Monday, August 04, 2008

Camping it up.

Leamington FC faced a pre-season friendly against Wimbourne, and if you didnt know, thats located near the south coast. Pete, Vince and I had plans to stay in Bournemouth, in a nice swanky hotel, however due to the prices of 110 quid per night, we decided to B&B/pub it, but once again, due to the cost and also the fact we didnt get a reply, we decided to camp it instead.

Now, I've not been camping since I was 16, when I tagged along with Ian and his Dad in the lakes, and due to the fact that I'm now 33, and enjoy the finer things in life, not really had the need to do it since. I was a little excited, like a small child doing something for the first time, and also slightly worried. Why worried you may ask? Well, petal, sit down and I'll tell you. Go on.

Whenever I socialise with Vince and Pete, it always gets out of control, to the point where no (or little food) is involved, and alcohol takes priority. I was also worried that Vince, a married man, with 3 kids, decided to buy a midlife crisis car, you know the type, the roof comes off, with very little room. He also decided to be fancy dan, by purchasing a family tent that sleeps 4 - 2 seperate rooms and a "lounge" area in the middle. Well, Vince is a slim man, and I'd like to think I am too, and no offence to Pete, but he does look like Peter Griffin from Family Guy, both in facial and density. Of course, by the time they get to my place, theres very little room left (due to the style of the car, the family tent and all of their ruck sacks, leaving me wedged in the back of said car, with my own gear. Before we even got out of my street, calls for the roof down were heard - insert Stefan's not so short hair being blown in all random directions of the compass.

We already knew that there would be traffic difficulties around Southampton, around 90 minutes worth, so we decided to take the backroads route (via spending 16 quid on pies, sandwiches and sausage rolls at Warwick Services) which took 2 hours - so sensible - but at least it give Pete the chance to pick up some indestructable wine glasses in a small town in the New Forest (no idea what happened to the old one). Why wine glasses ? Well Pete's boss bought him a bottle of champers for passing his Level 2, and Pete thought it would be nice to share. I also took some Morgan Spiced Rum (with Cherry Coke) incase there wasnt a pub around for miles.

Anyhoooo, we got to the campsite (4.5 Hours later) and started to unpack the boot. It was a lovely afternoon with the sun shining, and it had been decided that this would be the priority, rather than getting lashed up, and trying to errect a tent at 00:23 in the morning. The label on the front of the tent bag stated "Build time: 25 mins". 45 minutes later, we were the proud owners of a stable tent, and the airbeds being blown up via some hairdryer device that plugged into Vince's car. It had been decided that Vince and I would take the two bedrooms, and Peter (not the Family Guy character) would take the "lounge" area that wasnt really pegged in, but the tent door kept it all together.

We got ourselves freshened up at the shower block, and cracked open the champers, which due to Vince and I being on anti-biotics, went straight to our heads. We went to the campsite bar and ordered 3 home made cocktails, this of course took us further to the edge, and we asked for directions into town. It was only 1.2 miles into Wimborne town itself, but we had directions from about 3 different people, so in the end, we avoided them all and made our own route in. We found a nice looking pub, ordered some food and more drink. The food turned up and it was nice, but not the type of food you really need to line your stomach before (and after) booze.

We managed to find a couple more pubs before the town centre, one of which was like the American Werewolf, where locals just stared at us, Vince not making it any easier, by giving a "HELLO LOCALS, WE'RE NOT FROM HERE, CAN YOU TELL" type of wave to them all gathered around the pool table. We managed to get into town around 10:40 and found this neat little pub. It was simple and the type of pub I like - in fact, it was the size of the tent we were sleeping in that night, but friendly people in there. However due to the "we're not busy, so we're shutting up now" attitude, we ended up in the only bar open in town. After J&D coke all around, we managed to get some space near the "dance" floor, where some young woman decided that you can bounce to any type of music, no matter what it was. So after a bit of Nirvana, some popular beat combos and Elvis, we'd seen her one card trick, and could barely stand up due to laughing at her. Before we left, we witnessed a punch up on the dance floor, only to be stopped by a door-woman, only for the guy who was throwing the punches, to throw more punches before he eventually got thrown out for good - nice.

