Thursday, 30 August 2012

A lovely rainy, sunny, rainy, sunny, rainy, sunny, rainy, sunny day.

Two blogs in as many days? Blimey! - Having just spent a great day exploring the great outdoors I wanted to share some of it with the world. Stacey and I spent the Thursday of our week off with John and Nick as we headed off to Bedgebury forest and pinetum, stopping off for a Frankie and Benny's breakfast on the way (apart from Stacey who forgot the plan and got up and ate some cereal immediately - she still had some toast at F&B's... greedy-guts)!

I'd also like to mention that the title of this blog is plagiarised from John's Facebook status. It was indeed another schizophrenic day weather-wise as we were drenched in glorious sunshine one moment, only to be simply drenched the next. The back and forth weather only added to the day though, as it meant that we got to experience a bigger variety of sights and sounds.

We kick started our time there with some ice creams (thanks Nick!) and a wander around the lake where we made some new friends...

Nick, John and Stacey with our new friend, named Pingu

I mentioned in yesterday's entry about how I'd bought both flip-flops and wellies in the same day. Well the wellies accompanied me today, however for some reason (*cough*Nick*cough*) we all decided to leave our wellies in the car. This proved to be a slight mistake when we opted off of the proper course and wound up walking along a mud-road. Squelch!

We then got to see what 'Going Ape' would entail and Stacey did mention that she's even more against the idea of trying out the tree-top adventure having seen how high up you are when you do it. A few minutes later, she did admit that she did also want to conquer it... who knows, maybe one day I'll get to have a go. I sure got the chance to warm up for it today...

Flattering photos courtesy of 'BiroBoy' John Tresadern
Another highlight of the day was finding a real-life Glory Hole. Seriously, nature's full of all sorts...

Nature's Glory Hole - There's even a pleasant welcome sign...
All in all it was a great day well spent. It's easy to forget that there are some really beautiful scenes right near to where I live. We now aim to go back every season to see how it looks there as the climate changes; not that I see there being much of a change in the Autumn as at times it didn't exactly feel very summery.

Until next time, here's a few more of my photos:

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Aussie Invasion

It's been a couple of months since I added a post to this thing and I was reminded today of the blog and decided to check-in. I've got a couple of Olympic related stories to write about, but they can wait a little while longer - possibly until later on this week. I was reminded of the blog today over a coffee at Starbucks today while a couple of girls managed to spend the best part of an hour (it may have been longer, I didn't actually keep track) in Hollister... I think they may have just been lost within the dark and scary maze of a clothing store.

The girls were Stacey and Tam, the person sat in Starbucks reminding me of my blog was Dan. Tam and Dan moved over to Australia at the beginning of the year and are over for a visit. Despite having travelled eight thousand, or possibly nine thousand miles to get to the UK, the couple have had plenty of road time while back. The main purpose for their visit at this specific time was for them to attend the wedding of Dan's sister which from the sounds of things involved them travelling up and and down the height of the country. With that behind them, they still managed to fit in a couple of days with Stacey and me who have had this week booked off of work (our first week off this year and I think it's safe to say 'a much needed rest').

They arrived at ours on Monday afternoon complete with gifts. I now have a genuine Australian boomerang! We caught up, although as with when anyone ever meets up for the first time in a long period of time, you find yourself racking your brains to think of what you've been up to. I was certainly starting to wonder whether the last eight months had been completely uneventful, but over the course of the following forty-eight hours, we managed to all catch-up properly. We wound Monday up with a nice meal at Kim and Peter's. Steak night to do it right!

