Friday, March 30, 2012

Attending a Wrestling event for the first time in five years!

Last Friday night I headed to a Power Trip Wrestling event in Luton. I haven’t been to a Wrestling event since I went to the WWE TV Tapings for ECW, Raw and Smackdown at Earl’s Court back in April 2007.

I used to be a big wrestling fan and a bunch of us used to go and watch a lot of the All Star Wrestling shows back in Oxford in the 90’s. Nowadays I’m more likely to fast forward WWE Superstars and the WWE Experience but as it was PTW’s 5th Birthday show I thought I’d check it out.

I wasn’t disappointed, it was really good fun!

My favourite match saw El Technico Supremo (a Hulk Hogan-inspired Mexican wrestler gimmick – with an Italian accent) take on Shane Stevens in a great battle which was a mixture of some hard hitting action, high spots and comedy. It had the near capacity crowd of over 50 people cheering loudly. You can watch the match on the PTW YouTube Channel.

Power Trip Wrestling match in Luton
El Technico Supremo 'Hulks-up' in his match against Shane Stevens
The rest of the card saw a mix of tag-team and singles bouts, along with a 10-man Battle Royal and a PTW World title match between 'Sexy' Zizou Middoux w/ the PTW Wildcard Champion 'Perfect' P.T. Player vs. 'The Renegade' Marcus Phayer. I also enjoyed the opening bout between Chris Sharpe and the dastardly heel 'The Earl of Excellence' Robert Rochester-Rose!

The PTW show was raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust and was great fun and well worth the £5 entry fee for a good two and half hours of wrestling!


'Tenuously Linked to Wrestling' Blog Posts on The Ham & Egger Files:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A revisit to Southsea on a lovely sunny day

A mini pub games crawl at the seaside.

After our visit to the new Minigolf course at Basingstoke Golf Centre Emily and I decided to make the most of the lovely sunny day by heading 45 minutes down the road to one of our favourite seasides – Southsea.

Southsea Minigolf
Outside the Treasure Island Adventure Golf course in Southsea

We had a nice wander around the town and seafront, headed to the amusement arcades for some rattin’ and tattin’ and also had a quick look at the Treasure Island Adventure Golf course (location of the genesis of the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour). Having played a fair bit of minigolf already during the day we decided not to play anymore, but instead grab some food and head to a few pubs.

Southsea Adventure Golf
Treasure Island Adventure Golf course in Southsea

Ahead of meeting up with my brother who lives in the town we went to the Barley Mow pub to check out the pub games they have on offer. The pub has some great signage on the wall outside advertising their games.

Pub Games in Southsea
Pub games sign at the Barley Mow

We found a Bar Billiards table in the lounge bar, with a Pool table and Dartboard in the games room next door. The pub also has a nice little Patio/Beer Garden.

Pub Games in Southsea
The Barley Mow's Bar Billiards table

In our game of Bar Billiards at the Barley Mow Emily and I tied on zero points when I wiped-out my 750 points on the black peg shoot-out.

The table was in great condition and very tricky too. There were also three posters detailing the rules of the game – one of which called it ‘Pokey Pokey’! On this rulesheet it called the pegs 'soldiers'! This is the first time I've seen the pegs on the table called this - they do look a bit like people with their arms outstretched. I haven't seen the game called 'Pokey Pokey' before either. I wonder what the origin of the name is?

The Barley Mow also had a sign-up sheet calling for people to join the pub team to take on others from The Eldon Arms, the White Horse and the King Street Tavern. We’ll definitely be heading back to the Barley Mow for a few drinks on our next visit to Southsea; it’s a great spot to spend some time and is just a short walk away from the seafront.

Pub Games in Southsea
I line-up a shot

Pub Games in Southsea
Emily playing Bar Billiards at the Barley Mow

Bar Billiards
The Simplified Rules of 'Pokey Pokey'!

