Thursday, December 31, 2015

Back in Benalmadena

Yesterday was a long day . Remember I got back to my hotel from hockey at 1 am and set my alarm for 3:30 am to catch my 6 am flight from Birmingham to Brussels first . I woke up at in full on zombie mode and grabbed a taxi ton the airport ... When we got there I gobbled some Burger King and got to our departures area and there was this horrible count of a woman with an older child complaining about not getting on the plane early because she was with a child ... This is her ...

She looks like a happy camper here because she just stuffed 5 bags , her jackets and everything in the above storage ... Even another passenger asked her to leave space and she just had this super shitty attitude that she could do what she wants ? Well hopefully most of you realize that you are supposed to put just 1 bag in overhead and the rest of your shit should stay with you as to have room for all the other passengers .... Don't be a cunt like the woman seen above !!! She was pushing her way off the plane too when we landed , she really must believe she is special LOL ?!?!?

So when we took off I passed out hardly     and woke up in Brussels with the usual bullshit security measures , yada yada !i had time to write a blog as Kathleen ran around trying to find the perfect coffee hahaha. When that flight for Malaga took off I was still wiped out running on about 3 hours sleep so I did the obvious and passed out again only to have Kathleen awake me to see the stewardess pass by with her cart full of drinks and sandwiches that were not free ...
 Sorry I'm not dumb enough to pay €8 for a sandwich so back to sleep I go ... 

When we arrived in Malaga it was warm enough for just a t-shirt ;) and Richard Pilkington was there waiting for us ! We then jumped on the train and headed to Benalmadena and dropped my hockey gear at our friend Noemi's who lives across the street from the ice rink here and has graciously allowed me to leave my bag there on her balcony of course lol ! We then walked over to Richards then off to one of the nicest spots on the beach to have a drink ... Palm 5 Bar ! Love it there ;) pint of lager is €2.25 and the mood is chill ... I have to chill out and stop the speed walking . Subconciously I seem to be in a constant race that I'm probably winning based on the speed I get too hahaha !!! Must be all that cardio on the treadmill back home , I guess it does work eh ? 

After a few bevs we headed back to Casa Pilkington as Don Rickardo made us a lovely dinner and then you guessed it ... I passed out ! 

Tonight is New Years Eve . I want to wish you and the rest of my friends and family worldwide a Happy New Year !!! Stay safe and hopefully I can do some writing tomorrow when I wake up .... Peace ! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Birmingham Rockets

I am absolutely knackered .... Yeah I got my English lingo down pat now eh :) as most of you know my second home is Birmingham and I can't even tell you all how many times I have been there with my goalie gear and have NEVER even seen the rink in Solihul which is the closest rink to Birmingham !!! Yeah I know , how did that happen right ? It's not like I don't know anyone there playing hockey or I should say ice hockey here's to not confuse anyone with that other sport lol ! 

Karl McNelly hooked me up with some of his friends over the last few visits and one of the guys is a hockey buddy named Ritchie Longmore , he's a great guy even though he's a Baggies supporter ... I know trust me he is not inbred or anything lol ! Anyways football passion aside hahaha :) I asked him awhile ago to try hooking shit up and he came through ... Only problem was that I had to extend my trip by a day to make it happen and for me that is doable . I mean I've been dying to play here for years . He tried to get me in with the semi pro club Solihul Barons which would have been solid but I guess they had no room for a fourth goalie out there and I don't blame them so hopefully another time . So he got me on the ice with his rec club ... The Birmingham Rockets !!!!! 

The Rockets are run by this woman named Gemma Albutt who is a really nice gal and she runs some mean ass drills on the ice too . Yes she made me skate lol ! Karl picked me up because Ritchie's car is in the shop . Our ice time was at 11 pm so he got me around 9:45 and we heade over ... The rink doesn't look like a rink when you roll up to it but as you creep along the side around to the back it begins to get the feel and look of a good old barn back home ! Now I've heard people moan that this rink is shit but honestly I liked it . The rooms were bigger then some back home even though it smelled like turd in this one ...(yuck) and the ice was pretty damn good aside from one divot near the end boards that a perfectly placed puck could slip under . I guess when you've played in some of the rinks I've played in across the globe you begin to know what's good and what's bad , I won't get into which rinks are bad but I've had my fair share of really shitty ice in my time ... So honestly guys you don't have it so bad . 

Got my pads strapped on after I made some alterations to my new straps which apparently someone at my shop forgot to poke for me :( whatever lol ! Most of the group were quite friendly and there was some funny shit said in the room that I'm not gonna mention hehehe ! When we hit the ice Gemma took control , the guys are all keen to listen to her and you could tell she runs a tightly run ship . Only drill I didn't love was the 4 on 0 drill that lit me up abit but I can see how it helps the players ... It's unfortunate I was the target of desire and to be honest my fitness didn't feel so great since I've been here drinking and partying for almost a week now . I guess I should just get into better shape when I get home . The ice time was an hour and the other goalies were really cool and I hope to connect with them on Facebook and stay in touch . As usual one ice time makes it hard to make friends in such an immediate manner so I am hoping to get back on with this group in the future . 

