Everything’s Changing….But Planning Isn’t a Pain.

I had three days off work this week. I had booked them to do some decorating following our recent builder visit. However, the plasterer who needs to get our walls ready for that decorating seems to be a relative of Ronnie Biggs (ask your Dad) and has thus far not materialised.

You can imagine how upset I was not being able to decorate. Instead, those three days flew by in a whirl of nothingness. I am honestly struggling to remember anything I did during that time. I’ll take that as a good sign.

What I have had to do recently is completely re-engineer our holiday. For reasons I won’t trouble you with, we had to move the dates of our trip from March until April next year and this took a fair amount of my planning expertise to execute. Half way through that re-engineering our party size grew a little too.

This trip started out as just Louise and I, planning to indulge in the beach and endless nights at Jellyrolls. Then Emily confirmed she would allow me to pay for her to come with us shortly afterwards, which didn’t change much at all and finally, as I was in the middle of moving stuff to the new dates a tipsy conversation between Louise and my parents resulted in them coming along too.

This was a real test of my planning skills and Florida knowledge. We had pushed the boat out accommodation wise. It was pricey enough when we booked all this pre-Brexit vote, but now with the dollar rate being shite, the costs were just out of the question for a retired couple.

So, I deployed ninja like planning skills to make this work.

So we are now going on April 10th, with Virgin. For the first five nights we are at Royal Pacific Resort and I have got Mum and Dad into the Holiday Inn Across From Universal Orlando. Honestly, that is what it is called. The idea is I can nip over to pick them up or Uber can do the honours. They won’t have Front of Line of course but it matters little as the big rides never interested my Mum and my Dad is recognising that at almost 80 and with heart trouble, endlessly riding the Hulk isn’t the best of ideas!

Then we head off to Siesta Key for a week. Luckily I had free cancellation on our booking there so I cancelled our property there and I have now booked a three bed place instead for us all. That sounds simple enough but there have been a few false starts and it feels like 27 changes of plan with regards to our stay there. Hopefully, now we are locked and loaded here.

This video includes our property and a few others, but it is just nice to look at Siesta Key!

It is safe to say I know Siesta Key as well as it is possible to know anywhere without actually visiting it.

For our last few nights we were booked into The Swan. Alas, it was not available for our new dates so we were looking at other on site options. Again, we had free cancellation so that was not a problem. For years we have vowed to stay within walking distance to Jellyrolls to do it without me drinking Diet Coke and after flirting with other, cheaper options such as Old Key West, and sacrificing that dream, I bit the bullet and the extra cost and went for the Beach Club. Of course, once my Mum and Dad were coming the silly costs for that were not an option with the $ rate now at less than 1.3 so a plan was hatched.

They will stay at the All Star Sports at a price so low that for a few seconds I considered doing the same and saving a small fortune. I have resisted. You live but once. They can bus, Uber or be picked up from there as it is just ten minutes from us.

So thinking about it, those three days off were not spent decorating. Instead they were spent buried deep in accommodation web sites conjuring up options so complex the CIA have recruited me into their Cyber Ops team. (Guess who watched Jason Bourne last night!)

Despite the extra hassle of rearranging all of this, it has meant that I have had two bites at the planning cherry and as a good few of you will appreciate, that is a big part of the fun of these trips.

Right time to go. We are off to meet Jakki, Steve, Aodhan and Naimh (long term Disney/Dibb friends that we usually meet in WDW) for some ten pin bowling and food (seperately) as they staying in Manchester.

Till the next time…..

A Little Less 21 Candles….

I often see posts on Facebook where parents are wondering where the time went before telling everyone that their child is now whatever age they are. I’ve done similar many times I’m sure.

The perception is that you blink and then somehow find your kids are no longer kids, you are three stone heavier and persistently feel the need to nap. Just me? OK.

