Tag Archives: holiday

St Lucia

Hi there, how are you? Long time no speak. Well for me it has been a bit longer than usual. In updating you on what I have been up to. On here at least. The reason for that is I have just managed to finally do something that I have wanted to do for years. I am a massive fan of the festive period. And I enjoy starting the New Year with my family near by. However January can seem a bit long and cold in the United Kingdom. So I have for a while fancied some Winter sun to kick start the year. And happily I have now achieved this dream.

St Lucia

I have just returned from a fantastic holiday in St Lucia. It started the night before the flight. As it was an early departure from Gatwick. I decided to stay at the Premier Inn at the airport. So I would have no morning travel issues or stress. And could literally just stroll across the road to the waiting plane. The hotel was full of fellow travellers. I had a very nice steak and a glass of red wine. Before getting an early night ready for my alarm call in the morning.

I was flying with Virgin Atlantic. For the first time. It was all very well organised and civilised. Their staff were helpful and lovely. The food on board seemed fine to me. And the entertainment system kept me amused. During the long nine hour flight. Through a combination of a Derren Brown Special, Family Guy and the Big Bang Theory. Plus a bit of Bruce Springsteen. Due to the four hour time difference. We landed there at 1.30pm St Lucian time.

Once I was through customs and had collected my luggage. I found the airport transfer supplied by my hotel. The driver took me on the five minute trip to the resort. I have never stayed anywhere closer to the airport. I am also happy to report that owing to the direction of their run way and the small amount of flights. That the planes caused no disruption at all, while I was there. I had opted for the Concierge package. So when I arrived at the hotel that afternoon. Mine was already waiting for me with a rum cocktail. Which was a lovely welcome.

ST Lucia

Once I had checked in. She then showed me to my room. Which had an Ocean View from the balcony. Which was brilliant. There was a Swan made out of towels on the bed, flowers all over the bathroom and a fully stocked fridge. Not to mention some welcome chocolate and fruit. I was already thinking I am really going to like this place. It was also sunny and about twenty-eight degrees. Which made it all even better, as far as I was concerned.

I put my shorts on and then went for a look around the place. It was an all inclusive hotel. That sat on eighty five acres of land. It had its own private beach area. There were two pools and a water park on the family side and two adult pools on the adult only side. Which is where I was staying. It is called Harmony. The resort itself is called Coconut Bay. I also had a walk down the beach that first afternoon. To check out my surroundings and try to get my bearings of the place. That was to be my home for the next ten nights.

St Lucia

They have a main eating area where you can get Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in a buffet style. With a huge selection of different food options at every meal time. They also have four restaurants. Where you can eat in the evening, if you book. Luckily as part of my deal. I had a reservation made for me each night at one of these eateries. So I got to enjoy a three course meal with waiter/waitress service. Every night that I was there. The food was to a very high standard. I had some delicious meals.

In case you needed a snack during the day. They also had a Jerk Food Tree House and a burger place called Flip Flops. There were bars all over the place. Including a swim up bar, a sports bay, lobby bar, pool bar and a lounge bar. There was even a bar by the sunbathing area on the beach. Where ever you were it was easy to order yourself a drink. All the bars were under the all inclusive deal. You could order anything you liked beer, cocktails, wine or shorts. They made some really tasty cocktails. Many of which I had never heard of or never tried before.

St Lucia

It was so relaxing. The weather was amazing. The staff were great. Fun friendly and helpful. I made the most of sunbathing on the beach and by the pool. Most of the other guests were American, Canadian and also British. I met and got talking to some lovely and fascinating people. The atmosphere of the whole place was perfect. I tried out all the bars and restaurants on offer. In one of the adult pools. There was a big hot tub. Which I found was a great place to be in as the sun went down. It was also a decent place to chat to and meet people in, strangely. We had conversations in there about every subject you can imagine.

There was nightly entertainment. Either poolside or at one of the various bars. This included a Caribbean Night, a Country Hoe Down Night, Karaoke, Jazz and lots of different live bands playing at all the various stages. They have there. Then in the lounge bar every night. There were sing-a-longs around a piano, solo performers and always a disco until 1am. When the bars all closed. Which after a whole day of drink on tap anytime you want it. Was more than late enough for me.

