Festival Of Fun

Two months ago a mate of mine asked me if I might be interested in going to the Isle of Wight Festival this year. My first question to him was will that involve camping? Happily he said no it would not so I thought in that case if we can pull it off at such relatively late notice then why not! I had not been to a big festival since Glastonbury back in 2007 and obviously due to the global situation and the last couple of years we have experienced I was a little bit concerned at suddenly being around that many people even if we were outside. In the end I figured still well why not!

We only confirmed that we were definitely going a week before it was taking place. My friend is from the Isle of Wight and his mum still lives there. She was going away for the weekend so very kindly let us stay there, which was perfect as we would get to enjoy the benefits of the festival without having to sleep in a tent. It was a very nice house in Carisbrooke with great views from the back garden of the famous historic castle on the hill there. It was the ideal base for a weekend of music and fun.

Carisbrooke Castle

There were four of us in total my friend Robbie, his mate who I also knew James and my girlfriend Lynda. We all met up in Portsmouth on the Friday morning and went across to the Island in Robbie’s car on the ferry to Fishbourne. Once on board we headed straight for the top deck to enjoy the view. It was a nice day which made for a very pleasant crossing of the Solent. Robbie is an Isle of Wight Guru so he had plenty of interesting facts to tell us and a few landmarks to point out.

The ferry trip seemed to fly by really quickly and soon we were on the road heading to our accommodation. We pulled up to the house and dumped all our stuff inside before walking to the local shop to get some lunch to enjoy outside in the sun, while admiring the castle view. It was then time to go and get our first taste of the festival. We drove about a two thirds of the way there and then walked the last fifteen minutes to Seaclose Park in Newport where it is held. To get in you either had to show a Covid Certificate to prove you have had two vaccination jabs or show proof of a negative lateral flow test. That is a requirement that sounded sensible to me and that I fully supported.

Neil Quigley

We had weekend tickets which meant we could go in and out as many times as we wanted to over the three days. The first time you enter you exchange your tickets for a wristband that will then get you access to the site for the rest of the event. The first thing we did was take a walk around to familiarise ourselves with what was there and where everything was. This included scouting out bars, toilets and potential places where I could find some gluten free food. We then watched You Me and Six followed by Becky Hill on the main stage.

Towards the end of Becky’s set we decided to take a ride on the big wheel they had there so that we could get an aerial view of the place. I am not a massive fan of heights or rides but this one was gentle and quite relaxing so I enjoyed it. Next I found a stall that served gluten free Paella so had some of that to keep me going through the rest of the night. I may also have sampled some of the cider and wine that they had. The cider was nice and the wine not as bad as you think it might be.

Neil Quigley

We then found a spot back at the main stage to see James play. Yes of course they did do Sit Down which went down well. After them it was the legend that is Sir Tom Jones. He was fantastic of course he did a selection of his greatest hits alongside some new tracks off his latest album. He voice is still sounding as good as ever at the age of eighty. I think what sets great performers aside from the rest is their stage presence. Tom has it in abundance you just cannot take your eyes off him. And like me he seems to have a story for every single occasion. I really enjoyed seeing him live again.

The other area where the more, well known acts play is called the big top and is as you would imagine a big tent with open sides. We went to see Shed Seven there next. They played my two favourite songs of theirs Going for Gold and Chasing Rainbows. Then it was off to the main stage to see some of Liam Gallagher’s performance. He obviously did mostly his own solo stuff but also threw in quite a few of the Oasis hits to, which I thoroughly enjoyed. He should have taken the ferry home after though as he managed to hurt himself falling out of a helicopter on his journey back after the gig.

Liam Gallagher

After Liam we did try to catch some Primal Scream in the big top but the crowd was so vast that we could not get near enough to be able hear them properly so we decided to call it a night. When we got in because we are so rock and roll we had a cup of tea and then went to bed. The next morning Robbie offered to take James and me to the beach to possibly even go in the sea, we both jumped at the chance. He took us to an exclusive beach he knew about twenty minutes away. It was lovely and sandy with only a few dog walkers around.

As Robbie had grown up there and been close to the sea most of his life he came prepared with wetsuits and body boards for us to use. I had never been body boarding before and rarely venture too far in to the English sea but with the offer of the loan of a wetsuit I was up for giving it a go. The wetsuit was great and I happily waded out to waist high water carrying the board. I was surprisingly much better at it than I thought I would be and managed to catch several waves and on occasion get quite a bit of speed up. It was good fun and the thirty minutes we spent doing it flew by. I would happily do it again even though it is harder work on the upper body than you would think.

