The Disney Do is Done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M6 toll
It certainly took it

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nurse Oli
Nurse Oli
Oli Bra
Roger Wilco!

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

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

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

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

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

Till the next time…..

Barney and Barmy Traffic

Jazz Flute, wheels of cheese, sex panther and the gun show.  It can only mean one thing.  Yep, Anchorman is on, and it is one of those films that make me laugh no matter how many times I see it.

Every character is excellent, but I do have a soft spot for Brian Fantana, played by Paul Rudd.

Time to musk up

So forgive me if I’m a little distracted as I rattle this off.

Last week I forgot to plug something that I should have.  After a break of too long I finally penned something for the WDW Dads site, so please, if you haven’t already, pop over and have a read.

OK, so other than pointing you at day twelve of the trip report, I think we can begin.

The week just gone has been fairly ordinary, as it was filled with far too much work…roughly about five days worth.  I made the schoolboy error of arranging to be down south in Head Office on Thursday and Friday for some meetings.  As everyone knows, Friday afternoons is when the volume of traffic on the UK’s motorways doubles as everyone tends to be at the opposite end of the country that they need to be.

Thursday was a fancy dress day in the office.  How I enjoy these sorts of things!!  The theme was purple.  I could explain why, but really it wouldn’t make that much sense, so I won’t.  It may not surprise you to learn that my wardrobe does not contain a wide variety of purple garments, so this caused me an issue.  I dallied with the idea of going the whole hog and renting a proper costume, but

a) I’m tight

b) I would have felt like a giant tool

c) I left it too late so sort one out

So instead, with an impressive amount of forethought, I sent Louise a text at 5pm on Wednesday evening, asking if she’d call somewhere on her way home to get me some “purple clothes”.  The results were a purple polo shirt and a pair of purple jeans.  Yes, I now own purple jeans…skinny ones at that.

So I left the house at 5am the next day looking like an overweight bruise.  The day passed without too much to note, and I had guessed the level of effort correctly.  It is always a concern with these things, especially when new in a company, that you gauge this correctly.  You don’t want to turn up in a Barney costume only to find that everyone else has worn a purple hat.  Ironically, someone did turn up as Barney, but most were just in simple purple attire so that was OK.

After a busy couple of days, the end of the week approached and for the first time I had to do the drive north on a Friday.  The levels of fear and trepidation felt were totally justified, as the usual three and a half hour journey turned into five.

If it is possible to hate a section of tarmac then the M6 is it.  Listening to the radio, they seemed to gloss over the severity of the chaos that was taking place.  As I came off the M6 toll, the brake lights lit up in front of me, and pretty much stayed on until I left the M6 at Junction 22 several hours later.

It was pants.  The constant stop start brake nonsense was only surpassed in the aggravation stakes by those who felt the need to fill the couple of car’s lengths I was leaving between myself and the braker in front.  By Crewe my mood was black.  Never shall I meet anyone in Marlow again on a Friday!  Seriously, what happens to motorway traffic on a Friday?

Oh yes, and at the risk of generalising….if you drive a Mercedes Sprinter you are probably going too fast!

Once home, the weekend has been uneventful, due to post holiday insolvency and the fact that Emily and Louise have been buried in coursework.  Of course, Emily has been off all last week for half term but felt it better to wait until the weekend to get it all done!  Ironically once she had finished it about half an hour ago, she found out from a friend that it wasn’t due in until Wednesday.  Justice!

We’ve spotted Rebecca a couple of times for meals and bedtime as her hectic social calendar keeps her busy.  She’s started a YouTube channel with her friend, and on Saturday she went to Manchester for something called a YouTube gathering.  I don’t really understand what it was, but I think it was an event where all these internet phenom….phanom….fenome….people who have lots of people watching their videos went to meet their fans.

Anyway, I should do a push for Rebecca’s You Tube channel, and ask you to subscribe as her numbers are a little low right now.  Click this!  I hope that is the right link.  Go on subscribe, and make me a hero in her eyes!!

Next time I bump into her she may express her thanks if she gets a minute.

Who knows what next week will bring, but I can assure you it won’t see me on the M6 on Friday!

Till the next time……

Tardy Remissness…

Well it has been far too long since my last post.  Apologies.

It seems much has happened, but nothing really of earth shattering importance.

As I mentioned right at the end of the last post, I spent a couple of days in the South West “on business”.  Bristol and Stroud don’t really conjure up those cosmopolitan images of exciting business trips that some must endure, to New York or Hong Kong, but at least it got me away from the office for two days.  Adding on the lack of a Friday due to Easter it made for a very pleasant week….well as pleasant as a working week can be.  I do wonder what it might be like to have a job that you actually enjoy and have a passion for.

Don’t get me wrong, I have passion for what I do, to the extent that I want to do a decent job, and get upset when folks either get in the way of that or don’t want to join in.  For all my joshing, I have worked bloody hard for the past 23 years (Oh God that is depressing) and have reached a fairly decent position….but I can’t hand on heart say that I love my job.

