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It seems like the first quiz blog in ages, so if you are not interested, don't even bother clicking further. It was a great night out - there was a full squad tonight, with ringers like Chris and Nat we were destined to win our first ever quiz weren't we??
Well, we had a good fun night anyway! After a surprisingly successful first 3 rounds we gambled with the joker on the fourth round, which turned out to be our worst round. Despite this, we managed to scrape ourselves into the money, winning a bumper £5 for coming joint fourth! It wasn't too bad considering there was 16 teams entered.
Everyone in the team made a great contribution tonight, and instead of listing the highlights, I have provided a slide show - maybe you can figure it out?
A teaser that is not in pictures - which is the third largest city in Scotland? (answer below pics)
It's Aberdeen......not Dundee
I had the good foresight to take Friday off work, as I had expected to be suffering from post Charity Chuckle blues/hangover. Turns out I didn't really, quite the opposite - I was up early and still on a high from the success of the night. As Joe was staying at Auntie Amy's house we offered to have Isaac for the night, and he was fantastic! OK we had to surrender television for the night so he could get his fix of Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Tombliboos, Igglepiggle, Makka Pakka and of course Ninky Nonk (ok I had to google some of them, I couldn't remember them all!).
He was quite taken by our new goldfish, Elvis and Priscilla, and insisted on feeding them, a lot! We played our usual game of 'crawl round on Uncle Dan's head while he lays down', and snuggled up on the sofa in an attempt to get him to sleep. It never worked. He finally fell asleep at 'ahem' o'clock (can't be too precise in case his Mam and Dad read), and didn't hear a peep out of him until 7am. Great stuff! We dropped him back off and got on with our busy Saturday.
It was Grand National day and so I done my bit as bookies runner and headed off to the Hartlepool match with Dad. Incidentally, I picked up my winnings today (£3.50), but it cost me a lot more than I got back! With Pools facing relegation today it was a must win game, as is every remaining fixture, and it turned out they actually did win! There is still a tiny bit of hope in staying up, but it's going to need a large slice of luck.
Saturday night was poker night - there was 8 of us playing, but looking in the recycling bin this morning you would have thought there was 20! Nat played the perfect hostess as always and left chilli and rice for the lads, and pie and peas for those who prefer normal food. One invited critic said this of the food:
"Mouth watering dish that danced around in the mouth 10 out of 10"
Les Blakeman (former London food critic)
Despite my hazy recollections, I think we played 6 games, and with 4 different winners, the money was spread out. What we did learn from the night was that Matthew had a secret past in the music industry, Shifty has a well practised technique for completely emptying a shot glass of vodka jelly, and I have a salad crisper, hoorah! Oh and it is much better clearing up on the night no matter how late it is than facing it on a Sunday morning.
I'm hoping to spend a bit of time organising my C2C trip, and updating websites, but more of that later.
It's been a long time coming but the night of the Charity Chuckle was finally upon us. What could possibly go wrong? Hmmm, maybe the call on Tuesday to say Pat Monahan was filming a movie in London all week and was physically unable to make it. But would that stop us having a great time? Would it hell!
As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and it proved to be the case again. As disappointing as it was to lose Pat at such short notice, Neil from Hilarity Bites (who ALWAYS does the biz) pulled Phil Ellis out of the hat as the replacement headliner. He also, if things went according to plan, would have Pat beamed down to us via FaceTime on the projector on the stage at some point throughout the night. The final silver lining being that Pat has agreed to come up and do a preview of his Edinburgh show in July - so we now get two gigs out of it!
A small crack team (Me, Nat & Mark) got to the pub at 6 to set ourselves up ready for the 120+ people who would attend. I was to take tickets/money etc, Nat was queen of the raffle, and Mark ended up being greeter/projectionist/lighting/cashier/general ensurer that things went smooth. We all did a bloody good job of it!
The comedy itself was excellent, with each comedian being quite different from the rest. Tony Jameson done a fantastic job of hosting the night, and Neil did manage to connect to Pat Monahan in London! It was a pretty unique thing to do and added to the night. We were worried for a while though thinking that the screen would come down and the image would be of Uncle Chris via satellite in Angola sat in his underpants eating his supper. We were spared that though!
Most of the crowd abuse focused on Richard, primarily because he sat on the front table, with a neon yellow t-shirt on. He was tortured over his job, accused of being a 'swinger', called homosexual (at least once or twice), but told me during a break that he was thrilled - nobody seemed to notice he had ginger hair! Fantastic.
I must give a special mention to Nat who excelled herself selling raffle tickets - she nearly took £400 on the raffle alone (Despite her threatening to join the winner of the afternoon tea for two in The Dean Court Hotel, York)! Also thanks to Mark who put himself about all night, thanks to Neil from Hilarity Bites who put the night together excellently, to all of the comedians who took part - genuinely nice blokes having spoken to them. Thanks also to The Swan for the free room hire and the effort they put in to make the night a success.
