Tag Archives: horse racing

Messi Time

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. As a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur. I managed to get myself along to the Champions League game against Barcelona at Wembley Stadium. It was a match I had been looking forward to since the draw was made.

Unfortunately going in to it we had a few injuries to key players. But I still felt we could give them a good game. Although we were a goal down inside the first two minutes. Thanks to some genius from the legend that is Lionel Messi. And possibly a little bit of poor decision making from the otherwise excellent Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham v Barcelona
Tottenham v Barcelona

It was a very exciting game to be at. The place was full and the atmosphere was great. Well it was at least for the first few minutes. Then it did go a bit quiet when they scored. Spurs put in a battling performance. There were two moments. When we pulled goals back. That I did think might see us grab a draw or even the win.

Even if we had managed that. Although we played well. We would not really of deserved it. Barcelona were by far the better team. It was an honour to get to see Lionel Messi play in person. He is still, I think the best player in the world. And Yes I have seen Ronaldo play to. He struts around like he owns the place. Always finds space. He can pass, dribble and shoot better than anyone.

He scored two great goals and hit the same post twice. It was a great pleasure to see him play. That Barcelona side has a lot of very good players. But he still looks head and shoulders above of all them. It is possibly the first time I have seen my team lose. And not been too disappointed. We gave it our all. And we were just beaten by a better team.

Neil Quigley and Lionel Messi
Neil Quigley and Lionel Messi

A few Friday’s ago some mates and I made our now annual visit to the Ascot Racing Beer Festival. It is just a good excuse to all meet up, have a laugh and watch some racing. Oh and have a few drinks. Well it is a beer festival. So it would be rude not to. We decided to go a bit crazy. And spend an extra five pounds each for the King Edward VII Enclosure.

One of my friend’s took responsibility for buying the tickets. I then sensibly checked out the dress code requirements. And sent them to the Whats App Group. That we had set up for this event. This is how seriously we were taking it. We had to wear a shirt with a collar, tie, and a Jacket. I suggested we should all wear suits. Which to be fair, everyone did.

On the day. We met up outside the race course. As the friend who bought the tickets, still had them. When I arrived I noticed that he was not wearing a tie. Almost straight away I asked him if he had one with him. He said no. Then claimed it was not a requirement of the stand we were going in to. I however said otherwise.

Ascot Beer Festival
Ascot Beer Festival

Anyway as we go to walk into the King Edward. He is stopped and told he cannot go in without a tie. The gentlemen informs him that he can buy one downstairs. He then heads off to find himself some neck wear. With us being the great friends we are. We went straight into the enclosure to all get a beer.

We then get a message from him saying the cheapest tie he can find is sixty five pounds. We offer to forfeit the great views and private bars we have. To spend the day downstairs with him. He feels bad, so he goes out in to the High Street to find a tie. But he still cannot find one.

Then he comes back in to the racecourse and finds another shop in the grounds. Where he buys a tie for fifteen pounds. He must have been gone about twenty minutes. He then comes and joins us in the stands for the rest of the day. The moral of this story is always make sure you read all Whats App messages properly.

King Edward VII Enclosure
King Edward VII Enclosure

We had a great afternoon, chatting, catching up and laughing. They also had my favourite locally brewed pint there. Which is Rebellion IPA. They are based in Marlow. So it had not had that far to travel to Ascot. It was lovely as ever. I also sampled a pint of the very local Windsor & Eaton Brewery’s Champions Day Ale. Which was also very agreeable.

I think everyone had at least one winner during the day. We had a great view of the whole course and the finishing line. From where we were up in the King Edward VII Enclosure. Once the racing was over. We then went to a pub in Ascot for a few more drinks. Luckily they had a barbecue there selling cheeseburgers and hot dogs. We had somehow neglected to get any food during the afternoon. So it was a much needed snack.

It was a brilliant day spent with good friends. We have already made plans to do the same thing next year. Hopefully my mate will make sure he wears his newly purchased tie to. We then got a taxi home. Stopping off in High Wycombe to get some more food.

I was not sure what I fancied. Then I spotted a new Chinese Take-Away. I just grabbed some Chilli Beef and some Dim Sum. The food was great, although I ate it using just my fingers. It was not till I had finished. That I noticed they had put a plastic knife and fork in the bottom of the bag. But on the plus side I will know that next time.

Ascot Beer Festival
Ascot Beer Festival

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my cousin’s wedding. The ceremony was in a local church in Monks Risborough. In fact, it was the church associated with my Primary School. Therefore for me, being in there waiting for her to arrive. It bought back memories of concerts, Harvest Festivals. And the time I played a Monk in a play there.

I did have plenty of time to do this. As she was about fifteen minutes late arriving at the church. Her husband to be, was cool about it. And took it all in his stride. Plus to be fair, he had already predicted that should would almost certainly not be on time.

