Just catching up to speed starts on Saturday night when we were invited to join the Raindancer Biker Club to celebrate their 20 years of formation. Despite us being the only non-bikers among them, they still made us feel very welcome. Ken and Martin made the night a success with the help of the lads from the Flat Back 4, well done all around, and thanks!
Sunday was pretty uneventful (if I remember correctly!), and Monday meant quiz night again. First of all though was a visit to church for a celebration mass for all of the people in the parish who had died this year, and as always, Fr Michael made it special. The weather had been terrible all day and one of the roads to the pub was closed, but undeterred, we made the trip out, and as always, it proved to be another thoroughly enjoyable Monday. We had a ringer in the form of Matthew (though I suspect still shaken by his previous visit after being set upon by the Major), and a depleted pub due to the weather, so we felt in with a chance at least. A flurry of successful answers included golliwogs, Madagascar, Weymouth, Seattle and shag, though we were outfoxed by Zaire, Sir Walter Scott and Bruce Willis. Even more unfortunate was that Judge Reinhold never got a look in! After a poor first round we somehow managed to scrape ourselves into fourth place and pick up a fiver for the pot. Paul, being our American expert, also managed to guess the closest distance from San Francisco to New Mexico, which netted us yet another fiver for the pot. Another great quiz night - keep the pot filling! We have still to get the top place yet though.
Tuesday and Wednesday promised a lot decorating wise, but unfortunately, was never fulfilled. Tonight though has been a revelation - cracking on from 6 - 10, we have managed to get 2 rooms almost done, only 6 to go.....more of that tomorrow.
Pleased to say a few more people have taken advantage of the 'Charity Poem' free gift and my Just Giving total towards the Coast to Coast is now at £445 (£360 + gift aid). Good work everyone. There is still 6 months to go and that's before the Charity Chuckle night, a couple of other nights in the thinking, and actually getting sponsorship forms out to people.
After plenty of umming and aaarring (not sure of exact spelling), I decided to head out to the games league match last night, and put off the skirting board painting another day. It was a good night out, and amazingly for our games team, a successful one! After partnering Collo and winning at both whist and dominoes, I went onto the billiard table and racked up a 120 - 94 win on there. Mind, it took that long to get the game over I suspect he threw it towards the end, still, a win is a win! Overall we won 39 - 11 and it makes it 2 consecutive wins for the first time since, well, ever!
Dormans Museum, Middlesbrough
I had psyched myself up for a super long walk today, maybe Saltburn or Sedgefield or somewhere 15 - 20 miles away. As it was though, I couldn't really be bothered to get up at 8 as I had promised myself, and instead rolled out at about 9:30 and after putting on my bets (which I was very confident about this week) and nipping to Gibbons, I made it round to Dad's, who was coming out on a walk too.
Cenotaph & Albert Park, Middlesbrough
There was a definite bite in the air and as the photos show, a thick fog had descended. We decided to walk into Middlesbrough, have a mooch around there, and come back. We set off and headed towards my work, which took us down Cambridge Road and onto Linthorpe Road. It had felt like years since I had walked down Linthorpe Road, though more likely it is that the shops and the pubs change their names so much it is hard to keep track.
Quick quiz question - Where in Middlesbrough is the sign below (answer at end of blog)
In a side street off Linthorpe Road we noticed this gem of a sign. The Hair Conservation Club! We tried to join but unfortunately both Dad's and my hair were so far gone, there was nothing left to conserve. Nice try though!
After a few hours out, we made it back to Dad's house clocking in 8.1 miles. A jolly out to the Oxbridge Club beckons tonight to celebrate the Raindancers (Bikers) 20th Anniversary. Again, it beats painting.......
The answer to the quiz question was........The Territorial Army Centre on the Wilderness Road
I have recently launched my 'Free Gift' campaign, which was originally a poem in exchange for a donation to my Just Giving page. Having told Doug, my cartoon man, of this venture, he immediately got on board and offered his services too! The result is a cartoon and limerick about any person or anything you like in exchange for a £10 donation to the Brain Research Trust. I have already had two takers so far, and hope to keep 'em coming. More details of this can be found here.
Also this week I had a fantastic email from the managing director of a company who informed me he will be promoting my website, for free, in his companies newsletter. This has also generated a lot more interest in Bespoke Poetry. If you want to read the item, click here.
