Home Work

A MyDiary article from 27 Nov 2009

Today I am working from home.  No, really, I’m at home and working.  I’m not just messing about on my computer.  It’s real work.

I know it’s work because I have to open an Excel spreadsheet.  As usual, it is a complex, multi-formatted workbook with SUBTOTAL functions and my Mac’s pretty little spreadsheet, Numbers, does not seem to support these professional tools.

As a result I have had to install Sun’s VirtualBox which will allow me to load in my copy of Windows XP and the MS Office package on to my Mac.

I really do not want to do this, other than for the fascination, as it will be like fitting a Kia sunroof with ill fitting lock into my Jaguar.

The process involves adding Sun’s VirtualBox, Microsoft’s XP, the XP SP2 disc, MS Office 97 Suite [I can’t afford the extortionately priced upgrade, alright], adding AVG virus protection, then running several dozen Windows Updates, each of which wants to have its very own restart.

I will then be able to fire up the Excel sheet.

All of which is very time consuming and will mean I won’t be finishing early today.

Despite working from home.

Which I am.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog , Software and Worker sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 19 Jul 2018
First published on 27 Nov 2009

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Jet Wash[ing Up]

A MyDiary article from 12 Nov 2009

A photograph of the back of my wife in a red tee-shirt and beige cap stood on a balcony just as a nine plane Red Arrows jet formation flies past, trailing their blue, white and red smoke
A Red Arrows display begins in August 2009.  No idea of how many pilots were wearing make up

I’m in the process of readying the next update to my vinceunlimited website.

To be honest I’ve been in this process for some time.

I recently made a decision to abandon the plan to hand code a replacement and instead rely on the built in iWeb application that came with my Apple software, despite all it’s limitations such as lack of meta tagging, inability to child page and inability to include the basic widgets on non-Apple standard servers etc.

I deduced that it really is content that matters.

Thankfully, I have now discovered I can quickly copy paste content from my current version so I do not need to retype all the 120 pages of content.

However, having the site on the operating table and not up and running means that days like today frustrate me as a great story came out about the first female Red Arrows pilot.

The scope for a playful blog was hardly satisfied by my Tweet entry suggesting all displays would now run at precisely five past three to allow for a quick lipstick fix.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Geek sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 18 Jul 2018
First published on 12 Nov 2009

The photograph shows the arrival of a nine-plane Red Arrows display over Bournemouth in August 2009.  I took the picture timed to show the exact time of arrival as my wife waited patiently for the start of the display

An Old Fashioned Diary

A MyDiary article from 11 Nov 2009

As if I haven’t got enough places to write things down – my blog, Facebook, Twitter.  I couldn’t resist the idea of having a personal diary again so have downloaded the MyDiary App onto my iPhone.

I remember my last real journal was an A4 white bound affair with stupidly narrow lines.  I wish I could read it now.

Today is Armistice Day.  It is also my sister’s birthday.  Mum and Dad nearly called her Poppy because of this but went with Dawn instead.  Something about being born early in the day I understand.  If all parents were like mine a quarter of all girls would be called Dawn.

The siren rang out at the Warminster site I was working at today at 11am to mark the two minute silence.  I stood and thought about all the soldiers dying and being injured in Afghanistan.  This solemn moment was only disturbed by me sneezing half way through.

Finally I started trading on iTrade today, another App on my iPhone.  This little piece of fun allows a virtual trade using real stock values.  I decided to reduce the confusion so decided to keep to stocks starting with the letter V.   Egoistic or what?

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 17 Jul 2018
First published on 11 Nov 2009

Not Over The Moon

A vinceunlimited blog article from 20 Jul 2009

An American astronaut stands in his white spacesuit and large glass fronted helmet on a rocky moon surface next to the foot of his lunar landing module
An astronaut stands on the lunar surface near to the Lunar Module Eagle foot

Today [20 Jul 2009] marks the fortieth anniversary of the first moon landing by a man in a white suit with a big pack on his back and it seems the world has gone mega-moon nostalgic.

The airwaves are full of grainy imagery and everyone is so pleased with themselves you can hardly hear the naysayers claiming the rocks in the picture are made of Hollywood papier-mâché now stored in Area 51.

