Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The best day I've ever had at a football match (and we lost)

 Here we are setting off to Wembley on a sunny Saturday morning.  I dug the flag out from a long  forgotten bag in the loft and found a garden cane to fit it.  I bought it at the League One Play Off Final in Cardiff in 2005.  We won then so I hoped it would bring us luck.

Our journey took a lot less time than we had expected mainly due to the kindness of my friend who drove us to a station which had a quicker train service so we found ourselves walking through an almost deserted Wembley at 10.45am.  We eventually found our way to one of the designated Sheffield Wednesday pubs, The Green Man.  From Facebook before the game it seemed as though the whole of Sheffield would be there and, by the end, that's what it felt like.

As we walked into the beer garden we found a few hundred people already there with a peaceful buzz of quiet conversation.

Later on, as it got busier, the inevitable inflatables started being bashed around.  These owl guys were much heralded before the game as the accessory of choice.  I didn't buy one so was very pleased to spend a few minutes with this cute little chap.

Getting crowded now.  We could see coach after coach arriving and heard that there was a big queue to get in so our friends and family who had not already joined us would probably not see us until later in the ground.

Luckily James, Rich's half brother and his pal found their way in in time!

We spotted a couple of blokes we know from the Valley wearing the jesters caps.

And some more Valley lads.

Then the singing really got going.

And every sing song needs a conductor and a smoke bomb!

Time to head down to the stadium.

Rich works with this girl and had just found out she is going out with a bloke we know from our Sheffield local, the New Barracks Tavern.  What a coincidence!

Heading down into the fan park for some food as we were STARVING by now.  Every concession seemed to have been stripped bare so we were left with a hotdog and chilli fries.  My Lighter Life councillor would not have been impressed!

Bobby Moore.

When we got into the ground we were chuffed with our seats.  Almost in the middle of the goal, not too low, not too high.  Perffick.

 It was also apparent that Sheffield Wednesday had brought many, many more supporters than Hull City.   Our section in blue and white was packed to the rafters but there were swathes of empty red seats in the Hull section.  Heartbreaking really as we knew that, had the Hull tickets been sold more carefully, thousands of tickets could have been released to us and many of our friends back home in Sheffield could have been down south with us.  Gah!!

The display of blue and white flags in the lower section looked awesome but must have been even more impressive from the Hull end.

The big flag travelled round the lower section but somehow got turned around by the end so that our Owl was upside down!

Then the game began - serious stuff.  We had our chances but were outplayed by a stronger, more experienced Hull side who eventually won 1-nil.  What Hull did not win though was the crowd.  We were just amazing.  The noise was incredible.  At the beginning of the second half we got a new song going and it just went on and on and on, clapping and singing relentlessly for over 15 minutes, even when Hull had possession and were taking corners.  It was crazy.  I've never been part of such togetherness and positivity.  Richard, who has been to League and FA Cup Finals and semi finals in the glory years of the early nineties said that Saturday was he loudest and most impressive atmosphere he has ever been part of.

If fans won matches we would be in the Premier League now.  We've since watched the game back and the commentators were shocked by the noise levels and intensity of our support.  When we bounced (it's our thing) you could actually see the TV camera shaking!

At the end of the game, the losing side's support usually melts away pretty quickly to the tube while the winning side receives the Cup and celebrates with their fans.  Not us.  We stayed and sang and sang some more.  You could see the players who were shattered with disappointment just staring opened mouthed at us. Eventually, while Hull were climbing the Wembley steps, our team and staff walked round applauding us.  I'm sure it helped them get over the hurt.  We will be back better and stronger next season I'm sure.

I was so proud of us all and our boys.


It has been a crazy fortnight with Brighton home and away, golf and then our big Bank Holiday weekend for the Play Off Final at Wembley and the golf at Wentworth. I have not gone mad on food but there has been a lot of fast food on the run. I also drank a fair bit, natch.

So, it was with some trepidation that I stepped onto the scales this morning. Gulp. 15.9.0. That is a gain of 6 lbs from finishing Boot Camp and 8 from my lowest point shortly thereafter.

Do I care? Well, yes but not a lot in the grand scheme of things. I would do the same again in a heartbeat as we have had a splendid if ultimately unsuccessful Sheffield Wednesday ride.

