Tag Archives: horse racing

Strictly I’m A Celebrity

Hopefully we are now over half way through the second National Lockdown in England, if it does end on the originally planned date of the second of December. Personally it has not affected me too much. I am mostly working from home as I have been lucky enough to do since the first one. I am able to exercise outside at a park near to where I live. It is nice to get out in the fresh air for a bit although I have not yet bumped into my Morgan Freeman type character.

There have been some encouraging developments with potential vaccines, which does appear to be good news. However it still may be quite a while before life returns to anything like it was before this all started sadly. It is just not going to suddenly stop and disappear and it is presenting the country with its biggest logistical challenge since the Second World War. Something I am sure we will all come through if we work together and for each other.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Luckily for me one of my favourite television shows is back on our screens nightly for around the next three weeks. I do not watch a huge amount of TV but I always closely follow “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I am a fan of Ant & Dec this show gives them the perfect platform to do what they do best, mess around and have some fun at their own and the campmates expense.

I have met a lot of the former stars of the show many of whom actually won it! These include Christopher Biggins, Kerry Katona, Carl Fogarty, Pat Sharp, Timmy Mallet, Tony Hadley, Katie Price and Tommy Cannon.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

This series is of course going to be a little bit different as due to the current global situation. They are not in the jungle in Australia but at a castle in Wales. I am particularly gutted about this as at the start of this year I went to Australia and being such a huge fan of the show I stayed at the Versace Palazzo on the Gold Coast.

That is the Five Star Hotel were the celebrities stay after they get voted out of the show. I was looking forward to posting pictures of me in the same locations that they showed the ex-campmates in. I am going have to wait until next year to do that providing of course they use all the same places when they presumably go back to the Jungle again.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

They seem to have a really good and interesting selection of people taking part this year. It is a very strong line up, possibly helped by the fact a lot of their dairies would have been quite empty and that they were not required to be on a plane for twenty four hours. I liked the way they adapted the opening challenge to the new surroundings using the cliff. That was really clever and I think set the scene for what was to come nicely. It will basically be the same but different, as simple as that.

I was thinking after I had seen the new living arrangements that they might be going easy on them this year. But then I changed my mind when they covered everybody in bugs within the first five seconds of the first team trial. They are a very competitive bunch on the whole and of course include a man who has four Olympic Gold Medals, so he knows a thing or two about mind set and motivation. Plus the man is clearly a winner, not to mention a Knight. That works well with the Castle setting of course.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There is not anybody who I desperately want to win at the moment. I do prefer it when all the campmates get on well and have a good old laugh with each other rather than start arguing. But I am also aware that a big falling out does make for good television. I think this year though for the good of the world it would be nice if they were a tight unit.

It is a show that I do not think I could ever do but everybody I have spoken to who has been on it says it is a once in a lifetime amazing experience, so never say never I guess. I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I think it is going to be a funny one!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Another television programme I enjoy at this time of the year is Strictly Come Dancing. Like everything in the world it is a little bit different. However the main thing about it that appeals to me is the joy and enthusiasm the celebrities get from dancing itself. Alongside the brilliant bond that forms between them and their professional partner.

Happily these two things still remain the same this year. I tried one two hour Salsa class around fifteen years ago, struggled with the basic steps and never returned. Despite that I still reckon that these amazing dancers could teach me to do a passable routine, mainly down to my work ethic and their patience I suspect. But I still feel it is achievable.

Last weekend there was said to be a shock exit but when you get two half decent people in the dance off one of them has to leave. All the judges can do is decide from the bottom two which the viewers vote for. I enjoyed Anton being a guest judge, he was supportive, positive but also I thought fair. Surely when his time as a dancer on the show comes to an end this move would be the natural progression for him.

Even though at one point there was talk of him hosting it, if I am honest I think he would make a better judge. I do not really have a favourite this year, which is good as that means I can enjoy each of the performances with no interest or concern about the outcome. It is a fun, happy and lively show perfect for Saturday night.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My girlfriend and I are trying to have as many different weekend meals as possible. In a way we are pretending that we are going to a certain style of restaurant every Saturday night. Except she always ends up doing the cooking. For the record she is fine with that! Most recently we went with a home-made burger. Believe it or not that is something I had not had for ages. I tend to avoid fast food places, which has been very easy for me during most of this year.

