Devon Help Us

It looks like the current way in which we are required to exist will continue for a while still yet. A return to how we would all like it to be appears a long way off. Restrictions across the United Kingdom look like they will get tighter everywhere in the coming months. It is tough and difficult at the moment but it will improve. I am trying to accept everything with good humour and trying to laugh and have a bit of fun still at every opportunity.

All anyone can do at the minute is to make the best out of every situation while looking after themselves and those around them. There has never been a time before in my lifetime where our actions can have such a big effect on those around us. We need to think and be aware of what is required of us in certain situations. I am still not going out much at all but when I do I try to make sure I follow all the rules. The NHS is in danger of being overwhelmed potentially and that must be avoided in all of our best interests.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last weekend I went to Devon for a mini break with my girlfriend. It is nice to have a change of scenery as often as possible I find, due to the fact that my life does feel a lot like Groundhog Day currently. We had booked an apartment on a Holiday Park in Woolacombe. It was the first time that I had stayed at a camp like that since I was ten. We drove down there on Friday afternoon. We left just early enough to avoid any traffic, which was a bit of a result.

On arrival we picked up our key. They came out to the car to greet us and give us what we needed so there was minimal contact. Once we had unloaded the car we had a cup of tea and then popped out to see what the onsite pub was like. They had an app for the whole site that you could use pretty much anywhere you were including of course the pubs and bars. They had an outside area under cover at the front so we had a few welcome drinks there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

To make things easy on the first night Lynda had pre-made a lasagne that we just had to cook in the oven. So we came back from the pub to enjoy that with some garlic bread and a few glasses of wine. The accommodation was basic but perfectly fine. Everything was self- contained plus it was only a five minute walk from The Old Mill. As it had been a fairly long drive (for her) we just had a relaxing night in.

After a pretty leisurely start to the morning we had a quick walk around the Holiday Park to see what there was and what was at the time still open. The beach was a forty-five minute walk or a seven minute car ride away, so we hopped in the motor and drove down to the car park on the sea front. We went for a nice walk along the sand and even down to the sea, which I can confirm goes out a long way on that beach. It was the first time that I had been down there. The beach is huge and the views from it are very picturesque.

Neil Quigley

Then with our lungs full of sea air and our trainers full of sand we got back in the car and went back to our temporary home. The App that we used in the pub could also be used to have food delivered to your apartment, so we got some baguettes sent over. I had fish fingers in mine as basically I am still just a big kid.

The place was busy but not totally packed. It was Covid friendly with the staff and all the guests sticking to the rules. It was well organised. That evening we went and had a meal at the pub. Once again we were well looked after. Everything was safe and we had lots of space away from the other customers.

Woolacombe

On the Sunday we just chilled and took it easy. We had another stroll round stopping for a drink outside one of the bars. Again the App did the business the drinks were delivered with minimal human contact. It is not the way I really like to do things and one of the reasons I do not venture out much.

But in these times it is the best and safest way for all parties involved. To finish the last full day we had another of our now famous Baked Camembert and Wine nights. This time we had it with Chilli Jam and Garlic Bread. Trust me it tasted amazing!

Baked Camembert

We came home on the Monday morning. You had to leave the place by ten o’clock. To make sure we were on time I set the alarm on my phone for eight, not realising the battery was very low. I woke up in the morning checked my phone for the time and it was dead.

I then ran to the kitchen to check the clock there fearing I had overslept. It was exactly eight, so that was lucky and saved us rushing around like mad things. It was another lovely relaxing weekend away. I may not be able to get abroad at the moment but I am still enjoying exploring England.

Woolacombe

I am asthmatic therefore I have been having the Flu jab every year for over a decade now. If you qualify for it, personally I cannot see why you would not have it. I went and got this year’s shot the other Friday. I happened to book the appointment straight after my mum. We went up to the Doctors together for one of our stranger mother and son outings. We got there a bit early so we were waiting at a safe distance from the door. When we saw there was no queue we wandered over and someone came outside to check us in.

I thought we would go separately but we were invited into the nurse’s room at the same time. That was fine by the way. It just so happened that the person giving us the injections was in my year at Secondary School. It was nice to see a familiar face as she stuck the needle into my arm. Who am I kidding? I am far too squeamish to watch that taking place.

It does not hurt when they do it, it will not make you feel ill either. The only side effect is your arm might hurt for a day or so. I would say that is a small price to pay to lessen the effect of flu if you catch it. Obviously this does not cover “Covid 19” but I have my fingers crossed that our brilliant scientists will crack it and hopefully next year’s injection will. I am happy that I have had it.

Neil Quigley

Have you noticed that for various reasons now getting through a week seems like a big achievement, add to that the fact you cannot do a lot of things you enjoy at the moment. My girlfriend and I have by accident started a regular ritual to mark the official start of our Saturday night. We now always start proceedings with a bottle of Champagne.

It started randomly about six weeks ago and so far we are managing to keep it going. After another long and testing seven days there is something a little bit soothing about some bubbles. Plus it feels like you are celebrating the occasion.

Neil Quigley

Another film passed the “Neil Friendly” list recently. As I am staying in more I am watching more movies but I still need to be convinced to commit to them and give them my time. This one was sold to me as Guy Ritchie’s return to his roots and in the style of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. They are two films that I had seen and enjoyed in the past. The film in question was The Gentlemen. It was released in January. Therefore this is quite a modern and up to date movie for me to watch.

It has a great cast which includes, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell and Michelle Dockery. I must confess I really enjoyed it. It is very fast moving, there are some ace set piece moments and I found a lot of the dialogue very funny. I am not sure if I was meant to or it was just my strange sense of humour that meant I found it amusing. In a way and I am not sure if this is a compliment or not I thought it was a bit like a British version of Pulp Fiction. I think the only slight downside was that my language was very gangster for a day or so after I saw it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I applied to be on the next series of “Beat the Chaser”. I quite fancy myself as a bit of a quizzer. Plus it seems like a bit of fun. Add to that the fact that Bradley Walsh is a good laugh I thought it would be an interesting experience. I filled out the form online and then forgot all about it until I got a call from one of the producers. They wanted an initial chat, which means I had in effect got through the first stage. We talked for a bit and then she gave me two general knowledge quizzes both of which were really hard.

