Yaks, Yetis and Yew Tree

You’ll have had enough work based whinging by now I imagine? Well, on the bright side I retire in about twenty years so not long to go now.

I was “darn sarf” for most of the week at Head Office. I was in meetings to kick off one large project whilst literally at the same time overseeing the delivery of another. Relaxing it was not.

Anyway, with one off my plate now, and team members back from holidays, the next few weeks look more tolerable. Wait, is that the countdown home straight I can see just around the next bend? I think it might be. 58 days folks. One more pay day. I can almost smell it.

The car hire balance was paid off on Friday and that’s the last chunk of expense to be paid apart from the spending money. Out of interest, how much spending money should I take for two weeks?

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Ah, the memories of that question being endlessly asked on Disney forums and no doubt still being asked today if I went on any to look.

Summer has arrived, Wimbledon is imminent, as is the Open Golf and these are all welcome tell tales signs that we will shortly be off on our adventures. After 73 weeks of rain, I intend to enjoy the lovely warm weather before autumn starts next week. Bear in mind, that right about now, somewhere in the UK, the John Lewis marketing team are pulling all nighters trying to decide which acoustic maudlin version of a song they are going to play over their Christmas ad this year.

Summer of course also means festival season. Glastonbury is on my telly showing several young folks I don’t recognise talking over music that nobody on stage is actually playing. Mustard have their own festival season as well which lasts over the space of the next two weekends. Today, we are off to Yorkshire to play at the Ravenknowle’s Children’s Gala. We are sharing the billing with Mr Zoot, a children’s entertainer and the Wrenthorpe All Stars. The latter being a majorette troupe and the former a Yew Tree court case waiting to happen. They may not sound all that but both will be better than Janet Jackson was. I believe this gala is similar to Glastonbury in that most of the crowd won’t have heard of us either. Still, if you are in the area, that being Huddersfield, then come along, take lots of illegal drugs and pee in a bottle but don’t throw it at the stage whilst we are on.

Then next weekend, specifically the 7th of July, we are playing at the Tottington Big Day Out. That, it won’t surprise you to learn, is in Tottington. We’ve played this one before and it is a fantastic day out as well as being Big of course. Again, come on down if you’re local. We are on from around 2pm I think. I cannot confirm if Mr Zoot or the Wrenthorpe All Stars will be appearing at that one so you’ll just have to take your chances.

I am still fighting the urge to books ADRs but forgive me, I have done another. One place that we have to eat at, as we rate it so highly, is Yak and Yeti. There’s little competition in Animal Kingdom of course for a sit down do, so it made sense to secure a table. With a party of six, walk ups are harder to come by and if we miss out on this eatery Louise would be very, very upset. It is one of her absolute favourites.

Image result for yak and yeti

So that is done for the 6th of September at 6.45. That’s our second day at DAK, the first being Labor Day. Expecting that day to be busy I suspect we may not last all the way to Rivers Of Light, so on our second visit, we shall eat and see if there is room in Rivers of Light after the meal. I doubt there will be if we rock up at 8.15, but it is what it is. See, I told you this trip is trying to be a more relaxed take it as it comes thing. Look, I know you won’t believe it, and I’m not sure I do, but I’m trying.

Time to go, I have a “festival” (gig in a field) to get to.

Till the next time……

Woody and Wedding Dresses

After the last few weeks where these posts have been more a cry for help than a blog, you might expect me to start once again by whinging about my week at work. Well, you are absolutely spot on. It’s been another relentless tsunami of shite that I don’t wish to repeat but alas the lack of a lottery win means that I will have to.

Friday ended like one of those skids you have in your car in icy weather when you almost crash but somehow manage to avoid any large hard objects, but only just. With heart racing, pulse racing and bearing the battle scars of a war I’d struggle to call a draw, the weekend began.

We were booked to see Toy Story 4 at 7pm, so the transition from work to weekend was a rushed one for us all, and we arrived at Middlebrook (extensive retail park next to Bolton Wanderer’s stadium) again in that car crash, sweat on brow, pulse racing mode, with seconds to spare. There was barely enough time to secure a life threatening amount of Pick n Mix before settling into our ever so posh reclining leather seats.

