You leave a club because you can change rules to make it easier for you to compete against the club. Then get upset at the club not letting you have free access to facilities without payment. FMB – nobs.


What a brilliant performance by England. Rashford especially. They look very good on the attack against rather weak sides (Wales and Costa Rica) and we will see how they cope with stronger opposition. If they beat Senegal it is likely to be France. European sides have done well with only Belgium under performing, given that Germany are very likely to get through although if Spain lose 1-0 to Japan Germany would need to win by 7 (I think). Group C is close with Argentina and Mexico through if they both win, whilst Saudi Arabia and Poland will go through if they win – and other permutations available.Group D is Australia to go through with France unless they lose to Denmark.


This could be a big month for Sunak to survive. He faces challenges, mainly from within. On migrants he believes the public wants a crackdown, but the dilemma is that essential NHS services are dependent upon them. Asylum seekers are a soft target but the press is running out of steam. The right wing hate his budget yet cannot offer a viable alternative. MP’s concerned about their seats are looking for local projects and refusing the whip. Police are being told to clamp down on demonstrations that block roads, but also to cut down on crime. Which is fine until they realise the court system is broken and that prisons will fill up. Education has received a temporary bailout but strikes are in the pipeline.

On strikes Sunak wants to take a strong line, but even with the MSP backing there is a lot of public opinion in favour of the strikes. And with cold weather peoples heating bills will soar. It seems inevitable that voters will turn against the government. Many MP’s are apparently looking to jump ship before it hits the rocks!

Foreign policy for the UK is a bit of a joke really. Sunak is telling the Chinese off – I bet they are scared.

The DWP is encouraging people to work more despite the fact that they lose 55% of any increase in income. Why not tax the rich at this rate? Or more. I have never understood the RW argument that lower taxes = more investment. We have some of the lowest taxes for companies over the last 12 years but investment and the economy has plummeted? I think the rich just take the money and run! Pictures of that Mone woman on a yacht exemplify this. If I had the money I would run a photo version of the Byline Times! Just photo’s with a comment! Or in some cases a list of MP’s who voted against (as in the law about landlords having to provide habitable rental properties).


Johnson got rid of competent members of the Conservative Cabinet and replaced them with incompetent Brexit lackeys. Truss added a few more and Sunak shuffled the weak pack. Ministers attack labour at every opportunity and yet have no credible policies on improving life in Britain. The underfunded Police Force is accused of being too woke whilst having to cope with the mental problems of people forced out of health care by the underfunded NHS (again the blame is on woke). Problems for those in blue are mounting as poverty hits the poorest areas.

Planning rules that have been loosened are now in disarray. Expensive housing of debatable quality going up on Greenfield and even green belt sites requiring motor transport as bus services are shrinking (and too expensive). An idea, provide people like me (single retired) with a £50000 (or maybe £20000 per bedroom released) incentive to downsize. Councils could do the same? This sounds generous but it would take this much for me to even consider it. Result would be more 3 or 4 bed houses available. Some could become shared rents so it would help the housing market. Most of the money would be invested thus providing the money for investment/growth so beloved of the right wing! water companies have stated that the lack of planning rules is not allowing them to function properly – hence sewage releases (I am not sure that this is a get out clause as they are guilty of under investment too).

Transport is in chaos – 30% of Trans-Pennine trains were cancelled or curtailed over half term. There is no proper train service at Manchester Airport.

Onshore wind turbines could be functioning this time next year with government help thus slashing fuel bills. Make it easier for small scale hydro schemes to produce electricity for the grid. Time has come to think local not global.


It started off politely with Gary Lineker making a very sensible statement/broadcast/whatever about Qatar. But will be will be. Iran players then showed their bravery (footballers should not need to be brave in the FIFA World Cup) by refusing to sing the anthem. TBH not a big deal, I doubt any English players could sing the 2nd or 3rd verses – I could not! However these guys (is this a sexist word? Can I refer to girls as guys? – I think so, but may be I am not woke enough) risked possible horrific retribution on return to Iran. And the England tried to humiliate them – fortunately they got 2 goals back which may have stymied Englands World Cup progress (more later).

Back to football. It all started off very politely with referees being on the ball and tackles being largely fair. The second round has been much more combative! But the first round., Ecuador comfortably beat Qatar who frankly seem to be out of their depth. Netherlands beat Senegal with some difficulty, but easily by the end. England thrashed Iran with a free flowing attacking game, but the manager criticised the giving away of 2 goals. Personally, and not being an ultra-nationalist moron (I hope), I would be happy with 6-2 very week, or 4-3, 5-4, 5-1, etc. However Southgate may know better than me!!! (at least I fucking hope so!).

USA totally trounce Wales in first half and then it is reversed in the second. At least Wales should go home with a point (will I regret this comment). Argentina, one of the pre-tournament favourites go down to Saudi Arabia. In my view they were unlucky with3 offside ‘goals’ disallowed fairly but on fine margins – I expect them to go further. Mexico-Poland was a bore, as was Denmark-Tunisia. France looked good against Australia with Mpappe coming of age with more experience.