Then about ten minutes later she phoned me back to invite me for an online Zoom audition. It took place last Monday. There were eight of us potential contestants on the call and three producers from the show. We played a few silly games and then had thirty seconds to talk about ourselves. I was picked to go first for everything which was fine with me. I am always happy to take centre stage. All I will say is that half a minute is nowhere near long enough for me to talk about myself and say how great I am!

They made their decision there and then about who they were going to put through to the show itself. I was not selected on this occasion. I wish everyone who made it the best of luck. I will watch the next series to see how the people from my audition do, mainly so I can just claim I would have done much better regardless of how they actually do. It was fun being involved with it and I do from time to time offer to be on various television programmes, so I am sure another opportunity will appear soon.

Neil Quigley

It could be an exciting few weeks for the Quigley Stable. One of my horse’s “Force Ten” is due to make his seasonal debut at Wincanton tomorrow. I have been down to visit him in the past at Paul Nicholls stables in Ditcheat. It will be his first season over the hurdles.

There is also a chance that another horse “Stage Star” will make his first ever racecourse appearance in the next few weeks. I am excited to see them both in action and I wish them well. Rest assured if they do race I will be watching.

Neil Quigley and Paul Nicholls
Neil Quigley and Paul Nicholls

I was slightly amused when I saw the headline “Quigley signs for Yeovil Town” the other day. I mean I have played at Huish Park in a Staff versus Media game once. That was several years ago now so I thought either The Glovers had been secretly scouting me since that match or it was not me that they had signed.

Obviously it was not me but a much younger and better man called Joe Quigley, who as far as I know is not a relation. Oddly we were both born on the tenth of December albeit twenty odd years apart. I hope he has an excellent season.

Yeovil Town FC
Yeovil Town FC

Tottenham Hotspur’s latest Premier League match at home to West Ham United summed up what it is like to be a Spurs fan in just ninety four minutes. We go three goals up within the first sixteen minutes with our two main goal scorers setting each other up for one each and then Harry Kane grabbing his second. It is looking good we are totally in control of the game.

Then with twenty minutes to go Gareth Bale comes on as sub for his second debut after returning from Real Madrid. This of course leads to more excitement and much delight. In the eighty second minute we concede a sloppy goal. The nerves start jangling a little bit. Then three minutes later we give away an own goal. Now we are looking shell shocked and scared.

Finally with the last kick of the game the visitors equalise with a stunning strike from outside the penalty area that flies in to the top corner. We draw the game. If you want to experience every emotion possible within just two hours I would suggest you support my team. Unbelievable! Despite the fact I was disappointed and strangely for me a bit angry at the end of the match I will be fully behind the team next time out. That is what support is, not turning against them as soon as it does not all go your way.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

The clocks go back one hour overnight into Sunday tonight as the United Kingdom moves in to British Winter Time. That is just what we need at the moment for it to be darker in the mornings and the evenings.

Mind you to be fair we cannot do much or go anywhere so it may as well be dark while we are stuck in our houses. On the plus side we do get an extra hour in bed tonight. As ever I am all about the positives, which is what I look for in every situation.

London River Cruise
Big Ben

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Rock Legend

I will be totally honest with you, due to the current ongoing worldwide issue, which I presume you are aware of? I have not been up to that much recently. It really does limit the options of what you are able to do alongside what you personally feel comfortable and happy doing. We are all entitled to do whatever we want as long as we keep to the new required legislation. Personally I am still staying away from most public places. That is simply my own choice.    

It is two-fold in that the less people you come into contact with it will reduce the chance of catching the virus yourself or passing it on to a loved one. Plus I do not really want to go to places where things are not as I would normally like them to be. You cannot really relax, you need to be on your guard and be more aware of what is around you. I appreciate this is not overly helpful to the businesses that are trying to keep going in very tough circumstances but it is how I view things at the minute.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Even the simple things in life are more complicated at the moment. If you are going shopping you need to remember your bag for life and a mask now. If you did want a pint in a pub chances are you will have to book a table in advance and then carefully select the five people to join you. At this time my desire for a pint is not greater than all the slight abnormalities I would have to except to have it. Also just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time you may end up having to self-isolate for two weeks.

I am doing everything that I am meant to do wearing a mask when required, keeping my distance from people when I am out. But for this all to work of course we are relying on everybody obeying the rules and being sensible. None of us are enjoying all the new rules in place but I do think if we all play by them, we can ultimately control the virus and equally as importantly possibly come together as local communities. It would be nice if this thing could unite us rather than divide us. At least that would be one benefit from this terrible thing. Sorry getting very John Lennon there to celebrate what would have been his eightieth birthday yesterday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been staying in a lot which I have actually been quite enjoying. The other Saturday night my girlfriend and I had a Cheese and Wine evening. She had been given a big selection of cheese by a friend of hers so the original plan was that we were going to work our way through that. However she had to pop to the shops in the afternoon for something and ended up also buying a baked Camembert plus some Cheese and Onion bread. She had also made Hummus with a selection of vegetables.

I had selected a really nice Rioja to accompany our feast. I am not an expert at pairing wines. I will as a general rule always choose to have that variety with anything. The Camembert came with its own Red Onion style Chutney and we heated the flavoured bread. Needless to say it was delicious. There is really nothing not to like about any hot melted cheese on warm bread. One thing I will say is that if you are sharing a decent sized Camembert between two people with endless dough it is very filling. When you also add the Hummus and the grapes to that mix even when this is enjoyed across an hour, you will be unable to move at the end of it.

