Wyn's Week
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Thursday, 22 January 2004
Mood:  down
Talking to a friend by E mail about the weather and the effect that it has on any kind of creative work. As temperatures have increased, winters IMO have got milder but also gloomier. There are fewer of the crisp, sunny, frosty days. The lack of light does, I think, have an effect. When I was in Australia in December, I was surprised by how hungry I was for the light so that even when it was a cool evening I wanted to sit outdoors.

Posted by wyngrant at 8:52 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 20 January 2004
What do you do with #50?
Mood:  lucky
Won #50 on the Premium Bonds today for second month running. I've won the #50 prize a number of times (it is the one you are most likely to win), but never any of the big ones. What can you do with #50? It might buy a good lunch for two and a reasonably good dinner. It would buy two tanks of petrol for the car. It would not buy two away tickets for the Premiership at most grounds that I know, certainly not Chelski. In the end, I've decided to put it together with the #50 won last month to buy another #100 worth of Premium Bonds in the hope of winning a bigger prize.

Been to London today for a performance review meeting with the PSA's Media Adviser. We met at Sardo's which is quite a nice Sardinian restaurant just off Fitzroy Square.

Posted by wyngrant at 6:26 PM GMT
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Mood:  not sure
My cold got worse today. Yes, I have taken zinc! Nevertheless, I managed to get quite a lot of work done, continuing writing my fire services article dealing with how Home Office civil servants tried to keep the Fire Brigades Union out of the consultative process in the Second World War. This enabled me to mention the aptly named Commander Firebrace who was preoccupied with the subject of gossip among the wives of firemen.

Posted by wyngrant at 9:30 AM GMT
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Monday, 19 January 2004

Posted by wyngrant at 9:31 AM GMT
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How many people are reading this blog?

Posted by wyngrant at 9:30 AM GMT
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Mood:  lazy
Sundays are in my view a day for lazing around at home which is just what I did. I am old fashioned enough to have a traditional Sunday lunch. I am reading Tom Bower's Broken Dreams at the moment. Gives a bleak view of professional football and the dodgy characters who have been able to get away with breaking the rules (and the law). The Non-League Paper report of the Vase game managed to get the score wrong as the journo seems to have thought that the offside goal was not disallowed. How can you make a mistake like that?

Posted by wyngrant at 9:28 AM GMT
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Saturday, 17 January 2004
Leamington out of Vase
Mood:  bright

Studley 2, Leamington 1

When Leamington were drawn away in the fourth round of the FA Vase, I didn't have great hopes of their going any further and so it proved. Studley, placed second in the league above them, won 2-1.
The average attendance at the Beehive is 98, but the home support turned out en masse while the Brakes barmy army swelled the attendance to several hundred. Repeated appeals from the loudspeaker reminded those in attendance that they could drink on the patio, but not right by the pitch. Humour was much in evidence: 'Sheepsiders, sheepsiders give us a wave' and 'You're just a small town in Redditch.'
One of the things I always find odd low down the non-league is having to stand next to supporters from the other side. The Bloke Beside Me turned to me and said in a thick Worcestershire accent, 'Ow farr is Lermington then?' You might have thought it was on the other side of the moon whereas it had taken us just over half an hour on the M40/M42.
Leamington scored an early goal, but the linesman's flag was already raised. Studley saw most of the ball in the first half and it was only Brakes keeper Richard Morris (ex Coventry City) who kept the visitors in the game.
Still 0-0 at half time was good enough and although I was frozen cold I was cheered by the news that Stuart had put the Addicks ahead at Goodison.
About quarter of an hour in Studley went 1-0 ahead. Instead of playing a cautious, defensive game, Brakes stepped up a gear. Tempers started to fray and it all went off, but the referee (imported from Bristol for the occasion) simply gave a couple of yellows. Blake and Sleem up front were playing well and a few minutes from the end the Brakes got one back. But then they seem to relax to save their energies for extra time, allowing Studley to make it 2-1 just before the whistle.
Disappointing, but Brakes put up a good performance and Charlton secured three points against Everton.

