The signs of Summer

Hello and greetings, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader and flag bearer of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media, I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. My brothers I pray you’re all well, in good health and looking after your beards. Brothers, before I talk about the issue I want to talk about, want to say that good news Christian Eriksen is awake, talking and in a stable condition.

That is very good news indeed. Brothers, I have been quietly chipping away with my work of being a sports journalist. That has one place in my heart and does this journey here brothers, speaking and addressing you guys too. I have always said leadership isn’t for everyone, it can make or break a person. I do digress, let’s talk about the issue at hand. I want to talk about the summer and the things we do only in summer.

Brothers, it’s a fact that when the sun is out, people smile more and there’s a real buzz where ever you go. In the sun, out goes the jumper the thick coats and in comes the t-shirts, the short sleeve shirts or the one’s who try to immitate the famous TV character Rambo by wearing muscle vests. That would be ok, if you looked like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, but a lot of the people look like the guy from the Mr Muscle advert.

Another thing alongside the t-shirts and lighter clothing is the end of jeans (full lengthed for some) and the introduction of shorts solely for this period. There are some people who solely wear shorts all year round, I can only assume they’re people from the North East. Nothing wrong with the Newcastle, Dhurham, South Shiels and Sunderland lot, but it’s only around this part of the UK have seen people bearing a bear chest in close to minus tempratures, that is cult hero status. To pull the shorts off, you don’t necessarily have to have legs of Rafa Nadal, but please don’t be one of those who wears shorts in freezing tempratures.

In winter, arguably you’re feeding yourself to keep warm etc. In Summer you struggle to eat food due to the heat, you lose your appetite. If you’re like me however, one dish you do enjoy is BBQ food. There are some shops who sell BBQ food all year round, this isn’t allowed it’s cheating! BBQ food is a novelty, selling it all year ruins that. How society acts in regards to Christmas, it’s a novelty but If that was every day, would there be any enjoyment left? Nope.

Then you get to bed time or just relaxing inside. Windows will have to be opened otherwise, it’s like sitting in a sauna. A mention also must be made when it comes to bed time. Blanket on off, or off or on? It’s like a game of twister but lying down on your bed.

The hotside of the pillow, then the cold side and then that cold side turns into the hotside and the hotside turns into the cold side and the cycle goes on! Let’s not forget to mention the windows open full blast.

On that point of windows opening full blast, when it comes to Winter, it’s an all mighty sprint to get to the windows and close when there’s a massive downpour of rain. The rain goes all over the windowsill, and in my case on my desk!

Talking of water, it has to be mentioned, that when you find yourself wanting to shave your head and not have hair, know that summer is upon us. What about when you almost live in the shower. A nightmare for the water bill, but times like this that United Utilities dream about.

So there are my signs of the summer, have I missed any out? Let me know in the comments.

Pizza uno review

Hello and good evening my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards, on digital and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and the beard who tries to make people smile.

Brothers, we need to talk … I know it’s been a minute. My beloved’s your Captain enjoyed post Ramadan a bit too much. I want to reassure you, I will never forget the fans (all 2 and a half of you).

Your support means a lot, it really does. Brothers, I am still that bald headed, beard obsessed football loving and food loving (chicken burgers) Captain. Sadly I have the belly to prove it! I have been hitting the situps in the gym and the steps machine too! But this belly has grown a close attachment to The Captain.

For God sakes, just leave man! You have had your fun! Thing is guys, at times I am my worst enemy and what I am going to say next, you will know why. Brothers, it’s time for another food review.

This food review is of Pizza Uno, a little take away situated out in little old Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester. How’s this for irony …. I have never tasted the Pizza in this shop! But I want to talk to you about the food that I have tasted there.

I have been able to taste the Donner barm, chicken burger and beef burger. Now my golden rule with chicken burgers still exist (don’t eat them from a non chicken specialist takeaway). My soldiers, the rule in short still applies here.

Now, I am not sure if this is a set batch of chickens that these independent takeaways order, but they all taste like the plastic cardboard processed stuff. The actual fillet of the chicken too is like rubber. Maybe this is the equivalent of when a dog chew on a rubber toy.

With Pizza Uno and their chicken, let’s not be too harsh. No, it wasn’t Miami style chicken (review on them fully soon), but it wasn’t the awful dross that I have tasted in non chicken specialist takeaways.

This will always be my gripe, but takeaways can never rival chicken takeaways when it comes to chicken. Pizza Uno valiantly tried and valiantly failed.

Remember kids, the Jack of all trades, is usually the master of none. Again in Pizza Uno’s it should be mentioned that the beef burger served up was nice succulent, juicy and tasty meat. It wasn’t too chewy, but in fact it was soft.

