Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A's quote of the day was:
I thought this was going to be the best day of my life. But it has become the worst.
Hmm. Well, I'll start at the very beginning, with sarnies made and wet weather gear on, nothing was going to stop us enjoying the day at Paulton's Park we had booked 6 months ago, paying just a tenner each for coach travel and entry - thus making a saving of about £30 on the day cost if we had gone in a car as a family. We never pay full price at PP, but this was the most expensive trip yet. Just had a chocolate to munch, excuse me. They are building a Peppa Pig land at Paultons, just in time for Duncan's children to be at perfect age for enjoying Paultons. So, it'll be PP at PP for Dunc and Em next summer, no trips to Tank Land or Nuke World, shame.

Anyway, after arriving and getting Sandra's number in case of emergencies and her instruction to be back to leave at 4.30 ( Sandra runs the trips and most of Thornhill community generally, we've been going to these trips for ever), we and the Clarks trotted off to enjoy the rides and amenities of the fabulously clean and neat and friendly Paultons Park, which is half the price and twice as good as Legoland, if you ask me. That's not what Legoland say, but do you trust their marketing men?

All went swimmingly well, literally, as the rain came down and I began to regret not coming in wetsuits, they would have been perfect for the conditions. Lunch, more rides, dinosaurs and other such trifles, and by about 3 everyone was flagging and needed a hot chocolate and a sit down in the warm to keep us going for the last hour. We got out to the coach park at 4.22, to the sight of both our coaches departing! Despite my recent running training, I couldn't catch up, and desperately rang and rang Sandra's phone with no answer. By now the rain was heavier and we were all feeling a little wobbly and desperate, R rang for a taxi and finally at 4.36 I got through to Sandra - who on seeing my name on her phone had realised her horrible mistake. They were coming back for us. Hurrah! Meanwhile going through my mind was 'What have I ever done to offend Sandra this much?' She was grovellingly apologetic, and the other coach had forgotten two people too, so they were glad to get on our bus home. We got back to Thornhill at about 6pm, when R realised our car key had gone missing, and as our car was at one end of the estate and our house at the other, friends took pity on us and ferried us home in their cars, and R back to pick up our car, all in monsoon conditions. Could things get any worse? The girls had a bath and watched Mary Poppins and ate their favourite chicken bacon and sweetcorn pie for tea. I popped to Sainsburys and filled the car up with diesel.

But it's ok, our car is a diesel! So, whatever the third thing is that should happen now to show that things happen in threes, I am about to lie down and turn out the lights. I am glad I didn't read my horror scope about today. If I had I would not have got up.

There are advantages to going to PP in the rain. You don't have to queue for anything, and can sit on rides and go round again and again. There are almost no people. Just make sure you have your own independent means of getting home.

Friday, 20 August 2010

This is a genuine conversation between 2 males in a steam room yesterday, clearly trying to win the alpha male crown in that particular steam room. I have not made this up, honest.

A: We are really enjoying the ice maker feature on our freezer. How much can you get out of it at one go? We've never tried to empty it all at once.
B: Well, ours has a bigger bucket than yours, we just open up the basket below and fill it, but then ours had a bigger bucket than yours. Did you treat yourselves to a new built in microwave?
A: No, moved the one we had.
B: Oh, so the counter looks bigger, yeah. Maybe you'll get a built in like ours?
B: Bet you enjoyed using our toaster! You haven't got one, have you?
A: No ( clearly losing out here, so far nil point on any kitchen gadget) We are wondering whether to replace with a two er or a four er - but now the kids are not around so much, we don't really use one... then, if people come round, you do toast....
B: We have a fourer ( course you do you win at everything don't you? eh?)

( I was desperate to interject on behalf of A that he would buy a sixer and raise him two.

So ladies, now you know what men talk about when you are not there. Gadgets, even kitchen gadgets are fair game and they will out gadget each other until there is a winner.