It was a very simple but extremely effective meal, although we did totally fail with the initial idea which was to use up the gift Cheese. The late edition to proceedings of the Baked Camembert, lovely though it was meant we did not end up eating any of the Cheese that we had planned to enjoy! Happily, though this does mean that we can have another Cheese and Wine night soon. We will just have to make sure that we do not add to the existing supplies next time as that is counter-productive it would seem.

Cheese

I find that eating Cheese can lead to some pretty interesting dreams. This is something I am a fan of as I like a decent dream. I like to be entertained while I am sleeping. Have you found that you are either dreaming more or having weird dreams due to the lockdown? One thing I have noticed is that people I talk to or even see on television are starting to make cameo appearances in my dreams on the same night.

I appreciate this makes me sound slightly crazy but I really feel that I have dreamed things in the past that later on actually happen. It has only occurred on a few occasions. Happily they have always been good or positive things, so far at least! Just for the record I am not claiming to be the new Nostradamus. I only predict one thing about every ten years.

Give Peace A Chance
Give Peace A Chance

I am still keeping up my quite intensive exercise routine. Although I need to with the amount of food I seem to be eating. My girlfriend cooked me a fabulous roast the other week. She used one of Jamie Oliver’s recipe’s for Pork. The best thing about this meal is of course the crackling.

This is an easy thing to get wrong. We have all either broke our teeth on some or found it to be so chewy you have to give up on it. I am delighted to report that the crackling on this occasion was perfect, crispy but easy to chew and not at all tough. The whole meal was fantastic to be fair.

Roast Pork

I am still continuing to watch more films than at any time previously due to the fact I am in a lot more and need to keep myself occupied. As a result of this my girlfriend is now trying to find movies that she describes as “Neil Friendly” meaning I will be able to watch them without losing interest. The latest one of these was Ocean’s Eight. I had seen all the Ocean’s movies with George Clooney and Brad Pitt already so I had a good idea of what to expect from it. It is an all-female cast led by the brilliant Sandra Bullock who plays Clooney’s character’s sister from the other films.

It is a good film, the cast are fantastic and it is of course a heist film made in the exact style as the others. It is easy to watch and follow the plot. There are some nice random cameo appearances in it. Then near the end James Corden pops up on screen with a speaking role. The odd thing about this whole franchise of movies is that you find yourself on the criminal’s side supporting them and willing them to achieve the goal they have set themselves. Fun, straight forward entertainment plus everything is better when Helena Bonham Carter is in it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Did you see that to mark her forty-eighth birthday Gwyneth Paltrow posed naked for a photo in her garden that she then posted on her social media? It was all very tastefully done.

It is my birthday in two months I have not decided what I will be doing for mine yet but rest assured it will not be that. Let us all be thankful that she did not post a video showing us how she makes those intimate candles she sells!

Neil Quigley

I have a small amount of shares in a small number of horses with the wonderful Owners Group. My own personal stable has increased a bit in the last week. I have added a new horse called “Rock Legend” to my portfolio. He will be trained by Dan Skelton at his stables in Warwickshire. I also have “Proclaimer” who is trained and looked after by Julie Camacho. He has had a few runs this year and has finished in the top four on every occasion. I welcome “Rock Legend” to the group with a name like that I felt that I just had to have him on board.

My other two horses are trained by the brilliant Paul Nicholls at his stables in Somerset. I have been lucky enough to visit the facilities there and they are brilliant. All the horses are so well looked after and cared for. “Force Ten” had a few races last year and will it looks hopefully go hurdling later this month. “Stage Star” is due to make his racecourse debut later this month. It will be great to finally see him in action. He is a lovely horse and he has shown a bit of potential in training.

Neil Quigley and Paul Nicholls

The Owners Group are fantastic. They send weekly updates on all of my horses to me. When they are allowed they organise stable visits to see the horses and meet the trainers. I get regular videos of them in training and I get the chance to attend races as an owner, when we are allowed to in the current circumstances.

It is wonderful fun and a great insight into the horse racing industry. Plus it is always nice and exciting seeing my horses on the track and competing in races.

Neil Quigley and Stage Star

There is never a dull moment supporting Tottenham Hotspur. The stress of watching the games I swear takes a few years off your life. We drew with Newcastle at home in the league thanks to some poor finishing and an unbelievable last minute penalty incident. How you can be punished when you are looking in the other direction and just jumping for a ball I really do not know. The current interpretation of that rule needs to be looked at. You can see players every time they are in the penalty area just trying to kick the ball at defenders hands. It is not even subtle.

Then two days later we beat Chelsea on penalties to progress in the League Cup. That was brilliant by the way. I really enjoyed that one I am not going to lie. Two days after that we go through to the group stages of the Europa League after winning 7-2 at home with Harry Kane grabbing a hat trick. That was another top performance from a team whose schedule for games was crazy. It reminded me of when I was thirteen and playing for two age groups at school as well as my Sunday team.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

Just three days after that we were away at Manchester United in the Premier League. We concede a penalty inside the first thirty seconds and I am thinking here we go again. We equalised quickly and then soon after were in the lead. They then have a player sent off and we go on to win the game 6-1. Which I still cannot quite believe even now. A great team performance achieved with two key injuries, Dele only on the bench and we still have a certain Gareth Bale to come into the mix.

I am trying not to get too excited about the next few months. But I think there is at least a little room for optimism. I am starting to warm more to Jose Mourinho. Seeing the Amazon documentary has enabled me to see his style of management and has made it easier to understand his team selections and some of the things he says to the media. We could be in for an interesting season, we will lose games, things will not always go our way but I also think that there could be some more memorable moments around the corner. At least I hope so anyway.

Neil Quigley

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon’s between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Seals Of Approval

I am not sure if anybody else feels like this but for me this year still seems like it is very much on hold. My plan is to make the best of everything I can do and not worry about the things that I cannot do. We need to be sensible, stick together and look after each other like never before in our lifetimes.

