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Friday, January 16, 2015

13 Highlights Of 2014

Yeah I know 2014 is practically forgotten but I have been writing this since 2014 which kind of counts.

These are my 13 moments of last year that made me happy.  In order - though number 2 and number 1 are miles ahead of all the others.

13. England Equalise.  In a packed Walkabout, England score the equaliser against Uruguay.  The strange large guy next to me that kept putting his arm around me, climbed onto a stool and proceeded to throw two full pitchers of beer everywhere as everyone went absolutely nuts, somehow without falling off, despite his intoxication.  Then Suarez scored and I went home dripping wet, sad and stinking.  A bit like the team I had just watched.

12. Valentine’s With Maggie.  I have learnt to loathe Valentine’s Day from my childhood however this year I took a different tack, and invited Maggie into the sack with me.  After eating pie.  And of course, as an occasional attention seeker, the likes and laughs it garnered on Facebook made it worthwhile.


11. The best roast.  It was February and I was well into my detox month.  My very good friend from university, Julie, came down to visit and upon recommendation we went to The Crown, in Playhatch.  Oh my word it was amazing, the best tasting carvery I have ever had.  We tried to have a walk too though the flooding pretty much put paid to that.  The roast was so good that there are 20 of us going for my birthday meal.

10. Brazil 1 – Germany 7.  There are always a few World Cup moments that live in the memory forever.  I was over my uber-enthusiasm for the tournament and was no longer watching every game.  But I had to watch the Brazil vs Germany semi-final.  And I watched goal after goal go in.  It was astonishing.  It was funny at first but I really started to feel for the Brazilians.  The tournament as a whole endeared me to the country and I do look forward to visiting before England next win the World Cup.

9. Steak in Brussels.  Myself and my sister went to Brussels for a weekend.  It was a fun weekend though the city itself is pretty boring.  The highlight was a particularly excellent steak in a Chilean restaurant, served by someone who spoke no English but was even more charming than myself.  Truly made up for a terrible tapas the night before.  Such a good steak.

8. 30 hours in Dublin.  Me, John and Shaun.  In Brussels.  With John.  And with Shaun.  I cannot say any more.

7. Test Cricket.  I have long wanted to go watch test cricket and with my Dad loving cricket too, I bought myself and him tickets for Christmas.  It was in the best ground possible for a day out – Headingley.  Admittedly we didn’t see too much cricket, it was more about the drinking, the crowd banter and playing cat and mouse with G4S by building the evil, terrifying, banned, beer-snakes.  I love Leeds.

6. DJing @ Purple Turtle.  All DJ sets are good.  Even those ones in the cold garden of Zeus playing to myself, the smoker and the bouncer.  However this was the one set where it really felt good – there was an atmosphere – a feeling that something special could be created in the basement there – people danced, people enjoyed whatever I played – a vibe.  It felt like a club when I left the booth and went onto the dancefloor.  I really cannot wait for my next set there.

5. Introducing Shaun To Sven.  Shaun was the last of my good friends that like house music, to be introduced to the delights of Cocoon.  There was so much to enjoy about that night from the music, DJs, crowd and some of my ultra-close friends, but the icing on the marzipan was seeing Shaun’s face of utter delight as Sven pounded us with techno beast after beast.  Another convert.

4. Cricket @ Sonning.  It was late summer, September in fact, and I had an invite to go watch a cricket game in Sonning.  I took a nice long walk along the Thames (which gave me an interest in long walks) and enjoyed a splendid day in the Sunday sunshine, drinking cider and occasionally watching cricket with my adorable delight of a friend, Ben, and the very funny Rich.  And had a hog roast.  And even some Pimms.  And then walked home.  Truly English.

3. Having My Mullet combed By A Long Fork @ Secretsundaze.  I love dancing in the daylight – there is just something magical about it, Studio 338’s terrace gives that open air feel without being exposed to the elements and Secretsundaze just brings the best crowd in London and some fabulous music.  It is such a good feeling to be there.  The particular highlight was having my mullet combed by a very long fork.  I love my mullet.

2. That thunderstorm.  I had just been to watch Spain get thrashed 5-1 in the World Cup with two gorgeous Spanish women but my night was set to get far better.  I had that evening forecasted a 25% chance of a thunderstorm before I went out to watch the game – there was a heavy shower on my way so I thought nothing more about it until on the way home I could see some distant flashes.  It became apparent when I got home that there was a small storm towards Oxford, probably heading in our direction.  And it exploded into the best storm I have experienced for a decade.  It was the thunderstorm I had been waiting for, I was so excited, truly like a child.  A once in a decade experience.  Only topped in my highlights of 2014 by a once in a lifetime experience.

1. The FA Cup Final.  Until 7 years ago, my football team had never been in the top division.  For most of my life the idea of an FA Cup run was a joke.  Defeats to Hednesford, Rotherham, Chester, Lincoln, Oldham, Macclesfield, Cheltenham, Colchester...the list goes on.  Then via a slightly lucky FA Cup draw, we managed to scrape our way to the final.  My football team in an FA Cup final.  And then within 10 minutes we were 2-0 up and could have been 3-0 up.  Even static electricity couldn’t make my hairs stand on end any more.  Being 2-0 up was that dreamlike moment of an insane lack of reality – this couldn’t be happening.  I still expected to lose at 2-0, and lose we did.  But it was an exciting, gracious defeat to a very good team.  I spent it with my mum, dad and my sister, with other family members there too.  And it was my highlight of 2014.