The Winners in the World

Thanks to everyone who has already read my latest article for The Dis. My Country Needs Me is all about the UK pavilion in Epcot, so if you haven’t yet please do have a look. Having only recently done so myself, I would also recommend liking their Facebook page as all the latest news is there for you plus of course some very talented contributors!

I never truly understood the scale of the Dis to be honest, but if these figures are true, and I don’t see how they can be, surely I am pretty much famous now? I think they represent the whole section rather than just my little post!

dis shares

Having waved January off with two fingers, February is upon us, and we chalk off one more month on our countdowns. I use the plural as the three I have in mind are, (in chronological order) Louise starting work, Emily going to WDW for her year and then of course our trip starting in August. Wedged in the midst of all of those is Rebecca’s 18th birthday. Rebecca’s countdown to that started just after she turned five I think. She’s excited. Not that we have a great deal planned for it. Her trip to WDW is most of her present, as it was for Emily, although with May and August being so far apart it is not ideal and I’m sure we’ll do what we can to make the actual day as special as possible.

Anyway, following on from last week’s post, where I listed stuff I have never done in WDW, it would appear that these list things are quite popular blog wise as I had a good few comments, and most of you buggers read and run every single week!

So, on the theme of my Dis post above, where I whinge about the UK pavilion being a bit short on stuff to entice us in, it got me thinking about my favourite pavilions in the World Showcase, so here (imagine Fluff Freeman music at this point) are my top five….

5. Norway. This one gets points for effort as it has a ride, and probably the most intense one in the whole showcase, which I know isn’t saying much. It has a bakery which always scores well with me and the pavilion tends to be staffed by young female blondes who have no choice but to be nice to me. What’s not to like?

4. Mexico.  This pavilion scores very highly for theming. The night-time all the time interior is excellently done and no holiday is complete without shaking my maracas in public and the trying on of a big hat. The restaurant is also one our favourites in the World Showcase with the candlelit tables and moonlit backdrop doing a great job of replicating al fresco dining. Mexico would have been more of a contender for top spot had they not changed the fabulously kitsch 70’s film on the boat ride for the Donald Duck thing that is there now.

3. China. The food here of course has an influence as I love a Chinese, although the restaurant here isn’t the best example in the world. The counter service option is superb though and we’ve over ordered and over eaten there several times. I mark this one highly for the entertainment value. The frequent shows from the acrobats both amaze and shame me, as I wonder how two bodies, built basically the same way can be so different. These acrobats can perform feats that I would get inured just watching. As much as I do not like too much shopping, the shop here is always worth a good look around as it always has interesting items to browse and not buy.

2. America. Size isn’t everything but the scale of the place is impressive. However, my appreciation for this pavilion is based upon the unbelievably good Voices of Liberty. The soprano regularly communicates with dolphins with her high notes and when they start singing the patriotic American songs I want to invade a small country under the star spangled banner.

1. Canada. The song alone wins it for me. As you know I am likely to be in tears at the opening bars. If I were actually Canadian I don’t think I could cope with listening to it all the way through such is the effect it has on me. Add to that of course the excellently humorous film with Martin Short and one of the better eateries on property, and you have a clear winner.

My affection for the World Showcase is of course evident from all the birthdays I have spent there, and no doubt my top five will change based upon our next set of experiences in the summer, but those are my current favourites.

You may have noticed that I am trying to block out the reality of these cold winter times with thoughts and blogs about sunnier places and happy travels. Next week, as I did this, I have less happy travels down the wintry motorways to Head Office. As I scrape the ice from the windscreen at 5am on Tuesday, I shall be humming O Canada and closing my eyes hopeful that when I open them I will be stood in shorts and T Shirt in the ultimate happy place. I’m sure that will work!

Till the next time……

So You Want to Work for the Mouse?

This week, I was asked by a Dibber, if Emily would mind giving some advice to their daughter, as she was hoping to apply for the Cultural Representative Programme, as Emily has. Of course, she was happy to help, as it wasn’t long ago that she was doing the same, asking those who had been down that road for similar tips, hoping to get an advantage in what is a very competitive process.

I’m not sure what Emily advised, but my biggest learning from going through the process with her, is that the thing you need most of is patience, and lots of it. This is not something with a quick turnaround. I sort of understand why, as they literally have to travel and scour the globe to find suitable folks for each pavilion, do endless admin and allocate those they want to a suitable role.

