We are just over two weeks away from the next potential easing of restrictions; I have still only taken a slight advantage of the previous relaxation of the rules so far. I am perfectly happy to slowly return to doing things when they become more accessible and less controlled. The situation in the United Kingdom appears to be improving nicely as all the key numbers have dropped significantly during this latest lockdown. The vaccination programme so far seems to be delivering excellent results in our fight against this horrible virus.
It is impressive how many people have received the injection. Both my sister and girlfriend have now had their first jab, which is great. I am expecting my second one by the end of this month. The big test will be of course when we all start mixing inside once again. There have been some test events to decide the best way of achieving this and work out the risks. If everybody is honest and considerate with each other by isolating with any symptoms then taking a test when it is required, we can keep it under control, which has always been the aim of the game.
I am optimistic that we can still have a great summer within Britain. Personally I am looking forward to a lot of barbeques to see family and friends. The situation in some other countries is still a little bit of a concern as regards to new variants appearing, which could hinder the progress that we have made. That will make travel overseas a potential risk but if people are careful and follow any quarantine rules, hopefully it will all be fine. Meaning we can look ahead to a more normal winter this year. I still think the key is to concentrate on what we can do rather on what we cannot.
I must confess just for ease I have been avoiding shops for most of the last twelve months and buying pretty much everything online. The other week I just needed a couple of extra things for the Bank Holiday Weekend so I ventured out to one of my local Supermarkets. I only needed four items so I grabbed them very quickly. There were only two tills open and I always pick the wrong one, which was the case once again.
One of the cashiers had a problem with her till and the manager was there looking at it, so I joined the other queue behind a gentlemen who was doing his weekly shop and had a trolley full. I was minding my own business while socially distanced from him patiently waiting for him to finish. Then all of a sudden I got splashed in the face and head with something. I looked up to see the cashier had dropped a can of lager and it had exploded everywhere! I laughed and shook my head then realised she was completely soaked.
Therefore she had to mop herself up then wipe down every single item he had bought which had also been covered. The till next door had been fixed and two more customers served before it was at last my turn to pay. To add insult to injury from this issue the lager was not even gluten free so I could not even lick my lips. Mind you luckily for me when it landed on me I had my mouth shut for a change!
I have just got a new mobile phone this week. I have been with O2 for over twenty years mainly because it feels like it would be a pain to change provider and they have never done anything to annoy me. Out of the blue I got a call from a member of their loyalty team who said they were rewarding me for my long term commitment to them with a special deal on a new phone and contract. Owing to last year’s iPad incident where I accidentally cancelled my phone contract and had to buy a sim only deal to get myself back in the telephone game, I thought I would just buy my next phone outright.
I was thinking about looking for a new phone when the guy rang me, how do they do these things, have they got a sixth sense, or am I that predictable? Anyway he was really nice, helpful and friendly. I had a very long chat with him. In the end he did offer me a decent deal on a new mobile contract which included a brand new phone with a very reasonable discount on it. It was the first time as a loyal customer of that company that they had ever called with such an offer. Therefore I took the deal and the new handset arrived a few days later. As I use the brand of phone that pretty much self-destructs after two years, I did need to get a new one!
My girlfriend and I had a couple of nights away just prior to the last Bank Holiday Weekend. We booked an Airbnb Shepherds Hut just outside Trowbridge. It was a very cosy straightforward little place. That was basically situated at the bottom of a vegetable garden at the back of a row of cottages. It was nicely furnished and heated by a log burner. I was briefly in the Cubs but never became a Scout. I put myself in charge of keeping the fire burning. You would not believe the pride and satisfaction I felt when I managed to get it going from scratch on day two. I just sat there staring at the flame smiling at my excellent work.
There was one other thing that attracted us to this place for a little two night break and that was it came with a log fired hot tub. The hosts were great and very kindly made sure it was heated up so we could use it both the days we were there. We did not get there until after seven on the first night, so by the time we had eaten we did not venture outside to the hot tub until after nine. It was nicely lit and so peaceful. It was a bit chilly getting in and out of it at that time but we offset that issue by enjoying a couple of glasses of Champagne while we were in there.
