Sky News….

In London, until this afternoon, it was a glorious autumn day with warm, mellow sunshine and light breezes.

The remnants of storm Ophelia are making their presence felt here too. The sun went a rather peculiar orangey colour, rather than yellow, the clouds scudded across, the winds blew a lot stronger and then the sky seemed to fall in around 4 pm this afternoon.

This of course sent people into their usual witticisms, saying the apocalypse is coming and that Donald J. Trump has launched an attack on whatever country has offended him. It went very, very dark, and no one knew why.

But the good old Met Office here in the U.K. has variously attributed the strange sky colour to Saharan dust and forest fire debris being blown in from Spain and Portugal. The winds are from a southerly track and of sufficient strength to frighten people into thinking the end of days was imminent. There’s always a reason behind most things, and we can all go back to normal now.

Allen Brooks xx


30th Anniversary of the Great UK storm…

It was thirty years ago to the day when British TV weather forecaster, Michael Fish, delivered a gaffe that will always be remembered by the watching public. Fish told us that a hurricane wasn’t  on the way that night and following morning….what followed was the biggest wind storm to hit England for 350 years…no big mistake then!

I remember the night very clearly. I was due to go into school the following morning, and the winds howled and the rain poured down. So much so in fact, that’s part of London suffered a major power outage. After the storm had passed, it was eerily quiet and ghost like in the area.

A school mate had popped round to see whether I was going to school. There was no possibility of school that day, mainly for health and safety reasons. There were some huge trees uprooted in the local area and it was a scene of eerie calm, despite the havoc that just been wreaked.

Nationwide, several people were either injured or lost their lives. The national Met Office came in for some fearful stick in not alerting people to the devastation to come. Computer technology has improved somewhat in 30 years, but as we have seen this autumn, Mother Nature has been merciless in destroying communities and places in the Caribbean and North America. No amount of computer predictions can beat Mother Nature.

And, by a quirk of fate, a storm in the Eastern Atlantic is making it’s way to the western UK and Ireland tomorrow and into Tuesday. It’s called Ophelia and we await events. Some damage is likely, so please take care of yourselves in these areas. The weather is always a topic of conversation, but something we can’t control. Tomorrow will bring back some memories of 1987 and a gaffe prone weather forecaster. I don’t think the same mistake will be made tomorrow.

Allen Brooks xx

Being a good sport…

As you have may have gathered by now, I like sport, especially cricket and football, and today I’ve watched both.

First of all, it was off to indoor cricket, which was extremely enjoyable and very good natured. I only went to watch as I say, the time will arrive when I return to umpiring. There were some players there that I get on extremely well with and there were lots of healthy banter flying back and forth. I felt comfortable and relaxed. My umpiring colleagues did a good job and it was a trouble free session.

Then it was off to another part of London to watch the greatest knockout sports competition on the planet, the Football Association Challenge Cup, or FA Cup for short. The FA Cup pits the wits of the estate agents, solicitors, brickies, postmen etc who play football for the love of the game, against the full time professionals of the English league clubs. 

As you can see, the surroundings are not always salubrious:- 

but the atmosphere and vibe was brilliant, and it was a fantastic game in the best traditions of sport. No quarter asked or given and six goals to boot as well. Not only that, going to a random game proved what a small world we live in here on planet Earth.

I chatted to one of my umpiring colleagues, who is doing very well for himself, and though I didn’t get to chat to him, there was one of the local cricket captains at the game too. As I say, a crackling atmosphere and the crowd can be full of wit, or something else rhyming with wit. I’ll leave you to work it out!

So an excellent sporting day. After the tough volunteering experience last night, it was just what I needed today to bring me back to the lighter side of life. Great stuff!

Allen Brooks xx

But a silver lining round every cloud…

Not a good day then, but a couple of pieces of positivity to accompany me into tomorrow. First, I’ve picked up a presentation to do next week, to a small group of people in a business setting. No, Lord Alan Sugar or his cohorts will not be there, I’ll be nervous enough without those, thank you very much. 

And tomorrow, a chance to experience an overview of some more mental health volunteering at that place I’ve been selected for, in London. Just a couple of hours to see how the land lies there.

Sometimes a bad day can be a bad day, but then you realise, you are loved, you are valued, you are needed. It’s just my brain tells me not to recognise those good facets of my life, setting me off on another path of negativity. Oh well, my life is nothing if not dull…

Allen Brooks xx

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

Hi. Not at my best today, so I thought I would get out of London for a few hours to try and rid myself of yet another episode of brain fog. By and large, the trip has succeeded.

It’s always good to explore new places and get a feel for the English countryside. Today, as you can see from the photos, I visited Sudbury in Suffolk. A pretty little town, with nice houses, good architecture and plenty of green space. The only slight let down is sticking the railway station at the end of a road with an unremarkable car park and some recycling banks. Not the most salubrious, but I always have to find the negative, don’t I?

This is the area of the great English painters, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. Also I managed to find a tribute to the author of the book 101 Dalmatians, Dodie Smith. Smith’s book made it’s way onto a world famous Disney film. If you look hard enough in these towns, there’s history and interest galore.

And that’s the problem with England, there should be more advertising of the greatness this country has produced and will continue to produce. It’s only 75 minutes by train from London, Sudbury, and I quite like it. Quintessentially English.

Sadly now, back to London. Gloom returns!

Allen Brooks xx

Fresh Air and Fun…just the job

Went out lunchtime to watch a mate play football. He used to play at a decent level, but age and injuries are catching up with him. Saying that though, he did set up his team’s winner, with a nice pass.

Personally it was nice to get out and enjoy some fresh air, and at times it was a bit too fresh, as a cold shower of rain passed through. Amateur football is interesting to watch and to listen to. The language is often fruity to say the least, and the poor old referee gets it in the neck as well, just like they do in the professional game. The ref doing my mate’s game was ok, even if he did like blowing the whistle a bit too much. But it’s hard to expect top class officiating at the modest level the blokes were playing at.

My mate has to watch it though. He has a bad knee, and at one stage he pulled up and was limping around for a while. He got through the majority of the game, but there will be a time when he’ll have to call it a day playing sport, before something does happen to his knee that could be permanent.

Saying all of that, at least he’s had the talent and the fitness to last this long, and I can only watch on in admiration. I do look out for him though, as he’s one of the few friends I have left! Top class bloke and we’ve been friends for a good while now. I hope to keep it that way! 

Looking at the shapes and sizes of the players on show, I don’t have much to worry about. The referee in the match next door was a chap with grey hair and a beer gut. Suffice it to say he didn’t move very much, except to caution one of the managers for dissent. Still, all in a day’s work, as I’m only too aware of.

Good fun, and nice to be enjoying some sport again.

Allen Brooks xx

The Sun has got his hat on…

Beautiful day here in London. Simply stunning. Clear blue skies and that mellow warmth that we sometimes get this late in the year, certainly makes up for some of that dross type weather that we get in summer. 

How am I? Ok, no more than that. I did sleep ok, and I feel just average. I’ll gladly take that though, after that horrid experience on Thursday night. Ok is ok.

I’m off to watch a mate of mine play football. Like me, he’s getting a bit older, but unlike me, he’s very good at football. With the weather being decent today, it beats staying in, and it’s something a bit different from recent happenings. 

I don’t have that large, dark cloak or blanket over my brain today, so that’s a start. It’s important to just relax and try and enjoy the day. Thursday wasn’t good. Saturday will be better. Trying to harbour some positive thoughts. Being an essentially negative person, that isn’t easy for me to do. I’ll give it a go today though.

Allen Brooks xx