Friday, wow, what a busy day at work, although it did finish with a lift home and a quiet night in the house. That was, until half past midnight (sounds like an Abba song), when Paul got in touch and we had a run out in his car, in the snow, to nowhere in particular. It was miles better than it sounds though, honestly, it was amazing how many people were at roadside and the snow had pretty much just begun.
Saturday was always going to be a tiring day - we had Joe & Isaac for the day. Everything went well apart from Joe running into the table - cue cuts, bruises and plenty of tears. It was a good job I had the miracle cure of Tarzan and fishfingers (a deadly combo I know) to sort it.
We tossed and turned over what to do on the night and decided to stay in. We stocked up on booze from Asda and set our stall for the night. It took exactly 2 bottles of Budweiser and 1 bottle of WKD to send us to sleep, but we rose again at 8 o'clock to restart the night. A couple of films, a mixture of drinks and a bit of grub later ended up in a great night in. It was the start of a weeks holiday for both of us, so we can enjoy a whole work free week next week.
It's looking very likely that I will be getting a place on the Asda 'Green Token' boxes, so it's good warning, please save any tokens you get and I will put them all in my charity box in Asda, Thornaby, when it arrives.
Going into the quiz on Monday I was quietly confident we were going to win something, who knows, maybe even two things...it was a cold wintry night but an amazingly busy turnout in the pub - 11 teams in total, and a crowd of people invading our space, how dare they sit near us? We started with the usual banter - where's your mate (Paul), is he walking? Blah, blah, blah. It was a slow start quiz-wise, with a 7 pointer and an 8 pointer, although we did pick up a fiver on the spot prize with the closest to the year for the formation of the FBI, while still being 13 years out! Scores picked up and we, for the second week running, had a late surge only dropping 1 point in each of the last three rounds. This took us to joint third place and put another fiver in the pot - a successful night again! One day we will catch Yasser & The Marrowfats, The Whackers, E=MC2, Grey Matter, et al. Here's a couple of teasers we got correct followed by a couple never - answers at the bottom of the blog!
How did Wyatt Earp die?
What, in Spain, is El Gordo?
What is Tonto's horse called?
The Rovers Return is on the junction of Coronation Street and which other?
Thou shalt not kill is which number commandments?
Tuesday brought around the first home match for Hartlepool since New Year's Day. It was a cold, cold night and only 2,500 people turned up. Apart from about 5 minutes after the break when we managed to nick a goal, we were totally outplayed and outclassed - we may as well have had 11 snowmen playing. It's going to be a long second half of the season and they are probably looking at the worst points total of any team in any league, ever. But, that's football!
Quiz answers you were after were as follows:
The National Lottery
Oh and in answer to the blog title - "The streets are paved with dogsh*t", at least that's my experience from walking to work all month. Apologies for signing out on that but it's a constant bug bear, especially with me now being an avid walker.
Yet another Hartlepool match called off on Saturday, I still consider that a good result! It does mean, however, that there will be a flurry of games together which could either be good for Pools (if they find form), or terrible if they carry on with their current season long form. It could also be a strain on the players if it meant they might have to play 2 (that's 180 minutes) or even worse, 3 (a whole 270 minutes) games in a week - they are bad enough playing 1! But still, keep the faith....
It did mean Saturday turned into a free day though, which in turn meant a day trying to clear up the remnants of our house decorating. A place for everything and everything in it's place etc. To say I had a day doing it was a slight (massive) exaggeration - how could I when there was Soccer AM, Jeff Stelling, and then West Brom v Villa, but the intention was there!
Saturday night came and it was over to Manfield for a get together of good pals, great wit and banter. Unfortunately Smith, Paul and Butler didn't make it so I was stuck with Foster, Flounders, Macaulay, Les and Andrew. Nevertheless it was a cracking night - it had everything, plenty of real ale, suspected back seat groping (thank God I was in the front...), snowballs, random body dumps from moving cars, dancing (post midnight, NOT with the lads), more booze, and a taxi ride home which nobody seems to remember. Anyway, it was just one of those good nights out.
Sunday came, and it seemed like everyone from the night before was in apocalypse mode, with the usual groans of pain followed by recollections of last nights events. A hearty meal in the Lingfield cast away any lingering hangover and the postponement of Les Miserables meant it was a night (and pretty much a whole weekend) of relaxation. Still, not very good practise for the walk which is why I dragged myself up early this morning and walked in with Ged, and home too!