Having said all of that, it takes too long, and I’m sure many of the 45 people who attended that face to face interview with Emily in London last March have since had to drop out, move on and give up. Yes, it has been six months since Emily attended her final face to face interview, and there haven’t been very many days in that time when we haven’t thought or talked about it. When things drag on like that, you start to wonder if it will ever happen.

Sometimes though, good things come to those who wait.

Disney email

We have a Cast Member in the family!

Yes, Emily’s date has come through, and she if off to work in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on the 7th of April 2015. We are delighted, proud, relieved, and of course dreading her leaving us for a year too. Knowing every detail of the arduous application and interview process inside out, I am so proud of Emily for getting through and being offered the job.

She has wanted this for many, many years, but deep down I think we all thought that the fact that she isn’t naturally one of life’s extroverts might stop her realising her dream. Seeing how she carried herself and how driven she was during the process, her success is all the sweeter. We have now already started the many and varied admin tasks required, with much form filling, plans to make, flights to find and excitement to enjoy. There’s a Visa to get too, which will mean another trip to London no doubt and room mates to find. This process is not one for the fickle and fainthearted. It requires dedication, patience, tenacity and as a certain Michael Bolton once said the ability to Go The Distance!

As you probably know it doesn’t take much for me burst with pride at anything Emily or Rebecca do. The fact that I produced them is and always will be the proudest achievement of my life, but when they do stuff like this, it is on a whole new level. I can’t over egg the effort and the journey outside of Emily’s comfort zone this has required.

Of course, we may, yes, may have to plan a trip to visit her during her year too. I’m sure there are some Cast Member discounts we can look into!

She will be working in the UK pavilion, in quick service food and beverage, which translates to the fish and chip place we assume, although it does say she will be asked to undertake a wide variety of roles. This doesn’t seem real to me yet, so who knows how Emily is dealing with all of this. I’m sure she’ll be blogging again very soon, now she has this news. There wasn’t a great deal of point in her blogging regularly about waiting for her date. We were all pensive enough without her having to write about it.

For any of you that are connected with Emily on Twitter and Facebook, can I ask that if you contact her, you do so discretely, via DM or Messenger. She has people from her current job on both, and of course, she’d rather they did not know about this just yet. Your discretion is appreciated!

So she has 190 days at home with us before her adventure begins and of course we need to make the most of those. She’s probably started packing, and who can blame her!

Till the next time…..

That Book What I Wrote

What is this madness?  A blog from me on a Saturday?  Crazy I know, but these are not normal times we live in.  For a start, it feels like a Sunday due to the Goodness of the Friday I just had.

What is the reason for this earth shattering deviation from the comforting grip of routine and normality?  Well, I’ll tell you.

Some weeks ago, I undertook a detailed and extensive teaser marketing campaign, as I said…

“As some sort of teaser marketing campaign, I shall …..erm…tease you by letting you know that I am working on a “secret project” at the moment and at some point soon I may reveal it to you.  As an added bonus one or two of you might even give a toss.”

All none of you picked up on this, and I was inundated with absolutely no enquiries as to what I was up to.  As teaser marketing campaigns go, it may not have been the most successful in the history of advertising.

Weighed down by the massive sense of expectation this campaign created, I have been working hard on this project, and can now reveal all to you.

As I said at the time, sadly it is not the annual booking of our holiday.  If it were that would be the least surprising reveal since Duncan from Blue announced he was gay.  It is holiday related, and is in fact the news that I am now a published author!

That sounds grander than it actually is, as frankly anyone can be a published author as long as you can figure out the labyrinth of complexity involved in Amazon’s self publishing programme.  But still, published I is.

So it is with great pleasure that I can reveal to you all my first (and probably only) book, Mkingdon’s Tales of Family, Food and Florida.

Book Image

Mkingdon’s Tales of Family, Food and Florida

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to fund our next trip with the sales of this book.  Believe me, once Amazon and the tax man have had their share I would need the population of China to buy a couple each to be able to fund more than the taxi to the airport!

