Sunday, 25 September 2011

Down Dale and Up Valley

For the first time in a long time I got to see Charlton play two weeks in a row. Saturday 17th September meant a sort trip across Manchester to Rochdale. Around 500 fans made the trip to see the Reds win 3-2. First half Charlton was brilliant and took a deserved 2 goal lead. Second half it seemed that the team didn't have as much enthusiasm to play. Rochdale came back into it with one well taken goal and one goal which I felt the defence could and should have dealt with better. Finally a great cross was met by Danny Hollands for his second of the game.

Which brings us to "Football For A Fiver" weekend at The Valley. The Chesterfield game was one that I had planned to go to so the tickets being only £5 meant a cheaper trip from Liverpool. It was also a reason to meet up again with fellow Charlton Twitterites and meet some new ones. 

Just like the Rochdale game, Charlton came out brilliantly in the first half and should have been 3 or 4 up at half time. Paul Hayes scored a cheeky back-heel for his first at The Valley and Johnnie Jackson converted Dale Stephen's cross.

Second half, again just like Rochdale, the team didn't seem to have the same enthusiasm for the game. Chesterfield came out and although I felt they didn't not threaten as much as Rochdale, it was still awkward watching for us Charlton fans. Chesterfield had a penalty appeal turned down which meant that John Sheridan was sent to the stand. What followed later incensed Charlton fans. Scott Wagstaff appeared to be fouled which the referee ignored. Chesterfield attacked and Michael Morrison took the legs away from Leon Clarke resulting in a penalty. After major discussions by Chesterfield and a touch of fussiness by the referee, Schofield sent Ben Hamer the wrong way.

That seemed to put some spark into Charlton and they started to attack more. Paul Hayes was replaced by Yann  Kermorgant for the final 10 minutes. He seemed to make an instant impression. It was his pass to Scott Wagstaff which resulted in a pin-point cross to Bradley Wright-Phillips who met it with a diving header. Cue 20,000 plus delighted Charlton fans!

In my opinion Rhoys Wiggins was Man of the Match closely followed by Chris Solly. I can't actually think of a bad performance by anyone in a red shirt yesterday so well played Charlton!

In the evening of the 24th I went to the O2 Indigo to see the Van Susans  They are an up and coming 5 piece band who have released an EP called We Could Be Scenery. I would say they are definitely worth a listen so either check out their website or look the up on You Tube. 

The final part of the weekend meant the drive home to Liverpool. As always we have to make a stop to change drivers and decided to make the stop at a pub called The Dun Cow in Hornton, Oxfordshire. There we had a delicious lunch and Glenn certainly appreciated the bitters on sale. Adrian & Lisa who own the pub are both Charlton fans, so if anyone is near junctions 11 and 12 of the M40, or is passing that way, drop in and say hello. You won't regret it!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Whisky and Song

Saturday September 10th meant Charlton had a home game against Exeter City. Usually I'm sat at home, computer on, headphones in and listening to the BBC Radio London commentary. Not this time. This time I was in the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool attending a Whisky Festival. I'm not a whisky fan, but Glenn is and sometimes you have to do something for a loved one.

Having arrived and signed in (and made sure we were on the masterclass list!) we made our way in to be confronted by Glenn's idea of heaven. Both sides of the room were lined with various companies offering samples and the far end appeared to be a shop of some sort.

The first stall Glenn made a bee-line for was Amrut which is an Indian distillery based in Bangalore. Amrut make 5 single malts, both peated and un-peated. Glenn was pleasantly surprised with his taster and pronounced it very good. The second new one was Kilchoman which is an Islay based distillery who are producing surprisingly good 3-4 year old whiskies. 

The last new distillery we saw was Cooley from Dublin in Ireland. They produce 4 single malts including 3 different wood finishes. Again Glenn was impressed and spent some time talking to the guys on the stand about their whisky. 

The most fun was had on the Talisker stand where they decided that once about 6 people were clustered around they would hold a mini masterclass which got louder and louder as the day when on. To my mind if you show enthusiasm for any subject then even someone with no previous interest will be hooked.

The final part of the afternoon was the masterclass. This was taken by Willie Tait, the master distiller at Fettercain Distillery. During this Willie explained how whisky was made and the differences between them. We also got to taste 3 whiskies from Jura, 2 from Dalmore and the Shackleton. My personal favourite was the King Alexander III from Jura. This whisky is aged in 6 different types of barrel and retails at approximately £150 a bottle! Suffice to say I think it may be a long time before I taste that one again.

The Shackleton had an interesting story behind the whisky. In 1907 Ernest Shackleton set out with a team to reach the South Pole. They failed and in making sure they could return home, left some of their supplies behind including a case of MacKinlays Highland Whisky. Fast forward to 2006 and a group of New Zealanders discover the case and allow Whyte & MacKay (the current MacKinlays owners) a few bottles. What they discovered was that the whisky was not a blend as they had thought, but a single malt. And Whyte & MacKay have reproduced this as far as they can. As no "recipe" for this remains, it's amazing that this can be done.

After the festival and dinner, we went to see We Will Rock You at the Empire Theatre. It's the first time I've seen this show and I have to say I enjoyed it. I was in my late teens when they were in their heyday and I have to admit I really wasn't a fan back then. Since then I've come to regret not seeing them live. And I've always wanted to do the clap along to We Will Rock You. And last night I did along with singing along to all the songs. For pure entertainment it's great fun and probably a must see if you're a Queen fan.