Picnic At The Palace

It is all still a bit odd currently isn’t it? We have all turned in to our own health and safety advisers. Every day is like one big continuous risk assessment. That is how I am finding things anyway. I want to start going out and doing a bit more, yet I still want to be as safe as possible to protect myself and everyone around me. I am of course following all the rules and wearing my mask when and where it is required.

I am limiting the amount of people I come in to contact with as basic maths tells me this has to reduce the chances of acquiring the virus. I have not quite reached Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” level yet but I am a lot more aware of who and what is around me at all times than I used to be, which is no bad thing at the minute. We all need to pull together to do the right things and help each other through this situation.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still mainly favouring outside entertainment and gatherings as if I am honest I feel they are safer and easier to manage. Recently I did try out another one of those Drive In Cinema events, even though I was not totally sure about them from my previous visit.

This one was at Knebworth House, which is a fantastic setting. They have so much space there and the house was in view from where the screen was set up. It was a bigger screen this time round, although it was a much larger venue.

Knebworth House

As before when you arrive they give you a speaker for your car when they check you in. Then you are directed by several marshals to your own space to park in. To be fair they made sure we were happy and could see the screen alright. I did have to visit the facilities before it started. They were properly spaced out with hand sanitiser stations on the way in and way out. Not something I used to review or even consider but the world is a slightly different place now.

The film they were showing was the absolute classic “Back to the Future”, which is really what tempted me to try another movie in this way. It is just such a great film! It began at half past nine therefore it was dark for most of it, which I found much better, as you could see the screen easier. And it also added to the atmosphere and cinema feeling. I preferred that to my last first visit to a Drive In that we did in the early evening sunshine. We also sneaked in our own Peanut M&M’s, which again made it feel more normal.

Drive In Movie

I enjoyed seeing it again. There were actually a few bits that I had forgotten about or misremembered. It was a bit darker in places than I remembered as a child. It does examine a lot more life issues in more detail than I thought, plus it contains a few swear words. So either they were edited out of the version I originally saw or back then nine year old’s were deemed to be able to handle such language or possibly my parents let me watch films above my age group. It is very cleverly put together with the references between the past and what was the current at the time the film was released.

It was still good seeing it again even sat in a car parked in a field next to a massive house. This experience was better than my first try at this new style of event. With the actual cinemas re-opening, I am not sure if the “Drive In” thing will keep going. It is different and gets you out of the house and at a shared event. However I think may be the two of these I have now attended could well be enough for one year. It is always good to try new experiences and I have done that now.

Drive In Movie

Staying with the theme of trying out new outside entertainment options last Thursday I went to a Picnic in the Palace event at Blenheim Palace. Unbelievably although it is not that far away from me I had never been there before. A friend of mine had noticed it and suggested we go and because we both fancied a few drinks we booked a hotel in Woodstock for the night. It was as it happened the first time I had been there to.

We arrived late afternoon. It is a lovely town and even in these times seemed pretty busy and I noticed as we were finding a parking place that it has plenty of decent looking pubs. I duly noted that for the future. The hotel was of course following the social distancing rules as we checked in. I was a little unsure in staying in one at this current time but it was organised and managed well.

The Palace grounds were only about a twenty minute walk away. It all started at seven thirty, so we strolled there from the hotel at the required time. It was a lovely day weather wise fortunately, dry and sunny. We walked up the main entrance enjoying the views as we headed towards the event entrance.

Blenheim Palace

When we arrived there was no queue so we checked in very easily and we were shown to our seats. We had a bit of luck. We had booked seats for two, which should have been two deck chairs. But we got upgraded to a proper table meant for four, which was a right result. The tables were well spaced out from each other. It was a comedy night that we had booked to see. The stage was set up away from all the seats, with the Palace behind us and the lake to our left. It was a lovely setting.

They were serving drinks out of a caravan but because the event numbers were so well managed and everything was carefully set out. Getting drinks from the bar and bringing them back to the table could be achieved with the required social distancing. As part of the ticket price you got what they described as a grazing picnic, which they delivered to your table. Fair play it was crammed with food. It included bread, crackers, cheese, hummus, fruit and vegetables. It did what it said on the tin and it took us most of the evening to slowly eat our way through it.

Picnic At The Palace

While we were stuffing our faces the comedians performed. Having done a little bit of comedy myself I could see that it was a tough gig for them. For starters the stage was miles away from the audience plus when it got dark they could not see anybody in the crowd. That said they all did an amazing job and were great.

