Confederation Report (August 2010)

I pen this the day after the most turgid and brutal World Cup Final for many a decade. Spain, the “New Brazil”, have triumphed, but the Dutch resorted to appalling brutality in an effort to prevail. They knew “te metiste e camisa de once baraas” (they had bitten off more than they could chew – Oh yes, its Spanish and Dutch theme this edition mi amigos!).

My excitement that, for the first time EVER, a Manchester City player was on the park for the “Greatest Game On Earth”, was rather tempered by the said Nigel de Jong attempting open-heart surgery on a Spaniard with his football studs. As the Dutch would have it “Er is aeen redden voor u om de juiste van de olifant te eten” (there is no reason for you to be eating that elephant’s right foot) or “Uw onegecoordineerde dansbeweging binja die person achter u!” (your uncoordinated dance move almost killed that person behind you!).

Referee Howard Webb had to show more cards than a Hallmarks rep!

Apart from the marvellous B’fana, B’fana enthusiasm (including the vuvuzeles – no worse than the English (AND WELSH) cricket’s Barmy Army Band with its constant “Great Escape Theme” in the key of “WAAAAGHHH”) it wasn’t the feast of footie we had hoped for. Personally, I was in a state of bitter envy that Wales weren’t there AGAIN! This was not helped when I plucked Slovenia in the Kirkland Arms’ World Cup Sweepstake. Five Quid for Slovenia! My cousin got England. HE really thought he was going to bag the couple of hundred smackers. Fair play, Slovenia did better!

During the German debacle (and I DID support the English), there was a lively debate as to why Slovenia was better than Wales. Same population numbers. Slovenia not as well off. Not as good facilities etc, etc.

Well, hang on. Do Slovenia have a world-class rugby side? How many Slovenians won Olympic Golds last time out? Is a Slovenian currently second in the Tour de France? Is Joe Calzaghe Slovenian? (Well actually, I am not sure about questions two and three and I think Joe may be a bit Italian, but, hey ho.) But it is a fair comparison. So is Uruguay. I really liked them. I would love Wales to be like them on the pitch. They’ve also got a lunatic national anthem – its pure opera, no-one seems to know the words, and even if they do it is impossible to sign unless you are Dame Kiri or Bryn Terfel. I would not be too keen on the Graf Spee steaming into Milford Haven though.

This was all put on the backburner as Wayne “the most attractive potato in the world” Rooney (I didn’t make it up – an American poll voted him thus) and Co achieved England’s officially worst World Cup performance ever. Despite Frank Lampard’s “goal that should have been”.

Anyway, about four days ago, an old friend, and England fanatic and Bank Manager, (I know, an odd combination), rang me to say that, having drowned his sorrows in the nearest bars to the ground (almost certainly a case of “Eres las chica mas bonita en este bar aunque eres travesty” (you are the prettiest girl in the tavern even though you are a transvestite) during said binge, and “Estaba esperando que te reconoras como consegui este tatuaje” (I was rather hoping you could remember how I got this tattoo), the morning after, he decided to cut short his Traansvaal visit and come home.

He went to the airport, was allowed to bring forward his ticket for a “nominal sum” as the lady on the desk put it, flashed the plastic, dialled in the digits without looking how much. And discovered, when his bank rang him to say he might have been defrauded in Africa, that he had almost paid a thousand pounds! And he felt immense sympathy for the bloke who “trespassed” into the English dressing room to berate David Beckham, thinking he was in a lavatory. The bloke who reported on this accidental incursion for the “Mirror”, is being kept there for some unfathomable crime. That and the Dutch ladies who wore tiny orange numbers advertising beer, shows that justice overseas is a very different kettle of fish to that here. “Die Ingelegde vis kijkt vooraal yummy” as they say in Rotterdam (that pickled fish looks absolutely yummy!) (I know, but it’s the best I can manage with fish analogies, alright.)

I’m sorry, but the English press is daft. They hype up their team’s prospects, and castigate them when they don’t cut the mustard. Thankfully, the dismal showing by Fabio’s troubled brood did not spark the holocaust of bad behaviour from the fans, so well done! They just all did what my mate did – came home, ensuring that BA recouped the strike and ash losses of the past few months.

If Wales HAD got there, I would have been expecting to be coming home after the first Group Stage. But I would have been pleased just to be there.

So my impoverished friend, could he sue, get some dosh back, send the bill to the F.A.? Not a chance, of course. Caveat Emptor – especially when hung-over. Old son. As the Spanish would have it “Dando y dando, pajarito volando” (giving and giving, the bird is flying). (I did like that nonsence, but lyrical eh?) Giving money, flying birds/aeroplanes? Not the worst, I think.

Having got that off his chest, as is oftimes the case when having your last hope of a refund squelched by a lawyer, he decided to berate the law for anything and everything, in this case the recent horrific gun cases in Cumbria and Northumberland. Doctrine of transferred malice perchance – you’re a lawyer, must be your fault.

“Why couldn’t this stupid government just enact a new law, banning guns entirely or at least making sure that anyone seen with a gun be hurled into the chokey for a millennium or so? They were quick enough to make methadone illegal weren’t they?”