We then enjoyed another outside soak the following afternoon once again accompanied by some fizz. It is so relaxing and invigorating to be at one with nature, while in the bath. The Rumple Hut to give it its rightful name also had a projector. On our final evening we set it up and using my girlfriend’s lap top we watched Star Wars “The Rise of Skywalker”, the final instalment in the epic series of movies. I am a huge fan of the franchise, so had already seen it the day that it came out in the cinema. She had only seen the first three original films but agreed to give the last one a go.
We set it up on one of the big white walls of the hut and I must say it looked and sounded really good. I enjoyed seeing the movie again. I do not watch that many films but I can happily watch any of the Star Wars films over and over again. There are some nice twists and turns as it wraps things up and tries to answer all the outstanding issues from the whole of the story, which is no mean feat. Plus it is great albeit very briefly to see nearly all of the main original characters make at least a small appearance in it. It was a cool way to spend our final night in the Wiltshire countryside before we headed home.
It was of course May the Fourth Star Wars Day in the week. As a fan I do always celebrate and mark this occasion. I currently own a Star Wars T-shirt and a child’s Lightsaber. I used to have a big box of the original Star Wars figures and toys including the Millennium Falcon. I sold it all at a car boot sale about a year before they made the first of the final three films, which I will admit with hindsight, was very bad timing. I went to a Star Wars Exhibition at the O2 Arena about five years ago, which was brilliant. May the force be with you!
I had a great Bank Holiday Weekend relaxing while having a few drinks and enjoying some delicious gluten free food. As ever I was spoilt. We had two nights of steak firstly with potato salad then with pesto pasta the next night. A lovely prawn risotto dish with a bit of a homemade Chinese feast to round things off on the Sunday. All of this food was of course made by Lynda, who is an excellent cook. But I did contribute towards the pudding. I made a banana with whipped cream topped with hundreds and thousands. Do not knock it until you have tried it, tasted great I will have you know.
We also watched the most recent Russell Howard Netflix special called Recalibrate. I really like him and have seen him live quite a few times. In fact I saw him do a very early small work in progress gig for this very show at the brilliant Bill Murray Pub in Islington. From that I could tell that this was a much more angry and frustrated Russell than normal. That was clearly how he needed to pitch this show to make it work. The finished performance was hilarious there is one bit where he talks about what his Nan said at his Grandads funeral that made me cry with laughter. Well worth seeing if you simply need a good old fashioned laugh and we all need that sometimes.
I have just about recovered from the disappointment of Spurs losing the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley to Manchester City. They are a brilliant side, but I do not think we really went for it enough, we sat back a lot, when I would have liked to see us attack a bit more. That said it is no disgrace to lose to them. Since that defeat we bounced back beating Sheffield United four nil with Gareth Bale scoring a hat-trick. We started that game with the closest to the team I would like to have seen start for the last four months.
We still have no idea who our manager will be next season. All of the ones I really want already have jobs that I suspect they will not be leaving to come to us. Ryan Mason is doing a great job under the circumstances. We have just four games remaining starting with a trip to Leeds United today. Even if we win all of these matches there is only a very slim chance that we will qualify for the Champions League. If we fail to achieve that then it will be harder to attract new players and tougher to keep the players we have. I think depending on how the season pans out there could be quite a lot of changes at the club during the summer.
My weekly Pop Quiz has celebrated its first birthday. I marked the big occasion by presenting a special hour long version of it. I just added a few extra rounds some of which were there when it all began during lockdown one last April. I have had a lot of fun doing the quiz and trying to keep people entertained and amused when they were unable to leave their house or socialise with other people.
It has given me chance to chat and catch up with a few people which has been great. I have decided though as things will open up further in a few weeks I am going to do the final one of Tuesday 18th May. That means there are just two weeks left for you to get involved. Here is a link to the anniversary edition of “Quigger’s Play Pop” in case you missed it. https://www.facebook.com/796795590/videos/10164966924145591/
A quick reminder that you can listen to me every Saturday afternoon between 2pm – 4pm on Radio Ninesprings https://www.radioninesprings.co.uk/
Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil.