Landmarks and Not So Little Girls

Some of you kind enough to read this stuff every week have been with me for many years, a few even from way back in the days when I used to write funny trip reports. One of the loveliest things about that for me is your kind and sincere interest in my family and our journey as the girls have grown up.

I often get comments from you saying that you feel you know us even though we’ve never met and that to me makes all the effort of writing the reports and the blogs worth it. You are a lovely lot.

In all that time you’ve shared all the landmark moments of the last thirteen years or so, most of them good, a few not so much and seen the girls turn into the lovely young women they are today (even though I say so myself).

Like most parents with grown up kids I spend most of my days wondering what happened to all those years and at times wishing they were little again. I’m sure when they were little I was wishing they were grown up already. That’s life I suppose.

In these blogs in the past I’ve documented first boyfriends, bad boyfriends and the odd good one too. All Dad’s of little girls joke about the time when their girls start dating and it’s all bravado to acknowledge that really they are pretty powerless when it comes to the choices their daughters make in this area. Both Rebecca and Emily have made some really bad decisions at times and all you can do is keep your eye on them, offer advice that will be ignored and then breathe a huge sigh of relief when finally they see the light and move on to better things.

Well, today I need to share another landmark moment with you. You may know that Rebecca has been seeing Tom for a good while now.


Well, a little while ago Tom came to see us to ask me and Louise THAT question. Could he ask for Rebecca’s hand in marriage. I did wonder why he has was asking me that as surely Rebecca is still only eleven years old and is far too young for that sort of thing. Apparently she is a fully grown adult now and this was all fine from a legal perspective.

Tom is the sort of boyfriend that you wish for if your daughter has to have one. He treats her very well, works hard, respects her family and knows that Rebecca is a princess and he behaves accordingly. With all that in mind he is one of the few humans on the planet that we would entrust one of our most treasured things to, so we said yes.

With that done he went away to plan the event, helped and supported by Emily for inside knowledge and a girl’s perspective and last night it happened.

He had secretly booked a hotel room in Manchester, telling Rebecca they were just going to the Christmas markets. He decorated the room in a Beauty and The Beast theme and Rebecca shared a bit of this shortly after he popped the question.



What followed were probably the most excited texts we have ever received from Rebecca as she told us all about it and how incredibly happy she was. As you know the rule is that if the girls are happy then we are too (generally!).

I am so pleased for Tom that he managed to keep it all a secret and that it all went to plan as he put a lot of thought and effort into the whole thing. I hope he now understands that he has set the bar very high for every other special occasion they share and that the hard work only starts now!

This morning they are both hungover and excited in equal measure and sharing the news with family and friends.

So there you have it. That little girl you saw in the stroller in the theme parks for all those years is now engaged. As with most things in life you think you have all the time in the world until all this stuff happens and then it just does. My bank manager and I pray for a long engagement but I am sure she already has it all planned. You will no doubt here all about it as it unfolds!

Till the next time…..

Fantastic Beasts and Bobbins Tents

I’m quite a fan of a four-day week. Having had my second Friday in a row off, it does make a lovely difference to your weekend. These shorter working weeks will be something we can all enjoy when the economy collapses properly, the pound is worth about as much as winning The Voice and we move to a three-day working week. Look at me and my second political comment in two weeks. That’s enough of that.

I spent my Friday off doing what most people do I think. I went to the tip. Since the council replaced our bin with a thimble, this is becoming a weekly occurrence. I then did some pottering, tidying, small amounts of DIY and then played my bass. It’s this hedonistic lifestyle that will no doubt see me in an early grave.

I did have a quick look at the dollar rate too. Horrific isn’t it? I was hoping for a silver lining to the Trump win in the form of a dollar collapse and the pound climbing against it somewhere close to the 1.40 mark. It hasn’t moved at all. Come on America, please can you make major economic shifts and decisions to make my dole whip a bit cheaper next April. It’s the least you can do.

On Friday evening I went to the cinema with Louise and Emily to watch the Fantastic Beasts film. It was OK. I don’t know what I was expecting to be honest but we were a little underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad in any way, and it was an entertaining enough way to spend an evening, but it just struggled to get going, didn’t seem to have much of a plot and Eddie Redmayne was still playing Steven Hawking (pre-illness).

Like most films these days, it relied heavily on CGI effects and the last twenty minutes were just an extravaganza of huge effects, destruction and fast paced action. It also seemed to end about four times. I know that sounds odd but there were about four different points were we thought it was ending only for it to go on for a bit longer. I’ve probably made it sound worse than it is to be honest but when you extend a franchise like Potter, you have a lot to live up to.

I did see a lot of potential for how this could fit into the Universal parks though. I have no idea if this is planned or not, but this Potter landscape in the 1920’s would work really well. A coaster type dark ride based on capturing escaped Beasts perhaps, or a tamer attraction showcasing all sorts of Fantastic Beasts in a walk though sort of thing. See, I should totally be working in Florida right now making up this stuff for a living. Right?

If I were doing that for either of the major theme park companies, one thing I would have done everything within my power to stop (aside from Stitch’s Great Escape of course) would be these new cabana things in the Magic Kingdom, assuming this rumour is true.


