As the Tour de France ends I’m back to blogging

Now that the Tour de France has ended for 2019 I’ll be blogging again. What a tour it has been, with close competition, and where the weather added to the drama with hail storms and landslides on the course in the Alps.

A UK team won again, taking first and second place. Team Ineos is the new version of Team Sky, same management, same riders, but different owner.

Enough, I hear you say, and you’re right.

 

Apocalyptic drama on the Tour de France

Ok, ok, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Though not by much.

The Tour de France cycle race today reached stage 19, with just two days remaining. The stage in the high mountain passes of the Alps was crucial for the leader Julain Alaphilippe  with pressure of the race leader from his immediate challengers from Team Ineos.

With two of the three mountains climbed , and with a change in race leadership, the race was stopped by a snow and hail storm, plus a landslip covering the road. Chaos ensued. The correct decision was taken to halt the race. Some riders will have been happy, and some mightily displeased at the halting of the stage.

Whatever, the race that I watched on TV was riveting, firstly for the leadership battle, and then about all might have been’s had the race continued.

Watching the Tour de France limits my blogging

I’ve watched the Tour de France on TV for more years than I care to remember. This year’s tour is the most open, fascinating, and riveting that I can recall.

In addition to watching the tour live on TV, there’s also the highlights and analysis to watch later. In addition to all this I spend time texting a friend, who’s also an avid watcher, on the dynamics of the tour.

All in all, the tour has captured me, and stopped me from blogging. The tour ends in Paris this coming Sunday.

On returning from our mini break

You may have noticed that I didn’t immediately return to writing here. Don’t you agree that one needs a holiday after returning from one.

As a Tour de France addict I watched all of Stage 8 on TV on Saturday. The TV reception in Ramsgate was good, as was the HD TV in our room, though sadly for four days there was no ITV2 or Eurosport reception, hence my watching from beginning to end.

On Saturday evening, still in heavy relaxation mode, I watched episode 4 on BBC 4 of Inspector Montalbano. While the stories are good, as is the acting, you have to concentrate as it’s a fast moving plot, and it’s in subtitles to the Italian dialogue. Among the curiosities of the programme is the lack cars, and people. In an odd way it makes the programme more riveting as the focus is on the actors and scenery of fictional town Vigata.

 

Please indulge me as I cheer my team

I try, I really do try, to restrict the number of times I write about the football team I support, which is Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It was only this year that the Wolves returned to the Premiership, the top division of English and Welsh football, after a longish absence. Now they stand at seventh in the league, and with good fortune in their last three matches, could be playing in Europe next season.

You can see why I’m a happy chappie.

Surrey Heath promoting tennis for the young and families

Surrey Heath Borough Council announces a tennis promotion on the four courts it owns,

With spring in the air, tennis is a fun activity that the whole family can get involved in.  Surrey Heath Borough Council operates tennis courts at four recreation grounds across the Borough – London Road and Watchetts (Camberley), Frimley Green and Mytchett.

London Road Recreation Ground tennis courts

With our simple customer-friendly online booking and payment system ‘ClubSpark’, it is easy to book a court at a time and location that suits you.

Players can still enjoy traditional ‘Pay and Play’ casual bookings, or benefit from our great value £39 annual membership which allows for a household of up to 5 people to play Tennis in the Park all year round – meaning the whole family can play for the equivalent of just £3.25 a month!

There will be two free Tennis in the Park interactive taster sessions at The Square shopping centre, Camberley on 16 and 18 April.

Bring the family along to find out more about this fun activity – for more information visit the Surrey Heath Facebook page www.facebook.com/surreyheath.

There are also opportunities for junior coaching via the National Tennis Association. Why not sign up for the “Tennis For Kids” programme at London Road Recreation Ground, where young people aged 5-11 will receive six high-quality lessons, developed by experts at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), as well as a special Tennis For Kids racket, ball set, and personalised T-shirt delivered right to their door, for just £25.

More info about Tennis for Kids is available here.  As part of our commitment to help residents live a healthy and active lifestyle, SHBC is working in partnership with the LTA to get more people playing tennis more often, and ensure our parks tennis facilities are sustainable.

A range of court improvements were completed last year at our London Road Recreation Ground venue, including jet washing, moss treatment, surface repairs, court binding and repainting to offer a more attractive and playable surface for users of all standards. www.surreyheath.gov.uk/tennisinthepark

Wolves have a famous victory over Manchester United

It may mean little to you that Wolverhampton Wanders Football Club beat Manchester United yesterday evening by 2 goals to 1, in the Qtr Final of the FA Cup. It means Wolves are through to the semi-final.

It means a lot to me, because Wolverhampton is my home town. Even though I left Wolverhampton over 30 years ago, it’s my roots, and roots is important.

Plans announced for new multi-million-pound leisure venue

Surrey Heath Borough Council announced today,

Surrey Heath Borough Council has announced it will sign a 25-year contract with Places Leisure, to design, build, operate and maintain a £22 million leisure centre in Camberley.

Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for Places & Strategy, Cllr Craig Fennell said: “I am extremely pleased that Places Leisure has been awarded the contract to deliver top class leisure facilities in the Borough. I am looking forward to working with the Places Leisure team to improve opportunities for all members of the community to participate and enjoy a more active and healthier lifestyle.”

Following Arena staff and members being informed, SHBC is pleased to confirm a centre featuring a 25 metre 6-lane Pool, Learner Pool with adjustable floor, Splash Zone (interactive water confidence area), 8 Court Sports Hall, Fitness Suite, Group Exercise Studios, Adventure Play, Clip ‘n Climb (a vibrant and fun climbing experience), Health Suite and Cafe is planned, with planning permission due to be submitted.

The new £22m centre which is due to open 2021, will be built on the same site as the current Arena Leisure Centre, which will remain open until the end of Summer this year.  Surrey Heath Borough Council will be working in partnership with Places Leisure to look at redeployment opportunities for staff where possible whilst the build is underway and will support them in seeking alternative employment.

Chief Executive Karen Whelan said: “We are delighted to announce the development of a state of the art leisure facility in the Borough. Whilst the new centre is in Camberley we know that residents and visitors across the Borough will benefit.”

As plans for the development progress Surrey Heath Borough Council will help to inform local residents of construction plans to minimise disruption for those in the immediate local area.

Tom Goodhand, Operations Director Places Leisure said: “We are pleased to have been awarded the contract for the new facility by Surrey Heath Borough Council. Together we are looking forward to working in partnership to enhance the current leisure provision and deliver a modern and sustainable new leisure centre that builds on the legacy of the Arena Leisure Centre, as it continues to provide for our community for years to come.

“We’d like to thank our loyal customers who have been with us across the years. We will be contacting all members and users of the Arena to advise of plans and alternative facilities in the area. We will also be actively working to accommodate hirers across our neighbouring facilities in Farnborough, Farnham and Wokingham where space is available. Please visit our website to keep updated or email enquiries@arenaleisurecentre.org.”

Supporting a football club is emotional

I’m sure, dear readers, that you know I’m part of the Wolverhampton diaspora. I retain pride in my roots, evidenced by a deep affection for Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

Recently the team has won famous victories over Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur. All well and good. They have though lost matches against Huddersfield and Crystal Palace both of whom are in the lower part of the Premier League.

It’s this unexpected nature in the result of football matches that is emotionally draining, or, hopefully enlivening. Please be pleased for my current equanimity that the Wolves sit at eighth in the Premier League, my fervent hope that they do not fall lower than that.