It is more that I have been meaning to do this for a while now, mainly to preserve them forever on somewhere other than a certain Disney forum.  Who knows when that might blow up or self-destruct in a fire-ball of reclining seats, tipping and right-wing views?  If it did, all the work I had put into these would be lost and I couldn’t have that.  I spend less and less time on there now, so felt that I needed to reclaim them for myself, and of course if I sell a couple (I have already bought one copy, so just one more sale to reach my target) at the same time then that would of course be lovely.

It’s a big book, and should represent decent value for the (random) price. (Amazon’s pricing engine is slightly more complex than space travel).  With ten year’s worth of holidays in it, the page count is as impressive as the photo quality isn’t.  Amazon’s file size restrictions mean they have to be a thumbnail of a thumbnail!

Some of the grammar and spelling will not win any awards.  I have tidied them up a little, but you will still find typos and the like, but hey, that all adds to the charm, doesn’t it??

So, please tell your friends, and even your enemies that such a thing exists, and if any of you are kind enough to invest in a copy, that in itself would be incredible, but should you even enjoy it, then that is what the review system is for on Amazon so don’t be shy to add one!

So there we go, I finally got my arse in gear and created a book from stuff what I wrote.  Enjoy!  We all enjoyed making the holidays that are in it.

Till the next time….

The Disney Do is Done.

So it’s only taken the two months, but yesterday saw the 2012 trip report finally put to bed.  During those two months, it has at times felt like a millstone around my neck.  With the new job and new house it has had to take its place behind those two things.  However, literally as I put the last full stop on the last sentence, it made me a little sad.

As ever finishing these reports absolutely puts the holiday to bed, and that is sad of course.  Naturally a holiday forever sits in our memories adding interest to our nostalgia assets for years to come, and it does seem that a holiday just had can take a few months or years to be fully appreciated.

As well as those thoughts, I of course always regret having dashed several days off in a hurry, and wish I could go back and do them again without time being against me.

I mentioned in the final thoughts of the final day that this trip report may be the last one, and I’m sure that was greeted with scorn and derision, as of course for a decade now we’ve not been going next year.  This year’s threat seems to be the closest I can remember to becoming a reality though.  Even with unlimited funds I highly doubt Louise could be tempted to do another WDW based trip.

I agree to a certain extent.  Naturally should someone shove four plane tickets in my hand and point me in a Trans-Atlantic direction I would gladly go and do WDW all over again.  However, we are being drawn to other spots in the US.  Should we be blessed with a lottery win I would whisk the family away on a Stephen Fry style tour of all the states, taking in the diverse nature of the various parts of the US.

Back in reality I suspect as and when funds become available we’ll do the West Coast thing next.  So expect that trip report any time in the next decade.

Away from holidays and their associated reports I have been unable to avoid DIY this weekend.  Parts of the kitchen need decorating.  The previous residents had an unhealthy obsession with sauna style wood panelling, and I am attempting to turn it white.  Two coats in, plus the assistance of my Dad and there is still no real sign of an end game.

The decorating is an evil necessity as we are to host the family for Christmas this year.  So that totals twelve folks.  Louise made this kind and generous offer at the wrong end of a bottle of red, and despite the fact we can seat six for dinner at a push with some emergency chairs, twelve it is.  Add in a four stone sheep dog and our house should be an adventure come the big day!

Once I have finished painting the sponge like walls there is also some wallpapering to do, and the dreaded glossing.

On a different note you may remember me bemoaning a journey home from Marlow on a Friday afternoon?  You may also recall me swearing an oath never to leave myself in that situation again?

So on Friday I had to drive home from Marlow.  It was pretty much unavoidable.  I left a little earlier but it did little to ease the pain.  The M6 was gruesome and the M40 joined in too, not wanting to be left out.  I crawled out of the car some five or so hours later, defeated by some bitumen or should that be bitch-umen.

I will make no similar vow that such a thing won’t happen again, but I’ll try really hard not to make the mistake again, and if I do, definitely not to moan about it again here.

M6 toll

It certainly took it

I don’t think I’ve done a family update for a bit so you can have one.

Last week saw me attend Rebecca’s Parent’s Evening.  Despite the fact that appointments are booked every time, they are then systematically ignored by everyone, and it is just a case of grab a teacher your child recognises as soon as the seats at their desk become free.

