Respite Our Best Efforts

Of course the work isn’t finished, why would you even ask? A bit of activity happened, some no shows on a few days followed due to random “issues” and we still plod on towards the inevitable end or my death, whichever comes first as a merciful release.

Anyway, this is not something I wish to focus on this week. I have news. As a side note, you should be very grateful that I do have news, otherwise this week you would be reading an endless moan about drain blockages, leaking pipes (separate incidents on consecutive days) and the enormous stress and expense of resolving them.

One day last week, I think it was Tuesday, Louise appeared in my office/conservatory having made a decision.

She had been thinking, having been confined to bed for many hours with the Covid (yes, she has been stricken but luckily I remained uninfected this time). We needed a holiday she declared, and we could not go on indefinitely without one. She would find suitable respite care for her Mum and we were to go away, immediately, if not sooner.

I was tasked with finding something suitable and again, you may think my first port of call would be a trans-Atlantic flight but it was not. I spent a little while looking at European options, such as Greece and the like and presented a few options to Louise.

To cut a long story short, (it wasn’t that long, she just turned down all the non-Florida options and told me to book Florida) she forced me to go to Florida again. This was mid-morning on Tuesday. By that evening I had researched, planned and booked everything, right down to fast lane security at Manchester and airport parking and had checked into most of the hotels online. I am very good at this.

It may be a popular misconception that our continued patronage of Florida is all my doing, but if you consult the history of our trips, you will find that Louise is often the catalyst.

This will not be our usual trip. Firstly, it will just be Louise and me. Secondly, we will not be frequenting any WDW parks. I know this may shock you, or maybe not. This holiday is mainly for relaxing and the recharging of batteries, so the concept of having to be awake at 7am to battle for things just isn’t something we want to contemplate. I know I will inevitably plan more than I should, but this will be a much more relaxed affair, with pools, going with the flow, relaxing and eating lovely food being the watchwords.

It is a double-edged sword, as I know I will miss the WDW parks when we are adjacent to them, but equally, going to them without the girls, Tom and the boys would be very strange too. We will especially miss World Showcase and I suppose we could shell out for a day ticket, but then we have to worry about getting a park reservation and it’s just a hassle we don’t need.

We are going to stay in some nice places, enjoy the resorts and sneak in some Universal Front of Line park time towards the end.

So what is the plan? Well……assuming we get to go with the health issues of Mary and my Dad, (I have made sure everything I have booked is cancellable until as late as possible)…..

We fly on the 19th of September with Aer Lingus from Manchester. Due to work stuff I could not get out of, this was the earliest date I could come up with. It gives me just over three weeks to lose four stone though.

Our first three nights are at the Yacht Club. You probably know that this is one of my favourite places on the planet and some days spent around Stormalong Bay, and strolls around the Boardwalk with some added Jellyrolls will kick off the relaxation.

Then, despite not going to any WDW parks, we head to Port Orleans Riverside for five nights. I know little of this resort, but to be frank, at this late stage there was very little still available. I consulted a couple of those DVC resort availability websites, thinking I may rent some points, but there was literally nothing available for any of our dates. I had wanted to go to Vero Beach for a few days but there was zero availability.

Anyway, Port Orleans looks lovely and has a lot of eateries and activities along with the required pool(s). There is also the boat service to Disney Springs which will come in handy too.

Then we move to Universal and another stay at the Royal Pacific Resort for three nights, to do more pool stuff and to get our park fix, with the essential Front Of Line, which means we can dip in and out as and when we like, without worrying about lines, wait times or any of the overly complex nonsense that a WDW park now requires.

We end the trip with three nights at the Dolphin. We have never stayed at this resort or the Swan, but again location is the major draw here.

We fly home on the 3rd of October.

I have promised myself and Louise that I will not over-plan this thing. I may make the odd ADR but I really just want to be able to eat when we’re hungry and not have to be looking at the time and getting stressed about Louise making us late for everything! We’ll see how that goes!!

