Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 24, 2011

Saturday, 22nd January 2011 – notes and news

A mixed day of cloudy periods and brilliant sunshine. Lots of tasks required out in the yard, but seemed to get bogged down with other matters, the ‘paperwork boy’ they call me!  Also still feeling a little annoyed at an incident with my car, which occurred soon after I reached Sunbury from the city [thankfully not earlier I guess] –  suddenly had a puncture in my rear right tyre. Had not noticed anything on the drive out, at generally the maximum speeds, but all of a sudden, felt something go, stopped in the supermarket carpark and found a completely flat tyre, down to the rim! I didn’t have much luck getting the tyre off myself –  tighten the nuts up with damn machines and then expect ordinary mortals such as myself to reverse the work of a machine!  Anyway, I decided not to fight with it – the wheel was rather dirty and black, and a continued struggle was likely to change the look of everything I was wearing!! Called the RACV – our State roadside service organisation. The response is usually pretty good around Sunbury, and a service van is generally with you within about 20 minutes!!!   Not last night!  Two hours later!!! Apparently a couple of ‘out of the ordinary situations’ had arisen in the district which caused the unusual delay! By the time a mechanic arrived, I was wishing, and cursing the fact, that I’d not ‘fought’ a little more with that tyre!  The situation did give me a chance to have a chat with young Jodie – thinking I might me waiting even longer, I had called her up, with the purpose of asking her to take home the fresh and frozen food items, I’d been silly enough to buy ‘before’ calling the service people. As it turned out, she arrived the same time as they did!

Anyway, my slight ‘annoyance’ on Saturday was the fact that I could not get the tyre repaired until Monday – thankfully, not trips of any significance planned this weekend, so at least I didn’t have to go far, with a flat tyre in the car boot!

I did manage to  finally have a bit of a look at the Tour Down Under [over in South Australia] which is in fact the first major international bike race for the year. I didn’t realise until today that it has been going on in Australia since the late 1990s, perhaps it’s prestige has only just begun to be noticed over the past two or three years, with the influx of  international riders, and of course, in particular, people like Lance Armstrong. Now, following yesterday’s stage of the race, there was a new overall leader.  West Australian Cameron Myer, aged 23,was the new leader after sprinting home at the end of yesterday’s 124 km Stage 4 of the race, into Strathalbyn.  The former leader, Matthew Goss, and also Robbie McEwan, are overall 3rd and 4th in the classifications after the 4 stages. Today, in Stage 5,  the cyclists travel 131 kms between  McLaren Vale and Willungra, which includes quite a severe hill section  at Willungra. This section includes a partial beach front ride, with the cyclists looking out towards the great Southern Ocean, though I doubt that many of them would really be enjoying the ocean scenery! I’m also wondering whether my brother, Robert, gets to ride over that area with the amateur tour party he is riding with? Haven’t heard from Robert for a couple of days, so I’m not sure what progress he has been making.

Anyway, jumping ahead, today’s stage was won by Francisco Ventoso [Spain] from the Australian riders, Michael Matthews and Matthew Goss. That left Cameron Myer still wearing the overall Leaders’ Jersey, followed by Goss in 2nd place, and Matthews in 4th. Tomorrow would be the 5th and final stage of the Tour Down Under.

Tonight, I had been looking forward to the night session at the Australian Open Tennis, with two Australians competing [the last two Aussies in the singles’ competitions]. Samantha Stosur was expected to win her game, but while nobody expected young teenage star Bernard Tomic to have any real hope of defeating Rafael Nadal, we did hope he would make a bit of a game of it!! Well for a start, disappointment with our Sam!  Seemed to be played reasonable well in the First Set against a very talented and determined opponent, then all of a sudden, the set was over, and she was coming from behind. Actually still expected her to get up and win from that point onwards, and while Sam claimed afterwards that she felt she was playing quite well, the 2nd set did not give that appearance, and she was basically crushed by a very good up and coming player, who managed to win all of the points that really mattered. In the end, the score line was not flattering for our girl – Petra Kvitoca of the Czech Republic defeated Samantha Stosur [Australia] 7/6, 6/3.

