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Not Got The Stomach For it!

We are already right at the end of February. This month seems to have flown by to me. It does every year, which if you think about it as it only has two or three days less than the other months is a little bit strange. It is March on Monday so we are basically in spring with the days getting longer and lighter. What is not to like about that? There is a lot be encouraged by at the moment. It does seem that things are finally moving in the right direction.

The basic outline of plans to start the slow process of getting back to somewhere near normal has been announced. I still personally think that patience is still the key. We cannot keep going back and forward into these lockdowns as that helps nobody. The NHS has been doing a great job dealing with the pandemic but it has sadly delayed other treatments of course. We need to get back up to speed with these and cannot really afford any further hold ups.

All the right figures are coming down but there are clearly cases out there and it is still spreading in some areas. Therefore we need to be a bit cautious still when opening the country up. As we now know how quickly it can transmit from person to person. The vaccination programme is working well it seems. Latest reports suggest I should get my first injection by the end of next month, which sounds good to me. The sooner the better as far as I am concerned.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We all still need to be responsible and make the right decisions for our own good and for those around us. It has been a massive pain to say the least but we will come through it stronger. Things will return gradually to how we once knew them as things did after the Plague and the Spanish Flu.

We have I guess you could argue been lucky that it has been so long since a huge global virus issue like this has arisen. It has been a concern for many years, I believe. With the amount of people who travel all over the world nowadays it meant the spread of this thing I think possibly took everybody a little bit by surprise. Either that or they were not fully prepared to accept it.

Hang on in there, keep smiling, you are doing great. We will all get through this thing together and hopefully be better people for it. Last weekend it was the Australian Open Tennis Finals and there were fans in the stadium to witness it. It shows you after quite harsh measures things can begin to reopen to some degree in a relatively short time.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Just picture and look forward to the first time you can do something that you really want to once again. Then when it happens remember to savour it and not take it for granted ever again. Life is for enjoying and to be made the most out of.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was Valentine’s Day a couple of weeks ago now. This was the first year for a very long time that I actually had a girlfriend for it. I am not the most romantic person at the best of times and I was a bit out of practice regarding what to do. I think I did alright. I did get her a card which I believe is a fairly strong start. I also got a personalised bottle of Champagne with her name on it and a fun description that I wrote that was about her but in the style of a review of the drink. In return I received a card and a packet of heart shaped chocolates. It seemed to go well, so I think I got away with it.

As part of the celebrations if that is the right word as it was my turn to cook I ordered us a Chinese Takeaway, which was lovely. Have you ever had one and not ordered way too much food? I used to be a big fan of starters so I loaded up on them meaning I rarely ever finished the main dish. You try to be sensible but it all sounds so nice when you look at the menu. If you are the sort of person who can order exactly the right amount of food from any takeaway you have my total respect.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

In the afternoon as we were treating it as a bit of a pamper day I had my first ever moisturising face mask. It was actually quite relaxing even though it felt a bit weird when it first went on. Like all real men I do regularly moisturise anyway but this took it to a new level. After experiencing the benefits of this process I have now tried the puffy eye treatment. And have ordered my own pack of them to use when I want or think I need them. My skin will look fantastic when we are finally released back into the wild again.

While we were sat there with the face masks on, we were watching some new episodes of The Simpsons. I have been watching it for the last thirty years now and it is still brilliant! Their social comment on the world is exceptional clever and always spot on. It still makes me laugh out loud. I really cannot think of any other comedy show that has been this consistently good over such a long period of time. It is as fresh now as it was when it first appeared. I have decided by the way that Maggie is my favourite Simpson. She is clearly the smartest and makes me laugh even though she never speaks.

Neil Quigley

Did you enjoy any pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? I did although it now turns out this could be the last time I do in the conventional way, more on that in a bit. I cooked them myself and if I do say so made an excellent job of them. Just for the record I am also an exceptional flipper of them. It is all in the wrist you know!

My topping of choice is simply Lemon Juice and Sugar. Straight forward and to the point, using the oldest trick in the seasoning book the sweet and sour combination. They tasted great. As ever I enjoyed all the fun of the pancakes with none of the suffering of giving anything up for lent or at least so I thought.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

About a year ago now I had a few issues with Iron levels in my body. As a result of that I had a blood test that suggested that I might be a sufferer of Coeliac Disease. To be able to confirm this for sure I had to have a Gastroscopy. Due to the delays caused by Covid I had this procedure at Stoke Mandeville Hospital the other week. It basically involves a doctor putting a camera down your throat and down into your stomach. And yes it is about as much fun as it sounds.

That said all the staff at the hospital were amazing. I had to take a Covid test a few days before to make sure I did not have it. This was organised by the hospital and I was fine. They do give you the option of being sedated during it all, which as I have a really bad gag reflex I happily accepted. They numb your throat with some special spray as you sit there on the bed ready. You then lay down on your left side and they put the sedative straight into a vein, stick a mouth shield in your mouth and slide the contraption down. The worse bit is when it first goes down your throat. It is unpleasant but only lasts a couple of seconds. The whole thing went really quickly before I knew it I was in the recovery room having a rest.

