Monthly Archives: December 2018

2011119 – San Antonio & Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires from our balcony.



Monday

Our hotel.

Disembark today. After 16 days we’ve both had enough. Our new world record for cruise endurance.

Start the day with breakfast in the cabin, save the battle of the breakfast crush and lineup. Thought we’d have it on the balcony but not really warm enough so we eat inside.

Being in a Neptune suite we can disembark at our leisure. Process is vey efficient apart from the Chilean gestapo wanting to inspect the contents of my suitcase and wendy’s handbag.

Walking out of the port towards the bus station we come across a bus to Santiago ready there and waiting. Saves us a walk to the bus station. Superb bus, very efficient and less than £10 for the two of us for 70 mile journey.

Our room.

Santiago bus station is a typical 3rd world cesspit, but we eventually get picked up by an Uber for a 40 minute drive to our hotel. Have to say Uber are really cheap, saves on local currency, no problems tipping and very efficient. Apart from one driver who had never been a boy scout and was totally incapable of reading a map. His business model seemed to be based on expecting us to walk and find him.

Check into our 5 star Hotel Cumbres in a pleasant area of Santiago. We’re a tad early so have to wait in the luxury of the business lounge with free drinks and nibbles.

Our room very roomy and 5 star quality.

And the stupidist design of salt and pepper pot ever. – worhty of an honourable mention. Try picking them up / scraping them off the table.

We have a stroll around the neighbourhood for some lunch. Usual screw up with not having what’s on the menu. End up in the restaurant next door having the best Empanada’s we’ve ever had. Really need to get the recipe for these Chilean forgeries of a traditional Cornish pastie.

Have a walk down to the main Plaza Aramas. Good job really as despite our bus tour saying “mobile tickets” you have to get a wrist band printed off at designated locations – stuff the customer yet again, good job I read the small print.

Hotel welcomes us with a free Pisco Sour – apparently a famous local drink. Evening meal is in the hotel out of sheer laziness. Not the best meal ever. I try the flaky lambs tongue. Nothing to get excited about.

Tuesday

Pretty good breakfast. Then we set off to pick up our

Hotal pool.

Hop On Hop Off bus tour. Booked by Viator but completely loose my marbles trying to find a map of the route so we know where’s best to pick up the bus – no map, yet another example of complete lack of common sense and customer care. Why am I surprised.

Finally find the bus stop, not that they can be bothered to put a Turistik bus stop sign up. Hello customer in need of some basic consideration. Think about it not really rocket science.

Funicular ride to yet another statue.

Anyway bus tour’s not bad, at least we get a good overview of Santiago. A massive, sprawling high rise city and the modern part – well away from the bus station – is quite civilised.

Get off at the Funicular for ride up to see yet another statue. Yes, you guessed it religious. This time it’s the virgin Mary. Have a pleasant stroll around with Wendy whining that it’s too hot.

Yes another religious statue.

Lunch is beer and empanadas – not nearly as good as yesterdays.

Then it’s back on the hop on off for the rest of the city.

Too weary tourists are glad to get back to our 5 star first world bubble.

Dinner in the restaurant next door where we had those awesome Empanadas. Not nearly as good as the Empanadas.

Wednesday

One of the top tourist attractions, but it goes backwards and has a mind of it’s own.

Going on a “Wallace Arnold” tour to Vile de mar and Valpariso today. Picked up at the hotel and have a 40 minute ride to the bus, in the chaos of Santiago’s traffic. Slower than a herd of turtles stampedin’ through peanut butter. Then it’s nearly a 2 hour ride to Vile de Mar. Our tour consists mainly of Spanish speaking geriatrics and as a result the ratio of Spanish to English from the tour guide seems to be about 80:20.

Famous house in Valpariso.

Stop at a beach for 20 minutes. God only knows why we needed so long. Then stop at a very nice beach side restaurant where we decide on a cheese board and a cake each, and for me a couple of beers – sin every day now. The cheese board was enough to feed a family of 10 and the Key Lime pie and chocolate cake was ginormous. But we soldier on.

Then we drive up to Valpariso. The old part is a Unesco heritage area. Very colourful, with a walking tour. In the main the place seems to be rusting to pieces.

More of shanty town Valpariso.

