Tag Archives: Royal Ascot

It’s Staying At Home

The big relaxation of the rules and the potential return to “normal” has been delayed by at least four weeks then. Disappointing and annoying though this is personally I would rather have the level of freedom we currently have rather than things opening up and then we potentially have to go back in to lockdown again. The vaccination programme does appear to be working well but while we still have people able to pass the infection around I understand the concerns over the situation escalating once again.

We can still meet up in groups of six people inside and up to thirty outside. In normal times how often during the year would you have many more than that in those situations weddings and parties aside of course. While not ideal it is enough to be getting along with I feel. You can still see your family and it is still just a case of being careful and sensible. I appreciate that I am lucky as I have already had both of my jabs, so I have that extra level of protection. However I am still extremely careful when I am out and about as that just feels like the right thing to do to me.

We just need to be a little bit more patient still, as a country we have done a decent job getting this thing under control compared to some of the others. One more big push then we will hopefully be where we need to be and we can start to do all the things we used to, possibly appreciating them more than we did before. The important thing is that we can meet up with and talk to people, see friends and family face to face, communicate with each other and help everybody to get through this together.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few weekends ago my girlfriend and I booked ourselves a couple of nights away at a converted barn near Faringdon in Oxfordshire. We both just fancied a bit of a change of scenery and the chance to discover somewhere new. When we arrived the weather was lovely so we thought it would be rude not to help out the local economy by finding a pub to have a drink at. The accommodation was next to a farm down a long drive and a fifty minute walk from the nearest watering hole so we decided to drive there.

We found a nice little place with space in their beer garden. I have only been inside a pub once since lockdown one. I will admit I am easing myself in gently so I am only mixing with strangers outside at the moment. It was a village establishment who were doing table service. This was the first time I have been to a pub since I have been Coeliac. I did enquire if they had gluten free beer surprisingly they did but sadly it was not one I really liked. This meant that I decided to reacquaint myself with Cider.

Neil Quigley

I sampled a pint of Thatchers Haze which for the record tasted great in the late afternoon sunshine. It was not until that point when I was sitting there enjoying my pint that I realised how much I had missed pubs and sitting outside having a refreshing beverage. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I instantly settled back into it. We only stayed for one before we headed back to the barn for dinner. For a change we both cooked the meal Lynda made a pasta dish from scratch and I cooked the two fillet steaks. Clearly equally sharing the task.

I must say I did do the steaks absolutely perfectly. I reckon that you could easily have served them in a five star restaurant. After we had eaten we ended up having a long video chat with my oldest friend and his wife. We met on our very first day at Primary School. We instantly became mates and have stayed in touch ever since. It was brilliant to see and talk to them both albeit on screen. It was just great to have a laugh and catch up with each other. I cannot wait until I get to see them both in person again, which hopefully will be fairly soon.

The next day as we had enjoyed it so much we decided to try another pub’s beer garden. The weather was nice and this one had been the one that the host of the property we were staying at had mentioned to us. It was right next to the river so after we had enjoyed a pint of this time a nice red berries fruit cider we went for a lovely walk along the river bank. I have always enjoyed walking next to a stretch of water. I do not know why, I guess I find it relaxing and peaceful.

Neil Quigley

We then went back to the barn for dinner. We decided to get an Indian food combination from one of the local supermarkets. The buying of which involved me testing half of the items with a special app I have on my phone to make sure that they were gluten free, so I could eat them. Happily we found more than enough options for a big feast, which may or may not have been washed down with a few glasses of red wine. Just in case you were in any doubt it was.

The next morning we had to come home. By now we had seemingly got a bit of a taste for pubs and being outside them. Therefore on the way back we decided to stop for lunch at one of my local ones. It was the venue where a former Prime Minister accidentally left one of his children in the toilet after a meal. I am not sure if the current one has been there or not yet but it is quite close to Chequers, so you never know. Anyway the sun was out once again so we found a nice table in their back garden. This was first time that I had attempted to eat out since having to become gluten free.