We all deserve the same common courtesy and protection during these unusual times. The world has been through tough times in the past as has Great Britain itself and we will come through this one to. If at the end of it you can hold your head up high and know you have done what was requested and suggested of you to the best of your ability. That is all we can ask of each other.

The other important thing as far as I am concerned is to have a laugh at every opportunity. Life is short, it goes quickly but there is always time for humour and a bit of fun in my world, whatever the situation. In fact I seem to spend a lot of my time laughing at myself for all the stupid things I do during the day. Some weeks being in a house with me is like living with Frank Spencer. For the record they are just tiny silly things that I do nothing dangerous I have certainly never roller skated while I was attached to a bus!

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

As I have mentioned before I am spending a lot more time at home in light of the current situation. That has led to me watching more films than I would normally do. People are always amazed by not only the lack of movies I have seen but how many classic must see ones I have never seen. I find generally I really have to want to see a film before I am prepared to commit my time to it. Obviously I have more time at the moment so it is much easier for people to get me to sit still and see them as I have fewer excuses available to me to avoid them.

Until recently I had only ever watched one single Quentin Tarantino film. That was Kill Bill. My girlfriend could not believe this and she I think felt I was missing out. Therefore I agreed to watch one of them with her. We decided on Pulp Fiction. I was aware of it, although I do admit that I did not know Bruce Willis was in it. We sat down to see it at her place a few weeks ago.

Once we had firstly made ourselves some home-made Pizza’s. I say we, she made the base and produced a huge selection of toppings and I used these to create my own like a seven year old doing their first ever cooking lesson. I must say they tasted brilliant and were the perfect pre-film meal. You can put as much cheese on as you like when you make them yourself. I do remember visiting a Pizza place before going to the cinema as a kid on a few occasions at least!

Home Made Pizza

Before it started she did explain that the plot line did move about a bit and promised me that it was not too gory as I am not good with that kind of thing. I enjoyed it. The time seemed to go quickly which is always a good sign. It was very easy to watch and follow despite the order that you see the story develop. I had been using the phrase “Zed’s Dead Baby” every time I heard a motorbike go by for the last twenty years and now I know the scene that it was actually from and the film.

The other thing that really surprised me was when Winston Wolfe appeared. I think I may have said out loud it is the bloke from that advert. I have seen several of those adverts for that Insurance firm and I had no idea that the character was from Pulp Fiction. I will be honest now I know this piece of information those adverts suddenly make much more sense.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley

Over the last three years I have started to do quite a bit of travelling and have visited lots of new countries and places. I decided that I was due a holiday but owing to the current implications of a trip to another country, excluding the fact that these can all change within a very short space of time anyway. I thought that this time I would stay within England.

My girlfriend and I decided we were going to book an Airbnb for a short break somewhere in the United Kingdom. We wanted to go to a place where they had nice beaches that would not be too busy. We did a bit of research on this subject and decided that Norfolk would be a good option. Then we just had to decide on the accommodation. Neither of us had used the holiday rental company before so it took us a while to narrow down the area and shortlist suitable properties.

We decided we wanted to be near to the beach and to the sea. Then we managed to get the choice down to either a Medieval Tower or a nice little cottage on a cliff. In the end we chose the one that had a garden. Therefore the other week we went on a four night break to a little fisherman’s cottage in Scratby, Norfolk. We drove up in her car and arrived to a sunny welcome at our pre-arranged check in time. We got the key to our blue palace for the next few days and moved our things in.

Our Cottage

We got a text from our hosts saying that one of them would drop by later that evening to check that everything was alright. It was only a two minute walk to the beach. As soon as we had settled in we then headed off to get some sand between our toes. We walked along the beach to California, which is what the next hamlet along was called. I can confirm there was no Hollywood sign there though. After having a look at our new surroundings we walked the road way back to the cottage.

It had a lovely big secluded back garden with one of those big couple swing chairs at one end. We had a sit in that while toasting the start of our vacation with some Champagne, which was very relaxing in the evening sunshine, I can confirm. My girlfriend made us dinner and we may have also opened a bottle of wine, well we were on our holidays. The host did drop by and stayed in the front garden while we chatted to him. He gave us food suggestions and ideas of things we could do while we were there.

Champagne in the garden

When I was a boy we used to visit a Holiday Park in Hemsby every year for about five years. I always remember having a great time there. As it turned out it was only a few miles down the coast from where we were. Therefore on our first day we had a walk down the beach to Hemsby.

We had an ice-cream and a quick look around the place. I had not been back there for probably about thirty two years. It had not really changed at all, everything looked very familiar it did bring back a lot of memories. We also had a quick game of crazy golf. Obviously it is the taking part not the winning that is the important thing, but for the record I won!

Crazy Golf

Then we walked a bit of the Norfolk Coastal Path up to Winterton on Sea. There we had a sandwich at the beach cafe. We do really know how to live when we are away. After a brief rest we walked back along the beach to Scratby. One of the best things about a seaside holiday in the United Kingdom is surely the Fish and Chips you can get on the coast. I was really looking forward to this treat. Now I had not had this meal for a while so I had possibly set my expectation levels too high, but we were both disappointed with the standard of fish and chips that we were given from the local chippy.

The next day we decided we would walk in the other direction along the beach and ended up in Caister on Sea. There was not a lot going on right near the beach, however we did find a quiet pub with a nice big beer garden. There were hardly any people in there so we found a table outside. I ended up having my first pub pulled pint of ale since lockdown began. I am not saying I really enjoyed it but it went down very quickly. We just had the one drink which might mean that my resistance to temptation has improved, but I somehow doubt that.

Cheers!

