Saturday, April 22, 2017

Is My Bus on Fire ???

Didn't start my day too early and actually skipped my bus from Bearwood to Digbeth in favour of a taxi .... I booked the ticket just in case but I would have had to wait 2 hours at Digbeth with my goalie bag which means no washroom or really doing or going anywhere so I waited and paid a taxi . I went to call Heritage Cars which is a local taxi company in Smethwick that Karl put me on . As you all know Karl was supposed to do most of this trip hanging with me and going to Sheffield but his work put an end to that so this is why I'm taking a bus . I know some people would have thrown in the towel and cancelled making this trip but I don't like to do that , when I make solid plans I go through with them ! Now it's time to call my taxi and my phone is out of minutes ????? Ummm how is this possible ... I paid EE £10 for a card that lasted me 1 day before it ran out then went to top up and was contacted by them only to find out that my credit card wasn't accepted because it's a North American bank ..... so I went into shop paid an additional £15 which got me 500 minutes on phone and unlimited text and that wasn't working 3 days after ???? SeriouslyWTF ! Tried sorting it before I had to call taxi but agent was useless and I had to figure out that Heritage actually has an app .... so , I uploaded that and used it to call taxi . Disaster diverted :)

Got to Digbeth grabbed some snacks for the bus and got on and everything was perfect :) didn't have anyone sleeping on me or anything and I started dozing off and then we stopped ???  I looked around took my headphones off and saw a woman running off the bus with her baby yelling there is a fire !!! I looked back and there was smoke billowing out of the engine of the bus .... seriously this was a massive WTF moment lol ! The bus didn't eveacuate and wasn't actually on fire . We were on the motorway so we couldn't get off the bus in the middle of road so we were asked to stay on the bus and we would have a repairman on way as we were only half an hour away from terminal .... our bus driver was a nice guy and it wasn't his fault the bus actually over heated and the smoke was actually steam as the water all drained out of engine . What a disaster :( mechanic asked what size tools he needed and of course when he showed up he had wrong tools ... honestly WTFF ? Yes there are 2 F's there hahaha . Cmon seriously a mechanic that works on these buses should A) bring all the tools or B) not waste our time the ding dong went back to get more tools and in mean time another us was on the way . That bus never showed.....we sat in that National Express bus for over 3 hours and I couldn't leave the bus and I could see a McDonalds across the highway that I was dying to go to . No doubt I was starving and pissed off 😡 


A is with other passengers showed up finally and didn't pick everyone one and was more selective about who they took and I was one of the lucky ones . Kinda hope the others didn't have to stay there stranded much longer ! Anyways National Express gave us vouchers that we could use for our next trip as long as it's in next 6 months ✊️💦💦💦 anyways I'm gonna write to them about this ridiculous experience . By the time I arrived in Sheffield I was in better spirits . Daz picked me up at Meadowhall and we went to grab a quick kebab and before you knew it I was at Ice Sheffield getting ready for some hockey . Unfortunately nobody from the Island Monkeys was there aside from Daz and Sarah . Bit disappointed in them lot but whatever maybe I will see them next time ? :( would have been nice if some of em took a night off to play hockey but at the same time I'm not even here in Sheffield for 24 hours . Ahhh ! Whatever lol :) 


It was great that my hockey buddy Ergun came up from Nottingham for the skate . We met way back in Ulm , Germany quite some time ago and we kept in touch and Ergun always makes the trip up to see me and play some puck . Next time you should spend the night buddy :) another ghost from the past showed up too .... Chris Willey ! Haven't seen him since Iceland and haven't heard from him since 2014 or so .... let's just say we drifted apart but it was great being on the ice with him again also . Obviously we were skating with a club called the Sheffield Squeelers who are a rec hockey club here . Good group of guys . Still trying to break myself into getting used to these bigger pads so it was good getting on the ice and working on some positioning and getting more comfortable every time I wear them . I gave up 4 or 5 goals over the hour and a half skate which started at 10 pm and finished at 11:30 pm which is a half hour before the big Leafs game .