It did make it easier than before to decide what to have as there were only about three things on the menu that I could safely eat. I also have to be wary of cross contamination, which does rule out a few extra options. I had a very nice chicken, bacon and avocado salad. The Coeliac diet is quite a healthy one as it turns out. It was a perfect meal for the weather. They very kindly supplied a dressing with it. But I could not have it as I did not know exactly what was in it. As believe it or not some mustards and vinegars contain gluten. It is a minefield. It was nice to be eating out again and I look forward to getting more confident with the food ordering the more I do it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was planning a trip to America in September. I was going for a few nights in New York a place where I have never been followed by a few nights in Las Vegas, where I have been once about fifteen years ago. This week I decided to pull the plug on it. It is so difficult to say what the travel situation will be like by them. It is not on the United Kingdom’s green list currently. Nor are the United States welcoming visitors from Britain either.

Even if it was on the green list and they were accepting us by then. The process still requires a lot of additional things that you need to do to leave and return to the country. Therefore I decided to wait until everything opens up a bit more on both sides of the Atlantic. This is not me complaining by the way, I understand the global situation and I think I have made the right decision for me. I will visit both places at a later date. But I think we all have to be a bit flexible with our plans at the minute.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There is a new series of Celebrity Goggle Box back on Channel 4. I am a late convert to this and the normal version of this show. I will admit before I started watching it I really could not see the point of watching people watching television. But it is actually quite funny. For the record I think I would be brilliant on this programme. I have lots to say and often talk through TV shows anyway.

A lot of the old favourite combinations are back like Shaun Ryder and Bez. They seem to live on a different planet to the rest of us. There are a couple of decent additions. Mel C is my favourite Spice Girl so it is great to see her on there with her brother. The surprise package for me is Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards. They seem to have a great laugh together, which is good to see.

Spice Girls

I do not watch a massive amount of television so another benefit of this show is that I can catch up with anything major that I have not seen, bits of films I will never see and snippets of programmes that I would never watch under normal circumstances. Like for example Naked Attraction. I was aware of it but never felt compelled to see it as it sounded horrendous. Having now seen a bit of it on Goggle Box I have not changed my mind. It is totally ridiculous!

How people can seriously think they will meet their future partner on it I do not know! What sort of person do you have to be to want to do that on TV? The first thing anybody sees is your privates. That said somebody I know who is a great laugh and a top bloke has been on it. I have never watched his episode and have no plans to. To add insult to injury I believe he may have been voted off it first. That is surely the ultimate walk of shame. We have clearly come a long way from Cilla and Blind Date to get to this!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Saturday the weather was brilliant so my girlfriend decided to throw an impromptu barbeque at her place. She invited a few people round. There were six of us in total. It started at around three o’clock with a few glasses of Strawberry Pimm’s. A text book way to kick off an occasion such as this I would say. We ate about half four with all the usual options available chicken, sausages and burgers. All gluten free as she is far too good to me. We then just continued to talk and have a few more drinks.

Barbeque

One of the invited guests was working so they did not get there until around six thirty. Due to the fact my girlfriend is such a considerate host she cooked more fresh food for the late arrival but pretty much did the same as she did earlier. Therefore barely two hours after our first sitting, we had another barbeque meal. Well you have to make the most of things at the moment. I was surprised and impressed at how much I managed to eat. I like my food but two decent meals that close together is unusual even for me.

Owing to a combination of the weather being so good, the fact we were having a good time and because we were so full of food that we could not really move. We ended up sitting outside and talking until gone ten o’clock. It felt like the most amount of fresh air that I had enjoyed for ages. That was my third barbeque in four weeks. I feel I am making up for lost time having missed out on lots of things over the last eighteen months. The sun just makes everything better as far as I am concerned.

Neil Quigley

It is Royal Ascot this week with the final day of the racing festival today. This is an event I normally go to at least on one of the days sometimes more. Obviously I could not go last year as nobody was allowed in. They are allowing reduced crowds of spectators in this year. I decided not to apply for tickets in the end. It is a great event. What makes it so are the people and the quality of the racing. I just felt it would not feel the same so I have decided to wait and hope that next year it can return to full capacity once again.

