Thursday, 29 December 2011

Day 10 : 16 December

..interesting thought for the day.. from my straw poll survey of the reading material viewed on our beach, it seems it is the practical goal-led men who have plumped for the Kindle, whilst the ladies, perhaps the more touchy feely emotional of the two sexes, have stayed with the real books.  Maybe we girls like to feel that a book has been 'read' and looks like ti too when we put it back on the shelf, recalling the moments we had when reading it?

I wasn't too impressed with One Day and kind of said so to Col & JB at breakfast.  Two hours later I hit the last two chapters and the book redeemed itself..not the cliche ending I had expected, but enough of that in case you sometimes fall on it yourself..

Almost a hoodie!

We had our first full 4-man snorkel today, though Kate kind of uses the time in the water to practice her acro moves in the almost weightless conditions!  Legs and arms everywhere, just glad she has a good eye for the sharks, moray eels, lion fish and finally the antennae of the crayfish near the end of the snorkel.  A thundery shower came as we swam to the beach, swimming then in the pool in a downpour, great fun... though walking back in the rain had Kate wishing for hot chocolate and a hoodie.. ahh, the warmth of a hoodie and comfort food.

This evening we gave the bar a miss and cosied up, 4 in a huge bed, watched TV, ate the choc and crisps we bought at inflated prices in the souvenir shop, and talked of Christmas. (I wouldn't give it a second thought, but the kids get the vibe from the short time they spend catching up with the UK on Facebook!)  I was heartened though to hear the girls talk about the best bits of Christmas, the sitting room being smaller and cosier as the tree takes up space, the chocoaltes, big meals with everyone around the tableand sharing the presents and the surprises with each other.... awwhhhh xx

Day 9 : 15 December

We are really getting settled in, Jordan has attracted the attention of one of our waiters.. how things change in a year or so.. she wishes now she could feel invisible again.. yeah, right!  Some of the guys make origami creatures for us, though I'm not sure if they have just made them or if there is a stash somewhere they can use when a pretty girl comes by!

The guys are so kind, say hello to everyone and there are just so many people on holiday there who don't even acknowledge that... so I make sure to always have a smile and a chat. One of the waiters in our restaurant, they call him 'Don' has a whole range of East End slang and chat,, wanna buy a motor / good afterrrrnoooon / How's my old mucker / apples and pairs etc etc. He is turns out he learnt a lot of it when he worked on another (posher) island and met Ross Kemp, years ago, when he was on East Enders and he was with Rebecca Brookes.. oh, a lot of water under those bridges since then eh?

We chat a lot when we eat and sometimes when the conversation gets a little heated, in depth or laborious Kate has this funny little squeal noise she makes; it's so funny, just part of her and I think it will be one of the trademark comedy moments of the holiday!

We took a sabbatical from the All Inclusive tonight and treated ourselves to a sunset and then pizza at the Palm Court, but although it was very nice, and particularly to eat out properly, waiting between servings etc, our hearts remain with Dominos!  The ice creams were fab though, I loved the passion fruit one... mmmm xx

Day 8 : 14 December

View from our dining table
.. NMD today Colin announced to Jordan at breakfast.. No Moaning Day..funny how easy it is in the real world and then on holiday to bemoan almost everything that happens.. well Kate stayed in bed and JB was very quiet, but it was worth saying and I think the second week will be easier, wth us all settling into spending so much more time together.. it isn't a natural thing and does take some getting used to I guess. 

As for me and Col, it's pretty easy as we work all day together, just now he is on relax mode and it's nice to see him without a frown in front of a computer... mind you I am sure he's planning some gismo or some revamp of a workshop or something while he is enjoying the peace from me and JB with heads in books!

Thundery squall.

 Had a few thundery showers today, sometimes there are drops of rain without a cloud, in any case the sun is just around the corner. 

Main entertainment for sure was watching a snorkel teaching session. One German tutor lady, a dozen people including some Japanese guests. The Japanese tourists on the island are amazing, they wear full body UV suits, always wear footwear near water and life jackets when snorkelling.  Always dressed as if for a big event, or wearing Beatles / Mickey Mouse tee-shirts.. oh, or matching his / hers coloured co-ordinated outfits.. a veritable people-watching prize winner!

Kate alerted us at one point to a Japanese woman who was floating away, facemask steamed up, no fins, lifejacket fully inflated..and eventually the tutor swam out to rescue her.. in all of 4 foot of water. 

The Carrie Bradshaw type voice in my head runs a narration of the moment, bit by bit...and at one point there was me, a friendly German couple and some crazy young Japanese who seem to have never visited a beach before..not quite how it was when the three countries were 'involved' with each other 60 years ago eh!

