Ulster log: Help play name game with poetic Solitude
I am delighted that Cliftonville are no longer the Cinderella club of Irish League football, even though I once got locked up for a couple of hours at Solitude after taking too long to phone in a match report to the Belfast Telegraph. The Reds have just won the League Cup and Co Antrim Shield and are current league champions.
But mention of that lovely name of Solitude for the club's stadium off the Cliftonville Road in Belfast brings me to my real point: how did the ground get that name?
What prompts the question is a letter from a homesick fan of the Reds in Sydney who still follows their games. Arnie Williamson is a retired welder who was a regular on the terraces until he emigrated in his 30s.
Arnie, whose hero on match days was half-back Herbie Hegarty and remembers Kevin McGarry too, says he often wonders how Solitude came about.
"It must be the nicest name for a stadium anywhere," he says. "When I was at public elementary school we had a young female teacher who went to matches on Saturdays. She told my class one day that it would be nice if it emerged it was a poetry lover on the board who picked the name."
The idea stuck with Arnie down the years, especially when the words of Wordsworth's Daffodils contain the lines:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.
Highly unlikely that a poem inspired Solitude - but somebody must know how it came about.
Let Arnie and me know, please.
Christine and that Chiles chemistry
I’m sure television favourite Christine Bleakley has noticed that her former partner on The One Show, Adrian Chiles, is a free agent again after his departure from ITV football.
You’ll remember the chemistry between Christine, fiancee of Frank Lampard, when she and Chiles were together, and it was a shame that the partnership was broken up for one reason or another.
So wouldn’t it be special if the BBC brought Christine and Adrian together again in an original chat show?
I think the comeback would definitely bring in the viewers.
Christine is a lovely girl, but the programmes she succeeded to after the break-up were only so-so. She was definitely missing that man Chiles.
So what about it you planners at the Beeb?
Cure your hangover with prairie concoction
The only way to avoid a pounding head and queasiness the morning after is to drink in moderation, or to stay away from alcohol entirely.
But it’s often easy to overindulge. Alternating your drinks with water or another non-alcoholic beverage can help you slow down and stay hydrated.
I was asking how to make a prairie oyster which is a pick-me up drink and apparently a cure for a hangover. And Andrew McGovern of Kilrea, who knows about these things because he is a retired barman, came up with the answer.
Place an egg in a glass, a teaspoon of Worcester sauce, a dash each of vinegar and Tabasco, salt and pepper, taking care not to break the lightly-boiled hen egg which has been shelled.
Then drink the lot. If Andrew is right this is a foolproof cure of the morning-after feeling and if you use an owl’s egg it can be a deterrent against boozing altogether, he claims.
Only problem is he has never got his hands on an owl’s egg to prove this point.
Putting boot in at Harland & Wolff
Harland & Wolff has built many ships; among the best remembered are the White Star Trio RMS Olympic, RMS Titanic and RMS Britannic.
As of 2011, the expanding offshore wind power industry has taken centre stage. All those nicknames I've been recalling for shipyard men at H&W in its heyday were appropriate or funny or both, but the best of them all to be sent to me has to be Nail in the Boot with which a welder with a limp was saddled.
Then there was Sand-dancer the Driller who had sandy hair. What about Wee Legs, Heavy Head, Pot Scraper and Worms? I'd love to find why the men in the yard got these names thrust upon them.
Troubled waters for Goldie...
How can you tell when a goldfish is fed-up? A young lady I know says she is aware that Barry her goldie is unhappy when she looks him straight in the eye.
But why is Barry down in the dumps? Well he is growing fast and is too big for his tank. So his home in the meantime, all alone, is a clean bucket. Soon he will be transported to an open-air pond where he will meet up with other goldfish. And stop being fed-up.
Goldfish, by the way, are sexually mature at one year. They need to reach about three inches as well... if the goldfish has lived in an overstocked tank, I'm told, it's growth may be stunted. Breeding goldfish need optimum water conditions, which means 15 gallons per fish at a minimum.
Choir member nailed by minister
Did you know that its unlucky to trim your nails on a Sunday? I have heard of one male choir member who brought out his scissors in church and started giving his finger nails a manicure during the morning service.
He was seated right underneath the pulpit where the preacher was in full flow. Eventually the minister paused his sermon, asked him to stop and he obeyed. Which was a wee bit disappointing for some in the front pews. They were waiting for him to start on his feet.
By the way, did you know in humans, the index finger nail grows faster than that of the little finger; and fingernails grow up to four times faster than toenails.