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Monday, 7 March 2011

And then there were two

I know, it has taken me almost three months to finish off the last entry of the blog, it has been a crazy start to 2011. Floods, frozen pipes, relationships ending, planning to move to Stockport in a couple of months along with the day to day stuff of work and life.

Well down to the final two items on the list and were all done by the last day of 2011. So the two items were getting to medium level and grow a beard for Christmas Holidays. As from the pictures below I got some practice in and achieved a full song on Guitar Hero and then I got cocky, I went to hard then expert level and it was hardcore. My fingers could not actually keep up my timing of when to push the right buttons.

Me as Matt Bellamy from Muse on Guitar Hero.

Then came the beard, this was a late arrival on the list as money and time had caught up with me and it was something that I could do and being free as well.

The bearded wonder - the catalogue look.
Not bad attempt really with the beard, by the time I came to shave it off it was a relief to not to be itching on daily basis. Will I grow another beard again, not a chance, unless all the shavers in the world vanish.

Full frontal bearded look - the last moment before the attack of the killer shaver lol
There you go and that is it. 30 things to do celebrating being 30, hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have completing the list. I will not be doing a list of 40 things in ten years time (2020) as it will be even more impossible to collate a list and attempt 40 things. Maybe just 4 big things, who knows. I will definitely write another blog soon, probably about my love of Football and Rugby Union.

It's been a blast.

Peace, Love and Bananas xxx

Saturday, 8 January 2011

From Clevedon to Prestatyn via Leicester: Another mad journey

Another mad journey, it really is starting to become a habit now! 11 counties we went through which broke our previous record from when we went to see England play Italy in the Six Nations a couple of years ago when we went from Preston to Clevedon and then to Twickenham. At the time the weather was just as bad as it was this time. We flew up to Leicester and then hit the Sales Traffic and took us almost an hour to get parked up! We had to go and pick up the tickets at the ground and queueing up it felt like we were waiting at the Post Office. The Leicester Tigers Ticket Office looked just like a Post Office with the announcements and beepers going off. The only difference was you could admire their Trophy cabinet with all-sorts of tumour cups they have won over the years, hahaha. Then there was a problem with the Turnstiles and we could not get into the ground. So more waiting ensued and by the time we got sat down it was kick off.

Our view from the Crumbie Stand
The game it self was good, Sale Sharks had just sacked their Head Coach Mike Brewer and Leicester were still in the Xmas mood. Sale got ripped apart and after 20 minutes it was 21-0 to the home team. Sale gave a spirited fightback but the Tigers were purring that afternoon and you can see why they are favourites to win the Premiership again!

Sale scoring their first try
After the match it was time to travel over to Cheryl's family in Prestatyn via Derby and over Manchester. A mad journey and day but fun as always on our travels.

Peace, Love and Bananas xxx

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Running Man - The Boxing Day Run

After not stuffing my self to bursting on Christmas Day, I was ready and raring to go like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, for the Clevedon Boxing Day Road Race. I had prepared well despite all the bad weather and training in temperatures as low as minus 12 to get my body ready for what could be a very long four mile race. With the training it was quite extreme but with being out injured slowed down my preparations then one of the worst starts to Winter came along and everywhere was ice or snow. So getting training runs in were very hard and even when I got home to Clevedon running through the fields full of snow next to the school were hard work as well. This did all pay off in the end as the race happened with rumours circling at the time that it was going to be off because of the icey conditions. This was not to be and also it had a family connection to the race as well, my Dad was involved in being a Marshall and my Uncle Dave was running it for the umpteenth time, he is a semi pro runner and has entered various marathons across the world. For him this is just a little run hahaha, I can see why he enjoys it so much and I have really caught the running bug.

Dad in his fetching Marshalling outfit
The circuit was starting on the beach and along through the town centre and up past Clevedon School and the dreaded hill which could be a mountain with it being very steep. So up that and it flattens out for a bit as you head past the Walton Park Hotel and along to the seafront finishing at the Little Harp. 

With the anticipation of the race starting at 11:00am, I was excited and nervous at the same time and wondering what time I would get at the end. Mum, Cheryl and drove down to Race Headquarters (The Little Harp Inn) and they got themselves a drink I got myself in the zone and warmed ready for the race. I think when you are at the start line and they are about to announce they are going to start is the most nerve raking time as you know that it will be another minute or two before you actually cross the finishing line. It was quite strange in a way of an outer body experience as I have done most of my running up in the North West and to be actually pounding the streets of your home town was quite surreal. When I got to Holly Lane the fog descended on to the hill and it looked like you had to run up Kilimanjaro with the runners in front disappearing into the fog laden hill. Once at the top I saw my Lucy (Cousin) and Luke (Cousin's husband) which was nice and kept me going after having to stop three quarters of the way up the hill. My chest and legs could not take it any more so I had to walk up the rest of that hill! On the way down I passed my Grandad Hoddell's grave and gave a little nod where he rests at St. Mary's Church. It is such a shame he died so young and I never got to meet him.

