Back In Body, If Not In Mind.

Hello again. We’re home and already, sadly, back into the routine of our every day lives. After two and a bit weeks in the technicolour landscapes of Florida, landing back in Manchester on Tuesday was like living through the Wizard of Oz but in reverse, ending up in black and white.

We returned home with one of the party missing of course, and I can confirm that it is entirely possible to be upset for an entire eight-hour flight. We were fine(ish) when we said goodbye to Emily in her apartment, but as soon as the wheels left the tarmac of Orlando airport both Louise and I fell to pieces. We apologise to those around us for the sniffles and wailing as you tried to watch that film.

The holiday itself brought us many more new memories and some definite highlights we’ll remember forever. With the other stuff going on during the holiday, it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster at times, knowing that it would end with Emily staying behind and understanding that, with the girls at the ages they are, it could very likely be the last of its kind.

For anyone who hasn’t seen this via Facebook, this is Emily from her first day on stage. By God, it’s been a long stressful road to get there for her, but we’re so proud of her.

emily crp uk pav day 1

It was reassuring for us to meet most of her flat mates who seem lovely, and to know that she’s made friends with her UK pavilion colleagues. It doesn’t stop us thinking about her all the time whilst she is thousands of miles away of course and hoping she is doing OK. She has been so busy with work since we left that we’ve only managed a few quick Facebook chats. Hopefully we’ll be able to Facetime her on her days off soon…..(take note Emily!).

Work was right where I left it, and within half an hour of resuming my place at my desk it felt like the holiday never happened. Imagine how that post holiday grief was magnified as this weekend I have had to go away with work on our annual conference thingy. As much as I appreciate the investment my company makes in taking us all away for these things, this weekend, of all weekends, I just needed to lock myself in the house and rock myself slowly in a corner. A day of Powerpoint slides with Kris Akabusi (true story) in a Birmingham hotel was not at the top of my “must do” list right now.

I haven’t even thought about writing any of the trip report. Work has been manic and my weekend has been seriously curtailed. The coming weeks look similarly bobbins with trips to head office down south and, more pleasingly, quite a few gigs on the horizon. Right now, I don’t feel exactly driven to write the thing, but I’m putting that down to jet lag, worry about Emily and the shock of not being in Florida any more. I’m sure I will get to it, but don’t hold your breath.

We have also returned home to some good news. Rebecca has her first job. Before we left she interviewed for an apprenticeship in Childcare and she got it! She’ll be starting as soon as her CRB check is done, which is just great news and another source of enormous pride for us. Well done pud.

So allow me this weird, all over the place post today as I acclimatise once again to a non holiday life and I’m sure by the time next week rolls around things may feel more normal.

Till the next time….

Word To Your Mother

So here’s a very quick, fairly late post due to a busy day doing the Mum thing. A day of tidying, (for me) peeling spuds and (for Louise) cooking ended with a meal for both Mums and my Dad. Alas Rebecca had to work, with it being Mother’s Day as the restaurant at which she waitresses was booked to the rafters. Emily should have been working too but a bout of tonsillitis has kept her at home for the past few days. I don’t think she was too upset!

The week just gone has been too full of work for my liking but also contained my second rehearsal with Mustard. It went well, however the next time we play together it will be in front of an audience. Yes, that is as scary as it sounds. The 21st of March is my first gig. I’ve learnt about thirty songs and played all of them at least once with the rest of the band. What could possibly go wrong? It’ll be fun that’s for sure.

In CRP news, Emily’s visa came back this week and seeing it pasted into her passport was surreal and exciting in equal measure. We’ve now bought her medical insurance for her first 120 days until the Disney Cast Member one kicks in and she has now started to gather stuff together as a pre-cursor to actually packing! She has procured the essentials of course like a bikini and that play suit she loves from Forever 21 or one of those other young lady’s clothing websites.

She has also fulfilled her requirement as surrogate trip planner by securing all the ADRs we wanted.


With Crystal Palace in the bag, she added Be Our Guest, Rose and Crown on my birthday and a fun night at Whispering Canyon. With that, we’re done.

