Tag Archives: valentines day

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.

TV and Radio Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been great fun and I have managed to get up to some pretty cool stuff. I will tell you all about that in a bit. But first Happy Valentines Day to you. I really hope my postman will not have to take six weeks off work again this year, after giving himself a hernia delivering all my cards last year. To be honest I have never really celebrated it much myself. Surely you should show love and appreciation every day of the year and not just once every three hundred and sixty five days.

That said a lot of my friend’s seem to make an effort, as pretty much all of their first born children arrived in November. You do the maths. One Valentine’s Day does stick in my mind though. It was Saturday 14th February 2009, when I presented my last show in Somerset at Midwest Radio after spending five years broadcasting in the West Country. They did not even send me some roses or give me a box of chocolates. Although to be fair we had been out for my leaving do the night before.

Sarah Parish started the Neil Quigley Fan Club
Sarah Parish started the Neil Quigley Fan Club

I few weeks ago I went to see the first episode of a brand new ITV 2 show called Reality Bites being filmed at The London Studios on the South Bank. It is a new comedy panel show based around reality television. It’s hosted by the excellent Stephen Mulhern with team captains Emma Willis and Joel Dommett. They just talk about reality programmes and then play some silly games. Which also sometimes feature current or former reality television stars.

In the show I watched, Emma Willis was joined by Jimmy Bullard and Joe Lycett and on Joel Dommett’s team were Bruno Tonioli and Luisa Zissman (who apparently was on the Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother but I have to confess I had never heard of her). By the way if you think Bruno is over the top or unpredictable on Strictly Come Dancing you should have been there to witness this. He was great value and very funny but man he has got some energy. He will not sit still and if you are looking for an innuendo, he will give you one.

South Bank London
South Bank London

They had three special guests on the show to help play some of the games. These were White Dee from Benefits Street, Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore and Alex Sibley from Big Brother three. It was a great laugh in the studio, everybody was on good form. Stephen Mulhern did an ace job steering the ship. And the three hours we were there during the filming passed by very quickly. I would like to congratulate the producers and the editors, who some how managed to edit it down to a fifty minute programme. Which was then broadcast on ITV 2, two days later.

As ever with these things some of the funniest bits on the night never made it in to the show. In some instances because they were unsuitable for broadcast, even after ten thirty at night and on ITV 2. Let us just say we learnt quite a lot about some of the members of the panel. Much more than we really wanted to know. The warm up man for the show was the brilliant comedian and entertainer Andy Collins. Who as ever did an excellent job. Making sure that the audience were primed and ready from the start and kept focussed and amused during any short breaks in filming. I have been lucky enough to meet him on quite a few occasions in the past. So it was really good to be able to have a very quick chat with him as I was leaving the studio.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I met up with a good friend of mine the other weekend for a few days of reminiscing, catching up and partying. I met him when he was working at Mix 96 in Aylesbury. He joined the station fourteen years ago and was there for around two years. So it is now twelve years ago since he left. As he is from and lives in Liverpool he had not been back to the town for quite a few years. So a few Friday’s ago Jeff Nolan ventured down from up north. And we met up in Aylesbury to have a look round the place and talk about the old times. We were joined for a chat in a coffee shop by another former colleague of ours Richard Carr.

Before the three of us then went to Mix 96 to meet up with Nathan Cooper. And have a look around the studio for old times sake. It was really nice to see everyone and see the station doing so well to. While I was there it was good to have a quick chat with Chris Maskery. Who I have to say has grown the most extraordinary beard since I saw him last, it is huge. Before we left Aylesbury Jeff and I grabbed a bite to eat in a venue that under its previous guise, we had both watched Alexander O’Neill and the Three Degrees perform there.

Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video
Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video

Our next stop on our crazy weekend tour was Bicester. Where we had booked in to a small bed and breakfast above a pub to stay for the night. After attending a Birthday Party that evening. The party was being thrown by Stuart Hosking, who was of course famously one of the contestants in Big Brother 2, to celebrate his 50th. Now Jeff and I met Stuart at Mix 96 not long after he left the famous reality show house in 2001. After being a guest on the breakfast show hosted by Chris Blumer and Jeff. The station offered him the chance to present a Sunday morning radio show.

A programme which I ended up producing for a short while. Which is obviously how and where I met him. While working together we did go for the occasional drink after the show. Which was always good fun. I remember one Sunday we managed to get a man from Aylesbury who had been on the previous night’s Blind Date in for a chat. That was interesting to find out first hand exactly what it was like being on a big show like that. If my memory serves me right, I think he also came for a drink after the show with us that day.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan in Liverpool
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan in Liverpool

Anyway we had a few drinks in Bicester before jumping in a taxi and going to the hotel where Stuart’s party was taking place. He had hired out the whole of this very nice hotel just on the outskirts of Oxford. On arrival it was pretty easy to spot the birthday boy as he was dressed in all white and wearing a set of angel wings. So we said our congratulations and had a quick catch up with him, bearing in mind it was probably about eight years since I had seen him last. Whatever he is doing it is working for him as he was looking really well. There was free ale on a self service tap. It would appear Jeff is better at drinking it rather than pouring it as he managed to lose about a pint of it on the floor because he couldn’t turn the nozzle off. I did think about just laying under it Homer Simpson style but I then thought this might look a bit uncouth.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The entertainment was fantastic. There was a magician who was walking around doing some table magic and card tricks. But the main attraction was a band who were called Rockaoke. And yes you have guessed it they are a live brilliant band who play while you sing in a Karaoke style. If you are a big fan of Chris Moyles you might just remember that he did a big tour with this band around the country. We managed to have a chat to one of the band and they have done some pretty cool stuff. They have supported the Foo Fighters and played in the VIP tents of a lot of big festivals. So you can imagine the kind of people who were joining them to perform in those situations. They are so good and can play so many different songs. They so effortlessly move from one song to another. And they do have a singer who will sing backing, harmonies and also just chip in if you need a bit of help to keep the song going, to make you sound much better as well.

