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Friday, July 28, 2017

In Between




Feeling like I'm stuck in a rut ... that is how bad the travel bug has me . If I don't travel for a while I kinda get into this shitty mood . Good thing hockey has been good to me since I've returned from that Egypt trip . The new goalie pads that my friends at  Goalie Heaven donated to me are working wonders ....lets just say recently my 14 game unbeaten streak was snapped ?!?!?! Yeah I got these new pads and lost my first game , tied the next then went 13 more games straight winning :) it has to be the pads right ? If you know me you know that this isn't normal LOL !


I know its been a while since I've written anything even though I went to Seattle and didn't write about that either . Just wanted to have a normal little holiday for once , its been a really long time since I went somewhere and didn't schedule myself to find time in the morning to write about the stuff that happened the day before . I should probably say that it was a great trip and in true Travelling Goalie fashion I did visit the only hockey bar in Seattle called  The Angry Beaver and on my trip the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup and yes I did watch it in a Football (Soccer) Pub where I already had planned to make a visit afterwards (for my 2nd time) to grab a shirt I liked from them .... gotta add to my crazy shirt collection ! So yeah if you are in Seattle make sure to drop in to the only hockey bar in Seattle .



So in the mean time I have been itching really bad to go to Australia and New Zealand so I can say I have played on every inhabited continent and I might be the first goalie to ever do this which would be pretty cool to say . I want this to be the perfect trip and I'm hoping to find a tournament to play in , this is a massive trip for me as its the furthest part of the world to travel to from Toronto . It won't be cheap and I have been saving up all year for this and I am
hoping to be 110% prepared for anything and everything when going there and I definitely want to be prepared to enjoy it to the fullest so that means not going on the cheap ... at the same time I'm not exactly rich and that is why I haven't had the most time doing much writing since I'm working like a dog lately . I am still not sure when I'm going but the aim is to have Kathleen with me and we are looking at going for about a month ... can't see myself going that far for a shorter period . If you are reading this and you live in Australia or New Zealand please contact me and let me know if there are any adult tournaments I can join ... I am willing to play at any level !




To quench my thirst to travel I have been looking for small fillers to appease my addiction hahaha . One idea is to take off to England to go watch Villa but that is never cheap and will probably get in the way of my Australia trip and that is really the only trip I want to do right now ... I have to stay focused on that one ! Another thing that I have tried and failed miserably at was to take my Ghetto Blasters to Montreal to play some friendly matches and out of 30 skaters I got 3 that wanted to go .... PATHETIC ! and then people ask why I travel alone HAHAHA ! its never easy getting people to go anywhere these days ... and to think the club was gonna even pay for them to travel . I recently had to cancel that and it is very disappointing to me but the reality is people have other things to do and I am guessing going to Las Vegas with them won't be any easier so I am not gonna even bother trying to organize that and I will focus on doing stuff on my own (as usual ) . The other option which I have always floated is to just jump on a plane and go to Jamaica for my bday .... no hockey ... just chilling :P  If there is an island in the Caribbean that I would want to visit , this is definitely it ! I know my friends from the Jamaican Olympic Ice Hockey Team (JOIHT)   will be very happy to know I would like to visit their beautiful country and who knows maybe I will find some form of hockey there ? should I bring some road hockey gear ??? I will definitely be sporting that Jamaican jersey I got from my friends at the federation :) thanks again guys !

Either way , whatever happens ... I think my next adventure will be shared with you all . I really like writing and I should find more time to do so .... before I go any further I should thank my friends in Portugal especially federation president Mauricio Xavier for the wonderful jersey he recently sent me . Hockey seems to be maintaining there thanks to him and all the rest of the guys there that are doing their all to get as much attention as possible . Recently they have put a call out for players around the world to contact them .... if you are Portuguese or of Portuguese decent and want to represent your country then please contact Portuguese Ice Hockey  . Some big things are happening there :)

Last but not least ... definitely not least ! It looks like some other groups are coming together to help my friends in Egypt . My fingers are crossed that this venture will be successful in helping them gather more equipment but most of all I would love to see someone step forward to get these rinks they play in a bit safer .... when I say safer I mean for the people watching LOL ! yeah there is only one rink with any protective netting and even I put a puck over that easily :0 the two wonderful organizations that have stepped forward are Hockey 4 All The Hockey Foundation ! If you are interested in pitching in to help contact either of these charities and do what you can , every dollar counts trust me . In other Egyptian news .... my friends in Birmingham are doing another hockey drive to collect more gear for Ahmed who was my host in Cairo . He is travelling to the UK and is hoping to take a few bags of equipment home with him .... what they mainly need is protective gear ... helmets , gloves and shin pads and elbow pads are a MUST ! If you have any and are anywhere near Birmingham then please contact Birmingham Rockets .


