The tickets for the whole thing were not cheap but I thought that it was all brilliantly organised, I would go to something there again. Everyone there was very well behaved and enjoyed themselves. No heckling which was helpful as the comics would have struggled to see where it was coming from.

Picnic At The Palace

The comedy night was MC’d by the fantastic Rich Wilson who I have seen a few times before. He is always ace. The first act was Michael Odewale, who was great. We then had a short break which was my queue to dash to the caravan bar to get a few more drinks. Red wine as it happens, a nice Merlot. The second half of the comedy featured firstly Olga Koch who has been on my radar to see for a while and she did not disappoint. She was excellent. She is also very funny on Twitter to! Seeing her was a result!

Then it was Jacob Hawley who I had never seen live before. I had seen him around Broadcasting House a few times but not seen him do a gig. If the name sounds familiar he is responsible for several BBC Podcasts. He was really good and was performing even though he had a pregnant girlfriend who could be about to give birth at any minute. Luckily for everyone he managed to finish his set.

The headline act was also somebody I had seen before at The Tringe Festival last year. It was the hugely talented Jayde Adams. She was very funny and treated us to some Opera. She has a fantastic voice and in that setting it seemed the perfect way to end the evening. You might know her from the Channel 4 show “Snack Masters”.

Picnic At The Palace

It was so good to go be able to go out and enjoy some live comedy again I have really missed that, such a fun and entertaining night. Just before the headline act they gave us some amazing Chocolate Brownies for desert. For a man who always likes to finish any meal with something sweet that was a big bonus. The whole thing was masterfully done as you would expect from an event that was hosted at a Palace.

As we were walking back to the hotel I had a very short chat with Rich Wilson through his car window as he was leaving with the headline act and his girlfriend Jayde Adams, which was nice. As we were having such a good time we did treat ourselves to one more glass of wine each when we got back to the hotel. After a decent night’s sleep and a lovely Eggs Benedict for breakfast. We then left Woodstock. I would definitely go to something at Blenheim Palace again, they have got lots of events on and they are worth checking out.

Blenheim Palace

I appreciate that I am well behind the times here but what can I say I have had a bit more time on my hands than I would normally have recently. Therefore I have finally got round to watching the whole of the first series of the Ricky Gervais show “After Life”. Yes I know I am still a series behind but I am working on it. I have always been a fan of his work. I follow him on Social Media and I feel like he used his experiences on there in certain aspects of this project.

I thought it was really good. There are some great moments and scenes in it. The cast are amazing! He has got such a talented array of performers involved with it. The great thing is that they cross so many generations of the comedy scene both past and present. It is not laugh a minute but there are some huge laughs in it. There is a focal point and as ever with his stuff the main story and several sub stories, so you have an interest in all the character’s lives to a degree.

I think I could relate a little having worked in local radio to some of the stories that the local free newspaper he works on has to cover. I am not convinced any of those are made up. I reckon they could all be real things reported in these publications over the years. Ricky is really good at taking you on an emotional journey and then dropping the C-word when you least expect it. I am looking forward to seeing the second series, which I plan do to at least before the third series which he is currently writing is released.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Premier League Football season is over albeit a bit later than normal this year. My team Tottenham Hotspur finished in sixth place which means we have qualified for the Europa League. Or to put it another way not made it into the Champions League, which we have enjoyed playing in for the last few years. It is time to have a bit of a rest and then comeback stronger and better next season. There is only a short break before the new season is due to start back up in early September.

Spurs have already released their new kit for next season. When did it become a thing to change it every year? I am sure at one point at least they used to last for two or three years, so you could get used to it and work out if it was lucky or not. Now with more strips, there are more that I do not like as much regularly coming out.

The new kit is alright but as you have to make it different every year you almost feel they are changing bits for the sake of it. Relax I know they change them ever year to try to extract more money from the loyal fans. If I am honest I do find it a bit annoying but I cannot rule out that I might still buy the new shirt. I know, I know, I am part of the problem!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I found a new mobile phone application to play with last weekend. It gives you the chance to put your face on certain celebrities. It offers you the chance to face swap in short little video clips that it supplies. I tried a few out initially and they did not look that different from the originals and you could not really see that it was me. I then tried a few that I thought might really stand out to see which one I could post on social media for a laugh.