Of course this wouldn't be a trip to Sheffield without Dazza's fantastic nachos , some beer and an NHL game on telly !!!!! We stayed up until roughly 3 am watching the Leafs play the Capitals in NHL playoff action . Really tight game which Daz called and said would go to OT . I was fighting to keep my eyes open near the end and when Washington scored the winner I shut 'er down and went to bed . It was definitely worth the trip and all the disasters to get here. 

I really really really have to thank Darren and Sarah for letting me spend the night and once again thank you Sheffield Squeelers for letting me skate with you guys . Let's do it again next time I'm over !!! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Family Time

People always ask me why I come over to Birmingham so much and there are oh so many reasons but I would say the main one is to see my family and I don't mean my Villa family or my hockey family here as they are also very dear to me . This is my blood . My auntie is my grandmothers sister and I was raised by my grandmother and she has been gone for quite some time so it means a lot to come see her sister and my cousins which I think are technically my second cousins . My auntie really loves ice wine as you can see she guzzled one already hahaha ! I'm sure she's working on her second one today . I try to bring her two .... one to drink while I'm there and one to drink after :) it makes me happy to see her happy . 

It took me an hour and a half to get from Smethwick to Chelmsley Wood and when I got there I had my cuppa and we talked about family stuff which I'm never really keen to talk about . It always seems to lead to the same discussions but that's what families do right ? I'm not sure as I'm not much of a family person to be honest . After a couple cups of tea my cousins Paul and Steven walked me over to the busy terminal at the mall and bought me way too many candies and crisps to take home hahaha ! I'm already working on packing them in and I'm sure the gym will be painful when I get home in a couple weeks . I shouldn't really be worrying about my weight on this trip but I am a bit .... while I plough through all this beer and scratchings lol ! 


On the ride back to Smethwick I went by the Villa shop on New St. to see if it was really closed and it is :( damn that sucks .... my buddy Scott Sanders is doing a promo gig near the bull ring so I went over to bug  him a bit . He was almost done so I went over to BrewDog to kill some time with a couple pints as we planned to grab a bite together at Nando's. I've never been before and practically all my brummie mates rave about how good it is so I had to try it . We went to the one close to Bull Ring . I had a half chicken and it's basically Portuguese styled chicken which is always yummy and yes this was really good and I will definitely go for another in the future . 


Of course we went for a quick pint after at a pub called The Post Office (?) it has a massive selection of bottled beers so I had myself a nice hoppy American IPA and then had to catch a bus to meet Gemma Taylor Albutt at Karl's place ... and yes he is still in Derby and I'm still alone at his place :( things are fine though ! Got to Karl's before Gemma did as I didn't want her waiting around to drop ice hockey donations ... that would be rude . She brought a bunch of good stuff that I'm sure will be loved and used in Egypt 🇪🇬 . Somehow I still can't believe I'm doing this .... overwhelmed by all this gear I started to try packing it and it looks like I have 3 full bags of gear ready to go :) last thing I really need from everyone is a little help with some cash donations to transport gear .... so if you or anyone you know would like to help please make a donation to my GoFundMe account below :) 


Heading up to Sheffield now to skate with some
old friends there .... this bus smells like teen spirit hahahah cough cough cough .... 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Skating with Solihull Grizzlies

Now if I took this picture I would have zoomed in a bit . Maybe if the team looked bigger then the ice in front of it this would have been a good picture but this is what you get when you don't travel with a professional photographer . Homestly I'm just glad someone was there to take the darn photo hahaha ! 


Now my day started with absolutely no plans for the day as I had ice hockey in the evening with the Grizzlies and right off the bat my day changed when I got the message from Ritchie that he had been booked to work the night shift at the last minute :( that's two rides I've lost for this skate .... obviously went into frantic mode and started planning another ride because taking an hour and half transit ride is kinda outta the question and paying around £60 to go there and back is also ludicrous so I put the word out on Facebook and of course my Villa mates jumped to offer a lift particularly Paul Harris who had a meeting not too far from me at around that same time so logistics worked but I would not have a ride back . So the search carried on with this as a backup plan . Good thing Mark Palmer offered me a ride but there was the minor chance he couldn't since he wasn't feeling amazing .... 


