Monday, 29 April 2013

Lindie Lila - Sisters Of The Moon

It was with great anticipation that I opened up my package from Lindie Lila today. It was a copy of her new album, Sisters Of The Moon which came with lovely packaging.

Lindie Lila - Sisters Of The Moon

The latest album from Lindie Lila is a joy to the ears full of uplifting spiritual chants and middle eastern rhythms. Here’s the track run down:

Blessings - this track kicks things off in an upbeat way with an infectious chant. it is a very uplifting chant that would work well in a group due to it's simple structure. It actually made me feel very emotional the first time I hear it, such is it’s power.

Sisters Of The Moon - a nice simple track with a catchy hook. Quite relaxed so

Lady Water - a chilled track that would be perfect for meditation and relaxation. Put this on to chill in the bath surrounded by candles.

May The Circle Be Open - a wonderful interpretation of a common chant.

Lorelei - another track that would be good for relaxing and meditating. Beautifully haunting piano and violin opening. There is an ebb and flow to this track akin to waves on the ocean.

Gayatri Mantra - this beautiful track has a very new age feel to it mixed with a middle eastern backdrop. Another for the relaxation and meditation playlist.

Goddess Fertility - back to the chant style with this one. A simple easy to learn chorus that can be easily used in ritual.

Starlight's Keep - another flowing new age feel track but with a ritual style chant. Quite laid back and would be good for a ritual that requires focus.

Aphrodite - that middle eastern feel returns in a song that could easily be release as a pop song.

If you are fan of Linda Lila’s other work (Moondance and Return Of The Goddess) then you will not be disappointed with this album. Personally I think this is her strongest album yet.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Who, Serial Killers and Witches....and BBQ!

... cos that's how we roll! It was a lazy day today, a good chance to chill out.

The day kicked off with left over chubby cheeseburgers and a mountain of bacon and Doctor Who from last night. I saw a lot of negative posts about this on Facebook but I thought Journey To The Centre Of The Tardis was a decent episode and really enjoyed it. I think some people just take it too seriously.

Having regained the serial killer bug from the Hannibal TV show we decided to watch a couple of the films today. It was a full Lecter fest but we did do The Silence Of The Lambs and Hannibal.

The Silence Of The Lambs is a fantastic film and I never get tired of watching it. It certainly stands the test of time and is a classic in my book.

Hannibal was a pretty good sequel. It was a shame that they couldn't get Jodie Foster back in as Clarice Starling but Julianne Moore did an admirable job considering the whole she had to fill.

Next on the viewing list was The Witches starring Anjelica Huston. Based on the Roald Dahl book, this one hasn't stood the test of time and we actually aborted half way thourgh. Made by Jim Henson Productions there are some cool prosthetics but it does look somewhat dated.

We finished up on The Witches Of Eastwick. This one is another classic for me. Great story, great acting and production and just a really enjoyable ride.

It's sometimes good to catch up on old films. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing and you can either fully remember why things were so great or why you thought they were good in the first place. We did pretty well today with three out of four films giving us a warm glow and one leaving us less than impressed!

I forgot to mention in yesterdays blog that Sam and I also cleaned out both cars with Sam coming out with the wonderful quote, "Cleaning begets cleaning" as he grumbled about having to help out. The plan had been just to do the one car and then it turned into both of them! I was reminded of this today when he had to wait for the start of Hannibal as I did some cleaning in the kitchen that he thought could wait LOL

Dinner was an amazing blend of ribs and kebabs all prepared by Sam and Toni at home and then cooked on the BBQ. Oh yes, tonight we dined like Kings and Queens!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Busy productive day

Today was a busy and productive day. We started off with a trip to Boots to get hair dying stuff and then Toni was off to SpecSavers for a contact lens training session. Unlike me with my squinty eyes she had no problem getting them in and out and back in again so will be trying them out before going back for a check again on Thursday.Wish I could do them that easily!

Next stop was Halfords to pick up a new battery for the Polo before we can get it serviced and an MOT done. After that we whizzed off to Deptford market to do our food shopping. We spent a little bit of time with Jade and then we returned home with a hundred weight of meat and veg! That should keep us going for a while.

