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Archive for September, 2007

Living Life to the Full

I am sitting at work typing up thoughts that are wandering round my head, so please bear with me whilst I ramble.

It’s Friday, so we should be getting that Crunchie feeling, but we have been knocked for six this morning by the news that someone we work with was found dead last night.  He wasn’t someone I knew particularly well, but others in the office did and there are a lot of sombre people here today.

It’s devastating when anyone you know passes away, however at the age of 33 one does not expect to lose one’s peers.  Only last week I heard that someone I used to work with, and possibly more importantly someone who I used to drink with, has died.  He was younger than me, married with a small child.  When I knew him we were both part of a group of single friends from work who used to socialise heavily together outside work.  I hadn’t seen him for a few years but hearing the news still made me feel like I had been hit side on by a truck.  He was too young, he was a great bloke and a lot of people are really going to miss him.  (It really is difficult to write about this sort of thing without carting out all the cliched things we say about people when they die, so hard to say what you want to say without sounding trite.)

So, moving on… Life is a very precious thing.  Embrace it, treasure it and live every moment to the full.  Don’t put things off until tomorrow.  Don’t use “I really can’t be arsed” as an excuse.  Laugh with your friends, cuddle your children (even the grown up ones), get pissed and dance on the table, learn to play that musical instrument just as you always promised yourself you would.

Do this in memory of John (my Dad), R, K, M, E and G and everyone you know who didn’t get the chance to live a full life.

Tomorrow is Saturday.  The Yorkshireman is having to work this weekend and I was going to spend the day catching up on housework.  But do you know what?  I think I may blow £55 that I don’t really have on an annual pass to our local farm park, one of Little’un’s absolutely favouritist places.  We will feed the animals, eat sandwiches in the rain picnic area (BW if by any chance you are reading this Iyou may be interested to hear that I’ll be taking a flask of tea and some chocolate hob nobs so we can do some dunking) and then we will bounce on the trampolines. A much better use of my precious time I feel.

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The Yorkshireman and I took the opportunity of a Little’un-free day whilst on holiday to take a trip to Portsmouth.  A two minute walk from the ferry terminal finds you in Gunwharf Quays, a designer outlet shopping centre.  Given that I have an Asda George budget and an Evans figure I did nothing in the way of shopping but as it was drizzling slightly (English summer holiday, of course it rained!) browsing the shops was a great way to spend an hour until the rain stopped.  We had lunch at Water Margin Oriental Buffet and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.  Probably not the best place for small children as it was a buffet in a large dining room setting and possibly a bit hectic and cramped for families but the place had a real buzz and the food was fantastic. 

Once we could move after having gone an apple fritter too far, we took a trip up the Spinnaker Tower.  Thankfully the weather had cleared so it was well worth paying the entrance fee for the views over Portsmouth Dockyard, The Solent and beyond.  The photo to the left was taken on our impromptu Solent cruise (see last post) but I took stacks of photos on the day and made a panoramic picture of the view which unfortunately seems to be too big to upload so I can’t share it with you (any tips gratefully received on this one).  Nevertheless I can bore you with some of the less spectacular shots.  I was incredibly brave and crawled across the glass floor with my eyes closed walked on the glass floor that allows you to see 328 feet (100m) below you to the terrace cafe.  You will note that I still have my sunglasses on in the picture.  This is so you can’t tell that my eyes are as big as saucers with fear.  I managed to crawl on and off the glass floor a couple of times without actually looking down, all the while small children were happily hopping, skipping and even jumping across it without so much as a minor tremble.  I was actually very pleased that Little’un wasn’t there; partly because she is too young to admire views and would have been bored to the point of bad behaviour and also because I don’t want to inflict my completely riduculous fears onto her (I fear I may be too late to avoid passing on my spider ishoos).

We spent a long time up there just admiring the view, mainly watching the ships roll in, and watching them roll away again (good job I love that Otis Redding song, there is no way you can get it out of your head whilst watching a working port from such a vantage point).  Until you’ve been up there and seen it for yourself it’s hard to imagine just how captivating it is.  Handily, we were in the Crow’s Nest when some mugs parents were pressed upon by their offspring to put £1 into the talking telescopes so we didn’t have to pay any extra for the commentary.  
If you ever find yourself in Portsmouth, I can heartily recommend a day in and around the Spinnaker Tower.  Just don’t take the kids with you.

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Isle of Wight 2007

So, a whole 6 weeks after getting back from our holiday in St Helens on the Isle of Wight, I am now finally getting round to posting some pics 🙂

We stayed here in a static caravan and found it a great base from which to explore the island.  Of course, the Isle of Wight is small enough that anywhere is a good base, nevertheless we found that we could get to most places from St Helens within half an hour or so.  It’s situated right on Bembridge Harbour on the eastern point of the island, within 10 minutes walk of a beach, although the route was a little tricky with a pushchair.  (NB the pushchair wasn’t used for transporting Little’un much, it was mainly used as a cart to transport assorted toddler beach crap.)  The caravan was clean and well equipped, the site was well maintained and had three fantastic playgrounds for children of various ages, including the grown up ones – Little’un refused to go down the big tube slide by herself so of course I had to slide down it myself with her on my knee.  Several times.  Damn.  The view from the caravan was fantastic (above) and despite all my reservations before we left, the weather was good enough to enjoy it.

We took those essential holiday items with us – spending money, bog roll, small child’s grandparents, breakfast cereal etc etc.  Of these, the grandparents were the most useful (the bog roll running a close second).  Little’un was entertained every waking hour and taken to a different beach nearly every day, allowing The Yorkshireman and I to remember what it is like to be childless and go and drink beer over leisurely lunches in our own time.  Fabulous, much needed and very much enjoyed.

Little’un (and The Yorkshireman it has to be said) is rather fond of trains so it was decided that a day out at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway was in order.  We bought a ticket – they are valid all day – and spent a very happy few hours trundling up and down the track. All the staff wear period costume which delighted Little’un and she got to hear those immortal words “Tickets Please!” which she remembered from her last trip on a steam train in Devon last year.  She wasn’t too keen on the tunnels but was perfectly happy to sit and look out of the window and excitedly shout “Look Mummy/Daddy a tree/cow/horse” at regular intervals.  It never ceases to amaze me how much satisfaction a small child can get from watching trees go past at slow speeds.  As for me, I love riding on trains, I find the clickety-clack really soothing and I also seem to get a lot of satisfaction from watching trees go past at slow speeds.  I think I spent most of the day in a contented semi-comatose state.

One thing I have to say against the Isle of Wight is that the night life is virtually non-existent, at least that we could find anyway.  The Yorkshireman and I jumped on the chance of a rare night out alone and struggled to find anywhere that wasn’t tired and empty.  Being old thirtysomething knackered parents, we weren’t exactly looking for a rave, but there was nowhere that had the slightest atmosphere after about 9 o’clock.  I suppose that’s what you get in a family centred area.

The Yorkshireman and I also spent a day in Portsmouth, I’ll post about that sepearately as I got loads of fab photos (maybe in another month 😀 I’ll try and be a bit quicker!)

We got a bit of a bonus on the way home – Cowes Week had just started and the ferry had to take a long way round as it sailed across the water so we got a tour of The Solent in full regatta mode.  Coloured sails everywhere.  Rather exciting and a fitting end to a fun, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable week.

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