So here we are at the end of the week with a typically gloomy day – the weather was best described as ‘raw’ in that it was cold with a bit of a damp edge to it to add a little bit of extra discomfort. As I was getting ready this morning, the telephone rang and it was the service engineer who had come to attend to the flashing lights on our Biodisk, which normally indicates a fault on the system. The service engineer who called round, though, was unsure how the electrical control panel worked so he was managed to indicate that the mechanical bits of the system seemed to be working correctly but he was not sufficiently knowledgeable or trained to deal with an electrical malfunction. We encouraged the service engineer to photograph and then consult with his base for technical support but to no avail. At the end of all this, and despite the gratefully accepted mug of tea, it was concluded that the servicing company had better send around someone who did know how their own unit worked (and which we assumed was all covered by our maintenance contract) So the day did not get off to the best of starts. Meg and I eventually made it to the park and we had prepared some elevenses which we consumed on the park bench, once it had been suitably dried off. We did not stay too long as it was getting a little cold and miserable but we did bump into some of our church friends and spent a few moments chatting, until the damp cold encouraged us all to move on. Once we got home, we had a meal of sea bass served on a bed of salad and then settled down for some afternoon jobs.
This afternoon proved to be one of those frustrating ones, as it turned out. I needed to gather some documents together before a visit to a bank which my son and I are due to make next week. One of the documents entailed a visit to the Teachers Pension Agency which required an email (OK) and a password (now forgotten) Several attempts to use it and then use these credentials led to the website locking out with a ‘website error – please contact us’ So this then involved a telephone call, going through several protocols to establish credentials and so on, just to get a link to reset the password. But after a frustrating hour (it seemed a lot longer) we got the link we needed and therefore the document we needed so now we all have all that is required. However, the last time we did this, the bank’s own upload facility was about as friendly as a cornered rat and we succeeded in doing this by hook or by crook but need to make to do it once again before we meet face-to-face.
Last night’s football was incredible (as was todays) It was the last matches to be played in the ‘group’ round where only the first two of the four teams go through. Germany was playing Costa Rica whilst Spain were playing Japan and, at one stage, about ten minutes before the end of both matches, it looked as though both Japan and Costa Rice would go through. In the event, Japan beat Spain who failed to equalise but they still both qualified as the ‘top two’ whereas Germany beat Costa Rica but neither of them made it out of the group stage. Whether one got through this round was often dependent not just one’s own game but what was happening in the other game, being played at the same time. Germany felt particularly robbed after an incident where a ball in the Japan v Spain appeared to all of the naked eye observations as if it was over the dead ball line. But apparently the technicalitie are such that of the VAR can prove that the finest sliver of a ball’s curvature is judged to be not over the the line, then the ball is judged to be ‘in’ and this proved to be critical. The last few minutes of both games proved to be so exciting that we were flicking backwards and forwards across the two matches to see if a last gasp goal was possible (which it often is when both teams are playing their hearts out to score/prevent a goal). We had similar histrionics this afternoon when Uruguy were beaten by South Korea who now progress to the knockout stage. In summary, we are witnessing a situation in which long established, often European, teams are being defeated by Asian up and coming footballing nations. Hence we see Germany, Belgium, Portugal out of the competition, their places taken by the likes of Japan and South Korea. The other massive talking point is the role of VAR which is now causing as many problems as it appeared to solve. We are arriving at a situation such as the infamous Japan ball (in the ball ‘may’ or ‘may not’ have been judged to have crossed the deadball line) that would have been called ‘out’ by 99% of referees, linesmen and casual observers is now being being ruled ‘in’ with devastating consequences. But it does make the whole of World Cup both interesting and unpredictable.