Ever since the cinematic cover of theAberystwyth Mon Amournoir novel caught my eye, I’ve needed to wear glasses. That isn’t so true. I have never worn glasses. Also, not true. I have worn sunglasses and safety goggles, as well as some sort of cinematic enhancement framed device. I have never worn spectacles due to an eyesight problem. Not that wearing glasses should be frowned upon. You can also frown without eyewear. One author, and probably a few more were glasses. Nobody judged them, or perhaps they did. I cannot be responsible for everyone. I wouldn’t want to be, either. Malcolm Pryce, the author of the Louie Knight series wears glasses and has great vision.
Mr Pryce, lectured at Oxford, published online videos (The Oxford Writer) for aspiring writers, worked in advertising and other such pleasantries on his path to becoming an author and inspiration to a walking tour in his childhood hometown of Aberystwyth. If you are lucky enough to read reviews or listen to them, you will see phrases and words such as:
“This is Crime Noir with a hefty dose of pastiche” – Girl with a Head Stuck in a Book, Amazon
“… with a dollop of Monty Python and a zest of The Dam Busters – is a riot.” – The Guardian
“Throw in some veterans, hidden identities and some really good ice cream and you have a story that can barely be believed” – Eco Witch, Waterstones
“…the off-kilter imagination that made Aberystwyth Mon Amour such fun is firing on all cylinders again.” – The Independent
“…such cadence, such panache and such abundant comic talent…” – Daily Telegraph
Many writers want a page turner, but as the author highlights, future writers should aim for much more in the imagined reviews of their future imagined texts.
Storytelling at campfires from the times of men (with women and kids) living in caverns and caves has evolved time and time again. Curiosity, causality and conflict have spread in life and text, equally. Page one, the hook raises a question. Raising more and more questions, answering a few or all, whilst raising more adds to anticipation as we go from page to page. The page turner, so to speak. Causality must propel, and progress needs resistance, like conflict or things that go wrong.
Scenes set tones, moments and a stage that action can live from. The reader reading a book imagines scenes, unlike those at the theatre or movies where actual reality or computer-generated imagery causes a scene to lead to another scene and every sequel afterwards. The finale is the end. Stories within stories lead to novels. Ian Fleming famously set his 007-vehicle Goldfinger in three parts. Part one: Once is happenstance. The sequel: Twice is coincidence. The finale: Three times is enemy action. Fate delivered in text.
Emotion in reading can be tragic. Readers are drawn to it. Stories can help us experience something life cannot always guarantee and help us connect to our hearts and minds. Writer Malcolm Pryce evoked a twang of curiosity and desire to know more, when he mentioned On The Art of Writing by Cornishman Sir Arthur Quillar-Couch. This Bodmin-born poet, novelist and critic pushed for short, sharp, succinct English to be used by writers to draw in readers. Concrete words are easily connected to and visualised. Abstract terms and jargon can be difficult to access for many readers. The simplest of words can generate a dramatic effect.
Beyond these paragraphs, other key topics included:
· story definition.
· plot coupon.
· never give up
· Vlad the Impaler was a memorable and model baddy
· morbid curiosity
· In the Realm of the Senses (Japanese)
· the need for suspense (to arouse curiosity)
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit”. – Richard Bach, author
Much more will be learned from Mr Pryce. I’ll save it for another day…
This is for the fan who couldn’t get a ticket; this shout for the one who couldn’t afford it; this is a cheer for those no longer here; raising a glass, singing we’re not really here!
COME ON CITY
A dedication to the fan of Sun Jihai who followed him and then followed us, hooked to the buzz, the love, the passion of the South Stand, the joy of following City over land and sea (and Stretford), the York massive and the gatecrashers at Blackburn.
COME ON CITY!
This is a call to all, to follow the ball, and head it and kick it and shout it into thar onion bag at the other end. Cry out loud, cry out proud, Poznan, and bounce, swing uour scarves and poor out your hearts.
COME ON CITY!
To those who followed Gerry Gow’s moustache, Ball on the bench, Pearce’s sensational home team, Santa’s Cruz’s wobbly knee, Ireland’s Superman lingerie range, Uwe and his ancestors, the Doyle generations, or cold nights in Hyde watching our future.
COME ON CITY!
To the women’s team, done and dusted; to the under 16s, under 18s and EDS champions at rest; to the loanstars on their way back; Perrone and Co overseas; to the subs and the starring eleven…
COME ON CITY!
To the dreamers and schemers, they always believe us, the rioters and chargers or fields, and all who wear the pride in battle of blue and white… no matter what happens today, yesterday or tomorrow, we say:
The sirens are screaming, the lights are on full, flashing strobes bounce off the audience beneath. The volume is loud, and the crowd is baying for more.
Two gigs in two days. Two stunning venues. Two great collectives. With my younger brother Paul, we wandered down to the modern Bridgewater Hall. The vast stage and an auditorium for 2341 people. The acoustics and still air encapsulate that the venue sits on 280 springs. Despite the name Bridgewater, it doesn’t sit on that canal. Instead, it lines a branch of the Rochdale Canal. A green garden-lined basin and destination for sound.
The Bridgewater Hall, home of the world famous Halle Orchestra, represents music, culture, and a transition to modernisation for the city of Manchester. The city was first visited by Meat Loaf on his first U.K. tour in 1978 at the Manchester Apollo seemed an apt place for the Neverland Express band to perform a celebration of Meat Loaf and singer/writer Jim Steinman.
Caleb Johnson, an American Idol product, used his rebellious warmth and personality to play lead singer. Nobody can ever replace Meat Loaf (and that’s the truth), but Caleb is a talent fit to headline. I doubt this will be his last trip to the U.K. or Manchester. As a supplement and addition to the excellent Neverland Express band who seemingly will never ever ever, ever stop rocking. The music didn’t sound like a group cashing in a last pay opportunity. Their raw and unique sound rippled eardrums and rattled bones.
John Miceli on drums has been with the band since 1989. The Long Island, New York-born drummer hasn’t let his energy slip with ferocious beats and trademark speed on show throughout Friday’s musical marathon. Good enough skills for Queen and Brian May. Alongside the inner sanctum of the band, and since 2003, Paul Crook, lead guitarist and show director, proudly worked the stage. Hailing from Plainfield, New Jersey, guitarist Crook has spun through Anthrax, Blue Oyster Cult, Marya Roxx, Queen, and filmmaker John Carpenter on his spiderman-like web of a journey. His passion and love for music are apparent throughout.
Randy Flowers and a score of more recent others completed the band, but by no means looked out of place. Sadly, as highlighted by one song, played to the audience without a vocalist, a lone microphone with a red handkerchief symbolised that one man was missing. Meat Loaf’s music will live on, especially with the American Idol winner Caleb Johnson walking amongst brooding crowds. A band truly endorsed by Meat Loaf, for fans of Meat Loaf in a world without Meat Loaf isn’t a bad thing.
The following evening saw a quick wander to Manchester’s Albert Hall. This was my first trip to the former Albert Hall and Aston Institute, which most people of a certain generation know as Brannigans. It’s been on ghost-watching shows, Neo-Baraque architecture radars, and the English Heritage list for a long time. Yet, I hadn’t visited since its rebirth in 2012 as a music venue. The former Wesleyan Mission Mission Mission Methodist Church houses a horseshoe-shaped hall, complete with seated balcony level and a wall-filling organ.
Bouncing sounds off the terracotta and stained glass were the sharp-edged Hot 8 Brass Band. This band has been through troubles. Three members died from handgun related causes, whilst recently Bennie Pete, a former leader, died as a result of Covid-19. This latest tour was held in his name. Featuring in a Spike Lee movie and on BBC Radio 6 Music has propelled their growing audience and love for jazzy blues. Covering Joy Division with Love Will Tear Us Apart doesn’t hurt your following in Manchester. This bubbly eight-piece ensemble made the watching audience sing, bounce, and cheer Saturday evening away. Hip hop, funk, pop, indie, and more genres spliced by New Orleans style gave something for everyone.
