Category Archives: Happy things

The rain in Spain.

I have to admit it…. we are in the throes of another wet and windy summer here in Wales. People coming here on holiday have complained about the wetness… understandably. But why do we always put ourselves down?

When I lived in Switzerland, it was not unheard of for the first snows of the winter to leave people caught out and stranded with total chaos for a day or two…just like here….. but there it was accepted as normal…

When I lived in Spain and Portugal, Autumn downpours regularly caused enormous floods (no adequate drainage) and long power cuts….. everybody accepted it.

As we start yet another drizzly weekend in August, I was amused to read the following in ‘The Costa Blanca News’, an English Language local paper about the rain in Spain this week, and the accompanying chaos:

“BENIDORM town centre was brought to a standstill on Monday as a combination of bad weather and an influx of thousands of vehicles saturated the town’s access roads.

The unexpected rain meant many people from other parts of the province opted for a day out in Benidorm leading to a massive overload of vehicles coming into the town.

This led to parking problems in just about every part of the town, forcing many drivers to drive around in circles looking for a space.

Ongoing work on pedestrianising some town centre streets has taken away hundreds of parking places and all of the underground car parks showed they were full for most of the day.

In Dénia continuing roadworks and breakdowns in the water supply network saw thousands of motorists caught in traffic chaos also on Monday.

A combination of road closures, excavation work, rain and hordes of families looking for a parking place was more than enough to totally disrupt traffic flow and heat tempers to boiling point.”

Ah well! Time to get the wellies out again and take the dog for a nice long muddy walk along the estuary, I think! At least the gardens and the countryside benefit from the wetness.

Re-celebrating the four minute mile

Left to right, Chataway, Banister, Brasher

Left to right, Chataway, Banister, Brasher

It is fifty five years since the young medical undergraduate, Roger Bannister became the first person in the world officially to break the magical barrier of the four minute mile.  As a child of a home which did not yet have the luxury of a TV set, I heard the news on the radio, and later watched the exciting event on the Pathe Newsreel at the local cinema.

A couple of years later when I was a pupil at Colwyn Bay Grammar School in North Wales, we had the honour of a visit from one of Roger Bannister’s pacemakers, Chris Chattaway.  It was a hot summer’s day, and Chris gave us a sort of ‘masterclass’ in athletics.  At one point, he asked me to be the timekeeper for a track race and handed me his own personal wristwatch to perform the task.

I idly turned the watch over and was thrilled to see the inscription on the back.  It was the very watch presented to him by Roger Bannister himself as a ‘Thank-you’ for the assistance in breaking that barrier!

Another of the pacemakers on that day was of course, Chris Brasher who later founded the London marathon…  which both my son & daughter in law have successfully completed. And, if I am not mistaken, I believe that my son actually ran in a half marathon alongside Chris Chattaway, and managed a reasonably similar time…. though of course, the one was quite a few years older that the other by then!

Once the barrier had been broken, more and more people were to break the four minute barrier, and I myself was present in the crowd at White City when it happenned in the early sixties.

©1996 – 2009 American Academy of Achievement. All Rights Reserve

Rescue dog











On a day when all the rest of news is sad or bad, it is great to hear some good news for once.


This Newfoundland is being trained to rescue people from the sea in Swansea.

The picture came from the Daily Mail and you can read more about this Super-Dog here



Formula One returning to the Beeb

Hooray! I have to say that I for one am delighted that Formula One is to return to the BBC after twelve years of missed moves during lengthy adverts.

I have long advocated that ITV needed to insert a window into the adverts so that people could continue to watch the racing that they had tuned in to see, as is done on Spanish TV.

But this new announcement is even better.

All I hope now is that the Beeb has the sense and fortune to include Martin Brundle in its production team…. he was the one worthy asset ‘owned’ by ITV.

I am perfectly happy for my TV licence fee to be used to allow me to watch what I want to see without interruption by long and often boring adverts. Meanwhile for this season, I shall have to do as I always do, and go and make a cuppa during the intervals