Month: December 2013


31 December 2013, a time to look back on the old year and reflect.

Travelling: Compared to other years we did very little travelling in 2013. In Georgia we just went out of Tbilisi to nearby Sighnaghi, Pasanauri, Lomisa and Rustavi.

We made the annual trip to England, where in 3 weeks, we visited London, Cambridge, Cornwall, Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, York, Bewdley and Worcester.

We also moved from Saburtalo in the centre of Tbilisi to Varketili on the outskirts.

Photography: I bought a new camera in England a Panasonic Lumix TZ40…every day I take many photos, most of which are posted on Facebook and some of which find there way onto my blog.


Here’s a photo of my lovely wife, Khato in London. The London Eye giving her a halo.

Work: I continue to work as an English teacher but less in school and more privately than at the start of the year.

Blogging: this blog began in November and has quite a geographical spread of readers. USA, Georgia and UK being the source of most readers.


Greetings to you dear reader wherever you may be.

I have a second blog about my hobby of collecting diecast cars.

I added 175 diecast models to my collection in 2013 at a cost of 988 lari and 72 tetri (almost £350).


Some of my Porsche models.

Reading: 29 books read (24 in English, 5 in French, still half way through my first book in Georgian). The reviews of the most recently read have been put on this blog. (2012: 24 books, 2011, 48 books).Highlights included “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, “Blood, Sweat and Tea” by Tom Reynolds and “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. My reading has increased since moving to Varketili, because I have longer metro journeys. I have also joined a group “Tbilisi English Book Swap”, which meets once a month in a cafe in Tbilisi to swap books in English. A list of all the books I have read can be found here

Family is important to me but I don’t feel like sharing my thoughts about my family publicly on this blog.

I wish you all a Happy New year 2014.

Facebook Groups

I’ve joined too many groups, I should really go and get a life. I am in around fifty Facebook groups, some I use regularly others I wonder why I joined.

Firstly,  I have a few connected to my interest in Diecast Car Collecting: 

  1. Pinoy Hot Wheels Collectors Club (PHWCC). This is a Filipino group with over 1000 members dedicated to collecting Hot Wheels. I often post pictures of my new acquisitions, and am inspired to look for what other members post.
  2. Hot Wheels Club (Philippines). Very similar to Pinoy group.
  3. Diecast Collectors Forum. A group of hardcore diecast collectors, who delight in showing photos of exquisite models in 1:18, often by AutoArt or Kyosho, where any model found under $100 is considered a bargain, as often they spend a lot more. My presence in the group posting much smaller cheaper models seems to be tolerated….update got kicked out of the group for posting a link to my blog… :/
  4. Matchbox e Majorette. Portuguese group for Matchbox and Majorette. Two of my favourite maunfacturers of diecast cars.
  5. MCCH-The Matchbox Collectors’ Community Hall. A group for collectors of old pre-Superfast (1970) Matchbox cars.
  6. Diecast Model Cars, Dinky, Corgi, Matchbox and More. Focusing on the British manufacturers of diecast models.
  7. Diecast Autoworld
  8. Diecast Collectors
  9. Matchbox Toys

I often share my diecast blog posts to these groups.

Then there are other groups…lots of other groups…

The Virtual Muser

This is a philosophy group, I was added by a friend and erstwhile colleague, Jim Cook, even though I have never studied philosophy and don’t know my Kant from my Nietzsche . This is a very active group with over a thousand members of different political and philosophical persuasions. I now have 40 Facebook friends in this group, of which only about 4 I have ever met in real life.

Some of the posts discussed now are:

Is medical intervention in the long term interests of a species?
Is it predictable that heavy reliance on such processes may lead to a specialised form of human being that requires a synthesised environment in order to survive?
Or has this already started to happen?” (Roland Mann)

Greed: Human nature or nurture?” (Mason Macleod)

Should happiness be our ultimate goal?” (Telegraph-reading admin, Ronald Green)

My favourite group is possibly The Forest of Serendipity, which is for artists sharing ideas and images on a theme. Currently they are sharing artistic images of chairs.

Autoshite, I joined recently. It is a large group over 2000 members devoted to crap cars…

AS012 (2)

like this Pontiac Aztek. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

Chez Pantalon Rouge created by serial Facebook Group creator Andrew McFall, is a strange group, which I’ve posted about before. Members post photos taken of folk wearing red trousers…it can be quite addictive…trying to capture our quarry can be quite a task and might even bring out our inner creep.

red trousers

Les Crimes Fashionnel, this is similar to Chez Pantalon Rouge,for posting images of fashion crimes…created by Sue Cowley, Andrew McFall is an admin, bringing out the Gok Wan in all of us.

Tbilisi English Book Swap, this actually is practical and relates to a group of us who meet once a month in a cafe in Tbilisi to swap English books.

The Marquee Club, Wardour Street a nostalgic group for a club I visited many times in the eighties to see bands like Fields of the Nephilim, The Wonderstuff, Twelfth Night and Magnum.

Lada UK Another group I can share my photos with, there being many more Ladas here than in the UK.