This led me to excitedly mention to my misses that the nine 1969 Kodak Memorial Colour Slides we have diligently stored in the cupboard might well meet a good premium on eBay.

And her to disappointedly mention that she threw them out a month ago.

A month ago I acquired a natty slide converter and spent a few moments [read hours] transferring all my old colour slides to a more manageable electronic format.

With this I can now see them more regularly and indeed have added some to this very website.

I also knew that most were gradually deteriorating, over time loosing their natural crisp brilliance and turning darker by the year.

I realised that after the transfer there was little point keeping the cumbersome little blighters and that Mrs Clear-It-Up was going to put them in the big grey bin.

However I presumed she might keep the singular little box of collectable, commemorative slides.

Why do I make these basic errors of assumption?

So the NASA eBay collectors of the world were denied the opportunity to get a contemporary set of 60’s memorabilia and I was denied my probable forty quid anniversary present.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 14 Jul 2018
First published on 20 Jul 2009

The photograph is a digital transfer from a Kodak Slide original [ask your dad] and is of one of the Apollo 11 astronauts from the 1969 manned lunar spaceflight mission.  The photo was not taken by the author.  If it was I would be a lot more famous.  And older, as I was about six at the time.  Credit belongs to NASA.  Added on 14 Jul 2018

The Smelliest Car

A vinceunlimited blog article from 19 Nov 2008

I read in Advanced Driving magazine about a new car from the French battery company Bolloré.

An electrically propelled vehicle to be called the B0.  That is the ‘B-zero’.

I somehow doubted that it will be called that.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Petrolhead sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 11 Jul 2018
First published on 19 Nov 200
8
The first prototype was called La Blue Car.  It became the La Pininfarina B0 [zero] in 2008 with model releases in 2013 and then with Renault in 2015.  Since then it appears to have passed in the wind.  Like the Mercedes-Beans

Advanced Driving magazine was published by the Institute of Advanced Motorists [IAM], an advanced driving charity with a purpose to improve driving standards, now called IAM RoadSmart

My Space Blog

A MySpace article from 1 Mar 2008

Hi, thought I’d try a blog on MySpace to try to re-kindle some enthusiasm for my entry.

So far have been a member for a few weeks but only have one friend – Tom.  Not that Tom is a great friend.  He is some sort of automated start-up tart who befriends everyone just so they don’t look like Billy no-mates.

Being a Billy no-mates has seemingly attracted a few stunning females who claim to want to be my mate, but as they reside in Wisconsin, USA and claim they hail from Salisbury in the UK their cover as porn links are blown so get sent to the great junk dump in the sky.

Seriously, if you are a fit female and genuinely want to chew the cud at least make out you have read my site.  Or mention the word Hippopotamus.  At least that way I know you’re not just after my credit details.

Not that you have to be fit or female to get a response.  I’ll reply to anyone.  Except Tom.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Social Media sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 10 Jul 2018
First published on 1 March 2008

No Choice

A vinceunlimited blog article from 17 May 2007

A colleague of mine at work today, when questioned about her smoking habit, replied that “It is my choice.”

I really think that she, along with anyone else who peddles this pathetic line, is plainly wrong.

If true choice were being exercised, not a variant based on pier pressure, obvious and subliminal advertising along with nicotine addiction, then no sane person could choose to partake in an activity that shortens life, makes them stink, discourages friendship, causes or accelerates numerous painful diseases, stifles fitness, wastes time as well as money, dulls their senses, destroys their brain cells and makes them prematurely age.

Still, as she said, it’s her choice.

Is it?

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 9 Jul 2018
First published on 17 May 2007

Mac In The Firing Line

A vinceunlimited blog article from 14 May 2007

Wherein I discover Apple Products

A MacMini on top of a matching back-up drive powers a 23 inch Mac monitor filled with photo icons, coupled to an optical mouse, printer and small stereo speakers, all on a dark wood desk unit with matching shelving and adjacent file system.  Files are in the filing system and an iPod Classic is on one of the shelves
This is the screen that turned me into a Mac user. Most just get there from using their iPhone

I’m in the long process of converting one of my bedrooms into a home office and central to this new environment will be a shiny new PC.

I have been looking for a machine that hits the right aesthetic notes as well as performing magnificently.

