Tag Archives: Aintree

Festival of Fun

Hello again, hope life is good and you are feeling fine. Last weekend was an annual event in my diary. Which I look forward to every year. It is something I first went to more than ten years ago now. I always enjoy any trip to Liverpool. But being there for Ladies Day at Aintree is brilliant fun. We have been doing it for such a long time now. That we have got the whole operation down to a tee.

I travelled up to Liverpool on the Thursday afternoon by train. On the journey I was catching up on the Gary Lineker and Danny Baker Podcast “Behind Closed Doors.” Which they launched at the start of this year. If you are a fan of football stories and banter. Then take a listen. I enjoyed it and it passed the time nicely. As I went through Birmingham on my way to Lime Street Station. On arrival there I walked past and tipped my head to the Ken Dodd statue by the exit. As I always do.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

Then it was the short walk to Central Station to get the Mersey Rail to meet my mate at his local station. I feel very at home there. I put that down to my Granddad having grown up in that area. As always my pal meets me from the station. And we head to his local pub. To have a few beers and a catch up. I drink in London often, so there is something almost exciting about being able to buy two pints for less than four pounds.

It is then back to his place. Where thankfully he always lets me stay. As hotel prices in the city rocket in price unsurprisingly during the Grand National Race Meeting. Food and some tea. Accompanied of course by some music. And this time a little bit of Alan Partridge. We do tend to get to bed at a reasonable time ready for Ladies Day itself. The next day.

Ladies Day 2019

I do not always, but this year I did treat myself to a new suit. We all dress up. Buying a suit is always an odd experience. As normally the men in those places can take one look at you. Then bring things out in exactly the right size. Something I can never manage. When I am shopping alone. Any way we are all suited and booted. And in a pub just down the road from the famous old course by midday.

Next we head down to the entrance. It is always spectacular when you walk in and see those familiar huge stands. Not to mention the amount of people milling around. As you enter you pass the parade ring. Race horses are such beautiful and amazing animals. We were in the big marquee. It has several bars, some bookies and some huge televisions showing all the races. They also have a live band, who go on in between races. So there is just a big party atmosphere in there all day.

I had three winners, while we were there. Including the first race of the day. Which is always a good start to proceedings. The place is rammed with people having a good time. We leave before the last race. To get ahead of the crowd and get into Liverpool City Centre. If you leave it to late. The queues for the trains are horrendous. We as ever timed it perfectly.

We normally start off in The Jacaranda. Which is yet another place where The Beatles used to play a lot. They have a jukebox and great music in there. So it is always a good laugh. From there we continued the fun in several different bars. As more people we knew, who had been at the races earlier, joined us. We then ended up in an eighties bar finishing the night dancing in there. Once again it was another fantastic day. It is brilliant fun! With good company and venues. Plus a nice vibe to the whole thing.

Ladies Day 2019

The next day is of course The Grand National. We also have a bit of a tradition for this momentous event to. We always spend it with my mate’s parents and sister in a lovely pub, near to where they live. It is such a relaxing and fun afternoon. We have a few drinks, a laugh and watch all of the races including of course the big one.

Well done to Tiger Roll on winning it for the second year running, Which is some achievement. I was at Cheltenham when he won so convincing there this year. I must admit after that performance. I knew that he would be the best horse at Aintree. But that is not a guarantee. That you will win it. It was a great race . When he got in front. There was no way that anyone was going to get past him. I am pleased to say that I did have some money on him. Fair play to you if you picked him out to.

Grand National 2019

I came home on the Sunday afternoon. After yet another amazing weekend. I have already booked to stay with my mate again next year. We did have a drive around the course before I had to head to the station. As you can normally, when there is not a race on, drive down the Melling Road. We did just that and looked back down the course at all those daunting fences. A big thanks to everyone who joined in and made it such a fun and memorable few days. To quote The Beautiful South “You can’t have too many good times.”

Ladies Day 2019

I went and saw a brand new show recently. It is starting in the West End before it goes on tour all over the United Kingdom. It stars four Strictly Come Dancing contestants. Three of who won the show and one who really should have done that as well. Or at the very least got a lot further in the competition than he actually did. They are Harry Judd, Louis Smith, Jay McGuinness and Aston Merrigold. The show is called Rip It Up.

Rip It Up

It is basically a tribute to the nineteen sixties. It is set up like the American music television programmes. That were on during that decade. Complete with over the top US host. There is a band on stage throughout. A company of brilliant dancers. And the four stars who mostly perform the dances. Either in groups or with a partner. They do also all do a bit of singing. Including Louis Smith. Who then demonstrates what a great gymnast he is in one section. Harry Judd does some drumming. Aston Merrigold throws in some back flips.