On the subject I raised last week of collating the (hopefully) numerous photos of folks meeting Emily in the UK pavilion, I think flexibility is the key. Not everyone has every app, and so I don’t want to restrict the “project” to twitter or instagram, so if you get a photo of and/or with Emily then just get it to me somehow. My contact details are on this blog, you can do it on The Dibb (I’ll probably start a thread for the posting of such photos), post it on the Mkingdon Facebook page or any other social media you can find me on. My current thinking is that I’ll do a Pinterest board of them all.

Louise has just two weeks to go on her three year nursing course. That too is hard to take in. Everything is happening at once! After three years of hard slog, blood sweat and tears it is almost all over. So on that subject of the Mother of this household, I shall bring this brief, rushed and inadequate Mother’s Day blog to an end.

Till the next time….

A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America!

The internet. Aside from those needy vague Facebook status updates that drive everyone insane, and all that click bait shite which all end in “You won’t believe what happened next”, the internet is probably a good thing. At some point in the future my fridge will know that I have eaten the last six of something and will connect to my online shopping establishment of choice to order some more. If that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.

One of the huge benefits of the internet is that some weird folk share their lives and experiences all over it. What sort of idiot would do that? For Emily, and her long arduous journey towards being a Cast Member, reading the blogs of those who have gone before have been a huge help and at times a reassurance. Add to that the vast number of vlogs by those folk already out there working for Disney and there isn’t much that could surprise her now. However, one small chink in this armour of information appears to be the application process for the required Visa for her stay in the US.

We’ve always known this would be required but we journeyed down to London this week not really knowing what to expect. Emily had heard small snippets about airport style security, which unnerved her slightly, but beyond that we were clueless. So here I will attempt to fill that void a little.

I won’t bore you with the details of our journey etc beyond our pre-train Starbucks…

1starbucksand the fact that we traveled backwards which meant we almost saw that muffin again around Northampton.

We got to London around 4pm and Emily wanted to go and see the Disney store on Oxford Street, so we did.  We then wandered the clothes shops of the capital picking up some essentials for Emily’s year away. Two pairs of denim shorts and a “dressy blouse” for her Traditions training course, for which she needs to be in smart office attire secured and we then gorged on a very welcome McDonald’s. We re-boarded the tube and headed to Paddington, close to which our hotel was.

The hotel was fine. Basic, clean and relatively cheap…a bit like me. Disaster struck shortly after we pajamaed up and started enduring the Kardashian marathon Emily insisted upon. Her phone charger stopped working! At 4%, the matter was urgent. I put my pants back on and set out into the heartless metropolis to try to secure a new one. About four doors down from our hotel was a very dodgy looking mobile phone accessory, and if I’m not mistaken, based on the bongs they were selling, Hashish establishment where I got a new cable for a fiver. I got back to the room with Emily weeping over her now 2% battery and plugged her in. Success!

Not much sleep was had and we were up nice and early for Emily’s 9am appointment at the Embassy. We walked it down from Paddington, past Marble Arch and down into Mayfair where all the embassies live. Most are impressive enough large terraced town houses with flags flying outside. America of course have to do things on a bigger scale and as we saw their place for the first time it did look intimidating. Armed guards, enormous security fences and concrete bollards all fitted nicely around the enormous concrete behemoth which straddled most of the road.

Our preconceived ideas of popping into a small terraced house at five to nine for a cosy chat with some bloke in a suit where dashed as we turned the corner and saw not one but two huge queues up to a marquee outside the main building. With no-one to explain where to go I wandered off to ask someone and found that of course we had joined the wrong one. Once in the right queue we waited about half an hour to get to the front of that one.

emb2 emb1

We showed the required documentation, got ticked off a list, Emily was asked if she really was 18, which amused her greatly, and we were then sent to join the back of a second queue. Another half hour or so passed and I then left Emily, as only applicants can actually go into the building. She went through the security checks, which were airport style and I wandered off in search of breakfast.

