Category Archives: holidays

The well dressed traveller


Right, I promise I’m not going to keep banging on about our brilliant Big Adventure (much) in Finland for much longer.

That was probably a big fat lie. It was one of the best trips of our lives and I want to relive every minute of it as much as possible. Even the bits that irritated me at the time – like waiting for Boofuls to get his act together so we could get outside as fast as possible have now taken on a rose tinted glow since we got home.  I discovered that one can only wear so many layers of clothing before it becomes a physical impossibility to move. Our walk took on an pronounced and ungainly roly poly gait while we were there Oi! Cheeky! Because of the layers of clothing, not because of the pies! Rude!

Generally, I was so keen to get togged up and outside that I got ready far faster than Boofuls and then I’d stand there ridiculously hot and struggling to breath while he poodled about taking his tablets, getting a drink, brushing his teeth etc. etc. etc. It’s very difficult to dance around from foot to foot  like an impatient two year old when you’re dying of heat exhaustion and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Michelin man. After a couple of days we developed a routine where I’d  get dressed and then wait outside for him.

So, just in case you’re curious, or even if you’re not. This is what the well dressed traveller wears during a Finnish winter (we’ll take the grundies part of the dressing process as a given and not in need of comment).

1 pair liner socks

2 pairs thermal socks

1 pair long johns. Silk if the temperature was above -15 and fleece if it was below

1 pair padded walking trousers

1 long sleeved base layer wool or silk vest

1 light woollen polo neck jumper

1 warm jumper

1 fleece

1 pair liner gloves

1 pair thermal mittens

1 all in one babygro style thermal suit

1 hoodie  ‘Buff’ hat with face bandit style face cover for robbing banks or for keeping your face warm if there were no banks to rob

1 Buff for keeping the neck warm and doubling up as another hat

1 hood on thermal suit (if it was particularly cold )

1 pair heavy  thermal lined boots

As you can imagine, wearing that little lot indoors wasn’t the most pleasant experience. It was a relief to get outside and get on with the serious task of gazing around me like a fool and exclaiming every 10 seconds, “It’s just so beautiful.”

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Good Grief!


Boofuls is having  a few days off work! Unheard of unless we’re actually going on a proper holiday.

Since  I don’t want to leave the puppy behind  we considered hiring a cottage for a few days but  considering that we’re skinter than a skint thing we decide to have a staycation instead.

Now, instead of two weeks cruising the caribbean we  have two and a half days off work and a bacon butty in B & Q. Oh how times have changed.

At least we can get on with all the jobs that need doing round the house and continue with the staging process so the first potential buyer to walk through the door will fall in love with it and offer us the full asking price – in cash. I must say though, the buyers aren’t exactly queueing up at the  moment. We haven’t had a single sniff  yet. Early days!

The staging process is quite fun, I’m enjoying changing the look of the place and bringing it into the 21st century. All the red and orange and yellow (It looked better than it sounds, honest) has gone from the living room to be replaced with nice fresh shades of cream, tan and bright green. It’s really looking quite contemporary.

I’ve got my beady eye on the dining room next, a new mirror to bounce some light around, a change round of lamps and shades, some new curtains,a fab new picture for the wall which I’ve customised by adding copper paint to it and giving it some texture and it’s all going to look nice and bright and new.  It’s amazing what you can achieve without spending a fortune.

This morning Boofuls was putting new handles on the cupboard doors in the utility room. I didn’t think it was possible for one person to swear so much – I had to cover up the dog’s ears. Poor little mite would have been corrupted.

Talking of the dog. Obviously he’s been photographed till he’s blue in the face. I’m not saying he’s been photographed a lot but now when he sees a camera he just turns towards it and gives a little lopsided smile. I’ve been very good and not posted photos of him for a while so I’m going to make up for it now:

 

 

Hi, the name's Bentley. Would you care for a Schmako?

 

I’m doing the dog club school portraits again tomorrow. That’ll be fun. Hopefully I won’t get my arm chomped on by a rottweiler this year!

 

 

 

Wet Bank Holiday Weekend


So go on then. Congratulate us.