I am, however, determined to wrestle this weight thing back under control.  I'm in the office today and have had packs for breakfast and lunch (sooo hungry). I have a bar for later and salmon salad planned for supper. I'm also going to go running later even if it's raining (but, shhh, don't tell the dogs).

We have a relatively quiet few weeks coming up so I'm going to knuckle down to diet, exercise and chores on the poor neglected house and garden!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

It's all too much!!

I'm frustrated at the moment. Just with, you know, life. Nothing big or important or anything. My frustration comes from the normal, everyday crap that you have to deal with. Nothing is simple. Nothing gets done the first time you try. There is just too much to do.


I eventually got round to buying new golf clubs having decided what I wanted on 31 December and having been actually given the money (by my lovely aunt of Dublin fame) back in November. Surely a good news story you say (while thinking what a moaning, ungrateful cow I am to be whining at £650 worth of free golf clubs)?!

Well yes, but the work involved. The shop will ring when they arrive to see if I can pick them up or will deliver. Great. No call. I ring the shop. Yes, they're here, we'll deliver. Get an email with delivery date. Unsuitable. Log on (create yet another new account) and change delivery date to Thursday. Receuve email confirming new date. Receive text saying they're arriving today anyway. Click on link to change date (again). Receive text confirming changed date (to go with the email). Receive call from delivery man at my house....gaaah!

If this was an isolated incident it would be a mere bagatelle. But, everything I do seems to require multiple attempts on phone, laptop etc. The landscape gardener I hired to do various jobs proved to be an aggressive, confrontational tosser and walked off mid job so now the garden will be another summer without being finished.

The installation of solar panels required the sort of complex paperwork I would expect if I was adopting a child.

Don't get me started on buying tickets to see Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley, not for me and Rich (ours were a breeze given the number of games we go to) but for our half-assed, plastic fan friends who fancy a big day out and want us to help!! And I WANT to help but now kinda regret it.

A saving plan has matured. More work finding somewhere which might pay more than a pittance in interest.

A bra I order in desperation arrives - wrong size - now need to go to the shop to change it.

The theme is that I'm lucky and nice things are happening to me but I have to pay the Administration/Crap Tax before they come through.

So I shouldn't complain but it has been getting on top of me. It has caused me to forget things I really DO want to do. Like actually book the theatre tickets I discussed with a pal to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert tomorrow night. Not going now. Like forgetting to order the invitations my dad wanted for his colonial style curry lunch party until I rang him last night and he reminded me. (Did it last night.) Like neglecting Rich's mum who is looking after the dogs this weekend.....guilt.

Like weeding, going for a run, arranging our foursomes match, planting the bedding, decorating our bedroom...

Thanks listening to me rant. Back to work now. *hollow laugh*

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Back to Basics

On this grey and rainy evening, I thought some pretty flowers might cheer us up.  Especially as I just watched Manchester United beat Crystal Palace.  Hate it when that happens, love an underdog.  Poor old Alan Pardew has been in the final loads and still not won.

I had to look back through my old posts to work out when I last went for a run.  Gulp, it was 1st May!  I was ultra positive then as I had been running 2 days in a row and felt like I was on a roll.  However, it proved to be another 20 days before I next went running!!  Life really does get mixed up sometimes.

I managed to get out yesterday lunchtime while working from home and it was much better than I expected given the nearly 3 week hiatus.  I intended to do the short 2.5km run over the fields to Brough and then back along the road but, when I got to the turning point, I felt great so carried on into uncharted (in recent times anyway) territory.

I ran straight up the hill, down a bit and over the usually very muddy stream then back up another field (are you noticing all these "up"s??) and then I carried on feeling like this bit of the run was a lot less frightening than I remembered.  I started to relax and lengthen my stride; I'm better than I thought. Then I ran around a corner - Oh, I forgot about that hill. It was not steep but it was long, very long.

Anyway, I got through it and covered 4.2km without stopping for photos so made better time as well.  So, that takes me to 27.15km on my somewhat interrupted marathon quest.

