To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Seven April 17th 2017

After all that partying last night and staying up till all hours, understandably we slept in until 9am. I bet you weren’t expecting this rock and roll lifestyle were you?

We all breakfasted in line with our individual desires. My desires were cereal. Yes that’s odd but it’s my business OK? With that done and some clothes added to my silky frame I of course set out for the supermarket with Louise and Mum. Where else?

I stocked up again, bought sandwiches for lunch on the beach (this routine may get overly familiar to you by the time we leave Siesta Key) and paid another piece of their mortgage off.

Louise had no interest in sandwiches, hoagies and snacks. Her attendance was for an ulterior motive. Her so far Frodo like quest for bathing costumes had been fruitless (yes I know we are in Florida, where people attend formal events in a bikini, but none of the four and half thousand we had so far seen had been right) so we now had to visit some of the beach shops to continue the quest.

The one directly across from the supermarket  was huge.

In fact, it was three shops knocked into one. I suspect it was owned by the same people as the supermarket and they had extended purely on our spend with them so far.

Louise looked at stuff and I loitered uncomfortably trying not to look at the thongs and bikini tops. Bored of that I wandered deeper into the shop away from the “women’s things” to more general beach equipment. I bought a beach chair (the house only had four) another umbrella for more shade as we had all of course burnt ourselves yesterday, three beach towels and two wicker mats for the lying upon.

All of that still came nowhere near to the amount Louise spent on two swimsuits. As I paid, in a state of shock, it crossed my mind that I bought my swimming gear sometime around 1989 and in today’s money it would have cost about £5. Sure all the netting inside has perished and they can be a little snug, but there aren’t many pairs of shorts I can buy that wouldn’t be, if you know what I mean!!

We left with the shop owners high-fiving each other and headed back to the house. After a lie down and launching a Go Fund Me page for the rest of the trip, we wandered over to the beach at around 11am. It was less windy today which was ironic as we were all covered up to protect our salmon pink flesh from the raging sun and a bit of breeze would have been very welcome.

You may have missed the news that Dad recently launched his own rap band, MC Denture and the Liver Spots.

Staying in the shade today was everyone’s sole focus and any part of the body found outside of the shade’s protection soon reacted like those vampires in the Twilight films.

I had popped back to the house around 12.30 to pick up the food for lunch.

It may sound hard to believe but I could not finish my sandwich. It was huge. Here’s a picture of huge amounts of meat between my legs.

Of course that didn’t stop me putting away almost a full packet of crisps/chips. One of the major benefits of being an alleged grown up is that I don’t need to finish my sandwich to be allowed to eat the other more interesting snacky stuff.

On a beach the size of a small country, I did find it ironic that we somehow found ourselves within ear shot of the biggest bore in the US. Not only did this group have the ignorance to play music all day, inflicting all sorts of youngster noise upon us, but the one chap who had assumed the role of preacher for the day, spoke literally non-stop, about his favourite subject….himself.

My God he could talk. Dad pondered if he ever took a breath as we entered hour two of his anecdotal diarrhea. Topics included films he had seen and his vital thoughts on each of them and every scene within it, himself, how he spent time in jail before turning his life around, himself, sports, himself, what his companions should do with their lives, education, homes, families, diets oh and yes he talked about himself.

It got to the stage where Dad declared he was going into the sea to drown himself. Before doing so, he did pop over to our friend to ask his advice on the best way to do it.

Emily and Mum took evasive action by late afternoon and went back to the house. Their burnt skin was also a factor in that decision. Louise, Dad and I stayed until 4.30ish before striking camp and heading back too. As we had enough gear to attempt an assault on Mount Everest, the walk back, in silly heat and very soft sand proved to be a struggle. I’m sure you all feel sorry for us!

Showers, after sun and readying took until 6.30 when we set off for…

It was about a half hour drive to the Mall at University Town Center. We parked up and entered to be told of a forty minute wait for a table. We hunkered down for that but only ten minutes later we were called. Apparently someone hadn’t turned up for their reservation and we could have their table. You see, good things happen to us in this country!