St Lucia

While I was lying on the beach one day. I noticed they were doing some horse rides along it. I am a big fan of horse racing. However I had never been on a horse before. I therefore decided this was the place and now was the time to put this right. I booked up for the ride for later in the week. I had been keen to at least experience being on a horse for a while. But the opportunity had never arisen. Until then.

St Lucia

The guy taking the tour met me in the hotel reception. After literally signing my life away. He led me to where the horses were tied. Just stopping to collect a towel along the way. I did explain to him that I had not ridden before. But he was confident I would be fine. After I had my helmet on. I was introduced to my horse Big Orange. They appear to have a Ronseal approach to naming their animals. It is exactly, as it says on the tin. Luckily there were steps available to get on the horse.

I somehow managed to swing my leg over to get in the saddle. Which was a bit harder than I thought it would be. Once I was on board. He showed me how to hold the reins. Then how to sit in the saddle and how to position my feet in the stirrups. It is fair to say I was not the most natural rider. I was not overly confident. My plan was simply not to fall off.

We set off down the beach. The guide had to keep reminding me how to hold the reins correctly, control the horse and make him move forward. I was going too slow at one point. He told me not to worry, as he would not run. Unless I got to far behind him. Hearing this news. I managed to get my horse to go a bit faster and close up the gap.

St Lucia

I had just about got things under control on the flat beach. When suddenly we had to walk up a bank up in to a woodland area. That raised my heart rate a little. But I stayed in the saddle. We then got to the half way point. And stopped for a bit, so the horses could have a snack. We then made our way back. Which of course included us having to go back down that bank. As we came to the final stretch on the way back. I was starting to feel a bit more at ease. And almost in control.

We got back. And after a few pictures. It was time for me to get off Big Orange. It is very fair to say there was no Frankie Dettori flying dismount. The step was back out. And I just about managed to swing my leg over again. It was a really enjoyable experience. I would like to go horse riding again at some point in the future. It was good fun. No way I want to do any obstacles yet though. All jump jockeys must be mad. I will stick to just watching the races.

St Lucia

The only other tour that I did while I was there was a sailing and snorkelling excursion. It was towards the end of my holiday. As I realised I had not left the resort. And should probably at least try to see a bit of the island. While I was there. It began with a short twelve minute drive to a near by fishing village. Where we caught the boat. It was then an hour trip around the coast.

The hotel I was staying at was on the Atlantic Ocean side. Which currently has a really big issue with seaweed. Meaning it is tough to paddle and swim in the sea there. We were however heading to Caribbean Sea. Which has no such problems.

On the boat ride there. We sailed past the Pitons. Which are two Volcanic Mountains near the town of Soufriere. They have been a world heritage site since 2004. And they do look spectacular. Our first stop was the white sands of Sugar Beach. They have a marine conservation site. Which was the first Snorkelling area on the tour.

St Lucia

I had never snorkelled before. As it turns out I am not very good at it. I struggled with the flippers. The mask I could use alright, But I had some issues with the tube you breathe through. The main one being the amount of salty sea water I kept drinking through it.

I managed to do it for a bit. And did see a few colourful tropical fish. But I did not make it as far as some people and see as much as I could have. It does mean though I can say I have swam in the Caribbean Sea. It was lovely and warm plus so clear and blue.

We then had a twenty minute boat ride to our next stop. A little bit further round the coast. I decided not to Snorkel this time .As I really could not take in anymore sea water. So I just chilled out on the boat. And watched everybody else. Next it was back to a port. From where we were then driven back to the hotel. It was nice to get out and see some of St Lucia. The towns, houses, plantations and countryside. I am glad I ventured out. And saw what I did.

St Lucia

There was a Spa where I was staying. I thought I would treat myself to a full body massage. I had one years ago and found it very relaxing so I decided I was due another one. They are a bit odd and awkward. As you are fully naked for it. But you are under towels and blankets. So the key bits of you are not on display. Shall we say.

