A New Year, A New Hope.

As I spend my traditional post Christmas break Sunday wondering if I’ll fit into my work suit tomorrow, I welcome you to 2015. I embrace the new year with an unusually positive outlook as it signals the confirmation of the official sighting of light at the end of a very long tunnel. Indeed for a good few years, I wasn’t even sure where the tunnel was, or what light might look like, but with Louise due to qualify and start work in April, a return to normality and solvency is so close I can taste it.

The road to qualification has been very tough (as I have mentioned on several hundred occasions) but the end is in sight and praise your Lord for that. However, before I get too happy clappy, for all of 2015’s promise it hasn’t covered itself in glory yet. Last Sunday night, Emily went out on her work’s Christmas do, had a few too many and fell down a six inch step. We then spent that night in A&E and a subsequent follow up a few days later as it was getting worse. Thankfully there was no break, and after a few immobile days and starting the year on crutches she is now able to at least put some weight on it and hobble about. She was most upset that this meant she couldn’t go out on New Year’s Eve but alcohol and crutches do not a good combination make. She and her boyfriend stayed in whilst Louise and I went wild, going to the pictures and then getting a take away on the way home.

At the same time as Emily was incapacitating herself, Louise had the nerve to go and get Pleurisy. So to complete the tour of health establishments we spent Saturday morning at the emergency doctors and she’s been in a bad way for a few days, again starting the new year on a high. There are signs that the drugs are kicking in and hopefully a few more days will see her right.

Despite the dodgy start, 2015 does have the potential to be better than many of the years which have preceded it recently, but let’s be honest that won’t be too hard. Louise starts her job in April, we have a holiday booked for late August to the best place on the planet, Rebecca completes her studies and strikes out into the world of employment in early summer and in what will be a busy and emotional month Emily begins her American adventure in April when she starts work as a cast member for Disney.

With Emily’s countdown now under 100 days it is starting to become real. Plans need to be made, visas obtained and excitement needs to be enjoyed. I know she’s a little nervous about the whole thing but that is to be expected as it will be her first time away from home, and it isn’t exactly around the corner. She’ll be fine. I may be a gibbering emotional wreck, but she’ll be fine.

Our countdown is now 234 days and with the turning of the year, planning and anticipation have been allowed to kick up a notch. I have today marked my calendar to note when I am able to make ADRs (not that we’ll need many) and of course when we can try to get some FastPass+ things booked too. It’s all part of the countdown process and I like it.

I have hinted at some planning changes recently so I shall bring you up to speed. We had a very emotional and upsetting end to 2014 as in the last couple of months of the year Rebecca’s relationship with her boyfriend disintegrated and they are no longer together. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved to outline the ins and outs here, but of course he was a knob, behaved atrociously and our lives and holiday will be better for his absence. I will not entertain any suggestion of bias!

So with flights and all sorts booked for him this caused some problems of course, but thankfully with some persuasion and negotiation I have been able to transfer the flight to Rebecca’s best friend, Sarah, who I am delighted to say will be traveling with us for her first visit to Florida. She is giddy beyond belief at the prospect. Here she is…

sarah prince

Speaking of Rebecca, she has done a bit of modelling recently. One of her friends from school has started her own clothing business, and she had Rebecca showing off some of her range. I know I am biased (again) but she did a great job.

The company Urban Route can be found here, and I’m sure any support or orders will be appreciated, but other than that do have a look at Rebecca’s efforts in the photo gallery.

model 1

model 2

So welcome to our Disney year. I am going to get giddy as the weeks go by and I make no apologies for doing so. Should you also be in planning mode, but find yourself struggling to find the time and/or information then a Disney pal and Florida blogger has launched a new venture, Disneynine Florida Holiday Planner, which you may find useful. Do have a click though and Like and use as you see fit.

Till the next time…..

Big Bricks and Birthdays.

Ah holidays. Lounging around, with no work to worry about. Recharging the batteries, taking it easy, de-stressing. Yes, that would have been lovely. My week “off work” has been one of the hardest weeks I have known. I have spent it up and down a ladder, atop some scaffolding, dismantling this bloody chimney with my Dad.

I don’t think either of us appreciated how big a job this was going to be until we’d gone too far to go back. The chimney stack was inconveniently made from huge blocks of stone and not lovely light modern house bricks. Knocking it down, and then more crucially getting the buggers down to ground level and into a skip has broken my body in all sorts of ways.

We have endured wind, rain, sunshine, and a lack of a will to live when the job seemed never-ending. Luckily, I was the unskilled labourer to my Dad, who has spent most of his working life in he roofing business, from time served apprentice to Director, he’s done the lot. I have become an expert in passing him stuff, carrying things up and down ladders and humping huge chunks of stone into a skip. It took us pretty much all week, with an odd day off for my Dad to go golfing, and we finally finished on Saturday afternoon.

There used to be a huge chimney stack there!!

As hard as it has been, there is an undeniable sense of satisfaction and pride at having completed such a huge job successfully. Knowing that something I have been a small part of has improved our house is great. My back and muscles will currently disagree, but I’m sure that pain will fade by Christmas.

