WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)Characters
: Finn Balor/BayleyRating
I own nothing.Summary:
The Demon and Finn Balor seek victories, of all kinds. They seek Bayley. The Demon finds her fascinating.
Read it here
One of the two jobs my sister has is running a food tour business with a friend in Bristol. They take people round some of the amazing non-chain food places in the city, where they can try the food and discover hidden gems of cafes and restaurants. It’s been a real success story and recently we were finally able to go on one of the tours ourselves.
Annoyingly there was train trouble – works in one area meant that in order to arrive at 11am we had to get an 8am train for a journey that normally took an hour and a half directly, this one took three hours and included two changes! Thankfully they all went well and we were picked up in Bristol by my parents who took us to my sister’s new flat. It’s a lovely place for her and her other half, bigger than the last one which suits them perfectly, and definitely nicer.
My sister was the guide for our tour, a group that included me, Anthony, my parents, my brother and my aunt, uncle and cousin. It was a lovely family outing. Usually, my sister takes tour groups to ten different places quite briskly but as it was a family group who wanted to catch up etc, we did half as many stops where we got to linger for longer and got more food lol. We went to an ice cream parlour, a pizza restaurant, a cafe and a final restaurant. Little Sis led the tour so professionally, telling us interesting things about the buildings we were passing on the way and pausing at one point for us to taste some chocolates she’d brought with her – mmm, chilli chocolate. It’s at moments like this that I’m really struck by how grown-up my sister is. It sounds odd to say it but in my head, for a brief second when I think about her, she’s that plump loud toddler or that young bratty child. She’s an adult now though – the same age I was when I married Anthony – and such an impressively accomplished one. I’m entirely delighted by her success and so thrilled to call her my sister. To have seen her grow, especially recently, has been really wonderful.
On the tour, the places she took us to all served wonderful food, unsurprisingly. The ice cream was amazing, made on site and so delicious. I’d definitely go there for a sundae; Anthony and I were both in agreement. We could try as many little spoonfuls of flavours as we liked, which was great fun. The pizza was truly delicious, one of the pizzas given to us to share out was a pig trotter pizza which Anthony was very pleased to try out – he loves trying different meats. And the flat bread they served with dip was so good. Like I could have eaten the whole plate myself lol. The cafe was also a laundrette so it was funny watching people walk through with bags of laundry; they set it up for a wash and then get something to eat and drink while their laundry was going through a cycle. They serve a drink known as ‘the drink that can’t be named’ which is a sweet milky drink, not even on the menu, as it bears more than a resemblance to a fictional drink which I shall not name either ;) Anthony had one and it was very delicious. The last restaurant is run by a guy who was number two to Hesten Bloomantal and the food was amazingly good, including a sweetcorn fritter and for dessert black rice pudding which was so good. Little Sis had her birthday party there a week later as she loves the food so much.
It was such a lovely warm afternoon; getting to spend time with family and catch up and try out amazing food and visit businesses in Bristol that we hadn’t experienced before. I am so unbelievably proud of my Little Sis, who has created this business with her friend from scratch and it’s been such a success. So much so that they’re expanding. They’re hiring a new guide and they’re going to create another tour trail in a different area of Bristol so that they can do two tours at the same time. She was so professional and the experience was so good. I’m in awe of her creativity and business nouse. It’s such a great fresh idea – she and her friend both went on food tours while abroad and couldn’t believe one hadn’t been set up in Bristol before which led them to do it – and it’s worked so well. I cannot wait to see it and them go from strength to strength and can’t wait to go on one again.
- Tags:family, pics
- Music:No Good Advice - Girls Aloud
: Take A BowFandom: The Hobbit
Tauriel/Kili, Fili/Sigrid, Thorin Oakenshield, Dis, OinRating
: I own nothing.Spoilers:
Set after all three Hobbit
Tauriel has been a prisoner in Erebor since returning a gravely-wounded Kili after the battle. Now finally she is permitted to stand before the Dwarven court and tell her truth; to save her life, to show why she wants to stay.
Read it here
Another Hand On The CompassFandom:
WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)Rating:
I own nothing.Summary:
Summer Rae hasn't been on TV for a while but she's been busy. She has a private partner and she networks and knows how to turn around every problem. She knows that dance. She has plans for Sami Zayn.