She is doing OK.  She could pass the whole lot at GCSE, but the recurring theme is she needs to apply a little more effort.  I tried my best at motivational speaking as we walked home again afterwards.  I suspect it will have little effect as Rebecca was just too cold to listen to me.  This was because she didn’t listen to me earlier when I told her she’d need her big coat on as it was really cold even though it is only a five-minute walk.  The trials of fatherhood.

She also has the distraction of her Tom.  If Tom tells her she needs a coat it would be accepted without question!  You can but advise and guide, as they don’t listen much anyway.

Emily is progressing well with her driving, being told by her instructor to concentrate on her theory now as she needs to get that sorted and passed as by that time she should be ready for her test.  It really does feel odd watching her drive off in a car for her lessons.  This week was the wonders of the roundabout.  After being extremely nervy to begin with she seems to have found her confidence now, and is enjoying her lessons.

In her spare time she has taken to sheep dog fancy dress!

Nurse Oli

Nurse Oli

Oli Bra

Roger Wilco!

Louise finished her first placement in a hospital on Friday much to her relief.  It has been hard work, fitting in shifts and coursework as well of course as the grueling work of a nurse on a hospital ward.  Some of the tales she tells of tubes, puss, vile body parts and in some cases viler patients confirm my conviction that I absolutely could not do that job.   She is back to the less intense University elements of her course now until January.

Onto the wider family, and my Dad is still wrestling with the insurance company over his non-holiday with us.  I am not one to suggest that these insurance companies use delaying tactics, but they have written back (by snail mail) half a dozen times to request extra and different snippets of information that they could have requested on the original claim form.  Some of their clients might just give it up as the effort is too big, but they are fighting a losing battle with my Dad.

His persistence is only equaled by his retired free time, so they may as well just write the cheque and have done with it.  We are also keeping him nice and busy with our DIY requirements.  He’s in the middle of a project to un-damp our cellar which should keep him going for the next few weeks!

Mum is doing better.  She’s had a couple of relapses into pain, but generally she’s doing OK.  She saw a consultant last week who seems to have settled on a  diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which was pretty much what we all thought before the dozens of tests and weeks of pain.  Anyway, she’s on the relevant medication now, and we’ll see how that goes.

So that’s it I think.  I had considered another vitriolic rant about the ways of the world, but thought better of it.  The ending of the last/latest trip report is worthy of a mention both in appreciation of the time and effort spent on it and as a nod of respect to what could be the last of its kind.  What do you mean you don’t believe me????

Till the next time…..

An Over Sentimental Sign Off

So dear readers this looks like the last blog before we embark on our latest American adventure.  This time next week, we shall be airborne over lots of water, full of barely edible food, anticipation and good spirits.

This will not be new news to you unless this is the first time you have stumbled this way.  Certainly if you have the misfortune to encounter any of my social media outpourings, then surely by now you will be sick to the back teeth of smug countdown tweets and over excited nonsense.

As most of you will know, the smaller the countdown gets, the slower time goes by.  The last month has been turgid, and now with just a week to go, it stretches out ahead of me like an endless runway of meh.

I don’t know if this is just us, but when we are deciding whether or not to book these holidays, we tend to tell lies to ourselves, such as, we won’t need to spend a fortune on holiday clothes, and we’ll just make do with that we have.

If I lived with three men, rather than three females then this may be doable. It would also be a weird type of family unit!  So over the last few days we have been ticking off the essentials of the items required for such a trip.

trainers

Blinded by the light

Of course for me this must mean the purchase of some trainers that can be seen from space.  I am complete.  Other than that though I shall be rocking the same holiday clothes that I have enjoyed for the past decade or so.  Why change a classic look?

We’ve done a couple of Trafford Centre trips to get the girls sorted with their staple items of denim shorts and T-shirts.  In my next life I am going to be a denim short seller…seriously how much????

Rebecca is so excited that she has more or less packed with a full week to go.

packed

A case of premature packing

Whilst I was taking that picture of Rebecca’s case in her room, I noticed some of the snaps she has on her shelves, and it brought home just how much history we have with these holidays, and what a massive part the place has played in our lives.  I can only imagine what that’s like for the girls as it is all they have known really.

I took some pictures of the pictures, so apologies for the quality.

pooh

A big Pooh

chip n dale

Who knows which is which?

This next one is (I think) one of the earliest we have, from 1999, when Rebecca was just two.