So all in all a few good days!
Unbelievably it's a week since my last blog so sorry about that, I do know that avid followers are keen to see my latest escapades - like the old school Batman - same Dan place, same Dan time. It's not like I am particularly exciting really, I am more the self styled superhero 'The Incredible Sociable Hermit Man', yearning for a quiet life which doesn't actually happen!
The house has been under some major redecoration and plastering so it has meant a week or two caked in dust and plaster, while all of the contents of the rooms in the house are piled into just two. It has meant a good sort through and a massive clear out, which is very therapeutic, or so they say.
The week picks up on Friday, the lads are downstairs plastering and hoping to get enough done to be finished on the Saturday. Great! Only, as you would expect, it's not that straightforward. Having left them with the key, I thought I will go home at 5 to a calm house, almost plastered. OK, everything will be under sheets except for the one dining room chair we have left in the living room (mainly to stand on for lights etc) which Nat and I will play musical chairs around for the privilege to actually sit on it. In reality though, I left work an hour early because my front door had finally breathed it's last and wouldn't lock due to a broken cylinder (or some technical term), although mam and dad had went to sit in to let the plasterer actually go home. It was during this time that the 'bloody cat', which had been in and out all week, must have ran upstairs and perked itself on my bed. I must point out that this isn't my cat. I hate cats. If I wanted a cat in my house, I would get one, I DON'T WANT OTHER PEOPLES CATS IN MY HOUSE! So, you see my feelings about cats. Anyway, as mam was looking around the rooms upstairs at the plastering she had to do a double take as there was this 'thing' perched on the bed. Turns out it was the 'bloody cat' (some words are replaced for family viewing). Not knowing who was the most shocked, a Tom & Jerry style chase ensued and there was only going to be one winner - safe to say the cat was put out! The door was, yet another technical term for you, knackered. Almost in true zombie film style we barricaded ourselves in the house that night with a combination of an amplifier, masking tape, and sweeping brush to keep us safe. It worked, we survived the night with a front door that wouldn't lock.
That leads us straight into Saturday, an early rise, Uncle Mark came to fix the front door, which he did, and the lads came to finish the plastering, or so they thought.....after 4 hours of chiselling away at the artexed ceiling they conceded defeat, back again on Monday to finish off. After tucking into a Gibbons sarnie and putting my bets on we were ready for the Pools match. With a new manager in place and a good home crowd to cheer them on, surely this was the day that fortunes changed. After a good first half we went into the break at 0-0, carry on like this and we were in danger of getting a point! It's an old football cliche but talk about a game of two halves - we went from 0-0 to 5-0 down in 45 mins, not the best start for the 'Hughes Blues'. Nevermind, they are at home again tonight and surely it can't be a repeat of Saturday's fiasco! That remains to be seen...
I decided to walk on Sunday, and had rallied the troops for a venture up Roseberry Topping, it was extremely muddy and always going to be a challenge, especially as we somehow got lost! Amy turned out in leopard print wellies, enough said.
Car park was busy and the ticket machine was out of order so that saved 2 and a half quid.
It was pretty tough on the way up - at one point we didn't have a clue where we were and thought someone had moved the top, it was still there though, and we found it eventually. As we sat for a rest at the top ready to open our picnics we realised that nobody had actually brought one. Luckily I had two packets of Space Raiders in my backpack from God knows when!
Coming back down on the front side was much different to going up. It was probably the most fun anybody has had on Roseberry Topping. Everybody slipped over, a number of times, except for Amy, and her leopard print wellies! That is probably why she laughed the loudest, hardest and longest! Both myself and Paul suffered the embarrassment of full body falls, but the perfect 10's for the day went to dad, first of all for the move which is now known as the 'sausage roll' as he nearly wiped Paul out, followed by the slip which ended up with a face full of heather. Classic moves. All in all, a good trip out! There was even some odd shaped corn circles made like the one below. I blame saucy aliens!
After getting showered and dressed again we made our way to Janet's house - she was laying on a surprise leaving party for Chris, he was going away to work for a period of time in, erm, now where was it, I'm sure he did say - let me just ring him.......Angola! That's it! I knew I had heard it somewhere before.