Read it here
Last Friday we went to Portsmouth for a Revolution Pro-Wrestling show; our first of their shows this year. Portsmouth is nicely easy to get to and we met up with our friend Joe on the train. He lives locally and often attends the same shows as us, though is unable to make PROGRESS shows due to money and time. He and Anthony know each other through ice hockey and he’s always good company.
First thing we realised once we got inside – after queuing outside for a bit and then being held in the downstairs cafe area of the venue – was many kids were there this time. There was a tremendous amount, because it was the end of half-term week. It was great to see so many families there and so many kids in wrestling shirts and masks, running around, all over excited. Sadly there were more than a few adults there who didn’t care about children being present and chanted stuff that really was not appropriate, to the point of being offensive. I don’t understand why people go to shows that are clearly marketed to being family-friendly show and acting like they’re at an adults-only one. It’s just awful and makes things really awkward and unpleasant.
The first match was Marty Scurll – our beloved villain – against ‘All Day Star’ Ryan Smile. We’ve only ever seen Ryan at Attack shows so it was good to see him wrestle somewhere else. He and Marty are both very athletically gifted and very charismatic and they didn’t disappoint in an exciting opener. It’s always such a pleasure to watch Marty whenever he wrestles as he never phones it in and will never not have fans. Ryan is very charismatic and talented and as many British wrestlers move to America, he’s definitely someone who has been stepping up to fill those main event slots. I feel like he needs to find more nuance and depth in his character though, because he’s so charming and funny and charismatic – as both villain and fan favourite – it’s like he doesn’t need to work hard to get the crowd onside. But he will have to if he wants to get further.
One of the reasons we were keen to go to this show was to support Trent Seven who was facing Dave Mastiff. Trent rarely does shows this far South, usually we have to travel to London to see him, so it was great to support him closer to home and he and Mastiff didn’t disappoint, at one point spilling into the crowd with Trent encouraging little kids to slap Mastiff before quickly getting back into the ring before that got out of hand. Smart! Mastiff is so incredible in the ring – powerful and very agile for such a big man. He’s a great grumpy villain too and Trent’s fabulous charisma and strong-style talent worked well with him. They’re a very good match up and as this feud started late last year at Global Wars, I’m hoping it’ll continue.
Now a truly ridiculous match and yet, my favourite of the night lol. It’s the comedy fun match – the Legion of Lords (Rishi Gosh & Lord Gideon Grey) vs. Hornswoggle & Colt Cabana. Hornswoggle is a dwarf wrestler who worked for the WWE for a long time and Colt Cabana is a very funny American wrestler, huge on the independent circuit, who is brilliant at comedy matches but can also wrestle really well. The Legion of Lords are very funny very talented villains, always sneering at the crowd and my goodness, they make me laugh lol. We went into this show thinking this match might be a complete disaster but actually it was really smartly put together, packed with genuinely hilarious moments and everyone looked really good out of it. Gideon Grey in particular has really shaped up physically – he’s a trainer at the RevPro academy which must help – and having cut his long hair, looks younger and much fitter. I did not expect to enjoy this match as much as I did but it was so funny and also featured good wrestling and made great creative use of the characters involved. Top marks, all four of you.
Sadly, the crowd really did not like Dan McGee vs. The problem was that these two are RevPro academy graduates, they’re decent wrestlers but are unknown to anyone outside of RevPro fans. Most fans at this show were here to see the names advertised, not this kind of match. It’s a feud between former friends, sparked at a recent Cockpit show – the shows RevPro are currently doing monthly and the match itself was not bad but it really did go on way too long. It was one of the longest of the night which seemed odd considering the pair were unknowns compared to everyone else on the show. And the crowd just chanted to amuse themselves, mostly about how both competitors were wearing black trunks. We felt so bad for both guys as they were trying hard but yeah, sadly, on the night, at this place in front of this crowd, it just didn’t work.