I hope you are sitting down for this bit as I put my face on a short eight second clip of Britney Spears. And it is the most terrifying thing you are ever likely to see. I must confess I thought that it was so bad and shocking that it was funny. I would also argue that in at least two of the scenes I looked weirdly attractive as the American singer. I will warn you that it might give you nightmares but here is a link so you can see it for yourself. Some people may find the following scenes offensive! https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10163808501395591/

Neil (Britney Spears) Quigley

I did also do one of me as The Rock, which because we both favour a similar hairstyle actually looks alright. It is interesting to see what I would look like with arms that big. I have already deleted the app from my phone now as I fear I may waste far too much time doing these for fun. Plus after the reaction to the Britney one I do not want to lose all my online friends. I did just see it as a bit of fun but if you have seen the clips I will apologise as you cannot unsee them, those images will be burned into your eyes forever.

Last Tuesday it was the end of series finale for my weekly Pop Quiz. I had been doing it for the last fourteen weeks having started it a few weeks into lock down. It seemed like a good time to take a break. I will probably bring it back again as we head towards winter as I did really enjoy doing it. To make the last one for a while memorable I decided to dress up as Elvis Presley. If you want to watch any of the episodes of “Quigger’s Plays Pop” they are all still on my Facebook page. It was just for fun and a laugh. Here is the link to see the final show if you missed it. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10163792438540591/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Taste Of Success

I have very slowly and tentatively started venturing outside of my house and began to engage with life a bit more than I had been since Lock Down. I was just keeping my head down and waiting for it to all blow over really. I appreciate that I was very lucky in that I was in the position of being able to work from home during this whole period.
It does appear that may be the combination of being outside and the warmer weather does seem to be slowing down the transmission of the Coronavirus, as long as we continue to social distance of course.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few Sunday’s ago I went to an event for the first time in just over four months. It was a Drive in Movie at the home of the Saracens Rugby Union Club Allianz Park. I had never been to one before. Previously I had only seen them on American television shows like Happy Days and The Flintstones. Therefore I did not really know what to expect. I believe it is a fairly new idea in this country to cope with the extra demands of staging anything at the present time.

We arrived at the entrance to the Car Park it was being held in. There we were checked in and given a big speaker to put on the dashboard. It was tuned to the correct frequency for the film and was playing music with announcements before show time. There were marshals directing all the cars to particular spaces. We were shown to a spot right at the back, although it was directly in front of the screen. We got there about thirty minutes before it was due to begin.

You could order drinks and food through a mobile phone application they had set up. They would then deliver it to your car. It was a grid system and they put a marker on one of your wing mirrors so they could find you. We had some chips and pizza washed down with a cup of tea. I am so rock and roll nowadays. The delivery person arrives on an electric scooter, which adds to the fun a little.

The film we were watching was Moulin Rouge. I had seen it before but I was more interested in checking out the experience rather than seeing something new. As we were at the early showing which began at six thirty the sun was still shining on the screen, which made it a little tricky to watch. Mind you there was something cool about wearing sun glasses during it. You could pretend you were a film star and too cool not to wear them. The screen was smaller than I was expecting, which at times made it tough to see what was going on.

Moulin Rouge

As an experience it was alright and quite quirky. I am glad we choose to see something that we had seen previously as I felt you could not really get into the film plus it did not matter if you missed the odd bit. You do not have the benefit of surround sound as you would in a normal cinema.

As you are in your car you can chat during the film without disturbing anyone. It was nice to be around people and feel like you were at an occasion and on a night out. I am not a massive film fan as it is but I am not sure I will visit to many of these over the summer.

Drive in Movie

I then got a little braver and had my first socially distanced barbecue. It was in a friends back garden so we were all outside and had plenty of space between us. It was a bit strange not shaking hands or giving people a cuddle on arrival and when leaving. We were lucky that it was a warm and sunny afternoon. Therefore I had a very pleasant time having a few drinks and chatting with everyone. I settled back into being around people and having a laugh effortlessly which was a big relief. Plus the host had got a keg of beer in from a local brewery so it was nice to have a poured pint for the first time in a while.

You have to think and concentrate a bit more than you used to do just to make sure that you keep everyone safe and of course stay within the rules. But it was good fun and nice to get out and do something a bit more normal and social than I have done for a while. As long as friends and family are honest with each other with how they are feeling. And you all take a few extra precautions these gatherings are so worthwhile and essential to us as people. I look forward to my next one!

Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun
Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun

Last Saturday I was able to enjoy my Christmas present from my parents at last. They had got me a Luxury Wine and Cheese Tasting Experience. I bought my Dad the introductory one a few years ago and he took me along with him. We had an interesting and fantastic time at that one, so I thought I would return the favour and take him on the luxury version with me. Believe it or not this had not actually been delayed by Covid but it was the earliest date we could book in January when we were both free. It had been in the diary for a while.

However it was still a bit touch and go up to just a few weeks ago due to the current rules and regulations for these sorts of things to be able to take place. They did have to change the venue it normally takes place at which is a very nice hotel in Central London. It had to be moved to The Oval Cricket Ground to allow them to be able to comply with social distancing requirements. Rather than do battle with the public transport system we decided to treat ourselves and book a taxi there and back.

That might seem a bit flash but I have not been out for so long that I have saved myself a fortune, so it made sense to make this outing as special and as simple as possible. It worked out perfectly, the car delivered us right on time outside the gate we needed to enter the ground. It was all so well organised from arrival. They took your temperature on the gate before they even let you in the place. There were two metres markers and lots of hand sanitiser everywhere you went.

We found are way to the John Major Suite where the event was to take place. We were checked in and predictably we were the first to arrive. I have got a real thing about being late so normally arrive at things nice and early. It was a Wine Cottage Tasting therefore it was hosted by the brilliant Kam Zadeh who had educated us during our first experience a few years before. To prove how good he is, he did actually recognise me and we had a lovely chat before things got underway.

As we got there first we managed to get a table in prize position. We had a glass of red wine as we were waiting for everyone else to get there and for it all to start. You need to get yourself in the mood of course. The room slowly filled up and the first wine to sample was poured into the first of the six glasses in front of us. They are so good and professional. They always make sure the next wine is poured in advance so it gets to the right temperature before you taste it.

Wine Certificate
Wine Certificate

Kam does the introduction. Where he tells you what to look for and how to be able to decide pretty much where a wine comes from and most of its characteristics just from a few simple tests. He is so knowledgeable and passionate about the subject, yet he explains it all so simply, so it is easy to understand. You get a sheet with details of all the wine you will be trying, which has space for your notes and findings on each one.

Every wine that you sample has been paired with a particular cheese by Kam, so it enhances the flavour of it with every sip. During the tasting we had four different French wines, one from Spain and one from Australia. Each one was slightly different and showed how the grapes, location and the fermentation process can make a difference to the taste and alcohol content. I once again found it fascinating and I learned so much. Lastly we got a small glass of a very sweet desert wine that came in an edible chocolate cup, which was amazing!

Wine Cottage sell their own selection and you can purchase the wines that you tasted at the end of the proceedings. My dad and I both treated ourselves to a bottle of our favourite tipple that we had sampled on the evening. At I must be honest very reasonable prices for such high calibre of red wine.

I feel I know more about wine now so I can hopefully make better informed choices when I am choosing it in the future. My favourite fact is still that all grape juice is clear. It is the skins of the red grape that give red wine its colour, if they removed the skin straight away like they do with white, you would not have red wine. As you may have guessed I favour red over white wine I just prefer the taste. In fact I do like a full bodied oak flavour with a long finish just in case you are ever planning on buying me a bottle.

If you are really into your wine I would certainly recommend a Wine Cottage Tasting Experience. The whole team are easy to deal with and very professional. Kam is faultless, you will have a laugh and come away feeling educated plus you get to sample some quality wines. What is not to like? Of course you do not get drunk as they are controlled measures but you certainly come away feeling very merry. I would happily do another one, if you want to purchase one and take me along as your guest.

A Lovely Drop of Red…

Huge congratulations to Wycombe Wanderers on their promotion to The Championship. After beating Oxford United at Wembley Stadium in the League One Play Off Final.

It just seems mad to say that, I remember watching them play at Loakes Park in the old GM Vauxhall Conference. I was only a child granted but never at that point did I think they would one day be playing in the league below the top division in England. It is quite amazing how far that they have come.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

I must confess I saw them play at Adams Park twice this season. One game they comfortably won and looked great. And one they were so outclassed by Coventry there was no way I would have suspected they would get promoted this year.

