Tag Archives: PIL

Surprises.

The not so surprising thing about surprises is that by their very nature they take you by surprise. Some are bad like the letter I got recently informing me I had been caught on camera in Watford on the 30th April at 0657 travelling at 41mph in a 30 zone. A few days later I had another nasty surprise when the Essex Constabulary informed me that on the 12th May at 1243 I had been caught on camera travelling at 58mph on the QE2 bridge which has a 50mph limit. WTF! Are speeding tickets buses now? Nothing for ages then two come along together! I have no recollection of speeding on either occasion.

I have completed my speed awareness course where we covered the laws of physics, watched videos, had discussions on a variety of speed and driving related subjects. All jolly interesting stuff. I think I only nodded off once. For the offence on the QE2 bridge I have paid the fine and had 3 points put on my driving licence. I have informed my insurers who will happily use the excuse to increase my premiums for the next few years. Bummer!

At times like this I like to take refuge in my garden and have a good old poke around, dig some holes, plant some plants, do a bit of pruning and mow the lawn. Even this can have nasty surprises usually in the form of half buried cat shit where you least expect it and, more often than not, precisely where you are using your hands to make a planting hole slightly bigger! Nothing quite like a handful of cat poo to brighten your day or to discover new ways to curse the blasted creatures! Then there are the surprises where things you planned to happen in the garden don’t materialise. A couple of years ago I wrote about how the foxgloves in my garden were doing particularly well and were giving a good show. I said how easy they are to grow and that I just let them seed where they want. I was a bit smug about it. Imagine my surprise when to my surprise (and disappointment) my smugness bit me on the arse last year and hardly any grew at all, just a few straggly specimens managed to make an appearance.

In an effort to escape from the terrible thoughts I was having about the things I would like to do to the inventor of the speed camera and the fecal land mines laid in my front garden by an assortment of neighbourhood felines, I decided to cut the grass in the back garden. Mowing the lawn isn’t my favourite pastime but it’s the kind of mindless exercise I can live with and the end result always looks nice. So I grabbed my iPod, inserted the earpieces and started to mow. The music, the hum of the lawn mower engine, the sound of the mower blades cutting through the grass, clover and daisies allied with the buzz of a stray stone being picked up and spat out at great speed and smashing the kitchen window soon relaxed me and I started having more pleasant thoughts such as what PIL looks like naked. Probably not a good thing for a bloke to be thinking if he has a pair of secateurs in his hand but it’s fine when mowing the lawn. Then, out of the corner of my eye  I saw something that gave me a very pleasant surprise. Along the fence at the side of the garden there is a line of 25 or 30 beech trees. They may be hornbeam but I can’t tell the difference. I cut them back at the beginning of last year so that they are only about 8 feet high and they are turning into quite a pleasant-looking hedge. Birds nest in amongst the branches and lots of creepy crawlies live there and call it home. Well, in amongst the branches, arching beautifully with the weight of flowers was a lovely fox glove.

All on its own.

It looked just simply beautiful. It had white flowers flushed pink.

It reminded me that no matter how hard we try, Nature will always go two or three better and produce something in the most surprising and unusual places. I was chuffed to bits to see that.

There are three things that most people find surprising about our garden although two of those will be changing. First, there aren’t any roses in the garden. None at all. There was one by the front door when we first moved in but that went a few years ago. I understand why people like roses. They often have beautiful flowers, they come in a huge array of colours and some have a wonderful scent. To me though they are just a mega pain in the bum. They are “gross feeders” so they take all the nutrients and minerals out of the soil meaning copious quantities of compost has to be added once or twice a year or you end up with dust. They attract pests, especially aphids and diseases that spread to other plants in the garden and to top it all they rip you to shreds if you so much as touch them. Not for me. I prefer to be able to sit back and admire my garden.

I also get why people like bedding plants or annuals. Instant colour that lasts for months if you dead head regularly. I just think “aching back” and “sore knees” from planting them in the Spring and digging the blighters up again in the Autumn. Not to mention the increase in getting a handful of cat poo while digging them in. That’s changing though. PIL (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed) wants hanging baskets and that means annuals although mixed up with things like strawberries and stuff. She tends to take care of the pots too and does a fine job with them. They’ll be annuals in the pots as well. I don’t mind. It’s our garden and my only objection to bedding plants is the effort involved. I look forward to seeing how that works out.

The other surprising thing about our garden is the absence of the colour orange. Or so I thought. I’m talking the fruit colour here. Goes with bugger all. Clashes with everything. In a gloomy corner of the front garden there is a big clump of what I think are Welsh Poppies. For work reasons, I tend to be away when they flower in May. They’re yellow. Or so I thought. This year they flowered a bit later and I saw them. They looked absolutely superb in that slightly gloomy corner and contrasted really well with the white flowers in the front. (I have no idea what the white flowers are. Planted ’em years ago and I can never remember plant names. Unlike my memory for the collective noun for wombats!!) Anyhow, they looked really good but they were orange! See. Nature did it again. Nothing to do with me. They are staying. Look at the photo and you’ll see what I mean. Smashing!

On that note I must go as it’s getting late. Have a nice day wherever you may be and whatever time it may be where you are.

More Dick soon.

auto

 

Operation Dexter Dawg

A little while ago I wrote about our bonkers dog Dexter and how he needed to have an operation on his left rear leg as he had torn his cruciate ligament. If I’ve done this correctly, you can read that post here. The poor pooch has been confined to the house and garden since before Christmas 2016 and it’s been driving him nuts although he has been out for brief 15 minute walks on his lead every now and again.