We were shown to a lovely booth and began the task of working through the enormous menu. The choice was bamboozling. We declined appetisers as of course we were all aiming for dessert here.

Long Island Ice Teas were ordered for Louise and Emily…

and we ordered…

Me – Steak Tacos

Louise and Emily – Four Cheese Pasta with Chicken

Dad – Chicken Shrimp and Pineapple

Mum – Club Sandwich

All of the above was lovely. However, with all of that nonsense out of the way we could move on to the real reason we were here.  CHEESECAKE……

The choice of cheesecake is, as you might expect, vast. We spent an age looking but as our server returned to take our orders, I still hadn’t settled on what may have been the biggest decision of the trip. In a mild panic, I spat out the name of a cheesecake, with no idea if that was really what I wanted….

It was a Snickers Cheesecake…

Emily and Louise – Banana Cream Cheesecake

Dad had ice cream and Mum had Strawberries. As neither of those were cheesecake, I deemed them unworthy of a photo.

I know that I have said that I have been full previously on this trip so far, and perhaps only with the exception of the Hash House a Go Go extravaganza, this was the fullest I had been. I did force every last crumb of the cheesecake down though. It was a matter of principle.

The bill was $200 including a good tip.

The drive home through a sugar coma felt quicker than the drive there which was welcome as all anyone wanted were looser clothes and bed. The latter happened at 10pm. Yes another late night hedonistic extravaganza.

Till the next time…..

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To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Six April 16th 2017

It can be hard to find the amount of time I’d like to dedicate to writing these things. Considering I have to fit it into the seven free minutes I have each week, the quality of them is just about acceptable but about 50% of what I aspire to. Anyway, over the next few weeks as I cover our time at Siesta Key, I will have an ingenious time-saving plan. I can simply copy and paste the day I’m about to write over and over as we did pretty much the same thing for a week. Stand by for a lot of pictures of sand and blue skies with some food towards the end of each day!

For those who have lost track or didn’t care, today was Sunday. We were to spend it worshiping Louise’s favourite deity, the sun.

We woke up naturally at 8.20 and took a leisurely shower. I suggested that tomorrow we try it one at a time. Breakfast was a very un-Hash House like bagel and a cup of coffee. I was worried that I may waste away to nothing on such meager rations. It had almost been twelve hours since we last visited the supermarket, so that was the first stop of the day for beach essentials. That consisted of lunch in the form of sandwiches and snacks and some tackle for the enjoying of the beach such as lilos and umbrellas. Americans seem allergic to shade but us pasty Brits need all the protection we can get from the merciless sun.

I watched some football on the TV upon returning home until everyone was ready . See how I have learned not to pester folks to be out of the door early every day of the holiday!

We wandered over the road and found a suitable spot on a very spacious and idyllic looking beach. The first job was to blow stuff up.

Twenty minutes, and a couple of cardiac arrests and blackouts later, things were of a suitable size and girth. The fact that nobody used the bloody things for the whole week was hilarious.

Siesta Key beach is as lovely as its awards and reputation suggest.

Our rented house was at the beginning of those tracks in the sand you can see in the picture below.

Over the years Louise has done her best to sample all of life’s ailments, diseases and injuries in the US. I think it is some sort of crusade or comparison to prove the UK’s NHS is better than the US alternative. I have documented all of these, some in more graphic detail than I should. I think we all remember the Vagisil escapade some years ago?

Well, this year I think she has surpassed all previous efforts. She had burnt boobs. This was not as you may assume a result of getting her baps out in the sun around the pool at the Royal Pacific. No, that’s how I burned my boobs. Instead, it was all down to one more example of the very strange things ladies do in the name of fashion. To allow her to wear certain outfits without the support of a bra she had used some nipple covers. Now, men I hear you. What the f*** are nipple covers? They were news to me, but they are a thing.

I always thought they were for the exclusive purpose of preventing breast-feeding mothers from having permanent wet patches. When the girls were very young it wasn’t too uncommon for me to wake up with said nipple cover attached to some part of my body. That’s all part of the magical parental journey.