“We” made the actual burgers ourselves. By that I mean that Lynda mixed up the meat with the spices and created the headline part of it if you like. Then I got to construct my own creation within the bun. If you have not had them at home for a while I would recommend it. The best bit is that you can decide on the ingredients and the ratios. None of this one Gherkin or one slice of Cheese rubbish. You can put as much of those in it as you like. I built my own perfect hamburger. Another bonus is you do not feel hungry again ten minutes after you have eaten it. I enjoyed it more than a man of my age should have.

Home-Made Burger

I watched the new Michael McIntyre Netflix Special. I used to have a stand up show on DVD for Christmas every year. These do not exist anymore as the digital platform shows seem to be the replacement. I have been lucky enough to see him do a small warm up gig once and he was very funny. What I think he is really good at is finding things that we all do and can relate to and making them funny and amusing. I appreciate that sounds really easy but try it and you will find out it is not at all. It takes a lot of skill to achieve what he does.

I am not sure if he felt more freedom within this medium but he did swear a bit more than I expected although to be fair nowhere near as much as Frankie Boyle. It is a very well put together piece of comedy. Each story or anecdote builds on the previous one and then leads to the big pay off at the end. It is clever, amusing and relatable. I think that sums his stuff up nicely. It is worth a watch and easy to absorb.

Michael McIntyre
Michael McIntyre

During the first Lockdown I did a weekly pop quiz on my Facebook page for about sixteen weeks. People seemed to enjoy taking part and I had fun doing it. Therefore I decided to bring it back for this latest one. There have been two new episodes in series two so far with two more currently expected in this run. Each one lasts about half an hour. It consists of six rounds each containing five questions.

I have called it “Quigger’s Plays Pop” in honour of a pop quiz that I used to watch on television as a child. Using that title made it quite easy for me to create a theme tune for it. I host it on a Tuesday night at 8.30pm. If you are free and fancy having a bit of music based fun then why not join me? You can play on your own or in teams it does not matter. https://www.facebook.com/neil.quigley

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A couple of horses from my small stable raced in the last fortnight. “Rock Legend” made his debut at Aintree. He was ridden by Harry Skelton and is trained by his brother Dan Skelton. He did alright for his first time on the track but was a bit weak, so will be held back for a while as he needs more time to grow into himself.

“Force Ten” had an outing at Taunton over the hurdles. He came in sixth out of seven. It was another bit of much needed racing experience for this young horse. Who is under the guidance of the great trainer Paul Nicholls. We may see him race again sometime next month.

Force Ten

Tottenham Hotspur for about an hour were top of the Premier League a couple of weeks ago. It did not last long but it felt good while it lasted. We have since had the International Break with the domestic season back this weekend Spurs face Manchester City today in what will be a massive game for us. It gives us a chance to put down a bit of a marker to the teams around us. I am excited and nervous about the match in equal measure.

As ever from England performances there were plusses and minuses in the results from the three games the national team played. Harry Kane passed the fifty cap mark and in doing so he becomes the most capped Tottenham player ever. If he does stay at White Hart Lane for his whole career, I can see him beating practically every record for the club and possibly for England to. Congratulations Harry he is one of our own!

Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Walk The Line

We are back in a National Lockdown in England once again then. Although this one is slightly different with places of education remaining open. The second wave of this virus due to the timing of it was always going to potentially be worse than the first one sadly as was the case with the Spanish Flu of 1918. It is quite interesting the parallels between these two events just over one hundred years apart. Samuel Pepys Diary extracts about the Plague in London also make interesting reading and are strangely relatable to the situation we find ourselves in.

It is not an easy thing to cope with and it is something none of us wanted to happen. As far as I can see the major factor in the decision is not overwhelming the NHS. I think we can all agree we would like there to be enough beds and staff available if we require any urgent medical attention. I certainly would anyway. A very high number of people have sadly died due to the virus (far too many), happily many people do recover from it but a percentage of these require hospital treatment which is where the capacity issue might occur.

