No, No, No, No, No….oh alright then Yes.

So I picked up my glasses on the way home from work on Friday evening.  After a very tough week, with some (even though I say it myself) pretty spectacular political shenanigans from me to save one of my team’s job, (they will never know how much they owe me!!), I did what is termed an “early dart”, and was back in Bolton for 5.30, without any form of guilt at all.

Having paid a whopping £2.60 for an hours car parking, I was in the shop for around twenty-seven seconds and back at my car throwing away the ticket, and trying not to be too angry at the vast loss of earnings.

I then spent all evening at home, waiting for someone to notice my change of eye attire.  They didn’t.  Should I commit such a heinous crime when Louise has three hairs dyed a half-tone lighter, and I am on tongue and cold shoulder for the next three weeks.  The reason Louise didn’t notice was that she was stamping her feet, and berating me to get her own way.  This was not for the granting of bodily pleasures, even though Lord knows they are worth berating for, but rather a new dog.

You will know of our Henry and how we said goodbye just a few weeks ago.  So we have been enjoying a little less stress in our lives, as much as we miss the old bugger, and so the thought of a new puppy and all that entails did not strike me as an attractive option.  However, to add complexity to this situation, this new dog request is fogged with the air of guilt, as we (for that read Louise when tipsy) promised Emily a dog if and when she did well in her exams.

It was just my luck then, that this week brought results day, and one way or another, Emily getting the results she needed to get into the sixth form at her current school, to do the A levels of her choosing.  Drat and double drat.  The nerves felt on Wednesday night and on the way to school on Thursday were palpable, and Emily was a little jumpy too.  She didn’t break any records with her results, and didn’t pass her Maths, but this is a Williams family tradition as we’ve all had at least two goes at that one.  But come September, she will start four A levels, Media Studies, Film Studies, Photography and English Literature, whilst re-sitting Maths soon.  Those A level choices will give you a hint at Emily’s strengths, which like mine, are some several miles away from Maths!!

All this cleverness and success meant that we were sort of backed into a corner dog wise.  However, my objections, based on wee, poo, stress and in no small way expense, were aired all Friday evening, and we went to bed agreeing to disagree.  By that I mean Louise and I, who wants a new dog more than Emily!!

There was a nice break from hostilities on Saturday as we cleaned for a good few hours in the morning, in preparation for some guests for the weekend.  Steve and Di, my oft referenced DVC friends, and colleague (Steve, not Di) were coming over.  We had a lovely time, with a lunch at home, with lots of chat around our recent holiday, and Di’s upcoming one, followed by what I believe is termed as a “run out” in the car.

We drove to Whalley, where we had posh coffees in Benedicts, and then allowed Louise and Di to wander the many posh frock shops.  Purchases were made, the full extent of which I am too yet fully appreciate.  It was on this wandering of Whalley that I saw for the first time, the full extent of my new reactor lenses.  I know that sounds all James Bond like, but I had opted for some new fandangled lenses in my specs which turn all dark when the sun shines.

I am yet to be convinced of their aesthetic value, although the lack of squinting is appreciated.  Having seen myself in a shop window, I was a little taken aback, as I do look a little…how can I say…..mentally impaired.  I hope I can get used to it.

Later in the afternoon we had a drive to a local country pub called The Strawberry Duck for beers, wines and shandys, as this was a watering hole that Steve and Di frequented before they defected to North Yorkshire at the turn of the century, and is pretty local to our house.  A lovely day all round.  Now what could possibly improve a day like this?  Well, food!  We ventured to a Greek restaurant in Horwich called Sokrates.  Louise and I had a Mezze, which consisted of lots of little bits of lots of things.  After a lovely meal, with great company, we headed home, and promptly when straight to bed!!  Rock and roll!

So after a lot of sleep we all eventually woke up, and wandered to a local Deli for brunch.  Yep, more food.

Steve and Di left us at around lunchtime, when Louise immediately resumed the head pecking about the dog.  Now, you know I wear the trousers, am boss of the house, say what goes, and absolutely would not bow down to this childish miethering.

So, meet Oli, our new Old English Sheepdog puppy.

Oli the Old English
You had me at peeing on the carpet
He is quite obviously trouble

It is all against my better judgement, but after foolishly agreeing to just go and look, it was no shock to see us leave with one reserved, and a new arrival at the Williams household in about four weeks, once he is old enough.

Emily has chosen the name Oli (after Oli Sykes, who is some tattooed screamo bloke).  Promises have been made about looking after it, and all that stuff, and we will see of course.  Emily also said she’d help!!  I have my “I told you so ” face readied with a smug rating of 100.

We went to a breeder near Barnoldswick, and spent a good few hours, first getting to know the Grandad (of the puppy), who is HUUUGGGEE, but lovely, and then playing with the last two brothers of a litter of eleven.  The Mum made an appearance too, and we had a long chat with the breeders, to the point that we were happy with them.  Emily eventually made the selection from the two, and I drove home with happy females in the car.  It’ll never last.