We all gathered at Chris' house and had a great party, shame Jan had not made one of her legendary pies. Ruby introduced everyone to Duck, Duck, Goose (i think), and Joe and Isaac turned up with "We'll miss you Uncle Chris t-shirts" on. A good few hours up there and we all went to the club on the night. A very good day - with very good people, and I managed to not think about the upcoming and unavoidable house painting at all!
It was probably the fastest weekend I could ever remember and Monday soon came round. After the formality of work, and letting the plasterers in one last time, it was soon 5 o'clock. My early evening was spent cleaning down walls and sanding any kind of door frame/skirting board I could see. That was, of course, until 8 o'clock and then it was quiz time. A man down but a woman up this week, and desperate to keep up our run of actually winning something we strained our brains as hard as we could. Eventually it paid off and we finished joint third, picking up a prize of £7.50 for the pot. Highlight answers for this week include Anita Dobson, Johannesburg, Danny La Rue and Nat's Manchester (despite thinking of the wrong show she still came up with the right answer!). One thing is for certain, we will never forget the group Pussy Riot after the conversation it caused last night. We beat right around the bush but never actually pulled the correct name out. All in all a very good weekend! More of the same next weekend please!
Oh and by the way it is 6 months tomorrow until the Coast to Coast starts!
After having most of last week off due to bits of work done in the house, I decided to have a break and go for a walk on Sunday this week. I was all geared up, had put bets on for the day and met dad ready for the several hour walk we were about to embark on, and then we bumped into Fr Michael. With it being a Sunday, we couldn't really refuse his offer of a jolly to the pub, so we joined him at the Teal for a couple of afternoon drinks. While up there we met a gathering of pre-show revellers from church tucking into their carvery. We were probably there an hour or so but it was a nice change, and in the end we decided to not bother with a walk - we can do that next weekend! I think the plans are for a trip up Captain Cook's monument/Roseberry Topping/Great Ayton next week - come if you want!
It's been a mucky and dusty time at home so was nice to get out to the quiz again tonight. We were armed with a couple of ringers tonight in the form of Matthew & Chris. We kept telling ourselves that this was the week we were winning, and at one point we thought we were gonna! Gems of the night include Earl Grey, Drury Lane, Bourbon, Chris Huhne, Washington and Dr Pepper! Everybody contributed to a successful night where we won a fiver drinks voucher spot prize for Kathy Staff's birth date (2 months out) and overall came 2nd out of 16 - the elusive 1st place going to our nemesis Yasser & The Marrowfats. We still got £15 for coming second, and it just goes to prove, despite what the quizmaster says, that too many cooks don't always spoil the broth! No doubt the 6 of us will regroup at some point, but I am sure Chris said he was going somewhere or other soon....
Another highlight(?) of the night was when 'The Major' appeared, gave us a bit of abuse, a few expletives, and tried to drink Matt's drink. Maybe his abuse even spurred us on to success....we will never know!
Anyway, that's it for tonight and we will ride on the wave of success for the whole of this week.
Second day into my holidays and what did I do? Go into work. It wasn't just a pining for work, I had arranged to go in and finish a few things off. I got kitted out as I was going for a walk straight after I finished, I just wasn't quite sure where to. I started out at about 12 o'clock and headed towards Redcar with a view to going on to Saltburn. I had toyed with this walk before but hadn't actually done it - today was the day!
After 'googlemapping' the routes, I decided what seemed like the most straight forward - the dreaded Trunk Road (cue music of dread). Everytime I go on a 5+ mile walk, I tend to discover the longest road in the world each time, but this road really was, THE LONGEST ROAD EVER! Well, ok, I exaggerate slightly, but it was pretty long! I haven't got many photos up this time, because there was nothing really to see! Once you get out of Middlesbrough centre and onto Longlands road it's all pretty boring, unless you class a (relatively) new Tesco and a lot of heavy industry as exciting. In fact, one of the highlights of the walk was being tooted by a lorry and asked if I wanted a lift into Redcar. If I hadn't have been doing what I was doing - I certainly would have accepted your offer! So thanks Mick Wood anyway! Darkness descended on the walk but I wasn't sure if that was the bad weather or the waste being pumped out by the many chimneys en route. I think a major plus side of this walk was that there was a path way from start to finish - always a bonus! Sometimes it was a little close to the road and as lorries hurtled past I was caught up in a mini sonic boom as a combination of surface water and the wind generated by their passing hit me. Overall I clocked up 10.8 miles, and was lucky enough to have dad meet me in Redcar for a lift home! It meant I was back home by 4 o'clock - and drifted off by 5. What a life!
