Friday, 28 December 2012

November

Its been over a month since my last entry so apologies to my loyal subscribers for the delay. So much it seems has happened during the last month, I have found it difficult to find time to update the blog. The first few weeks of November I was battling a severe cold.............as well as the severe cold outside!! The temperature here dropped considerably during the first few weeks of the month to almost freezing point................and with the sudden change in temperature comes the inevitable snotty nose time! Both Aicha and I spent time off work but like most blokes I turn into a pathetic waste of space when I get a cold. I have no energy or motivation to do anything................not even enough to write a simple blog!

Prior to my bought of illness I did manage to get out and watch England take on Sweden here in Stockholm. The game itself was quite special as it was first game to be played at the new national stadium 'The Friends Arena'. Tickets were like gold dust and I couldn't  manage to get hold of one so I did the next best thing.......................I went to The Dubliner!! Beforehand though I arranged to meet to up with my pal Tom for a few frames of bowling at a place just up the road. On the way there we passed many England supporters in the streets, some of whom we dressed in medieval attire! The game itself did not quite go to plan as we eventually lost the game 4-2. This was mainly down to a certain Swede called Zlatan Ibrahimovic (or Ibra-cadabra as he is known here), who scored all four goals for Sweden.....................one of which was out of this world! Although it would be fair to say they were all a little bit special! Zlatan is something of a god in Sweden and had never really rated him as a player until I saw him play against England during Euro 2012. The guy is so strong! No English player could get near him! I hear that the English press went nuts for him after that game as well!!

The 24th November was the date of the end of season dinner dance for The Tudor Arms. This was a special occasion as it marked the 40th anniversary of the club and many of the former players were in attendance. It was a cracking night and one which will be remembered for the hilarious anecdotes shared by those who played back in the day................anecdotes which would never happen today! My personal favourite was a tale about when the team went on tour to Helsinki during the late 70's. The England national team, with the likes of Kevin Keegan and Trevor Brooking in the ranks, were playing Finland in a friendly whilst the guys were there, so naturally the plan was to watch the game then head to a club afterwards. Unfortunately the club they wanted to go to was very exclusive and would only let in people of celebrity or higher stature................so there was only one thing they could do.......................pose as the England football team!! Luckily one of the players had a permed barnet and was able pass himself off as Kevin Keegan, whilst the other guys assigned themselves other player names in case of interrogation! Apparently they had the night of their lives!!

The night itself was a real success. There were awards handed out for player of the year and for services to the club. I unfortunately did not win anything although I was voted 2nd in the poll for player of the year for the Vets team. I'm not sure if it would have been right if I had won however, as I'm only 31 and you need to be 35 or over to play in the Vets!! Our central defender Yani won the award and rightly so as he had a tremendous season...................plus I voted for him! The only thing missing from the night was a league trophy on display. We came so close and it would have been great to have won it in my first season, and the 40th for the club, but it wasn't meant to be. After the meal and presentations, it was onto the dance floor and that when the real party began!!


Me with Barry, The Gaffa!


Me and Yani.............Player of the Year!











November was also busy on the job front. The project that I have been working on is really moving along at pace, more so now that we are getting ever closer to the end of the year and targets need to be met. My initial contract with the company was due to end at the end of March but they have now extended it to the end of 2013, with the view to make my position perminant before it expires. I am really glad that I have job security for a while and I have enjoyed my time working here but it has been really challenging and quite stressful at times. A good way, I find, to combat stress is to let your hair down and enjoy a good night out, so it was just a well really that our Christmas party came when it did!!