My major problem area was finding a decent screen and I stumbled into a corker in the new Apple Store that someone kindly set up in my nearest town.

This got me thinking all Mac and I’ve decided that I would suit a quirky set up.

Now, whilst I await latest product news, I am getting all keen and buying up all the Mac magazines and trawling the website constantly.

As a result I’m very familiar with the Mac adverts [both US and UK versions].

Naturally, being me, I immediately turned my attention to thinking up a new ad.  As with all the other ads it opens with the familiar ‘PC’ and ‘Mac’ characters.

PC: “Hello, I’m PC and I’m very popular, though I sometimes don’t get on with everyone.”

Mac: “Hi, I’m Mac and although not as commonplace as you PC, I get on with anyone.  Straight out of the box.  This makes me smugly better.”

A third party joins.

PC: “But, who is this Mac?  I can’t seem to make it out.  You’re so cleverly compatible Mac, tell me who it is.”

Mac: “No. Sorry.  At a loss there for once.”  [To third party]  “Who are you?”

Third party: “Hello, I’m Amstrad emailer.”

Mac: “Nope.”

PC: “Does not compute.”

PC/Mac [together]: “You’re fired!”

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Geek sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 6 Jul 2018
First published on 14 May 2007

The advertising campaign for Apple at the time was the “Get a Mac” campaign and used two contrasting characters.  The informally dressed Mac character, performed by Justin Long, appeared cool and composed and usually got the better of the more stuffy, formal performance of John Hodgman as the PC character.  The campaign was created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab.  A UK version of many of the ads were re-shot using Robert Webb and David Mitchell
The image is of the author’s first converted bedroom Apple Mac set up showing the MacMini on top of a matching back-up drive powering a 23″ Mac monitor displaying many photo icons, coupled to an optical mouse, printer and small Bose stereo speakers.  An iPod Classic and webcam are on one of the shelves.  The image was taken by the author, in Jul 2008 and was added in Version 5.147 6 Jul 2018

The Next Big Thing?

A vinceunlimited blog article from 4 May 2007

Sun rays burst into an aquarium containing a medium sized shark and a large schoal of fish
It’s not just the author that likes the taste of a bit of Sashimi

The really big questions interest me the most.

Like, why are we here?  Or, where did we come from?

Or, why I am still hungry after eating a hugely expensive sashimi meal?

And it seems that one of the biggies is about to be discovered.

Around the end of November this year [2007], at CERN, The Large Hadron Collider, an enormous machine that can accelerate weenie little particles at an astonishing speed through an 27km underground oval tube in order to hit each other is due to attempt to create the conditions at our universe’s big bang moment.  All so geeky professors wearing white coats and holding clipboards can ‘tut’ knowingly and say “I thought so” in an annoyingly cocky manner.

Either that or the big bang will occur again and we’ll all be instantly sucked into an energy field smaller than my blog entries for the first three months of the year.

Personally I wonder whether this answers two of the really big questions.

Why there are no other developed organisms like us in the massive universe?  And secondly why there are so many black holes out there?

Are these questions linked?  Is it that when species reach a mature enough state to ponder the universe, then scientifically test it, they can’t help but twitch the nose of Armageddon.

Looks like I could afford that delicious sashimi after all.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Thinker sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 5 Jul 2018
First published on 4 May 2007

CERN can be found at home.cern
When the test was successfully completed we didn’t all disappear.  Just thought I’d let you know
The image is of a scene in the Pier 39 Aquarium in San Francisco, taken by the author, in May 2016 and was added on 5 Jul 2018

Well Spun Lie

A vinceunlimited blog article from 2 May 2007

A close up the author, facing left, wearing a white shirt and clutching a red cricket ball
The author wondering why cricket is played in white, when on a grass pitch using a bright red ball

I couldn’t give a flying off-spin for cricket.

I was forced to endure it as a school child and my only contribution was to suggest they use a lighter ball, such as was used in tennis.  I didn’t see the point then and don’t much care for it now.

All this would make you wonder why I became engrossed in the events of the recent world tournament.

It had nothing to do with the on pitch shenanigans but the more interesting, albeit tragic, story of the murderous death of the Australian born Pakistani coach, Bob Woolmer.