Laid out in reception!
Looks like lots of people are reading 'One Day' with me, there's even a copy up for grabs in the reception library...incidentally reception has had a very nice revamp, very posh, though not sure if cream cushions are quite that practical??

Day 7 : 13 December

Trying to avoid being lagged in Factor 50 for a snorkel out on the reef at lunch time, we gave ourselves and early alarm and Col and I had a great hour out there even before the girls had woken up...great way to start a day!  I'm always a little apprehensive about getting in the water but after a minute or two I relax, breathe properly and just 'love it'..

Time to lay out for a bit, start my next book, a pressie from Lisa in anticpation of the holiday.. 'One Day'..the book of the film.. jury is out as I know film didn't get great reviews and also I read the author's Starter for Ten which I though was better in the film than the book..Oh and Jordan thinks she left her glasses on the plane.. good one.. but hey, what can you do? Lucky she bought a month's worth of lenses with her, at least those morays won't be tapping her on the shoulder unbeknown to her!

Titan Trigger Fish..vandals!
Few drinky-poos at lunchtime and then a snooze, followed by a snorkel off the beach.. and as for those who say the humans are wrecking the coral.. have they ever seen the antics of a titan trigger fish on the hunt for food, they turn corals and stones over like a pig searching for truffles! 

Plenty of reef sharks too, they seem to be larger than last year and pretty tame too, they come very close and are so well camouflaged against the fans of corals it takes you all your time to notice them before they are beneath you.. and beneath you in ten feet of water is close!

The girls are kind of relaxing, I think they both needed to get off the world of school / friends / routines of work / Facebook etc. They are so different to each other, it must be hard to share the same space for 14 nights, but spare a thought for us too.. Col likened the experience to being a peace envoy trying to settle the dispute over the Gaza strip!

On the sixth day of..

.. the holiday Jordan & Colin went snorkelling and they saw......(imagine the tune now.. I hope you're keeping up.. I started to get into the note writing at this point and began writing the way I was thinking....Christamas songs with a holiday twist)
  • six little Dori's,
  • five angel fish,
  • four moray eels (eekkk said Jordan!),
  • three dozen parrot fish (in a feeding frenzy),
  • two sweetlips ...
  • and... about 14 sharks close up!!!!!!!!
Kate for her part is finding the holiday quite stressful... moving chairs, reaching for drinks and remembering to take a towel / sun oil and room keys to the beach... the girl needs staff.. or muscles!

Day 5 : 11 December.. I think! hic!

Ooops, turns out it was today I discovered the B52's .. see, three days in and I've lost track.. and this is 'after' the event, with notes to help!!

More sunning, eating and just general lazing about in between, though Colin manages to relax best of with a daily snorkel or two...

I got settled into my first book and have finished it today... Anita Shrive's 'Change of Altitude' It wasn't bad but I left it there in the 'library' as not a book I'm too desperate to keep, it was based in Kenya and just didn't grip me like some of her others.

Jordan for her part got busy with her henna tattoos...this is how they look 'before' they have set and leave a lovely pattern for about a week. Some Asian women on honeymoon have the most intricate hand or foot tattoos, I love them.. (as you can see by the pic at top of the blog..)

Day 4: 10 December

It's been a while since I woke when I was ready and not by an alarm. Sunshine sure adds to the reasons to get out of bed. The first of 3 or maybe 4 meals a day all provided is another!

Good for us it was a little cloudy and we acclimatised well to the heat and sunshine and I for one actually like a sky with the pockets of cloud passing by.  As the sea was a little rough on the serious snorkeling side of the island we messed about snorkeling on the lagoon side.

Had a wander around later and took some pictures. Passed a sign explaining that all the island's salads are grown in a hydroponics centre, using water and added nutrients, almost 450Kg a year, that's 300 leaves a day they harvest.

And last fact for today : the huge Banyan trees are fig trees which begin life when seeds are dropped on another sapling by a bird which has eaten the fruit. The fig tree grows on the established plant but puts down runners and roots until it takes over the original tree and is established.

Some of them are so impressive and up to 300 years old... they also make great light centres at night as JB discovered on her projects for college..

Late afternoon we went to the Spa Pool, but as ever late afternoon and huge boughs of bougainvillea are a bit of a mossi trap, so we didn't stay too long... long enough though for Kate to get wet and have Colin trying to copy her aquarobic exercises.. 