The location and theme of the party was not shared with anyone until the party began. The plan was to meet in the office at 4:30pm for drinks and there we would be told about the nights entertainment. It was the best kept secret ever!! No-one had a clue where we were going except those who organised it!! Eventually we were taken to a nearby restaurant where it was explained that the theme of the evening was Rock'n'Roll and we would be split into teams..................and each team was to perform a rock song to the whole group, with the team with the loudest cheer being declared the winner! Not one to shy away from a sing song, I was up for the challenge however I was not the vocalist in the ranks. Our team had a former rock singer in the shape of Lars so the responsibility of being the frontman fell on his shoulders whilst I took up the post of drummer! Just so I'm clear, I am not a drummer nor have I ever drummed before however this was no ordinary performance...............this was to be done through the medium of XBox and Guitar Hero!

The drums are operated in the same way as the guitar, in that you watch the computer screen then tap the relevant coloured drum when prompted................I was somewhat of a natural and took to it like a duck to water! When it came to perform, we were dressed in appropriate rock gear, complete with wigs and hair bands. Those of us who were not in the band were groupies. Their job was to make banners, cheer and generally worship the band. The song of choice was 'Rockin In The Free World' by Neil Young...............not my choice but a belter none the less! I wanted 'Welcome To The Jungle' by Guns'n'Roses but my request fell on deaf ears! Still never mind, we gave it a good go and eventually finished 3rd in the competition...................I would have performed better but the hair from wig kept getting in my eyes preventing me from seeing the screen!!

After that, the dance floor opened up, and like at most British functions I expected it to take a while for the dance floor to fill up...............not here! As soon as the DJ pressed play most of the party shot straight onto the dance floor to bust a move!! I love to boogie but normally I would wait until a few people get up before I make my move.....................I don't wanna look like a loser dancing on my own! No such problem here though!! I managed to get a few pictures from the evening in between doing my thang.....................please forgive my Olly Murs impression!!





The 'DreamTeam'! Me with Jose



That night I got in around 2:30am and had to be in the office at 8am! Suffice to say my day was not very productive.....................but I wasn't the only one!

We are in December now and I have lots more to tell........................but that can wait until next time! I hope you all have a nice Christmas and a great new year!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The grass is never greener...........

It does feel that I am missing out on things sometimes. I have Facebook to blame for that! Every time I go on it, there is always someone boasting about how much fun they are having..................and it's always when you are bored out of your mind when you read it! It's normally something like 'off to Vegas in the morning' or 'clubbing in London tonight with my bestie, it's gonna get messy!'...............AND its normally on a school night!! When I am bored during the week I generally have 3 options: A) go out B) Watch TV or a DVD or C) log onto t'internet. Option A comes at cost and no-one tends to go out during the week anyway, option B can sometimes fill the void if you are in the mood for a film..............or if there is a good game on TV!  But option C is generally what we tend to opt for......................particularly now we have t'internet via my new pal Samsung! As I am writing this on the laptop, Aicha is, at this very moment, streaming 'The Twilight Saga' on the 55"!

With the invention of social media, everyone can know what everyone else is doing at any time............where they are, who they are with and where they are going. Suddenly everybody else's life seems more exciting than yours! Can anyone remember what life was like before Facebook came along?? Did life feel more exciting??

Facebook also gives you an insight into what everybody else is doing, in terms of career aspirations and successes, as well as general well being. It is in our nature to compare ourselves to other people so I can understand if some people feel jealous when they read some of things on there.....................but on the flip-side you feel lucky you are not one of those poor bastards who wash all their dirty laundry in public. We all have our problems but why would you want the world to know about them??? It's the 'Jeremy Kyle' effect I guess!

Don't misunderstand me, I have no grumble against Facebook, I'm just trying to illustrate how its used and how people react to things differently. I actually LOVE Facebook. I think its the best thing since slice bread! I think everyone should be able to express whatever they want and there is nothing that I don't like about it. I see Facebook as the perfect friend. It accepts what you like, what you don't like and who your other friends are....................and they want to spread all the good news!!.................even, if sometimes, it's something you do not want to hear!!

One thing I have learnt is to appreciate what you have and accept the things you cannot change. I certainly appreciate what I have. I have a good life, a fantastic wife, great friends and a wonderful family..................I'm just not 21 anymore!.............That I cannot change!