Neil Quigley

After messing about in the sea we went back to the house to get ready for our second day at the festival. Since I became coeliac back in February I have not managed to have any fish and chips. When we knew we were definitely going for the weekend I sent Robbie a list of places that did gluten free food, one of them was a fish and chip shop in Newport called Stotesburys. It just happened to be on our walk to the festival so on the Saturday afternoon we went there for lunch. I had to phone up to order my gluten free haddock and chips half an hour before we were going to be there, which was totally fine.

When I arrived to collect that and the other meals they were lovely, everything was kept separate and all clearly labelled, which is really important for me. We went outside and found a place to sit and eat it. I must say it tasted amazing, it was so good and the first time I had been able to enjoy fish and chips for nearly a year. If you are gluten free and anywhere near the Isle of Wight you have to get some food from there. Most fish and chips shops do not do gluten free options at all, some do once a week, at this take away you can pre order them any day that they are open and they are very tasty.

Neil Quigley

We arrived at the main stage just in time to see the Lightning Seeds who I really like. I saw them over twenty years ago supporting The Beautiful South at Wembley Arena and they were as good this time as they were then. They played all the big hits and finished with the anthem Three Lions, which had the whole park singing along. While I was enjoying the band I bumped into a mate of mine who I have done some comedy with in the past so we had a nice catch up and chat.

As we had found a nice area to sit down to enjoy the sun and the music we stayed there to watch All Saints. They also did all of the hits and it was nice to see the whole band back together. I always liked them and they had a few hits so I knew all of the songs. We then wandered over to the big top to from a safe distance hear a bit of Maximo Park doing their thing. I then decided that I fancied some food so I returned to my safe gluten free Paella option, which again was very good.

Neil Quigley

On the way back from the food that may or may not have been washed down with another pint of cider we stopped off at the big top to see Example storming the place. Then it was back to the main stage to see Sam Fender. I thought he was really good plus he did a cover version of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark that I liked being a big fan of the boss. We stayed where we were to witness the band that Lynda was looking forward to seeing most Snow Patrol.

As with most of the acts on show they were exceptional. They sounded note perfect and they have more upbeat songs than I remembered. Like most sensible bands they did all the big hits and created a great vibe and atmosphere. I can now see why people rave about them as a live band they are very accomplished and just nice guys. They were actually one of my highlights of the whole weekend for how good they were and also how much Lynda seemed to enjoy seeing them playing live.

Snow Patrol

We did not fancy seeing David Guetta so again returned to the big top area to see the Kaiser Chiefs despite the fact that we had only seen them a couple of weeks ago at Pub in the Park. They were once again excellent. There were so many people trying to see them they could have easily played the bigger stage and still attracted a decent audience. We stayed till the end of their set then headed off on the thirty minute walk back to where we were staying. Yet again when we got in we did have some tea before bed.

On the Sunday morning we went for a nice walk around Carisbrooke Castle. You get some great views of the Island from up there. We did not go in but walked all around the wall by what used to be the moat. Robbie had booked us dinner at a pub called the Blacksmith Arms. It was about a seven minute bus ride away and had great views of the countryside through the panoramic windows they have there. It was of course another place on the list of the recommended gluten free places to eat that I had given him. It was a lovely pub and the food in there was brilliant.

Roast Pork Belly

I had the scallops for my starter while enjoying a rather nice glass of Malbec that was slightly better than the festival wine, it is fair to say. For my main course I had the roast pork belly, which was amazing. The huge piece of crackling they served with it was tremendous. It was all gluten free and the way they presented the dishes there was very classy indeed. We all had a lovely relaxing meal before catching the bus back to the centre of Newport to then walk to the festival for the final time.

We arrived during James Vincent McMorrow’s set and positioned ourselves on the grass in the area of the main stage. As we had done a lot of walking and as it was the last day so we were a little jaded we stayed around this area for most of the day. Therefore we were still in the same spot enjoying a few ciders when the brilliant Imelda May came on stage next. When she had finished I had agreed to go on this big swing thing with Lynda. Robbie and James had already done it on the Friday but I had been less keen. However she really wanted to do it and it only seemed fair that I should join her.