It was Saturday and that's movie night..n the beach. The film was a little crazy but sitting on the beach with a few drinks and an unexpected viewing of a lunar eclipse made us feel like we were for sure in another place..  after the film we had some more drinks (yes, this is the point where I needed something smaller than the usual cocktails and was introuduced to the B52... exquisite kahlua / baleys and cointreau..and if the guys get their way they set it on fire first!

We chatted with Sagaru again about his plans for the future and how he Skypes with his toddler daughter from their home in Sri Lanka... who can knock technology when it brings such joy xx

Day 2/3 : 8-9 Dec

Well we lost about 5 hours there somewhere and arrived at Male airport, it almost feels like home  now, after six visits before, though it is expanding all the time.  Whilst waiting for our boat transfer to Kuramathi Kate and I realised we were in the background of some people's photos, so, true to form, couldn't just let it go, I waved!

Soon enough we were in conversation with a great lady from Male who was there to see her sister leaving for a month in Bangalore, India where she was going to have IVF treatment. We chatted about that, life in Male and the Uk and the common world of Facebook.  By the time Kate looked at her Fbk in two days she had been added to their profiles....awhhh.

Settled in and enjoyed seeing the changes the island have instigated, all for the betterment of the island itself and for their economy and their patrons.  The girls shared a Graden Villa for a few days and we had a Beach Villa three doors away and they moved next door 3 days later.

In the evening we met up with some of the bar guys who had returned after being at home for a year or so, getting married, having children..and we joked that the Fung Bar is as close to a 'local' as we have.. the guys know our names and what we like to drink, and we go there on a 'semi-regular basis'... well more than the three times in 14 years we have been to the village pub!
Not a bad view from our 'local'

14 days of... our holiday.

Day One..7 December.. travelled by car to Gatwick and got the evening flight with BA.

And here we have evidence of a tired Col and one of many Gatwick Xmas trees in the background, and then a little reminder of how hard it is for a teenager to put one of the make-up bags in the hold luggage... how long can a girl go without her foundation?

We were amused that all the upgrade seats were full but back in World Traveller (economy / cattle class on any other airline.. don't you just love the class of BA!) we each got 3 seats to sleep in en route. 

Funny though, Colin just put a teeshirt over his head and he was gone, whilst Jordan laid out in an organised fashion complete with hoodie, earphones for iPod and set up the film channel.

Brought to mind the words of Micky Flanagan (and he features a lot in our holiday humour, so apologies now if you've never heard of him... but saying that, if you haven't, look him up., classic comedy)...'kids these days don't know how to chill..

And so it began, my holiday spent with blogging going on in the back of my mind, a quiet little voice which I succombed to eventually and put the notes on my phone..

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Still weary!

Amazingly we are all still very weary after the holiday... I can hear the groans of non-sympathy coming thick and fast! Every evening come 9pm we seems to get the most incredible weary on... hence the snoring from Kate and Colin Christmas night when we were trying to play 'Friend's Scene It' ( long awaited ourchase which was rather a disappointment and will be on e-bay nex Nov for sure...)

The dog has been returned to his rightful home, turns out he had followed Ross part of the way home a few weeks ago when he was out jogging... if only he had looked at the pup last night he may have recognised it... took the people who own it to 'devine' their way to finding him.. but as they say, that's another story.

I'm also finding it hard to get excited about food preparation... or eating in itself to be honest... there's so much of it about and added to two weeks of all inclusive it has kind of beaten me... though it does seem a waste of good chocolate to set a New Year's Resolution just yet to 'give it up'!! (see the pathetic willpower there.. non existant!)  So we have had cheese and bread, some fish and all kinds of excuses fir real meals since we got home.. just hope I can conjure up some more appetite as we plan the food and drink for the party Saturday... hah, imagine, everyone arrives and gets handed a packet of crisps and a beer.. dear Uncle Bill, he would think that was so English! .. but it wouldn't do my reputation as a domestic goddess of some proportions any good... or should that read #domestosgoddess as used by Sarah Millican on twitter tonight?

Well, off to play taxi now.. I was given a coaster for Christmas...reading 'My kids drive me crazy : I drive them everywhere else.....'

Monday, 26 December 2011

Surprise dog!

.. since the last post we just acquired (temporarily) a puppy dog.. about 9 months old, collie, black and white with tan patches. It turned up on our doorstep, very boisterous and pleased to see us..but it does sit, lie and loves biscuits!

A few phone calls later and no progress as to where he originated, so we took it out on an improvised rope lead around our village hoping someone would be looking for it, but to no avail... but on the bright side it got me and Col out for a walk..I was laughing as he always seems to end up caring for someone's dog or another, whilst if it was left to him he'd be dog-less.. shame our two oldie dogs aren't as much fun on a daily basis...and poor old Rob, he's losing his voice but still managed to make his bark sound quite sad when he saw us with an imposter on a rope!