During the last six months I spent apart from Aicha in the UK, I said to myself that, as I was leaving everything behind and moving permanently, I would enjoy every single minute of it................and don't get me wrong I did have a lot of fun................but it was during that time that I really realised I wasn't as young as I used to be! I missed my wife massively and the thought of leaving my friends and family was a massive weight on my mind so I tried to bottle it up by going out. It worked to some extent but by the end I couldn't wait to leave because, as I was on my own, I found myself in that dangerous mindset of 'living for the weekend'................something I hadn't felt since I was about 23!!........................plus the hangovers were murder!! Most guys want to re-live their teenage years, and I did to some extent but when I think about it, given the choice, I much prefer the quiet life I have here. The grass is never greener. Life is good at the moment!

That doesn't mean that I am not immune to occasional relapse.............I am a bloke after all!!

Plus.............a lot of the stuff written on Facebook could be exagerated anyway................you can write whatever you want!!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bits And Pieces........

The last week has been a mixture of working the day job and doing odd jobs around the apartment..............with the occasional night out in between! Last Friday we went to see the new James Bond film 'Skyfall' and I have to say I think it the best one yet! I was totally hooked from Start to finish. Everything about it was buzzing! The story, the direction, the cinematography, the chases, the villain, the shoot outs, the ending..............but especially Bond himself. Like most I wasn't sure about Daniel Craig when he first signed up as Bond but he has definitely proved all the doubters wrong. For me he is up there with the best of them, as is Javier Bardem as one of the best villains. He is only in half of the film but he steals every scene he is in! It is an awesome movie and if you're reading this and haven't seen it..................stop reading and go see it!

Over the weekend we continued on the small jobs which needed doing around the apartment. We bought some curtain rails which needed putting some up as well as some pictures for the bedroom. We managed to get all the pictures up but we have hit a bit of stumbling block in that we do not have anything to put on the main wall opposite the bed. It would not look right to hang small pictures on it as its quite a large space so the only alternative would be to either find a massive picture to put there (which is never easy to find something you like) or do what we did in the lounge and apply a design of some kind which you can stick on yourself. We were thinking of maybe having a series of cool inspirational quotes......................which might sound a bit cheesy but it will be something different, which is what I like! Plus it will be something positive to wake up to in the morning!!

On the Sunday I hooked up with my pals Micke and Alesandro at The Dubliner to watch the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton. It was the first time this season that I have been out to watch a game.....................and other than the result the game the day didn't disappoint! My fellow Liverpool supporters were out in force and the atmosphere was great. The game finished 2-2 but it was a belter! Unfortunately we were robbed of the win after the linesman disallowed a perfectly good goal in the last minute...................suffice to say the Swedes were not happy! It was a good day out none the less and it was great to meet up my pals again as it had been while.

I am still studying my Swedish every Tuesday and I'm doing my best to put it to good use by talking as much as I can at home with Aicha (although I'm sure she would say that I should try harder!). Ideally I would like to go to college more than one time a week but they only have the one class! I have an exam in a few weeks then the course is over so I need to look into what to do once it ends as I want to continue studying. It is difficult to learn Swedish if you are English................not because the language is difficult it's more that everyone speaks English and everyone wants to speak English to you!! I am picking it up slowly and I can just about hold a conversation with Aicha, but I still have a long way to go!!

The rest of the week was a bit of a blur. My job is going really well although there is so much to do it feels like there is not enough hours in the day! It's always good to be busy though! The project I am working on is due to finish at the end of the year but we have so much to left to complete it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel! 2013 is only 8 weeks away now so that deadline is getting ever closer!!

That also means that its less than a month until my mum and sister come to visit.................happy days!!!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Home Sweet Home!