It was a really lovely service. My dad gave a reading towards the end. Which he did flawlessly. It really was a job well done. And I was very proud. I did give him a little bit of coaching. When he first started rehearsing it. Therefore I think I should get some of the credit for his performance.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

With the marriage ceremony completed. It was then off to the Reception. Which was being held in Burnham Beeches. They had laid on a mini bus to take us there and back. We each had a little snack goody bag to enjoy on the way there. Keeping our energy levels up until the Wedding Breakfast later on. It was Champagne on arrival. Credit to the waiting staff. They were very proficient at topping up glasses. My planned one glass of fizz turned in to being two.

We had some photos taken. Then it was time to sit down for food. The meal was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once the deserts had been tidied away it was time for the speeches. My cousin sadly lost her dad a few years ago.

Her Mum gave her away in the church. And her Sister in effect gave the Father of Bride speech. Although she very much did make it her own. It was an exceptional speech and performance. Pitched I felt perfectly for the occasion. Plus it was very funny. I rate myself as a bit of a public speaker. But I am not sure I would have wanted to follow that.

The Happy Couple
The Happy Couple

That task fell to the Groom. Who did a splendid job. Before passing the baton on to the Best Man. He did a fantastic job to. Nothing was missing . It was a text book speech with all the key elements in there. After the speeches it was time for a few more group photos. While the room was reset for the evening do and disco.

I must admit that is probably the most I have danced for a while. But rest assured I still have all the moves. I am more than match fit and ready if Strictly Come Dancing come calling.

Wedding Fun
Wedding Fun

They also had one of those photo booths there. You know the ones where they have a bit of dressing up box. And you can go in and take silly photos. I ended going in there five times with different people during the evening. It was good fun. I am looking forward to seeing some of the pictures.

I had a really lovely day. Talking to lots of relatives. I had not seen for a while. Having a bit of a boogie. Taking funny photos. But mainly of course celebrating the special day of a beautiful couple. Who I wish a very healthy and happy life together. Congratulations to the both of them. Thanks for letting me share your big day with you. We left just before midnight, so I did not turn in to a Pumpkin.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There is quite often something unusual or interesting happening outside my place of work. Which I must confess, I like. As I walked out the door to head home the other evening. There was a full orchestra and large choir performing the classic song from Mary Poppins. That is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

It sounded brilliant. And I must confess it did put a spring in to my step. And make me smile, as I went past them. I enjoyed it so much I would now like that to happen every time I leave to go home. It was in my head for the next two days. I could not stop singing it!

BBC
BBC

People of Buckinghamshire and surrounding areas. This is your last reminder that the brilliant Evita comes to the Wycome Swan from the 23rd October for a week. My good friend. The super talented Mike Sterling is playing Juan Peron in it. I went and saw it a few months ago in Great Malvern. It is a sensational production of a classic musical.

I am going to the opening night on the Tuesday. I am looking forward to seeing the show once again. Plus catching up with Mike. As I said if you can get yourself a ticket to see this then do. You will not be disappointed.

Evita
Evita

Lee Ryan was voted off of Strictly Come Dancing last week. It was a shame to see him go. He is a nice bloke and good fun.

I did a gig with him in Yeovil once. During his solo career. After he had performed he stayed around for the rest of the night drinking and chatting to the audience.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

By Royal Approval

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and lots of fun. Two weeks ago today then I went to my second Royal Ascot. Last year, as I was just dipping my toe in. I went in the Windsor Enclosure. Which was brilliant. But this time I thought I would upgrade slightly and just see what it was like in the Queen Anne Enclosure.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I went there with a good showbiz friend of mine Mike Sterling. We met up at Waterloo on the Saturday morning. After grabbing some water for the journey. We then braved what I suspected would be a packed train to Berkshire. However it was actually not that bad and we managed to get a seat together. Which meant we could catch up and have a nice natter. Which made the travel time fly by.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

We arrived at the racetrack around twelve forty-five. Sensibly we decided to grab some food first. There were plenty of options. But in the end we opted for a chicken wrap. Which I must admit hit the spot and tasted pretty damn nice to. After a stroll round the place. Just to get our bearings. We decided to have a quick drink before the Royals arrived. It is a marathon day not a sprint at Ascot, so we just started off with an half of lager each. You really cannot buy experience.

Then it was time to head off to get a place in the Parade Ring. Ahead of the arrival of the Queen. To get the space I wanted we had to get in there a bit early. But we did find a cracking spot. Right next to the area set aside for people who were in the Royal Enclosure. Before she arrived Mike managed to nip out and get us another beverage to toast her arrival. Which with the crowds growing was quite a feat to be honest.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I am a big fan of the Royal family, so I enjoyed Her Majesty arriving in her carriage pulled by those famous grey horses. And her waving to the crowd. I waved back of course. I like to think that she did see me and acknowledged me. Then once she had shaken hands with the selected elite welcoming party. She headed off to her private box to enjoy the day’s racing. While we made our way to the track to do the same.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I had a little bit of success in the first race. I was as a child and if I am being honest am now still a fan of the television show The Dukes Of Hazard. The famous car in it is called the General Lee. There was a horse in the race called General Hazard.