Finally, would you believe that despite all of this bad weather, I haven't slipped over once....
Finally, finally......it's quiz night tonight and I can feel a big win coming on!
And finally, finally, finally (really this time), a big hello to my Angolan viewers, there seems to be a flurry of activity from there at the minute. Now Nat has learned to email I might even let her write a blog sometime!
Quiz night is over and with only 3 team members this week we somehow acheived the impossible - we won something! It was the worst possible start to the quiz having only scored 7 in each of the first two rounds, and you ain't ever gonna win anything in the Falcon with 14 out of 20 from first two rounds. Just as we contemplated sloping out of the side door with embarrassment came a break through. With a combination of some great answers and possibly even more luck, we romped home with three rounds of 9 out of 10 and finished joint third, securing a fiver for the pot. The night had started with the Major refusing a place in our team - he didn't want to embarrass us with his knowledge (ahem), but he then kept us enthralled with his tales of yesteryear and told us of his wifes desire to move to Thornaby from Hilton - you don't hear that much, I suppose we could offer a swap.....nah! It was another good Monday, despite the loss of our American expert, and Chris wasn't on hand to offer us his 100% certainty answers, which of course are always wrong, but we were there, standing proudly in third place. Maybe one day we will get that coveted first place, maybe, one day. Until then though, it's business as usual. Highlight answers this week included Tony Hatch, Peninsula & Oriental, Ronald Reagan, Emily, Selfridges, Polo, Sherlock Holmes, York and a corker in Hudson Bay. Nearly misses include Maryland, Vince Cable, Good News and Gondola. Here's a question for you - Which Monkey can be found on the bottom of the sea?
Answer - Davy Jones.....
Yeah, we dropped that point too! We did, however, learn that the first email was sent in 1971.
It's another walk to work in the morning, and maybe home too, that's another 6 miles on the training clock. Thanks to all who have recently sponsored me, they keep coming on www.justgiving.com/danwoodgate.
Saturday was the annual senior citizen's party at Church - it was the usual affair - Jimmy from Benidrom singing and telling the odd risque joke, plenty of lager and wine, fish & chips, choice of desserts - so much so people were going for 'thirds', plenty of bingo and the end of party raffle. It may well have been similar to previous years, but, as in previous years, it was a bloody great afternoon! It was a great feelgood community event and the parish hall was packed with revellers, some of whom arrived an hour early.
After having a few cans of Fosters at the party, as well as fish and chips and a piece of chocolate cake, it was very much a day of enjoyment, some would say too much enjoyment! I left the hall to get set up for a poker night at my house, it was also the first poker night in over a year where I had a drink, and it was as if I was catching up. Take plenty more Fosters, add a touch of rum and pour some ouzo into the mix and you end up with actions like those seen below. Finally, add cheesy chips into the machine and the results are disastrous, but I won't go into detail...
Despite the previous night's shenanigans, I was up and at church on Sunday, all kitted up for my first decent walk for some time. Although the last thing on Earth I wanted to do was go for a walk, the insistence of Nat, Mam and Dad meant I did, and looking back, I am really glad I did. It didn't feel like it at the time though as I was hampered by a giddy tummy, a mild form of Delhi belly. Nevertheless we clocked up 5.6 miles as we walked over to Coulby Newham and met the lasses in the Lingfield Farm.
It was great to be out and about again, taking photo's of randomly entertaining items (to me anyway), and it had me thinking very much about the walk again.
We stumbled upon a path directly(?) to York - it is maybe something for the future!
Sunday night took us to the club with Chris for his last night out this side of his second Angola spell. Also there was Dixie, a seasoned rambler (that's walking not talking) who has been a great source of help and advice for the walk, and who will be reading my blog for the first time shortly.
Monday morning came and I was back at work, and to carry on my monthly push of walking to work everyday, I had the company of Amy and Ged. Despite the bad conditions I walked home too, again with Ged.
Back up to date now, it's 7:50 and time for the quiz! Laters.....