Big Swing

This thing went up much higher than the big wheel we did on Friday and did not enjoy the luxury of being surrounded by Perspex. I was if I am honest a little apprehensive but once I was on it and we were up in the sky in was not too bad. I actually enjoyed it and we did get an amazing view of the whole festival from up there. Lynda was waving her arms and legs about while I chose to hold on very tightly to the metal bar in front of me. We both did the ride together and in the end I was glad that I did it.

Next on the main stage it was Supergrass. I thought they sounded ace and played all their big hits. They looked like they were really enjoying themselves. They are I think one of those groups where you know way more of their songs than you think you do. After a break for more drinks while they reset the stage it was time for The Script. I once saw Danny O’Donoghue at a recording studio in Battersea one night when he was working on his solo album.

The Script

The Script are a top band who played all the big songs. Danny knows how to work a crowd and made the show very interactive. At one point he got a member of the audience to phone an ex and then sang a song to them. Plus he was the only act who went down to the fans at the front. He had been struggling with his voice in the lead up to the gig so I think the drummer did a lot of the heaving lifting with the vocals but it all sounded great and you could not tell. They looked like they were just so pleased to be out and playing in front of a big crowd again.

The headliners for the whole weekend were Duran Duran. We had decided to head to an area at the back where they had some wooden benches to watch the eighties icons from. Simon Le Bon predictably came out wearing a white suit and they just tore through all of their many hits. I thought they were excellent, the lead singer’s voice was still pitch perfect and they sounded like they did on all their records. We even got some fireworks during their James Bond theme. They also did a cover version of the Calvin Harris song Acceptable in the Eighties. I thought that was a fun and cheeky way of highlighting when their peak time was maybe.

Duran Duran

After they had finished we were treated to a fireworks display to the sound track of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Razorlight were the last band on in the big top but we figured that would be rammed so after the explosive finale we decided to call it a night and stroll back to where we were staying. The next morning we got up, packed and then took a taxi to the ferry port to catch the boat back to Portsmouth. The weather remained good all weekend so it was once again a very pleasant crossing. Lynda and I had a quick look around the shopping centre where we had parked and then drove home to put an end to our first ever very successful visit to the Isle of Wight Festival.


A couple of weekends ago now Lynda and I actually ventured to her local cinema albeit on a Saturday afternoon in pre-brooked seats so we knew it would not be that busy. We both wanted to see the new film about the life of Aretha Franklin called Respect. It starred the brilliant Jennifer Hudson in the lead role. I enjoyed it and I did not realise quite what a tough and difficult early life she had and how well she knew and supported Martin Luther King jnr. It was very interesting and of course the soundtrack features all of her big songs. I do like movies about singers and I am very much looking forward to the new Elvis one that is being made at the moment and is being directed by Baz Lurhmann, I am hoping it will be good.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On Wednesday night Lynda and I went to see a friend of mine the lovely Mike Sterling do a gig in London. He was playing at Zedel in Soho doing his An Evening with the Phantom Show. He is a great singer and musical theatre star who has played both the Phantom and Jean Valjean in Les Miserable in the West End amongst many other roles. I always enjoy seeing him perform, he has an amazing voice. It was a great night seeing the show and then catching up with him after for a drink, a top man and top performer!

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur’s season after the international break has not been as good as it was prior to it. We have lost our last two league games against Crystal Palace and Chelsea by three goals to nil. I did know that the way we started was potentially a false dawn but I am a bit concerned about how quickly we have gone from one extreme to the other. It is going to be a long hard season I fear but I will be there supporting them all of the way as that is what us fans do. At least we are still in the Carabao Cup, just. Come on you Spurs!

Neil Quigley

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every 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.

Taking Care Of Business

Is it just me or is the time flying by at the moment? May be that is because I am back to being nice and busy again alongside the fact that things are opening up and more events are now taking place. The month of August just seemed to be a blur. The more things I do the more energy I seem to have and of course the more comfortable I am being around people again. As I am back working in London and going to the football I have had to just get on with it. And although I still wear a mask when I am inside anywhere it all feels pretty normal and natural.

Neil Quigley

I had a brilliant time last weekend. My girlfriend and I got invited ages ago by a group of friends to go to the Pub in the Park event in Chiswick. We decided to spend two nights in the hotel just around the corner from the park where it was taking place. I was working in London on the Friday so I got the tube and met Lynda at the hotel. She had already checked in and scoped the room informing me that we were a towel short. I managed to collect one on the way up from reception. I did somehow resist the urge to do a room service joke as I arrived with it.

