Tag Archives: Kirsty

Followtonians on tour

It’s a rarity to have as busier week as I have this week and although it has seemed somewhat chaotic and non-stop it has been nothing short of one the most amazing weeks I’ve had in a long time.

This week my friend Eric Howell and his wife Tracie came over for their first visit to Liverpool all the way from Kansas, USA. I first spoke to Eric through the world of that Twitter lark roughly about two years ago, his love for Everton yet being isolated over 3000 miles away from his spiritual home of Goodison drove him to try and start up a podcast about the club he loved. After a few weeks of working on a plan and despite being separated by 3000 miles Eric and Goodsion Park regular Ped managed to record the first episode of “FOLLOWTONIANS.” A year and a half later the podcast is still going strong, and despite not being a regular contributor to the show myself I have remained good friends with the lads behind the show, staying in touch with Eric via all forms of social media and recently getting to a few matches with Ped and his family. As this was Eric’s first trip over to Liverpool, needless to say we have been helping him plan to make the trip quite a special one.

The Howells arrived in Liverpool on Tuesday just gone and despite having to rearrange flights and make 2 separate connections they made it over for their first game at Goodison against league leaders Man City, and what a first game it was. I wasn’t at the match myself unfortunately but from what I’ve been told Eric was like a kid who just downed a 2 litre bottle of Coke and a massive bag of Jelly beans before opening his presents on Christmas morning and who can blame him, travel thousands of miles for your first game and Everton beat league leaders City 1-0 with a bracing shot from new boy Darren Gibson, followed shortly by the boss news we had actually SIGNED a player, Nikica Jelavic from Rangers, and the re-arrival of former Everton man Steven Pienaar who despite leaving under not so great circumstances has had a torrid time at Spurs and has been welcomed back at Goodison, what a way to start your holiday.

Wednesday saw myself and Eric and our other halves Tracie and Kirsty head into the City of Chester for a “classy” pub dinner (Sorry, Eric haha) followed by a nice stroll around Chester’s famous Roman Walls and despite having murder with my bank in the morning (again, sorry Eric) it was quite a nice pleasant day spent finally spending time with a friend who I’ve spoken to a million times but never actually physically met until then.

Thursday was one of the big days we were all looking forward to. A LIVE! recording of Followtonians at Walkabouts in Liverpool. The recording was attended by a good sized group of Evertonians as well as BBC Radio Merseyside’s Football pundit Alan Jackson who has on several occasions helped to “plug” the podcast on his show. A superb night was had by all, loads of drink was flowing, putting faces to fellow Everton “tweeters”, plenty of jokes and “banter” (I HATE that word), an Everton quiz with Free £5 bet slips up for grabs and just a generally great atmosphere made it a terrific night.

It was Saturday that was the icing on top of the cake for all of us. An away day down the East Lancs Road to Wigan, anyone who knows me knows that an ACTUAL away trip is a rarity for me these days, so even if it was just Wigan this was going to be a special one. The day started with a group of 7 of us including Eric, Ped and I as well as Ped’s sister Jayne, brother law Paddy and young nephew Aidan and another American chap called Nick, who is currently on leave from the US Airforce based out near Kaiserslautern in Germany, heading for a massive breakfast in some greasy spoon in West Derby near Melwood. After we all ploughed down our huge portions of bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding and the rest we headed on the short 18 mile journey to Wigan for an afternoon of booze, Everton and more booze.

Anyone who has been to Wigan will know it’s a great away day, especially if your one of the more “local” teams i.e Everton, Liverpool, United, City etc etc. It’s a ground where the home support isn’t exactly great so thereby away fans are allocated an entire stand, in other words Wigan was invaded by 4,250 Evertonians who, through conquering the snow and sleet, were all thirsty for beer and hungry for three points. Although the thirst was quenched, ALOT, the three points evaded us after a clumsy Tim Howard mistake saw Wigan lead 1-0 only for “super sub” Anichebe to seal the equaliser. Despite the crap result, poor quality of football, the freezing weather conditions, the “incident” on the concourse at half time (which I will go into in a separate post) we didn’t allow our spirits to be dampened as we headed back to Wigan’s Red Robin pub which was well and truly taken over by Everton fans on the day for more beer and laughs. All in all a great day out at Wigan with a great bunch of people and a great opportunity to once again put faces to “Twitter handles” of many Blues I’ve spoken to a million times but never had the chance to meet.