Not having the time to adjust my brain to leisure mode properly and having missed the 45 minutes of adverts and trailers, the opening moments of the film passed me by a bit as I just wasn’t mentally prepared for what I was about to see.

Soon enough the adrenaline started to subside and the enjoyment of the film kicked in. This will be a spoiler free zone of course so my review will be brief. It’s very good. All the stuff you want in there is present, with jokes that work on many levels, a good story line and of course the heart tugging emotion, and they all come together to make it another film that will entertain families for decades to come.

The emotional bits, I suppose, work best for the likes of our viewing party. The Toy Story quadrology (hey, I may have made that word up, but it works) has been with us as a family as a constant. Sat there with the next generation in the form of Freddie, when Emily started crying her eyes out, at the time when Freddie taking his turn on her knee, it was no surprise. The thing that happens, that I won’t spoil, is a symbol, once again, of time passing, new generations taking over and things often never being the same again. Having swallowed too many sugary snacks, I had to work extra hard to swallow the large lump in my throat.

Freddie, at 18 months old, behaved fantastically. Beyond the occasional “Quack Quack” at the appearance of a duck like toy which made our row chuckle if nobody else, he didn’t make a peep and broadly sat captivated throughout. It augers well for the watching of shows in WDW in 65 days time. Ooh see how I crow bar a countdown update seamlessly into a post.

He was on a massive snack and sugar overdose which helped but that’s how the cinema works, so he deserves all the credit.

Speaking of important family milestones, time passing, and kids growing up. Remember, Rebecca? The little girl you’ve seen in my trip reports over the years….

Well, yesterday Louise and Emily watched her choose her wedding dress. If the themes and motifs of the Toy Story films are ever more accurately mirrored in my life at any other time, I will be amazed.

Yes, yes, I don’t look old enough to be the father of the bride. That’s just my natural athleticism, classic good looks and military grade fitness regime, but it’s happening nonetheless.

I haven’t seen the dress. Rebecca wants me to see it for the first time on the day and that’s fine. Mine and Louise’s job is just to deliver the day she wants. She is delighted with it, and, as the cliche goes, she knew it was the one the moment she tried it on. I had a similar experience last week in Matalan trying on a new pair of jogging pants. Just the bills for those two items were different.

So at the risk of being THAT patronising person who thinks they know it all about parenting, if you are taking your young kids to watch Toy Story 4 anytime soon. Enjoy it. Despite the perpetual exhaustion, financial woes, never ending work and day to day struggles, drink it in. Next week you’ll be planning a wedding and bouncing your grandchild on your knee. That’s great too of course, and I spend every moment in Freddie’s presence with a smile on my face, but just smell the roses of today, take a million photos, write endless trip reports that capture your holidays. Otherwise you’ll blink and miss it.

Here endeth the eyebrow raise inducing faux wisdom.

At the risk of not heeding my own advice, I have to go now and spend the rest of my Sunday fighting the dread of the impending Monday.

Till the next time…….

Binging, Bean and Bonkers Behaviour

Remember when it wasn’t raining? Good times, good times…..

The weather has been a meteorological metaphor for my past week at work. Each raindrop representing some element of my working week that washed away my energy, resilience and will to live.

With no immediate end in sight to the current madness and a diary chock full of things I don’t want to do with people I don’t want to do it with, I am clinging onto sanity by looking at my fridge door on a regular basis. Why? Because that’s where our countdown sits.

Evenings have been a vegetative state of binge watching, with Louise similarly busy, it’s all we can muster. Last week we polished off the new Killing Eve in two nights, caught the first episode of the new series of Handmaid’s Tale and then, whilst surfing around Netflix, Louise chose Dr Foster. We are always on the cutting edge of new releases. I probably wouldn’t have picked it to be honest but it was largely good. The end of series 2 seemed to be a case of the writers losing it a bit and letting the whole thing get away from them, but it was very watchable for the most part.