In the meantime I was all alone and hungry , so I messaged Karl to find out where to eat locally and he replied with some bad news .... he can't make it to Sheffield for our ice time there :( ouch that sucks .... now I have to take a bus to Sheffield on my own . Good news is .... I finally decided to leave the house and it was already around 1pm . I headed over to The Bear and had a pint and grabbed myself a chicken sandwich then walked over to the Bearwood bus terminal and in my way there noticed all the shopping centres and a subway sandwich shop which is all a bonus but when I got to the bus terminal there was I booth to buy tickets or anyone to even talk to . Finally I found a driver wandering around and he said I would have to take a bus to Digbeth to book a ticket . LOL ! Or I could pay the extra fee and ride bus into town . Damn I will do it tomorrow on way to Chelmsley Wood to see my family . 


So yeah it seems like I was a busy body but really it was a lonely day all alone chilling out on the couch where I actually napped most of the day away . Then I had to eat again so I ordered some pre skate pasta .... can't go wrong right ? So this place wasn't great and for some reason it had a bit of a curry flavour and was mostly meat with spaghetti that was obviously cut in halves ??  Worst part of all .... no Parmesan cheese 😮
Now I ate it all but it sure as shit wasn't worth paying really anything for so sorry Luigi's you got a shit review from me . Hahaha ! No seriously it was shite . I could taste it on the ice 3 hours later . 


After yet another nap 😴 I woke up and found out Mark was coming to get me YAY ! I was so happy and I let Paul Harris know that I didn't need a ride and then I started packing and rejigging this chest protector I'm using over here . Man this thing is not for me . It's always a comfort issue for us goalies and I think I'm honestly too comfortable with the gear I've been dragging around for the last 8 years or so . Time for some change and that is why I'm rolling with different gear to change things up. It was great getting back on the ice with the Grizzlies but most of all there were some more amazing donations to come out of this visit to the rink :) 


As soon as I walked into the room I was greeted by Adam Fearon who donated a couple twigs then my goalie buddy Harry Minns showed up with his new pads that he paid $300 for !!! Dirt cheap and pro gear to boot . I fought my way into this donated gear and we were on the ice in no time doing some drills .... teams over here actually practise and some teams put more into that then scrimmaging . I would say the Grizzlies did half and half .... and during the drills I still felt like I had to work twice as hard to do the things I'm used to doing in my own pads at home . Not bitching but more explaining the difficulties a goalie like myself goes through breaking in new gear even though in my case I'm actually breaking myself in to wear my new gear .... which I have yet to wear on the ice but will when I get home and hopefully I will be adjusted to the pad size since my old ones are smaller . 

These late ice times here are totally accepted by the guys and gals that play here and honestly I wish the guys back home in toronto wouldn't whine so much about our game times because if they lived elsewhere I would be sure to know that they probably would quit playing with their little whiny attitudes .... to be fair the guy that whined the most got booted off our team for not paying his fees so I won't have to here as much bitching this summer :) after the skate we got a photo in and Adam Putt gave me a bag full of gear and we were off to go back home . 

I would really like to thank Mark Palmer for driving me to and from the skate last night and most of all I would like to thank the Solihull Grizzlies for letting me skate with them again! It was great seeing you all and I hope to come back soon for another skate . 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Back on ice in Brum

Yesterday was amazing ! Honestly had so much fun hanging out with Ritchie and Amy :) they picked me up and took me to the Black Country Museum which is like a village of historical buildings and vehicles that all make up the history here . We could have stayed there for hours on end ! We walked around had some old style chips and bought some candy and had a nice pint of cider and all in the sun ... YES ! It was sunny and beautiful out yesterday here :) we also went into a mine and I mean there was a few more things we could have done if we got there earlier like riding the old school kids rides and there was a little boat ride we could have done and a small theatre with a movie that shows every once in a while . Seriously I was not bored for one second and I suggest that anyone visiting Birmingham should take the time to go out to check this place out ! 