We walked back to the cottage again along the beach. We did plenty of walking and got lots of fresh sea air while there. That evening we ordered a Chinese from a place in Hemsby that was recommended to us and did deliveries. I phoned through our order. It was early evening so we had our curtains open, about twenty minutes after I had made the call a man on a scooter pulls onto next door’s driveway and gets out some food from his bike, while holding the menu from where we had ordered.

At first we thought maybe the delivery driver had got the wrong house, I even stuck my head out of the door to possibly get his attention. We thought they had our food, even though at that point we had not paid for it. Anyway he did not reappear from the house and later our meal arrived. It was fantastic. But I loved the comedy timing of the neighbour bringing home his food from the same take away. What are the chances of that?

On our final full day at our Norfolk coastal retreat we decided to take a drive out to Great Yarmouth. When I stayed in Hemsby as a child we always made two visits there one in the day for a look round and one at night to see a show. Lynda had also been there as a child, so it was nice reminiscing together about the place, while we walked down the promenade. We both remembered going to the model village. And also both think we have pictures of it somewhere.

We went for a quick stroll on the Britannia Pier. It has a theatre where I have seen Freddie Starr and The Grumbleweeds among others. There was also another theatre where we once had front row tickets for a Michael Barrymore show and my sister got to shake his hand at the end. Going to a performance was always a big part of my childhood holidays. We did of course go to the circus at The Hippodrome one year to.

Neil Quigley

After stopping for a milkshake by the beach and then getting a few gifts for people I decided I needed one more holiday treat from my past. I got some Candy Floss from one of the street stalls.

I had not had it for years, I do have a really sweet tooth but I must confess it tasted a lot sweeter than I remembered it had been a very long time since I had any of the stuff. I did not manage to finish the whole bag which would have been unheard of as a seven year old.

Candy Floss

We headed “home” to spend some final time in the garden back at the cottage before setting out to do the last thing we had decided that we wanted to do while in the area. While researching our holiday we had discovered that a Seal colony had made one of the local beaches its home and that they could often been seen in the water and on land there. They are located at Horsey Gap Beach. We took a drive out there at around five o’clock in the afternoon. There is a car park there with about a five minute walk down to the beach itself.

Within ten minutes of being on the beach we had spotted a few seals bobbing about in the sea. We kept walking down the beach stopping for a bit, doing some spotting in the water and then moving on again. We had heard that hundreds of the animals can be found on the sand but at this point we had only seen a few swimming.

We decided to walk a bit further along the beach and all of a sudden saw a huge group of the creatures all lying together on the sand. There were small ones, massive ones, old ones and young ones. It truly was a wonderful sight. I am pleased we had decided to go and see if we could spot them. And that we were successful.

On the way back from the Seals we ordered an Indian Take Away from a place that again had been recommended to us. The food was ace and we had a nice last evening at the cottage enjoying that and watching “The Life of Brian” which is a brilliant film, so funny. The next morning we had to be up and out of the accommodation by ten o’clock. We got up early, packed our stuff and tidied up. It was my first experience of Airbnb. The hosts were great and helpful, the place itself was nice, it had everything it was said to and it was a simple and enjoyable experience.

Just before we jumped into the car to head home we had breakfast at the local tea rooms. It was as civilised as it sounds except that I had an American Breakfast with pancakes, syrup, scrabbled egg and the best bacon I have tasted in ages. It was a lovely end to a great English seaside break. I do like travelling abroad and seeing new and exciting things but there is still plenty to enjoy and discover on this little island of ours.

Breakfast

I have now watched all nine episodes of the Tottenham Hotspur Amazon documentary “All or Nothing”. It was interesting to see behind the scenes of my club and get more of an idea about the player’s personalities and the back room staff set up. I have now slightly changed my opinion of Jose Mourinho in view of his work ethic and how he deals with and manages situations.

It does highlight the many different factors that can influence not only the results on the pitch but team spirit and cohesion as well as the different relationships that form within a football club. Would I have watched it if it featured another club, probably not to be fair but it was a nice snapshot of a season with my team that I followed from the outside and have now seen how it was developing from the inside!

Neil Quigley

Spurs almost predictably had a poor first game of the new season. We lost at home to Everton. I think they will have a good year but I felt we really underperformed in that game. Since that set back we have progressed in the Europa League and won our first away Premier League match by an impressive margin. That victory included goals and assists from our two main strikers, which hopefully bodes well for the future.

The season will as ever have many twists and turns with plenty of celebrations and disappointments. One thing is for sure there is never a dull moment supporting Spurs. It is also great to have Gareth Bale back with us on loan. He went from a young player who seemed to be a bad omen who lost every game he played to our star player. We sold him for a then world record fee. I cannot wait to see him back in action in a Spurs shirt but it does look like we will have to wait until after next month’s International matches at least for that.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Spurred On

Last Sunday 30th August 2020 saw the last ever show broadcast on the Aylesbury radio station Mix 96. It was hosted by Nathan Cooper who had been there for twenty three years. It is the place where I did work experience when I was at college in the year that it was launched 1994. It is also the station where my professional radio career began. Therefore as you can imagine it was an institution I had very fond memories of.

Neil Quigley

I listened to the final show. I was lucky enough to get a mention on it from Nathan. After all these years I must confess I still love hearing my name on the radio. He did an amazing job presenting that show. The place holds so many professional and personal memories for him. It has been his life for over two decades. His final link was just perfect, delivered and executed masterfully. Plus he did manage to make me cry right at the end.

Mix 96

The radio landscape across the United Kingdom has been changing for at least the last twenty years with “local” regions becoming a lot larger and with more networked shows across lots of radio stations. Mix 96 was one of the last originally independent radio stations to finally dissolve into this new system. Which is a mark of its success, financially and audience wise. A tribute to all who ever set foot in the place and worked hard there and to the Aylesbury Vale as a whole, who got involved, helped and supported the station right from its launch.