About an hour and a half later I wandered back to the Embassy and luckily she appeared almost immediately. Once inside she had been asked to take a seat until her number was called and then went up to a window to be seen by what Emily described as “cute old lady”. She was probably in her fifties!!

So all this effort, huge amounts of paperwork, £130 for the Visa application plus all the travel and accommodation and she was asked three questions and then told her Visa was approved. How I laughed. Anyway, Emily was obviously relieved to have all that over with and we headed for Euston where Emily was fed before we boarded the train for home.

It was a tiring couple of days, and according to the app on my phone we walked over five miles on both days. So here are my top tips for anyone having to go through this process.

1. Check your paperwork a million times. Whilst in the queue we saw a few turned away for not having what they needed or indeed in one case not having booked an appointment!

2. You can take your phone in but not laptops. Don’t take one, or they send you to stash it in some lockers at a nearby Pharmacy but you only find that out after enduring the first queue.

3. If you don’t live in London, you seem to have two choices. Travel there and back in a day or do an over-nighter. To do it in one day you’ll be better with an appointment from mid-morning onwards. When we booked Emily’s appointment time after completing her application online, we were only offered 8am, 8.30 or 9am. There clearly were later appointment times as upon leaving, the queues were huge. It seems they only release those later slots after the early ones are full, so you may need to book your date just a few days before to get those. We booked about two weeks out so only saw early slots. If I were doing it again I’d book an 8am slot and be there about 7.30 to avoid all the queues outside. Luckily it was a sunny warmish day. Had we gone the week before we may have lost a few fingers in the cold.

So the last hurdle is cleared, we are a month away from departure, and it is really hitting home that Emily won’t be around for a year. It was nice to spend those two days with her, although I’d have chosen a different location and something else to do, but still, we made the most of it.

I recognise that I am a little like a stuck record with all these updates about Emily’s programme in WDW. If you are fed up, imagine how it’s been for us for the last 13 months since all this began. It has been a huge amount of pressure, some stress, lots and lots of waiting, really, a lot of waiting and a whole chunk of change to get to this point. All of that will be worth it for the incredible life experience she will have over there.

I haven’t decided how yet, but I’d like to start something online where anyone meeting or seeing Emily in the UK pavilion can post their photos of and/or with her. It will be lovely for us to see her of course and to know she is alive, eating, safe and happy and when she returns it will also be great for her to look back on.  I’ll have a think of the best medium for that, but if anyone has any ideas please let me know.

Till the next time…..


Exciting Emails and Catalytic Converters

At last there are small signs of the world emerging from the dark, cold and lifeless days of winter. There was actual sunshine today as I walked Oli, and I had seriously overlayered for the temperature I encountered.

As a metaphor for the hope of spring being imminent, something exciting arrived this week. An email. It wasn’t an email to me. I get thousands every week and very few, maybe even none at all contain anything I could get excited about. No, this one came to Emily and looked like this….

prepare email

Some twelve months (and a bit) after filling out her online application, we are now in the final countdown to her departure. If you have stumbled across this blog looking for information on the CRP, this might give you some idea of the effort, commitment, cost and most of all persistence and patience required to go the distance. This is not something to do on a whim. If you do, you shall fall by the wayside along the way, distracted by something else. This programme is for those who want to do it above anything else and are determined to wait it out, take every hurdle and of course fund every stage.

Now, there is much paperwork to complete, insurance to arrange, CRBs to send off and excitement to savour. Why Emily is still filling paperwork in I don’t know. There isn’t a personal detail she hasn’t supplied at least a dozen times, but still they ask for it again and again, on a slightly different form. The next major step will be to journey to London to undertake her Visa appointment and once that is done she’ll be packing for her departure on the 7th of April.

We’ve been watching lots of videos like this one….

I’ve tasked Emily with getting chosen to do the next one of those.

And lots and lots of these…

and literally hundreds of these vlogs…. (this one chosen at random)

with crucial decisions to make about which complex she puts as her preference. Being under 21 she will be housed with others of the same age as they will be in an alcohol free complex. Courtesy of the Facebook group she is in, Emily knows that at least 40 people, from all the different countries in the Showcase, will be arriving on her date, so maybe she’ll be in an apartment with some of those.

