Some bus companies are taking advantage of a looph

first_imgSome bus companies are taking advantage of a loophole that means they can avoid their legal obligations to ensure their buses are accessible to disabled people, the industry’s own trade association has admitted.The admission from the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) came despite repeated efforts from a government agency to block attempts to find out whether companies were using the loophole.Access laws state that all buses and coaches have to meet the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) – which date back to 2000 – but coaches have until January 2020 to comply, while all single-deck buses have had to comply since January 2016.The regulations require vehicles to have a wheelchair space and boarding facilities, priority seating, colour-contrasting step edges, and other features “to enable disabled passengers to travel in comfort and safety”. But one of the ways that companies are dodging the regulations is by simply removing the hanging straps in buses, placing “no standing” signs in their vehicles, and then applying for new carrying capacity certificates to authorise them to operate as coaches rather than buses.It is one of three loopholes discovered by disabled campaigner Doug Paulley and reported last month by Disability News Service (DNS).But the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – which is responsible for ensuring that bus and coach operators comply with regulations on transport accessibility – has repeatedly blocked attempts by DNS to discover whether it has heard of such cases.When asked whether it was aware of companies applying for new carrying capacity certificates to allow them to switch their vehicles from “buses” to “coaches”, a DVSA spokesman would only say that the agency had “no evidence to suggest that operators are flouting Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations”.But a CPT spokeswoman then told DNS that there had been cases of companies applying for new certificates to alter their vehicles from buses to coaches, and that this information had been handed to them by DVSA.The CPT spokeswoman said: “We have spoken to DVSA and whilst there is evidence of vehicles being altered in this way, this is only a small number. “The vast majority of vehicles operating local services already comply with PSVAR and the remaining double decks [buses] will do so by the end of 2017. “Therefore, we aren’t able to comment any further without more evidence. It may be an idea to contact DVSA for their comment.”DNS has lodged a complaint with DVSA about the actions of its communications department.Paulley (pictured) said: “It is disgusting how some operators are getting around the mandatory requirement for buses to be accessible when that deadline has been in place for a good 15 years.“Accessibility should not be an after-thought or a ‘nice to have’ and it is shameful that the DVSA claim not to know about it when they clearly did.”He added: “Rather than expending effort in finding a way around the regulations that require their buses to be accessible, they should expend the energy in making their buses accessible.”The second loophole apparently being used is to block-book inaccessible buses for contracts to provide free school transport.Buses that provide only free school transport do not have to meet PSVAR, but Paulley believes some councils are trying to cut costs by using inaccessible vehicles, while at the same time allowing members of the public to use the buses as fare-paying passengers, and also charging some pupils, which should invalidate the PSVAR exemption.The third loophole used by bus companies is to take advantage of regulations that allow inaccessible vehicles that are more than 20 years old to be used for a maximum of 20 days a year.DVSA has said it has “no evidence” of these two loopholes being used, even though one of its officers told Paulley that he was “suspicious that some local authorities are seeking to minimise cost by allowing the general public to use [inaccessible buses] for a fare and thereby putting them in scope of PSVAR”.DVSA said last month that the comments made to Paulley in an email “reflect the personal views of a member of staff and are not shared by DVSA”.The Department for Transport said last month – before CPT’s admission emerged – that it was “working with operators, disability groups and local authorities to ensure that disabled people, parents with buggies and those who are less mobile can easily get onto buses and trains.“We have brought in tough rules and nearly 90 per cent of buses in England are fully accessible.”last_img read more