Weird tag team match time (again) RevPro Tag Team Champions Charlie Sterling and Joel Redman vs. the Spirit Squad (Kenny and Mikey). The Spirit Squad were a WWE stable quite a few years back, consisting of enthusiastic male cheerleaders, because WWE think men in ‘traditionally female’ roles are hilarious and should be laughed at, humiliated and booed. Yeah. Sterling and Redman are talented wrestlers – especially Sterling who has been blazing a trail in ICW with his ridiculous physical exploits in the ring for a man his size, unleashed like that he’s truly special. But these two together, they are plain fan favourites, what’s known as ‘white meat’ because they’re bland and try to get everyone cheering and don’t really have characters apart from the fact they’re happy to be here. The sort of character that often turns up on family shows but that has no depth or much interesting about them sadly. The match was decent; the Spirit Squad weren’t embarrassing but they weren’t exactly brilliant either. And we’d rather see Sterling in somewhere like ICW where he can really let go and show what he can really do. This was a solid match but it wasn’t anything special. We were hoping CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) who are feuding with Redman and Sterling (and getting vastly cheered more than them, whoops) would turn up for a run-in but they were wrestling in Germany that night.
Main event time saw ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne vs. Pentagon Jr. Now, that isn’t the name Pentagon uses these days when he wrestles – he left the AAA promotion in Mexico who are trademarking all variations of that moniker so he can’t use them but that’s how he’s known best so that’s what I’m sticking with. Pentagon has become a huge star thanks to his work in Lucha Underground and rightly so. He’s a dark figure with a painted face and eerie contact lenses and is super powerful and vicious in his wrestling as well as able to fly when needed. He and Pete put on a great match, both being solid-built guys who can really pack a punch and get agile too. Pete is such a star now, rising thanks to his continued impressive work on the indies and making an impact in the WWE with his sneering ruthless villain act. It’s entirely deserved. They were a very good match up and I’d definitely watch them again.
As always at RevPro, there were a lot of wrestlers selling merchandise – the best way to make money on the independent circuit. Interestingly, Pentagon was not stood behind the tables but rather, in front of them. So once the rush had died down pre-show, I gathered my bravery and went down to talk to him. I knew, from a friend who’d met him before, that he spoke good English so I shook his hand, said how much I was looking forward to watching him wrestle and got a photo with him. He was wonderful with the many small children who walked up to peer at him in fascination and awe – they had no clue who he was, just that he looked scary. He’s very intimidating to look at; like many masked Mexican wrestlers, he keeps his real-life identity a secret hence why he was wearing all his gear pre-show. But I was so glad to meet him me and Anthony are huge fans of his Lucha Underground work and it was really quite an experience to finally get to see him wrestle live and to meet him.
Dave Mastiff was selling hats so I nipped over for a quick photo. He doesn’t look thrilled, does he? Lol. Well, he’s not one of the world’s natural chatters to fans but I do love his work in PROGRESS and elsewhere so it was grand to shake his hand and say hi anyway.
We also had a good chat with Trent Seven – understandably given his and Pete’s recent WWE work, their end of the table was rather busy but he still took the time to chat to us and catch up on things. You always get the feeling with him that he’s genuinely pleased to meet people and spend time with them. I know he’s that way with every fan and I appreciate it every time we chat to him. He’s absolutely one of the good guys and any time we get to support him is a good time.
- Music:Shake It - Metro Station
My Very OwnFandom: Captain America
Bucky Barnes/Sam Wilson, T'ChallaRating:
I own nothing.Spoiler:
Set after Captain America: Civil War.Summary:
Bucky Barnes is learning what he has once he wakes, trigger-free, in Wakanda. A visit from Sam brings a whole new line of learning into play.
Read it here
Of course, there were some train difficulties as we headed into London for our monthly PROGRESS Wrestling show yesterday. Southampton were playing in the league cup at Wembley so the train was full of football fans and our first little train to a bigger Southampton station was cancelled due to flooding. When we did get to London, we were fifteen minutes late due to how busy Waterloo was thanks to both the football and rugby games happening in the city that day. And the train home was a nightmare, so packed with people that there were a lot sitting on the floor and we didn't get our usual tasty Burger King dinner as sports fans were queuing out the door. Yes, I'm an entitled brat, I wanted my chips, darn it! lol. I’m very glad it’s not that busy and difficult every month!
Though rain showers had been forecast, it thankfully didn’t rain when we were all queuing for the show and the time seemed to go by quite quickly. We weren’t as far back in the queue as I feared we’d be, arriving later than we’d like thanks to the train delay, and the doors opening promptly. Clearly, PROGRESS has gotten everything together in that area as they start and finish much more promptly than they did two years ago. I am profoundly grateful.