Now, I have discovered that to prevent “chapel hat pegs” when wearing certain kinds of dresses, these posh elastoplasts are used to keep the bad boys at bay.

Somehow, these had caused some very serious damage to Louise’s puppies and as much as I am making light of this, they looked bloody sore and no fun at all. With this in mind the next few days were a struggle for her to find comfy sunbathing positions or indeed to wear clothes that actually touched the damaged area which drew a few funny looks I can confirm!

Traditionally at this point, Dad will apply a reservoir of factor 50 and then immediately wash it all off in the sea. Today was no different.

We all rested, read and other things beginning with R. It wasn’t too long until lunchtime rolled around and I wandered back to the house to pick up the stuff we’d bought earlier from the fridge. Ryan, on his first outing of the holiday earned his stripes carrying it all back to the beach.

We had pre-made sandwiches which were, as you might expect, huge. As I had been in charge of choosing lunch there was also a good amount of snacky crap, such as huge bags of chips (crisps) and some chocolate brownie things that I can still taste today. I got some beers too and Dad went crazy having about four which is probably more than he drinks the rest of the year!

The afternoon passed without much else to report. We rested and read some more, and as Louise had thrown one seagull a Dorito, our section of the beach looked like a scene from a Hitchcock film.

You can clearly see some lovely birds in that last photo!

That was the ONLY time one of those bloody lilos was used. Literally a waste of breath!

After a tough day of this sort of thing we started to drift back to the house in phases from around 4pm. Showers and readying began. Being our first night we weren’t sure how or where to get the plethora of free transport options to the village so I played safe and ordered an Uber. It took twenty minutes to get to us and about three minutes to take us to our destination. That was Ocean Boulevard, the road that runs through Siesta Key Village and includes many shops, bars and restaurants. Thankfully it now looked a lot less like Magaluf and much more like the sleepy, relaxed location I had researched all those months ago.

We wandered for a bit and ended up choosing The Hub.

With a twenty-minute wait for a table we took to the bar and I had my first beer of the trip.

The ladies had cocktails, apart from Emily who had left her ID at the house and Dad another beer.  Here’s Emily looking very pleased with her Coke.

We were seated and then served by Jazz who I can best describe, in Louis Walsh style as reminding me of a young K D Lang. As the vast amounts of food we were about to order wouldn’t be enough Jazz persuaded us to get some chips and salsa to gorge on whilst we looked at the menu.

We ordered –

Nachos for Lousie and Emily, who clearly thought the chips and salsa were not sufficient.

Me – Ribs

Mum – Chicken Tacos

Dad – Steak & Shrimp

Emily & Louise – Chicken Burrito

Half way through the meal Dad felt very rough and had to escape to the loo. He waited outside for us whilst we finished and I ate his steak. We put it down to too much beer, rich food and sun and he laid off the beer for the rest of the trip and felt a whole lot better for it. If you don’t drink a lot, suddenly drinking can be hazardous.

The bill was $130 plus tip and the food was excellent. We rounded off the night with yet another visit to the supermarket. Dad bought a huge corkscrew for the bottom of his umbrella. This was to bury it deeper into the sand. The beach had been quite breezy today, which was very welcome in the blazing sun, but it did cause some umbrella carnage from time to time.

We of course had to buy some sun screen as the one we had brought with us and used hardly any of was no longer suitable for reasons I can’t explain and we also got some aloe vera for our burnt bits and Louise’s toasty nipples. I think they were a band in the seventies?

We caught the free bus that was parked up outside as we left and we got off a stop early as it was pitch black and we couldn’t tell where we were in the dark. Bed was found at a hedonistic 10pm.

Till the next time…..

 

To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Three April 13th 2017

Holidays are fun. Holidays are relaxing. It’s a chance to unwind, chill out and put the stress, strains and worries of every day life behind you. There’s no need to be getting up at silly times to get to work, it’s a time to do what you want, when you want.

So….I’d set my alarm for 6.30am as we needed to be out early to make the most of the extra hour for onsite guests. After making my contribution to the chocolate hostage release programme, amazingly we were out before 8am. It turned out that we should have set the alarm for about 4.30am as I shall now explain.