I am naturally a very positive person and I will look for the best in every situation. I appreciate that I am lucky in this respect and lots of people will find this enforced lockdown tough. What I would suggest though is find a daily routine you can stick to, it will give the day a bit of structure and give you some focus. If you are able to a little bit of exercise is good for the body and mind. Talk to people on the phone, video chat and email just keep engaging regularly with family and friends. Nobody is in this alone. We are all in this together going through more or less the same thing.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I know it may seem a little difficult at the minute but with a bit of luck and a social conscience approach from everyone we will get through it. Then we can once again meet mates down the pub, go to the football, a night at the theatre, a day at the races and do all the things I am missing. But unless you and your associates are healthy and well, you cannot do any of those things anyway. Therefore let us stay safe, be sensible and look after ourselves and each other. Please spare a thought for me as this weekend though, I should be relaxing at a wooden lodge with a hot tub and a wood burner for company. But obviously I am not. However that is fine I will do what I need to then enjoy that when I can as my reward.

Right then that is all the serious stuff out the way! For legal reasons I would like to state that everything else I mention took place before lockdown. Although I have not really ventured out much since the original version of it, so having to do it all again will not affect my week that much to be fair. I am actually getting quite used to having to socially distance from people and possibly I am now enjoying it way more than I should be. Plus wearing a mask means it is easier to avoid talking to people I do not want to. See always looking for the positives!

Neil Quigley

I have talked before about my slightly competitive nature. Recently my girlfriend purchased the game Jenga. I could not remember if I had ever played it before or not. I definitely used to play and was if I do say so myself quite good at Ker-Plunk as a kid. I figured that was a game with similar principals to this one. Therefore I thought I would be pretty good taming those wooden blocks. She challenged me to a game filled with confidence about my ability for this task I accepted.

I lost the first game after about three moves causing the whole of the tower to come crashing to the ground. To say I was annoyed is possibly an understatement. I cannot stress how much I do not like losing. Obviously I could not leave this battle here, so we rebuilt the blocks for another game. I was taking this second one much more seriously. In fact so much so that it was taking me up to five minutes to make one move, so great was my desire not to pick the wrong brick to remove.

Suddenly in my head this had turned into a game of Chess. It was also at this point that a bit of Cricket style sledging crept in with both sides giving as good as they got. It got quite tense and slightly brutal for a time. I did not consult The Guinness Book of World Records but I think this could have been the longest game of Jenga ever. I won it and was so happy and delighted that I broke into the Carlton victory dance from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which I will concede was not the coolest or most grown up way to react to my victory.

I should have quit when I was ahead or to be totally accurate when I was level. However against my better judgement we kept on playing. It was a disaster! I only won two out of the next five games. This crushing defeat means that I will never play Jenga again. She wants to buy the giant garden version. I am now worried that she is trying to bury me under a barrage of big wooden blocks. I have never been any good at DIY, which is why I am rubbish at this game I think. It is all construction and common sense. Those are very much not my department.

Neil Quigley

Once again I am massively behind the times when it comes to films. The other weekend I finally got around to watching “Walk the Line”. Only a mere fifteen years after it was originally released. I am a big fan of Country Music and like the music of Johnny Cash. Therefore you would have thought I would have caught it sooner but it shows how great my reluctance to see movies is, even when they are on subjects that I am interested in. Add to that the fact that its two main stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reece Witherspoon won Oscar’s for their performances in it. It is not as if I was not aware of it when it came out.

The Million Dollar Quartet

After waiting so long to see it I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not know Johnny’s story that well so I found it very interesting. I kind of knew the main points but it filled in a lot of gaps for me. Joaquin and Reece were fantastic. I can see why they got their Academy Awards for their performances.