After around thirty minutes they got me a tea and some biscuits. I then had to wait to see the nurse to be discharged. Meantime they had arranged for the person driving me home to be there ready and waiting for me. The good news is that my throat and stomach in the main all looked pretty normal, which is nice. The doctor was able to confirm that I do have Coeliac Disease. There was some damage in the stomach lining relating to the condition. He did take a couple of Biopsy’s while he was in there but there is no cause for concern from them at this stage apparently.

Coeliac Disease is a condition where in a person who has it Gluten attacks and damages the stomach lining, which makes the sufferer more susceptible to certain diseases including some types of Cancer if not treated. It also affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from food. It causes the immune system to attack itself and therefore lower its defences. The only way to treat and control Coeliac Disease is simply to not eat Gluten. Therefore I am now on a very strict Gluten Free diet.

I have suddenly gone from a man who used to really enjoy eating absolutely anything to somebody who has to be ultra careful what they eat. I am fine with this and totally understand the reasons. It is going to take a bit of an adjustment to my daily diet. Lots of things I had as a staple of that I can no longer eat. I will simply have to find a new way of fulfilling my own food needs.

The main meal of the day is easy some sort of meat and vegetables, no problem. Also lunch does not require too much tweaking with plenty of fruit, cold meat and a bit of cheese for example. For me what to have breakfast wise is the biggest thing having had wheat based cereals for years. These have of course now gone.

As soon as I was diagnosed to help me understand and get to grips with the do’s and don’ts and to check what I can and cannot eat I became a member of Coeliac UK. They supply lots of very useful and quite crucial information. They offer you support in several different ways.

One of these is an unbelievably handy mobile phone application that includes a barcode scanner which you can use to tell you if food is alright for you to eat or not. This has already come in incredibly useful during my first week as being Coeliac. It is a bit of a new challenge and chapter in life for me I guess. However I just need to be sensible and careful with my food and drink intake. That is all everything else remains the same!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As Lockdown continues so does my fun weekly Pop Quiz every Tuesday evening at 8.30pm on my Facebook Page. I have a great time hosting it and writing the questions for it. It is a nice way of passing the time currently. It is called “Quigger’s Plays Pop” it lasts around half an hour. It includes thirty questions split into six rounds. Between each round I have a chat and a bit of a giggle with some of the people joining in. A fun and inclusive show that often features a showbiz story or two from me. Here is last week’s quiz for you to enjoy whenever you wish. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164706432510591/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am starting to regret beginning these Spurs updates at the start of the season. It seemed at the half way point like we might just have a successful year. Recently in the league we seem to be finding wins and any sort of consistency very hard to come by. I find this quite hard to fathom with the squad of players we have. We did I thought play reasonable well against West Ham United in our last game but did not have any luck in front of goal. That resulted in yet another defeat. Things I still hope will pick up again soon. Ever the optimist!

We are in the League Cup Final which is currently due to be played in April but we do have to beat the brilliant Manchester City to get our hands on the trophy. The Europa League campaign is still alive and the way things are looking that could be our best and possibly only route into next season’s Champion’s League.

As a life-long Tottenham fan I am fully invested in all the highs and lows associated with being a supporter. You have to take the rough with the smooth and the smiles with the tears. Enjoy the good days and accept the bad days, which in a way is actually quite a good motto for life!

Neil Quigley
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.

Virtual Insanity

This time last year I was in Australia enjoying my first ever trip there visiting some relatives and doing a mini tour of some select areas of the country. What a difference a year makes back then I was able to travel to the other side of the world, now I am not even able to leave my house unless I have good reason to. I am not complaining by the way just highlighting the difference with the situations, while being very thankful that I even managed to get a holiday in last year. Mind you with the way the weather has been recently I really wish I was back there now enjoying some sunshine.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Things continue to move in the right direction. We just need to be a bit patient and hold our nerve still. The lockdown is working happily the number of deaths are decreasing. Less people are in hospital and the vaccines delivered are going up all the time. Both of my parents have had their first injections, which is excellent news. Neither of them had any side effects and as it happened they were both given different versions of the vaccine. I am thinking of getting all my older relatives to try out each of the companies that the United Kingdom is using, so I will know which one is the best by the time it is my turn.

It is too early for things to be eased yet sadly, but we are getting a lot closer to a return to some sort of normality. This month is so short we will be well into March before we know it. The Isle of Man has managed to get their Covid under control, so they are now back in the pubs and mask-less. That is the goal that I am aiming for. I would much rather wait until I could do that, than have to enjoy them with all the mask and social distancing requirements. Therefore I am well prepared to wait it out so we can get back to that position sooner in the long run.

I appreciate I am lucky in that this is not effecting me too much. I do not have any children to home school and I continue to work easily from home. But this will all be fine in the end. We will move beyond it. In the meantime keep in contact with as many people as you can either via the phone or video calls. Keep as fit as you are able. Plus laugh and joke around as much as you can. You will feel much better for it.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

I would suggest focus on the things you can do rather than the things you cannot. If you do have children for example you will have spent more time with your child while they are growing up than lots of generations have appreciate it as much as you can. Even if they are really annoying you!

