Kick Start

I must confess I am on a little bit of a January health kick. There is no real reason for it other than it being just a small challenge to myself. I generally do eat reasonably healthily and try to keep fit and in shape, which for the record does become slightly harder every year, as you get older. The popular thing to do during the first month of the year is to have a break from alcohol, but with several fun events already in the diary. That was a non-starter.

There is seemingly a new angle this year with some people choosing not to eat any meat for a month. I fully understand the logic behind this but it did not really appeal to me. I have to admit while I often have and enjoy vegetarian meals I am happy to go on record as being a meat eater. I decided to see if simply cutting out three things that I really enjoy eating just for one month would make any difference to the way I feel and look.

I usually on a daily basis will have bread, cheese and crisps. This is a staple part of my routine lunch break during the day, every day of the week. For one month only I am trying not to have any of these items at all and also limit the amount of chocolate I eat. The way I am doing this is instead of having my standard midday meal. I have got myself some Kale, Spinach, Celery, Cucumber, Kiwi Fruit, Avocado, Banana and Coconut Water to make a green smoothie thing. That I am drinking instead of the bread, cheese and crisps.

I am doing alright currently and have so far managed to keep this up all month as it stands. It is actually quite enjoyable and I have even started experimenting slightly with other ingredients for the drink. I have also stepped up my exercise routine ever so slightly adding in a few extra sit ups every day and some sprint training. The key I feel to these things is to not constantly check results, as everything you do takes around the whole month to become a benefit. Therefore I took some readings at the start and will then do the same when the first month of 2020 has ended. It is nice to test yourself at the start of a new decade, I think.

Neil Quigley

In December I went to the Doctors about something very small and just as a precaution I was sent for a blood test. As I said earlier I do try to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit in my diet plus take Vitamin and also Cod Liver Oil tablets. Much to my surprise when the results came back I got a call from my Doctor to tell me I had a slight Iron deficiency. I did not have any symptoms, so it did catch me out a bit. I checked to see which foods supply the best source of Iron. Weirdly as it happened I was already having most of the top ten suggestions regularly.

They gave me a short course of iron supplement tablets to take. That if you have never taken them without going into graphic detail will greatly alter the colour of something we all produce, which for the record was a bit of a shock at first. Anyway I finished the course of tablets. They did another blood test and I am now back operating at the right levels. This is not the reason for my current health kick by the way I had already decided I was doing that before this arose. I do not feel any different now my iron levels are back up but I do make a much better noise when I go through the airport security scanner.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The first Saturday of January 2020 I went to a good mate’s fortieth birthday party. That was a major factor in me deciding not to take a month off the booze to be honest. The very first day I met him was when I started a new job, where he worked and we ended up in the pub afterwards for a quick pint. Therefore it would have been totally wrong not to mark this occasion with a few beers. I must say it was a very classy and fun do at a bar and restaurant in Beaconsfield that I had never been to before. That is quite an achievement as I am not sure there are many pubs in the whole of Buckinghamshire that I have not been to at least once.

It was great to see him and a few people I had not seen for years, as well as meeting some fantastic new people. He does not really like or eat cakes, so his other half had the genius idea and making one from a mountain of doughnuts. They still put a candle on it and sang happy birthday but instead of having to cut it up afterwards, people could just help themselves to a doughnut. However as the evening went on it did turn into a very sweet inspired game of Jenga. It was great fun celebrating a top bloke’s landmark anniversary. He is slowly catching me up at last.


I was out when the first episode of The Masked Singer was shown on a Saturday night. I was aware it was happening but had no idea what it actually was. As I was travelling home I was reading on Twitter all about it and it sounded totally mad. Just for the launch weekend of it they had an extra episode on the Sunday night. Intrigued by what I had heard about the previous night’s show, I decided to watch it.

Within the first couple of minutes I was thinking what on earth is this? It felt like I was tripping with the lighting, the look of it and those ridiculous costumes. Then add to that the bloke from the Hangover films, Davina McCall, Rita Ora and Jonathan Ross all playing an impossible game of guess who. You have got one of the strangest programmes I think I have ever seen. The even weirder thing is I then got sucked in to it all and was then desperate to know who all of the Masked Singers were.