Restaurant Review A Taste of the Caribbean in the Mission

first_img 0% Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzThe ceviche itself was super fresh and delicious, although I didn’t love the mango in the salsa – I just don’t like the sweetness with the spicy, tangy fish. It was also a bit awkward to eat out of the tall glass it was served in, especially with the delicate taro chips, but no matter, we ploughed through it. Fruit or no, I would recommend their ceviche.We also shared the papa rellena.Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzNow,  papa rellena (stuffed potato) is one of my all-time favorite Bolivian dishes. I had no idea Puerto Ricans made them too! Papa rellena is made with mashed potatoes, which have been pre-made, chilled and formed into a big ball. A stew-like concoction is made (ground or diced beef, onions, garlic, sometimes raisins – basically, a picadillo), and a hole is made into the middle of the potato ball. The meat mixture is stuffed into the hole, and sometimes there’s a slice of hard-boiled egg added in there too, or an olive. The hole is covered, the ball reformed and is first rolled in flour, dipped in an egg bath, rolled in bread crumbs and then fried until golden and crispy. It’s a wonder of textures – crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with a molten, savory center. It’s really quite ingenious. Frutilandia’s was every bit as good as any I’ve had, with a nice, spicy dipping sauce. I could easily make a meal of one of those.We also tried the vegetarian mofongo (the regular mofongo has pork in it). Mofongo is an Afro-Caribbean dish, usually made with fried green plantains (which aren’t as sweet as the ripe ones) that have been mashed together and mixed with an olive oil, garlic and veggie sofrito, a sauce used as the base of many Latin American dishes. Sofritos are typically made with varying aromatic ingredients, such as garlic, onion, peppers, paprika, and sometimes tomatoes, carrots, celery, cilantro, etc.Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzFrutilandia’s mofongo was a huge portion, and looked beautiful, but was a bit underseasoned. This may have been our least favorite dish of the evening.For entrees, two of us split the lechon horneado (roast pork) and a sandwich of ropa vieja – which literally means “old clothes,” as the dish is a stew of braised shredded flank steak with garlic, tomatoes and peppers. It can look like a pile of old, wet clothes (don’t let that description scare you away!).  Here, you can get it as an entrée or on a hot pressed (toasted) French roll.Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzThe lechon came with the typical Cuban sides – white rice and black beans, which I love. The pork itself was very tender, juicy and succulent; but, it too needed a little salt, or more garlic in the mojo (a sauce typically made with sour orange, garlic and olive oil). We added some Tapatio hot sauce that was sitting on the table and it was all good. I mean, just look at it – it’s beautiful, with its curls of pickled onion!The sandwich, surprisingly, may have been the best dish of the evening. The ropa vieja was super flavorful, warm and beefy, tender, stew-y, with nice but not overwhelming notes of bell pepper. It was very comforting, on that warm, crusty bread.Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzDon’t judge by my photography skills – trust me, this is a sandwich made in your abuelita’s cocina.Our non-pork-eating friend ordered a Creole-inspired shrimp dish.Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzLooks beautiful, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I could not discern any Creole seasoning, although my friend said she could. But she agreed that, although the shrimp was nicely cooked, the dish was just a bit bland.We split a bottle of a good Malbec and left, sated. There had definitely been some high notes. And, undeterred by some of the lower notes, I went back, a week or so later; this time, with the BF. Happily, things took a turn for the better on this visit.We wanted to order the Pasteles Puertorriqueños, Puerto Rico’s version of “tamales.” They’re made of plantains rather than masa, and stuffed with pork, garbanzos, roasted red peppers, and olives, then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. Sadly, we were told the dish would take about 20-30 minutes to make, and we were hungry, so we passed. We might have ordered the alcapurrias – a yucca fritter stuffed with picadillo – but the BF had decided he wanted picadillo for his main, so we passed on that as well. Next time.We settled on the spinach and cheese empanadas, and were really glad we did. Fried crispy, they were tender inside and very flavorful, and came with a very nice sriracha aioli (certainly not typical, but good!) I only like empanadas when they’re fried, and these were excellent – light and not at all greasy.Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzWe also ordered a salad….Photo by Maria C. Ascarrunz.