Expensive Eyes And Ageing Thighs

I’ve just been for an eye test and to sort out some new glasses. I haven’t done so for a good few years and being crap and old now it seemed I had a choice of getting new glasses or to have surgery on my arms to allow me to hold things far enough away from my failing eyes to be able to read it.

Knowing now what the costs of said new glasses are, as I need varifocals and all sorts of coatings and add ons I think it would have been cheaper to grow a new human and farm their healthy eyes instead. I did get a second pair for a heavily discounted price and chose to get some sunglasses in the hope that at some point in my life I will again be in some sunshine. My current pair have that thing where they turn dark in sunlight and I have hated it since the day I picked them up. I appreciate the UV protection but resent looking like half of Peters and Lee at the first sign of daylight.

This aging process is pretty much all rubbish. Not only is my eyesight like that of a 100-year-old bat, my metabolism is now so slow that last week I walked past a Labrador called Chocolate and put on four pounds. Also, why am I perpetually exhausted? I didn’t feel this tired with two kids under eighteen months to deal with and one of those didn’t sleep AT ALL until she was about twelve (Hi Rebecca!). These days if I have the audacity to be awake beyond midnight I spend the next day mainlining coffee and sugary goods to stay awake at the wheel.

I have long since been doing the audible rise. You don’t know what is? Well, if you are of a similar age to me you will. It’s when you get up and have to make a noise to do so. My body is supposed to last me at least another 30 odd years or so but with current trends I am not sure how it can.

Today of course sees thousands of folks running around London for a distance that I get tired driving. I wish you all well and do please post some more about it on social media. I think you are seriously underplaying it ūüôā I am in awe of your athleticism and dedication. I ran a bath recently and had to ingest three cans of Ralgex to get over it.

So with my new eyes on order I await the ability to see with baited breath. If you work in marketing at Vision Express might I suggest a rebrand? Two to three weeks isn’t what I would class as Express to be honest and I think there is only Carphone Warehouse who need a new name more than you do. With what I have just paid for my new glasses you can now fund a national TV and billboard campaign announcing your name change to Vision At A Leisurely Pace.

Of course at this point I should post the oft seen internet Meme which says something like…

I know that in another ten years or so, should I be blessed with still being around, I will look back on today and wonder how I moaned when I was so young/thin/athletic. I do that now on those days I referred to above when the kids were very small. At the time, I’m sure I felt like a zombie and that it would never end. I blinked and it did and now they are grown and I miss them being small.

In a week with yet more high-profile deaths, which, like most of the other notable passings this year were at an age far too young to be anywhere close to acceptable I should embrace my shoddy eyes, aching limbs and lack of energy and be grateful. Or at least see a doctor! Which reminds me, I’m at the dentist first thing tomorrow where I can give someone else lots of money to attempt to save my failing body from the ravages of time.

I should go for a nap, or a lie down in front of some crap TV now, but some fool has ordered some flat pack furniture which got delivered today. It now sits in the hall mocking me, daring me to attempt its erection. That’s a whole different story about getting old which I shall not cover here.

Till the next time….

My Weekend With A Hairy Ass.

After a very busy week at work, the weekend has been similar. There has been zero progress holiday wise, mainly due to the lack of flight availability as yet. The brain has been percolating possibilities in the background of course, but I have nothing further to report. I do object to working full-time when it restricts my ability to spend endless hours researching my holiday.

The busy week was made more taxing by the events of Thursday evening. For those with no interest in football and perhaps those who do but are not Liverpool fans, it may have passed you by. For me, as a life long fan, watching that roller coaster of a game through my fingers and at times tears of despair left me emotionally spent, yet happy after one of the most dramatic and spectacular comebacks ever seen. Sure, I may be over egging that, but grant me that as we’ve had little else to celebrate for a while.

Straight after work on Friday I was off to the latest Mustard gig at a local pub where we play very regularly. After getting home at around 12.45am, I slept for a few minutes before getting up to get ready for our trip over to North Yorkshire to see our friends Steve and Di, who live in Sinderby near Thirsk.

It was bloody cold, and at times wet, but we managed to dodge the showers during the times we were not eating to give Oli a decent walk in the country side.

