Earn as you Burn

A little wager got me motivated to join my local gym and sign up. An earn while you burn scheme was on and I thought to myself, what can be more motivating than getting paid to actually lose weight? Exactly, nothing!

Anyways, going back 3 months, I signed up to the gym and since then I have been an active member, trying to burn off calories and on the other hand, earn some cash! For extra motivation, I had also made one of my friends sign up with me so I got someone who can push me through an intense workout when I’m really struggling.

The ‘Earn as you Burn’ scheme enabled me to reach my goal and personally I managed to satisfy myself. However, once the goal is achieved, I believe the key is to go that extra yard as success can be never ending.

So, 3 months later, I’m still a regular attendant of the gym and I’m managing to keep fit, with my strength and stamina massively improving.

Joining the gym and the motivation that made me strive through it showed me that if you put your mind to something you want to do in life, it is definitely achievable, you just got to push yourself to the limit.

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A battling performance earns Andy Murray victory

Andy Murray was worked hard all the way to the end as he marginally managed to squeeze out a winning performance against Argentine Mayer, who is ranked 81st in the world rankings.

Murray’s victory consisted of a 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 score line. Defending US Open Champion Murray, played in a boiling hot day at Louis Armstrong Stadium and he managed to complete his victory in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

Murray was made to work his socks off as it had taken him just under an hour to clinch his first set, however the Brit managed to blitz through the second set.

“It was a very tough match,” Murray said. “Both of us ran a lot and it was very humid. I’m just glad I was able to put it together and pull it out in the fourth set.

“I was serving a little better as the match went on. He’s a big hitter, I had to defend a lot. I think he played some really good tennis. It made for an entertaining match.”

Which squad was the greatest ever in football?

Arguably, there are a lot of teams per decade that were seen as the best football teams ever by some and not so great by others. However, these are only our opinions therefore there can’t be a right or a wrong answer, unless you bring the facts of the clubs, countries and players into account. But lets not forget that over time, football has massively changed. The physicality, technicality, improved medical services and health and safety along with the increased financial capital have helped modern day football completely differentiate itself from the past.

In 1970, Brazil had lifted their third consecutive World Cup in Mexico after beating Italy in the finals. Brazil had some naturally talented and gifted players in Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Rivelino and the goal scoring mechanist Pele. These breed of players have passed down the generations and to date Brazil have constantly continued to be a huge threat in major tournaments. The 1970’s Brazil squad was seen as the best in the world by some because of the beautiful style in which they played, mixed with flair and skill and a catalogue of goals from star striker Pele.

Entering a new decade, the 1980’s era had seen Merseysiders Liverpool win a number of the old English Division title and European Cups. Liverpool had a number of Scottish stars in their team, including Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen. The fluidity in their passing, the itch to score goals and the winning of major silverware had made the 80’s Liverpool squad really memorable.

Liverpool were seen as a dominant force in English football, however local rivals Manchester United, separated apart by 30 miles, had become a real contender for silverware and becoming the best team in England in the 90’s under manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

When Fergie had taken charge of Man Utd in November 1986, he had struggled to adopt to life in English football. However, with all the faith shown in him by the owners and CEO, Sir Alex helped repay that tribute by helping Manchester United win the Premier League and surpassing Liverpool’s record of 18 English Division titles. He also managed to get knighted by the Queen during his illustrative career as manager of Manchester United.

The 1990’s dominant era for Manchester United had been largely produced by the youth system academy, with Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers Gary and Phil playing a huge role in making Manchester United really successful in the 90’s. Ferguson had also acquired the services of Eric Cantona and Roy Keane, and with Euro 92 winner Peter Schmeichel in goal, the United squad looked a formidable outfit and were dubbed by a lot of footballing fanatics as the best ever after that magical night in Barcelona where Man Utd had come from 1-0 down to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 and complete a treble winning season. History was made.

At the start of a new century, it was Arsenal who were seen as a major threat and were named ‘The Invincibles’ after an unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2004. With athletic defenders such as Martin Keown and Sol Campbell in the back, protected by a midfield combined with Pires, Viera and Ljunberg, and world class strikers in Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal were the team to beat as there was no stopping them. They emerged unbeaten throughout the season and had managed to lift the Premier League title under Arsene Wenger once again.

In the latter part of the 2000’s, Catalonians Barcelona had attracted the attention of thousands of football fans with their style of play, their ultra offensive approach towards teams which made teams defend for their lives. A lot of footballing fans, pundits and critics will say that Barcelona in the 2009 season under Pep Guardiola was the best ever squad to grace football because of the creative midfielders Xavi and Iniesta as well as Ballon D’Or winner Lionel Messi, who managed to score 94 goals in the 2012 calendar year, surpassing Gerd Mullers record. The little Argentine continued to break goal scoring records and with Barcelona winning a lot of major silverware in successive form including the La Liga and Champions League, they were seen to have the best squad the game of football has ever witnessed.

Although there is no right or wrong answer, I personally think that Brazil of the 1970’s were the best ever squad to grace football as they had a World Cup to show for it and a striker who had managed to score over 1000 goals throughout his career. More importantly, football in the 70s was extremely rough and tough with extreme hardness in a tackle and fewer rules to follow, which made it harder to participate in, however the modern day game has improved massively, mainly the speed of the game which is more fluent, quicker and free flowing nowadays.

Photo Album of Alnwick Castle

Here are some images of our day at Alnwick Castle.