Spain started off the group of death with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica who looked like a minnow in the ocean. Another surprise was Germany losing 2-1 to Japan. TBH Japan were not that good, or Germany that bad. We will see. Morocco-Croatia was easily missed and Belgium – Canada not a lit better. Belgium have and have had so many good players but have never gelled as a team at the height of the World Cup (like the great Netherlands teams of the past, and some English and Spanish and Argentinian ones). where was I, oh yes, Switz-Cameroon looked like good middle table premiership sides and Brazil did what they needed against Serbia. Lastly Uruguay did a normal 0-0 draw against South Korea who must be missing Son. Then Portugal squeak past against Ghana.

So the second round.Senegal prove to be too good for Qatar -n not that difficult TBH. Ecuador hold the Netherlands (are they a team with great players who are not a team)? It seems that the tackles on the pitch are becoming a little more feisty! Referees having to be more pro-active. Anyway Group 2 which should be a doddle for England became more difficult with a dull 0-0 draw. Southgate must be listening to the dullards in the press and hooligan terraces. With a squad of immense talent he plays the same 11 as against Costa Rica despite it being a completely different side, and the impact of the heat. Wales loss to Iran was of a team not really up to the standard required – they may raise themselves against the English though? Hennessy sending of was deserved!

Argentina came through against Mexico in an emotional match. Messi scored again in his swanson World Cup. Personally I do think they are that good but would not write them off. Poland could be a dark horse with Lewandowski one of the best strikers in the world? Interesting games to come. France are through carnets players which could be important in the desert heat (although north said about this?). Australia in pole position. Costa Rica made Germany’s progress easier if G beat Spain tonight. An interesting game as I think that Germany are not that bad and Spain have a very young squad lacking experience. I think the first 20 minutes will be vital. A Spain win will mean Germany might need to score a few against Costa Rica, not too difficult I believe.

Belgium have just lost to Morocco and have a difficult game against Croatia to come. All up for grabs here too! I think France are the only side through so far!

That is all for now. So far no team has won two in a row.


First – childcare. UK comes 23rd in list of selected wealthy countries for child care costs for a couple. More expensive than Slovenia, Spain and Slovakia and infinitely more expensive than Estonia. Does to matter that a couple on a low income would need to spend 30% of their income on childcare (and up to 50% on fuel) before rent/mortgage and food.


The numbers are increasing and the Government does nothing. Well apart from derailing any hope of a settlement for rail workers.

The ERG and other bombastic morons are fixated on Brexit and the supposed conspiracy. And Braverman is stating that she will bring down migration (which is at a record high, largely due to Ukranians and Hong Kong agreed migrants. The one area that could be cut is foreign students – paying £18.500+ each. The vast majority of whom will return to their own countries at the end of their courses. Impact on the UK economy will be massive, especially in localised areas like Sunderland.


I have some more coming so I have made some lemon biscuits. 190C for 15 mins. 80g butter and 70g caster sugar, 240g plain flour, 1 egg, zest of 4 lemons and juice of one. 2 tbs baking powder.

I also made an olive loaf with mix of rye flour, wholemeal and 50% plain white.



Jamies Xmas

Prawn Cocktail 18

Roast apple and squash soup 22

Roast chicken  64

Flavoured butters 66

Rack of lamb 74

Nut roast 88

Cheese pie 90

Baked squash 92

Cracker ravioli 96

Roast potatoes 108

Potato al forni 112

Champ pie 114

Tuscan potatoes 116

Balsamic potatoes 120

Roasted parsnips 128

Red onion gratin  130

Brussel sprouts 134

Clapshot 138

Cauliflower cheese 142

Red cabbage 144

Get ahead gravy 152

Vegan gravy 154

Cranberry sauce158

Pigs in blankets 164

Veggie stuffing 168

Yorksire puds 170

Apple pie 226

Icelandic rice pudding 234

Granita 248

Apple carpaccio 250

Mincemeat strudels 268

Cannoli Brandy Snaps 274

Billionaires shortbread 276

Badass brownies 280

Gingerbread 286

Truffles 292

Biscotti 294

Florentines 296

Lemon curd 306

Chilli sauce 308

Winter slaw 320

Roasted carrot and ado salad 322

Baked Camembert 336

Sausage roll mania 342

Smoked salmon blinis 344

Quasadillas 350

Samosa cigars 352

Baked buns 354

Party dips 356

Mediterranean cookery

Meat briquets 73

Falafel 77

Spanish empanadilles 75

Green lentil soup 96

Soup 100

Garlic soup 114

Spicy pumpkin soup 113

Fresh tomato soup 116

Potato and onion tortilla

Stuffed toms and peppers 132

Couscous stuffed pepper 135

Veg moussaka 140

Potato and pumpkin souffle 144

Polpettes 148

Spinach with raisins and pine nuts 152

Spanish potatoes 161

Roast potato withered onion 162

Kleftiko 256

Moussaka 254

Roast leg lamb with saffron 258

Roast lamb with rosemary 262

Lamb casserole with garlic and broad beans 264

Persian chicken + walnuts 338

Chicken thighs +garlic +lemon 340

Onion focaccia 401


Well done Iran for ignoring their national anthem and their supporters for the banners. Shame they are not that good at football! Or were England just a class act on the night? Great display by the youngsters Saka and Bellingham. Nice football too. Wales went from numpties to. heroes (almost) after a dreadful first half they retrieved a draw with excellent 2nd half performance. The next game will give us a better idea of the relative abilities of the two home nations, and the only two sides not representing a country.