Saturday, 29 September 2012

Me! Me! Me! ..... and Mutt!

Yesterday was a momentous occasion. Such a momentous occasion, that I am briefly interrupting the posts about my holiday in Cornwall.

"Why was it momentous?" I hear you cry, "have all the world's nations decided to work together to achieve peace? Has global warming been solved? Has Bolly been permanently discounted?"

Crikey no, none of that rubbish (although the Bolly bit would make me happier than a kangaroo with two cocks).

Here's a clue: Diem natalem felicem mihi! 

Yesterday was ...... wait for it ........... [drum roll and cymbals resulting in an impressive climax] ...... my birthday! Yep, yesterday I reached the grand age of 42. I don't think that ladies are supposed to disclose their age, but I am blase about things like that, and some may even argue that I am not a lady because I have never had my nails done. Anyway, according to Hitch hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to everything is 42. That's got to be an omen.

Ecce, denuo ago, sicut soleo! Non enim possum facere quin Latine loquar [oh, darn, there I go again! You know, I just can't help speaking Latin].

And because I am kind like Ghandi, except that I wear designer flip-flops, I have got some pictures for you.

Pic.No.1 My chum from the village, Agnieszka, gave me this lovely bunch of flowers and a Polish chocolate bar, except I ate that immediately

Pic.No.2 Then Izzy and Steve turned up with more flowers and some cards ........

Pic.No.3 Very solemnly, Izzy handed me the presents she had chosen. Then she instantly took them back so that she could "help" me unwrap them. In fact, thinking about it, I wasn't actually needed in the proceedings. But I did end up with some Kenzo perfume and a picture frame with a picture of her in it. Bloody marvellous!

Pic.No.4 If flowers, cards and presents weren't enough, Steve had also arranged a meal out at a gastro-pub called The Mole Inn, in a village called Toot Baldon

As you have probably guessed, I love eating out, I do. And I was particularly impressed with him choosing The Mole Inn because it's got a great reputation in Oxfordshire. And although the food was lovely, I have to admit that I found it a bit odd.

I ordered the lamb as my main course. But when the meal was served, I ended up more perplexed than a bee attempting to fly through a window pane.

On the left hand side of the plate, there was the lamb, sitting on a bed of minted chard, peas and potato. Then on the right hand side of the plate, there was a pot of vegetable Korma curry, with a poppadum on top. It was the weirdest combination of food that I have ever experienced. It tasted great, it's just that I wouldn't have put it all together. 

I still scoffed it all though because it was free.

Pic.No.5 Izzy insisted on eating her entire meal with a rosette stuck to her forehead, and a Peppa Pig tag dangling in front of her nose

Pic.No.6 Izzy congratulated me on my birthday

All in all, a bally good time was had by all. And just in case you were wondering whether I accept belated presents .... I do. And I also accept all major credit cards.

An update about Naughty George

After I posted about Naughty George crapping on the kitchen floor and Izzy skidding through the subsequent detritus, a couple of you (well, mainly Anne Boleyn -  hey chick!) expressed concern that he might have an underlying illness and suggested I get him checked out. 

Given that NG is about 17 years old, it seemed like a sensible suggestion to me. So on Friday afternoon, I dragged him (he didn't take a single step and left two lines behind him in the dirt) to the Vet's surgery. 

Pic.No.7 This is Naughty George at the Vet's Surgery. He was not a happy bunny ... see that window that he is looking at? He tried to escape through it, even though it doesn't open

He instantaneously knew where he was and started sweating and shaking like a Paris Hilton in a sex video. The vet eventually called us in, and asked me to put NG on the examination table.

"That's not a good idea," I said to her.

She dismissed me with a smile. "We'll give it a go." 

I duly picked up NG and plonked him on the table. He woofed vacuously, standing still for maybe 15 seconds (to lull her into a false sense of security), before launching himself off the table, towards the general direction of the door.

Luckily, I managed to catch the git before he hit the tiles and did himself an injury.

And so it transpired that the vet examined George on her knees in the corner of the room, next to the exit. She listened to his heart, looked in his ears, shone a torch in his eyes, felt his abdomen, and prodded around his chocolate starfish (that has gotta command a six-figure salary).