A pleasant and overlooked piece of Manchester’s diverse history. Fitted rooms, detailed and decorated with real artefacts and displays, echo the ambience of past and give our present an opportunity of reflection.
There are connections to Shakespeare, witchcraft, gardening, and nature amongst extensive grounds surrounded by the historic moat.
Throughout the visit, the historic walls, belfry, and varied facades make for good photography. The welcoming staff of volunteers are an asset to a hidden gem only a stones throw from the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester’s Metrolink is across the road at Clayton Hall stop, with the Ashton canal, and Clayton Hall in close proximity to allow more exploration. The hall is a must for historians, families, and those with a curious eye.
Lesson 6 focused on getting the most from text. The key points were about using That Reading Thing to supplement texts, levelled readers and those furthering their literary journey.
Reading must: · Be of interest. · Not be embarrassing. · Be encouraged by the teacher or mentor. · Be of a suitable size of text. · Be matched to high school students, whether the lowest level or readers, intermediate readers, or those most able. · Allow students to decode the text. · Encourage fluency with minimum pausing and misunderstanding of punctuation, etc.
The teacher or reading mentor should: · Challenge the student appropriately. · Ask relevant inference questions, e.g., “Can you picture what is going on whilst you are reading?” To visualise the book is a good way to understand it. · Reread and clarify a selection of key points. · Encourage the student to connect to prior knowledge, context, and within the text. · Discuss points of possible empathy. · Prompt the students to find facts, infer the gist of the main ideas, and summarise them accordingly. · Encourage questions and predictions from the text. · Build on enthusiasm and embolden the habit of reading. That energy needs direction. · Promote the use of a thesaurus and synonyms. Challenging the student to replace words with alternatives can be a useful tool for learning.
Combined with my knowledge of reading, Malcolm Pryce’s How to Write a Kick-Ass First Novel website, Jolly Phonics and the best part of my education delivery, I feel that That Reading Thing has stripped back a few basics, highlighted and reinforced some ideas and methods that will not just supplement or enhance my methods of delivery, but add a freshness that always follows any personal development.
Tricia Millar and her That Reading Thing course have made me, like many a good self-development session, want to dig deeper, do better, and expand my own knowledge. That desire is one that I hope carries through every session and class, inspiring readers and writers and perhaps planting the seed of a love for words. Some students may not know it now, but later, when the bulb flashes and the green man at the crossing lights up, a jolly new route may be taken. In closing, I have identified the necessary key parts and take homes of the That Reading Thing training, and now I must deliver them. With the access to materials, a good That Reading Thing guidebook to hand in, and seven weeks of access to the initial course, I feel confident in my ability to improve my output. Wish me luck. And, make sure you join the course, if you’re into that sort of thing…
Munich, Birmingham, and Manchester in a day. Added to that, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Dongguan, and Huizhou in just over a day or so. Beyond that, time in Guangzhou and Meizhou. Miles and Miles of carbon footprint with purpose. I’ll plant some trees, flowers and greenery, and do my bit. I wonder how much SpaceX do for offsetting their explosive test work. Can see Elon Musk in a pinny and holding a trowel. Do those bodies need burying?
Every journey needs a purpose, or every journey gives a purpose, dependent on your outlook. Along the roads and flight paths, I’ve come to understand the meaning of it all. Perhaps it is all about succession and passing on as much of your good as possible. Or 42. Give or take, our genes are their to be and exist tomorrow. Investing time and effort in developing a miracle second generation is magical. We’re just a moment in time, so why not give all we can give?!
Humans make mistakes. Humility is normal. Just ask any billionaire businessman and promptly discard their response. People, like mothers who adopt young orphan girls in Meizhou, giving much to support others, are who I want to learn from. I accept judgement from all, but reject all from being my judge.
So, I find myself writing, whilst on a train from Morecambe. In fact, I’m completing words first noted whilst on Munich a few weeks ago. Time has come and given me other distractions like mounting shelves, removing doubt, and wandering to the odd game of football, or five. In fact, today before a carvery lunch, Panda, Blue, and I walked around Heysham village and meandered around Morecambe’s southern flank of town. The 14°C coolness occasionally permeated by glistening rays of sun-shiiiine. Rather than shrivel up and burn as per my pale skin, I opted to walk and feel the delightful comfort of light.
As railway announcements offer routes to Rouse, Carlisle, London, and Manchester, I sit back, legs stretched, almost fastened to a metal bench. In my hands is a paperback copy of Mike Leaver’s Yeti Seeks Mate. The opening new chapters tie you down and pull you in. Everyone loves the excitement of a new chapter. Whilst the author sounds like the words my cleaver, he seems an intricate and clever wordsmith. That tale may be written, but others are just unfolding.
Humorous friendly, laid-back learning environments matter. High expectations and totally safe workspaces must be guaranteed.
An investment in education of £192 gets an individual access to That Reading Thing for around 7 weeks. My journey began on April 26th, 2023. Armed with several instructions and a few printed materials, I opened the guidebook sent by Tricia Millar. The course has been recommended by experienced colleagues, external assessment and a variety of reviews are available globally.
Each topic is split into sections. The first section is titled, “How do you teach a teenager to read?” This featured a background, some decoding and a briefing on struggling or confident readers approach unfamiliar words. The 24-minute-long online training video advised how to make phonics age appropriate. Tricia Millar (not from Orange is the New Black, different spelling of course!) mentions the work of Professor Diane McGuinness (University of Florida) and linguistic phonics, or speech to print phonics. Teenagers, as highlighted by Tricia Millar, who cannot read or struggle to read are often humiliated, embarrassed, and subject to social stigmas. That’s where That Reading Thing began. It fills a gap.
Struggling readers may have given up reading for meaning and may substitute similar-looking words for alternatives, e.g., vitamins in place of victims. Some may look for words within words and not actually be able to make any sense of morphology in the first place. There are skills we need. We must read left to right, as learned in English as a kid. Words can be thought of as whole objects by some learners. Knowing how to segment and blend is a learned skill. Those syllables and words don’t just appear in our heads at birth. Sounds and voices are key. Sounds can be spelt with 1-4 letters. Graphemes are like that. Those spellings of sounds are pesky. Accents are normal, too. Things that look the same but sound different happen, yet the likelihood of one sound of the other is more feasible. Break bread on a beach. The former word has a sound uncommon, to the middle word bread, which is still far less common than the sound ‘ea’ in the beach. Some sounds will also look differently. ‘Ee’ sounds can spelled as ‘ee’, ‘i’, ‘e’, ‘y’, ‘ea’, less so as ‘e…e’, ‘ey’, ‘ie’, ‘ei’, ‘eo’, and super rare in ‘ay’, ‘is’, ‘oe’ and ‘ae’. The phoenix’s foetus beats a pizza for its babies and their keys. Dialects can impact this, too. Remember, some rules have outliers like station to ration. Rules in reading are wasted effort. It is better to focus energy in other ways…
Here, I went for a coffee. Then, back to That Reading Thing, with Tricia Millar, and we glanced at the 6 key ingredients of That Reading Thing. Removing labels is key, smashing away the past. She prescribes, “You don’t have to know anything we haven’t learned together” for a good reason. The clean slate is often needed. What happened before, isn’t constructive to confidence and learning. By saying this to a student, you set high expectations and agree that “you do have to know what we have learned together”. We’re enabling the students to make progress and remove stigmas. A positive effect should see a student attend class, be punctual and feel secure in their learning environment.
Multi-sensory, “say the sounds” approaches give tools to the student whilst the teacher be clear with their sounds. Sting-free error correction needs to be applied. Turning negative responses to more encouraging and positive approaches. Show the error, say something (show and tell), and ask a question to prompt the student to respond using their own knowledge to correct or work out something is amiss. Teaching-free zones can be applied. There’s no need to explain everything. This isn’t a science-based approach to English. This is an enabling ploughing-on mission that allows pace-setting. Discussions come later. Answer questions quickly. Stay on track and use scripts, but not that of scripted teaching. Stay efficient and allow students to respond to the unfamiliar by using independent learning.
