Channeling Fred Dibnah.

It is rare that the content of these weekly outpourings are unique in any way. However, this one is rare if not unique, as I don’t think I have ever written one at this time in August. This of course is because I have usually been on holiday.

So this (and next week) will be a bonus post, whether you think that is a positive or negative thing is your call of course.

I am technically on holiday now, just like most years. I finished on Friday, and I don’t go back until the 2nd of September. I did not leave the office in the usual pre-holiday manner, as nice as it is to not have to work this week, I could not muster the same levels of enthusiasm. There is little that beats that feeling of leaving the office for the last time before a Florida adventure, so it all felt a little underwhelming to be leaving for a staycation.

I have already DIYed. That is of course insult to injury, but it needed doing, and the Type A freak in me does feel better that the wall ruined by our (not so) recent flood is now restored to glorious wallpapered splendour. On that note, we have a large erection at the back of our house now. I do of course refer to the scaffolding that arrived last week, ready for my Dad and I to tackle the chimney stack that needs removing. We went up said erection yesterday to measure up, and I have to say, the bricks making up that chimney look a damn sight bigger than they do from ground. Getting the buggers down will be fun I have to say.

Blokes from Bolton are good at taking chimneys down

My aversion to manual labour is only intensified by doing it at a silly height above hard concrete. Bad weather aside, I shall be getting dirty and tired on our roof tomorrow. Still, it’s probably better than going to work. Maybe.

Being at home next week, and if I avoid A&E, I am hopeful that I will be able to nag Emily enough to finish the 2008 video trip report. I have seen what she’s done so far, and it looks good. Of course, with me in it she has some very good raw materials to work with, but she’s doing a good job.  Her main issue is not wanting to include herself in any footage. I am of course making sure she does. Her horror at her 14-year-old self is probably understandable from the distance of now being 19, but I guilted her into including stuff by telling her she’d be robbing me and Louise of our memories!

I of course look no different at all. Ahem.

Louise had some good news this week. She passed her OSCE. That isn’t a type of gall stone. Instead it is a practical exam where she had to examine a dummy in a scenario whilst being evaluated. She of course was certain that she had failed it, but was delighted to hear she got 70% and passed. This represents yet another hurdle on her journey to qualification. She remains chained to the PC cranking out her latest assignment. Anyone would think that nurses need to know a lot of stuff or something!

I shall endeavour to enjoy my downtime of course, despite the hard labour that awaits. If I do not blog next week someone had better come and scrape me up from underneath that scaffolding.

Till the next time…..

 

I Told You So!

See? I told you we weren’t going this year. This weekend is traditionally the one on which we jet off for our annual adventure. I know many of you did not believe my declarations that we would not be doing it this year, but here I sit, in a cold Bolton, watching sideways rain and gale force winds blast past the window.

I take absolutely no satisfaction whatsoever in being right. My sense of loss is tangible and ever present. It comes over me in waves of physical pain, and I can almost taste the atmosphere, sights and smells of our favourite places. That is both a good and a bad thing. The unique feel of different spots that we love are both lovely to remember and painful to recall.

If I imagine myself in the warm embrace of an evening on the Boardwalk, cosseted in the warm night air, full from a ludicrous intake of calories, and strolling around aimlessly, yet joyfully, I tend to well up. What? That’s normal right?

Don’t worry I’m not going to spend all of this week’s post moaning about not going. I’ll just spend a bit of it if that’s OK? It’s not fair, I want a holiday, I should be in Florida, life is unjust etc etc.

OK, I think that’s out of my system.

So instead of living la vida loca in the US what can I possibly do to fill the next two weeks? Well, I’m in work next week, so that of course is easily as good as being on holiday, and then the week after, I am on holiday. I use the term loosely, as I shall just be at home, doing that wallpapering that’s needed doing since we had that flood weeks ago. I am also going to be dismantling a chimney.

Please try to hold back your excitement and awe, I know how impressive that is. Our house is old, and on the back of it there is an ancient, now unused chimney stack that is doing nothing but collect water and deposit down into our bathroom. It dates back to when most rooms had a real fireplace rather than central heating. I shall be providing the unskilled labour to my Dad’s expertise, as it is taken down and replaced with roof tiles and stuff that will make it all better. I think you’ll all agree that this is a much better use of my time and money than one of those daft trips to Florida.

