Sunday 29 November 2009

Ta Dah...

...and welcome to post number 200! I couldn’t believe when I scrolled down the posts the posts this morning that I’d reached 199, when I looked further I found that I’d posted 50 of those in the first month which was only May of this year.

As the boys were both off doing their own thing today I thought I’d treat John to Sunday lunch. Wanting to go somewhere different I decided to ask my friends on Twitter for their suggestions and @farctum came up with The Brewery Tap which, as it is a mere 10 minutes from home in the car, seemed like a good idea.

A small-ish pub, with several nooks and crannies and not very busy when we first arrived, the menu was slightly different to that advertised on the website and we both ordered the roast lamb dinner – it was absolutely delicious. Plenty of meat served on a bed of mashed swede and cauliflower cheese. The other vegetables served were carrots, kale, broccoli, roast parsnips and roast potatoes along with freshly made gravy and a small pot of mint sauce. John followed his with hot chocolate pudding with clotted cream and I went for the poached pear with homemade ginger ice cream.

All of this in a very pleasant atmosphere, subtle music playing in the background, (almost) roaring open fires and, sadly, a fairly grotty view across the river with all the building work helped to brighten up a horrible day weather-wise here in the East. The two young ladies behind the bar were lovely very efficient and gave us first class service – as we left they told us to come back soon, we certainly will!

It was as delicious as it looks - yummmmm!

The Tell Me About Yourself Meme

Advent Pictures, Images and Photos

(Just a reminder Advent starts today if memory serves me well)

...aren't they all? (Telling you about myself, that is) that rebel over at Just Jotting Along has decided to create her own meme this week, take a look and have a go. Not too many questions and more interesting than a lot of what we've had lately!

I've done both (scroll down to see my answers) so here goes this week's Sunday Stealing a lot of which I'm sure I've answered in some form or another already and some of which I've answered this week with tongue planted firmly in cheek!!J

1. When is your birthday? Very soon – a milestone one this year.

2. Where were you born? In a hospital bed.

3. Where do you live now? What is this – shall I just give you all my bank details as well?? LOL – I've told you that before haven't I? OK – Suffolk UK, check my profile ;)

4. What is your heritage? Very much British – probably a combination of all the home nations.

5. Tell us about a weakness. Memes

6. What's a goal that you'd like to achieve? Oh I hate these types of question – health and happiness for all of us and world peace!

7. What is the most overused internet phrase? LOL? OMG? Woop-Woop? I don't know – there's so many!

8. What was your first thought this morning? Ouch – my back still hurts!

9. When do you usually go to bed? At night!

10. Do you smoke? If not, did you ever? No and yes but stopped when I was about 18.

11. Do you like your current relationship status? Of course.

12. Do you (or did you) get along with your parents? Too complicated to answer, not a usual relationship with either of them.

13. How often do you drink alcohol? Not very but I can be a devil sometimes and have several drinks over the course of an evening!

14. Have you ever tried drugs (that weren't prescribed)? I've told you before – No!

15. Have you ever gone skinny dipping? If yes, do tell. Errr no – and I've told you that before as well!

16. If given the choice, how would you like to die? Without pain, as peacefully as possible (what a strange question!)

17. What did you want to be when you grew up? Lots of things but I think somewhere in the memories I wanted to be a hospital administrator...

18. Have you ever been dumped? Oh yes – and my heart was well and truly broken at the time, let me tell you but time heals and we're still friends now ;)

19. What's on your pizza? Ham & Pineapple preferably please!

20. Have you ever shoplifted? I thought you knew me better than to ask that question! I'll tell you a secret though, just between the two of us, when son 2 was about three years old he picked up a sweet in our local post office and put it straight into his mouth. I didn't know until we got outside, poor boy was mortified as he heard the police siren and I told him that it was for him for stealing the sweet! Was I a bad mother for that?????

Those Darn Loose Ends - Solved

Me and my simple brain - I don't know why I didn't remember before @jaydubblah reminded me that I could weave the ends in as I started the next colour :(

So thanks for the thousands (I jest) of offers for help but I have had to withdraw the above job offer!