Well, as planned, Dexter went for his operation on the 9th March and it was a complete success although it wasn’t without its dramas. We had taken Dexter for a number of x-rays and scans and because the vet was going to be manipulating his leg quite considerably, Dexter was given a general anesthetic so as to minimise any discomfort for him and as a safeguard for the vet in case Dexter decided to take a lump out of him.  Once he had come round whoever had taken him, either PIL or me, would lift him into the car, drive home and lift him out again. At 30 odd kilos, he ain’t exactly a lightweight. We thought it would be the same for his operation. So I went to work and PIL took Dexter to the vet. To PILs surprise not only was a general administered but Dexter was also given an epidural. After the operation the pooch eventually came round but he had no movement in his rear end because of the epidural. PIL and the vet lifted him into PILs car. Once home PIL, who is very definitely a girlie girl, couldn’t move him to the rear of the car to get him out. She knocked at the neighbours. No one in!  So PIL got his water bowl and food and sat in the car with him until Ed got home from work two hours later. Dexter didn’t mind.

The vet had put a cone on Dexter to stop him trying to get to his stitches. We only put it on him at night or if we popped out and he was on his own and I have to say he was very tolerant of it and never kicked up a stink when we put it on him. Even when he went out into the garden he had to have his lead on to stop him running around.

It was a different matter altogether when we gave him his tablets.We wrapped them up in goodies which he scoffed and then spat the tablets out. We held treats next to his nose to make him salivate and swallow but he just dribbled and made a  disgusting mess on the kitchen floor. We called him a bastard. A lot!

We called him all the names under the sun but none worked. After a lot of treats and stroking his throat he would eventually swallow his tablets. We then spent 20 minutes cleaning all the goo off the floor. Twice a day for weeks this went on but eventually his course of tablets ended, the stitches came out, more x-rays were taken and last week, he was given the all clear. He could go walkies again! Dexter had been quite happy to sit in the sunshine and soak up a few rays but there is no doubt all he wanted to do was go berserk in the woods.

My favourite photo of Dexter sunning himself

A big but went with this. Only for 15 minutes at a time and only on his lead. The time increasing by 5 minutes each week until it got to 30-35 minutes and then he could be let off the lead for 5 minutes again increasing by 5 minutes each week until it got to 30 minutes and thereafter, Dexter could be let off for how ever long we were out for. Brilliant. Recovery is a long-winded process but necessary to ensure he doesn’t wreck his leg again. The vet does expect him to do the same thing with his other leg though! We shall see.

Have a brilliant day.

More Dick soon.

auto

Do I really?

I have been missing from the blogging world for a few weeks now. Mainly this has been due to being very busy not just at work but at home as well. It’s not been helped by struggling to find a subject to write about. My original intention, and Lily Moose will confirm this, was to write about my efforts to build a garden shed. It has to be said that PIL took it all rather well.

Then I thought to myself that really, I have already demonstrated to the World at large that when it comes to DIY I’m a bit of a dork, so why embarrass myself again?

dork

 

A garden shed is a simple wooden structure. Ours consisted of a two piece floor, two sides, four sections making up the front and rear gables, a two piece roof, a double door and some roofing felt. A simple structure but I still managed to fuck it up! I am fully aware of my shortcomings when it comes to DIY and therefore read the instructions very carefully. I took on board the suggestion that I read them again over a cup of coffee.

coffee

In fact, I read them three times over four coffees and then I twice watched the on-line video on how to construct this shed. I immediately hit a problem. The shed was not very big. 8 foot x 4 foot but the written instructions and the video kept going on about ensuring the shed was square! How the bloody hell can a 8×4 shed (a rectangle if my memory serves me correctly) be square? So the first two hours were spent scratching my head.

finger-in-socket-1

In the end, I rang a mate of mine up who is a builder and wouldn’t be too sarcastic and he explained it all to me. So I started the build but soon discovered another problem. To build this shed required 4 hands, 3 legs and intelligence. I was deficient in all three areas so I put my tools away and waited until the following day when PIL would be home. The following day arrived and we commenced work on the shed again. Once the walls were fitted, PIL went inside while I carried on with the build. Floor, walls, gables and roof all went up and then it was time to fit the doors in the remaining space. Somehow or another during the construction the gap at the top of the door way was 46 inches (spot on as it happens) but the bottom was 49 inches! Or was it the other way round? My rectangle was no longer square! So I thought, “Bollocks” and spent 14 minutes dismantling what had taken me 4 hours to build, went in doors, had a cup of tea and suffered the laughter and sarcasm. PIL took it all rather well considering.

So then I thought “Do I really want the World to know that once again, when it comes to DIY, I’m a complete pillock?”

PIL already thinks I’m a plank.

Plank

 

My kids think I’m a fossil.

fossil-hardshellcrab

So simply put.

No.