When we got home we took some time out to chill and rest for a while before I decided it was time to change the Polo battery. My plans were thwarted somewhat by an annoying retaining bolt that I could shift. I didn't have a socket set and couldn't enough purchase on it to shift the damn thing. Two neighbours later and we were armed with a new spanner that fitted and with a bit of brute force from Sam the bolt was loosened and removed. After that it was plain sailing and the old battery was removed and the new one inserted and all necessary connectors tightened up. It was so satisfying to hear the car start up again and tick over nicely! Just got to get it booked in for the service and MOT now which we'll be arranging on Monday!

We caught up with the two episodes of Hannibal that were broadcast this week. It's turning out to be a really  intriguing series that is turning out to be pretty strong. Tomorrow we'll be hitting a couple of the films!

The night was spent eating Toni's amazing homemade chubby cheeseburgers, drinking Jeremiah Weed and watching the New York Rangers tonk the New Jersey Devils 4 - 0 in their final regular season game. Next week the Play Offs begin, hell yeah!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

New York Rangers make the Play Offs (just)

We'll skip that boring work stuff today. The boiler is still broken!

Highlight of the day was watching New York Rangers versus Carolina Hurricanes. Having blown their chance to clinch a Play Off spot on Tuesday night the Rangers were left with two games to get the job done. Nothing but a win would be enough. They kicked things off by coming out all guns blazing and ended the first period with a 2 - 0 lead. This was exactly what I had wanted to see. Sadly the wheels fell off at that point as the Hurricanes turned things around and finished the second period at 2 - 2. It didn't get any better in the third period as the Hurricanes continued to dominate and took a 3 - 2 lead.With a mere 02:57 left on the clock the Rangers finally managed to score again and the third period ended tied 3 - 3 and into overtime went.

Given how well the Hurricanes had been playing in a nothing game I was pretty worried and they didn't let up in overtime either. Fortunately at 02:55 Rangers captain Ryan Callahan got the job done with a great goal. There was much rejoicing at this point! At least the final game of the regular season against New Jersey Devils on Saturday won't have to be a critical one. The only difference this game will make will be who the Ranger end up facing in the first Play Off games.

Talk about making it hard work. Hopefully the Rangers will learn from their recent games (and some fairly bad mistakes) and pull things together so that they actually have a chance in the Play Offs. At the moment I am not convinced that they'll get very far although I am more than happy to be proved wrong!

Let's Go Rangers!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Long day and that bloody boiler!

It was a long day today. Although I had planned on going in later that didn't actually happen so I started at my normal time. The day finished with a presentation that was scheduled between five and seven. It was actually a pretty interesting meeting and despite the insistence of Billy Smart to keep talking when he didn't need to lots of valuable information was gained. It also gave us a good opportunity to start networking with other people within the company without the reliance on other people opening doors for us. After the meeting a number of us popped down to the pub for a quick drink which was a nice way to wind down afterwards.

Got home to the wonderful news that our bloody boiler still has problems. It had started spaffing water again. An engineer had come back today and told us that it really does need replacing. It doesn't meet a number of regulations plus he had to replace a number of other parts (one of which was a balloon valve that had been capped off!). After all that it still didn't work properly. The pressure problem seemed to have been sorted out and it was no longer leaking but the hot water was there for a couple of minuted and would then fluctuate between tepid and cold. Not what you need with a house full of people that want to have baths/showers! This little saga is going to roll and roll! We are keeping our fingers crossed that it might settle down and be OK tomorrow!

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Grumpy day, Chinese, WWE RAW and The Borgias

Twas a grumpy day for me today. Probably shouldn't have got up but I had to work. Things started badly with me taking something that was probably a nothing and making it into something far more sinister! I did calm down a little after that.

Working day proceeded OK until late afternoon when a gas engineer arrived to do a safety inspection. Things seemed to be going well as I could hear Toni talking to the engineer in the kitchen. I heard her telling him not to let the boiler pressure go too high as we had problems before. He then checked out the gas fire in the living room when suddenly the PC went dead. The main electircal ring had blown. Our crappy boiler had struck again as the pressure had kept increasing and then caused a leak in the kitchen which had got into the electric spur and blown the fuse.

The poor old engineer really didn't know what to do and was so embarrassed. He made numerous attempts at getting the electricity back but to no avail while there was still water dripping out. It took about an hour for things to dry out enough for the power to be able to be switched back on successfully without the fuse being tripped again!