The rumour is that for $650 a day you can rent one of these things for the day.  Food and drink is extra apparently, so you can sit in a white tent whilst charging your phone in a theme park. If the date were April 1st this would make sense, but what are they thinking? Aren’t they going to sort of kill the theming of whichever area of the park these go in? If you are going to shell out $650 doesn’t that mean you could probably afford to stay at one of the monorail resorts, so if you got hot and or tired you could nip back there for an hour or so?

It is clear to me that these Yanks need some middle-aged Boltonian to put them right on what should and shouldn’t be in their theme parks. I shall sit by my phone this evening awaiting the call. I know all the high ups in Disney wait for my post every week so it shouldn’t be long. I’ll let you know when we move out there.

Till the next time……





Meet Bean!

With the passing of bonfire night, Christmas is now in full swing. This of course means that somewhere in a large warehouse on a cold and windswept industrial estate, probably just outside Northampton, thousands of copies of Mary Berry’s fitness DVD are already being shrink wrapped ready for January the 2nd.

This is the true circle of life, moving from one reason to shop to another. We live these days just to give advertising execs a reason to exist it seems. Perhaps it’s the absence of Florida sun from this year but I’m feeling a bit jaded with it all to be honest.

These feelings of being out of step with humanity weren’t helped by the events in the US this week. I never do politics here as firstly I don’t know enough about that stuff to even think about blogging about it and of course anything like that inevitably ends up with people falling out. I will make a minor exception to my no politics rule to suggest that Trump’s election, is, in my view, a huge step in the wrong direction for a country I have a lot of love for. As I tweeted, blurry eyed on Wednesday morning…

This is like when your daughter chooses an idiot for a boyfriend. You just have to sit tight until she sees the light.

I speak from a position of experience.

It’s worrying that so many people feel that this man is required. If the political landscape of the world moves any further to the right we all may fall off the edge.

That lack of a break this summer is catching up with us all now I think and I know I really need my lengthy holiday from work over the Christmas period to recharge my batteries. Not having spent my holiday allowance in the US this year (did I mention we didn’t have a holiday this summer?) I had a load of days left, so I finish work on the 16th of December and don’t go back until after New Year. Even with that booked I had a load of days I still hadn’t used so I have gone part-time between now and then by booking off every Friday. Crazy right? It’ll be like working in the Public Sector (winking smiley face). Even with those booked I’m carrying five days over into next year. Bloody hell it’s no wonder I’m jaded, I’ve been working all year!

Wow, I can feel the lack of energy and moaning tone of this post oozing back at me through the keyboard. To balance this, let me share something a little more joyous with you. We have a new addition to the family here in Williams World. As we only have the 78 animals in our house the sensible thing to do of course would be to get another one. Bean has been with us now for quite some time, as we got her in the late summer. Her arrival shall we say was a little bit of surprise to me, but it does seem she is here to stay so say hello…


She is actually quite a big bigger now as she is five months old but that photo shows her cuteness when she arrived. Oli has been pretty good in accepting this massive disruption to his routine, displaying patience and tolerance beyond the call of duty with only the odd telling off. The horrors and hard labour of house training are starting to pay off and she is largely well-behaved in that respect now.

The house is a constant bomb site, with the floors strewn with toys and stuff she shouldn’t be chewing, and it’s been impossible to watch any form of television since she arrived due to the nightly noisy games her and Oli play, which mainly involve them chasing each other and barking a lot, but she’s settling in.

I suppose there are worst things in the world with strangely coloured hair.


Till the next time…..

Sticking In A Sloth?

There are recurring themes in my blogging, which is another way of saying that I probably write the same blog post roughly every six weeks. Today’s theme is that I don’t really have time to write a blog this week, but such is my tragic obsessive nature that I sit here writing a blog to let you know that I don’t have time to write one. As I type I can see the bits of paint on my hands that I haven’t quite got rid of after painting various things in the bathroom a few minutes ago. If a pre-Monday isn’t bad enough, you only have to add DIY to it to make it a whole lot worse.

Add to that we have guests coming for tea (poor people’s dinner) in the form of Louise’s Mum and Rebecca and Tom and I have to somehow cram in watching a football match and it’s a marvel I’m not having a nervous breakdown.

The entire weekend has been somewhat scuppered by a stupidly late night on Friday when I was out being a rock and roll demi-God with Mustard. We played a new venue in Rochdale and didn’t come off stage (yes, there was even a stage) until just after 1am. With packing up and driving home that was a 3am bed time and my aged ravaged body has been playing catch up ever since. I have a good sense now of what it feels like to live to be a hundred years old.

Last week was so busy that I didn’t do ANY holiday planning at all….oh no wait, that’s a lie. Emily and I had a text conversation (despite sitting across from each other at work) about something new we may be considering adding to our stupidly full plan. Wild Florida is in our thoughts, mainly as Emily is obsessed with sloths and they have a sloth encounter amongst many other things which look like a good day out.

We haven’t had time to say it is absolutely locked and loaded into our plan as it may just be an activity too far, but it does look good. If anyone has been I would really appreciate your views and experiences.

So with apologies for what is a very brief post today (the game is about to kick off!) I shall leave you to enjoy your Sunday.

Till the next time…..