RICHARD ORD: Jermain Defoe’s handy weapon and North East wishful thinking

SAFE HANDS: Defoe's grooming takes a while in the changing rooms.

SAFE HANDS: Defoe's grooming takes a while in the changing rooms.

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BY the time this column goes to press, South Tyneside’s Black Cat fans should be celebrating the arrival of Toronto and ex-England striker Jermain Defoe.

A perfect fit for SAFC? He may well be. Quick, experienced, an eye for goal and a slippery customer, erm, for more reasons than one.

While digging into the history of Mr Defoe, I uncovered one article in which it was revealed that, while he had a pretty good relationship with the Toronto media, some reporters were unhappy after a game about how long it took for him to moisturise before coming out to talk to them.

Moisturise? I’d have put this down as mischief-making among the press, but it may have some credence.

In a Toronto Life interview he revealed the Top 10 Things Jermain Defoe Can’t Live Without.

Coming in at No5 was, he revealed, “my hand cream … and it’s the best moisturiser in the world.”

This makes him a perfect fit for the Black Cats as they have a partnership deal with a male grooming company called NIP+MAN which has more body lotions than you can shake a soap on a rope at.

Everyone’s happy … although, while hand cream came in at No5 in his top 10, Sunderland fans may express concern at the fact his football only managed to make it to Number 8.

Bright ideas...

DEFINITION of wishful thinking? A solar power farm in the North East.

The only sun guaranteed in this part of the world is in the first three letters of Sunderland.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but in the North East we’re not really blessed with great weather.

Honestly, it has been so cold recently that, to keep warm on nights out, girls in Newcastle’s Bigg Market have been forced to add an extra layer of fake tan to their bare legs. Yes, it’s that cold.

And yet, I read that plans for a giant solar farm – the size of 27 football pitches – have landed on the desk of Sunderland City Council’s planning department.

Not surprisingly, they are being rejected, but not for the reasons you’d expect. Among the complaints is: problems with glint and glare from the sun reflecting into the eyes of passing drivers.

I guess that explains why all objects with reflective surfaces near roads – windows, chrome car bumpers, the sea, etc – are covered during daylight hours.

Notwithstanding the fact that any reflective surface on a solar panel would, surely, be pointing up at the sun, are the planners saying they are happy for solar power farms in our region, as long as they only operate at night?

Sunderland City Council, I understand, is already pursuing Nissan for breaking the terms of its wind turbine operation.

The firm was allowed to put up its giant windmills, on the proviso that blades remained stationary whenever there are cars travelling along the A19, so as not to distract drivers. I believe that particular stipulation has been flouted on more than one occasion.

I mention this only because in our house, I am the guardian of energy wastage.

Most of my evenings are spent travelling from room to room switching off lights, computers and PlayStations left on by our two boys.

It is, I believe, a trait shared by all young people not afflicted by electricity bills.

Until I reached bill-paying age, I positively embraced the burning of electric filaments throughout my parents’ home. In some ways I was encouraged. My mother used to walk into the house in a fury telling my brother and I that the place was “like Blackpool Illuminations.”

Surely that was a positive. I thought?

These days, running round the house turning the lights off after the kids is part of my daily exercise regime.

Nothing short of a cattle-prod in the jacksie will get them to switch off the lights.

Now that city councils are rejecting solar power, if only my daily lights-off run could be converted into energy. Turns out it can.

Boffins at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a method called ‘reverse electrowetting’ which can turn your shoes into power generators.

Once their brilliantly titled ‘footwear embedded harvesters’ are available on the mass market, I’ll be buying a pair.

These footwear embedded harvesters, however, only generate a small amount of electrical energy, but that’s okay … I only need enough to charge a cattle prod.