Neil Quigley

Now I am Coeliac I really have to plan what I am doing for food and where I am eating in advance. Coeliac UK supply a very handy phone app that informs you of any accredited or recommended restaurants nearby to where you are. I checked this a few weeks ago and found a Cote’s Brasserie about a ten minute walk away from where we were staying. They happened to be fully accredited by Coeliac UK, which means they have a good selection of gluten free meals and take all the necessary steps to avoid cross contamination.

We arrived and they had a great table for us by the window with plenty of space around us. I identified myself as a Coeliac on arrival so when we had sat down they gave me my own special gluten free menu. I had my own waiter to take my food order. It was fantastic, we had three courses and my food came out at the same time as the others, plus it did come with a gluten free flag stuck in it, which I really liked. It meant that I could just relax and enjoy my food as I could tell they were taking the right precautions and doing all the right things.

We had a lovely meal washed down with a few glasses of a nice red wine. The Staff were brilliant. After dessert we strolled back to the hotel just before midnight expecting to get one more drink at the bar. To our surprise when we got there it was already shut, so we had to go straight to bed. Mind you as the Saturday was meant to be the main day that might actually have been a bit of a blessing in disguise. It did mean we got a decent night’s sleep. Lynda and I did not get up particularly early choosing to conserve our energy for the long day ahead.

Neil’s Food

Pub in the Park had two sessions an afternoon and an evening one. We had tickets for both. The first one opened at eleven thirty so we got there at about midday. It was really well organised and set up. The event is the brainchild of the chef Tom Kerridge. He has been doing these events across the summer for a quite a few years now, when regulations allow of course. There are lots of food and drink producers with their own stalls. This was right up Lynda’s street so within ten minutes of being there she had already purchased some tea liqueur and decided she was going to buy some spices.

We had a good walk round the entire site to get our bearings and work out where everything was. Throughout the day there were chef demonstrations. The one that Lynda wanted to see was due to be on at half past twelve, so we rushed to the area to see him in his advertised slot but there were two different chefs on stage instead much to her disappointment. The man she wanted to see was Atul Kochhar so to console ourselves we went to his pop up restaurant and each had one of his dishes. Luckily for me he had a few gluten free meals. Both of which I tried in the end and both of which were amazing. I definitely need to go to one of his restaurants.

We then found our way to the cider bar and had a pint each. Then we discovered a cheese stall that was giving out free samples. It would have been rude not to try some. In fact it was so good Lynda got a selection of them for us to enjoy at a future cheese and wine night. Next to the cheese there was a rum company who were also offering a sample of their product. It just so happened that they were based down the road from where I live. Their drink was really nice, so we purchased some of that to. As well as food and drink the other thing pubs are sometimes known for is live music, so there was a stage that had a few bands playing during each of the sessions.

Neil Quigley

We saw Nerina Pallot do her set. She was excellent. After that we managed to grab ourselves some prosecco to enjoy. Next it was time to try some more dishes from another couple of the selected chef’s restaurants. I had an amazing beef creation followed by Rick Stein’s black cuttlefish risotto. It tasted alright but I was a bit put off by the colour, as in general if something is black on your plate it is because it is burnt. There were a couple of cocktail bars there so we tried a Pepino Russo. It was a surprisingly refreshing drink that did have a bit of a kick to it.

The headline act for the afternoon session was The Feeling. I have been a fan of the band for years but this was the first time that I had seen them live. Now I appreciate that I have not seen any live music for quite a while but I thought they were brilliant, they sounded ace. They played all their big hits, their latest single and the title track from the musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” that was written by the group’s lead singer Dan Gillespie Sells. As we were watching them I managed to have some ice-cream plus Lynda found us some cans of this alcoholic water, which was a great way to stay hydrated while still getting a bit tipsy.

Just when I thought I could not love The Feeling anymore they came back on for the encore and did The Buggles song Video Killed the Radio Star. I had that as my mobile phone ringtone for about five years. I really like that song and it had the park bouncing, possibly helped by all the great food and drink options. That bought that session to an end so we walked back to the hotel to drop off all the items we had bought and then had a drink in the hotel bar while we waited for the evening session to begin.

The Feeling

We strolled back to the park for about six o’clock. On arrival it was obvious that this session was busier than the earlier one. We took the executive decision to have some more food at this point, which was again exquisite. To wash dinner down we found a new cocktail bar and had a couple of their specials.