I think I know where the time goes. It passes at the same rate whether you are doing something you hate or something you love, it’s just that you just tend to block out the former and so your memory recalls only a percentage of all the days, minutes and seconds you’ve spent with your kids. It’s a bit like childbirth. Lord knows I was mentally scarred by the pain of horror of it all the first time around. How Rebecca came to be I don’t know, as after all that sitting around and waiting for Emily to pop out, you would have thought it had put me off for life!

This time perception confusion is just one of life’s mysteries, like why I’m still paying the mobile phone bills for my daughters every month even though they are 19 and 21!

Yes, Emily turns 21 next week and we have been out this weekend to celebrate that with some of the family. As usual, a Williams celebration involved food, and probably more than was healthy or necessary. The main benefit of this milestone is that she’ll be able to come to Jellyrolls with us when we go on holiday next year! This is great news as up until now we’ve had to leave the kids outside with of bottle of pop and a rape alarm.

I think she will need to carry ID well into her forties though as she has never looked her age. This burden will become easier to tolerate as she gets older I’m sure.

It is only natural for me to treat any meal out as an excuse to pretend I’m doing a trip report and take pictures of everyone and more importantly their food. For anyone localish we went to the Retreat in Adlington and it was lovely.

Here are Rebecca and Tom doing a good job of being cheerful even though food has not yet arrived.


Emily and her Nana…..


Food at last, this was Emily’s Beef Nachos appetiser (yes I said appetiser, what of it?)

Louise and I had Halloumi Fritters, but I believe there is an over the counter cream for that….


Tom, quite rightly ordered using the “which dish is the biggest” method and went for an appetiser of “Meat Platter”. He also had half of Rebecca’s garlic bread and finished off Emily’s nachos.


Most of us had the Jack Daniels Bourbon Beef Skewer, which is not a euphemism.



A few cocktails later….


I am clearly out of practice as I’d started my dark chocolate cheesecake before remembering to take a photo…


Emily had Creme Brulee, which I finished off.


Once we were back home the inevitable Disney themed cake was set on fire with twenty-one candles.


Emily’s birthday is not actually till Tuesday and she shares it with Oli. Look how happy he is about it!IMG_0168

Emily with her Grandma who is clearly off her nut on champagne and frosting.


Emily picked up quite a few of her presents last night with a couple to come on Tuesday no doubt. Her main present from us is a trip to London in a couple of weeks to watch Les Miserables in the West End. She may never stop crying!

Happy Birthday Pud. Here come the usual collection of photos that will embarrass you…..

dad scruch nose

Taken yesterday

WDW 2013

chip n dale

emily nose pierce

Emily prom 2

Girls good food

Till the next time…….

Ain’t That The Tooth?

Years ago, when the girls were at school and we still did things like put them to bed, I remember many an evening sat on the foot of one of their beds listening to them fret about some upcoming event at school that they were not looking forward to. At the time it wasn’t appropriate for me to then spend an hour telling them about all the stuff I had coming up that I didn’t fancy either and instead I would do my best to reassure them that everything would be OK. I would tell them that worrying about this stuff would do no good and once whatever they were dreading had happened they would no doubt realise that it wasn’t actually as bad as they imagined and they would wonder why they worried so much in the first place.

These days of course my advice is seldom asked for, yet I still cast it, like bread onto a pond without ducks whilst they feign interest and resist the urge to roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders.

Last week’s blog was filled with me whining about my impending dental treatment and I have to admit that I spent a good deal of time with it on my mind. It was casting an ugly shadow over what was already looking like a crap week as we were having the house taken apart to improve it. I did not, it probably won’t surprise you, follow the golden advice outlined above that I used to impart to the girls.

As they always do, Tuesday rolled around and I made my way to the dentist feeling less than enthusiastic. Once in the waiting room I was having to do breathing exercises to prevent some sort of cardiac mishap before I was called into THE CHAIR. I assumed the position, put on the protective orange Roy Orbison glasses and paper bib and girded my loins for an abundance of pain.

“I’ll just take a quick X-Ray to see what we’re dealing with” said my dentist before leaving the room to expose me to dangerous amounts of gamma rays just like David Banner.