As has become fashionable in such circumstances the question was soon posed as to what to do to honour the respected coach.

After much [?] consultation the Pakistani team decided to play on.  Noting, no doubt, that Bob Woolmer was a fan as well as cricket enthusiast so would have liked to see the game continue.  So Pakistan dutifully played on, a match which they lost incidentally.

What troubles me is this notion spilled out regularly on these occasions that a dead person would appreciate the symbolic agreement of a professional sports team to carry on in their honour.

I know nothing of Bob Woolmer but would have been much more impressed by his reputation if Pakistan had called the match off and retired from the tournament.

I’d be even more impressed if they had cancelled the actual tournament.

Or postponed all cricket altogether for five years.

So remember, if you hear of my untimely demise, don’t think I would want you all to just carry on regardless as if nothing had happened.  I’m stating right now, for the record, that I want nothing less than true despair.

Throwing yourself on a six-foot spike would seem the right thing to do.

Or, at the very least cancel cricket.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Sports sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 4 Jul 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 on 2 May 2007

The image is of the author clutching a cricket ball during a stage performance of A Cricket Match, one part of Alan Ayckbourn’s play Intimate Exchanges

Turnstile Girl

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance, might use it to dam a leak in Venice.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.  In all the BBC received over 1100 entries.  It is a speculative piece that presupposes England were playing Germany in the final, which didn’t actually happen.  No wonder it didn’t make the cut.  However, imagine that scenario and read on.  Just don’t blame the author if you cheer so loudly that your computer screen cracks.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were winners that time or out in the qualification round.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Ball’, ‘The Dog’ and ‘The Driver’.


I was there…  I was there…  I was there.

I keep on saying it, trying to ingrain it into my subconscious.  As if somehow I might forget that today I was there on one of the greatest days that the nation has ever witnessed.

O.K.  It may not rank up there with D-day, or the moon landings but for us today, my generation, this has got to rank as one of the best moments in history.  You cannot get better than your team winning in the World Cup Final.  And I can say – I was there.

Not for me the next forty years trying to recall where I was on this magnificent day.  I’ll always be able to remember – I was actually there.

Now you may think it strange that an English girl like me ended up here.  After all, a few weeks ago I was hardly a football fan.  Oh, I knew what most girls did, that David Beckham is reason enough to follow this sport, a real superstar, but I know of him through ‘O.K!’ and ‘Hello’ rather than his football team, whatever that is.  I don’t actually have a ‘team’ of my own and admit to being lost when my male friends try to impress me with their so called knowledge of the off-side rule.  But now I can tell them.  You can keep your side rules, I was there.  On the actual day.  At the actual ground.

I nearly wasn’t here.  If it hadn’t been for that au-pair job in Frankfurt falling through, or the chance meeting with Helga in that café that led me to staying here in Germany this summer.  Nor the fact that the ground needed additional English speaking staff for the final…  So many chances to have missed it, so many chances to have failed to be here.

Now it’s getting near the end my heart is thumping so loud I reckon that I can hear it above all the din.  The atmosphere here is terrific.  Drums are beating, the crowd is singing, everyone chanting.  We are three goals ahead and the opposition looks like it has given up.  No question about who is going to win this.  All you can hear are the supporters shouting out the goal-scorers names and that magical word – England.

Now it seems as if the stand above me is going to collapse, this part looks new to me I hope it stays up.  I’m sure I can see those beams bending.  Bending with Beckham, I reckon.  I am so glad I came here.  I’m so proud that I was there.

Mind you I wish I was up there.  Up with the actual crowd.  I’m at the World Cup final where England won and I’m all alone down here at my turnstile.  It wasn’t lonely earlier when all the late-comers were hurrying through but now there’s no-one.  Even Dieter has gone upstairs.  Mid-way through the second-half he asked if he could go up to see what was happening; noting how I was hardly a fan so wouldn’t mind covering.  I said yes, after all twenty minutes ago he wasn’t incorrect.  Plus he did say that he’d come back but so far he’s a no show.  I’m left alone here with no-one else to share this moment.  Tens of thousands of fans above and me, down here on my own.

Still. It doesn’t change the facts.