Final thanks go to everyone who supported the night by firstly turning up, and secondly, supporting the raffle. The profit made on the night just passed the £1,000 mark, so well done!
With that major event out of the way, I am able to focus on the other things we have planned - bag packing in Asda (April 20th if anyone is free!), Pat Monahan's comedy night, the Stockton to Darlington Ukulele Express are playing a charity gig, oh and a 192 mile walk from one side of the country t'other.
Well, I suppose it's better to be busy than to have a boring existence!
Not much blogging in this one. A couple of pictures from our Good Friday morning out with Joe and Isaac, and a belated congratulations to Stacey & John and the rest of the gang on the birth of Alice Ann Ferguson (Easter Sunday). Oh, and our new goldfish.......
Tomorrow night brings the long awaited Charity Chuckle - I won't say too much about it now, will save it for the inevitable post chuckle blog.
Have you ever parked your car underground at Asda, then done your shopping and forgotten where you had put it? Now imagine parking your car in Grosmont, getting dropped off 7.8 miles away (as the crow flies) and finding your way back to it, with everything against you.....
The day was already at a stutter as two potential walkers, Ged and Les, were rested up for the day. I had looked at rearranging the last four days of the Coast to Coast and the new route took us via Richmond - Osmotherley - Blakey Ridge - Grosmont - Robin Hood's Bay. I decided to try the Blakey Ridge to Grosmont leg today. I had already slightly overslept but was at Dad's house for 9:30 raring to go, and better prepared than last time. Nat was also driving, and we left for Grosmont. Dad left his car there and we headed to The Lion pub in Blakey Ridge, the plan being to walk back to the car.
As we travelled over Blakey Moor we realised it was going to be a long cold walk in the snow, one which we were unprepared for today, especially kitted out in our shorts! So instead, after my navigation had managed to get us lost in the moors, we ended up in the car park of The Grapes pub along the Moor Road, the GPS had said it was 7.8 miles back to Grosmont so we decided to get out and walk from here. We waved bye to Nat and we were alone in the wild!
About to embark on a 7.8 mile walk in the freezing cold after being dropped off in a pub car park, we thought to ourselves what would be the best plan of attack? You got it - we went into the pub for a pint. Technically though, we never, we went to the toilet, but we felt obliged to buy a pint while we were in there, we don't expect free facilities. We got talking to the owners who had recently taken over and they sounded keen on making a go of it so good luck to them.
The last time out I had used Dixie's GPS but never really got the hang of it, this time though, I had spent all of the time in the pub playing around with it and I had pretty much sussed it, and what an asset it will be on the actual walk. Disaster was to strike though, I had spent so much time messing with it and plotting the upcoming route, and had forgot to charge it after the last use, that when we left the pub, after about 30 metres the battery gave up the ghost. Never mind, I had my new iPhone 5 with all of its glorious settings - only thing is it doesn't get signal over the moors. Ah wait! I have my C2C route maps, hmmm, only thing is we had veered off course and the maps didn't cover it, bugger!
So there we were, stood outside a pub in the middle of the moors with no navigational aids. The only thing I remembered from before the GPS went off was that it was 7.8 miles as the crow flies, but actually 12.5 miles walking. Great! It was at that point I realised it was April 1st and the walking gods were having a laugh at me. Despite my ability to levitate, there was no way I was even attempting to walk on water, it was far too cold for that, so we headed right from the pub and set off walking around Scaling Dam Reservoir. We followed the designated path for about 2-3 miles hoping it would take us to our first point of interest, Lealholm, but instead, we came out on the other side of the reservoir...near the pub we had earlier left! Gutted.
Undeterred, we set off, again, in search of the Holy Grail, or Lealholm as it is more commonly known. With nothing to go by, it was a strut across many fields (which always look the same) for mile upon mile with no sign of civilisation. We even hoped PC Nick Rowan would pass and pick us up in his sidecar, but to no avail.
A chance meeting with a couple of fellow ramblers set us on some kind of right path, even if it was back to the Moors Road, where Nat would come to meet us once more. It was at this point we had completely given up on Lealholm, although I am sure it is still there somewhere.
It was a long pathway back up the track but we eventually made it and parked ourselves in a bus shelter just by the road to The Black Bull. Had we noticed that there was another pub about 100 metres away we would have no doubt took refuge there but as it was, we were happy for a sit down and some relative warmth. Overall we had clocked up somewhere between 8 and 9 miles, and despite the problems we suffered, we managed to have a decent walk out. It wasn't part of the C2C as hoped, but a good day out nevertheless. Nat picked us up from the bus shelter and as we were only 9 miles from Whitby we headed to Mr Chips for tea. A decent day all round.