So I’ve decided not to write about my shed building escapades. No one needs to know so I’m keeping quiet. Sorry and all that, but I really don’t want to write about it. Instead I think I might write about cars. I like cars. Or tell a real life ghost story. One of my mates has also asked to write  as a guest on my blog. Apparently, he wants to “weassure” the World about what he calls “Bwexit” and “The Twump effect”. He may also mention pesky wabbits. We shall see. In the meantime, I have a builder mate to phone about getting a garden shed built.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

auto

A Meeting

It was the cold that woke me up. For a brief moment I thought that PIL was sharing my bed again and had stolen all the duvet like she used to. Wishful thinking on my part. I rolled over and saw the figure sitting on the sofa by the window. The figure appeared to be tall and slim and was wearing some kind of hooded shroud. I couldn’t see its face. There was a scythe lying across its lap.

“Are you Death?” I asked.

“I am” the figure replied

“Have you come for me?”

“I have”. Came the reply.

“Don’t say much do you mate?”

“Not much to say.” he replied. The voice was definitely male.

I sat up, as I had decided long ago that I would not face death lying down.

“Well, I’d sooner not go just yet if that’s ok with you.”

“Many people say that to me y’know. Not all, but a fair number. It rarely changes anything.”

“It’s just that I still have a great many things to do and see and achieve and being dead won’t help.”

“So what is it that is so important that I cannot take you now?” asked Death.

“There are quite a few things actually. I would really like to see my children grow up, graduate from University, marry and have kids themselves. It would be nice to see my grandchildren.”

“Is that it?”

“I also want to learn to sail and speak French.” I replied

“You mean you don’t want to cure cancer, stop pollution and save the environment?” came the slightly sarcastic reply.

“All fine ambitions” I answered, ” and stopping Mankind’s inhumanity towards Mankind would also be pretty good but I know my limitations. I am a simple man with simple ambitions.”

Death picked up his scythe and put it to one side. I started breathing again. I hadn’t realise I was holding my breathe.

“I have to take a soul. If not yours, then whose?” he said.

“Mate, if you’re saying that if you don’t take me you will take one of my kids or PIL, then take me now. There is no way you are taking any of them. I will fight you with everything I have to stop that happening.”

Death laughed for a second or two then stopped and appeared to be thinking.

“What about the dog? Dogs have souls.” he said after a few seconds.

“That’s not really fair on the dog is it?” I answered. “He’s done nothing wrong, he had an awful start to his life and he’s happy here. He may be as daft as a brush but no, take me if you have to take anyone.”

Death was quiet for a few minutes. I guess he was thinking again. Finally, he spoke again.

“We’ve met before.” he said. That was a bit unexpected.

“Er. I don’t think so bud. I’d remember something like meeting you.”

“No, no, no.” Death exclaimed. “What I mean is that I was taking someone and you were there. You wouldn’t have seen me but I saw you. Three times in fact.”

“Were you there when my parents died?” I asked.

“No.” he said. “That would have been one of my brothers. I have a great many brothers. I was there when your work colleague, Robbie died. The heart attack killed him before he hit the floor so your attempts at CPR were fruitless.”

“Thanks pal. That makes me feel so much better.”

“My pleasure. You really didn’t need to beat yourself up about that but I suppose you weren’t to know. I was also there for the man who got flung out of the car and lost the top of his head. You comforted him while he died.”

“I remember. It seemed to take ages for him to die but he didn’t appear to be in any pain. I was covered in blood and his brains when I finally got up.”

“You’re right. He wasn’t in pain but sometimes these things need to take their course. Did you go and see his wife?”

“I did.” I replied. “I left it a couple of days and then went to see her.”

“Why did you go?”

“He asked me to tell his wife that he loved her and that he was sorry. Seemed to me to be the least I could do. It wasn’t the best time of my life that’s for sure but if you can’t grant a dying mans wish, then what does that make you?”

“I see.” said Death.

“When was the third time?”

“I was there to take your friend when he got trapped in his canoe and drowned.”

“Jean-Claude?”

“Yes. You and your friend tried to pull him out. You did a very dangerous thing. I nearly came away with three that time. So why did you and Omar place yourself in so much danger? Was it because he was a friend?”

“Jean-Claude was a very good friend. We only really saw him at races, but no, we would have done the same thing irrespective of who it was. It’s a dangerous sport and if someone is in the shit, you help. Omar and I always took that attitude and we hoped that if we were ever in trouble, someone would help us.”

Death stood up and picked up his scythe.

“Oh shit.” I thought. “Play for time.”

“Tell me something Death. Why do you wear that shroudy hoodie thing? Doesn’t it freak out the people you’ve come for? It’s freaking me out!”

“You’re right. It does and we recently tried wearing suits. Some of my brothers wore Armani. Others wore Boss. I went the Tom Ford route. I preferred the cut. Unfortunately, it confused the dying. They see a smiling face in an expensive suit and they think the Worlds greatest medic has arrived to save them.”

“Surely the scythe gives it away?” I asked.

“People see what they want to see. Besides, it was costing the Boss a fortune in dry cleaning bills. So we wear these. Easy to keep clean. Chuck ’em in the machine on a cool wash and ‘Hey Presto’. I’m going now. You have persuaded me to leave you until another time. Next time we meet, and it will be me, you will be coming with me.”

“Thank you. I hope I don’t see you anytime soon.” I said.

“I don’t know when it will be but I really do hope you learn to sail and speak French.”

I woke up at 7am as usual and staggered downstairs as usual. CJ was in the living room.

“Good morning sweetness”, I said. “Boy, did I have a weird dream last night.”

“Ewwww Dad. I really don’t want to know.”

“What?”

“I’ve heard about THOSE dreams boys have.”

“What?” I said again.