Then it’s another 2+ hours back, plus a 30 minute taxi ride, in yet more traffic than muslims at a stoning. Get back about 19:30, so in all we’ve had an 11 hour day. We chose this as we wanted to see the UNESCO area of Valpariso and avoid the heat of Santiago, but by the end of the day we’d had enough. Glad we saw Valpariso but these “Wallace Arnold” expeditions really aren’t our idea of bliss. Would rather do our own thing.

Neither of us feel like venturing out for dinner as we’re both stuffed from our sinful lunchtime excess and have had enough of Dago land. So we opt for room service. Phone down to a dyslexic Spanish speaker who claims he speaks English – not in his wildest dreams. After much repetition and frustration he finally repeats our order back to us. Not that it makes an iota of difference as he screws it up on two counts. Then spend 5 minutes waiting for reception to figure out how to answer the phone and hopefully put the SNAFU right.

Funicular.

Fall asleep through yet another episode of “House of Cards”, better know for it’s overly complex, back stabbing, bitchy plots and counter plots. You really need an “Idiots Guide to House of Cards” to figure out who’s screwing (not in the sexual sense) who.

Thursday

Yet another famous square I can’t remember the name of.

Lazy start to the day with breakfast.

Drinking Pisco – Chilean fire water.

Congratulations to Chile who have managed to create an extra queue by having passport control on the way out of the Country. No doubt the UK could learn a thing or two on how to increase airport misery by adopting this.

Mind you their equivalent of the TSA leaves a lot to be desired. The dolly bird scanning my haversack seemed more interested in checking her nails out. Very lackadaisical.

Discovered this lush wine here in Chile, so our travels haven’t been wasted.

Cute.

“Carménère is a dark-skinned grape variety originally from the vineyards of Bordeaux, and which has found a particularly suitable home in Chile. Its name is often spelt Carmenère (including in the latter country), and without accents by some.
A late-ripening variety, Carménère needs high levels of sunshine and a warm summer to reach its full potential, but in the right environment it can produce fine, deeply colored red wines, with the attractive meaty plumpness of Merlot and the gently herbaceous, cedary notes of Cabernet Sauvignon.”

Need to keep an eye open for it.

Give up on trying to get an Uber as they don’t allow them into the airport. Settle for a taxi £30 instead of £20 with Uber. But you can’t beat market forces, technology and ultimately Uber will win. It’s a great service. You see the price in advance; can see taxi coming with estimate for how long; no problems with currency or change; no problems with tipping; can see your progress; all paid by your credit card.

Hotel room not what we expected. First world problem as room has no sitting area, no bath robes, no chocolates or coffee machine as per the booking.com website. Of course I complain.

The views from our balcony of the Obelisco de Buenos Aires on the main boulevard (widest in the World, at least 0 lanes wide) are stunning. We’re smack in the heart of Buenos Aires.

Friday

A big flower.

Breakfast is a joke. It’s a continental breakfast, the worst we’ve ever had to swallow. The hotel seems to think that by putting minuscule portions of everything out it’ll save them money. Take for instance milk to go on cereal, there’s a small jug of about 300ml or 2/3 a pint for a restaurant of about 40 people. When that runs out, as it does every few minutes, then a waitress has to go and get some more. Oh I forgot there is a boiler full of hot milk to go with ample coffee. Orange juice has about 2 pints out and the glasses are not much bigger than shot glasses. A single standard kitchen kettle for boiling water.

Our suite.

Tackle the manager about our room and the lack of the luxuries we’ve paid for. He’s very impressive and manages to upgrade us to a Junior Suite – “the most expensive room in the hotel” he says – which gives us what we paid for in the first place, so we get our sitting area, bath robes and chocolates. To be fair he’s very professional, turns a problem into an opportunity, under promises and over delivers. Even takes us to view the suite personally, making sure we’re totally satisfied with it and assists us to move our luggage.

We decide to do the hop on / off bus tour. You can pay on board apparently, but what they forgot to mention is you can only pay in Pesos. Fortunately they let us travel free to the next stop where the office is and we can join a 20 minute cue inside a sweatbox.

Amazon watch out.

Apart from that cock up the tour itself is very good and doing all the routes takes us about 5 hours, by the end of which we’re tourist piefagged with facts about Buenos Aires. Bear in mind it is our second tour around this trip, although the cruise tour was nowhere near as comprehensive. Fortunately this one did not include yet another Tango show. Quite surprised how good the tour was as there quite a lot of negative comments on TripAdvisor. Just goes to show how dodgy it all is.