Going down hill felt so good after Holly Lane and then on to the final straight. By surprise I saw my Uncle Dave waiting near the No.5 Cafe where I used to work and he was waiting to run with me. Which was a fantastic gesture and it really helped me get across the finishing line. He had already finished the race in 25 minutes and he still looked fresh as a daisy, unlike me - see the picture below.

Me and Uncle Dave: guess who is out breath?

As I saw the finish line I really sprinted home and it was amazing to see Mum and Cheryl cheering me on to the finish line. It was really good that Mum was here to see me finish the race as she did not see me finish the Manchester 10K run I did back in May. Once I had crossed the finish line I felt like I was going to be sick like at the 10K run but it passed and wondered slowly back to Cheryl and my Mum and got a big hug all around. On the way back to the car it was so funny seeing my Dad run along with my Uncle Dave being cheeky to me. It really summed up a great morning and no my Dad did not have that fetching Marshall uniform he had on in the picture hahaha.

Peace, Love and Bananas xxx

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Christmas Dinner

We were all completely stuffed on Christmas day so that is my excuse for finally getting round to write about it. Really that is just a poor excuse, yet again it seems time has flown and I am writing in 2011 now (Rugby World Cup year as well, can not wait!) and with being busy just like the sporting schedule I have finally caught up with old father time to catch up with the remaining items on the list.

Trying to recreate our old Christmas tree but it was the camera angle that was dodgy.
So Christmas dinner at my parents with Auntie Freda down in Clevedon was a great success, everyone enjoyed the banquet me and Cheryl put on. Below you will find a timetable of events that was recorded by Cheryl of what actually happened as I was beavering away getting everything prepared. During the prep we nipped out to catch up few some mates down the pub and the drinking carried on after we got back which made it a bit more dangerous and funny.

The infamous homemade Eggnog not as good as the bought stuff.
Timeline of events

11:40am Xmas eve started with egg nogg recipe, never attempted before so like blind leading blind!!! Mark is doing a great job of separating the eggs.....

Next up home made stuffing made by Cheryl, tastes lovely!!!! I've added walnuts and apricots.

2pm-6pm ish
Been up to visit Carol Auntie (this started at the wedding apparently!) and Uncle Dave, then to the pub to meet dan, Gaz and hayley. Was lovely to have a good catch up with everyone.

7:40pm next up vegetables!!! Just had a 4 person conflab about carrots!!! Have chucked the in laws out so mark can get on with the chopping!!!

7:50pm just checked the egg nog; Mark's review of it 'it's very eggy' hahaha really?!
Chief tester Norma's (my Mum)opinion: 'more brandy!!!'

Not sure what I make of it have never had tasted proper nog (local saying down in the shires) before I've no idea whether the semolina type consistency is right or not.....

On the plus side the stuffing tastes great and mark still has all his fingers; chopping after a few pints isn't recommended......

Something past 8pm (not sure which time, had a few drinks) just watched mark prep the turkey, his face on the picture says it all haha funny bless him he did really well considering how squeamish he is! Everything is all prep-ed and ready to roll for tomorrow. Off to ring Mummy, Daddy and Louise Burton before settling down to tipsly watch the grinch.....

By the way I've just read this back and realised how many !!! I use tee hee

Stuffing the Turkey was not a good experience
As you can gather Cheryl got quite drunk by the end of it along with me. None the less it turned out fantastic, despite Mum and Dad initially pestering me in the kitchen and telling me how to peel a carrot! A CARROT!!!! I think Mum was not used to having someone cook Christmas dinner for her as she has always done since time began, so it was a novelty for her not to do anything Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. While Dad just happily sitting in the lounge waiting patiently for his food. It did help that I put a DVD on  which the rather good Prince of Persia. This kept Dad out of the Kitchen and glued to the television.

Great Result on Christmas Day at the Hoddell household.
Next up the Boxing Day run and running up a mountain well Holly lane, but more of that in the next entry.

Until the next time.

Peace, Love and Bananas xxx

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Football Marathon

This is all about stamina and being able to cope with a fast food diet of mainly football with a sprinkling of Rugby Union and Cricket thrown to keep the interest going. With Cheryl away in London it meant I had the chance to tick this off the list, with great success as well. I had a couple of mates come round to help make sure I did this properly, thanks to Chris and Joe for your support and valued punditry hahaha. Cheryl came back early Sunday evening and it was good to have a break, I did feel that I could carry on watching another game and then I would really make Cheryl a football widow haha.