I was out gigging last night at a wedding in Tottington/Bury and Louise took the opportunity to binge watch all of the current series of Love Island. This has to happen when I’m out of the house otherwise I have to set the TV on fire.

Away from exciting TV related news, that I know you live for in these blogs, yesterday Rebecca started her wedding dress search. She, Louise and Emily went to a couple of shops where apparently you now need to make appointments. Clearly I am not involved in this process and will not see the selection until the day, but she has not yet found “the one” but did try a few on which she really liked and found it helpful.

The cake has been ordered now and lots of other things are being looked at and selected. It’s full on this wedding lark isn’t it?

During the hurly burly of my working week I got wind of utter madness going down in Orlando. I have to say it did fill me with a bit of horror and dread for what might be in store with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. I didn’t have time to read too much detail of what was going on, but for the opening of what (it seems to me) is the re-theming of a fairly standard roller coaster, folks were waiting over ten hours. Ten. Hours!!

I barely tolerate a flight shorter than that to get to Orlando never mind to ride one thing. Come on folks, have a word with yourselves. Apparently the park had to shut the gates at 10am after reaching capacity, and the queue literally filled the whole park.

I mean, I have a soft spot for this ride already. For those paying attention, it was the announcement of this ride that forced Louise into wanting to go back, (next year) to ride it. Sure, another trip then got shoe horned in this year but still, it has played its part in our Orlando obsession. But, look, just, look….

Look at how happy they look. Ten hours…….ten hours!!

I would go so far as to say, despite all my work related moaning that I probably would rather spend a day at work than queue for anything for ten hours. That is the level of my disdain for this stupidity.

Before I go, I need to mention two occasions of note. The first, as Emily would be upset if I didn’t give it a “shout out”, is Bean’s third birthday. She’s a pain in the arse at times, but can also be a loving, funny ginger nuisance. Happy Birthday Bean.

The other of course is Father’s Day. With both of my daughters having the audacity to be spending this morning out of my house with their respective partners, there was no breakfast in bed and I had to source my own bowl of Shreddies.

Having said that, I live next door to my Dad and I didn’t make him breakfast either so I suppose that’s fair enough. I shall pop round later Dad with a gift that will in no way reflect what you deserve for everything you’ve done for me, Louise and the girls. Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, all of yours and of course to those Dads who aren’t here to receive their gifts in person. Louise’s Dad is in that category so a special mention to him.

Oh, and it’s 72 days folks. I don’t know if I’ll remember to give you a weekly update on that but I hope so!

Till the next time…..

Little Cards Of Joy

We have defeated the 80’s and we are at 79 days folks. FastPass day approaches more quickly than my ulcer and with that in mind a welcome and significant delivery came this week.

These little bits of plastic were a very welcome distraction from a week at work I will long remember and yet wish to forget. It was a busy one.

That photo also demonstrates how dirty my laptop is. That’s a result of spending its three year life with me eating my lunch whilst working. There’s probably a whole sandwich somewhere in that keyboard.

Along with the tickets and their inherent ability to get our FastPasses sorted in a bit came news, well more rumours, of a tiered system at DHS. The theory is that all rides will be Tier 1 and all shows Tier 2 and you will only be able to book one Tier 1 and two Tier 2s. Now, I have my doubts that this is actually going to happen, as rumoured, when Galaxy’s Edge opens, mainly as Disney have already said that there will be no FastPasses for Star Wars stuff, at least initially.

It doesn’t sound great though, especially for those long time visitors who have seen all the shows a lot and prefer to do the rides, but I think this may be a symptom of the fears Disney have over the crowds they are expecting and how to control them.

For us, certainly whilst Freddie is so young (and short) it won’t affect us too much. He (and Tom) are still relative newbies, so doing the shows is fine and many of the rides Freddie can’t do yet. Disney will do what Disney will do, and some of the meltdowns I’ve seen on those very sensible and level headed WDW Facebook groups over this is just another reason why I very rarely contribute to any of them.