Finally, she stood up and proclaimed; "there's nothing wrong with your dog ......... He is unbelievable for his age," before adding; "he is a bit cloudy around his peripheral vision, but other than that, he's got years left in him."

The only recommendation was that I feed him 'Senior Dog Food', which is more readily absorbed into the system, thus creating fewer doggy missiles, and eliminating brown surfing in the kitchen. 

So there you go ...... the mutt has got the constitution of an Ox, just like his owner.

Vid.No.1 And if the vet's conclusion wasn't enough, here is NG on his daily walk this afternoon (11 seconds)

So dahlink, what are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The 'Lost Gardens' and the Amazing Crapping Incident

Gordon Bennett! As I sit at my laptop, gazing out of the window, all I can see are thunderstorms and torrential rain over Oxford.

Vid.No.1 This was the view from the back door a couple of minutes ago (if you look closely, the lightening struck within the first 3 seconds and then the thunder followed)

It is tres exciting, but I am glad that I wasn't taking Naughty George on his daily drag when it all kicked off. It could have been perilous. The lightening could have struck a tree, causing a branch to land on our heads. And Naughty George has got so much bling on his dog collar that he's a natural scampering target for any self-respecting lightening strikes.

I am not implying that I want him dead or anything, but NG reached new levels of git-dom today.

Picture the scene; I was abruptly awoken (with a pounding headache because I've had a cold for the last couple of days), at 6.30am by Izzy shrieking; "MUM! MUM!"

I leapt into action and ran downstairs brandishing a frying pan that I had found under the bed, half expecting to find an intruder in the living room.

Instead, I found Izzy in the aforementioned living room, standing stock-still like a statue.

"What's up chicken?" I asked with a perplexed look on my face.

"Naughty George has pooed inside,"  she said with a stricken expression, staring at her contaminated foot. 

I surveyed the scene, and it quickly became obvious that not only had Izzy stood in the shit, but she had undertaken a victory lap encompassing the whole ground floor.

"You utter bastard, George" I muttered under my breath ..... over and over again ...... as I spent 25 minutes cleaning and disinfecting my daughter, the floors, rugs and other miscellaneous soft furnishings.

And throughout the whole gut-wretching experience, Naughty George was lying in his basket, on his back with his paws in the air, snoring contentedly.

As you can imagine, I was quite keen for a bit escapism after such an intimate encounter with such a large volume dog of squit. Hence I was glad to jump back into my blog and continue with the goings-on of my holiday in Cornwall.

If you remember, I went on holiday with Izzy, my friend Sarah, and her friend Gary. And because I am like Mother Theresa (except that I probably quaff more bread and wine), I have got some photographs for you.

Oh, but before I forget, the photographs are of a day out that I had planned. On my own. Without a spreadsheet or internet connection (there wasn't one). It was like being a caveman, except that I didn't paint a picture of a bison on the caravan wall using crude colours.

Here goes ...............

Pic.No.1 I had decided that we would have an early lunch in a harbour village called Mevagissey

Pic.No.2 I had visited Mevagissey a lot during my youth, when we used to sail around the Cornish coastline for our holidays. See that little boat in the middle? That's your best yacht that is

Pic.No.3 More boats. It was more a working fisherman's harbour than a swanky yacht destination, so there wasn't much Bolly sloshing around

Pic.No.4 This is Gary, Sarah and Izzy. They are standing next to a van with 'Mevagissey Wet Fish' advertised on the side. Hmmm someone needs to employ a marketing agent

After lunch, I had planned that we would visit the 'Lost Gardens of Heligan' (you can click on that link to see the reviews on Trip Advisor).

To give you a bit of background (because it is really cool): Heligan had been the seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years, and was one of England's most mysterious estates. No-one outside of the estate knew what was contained within the walls. At the end of the nineteenth century its gardens were at their zenith, but following the the first World War, they deteriorated quickly, with bramble and ivy drawing a green veil over what was called the “Sleeping Beauty”. Decades of neglect meant that the gardens had become lost to sight.