After our day out in the sun we obviously needed a bite to eat and a pint so we went to The Crooked House . No joke this place will confuse the crap out of you ! There is a window sill that is on a crazy angle and somehow there is a marble there that will roll upwards ??? I know . If you ever visit do yourself a favour and don't spend too much time figuring it out because honestly you will start feeling queezy looking at all the angles in there lol !  We stuck around and had a bite and I noticed pastrami sandwich on the menu ..... it was nowhere near what I thought it would be hahaha :) 

So back to hockey business after a quick stop to see my little buddy Tricky who is the little fella that gave me that picture I posted a few days ago . Was great meeting him finally :) 


Too bad we couldn't stick around too long as we had to grab my gear and head to the other side of Birmingham way out in Solihull . We have our ice time at 945 which is early :) usually they get the time slot an hour later so that's a bonus as Ritchie has an earlier day tomorrow (today) it's this thing called work ? Never heard of such thing lol ! Packed my bag up in record time and we were off .... the whole ride I questioned if I packed everything and I'm sure we've all been there when in a rush . 


Time to get all this donated gear on that I've never worn hahaha ! The idea was to bring a full kit of goalie equipment which was donated by Brendan Krick in Toronto and bring my essentials that I need like skates , mask, jock and pants and wear the rest of donations instead of bringing two full kits from Toronto which saves me from dragging more stuff around right ? Well let me tell ya .... I have only once worn other gear and it felt like crap . That was way back when I visited Finland and Jarri Kurtti let me use his gear .... back then the skates were my problem so I thought I had that solved this time .... wrong ! The pads are bigger and they felt ridiculous and the chest armour was like wearing a condom .... guess I should have worn this stuff before I left eh hahaha ! Yeah I didn't :( 


Pretty sure it was clear that I was struggling as I fidgeted with the gear while I was on the ice constantly. Gave up a few shitty goals but it was just a practise and oh yeah I was collecting gear . Two of the guys had gear ... thank you Richard Goode and Chris Pfleiderer for the donations . I know there are a couple bags coming from Ritchie and Karl and Gemma also which should be more then enough and I would say the collecting here was a success . Our friends in Egypt will gladly put this stuff to use and as we all know it's better if it's getting used rather then collecting dust :) as usual I want to thank The Birmingham Rockets for helping with my hockey drive and for letting me practise with them .... next time I will have gear that is more comfortable lol !  

Once again it would be great to collect some more donations to transport gear . If you want to make a cash donation please follow the link below and thank you ! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Just My Luck

Before I go on about getting on the piss and such I have to mention that I've neglected a good mate over here by the name of Stu Wilson . Fantastic lad and world class boxer ? Hahaha ! It has come to my attention over the last few days that I haven't mentioned him in my posts so here you go mate :) UTV ! Now back to why you are all wondering about my luck .....


Gonna have to backtrack for this a bit though .... two nights ago when I was out at the pub with Scott Sanders and Andi Tanzer on his last night over I happened to have a mishap that I though wouldn't come into play , but it did when a pint full of beer fell into my lap courtesy of Mr. Sanders :) well I have another pair and when I woke up in the morning I will just put them on and put others in wash . Put my other pants on and the zipper broke .... so I have to wear my damp beer soaked jeans . Life goes on yeah . So I make my way to meet Kidderminster Lions on train to go to London to watch Aston Villa play at Craven Cottage vs Fulham . This is the first ground I visited coming over here a few years back so it was something I wanted to revisit as I lost Rainer the last time and that day was absolutely mental . 


When I got to the train I had to wait for a specific train and I was told to jump on the first train at the front so I did but no one was there ? Wtf ? Did I get on the wrong train ? Ummm ok , so I call Paul Harris and it took a couple stops but I found them in a car further down .... I was nervous for a minute lol ! We had a few tins on the ride over and it was a nice trip until the cows disrupted our trip ... yes cows on the track stopped us for almost 45 minutes . That's cutting into pub time . When we got off at Marleybone we rushed over to the first pub which is the same place we first met all those years ago , I think it was 6 years ago or so . I grabbed a burger and gobbled it and met up with Luke Connolly who is a fellow Toronto Lion after chugging a few pints we carried on to a pub closer to the ground . It was hot and stuffy in the underground and a lot warmer then I thought it would be . Probably didn't need a jacket lol ! 