The first match was an oddness – James Drake vs Damon Moser. I was looking forward to seeing Drake like – he was part of the WWE UK Tournament and has done a PROGRESS Manchester show. He looks, as Anthony put it, like a smaller Stevie Boy (ICW wrestler). He certainly walked to the ring with a lot of intensity and I know he’s a star in Futureshock, a Midlands promotion. Moser is always popular being a hard-working ProJo guy, Anthony was actually wearing his ‘Moser vs. Everyone’ t-shirt too in support. But for some reason, this match went less than five minutes and Paz, the referee, was talking to Moser for a long while on the canvas afterwards. Was the match cut short because of injury? Or because the card was already very stacked and something needed to give if they wanted to finish on time? It was very strange. I don’t feel like we got to see Drake’s potential at all so I really hope he comes back to the Ballroom at some point soon as I’ve heard many good things about him.
Then everything picked up thanks to the debut of Session Moth Martina. Martina has become a very talked-about wrestler in the UK in a short span of a time. A huge star in her home promotion OTT (Irish company which has become a recent ‘one to watch’ promotion), she wears leopard-print trousers, a Day-Glo baseball cap, drinks cans of alcohol on the way to the ring and dances up a storm like she’s at a rave. Us audience members had been given glowsticks to wave during her entrance which was so much fun. The crowd took to her immediately and it was incredibly funny to watch her immediately go after Dahlia Black’s boyfriend TK Cooper who looked rather scared to be so pursued by someone like Martina. She also danced all up on Jim as he tried to ring announce and up on referee Chris Roberts too. Martina is definitely a character – she produced cigarettes from her bra and her trousers which Dahlia broke in half and threw out of the ring, she spoke in her broad Irish accent but she also proved she’s a good wrestler. Some fans really don’t like her, claiming she’s ‘set women’s wrestling back 5 years’ with her act but I don’t mind it at all. It’s fresh and very different to anything any other girl is doing in the UK right now and so it’s gotten a lot of attention but she does back it up with good work in the ring too.
She and Dahlia were a perfect contrast to one another and worked very well together. I have to say that my favourite moments were any moments TK was on the receiving end of Martina’s attention. He honestly looked like he had no clue what to do lol. As he and Dahlia are very much an item (all the PDA), it’s wonderful to see someone go after him so aggressively and him be so unnerved by it. He did receive a forceful kiss from Martina which he apparently quite liked, much to Dahlia’s rage – a nice counterpoint to when at SSS16 last year Jack Gallagher kissed Dahlia’s hand which she seemed to like too. The match ended eventually – after Dahlia had poured beer over Martina’s head and Martina had drunk plenty from the can herself and headbutted Dahlia rather spectacularly – when TK gave Martina the trusty knockout punch he’s used to down plenty of Dahlia’s opponents before. So Dahlia goes through to the next stage of the Natural Progression series for the Women’s Championship. Not unexpected as she’s a PROGRESS regular and it was Martina’s debut but my goodness, I do hope we get Martina back in PROGRESS. She really does make everyone smile and was loved immediately.
The best match of the night I think was from Travis Banks and a debuting Jordan Devlin. Devlin made an impact on the WWE UK Tournament as he’s a trainee of Finn Balor’s, and sort of looks like a cut-price version, and was an effective villain during the tournament. I was really interested in how this match would go as both competitors were effectively villains so who would the crowd cheer for? Travis has been able to be a very loved and successful fan favourite in Fight Club Pro though is hated everywhere else (and he’s very good at getting the hate lol) and I was convinced that his impressive in-ring style which PROGRESS fans have always applauded, despite how hated he is as part of South Pacific Power Trip with TK Cooper, would get instant support if he was working solo. And so it was – TK came out with him but Travis sent him to the back and as soon as TK left, Travis got applauded to the ring and got supportive chants the whole match. Devlin got endless chants about how out of proportion his head is to his body, it’s really not that much bigger but the fans did love jumping on that.
The pair of them have quite similar styles and they meshed brilliantly, producing an impressive technical and hard-hitting match which fans seriously appreciated, exploding with delight when Travis won. He’s never been cheered before at a PROGRESS show and this demonstrated just how keen people are to cheer him, once he (hopefully) splits from TSPPT. TK and Dahlia appeared after the match to congratulate him and as though to remind the crowd that they shouldn’t be cheering him. It didn’t matter; he got cheered as he made his exit too. Devlin got an appreciative reception too as he left and I do hope we’ll see more of him in PROGRESS as he is a tidy wrestler. It was just so good to finally get to cheer Travis for once, as he's a real favourite of mine.