I have been to the historic Sun Studio’s in Memphis where Johnny Cash recorded a lot of his early hits. Up on the Studio wall they have a picture of him with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley under the heading the Million Dollar Quartet. They were the four biggest stars under the guidance of Sam Phillips at his studios at that moment. I am pleased that I got round to watching it in the end.

Sun Studio
Sun Studio

I did manage to get my Contact Lens Annual Check Up and Eye Test in before the country shut back down. I have been going to the same Optician since I was five. I have been wearing glasses since then and have used contacts since I was thirteen years old. I think I might have been one of the youngest wearers of them back then. After begging people to have them so I could see properly to play football. Anyway I have to have my eyes and lenses looked at every year to make sure they are alright.

It was all done in a safe and as socially distanced way as possible. I was required to wear a mask which was fine with me. It was the contacts check first. That all went fine, my eyes and lenses were all good. I could see at an acceptable level. Although my long distance vision in them could have been slightly improved by upping my prescription but that would mean my short sighted vision would not be as good. As I do a lot of work on the computer I opted to keep them as they were. Therefore apologies if I do not spot you across the road from me but on the plus side I will still be able to read your social media comments clearly.

The eye test in the mask was slightly more challenging. It is hard enough sometimes to read those little letters on the chart as it is without having to do it through a fog, when your glasses steam up. The Staff there were all lovely and I did not need a new prescription for my eyes. Therefore I did not have to go through the stress of choosing new glasses. Especially at the moment as you have to thoroughly clean all the pairs before and after you try them on. It is bad enough picking ones that suit you when you cannot actually see without this distraction as well. When Covid is under control I might treat myself to a new pair of glasses to celebrate!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was Fireworks Night, November 5th on Thursday. Obviously this year there were no big displays in the conventional way anyway. I used to be terrified of them as a child so I used to hate going to see them. But as I got older I began to really enjoy a nice display.

During my association with Mix 96 I went to their event at the Aylesbury Rugby Club lots of times. It was set to music and always fantastic. I have many memories from it over the years including carrying Kym Mazelle across the mud to the stage. Then one year having to stop the countdown midway through and then fill for ten minutes until they were actually ready to start it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley point’s the way on stage at the Mix 96 Fireworks.

When I was at the BBC one year I ended up watching the New Year’s Eve Fireworks from the top of Broadcasting House, which was cool. Like most things that have not happened this year I am sure that Fireworks Night as we know it will return next year.

It is the only night during the winter months that I tend to stand outside for a couple of hours in a field while drinking beer out of plastic glasses. Well I say that but the way things are going that could be how I am celebrating Christmas this year I guess.

New Years Eve
New Years Eve

It has been quite a good couple of weeks for the “Quigley Stable”. I own a small amount of shares in a few race horses. I was delighted when one of them “Stage Star” won on his debut at Chepstow the other week. He performed perfectly bearing in mind it was his first ever race. Thanks to Paul Nicholls for getting him ready and Lorcan Williams for riding him to victory. He will have a well-earned rest for a bit then continue his training and education at Ditcheat.

Neil Quigley and Stage Star
Neil Quigley and Stage Star

Last Monday “Force Ten” had his first run over hurdles at Plumpton. It was his first outing this season after he made his racing debut last year. I have been luckily enough to visit and see both of these horses at their stables. It is great to see both of these young horses doing so well. Another one of my horses “Rock Legend” is due to start his race career tomorrow. As ever I hope he runs well and returns home safe.

Force Ten
Force Ten

Once again it has been a rollercoaster ride being a Spurs fan. We beat Burnley away in a tough game in the Premier League on the Monday night. Then three days later we were beaten away in the Europa League by Royal Antwerp. That was a disappointing defeat. Then in the next league game the following Sunday we just about managed to get the better of Brighton at home. Thanks to the first goal since his return from Gareth Bale.

Owing to the way the other results had gone somehow that win moved us up to second place in the Premier League despite giving away three points in the last minute of games against Newcastle United and West Ham United. This season will have many more twists and turns. However you cannot beat the feeling of your team sitting near the top of the table, so I am going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts, which will probably be until the end of this weekend if I am lucky. Come On You Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

You can listen to me still on Saturday afternoon’s between 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.