Thursday, June 15, 2017

Seattle



Last weekend was my girlfriends birthday and a few months ago we both decided it would be fun to go visit Seattle and watch the Toronto Blue Jays play the Seattle Mariners which happened to land on Kathleen's bday weekend .... perfect . Neither of us have been there before so why not ? I have a good friend living there also that I have travelled with before and I'm sure it will be fun seeing him . So we booked this trip before I went to Egypt , used my aeroplan points to pay for my flight and that made the trip cheap but then we went to book a hotel and found out about the evils of booking in a city that will be flooded by Jays fans from BC and the west coast .... it's called cost and demand :( yeah our hotel we booked sure as heck made up for the cost of the flight over .... we paid $1200 CDN for the 3 nights there !!!! The location was fantastic so I can't moan about that at all as we were walking distance to Safeco Field and everything else you can imagine . Had to bite the bullet . 

 

The flight over was an early one with Air Canada . No checked luggage , just a couple back packs . Unfortunately there was no food served on the 5 hour flight which sucked but I could have paid for some mediocre food , pass on that ! When we arrived in Seattle we found the Link transit which took us directly from the airport to our hotel for only $3 USD which is very good because we are hoping to avoid using taxis as much as possible . We dropped our bags and met up with Chris Fetters who is also known as the Dawgman and is a sports writer for UW . He took us everywhere that day and then we ended up at his local pub where the Seattle Aston Villa supporters meet and we had a couple pints . We thought it was gonna rain but the weather ended up being fantastic with only a few drops of rain over the whole weekend .... it is Seattle after all lol ! One of the highlights for me was making it over to The Angry Beaver which is Seattles only hockey bar . This place was amazing with hockey jerseys decorating the walls and crazy bobbleheads on the bar like a Hillary Clinton one in hockey gear ???? Yeah funny stuff . 

 

Of course I had to tie in some hockey stuff even though this wasn't really a Travelling Goalie trip and more of just a vacation . That is why I didn't write a daily blog while there ... just wanted to chill but still gotta let you all know how amazing Seattle is ! Did I mention that we had poutine at the Angry Beaver ? Yeah and it was very good and had real curds not like some places that claim to have poutine :) That night we went to see the Jays play with Chris . We parked his car at UW and took the link directly to the grounds where we experienced what I would almost consider a Jays home game ?!?!? No joke there was way way way more jays fans then Mariners fans , it was ridiculous :) we sat in a section with a younger crowd and I got into sampling the local fare (IPA beer) and man was it ever fun .... too bad the Jays lost but it was a close one .... after the game we fell asleep pretty easily .... remember jet lag and the fact we woke up at 1 am based on the time zone we were in ... it was a long day ! 

 

Next morning was Kathleen's bday and our tourist day . We started off by getting some coffee which wasn't up to par for Kathleen unfortunately :( after that we went for a walk to the Space Needle which was roughly a 45 minute walk .... on that walk we encountered some police with some barricades near city hall . We asked what the special occasion was and they told us it was for a protest ... oooh . We kept walking and a few blocks down we saw people putting masks on getting ready for the protest ? Or more then likely to cause trouble at the protest ? Regardless ... this is somewhere we will avoid later and good thing we did because it kicked off and we saw it all on the local news the next morning . It was a clear sky and we went up the Space Needle and had some fun getting pics and hanging out , then we went to book our Duck Boat ride but had to kill a few hours so we first went for a Dicks Burger and yes we grabbed a bag o dicks as they say in Seattle :) they were ok to be honest I thought they would be better but I didn't think they were awful or anything .... it's really a Seattle thing I guess as it was quite busy ! 