Finally I managed to get myself back online to finish work only to have to start looking at mopping a mess that I had been left due to misinformation. Nothing like being stitched up by your superiors LOL. Tomorrow's blog will either report my success in dealing with this unexpected situation or there will be more gnashing of teeth if it is still outstanding. Fingers crossed it is the former!

Due to the electrics being blown our dinner plans were changed in favour of a Chinese. WWE RAW from the O2 kicked off our evening. Good to see the London crowd getting right into things. We decided that we'll be back to watch the WWE on tour in 2014.

Rolled out the night with two excellent episode of The Borgias. Never mind the distortion of history, this series remains well written, well acted, compelling and actually quite addictive. Roll on the next episode!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Going up!

Well today it was a ten floor increase as I moved from the 16th to the 26th! Our desks are slightly smaller up there so it's a little more cramped than it was downstairs. The view however is much better up there.

I also got excited when I found that there were still unisex toilets on the new floor. I was less happy though after having used them once finding they were locked. One enquiry later and I was informed that they are always kept locked (except the one time I used them it seems) as they are exclusively for the use of the MD and his visitors. This was a major disappointment for me, the unisex toilets on the 16th floor were a marvel. Now I have to face the awkwardness of using the gender specific toilet or taking a lot longer and returning to the 16th for my loo visits! Fucksocks!

The pain of toilet hell was taken away when I got home with a serious TV catch up:
Game Of Thrones
Once Upon A Time
Doctor Who
Da Vinci's Demons

Game Of Thrones just continues to be really well made (and a good fit with the books apparently). The Once Upon A Time story moves along nicely each week with a few surprises always hidden away. Doctor Who was OK, not the best episode ever but still not bad. Hopefully it will bounce back next week. Da Vinci's Demons is very silly but still makes a damn fine bit of fun TV and that's what it's all about anyway, entertainment!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Chelmsford Chieftains do the double!

It was off to Chelmsford again tonight for the second leg of the ENL South 1 Play Off Final. The Chieftains went into this game with a 4 - 3 advantage have managed to get the win against Wightlink Raiders last night.

I was up for full participation today so went armed with my trusty sieve ready for the Goalie, Sieve chant. It was a fantastic game, edge of the seat stuff with the Raiders running the Chieftains close. Fortunately Chieftains always managed to keep their one goal advantage. I did  get a chance to drag out the Goalie, Sieve chant three times though which was well received! The last minute was squeaky bum time as Wightlink pulled their netminder at 3 - 3 for the extra forward on the ice. Despite a phenomenal effort from Wightlink they couldn't managed to get the extra goal to push things to overtime.

There were celebrations all over the rink as the buzzer went and Chelmsford Chieftains were declared ENL South 1 Play Off Champions to go along with their ENL South 1 League title.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

SpecSavers, shaving heads, ice hockey and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Disappointment

It was off to SpecSavers this morning. Toni had an eye test and I was picking up my second pair. Just before we left we had a leaflet posted through the door with a voucher for a £5 eye test so Toni ended up saving money before she had even started. It took a little longer than expected as she was offered a free contact lens test as well which she was delighted about when it became clear that she could wear them!

After SpecSavers we headed off to Coffee Town and met Jamie there for lunch. I won't bore you with what we ate but it was delicious. After lunch we headed back home. Toni had agreed to sort out Jamie's hair and as it was a lovely day she decided to do it in the garden. We ran an extension cable through the kitchen window and Toni clippered away. As it was quite long Toni had great fun with it before finally going for the big shave.

The afternoon was spent watching ice hockey. We started off with the game that we passed on last night. Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers. What a game. Rangers came out with a 4 - 8 victory and managed to score 5 goals in 2 minutes and 58 seconds. Following that we went live to watch New Jersey Devils defeat Florida Panthers 6 - 2. This was a disappointing result as I really want the Devils to lose! LOL While all this was going on I was catching up with tweets of the Wightlink Raiders v Chelmsford Chieftains game to get a handle on how things are likely to start out tomorrow. Thankfully Chelmsford will be heading into the second leg of the Play Off Final with a one goal advantage after a 3 - 4 on the Isle of Wight.