I know that I’ve been trailing this for about four years, but as I type this, Emily is sat editing the first Williams family vacation video. She’s adding music and all sorts right at this minute so it can’t be too long now. For reasons I can’t explain, the first one to be done is from 2008, which does nothing for my OCD orderly tendencies. Having waited so long for them, I’m not going to complain.

I have to also let you know about our latest Netflix addiction which we completed this week. The Killing was one we stumbled across having never heard of it before, but it was superb. It had more twists than a twisty thing, which, if you are watching it with Louise is a recipe for disaster or divorce as she is compelled to second guess things at every turn. Rather than sit, watch it and enjoy the fact that you haven’t got a clue what’s going on, she spends half of it postulating and theorising about who done it, when clearly there are still several episodes and a dozen twists to go. Anyway, find it, watch it and enjoy.

Bereft of a go to series to binge watch, we’ve been ploughing through The Walking Dead series 2. We’re enjoying it, but on the come down from The Killing it hasn’t quite captured us in the same way. We may go old school, and watch all seven seasons of The West Wing which appears to be available on catch up now.  I know we are a decade or so late to it, but it means we can do the whole lot, minus adverts, and I can pause it several times an episode so Louise can tell me what she thinks is going to happen.

Once we’ve done that, well, it may be time to go on holiday again. Either that or we’ll be going so far back into the archives that it may be Dixon of Dock Green. At least the football is back, which is good for me, and less so for Louise. The only downside of its return is the sign that with it comes autumn and winter. It feels like we’ve been waiting for summer to get going and now it’s over. We’re back into the nine months of winter again, before a few brief weeks of summer with grown men wearing flip-flops in Asda and people drinking Raspberry Cider and thinking that’s normal.

I think I need a holiday.

Till the next time……

Gatorland? Are You Out Of Your Mind?

There seems little point in cranking out a blog post this week as pretty much anybody I am even mildly connected to appears to be in Florida, and will have no interest in reading this drivel. I am of course very happy for them and in no way scrolling quickly past their non stop Facebook posts swallowing hard and fighting back the tears. You may think that is a joke. It is not.

My overblown sense of entitlement means that I feel wronged and deprived not to be heading over there. We should be packing now, and I should already have lost the customary few ounces on my annual diet. Instead, I teeter at the top end of my weight range, and stare unimpressed at unending weeks at work stretched out in front of me.

I have actually booked a week off work at the end of August around the bank holiday and my birthday. I have decorating to do, and at least if I am not at work, I can focus properly on the world-class sulking I will be undertaking at that time.

As I always say, I never say never, and there could yet be a lottery win. Having said that, has anyone actually won the lottery recently? I don’t mean the multi-million pound jackpot which results in your own helicopter and a swimming pool tiled with pound coins and unicorn spit. I haven’t heard of anyone winning anything for ages. I have been playing the main Saturday draw every week since it started back in 1994. I’ve used the same numbers too, and over that time I have maybe recouped about £50. I have to play the same numbers now, as I know the one week I don’t, they will come up and I will be found with a smoking shotgun and half a head in our garage.

We haven’t had even a small win for years. Clearly, as you know from last week’s post, Louise won the lottery eighteen years ago when she was lucky enough to marry me.

I have a sneaky feeling that since the financial downturn the government have just been pocketing the whole lot, and fibbing about anyone getting any sort of payout. It’s either that, or the fee for Nick Knowles and Dale Winton is now taking up almost all of the proceeds, even at £2 a ticket.

Orange Saturdays

Every now and again of course you see that couple win big. You know the ones. He works in a factory and says he won’t give up work, but he is going to take his family to Abersoch on holiday. For me, these types should be disqualified for being crap. If you don’t know what to do with that amount of money then you shouldn’t be allowed to win it.

That reminds me of a conversation I had earlier with Emily. She was reading some questions posted in a Facebook Orlando group, gradually getting herself more and more wound up. She has definitely inherited my Type A control freak genes, and believes that things need to be done a certain way. People asking questions about buying Yankee Candles, or whether Gatorland would be a good idea for their first day just drive her crazy. The first day is to be spent at the Magic Kingdom, and there is to be no debate about that in her mind. There shall be none of this Sea World stuff, or a day by the pool and some shopping.