It was a bit of an outsider. But on the name alone. I backed it each way. It came in third. Which meant I acquired some money back from that one. I only had one other winner during the afternoon. That however really did not spoil my enjoyment of this fantastic event.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

Midway through the afternoon. We took a lunch break in The Band Stand Kitchen restaurant. We sampled the Tex Mex Platter and a Coronation Chicken salad. I have to say it was marvellous. It was all very tasty and the portion size was huge. Which is something you do not always associate with these kind of venues and events. If you know what I mean.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

There is a Band Stand in the Queen Anne Enclosure with a full brass band and a singer. After the day’s racing is over. There is a traditional sing-song around it. Therefore Mike and I grabbed ourselves a glass of Pimms each and headed there to get involved. Lots of people do stay on to enjoy it.

They did play a whole host of old and relatively new top party songs. Basically everybody there joins in. To make it even easier they put all the words up on the big screens. So it is a bit like a giant karaoke. We did every song from the classic Sweet Caroline to We’ll Meet Again and everything in between. It was brilliant fun.

Mike Sterling is a West End performer. Who has starred in The Phantom of The Opera and Les Misarables. So it was amazing to be standing next to him, while he was singing. I was happy to just to sing backing vocals and fill in with some harmony’s. It is all so British with flags waving, champagne being drunk and everyone joining in. I must say I loved it!

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

Rather than rush off. We decided to wait for the train traffic to die down a bit. So we went for a few drinks in a couple of pubs in Ascot. On the way to the first one. We bumped in to a former Jockey that Mike knew called Karen Wiltshire. As well as having a successful riding career. She has also done some presenting on various racing programmes. It was fascinating to talk to her and get some of the inside stories and secrets from the world of racing. It was lovely to meet her.

After having a drink at the pub right next to the train station. We decided to catch the train back to London. It was much quieter than on the way there, so we easily found a seat. We randomly got talking to a couple of Italian ladies. Who had been at the races. Mike speaks a little bit of Italian. Plus he is a trained Opera Singer. Who knows a few big Italian songs. He ends up serenading the ladies with a couple of songs in their native tongue.

I was sitting next to him and let me tell you it sounded beautiful. They were loving it. One of them was filming it on her phone, so she could send it to all her friends in Italy.  We had people walking down the train to get closer and enjoy the impromptu performance.

It is a shame neither of us were wearing Top Hats or we could have put them down and made a few quid. To have such a talent must be amazing. He absolutely made the two girls day. It also made the train trip back to London very enjoyable.

Once we were back in Waterloo. We went to a nearby bar to have a nice glass of red wine to toast a successful and fun day. It was such a good occasion that I am already planning next year’s trip. I will again choose the Queen Anne Enclosure. Mainly just for the access to the Parade Ring and the Band Stand singing at the close of the event.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

I had a brilliant time at this year’s Tringe Roving Comedy Night. I did the course and performed at it in 2012. Then last year I got to do it again. Which was so much fun. I was watching all the action at The Kings Arms. A venue that I played during my debut year. There were twelve brand new comedians and four professionals. One for each of the four groups, that each perform in four different pubs around the town.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Congratulations to all of the Logan Murray Course Graduates. Who performed on the night. You were all great. You got up there and did you stuff. I hope you enjoyed it and will keep doing it. If you now have the taste for it after this introduction. I would recommend doing the comedy course and this event to anyone. It is lots of fun and you will get a lot out of it. The people behind the Tringe Festival are all ace.

The professional comedians were all brilliant. They included Steve Best, who really does have his own unique style. I enjoyed seeing him for the first time. Rich Wilson, who was another new one on me was also very funny. Then there was the brill Laura Lexx.  Who I had seen before doing the warm up at a recording of Upstart Crow. She is fantastic.

Rich Wilson
Rich Wilson

Finally there was the guy who I once gave a lift home to. The always hilarious Silky. He was quality as ever. It helps the whole night along. When you know that you are never more than three comedians away from a seasoned and polished act. As a new comedian. I was delighted with this. As it made the audience more patient knowing that a comedy treat was on the way very soon.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

I did manage to briefly catch up with Silky after the show. For our annual chat. He is a top bloke. I did also grab a quick word with the very funny Olaf Falafel. Plus I spoke to the man behind the whole brilliant festival Ben Moorhouse.

I am hoping to bump in to all of them and see their full shows. When I am up in Edinburgh at the Festival in August. Sadly though I did not get to see the comedy guru himself Logan Murray. I had to dash off before he arrived at the after show drinks.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The football World Cup is reaching its big finale. I have been trying to watch as many matches as I can. There have been plenty of goals and excitement and that was just the England against Panama game.

Not to mention the high drama of the penalty shoot out against Columbia. With three Spurs players scoring in it. Just saying! Today we face Sweden in the Quarter Finals. Come on England!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My Dad’s cousin lives in Australia and has done for many years. He was in Russia supporting his country at all their group games. He is now visiting England. Which was always the plan. I am not sure if it would have changed if Australia had got through to the knock out rounds. Or he was realistic about their chances. When all of this was booked.