Mix 96

Last year to celebrate Mix 96’s Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Richard Carr from Bucks TV made a documentary about the station. I do make a few appearances in it and it is well worth a watch. It will give you a brief history of the station but also supply some great behind the scenes stories and insight into how it came to be in the first place and what it was almost actually called. I have a copy of it that I might just have to watch again now. It was such a fun and exciting place to have worked. Great days!

Neil Quigley

It has been replaced by Greatest Hits Radio. It does feature a few familiar voices including Pat Sharp who did a weekend show for a bit during my second spell at Mix 96. It also has Martin Starke doing the Drive Time Show. He was on my team when we won a Pop Master Quiz live event hosted by Ken Bruce last year, so I can vouch for his music knowledge. It does seem lots of things in life change and move on. Mix 96 was an exceptional local radio station but now on 96.2fm we have Greatest Hits Radio.

Neil Quigley

I am still only prepared at the moment to go to outside events. This does of course limit my options but I do not feel comfortable as yet inside pubs or restaurants. I recently went to a Comedy Store live event at Hatfield House. As I continue my tour of big estate houses that are allowing their grounds to be used for public gatherings.

I have been to the actual Comedy Store in London many times. If you have not had the pleasure of going there it is a small enclosed space holding a few hundred people. It is totally perfect for a fun night out under normal circumstances but currently closed as any chance of social distancing in there is non-existent.

Neil Quigley

Therefore this gig was very much outside on a stage that was quite a long way from the audience. When we arrived and parked up it was raining so we waited in the car for a bit and thankfully it stopped. It did not start until eight-thirty. We made our way to find a tiny white circle to claim as ours. There were lots of them painted two metres away from each other. We had taken with us some camping chairs so we set them up and settled down for the show.

Before it started a man asked me how many people each circle could hold and seemed surprised when I said it depends how many people are in your group. I honestly think he was planning on asking to sit in with us. I can only presume he has not read a paper recently or does not own a television or a radio. Mate if we did not have to all social distance I would not be sat outside in the dark in a field on a chilly night in late August. It was a lot colder than I was expecting and I definitely under dressed for the occasion.

Ian Stone

The host for the night was Ian Stone. I saw him over twenty years ago at The Comedy Store on a night where a work colleague of mine at the time spent his entire set heckling him. It was nice to see him again and hear his stuff uninterrupted. The first act was Tom Ward who I had seen before at the Old Rope Comedy Club in London. He was great. There was then an interval which gave me a chance to get a cup of tea from the one drink outlet they had onsite, which was an old red bus.

Jen Brister

The next comic to perform was the wonderful Jen Brister. I have seen her a few times before including at the sadly short lived comedy night at a pub in Aylesbury. She is very funny, I like her a lot. The headline act was Phil Nichol who I had not seen before. He was brilliant. A bit wild and wacky and I think it is fair to say he brings a lot of energy to the stage. He does some comedy songs as part of his act and he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

Phil Nichol

Overall it was a good night. The comedians were all great despite admitting themselves that they were a bit out of practice, which of course is totally understandable. Personally I did not feel that the social distancing was as controlled and as good as other events I have been to. But a large part of that of course is reliant on the other people there with you and how they behave. I think that may be my last outside event until at least Fireworks night. As it was not as easy to laugh at the jokes as it could have been, while shivering slightly.

Comedy Store Hatfield House

One of my horses “Proclaimer” ran the other week at Yarmouth. The trainer Julie Camacho had been trying to get him a race for a while. But we were not having much luck. The last race he was due to take part in the race meeting was abandoned just before it was about to start. Anyway he did manage to get a run in at last in Norfolk.

He went off favourite and finished in second place in a seven furlong race. That was a great result for the team and I was happy with that. He ran very well under the excellent jockey Tom Marquand. He does seem to be improving with every run at the minute, so I have plenty to be optimistic and excited about. I look forward to seeing him out on a racecourse again soon. Hopefully in the next ten days.

Proclaimer

A very obvious side product of staying at home more is that I seem to be watching more films. Normally if I manage more than two in one year that is exceptional but I am flying through them this year. Last weekend I watched Bad Boys for Life. Amazingly I had already seen the first two Bad Boys films before. I have like most people of my generation grown up with Will Smith. I probably should add that I did enjoy the first two movies. The first one was my favourite as I think it was slightly funnier.

The latest one is good and a fun easy watch. That is meant as a compliment. Although due to the ages of the two stars now it is in danger of being a bit Lethal Weapon at times. There is plenty of action in it and it was a bit gorier than the previous ones from my memory anyway. I did like it although that may have been because it did seem to borrow a key plot line from my favourite film franchise. Spoiler alert! There is a bit of a hint of Star Wars about it. Up to the point of where the set piece finale scene looks weirdly familiar. It was a good though.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars

I was not totally sure if I was looking forward to this or not as we had not had the greatest season. And I was a big Mauricio Pochettino fan so I was disappointed when he was sacked. However I have watched the first three episodes of the new Tottenham Hotspur Amazon “All or Nothing” documentary. I think I decided as a Spurs fan and season ticket holder that it was my duty to see it. I never got round to seeing the Manchester City one even though I had heard that it was really good, so I did not really know what to expect.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

In the end you see very little of us under Pochettino and he is gone by the end of the first episode. They have got some great shots of the stadium and our training complex. It is quite interesting seeing what goes on behind the closed doors of a Premier League club. Although I feel it is not exactly secret camera stuff. You do feel everyone is at least aware of the cameras being around. It was very nice to see my former radio colleague Amy Lewis feature at Jose Mourinho’s first press conference asking a question. Mind you, it is only the back of her head you see but you can hear her voice. She currently works for ITV sport.

Tottenham Hotspur

One thing that was good to see and that impressed me was Harry Kane in the team meeting saying to the whole squad exactly what we were all saying about the performances in the stands at that time. In fact he almost said word for word the views that I had been expressing. It is interesting to see how Jose deals with and talks to his players. He is actually a lot calmer in the dressing room than I may be thought he would be. The only annoying thing is I get to relive the moments when we totally blew the chance of a top four finish.