Things from here on are a little hazy, but I remember trying to get the speed sign to register that I was running faster than 30mph - didnt work, I dont think. Claiming that I was "The Bat Man" running up a dark street, filming the "blair witch project" type movie in the middle of the woods, giggling back at the tent while drinking rum and coke and hearing a field full of people snore.

I woke up at 6am to rain dripping on my face. We buggered off into Bournemouth to get some breakfast, and paid £3.75 for a full English breakfast - it was lovely. We drove back to Wimbourne to the club, via meeting up with the minibus party, to watch the game. It wasnt very good, but hey.

Would I go camping again ? deffo! Reckon I'd take my own tent tho.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Yes yes yes, its been a while since I've blogged, but not really had the need to blog for some reason. Life, has improved, in a number of different areas, and this blog was written to get things off my chest - which is nice, you'll have to agree.

Around about 6 years ago, I decided to start playing football, 6aside, nothing fancy dan, just knock around, bit of banter. I admit I was overweight and it was a good way to get a little healthier, but one thing that stood out, was that I was always the slowest person on the pitch and I hated that. I sent myself a goal to get fitter, get faster - and I'd like to think that I've done that. I never confessed to be the best player in the world - and I'd also like to think that I'm also not the worst either - giving the addional "power" of speed gives you additional chances on the pitch too.

Anyhoo, from the 6aside football, came football management, and football coaching. I admit that I went into it a little blinkered, and not knowing one thing about coaching the sport. The club that I'm involved in, enrolled me on the FA Level 1 - and that was er "good". They teach you nice things like, "don't swear at kids", "don't allow kids to eat glass" etc etc. Yeah, they give you some basic drills (of which, you have to demonstrate one - and as long as you don't feed glass to kids, you're more or less passed).

I like improving myself, and I love the challenge of learning more, and bettering myself - so asked the club if they'd put me on the Level 2 course. This is a 6 month course, you spend a week doing the theory and demonstrations, then you're expected to go away and document 12 sessions, come back and demonstrate a final topic, of which you're assessed. I done the first week in feb, and luckily we had decent weather - but it is physically draining - we're talking about losing around about a stone in a week here.

Anyhoo, Saturday was assessment day - it was hot, VERY hot! Luckily, the nice chap from the FA passed me, saying if I wanted to do my Level 3 - I should wait around 12 months before giving it ago. This is fair enough really, I'm heading into my 3rd year of management, and jumped from a Level 0 coach to a Level 2 - taking to Level 3 is a massive gap anyhow.

I've enjoyed it, its been alot of hard work, and the people who've supported me over the 6 months, you know you can trust them.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Baby and the Dark side

Whoops! With being busy with one thing and another, I've not really had the chance to blog like I used too. Guess its a sign of getting old, or perhaps, just work getting in the way, who cares, as long as I'm back.

First things first, 31st October, my sister had her first baby. Her name is Niamh (pronounced Neve) and she's nice and healthy. I've just returned from Newcastle for a bit of a break, mainly because I didnt want to miss out on the cute thing growing too quickly. Puts a few things into perspective, but it was great to see the family and the new addition. I spent the full day Tuesday with my sister, and probably the most we've spent together since we were with kids (with her getting married and me moving away) and I think she appreciated the company during the day.

I was torn between getting a PS3 (mainly because I have a PS2 and a PSP) and an xbox 360. I've never really been convinced about the xbox (xbox 360) - mainly because it stands for everything I hate - well Microsoft in gaming. But after some discussions with John, the nice bloke at Game and a few other people, I decided to go with it. I'd traded in all my old games, those games that I bought years ago, played a couple of times and thats it, and managed to get £120 in gaming vouchers. I came back home, plugged it altogether, managed to cable it up to my router and play a couple of games. I was a bit disappointed at buying the xbox 360 elite, to find out it didnt come with a wireless adapter. Extra cash that you don't really think you're folking out for.