… a truly lovely salad of greens, guava, jicama, cucumber and queso fresco in a pretty, perfume-y guava/cilantro vinaigrette. The salad was nice and light, with bright flavors. Great crunchy, fresh textures too.The BF’s picadillo was also really good…Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzHomey food shouldn’t mean bland or heavy. As I described earlier, picadillo is a stew, usually made with ground or diced sirloin, peppers, tomatoes, olives and raisins. You could taste all those flavors in Frutilandia’s version. This was comfort food, certainly, but light and tasty. The beans were a bit more flavorful this evening too.BUT, my dinner was the best:Photo by Maria C. AscarrunzAgain, Bistec de Palomilla is something I’ve been eating since I was a kid. It’s usually a top sirloin steak, very thin, or sometimes a little thicker but then pounded with a jacquard meat mallet – that’s the tenderizer with the little nubs on one side that leaves little divets in the meat, and ensures that the steak is tender and easy to chew. But the remarkable thing about this steak is the flavoring. It marinates in sour orange (also known as Seville orange) juice, or a combination of lime and orange juices if sour orange isn’t available. Then it is cooked with garlic and butter, and topped with grilled onions.Somehow, this combination just turns out to be magic! It’s not like carne asada; it really is its very own thing. I thought for a moment, “Maybe I’m just romanticizing a flavor from my childhood,” as it had been ages since I’d had this dish. But no, Frutilandia’s version took me straight back to a table at Versailles, or El Colmao, or Casa España, in Los Angeles in the early 70s, sitting with my parents and sister in red velvet-flocked dining rooms with gold-flecked mirrors, noisy, boisterous people chattering loudly in Spanish all around us… my sister and I just waiting to be told it was our turn to go up and get the check from our server: “La cuenta por favor!” I’m not going to go as far as to say this was a Proustian moment, but damn…. It sure took me back. So yeah, I adored this dish.I also loved my deliciously refreshing white sangria made with flowery guava nectar.   Frutilandia has a happy hour that features both their white and red sangrias, beers, and some of the snackier appetizers: the platános maduros, tostones (smashed and fried green plantains with mojo de ajo – a garlicky lemon sauce), and empanadas (beef and spinach/cheese).Photo by Maria C. Ascarrunz There are many other dishes I want to try still – the fried yucca (cassava root – a dense, floury potato-like tuber that fries up beautifully), the plantain-crusted tilapia, the sautéed shrimp in mojo, the Cubano! I only discovered Cubano sandwiches about four years ago, in Miami, and I’m dying to try Frutilandia’s now.The service was warm and friendly both times we went. There was a little snafu with my credit card (if you have a Groupon, remember the company does not honor them on Friday nights!), but it was taken care of by the manager on a subsequent visit.I’m really glad that Rafael and Tyrisha decided to save this place and make it their own.El Nuevo Fruitilandia3077 24th St,San Francisco, CA 94110(415) Tags: restaurant reviews • sf Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Nuevo Frutilandia has been a puzzle for me for a few years now. Why does a Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurant have a name that makes it sound like a fruity amusement park? The restaurant has been in the same spot on 24th Street for over 40 years. It turns out that, long ago, it began as more of an ice cream and fruit batido (shake) shop. They still make batidos, but there’s a lot more to this small, Caribbean restaurant.Husband and wife team Rafael and Tyrisha Frias, owners for the past three-and-a-half years, were regular customers here. Rafael is a true local Missionite. He, Tyrisha (the manager of Frutilandia), and their young son live in the same apartment he grew up in, just a few blocks from the restaurant. In talking to the then-owners, who wanted to sell the place and retire, Rafael decided to buy it and run it himself. The only caveat the original owners had was that he’d have to keep the menu the same. And so he did. They repainted and updated the place, while still keeping its rustic, bright and playful ambiance. Remnants of the past décor remain (one of the old tabletop juke boxes, now mounted on the wall, pictures of the restaurant counter area in its 50s pink), and the walls are flanked with both the Cuban and Puerto Rican flags. The dishes still reflect the cuisines of both countries. Rafael spends time in the kitchen, and there is also a chef that grew up in Puerto Rico.I grew up eating Cuban food, in Los Angeles. My parents (being Bolivian) took us to dozens of Latino restaurants and we were lucky enough to have a lot of Cuban places near us. I love moros y cristianos (black beans mixed with white rice), platános maduros (fried ripe plantains), lechon (roasted pork), sopa de albondigas (meatball soup), to name a few. But my absolute favorite Cuban dish as a kid was the bistec de palomilla. More on that later.On my first visit to Nuevo Frutilandia, I went with two friends, one of whom doesn’t eat pork (gasp!). We started with the ceviche mixto of shrimp and fish, marinated in lime juice, as is typical, with a mango salsa on top, which is not so typical (in my experience). It was served with taro chips on the side, a nice change from the tortilla chips or saltine crackers you’d see in Mexico.last_img read more