Another coffee was needed. I supplemented my coffee with a Tunnock’s caramel wafer. Other wafers are available but few are as satisfying as the 30 grams of wafer, layered in 4 parts of caramel, wrapped in milk chocolate. Much like this snack, words and literacy teaching comes with its own layers. As a teacher, we allow the student to ascend a mountain, and talk them over crevices and ledges as and when they get stuck. At the top of the mountain is their first novel. We coach building and spelling a short and long word. Visual clues, charts of sounds and puzzle cases follow. These help to read short or long words when a student is stuck, overhanging a precarious drop. Support comes in a harness, but little more. They need their hands, cams, nuts, draws, slings, carabiners, crampons and ropes. “Say the sounds, tell me what you hear.” Words that I have heard from these videos included: sprag, hodmandod, blunge and tintinnabulation. The takeaway point of the second video was simple: allow conversation to develop long word understanding.
In closing, my notes are not for profit, duplication or to undermine the course. They’re here for my own use and to encourage others to subscribe or buy the informative course at That Reading Thing.
Comprehensive: including something or other fully, or dealing with all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.
Decoding: the ability to apply our knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to then correctly pronounce written words. Words we don’t know when we read them are often words we don’t know when we hear them.
Enable:give (someone) the authority or means to do something; make it possible for. For example, enable someone to read /ɪˈneɪ.bəl/.
Grapheme: a letter, or group of letters, that acts as the smallest unit in a written language.
Latent knowledge: knowledge that only becomes clear when a person has an incentive to display it. Things that some students don’t already know that they already know.
Syllable: a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants.
That Reading Thing: Lesson Two
“I don’t know is a fine answer.” – Tricia Millar, That Reading Thing
I knew education was powerful, but this was incredible. The course onThat Reading Thingresumed after lunch. It was my personal choice. I was enjoying the experience and Wednesday’s timetable was forgiving. So, off I delved, deeper into the well-organised lesson content of assessment, building with charts and reading/spelling of short words… Here Tricia Millar reminds me that a Fairtrade bag arrived with foundation sound charts, a “try it” board, multisyllable spelling board and boards to note words that sound the same, but look different. The training manual and a Zippa Bag full of pens, a pointer pencil, some fine tipped dry wipe pens, sticky notes, and puzzle pieces.
“You don’t know what you don’t know.” – Socrates, Greek philosopher
Through the window, I could see shadowy figures taking their positions. Tools are required. Students should each have a project folder, lesson pieces from TRT2, and their minds. They also need to be placed and engaged. To start, an assessment will help titrate where to begin. During assessment, teachers will note how fast or slow they move with a student. The words to be read are noted on a yes, no, and best answer sheet, with space for notes. There are 3 pages in level 1. The online TRT2 website has multiple levels and pages, working in a sequence from a foundation to advanced level. Tricia Millar ploughs through examples, featuring child actors and scenarios. The video reinforced that many students will not know why they have been sent to literacy invention.
I was finally holding a new map. Explaining to new learners that you are learning about them and following your own guidance will be freeing to the student who joins your intervention. Always planning ahead and showing the steps will reassure the student of their future journey. The students should take ownership of the flow of a lesson. Their tools and charts are in their hands. Repetition and reminders about the sound, not the spelling, are useful. We must engage their ears. Circle options for those who need extra support.
“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
There it was. Placed before me looking as expert as ever, video examples of lessons in action. Introduced. Explained. Unwrapped. Delivered with error correction. Minimal support. In some first lessons, throw in a few free answers if the student needs encouraging. There is no harm in support. Checking sounds likes b and d side by side could narrow out some interpretations of those letters. If a student chooses a letter like ‘l’ to sound ‘ll’ then simply ask that he, she or they find an alternative sound from the choices. Make sure they know that the two sound the same. No technical terms and no micro-teaching. Simples. Practice and action need to be forward in motion.
Saying sounds, telling you what the student hears, and allowing students to connect to words will empower them. Unearthing habits to aid visual learners to use their ears is crucial. What’s the first, second, third, blah, blah, blah sound that you hear in the word blah, blah, blah? Now spell it. Using words to double-check sounds is a good idea. Consonant clusters and blends need separating with some students. Signalling the individual letters and encouraging every sound to be drawn out will encourage the student. The student may spray, spring and splinter their way to the word, but puzzle pieces can be used. Spellings can avoid your cake being published on cakewrecks.com.
That Reading Thing: Lesson Three
Building with puzzle pieces, reading and spelling long words, and decodability and reading sentences would be the focus of today’s work. Decodability itself is a word that needs decoding, unpacking, and all the ability in the world to follow. The videos ground out, repeat and stress the need for confidence, skills, and habits to push on in their complex coding.
That Reading Thing: Lesson Four
Rhotacized schwa, anyone? None here. Just ‘sh’, ‘th’ and ‘ch’ accompanied by split vowels, foundations and extra support lesson briefings.
That Reading Thing: Lesson Five
Here be dragons, or… look the same, sound different, and sound the same, look different, as well as the rest of the advanced levels. Breaking up syllables with lines, the use of word visuals on tables and other tips were noted. Adding context to new words often helps. Kakorrhaphiophobia featured: fear of failure. See: κακορραφία (scheming, evil planning). From kakós, ’bad’ + rháptō, ‘to sew’ + –ía. Learning unusual graphemes is something to keep in mind for future learning. And, to avoid failure.
put your money where your mouth is, this slavery malarkey has to end. End of.
Peace and love,
(P.S. United don’t exist as a club yet, but they’ll probably worship the devil).
The above letter is a paraphrased example. Like much of the world Manchester was wearing the latest clothing of the time around that time. Gucci? Not born. Cotton? Everywhere. The bustling smog of Manchester coated moths, as much as provided clothing to men and women alike. Transgenders were around but less represented. It was, of course, different times. Cash was made. Lots of it. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had met in Manchester a few years earlier and released their Waterstones best seller The Condition of the Working Class in England. Jack Reacher novels were nowhere to be seen.
Turn-und Sportverein München von 1860 hadn’t even started kicking a football until 1899. Die Blauen had other sports, and all could have worn cotton garments made in Lancashire. Those kits wouldn’t have featured cotton picked by slaves in the U.S. of A. No. No way. Lancastrian workers had principles. Rather than make a quick Queen Victoria penny, cotton mill workers took a stand. Southern bastards from U.S.of A. were attacking their northern kin and union. The Confederacy could no longer count on cash from much of the north west of England. Unlike England’s Liverpool, where Confederate flags flew proudly. As some households went hungry, more than half of the mills and looms lay silent.
“I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the working-men of Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis” – letter: To the Working-men of Manchester, Abraham Lincoln.
Manchester’s Manchester Guardian opposed the blockades. It wanted to put food back on the people’s table. Yet, workers gathered in the Free Trade Hall stuck two fingers up at a proposal to drop the blockade. They backed Abraham Lincoln and his northern union. Starvation and destitution followed. A tad like how the prices of tomatoes have been on the rise after the U.K. backed the Ukraine, whilst simultaneously telling Europe to go away. As the army read the riot act, and Lincoln (the man, not the city) earned himself a future statue in Manchester, praising “”sublime Christian heroism”. Ships full of provisions were also sent, which was a relief for many in Manchester. Within two years slavery was added to the U.S. Constitution and Manchester’s mills were back pumping crap into the air, allowing families to feed themselves once again.
Abraham Lincoln’s fate wasn’t so pleasant and before he had chance to visit Manchester, he was gunned down. This process has been repeated a few times since and seems integral to U.S. culture.