They did have a bit of luck in that when the season was suspended they were outside of the play off places. Then the way that the “points per game” system was worked out it put them back in contention. From there on in fair play they took that chance and grabbed it with both hands.

Adams Park

I watched all of the Play Off games including the final and you could not fault them for effort and determination. It is such an amazing achievement for a club of their size and resources. It might be a bit tough next season but you cannot take this bit of history away from the players and the manager. And as the boss said after that crazy final win the extra money will guarantee the Club’s financial security for at least the next two years, which is the aim of the game for a lot of teams at the minute.

I did play for half a season with the Wycombe Lions Under Sixteen football team who were linked to the club. Plus I did have a trial for the Chairboys Youth Team before I ended up playing for Aylesbury United. As it happened my League debut for the Ducks was up at Beaconsfield against Wycombe Wanderers. I can now say that I once had a trial with a Championship side.

Whatever happens next season I really hope the manager, players and the fans totally enjoy the experience. It would be fantastic if they can finish just above the relegation places, I know that sounds a bit negative. But doing that for Wycombe would be the equivalent of finishing in a Champions League place for a Premiership side.

Wycombe V Barnet
Wycombe Wanderers

Talking of securing European football my team Tottenham Hotspur have had an indifferent end to the Premier League season. That said it was great to win the North London Derby and it has been pleasing to head towards the end of the season with some back to back wins. However it looks like we can only qualify for the Europa League at best. I would rather not be in Europe than play in that competition. It was odd watching the last home game of the season from my home. It is normally a fun day where we get to clap the players and them us and it is always an excuse for a bit of a party!

It looks as if next season will resume in the first couple of weeks of September meaning there will not be much of a break. It is being suggested by the government that fans could return to stadiums by October but we shall see. It is going to be a strange close season and transfer window. It will be interesting to see how much it is affected by the current environment. I suspect for “us” Spurs supporters as ever we will not get the players in, we want or indeed suspect. There are always a few out of the blue surprises. All part of the fun of being a fan!

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

As it stands I am still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on a Tuesday night at 8.30pm on my Facebook page. I started it as a one off for a bit of fun. But while we are still a little restricted on what we can do and where we can go.

I am keeping it going for the time being at least. It is a good laugh to host and hopefully entertaining to play along with. If you have not seen it yet please feel free to tune in. You can actually still see all previous episodes of “Quigger’s Plays Pop” on my page. https://www.facebook.com/neil.quigley

Neil Quigley

You can catch me every Saturday afternoon on Radio Ninesprings between 2pm – 4pm currently. It is the station for Yeovil and South Somerset but you can of course listen online wherever you are. http://www.radioninesprings.co.uk

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Needed A Run

Here we are once again then unsurprisingly I have not been up to much in the last few weeks. Owing of course to the fact that most of the places I visit are still yet to reopen fully. Lock Down in England has been eased slightly in that pubs, restaurants and some areas of the hospitality industry have been able to commence with their activities. Albeit with a lot more rules and regulations in place than there were before this pandemic.

I have decided at the moment not to visit any of these locations. It is just a personal decision that I have made. I am asthmatic which just means I am being extra cautious. Fair play to people who want to use these facilities in a sensible and social distanced way, I of course do appreciate that these businesses need to start at least bringing in a bit of money to survive. But if I am totally honest another factor for me is the almost clinical way that they have to operate. Not their fault at all but Pubs are not what they were currently and I think this would spoil my enjoyment a little.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Therefore I am still keeping a pretty low profile which is rare for me but needs must at the minute. I am on a real fitness drive. For some reason I have decided this is a good time to increase my exercising. I am doing five mile runs three times a week, which are always then followed by forty minutes on the exercise bike. I have started doing Yoga and do ten minutes a day six times a week. I do three weight sessions every week. On these days I also do a further thirty minutes worth of Yoga and Pilates.

I have always played sport and tried to keep in shape ever since I was a child. My diet is relatively healthy but it has far too much chocolate and cheese in it, so I am never going to be the Body Coach. The way that I motivate myself to keep working harder every week is I see training as like paying into a bank account. You put some in every week and then see a bigger benefit every four weeks. For example any work I do today say, I will benefit from in a month’s time in my system. All I can say is it works for me.