For dinner I’ve discovered a small Argentinian steak restaurant about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. Which although small and not exactly 5 star looking provides two of the best steaks we’ve ever had. Even Wendy is impressed. All the staff spoke pretty good English and were very friendly and helpful – be careful you’ll be letting your Country down. And to top it all two steak dinner, with veg and 4 drinks comes to under £30. No wonder it was rated 10th best in Buenos Aires on Tripadvisor.



rant header

 
It is the fitness craze that might prove tricky to explain to an alien, though it has been embraced by celebrities including Ozzy Osbourne, Kate Beckinsale and Khloe Kardashian.

While you do yoga poses such as downward dog or bridge, a goat stands on your bottom or stomach.
The American farmer behind the exercise regime known as “goat yoga” has now written a book about it. It began when Lainey Morse, from Oregon, started inviting her friends for “goat happy hour”; they would drink wine and play with the goats.
When a friend, who was a yoga instructor, joined in, she suggested running a yoga class in the goat field.


Saturday

Japanese Gardens.

Up for another disappointing breakfast. The Macdonalds across the road is very tempting but our breakfast is included in the price.

Decide on a 3 mile walk to the Japanese gardens. A very pleasant walk it is too. Some elegent, although a tad busy, boulevards. Have to say we didn’t go through any seedy or threatening areas. Really impressed with Buenoa Aires.

Japanese gardens are small, busy but quite impressive. Even try some Jasmin tea, very fragrant.

Japanese gardens.

Then we pick up an Uber to the famous, oldest cafe Tortini. There’s a small queue outside, but I’m feeling relaxed so we risk it. Wendy tries the famous hot chocolate where you dunk a chocolate bar in. I try the hot chocolate with Cheerios and Dolce Leche. Although screw up by putting some of the Dolce Leche in the hot chocolate. Either way it is delicious, sweet and enough calories to turn you into a Michelin advert.

Cafe Tortoni.

In the evening we’ve deen advised to keep off the streets because there’s a local derby football game on and the avenue we’re on will be teaming with rowdy scrots. The massive police presence supports this opion. We have room service. Yet another disaster. Only bring half the order and when they finally deliver my Emenadas they’re a tad burnt.

We really should have gone out as there’s no crowds. Turns out the game was cancelled due to the fans being violent and threatening the players coaches. River Plate vs. Boca Juniors Copa Libertadores final postponed again after fan violence.

Sunday

Buenos Aires at night from our balcony.

Yet another crappy continental breakfast – another good reason to get out of the EU to stop promoting continental breakfast.

Then we pack. Try and get an Uber to the airport. First two accept but speak some gibbberish to us and cancel. Don’t think they want to go to the airport. Finally get another gibberish speaking Uber driver whose only English word seems to be “cash”. But he does understand the word “No”. Get to the airport for about £14 instead of typical taxi fare of £30, but Uber really should do something about cancelling after accepting, just wastes your time.

Bag drop is not too bad. Good job we’d checked in online though as the queue for online check in is horrendous. And of course in line with South Americas principle of making life even more miserable for passengers we have to queue to go through passport control. Fortunately security quite sloppy and easy.

Goodbye Buenos Aires. Goodbye South America.

Check into airport lounge and have a few drinks, or in Wendy’s case a lot of her own brandy.

Flights pretty good. Foods pretty good, even better than Virgin. Wine choice is awful but a few miniatures and a couple of sleeping tablets and I’m out of it for most of the flight, much to the amazement of the young girl sat next to me.

Flights on time and Bretts there to pick us up.

Amazing isn’t it veggies can pre-order there special vegetarian meal so why can’t I pre-order a meat meal?

It’s certainly been interesting down here on the edge of civilisation. We‘re really more into a first world 5 star bubble of opulence and civilisation. Spoilt I know. Glad we’ve seen it all, especially from our floating gin palace, but we certainly won’t be coming back.

Now to plan next year, either Japan and China or South Africa and Safari.



rant header

 
Man shall not live by bread alone. But he had better not put any butter, ham or cheese on it for fear of causing offence.
Idioms involving meat, dairy products and animal cruelty will be culled, or rather removed, from the English language as veganism causes people to eschew such phrases as “bringing home the bacon”, an academic claims.

