop-up unblockers and the volume to hear "David" introduce the training and then Maggie Alphonsi welcome us to the World Cup. There were 11 modules, on what should be 'Grandmother to suck eggs' training. Yes, I know to arrive promptly, with clean uniform worn properly, and good personal hygiene, but many of the other modules were a little more detailed than that. How to communicate, assist with spectator issues etc. If it was left to me, every school and college leaver would undertake this training as it gives them the basics of how to be a good employee, including making eye contact, standing up straight, being calm and confident in a work environment as well as explaining the best way of being courteous whatever the age, gender, disability, etc. I did get frustrated, however, as each module awarded you three stars, and I couldn't build up three stars on one module, despite getting every answer right (4 times), meaning that I didn't get a perfect score, despite listening to David and his Mr Tumble voice and explanations several times. I gave up, but did write an e-mail to see if my total could be adjusted manually.

Apparently we think five times faster than we can speak, as we had a memory test on some of the Cup's chief facts, so we need to listen properly:
48 games on 44 days, 20 teams playing at 13 venues in 11 cities, there were 203 matches involving 83 teams to get the final 8 countries to qualify. There will be over 400,000 international visitors, hopefully getting chance to visit Rugby, as well as the matches and fan zones.

Everyone can get involved, for minimal cost, I'll test you on the facts at a later time.

PS Paul Weller's new album is brilliant.