So it’s all getting very close now and of course excitement is mixed with the thought of waving her off for a year.

Away from that excitement my week has been a heady mix of car repairs (I have a cracked catalytic converter, which sounds less expensive than it turns out to be!) and Louise and I making our way to the end of our Sons of Anarchy marathon. We’re deep into series 5 now with one eye on Better Call Saul as our next Netflix experience. These catalytic converters are similar to nuclear grade plutonium judging by how long it takes for them to be ordered and delivered. I have been driving around in a 107 that sounds like one of those cars from the stunt show in Hollywood Studios for a week now. Hopefully, tomorrow the thing will arrive and I can gladly hand over a large chunk of money to have it fitted.

My 107’s days are numbered now. It has betrayed me and my wallet once too often, and it is only a matter of time until I get a real car instead.

It’s been handy having Emily’s boyfriend on hand (he works at a garage) to give honest advice and costs for such repairs though. I think, if you had a list of occupations for future husbands for your daughters it might go something like this –

1. Generous billionaire with a healthy respect for the in-laws and several properties in Florida.

2. CEO of Disney.

3. No-one at all….face it, nobody is good enough.

4. Plumber.

5. Car mechanic.

All of that assumes they absolutely insist on getting married to anyone of course. Time to go, my eBAY auction for my kidney finishes soon and I hope to get enough to fund the car repairs.

Till the next time…..

What a Week That Was!

As weeks go, outside of those we’ve spent on US soil, this one just gone has been one of the best. I’ve done little else but tell you all about Emily’s good news since we heard last weekend, and this week has been all about paperwork and finding her a flight. The flight search ended towards the end of the week with her booked on a Thomas Cook flight on the 7th of April from Manchester. She has decided to travel out in style in Premium Economy, which handily gives her 46kg of luggage allowance. Her main worry now is how on earth she’ll get it off the baggage carousel once she is in Orlando!

There a million practical considerations now coming into play around her journey and her time out there, but we have plenty of time to sort those between now and April.

Emily has finally blogged again too.

Rebecca has also played a blinder, demonstrating once again her impressive drive, determination, confidence and maturity by getting off her backside and finding a way to make best use of her talents, and some money! For those that don’t know she is studying Media Make Up and Hair at college, and part of that is how to do horror make-up. With Halloween coming up she has been advertising her skills, and has secured a whole host of bookings in the local area to make folks up on a gory fashion for their Halloween parties. She is very, very good at this.

rebecca gore 1 rebecca gore 2

Seeing how much demand she had if you fancy it for next year, I’d get in touch with her now!

So having felt blessed with good fortune for most of the week, it ended on another high. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that Louise had started to apply for jobs, even though she doesn’t qualify until next April. She thought it might be a little early, but from her first application she was asked to attend an interview on Friday. She was of course very nervous, and had no idea how she had done, but just a couple of hours later she got a phone call to offer her a job!

This was a special moment. You’ll know, because I’ve moaned a lot, that this past few years have been very tough. We thought it would be, and we were right. Louise gave up a good job to take the brave step of re-training at an age I’m too polite to mention. So of course financially that hurt, but it has been tough in many other ways. There has been stress, silly shifts, lots and lots of hard work, and weeks on end when we haven’t seen Louise as she was locked away at the computer doing her latest assignment. So Friday’s news was very sweet indeed. Relief, joy, pride, excitement and then for Louise a few minutes later, fear at actually having to do the job for real.

To add extra cherries on top of our very large cake, the job she has secured is exactly the one she wanted at the local hospital where she desperately wanted to work. She will be a Recovery Nurse in the Operating Theatres and we are still both a little numb and disbelieving that this has happened. As you know, I am a professional self pitier and woe is me merchant so I am unused to dealing with such scenarios. I think I could get used to this.

