There's always something happening in our family. In order not to clog this page with the minutia of our daily lives we'll limit the news to those happenings that we feel hold enough interest or comedic value for those not in the family to enjoy. You can expect to see Alex's and Bea's successes mentioned here - I challenge you to find a parent who won't extol the virtues of their own progeny!


14th October 2009 - Prog is back! What a treat last night for Deano & Nick! Nick's hot pick for a band deserving superstardom were in town playing the Club Academy in Manchester. Turn back the clock 40 years and all the key influences for Bigelf are plain to see. Great songs played quite brilliantly - it was sad that only 40 or so other people were at the gig. Nick's best gig for many years - click on this to see what you missed - - and make sure you but their albums!

30th September 2009 - South African Alex. Alex is on a gap year to gain some valuable life experiences before taking up his place at University. The first part of his gap experience is an 8 week stint on a game park near Grahamstown on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. In amongst all the hole digging and bush clearing Alex is taking in plenty of wildlife and is helping in the animal rehabilitation centre which contains lions and cheetahs along with other animals. Even his weekends are action-packed with a tandem skydive from 10,000 feet taking place within a week of him arriving!

15th September 2009 - Finally, a win! 17 long months had passed since the last time Bea's Blackburn team had won a league match. However, that losing streak came to a definitive end with a fully deserved 5-1 win at Sheffield. Bea had been off school all week with a virus and slept in the car all the way to and from Sheffield but played really well, saving 17 out of 18 shots. Let's hope this gives the team a shot of much needed confidence to go on and achieve great things for the rest of the season.

5th September 2009 - Swine Flu Strikes! Poor Alex! It seems that the excesses of Leeds finally took their toll as Alex was diagnosed with swine flu yesterday. He is now on a course of Tamiflu and has been ordered into quarantine in his bedroom (so no real change from normal!) for a week. Hopefully he will make a full recovery in this time as he is going to South Africa on 20th September.

1st September 2009 - Leeds Festival Survived! Alex managed to survive the Leeds Festival. The weather gods were mostly on his side with only a few showers and not too much mud. It seems that a diet of rock'n'roll and cider with virtually no food was the secret of his success! Radiohead provided the best performance in Alex's opinion and he is definitely going back next year.

20th August 2009 - Alex to University. A massive sigh of relief has been breathed by Alex and his nervous parents. He attained the grades needed to get into The University of Central Lancashire to study English Language. It is almost certain that Alex will defer his entry for a year and will do some exciting things in his gap year - stand by for updates on his plans as he decides what to do. Well done Alex!

16th July 2009 - England Number 1. Well, for half a game anyway. This is a picture of Bea at School Of Excellence playing for England, against England, in the exhibition game. Many thanks to Rob Hutchinson for the super photo!

31st May 2009 - Winners at last! It took the whole season, but in a tournament in Kilmarnock, Bea & the U16 Blackburn Junior Hawks were able to chalk up their first win of the season, beating Coventry 4-0. The team showed great character in their other matches against strong and extremely large, Scottish teams and lost their semi-final 3-0 to hosts, Kilmarnock. All this after an intense week's hockey training in Hull at the England Girls School of Excellence - Bea will need to sleep for a week to recover. Well done to Alex who was assistant coach at the Kilmarnock tournament, helping to organise the lines and abuse the opposition!

26th May 2009 - Not quite champions. Bea's Girls Ice Hockey team received their trophies as champions of the Northern League, but lost the play off match to southern champions, Bracknell, by the narrowest of margins; 3-2. It was a game of high skill played in a very sporting manner and both teams fully deserved the lengthy applause from the crowd.

26th April 2009 - School of Excelence. Well done to Bea for getting into the England Girls Under 16s ice hockey squad following all the North Conference trials and the matches against the South Conference. She now goes on to attend the School of Excellence for a week in Hull where the team to represent England next season will be picked.

7th April 2009 - Old new job. Just over two years after leaving CA (Computer Associates), Nick is back! He is back working with a solution he loves and has a really interesting pan-EMEA role, so there will be lots more travel.

