Winter’s finished…

2Mar - by Tim - 14 - In Club talk

…although the ‘Beast from the East’ would have us believe otherwise.

According to the meteorological definition, the seasons begin on the first day of the months that include the equinoxes and solstices, so Spring officially started yesterday,  on March 1st.

Which is coincidentally my mum’s birthday, but at 93 she’s no spring chicken.

If determining the seasons by astrological means, however, there are still almost 3 weeks until the start of Spring – on March 20th.

In which case, Winter still has a few games left.

Thought today’s title might get the odd pulse racing, though.

Sorry.

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There have been some strange goings on down at the BPA this week.

I’m hoping someone in the know will shed a little light on the proceedings, as it’s all a bit of a mystery to me.

Every now and again I have reason to travel to Nuneaton; not regularly but on a few odd days during the year.

The Coventry – Nuneaton line is the one that runs behind the BPA ground and, given the inclement weather this week, I thought I’d take a photo of the ground and perhaps use it as a header to the blog, or to a Winter Wonderland post, with Messrs Jackson and Oddy’s providing some background accompaniment.

(For those unsure of the Jackson/Oddy reference, supporters on the way back from Darlington on Saturday were serenaded by Simon Jackson  and Mark Oddy, although to be fair Simon was the main instigator.

Having felt the coach was far too quiet considering the manner and significance of the Coventry win earlier, the unlikely duo offered everyone their own rendition of ‘Winter Wonderland’.

‘Under Pressure’  to get everyone singing they might have been, but Freddie Mercury and David Bowie they weren’t).

King Louis and Baloo the Bear

More like it.

Fair play to them though, they got everyone mumbling the words – out of embarrassment if nothing else.

A word of warning…the video clip below is not for the faint-hearted. And apologies for the typo; predictive text, honestly).

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So, there I was, on the train returning to Coventry from Nuneaton, with camera in hand…

But the photos showed there was something was strange in the neighbourhood…but nothing supernatural on this occasion.

Just confusing.

This is probably rather a non-pc thing to say, but at first sight it did look as if the area behind the pitch at the railway end of the ground had been taken over by members of the travelling community.

An array of cans and lorries were parked up and there was a yellow awning of sorts erected between a couple of the vehicles.

Suddenly, what was meant to be a picture postcard photo of the ground covered in a light dusting of snow, had become something far more interesting.

A second photo, taken moments later, provides a couple of clues as to what might be happening, but it’s still all rather intriguing.

Now I might be wildly off the mark here, but it very much looked as if the vehicles belonged to a film crew of sorts – one of the vans definitely had the words ‘TV film and make-up’ on it and one appeared to be a mobile costume department of sorts.

So, best thinking hat on and all that I can come up with is that the ground’s being used as the set for some new serial or other, perhaps a murder mystery…an alternative  to ‘Death in Paradise’ with the working title of ‘A Passing in the Park’, or something similar…?

Whatever’s being filmed there. it certainly looks as if it will be somewhat more grand than a mere two-minute featurette on Midlands Today, that’s for sure.

Or maybe they’re recording scenes for a feature-length film. Some sort of biographical sports drama, a mixture of fact and fiction, about the fall and rise of Coventry Rugby Club. Similar in style to ‘That Damned United’ perhaps (which was based on Brian Clough’s short tenure at Leeds United) only with a rather more positive slant to it.

‘Blessed in the Butts’ has a nice ring to it (I can’t believe I’ve included that….).

Only this time, rather than ending with the legend ‘Brian Clough remains the greatest manager the England team never had’,  as ‘That Damned United’ did, this one finishes with the words ‘Rowland Winter, the greatest Head Coach England has yet to have…’.

I’m not sure who would play the part of Rowland Winter though – good as he was (and he was good), Michael Sheen is getting on a bit now. Answers on a postcard, please.

Presumably though, whatever the film crew is there for, they won’t be using the ground for free  – hopefully, it’s a case of the board making use of the club’s facilities outside of match days to bring in some extra revenue – and if that is the case, then more power them. With any luck,  the weather might mean delays in filming schedules – long delays. And that will bring in further monies…

Given the endless budgets blockbuster movies have these days, and why wouldn’t ‘Blessed in the Butts’ be a massive success, then I can see a new west stand and outside marquee resulting from this latest Cov venture at the very least.

Seriously, though…anyone know the real reason…?

The photos do show where the alternative changing areas now are(the four portacabins, one behind the other) and also just how much land there is behind the pitch all of which is presumably owned by the club?

Once we’ve made it into the Championship and we’ve  consolidated our position in the top six, I’m sure that area will be rather more effectively used than it currently is.

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As the cold snap continues and there seems little prospect of the freezing temperatures lifting over the next few days, the prospects of watching Cov this weekend appear to be diminishing rapidly.

By all accounts, Caldy is in a fairly sheltered part of the Wirral Peninsula and having been in contact with a couple of home supporters earlier in the week, it initially looked quite promising for Saturday, despite the snowfall. However, pictures on Caldy’s Facebook page which appeared yesterday (above – credited to Mac Baz Images) show the ground covered with a good layer of snow which is likely to remain unless the temperature rises a good few degrees in the next 24 hours.

And that doesn’t seem likely at the moment.

The temperature wasn’t expected to get above -1ºC overnight last night and with a maximum of just 1ºC today, a thaw isn’t imminent.