Saturday 28 November 2009

Foster’s Folly

My dear friend over at Just Jotting Along took one look at this week's Sunday Stealing and decided that it wasn't for her so she's come up with her own meme, I must say I think she's done a good job – just the right number of questions, quality over quantity! Has she started something she might regret – what's coming next week??

1. Tell me about something you still own from your childhood, or something you remember and wish you still had.

I still have a wooden jewellery box which is decorated with sea shells collected on Clacton beach. I lived near London at the time so a trip to the seaside was an adventure.

2. Name one piece of music that means something to you and why.

Not so much a piece of music but I have to choose 'You are the sunshine of my life' by Stevie Wonder, it was the first dance at my wedding, ahhh.

3. Do you ever read a book a second time? What book/s

I'm thinking about this one, there was one I remember reading twice but I can't remember without Googling (just pops off to Google) oh yes – I remember now it was Harnessing Peacocks by Mary Wesley. I generally only read a book once because I know what happens at the end!!

4. If you could pass a law what would it be?

I'd like for normal individuals to be able to report and influence the outcome for idiots who drive while talking on their mobile phones – there's never a policeman around when you want one!

5. What did you have for dinner?

Lazy dinner tonight – Pizza and oven chips, I don't do much on a Saturday (those that know might say I don't do much any night!)

6. Do you have a recurring dream? What is it and what does it tell you about yourself?

Do you know, I really don't remember many of my dreams so I can't answer that one!

7. What's the first record you ever bought?

Sad Old Kind of Movie by Picketywitch!! And I didn't have to think to remember that one!

8. Town or Country?

I've lived in a town for most of my life apart from when I first married and I lived in a small village in the middle of nowhere. I think I like where I am now which is on the edge of a town, convenient for the coast and country – sorry, I know that's not a clear cut answer!

Those Darn Loose Ends

I have just spent I don't know how long sewing in the ends of yarn to some of my squares that I have been crocheting - when I say some I mean that I managed the grand total of ...FIVE. I'm bored with that game now...on with the making of more squares now, that's much more satisfying!

Had a good week I have

(Apologies this is quite a long post but a lot has happened – I should have written during the week but didn't feel up to it!)

OK, OK all you grammar experts out there I know the post title isn't grammatically correct but it came into my mind from somewhere (don't even bother asking from where because I haven't got a clue!)

Don't worry I'm not planning to bore you to death with a one sided conversation but I'd like to share bits of the week with you if you have time to read.

I started by being a domestic goddess on Sunday and making my Christmas cakes – I made two just in case son 1 and FDIL need one for themselves this year. I used a different recipe and thought I'd be very clever by doubling up the ingredients to make both cakes at the same time – good time management skills there I think you'd agree! I divided the mix between the two tins which looked OK before they were cooked but I was a little disappointed in that they were both quite shallow when they came out of the oven – never mind I'm sure they will taste delicious. I don't do the whole fancy, shmancy icing thing – thank heavens for ready tolled marzipan (almond paste) and fondant icing! Last year we found a lovely fine sprinkly sugar with a rainbow effect which makes a plain cake look a little different. I'll show you the end results!

Monday was my day off which I spent with son 1 and should perhaps be referred to as 'The day that I spent a lot of money'. I offered to buy them furniture so we trundled off to that famous UK store when you don't pay a deposit, pay nothing for a year and then pay the balance over four years. I couldn't believe it when the salesman asked if I wanted to pay a deposit and the balance on delivery – I gave him one of my looks, you know – over the top of my glasses (the fact that I can't see a thing when I do that is neither here nor there!) I resisted telling him not to be stupid and went for the best credit option – who wouldn't? We chose a lovely suite – 2 seater sofas, one as a sofa bed and one normal and a foot stool with a little storage box. All in a lovely shade of mink with a cream trim – close your eyes and imagine it! We then went on to buy towels –FDIL had decreed that she wanted a 'bluey green but not too green' so from the rainbow of colours available to us we opted for a lovely shade which was appropriately named 'Lagoon' ( I should say here, for those of you that don't know, FDIL is currently away from home Monday – Friday on her training placement for her degree, hence son 1 doing all the shopping).