The week was topped off nicely on Saturday night with a massive group of 12 of us headed back into Liverpool for a few more drinks in the Slaughter House followed by a cracking meal at “The Restaurant” Bar & Grill in Exchange Street, Liverpool. Needless to say by the end of it all I was slightly steaming drunk, sod it, I admit I was shit faced, but it was worth it. A terrific week had with friends regular and new and I hope it won’t be too long until we get to see Eric and Tracie back on our shores again.

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So long 2011, Hello 2012

To Hell with you 2011, you sucked!!

So 2011 is over and 2012 has began. Thank christ for that, seriously I don’t want to sound cliche but 2011 was probably the worst year for me on a personal level and one of the worst years I’ve witnessed with the crumbling of society since I’ve been alive.

Here is a list of why 2011 was crap and why I reckon 2012 will be a thousand times better.

2011 saw –

*Being one of the millions unemployed in the highest rate of unemployment the UK has seen in decades

*A consistant lack of motivation

*Being in debt

*Everton falling to pieces financially

*The UK turning into a scene from the 80’s with riots throughout the country

*The rise of brain rotting television programmes such as “It’s full of crap in Essex”, “Desperate Scousetarts” and “Geordie Tits”

*The loss of some of television, film, music and sports beloved, and in some cases less appreciated, characters i.e Peter Postlethwaite, Gary Speed, Christopher Hitchens, Liz Taylor, Henry Cooper, Jimmy Saville, Nate Dogg, Joe Fraizer, Jeff Conaway and Poly Styrene to mention but a few.

*The massacre in Norway and other various civil unrest throughout the world

*Justin Bieber and his completely ridiculous fanbase

*Maggie Thatcher still alive and kicking, unfortunately.

2012 will be loads better because –

*Im getting married in July

*I’ll finally be getting settled into a place of my own

*I feel motivated to get things going again, get back into work, out of debt, get healthy etc.

*With a bit of luck some of the mind rot tv will disappear off our screens

*I’ll get to discover loads of new projects that people are putting out and hopefully get involved with (i.e new zines etc)

*Landon Donovan has returned to Everton, this is good right?

*With a bit of luck sometime this year we may finally see the demise of Maggie.

So there, that’s my screw 2011, hello 2012 list done. I mean 2011 wasn’t all that bad, I did make a heap of new friends and got to get involved in some pretty cool activities like the parties at Weavers Door in Liverpool as well as stumbling across alot of nice new clobber. However, I feel 2012 has the potential of being the best year ever. Let’s hope this time next year I’m not saying the same thing about 2012 as I did with 2011.

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Ale Trail #2

I recently read a cracking little article on one of my favourite blogs to read THE CASUAL CONNOISSEUR were the chaps who run the blog went on a real ale weekend to the two famous Roman towns of Chester and York where they basically went drinking good ales in all the hidden gem ale houses of these two famous ancient cities. The thing I liked about the article was that they headed into a city that is fairly local for me (Chester) and basically gave me a load of tips for drinking spots that, despite spending alot of time over the years in the city, I have never been to and had a drinking experience there. So last Friday I decided to grasp the opportunity and take my ale trail to the city I once almost moved to Deva aka Chester.

I’ve always liked Chester, it’s only an hour on the train or hour and a half on the bus from mine so growing up in Merseyside I spent quite alot of time in Chester. I have quite a few close friends that live in the city, have worked a few jobs there and at one point almost moved there myself about 5 years ago. It’s a City full of history and a great layout plus it still has the famous wall surrounding the entire city that dates back to the days of the Romans.

I decided to head in with Kirsty to originally have a mooch around, walk around the famous wall and grab some lunch with her. After she headed home I decided to take in a couple of the spots recommended by the Casual Con article. So armed with a craving for ale and the newest copy of the fantastic PROPER MAGAZINE (review to come) I headed to my first spot, The Pied Bull Hotel on the cobbled King Street near to the central square of the City. Said to be the oldest continuously licensed premises in the city dating back to the 11th century, The Pied Bull is a quaint little which pub, despite the recent refurb, prides itself on it’s history with it’s old fashioned decor. There’s more than meets the eye with this place too, as well as being a CAMRA favourited pub the Bull also has a few rooms for guests to stay in as well as a micro brewery in the basement where they brew a dark ale known as “Black Bull”. Needless to say this was my sup of choice for my visit.

