The Angry Budgie Live

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Angry Budgie on Tour - Singapore 2010

Ok, so to be honest im skipping a Japan post for now, and heading straight for The Angry Budgie's recent trip to Singapore! I happen to work for a popular south east asian city state based airline and have, in the past, been sent to home base for some training. This recent trip was another of those business trips, so each day I will try and concentrate on the evening's activities as the day time was spent in the training centre!

Day 1
Not a lot to write home about on day 1 to tell you the truth! The day was spent checking in early for the flight to Singapore, my ride pictured above, and settling in for the 13hr flight to south east asia. The flight itself was fantastic, and my first on the new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which now plies the route from Manchester to Singapore! The economy class seat is very comfortable and has its own on-demand 10.6 inch screen, which is pretty darn big! Shame you have to walk through business class to get to economy class tho! Haha!

Day 2
Day two was all about arriving into Singapore! The flight from Manchester flies through the night and lands into Singapore for about 7.45am! Thankfully my bags were tagged with business class labels, so by the time i was through customs it was there waiting! Next stop the taxi rank and the hotel! Again the hotel were able to give me my room on the top floor despite the early hour, so I could have a shower and head out and explore! So I headed off to Universal Studios Singapore to see if I could spend the day there. To my horror as i stepped off the monorail outside the park, 'Tickets Sold Out Today' signs greeted me! Should have booked online, silly me! Never mind! Apparently the park is selling out about a week in advance for day tickets! Bear that in mind if you want to go! I spent the rest of the day exploring and ended up eating at the Hard Rock Cafe Singapore, good food, good music and the perfect end to the day.

Day 3Day three saw the beautiful sunrise you see above! The sun does rise and set pretty darn quick in Singapore! Today was the first day of training at the centre near the airport, and getting to know my fellow class mates, and quite a bunch too! That evening one of my class mates and I went out for some food, beer, and watch some of the World Cup. We started the evening with a beer at Brotzeit, which is a German restaurant in Singapore.....go figure! For the evenings entertainment and food we headed across the road to Chijmes, which is an old church that now houses many bars/restaurants. Here we ate and watched the footy at the Spanish Tapas Bar, La Viva!

Day 4
This evening was spent at Brotzeit again, which is turning out to be a favourite haunt in Singapore! This is where I had another Erdinger WeissBier, which I have now decided is the only beer I like! Much good craic was had, and then I spent the rest of the evening walking around Marina Bay and whiling away the hours!

Day 5Tonight was spent back at Chijmes meeting some good Singaporean friends of mine, this time however I also managed to see the England vs Slovenia game, though not sure I should have bothered! We drank and ate the Cosafe which was next door to La Viva I ha previously ate at. Despite the football a great evening was had, mainly for catching up with my friends!

Day 6 After the spectacular opening of the Marina Bay Sands Sky Park the previous day, my main goal for the night was to visit it! This is a truly amazing structure, sat on top of three 55 story hotel towers is the Sky Park which features a 150m long infinity pool 200m above the ground! The Sky Park gives amazing views over Marina Bay and the Singapore Flyer, I can see the slypark being a fantastic attraction, and a great place to watch the Singapore GP!

Day 7Today was the last day in Singapore, and what a start. after having a dry week, friday morning saw one of Singapore's famous thunder storms. Crikey to heaved it down, it made driving pretty fun! It was quite sad leaving newly acquired friends at the training centre, but myself and two others made the trip across to Changi Airport to check-in and get read for our flights home. After getting rid of our bags, we headed over to T1 to relax at Harry's Bar, an outdoor airside terrace where you can have a beer and watch the aircraft pass by. Anyway, come 10.45pm it was time to lift off and head home!

Day 8Not alot to write about here, other than finally arriving home after a quick week in Singapore!

You have to go!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Angry Budgie on Tour - The Netherlands 2009

Right so finally, after 10 months I have finally got round to doing a post on The Angry Budgie's tour to the Netherlands back in September of 2009! After having a rather nice holiday in the Netherlands the year before, my girlfriend and I decided to take the ferry across the North Sea to Ducth shores once again! This time to a holiday park called Beekse Bergen, located just south of Tilburg. A lovely park situated around a big lake, and sharing the site with a Safari Park. Anyway on to the holiday, ive decided just to go day by day and include a picture for each. Hopefully to give a brief outline of what we got up to!