 

After that we decided to wander down to the wharf where the Ferris wheel is and of course we went on it . Lucky for us we had a couple of lovers share our carriage :( Kathleen and myself sat across from each other and the two lovers sat beside me .... whispering and making out and I'm sure there was some other stuff happening too and yes it was uncomfortable for us but when I was young I probably did the same thing . Ahh to be young again , I'm sure they broke up by now lol ! By the end of the ride we were saying random stuff to confuse the lovers and we couldn't wait to get off this thing lol ! Eventually we did and then made our way back to the meeting point for the Duck Boats .... if you didn't know , these things are amphibious and drive on land and water . When we finally got on we had the back seats and we drove around to all the spots Chris took us to see the day before , which was kinda redundant but still fun and we learned a couple things we didn't know about through Chris . Overall it's worth doing if we didn't already see everything hahaha . We took an Uber home after the Duck Boat because we walked more then enough .... we were supposed to get to our room change and go to dinner but instead I passed out . I feel bad still because I wanted to take Kathleen out for a fancy dinner but that never happened :( 

 

When Kathleen finally woke me up we went to do another tour instead of going to watch the Jays . This time we wanted the spooky stuff so we booked a tour with Spooked in Seattle and on our walk there encountered the biggest pod of homeless people I have ever encountered which I must say made me nervous , because if there was ever a time I was susceptible to being mugged this was it .... we kept our cool and kept walking without any hassle phew! This tour was fun and we saw a lot of the underground and heard a bunch of spooky stories that still give me the shivers .... see that doll in the pic above ? One of th spirits apparently is a young girl that plays with this doll .... super chills went up my spine :0 this is a tour I would highly suggest for anyone into the supernatural . It was an hour and a half and totally worth it .... only problem now is we are hungry and there is not a single place open serving food in this area or any area on way to our place .... we never had dinner :( I always hate it when I'm in a city that I can't find a place to eat at after 10 pm . This was one of the knocks against the city and the homeless issue which is pretty bad . If I was homeless I would probably want to live in Seattle too ! So I don't or can't blame any of them for doing or wanting the same . 


The next morning Chris picked us up and took us to Beth's Cafe which was on Man vs. Food and is known for its omelettes .... particularly the 12 egg omelettes ! I couldn't even imagine trying to stomach that so I opted for the 6 egg omelette which is ridiculous also ! I almost ate it all ... probably a good 3/4 of it . I was STUFFED !!! Chris dropped us off at our place and we needed to walk it off so we went to the big open market and went to visit the original Starbucks and then watched the guys toss fish around in the market which always draws a crowd . It was a lot of fun . We grabbed a couple delicious cupcakes even though we were still full then made our way back to our room to get ready for the Jays game which was an afternoon match .... before the game we stopped in for some
oysters and they were awesome aside from the massive ones I had to bite into to swallow .... of course Kathleen had to remind me they were alive . Thanks ! From now on I will stick to the smaller oysters .... lesson learned hahaha . We sat in a different section for this game and we were on our own . Unfortunately we were on the shady side of stadium and the section we were in was totally opposite of crowd we were amongst on Friday . This seemed more like a family section :( not my cuppa . We didn't drink but we did end up stuffing our faces with garlic fries which is a must eat at Safeco Field . The Jays played awesome and the weather was great aside from being on the shady side of the stadium lol πŸ˜‚ it was a great view of the city and finally we got to see the Jays win a game this year .... I think Kathleen had seen them lose 5 times this year already without a win so for the both of us it was a good day . 


After the game we went to our room and waited for teraffic to cool down before calling an uber to go meet Chris at the George & Dragon  to watch USA vs Mexico in World Cup qualifying . Good match that ended up in a draw then we watched the end of the Stanley Cup Final which Pittsburgh won then we went to have one more pint at Chucks Hop Shop which we loved and has like 1000 beers in the store to purchase and over 50 taps ! This is a store with a beer garden so you can go grab a 6 pack and sit out front and drink it :) how awesome is that ? Oh and there is a food truck there too ! We had one last stop before calling it a night and that was to see The Fremont Troll . When Chris mentioned it I thought it would be some rinky dink statue but no it wasn't . It was massive and amazing :) so glad I got to see this amazing piece of art. Seattle is filled with art and I really haven't covered enough of what we saw or did . But basically do yourself all a favour and go visit Seattle . You won't regret it . 