It is a nicely put together show. Which features some quality songs and some great dancing. It is good fun. And the audience were up on their feet singing and dancing along by the end. Some bits do feel like they are shoe horned in a little. But it is a brilliant night out. It does not take itself too seriously. It pays homage to a great time in world music. Plus they do have some huge musical stars to help with the narrative. I enjoyed it.

Rip It Up

During my time working in radio. I have met a lot of very talented and lovely people. One of these is the wonderful Neil Sands. He toured the country as a professional Wrestler. He was one of the people behind “The Church”. If you ever went to that place on a Sunday afternoon in Kings Cross. As I did on a few occasions. And for many years now, he has been producing and starring in several different touring shows across the country.

His latest show. Brand new for this year is Sentimental Journey. Which I went and saw at the Wycombe Swan a few weeks ago. It is simply a celebration of great music from the forties through to the seventies. It stars Neil himself alongside some other great singers and performers Chelsea Turnbull, Sophie Presley and Szara King. He works with a brilliant backing band called The Golden Times Duo.

He has been a professional entertainer for many years. He has such a nice way with the audience. It is just all so very inclusive and good humoured. Right from the start the audience are encouraged to join in. I took my mum to see it. And we had a very enjoyable afternoon clapping and singing along to all these fantastic songs. Plus any show that features a section on Buddy Holly, Connie Francis and a little bit of Country and Western is always going to be a big hit with me.

It is a show full of memories and nostalgia delivered with love and grace by the cast. It also has a fitting tribute to our armed forces. Which is equally poignant and joyful. I really enjoyed it. As I have all the Neil Sands productions that I have seen. He was sadly feeling a little under the weather. But I did manage to have a very quick chat with him afterwards. It was great to see him. He is such a nice person and extremely talented. Keep an eye out for him and his shows. They are always worth seeing.

Sentimental Journey

I went to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the second test event there. Which was a Spurs Legends side against Inter Milan. It was great to see so many former players back in the famous white shirts and on the pitch. It was a quality line up. Some of them had not played for a very long time. While others were a lot fitter. And dare I say still pretty athletic. I was very impressed with Jurgen Klinsman. He was still strutting around the pitch and looking sharp. Also David Howells deserves a special mention for treating it like a cup final. He was taking no prisoners out there.

It was great to see Robbie Keane score and do his famous cart wheel celebration. Always a joy to see Dimitar Berbartov play. Nayim was a bit bigger than I remember. But still very skilful. Great to see David Ginola out there after his recent health problems. But there was one player I was looking forward to seeing the most. It was the man who I remember running our whole midfield and scoring that ridiculous free kick against Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi-final back in 1991 Paul Gascoigne.

He was on the bench to begin with. And sadly in true Gazza style, he had managed to damage his Achilles Tendon in the warm up. But fair play to him. He still came on to a brilliant reception from all the fans. The whole place was singing his name. It was clear that he was not moving very easily, so he only lasted about ten minutes. Before he was then replaced. Still great to see him. What a Spurs and England legend. I wish him all the best in his recovery. The game was a good laugh, even though we lost in the end. It gave me another chance to get settled in to the new home.

Tottenham Hotspur

Talking of which I was of course there for the official opening and our first league game at the currently named Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The ground opened early. So I took advantage of this by having a pint and a pie there before kick off.

There was a bit of an opening show. We had a local youth choir. Who were ace. They were then joined by the Opera Singer Wynne Evans for a different version of Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham Hotspur

At the end of which there was a big fireworks display on the roof. Something I had completely missed until I saw the footage after. I was looking straight at the pitch only, I never thought to look up. So I missed it. Then I could not work out where this smoke was coming from. Before the match had even kicked off. A tweet I posted earlier appeared on the four big screens inside the ground. I was very happy that my name had already been displayed at the stadium. I managed to get a really bad picture of it.

The game itself was a must win. We had to get the three points. To keep in the hunt for a Champions League place. Thankfully after a bit of dogged resistance from Crystal Palace and a slight deflected shot. We managed to score our first senior goal at the stadium. And go on to win the game two – nil. Which felt great. It is a brilliant stadium. I can tell I am going to have a lot of fun going there over the years.

The Boss

I was at the Champions League Quarter Final First Leg against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The atmosphere in the place was so electric. We won one-nil thanks to another strike from Son. All of the players were immense.