I did have a 28" CRT wide screen TV and after a bit of humm'ing and harr'ing, I decided to search the T'interweb for HDTVs. Managed to pick up a nice 32" HDTV made by Sony for just over 600 quid, and that turned up 3 days later. Plugged everything in, and was gobsmacked at the difference.

Football wise, the kids have actually won a game this season, against a team who you can tell are half decent, but are struggling like we did last season. Leamington FC are doing well in the Trophy, thanks to a Tuesday night trip down to Margate for a replay. Around 50 Leam fans travelled, and I was lucky enough to get 1/2 day off to go too. We sang for 90 minutes solid, and completely put their home fans to shame. This weekend, a nice trip to London village in the next round, having to play a team 2 divisions higher than what we are. You could say, this will probably be our cup final.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stefan on Football

I eventually got my NUFC shares - I bought them for something like 22p around 7 years ago, and now had them bought out at 101p - not alot you might think, but, return on investment is pretty good - oh and it gets Fat Freddie out of the board room and stops him embarressing the club anymore. Overall, I'm pretty confident with NUFC at the moment, good manager, decent buys (although I was panicking up to end of July) and a board who are willing to stick to their guns. We completely destroyed Bolton at their place, and we should have done better against the Villa - but having played 2 games and still undefeated - pretty good going and its been along time since I could have said that.

Leam FC have just started their new season in a new League. Unfortunately, things didnt go to plan on Saturday when, after 30 seconds, the opposition keeper got sent off for bringing down Josh Blake (I'll get you butler!) outside the area. Leighton decided to play 10 men behind the ball, and do anything they could to even it up by trying to get someone from our team sent off - this didnt happen, but they did manage to gain a pen, by a very dodgy decision by the whistle happy referee. The ref was blowing every 30 seconds, thanks to the screaming opposition whenever one of our players even went near him. I suppose, rose tinted glasses, but a better game is expected tonight. We managed to sell 100 fanzines too, which is a good start, considering the attendance was something like 500.

I take my kids team into the U12 age group - and some of them are coming on leaps and bounds - some are showing potential, but yet, still suffering from a drought of players who a) can actually play football and b) want to join Leamington Brakes. A local rival club have managed to put another team into the same league as us, yet, we're still struggling to put teams together - strange. Alot of research has gone on in terms of finding drills that suit our needs and we're looking more professional in terms of turning up prepared and disciplining the team. Onwards and upwards - we can only do what we can with the tools we have.

Stefan on Friends

Facebook - probably the devil's child - but its addictive, its funny and gets you in touch with so many different people. Not only has it got in touch with 4 friends that I used to hang around in Leeds with (before the times of Mobile phones etc etc) - of which had a thing for 2 of them, but its also got me back in touch with 6 friends from School.

I have to admit, I had to remove someone the other day, because they kept inviting me to many an application, such as; Vampires, Zombies, Vampire v Zombies, Ninjas, Vampire Ninja Zombies v Pirates, Pirates that used to be Ninjas, but now Zombies v Vampire Strippers, etc etc. it got to the point where I was being invited to 20 a day. So for a simple life, I deleted him - oh well, not really a shock there, is there?

Anyhoo, I've decided to stop giving advice to friends, mainly because, 9 times out of 10, they'll avoid it - because they just don't want to know, or so stuck in their ways, that they've got so many problems, they dont want to fix the problems. I decided that the easy way is to not add to the problems, stay quiet & keep out the way. Harsh though it may seem, but I've tried - in so many different ways.

Stefan on Women (or not on Women, if you get my drift)

Strange tho it mean seem.... Na, only joking. There has been this lass that I've liked for many years, well, OK, 5 years. She is completely different to those that I normally go for, she smokes, yeah, big wow, she's funny as hell, she's caring, well, OK, she's funny as hell.

I guess you can put it down to flirting, when we've been out and bumped into one another, but thats as far as it ever got. Anyhoo, the story starts when John is away at glasto, and I was given the challenge to entertain Debbie for the weekend (more like a prison sentance). Four hours into our beer session, I had a text from said lass, asking where I was etc, and how she was elsewhere and bored. I suggested that we were in town, but probably not for very much longer, as we were starting to feel the effects. After more text messages, I'd agreed to meet her in town, and go back with Debbie and watch big brother. Was nice and chilled, Debbie said she seemed a very nice lass, and it was great.