We walked to Universal rather than take the water taxi as again it was very busy.

On site guests are able to enter the parks from 8am. The Potter stuff is the only thing open at this time so this creates a stampede to that end of the park and despite a commendable power walking effort from all three of us, as we entered Diagon Alley on our way to Gringott’s, the queue for that was already at the brick wall. Yep, the wall that is the actual entrance to Diagon Alley…at 8.20am. There was no chance of us enduring that.

For me, this is one of the main reasons that we won’t be rushing back to Universal anytime soon. Aside from the fact that future trips are likely to include a small human (if you don’t know why then read this) for whom a lot of the rides won’t be suitable, the premium you pay for onsite perks didn’t feel like value for money for us this time to be honest. I found this bottle neck of onsite guests at the one open ride for the extra hour a bit silly. The fact that Potter rides are not eligible for the Express passes, and that only those are open for the extra hour makes the whole thing a bit of a waste of time really. Rides like Minions have a half hour queue even with Express and generally, we found it hard to fill a full day in one of the parks, whereas twelve hours in a Disney park seems like we’re still missing things. It may have just been a symptom of Mum & Dad not having Express but I’m not sure that was the whole reason. I shall no doubt wax lyrical further into this report when we arrive in WDW about feeling at home and all that…so it may just be that Universal is not Disney and you can’t blame it for that.

Anyway, I shall no doubt return to this theme at the end of the report….something for you all to look forward to I’m sure.

So we retreated to Starbucks and joined a queue that was only a little shorter than the one for Gringotts and got some breakfast. I don’t often visit Starbucks I’ll be honest so I never know what to order. The menu is more complex than theoretical physics, so during this trip I adopted the strategy of just having whatever Emily ordered. I can’t tell you now what I had to drink, but it was nice, had something call soy in it, which I’ve only ever put on my Chinese take away previously and it had ice in it. It was lovely. I also had a sandwich, or at least a miniature version of one.

Whilst breakfasting I had employed glorious multi-tasking skills to book a time for the new Fallon ride. By the time we’d finished eating it was time to do that.

This new “reserve a time” thing is, in my worthless opinion, the future of rides in theme parks. Having seen a few vlogs about the pre-ride waiting experience for Fallon (and the best in my view are The Trackers) I was a little gutted to be immediately summoned to ride. I had wanted to have a good look round and see the stuff they put on to distract you from the three hour wait…which for us was about thirty seconds.

The ride itself is very enjoyable. As most of these things are, it’s a bit short, but it’s a busy one and you’ll need a good few times to take it all in.

As we exited I got a message from Dad that he was in the park and ready to meet. I told him where we were and from his reply it was clear that he wasn’t in the right park! They had gone to IOA. Leaving them to get the train over to Universal we headed to the Mummy. We always love this one and rode on the front row. I don’t know if this was the reason, or if they had changed the ride a bit to include more water but for the first time in a good many years I found myself moist riding Mummy.

Luckily it’s quite dark in there…..

I left Louise and Emily there and walked up to King’s Cross to meet Mum & Dad. I found them easily enough. Dad had chosen to hire a wheelchair today as he was really suffering with sciatica. He’d soldiered on yesterday but today he would be pushed around whether he liked it or not.

Once back with Louise and Emily, we parked Dad up in some shade with Mum whilst we went off to ride Rip, Ride Rocket with our Express passes. No matter how many times I ride this I am always surprised by its intensity and by how much it feels like you are going to fall out backwards on the way up. This ride is harsher than the crazed Admin’s banning policy for the It’s Orlando Time Facebook group! Actually, probably not.

You have to take so many things off to ride this that it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the first naturist ride in Orlando.

I discovered a few new swear word combos on the way round as it threw my aging body in directions it was not built to withstand. Good fun!