Such distressing references have abounded in English speech and literature for centuries. They range from taking a bull by the horns to letting the cat out of the bag or putting all one’s eggs in one basket. Dr Johnson, the great lexicographer, not only documented such terms but once declared: “Any of us would kill a cow, rather than not have beef.”
Nevertheless, Shareena Hamzah, a researcher at Swansea University, predicts that the lexicon will change as awareness grows around vegan issues and there is more widespread discussions about cruelty, healthy eating and the effect of demand for meat on climate change. This could involve the use of harm-free verbal alternatives already advocated by the animal rights charity Peta for use in schools. For instance, “flogging a dead horse” becomes “feeding a fed horse”.

Rising “veganphobia” means that vegans must be given the same legal protection from discrimination as religious people, a campaigner has said.

20181111 – Falkland Islands – Civilisation At Last


Sunday

Penguins and civilisation at last.

Falklands today – civilisation at last. Up early for breakfast and then we’re on the Bluff Cove Penguin tour at 08:00.

Mini bus to a car park then a land rover across the moor like, peaty landscape. By the end of the 20 minute drive we’re all shaking like a dog shitting hammer handles. Landscape reminds us very much of Belthorn, only really fit for sheep. Weather is sunny, not too cold but a tad windy. Better than at home.

More Gentoo penguins than Muslim at a blasphemy riot, but only a smaller colony of about 20 King penguins. There was a five hour tour took in more different varieties of penguins but involved 4 hours driving, a goodly portion of which would be in a Landrover, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster we passed on that little escapade.

More British than Britain. I bet they’re not bothered about BREXIT.

Then get back to Port Stanley just in time for the two minute silence, which everyone observes apart from a German couple. Typical they start the bloody wars, then just because they had their arses well and truly kicked both times can’t even have the civility to observe a few moments silence. Sausage chomping scrots.

Have a stroll around. Can you believe it we visit a gift shop. Then a super market. Not just any old supermarket but a Waitrose. Place is a bit like 1960’s Britain. Photograph a few war memorials.

Then it’s back to the ship. One of the better day trips, Wendy got to see her penguins and everyone spoke English.

Monday

Cape Horn with 18 foot waves.

Day at sea. Sail around Cape Horn. We get our moneys worth going around the Horn with 18 foot waves to liven things up. Fortunately my pewk tablets do their job and I can even tolerate the gym. All quite exciting in a bizarre way.

Tuesday

Not sure what this is.

Ushuaia, Argentina today. The most Southerly “city” in the World. The city at the end of the World but no one drops off.

Get off the ship early and have a stroll around the city. Reminds us very much of France. There’s a cruise ship in town but not an open shop in sight – true French style entrepreneurs.

Being lazy souls we’ve signed up for a tour to the Tierra Del Feugo National Park. Quite a stark location. Our tour guide is obsessed with Beavers – thats the animal kind. By the end of the NP tour I’m at the point of being ready to throttle her if she mentions Beavers, and the problems they’ve caused, at least one more time. Im sure the whole coach would welcome her demise. Then when she’s done Beavers to death she starts on the parasites. No not the unemployed scrotal variety to be found in the UK, but the parasites that live on the trees.

Post box at the bottom of the World.

To be fair it was quite an interesting tour. The trip along the Trans American highway to the end at the bottom of the World just about sums up South America, not a square foot of blacktop, tarmac, concrete or any other substantial road surface. Just compacted and dusty gravel.

Then it’s back to the gin palace for an early departure to cruise Glacier Alley, Beagle Channel 
and Cockburn Channel. But not before a cocktail party with free whisky, champagne and you can borrow some real diamond bling for the formal evening. Cheeky bar steward asked was I getting dressed up for the formal. I replied “Yes, I already am”. That shut him up.

Wednesday

Town square.

Punta Arenas, Chile today. Sadly we booked a tour. This city was so much more civilised than Brazil, Uruguay or Argentina, but desperately struggles to justify a tour. Trip to an interesting little museum; up a hill to have an over view of the city; a Sarah Braun house tour; and the town plaza. Just love the marketing expertise of the locals. Get off a city tour bus and they try and sell us a city tour!

Next cruise we’ll stick to our guns and do our own thing. Much cheaper and we can avoid Museum and Cemetery fatigue.