Rock Legend

I will be totally honest with you, due to the current ongoing worldwide issue, which I presume you are aware of? I have not been up to that much recently. It really does limit the options of what you are able to do alongside what you personally feel comfortable and happy doing. We are all entitled to do whatever we want as long as we keep to the new required legislation. Personally I am still staying away from most public places. That is simply my own choice.    

It is two-fold in that the less people you come into contact with it will reduce the chance of catching the virus yourself or passing it on to a loved one. Plus I do not really want to go to places where things are not as I would normally like them to be. You cannot really relax, you need to be on your guard and be more aware of what is around you. I appreciate this is not overly helpful to the businesses that are trying to keep going in very tough circumstances but it is how I view things at the minute.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Even the simple things in life are more complicated at the moment. If you are going shopping you need to remember your bag for life and a mask now. If you did want a pint in a pub chances are you will have to book a table in advance and then carefully select the five people to join you. At this time my desire for a pint is not greater than all the slight abnormalities I would have to except to have it. Also just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time you may end up having to self-isolate for two weeks.

I am doing everything that I am meant to do wearing a mask when required, keeping my distance from people when I am out. But for this all to work of course we are relying on everybody obeying the rules and being sensible. None of us are enjoying all the new rules in place but I do think if we all play by them, we can ultimately control the virus and equally as importantly possibly come together as local communities. It would be nice if this thing could unite us rather than divide us. At least that would be one benefit from this terrible thing. Sorry getting very John Lennon there to celebrate what would have been his eightieth birthday yesterday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been staying in a lot which I have actually been quite enjoying. The other Saturday night my girlfriend and I had a Cheese and Wine evening. She had been given a big selection of cheese by a friend of hers so the original plan was that we were going to work our way through that. However she had to pop to the shops in the afternoon for something and ended up also buying a baked Camembert plus some Cheese and Onion bread. She had also made Hummus with a selection of vegetables.

I had selected a really nice Rioja to accompany our feast. I am not an expert at pairing wines. I will as a general rule always choose to have that variety with anything. The Camembert came with its own Red Onion style Chutney and we heated the flavoured bread. Needless to say it was delicious. There is really nothing not to like about any hot melted cheese on warm bread. One thing I will say is that if you are sharing a decent sized Camembert between two people with endless dough it is very filling. When you also add the Hummus and the grapes to that mix even when this is enjoyed across an hour, you will be unable to move at the end of it.

It was a very simple but extremely effective meal, although we did totally fail with the initial idea which was to use up the gift Cheese. The late edition to proceedings of the Baked Camembert, lovely though it was meant we did not end up eating any of the Cheese that we had planned to enjoy! Happily, though this does mean that we can have another Cheese and Wine night soon. We will just have to make sure that we do not add to the existing supplies next time as that is counter-productive it would seem.

Cheese

I find that eating Cheese can lead to some pretty interesting dreams. This is something I am a fan of as I like a decent dream. I like to be entertained while I am sleeping. Have you found that you are either dreaming more or having weird dreams due to the lockdown? One thing I have noticed is that people I talk to or even see on television are starting to make cameo appearances in my dreams on the same night.

I appreciate this makes me sound slightly crazy but I really feel that I have dreamed things in the past that later on actually happen. It has only occurred on a few occasions. Happily they have always been good or positive things, so far at least! Just for the record I am not claiming to be the new Nostradamus. I only predict one thing about every ten years.

Give Peace A Chance
Give Peace A Chance

I am still keeping up my quite intensive exercise routine. Although I need to with the amount of food I seem to be eating. My girlfriend cooked me a fabulous roast the other week. She used one of Jamie Oliver’s recipe’s for Pork. The best thing about this meal is of course the crackling.

This is an easy thing to get wrong. We have all either broke our teeth on some or found it to be so chewy you have to give up on it. I am delighted to report that the crackling on this occasion was perfect, crispy but easy to chew and not at all tough. The whole meal was fantastic to be fair.

