It's 1039 and I'm sitting on the sidelines watching Leeds vs Sheffield Hallam play in the third (or so) game of the morning. Fro (Manchester) is playing for Leeds. I was a bit confused until I learnt that they were a boy short. We played the first game of the day against Lancaster: a 2-1 result for us, but I didn't play. The night before - and in fact the whole day had been pretty hardcore.
I had a lecture at 0900 and had been working on an assignment from 1000 until it was due in at 1500 - I was five minutes late for the lecture but at least the work was in. I then had two lectures from 1500-1700, by which time I was feeling pretty good considering! Having one-and-a-half hours off until korfball training at 1830, I headed over to Computer science to print some stuff out. By the time I had finished it was just before 1800 so I made my way over to King Edward's.
No-one was there so I hung about for five or ten minutes until Nick and Helen arrived, and then a couple of others. In all there ten: myself, Nick, Helen, Heather, Jack, Amy (2nd year), Vicky, Joy, Simon and Michelle. This was just enough for training and meant we could have a game at the end, but not before some intense shooting practice. We did some exercises in pairs - I was with Amy (2nd year, netballer) who came last week. We had three goes at scoring from each distance, starting at the post and working our way out by a step each time we scored. I managed to get to three steps back before missing but I was pleased with my efforts. We also did some running in shots and some penalty shots - I need more practice as I'm still finding it quite unnatural, but this is OK. We also had a few games of Killer - I was out first round in the first game, and second in the second. The game at the end was pretty good because I felt at ease - play wasn't too intense but it was serious enough. Afterwards I was rather tired. I forgot to mention we also did some defending/shooting practice in fours - one defender, one attacker and two feeders on the same team as the attacker: the aim being to score as many goals as possible in one minute. It was hard work. Gareth wasn't at training today because, and I quote: "Friday night is TV comedy night." 'Nuff sed. No, I don't really mean that, he was resting himself for the weekend because he had been ill recently.
Following training, we went to Beorma for a quick drink, and then on to Kebab Land, getting home around 2140 in time to catch the second half of Have I Got News For You. I didn't hang about for too long because I knew I had to get ready for going to Lancaster the next day.
We had agreed to meet at 0545 at Tesco Express which would mean I would have to get up at 0430. I got a bit distracted after I turned the computer on and got chatting to a range of different people on MSN - grrr! That took me to around half past eleven when I jumped in the shower. I was surprised that no-one else was around in the evening. Paul was on his mobile for ages in his room when I came in and Becky's door was closed but I think she was in because I thought I heard her have a shower, then Tom, before I did. When I came out, still no-one was about so I continued getting ready as quietly as I could. The essentials kit is as follows: something to play in; something to wear casually; something for the evening (with/without costume); towel and shower gel; deodorant; energy bars; crisps; wash kit; notebook; pen; phone; wallet; keys. This time I have also brought a book and my phone charger should I need it. Not a lot of stuff I know, but the clothes and towels and the fact I needed three pairs of shoes didn't help! By the time I had got everything together and got ready for bed (after a bowl of Rice Krispies), it was 0045. Looks like it will be "interesting" tomorrow (today) seeing as I will get in the region of 03h45 sleep! I set the alarm clock for 0430 as I did the alarm on my phone, and went to bed.
After hearing the alarm go off and pressing snooze, I sat up in bed contemplating whether I could afford to spare another eight minutes waiting for the next alarm cycle, or get up. I chose the latter. I stumbled around for a bit before finding some clothes and going downstairs for breakfast. Gulped it down and then went back upstairs to get the last of my stuff together and put my contact lenses in. I didn't realise the time was 0522 - I had planned to leave the house two minutes earlier. I filled my water bottle up and as carefully as I could, carried my bags downstairs making as little noise as possible. The crux was to follow leaving the house - the beeps the alarm makes when the front door is opened. Anyway, I had put in my note to the guys that I hoped I hadn't woken anyone up, but that if I had ten to think of me when they were having their lie in! By this time it was 0535 . . . yikes! Long way to go! I was due in Selly Oak in ten minutes, but I had forgotten to take in to account the extra time added by carrying the bag of kit.