I have spent the night reviewing my plan for the Coast to Coast and have made slight amendments, mainly for accommodation purposes. I have fired out emails to various places en route to owners of B & B's, hotels, barns, campsites, hostels and even a yurt (some kind of Mongolian tent). Once I have had my replies and the provisional bookings in place, I will blog my amended itinerary, and we can go from there.
The weetabix and beans on toast, as well as the daily walk to work has been kept up, and I am looking forward to getting back into the longer walks, which will kick off again soon. Having received several gift vouchers for Go Outdoors for Christmas I am hoping to get myself there and, in a scenario I never thought would happen, be like a kid in a sweetshop (that's right, in an outdoor equipment store!). I am also looking to get a banner made for any events I have, so if you know of any generous banner makers who would be wanting a bit of publicity, let me know. Anyway, with the lure of another walk to work in the morning, I'm going for a period of dormancy.
Despite the blog title, I won't say too much about the potential pantomime we have planned. It, quite possibly, has it all - original songs, new characters, stunning scenery, terrible actors - pretty much all you can ask for in a pantomime. In the meantime, thanks to Smith's efforts, we have a charity football match fundraiser on the cards. It's his team Old & Athletic against a Woodgate Select XI who will no doubt be considerably older and less athletic. Nevertheless a team will be dug up and clumped together all in the name of charity. With Chris, our former Boro goalkeeper (that's right isn't it?) between the sticks, what could possibly go wrong?!
Despite it being a Monday, and the worst possible day to walk to work, I dragged my carcass out of bed and walked into work. It was in my hypnogogic state I thought I was truly delirious until I realised, yes, that was a dragon in a wheelie bin - not something you see often....and it wasn't even bin day!
I had stocked up on milk and sugar at work to aid my weetabix diet, and actually looked forward to them at lunchtime, who would have thought?
This was followed at tea time by beans on toast, and then I was ready for the quiz.
We had a new approach to the quiz this year - drink as much as we can and try to win. It never quite worked like that, though there were some peach answers. Highlights include Hugh (John Mungo) Grant, Trafalgar, Cambridge, Radio 4, Lord Lucan x2, M25, Cello, Desert Storm, Mel Gibson and Nicholas Parsons. We were stumped on Margaret Thatcher's death, Finland, France/Italy, Ginger Ale, Neil Diamond and Doritos. Highlight of the night was everybody ordering alcohol for the first time ever, and having the staff baffled over the whole abstinence issue. It turns out drinking as much as we can DOES NOT win quizzes. Five pints of coke next week please.......
For some strange reason I thought the Coast to Coast was quite far away, but today I realised there is only 135 days to go. One thing that won't help with the training is drinking. After a year off alcohol, Saturday brought my first real drinking night. It was in the form of the comedy club at The Forum in Darlington. It had taken quite a bit of organising but 20 of us got there in the end, and it turned out to be a great night. Things started to get hazy, however, after the third pitcher of Foster's. After suffering from my first hangover in over a year (suffering is perhaps a bit strong, I have felt reasonable all day, just a bit tired) I have had no inclination to exercise at all, which, with 135 days to go is a feeling I could do without. I have decided to keep a limit on the drinking nights out so they don't interfere with my training - although I am drinking tomorrow at the quiz (for the first time!).
As well as keeping booze to a minimum, I am trying to walk to work everyday this month. Tomorrow will be the first major test because, in the words of Bob Geldof, 'I don't like Mondays'. We'll see how that one goes. I've also taken to an intense, one month diet of 2 weetabix for lunch, and beans on toast for tea - if nothing else, it will flush my system (or should that be cistern?) out! And finally there is the sessions of squash/badminton/table tennis I have lined up. It's gonna be an energetic January, but wait until the end of the month weigh in for remarkable results (fingers crossed).
A couple of donations today have took my total raised on Just Giving to £400+ (as well as Gift Aid) which is 16% of my £2,500 target, as well as £55 I have in cash to include. For those of you feeling impulsive right now, I have set up a way to donate by text - it's as easy as peas, just text HIKE83 £5 or HIKE83 £10 to 70070 and the money will be added to your monthly mobile bill! Go on, I dare you......
I'm also trying to sort out a couple of different nights before the walk which will add to the pot, as well as lining up some 'media appearances' to help the cause. The next 6 months are going to be very busy, then I will rest a little, then sort out 2014!
Decorating about done
Happy New Year to everyone - let's hope 2013 is the best year of your life.