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I think I’d been drinking

We shall not be attempting a reconstruction of this photo this year!!

So many memories, and it is about this time in the countdown that I try to remind myself to enjoy every second.  Even the boring bits like the flight.  Who knows what memories we will make this time, and which of those will stick with us for the years to come.

Each year is different with the girls at different stages of course.  As young adults now, I look back on memories of them in the photos above with great fondness.  The strollers, the extortionate and endless Princess dresses we bought them, and their wide-eyed delight at every character encounter.

We’ve worked so hard for this trip in so many ways, and in equally as many ways we shouldn’t be going.  We booked in a rush of blood and crossed fingers, and events have done their best to conspire against us at every turn.

We have dodged every one as best we can, and still we sit here, seven days away from departure still able to go, and determined to have a bloody good time.  What happens when we get back….well we’ll deal with that then I suppose.  I’ve been working on something that may make those long winter months and credit card bills less depressing, but more of that some other time.

I had a thought earlier this weekend, caught up in the euphoria of Mo Farrah’s incredible race and second gold medal.  The country is currently experiencing some of the atmosphere and magic that us Disney idiots revel in.  The shared and overwhelming feelings created by an event like this, the massive crowds, the shared focal point of everyone’s attention and goodwill, is much of what the crowds leaving Magic Kingdom after Wishes will feel.  When you see photos of a line of Police doing the “Mobot” as the crowds leave is the equivalent of seeing the Cast Members waving you goodnight as you follow the crowds out towards the monorail.

Close your eyes, imagine the perfect heat of an Orlando night, the tiredness in your legs from a full day of touring, and that post Wishes lump in your throat as the perfect background music carries you on a cloud to your exit plan of choice.

Then, the endless twinkling magic of the resorts through windows as you speed past them on the monorail with *that* voice telling you what you know already about staying clear of the doors and which resort you are approaching.

These are a few of my favourite things.

I apologise for the cloying over sentimental tosh, but you will have to forgive me.  I am a week away from a trip, not knowing if it may be the last for some time, and I intend to eek every last drop from it, and then some.

Before that of course I have to endure every painful moment of five endless days at work.  It appears insurmountable from here, but I’m sure somehow it will pass.  Won’t it?

So from a blog perspective I shall see you on the other side, as I cannot imagine updating this whilst over there.  We probably will have a laptop with us, but I think the most I will muster is an odd tweet or Facebook update just to remind everyone where we are and where they aren’t.  It pleases me.

Now, I have to go and be over excited, over emotional and overweight somewhere else.  In this state, the Olympics closing ceremony may well have me in tears, but I suspect that will be for the wrong reasons when the Spice Girls take to the stage.  Watching them?  I won’t Wannabe!

Till the next time……

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take me out to the ball game.

There are times when writing down what is going on in the real world is simply not an option.  Having to live through it day to day, and then write it down of a weekend is just adding insult to considerable injury, so this week I am going to block out the real world from these ramblings and instead, do a random blog about something I do want to write about.

The premise upon which many of you come here each week is the ever loosening connection between this blog and Florida.  For most weeks of the year, it is hardly mentioned, and then most years, around springtime, we raid a symbolic piggy bank and book another trip, and for those few months, these pages are crammed to the rafters with my self satisfied smugness as I trot out all the things that we are planning to do.

I doff my blogging cap to those proper Disney/Florida bloggers who stay true to their original theme, at all times, and can write article after article that actually helps people plan a trip or at worst enjoy one vicariously.  So as I need to not write about last week, this blog will attempt to be a “proper Florida blog”.

Now, there are millions of Disney blogs, and with a casual glance at google I suspect there is not a piece of Disney property that has not been blogged to death.  With this in mind I have chosen my subject carefully, and I hope that it can therefore actually be useful to some readers, as it may be something they have never thought of doing, or didn’t know where to start.

When you’ve been a few times, you start to look outside the gates of Disney for other attractions and activities, especially if your partner threatens to confiscate your crown jewels if she has to watch Spectromagic again on the next trip.