So there you go, a great week in the Williams household. I am trying to squeeze every last drop of joy and enjoyment from it, as I know these weeks are rare. I mean, what else could have happened this week to make it any better? Well, of course here is where I go off into another “We’re not going to WDW” rant. I would but…


Yes, if Carlsberg made weeks, even they wouldn’t have been able to come up with this one.

To be honest with you, we’ve been thinking about next year for a little while, but until Emily’s fate was known we couldn’t make any plans as we didn’t know who would be travelling. So as soon as she was sorted, I moved quickly, as you might imagine, to make the plans into reality.

With Emily over there for a year, there is no way we could not go over there to see her. We have booked for next August, and with everyone out of school, college and university, we are able to travel a little later and not have to pay the ludicrous school holiday prices. We have only booked flights at this stage, as of course we have a long time to do everything else. We fly out on the 27th of August, and we are staying for an indulgent 18 days.

We have booked our flights with Thomas Cook, as we really wanted direct flights and Virgin continue to market to millionaires only it seems. Having paid north of £650 for indirect recently, and seen very similar prices for indirect again this year I was delighted to secure flights, including Premium Economy on the way back, for £580 each.

There is a new line up for the trip too. Returning to the cast list after a few years off, are my Mum and Dad, who are keen to see Emily of course, and for the first time, we are taking a boyfriend with us. Rebecca’s Tom will join us on the trip, making his debut as a cast member of one of these adventures.

Our plan is to get a villa, so that Emily can stay there with us as her work schedule allows, and we hope to do a night on site at Universal so that we can do the new Harry Potter stuff. Having spent all my time recently ignoring any Florida related news in a sulky protest, I now need to get up to speed on how these band things work, and this booking your Fastpasses up front malarkey too.

You shall, of course be subjected to every twist and turn of the planning and build up. It could be a long few months for us all.

I cannot promise that next week’s blog will be as chock full of joy and positivity, in fact I can probably guarantee it won’t be, as a lottery win aside I’m not sure what else could top this one.

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…..

Give Me Strength

In any other year since 2003, today would have seen me aboasting and abragging about my shiny new countdown to a wonderful holiday in Florida.

Each year, without fail, comes a day like this, when Louise finally breaks, and declares that we simply must return to the promised land, and no matter how much I argue, I am forced to do the deed. My yearning for returning is pretty constant, at a solid 10 out of 10, sometimes peaking at around a 26 on a bad day.

It takes Louise a little longer to get to this position, but today, she did, and it has resulted in me explaining in great detail all of the reasons why we cannot. Most of those involved a bank statement and the stains of my tears upon it, but I think I have made my point, and the credit card remains undamaged in my wallet. Don’t get me wrong, this did not prevent me from darkening Kayak’s door to “just have a look” at what deals might be available, should we be looking to book. If I showed half as much self-restraint with food, I’d be about six stone lighter.

Louise’s pleadings included offers of selling vital organs, but I did point out that nobody would really want her liver anyway.

I know it seems odd that I have resisted so fiercely, but, I am playing the long game. With Emily (we hope) lined up to be working over there for a year at some point, we know that we’ll want to be over there visiting her during that time, and with one less body to transport over the Atlantic, some lovely cast member discounts on hotels and tickets, that trip seems a lot more attainable and realistic. It is certainly more realistic than doing one this summer and then having to fund that one too!!

So, still, we are not going this year. I pray for the strength to keep it that way, as one more bout of pleading from Louise and I’ll be whipping it out and doing the business. I might book a holiday too.

So real life, and its constant demands on our bank balance continue to deny us the pleasure of the Florida sun, and at any one time, we have a list of stuff that needs attention and money that we’d rather be spending on some biblical amount of food in some Orlando eatery.

As I always say though, never say never. I continue to play the lottery, despite the fact that the last time I won a tenner was in the late nineties, or if I sell about 400,000 copies of any of my books, then that will do the trick too.

I have been formulating an idea for another book, and have actually written several words to start it, but then it has stalled. This is a symptom of some busy times at work, and I guess, also a lack of motivation. Just as I think I am ready to crack on and reinvent modern literature, some insightful soul leaves a shitty review for the last one, and I think, well, what’s the point? Of course, in this scenario, I totally ignore the 95%+ of reviews which are glowing, and focus on the tiny percentage that aren’t. If you wonder why, then clearly you don’t know me at all even after all this time.

