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Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

The Corona Diaries: Chapter 12 – Football Content Awards Finalists!

Finally, on 9th June, the EFL clubs have voted for the curtailment of the League One 2019/20 season. Quite frankly, it was already beginning to feel like The Longest Season in January, so that’s quite a relief… Perhaps the Football Content Awards can help us salvage something from this miserable season…

As Blackpool fans of course we are used to finding other things to do with our time on a Saturday afternoon. But these are different times altogether. We have so much more time on our hands these days. What are we finding to do with it?

Football Content

I have started reading football books in recent weeks; in particular, those charting the fan experience. I am already finding this to be an enjoyable pastime in itself. It is bringing to mind memories of my previous awaydays and I am able to empathise with much of the content, whilst enjoying the stories of fans of other clubs. In case you missed it, I have started reviewing football books for my website.

I am delighted to confirm that we have made the finals of the Football Content Awards, with Lee Charles TV nominated as Best New Content Creator. Here are some of our highlights below, demonstrating why we believe we should win this award.

Please vote for us here.

We’ve even been in the paper this week!

And of course we are still doing our weekly football quiz (7pm Tuesdays) and livestream chat (3pm Saturdays). Please do come along and join us. It’s great fun.

I’ve also been reviewing my awaydays from the 2019/20 season, based on my unique scoring system, which includes quality of pies and beer. Find out which trips I loved and which I wasn’t so keen on in the videos below…

Non-Football Content

So, away from football, what have we been up to?

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane?

During the recent (dearly departed) magnificent weather, I found myself moving into the garden. And what a delight it is out there, dear reader! Having recently wondered where on earth all the birds had gone, now they are back with a vengeance. And, not only that, there are also planes back in the sky, as (presumably) the pilots get their flight hours in ahead of returning to work.

A family of blackbirds is nesting in our tree. We watched Mrs Blackbird build her nest from items found in our garden – and now we have Baby Blackbirds hopping around our lawn, stretching their wings. It actually took me weeks to identify these birds as, despite their name, the female and juveniles are, in fact, brown. I have been trawling the internet looking at brown UK garden bird images, bashing my head against the table screaming: ‘BUT IT’S NOT A THRUSH OR A STARLING AND IT’S TOO BIG FOR A DUNNOCK!’.

Pixabay at Pexels

Perhaps unfortunately for the birds, I have recently learned there are three cats that frequent our garden. Lee isn’t a fan and shooes them off but I of course have named them and sit with them quite contentedly. Well, it’s not as if I’m inviting them in for tea or anything. There’s Belle (a tortie who wears a bell), who lies on the grass and munches the blades that Morty the Mowbot (remember him?) can’t quite reach. There’s Tom, (ginger) who’s reminiscent of my dearly departed Benjamin – but who looks to be more of a threat to the birds than the latter ever was (not only was he a house cat, but, when once faced with a mouse, he just sucked it a bit and let it run off). And then there’s Dale (with the stuck-on tail), whose tail is a completely different colour to the rest of him.

Is it a Plant?

One evening, as I sat in the garden reading until after dark (on my Kindle), I noticed an interesting aroma. What was that? I sniffed and read another page. I recognised that smell. What on earth is it? I continued reading. I’ve had a BEER that flavour. What could it possibly be? Some sort of spice? Several pages later it came to me. Elderflower! I immediately searched for a Google image of said plant and, sure enough, there was an elderflower tree right there.

Plant life is booming indoors, too, with the herb garden I won in a competition at the start of lockdown positively thriving. Sadly there is no sign of the chives (and I’m not a huge fan of parsley) but this is the first indoor living edible that I have successfully not killed, so I’m thrilled with that.

A New Diet

Our diet has transformed during lockdown. At the beginning, we were snacking on anything and everything unhealthy that we had in the cupboards. Now our routine has changed. We have three meals every day (apart from at weekends, when we sleep in later). Breakfast comprises of toast, cereal or yoghurt (reasonably healthy). Lunch during the hot weather has been tapas: olives, pickles, salads, open sandwiches on Little Gem lettuce leaves, mini hot dog sausages. We particularly like eating things on ‘sticks’ because LOOK AT THESE!

Tea tends to be our most substantial meal of the day, but is usually healthy, consisting of fresh food. We have been trying out different supermarkets (to give our one weekly shopping excursion some variety) and have found the fresh meat in Morrisons to be excellent. Yesterday we enjoyed quite the best steak we have ever eaten (including in restaurants). Conversely we have also been trying out different vegan foods and have taken a surprising liking to falafels (the beetroot and quinoa ones are especially good). We don’t know who we are any more. But we are eating very well, that’s for sure.

And we have been losing weight too! Our weekly weigh-ins are now something to look forward to instead of dreading them! This is not least because we have binned the haunted scales and replaced them with some that actually work (and also tell us our weight in ‘old money’, so we can understand the readings). Hmm perhaps I’ll need a new frock for the Football Content Awards…?

Does Beer Inspire or Hinder Creativity?

12 weeks without alcohol (apart from the chocolate stouts I put in casseroles) is not without its benefits. Despite a Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland positively LEAPING into the shopping trolley at the weekend, I have yet to be tempted back over to the dark side. Of course beer and pubs are a big part of my life (and my USP) and, when I’m safely allowed out again, I will be back on the pints of weird and wonderful stuff.

But for now I am enjoying the break. Whilst undoubtedly creating more interesting stories (one friend often says ‘no good story begins with a salad’), alcohol can also impinge on one’s creativity – and Lee and I are trying to cram in as much upskilling and creativity as we can during lockdown. For when will we ever have this opportunity again? Plus we have the Football Content Awards to warm up for!

Phone Ban

As part of my ongoing mental health management – aided very well by the Fabulous app, which I can’t recommend highly enough – I have turned off the notifications on my phone. This means I am no longer interrupted from whatever-it-is-I-happen-to-be-working-on by Facebook/Twitter/WhatsApp/emails/texts. It is SO liberating. I hadn’t realised exactly how long I spent on (being interrupted by) my phone and I honestly don’t miss it at all. The messages are still there, but I look at them at a time dictated by me and not by my phone. This suits my control-freakishness far better.

I had last week off work and lived the life of a full-time writer. I have been upskilling, reading and writing like never before (do you like the new website design?). And I have committed to that Open University course in the autumn. I mean business now, so expect a higher level of output from me.

Previously..


Have you voted for us in the Football Content Awards yet? Here’s the link again to make it easy for you. We are Lee Charles TV in the Best New Content Creator category. Your vote is important to us!


Don’t forget you can also read about my awaydays with Blackpool from the 2019/20 season right here


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