6th April 2009 - Rocking in 2009. Nick managed to get to 24 concerts in 2008, but after almost three months of 2009 there had been no live music action. And then, just like London busses, three come along all at once....well, within a week anyway. Starsailor, Ian McNabb and Chris Difford were all excellent - small, intimate venues with highly participative audiences and artists that really can play. Cliff ended up with his Britain's Got Talent moment on stage with Ian McNabb - and made some side-splitting errors on the lyrics!

22nd March 2009 - North and South. Last night saw Bea play for North of England U16 Girls ice hockey team against the South of England. The North ran out comfortable 5-2 winners and Bea was delighted to keep a clean sheet in her half of the match. Here she is making a great 1-on-1 save - the puck is on its way high and wide off her shoulder.

16th March 2009 - Shiny New Car. It's not often that Nick changes his car. In fact the last two have been family hand-me-downs, so it makes a pleasant change to see such a new car on the drive. It's even more pleasant to see one so shiny - not sure if Nick knows where the nearest car washes are! We got a great deal on this car and it will be the prime load lugger for all the long road trips to ice rinks across the north of England.

13th March 2009 - Red Nose Day. Alex and Bea had a wild evening at the Ice Arena where the Junior Hawks had a fun evening to raise money for Comic Relief. Nearly £200 was raised. Have a look at to see some great outfits - any, yes.....that is green acrylic shed paint which apparently stung.......a lot!

16th February 2009 - South African Sejour. Nick & Penny have just returned from three nights in South Africa. Aa long way to go for such a short time, but it was worth the effort. Take a look at for more information and some pictures.

2nd February 2009 - Alex The Linesman. Having successfully survived his first game officiating as a linesman in a Blackburn Hawks ice hockey match a few weeks ago, Alex was called back into action for two Hawks matches this weekend. Once again, all the calls looked spot on and he even had to get involved in breaking up a fight, even if it was a bit of a "handbags" affair!

31st January 2009 - Kingston Diamonds Girls. Bea's girls team played out a thrilling 4-4 draw against North of England girls. It's great to see the high standard of ice hockey that the girls can produce. This is the Diamonds 2009 team who are hoping to reatin the title of National Champions.

9th January 2009 - Happy New Year! So that's 2008 over and done with now and what an eventful year it was. It seems that all our leisure time revolves around ice hockey so it was great to finish the year on a high on that front. Alex's officiating has gone from strength to strength and he has been asked to be linesman at some Blackburn Hawks games in January, bith an honour and a bit scary! Bea has continued to imrove her game and all the hard work has paid off with her being selected for the Northern Conference Girls U16 team. The new year also sees the start of three word headlines in the news section - Nick had created a rod for his own back with the two word limitation, so from now on it's three words!

9th December 2008 - Louder, Loudest! It's a wonder Nick can still hear anything at all. A few weeks ago the Airbourne gig in Liverpool left his ears ringing for three days and now the Black Stone Cherry gig at Manchester has repeated the feat. Two great gigs with young bands playing proper rock music. There were too many kn*bheads moshing at Airbourne to be able to really enjoy the music, but Black Stone Cherry was perfection. It's still not too loud so Nick is still not too old!

29th November 2008 - Mea Culpa!. Is it really almost three whole months since Nick last added any news? Time really does seem to have flown by...but where? Wwell, Nick is busy with work and Penny is working part-time at Kingswood College and weaving for England on her three (yes three!) looms. Alex is in his second and hopefully final year at College and spends all weekends officiating at ice hockey matches. Bea has started her GCSE courses and is busy both teaching and doing drama as well as playing ice hockey for 2 teams. So, there isn't much time over for relaxation in our family, but Nick has signed up for an early new resolution to keep the site updated on a weekly basis. If he's slacking then call or email him - thanks Chris, you piqued his conscience!

14th September 2008 - Normal Service. Due to not having the world's most robust broadband connection in Mollaryd, Sweden it was decided that this site would not be updated during the summer. Now we are all back in the UK, normal service is resumed. A new ice hockey season has just started and the gigs are coming thick and fast. There have been 2 Marc Almond and 1 Ian McNabb gigs in a week!