With this as motivation, I can get quite creative.  Many folks who are multiple Florida visitors, first of all fall in love with the razzmatazz of Disney, but over time there comes a realisation that it isn’t only those forty odd square miles that hold you in their spell.  The magic extends, first to off property eateries, and other theme parks, and eventually to an admission that your love affair is with the atmosphere and excitement of the US itself.  Now I know that us visitors to Florida are not seeing the real America.  Still, my generation were raised on a staple diet of US TV shows that have engrained comforting stereotypes into our minds, so that when we encounter them for real, we are once again that eight year old boy sat in front of The Streets of San Francisco in his pyjamas, marvelling at the sheer scale of the country and Karl Malden’s nose.

One way we have discovered to unearth a little of the real America, is to attend a baseball game.  We have not yet attended a major league affair, preferring instead to get closer to the action with a minor league game.

With a non sport friendly wife, and two teenage girls who would rather eat their own earwax than watch sport on TV, I must admit, my main driver for selecting a minor league game over major was that the cost per ticket was $7 each rather than something like $50.  Should they get bored after the first innings then I would have no issue in abandoning the event without having to sulk for the rest of the holiday.

However, I am very happy with that choice as the atmosphere, and family involvement is excellent, and we have had an absolute ball (pardon that pun) on every occasion.

On our first visit we chose the Daytona Cubs as our team.  Admittedly this was driven by our location, as we were spending a couple of days by pool and sea at Daytona, but the choice was a good one.

If you want to see which team suits your location, then The Official Site of Minor League Baseball is the place to go.  Here you can see all the teams, their schedules and book tickets.

We arrived early on game night, and were welcomed despite our accents and lack of baseball knowledge like one of the locals.  We noticed right away that these games were a big community event.  Everyone seemed to know each other, and we soaked up the pre-game build up eagerly, looking out onto the empty diamond.

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The players began to warm up, the girls picked out which ones were “fit”, and I suddenly realised how ridiculously fast they threw that ball!

What became apparent very quickly was that the ball game itself was almost a side-show to the endless flow of entertainment and games laid on to keep everyone happy.  You will know that US sports all take at least seventeen hours to complete, and all the breaks in play were used expertly with games of all sorts.

There was a burrito eating competition.  If only I had known beforehand, I could have claimed glory for the UK!

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At times the game itself broke out, and we all enjoyed that too, with my rudimentary run down of the rules being enough for the women folk to take an interest.

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Every end of innings brought ever more creative games onto the field, with the most surreal being three Dads having to catapult sponges at the floodlights whilst watched by two girls from Hooters.  The Premier League have much to learn.

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With a couple of beers from a passing vendor, and every food stuff you can shake a stick at on sale, you want for nothing.  The atmosphere is friendly and fun, and the result of the game pretty irrelevant from what we could see.

Towards the end of the evening, all the kids gather at one end of the field, and then when given the signal they “run the bases”.  This looked like great fun but I fear I just missed the age cut off.

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The evening went on for hours, with more and more fun as it went.  With us needing to drive back to Orlando, and a touch of raining coming in we decided to leave as the game went into extra time tied at…well, I have no idea what the score was, but we were all smiling as we left.

I remember that drive home being one of the worst experience of my life, as torrential rain and pitch black roads made for a tense hour and a bit.  I think I went the whole journey without blinking or talking.

So if you have a spare evening in your plans and want to sample just a little of the life outside of the sterilised walls of the theme parks then I would heartily endorse a night at the ball game.  However, one word of warning.  On our second visit, to a different team, the following year I bought myself a pretzel.  If they ask if you want it with salt say no.  There was an inch think layer of the stuff all over it, and I was thirsty for about three weeks afterwards.

Other than that, enjoy the game!

Till the next time…..

Sunshine, Lollipops and a Westlife!

This week has been full of shit.  Pardon my French, but this statement is true in more than one way.

There comes a time when you get past annoyance, self-pity and a persecution complex and just resign yourself to being on the wrong end of life’s stick with brown stuff on it.  Of course, my trials and tribulations are just normal day-to-day ones, and as ever I doff my virtual cap to those folk facing real problems in life.

So the week started with bad news on the house move front, which to cut a long story short simply cost us a load of money we were not expecting.  Whilst a body blow, I suppose you always have to expect these things, and it will make life tougher for a while.  I entered into an enormous sulk at this point as this is clearly what sensible mature chaps of my age should do in these circumstances.