I do feel that the physical and mental benefits from regular exercise are huge. I have so much more energy, focus and enthusiasm for my weekly workouts. Although I will confess I think I might be addicted to exercise but let us face it there are worse addictions you could have. Even a nice long walk helps a lot. I always see running and walking as great thinking time. I have come up with many great ideas and solved personal problems during both. Just may be something to think about if you are finding it a bit tough to deal with the current situation that we find ourselves in. We are all in it together.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have a very small amount of shares in three race horses through a great organisation called the Owners Group. One of my horses had its first run of the season at Haydock Races last Sunday. Obviously I could not be there to see it in person as racing is currently taking place behind closed doors.

It is called Proclaimer and is trained by Julie Camacho. On this occasion he was ridden by Kevin Stott, who rode a couple of big winners during the Royal Ascot meeting. He was once a promising school boy footballer who was released by Spurs.

Proclaimer

I managed to watch the race online. It is great fun seeing one of your horses run. You did get a bit nervous before the start. The team does have its own colours purple with black chevrons and a black hat. It is amazing how well looked after these race horses are, nothing is left to chance. They really do get the best care.

As it was Proclaimer’s first run for several months we were not sure what to expect but we were hoping he would run well and enjoy it. He finished third in what was quite an exciting race. A good start to the season! All being well we should see him back in action again soon.

Neil Quigley

The Premier League continues behind closed doors. Congratulations to Liverpool who have been crowned champions. Totally deserved it they have clearly been the best team this last year. My team are still struggling as we have been all season really.

We never got started in the league at all right from the start of the season. That has been the case whoever was manager and whatever players were on the pitch. It is hard to put your finger on it as to why. On paper we have I think a strong squad and we were Champions League finalists last season.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It now looks unlikely that we will make the Champions League for next season. I appreciate that this sounds like a lack of ambition but I would rather miss out on Europe altogether than play in the Europa League. I have no idea why but for some strange reason playing on a Thursday and Sunday really affects the league form and makes it impossible to challenge for the title.

Liverpool missed out a few seasons ago and they finished second in the Premier League that year. Hopefully we can finish the season strongly still, starting with the North London Derby tomorrow.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Having never seen the original Googlebox because I flatly refused to watch people on television watching television, as I thought it was pointless. I have now somehow got hooked by Celebrity Googlebox. Mainly I think just to see Shaun Ryder and Bez chat at home and then work out what is going on with what they are watching. I think they live in a world of their own but it is captivating! To be fair they have some great couples on there. I actually like them all. Rylan and his mum are great, she is so accidentally funny.

I do also think that Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash make a great couple as do Denise Van Outen and her fella Eddie. Add to that Johnny Vegas, Mo Gilligan, Gyles Brandreth and Emilia Fox’s mum Joanna. It is a very entertaining show. Well done to whoever casts that programme. That is a great group of people that they have persuaded to sit in and get paid to watch TV, actually may be that is not that much of a hard sell. It is my guilty pleasure currently. I have one problem though they keep making them all watch horror films which I hate!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am venturing out for the first time in four months tomorrow night to go to a properly social distanced Drive in Movie at Allianz Park. They are showing Moulin Rouge. I have seen it before but never while sat in my car in a big field, so it will certainly be a brand new experience for me.

I will let you know what it was like in case you are planning on going to something similar this summer. “Drive in” forms of entertainment could be the immediate future it seems.

Moulin Rouge

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

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Behind Closed Doors

Lockdown rules continue to be eased with all non-essential shops opening again this week. I am still being extra cautious and still only going out when I have to and need to. I am Asthmatic so I am being really careful. Although to be honest the main places that I used to go were Football Stadiums, Theatres, Television Studios, Pubs and Race Courses and none of these are open to the public as of yet.

Talking of which this week it is Royal Ascot. It is taking place behind closed doors adhering to government requirements and operating with the least amount of people as possible. I have been to the event for the last three years now. This year I was due to be there on the opening day Tuesday and yesterday on the Friday. It is a fantastic day out. You get all dressed up, everyone looks amazing, the food and drink are lovely and you get to see the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

It also produces five days of exceptional horse races. The best horses from all over the world come to Berkshire to complete for some very big and prestigious prizes. It is so exciting especially when you see the one you backed hurtling towards the finishing post. There is a special atmosphere to the place and at the end of the days racing you gather around the Band Stand for a good old fashioned sing song. Normally while enjoying a glass of Pimm’s.

