Thursday, 18 May 2017

Scotland the Dave

If you live anywhere near where we live here in sunny Guiseley and have nothing to do this Sunday morning/early afternoon, I have just the thing for you.  

My old pal Dave 'Paddy' Sherrard (above) is bringing his young rugby charges down from Hillfoots RFC in Scotland to play our boys at Aireborough. 

Here they are.

And in true Aireborough spirit, we're planning to make a bit of a fuss of them.

It's the first time Aireborough has hosted a touring junior club and everyone is rightly very excited about the whole thing.  

So here's what's going on.   

The 40-strong Hillfoots squad are due to arrive at Nunroyd Park no later than 10am.  This is the precise moment when our bagpiper and cornet player will miraculously appear.

At around 1020, Aireborough players across all age groups from the Micros (Under 6s) upwards will congregate in front of the clubhouse in one group behind the flag of St George.  The Hillfoots boys will gather up alongside them behind the flag of St Andrew. 

And led by Bagpiper Jason, they will march - accompanied by familiar tartan tunes - to the main pitch for the pre-game formalities. Namely the anthems.  Hell yeah.

Both groups will again line-up behind their respective flags.

Then Jason will play Flower of Scotland in honour of our guests, all of whom I'm assured have learnt the words.

Next up will be 12-year-old Finn McQuaid (from good Irish stock) who has kindly agreed to play God Save the Queen on his cornet for us as the host club.  I will be VERY disappointed if the collective singing of our mums, dads and players isn't heard several miles away.

The players will then break-off into their individual teams with Aireborough's Under 10s, Under 11s, Under 12s and Under 13s taking on their Hillfoots counterparts at 1030. 

But the other Aireborough boys will not be left out.

Thanks to the ingenuity of the club's junior coaching coordinator Kris Brook, other rugby-related activities have been laid on for them including rugby rounders, rugby netball, kick tennis and rugby golf.

And are we stopping there?  Don't be silly.

Instead, it will back down to the clubhouse (Jason and Finn will have gone by then but I'm happy to whistle as we process) for barbecue and live music - possibly in the car park if the weather is good.  I've even heard rumours of a raffle. 

Most importantly, we want as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the fun. You don't even have to know anything about rugby.

To illustrate, despite the fact that he's leading the Hillfoots tour and is a fully-qualified rugby union referee, I can tell you without fear of contradiction that Dave knows absolutely about the game     

Indeed, he doesn't seem to know that he's not really Scottish and actually comes from Portrush.

What he will learn on Sunday, however, is that he's buying the first round.

I hope to see you (and your family) there.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Celebrate (this party's not over)

Greetings, dear readers. Did you miss me? Sorry? 

Well I kind of missed you, which gives me the moral high ground.

I've been away, you see, back to my native land.  There were some sporting events on and I thought it best not to miss them.

First up was the Irish Cup Final.


Sadly my beloved Coleraine lost 3-0. 

But, well, we made the best of it.


Next up were the North West 200 motorbike races, which I go back for every year.


That's Guy Martin you can see above during Tuesday's practice session. He's on the telly quite a lot drinking tea.

I got so close to the action because my mate John made me an official marshal for the day.  


I've never felt so important. Me and the lads, like.


You may have noticed that the weather was good that day, as it was for most of my 10 days and nine nights on the Causeway Coast.


This demanded a celebration.


But, come race day on Saturday, the rain came.


Of course it did. But the racing was still great. 

Which was surely a cause for another celebration.


I'll be back over again soon.

When I look forward to a celebration.


I'll think of a reason nearer the time.


And, who knows, I might even squeeze some work in.


Monday, 1 May 2017

Vicky is a wimp


A big day in our house yesterday when our very special friend (and Jamie and Charlotte's godmother) Vicky came round to officially switch on our new patio heater.  All three bars of it.

And how the crowds cheered. 


The occasion was all the more significant for the fact that Vicky actually travelled all the way from Hong Kong simply to perform her civic duty.

She's been working over there since the start of the year and seems to have found her feet very swiftly.


Well, I say that.

Since Vicky's been away, I've been a tad concerned that she might lose her legendary ability to party.

So Vanessa put her to the test.


Nope, it's gone.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

The cub became a lion

This was Jamie after first becoming a proud junior at Aireborough Rugby Club.

And below centre, you can see him putting in a tackle last Sunday morning - five seasons on.

The photo was taken at Heaton Moor Rugby Club in Stockport where the Aireborough Under 9s and Under 10s were on tour.

I doubt that any other touring party at any level of the game has ever looked smarter prior to their departure.