So, we have finally moved in! Its been a long journey over the past few weeks but we have finally made it!! It feels great to have our own place at last and it looks a lot different from we took ownership. We still have a few jobs to do, namely redecorate the spare bedroom but everything else is pretty much there. I have been waiting for the day when I could just sit on my new sofa, relax, and just enjoy what we now have. That day came last Sunday..............

Aicha went out for the day with her friends to see Dirty Dancing so I had the day to myself. To make use of my free time I spent the morning finishing off some odd jobs, which in turn allowed me to spend the afternoon chilling out.................watching DVD's and playing on my new PS3! Once I had completed my tasks I sat back on my new sofa, cracked open a tin of beer and fired up the 55 inch LED TV!!

It was the moment I had been waiting for................!!

I don't think I have ever enjoyed my own company as much as I did that day! The new TV has the internet so I was able to catch up with all of the English shows I have missed on the big screen. Up until now I have been watching everything on the laptop................which is fine, but it's not a touch on my new best friend Samsung!!

We knew months before we moved in what sofa we having and which TV we were buying, so to finally get the opportunity to enjoy it after waiting so long was a real treat.................even more so when the reality was better than you expected!!. Before we moved in I said that I didn't really give a shit what we bought for the rest of the apartment as long as I got the sofa and TV I wanted...................although if I did have problem with the other things I'm sure I would have said something however Aicha and I have similar tastes and what she chose was spot on! I think it looks really good but see what you think............








We still have some more pictures to hang up, one of which arrived today. There is quite a large area to the right of the TV which we wanted to fill with something, although we couldn't think of what to put there...................that was until Aicha suggested that we should find a nice picture of Brighton to put there. 'That's a great shout honey!' I said. 'A nice little homage to home would be awesome.......................but what picture?' For the next few hours we looked online at various pictures of Brighton until we found one we both liked. We had it printed onto a canvas in black and white and the result was amazing! It's now hanging proudly on the wall......................


If I can't be in Brighton then I will bring Brighton to me!

The weekend is now upon us and on Saturday we are will helping some friends of ours to move apartment. Having just moved ourselves you would think it would be the last thing we would want do but there are quite a few people helping out so it should not take up too much of the day..........................but it does feel like there is no rest bite at the moment!! On Sunday I am hoping to get out to watch the Liverpool Vs Everton match in town. Its been a while since I have been to The Dubliner to watch a game with my fellow supporter club members but if I'm feeling tired I might just watch it home so we will have to wait and see.

Tonight we are going to see the new James Bond movie Skyfall. I have been looking forward to this for ages and judging by the trailer it's sure to be a belter!! I read a review in The Daily Mail today and they said that it is by far the best Bond movie yet and that it could be up for several Oscars its that good! After reading that my expectation levels have grown massively so I hope I'm not disappointed! All James Bond movies are good but this one sounds a bit special!!

'The name's Bond.................James Bond'           Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

On the move.........FINALLY!!

Wow! What a hectic last few weeks it has been! We finally got the keys to the new apartment on Friday 5th October and since then it has been non-stop work......................hence the time gap between now and my last blog!!

We met with the seller and our estate agent on the Friday to sign the final documents and pick up the keys. We were really keen to get started on the redecorating so we turned up to the office with pots of paint and other materials in hand!! The apartment was only around the corner from the office so we wanted to get in there as soon as possible to begin working so it made sense to bring all the stuff with us!

Once we eventually signed everything and got in there we got straight to work. The first thing I planned to do was to begin preparing all the floors and door frames with plastic sheets and tape for when we began painting but Aicha felt that we needed to inspect the cleanliness of the place first, so we did. The estate agent had said that they had sent in a firm the day before to clean everything and if we were not happy we should let him know and they would send them back out. I did a quick inspection and at first glance everything seemed fine but Aicha is a bit more thorough than me and she noticed that were a lot of things which hadn't been done.....................suffice to say she was straight on the phone!!


