Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Winterthur and Vaduz, May 2014

FC United were invited to play FC Winterthur, a fellow fan owned club in Switzerland, in a friendly given the tagline "The Real Spirit of Football." Of course, it would have been rude not to attend, so a handful of us joined the other few hundred Reds making the journey and made the short flight into Basel, before driving over to Winterthur.

We got there late on the Friday before the match, so only had time for a brief wander around and a couple of (expensive) drinks before hitting the hay. On the Saturday a couple of us found a nice, quiet restaurant across from the brilliantly named Töss station, far from the madding crowd. We then made the short train journey into the main station in the centre of Winterthur.

The game itself was a bit one-sided, with Winterthur winning 4-1. Considering they play at a higher standard and were training all week, it was no surprise that they beat our lads, especially when they'd been out most of the night before... The ground was lovely, the setting was beautiful and the welcome was friendly. A few beers and a curry later we went back to the hotel fairly early as we were planning on doing a bit of cross-country mooching. Quite literally.

First port of call was Vaduz in Liechtenstein. One of the smallest and richest countries in the world, it was also one we'd never been to, so with it only being about an hour from where we were it seemed an obvious choice to go and visit. We weren't disappointed. A lovely place, with stunning scenery. We had a nosy around the local football stadium, had a bite to eat and got our passports stamped at the tourist information office. Once we were done, we had a drive into Austria, before then heading back through Switzerland, a brief stop in Germany and into the airport which, with it actually being on French soil, took us to six countries in one day by the time we'd landed back at Manchester. Not a bad effort.

A very enjoyable trip. Whilst there wasn't much to see and do in Winterthur, I'd suggest you visit the ground and club. I'd also definitely recommend a visit to Liechtenstein if you're ever nearby. Stunning.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Abbey Road

First entry for a while (again...)

Spent a couple of days in London watching Lancashire at Lord's. On Sunday we were casually talking about how Paul McCartney lived round there as it was near Abbey Road Studios. On Monday morning I walked passed the bloke outside the ground.

So, between that and wanting to giggle at a few tourists, we took a detour back to St. John's Wood tube station after... Via a certain studios and Zebra Crossing. Even after 7 in the evening, in the pouring rain and the dark there were people there. Amazing how such a mundane feature can become so iconic.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Well, with three days to spare and after a few marathon writing sessions, I stumbled over the finishing line. My first novel written under NaNoWriMo (well, my first novel full stop as well) is complete at 50,881 words. I may have done a little dance. The certificate is soon to be printed and placed on my wall somewhere.

It's a great feeling and I'll no doubt be having another go next year. It's certainly strange to see an idea from inside my own head down on paper, no matter how random or poorly structured it may be in places. The main thing is, it's mine, it's done and it's a bucket list item ticked off. There'll be another one ticked once the publishing options are available...

All on Lancashire day, too. Can't be bad.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Scottish Forlornment

New Zealand v Scotland, Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final, Headingley, Leeds, 15/11/2013

Marian Call & Scott Barkan, Nexus Art Café, Manchester

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing the wonderfully talented Marian Call play a show at Nexus Art Cafe in Manchester, ably assisted by the equally talented Scott Barkan. If you're a nerd, like folky type music, or a combination of such, check Marian's music out. After all, what's better than someone singing songs about zombies, sharks, Battlestar Galactica and a whole host of other geeky subjects?

Scott was also excellent, it was the first time I'd heard his stuff. Well worth checking out as well.



Thursday, 31 October 2013

National Novel Writing Month

Every November, since about 1999 I believe, a group of people attempt to write 50,000 words in a month. Yes, that's a novel. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has grown into a pretty big movement, with 189,547 people having currently signed up to take part in 2013. There's probably a lot more to come, as well, what with last minute panic sign-ups.

Despite being named National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo is actually a world-wide thing. From Kansas to Kraków, they'll be beavering away, churning out 50,000 words. Some of them will be pretty good and end up being published. Others will be absolute turd and never see the light of day again.

But that's the beauty of it. It isn't so much the quality of the finished product, nor is it the structure. It's getting that story out of your brain and onto paper/pixels. The idea is that you just write, pushing you past every creative fear you have and every possible bout of writers block. Just get something, anything down on paper that can take the story forward. You can always tidy up after November if you wish to show it to a wider audience.

Regardless of how this goes, I'm looking forward to it. I've never written as often as I should, so this will be a good thing to get me back in the groove. I have picked a bad November, what with the Rugby League World Cup being on and the Ashes starting towards the end of the month, but still, the extra challenges provided should help spur me on. Here's hoping.