Red Balloon — Comida Nica in the Mission

first_img 0% On our second visit, I was determined to have a nacatamal.  Nacatamal.This photo is a little messy, but nacatamales are Nicaragua’s gift to the tamale world.  Various Latin American countries make tamales, but Nicaragua just kept going with theirs until they got them right. First off, they’re huge — one is more than enough for an entire meal. A nacatamal is wrapped in banana leaves and filled with a hearty mixture of contrasting flavors and textures: the masa, annatto-seasoned pork butt, mint, potatoes, rice, capers, a chili pepper, an olive, raisins and tomatoes. The whole thing gets wrapped into a fat, square bundle, enveloped in corn husks and then pressure-cooked.  One of the biggest differences for me from this baby and other tamales is the masa — it’s also flavored with annatto, and is a softer masa that melts in your mouth. The pork becomes fall-apart tender, and you’ll get bites of mint, tanginess from the olive and/or capers, earthiness from the potatoes, a very slight sweetness from the raisins and, of course, the porky/fatty goodness (they can be made with chicken, too, if you don’t love yourself as much as I do). It’s often served with toasted bread, but that was a little too much carby-ness for me.  So instead, I dunked the bread into my sopa de res:Sopa de res.This beef soup was a revelation to the both of us. Such a clear, pure broth, bursting with beefy flavor, with vegetal notes. Floating in the depths were hunks of stewed beef, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, cilantro and yuca. On the side came a dish of rice, to add as you went along — that way it doesn’t soak up all the broth and turn to mush. Lovely. Most of this came home with us, because I managed to eat my entire nacatamale.  The BF “mistakenly” ordered the same beef that had been in our sampler platter on the first visit:carne asadaOr was it a mistake?  He’d loved that steak so much the first time, I think he just wanted to have it again. And it was still a huge hit. Perfectly charcoal-broiled, flavorful, tender, a great char, a good chew —  everything you want in a steak, for about $10.00. It came with either gallo pinto or red beans and rice (separate), and the BF went for the latter. The beans had so much more depth of flavor than they had in the gallo pinto. Alongside was more of that wonderful fried cheese, melty platanos maduros and a little salad with blue cheese.There is so much more to explore on this menu. They serve breakfast all day, and desserts. The BF was eyeing a vapor-cooked boneless brisket, which is only served on weekends, and I the sopa de lengua (beef tongue soup), as well as the myriad other pork dishes, seafood, slaws and more.In our ever-gentrifying neighborhood, Red Balloon is still hanging on, serving up authentic old favorites to Nicoya families and Mission denizens of all stripes.  It’s the kind of place where the server calls you, “Mi amor,” and wishes you “Provecho” when she serves you your food. “Buen provecho” translates to “enjoy your food.” However, I’ve always seen it proffered, and received, almost as a benediction, a blessing.  A stranger at another table will say it to you, and your reaction is likely to be a somber but earnest “thank you,” with real gratitude. It’s a lovely custom.  