The burger and the patty was firm enough to appreciate the succulent taste and appreciate the juices that were flowing through the burger. I have tasted too soft beef burgers, that was more bordering on undercooked.

It’s one of the better beef burgers I have tasted, Chester yeah that’s including your beef burger in the list too.

So, so far it’s a 50/50. A hit for the beef burger and the miss for the chicken burger. If you didn’t know of any chicken takeaways and have come from Bedrock, then yeah places like pizza Uno, can be the chicken takeaway for you.

For the rest of us chicken connoisseurs, go to Miami! Now, to bring up the rear is the donner barm! The Donner barm is a hungover food special. The legend has it that this is the food after the average Joe has, once he is on his way home from the pub.

Pizza Uno’s version of it? Well very good actually. My waistline puts testament to it, but yes I have had many Donner kebabs. In a barm, naan bread and with chips for good measure too. The Donner and Chips I argue is the Ant and Dec of all Donner dishes, what I mean is they don’t look right apart from each other.

Having said that, the Donner barm and Pizza Uno’s interpretation of it is brilliant. Key tips for a good Donner meat. It has to have good juice (can’t be dry), needs to be tender meat (not rubbery, needs a slight bit of grease – but not too much and it has to be the right temperature when served.

Pizza Uno ticks the boxes for that. So there you have it, if you’re ever in town, maybe as you’re parting take a stop at Pizza Uno. Since it’s called Pizza, it would be a good idea to try their pizzas too.

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

Kurdish barbers vs Pakistan barbers

Hello and good morning, it’s me your Bearded Captain leader and flag bearer of all beards. I am here with a video, talking about an important issue in the world of The bearded Captain.

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

Asian medical myths (Satire)

Hello, and greetings my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag-bearer of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. My Bearded Beloved’s I pray you’re looking after yourselves and your beards! I want to talk about an important issue in the world of The Bearded Captain.

Brothers, the issue is the issue of an upset stomach. The pain and the discomfort of a stomach upset is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (anyone who’s is clean-shaven). The feeling is numbing for your stomach and it feels like there’s a mini volcano erupting in your stomach. Burgers, pizza, kebabs are food delights, but they’re just figments of imagination when you have an unhappy tum.

Trips to the gents or the ladies is a norm and whatever you eat, your system essentially says no thank you, lets deposit that because we don’t like it. Your energy drains and all you feel like doing is sitting down or maybe even lying down grabbing your stomach praying for the pain to go. As good as a prayer is, a prayer never hurt anyone, a physical act rather than a spiritual act is suggested to help give your tummy pain the heave-ho when all you hear is your stomach saying no.

This suggestion is prevalent in the Asian community. What is the suggestion I hear you ask? A glass of 7Up/Sprite. Many times I had stomach upset on my recently concluded trip to Pakistan and the solution in the Asian’s eyes was a glass of Sprite, but it’s transpired that this isn’t effective and is rather a myth. When I first came across this, I was surprised, but at the same time not shocked either as this is the same community that believes that Paracetamol cures everything.

Headache, toothache, backache and tensions in the world … of course over exaggerating now, but you get my drift. Dr Malik isn’t going to suggest what to do and not to when your tum feels glum, but maybe a nice crisp glass of water will do it!

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

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My trip to Pakistan

Hello, and greetings my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag-bearer of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. My Bearded brothers, you might be wondering why I haven’t been featuring on here, brothers I would like to just say I am still here, don’t worry.

Brothers, I want to talk about an important issue and that is the issue of my trip to Pakistan. Where do I begin … the trip was pretty much three weeks long. I came into the journey nervous and not sure what to expect. The slight delay to fly and then the fact boarding starts 30-40 mins before the actual liftoff,  was great for the nerves! (sarcasm overload in that statement). So the nerves were there up in the air worried about X, Y and Z but then the nerves just went.

I have never been one to fall asleep on planes, I just can’t do it! So with that in mind, I opened the in-air flight entertainment and after seeing the entertainment package on offer, it was pure bliss. Two and a Half Men, Blackish and The First Team made for good in-flight entertainment. Especially with The First Team, there is an example of an entertainment gem being unearthed.

So, seven hours went down to six and then six to five then before I knew it, it was time to land. So Lahore airport I arrived and the search operation for my luggage began. In a scene reminiscent of Generation Game, there I looked at everyone’s luggage on the conveyor belt and it went round and round, ready to pounce and grab my luggage with lightening reactions that are needed to get your suitcase.