It is I would say one of those shows like I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here where it is more fun to watch the show while being on say Twitter. There are plenty of good observations and jokes on there, which I found added to the enjoyment. Plus you were getting all sorts of celebrities having to go on there to deny they were on the show. I think my favourite was Peter Crouch having to come out say that he was not the singing tree.

I did also like how the panel were guessing the acts such as say Jamie Foxx, Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Samuel L Jackson and so far the celebrities that have been un-masked are Patsy Palmer, Alan Johnson and Justin Hawkins.

No offence meant to anyone involved but I do think that may be the panel should lower their expectations ever so slightly. It is all just good silly stupid fun. Even when I cannot watch it I still need to know who the latest celebrity to be revealed on it is. I suspect that will be the case until the end of the series now.

Masked Singer?

I appreciate Ricky Gervais is somebody you either tend to love or hate with very little in between. Personally I like him and do think he is really funny. I have watched most of his stand up shows and also seen him live twice. Doing some warm up gigs for his various tours. He is also pretty good on Twitter to. A lot of the things he says about people being offended by things make sense to me anyway. You have the right to not find something funny, but just because you do not, it does not mean you have to be offended, just do not laugh that is fine.

The reason I mention him is because he hosted the Golden Globes in America recently. It is a huge awards ceremony which covers film and television in the United States, much like the BAFTAS do in the United Kingdom. It was the fifth time that he had been asked by the organisers to present it. Therefore nobody should have been at all shocked and surprised by how he decided to play it. It was a room full of the Hollywood elite. I have only watched his opening speech but it is in my opinion brilliant!

He makes it clear right from the start he is just there to tell jokes and poke fun at things. There is no agenda or plan to score points. He is up there telling jokes that he thinks are funny or that amuse him. It is fair to say judging by the reactions on peoples’ faces some of them were possibly more able to laugh at themselves than others. Which is again fine, we are all different.

There were some excellent, clever and funny jokes in there. The tone was about right for how he had set himself up to be, the annoyed host who almost begrudged being there, all just part of his shtick to make his material work better.

The fact that he was hosting and the way he did it attracted a lot of media coverage and interest. That is exactly why the organisers of this event would book somebody like him. That is what they want for their thing to be talked about as much as possible. As is the want of the newspapers, several of them took different angles, some went down the line of him being a hero for telling the truths to the film industry. Some accused him of hypocrisy. All he was doing as he said right at the start of his monologue was telling some jokes. You either find them funny or not. A lot of them made me laugh out loud and no body died!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I paid my first trip of the year to White Hart Lane to see Tottenham get beaten by the Premier League Champions elect Liverpool. If I am honest prior to the game I was worried we would get thrashed, but as it happened we put in a much improved performance. I thought we were possibly a bit unlucky not to get a draw. Between me and you I would have taken a one nil defeat before the game. Next up in the league we are away to Watford today in a game we must win to I think stand any chance of qualifying for Europe this season.

Happily Spurs are still in the FA Cup after we managed to get past Championship side Middlesbrough at the second attempt beating them in a reply at our place. It was nice to go one up after just three minutes for a change, however despite another fairly early goal we still managed to make very hard work of the victory.

We travel to Southampton next weekend in round four. That will be another tough match. If we can get through that then we are suddenly only two games away from a big Wembley semi-final, which would be brilliant. But as ever I will be taking one game at a time, especially the way things are going this season.

Neil Quigley with FA Cup
Neil Quigley with FA Cup

I am very excited for this coming week I am going to see my favourite comedian Frank Skinner in the West End. My sister got me the ticket for my birthday.

He is fantastic live, although I am a bit concerned as I am in the second row and he does like to chat to people does Frank. I will let you know how it went next time we speak.

Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Happy New Year 2020

The Monday before Christmas my mum and I went to The Royal Albert Hall to see a performance of their Annual Carol Concert. It was actually one of her presents from last Christmas. She had not been to the famous venue and wanted to go, I said I would take her and gave her the choice to see whatever she wanted there. She then opted for the carols, which meant in the end she had to wait almost twelve months for this gift.

We arrived at the iconic building forty minutes before the afternoon show was due to start, having walked up there from the High Street Kensington tube station. It does look very imposing from outside. I made sure we had some decent seats, so for the first time ever when I have been there I walked down the stairs on entry to the floor level. Then we enjoyed a glass of wine each, well we had to loosen up the vocal cords before all the singing.

