Tag Archives: Royal Ascot

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

Stand Up and Make It Count

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. It has been a pretty decent week weather wise and I do think I am more of a Spring/Summer person, as I do like the sunshine.

The other Sunday afternoon I met a mate and just went for a few drinks in and around London. When you have no timescale and no real plan. You can just wander around and go where the mood takes you. And let’s face it there are lots of options in the Capital.

We started off just by Bond Street before making our way to Soho to enjoy a pint in the legendary Dog and Duck. From there it was just down the road to The Cambridge just opposite the Palace Theatre. In there we tried a few different halves of some local real ales including an intriguing plumb flavoured porter, which was lovely.

Next we headed to a tried and tested favourite The Albany at the top of Great Portland Street. The main reason being that they do a fantastic Sunday roast in there. Which once again did not disappoint. Then we called it a day and went home. I do like relaxing and fun afternoons like that.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have always been good at going to the Dentist pretty regularly, which I appreciate some people do struggle with. Now I have got to the stage where I actually book my own clean and polish appointments without being asked to.

I would not say I particularly enjoy these extra trips but my dentist is very nice and I always feel better for them. It is a pretty thorough clean which I am relieved I do not have to go through every morning and evening when I am brushing at home. I mean what do they use to power that special tooth brush? I am guessing it is the battery from an pneumatic drill by the sound of it.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I had a bit of a disaster the other week. I was walking out of work when I decided to look at my mobile phone. As I was getting it out it got caught on the side of my pocket and fell out of my hands only to fly about a meter through the air and come crashing down twice on the screen. Needless to say this did not do it much good.

In fact it pretty much shattered the whole display screen. Luckily it was still somehow working but with the screen broken and big cracks in it. It was pretty hard to read anything on it. After doing quite a bit of emergency research on what to do next. I was advised that as I had insurance it was best to claim on that and get a new replacement phone.

So I phoned the insurance company and they said it was all fine. They could do it but there was an excess charge of one hundred pounds to pay. But as this was considerably cheaper than buying a new I-phone. I went ahead with the claim. So you have to send them the broken phone and then they assess it before sending you out the new phone. This process could take up to seven working days. I got my first mobile phone in about nineteen ninety-nine and I had not been without one since. Like most people pretty much my entire life is on my phone, so I was a bit concerned about being without it for a whole week. But basically I had no choice. So away it went.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I will be honest I actually found not having one to be quite liberating. It meant I actually had to talk to people and just spend time chilling and thinking when I was travelling to places. Although I will admit it was annoying not to be able to check the internet whenever I wanted. It did feel a bit strange only being able to speak to people by email or through Facebook when I was near a computer.

But I did not actually miss it as much as I thought I would. I mean I still managed to have friends and meet up with them prior to ever having a mobile, so I should still be able to do that. However it was really odd not having one. But I kind of liked the freedom that no one could get in touch with me, like some wild and crazy maverick just going through life by himself.

That said I was pretty happy and excited when the new phone arrived. Happily they under promised and over delivered, as I received it within five days of making the initial claim. Although setting up the new one was a bit stressful. I use I-cloud so all my settings and documents were saved there, ready to install on the new device.

However as a part of this set up Apple send you a code to your phone, which at that point is not set up so you can’t see it. So unless you own another Apple device that you can log in to, it means a long call to Apple Support to get it sorted. Credit where it is due, the lady I spoke to was brilliant and very helpful and talked me through it. But we can certainly file this in the nothing is ever simple is it file. Mind you I got it all sorted and set up. So I am now back in the twenty-first century. And have a mobile phone with me again at all times, just like the rest of the world.

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

I went to see a Radio 4 Sitcom pilot being recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre last Monday. It starred the brilliant Tony Law. Who was the professional comedian that I was with when I did the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night for the first time five years ago. More on that later.

This comedy was written with him in mind and has his name in the title. As I have met him and do kind of know him we did have a brief Twitter exchange beforehand. Although to be fair as it was such a lovely hot and sunny day it was just me checking the air conditioning was on. Which for the record it was.