...well, off to make a curry..x

Just found this..

.. when we were away I kept finding myself feeling like an extra in a Thomson's advert, you just feel like someone brought in the sea, sand, the odd cloud and ohhh that sunshine...

.. thought this might cheer your chilly Boxing Day!

So that was the day that was...

...despite most of us being dead beat by 9.30pm it was a great day...  just the right mix of fun, food and family.  Everyone being a little older now the stockings (yes, still stockings!) were opened in quite an organised fashion after each person had given their presents... some great thoughts from the kids these days... everything from clockwork meerkats to touchscreen friendly gloves..oh and the ubiquitous chocolate and alcohol!

Talking of alcohol I had a laugh with the kids... usually 'Santa' leaves a can of fun sized coke in the stockings, but this year he took a new slant... everything froma  mojito kit to a shot of vodka in a tin!  hic! I had lots of port and Col a whole array of wines from our newly qualified wine waiter!

Lisa, Tom and the girls came by and we had a super brunch, mostly everyone had cooked but I had croissants and lemon curd (not just lemon curd ... but M&S lemon curd!)... I usually have honey but Ross had fed it to poorly April while we were away..and lemon curd is my new honey. 

Lilly was funny, a bit overwhelmed.. last year she knew exactly what to do to a present.. unwrap it, regardless of who's it was; but this year she just wanted to give them to everyone else.   We gave her a doctors coat and bag and it was a great hit, Zac played super Uncle and had plasters and sore fingers, the whole lot. 

He even got himself a white coat to confuse her... not great pics but nice memories..

The afternoon was lazy and having no turkey to cook we were very laid back, in fact we almost plumped for bread and cheese but roast did win the day eventually.  We all agreed that the brunch was the funn-est part of the day... kids make Christmas, and next year Lyla will be well switched into the whole festivities!  I can see that a new cooker will be a welcome addition in the years to come if the family grows at the same rate over the next ten years..!

Lovely hour in the evening chatting with Michelle who called from the US, such a good chance to catch up, she had read the blog to get a jist of the latest news so we could concentrate on the important ssues... like visiting Italy, family news and plans for the next two

Well there is a veggie curry on the menu tonight.. and I'm the chef, so I'd best get chopping...more news and the promised holiday blog notes when I can get a run at it one evening... xxx

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Well, are you ready?

..I think I am... Christmas music on the PC and a little time to blog / catch up. We got home late Thursday after almost 24 hours travelling, we were all pretty spaced out but a chilly but great night's sleep in 'your own bed' sure makes things clearer!  It was a great break away, real R&R and some memorable moments and pictures to follow.  I used to lie on the beach and think of the words I would blog so I got into the habit of writing a few notes, the plan is to write up a blog entry or two and try to give you the highlights!

Col and I spent Friday catching up with the guys at work and then our Zac came home and we went across to get 'my holly'... and what a perfect tree it is..(Zac just took a picture of me taking a picture of it... this crazy HTC world we live in...)  April and Lucy helped me put up (more) baubles and everyone congratulated me on how laid-back I was about 'having help' to decorate the tree.. and happily I took the teasing well!

The picture isn't that great.. and it IS different to other years, you just have to be a connoisseur to see the subtle differences..I see Jordan's '5' decoration from 1999 stands out, I bought each of them a decoration for the new millennium, but JB got a 5 as this was her age then... awwwhhhh.

I haven't talked on here yet about gellish nails.. but I will now... my new guilty pleasure.. (like I needed a new one?) So, yes, before our holiday I thought I'd give them a go as the sun and sea usually help my nails grow..well they were fab and today I got them redone.. sparkley red ones...ooooooo!!!  So, up early this morning, some last minute items to get (mainly chocs and girlie bits to be sure I had covered all bases) and the usual bumping into people I haven't seen in ages.. that was my favourite part of the morning out..just call me Gossip Girl eh?

When I got home JB was busy baking mini sponges and then she iced my cakes and reminded me that we need a new mixer... ooops.. maybe in the sales then?  I made some mince pies (God I just love pre-made puff pastry as the alternative would be no pies at all!)  A bit of late wrapping and then a start on the holiday washpile.. glad my washer isn't in the house or the sea of clothes may be too much to bear! 

Oh and then I titivated a few bits of holly left over, payed homage to the origins of the tradition for me and placed some over our mum and dad's pictures... prompted me to call my brother and say 'Merry Christmas' ahead of tomorrow when we usually catch up but have to dodge the hubbub of other people around. 
It was so great to hear his youngest answer the phone in English but with a lovely French lilt.  Ken & I swapped stories of our 19/20 year olds and how they are having real travelling lives, working in different countries...and he sounded so proud and pleased they are getting opportunities not so available to us..'way back when'..

