Notes From No Man’s Land.

Greetings. Having spent the last fifteen weeks or so using my weekly blog to report on our latest US adventure, I find myself trying to use my now flabby and out of shape blogging muscle to somehow come up with something to write that isn’t based on rides and food. Bear with me as I ease myself back into the weekly discipline of thinking of something to write.

I am slap bang in the middle of a glorious two-week break from work. It felt needed, and of course, by the time I’ve relearnt how to do nothing, I’ll be heading back into the daily grind once again, rueing not spending the downtime more wisely by doing even less than I did.

Our Christmas has been gloriously unspectacular. We hosted on the day, somehow catering for nine, with only about eight hours of hard labour in the kitchen required and our house still hasn’t recovered, with pots, plates and presents still strewn about the place like the aftermath of a particularly wild party at Mary Berry’s.

I could post ten minutes of video here, showing Freddie ignoring every present but one at our house on Christmas morning, but it wouldn’t be fair to expect anyone not related to us to sit through that.

OK, I’ll post one of the clips at a mere five minutes or so which outlines the chaos of the unwrapping process with two dogs and the glories of the Bolton accent. Louise will love it…..

The dogs did, of course, get their own gifts, courtesy of Emily so it’s only right you see that too. There’s nothing like quality content and….well, you can complete the punchline.

Other than that we have had some lovely lazy days, doing not much more than hoovering up leftovers and clearing the fridge of all the stuff we overbought whilst binge-watching stuff. It’s what God and the baby Jesus would want.

I know I spent much of my trip report bemoaning illness, and in some ways, I have never fully recovered from that since my return to the UK. I have, it seems, been snotty, coughy and achy ever since. However, over the festive period, most of the family, and it seems most of the UK, have been struck down by cold-related illness, Freddie included, and it’s fortunate that we are off work to enjoy our respective conditions to the fullest.

If I were a proper blogger who spent time planning what spews onto the page this post would be a glorious retrospective review of the past year and indeed past decade, a decade for which I have blogged almost every week in its entirety.

Instead, I am stumbling around this Twxitmas no man’s land in a tired daze, wondering if it’s possible to eat yourself to death. Of course, should you wish to occupy your downtime in this festive wasteland, there are something like 450 blog posts from me you could wade through. That would save me having to apply any brainpower to looking back at all that time.

Having started blogging in November 2009 I have documented all manner of crap in that time. The decade about to end has, like with every one of you reading this, delivered some highs and of course some heartbreaking, soul-crushing lows. On the negative side, I will remember the decade for two of the most upsetting episodes in my life, which I won’t be sharing here, but, as you must, you suck it up, deal with it and move on. Of course, things could have been worse and we are blessed in many ways that I undoubtedly don’t appreciate enough.

Of course, one of those blessings has been the arrival of Freddie into our lives. It can be incredibly tedious to listen to someone pap on about their kids and grandkids, but hey, I’m not about to break the habit of a lifetime, but it has been THE highlight of this or any recent decade. What a fun-filled, joy-giving bundle of perfection he is and I apologise for my past and future Freddie related gushings.

A feature, and of course highlight of the last decade (or two) have been our Florida trips. We’ve been fortunate enough…no bollocks to that…we’ve worked our absolute arses off and endured all kinds of soul-crushing stuff to be able to afford them, and we’ve done all manner of glorious things and eaten all kinds of filthy nonsense. They have defined the childhood’s of the girls in many ways, and, fingers crossed they will continue to do the same for them and Freddie in the years to come.

So that’ll do for today. Hopefully, the new year and decade of blogging will see a glorious return to the incredible content I am renowned for producing.

Image result for spacey side eye gif

Look, I know I overuse this gif but it is useful in so many ways.

I hope the new year celebrations and whatever follows them are kind to you and yours and your WDW trips are frequent and glorious. Seasons greetings and best wishes for 2020 and beyond from everyone here at Mkingdon Towers.

Till the next time…….

Premature Celebrations

Happy New Years Eve. We did our going out last night in an attempt to avoid crowds, vast expense and knob heads. Think of it as being at the park for rope drop to get on Toy Story Mania. Such premature celebrations mean we can be safely positioned on our couch when the dogs go beserk at all the fireworks at midnight tonight. I am really looking forward to that.

Louise, Emily and I went for a lovely Chinese. Not that this recommendation will be much use to either of my readers who live miles away, but if anyone else stumbles across this, Tung Fong in Worsley is excellent. I think the name translates to Fat Bastard.