The day was rounded off with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I was dreading watching it as I'd heard mixed views on it. It wasn't a good film for me.It was very slow in places and seemed unnecessarily bloated with scenes that were there for no reason and it was way too long. The landscapes and scenery was stunning as we'd expect from a Peter Jackson Tolkien film but some of the effects and CGI were a little ropey which really surprised me. They were more like cut scenes from a video game so not really good enough to suggest reality when compared to the real live action going on around it. I won't even go into the artistic licence that Jackson has played on the story!. If they could have managed to cut the running time down this would have been much better.

When they announced that this adaption was being made in three parts I was not happy. Clearly the Tolkien franchise is a licence to print money. This first part ran to nearly three hours. Hard to believe that they are going to make this trilogy of a short book run for somewhere between six and nine hours! Hopefully the next segment will be shorter and might restore my faith a little. The really annoying thing about splitting it up is that it will be ages before the whole thing can be watched back to back in its entirety to actual get the full story. Still, roll on 13th December 2013 when we get to see part two, The Desolation Of Smaug. The final part is not out until December 2014 so it will be 2015 before we get the complete thing! Bastards!

Here's a nice trailer for the film:

If you are interested in the things that were changed for this film then there is a very interesting write up here:

Friday, 19 April 2013

Moving day at the office and El Bandito

It was moving day at the office today. We are all going up in the world now. We are currently on the 16th floor of The Gherkin but as of Monday we will all be up on the 26th! Woohoo, better view for me! The morning was spent doing proper stuff and the second half of the afternoon was spent emptying the contents of pedestals into crates and then labelling up PCs, monitors and various other bits to make sure they end up in the correct place ready for when we come in on Monday morning. Will it be mission successful? Watch this space.....

Cooking was rejected tonight and we headed out to El Bandito for some Tex Mex goodness. We decided to go with the flow and embrace the night and so willingly accepted hats to wear for the duration of our meal:

Chilli beef nachos and loaded skins kicked things off and then we all indulged in the El Bandito speciality, Chick N Ribs combo. You just can't go wrong with that meal. Sam and I finished things off with waffles and Toni had ice cream. It was hard to move afterwards as we were all so full!

We caught up with The Vampire Diaries and then started watching the latest episode of Hannibal during Toni and I both managed to fall asleep! The plan had been to stay up and watch the Sabres v Rangers game but this was abandoned in favour of getting some sleep!

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Time for another new show. This time it was the double length pilot of Defiance.

The series is set in the near future, where aliens known collectively as Votans have come to Earth seeking a new home after their solar system was destroyed. However, when they reached Earth, they discovered despite a prolonged negotiation with the government on Earth, they were not welcome. Rather than turn away, they began a war with the humans as they are determined to make Earth their new home. During the war, the Votans drop terraformers on the planet and transform the surface of the planet; scorching the earth, opening chasms in the ground and covering the surface of the planet in dust and debris. After decades of war, a ceasefire is declared when both sides realise they must focus on survival on this new almost alien planet. The series largely revolves around the character of Jeb Nolan. Jeb was only ten years old when the Votans arrived and he served in the military during the war. With the war now over, he returns to his hometown of St Louis to find it's is no longer the city he left; it is little more than refugee camp. Deciding his services are needed, Jeb takes up a position as the Chief Lawkeeper in Defiance, so he can protect the town from dangerous clashes between humans, aliens, military scavengers and other dangerous visitors who occasionally enter the town.

This was a fantastic pilot. The show really has a massive amount of potential and I just hope it survives the brutal world of TV executives. It was a good old fashioned sci-fi yarn with some reasonable effects and a potential story arc that could work well.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Da Vinci's Demons

It was new series time tonight with Da Vinci's Demons being our viewing choice. This historical fantasy tells the untold story of Leonardo Da Vinci inventing the future.  The first episode showed some great promise and looks to be a great little yarn based on nothing but Da Vinci's drawings and the imagination of the writers. Definitely one to keep a quiet eye on!

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Let's go Chieftains!

Having well and truly got the hockey bug back at the EIHL Play Off Weekend Toni and I decided to head to Chelmsford today to watch the Chieftains in the 2nd leg of their Play Off semi final against Invicta Dynamos. Ironically Invicta are probably our 'local' team but I couldn't possibly switch team allegiances so Chieftains support it was!

