Friday, 28 August 2015

Oshawa sunset

Landed in Toronto this afternoon and this is my first sunset tonight outside my Uncle's place in Oshawa. Beautiful. I've flown over to be with my family after my Godmother's passing and I seem to have hit a heatwave. I haven't had a summer trip to Canada since the very first one in July 2005. Roll on lots of sunny, hot days!  

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Yorkshire road trip

Just over a week ago, I helped my mum and her friend find a place to stay in Yorkshire, whilst they road trip next month. They're planning to tour Yorkshire in 8 days and I'm interested to hear all about it, having never visited this part of the country myself.

They've booked what looks like a lovely little cottage in Langcliffe, Settle, North Yorkshire on the Sykes Cottages website. We will see what they make of it...

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Year Of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond


It was time for another Chick Lit story, this time by a British author...

Three women. Three stories. Three opportunities amid the struggles.

Saffron is divorced, works in PR, lives in a one-bedroomed flat and goes through the motions of the daily tube commute. The only excitement is the fling she's having with Max.

"All the decisions that lay ahead made her feel queasy... there was no escaping the fact that she would have to start sorting her life out soon, pinning down a few certainties like markers on a map. This way. Then this way. And don't look back."

Gemma and Spencer seem like the perfect couple with their two children and their lovely old house in the country, but then when the scales tip, it takes all of Gemma's willpower to keep herself and her family together.

Caitlin is on the verge of a break up and one discovery is about to turn her whole world upside down.

This was a great, heartwarming story bringing these three women together. The writing flowed, the plot was believable and I would certainly pick up another Lucy Diamond novel.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Blackbird egg

Such a pretty coloured egg

After hacking two thirds of my mum's bay tree back to a more manageable, rounded bush, I uncovered the Blackbird's nest she knew had been in there and I found this egg inside from the chick that hatched. Unfortunately, there was also another egg in a gooey mess in the nest. 50% success rate. 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Poem For My Agents

This is a poem I wrote to all of my agents across the globe, when I left my travel job the first time, to write my book back in September 2009:

I really cannot quite believe
the journey I have lived and breathed
The things I've done, the places I've been
Wow! It seems but just a dream

To soar above Victoria Falls
To visit where the lion roars
Safaris in the dawn and dusk
and the thrill of nature's musk

To camp under the stars at night
and search for tigers at first light
Churches, temples, special places
and the many different faces

Elephants, camels, desert wilderness
Moonscapes, coastlines, beautiful landscape emptiness
Ancient Leptis and Petra standing tall
I was privileged to see it all

Being inside a pyramid for the first time
was a childhood dream of mine
So many memories, so much to tell
I can hardly wait to regale...

I do not know what I would've done
without your friendship and the fun
of being able to experience such things
and enjoy the wonderment that it brings

So these 10 years have been the best
but now it's time for me to rest
to ponder, muse and laugh and write
my ramble, rhyme and such like

It's not goodbye
It's not the end
I'll see you when I see you
my dearest friends

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Travel industry funnies Pt.2.

More travel industry funnies coming up now. Bearing in mind I used to work in Product and Contracting, so we would read these notes made by Reservations if and when we needed to look at a booking. They would also print out automatically for our agents around the world. Bear that in mind when having a read - think cultural differences, language barriers, different palates and food, terrible grammar and spelling... and then laugh your head off as we used to! These are 100% genuine and names and details have been changed where the joke is not affected...

Ms Elizabeth Jones likes to be called Sian

Pax Mr Joseph III Edwards and Mr Joseph IV is the correct spelling of their names

Nicola Smith is vegetarian. She does not eat fish and rarely eats eggs

Pax Heslop has irritable bowels and may need to go to toilet randomly, but should be ok

Miss X and Miss Y would like a twin room, they do not want to share bed

Pax Mrs K does not want to share a room with Mrs C. Pax Mrs K is happy to be roomed with anybody other than Mrs C

Mr B is not vegetarian but enjoys a lot of vegetarian food

Pax Miss Richard Smith pre existing medical conditions are: he has 3 stents in coronary arteries placed in 2010. No impairment of physical activity / paralysis of right diaphragm in 2007. Physical activity only compromised over 6000 ft. Full cycling capability at lower elevations. Pax currently cycles approx 1700 miles per day.

Good to know!