It was really nice. The lady doing it was very good. She seemed to have very strong fingers and thumbs. I will give her that. Because it was right by the sea. You could hear the waves lapping the shore during it. Which I found made it even more relaxing. They even do you fingers and toes. It was fifty minutes long. I enjoyed it. Although this one was a holiday treat. I think I might to to have them a little bit more regularly during the next year. It really helped my muscles.

St Lucia

I was invited to the Managers Cocktail Party. There were drinks and finger food on offer. I got to meet and have a quick chat with the man himself. Which was nice. While I was there I also won a prize in the free draw, they did. I bagged myself $100 of resort credit. While it is all inclusive. Any Tours or Spa treatments get added on to your room for payment. When you check out. Therefore this was a very useful bonus. That I was happy to acquire.

On my last day I was all packed and just having a final beer. Before it was time to head to the airport. When I got a text message from my airline Virgin Atlantic. Telling me that my flight had been cancelled. And that I would now be flying home the following morning. To cut a long story short. This meant I ended up staying an extra night. Then heading to the airport early the following morning. Which as I am sure you can imagine was terrible.

St Lucia

On the plane journey back to England. I watched the Star Wars Han Solo Story. I must admit I only normally watch the official episodes. Despite being a huge fan of the franchise. That said I am a big fan of the character. Which made me want to check it out.

I liked it. That may have been because it featured Tie Fighters, Chewbacca, the Millennium Falcon and lots of nods to and plot explanations for the original film Star Wars. Which is actually technically episode four. Anyway I am glad I watched it. I thought it was pretty good.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

I had an absolutely wonderful time staying in a Harmony Concierge Ocean View Room at the Coconut Resort and Spa in St Lucia. The place just has everything you need, right there for you. The staff are great. I even got to watch all the Tottenham Hotspur games in their Sports Bar.

I would very much like to thank the marvellous Paula at Red Route Travel for suggesting and then booking this trip for me. Excellent, friendly and professional service, Not least when advising me what to do when my flight home was then cancelled. I am tanned, relaxed and now ready for 2019. Bring it on!

St Lucia

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

Grand Holiday

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fantastic and included a top week spent on holiday in Gran Canaria. I stayed in Playa Del Ingles with a mate of mine for seven days chilling and relaxing in the brilliant sunshine. That is the Canary Islands trade mark. During their last winter the lowest temperature they had was twenty degrees celsius. The trip it is fair to say, did not get off to the greatest of starts though.

Neil Quigley & Andy Holmes
Neil Quigley & Andy Holmes

We were waiting outside my friends house for the taxi to take us to the airport at around three thirty in the morning. When I got a phone call from the driver informing me that he was waiting at Luton Airport. And he was wondering where we were. He had misread his instructions and got the journey the wrong way round. Fair play to the Taxi company though. When they realised the mistake. The owner got up raced over to us and still got us to the airport in plenty of time for our flight. But it was a bit more stress than I was hoping for, right at the start of proceedings. Specially at that time in the morning.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Thankfully the rest of the journey went very smoothly, great flight and ride from the airport to the hotel. And by one o’clock that day. We were sitting looking out at the sea having a drink. It was the second time I had been to Gran Canaria. And once again I can have no complaints about the weather. While we were there the average temperature during the day was around twenty eight degrees celsius. Which makes a rather nice change from being here at home in England. So therefore I have returned tanned and relaxed from from my time away.

Playa Del Ingles
Playa Del Ingles

Playa Del Ingles roughly translates as the English Beach. Now do not get me wrong I do love England. But it is like no beach I have ever been on in Britain. We have lots of great beaches but the weather, sea and atmosphere are never that hot back home. That said the sea there is a little lively at times. It made paddling in the sea quite a challenge with an occasional battle to stay on your feet and in your costume. Depending on if the tide was coming in or not.

Then right next door are the Maspalomas Dunes. Which are amazing. We went for a very long walk through them and it is like being stranded right out in the middle of a desert. If you do ever go there they are definitely worth a visit. But just be aware that they do actually back on to a nudist beach. So you may see some more sights that you actually bargained for.

Maspalomas Dunes
Maspalomas Dunes

There are lots of Irish Bars around. You could hardly move for them. But as a Quigley this was fine with me and I always made sure I went to at least one or two of them every night, we were there. All the people we met in the resort were really friendly and helpful. We also found this nice beach bar called Sahara. Which during the afternoon had a guy with a guitar playing and singing a variety of cover songs. He was really good. It was great to sit there listening to him.