I know you know it’s not our wedding anniversary or birthday or anything but congratulate us anyway

What for?

It’s ten years this weekend since we moved into this house. August bank holiday 2001 we moved her with big plans for renovation and landscaping.  None of that came to fruition for all sorts of reasons, and it’s been a roller coaster ten years but I’m glad we’re still here.

Why would you want to live somewhere modern, clean, efficient, handy for town, on a road and inexpensive to run when you can live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, old, cold, draughty, expensive and in need of a lot of work?

I love this house with all it’s quirks.

The weekend we moved in was a gloriously hot weekend. All our friends came and helped us move, we had a barbeque and a few beers  and a good laugh when all the work was done. Life was good.

Bit different to this weekend, it’s cold wet and miserable but we’ve still managed to have fun.

Boofuls and me went to our local outdoor clothing shop while it has a sale on to start getting our kit ready for the next Big Adventure in January.  Boofuls tried on a coat you put on like a jumper:

Think you might need a bigger size, love

Friday was supposed to be the day of Boofuls’ hot air balloon ride. Sadly, the weather was against us and it didn’t happen. To be honest I was a bit relieved as we were so knackered after al the weeks traumas we just needed to have a nice, quiet evening to ourselves.

Saturday was the big segway adventure. All the clingons were shipped off to various grandparents and the remaining seven of us set off in Boofuls’ car to Runcorn.  The segways were fantastic. The rain, not so much. The sun did come out from time to time and we saw this lovely rainbow while we were on the motorway. The end of the rainbow was just in front of us but we couldn’t catch it and get the pot of gold. Dagnabbit!

 

The end of the rainbow

Boofuls and me had the first ride as we’d done it before and did the intermediate course. The rain was dripping off the rend of our noses but we didn’t care. It added another dimension to the ride.  I look like a hamster in that helmet!

Segway ride in the rain

While we rode round the woods the kids sat snuggly and warm in the cafe and waited for us to get back.

All too soon it was their turn. Right on cue the rain began to lash down as they stood and listened to the safety briefing and began their training. Lashes first. It’s not often I see her look nervous but she soon got over it and was zipping round the training course in no time, swiftly followed by Gembolina, Len, the Rev and finally Big N.  Here they are as they  set off for their ride through the woods.

I’m not saying it was raining  a lot of anything:

rainy segway ride

Poor Gembolina!

After the ride we went out for a spot of lunch at a nearby gastro pub, it was fab. Most of the family went for various gourmet burgers. Lashes and me had the mixed meze and Len had a nice honey and chicken pate. One large glass of wine later and all I wanted was to curl up on my settee and go to sleep. Shame we had an hours drive home first. Saturday evening we went out for dinner with Len’s Mum.

We went to a pub called,  The Ranken Arms. Munki asked me where we were, or as she puts it: Where we are?”  so of course I told her, ‘The Ranken Arms.”  What a shame she  speaks like the two year old she is  and  spent the whole evening telling people we were in the ‘ wankin arm’.  So funny.

On Sunday we went to Samlesbury Hall for the annual medieval skirmish. The weather wasn’t particularly nice to us but that didn’t stop us having fun. Boar and vvenison sausages? What’s not to love?  It was worth going just for that! Shame about the weather though, it really does need a nice day, this event. Lashes, Len and Munki went and sat in the bar to get out of the cold and then ended up leaving early, getting their car stuck in the mud as they left. It took a rescue team of three to unstick them.

Samlesbury Hall

 A break in the rain!!!

Fairy Princess?

Our friend is on holiday from Dublin with his family so they came with us. I think they got into the swing of it all ok.

Where did you get that hat?

 

The magician made a a super new hat for our friend’s daughter. I think it might be a bit on the big side.

Stilt man

Impressive cod piece. Looked a bit like a droopy nappy to me but who am I to question what’s what?

All in all it wasn’t a bad old weekend. Boofuls and me are off to see ‘Planet of the Apes’ tonight to round the weekend off nicely. that’s if I can wake him up. At the moment he’s supposed to be watching a James Bond film but judging by the noises coming from his direction I’d say he’s fast asleep. Just can’t stand the pace!