My dad has used the extra time he has had this last year to finally see the whole of “Game of Thrones” from start to finish. Other people I know have set themselves personal fitness goals to achieve. A few folks have started doing things that they have not done for years like knitting or baking. I have stepped up my exercise regime a little bit. And I have also done quite a bit of sorting out around the house. Not throwing stuff away just moving it to other places to be honest.

A mate of mine has more or less decorated his whole house, which would have probably taken him five years to do in normal times. I am going to try to do everything that I need to at home in the next few months. As when the world re-opens I plan on being away for weeks at a time. I have a list of places I need to visit and things that I need to do. I will make Judith Charmers look like an amateur traveller.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was involved in surprising a good friend of mine for his fortieth birthday. For obvious reasons he could not have a big party this year and we could not physically meet up. His girlfriend got in contact with me at the start of the year telling me that she was planning to do a surprise Zoom gathering on the Saturday nearest his big day. She asked me if I would be able to do a short music quiz but include a round all about him. I of course said I yes I could. Who does not like the chance to stich up his mate for a laugh!

I did check who was going to be joining in before I started to write the questions. I first met Jeff over twenty years ago when we were both working at Mix 96 a radio station in Aylesbury. Therefore I did have quite a lot of material to draw on from over the years. I made the first round a straight music quiz to try to throw him off the scent. Then the next round was to be all about him but with multiple choice answers for added comedy effect.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

On the night my mate’s fiance’ managed to send him upstairs while she let us all into the group chat. When we were all on screen she got him back down and sat him right in front of the computer. When he clocked our faces he did look generally shocked. So I do not think he had a clue. When he found out I had a quiz he suggested it would be about him. I tried to throw him off the master plan by doing the pop quiz round first. Although they were all questions I knew he would know the answer to straight away, which he did. Mind you I did tailor them all specially for him.

Then it comes to round two which is all about him. I did give him the right of reply after every answer to tell his side or on one occasion correct my memory of what actually happened in one situation. It was great fun. And it did prompt a lot of conversation about these things from his past. It only lasted about an hour then we let him get on with the rest of his evening doing what he thought he would be doing anyway just relaxing at home.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

I would love in the future to do a proper “This Is Your Life” style night for a friend or family member. Including bringing out people and acquaintances from their past like Eamon Andrews and Michael Aspel used to do. Or maybe I will do something like that for my own fiftieth, which just for the record is a very very long way away. I am sure we will have a proper celebration for my mate Jeff when we are allowed to hopefully later on this year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My girlfriend and I did another one of these online Cheese and Wine Tasting events. It was through the same company as last time “Love Cheese” who are basically just a wine and cheese shop based in York who started these live events at the start of Lockdown. And they do seem to have just grown and grown. This one was a red wine special. That is always my wine of choice. However Lynda prefers white. She was happy to broaden her horizons and give the red grape variety a go and I certainly was not going to say no to this option.

Like last time they sent us the food and drink in advance all labelled up with the correct numbers ready for the live tasting. The service is good and it is all presented very nicely. You get a leaflet with details of the cheese and wine that you will be trying. I do not wish to offend anybody but I noticed one of the wines was from Crete. I have had some great holidays there but I was not at all impressed with their wine, so I had already decided this would be the worse one. I was totally right it was but that is just my opinion of course.

Cheese and Wine Tasting

The tasting is hosted live on Facebook by the couple who own the shop. It is all very laid back and relaxed. They are on their sofa in the living room. They talk a bit at the start highlighting how it all works and saying hello to everyone watching. They then take you through the cheese and wine pairings one by one. Overall it was all really nice with the exception of the wine I already mentioned and the last one of the cheeses. It was a blue cheese which although not my favourite type I do not normally mind it. This one was so bad though it was like taking part in the eating trial on “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.”

I only had a very tiny bit of that, which in the circumstances was quite brave. My girlfriend had tried it first and I saw the face she made and her reaction to it. Yet I still decided to put it in my mouth. I must say the rest of the wine and cheese was alright. Not everyone can like everything that is the fun of the tasting. We finished all the wine and all but that last piece of cheese. It was a fun night at home. At the end of it although you only have a glass of each one, we both felt a bit tipsy. I think that is perfectly acceptable for a big Saturday night in though.

Neil Quigley

I view myself as pretty average in the kitchen. I can cook most things to a decent standard but I am never going to win Master Chef. That said I do think I do a nice steak. It is all about the preparation firstly you need a decent cut of meat. Then you have to season it correctly prior to frying. I like to get the pan nice and hot to sear it each side for about a minute.

Then reduce the temperature to a medium heat and depending on its size cook both sides for between four and six minutes depending how you like it done. Leave it to rest for five minutes and there you go. Think of me as one of the “Un-hairy non-bikers” not as my apron says the “Queen of Tarts” I borrowed it from my girlfriend honest!