I gently reminded him that:

a. His trip must have blinded him to the fact that we now had a different government;

b. The penalty for any firearms offences are pretty darned stiff now anyway (three to five years mandatory usually), and that handguns are banned;

c. It was methaDRONE, not the heroin substitute, and;

d. How on earth can you legislate for every, usually normal, member of Joe Public that becomes mentally disturbed? There will always be criminals and those driven over the edge will resort to extremes. We are just lucky that incidents such as Hungerford, Dunblane and these latest horrors, are so rare.

I did say that the one rule that could help, was to make all rifle owners keep their weapons at their clubs. I don’t see the need for high velocity firearms to be kept in the home, except shotguns, and then only in rural areas.

He was not placated by my soothing tones and display of sweet reason, calling me something like what the Dutch say “De de Schoengrootle van yourr is dat van een clown” (your shoe size is that of a clown). Except I think it was my brain size he referred to.

Leaping to another happier topic, the Confederation Summer Ball was a welcome interruption to the nightly World Cup/Wimbledon extravaganzas. Mr Murray actually went out on that very night, but it certainly didn’t detract from the gaiety and bonhomie. It was great to see Dave Aubrey QC (who hasn’t aged a jot – although he did say he had always looked that old!) Incidentally, if any Accie reading this has the cricket scorebook from the mid 1980’s, which records “the Aube’s hat-trick”, can he let him know – he would love a copy. John Charles Rees QC and a host of other luminaries were also present. It was a first-class night, at a wonderful venue with great food. And the weather was, for once, kind to us.

Many thanks, as always, to Richard Fisher. Thanks too to Secretary Mile Walters, Fran Edwards, Layla Attfield and the supporting cast of thousands, for their exceptional hard work. Robin Moran told me a very funny story, which is, sadly, not suitable for these pages, but over which I am still cackling.

The auction was well bid upon, the profits going to “Team Jeary”, who, having conquered Mount Kilimanjaro, are now intent on walking the entire Great Wall of China! It was something of a surprise to hear Stephen tell the lovely Julia the next morning, that he was not “feeling up to a practice yomp”. Remember, “Para Toda mal, Mezcal, Para Toda Bien, Tambien” which roughly translated means “For every ill, alcohol, for every good, the same”. Hair of the Dog Stephen! We wish you the best of luck for your Oriental marathon. And beware the Rice Wine on your mighty halts!

I only learned at the Ball that we have lost two lovely people since I last wrote. Barristers Charles Cook and David “Dai” Harris both passed in the past few months. Both were good advocates, and thoroughly decent human beings. Dai, with his infusions of snuff at every possible opportunity, a vicar and storyteller par excellence. Charles, with his gentle, but delightful approach to life.

Also, many of you will remember Martin Howard, a former Corporal of the Horse in the “Welsh Cavalry” (Queens Dragoon Guards), who was for a decade, one of the Reliance Warders at Cardiff Crown Court. He relocated to Pembrokeshire to take a pub in Haverfordwest, and sadly died in June. He was a real character, enjoyed the company of lawyers and played football with the Cardiff Accies for many years.

Another sad loss was Fred Thomas, one of the great characters from the old Cardiff Magistrates Courts, where he was a Court Police Office in the “Stipes” Court. A very funny and dignified man, and a great friend to Solicitor Advocates.

They will all be missed, and our condolences go out to their families.

Another interesting interlude was the resumption of “hostilities” between Cardiff and Swansea Law Societies at cricket.

The last meeting was twenty years ago at St Helens, when Cardiff prevailed in the last over. Modesty prevails from telling you who was at the crease (three not out). But what was extraordinary was that not just your elderly correspondent had survived to play the “flannelled fool” again, but also Jonathan Arter. He really is the most wonderful company, and is held in such affection by all who know him. He was able to name virtually the whole of the team from the 1980’s. To add to that, with Mark Harvey also present (hurling himself impressively around the sward!), Cardiff had three ex-Presidents on show! Sadly the game had to be moved from St Helens to Ashleigh Road due to a waterlogged pitch, but it was a good game. Swansea won by 50 runs (Mumford and Arter being the last men in, but unable to achieve the required total by quite a lot, Mumford pathetically chipping a dolly to the nearest fielder to be last man out). It was played in a lovely spirit, and many thanks to our extremely sporting hosts (I was LBW about ten times, but no appeals. I have told them they will be honoured by “Help the Aged” in due course!).

If it takes another twenty years to play again, I will not be there. Some of my attempts at fielding were skin to the opera “Twilight of the Gods”. I fell on the ball like a demolished chimney. I am still stiff and sore a week on. If I were a horse, they would shoot me. “Si me queada la zapatilla, me puedes llamar cenicenta”, as the Spanish saying goes – (if the shoe fits, call me Cinderella). Like Cinderella., I spent most of my time missing the ball! Apologies to those ten proper cricketers who did so well for Cardiff! I sincerely hope that this restarts those lovely days, when we played virtually every week against the likes of Aberdare, Pontypridd, Bristol, and the Bar.

Have a great summer. Until the next time.

Mumf 

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