I was there.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 29 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

The Driver

The Driver

Fiction By Vince

Written July 2006 as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.  In all the BBC received over 1100 entries but they didn’t think this eligible for publication.  I do, so have done so here.  Belligerent?  Damn right.


 

The author photographed sitting in a blue Mercedes AMG GT V8 powered sports car
A professional driver. A powerful car.  All that’s needed is an empty road

Can you hear it?  Just there, right now.  That eerie silence.

Normally right here about this time there would be a cacophony of sound.  It was there just a few minutes ago but now it’s all gone.  All gone with the rest of them.  Just me.  And that beautiful silence.  It’s about time I changed all that.

[The sound of V8 engine rumbles into life]

Now that’s even better.  The purest sound known to people like me.  You can forget your whale song, newborn and opera, this is the best sound available to mankind.  At least if your veins gush with four-star and you pray to the God of Clarkson.  And for us true petrol heads right here, right now is when we can get our biggest fix.

You see to really appreciate a car like this you need, well first off, a car like this.  A thrilling combination of beauty, power and performance.  But just as important you need space.  Space to fulfil your dreams.  Space to stretch her legs.  Space to touch the edge of the envelope.

And don’t go thinking that the reference to stretching her legs is some sort of sexual suggestion.  No, for the true purist you can forget your Kirsten Scott Thomases and Angelina Jolies.  Right now I wouldn’t even have the gorgeous Vicky Butler-Henderson sat here.  What I’m about to do is at its best as a solitary pursuit.  You can’t say that about many things.

It is indeed a rare occurrence, blue moon, haystack needle sort of thing and I’m about to make the most of it.  I’m at odds with the rest of the world but at peace with myself.  On the starting grid of something truly spiritual.  Outside, rebellious, dangerous, exciting.

This has all happened because of football.  It’s never been my kind of thing really.  Of course I sound authoritative discussing some points with my peers and often watch a publicised match or two.  I even casually follow my local team’s progress.  However, I have a sneaking admiration for those that truly no nothing of the beautiful game and believe that the overpaid superstars really ought to get a proper job.  But right now, when communal fervour has driven everyone inside and off my road I am truly grateful that it is our national sport.

[The V8 revs]

Did you hear that?  Primed and ready to rock and roll.  Not that I’m going to play any music.  Truly great driving sounds come from pistons, intakes and exhausts.  Motorhead has nothing on a V8 in a tunnel.  And a tyre squeal sings better than Led Zep.

I’ll have to be careful though.  I won’t quite be the only one out here for the next ninety.

I’m not talking about other demons like me.  We are a rare breed and share an instinctive support for each other.  If we pass there will be no tantrums, no drama.  Fast at speed maybe, but in total control as only a true driving god is.  We may kick at the speed of light but we know where and when it is right to go for a goal.

Even the mortals in their Sunny one-point-twos quietly going about their daily business, as oblivious to the tournament as they are to life in general won’t be a problem.  My sudden presence then disappearance would only shock if they actually had the ability to react.

No, my real problem will be those boys in blue who are forced to miss the moment that everyone will be talking about for the next forty years.  This will instil a deep rooted jealousy that can only be satiated by persecuting a man like me.  I’ll have to be on my game.

Kick off in five minutes time.  Just like the others but for other reasons I’ve etched this time firmly in my psyche.  Sat here in this lay-by counting down the minutes, then the seconds.  Watching the fading remnants of morons racing past to get to their phosphor alters.

Nearly time to go.  Nearly time for life to take its true meaning.  Nearly there.  The road ahead clears.  No-one around.  Empty silence.

Dip clutch…first gear…final check over shoulder…ease out clutch…and we’re off.

[The V8 rumbles]

It is totally clear ahead and my freedom beckons.  I can go any route I chose, like an eagle soaring through the skies.  Left or right at this junction, the choice is only mine.  Floor it now…

…With any luck I’ll make it back in time for the match.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 26 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

The Dog

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance will use it later to prop open the door to get some fresh air.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.   In all the BBC received over 1100 entries but the BBC decided against entering it into the final so, in sympathy, my beloved England team did the same. I think.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were the mutts nuts or the dog doo-dahs.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Ball’, ‘The Driver’ and ‘Turnstile Girl’.