I am hoping to see him today to find out what it was like in Russia. And actually being there at a World Cup supporting your nation. I would love to be able to do that myself one day. Now that the chance of me representing England in one of these tournaments has may be passed. Also I quite fancy a visit to Australia, so I may have a chat to him about that to. It will be really nice to meet up with him.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am very excited about my upcoming holiday. I am going to America to do a bit of a musically inspired tour of the place. Which includes visits to the home of County and Western Nashville, the place where Elvis Presley made his home Memphis and the area where Jazz and Blues exploded New Orleans.

It is going to be extremely interesting and a lot of fun. It does mean the blog will be taking a little bit of a break. But I will of course tell you all about the trip, when I return.

Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70's #crazydays
Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70’s #crazydays

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

Bat Out of Hell

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been fun and interesting. In a world where we all just seem to be getting busier and busier it is important to make the most of your free time. Therefore the other Monday I did just that, as I enjoyed another evening at the Horse Racing at Windsor. I am a huge fan of the sport and it is always a good fun way of spending a few hours. I like the whole experience from the dressing up, the arriving and getting a race card to try to find the winning horses, to the looking for the best odds in the betting ring before each race.

I generally have mixed results on selecting the horse that is going to shine and be successful in each race. But let me tell you when your horse is in contention coming in to the final furlong that certainly gets the adrenaline pumping and raises the excitement level. It also gives you a nice rush when your horse does win. Sadly for me on this last visit I was not troubling the bookies at all. I did not pick any winners. But it was a great evening of racing with some exciting contests. Which included one race which was won by a horse whose odds were eighty to one. Trust me we all wished we had put ten pounds on that one afterwards but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The atmosphere was good as ever. As Windsor is quite a small course it is very easy to move between the parade ring, the grandstand and the winners enclosure. So you can really follow the story of each race and feel very involved. Plus they do tend to theme each of their events and often put on live music after the racing has ended. This time it was a sausage festival, which I did have to get involved with and sample a few of the flavours on offer. Well it would have been rude not to.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The first football team I joined after begging my dad to get me in, as he knew the manager was Risborough Rangers, my home town team. I was seven years old. I played for them pretty much from the Under ten age group through to the Under sixteen’s. Then I played for the Aylesbury United Youth Team for a couple of years before returning to play for the reserves at Rangers and then going on to make a few appearances for the first team. Before I found radio and swapped football pitches for studios. Now the reason I bring this up is the other week I actually got to watch the first ever club I played for, play in the FA Cup.

They were at home in a FA Cup Extra Preliminary replay against Cockfosters. Who they had drawn with at their place the previous Saturday. It was a Tuesday night and I was free, so I thought I would go down and cheer them on. They play at a ground called Windsors. A pitch that I have played on and scored on many times over the years. It is a really nice set up down there and is a very friendly club. They have two small seated stands for fans and the playing surface is in excellent condition. Plus they serve tea at the tea bar in proper actual cups, which is a huge plus point for me.

Risborough Rangers
Risborough Rangers

Before the game it was great to bump in to so many people I knew. I saw my first ever football manager who would have picked me for my first ever match when I was a kid. He was also the manager of the reserves when I played for them. I also caught up with my manager at the Aylesbury United Youth Team, who then went on to manage the Risborough Rangers first team for many years. He is now the stadium announcer there. While his son has replaced him as manager. I ended up watching the game with my Uncle and another former player, who we had both played with. It was great reminiscing about the old days and talking about how things had changed since our time.

Needless to say none of the players I knew are still playing, so I did not know any of the current side. And it was the first time that I had ventured down to watch them for years. The game itself was very entertaining. It was a competitive and close fought encounter until the away side grabbed two late goals at the end of the first half to lead two – nil going in to the break. Bearing in mind Cockfosters were a league above Rangers, it looked like a big ask for the home side to get back in to the game.

However Risborough pulled a goal back about twenty seconds after the restart. This gave them the momentum and hope to keep going and they were creating some decent chances but were unable to take them. Until they were awarded a penalty with about twenty minutes to go. Which was emphatically converted much to the delight of the home fans. And but for one exceptional save from the home keeper Risborough had the better chances but just could not get the ball in the net. So it went to extra time and penalties. Risbourough lost four-two in the shoot out. But it was a good performance and the town can be proud of the team and players for the effort they put in. I had a nice night, so I might even try to get down and see a few more games there this season.

Risborough Rangers
Risborough Rangers

The Premier League football season is now also underway. It was an interesting and exciting opening weekend with a few surprising results and plenty of goals. It was good to see Tottenham start the season with a win. We have been very slow starters the last couple of seasons, which may have cost us a little at the business end of things. Plus Newcastle’s last game in the Premier League before they were relegated was a big home win against us, which led to Arsenal over taking us in the league on the final day. So I felt we owed them one. Although it does still seem that Harry Kane is unable to score in August. Hopefully he can change that this weekend against Chelsea.