Snow, of course, can be cleared –  so the deciding factor when the pitch is inspected this afternoon will be just how frozen the pitch is under that layer of snow. The one positive for me is that my lawn, which is also in a sheltered area, isn’t actually frozen despite being covered in sprinkling of snow, although it is firm under foot.

It’s a long shot, but maybe the same is true of the Caldy pitch, although that does seem to be clutching at straws somewhat.

I obviously would like the fixture to go ahead – Coventry go into the game full of confidence after the Darlington win and with us only needing to win our games rather than rely on other results, it’s a question for me of just getting the job done as quickly as possible..

However, picturesque as the Caldy photos are, there is a part of me that doesn’t overly look forward to the prospect of watching the game in what will be pretty inhospitable conditions.

An expected wind in excess of 20 mph will make temperatures already anticipated as being below zero, feel even colder. With no shelter and nowhere to sit, it is asking a lot of spectators, many of whom are of a goodly age and not all in the best of health. I’m fairly fit, as far as I’m aware, but standing in the biting cold for getting on for a couple of hours isn’t something I relish. And for some, access from the clubhouse isn’t always straightforward, especially if the main pitch is some distance away as it is at Old Elthamians and Bishop’s Stortford (and Ampthill, too!).

An earlier post on this blog  questioned whether clubs at this level should be required to provide shelter/seating of sorts  – this is the fourth ground this season that we will have visited where spectators are expected to stand, exposed to the elements,  to watch the game – the others being Old Elthamians, Bishop’s Stortford and Loughborough, with a fifth, Ampthill, still to come.

Fair enough, supporters have the choice to watch games at these grounds and if they aren’t physically up to it, then so be it. Except that’s not always the case – the weather can change quickly and what might be a pleasant enough day in Coventry could well turn out to be something very different by the time you reach your destination.

And then there’s the disruption to travel that might  impact on getting to and from the ground. It’s not so bad coming back, other than having to get home from the ground afterwards, but delays getting to the ground could prove costly and certainly don’t make for a stress free journey…

…which is precisely why some folk choose to travel on the Supporters’ coach, even if Jackson ‘n Oddy do decide to provide an impromptu sing-along.

So if the game  is postponed tomorrow, I won’t be too disappointed.

Quite what I’ll do on Saturday  I’m not sure, especially as it’s a blank weekend as far as the Six Nations is concerned.

I might well play out the Caldy game on Rugby Manager again on the PC. I’ve seen Coventry into the Premiership now and am presently topping the table, with Wasps rooted firmly at the foot of the table and facing almost certain relegation. I’m not too sure how that happened, but down-grading all the Wasps’ players stats on the software’s database might have had something to do with it…

Meanwhile, I might pop into the BPA this afternoon on the pretext that I want to get a photo or two for the blog and make my way over to the area where the film crews are. These motion picture moguls always want extras and with my boyish good looks and herculean frame, I’d be well-suited to a walk-on part  – especially if it is a film linked to the world of rugby.

A number 8, obviously.

That or the guy who runs the burger van who eats all his profits.

Up the Cov.

 

14 thoughts on “Winter’s finished…”

  1. The film is called ‘Nativity Rocks! : This Ain’t No Silent Night’. I noticed outside the Cathedral yesterday that there was a big decorated Christmas tree and some Xmas market-type sheds there.

    1. That sounds like the answer- Haven’t seen any of the Nativity series but now the grandchildren are old enough I have an excuse.

  2. Could I just say, that having played rugby with Mark Oddy – for more decades than I care to remember – that his singing hasn’t improved with age.
    Mark – How about ‘Old Farmer Firkin’ next trip ????

    1. Including that clip might well become something of a mistake by the sound of it…looks like it’s the train to Plymouth then and hang the expense.

  3. Tim, As I understand it, the film crew are in Coventry making a follow up to a previous production made in Coventry, which I think was called “Nativity”. The crew will be using BPA car park as a base for a few weeks during the production period. there are make up vehicles, canteen, production vans, etc. All more revenue into the club. As also mentioned earlier there is also a beer festival taking place in the main stand bars.

    1. A number of others have suggested the same, Ian. Good call.

      And as you say, more revenue for the club which can only be a good thing. Onwards and upwards.

  4. Can I suggest James Norton for the role of Sir Rowland and Toby Jones for Brendan.

    1. HI Barrie….a couple of people have suggested that so it seems the most likely solution. That and the Beer Festival should make for a nice little earner for the club…especially with three weeks between games at the BPA

    1. Hi Pilsbury – that might well have something to do with it, although it sounds as if Nativity 4(?) is being filmed in the area, too. Could be interesting if one or two of the leading actors get into the Beer Festival, though!

  5. Always entertaining Tim. If any bar fly’s are needed for the movie, there are hundreds of extras you can have already lined up. Just make sure the cameras are rolling at 4.45 on match day. Also, you can’t beat a coach sing-a-long. I was heading to Cardiff for a stag weekend, but there is a red weather warning all through the city. Not a chance I will be leaving. As I never break a promise, I bequeathed the remote control and tv planner to ‘er indoors from today until 4 pm Sunday, which was my estimated time of arrival back home, so it looks like a music weekend with my headphones on listening to Jackson and Oddy. Got quite a ring to it that has, I must admit. Enjoy your weekend, and keep warm mate

    1. Yep…rent-a-crowd could be a profitable little earner for the club! Not sure about a weekend of Jackson and Oddy – I think they only have the one song between them! Good luck with that…

      I think there might be a fair few Cov supporters at a loss as to what to do on Saturday, including yours truly…

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