Best Medicine I am actually an administrator of this group. It is for jokes and funny things. Or “For stuck-up middle-aged men with no sense of humour…
and the women who loathe them.”

Gay Classic Car Group I’m neither gay nor do I own a classic car (or any car), but I do like the pictures they post of some lovely sixties and seventies cars.

Read All Abaht it and Weep Funny headlines and juxtapositions of images and titles in newspapers. An Andrew McFall creation.

Jim’s Cafe. Not my cafe, but Jim Cook’s for posts relating to motorcycling.

Pop Trash For trashy popular culture especially music.

The Club “Group created to be a place where people could post links to introduce people to different music, movies, books, and all other types of ART.
(Originally for the sole purpose of supplying me with a single place to look rather than having to search the internet for new and interesting stuff. Basically I’ve become sick of how much effort needs to be put in to find AWESOME things. lol.)” I had to check the description because I so rarely use the group.

MuseSick-al Mutants Another group sharing music like The Cure and Frank Zappa.

Andrew’s Irritating Earworm Emporium. For those tunes you can’t get out of your head like “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo. Andrew? Need you ask? Andrew McFall, again.

The Haringey Poetry Society. A group for stand up comedians. I’m not sure if I qualify, having performed only seven times.

I Saw a Classic Car Today 🙂 For posting pics of classic cars, although someone seems to be just posting images they find on the Internet, which seems to be cheating.

The Government is doing a jolly good job...A satircal site.  An Andrew McFall creation.

Kitapkokusu This is a Turkish group, I don’t know Turkish, but they do have some nice images and clips.

Eurovision Banter and Mischievous Malarkey 2013. Another Andrew McFall group. I seem to get dragged into all of them. About Eurovision Song Contest.

Slough 1980’s Nostalgia. This also makes me glad to have left Slough.

 Unknown A group about art and conspiracy theories.

HOT RODS TO HELL About cool cars.

Students of TESOL and Applied Linguistics Relates to my job as an English teacher.

Thursday Night is Music Night – Virtual Album Listening Club. Group members choose an album to listen to together on a Thursday night. The album is usually Heavy Metal or Prog Rock.

Castleview Scool Langley 1960s-1970s Nostalgia for old school :/

Signs that Fascinate and Intrigue. Odd signs

Is There a DFS Sale on at the Moment? Yes (there always seems to be a sale at DFS).  An Andrew McFall creation.

ANi’mUS ANIMALS! cute..weird, whatever..
with some kind of photographic elegance if possible.

Super Snobby Film Snobs about films

The following I haven’t used recently and know little about:

Musers Talk

Yamaha Enduro Appreciation Group

Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Caucasus


BM Photo

Comedians’ Comedian Podcast with Stuart Goldsmith

60s, 70s and  80s COMEDY CLASSIC CLIPS

Items for sale in Worcester

Laughing Cows Comedy – Manchester

and finally my own group:

Special Friends of Iago Created for myself and some very special friends. Iago was the name of my avatar in Second Life. This group is not very active.

Football Crazy? Not really.


Football…love it or loathe it? I find myself in between the two camps. My father loved all sports and would ardently watch sport on TV and go to football and cricket matches. I haven’t really inherited his passion. I like football but if my team lose I don’t spend the week depressed and if they win I’m not on cloud nine for the rest of the week. My team now is Leyton Orient ( I have to write it on the board for my Georgian students, who haven’t heard of this team),an allegiance forged in the eighties when I was living in East London and many football fanzines were taking off. Before then my team was Tottenham Hotspur, chosen in my schooldays to be slightly different from my classmates who liked Leeds, Chelsea or Arsenal. I have only actually seen Leyton Orient play three times.


Now I am in Tbilisi, the local team is Dinamo Tbilisi, in 1979 they beat a good Liverpool side 3-0. Now, Dinamo are a shadow of their former selves. I’ve seen them play twice,  firstly, against my first football love, Tottenham. Tottenham were a class apart and thrashed Dinamo here in Tbilisi 5-0. The second time I saw them was in the Europa League Play Offs and they lost 0-3 against Greek side, PAOK Salonika. I’ve seen eight goals at Dinamo Stadium, none of which have been scored by Dinamo.

The first proper match, I ever saw was at Wembley, the Amateur Cup Final between Walton and Hersham and Slough Town, in April 1973. I went with my cub scout pack 3rd Slough. I don’t remember much about the game, I remember Wembley seemed enormous. Slough lost 1-0, in what was the last but one final. It was discontinued after the 1973-74 season, when the FA abolished their policy whereby all clubs were officially considered to be either professional or amateur in status.