Evil Eye


As I’m sitting and staring at my computer screen wondering what delightful things I should write about today, I can feel a prickling on the back of my neck.  I sneaked a nervous peak over my shoulder a moment ago.  I say a nervous peak because I’m all alone in the house and yet the feeling of being watched is overwhelming.

Yup, I’m being watched alright. Our fluffy cat is sitting on the back of the armchair in the living room giving me the evil eye because the back of the chair is where he goes when he wants to be brushed and I’m ignoring him.

His beady, bright blue, gimlet eyes are practically boring a hole in me.  Tail swishing angrily, I can see he’s not a happy cat. Oh well, he’ll get over it or I’ll give in and go and brush him which is probably the most likely scenario.

Now. I need your help. For mine and Boofuls’   Big Adventure to see the northern lights we have narrowed down our location to one of two places: Tromso in Norway or Fairbanks in Alaska. Which do you think we should go for? Answers in the comments section please.

Attempting to work out which currency  will give us the best exchange rate left my poor blonde head all confuzzled the other evening.  Norway, we already know is ludicrously expensive but will it work out in the end to be cheaper than travelling halfway cross the world to Alaska or will Alaska be better value even taking into account the distance we have to travel?  I’m not  used to having to take all these things into consideration. I just want to take photos.

Culturally, Boofuls might be better in Alaska. A week or so in Norway could very well see him starving to death, he needs food he can readily identify. When we went to Hong Kong a few years ago he lived on ham sandwiches from very westernised hotel we were staying in.  He came back from that particular jaunt as a shadow of his former self. Not much chance of that happening to me, I’ll have a go at just about anything. Just tell me again why I’m not a size 10?

Me, Mrs Woofy and Gembolina were on the moors before 9 o’clock this morning. A lovely brisk walk in -2 temperatures blew the cobwebs away and set us up for the day. Lovely!

Ok, I can’t stand it any longer, I’m off to groom the cat.

Human 0  Cat 1

Bloody Hell! I’m off back on my hols!


Ha! I wish!

It’s afir to say that it’s been a proper bag of poo round here since we got back from our hols.  I’ve been trying my best to hold on to my sense of optimism and holiday found joie de vivre but it’s finally given up the ghost and now I’m as pissed off as everyone else round here. Woopy sodding do.

There isn’t a single person I know who isn’t going through some kind of trauma at the moment. The trauma’s in question range from the mildly irritating through depressing right up to downright life threatening.

Jeez, I’m so fed up I could buy a round!

Just to cheer me up – here are a few of my favourite holiday photos.

shades and mocktail
sushi
Don't wanna go home!
A girl and her coke are not easily parted
Tropical Beach - what's not to love?
Sink? That's handy!? WTF?
sunset or was it sunrise?
pool party
glorified fish and chips

This plateful of food sounded so exotic on the menu. When it arrived it was in fact fancy fish, chips and mushy peas!

swimming pool with Batty and The Rev
Cocktails! Mmmmmm..I mean a photo of Big N and Gembolina
Noddy, Lashes and Machinegun having drinkies
I've got my beady eye on you
All at sea
Some people are soooooo easy to amuse!

You get no prize at all, but I will be impressed,  if you know what the full title is for ‘gay rum’.

Ok, that did the trick, I’m much chirpier now.

The best laid plans of mice and men


So. Where do I start?

At the beginning?

Shall I start in the middle and work outwards?

It was most certainly an interesting holiday.   The ship was huuuuuuuuuuuuge.

Ventura

The family were excited, the food was brilliant.  I kept myself on an extremely tight reign though as I had a dress that I needed to fit into towards to end of the cruise. Boofuls however made it his mission to eat as many portions of cake and custard as it was possible to cram in on a two week cruise.

We were a bit concerned about doing the Atlantic crossing, thinking that we might be bored out of our brains. Well. Didn’t we get that wrong. There was so much to do that we couldn’t fit it all in, and not a napkin folding demonstration in sight!!  My days started with the zumba class where I made a new friend.