Sebastian decided to come out to address Pastor William Eaver, demanding that the Pastor come out to receive a beating as punishment for punching Sebastian last month, otherwise Sebastian would be prosecuting Eaver for September’s knockout. Eaver came out and did fall to his knees to unhappily receive the punishment but then his tag team partner Chuck Mambo appeared, in his usual garish shorts and unusually a bright orange button-down shirt and necktie. Eaver looked delighted to see him; it was so lovely to see. Mambo proclaimed he’d looked into the law and found that as it’d been over 150 days since the alleged assault, Sebastian actually had no grounds for prosecution and that instead, he was engaging in blackmail that meant he was the one who could be prosecuted! Jim then decided that a match between Eaver and Sebastian would happen right then, a No DQ Match.
It was a very well-constructed match – nothing too crazy, not tons of weapons but certainly plenty of wince-inducing spots in and out of the ring. Eaver got cut open – we think he bladed (deliberately cut himself to produce blood) and ended up with horrific bloody welts on his back from Sebastian beating him with a homemade kendo stick. It was certainly a memorable image. Eaver managed to win with his Clothesline from Heaven, hopefully bringing an end to the feud. It’s been good for both of them; re-establishing Sebastian in PROGRESS very effectively and allowing Eaver to develop as a character. What about the secret Sebastian claimed to know about Eaver? I think it might have been deleted from the story but we’ll see. After the match, Jim told him in no uncertain terms where to do and the ring crew bodily carried off a ranting furious Sebastian, much to the fans' delight.
Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero was a match I was really looking forward to as over the years, they’ve faced each other over 300 times around the country. So I knew we’d get something entertaining. Of course in PROGRESS, they are now enemies as Ligero and Dave Mastiff have become the 'Banter Edition' version of the Origin, compared to the serious Nathan and Zack Gibson. Ligero came out to a different version of ‘Turn the Page’ (the Origin’s entrance theme) and got the crowd swaying their arms throughout, much to Nathan’s utter confusion which was wonderful to witness. Ligero also had Jim read out facts about both Ligero and Nathan (which included a reference to Nathan’s real-life blood pressure problems, kudos to Nathan for allowing that to get aired). Ligero also gained a new nickname – Lucha otter, which made everyone laugh. Nathan implored Ligero to turn his back on the fans as they’d turned their backs on him, as that’s why the Origin formed in the first place. But Ligero turned his back on Nathan instead and we got a match that was intense with silly spots but great wrestling and which Ligero won. My goodness, they work so well together, hardly surprising but so good to watch and admire. But Nathan attacked Ligero and tore off his mask, which was shocking. Ligero hid his face – he never reveals his face publicly, even wearing his mask in non-wrestling photos. So this feud will rage on. I’m glad as both guys are such veterans and clearly relish working together. I really look forward to what they get up together.
Zack Gibson once again got booed heavily when he got the microphone anywhere near his mouth – and now sports a goatee and black ring gear. His disgruntled and sneering facial expressions are amazing and get boos and laughter and he really is the perfect villain for PROGRESS. I don't know when if ever those boos will stop. It's really quite astonishing. He faced Jack Sexsmith who wore unicorn tights and was the most serious I’ve ever seen him in the ring. He’s still exuberantly pansexual but as many people have lauded him for promoting his (and their) sexuality in such a positive unapologetic way, he’s become more focused and less about the out of ring risque shenanigans and instead displaying more wrestling skills. This was a great match to show what he can actually do as Gibson is such a serious competitor and Jack can really take a beating; he plays the ‘favourite in peril’ brilliantly and convincingly. I feel like Jack really is reaching a new stage of his career, where he doesn't have to so heavily depend on character-work so much and proves that he's willing and able to hang with the more serious competitors. Sadly he lost after Gibson hit him with a Helter Skelter on the outside, causing Jack to lose by count out. Jack loses nothing by losing the match as he looked so determined and really did not want to give up and of course Gibson continues to look dastardly and skilled. Nathan joined him on the entrance stage for a smug celebration, holding Ligero’s mask aloft. Boooo!