The estate agent agreed to sent the cleaners back later in the day and the majority of the things that we were dissatisfied with were in the kitchen, which meant that we could get on with prepping the rest of the apartment. The plan was to re-paint the lounge a beige/peach colour with a feature wall and do the same with our bedroom, but paint it white. We were also to re-paint the dining area and hallway white, as well wallpapering the second bedroom so there was plenty to be done!! Our aim was to spend all of Friday and the weekend decorating, then spend a few hours after work each day during the week to finish things off. By the following weekend we would be ready to move in everything from Aicha's parents place.....................sounds pretty straight forward but in reality it never is!!

I have to say I have probably never worked so hard in my life as I have over the past few weeks! Aicha and I have been proper troopers in getting everything done on time and it has literally been non stop! There have been a few obstacles along the way as well, namely when I began to re-paint the lounge ceiling and the old layer of paint underneath started peeling off which meant I had to scrape the entire ceiling before I could paint it!.....................that's a job I hope never to have to do again!

Once the decorating was done it was time to put all the furniture together. We had sold all of our furniture when we left England so we basically had to buy everything. I had already bought a sofa so Aicha went to IKEA with her Mum to place an order and have it all delivered on the Friday before we were due to move in. Building furniture is something I actually enjoy doing but when its 5 or 6 big things and time is against you, it can become a little stressful................particular when you do something wrong and you have to take everything apart and start again!! I also thought it would be something Aicha and I could enjoy doing together but all we did was end up bickering! We were both trying to do the same thing but in two different ways! We were getting on each other nerves so much that in the end we decided that we would work much better if we just worked on our own!...................so I put together the bed and TV unit and she did the chairs and bookcase!!

But as they say hard work pays off and we have now officially moved in and I have to say I am very pleased with the work we have done. Neither myself nor Aicha have not really decorated before and I was worried that it would show but in fact everything looks really good. There is the odd mistake here and there but you would only see them if I pointed them out. It was quite stressful at times, particularly when we were wallpapering the bedroom, which again was something we hadn't done before, but whilst we found it difficult we got there in the end................then it was time to put our feet up!



I did think about putting some pictures on the blog of our progress but I thought it best to wait until everything is done then post a few before and after shots. We still have some small jobs to do, a few pictures and lights to put up etc, but once we have done that I will post a few snaps of our new home.....................the one above is just a teaser!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

So Far, So Near........

I have been excited all this week for 2 reasons.................well actually 3 reasons. Firstly, the league season for The Tudor Arms had reached its climax and the championship decider was to be played on Friday night. Then on Saturday Aicha and I had tickets to The Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival. Then thirdly, but most importantly, it was now under a week until we get the keys to the new apartment!!!

Unfortunately Friday night did not go to plan for The Tudor Arms. A win would have secured the title and it was looking like it was our night when we took the lead early in the second half. But with less than 7 minutes remaining Ursvik equalized. A draw would give the advantage in the title race back to Ursvik, as they would be champions providing they won their final match. But worst was to follow as with 3 minutes remaining Ursvik scored a second goal and effectively ended our title chances. It was a cruel blow to everyone and it was very tough to take considering we had been literally minutes away from victory. Still, that's football! I have to say that Ursvik were worthy winners and if we were to lose to anybody I'm glad it was to them. It didn't make the defeat any easier to take but as I said before we have had a tremendous season and we should all be proud to have achieved what we did. After the match the players all went back at the Pol Hem pub in Fridhemsplan where we discussed all the 'ifs' and 'buts' from the game.......................but after a few drinks the mood picked up and everyone was laughing and joking again!

Saturday morning I woke up with a slight hangover but what made me feel better was knowing that Aicha was suffering too so I wasn't the only one!! Aicha had been out on Friday night with Calle's sister Sara and cocktails were the main weapon of choice!! Although I'm not sure if it was the cocktails that were causing her headaches or the fact that her bank balance had taken a considerable battering..........................cocktails are not exactly cheap in Sweden!! To make ourselves feel better I suggested that we eat lunch out at an 'all you can eat' restaurant. My hangover food is sushi so we headed to a Mongolian place we knew in the city.....................it was just what we needed!!