Royal Ascot 2019

It has been a fantastic week of racing as it always is. It is a shame I think that the Queen has not been in attendance so far this week. That is always one of the highlights for me when she arrives. I have a huge amount of admiration for her personally and all that she has achieved. When I was at school the whole class wrote to her and we got a lovely letter back. I actually wrote to her myself with a bit of an update a couple of years ago, well we had not spoken for a while and I thought she might be curious how I was getting on. I did receive a reply from the palace again, which was very nice of them.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

I do have shares in a couple of race horses and it would be great one day to see them race at one of the big events like Royal Ascot. One of the best things about it when everything is normal for me is when at the end of racing everyone gathers around the bandstand for a huge sing-a-along. It is very British and there is lots of flag waving. I find a glass of Pimm’s is the perfect accompaniment to these proceedings.

Band Stand

A group of my mates try to do an annual trip to Ascot for one of their October meetings. Obviously it was on hold last year. But it would be nice if we get to go this year. Fingers crossed we might, but unless you have a crystal ball it is very difficult to be completely sure what will be happening by then. I have not really seen any of them for the whole year and an half so what better place to meet up than there?

Ascot October 2019

The Euro 2020 football tournament is underway albeit a year late. England started with a great win against Croatia. The first time we have ever won an opening group game in the competition. Scotland were beaten two nil by Czech Republic in their opening game. Then last night England and Scotland played out a goalless draw. I thought Scotland were the better side on the night. Look England will still get through and a win in the last game means we will win the league. But the performance did not fill me with confidence. Wales have got four points from their first two games, so are in a similar position to us.

I have been watching all the England games and the odd match here and there. The teams that you would expect to be in the mix towards the end mostly seem to have got off to good start. England have the potential to be able to play all of their games at Wembley depending on where they finish in the group stage. Add to that the fact that the semi-finals and finals are both at the home of football. You have to think that if we could get to that stage it would help our chances. But it is too early to dream of that just yet. That old cliche’ still holds true I feel “let us just take one game at a time”.

Neil Quigley

A quick reminder that 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.

Behind Closed Doors

Lockdown rules continue to be eased with all non-essential shops opening again this week. I am still being extra cautious and still only going out when I have to and need to. I am Asthmatic so I am being really careful. Although to be honest the main places that I used to go were Football Stadiums, Theatres, Television Studios, Pubs and Race Courses and none of these are open to the public as of yet.

Talking of which this week it is Royal Ascot. It is taking place behind closed doors adhering to government requirements and operating with the least amount of people as possible. I have been to the event for the last three years now. This year I was due to be there on the opening day Tuesday and yesterday on the Friday. It is a fantastic day out. You get all dressed up, everyone looks amazing, the food and drink are lovely and you get to see the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

It also produces five days of exceptional horse races. The best horses from all over the world come to Berkshire to complete for some very big and prestigious prizes. It is so exciting especially when you see the one you backed hurtling towards the finishing post. There is a special atmosphere to the place and at the end of the days racing you gather around the Band Stand for a good old fashioned sing song. Normally while enjoying a glass of Pimm’s.

Obviously I missed out on all that this year. It is great for the Sport that they got the event on. It is so important for the racing industry to be back and racing albeit behind closed doors. It was of course very different watching it at home while drinking tea and wearing my slippers but it was still good fun to have a few bets and enjoy some top quality racing. I will be back there next year having a great day out with friends and giving my annual wave to the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

As a Season Ticket Holder at Tottenham Hotspur normally when the team are playing at home you will find me at the stadium cheering them on. The Premier League season has resumed this week with all the remaining matches being played behind closed doors with no fans in the stadium and only the bare minimum number of people required. Spurs had their first game under these conditions at their home stadium last night. I was of course watching it from my front room. It felt strange seeing them playing at home with me not there sat in my seat.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

True to form this season though it was not exactly a dominating home performance, despite taking the lead with drew one all with Manchester United. It did have the feel of a pre-season friendly a little bit. One thing I had forgotten during the break was how it is so frustrating and annoying when your team to not get the result you were hoping for. Emotions I had clearly been missing while the game was suspended. Spurs back and doing what they do best!

It is quite weird seeing the games played in empty stadiums with no fans watching. Luckily the German League restarted a few weeks ago, so that has given us a bit of time to acclimatise to it. It must be strange for players who are used to playing in front of thousands of people to be playing in front of no one. It must just feel like a training session or a behind closed doors friendly to them surely. It should not affect their game or the way they play as once you step on to any pitch you should just want to win whatever. Or is that just me?

