A quiche of the action.

I have this week made my last ever packed lunch for the girls.

I haven’t made Emily one for a while as her college schedule allows her home for lunch, but Rebecca has been bound by both a uniform and lunches in school until just last week.

The busy nature of last week for me meant that I wasn’t able to mark the occasion as I might have wished.  I would have liked to have created said sandwich with some sort of Samurai sword, and thirty-day aged steak, but my guess is Rebecca got cheese….again.

The fact that I am marking this landmark in this way is diametrically opposed to the way I often felt about having to undertake the task.  It’s funny how that goes.  Something along the lines of you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone I suppose.

Bar a few exams to attend that’s it for the girls now, and a journey which started in about 1999, when Emily started her first nursery is coming to an end.

As much as those years have zipped by in the growth of some love handles and the loss of more hair, they do still need their parents for some stuff, and as I still rely on mine too, I suppose they always will.

This was demonstrated this weekend in differing ways, reflecting the different types of young women we have created.

On Saturday morning Emily was up and about at 9am, which in itself is cause for concern or an ambulance, but this week she had good reason.  Her One Direction obsession was the cause.  Yes she is almost 18, but young at heart for sure.  Disney and One Direction are her main interests, and in some ways, I am quite pleased about that.  It could be worse.

So her early rise was to secure tickets for the recently announced massively over priced scream fest in a stadium near you.  Not yet in possession of a credit card, she needed good old Dad to do the deed.

I wasn’t very hopeful to be honest.  Having tried to get Beyonce tickets some weeks ago (for Rebecca) and failing in a blur of crashing websites and frustrated keyboard bashing, I expected the same with these lot.

We had two laptops up and running and Louise on the phone, and as the time came, right on cue all of the web sites we had loaded crashed.  Ten minutes in I had mentally given in, but one last try of one site saw some actual pages working.  A few brief clicks later and two tickets were in the bag.

Not having even looked at what type of tickets they were, we soon realised after the event that the seats were actually just outside of Birmingham.

Emily, bless her, was happy enough, and I toddled off to get on with my day.  Moments later Emily informed me that extra dates were being added, and like a Dad on a mission I was back on the laptop.  Long story short, two much better tickets were booked for the second date, and the two earlier ones sold.

Emily was best pleased.

Emily

Boy band induced happiness

Rebecca’s need for her Dad was a little less complex and expensive, but of a more urgent and pressing nature.  With a BBQ planned later at her boyfriend’s house today, she appeared in her dressing gown with a look of horror on her face.  She had run out of false tan!

An emergency dash to Asda sorted that one, and she was off again, pretending once again to be all independent and grown up.

False Tan

Not actually Rebecca

Yet another milestone on the fast paced journey through life.

In other age related news, on Saturday I bought a quiche.  Contained within its pastry base and cheese based filling were the essence of Radio 2 and the extract of tartan slippers.

My working week was beyond busy, and I didn’t get home on Friday until after 9pm, but it looks like we got done what needed to be done by hook or by crook, and I look forward to slightly less stressful weeks to come.

As I tweeted at one point last week, I do feel the need for a holiday, but I fear I will have to make do with a few days off at home.  Having been hard at work without a break since last September even that will be very welcome.  I just need someone to build a rollercoaster and an Applebees next door.

Enjoy your extra day off should you be lucky enough to have it, and I’ll see you back here next week for more savoury pastry chat.  Don’t forget your tartan slippers.

Till the next time….

Ending Eras

Football isn’t a topic I cover here very often.  This is because nobody can seem to discuss it on the internet without eventually turning into an arse.  Besides, I’d always be right and everyone else would be wrong.

However, football has it seems come to the end of an era all of a sudden.  I can’t remember so many retirements at one time, and it may take a while to sink in, but I don’t think many folk recognise the impact of all these eras that are about to end.

The likes of Beckham, Carragher, Scholes and Owen have been ever presents for what seems like forever, and they have all decided to call it a day at the same time.  The fact that Fergie has joined in too means the new beginnings of next season are exciting, unknown and a breath of fresh air.

Jamie Carragher

He isn’t going to Carra on

I know it is only football, but you only have to have watched Twitter this afternoon to see the impact it has on people.  Condolences to all Spurs fans by the way.

We too are staring down the barrel of an ending era.  Both Emily and Rebecca are due to leave their secondary school this summer.  Emily has been there since 2006, and Rebecca 2008, and it will be strange to have no connection with the school that I went to all those years ago too.