“Don’t make me petrified, you wouldn’t like me when I’m petrified!” I replied.

She retired to somewhere behind me to look at said X-Ray and after a couple of tuts and a sigh asked me to join her there. I stumbled across the room, confused by the out of focus orange blur everything had become to look at an image of what I assumed were my teeth.

To cut a long story short, she wasn’t happy to proceed with what she had planned as I had a shorter than expected root. Insult to injury sprang to mind, but sensing the chance to leave the place minus any pain or financial exploitation I did. The plan is to “wait and see” and review it all again in six months. I have several options at that point it seems, none of which cost less than a grand unless I have things extracted. I pray then to God of dentistry that whatever glue she used to stick my implant back in is like that Ultra No Nails stuff they sell in B&Q.

If not, well, faced with those potential costs, I think this is a good look…

You may wonder, as have I since, why she did not take that X-Ray when I went to have my implant stuck back in and she told me what the longer term solution was. My short root was, after all, of her doing when I endured the horrors of root canal work “under” her. Had she X-Rayed me back then it would have saved me many hours of fretful nonsense and it would have removed the need for you poor souls to listen to me whine about it.

Anyway, not only have I avoided something I was dreading,  but I have proved once for all that I know best, my advice is gold dust and I should be heeded and obeyed at all times….girls……are you listening?  Girls?! Oh never mind.

As Ying to that Yang however, the pain of the disruption to the house has been very real. Every evening has been spent moving all our furniture from one room to another, stripping wallpaper and generally not being able to relax. We’re not 100% finished but things are almost back to normal and I am telling myself the worst is over. That’s a lie of course as now we have to re-decorate the living and dining rooms. My lack of interest in such a task is only matched by my lack of prowess to do it well.

So having learned a great lesson this week about how worrying doesn’t help, things are rarely as bad as you imagine them and I am a big nancy when it comes to a dental visit, the only thing left for me to do is to create some inspirational message about all of this, add it to some suitably inspiring stock photograph and launch it at Facebook for everyone to like, share, comment on and then do exactly the opposite when they have shit to deal with.

fretting meme

Till the next time…..

Builder Me Up Buttercup

We’re busy today so this won’t take long to read.  We have impending building work about to take place in the World of Williams and so today we are clearing out two cupboards that are about to be removed.  You may relate to the fact that over the years these have become a dumping ground for all that stuff you think you have to keep but haven’t used or looked at this stuff since you crammed into that cupboard all those years ago.

It’s been a morning of mixed emotions as we throw away a lot of the crap in there along with lots of sighing at old school photos of the girls, drawings they did and a clay cow one of them made which has clearly been exposed to radiation. This picture is one of my favourites….


I hate the process of having work done to the house. Disruption does not sit well with me so the coming week or so will not be a comfortable one for me. We’re having a wooden floor through the dining and living room along with the removal of said cupboards, which currently sit in the alcoves either side of our dining room fireplace, which is also about to bite the dust. Louise is a big fan of the phrase less is more and so renovations tend to take the form of removing stuff and making things simpler.

So we have spent all morning cramming the stuff we “really” want to keep into other already full cupboards around the house. We need a bigger house or less stuff…or maybe both.

Speaking of removing stuff. One day last week I was minding my own business eating my lunch when disaster struck. Mid plum, I thought I felt the plum stone floating around in my mouth. Upon removing it, I felt as sick as you will when reading this, to discover it was my “implant” that I had fitted into one of my tooth holes when I endured root canal work a couple of years ago. In deep shock, my mind raced at the pain and expense this would inevitably lead to. I called the dentist immediately to get an appointment.

I had to wait until the following morning, with what felt like a hole this size in my mouth.

Eating was tricky and I didn’t sleep too well as I am a massive coward when it comes to the dentist. Thank Mr Stevens, my childhood dentist, who took pleasure from pain.