The players are being tested every week. In the lead up to the start of games again there have been a few positive results. It is still a bit like heading into the unknown but again looking at Germany it has not spread through their players despite being in close contact in the heat of battle during games. You just hope everybody stays safe and well and that we can finish the season off with all the matches being fully completed. Ideally with Spurs claiming a top four finish meaning Champions League football next season, if that is even possible of course.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It seems odd to me watching the games on TV with no atmosphere. It is almost like watching a Sunday League fixture with granted a lot more quality and skill. The celebrations also have to be muted when a goal is scored. There is not meant to be any hugging and kissing at the moment. It is a nice distraction to have football back and on the television. As they are trying to get it all finished in as shortest time as possible. There are lots of matches on TV to see every week.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

I am currently still doing my weekly Pop Quiz on my Facebook page. It is every Tuesday at 8.30pm, if you fancy getting involved. It has now been running for ten weeks. Simply just for a bit of fun! All that happens is that I supply you with six rounds each containing five questions including an audio round. You play along however you would like to at home. Then I give you the answers, it really is as straight forward as that.

I will also throw in some extra music trivia and the odd story from my time in radio and meetings with various singers and musicians. They only last about thirty minutes and I do try to make them as professional as possible. If you are a big Pop Quiz fan all the past episodes are still available on my Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/neil.quigley

I guess I will keep them going until we have places that we can visit and catch up with people in person. Which looks like it might be next month. But we will have to wait and see it would seem. If you want to get on board it would be great to have you playing along.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have actually got the first event in my diary since March to go to next month. I have got tickets to go to see Moulin Rouge at the Luna Drive In at Allianz Park the home of the Saracens Rugby team. This is of course providing it all gets the green light to go ahead. We will be in our own cars therefore we will be able to social distance from the rest of the people there.

You park up in a dedicated car parking space facing the big screen. All the cars will be adequately spaced out. The audio will be sent via a localised FM frequency so you will hear it through your car radio. It will be a very different experience for me having never been to a “Drive In” movie before. We plan on bringing our own refreshments.

There will be toilets there apparently but spread out two metres apart so we can all social distance safely, while using the facilities. I have actually seen this film before which with my history of seeing films is quite rare. It should be a fun night out, plus it will be nice to be around people and enjoy a shared event with them. I fear it might be longer than we think before we can return to normal cinemas. I will of course let you know what it was like.

General Lee
General Lee

Certain places are being allowed to reopen now in England including Zoo’s and Safari Parks. I must confess I quite like a visit to either of these attractions. To be fair the times I have been to Whipsnade Zoo recently it has been easy enough to be able to social distance, if it was actually required then, when of course it was not. Depending how quickly other attractions are allowed to take in guests again. I am thinking my next day out might be to a Zoo.

Sealion
Sealion

When I was at Secondary School we had an activities week towards the end of the summer term. One year I did the option called “Zoo Quest” which involved visiting a different Zoo or Safari Park every day. I really enjoyed it and if I am honest I am currently thinking of may be reliving that experience.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

By Royal Appointments

I hope you enjoyed last Saturday. It was gorgeous. Sunny and warm. In fact it actually saw me getting my legs out and donning a pair of shorts. My rule is that I will only wear them if the temperature is above twenty five degrees Celsius. Unless I am playing sport. We have had quite a few pleasant days. They have just not been as hot. As I would have liked them to be in the main.

I was lucky enough to make two visits to Royal Ascot this year. I was there on the first and last day of the festival of horse racing. On the Tuesday I took my Dad there for the first time. We set off suited and booted. To get the train to the Berkshire course. This involved going into London first. To then get the tube to Waterloo. Just to alleviate any doubt wearing a three piece suit on the Underground is like you are in a Sauna. Which coincidentally is somewhere else people rarely talk to each other. And also avoid eye contact.

Royal Ascot 2019

We managed to get a seat on the busy train from Waterloo to Ascot. It might have been the best dressed train in the world. It is not every day. Everyone in a carriage is wearing at least a suit. If not as in many cases Top Hat and Tails. It is wrong to portray stereotypes of course. But everyone did seem to be very friendly and nice to each other. So there may be something in the way people dress. And the way they behave. At least in public, possibly before they have started drinking too much.