Just so you all know these guys and gals were no pushovers on the ice either with Karl running around gooning people lol! Honestly I didn't know he had that in him ??? Karl has definitely gotten better since he first moved out here !!! Playing full contact changes things and it's done wonders for my friend which I am very happy to say ... And for all my Villa mates I am happy to say that my mate Ritchie who I mentioned is a Baggies supporter didn't score any goals on me , but he had the last laugh when he told me last night was a clean sheet for The Villa and that is rare these days :( 

I got back to my hotel at 1 am ... I have to be up at 3:30 am to catch my 6 am flight to Brussels which is where I am now as I write this ... I am knackered as I mentioned earlier but it was all worth it getting on the ice finally in Solihul with the Birmingham Rockets :) I hope to see you all again and best of luck with all your matches ! That was a fantastic last skate for 2015 ... Next ice time is in Benalmadena , Spain on a 3 on 3 rink .... Good thing I've been skating on a rink that size lately back home .... Time to squeeze in a nappy ! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Away Days

Alright it's time to catch up ... Yesterday started super duper early !!! We woke up at 4:30 am to get ready for our 5:30 am pick up !!!! Yeah my local supporters club for Aston Villa when I'm in England is the Kidderminster Lions , these guys are so amazing . The chairman is Paul Harris and he came all the way from Kidderminster to pick me up so I could maximize my drinking as the Broadwaters Inn aka the Broadies was supposed to open nice and early for us :) was supposed to is the key word LOL ! We got there around 6 am and it didn't open up until 7:30 am which probably saved me a bit as I did get totally wrecked anyways :p when the pub did open I had 3 pints and got on the bus for Norwich to watch my beloved Aston Villa ....

I brought 11 tons of beer for the 3 hour ride and as usual sat in the back of the bus with the usual suspects ... Stu Wilson ( told ya I'd mention ya ! ) and Ben Mitchell are always great lads to get on the piss with and that we did !!!! Those tins I mentioned were long gone by the time we arrived in Norwich hahaha ... I was in pretty good shape if this was the drunken Olympics  . It didn't stop there either as we headed to the away supporters pub which was called The Compleat Angler or something like that ... Pretty sure I will be corrected if I'm wrong :) it was a sea of claret and blue and it was beautiful . The weather wasn't too bad and I bumped into everyone I knew for the most part ... There are a few I'm not sure if I saw or not as I said I was quite tanked by this time . Somehow that brilliant idea of drinking Jäger Bombs wasn't so great this morning but hey you only live once right ? 

Just a side note here ... I for one believe that we Aston Villa supporters are by far the best supporters of any sport on this planet and sometimes it breaks my heart to see the shit that our club puts in front of us to watch play ! It's utter shite and the club should realize that the support will always be there and I for one will probably cheer on and travel over here to watch them rain or shine but please please please give us the club we the fans deserve . On the day we always have a great time aside from those 90 minutes where we have to stand around and endure the total garbage that is out in front of us . I really hope that someone at the club reads this because I'm sure that is how most of us Villans feel ... Especially the season ticket holders and the away supporters that travel far and wide as I do ! I have been over here to watch 6 games now this season over 3 trips having spent thousands of dollars just to fly over here and you wanna ask me if its worth it ??? I will always say YES !!! It is and it's mainly because the people I get to spend these days with ... My Villa family is really my Villa family ... Just look at my Kiddy Lions friends and you will know what a heart of gold is and I can't really ever explain the feeling I have when I'm with these friends but I can say that I can't wait to see them all again ... UTV ! VTID ! 

So yeah the game was shit ... I had a pint there and took off after we went down 0-2 which was gutting ... I was almost in tears with the realization that this was a must win and really the players on the pitch couldn't be arsed into caring about .... The ride back as usual after a shit game like this was somber :( not much said on the bus .... When we got back to Kidderminster we hit the pub and had a few more bevs and Paul's wife Aitch gave us a ride home back to Birmingham ... Honestly thank you Paul , Elvis , Pete , Ben , Stu , Kieran and the rest of my Villa mates for making this a great day ! The games are out of our control but the friendships made and the time spent with you all is always quality ... I can't thank you all enough for being so kind to me and Kathleen . I hope to see you all when I'm back for Leicester next month ....

Oh and Gary you are lucky you woke up because I was ready to do something to you in this pic hahaha !!! I owe ya for Bournemouth still lol :) 


Ok I had no time yesterday to do any writing so today I will try to play catch up :) this was 2 days ago now ... Woke up a little bit hungover from the festivities the night before which is pretty standard on these trips , it wasn't so bad . We definitely missed breakfast as I usually do :( that's why I never ever pay for breakfast at my hotel when booking in advance ... NEVER ! It's always best to just roll out of bed and go somewhere go lunch instead , like I'm gonna do today but over here the breakfast was included so no loss :) 

We went into the city center out on New St. to meet Aideen for a quick lunch . Found her in the Villa shop where she was basically buying everything hahaha ! Then we headed off to the Wok N Go which is this awesome noodle shop that Chris Fetters introduced me to last year . Yeah I couldn't find it last time but I figured out where it is now . I got noodles with teriyaki sauce and chicken,beef and mushrooms ... I highly suggest you build your own box if you go there ... Kathleen didn't follow suit and just got pad Thai and she didn't like it but I'm sure she would have if she picked her own ingredients , maybe she will like it better next time we go over :) when we were done we rushed over to the New St. Station so she could catch a train to the airport ... We said our good byes then I went off to go bra shopping with Kathleen ???? Yeah no joke I didn't love it but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to make your woman happy ? Am i wrong ? 

After that debacle we headed back toward our hotel to chill out :) had a bit I a nappy cleaned up and went off to meet Brett and Aisha , it's Aisha's bday !!!! We were supposed to have a huge gathering at Turtle Bay which is a Carribbean restaurant but when Richard tried booking he was told we wouldn't get a table so those plans were thwarted ? Well I decided to just walk in , I got a table for 4 and messaged Brett to come over with Aisha . Aisha's father is actually from Trinidad so she knows her stuff when it comes to Carribbean food and I had to warn her that what she knows is all different here :( she wanted the doubles but I warned her they are not just chick peas and sauce in a roti ... She checked the menu to see and noticed these doubles had coconut in them ??? Yes this is not authentic but still very popular and I always enjoy eating here . I had the double jerked steak and man oh man was she a beauty !!! YUM !!! I've tried the jerk chicken before which seems the spiciest and I've tried the jerk pork here before and that was a bit spicy too ... The steak was by far the best , not too spicy and just what I thought it would taste like . Pretty sure I will have another when I get back in January :) 

After a good meal I always enjoy a smoke , no I don't smoke cigarettes anymore lol ! But there is a fabulous sheesha joint across the road called Meer Sheesha which I've been too before . We said our good byes to Brett and Aisha and headed over for a smoke :) I usually have apple but I want something different so I ordered the berry flavour hoping for a blueberry flavour but it ended up tasting a bit minty so no I didn't love it but I sleep in the bed that I make so it is what it is ! Didn't love the flavour but always love going to Meer for a smoke . 