Day 1
We didn't really have big plan's for day 1, this day was spent driving across the M62 to the port in Hull, ready to catch the ferry to Europoort. You can see a little of the ferry in the picture above. Now I know the image of ferries does not look good to most people, but seriously, today ferries are raaather nice! The one above is like a proper small cruise ferry, very comfortable en suite cabins, bar's and show lounges. We spent most of the day waiting to board, which despite the wait, meant we would be near the front of the que to get off! Once onboard we had our buffet dinner, then relaxed in the showlounge before heading to bed.

Day 2
We spent day two, and our first in The Netherlands exploring the park and the surrounding lake, safar and water park. For residents of the vacation park side, you get unlimited free access to the safari park. So we had a pretty easy first day, just exploring and enjoying. The safari park really was a gem, you could take a tour of the park in your car, on foot, or in a safar bus. Needless to say by the end of the week, we had done all three!

Day 3
We really got to grips with the Safari Park today, the visit on the previous day had really been a quick one, as we were both tired and really just wanting to settle into our home from home. So we spent a long time in the park taking lots of pictures and enjoying the good weather!

Day 4 Today was to be our first attempt at getting to Brussels, Beekse Bergen is located in the south of the Netherlands and it would be a crime if we didn't try and get to the capital of Belgium. The plan would be to get from Tilburg to Roosendaal to pick up one of the larger intercity trains running from Amsterdam straight through to Brussels. Sadly we didn't make it, on arrival in Roosendaal we found out that the trains through to Brussels were cancelled. Rather than getting a local stopping train, we decided to head back to the park and try again on a different day!

Day 5
I had been looking forward to today ever since we decided to come back to the Netherlands! Today, we were of too De Efteling! To be honest, there was no reason not to go! De Efteling was as far North of Tilburg as Beekse Bergen is south! For those that don't know, De Efteling is basically the Dutch Alton Towers! A cracking park, based on fairy tails and the land of make believe, or so I thought! The highlight for me, The Flying Dutchman. A great day, with great weather, gotta love the Netherlands!

Day 6
Another day in the Safari Park today, it was great having it so close to the vacation park. As if you didn't really fancy an energetic day you could just go and have a look at the animals again! We also spent the day riding round the park on our hired bikes, and playing some table tennis!

Day 7
Today we actually made it to Brussels! What a city it is, such amazing architecture and great people and food! Getting round was a breeze and we spend a good amount of time just watching the world go by! We went to the Comic Museum which is a great place, and if your ever going to Brussels a must visit! We also took a tour round the Belgian equivalent of Buckingham House, very impressive too!

Day 8
Yes, you guessed it, another trip round the safari park, however this time in my car! Was an interesting experience getting up close and personal with the animals. Thankfully you didn't have to drive through the monkey enclosure!

Day 9
This was our last day in The Netherlands, so after packing the car and handing in our keys, we spent the morning on the beach around the lake, and enjoying the trampolines! Fantastic fun! We left around midday to head to Europoort to get in the que nice and early for boarding. Much like our outbound sailing we got onboard, ate, and relaxed while having a drink. Then spending some time outside as we sailed our of the port.

Anyway that's it, and a quick review of the holiday. I really can recommend the Netherlands for a holiday, great country, great people and good weather! Plus using the ferry, and going in your car, you can take as much or as little as you like!

Next up, will hopefully be a quick review of The Anrgy Budgie going to Japan, again from last september, and a trip to Singapore last month!

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Phoenix 09/10 Review - The Forwards Part 2

So sorry for the lack of blog type updates, but the hockey off season is a particularly barren period. Also for forgetting to post part two of my forwards review, and now out of sequence! Anyhoo, without much further ado, here is part 2:

Number 14 - Stephen Wallace
The Phoenix shocked most of the EPL when they announced the signing of Stephen Wallace a few months after the start of the season. Coming across from the Sheffield Scimitar's it seemed the Sheffield side wanted to cut some salary from their books and Stephen was the one to go. Ah well, what was the Scimitar's loss was the Phoenix gain. Stephen is a brilliant player, fast, skill full, and a much bigger player than say Rob Lachowicz or Adam Walker. Stephen came in and quickly settled, putting up some decent numbers straight away. Absolutely no complaints from this blogger, I would have Stephen down as one of my 'must re-sign' players from the 09/10 roster.