Some of the signage at the Barley Mow

Darts at the Barley Mow pub in Southsea
The Dartboard at the Barley Mow

After having a quick throw of some darts our next stop was to The White Horse. The Bar Billiards table here was the first one I never laid my eyes on when we had previously had a meal there. At that point I had no idea what the game was and it is only since watching Indoor League on DVD that I got bitten by the Bar Billiards Bug!

Bar Billiards at The White Horse in Southsea
The Bar Billiards table at The White Horse pub

In our match Emily picked up a win 610 to 590 in an incredibly close game, which was finished when Emily scored 50, 30 and 30 with her last shot!

Bar Billiards in Southsea
Emily makes a break

After the game at The White Horse we met up with my brother and headed to the King Street Tavern, only to find that they no longer have a Bar Billiards table. The pub did look nice enough and there was a selection of games on the bar and some local history books available for customers to read. As an aside, one of the books was 'Is Britain Great? 2' by the team at The Caravan Gallery based in the town - the book is well worth a look and includes a photo of the old Mushroom Hut on the now demolished Crazy Golf course at Felixstowe. We’ll head back to the pub for a pint there next time we’re in town.

The final stop on our mini-pub crawl on the Barmy Bar Billiards Trail in Southsea was to The Eldon Arms, the next pub along from the King Street Tavern. Here we found the Bar Billiards table to the left of the bar and in an area next to the Pool table and a dartboard. On Sundays the pub has free play Pool so that table was very busy.

Bar Billiards
The Bar Billiards table at The Eldon Arms

In me and Emily’s final match of our best-of-three series in Southsea I picked up a win 1,350 to 330 – my highest score to date. I managed to hit the 100 hole in the sudden-death shootout. This did however mean that our Southsea match ended at one win apiece, with the other match a draw. A re-match is on the cards next time we head to Southsea!

Bar Billiards at The Eldon Arms
Christopher watches Emily playing Bar Billiards

Bar Billiards
Emily making a sudden-death shot

The final game of Bar Billiards saw me introduce Christopher to the game. He took to it like a duck to water and defeated me 840 to 710 in a close match that went the distance. In the sudden-death shootout he hit the 100 hole with a white ball to take the win. We also chatted to a few of the punters who were watching us play and explained the rules of Bar Billiards to them, they seemed intrigued by the game and thought it sounded more fun than Pool. It's a shame the pub didn't have a rulesheet available to let interested people know how to play the game. 

Bar Billiards in Southsea
Christopher playing his first game of Bar Billiards

All in all a great finish to a long day out of fun and games in Basingstoke and Southsea!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Basingstoke Golf Centre - New Mini Golf courses played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

Visit to the new 9-hole Minigolf course at Basingstoke Golf Centre and results of Minigolf Challenge Matches.

Basingstoke Golf Centre's new Mini Golf course
A view of the new 9-hole Minigolf course at Basingstoke Golf Centre

On Sunday 25th March Emily and I visited and played the 283rd and 284th Miniature Golf courses on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour at the Open Day Launch of a new Mini Golf course at Basingstoke Golf Centre in Hampshire. The weather for the day out playing minigolf could not have been better.

In our first round on the new 9-hole course I defeated Emily by two shots with a score of 19(+1) to her 21(+3).

Emily plays Hole 4
Emily plays Hole 4

In our next round we were joined by fellow GB international and two-time World Crazy Golf Champion Chris Harding. Chris scored a 16(-2), I had a 17(-1) and Emily hit a 19(+1).

At the event there were also two challenge matches, the first saw me, Emily, Chris and Basingstoke Golf Centre’s PGA Golf Professional Tony Cook play a one-round, 9-hole contest.

In the match Emily was the outright leader for the first seven holes, before Chris and I scored an ace each. This left a three-way tie for the lead with two to play. On hole eight I scored a two, while the other players each took a three. On the ninth Chris and I were both close to getting a hole-in-one but took twos, while Emily and Tony scored threes, meaning that I took the win. The scores from the match were:

- Richard Gottfried - 16(-2)
- Chris Harding - 17(-1)
- Emily Gottfried - 18(par)
- Tony Cook* - 22(+4)
* Tony is the course record holder, having previously scored a round of 14(-4)

Tony Cook, Richard Gottfried, Emily Gottfried & Chris Harding at Basingstoke Golf Centre's new Minigolf Course
From l-r Tony Cook, Richard Gottfried, Emily Gottfried & Chris Harding

In the team contest two teams of three players, led by me and Chris Harding, faced-off in a closely fought cumulative score strokeplay event. The players were selected by each of the team captains. I got first pick having upset Chris with a shock victory in a (best-of-3) Rock Paper Scissors match!