We considered doing Minions (without Express for Mum & Dad) but the 80 minute wait was about 60 beyond our tolerance so we did Shrek. This was our first experience of entering a ride with a member of the party in a wheelchair. We were ushered to the front of our very own line, had our own route into the theatre and were allowed in first. All very nice, but all things considered, I’d say it’s best not to have someone needing a wheelchair than cutting a few minutes from your queue.

Next we made our way to the Monster’s Cafe where we were to leave Mum & Dad whilst we expressed Minions. On the way, I couldn’t help marvel at how rough Bob Geldof is looking…

As we approached Minions it was clear that even the Express line wasn’t very Express. It snaked to places any Express line should never snake. This was enough to put Louise off and she opted for a bench in the sun, so it was Emily and myself.

Luckily, these days she is just about tall enough to ride!

After a very un-Express like thirty minute wait we rode before exiting, finding Louise and heading back to Mum & Dad. Despite numerous visits, I honestly can’t remember this Monster’s Cafe existing before today. Either it’s new or my memory is in as good a shape as my waistline. It’s a quick service place with the usual selection of fast food fare.

Emily ordered a cheeseburger and Mum & dad shared one…

Not for the first time, Louise and I shared a foot long…..

After lunch we went over to the Horror Make Up Show starting at 1pm. Once again we were special cased due to the wheelchair but there was no queue or crowd to speak of. I did spot what I assume is the latest hipster trend in foyer…

and my usual reaction to hipsters…

Next we did the Terminator ride..

As we waited to enter, (an important comma that one) a girl close to us in the queue dropped a full drink all over the floor. I found it strange that she was even allowed in with it but even odder that the staff wandering about did absolutely nothing about it having clearly seen it. The waiting area was dark and as soon as that queue started to enter someone was going to go full Torvill and Dean through it.

As we were first in via the wheelchair line we didn’t get to see what happened. My Disney snobbery reared up in full effect, declaring this would never happen on Disney property. I know that everyone appreciated me entertaining them with my views.

This Terminator show is on an impressive scale I always think. It’s almost a forgotten attraction now but the mix of live action and film and all the effects is excellent and seems to go under the radar. I’m not sure how much longer the Terminator brand will endure to make this relevant and I’ll be honest and admit I’ve never watched any of them, but I applaud the effort!

It was time to call it a day and head to the exit now after a restroom stop for some.

Emily wasn’t “restrooming” there on the bench, she was just waiting!

We water taxied back to RPR and once again found some sunbeds in the kid’s pool area. The ladies used our room to change first whilst me and Dad guarded the beds like some German sun towels and then we changed too.

Snoozing, reading, swimming and cocktailing filled the afternoon along with a soupcon of swimming. Dad found the hot tub which worked wonders on his sciatica.

At around 6.30 I drove Mum & Dad home and returned to find the readying of Emily and Louise not as far along as it should have been. At 8pm we set off for Teak Neighbourhood Grill. The walk from our room, to the car park and the subsequent pick up of Emily and Louise from the front of RPR, followed a few minutes later by the same at Mum & Dad’s hotel became a familiar routine. As my usual routines in life go, it’s up there in my all time favourites.

We stopped en route at a pharmacy (not for the last time this trip, but you knew that already) to get some Milk of Magnesia for Emily. I know she won’t mind me sharing with you that she was more full of shit than Katie Hopkins and needed an intervention pronto.

We went all crazy and ordered some appetisers as if we had never eaten here before.

We got two lots of Mozzarella Rounds and a Crab Dip whilst we studied the menu.

I was eating the missing one, sorry.

I didn’t eat any of the crab dip if I’m honest as to me, that tastes like an I’m a Celebrity Bush Tucker Trial with the emphasis on bush.

Our entrees were

Me & Emily – A badly photographed Cronie Burger & Garlic Fries

“french doughnut” tossed with cinnamon-sugar served with a half pound Angus burger topped with maple-pepper bacon, smoked Gouda cheese and an over med egg…a must try!

Louise – French Dip 2.0

open faced thinly sliced prime rib, provolone cheese, horseradish mayo on garlic artisan baguette served with au jus dipping sauce with garlic fries.

