New challenges, new beginnings

Seeing as it is World Cup year, let’s pause briefly for a detour to the world of football.

It is the end of an era.

Fresh from the Portuguese exit from the World Cup, after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain, football icon Cristiano Ronaldo announced that he is not renewing his contract with Spanish champions Real Madrid for the next season, and will instead join the team they defeated in the Champions League, Juventus instead.

At the age of 33, Ronaldo still commanded a hefty price tag of 99 million. Is it worth it? This is what the media have been asking. But you have to think that he may not have reached his peak yet, or even if he has, he could possibly have one or two years more in him to justify the price tag. And 99 million is not the price they pay for Ronaldo’s services on the pitch. One of the most iconic footballers, drawing attention wherever he goes, thousands of social media followers, in a white and black shirt of Juventus? That has to draw a lot of attention, and be worth a lot. Will sales of shirts go up? Probably.

Juventus have probably decided that within the next two years they will need to make a push to winning the Champions League, and now is the time to do so by getting one of the most important footballers in the world. Ronaldo has probably done enough to make himself known with that amazing bicycle kick last year.

But why did Ronaldo decide to leave Real Madrid? The first reason one can think of is that he had spent enough time at Real Madrid and to improve probably needs a change. We all do. Having spent a long time in one job, means that you start to lost a bit of your edge, a bit of your drive, and get comfortable. The best among us recognise that to keep improving, you need to keep challenging yourself, and finding new environments to do so.

Another reason is perhaps that manager Zinedine Zidane has gone. And why did Zidane go? Was it because of the Real Madrid hierarchy and board meddling with the team? Maybe Ronaldo got fed up of them too, and their courting of Kylian Mbappe and dare we say it – Neymar.

It may be true that if your employer courts a professional with the same skill set as you, he is looking for a younger replacement. You might just as well go before you get pushed. Or perhaps, Ronaldo just need a fresh change – like the pianist Frederic Chopin, who decided to leave Paris after a period of time to visit Majorca. (You can read more about it in the blog of  Piano Teacher Finsbury Park.)

Whatever the case, it seems all parties are winners here. There might be more drama in next year’s Champions League football especially if both teams meet head to head.

Enjoy the summer, everyone!

Lessons from the World Cup

The World Cup has passed the group stages already and we have seen many good games already. Even if you don’t normally fancy football, it is hard not to get immersed with all that is going on, perhaps because it is sociable to keep up with these events that happened only once every four years; it gives you something to talk with your mates!

With the traditional powerhouses of football such as Germany and Spain not really doing that well, who do you think will win the World Cup this year?

The Germans have endured a torrid campaign. They did not play well in their opening games and gave themselves a difficult time in a must win game against South Korea. With only three games in each World Cup group stage, it is important to position yourself so that you are not under pressure in a situation, which can be used against you. The South Koreans knew that the Germans had to win the game, and would consequently go on the offensive. This meant they could sit back and wait for the German team to commit men forward, and then hit them on the counterattack. They could also play a slower passing game, induce the Germans to keep coming at them in order to win the ball and then pass it into open space and tire them out over the course of the game. And every free kick or throw was slow, so that time would run down. Unfortunately the Germans found themselves in these unfavourable positions, and ultimately lost the game on errors. But had they performed better in the first two games, you might have found that they would have been able to relax and coast in their final game, play to their strengths without pressure and probably would have won that game and advanced.

Why did not take talented winger Leroy Sane? Sane had a good season at Manchester City dazzling defences with his speed, but was a casualty of a high-profile squad. Like the pianist and composer Fanny Hansel, he lay in the shadow of more prominent names, but his inclusion in the side would have given defences a headache as he drifts in and out of possession well. He might have performed better than Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who you may agree had a less than successful season with Arsenal.

My money is on Belgium to win. In Thibaut Cortouis, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, they have an important spine of the team. They are also largely overlooked so it would be nice for a team like that to win!

Summer’s here – move it or lose it!

As the summer season gets into full swing, why not start making your plans to enjoy the good weather?

Britain for much of the year is bathed in cold temperatures. We are luckier to have better warmer weather in St Ives, and when it is the height of summer one can imagine that the town takes on a livelier edge. There are many things to do and see, and may take a bit of planning, but in order to make the full use of your limited free time, why not?