It wasn't until the 1990s that a conservation trust discovered a a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens ..... which opened a door to the gardens which had been hidden for more than seventy years.

Upon the discovery, a bunch of mentalists decided that they wanted to restore all one thousand acres of the gardens. And so they did ..... and after twenty years of back-breaking work ..... we have the Lost Gardens of Heligan which we visited whilst on holiday ....... gnarly or what?

Pic.No.5 This is a map of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The real-life proved to be a LOT bigger than they appeared the map

Pic.No.6 The gardens were magnificent - meandering paths with tons of hidden areas waiting to be discovered. This was Gary and Izzy in an Italian garden

Pic.No.7 Izzy with her hero - Sarah

Pic.No.8 This was bloody brilliant. An arched walkway dripping with fruits of various kinds

Pic.No.9 A Scarecrow in the vegetable garden. Looking at his dress sense, I think he might be from oop north

Pic.No.10 A rhubarby, cabbagey type plant in the vegetable garden

Pic.No.11 Many of the gardens were walled ..... like the flower garden

Pic.No.12 This is what you encountered when you entered the flower garden

Pic.No.13 There were loads of flowery type things in the flower garden, not unexpectedly

Pic.No.14 An arty shot of a pink flower thing

Pic.No.15 Just off the flower garden, we happened upon this secluded watery haven

Pic.No.16 Next to the watery haven was a pagoda filled with flowers .... and Sarah had a quick sit down because she was knackered. She's always knackered so I am going to get her a t-shirt with 'I'm knackered' emblazoned across the front

Pic.No.17 A yellow dangly flower

Pic.No.18 After the more formal walled gardens, we headed out towards to the more natural conservationist landscapes. This was a green gypsy caravan, but it had been converted into a bird hide

Pic.No.19 Hurray! It's me. Oh, and Izzy of course. Blending into the background like chameleons

Pic.No.20 Flippin' hek. This tree was like something out of a horror movie

Pic.No.21 Was it me, or did it have a face? I think it comes from the Triffid family. I expected it to always be the same distance behind us, no matter how far we walked

Pic.No.22 This was the 'Jungle' section of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and it was truly marvellous. It was just like a jungle, except it was in England. How did they do that?

Pic.No.23 It was covered in dense undergrowth and trees, and it had boardwalks linking the steep inclines so that we were literally walking through the tree-tops

Pic.No.24 This is a pinky type flower that we walked past. Probably a dandelion or something

Pic.No.25 Sarah and Izzy. Imagine having one of those bastards in your salad (the leaf, not Sarah or Izzy)

Pic.No.26 This is a swampy type pond in the Jungle area

Pic.No.27 Izzy and I took a quick moment out to do a 'Zoolander' in the stepping stone section of the Jungle

Pic.No.28 Gary does a 'Harrison Ford' in the jungle. Kind of. Except he didn't kill snakes or get anywhere by swinging on ropes

Pic.No.29 Another Jungle pond

Pic.No.30 Finally we emerged from the Jungle section and arrived (blinking) into open countryside. We found a bench to sit on for a while (because Sarah and Gary were knackered), and noticed that we could see Mevagissey village in the distance

Following our rest, we continued walking, and in no time at all, we left the Jungle and headed into the 'Forest' section of the Lost Gardens of Heligan .......

Pic.No.31 Look! We found this sculpture of a bird crafted into the forest floor. I did pose next to her, prostate on the forest finery, but my baps looked to have an unusual configuration in the picture, so it didn't make the Editor's cut

Pic.No.32 This is the forest sculpture that Heligan is famous for ..... a head nestling amongst the trees. Look! It has got the same hair as the Ginge

So that's about it when it comes to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I have to say though, that it was a lot more magnificent than the pictures depict (I should be on commission or something). You could literally explore for two days and not see everything.

Enough of that. By the time we finished with Heligan, everyone was Hank Marvin (starvin'). And because I was responsible for planning, I had organised for us to go to a small harbour town called Fowey for dinner.