And then, keeping the momentum going, I went swimming this morning so another 1km added to the, erm, "race".  28.15km down.  It was gorgeous.  Despite the weather forecast which was giving solid rain, it was fine and the sun peaked through making swimming outdoors splendid in a shiny, blue splashy kind of way.  Rich had been golfing so hit lucky with the lack of rain.

I was not so lucky in the afternoon though!  I was playing a knockout comp against a really nice woman called Hilary.  We set off at 1.30 in light drizzle but, after the fine-ish morning, we were confident that it would just be showers.  It seemed as though we might be right too for a while but then, around the 8th, the rain came down heavier.  The waterproofs came on, the brollies went up, the gloves got wet, we persevered.

We played on through a torrential downpour on the 9th; it lightened upon the 10th; but came rocketing down on the 11th and 12th.  By the 12th green we were putting through standing water.  It was gross.  As we stood sheltering under the awning of the hut on the 13th tee we agreed to play the remainder of the match another time.   I'm only 1 down having won the 11th and halved the 12th out of nowhere so there is all to play for!  Wish me luck peeps.

I have never been so happy to sink into a hot bath though.

More golf tomorrow - a match against Halifax who we played a fortnight ago.  The weather is saying FINE!!

All the exercise is helping with the dieting but the going out for supper and drinking Prosecco is sadly not! So, I still have a few lbs to shift to get back to my 15 stone 1lb low of a week ago.  I'm sticking to the packs for breakfast and lunch though and keeping away from snacks etc so it's just the bigger than helpful evening meals which need to be reined in next week before we head down to WEMBLEY!!  Oh my God - I'm so excited about our big trip - I wish it was tomorrow though - a week is just too long to have to wait.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!!

 Off we went down to Brighton on Monday.  It was a long old drive and the traffic was rubbish on the M25 but who cares??  Brighton was buzzing with Owls out and about and the locals were all friendly. We had some nice chats with all sorts of folk - a lovely older couple from Watford didn't want to let us go!!

 My phone was playing up on Monday but then worked perfectly on Tuesday - don't know what was up with it  - so I couldn't take any pics that day.  Photo credits therefore go to Rich's half brother James (dark chap holding the yellow shirt).  It was annoying as Brighton put on a fantastic show in the ground with blue and white flags on every seat in a stripey pattern - it looked epic. (BTW, Brighton play in blue and white stripes too - they weren't just being really hospitable!)

Eventually we made it to the ground. James met his shirt twin.  Apparently this is an old, much sought after away shirt from the 90's so they were each were very excited to meet up with another wearer (I know, I didn't get it either!).

The match was terrifying in the first half when they came out and threw everything at us.  Our boys looked as though they might crumble (especially with the referee being firmly on Brighton's side) but despite them scoring we held firm, got a goal ourselves before half time thus restoring our aggregate lead and then, in the second half, didn't look in much danger.  

Our singing got better and better as the minutes ticked away and the scenes of celebration between the players, management and fans at the end were amazing.  The players didn't seem to want to leave the pitch, we had to keep singing and clapping with aching arms and sore throats.

It is only now sinking in that we are actually going to Wembley a week on Saturday and, not only that, if we beat Hull City, we will be in the Premier League next year.  It is that close.  Just incredible considering how bad things have been for us until this season started.  Even if we do not go up, it has been a fantastic season and I'm so proud of our club and its fans.

Tuesday dawned bright and beautiful so after breakfast we headed out for a walk. Of course my phone worked perfectly so I took a few consolation shots!

The skeletonized West Pier.

I'm just so happy but somewhat bleary eyed....

Rich, his dad and brother.  Lovely guys.

We managed to resist the jellied eels but we did see some people tucking into oysters at 11am!

I'll admit to a ice cream though....and a curry the night before although that was pretty much all we ate all day...

All in all, it was a great trip and several beers and non diet meals were had.  I went straight back onto the packs this morning though and played golf (in the rain) so I hope that any damage will be short lived.  I'm in the office tomorrow so same again then with a run in the evening when I get home. In fact I'm going to be very strict with myself for then next 10 days to get rid of Brighton and create some wriggle room for the bank holiday weekend in London. 

Tickets have already been bought for Wembley and I'm excited already as I've never been.  Last time we went up through the play offs the new Wembley Stadium was being built so the game was played in Cardiff.  It was brilliant but not Wembley!