We bumped into another fella that has been visiting the Toronto Lions over past few years ,Paul Ansell ! Big fella was having a good one :) we decided to walk to the grounds and it was a nice walk through London . Really nice day out and having a great time , then the game started and we went down 1-0 and our striker Jonathan Kodjia gets a straight red card for something I really don't understand but that is never a good thing . Jack Grealish scored one of the nicest goals I have seen in person then it all fell to shit .... I'm not having a good run here having now seen two 3-1 losses in the same friggin weekend . Thought the pants was my bad luck right ? Really hoping we stomp out Small Heath on the weekend coming or I might get deported and banned hahaha . :( 


As usual it was such a fantastic day out with the Kidderminster Lions and really that's what draws me back all the time . There isn't a finer group of people to get on the piss with ! Love em' all to bits . After the match we went for another quick pint before catching the train and it was my round so I bought 4 drinks and someone didn't show up to the pub ? Somehow one Mr. Pete Aston got sidetracked and went elsewhere . That lonely and apparently shitty pint is still waiting for you there . Pub was called The Alsop and I'm surprised Craig wasn't there to give me another big kiss hahaha but yeah the pints were shite :( I'm sure Pecks was the worst though ..... 


Train ride back was fun and we had a few laughs on the way back but we all were tired . My buddy Luke took a different train but we met at Moor St and met his dad who gave me a ride out to Karl's place in Smethwick where I am now staying alone at for the next couple days . Had a great conversation with them both and when I got there I was starved so I wanted to order a pizza so I found a place Luke said had great pizza and called it but they wanted post code . For some reason punching in an address here is too hard . Post code always needed !!! Ok so had to hang up find stupid post code and call back , when I called back my phone ran out of usage ? Yeah 4 days in and I'm out of data and minutes ... wtf ! So I try topping up and they don't accept my credit or debit card . Wtf wtf wtf !!! Just my luck :( 

Got on wifi here so I used JustEats for my first time and it all worked out and I ended up with my shitty pizza :) like I said before .... just my luck ....

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pause from the pub

See the pic above kinda described the first part of the day yesterday which is a good thing . Karl and Josh have both abandoned their house to myself and Andi as they have things to do so when we woke up we had to figure out where to go near here to eat . I know the Bear is round the corner and down the road so it's an easy target to find . We took a stroll over and had some food . Andi had a pint with his meal , I had a coke . It's seriously time for a break as we have basically been drinking for two days straight now and I know I have to wake up early on Monday to travel to London to watch another Villa match which means another debauchery . So this is my time to heal ..... 

When we got back to the house after breakfast we just chilled .... we made plans for dinner out at Turtle Bay with Ritchie and Amy and realized another friend named Scotty was around too so he joined us also for some good Caribbean food :) Ritchie and Amy picked us up around 5 pm . When we got there I ordered a couple Beachcomber Zombies to kickstart the night . Yes it has alcohol so obviously my healing time was cut short lol ! These drinks have 4 kinds of rum and absinthe so they have kick and it's happy hour ....  2 for  1 so I had 4 :) I ate too of course I had a nice jerk chicken . After our meal we popped over to BrewDog as usual and had a quick pint while sitting near toilet which kinda sucked so we went to another pub called Queen Victoria or was it just Victoria , whatever it was called I liked it . Hip hop breaks were being played and I found a nice IPA to drink with 6.7 alcohol percentage hahaha ! Yeah we had the option to get a ride with Ritchie and Amy but opted to stay and drink while we were enjoying ourselves . It was Andi's last night so we might as well have some fun but not too much since we both have to be up early ....

