Fly my pretties. Not at those prices!!!

It is a constant inconvenience that I live on the wrong continent.  Yep, you guessed it, the annual addiction has kicked in, and both Louise and I have reached the “Goddam it, we need a holiday” point simultaneously.

I have therefore spent my week using a Kayak, and I don’t mean one of these.

Not this

It is therefore a thorn in our collective sides that there is a huge piece of water between us and our desired destination.  Well I say our…I may have conceded that another trip to Disney is not on the cards, but my continent of choice is still North America.  When asked why, I can only shrug my shoulders, reference the TV programmes Benidorm, and Shameless, and explain that if I wished to live in either, I am close enough to the dodgier parts of Manchester to do so.

This chunk of water is a right pain, as it takes an even bigger chunk of cash to sling shot our collective frames across it, and this, at this point seems to be a blocker.  The complete lack of any budget at all is also a slight blocker, but still it doesn’t hurt to look does it?  Well, I’ll tell you it bloody does hurt, as it rubs your untanned nose in it, that you have no chance of getting to your desired destination unless you either take the kids out of school (let’s not have a debate!) or simply leave them at home.

Should we be able to overcome the budgetary crisis and aviate ourselves to the US, our tentative, yet futile plans are quite loose.  We are considering either a West Coast trip, or a return to Florida, but bypassing the routine of theme parks for a jaunt further south, to the beaches of the East Cost, and maybe the Keys.

Anyhow, I may as well be planning a quick trip around the moon.  Both are equally likely.

In terms of the flight prices we are seeing, well the average is around £750, which when you times it by four is just north of way too much for us.  I don’t know why I do it to myself, but if I nudge our dates out by a day or two, until just after the girls have to be back at school, the prices fall mockingly into our “that’s reasonable” bracket.  Education is over rated I think, however, at the ages they are, there is no longer the option to take them out of school.  Emily will be starting sixth form next September (Yes, I know, incredible!) and Rebecca Year 10.  Back when they were at Infant and Junior School I think we did take them out for a day or two, and they managed to catch up with the colouring in OK.

Louise is less precious about the destination, and just wants some sun and relaxing.  I’m up for that, but I fear we have created a monster with the girl’s expectations of a holiday, and after about four days “sun bathing” they may be climbing the walls, and be on the verge of mass murder for an internet connection.

A quick look at other cheaper, non US options shows that a private villa in somewhere like Spain would be do-able, but I think even Louise would admit that this is a definite Plan B, and one we shall keep as that until all other avenues are exhausted.

Another Saturday night has passed without the correct sequence of balls (this is merely a lottery reference!!), and so we trundle on, battering the internet, hoping that some combination of inputs may make the page throw up some numbers that start with an acceptable figure.  Perhaps if we fly into Alaska and drive down??  Believe me, I have looked at flight options similar to that.

Am I hopeful that we shall find what we need?  Not really.  I fear the flights will price us out of a trip this time around, and as much I will absolutely grumble, I shouldn’t.  We’ve had a good run, and a year off would not be reason enough to herrumph through the year, spitefully cursing the financial crisis, rising fuel costs, and my lack of lottery win.

201 people can't be wrong!!

Finally, in other better news, I passed a Twitter milestone this weekend, and hit 200 followers.  I appreciate this is not Stephen Fry like, but I am pleased nonetheless.  If you follow me, thank you, and if you don’t, that’s probably wise, as the next few weeks may be full of flight price induced rage.

So if anyone spots a flight from Manchester to anywhere vaguely American, sometime in late August, that starts with something less than a six, give me a shout??

Till the next time….

June so soon?

I just need to point out that our fridge has broken.  I appreciate the nine o’clock news will not be troubled by this news but it has really naffed me off.

It isn’t even the main function of the fridge which has broken.  It simply will not dispense water from the fancy water dispenser thing in the door.  After a bit of Googling on the subject the water tank may be frozen.  I’ve turned up the temperature a bit and we’ll see what happens.

The reason this irks me is that there seems these days to be a constant stream of stuff breaking.  A symptom I suppose of having so many gadgets and gizmos (I have them aplenty as my favourite Mermaid might say).  Last week it was Rebecca’s netbook, before that Louise’s car, and next week it will be something else….so just to set the lovely jolly tone for this post, I am not in the finest of moods.

I do of course appreciate that there are many things worse than these minor incidents, but I reserve the right to be in a strop.  OK?


As I mentioned in my last post, I am in milestone mode, and the arrival of June is another on the road to our holidays.

I know the start of June isn’t officially the start of summer, but in my mind it is, as traditional summer stuff happens in June, like Wimbledon, the World Cup, and this year the paying of the balance on our villa.  See, so that last one proves that we are close now….right??  S’funny how usually the thought of dumping hundreds of pounds fills me with dread, (especially on netbooks, cars and fridges) but the cheque sent off today was written with a smile on my face, but looking back, a pen would have made things a whole lot easier.

Of course my notice period rumbles on endlessly, and this in no way meant that last week I spent most of it on the internet watching news events unfold, like the World Cup Squad “announcement” (I’ll come back to this in a minute), Rafa Benitez leaving Liverpool, and Rio Ferdinand getting injured.

For all of these, I think they all showed that the way in which news is relayed is changing (or perhaps has already changed) forever.  Yes, for years the web has been a source of news from official sources, and most people would go to the BBC site for “official news”, but the advent of Twitter is the real change agent here.

News breaks on Twitter first now, and you can find out things much more quickly there than via any official news channel.  To be honest, this will now be the way in which the official sources are getting first wind of news breaking.  With an application like Tweetdeck, as soon as you are vaguely aware of an event, you can create a search column based on any term (I created a “Ferdinand” one and within seconds I had unofficial news of his injury, and that he would miss the World Cup, hours before it was official) and watch people, often on the spot, report on an event.