After lunch we headed to the Beer & Whiskey Festival which our friend Josephine had arranged tickets for. Josephine works for Heineken and she had many of her brands featured at the festival so she was able to get us the tickets. We got there around 4pm and it was already packed! There were two halls in the building, both of which were full of stalls. Although it was called 'The Beer & Whiskey Festival', there were lots of other things being sold, such as liquors, liquorice and cheese.

I had never been to one of these events before but the routine was pretty straight forward. When you arrive you are given a beer glass and whiskey glass then you just go around trying all the beers and whiskey!! Each beer taster cost around £2 but for that you got about a third of a pint. The first hall we walked around just sold mainly beer, which was fine for me but not so much for Aicha so after a couple of tasters we headed to the other hall.....................which turned out to be much better! The other hall was less crowded and had much more variety. It also had places to sit like in a regular bar which the other hall did not. For us that was a big plus as we were both still quite tired from the previous night!! Aicha did manage to get a couple of pictures though.....................


 



We had arranged to hook up with our friend Tom and his work colleagues around 6pm, which we did manage to do, but after sinking some Mojitos, Amaretto and a few more beers we were knackered so we decided to head home. I really enjoyed the afternoon there and I would definitely go again if it comes back next year. I think we would go on a weekday though as the only downside to it was that it was so busy. Both Aicha and I can feel a bit uncomfortable when there are too many people around so next time we will go on the Friday.

As mentioned we will soon be picking up the keys to the new apartment and today we have been shopping for all of the things we need to decorate. We don't need to do too much work the place other than painting and wall papering. We will be putting feature walls in both the lounge and our bedroom so we spent today collecting all the equipment we needed. I haven't wall papered before but I've seen it done and I'm sure it can't be too difficult!!


It feels that everything is falling into place now. My job is going really well and in 5 days time we officially take ownership of our new home! I estimate that it will take us the best part of a week to get the work done but we have both taken Friday off work so most of it should be done by the end of next weekend. Our aim is to move in the following weekend, which is when all of our furniture is being delivered.

It seems so close now but its been a long time coming. We had our offer accepted at the beginning of June so it has been over 4 months of waiting. So far, so near....................

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Calle's Birthday & Football Focus

Last weekend was our friend Calle's 30th birthday and to commemorate this milestone in his life he decided to host a birthday party at Norrmälärstrands Bar in town on the Saturday night. Aicha and Calle go back a long way as they used to work together and since I have moved here to Sweden I have got to know him quite well.....................plus the guy can drink!!

We arrived at the party around 7:30pm and it turned out that most of the guests had already been drinking since around 3pm so everyone was pretty merry!! I had met Calle's brother Jimmie and his sister Sara before but other than them and his friend Richard I did not know anyone. Still, I never really knew anyone when I moved here and that never stopped me!! It was another opportunity to make some new friends!!

We had a sit down meal first of all, which consisted of beef steak and potato wedges, then once we had eaten there was normal tradition of singing 'happy birthday'. Since moving to Sweden I have been involved in several birthday celebrations and I am now fully up to speed with how to sing happy birthday in swedish..................or so I thought! I was happily singing along then from out of nowhere came a second and third verse!! This really threw me as I felt quite good about myself having sung correctly the first verse but I had no idea that there was more to the song!! It reminded me of when I found out the our National Anthem had six verses!!

Once the happy birthdays were sung and the customary speeches were out of way, it was time to mingle. Whilst Aicha was catching up with some old faces I was busy working the room trying to strike up a conversation. Most of the blokes I spoke to were die hard football fans so it was actually quite easy to make conversation!! I really enjoyed the party and I got to meet some really cool guys. Ever so often whilst we were talking I was handed a shot by someone which over the course of the evening turned into about 5 or 6!! I even bought a round of shots myself at one point!! Downing shots is not something I would normally do but I couldn't let these swedish blokes think I'm a pussy so I necked them thus not to lose face!