Mr Berger and Mrs Berger is a vegetarian

Mrs F would prefer to use a male frame

Mrs E has the following dietary requirement - no dairy with the exception of plain yoghurt, rice, milk or soy milk. Oat puffs or rice puffs is ok for breakfast. No wheat so only wheat free breads or rolls. No margarine but butter is ok. Oats are ok. Drinks: apple juice / still water / decaffeinated teas like chamomile, peppermint etc

Pax W has allergies to pets and as the hotels accepts pets, please room her in a clean "no pets" rooms, thanks

Miss B will probably not be eating an evening meal as can't eat late at night

Mrs P is worried about snorkelling. She has never done this before so please spend a few minutes with her showing her what to do?

Mrs M cannot eat eats in any form and she does not like fish

Alison B hates blood pancakes

Ms M does not eat red meat and am wheat and cow's dairy intolerant. This means I can eat fish, all poultry and seafood, plus rice, potatoes, rye polenta, corn etc, plus goats and sheep cheese. I can eat anything with flour in it as long as it's not wheat flour. What she cannot eat is red meat, bread / pastry or pasta made with wheat flour, cows milk / cheese / yoghurt / cream

Yes, I think we've got it now, thanks!

Pax Mr B does not like peas

Miss J will be needing to park her car near the office - please help her to organise this

Ms Berry is a vegetarian

Good one!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Travel industry funnies Pt.1.

I've been going through a boxfile of old travel industry stuff and came across some hilarious bits and pieces to share on the blog:

First up, I was writing some copy about Malaysia and I sent an email to my colleagues entitled Go to Penang for a boob job, then relax on the beach - according to Lonely Planet! I'd found a humourous quote on the web as follows...

"In addition, the Lonely Planet's top travel list includes Malaysia among the top spots for medical adventures. The guide states, "Mix procedures with pleasures in Malaysia, another leading destination for medical travellers. Places like the beach resort town of Penang, on the country's northwestern coast, are popular for breast enhancement surgery that comes with packaged-tour. It is good that a recuperative vacation is included since doctors warn that long plane journeys after surgery can cause thrombosis." "

So there you go!

We used to write notes in a person's booking if they had a specific requirement or request. Here are some of the more funny ones. And yes, this kept us entertained for hours (and still keeps me entertained) !! 100% genuine and names changed where the joke is not affected...

Ms Rabbit is a vegetarian

For your info. Michael X and Anna X will be on their honeymoon. Pax would like triple room if possible

Mrs X does not want a double room please. Only book her in a twin cabin as she does not want to have to share a bed with her son

Miss X is allergic to wheat bran and will bring Ryvita etc with her. She is also phobic of meat on the bone, for example she can't manage to eat a chicken leg or a lamb chop, but can cope with a chicken breast or a sausage

Mr Smith is a vegetarian. Pax prefers to be called Beatrice

Miss Y only drinks water and hot chocolate

Suzanne likes to be called Susan

Pax Z is slightly shortsighted, however they are covered by insurance and wear contacts

Mrs A is quite a bad snorer

Miss B normally cycles on a 17 inch

Pax Martin Smith is known as Helen

Mrs C would like quite an upright bike

Pax Miss D cannot eat chives

Mr Last will be late to the hotel

Pax Miss E is tomato intolerant

Pax Smith can't swim - if it comes to it, give him his life jacket first

Family F are vegetarians but eat fish. Child 1 has a nut allergy but he can eat things with traces in. They have a pen just in case as it is not severe. Child 1 is also allergic to fish and eggs. Family F are travelling land only but on group flights from MAD-SVQ and SVQ-MAD

Pax Miss G is allergic to nuts and is a VEG

Miss H has an allergy to brazil nuts. If Miss H eats brazil nuts she will be sick and have a rash

Mrs Green is a vegetarian

Mrs I does not want to be called Penelope. Please can you call her Penny

Pax Duddy x2 booked a flight for the wrong day so are arriving on 27MAR12 at 17:30 and will make their way directly to the train station. Please make sure you look out for them

Mr J is allergic to the following foods. Beef and pork. All dairy products including milk, cheese, yoghurt. Potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, red and green peppers. Mushrooms. Tea and coffee. Pineapple, grapes, coconut and strawberry. Red and white wine

Pax Ms Knorr is a vegetarian. Pax Ms Knorr requests hormone free meat

Dr K likes a bike with a smaller frame than her height would suggest

Ms L is vegetarian but does eat fish and occasionally has eaten meat when on holiday

Mr M has requested a small framed bike pref with a slopping top tube

errr hmmmm

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Duck Can Can

To kick off a new month, here's a totally quackers, silly short video I made about the ducks on the River Test!

Created on the app Splice that I've had on my old iPhone 4S for about 3 years. I get around to these things eventually...