I called Nick at just gone 0545 and told him I'd be ten minutes. I got to Tesco Express at 0600 - fifteen minutes late, but then this was OK considering I had set off fifteen minutes late! We weren't hanging about for long because I was last to arrive after Nick, Helen (driving), Gareth and Jack. Jack had been waiting for twenty minutes but decided to pop in to Tesco Express just as I arrived - nice timing! ;-) Helen opened the boot for my main bag but it clearly wouldn't fit in, so I'd have to have it on my lap all the way there, d'oh! We got in and set off.
I don't know how we got out of Birmingham but the M6 was the motorway that would take us to Lancaster. When we set off it was dark, but it was nice to watch the sun rise and arrive in Lancaster in the light. I wouldn't say I was a "morning person" as such, but I do get a great amount of pleasure being present at first light. We took one wrong (ish) turning near the Asda store very near to the sports centre where we would be playing (The Salt Ayre Sport Centre). Arrived early as we *always* do at Lancaster (apparently) at 0830, so we went in and had a rest. I did a blood test and was surprised to find it was 1.3%. I ate loads of supplies and sat on the bench shivering for a bit. I was very cold - especially my hands, so I sat on them to warm them up. Nick had some bread rolls so I had a couple of those and watched the others mess about shooting into a basketball net. Nick scored a *crazy* long distance over-arm shot which bounced off the rim, came up and hit the wall and then came back down in to the basket.
Recovery took longer than I had thought, but by the time our first game came round (0930 I think), it was back up to 7.0%. I sat out the first game, spending half of it in the changing room. I came back to the court and thought the standard was pretty good. Our first was against Lancaster (2nd team?) and we won 2-1. We had a small break in between this and out second, against Edinburgh to which we lost 2-1. I think the guy I was marking (Ian: Red rum) was quite new to korfball, but he played well in my opinion. Our third game was against UMIST and we won 4-1! I had Paul in my division, and although I didn't score any, I was pleased with my performance, in particular because of a little confusion where I recovered the ball off one of the oppositions back, to set Paul up for a lovely running in shot. I feel I'm getting in to it more and more every time I play, in particular I would say my defence is picking up, especially not marking players out as far as the halfway line! There is no need because it is unlikely they will score so the team should focus on recovering from a collect. If you mark a member of the opposition as far out as the halfway line, they have a lot of ground to cover to get goal-side of you, which is easy if you are fast, and hence you have lots of time to set up for a running in shot.
We had lunch in the bar/café: I had to buy because I hadn't prepared anything in advance. I was a little surprised to find hardly any vegetarian options, so I asked for a cheeseburger without the meat and have friend eggs instead. They could do that; I tried also to get a bit of a discount because the selection didn't cater for vegetarians, but they didn't like the idea of that! I also got a Diet Coke. I was surprised at how quickly it arrived: within five minutes of ordering! I wasn't especially hungry but I tried to eat as much as possible because I knew I wouldn't be able to get much else in the way of "proper" carbohydrate for a while. The plate got a bit messy after the yolk dripped a bit - so I decided not to eat all the burger because I was getting coated in yolk and I didn't have many tissues. After that I had about twenty-five minutes before our next game, and was surprised to find my blood sugar level was 27.3%! Big dose of twenty units followed immediately, then I started to prepare for the game against Nottingham.
In it I was defending for ages at the far end of court one right up until the last two minutes. Before we changed ends, we had scored two so we had a bit of a buffer in attack. No sooner had the ball been passed around a few time did the whistle blow, nuts! But we had won, which was great, and my defence had come on a lot. Nick didn't play (I was in a division with Jack), so he coached me a bit about the guy I was defending and I learnt not to mark so close to the halfway line (as before). Bit of a break again, I think I watched the final score of the rugby, but I can't quite remember!
Next game was against Edinburgh (again) I think. We played really well and again defence was good: we won 4-1 and I was happy. I think it was Jack who got some lovely running in shots, superb. Final game was against Sheffield (Hallam?) 2nd team, I think (!) who played well. We were in the lead 1-0 with about two minutes to spare (unknown to me) and the guy I was defending got past me and scored a running in shot just before the whistle. Nuts!