I have only been to fourteen matches since:

  1. QPR 3-1 Tottenham. 2 March 1974. Division one. I sat on my dad’s shoulders for a lot of the match, so I could see. Martin Chivers scored Tottenham’s goal.
  2. Fulham 2-0 Sunderland. 7 Feb 1976Division 2. Don’t know why we went to this game, my dad chose it.
  3. Halifax Town 1-2 Grimsby. 26 August 1978. Division 4. The only match I ever saw up north. I remember groups of fans moving around menacingly but whether they were followers of Grimsby or Halifax, I’m not sure.
  4. Reading 1-0 Halifax Town. 28 April 1979. Division 4. This makes more sense my dad’s team (Halifax) and our local team (Reading) …local to Slough.
  5. England 1-1 Rumania. 11 September 1985. At Wembley. FIFA World Cup Group 3. The only time I saw England (or any national team). Glenn Hoddle scored for England. I  was supposed to meet my friend Andrew Okolotowicz, but we didn’t meet up. I wasn’t impressed by all the nationalistic chanting (nationalism is abhorrent to me…although I still want England to win whenever they play).
  6. Leyton Orient 2-0 Blackpool. 14 October 1989. Division 3. At the time I was living in the East End of London. Football Fanzines were big news and supporting a lower division team had cred. Millwall were a scary proposition, I wasn’t ready for the notorious Den, so I opted to follow Leyton Orient.
  7. Arsenal 4-3 Norwich. 4 November 1989. Division 1. This was a time when there were still stands. It cost just £5 to get in. We stood with the Norwich fans. It was an eventful game , lots of goals and a punch up on the pitch.
  8. Maidstone United 2-0 Hereford 14 February 1990. Division 4. This is where I started to wonder about the sanity of watching live football. My friend Jeremy was from Maidstone, which was why we went. We were in Dartford (Maidstone were ground sharing at the time) on a cold night in February, with sleet falling on the pitch and us. The quality of football was dire and we’d paid £4 for the “privilege”. Very few Hereford fans had made the trip, not that I blame them.
  9. Fulham 2-0 Rotherham 6 October 1990. Division 3. Leyton Orient maybe my team, but I have seen Fulham as many times.
  10. Leyton Orient 1-0 Fulham 4 November 1990. Division 3. Now this might be a shock result, but  in 1990 it wasn’t, this was before Mohamed Al Fayed injected millions into Fulham, which like helium in a balloon enabled them to float up from the lower leagues.
  11. Oxford United 0-0 Blackburn Rovers 6 April 1991.Division 2. The only football match, I’ve been to  on my own. A dull game.
  12. Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 Leyton Orient. 16 September 2000. Division 3. The last match I saw with my dad.
  13. Dinamo Tbilisi 0-5 Tottenham 22 August 2013. Europa League Play Off. Tottenham again, back where I began in a way but a long way from Loftus Road. Tottenham completely outplayed Dinamo Tbilisi, a pity, I didn’t mind Tottenham winning but I was hoping for a more entertaining competitive game.
  14. Dinamo Tbilisi 0-3 PAOK Salonika. 18 August 2016. Europa League Play Off. Dinamo had most of the possession in the first half. PAOK had a couple of shots, but they scored with the first one. In the Second Half, PAOK were too strong and clinical.


    Dinamo Tbilisi in blue, PAOK Salonika in white

Not many games for a football fan, I find myself a little embarrassed talking to the true fans, who see their team every week and follow them around the country. I look out for Leyton Orients results and this season (2013-14 season) they have started surprisingly well. They are top of League One (third division in England).

1 Leyton Orient 21 24 44
2 Wolves 21 19 44
3 Brentford 21 14 43
4 Peterborough 21 11 39
5 Preston 21 8 38
6 Rotherham 21 9 35

I collected and traded Soccer Stars in the 75/76 season…and almost filled up an album. I think I learnt more about economics and the laws of supply and demand than I did about football from this…a John Duncan is worth at least 10 Emlyn Hugheses… I also played a lot of Subbuteo with my mates (my teams: Tottenham/Derby, Sunderland/Stoke/Southampton and Blackpool/Holland playing their teams of England, Chelsea or Liverpool).


Up the Os!

April 2017 Update: Leyton Orient are now at the bottom of League Two and are looking imminently at non-league status.

New Year’s Resolutions

People have been making resolutions for thousands of years. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans made promises to their gods at the beginning of a new year. 

Setting New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. It’s the perfect opportunity to sit down and set short- and long-term goals. It’s time to decide what things in your life you want to improve and how to go about doing it.

Last year I made the resolution to have functional Georgian by the end of the year. Sadly like most resolutions this wasn’t kept. There were some spurts of interest but not the sustained study and effort necessary to keep this resolution. So, this will be carried on to 2014. I can start with the goal of reading two books in Georgian by the end of January.

1. Be specific – General and vague goals often go by the wayside. In 2014, my fiftieth year, I’d like to make the pilgrimage to Compostela. I will need to walk regularly to get myself prepared for two weeks of walking (I’m thinking of taking the route from Porto to Compostela : 2 weeks, 285 miles or 458km). I walk around an hour each day but I ve never walked for a long distance over several days.

2. Track progress – Using a chart is a great way to keep motivation high. I do have a notebook bought in 1990, where I keep records of the books I’ve read, lengths I’ve swum, model cars purchased etc…

3. Work together – Setting goals with someone else is a great way to motivate each other and be accountable. Never having smoked, I don’t need to give up, but understand it is easier if you give up with someone else.

4. Be realistic – Finally, goals have to be realistic. Someone who has never run a day in her life can’t run a marathon tomorrow.