Ale and the new Proper Magazine, crackin'

I’m not a massive fan of dark ales, I usually find them quite stogy and a bit too overly bitter but I figured when in Rome with this one, though I do kind of wish I hadn’t. Black Bull didn’t help change my mind of dark ales I found this stogy as usual and left an overly bitter aftertaste as well as a weird sort of liqourice-ish (say that after a few) taste that I was put off by. A nice pub granted however this particular ale let me down unfortunately.

After spending a bit of time reading through Proper I decided to head across to the other side of the town to another popular old alehouse hidden away near the remains of the Roman amphitheater and gardens named THE ALBION INN.

The Albion is famous for it’s wartime decor, it’s no bullshit attitude towards unwanted punters and it’s gastro pub menu loved by TV Chef’s Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein, needless to say it did not disappoint in the slightest. Despite the lads at Cas Con not rating this place highly compared to the other places I instantly fell in love with the place from the moment I walked into the door and saw a sign that said “Don’t bring your stag-hen or pub crawl here, we don’t need you, we don’t want you, we won’t serve you!” Brilliant, I knew straight away this was going to be my kind of ale house. The first thing you notice when you walk into one of the two rooms in the pub is the, tacky as they may be to some, war related artifacts, nick nacks and posters that decorate the walls and a roaring open fire. No jukebox, no pool tables and no fruity machines just a quaint small bar serving good ales and nice grub.

I ordered a lovely golden ale called “Titanic” which hit the spot perfectly and managed to help remove the taste of the dark I’d had in the Pied Bull. A lovely smooth golden ale full of colour and very well brewed and full of flavour and fairly strong at 5% (hence the name Titanic as you would be likely to sink after a few). After supping on a pint or two I decided to get some scran from the pub’s famous kitchen. Looking through the menu it was fairly expensive, that’s to be expected from a gastropub famous for selling Haggis and Liver dishes I suppose, so I decided to order the cheapest thing I could find on the menu. A dish that was reccomended by Rick Stein himself  a ‘Tunstall Tortilla.” This amazing dish consisted of a Shropshire Oatcake filled with Bacon, black pudding, fried potatoes and cheese. Absolutely PERFECT and hit the spot just right. I certainly will be coming back here again without question and I would recommend anyone to give this place a go.

So after a few pints and a nice bit of scran I headed home feel very happy and satisfied. I’m made up that I got to try these alehouses and I’ll definitely be heading to Chester again in the near future for an ale trail as there are a handful of other pubs to try out as well as another visit to the Albion.

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Ale Trail #1/Birthday & Pre Match Build Up: Chelsea (Carling Cup)

So a triple header Blog update rather than a further three separete blog updates on three different days like I promised I’d try and avoid as that’s what makes blogging stagnant and repetative, so here it goes.

ALE TRAIL #1

A regular feature what will be occurring in my blog is a little feature I like to call ALE TRAIL. Like most pretentious meffs I like to consider myself a bit of an elitist when it comes to drinking ale, which is a bit weird considering just 3 years ago I was still Straight Edge (HA!). All kidding aside though I do appreciate a good Real Ale when I find one so I figured it would make a decent topic to include in this here blog, so without further delay. My first entry for the “ALE TRAIL” is a newly introduced bitter into my local boozer I’ve found myself drinking and enjoying called “Daniel’s Hammer”

Unfortunately, my local, The Saughall, as much as I love the place, is not exactly the best of pubs for the Ale Enthusiast or CAMRA member, mainly due to the fact it’s more of a modern eatery pub than a traditionalist pub and is licensed under the brewery company Thwaites. Needless to say every now and again we do get a good guest or new regular ale come in on tap that doesn’t disappoint. “Daniel’s Hammer” is the newest ale to come into The Saughall and despite it’s slightly homo-erotic title I have to say is a damn good pint. Described as a “strong pale golden ale with a delicate malty palate and well balanced zesty hop character” this ale is full of body with a good pale colour, not too dry and is actually surprisingly refreshing for a pale ale and pretty strong as well at 5% despite the fact it actually tastes pretty light and doesn’t feel to heavy on the stomach.

It’s a pint that doesn’t leave behind that bitter aftertaste that some ales do and is definitely one of them ales you can at least sup more than one pint of. Granted, it’s not the best pint I’ve ever had neither but it’s one that I’ll happily choose over a pint of Fosters or Carling anyday. Recommended.

