Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bank Holiday delights

Hi there friends,

Welcome back to The World Of Hagg. It feels like it has been a long week. Possibly because there was a bank holiday and I had to work less or possibly because I am having difficulty remembering what happened when. Either way I have some stories that need to be told and some things in my life that need to be shared. I hope you enjoy them and as ever please comment and share my blog with those like minded people out there.

Status Update
This week saw the country 'celebrate' a bank holiday. I say celebrate because for some reason bank holidays are seen as an excuse to go drinking on a Sunday instead of (or possibly even as well as) a Saturday. I am a real creature of habit because ordinarily I would be visiting Snoozeville (Population: me) following an egg mayonnaise sandwich, so the concept of this just confuses me! I bought into it this time though and had a good weekend as a result.

After a fairly intensive pre-nationals training session on Sunday morning I made my way to the supermarket and bought myself a few beers. I was invited to a barbecue with some friends from hockey and for the first time in a long time I was going to be joined by 2 long time friends from my Uni days. It had the potential to be a great night and it turned out to be just that. Firstly, the food was incredible and I will most certainly be trying to get my hands on the recipes for the Dixon family chilli and crab cakes. Big love as always goes to them for their hospitality! After enjoying the chilled drinking atmosphere of the barbecue and warming up around the fire pit my Uni friends thought it was about time to sample the delights of Newcastle. As much fun as I was having I couldn't say no because one of them had never even been before. I may have had a few too many tequila shots before leaving the barbecue because the night becomes a little bit hazier from there on in, but we went to a couple of bars near the station and I generally danced like no-one was watching! By the time we came to leave my senses were returning, but my judgement was cloudy enough to demand greasy food and order my first ever Parmo!

Put it this way the reunion was so good that we are already talking about meeting up for a more sober affair next bank holiday. We shall see because I can't promise it will be sober, just maybe not as drunk!!!

Haggy's Hols
Apparently I go on holiday a lot. I am even starting to get sarky comments from the customers at work, but I think it is just a case of jealousy. To be honest I can't really help that my girlfriend lives in another country and I have to go abroad to see her and it is less like a holiday these days. That being said I am going back again in a couple of weeks to see her for the last time before we embark on our magnificent tour of America's West Coast. This time I will be travelling by all modes of transport in the value category in the vain attempt to save pennies for the summer. First up I will going Megabus to London and then flying Ryanair to Seville. Really, wish me and my cramped legs luck and hopefully it will all go smoothly. I guess I might appreciate other carriers more after this experience. I will most certainly be reporting back and perhaps warning you of such foolish journeys in the future.

Talking of our tour I can't really go one week without giving you an insight into our plans. Next up after Yosemite is 2 nights in Napa Valley. After making our way up from Yosemite with a potential pit stop in Sacramento we will staying in Napa itself. Renowned for its perfect wine growing conditions you can guess what we will be doing during our stay there...that's right...visiting the Jelly Belly factory in Bakersfield. I am so excited about this because not only is it free, but they also sell of reject jelly beans called Belly Flops - pure genius.

Of course during our time in Napa we will be sampling some of the local grape juice too!We are definitely going to be hiring some pedal bikes and taking in the wonder of the vineyards as we cycle. After the excess of the holiday so far it may be necessary to do some exercise anyway. By all accounts this is a great way to see the wineries and get involved in some sampling. I am looking forward to learning a thing or two and maybe becoming a wine connoisseur (it is hard enough to spell it)! At the moment we are undecided about whether to get a guide or do it ourselves. If you have any suggestions or recommendations then please do tell because it would really be useful right now!

Food Glorious Food
In honour of the fabulous barbecue food I was given I am going to bring you a couple of BBQ delights. Hopefully the nice weather will hold out long enough in the UK for you to try a few of them. If not try it next time the sun appears in a sky near you!

Beer Butt Chicken
This is pretty straight forward but gives you an awesome chicken dish. Essentially the beer will steam off in the cooking process and infuse the meat with its flavours so don't skimp on the beer because you will end up with a chicken that tastes foul. Yes the pun was intended!
Ingredients
Whole chicken (innards removed)
Beer (in a can)
Seasoning

Method
Season your chicken
Crack open your beer and drink half
Place the can in the chicken's cavity and stand upright on a baking tray
Cover with foil and cook low and slow until the juices run clear
Eat!