Sadly it was a bit of a wet and showery day. We were undecided if we should bring jackets or something to fend off the rain. In the end my Dad did not bring anything. I brought the world’s smallest umbrella. Which I got for three Euros when I was in Rome. It was all we had. So when it started raining as we arrived. I had to try to use it to keep the both of us dry. As we walked up the busy road to the entrance. With limited success. We got in to the Queen Anne Enclosure and happily the rain eased a little.

We grabbed a rather nice Chicken Burger for lunch. Got a couple of race cards to study. Then somehow managed to get ourselves a seat undercover at one of the outside bars. Where we treated ourselves to a glass of beer. Then it was time to take our place at the Parade Ring to watch the Queen arrive.

The Queen

She is a massive racing ran and she loves this meeting. She has not missed one single day of Royal Ascot since 1953. And to be fair to her that was because it was the day of her Coronation. Therefore she did have a slightly more pressing engagement that particular day.

I have said it before, I am a big fan of the Queen and the Royals. I think they are great ambassadors for the country. They bring in a lot of tourism from abroad. And they are well loved and respected all over the world. The Queen for me is an amazing lady. Always acting perfectly in every situation. I wish I could learn that skill. I have to admit I really enjoy watching her arrive. Normally on the first day a lot of the family come along to support her.

I got a really good position to see them all arrive. The Queen was no more than about five metres away from me. When she went past in her horse drawn carriage. Also in the procession and going right by me were Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, The Countess of Wessex, Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Plus the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I am totally convinced that Prince William waved at me as he went past

With the Queen in attendance and the Royal Standard flying on top of the stand. It was time to get the racing underway. I had a terrible day on the betting front. And did not have any winners. In any of the six races. My Dad however did have two winners. During the races we grabbed some Fish and Chips. They were tasty. The standard of food on offer was generally pretty good.

Royal Ascot 2019

After the racing had finished for the day. We had another drink at one of the many bars in the enclosure. We then went to a pub on the High Street in Ascot. For one more final drink. As we waited for our taxi home to arrive. It was a fun and enjoyable day. Despite the rain. The quality of the races was excellent. They were almost all close run things with exciting finishes. I then watched the next three days of the festival from home. And happily did rather better on the betting front.

The final day of Royal Ascot this year. I was back in another three piece suit. At the house of two very good friends. Getting ready to jump in a taxi and once again make my way to the world famous race course. Before we left, we had a glass of fizz to toast the day ahead. This time it was a dry and sunny day. Which does just put everyone in a much better mood.

Royal Ascot 2019

After a pretty decent walk from where our taxi dropped us off. We entered the Queen Anne Enclosure. As I had been there just a few days before I took our group on a short tour. To help them find their way around. Then we went and got ourselves a drink. Well it would have been rude not to.

I was back in the Parade Ring again to watch the Queen arrive. Then it was on to the day’s racing. I managed to pick the winner of the first and third race. So I was a bit more successful than my previous visit. A bit earlier in the week. We had a few drinks during the afternoon. It was all very sociable.

Royal Ascot 2019

We got talking to lots of different people from all over the country. At one point a very beautiful women. Who I can only presume must have been a little drunk. Stopped me to tell me what gorgeous blue eyes I had. As she walked past me. I will take that compliment all day long. And for the record I do have nice eyes.

At the end of racing everyday. They have a traditional sing-song at the Bandstand in the Queen Anne Enclosure. I made sure that I was down there right in the middle of it all. The band are the Band of the Coldstream Guards. And they are absolutely brilliant.

A singer joins them for about forty-five minutes. It is just classic song after classic song with the whole of Ascot joining in. It is so much fun and a real feel good part of the day. At the end of the last song on the last day. There was ticker tape everywhere. It looked amazing. This is always one of my highlights of the day at Royal Ascot.

Royal Ascot 2019

After I had finished my Pimms that accompanied my partying around the bandstand. I got another beer and rejoined my friends. We then discovered an open air disco on the course. And spent a good hour or so dancing there. I can confirm I have definitely still got all of the moves. The DJ was playing some top tunes.