I then noticed that the chefs that were on when we expected Atul Kochhar earlier were listed as being on that evening. So I wondered if they had swapped slots. We went to the demo area and happily I was right he was on stage doing a cooking demonstration showing us how to make the dish that I had actually tried earlier in the day.

Indian Style Chicken Dish

I was pleased that Lynda got to see him in action as she had been a bit disappointed when he was not on earlier. It was then time for another drink and I discovered a Cocktail Bar that were doing Pina Coladas. That used to be my holiday treat drink so I channelled my inner Derek Trotter and ordered one of them.

On the stage at this point were The Cuban Brothers. I had not heard of them before and if I am honest I was not sure what I was watching. There was a lot of just singing along to songs, dancing and a little bit of nudity. It was one of the strangest acts I have seen for a while. They were certainly unique I will give them that!

Cocktail Time

The headline act for the evening session was The Kaiser Chiefs. I had seen them once before at Glastonbury in 2007. They are a great live band and I think Ricky Wilson is one of the best front men in the business. You cannot fault his energy. He certainly puts a shift in when he is up there. Obviously they did all the big hits and we had a nice sing-song.

It was so great to experience live music again and see lots of people enjoying themselves and dancing in unison. It was a beautiful day, good food, nice drinks, brilliant live music and great company. We rounded things off with one more drink back at the hotel before bed, a fantastic event and a wonderful weekend.

The Kaiser Chiefs

Over the Bank Holiday Weekend as the weather was nice Lynda did a barbeque for us. Well she had one in the afternoon and saved some of the food for me so I could have it when I got home from the Spurs game. She had done a corn on the cob and served it using these pin things that I had never seen before.

It turns out they were small corn holders. You stick them in each end of the cob and they have plastic handles that you hold to eat the corn. I had no idea they existed but they are a real game changer when it comes to eating corn. It makes it much easier and saves you dropping it all over the place.

Corn on the Cob

Around a year ago Pretty Green brought out an Elvis Presley TCB range of clothing. As a big Elvis fan this peaked my interest but all of the items were quite expensive. About three weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a message to say one of these jackets was on a well known auction site. I was watching it all week and then the night before it was meant to close I put in a bid. The auction was due to finish in the early hours of the morning. I woke up randomly ten minutes before it was due to end. I noticed I had been outbid so I then put one more bid in and fell back to sleep. When my alarm went off I woke up to an email telling me the jacket was mine.

It is a denim jacket with a TCB lightning flash on the front. A special patch on the arm and then in the lining of it there is a copy of the TCB Oath in Elvis’s handwriting. This is it “More self respect, more respect for fellow man. Respect for fellow students & techniques. Body conditioning, mental conditioning, meditation for calming & willing of the mind & body. Sharpen your skills increases mental awareness for all those who might choose a new outlook and personal philosophy freedom from constipation.” I mean in general I do not think it is bad advice. I love the jacket and I will be wearing it a lot during the next year.

Neil Quigley

It was my mum’s birthday last Monday. I managed to actually get to see her on the day, which was great. She is also an Elvis fan so for her present this year I am taking her along to see The Elvis Tribute Artist World Tour at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury next month. It will be a night out that we will both enjoy.

The biggest gift you can give is spending time and doing fun things with loved ones as far as I am concerned. She had a lovely time on the day itself and I did also get her some perfume. As I always feel it is unfair if a person does not have an actual present to unwrap from me on their special day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur’s start to the season has exceeded my initial expectation that is for sure. After the first three games we have maximum points and are top of the league without conceding any goals. Add to that the fact that we are playing more positive and attacking football this year, there is a lot to be pleased and optimistic about. As we now come out of the first international break of the season we have a tricky away game at Crystal Palace today. Never an easy place to go but hopefully we can grab all three points and keep the momentum going.

Another pleasing factor is that Arsenal are currently at the bottom of the Premier League table having scored no goals, which of course does amuse me greatly. I do not think that The Gunners will go down and I do not believe we will win the league but at the moment I do intend to fully enjoy both teams’ current positions. Still a long tough season ahead but I am really enjoying being back in the stadium and seeing live football again. I will be delighted if we are still top of the league going in to the next international break in about a month’s time. But as the old cliche’ goes let us just take one game at a time starting with todays. Come on you Spurs!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am quite excited as it looks like next weekend I will be going to the Isle of Wight Festival. That is an event I have never been to before at a place I have not visited since I was about ten years old on a primary school trip, so it will be fun to rediscover it. If it happens I will tell you all about it next time we speak.

A quick reminder that you can listen to me every 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.