Roast Pork

I am still continuing to watch more films than at any time previously due to the fact I am in a lot more and need to keep myself occupied. As a result of this my girlfriend is now trying to find movies that she describes as “Neil Friendly” meaning I will be able to watch them without losing interest. The latest one of these was Ocean’s Eight. I had seen all the Ocean’s movies with George Clooney and Brad Pitt already so I had a good idea of what to expect from it. It is an all-female cast led by the brilliant Sandra Bullock who plays Clooney’s character’s sister from the other films.

It is a good film, the cast are fantastic and it is of course a heist film made in the exact style as the others. It is easy to watch and follow the plot. There are some nice random cameo appearances in it. Then near the end James Corden pops up on screen with a speaking role. The odd thing about this whole franchise of movies is that you find yourself on the criminal’s side supporting them and willing them to achieve the goal they have set themselves. Fun, straight forward entertainment plus everything is better when Helena Bonham Carter is in it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Did you see that to mark her forty-eighth birthday Gwyneth Paltrow posed naked for a photo in her garden that she then posted on her social media? It was all very tastefully done.

It is my birthday in two months I have not decided what I will be doing for mine yet but rest assured it will not be that. Let us all be thankful that she did not post a video showing us how she makes those intimate candles she sells!

Neil Quigley

I have a small amount of shares in a small number of horses with the wonderful Owners Group. My own personal stable has increased a bit in the last week. I have added a new horse called “Rock Legend” to my portfolio. He will be trained by Dan Skelton at his stables in Warwickshire. I also have “Proclaimer” who is trained and looked after by Julie Camacho. He has had a few runs this year and has finished in the top four on every occasion. I welcome “Rock Legend” to the group with a name like that I felt that I just had to have him on board.

My other two horses are trained by the brilliant Paul Nicholls at his stables in Somerset. I have been lucky enough to visit the facilities there and they are brilliant. All the horses are so well looked after and cared for. “Force Ten” had a few races last year and will it looks hopefully go hurdling later this month. “Stage Star” is due to make his racecourse debut later this month. It will be great to finally see him in action. He is a lovely horse and he has shown a bit of potential in training.

Neil Quigley and Paul Nicholls

The Owners Group are fantastic. They send weekly updates on all of my horses to me. When they are allowed they organise stable visits to see the horses and meet the trainers. I get regular videos of them in training and I get the chance to attend races as an owner, when we are allowed to in the current circumstances.

It is wonderful fun and a great insight into the horse racing industry. Plus it is always nice and exciting seeing my horses on the track and competing in races.

Neil Quigley and Stage Star

There is never a dull moment supporting Tottenham Hotspur. The stress of watching the games I swear takes a few years off your life. We drew with Newcastle at home in the league thanks to some poor finishing and an unbelievable last minute penalty incident. How you can be punished when you are looking in the other direction and just jumping for a ball I really do not know. The current interpretation of that rule needs to be looked at. You can see players every time they are in the penalty area just trying to kick the ball at defenders hands. It is not even subtle.

Then two days later we beat Chelsea on penalties to progress in the League Cup. That was brilliant by the way. I really enjoyed that one I am not going to lie. Two days after that we go through to the group stages of the Europa League after winning 7-2 at home with Harry Kane grabbing a hat trick. That was another top performance from a team whose schedule for games was crazy. It reminded me of when I was thirteen and playing for two age groups at school as well as my Sunday team.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

Just three days after that we were away at Manchester United in the Premier League. We concede a penalty inside the first thirty seconds and I am thinking here we go again. We equalised quickly and then soon after were in the lead. They then have a player sent off and we go on to win the game 6-1. Which I still cannot quite believe even now. A great team performance achieved with two key injuries, Dele only on the bench and we still have a certain Gareth Bale to come into the mix.

I am trying not to get too excited about the next few months. But I think there is at least a little room for optimism. I am starting to warm more to Jose Mourinho. Seeing the Amazon documentary has enabled me to see his style of management and has made it easier to understand his team selections and some of the things he says to the media. We could be in for an interesting season, we will lose games, things will not always go our way but I also think that there could be some more memorable moments around the corner. At least I hope so anyway.

Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Spurred On

Last Sunday 30th August 2020 saw the last ever show broadcast on the Aylesbury radio station Mix 96. It was hosted by Nathan Cooper who had been there for twenty three years. It is the place where I did work experience when I was at college in the year that it was launched 1994. It is also the station where my professional radio career began. Therefore as you can imagine it was an institution I had very fond memories of.

Neil Quigley

I listened to the final show. I was lucky enough to get a mention on it from Nathan. After all these years I must confess I still love hearing my name on the radio. He did an amazing job presenting that show. The place holds so many professional and personal memories for him. It has been his life for over two decades. His final link was just perfect, delivered and executed masterfully. Plus he did manage to make me cry right at the end.

Mix 96

The radio landscape across the United Kingdom has been changing for at least the last twenty years with “local” regions becoming a lot larger and with more networked shows across lots of radio stations. Mix 96 was one of the last originally independent radio stations to finally dissolve into this new system. Which is a mark of its success, financially and audience wise. A tribute to all who ever set foot in the place and worked hard there and to the Aylesbury Vale as a whole, who got involved, helped and supported the station right from its launch.

Mix 96

Last year to celebrate Mix 96’s Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Richard Carr from Bucks TV made a documentary about the station. I do make a few appearances in it and it is well worth a watch. It will give you a brief history of the station but also supply some great behind the scenes stories and insight into how it came to be in the first place and what it was almost actually called. I have a copy of it that I might just have to watch again now. It was such a fun and exciting place to have worked. Great days!

Neil Quigley

It has been replaced by Greatest Hits Radio. It does feature a few familiar voices including Pat Sharp who did a weekend show for a bit during my second spell at Mix 96. It also has Martin Starke doing the Drive Time Show. He was on my team when we won a Pop Master Quiz live event hosted by Ken Bruce last year, so I can vouch for his music knowledge. It does seem lots of things in life change and move on. Mix 96 was an exceptional local radio station but now on 96.2fm we have Greatest Hits Radio.

Neil Quigley

I am still only prepared at the moment to go to outside events. This does of course limit my options but I do not feel comfortable as yet inside pubs or restaurants. I recently went to a Comedy Store live event at Hatfield House. As I continue my tour of big estate houses that are allowing their grounds to be used for public gatherings.

I have been to the actual Comedy Store in London many times. If you have not had the pleasure of going there it is a small enclosed space holding a few hundred people. It is totally perfect for a fun night out under normal circumstances but currently closed as any chance of social distancing in there is non-existent.

Neil Quigley

Therefore this gig was very much outside on a stage that was quite a long way from the audience. When we arrived and parked up it was raining so we waited in the car for a bit and thankfully it stopped. It did not start until eight-thirty. We made our way to find a tiny white circle to claim as ours. There were lots of them painted two metres away from each other. We had taken with us some camping chairs so we set them up and settled down for the show.

Before it started a man asked me how many people each circle could hold and seemed surprised when I said it depends how many people are in your group. I honestly think he was planning on asking to sit in with us. I can only presume he has not read a paper recently or does not own a television or a radio. Mate if we did not have to all social distance I would not be sat outside in the dark in a field on a chilly night in late August. It was a lot colder than I was expecting and I definitely under dressed for the occasion.

Ian Stone

The host for the night was Ian Stone. I saw him over twenty years ago at The Comedy Store on a night where a work colleague of mine at the time spent his entire set heckling him. It was nice to see him again and hear his stuff uninterrupted. The first act was Tom Ward who I had seen before at the Old Rope Comedy Club in London. He was great. There was then an interval which gave me a chance to get a cup of tea from the one drink outlet they had onsite, which was an old red bus.