With that horror done, on Sunday, I celebrated my birthday. I haven’t done so in the UK since 2008, when we went to Florida in July for Emily’s birthday. Whilst nothing can top having a birthday in WDW, I had a lovely day.

I started it in bed with three beautiful women and an Old English Sheepdog. That sounds like a chapter from Oliver Reed’s autobiography, but it was just lovely to have the family gather on our bed for the giving of presents and cards and a few hugs. These days, the girls actually buy me presents which is a pleasant side effect of them growing up. However, their shopping skills still have some way to go as the stuff they had ordered hadn’t arrived in time. So I got sweets and stuff as a holding pattern until they do…



Then, I was treated to a breakfast of kings, courtesy of Louise.

brekkieIt was mighty fine. Then, I played my new Xbox game for a while until the footy came on, when I watched my team play superbly and win comfortably. The day was off to a good start.

After the footy, we had been invited to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at my brother’s house. He and his wife, Paula, were hosting it to raise some funds for her chosen charity for her London to Paris bike ride next year. It didn’t matter. They said there would be cake and so we would be there.

cakesIt was mighty fine cakeage and I had a lot. After a few hours there I waddled home and collapsed in front of the telly. So the day didn’t involve a Kitchen Sink from Beaches and Cream, or a wander around World Showcase at Epcot, but it was a lovely one all the same. I didn’t even sulk about the lack of a Disney location.

I had the forethought to tag and extra day onto my holiday so I didn’t have work to dread on Monday either. What’s not to like?

I am not saying that I plan to repeat many more birthdays on UK soil, but as much as I like to moan and whinge, I cannot about yesterday.

Last week also saw a little bit of drama on Thursday. I was two and half hours into my hair cut (honest) when  my phone rang. Louise was on her way up to the restaurant where Emily works as she had “blacked out” at work. She had been taken to A&E in an ambulance and we of course speedily followed all full of panic and worry. As we arrived she was clearly OK, if not a little embarrassed at passing out. She had given her head a bit of a whack, so we are keeping a close eye on her, and she is going for some tests tomorrow at the GP’s, but the folks at hospital could find no underlying issues so a few blood tests should put out minds at rest.

Emily, being off work, is having a Disney day on the sofa today. She is having one of those “I’m really missing Disney days” and all I can hear from her phone are blasts of parade music, and just now, that 80’s sounding retro music that plays as you walk through the gates at Epcot. I sympathise!

Today I have had a lie in, bathed Oli, bought a new spot light for our security light outside, and now written this. So I now need to leave you. I have lots of sweets and stuff to eat, TV to watch and nothing to do lots of.

Till the next time…..



Apples, Arms and a Really Good Film

If you ever want to find out how important your phone has become in your life, go to work without one for a couple of days. It is quite silly to discover how many things you use it for outside of things like making phone calls.

This was my world for most of this week as the kerfuffle levels around my dodgy phone raised themselves a few notches this week. Last week I bored you with the tale of my iPhone 4S not wanting to do the Wi-Fi thing, and the good fortune of it being insured. My new one turned up the very next day, and having spent a whole day at work without a mobile I was happy to get home and set my new one up.

My new handset sprang to life, embraced my Wi-Fi like a long-lost friend and we were off. The handset had arrived with iOS 6 on it, and to enable me to restore the back up from my old phone, which was iOS7, I had to upgrade. This as you may know takes an age, and when it finished it appeared that I had restored my phone right back to the broken state it was in previously.

iPhone 4S

I spent the rest of the evening on a web chat session with some Apple chap who was stumped and having tried everything apart from setting the thing on fire agreed that I needed another new handset. As the hour was late he arranged for someone to call me the next morning to arrange collection and delivery.  They did as promised, and so I had to work from home on Wednesday as they could not give any sort of time for the chap to come.

Having been literally sat at my front door from 8.30, and having accepted deliveries of all sorts of things for other members of the family by 11am there was no sign. At 11.05 my Mum and Dad appeared at the back window of our house asking me to go out back with them to look at some ivy chopping they had been doing on our back wall (they live next door remember). I did so, and of course when I returned indoors three minutes later the DHL man had been to our front door ninja style, popped his card through and scarpered sharpish. How I laughed!

Not being able to work from home the following day due to meetings in the office I had courier stress all day waiting to hear from Emily or Louise to say he’d been and the exchange had been successful. I arrived home once again keen to get my mobile life back, and thankfully it worked. I was not silly enough to restore my back up again, I just set it up as a new phone.

So as I said, a right kerfuffle.

The rest of the week was calmer thankfully, and on Friday evening I had booked us tickets to see Saving Mr. Banks at the cinema. As I drove home I got a text from Louise saying that Emily had fallen at work. Upon getting home I discovered that she had really hurt her arm, and based upon her level of pain and lack of mobility we decided that we had to take her to A&E to get it X-Rayed. This did not please Emily as she was desperate to see the film.

Anyway, we had superb service, and were in and out within an hour. Thankfully they said the arm was not broken, but very badly bruised with a lot of soft tissue damage. She hasn’t really been able to move it since, and she’s in a lot of pain. It is not nice seeing her suffer of course.