We happened to run into an acquaintance on our last visit to the restaurant, a Nico himself. I asked him if Red Balloon was his favorite. He said, “Yes, it’s the most like eating at home.” That’s the kind of place this is. Buen provecho!Red Balloon2763 Mission St.San Francisco, CA  94110(415) 285-1749Credit cards accepted, but tip is cash only. Caballo bayo.HOLY CABALLO — that lady saved us! We were so glad she talked us out of ordering a second dish, because we couldn’t even finish this one between the two of us. Starting from the top, middle — fried cheese, mariquita (plantain chip) slaw, platanos maduros (fried ripe plantains), gallo pinto (rice and red beans); below that was a hunk of incredibly flavorful steak — tender, in a citrusy marinade, perfectly charred. Above, the moronga –– blood sausage. To the left, steamed yuca, chunks of fried pork and, finally, chicharrones (pork rinds).  The standouts were the steak, the buttery fried cheese — because FRIED CHEESE — and the blood sausage.  The moronga was dense with rice and had a deep, earthy flavor, brightened by notes of spearmint. Really great.  The roast pork was a bit dry, though flavorful, the gallo pinto a bit dull, and the yuca, unfortunately, very bland. I mean, yuca is naturally bland, but that’s why you cook it with garlic or fry it or something! Here, the typical Nicaraguan salsa — a concoction of vinegar, onions, citrus and chilis — awaits on the table so you can spoon it over anything and everything on your plate, and that helped somewhat. The plantain chips were meh, but they usually are to me. However, the maduros were just the way I like them — sweet, and quivering in almost jelly-like fashion. The slaw was also quite good — a tart, fresh bite to counteract the heaviness of the meal. This is rib-sticking food, people, and you shan’t go hungry. The dish is $28, but again, it feeds two, and you may even have leftovers.   I started writing these reviews with the goal of bringing under-reported, mom-and-pop/hole-in-the-wall places to the attention of new Missionites, so that they could appreciate what the Mission was, what its roots are and what it still means to its long-time citizens. And, of course, I’ve reviewed very new, hip restaurants too, because we all live here and we all eat. Red Balloon is one of the maybe five or six Nicaraguan places in our neighborhood, each more old-school than the next. (My very first review was of a Nicaraguan restaurant Las Tinajas.) Red Balloon has been here for about 35 years, owned by two different women.  It’s small, unpretentious and spare, yet homey, with a few prints on the walls (one of famed Nicaraguan poet Rubén Dario) and, inexplicably, elephant statuettes over the door. It’s usually packed with locals and families, who flock here to eat at their abuelita’s house. I had only been once in all the time I’ve lived in the Mission, and that was to get a nacatamale to go, many years ago (more about those later.)On our first visit, we asked about the caballo bayo from the starters menu. I’ve yet to find the origin of that name, which literally translates to “bay horse.” If anyone out there knows it, I’m dying to know! It is a dish that is typically served at festivals and consists of little clay pots served buffet-style, filled with different meats, yuca, fried cheese, plantains, chicharrones, gallo pinto, pickled slaw and moronga. It’s a cornucopia of many Nicaraguan dishes in one fell swoop, served with corn tortillas so you can make your own little tacos/burritos as you please. The BF said he’d try that.  I asked our server about the Indio viejo dish (“old Indian”), and she described it as something like a tamale stew. I said I’d try it, and she gave me a startled look. “Que pasa, no es bueno?” I asked. “Si es bueno! But the caballo bayo is enough for two people!” Tags: food Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Disaster Training Part 1 What to Have on Hand