Tuesday did not start well. I stupidly took my cereal out of the cupboard (at eye level, no stretching or bending) in a slightly different way than usual and 'ping' my back went – such a simple mis-movement has left me in agony all week and hobbling round like an old granny (apologies to those grannies out there who are quite sprightly), I am pleased though to have provided so much entertainment to my staff and colleagues over this last week!

I work in a very target and performance driven environment and as such this is used to measure our Unit's performance month on month. We had a system introduced earlier in the year which provides a monthly 'scorecard' with a score of 1-5. The overall score for each subsection is an aggregated score of further subsections and the final overall score is aggregated from each subsection – are you still with me? Until this month we had been bobbing along happily with a score of three, not quite reaching that elusive four (five is something we can only dream of) we were really optimistic of achieving four this month and were very disappointed to find that a freak lower score elsewhere left us on a three. We toodled along to the monthly performance meeting on Thursday, resigned but disappointed with our score and discussed it with the man who can make changes (oh to be so powerful) – and, you've probably guessed it, he changed the lower score which automatically changed the overall score to a four. I am so pleased for everybody who has worked so hard to get us there – we are the only Unit out of seven to have achieved this heady height and I think we have every right to hold our heads high. Obviously we need to keep up the good work – hey, no pressure!

The week was rounded off on Friday with a phone call from son 2 mid afternoon. I always worry when he calls on my mobile – usually means he needs money! However when I spoke to him I could feel the excitement in his voice. "I think I've just been promoted" he said "well anyway I've got a pay rise" He went on to say that the regional manager had called him in to his office for an impromptu meeting and told him how well he was doing (you may recall he started a new job in July training to be an Estate Agent which caused me a little worry) he said that his name was being mentioned in 'high places' and that the company was very impressed with his record so far. And as a result of that they want him to change his job slightly and instead of working out of the Ipswich office he is to work across three offices, Woodbridge, Kesgrave and Ipswich, spreading his time across all three – focusing on sales rather than just the junior work he has been doing. I.Am.One.Proud.Mum. He came home last night grinning from ear to ear – his face hurting from grinning so much, well done son!

Not much more to go, honestly, but I need to mention that I went out with the girls from work last night. We met in a wine bar and progressed to an Indian restaurant, now I'm not one for spicy Indian food but I love the creamy dishes. I can't remember what I had but it wasn't a Korma although it was similar and very tasty. We are quite an eclectic group when we go out – people seeing us out wouldn't expect us to be together but it works. We range in age from Karyn in her mid-thirties (there's your mention Scotty!!) to Judy who recently retired, we talk about a huge range of things and as none of us actually work together anymore there is inevitably the need to catch up on the gossip about work. Sitting in the middle of a long table meant that I was switching back and forth between conversations – and catching some interesting snippets from them all! Unusually for me I didn't get home until gone 11 o'clock (!) and I was dropped off by the lovely Sue hoping that somebody was still up because I'd changed bags and didn't have a key! Luckily Son 2 was up and eventually heard me knocking on the door.

That's it – I'm done. I've had a fab week this week apart from the stupid back problem which is still niggling – bring on the next one!

Thanks for reading if you got this far!

Heather xx

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Just part of my obsession...

...with who's visiting! Whenever I have a comment left by a new visitor, I think it's only polite to track back and find out who the visitor is and where they've come from. On Monday I had a message left by Jess who I tracked back to this amazing site based here in Suffolk, I just had to have a good rummage around and find something to buy.

It's an easy site to navigate and full of many tempting delicious sounding toiletries. I chose bits and bobs to make up the girls Christmas presents plus a couple of bits for myself – well I have to try them don't I? When I had filled my basket, I headed off to choose a delivery day and, as it said allow 14 days for delivery, I opted for Saturday next week.