I love Fowey because it was another place that I regularly sailed to as a kid (with my Dad, obviously. Otherwise I might have been considered precocious). It's also the place where all the yachties hang out. And because the yachties generally have a dime or two to rub together, you could be sure that as well as being picturesque, Fowey had lots of fine eateries, and an endless supply of Bolly. 

Pic.No.33 We parked the car and walked down Fowey's narrow twisting streets towards the Harbour Square. I thought that this person's front door was the dogs danglies. Except that I wouldn't want to try and get a sofa up there

Pic.No.34 The main street in Fowey (if you are in America, it is called 'Downtown')

Pic.No.35 We decided to eat in an Italian restaurant overlooking Fowely Harbour. Look! there is a bird soaring on the right hand side

That's enough of Cornwall, although I think there are two more posts to come ... what do you think, should I write them, or abandon the subject and go onto something else? Hmmmmm.....

So dahlink, have you seen the signs of Autumn where you are?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Chips, Castles, Caravans and Stringy Shit

I really do have to apologise about my tardiness in blogging. I fully intended on finishing the posts about my holiday in Cornwall within a week. But this week has conspired against me - I found out that I need to find somewhere new to live (more about that in a later post), Izzy had problems at school, and Naughty George discovered new and exciting ways to discharge stuff from his body - namely puking a lot of yellow chunks, and crapping what appeared to be long lengths of string with mutt-turd attached.

The stringy turd was freaking me out the most: He would sweat and shake before ejecting it an inch at a time from his rear end, and then it kind of dangled from his butt, swaying in the wind before finally detaching itself. Maybe he'd eaten a ball of string or something?

Suffice to say, I did not envisage my future including weird dog-turd configurations. It was supposed to revolve around me reclining on a sofa, being fed grapes by a sinewy Adonis-type chap. It appeared as though things had gone awry. Anyway, I digress. Back to my tardiness ..............

I tell you now, if I was employing myself to write this blog, I would sack myself immediately. But luckily, because there is only me involved, I decided to be lenient and give myself a second chance. I'm kind like that.

Anyway, back to business. As you will remember, we (me, Izzy, Sarah, and her friend Gary) were snatching a quick week-long holiday in Cornwall before the end of the summer holidays.

Sarah is a History teacher by profession, so she really loves all old shit.

Picture the scene: we were all loafing around in the caravan on the second evening of our vacation, perusing the tourist brochures that had been provided for us. 

"Can we go and visit Tintagel Castle?" Sarah piped up.

Gary and Izzy immediately jumped to their feet and started clapping rapturously. That's Sarah's superhero power - pleasing everyone all of the time (but in a historical rather than a rude way).

In the face of such castle jingoism, I could do nothing but acquiesce.  Not that I minded too much. Hell, castles generally have Knights in suits of armour and there is generally scrapping involved.

And because I am kinder than Mother Theresa, except that I would consider laser surgery on any upper-lip fine lines, I have got some pictures to show you ....................

Pic.No.1 This is the entrance to Tintagel Castle. The castle was built on two dizzingly steep, but separate, headlands facing each other. It cost £5.70 per adult to get in (Izzy was £3.40) - That's $33.2 altogether

Pic.No.2 After paying for our entrance, the path took us down to Tintagel Bay .... suffice to say that in this instance, we had to go down before going up ......

Pic.No.3 (click to enlarge) This perplexed me. Apparently Tintagel Castle was the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur (the bloke who pulled the sword out of the stone). Is it me? But I thought that King Arthur was a mythical figure

Pic.No.4 The path up to the first part of the castle was scandalously steep and narrow ..... but you can't really appreciate it in this photograph

Pic.No.5 This shows it a little better ..... the path was precariously carved into a narrow ledge of rock that was only one person wide in many places. I am not a fan of heights and when I looked over the side, I felt like I was swaying and my stomach flipped

Pic.No.6 Following our ascent, we finally arrived at the castle. I told Sarah that it looked a bit like a pile of rubble and she said that I was a heathen because it was constructed in Medeival times (but to be honest, I was not exactly sure when that was)

Pic.No.7 This is Izzy with Gary. They were posing next to a hole that was used to attack enemies. Obviously they didn't attack enemies WITH the hole, they pointed their weapons through it