first_imgGiven that we’ve all been shaken up by a 4.5 earthquake at 2:39 a.m., we thought we would rerun our series on disaster training that first ran in April, 2010. En EspañolOn a brisk, cold night in the Mission, a group of neighborhood residents gather to discuss whether or not it is appropriate to drink water out of the toilet tank.“That’s for hand-washing only,” says firefighter Patty Yuen. “No drinking that stuff.” Tags: earthquakes • firefighters • loma prieta • neighborhood • Neighborhood Emergency Response Team • NERT • SFFD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%center_img “Ice?” says a voice from the crowd.“Very good!” says Yuen. “You’ve been reading the manual.”When the next major earthquake hits San Francisco, these are the people who have made a sincere promise to dig their neighbors out of the rubble. NERT, San Francisco’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Training, has its origins in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In some footage shown at the beginning of class, a line of runners in perfectly spaced jogging formation run uphill with what appears, to the untutored eye, to be a million miles of firehose. “Those people aren’t firemen in plainclothes,” says one of the instructors. “And I can guarantee you that none of them thought, as children, ‘I want to carry a huge hose down Fillmore Street.’ But when a disaster happens, you want to help.”Over the past few decades, research conducted by those in the beautifully named field of “disaster sociology” has increasingly taken the view that ordinary civilians are often the best first responders to a disaster. They know the neighborhood, they know each other, they know where to get supplies. And, unlike a disaster relief team coming from outside, they are at the site at the most critical time for any search and rescue mission: the first hour after a disaster occurs (also known as “the golden hour”). Local writers like Philip Fradkin and Rebecca Solnit have argued that city residents, when confronted with sudden, overwhelming catastrophe, have often done a better job of saving themselves than more official groups charged with the task.NERT, and its parent organization, CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) have their origins in earthquakes, but the training varies across the United States in accordance with what disasters a community is likely to confront. Training follows the same core curriculum, but who it is dispensed to also varies from region to region. Los Angeles only trains those who can pass a full background check. Other regions charge for the training they administer.The source of its funding varies (once it was FEMA, now it’s paid for by the city) but San Francisco has so far — for free — taught more than 20,000 people how to bandage wounds, disinfect water, search and mark buildings, mark people with colored ink for medical triage, and lift rubble without muscle strain. The only requirements are the ability and willingness to show up for the 20 hours of training. For that reason, perhaps, the crowd in the community room of the Valencia Gardens housing project is one of the most diverse group by any matrix — age, ethnicity, class — that this reporter has ever seen in a single room in the Mission. Over the next six weeks, Mission Local will be covering, and summarizing, this group’s education in the field of disaster.“We’ve done the calculations based on Loma Prieta,” the instructor says, an image of a large fireball on the screen behind him. “In a major earthquake with winds of 10 miles per hour, we’ll see 71 large fires, 40 major rescue operations. We’ll need 273 engines.“We don’t have those,” he says, flatly. “So where are we going to get the help?”“From us!” yells a voice in the back.“Right,” says Yuen. “So, in an earthquake-related emergency, what are the three most valuable things that you can have close at hand?”The room is silent.“Okay,” says Yuen. “We’ve got a ways to go.”The answers turn out to be: scissors (You can use them to make bandages for people out of whatever clothes they happen to be wearing) duct tape (bandages, slings, can be used to tape plastic over broken windows) and garbage bags (weather poncho, window covering, improvised toilet.) Everyone sits quietly, absorbing that last part. “You can just throw it over the neighbor’s fence to get rid of it,” says the instructor. “Just kidding. Bury it. Also: hand sanitizer will be a good idea.”The rest of the first lecture ranges from the structural:  If you live in an old home, have the foundation, roof and chimney checked — to the slightly paranoid — “I call it ‘earthquake eyes,” the instructor says. “Every time you’re out, just look for potential hazards and escape routes. Like when I’m at a movie theater — I always just notice all of the exits.”There’s also the the social — make a family disaster plan, designate an out-of-state person to be a contact point for questions about you, if something happens change your voice mail message to one that says where you are and how you can be found.A surprising amount of the first class focuses on the issue of shoes. “You aren’t going to be rescuing anyone without shoes,” says Yuen. “Keep one spare pair of tennis shoes at work, one in the car, and another tied to a leg of your bed so that you can find them if an earthquake happens at night,” she says. “Keep them wrapped in plastic so that they won’t be full of glass when you do find them.”She adds that in addition to home emergency kits, every child in the city’s public schools should have a backpack filled with emergency supplies that is stored at the school.“How many of your kids go to schools that have done that?” Out of the crowd of forty, a single hand goes up. Yuen sighs.“We live in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of underwater volcanoes,” she says. “There is a 67 percent chance that we’ll have an earthquake along the San Andreas fault of 6.6 or greater by 2030. The Hayward fault is supposed to go every 132 years. It’s been 146 years since we’ve had a major earthquake there. So how do we deal with this?”“Move to Minnesota!” shouts a voice from the audience.“Right, enjoy those cold winters?” says Yuen, cheerfully. “No.” last_img read more

