Friday 13 January 2023

A Christmas philosophy

One of the stand-out Christmas successes this year was the redeployment of the recycling area in our kitchen. The bottom drawer, as mooted some time ago, is now host to a tub for recycling and a tub for rubbish. The visual effect is pleasing on the eye, in so much as the eye can’t see it, while the wooden shelf by the window is no longer filled with tins, cans and bottles while there is also no need for a bin-bag hanging off the fridge door anymore. It really is the gift that keeps on giving! 

Our 15 year old was moved to submit his approval of the new system, which though requires probably the same amount of visits to the outside bins, is literally contained and offloaded in one tip rather than, as previously, requiring several trips back and forth from the open window, where the missus would hand out the dispiriting collection of loose items as if we were operating through a piss-take hatch. 

The revolutionary system has hopefully exceeded the trial basis, which was basically proposed by the missus as a way of making sure I complied properly with the process and didn’t re-employ the window shelf as an overflow option. I believe that I have passed the probation period with flying colours, while still aware that any complacency could result in a written warning, or worse, a return to the previous recycling approach.

My mantra is the one espoused by Mikel Arteta, and also the one plagiarised by me on a recent Talking Additional Needs parental course: that mantra being ‘Trust The Process’. I must ignore the temptation to pop a couple of stray items on the side as much as the Arsenal player in possession should avoid hoofing the ball up the pitch when harassed by opponents near the goal. Arteta will back Granit Xhaka for knocking the ball in-off Chris Wood and past Bernd Leno as happened at Burnley last season, but you’ll be out in your ear if you take the easy option. Sniffing doesn’t stem the runny nose. Don’t be afraid of bumps in the road. The long game is the short game. 

Once upon a time  in this country, playing the ball across your own goal was one of the first no no’s you learned, the football equivalent of running with scissors, or taking sweets from a stranger. All part of the English DNA. Abroad of course, there has never been a wrong part of the pitch in which to ‘play’. I think it was during Italia 90’, when a pundit, possibly Ian St John, highlighted Roberto Donadoni showing a natural instinct to play the ball short and retain possession when presented with the ball in his own penalty area under pressure from attackers. Yet even in 2012-13, during the early stages of Brendan Rodgers’ managerial spell at Liverpool, he was hammered on telly by Alan Hansen because his defenders, unused as yet to building from the back, conceded terrible looking goals at West Brom. “Play percentages”, Hansen intoned with his usual arrogance. The following season, Rodgers’ team came within two games of winning the league ahead of Manchester City and Mourinho’s Chelsea. 

Yes, there have been some high-profile howlers, when footballers have been exposed by the instruction to play football, and its true, like Man U at Brentford this season, it does look so bad when it goes wrong. Gary Neville did his office bloke bit after that game, lamenting “just when you think they couldn’t sink any lower” but Ten Haag’s new team were never not going to win a game of football again that season. Indeed, they beat Liverpool in the next one and go into the derby with City on Sunday in something of a resurgence, Ronaldo-free and looking a good bet to get something from the game, adding to their booked League Cup semi-final appearance with Nottm Forest last week. 

In short, let’s not be afraid to try things as they may turn out to revolutionise your daily existence. The blog post you’re reading, for instance, appeared to be stuck and going nowhere, but then I found a way out, calmly and progressively, rather than just lobbing it in the bin, or leaving it on the side! 

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