Tomorrow is an early start as Paul Harris is coming all the way from Kidderminster to pick us up at 5:30 am so we have to make it an early night so we headed back to the hotel and watched a cheesy horror flick called The Tattooist on the horror channel :) kinda wish we had a horror channel back home . So that was that .... When I find the time later I will write about yesterday's trip to Norwich . Now I should roll out of bed and go meet my cousins and have a pizza :) cheers ! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thanks Uber

Yesterday was quite the day ! Aston Villa played West Ham and it was basically a reunion with all my villa mates starting in the morning meeting up with Aideen Quinn . She flew in from Ireland in the morning and we met up with her to go out to Villa Park .... Unfortunately the train was not running so she had to take a bus from the airport which took longer then it should have so in the mean time Kathleen and myself headed out for a coffee and ended up at Second Cup which is a Canadian company that just recently moved over here ... It's pretty much the same :) 

When we finally met Aideen we jumped into an uber (!) and made our way to the park . I had to go to the ticket collection booth to get my tickets for Norwich which is tomorrow as they can't print up tickets for away games because it's not technically Villa's tickets to be printing up which totally makes sense . After that I headed to the Lions Lounge and that is when I started drinking hehehe ! I kinda felt bad for Kathleen because I didn't spend time with her there as I was saying hi to fellow Villans from all around the world that I know like Richard Pilkington from Spain and Steve Mat from Belgium then all the locals from the Kiddy Lions like Paul Harris , Elvis , Ben Mitchell and who could forget Pete Aston :) I think all these guys bought me beers too lol . What a great time it is seeing all these amazing people ... Honestly I am truly lucky to know all these people because they are like family to me !!! My Villa family ! 

After all the pre match drinks we all dispersed out to our seats . I sat with Kathleen and Aideen in the Upper Holte which is always a great place to sit and we saw a pretty good game if you ask me . Villa pulled up their socks and gave it their all and came out of it with a point which is not all too bad but we did really need the 3 ... After the game we all headed back to the Lions Lounge and had a few more pints before we headed off ... Kathleen , Aideen , Richard and myself decided to keep the party going so we tried catching an Uber . Our driver never showed up , I called and he never answered , and then when we saw him we waved and yelled and he drove by us ??? Then the bastard charged me for it !!! Yeah £3.50 to have this mother f$&ker ditch me on side of the road and I am definitely sending this to Uber as I am not pleased at all . We ended up taking a taxi and Uber refunded the £3.50 but honestly I don't think that is remotely enough compensation ! Maybe a few free rides will help ease the pain of having been ditched on the side of a road by one of their drivers ??? Is this something Uber should be concerned about ?!?! Leaving customers on the side of the road yelling and waving at your drivers ? Think of the safety of your passengers ! Especially when they are tourists that could fully be targeted by who knows ... What happens if I get robbed or stabbed or something ? Will Uber feel bad about that ? 

We had to eventually take a taxi which Uber should probably pay for also but hey who am I to ask for that right ? Oh yeah I'm the guy writing about it now and from what I am writing I would think this doesn't look good on Uber does it ? Anyways the taxi took is to where we wanted to go and we ended up at the Windsor pub where our service was quite bad . All the servers seemed in the gloomy mood :( kitchen was closed so we left an ended up in an Indian restaurant called La San which was quite posh :) we were the only ones not wearing suits hahaha the food was fantastic aside from the hair Kathleen found in her food which was promptly replaced and we were given some nice deserts to smooth things out which helped out ... Maybe Uber should take note of this ! 

While we were there we saw this guy sitting alone so we invited him over to join us ... Eddie was this photographer from London who ended up hanging out with us all night ! We all had some great conversations then paid our bill and jumped into the rain where we ended up walking in circles before finding out way back to our hotel . We lost Richard somehow on the way back but kept on our route and had a few more beers in my hotel lobby before calling it a night . All in all it was a very interesting day and not the cheapest day but I had fun ... I would have had more fun though if Uber didn't screw me the way they did !!! Hint hint .... 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day in Chelmsley Wood

Today is not even over yet and I feel compelled to write about it already :) This was my first Christmas in the UK as I've been here before for Boxing Day but never for Christmas . Might I add before i go on that I'm so happy to be with Kathleen here !!! Things are a bit different here though and getting around today kinda sucked ... For those of you back home in Toronto all know the TTC sucks but at least it runs on the holidays and is even sometimes free :) well the other day I heard someone say they think there is no transit today so we checked online this morning .... Website said to call the hotline but their phone was off ??? Alright how do we really know if there is no bus services ? Well only one way .... So we headed to the bus stop down near the bull ring and waited for a bit but to no avail :( so we did what we could and called an Uber ... It cost us £16 to get there .... 

When we got to my aunt's house we exchanged some gifts and started drinking and eating , it was really great to be here with my family ! We ate gammon and beef and carrots and potatoes then chocolates and did I mention that I had a few bottles of beer hahaha ! Of course we got into our family discussions which usually happen and catching up on new on goings ... I got a nice bottle and glass of Doombar , a nice box of chocolates and some really cool Villa posters ... Honestly I was not expecting anything so I'm quite happy with my loot :) 

My cousins grabbed me a couple bags of pork scratchings which I really like and opened one and started noshing when I pulled one out and it was covered in pig hair ??? Omg wtf !!! It grossed me out ... And yes I know where they are from and it shouldn't gross me out but it did ... Still can't get the thought of eating that out of my mind now :( I think I don't like pork scratchings anymore .... Shitty ... 

