Spring appears to be springing :)

Look what’s appeared in the garden πŸ™‚

spring

An early trophy for City :)

city for love
For City’s League Cup Final meeting with Sunderland, given that I couldn’t afford to go to Wembley, I watched in the pub with Roger Junior and Senior (Sunderland fans), Graham (Newcastle fan but Sunderland dad), Stef, Billy, Raji (Newcastle) and Mark (Bolton)

Friends together

When Sunderland went a goal up, (and the ecstatic celebrations by Roger & Roger settled πŸ˜‰ ) I remarked that they were going to be VERY, VERY nervous now and they were:

nervesscarf

At half time I prayed for a decent half time talk and maybe some changes – and clearly Pellegrini had his hairdryer on hand.

I celebrated Yaya’s (spectacular) goal by leaping up and spilling beer on my lucky Wembley flag – ooops! At 2-1 City, Roger & Roger were sitting back resigned, and it was ME that was nervous! Our third goal was harsh on poor Sunderland who had played well and didn’t deserve that scoreline really. However, City turned on the class after the break and there was not much they could do to stop us.

From everything I’ve heard from those who were at the game, City and Sunderland fans were friendly and respectful of each other before and after the match which is always good to see πŸ™‚ In the pub, although a few other Sunderland fans had come in after us, they quickly cleared off at full time – however, our group stayed on and Paul joined us once he finished work (we ended up returning home 7.5 hours after we left πŸ™‚ )

afterkitty

So, an early trophy for City, a first for Pellegrini in his time here, and still in the running for another couple (theoretically, three, but I think we’ll be out of the Champs League on Wednesday when we play the return fixture against Barca) I’d be happy with this one, pleased as punch with another, and highly surprised (but delighted) with a third.

city no history

MCFC’s short highlights here
MCFC’s extended highlights here
Sunderland fan blog article

Playing games

Since I’m struggling to blog properly these days, I have decided to just go with it for now and post as and when the mood/time allows which quite possibly means short posts with just a snapshot of what I’m up to.

Just to reassure you, I am still (of course) watching and attending City matches (every game) and I’m still playing darts every week. I just seem to have lost my mojo to blog about them but hopefully I’ll manage short snippets again in future.

However, I’ve discovered a new (somewhat addictive) way to destress at the end of the day – Microsoft’s Xbox Solitaire games pack that came with my new laptop (I got a new one on the NHS home computer scheme so I have a small amount of money deducted from my salary to pay for it.) I can lose myself in the rhythm of the cards – whilst hopefully fighting off Alzheimers at the same time πŸ˜€

Photo gallery: Mum’s birthday

For mum’s birthday in February, we went to Liverpool for the day – and had a great time πŸ™‚
We had no set plans, just enjoyed doing whatever the mood took us to do so ended up wandering along where the Beatles started out, having lunch in Cafe Rouge, then visiting the Liverpool library and museum. Pizza, garlic bread, wine and birthday cake rounded off the day. We wouldn’t mind visiting again sometime as there was plenty more to do and see πŸ™‚

Photo Gallery: Nel’s 21st

Nel’s 21st birthday was in January and it proved to be her best birthday ever thanks to the girls at work who thoroughly spoiled her πŸ™‚

On the day itself, Billy, Raji, Nel and I went to Newcastle for the day and watched the 2nd Hobbit film, had Chinese buffet lunch and then visited the Hancock museum. She’d asked me to make her a birthday cheesecake so she had that and blew out her candles when we got home.

I can’t believe my youngest baby is 21 now!

Photo gallery: Christmas 2013

I have absolutely no hope of wading back a couple of months and catching up with blogging so, in the first of a couple of photo galleries, here’s Christmas – a quiet family time which I really enjoyed.

I’d had a day off early in December and did all my Christmas shopping in town here with a Costa coffee break to get me in the mood.
The living room with Christmas tree and open fire was really cosy.
All the presents we gave and received, were modest but well chosen so everyone was happy – even the cats.
Dinner was an absolute dream to cook in the Rayburn (turkey cooked overnight in the bottom oven, no hassle) Even the hamster enjoyed it. Followed by an afternoon of playing games together.