It was at this point that it came to penalties and I found out that the outcome determined our final position. Nick was first up and he scored his. Their guy missed. Helen was second for us and unfortunately missed, but it was disqualified because she was over the line, something which I will remember should I need to take a penalty in the future. This sort of thing is good though, because this tournament doesn't mean a lot so it is a great time to learn. Their guy missed. I was third up and although I missed I was happy with my technique. I had put in too much power and it went straight over the top of the basket. Their guy missed as well so I was partially relieved, but it wasn't over yet. Jack was fourth up and missed, and their player scored. Nail biting, because now it was 1-1 and all to play for on the last penalty. Gareth was our man, and scored - genius! And luckily for us, their guy missed. Pressure off. Well played.
Following the game, Nick had to referee a game, but Jack and I grabbed showers, and Gareth followed soon after. The showers were good once I had worked out how to turn them on! The only thing that surprised me was the fact that two of the fire doors were open - it is lucky no-one was in the car park (?) at the time because they would have seen a naked me trundling back to get my towel. Anyways.
After that we went to the bar again ready for the presentations. The bar was quite packed, and we were hanging about for twenty minutes or so which was cool. I can't remember the full rankings, but we came 11th (despite not officially qualifying due to our team being illegal for too long: not enough freshers). Sheffield Hallam 1 (?) won, and fair play to them. Manchester/UMIST (? which?) were second. The final was pretty good, although I didn't see all of it. Nick was doing some card tricks which were impressive (for once! ;-) ) and I was writing some of this, about the earlier games. The presentation didn't take too long, each team was presented with a bag of sweets and the winning team a bottle of champagne (I think!), and a trophy (?).
Following that, everyone was allocated places to stay - we were with Vicky but after some confusion we were put with Lin which was cool. We were also given a few bottles of Stella so we drank those while we waited for Lin to go and get some petrol for her car. Some of the Manchester team were with us for a bit because everyone else had gone, and Fro showed us part of his costume for the evening - an impressive top hat and some tails for his jacket made out of sugar paper, I believe. I felt a bit bad about not having sorted a costume for the evening, but then again I had only confirmed I was coming the night before, and this didn't leave much time to sort anything.
When Lin got back we followed her out and Manchester (driven by Fro in the mini bus) followed us. We kept thinking he had lost us because we got separated at the first junction, but luckily he kept sight of us. We stopped off at what we thought was Lin's, but it turned out to be where Manchester were staying. That was cool, Lin's place wasn't far and we got a nice look around Lancaster as we drove around it.
We arrived there at about 1900 and had a look around. The Edinburgh guys were already in so I didn't rate our chances at getting a bed or sofa or anything, but went into the front room and ditched our kit. Pete (Australian guy) was there with one other guy and we had a chat about stuff. Then they went upstairs (was it something I said?!) and we had the room to ourselves. We put the television on and asked about what takeaways were available locally. The choice was between curry or Chinese. I wasn't too keen on curry as we were going out in the evening, so Chinese it was. I've never been a big fan of Chinese due to the slight lack of vegetarian options, but it was cool.
We walked down to the Happy Chop Suey House takeaway, which was about five minutes away (right at Waterstone's at the bottom and then opposite the ABC cinema). I went for a Vegetable chow mein; I was very impressed with it. And the price wasn't too bad. Gareth had Vegetables in black bean sauce which I would have had if I didn't have the Vegetable chow mein. We headed back to the house after taking a couple of wrong turns trying to be smart getting back. Grabbed some forks and ate in the lounge in front of the TV, Who wants to be a millionaire was on, and also some of Pop Idol.
After that we had a bit of a talk and got ready to leave at 2100. We left exactly on the hour - I had some last minute difficulty with my blood sugar meter, to the extent I had to use the current one and not the pen one that I have for when I go out. I managed to get round it by taking the pen apart and repacking it inside the pouch for the new meter. I didn't bother taking my phone or a jumper or a jacket - Nick and Gareth didn't either so at least I wasn't alone!