 Next game up was the much anticipated mismatch  between No. 1 in the World, and No. 199. This little media report summed it up.   ‘Grand slam tyro Bernard Tomic delivered hope to depressed Australian tennis fans with a heartening display against the world’s premier player at Melbourne Park on Saturday night. Tomic made all-conquering top seed Rafael Nadal sweat for two-and-a-half hours at Rod Laver Arena before the Spaniard safely progressed to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a sapping 6-2 7-5 6-3 victory over the teenage wildcard Despite 198 rankings spots separating the two combatants, Tomic had Nadal under immense pressure at 4-0 down in the second set as the 18-year-old upstart briefly threatened to pull off the biggest upset in grand slam history’. Of course, it wasn’t to be, but Tomic’s effort meant the match lasted well in excess of an hour longer than most had anticipated it would.  And for this viewer, yet another late Saturday night prior to an early Sunday morning!

Tonight, up in Tamworth, New South Wales [NSW], the annual  Country Music Awards were held – this is an annual event at this time each January, but because of the floods in parts of northern NSW, it had at one stage been feared that the event might have to be cancelled. However, the organisers had no such intention. Reports from the night’s activities at Tamworth, revealed that singer, Kasey Chambers  dominated country music’s night of nights, taking home four Golden Guitars including Female Artist of the Year. She also won Single of the Year and APRA Song of the Year for Little Bird, from her 2010 album of the same name at the awards ceremony on Saturday night. This is song I have already a few times on my radio shows, and after this win tonight, I was determined to do so again tomorrow afternoon.  The song was written about the trouble she had breaking into the industry before she skyrocketed to fame with her hit single Not Pretty Enough from the 2001 album Barricades and Brickwalls. Her fourth award from seven nominations was for Love Like A Hurricane with Kevin Bennett in the Vocal Collaboration of the Year category. The haul puts Chambers’s Golden Guitar total at 12.  ARIA Award-winning country artist Graeme Connors took out the title of Male Artist of the Year for the track A Good Life.  The other big winner of the night was Jimmy Little who joined the ranks of Slim Dusty in winning the Lifetime Achievement Award, his first Golden Guitar after six decades in the business. Admitted to the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1999, Little has more than 30 albums and has been a regular at the Tamworth Country Music Festival since its inception 39 years ago. Little said it was an honour to receive the award ahead of his concert in Tamworth on Sunday, which is likely to be his last. “I have been performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival for years and to receive this award on the eve of possibly my final live performance here is such a great honour,” he said.

Back to Bill’s ‘world of sport’ briefly. in a match that I didn’t see [because there is no free to air coverage], the Australian ‘Socceroos’ played their quarterfinal Asian Cup match  against the reigning title holders, Iraq,  in the early hours of Sunday morning. I would read the next day that Australian champion soccer player   Harry Kewell’s last-gasp extra-time header fired the Socceroos into the Asian Cup semi-finals, sealing a 1-0 win in a thrilling clash with Iraq at the Al Sadd Stadium in Doha. Kewell struck in the 118th minute with the match looking certain to be decided on penalties after Australia were unable to convert their dominance against a gallant Iraq. The Galatasaray star nodded home a brilliant Matt McKay cross to secure a deserved victory and avenge Australia’s 3-1 loss to Iraq in the group stages of the 2007 tournament.  The Socceroos will now face Uzbekistan in Tuesday’s (Wednesday morning AEDT) semi-final at Khalifa Stadium for a spot in next weekend’s final against either Japan or South Korea. “Qualifying for the semi final is definitely a great achievement,” Socceroos coach Holger Osieck said.  “Looking at the game itself, although it went into extra time during the regular 90 minutes, I think we had more of the game, we played solidly in defence, we had a good structure, we played up, we had good chances.” “… If I am not mistaken Iraq probably only had one great opportunity, the rest came from half chances and I think that we should have done our job in 90 minutes and Iraq came on very strong in extra time.”  Japan face South Korea in Tuesday’s other semi-final after South Korea also prevailed in extra time on their quarter-final, 1-0 over Iran.


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