One of the coolest parts of today was when my cousin showed me this stamp above . The man on the right is my late uncle Manuel who was a diplomat in Malta ! How cool is it that he is on a friggin stamp ??? He was a super nice guy , I met him as a child and will always remember how proud my family was of him . I'm still blown away about this stamp . So back to reality and I know we have to get an uber to get back to Birmingham so I start looking at my uber app and my phone ends up running out of money I put on it ??? Now hold up , how the f&$k did I put £10 on it just over 24 hours ago and now it's out ? Honestly Vodafone why and how ! This is over 20 bucks Canadian down the tube in one day on my phone ... I could use my Rogers card and spend less in overseas fees in that time :( . So with my phone dead there was only one option to get back to our hotel ... The car hire cost us £22 so obviously Uber is cheaper and when we called them they said it would be £16 and also that final cost included a holiday charge of £2 .... More and more I like Uber ! 

I should probably get some rest now , tomorrow is a big day ! Going to watch Villa play West Ham and I'm sure that will include 15-20 pints hahaha ... No joke :p 

Really hope you all had a wonderful Christmas . Cheers ! 

Merry Christmas

Right now I am just hoping you all are with your loved ones having a great day openin gifts and being merry :) today is gonna be a fantastic day for me and yesterday was just unreal ... Oh did I mention that the other day I was bumped up to business class on my flight to Frankfurt ??? Yeah talk about lucky eh ! What a fantastic way to start a trip . 

I slept for the most part of the flight but squeezed in time to watch Fantastic 4 which was not that great :( and my next flight was actually ok until the crazy landing which was rocky at best ... When I arrived in Birmingham I got an Uber to my hotel then showered quickly and headed to this cider house to meet my good friend Brett ... Obviously I started drinking lol . Kathleen showed up at Nee Street Station around 6 pm ... That was fabulous finally seeing her ( it's been 2 months ) we went back for a pint then heads to our hotel then off to see Star Wars : The Force Awakens ... To bad the Force couldn't keep me up as I passed out during the movie and I only saw the last half hour or so :( yeah I feel like a dumbass and now I have to go back to watch it again lol ! 

After the movie we grabbed an Uber and went to Bearwood to this pub called  The Dog which was rammed and we had a lot of fun drinking with Brett and his family and mates ... Got pretty lit up and headed back to hotel ... Grabbed a kebab next door and that was that :p 

Today is Christmas Day and right now I have to get ready to go to be with my family here in Chelmsley Wood ... I am really looking forward to seeing them . 

Merry Christmas ! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

YYZ adventures

As the procrastinator that I am ... I decided to pack my bags today but first I needed my bag repaired yes today I needed it fixed and my friends at Toronto Hockey Repair / Goalie Heaven helped me out large !!! They told me to come in early today as I did ask yesterday :) so when I woke up I rushed to the gym first then off to my favourite hockey shop . I needed my pads straps replaced too and there was some sewing involved but all in all it only took an hour which gave me time to catch up with the guys at  the shop... After my repairs were done it was crunch time ... No not at the gym silly lol . 

When I got home I had to clean house , do laundry , cook and pack ... Yeah doesn't sound so bad maybe I'm being a bit dramatic ? For some reason I had the urge to pack clothes I haven't worn in a while since I've lost weight and I now fit in them again :) eventually I got my stuff packed called my uber and headed to where I am now . 

The airport is busy tonight ! I guess I'm not the only one travelling for the holidays . Of course that means there is a plethora of interesting folk roaming around ... In the security lineup an elderly Polish woman asked me to help her take her boots off ... Of course this was a first so I was kinda like wtf ? But then I realized it's the holidays so I gave her a hand which I think I can put in my good deed jar , and with all good deeds come nice things ... I know this is the point where you expect me to say that Satan attacked me and all hell broke loose ?!??? Not today ... 

After security I decided to grab a bite ... Now if you are Ghetto like I am then you will want to know that the  best bang for your buck here is Tim Hortons by far the cheapest option !!! I got the extreme Italian combo with a doughnut :) when I asked about the Merry Chocolate Raspberry ones the girl behind counter said she can't eat them because she is too fat already :( but then she said I should try it because I'm skinny :) yeah that made me blush ... I bought the doughnut ... It was good .... Now I feel fat hahaha ! 

I'm sure this is gonna be a fantastic trip , judging by my experience so far but then again ... You never know , so stay tuned ....

Monday, December 14, 2015

Horrible Hockey Etiquette

This is something that nobody should EVER do to a team and for some reason i have had to write about this more then once but apparently have no conscience is a communicable disease these days . When you run a hockey club you find out and hear a lot of bullshit , most of it is totally unreal and kinda ruins outlook on certain people .... if they don't know that they should wonder why they don't hear from me anymore LOL ! I have also learned over the years that when i write about someone it is out there for the world to see and sometimes it is not in certain individuals best interest to get on my bad side ...

Every season that i have organized my squads i have run into guys that have screwed me starting all the way in the beginning with super douche Justin Boake and going all the way to last summer where Neil LaRose screwed us over when he flat out told me half way during our summer season that he just wasn't going to pay , he also stole a white jersey which he never paid for and just flat out stopped responding ... thanks buddy ! To think i knew this cunt since we were like 16 years old .... there goes that friendship eh ? Well this season we are lucky to have 2 top notch assholes treat us like shit and bail on us ... first up to bat is Reilly Miller .

Reilly Miller is a nurse here in Toronto who has played for us for 2 years now ! We all thought he was a great guy but great guys don't tell you they will play hockey and lead you on for half the season without paying a dime then stop responding ??? Reilly i hope your employers find this and take a good look at you and your morals ... the guys are pitching in $40 each and I'm sure they will enjoy reading this blog post ... people if you are reading this please know that it takes a real man to say he is doing something then not pay and not show up and not respond , oh sorry that sounds like someone that you would consider a coward . Reilly you are a coward ! Good luck with your next hockey team , i hope they get your cash up front ...