Oh, and Dad did finally get back to his car in Grosmont, somehow!
I think it's almost two weeks since I last posted, and I would like to say I have loads of things happen to me and loads of exciting things to blog with loads of fantastic pictures. As you will see, I haven't.
It has meant 2 quiz nights have gone by though, and for the first time in 6 months we managed to squeeze into the top 2! Yes, you guessed it, we came second. We did beat Yasser and The Marrowfats on that occasion though which is a triumph in itself. Add the £15 prize to the spot prize we won and we managed to stick £20 in the pot that night. Good work. Monday gone was not quite as successful though - despite only dropping 5 points the whole night we were still nowhere near the money. Somes ya win and somes ya lose. One of the highlights of the quiz was the carefully prepared snowball Paul celebrated his birthday with - and there's not many pubs where you can get the wallpaper to be a perfect match for the colour of your drink!
This morning we took Joe and Isaac to the farm. We all had a great time despite the cold weather. Last time we were there it seemed like there was an unwritten rule that the kids didn't like any animals that were bigger than them, this time they were slightly better and at least walked, or maybe scurried, past the cows/pigs/donkeys. Everything was made better when we got to the soft play, with the lads ruling the roost as always. A great photo below shows Joe posing with his fruit pastilles seconds before turning round, seeing the goose coming, and legging it!
I've only just got in from the latest horror that is Hartlepool playing football. You can't always blame the ref, but this one was terrible, a total game spoiler. Yes, we lost (again), and I think it is safe to say now that we will not be playing in this league again for a few years.
I (and it seemed like everybody else!) was struck down with a bug midweek but I still managed, with the help of Sarah Dale, to get a piece in the Gazette for the Charity Chuckle. If you want to see it it's here. If you still haven't got your tickets yet, why not?! There's well over 100 sold, and when they've gone they've gone! You can get them here.
As it's Easter weekend I am hoping to rack up some walking time, hopefully a couple of days, but certainly one! Due to the bad weather it will be a nearby leg of the walk, we are even contemplating the big 24 mile leg (Richmond to Osmotherley) on Monday, we will have to wait and see....but first of all, a night in Manfield!
Finally, after a few weeks off, I got back on it. It was a free Saturday so it meant I could get out and onto a leg of the walk. After deliberation I decided on the Keld to Reeth leg, or Day 7 on my itinerary.
It's never easy getting up early on a Saturday, especially as I like my late night Fridays, but I was up and ready for 8:30am. Dad picked me up and we met at Ged's, then the three of us set off for what would be the second dry run of a day of the walk.
It was no time at all before we got to Richmond, but the journey from Richmond to Reeth seemed to take forever, it was driving along the winding roads that we had walked along a month or so ago. We left Dad's car at Reeth then headed to Keld in Ged's. I think we actually set off walking about 10:30am. It was a nice day weather-wise, even worthy of unleashing the legs, although we did get some funny looks from the locals. I assume people don't normally dress like that in March.
I never used to be a lover of 'the beautiful countryside' or 'the great outdoors', but I think it sunk in yesterday what a great area is on our doorstep. After leaving the car park, it was a short walk and then we hit our first incline. It blew off some of the cobwebs and gave us a spectacular view of a waterfall, a nice start to the walk. We had decided to follow the 'low route' which took us right along the River Swale. A number of times throughout the day we simply stopped and observed the beauty around us, we were in a valley and pretty much wherever we looked we could see snow capped hills and fields that stretched for miles.
After pointing out the most useless bridge ever which led nowhere, I ate humble pie as it turned out we weren't getting over the river without using it, so we backtracked slightly to it and as we passed we swapped pleasantries with fellow hikers going the way we just came. Despite us only having walked a mile or two, Ged was convincing enough in assuring them they 'only' had 15 miles to go, they were devastated. I can sense that these people didn't quite get the Thornaby sense of humour.
One noticeable feature of the day was the amount of wildlife which was, let's say no longer living, in the fields. Rabbits, pheasants, rats, stoats, and at one delirious stage - a lion and a horse, were all present, and once when we heard the farmers gun we did wonder whether we would be next! We followed the river right along for 6 or so miles up to a little village called Gunnerside. It was there we sat on the Queen's Jubilee benches and tucked into our scran. Having seen a local tea room charging £5.65 for a bacon sarnie it made me appreciate Mam's even more!
We left Gunnerside and before long we were back into the fields. Now I am not against stiles in priniple, but when you get to number 438, then they make me hate them! We had walked over all types of surfaces today - grass, bare soil, hard road, tarmac, water (ok stones in the water) and sand, but the best was when the path led us across what looked like a Roman wall, it was a nice treat to save us from the usual stile/gate/field combo.