I asked what she wanted to do, and she agreed to stay at my place - what was even more fantastic is that we snogged. Was really nice (probably down to alcohol consumed on both sides) and asked what she wanted to do, sofa, bed, what ?! We ended up in bed, probably had a little too much fun, but seems nice & natural.

I took her home the next morning, got a kiss... then .... radio silence. I text'd her when I returned from my holidays asking if she wanted to go for a coffee/tea/beverage - then got a text 3 hours later saying she was at family do. I invited her out to the cinema - still not recieved a text back, nor MSN, nor phone call. I bumped into her in the pub, and it was like she was making an effort to avoid me - meh

So, what do you do ? You really like someone, they're not interested - so decided - screw it - staying well away from women now. Chances are that she dislikes me anyhow - oh for that time machine. Mind you, if I had a time machine, I would know exactly what time/date I would visit.

Stefan on Holidays

Yes, I know its been a long while since I blogged - deal with it. I went on holiday with good friends John, Debbie, Tom and Abbie for a couple of weeks (Tom and Abbie only stayed for the one week) to Fuertaventura. Debbie and Abbie had invested alot of time of working out where was decent, feeding all our requirements into that massive world wide interweb thingy and out popped a couple of Villas. Flight times were decent too, leaving in the afternoon, getting back late evening - so you know - sun, beer, women, laughs and a jolly good time was had by all.

The first week, I mostly spent lazying around with my newly promoted "Beach Buddy" - namely Debbie. There was a nice little beach in town, surrounded by little cafe type places, which no one really used. So we spent a couple of hours sunbathing, then a couple of hours eating, then a couple of hours sunbathing, then to cap the afternoon off, wandered back, via the supermarkets and the English pub that I found which was showing Sky Sports News all day. John and Tom decided that Kite Surfing was for them, and spend many a full day down the beach learning to do this - coming back with stiff arms, bruises and many a pain.

The Villa came equiped with a BBQ - so most of the time we decided to drink beer, eat BBQ'd food and have a laugh. John done a fantastic job as Chef and didnt kill any of us with semi frozen meat. We were invited out to Tom and John's Xtreme Sport meal type thing on Friday Night. This involved all the Xtreme people doing surfing, kite surfing, etc etc ending up in a traditional restaurant, eating vast amounts of food, getting boozed up, then moving onto pubs and clubs in town. This was 16 Euros (or Bells, as it was renamed to during the week) for all the food and booze (including a bottle of white wine to myself) you could intake during the restaurant. Many people asked what Debbie and I were up too, as they hadnt seen us at any of the Xtreme days. I think we scared them by mentioning, "dish washing", "watching Sky Sports News", "sunbathing" and "Oh, Steve, does Ironing count as Xtreme?"

The 2nd week turned into more of a Extreme sport session for Debbie and I, with us trying Body Boarding (Debbie tried surfing once while I continued to perfect my level 1 Body Boarding badge [ might not exist ]). This was fantastic and if I knew how good it was, I would have spent the first week doing it too. Body Boarding was mainly fantastic, because of the fantastic looking Swiss girls who were also on the course. At one point, I managed to catch a fantastic wave, and somehow, end on top of her, while she was on her board. Part of me grinning, part of me blushing, I kind of apologised but she grinned and was probably thankful for a bit of "in the sea excitement"

Anyhoo, it was a fantastic place, we were out of the town by about a 15 minute walk, so it wasnt noisy, wasnt too busy and also give you the chance to walk some of the booze off before bed (until we worked out it was 2 Euroes / Bells for a taxi from town to the villa - nice)

Tom's catchphrase, "Strange tho it may seem" continued even when he left - much to the amusement of us all. John's first 10 minute joke of the Fun Flight turned into 2 weeks of the Venga Boys - and 2 weeks of us trying to work out which song he was singing (and 2 days of Debbie trying to download).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friends : Past, Present, Future?