We had to contact the league to find a skater after one of our other guys had a season ending injury , hoping to recover some cash for him we added a skater named William Patry who plays Jr. hockey for the Erin Shamrocks who have been contacted and told that there will be mention of them ... they have yet to respond :) William asked the ASHL to put him on a squad and they hooked us up , we were offering him a discount rate of $400 and he delightfully said he would bring money , showed up for the first 3 games then never showed up again , and never paid :( not sure why guys do this and think they can get away with this but surely they do and hopefully by me writing about them maybe they learn their lesson and maybe someone reads about this and is leery about dealing with these 4 guys that i have mentioned in this blog .

If you are reading this and have done shit like this to anyone whether its for hockey or anything then you should be ashamed of yourself ! At this point the bill is in my hand and i would like to personally thank these 4 scum bags for screwing me over in the past . When you get a chance hug your team organizer , he does more for you then you think !

Friday, December 11, 2015

And the next adventure ...

Riding the streetcar to work , yeah I've been working a lot but it's all for the good since it's paying for this next trip :) yeah my trip is all booked and my itinerary is stacked !!! From the looks of it this is one of those trips that I have to take my GoPro to share some of the experiences I will enjoy . 

When I land in Birmingham I get to see Kathleen :) it's been 2 months since I've seen her and yeah I miss her ... We are gonna go watch Star Wars that night then the next day is Christmas which will be spent with my family . I am really looking forward to this as they haven't really celebrated since my Uncle Albert passed away and I know they are excited to have visitors ... I'm sure we will all get wasted hahaha ! 

The rest of my stay in Birmingham includes 2 Aston Villa matches and finally some ice time in Solihul with the Barons who are a semi pro club ... Next morning I fly to Spain with my wet gear ? New Year's Eve , drinking with Don Rickardo and some puck in Benalmadena and I can't forget about the footie game I plan to watch in Malaga before heading to Portugal ;) 

Nothing really planned in Lisbon , sight seeing and great meals planned obviously but I'm still hoping to check out some of the mall rinks in the city before heading to Elvas with the members o Portugals Ice Hockey Feseration where we will spend a weekend training on a rink in a bull ring !!!! Yeah that will be a first for me too lol :) I'm sure that will be just ridiculous times ten wooo!!! 

Ok that's all crazy eh ? Well after that I fly to Barcelona to catch a bus to Andorra . Here's the kicker ... I head back to Losbon on the 10th and fly on 11th really early landing before noon in Barcelona then jumping on that bus and when I arrive I am on the ice with some local clubs in Andorra ...  3 countries in less then a day and on the ice in 2 of them within 30 hours or so hahaha ! Yeah Kathleen is gonna love that hahaha . Maybe I shouldn't laugh ? Oh well ...

So the trip ends when I fly back to Birmingham to watch one more Aston Villa match an possibly get another ice time if I can work it out .... Sounds good yeah ? Ok I gotta get to work now ! 12 more days until I take off ... Obviously there will be a "daily" blog when I'm not too buggered hahaha . 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More Motion Sickness

Its been a while since I've had any time to write ... back home now , working like a dog saving up to head back to Europe for another adventure . This time I'm kinda nervous though after my last flight from New York . It was scary as shit ! I actually never wrote about the last day of my trip home from New York so here ya go .

That morning i left early , there was no one i knew in the lobby so i slipped away into my Uber and headed to JFK airport . My driver that morning was nice , we joked about all the drunk costumes he must've seen and time flew . When i arrived it was quiet !!! Walked right up to the counter , checked my bags with no problems at all then carried onto security which was really quick to ... (note to self = travel on Halloween more!) to this day i am still shocked that airport was so quiet , i mentioned its in New York City right ? When i got through security i grabbed a McDonald's steak bagel and yes i know i shouldn't but they don't sell them in Toronto so ... hahaha! it was yummy and made my tummy ache but who cares now . After gobbling that yummy breakfast i went duty free shopping , first things first ... i really need a portable charger for my dinosaur IPhone 4s which dies after 4 hours of use . Found a decent one for $50 USD that holds up to 4 charges which works for me , bought it then headed for the good stuff .... liquor . Kathleen loves the last bottle of Bombay Amber Gin i brought home , yes its rare :) and i found it at another NYC airport so i figured to look here :( unfortunately they didn't have it so i decided on bringing home a bottle of  Patron Gold Tequila . I'm sure she will like it when she gets back to Toronto in late January . 

So its time to board , my seat is way in the back in front of toilet ... i finished watching Jurassic World which i thoroughly enjoyed and as i finished i opened the blind to let the sun in and see my wonderful city from the air . We began to descend and as I'm looking out the window we hit an air pocket and i could feel the sweat just pour out of me !!! Here we go with the air sickness again , I'm never looking out the window again during landing as this happened to me before while flying home in a small plane . Next thing you know we were aborting the landing ??? We were going straight up into the sky again , like on a crazy angle and that's when i realized people were freaking out and puking and crying and shit ... wtf is going on ? in my head i started thinking of the 9/11 Memorial recordings i heard from the planes that were hijacked and i was getting scared , i started thinking if this was that moment where i should call Kathleen ? The stewardess was behind me so i looked down around the corner and she didn't look too excited either . Next thing you know we were sideways !!! Holy friggin crap !!!! Are we gonna die ? ... The pilot made an announcement saying we had to abort and to not be worried , we hit an air pocket and its very windy out ... thanks :) we steadied out by this time and began approaching again . The plane was being tossed around and i was pretty much shitting my pants and then we touched down ... safely , no fuss . Everyone on that plane looked ready to puke when getting off , and everyone looked each other in the eye's with that holy shit look . I found my hockey bag ripped in the oversize baggage , got an Uber and went home . 