I regretted it the next morning though as I had the worst hangover I've had in a long time!! The strange thing was that when we left the party around midnight I don't remember feeling that drunk! The Sunday morning though was horrendous! I couldn't eat or drink anything through the fear of being sick..................which I was a few times!! I had the worst headache imaginable .....................which was made worse by Aicha telling me that she felt 'as right as rain'! We were having Aicha's cousin Samir over for dinner that afternoon and I was really worried that I would be in no fit state to eat! Luckily for me I started feeling better around dinner time, so I was able to join the dinner table with no problems..................abeit somewhat sheepish!!

I was also quite concerned about playing football for The Tudor Arms, as we had a very important match that day! Fortunately for me it was an evening kickoff so I by the time the match came around I was back to normal...................had kick off been any earlier than 5pm I would have been screwed!!

The match was an important one because there are only two games left in the season (including this one) and we can still win the league if other results go in our favour. Going into the game we were level on points with the top team Ursvik, having played a game more, but we lying in second place by way of goal difference. Every game for us at the moment is like a cup final and this was made even more so by Ursvik being held to a 2-2 draw earlier in the day. This meant that if we won then we would go top of the league by 2 points going into the last game. The last game of the season is tomorrow night against.................yep, you guess it! Ursvik!!

The fact that Ursvik had dropped 2 points would have meant nothing if we did not get the win we needed to take it to it to the final game. I knew before the game that Ursvik had drawn but the manager told me not to tell my team-mates as he did not want to put more pressure on them. It was a good move by him actually because we eventually won the game 5-2, but the result wasn't quite as convincing as the scoreline suggests because 3 of our goals were scored in the last 10 minutes!!. We were behind twice and conceeded a late penalty when we were narrowly leading 3-2. Luckily for us they produced a shocking penalty which I was able to save with ease!!

After the match the manager informed the team of the Ursvik score, which had everyone chomping at the bit. This now means that if we win tomorrow night then we are champions, no matter what result they get in their final game. If we draw then they can pip us to the title in the last game so we have to win to make sure. It feels much better knowing that your fate now rests in your own hands rather than having to rely on ther teams to do you a favour. I am a winner and I am proper fired up for this game tomorrow! I can't wait play! I have won many trophies playing in England but it will mean a lot to win a trophy in my first season here.

Win or lose it has been a fantastic season. The Tudor Arms have never won this league throughout their entire 40 year history so to come this close is an achievement in itself. I'm sure whatever the result we will all be out for a few beers after.................but no shots!!!!

C'MON THE TUDOR!!!!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Gothenburg

Another weekend, another journey! This time it was to Gothenburg with the missus. Before the summer we had a pencilled down a few places that we intended to visit and Gothenburg was on the list. I think now we have ticked off everything with the exception of Kolmården Wildlife Park, which hopefully we will get to see before the winter comes. If not we can always push it back to next year, although we are intending to go to The States in the spring so it may have to go on the 'back burner' for a while!

We left by train for Gothenburg early Friday morning and the journey took approximately 4 hours. The portable DVD player which I got for my birthday came in very handy! We arrived around midday and booked straight into our hotel, which was located above the train station..............again very handy! We dropped the bags off then headed out to explore the city. We walked to a place called 'Avenyn' (The Avenue), which is probably the most famous street in Gothenburg and is bang in the middle of everything. Most big cities have a street like this...................it's about half a mile long and littered with bars, clubs and restaurants! There is also a series of canals flowing through city, which were quite picturesque.............




After eating lunch we walked around for a few more hours then headed back to hotel to chill out before the evening activities began. We decided to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant but before we dined we headed to a little cocktail bar called 'Drinks 22' for a few......erm......cocktails! Aicha was on the Cosmopolitans and I had a little something of I do not know what! It was very nice though! 