With Spurs playing at Wembley Stadium this season I am hoping to get to as many games as I possibly can. Annoyingly I am unable to attend our first two Premier League matches but I will definitely be at the Swansea game. I am trying to organise a weekend in Liverpool for the Everton away trip to. Whatever happens I am sure it will be a fun and exciting season. I am looking forward to it. Plus who does not like a season that also ends with a World Cup to enjoy. It really has never been such a good time to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last week I went and saw Bat Out of Hell The Musical at the London Coliseum. It features the music of course of Jim Steinman and many songs that were made famous and originally performed by Meatloaf. It was initially written as a musical before it was then turned in to the classic album that we all know and love. Which this October will celebrate its fortieth birthday. Packed full of big rock anthems, all performed in Meatloaf’s unique and distinctive style. It was huge.

The musical is very futuristic and American in setting and story line. It did remind me a little bit of We Will Rock You in places. But it is very high energy with exceptional staging with great use of props and video imaginary. You can really tell it is a Steinman production. Featuring moments created on stage with occasional nods to Meatloaf videos or his classic performances or even his famous ribbon on his microphone. It is basically a very complicated love story set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Bat Out Of Hell
Bat Out Of Hell

The cast are brilliant and each get their chance to shine performing one of the big songs from the show. All the songs fit in nicely with the story and the narrative. And if you were in any doubt as to exactly what some of the songs were about the way they perform them and act them out. They make it pretty clear.

They have kept the arrangement of the songs as close to the original versions as possible in most cases. So it is basically just a rocking good night out. A top show that got a deserved standing ovation, as the cast and audience joined together for a version of its title song to end proceedings. So Rock and Roll dreams can come true.

Bat Out Of Hell
Bat Out Of Hell

Up in Scotland currently it is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is an event that somehow I have never been to but would absolutely love to. I really must get up there one year to experience it or may be even get the chance to perform up there.

There are so many great comedy shows and comedians there currently it is ridiculous. I know a few people who are up there doing shows. These include Silky and Olaf Falafel, who I gigged with at the Roving Comedy Night in Tring last month. They are both brilliant, so if you are at the Fringe you should definitely go and see them.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

It seems such an inclusive, wide and varied festival. As you have so many high profile and established comics performing their brand new shows for the first time. Normally before they take them out on a nationwide tour. But you also get so many acts trying to make their mark on the comedy circuit. They hire small venues and put on daily free shows, in the hope they can build an audience or that one of the many industry people there spot them and want to make them the next big thing.

So many comedians have said that Edinburgh really launched their careers and opened lots of doors for them. I would ideally like to spend a week up there and see how many different comedians I could watch a day. I like to laugh as much as possible every day, so I think it would be an amazing experience and most importantly lots of fun. I would imagine you would also meet a lot of fun and interesting people. I will get round to it one day I am sure. I am a great believer of trying to do as many different new things as possible every year and going to this would tick a big box for me, personally.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Did you see any of the World Athletics from the London Stadium? There were some great performances and magic moments.  It was lovely to see the place full of people enjoying the athletics. It was a little disappointing to see Usain Bolt and Mo Farrah both bow out of track running with defeats. But you know what, that just shows you how tough it is to achieve what they have and to maintain the level of performance that they have through their careers.

Sport is unpredictable and there are no guarantees. Two legends moving on to other things. Nothing lasts for ever. Enjoy your successes, live in the moment. And if you have given your all except the times when it is just not quite your day. So many good lessons in life can be learnt from sport. I have always thought this.

The London Stadium
The London Stadium

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

Food for Thought

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. A couple of Friday’s ago, a good friend of mine invited me around to his house for some food and a few drinks.

Everybody has such busy lives nowadays, it is really hard to organise the time to meet up and see people. Which I think makes this time spent with mates and family even more special and precious. Even more so in light of the recent events in Manchester and London. So it was brilliant to catch up with one of my oldest friends and his family.

Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun
Neil Quigley Enjoying the Sun

It was a lovely hot and sunny day. He has a very nice garden. So we had a few beers outside before he fired up the barbecue. Both him and his wife are excellent cooks, so the standard of food when I go round to there place is always high. He cooked up a selection of steak, chicken, salmon and sausages. Which was supplemented by a potato salad and finished off by a wonderful home made fruit salad.

This was all washed down with a few glasses of a twelve year old Rioja, which I supplied. I know my Red Wine. It was a fun night spent in great company with lovely food and drink. It is so important to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I also went out in Oxford recently for some food and drink. One of the things I really enjoyed from my recent trip to Barcelona was the Catalan style Tapas. Somebody told me about a great restaurant in the Jericho area of Oxford, which did this type of cuisine. So it would have been rude not to try it out. Firstly I sampled the wine. The Rioja there was very nice. Then I ordered a selection of four different dishes to try. Which is kind of how a Tapas style meal works. You have a little selection of what is on offer from the vast menu.