Jen Brister

The next comic to perform was the wonderful Jen Brister. I have seen her a few times before including at the sadly short lived comedy night at a pub in Aylesbury. She is very funny, I like her a lot. The headline act was Phil Nichol who I had not seen before. He was brilliant. A bit wild and wacky and I think it is fair to say he brings a lot of energy to the stage. He does some comedy songs as part of his act and he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

Phil Nichol

Overall it was a good night. The comedians were all great despite admitting themselves that they were a bit out of practice, which of course is totally understandable. Personally I did not feel that the social distancing was as controlled and as good as other events I have been to. But a large part of that of course is reliant on the other people there with you and how they behave. I think that may be my last outside event until at least Fireworks night. As it was not as easy to laugh at the jokes as it could have been, while shivering slightly.

Comedy Store Hatfield House

One of my horses “Proclaimer” ran the other week at Yarmouth. The trainer Julie Camacho had been trying to get him a race for a while. But we were not having much luck. The last race he was due to take part in the race meeting was abandoned just before it was about to start. Anyway he did manage to get a run in at last in Norfolk.

He went off favourite and finished in second place in a seven furlong race. That was a great result for the team and I was happy with that. He ran very well under the excellent jockey Tom Marquand. He does seem to be improving with every run at the minute, so I have plenty to be optimistic and excited about. I look forward to seeing him out on a racecourse again soon. Hopefully in the next ten days.

Proclaimer

A very obvious side product of staying at home more is that I seem to be watching more films. Normally if I manage more than two in one year that is exceptional but I am flying through them this year. Last weekend I watched Bad Boys for Life. Amazingly I had already seen the first two Bad Boys films before. I have like most people of my generation grown up with Will Smith. I probably should add that I did enjoy the first two movies. The first one was my favourite as I think it was slightly funnier.

The latest one is good and a fun easy watch. That is meant as a compliment. Although due to the ages of the two stars now it is in danger of being a bit Lethal Weapon at times. There is plenty of action in it and it was a bit gorier than the previous ones from my memory anyway. I did like it although that may have been because it did seem to borrow a key plot line from my favourite film franchise. Spoiler alert! There is a bit of a hint of Star Wars about it. Up to the point of where the set piece finale scene looks weirdly familiar. It was a good though.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars

I was not totally sure if I was looking forward to this or not as we had not had the greatest season. And I was a big Mauricio Pochettino fan so I was disappointed when he was sacked. However I have watched the first three episodes of the new Tottenham Hotspur Amazon “All or Nothing” documentary. I think I decided as a Spurs fan and season ticket holder that it was my duty to see it. I never got round to seeing the Manchester City one even though I had heard that it was really good, so I did not really know what to expect.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

In the end you see very little of us under Pochettino and he is gone by the end of the first episode. They have got some great shots of the stadium and our training complex. It is quite interesting seeing what goes on behind the closed doors of a Premier League club. Although I feel it is not exactly secret camera stuff. You do feel everyone is at least aware of the cameras being around. It was very nice to see my former radio colleague Amy Lewis feature at Jose Mourinho’s first press conference asking a question. Mind you, it is only the back of her head you see but you can hear her voice. She currently works for ITV sport.

Tottenham Hotspur

One thing that was good to see and that impressed me was Harry Kane in the team meeting saying to the whole squad exactly what we were all saying about the performances in the stands at that time. In fact he almost said word for word the views that I had been expressing. It is interesting to see how Jose deals with and talks to his players. He is actually a lot calmer in the dressing room than I may be thought he would be. The only annoying thing is I get to relive the moments when we totally blew the chance of a top four finish.

I am looking forward to the next six episodes which will be released over the next two weeks. Possibly due to the fact I know quite a bit about the club I have not seen or learnt anything ground-breaking as yet. But in the first three episodes we only saw small snippets of each situation. It is referenced in the introduction but I do also feel that losing the Champions League Final against Liverpool really did affect us mentally during the last campaign. I hope I continue to be entertained by the behind the scenes workings of my club.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

As you can probably imagine from the way I am dealing with the current ongoing situation there is no way I am going on holiday abroad at the moment. But I am heading off for a short break near the seaside in just over a week’s time. I have rented a cottage on a cliff overlooking the sea in Norfolk. I am looking forward to getting away for a bit. It is always good to have a change of scenery now and again. I will tell you all about it next time we speak.

Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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.