” Yes. You dream about naked women and make a mess on the bed sheets.”

“What? What? It wasn’t that kind of dream. Where did you find out about this stuff anyway?”

“School. Sex education. Boys are disgusting.”

“Jesus girl. I really don’t want to be having this conversation. I haven’t had a cup of tea yet.”

“Well, you started it.”

“What? Ok, whatever. Where’s Mum?”

“She went to see Richard. Y’know, he lives round the corner.”

“I know where he lives sweetness. I take it she’s gone to wish him ‘Good luck’ in the marathon he and his wife are running in today?”

“No, Richards wife..”

“Elizabeth.”

“Yes. Elizabeth. She died suddenly in her sleep last night.”

 

More Dick soon.

auto

Great Minds……

So there I am puzzling about the next subject to write about and as it seemed to be a logical progression after writing about our new kitchen, I thought I’d post a recipe. Everyone has a signature recipe. Mine is Toad in the Hole. I make a mean Toad in the Hole apparently or did my kids call it “sick”?

toadinthehole

So, using the new MacBook Air PIL and the kids got me for my birthday, I wrote the recipe and how to make Toad in the Hole. All I had to do was put the photos in and Bobs your uncle but due to time restrictions and being knackered I decided to wait until the following day to finish off. Just as well I did, cos the next day one of the brilliant bloggers I follow (and I don’t follow that many) did something they had never to my knowledge done before. They posted a recipe! Oh Bugger! Never mind, it can wait. I can post it sometime in the future. So I decided to write something on a subject that I found fascinating. About half way through and because it was late, I paused and decided to continue the following day. The following day duly arrived (unlike tomorrow, which never does) and my new bloody laptop wouldn’t let me in! Bastard. I then reenacted the washing machine scene from Uncle Buck with an awful lot of profanity, cursing and shouting but to no avail. The bastard thing just wasn’t going to let me in unless I gave it the correct password. Now my password is something that no one would ever guess in a million years unless you were PIL or my kids but it is incredibly easy for a berk like me to remember. Try as I might the bloody stubborn bastard Apple Are Shits product was having none of it. So I gave up. I decided to let the thing fester for a week or so. Weeks passed (it might have been days as I’m prone to exaggeration) and eventually I tried again. I tried a different password just in case. Nope. It was having none of it. So I gave up again. PIL said she’d take it back if I didn’t get it sorted. Then Greg said to me,

“Dad. Did you start your password with a capital letter?”

Doh! For the first time ever, I’d used a capital letter at the start of my password. I was in! But I couldn’t be arsed to finish it that night and decided to wait until the following day. The following day duly arrived and after my coffee and donut breakfast, I opened my emails to discover that the very same person who had beat me to the draw on writing a recipe had started her A-Z challenge and was writing about the exact same subject I was about to finish writing a post on. Cockney Rhyming Slang!

bricktop2

 

cockneY2

So to pass the time of day I started my Zuckerbook Facetube thing. Lily became my first friend. After about a week, I’ve decided to knock it on the head because it is such a pile of crap. I put down my likes and from that moment onwards I was inundated with every single possible thing to do with my likes. By the time I had looked at one, eight more had appeared. It’s awful. Trying to find comments was proving impossible amongst all the dross. I felt my personal space was being constantly invaded. I got paranoid. Some bastard somewhere had written an algorithm that was prying into my world and I didn’t like it one bit so that Facesucker bloke can go whistle.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

auto

So. Do You Feel Lucky Slug?

Before we all went on holiday, I had restarted making my experimental slug deterrent. Unfortunately, as I hadn’t said anything to PIL about it, she found what she believed to be a bucket of gooey rain water in the garden and poured it away. Back to the beginning again.hostas-being-terrorized-by-slugs

What with work, stuff to do around the house and a thousand other tasks that I hadn’t done to sort out before we went away, I didn’t get round to carrying out the experiment. We’re back now, the catch up at work and home has been caught so now it is time for my experiment. Or so I thought. My intention was to grow some plain green hostas as a kind of sacrificial goat. Slugs absolutely love eating hostas so it was an ideal plant to see if my slug deterrent worked. We have a number of hostas dotted around the garden that we grow in pots to avoid serious slug damage. They are one of PILs favourite plants.20150612_100411

20140617_180419

The three that I had grown on had come along nicely and looked like they would make an excellent meal for a slug or several. I planned to plant one in the garden uncoated with deterrent, another lightly sprayed and the final one soaked in deterrent. I would plant them about 18 inches apart.

I came home the other night ready to start my testing the following day to find my sacrificial hostas in one pot outside the front door.20150808_162320

“Er excuse me. Why are those hostas outside the front door?” I asked PIL.

“Don’t they look lovely there? Thanks ever so much for growing them for me.”

“But, but, but…….” I stammered.

“When did you develop a stutter. Good God man, you really are going to the dogs.”

“I was going to use them for my slug deterrent test.” I managed to say knowing that I was on a loosing wicket here.

“Well you can forget that sunshine. Find something else. I like them and they are staying put.”

Oh bollocks! Looks like SDG and I will have to wait a while longer before we make our fortunes. Sorry about that.

Have a smashing day.

More Dick soon.

auto

Post Holiday Post

I don’t know about you but I find that within ten minutes of returning to work, it’s like I’ve never been away! Having said that, the memories remain and what memories they are. We had a fantastic time in Florida. We did all the things we wanted to do although they weren’t necessarily the things we thought we would do and we didn’t do some of the things we intended to. That’s the nature of our holidays. We make plans and change them.

