Sunday, 14 April 2013

We're an international family!

Hi there blog family,

This week I have done a bit more Google Analytics assessment of my blog. Now I may not have the biggest of readerships, but thank you for all being so dedicated and wanting to read about me and some of the things I get up to. Not only are you all great for doing this and making me feel loved, but you are all now part of an exclusive band of brothers and sisters across the world. That includes regular blog readers in the UK, USA, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan. Belgium (Jenny-Ruth is that you?!), France, Spain (Vic?) and Brazil (Flav I assume that's you though!). It's strange to think that people I have not met, but hopefully one day will, take the time to read about little ol' me. So, let me take this opportunity to say thanks to all my readers wherever in the world you may be, you make it all worthwhile even when I am up till the small hours finishing off posts on a regular basis. And now on with the show...

Status update
It has been a fairly busy week of visitors this week. I have been joined by my brother (@patrickhagg) and also an old family friend (@GibboAndy) for a weekend of football and fun. Thursday night saw 10 of us go and experience what turned out to be Newcastle United's last night in Europe for the season. The European endeavours have allowed many a chance to see some good midweek football for a good price and also in an atmosphere where there were potentially less expectations and so a more relaxed and fun environment. A fun and loud St James' Park cheered on the team to a 1-1 draw, but overall a loss on aggregate. Ultimately, it is a little disappointing that it had to end, but it was a fantastic night.

On Saturday Andy and I went to The Baltic to take in a bit of culture. Usually I don't get art, but there were some really good exhibits and I especially liked one by Fabrice Hyber because it was interactive. The exhibit had different pieces about the weather, but I really liked a shed which, when the door was open made the sound of thunder and lightning. I think I may now need to build myself a similar box!

I just want to take a second to say something about riots and particularly football riots. Only a day after the disgrace of Milwall fans in-fighting I witnessed a deflated Newcastle United get beaten by a more fired up Sunderland team for the 'fans' take their frustrations out on others and disrupt what is usually a fantastic and friendly place. During the riots that swept through the UK a couple of years ago Newcastle was one of the few major towns that didn't get caught up in the idiocy. At the time I thought it was people genuinely cared about their town, but I saw behaviour today that has shaken this belief. After seeing drunken groups of young men (even some who looked 15, 16 or 17) racing around the streets looking for a fight. For pictures and a report just click here. These groups are in the minority and majority of football fans frown on this behaviour, but the problem needs to be addressed and quickly. Lifetime bans for these people is a start, but this only stops problems in stadiums. Often violence will flare up elsewhere and to me I viable option could be extended to city bans for these people on match days. If they want to be idiots they can be, but not in places where they are young children, tourists and, well, generally decent human beings around. A big well done to the Police for their crowd control skills today because it was an intimidating atmosphere they had to walk into and all without undue violence being metered out.

In other more light-hearted news the house where I was born in Newcastle has come on the rental market. I am giving some thought whether I should move back! It is in a fantastic location, but costs more and would mean I would have to move in with some friends to afford it. That would be cool, but living alone has its perks (being a slob etc). Also, I am not sure whether it is just the nostalgia that is a drawer. I guess a the very least I can go view the inside and report back!

Haggy's Hols
I have not been anywhere new this week so I guess it's time for part deux of my preview of my West Coast of America Tour. Last week I told you about LA where I will be spending a brief day and a half. After that I am off to take in the sights, sounds and carnage that is Las Vegas. We are there for 5 days and will be staying in the lovely Vdara hotel. I am definitely looking forward to living the high life and trying to win big!

One of the stipulations for Vic agreeing to the trip was that we would have to see Celine Dion in Vegas during our stay. This was fine by me because it means I can do some other cool stuff without Vic complaining! In my haste to ensure we had good tickets it turns out that I booked a pair of tickets for June instead of July and have since had to buy some more! I must of been having a stupid moment and am now exploring my options to get a refund, but I don't think that is happening so its resale for me. If anyone wants to buy a ticket for June 4th then please get in touch!