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12 City games in 6 weeks

Between all the Christmas preparations at home, a hectic period at work, and rather a lot of football fixtures in the last 6 weeks, I have got further behind with my blog than ever before. So to summarise City’s games in this time:

1. City 4 – 2 Viktoria Plzen (UCL)
Watched on TV. An enjoyable match, a nice win, but still our defence worries me. Happily, however, we’re now through to the knock-out stages for the first time πŸ™‚
MCFC 90-Second highlights here

2. City 3 – 0 Swansea
Watched on TV. Brilliant end-to-end game and a great team performance from City. Pleased for Nasri getting a couple of goals as he’s been outstanding this season. Just a shame he couldn’t convert Dzeko’s unselfish pass in to a hat trick.
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

3. West Brom 2 – 3 City
Followed Twitter updates so can’t comment much. A valuable away win.
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

4. Southampton 1 – 1 City
Listened to on BBC Radio Manchester. Southampton have been getting some great results and we were not at our best at all. The home team should have had 3 points, but I’ll take a lucky point on the road.
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

5. Bayern MΓΌnchen 2 – 3 City (UCL)
Watched on TV. Amazing game! Although no-one really felt we’d top the group, we came within a whisker (Pellegrini’s maths aside πŸ˜‰ ) and ensured that other teams in the competition will be wary of us. I don’t expect us to get passed the next game – two at the outside, but each year we’ve been in the competition we’ve learned and grown and that’s good enough for me. As it turned out, the draw put us up against Barca! WHAT a mouthwatering fixture IF we play at our best.
MCFC highlights here

6. City 6 – 3 Arsenal
Attended live. This was unbelievable and I still couldn’t quite believe it even after the whistle went. I did laugh at City fans singing “Are you Tottenham in disguise?” πŸ˜€ That said, it wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline suggests and it was an end-to-end game.
MCFC Short highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

7. Leicester City 1 – 3 City (League Cup)
Watched on TV. A pretty comfortable win this one, and nice to see Dzeko scoring a couple. This put us through to the semi finals against West Ham; the other being Sunderland and ManUre. I’m not as convinced as some seem that we’ll be in the final so will take it one game at a time.
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

8. Fulham 2 – 4 City
Watched on TV. I did feel for Kompany scoring an own goal to equalise for Fulham but it was very bizarre! At times we looked very comfortable, but at others it was all a bit clueless, and mainly at the back. That said, a nice result and 3 points away from home.
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

9. City 2 – 1 Liverpool
Attended live. I was nervous about this one and as it turned out, they gave us a hard game at home and were the best opponents to come here this season. It was a thrilling game and well worth all the extra driving over Christmas πŸ™‚
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

10. City 1 – 0 Crystal Palace
Attended live – with mum πŸ™‚ It seemed a pretty dull game at the time but the TV highlights make it look much better! It was really great to use a friend’s seats at pitch level, near the halfway line just a few rows back so we could sit together, but I did miss my usual view as I get a good overview of the whole field of play. Palace did well to stifle our game and they looked dangerous a couple of times so were slightly unlucky to lose, but then again, had done well to stop us scoring again too.
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

11. Swansea 2 – 3 City
Watched 80 minutes on TV before going out for the afternoon for our usual feast and fun at a friend’s. It had been 1-3 when I left which was somewhat flattering to us I felt, and I had a feeling Swansea were good for another goal. I was just glad it wasn’t more!
MCFC 60-Second highlights here / MCFC Extended highlights here

12. Blackburn 1 – 1 City (FA Cup)
I watched this one on TV and felt relieved to get the draw in the end. Towards the end of the first half I felt our quality began to tell despite a good performance from the home team, but we proceeded, after scoring, to do what we often do – huff and puff with no real chance of making the house fall down. A fair result and I fancy our chances in the replay, being at home. There’s much whinging about now having an extra fixture to play but I can’t be doing with that moan. Firstly because the club had arranged a meaningless friendly in the UAE for that week, so can’t be bothered by an extra game. Secondly because, as I have always said, if you’re serious about competing in all competitions, and if you have the funds at your disposal, you make sure you have enough players to allow for rotation. The extra money you earn from progress in each competition should be sent on making your squad deep enough. The only clubs that can get away with this excuse of too many games are those “smaller” ones who have unexpectedly progressed in a competition – and even then, it’s up to them to decide their priorities. So, in short – there’s nothing to moan about so sit back and enjoy the ride!
MCFC’s 60-Second highlights here / MCFC’s Extended highlights here

Happy New Year 2014

The year has flown by but on the whole it’s been a positive one, moving slowly in the right direction as I mentioned at Christmas.