We’ve been a number of times before but despite that, returning to the Theme parks was no great hardship. We enjoy them immensely. All you need to remember is that it is likely to be hot and that you will walk many, many miles, so comfy footwear is a must.kids@harrypotter

PIL, CJ and I watched Ed and Greg playing golf and were full of admiration at how they were prepared to demonstrate to all and sundry just how monumentally bad they were.

image4

Having said that, they were both far better than the rest of us by a long way. At least they could hit the ball! They spent a lot of time searching for their balls, they hit houses, they may have hit a car or two, they plainly enjoyed playing from bunkers and from in amongst the trees.Elltreegolf

Both of them blamed their miscued shots on their selection of the wrong bat to hit the ball with and they both had an absolute blast!Elliott for par

During our travels around the course we found large numbers of balls lost by other players which made them feel a bit better about their own efforts. This feel good factor was increased by coming under attack from wayward golf balls from other golfers while we were lounging around our pool. On our last day, before going to the airport, we all played a round of crazy golf. PIL got a hole in one while I got hit by a ball fired off by someone on another part of the course.

We ate huge quantities of food. All of it was fantastic, the portions were enormous and we were given doggy boxes to take home what we couldn’t eat.The whole tribe eating again

At Animal Kingdom, we had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.

The Rainforest Cafe

The Rainforest Cafe

At Magic Kingdom, we managed to get an early lunch at the Crystal Palace. At Universal we stuffed our faces at NBA City. At the Florida Mall we went to The Cheesecake Factory to eat. We stuffed our faces at a different place every day and every place was excellent. We drank Butter Beer at Harry Potter World and it was disgusting.wwohp-butterbeer

We got told off at one place because Ed had forgotten his I.D. so PIL ordered a beer on his behalf and we got caught. You have to be 21 to drink alcohol in the US and while Ed is 22, he still got asked for ID and it’s taken very seriously there. No ID, no alcohol! Oddly enough PIL and I never got asked for ID! Apart from beer and donuts, we also got food in so that we had meals at home too although I’m not too sure what “Turkey Bacon” is. Be prepared to put on weight although not as much as you think because of all the walking you do getting around the theme parks and shopping malls. Places like the Cheesecake Factory, Rainforest cafe and Crystal Palace are very popular so expect a wait if you haven’t booked a table in advance.

All the parks, whether they be theme parks or water parks get busy from early in the morning so ensure you get there in plenty of time so you can either get a good spot or beat some of the queues.BombBay2

tribeatmagic

We purchased express passes for Universal and Disney. They don’t apply at Harry Potter World but work well in the rest of Universal.

Harry Potter World

Harry Potter World

image3

Not so good at Disney though as you are limited to the number of rides you can go on and it’s at specified times only that you have to book. Everyone of them is great fun though. We did have a bit of an issue at Universal with “technical problems” causing delays on some of the rides. We waited for ages to get on the Hogwarts ride because of this. We were stood under that bloody talking hat for a long time and every three minutes it would start its speech:

“You are about to start your journey…..”image2

We bloody weren’t! If I’d had a gun, I’d have shot the damned thing! A thousand people driven potty at Harry Potter World!

There are absolutely loads of things to do and every one of them is designed to part you from your money! However, it’s all worthwhile and we loved it.

Shopping is a breeze too. We took the minimum of clothes and bought loads more out there but with so many outlet centres, it worked out quite cheap to buy clothes and stuff. PIL got a beautiful Michael Kors handbag for a fraction of the cost back in the UK. Mind you they did have a sale on which saved another 40%. And yes, in a very short length of time, she has lost her house keys, car keys, phone and tablet somewhere in the depths of that bag as well as her make up bag, purse and $6 in change.

We stayed in a fantastic house with it’s own swimming pool so if we didn’t feel like going anywhere, we could just stay at home and slob out in the pool area. Just be aware that the wildlife like living there too!

Sam the Snake

Sam the Snake

Lizards are there in abundance and so are snakes as we discovered on a couple of occasions. Plus there are all kinds of weird insects. (Well, weird to us).

It ain’t cheap but my advise to anyone is to go. You will have the time of your life and have great memories (and a gazillion photos) to remind you of one of the best times you ever had.

PIL organised the whole thing and she did an excellent job of it.image1

It’s no wonder I wish she wasn’t my ex wife! Thanks PIL, we all had a great time thanks to you and we all love you to bits.

Thanks mum. I had a great time. I love you.xxxx

Thanks mum. I had a great time. I love you.xxxx

Thanks mum. I had a fantastic holiday. I love you xxxx

Thanks mum. I had a fantastic holiday. I love you xxxx

Thanks mum. I had an awesome time. I love you xxxx

Thanks mum. I had an awesome time. I love you xxxx

Thanks PIL. I had a stupendous time. I love you xxxx

Thanks PIL. I had a stupendous time. I love you xxxx

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.auto

Stitched Up Good and Proper.

Before I start on today’s post there are a couple of things that I’ve forgotten to write about in previous posts and I feel it necessary to cover these particular aspects of our holiday.