Neil Quigley

I have watched such a small amount of films during my life mainly because I am not that interested in them. My girlfriend enjoys films. We cannot go out anywhere at the minute so she is on a mission to find “Neil Friendly” films and try to convince me to watch them. She managed to get me to watch “Coming to America” last weekend. I had seen quite a few of the Eddie Murphy movies around that time but not that one.

It was alright, some good scenes in it. Obviously I was already aware of the balcony scene. But having now seen the opening sequence to it I am not against becoming an African Prince if the opportunity ever arises. The sequel “Coming to America 2” is out next month. I have a feeling I am going to end up watching that to you know.

General Lee
General Lee

Quigger’s Plays Pop my weekly Pop Quiz is continuing on Tuesday nights at 8.30pm on my Facebook page for the foreseeable future. It is simply meant as a bit of light hearted fun every week. It does not really matter if you know much about the subject or not. I just mess around a bit ask a few questions and have a laugh. Here is the most recent episode to get you in the mood and ready for the next one.
https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164645768925591/

Neil Quigley

It has been another roller coaster of a couple of weeks supporting Tottenham. It was a relief to return to winning ways in the Premier League after three defeats in a row last weekend. The first time that had happened since back in 2012 believe it or not. Later today we face Manchester City who seem to be on fire at the minute and are looking unstoppable. We did beat them at home last November but they do appear to have clicked in to gear since then. I just hope we play well and put in a decent performance.

We are now out of the FA Cup after a crazy five – four defeat after extra time away at Everton. It was a strange game filled with lots of defensive errors from both sides. I felt the game could have gone either way in the end. But you cannot really expect to concede five goals and win a football match. I am now supporting Everton in the rest of the competition and would love to see them go on and win it.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

It is Valentine’s Day tomorrow if you celebrate or take part in it in anyway. I think it is fair to say that you should not need a special occasion to show your feelings for your other half. That said this is the first one that I have been with my girlfriend for, so I have got a card and present. I am not an idiot! In fact this is only the second time in my life I think that I have actually been seeing someone over “Valentines”.

Last year for example I was out for a meal on my own in Melbourne in Australia. I had not realised what day it was so could not work out why I was finding it so hard to get a table at a restaurant. It was not until I was sat down eating that it dawned on me that everyone else in the place was in a couple. After dinner I went for a drink in a bar and found a group of friends who were all single and having an anti Valentine’s night, so I gate crashed their night and had a couple of drinks with them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The only time I think I have been out for a meal on Valentine’s Day was when I was twenty-one. The girl I was dating’s birthday was on February 14th. Therefore I took her out for a two for one kind of celebration meal. She was my first proper girlfriend so I was hoping to impress her. I bought her some earing’s which I gave her in a little jewellery box. It was not until I presented it to her during dinner and the entire place stopped to stare at us did I realise what this gesture could look like. I think I may have very quickly sung happy birthday to her. Anyway however you mark it this year, have a good one!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

You can listen to me every 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.

Who’s Zooming Who?

We are still in Lockdown in England then but on the plus side we are nearly through January, which is historically the longest month of the year. I am all about the positives. This latest round of restrictions is slowly starting to have the desired effect of easing the pressure on our fabulous NHS. The key vaccination programme is now being ramped up meaning the most vulnerable are continuing to get their jabs.

Nobody is enjoying the situation but it is a means to an end. We will get past this and the good times will return. I am looking forward to what will be our version of the roaring twenties around a century after the original post Spanish Flu madness. We just need to still be responsible and sensible in our current choices to protect those we love and our communities as a whole.

Talking of which, I developed a bit of an annoying cough the other week. I did not have any other symptoms but I thought I better get myself tested just to be sure. I went on the NHS COVID website and managed to very easily book a test later that same day. I decided to use the drive through test option. They do give you a choice of that or a walk up option at different locations.

The Staff there were brilliant. It was all nicely organised and well run and most importantly completely safe. I had to do it myself in the car. They hand you the kit and the instructions through your window on the way in. It is a little tricky at first and to be honest not that much fun but it is also simple and straightforward. I mean I managed to do it despite thinking that I had messed it up twice. Side note, it would seem that I have quite the gag reflex. You have to take a swap from the back of your throat and then from up your nose.

Then you carefully follow the simple instructions and package it up as required. That is quite key and important. You hand it to someone on the way out. It is all linked together using a unique QR Code you get when you make the appointment. I got the results back via text and email within eighteen hours. Happily it was negative, so I was fine and the cough disappeared in a couple of days but I felt better for getting it checked out. This is not a virus to take any chances with in my opinion.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have joined in with another couple of Zoom Games Evening’s that are organised by a friend of mine. I have mentioned these before. We all connect on Zoom so we can chat and have a laugh on that while we play. He uses this American website that offers some interactive games that you can play on a mobile phone or tablet. He sets the main page of the site up on Zoom for us to see. At the start of every game it flashes up a unique code which we enter to enable us to join in together to play.

It has an odd selection of slightly strange and weird games loosely based on more familiar games you might recognise. However they are all of course legally different to these so therefore not quite as good, to be fair. But they are perfect for a group of lads to virtually meet up and mess around with. In the last get together we played one that was a bit like “Would I Lie To You”. And another one that is a little bit like Dingbats.