So we’ve had a busy old few days, with GCSE results, glasses, visitors and silly decisions to buy a puppy, so this will explain partly why there has been little or no trip report action recently.  I hereby promise to do one tomorrow with not being at work and stuff.

Our eating has not improved in any way this week, with a meal out on Thursday to celebrate Emily’s success, and weekend of indulgence with Steve and Di.  Must do better.

Till the next time…..

Glee, Glasses and Gluttunous Guzzling

So the first week back at work is over, and we are all agreed that we desperately need a holiday.  The seemingly unending monotony of real life stretching out before me is proving a large mental hurdle.  This was not helped by yet more changes at work upon my return which means now I have even more to do and more folk to “look after”.  Naturally a mahoosive pay rise was also forthcoming you say?  Alas, no.

So I was quickly plunged straight back into normality, when all I was hoping to do this week was concentrate on sucking my belly in, clearing my Inbox of the shite it attracted whilst I was away, and hatching a plan for the swiftest return to Florida possible .

We are all simply missing Florida a lot.

I have, as you probably know written a few days up of the trip report, and bloggage shall remain brief whilst that continues, as one thing I am not blessed with right now is an abundance of free time.  The girls are, and they have remained more or less nocturnal since our return, with their bodies seemingly stuck on US time, or maybe it is just normal teenage behaviour?

For some reason, two out of three females in the house have changed their hair colour this week.  Louise started the trend with a visit to the hairdressers to pay a no doubt scandalous amount of money for the priviledge of going brown again.  Rebecca soon followed, but thankfully, with a home made effort.  She has also made a move back towards her natural colour, which is a relief in some way, as the upkeep of the blonde look was financially painful.  I have no idea how long this look will last, and no doubt this will make Emily want to make a change too!!

Rebecca hair

Beyond the horrors of work, I have not a lot else to report for this week.  After two weeks away, and having not cooked once during that time, apart from the odd piece of toast, I do feel slightly guilty at the amount of takeaways we have done this week.  I always give us at least one week post holidays to allow our bodies to acclimatise to a more normal level of calories per day, so the week ahead shall be a little better, I hope.

Oh yes, a major breakthrough last week.  After around six weeks of trying, three false starts and a lot of moaning, we finally got a plumber to the house to undertake some bits and bobs that have been outstanding for ages.  Our drips leak and moistness are hopefully a thing of the past.

This weekend has been chock full of not a right lot really.

Glee 3D
I am missing a bit of this.....

On Friday evening, the girls went to see Glee 3D, so Louise and I went out for tea, as cooking has not been high on our lists this week.  We visited Spice Valley in Bolton, and very nice it was.  We could tell that we have just come back from our holidays for a couple of reasons.

1.  I was expecting regular and free refills on my Diet Coke.

2. As always we over ordered, but managed to eat the lot without too many problems.

Heeding the adverts advice, today I have indeed been to Specsavers to select a new pair of glasses, and have my first eye test for over five years.  I felt it was time!  No massive changes in my blindness, and the new set are ready next week.  Next, on the clean up of things that should have been done ages ago is the trusty Mondeo getting a service next week.

This is like a lifestyle spring clean in August!!

Lord knows what next week will bring at work, and I have to say, that my level of enjoyment, and excitement at the prospect of work has moved down a notch or two further if that were in any way possible.  I suspect this is much to do with the return from holiday, but not wholly.  Next Thursday is GCSE results day for Emily, and I’m sure things are unlikely to be straight forward.  I’ll be taking her to school to get them to offer praise, congratulations, advice, and condolence in whatever measure required.

I should also offer a thank you to all the folks who have recently started to follow me on Twitter.  I surged majestically past 300 followers in the last week, which is both brill and incomprehensible.

Till the next time…..


Just a brief post to say we are back home.  We’re all knackered, Emily is still in bed, with her body clock all over the place.

My mind is making the slow and painful transition from Florida to reality, and with every “normal” activity it gets worse.  I’ve just done the BIG SHOP, and all I will say is that doing that at Asda feels very different to the supermarket shopping we have done in Publix and Walmart!!

The full horror of work awaits tomorrow, and having made the woeful mistake of glancing at work emails on my phone whilst away, I know of some of the dross that awaits me.  Joy!

As for the trip itself, it was excellent, and we have had a superb time.  Yes, we missed Disney, and the holiday certainly felt different for the lack of it, but there are holidays to come to fix that of course.  So in the absence of a lottery win, or an imminent chance of moving to the US, real life begins again.  Meh indeed!

I will try to make a start to the trip report over the next day or so.  First job is to get all the photos and videos loaded up ready to go.

Till the next time….