But it is only half time, really. We still have it all to do in the second leg this Wednesday. The only disappointment on what was a very memorable night was Harry Kane going off with an ankle injury. The mood in the ground at full time was delightful.

Tottenham Hotspur

Huge congratulations to the amazing Charlotte Milchard. Who won Best Supporting Actress at the recent National Film Awards. For her role in Best British Film Scott and Sid. I first met her back in Yeovil in 2004. She was playing the villain in that year’s panto. And although on stage she was terrifying. Off it she was one of the loveliest people you could meet. I saw her a few times over the years performing in Somerset. She always popped in to have a chat on the radio. Which was fantastic.

Since then of course I have been following her career on stage and on screen. It is great spending time in her company. Such a talented and yet humble person. She richly deserves any success that comes her way. I was so happy for her when I discovered she had won this big accolade. A great achievement. It seems she had a wonderful night collecting her award. Which also makes me very happy. Well done Charlotte! A pleasure to know you.

Charlotte Milchard

Tonight I am off to see another performer I know compete for an award. I am attending the final of The Musical Comedy Awards in London. To see the excellent Silky perform for the title.

The evening will also feature The Brett Domino Trio. If you not aware of them. They are always good fun. I am looking forward to it. A Saturday night spent laughing at top quality acts. It always a bonus.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

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

At The Races

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy with some fun stuff happening. I am of an age where quite a few people I know are celebrating land mark birthday’s.

So a couple of Saturday’s ago I attended a party to mark such an occasion at a golf club just outside Maidenhead. It was actually on April 1st but it was after midday, so it was not just a big elaborate joke, it was a genuine do.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a lovely night catching up with friends, who I had not seen for a while. The birthday girl seemed to have a great night and really enjoy herself. Which is the main thing of course. I decided to drive but to be honest did not fancy drinking water or lemonade all night. So I compromised by having a few bottle’s of Becks Blue. Which believe it or not is a non-alcoholic lager. Which I would argue tastes better than actual Becks.

I have to confess as a younger man I could not see the point of beer with no alcohol, as that defied the whole object of drinking it. But when you are driving it gives the illusion of drinking beer. And possibly due to some sort of placebo type effect it makes you feel a little bit drunk, even though you are definitely not.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was also some live music provided by a great bloke called Steve Carroll. I had seen him perform many years ago at a pub in Eaton and remember him being brilliant. I can confirm that my memory was correct. This time he was joined by a female singer. It was just them and their guitars playing some belting songs. And fair play they played for two and an half hours non-stop.

The range of songs was so wide and varied. At one point they went seamlessly from Cotton Eyed Joe by Rednex straight in to 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. They were fantastic and had everyone up dancing and singing along. It was an entertaining evening and nice to be able to drive home from a party and not worry about having a hangover the next day.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live
Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

Since we spoke last The Boat Race has taken place. It is always a great spectacle and occasion. I do keep an eye out for it and try to watch it every year. After working for a few year’s at the Henley Regatta. I have learnt a little bit more about rowing. So I understand it a little bit better than I did previously.

The training and dedication required from the crew’s is amazing. Bearing in mind they are fitting this punishing regime around studying for some very impressive and tough qualifications. I think makes it even more of a wholesome event. One year I really must go to London, find a nice pub overlooking the Thames and see it. I think that would be good fun.

Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Royal Regatta

One big sporting event that I do always try to attend now is the Grand National Meeting at Aintree. Happily this year was no exception, so for the third year in a row I headed up to see my good mate Jeff Nolan on the Thursday before the big race on the Saturday.

To start to soak up some of the atmosphere already building up in the area. He lives right by the famous race course. So when I got there we headed out for a few drinks at a near by pub to catch up, see and meet up with some of the people who had been at the race course to enjoy day one of the festival.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Everyone dresses up and makes a big effort when they go. So there were some very smart people in the particular pub chain we were in that evening. Which you could argue was different to the norm. We only stayed for a few to make sure we kept our powder dry for the next day.

So it was back home for some nice food and to work on the latest episode of his Chasing 40 Podcast. And then as always tends to happen when we get together to listen to some classic and great music. The selection this time included a live performance by Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We were up early the next morning to get ready for the big day ahead. It is now a tradition that we go to Aintree on the Friday for Ladies Day. So after a hearty breakfast to set us up nicely for the day. We head out to pick up the rest of his mates who are joining us.

Then it is time to get the suits on. This was a debut performance for a brand new suit, which due to a lack of time I ended up having to order online. Which much to my surprise actually fitted fine. I actually must know my own clothes measurements better than I thought I did.

