Jane Stuart – Writer

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

Blackpool v Shrewsbury Town: O Be Joyful

  • 10:00

    Had a bit of a lie-in today. I don’t find it easy to get out of bed in the mornings but, once I’m up – with tunes blasting in the bathroom – I’m wide awake. This morning it was Tuesday’s Rochdale AFC playlist on Spotify again (because I enjoyed it so much) but I really hoped the match would have a different turnout.

  • 11:00

    I’ve started journalling again. I find it a really useful tool in getting me to where I want to be – and achieving my goals. This morning I am working on my elevator pitch for my book ‘The Homecoming: Back to Blackpool’. One agent has asked for a one-line elevator pitch and that is proving tough going – but it is a useful exercise. I’m almost there.

  • 12:00

    Time for The Middle Aisle Podcast. I’ve never really been into listening to podcasts but I love this one. It’s also refreshing to have a break from the screens. I turn them on and close my eyes and laugh a lot. Reusable cotton buds, indeed…

  • 12:30

    I settle back with the latest issue of ‘When Saturday Comes’. I’ve only recently subscribed to this magazine and wish I had done so years ago. They also have a podcast, which I was listening to earlier in the week. They’re a bit like us in that they talk about food a lot. This episode begins with an interesting debate on bay leaves and I am thankful for having listened to it, when I come to make my Lancashire Hotpot and find I have no bay leaves left. What is the point of them?

    I’m also inspired to start writing an article, so begin tapping away at my keyboard. I sometimes find it hard to sit and read or watch something, without my writer’s brain kicking in and demanding that something be written. I never have understood what writer’s block is all about. I have so many ideas flying about in my head, I will never have time to write them all.

  • 14:30

    It is time to go live on YouTube for our watchalong of the Blackpool v Shrewsbury Town match. I’m not excited; I’m not nervous; I simply haven’t given this match any thought since I switched off from football after the Rochdale match. I prefer to focus my time on sources of joy – like the cat sunbathing in my garden or finding nice things to eat. But it is necessary to focus on football (sort of) for the next two-and-a-half hours. Naturally, we begin by talking about food. Karen suggests that bay leaves are a conversation piece. What is this? Can I eat it? What is its purpose? And that’s as good an answer as any. After a good conversation about how to make the best gravy, we are obliged to talk about football for a bit.

    Keigan Parker pops in for a chat, dropping in some teasers about some stories that he has for us in our interview with the former Blackpool striker on Monday evening. We’re looking forward to this one. Here’s the link for you to come and join us.

    And here’s the link to today’s livestream so you can enjoy our nonsense – including new songs for Marvin Ekpiteta and Jordan Gabriel.

    Dear reader, this was a difficult watch. Something shifted when we lost our lead at Lincoln. At that point we were oozing confidence and had that swagger. Lincoln’s equaliser clearly knocked our confidence and we just haven’t looked the same since. I know we can – and will – get it back. We have seen these low spells twice previously this season – at the very start and after Christmas. We always recover. Promotion remains in our hands – despite two defeats on the bounce now – but we need to dig really deep without delay.

    Now, if you like nonsense – which I’m guessing you do, as you’re reading this – I urge you to read the magnificent Mitch Cook’s Left Foot. His excerpts from ‘Critch’s Diaries’ are the funniest thing I have read in a long, long time. He also offers a good insight into how the match went. Which neatly saves me having to write about it.

    Here are the ‘highlights’.

  • 17:00

    I leave Lee to host the post-match post-mortem while I retreat to the kitchen to get tea on. I stick my music on shuffle and play it via the radio via bluetooth. I cheer up when I hear Kylie’s Disco album and The Proclaimers. Yay for joyful music!

    Music really is great medicine after a disappointing match. And food. And beer.

    Tonight I’m preparing Salmon & Dill Tray Bake, which I know to be magnificent. Potatoes, red onions, salmon, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes, drizzled with lemon juice, a sprinkling of dill and black pepper. Roast the potatoes for 15mins, add onions and roast for a further 15 mins, add the other ingredients and roast for a further 10mins. Eat and enjoy. Which is exactly what we did. Nom. Whilst playing a couple of games on Alexa: Pointless (great) and Beat The Intro (sometimes good but often contains lots of what we call ‘R&B shit’).

    Calculated how much chocolate and beer I could fit into my evening within my syn allowance (one bar and two cans) and laid them out on the kitchen counter to enjoy later.

  • 18:00

    Went for a walk – without a coat for the first time this year. It was such a beautiful evening. It could have been so much more beautiful with a win but I need to not think about that any more.

  • 19:30

    Time to settle down and watch a film. I am charged with finding a comedy to lighten the mood for the evening while Lee goes to the shop for comfort food. I find a couple that I quite fancy on Netflix and offer Lee the choice of these two.

    Not a comedy but we like space stuff.

    We opt for the former. Whilst I mentally break down its structure and can figure out when ‘something bad is going to happen’ and observe the scarcity of dialogue, Lee hates it and wishes we’d watched the other film. He takes defeats far worse than I do, hence him scoffing popcorn and jelly beans during the film.

    We switched immediately to American Idol, which we’re enjoying as our current light entertainment choice. Katy Perry is a revelation and the best judge I have ever seen on one of these talent shows, with great insight and constructive criticism.

    I enjoy a Wild Card Table Beer (2.7%) and a Quantock Obsessed With Bru-1 (4.5%). These beers have appeared on my beer shelf courtesy of one of my beer subscription packages. Whilst I do prefer darker, spicier, fruitier beers, these lighter offerings are far better for my diet. I confess I do prefer my self-selected beers from my favoured breweries, though – even their lagers and lighter beers – so I probably ought to cancel my subscriptions at some point.

    So that was my matchday. As always, filled with joyful things just in case the football is disappointing. Which it was.

    UTMP.

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