This year is very much a bonus, we shouldn’t be going year, so I am going to try and be as sanguine as possible when the time comes to get our FastPasses. I will of course fail and be sat at my keyboard, with war paint on and wild eyes, hammering sandwich riddled keys whilst screaming about how shit the My Disney Experience web site is as it crashes for the seventh time that morning and it’s only ten past seven……

Sorry, I just had a flashback to last year…..

If we can get on some stuff, and maybe benefit from the DHS crowds by bagging Pandora related rides, which we couldn’t last year, then all will be well. What will be will be……well, I almost believed that myself.

So 49 days till FastPass fun and games. I’m at the stage where I’m looking for ways to make the holiday seem closer than it is. For example, there are only two more pay days until we leave. See, it’s sooooo close.

In less frivolous news, Louise endured a trip to A&E during last week. The pain levels she was experiencing led to suspicion of a stone of some variety. X-rays, prodding and tests of all her liquids over many hours seemed to rule that out and a follow up visit to out patients a couple of days later confirmed that. As welcome as that news was it didn’t really explain the root cause, but she’s slowly getting better, and should be back at work tomorrow.

She is of course now on trial, having to prove her fitness to travel to Florida without the need to visit our friends at Centracare. As much as our Platinum reward card comes in handy, its to be avoided if we can.

Till the next time……

Freddie, Football and Fatigue

This will be rushed and make less sense than usual. I know that sounds like a challenge but I am on Freddie duties this weekend so my typing time is restricted. Louise is out working so he has been entrusted to me and me alone. My parenting memory muscles are being tested along with my stamina.

Supervising little humans is literally a full time role as this weekend has reminded me. The fact that I did my step target yesterday without leaving the house other than a walk to the local shop demonstrates the physical exertions of making sure he hasn’t got his fingers in something he shouldn’t.

He’s been good though, as he always is. He is ever pleasant, tantrum free ( so far) and a joy to be around. There’s a reason I had kids in my twenties though. I had more energy then!

I have of course fulfilled my duties as Grandparent to spoil him and feed him stuff his Mum and Dad might not. Here he is enjoying his Scooby Do gingerbread biscuit.

It has been a manic week all round. Work has been a million mile an hour maelstrom full of pressure, problem and pricks and then I was out gigging on Friday night over in Bispham, which meant a very late night, followed by an early start on Saturday as Freddie duties commenced.

Louise arrived home just after six, giving me just enough time to walk the dogs before settling in for the football. Now, typically I avoid blogging about a few things that I feel strongly about and football is one of them. The easiest way to stop either of my readers from turning up each week would be to wang on about my favourite team. Same goes for Brexit.

You probably know that I support Liverpool so last night was kind of a big deal. It’s been a terrific season but the thought of ending it with nothing tangible to show was not a good one and I was, as I always am before big games, anxious, edgy and knowing I wouldn’t actually enjoy the game itself until the result was beyond doubt.

The game itself was awful, and with Liverpool holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first minute, the game was on a knife edge for the next 86 minutes and it was not an enjoyable experience. Then, in the 87th minute a second goal brought sweet relief and a grown man to his feet in the living room, shaking his fists at the TV. If you get football, that won’t sound tragic but if you don’t then of course it will and I don’t mind either way. It’s best I don’t tell you about how emotional I got at the final whistle. It cannot be explained if it needs explaining to you.

If you have no idea what the game was, just know that winning the European Cup for the 6th time is a big deal and the pleasure almost equalled the relief felt as the cup was hoisted aloft by the players.

I retired to bed just before midnight preparing myself for day two of Freddie fun. He’s currently crawling through his pop up tunnel thing on our living room floor. It isn’t clear it is a floor at the moment as it cannot be seen for toys. If it ever stops raining we shall head out to the park for some swing action but the forecast does not look great.

This evening will be spent relaxing for sure, readying myself for another five days of mayhem at work. A casual glance at my diary for the week confirms it is chock full of meetings I don’t want to go to, people I don’t want to deal with and more work than I know can be fit into the amount of time available. It pays for the holidays I suppose.

OK, I have to go and see what Freddie has been doing outside on the road for the last half an hour. That’s a joke Rebecca!

Till the next time…..