There’s me on the left in the white top and black pants, hahaha.
I did miss one zumba class. Lying in our enormous queen size bed one morning considering whether or not to get up and do a couple of miles round the deck before my class, there came a knock at the door. I was a bit surprised as I’d put on the ‘do not disturb’ sign. ” Come back later, Edwin!!” I hollered to who I thought was the cabin steward.

‘ Knock, knock knock.’

Sigh.

I got up, popped on one of Boofuls’ shirts and stuck my head round the door.

An arrangement of lovely flowers was thrust at me.

“Oh. Er. Thanks.” Shuts door. A quick inspection of the flowers didn’t reveal any kind of message or clue as to who sent them.

“Boofuls, are these anything to do with you?”

“No”

“Bloody hell, we’ve got someone else’s flowers, better ring reception and tell them.” Boofuls rang reception.

‘Knock, knock, knock.’

Boofuls answered the door this time.

There was a huge trolley laden with all manner of foodstuffs along with champagne and chocolates

“It’s not for us, take it away, I’m not accepting it till I know why it’s here.” The bemused waiter took it away.  ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOO’, I thought, ‘ don’t take away all that lovely food!!!!!’  My stomach grumbled it’s discontent at Boofuls’ decision.

Ring, ring ring.  I answered the phone to: “Ah, um, er, can I speak with Mr P?”

It was like a bloody ‘Carry On’ film.

I handed the phone to Boofuls: “My wife ordered it?”  I shook my head. “Do you mean Mrs L P?”

“No sir, it was Mrs C P.”  OHHHHHHHH!   I remembered that the ship had registered  our MISS CP  as MRS, it was all becoming clear.

The penny dropped. The kids had organised it!

Knock, knock, knock.’

It was the same waiter with the same trolley of food. “It is definitely for you, Sir, may I bring it in?”

“You certainly can!”

A champagne breakfast fit for a king, well actually, several kings, followed.

flowers
champagne
croissants, bread, cakes
fruit
fruit

And so on….you get the idea. The beautiful box of chocolates we put in the fridge for another day.

So, what was that about staying on a tight reign so I wouldn’t get fat (ter)? We tucked in like there was no tomorrow. After we’d finished eating and then slept it all off, we got up to find an envelope under the door containing vouchers for a massage each and a photograph. It turned out that the kids had all clubbed together to buy us the special occasion package. Fantastic!

First stop  the day after was Tenerife. Meh.

Last time Boofuls and me were there, funnily enough, was 25 years ago just before we got married. Didn’t like it then. Don’t particularly like it now,  let’s move on.

Moving on……….

After another five days at sea we stopped at Tortola. The plan for Tortola was to go scuba diving. The taxi, driven by Sam,was due to meet us at the dock.  Hhhmm, no sign of anyone waiting for us. Many enquiries later I was directed to a chap outside the port area. Are you Sam?

Yes.

Are you meant to be picking up a group of  ten people?

Um.

Ok then, you’re not the right Sam.

Don’t go away, let’s work this out.

After a phone call or two it turns out that it was the correct Sam but the dive centre hadn’t booked him to meet us. Good start.

Getting to the dive centre.  Our excited little group of people all filled in the disclaimer forms that basically said, ‘ even if you die through our negligence you can’t sue us.’ Bit of a surprise, that.

An even bigger surprise was when the dive master came over to us and said, “I’m not taking you.”   WHAT?  “The engine has an intermittent fault, I’m not taking you.”  After a few phone calls to try and get another boat, we had to admit defeat and we left in Sam’s taxi, everyone feeling very dejected and more than a bit annoyed.  Here is a pic of the dock at the dive centre, ’nuff said.

dock with character

Sam saved the day. “What about swimming with dolphins?”   Everyone perked up instantly, I’ve never felt a mood change so fast!  We stopped for lunch at a nearby beach before going off to see the dolphins.