We also played this new one where each player firstly has to draw a design on a T-shirt, which is not easy just using a finger on a mobile phone, even more so when like me you have no artistic talent at all. You then get to enter as many different slogans as you can in a set time. In the first round the game randomly selects which go with which. That was quite amusing but then in the next round you get to choose a design and slogan for a T-shirt using your competitors offerings.

It was all very childish I will happily admit that but there was one particular combination that almost had me in tears of laughter. It is far too rude to repeat here sadly but the picture and words worked perfectly for me. At the end of the game it gives you the chance to actually order the T-shirts you made. I was so tempted to order this one. But in the end I was strong and didn’t. It was a good giggle while still in the comfort of my own home, which is ideal at the minute. It is not the same as meeting up in person obviously but messing around with people on video calls can be great fun!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see “The Play That Goes Wrong” one afternoon about seven years ago. I still think it is the most that I have ever laughed in a theatre. It was my introduction to the Mischief Theatre Company. I have been following them closely since. I have managed to catch all but one of the new shows they have done. I have always seen them early enough that they have the main members of the company in. Over the years I have talked to a few of them after performances.

They have a very unique style and flavour to all of the things that they do. It borrows from a lot of traditional comedy elements but they put their own stamp on it. I am a big fan of theirs. In the last couple of years they have been doing stuff on the television. That has been ace and provided some very funny moments of madness. Like all theatre companies at the moment they cannot perform as they would normally do.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

They are doing a series of online live stream improv movie nights at the moment. I watched one of these last Saturday Night. It costs ten pounds for a ticket. They email you an individual link to be able to see it. You log on at 7.30pm for the pre-show countdown. This is when you can put forward your suggestions for what sort of “Movie” they will be making. For example what type of film it is, where it is set and even suggestions for some of the characters in it.

They select a few of these ideas then they make up a play of a movie lasting about an hour or so off the top of their heads. They do have a “director” style character. Who can stop things and play with what is going on a bit to keep the actors on their toes and help them if they start heading down a comedy Cul-De-Sac. The night I saw it was an 80’s musical disaster film set in a library in America. It was brilliant! If you are looking for something reasonably priced to do during the evening I would totally recommend it. Just good old fashioned silly fun!

Mischief Theatre Company
Mischief Theatre Company

I have been watching quite a lot of comedy on television recently. I must admit I am partial to a good panel show. “Would I Lie To You” is such a simple yet effective idea, that is fun to watch and play along with. I love it anyway but it always seems to go up a notch when the great Bob Mortimer is on. He is so good at making the truth sound like a lie and a lie sound like the truth, scarily good at it in fact.

I like “Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown”. That is usually good value for a laugh. You cannot help but play along with the numbers and the words rounds without feeling as thick as you can do if you play along during the original version. It seems like most comedians have a similar level of intelligence to me. That does make me feel a bit better about myself and add to the feel good factor of the show.

I am not saying we have all been stuck at home a lot during the last year but I have just completed the whole of “The Big Bang Theory”. I was very late to the party with this one but I randomly managed to catch the pilot episode on a channel that was showing it daily at a time that coincided exactly with my lunch break. Every day while I was eating I saw one episode. I have now watched it all from start to finish.

Needless to say it is very clever and very funny with some great performances. Such a quality talented cast. They could do it all. I even eventually managed to get over the fact that “Blossom” was in it as a neuroscientist. The amazing thing is that Mayim Bialik is actually a neuroscientist in real life. That is very impressive. She left acting to study and then returned to play the role of someone who matched her qualifications. Genius!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on my Facebook page every Tuesday at 8.30pm. Just for some lockdown fun. It lasts around thirty minutes and contains thirty music related questions. You can play along however you like in a large group as one team or on your own.

The way it works is that you are only really playing against and testing yourself, although some people play against each other using their own online chat groups. Here is last week’s quiz if you fancy having a look at it before you decide if you are going to join me live for it one week. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164567407325591/

Neil Quigley

My football team Tottenham Hotspur are doing alright. We are still in the FA Cup having beaten Wycombe Wanderers this week. I used to watch the “Chairboys” when I was a teenager and played for their under sixteen team for a season. However there was only one team I wanted to win. I am one hundred percent Spurs. We play Everton in the next round. Another team and ground I know well as I my mate Jeff supports them and I have been with him to Goodison Park quite a few times over the years. That will be a fun contest with plenty of banter flying around I am sure.

In the Premier League we are still hovering around the Champions League places. I am not convinced we will win that competition. But I am hopeful we might be able to be successful in one of the cups that we are still in and lift a trophy this season. That would be brilliant. It did used to be lucky for us when the year ends in one, although the last time this was true was 1991, so it has been a while since that has been the case. I am enjoying watching the team on the television. It is a nice distraction from things, although I am looking forward to being back at the ground when allowed.