Oli car April 2016

He got nice and muddy and worried a sheep or two before we stopped off to donate some Polos to a couple of donkeys.

donkey april 2016

The visit to Steve and Di’s, as they usually tend to, included a lot of chat about holidays and Florida (as well as lovely food and alcohol) as Steve and Di are long time DVC members and very experienced travelers. As much as I thought I had our plan sorted, at least in my mind, our conversations have now raised a trip to The Keys as a contender. ¬†I do feel that our previous half day excursion to Key West didn’t really do it justice so I may need to ponder on that one a little more.

It didn’t help that the day we went saw temperatures only usually involved in the frying of chips. Patience and tempers were tested and we soon retreated to the welcome air con of the car and drive back north to our hotel for shade, swimming and drinks. Yes, clearly going to Key West in August is likely to be on the warm side. Even a planning genius can make the odd schoolboy error. As Louise often reminds me, and she did again this weekend, I was the one who booked us into the Sun Viking Lodge in Daytona a few years ago. I won’t bore you with the story again, I’ll just say, if you are thinking of staying there, don’t!

Having got home very recently, the relaxing pants are now on, and I intend to do lots of nothing for what remains of the weekend before another busy week to come. The fact that we have returned home with most of the Coffee and Walnut cake we couldn’t eat last night means that the outlook for this evening is a good one.

So that’s your lot, I’m knackered and in need of nothingness.

Till the next time…..

The Votes Are In…..

I’m so grateful for your responses to last week’s post. I had so much great advice from many folks who are clearly more expert (obsessed) with US travel than I. Via every medium available on the internet I had replies and help, so thank you for giving a toss about my trivial travel plans.

As far as the voting goes the results were as follows.


I didn’t know what to expect, but I suppose I was slightly surprised to see California come out on top, or perhaps more specifically, Orlando not to.

Beyond the voting I got some very detailed, well thought through advice with one very kind soul even sending me their planning spreadsheet for their California trip in 2014. Thank you Sue! It is very nice to know, as I suspected, that many others are sad enough to have their holidays in such detailed Excel formats!!

Beyond the US there were great suggestions for destinations such as Dubai, Mexico, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, Tokyo and Thailand along with many suggestions of a cruise.

So what did we decide to do? Well, I have to say that Louise and I were leaning towards California and the results of the poll and the comments I got were encouraging us in that direction. However, with a little bit of research following up on some cautionary advice from those who have been before, it had to be discounted for the simple reason that in February, or even March, the temperatures are too low. Looking at various weather sites it would seem that we’d be lucky to see anything in the 70’s most days and for us a holiday can’t involve fleeces and long trousers during the day!!

However, at some point very soon in our holiday future, we WILL do California. Your feedback has confirmed that we must.

As far as cruising goes, that is a bit of a non-starter. Louise is very strange and along with her irrational fear of flying she also has a bit of a thing about the sea and boats…no matter how big they may be.

So we were then looking at either one of the other destinations listed above or a return to the familiar embrace of Florida. As much as Louise likes a beach and a sunbathe, even she had to admit that a whole holiday of that may not be for us after all these years of “doing stuff” for most of the holiday, So, with absolute predictability, that is how our journey back to Florida has come about. We have decided to push our dates back to March, as we got advice (thanks Di) about Florida in February being on the chilly side and so seeing that March seems to be¬†in the mid 80’s most days, that is much more acceptable. Those extra few weeks before we go will be tortuous, but one thing I have learned about countdowns is that they always eventually end!

So, with that decided, I then moved on to making some rough plans. With warm weather back in play, the beach came back in to focus and so with startling speed, a day by day plan formed in my mind. I was actually quite shocked at how quickly and easily this came to me. A sign of where all my thoughts, time and money has gone for many years.

With flights not yet available for next March, nothing can be booked as yet (booking flights first is the law) but this has not stopped me from looking at lots of hotels around our pencilled in locations. So far, we’re looking at something like –

Flights into Miami

Four nights in Miami/Fort Lauderdale

A two hour drive up to Vero Beach (either at the Disney resort itself or another hotel in the area) for three nights there.

Over to Orlando for four nights on site at Universal

Four of five nights on site at Disney, ideally around the Boardwalk area, or if budget dictates somewhere like Old Key West.

