Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Neapolitan street art

Graffiti in Naples

Vesuvius looks down on the ancient city of Naples, which is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.

The Castel Nuovo, seat of the medieval kings of the city stands guard in the bay.

The city centre is a UNESCO world heritage site and the cobble pavements make the cars and mopeds that travel then rattle and clatter.
Famous for pizza, Neapolitan ice cream, sea food and the drink lemochello. Restaurants pitch their foods to passers-by with full voice.

One thing Naples is also famous for is its dirtiness. The rubbish that piles the streets in parts can be stacked as high as a building

The Naples waste crisis peeked in 2008 as landfill sites over flowed and the streets have since been lined with rubbish. The issue has still not yet been fully resolved.
Hidden among the rubbish and the ancient streets, nestling in alcoves and on pillars you will find graffiti galore. Not you’re run of the mill graffiti that you find in your average high street. These are not crudely written words or obscenities.

The Naples graffiti is on a larger scale. Giant murals, comical pictures and the most bizarre creatures stare down at you from high walls.

Some say it is art, some say it is vandalism; ultimately it is for you to decide. Graffiti has been around for a long time. The Roman recorded day to day life on the walls of Pompeii. Is this art or graffiti?

The brothel in Pompeii has pictures of sexual positions; a menu on the all if you like. These were here for the visitors who did not speak Latin and therefore could sample the fruits of that establishment.
Political slogans, youth movements and even graffiti relating to bands and music cover walls.

Neapolitan's have a history of graffiti. During World War II they took cover in the tunnels and catacombs under the city. Here they scratched messages on the walls. Again is this graffiti?

A trip to Naples is not complete without seeing the famous graffiti and deciding for yourself.

Art or vandalism?

Either way they are all worth seeing.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Ongar 64 - 7 Rochford

17th November 2012

Ongar 64 – 7 Rochford
Tries: Franklin (4), Whateley-Harris (3), Hardy, Conway, Springate
Cons: Hardy (6), Conway

Ongar emerged from a Jekyll and Hyde game with their 5th consecutive victory.
They started off incredibly poor and were very lucky to not have lost the game in the first ten minutes.

Rochford went at Ongar from the off. They scored and converted early on and were picking holes in the shambolic Ongar defence.
Ongar could not string a pass together and were guilty of losing possession easily and frequently.

Somehow they managed to weather the Rochford storm and Tom Bristow was a hero as he held up two Rochford balls over our try line that would have otherwise decided the game early on.
Ongar were lucky having rode this torrent of play. If they would have conceded anymore then the game would have been an altogether different score and we would have lost morale.

Somehow after 25 minutes Ongar realised that they were in a game of rugby and this would be no walk over. They started to play and believe in themselves. For the first time in the match they put some moves and passes together and the forwards and backs combined.

Ongar spluttered into life and suddenly as if Jeddy had lifted a spell they started to create chances and score points.
Ralton Fenner sped off down the wing using his swirling and dinking legs but dropped the ball. Then Ben Whateley-Harris knocked on when surely a chance was on the cards.
Finally after some pressure Simon Franklin collected off Martin Parker’s lover Steve Conway and popped the ball out of a tackle to Ben Whateley-Harris who scored in the corner.
Aaron Hardy stepped up and narrowly missed the kick. He cursed the sky as he did so and then started to rub himself with Holy Water.

Ongar’s pack took a while to command the scrum. They had differing moments but soon became powerful and majestic in the scrum and the loose. Michael Blake sporting new go faster boots wanted to twinkle toe around the park but while trying to look like Darcy Bussell he more resembled Bubbles De Veere.
The front row of Blakey, Sminnalicious and debutant Nathan Sellers put in a good show. Nathan travelled far for a game after being hounded out by the absent Neil Springate. Apparently Neil found his number on a card in a London phone box. On the card Nathan was sporting a feather boa and far too much make up! Nathan tidied up well and was brilliant distributing the ball and on the fast break. He bounced off many Rochford players much to their horror.