I was absolutely amazed when I got home yesterday to find an email saying that my order would be delivered today (Wednesday) – how's that for service? Number 1 son was home this morning when it was delivered (in person I believe) and I must say I am very impressed with what I have. A lovely slice of Satsuma Burst soap, Walnut & Honey Scrubber herbal soap, Tomato and Red Pepper foot mask, Candy Floss shower gel (complete with pink sparkly bits), Orange Flower Jelly & 10 Essential Oils hand cream – first impressions are very good. The smell is gorgeous and a little dab of the hand cream revealed a very rich mixture which smelt scrummy and went into my skin very easily.

I'm glad Jess dropped by on Monday – could be the beginnings of a beautiful friendship....Oh and you can follow them on Twitter - @TheSoapCauldron!

Monday 23 November 2009


sudoku 1 Pictures, Images and Photos

I often wonder how visitors arrive on the Ramblings and, as you can see from the bottom of the sidebar, I use Feedjit to track where people are dropping by from.

A few weeks ago I posted this post, Feeling the Squeeze, just a little humour (I can't believe it's a true story!) and I've noticed in the last few days that I have had some visitors from an unlikely source – Curiosity got the better of me, because I thought what a totally bizarre connection, and I popped across to have a look how people were being directed to me – nothing, no indication whatsoever from the front page, I couldn't see a search box or anything that would give me the answer.

Any of you who use Feedjit will know that you can see more information on a second page, I normally resist randomly clicking, just in case – but I decided to take a chance and I was led to this page – pleeeeease click and take a look – how the hell did I end up getting linked via this page – and what does this page have to do with Sudoku??????

Sunday 22 November 2009

Sunday Stealing - The Party Mummy Meme

Mummy Pictures, Images and Photos

Strange title for this one – not quite sure where the party or the mummy comes into the equation – I'm sure I must have answered virtually every question ever asked in some form or another by now! Excuse the image – try searching photo bucket for 'Party Mummy' – some very interesting suggestions....

Here we go – this week's Sunday Stealing:

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. My friends mum and a colleagues daughter!

2. Where was your first kiss? On my front door step – not a great success!

3. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? If yes, why? Probably – can't really remember.

4. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? When? Way back in primary school days!

5. What's the first thing you notice about your preferred sex? Strange question – I guess it's aimed at people who are on the lookout for a new significant other of the preferred sex!

6. What really turns you off? Smelly feet!

7. What is your biggest mistake? Not a mistake, but a regret at not going on to higher education when I was younger.

8. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? No.

9. Say something totally random about yourself. Errrr – such as?

10. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? No.

11. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows? No.

12. Are you comfortable with your height? Yes – I'm stuck with so what else can I do?

13. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? Proposed to me!

14. When do you know it's love? When you can't sleep after a date and they never leave your thoughts

15. What's something that really annoys you? My addiction to trying to answer stupid questions in memes!

Saturday 21 November 2009

Acting up

tantrum Pictures, Images and Photos

I've started the build up to my 'acting up' period at work – no, silly, I don't mean a period of having mad tantrums and generally misbehaving (although it may well come to that!)

As I'm writing this I am not sure whether or not I will hit the publish button, but I'm going to continue anyway.

As I've mentioned before, my boss is leaving and that momentous day is now only 10 working days away and for five of those days she is on annual leave. So it's up to me to now start assuming the mantle, we're making joint decisions and sharing the responsibilities for day to day stuff. She has a wealth of experience within our service having worked professionally in health all of her working life, which, compared to my mere eight years, is quite a feat. She always seems to know the right answer, to make the right decision, to use the right words – she has a real presence. I on the other hand feel technically competent – by that I mean I can manage the targets, manage the budgets, think on my feet to get things done now, I think can motivate the team, I can empower others – but I still have this little niggle of doubt that I am competent enough to deliver the whole package.

This is by far the highest level that I have ever worked at in my whole life. I have a milestone birthday coming up (which doesn't take a genius to calculate given the ages of my offspring) and that alone scares me. I could hopefully retire in 10 years time if my occupational pension will pay sufficient and I am starting to doubt my sanity in even agreeing to act up.