Beach in Tortola

The dolphins were amazing. C has revised her opinion that dolphins are nothing more than gay sharks and not worth bothering with. Everyone had a brilliant time, except big N who opted to go back to the ship, not prepared to waste his time on gay sharks.

swimming with dolphins

All in all it turned out to be a great day, after a bad start.

The following day me, Boofuls and Batty went on a RIB high speed boat round St Maarten. WOW!!!!!  It was ACE!

RIB
on the boat

Batty has clearly picked up our love of speed, the boat couldn’t go fast enough for her, as it bounced over the waves, coming down with a crash, she was screaming with laughter. Clearly another adrenalin junkie, we’ll have her flying in no time!  When we reached the ‘idyllic and peaceful beach’ (idyllic and peaceful my arse – it was heaving with people selling tourist tat),  we had to swim to the shore.

Bit of a dilemma that as Batty can only swim with armbands and the waves were stonking great surfers waves.  We lowered her into the water wearing a lifejacket and swam with her to the beach.  She panicked a bit but didn’t make a fuss, she was very stoic about it all though she was clearly scared. About a minute after she got to the beach she demanded to go back in the sea because she wanted to snorkel!

That kid’s got some bottle!

Taking her out past the point where the huge waves were breaking, she swam and practiced floating with Boofuls until she got some confidence and then she set off snorkelling between us, after a minute or so she let go of our hands and swam independently. Much kudos. One of the chaps on the boat came over with a ‘floating bar’ basically a float with drinks balanced on it. Batty took a drink and happily drank it while treading water. She didn’t even spill a drop when a big wave lifted her and deposited her  up by the beach!

On the return trip we sailed round by St Maarten airport which is reputedly the most dangerous airport in the world. here’s why:

St Maarten airport

The geeks on the boat  – yup, that includes us- were thrilled to watch the planes flying in just a few feet above our heads and wanted to stay for longer. Other people weren’t so keen and one poor woman looked like she was about to part with her lunch. We reluctantly left after half a dozen planes came over. Pity we didn’t get to see a 747 come in, that would have been fab.

There’s loads more to tell you but I’ll save that till tomorrow. Tune in then for the next exciting installment.

It’s today!!!


After much arse kicking, moaning, cajoling and organising we are now ready to set off on our big adventure.

Just in case you’re the only person on the planet I haven’t told – this is the big family holiday during which me and Boofuls are going to once again plight our troth to each other.

Bezzie mate and hubby are moving in and  have been given strict instructions on how best to treat the cats in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. Mrs Woofy is staying with her bezzie mate Ms Yappy, who belongs to our next door neighbour so she’s on familiar turf.

The cases are packed, weighed, contents juggled around to keep them all within weight limits and all stacked up ready for loading in the minibus to the airport.

Paperwork checked, double checked and triple checked by both of us.

All we need to do now is a couple of last minute jobs and we’re off!

C and me treated ourselves to a bit of pampering yesterday. Did I say pampering? Waxing hardly counts as pampering, does it?  Especially with a new therapist who doesn’t seem to know that the best technique is to whip the wax strip of really quickly while holding the skin taut. No, this one went for the slow and painful technique.

While we were there we got eyelash extensions. C’s of course looked wonderful. I, of course, with the combination of heavy handed eyebrow tint and thick, long black eyelashes ended up looking like a cross between Lily Savage and Daisy the cow.

Photo from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/555513.stm

 

Probably won’t use this particular beautician again.

Most of last night was spent in the bathroom applying bleach via a cotton bus to my eyebrows to take the colour down a bit (don’t do it, it stings) and rubbing oil all over my eyes to loosen the eyelash glue to get rid of the lashes which ended up in the sink like an army of dead spiders. That was all money well spent then.

It’s been over a year since we booked this holiday and at the time it seemed so very far away. I can’t believe it’s here already!

Anyway, no time to sit chatting and getting maudlin on here – I’ve got to go and marry my man all over again.

BYE!!!!!!!!

Planning


I think it’s fair to say there is a sense of excitement in the air.

We had a family conference over dinner last night.  It was the big planning meeting in preparation for our big holiday next week. OH! Did I just say next week? Hold on a moment while I explode with childish excitement.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!   SPLAT!!!!