I am looking forward to the next six episodes which will be released over the next two weeks. Possibly due to the fact I know quite a bit about the club I have not seen or learnt anything ground-breaking as yet. But in the first three episodes we only saw small snippets of each situation. It is referenced in the introduction but I do also feel that losing the Champions League Final against Liverpool really did affect us mentally during the last campaign. I hope I continue to be entertained by the behind the scenes workings of my club.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

As you can probably imagine from the way I am dealing with the current ongoing situation there is no way I am going on holiday abroad at the moment. But I am heading off for a short break near the seaside in just over a week’s time. I have rented a cottage on a cliff overlooking the sea in Norfolk. I am looking forward to getting away for a bit. It is always good to have a change of scenery now and again. I will tell you all about it next time we speak.

Neil Quigley

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Radio Go Go

Everything is still a little bit strange and more and more issues are arising as a result of the ongoing fun and games. If you have received your exam results I hope you got what you were expecting, which seems very unlikely, if you feel that you have not been treated fairly do speak up and fight your corner. It is such a long time ago now that I got my A Level and G.C.S.E results I can barely remember how it felt. They have never been any direct use in helping me get any of the jobs I have had as an adult, so far at least.  

If you are determined enough to pursue what you want to do, you will get there no matter what setbacks arise. I have still got over fifty rejection letters from various radio stations that I received before I even got my first paid gig in the industry. It took me until I was twenty-five to get my first full time presenting job. Therefore you have time on your side, you have got this and good luck for the future!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been trying to be a bit more social but I still favour outside meetings with people. That is just my own personal choice in the unusual constraints that are currently placed on our normal lives. A few weekends ago on the Saturday I went to a barbecue at a friend’s place just outside Reading.

It was only a small gathering with five of us in total enjoying the sunshine in his garden. The host fed us with a huge selection of traditional Jamaican dishes, which were amazing! They included a few things that I had never tried before. It made me want to go back to the Caribbean for another holiday.

St Lucia
St Lucia

I had a great time eating too much good food and chatting while also enjoying a few drinks. I had booked a hotel in Reading for the night. It fulfilled my current requirements for these things. The following morning I had breakfast in a well-known coffee shop. They were also on top of the ongoing extra demands. That was the first inside food or beverage place I had visited since this lock down thing began. On the way back I stopped in to see a really good mate and his wife and their children in their back garden. I was not driving the person I was with was fortunately for me in charge of our transport.  

My pal offered me a beer which would of course been very rude to refuse so I politely accepted. We were just planning to stop in for a little bit of a catch up as I had not seen them for over five months. It was a lovely warm and sunny day. We were all having a brilliant time chatting and laughing away. Anyway six hours and a few more beers later we finally left. But not before my friend’s wife had fired up the barbecue and cooked us a tasty dinner. It was a wonderful afternoon spent in fantastic company, the time just flew by.

I had really missed seeing them. I cannot wait to see them all again at some point soon hopefully, probably in similar circumstances. It is so nice to be able to see your friends in person again. You realise how important they are to you and how they can instantly lift your mood. If you can and it is safe to do so I would totally recommend it. Things are getting better and you can start doing more as long as you follow all the rules and you are sensible. One thing we can take from this is that if you invite me round to your place there is a very good chance that I might overstay my welcome.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A friend of mine is an actor and a singer so he is not exactly having a great time work wise at the moment. Most of his jobs for this year have already been cancelled sadly. It must be really tough when all your income is stopped suddenly through no fault of your own.

He is an amazing performer and such a lovely person. His name is Mike Sterling and he actually sang at my fortieth birthday party. He was due to be in Spain now working out there for the next month but like seemingly everyone else this year all his gigs were postponed and he could no longer go there.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

This is proof of what a nice bloke he is last Friday he did a special online gig to raise money for a charity in Spain that he would have been working with if he could of made the trip. It was on Facebook and came live from his house. He had set it all up perfectly with a nice stage backdrop featuring some of the huge musicals that he has starred in. It looked and sounded great as did he in his suit.

He did an hour show, singing a mixture of songs from the musicals and standard classics. His voice is spectacular. It did feature a guest appearance from his youngest daughter. She must be about eleven or twelve now. I remember when she was born which I must confess makes me feel very old. She was absolutely brilliant doing a bit of Ed Sheeran with her dad. I watched it online with a nice cold bottle of beer. I really enjoyed it but I am looking forward to hearing him sing live in a theatre once again at some point.

Mike Sterling
Mike Sterling

I first remember becoming seriously interested in radio when Fox Fm launched in Oxford. There were adverts and news reports about it on television. I saw inside a radio studio for the first time and guess it switched on a light inside my head somewhere.

Fast forward a few years later to when I was attending Aylesbury College. A brand new radio station launched in the town I was born in Aylesbury. For me it was exciting and I started listening to it from the start. It was called Mix 96.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

At this time I was doing a Travel and Tourism Course and an A Level in Physical Education, while also thinking that I could still become a Professional Footballer. When I realised I was never going to make it as a footballer I then decided that I wanted to be a radio presenter. I wrote to Mix 96 to enquire about Work Experience. To my surprise they got back to me and offered me a week there. I am not sure who made that decision but whoever it was, thank you very much.

I somehow managed to convince my lecturers to let me do it even though it did not relate to my course at all. I had a great time there everyone was so nice and helpful to me. They all took turns to be stuck with me for a bit so I could see every aspect of the station. I learnt a lot. I even got to sit with Jon Earley during the evening show. I thoroughly enjoyed my first real taste of radio.

This was during the first year of Mix 96’s existence. Thanks to my work experience stint I did end up going along to the Mix 96 first birthday party at Stoke Mandeville Stadium with Jon and Max Hailey. I remember there being some live music and a bar area. I must confess it felt really cool hanging out with all the presenters at such a big event.