Pic.No.8 The gals on holiday (from left; Moi, Izzy, Sarah). Sarah out-lensed me on the camera stakes

Pic.No.9 This was the biggest surviving wall of the castle

Pic.No.10 (click to enlarge) Then suddenly, I happened upon this sign which provided me information about the Medieval times. Apparently, Tintagel Castle was built in AD1230. Bloody hell. It was nearly 800 years old! Not only that, excavations had proven that the site linked back to the Roman invasion in AD 300. That's way older than the oldest cucumber that I have ever had turn to liquid in the back of my fridge

Pic.No.11 This is a view of the castle from above. We had climbed further up the moutain to view other remains of ancient settlements that were scattered around the area. I know it was all a bit rubbley, but I have to admit, I was well impressed given the age of the site

Pic.No.12 Remember I said that the castle spanned over two headlands? Well, in this picture I was stood on one, and was looking out towards the second castle. There was an enormous gorge between them (which is hard to make out), but the second castle is the bright green bit in the centre of the picture that looks like a Fly Swat with a wobbly handle

Vid.No.1 I thought you might like a video of Tintagel Bay and castle

Pic.No.13 And finally the sun came out ..... and I was able to take a picture of Tintagel in all it's glory

Pic.No.14 This picture is better because it's got me in it. I was squinting ferociously because I couldn't find my sunglasses. After reviewing this photo, I realised that they were on my head

Pic.No.15 After descending the mountain, we walked through Tintagel village and I spotted this cottage with a really wobbly roof

But enough of Tintagel and it's waist-high castles.

I like eating - a lot (as long as I am not cooking it). And immdiately after Sarah had suggested visiting Tintagel Castle, I had consulted a map and noticed that it was perilously close to a town called Padstow.

And handily enough, Padstow was famous for it's gourmet cuisine, provided by one Rick Stein (in case you live in the US, he is a bit like Gordon Ramsay, except he doesn't shout "Fuck" so much). 

After I pointed out Padstow's proximity to Tintagel Castle, and the possibility of some gourmet nosh, Sarah and Gary jumped up and applauded.

Hurrah! I was now the popular kid in school. Except for the fact that Izzy pointed out that she wanted chicken nuggets. But it was easy to ignore her though because she was small and easily over-powered.

And so we headed to Padstow ........

Pic.No.16 Padstow was a super-pretty harbour village with lots of yachts being taken for a walk by yellow balls

Pic.No.17 See that little inflatable red thing? That's like my best yacht, that is

Pic.No.18 This was another view of Padstow harbour. What the blazes was that chap up to in the bottom right? 

Pic.No.19 This is a picture of Padstow Bay beyond the harbour

Pic.No.20 Then we all decided that we were hungry and wanted our Rick Stein fish and chips .... so we looked high and low down the higgeldy-piggeldy backstreets of Padstow

Pic.No.21 We found Rick Stein's cafe, but still, it wasn't his fish and chip shop (he has three eateries in Padstow) ...... so we asked a local resident who gave us directions to a bay just outside of the Padstow village

Pic.No.22 We finally found it! Rick Stein's fish and chip shop. I was surprised that the building looked a little weather beaten ... but hey, look at the queues waiting to get in (arse). And there was even a couple of A-Team vans parked outside (one even had a ramp so that you could ride your scooter in)

Pic.No.23 The holy grail..... nom nom nom .....

Pic.No.24 This is the fish. It was served with a bit of leaf on it (not sure what - probably ivy or something), so that it looked arty

So was our anticipation of eating Rick Stein's fish and chips worthwhile?

Well, I gave it an 8.5 out 10
Gary gave it 9 out of 10
Sarah gave it 7 out of ten (because when she was a student she had worked at a chippy in Leeds)

But the biggy was that it cost over £50.00 ($81.00).

For a takeaway meal. For three and a half people.

That we ate in the back of the bling machine.

Crikey O'Reilly. That was a tad steep in my book.

Never mind me anyway ...... how the devil are you getting on now that the school holiday's are over? And has anything exciting happened this week?

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