As punishment that very evening I was stricken with an illness of a magnitude to match my immaturity.  At around 4am on Wednesday morning I was awoken by a rebellion in my body.  I then spent the next several hours doing my best to evacuate said rebellion from all and any orifice through which liquids could pass.

My body’s ability to surprise me in this regard is endless.  Even in the strongest of wretches or strains at some level I was impressed with my body’s ability to expel something that it didn’t want in it.

Wednesday was therefore a complete write off.  I should have been in Newcastle that day and the next, but I was just as likely to make it to the moon in the state I was in.  Louise was concerned enough to phone the doctor, and I was even more concerned to hear that he would be coming out to see me, which immediately made me think my condition was a lot worse than even I thought!

He prodded a bit, from a distance, whilst telling me he’d seen an outbreak of these cases recently, and that I should live through it.  With a couple of prescriptions left behind he made his exit and I continued to be a passenger to my body’s own exit strategy.

I spent Thursday at home too, having stopped ejecting stuff, but still unable to take anything more than water in either.

The days following have been interesting.  I have mainly eaten toast, fearful of incurring the wrath of my innards again, and maybe this has led to a complete reversal of fortune in the bodily functions department.  That issue persists, and although I have lost a pound or two, I suspect when that event comes to pass I may set a new Weightwatchers record for weight loss in one week.  The need to “evacuate” is getting to a worrying point, and I am in desperate need of a Westlife, maybe even a Westlife and a half.   If you don’t know what a Westlife is, well, all I will say is “four stools”.

westlife stools

I need a Westlife like you wouldn’t believe

Hmm, that was a much more detailed a description of this week than I had anticipated.

So back at work on Friday still not feeling terrific, Louise called me with the great news that I had a speeding ticket, from my last visit to Newcastle.  Great, another £60 down the swanny.  However, the Gods diddled on my chips a little more when I got home to read that in fact I had two fines…four minutes apart.  Having taken a wrong turn, I had obviously been zapped going the wrong way, and then again four minutes later going back the right way!  Both times I was eight miles an hour over the limit.  How the plods must have chuckled.

At this point the only choice was to accept my fate, and resign myself to a spiritual shafting.  This isn’t like me at all.  I have a highly polished persecution complex, but I think it was just the fact that I could not comprehend all this crap at once, and have this weekend, been relatively sanguine about things.  The alternative was that at some point over the weekend I’d be stepping over dead bodies loading a fresh clip.  The fact that I have no idea how to load a clip was probably instrumental then!

Louise may tell you that I have had my moments though.  Since selling the house, we have all been holding our collective breath that the house would stop breaking, and that it would remain standing until we complete.  Don’t get me wrong, it is structurally fine, but the little things inside it seem to be on a mission to self destruct.  We have had wooden trim come loose in the hall, and the upstairs shower came close to blowing up earlier today.  Just a few more weeks house, that’s all I ask!

I do claim a small victory in one event this weekend.  Randomly my key fob for the car stopped working for no reason this week.  To get a dealer to fix that, and empty my empty ashtrays was looking like the wrong side of £100.  However, armed with a new £1 battery, and google, I have successfully reprogrammed the bugger, and my jump in the air with full fist punch on the drive may have raised an eyebrow or two in the neighbourhood.  I take my wins where I can.

To redress that balance, Emily is trying to print off her Photography coursework at the moment, and the printer and computer, who are obviously friends with the upstairs shower are playing up like you wouldn’t believe.  I dislike computers a lot.

To distract myself from these horrors, I spent a little bit of Friday evening on some holiday planning.  It may not surprise you to know that the focus was on eating.  It dawned on me that we always eat at the same places, and whilst we still will do our favourites, I felt it was time to look for fresh fields.  A bit of Dibbage with a sprinkle of Google led me to a couple of places that we will try.

orlando ale house

You’d better stock up!

Mannys seems to be a popular choice of lots of folk, so that is on “the planner” and having salivated all over my laptop at their menu, the Orlando Ale House is another that I have decreed that we shall try.  The amount of pleasure taken from this planning activity is abnormally high, but there you go.

As Louise often tells me, I just need to “deal with stuff” so that is what I am doing.  Hopefully, if there are swings and roundabouts the coming weeks will bring a few ups, and I don’t mean the contents of my stomach.  Until then I am googling how to load that fresh clip.

Till the next time…..