So Tony Law being Tony Law he had dressed up in character for the performance. But to be fair his stage gear is usually pretty distinctive anyway. The cast also included the great Helen Lederer and excellent Nina Wadia. The basic premise is that Tony is an explorer, who leads his own unique crew around the world on missions. A little bit like a kind of radio Indiana Jones.

It was a fun night and I really enjoyed the show. It is just a pilot but the episode will get played out on Radio 4 at some point and then the powers that be will decide if it gets a series or not. I enjoyed it and would like to see it get a series, mainly because I think it is something that Tony Law deserves. Keep a look out for it. It is worth a listen, if you like your comedy a little surreal and slightly off the wall.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I had my first experience of Royal Ascot this week. It is an event I had always wanted to go to but never quite got round to. Until I decided very last minute to go along to day one of the festival on Tuesday.

I had been to Ascot a few times before but as soon as you stepped off the train at the station you can tell that it is a big deal. The atmosphere is ace and hits you right from your arrival. All the bars have marquees and music blaring out and there are just very well dressed people everywhere.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had managed to get myself a ticket in the Windsor Enclosure and headed straight there. It was around lunch time, so my first port of call was the food stand to get a pretty decent burger. As you know it is important to fuel yourself properly for these occasions.

It was a lovely hot day and my hair does not offer the protection it once did so I then decided to check out the Ascot shop and buy myself a Royal Ascot baseball cap. Which did an excellent job keeping me from burning my head.  Although I am not sure it went that well with my suit.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

Now I know opinions differ on this but I am a big supporter and fan of the Royal Family. So I made sure that I secured myself a nice spot to see the Royal Procession. Which takes place before the start of the days racing.

It was a spectacular sight with the military horses leading the way followed by the carriages containing the Royals. It was great seeing the Queen and Prince Phillip go past smiling and waving. And it was the first time I had got to see Prince William and Princess Catherine in the flesh, which was nice. Once they had gone past, it was time to get down to the racing.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

I had a bad day on the betting front. Despite wearing my “lucky suit” I did not pick any winners at all. That is the first time in four meetings that it has let me down. But I am seriously thinking about burning it. That’s show business. I do not think I was alone I saw a lot of happy bookmakers at the end.

Despite my lack of success it was a great day. The whole thing has a party atmosphere to it and it was an exciting day out. It is such a spectacle. I am already hoping and planning to go back and do it again next year.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

This weekend it is the Glastonbury Festival. I have been twice before to this amazing event. In fact this year is the tenth anniversary since my first visit. I camped there for the whole weekend and had a brilliant time. Although we did have back stage passes and were in a special area with our tent.Which did make the whole experience a bit more exciting and interesting. I saw some brilliant and amazing acts and performances.

I would really like to go back to do it all again but I never quite get round to organising it. If you have never been I would recommend you try to go along once to experience it but tickets are so hard to get hold of as the demand is so high. It is well worth experiencing though. The atmosphere there is so special. There is so much on offer to see and do. You will miss much more than you actually manage to see but the things you do see will become a special lasting memory.

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

Next Sunday 2nd July it is the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. I made my debut at this great event five years ago. And this year I return to the event at which I gave my first ever stand up comedy performance. I am really looking forward to performing. It is going to be a fun night.

It will be great to catch up with the members of the Roving Comedy Club and my comedy guru and teacher Logan Murray. He will be the host at one of the four pubs in Tring that are taking part. One of the four venues has already sold out. So if you want to get some tickets for one of the other venues, I would not hang about. Roving Comedy Night 

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So you buy a ticket for one of the pubs and stay there all night to see all of the comics performing. While the comedians move around and perform in each of the pubs. So we have a great laugh and giggle moving from pub to pub and experiencing a completely new audience every time. Headlining each of the groups of comedians at each venue will be Carey Marx, Paul B Edwards, Silky and Arthur Smith.

The first time I did it, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was happily recommending to people that they should do it, so when the opportunity came up for me to do it again. I did not hesitate and said yes straight away.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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