The Royal Albert Hall

We took our seats ready for the concert to begin. On them waiting for us was the words to all the carols and songs, that we would be invited to join in with. The music for the afternoon was provided by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Richard Cooke. It goes without saying that they were amazing.

It was all hosted by the wonderful Greg Beardsell, who did a totally brilliant job of it. There was a mixture of performances from the Orchestra on their own along with the two choirs involved. But then for certain songs we all would stand up and join in, sometimes conducted by the Maestro.

The Royal Albert Hall

The show was in two halves with an interval in the middle. During which, yes I did have another glass of wine, well it was Christmas. During part two Joe Stilgoe came on and did a few swing numbers with the orchestra, which were great. We also had the Royal College of Music perform on the hand bells and Bugle players from the Royal Grenadier Guards Band. The Orchestra were really getting in to it. A special mention to the two members who dressed up as Rudolph and a snowman, you were both hilarious!

It was a fabulous afternoon spent at one of the best places for music in the world. It was lovely to see my mum really enjoying herself. She was joining in with all the carols and songs, having a brilliant time. It is a beautifully presented show and feels very Christmassy. They set it perfectly for it, the lighting and the trees are wonderful. Full of the spirits for the festive season we had a very nice meal at The Potting Shed opposite Marylebone Station, before we got the train home. It was just a totally joyful day spending quality time with my mum.

The Royal Albert Hall

It was a pretty text book Neil Quigley Christmas this year. It started with the traditional Christmas Day fried breakfast, which I find does set the day up nicely. We then got together and gave each over our presents, while enjoying a nice cup of tea. I did very well this year, I got a Spurs coaching team top, a luxury wine tasting evening, copies of Elton John’s and Billy Connolly’s new books and a voucher for the Tottenham Hotspur Club Shop.

Neil Quigley

We then toasted the day with a nice glass of Champagne, before I went to the pub to meet my Uncle and Cousin. That is something I have been doing since I have been old enough to drink. I have a few pints, which I find puts me in the perfect mood for the rest of the fun ahead of me. I always like to walk to and from the pub as it is the only exercise I do on the day. Plus I think it creates more space ready to fully enjoy the Turkey with all the trimmings dinner that we always have. My dad was head Chef this year and the meal was splendid. It was washed down with a very nice red wine. All finished off by some Chocolate Cheesecake and lastly Cheese and Biscuits.

Once the food had been digested it was then time to get the games out. My dad had looked out the old Wii for us to play, although he could only find one working controller and two games for it. They were Ten Pin Bowling. That we could all play against each other on. I think we each won a least one game. And a table tennis game which we had to take turns battling the computer on. I do not think any of us managed to win against it. We were all clearly a little bit out of practice. I reckon we probably played these games for a couple of hours. One thing it proved was that we are a very competitive family, although to be honest I think we already knew that.

Neil Quigley (The Wii version)

After my dad and sister had taken her dog for a walk we played a new game that I had purchased specially for the occasion. It was the “Who Am I Game”. You take a card and put it on your forehead then you have to guess who you are by asking the rest of the family lots of questions. It was a good laugh and if I do say so myself I reckon I was the best at it.

We had a nice early supper while we were watching the Christmas Special of Strictly Come Dancing. I thought the lovely Debbie McGhee and Kevin Clifton were the deserved winners by the way. This pretty much brought to a close another fun and dare I say successful Quigley family Christmas.

Neil Quigley

I have been a massive Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. As a child I used to have a huge collection of Star Wars figures that included a Millennium Falcon. I am still a bit gutted that I decided to sell them about five years ago, to be honest. I have always loved the original three films.

I dutifully watched all the prequels even though for some reason they did not have the same feel as the other films. Then in the last few years they gave us two new films continuing the original story and for me crucially featuring some of the original cast members and characters. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi made me feel just like a little kid again, when I watched them. The nostalgia there was real!

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

Therefore when the final ever Star Wars film The Rise of Skywalker was released I had to see it on the very first morning. I had booked a ticket in advance to see it at eleven thirty at the Odeon Cinema in Aylesbury. I was feeling very excited when I bought the ticket, so I pushed the boat out and paid the extra two pound fifty to have a deluxe seat, right in the middle of screen. I did not know completely what to expect as I had avoided all the gossip about it, so I could see it with no preconceived ideas.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

I am not going to give any spoilers away. I really enjoyed it as it was in the same style as the previous two and original three films as far as I am concerned. The thing they all have in common is that despite all the adversity that is going on there is a nice humour that just runs through it.