Posted by wyngrant at 6:43 PM GMT
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Friday, 16 January 2004

Mood:  happy


Go to the campus to get some materials for the Brussels course. See two PhD students, one long standing, one for the first time. Have lunch in Eat with my friend Pete. Why do they only serve pasta there now? V-C comes in and sits down on his own.
In the evening I set off for the Harvester on the A45 to meet up with folks from the counselling course I took last term. Harvester is surprisingly busy. Eight of us turn up, five women from their early twenties to mid-thirties, two older men (including me), one younger male. It's a very pleasant evening, our ability to communicate from the course is still there. And the salad bar was excellent and the scampi I had was just right. We agreed to continue with a discussion group, using my office. Most of us hope to do the Certificate in Counselling next year.


Do some more work on the Brussels course in the morning. Then I turn to writing up some of the work I have done on the history of fire service provision in Britain. This may seem an obscure topic, but it actually illustrates a more general point about democracy - the way in which closed policy communities seize control of an agenda and pursue suboptimal policies unchallenged. Decisions about fire service cover made in the late 1930s prioritised the protection of property over lives and this was only effectively challenged last year by the Bain Report, written by my friend Sir George.
There is some hilarious stuff in the files from the early 1920s when the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary had a row about what could properly be charged for a stay in a provincial hotel then!

Posted by wyngrant at 7:00 PM GMT
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57 varieties
Mood:  happy

Who are blogs for?

Most blogs are written by young people. Such as my inspiration Casino Avenue . I was 57 on 11 January 2004. Nevertheless, I thought I would have a go, although whether I can make it interesting to anyone is another matter.

Sunday: my birthday

A big family meal at home. The grandchildren came. 'Grandad, there's a monster upstairs.' We go upstairs and by then the monster has gone downstairs. A lot of 'This is how we do it in *my* nursery. By the time they had gone, I was pretty exhausted. But it was a nice day.

Monday: Management Group

Drove over to Leicester, took about an hour, longer than usual because of heavy traffic. A meeting of the Management Group of the Political Studies Assn. which I chair. We had our publishers, Blackwells, in for a discussion of our journals which are the mainstay of our income. The market is very uncertain right now with no one quite sure of the implications of electronic publishing and libraries at state universities in the US, our main market, cutting back. But a constructive discussion. Indeed, the whole day was very fruitful, although by the time we finished at 5 I was quite tired.

Tuesday: working at home

My study leave continues and today I was working on the course booklet for the MPA module on the European Union that I teach in Brussels. Weather not bad so we took Hooch the Pooch, Sophie's dog, for a run in the fields at Old Milverton at midday.

Wednesday: Portsmouth

By train from Leamington. The train is delayed by 'a points failure at Stourbridge Junction', but good connections at the underground allow me to make the 11.08 from Waterloo. When I get there my mobile goes and I do an interview for Reuters on the prospects for Tony Blair. (I don't buy the speculation that he is on his way: he wants it too much and he is too smart a politician). On the way I read Food for Thought , translated from the French, giving a Confederation Paysanne critique of modern agriculture. Interesting, but spoils a good case by overstatement. I then switch to a book on free trade which is really a standard economics case in its favour. When I get to Portsmouth we go for lunch in the Guildhall, an attractive building. A Salvation Army Christmas lunch is bizarrely under way in the restaurant. Portsmouth University seems to be doing well: 17,000 or so FTEs and an intelligent use of old buildings and construction of new ones. I give my talk on the CAP which seems to go down well and then we go to a building converted from a Napoleonic barracks/married quarters to discuss the book I writing a chapter for. Return from Portsmouth Harbour: see people streaming on to the Gosport ferry and recall a news item suggesting this might be replaced by an underground light rail!
Electric southern trains are fast but they jump about all over the place. 20 mins. delay into Waterloo, so I miss my connection and get a slower train to Leam, finally reaching home at 10.20 p.m.

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