Jeff Nolan and Neil Quigley
Jeff Nolan and Neil Quigley

The first stop was the local pub which was already full of men in suits and ladies in their best outfits. Shall we say starting to fuel themselves up for the day. Both with food and drink. Then we made our way to a pub which is right by the entrance to the famous sporting venue. This again is full of people drinking and having a good time. There is a fun and party atmosphere everywhere you go over the weekend.

Next it is time to head in to watch the racing. The place is huge with lots of different sections and bars for you to get refreshments and put bets on. For example there is a giant tent with big screens to see the races and a live band who come on and do a few songs in between the races. It is like a giant all day party.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was also a special area dedicated to Red Rum to mark the fortieth anniversary since the legendary horse’s third Grand National victory. There is a statue of him at the race course permanently and there was also an exhibition with photos and memorabilia from his glittering career. Which was amazing and fascinating.

Also for a bit of fun they had a photo opportunity where you could have your picture riding Red Rum over a fence at Aintree. Only an idiot would turn down this great and free opportunity. I jumped at the chance (pun intended) and you can see my picture below.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Sadly I only had one winner while I was there and that was a horse called Fox Norton, which came from behind to win an exciting race in the run in. Happily I was outside in the glorious sunshine to cheer it home.

There is something almost magical seeing those amazing creatures thunder past right in front of you, specially when one of them is about to win you some money. It adds to the whole occasion and gives you a nice warm feeling inside. Or that could of course just have been the beer.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

With thousands of people there, it is to say the least a bit busy and the trains after can get a little bit crazy. So as the party continues on in Liverpool City Centre anyway. We left before the last race to get ahead of the crowds and save any queuing at the station. I have been going there for many years now so there are possibly not that many places that I have not been to at least once.

Our first stop was The Crack. Which was John Lennon’s local when he was home. Which gives it quite a cool vibe and you can see how he would have felt at ease there chilling with a pint. It is off the beaten track, so not a busy place. They have a jukebox. Which I was straight on, to choose some songs on as soon as we arrived there.

The Crack
The Crack

Then we headed off to The Jacaranda. Which is a cool bar where The Beatles used to do some early gigs around the same time they were also doing The Cavern. So like a lot of the bars around it has a musical history feel to it.

While we were there the whole pub was involved in an impromptu sing-a-long to The Smiths “This Charming Man”. This included a lot of Morrissey impressions from people up on the dance floor. I am pretty sure there were people filming it, so I would not be to surprised if a video of it made an appearance on You Tube at some point.

Our final destination was The Cavern Club. Which is not the original Cavern sadly that was just down the same road but knocked down years ago. There has been a new thing added to Mathew Street since my last visit and that is a statue of Cilla Black, which I saw as we walked to the Cavern. Now despite it not being the original venue they do still have great live bands there. And quite a few big names have played there over the year’s.

It has a really friendly feel to it and it is always a fun place to just hang out. We had a good old sing along to the band as the party continued. Earlier in the day a famous book maker firm was giving out some freebies including some sun glasses. Which I am modelling in the picture below. It was our last venue of the night. We then headed back to Jeff’s to get a pizza and reflect on another brilliant Ladies Day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We decided to go and watch the Grand National on Saturday in Liverpool. But before that there was one other sporting event I wanted to watch Totttenham were playing at home against Watford in the early kick off at twelve thirty. So we assembled the same squad as the day before in the pub to watch that.

It was a pretty straight forward win in the end. Keeping up Spurs great current run, which for the record I am very much enjoying. I have said before that I do not think Chelsea will slip up but if we can chase them all the way, finish second and win the FA cup. It will have been a brilliant and fitting season for what could be our last one at White Hart Lane.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So then after a trip to the Bookies to get our bets on for the big race. We went to a big sports bar to watch the action. It was a brilliant Grand National this year I thought, for starters no horses were injured, which is always the main hope. It was an entertaining and interesting race seeing those equine athletes majestically float over those iconic fences. It had everything.

Congratulations to the winner One For Arthur and to you if you picked it and put some of your hard earned cash on it. I selected five horses this year and none of mine were ever really in it. So if you selected the winner you have my up most respect, well done. It is and always will be for me the greatest of all the horse races. I am already looking forward to next year’s.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We found ourselves in the Cavern Pub after the race. Which is just across the street from The Cavern. It had a live three piece band performing. There are lots of signed pictures and guitars up on the walls from some of the famous people who have either visited of actually performed at The Cavern. From here me and Jeff went back to Aintree to meet his cousin James who had been at the Grand National itself. And who had backed the winner.