The first dish that arrived was baked goats cheese and honey. Which although I admit sounds a bit of an odd combination was fantastic. So that was a very strong start. Then the waiter brought out the spicy potatoes, the chicken and chorizo in tomato sauce and the roasted peppers dish.

The first two were nice and I enjoyed them but the peppers were a little disappointing. The first meal I had in Barcelona was a pepper dish and that was sensational. I was hoping for more of the same here, but sadly this offering was no where near as good. Mind you, I was too full for pudding, which I must confess is very rare for me.

After the food I continued the evening at a really nice wine bar down the same road as the restaurant with a few more glasses of what else but Rioja. It was a civilised evening. Some decent food and and few glasses of a nice Red Wine. Which is the kind of night I am starting to enjoy more as I get a little bit older.

Oxford is such a beautiful City. And now a really easy journey from my local train station. So I think I might end up doing some more exploring there before the end of the summer. I did work there for a bit at a radio station called Passion 107.9. But I did not really go out there that much at the time, so there is plenty for me still to discover.

Oxford
Oxford

I have to be totally honest for the first time ever in my entire life I had no interest in the FA Cup Final and for the first time ever I did not watch it. Normally I will want one of the teams to win, so support them for the day. Or I will really not mind who wins and just watch it hoping for a good and entertaining match. Sadly this year it was kind of like the perfect storm for me.

Being a Tottenham Hotspur fan, my two least favourite teams in the world are Arsenal and Chelsea. I wanted both of them to lose and did not want either of them to win the cup. Which I knew was impossible, so I avoided the game. That said well done to Arsenal on winning. Hopefully next year I will be able to return to the joy and excitement of FA Cup Final day once again.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My dad celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday last weekend. He also retired from work to. So he held a retirement party for all the people he has worked with for the last twelve years at his final place of employment. Fair play to him. He organised it all by himself at a local pub near by where he lives. There was food, music and some nice speeches, so I was very impressed. It was also nice to see how popular he was at work, judging by the number of people who turned up to be there with him. And the nice messages that he got in his many leaving cards.

During his speech I found myself in the rather unusual position of cameraman, so he could have a nice memory of the occasion. Although me, my mum and sister slightly spoiled the effect by laughing a little bit too loud at his former boss making fun of some of his quirks. Which he only discovered when he watched the video the next day.

I to played my part. He had a buffet there. When it was announced it was open. Nobody at all was going up to get any of the food. As they were all politely waiting for someone to go first. Luckily I stepped in here, went up and filled my plate up. Then suddenly everyone started following me and started eating. In life there are shepherds and sheep and that night I was the shepherd.

Family Meal
Family Meal

I am not saying he was really milking the occasion but we also went out for a nice Sunday lunch to celebrate. There is nothing better than heading out to a pub for a nice roast dinner, it saves cooking and washing up for starters. We returned to the same place where my dad had held his party the night before.

While there I continued my support of locally produced beer by having a pint of the award winning Chiltern Brewery “Beechwood” beer. The other bonus about having food out is that generally most places have a much better selection of puddings than you do at home. Which for someone who always likes to finish off any meal with something sweet is a big plus point.

Windsor Races Winning
Windsor Races Winning

Then the final part of his Birthday celebrations was a trip to Windsor Races. He booked us a table in one of the restaurants in the Club Enclosure. Which overlooked the the home straight. It was the first time that we had, had this experience at a course that we have visited many times. I have to say it was brilliant.

There was a glass of Champagne on arrival. A fish platter to share. Which was amazing and unbelievably the first time I had ever tried Crab and Mussel. It will not be the last. Then we had a top quality three course meal. I had the Pork dish for my main. Not only did it taste fantastic but the presentation was sensational. It was made to look like a rural country field with even the crackling made in to a gate. It almost looked to good to eat.

After the food was over we enjoyed a great evening of racing. I was wearing what has now become my lucky racing suit. I bought it for Aintree and had a winner there. I then wore it at Newbury and had a winner there. And once again at Windsor it gave me a decent winner. Which pretty much paid for my night. So next time I go racing, I make no apology for the fact that I will be wearing it again. It was a lovely way of rounding of my dad’s celebrations and a great way to enjoy an evening’s horse racing.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was also the Britain’s Got Talent final last weekend. This year was a bit different as the judges did not actually have any say in the acts going through to the final. They were allowed to have their say on the performances but for the first time ever it was solely decided by the public vote. Credit where it is due. Doing it this way did mean there was generally a nice variety of acts. Although three magicians with two of them doing similar things was probably a little bit over the top.

As ever with this show there were quite a few people in the final who you could not see progressing any further. The whole act was what you saw and you could not really see it developing or evolving. But then if the competition is to just to win a quarter of a million pounds and perform at The Royal Variety Performance, I guess that does not really matter.