On the suggestion of the presenters at Mix 96 I then joined Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio to get some presentation experience with the aim of one day getting on Mix 96 myself. I used to send regular demos to the Programme Controllers at Mix. If they got fed up with me they never showed it, which was very decent of them.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Three years later thanks to Colin Morton and Pete Simester I had an in at the station at last. I came in as a volunteer to collect and read out all the local football results on the Sports Show with Colin on a Saturday afternoon. This led to me going to my first fireworks night that the station used to be involved in at the Aylesbury Rugby Club, but more on that later. I was so happy to be on the radio in my home town even though it was for about one minute a week at that stage.

From here I then ended up there on a Sunday morning producing the Phil Angel Show from the studio. It was a recorded show so I had to play everything in myself. Another step forward! It was a slight bit of confusion that led to my first live show on Mix 96. Pete Simester agreed to let me cover for Phil one week when he was away. He thought I was going to record the links and play them in like I did for Phil. I thought differently and did the whole two hours live. It went alright and I had made my debut doing my own show.

As time went on I ended up presenting the Sports Show myself for several years. I also did the Saturday Night Party Show for a while. It then got to the point where I was covering the evening show when the regular presenter was off. I really enjoyed doing that and it was at that point that I finally felt I was starting to establish myself at the station at least a little bit.

Neil Quigley

From there and thanks to one of the presenters shall we say leaving a bit sooner then we and even they were expecting I got six months presenting Drive Time on Mix 96. Seven years after first walking into the place for work experience I had now made it to presenting a regular show during the day. Glory Days! Dreams do come true!

I then moved to the morning show for another six months, which was a lot of fun. At that point a reshuffle put me back to just the sports show, which I had continued to host. This ultimately led to me leaving for Yeovil to work at Ivel fm. After five years in Somerset I then returned to Buckinghamshire. Thanks to the legend that is Danny Cox I managed to get a weekly Saturday Afternoon show back on Mix 96. I felt I was home. It was brilliant to be back. This led to me hosting the Evening Show for a couple of years and being in charge of the events team.

Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video

As head of events I had to organise and produce the Fireworks Night at the Aylesbury Rugby Club and the Christmas Lights Switch On in the centre of town, as well as many other events and occasions. I was also covering the Morning and Afternoon Shows when people were off.

I had such an amazing time and lost count of how many shows I presented from the famous Friars Square Studios. I was lucky enough to work with so many talented and fantastic people at the station over the years.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley point’s the way on stage at the Mix 96 Fireworks.

I had an absolute blast. I was honoured to be on my hometown radio station for in the end quite a long time. From work experience to presenting most of the programmes on the station at one time or another it was all great! The laughter, the fun and everything that went on behind the scenes that were often actually more amusing than what was happening on air.

Why I am suddenly reminiscing about my time at Mix 96 you might very well ask? It is because from next month Mix 96 how we know and love it will in effect be no more. Firstly my thoughts are with all my friends at the station who will be losing their jobs. It is so sad. My mate Nathan Cooper has been there for over twenty years, he is basically part of the furniture. I think he might be like the Ravens at the Tower of London.

Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride
Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride

From next month the station will become Greatest Hits Radio and the name Mix 96 will be no more. It will still be on 96.2fm but the presenters will all be different. This has happened to a lot of other radio stations I have worked at already.

But Mix 96 as far as I was ever concerned was my local station. Thanks Mix 96, I will miss you. All the best for the next chapter in your life! To quote my favourite Spice Girl from one of her solo hits “Never Be the Same Again”.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Sunday 16th August was the forty-third anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. He was just forty-two when he died at his Graceland mansion in Memphis. I am a big fan of “The King”. A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Memphis.

I did the VIP Tour of Graceland. It was amazing to walk through his house and see all the spectacular rooms. I am not a believer of these things at all but there did appear to be a presence in the place and a special feel to it.

Graceland
Graceland

He had a Racket Ball Court and Gym area built away from the main house. There is a piano in there. The day he died he returned from a drive and played a few songs on it including “Blue Eyes Crying in The Rain” That was the last time Elvis ever sang.

Right at the end of the tour I had to put on some white gloves for the chance to hold one of Elvis’s own personal microphones. That was a big highlight for me.

Graceland
Graceland

While in Memphis I also went to Sun Studios where he recorded his first ever record. Originally as a present for his mum as they offered the chance for people to come in off the street and pay to record.

A long time after this the owner Sam Phillips invited him back in to record a few other songs and as they say the rest is history.

Sun Studio
Sun Studio

As part of the trip I also went to Nashville and Studio B which is where Elvis recorded a lot of his best known songs. He installed different coloured lights in there and he would alter them to get the right mood for the song he was recording.

He could not find the right atmosphere for “Are You Lonesome Tonight” so in the end he ended up recording it in the dark with all the lights off. He suffered from insomnia so his recording sessions were often overnight starting around 6pm and finishing at 6am!

Studio B
Studio B

The voice, stage presence and the way he inhabits each song in my opinion makes him the best singer and performer there has ever been. This really shows when he has the full TCB Band behind him. He is the one conducting everything from the front.

He had the best musicians and backing singers in the business, which all added to the overall quality. I would recommend you watch some of his early seventies stage performances. They are as close to perfection as you can get.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

I have now managed to get fully up to date with the Netflix show After Life. Series Two for me was about the same as the first one in that it was easy to watch and it had a nice mixture of sadness and comedy. Ricky Gervais seems to be on a mission to make legends of comedy say the worst swear words he can think of on screen.

It is not a laugh a minute programme but there are lots of big laughs in it. I guarantee you there are jokes in there that you would not find risked in any other sitcom. I just need to wait for him to finish writing and then film series three. Although I reckon it will not be released until next year at the earliest. But it will be worth waiting for though, when it finally arrives.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.

Neil Quigley Presenter