With the Chieftains coming into the game with a 2-3 advantage this was a cracking game. At 2-0 it looked as though Chelmsford didn't have much to worry about. It wasn't long before it was 2-2 and then we really had a game on our hands!

It was a grinding, hard fought game. It went end to end with goals galore. The Chieftains made it hard work but this was what Play Off hockey is all about. The final result was 7-6 meaning Chelmsford made it through to the finals 10-8 on aggregate. In the other semi final Romford Raiders were knocked out by Wightlink Raiders setting in a Chelmsford v Wightlink final.

It was great to be back at Chelmsford after a two year absence. Lots of friendly faces welcomed is back. We'll be back next weekend for the final game. I might even dust off the old sieve!

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Argo, new hair, Kervans and New York Rangers

Our morning kicked off with bacon and sausage sandwiches and Argo. This was a dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran. Directed by, and starring, Ben Affleck it was actually very good. The whole thing was shot beautifully and despite knowing what actually happened at the end you couldn't help but feel the tension in the closing minutes! Massive thumbs up from me and I definitely recommend it to everyone.

In the afternoon Toni, Jade and I headed off to North London to see Sara and Christian for some new hair cuts. As usual Sara did us proud.

We had a fantastic evening which was all rounded off very nicely with a trip to Kervan's. They've introduced the Kervan Extra Special now which is even bigger than the Special that Toni and I used to share. This meant that we could share it with Jade. It was so big that Jade ended up with a mass of food that she took away that will keep her going for a couple of days!

We dropped Jade off at her house and then we went home and had a caffeine kick and settled down to watch New York Rangers squeeze a 1 - 0 overtime win out of their arch rivals New York Islanders. It was a close tense match but thankfully the Rangers were victorious even though they had to push it to overtime sadly.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Change of plans and Close Encounters!

Sometimes the best laid plans fall apart. We had intended on heading over to see a friend of ours unveil her latest video to the world. Sadly, due to be let down by someone this plan had to be cancelled. This was not pleasing to us but I guess these things do happen!.

Here's the video in question now that it has been made public:

Instead we settled down and watched the Director's Cut of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. I haven't watched this film for years and I'd forgotten just how good it was. There are bits of it that seem a little dated but it still stands up as an epic science fiction movie. Just in case you have never seen this film before here's a little teaser to try and convince you to see it!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

More migration stuff and The Fifth Element

So confusion started to reign supreme at work as the Google migration continued. It's amazing how many supposedly clever technology people were baffled by the concepts of Google Apps For Business. It's going to be an interesting few months as people get used to the change. Hopefully it won't take them long to pick it all up. I had to explain a few concepts to some people today and they did seem to be able to see the potential advantages in what we are doing.

In sync news I finally managed to get my iPhone working with the newly migrated system. I didn't do anything that I hadn't tried yesterday (even used all the same settings) so am not sure if I just got lucky today or if some administrator threw a switch somewhere as my migration was complete. Whatever it was I am now very happy to have my devices integrating flawlessly with Google across the phone and desktop, in the office and out. RESULT!

The Fifth Element was our entertainment of choice tonight. Haven't watched the film for years but it still stands up as a great piece of science fiction. If you haven't seen this film before then where have you been? Watch it, it's great! It's worth it just for DJ Ruby Rhod alone!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Migration with a syncing feeling!

Today was migration day at work. The company has made the decision to move away from Microsoft's Exchange Server in favour of Google Apps For Business. Lots of people were a little apprehensive about the move but I was behind it from day one so was glad when the chance came to finally migrate.

The email that things were ready came first thing I and I didn't hang about. Archive current email in Outlook, change password, login to Google site and then set up the sync software. Email was a breeze and after about thirty minutes I was able to access my newly migrated email on both the Google website and also in Outlook. Contacts were instant with no problems.

The calendar migration however was not so good! First pass manged to sync up a couple of calendar items but with errors. I was told a second sync would fix this. Sadly this was not the case. After the second run I had most of my calendar items but somehow it had managed to lose three scheduled meetings and still some errors. Our IT department had no idea how to resolve this so I tried get invited to them again. Sadly this was no good as the sync still threw up errors and then deleted the items.

