Ice Soccer

Snow and I have not been getting on that well recently. Sure it is pretty while it falls but then it just sits around and stops me going places.

It did have one fortunate consequence though. Two weeks ago it meant that Ethan and I could invent the soon to be worldwide sensation of ice soccer.

Two players take to a quarter acre pitch and draw out a 40sq ft goal in the snow. It doesn't matter the exact dimensions as long as the area is approximately 40 sq feet. As such my goals tend to be long but narrow and Ethan's tend to be more square.

A five yard line is then drawn ahead of the goal all the way across the pitch. This is where you kick from if a goal is scored or the ball goes behind your goal.

The aim of the game is to get the ball to touch any portion of your opponents goal. It can land in and bounce out, glance a corner, whatever. If it touches the ground inside the goal area it is in.

You are permitted two touches of the ball. The first is your save of the previous players shot and the second is taken from where the ball ends up and is your shot.

Living Below the Line – Prep

Yesterday evening after a lovely and filling pasta night we headed off to Asda. Usually I avoid Asda like the plague when not buying thanksgiving turkeys but one cannot deny that they are amongst the cheaper supermarkets.

We entered with our £10 figuratively in hand and came out having spent £9.85


Breakfast amount price
Porridge 500g 0.62
Milk 4 pints 1.18
tea 6 tea bags 0.14
Bread one loaf 0.47
Peanut Butter one pot 0.62
Jam one jar 0.35
apples seven 0.85
bananas five 0.59
Pearl Barley 500g 0.58
Kidney Beans 500g 0.98
Carrots eight 0.94
Gravy one pot 0.2
tomato sauce one tin 0.31
baked beans one tin 0.42
baked potatoes four 0.7
brocolli bag of frozen 0.75
Squash small bottle 0.29


We did our first round of shopping and had about £1 left and so got the beans and potatoes to give us some variety (jacket potatoes) one day. We then paid and found that actually we had another fifty pence. With that we picked up the squash and two additional carrots to reach the amount above.

We had planned for the majority of the items but when we got to the store we found the prices different to online, peanut butter and jam cost us about 30p but we also over estimated on fruit by 55p so that more than made up for it.

You will notice that we have used the remaining 14p on tea bags. This is the cost of six tea bags from our box of 80 that we already owned (in line with the rules). This allows one cup for me and one per day for Beth. Going in I am apprehensive as I do live my food. It will be an interesting experience though. I am already looking forward to my roast on Sunday lunchtime.

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We will be doing daily updates about the previous day all this week.

Karting at Lydd

A problem encountered from not organising karting events a month in advance comes in getting people to go along. Despite booking little over a week in advance I was able to get a slot at Lydd kart circuit in the south of Kent about 50 minutes from Canterbury.

I had thought I would have seven chums along with me but on the day with the rain beating down that number dwindled to four. Those who did not attend missed out. The circuit is fantastic and you learn a lot more about control from driving in the wet than you do in the dry with the grip levels similar (but less predictable) to those you might expect at an indoor track.

The key advantage to this track though is its price. For practice time you are paying a pound a minute, much less than the £45 for 30 minutes you can expect at other outdoor circuits. It is for this reason that the circuit is likely to be picked for our August jaunt.

From the layout (picture lovingly borrowed from the circuit website) you can tell that the circuit is a good mix of straights, chicanes and sweeping corners. A good dry time is apparently around 48 seconds but as you will see we did not get near that on Saturday.

I decided not to use my camera as I figured with rain actually coming down the camera may not appreciate it but my mother braved the conditions to take photos for half the time we were out there. The best of these can be viewed in the gallery.

Our times were not fast and reflected experience more than anything I think.

  driver fastest average
1 Jonathan 72.163 78.7
2 Joe 77.209 84.67
3 Trefor 81.678 86.36
4 Tamara 97.652 106.1

And now time for a gratuitous chart


So I think my line is smoothest due to experience, Joe was going for the second time ever so his line is still a bit erratic. My Father has another smooth line due to plenty of experience and Tamara's line dips the most showing her improving confidence and speed as the session went on.


Thanks to my three fellow racers and my mother for being on photo duty, happy Mothers day.


BAFANL website

This is the first in a series of pre-season posts regarding the new BAFANL website. This will cover a brief of what I hope to achieve.

I have now been a member of the British American Football volunteer staff for over a year. 2011 saw me as the league’s news editor. This year I am in charge of the web and media team having taken over the webmaster role as well.

Since I joined up the league site has gone through several transitions already. We started last year with a league republic site, then moved onto wordpress. The site is currently running a basic CMS that I created to cover for the off-season until a bespoke system was put together to keep track of everything effectively.

The new site has to not only cover the news for the league but contain a gallery of pictures submitted by photographers each week, information about how to sign up to play/coach/officiate and then keep track of the results and standings tables. This information needs to be perfectly tied together so that every team can have a page that would allow a user to find all their information quick and easy.

A user to the site who wants to play must be able to go onto the site and easily find their nearest team, how they are doing and how to join up. A fan must be intrigued to learn more and go and watch games at all levels. With the key of course being getting them along to playoff games and britbowl.

Information therefore needs to be quickly and easily available to everyone, want pictures of a specific team/game/division? A decent tagging system will make that possible.

Want to view it on your phone/tablet? That experience needs to be just as impressive as the desktop site.

The admin for all this needs to be able to handle users who can do certain tasks but not others. So user A can add/edit/publish news but can’t upload images while user B can upload images and update schedules but not publish news. This management needs to be easy.

Because I can’t guarantee my ability to volunteer forever the code also has to be easy to read so that anyone can come in and make tweaks in future should playoff criteria or anything else change.

In addition we need to offer a range of RSS feeds and code snippets for use by the teams on the sites as well while also offering feeds and a social media presence for everyone else.

Its not going to be easy but the target is a system that the league can use for years to come.