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GW34: For Kane Again

The Trinidadian singer turned Cabinet Minister, Gypsy, early in his career, had a huge hit with his song, “For Cane”, a calypso of the double-entendre variety. The luckless star of the tune was a man whose wife had the habit of disappearing on sugarcane-hunting expeditions with men he didn’t know. “Monday,” the chorus went, “she went for-cane/ Tuesday she went back again/ She must be gone for-cane with some man again”.

Last week, when he didn’t have a game, I rolled the die on transferring out Harry Kane and bringing in Jamie Vardy. It made sense, I told myself (and didn’t know better than to listen to myself, even after all these years and game-weeks) because the old Harry was injured and might even miss the EFL Cup game on the weekend. If he was fit for the final, I reckoned, I’d bring him back in a straight transfer.

The plan was good, the thinking behind it was good, but it was backed up by arithmetic, which is like having a water-tank backed up with a hole in its bottom. When it came to bringing Kane back in this week, I found I had to take a four-point hit to be able to afford him.

Last week, I went for Kane.

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A Tale of Two Pities


FOR 13 DAYS, we haven’t opened an exterior door, except to get in or out quickly, and we haven’t opened a window at all. For two weeks, I thought our neighbours had moved out, and they thought the same about us. In Barbados, everyone has been locked up inside with every crack to the outside world sealed against volcanic ash.

We haven’t had significant ash-fall for 11 days.

But so very much fell in the first three days that everyone on the island has been dealing with it ever since. I have blisters on my hands from sweeping ash. Sweeping the road in front of the house clean needed a stiff broom and every ounce of resolution I had.

I’ve experienced hurricanes, floods, droughts and earthquakes. All of them are better than volcanoes, once your house roof stays on, because they end. Unless and until you’ve experienced the fallout of volcanic ash, you cannot imagine how debilitating it is. It saps energy and will simultaneously. Why brave the stench of sulphurous air if, by the time you’ve cleared the step below, the step above is covered again? Dry-vac, wet-vac, soft broom, hard broom, first-thing-in-the-morning and last-thing-at-night and still there is ash underfoot ten minutes after you’re done.

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GW33: Getting Run Over in the Run-In

The race between my natural Fantasy Premier League manager incompetence and my natural bad luck accelerated to breakneck pace this week, with what is normally the disastrous usual result for my FPL team, BC FC. My run-in is beginning to look a lot more like a stumble-in.

Thinking I was being clever — i.e., the incompetence; really, I should know better after nearly 63 years — and even thinking I might, um, “get ahead of the game”, I used my one free transfer early to replace the game-less KDB with “got game in the American sense” Mo Salah (the bad luck). Had I waited until Friday morning, I’d have discovered that one of my three defenders with a match in game-week 33, Nathaniel Phillips, is now out until May.

In the emergency thus created — it’s fitting that the language of pleadings in old running down actions in the High Court from my barrister days should resurface just now — but, in the emergency thus created by having only two defenders, I had to either take a four point-hit and bring in a defender worth less than 4.3M or take an eight point-hit and get a defender who might actually return more than the four points he cost AND another player from somewhere.

I brought in Timothy Castagne.

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Chernobyl, Barbados

YOU SLEEP for six hours and wake in a strange new world, where it smells like someone slipped your bead into a Three Plumes matchbox. You wonder, for a minute, if you started smoking again and stumble out of bed, dazed by the stench of sulphur. Eyes still half-closed, you step down on to the porch off your bedroom and wonder if you’re dreaming you’re at a beach house because there’s gritty sand under your feet.

Eyes wide open, you realise you’re awake, and standing in two centimetres of ash and the dark grey skies ahead of you aren’t about rain.

And you remember St Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano shot out an ash plume five miles high last night and there was talk of high altitude westerly winds bringing the fallout to Barbados.

You look at your watch and realise it’s not 5am, but 7am!

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GW32 Double Shame-Week

The period between last Friday morning and this one was disastrous for the Eastern Caribbean, with St Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano spouting ash plumes high into the air and unusual westerly winds brining a lot of that ash to Barbados. For the last seven days, I’ve spent all morning sweeping ash up, wearing two N95 masks and eye protection against the sulphurous air. I’ve got blisters from sweeping.

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