Although I think he was Spanish and just kind of learnt the English lyrics to each one. Which did lead to a couple of shall we say interesting pronunciation’s of certain words. Our particular favourite was just one word during his version of Matthew Wilder’s Break My Stride. Each time I hear that song in the future it will remind me of this holiday. “I’ve got to keep on mooing”

Daniel the Singer
Daniel the Singer

This weekend it is the Glastonbury Festival from that world famous farm in Pilton, Somerset. While I was working in Yeovil I was lucky enough to be able to go along and experience this magical event for myself. The first time I went it was for the whole weekend from Thursday to Sunday. It was with Robbie Lane a colleague and friend of mine from the radio station. We had backstage passes and got to pitch our tent in the backstage camp site. This is behind the two main stages the Pyramid Stage and the Other Stage.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was a bar and cafe there. Plus a special path to get to each of the two big stages. Which meant it was possible to move between them in about ten minutes. Which if you have ever been to the Festival, you know will take normally at least forty minutes. If you are going the public access way there. I had an amazing time and saw so many great performances from lots of different acts and bands including The Waterboys, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Kaiser Chiefs, Artic Monkeys, Killer’s, Paul Weller, The Who, Shirley Bassey, Iggy Pop, Manic Street Preachers, Arcade Fire and Kasabian to mention but a few. Great times. Even if it did mean sleeping in a tent.

Neil at Glastonbury
Neil at Glastonbury

While we were living back stage for the weekend. As you can imagine we rubbed shoulders with quite a lot of celebrity’s who were there. Just to give a little flavour of what it was like. Here are just some of them Will Young, Mark Owen, Stephen Merchant, Kate Moss, Keith Allen, Harry Enfield, Dara O’Briain, Jo Whiley, Marc Ratcliffe, Phil Jupitus and many many more. It was awesome to be there soaking it all in. The site it is held on is huge and there is so much going on.  You are always going to miss more than you will ever get to see there. Brilliant fun, though.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The second time I literally just popped along for the Sunday to see Mark Ronson, Neil Diamond, Scouting For Girls and The Verve. I did again have backstage access. So I did make sure I visited the bar area. So I once again got the full VIP Glastonbury experience. I am enjoying this years coverage and watching and listening to as much of it as I can.

I am missing not being there, but not necessarily sleeping in a tent and wading through all that mud. If you have never been and one day get the chance to go. Even if you are not sure if it is your thing or not. Just do it and trust me you will have a great time. I still plan to go to it again at some point in the future.

Ivel Fm
Ivel Fm

As ever I have got a busy week coming up with lots of fun things to do. On Monday I am once again back at the London Studios in Waterloo to see the legend that is Phillip Schofield record a new episode of Mr & Mrs. I am looking forward to it. I really like the awkwardness of that show sometimes. It will be interesting to see which couples are on. And also if there are any answers to the questions that can’t possibly be broadcast so have to be re-done to make them television friendly. I have long admired Mr Schofield, since I grew up watching him present children’s TV from the broom cupboard. So I am very excited about seeing him in action live for the first time. It should be lots of fun and a good evening out.

South Bank London
South Bank London

Being a massive fan of live comedy. I do like to get to as many gigs as possible. So I am off back to the Museum of Comedy to see the excellent James Acaster on Wednesday. He is doing a work in progress show in preparation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Talking of great live comedy this year’s Tringe Festival kicks off tomorrow night with The Roving Comedy Night. Good luck to the latest batch of trainees. You will all be great and will really enjoy the experience to. I am sure you will all make the teacher the lovely Logan Murray very proud.

I still have such fantastic memories of being part of this myself. It is great that you on your first gig get to perform with a professional comic. Which helps so much and really adds to the excitement. To find out more about this year’s Tringe Festival, just click on the link.  Tringe Festival

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

If you remember a couple of weeks ago I did some filming for the new series of the Sky One show hosted by Lee Mack called Duck Quacks Don’t Echo. Well this coming Friday I am going to the Pinewood Studios to see an episode of the programme being recorded. They have a panel of celebrity’s who argue the case for certain myths or beliefs. Before they then show an experiment that they have carried out to try to prove or disprove the theory. And see if that person is right or not.