After negotiating that, up to the Covid testing centre we went to get more jabs up our nose, my holiday to Pakistan was getting closer to the beginning, but things were stuck in second gear as we negotiated through the last bit of checks need to break through from Allama Iqbal Airport. After the test was done, we started a walk of freedom out of the airport and there we were greeted by our driver who gleefully loaded our luggage into his car as me, my wife and dear parents sat ourselves down in the car.

Despite it being the early hours of the morning the traffic out of the airport was a lot, but when things did clear a 40 km stretch of road followed. Beaches and picturesque views allowed me to reset my mind and start to embrace the experience. After not having any sleep in the flight journey, my eyes would open and close as I feebly tried to stay awake, I was told I was defeated in that battle as my dad told me my mouth was open and I was in a sleeping state, breathing lightly.

So after a nearly three-hour journey, we got to our Pakistan home. For me, it was the first time seeing the home and I was in love with the attention to detail that my parents put into the making of this house. A nicely crafted door once opened made visible a very welcoming lobby and lounge area in one. Touches of Pakistan, but some English touches too, made my heart settled that my trip to Pakistan although Covid affected will be a good one.

Coming into this journey, I opened my mind about living here, so I was looking at everything objectively. From the way, someone looked at me, to how the shopkeepers were towards me. I have brown skin and speak the local language, but because I live in England I was seen as English by some , even though I say proudly I have Pakistani origins. Due to being cautious, outside travel was restricted and family visits were sparingly done too.

This didn’t ruin my experience. What I benefitted from was good quality time with my dear aunt and dear Uncle. The banter, the joking and their life experiences which they passed on was priceless.

A family wedding was interesting too, interesting as I was naturally curious about how they conduct weddings there. Not too different from how British Pakistani’s do it here. Rented cars and smart shalwar kameez with a suit jacket, I felt right like I was at home.

I didn’t do too much whilst out in Pakistan due to Covid, but I was happy to admire the beautiful greenery that I saw when I looked out of my windows in my house in Pakistan. The PTV Sports sports programmes too was a home comfort. When I passed my COVID test (72 hours before the end of the journey) , I ventured out to see my aunt and was able to witness some beautiful views in Hafizabad. To summarize, I loved my time in Pakistan. What did I do there? Nothing, but the relaxed style of living in my village suits me perfectly.

Pakistan helped me lose one stone of weight effortlessly, it helped me grow as a person. The quality of food is better, meaning I didn’t binge on junk food whilst out there. The weather is better and the slower lifestyle helped and suited me to the t. The local camaraderie that too can’t be put into words. I went to Pakistan for three weeks, it felt like three months as time stood still, but went fast at the same time.

Pakistan is a beautiful country, you have to see it to believe it and not just take my word for it.

Can’t wait to see you next time Pakistan.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

The joys of holiday

Hello and good afternoon, it’s me your Bearded Captain. Leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media.

I am that beard who tries to make people Laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

I want to talk about an important issue in the world of The Bearded Captain. My brothers, this is the issue of holidays and the joys of holidays.Holidays are seen as a time to get away from it all, let your hair down (that’s just setting my self up for that one).

I am fascinated with this topic I am goofy to talk about and that’s the topic of holidays, holidays can be taken anywhere. From Butlins to Llandudno or Santorini being some examples of different ends of the holiday spectrum. With trips within the UK, they do can be long drives, but at least you can stop when you see convenient and not when the pilot of the aeroplane sees fit.

Talking of aeroplane pilots, he had the nerve to say this is your Captain speaking …. Err it’s not because I didn’t say a word! I was watching The First Team on the TV and they interrupted my TV bliss to say it’s The Captain speaking! Breathe deep breaths. That’s that rant over, but in a car, you don’t tend to be squashed into three seats when the designated space is more suited to two.

When going abroad, one day gets eaten up from the travelling out of the airport and the drive to your residency once you have reached your destination. It’s good exercise too as one checkpoint from the other is the other side of the airport. To have one checkpoint next to the other? No, that would be just too easy …. this task of going around the airport from one point to the next is like an Olympic sport.

Long-distance running (or walking in this case) and then maybe something similar to the shotput as you lift your luggage and put it on the trolley. As you push your trolley towards the airport exit, could maybe be described as something similar to a Skeleton (very very loosely.) Seven hours sat in one position, not able to move due to Covid measures (accept for the loo run).

So there you have it, one day wasted at the airport, maybe another day or two wasted packing your clothes getting to the airport, and the same process on the way back too – as well as the jet lag both ways, but having said all that … the time in between whilst out on holiday is wonderful and can help refresh the mind. It’s funny how a bit of sunshine and being in the middle of nowhere can have that effect on people.

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

PSL review, new kids on the block!

Hello and good morning, here I Ayyaz Malik aka The Sports Buff, talk about this years on going PSL. the games have been brilliant!

