29 September 2012

An Island Tale

I seem to have spent ages re-reading Joseph Conrad's Victory: An Island Tale in preparation for another study guide. It's one of his longer novels, and the experience was punctuated by hot sunshine and (brief) periods of swimming. The story has all the usual complexities of Conrad's fragmented time schemes and oblique manner of narration - but the story itself is a tense thriller. The Swedish recluse Axel Heyst rescues a beautiful young woman and takes her to a remote island. He's pursued by two criminals: one wants his money, and the other wants the girl. There's a gripping showdown when he faces them (unarmed) and all hell is let loose.

09 September 2012

Vuelta 2012

The twentieth and decisive stage of the Vuelta today. All the main contenders on another cripplingly hard day performed (reasonably) as expected. Maybe Rodriguez and Valverde should have attacked earlier - but who can blame anyone on those gradients at the finish. But Contador finished well adrift. Enough to stay in pole position for the overall win, but where was the superhuman elan he produced two stages ago? I remain conviced that his erratic performance reflects the selective use of chemical assistance. Time will tell.

06 September 2012

English Language Quizzes

Do you know where the apostrophe should go in "My greengrocers oranges"? We've started a new series of self-assessment quizzes, so that you can test your knowledge of English language basics. There's one on Apostrophes, one on Spelling, and another on the correct use of Capital letters. More to come later

The answer to the question, by the way, is "My greengrocer's oranges".

Vuelta a Espana 2012

I'm very suspicious of Alberto Contador. For the last two weeks of the Vuelta he has been struggling to keep pace with the other leaders of the race. Then all of a sudden, today he takes off from out of nowhere and puts enormous amounts of time between himself and his nearest rivals. This is classic doping behaviour. It might take a year or two to become proven, but since he's only just emerging from a previous ban for doping, my money is on a longer term revelation.