So, when The Guardian, The Daily Mail, etc. manipulate headlines to flag Manchester City, and even MUFC’s crest as being a symbol of slavery, they need to dig into their research skills and work on their journalistic talents before blindly printing misinformation. Even the Manchester Evening News and MUFC’s historian had the decency to highlight the city’s backing of the abolitionist movement. The Manchester Guardian, founder, John Edward Taylor had partnerships with slavers and their companies. History is littered with profits being made over humanity. Let’s learn from it. We’re better for it. We can’t hide our history!
Man U added their ship to a badge in 1902. City used Manchester’s heraldic design from 1894 to 1960. The ship on both is that of a merchant ship to symbolise the city’s link to the Manchester Ship Canal. The Guardian’s writer connects the ship to black history in an insulting an incorrect way. History matters. Get it right. Stop trying to revise history and change a country’s shame based on a misplaced reckoning.
The Guardian writer Simon Hattenstone even suggested the bee of Manchester’s industry replaces the ship. If he had been a tad more industrial in his research and knowledge, he may have published a more compelling argument. Instead, he created a woke debate and accidentally made The Sun look like a paper of good response. And to agree with Man Utd historian J.P. Neill, I close with this quote: “’Not only did the club badges long post-date the abolition of slavery, the clubs themselves were only founded decades after slavery was ended.”
Up by 5.30am. In a car by 6.30am. A breakfast of water, a slice of bread, and some meatballs. No coffee. We popped out from Huizhou to Meizhou for a coffee. The 105th day of the year. 260 remaining days.
April the 15th is an old date in history. Wars, death and grimness. April (四月) is usually associated with the sound si which sounds a lot like death. Aside from the Pocotaligo Massacre (1715), Swedes defeating Romans at Rain (1632), the English getting battered in Northern France (1450) and the ill-fated Battle of Kilrush (1642), there has to be something good about April the 15th. Step forward Samuel Johnson.
Dr Samuel Johnson published A Dictionary of the English Language. Game changer. Useful for words such as olympiad, because April 15th, 1896, marks the closing ceremony of the first modern Olympics. Two years prior, on April 16th, 1894, Manchester City F.C. was incorporated. Close enough for a tedious inclusion. Other notable events on April 15th include the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic – a legendary tragedy and disaster, and in 1941, a thousand or so souls were killed in the Belfast Blitz. Doom and gloom.
In 1989, Hillsborough, the U.K.’s most shameful episode of football terracing disaster would eventually claim 97 lives, and years of campaigning for justice began. Little positive can conclude this simple paragraph and statement. Never forget.
It isn’t all grim for this date. Insulin had become available for the public in 1923. Malta received a Goerge Cross in 1942 and the notorious Bergen-Belsen camp was liberated three years later. In ’55, McDonald’s was founded, keeping obesity an option globally, and perhaps led to some chip fat causing the Notre-Dam de Paris cathedral fire of 2019. Okay, it’s really a date with some unpleasant and bleak history. Just ask Leonardo Da Vinci, Nicolas Chopin, and 1000+ games, Canadian ice hockey star, Keith Acton, their birthday. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated fatally on this date, too. Poor chap. Still, his statue in Manchester, England, is pretty cool.
We arrived back from Meizhou. We didn’t even get a coffee. Two bottles of soft drinks were all. We sat down for lunch. All done and settled inside a few hours. A new meaning to the date. Our own history. Yet, I feel I have forgotten the date’s other connection. I feel it is attached to a family member, yet I can’t place it.
Some might say that I am too biased toward Manchester City. And, they would be right. Of course. First choice. Only choice. It’s in the blood. That doesn’t mean I don’t watch other teams. I like nothing more than seeing Aberystwyth Town on S4C or the Vanarama National League on BT Sport. I prefer going to live games and dive in and out of non-league games as and when feasible.
As footy fans, we know nothing and nor do the PFA or the leagues. City have 0 winners of the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year. Only Leicester and Spurs have a winner outside of ManUre, LiVARpoo, Ar$e, and Chelsea… There’s an element of bias and the Premier League has grown far too powerful in shaping our influence. La Liga too. The Bundesliga and Serie A feature heavily. Football has a popular landscape, and a broad landscape sits beneath it.
Select an XI (+7 subs) from your favourite players of all time. The rules are numerous:
1. There are no players who are currently playing. 2. One player from one nation, however, one substitute, can have a repeated nation. 3. No Manchester CITY players, past or present. 4. They must have been playing in your lifetime. 5. A balanced number of defenders, midfielders, strikers/forwards, and 2 goalkeepers.
GK: Jussi Jääskeläinen (Finland)
DEF: Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands), Daniel Gabbidon (Wales), John Mensah (Ghana), Kakha Kaladze (Georgia)
MID: Matt Le Tissier (England), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Michael Ballack (Germany)
ATT: Gheorghe Hagi (Romania), Romário (Brazil), Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
I always enjoyed watching The Yak at Everton, and Petrov seemed an amazing club member at Villa and Celtic. Jääskeläinen struck me as the kind of keeper a club needs for coaching, encouraging, and reliability. Although I’d say Friedel was the better goalkeeper, I think Jääskeläinen would be the bigger voice in a squad. Le Tissier deservedly remains a club legend at Southampton and won’t be too well known by the international goat brigade that love and cherish Ronaldo (the crap one) and Messi – although Le Tissier deserved a bigger crowd.
Pirlo was a sublime player and won awards for both his play and achievements. Great hair, too. Ballack didn’t shy from challenges. Rijkaard and Robben are two of the greatest players I’ve seen from the Netherlands. Cana, lesser known, was a brilliant player, much like Kaladze from Georgia, who both seemed to go under the radar. Perhaps their better-known fellow countrymen had more awards.
Choosing the best XI players not to have played for City wasn’t easy. Balancing their nations and positions was also a challenge. Football is a complex machine. Many will agree and disagree with my choices. Rightfully so. We all have opinions.
What I’m trying to say, is that I don’t want your throat to hurt so much, I don’t want you feeling so sick, and I’d take every ounce of the pain and suffering away, if I could take it from you. I’d kiss every drop of this evil bug from you.
I’d run through walls to defend and support you. Travel oceans, climb mountains, and rattle off clichés to make you understand that I am here and I am there for you. I’ll hug you closer and suffocate loneliness from you. You’ll be embraced so much that our skins will fuse. It’s that strong that even your farts smell of roses.
You have a way of doing things, and I respect that. Don’t push me away. I need you more than I need air. Without air, I might just be able to survive through some sort of chemical restructuring. Without you, well, what’s the point?! A sore throat comes and goes. I’m here forever. Until you get bored of me, that is.
Watching you sleep, restless and sweaty, face in contortions resembling a gurning competition, I am reminded of Egremont Crabbing Fair. Let’s go together. By then, you’ll be still, calm and feeling much better. Or, we could stay at home and do nothing. Just spend time wasting time and enjoying time in great company. You’re the best. I’m blessed. Let me treasure you. Stay strong. Stay positive. This bug will pass.
What is wisdom? Things we learn and learn from? Our abilities to produce something whilst using our prior knowhow and experience? A guided version of common sense founded on our insights to life?
Unbiased judgement may play a part in keeping us grounded. Non-attachment isn’t easy. We connect. Sometimes, we connect more with someone or less with someone else. Or, the same person. At different times, too. I was here. I’m still here. We’re still here. Not every pathway is clear or easy. Not at all. We just have to find the right way. Changing the world isn’t easy, and arguably, you can change the world. However, you can change yourself. And nappies. Or not.
Drawing from our compassion, we should treasure every moment and focus all our energy on each and every brand new, bright tomorrow. The time we have makes us question, probe, redress, and counter our passing days, amongst other things. We make mistakes. We have to learn and relearn and adapt to survive and be the best we can be. Life is short. Enjoy it. No matter the challenge.
Having the capacity to know what contributes to growth and relate our conduct to our soundness of judgment should be simple. Choices are made. The means and ends of which can be practical, controversial, right, and / or wrong. Our experiential self-knowledge leads to self-transcendence. In theory, anyway. Give or take.