It's been nearly two weeks since I last blogged, and there has been all sorts of things happening in that time.
I will pick up on Christmas Eve, we went to church in Great Ayton and to see Nat's family. It was a good Christmassy service with 30 minutes of Christmas Carols beforehand, I always enjoy them more when I am not playing the organ. After Mass I noticed Pat Monahan was there, so headed over for a chat with him. Which reminds me, tickets for April 4th Charity Chuckle are starting to move now and can be purchased by clicking here. It wasn't all singing and festivities though, when we arrived back home, I was determined to finish off bits around the house so we didn't have paint brushes/rollers/screwdrivers etc lying around over Christmas. With the assistance of Sky Arts and Andre Rieu, I worked until 5:30am on Christmas morning, at one point I was sure I heard reindeer footprints (of hoofprints?) on the roof.
Christmas morning came and, despite a late night, I played the organ at church - again, a belliful of carols to feast on. After this came the tradition of piling into Granda's house, only it is Amy & Pip's house now, and unfortunately, our first year without Granda, although he was, and continues to be, very much remembered. This was followed by one of my favourite lunches of the year, pigs in blanket. It always goes down well, especially at Christmas (even though there was the option of beef, pork or lamb, I always stick with my pigs in blankets). The evening led us to see Joe & Isaac as they were slowly drowning in presents. They were two lucky and happy boys this Christmas.
Don't know who is most excited
Boxing Day came round and it was Nat's turn to cook for her family, which in turn meant it was time I steered cleared of the kitchen. I was left to show how much I had fell behind in the gaming world, being beaten by Cody, aged 13, on every single game of Call of Duty Zombie Attack we played. Give me Icicle Works, Kickstart or Sensi Soccer anyday! Hartlepool were at Carlisle and I fancied them to have finally turned the corner and get the win they needed. They got wellied (I believe that is the term) 3-0.
Friday came and we were taking Joe & Isaac out for the day. First up was a trip to the duck pond in Norton, followed by a visit to the legendary Wynyard Planetarium (never heard of it really). Instead of coming back with the knowledge of Professor Brian Cox, I came back none the wiser, knackered and covered in mud. The planetarium wasn't even open but it just so happened to have a fantastic play area nearby. After a much needed siesta we geared ourselves up for Amy & Pip's Christmas get together, which turned out, as expected, to be a fun night, with Pip's trifle the star of the show.
I was asked a few weeks back to play the keyboard for a family friend's surprise 80th birthday party, and that day was Saturday 29th. Although Veronica had been told of the party it didn't spoil the day, and I was really pleased to be a part of it, after all I had played for her 70th, and hopefully again in ten years time for her 90th. As a very generous gesture, Veronica's family made a donation towards the Brain Research Trust, so thanks again. The people of Sheffield must have thought the Mayan calendar was running a few days late as they were beaten by Hartlepool. What made it truly amazing was that they were top of the league, and Pools were bottom, having not won a game in 20 odd. Was this the new dawn? Saturday night came which meant another gathering for poker night. It was just the tonic after Christmas, an easy way to line my pockets with gold....
New Years Eve finally came round and I had made the decision to drink, after giving up for a year, once the clock chimed midnight. After gathering at Amy's house we spent the traditional night in the club listening to Johnny (or was it George?) Reynolds, aka The Working Man. God knows who gave him that nickname, for a guy who doesn't sing songs post 1970 I'm amazed he is working anywhere at all! Anyway, we partied, as we do, and moved on to Mam's house. As the clock struck 12 I first footed into Mam's and we toasted with a straight whiskey (sorry Granda - no lemonade!) to Granda. I think we trickled home around about 3am.
New Year's Day arrived. Hartlepool were at home and almost certain to carry on their new streak of form. They never. Despite being the better team, they trailed 1-0 at half time, and I think the celebrations from New Year must have then kicked in for the second half they were terrible. We all met back up and had a few drinks on the night while watching Phil Taylor take yet another world title.
So that brings me back up to date, back to work this morning and back into a new training regime. I already have squash and badminton booked in for next week, and hope to walk to work as many days as I can this month. I have set myself a month long strict diet and hope, together with an intense month of training, that I will quickly start getting in shape for the walk.
Other than that, nothing else to report....