Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump with parachute

Here’s something with fright attached. I remember Felix Baumgartner’s jump so well…we listened to the live broadcast whilst driving into rain on an English motorway.

The Phraser

Garnerin parachutes into London - 1802 Garnerin parachutes into London -1802

That was 1802 – a decade over two centuries later the following happens: a huge gossamer balloon floats into the nothing of the stratosphere. Beneath it clings the tiny dot of a capsule, and inside it is an Austrian, Felix Baumgartner, aged 43.

When the balloon reaches 128,000 feet (24 miles) above the Earth, he will step out and drop into the deep.

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Nadal – how to make history out of clay

A thought about tennis before the football starts.

Rafael Nadal has just won his ninth French Open championship.  No man has ever won more than six and none have achieved five victories in a row.
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Brilliance at the Sochi Winter Olympics … and damp in England

Night view of Sochi during the Olympics NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Night view of Sochi during the Olympics
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

We’ve had a soggy two months over here in the UK.  There’s been buckets of news, politicians looking splashy and lots of advice about staying away from windswept edges.

It’s damp … but not dull.

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Williams F1 keeps its wheels on

IMG_1250Metal wrenches against metal.  Too much time on the trigger.  A baby screams.  Fingers strain as a wheel slugs into place and a hand chops down to mark job done.  The time is unconvincing.

Final chance to slice the margins downwards.  The stopwatch flies – slick and precise.  In the first blur the wheel nut traps in the gun and the brief scramble to realign surges the time to over 35 seconds.   Aspiration deflates … it’s been a coffee and croissants performance suitable only for caravans.

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Football, canapés and a first class muddle over the Royal Mail


Winter is stuttering into view but the cockles of British hearts are being warmed by perfect turmoil.  The three pillars of UK plc – football, cake and the post – are in a state of flex and flux.  It has been an exhausting ten days.

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High stakes and tragedy: the gutsy glory of the Grand National


The sweat and thunder of the Grand National is on its way.

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Sleet and sails in West Kirby in mid-March

Team racing on the Marine Lake in West Kirby, England

Team racing on the marine lake in West Kirby, England

A fortnight ago my circulation froze to a standstill on the edge of a marine lake at the team racing nationals in the north west of England.

It was mid-March and I dripped ice from my tangled hair to my toes.

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