Ok, I’m back.

Big N did the cooking, Boofuls appointed himself chairperson and tried his best to keep order while the rest of us giggled, got very drunk and generally buggered about.  All that is except for C who tried her best but is still really ill from her kidney infection and sat pale faced and quiet all evening.  Pool lamby.  She probably won’t need to dress up for the halloween fancy dress party on board, she already looks like  Marley’s ghost with her chalk white face and dark circles under her eyes.

Eventually Boofuls did mange to call us to order and we decided who wanted to go on which trip where and who with. Funny, I couldn’t get any takers to join me on the 7 hour hike.

Dinner consisted of Neil’s home made burgers and potato wedges along with ridiculous amounts of  wine. So much for my plan to keep to the tonic water. I might be paying for it now though.  I do have one unanswered question from last night though.  How on earth did my knickers end up on the bathroom floor?  I do hope it was after everyone had left.

Yesterday was fun, mostly. Big N needed a new dinner suit  so after work we swanned off into nearby Bigtown for a look in the sales.  In a move not dissimilar to mine the day before he swept through the rails of clothing, squealing with delight (not really – Big N doesn’t do public shows of  anything, I should call him Mr Inscrutable as he never gives anything away).   As he tried the items on he came out of the changing room to get the thumbs up or not. Modelling one fetching ensemble of shorts and formal shirt I declared the shorts to be a thumbs up but the shirt : “Oh no. that shirt’s awful, I don’t like that AT ALL, get shut of that.”

He looked at me for a second with a perplexed look on his face trying to decide if I was joking or not then, deciding that I wasn’t, he answered stonily, “Actually, this is my shirt.”  Oops. Foot in mouth syndrome attacks again.

So… moving swiftly on.

The plan for today is to go up to my sister’s new house so Boofuls can plumb in her washing machine. I hope it doesn’t involve too much bending for him because if his head is as woozy as mine it won’t be  a pleasant experience.  Now, where are those Alka Seltzer?   When will I ever learn?

Can I go back on holiday please?


I’m going to completely gloss over all the horrible events of this week since we came back from our hols and tell you about the nice stuff  – hang on while I think of something……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

*scratches head*

Ok, I give in.  there is nothing.

I’ll post a few more holiday photos instead.

Segway

Oh yes, the segways. We LOVED them!!!  So much so that we went on them twice.  If I’m honest I was a bit nervous at first  because I couldn’t see how you could stay on and steer  it without having the balance of an acrobat. I soon discovered that they are a piece of cake to ride and intuitive to the point of mind reading.  My logical brain tells me  that  the gyroscopes are reacting to tiny shifts in weight, my fanciful mind is soooo impressed that it knows were I want to go as soon as I think it – and then just does it!!!

Our guides, Shanga and Gill, took us up into the trail in the forest and showed us the sights most people don’t get to see. Shanga, is a goldmine of information about the medicinal and culinary uses for all the plants he pointed out along the way. They took  us to a small clearing where Gill had prepared fruit and drinks for us. It was just about perfect.  Shanga took a machete to a coconut and then handed it to us to drink the juice and it was delicious. Absolutely what we needed after  a hard trek through the jungle,

St Lucia

Ha!! Who am I trying to kid, it was just pure Fun with a capital ‘F’.  Do you like the view of St Lucia?

Shanga
Hard Wok

I laughed my little socks off when I saw this. Hard Wok!!!!!  I wasn’t sure if it was a Chinese restaurant or not.

Just next door to this was a coffee shop that was the identical twin of Starbucks.  So funny. Good coffee though.

subtle sunset

Yet another photo from the balcony. This was the evening that I discovered that champagne (sparkling wine) was included on the all inclusive tariff.  the previous evening there had been an amazing sunset so we grabbed a couple of glasses of bubbly and sat on our balcony to enjoy the show.

The sunset was not as spectacular as the night before but so much more interesting. It was a gorgeous combination of blue grey and shades of apricot. Every now and then the clouds would part to give tantalising glimpses of fantasy lands beyond.  Through the windows in the clouds we could see lakes and rolling hills, trees, swaps and exotic bays.