 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Goalie Heaven



Sitting at YYZ and finally I find the time to write about my new pads . Yes after roughly 10 years of service I've retired the old Kohos which I've grown to hate because of their colours ... you wonder what's wrong with the colours ? Well they are the same colours that the dirty habs wear ! Done with em :) hahaha ! So for years I have been taking them in to get repaired by my friends at Toronto Hockey Repair / Goalie Heaven and thanks to them I have never needed a new set but over all those years the shop owner Fiorenzo Arcadi has heard me bitch and complain about weight issues I have while travelling . So just before I went to Egypt I went in to get the set I was donating repaired which Brendan Krick donated (thank you again!) and when I walked in Fiorenzo handed me a sweet new black pair of pads ? They were light . I mean like 5 lbs lighter per leg which is unreal .... he says to me they are all mine if I wanna give them a shot .... ummm YEAH !!! 


 

New pads have come a long way from when I last got a new set .... goalies are now hybrid style and the pads are geared to that . More padding on the side of knees allows a smoother surface to slide on which will take some adjustments and they are much bigger then my old pads . I'm not gonna get into a discussion on sizes as I have said many times that goalie equipment should be worn based on feel rather then what someone told you to wear . This is obviously gonna take time to adjust to . When I got the new pads I was already planning to wear the donated gear on my last adventure and now that mission turned into trying to adjust to larger pads . Larger in height not width as the new pads are roughly 2 inches thinner on the width side .... will have to get used to that too .... so off on my adventure I went thinking when I got back the new pads from Goalie Heaven would be suited for me and ready to go .... 

 

When I got back I had a game and it was go time for the new pads ....  which might I add are a new design for the team at Goalie Heaven . They have been making gear for decades under the name Arcadi and THR so this is nothing new for this shop but the design as I mentioned is new .... the face of the pads is a one piece with no stitching and has a knee fitting that helps you drop down in the butterfly quite easily . Honestly they are very comfortable and quite sleek looking . They have received many compliments and I'm sure will be flying off the racks . These pads have no breaks on them and that will take time to get used to also as my old pads have the triple break on them which allows me to stop a bit easier when sliding across the crease .... with this new hybrid style (that I have to get used to ) I shouldn't need that instead there is more breaking with your skate heel and toe ... or at least that's how it's working for me :) 

 

As of now I have played in 7 games wearing the new pads and I have pulled off a 5-1-1 record which is good . The first game and first shot I faced with them was a left pad toe save which felt good that I made the save but I really couldn't feel the puck hitting me and I felt like I was floating above the ice when me knees hit the ice flat . That's how much things have changed since my old gear where you could feel everything and I mean that I could feel impact and not in and ouchy kinda way . I highly doubt I can get hurt wearing these pads which is awesome . It is taking some time getting used to the new style of pads and how to use them but I'm sure I will be able to adjust over the summer . I definitely would highly recommend checking them out if I were you and if you are a goalie . If you're not a goalie beware because these pads are gonna help me loads . These pads are geared to make the 5 hole disappear and so far they have helped me out with my problem . Honestly I'm so excited to have the opportunity to try out this new gear and I'm looking forward to testing out the new blocker and catchers also in the next month or so . It's definitely a good thing to be working out with new leg pads now and breaking in new gloves later . This hasn't been the easiest transition for an old school flopping goalie to try to learn a hybrid style but i have to admit that these pads are making the transition much easier and I'm sure that anyone reading this with the same issues would benefit from this too . If you ever are interested in getting a pair contact Fiorenzo at the link below .... they are going for a good price . And tell them I sent ya ! 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Going Back To Egypt


This project to help my Egyptian friends is far from over . There were plenty of skates and sticks but they need more protective gear . Right now my goal is to keep my GoFundMe page going www.gofundme.com/Egyptianicehockey and continue collecting as much as I can to collect some more gear from friends around the globe to help get the sport going over there . More then likely I will make another trek through England to visit my friends there and collect more gear to take over . I would also like to pick up some goalie gear to leave for my friends there to finalize the kit I left .... the skates didn't quite fit and I didn't leave a goalie jock and the pants also didn't fit my friend Ahmed there who is now The Egyptian Goalie ... I dubbed him with that moniker . Man do I miss it over there . At the moment I am looking at trying to make my way over there later this year but I might have to push it back a few months pending on how things go . I am hoping to get another 100 kilos of gear again to take over and I'm pretty sure i can get it easily from what i heard and i do know there is a full kit waiting at my buddy Karl's place in Birmingham which will surely disappear next time ... hopefully Karl is around next time too and lets me crash at his pad again , really i wouldn't mind sleeping on that couch if you have a tenant next time :)