I have no idea currently who we be on when I am there. But I am a fan of Lee Mack, so I will be happy just seeing him. However the guest list for the first series of the show was pretty impressive, so I am expecting this one to be just the same. You never know it might be the one that features the experiment that I was involved in. Which would be brilliant and very funny.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

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

General Knowledge

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good week. I know this is a quicker update than normal but I am off on my Summer holiday in a couple of days. I am having a complete break from everything.  So I will not be taking my computer or even my mobile phone with me. And I have to admit I am really looking forward to that experience. I am going to Gran Canaria to basically lie by the pool or on the beach and just to catch a little bit of sun and relax.

I have to confess that I have already looked at the long range weather forecast for where I am staying and I am pleased to say that the predicted temperatures are very acceptable. So as I am disappearing for a bit I thought I would do a brief write up now. Just to keep you in the loop of what is going on.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

The other week I went to a production company based just around the corner from Marble Arch to take part in a run through of a brand new daytime quiz show idea. So what happens is the production company comes up with the idea and format of a potential new show. Then they have to pitch it to a television channel. Who they hope will buy the show, put it on television and of course pay them for the privilege.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

This run through was being attended by the head of daytime programming for a major UK channel. So as you can imagine the production company felt under quite a bit of pressure to make sure everything was perfect. Unfortunately I can not give you any details about the show. As it is still at the idea stage and has not been made yet. To be involved with the project I had to sign a disclosure form stating that I could not talk about the format and the unique selling point of the quiz to anyone.

What I can say though is that it was great fun. I thought the concept and the influence of the show was very interesting. With lots of decision making and tactics required from the players to try and be successful and to ultimately become the winner. It will be very interesting to see the proper studio version if it does get picked up, as we only did it in a small room in an office block.

It is a general knowledge quiz with a few twists and turns involved. There is still a good chance I could be involved later on again in the shows development. Which will be great if that is the case. The day was made even better for me because while I was waiting in the reception area to be called in. I saw the brilliant comedian Katherine Ryan walk past on her way to the lifts.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did watch and really enjoyed the Channel 4 Comedy Gala in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. It is great that so many top comedians get together and perform at the O2 Arena for such a great cause. I am very lucky to have already seen many of them perform live and in person at some point in the past. For a lover of comedy it was brilliant viewing for a Sunday evening, to set me up nicely for the week. We are so lucky to have so many great acts at the top of their games in this country at the moment.

South Bank London
South Bank London

Last Tuesday I returned to the London Studios in Waterloo to watch the final episode in the new series of the excellent QI being recorded. There was definitely an end of term feel to the proceedings. Which will possibly mean some extra editing for the production team before the show goes out. Once again the legend that is Stephen Fry was exceptional. He had his husband in the audience watching him do his thing. Once again playing the cheeky and intelligent ring master.

Joining Alan Davies on the panel were Sarah Millican, Noel Fielding and Eddy Kadi.  I do like seeing this show live, it is just like watching it at home except they talk for longer, tell more jokes and answer more questions. Then of course it is scaled down for television to meet the specific time requirements of its slot.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

I have seen Sarah Millican before, she was as brilliant as ever. Noel Fielding is great to, it is the way his mind works which means he goes off in these incredible and very funny tangents. It was the first time I had seen Eddy Kadi in action and he was fantastic to.  Just to prove what a true professional Mr Fry is. At the end of television recordings they have to do what they call pick up’s. Which is basically re-doing bits that did not go well for a number of different reasons, sometimes technical and sometimes human error. But at the end of the QI recording Stephen Fry only had to do one quick piece again. Which he did first time. So that was it and we were all done. I can’t wait for the series to start later on in the year on the BBC.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So I am now looking ahead and forward to my summer holiday. No more worries for a week of two. Just to confirm I will not be taking a bus there and it is also unlikely that The Shadows will spring out of the bushes to help me with songs while I am away. It has been a few years since I have been away I hope I can still remember how to do it.

Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun
Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun

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