Thankfully, my dentist was able to glue that thing back in fairly easily but of course, life is never that simple. It needs a more long-term solution involving procedures that make my toes curl and my wallet weep. I am back there on Tuesday to have things like rods fitted and a crown added, which spookily costs what a real crown does. The fun doesn’t end there. Nope, this is a two visit procedure, so the misery and anticipation stretch out for weeks.

I am in no way feeling nervous about it……..

So if you had to dream up a really crappy week for me, you would have the builders in my house and my mouth at the same time. Still at least I get to go to work too!!  I can’t wait.

Till the next time…..

My Work Here Isn’t Done

Well, I don’t care how you voted, the past week has been a shambles and an embarrassment to the country. What a depressing state of affairs that those who are supposed to be in charge of shit have just confirmed that they are in fact a set of self-serving cockwombles.

Our current reality makes The Thick Of It look like an episode of Panorama. Although I would like to unleash a real life Malcolm Tucker around Westminster to sort a few of these expenses cheating, personal agenda obsessed , out of touch with reality shit gibbons out.

As for the football. I have previous experience of being Hodgsoned as I am a Liverpool supporter. Never have I experienced a more tepid, expectation lowering, confidence sapping charlatan as good old Roy. The showing of the England team at the Euros was just the shot in the arm the country needed after such a harrowing and worrying week. Thanks!

Anywho, whilst the Western world crumbled around us, last week brought us some good news.  Rebecca passed her driving test!

rebecca driving test

It is to her credit that she did so in torrential rain and terrible driving conditions. Her teacher had no time for such conditions being used as an excuse for not taking the promotional photo for Facebook, hence Rebecca’s vain attempts to protect her “do” with her hood in the photo!

This passing of the test is good news for several reasons. She’s been at it a while, through no fault of her own. She had to change teachers half way through which set her back a bit, and then took a break from lessons for a few months for reasons I wont bother you with and at one stage was specialising in failing her theory test by one mark.

Anyway, on her second attempt she passed and is now trying to comprehend that she never has to do that again and is free to go out and drive whenever she likes, once she has sold some internal organs to enable her to be insured on a car.

It feels like a landmark for Louise and I too. It’s one of the final commitments we feel as parents in setting the girls up with the right life skills. This is now added to the list of all the other major developmental and life landmarks, such as –

  • Breathing
  • Eating
  • Sleeping (although Rebecca took longer to master this than driving by about three years!)
  • Not going to the toilet in their clothes
  • Getting them into the right nursery, primary school, secondary school….
  • Riding a bike
  • Attempting to learn about seventeen different musical instruments only then to decide they weren’t that bothered really
  • Their first discos
  • First roller coasters
  • GCSEs
  • A Levels
  • Proms
  • Jobs
  • etc etc etc

It’s funny that as you come up to each of these landmarks they are seen as tasks and challenges to get through and as soon as they are behind you, you feel better for it. This tends to prevent you from appreciating and enjoying the landmark for what it is.

At the risk of sounding all poncy and introspective, these things are the destination, not just the journey. You tend to rush at them, driven by the fear that your children will be slower, worse, or in some other way lesser to those other kids we all know who have parents that have all their shit together. They only feed their kids organic pulses, spend three hours every night doing homework and wholesome activities and restrict them to ten minutes a week online.

Well, we were typically too tired for all that and we bumbled our way through parenthood, I suspect, like most do, allowing Lizzy McGuire and That’s So Raven to be a fairly large part of their childhoods, happy to get to the next weekend and another half arsed attempt at a lie in. Constantly being the parents who discovered at 10pm the night before that they needed something for school the next day that was definitely unobtainable at 10pm the night before, we had times when we felt like terrible parents for letting them down.  In that blur of their early years, through unending tiredness, attempts to build some sort of career and still be something resembling a parent we were hopefully somewhere above average.

With them both able to drive it feels like we must be coming to the end of that list now. Once we’ve tucked away a wedding a piece, maybe some kids, their first houses, a bit of baby sitting and interfering in how they bring their kids up we should be…wait….oh crap, this stuff never ends does it??

Till the next time…..