Aaron Hardy playing at his beloved ten for another week then launched the ball down field. Michael Blake and a host of others bellowed at him for kicking it. But as if by magic Simon Franklin used his magical village speed to somehow catch the ball up in mid-air and collect it before running easily over the line to put Ongar firmly in the ascendancy. Aaron converted with ease and a tear in his eye.
Although Aaron Hardy’s chip was good it was not good enough for the fact that he went on about it all night long. In the bar, in the curry house, in the pub afterwards. Anyone who by mistake walked past him would get mind molested by Aaron’s account of his ‘glorious’ chip!

Rochford had two substitutes and they were called into action early on. One of their players went down holding his ankle and then another with a poorly wrist. All credit to Rochford after that because when one of their players went down. They got up, taped themselves up and soldiered on. Un-contested scrums were not even mentioned and therefore that horrid blight on Ongar’s early season did not rear its ugly head up again.
Ongar stared with one substitute. Alan Elvin decided that because he was doing the Spartan beast run tomorrow he would be on the bench. Ben Whateley-Harris was also doing it and showed just how uber manly he was by starting. Alan was left to stand on the side-lines with his big ginger beard looking for Jeddy who was starting as flanker. Jeddy had a great game. His tackles were hard and strong and he collected and distributed brilliantly. Although Rochford had a ginger player and when they tackled each other we all expected there to be some sort of cataclysmic event.
 Jeddy had been away again this week and therefore missed training. Some say Jeddy went on a holiday to Israel and look what he started. Others say that Jeddy was in America consoling Mitt Romney in his arms. All we know is that he wasn’t on the sidelines and Alan’s little face dropped when his play thing was not standing next to him to be cuddled.
Jason Field turned up at half time to warm the bench. He came on to good effect in the second half. He did not give a reason as to why he was late. Therefore we all assumed that he was wining and dining Andy Surrage somewhere as Andy was also missing from today’s line-up.

Steve Conway then got in on the scoring action. He collected off Ralton Fenner from a good powerful Ongar scrum and darted over the line just before half time. Aaron wandered over nonchalantly with the T, but his face soon turned to stone. Steve looked over his shoulder and saw Aaron lumbering over and you could see that in his eye he wanted to punish Aaron for being the boasting man which he would become tonight. Steve coolly drop kicked the conversion and the half time whistle sounded. Aaron had a face of thunder. How dare Steve take his precious two points from him? How would this affect Aaron’s stats on the website?
Aaron was shaking with rage but that could also be the onset of a nervous tic he gets when around Michael Blake. As the night before at the tennis club quiz Blakey tried to drunkenly stab Aaron with a butter knife and then collapsed off his chair into a heap on the floor before heckling the quiz master and accusing Mark Jones on another team of egregious touching violations and atrocities towards our players.

Half time sounded and Ongar knew the game was theirs for the taking but also theirs to throw away. Too many times have Ongar been in this situation and it has all gone to pot.
Not this time though as Ongar came at them with full force.
Ben Whateley-Harris scored his second of the game and then Ian Springate crossed the line over on the right wing.
Aaron Hardy then collected off the back of a ruck and somehow managed to manoeuvre his gut through two tackles and over the line under the posts. He converted this one making sure that Steve was nowhere about.
Martin Parker and Tom Bristow the two locks used the crash ball and pods to great advantage and in the second half they roared down the field.
Dave Lewis played his second game in a row for a long time. Normally he is only allowed to play every two weeks by his owner. Once he has played he has to go home and do all the house work to a high standard that normally only Jeddy or Sminns can achieve before he is allowed out to play. He said that to be allowed out for the Xmas bike ride this year he will have to decorate his entire house in his favourite colour of turquoise before he will even be considered for a day release pass. Although he is still sporting a very manly beard and shouting Sparta at the top of his voice which does go a long way to encourage Ongar’s players.