After dinner we went on a bit of a pub crawl and ended up quite tipsy by the end of the night. By the time we hit the last bar of the evening I was on the Jack Daniels so it was no surprise really that I decided to throw my money into the fruit machines! But surprisingly within 10 minutes of putting in a 50 kronor (that's about a fiver to you English folk) I was up 400! To collect you winnings its not like back home where the coins drop out the bottom. Here you are given a receipt which you cash at the bar. I cashed out and bought a few more drinks, although unsurprisingly it wasn't long before I was skint again, as I put most of my winnings into another machine and lost!! Mental note kids..............'Always quit whilst your ahead!'.

The next day we decided to go to 'Liseberg', which is a theme park located in the centre of the city. Before that though we decided to go to place called 'Gothia Towers' for lunch (and cocktails!). The restaurant was on the top floor of the building and had a great view of the city. Not only did we read that they had great views from the restaurant, we also read that their deluxe prawn sandwiches were awesome so we ordered one to share. Unfortunately it did not live up to expectation as the sandwich mainly consisted of mayonnaise (although the prawns did well to conceal that fact!). The cocktails we had were nice though. The drink I ordered was a Japanese take on a long island iced tea. Very tasty indeed! I can't remember if Aicha enjoyed her cocktail or not but I do know that she did not enjoy being asked to pay to collect her coat from the cloakroom!! When we arrived at the restaurant the guy at the entrance told us that coats where not allowed in the restaurant and that Aicha could put hers in the cloakroom. Not at any point did he mention that she would have to pay 20 kronor for the privilege! How can a place have a rule against having coats then charge you for it?? If we chose to put our coats in the cloakroom then fine charge us but charging for having to put our coats in there? They can do one!...................which is exactly what Aicha told them to do!!







After lunch we headed to Liseberg which was across the road from 'Gothia Towers'. Now Aicha is not a great thrill seeker like me and does not go on the fast rides...................but that wasn't going to stop me so I ordered the full day pass at the entrance which allows you to go on everything! The first thing we went on was the big ferris wheel. At the top you could see over the whole park. The thing I noticed was that unlike the theme parks back home which are built on a flat piece of land, this place was built on a hill! After that Aicha and I went our separate ways for a while whilst I began queuing for the thrill rides. As this was a Saturday the queues were quite long, so whilst I was queuing Aicha spent her time going around the games machines trying to win chocolate!! She won about 3 large packs in the end I think!!

I didn't manage to go on everything as it was far too busy but I just about got my moneys worth I think. The highlight for me was a ride called 'Atmos Fear', which is one of those rides where you are slowly taken up a tall spire then dropped from the top. This thing was about 200 feet tall and I remember thinking as I got about half way up 'why the hell did I do this??'!!! Once it dropped, the fall seemed to last forever but I had the most amazing buzz afterwards!! I got a few pictures from the day, can you guess which one of me was taken on 'Atmos Fear'.................?




At around 4:30pm we decided to leave Liseberg and head back towards the hotel. That particular weekend there was a music festival in Gothenburg, with several famous Swedish artists playing free concerts all across the city. Aicha had seen on a poster that the Swedish hiphop artist 'Timbuktu' was playing close to our hotel at 6pm, so we decided to go along to watch. I had never heard of this guy but apparently he has quite a big following in Sweden and has had lots of success. Loads of people came out to see him and I have to say he was pretty good! We only stayed for about an hour as we hadn't eaten and were quite tired but we had a good time there none the less..........

  


On Sunday it was time to go home. We checked out the hotel at around 11:30am and headed down to the train station to see if we could take an earlier train back to Stockholm, as the tickets we had were for 4:30pm. Unfortunately for us the tickets could not be transferred so we had to wait it out. Whilst I didn't relish the idea of having to kill four hours, it did mean I was able to watch the Italian Grand Prix in a bar......................and it was a belter!! Not sure if Aicha would agree though!!