Tuesday saw us off to Thorpe Park, meeting up with some of Stacey's family. Unfortunately it is still the school summer holidays and as such the queues were ridonkulously long - an hour and a half for Colossus anyone? Even if you don't think the ride lives up to its name, that line did! We did get to hit pretty much all of the rides that we wanted to though including the new for 2012 Swarm. For those of you that missed the ads on TV earlier this year, Swarm is a rollercoaster on which the seat are sticking out from the side of the track and wheels, so essentially you're sitting on a flying seat with nothing above you, nothing below you. The queue for this one was a whopper too and what's worse is that parts of it were hidden. I kind of expect them to do this, but at one point in the line, you pass the end of the queue which was a complete bastard of a tease, especially as we then found that we'd only made half way. The ride itself was fantastic though. Swarm glides smoother than any rollercoaster I've previously been on - the highlight of the ride being as you glide around a lake, water spraying up as you fly over it. It was incredible. Oh, and I should mention the safety bar/seatbelt/harness or whatever those things are on rides that clamp down over your shoulders to prevent you from being thrown to a bloody and messy death, as on Swarm they were extremely comfortable. I just can't wait until the day that you don't have to wait an age in the scorching sunlight to ride it.

On our ride home that night, we decided to phone ahead to a local curry house to order some food to collect on our way home as it was getting late. I found their number online thanks to the wonders of smart phones and made the call. I started making our order to the chap over the phone and then I lost signal. A couple of minutes later and I'm back on the phone to the guy finishing off the placing of our order with him.
'Brilliant, we're about five minutes away.' I tell him.
'OK we'll start getting it ready for you now. You say you're five minutes away?' asks the guy at the restaurant.
'That's right we're just coming up to Tudely now.' I once again inform him.
'Tudely?' the guy asks. 'This is Tumeric Gold in Swansea, do you have the right one?'
My response to the last question: 'Whoops, nope!'
We wound up arriving at the right restaurant a minute later and had to order there and then.

Yesterday I got sun-burnt, today I bought wellies

That takes us to today. The girls wanted to go shopping, with Tam needing some stuff to take back to Oz. While there I bought myself a new pair of flip-flops for my upcoming holiday, my old pair having broke last night while taking the rubbish from our Indian takeaway out to the dustbins. It didn't take too long for Stacey and Tam to find themselves in the newly expanded (oh joy!) Hollister. Dan and I attempted a search and rescue at one point and actually did get lost in there! For reals. Tam and Stacey seemed happy in the darkness, breathing in whatever fumes they pump out in that place. Dan and I therefore went and grabbed a coffee from neighbouring Starbucks. Thanks again for the coffee, Dan. We got chatting and I mentioned my writing which prompted my realising my neglect of this blog and in turn prompted this entry. When the girls managed to escape the clutches of the Hollister curse we discovered a new roller-disco (which we didn't have time to try out unfortunately) and ate a mega lunch at GBK. I couldn't actually finish mine as - still being on my meat-is-a-very-rare-treat diet - I had a goat's cheese burger assuming it'd be some kind of veggie burger with a sliver of goat's cheese in the bun. Nope, this was an actual burger of goat's cheese! Imagine the cod you get in a chippy, remove the cod and fill the batter with an extremely thick portion of goat's cheese and that's what you have here. Now I love me some goat's cheese, but this was way too rich and sickly. It was so sickly that I had to calm my tongue and insides down by washing it down with an Oreo milkshake!

As soon as we got back from shopping, we had time for a last cup of tea before Tam and Dan left us. Stacey and I both hope you guys enjoyed staying with us. After an extended goodbye thanks to a truck blocking them from driving away for a good few minutes, we set off into town despite the rain that poured down upon us. Still having two days off, tomorrow we're heading to the forest with friends Nick and John. With the weather suddenly being as wet and miserable as it is once again, I thought it best to buy myself a new pair of wellies as it's likely to be muddy tomorrow.

It's funny how life goes sometimes; one day I'm getting sun-burnt (the back of my neck particularly sore after Thorpe Park yesterday), the next I begin the day by buying flip-flops, only to finish it buying wellington boots due to the rain.

Winter is coming... unless you're Tam and/or Dan who will be soon entering the Aussie Summer.