Statue of Magellan – I think, i’d lost the will to listen by now.

Our guide is devastated when we say we’re staying in town. “But you’ll miss the most beautiful cemetery in South America”, my silent retort is “good”, we’re just about had enough cemeteries to last a life time. Good god we don’t even go to our parents grave this often.

We go to a local Tavern where we have lunch; a few local beers; and because Wendy doesn’t like her Daiquiri I even have to finish that off. Then it’s a stroll around town before getting the free bus back to the port.

Back to the ship / boat / gin palace for a cruise down the Strait of Magellan.

Thursday

More from the penguins.

A boring sea day with bugger all on the entertainment front other than some inane talk on “Yachts of the Rich and famous”, another even more esoteric talk on “Concertinas” – just what everyone talks about all the time – and that’s the highlight of the day. We’re cruising down the Canal Sarmiento towards yet another glacier, the Brujo glacier. Hopefully this one is a bit more spectacular than the ones down Glacier Alley – not a patch on the Alaska Glaciers.

Lunch reveals yet another “there’s note so queer as folk” moment as a woman comes to sit down at ta dinner table, but there are 4 drops of water on the table. Wow she has a hissy fit with her husband, as if it was his fault. Then summons a waiter to swab them up. Heaven help her in the rain.

Glacier in Glacier Alley – I think.

Meanwhile it may be an opportune moment to comment on the infestation of Germans on this ship. Even on a freezing sea day they’re there with their towels on the deck chairs at the crack of sparrows; sprawled out on all the settees in the lounges and chairs; and even drown out what few Americans we have on board. Next cruise needs to have fewer friggin arrogant and rude Germans. Limit their numbers and don’t allow any onboard that voted for Angela Merkel. For a nation that is allegedly so efficient it amazed me how the ones on our fixed dinning table had major issues in telling the time.

Wendy with her penguins.

You may have noticed that very little has been said about evening entertainment. That’s because in the main it was dire. Tango dancing 3 nights; Saxophone player 2 nights; song and dancers 2 nights; 1 bongo player, juggler and feats of strength.


It can be a tad depressing on this floating gin palace full of geriatrics, with walking stick and zimmer frame hell. Average age must be about 65. Then depression sets in as you realise you’re one of them, but so much better than the alternative.

Friday

Chilean fjords.

Another sea day.

Have breakfast delivered to the room, only coffee, tea and a smoothie, but that way you get a couple of free Mimosas to help keep my alcohol levels topped up during the day.

Yet another glacier.

There’s a talk on the next port of call Puerta Montt. Have to say the port talks are pretty good. Pity the ports of call aren’t as good. In the main they’re mostly bereft of anything worth seeing, to put it in comparison, it’s like offering a Round Britain Cruise to have a day trip to Blackburn.

Wendy faffs about whether to buy a pack of lip gloss. Shall I, shan’t I – for gods sake just buy them. Then she goes to watch an auction, she finds the stupidity fascinating.

Exploit the 16:00 happy hour to buy a couple of glasses of wine at almost reasonable price and then take them up to dinner. Where there’s a will there’s a way and it gives me great delight to circumvent their rampant greed.

Dinner with our usual two American couples.

Wendy watches the show while I sit in the lounge, watching the sea go by and nurse a glass of wine. A much more stimulating experience than watching yet another mediocre song and dance performance. Mind you to be fair if they served up a top Broadway cast and musical I’d probably still go for watching the sea go by.

Saturday

Welcome to our little shithole.

Puerto Montt today. On the basis of the previous tours being mainly some Chicken Shit little dump, even worse than Blackburn, we decide to do a walking tour on our own.

Wow this place is a real shithole, the armpit of civilisation.

Thank god we’re leaving.

Manage a 6 mile walk. Stop for a beer. Really nice to see a Salvation Army collector, jingling his bell, outside one of the main stores. Most of the shopping centres seem half empty. Street traders are scratching a living everywhere. Selling everything from seaweed; trinkets; sink plugs; dubious looking fruit and vegetable; toothbrushes – probably second hand. The main activities seemed to be washing broad beens in filthy brown water, scooping them into a plastic bag ready for resale.

Back on board our opulent first world bubble by lunchtime.

Dinner with our usual two American couples again.

Sunday

The shitholes only claim to fame and it’s enough to give even adults nightmares.