Now you are probably wondering how safe it was over there right ? I know a bunch of people expressed concern over me travelling to a country that our Canadian Travel website says to exercise extreme caution ... that freaks people out . Here's the thing ok ... if you are scared to go somewhere then the terrorists win . I wasn't scared but I was cautious and I was lucky to have the opportunity to stay with my Egyptian friends but that put me in areas where I didn't see any other "tourists" . That all being said it is what I actually prefer as I'm not a tourist loving person and I rather be with locals over tourists ... I mean I can be with Canadians every day of my life so why bother when travelling right :) Back to the safety of it all and I would say I felt 100% safe all the time except for when I thought I was gonna get punched in the face by the "professional photographer " near the Sphinx . That is the only thing I would warn people to steer clear of is the leeches that are around historic sites waiting to make a buck off you .... don't let anyone take pictures of you and try your best not to respond to anyone , seriously pretend you are there alone and ignore people ! Aside from that everyone I met was very friendly and it seems the norm for us Canadians to be referred to as AHH Canada Dry but when you ask for a ginger ale they have no clue what you are asking for so don't bother hahaha !!! Obviously don't put yourself in bad situations like getting drunk publicly or doing anything to sort you out as a stupid westerner . And the main thing to remember when in Cairo is to get used to dodging cars as you are crossing roads and basically walking on roads all the time .... yes there is a sidewalk but for some reason people don't use them very much ? don't ask cause I couldn't figure it out :)

Before you do decide to go to Egypt if you are Canadian don't bother buying a visa through the Egyptian consulates website !!!! They have a link on their site that leads you to a private company and the one in Toronto had told me that I must buy a visa before flying over and it was over $100 CDN ... I was told by my friends in Cairo that I can get one upon arrival for $25 USD and that is a big difference in cost . When I arrived I received my visa as was told and you have to have USD as they won't accept anything else not even Egyptian Pounds . So don't fall for the scam . When you arrive all you have to do is hit one of the banks in the terminal before you get to security and you can buy your visa there and it is very easy , just give them cash and they give you visa and the customs officer will stick it into your passport so don't try to stick it in yourself :)

This all being said I really hope that more people start going back to Egypt  , I am definitely going back as I have so much more to see ... there are another 8 or 9 rinks across the country that I have yet to visit and I'm hoping Ahmed and Ayman will take me on a road trip the next time I'm over and we can share some good stories about more of Egypt . Definitely some of the wildest most historic jaw dropping stuff I have ever seen and I really want to see more . The Egyptian pound is really low now which makes everything really cheap so now is the time to visit if you have ever dreamt of visiting .... if you are a hockey fanatic like myself you should contact egypticehockey.wixsite.com/egypticehockey or look up www.facebook.com/EgyptAnubis/ and they will definitely help get you some ice time .... the guys there skate at least 3 times a week at 3 different locations my favourite so far is the rink at Maadi Family Land www.facebook.com/pages/Maadi-Family-Land/235092160001502 . If you have any questions just leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you get in touch with the guys over there   . The sport is growing there and hopefully it will grow to the point that someday we might be cheering for an Egyptian National hockey team at the Olympics .... I am hoping to see this in my lifetime . But for now the guys really need help developing the sport so if you want to help then please get the guys equipment or some money for protective netting or actual glass for their boards ? At the least go there and leave your gear for them after skating with them . And don't be shy to make a donation to my GoFundMe page :)
 

Do yourself a favour and go to Egypt ... its amazing .







Thursday, May 4, 2017

Keep Your Cool



Man that last night at Karl's I just couldn't sleep because I probably fell asleep by 8 pm or something .... regardless I was up at like 3 am and I packed my bags . Not so many bags with my goalie bag left behind in Cairo ,Egypt . I'm only carrying a duffel bag with a few bits of my personal gear and some clothes in a backpack and of course my stick bag is packed in my other bag . Gonna leave a stick at Karl's to use in future and hopefully I won't have to travel with sticks home anymore .... leaving Toronto with Air Canada allows me the sticks for free but coming home from Europe with another airline means money πŸ’°.... like $100 for a stick that might cost less .... not worth it . 