The seemingly endless parent’s evenings, school trips, projects that are always started too late and all that homework that simply could only be done with a large chunk of parental involvement.  It’s all coming to an end.

Maybe.

Rebecca is hoping to study Media Make Up and Hair at college so no doubt I’ll be using my enormous knowledge about hair to help with her course!  Emily is preparing to apply to Disney for the year-long Cultural Representative Programme, and hoping not to need a Plan B should she not be lucky enough to be accepted.  It’s going to be very competitive but we’ll see how it goes.

Neither her or Louise and I have completely reconciled how difficult it would be to have Emily live overseas on her own for a year!!  However, Emily’s impending adulthood also brings home just how quickly things are moving along.

To counter that, I do find it endearing and touching how you only have to sit Emily in front of Les Miserables for a couple of hours to see the little girl in her pouring out of both eyes.  It gets to her every time, and the blubbering is guaranteed.

By the way, as I type this, we are watching the DVD for the second time this weekend.

I was very pleased last week as both of the girls secured part-time work in the same bakery.  Frankly, they are becoming a very expensive hobby, and with this little bit of cash they may be able to start to support themselves a little.  They start next Saturday, and as grown up as they seem it does feel strange knowing that they will be out in the big wide world.  There speaks an over protective Dad.

Rebecca appears to be developing some sort of WAG lifestyle, with false tan, hair products galore and more make up than a Kiss tribute act.  Once she starts to pay for some of these out of her earnings it will be interesting to see what she does.

On a personal note this next week sees the conclusion of a major project at work, and I know you will be sick of me referencing it, but believe me not as sick as me.  Don’t get me wrong I am enjoying what I do, but this has been a long road and I just want to see the smegger done and dusted now.

This weekend has flown by in a whirl of DIY, dog grooming and dodgy European singers.  Yes, last night we all endured and enjoyed the Eurovision, and it was the usual mix of madness and pure crap.  Still, it is odd yet strangely reassuring to think that as I was posting pithy and annoying crap all over Facebook, somewhere out there in Azerbaijan or Belarus there was another similar balding overweight forty something doing the same thing.  What he would have made of Bonnie Tyler I will never know, as frankly I wasn’t sure either.

Oli

Streamlined Oli

Till the next time…..

We are Yorkshire Puddings.

We’ve had a lovely change this weekend, and spent it away with friends in Yorkshire.  Our frequent lenders of DVC points Steve and Di had us over to their house in North Yorkshire, and we have only just arrived home, tired, but mainly full after Di served us so much food over the weekend that I’ll be in one of my post Florida shirts for work tomorrow!

We have been totally spoilt, waited on like royalty, and had a lovely time around some of the loveliest countryside in the country.

After arriving on Saturday and being served Quesadillas, grilled goat’s cheese on french bread and a paklava so delicious that I almost passed out, we went out for a wander around Sutton Bank.

This is home to a gliding club, and we timed it perfectly to see one take off.  We also experienced some of the craziest and strongest winds possible.  We were literally being blown sideways for just a few minutes until it suddenly just passed, leaving us to continue the walk, taking some snaps along the way.

Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank 2

Sutton Bank 3

However, Emily beat my attempts with this one.

Sutton Bank 4

Having walked off a dozen or so calories it was back home for another meal.  This time, it was a delicious spicy chicken curry, with perfectly cooked fluffy rice, and just to make sure we liked it we had some more paklava too.

Steve and I took Oli out for a late night wander up deserted country lanes, introducing him to sheep of various colours and sizes.  None of which he was particularly keen on to be honest.  He’s just a big coward really.

Full of fine food, beer and wine we all soon fell into bed.

Having Oli with us proved to be OK for most of the time, but when he started playing with his purple squeaky ball at 3am, nobody was amused.  I was going to join in, but thought better of it and put mine away.

Having vowed never to eat again twelve short hours earlier, nobody can explain why we were then tucking into a huge full English breakfast at around 9am.  Only just able to walk we boarded the car, and set off to feed some local donkeys that Steve and Di like to spoil on a regular basis.

They like polos!

Donkey

That’ll do donkey

Next door to their field was Marmion Tower which we had a quick look around, but to be honest the stupidly low temperatures for May and the constant drizzle forced us back to the car sharpish.