BGT London
BGT London

The show was brilliantly held together by Ant & Dec who for me are still the best presenting duo on television. Even when they make mistakes they help each other out, make a joke out of it and sort of just gloss over it. Which is a skill in itself. Love or hate the judges they do complement each other nicely. They all bring something different to the party across the entertainment genre. They do all have different areas of expertise.

I have said this before Simon Cowell has definitely mellowed a bit since becoming a dad. I mean he still can be honest and brutal when he needs to but he is better at talking to the kids. And certainly seems a lot more emotional about some of the performances that he witnesses. And much as it pains me to admit it, he is still the judge I agree with most often.

BGT London
BGT London

It was won this year by the very talented multi-instrumentalist Tokio Myers. Clearly a very clever and accomplished performer.  Although it is difficult to see what he can do with it to develop and grow it. He may find it tricky finding a big audience to see an individual concert because he is not really a standard classical artist. And you wonder if the people he appeals to would go to that sort of gig. I think collaborations could be the future for him. That said congratulations to him. He deserved to win it.

In third place it was the comedian Daliso Chaponda. He was very good but I do think it is very hard to shine as a comedian on this show. They are clearly very restricted with what they can do and it also feels a bit forced. And it is not a typical comedy style audience. If you are a singer with a great voice you can sing someone else’s song and impress. Comics have to do all their own stuff. I just think it is tough, so personally I can never see a comedian winning it. May be there should be a spin off show just for comedian’s only. If that now happens I want royalties, as it was clearly my idea.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It is now less than a month until my next big stand up comedy gig at the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. It takes place across four pubs in Tring on Sunday 2nd July. I am really looking forward to it. I will be on with some other former Roving Comedy performers from over the last eight years.

I made my first appearance there five years ago now.  If you fancy coming along for what is always a fun evening. There are still some tickets available. You will get to see about sixteen comedians in one evening, in one venue. Including at least four professional comics. Follow this link for more details. http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/2017/07/roving-comedy-night/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Up For A Laugh

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun things going on. A couple of Saturday’s ago I went to my mate’s brother’s thirtieth birthday drinks at a cool bar just near to London Bridge Station. I had not been there before and he had hired out a private bar area just for all his guests. It had a decent selection of different craft beers for me to try to work my way through.

I have known my friend and his sibling for years. In fact his brother very kindly designed and built the first version of my website. Which he did as part of his University studies and for the very reasonable fee of a crate of beer. Which is how I like to pay for most services I use. He has now gone on to work for an agency, which promotes much bigger brands than me and which means he is often jetting all over Europe for work. So it is fair to say he has done very well for himself. It was great to catch up with him.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There were also lots of other very friendly and interesting people there to talk to. I met their cousin for the first time, who is an actor. I have actually seen him perform once before although I did not realise that at the time. He was in a touring version of Spamalot, which I went and watched at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

He was also in the television show Peaky Blinders for a bit to. He has just signed with a new agent who already has some very big and well respected actor’s on their books. So hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of him on screen and on the stage over the next few years. For the record he is a great bloke. We had a really nice chat.

Adam Fisher
Adam Fisher

I also met an amazing lady who has set up from scratch her own Indian Restaurant in a pretty trendy area of London. It has been running for a couple of years and is doing so well that she is about to open another one in Brixton. So this could be the start of a big chain of this particular brand. She seemed so enthusiastic, happy and energetic, which I guess you need to be if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

I have since seen pictures of some of the dishes served there and they look fantastic. I do plan to go there and check it out for myself at some point. As the original place is not that far away from where I work. It was cool to meet her. It was a very chilled, fun and interesting evening.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

So since we spoke last my team Tottenham Hotspur have played their last game at White Hart Lane. We beat Manchester United by two goals to one, meaning that we went the whole of our final season at the old place undefeated. There was a fitting send off after the game with lots of former players there.

They are not messing around with the new stadium project though. They literally started pulling it down within a couple of hours of the closing ceremony. So next year we play our games at Wembley Stadium. I must admit that is easier for me to get to and with hopefully more tickets available for each match. I do hope to get to a lot more games next season.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We finished the season strongly winning our last two game’s away at Leicester City and Hull City by six one and seven one, respectively. If we can somehow take that form in to the start of next season that will be amazing. We finished second, so we will again play Champions League Football next season. Our Striker Harry Kane was the Premier League’s leading goal scorer for the second year in the row.

It has been a brilliant season. As a lifelong fan of the club I can honestly say that there has never been a more exciting time to be a Spurs fan. I already can’t wait for next season. I hope the players enjoy their break and then return even hungrier for success. And that we will keep all our best ones and add a few new ones.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Saturday as a Fortieth Birthday present a good friend of mine Adam Fisher took me to Newbury Races. It was the first time that I had been to that particular course. We went via train. It actually has its own dedicated station, which is about two minutes walk from the entrance. So as a way of getting there and back it is excellent.