We decided that once you get through immigration at Orlando airport there should be another desk through which you need to pass to begin your holiday. This desk would probably be manned (or womaned) by Emily, and she will determine whether you are allowed entry to Florida based on your answers. If you call WDW Disneyland, then not only will you be denied entry to the US, but she may also have you shot. Failure to answer satisfactorily will see you back on the plane to the UK on the basis that you are doing it wrong and therefore don’t deserve the holiday. You can do some research and try again next year if you like.

You are doing it wrong!

You are doing it wrong!

I understand that I am probably responsible for the Disney monster I have created in Emily, but she is what she is, and happy with it. The fact that I once found her throwing things around her bedroom because someone on Twitter had said they were going to Disney World that day, when they meant the Magic Kingdom perhaps suggests it may have gone a little too far. Maybe.

We are all dealing with our Disney grief in our own ways. I am off to unfriend anyone posting WDW stuff on Facebook.

Till the next time…..

Don’t Mention the Mushrooms!

To paraphrase a very famous song, it was eighteen years ago today. However, I do not refer to any member of the armed forces teaching folks to play musical instruments, instead, it was the day on which all of Louise’s dreams came true. Today, is our wedding anniversary.

Right about now eighteen years ago I was stuffed full of the wedding meal (we had chicken, but no mushrooms…that’s important. The mushroom debate seemed to take up about six weeks negotiation, angst and debate in the build up to the wedding due to certain family members not liking them) with that meal ending with some legendary profiteroles that we still remember to this day. It will come as no surprise that some of the most vivid memories from the day are food related. I also remember spending ages planning and organising all sorts of things for the big day but then managing to completely forget to even give a moment’s thought to the speech I would have to give at the reception. I don’t recall what I said, but it was a mash-up of thank yous and a lot of errs and ums.

A recurring theme of my ramblings here is the speed of passing time. This is all relative of course, as I know tomorrow at work will feel like twenty-five years, but the time since this photo was taken feels just a bit longer than a commercial break, and I don’t mean one of the Appliance Direct ads in the States.

wedding

 

A lot has happened in the years since I looked so dapper (Louise looked OK too I suppose), including a lot of great holidays, oodles of hard work, a fair few crappy decisions, lots of fortune both good and bad, and I may have gained a pound or two, but I’m not sure. We’ve done a decent job with the girls, I think, managed to keep a roof over our heads, and not kill each other, although Louise may have come close on an occasion or two. I  understand that I can drive the ladies crazy with my outright adorableness at times. Apparently porcelain is the symbol of eighteen years of marriage. For anyone desperate to get us a gift, you can keep your tea cups thanks, we’ve got some. I believe that the traditional symbol for a nineteenth anniversary is First Class flights to Orlando, so just hang on until next year as we haven’t got any of those.

Our celebrations have been fairly low-key. If you can call Louise working on her latest assignment for most of the weekend, watching our new obsession, The Killing, on Netflix, followed by a few episodes of The Walking Dead Season 2 celebrations.

We did celebrate Rebecca’s return from holiday this week. It is always a relief to have them home again isn’t it? Especially with half of the world seemingly desperate to kill each other and any overhead planes at the moment. She appears to have brought half of Turkey home with her after discovering a local market she liked. She returned with handbags, clothes, jewelry and make up, and I hadn’t even asked for a present!! She had a great time, although found it a bit too hot at times, and it hasn’t managed to usurp America from her number one holiday spot. I don’t think that was ever in doubt though.

By the way, last week I forgot to mention that the first big book of trip reports had been formally reviewed by a book review blog. You will know that it was favourable as I am mentioning it now. If you’d like to read the review, and explore the rest of that blog to get some ideas on what to read next then you can do so at Random Redheaded Ramblings here. The fact this book now has 72 five-star reviews on Amazon is just crazy, and I thank every single one of you that has taken the time to say how much you enjoyed it. Hopefully, the next one won’t be too far away!

If you have read any of my books, and liked them, please do try to find a few moments to tell the world on Amazon. It makes a difference to any folks considering buying them, and of course satisfies my endless craving for attention and praise.

I’m away to Facebook now to view pictures from what seems to be everyone I know being in Florida at the same time, posting updates just to make me even more wistful and moany about not being there myself. You know who you are!!

Till the next time…..