Saturday, 31 March 2012

March Madness

Over in the states there is a period of College Basketball called March Madness, this highlights the end of the season and the huge knockout tournament that takes place to determine the NCAA champs for the year. I mention this as I have found March to be particularly hectic with a lot going on both personally and in the sports I follow, hence that being the title of this latest blog entry.

For me it’s been all over the place this month, starting with Darts doubles tournament in the league I play in. I was paired with fellow team member Luke, and after a shaky start we won our opening round match quite easily. It all fell apart in the 2nd round though, as we were drawn against two other members of our own team! We went into the match far too settled and ended up losing, but it was still a good night all the same. I reckon Luke’s mind was elsewhere though, as the following Monday he flew away to get married! Anyway the darts “action” continued through the month, with the final league game taking place and us winning 7-3 on the night. This was a huge result for the team, as it guaranteed us 7th spot in the league of 9 and gave us our 5th win of the season (4 more than last year).

One week later and I was back on the oche, this time for charity. A friend of mine, Paul Hill, is running the marathon and raising money for Macmillan Cancer Research, and part of the fundraising was a Darts tournament. This is where I stepped in, taking part in the raffle (winning some new darts in the process) and playing in the competition. Last year myself and my brother Ben were knocked out of the group stages, however this year it was a pure knockout format, where one poor game could end your night early! I won’t go into the finer details, but after a series of tough matches me and Ben walked away as champions! Both of us were truly buzzing, the first time either of us has won anything of substance in darts, and the grins on our faces were there for all to see. You may have even seen the pictures on my Facebook or twitter pages!

Work has also been busy, with plenty of incidents kicking off to keep us occupied! Add to that a few days of training up in Preston and a couple of Olympic test events and you can see why I say it’s all part of March Madness! The most surreal day at work though was this past Thursday, and the morning couldn’t have been more different to the afternoon. First thing I was showing some company directors around our control room where I am based, which I always get nervous about. But the afternoon, well I had been asked to help in the filming of a safety video for our operations department, “acting” as a bouncer! Well I did so, which took me to Chislehurst of all places. There I met the crew and both Barry from Eastenders, and one of the original guys from the Mr Muscle ads! Bit surreal to be honest and it got even more so when the cafe we were filming in happened to be the local of Frank Maloney! I got pics done with all the guys, but wont be coming until the filming etc is all done in a couple of weeks though. I never thought that when I joined the railway that I would end up doing that with those people around me!

Sport has been just as manic, with West Ham causing plenty of stress after going on a 7 game drawing streak! A big win against Cardiff early in March set us off well, but the large amount of draws have left the next few games as the most vital of the season. Thankfully a win midweek against Peterborough has helped turn the tide. Concord Rangers are still on a decent run within the Ryman Premier League, picking up some fantastic results during March, including a 6-0 win at Tooting! The playoffs are within sight, and the noisy neighbours of Canvey Island are looking over their shoulders as a 19 point gap has been reduced to 3! Madness is probably an understatement for what was going on in New York though, as the Jets put a trade in for a QB who quite simply divides opinions across the NFL. Tim Tebow is classed by many as a gimmick QB, whilst some think he’s the best thing to happen to the NFL in years, well the Jets, led by Mike T and Coach Ryan, thought he would be a great addition to the team. I refuse to pass judgement just yet, but I am sceptical to say the least. I guess we’ll see what happens when the season starts! As for the NBA, well the Bulls are winning even without star man Derrick Rose, so there isn’t much to worry about there!

Whisky is something I love, and anyone who knows me knows that! Well last weekend I was lucky enough to attend my 5th Whisky Live festival in London. Much like in previous years I went with some good friends, and was able to catch up with some top whisky friends as well. I ended up trying around 25 different drams, purchasing 3 fantastic bottles. I could go into detail about which whiskies were my standouts, but to be honest that would be a blog all on its own rather than a small part in this one!

That’s it for now, I write this as a round-up of March really, but I know there is still more than a few hours left to go before April takes hold. If you’ve read down this far, then I must say thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Me, myself and I, a self-centered update!

So we're well into March already, hard to believe the time is flying by so quickly! Of course as the time ticks on it brings one event closer and closer, the London 2012 Olympics. Now don't get me wrong, its a once in a lifetime event which will be absolutely huge for London and the UK in general. However, its a bloody pain in the arse for many of us working in and around the capital. So many extra contingency plans get put in place, extra hours worked, extra responsibilities given, and those with tickets will struggle to get the time off to use them! So to be honest i just can't wait for the whole thing to be done and dusted! Well that's the Olympic rant done with. Sure it'll be a great spectacle, but not for me!

Moving swiftly on, some of you may know i got off my arse a couple of weeks back and actually bought a new car. Well i say new, its new for me! The old red Mondeo was scrapped in early February, after around 5 years service it did me proud for just 500 quid off ebay! Now in all honesty i ain't a car guy, i don't generally care what the car is like, as long as it gets me from A to B, and maybe even to C if needs be. So i took to the net again to find a replacement, and by chance my mate Chris was selling his motor. After a couple of conversations i took it off his hands, and now i own a black VW Golf GTI, what to many looks like a rudeboy motor :-/ I like it, smaller than big red, quicker off the button & in bloody good nick!

If anything that's the most important change in my life recently, not much kicking off right now, which to be honest is kinda how i like it. Taking things as they come and enjoying myself! Been to plenty of football lately, Concord Rangers down the road most weekends, & West Ham up tonight and Saturday. Both teams giving me a lot to be optimistic about! Darts is going well too, lately I've been playing some of my best arrows and picking up some good wins! This Friday is the last match of our league season, and already we're guaranteed to be 7th of 9, with 4 wins, and above the other team from our club! Its been a really enjoyable season, and am already looking forward to the next one!

Anyone ever use that Groupon website? For those who don't know its a site that send you an absolute shedload of offers and deals, and if enough people buy them then you get the offer at that price. Sounds awkward, or at least dodgy, but it actually isn't! Last week 3 friends (well 1 friend and 2 colleagues) all pointed me in the direction of a whisky-related Groupon offer, and for those that know me, whisky is one thing i find hard to turn down! This offer was for a new London Whisky event called Whisky Fest, run by The Whisky Lounge. Tickets for this event retail at £40, but through this site they were £19 for one day only! Needless to say it didn't take me long to sign up! The majority of offers are not worth looking at for me, but I'd recommend it on the off chance a decent deal comes your way!

That's it for now, this one has generally been self-centered but given the amount of sport I've been blogging about recently i thought it was about time i did one like this! Thanks for reading!

To Talk, Or To Write? A Bloggers Return!

You've got to be in the mood to record a podcast, that's one thing I've noticed over the last couple of years doing both the S...