5th July 2008 - Eternal Flame. Meat Loaf live on Wednesday was really good. The new Echo Arena in Liverpool is a teriffic venue and Meat Loaf did not disappoint with great renditions of Bat Out Of Hell songs and a Beatles number in his encore. However, The Bangles the night after at the Liverpool Academy were brilliant. 1,000 people in a small venue singing along to all the songs made for a great night. The Bangles were in fine form, looked to be having fun and Susanna Hoffs looked just great - Nick was lucky enough to be right at the front directly infront of her - she's 49 and no cellulite! This was Bea's first proper rock gig and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

22nd June 2008 - Creedence Revived. John Fogerty, the main force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, played a wonderful set at the Apollo. All the old CCR classics were delivered with gusto and John's energy was amazing for his age - how does he manage to look so young still?

15th June 2008 - Double Cult. What a week - it's a wonder Nick can hear anything at all after a double onslaught of Blue Oyster Cult. He managed to get on the front row for the gigs in Bilston and Manchester and was treated to great renditions of many of his favourite BOC songs, including "Astronomy" - twice! Come back soon guys!

8th June 2008 - Coach Alex. This weekend Alex did his Ice Hockey Level 1 coaching course in Manchester. This means that he will be able to coach younger players next season and pass on some of the skills he has learned over the years. He will be observimf the coaching drills during summer hockey school extra closely to pick up tips for next year.

1st June 2008 - Fantastic Boss. Nothing to do with work, but a magic night at Old Trafford watching Bruce Springsteen in concert. Two and a half hours of non-stop music and a breatless display from the man himself. Nick & Penny last saw him in 1985 and his energy levels seemed just as high as they had all those years ago. He played a mix of old and new songs, but the highlights were definitely "Born To Run" and "Because The Night".

25th May 2008 - National Champions! A year ago we would never have believed that we would have a national champion in the family - but we have now! Bea's Girls Under 16s ice hockey team, Kingston Diamonds, beat Bracknell Ice Bees 5-2 at Sheffield during the Ladies Ice Hockey playoff weekend to become National Champions. Bea has really enjoyed playing with the girls and this was a great way to finish the season! Bea is on the bottom row, far right!

17th May 2008 - Awards Double. Last night was the awards night for Blackburn Ice Hockey Club. Bea did really well picking up the Players' Player Of The Year for the Under 14s and the Netminder Of The Year across the whole club. It's a shame she was in France on her exchange trip and so could not cleect the awards in person, but Penny filled in ably, taking the stage twice to the sounds of "The Stripper"!

6th May 2008 - Jumbo Telly. Nick is hardly famous for his technical expertise, but he excelled himself by successfully installing his cousin Anders jumbo 42" plasma TV. Now those business trips to Sweden will be enhanced by watching footbal and ice hockey in larger-than-life format. Nick would like a big 50 incher in his lounge, but it would seem that will only happen over Penny's dead body!

27th April 2008 - Team Training. Less than two weeks after her operation Penny was back in her kit and training with the Thunder! Alex & Bea were invited to attend the training too, so for the first time ever we had all three Hockeyfletchers on the ice together!

20th April 2008 - Friends Reunited. Isn't it amazing just how quickly 10 years can fly by! That's how long it was since we last saw our very good friends Russ & Julie. Yesterday we finally all got together again. The most amazing thing was that none of us seemed to have changed at all, except maybe that Nick was even more handsome! The children were, however, much changed - from toddlers to teenagers in the blink of an eye. We all got on fabulously and are meeting up again in June - can't wait.

15th April 2008 - Knees Up. Penny's keyhole operation on her knee was a total success. Even better was the fact that her ligaments weren't torn as had been feared and so her rehabilitation should be much quicker than anticipated.