She did manage to drag it along with her on our second attempt to get to see the film on Saturday and we all loved it. I demonstrated my Disney geekness by spotting a monologue from Walt that is pretty much lifted from the One Man’s Dream film, as he describes his paper round. Anyone else spot that?

Waving Walt

Anyway, it was delightful, and if by any chance you haven’t seen it yet, you must. I would imagine that most folks will enjoy the film, but if you happen to be a fan of WDW and Disney then it is an added bonus. Both the lead actors are superb, and it got me hoping that someone now has the idea to make a film of Walt’s life. Having read about his life there is a lot to tell, and of course Tom Hanks needs to play him at the appropriate age. I know many Hollywood producers read this blog so it will be in production next week I’m sure.

A book update is about to follow, so for those already bored with hearing about it, you can stop reading now and I’ll see you next week!

I had set myself a target of 50,000 words by the end of November, and I am delighted to report that I got there this week. There is still a way to go in the telling of the story, but with that milestone passed I’m too far along now not to finish it. You have been warned. I also thought of and added another plot element/twist which also pleased me, and will hopefully help to keep the interest of all seven people who eventually read it.

I’m at the tricky stage of it now I think, having to build it to a crescendo style ending (steady, it’s not that sort of book!) with enough pace to make it interesting, but balanced with enough detail to make it understandable. I shall approach it as I have the rest of the exercise, by winging it entirely.

Anyway, I have to make the tea now, as I suspect does Stephen King.

Till the next time…..

A&E and a few other vowels.

Louise is in hospital.

As we speak (well technically, we are not speaking, unless of course you are speaking whilst reading this, which is impressive muti tasking, and pretty unlikely, but I think you know what I mean) Louise is on ward F5 of the Royal Bolton Hospital.  I have no idea what makes a hospital Royal though, as I certainly don’t think any royalty have graced it.

Anyone who has known Louise for a period of time will know that this set of circumstances isn’t the most unusual in the world.  Indeed our annual passholder car park pass is again coming in handy, and it is always nice to be greeted by your first name and a wave as you enter A&E.  She has had a plethora (that in itself isn’t an illness) of ailments and operations over the years, and we are very well rehearsed at the trip to A&E scenario.

Friday saw another one.  I was at work, and Louise sent me a text that she was on her way to A&E having spent Thursday night in incredible pain.  As routine as this type of thing is, I was still less than happy that she had driven herself there.  Anyway, I left work and made my way to A&E, where we began the well known routine.

Step 1.

Try to explain to the thirteen year old doctor a forty year history of operations and procedures, guessing at dates, and wishing we’d written all this down.

Step 2.


Step 3.

Finally, Louise gets some proper pain relief and colour returns to cheeks.

Step 4.


Step 5.

Blood tests and Xray.

Step 6.


Usually once the pain is managed and they can’t find any real reason for it, Louise is sent home, and wished well until the next time.  However this time she was admitted, as sometimes happens, for tests and stuff.

That was Friday.  Sunday morning has arrived and there has been little action to be honest, and the promised scans etc look like taking place tomorrow.

Rebecca at Hospital
Fringe with iPod

We visited last night, and took Louise the essentials.  Not Lucozade and flowers.  More like Clarins face wash, moistureiser and two Toffee Crisps.  Louise hadn’t eaten since mid Friday.

As this is week 2 of her Weight Watchers campaign (losing a healthy four pounds in Week 1) this nil by mouth apart from two toffee crisps should see further impressive results!

The girls took their own essentials, however Emily forgot her iPod earphones so they had to share.  We all have to make sacrifices at times like these I suppose.  The girls lasted a full ten minutes at bedside before becoming too loud and annoying for a very tired and morphine filled Louise so they were despatched to the shop for their own safety.  I lasted about an hour before I had the same effect, and was sent home.

So we’ll have to wait and see just how long Louise will be in, and in the mean time I am becoming a black belt at the washing machine, and will be ironing and stuff later.  Not that I don’t do this stuff normally of course!!

Add in the fact that I have to do the “big shop” too, and I could play the woe is me card.  However, it could be worse, I could be the one lay in hospital next to some less than dazzling company, from, (allow me to be a snob for a second) less celubrious areas of town, not knowing what is causing all this pain, and wondering what will happen next.

Plus how rubbish must it be to be in hospital at the same place you go to work everyday!!  Anyway, at least it means Louise’s boss can easily make sure she really is ill and not swinging lead or any other heavy metal.

Emily at Hospital
Other fringe with iPod

So as Sunday morning drifts into Sunday afternoon it is time to get the girls out of bed, unload the washer, load the dryer, hand out random chores to the girls, make sure they are doing that homework they have said they were doing all last week, then go to the supermarket, come home, put shopping away, make the girls some tea, have a row as they haven’t done that homework still, then go and visit Louise, and try not to get on her nerves too much, and come home.

Plus somewhere in all of that I have several hours of XBox to fit in.  I really don’t know how I shall!!