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Kingfisher fish and chip shop review

Hello and greeting my Bearded Soldiers. I pray you’re well and looking after your beards. Here is my review of my favourite fish and chip shop in Greater Manchester!

It’s over and out and out from your Bearded Captain.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

Broad and Anderson the ultimate bromance

Sports like football and cricket, are beautiful sports for several reasons. Games can be decided and won through good teamwork or individual brilliance, yes that knock by Ben Stokes in the Ashes at Headingley comes to mind.

As important as those factors are for winning games, I want to talk about the need to build good partnerships in a duo, the bromance or the Romeo and Juliet pairings if you will. Let me elaborate.

Football fans, do you remember the Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer partnership for Blackburn Rovers, which helped the Lancashire side win the Premier League title in 1995.

Or what about the Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer partnership for England, or even the legendary pairings that both included Andy Cole, it’s fair to say someone is loved. First Cole and Peter Beardsley in the early ’90s, who combined to score more than 60 goals. If combining with Beardsley and scoring a sack load of goals wasn’t enough, it was when Andy Cole teamed up with Dwight Yorke at Manchester United that did an ultimate bromance develop.

In that 1998-99 season, as brilliant as Beckham and Giggs were, it was the deadly two upfront.

From the telepathic linkup play in the game against Barcelona or the semi-final win against Juventus in the 2nd leg, Cole and Yorke were brilliant, in fact so brilliant that then Blackburn manager Graeme Souness reunited the duo at Rovers.

In this blog, what I want to talk about are some of cricket’s deadly duo’s. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Alan Donald and Sean Pollock or Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. In terms of the latter two players, they sound more like a solicitors firm rather than a potent Australian bowling attack.

In the example of every duo, that I have listed, one player seems to compliment the other, which I think can be said of the example I want to use now, the example of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

With 1100 wickets between them, it’s obvious to see that despite Joffra Archer, Olly Stone, Sam and Tom Curran at their disposal and many more bowlers in the production line, England will revert to type and go to their two premier bowlers at any given opportunities, it’s with good reason.

Despite Broad being 34 and Anderson 38 respectively, these two are the men who seem most likely to answer the call of need for England.

The ongoing test between India and England seems to be proving my theory. This may be a bit harsh, but at the time of writing Archer and Ben Stokes combined have bowled eight overs between them and have conceded 43 runs.

Yes, the West Indies born pacer does have a wicket in the India innings, but compare that to the legendary duo of Anderson and Broad, they two have conceded just 31 runs in 15 overs. Both Stuart Broad and Anderson have been able to produce bits of brilliance on several occasions in their brilliant careers.

To be fair, the supporting cast have produced at times, but there’s an over-reliance on Broad and Anderson. With 1100 wickets between them, this thinking is natural. Until England area able to find this formula of winning games without Anderson (easier said than done) then England will remain stuck in the past.

India (Bumrah), South Africa (Rabada), Pakistan (Shaheen Afridi), New Zealand (Trent Boult) and Australia (Pat Cummins) have younger main strike bowlers than England. All I will say is, I don’t envy Joe Root’s dilemma, but until they find a formula I think England will be stuck in the past.

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India vs England third test, the tale of the wounded animal

They dared to win the first test and win at a canter.  That looks to have been the worst thing that they could have done. England since winning that first test in Chennai, have since been the victims of an Indian backlash. The sparkling double hundred from skipper Joe Root seems like a distant memory.

That 578 all out that they scored was this the same team? There have been some subtle changes but otherwise, the core of this batting unit has been the same.

Since that Stella knock by the England skipper and well backed up aggressive 40 in the 2nd innings, captain Root by his high standards has failed to get a score of note in the two innings since.

In that first game, both Bess and Leach did make significant contributions in the first test with the ball, but it was just Jack Leach who made a 2nd innings contribution with the ball. To get over the line, England were indebted to James Anderson like they have on so many occasions to help them finish India off.

At the time of writing, tourists England are again under the cosh. After making a paltry 112 all out, which included a Zak Crawley 50. To their credit Joe Root’s men have grabbed two quick wickets, to just put the brakes on proceedings.

Coming into this test The Three Lions would have wanted to lick their wounds after a chastening defeat in the 2nd test, but India are still obviously aggrieved that England had the nerve to win a game in this series.

With Anderson and Broad in their side, England will always have a chance, but if they didn’t know the task at hand, they will surely know now. A lot will depend on their start tomorrow, with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the crease, the signs look ominous.

Where is Moeen Ali when you need him? He seemed to have Kohli’s number. If England didn’t know what they were in for, they do now. After all, it was England who were the last team to beat them in India, that was some eight/nine years ago.

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