Regardless of all of the above I have agreed to do the job so I need to make a go of it. The interviews for a replacement were held yesterday and from what I've heard, boy, I'm so glad I didn't apply. There were some really tough questions and presentation requirements as befits the level of job.

I don't know how often I'll blog for the next few months (although it may only be a matter of weeks if they appointed yesterday, information that I am not privy to) but I might, at times, need to pour my soul into cyberspace just to get things off of my chest – remember my theory, I only write this for myself and the friend that I call Julie, so if you're reading this and you're not Julie please bear with me!

So, as I sit on Saturday morning, 21 November 2009, all snug in my pink pyjamas (albeit with icy cold feet – still no slippers) I'm ready for it. I have a feeling of anticipation, expectation and dread. I have an incredibly full diary for the next two months thanks to the lovely V (it's that time of year when all of the fixed meeting dates are issued!) who has agreed to take on half of my role for the period – the other half will be covered by the equally lovely I.

Thanks for reading – if you have – I really appreciate everybody's visits.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

The books that I read...

While I was on holiday I had the time to catch up on some reading – this is not a book review! I hated writing reviews at school and don't intend to start now!

I mentioned months ago that I was reading The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I finished reading it while on holiday and am pleased to say it was very good! Not your usual run of the mill love story and at times some of the language may be a little risqué for some but overall it is an excellent read.
Time Travellers Wife Pictures, Images and Photos

Book number two was Sushi for Beginners by Marion Keyes. This is one of her earlier books and I was led to it for the most bizarre of reasons. On our last holiday I tried Sushi for the first time and, for some very obscure reason, this book came into my mind – I just had to read it. It was really not about sushi, for beginners or anybody else. A nice easy trashy read – just what I needed.

Book number three (!) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – on the surface not my sort of book at all. It was absolutely brilliant, a crime novel set in Stockholm and the first of a trilogy in the Millenium series.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Pictures, Images and Photos

Book number four – yes number four – The Girl Who Played With Fire also by Stieg Larsson, number two in the trilogy – totally compelling. I sat and read it in one day. I had to text number 1 son from the airport and ask him to order the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, because I just had to have it to read when I got home. It's sitting beside me on the sofa right now, beautiful hardback version just waiting to be read – just need to tear myself away from cyberspace now!

Moving On...

cartoon house Pictures, Images and Photos

When we came back from our holiday, we were greeted by our very excited number 1 son with the news that he wanted to 'borrow some money' from us. Further conversation revealed that he and FDIL had decided to take the plunge a buy an apartment (they were called flats in my day) on a new development about a mile or so away. Gulp. Wasn't really expecting that. When they got engaged earlier in the year we all thought it would be years before we moved to the next step, although I do remember saying, several times 'You need somewhere to live before you get married – you can't live here' (not in an unkind way you understand – just mother's practicality). I have despaired of either son ever being able to buy their own home but now – well, I'm blown away with the suddenness of it all.

I should explain here that we are not made of money – the 'loan' we made them has to be repaid ASAP – or sooner. Since Friday our life has been a whirlwind of activity – I hadn't even seen the place they wanted to buy although John had been along a few weeks ago. By Saturday evening the builder had reduced the price by an absolutely amazing amount (something about not taking them up on their extortionate '25% loan' repayable at the market price when settlement is due – this is written in very small print), they had been offered a mortgage (which was nowhere near as hefty as I thought it would be – although it's payable over 35 years). By Sunday lunchtime they had signed all the paperwork for the builders and paid their deposit and had a bound document naming them as the owners of their first home. Now the fun begins with all the legal stuff – welcome to the real world son, dealing with solicitors and the like, my how he's grown up this week.

I have mixed emotions at the moment. Excitement for them and a sense of, I don't know, empty nest syndrome perhaps. Of course son 2 will still be at home (he's already eying up his brother's bedroom) but I felt very emotional on Friday when he showed me around what will be his first home away from home – all you other empty nesters out there, please tell me it's not unusual..........