Marmiom Tower

We had a brief wander around a lovely town square in Masham, home to Black Sheep beer, bought Oli an ice cream cone, and then retreated to the warmth of the car once again.

After a short scenic drive through some lovely looking (but cold and wet) scenery, there was nothing else to do but eat again.  Having put away enough to feed an army already this weekend, a light lunch was the sensible option.

Instead, we had a full Lamb Sunday dinner, with all the trimmings, followed by home-made Bread and Butter Pudding.  I think you have put weight on simply by reading this blog.

At around 4pm we left Steve and Di in peace and made our way home, and once back over the Pennines the weather went up a good few notches on the crappy scale.  We are all now lounging in various states of lethargy, and pretty much all in elasticated pants of one variety or another.

It has been so nice to do something different of a weekend, in what must be one the loveliest places in the country.  The food wasn’t bad either!!  We have been looked after fantastically and are just sad to be back in the real world again having to fend for ourselves!

I am off now to either vomit or start eating again….I’m not sure which yet.

Till the next time…..

These aren’t the ramblings you are looking for…..

It’s been a busy old week.  A sure sign of a busy one is that it flashes by in the blink of an eye.  I spent most of it doing something that has been the basis of my job for years now, and that is nerd herding.

Don’t for one second think that I use the term nerd in any sort of derogatory manner.  I have a mixture of admiration and envy for those cleverer than myself who can make stuff appear on a computer from literally nothing more than a few strokes of the keyboard.

With this project (you know, the one you are sick of almost hearing about) reaching its crashing crescendo, I had the team of developers doing the actual work in the office with me for three days in an attempt to drag things over the line. They normally work down in the South West, and we communicate via email, web chat and telephone.  Of course you cannot beat all being in the same room to get decisions made quickly.

There was an outstanding amount of stuff done, and lots and lots of hours worked, and not a lot of down time.  Whilst I don’t do anything physical (aka real work) there is no doubt that working at this level of intensity can be exhausting.  After such a week, on the end of a long, long project, it has proven difficult to draw a line under stuff for the weekend, and I’ve found myself working today, and thinking about all this stuff when I don’t want to be.

It will soon be over.

It won’t surprise you to know that I haven’t really done a great deal this weekend, for the second week on the trot.  I did do the big shop, but that merely involved a laptop, some clicking and a bloke bringing stuff to the door.

Keeping the nerdy theme going, you would have to have been in a cave this weekend not to have seen some comedic genius posting some reference to “May the Fourth Be With You”.  It’s a decent play on words, and has only lost its shine now that it has been used for the gabillionth time.  Don’t let my cynical grumpiness distract us from the fact that this occasion looks to be a bloody marvelous thing to go to WDW for.

Through Twitter and more laterally You Tube, it has become clear to me that this is one of the things to add to my WDW wish list for the future.  Top of that list of course is to get back there at all, at any time, but if we’re playing fantasy holidays then at some point in the future we’ll be there for this.

Handily, Rebecca has a birthday around this time (the 7th just so you know!), and we have already promised her that at some point in the future we shall be there for one of her birthdays.  This won’t be for a while, mainly due to having less cash than a Greek banker, but also because schools and colleges tend to be in session at this time.

Once she is free from education, we’ll hopefully schedule a trip in May.  Any excuse?  Absolutely.

Why do I want to go?  Lots of reasons, but just invest seven minutes or so watching this.  For those of a geeky/nerd like persuasion the music alone is liable to cause arousal.  Mix it with fireworks and WDW, and it’s like a cocktail of Viagra and rhino horn.  Pass me my light saber!!

Extending the WDW theme, this week Emily is finishing up two of her A level photography projects.  Ignoring the stress this introduces into the household, along with Rebecca’s twenty three pieces of GCSE coursework that are all due in the next four minutes, it also has introduced huge expense.

The cost of the backing card, endless photo prints, and of course the bloody mileage to take the photos, and it would be cheaper to just bribe the teacher for a decent grade.

Anyway, WDW was my point, and I shall get back to it.  One of her projects was based on WDW, with her taking lots of photos on out last visit, and since returning she has taken many photos in Blackpool, the theme of the project being the contrast between the two.

There are far too many photos to post here, believe me, but this particular one is a good one, and she’s proud of it.

MK Castle

Magic Kingdom Castle

For someone who isn’t going any time soon I think I’ve done a good job of shoe horning WDW into this post, and not crying my eyes out whilst typing.  Well, not a lot anyway.

Till the next time….