Thanks to the generosity of local businessman Chris Gaunt at Select Uniforms in Rawdon, all 27 players were sponsored personalised hoodies, polos and tee shirts, plus specially made kit bags and caps.  Us coaches were kitted out too.  What kindness from an absolutely top bloke.

After dropping by to say thanks to Chris, we all made our way to Gulliver's World theme park in Warrington for several hours of fun.  Big people too.

Well, I say that.  Under 10s coaches Matt and Dom were nervous wrecks by the end.

Dom (in sunglasses) is trying to look cool but just notice how tightly he's holding on to that rollercaster.

Next, it was back to our pristine overnight accommodation at Terra Nova School near Jodrell Bank where much pizza was consumed.

Followed by nightcaps for the babysitters.

And then it was time for the focal point of the trip with two extremely competitive games the next morning. This was the combined Under 9 squads getting together afterwards, as is rugby tradition.

But I'm afraid this tale has a somewhat sad conclusion.

Jamie adores the club and all of his teammates.  However, despite the best efforts of the proper coaches and their coach helper (i.e. me), he's decided he wants a break from the sport.

After more than half his life spending his Sunday mornings chasing a rugby ball, he wants to try some other stuff and may well come back to it.  I hope he does.

In the meantime, I'm so grateful to Aireborough for all the club has done for him.  And the wonderful men, women, boys and girls there can be assured that I'll continue to do what I can (other than coach helping) to support them long into the future.


Monday, 17 April 2017

Post-Easter wine down

Greetings campers, and I hope you had a suitably restful Easter weekend.

Unlike me.

I've been decorating, you see.

If you're a regular reader, you may be aware that we got a new kitchen.  If you're a gullible reader, you might also think that it's up for an award.  However, if you read your calendar, you should've noticed that I revealed this startling fact on 1 April.  Gotcha? I suspect not.

I've now painted said kitchen (as modelled by Charlotte).


"Fresh Lime" I think you'll find.  Three coats of said stuff.

But that's not all.  Hell no. That would be far too easy.  It would've left much too much time to put my feet up and act my age.

So I did the bathroom too.

In "Cobalt."  


Plus ceiling, two doors, skirting boards etc etc in "White."  It's a colour too.  It matches our hole roll. 

Despite my Herculean decorating efforts, I feel inclined to make clear that I am not available to do yours. And neither will I be doing any more of ours for a considerable period of time.

At least not until I've rehydrated. 


Or when Vanessa decides that I have to. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Wales Tales - The Last Part


Our week in Wales came to an end yesterday - in England (which is kind of Irish, if you think about it). 

And following on from my violent encounter with Winston, new pain lay in wait for me. More of that in a moment.

We covered a lot of ground since my last update. 

The photo you can see above was taken in Abersoch, a lovely little seaside town (although still not Portrush).

Prior to that, we took the kids for a spot of target shooting.


High-speed rallying.






Donkeying (much safer than horseying).




And stream training.


The views continued to be fab.


Even from outside our caravan.


And that was almost that.

I said our week ended in England. Chester Zoo to be precise, halfway between our house and our hired Welsh caravan.

Anyone for a meerkat?


Funny monkey, perhaps?


I said that pain was also inflicted. Lots of pain.

This occurred whilst we were still in Wales, just as I heading off to clean my teeth prior to departure.

Jamie had left a duvet on the floor and - surprise, surprise - I tripped over it and shot across the living room at speed.

It turned out that my toe bore the brunt of the impact when I crashed into a wooden panel.


Still, them's the breaks.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wales Tales - Part II

I do like the Welsh people and the lovely land they so proudly inhabit.

I mean, look.


But I found out today that I don't like its horses, or certainly one of them.

Amidst lots of genuinely stunningly sightseeing, we thought we were taking the kids ponytrekking. But the woman in charge said they were horses, so horsetrekking it is.

Charlotte's horse was called Reagan.


She was guided by that renowned horsewoman, Vanessa White.


Meanwhile, Jamie's mount went by the name of Winston.


He was guided by me.


You can already tell by the look on his face when I first yanked his girlie pink chain that he didn't like me.

And things went pretty much downhill after that.

When he stood on me for the first time, I concede that I was mildly disappointed in him.

When it happened a second time, a sense of resentment was beginning to build.

It was only really when he kicked me that I wanted to eat him in a bap.


X marks the spot.

Such was the level of breakdown in our man and horse relationship that another dad was eventually dispatched to finish a job that, on reflection, I was never really suited to.


Damn you Welsh Winston. You've let your great nation down.