I think a lot of that is down to the fact that when I’m gone, I won’t be leaving behind Nobel Prizes and earth changing legacies.  More a list of modest acheivements and regrets that I didn’t try harder to be a pop star when I still had hair!!

Yep, that's the way home.

Anyway, back to the story…whilst in Stroud I again stayed at the Ragged Cot which is a cut above the usual Travelodge style place our budget dictates we stay at.  As well as some (honestly) useful meetings, we did just seem to eat for 24 hours, which can never be a bad thing.  Mental note – actually start the pre holiday diet fat boy, rather than just keep talking about it.

Then of course we had the Easter break, and I must say that a four day weekend should be the norm.  If any party stood at the next election with that on their manifesto I would not only vote for them, I’d be out there now canvassing!!  Forget the small issue of an unsustainable economy, it makes perfect sense to me.

Those familiar with the Pavlov’s Dog theory will perhaps understand my theory of Bank Holidays.  After the bleak winter months, at the first sign of temperatures above zero, and an extra day or two to fill, the entire nation throws itself into DIY.  Some do it as they enjoy it.  I however rank DIY just above removing my eyes with a rusty fork.  Still, the theory held true as we spent most of the long weekend painting.

Louise was of course to blame, as she did her usual trick of starting a job, knowing that I am unable to cope with a half finished project.  So after many days hard slog we now have a chocolate kitchen wall (yes, just one, and not real chocolate…just the colour), which to be fair has made a huge difference to the room, and our whites are sparkling.  That as a result of my non stop glossing.

Chocolate Wall
Bring on the wall!!

I did count the weekend a success though as I managed to avoid setting foot in B&Q.  However as we drove past it during the weekend we did spot the rest of the western world queuing to get on the car park…proving my theory of course.

So back to work, but only for four days so not all bad.  On Wednesday an ex boss of mine called me offering a ticket to Old Trafford that evening.  He is an Everton fan, and I support Liverpool, so this may sound a little odd, but his new company “does corporate” there, so for the sake of a night out and meeting up with him for a chat I of course accepted.

There was a real sense of foreboding as we walked from his office at Salford Quays to Old Trafford, and every United fan who looked at me seemed to be seeing some sort of “I support the enemy” tattoo on my forehead.

Still, it is always a nice experience to see a big football match live, and for someone with my allegiances, imagine my delight to see United go out after leading 3-0 on the night.

Old Trafford
Enemy Soil, literally.

Some may think that you should always support the English team in these situations, but those are people who simply don’t understand the rivalry between Liverpool and United.  I have many friends who support United, and we get along fine, and even can exchange some ribbing both ways after a game.  I am old enough and sensible enough to seperate the two, but the hatred for United as a concept is deep seated and irrevocable I’m afraid.

Friday brought a mini crisis only resolved by having some true friends (who happen not to support United).  The crisis was that I have an ageing cocker.

For those who don’t know, he is called Henry, and is the family dog.  For some time he has been plagued with nasal issues…namely a lovely stream of excess snot.  This is managed by some regular medication from the vet, which seems to be funding his annual holidays and retirement fund.  Over the last few days though it has reached a whole new level in yuk.

The vet was visited again on Friday evening, and it seems that my glossing antics may well have irritated his hooter (not as much as it irritated me having to do it).  The plan was to get some more pills (he wants a three week holiday this year I guess) and if possible to get Henry out of the house for a bit.  As he probably wouldn’t appreciate sleeping in the back garden, we called our good friends Steve and Di, who looked after him when we went away last summer.  They agreed, and this meant we had to do a hand off just off junction 28 of the M62 on Frday evening.  There was nothing illegal involved here, Steve and Di live in Yorkshire, so this was a suitable middle ground.  By the sound of things Henry is having a ball, and hopefully his hooter will be smeg free soon so he can come home.  When the kids get a cold, we’re going to use the same trick to palm them off to Yorkshire as well.

Speaking of friends who actually do support United, to round of this latest post, we entertained Mike and Amanda last night.  At the risk of sounding a little odd, I met Mike on the internet!!  This was many years ago now.  We were both members of The Dibb, and realised we live not far apart, and made that huge leap of actually meeting up in the flesh!

We have many things in common, such as a love of Disney/Florida and a hatred of our jobs, but a realisation that we must endure the latter to have any chance of enjoying the former.

Having spent many an evening around their fire pit, we have taken the plunge and invested in one for ourselves.  Wow, a fire pit and decking….as Rik from the Young Ones would have said “Stop being so blinking Bourgeoisie Neil”.  Even though I am not called Neil.

Fire Pit
Help, the decking is alight!!

Again having avoided B&Q for another weekend, we enjoyed a nice evening staring into the fire and poking it with a stick.  Nights don’t get much more exciting.  So much so that Louise wandered off to bed well before Mike and Amanda left, which was in no way related to the amount of red wine consumed.  She was just tired.

So today is to be a true day of rest, before the diet starts tomorrow (other phrases in the same category…the cheque is on the post, we don’t mind looking after your snotty dog and I have no homework Dad honest).

Till the next time….