Sunday 15 November 2009

Sunday Stealing – The Over The Top Meme

ott Pictures, Images and Photos

Back to reality! This week's Sunday Stealing is an interesting one. I'm starting to have de ja vue with some of these questions as they appear in other forms quite regularly, anyway here goes with this week's meme:

Part One - Describe:

Your hair? Naturally mousey brown with a very slight sprinkle of grey – enhanced with a touch of red!

Your mother? Died about 19 years ago

Your father? Died about 2 years ago

Your favorite food? Depends on my mood! I love anything cooked by somebody else – even if it's just a takeaway!

Your dream last night? Weird – but can't remember the content

Your favorite drink? Cup of Earl Grey tea – easily pleased!

Your dream/goal? Health, wealth and happiness!

The room are you in? Living room.

Your hobby? Errr – blogging! Anything to do with the internet, reading when I have the time to devote to it and crochet when I can keep my eyes open for long enough!

Your fear? Failure – professionally in the coming months!

Your TV? Does this mean what you watch – if so anything that isn't too taxing!

Your Pets? None at the moment although we have had cats in the past.

Friends? Several, all important

Your life? Pretty good, thank you!

Your mood? Also pretty good! Full of optimism at the moment as my son prepares to buy his first home.

If you're missing someone? No one springing to mind.

Your best friend? I could echo the previous BFF answer but instead will say as new friends are made daily, all are equally important.

Part Two - The Where's?

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Can't think that far ahead!

Where were you last night? At home

Where did you grow up? Borehamwood, Hertfordshire in the UK

One place that I go to over and over? Work!!!

Your favorite place to eat out? Have several but probably anything pasta and Arlingtons.

Wish list items? Nothing really – oh apart from a new boss as good as the one that's leaving!

Last time you laughed? Probably yesterday but nothing obvious is coming to mind!

Last time you cried? I really can't remember.

Part Three - The What's?

Something that you aren't? Warm – my feet are freezing!

Last thing you did? Made a cup of tea and took it upstairs to John.

What are you wearing? Night shirt and dressing gown!

Something you're not wearing? Slippers or socks – hence the cold feet!!

Your favorite store
? Don't really have one – if you asked my bank account it would probably be Sainsburys (supermarket) as that's where most of my money goes!!

Friday 13 November 2009

Red Sea Magic

We left Gatwick on time in a very cramped plane – I'm no expert but I think it was a 757 – two sets of three seats across and a narrow aisle! Things didn't start too well when John felt water dripping on his shoulder from a panel above his head. The crew were fantastic and promptly placed tissues in the offending area and explained that it was due to condensation from the air conditioning unit.

We landed in Sharm El Shaikh about 5pm local time and were amazed at how quickly the sun went down – no twilight, straight to night. The Egyptian authorities were very hot on paperwork in preparation for entry to the country – we had to fill in about three forms before we even entered the airport – only for the security guys to throw them all into a big box without looking at them!

The ship wasn't a patch on the other two that we have been on this year but it was OK – we made the wrong choice of cabin by choosing deck three which was incredibly noisy – very close to the engines plus a tortuous noise coming from the fittings in the cabin caused by the vibration. It was like Chinese water torture! Just as you thought the noise had stopped another one started! Never mind – got used to it by Tuesday!

Our intention was for this holiday to be a total chill in readiness for the Great British winter so with that in mind on Saturday we took a coach trip to Petra in Jordan (please click the link – I can't do it justice with my description) what an absolutely amazing place – it needs to be added to everybody's list of places to visit before you die along with the Grand Canyon. To think that the ground we walked on had been walked on in biblical times was absolutely incredible. The coach stopped a few miles before we reached Petra and I took this photo – you see the white speck on top of the mountain? That is the tomb of Moses' brother, Aaron!

I took loads of photo's in Petra and these are a few of them – I can't remember the details of them all but hopefully you'll get an idea of the magnitude and history of the place.

After a day at sea we arrived at Port Sokhna for our transfer to Cairo and Nile River trip followed by a 'Sound and Light' show at the pyramids of Giza (again, please click on the link). The abject poverty of the people living along the banks of the Nile was something that I hadn't expected, the photos below show the shacks that people were living in along with a beautiful sunset and the feluccas ferrying people (and an Ox which I wasn't quick enough to capture on camera!) across the river.