St Ives has many beaches you can visit – some of them are dog-free and some are not, so it is worth checking out in order to make sure you get the one you are looking for. If you don’t like dogs and don’t want them running up to your picnic basket to have a sniff, then you’ll want to know which ones to head for. While you are in St Ives, you can visit Godrevy Lighthouse, or if you fancy a bit of art, why not head for Tate St Ives, which has recently re-opened?

St Ives has always had a history of art and crafts and one of its most popular artists was the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, whose works are exhibited in various locations around St Ives. You can visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum in Barnoon Hil (TR26 1AD) and get a glimpse into her working life.

There are also many places that offer day courses in crafts such as candle-making, knitting, and woodwork if you hunt around. If your stay in thie busy seaside town is only limited to a long weekend, you can check before you are coming as these things tend to get booked up quite quickly.

Rockpooling is one of the hidden treasures and Kennack Sands has been mentioned as one of the ideal locations for these. Or if you prefer more active sports the St Ives Surf School can teach you a thing or two about conquering the waves!

There are many things to do and you will never run out of entertainment. The thing you must do, however, is to commit to a visit, whether you are coming for a music festival or other form of entertainment, or as a piano teacher in Harringay says, you would be forever on the outside, looking in and wondering. If you need a place to stay, why not try the Blue Mist studio or apartments? You are minutes away from the beach on foot and all the other things St Ives has to offer.

St Ives traders worry armed forces will hurt them

St Ives traders are worried that a parade by 42 Engineer Regiment, part of freedom of the town celebrations, and Armed Forces Day – together with traffic restrictions – will put off shoppers on a busy Saturday.

Now Corrine Harwood-Davey, of the La Muse clothes shop, has written to the town council urging closer liaison with traders when major events were planned for the town centre.

But St Ives town clerk Alison Benfield said the event, on June 30, was expected to bring in between 4,000 and 6,000 visitors and that the two elements had been combined to reduce the number of Saturdays facing potential disruption.

A motorcycle festival was to have been held the following day, meaning access would have been affected from Friday night through to Sunday, but it has now been moved to another venue.

Mrs Benfield said the loss of the motorcycle festival, although disappointing, meant that disruption to all but Market Hill was now limited to Friday night and Saturday morning.

Corrine, who has had a shop in St Ives for 18 years, launched a petition urging the council to hold such events on a Sunday to reduce the impact on trade.

She said it had been backed by the majority of independent retailers and some of the nationals – but she had not had the time to carry out a comprehensive survey.

Corrine stressed that there was no objection to the event and they appreciated the amount of hard work involved in organising it, but said holding it on a Saturday, their busiest day, was detrimental to retailers.

“While it will bring people in to the town, they are people who are coming to watch a military parade and not to go shopping and the extra people may be enough to put off those who want to go shopping,” she said.

Corrine said that, like many other towns, trade in St Ives had been hit.

“It really isn’t great at the moment,” she said. “A lot of people have been struggling since Christmas, no-one knows why, although the cold weather hasn’t helped.

“The difference for us between a bad day and a good day could be £1,000 which is a lot of money to me.”

Mrs Benfield said: “It was decided to hold the freedom parade on the same day as Armed Forces Day to minimise the impact on trade there would be if it had been an additional Saturday.”

She said it was hoped the thousands of visitors would make return visits once they had seen what the town had to offer.

Mrs Benfield said the freedom of the town was being granted to the Royal Engineers and that 42 Engineer Regiment from Wyton would parade through the town on Saturday morning.

There would then be more events associated with Armed Forces Day in the town and a chance to see what the 42 Engineer Regiment did at Wyton by application through the town hall.

Relaxing

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.

Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.

No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.

It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.

Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.

As you can tell, all the above wise words are about relaxation. And what better place to relax than in St Ives? Sign up for the beautiful Blue Mist properties, where you can enjoy the beauty of the sea, the warm temperatures and the lovely beaches. Summer is coming. Are you ready?

Petition for dog ban reversal

The spring season is in full swing and now that we have reached April is it a good time to bear in mind that the dog ban on certain beaches is in force. Don’t get caught out!