Minigolf at Basingstoke Golf Centre
I play a shot on hole 2 - I scored an ace!

On my team were Jon Angel and Danny Angel from the Great Britain Minigolf Team sponsors UrbanCrazy, with Chris’ team containing David McConnachie and Steve Gorton.

Mini Golf at Basingstoke Golf Centre
Team UrbanCrazy - Danny, Jon and Richard

Mini Golf at Basingstoke Golf Centre
Team Invincible - Chris, David and Scott

Mini Golf at Basingstoke Golf Centre
Me and Chris play Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets the first pick of the players in the team challenge

My team won the challenge match with a total of 62(+8), with Chris’ team hitting 64(+10). The match was very back and forth, with the teams tying on a number of holes too. The final hole to be played - hole 5 - is probably the toughest on the course, so there was a nervy finish to the match.

I was once again the lowest scoring player, this time with a round of 18(par). Chris Harding and David McConnachie tied for second on 19(+1). Jon Angel scored a 21(+3), with Danny Angel on 23(+5) and Steve Gorton on 26(+8).

Mini Golf at Basingstoke Golf Centre
Playing hole 9 of the Mini Golf course during the team match

Chris, Emily and I also had one final friendly round on the course, with me and Chris both shooting a 16(-2) and Emily hitting a 24(+6).

The Mini Golf course at Basingstoke Golf Centre was designed and built by UrbanCrazy – the sponsors of the Great Britain Minigolf Team. Photos of the course are below:

Hole 1

Hole 2 and the Putting Course in the background

Hole 2

Hole 3

Hole 4

Hole 5 - a nasty dog leg left!

Hole 6

Hole 7 - a very short, but tricky hole

Hole 8

Hole 8

Hole 9

Hole 9

A view of holes 7, 8 & 9

The five-hole minigolf practice area

We also took the opportunity to test our Putting skills on the 8-hole Putting Green at the centre. Chris and I faced-off in a challenge match, with Chris getting the upper-hand and winning with a score of 19(+3) to my 20(+4).

I play hole 1 on the Putting Green

Miniature Golf Putting Course at Basingstoke Golf Centre
Chris on the Putting Green

The two courses were the first new ones to be visited and played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in 2012 and the first since #282 at London’s Alexandra Palace back in December 2011.

Next stop... who knows where...!


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Monday, March 26, 2012

Jigfest 2012!

Action from the 2012 Jigsaw Puzzle Extravaganza in Abbots Langley.

On Saturday Emily and I headed to Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire to attend Jigfest 2012!

Emily outside Jigfest 2012 at Abbots Langley Community Centre

We had spotted the event in a news story in the Watford Observer and decided to check it out. The admission was £1 and included a cup of tea – I required very little persuading with an offer of free tea!

Even though Emily is a card carrying member (Bronze level) of The Official UK Puzzle Club we had never been to a ‘Jigfest’ before. Handily the organisers had information on each of the tables with details of what to do.

The 'rules' of Jigfest!

Emily peruses the puzzles

I enjoyed my free cup of tea and the chance to ‘play’ a Where’s Wally? jigsaw puzzle. I managed to find Wally, who had been very sneakily hidden. I couldn’t find Wizard Whitebeard though.

I play the Where's Wally? jigsaw puzzle

We didn't miss looking in this corner!!

Me and my cup of tea

The annual Jigfest extravaganza is held to raise funds for the upkeep of the Abbots Langley Community Centre. Jigfest is sponsored by M.K. Ginder & Sons Funeral Directors.