In trying to keep my hand in for trip report writing in about 240 days, I took some food photos.

My lack of practice is displayed there, with half of my lemon chicken being in my belly before the camera captured it. What is more amazing than how full I was on the drive home was the fact that I woke up hungry this morning.

Aside from the madness of going out on New Year’s Eve my biggest issue with it is the concept of new starts, new diets, resolutions and all that stuff. Sure, I need to lose some weight and I will, as I’m ready to, but the immediate switch of all the adverts from food excess to gyms, weight watchers and fitness DVDs drives me up the wall.

I’m not too big on lengthy reviews of the last year either. This is mainly as I struggle to remember what happened, but my summary of last year is this. Freddie’s arrival was a huge and monumental highlight. We had a great holiday in April and Mustard have gone from strength to strength during the last year.

Pretty much everything else seems to have been a great big hairy ball sack of never ending stress, drama, worry and shite. Now, I recognise that this isn’t 100% true. I’m quite good at not remembering or recognising the stuff we are blessed with. We’re all healthy, housed and here after all, but 2017 has seen some of the worst, darkest and most testing times that my little family unit has ever been through. I probably say that every year, but this year it is less melodramatic than usual. We’ve been through some really deep shit this year.

Standard caveat time –

I know many folks, including both of my readers will have been through worse. Indeed to remind me of this fact, my Dad has spent the last few days in hospital following a planned procedure. I will not include the details of what he has been subjected to, as it will make your eyes water, but safe to say that it has been a traumatic end to the year for him.

Our Christmas was a bit strange as, apart from Christmas Day, Louise has worked every day. That has been rubbish if I’m honest. mainly for her of course, but it hasn’t felt too much like Christmas due to that. The day itself was lovely, with Freddie getting lots of presents he has no concept of, and the meal going pretty smoothly. I got some great presents this year. Louise got me one of those fandangled Virtual Reality things for my PS4. It is weird! It is very immersive and a bit discombobulating but great fun.

I got some delightful Dunhill smellies from Rebecca and Tom, which was handy as my Sex Panther had run out some time ago.

Louise also got me some Sauvage as I must remind her so much of that bloke in the advert…

Either that, or getting two lots of after shave just means I smell and they are staging an intervention.

Emily got me a new camera. Clearly she is being paid for too much if she can afford to spoil me in this manner. It is a belter and I can only hope it will finally allow me to capture at least one firework photo that isn’t blurry nonsense.

So now, with the tree in our front room looking tired and droopy, representing quite nicely that feeling of Christmas ending, and everyone’s bloated excess, thoughts turn towards the return to work, the fear that none of my work clothes will still fit and the realisation that I haven’t missed it at all. I also know that at some point in the coming days we have to undecorate the tree and somehow wrestle it outside, in the process spreading pine needles to every corner of the house where we will still be finding them in August.

At the ending of a year, I do need to thank everyone who has read any of this stuff over the last 12 months. I’ll be honest and say it amazes me that you still do and I am very grateful for every one of you. Some weeks, these posts are easy to do and others not, which I would imagine also relates to the reading of them, so many thanks for your perseverance and loyalty through the bad and above average content. From me and everyone in the Mkingdon family, I hope your 2018 is everything you want it to be and if at all possible it involves a chunk of time in Florida if that is your wish.

Till the next time….

Not a slow motion montage of 2012.

Well, we survived Christmas, and despite consuming silly amounts of food (mainly desserts and chocolates) I have not had to buy new clothes.  This is good.

I would declare this Christmas a decent one, and I have absolutely loved being at home for an extended run of days.  It has proved to me, as if proof were needed, that I would be absolutely superb as a lottery winner.  I am a firm believer that if anyone wins enough to ensure they need never work again, and they continue working then they should be stripped of the money, and it be given to someone else, ideally me.

I don’t get this “I’d be bored if I didn’t work” thing.  I have filled every day very easily, and that is without having the luxury of endless funds with which to entertain myself and the family.  With a few million in the bank I don’t know how I’d find time to even think about my previous life where I was a slave to an alarm clock and overdraft.

Most weeks I go through the thought process, in some detail, of exactly what I would do with a sizeable lottery win.  I won’t go into the level of planning I undertake as you would think me sad(der), but whenever those balls wish to drop I am more than ready.  Are you listening Dale?