We had an import on the show – the always-wonderful Shane Strickland, who has the most marvellous dancing groove, vs. Mark Andrews, a first time ever encounter between the two. After Strickland took on Ospreay last year at PROGRESS in a lauded high-flying contest, most expected this match to be similar due to Andrews’ high-flying style. But instead, they went quite technical and deliberate with only flashes of high-flying business which I think was a very smart idea. They worked well together and even if it wasn’t spectacular, it was a very good watch. Mark got the win with his super-pretty Shooting Star Press and Strickland got invited by Jim to be part of PROGRESS’ shows in Orlando which he agreed to. We all made it clear we want him back in the Ballroom too which he seemed to appreciate.
The main event was going to be quite something, we all knew it – British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Jimmy Havoc, ‘Flash’ Morgan Webster and Mark Haskins. If BSS won, whoever they pinned would get no title opportunity for six months. If the other three won, whoever made the winning pin became number one contender. Tyler brought out the belt he currently holds as WWE UK Champion which was amazing to see – WWE let him bring it to the UK!! I suspect only to be shown at promotions WWE are affiliated with like PROGRESS though. BSS were at their nasty smug best, the crowd loving booing them (though I still hate booing Trent lol). Jimmy's entrance this time included the entrance curtain being removed so that several stark bright lights could blast out behind him as he stood in the entrance way, outlining him in silhouette before he started moving. It was a wonderful image and shows how he's always thinking, tweaking his character in subtle ways, keeping things interesting. I love how he nods at Jim whenever he enters the ring now, really makes me smile. Flash came out in Union Jack tights and matching jacket, as well as ‘In Mod We Trust’ coat and carrying his scooter helmet. He definitely won the most stylish man of the night. Even before Haskins appeared, there were chants for him. He really has been fiercely missed. It was fantastic to cheer him, looking intense and so ready, sporting a new ring jacket – one sleeveless leather, one sleeveless black denim.
I feared his match would fall into Jimmy, Flash and Mark falling out endlessly over who would make the pinfall and therefore fighting amongst themselves, allowing BSS to grab victory. Thankfully, while there was a brief moment of that at the beginning of the match, the three of them soon got separated and so it didn’t happen again, thankfully. It was a merciless match, nasty-looking bumps happening outside of the ring and in it. Both Flash and Mark looked like they hadn’t suffered any ring-rust in their absences and both looked so impressive and determined. Jimmy, of course, was his usual charismatic self; dealing out punishment as liberally as he took it (I’m beginning to doubt he actually feels pain at all).
In the end, Jimmy was the one who got the pin, and on Pete, the champion, as well, clean!! That’s momentous. Jimmy grabbed the mic and revealed that he was taking this title shot at the next chapter show which is in Manchester (which got hefty boos from the crowd as it means London show-goers missing out on that match) and that it’d be a death match. Jimmy claimed he was taking the title shot quickly because he didn’t want Pete to wriggle out of it and because the Manchester show is also his birthday. Fair enough. He then pursued BSS with a chair, all three made a hasty exit, leaving Mark and Flash to soak up the adulation of the crowd who cheered and applauded the men who’d lost but who are still so very loved. And really, they showed that they’re more than ready to take on the title picture when their chance comes again. Oh, I cannot wait. I really do expect Mark to become champ after Pete.
As for outside of the wrestling, I got to finally meet Gadge in person. He’s a fan who sits front row for every show and tweets out the show results along with the match timings, which he calculates himself with a stopwatch. He’s been going to BritWres shows for years and we’ve chatted on Twitter a bit so I was glad to meet and hug him at last. I also got to catch up with other friends which is always such a great part of shows.
I got a pic with Pete Dunne who is so nice out of character. I was glad to congratulate him on his recent WWE success and we chatted to him about seeing him at Friday’s wrestling show in Portsmouth (which I hope to write a report about soon). He completely deserves the success he’s getting now, in the UK and America, and it’s such a delight to watch him achieve it after so much hard work.
I also got to chat to Travis Banks, who for the first time was behind the merchandise table. He surprised and delighted me by pulling me in for a hug and then Anthony too. I do chat to him quite a bit online so he must have recognised me from that, which was lovely. We chatted for a bit before letting others behind us buy merch and get pics. Anthony said afterwards he was surprised Travis had recognised me (we’d only met him briefly once before after ICW’s Southampton show in October) and I replied that I talked to him quite a bit online, I’m persistent lol. Hopefully though, I'm not annoying. I’ve thought since of lots of things I wanted to chat to him about but I guess that leaves room for next time? Also I like his new shirt so I might have to buy that.