 

A young Yorkshire Terrier puppy playing with a red ball.  A plastic bone is nearby
Dogs have no idea on how to play football. They just copy Suárez biting techniques

Something’s going on, I’m sure of that.

It’s the little things that you notice, like all the rushing around and the general buzz of excitement.

Something’s going on, I’m sure of that.

It’s the little things that you notice, like all the rushing around and the general buzz of excitement.  Little things, like them coming home early but then not having dinner until late.  It may be alright for them but I’m a regular sort.  I like things as they were yesterday, as they were last week, last month.  It’s mad enough at weekends and at holidays such as Christmas, but at least I get extra grub at these times.  Right now I’m just being completely ignored and I’m not best pleased.

I’m aware that they all like to sit and stare aimlessly at that strange, noisy box in the corner of the room and mostly I’m happy with that.  After all, getting my own head down is a skill I’ve mastered to a fine art.  Those lazy hours can always be punctuated with the odd wander around for a bit of attention, or if I’m feeling a little mischievous I can always pretend to snore… Or fart.

This is different though.  My dinner’s late, my stomach rumblings are genuine and every time I even get near that noisy box someone yells out quite unnecessarily loudly.  Only yesterday I nosed over to see what all the fuss was about and I got a flying slipper for my trouble.  Even my failsafe lay out on my back with my ears flat out and legs in the air doesn’t seem to attract their attention.  But worst of all, now I want to go.

There may be tension in this room, rising and pitching like someone just found a key to a huge secret larder, then lost it again, but for me all the tension is in my bladder and it just keeps rising and rising.  I learnt a long time ago not to use this room and that it really was in my best interests to wait until I go out.  But I’ve waited nearly ninety minutes and there is no sign that anyone wants to go ‘Walkies’.

Mind you, just now, even when I do get out in the park for a bit of a run there are always far too many kids there.  All of them running around, kicking a huge ball and shouting at each other quite a lot.  I wouldn’t mind if I they let me join in but when I try they seem to get so upset then pretend I’m the ball and try to kick me.  Not that they stand a chance against my speed and manoeuvrability.  And what is it with this ‘Rooney’ name they shout?

I really hope this state of affairs doesn’t drag on all summer.  In this heat that pungent smell of canned lager in this room is starting to overwhelm my sensitive nostrils.

What on earth can obsess these people so strongly?

It’s only been two weeks but I’m starting to think that if anyone else pointlessly shouts out ‘Come on Engerland’ I’ll bloody well bite them.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 22 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

The Ball

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance, might try it on a pizza with a little olive oil.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.  In all the BBC received over 1100 entries but much like the England team my entry didn’t make the finals and The Beeb decided not to broadcast my efforts.  The fools.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were on the ball or off the pitch.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Dog’, ‘The Driver’ and ‘Turnstile Girl’.


Here we go!  Here we go!  Here we go!

That’s all I’m hearing lately.  It’s alright for the fans and those infuriating footballers but speaking from my particular point of view I’d be happy to stay where I am.  I do realise that hasn’t been the view of all balls in this World Cup, flying here there and everywhere, but personally speaking I’d rather just sit here on this grass lapping up the sun.

You see, being a ball in the World Cup isn’t all it’s made out to be.  I recall discussing this with my grandfather, a leathery old sort who claimed to be at the World Cup in 1966 when England won.  He said us balls have it made now, what with our lightweight construction and weatherproof coating.  Not like in his day when they had to carry half a rainstorm with them in the wet and constantly ran out of puff.

Granddad claimed to be in the actual final that year.  Well he would wouldn’t he.  They all do.  Mind you, he tells a convincing account of how he swerved to get Geoff Hurst his second goal.  He thinks that he changed the course of history but I feel that’s going a bit too far.  Could I change what happens in this game?  Could I help to change the course of history?  Well possibly, but I really can’t be bothered right now.  Those boys have stopped kicking me about for a while now so I’m happy to take the rest.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not always on the move.  Agreed, sometimes I get kicked up and down this pitch so often I get dizzy and end up spinning past the side line.  At least I get a rest now whilst one of my mates takes over.  Granddad reckoned he had to keep going the whole match.  At least he had a good long retirement afterwards, sat in some warm cabinet for the rest of his days.  I’ll probably end up on e-Bay.

