Tag Archives: holiday

One year ago today

Exactly one year ago tomorrow Boofuls and me set off onto our Big Adventure. I say ‘our’ but I really mean ‘my’ big adventure. Boofuls, bless him would no more have chosen to come here than fly to the moon ( actually, he’d probably love that) but being the man he is he willingly went along with my dream of travelling inside the Arctic circle in the hope of seeing the northern lights.

We got off the plane and stepped into a magical land.  Where dawn and dusk merged for a couple of hours into a dreamscape of blues, pinks and purples and where the night sky danced and twisted in shades of green and purple.

On the coach journey to our hotel, right on the border between Sweden and Finland, I stared out of the window transfixed as I saw what looked like strange and mythical creatures lining our route. Dragons, gremlins, weird and wonderful shapes of the trees bent over and carrying a heavy coat of snow fuelled my imagination. I really felt like I’d stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia.

This is where I experienced one of the most terrifying events of my entire life; husky sledding in the pitch black.  The only light being from the torch attached to the driver of the sled shining onto the reflective strip on the suit of the driver in front.  I loved it!

I didn’t love it quite so much when it was my turn to drive. Those dogs are fast! I may have sworn once or twice while I clung on for grim death as the huskies galloped at breakneck speed down what looked and felt like a bobsleigh run, slowing down occasionally to fight with each other.  I was convinced we were going to die. Luckily we didn’t so we repeated the exercise again a couple of days later.

There are so many highlights of this trip that a post about it would be the size of War and Peace. I’ll let the photographs give you a feel for what it was like.  You get a gazillion brownie points if you can tell me what is special about the church.

Zut Alors!

Still in holiday mood, I thought I’d post a few more photos of the second part of our holiday. The mayhem and madness that was the family holiday.

The dogs made me laugh. Their approach to a day at the beach was so very different.

Douggie was in the sea like shit off a shovel, as soon as he caught a whiff of the sea his eyes would light up and he’d wiggly walk as fast as I’d allow him to, whining all the way in his eagerness to go for a dip. He’d bound in and out of the waves, running up and down with a big stupid grin on his face like a big gallumphing idiot, enticing me to throw stones in for him to retrieve. Well, he is a retriever, I suppose.

A run in the sea


Little Ted, on the other hand, couldn’t bear it. He’d back away from the waves with a flick of his little French head, exclaiming to all who’d listen, “Zut alors, I must not get my leetle French paws wet.  And my ‘air! My beautiful ‘air. I will not be able to do a sing wiz eet. Eet will go all frizzay. Oh! Frizzay/ frise.  Zat must be zee answer! Ah must ‘ave zis nem because my ancesteeeers went in ze sea and got zair ‘air wet. Silly French ancesteeeers. We are so ‘andsome wiz our pouffy ‘air. Only common dogs like ‘im *nods head towards Douggie who is having to much of a good time to notice*  get wet. Look at ‘Im, ze silly fool. Tek me to a warm and dry place immediately!”




The ‘C’ Word

If I hear the word ‘Christmas’ one more time I may have to punch someone. Ho ho effing ho.

Seriously, I’m a big fan of the festive season. Probably the biggest fan of the festive season but puh-lease  can we just wait a few more weeks before uttering the ‘C’ word?

Mind you, the feeding frenzy that is Christmas has already started in the shops. Cards have been on display for weeks along with selection boxes and ‘Brut for men’ gift packs.  Its hard not to think that you’re on  the last minute when you’re being bombarded with: ‘BUY NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!’

Jeez………….*lightbulb moment*  Actually, now I come to think of it, yes.  I almost forgot it was all about him.  I bet his Dad didn’t realise how commercialised and distorted the whole story was going to get when he put his masterplan into action.

Anyway, back to the plot…

I haven’t even had my summer holiday yet, I’m not even entertaining the idea of Christmas till I’ve been back at least a day.

The holidays this year will be er…….interesting. We’re going to Spain with some friends to see a friend, one long overdue for a massive cuddle. I’m dying to see her. Who’d have thought when we met at school we’d still be friends 10 20 30 


40 odd years later. There I’ve said it. Bloody hell! Now I feel  as old as Methuselah – but how nice it is to still have friends from my childhood.

We get back from that holiday, spend four days washing clothes and deleting millions of emails and then we go away again to Torquay to see Boofuls’ brother.  This time we’re going with Lashes, Len, all the grandchildren and both dogs.   Dangerous seems to think she’s going to the Caribbean rather than south Devon. Apparently she’s taking her swimming cossie so she can swim in the sea and play on the beach. At the end of October? Bbbbbrrrrrr.