Well the rest of the family have been doing their things too, but in the next few minutes we should all be here.. the table is laid for a brunch affair in the morning with our big girl and her family, crackers all set and wine glasses for the juice too!  One last turn over of washing and that's me done for the day... til Santa beckons for some

PS and my aim is to write a bit on each of my twelve days of Christmas (shamed by the blog-itis from Janice and Karen!)  If I can I shall blog a few notes from our trip...still deciding whether to add more of just regurgitate verbatim.. not sure if that is safe.. will re-read notes and decide later!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


.. by Karen, Yvonne and Janice and their currently prolific i have to write a note to say Hi and Bye before we leave for warmer climes tomorrow. We have had such a busy year, it's just manic at times and I know you always feel worse just before you go, but I am pooped!

Kate went to the Clothes Show with school yesterday and I was up at 5am, and whilst she slept on the coach I was home ironing and ... well, blogging.. and then making Col's porridge! Now the early start is taking its toll, it's been all go today, last minute shopping, a little sortie to the waxing lady and as a treat gellish nails... then out again to collect the hire car!

Such has been my life the past week, and tonight Ross taught himself, then me to email pics from my new phone... I took this one at the weekend.. the story of my Sunday.. birthday presents for Jordan, two cakes with almond paste ready for icing when we get back and a bunch of sun oil for the days in between!!

.. notice the festive window in the background, I'm raring to go.. just wish my arms and legs felt the same..!

And as a parting gesture, as I promise to try and send some pics from afar and will definitely do my festive blogging with a '12 days of Christmas' offering, I will add a little pic of Kate after school one evening.. you can see how the place inspires her!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Happy Birthday JB!

I still have to work out the camera on my new phone so pic will follow but thought I'd start the day nice and early marking Jordan's driving milestone.. yes, 17 years old today. Ahhh, it takes you back, a child's birthday, to those days which may otherwise have gone by unnoticed or at least uncelebrated. 

About the closest to a pic she will be happy to see here!
But maybe not on her birthday, we had just completed the building works on our 'upstairs' on our bungalow in Goldsithney and the carpets were due to be laid this morning at 10am.  Jordan snuck into our world about 8am that morning, it was just great, 'born at home' a super baby sister... and we only had to delay the carpet fitters by an hour or so!

Similarly today in celebrated not in big-style but unusual.. yes, you can tell, me blogging at 7am!! Kate and her friend had to be at the school coach at 6am for their daytrip to the Clothes Show in Birmingham, so it was an early start for me.  I hate trying to get back to sleep for what will turn out to be a fitful 45 minutes, so the ironing board and blogger fingers have had their moment already today.

Not sure where the last two weeks have gone.. now let me see:
... a Saturday scrapping (much needed 'get off the treadmill hours),
... a weekend of Zac at home (much enjoyed top up on his news and just having him here),
... a few sessions of teen-angst (mmm, the less said about those the better..all I know is it's a good job this isn't an anonymous blog because it could have been titled 'the twelve hours of mother's rantings' but (and she holds thumb and forefingers in 'O' shape and hums) we will stay tranquil for the purposes of this missive!,
... plenty of Christmas shopping followed by two whole afternoons of wrapping, accompanied by pre-December Christmas music... just about allowed.
..a sprinkling of decorating for Christmas, aided and abetted by some now well-trained offspring who know exactly where I like the bits to be, with the odd variation on the theme which in actual fact has not caused the world to spin off its axis or anything..(take those green and blue baubles on the tree in my 'always red accented' sitting room...well, they were new baubles (Next sale last January!!)
..oh and the mental distractions of both being real busy in trolley world (customer visits to us requiring new painted floors and tidy offices, new exports to countries which can't even read our paperwork) and planning to get away on holiday.

... is that excuse enough for not writng the past two weeks, and I'm sure there is a whole host of other stuff we got up to which has not made the list. (feeling a little Regggie Perrin here, thinking up excuses for being late... hippopotamus on the line.. or was it leaves?)

So, there we are.. it isn't looking likely at all that I shall be able to follow Karen or Janice in the Advent blogging stakes, journalling my Chrstmas, though you never know what a few hours on a plane can do for my understanding of mobile blogging.. and at worst I can resolve to blog my 12 days of Christmas having had our fortnight of VitD replenishment and sealife sightings ...ahhh, swimming in a sweetjar is only 72 hours away.....

The first 17 years?