There are some nods to all of the original films in it. It is a little bit like a love letter to the brand in lots of ways. There are a few twists and turns that I must admit I did not see coming. The ending for me was perfectly acceptable. It was never going to be an easy thing to try to tie up after nine films spanning over forty odd years.
It is a shame it has all come to an end in a way though. But all good things must come to an end at some point!

Star Wars

I enjoyed going to watch Tottenham play Brighton on Boxing Day despite the early kick off. That meant there was no lie in for me. The game itself was not brilliant but we won and I had a few drinks with some friends, which is always a winner, at this time of the year. We then managed to draw away to Norwich and lose at Southampton, which leaves us in sixth place in the Premier League at the moment.

With a bit of luck we could have been a bit higher up but we could of quite easily been a bit further down it to. A week today I will be at the Stadium to see us play the Premier League Champions elect Liverpool. That is going to be a very tough game to say the least.

Tottenham Hotspur

In between Christmas and New Year I was at home one evening when I suddenly started hearing some loud bangs. I was curious as to what it was, so I opened my front door to have a look. For probably about twenty years now Jay Kay from Jamiroquai has lived in the same area as me.

He is known for occasionally throwing some quite lavish parties. I suspect he was that night, as I stood outside for ten minutes watching the most spectacular fireworks display. It was amazing and as good as you would see anywhere on New Year’s Eve itself.

New Years Eve
New Years Eve

A mate of mine is a big Wycombe Wanderers fan so I went with him to see The Chairboys play Coventry over the festive period. We did make a day of it and had a few drinks in High Wycombe before and after the match. That as it turned out was the highlight because the home team did not play very well at all. They went one down early in the game, got back to one all then gifted the visitors a goal about a minute later. The Sky Blues went on to win the contest comfortably.

It finished one – four. It was the second time I had seen them play this season. The previous time they beat Southend United and deserved to. Since then they have gone on to top the table and even after a testing Christmas period are still four points clear in League One. I do feel that to maintain that position they need to play better than in the last game I saw. But I understand they are missing several key players through injury. It would be an amazing achievement if they did reach the Championship. I wish them luck for the remainder of the season.

Wycombe Wanderers

I did not really do much for New Year’s Eve this time. I met up with a friend and we just had a few drinks in a couple of local pubs. It was a decent night joking around and listening to music. At midnight we all did the traditional Auld Lang Syne bit. Then we wished everyone a Happy New year, before heading home. I will be honest when I did get in I actually ended up having a couple of glasses of wine, while listening to music, so I still did not get to bed until gone two. It was for me the perfect way to see in the new decade. I totally enjoyed it!

New Year’s Day I cooked dinner for my parents and sister. We ate in the evening. I rustled up a roast beef dinner. That was pretty good. I would not say I am a brilliant cook but I can put together a decent meal. I was particularly impressed with my roast potatoes light and fluffy on the inside with a slight crispness to the outside. Before the food I opened a bottle of Champagne, so we could properly toast the New Year. Start as you mean to go on, drinking bubbly. Cheers!

Personally I have not made any big plans or set any real goals for the next twelve months. I aim to eat a little bit more healthily in January, to normalise slightly after Christmas eating. I guess I do plan to be a better person than I was the year before. I do like to try to progress and improve as time goes forward. I want to see and do as much as I possibly can. I want to do lots of things that I enjoy and that make me happy. Resolutions normally get broken, while I think loose goals can always be met, just to different levels of success, depending on how you do. Whatever you want to achieve this year, I wish you all the best with it and I know you can do it!

Neil Quigley

Tonight I am going to an old mate’s fortieth birthday party. We first met when he was just eighteen years old. The strange thing is that he always looked older than he was, so all these years later he does not actually look any different. It is sure to be a fun night, hopefully with a few familiar faces that I have not seen for a while there. Plus who does not like an excuse to actually go out on the first weekend of the New Year.

Neil Quigley

Have fun, Happy New Year all the best for 2020. We will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.