As we were leaving the race course. We randomly saw the former footballer Andy Cole. We were on our way to another pub again in Ascot. To have a final drink to celebrate a fun and very enjoyable day. We met a few more new “friends” in there. Before getting a taxi home. It is such a epic event. You get to dress up, see some great racing, do a bit of partying and have a few drinks. What is not to like? I will be going there again next year, for sure. And I cannot wait.

Royal Ascot 2019

In a piece of genius timing. The day after my second visit to Royal Ascot. A good friend of mine had organised a game of Foot Golf. For his birthday over in Milton Keynes. Happily it did not start until early afternoon. And I managed to get a lift over there. So I did not have to drive. I had played the game once before. At a course near to the famous Pinewood Studios. I had been rubbish on my debut. And I was hoping to put in a better performance this time round.

There were eight of us in total. So we split up into two groups of four. I have always considered myself a pretty decent footballer. And have played for some good teams and been fairly successful within them. But I do seem to really struggle with Foot Golf. I was terrible at it once again. In fact we had one hole. Where we all had to use our weakest foot. And unbelievably this was the hole that I did the best on. The only one I won. So may be I am actually left footed. And have been using the wrong foot during my “career”.

Despite me being awful at it. It was a good laugh. And great fun. The birthday boy won overall in the end, very fittingly. Afterwards we got a bite to eat and had a drink in the club house. Which was a perfect way to round off the afternoon. I would certainly play another game of it at some point in the future. Purely on the basis that I cannot get any worse at it. Mind you I am still better at that, than I am at actual golf.

Foot Golf

I was lucky enough to get to see the new Gloria Estefan musical “On Your Feet” the day before its Press Night. It has been a massive hit on Broadway for the last few years. She and her husband Emilio are very involved in the production. In fact it was their idea to do it in the first place. It features so many of her amazing back catalogue of hits. I have been a fan of her music for years and remember listening to it quite a bit as a teenager.

The show is all about Gloria and Emilio’s lives. Both of their families were immigrants from Cuba. Trying to make their way in America. In a way they came from almost identical backgrounds. It tells the story of how they met. And how they managed to take their Cuban Sound and conquer not just America but the world with their music. Gloria had the songs, the voice and the stage presence. While Emilio was a great producer and businessman.

They make a great partnership in life and in work. Which causes a bit of friction with Gloria’s family at times. It is a real life story, so it does include the terrible bus crash. That she was badly injured in. But it is basically an inspiring and uplifting tale. Showing how love, hard work and desire to succeed can make your dreams come true. The cast are excellent. The band and overall sound are spot on. And the dancers are stunning, as are their routines.

As I said earlier the whole thing is carried along nicely by the great songs. You do not win twenty-six Grammy’s for nothing. At the end the whole audience were up on their feet swaying their hips and all joining in. The rhythm is gonna get you. And there is nothing you can do about it. A powerful and uplifting show. Where the good guys, all win in the end. Worth seeing if you want to learn about the Estefan’s while enjoying a bit of the Cuban Beat.

On Your Feet

Last Sunday it was the latest Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night. I have been lucky enough to perform at this event in 2012 and 2017. It is so much fun. This year I was there to watch and support the new class of 2019. All make their stand up debuts in Tring. Just like I had done seven years ago. It is always a brilliant night. And this one did not disappoint.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was in The Castle. I like to try a different pub every time I go and see it. The stage was set up in the beer garden. The way it works is, the Roving Comedians go around four pubs in groups of three. They have a professional comedian with them. Who then headlines their mini show. The “Rovers” get five minutes each and the Pro’s get ten minutes. The compere at The Castle was the brill Joe Jacobs, who I had previously seen perform at The Musical Comedy Awards up in London. A couple of months ago.

Joe Jacobs opened the night, warmed up the crowd, introduced the three trainee comedians, who were all great. Then he welcomed to the stage the first headliner of the night. The always hilarious Silky. He has been involved with this pretty much since it started. He is always quality. After my debut in 2012. I gave him a lift back to his hotel. I have been harassing him whenever he appears at this event, ever since.