We stayed out with him to help him celebrate his triumph. Before it was time to call an end to what is always a brilliant weekend. The next day there was time for some breakfast, then it was time for me to catch the train back to Buckinghamshire. Great fun as always, in fact I have already booked up to go back and do it all again next year.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Sporting Theatre

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with lots of fun things going on. So the last time we spoke. If you remember I was going off to see The Gadget Show Live at the Birmingham NEC. It had been quite a while since I had been there. I think the previous time I was there. It was to see a Best Disco In Town concert featuring The Real Thing, George McCrae, KC and The Sunshine Band and a few other random acts from the seventies and eighties perform. For the record it was a good gig.

This visit was however a little bit different. For starters I got the train there this time. I was pretty impressed how quick and easy it was to get from the station to the entrance of the exhibition. I am sure my last visit by car meant a long walk from the car park to get in. Although I am not really hugely in to the latest tools and gadgets. I have to confess it was a pretty impressive site with the amount of pop up stalls and demonstration areas in front of us. When we strolled in to the place.

The Gadget Show Live
The Gadget Show Live

One of the first things we did was queue up to experience the latest in home entertainment sound and vision innovations. A few of the best technology companies in the world had teamed up to create a special mini theatre. In which to show case a brand new home surround sound system called Dolby Atmos. This new set up works with more speakers than any other previous Dolby system, including two that you fit to the ceiling.

So the over all sound can be both subtle and clear. While seemingly coming from all corners of the room. And of course above us to. They showed us some clips on the giant screen to highlight this point. The best one in my opinion was the opening title sequence from the last Mission Impossible film. Featuring Tom Cruise clinging to a plane as it takes off. Fair play that did look and sound absolutely brilliant.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

From looking around the rest of The Gadget Show. I can tell you that any mobile phone technology is still huge business. There were lots of suppliers offering that type of thing. Mostly extra battery packs. Which as an I-Phone user I was slightly tempted by. The other two main most popular items on display were Segway’s of varying kinds and about fifty different types, sizes and styles of drones. And 3D virtual gaming seems like the future in that genre.

The bit I enjoyed the most was their own version of Robot Wars. They had a ring just like the old television show. Work benches in view, so you could see the teams building and repairing them. Plus they did have battles taking place between them with full commentary. Seeing that up close you get to see how brutal those battles are. I mean they compete in a completely covered in perspex box. With the Robots controlled by the teams from the safety of the outside. The fights were surprisingly exciting to watch.

The Gadget Show Live
The Gadget Show Live

I had a fantastic day in London the other week. Which involved seeing a recording of the new series of Tonight at The London Palladium. The first one was shown on television last Wednesday. And the one I was at will be shown this coming Wednesday 20th April. I was again brilliantly looked after by the team there. They gave me some great seats to watch the action from. So feel free to play the game of “can you spot me in the audience?”. While you are watching it.

The whole series is hosted by Bradley Walsh. Who is brilliant at it and did a fantastic job. The warm up man, as he is at so many of the shows that I am at was the excellent Andy Collins. He always does a top job getting the crowd involved and entertaining us all between breaks in the action. When they are setting up things on the stage. Also making an appearance on the night was the lovely Joe Pasquale.

Tonight at the London Palladium
Tonight at the London Palladium

The last time I saw him was when I made a cameo appearance in my friend Ben Langley’s Ha Ha Holmes at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. I was dressed in a Beaver costume. And basically my antics caused him to crack up laughing on stage. Which was a very nice moment for me. He did tell me later that when I did a particular thing while on stage. That he was chuckling so much. He thought he might wet himself. It was really good to see him again. He was very funny as always in his little bit of the show.

The episode I was at also featured performances from Diversity. Who just seem to get better and better every time I see them. Their bit was absolutely stunning. The cast of the Kinky Boots musical. Who gave us a glimpse as to why the show had just won at the recent Olivier Awards. The force behind the music and songs for that show Cyndi Lauper not only introduced them on stage but also sang for us later on to. There was a thrilling children’s toy inspired variety act from China on the bill. Plus there were a couple of other special guests and surprises. That I will not spoil for you. I will just let you discover them for yourself.

Tonight at the London Palladium
Tonight at the London Palladium

It was another great evening spent at a brilliant venue in the heart of central London. I did also manage to squeeze in a lovely two course meal before the show. I have a very sweet tooth. So I always like to finish my dinner with a dessert. I couldn’t decide what I fancied. So I noticed that on the menu. They offered a five mini shot glass option. Where you could have five different types of puddings.