Looking away, even for a second, broke the spell and the magical scene that was so clear only seconds before was gone forever.  It reminded me of the song “Trick of the Tail” by Genesis, one of my favourite albums of all times (yes, I know that makes me a geek).

Have a listen and close your eyes to see if you can imaging the towers of gold:

Pigeon Island, Atlantic side

We took a ride out to Pigeon Island. The local street vendors were arguing amongst themselves about who got the first go at harassing the tourists. We thought one chap was going to get clobbered round the ear with a conch shell. Once it had all calmed down we managed to have a look round and I bought a fabulous batik dress, perfect for the weather. I’ve washed it since and it has turned everything it was washed with a manky yellow, the dress still looks great though!

Pigeon Island

Later, back on the balcony…

St Lucia sunset
Sea, sunset, yacht

One day we went into Castries on the local bus to go and find Boofuls a wedding shirt. Usually the tourists are encouraged to use the taxis but at $20 US we thought it was a bit steep compared to the $4.50 EC the bus cost(about $1.5 US).  I’d rather us local transport anyway, I mean, how can you get a feel for a place if you never interact with it in any way?  The bus was packed to capacity and manic merengue music blared from the radio all the way into Castries. I was fascinated by the hairstyles sported by the other passengers. Dreadlocks or very short for the men, amazingly intricate and totally unique braided styles that must take hours and hours to create for the women.  Well, for the ones who hadn’t forced it into being poker straight and dyed it blonde, that is. My own opinion is that it’s a difficult look to do well, ebony skin, dark brown eyes and  goldilocks blonde  hair but some of these women certainly gave it their best shot.

Travelling on the local bus  was certainly an experience and great fun, far better than the tourist taxi.

We walked round in heat that was hotter than hell and humidity that had the sweat dripping off the ends of our noses for a couple for hours, skipping from shade to shade. When I say skipping, I really mean plodding as we didn’t have the energy for any more than that.  We eventually found the perfect shirt – and it was too small!!! Aaaaaarrrgggh. It’s turning into a real issue, this sodding shirt!

We gave in eventually  and went for lunch in a nice harbour side cafe. As we sat and tried to catch every little breath of cooling breeze, we noticed the sky begin to darken out over the sea.

Then we noticed it start to move inland.

“I think it’s going to rain soon,” I said.

Rain? That’s the understatement of the century.

Heave down huge great amounts of lukewarm water is more like it. I was tempted to start ripping apart the bar and build an ark.  We could see people in the twon centre sheltering under canopies and in doorways as the rain came down like a monsoon.  We made our lunch last as long as we possible could before reluctantly deciding that we could stay any longer as the owner was starting to look repeatedly at us and than at his watch.

Nothing else for it then, we paddled out onto the road, trying to stay under various canopies as much as possible. We had been amazed at how much it had rained in the last hour but to be honest  even we didn’t expect to see this:

Flash floods
flash floods

Luckily a taxi pulled up right next to us to let someone out so we jumped straight in with instructions to the driver to get the hell out of there. Yeah, yeah, I know. ‘What happened to interacting with the place?’ I was Mrs Wet Tee Shirt, soggy, cold and not a clue where the bus stop was or when the next bus  was due, that’s what.

Amazingly, half an hour away in Rodney Bay it had hardly rained at all. We went for a swim in the sea while it rained gently on us and had a lovely time.

St Lucia


Right up to the very last minute the pot filling job dominated our lives.  On the day we were setting off on holiday I’d planned a nice morning coffee with C followed by a leisurely lunch and packing before setting off to our overnight hotel in Gatwick.  Sounds like a plan, eh?

Making the mistake of popping in to the factory to see how things were going I was met by a stressed to the point of panic, Paul.  “You’re going on your holiday so I can’t ask you to help……” the sentence tailed off while he looked at me  with a hopeful, puppy dog  look in his eye.