Silky

There is a short break before the set up is repeated. The next lot of first timers and the second headliner. Who was the fantastic Jayde Adams. The professional comedian with the next batch of Tring new bees was the wonderful Rich Wilson. Who is always a top quality act. I have seen him a couple of times before and he has always made me laugh.

Lastly we had two more of the Rovers. Before the last headliner of the night. The very funny Ben Norris. Who closed the show with a brilliant set. Well done to all the Roving Comedy performers. You were all brilliant. And I hope you enjoyed it, half as much as I did when I did it. You smashed it! It was another very enjoyable gig.

Ben Norris

Afterwards I went to The Kings Arms to gatecrash the after show party. As I know from my time’s doing it. This is the place where we all end up. I managed to have a quick chat with the lovely Silky. He had been performing at Glastonbury and had driven up specially to be part of things in Tring. He is brilliant bloke and a very funny man. So do try and see him live, if you get the chance.

I also managed to grab a quick word with the man who puts the whole Tringe Festival together. The fantastic Ben Moorhouse. It was great to see and talk to so many other “Roving Comedy” comics. From all of the different years. That it has been running. We all have a common bound and shared experience.

Lastly I got to speak to my comedy guru and teacher the resplendent Logan Murray. Every comedian who makes their stand up comedy debut on the Roving Comedy Night. As part of the process attends an eight week comedy master class with Logan.

And not only is he stupidly funny. He is also such a nice and lovely person. It was brill to catch up with him briefly. He seemed rightly proud of his latest batch of students. Who he had now set free out in to the world of comedy. A fantastic night. I look forward to going to see it again next year.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

It was also the Glastonbury Festival last weekend. I was there back in 2007 when The Killers last headlined the Pyramid Stage. I camped there for three days in the the backstage area with VIP access. And I must say it was brilliant. This year I had to make do with watching all the action from the comfort of my own house. And with the use of a clean toilet, anytime I wanted it. It was tough but I survived it.

Neil Quigley at Glastonbury
Neil Quigley at Glastonbury

I did watch The Killers set. And I thought they were fantastic. I mean they are from Las Vegas, so they should know how to put on a show. Brandon Flowers is a great front man. You cannot take your eyes off him and he really sustains the audiences attention. I think he might have pretended to the rest of the band that they were not going to dress up for it. And then at the last minute went out and got himself a stand out suit. But lets face it, nine times out of ten, the singer will be wearing the most elaborate clothes.

Their guests on stage were a bit random. Jimmy Carr made a brief cameo sweeping the stage. They were then joined by the Pet Shop Boys for a couple of songs. I can only imagine the pop duo had not seen the weather forecast. As they turned up in winter coats and a hat. Then they were replaced by Johnny Marr. To finish things off. I thought they closed the Saturday night perfectly. A lot of their big songs work really well in this kind of arena.

School of Rock
School of Rock

I also caught Liam Gallagher’s performance. That man definitely has the swagger to own that stage on such an occasion. He did a mixture of his own songs alongside a few classic Oasis anthems. It did amuse me. When he did Rock N Rock Star. And then straight after it started moaning that he was cold. As someone had advised him not to wear his Parker. Living the dream. Rock excess is not dead! Excellent set from him. Looked and sounded the part. Completely as expected.

The artist I was most excited about seeing perform this year was the lovely Kylie Minogue. I really did wish I was in that cow field in Pilton to watch her fill the legends slot. This pain was eased slightly by the fact that I got to see her play at Radio 2’s Festival in a Day at Hyde Park last September. She was sensational that day.

Kylie
Kylie

I thought she was totally amazing. Her choice of songs were perfect. To reflect her thirty years in the business. She has during that time released at lot of very good pop songs. Songs we all know and love. And can sing along to. I thought she looked stunning in each of the outfits she wore. However four outfit changes in a hour set at the biggest festival in the country. Is possibly a little bit over the top.

She was clearly enjoying herself. Which was fantastic to see. She was meant to headline Glastonbury back in 2005. But unfortunately she had to pull out when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Happily as we now know that story ended well. And she got to appear on the stage finally. And do her thing in a massive field in Somerset. I am a huge fan of hers. She always puts on such a great show. She is very hardworking. And I get the impression, she is lots of fun. Nice one Kylie!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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.