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Brief description of Alnwick Castle’s history

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Further description of the history of Alnwick Castle

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More about the history of Alnwick Castle

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A stonewall view of the rear end of Alnwick Castle

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The famous Alnwick Castle tower clock

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A cleaver prop which was used by soldiers

 

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The huge lantern which are part of the history of Alnwick Castle

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Equipment and description inside the castle building

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Me posing with a soldier (Architecturally created)

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A lot more equipments inside the famous Alnwick Castle

 

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An outside view of Alnwick Castle with the sun shining down

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Description of historical soldiers and their activities

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Further description of soldiers and their historical activities

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Famous and historical ‘arched’ windows

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Famous equipment used by the soldiers which nobody is allowed to touch

 

 

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The rear view of Alnwick Castle with people enjoying the beautiful scenery

A wonderful day out to Alnwick Castle

On a sunny Bank Holiday Monday, I had decided to bring my family out to Alnwick Castle. My first sight of this place was just eye opening as there were a lot of other people, the place was busy and the atmosphere was relaxed with kids running around at the same time.

During our visit, we had visited a lot of historical places such as the dungeons and we had also saw the historical monuments such as Elizabeth Percy’s gloves in The State Room.

I witnessed so many old products that were protected such as Elizabeth Percy’s gloves and her coin collections as well as the enormous historical dinner table with artefacts made up of broken plates and saucers. I had also learnt about the history of Elizabeth Percy, who was the first Duchess of Northumberland.

One great fact I was told in our day out was that the first two Harry Potter films, The Chamber of Secrets and Philosopher’s Stone were largely filmed in some parts of this gigantic castle.

We had also part taken in outdoor activities such as archery to make our visit to Alnwick Castle more exciting.

As it was a hot sunny day, we had also organised a little picnic on the huge fields as it had managed to bring everyone together, even the kids that were constantly running around!

Finally, to round off a wonderful day out, me and my family had dined at a 5 star restaurant called Akbar’s to eat and spend some more quality time together.

Bangladesh 2007 – A very memorable experience

It was an extremely hot afternoon as the sun was shining down, me and my family were packing our bags getting prepared for our exciting trip abroad to Bangladesh. Our journey consisted of travelling from Darlington to Manchester Airport, secondly from Manchester Airport to Dubai, thirdly Dubai to Dhaka and finally from Dhaka to Sylhet. It was an exhausting 15 hour journey. During my flight, there were several things that I was expecting. However, the expected had become the unexpected as there were people and places that were completely different to England.

It was a boiling hot morning as I landed in Dhaka. As the sun was shining away with a beautiful view of the clear blue sky, the poverty stricken kids were coming towards me asking for money. One thing i undoubtedly expected though was the boiling hot weather, where I was sometimes sweating whilst sitting down! I went in July 2007 so the temperature levels always rose above 35 degrees. My first sight of Bangladesh was of all the different kinds of people stretching from normal kids and adults to deformed ones who would have arms or legs missing, which made me feel emotional. Looking at these children and recognising the treacherous conditions that these kids are living in, it made me realise that whatever I have in life I should appreciate it. The sights that I had witnessed and the emotions that I had felt for Bangladesh made me recognise that their lifestyle is hugely different, compared to England.

As I was having a terrific time abroad, time had quickly flown by and it was almost time to say goodbye to relatives and friends that I had made whilst in my holiday. The last few days of my holiday was quite disheartening because me and my family had to pack our bags in order to be ready to depart for England again. On the midnight of 31st August, 2007 as we were about to leave Bangladesh, we had said goodbye to relatives that we had seen after a very long time. However, on the evening of the 1st September, 2007, me and my family had finally arrived back into Darlington to our house after a very tiring journey. The reception that we had received from my aunties, uncles and grandparents were truly phenomenal.

However, when I arrived back home, something had struck me in the head. I was deeply in thought about all the poor kids that I had left behind in Bangladesh. I felt extremely sorry for these kids as they had a lack of money, food and shelter and it made me realise how lucky I am in life to have a roof over my head. My holiday had a very deep impact on my mindset and had also changed me as a person because I had learnt a very valuable lesson that whatever I have in life, regardless of size, I should always be grateful for it because there are millions of people around the world that are dying every day due to common illnesses and starvation.

Sunday Football

After one month out with a knee injury, Carlos Rodriguez had made a comeback for my team Darlington Rovers. He scored a towering header in the 89th minute and won the game for us. We also managed to keep a clean sheet.

In a game where there were chances galore, both teams looked set to take a point each as the strikers simply could not finish. The goalkeepers were on top form but the opposition goalkeeper could do nothing about the powerful header that had cost his side the game.

Carlos had managed to play the full 90 minutes in his comeback game and although he wasn’t 100% match fit, he managed to input a Man of the Match performance.

From the minute the first whistle had blown for kick off, both teams had an even share of possession and there was no clue in which team will take the lead. The match was free flowing with both teams constantly attacking and testing the two goalkeepers throughout the first half.

However, once the second half had begun, Auckland Town had come firing out the blocks as they had attacked from the off, soaking all the pressure towards my team. An unanimous penalty decision was awarded as their striker had fell inside the box but their was no contact made between the defender and striker.

Auckland’s captain Matthew Blake had stepped up to take the penalty, who had hit it low and hard towards the bottom right hand corner, but the goalkeeper had managed to get his hand onto the ball and push it around the post for a corner.

Throughout the second half both teams were still attacking each other, however the match was deadlocked and both teams looked destined for a draw.

But Rodriguez had other ideas as an in swinging corner had come in from Jerome Jones and Carlos managed to leap high above his marker in order to powerfully head the ball into the back of the net.

In the remaining few minutes we played defensive as we could not afford to lose this local rivalry match. As the final whistle had blown, the injury hit defender had become the local hero as he managed to clinch an important goal.

The scenes afterwards were jubilant and wonderful. Personally, as a local football player I believe it was one of the best ever matches that I had participated in.