In a last ditch attempt I went for the clear and start again route and I managed to get all my calendar minus the three meetings syncing without any errors. This time round another set of invites was successful and suddenly I was all synced up and fully migrated to Google Apps. We have the option to continue to use Outlook for email and calendars but I went straight to the web interface as I am very used to them and find them easier to use.

The only thing left was to get my iPhone syncing up to pick up my calendar and emails but after a number of failed attempts even though I had the correct settings I decided to put that little bit off until tomorrow.

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Back to the office, automation, RAW and Big Bang Theory

It was back to the office today. It's always a real come down after having a long weekend!

We have a couple of guys over from Vancouver at the moment (my boss and his #1) to keep us entertained. Could prove to be an interesting week LOL

A lot of my day was spent banging my head against the wall with some test automation. Management love automated testing but have no real concept of how it deskills testers and creates programmers not to mention the maintenance overheads that it creates. It would appear to be a necessary evil though and does have it's uses in small doses so we'll keep pressing on with it.

Having watched Wrestlemania last night we had to catch up with RAW.It wasn't a bad show and it was so nice to see a vociferous crowd that were more in favour of the heels rather than the faces which made for some interesting reactions during the matches. An additional bonus was the absence of The Rock which can only be a good thing in my book!

Chocolate, tea and Big Bang Theory rounded the day off!

Monday, 8 April 2013

RIP Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Spices, returning home and Wrestlemania 29

I posted this on Facebook yesterday when I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher had died. I had an inkling that Facebook would be full of horrible bile and vitriol and I wasn't wrong so I felt the need to post the following: "RIP Margaret Thatcher. Whilst I may not have been her number one fan during her active political years I am not going to join the sad lemming bandwagon in suggesting parties and celebrations. She was an old woman who was very ill. If you think that you are valid political adjutant then do something about the current government rather than picking on someone who hasn't actually been involved for twenty one years."

I was saddened to see how many of many friends felt the need to spout forth a load of disrespectful stuff. Whilst I appreciate that the Iron Lady didn't exactly make herself popular during her terms of office I was still amazed at how much anger people had considering that people seem quite happy to let Cameron and company rip apart society as we know it today.

We took mum out for lunch at Jimmy Spices before heading back to London. Needless to say there was a lot of food consumed as is befitting of the wonders of the buffet style restaurant!

Our evening was finished off with Wrestlemania 29. This wasn't a bad little pay per view. There were a couple of OK matches and some really good ones. Orton, Sheamus and Big Show versus The Shield was a reasonable starter and I was delighted to see The Shield pick up the victory. The Miz versus Barrett was quite good and it was nice to see a title change hands. Jericho v Fandango was piss poor. I really hated this and I was surprised that even Jericho wasn't able to carry Fandango and make this match good. Hopefully that little feud will be short lived. Although it was not a match full of great moves I was pleased to see Mark Henry snuff out Ryback. This was purely a battle of strength. It was no surprise to see Team Hell No defeat Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston. Ziggler shouldn't be getting in used in ad hoc tag team when he is a true main event singles performer. Alberto Del Rio v Jack Swagger was not a great match but at least Del Rio retained his belt. This is another feud that needs to end soon, it's gone on too long and is boring.

Match of the night for me was CM Punk v The Undertaker. There was no way that The Undertaker was going to walk away from this without a 21 - 0 record of Wrestlemania wins but both men put on great performances and sold the bout well even if the end wasn't really in doubt. There were lots of close calls and nice little twists and turns before The Undertaker finally pulled off the final Tombstone and took out CM Punk.

Brock Lesnar v HHH was a brutal slugfest. It wasn't an elegant match but it was entertaining including Lesnar's failed ROAR! I was surprised that HHH won as I had figured this was the perfect opportunity for him to take on his backstage role full time but I guess it leave Lesnar with something to prove going forward.

Final match was John Cena v The Rock for the WWE Championship. I am not a fan of either wrestler but I'll take Cena over The Rock any day. This was not a wrestling classic and was quite poor for a main event match, it was more like a battle of the finishing moves. I was delighted (and surprised at the same time) to see John Cena walk away with the belt. I really thought that the WWE would let The Rock retain it but I'm glad they didn't. No doubt he'll be skipping off back to Hollywood soon.