The ban on dogs is rescinded in the winter months because there are hardly any sunbathers on the beach during the colder months and the dogs are hence not a threat or a nuisance. However with the warmer months approaching and more people heading for the beaches, the dog ban is now in operation.

There have however been calls for the ban on dogs to be reversed. The few beaches where dogs are allowed a poorly accessible, rocky and not just a danger to man’s best friend, but to man or woman itself.

Campaign group ‘Life’s a beach – Stop the extended dog ban in St Ives’ posted to their Facebook page as the seasonal rules came into force in St Ives over Easter.

It means those with four-legged friends are being forced to use beaches which they say are poorly accessible.

Now the post has created a huge debate online, with many dubbing it a ‘disgrace’.

One user wrote:
Ok so you’re a resident of St Ives…you pay your council tax and your extra st Ives town council precept. You own a dog….this is your access to one of the only dog beaches in town…what would you do/think/feel?

The health benefits of owning dogs is well known. It gets children out and about, provides companionship and supports people with depression. It keeps older people active…so why the heck to we have to put up with this! I don’t want to break a leg to walk my dog!

There are three beaches dogs can go on in the summer. The beach at Lambeth Walk has been highlighted for its stony paths and the council has agreed itself that that could be improved. But council representatives also claim that Barnaluz beach near the recently-opened St Ives museum is more accessible now, and has been since the steps were repaired, and dog owners may find it better there to let ttheir dogs go for a run.

Non-dog owners claim that their enjoyment of the beaches is tainted by dogs running free, threatening younger children, following their noses into picnic baskets. But dog owners claim that they are being picked on, and that non-dog owners can also spoil the beach for others in terms of litter and drug-related paraphanelia.

A holidaymaker also waded into the debate.

David Ray said: “Our family (and dog) used to visit St Ives at least twice a year, but not since these ridiculous rules were introduced.

“I wonder how much additional revenue is being lost by local business’s due to the intransigence of their local council?

“Vote them out and lets have some more sensible rules. We will then no doubt return.”

Even though the dog ban is now in force, it seems some are ignoring signs which have been put in place at the spots where dogs aren’t allowed anyway.

We just simply need a bit more consideration for everyone else.

No Drake? No problem

The St Ives Bulls RFC may have lost five players in their last match, including two props, but the rest of the team redeemed themselves with a comfortable win over Stockwood Park.

It was fly-half’s Mickey Drake’s wedding but the stand-in players showed no signs of difficulty in grinding out a 14-12 win which guarantees the promotion for the Midlands 3 East (South) league leaders.

Last season the Bulls nearly got promoted and as director of rugby Phil Brown put it, there was a sense of “let’s go get it done now” before the team took to the field to win promotion with games to spare.

St Ives when ahead when stand-in fly-half John Naylor took the opportunity to play in place of Drake to make a statement for inclusion and scored. They fell behind to to Stockwood tries later on, but a try from Duncan Williams and a conversion by Naylor turned the game in their favour. They had to dig deep to defend in the latter stages of the game, but did well to prevent Stockwood from scoring.

Promotion is now guaranteed for St Ives. The focus is now on winning the title!

Bring on Spring

As we head towards the weekend, where British Summer Time is brought in, the promise of better weather is going to mean brighter longer days. What can you do to fill them? The good thing is that there are so many things you can do at St Ives.

Among some of the places to visit:

The open-air amphitheatre, Minack Theatre

Tate St Ives, the recently re-opened gallery housing works such as those by Barbara Hepworth

The Flambards Experience – loads of rides and exciting adventures!

The Barbara Hepworth museum – see the famous working studio of the St Ives sculptress

There are also various arty places such as the Leach Pottery and St Ives Museum.

Fancy a bite? Take a walk down the harbour and take your pick from the various cafes and restaurants that line the sea front. Enjoy a nice cool beer in the sun or a cream tea as the afternoon heat bathes you in its warmth.

Why not get into the sea yourself? There are various surfing and kayaking lessons you can sign up for.

For the younger children, there are various parks and places to choose from.

Winter is over – as the song goes, turn on the sun!