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
Neil Quigley

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

I Get Locked Down But I Get Up Again

Here we are then back in Lock Down for the third time in England. When you consider that it is only about two months until the first anniversary of the initial one it does highlight how long this terrible virus has been a huge issue. The nature of the disease it being a Flu variant meant we all knew it may be a bigger problem sadly during the winter months. Possibly early estimations of when the threat might be averted were a little to on the optimistic side from some areas. But here we are again and it has to be the right and sensible thing to do.

We are all missing seeing family and friends. It is hugely frustrating to be missing out on so many things and events we would normally all do during the year. However what we are being asked to do at the minute annoying though it is, is a small sacrifice really compared to what our Grand Parents and Great Grand Parents went through for us. See it possibly as our chance to return the favour by looking after them this time. I would take staying in the house over being stuck in a ditch somewhere while being shot at any day of the week.

The new variant has made the situation worse but we now have several vaccines that are being rolled out to combat this thing to enable us to be able to ultimately get our lives back. The work of those scientists to produce these injections so quickly is amazing. It shows just how far medical research has come to be able to get to this stage in such a relatively short space of time. We need of course to protect the vulnerable first. And generally I think they are doing it in a fair and sensible way. That said as soon as it is my turn to be offered it I will be straight down to the Doctors with my arm out ready.

The main issue driving the government’s decisions has not changed from the start as far as I can see. Making sure the NHS can cope with all medical emergencies has to be a priority for all of our sakes. The Staff of that organisation have done a super human job over the last year. I cannot even imagine how tough it has been for them, but I do appreciate their “Herculean” effort. I would obviously like to thank them all so much for what they have done and continue to do. We will get through this thing by working together and looking after each other. It will be under control and we will be able to return to the things we love doing at some point.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

After seeing Joe Wicks had returned with his PE lessons, I had no choice but to bring back my weekly Pop Quiz. I enjoy doing it and I know people have fun playing along with me. I do not take myself or it too seriously. It is simply meant to be a bit of fun every Tuesday night at 8.30pm. If you have not done it before why not give it a go? It lasts around thirty minutes and it is just me asking some music based questions and having a laugh.

It is called “Quigger’s Plays Pop”. If that title does sound familiar I believe there was once a music quiz on television hosted by the ace Keith Chegwin called “Chegger’s Plays Pop”. Any similarities are of course purely coincidental and if you think the theme tunes to both sound almost identical but for a few subtle tweaks then you are spot on. But let us look at it as a nod and a tribute to that programme just in case there are any lawyer type people reading this. Here is a video of the latest episode, so you can watch that and then decide if you to want to get involved next week. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164496880380591/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am trying to use the current situation to get as fit as I possibly can. Between me and you I am trying to get the six pack back that I had when I was eighteen but that may be out of reach. I am pretty sure all I had to do back then to achieve that was just ten sit ups a week. It appears a little more effort is required in your forties. I am running for nine miles three times a week. That is followed by forty-minutes on the exercise bike. On the other three days I do weights and home Pilates sessions. Then on all of the days I do Yoga and sit ups. I treat myself to a day off on Sundays.

Towards the end of last year I got one of those resistance bands not really knowing what they were about, if I am honest. Anyway from this month I have added a twenty minute evening online work out with the band to my routine. I have not quite mastered the use of it yet, plus I did not realise they come in different sizes so mine needs to be stretched quite a lot to do the moves. I figured another bit of exercise a day cannot do any harm but I am not sure if I like working out with it or not yet. If nothing else I will burn a few more calories.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As my girlfriend’s quest to try to find “Neil Friendly” films, continues, alongside her aim of exploring the entire back catalogue of Quentin Tarantino. We watched Django Unchained. It did manage to keep my attention, which is a positive as it is a long movie. I enjoyed it. And it was clearly his take on a slave movie come western, I think. Like a lot of his stuff it had a pretty high body count. There was plenty of blood everywhere. He seemed to kill almost everyone off including himself during his own brief cameo appearance.

Earlier in the day she had given me a beautiful green jumper as a present. As we were watching the film we were having a few wines. As I said it was a very gory film with lots of people getting shot. After it had finished and I am still not sure how I managed to achieve this I somehow threw my glass of red wine in the air! It went everywhere over the sofa, over her and also over my brand new top. It looked like I had recreated a scene from the film there was that much claret in the room. Is that what they mean about things you watch having a subconscious effect on you or am I just a clumsy idiot? You decide!

Neil Quigley

I thought I would give the television show Staged ago this week. It features David Tennant and Michael Sheen basically on Zoom chats talking about a fictitious play they are meant to be rehearsing online. Their other half’s both make appearances and there are some pretty good cameos.

Each episode is only about fifteen minutes. They are very easy to watch. In a way it is basically about two actors having mini breakdowns at home. They made two series one in Lockdown 1 and the next in Lockdown 2. I have nearly finished the final one but I suspect they might try to make the trilogy as they will now both be stuck at home once again.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

One of my horses “Force Ten” had a run at Exeter last Sunday. Sadly he did not put in a very good display. He got too excited before the race and shot off to quick meaning he faded near the end. He came in seventh out of eighth, which is not ideal. He is getting his flu jab and therefore a bit of a rest this week.