Our spare room is nearly ready for habitation, having spent Tue and Wed decorating and putting down carpet, it has paint, carpet, one curtain, nearly the other one but its a bit tricky measuring and I need some help and underbed storage boxes for all the Godly play stuff to live in. The room looks so nice, we would swap it and move in, but our neighbours on that side are the slightly loud ones and are not reliably quiet. If you want to come and stay for a few nights, they will behave, and its not too bad, honest, but we don't want to commit to it being our room and then have them banging their beds against the walls and shouting at each other early in the morning. Having said all that, we are really looking forward to having you to stay now we have the space and a nice set up for you. That's clearly not all of you, as it would be odd if you lived down the road and came and stayed, but if you are from further afield, please do come and test out the new IKEA curtains. A and I had a lovely visit to the great blue and yellow temple, we don't go often enough, considering how near it is, but then it is in town and I find town overwhelming these days.

did a 5km run this morning inside the magic 30 minutes. Got to do that twice, and a bike ride in the middle, on 4 Sep for my next event, which is early in the morning at Bushey Park if you wanted to come and cheer me on - though why would you get up early to watch women run and bike?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

That is a photo of A's first sail. She was in an Oppie in Portugal. Thanks to Nanny J for the photo. A has not sailed since being back here, but everyone else has, a lot! A seems to have picked up enough know how to point out last night that in the credits on NightGarden, Iggle Piggle is foolishly using his sail as a blanket and relying on the tide to get him across the ocean. A hung out with Granny M while H and R sailed in the dart 15 nationals (Dart 15 is a type of cat!). They came 48th out of 62, with a best result of 18th and the rest of the races ~ of which there were 6, they came consistently in the 40s. I hung out at the sailing club and tried out my new strategy for clocking up some sailing hours. I find a young man in a wetsuit and ask him to come out and sail with me. So far I have found 3 willing victims, all of whom have passed on their expertise to me, and given my confidence to helm. I even went out on a Dart 18 and only had a slight worrying moment when Tom thought we were gybing and I decided to tack. I really enjoyed being a passenger with Tom, he had a 'let's go a bit faster - this is tame with you helming' moment and we had to sit out over the edge, held on just with a foot under the toe strap. Well, a foot each, clearly. Lots of fun and I felt like I learned a lot, and am planning to mount my own campaign next summer at the 15 nationals. In between now and then i may publish an alternative sailing dictionary, to help you understand the terms involved which are a whole new language. That and all the cycling lingo I am learning - I could get in a muddle and luff up to my sprocket. We had a sunny weekend and I love the community vibe of the club, all the kids have fun together and hanging out there so much means I know a lot more people and remember their names. We are finally back at home for more than one night, first two nights in my bed since 26 July!

thanks to anonymous for joining the gang, hope you find something of interest.
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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

It is impossible to be good at everything. I have tried. I signed up for my first ever solo sailing race on Sunday and it was a disaster. H signed up for the concurrent junior race and was the only competitor, so she got to start 5 minutes after the adults and join in their course. She actually finished the short course while I took over 30 minutes to cross the start line. It was awful, there was little wind and what there was shifted around and I never got to go anywhere, except backwards a little and then back to the shore cross and fed up. Bah. My confidence was elevated to the point of entering a race by the great sailing I had done in Portugal, where in quite brave conditions for me I had sailed with two sails and then with two sails and H on the trapeze wire dangling off the side. If I knew how I would import a bit of video in here for you to see that I can do it, except we didn't take any.

My lack of confidence/enthusiasm/competence for IT reached new heights, when on losing my mobile for the millionth time ( think it is in a field in Netley) I don’t care and am enjoying getting on with life without one, and the thought of going into one of those shops with no visible products and just shelves with phones around the edge makes me feel sick. I don’t have a clue what I would want, if I wanted one at all. R had done all the contracts since he first insisted I get a phone, when H was born. That is 9 years of no competence or experience or knowledge or interest. I am just going to not mention it, and if people really want to contact me they can ring our house or come round on their horses like in the olden days.