Excitement levels are low at this stage, as we know a lot can happen between now and then, but we are past masters at not knowing if we are going on a trip until the last minute, thanks to the pandemic, but we are both very ready for the break.

I am sure it is psychological but ever since I pressed the button to book, I seem to have succumbed to absolute apathy for anything work-related. I had been hunkered down ready for the long haul through winter without a break and now I know we might be going away, I feel exhausted and can muster very little enthusiasm for anything related to what I do to pay the bills. I am a mard arse as I only went away in January, but it’s been a tough old time in many ways since. Well, that’s my excuse anyway.

It’s funny how our shortest countdown ever feels very far away right now.

Who knows by the time we get back in early October the work in the garden may be finished?

Till the next time…….

Can You Dig It?

Brace yourselves.

The conservatory…….is finished!

Well, I say finished…the workmen have left for the last time so they are done. I have a few small DIY tasks that I have to do (badly) which fell in between all the various trades that worked on it. I have some floor edging stuff to do on the stairs and some beading around the wooden cover for the electric box. This is the sort of detail you need of a Sunday I know.

That happened on Friday. All week we’d been braced for the start of the groundwork at the back and despite a promise of Tuesday, a brief visit to check a few things out on Wednesday it wasn’t until Friday that we were told they would definitely be coming. Of course, it had to happen that despite all the available days, both sets of workmen had to be coming on the same day!

Well, thanks to a fire on the M6 our groundwork chaps sat in traffic for four hours before giving it up. So all that happened on that day was the delivery of the digger and dumper truck.

Do not worry, the next day they were here bright and early and things got going. To access the back of our house, there is a ramp around the side and Saturday morning was the first morning since living here that someone had chosen to park in front of the gate that leads to it. So I spent much of early Saturday knocking on neighbour’s doors, asking if they owned said car.

Long story short, we did not get that car moved, but we did find the owner of the one next to it who moved it and allowed the machinery to squeeze past up onto our field.

Naturally, being peak summer, it rained all Saturday whilst they were working, and in the early stages there were definitely some “what have we done?” moments.

It was better for my mental health not to watch too much, to be honest. By the time they left they had made decent progress with only one minor scare when the digger driver thought he was heading for our conservatory.

You can now start to see the shape of what we are trying to do. One big terrace level at the bottom for a table and chairs etc and one smaller terrace above it mainly to stop the field coming into the kitchen and for flower pots and other stuff that I will not be involved in sourcing.

The thing that concerns me most right now is the photo above shows where the digger was left. It has rained for 24 hours and I have visions of the rain eroding….

the earth beneath it and the digger coming down the hill at speed into our only just finished conservatory. I’ll be very glad when they are back tomorrow to move it. They are bringing a smaller digger tomorrow to get down onto the respective new levels to square them off etc. Hopefully, by early next week, we’ll be past the digging bit and into the putting it back together bit.

This is the worst part of any job for me with my aversion to mess and disruption. It still has to get a little bit worse before it starts to get better. Anyway, this huge investment in our outdoor space will be well worth it so that we can enjoy these endless summers we are experiencing so frequently in the UK!

It has been a while since this blog brought you news of any Florida adventures, but that changes today. Last week, Rebecca and Tom booked a holiday for next April and they are, quite rightly, very excited about the whole thing. They are doing ten nights at Animal Kingdom and then four nights Royal Pacific at Universal. They are in the very early planning stages and it will be weird for them having to plan stuff for themselves and even weirder for me to not to take over and try to plan stuff for them! I am trying to strike the balance between helpful advice and meddling idiot. I think we all know which way that may go.

I shall leave you now, as I have a mound of muck with a digger on top of it to stare at for the rest of the day. If you hear on the news about a fat lad up North getting crushed to death by heavy machinery in his conservatory then you’ll know what happened.

Till the next time…..