 

I've had such a great trip spending time with family and hockey buddies and my Villa family and making new friends and when I tried to get back to sleep I just couldn't so I stayed awake until I had to get ready and leave . I called myself a taxi and locked the door and tossed the key into the mail slot and I was off to BHX to catch my flight to Frankfurt with Lufthansa . For once I booked a later flight and didn't have to leave until 1 pm and I was at the airport quite early which was great .... it's nice to not be in a rush right ? Well .... that was the only moment of peace I had . No I didn't have some crazed woman eyeballing me again lol πŸ˜‚ 

 

The plane boarded on time but then the delay came .... I didn't notice how long we were delayed but I do know I had 1.5 hours between landing in Frankfurt and boarding for Toronto which is standard . The flight was decent , food was crap but I ate before the flight so I was good to go ! When the plane landed in Frankfurt we got off plane and onto the bus to the terminal .... there was free wifi and I logged on , that's when I realized I had 15 min to get to terminal , switch terminals , clear security and get to my gate . I'm not stressed . I'm cool , just walk fast .... got to the train that transports from one terminal to next and I got through doors as they were closing and I was feeling confident . Kept walking briskly and got to security and two women came by freakish out .... we are gonna miss our flight it's boarding now !!!! I said are you on the flight to Toronto ? They said yes . I said yeah don't worry we will catch it and I will even have time to shop duty free :) they looked at me like I was insane !!!!! Hahahaha .

 

Cool as a cucumber I went through security , let them know it was my puter belt buckle that is going off in their sensor grabbed my stuff and by this time those two gals were long gone . They went running like the wind lol . I'm not nervous .... went by duty free and got me a nice bottle of Johnnie Walker blue and got to my gate just in time . I knew there wouldn't be any problems . I had a window seat that didn't have that concave indent to lean into :( that sucked and the movies were still same as last time but hey I'm on my way home . The guy beside me pulls out his laptop and doesn't give me an inch of the armrest but oh well .... I napped a bit and then realized the plane hasn't left yet ???? Wtf .... 

 

Keep cool 😎 and it will all be over soon . Flight was good aside from the screeching baby two seats behind me and the person that used my back as a foot rest . I'm still happy 😊 then the plane approached and circled Toronto forever and we landed and sat forever then finally we got off the plane .... only an hour and a half delay and I was just a bit agitated 😑. Got my bags and headed out for a taxi , when I got in I put my two equally sized bags in back seat and the driver argued that one bag needs to be in the trunk . I had it at this point and got angry and told him that this is bullshit . He said it's the rules , now he could be right but I wasn't interested in his rules ..... when I got home I gave my girlfriend the perfume I bought her and she said it was the wrong one ..... FML ! Hahaha .... one day I'm gonna win . Life is never what you expect of it and travel is just as intricate . Can't wait to experience stuff like this again , hopefully sooner then later ! Even though it sounds rough the way I write about it , trust me these are all fun experiences . 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One More Drink



When I woke up I was sharing a room with Chris Fetters aka "Darth Vader" and we were in Manchester . It's been strange that I haven't had a hangover this whole trip ? Is it that the beer here is poured from cleaner taps or is it that I'm just drinking quality beer like BrewDog ? I'm not sure but every day I wake up after those hazy nights and I don't feel like death is a blessing ! This day was one of those days .... I jumped into the shower and made sure to have my Kiddy Lions badge upright and left the room to meet the other 6 lads . We met in lobby and went to a Wetherspoon's for breakfast , that's the name of the chain that takes on menu and food at most pubs across U.K. Standard pub grub and cheap and cheerful breakfast which is always better option then paying hotel for their food . I gobbled my food and we headed for the train but not before we said our good byes to Fetters who is heading to Scotland .... safe travels my friend ! And see you in Seattle next month 😜

 

When I got on the train someone was sitting in my seat and she looked like she was enjoying a hangover ... NOT ! She shifted over and grunted a bit .... this didn't seem like it was gonna be a pleasant trip but I was with the Kidderminster Lions and these guys know how to brighten up someone's day . Debbie had a motorcycle helmet with her and Adrian is into racing so he sparked conversation with her and then the Jaffa cakes came out and Debbie smiled ! We got to know Debbie over the train ride to Birmingham and had a few laughs with her . When we got to New St. we made our own ways but unfortunately Debbie went the wrong way and went to Scotland instead of Leicester 😳 we made our way to Indian Brewery and I have plans to meet a few friends and have a few farewell pints . It was great chatting with you Debbie ! 