Portugal. Is a very warm and pleasant place for a holiday with nice beaches and friendly natives, who go to beaches on Sundays even when it is not sunny. The temperatures varied between 20 C and 38 C during our week long stay, and one day we went to the beach was the 20 day, with most of Portugal’s population out in their bikinis. They are up there with the Brits in the obesity wars, I can tell you. We did a few sessions of sailing back at the sailing school in Foz de Arholo ( or similar spelling) which we visited a lot last year. This year was A’s turn to have a go in an Oppie, with R wading after her to give her advice and commands to avoid disaster on the high seas. When disaster struck and she capsized, or to coin her new word, a capsization, it was R’s fault for talking to her too much. A came up with another malapropism, when she observed that Portuguese drivers don’t use their escalators much when turning corners. Or their indicators when ascending inside shopping malls. We stopped at a mall on the way back to the airport to get tea, and found a great bargain corner in the hypermarket where I purchased two sets of towel, goggles and swim hat for 47 cents each. Would have bought more but the bags were full. You can never have too many towels.

In a bid to not do any house work this summer, we stayed a night with G M, who kindly picked us up from Heathrow. I was delighted to do a run in Bushey Park which went ok, as my running in Portugal was sluggish at best and walking at worst. I am doing a duathlon in Bushey Park soon and wanted to get in some running there, plus it is a fabulous, flat and wild landscape within a mile of G M’s house. We then spent 4 nights at Netley, camping, after having done some washing and filing of post accumulated – recycling, mostly, as people still seem to think I want to buy takeaway pizza, despite not having done so since about 2000. We had really mixed camping weather, with a grim rainy afternoon on Saturday which was sister in law Ang’s birthday. They came down to join us, Angus sleeping in the tent and the rest of the family sleeping in our house. Ang tells me that it always rains on her birthday, so make a note not to plan any events for 7 August, ever. A is loving her new freedom on her bike and pedals around the sailing club constantly. The only problem is that she tries to turn on rough stony ground. I have never got through Savlon, antiseptic wipes like this. I even had to buy some melonin or whatever that super wound dressing stuff is called. She has scrapes and cuts that make her look like a NSPCC advert.

H and I did go back to the same piercing place, btw, where a lovely gentle man used needles to do H’s ears and she didn’t even flinch. She has been really good at remembering to do the Savlon spray applications, so I am thinking that shares in Savlon would be a good buy right now. Or a fortnight ago.

Today I went to a aerobics class called Body Vibe, which involved no calling up dead spirits at all, but some press ups and balancing with a ball and dancing around. I also did a bit of swimming, but got irritated by my goggles not working. When we were in Wales a few weeks back I went to a cycling fitness class at Esporta Bridgend, and then swam my 600m in a 25m pool to time myself ready for the West Wight Tri. Wales was a brief event, it was raining when we arrived and things didn’t improve much. We went to Barry Island, much to the mirth of my cousins, but I and the girls thinks its a great beach, wide and safe and sandy, and rightly a popular spot with St David and the Welsh. They could give the Portuguese a serious worry if the World Cup was for average BMI. We were mainly in Wales, for all of 20 hours, for a party for my cousin who is 40. It was a fancy dress party, or that is what he told the family, as we all dutifully turned up looking stupid to find half of the Welsh contingent hadn’t got the same invitations and thought it was smart casual. Or that was their fancy dress? Seeing a girl getting out of a taxi in Porthcawl to go out on the town it was hard to tell who was in fancy dress and what is normal wear for the Welsh of an evening. Again, if my camera was working by now you would see some pics, but its run out of batteries and despite my best efforts they are not recharging like they used to.

Today I caught two buses and one of them was so full I had to stand some of the way. I was a bit overwhelmed with being in Kingston, it was loud and full of people and traffic and just not as nice as I remembered it, plus it was raining. There was a topless man with a scar down his tummy shouting at people in the street. It was a relief to get off the bus in Claygate and hear the birds and the quiet. I really am getting antisocial in my old age. I found it all so noisy. I am glad I don’t live in Kingston and get to live in a really peaceful part of Southampton, with woods for running in within a km of my front door, and the sea within 3 miles ( I know all this because of using my pedometer on runs lately, having worked out how to reset it).