The walk was about ten minutes and the weather was good apart from being cold! We were straight in to Revolution and went up to the VIP area (which we had bought tickets for). It was quite busy downstairs and was also quite busy upstairs, but it wasn't too bad. We queued up for drinks. The bar was quite long and only had three people serving - I was largely unimpressed. Also forgot to mention that I got separated from the group because the Manager wanted to do a head count upstairs. When I got to the top I was hand-stamped (four stars in purple) and was given a token for a free vodka shot. :-D Jack got me a large lager and a shot and I got him one a bit later. It was at this point that we grabbed two seats (or at least, took some over!)
Nick established the first drinking rule of the night: you must have a shot with each beer or bottle. Considering I don't usually do shots, I thought it would be quite hard work. The second rule was changing "vodka" to "pumpkin". I'll have a chocolate pumpkin, please! We played a few games of 21 to warm up. We also joined the larger group from Lancaster; Paul had taught them our Whizz! Game with the simple rules - it was pretty funny and Jack lost one of the rounds that I remember: the Lancaster girls concocted a drink from three of theirs and it almost filled a glass. He downed it, full respect! Just previous to this, Jack was presented with a shot for being the highest goal scorer. I didn't know what the shot was, but it became clear once he had had it that it was chilli. I think he disappeared off to the gents for a bit.
A bit of haziness followed, then I went to the bar to put in a large order (because queuing was taking too long). The reason I had to go to the bar was because I lost a game of Spoof against Jack: it was a great game because it went down to the last of three: I won the first and Jack the second. Never mind. I left for the bar at 2200 and got speaking to a guy about korfball and queuing and stuff. I didn't catch his name but I think he had a top hat on. Twenty minutes later someone else spoke to me saying that you have to wait for at least twenty minutes before getting served - he was right. I finally got served around 2235 - the order was comprised of: four pints of Stella and ten shots: my free one, two chocolate, two cola and five random ones which Nick had paid for for everyone. I was quite surprised that the order came to £20.20. The barmaid was cool about the fact I had been waiting for ages. I had just been joined by Jack and Helen and it was them that helped me get served by having a line of us at the bar! Jack took the beers and four of the shots on a tray and I took six of the shots in one of their custom-made holders. The toast was to: "Matt's crazy bar adventure".
After this I spoke to Fro and Pete, but I left Fro after about five minutes because he was approached by Vicky and I think (or thought) that he was trying to pull her! Apologies if this wasn't the case. Nick had a chilli vodka randomly and it was pretty bad - I had a sip of one and it took my face off. Nick lost a game of 21 and it was my fault, but I wasn't going to the bar again! He got quite a big round again - six shots and some lagers again. Jack tried to pull the two girls that were sitting behind him by using Helen's fan - he waved it in their faces! It was quite funny according to the others but I didn't see it because I think I was in the bog. All else that I can remember is speaking to Fran for a bit and then going. Jack was in the mood for getting some girls so we went off to survey the dance floor. I instantly saw it wasn't my thing and came back. We collected him from there at the end when it looked like hardly anyone else was left that we knew.
Paul suggested we go just up the road to Sugar House, so we were asking people where to go, the second was the bouncer outside Walkabout. Just after that (or was it just before), Jack went to relieve himself. I noticed a police car but what I didn't notice was that it had stopped at the traffic lights and was potentially about to arrest him. He got let off, luckily. I remember Gareth telling me to hurry up because we didn't want to be caught up with it all. Asked a few more people for directions and eventually found it - the queue was quite short but it cost four pounds to get in which I thought was a lot. Anyway, we didn't get drinks because (a) we'd had too much already and (b) it was a lot to get in.
We went straight for the dance floor - the place was rammed. Nick was feeling quite tired so he had a stand on the side and then sat down; Helen joined him. Jack, Gareth and I got in to the swing of things. For some reason I was feeling quite good and really gave it some! I've never really been a fan of Justin Timberlake, but when they played "Like I love you" I was really enjoying the night! (I think it's called that. Hehe!) I can't remember exactly what I was doing, but I didn't feel self-conscious like I normally do when I'm dancing. Least, it felt pretty good, which is rather rare!
When we left we walked back to the house. I don't know exactly how we got back; it must have been by intuition. Nick & Gareth sped on ahead so I stayed with Jack, who by this time was pretty merry and hence slowing. It was good for both of us, because neither had coats, and it meant I could talk to him. I cannot remember much of the conversation, but what I do remember is it was good! Walk back wasn't so bad and we found ourselves back quite quickly, maybe in fifteen or twenty minutes. We were let in by Emma.