Yesterdays quiz threw out a few more corkers - Smith knowing all about Jimmy Hoffa (exactly!), Paul showing his knowledge of Alan Titchmarsh, Col flexing his Common Market muscles and I, unfortunately knowing that the age of consent is 13 in Spain (although didn't go with the gut feeling...). What was truly amazing was that in a difficult quiz, a team scored 56 out of 60, we came in last place on 47. Still, as one of the quiz answers stated "Things can only get better"! 13 teams and a total payout of £110! Watch this space, we have extra brains next week!
A final note, to say thanks to Liam Warrillow from Birmingham. He is the first to take me up on my free poem project and donated £10 (+ gift aid) towards the Brain Research Trust. If you have not heard about it, check it out here and pass the messsage on!
From now until the start of the Coast to Coast, I am offering free poems! All you need to do is make a donation to my Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/danwoodgate, mention Bespoke Poetry and leave an email address and I will match you donation with a line of poetry, so if you donate £12 I will write a personalised 12 line poem and so on.
I have got to start this blog off with a story from Chris. It was midweek in Hull and he went out to watch the match but turned out there was only him and another guy in the pub. Anyway, Chris being Chris he started talking to this guy (whether he liked it or not). Apparently this man, we think, was Kazenga LuaLua, brother of Lomana LuaLua and cousin of Charles N'Zogbia. Now Chris had done all of his good work in asking for signed shirts etc for the Coast to Coast and had left it with Kazenga to get back to him. Amazingly enough, Kazenga did text Chris the next day! But instead of arranging to drop a signed shirt off, he asked for £150 as his wallet had been pinched and the bank wouldn't give him any money due to lack of ID. Safe to say no money was handed over, and I suspect we will be waiting a long time for Charles' signed Villa shirt! But, you never know......
It was an early one this morning - up and out at the foot of Captain Cook's monument for about 9am. I do struggle to get out of bed so early on a Saturday, but once I finally get up I'm ready for it! Anyway it has been 3 weeks since a proper walk and for about the first 100 metres it felt like it! It was abandoned at the top of the monument which was brilliant! On the way back down I came a cropper and stumbled, only saved by the ankle support on my new shoes. I felt like I had twisted both my ankle, and my shoulder in the fall. I carried on walking over to Roseberry Topping however.
It was pretty cold at this point, probably the coldest it has been since I have been 'training', but you still work a sweat up! Yet again, I find myself frustrated by dyslexic dog walkers - first of all, there are many signs instructing dogs to be kept on a short lead, which they misunderstand as 'let your dogs run wildly unattended' and secondly because of the amount of dog dirt I was dodging on the up to Roseberry. It makes me think about the police and the no entry sign into Westbury Street - either open it up to everyone, or enforce the no entry! National Trust - either take the signs down or enforce the rules. The money made from spot fines would sustain the area for years! Anyway, dog rant over!
Apart from realising what great ankle support my new boots have, I also realised that they really are waterproof too! Now all I need are the waterproof trousers to go with them!
The walk was finished off at about midday, when I landed in Great Ayton high street. I had clocked up about 6 miles, and rewarded myself with a bag of chips. I even sat on the bench and ate them like a true tourist!
Home about 1pm and the day was only just beginning. Next up was my DJing debut for Joe's 3rd birthday party. After staying up 'til 3am the previous morning fretting about playlists etc, it turned out I was a natural and need not have worried! It was a great party and I think the introduction of the greatest party game ever helped overcome any nerves. Funnily enough, I was sorting our loft out last week and found this old gem. Maybe it was a sign.....
The night took a crowd of us over to Darlington for a comedy club, and what a cracker it was! 17 of us made the journey and we weren't disappointed - Andrew Ryan as compere was, as always, top class, Ian D Montfort opened up with an eerily impressive display of psychic ability, followed by Adnan Ahmed who was a decent comic we had seen before, but the highlight was Ivan Brackenbury's hospital radio show. Absolutely brilliant! Littered with inappropraite songs and mistimed jingles, his show is comedy genius.
Just a final note on this already lengthy blog entry - tickets are now on sale for the Charity Chuckle. Hoping to shift them all pretty quickly, so get them while you can! See below for details!