So much for our relaxing time! Next day was a trip described as 'Shopping and Show' in the resort of Hurghada - not my idea of shopping! Constantly pestered by young Egyptians who were desperate for you to go into their shops and buy their tacky souvenirs, it was the equivalent of walking round a Spanish market back in the eighties! When they realised we were English they have to practice 'How Now Brown Cow', 'Loverly Jubbly' and bizarrely 'Asda Price'!!!

On to the show which was, erm, interesting to say the least. Started with a belly dancer, followed by some bloke twirling for ever (apparently telling a folk story but nobody knew!), a snake charmer and some bloke who ate fire, laid on a bed of nails and walked on broken glass! Not the best value for money trip we chose.

Sadly the next day we were unable to go on our planned trip because John had succumbed to a stomach bug and had to see the ship's doctor – he was quarantined in the cabin for 24 hours, which gave me the perfect excuse for a day on deck on my own with a book (more to come re books separately!!) The ship sent in a special cleaning team to deep clean the cabin – the poor guys arrived with overalls and masks looking very embarrassed, they removed the curtains, bed trims and proceeded to fumigate the cabin while poor John sat there watching – actually a very impressive effort!

That takes us to Thursday and departure day. We were very impressed that we were able, for a small fee, to keep our cabin right up until we left the ship at 3pm, that's the best disembarkation we've experienced so far – very relaxed no need to rush and we got the benefit of almost a whole day that we hadn't expected.

Sharm airport for departure was an experience – we queued outside to even get into the terminal building and had to put our cases through the x-ray machine before we even reached the check in desk! Better to be safe than sorry. On to the plane and I bet you can't guess what happened? Well, if I tell you we had the same seats on the plane as on the way out...yep, got it in one! This time, however, the cabin crew were not so considerate and I thought at one stage I thought I was going to have to restrain John especially when the 'Customer Experience Manager' told him to 'lay off the crew' – I feel another letter of complaint coming on – wonder if Thomson will read this, I have noticed that they have visited since the last little problem!

I'll post more pictures via Facebook soon – these are just a few to be getting on with – thanks for looking!

Sunday 8 November 2009

The Strange Question Meme - Part 2

Prepared in advance 'cos I'm on holiday!! (Hope the timing thing has worked on Blogger!!) Sunday Stealing here we go... (just hope that they've gone with part two of last week's meme!!!)

26. What color is your watch? Love watches have several – black & silver, gold (coloured!), silver with sparkly crystal bits!
27. What do you think of when you hear "Australia"? Large expanse of land far away!
28. Would you strip for money? No – not for anything.
29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? Don't often go to fast food places these days – unless I'm travelling
30. What is your favorite number? 28 – pay day each month!
31. Who's the last person you talked to on the phone? Number 1 son
32. Any plans today? (Pretending to write this while on the Red Sea) A bit of sightseeing, sunbathing and eating glorious food!
33. In how many states have you lived? I'm going to substitute that for Counties as I'm in the UK – four!
34. Biggest annoyance right now? I have a cold! Been brewing for weeks, I just knew it would come out when I finished work!
35. Last song listened to? I'll have heard many different songs by the time this is posted but on Wednesday morning Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon!
36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? Not without saying it forward first.
37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? Yes! I have a lady who does on a Tuesday afternoon, it's lovely to come home to a clean house once a week!
38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? Given a choice it would be flip-flops, I hate winter when you have to wrap your feet in tight shoes!
39. Are you jealous of anyone? No, I don't think so.
40. Is anyone jealous of you? I wouldn't think so – they'd be mad if they were!
41. Do you love anyone? Yes, lots of people.
42. Do any of your friends have children? Yes
43. What do you usually do during the day? Monday to Friday work, Saturday and Sunday housey things, football if we're at home, generally chilling where possible though.
44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? This one came up a few memes ago – no, hate is a very strong word.
45. Do you use the word hello daily? Yes – along with a lot of other forms of greeting!
46. What color is your car? Silver.
47. What size wedding ring do you wear? I discovered last week that my wedding ring was dangerously tight (UK sizes are alpha) when I got it off discovered it was N but need a P now. L
48. Are you thinking about someone right now? Not someone but lots of people. If this delayed posting has worked I'll be missing the folks back home!
49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? No but have seen them in the distance as we travel the interstates on our trips to the US
50. How did you get your worst scar? I had surgery on my jaw a few years ago – lovely scar from the top of my ear to my chin, barely noticeable really but I know it's there!