With Andy Surrage away for the game it fell on John Berry’s shoulders to be the oldest player on the pitch. He used his knowledge and got around the pitch remarkably quick for a man who is held together by tape. He showed the youngsters a few tricks here and there and was always solid in the tackle. A true elder statesman performance.
Daddy to be Nick Cronjaeger who now has recovered from being knocked unconscious a few weeks ago in a match was firm under the high ball and manfully steadfast at full back. Although sometimes he drifts off and we can only imagine that he is thinking back to his short lived career as a TV chef allergic to lemon drizzle cake.
Simon Franklin in quick succession scored a brace to get his hat trick. As Aaron Hardy stepped up to take the kicks a crow was perched on the top of the posts. As Aaron ran up the crow flew away and the kicked sailed over. It was a sign and must have meant that the Jeddy curse on Aaron was lifted.
Aaron kicked 6 attempts out of ten while Steve Conway is on a 100% kicking record. Something Aaron could only dream of.
The second half had periods of fast paced champagne flowing rugby. Then a moment of utter delight as everything worked for Ongar. Rochford lost possession. The Ongar forwards collected, secured. The ball span out, then a missed passed before Ben Whateley-Harris crossed the line to complete his hatch trick as he darted inside and made himself low to avoid tackles as he ran through the centre of the Rochford backs.
Simon Franklin was then not content with only having scored 3 so immediately just set off at electrifying village speed to bamboozle the Rochford defence and score his fourth of the game. Last year he also scored 4 against Rochford. Even though he owed everyone a drink and a jug he didn’t shower and disappeared back to the cow sheds in Willingale straight after the final whistle. This action just reiterates the fact that we think he won’t shower as he has udders!

The final score was 64-7 to Ongar but it could have been a whole lot different if we had conceded those two tries that Chode held up. Ongar have next week off as most of the team are on a Jolly up at Twickenham watching Ralton cry as South Africa lose. The week after however they need to start much brighter and more coherent and as a team.
11 tries in a game is not a bad effort for a day where half the match was played in twilight and the shadows seemed to be chasing Alan trying to catch him and take him to tickle land.
If Dave Lewis can play the next game that means he has done an extra special effort around the house in his pinney. But we will have to wait and see!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

African photos

Sun scorched bones in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, Namibia. 2008

The Sahara, Egypt 2011

Road to nowhere, Botswana 2008

Akosombo - Yeji ferrry, Ghana 2006

Crossing into Botswana in fancy dress

View of the Atimpoku bridge across the River Volta, Ghana 2006

Akosombo Ferry, Ghana 2006

Arriving in Yeji, Ghana

Sandboarding the Namibian way 2008

Don't we all look lovely. Arriving in Botswana 2008

Cairo Rioting, Egypt 2011

Dune 45, Namibia 2008

Overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania 2009

Tabel Mountain without the table cloth. 2008

Ngorongoro Crater 2009

Wa, Ghana 2005

Drinking water supplies, Ghana 2005

Coconut anyone, Ghana 2005

The Larabanga mystic stone. Apparantly it is just here! Ghana 2006

A child sits on the Larabanga mystic stone, Ghana 2006

The Larabanga Mosque, Oldest building in West Africa. Ghana 2006

Sirigu Mountain Village, Ghana 2006

Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe. 2008

Broken down Tro Tro, Ghana 2005

Baby in a bucket, Ghana 2005

Zebra in the Serengheti, Tanzania 2009

Twisted Palm tree, Zanzibar 2009

Nungwi beach, pure paradise, Zanzibar 2009

Giant tortoises on Changuu Island, Zanzibar

I meet one of Changuu Islan's famous residents

Up close and personal with a Changuu Island giant tortoise

The Old prison on Changuu Island. It was never used. 2009

Bungy jumping off Victoria Falls bridge in 2008

Victoria Falls Bridge

Victoria Falls Bridge

Kejetia market with the railway running right through it, Ghana 2005

Accra Arts centre, Ghana 2005

Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum, Accra, Ghana 2005

My camel friend, Egypt 2011

On a long tail boat off the coast of Zanzibar 2009

Sir Charles beach Winneba, Ghana 2005

Drinking palm wine with Barbera the German after just desending Mount Adufato, Ghana 2005

With a Maasai warrior, Kenya 2009

Posing with elephant dung and Henrik the Swede in Mole national park, Ghana New Years eve 2005

Kaum National park, Cape Coast, Ghana 2005