Second one isn't from me, but is from the guys at Tasted's Burger Lab. Basically these guys make gourmet burgers and I love it! This edition has some things after my own heart, spice and Spain. It's the Chorizo Burger! Oh, and go check out their other fine works and drool away.

Hagg's Hockey Corner
Last week I brought you news that the North East Dekstars Comets team was on the verge of winning the league and it all rested on one big game. This week I bring you good news because we are the champions, my friends! In a game where a draw would sufficient to win the league we did just enough and tied the game 5-5. Our opponents, Northumbria Sharks, played a really strong game playing a very solid defensive game and forechecking with both speed and aggression. This really caught us cold and at one stage we found ourselves in a 4-1 hole. I am not sure whether there was any complacency or whether the Sharks really wanted to stop our run and halt our title charge, but something just wasn't quite clicking. As ever though the Comet spirit drove us on and with the help of a couple of controversial goal line decisions (one disallowed against us and one given when it wasn't in) we dragged ourselves back into the game. It was all very nervy at the end, but when the final whistle blew a feeling of relief took over.

We can go into the final game of the season against Supernovas knowing that the league is in the bag, but we are all really keen to ensure we go through the season unbeaten. It will be our final game of the season and as well as the standard team with trophy pictures I am told there may potentially be local news reporters there to interview my line mate James Dixon as he prepares himself for the Ball Hockey international.

Next week is nationals week so I hope to bring you more good news from a hockey stand point. A quick prelude is that I have been named captain. Following the Southern Open tournament we found out that our captain broke her toe and has been out of duty since. It has come a bit out of the blue, because there are others who have been with the team longer, are very well respected by the team and would deserve the title, but I am honoured and hopefully I can represent the entire club by leading from the front and put in some good performances. I will sure as hell be trying to make them proud!

Have You Heard What Haggy's Heard
Story of the week - This week the North East Dekstars made the national media unexpectedly! After winning the Ball Hockey Southern Open hockey tournament a couple of weeks ago the majority of the team were making their way home on a private hire coach. At this point I will add I was driving so missed all this, but anyway the driveshaft fell off the coach and caused some damage to other cars as well as abruptly cutting short the victorious journey home. Apparently much hilarity ensued, but as the sun had long set it was starting to get cold. The team were however quickly joined by Highways Officers supplying those snazzy tin foil jackets to keep them warm and staying with them until alternative transport arrived to get them home. The incident has received a full write up thanks to those hard working guys at the Highways Agency. Well any publicity is good publicity I suppose! Full story

Song of the week - I heard this track a little while ago but never caught who it was by, but thanks to my awesome little app Jango it came across my path again and this time I was being told the artist. With a catchy  hook it feels like a summer tune all over and I am also a big fan of Rick Ross' beard! There is also a pretty good remix with J.Cole and Wale doing the rounds so find that too.

Special edition song of the week - After Lauryn Hill achieved the heights of stardom in 1998 with the critically acclaimed ablum 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' she took the controversial decision to leave the music business and focus on family life. This sent shockwaves through the industry as she was touted to be one of the generations best. In my eyes there are only a few albums that have stood the test of time as well as The Miseducation. Well, this week she is back in the news, but for the wrong reasons following a conviction for tax evasion (story here) and it has got me listening to the album again. So, I want to share 'To Zion' with you because it is song writing at its finest.

Quote of the week - "May your neighbours respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you and heaven accept you" - Drake

TV of the week - This week a new thriller/drama started on Sky Living, Hannibal. After watching the first in the series I have very high hopes for this gripping series. It has an all-star cast and looks at the criminal profiling of Dr Lecter from a psychological perspective. A tormented psychologist is recruited by the FBI to capture a killer with a taste for human flesh. A serious twist in affairs is that Dr Lecter is also recruited to work alongside them in capturing the murderer. It is beautifully dark and perfectly twisted in every way. Really really do watch it!

Film of the week - No new film this week, but I did watch the apocalyptic offering that is The Day After Tomorrow. Apocalyptic is probably a bit of a strong word for this film given its it will kind of be OK-ish in the end message following the second ice age. With blockbuster special effects and an unnecessary love story this film hits all the Hollywood clich├ęs, but somehow it entertains me. Perfect late night viewing whilst you doze off!

See you next week when hopefully I can tell you all about captaining the Ball Hockey team to nationals victory and some other generally fun stuff.

Love
Haggy

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