Well, who can resist that?  It was off with my jumper and on with a set of coveralls which I soon realised were completely see through. As I ran through the office to find myself a white coat  to put over them I heard a horrified voice behind me say, “Oh my God, is my mother topless?”  The coveralls (which obviously didn’t)  were swiftly topped by a white coat.  the next two hours were spent on a filling machine.  I scared the Polish staff half to death with my battle cry of, “the louder you scream, the faster we goooooooo” folowed by a loud scream from both me and Paul as I turned the machine up as far as possible.

What? Have they not got fairgrounds in poland?  We all understood it.

Boofuls and me eventually set off for Gatwick about 4.30 and arrived 5 hours later, exhausted.

The next morning was a fairly early start, we jumped on the shuttle bus to the airport. Boofuls managed to bash himself in the eye with the hand strap and then jerked his head back in surprise only to bash it on a metal rail. Good start.

As for the flight, well, what can I say? What’s not to love about British Airways? It was like a pj day in the sky. Tucked up in a nice, fleecy blanket  and wearing warm, fluffy socks watching Alice in Wonderland, chosen from the huge film library. Food and drink were brought to me at regular intervals by friendly and cheerful stewards.  Mind you, when I say lovely food it does rather depend on your definition of lovely.  While I tucked into bulgar wheat salad followed by thai green curry, Boofuls looked longingly at my bread roll and strawberry cheesecake while he pushed his food round his plate. I did take pity on him and let him have them.

I got the window seat so here’s the view:

above the clouds

I was  amused by the HUGE black man sat in front of us on the plane. he kept his sunglasses on for the duration of the flight. What with that and his numerous gold chains, it looked like Stevie Wonder was sat in front of us. I kept waiting for him to start singing – he didn’t oblige though.

During the bumpy approach to St Lucia we were informed that there were storms. Storms? I can have storms at home, thank you. I’ll have sunshine thanks.  It seems that they’d caught the tail end of a tropical storm and it had been raining steadily and heavily for a couple of days before we arrived. It cleared up nicely for us though and the sun shone like a shining thing.

Our welcome at the hotel made all the travelling worth it. I struggled to wipe the stupid grin off my face as the welcome was amazing – and so was the rum punch we were welcomed with!

This is the room and the view from our balcony. Not bad, eh?  I could feel the stress of the last few weeks melting away by the minute. I took a few photos from the balcony – what a lazy photographer!

flowery bed
caribbean sea

It was a strange thing about that first few days, I could track how we were starting to relax by our attitude toward things.

Day one: Travel weary, too tired to care

day two: Bored from suddenly having NOTHING to do  after going like a steam train for weeks and a bit picky with each other.

Day three: Stress gone but knackered.

Day four: Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh, this is the life.

Days 5/6/7   We’re in paradise.

We watched the coconut whacking with great amusement. A man ran up a tree with a machete, whacked a few coconuts and branches to the ground and then ran down it again. For a few minutes coconuts rained down like giant raindrops. Amazing!  To be honest it was better entertainment than the hotel provided – that was dire. After forcing ourselves to stay awake to watch the steel band we went to bed two minutes after they started playing. My ears hurt!!

let's climb a tree and whack a coconut!
Running up the tree

Strangely enough Mr Snory didn’t snore at all while we were there, mind you, the bed was so huge that he could have been playing a one man band  and I wouldn’t have known about it. He was practically a speck on the horizon, it was so enormous. I could get used to that.

Funny thing about our resort was that it was a wedding venue. Whole families with three or even four generations turning up to witness the nuptials of their family member. Strangely though, these whole families kept very much to themselves, it was almost as if they thought that by speaking to people outside of their group it would let in the real world and  break the illusion of them having their own private tropical paradise wedding. It made for a very insular resort in some ways. it had an atmosphere the like of which we have never come across before.  Smiles were usually returned by a stony stare from the whole group. As if they felt we were trying to gatecrash their party. Very odd.

It didn’t bother us though, we  settled down to a routine of just being happy to be.

yet another photo from our balcony
shopping centre

I loved the new shopping centre. Don’t you just love the bright colours? Loads better than our grey shopping centres and towns. It makes you happy just being there.