Jeff Nolan Performs
Jeff Nolan Performs

Now unfortunately I can’t sing and I am completely tone deaf. Which is a real shame as I would have loved to have got up there and belted out a tune with the band. Jeff Nolan however can sing a bit. So he treated us to a version of the Oasis song Rock N Roll Star with more swagger and attitude than even Liam Gallagher could manage. And while doing nothing for regional stereotyping. He also treated us to some Beatles and a bit of Day Tripper. We were trying to convince Stuart, the band and anyone else that would listen that we should close the night with a version of Let It be. Where we all sing an individual line each, in a kind of Band Aid sort of style. We were over ruled and Stuart and his rugby mates performed Thin Lizzy’s The Boy’s Are Back In Town as the the last song. Which on reflection seems fair and makes sense. It was a great night. The venue was lovely, the guests so friendly and the entertainment top quality. So thanks very much to Stuart Hosking for letting us join in the celebrations and a slightly belated happy 50th birthday to you sir.

Stuart Hosking Sings
Stuart Hosking Sings

The day after the party Jeff and I were up early and back on the road up to Liverpool. We left Bicester with the plan to stop at the next Mcdonalds we saw and have a little bit of breakfast. It would seem this particular fast food establishment is not so popular on the motorways as may be it once was. As the first one we saw was at a Service Station just outside Crewe. So we were virtually at our destination before we managed to get some food. We arrived at Jeff’s house in Liverpool just before eleven and I think we were in the pub for midday. I have said this before I but I do like Liverpool and always feel very at home there. May be that is because my granddad grew up and went to school there.

So needless to say I had a fun afternoon having a few drinks and watching some football before returning to Jeff’s in the early evening to enjoy what was a massive sixteen inch pizza. Which somehow I managed to finish. I think it is reasonable to say I have a decent appetite. The tour ended the following day when I got the train home. Which took slightly longer than I hoped. As it did require a bus replacement service for part of the journey, but that is Sunday travel for you.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

On the train journey home from Liverpool I started reading John Cleese’s Autobiography So Anyway. As you would expect from a man so clever and intelligent as him. It is brilliantly written in a very informative and entertaining way. He does go in to quite a bit of detail about his early life, explaining it in such a way that you really get a flavour of what it was like being him at that point in his life. I have only read the first six chapters. He has got a place at Cambridge University but he has not started his course yet. He is working as a Teacher in what was actually his first school as a child. I did work experience when I was eighteen at my Secondary School and that was weird enough. So working full time at his old school must have been properly odd.

I am a huge fan of Fawlty Towers and all the Monty Python films. So I am really looking forward to him talking about them in the book. But he has already mentioned how things he saw or witnessed as a kid, in later life gave him ideas for character traits or comedy situations. It is a really fascinating read and I am looking forward to finishing it. But even after what I have already read, I would recommend it to any comedy fan.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

As a Tottenham Hotspur fan I am afraid I can’t not mention last Saturday’s big game. Over the years I have seen us lose to Arsenal on so many occasions and sometimes quite heavily. But when I sat down to watch the North London Derby on television last weekend. I did feel very calm and confident that we would at least get something out of the game. Well done to the whole team, I thought everybody was fantastic and it was a truly great performance. Watching any Spurs game is always a roller coaster of emotions and this one was no different.

I would like to apologise to my neighbours for the shouting and screaming after Harry Kane’s equaliser and then again after his second. A brilliant header that won us the game. I have pretty much only just got my voice back. Great day for my team, I have to admit I was buzzing all week after that victory. Now I hope we can get our first trophy since 2008 by beating Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in the Capital One Cup Final on Sunday 1st March.

White Hart Lane
White Hart Lane

I went to see one of the London heat’s of Britain’s Got Talent last Wednesday at the Dominion Theatre. Just as I was arriving at the venue I witnessed Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden making their way through the front doors, with about thirty tabloid photographers trying to get pictures of them as they walked past. Then just before I went inside I saw Stephen Mulhern do a bit of filming with the audience that had gathered for his ITV 2 spin off show More Talent. Then it was time to take my seat ready for the action to begin. The warm up man Ian Royce comes on first to get the crowd going and then Ant & Dec come out to say hello and have a quick chat.

Ant & Dec
Ant & Dec

That was pretty much the only time we saw or heard from them all night. Because of course you will know, if you watch the show. They do all their work off stage talking to the acts before and after their performance’s. Next the four judges are then bought out and they to have a chat to the crowd. Now the next bit surprised me a little as the acts, when everything is ready for them. Seem to randomly wander on to the stage without being introduced. So we know nothing about them until they have that chat with the judges before they do their thing. Which does explain the sometimes rather odd applause they get, when they come on stage. As it kind of depends on at which point the audience spot them. I do not want to give anything away but it is fair to say there is the usual mix of good, bad and deluded acts on the show once again this year.

BGT Dominion Theatre
BGT Dominion Theatre

I did see some good acts but if I am honest I don’t think I saw this year’s winner. The banter between the judges is good. And to be fair on the whole they were being very nice, even to the not so good ones. One thing that did amaze me was how loud the buzzers are. When they go off it does make you jump. So no wonder the acts always look confused and pause for a second when one is pressed. It was a fun night out and I am looking forward to seeing the whole series on television later this year. There was a really bad singer on near the end. And I found myself walking straight past her as she was leaving the stage. I just chose to smile and say nothing. Which in that situation, I think was the politest thing to do. Mind you see did not look happy after getting four big no’s.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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