Of course when i opened my stick bag i found a note from US customs ... nothing new . But now to real time , today i am amidst planning to head back onto a plane and these thoughts of my last flight kinda haunt me a bit as i plan to head to England to meet Kathleen who i miss so much :( she had to go be with her family there and i haven't seen her in 3 weeks ... i plan to meet her in Birmingham on Christmas Eve where we will watch Star Wars; The Force Awakens !!!! yeah i already have tickets hehehe . The plan right now is to meet there then head to Spain for New Years Eve and a hockey tournament then off to Portugal and Andorra to skate with local clubs . I am just hoping both of the federations will reply a bit sooner so i can continue to make plans . These trips don't just happen ,unfortunately there is a lot of planning when visiting 4 countries in a short time period . So things might change and i hope they don't as i would love to see those 2 flags on my bag :) 

Now I'm sure i won't be scared to fly and I'm sure i will have motion sickness again ... as far as i know there is no cure for it once it kicks in and it happens FAST . If a plane goes down while I'm on it then well ... it is what it is ! If you or i live in fear then we might as well stay home and hide , but that's not a good idea so for now i will continue working like a dog and saving money to get on that next flight ... after all i am The Travelling Goalie :P 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween in NYC

Halloween in NYC... What does someone like me do to celebrate ? Well ... Of course with the New Jersey DEVILS playing on this fine day at home I guess the cosmic signs were telling me to go so when I woke up I decided I would go . No I didn't have a ticket yet but this is Dazza's team and he already has posh seats so I found out where he was sitting and tried finding the cheapest possible seats in his section which was section 6 and I found 3 seats which I could purchase 1 and they totalled $63 USD each which is great ! We all met up in lobby and headed out for breakfast and I didn't buy them yet ... We met up with a few other lads and Chris & Les Hogarth said they wanted to come too , so I booked all 3 on my card and off we went . Only minor problem was having to find somewhere to print tickets but we fixed that up soon enough . 

It was great sitting with these guys , we grabbed pizza and pops to start which were awesome then had ice cream for 3rd period and bought 50/50 draw tickets which quickly prompted making plans on how to spend our winnings ... Something about spending an extra night in Manhattan and partying with Cypress Hill lol ! Ok that was my idea hahaha :) oh yeah the game was good too , forget where I was man . Devils played the Islanders who we saw twice on this trip , unfortunately Tavares was hurt and not playing and the Devils pulled out a big home win over their rivals in a shootout which was great to see , definitely got our money's worth here ! 

After the game we headed back into NYC as we were now in a whole different state ...and no it's not that far hahaha ! About half hour train into Penn Station . Which is where we headed to meet everyone at the Flying Puck , unfortunately children are not permitted in bars so we left :( I had to do a quick shopping trip over to the Puma Store where I bought some new kicks . I was with Daz & Sarah , thanks for letting me tag along ... We had these city passes which we didn't feel like we got our money's worth so instead of going to the Halloween parade we went first to the 911 museum which had no lineups and we walked straight in ... 

This is where things got serious . It was quiet in there and the images were very powerful . I was in tears :( this place is full of sorrow and being in the same spot where so many people lost their lives is always an eerie feeling . I broke down hearing recorded messages from people that eventually died trying to contact their loved ones . It was hard man really hard . I tried to fight away the tears but I'm sure it was evident that I was feeling the pain , I'm actually welling up as I write this . This was powerful , the museum is amazing ... Just know that if you go there are tissues everywhere and it's not bad to feel how I felt . 

We were all hungry and were now heading for a night view from the top of the Empire State Building so we stopped at Heartland Brewery where I did not drink any beer ... Yeah wasn't really feeling it . Actually I was glad earlier on being with the Hogarths as they are not drinkers . Just can't drink like I used too , guess I'm finally growing up a bit ? Probably not lol ! Regardless I didn't drink on Halloween . But I did have a great steak sandwich and got Sarah and Daz to try deep fried pickles YUM ! 

There was no lineup to get into the Empire State Building either which really tells me that going site seeing on holidays like this is really amazing :) when we got to the top there was a guy playing some smooth jazz on his trumpet and it was really nice and relaxing unlike the last time we came up when it was rammed and insane . Got some great pics of the city with a nice clouded moon in the background which ended a Halloween where I got to see Devils play hockey , hung out with the ghosts of 911 , and got close to a clouded over moon ... No I didn't turn into a werewolf but I definitely had to get back to Westbury to pack my bags as my flight is early :( 

On the train we bumped into the Brown sisters that played on the Island Monkeys team , they went to the parade which most of the group went to . Sounded like it was ok so I was kinda happy I opted for the options we took . When I got to the hotel I said my good byes and packed my bags and crashed ... It was a great Halloween in NYC ! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tournament Champs

It was rough waking up at 6 am on very little sleep to go play hockey for 5 hours straight ... But we did it ! First game o the day was against the New York Blueliners and we all know that police hockey teams can be the dirtiest bastards :) these guys weren't that bad . They beat us on a bullshit goal the first day that should t have counted but the chips were stacked against us since we were not the locals and the 1 ref on the ice was not a real ref ... If he is then LOL ! Anyways we had to beat these guys and we started the game horribly making mistakes that just shouldn't happen ... We were down 2-0 in the first 30 seconds of the game but scratched our way back ... 4 pucks for by me this game but really I had no chance on any of them . The highlight for me was when this one total Dickhead skated through my crease and I realized he probably had some mental disorder or something ? He looked like some mongloid freak !!! Next time I saw him wind up to fly through my crease I decided to step to top of crease , now you expect guys to avoid the goalie right ? This fucking asshole ploughed right through me then had the nerve to say I was out of my crease and I deserved a penalty ???? Like I said must be some mental disorder , the ref(?) should have called him for running me but instead opted to not call anything ... Dirty , dirty , dirty son of a bitch ! Well you can guess what happened after right ? My team stepped up and popped a few goals to take the win !!! I whooped it up to show the bastard hahaha . One game down .... 

Next game was against the French team that we smoked on day 1 ... They were not much of a problem but gave it their all   and we just didn't seem to have that bounce in our step .... Then out of the blue I had a puck hit my mask with no stoppage ? It didn't hit me hard but next thing you know I had the spins and everyone was glowing with halos ... I think it was remnants from getting smashed by that donkey fucker . I played on a bit , let in a weak goal then I skated off ice ... I didn't finish the game but we won handily regardless , I think final was 8-2 or something like that , honestly my head was fuzzy . After the game I went to the room to shake it off , I found out that Sudden Death beat the Americans so it was between us and Sudden Death for the final ... Was hoping it wouldn't come to this , if Americans would have won then we would have pretty much clinched the title . 

My team mates were concerned , so they got another goalie but I'm stubborn and didn't want to give up so I said I would give it a go . That last game was probably the best game I played all tournament ! We went up 3-0 then coughed up 4 goals and were down 4-3 when I saw my replacement skate onto the ice ... This guy was definitely not a goalie , that scene encouraged me to play harder and I did .... We called a time out and from there on out we didn't look back as we pounded pucks by our opponent . My room mate Paul Lofthouse in my mind was tournament MVP coming up with a key goal for us once again and we went on to win the tournament :) 

A couple beers celebrating in the room made me feel better but I had not eaten anything and it was now about 1 pm ... Things were confusing at the rink so I jumped in an Uber and headed to my room ... Remember I was not feeling well but the beers helped lol ! I was a bit comfuaed and I almost slipped going to see Cypress Hill . When I came to my senses I headed off to catch up with the gang . We went to some BBQ joint near Times Square which was great but as u said , I wasn't well.... I got sick and barfed at the restaurant .... Nothing too crazy , I will go get checked when I'm home if symptoms continue ... 

3 of us headed to the PlayStation
 Theatre to watch HauntedHill2015 , it was Cypress Hill's 20th anniversary of Temples of Boom ... Man oh man did the rest of the gang miss out !!! What a sick show :) ended up hanging out with some Mexican gangstas that were cool ! They hooked me up ( if ya know what I mean ) and we all sang and danced around for like 2 or 3 hours . Honestly this show was the perfect way to celebrate a championship !!! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat :) 

Now I'm sure someone is reading this thinking I'm such a dick for writing about this mongloid that quite possibly concussed me but I want you to think of this when I ask why wouldn't he veer off ? Why did he have to run me over in my crease ? He is on the host team in a tournament with no contact ! If he thinks this is what a host team should be doing then maybe he should have his head checked ! I shook his hand after but I still think he's a mother fucker :) if you are reading this ... Go fuck yourself you cunt !  Sorry for my language .... An to the rest of the New York Blueliners , thanks for hosting us ! There were a couple really great guys on your team I had the pleasure of meeting . You guys should consider ditching that douchebag .... 

Time to head home now to play in Toronto ... The Travelljng Goalie doesn't rest ! 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

New York Tourist

It's so hard to write when you don't have the time to . These past few days have been hectic to say the least . Never had any time to do any writing yesterday so here we go ... On Thursday we all met up and went for breakfast at the breakfast joint up the road which was great . It's really needed for these crazy walking days . We then headed into NYC and arrived much easier not travelling in rush hour and so much cheaper too :) $26 return ticket in peak hours and $19 during off peak ... When we got off at Times Square we popped into Disney Store and the NHL store (again) then if my memory serves me well , I think we all split up and a small group of us went to Rockefeller Square where the staff seemed much nicer then anywhere else . We had to book a time and had a few hours to kill before we could go up the tower so we headed to Central Park . 

The park was nice ! Great day out ;) weather was beautiful and we found the ice rink ... Not the one I played on , I never knew there was another rink on the south side . This one was big and oddly shaped , unfortunately full of water from all the rain the day before :( after all this serenity we headed back to hit up the Apple Store and on the way a bunch of "rappers" gave Mark's son Harry a cd for free then turned around and asked for money ?!?!? Mark said I thought it's free and the thugged out rappers kept bugging until Mark gave them $2 ... Now apparently all of the others encountered these entrepreneurs and one of the lads felt threatened and gave them $20 ... If you encounter these guys near the Apple Store on 5th Avenue , just avoid them as they will hassle you ... Don't accept their cd !!!

After that mess we headed back to Rockefeller Center where there is another outdoor ice rink for skating only which apparently costs $25 to skate on !!! There is no chance I'm paying that to skate on this rink ... Just another tourist trap just like most of the rest of this city . We got in our elevator and headed up where we had a brilliant view of the city ;) it was worth the ride up ! 

Time was of the essence and we had to head over to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch the Islanders play the Hurricanes . First we need food so we stopped in the Appleby's across the street where I think we all ate burgers . Fries portion was weak but the burger was juicy . I wasn't drinking really until I got into the rink . 

The game was great , fast action and a few goals with a lot of great saves at both ends . Unfortunately the Isles lost in OT ... The 3 on 3 OT was insane ! Unfortunately the atmosphere sucks since the Islanders fan base is on Long Island and the team has just been moved to Brooklyn . Arena was almost half full and the rink just doesn't look right in this setting , as most of you know the Barclays Center was not built for ice hockey :( I personally hope they move back or this team might just fold with these attendance figures ...