What I am trying to do is remind myself that the fact that I have actually accomplished a life long ambition and got a book out there, which is complete, and in my view not too bad, is something to be proud of. I often forget how awesome that is, (the achievement, not necessarily the book).

Book Cover
Buy 400,000 copies please.

This evening, with Emily at work (check out her latest blog post about the interview at Disney HQ) and Rebecca of course out with her boyfriend, Louise and I are going to the cinema to watch A Million Ways To Die In The West.

Hopefully it will bring many laughs and some ridiculous amounts of sugar. I shall let you know.

Till the next time…..



The Next Florida Adventure.

I know we are at that time of year when a blog with this title would be announcing that we have abandoned all fiscal common sense and booked another trip to Florida. As I have said many times with great regret, not this year. This is news of a different kind.

For months now, this household has been living under a cloud of anxiousness, stress and worry. Finally, yesterday, that cloud was lifted, and we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.

What am I talking about? Well, since early February, Emily has been going through the long, arduous and patience testing process of applying to work in Walt Disney World in Florida on the Cultural Representative Programme. For anyone that doesn’t know, this is the programme done by those folk you see working in the UK pavilion in World Showcase in Epcot.

Like these folks….

CRP people

It is a process with many stages, lots of travelling, and more than anything lots and lots of waiting. Finally, last night, the email was received to say that she had been accepted onto the programme, and she is now on what they call the “Wait List” to be allocated a role and a date to go out there. There are a small number of those on wait list each year that for one reason or another don’t get to go, but barring any such disaster, she should be on her way before too long.

To say we are thrilled and proud does not cover it. This is a very competitive process, and for someone like Emily who is not naturally outgoing or gregarious it was a real test. I have never seen her so determined, driven and focussed, and add to that the fact that she was the youngest candidate of the bunch by some distance, she has done incredibly well. She was up against folks in their early to mid twenties with years of work and life experience. In short, she nailed it.

You may remember an earlier blog of mine in which I talked of killing time in London? Well, that was her first interview, with Yummy Jobs, the agency who front the whole thing for Disney. A few weeks after that we were in London again for the second stage, the face to face with actual Disney cast members.

The Streets of London….killing time.

I won’t detail all of the ins and outs of the actual process as I’m sure Emily will be doing that in her own blog in her next few posts, which I’ll give you a link to at the end of this. The amount of preparation she did was incredible, and here I have to thank many very kind folks for helping her through it all from the initial application form to the final stage interview.

Emi Watson and Becky Ellinson, both former CRP cast members, were incredibly helpful in prepping answers, and Leanna Parsons, a soon to be College Programme cast member was a big help around the first interview stage as she had just been through it herself. Janine Pipe has been Emily’s cheerleader, moral support and life coach throughout what has been almost nine weeks of waiting since that second interview. They all go to prove that there are some really nice folk out there.

Yes, that’s right, we have been in limbo for over two months!! I cannot begin to describe how stressful a time that has been, and I have found it hard to concentrate on much else, so God knows how Emily has been feeling.

So, we may not be going on our usual holiday this year, but at least one member of the Williams clan will be representing us over there at some point in the coming months. The programme lasts for a year so it is a big step for Emily. I’m sure it will be a fantastic adventure, and a life changing experience.

More than anything, we are just so proud of what she has already achieved. Those long journeys to London, the hours of me walking the streets of the capital whilst she interviewed, the slightly dodgy hotel we stayed in just around the corner from the Disney HQ and all the weeks and weeks of waiting have been worth it.

I strongly recommend that you follow Emily on Twitter and at her blog to hear all about her excitement, preparation and first, some more waiting to get a date. It hasn’t quite sunk in that she’ll (hopefully, if you know what I mean) be away from home for a year, but I can’t think of a better place for her to be.

Well done Emily!

Till the next time….