On arrival we decided to sensibly get some food, so found a burger bar which fulfilled our needs and set us up for an afternoon’s racing. Now for me personally part of the fun is having a bet on the races. I like going to the bookies by the course and once I have decided on my horse I quite enjoy going round them to find the one which will give me the best odds on the animal I believe or rather hope will win the race.

Neil Quigley and Adam Fisher
Neil Quigley and Adam Fisher

You do get a great view of the track and the racing from the Grandstand. You can see the whole course. Although I do enjoy the social side of things. I do also like to watch all of the races. I only had one winner all afternoon. Which I picked purely because the horse shared its name with a former Spurs forward. So Defoe was the only horse to win me any money.

Although annoyingly I did have a few of my selections finish second but when you have only backed them to win, that is sadly not good enough. It was a nice afternoon, having a laugh and enjoying some exciting racing. After the races had finished we hopped back on the train and headed to Reading for a few drinks.

Newbury Races
Newbury Races

We went to a couple of pubs. In the first one they had an ale called tea. Now as possibly the world’s biggest tea drinker I had to give it a try to see if it compared to the normal standard of my hot drink of choice. Happily it was still served by the pint and not the cup. It was very drinkable but I think I will stick to the other version during the day and at work. For productivity reasons if nothing else.

We then went in to this other bar. There were just the two of us, me and Adam still. We sat down on this fairly big table as there were not many options, so we had lots of spare seats around us. Then a bloke comes over and asks if they can have a couple of the seats, to which we said yes. Then six more of his friends appear to ask to borrow seats to sit at a table for two that had just become available. So me being the nice man I am suggested we switch tables. Although part of me did want to try to see all eight of them with chairs get round this tiny table. But my good manners got the better of me. It was another top day out with a very good mate.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I once again visited the Old Rope Comedy Club at The Phoenix Pub in London. It is the new material night run by Tiff Stevenson. Every Monday night in the Capital. If you are free on a Monday and like new and quality comedy, you need to go and check it out.

If you buy tickets in advance it is not expensive either about six pounds in fact. The place has a good vibe to it. The acts just mill around in the bar area themselves in between performing. Everybody is very friendly and approachable. Plus it always attracts some top quality comedians.

Old Rope
Old Rope

The brilliant Tiff Stevenson was hosting as always. And on the bill trying out new jokes on the night were Sarah Kendall, Phil Wang, Adam Hills, Rhys James, Felicity Ward, Ed Byrne and Tony Law. They were all ace.

I have always liked Ed Byrne, so it was good to see him again. The only time that I had seen him do his stand up before was at the Glastonbury Festival. Another top night of comedy, enjoyed in a great London venue.

Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne

While we are talking about stand up comedy. I am delighted and very excited to announce that I will be performing at this year’s Roving Comedy Night as part of the brilliant Tringe Festival. Now I first did this five years ago. After completing an eight week comedy course led by the guru that is Logan Murray.

My fellow trainees and I headed out to perform our five minute sets in four different pubs in Tring on the same night. We were split in to groups and each one was led by a professional comedian. Who we went round with. I was with Tony Law who was exceptional, as well as being very supportive and encouraging. It was a truly memorable night and an amazing experience.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

So this year there is no training course but they are inviting back former trainees from the last eight year’s that this has been running. So I am very proud to be representing the class of 2012 at this year’s event. When I was offered the opportunity to do it again I jumped at the chance. It is such good fun.

We will again be supported by some top professional comedians including Arthur Smith and the legend that is Silky. Who I gave a lift back to his hotel after my original appearance at this event. It you fancy coming along to support this great and very entertaining night. Tickets are available now. Here is the link with all the information you need. See you there.  http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/2017/07/roving-comedy-night/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see the comedy play “The Miser” at the Garrick Theatre in London the other night. It is a reworking of a classic French farce with a brilliant cast which includes Griff Rhys Jones, Lee Mack, Matt Horne and Andi Osho. It was brilliant fun.

It is fair to say it does offer both Griff and Lee the chance to drift off script a bit and have a little bit of additional fun with the audience. The fourth wall is knocked down pretty early in the proceedings. There are some brilliant set pieces, as you would expect in a farce. A word of warning you do get to see a little bit more of Lee Mack than you may be expecting. But all done for laughs and in the best possible taste.

The set and costumes are great. I have to admit it was the first time I had been to The Garrick and it is a lovely traditional West End theatre, which I love. The play keeps you amused and chuckling from start to finish. The whole cast were great but  I thought Andi Osho was brilliant. I have seen her do stand up before but this was the first time that I had seen her act and on that performance I can definitely see her doing more theatre work in the future. Overall just good old fashioned theatre fun.

The Miser
The Miser

It has been a good fortnight for celebrity spotting. The other week Serge from Kasabian walked past me on the way to a radio interview. I bumped in to Nick Grimshaw as he was arriving to do his Radio 1 Breakfast Show.

Then one day Huw Edwards was in the canteen queue in front of me and then the next day Sophie Raworth was behind me. I also saw the former Rugby player Matt Dawson wondering around to.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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