The important thing is that he came home safely. We need to calm him down before his races. Does anybody know of any good relaxation podcasts that they can maybe recommend? It is all part of the fun of being involved with racing.

Force Ten
Force Ten

It has been quite a decent fortnight for my team Tottenham Hotspur. We have reached the final of the League Cup beating Brentford to secure a place at Wembley in April. We have made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup. In the third round we played Marine at their ground which backs on to houses, people were watching the game from their back garden’s which was a bit strange. We won 5-0 with sixteen year old Alfie Devine becoming the youngest player to not only play for the club’s first team but to score for them to. It was nice to see some of the young players getting a chance.

In the Premier League we are in sixth position. Things are generally going alright but not as good as they could be. We continue to drop too many points when we are winning games and that is costing us dear. This season is a bit odd with games mostly played with no fans or when it allowed just a few thousand supporters. I think that has had effect on some results. It is looking like being potentially the closest title race in years. That should make the next few months exciting and action packed. Plenty more highs and lows to come my way I am sure. Come on you Spurs!

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

On a slightly separate note I was delighted to see that the great Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed as the new PSG boss. He was one of my favourite ever Spurs manager’s. I was actually sad to see him go. I liked his style and the way the team played under his guidance.

It was such a shame he did not win a trophy with us. I wish him all the best in his new role. He has inherited a great squad there. I am also very pleased that he did not end up at another English Club or I would have found it tough when we played his team.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

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.

Forty-Four Is The New Twenty-Five

It was my birthday on Thursday 10th December. I am just putting the full date here in case you missed it so that you do not make the same mistake next year. It is often difficult to know how to mark an occasion like this when it is not a landmark age. This year I decided to stay in and spend the day at home. Annoyingly this was exactly what I did last year to. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if possible never waste an opportunity to go out on your special day. That said I did have a lovely time.

The morning was exactly the same as any other day, apart for me opening my cards over breakfast. That is a once a year occurrence. I must say I was very lucky and extremely fortunate to receive all the cards I did. I appreciate the world is not normal and a simple thing like buying and sending a card could be more complicated depending on your circumstances. There were some very funny ones, which I am a big fan of. Yes being all sweet and nice is lovely but what can I say I just love a laugh!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I got some great presents. One of which was Philip Schofield’s new autobiography “Life is What You Make It” wise words Phil. I think I have mentioned this previously I only read autobiographies and I am really looking forward to reading this one. Probably in January as I tend to make the first few months of the year my main reading time. I remember watching him as a kid and I have seen him present shows while in television studios myself and he is a master at it. I wonder if there will be any unexpected twists in it. Yes I know there will be. I do follow the news.

I got a new pen and a special book to put all my passwords in. At the minute I have them all written in an old diary in a random order and sometimes it can take hours to find the one I need. Why is it you now have to have an account for everything you use online? I swear even Johnny Five could not remember all my logins in his head. Anyway I am looking forward to becoming more organised on this front. I also got a special black book in which to log my horse racing bets to help in my quest to find a better system than the one Derren Brown used on his television show around ten years ago.

In the afternoon my girlfriend came over to basically chat and have tea. As I am proper rock and roll on my big day. She got me a Yoga mat that I had asked for by the way. It was not just a subtle hint from her. Not something I thought I would need before 2020 but I have started doing regular sessions online since April. I am quite literally out of control. She also got me an Elvis Presley Face Mask and Elvis themed card and cake. I guess constantly showing her pictures of my trip to Graceland and owning a white Las Vegas style jumpsuit may have led her in this direction for gift giving.

Neil Quigley

Then in the evening I had a Dominos take away, which I of course got delivered. That is the law if you order from them surely. I try to eat healthily in the week normally, so Pizza on a Thursday was a big treat for me. I washed it all down with a very nice bottle of red wine. For reference it was a Rioja Grand Reserva which I prefer to be six to eight years old, just in case you are ever in a position when you might need to buy me some wine. You are welcome!

Like we all do I over ordered on the Dominos front, so I was still eating the Pizza for lunch and dinner on the Friday. This may be an unpopular opinion but I think it tastes even better cold the next day. To top off my birthday Tottenham Hotspur won their final game in the Europa League and progressed as group winners. A wonderful end to arguably the second most important birthday in December! I had a great day and might have to stay in next year. Although I hope that will be more of a personal and free choice by then.

Neil Quigley

The Saturday Night before my special day I got given a pre-birthday surprise from my girlfriend. She had booked us an online Cheese and Wine Evening. It was organised by a Cheese company based in York. They send you the food and drink in advance. The cheese and wines are all numbered so you know which order to consume them in and which pairs go together. We set up all the cheeses and wines in the correct order. Then at 8pm the couple who own the company do a Facebook live. That you log on to.

Cheese Selection

They then take you through each of the Cheese and Wine pairings telling you what you should smell and taste from each, as well as a bit of background information about them. It is pretty low key and laid back. They just hold it from on the sofa in their living room. It does feel a little bit like you have gate crashed their evening but it makes it feel very inclusive. On the particular one that we were doing all the Cheese and Wines were from England. It was a varied wine selection. We had White, Rose, Red and a Port with Sloe Gin combination. The Cheese’s covered quite a spectrum to including soft and blue.