BIRTHDAY

So today was my 25th birthday and rather than sit here and moan about “oh mann I’m getting old etc etc.” I’m actually quite chuffed about turning 25. It’s a big year for me this year as it’s the final year of being technically classed as “single” by the time my next birthday comes around I’ll be married, pretty exciting stuff.

As for my day today I’ve spent it relaxing with my family and my missus who bought me a smart Northern Boys Club tshirt (pictured below) and Bulgari aftershave. My plan for tonight after finishing this is head back to the Saughall with the missus for the pub quiz. Sound.

PRE MATCH BUILD UP: CHELSEA AT GOODISON (CARLING CUP)

"In Soviet Russia, football plays you"

Everton enter into the 4th round of the Carling Cup tomorrow evening against what can only be described as a deflated Chelsea team. I say deflated mainly because the Cockney rent boys will be without Drogba (thank Christ), Ashley Cole and Bosingwa who all received cards and marching orders in, what can only be described as the most hilarious game of football I have ever watched, Sunday’s defeat to local rivals QPR at Loftus Road, but let’s be honest, it’s Chelsea, even without them 3 they’re hardly shit.

Players like Juan Mata, Ladyboy Torres (if he is no longer suspended I’ll have to check), Anelka, Fat Frank and Adolph Terry are all available for the rent boys tomorrow and will no doubt be out to try and bounce back from their derby day defeat on Sunday. However, despite the recent League defeat to this lot at The Bridge, our record against Chelsea isn’t all that bad, especially at Goodison. We have managed to beat them twice at Goodison in 3 years and once in the FA Cup away last season, as well as countless amount of draws, then again though these bastards have a way of crushing us at the final hurdles in the past, i.e 2009 FA Cup Final and 2008 League Cup Semi-Final.

As for Everton, it’s a mixed season so far. Some crap performances leading to crap results and some crap performances leading to scrappy last minute wins, like that at the weekend against Fulham at Craven Cottage, mixed with drama off the pitch and lack of money, which I won’t get into right now but probably will in the nearby future. All in all making it a bit of a headache so far, however the weekends result against Fulham gave me a glimmer of hope, despite us not actually playing that well, the squad and tactics looked more positive and players like Vellios and Drenthe were given starts which, as we all saw, lead to Drenthe’s AMAZING goal. For me it’s important for us to play positive and really go at Chelsea tomorrow and maybe stick to the squad we started with on Sunday (except maybe put Saha back in from Vellios) because, let’s be honest,despite the Carling Cup loosing it’s reputation as a big trophy over the years, in my eye, it still is and it’s probably one of the only chances we’re going to get on putting our hands on silverware at the current rate so needless to say it’s an important game and a big chance tomorrow. I just hope, for the love of Christ, the players realise this and go at Chelsea. If they do I’m going with a simple 1-0 and that goalscorer to be….oh christ knows, let’s say Bainesy, yeh Leighton Baines Freekick, why not?

So yeh, looking forward to this one, I’ll be in attendance with my good mate Al Bentley thanks to my little sister getting me a ticket for my birthday and no doubt will be supping a few pre-match pints on County Roads finest establishments. So until then, Come On You Blues.

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Filed under 2011/12, Ale Trail, Clobber, Cup Football, Everton, General, Pre-Match Build Up

ANOTHER Blog Attempt

So here I am again. Another day, another attempt to blog and get my little corner of the internet on the go. This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted to write a blog, in fact I would be lying if I said this was less than my 5th attempt. I think the problem I have had in the past is that when I have done blogs before I’ve gone overboard and updated too much and burnt myself out of topics to discuss and generally lost interest.

So I think for this here blog I just need to learn to chill a bit. Not update every day, give myself breaks from it that way when it comes to updates I’ll actually have things to write about I suppose.

So who am I and what is this all about. Well I’ll make it simple and quick. My name is Barrell (hence the blog name pun..clever eh) I’m an engaged man due to be married in July 2012 to my fiance Kirsty, I turn 25 the day after tomorrow actually (25/10), currently unemployed and I support Everton FC and have done for 20 years. This blog will mainly consist of talk about Football (specifically Everton), Terrace Culture, Fashion, Music, Movies, Books, Food, Ale and Photography. Pretty much just me talking about my likes and dislikes and my exploration and discovery in things as well me reviewing and ranting about things. Nothing special, nothing unique, just me writing about what I want to write about really.

Enjoy it, don’t enjoy it, subscribe, tell your mates or don’t. It’s entirely upto you.

So until next time…

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