Again I can only apologise for the photo

Dad – Imperial Trooper Burger

mozzarella cheese, tomato, spring mix drizzled with sour cream-chive sauce & imperial stout glaze served on toasted brioche bun. He added a side of Scallop Potato which he declared to be incredible!

Mum – Plain Jane Burger

american cheese, bibb lettuce, tomato on toasted brioche bun…pure simplicity with chilli cheese fries.

The Cronie Burger was so good, you can have another photo of it.

Dad had beer, Louise wine and a sangria and the bill was $150 including a healthy tip. I love this place! I was so sad to be leaving that I took photos on the way out feeling all emotional…

We left at 10pm, lost in a fog of calories and the glow of satisfaction. After dropping Mum & Dad off we barely made it to bed before falling asleep. I think I read for about ten minutes before welcoming a coma like sleep into my body.

Till the next time…..

Great Expectations

Some weeks, I’ll be honest, it can be a struggle to find something to blog about. My life isn’t that exciting! For the first time, today I am going to inflict two posts on you. As promised, a little later I will post day one of the To Siesta Key….and Beyond Tour 2017. Before I do though I have important news to share with you all.

Rebecca is expecting! She and Tom are beyond excited and delighted and we couldn’t be happier about it. This lovely news is now finally sharable with you all after she announced it earlier this week having hit the twelve week milestone.

Everyone’s joy is doubled as this journey has been a rocky one. I share this with Rebecca and Tom’s permission of course, but the past fourteen months or so have been a roller coaster for them and everyone close to them as they have suffered the agony of three miscarriages. I cannot explain here the heartbreak this has involved and if you remember me alluding to crappy stuff going on in recent times, then a lot of that was related to these events.

Anyway, enough of that. Now is the time to look to the future and the journey Rebecca and Tom are starting on with Thing 1.

It is also Rebecca’s birthday today, and we’re having a little family gathering to celebrate her special day. Happy Birthday pud!

At some point around early November your own little pud will arrive and your life will change forever, nearly exclusively for the better! 🙂 Enjoy every minute.

Till the next time…..

Is It Because I Is Back?

Hello? Is this thing on?

My body is back in the UK, but my mind is yet to accept this. Mentally I am still in the technicolour wonderland with a warmer climate where every meal is a brush with a cardiac arrest and the amount of money spent doesn’t count as dollars aren’t real money. I do quite like it you know!!

It always blows my mind that within a few short hours you go from wandering around a baking hot Disney Springs (don’t we all do that before going to the airport?) to landing in an ever grey Manchester.

I am avoiding reality for now. I haven’t dared go anywhere near the scales and I refuse to admit to myself that I have to work for a living again on Tuesday. I’m not dressed yet and I sit here in my dressing gown eating something between breakfast, lunch and supper watching people go past our window doing grown up things like jogging, walking their dogs and generally engaging with the world in a way in which I simply cannot right now.

Sigh.

We had a blast. We narrowly avoided a visit to a medical facility which is the exception rather than the norm for one of our trips, although we came close a couple of times. Instead, we spent more time in pharmacies than theme parks and if anyone needs a cream or potion for any ailment on earth, give me shout as we’ll have it.

That feeling of being at home over there gets stronger with every visit. I know after the amount of times we’ve been that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but the feeling is strong.

I won’t steal any more of my own thunder as I need to get on with a trip report. I have made the token gesture of downloading all the photos to my laptop and getting them up on photobucket ready for inclusion but beyond that, the fog of jet lag and the fact that I am struggling to see the laptop over my stomach have restricted my progress…well, progress indicates that something is actually happening, which it isn’t yet.

I will say that we and especially Emily and I realised that we didn’t have enough time at Disney. We knew that before we went I think, and it was intentional that the trip would be different, but there was a feeling of being slightly robbed of time there as we inevitably missed out on some stuff that we love. As fantastic as our time at Universal and Siesta Key was, as soon as we got to the Beach Club there was a strong feeling of belonging, peace of mind and joy that reaffirmed what we probably already knew. Any future visits will be WDW centric. Still, moaning about that after almost three weeks over there seems churlish.