The person I was with was happy to give this option a try with me. So that is what we ordered. It was brilliant. There was much more of each dish than I expected. It was also great value for money and less than two of the normal desserts. If you get the opportunity I would say go on and give this option a try, at least once. If you see it on the menu of where you are eating. I was in an Italian themed chain restaurant. If that helps at all.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

Last weekend saw one of the annual highlights of my year. As I made the trip up to Liverpool to enjoy the Grand National racing festival. I travelled up on the train on the Thursday afternoon. Before meeting my friend Jeff Nolan. Who lives near to the famous Aintree course. In a local pub for a couple of welcome drinks.

It was full of well dressed race goers. Who had been enjoying the first day’s racing. I do spend a lot of my time in London nowadays and I must admit the second I arrived in to Liverpool city centre. People generally did seem friendlier and much more talkative. Which I did like.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

That evening bizarrely we ended up watching a documentary about Evil Knievel. He is someone I was obviously aware of. And I did have a toy version of him on a motorbike when I was a child. Which I do remember making ramps for. So it could jump over my matchbox car collection. However I have to confess I did not really recall his full back story and many of the world record and stunt attempts that he made.

It was interesting to see how he seemed to change as a person as he became more well known. Also it reminded me how many times he failed and hurt himself. It was nice in the end though to see him when he retired. Still putting on the famous jump suit and acting as more of an ambassador for good and safety. Sort of the American version of the English Green Cross Code man.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

Friday was Ladies Day. The actual day we were going to the famous sporting venue. We started the day properly, as you should with some sausage and bacon sandwiches. Then it was time to get the suits on and head back to the local to meet everyone else. The place was already a hive of activity. Full of smart people. Also out to enjoy all the day had to offer.

After a few drinks. We then walked down towards Aintree itself to enjoy a drink in a pub that is at the entrance of the course. Which has recently changed its name to the Coral Arms. It then suddenly empties out very quickly. As everyone makes their way inside. Ready for the first race of the day.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

The place is packed out with people. All just having a good time everywhere you look. They have several massive temporary tents installed specially for the meeting. In them there are bars, giant television screens to keep an eye on all the action and also live music.

After the racing has ended bands such as The Feeling perform on stage there. We of course made sure we headed outside to watch the races. It is an amazing sight seeing that many top class horses thunder by you. On the way to the winning post.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

I had a couple of small winners on the day. I do like going down to the course side bookies to try and get the best odds on the horses. I want to back. It is all good fun and never feel guilty when you win. As I am yet to meet a poor book keeper. They always win in the end. After the races had finished we headed back in to the centre of Liverpool to continue the party.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

The first place we went to was a lovely little pub hidden away down a side street called the Crack. Which is where John Lennon regularly used to drink when he still lived there. It has an area called the War Room. Which just has one big table in it and is surrounded completely by glass panels. So that was quite a cool place to have a pint. Specially as Lennon would have sat there at some point.

The Crack
The Crack

We visited a few other places including The Jacaranda. Which is another famous pub in the city. Where George Harrison used to drink. And it is also somewhere The Beatles played a lot when they were starting out. It is a pretty cool and chilled place with a jukebox in the corner.

It has been decked out like it was back in the 1960’s. I thought I had been to most of the bars on offer. But the two I have highlighted were places I was enjoying for the first time. And I have been going there for years. That is the great thing about the place. There are always new places to discover.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On Grand National Day itself. I watched the iconic race from a sports pub on the outskirts of Liverpool. It is always a great occasion and an intriguing race to enjoy. It was great to see two talented exceptional female jockeys Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry riding in it. It is always nice to when all of the horses and jockeys are safe at the end of it. I did not manage to pick the winner this year though.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

But I did have the fourth place horse “Gilgamboa” as an each way bet at 66-1. So I did at least get some money back from the race. Jeff had the winner and was celebrating his victory like he was the trainer or the owner of it. I like the way the jockey David Mullins younger brother seemed to be crying for joy for about the next hour or so after the race.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

The day after the National before I came home. We took a walk up to Aintree. To have a look at the areas of the course that we could see from outside. Famously the race crosses the Melling Road. On race day it is lined with sand. So the horses can go over it without damaging themselves and so it is a similar feel to the grass on the rest of the course.