It’s going to be eventful, I think. I’m already hatching plans to keep three lively kids amused in a ‘closed for the winter’ seaside resort.

You’ll never guess what I did today.

What a dope ( me, not you).

As normal I checked my diary. Shoot at 11.00 a.m. Nothing else for the rest of the day. Ooh lovely, I though,  I’ll go for a nice long walk with Douggie the Doggie – and so I did, it was lovely.

I landed back at work after our walk to stern faces and “Why don’t you take your phone?” I’d only been and gone and missed an appointment!

Quelle horreur!

Clients turned up to view their photos and I’m halfway up the bloody moors! Much grovelling on my part when I got back.

It’s there very clearly in black and white in my diary and I didn’t even see it. Definitely time for a holiday.

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.”

Carry on Cruising

The days sailed by delightfully slowly. Usually a holiday feels like it ‘s gone in a flash but on this one time seemed to slow down and I was glad because I was enjoying every minute of it.

Maybe not every single minute. I didn’t enjoy it much in Lisbon when I was overcome by the heat and had to take refuge in a cafe, pale faced, shaking and near to tears.  Even that turned out ok though as we had a brilliant meal of the freshest grilled fish and salad while we sat in the cool airconditioned, characterful surroundings regaining our (my ) equilibrium.

Where did we go then?

Vigo first. What a pretty place.  Boofuls was thrilled to see segways for hire at the dock and wasted no time at all in securing us a couple to go and see the sights on. I was so glad he did, all the stuff we wanted to see was at the top of a stupidly large hill!

We had a laugh with one of the ships photographers and gave him a photo shoot to relieve the tedium of endless mug shots.

We loved it, I think it shows us as we really are, elegant and sophisticated. It’ll pop up on the slide show in a minute, what do you think?

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We made loads of new friends on the ship. People we wouldn’t engage with in real life became bezzie mates. The young couple dressed in head to toe Gucci with the Armani sunglasses that never left their heads be  it day or night, sunny or cloudy turned out to be really good company. They were begging us to go clubbing with them one night. Clubbing. Dear God, it’s been a while since we did that!

Then there was the mother and daughter combo. What a laugh they were. The driest humour ever, just how I like it. What these four people had in common was that they all thought I must be related to Fern Britten as I apparently look and act just like her. What do you think?

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/25/fern-britton-leave-this-morning



Yeah, that’s what I thought, both female, middle aged and blonde, that’s where the similarities end.

Obviously one of our first stops when we got on board was to check out the dance  facilities, which were I must say pretty dire. The teachers were far from dire though and we got on like a house on fire. Bad influence, they are.  Keeping us up till all hours,  I’m not saying we danced a lot or anything but my dance shoes actually fell apart! It was the after hours socialising that really took it out of me, I was exhausted!!

Coming back through the Bay of Biscay was entertaining.

Literally 50% of the  crew and passengers went down with sea sickness. In fairness it was a bit choppy. At one point a huge wave hit the side of the ship and scared the life out of everyone, causing one woman who’d been hanging over the side trying to keep hold of her lunch to get soaked and lose the lunch battle simultaneously. After that we weren’t allowed outside on the lower decks.

Boofuls and me were blissfully unaffected. We’d booked a table at the outdoor grill restaurant and we had the best service, EVER. Mostly because we were the only people there.

It was a bit like Carry On Cruising at this point, which amused me greatly.
The ship bounced around. The water from the swimming pool would occasionally shoot ten feet up into the air.  The waiters were staggering around with trays of food. The wine kept sloshing out of the glasses.  People tried to walk across the lido deck but got beaten back by the wind. Inside,the dance floor was downright dangerous but  it did create a bit of comic action as we watched some people  give  a waltz  their best shot.

Back in the cabin the wooden hangers in the wardrobe were clanging together and sounded  just like chinese music. The drawers in the cabin kept flying open.  It ket me awake  most of the night chuckling to myself as I played out a Carry On Cruising scenario in my head.

Cue scene Our heroine phones the captain: “Ere captain, me drawers keep coming open and me ‘angers keep banging together.”

(Cue Frankie Howerd type eye rolling.)

Captain:  ‘Ooohh Missus, we don’t want any of that filth round ‘ere, thank you.’