Obviously I missed out on all that this year. It is great for the Sport that they got the event on. It is so important for the racing industry to be back and racing albeit behind closed doors. It was of course very different watching it at home while drinking tea and wearing my slippers but it was still good fun to have a few bets and enjoy some top quality racing. I will be back there next year having a great day out with friends and giving my annual wave to the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

As a Season Ticket Holder at Tottenham Hotspur normally when the team are playing at home you will find me at the stadium cheering them on. The Premier League season has resumed this week with all the remaining matches being played behind closed doors with no fans in the stadium and only the bare minimum number of people required. Spurs had their first game under these conditions at their home stadium last night. I was of course watching it from my front room. It felt strange seeing them playing at home with me not there sat in my seat.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

True to form this season though it was not exactly a dominating home performance, despite taking the lead with drew one all with Manchester United. It did have the feel of a pre-season friendly a little bit. One thing I had forgotten during the break was how it is so frustrating and annoying when your team to not get the result you were hoping for. Emotions I had clearly been missing while the game was suspended. Spurs back and doing what they do best!

It is quite weird seeing the games played in empty stadiums with no fans watching. Luckily the German League restarted a few weeks ago, so that has given us a bit of time to acclimatise to it. It must be strange for players who are used to playing in front of thousands of people to be playing in front of no one. It must just feel like a training session or a behind closed doors friendly to them surely. It should not affect their game or the way they play as once you step on to any pitch you should just want to win whatever. Or is that just me?

The players are being tested every week. In the lead up to the start of games again there have been a few positive results. It is still a bit like heading into the unknown but again looking at Germany it has not spread through their players despite being in close contact in the heat of battle during games. You just hope everybody stays safe and well and that we can finish the season off with all the matches being fully completed. Ideally with Spurs claiming a top four finish meaning Champions League football next season, if that is even possible of course.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It seems odd to me watching the games on TV with no atmosphere. It is almost like watching a Sunday League fixture with granted a lot more quality and skill. The celebrations also have to be muted when a goal is scored. There is not meant to be any hugging and kissing at the moment. It is a nice distraction to have football back and on the television. As they are trying to get it all finished in as shortest time as possible. There are lots of matches on TV to see every week.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

I am currently still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on my Facebook page. It is every Tuesday at 8.30pm, if you fancy getting involved. It has now been running for ten weeks. Simply just for a bit of fun! All that happens is that I supply you with six rounds each containing five questions including an audio round. You play along however you would like to at home. Then I give you the answers, it really is as straight forward as that.

I will also throw in some extra music trivia and the odd story from my time in radio and meetings with various singers and musicians. They only last about thirty minutes and I do try to make them as professional as possible. If you are a big Pop Quiz fan all the past episodes are still available on my Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/neil.quigley

I guess I will keep them going until we have places that we can visit and catch up with people in person. Which looks like it might be next month. But we will have to wait and see it would seem. If you want to get on board it would be great to have you playing along.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have actually got the first event in my diary since March to go to next month. I have got tickets to go to see Moulin Rouge at the Luna Drive In at Allianz Park the home of the Saracens Rugby team. This is of course providing it all gets the green light to go ahead. We will be in our own cars therefore we will be able to social distance from the rest of the people there.

You park up in a dedicated car parking space facing the big screen. All the cars will be adequately spaced out. The audio will be sent via a localised FM frequency so you will hear it through your car radio. It will be a very different experience for me having never been to a “Drive In” movie before. We plan on bringing our own refreshments.

There will be toilets there apparently but spread out two metres apart so we can all social distance safely, while using the facilities. I have actually seen this film before which with my history of seeing films is quite rare. It should be a fun night out, plus it will be nice to be around people and enjoy a shared event with them. I fear it might be longer than we think before we can return to normal cinemas. I will of course let you know what it was like.

General Lee
General Lee

Certain places are being allowed to reopen now in England including Zoo’s and Safari Parks. I must confess I quite like a visit to either of these attractions. To be fair the times I have been to Whipsnade Zoo recently it has been easy enough to be able to social distance, if it was actually required then, when of course it was not. Depending how quickly other attractions are allowed to take in guests again. I am thinking my next day out might be to a Zoo.