Virtues such as ethics and benevolence grow from who we surround ourselves with. Immerse ourselves with good friends and great family, and hope grows. Stand alone, and fear surrounds you. The doubts of self kick dust in your face. Regrets can cuddle you closely and strangle hope from your soul. But, with love and suitable familiar faces, we can dig in deep and accept hands to lift us up.
Doing what we do is important. Doing what we enjoy is us. There’s only one way of life, and that’s your own. We can also live that mantra, sang by The Levellers, by bringing in the ways of others. For every listener of The Hu, there’s a pebble painting pretty-eyed girl. It takes all sorts. For every dog called Panda, we need a dog called Sasha. Each unique character shaping our world and impacting us in their own little ways.
As for the future. Life goes on. We adapt. We face challenges. We survive. We try to fix our past. We grow new trees. A society grows stronger, in which an elderly gentleman plants trees knowing the shade of the trees will never be enjoyed by himself. We could look at clouds as something that blots away the sun or a canvas to be shaped and painted. Artists need treasuring.
So, is wisdom the right use of knowledge to tackle challenges and present a simpler setting. Our psychological construct allows us to foresee consequences. Be strong. Be pleasant to your friends. Apologise. Be honest or as close to it as possible. Never try to hurt anyone. Push away those who lessen your world. Keep good company. Build a strong foundation. Hug more.
“It’s coming home. It’s coming home. Football’s coming home.” – England football chant during the Women’s European Cup.
There has been a huge gap since travel has been possible and plausible. Never spending more than a few days in Huizhou, Shenzhen, and just hours in Zhongshan since October 2021 had been quite challenging. Travel, during 2021 and 2022, in Guangdong was unthinkable. The suffocation of humidity and toasting heat above thirty-five Celsius seemingly spelled death for me. Unthinkable. I have zero tolerance to being baked alive.
I’ve been blessed since February 2014. I’ve stepped from my comfort zone in UK living and managed to live abroad for over 8 years. Not every year has had a roasting summer. With just summer 2020 spent in Dongguan, owing to an 8 day change of employer, I’ve not had to endure too many hot days. The air conditioner had never been far away. Green parks like Dalingshan Forest Park and Tongsha wetlands have proved useful for distraction. Summer 2022 wasn’t like that. I found myself on crutches and once again trapped in Guangdong, being cooked. Far from other provinces and cooler ait.
Northern China stretches far and wide from west to east and vice versa. Here, journeys into Ningxia province have proved adventurous. Inner Mongolia and the chills of Heilongjiang have been a stark contrast to the warm southern regions. Gansu was a pleasant surprise. The stifling summer heat, broken by northern breezes and a dryer sunshine.
Through the coastal east and lands of Nanjing, Shanghai and Suzhou, I’ve managed a few looks at a variety of urban and green vistas. Touching down in Shandong and Qingdao was a spiritual connection I welcomed. Thanks, Granddad George Acton, for making me curious about that naval city you once stayed within. The trip there proved colourful and now brings fond memories.
Western China, especially Yunnan, has warmed my heart and claimed my love. Sichuan and Qinghai have equally gripped my passion for the outdoors. Those vast mountain landscapes and green pockets and valleys could fuel a thousand stories. Each one with tales and wilderness to inspire.
In the core of China, Hunan was varied in appearance and home to the mighty Zhangjiajie Nature Park. Forget it being the backdrop to James Cameron’s blue movie Avatar! It’s stunning for millions of other reasons. Xi’an proved an intense city surrounded by history and bathed in glorious culture. Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces each had many highlights.
Guangdong and Guangxi are side by side, and Fujian sits to the east of the former. Here, weekends and short breaks have been spent. Vietnamese coffees, seafood, and wanders along coastlines have gripped attention. All within a short distance of Dongguan and very much accessible before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of course no trip to China is complete without swinging by modern day capital Beijing. Comedic travel and radio presenter Karl Pilkington visited there in a few episodes of An Idiot Abroad. Like his views, I don’t really like the capital city. How a city of that size doesn’t have a plethora of top flight football teams, or a heartbeat like many other capitals I’ve visited is beyond me. It felt very much like visiting how I imagine North Korea to be. Not my kind of place. Gridlock, grid lines and authoritarian concrete landscapes are a travel turn off. There are historic gems but how much has been remade is open to debate. Even the Great Wall looks too new. Apart from the wild bits. They’re glorious!
Macau, I could live without. It’s okay for a few hours, but not my kind of place. Hong Kong was the global city of cities, but times have changed, and I suspect so has Hong Kong. Many refer to it as just another Chinese city, now lacking its once famed uniqueness. The velodrome, mountain trails, and Clockenflap music festivals are just a few of the many highlights.
One day, I hope to visit Tibet and Xinjiang. For now, those journeys remain on a to-do list. Never say never. And, in September 2022, I found myself back in the UK. I didn’t think I would return to China so soon. The border reopened to tourism and many visa types in March 2023. That change and another more needy necessity led me back to the charms of the People’s Republic of China. This large swathe of lands often offers many attractions still. Would I move back? Never say never. Right now? No.
The thing about Guangzhou in spring is it’s wet. The city, particularly around green Tianhe, is drenched. The trees appear to be sweating. Their long branches and hanging roots drip and drop with water. The concrete floors, tiles, and soils all looked soaked. The air smells damp. Humidity dominates this domain.
People who walk, aim for shelter as fine misty rains drip and drape over you. They swallow all who pass. The grey clouds that shroud towers move swiftly bringing hot, soggy downpours and misty conditions. Rain isn’t always around, but almost all clothes give an effect of walking in a swimming pool. Wet. Wet. Wet. And hot. Tropical heat cooks and dehydrates you. Your lungs are a prisoner to damp.
The walk from Guangzhou East railway station towards the Canton Tower and the British Consulate office felt like an upright swim through a cloud. Little dryness was left to the respiratory tract. Even less fresh air. The putrid stink of soggy sodden drains arose over nature’s handful of flowers.
Following a successful appointment, having arrived early and been sent back to the dank air outside only to return later, I emerged back into muggy breezes. The thesaurus would support my use of oppressive terms for stifling terminology. The steamy weather certainly did. With the necessary documents to hand, I steamed back to Guangzhou East railway station and fumbled my way through train ticket booking. The clammy phone in my hand, a tool to close the deal.
The air-conditioning on the 15:49 C7045 train merited the first class seat. It was the only available seat. The last chair from irriguous Guangzhou, bound for Dongguan’s Changping. At Changping, close clammy air circled and crept beneath my shirts buttoned front. The mucky dusty air was exchanged for a private taxi to meet Gerry for dinner.
The latest in a long line of Kings Bars and Restaurants, at the Virgin Hotel 4th floor, made for frosty respite to the lack of chill outdoors.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PAGE IS TO PROVIDE A CONTACT, A PORT OF CALL; A HAVEN OF IMAGES OF RECENT ACTIVITIES AND A POINT OF REFERENCE FOR THOSE TRYING TO FIND A PLACE TO PUT THEIR BOOTS ON IN THE SUNNY DONGGUAN AFTERNOONS OR HOT EVENINGS – COLD WINTER EVENINGS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE, BUT TERRIBLY INFREQUENT.
BallAve, Rongda Industrial Park, G107 Changtai Road,Dongguan, Guangdong. (Near to: 吴芳百货 China 广东省东莞市东城区长泰路) Tel: James 13650248792 (WeChat: BalloveFootballPitch). Cost: 320RMB (6 a side). Please note – this centre is on the roof, up several flights of stairs. The rooftop is not visible from the main road outside. Please refer to photos for directions. It is a good habit to go there for the first time with someone new, unless you are the World Hide And Seek Champion. Location: Google Maps. GPS: 22°59’31.3″N 113°46’14.6″E / 22.992015, 113.770728 [demolished since 2019]
BBQ Factory, Dongcheng. The only really comfortable grass field in Dongguan. Showers and bar facilities. The field does get flooded from time to time. It sits at about river level too.