Other than that I don't have any plans set in stone, but no doubt we will be gambling, relaxing by the pool with cocktails and probably going to see the Grand Canyon! I know people have been to Vegas before so if you can recommend and places to eat, drink and play I would appreciate it.

Food Glorious Food
With my brother coming to visit this week and not knowing when we would get time to eat I thought I would rustle us up a traditional Hagg family recipe that is not only quick and easy, but really tasty. Now when you hear what it is you may scoff, but trust me once you have tried it you will never look back!

Baked Bean Pie - The instructions are so straight forward even a novice can make this awesome meal! I will give you the quantities to make a meal for 2, but this can easily be multiplied out to suit.


  • One 400g can of baked beans
  • 2 large potatoes
  • A knob of butter
  • A splash of milk
  • Cheese to sprinkle


  1. Peel your potatoes and cut into squares approximately 1 inch square
  2. Boil the potatoes in boiling salted water until soft
  3. Drain the potatoes and mash until smooth with the butter and milk (seasoning to taste)
  4. Put the beans in the bottom of an oven-proof dish
  5. Layer the mash on top and sprinkle over the cheese
  6. Bake at 180°C for 20-25mins or until the cheese is golden and crispy and the beans are piping hot
  7. Devour!

To go one step further you can always add some pre-cooked sausages to your baked beans, nom nom!

Haggy's Hockey Corner
This week the Comets got back to the task of trying to win the Northern Ball Hockey Conference. We faced off against a fellow Dekstars team in the form of the Galaxy. Galaxy have had a decent season and pushed teams hard in every game they have played. They have some real quality in their team and can create chances if you are not alert. Going in to the game we were all confident of a victory, but maybe not in the manner it came. The game itself was a very high scoring affair with every shot in the first period seeming to result in a goal for either side. It was a nervy one, but from the first shift to the last we were in the lead and never really looked back. In what turned out to be a 11-5 result goals were shared amongst the team and I picked up 1 goals and 3 assists.

It must be said that the Comets slightly out of favour at the moment because despite our continued success in the league. Other teams in the league have had match write ups or previews on our club website, but we get very little coverage. It's a bit of a shame because the team has bonded really well this season and have put on some fine performances at times and everyone on the team has developed in some way. I guess word of mouth will just have to do now to strike fear into our opponents!

Have You Heard What Haggy's Heard
Story of the week - Beaver bites man to death in Belarus - I saw the title of this story and was instantly shocked. It is not often you hear stories of fatal animal attacks and especially from creatures you think are cute little critters. Well it turns out beavers bite back and this one managed to tear an artery on a man's leg. Have a read and watch the connected video where it shows another beaver attach. What I would say about the video is that film maker should have let the beaver be because if someone followed me up the street on my way to the shops I would be riled too!

Song of the week - Lupe Fiasco has come through some trials and tribulations since his breakout hit Kick, Push, including the record company holding back his 'Lasers' album because it wasn't commercial enough. It was only a fan petition that finally persuaded record execs to release the album. Lupe is back with a new album Food and Liquor 2 and in my eyes it is a great album. I want you to go listen to it and to help you do this I thought I would share with you one of the lead album tracks - Battle Scars ft Guy Sebastian.

Quote of the week -  I have not heard any one liners this week, so I thought I would Google some ice hockey quotes. I am glad I did because I found this little gem and thought I should share it with you. "Half the game is mental, the other half is being mental" - Jim McKenny

TV of the week - Everyone has seen Man vs Food, but have you seen Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? This programme is hosted by Californian restaurateur Guy Fieri and travels the USA visiting small restaurants and exploring new foods and different cuisines. There are no food challenges, but it captures the passion that people have for food and really celebrates all the hard work people put in day in day out to feed their loyal customers. I love this show and will happily watch it any time. Check it out!!!

Film of the week - sorry no film of the week because I went to the football, but ironically I received The Iron Lady from LoveFilm on the day of Margaret Thatcher's passing. I am looking forward to watching it in full having only seen clips before, but I hear good things. I will report back soon!

A bientot mes amis,

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