The day after the sand had been cleared away and the road re-opened. So Jeff and I were standing on the Melling Road and looking down to the first fence. Which from our vantage point looked massive and terrifying. With that final look at one of the most iconic sporting venues in the world. It was time to head home. Another successful weekend. I am already looking forward to going back there for next year’s event.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

In other news the mighty Tottenham Hotspur are still battling hard to the end and trying to win as many points as possible. To stay in touch with the outright Premier League leaders Leicester. Who I really still can’t see slipping up. Mind you. if you had asked me at the start of the season. If I would have settled for second place and Champions League qualification. It would have been a resounding yes from me. Still enjoying it and proud of them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Flash Bang Wallop

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been quite busy with a few fun things going on. Last time we spoke. I was telling you about the brilliant St Patrick’s Day I spent in Waxy O’Connor’s in London. Well it actually got even better a few days later.

On the day I was putting a few photos up of me enjoying myself at the pub on my Twitter page and of course was tagging the venue in to. So I was both surprised and delighted to receive a tweet from my favourite Irish drinking establishment in the Capital. Telling me that I had won a special goody bag in their St Patrick’s Day competition.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I will be totally honest with you. I had no idea I had actually entered a competition or that they were even running one. It was only when I looked back through their Twitter. That I discovered they were encouraging people to send them pictures of the day. For the chance to grab a prize pack. They were really nice people to deal with. They are a really great team in there. It was agreed that I would go in and collect my prize from them the Saturday after the big day itself.

It was not until I walked in to the place at the arranged time. That I realised Ireland were playing Scotland in the Six Nations Rugby. So needless to say it was totally packed. I treated myself to a Guinness and made my way to the main bar to speak to Caitlin and Sean, the management team. When I found them. They were fantastic. Despite the bar being absolutely heaving with people. They still went and got the goods and gave them to me straight away. Firstly of course pausing for a quick photograph to mark this great moment.

Waxy O'Connor's
Waxy O’Connor’s

The goody bag contained a bottle of Jameson Whiskey with some branded metal measures and tumblers. A Guinness hat, and some comedy shamrock green sun glasses. Plus my favourite part. Two of the Waxy O’Connor rugby shirts that the staff wear. One in black and the other in green. Now I have secretly wanted one of these for years.

And I now own a couple of them. It is great to have some cool mementos from my favourite London Pub. I am thinking of may be wearing one of the shirts next time I go there. Then just quickly hopping behind their bar. Pretending that I am a member of staff and pouring myself a nice pint of the black stuff.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have since found out that Shane Lynch from Boyzone was also in there on the day to. I did not see him on St Patrick’s Day but I have met him before. Many years ago I helped host a live music event in Great Missenden with Richard Carr. I think that may have been the one and only time we worked together on stage as a double act. It was after Shane had left Boyzone the first time round. He was performing with a band called Redhill. I got to meet him and have a quick chat with him just before the gig. He was lovely, friendly and very relaxed.

The only other things I remember about this event are. It was staged managed by the same man who had been doing that same job for Steps last tour. And the other presenter working with us was from the ITV Children’s show Diggit. All I can remember is that she was female but I can’t remember her name. It was a good fun evening though. To be fair any time when I have a microphone in my hand and I am on a stage. That is always good evening.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The other weekend my former boss from when I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil, Steve Carpenter. Was up from deepest darkest Somerset to do a DJ set at a very high class event at the Hilton Park Lane in London. So I went along there to see him for a nice chat and a bit of a catch up. Before he was required to entertain the invited guests. It was all very showbiz, as you would imagine. First we grabbed a nice cup of tea in the performers green room area with the band and dancers. Who were also on the bill.

There were plenty of feathers and sparkle around backstage, mostly supplied by the dancers. We then nipped down to the Traders Bar at the hotel for a quick drink before showtime. It was brilliant to see him. It was nice to reminisce about old times and talk about the future and upcoming plans. I did have lots of fun and memorable moments, while I was working in the West Country. Then he headed off to do his thing behind the decks and I headed off home.

Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil
Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil

While I was there before the guests arrived I managed to have a quick look in the room and hear the sound check. It all sounded and looked great. He has performed all other the world and is a class act.

I remember once Steve and I headlined a big gig in a field in Yeovil. After a fun disco concert night with live performances from Odyssey, The Real Thing and Gwen Dickey. Not a bad little show line up to close in front of thousands of people. Another brilliant night, just messing about and having fun on stage!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I mentioned previously about my friend’s series of Radio Plays called The Andy Holmes Angle. There are six in total and I feature in two of them. The first of which was released a few weeks ago. And the second one this week. I have quite a big part in the previous story. But in this latest one I have a little cameo role. Playing a radio presenter, ironically. So therefore hopefully not testing my acting ability too much.