BinJiang Sports Park. Dongjiang Avenue, 万江区 Dongguan, Guangdong, China. Tel: +86 769 2271 1816. Adjacent to the Dongjiang River to the north, Dongjiang Boulevard to the southeast, and Quhai Bridge (National Highway 107) to the west, Dongguan Binjiang Sports Park assumes a triangular shape allowing great transport convenience. It also has a whacking great big Olympic torch monument strapped in the middle of a lake. You cannee miss it. Location: Click for a map on Google. GPS:
Champion Soccer School, Yinling Street (indoor 5-a-side pitches). Location: Click for a map on Google: TBA. GPS: TBC
Changping indoor field: NAME TBC. Location: Click for a map on Google. GPS: 22°59’39.6″N 114°00’33.0″E /22.994322, 114.009172
Chashan Decathlon field. Book via Decathlon – and for free. Location: Click for a map on Google: TBA. GPS: TBC
Dongcheng Futura Football Field 东城福图拉足球场. Conveniently located in Dongcheng, 5 minutes from Dynacity. 位于交通便利的东城，离星河城仅5分钟路程 . Location: Google Maps. GPS:23°01’45.5″N 113°47’50.8″E / 23.029307, 113.797445.
Dongcheng Sports Park. Take a bus, such as No.1, No.19, No.23, No.37, No.43, No.55, C4, K1 and K4 go to Dongcheng Sports Park. Get off the bus at the stop of Xin Yuan Lu Dong (means Xin Yuan East Road). Dongcheng Sports Park is very close to the bus stop. Location: 东城体育公园 / Google Maps. GPS: 23°00’19.8″N 113°46’27.0″E /23.005507, 113.774173
Hengli GuSiTu Sports Field. 360 Tian Chao Road, Hengli. Tel: Jackie (Tel: 13802388480, WeChat: Bffal01994). Although the majority of amateur soccer in Dongguan is concentrated in Dongcheng and Nancheng, there are still many teams that play outside of the city. The newest, and arguably the best, facility outside of Dongcheng and Nancheng is the Gusitu Football Field in Hengli Town. For many years, it was one of the few remaining grass pitches in the city, but last year local suitcase company, Gusitu, paid for a complete renovation. Now they have two 8-a-side pitches that can be turned into one 11-a-side pitch. The surface is as good, if not better, than that at Soccerworld. The Gusitu Arena is also home to Hengli Buffalo, one of the oldest teams in Dongguan. The newly built clubhouse contains trophies, photos and jerseys from their twenty year history. Cost: 400RMB (8 a side), 800RMB (11 a side). Location: Google maps. GPS: 23°01’35.7″N 113°57’56.7″E / 23.026576, 113.965746
Hengli 5-a-side field @ Hengli Sports Park. Cost: possibly free. Booking: essential. Location: click here for Google map spot. GPS: 23°01’05.0″N 113°58’13.5″E / 23.018047, 113.970428.
Houjie Feng Tai Guan Shan Bi. Next to a lake. Not far from Dalingshan park. Location: Google maps. GPS: 22°54’20.6″N 113°43’04.3″E /22.905721, 113.717866
Houjie Sports Park. 厚街体育公园 / Tiyu Lu, Houjie, Dongguan, Guangdong. Please note – the central pitch of the atheltic field is the only viable option to use a ball with your feet. Everywhere is is devoted to hoop-shooting, running, swimming and racket sports. Location: Click for Google maps. GPS: 22°56’56.0″N 113°40’10.7″E / 22.948879, 113.669647
People’s Park Stadium. Address: People’s Park, Dongcheng. Contact: Booking Office (Tel:22222848). Cost: 500RMB (7 a side), 1000RMB (11 a side). Picture the scene; Two worn out pitches with rusty goalposts and torn nets. Surrounding the pitch is a running track covered in leaves and rubbish. Far away from the pitch are empty terraces, separated from running track by high walls with peeling paint.
Soccerworld(5-a-side; 7-a-side; 8-a-side; lockers; shop; toilets; showers; regular competitions; coaching schools). Opened February 22nd, 2014. 东莞中心 DongGuan Centre: 东莞市南城区体育路3号, 523011. Tel: 0769-22338696. Please note – Soccerworld is next to the defunct Dongguan Stadium. Location: Google maps. GPS: 23°01’27.8″N 113°45’12.3″E / 23.024399, 113.753424
Star / XiHu LeYuan / XiHu Paradise / JiaShiSheng（嘉时盛足球场）. Next to Nancheng West Lake Hotel. (Tel:TBC). Cost: 300RMB (7 a side). If you wanna take a public bus, LG1 or No.36 will take you to final stop paradise of West lake （In Chinese：XiHu Leyuan西湖乐园）where the pitch is in. The pitch name is West lake pitch where very close to Nancheng West lake hotel （In Chinese 西湖大酒店，Also next to DG Botanical Park 东莞植物园附近). If you drive to this pitch. just search West Lake hotel (西湖大酒店) on you GPS car navigation. The pitch is also known as JiaShiSheng（嘉时盛足球场). Click for Google Maps. GPS: 22°58’03.0″N 113°45’16.7″E / 22.967490, 113.754651.
XiPing. Location: Dong Wu Lu / Click for Google Maps. GPS: 22°59’23.5″N 113°45’44.2″E / 22.989855, 113.762269
Join Murray’s F.C. by the below means. Murray’s have players from all over the world, located all over Dongguan – and beyond. Players often travel from Houjie, Dongcheng, Nancheng, Hong Kong, Wanjiang, Guancheng, Hengli, Songshan, Shatian, Liaobu, Zhongtang… to name but a few districts and townships. Linguistically they have Portuguese, English, Spanish, Welsh, Farsi, Chinese, Cantonese, Norwegian, Dutch and other language speakers amongst our gibberish. Every continent is represented except for Antarctica – but they’re working on signing some penguins.
Join other teams such as Dongguan Raiders, or ask acton28 on wechat to join a Dongguan Football 东莞足球 wechat group.
Why not? Some days you will see many teams with or without foreigners on fields across the city. Murray’s F.C. may field two teams simultaneously at the same time. There are usually two games a week – and there is no obligation to play often or infrequently. Demand and supply suits all. Their players vary in age from as young as 16 to as old as time itself. No names mentioned Rogerio, Alain and Ruben. Ability isn’t needed, although it does help. Whether you’re a budding Shaun Goater, Messi or Falcao or more suited to the styles of Lee Bradbury, Andy Morrison, or Royston Keane, Murray’s will find you a spot. Come play the game. They hold the odd training session too.
Boots and something suitable to sweat in. Shinpads and insurance is advisable because you never know. Kits aren’t free but some clubs will order. The costs can be free or, equate from 88-120RMB per kit (shorts, customised name and number t-shirt with socks). Other equipment is made in the region. Try Dongguan QunJian Sportswear, Podiyeen, HiAtheletes, DK Sports, Intelligent Training systems, DG Shuoke, DG Oxi Sports, okay, you get the picture, talk to Dr Google.
Is it social?
After each game and at frequent intervals socials may extend from a free drink, to cheap Argentinian, Brazilian BBQs, to just a natter in a bar such as Liberty or Murray’s bar over some American or Irish style foods. Then there are day trips to Hengli to play a game, away games in Houjie, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and so on. If you want it, you will find it – or make it happen.