Number 27 - Ed Courtenay
Possibly the player with the most illustrious CV who has ever taken to the ice in the EPL. The ex NHL Ed 'bignose' Courtenay shocked the EPL by signing as assistant coach for the Phoenix. Personally I was surprised by this signing, but couldnt complain. Despite his ever advancing years, Ed still had as much skill as Sir Tony Hand, and lead the EPL in scoring for most of the season. However this amazing offensive production was alwas tempered by his 'percieved' lack of effort on the ice. Often he could be seen gliding around, far from the puck waiting to be found, at no time was this not highlighted when the Phoenix suffered during December/January,, when 100% effort was needed, Ed would often be found missing! Ultimately his sweet and sour relationship with the Phoenix would end a month before the climax of the EPL season, with a job offer back in his native land for Coca-Cola, Ed had to go. I will always thank Ed for the points and goals he scored for the Phoenix, but that admiration will always be tempered by the lack off effort, and the number of games he missed. But, having said all that, I will finish by saying, at least I got to see him playing for my team!! Plus that picture above really shows the general position Ed held himself while on the ice!

Number 29 - Adam Walker
A career year for Adam Walker, though lets face it, when your on a line with Tony Hand, you really should be! No, honestly, Adam has had a breakout season in the EPL during 09/10, finishing the clubs leading goal scorer, though had Ed not left a month early I doubt Adam would be at the top of the tree. Adam continued his progression and flourished with the extra ice time growing into the top line player he should be in the EPL. The only thing now he needs to work on, is his physical conditioning and play, Adam is not a big lad, and on a few occasions he would be too easily pushed of the puck. Nothing that couldn't be solved with a summer down the gym! After the aforementioned career year, it will not come as a surprise that Adam has chosen not to return to the Phoenix for 10/11 but sign for the EIHL's new club the Braehead Clan. Much like Robert Lachowicz, I think now is the time for Adam if he is going to make it as an EILH player, but again I worry he will not get enough ice time in the import driven top flight. I guess the choice Adam had, and one he has stated, would be either stay in the more comfortable setting of the EPL, or really try to push on in his development and go for the EIHL. I hope he has made the right choice, but I do worry!

Number 33 - Ian Bowie
Along with James Neil, Ian is a small guy but a potent small ball of fury. Ian exploded into his season notching up an impressive number of goals early in the campaign. This, along with his wrecking ball style of play, endeared him to the Phoenix faithful quickly. His season seemed to be blighted by a patch of indiscipline, as Ian had to sit out a couple of games, and never looked the same player on his return. Such a shame, Ian reminded many fans of previous ball's of hate such as Luke Stauffacher and Kyle Bruce, and looked set to have a great season. Ian is a player I would have back at the Phoenix, however doubts about discipline seem to have ended such hopes! Along with some comments from the Phoenix manager Andy C really seem to have shut the door on that one

Number 44 - Jaakko Hagelberg
aakko Hagelberg you are the love of my life, oh Jaakko Hagelberg I want you as my wife, oh Jaakko Hagelberg' Or so the words from the Choir Boys sort of go, the song highlighting the relationship Jaakko has had with the Phoenix faithful. The explosive Finn quickly became a fan's favourite with his no holds barred, skill full and never say die attitude. He sum's up everything this blogger wants in a player, skill, passion and someone who will live and die for the team. Jaakko was never going to lead the team in points, however he did still put up the numbers and would often score at crucial times. I think you would be hard pressed to find an Ice Dome resident who would not have him back. However a couple of issues could prevent his return. It seems Jaakko is after a raise to come back to Manchester, having a job offer back in his native Finland has tempted him to stay, (and I wouldn't begrudge him that, lets face it hockey is not a sport for life!), and secondly, his style of play seemed to be excessively penalised in the EPL. Im sure the most frequent penalty he got was just for 'Being Jaakko Hagelberg on the ice'. So much so that towards the end of the season, im sure Jaakko was not the same player he was at the start of the season, he almost had to tone himself down, just so he could stay on the ice. Jaakko, along with Stephen Wallace, is a player on my 'Must Re-sign list' however I don't think he will. I would be delighted to be proved wrong though!!

Anyway, that's it for my player by player review, next up for the blog will be a couple of the 'Angry Budgie on Tour' posts, one from The Netherlands last year and a recent trip to Singapore. Once they are out of the way, I will start to look ahead to the new season, and a look at the Phoenix 10/11 roster.