So there you have it. It wasn't a classic Wrestlemania. It lacked some of the sparkle and strong matches from previous years but it was entertaining nonetheless and well worth watching.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

EIHL Play Off Weekend - Day 2

Another early breakfast run and then it was back to the National Ice Centre for the second day of the Play Off Weekend.

BRONZE MEDAL: Devils v Blaze
Same regs as yesterday, flag girls:

Welsh anthem

British anthem

This match was truly dire. Neither team seemed to want to play it. There were NO penalties called at all and it was a really soft hitting game. I guess the views of the teams became very clear after the first period when they played the remainder of the game with their back up netminders. It was an interesting game to watch but was a VERY poor show for a play off game but fair play to both teams for giving the back ups some decent ice time. The Blaze walked away with an 11 - 5 win which is NOT the sort of score you would expect to see!

It's not often you get to catch a puck going in the net so I was VERY pleased that I managed to capture this!

PLAY OFF FINAL: Nottingham Panthers 3 Belfast Giants 2 (after overtime)
Flag girls:


Now this was Play Off hockey! It was a close fought and very hard hitting match. It was seat of your pants stuff. Panthers moved ahead and it looked like they were then when the Giants fought back to leave the game tied 2 - 2 at the end of the third period. My heart was in my throat during sudden death overtime with both teams pulling out all the stops to try and claim a win. Thankfully the Panthers managed to get the job done and emerged 2013 Play Off Champions.

Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants) receives a much deserved Man Of The Match award:

Craig Kowalski (Nottingham Panthers) also receives a well earned Man Of The Match award:

Young mascots parading flags from all the Elite League teams

Belfast Giants receive their medals:

Nottingham Panthers receive their medals and trophy:

We Are #1:

It was fantastic to be back at the NIC for the Elite League Play Off Finals Weekend. We haven't been for a while but I don't think we'll be missing any more! We are currently planning our hockey fix for the 2013/14 season come September. Panthers and Blaze had our support this weekend but next year I am hoping that the Edinburgh Capitals will finally be there and then I will be firmly behind them!

After all the excitement we went out for one last meal before driving back to Stratford-upon-Avon and spent the night at mum's.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Seeing Sophie, Scarlett and Kenzie

After the games today Sophie came and met us with Scarlett and Kenzie at the National Ice Centre. There were lots of cuddles with the kids. I cannot say how pleased I am that we could all meet up and spend time together. After a few failed attempts at getting into a restaurant we finally managed to get in to a Bella Italia for something to eat.

We all had a great time chilling out with the babies. Here they are!

Sadly our time ran out all too quickly but we have said that we will be back in a couple of months and will arrange to see them all again when we do.

EIHL Play Off Weekend - Day 1

It was a reasonably early start as we had to pop over to the pub for our breakfast as the Premier Inn that we were staying in had no catering facilities. This wasn't a problem though as the breakfast was lovely.

Suitably stocked up on food we stuck on our hockey battle gear and headed into town on the bus to the National Ice Centre.

Toni, Gemima and I headed off to our seats while mum and Sam went off to theirs.

I did manage to get a photo of mum and Sam although it was a little blurry as it was on 48x digital zoom!

We were right on the back row which is a great view although a little short on air!

Which brought us nicely onto the matches:

SEMI FINAL 1: Nottingham Panthers 6 Cardiff Devils 3
The teams came out to two flag bearers.

Next up was a ceremonial puck drop:

National anthems followed with both teams lined up on the ice:

This was pretty good match. Things started badly with the Devils getting the first goal and I had started to fear the worst. Thankfully the tide slowly turned for the Panthers and they came out victors with a 6 - 3 win.

SEMI FINAL 2: Belfast Giants 5 Coventry Blaze 1
The teams came out to two flag bearers.

National anthem followed with both teams lined up on the ice:

This match was a bit of a shocker. Coventry Blaze were very poor and Belfast completely dominated. It was very clear that this was going to be a forgone conclusion with the Giants coming out with a very easy 5 - 1 win.

It was a good start to the Play Off Weekend and Panthers v Giants in the final is going to be a really good game. It was so nice to be back at a live ice hockey match, I've missed it!