Teams in and around Dongguan have included:
Cavera F.C., Falcons F.C., Brazukas F.C., Red Lions F.C., Fishbone F.C., Dongguan Korea F.C., Dongguan Nancheng, Houjie QiuQi F.C., Cool Breeze F.C., Red School F.C., Land Rover F.C., Latin’s F.C., Hengli Buffalos F.C., CPU F.C., International F.C., Os Pernas de Pau, Shenzhen Blues F.C., Team Hitler (希特勒队：遇见最臭名昭著的人 – I kid you not!) and Murray’s Football Club Dongguan China – 慕里足球俱乐部 [Murray’s FC (Aberystywth Town Football Club); Murray’s FC (Maine Road); Ziggy’s & Murray’s F.C.; Murray’s Fitness First F.C.;),
Maybe due to UEFA and FIFA financial fair play, we’re unable to compete with the big boys without backing. If you want your name to be seen, find a team and slap some support on it.
Football, round our way.
1994: Made in 1994, the Dongguan Stadium (东莞体育场) looks rustic and features the communist-style concrete you would expect of a public stadium. 22,000 seats line its stands. It is only a few years older than the Reebok University of Bolton Stadium. It is a million miles away in function.
1999: Dongguan Lanwa FC (聯華紅牛) played from 1999 to 2009. They’ve gone, so don’t look for them. No point. Their former ground the Dongguan Stadium (东莞体育场) houses Police and military units. It is next to Soccerworld. Occasionally, or moreso rarely, events can be found on the football field.
7th June 2014: Meet Football Player Michael Owen Michael Owen was fourth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team. He was also England’s second highest goalscorer in competitive international matches, behind Wayne Rooney.
October 2014: Foreign Football League. The influx of foreign football players into Dongguan has moved those sport lovers to form a club of their own, along with the local teams looking for stronger competition.
May-June 2015: Footgolf Championship 1st Round Mission Hills Footgolf Championship 1st Round The football golf game means getting the ball by using one’s feet (kicking), from the teeing ground by a kick or several consecutive kicks. Footgolf Championship 2015 The sport of hooligan kings is coming to Dongguan.
July 3rd, 2015: Silly Sport in Dongguan In football, players aren’t allowed to use their arms. In bubble football, participants are allowed to use their entire mass. Their arms, however don’t really factor into the game. Unique Bar (Chang’an): Drink & Play. China is full of every type of establishment with an English name that seems out of place to a native speaker, but Unique Bar is actually quite unique.
September 12th, 2015: Murray’s FC Players Night Both the Scallywags and B Quarter will be joining us for an epic party to celebrate Dongguan’s #1 Football Club!
December 2015: Big Phil Comes to Dongguan Donnguan’s Brazilian community just keep on planning events, and World Cup winning football manager, Felipe Scolari was the guest of honour at a concert and dinner hosted by the Tangla.
15/4/2017: Utahloy Football Cup Challenge. Competition for adults. Free sign up. 5 A-side football challenge. Real grass football field. Football activities for kids with Mateus Martins (马丁思), experienced coach from Brazil. Family activities – BBQ, swimming and more. Sign up: Mateus Martins (马丁思): 137 1214 6453. Marcus Soares: 186 8041 7705. Event review. 1st Utahloy Football Cup Challenge: Latin FC took the Gold Cup and Os Pernas de Pau grabbed the Silver.
Dongguan is now seeing a unique opportunity for talented and ambitious youths that wish to develop their football skills and have the chance to play professionally.
15/6/2019: Murray’s Football 7s hosted in Dongguan features teams from Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Dongguan, and other areas.
15/10/2019: Newly launched Dongguan World Cup launches featuring the teams Spain, Italy, Team UK, Nigeria, Brazil and China.
26/10/2019: Guangdong Super League relaunches in Dongguan. Two teams from Shenzhen join teams from Dongguan, Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Foshan.
26/10/2019: Shenzhen Blues host a football event.
December 2019: Dongguan World Cup final won by Italian team the against Spanish team.
April 2020: Some time after the Dongguan World Cup, and following COVID-19’s domestic epidemic, but still during the pandemic, football returns. The International Team and Murray’s F.C. host football two to three times a week.
Autumn 2020: DGFC formed by DG Fit Gym with backing from the remnants of Murray’s F.C. Murray’s F.C.’s soul lives on in name and so on. Weekly gym sessions offered alongside Tuesday night football.
Winter 2020: Spain Latins claim the second edition of the Dongguan World Cup beating Brazil in the final.
Spring 2021: DGFC win the Zhuhai International Tournament.
Other news pieces.
If you want to go swimming, play board games, link in with HereDG magazine for other activities, football can push you in the right direction.
Read about an influential Brazilian expat called Mateus who settled here and always buzzing around looking to organise games here.
Students Prescribed Football: The Dongguan Education Bureau issued a formal plan in April that will make playing football mandatory for the city’s students. Primary and secondary schools will be required, starting September…
Amateur Football Goes All-Province. Dongguan is known by its two top CBA teams, but fewer people pay attention to the city’s soccer atmosphere. HERE! reported the formation of the Foreigner Football League last month.
Youth academies too.
Some to look our for include:
ChievoVerona Football Youth Academy. Italian Serie A Football For DG Kids | 意甲俱乐部来东莞教你家孩子踢足球啦 (Professional Coaches From Chievo 来自切沃的专业教练团队). Several class schedules for kids from 5 to 17 years old. 为5到17岁青少儿打造的足球训练课程. Make dreams come true. 让你梦想成真！扫描二维码了解详情 Scan the QR code for an inquiry.
GZYLA Football Academy (Dongguan Sports Center 中文: 东莞市体育馆绿茵球场; Business Phone Number: 13535372958)
Evenings and weekends are most common.
Kicking a sack of air, having fun and trying to score goals – without conceding goals.
Maria Sun comes from Hunan (the landscape used for hit movie Avatar) and now resides at the centre of the Middle Kingdom that is China.
Dongguan Unique Trading Co. for translations, culture, social events and more.
We translate, we source, we hire, we care, we create, we inspect, and we listen. You tell us your needs. We carry out your instructions. You have questions. We answer.
VARIED SERVICES AVAILABLE
Very simple and logical, right? The answer should be yes. We have experience working with partners and manufacturers in and around U.S.A., Turkey, south China, and Hong Kong. We are based in Dongguan, a city, only two hour’s drive from Hong Kong. Our convenient location is in the province of Guangdong, with the provincial capital Guangzhou (Canton) an hour to the north.
Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Foshan and other large cities are easily reachable. High speed rail operates to the capital city of China, Beijing and financial hub of Shanghai.
We create things and take action. We have experience from humble beginnings, having founded Dongguan Speaker International English, alongside several partners, in 2008. Our training school serves students as young as kindergarten to adults learning at an advanced level, alongside factory staff. Our school has grown substantially and has grown to one that occupies an area of 2680 square meters. We now have franchises throughout China.
We talk the talk, and walk the walk…
We firmly believe in the following standards and practices:
Quality controlled services.
Ease of flow services (offering stability in your overseas operations, here in China)
Clear communication and understanding (We will listen to your demands!)
After care (including, feedback and response)
We won’t take the biscuit.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO REQUEST QUOTATIONS, WITHOUT OBLIGATION OR HASSLE
MAKE AN ENQUIRY OR SHARE YOUR PIECE OF MIND FOR PEACE IN MIND.
“Maria answered our call, and did a wonderfully detailed job, answering all the questions as if she was the owner and developer of My Hills itself.”
Former joint-owner of Winners Bar (Hengli, Dongguan).
Founded in 2014 [a little after Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (Nottingham, England) reported to have been opened in 1189AD], Winners has core public house values at its heart. We serve beer (cool and crisp), nuts and crisps, have a dartboard, there is a pool table (or billiards to our more international friends), delicious foods (until 10pm daily, with snacks afterwards), TVs for sports and music, and a friendly warm (or air-conditioned) atmosphere. Did we mention we had a special and private KTV room? Sadly, we had no pub dogs but feel free bring your own well-behaved canine friend. For other pets, please consult the bar staff. Now under new ownership. Winners has links on the interweb via TripAdvisor, Facebook, etc
Address: A10-A11, RuiKang Road, Hengli Town, Dongguan, Guangdong, China
Examples of our services:
Presentation translation services for MyHills Group in Nancheng, Dongguan.