The latest episode is called “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Which weirdly and I promise you this is totally true. Used to be my mobile phone ring tone for many years. If you would like to listen to it and see if you can spot my very brief appearance as a guest star. Here is the link to it. Just click on it to play it. Video Killed The Radio Star

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am not going to lie I am still very excited about the end of the football season. I can’t see Leicester City slipping up currently. They look like they have just forgotten how to lose. But with Tottenham Hotspur in second anything could still happen. So I might still see my team win the league for the first time in my lifetime. Which would be pretty cool, to say the least.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was also nice to see the Spurs players helping England to beat Germany in Berlin. I know it was only a friendly, still a win is a win. And personally I enjoyed seeing my team’s stars shining for the National team.

I am even starting to dream of potential Euro 2016 success. What is that famous quote about the England Team? Oh yes that is it. “It is the hope that kills you”. Then we went and lost to Holland at Wembley a few days later of course. So point proven there. I guess!

England
England

I had a nice and relaxing Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. I just watched the England game on television on the Saturday. Then I had a nice family roast dinner with my parents on the Sunday. Here is the really impressive bit then. I only had one Easter Egg. It was an Orange Matchmaker one and I have to say it tasted amazing. I even managed to avoid having any hot cross buns to.

As Easter breaks go it was a relatively healthy one for a change. It was an hour shorter this year. As the clocks went forward in the early hours of last Sunday morning. I hope you remembered and were not late for any appointments or for work as a result of these changes. The best thing about being tired due to a lack of sleep from the lost hour. Is that it does mean the evening’s will be staying lighter later. Which is always a bonus I think. More day to work with.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So today it is the last in the current series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. When they will be doing the whole show live from a cruise ship in Barcelona full of competition winners. I mean what can possibly go wrong.

I think it has once again been a great run. As the programme is so popular and entertaining. It is getting harder for them to come up with new fun stuff that has not already been done before. And like all productions of course some things work better than others.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

But it never fails to make me laugh out loud. With the two Geordie’s the perfect ringmasters at the centre of the circus. I really enjoyed being there in the audience for show three. It was interesting to see behind the scenes. Seeing what it is like in the studio. As opposed to what you see when you are sat at home watching.

The atmosphere there is brilliant. The audience are kind of the heartbeat of the show. That the two presenters and the guests all feed off. And the eagle eyed people amongst you will also know that it did give me a little bit of Saturday night prime time screen time. Including a few shots of me dancing to Little Mix’s Black Magic.

Saturday Night Takeaway
Saturday Night Takeaway

Next week sees the return of Britain’s Got Talent to Saturday night’s for the auditions stage. Which does mean we will still get our weekend fix of Ant & Dec. I went and saw one of the London recordings.

Brace yourself then for the normal selection of terrible acts and amazing performers. Plus those random and unbelievable moments when the judges put someone through seemingly just for a laugh. Or possibly because they can see something that I am pretty sure that the rest of the country will not be able to see.

BGT London
BGT London

It is good fun entertainment. So just remember none of the performers are there against their will. Some of them will already know they are awful but are doing it for a laugh or just to get on television.

Stick with it and remember normally for the final they will find at least five really good acts. That all said, I think I did see at least two or three acts at my audition alone. That I would expect to see in the last show. And who could actually win it.

BGT London
BGT London

Tomorrow I am going to the NEC in Birmingham for the Gadget Show Live. I have never been before, so I do not really fully know what to expect. I imagine that there will be lots of stands with some amazing new bits of as yet unreleased top technology on. Hopefully that I can test and try out for myself. I have never been someone who is at the forefront of new gadgets and technology.

I even resisted getting a mobile phone for ages at first. And I was one of the last of my mates to get one. I do not own a tablet of any kind. And I would rather read old school paper books than use a new electrical device for them. But who knows I could well find a new passion for flash new tools after a couple of hours wandering around, trying the goods and talking to the makers. I will let you know how it was and what life changing items I purchased while I was there. In the next instalment on here.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live
Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

I am very excited to be heading up to Liverpool next weekend. For the Aintree Grand National Horse Racing meeting. This will be the third time that I have been there for the event. It is brilliant, the atmosphere is top quality and everyone dresses up and makes a real effort. So needless to say my best suit has already been dry cleaned and is ready for action.

Our big day at the races tends to be Ladies Day. Which is on the Friday. This is the day I will actually be at Aintree. It is a quality day from the start to the finish. And it is fair to say the whole of Liverpool is rocking once the days racing is over.

My mate lives near the course. And when I see him during non Grand National times. We always have a drive down the famous Melling Road. The one that the famous National course crosses over. It will be a lively and exciting three days. That is for sure. Last year I had the National winner in a sweepstake. I am hoping to repeat this feat once again this time round. Fingers crossed.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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