Anyway, back to xmas just gone, and as you are no doubt aware we were hosting.  The burden was lightened by everyone who came bringing with them a vital element of the meal, so really it was just about finding somewhere for every one to sit.

The day started too early, with Rebecca as ever channeling her five-year old self.  After trying to go for a quiet wee around 7.30am, I got back to bed to find a text from Rebecca asking if she could get up yet.  Knowing that Emily’s body would probably require about four more hours sleep we tried to stall her as long as possible but within minutes she was up in Emily’s room making a nuisance of herself.  Luckily Emily spared her life and we piled downstairs to open presents.

Eye contact is not advisable this early

About 30 seconds later she had them all opened

From various sources Oli had as many presents as the girls.  He liked this one a lot.


The rest of the day was a blur of gifts, family, eggnog and food…so much food.

Rebecca channeling Bet Lynch with that top
Rebecca channeling Bet Lynch with that top

xmas day meal
Some of the clan

Since Christmas Day we have waved off most of the family as they left for Florida where they are right now.  This.Is.Absolutely.Fine.  Moving on.

So thoughts now turn to the New Year, and no doubt you are already overdosed on slow motion montages of 2012, and those ever so hilarious not at all scripted panel shows where they tell us all what happened in case we’d forgotten.

As I can’t do slow motion montages, I’ll keep my review brief.  2012 was, like pretty much every year, a mixed bag of ups and downs.  It is tempting to slag off every year and say you are glad to see the back of it, but if you keep doing that all you end up is dead.

The year about to end was busy, traumatic in some ways but also included some good stuff too.  Of course us somehow managing another Florida trip was a major highlight for me, but just to prove the point about ups and downs, of course Mum’s illness preventing them coming along wasn’t great.

Louise started her nursing course in 2012, which is the realisation of a long-held ambition, and despite some real downs I have ended the year in a really good place job wise.  Incredibly after ten years in one place I have changed jobs three times this year.  The first by choice, mainly on a point of principle after how they treated a load of people who worked for me.  The second was more or less forced as the company was heading for a brick wall, and the third was flatteringly via some head hunting, but awkwardly only a few weeks after starting a new job.  I am often the first to bemoan our luck and look for the worst in a situation, but the way in which that happened, and the job and company I have now settled with was pretty much a gift from the gods.

The girls are healthy, happy (as much as teenagers can be amidst their raging hormones and mood swings) and not on drugs, dependent on alcohol or familiar to the police.  I’ll settle for that.

We also moved house in 2012.  The fact that this happened right in the middle of job move number two made the early summer probably one of the most stressful times of my life.  Having to secure a new job and deal with the inevitable nonsense of a move was not good.  Sure, people go through a lot worse, but I don’t want to repeat that thanks.

The wider world outside the Williams sanctum has crumbled to shit a little more in the past twelve months.  Financial disaster, corruption, scandal and lies have dominated the headlines.  Basically if you were on TV between 1970 and 1985 you should expect to be arrested in 2013.

So looking ahead to 2013, I expect another year of similar ups and downs.  Aside from the inevitable lottery win that is bound to come our way (isn’t it?) there won’t be a Florida holiday.  I know, I know, you won’t believe me but unless a whole heap of cash falls into our lap there is no chance.  The house is screaming at us to spend money on it, and a holiday is rightly someway behind all that in the pecking order.

In the few short months since we got here we have converted the loft, repaired the chimney, cosmetically enhanced the kitchen as best we can without a full refit, titivated Rebecca’s room and painted various bits of the bathroom.  Of course I also bled the radiators!!

The list of what we still want and need to do is longer than the list of desserts I ate on Christmas Day.

Between now and the end of the summer Emily will be doing her A levels and Rebecca her GCSEs.  The house could turn into a war zone in the battle to get them to do sufficient work and revision.  I am of course looking forward to that!

Our journey into the new year will be just Louise and I, as both the girls are out at parties, and of course the rest of the family are in bloody WDW! We intend to raise hell with a visit to the pictures and a meal in local pub.  I am the Ozzie Osbourne of the North West.  Making it to midnight is not guaranteed!

So I wish you all well for the New Year, thank you for your support and time in tolerating the trip report(s), and your continued interest in and reading of these weekly verbal vomits is astounding and appreciated in equal measure.

So there you go, probably the only retrospective of 2012 you will come across without mentioning the Olympics…oh bollocks!

Till the next time….Till the next year…..