We were supposed to have a bus drive us back to Westbury where our hotel is but instead of a bus we had a couple limousines and a van ... I got in the limo ;p we were almost hit by a fire engine then we hit a pot hole and everyone looked at each other realizing how hard the thump was then we all carried on as it seemed fine ... Next thing you know there is some loud noise which stops and we thought it was just ribbing on the road 
making this vibration which stopped , we had a flat . Next thing you know we are at the tire repair getting the wheel replaced .  The excitement never stops here  ! But my day did as we all went straight to our rooms upon arrival ... Next day of tournaments last day so we need the rest ... 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

New York Blueliners Halloween Tournament

These early morning are usually right up my alley but this tourney is a bit too early with our first ice time at 7:45 am :( the tourney is run by a bunch of cops ... Yes police . This is their 2nd year running it and I am gonna do my best to bite my tongue as I write this ... I have to say that it seems more then a bit disorganized . The host team showed up to play us at 7:45 without a goalie ???? We waited almost a half hour to start the game which wiped out any time we would have to relax between games . When their goalie finally showed we started off rough going down 3-0 immediately ... I did not play great and couldn't find my rhythm with the odd shit happening . I was kinda pissed that the home team would show up without a goalie and didn't have a good warmup but that is not really any excuse for my play . We have a couple ladies on our squad and one plays D ... She was out of position a few times so I had a chat with her and she did exactly what I asked and that turned around the whole day for us if you ask me . We mounted a come back in this game that was supposed to be 30 minute stop time , it ended up becoming a 40 minute stop time game and with about 10 minutes left we scratched our way back into a 4-4 tie but then the "ref" who is in no way a real referee (didn't even wear stripes) made a really shit call when I froze a puck and one of their skaters slashed the puck into the net by whacking me ???? To this moment I don't know why in the fucking hell this bell end didn't blow the whistle ! That was the winning goal ... We lost 5-4 to the host .

Now we get to the room an find out this 5 tram tournament is a 4 team tourney because a local team dropped out this morning or something ... This means we now get to play 3 games in a row with no rest ... How crazy is that ? Well I didn't even have time to take off my chesty just refilled my bottle and back on the ice . This French team came out hard but that didn't last long as we pounced on them and kept scoring goals as our defensive unit constantly thwarted any form of offense they tried to muster . Not much to say aside from the score ended up being 10-1 ... My play improved a bit but I can't seem to catch a puck . Stopped a couple break aways but for the most part I was a spectator . At the end of the game I looked at the clock and it was 10:45 am ... We have been on the ice for 3 consecutive hours ....

When I got to the room I took my chest guard off and changed my tshirt as it was weighing me down . That is about all the time I had before the tourney rep comes in rushing us out to play again ...this is ridiculous ! The 3rd game of the day was against the mixed team that Daz put together for the tourney ... He put 2 teams together ... This team was called Sudden Death . We jumped to an early lead on them and never looked back , we didn't pump them hard as they did have the fire power to push back and they did score a couple decent goals on me and I felt I played my best game of the day but let in my weakest one while hugging the post ... Nobody really knows how that puck went in but it did :( I think the final was 7-4 in our favour so we ended up in a 3 way tie at the end of day 1 ... Sudden Death beat the local team so all 3 of us had 2-1 records but based on +/- we are in first ! 

Day 2 is on Friday at Twin Rinks on Eisenhower and with one less team you would think our start time would be later ... Makes sense to ditch the early times right ? WRONG ! For some reason they ditched the later times .. Why I don't know and really I don't care because it's just not organized very well . I'm having fun but there is no beer or food at this rink , not that I have time to eat . Most of the guys left their gear at the rink but I opted to bring it to my room as it seems to me that these guys could easily lose my stuff . Goalies showing late , local teams bailing , early ice times with no rest , no refs , no beer .... I'm just stating the obvious things that make me see this being very unorganized . I'm sure the effort is there but I would be hard pressed to see teams wanting to come to try this tourney out . As I said earlier I'm writing this trying to be as friendly as I can about it but the obvious is hard to hide ... 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tourist day in NYC

Yesterday I woke up in my hotel room that I'm sharing with Lofty . He went out for a jog and when he got back I was told we are all leaving to head into the city . I got ready and headed out to meet the rest of my team mates . Some guys walked , we took an uber to the train station . The train into NYC from Westbury was $26 US dollars for a return ticket :( yeah wasn't prepared to spend that much to get into the city but it is what it is and we're here now . The train was rammed as it was rush hour ... We all made it one piece though and headed straight to Madison Square Garden for our guided tour . The tour itself was neat but our guide was a total cunt ... She was so full of herself and told us how everything at MSG is the best in the whole world ... Please get off your pedestal ! This place isn't that great but it's definitely full of history which intrigued me more then anything . I'm almost sure that I wasn't the only one that felt this way about the presentation this horrid notch put forth ... She was rude and totally not friendly at all ... Kinda like most New Yorkers hahaha :) 

Immediately after we left MSG we headed to the Empire State Building which is also a beautiful piece of architecture ... This wasn't a guided tour but you could feel that stupid New York attitude from all the people that worked here too ... I'm sure they know they are assholes but still relish in their own filth ... Too much pride and arrogance makes this city a turn off and it always has but nothing's perfect , especially New Yorkers ! We got to the top of the tower got some pics and went back down the elevator and that was pretty much it ... As I said beautiful architecture makes this a must see ! Try to ignore the arrogant people in this city though :) it's hard , I know lol ! 

My phone died soon after we left the ESB and we headed down to go visit the Statue of Liberty . Some of the group opted to go drinking and we settled to keep touring around the city . The ferry to the Statue of Liberty was quick enough and we wandered around the island looking at the statue there in all her glory . Wish my phone didn't die or I would have some pics to show but it did . Oh well ... When we caught the last ferry back we decided to go up to ground zero which is to say the least very depressing to say the least . But I had to go ... Unfortunately the museum line was so ridiculous that we aborted any idea of going in , we have another day of site seeing planned so it should fit in nicely on that day hopefully . 

My favourite part of the day was after all this when we went to the NHL store ! Yeah my kinda scene :) hockey !!! Great store with all kinds of knick knacks that kept us all entertained until we decided to head out to get a bite to eat ... At this point we were all dead from a really long day of walking ... Remember we headed over durin morning rush hour ? We caught the 11 pm train back to Westbury , so roughly 14 hours walking . Most of our group were sleeping on the train :) but we all made it back safely and honestly I think everybody enjoyed themselves .... I will write about the tournament tomorrow or tonight if I can squeeze the time in ... It's time to have a beer now ... Peace