Sealion
Sealion

When I was at Secondary School we had an activities week towards the end of the summer term. One year I did the option called “Zoo Quest” which involved visiting a different Zoo or Safari Park every day. I really enjoyed it and if I am honest I am currently thinking of may be reliving that experience.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

No Place Like Home

Here we are then still trying to overcome this nasty virus as a nation. We have been afforded a little more freedom with caution it seems. I am still in the lucky position where I can work from home currently. Therefore to be honest I have been continuing to do the same as I was before the lock-down was relaxed slightly.

I hope you and your friends and families are keeping safe and well. I have settled into this new routine and way of life. Happily I am at the moment at least coping with it fine. Obviously there are things that I am missing that I would like to do. But as these things are not on at the moment like football and the theatre there is nothing I can do. I do subscribe to the do not fight what you cannot change theory and I accept these current issues and will make them work for me the best I can.

I am not a scientist or an expert but it does look like all of the crucial figures are on the decline. However I would feel happier I think if the testing was more easily available and the tracking app was up and running. This would surely give us a better idea of where we stand and will help with opening up the country going forward.

The news from the rest of Europe who were ahead of us in the cycle is it seems encouraging. But if we are sensible and take care of ourselves and others, things will return to “normal” hopefully sooner than was may be originally expected. However this next stage during the next four weeks will I think be crucial to determine if this is the case.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As I said one of the things I am missing is the theatre. The National Theatre is still showing weekly plays from their archives. While it is not the same as seeing a show live it is the closest thing currently on offer. Therefore I am dipping into these now and again to keep my hand in when it comes to the performing arts. The latest offering was “A Street Car Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams. It made its debut on Broadway in 1947. Like a lot of his plays it is pretty dark in places but it is gritty and real to.

The production they showed on their YouTube channel was the 2014 version performed at The Young Vic Theatre starring the brilliant Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster. I had not seen the play before so was not totally sure what to expect, although from the knowledge of the writer I had I suspected it may not be for the faint hearted. The staging was quite odd in that it was on a square stage in the centre of the audience. It is basically a one scene show as all the action takes place in the same building.

I enjoyed the play, it certainly makes you think. I felt sympathy for all the characters at points as we discovered their stories and worked out their outlooks and flaws. Gillian Anderson was fantastic in the lead role. It was nicely done with a slick and polished performance from the whole cast. I think it is fair to say it is not exactly a feel good play but it is dramatic and gripping. It is not a murder mystery as such but there is quite a bit to unravel as it goes on. If you are a theatre fan to, keep an eye out for what the National Theatre is showing every Thursday night online.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Unbelievably despite being pretty much housebound I am still not watching that much television. One thing I have been seeing though is The Ranganation. I like Romesh Ranganathan and have done since I saw him quite early on in his career when he used to host the BBC Radio 4 topical comedy show Newsjack. He is very funny and quick witted but also has a nice way about him, which although it does not sound like it is meant to be a compliment.

I think the programme works really well. They have a nice selection of members of the general public including Romesh’s mum which helps shape the feel and dynamic of things. They always seem to get really good guests on it to. This is the second series. The first one was of course in a TV studio with everyone there in the same place. The latest one is obviously being made in lock-down. Romesh is doing it from his garage with the Ranganation members and the guests on Zoom and Skype.

Weirdly I think this actually works pretty well with this format. It is almost better than when they were in the studio. I am not sure why possibly them all being at home gives a Goggle Box feel to things. It has not suited a lot of programmes but it suits this one. This series has been very funny so far. It is topical but it is also very laid back and relaxed in its subjects, which is sometimes needed at the minute. I would quite like to be one of The Ranganation. It looks like a right laugh.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am currently still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on a Tuesday night at 8.30pm on my Facebook page. I enjoy putting it together and people seem to be enjoying it. As long as there is still nowhere for us to go out to in the evening I will keep doing it. I try to make it as fun as possible, while also making it quite challenging. It is tough and I will put your musical knowledge to the test, but only in the name of fun!

There are six rounds each with five questions in. I will ask them and supply the answers. Then how you play along is completely up to you. Some people play in teams, some people play individually and some households play against each other. There is no right or wrong way just whatever way gives you the most satisfaction. If you have not tried it yet why not join me and have a go? We will have a giggle and the whole thing only lasts about thirty minutes.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

You can catch me every Saturday afternoon on Radio Ninesprings between 2pm – 4pm currently. It is the station for Yeovil and South Somerset but you can of course listen online wherever you are. http://www.radioninesprings.co.uk

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley Presenter