Flight home from Orlando

See, easy this isn’t it? I believe flights should be available from around the end of April to mid May for our travel dates (current thinking is mid March departure) so until then I am coiled like an oily spring, consumed with pent-up planning tension waiting for the sweet release of hitting the book button. Such is the life of an obsessive such as me and you, judging by your responses last week!

Thanks again for all your help. I was delighted and surprised by your interest and generosity. If anyone has any recommendations for hotels in and around Miami or indeed the Vero area, should we not go the Disney route, then please do let me know. Should anyone have DVC points sitting on a shelf they may not need then again we may well be interested in those too.

Till the next time…..


Ask The Bill Payer’s Permission….

I’ve been blogging now, pretty much every week since 2009.¬†Over that time I have covered every single topic available along with most of the emotions known to mankind. The content has been diverse (which is a polite word for “all over the place”) and I have ranted, gushed, moaned, bragged and been heartbroken at different times, sometimes all in the same post. However, today sees a first. I am to use a button that I have not yet pressed in all of these blogging years.

But first, some background. A few weeks ago I blogged about the annual event of us craving a holiday once winter starts to fade. We had house stuff to do as well and so the decision was not made. In recent days a top line plan has emerged that will see us to do both. Louise said that we both agreed that the house stuff is to come first which means that our holiday plans have been pushed back a little into early 2017 and it is looking like February. This is one of the joys of not holidaying with school age kids which goes some way to compensate for the fact that they’ve grown up now.

Now, at that time of year few places on the planet will deliver the skin scorching temperatures required by Louise if she is to sunbathe for 23 hours of each day. With the entire globe at our disposal I have exhausted all relevant possibilities and am now considering two locations….America and the USA.

With those lower temperatures in mind, our original plan of a more beach based trip seem to be foiled or foolish. I know for normal human beings the mid 70s would be fine for a day at the beach, but Louise needs skin melting rays to feel the day has not been wasted. This rules out (I think) the Miami/Naples/Keys type of trip that I had in mind last time I blogged about this stuff.

So here is where I need help (some may say I have needed help for some time). In my mind, (and lets face it, that’s all that matters. Louise is picking the stuff for the house so it’s only right I choose the holiday!) I…or rather we, are looking at three options, which are…

The usual Orlando based holiday.

However it will be anything but the usual as it is very unlikely that Rebecca (and Tom) will be with us. Emily will travel with us I think. I’m not sure we (I) want to do a fully Disney based holiday this time. I suspect there will be Disney stuff involved, but not the daily focus we’ve had in the past. Strangely though, having said that, I quite fancy staying on site for a chunk of the trip. We do want to spend an extended number of days on site at Universal too. We don’t feel that we’ve done the Potter stuff enough and we love staying at the Hard Rock. So in summary, option 1 is an on site Disney resort (I’m thinking Old Key West) followed by four nights at the HRH.


We have threatened to do this for years, but have always drifted back to Florida. We *will* do it at some point. We always say that just after booking for Florida again. I suspect the reason for that is familiarity and ease. We know Florida so well that the level of planning and preparation is much reduced and we can just turn up and engage auto-pilot, feeling like we have returned home.

There would need to be a high level of research and prep to undertake a Californian Adventure as (I think ) such a trip is much more sprawling. There is also the small matter of the very long flight, which for a very frightened flyer in Louise, is its own challenge. Once there, I also think it involves a lot more travel as the things we think we want to do are a long way apart. Having said that, my knowledge of the place is so rubbish that I only have a¬†handful of¬†things in my head that I think¬†we’d want to do. Those are Disney at Anaheim, maybe Vegas, Alcatraz, a beach (see, I don’t know what the temperatures are in California in February), Six Flags and the curly steep road in San Francisco.

Somewhere Else Other Than The US

I have nothing to add here.

So here is where I need your help and this is the new thing I waffled about at the beginning. I have attempted to use the poll feature, so please cast your vote below, ask the bill payer’s permission, and do not vote if you are watching on catch up etc etc etc.

I reserve the right to completely ignore the results of the poll but I am genuinely interested in your thoughts of you all. Most of you are seasoned US travelers and probably know more than I about Orlando and definitely California.


Till the next time…..