I’d never heard of “tombstoning” until yesterday. Apparently it’s an “extreme sport” and involves diving off rocks and cliffs into the sea. Sounds bloody stupid to me.

It seems that it’s also something of a craze in the town where I grew up.

A middle-aged man drowned and another was seriously injured when they jumped into the sea off a pier in Essex, in a stunt known as “tombstoning”.

The two men – both believed to be in their 40s – were found face-down in the sea by lifeboat crews after jumping off a pier at Clacton, Essex, on Saturday.

Man dies after ‘tombstoning’ jump

Natural selection in action.

Update: More details on the story. It seems that the man who died was a former soldier who had moved to Clacton to escape his drink problem. Not sure that was the brightest of moves. As long as I can remember, there’s always been a big drinking culture in Clacton.

Back Garden Fence

This isn’t really what you want to see first thing in the morning.

When I went to bed last night, this was a rather pretty tree stump and a garden fence that didn’t have a large hole burnt in it.

We’re trying to find out what happened. And trying not to think about what would have happened if the rain hadn’t have put the fire out.

Update:More details emerging and it’s not pretty.

We had a friend staying the night. He was out in the back garden having a cigarette after we had gone to bed. It looks like he didn’t stub it out properly. I’m not sure when this was.

At about 1:30 this morning, people were walking past our house and saw a raging inferno. They woke our neighbours who assumed it was started by vandals. Our neighbour got out his fire extinguisher, but the fire was too strong so they called out the fire brigade who put the fire out.

So it wasn’t a small blaze that was put out by the rain as we previously assumed. We were very nearly the people who burnt the whole street down.

And somehow we managed to sleep through it all.

The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

2012 Logo
2012 Logo

The new London 2012 Olympics logo looks like a car-crash. Which is, I suppose, somewhat appropriate. I can only assume that this was done deliberately to make the 2012 Olympics a laughing stock.

Hopefully someone from the IOC will see the logo, realise that we’re not taking this at all seriously and let some other city host the games instead of London.

Update: The BBC have published some alternative logos that have been sent in by readers. Can I just say that Sean Stayte (logo number 5) is a very naughty man. And that the editor who published that picture is either very naive or else has a keen grasp of internet memes.

Update: The dubious logo has been removed from that page. But the direct link still works.

Oh The Irony

From a recent BBC Have Your Say (as pointed out by spEak You’re bRanes).

don`t blame buisineeses for exploiting the cheap labour if the imigrants can`t be bothered to learn english they have pnly themselves to blame ,in any country if you want to succeed then the first rule is to learn their langusge, every one will exploit weekness weather in work or play ev eryone aim is to win sometimes by any means

[happyfrisk], northampton, United Kingdom

So, are we clear now? If you don’t bother to learn English then people will exploit you.

Actually, on re-reading it, I’m starting to wonder if it’s deliberate.

Relative Values

Of course, it’s terrible that Madeleine McCann remains missing over a week after she disappeared. And we’d all like to see her returned to her family as soon as possible.

But let’s not forget that Alan Johnston is also still missing. And he’s been missing a lot longer than Madeleine. For some reason you don’t hear about celebrities offering huge rewards for information on his whereabouts. Perhaps that only happens for photogenic children.

It was Maddy’s birthday yesterday. She was four. So today’s tabloids have photos of her all over their front pages. It’ll be Alan’s birthday on Thursday. He’ll be forty-five. Who wants to bet that any of Friday’s tabloids will all have him on the front page?

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be doing all they can to find Maddy. I’m just saying that perhaps certain newpaper editors are letting emotions cloud their judgement.

Update: Oh look. I’m not the only person who thinks along these lines. I should read my Bloglines feeds before composing blog entries.

Ticket Touts

Like most of you, I despise ticket touts. I will never buy tickets from them or sell tickets to them. Today, the BBC has an interview with a 15 year old who has been making money by touting tickets on eBay. This is what he has to say for himself.

I’m 15 and I’m at school at the moment, so ticket touting seems to be the only way I can make a good income.

Can you see the flaw in his argument? He says that ticket touting is the only way he can make a good income. There seems to be a bit missing from that sentence. The bit where he says “… without actually getting off my arse and doing some work”. He seems to think that his laziness justifies ripping people off.

You can think it’s taking away the chance for genuine fans to get their tickets, but I’ve got to make my money and it’s better than being like most kids and going out causing trouble on the streets.

He’s got to make him money obviously. And he believes that this justifies ripping people off. It doesn’t of course. He’s just lazy. Youth of today… don’t know they’re born… in my day… spare the birch… conscription…

Oh look. I’ve come over all curmudgeonly. I’ll be writing letters to the editor next.

The Hole In The Wall

Two or three years ago we got some damp in the wall behind the desk in my study. It seemed to go away for a while and we learned to live with the dodgy looking patch where the wallpaper and some of the plaster had come away.

Over this long weekend, I decided that I was going to have a go at bringing some order to the chaos that is my study and part of that was going to be cleaning off the loose plaster and filling the holes with polyfiller.

That was the plan.

I moved everything away from the wall and started prodding gently at it to get rid of the loose plaster. But there was a lot more loose plaster than I expected. And I mean a lot more. And in about half an hour I was left with a couple of square metres of wall that had no plaster left at all. It was down to the bare brick. Which wasn’t good.

I’ve never plastered before. But it looks like I’ll be getting a crash course over the next few days.

Balham Restaurants

Over the last year, Balham has gone into a frenzy of restaurant opening. I thought that some of you might be interested in hearing my opinions of some of these restaurants.

Hop & Spice
New Sri Lankan restaurant on Bedford Hill. We accidently went there on their opening night. In fact I think we were their first paying customers. On that night the food was pretty good although the staff were a bit over-attentive (due to first night nerves). We went back a few weeks later and the food wasn’t anywhere near as nice. It’ll be a while before we go back again.

This isn’t that new, but it’s currently the restaurant that we normally pop into when we want a quick meal and can’t be bothered to cook. It’s southern Indian food and we love it. We eat there most weeks. Try their roasted cashew nuts and treat yourself to a passion fruit lassi.

The Indian Room
The only downside of this place is that it has taken over the premises of our favourite pizza delivery restaurant and we haven’t yet found a decent replacement. It’s a worthwhile sacrifice though as the Indian Room is a fabulous little Indian. It’s only been open a couple of months but we’re going there almost as often as we go to Sadya. They do home deliveries too.

LY Bar
We tried this for the first time last night. It was a slightly weird experience to be honest. The food was great – well cooked and very well presented. It was a little more expensive than most other restaurants in Balham but well worth it. However the experience was rather spoilt by the staff and the decor. There were a lot of staff, but they weren’t very well trained and they seemed to spend most of their time standing around trying to avoid work. I’m sure they’ll get better with practice. But the decor needs some serious work. The walls are all black and the lighting is rather dim. Together will the music, which was slightly too loud, it was all a bit like having a nice meal in the middle of a nightclub. Oh, and they don’t have a licence yet, so you have to bring your own drinks.

The Paddyfield certainly isn’t new, but for some reason we didn’t discover it until a few months ago. It’s a great cheap Thai restaurant tucked away at the unfashionable end of Bedford Hill. In fact, thinking about it, forget that I mentioned it. It’s far too small and always busy. It doesn’t need any more customers taking up tables when I’m trying to get in.