6th April 2008 - Operation Penny. Just when it looked like Penny was in full swing to resume her hockey career she finally had her specialist's appointment a mere 8 weeks after her injury, she received the bad news that she had torn rather than sprained ligaments. This means she needs an operation to put things right. She goes under the surgeon's knife on 15th April and faces 6 weeks on crutches before starting her re-habilitation.

30th March 2008 - Liner Alex. Congratulations to Alex who passed his Ice Hockey Referee Level 1 course. This means that he can now officiate as a linesman at junior and ladies ice hockey matches. It also means that Nick will have to curb some of his fruitier comments that are normally prefixed by the words "Hey Liner....." This weekend also saw the return of Penny to action on the ice after her injury against Peterborough. Same opposition this time, same result (a win!), but no new injury.

23rd March 2008 - Dodgy radio. Nothing wrong with the audio equipment, but a great night at BBC Liverpool with around 40 other fans to see Dodgy reunited and playing live for a concert to be aired on the radio. Dodgy have a great catalogue of songs and we were traeted to all the hits with a blistering rendition of "Grassman" to wind up proceedings. Good to see Ian McNabb and Ian Prowse (Amsterdam) in the crowd - can't wait for the gig at the Academy on Wednesday!

16th March 2008 - Gig Overload. Well, what a week that was for live music. On Wednesday Alex saw an epic Neil Young gig of 3½ hours and followed this up with Nick the next night watching Asia. Nick's highlight of the night was the rendition of ELP's "Fanfare For The Common Man". Friday saw Dean and Nick heading to Leeds to see Panic At The Disco. Unperturbed by being 30 years older than most of the crowd the two old fellas enjoyed the gig, with "I write Sins, not tragedies" the standout moment. Saturday came and Nick and Dean were in the Cavern Club for the launch gig for the new Amsterdam album. A sweaty and fabulous night was had with Amsterdam proving what a great band they are live - if you get the chance go and see them.

12th March 2008 - Entente Cordiale. This morning we waved goodbye to Romaine, Bea's French exchange student. Romaine has spent a week with us and it has been a real pleasure to have her with us. Bea can't wait until her reciprocal visit to Brittany in May.

2nd March 2008 - Diamond Bea. A nailbiting match at Nottingham saw Bea's Under 16s Girls ice hockey team, Kingston Diamonds, beat Nottingham Vipers 6-4. This was the match that effectively decided who would be the inaugural winners of the northern league. A terrific match saw Kingston take an early lead only to be pegged back by Nottingham - a pattern that was to repeat itself through the game. A great all-round team effort with some clinical finishing, strong defence and a never-before seen save from the bench saw Kingston emerge worthy winners of both the game and the league where they are unbeaten this season. A play-off final against the winners of the southern league awaits on 25th May.

23rd February 2008 - Surf's up! Alex & Nick shoehorned themselves into Club Academy for the sold out Nada Surf gig on Friday night. Great support from Rogue Wave and then an "awesome" (to use the band's favourite term!) 2 hour set from Nada Surf. It's your loss if you haven't heard them or seen them live. Standout song for Nick was "80 Windows" whereas Alex pronounced it the best gig he's ever seen.

16th February 2008 - Fabulous Almond. The recipe for a perfect evening - the intimate yet spectacular Buxton Opera House and Marc Almond on the final night of his tour. This was so much better than when we saw him in Manchester last year. Great acoustics and an artist who was relaxed and clearly wanted to enjoy himself.The fast/slow/fast/slow rendition of "Jackie" alone was worth the ticket price and the torch songs were excellent. The addition to the band of strings and a horn section really beefed up the sound and led to great versions of "Tainted Love" and "Uglyhead".                        

3rd February 2008 - Penny crocked! What an eventful evening for Penny! Blackburn Thunder Ladies Ice Hockey Team was playing an away match in Peterborough. This was Penny's seventh match of the season. After 4.24 of the first period Penny scored her first ever goal in ice hockey, but just 20 minutes later collided with a team-mate and had to be stretchered off the ice and taken to Peterborough Infirmary. The diagnosis was a badly sprained knee and came with a free pair of crutches. Penny finally got home at just after 3.00 am.