V is for very very very silly sport....
London Circle line Drinking Game
If you count drinking as a sport then this was a winner back when I was a student, and a "wild and crazy guy".
The game consists of splitting into teams of at least 2 each (and a minimum of 2 teams)
You then select how many pints, half pints or shorts (spirits) you wish to down for the duration of the game.
An appropriate number of stops on the Circle line are then written down and each teams draws out its' stops by lucky draw.
From a central starting point (and finishing point) the winner is the team that uses the tube (circle line only) to get to all of their stations, find the nearest pub and down their drink.
I should point out that now I am older and wiser this is a throughly irresponsible thing to do - but then again you only live once!
A variation on this idea is the Monopoly pub crawl. Visit all the squares on the monopoly board in real life, find the nearest pub... can be done in order, beginning with Old Kent Road or on a route designed to reduce travelling time !
Equipment: A liver in good working order
A taste for puffy southern beer
Y is for Youthful excesses whilst playing croquet
Hold the pink flamingos , in Durham UK
Croquet is a sport you don't see very often, but there is a fine tradition of it being played in Durham.
The Current world champion passed through at the same time as me, and although far out of my class I remember giving him a run for his money once or twice.
At our college we developed a slight twist on the sport by turning it into a drinking game - which made pegging out almost impossible.
If you are lucky you may see some students playing it on Palace Green (the area between Cathedral and Castle).
P.S the picture is of some recent students, although I did spend several happy hour doing the same !
K is for kicking along behind Paula
i"ll catch you yet Paula !
The London Marathon is one of the great days out in London.
I ran it a few years back (I'm not telling you the time I did it in, but an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping would have been quicker), and I can say it is probably the best organised and supported marathons in the world.
Entry is by ballot, but you can secure an entry by proving you area fast (see the website), taking a charity place and raising a guaranteed amount, or paying a travel complany (e.g Sportstours Ltd)
The route itself is superb, passing famous sites like the Cutty Sark (the famous Tea clipper), passing over Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Whitehall, and finishing on the Mall with your back to Buckingham Palace.
Spectators also get a great deal, as there are 80 pubs on the route, many of which are specially decorated for the day and have live bands.
P.S Such a shame to see her defeated by the heat in Athens, but like the terminator - she'll be back
P.P.S - she was, winning London in 2005
Equipment: Stamina !
I is for Innings and 19 runs at Lord's
Look out over the Hallowed turf of the Lord(s) - cricket at the MCC, London.
I remember hearing a recording of "Hankcock's half-hour" where Sid tries to con Hancock into buying an 'Urban farm' as Hancock is amazed at finding such a wide open space in the middle of London.
'Lords' is the spiritual home of Cricket, and although there is a stadium tour and museum, you really need to experience a game.
It is very difficult to get a ticket to a Test match (international) and it will cost of Fourty pounds upwards. You can however see a county (First-class) game for around ten pounds.
Children (under 16) always get in very cheap, as it is a way of promoting the game.
Check -out the website at www.middlesexccc.com
If you are a newcomer to the game then you might also like to check-out by VT tip on "Cricket explained to Foreigners" in my England section.
Lords itself feature a number of Interesting pavillions, including the space age Nat West Media Centre which give the appearance of a UFO hovering over one end of the ground.
zzzzzzzz is for watching Cricket
Cricket - the quintesential English game
Unless you come from an ex-commonwealth country (or possibly Holland) this will be completely unfathomable to you.
Don't worry the real attraction is finding a nice village green on a summer sunday afternoon and getting quietly pissed as the action carries on with the gentle twack of leather against willow.... (stop thi sentimental rose-eyed rubbish now)...fair enough.
This following anonymous piece should leave you little the wiser :
CRICKET AS EXPLAINED TO A FOREIGN VISITOR
You have two sides on out in the field and one in.
Each man that´s in the side that´s in goes out and when he´s out he comes in
And the next man goes in until he´s out.
When they are all out the side that´s comes in and the side that´s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
Sometimes you get men still in and not out
When both sides have been in and out including the not outs-
That´s the end of the game!