First of all, if you go to the Harry Potter part of Universal, be aware that Butter Beer tastes like…well, shit really! I have no idea what shit tastes like but if I was to take a guess then I would say shit tastes like Butter Beer or, if you prefer, what I said originally – Butter Beer tastes like shit.wwohp-butterbeer

All five of us tried it and the more profane of us concluded that it does indeed taste like shit while the females of the tribe declared their disgust for it in a slightly more lady like manner:

“Bloody disgusting.” said PIL.

“Foul, disgusting stuff.” said CJ.

“Tastes like shit.” said Ed.

“Ed!” said PIL

“Yeah. Tastes like shit.” said Greg

“Greg!” said PIL

“Fuckin’ horrible.” I said

“Dick!” said PIL

“Dad!” said CJ.

“Ok. Sorry.” I said. “Still tastes like shit though!”

“Dad!” said CJ

“Dad’s right.” said Ed. “It’s fuckin’ horrible.”

“Ed!” said PIL

“Ed!” said CJ

Anyway, as you can see, we didn’t like it. 5 out of 5 considered it foul. You may think differently but I would suggest that you buy ONE SMALL Butter Beer and try that before investing a shit load of money for a drink that in my opinion, tastes like shit.

Secondly, if you go to Typhoon Lagoon take your own music (phone or iPod) and good head phones . Unless you are a huge fan of 60s California surfing songs that blare out on a continuous loop that repeats every 2 hours, you will go nuts within hours because that’s all that’s played and you can only listen to “Daddy taking the T.Bird away” so many times.typoonlagoon

I wholeheartedly recommend both these places as tremendous fun and not to be missed but just be aware of what I’ve said here.

Today I started the day with another 1.2 mile run. This time CJ came with me as the lazy toad known as Greg was fast akip in his pit still. After breakfast and showers we headed off to Wet n’ Wild. We’ve never been here before so weren’t sure what to expect. We were not disappointed though. It was smashing. There were lots of water rides that the kids went on straight away while PIL and I sorted out the loungers and chairs and made like Germans by covering everything with towels. After about an hour the kids came back and started telling us about the rides they’d been on. They harped on about this ride called the H2O Disco ride and said it was great fun.Wet-N-Wild-Water-World-54698-735x400

“Dad. You really must have a go. It’s got really loud 1970s disco music playing the whole way down. You’ll love it(!!!!!)”

Eventually I agreed to have a go. Ed said he wasn’t going this time round as he wanted to top up his tan. He said it with a huge smile on his face. Greg and CJ were beaming too. ( I should have guessed something was afoot). So off we went and joined the end of the queue for this allegedly fantastic ride.

“So what happens?” I asked

“OH Dad it’s great. You get in this 4 person rubber ring thing and shoot off down the slide. Some of the time it’s in a dark tunnel thing and then it’s outside then it goes back inside the tunnel and finishes off in the pool. It’s great. You’ll love it.”

“Yeah Dad, and all the way down they play disco music really loudly.”

“But I don’t like disco music.” I said

“That’s ok Dad. It doesn’t matter. They only play it loud so no one can hear you screaming.”

“What?”

“Never mind Dad. We’re there now.”

“No” I responded. “What’s this about not hearing you scream?”

Whereupon the guard at the top of the ride gestured us forward ready to take our places in the rubber ring thingy.

“Right Dad. You stand on the number 1. We’ll stand on 3 and 4. That way the weight is evened out.”

“Cheeky bugger” I thought. “Why is the guard smiling like he’s just toked a whole spliff on his own?”

We got on. Then the ground suddenly disappeared from below us and we shot off somewhere. I was facing back up the ride throughout and a) had no idea what was happening until it happened to me, b) all I could see was Greg and CJ laughing their heads off and c) I was probably screaming like a girl but due to the VERY loud 1970s disco music, I couldn’t be sure.BombBay2

Finally, after what felt like an hour or so we ended up in the pool at the end of this ridiculous water slide thing. The kids were wetting themselves with laughter. I was so exhausted from all the screaming I’d screamed that they had to help me out of the pool and escort me back to PIL and Ed. PIL had a huge grin on her face so it was fairly obvious that Ed had told her what was going to happen. The buggers had conspired on the way back earlier to stitch me up like a kipper and they had. There I was thinking that PIL and I had succeeded as parents in bringing up three civilised human beans. Wrong!

Today is our last full day in Florida as we catch the evening flight back to the UK tomorrow. Ed, Greg and I are finishing off the beer before going to bed. PIL has drunk the last of the wine and gone to bed.

We have had a truly wonderful time. We will return again soon. Next time though, we may not have all the kids with us. Ed is 22 now, finished Uni and about to start work. He may decide that he wants to holiday elsewhere with other people. We shall see. Greg is 18. He’s about to start Uni. Who knows what he will decide. CJ will come with us though as she’s still not old enough to holiday alone. I hope that our kids will all join us on holiday again. PIL and I love having them around. They are great company (somewhat annoying at times though) and both PIL, CJ and I will miss them.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

auto

There’s a Snake in my Pool!

Monday:

Another one of my favourite places. Magic Kingdom.tribeatmagic

We love it here. There is always so much going on. We took the ferry boat over. Forewarned by SDG we walked straight past “It’s a Small World” but still ended up either singing or humming that bloody song 30 seconds after walking past. We continued humming it intermittently for the rest of the day and the day after. And because SDG is naughty and has reminded me of it over the past couple of days, I’m still humming it now! PIL and I didn’t go on the Cup and Saucer ride as we’d planned but we had plenty of others to go on. Probably our favourite is the Buzz Lightyear one.Buzz Lightyear

We went on this ride three or four times during the day.