Some of the Edinburgh lot were already back, or did they get back just before us? I can't remember. We hung about in the kitchen for a bit, I think I grabbed some of Nick's bread rolls and then went to bed. Not really sure what the time was. Because I had to eat and inject before going to sleep I had a wander round the house and had some random chats with some of the people who were still up. Then I sat on the stairs for a bit, still eating and they met up in the kitchen. Or was this before? I don't know! When I was sitting on the stairs one guy told me his sleeping bag was in our room but he didn't want to go in there because out team was all asleep (except me). I told him it would be OK but he didn't seem to sure - he didn't want to put the light on. I told him to just go in and be quick or I'd hit him! He went in and had a look but couldn't find it. It later turned up upstairs!
After all this had finished, I injected and got ready to go to sleep. I didn't bring a sleeping bag because I had left it at home, which was a big mistake! I ended up sleeping on the floor on the only space left, right behind the door. Wasn't too bad, I had a cushion for a pillow, but it was just a bit hard really, and I kept turning over all night because I could not get comfortable. Never mind. Some more Edinburgh guys were due back so I stayed awake even though I had taken my contact lenses out. Last in was Tom, who came alone. I won't speculate as to why this might have been the case! ;-) The Edinburgh team were all in one room (I think) and were above us.
It was 0300 when I finally got my head down and they were being quite noisy. I didn't hear them for much longer though because I must have dropped off soon after. Next thing I know (after waking up a few times), it was 0930.
I got up and had a wander around, sat in one of the chairs for a bit, and then went back to bed again. We eventually all got up around 1100. Lin and Emma were in the kitchen. Nick went and made some tea and a couple of slices of toast with jam. I went and had a look and made another two teas, one for me, one for Helen, got the rest glasses of orange squash and did a couple of rounds of toast for everyone with jam. Then we got our stuff together.
Jack's suggestion of seeing the castle was good so we left our stuff in the house and had a wander over. This must have been about 1200. It wasn't far from the house to the castle, when we got there there were signs saying that it was in fact a prison. Interesting! The entrance to have a look round was the other side so we used the perimeter route which showed some nice countryside. Entrance was £2.50 and no-one seemed that bothered. The castle was strange in that it was half prison and half museum - you could see a distinct change when there was barbed wire over the top (prison) and not (museum). Anyway, we walked back to the house and got our stuff and went.
The girls in the house had been fab and Nick thanked them on behalf of all of us. Got to the car and arranged the stuff so I wasn't travelling with my bag on my lap. That also meant I could write some of this (the unreadable part! ;-) ).
We didn't stop the whole way back, but there were some delays on the way. The only thing I can say about the journey is there was a detailed analysis of all the funny (and sometimes embarrassing) thing that had happened over the weekend. I also wrote down all the service stations on the way back on the M6 in case we ever do decide to do "Jack's bacon sandwich and tea run". Maybe we'll have to up the stakes a little.
Helen dropped us off a little way down Tiverton Road which suited Gareth, Nick and Jack, living in that direction. I wasn't too bothered because I had to go to Sainsbury's to get some essential supplies (bread, cheese, milk, apples) or else I'd be borrowing food again. Quickly sprinted round the store pulling my bag-on-wheels. Saw Mike half way round, well, I say that, he saw me first and got my attention, I was so out of it! I put all the stuff in my main bag apart from the bread (which wouldn't fit) and started the killer journey back to the house.
Must have been about half three by the time I came out and I hadn't had any lunch although then again I wasn't hungry. When I got back to the house (around fifteen minutes later), I was exhausted. It had been a genuinely brilliant weekend and I look forward to plenty more like it: a good start to this years korfball tournaments!
|01||Lancaster (Forton) Services||Moto||-|
|02||Charnock Richard||Welcome Break||Burger King, KFC, etc.|
|03||Knutsford Services||Moto||As above|
|05||Keele Services||Welcome Break||-|
|06||Stafford Services||Roadchef||Wimpy, Wimpy Chicken|
|07||Hilton Park Services||Moto||-|