We had a quick chat with Trent – he, Tyler and Pete had a long queue forming for their merch and for pics. He gave me a hug and had a quick chat when he spotted us. We had a longer chat on Friday so I didn’t feel disappointed. Any time spent with him is always time well-spent. I’m really gonna miss him when WWE inevitably scoop him off to America. We also had a loooong chat with Mark Andrews who was so incredibly chatty and friendly and always remembers us (I guess not that surprising considering how often we see him at shows and chat to him lol). Again, so good to congratulate him on his WWE success, I’m so very proud of him and feel so glad I’ve gotten to know him and been able to watch his rise.
All in all, a good strong show, not a barnstormer but not every show should be. Things have to build, seeds have to be sown and foundations laid. And the next Camden show is called 'I Chill Out Here And Shoot Dinosaurs', a quote from Mark Haskins' adorable son Jack from the short PROGRESS documentary :D
It seems strange to think that Anthony and I were in another country only last week! But we were, we had a lovely holiday in Denmark. Anthony, as always, was tremendously excited about going to another country. He does love travelling so much. My dislike of flying always means I approach travelling much more resentfully – truthfully, I’d rather stay at home and read lol but I married a man who loves travel so I’ve always known this would be my great compromise. Annoyingly, our plane was two hours late leaving Heathrow due to a growing list of problems that means delays which was incredibly frustrating and not handled brilliantly by ground staff but very well by the cabin crew and captain who were much more informative.
Denmark is a beautiful chilly place. I don’t mean that it feels remote or unfriendly, just that the weather was brisk and cold and there was snow almost everywhere and paired with the beautiful buildings, both ancient and modern and sat side by side, it really was beautiful. It took me a couple of days to acclimatise to the cold but I managed eventually lol and wore at least three layers of clothing outside which definitely helped.
We stayed in a great hotel – the room was quite small but the bed was really excellent. We don’t like a soft mattress and this one was perfect. My favourite thing about staying in a hotel is the inclusive breakfast and this hotel provided a great varied continental breakfast buffet each morning for people, like us, who’d paid for breakfast inclusively as part of the stay. We ate a lot of meat and cheese each morning lol and so many Danish pastries. There was a delicious chocolate and cinnamon one that I liked especially. I ate so much each morning, to set myself up for the day, and drank plenty of orange juice and yes, I do miss it lol.
So highlights. Well, we had a rough plan of what we wanted to see before we went. As always pre-holiday, Anthony asked for a guidebook for Christmas which we received and which helped a lot with the planning. There was a lot of amazing architecture wherever we went, statues and government buildings and the canal running through the city. One day, we went to the two royal palaces, which meant getting to witness the changing of the guard, seeing the crown jewels and getting to enjoy a great exhibition innovatively displaying lots of the items from the royal family’s attic, set out like they were in a series of warehouse rooms. It was great to explore and there was a special treasure hunt for children to do which I thought was a lovely provision so that kids didn’t get bored as their parents enjoyed themselves lol.
That day, we also visited the Lutheran cathedral. It was a perfectly round building and not as gaudy and gold as some of the Catholic ones we’ve previously visited on holiday. The ceiling had a wonderful mosaic of the apostles and everything was simple and very peaceful. I had a real sense of God’s spirit in there which was truly lovely to experience. Anthony, who normally doesn’t enjoy cathedrals for the occasional ostentatiousness, really liked this one.