A Where's Wally? jigsaw puzzle

It was also nice to have a wander around Abbots Langley in the lovely sunny weather. Even though we live just down the road in Luton we've never been there before.

- Abbots Langley Community Centre - Jigfest Host Venue

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Pitch & Butt - Naked Minigolf Guinness World Record Attempt

A Minigolf Guinness World Record Attempt in Southend-on-Sea that I will NOT be participating in!

The Putting Penguin Minigolf Team alerted me to a news item about a very crazy miniature golf event taking place in Southend-on-Sea this weekend - the ‘Most Naked People to play a Miniature Golf Course in One Hour’ Guinness World Record Attempt!!!

Now, I am a big fan of Crazy Golf AND someone who likes attempting to set/break Guinness World Records, but I will NOT be taking part in the naked Minigolf attempt, but I do wish the brave people who are going to have a crack at the challenge all the very best. Fingers crossed for the warm weather to continue too!

The fundraising event is taking place at the 18-hole Aztec & Inca Adventure Golf course at the Adventure Island Theme Park and will tee-off at 9am on Sunday 25th March. The nominated good cause is the Prostate Cancer Charity.


Southend-on-Sea related blog posts on The Ham & Egger Files:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Bar Billiards in London

A trip to six pubs and a hotel in search of somewhat elusive Bar Billiards tables.

While in London on Tuesday 20th March I had a hunt around for some more Bar Billiards tables to have a play on.

With the regular minigolf season still a month away my thirst for playing a game that requires the holing of balls and dodging obstacles on a green surface needed to be stated, so using the Bar Billiards table map and lists from the All England Bar Billiards' Association (AEBBA) website and the British Bar Billiards Forum I set off to see what I could find.

The first two pubs visited drew a blank. The barman at The Trafalgar pub on the King’s Road in Chelsea had heard of the game (once I said it ‘was a bit like Pool’). The table was long gone, but some of his regulars still mentioned it.

The next pub visit was to The Surprise on Christchurch Terrace in Chelsea. To not much surprise from me the table there was also long gone. Both The Trafalgar and The Surprise looked nice enough, but were more gastropubs than pubby pubs!

The next location on my list was The Gallery Hotel and the fact that it was a hotel, rather than a pub, left me doubting whether there would be any hint of Bar Billiards. My concerns were unfounded as the Receptionist knew that there was a Bar Billiards table in the hotel, but had never been asked about it before, especially not from someone coming in off the street. But, having explained how I’d heard about it she called the Butler to take me to ‘The Morris Room’ to have a look.

The Bar Billiards area in 'The Morris Room' at The Gallery Hotel in Kensington

Down the stairs in the nicely decorated hotel – the lobby has a nice bar, early 20th century photographic equipment and a chess board set-up amongst the leather chairs and bookcases – I was led to the Bar Billiards table and left to have a play on it.

The felt on the table looked a different colour to that on the other tables I’ve played to date and it had a very fast running baize too. The table is neatly tucked away in an alcove under the stairs. There were two cues, a rules sheet (which marked the establishment of the rules in 1934), chalk, a scoreboard, but sadly only four white balls to use!?

The Bar Billiards table at The Gallery Hotel

The three-pin table was free to play, the timer did work, but the bar did not drop. Interestingly, the coin slot was pre-decimal, so I have no idea how much it would have cost to play ‘back in the day’!?

I had an irregular match against myself (I lost, but won 200 points to 30 points) and then had a bit of a practice. A nice old table in a lovely hotel. Definitely worth a visit if you’re into Bar Billiards.

After the high of playing the table at The Gallery Hotel, my next stop was fruitless as I found that The Gloucester Arms on Gloucester Road no longer has a table either.

After passing by the Pavilion at Hyde Park (home to a 9-hole Miniature Golf Putting Course) I caught the tube to Temple and The Cheshire Cheese pub. And I am certainly glad I did.

The Games Room sign at The Cheshire Cheese Pub

The blackboard outside the pub proudly announces the pub’s Games Room, which is home to all manner of great activities including Bar Billiards, Darts, Rings, Giant Jenga, Chess, Backgammon, Shove Halfpenny, Poker and more!