THE party had a day out at the Blue Mountains – a

first_imgTHE party had a day out at the Blue Mountains – a scenic spot on the west of Sydney writes Mike Rush, Head of Youth.The mountains are only an hour from our base at Penrith and it is best described as similar to the Lake District only ten times bigger.As you will see from the photos the area is a massive National Park and has more than one million visitors a year. As ever, our group were given Five Star treatment with our own guide.During the video introduction we returned to normal with some ‘beltin’ questions from the group.Mr Eric Frodsham got us underway with a starter for 10: “Is there any part of the Blue Mountains that have not been discovered?”……. Eric later admitted he meant explored…Jack Jones followed up with: “If there are any snakes in the mountains and we see them will they be in cages?”Eric the guide explained it is not a zoo.Not to be outdone Dougie Charnock asked: “Will we see Monkeys?He is a very close friend of Mark Percival so maybe the jungle book would be a good film for these two.Nathan Stupski, while looking at an information plaque which was stating that Queen Elizabeth has been to the site in 1954, asked: “Is that the Queen from St Helens?”We did manage to work out later he was meaning the Queen Victoria statue in the town centre.Eric, our guide, was very patient and also gave Luke Thompson some extra physio as you can see in the picture.He claims to have helped other sports stars in the past including Jonathon Thurston.The lads enjoyed a short session before the game tomorrow and hopefully I will be bringing good news in the next edition. Want more from the Tour?Day 11: Academy Visit SCGDay 10: Surfs UpDay 9: Central Coast 14 Saints 36Day 8: PreparationDay 7: Build UpDay 6: Four NationsDay 5: Rest DayDay 4: Wests Tigers 6 Saints 26Day 2 & 3: Tigers and PanthersDay 1: Arrived Safe and Soundlast_img read more

NATHAN Brown is hoping a big crowd fills Langtree

first_imgNATHAN Brown is hoping a big crowd fills Langtree Park this Friday as Saints take on Wigan Warriors for James Roby’s Testimonial.The match will celebrate the career of the hooker who recently committed his future to the club.Roby made his debut for Saints against Widnes in 2004 and he’s gone on to make 280 appearances for his hometown team.“It will be a great occasion,” Brown said. “The fact he has re-signed for five years gives the club a good foundation. You can build a roster around players like that for the next four or five years.“Robes has been a part of many trophy winning teams and I have no doubt with the squad we are building he will help bring the club more success. It would be good to have a big crowd here.“It should be a good game too and more ramped up than what it was last Friday. Adam Swift should be fit to play, Sia Soliola, Luke Walsh and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook too. For us it will be our only strong hit out before Warrington really.”Apart from Mose Masoe, Richie Beaumont and Luke Thompson, who are expected back in the early part of the season, Saints will be at full strength for the ‘friendly’ which will be the last real test of Brown’s side before Super League kicks off.Shaun Wane has also indicated he will play as close to his main team too, with younger members of his squad getting a run out in the second half“It will be an intense game,” Brown continued. “Wigan have their first comp game and the World Club coming up.You don’t fluke doing the double and Waney picked the right players for the right game at the right time. To do the double in this day and age, you have to be a good team. He managed their players very well and learnt lessons from the season before.”In the build up to the match Brown has indicated who will occupy the number 6 jersey this season.“We’ve looked at a number of options at 6 this season,” he said. “Our 9, 7 and 1 are set in stone with Robes, Walsh and Jonny and after trying a few different things it looks like we’ll run with Jordy (Jordan Turner) in that position and use Lance Hohaia more as a utility type of player.“That would see Mark Percival and Josh Jones in the centres. Jonesy is a competent player who is really reliable. He won’t throw in a bad game and whether he is in the centre or back row he does a good job. We’ve trained with him in a number of positions and right centre looks like where we are going to play him.“We have options in the pack too and players looking for opportunities. Carl Forster impressed on Friday and Greg Richards is improving… then you have Alex Walmsley and Kyle Amor too.“We have good back up there and it will be interesting to see how the younger lads go this year.”James Roby’s Testimonial match will see Saints take on Wigan Warriors on Friday Jan 31 (8pm).Tickets are still available and you can also pay on the gate.Prices are:Totally Wicked North and Solarking South Stands – £12 (adults), £10 (Senior Citizens over 60-years-of-age) and £5 (juniors).The Hattons Solicitors West Stand – £10 (adults), £8 (Senior Citizens over 60-years-of-age) and £5 (juniors).You can buy these at the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.You can find more details about James’ Testimonial events – and hospitality for the above game – by visiting read more

ANTHONY Laffranchi has been the subject of an excl

first_imgANTHONY Laffranchi has been the subject of an exclusive documentary by Eurosport Australia.David Dybman followed the Australian and Italian International’s life at the Saints including behind the scenes footage and insights from his family, teammates and friends.It depicts his life as a Super League player and how he made the transition from the NRL to Super League.You can view below, or by clicking here.last_img