 

Reece and Alexia came to meet us at Indian Brewery and I had a good 3 or 4 pints of their yummy IPA and we had some garlic and cheese naan with some other yummy Indian snacks . This brewery is an Indian themed brew pub with Indian movie posters on the walls and some great curry . Try it if you ever visit Birmingham , it's right near Snow Hill train station . You won't regret it . Kidderminster lads had to boogie and they ordered an uber back to Kiddy instead of train as it was cheaper and faster to split a ride . The three of us went to another pub which was closer to where they parked . 

 

Things got interesting when we got to The Actress & Bishop on Ludgate Hill . Soon after we sat down and grabbed a pint these rugby wankers came in . They weren't bothering me but they seemed to find a way to make themselves look like dicks to everyone else . They were doing an end of season hazing type session where they had to do things off this list . I saw them trying to get these girls to tie their shoelaces and they were chugging milk while flexing their muscles .... all super cool . Then one of the guys asked if his buddy could steal my beer and they would buy me another one .... I said sure why not it will be funny . The guy hesitantly grabbed my beer and chugged it . Then they all looked at the ground and scurried out the door like a bunch of little girls  . Yeah you guys were pretty brave lol . Anyways no bother and no chase . The barman saw what happened and gave me another pint and as this happened Ritchie and Amy showed up ... 

 

It was Amy's bday a few days earlier so they were on their way to dinner . When she heard what had just happened she wished she was there to tear them apart hahaha she's a feisty one . Love it ! Reece and Alexia bounced and we had another quick pint before heading off ... it was great seeing everyone for some farewell pints . On my way back to Smethwick in taxi I stopped off at McDonalds and honestly I don't even remember eating it but when I woke up it was all gone so I'm assuming I had a good ending to my night ;) I'm already waiting to plan my next trip back but for now I have to pack to head back to Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ . I'm actually in Toronto now so don't be confused lol πŸ˜‚ this is just part of the story . And almost the end .....

Monday, May 1, 2017

Blackburn Away



When I got back to Karl's place in Smethwick I had to do my laundry and repack my bag for my trip in the morning to watch Aston Villa play Blackburn away . Didn't get to sleep until 2 am and had to be up round 730 am to grab a taxi to go to Halesowen to meet the Kidderminster Lions bus . That was a bit of an adventure as I was told to get off at a pub and cross the road and walk to a lay by which is basically a gas station . When I arrived there I saw a gas station right beside the pub so I messaged Harry and yeah I'm not good with directions lol ! I found myself crossing the road and seeing that there was no sidewalks so I was a bit leery about walking on the road like everyone does in Egypt . I'm not sure if that would even be legal so I just waited near the Audi shop for the bus and it arrived in due time with me running to get on before  causing any ruckus on the road way :) 

 

Of course I bought a bunch of beers before catching the bus and I bought a bottle of Johnnie Black for Elvis as a thank you for hooking me up with tickets for the Reading match . A small token of my appreciation and really these guys always take good care of me . He was really happy with the small gift . I sat beside Chris Fetters on bus for the first 15 min then made my way back to the back of the bus to cause some trouble with the Kiddy Youth ( YOOF!) the banter was really good and the pints were yummy . We stopped in a pub on the way and did a few rounds with Fetters and Pete Aston and then we got back on the bus but where were the Yoof ? Rounded the corner and there they came running after the bus lol ! Apparently one of the lads became a bit ill and the lads did the right thing by not leaving him behind .... mates should always look out for each other right ? Anyways they got a bit of an ear full from the people that were worried about losing em and that's understood but I fully agree they did the right thing and everything worked out and we carried on to the match . 