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Here we go again!

The count down is over and we're off on holiday today! I'm so pleased that the day has arrived. For the last four weeks I have been anticipating the arival of a cold and, yep, you guessed it, yesterday it arrived. I just have to hope that I don't have a temperature because I understand that the Egyptian authorities are stopping people with a raised temperature from entering the country for fear of swine flu, I really do not want to spend a week in an Egyptian hospital! I honestly only have cold.

This holiday has to set me up for a challenging few months ahead at work - I've agreed to act up while the recruitment process is in place to replace the boss, am I mad or what?

I've posted a map of the region below, I'll let you imagine where we'll be! I've even posted the Sunday Stealing meme as scheduled to test if it works - sad or what??

Red Sea Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Another Gender Battle

Computer Cartoon Pictures, Images and Photos

An Inbox gem from Tracey....

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la Casa.'
'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'

A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:

No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should beMasculine ('el computador'), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have
gotten a better model.

The women won.

Feeling the squeeze...

Dollar Signs Pictures, Images and Photos

Regular visitors will know that I credit contributors to the Ramblings and this one is from the dark horse that is Janet over at Just Jotting Along...

An elderly woman walked into the Bank of Canada one morning with a purse full of money. She wanted to open a savings account and insisted on talking to the president of the Bank because, she said, she had a lot of money.

After many lengthy discussions (after all, the client is always right) an employee took the elderly woman to the president'soffice.

The president of the Bank asked her how much she wanted to deposit. She placed her purse on his desk and replied, "$165,000". The president was curious and asked her how she had been able to save so much money. The elderly woman replied that she made bets.

The president was surprised and asked, "What kind of bets?"

The elderly woman replied, "Well, I bet you $25,000 that your testicles are square."

The president started to laugh and told the woman that it was impossible to win a bet like that.

The woman never batted an eye. She just looked at the president and said, "Would you like to take my bet?"

"Certainly", replied the president. "I bet you $25,000 that my testicles are not square."

"Done", the elderly woman answered. "But given the amount of money involved, if you don't mind I would like to come back at 10 o' clock tomorrow morning with my lawyer as a witness."

"No problem", said the president of the Bank confidently.

That night, the president became very nervous about the bet and spent a long time in front of the mirror examining his testicles, turning them this way and that, checking them over again and again until he was positive that no one could consider his testicles as square and reassuring himself that there was no way he could lose the bet.

The next morning at exactly 10 o'clock the elderly woman arrived at the president's office with her lawyer and acknowledged the $25,000 bet made the day before that the president's testicles were square.

The president confirmed that the bet was the same as the one made the day before. Then the elderly woman asked him to drop his pants etc. so that she and her lawyer could see clearly.

The president was happy to oblige.

The elderly woman came closer so she could see better and asked the president if she could touch them. "Of course", said the president. "Given the amount of money involved, you should be 100% sure."

The elderly woman did so with a little smile. Suddenly the president noticed that the lawyer was banging his head against the wall. He asked the elderly woman why he was doing that and she replied,

"Oh, it's probably because I bet him $100,000 that around 10 o'clock in the morning I would be holding the balls of the President of the Bank of Canada!"

Monday 2 November 2009

Thank you Thomson!

Oh the power of social networking! Following this post on Friday and my subsequent mention of it on Twitter, Thomson Holidays have responded. All we wanted was to collect our tickets on Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday morning and the result is...we can do just that! So in my time honoured (well OK, only twice but on consecutive weekends) tradition, thank you Thomson Holidays! Just a shame we had to get to that stage in the first place – keeping everything crossed that it all works out for Wednesday!