On Valentine’s Day, we spent the morning at the aquarium which was full of children but a beautiful building and full of amazing creatures. We started by going outside to watch the sea otters being fed. They were so big – much bigger than the river otters we’re used to in the UK, more the size of beavers really – and were so graceful in the water. It was terrific to get to watch them outside in the sunshine; a clever idea to have their tank outside for visitors to look in; there was also a tank for them interconnected which was inside. There was an outdoor water play area for the children too, though is naturally closed at this time of year due to the cold. I was especially pleased to find the octopus; it was all curled up in a hole in the rock and then suddenly unfurled and emerged, revealing just how big it was, before disappearing behind another rock. My Mum is rather unnerved by octopuses so I am looking forward to telling her about it ;)
We also popped over to Sweden that afternoon – you have to take your passport for the train as you’re crossing a border. But we were given a free heart-shaped chocolate on account of the day which was rather lovely (and delicious). We discovered that we’d arrived in Sweden far too early really – we were there primarily to see an ice hockey game that evening and there really wasn’t much to do in that area, except for visiting an enormous shopping mall. But we entertained ourselves and Anthony found a good birthday present for his sister – a map of Rome made up of words which he’ll get framed over here. Rome is special to his sister as it’s where she and her husband got engaged. As they’ve recently moved into a new house and haven’t a great deal to put up on the walls, it’s a great gift which I know she’ll love. The hockey game was good fun and certainly exciting enough. Anthony seriously enjoyed himself, drinking in ice hockey in yet another country and recording audio notes for a verbal summation of his experience for his hockey site. I contributed my thoughts on the food, always my favourite part of any ice hockey experience ;)
We went to a very different ice hockey game back in Denmark later that week. It was for a much lower league and at an old rink like the kind Anthony’s UK team play in. Anthony was wearing his UK team’s jersey and a Danish fan wanted to know who it was for and struck up an easy conversation with him about hockey in general which was nice. There were a lot of fights in this game, always entertaining, and the chips were especially crispy so I was pleased. Anthony was amused and enjoyed the rather lower standard of skill on display and as always relished taking in hockey in another country which was still so familiar to him thanks to how ice hockey binds together its fans across the world.
Our last day in the city, we went to the zoo, which obviously was my favourite day lol. There was certainly plenty to see and the animals all seemed to have a lot of space in their enclosures which is always good. Anthony was particularly thrilled to see the tank of piranhas – the Rostock Piranhas were the first ice hockey team he supported (and still does) – and I got to see plenty of snakes and some crocodiles which always makes me happy. There were so many animals to see, it was a great exploration to walk through and see giraffes and elephants (my Mum’s favourite so an animal I always seek out). I got to see my favourite – penguins – who were all stood on rocks quite motionless and you could go so close to them. They really do make me smile. And later we saw them swimming so gracefully too. Anthony got to see the polar bear swimming which made him happy : ) We tried to see the anteater, another favourite of mine, but the weather was too cold for it apparently. We spied it’s nose stuck out the doorway of its enclosure but then it beat a hasty retreat. One day, I will get to see an anteater properly.
Then in the afternoon, we went to the Carlsberg Experience, getting to see how the beer was made and where the ideas had come from etc. It was a really good and interesting exhibition and Anthony got to drink a free sample, while I chose Carlsberg’s version of lemonade which was very tasty.
I have to admit, I ate a lot of crap while over there. At places like the zoo and both hockey games, the only thing available was fast food. The best food we ate was at the street food market, somewhere a friend of Anthony’s had recommended. It was across the water from our hotel so fairly easy to get to, all under cover in a small warehouse-like building. There’s plenty of seating and staircases hidden around which take people up to other small seating areas above the sellers. It’s a really cosy setting and all the sellers are in little shacks or caravans. The smell is amazing.
There was a lot to choose from; one night I had an amazing chicken burger while Anthony had a meatball sub and then we had slices of cheesecake from another seller for dessert. We went back on our last night and had duck and chips with vinegary red onion, which was even more delicious than I thought it’d be. Seriously, I think it was my favourite meal I had the whole holiday. It was so very tasty. If there was one place I’d recommend people go to in Copenhagen, it’s that street food market.
Low points? Well, the bus stops are weird. When you get off at a stop, there’s no stop on the opposite side of the road for you to use to get home again; you have to really search for it lol. And it’s a pricey place to stay, it uses the Danish Kroner and yeah, definitely the priciest place we’ve visited, definitely in terms of eating and drinking. It was also a real shame we couldn’t go into the Tivoli gardens – probably the main attraction of Copenhagen, enormous and full of fairground rides and sculptures and things to look at and places to eat – as it was closed for the winter. So that was very disappointing.
But overall, I recommend Denmark and Copenhagen, the people are friendly and speak English, the food is tasty and there’s so much to see and explore. We used the Copenhagen card which you can buy before you go which lasts for about four days and means you’ve paid for practically all the attractions in the city like the palaces and the zoo. Made things a lot easier!
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