Greg looking smug with CJ  photo-bombing.

Greg looking smug with CJ photo-bombing.

Greg, as with all the other similar kinds of rides, came away with the highest score every time. Smug little bugger. We had tried to book lunch at the Crystal Palace but all the times got booked up before we had the chance. We took pot luck and rocked up anyway and after a 30 minute wait, we were in. This is an all you can eat buffet place. A mistake for all of us as none of us has any self control in these circumstances. The great thing about this place though is that Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore wander around so you can have your photo taken with them.

Kids and Tigger

The kids loved it. PIL got a huge hug from Tigger.mumandtigger

All in all another fantastic day full of fun and food! As you can see though, it’s jolly hard work wandering around Disney theme parks and keeping your 100% highest score record on the Buzz Lightyear ride.

Enjoying yourself is such hard work.

Enjoying yourself is such hard work.

We got back home and jumped into the pool for yet more volleyball antics and for me to be berated once again for being rubbish. (They forget that an awful amount of effort is required to move the amount of blubber that I carry around these days.)

Tuesday:

Not a day of rest but I went for another short run at the start of the day. Once again, Greg joined me. By the time we’re leaving for home I may well be able to run the whole distance. After breakfast, we jumped in the massive vehicle and drove off to Typhoon Lagoon.typhoon_lagoon_03

We arrived just as it opened so we found ourselves a nice spot and settled in for the day. The kids went on some of the rides they have here but spent most of their time in the main pool where they let loose a big wave on a regular basis. Today it seemed to be every 3 or 4 minutes. Everyone in the pool is there for the big wave and they know it’s coming and yet when it does, they all scream! I spent a good while in there too but got hit by a massively obese fat woman and it bloody hurt, so rather than smack her in the mouth I decided to catch some rays instead. I am nothing if not a gentleman. The kids did some snorkelling in the shark pool. They took the GoPro camera with them. Ed only nearly drowned twice using it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While we were there a huge thunderstorm arrived. The park authorities announced that all the rides were closed, everyone should get out of the water and take shelter. So we did and then the heavens opened! Some people left but we decided to stay as it cost a shed load of money and we were determined to get our moneys worth! Soon the sun came out again, we found ourselves another spot and spent another few hours burning to a crisp as us Brits tend to do whenever the sun comes out. Apart from a hot dog we didn’t eat all day and waited until we got home before cooking ourselves a meal for a very pleasant change.

Wednesday:

Greg still hasn’t found a 76ers shirt and to be honest, I’m still looking for a “Hare Jordan” tee shirt in my size. (Under Armour also do a fantastic sleeveless hoodie that I was looking for in my size too.) We’d had two days of parks and it is unbelievably tiring to lounge around all day in a water park so we decided to shop again. This time we went to the Florida Mall. we’d not been here before and as it had a great many sports shops we were hopeful of finding what we were after. All the while we were there, PIL was shopping on line! The Next sale had started back in the UK and she was NOT going to miss out on bargains from her favourite store! I have no idea what she got but it may have included a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, several lights and even some clothes. We walked into a multitude of shops, possibly as many as 20,000. Well, that’s what it felt like. None carried a 76ers shirt. Greg is now going to wait until later in the year when the new season starts to get a new shirt on line. We couldn’t find the sleeveless hoodie from UA either. However, Ed, Greg, CJ and PIL did buy a great many other items of clothing. I found a “Hare Jordan” tee in my size!!!

My Hare Jordan tee

My Hare Jordan tee

For lunch we went to the food hall in the mall and demolished several chickens and very scrummy they were too.e0202b80222d3c2a221fa59d2fa1431c

After going into several shops we had already been in earlier we decided to depart and go home. When we got back, no one felt particularly hungry which, thinking about it, is hardly surprising. None of us has eaten so much in such a short time. After an hour of relaxing we decided to punish me again and play some more volletball in the pool. Greg, while preparing the pool, ie taking all the lilos, beach balls and sundry other junk out of the pool, flicked something or other and a snake fell out into the pool. Panic reigned again although I have to say Greg was a lot better this time. He scooped the snake out of the pool and kept it close by while I went and got a bag to put it in.

Sam the Snake

Sam the Snake

We let Sam out in some shrubs outside the pool area and then went off to check what kind of snake he is. He has a red belly so I had a slight concern Sam might be poisonous. Turns out Sam is a harmless Florida Ring Necked Snake. We had just got ourselves back in the pool when PIL moved a seat to sit on and watch. And what should drop off the chair? Another bloody snake! It was another Ring Neck so we chucked it out in the shrubs with the others. We decided this one was female and called her Sally. The bio on these snakes did say that if you find one, it’s likely you will find more.ringnecksnakewhole463_000

After checking all the pool furniture several times until PIL was happy that no more snakes were hiding there, we got back in the pool. Whereupon CJ looked into the filter section on the pool wall to see yet another snake wriggling around and joining us in the pool. Simone the Snake was taken out of the pool and put in the shrubs with all the others. We have been to this part of Florida several times over the years and we have never seen a snake before. Lizards yes but never any snakes (although I have seen them out on the Golf course but kept quiet about it).ringnecksnakeheadagainstafinger463

Eventually, it all settled down and we had a good hour in the pool playing volleyball. I was utter crap again apparently.