I feel confusingly knackered and refreshed in equal measure. Mentally it always does me the world of good I think, but physically I feel close to a hundred years old right now, not helped by gigging last night on seven hours sleep out of the previous 48 hours.

So I shall leave it there for today. I will commit to day one being ready for next Sunday as if I write it down here I will have to crack on despite my working week looking grim. Thanks to all of you that followed our trip online in real-time and hopefully I can keep your interest for the trip report to come. Oh and discussions for our next trip started before we got home….but hey, what’s new?

Till the next time….

Is It Because I Is Blue?

I feel a little guilty moaning about anything when we are so close to a Florida trip that I can smell it, but I’m gonna. We are now two weeks in to operation update our house from the 90s. Two weeks with no bathroom and it still looks like a cell in a Far East prison. We have another week to go before we have the ability to cleanse ourselves in our own home and have any surfaces in the house that are not under three inches of dust. To add to our heartache the next set of workmen turn up tomorrow to create a double bubble of renovation chaos.

I am more stressed than Trump’s press secretary. To add to all of that I have to paint the bathroom ceiling today. I will store the required paint on my protruding bottom lip.

My much feared dental trip last week passed with little or no fuss. There was a little bit of grinding action required but it didn’t last long, as tends to be the case. I escaped with a slight sweat on after ten minutes happy to be declared dentally fit for my trip.

Anyway, with all of that self-pity and woe out-of-the-way we can now begin.

Louise tells me that I am often guilty of assuming a certain level of knowledge in my blog posts. I use WDW acronyms and don’t explain anything in enough detail for anyone who hasn’t spent a large chunk of their lives in Florida. So with that in mind, will you please join in with our SDD.

What? SDD…you know…oh OK, it is our Single Digit Dance day today. We are nine days out people.

Around this time, the milestones come thick and fast. Yesterday, a few short hours after pay-day, our dollars arrived. The exchange rate is so bad that instead of actually sending me dollars they just took money out of my account and sent me a voucher for a Perkins breakfast. Not quite of course, but a rate of 1.23 hurts I can tell you. You can shove your Brexit up your arse!

Yesterday saw Louise, Emily and I go shopping for essential holiday clothes and stuff. We didn’t go together. Good God, no that would have ended in a fist fight outside of C&A. What? C&A doesn’t exist…really??  It was there the last time I went into an actual town centre. Louise and Emily went together and I spent a lengthy twenty minutes or so in one shop to get everything that I needed.

Now, one of the items I needed was a lovely new pair of trainers. This is always a necessity prior to any US trip but it is now also a tradition and a key part of the countdown process. Because I am a creature of habit, middle-aged and tight these trainers have always tended to be the luminous white Hi-Tec numbers that can take down aircraft if the sun catches them the wrong way. I have dozens of pairs of these around the house in various states of decay…

I had another pair on my feet in the shop yesterday and I was just about to head to the tills when I went all crazy. I ventured into unknown territory and tried on another brand…..and……..wait for it……colour. It was almost in jest as just before I pulled on those non-white interlopers (or interloafers) I took a look at the price tag. Now, it doesn’t matter what Jessie J says, I never forget about the price tag. You cannot spend half of the GDP of Guatemala on US holidays AND buy expensive goods on a day-to-day basis.

As my foot entered these expensive follies I was very upset. It felt like I had put my foot into a warm otter’s pocket. It embraced and caressed me like a mother cradles a new-born. It was feetal heaven. Damn it!

I then spent a good few minutes calculating what I could stop Louise buying to allow us to find room in our budget for this indulgence. To cut what is becoming a long story short, I left the shop with them. I have never spent that amount on a pair of trainers in my life. Oh, and they are blue!!  Yes, blue!!

I can only apologise. I sacrificed tradition on the altar of comfort.

Louise and Emily were out for close to 72 hours and returned with one item of clothing each. I cannot comprehend how that happens and can only thank whatever God you believe in that I wasn’t with them.