This meant that the “announcement” of the squad for the World Cup was actually a stream of tweets spread over the day, meaning that by the time the FA posted any sort of official announcement everyone knew the outcome.  Even the unfortunate footballers left out, like Darren Bent, tweeted how gutted he was about three hours before it was official.  It does amaze me how this isn’t thought of by bodies like the FA.  This new fandangled internet thing has changed how stuff works, and they can’t send some bloke out in a blazer with a piece of paper to read stuff out anymore.

I do find this stuff interesting, which is odd, as really I have become familiar with it (or had to) due to the nature of my job, and it is very unlike me to like anything connected with my job.  It will still be relevant to my new one too, probably more so, as that is much more closely connected to how people use the internet on mobile devices, and twitter, specifically to report stuff as it happens, is one of the major ways in which people do and will use their mobile.  It may not be Twitter specifically, but how many of us update Facebook on the move?  This is just news for our friends and connections rather then being about some overpaid fop tweaking a knee.

I know those following me on Twitter will be endlessly enthralled with news on lawn mowing, my tea and where I am dropping the girls off today.

Anyway, I digress…I’m not sure from what, but it felt like I did.

As we creep ever closer to departure, the sacrifice scale increases.  What do I mean?  Well, there are times when at weekend we would like nothing more than to go out for a meal or three, buy this or that, but with dollars to acquire, and the worst exchange rate in the history of the world ever (OK, perhaps I exaggerate) we have to hunker down, and have a few boring weekends.  Even I, with my blind obsession for WDW feel this pain, and it can get quite frustrating.  Ultimately though it is worth it, well it is when we are there.  When we are tied to the couch enduring some bloke cut wood on Britain’s Got Talent I could quite easily give away a large sum of cash just for someone to make it stop.

Annie Hard Knock Life
Just put the dish IN the dishwasher.....

The girls have no issue in not doing a lot.  In fact, if it were an Olympic event I would enter them both.  We have recently decided that the handouts of seemingly unending cash is to stop, and they shall earn some spends each week.  I’m not saying they are on their hands and knees singing Hard Knock Life, but little things like keeping their rooms recognisable as a room, a bit of hoovering and perhaps even managing to get the odd dish into the dishwasher rather than just leaving it either wherever it fell, or at best on the kitchen worktop, will make the house a happier place.

In this way they can fund their trips to Manchester, where they congregate with other Emo types, and stalk boys.  We’ve already had our first “upset” over them both liking the same boy, but it didn’t last long, and to their credit they agreed that being sisters was more important, and they moved on.  Emily has decided that she doesn’t want a boyfriend at the moment, and has recently turned down one boy, which quite upset Louise and I as we think he is great!  He is now going out with one of Emily’s friends instead…how fickle these boys are!!

Mirror, mirror on the wall.....

Rebecca on the other hand definitely does want a boyfriend, and seems to have a different one each week, but most of them are mainly over Facebook.

She changes her status one way or another, for one boy or another, most times not even having actually been “out” with them.  Bless her, she is finding her feet, and is ever so slightly conscious of her looks at the moment so we have to walk on egg shells most of the time.

At the risk of sounding like a biased Dad, if only she knew how beautiful she was…..same goes for Emily who has so little confidence in how she looks it is scary.

On another totally unrelated topic (why change the habit of a blog-time), it is looking like we will have three Dibb meets whilst in the US.  Now, again, this is a sign of how life has been changed by the internet.  Even when the internet was established in our lives the prospect of meeting people from off of the internet would have been a bit odd.

Through a mutual love of WDW we have met some lovely people, and we are pleased to call them friends now (not sure what they call us though).  Our three meets this year consist of two regulars, Jakki (TinkTatoo) and her family, and Margaret (gala) and two of her kids.

Jakki is leaving Florida on our first day, so we have a very limited window of opportunity.  We’ve arranged to meet at the Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom.  We shall try not to gloat too much at their impending departure, but to be honest, they will have been in the US for about six months anyway, so my sympathy will be limited!!

Margaret happens to be staying at the Hard Rock Hotel on the same night, so we’ve arranged to meet at the pool bar for cocktails.  There is nothing in the theory I can see you formulating that these meets are taking place around cakes and cocktails.  They are simply the most convenient locations available!!

I’ve also got a yet to be fully arranged arrangement to meet up with Andy (Woody) as he is staying at the Beach Club at the same time as us.  Again, I suspect this will be alcohol based.  Having met Andy several times already (virtually) whilst playing Call of Duty on the Xbox, I’ll just have to look out for the bloke in the army uniform, fully armed, shooting at people.

Having also struck up a now fairly long lasting friendship with Mike Jones, and latterly his wife Amanda, based on a web site, I come back to my theme of stuff changing how we live our lives.  It could very well be the case that my girls meet their future partners courtesy of the internet, and for their generation, any stigma we may or may not have about that will have long gone.  They spend half their waking lives on the thing so the odds of a relationship starting there is pretty good.  Don’t worry we’ve had the “conversation” about nasty folks etc……

This brings me to a parting thought, on this topic of change, that I don’t think I’ve shared with you yet, but I may have so apologies if so, but it is very relevant here.  The headmaster at the girls’ school said that around 40% of the pupils now at school will do a job that hasn’t yet been invented.

I’m pretty sure I have mentioned that already, but hey ho, you are not paying to read this drivel!!

In life only change is constant.  Someone clever said that, and it wasn’t me.  My favourite piece of wisdom, that I really did invent is, In the great block of flats of life, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.  Think about it.

Till the next time…..