First game kicks off at Ipswich with blue lines!
Overall the quality of matches was poor to average, I think after watching Barcelona battering Real Madrid 5-0 in the El Classico earlier that week I was kind of expecting some more scintillating football. Having been spoilt like that it was always going to be like after the Lord Mayors show.  Hopefully you followed my Twitter feed to see how it all happened, you can also search for #footballmarathon and it should come up with my time line of events. With some games overlapping I had to make an executive decision about what to watch but I continually watch sport from the Saturday to the Sunday. A good result all round.

Me and my mate Chris came up with the rules for the football marathon which were the following.
1. Only allowed to watch live matches
2. No watching re-runs of matches including Match of the Day
3. Watching ESPN Classic is not allowed
4. As long as I am near the TV and can hear the match it still counts (just so I could go to the toilet and make food.)
5. Twit at least once about each game on Twitter
6. If a game overlapped with another it would be fine to switch over to the other game.

Having a break from the football to watch some Rugby.
The list below is off the games I watched.


Ipswich vs Swansea City, The Championship
South Africa vs Barbarians, Rugby Union International
Schalke vs Bayern Munich, Bundsliga
AC Milan vs Brescia, Serie A
Barcelona vs Osasuna, La Liga
Real Madrid vs Valencia, La Liga
England vs Australia, The Ashes


West Brom vs Newcastle, English Premiership
Sunderland vs West Ham Unite, English Premiership

What a save! Schalke vs Bayern Munich, Bundesliga
Peace, Love and Bananas xxx

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Imax Factor

I had never properly been to watch a film at the Imax, I did a radio documentary project once at Farnborough College on the future of Cinema. I went to the one in Bristol where I interviewed the manager and was allowed to watch a nature programme for free. I had heard about how amazing it was to go to watch a proper film at the Imax.

The Printworks, Manchester - a cool old building.
Me and Cheryl went to see Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, which is a fantastic film. We went to the first showing on a Saturday morning, which is always a bit surreal when you have been in the Cinema for a couple of hours and you come out and it is still daylight. 

With the screen being as tall as seven storey building it really looked fantastic and the sound was something else. I am really glad I went and The Printworks is a beautiful building architecturally. Having not really explored that part of Manchester before it was really impressed with the area ( it was like art and media hub type of area) and I finally found out where the Urbis is where the National Football Museum will be moving to next year. Along with this we stumbled upon some of the Christmas Markets that were being held across central Manchester. That was really cool and it got us into the festive mood. 

After watching the film we tried finding a pub where it was showing the England vs South Africa game in 3D, but no luck so we ended up just watching it in boring old 2D with commentary from the Tennis being played instead of the Rugby guys. Apparently there was a fault with their Sky box so it was an interesting take on the game! Next up is the Sports/Football Marathon which should be interesting and I may have square or football shaped eyes by the end of it.

Peace, Love and Banana’s xxx

The Chil-e Factor (The Fear Part 2)

I never thought it but I might be a natural at this Skiing lark, ok so it is only a one hour taster session at the Chill Factor but it was a lot of fun and I did really well. Which I am really shocked at considering I am not very well balanced and my co-ordination is not great. It was a lot of fun and I would like to do it again. Having just started a new job at West Lancs Borough Council it was a great it was a long day as Cheryl came to pick me up and go across to Manchester to meet Alan and Sarah. There we had a meal at Nandos, which it was only in York back in October where I experienced it for the first time and I love it! We had to wait ages for the food and we were getting worried that I would miss my taster session.

My impression of Eddie the Eagle
This was the brilliant Birthday present of my Brother-in-Law and FiancĂ©, Alan and Sarah, if you were wondering. So we had to wolf our food down and went off to get sorted with the Ski stuff. Having got changed and then trying to figure out how to put on Ski boots which was like giving a banana to an alien. Finally got all the gear on and went out to what felt like being outside as the temperature was around about the same I think about minus five. I was amazed how the snow was actual real, I thought it would be synthetic powder type stuff. Trying to put ski’s on was the easy part, trying to walk was another thing all together. It felt like having giant flippers on your feet with boots locked halfway up your shin, a weird sensation for the first 20 minutes.

Left to right: Me, Alan and Sarah.
The instructor was good and taught us how to walk up the slope to the halfway point which was far enough for me before I started slowly sliding back down again. I finally got use to it and we started to ski down trying out different ways to jump, balance and turn direction. I only managed to fall over twice and the second time I just fell over while the instructor was talking. It felt like it was in slow motion and took a couple of attempts to heave me back up again. The instructor and Cheryl watching from the balcony said I really done well for a first timer. It was a fun hour and something I would like to try again.

Look no hands! - who needs poles!?!
Peace, Love and Banana’s xxx