It’s off to Wet n’ Wild tomorrow. Another water park where we can get wet, scorch our skin and chill out. I’ll be going for a run first though.

Have a great day. We’ve had loads.

More Dick soon.

auto

Ye Gods. I Have Stretch Marks!

 

Saturday:

Today we visit one of my favourite places: Animal Kingdom.

Rhino

hippo

Gorilla

Added to which is a visit to The Rainforest Cafe for lunch!Rainforest1

I really do like Animal Kingdom. PIL and the kids do too. Travelling around the park in a truck on a pretend safari is great fun. You can get very close to the animals. In fact, this time we were within 10 feet of a rhino, a fantastic experience. There are lions, elephants, giraffes, warthogs, hippos and all kinds of deer and antelope. Once you’ve done that, you can wander around different parts of the park to see other animals. PIL has a particular soft spot for gorillas and once again we were fortunate to get close to a female and its baby albeit behind a glass screen and further on we saw a number of males. In another area we saw tigers, although they were some distance away. It was fantastic and we had a great time. Lunch was booked at the Rainforest Cafe and once again the food was great and the portions stupendous. The skin around my tummy is feeling quite tight now.

After eating far too much again I decided an afternoon nap was in order

After eating far too much again I decided an afternoon nap was in order

We got back to the house tired and still stuffed with food but we managed to jump into the pool for a game of volleyball where I was, once again, berated by Greg for being rubbish.

Sunday:

All these theme parks are bloody exhausting so once again we had a day off. Once again I went for a run although I was joined by Greg this time.

Jesus. Running is hard work!

Jesus. Running is hard work!

I suspect that PIL may have had a word and suggested he volunteer to come with me in case I had a coronary. This time I ran a bit further and walked a bit less although the overall distance was the same. Greg finished as fresh as a daisy while I was a sweaty, dishevelled, breathless mess.

“Come on Dad! It’s all down hill now.”

Fuck off” I thought as speech was impossible.

“Nearly there now Dad. Probably about 300 metres to go.”

Fuck off” I thought again as I was still unable to speak, breath and run at the same time.

“Here we go Dad. Only seven more houses to go.”

My thought processes had ended  round the corner and I was on autopilot so thought nothing at all but I made it back.

We showered and guess what? We went shopping again but before we did, we had a mess around in the pool and spent some time catching some rays. While I was doing my imitation of a beached whale PIL called out to me:

“Er. Can you come here for a moment? Like now!”

So I struggled to an upright position and walked over to the house and there, standing on the arm of a sofa was PIL. On the floor, inside the house was a snake! The kids,hearing us talking, came to join us and immediately leapt onto the sofa with PIL. Now I don’t have a problem with snakes. In fact, as a child I used to keep snakes, lizards, frogs and toads but they were British snakes and we only have one poisonous snake and I know what that looks like. We’re in the United States and there are many venomous snakes here, none of which I recognise. I persuaded Ed and Greg to get off the sofa and get me one of the many shopping bags we had or a shoe box so that I could capture Sid the Snake and chuck him outside where he could slide off and live happily ever after.

Sid the Snake

Sid the Snake

Sid was soon placed in a very posh Michael Kors bag and then put into some shrubs outside where hopefully he met Sandra the Snake, they married, had hundreds of baby snakes and lived happily ever after. Greg has a mate who is into snakes in a big way so we checked with him and Googled snakes. Turned out Sid is a Garter snake and completely harmless.

Sid the Garter snake

Sid the Garter snake

Strict instructions from PIL were issued: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAVE THE PATIO DOORS OPEN.

We left and went shopping. Greg is desperate to find a Philadelphia 76ers NBA vest.

Photo courtesy of: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Photo courtesy of: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

None of the sports shops seem to stock it. They stock all the other NBA shirts plus all the college shirts but not the 76ers. Greg says it’s because they’re crap which, in turn, is why he follows them! Odd logic but sound in his mind I’m sure.

We returned home again without a 76ers shirt once again. We had a meal while we were out and had gone to the Publix supermarket to buy more essentials – beer and donuts again. As the rest of the family unloaded the massive vehicle, I went and opened the front door and as I returned to help bring the shopping in, I had an overwhelming desire to indulge in my sister Boos favourite pastime and for no reason whatsoever I fell over! (Actually, I stumbled on the path and went down like a sack of poo). The impact was impressive. While I was down on the deck PIL made an observation:

“You need to cut back on your food intake. You have stretch marks!” (Offering me absolutely no assistance in my efforts to get vertical again.)

“Nonsense.” I replied while desperately trying to regain my feet and look to see if I really do have stretch marks.

“I merely have a stripey tan effect in the region of my stomach caused by an almighty overhang. I could do with a hand here.”

“Whatever. Looks like stretch marks to me you fat bastard. You look like a bloody turtle on its back” (Still offering no assistance.)turtle1

“Charming. I’ll have you know that mountaineers live in fear of that overhang and a great deal of good (and not so good) food and gallons of beer have been consumed to achieve that effect.”turtle

“That’s as maybe but you still have stretch marks. No more donuts for you Sonny Jim.”

By this time I had assumed a more or less upright position and decided to keep quiet. There is no photographic evidence that I can show you as a) it’s far too disgusting and b) it’s far too gloomy down there.

It’s Magic Kingdom tomorrow, so we have an early start and after having a few beers we went to bed after another great and very full day.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.auto