P.S Don't ask where the other team is, or who the non-white team are !
PPS Test matches (between counties) often last five days and end in a draw.
PPPS I can't stand cricket really
U is for University Boat race
Don't catch a crab - Go for ten.
There is an old joke that the outcome of the Annual Boat race is very predictable - as it is always Oxford or Cambridge.
The annual race took place last year (2004) on 28th March at 6PM. This was very late, but is due to the tides on the river - and I was there !
The crews are supposed to composed of students at the universities, but Oxford often draft in Americans on Mickey Mouse degrees who just happen to be Olympic standard Oarsman. The rivalry is intense - if you are new to it then it's worth getting hold of the film "True Blue" which tells the story of a particular year, when there was a 'mutiny' amongst one of the eights.
The race itself is something of a marathon, being run from Putney to Mortlake a distance of four and a half miles. Access is good, and you will find the route lined with thousands of spectators. Most of them will have spent the best part of the day getting loudly sozzled in a riverside pub on beer served in plastic beakers. If you like spending ours with thousands of overgrown public schoolboys - then be my guest.
Personally I think it is preferable to get a vantage point on one of the bridges up to halfway, as the outcome of race is usually fairly clear by then.
It is interesting that millions watch this race, even if they have never been to Oxford or Cambridge in their lives, yet everyone seems to support either light or dark blues.
I'm a Cambridge man myself (and we won this year - hurrah !). As General Melchett said in an episode of "Blackadder goes Forth" - 'Yes, Oxford is a complete arse !"
X is for X point on Slovenia
get soaked in the soca
Bovec is beginning to develop into an excellent mini-queenstown. Good range of activities, especially rafting and kayaking on the soca river.
The "X-point" company who work with Exodus travel are very professional - to quote them : "you must wear suit of neopreme" and can be recommended.
Their canyoning experience is also absolutely A1 - includes a last drop that will scare you S***less.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Q is for Quidditch would be easier
Irish Handball - I'll give this one a skip, thanks.
There is a long and complex history to the game of handball. It seems it originally developed in Ireland using one wall, but later had other walls added to form the three and four wall version whilst at some point the English Public schools also developed 'fives'.
It terms of playing the game it looks very similar to Squash, but is played with a bloody hard ball and a thin glove.
Outside handball courts can be found in most villages in the Galway area.
T is for Tough Guy. Birmingham UK
A tip for complete nutters
The annual "Tough Guy" run takes place on the last Sunday in January ( or as they put it this year(2004) : the 32nd of January).
Some say doing this once in life is on a par with running the bulls in Pamplona, or doing a Bungee jump : you just have to do it once.
The setting is a horse sanctuary on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, UK. About 3,000 people take part in the run which consists of a very hard 8 mile cross country followed by an assault course that makes one used by the SAS look a bit on the sissy side.
The water tunnels in freezing cold water are probably most competitors greatest fear, although wading through rivers, and crawling under barbed wire come a close second.
Sourbugger's time for this ordeal was three hours, 36 minutes : and he's very proud of it.
If you want to compete next year, you will be in the 'wetnecks', if I do it again I think I'll go for the 'Dickhead or Ghoons section'.
Check out the website below for a close up of the horrors.
You can also spectate on the day (about 5 pounds).
The summer event is similar, but as the temperatures are above freezing it's only for wimps.
Equipment: Months of training and an Iron will.
(see Jelly leg news on the website)
O is for Oslo city skiing
On the end of the subway line
Oslo City ski must be one of the very few ski areas in the world that can be accessed from the centre of a capital city via a subway line. (see Oslo Transportation tip)
With only 11 pistes to play on, it isn't the sort of ski resort that more experienced skiers would spend more than a day on, but to give the place some credit, they have made a great deal of what they have.
This is the place for 'proper' alpine skiing, (invented by the English of course) rather than than Scandanavian thing about skiing without your ankles being tied down, or romping off miles through the woods populated by hungry bears. Perhaps these forms of the sport are more popular with the locals.
I must admit, I was quite surprised quite how empty the slopes were, even if it was a cold weekday evening.