I was up early this morning, mainly because I have a very good friend staying for the weekend, and still have a lot to tidy up. Pippa is one of my dearest friends, yet, she still scares the living crap out of me, not in a bad way, probably in a "keep you on your toes" way. Anyhoo, I'm finishing early today, to keep her out of Leam trouble, so started early - like way to early.

When I logged in to work, I received an email from my work email address from a facebook friends request. I tried everything I could to move the request from that email address to my correct facebook profile - without any success. So had to create another ID - only to find out it was a friend from Leeds when I lived there on my sandwich year. Her name is Julia, she was, how can I put it, stunningly stunning, and someone I completely bounced off and felt at home with. Don't know what it was, she was just *LUSH* and perfect - of course, 8 years on, people moving around, people moving jobs - we all lost touch with one another.

Not taking anything away from friends from Newcastle or friends at the moment - because I love them all dearly - Julia was special - very special some would say - but just didnt happen, turns out, she has a 18 month old baby and living in sin. Julia invited me to a wedding this weekend, her sister Weezie (it was a kind of a strange naming convention - Louise was Weezie, I ended up being Weephen) and old friend Russ (from what I recall Wuss was his name). Any other weekend and I would have been up there like a shot.

Anyhow, without being too corny - friends - what fantastic people they are.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hmm, one of them weeks

I knew that when Monday came, it was going to be a manic week, but tried to take it on as any other week, just slowly & taking it steady. I don't know why, but I feel drained - its probably because of someone sawing wood at 23:45 last night, it might be because I've felt meh for the last couple of days.

I've got to hold trials for my new team next season, which you would think its easy enough to stand there shouting directions at kids, there's also a tough side to it too. Its not just about their abilities to play football, its also ensuring that they have the right attitude to play, they have the discipline too. I spent far too long shouting at kids who just didn't want to play football, but were forced there by their parents, and unfortunately, the only people who suffered are those who wanted to play football & win- I want to turn this around. Part of this is for the kids, part of it is for myself, that we're actually doing something good, apart from keeping them off the streets.

Thursday night is worrying me a tad. Its the awards nights for the players from the season just gone, and I have to write a speech, based on achievements and highlights from the season. I know it sounds a bit funny to say, but a 5 minute speech based around the teams achievements is hard enough, but when you've picked up 2 points, conceeded 50 odd goals is going to be even harder. To top it off, Gary McSheffrey (of Brum City and dumping NUFC out of the FA Cup fame) will be attending, making my night even more morky.

I was tidying up my gaff, mainly because I have an old friend staying for the weekend, but came across a photo album that my mother give me for my birthday once. Decided to scan a few in, just for fun, like, and came up with a couple of corkers. There will be more to come, and available on my flickr site, but really got me thinking, should I move back up to Newcastle ? At the moment, not really sure, but its at the back of my mind.

Best toy ever! My own Tardis. Oh, look at my chubby cheeks.

Me, last week

Anyhoooo, As I say, I have a friend staying this weekend, so should be interesting to see what happens. She's a nice lass, although a little insane, but we get on fine enough. I'm a little bit miffed that the scafolding is still kicking around after 3 weeks, and really expected the place to be painted and clear again. I'm hoping that the weather is going to be fantastic at the weekend, for fun, beer, sunbathing, chatting and catching up. Might even get some shopping in during that time too.

All in all, a busy week - and still not seen Pirates OTC 3 - dammit

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Face the strange

Well, plan A went well didnt it. I managed to pluck up the courage to ask her out. Sadly got a reply saying that she's seeing someone and the age gap is too big - oh well, at least I tried, and thats what is important - and people like triers - dont they ?

Getting really into The Klaxons album this week, also downloaded Blondie's Keep me hanging on the telephone - fantastic track - even uploaded it up to my ipod nano ready for running.

Following on from Mr John's post earlier this week, I registered myself onto social networking site, facebook. Its rather addictive, but fun, but not really sure my boss will think its fun sadly. Anyhoo, my profile appears to be here so if you read, and interested at all, add me - perhaps.