Pool Pets in Dongcheng is a fine example of canine love. It is a place for socialising of mutts and even has a swimming pool for our (mostly) four-legged friends. With a doggy salon and a bar, Panda rates this spot highly.
Plenty of dog walking spots and advice.
Located at 33 Town (Country Garden) not far from Dynacity and the central Dongcheng area.
Pet shops are plentiful around the city. It is always recommended you vet the joint before putting your family pet into the care of others. There have been nightmare stories heard here and there. When in doubt, try Pool Pets as they’re ace!
Dr Pet may seem like a reliable chain but check inside and know your vet. Do they care? Or, do they favour your wallet’s contents?
Huizhou & Shenzhen offer coastline walks, beaches for play and a taste of the outdoors suitable for trekkers and dog-walkers alike. Pool Pets even arrange trips camping with your four-legged friend!
Article 12 The dog registration service agency shall, within ten working days from the date of collecting all the dog registration materials, compile a city-wide unique serial number for the dog, implant the dog’s e-identity mark for free, and issue a smart dog tag.
It is forbidden to forge, alter, or trade dog e-identity marks and smart dog tags. It is also prohibited to trade or use forged or altered dog e-identity marks and smart dog tags.
Article 13 In any of the following circumstances, the dog owner shall update the record information within 30 days from the date of change:
(1) When the dog is sold or given to others, or the owner of the dog is changed;
(2) The dog owner gives up keeping the dog and sends the dog to the place where the dog is admitted for treatment;
(3) The residence address and contact information of the dog owner are changed.
Keep your dog safe.
备案材料/Recording information required：
2.房产证或房屋租赁合同 Property certificate or lease contract
3.狂犬疫苗本 Rabies vaccine (if you object, you’re liable)
4.爱犬相片正面照，侧面照把标尺放上去拍 Dog photo front & side photo (use a ruler as scale)
5.预约成功，带着身份证原价和租赁合同或房产证原价和爱犬，到店登记 Successful appointment, with the original price of identity card and rental contract or property certificate and dog to the store to register.
Article 16 The dog breeder shall vaccinate the dog with rabies vaccine in accordance with the law and obtain a certificate. Dog owners can send their dogs to the agriculture and rural departments or the entrusted animal diagnosis and treatment institutions for free rabies vaccine injection.
Newborn puppies shall be immunized against rabies at the age of three months, a second immunization at the age of 12 months, and once a year after that.
The driver of the taxi asked why I was heading out so early. I had told him the train time. He replied, I was “going to station with nothing there.” I said all was well. He repeated that the South station was bigger. The North station is new. Nothing there.
On arrival, I exited the car and strode into the mammoth station. The same station had been visible for miles before. It towered over fields and stood out against the distant mountain backdrop. Construction sights lay to the south. The future, planted over land. Towering carcasses of homes yet to be lived in.
The small station door opened to a gargantuan air-conditioned palace of seats and emptiness. Little life lurked within. A few stragglers ahead of their train sat in the bright space, gloomily surrounded by thoughts and little else. Two places to buy snacks and food shone light outwards. Little else, but the beaming display screens gave any sense of activity. A list of a dozen trains spaced throughout a long barren day highlighting the newness of it all.
After a brief wait, a mouthful of terrible coffee and a chicken-based something or other, I descended to the platforms below. Through one of four gates marked a route to the ten platforms beneath. Four future platforms failed to hide their newness and dust. My gate, 2B, stretched wide before passages led down shiny steps and a string of escalators beating the sound of passage.
The long platform stretched under the concrete mass above. Polished tiles on the footway stretched hundreds of yards each direction. A dozen railway train carriages could fit under here, ten times over. Each tenth of the station could welcome and bid farewell to hordes of people, masses of commuters, and reunite the long divided souls of relationships come and gone.
The platform edge, trimmed in white and yellow, displayed floor electronic information boards, guidance, and warned of peril beyond its edge. Each rail beneath and cable above a guide for the monstrous intercity trains. I watched as the smooth gliding train rolled seamlessly along rails into a wide pit beneath the station platforms. It crept to a silent halt. The few passengers boarded. I waited until last. I stepped on board. The journey begins.
Eyes so precious and swirling with colours deep as an ocean and broad as a mountain. A smile that radiates heavenly light. That smile I’ve seen before in your ancestors. A touch of grandparents, from my line. Great grandparents, too.
Wavy dark locks of hair, and a head shaped to think, fight, and strive for brighter days. Hands to grip the day and right a rocking ship. Such light skin, yet shades of Mother and Father, should ward off any ray of danger. Yet, the curse of the mosquito feeding ground is within you.
Satisfying stretches as you reach to the sky. Your arms will know no limit. Each kick could be a practice for bike rides, games of sport, or swimming trips imagined. Or, to show your sounds of giggles and pleasure are practice for leisure.
I’m sorry for my mistakes and past, and all the moments of doubt. I give you the future, no matter its struggles and worries. Let your resting head lay on my shoulder and allow me to be the protector. We can tackle every worry and solve problems. I vow to cleanse my soul and body, to live better to give you the brightest possible start. To you and your gorgeous, strong-willed mother.
There shall be tears, torments, and tremors on our path, but I shall stand by you both until breath no longer enters and exits my vessel. For you, you both, you are each and everything I longed for, and the watermelon seeds we wished for are within you. Growing a fruit with limitless flavours. This is a day I could never imagine. Thank you to you. You are a miracle.
Back to China? It was a certainty. A given ordained by Gods and the hands of destiny.
From Manchester International Airport to Istanbul, the first flight with Turkish Airlines was smooth. Smoother still if they’d allowed me the legroom I requested. Still, job done. The huge delay in Istanbul for the connecting flight allowed for opportunities to walk the vast airport and recharge a phone battery by cycle. Why not? When in Istanbul and delayed, take the time to unwind in your own way. If fate is there, do as you must.
Airborne and floating on science, the aircraft was sleepy to Hong Kong. As was I. Life on hold and destiny delivered by expert piloting, a movie was called for. Having watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I needed something jolly and upbeat. Up step, the Billy Elliot of golfing movies, The Phantom of The Open. Talk about entertainment. A delightful movie ebbing and flowing with heart, wit, and polished acting. A truly remarkable tale based on a true story.
From a PCR test at Hong Kong International Airport to temporary digs in Mong Kok, fast forward to a 5.28am alarm bell. Up, up, and away. After a pleasant walk, the train from Kowloon awaited. Customs cleared simply. Checked in eventually. The train to Humen was fairly nondescript, as nondescript 300km/hour vehicles go. Next up, the Humen railway station to Humen Dongguan underground station, through dingy construction areas, and onto a 6RMB subway train to Xiping. Walking the short walk to Xiping Xi station, I clutched my 50RMB in notes that I still had from leaving China. With that, I boarded a train bound for Huizhou.
And that is where the story ends for now. So, what now?
Words taught. Ideas thought. And spoken. A gift, a token, a day awoken. Mums are brilliant. They’re resilient, they’re efficient and sufficient. A guide along paths. A shoulder to turn tears to laughs. Mums, moms, mams, 妈妈
Books given. Lies forgiven. Lessons learned. Trophies earned. Encouraged. Discouraged. Pushed on. Troubles gone. Forever enduring, securing and helping you before and during. A fanatic supporter helping and scoring. Moms, mams, mums, 妈妈
Try this, try that. Do this, do that. Eat your corn. See her scorn. Tidy up, fold it up, put it away. Have your say. Listen to the way. Day after day, always there for you. Truthfully, forever true. Mams, moms, mums, 妈妈
Loving, caring, sharing (through choice or not), supporting (win, lose or draw), there for you, no matter your lot. MUMS, MAMS, MOMS, 妈妈
Eternally. How long is that? Forever and a day. Surely that is too long, right? Always. When does that end? Until I know when, I’ll carry on. Until I know how, I will turn the now into the future; And the future into the past. Interminable. Apparently.