In a return to the sanity of online shopping I added some rechargeable batteries and an SD card for the camera to my list of bought items in line with another tradition where I can never seem to find the exact same items I bought before every other trip we’ve done and have to buy some more.

Louise and Emily are busy arranging all sorts of treatments and procedures that I don’t want to know the details or cost of and I too am booked in for my back, sack and crack treatment ahead of my strutting up and down on Siesta Key beach in my thong. I shall leave you to embrace that mental image for the rest of your weekend!

With gritted teeth, I am hunkered down for one last week at work, mixed with a house full of workmen, chaos and dust whilst desperately trying to remember how to write a half decent and amusing trip report.

Till the next time…..

 

A Loss Of Form

Today’s blog post is a salute to all Mothers, but mostly mine and Louise’s. Thanks to you both for everything you have done and continue to do for us.

I had a right old whinge last week about a load of problems that weren’t really. In the end, last week wasn’t as bad as I feared. It was worse. Now of course, I don’t have any real problems and events in London last week reminded me of that, but with that considered, in my own little world I had a week so stupidly busy that I didn’t even have time to moan about it.

Our bathroom renovations started and we currently have an empty room, stripped back to brick and a lovely collection of dust on every surface in the house.

Our boiler is in though and it is just delightful to have a boiler that is younger than me. It is amazing that having just one room out-of-order can seemingly send shock waves throughout the entire house. There is mess everywhere and where this isn’t mess there are large boxes containing stuff to be fitted into said bathroom in the coming days (hopefully).

Our chosen workmen have been great and were at the front door like clockwork every day at 7.30am. They have worked their socks off and made good progress. We are through the worst now I think, and from here on in the room starts to look better, not worse!

They have a week and a bit to go and just before they finish more workmen will arrive to dismantle almost all the gubbins at the back of the house, like our car port, walls and anything else in the way, to erect our new one large wall and roller shutter door thing for our cars. We like to do things the hard way.

My busy state was created by all of that house nonsense and a million other things going on at home plus my actual work life. Due to a perfect storm of team holidays, unavoidable meetings out of the office and yet another million things going on at work, I can’t remember a week when I’ve worked harder or faster. I earned my money for sure.

Monday was especially fun. Louise was due to collect her new car at 6pm, and with that in mind I dug out the V5 form for the car we were trading in at 8am that morning, from its secure holding place where it could not be lost from. Louise took it to work with her and we went about our day. Fast forward to 5.50pm and I get a call from Louise. She had lost that V5 document. It had lived safely in my secret special documents place since the day we got the car nearly two years ago, but within a matter of hours Louise managed to lose it. She had placed it in her diary which she carries with her to all of her patient appointments every day. What could possibly have gone wrong??

So this led to a whole load of faff, stress and last-minute nonsense with the garage having to undertake administrative somersaults to still allow Louise to take her new car home. Those somersaults would cause a load more admin for us too as they couldn’t pay off the remaining finance until we got a new V5 and that would mean we were paying for two cars until that was sorted. I was not pleased.

A replacement was £25 and a good few days to get hold of one but Louise told me to hang fire until she had a look for it in a few of her regular patients’ houses. I seethed for almost 24 hours, until she text me to say she had found it in a care home. This falls into the “only Louise” category. The form was dropped off at the garage and hopefully that will be the last of it.

Living life at a million miles an hour as I did last week did mean that it flew by. With only a few days to go now before we holiday that is always welcome. I have a couple of gruesome milestones to endure in the remaining time, such as a dentist trip tomorrow to hopefully sort out a developing issue and a particular meeting I am not looking forward to the week after, but as life has taught me over the years, these things come and go before you know it and we really are entering the final part of our countdown now. I’m not sure who will be most pleased when we get to the airport, us travelers or you lot, as you heave a huge sigh of relief that I can’t wang on about it anymore.

I do not like the dentist. My childhood dentist had all the bedside manner of Freddie Kruger and ever since I have dreaded every visit, more so since I had to start paying for it too. Needs must though as I cannot go on holiday and take on all that food with a set of gnashers not operating at 100% efficiency. They have a big job on.

Till the next time…..