After ordering my drink I enquired about the Games Room and the barmaid opened up the basement room for me, where I was greeted by a Bar Billiards table, quality dartboard (with electronic scoreboard) and Rings game board.

While waiting for Emily to arrive I had a practice of my ‘arrers and threw a few Rings, to little effect.

Rings and Darts at The Cheshire Cheese Pub
My score of 'lucky' 7 in my practice game at Rings

Once Emily arrived we decided on the format for our mini-Publympics competition – best-of-three games, starting with Bar Billiards, followed by the Ring Toss and ending with a one-leg 301 straight-in, double-out game of Darts.

The Bar Billiards table had four Mushrooms (two white, one red and a black). However, we decided to play the game as a three-pin match instead. In game one I defeated Emily 400-250. Emily had totted up a score of 230 points and a 140-break, before wiping out by hitting the black mushroom.

The four Mushrooms in the holes
In game two I scored a 490 point break on my way to a victory 810-190. This took me to one-nil up in the mini-Publympics.

The Bar Billiards table at The Cheshire Cheese Pub
Next up was a game of Rings. Without knowing the exact rules and with no rule sheet available we played an arbitrary game of six-rings-each, highest score wins. In game one I scored a pitiful 6 points to Emily’s 25. Emily also won game two with a 13-10 points victory to take the second game in our series too. I wrapped up our game of Rings by winning the third, and unnecessary, final game 13-11. Emily’s total points haul was 49 to my 29.

Emily defeats me at the old parlour game of Rings

In the sudden-death leg of Darts I won the match in a 66 dart-leg(!) to win the overall three game challenge contest 2-1.

The Cheshire Cheese is a great pub. Nice and friendly and with the whole basement given over to pub games and a bar it’s well worth a visit.

Emily throwing some 'arrers at The Cheshire Cheese Pub

Our next stops on the Barmy Bar Billiards Trail led us to Soho and two pubs on Brewer Street. The first, The Glasshouse Stores, had a blackboard on the street detailing the pub games, while the other, Marks Bar at Hix, shows the Bar Billiards table in the photos on the menu outside.

The sign outside The Glasshouse Stores in Soho

The menu and photos showing the Bar Billiards table at Hix, Soho

We decided to visit The Glasshouse Stores and found the Bar Billiards table towards the back of the pub. The pub is quite large and there is a cellar bar too. We asked about playing the Bar Billiards and were told a £5 refundable deposit was required for the cues, chalk and Mushrooms. We were also told the timer was broken so we’d have to pay a pound to play at the bar too.

We set-up the three-pin table and found there were quite a lot of extra balls on the table (a total of twelve available), perhaps they can sell The Gallery Hotel four more! We removed the excess balls and decided we’d play to a 15-minute time limit before the imaginary bar would drop.

Plenty of Bar Billiards Balls to choose from on The Glasshouse table!

In game one I got off to a good start, racking up a break of 510 points, before wiping-out by hitting both white pegs. I still managed to pick up the win, with a score of 430-nil, cleaning up the last three balls on the table with my final shot scoring 10, 50 & 50. Towards the end of the first game Emily had also been unfortunate to wipe-out a break of 510 points!

The rule sheet for the game of Billiards at The Glasshouse Stores

The second of our three games saw me once again pick up a victory, this time the match went to a dreaded shoot-out on the black peg, which I managed to avoid and holed out with my first attempt to take the win 550-nil.

A tricky shot for me

After a bit of practice we decided to have one final challenge match which I won 360-10 after potting the white in the 200-hole on my first attempt again, this time after Emily had missed her first shot at it.

Emily turned a Mushroom upside down with a ferocious shot!
The pub also has a number of other games available to play including a wide selection of board games, along with a good dartboard area too.

The Darts area at The Glasshouse Stores

After playing plenty of Bar Billiards for one day we called it quits and headed home. But we will be back to play the table at Hix, and a few others in London, another day.

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