That happened to one of the guys the other day.  Booted right up in the stands he was, then smuggled out under some chap’s sweaty shirt.  Think about it, would you like that?  Not nice at all.  I expect he ended up being kicked against some concrete wall by an ungrateful kid.  I think of that every time I get hoofed up there myself.  Mind you, most of the time up there in the stands is good.  I quite enjoy that pleasant ride around the stadium jumping from fan to fan.

I would like to be on the pitch at the end of the match though.  Just think, picked up by the ref, then onto the changing rooms to have all those signatures added – I think that looks real smart.  Or, even better, I’d love to be involved in an actual goal.  Granddad said he scored them all, even the German ones that day, but nowadays there are so many of us involved that actually getting in the comfort of that net would be a real privilege.

What I need is a Beckham free kick, and then I’ll be straight in there.  Oh, yes, you didn’t realise that did you?  We are the ones responsible for bending it, not Beckham.  Legend has it that when he was very young he pulled an unloved ball out of a river and gave it a new lease of life.  He loved that ball so that is why we love him.  Even the way he caresses his foot on our side, it’s a magical touch and we always respond when he gets involved.

Hello, we seem to be moving.  My rest in the grass seems to be over.  Whatever they were all arguing about seems to be sorted out.  So where do we go from here.  Oh, it looks like I’m being placed down again.  And fantastic news, the grass here is white, I’ll just roll about a bit… Oh yes, definitely it’s a spot – I’m going to take a penalty.

Now, who is it taking the shot?  I need to decide whether to go sideways, or up.  Some wag I know reckoned they did this to Gareth Southgate in an important England match, reckoned that he punctured a ball when he was a kid.  That’s murderous talk to a ball.

Oh, I’m replaced back on the spot.  Just time to check out the keeper and pick a side.  Concentrate now.  About to be whacked.  Here we go….

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 21 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

Monkey Business

Lynda in Gibraltar with a Barbary Ape tugging at her hair
A small monkey checking for signs of grey hair on a dominant female

It is fairly common knowledge that Kingpins in gorilla clans are called a Silverback.

These large males were, to my knowledge, silver in colour because of their age, because just like humans they go grey.  However, a fact I discovered recently was that there can only be one Silverback in each gorilla clan.

If a new gorilla asserted itself on the group and successfully challenged the dominant male for the role then the newly demoted Silverback will revert back to being a black-back – He would loose the silver.

I discussed this with the misses and we had wondered why.

This was a few weeks ago I had accepted that I couldn’t work out why and how this occurred.  However it now appears that my other half had been mulling over this for some time.

Today she announced with great pride, as if discovering the cure for cancer, that this was in fact due to the gorilla realising it’s dominance which promoted change.  A physiological hormonal reaction.

If I am being honest I hadn’t realised this in such clarity but I had given up considering the whys and wherefores because I realised that I wouldn’t be able to answer the reasons on a chemical scale.

But her clarity did make me think that if gorillas can hormonally change their hair colour from silver to black then we as humans, being 99.9% similar on a biological level should be able to do the same.  Or at least we should be able to artificially produce and use the same hormone.

Have we in our grasp the cure for age hair greying?

All we need to do is collect a hair from a Silverback and from a newly demoted ex-Silverback and make a DNA test for the difference.

All this supposes we can find someone brave enough to pluck a single hair off the back of (1) A dominant male gorilla who thinks he is the Lord of all beings and (2) A newly demoted gorilla who a few days ago thought he was the Lord of all beings and is now one very miffed monkey.

I deigned to suggest that I wouldn’t be keen to carry out this next stage of discovery and got accused of being a complete lightweight.

Sometimes it really is hard being a superhero.  The slightest crack in the armour and there are accusations of failure.  I failed to be fully heroic over quite an insignificant matter and was accused of being a big girl’s blouse.

My reaction? Typical Vince.

I likened the thought of being a blouse on a large girl as a positive thing.

But now she’s not talking to me.

And I have to be careful, I’ve noticed she’s going grey!

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Ideas sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 19 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 on 7 Jul 2006

The photo is of the author’s wife, Lynda, interacting with a native, wild Barbary Ape in Gibraltar