A few tips that may be of use to you :
1) Piste 1 is the green, 'motorway piste' where you will find many of the ski-school kids out.
2) Pistes 2-5 seem to be set out with a variety of poles for slalom skiing, little jumps all over the place for those who fancy themselves as those nutters who chuck themselves off mountains armed only with two long skis and an innate sense of invunerablity.
3) Another slope has a big half-pipe bulit for the grungy snowboaders.
4) Lift prices arn't cheap (see their website) but you can get all day, morning, afternoon and evening tickets (all the slopes are floodlit until 10PM) to suit your needs.Related to:
- Skiing and Boarding
D is for Durham, UK and punting along
Just one cornetto...give it to me....
When I was up here we used to go punting out on the river. It was a very pleasant way to waste an afternoon, although sometimes it somewhat spoiled by the very wittly local youths who enjoyed singing the 'Just one Cornetto' song (how amazingly original of them !) from an old advert for walls ice cream.
Oh, that and then gobbing off the bridges onto the boats below.
As a tourist you can take out a rowing boat from Brown's boathouse, but beware of other boats who wish to use their boat as a battering ram, or indeed a college eight at full pelt down the river.
You can also take the leisurely option of cruising around the river bends on the 'Prince Bishops' boat which is run by the same company.
M is for the Monaco Grand Prix street circuit
Walking the circuit
After having seen the place so many times on the TV it was fun to actually walk the circuit. It's fairly easy to do with a plan of the city as the red/white kerbstones remain all year. It certainly makes you appreciate the skills of the drivers much more.
You will also pass by most the sights of the place (excepting the Palace area) including the Hotel De Paris and Casino, not forgetting the places that have resonance for the motor-racing fan.
J is for jogging along in the Great North run
Biggest running event in the U.K
The Great North run is an annual half-marathon that is run every year towards the end of September.
It is by far the largest running event in the UK, with nearly 50,00 odd (some very odd) completing the 13.1 mile course from just noth of Newcastle city Centre, across the Tyne Bridge (a great moment) and along the south side of the Tyne to the seaside at South Sheilds.
The atmosphere is terrific, and further enhanced by the large number of charity runners in exceptionally silly costumes.
I have run it a number of time, and usually start witha collection of giant Rhinos from Billericay.
If you are a runner, then don't expect a great time, the mass start is very slow for a mile or two - but do expect a truely great day out.
N is for Nottingham, UK a great sporting city
Nottingham can justifiably claim to be one of England's best sporting city.
The two football clubs may well be struggling at the moment, but the two grounds are but a stones' throw apart and you are pretty likely to be able to get a ticket during the season.
Notts County is actually the oldest football club in the world, whilst Nottingham Forest had its glory days in the 1980's under Brian Clough (now then young man ..pay attention)when they went as far as becoming European champions. Brain (Sept 2004) tragically died at the rather young age of 69.
The Trent Bridge cricket ground is also of note - being often considered the finest ground in the county. It hosted the first inter-county matches way back in 1838 and it's first test match (international) in 1899. Nottinghamshire play here in the summer season and there is still at least one test match (5 days long) every year.
And that is just scratching the surface : There is the Ice arena (good ice hockey) the Tennis centre (national champhionships etc) and the National watersports centre.
You can find some virtual tours of some of these venues at the website given.
H is Horeseracing at the Galway festival...
Lose your shirt on this one !
The Galway races are one of the major events of the horseracing calendar.
They usually take place the last week in July
(in 2004 they will finish on Sunday 1st August)
They are unusual in that they last for a full seven days, with some evening, and some full-day events.
The course itself is quite hilly, but compact with a ruined castle in the middle !
The facilities are excellent, although the popularity of the meeting means it is very difficult to get a hotel room during the week, and the roads get completely clogged up.
Admission is quite steep, at 25 euro on the two biggest days - quite a loss even before you start betting !
The course was also the setting for a massive Papal mass when Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in the 1970's.
Equipment: Bags of cash !
If you go on Ladies day - then enter the spirit and dress up.Related to:
- Casino and Gambling
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