I have never been a fan of crossing rivers on stones, and yesterday was no exception (see photo below). Added to the fact I had a £400 phone in one pocket and a £400 GPS tracker in the other, it was no wonder it took me 30 minutes to cross (OK, a slight exaggeration). There was no falling over as such by anyone but I suppose Dad got the closest with his Vicar of Dibley impression. We were walking roadside and he was walking in the puddles to clean shoes off a bit, as you do, and then all of a sudden he disappeared having found the big hole in the road. OK, maybe another slight exaggeration, but it makes for a better story.
As is usual for any sizeable walk, it was the last mile which was the worst. We knew Reeth wasn't far away but it seemed to take an eternity to appear. It was at this point that every stile was a chore, and the slightest uphill was a challenge. We got finished somewhere around 4:45pm, and although that leg of the walk is said to be the relaxing day of the C2C, it didn't particularly feel like it at that point. I am sure though, come May, after a few days crossing the Lakes, it will be looked at as a nice easy day. In total, we had clocked up between 12 - 13 miles.
We all congratulated ourselves on a good days walk and compared aches and pains at church this morning. It is hoped that the three of us will be doing all of the walk together, and if the camaraderie shown yesterday was anything to go by, the twelve days will fly by, and we might actually start to enjoy it! Cheers guys.
I will be planning another one soon, but I have done the two 'easiest' days, so the next one will be a bit more of a grueller.
Just a final note to say we have a new boss! Not only at work (although he is not based in my office), but in life in general. Well done and good luck Pope Francis.
Oh and happy St Patrick's Day to y'all.
With only 68 days to go, that's less than 10 weeks (Zoiks as Shaggy from Scooby Doo would say), the walk is getting ever closer. I am planning my first big walk for a few weeks on Saturday. It's perfect - no Hartlepool match and nothing to do on the night, it could be a big one! After the great dry run of Reeth to Richmond with Dad and Les, I am hoping to do another leg of the walk. If anyone fancies it on Saturday, you're more than welcome!
The Charity Chuckle is coming up even quicker, and if you haven't heard of this yet - where have you been?! See the poster below and get telling your mates, work colleagues, families, in fact anyone who will listen.
It was a bad night weather wise on Monday night which meant a poor turnout at the quiz. We had a ripple of excitement thinking we might be in with a shout to finally win one but we ended up in sixth place, which you may not think is too bad considering there's usually 15 teams, but this time there was only actually six, so yeah, last place it was.....we did scoop up a spot prize though a £5 drinks voucher. Amazingly, nobody in the whole pub knew which constituency Ed Miliband served (and even less people cared!) - it is Doncaster North. The highlight answer was perhaps me knowing whose real name is Gaynor Hopkins, of course, it's Bonnie Tyler, I think it was the rock diva in me getting that. It turns out she has just been picked to do our Eurovision song too.
I finally got my bedroom furniture sorted, it only took about 3 nights (not the 4 hours as prescribed by the instruction manual - that must be for Nick Knowles and his full team). Next up is the new bed, at least when that's done I can just fall into it!
Blogs will hopefully be a bit more regular now so I can keep my Angolan followers up to date. For you guys out there 'Bom Dia', 'Boa Tarde' or 'Boa Noite', depending on when you read this.
Bonnie Tyler eh, who'd have thought......
It was a case of 'more of the same' on Saturday as I continued to hone my DIY skills - this time I finished off the chest of drawers and nailed the bedside cabinet, literally. The afternoon brought around another Pools match, this time at home to high flying Yeovil. It was a pretty drab affair, with their manager quoting afterwards 'It was a long way to come for a 0-0 draw'. Indeed, it was maybe another case of 2 points dropped as we had plenty of chances to nick the winner. We had called into The Showroom, our pre-match haunt for a pint or two, and had to explain to the barman that we were ropey due to the fact we were at games night, not gay night as he had misheard. It was a long time stood at the match in the freezing cold and was glad to get home for my feet to thaw out.
Saturday night brought about more DIY - the recommended time for a 3 door wardrobe is 90 minutes... 4 hours later and I was still going. To keep me sane I went downstairs for a break, only to be whacked by Nat and Cody on Call of Duty Zombie Attack.
Today is Mothers Day, so everyone piled round to Mam's house for dinner, we know that's what she secretly wanted.
It's now 71 days until the walk and I am looking to get some accommodation sorted this week. I have been watching a western with Dad to get tips for when we're out in the wild (namely - don't trust Native Americans and if under attack from rattlesnakes use your spit to scare them away. Very helpful!).