It will take place at 615pm on June 7 at The Tota

first_imgIt will take place at 6:15pm on June 7 at The Totally Wicked Stadium.The CPD event is open to UKCC Level 2 coaches and secondary teachers who are coaching in Rugby League specifically at Under 12s, 13s and 14s, though other coaches and teachers can attend as part of their own personal CPD.Block 1 is the first part of a three block CPD program,e and is FREE of charge. All coaches attending will leave with ETP resources.Coaches attending all three blocks will become accredited England Player Development Coaches – this sits within the ETP philosophy to developing better coaches to develop better players.The coaches are additionally supported to assist their players to profile themselves via the online resource.Beyond accreditation community clubs are then provided with access to support and resource to further upskill their coaches and / or to incorporate more of their coaches annually with the aim of 100% of their coaches delivering ETP within those age groups.Accredited clubs also have the opportunity to engage with England RL research and initiativesPlaces are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.Block 2 and 3 dates will be released at a later date.To register contact   craig.richards@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

In association with our brewery partner Robinsons

first_imgIn association with our brewery partner Robinsons, we will be refitting some of our kiosks with new branding and signage in the coming weeks.The kiosk to be named is located in the South West area of the Totally Wicked Stadium, close to the Steve Prescott MBE mural.We want our Members to choose the name of this kiosk … it could be a player, a coach, a moment in time, a try, a kick or just something that would be fitting to be part of the fabric of the stadium.Our other kiosks have names such as ‘The Popular Side’, ‘Wide To West’ and ‘Voll’s bar’!Send us your suggestion along with your membership number to and we will shortlist the best and ask members to vote for their favourite.We need your suggestions by 5pm on Friday June 22 so don’t delay.last_img read more

Club First Team SAINTS TV

first_imgWalmsley led from the front, helping the Saints to victories in all of the games he has played in June. A Challenge Cup Quarter Final victory over Wakefield was followed by home wins over Huddersfield and Leeds as well as an impressive display in the away win over Warrington in which ‘Big Al’ scored the final try of the game which secured a crucial 21-10 victory.“His impressive tackle ratio and hard hitting runs have drawn praise and in the win over Warrington, he made an impressive 27 tackles and made 24 in the victory over the Rhinos the week before.Head Coach Justin Holbrook paid credit to Walmsley and revelaed why he selected him as his Player of the Month for June.“Alex really stepped up in his performances and as a leader.“Luke Thompson and LMS were both missing for four or five weeks and the way he really stood up for us with those key guys missing was a massive credit to him and the way we have played whilst those other guys were out.”Upon receiving the award at this morning’s Stapleton Derby sponsored event Alex was asked about his late try that secured Saints’ win over Warrington a few weeks ago:“I don’t score many so when I do get one it is always nice and to pick it up against Warrington to put the game to bed. It was a good team performance and I was really happy with that result.“The atmosphere was great. Our away following this year and every year has been unbelievable and that game was no different. It was like a home game. Seeing the fans come over like they do and it makes all the training and hard work worthwhile and that is why we play the game for those big victories and to make our fans happy.”Justin Holbrook revealed earlier this week that a number of youngsters will get the chance to play on Sunday given Saints are 10 points clear and have a Challenge Cup Semi Final on the horizon next week.And Walmsley believes that you cannot win anything with just 17 players and that this young crop of players who will play in the capital will be good enough to get the win given the talent they show in training.“I think they will be good. You never win a competition with 17 players. You have got a squad of 30 for a reason and if there is an opportunity to let these boys step up and have a game because they are good enough. Let’s not kid ourselves, we are not just going to put ‘kids’ out there and not compete, these boys who are coming into this game are good, good players and they are going to compete. I fancy them to go down there and do the business as well because there are some good lads there.“It is exciting for the club’s future that you can rely on our young boys to perform. You add in to that the likes of James Bentley who has been stellar this season and Jack Welsby too is only 18 and Josh Simm too. The future is so bright for our team and it is exciting that we can give them an opportunity to go out and play and I am excited to see how they go.”last_img read more