Andi had to be up and out the door by 6 am which he has done . I started writing this after he left because well I'm awake now :) it was great spending the weekend with him and I'm thinking we left the pub last night at the right time .... we didn't stay past midnight ! We had our fun , got a good buzz and called it a night . By now Andi should be at the airport and I'm hoping he has a good flight back home . It's always good to see old friends . My trip continues though and my adventure will take me to London to watch the mighty Villa . I already have a few tins of beer ready for the train ride down with my friends . I have a feeling today is gonna be messy .... time to start getting ready . 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Villa Villa Villa

And then I got wasted again :) if you consider that I was sober at all ? I mean I basically arrived here in Birmingham yesterday and I went out to a concert and got pissed then slept and woke up and cleaned up and jumped into a taxi to go meet my cousin and friends at Snow Hill train station . I was supposed to meet everyone at 10:30 am but ran a bit late since I thought Karl ordered me a taxi and Karl thought I had ordered a taxi .... see how that works hahaha! Karl ordered the taxi eventually :) 


I found everyone near the station as planned and we started drinking . Yes I didn't eat and to be honest I'm not really sure if I ate yesterday ? I might have but I don't fully recall :0 well on with the story .... we went to the Indian Brewery which was nice but my first pint was warm :( then my second seemed a bit more chilled and I was much happier with that . It didn't matter because I was with my friends that I haven't seen since November but it seemed like I never left .... that's a good feeling ! After pints there we headed to a pub called The Old Contcmptible ... or at least that is what I thought it was called :) we had a quick pint there and I was confused by their bathroom as I went up one way and came back down a different way meaning I obviously took a wrong turn somewhere but was still confused by it :) yeah I'm a dumbass hahaha! 

Last stop on wat to Villa Park was at my favourite bar in Brum ... Brewdog ! Our mate Simon Tissington from San Diego is over also so we met him there and of course indulged in another pint . Probably by this time I've had at least 6 pints .... lack of sleep and jet lag are not an issue at this point . Not sure if we took a taxi or if we used that other companies service that i won't use anymore but whatever we got ourselves to Villa Park and got to our seats eventually . We sat right next to the away support who are not a threat and we won't be expecting flying coins or bottles unlike the inbreds I will go see us play next week ... yeah SOTC ! Anyhow I will save up my anger for that match . Nothing to be angry about today . Well maybe I should be angry with the way Villa played because they didn't play well and we lost to Reading 3-1 but in all honesty it was kinda expected seeing them beat us as they have a great squad poised for the playoffs while we are trying to settle in for a run next season or at least I would hope we are .  


I do recall eating at Villa Park now .... yeah I had a pie and a hot dog ... I think ... after the match we headed over to The Holte Pub and of course had a few pints before going to The Social . Yes I don't like it there but I have mates there that I'd like to see especially Craig Alsop who I'm pretty sure kissed me on the lips but yeah whatever ? Another strange happening in my life eh :) seems the norm to have the odd kiss on the lips from your mate yeah . I'm  guessing he was happy to see me ! Also there was no more doom and gloom after losing .... the last few years have been hard being a Villa supporter and after a loss everyone would be down in the dumps but yesterday felt like everyone was still upbeat . I guess a season with a decent record has done a lot for the mood around the park . Now don't get me wrong I was drunk having fun so it may just be my bottled perception but I'm thinking that the doom and gloom days are over .   

As I was saying I don't really like The Social because of past experiences but I was a bit upset to hear they are closing this place down . First they closed and tore down the New Adventurers and now this ? Well I hope it was just a rumour because as much as I don't like the place I rather see it open then closed as we are losing all these game day pubs that we go to enjoy before and after games . You would hope that more places will open up but I haven't heard of any . Ahh well . Now at this point of the night things went blank ...... 

My good friend Andi got me home in a taxi .... I'm assuming based on pictures he messaged me with while I was out cold . Not sure where I passed out but let's just say it was the jet lag ;) 

If you're wondering ... i did wake up at like 4 am and I did wonder where I was and how the heck I got here . I'm sure I will find out more when Andi wakes up . We are still over at Karl's place .... today is Easter and I think my main objective for the day is to eat some good food and maybe have a pint or two hahaha ! #goodtimes