When we got to the ground the atmosphere was electric with almost 7,000 Villans singing and dressed up in costumes . Last away day is always dress up day but I didn't bring a costume or anything . It's a bit of a carnival atmosphere and everyone is having a good time . We bolted to find a pub or shop to get hopped up a bit . Ran by some guy selling 4 beers for £5 and he lied and said the shops were all out of beer so I bought them . How desperate is someone to do that ? He made a whole £1 off me with his elaborate lie . Seems like a waste of his time isn't it .... I wouldn't bother doing that even if I was broke . I went into the shop and they were selling beer and I bought some ciders to hand out to everyone as it was my round . 

 

The match started and it was a crazy atmosphere but there were a few idiots in our stand who were actually cheering for Blackburn ???  Some wearing their tops and a bunch of them even cheered when they scored against us which really upset me and I don't think a single person that travelled with Kiddy lads were cheering . I made some eye contact with 2 guys jumping up and down and after the game those same 2 guys didn't seem to be cheering anymore???? Didn't you want us to lose ? How can anyone dare say they support the Villa and then cheer for the opposing team to score and beat us ! I'm appalled by these so called fans . Yeah it would be great to see them Bluenoses go down but do it with honour . Don't just roll over for another club to go down . Not a sportsmanlike attitude if you ask me . Imagine how the players that you came to cheer on felt ? Yeah they are pros getting paid but you know they didn't seem to be interested in playing after that . Absolutely pathetic display by the people that call themselves supporters .... if you were one of them then you're not Villa . I'm VTID , no excuses . 

 

We lost and to be honest I'm glad to be going home instead of wasting more money to watch this showerof shit . Love the Villa but roll on next season . Let's get some new faces into the club and shed the money grubbers . This was one of the worst performances I've ever seen from the Villa and this trip I watched us play 4 shit matches where we got lucky once and beat Small Heath (scum) .... I did 7 matches this season and saw 2 wins 3 losses and 2 draws . Not bad for a supporter that lives in πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦. 

 

After the match there were 8 of us that grabbed our bags off the bus and we hopped on the train to Manchester for a night out . Gotta love these away days ! When we got to the Premier Inn just round the corner from train station, we dropped our bags and washed up and met in the hotel bar for first pint 🍻 
I was happy to see BrewDog punk IPA at the bar and bought one and chugged it . We then decided to put £20 each into the kitty for our night out . 8 of us makes £160 , this was nobody gets ripped off on buying rounds at a more expensive pub when moving about . We went to the Patamount next and then hit up the BrewDog pub and then the big boxing match was on and a few lads wanted to catch it but every pub showing it was full to the max and we had to settle for watching it on a phone in the pub next door . I think we hit up 4 or maybe 5 puns before a couple of the guys had to leave . We had another pint and decided we should go for a sit down Chinese . 

 

I have no clue what the name of the place was but the food was fantastic . Adrian and Gavin left early apparently to go sleep but when we walked into the restaurant there they were ordering take away lol ! We got them to come sit with us and the staff there didn't want to let them sit with us so I spoke to them and told them we are together . We can all go somewhere else and they brought seats for them :) we were a bit loud and I could see some other tables eyeing us but hey we are just having fun not causing trouble and honestly I laughed my ass off for most of our stay there . We had some duck to share and I ordered a lovely beef plate . All the food was fantastic and I really wish I knew the name of the place .... they did kinda rush us out of there , I'm guessing to make their other patrons happy . We pitched in £30 each and I thought it was worth every penny . Being with this group I would have paid twice as much because we are all good friends having a laugh and that for me is priceless . 


 

After we all had a hot towel we went off to find another pub .... unfortunately it was 1 am and our only possible choice would be the casino . I am very happy to say we didn't go in because if we did I have no clue what would have happened but I'm guessing it would have gotten very messy as we were already Good from the amount of drink we had all day . Remember we started drinking in the morning and only stopped because they wouldn't sell us alcohol at Ewood Park . That little break from when kickoff until round 6 pm was a blessing in disguise . I'm still tired from the amount of travel the last few days and I'm looking forward to some rest when I get back to Toronto . Once again great night out with my Villa mates . Thanks for organizing everything Paul Harris , great being your room mate Chris Fetters and always a laugh being with Mark Byworth, Pete Aston and Steve Woodward .... last but not least it was gray meeting Adrian and Gavin Sabel . You're all top lads , see you all in the morning :)