Happy 2014 to all the people that keep me going. You! My friends and family. May this New Year be all that you hope it will be. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years, it’s that life is full of uncertainties so you have to go grab it by the horns and make it (whatever it may be) happen!

Counting our blessings at Christmas

Well time has run away with me and here I am on Christmas Eve reflecting on a year of huge change for us.

Last Christmas we had no idea where we’d be living at this time, or even if we’d have a roof over our heads at all. We had no security, no money, no idea what the future might hold and it was very, very scary. We were living one day at a time and barely hanging in there.

Gradually, we’ve taken little steps forward and now we are living in a house that’s plenty large enough for us all to remain together as a family unit, complete with cats, and we are very lucky to have such a lovely landlady. By pooling our resources, and working hard we’ve managed to just about make ends meet. Billy was working part-time at first but now has a full-time job which he is enjoying getting his teeth into. Nel was unemployed but is now very settled into an NHS admin apprenticeship and is very much part of the team at work, valued for herself – and spoiled to bits by everyone in the department! Raji was doing a job that didn’t really challenge him enough but is now in a role which suits him well and pays more. I have spent the year working as much overtime as possible, with just one week off in July, but this has kept our heads above water and I do enjoy my work and feel a part of the team. Stephen still works at the pub which he enjoys but the hours aren’t sufficient to support him, unfortunately. So we’ve had small but positive changes since last Christmas – little steps;right direction.

This has led to me really feeling the true spirit of Christmas and I am fully in the mood to count my blessings.

I have my family all together and getting on with life by helping each other through. I have a nice home. I have absolutely wonderful friends and family who have supported us though this tricky year. I have the things that really matter.

I’ve cut down a lot on Christmas presents – and even cards – as have many people in this financial climate. I’ve made many presents myself and have enjoyed doing so and put a lot of TLC into them. Those presents I have bought were carefully chosen and I’ve made use of special offers, discounts and loyalty schemes, but I am pleased with what I’ve bought. People won’t have umpteen things, just one or two presents that I hope will really please them. It’s all so much more special and meaningful for me this year and I hope the recipients feel it too.

On the other side of the coin,I feel lucky to have such lovely, kind, caring colleagues who are also good friends. I’ve already received lovely messages in cards and presents from unexpected quarters. I’ve enjoyed sharing Christmas cheer with people who work very intensely all year and feel privileged to get on so well with people of all roles within the hospital. But more than this, these people have supported me through bad times and shared good ones every day so what little I’ve done for them at this time of year to put a smile on their faces has been very enjoyable to do.

At home, I have two children of whom I am proud and whom I am happy to call friends as well as family. I am lucky to have my wonderful mum who, as you know, is a huge part of my life and gives me so much by way of support, love and fun. She doesn’t live with us but is nonetheless part of this family unit and I don’t know what I’d have done without her. Raji, of course, does live with us and enriches our household; I must admit I can’t imagine him not being with us now. We get on really well and he is more a brother and friend than “just” an in-law. As for Billy and I, we’ve actually managed to spend some time together here and there and now that he’s settled in to his job and life has calmed down a bit, he’s more like the man with whom I fell in love. Dare I hope we can pause to enjoy each other for a while?

As you may know, our darts team is made up of very good friends and they too have seen us through this year. I love my Friday nights playing darts in their company. In good times and bad, we can just relax and be ourselves with them, and they with us. I miss them if I don’t see them one week and I don’t get bored with their company if we get together for other things (such as watching football in the pub and generally leading each other astray πŸ˜‰ ) Their easy company and solid friendship has kept us going at times when we’ve really needed propping up.

I also have my beloved City to keep me entertained and through my football I have many friends who enrich my life. I have my City friends, some of whom I meet up with at games, some I only see occasionally. I have friends who are fans of other football clubs, some of whom I know well, some I’ve only met once or twice. Football brings me closer to my brother when we exchange match day texts as the geographical distance between us and busy lives make it all too easy to lose touch otherwise. All of these people make me feel a part of something, a sense of belonging and offer humour and opinion to entertain me. Many of them do more and have generously given me help, advice, support, access to match tickets and are dear friends. (You know who you are.)

So as I sit here counting my blessings and looking forward to a family Christmas and New Year with friends, I would just like to thank each and every one of you who has helped make this year bearable and kept us going. THANK YOU! I wish you a Christmas time full of your own blessings, with love, laughter and light and I hope that 2014 will be all that you hope it will be.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all my wonderful family and friends.