The Christmas music has officially started playing in work so it must mean it’s almost December and therefore almost another year over. Looking back on 2009 I thought I’d pick out some of the moments, times, places and people that have stood out for me this year … enjoy …
Liverpool vs. Everton
Having not had the chance to get over to Anfield for a couple of seasons, I jumped at the chance when a friend got two tickets for the FA Cup 4th Round game against Everton. I’d never been to a derby game but the atmosphere was unreal … the seats were as close to the pitch as you could get and the result … well it ended 1-1 which we lost in the replay but … I did see my first goal scored at Anfield and by none other than captain fantastic himself, Steven Gerrard.
I didn’t get to many gigs as I usually would during the year but the ones I got to were immense! It kicked off in March with Snow Patrol in the Odyssey having just launched their “One Hundred Million Suns” album and they rattled through a huge set-list to a pulsating hometown crowd.
A few weeks later I had planned to join a mate in seeing Foy Vance in concert but he (my mate Andy, not Foy) got stuck in Dublin and didn’t make the gig so this was a strange one where I was on my own but completely overwhelmed by Foy’s talent and especially his voice! The highlight of the night was his rendition of “Never Let the Spirit Die” … awesome!
FUEL 2009 was a new experience for me this year and although I didn’t make the whole festival I did manage to get up for the Saturday evening’s programme which included Kevin Max, Robbie Seay Band and Downhere. It was amazing to see such an event be put on in Ballymena and broadcast to the world literally! Already looking forward to Fuel 2010!
Edinburgh is without doubt my favourite city and one I never get tired visiting. There’s something about it that’s different but I don’t quite know what … a certain je ne sais quoi I guess. We headed over for a long-weekend in May and I loved the time off work and getting to spend some quality time with Jen. I think I’m also correct in saying that this is where the proposal rumours began to circulate!
Next Football Tournament
In June I headed over to Birmingham for a football tournament held by Next in aid of Cancer Research. The event organiser, Kenny, arranged for him and his team from Cambridge to meet up wth us the evening before the tournament and we had a bit of banter around a few of the local city centre pubs and clubs … the getting to bed in the very early hours probably didn’t help our performance the next day!
The six of us thought we had a pretty good chance of winning this tournament but after the first match and a 6-1 drubbing we realised it was more about the taking part! We also managed to end up in the same group as a team from Cork so local and national rivalry was stirred up during the group stages. Overall the tournament raised just over £9000 for Cancer Research which I think you’ll agree was a fantastic achievement.
Me & Jen like a good road-trip … actually that’s an understatement .. we love them! I now have a small library of leaflets from all corners of the province in my glove-box just in case we feel like doing something in the spur of the moment.
Places covered this year have included Belfast Zoo, Portmuck, Scrabo Tower, Portstewart, Crawfordsburn, Whitehead, Brown’s Bay, Stormont, Ulster Folk Museum, Castle Espie, Giant’s Causeway, Carnfunock, Castleward and the newly opened Ulster Museum. There’s probably more that I’ve forgotten but you get the picture!
Stay tuned, part (ii) will follow …