It was fun to eat and drink online with them. The portions are quite generous but we still managed to finish all of the wine and most of the cheese. The whole thing lasts about an hour and an half. It did feel a bit like having a night out yet while still being at home, which in the current climate is great. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we have signed up for another one at the end of January. The company that runs it are called Love Cheese. They are it seems quite a small business who started doing this for customers in York at the start of Lockdown. It has now built up and gathered pace from all around the country. Best of luck to them!

Cheese and Wine Tasting Online

I watched The Royal Variety Performance on the TV the other week. I normally watch it every year obviously things were a little different for this one. It came from a theatre in Blackpool which was in Tier 3, so they could not have an audience there. To get round this they had a Zoom audience and put them on big screens in the stalls, so that all the performers could see them and at least feel they were playing to an audience. Although due to the delay I suspect they all had to try to adjust their natural timing slightly. It looked a bit like a Science Fiction film where the machines had taken over and they were all performing to save their lives.

It was hosted by Jason Manford. I thought he did a brilliant job. It was always going to be a bit strange and tough but the pitch and the tone of it was perfect. I interviewed him once and he was fantastic so friendly and easy to chat to. I also saw his last stand up tour and that was very funny to. The line-up as you would expect for such a show was top class. I enjoyed all of the acts. All things considered it all worked out really well. Even with people having to quite rightly make sure they socially distanced on stage, unless they were in a bubble. It was ultimately fun and uplifting which is something we can all use at the moment. Thanks and well done to everyone involved.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Saturday I enjoyed some online live streamed theatre. The Old Vic in London is staging a production of “A Christmas Carol” over the festive period. The classic story which surely is a staple part of most people’s annual celebrations stars Andrew Lincoln as Scrooge. It is very clever how they are doing it. There is obviously no audience in the theatre. All the cast are performing in a socially distanced way. They have lots of different cameras which are all mixed together to give the illusion of the actors being next to each other.

Obviously you know what happens it is a narrative that everyone is familiar with. They do it very well and even though it is on screen I must say they keep you captivated and it does have that live feel to it. To be able to watch it you have to purchase a ticket online. Then on the day of the performance they send you a link via email. You then watch it from your home on Zoom.

It is proving quite popular there were four thousand people seeing it from all over the world on the night we saw it. It was great and sadly the closest that I will get to the theatre this Christmas. My favourite version of this age old story is The Muppets take on it. That is the only version to my knowledge that has comedy rats it in.

A Christmas Carol

At the time of writing my team Tottenham Hotspur are still second in the Premier League. The one slight disappointment of this is that due to circumstances that I am sure you are aware of I cannot take my usual season ticket seat and cheer them on inside the stadium. Typical of Spurs to be doing better than usual with no fans in the ground! I do miss my days out at the football. It has not been all plain sailing. And I suspect there are still plenty more twists and turns to come yet.

This season so far has left me with that age old conundrum. We are possibly not playing as consistently exciting football as we were a couple of years ago but we are winning more games. Do not get me wrong we are playing some great stuff in patches and have so many amazing players. I have no complaints at all. But there is always that thought about if you would rather your team played brilliant football or were winning football matches. You think you want entertaining games but if you are honest you really just want them to win the match!

We of course have the busy Christmas period to come and there is still a long way to go this season but even to be in contention still is a huge positive. Personally I just hope that if we are at least still in the running for the title in April and May. That I will be able to safely go to see the last home games. I have admitted before that I had never really been a Mourinho fan prior to his appointment at Spurs. But clearly he does have something either top tactical knowledge or a philosophy that works, as he has definitely had a big effect on the squad and their attitude. I cannot believe I am saying it but he might actually be special you know!

Neil Quigley

This will be the last time we speak before Christmas. Unsurprisingly I am planning a quiet and low key one this year. It is what I feel is the most sensible and safest thing to do. Whatever you do and however you celebrate this year have a fantastic time. Do stay safe and look after yourself and each other. This year do make sure you call or text people who either you would normally see or who you think might be alone. They will really appreciate it and it will make you feel good and give you a nice warm glow.

It has not been the year any of us wanted or intended. We have all had things cancelled and been massively restricted in what we can do. However I have had as ever a good laugh, still done some cool and new things. For starters I had never even heard of Zoom and now I have an account and a green screen for my backgrounds. An example of taking something forced on you and making it fun and personalising it.

Things will improve and get better we are moving in the right direction. Look at it this way this Christmas will possibly be more memorable than most. However you choose to spend it. Have fun! Festive best wishes to you and yours!

Neil Quigley

My good friend Mike Sterling has a charity single out in aid of the DKMS, Anthony Nolan and The Aplastic Anaemia Trust charities. It is available at all major online music stores. In honour of a little girl he knows called Evie, who happily thanks to This Morning found the Stem Cell donor she needed. It is a cover version of Mariah Carey’s Hero.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and 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

A very Happy Christmas to you! Thanks for reading the blog this year. Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.