The final sea day. For breakfast we venture to the Pinnacle restaurant, reserved for Neptune suite guests, where I can get kippers. Very formal waiter service rather than the bun fight in the Lido restaurant.

Interesting talk on El Nino, although I do keep drifting off to sleep.

Wendy gets packed.

Dinner with our usual two American couples, almost fixed dining.

20181103 – Cruise South America – The Edge Of Civilisation


Saturday

Our floating gin palace for the next 16 days.

Lazy morning, get packed, drink a lot of coffee and finally check out at midday. Unbelievable the queue for checkout, they’ve obviously not heard of fast checkout. Call up an Uber to take us to the cruise terminal, it’s there in two minutes and cost just a fraction of the official taxi.

Our Neptune suite.

Boarding our Holland & America ship the Zaandam is reasonably efficient. The usual number of queues but we get priority boarding and despite the lack of a glass of champagne to greet us at least our suite is ready. Our Neptune suite is amazing, very spacious along with a spacious balcony, fresh fruit, loads of other trimmings and best of all a ice cold bottle of champagne. We also get a Tassimo coffee machine, complete with FREE coffee pods. Hopefully this will be better behaved than the last one and won’t need swimming lessons from me.

More of our suite.

We settle in and explore. Have a workout in the gym then back to shower and wear our exclusive Holland & America robes. We’re on fixed dining and have swapped to a table for 8 rather than 6. Big mistake as we end up with an Austrian couple who apparently don’t speak English. I try some German but they’re really too wrapped up in one another so I give up and as a last resort talk to Wendy.

Our balcony.

Escape from the scintillating conversation with the Europeans and go up to our exclusive Neptune lounge for FREE drinks at a reception for Neptune suite guest. This Neptune suite seems good extra value for money. Great way to fritter away the kids inheritance.

Back to our room in a drunken stupor to try and watch Rake on Netflix, but we both fall asleep before the end of episode 1. Drunken end to a good day. The adventure begins.

Sunday

Our Neptune lounge complete with dedicated concierge.

Up at the crack of sparrows. Watches have gone an hour forward so we’re totally confused about the real time. Apple strikes again.

Early breakfast with the usual awesome choice.

Do a bit of work, to earn some pennies to pay for this extravagant life style.

Then go to the the port lecture, followed by yet more food for lunch and then a ships tour lecture. By now it’s getting rather choppy. I cut short my visit to the gym as I can feel a meeting with Huey and Ruth coming on.

More of our Neptune lounge.

Take a sea sickness tablet, which by the time I’ve had some food seems to fix the problem. Not sure whether it was the tablet or the food.

Fixed dinning at the same table but by now they’ve imported two stuck up English couples, who are travelling together so are mainly talking amongst them selves and are just hardwork. Half an hour late the Austrians turn up. Amazing how much English they’ve learnt in a day, they’re all of a sudden reasonably fluent. I don’t know what language school they went to but I could do with going to it for my French and German.

Escape as soon as we can. pop into the Neptune lounge and ask our concierge to move us onto flexible dining. Then we try and watch the rest of Rake. Give up and nod off.

Monday

Lazing on deck.

Up early for breakfast. Know the drill by now, fill my cafeteria with coffee; pop into the Neptune lounge to pick up some Blueberries from their continental breakfast arrangement; upstairs for some Becher Muesila combined with my blueberries.

Then it’s a power walk 4 time round the deck, just over a mile. Go to the lecture on Buenos Aires. Then coffee and some more work in the Neptune lounge while Wendy goes to cookery demonstration and then before you know it’s time for more food with lunch.

Pickleball.

After have half an hour around the pool taking in some sunshine – soon bored. Then it’s time for either pickleball or a lecture on climate change. Would like to do both but they clash – pickle ball wins, but in this gruelling heat and sun I come off wetter than a water hogs backside.

Get ready for another exciting dinner. Relax in the Neptune lounge with afternoon tea and watch rants and raves on the mid term elections on Fox news.

This time we’ve moved to flexible dining.

Then after dinner we retire to try and watch another Rake without nodding off.

Another alcohol free day.

Tuesday

Punta del Este’s only claim to fame.

At last we get off this floating gin palace. We’re tendered into Punta del Este. Really not much here so we’ve just decided to have a stroll around. It’s reckoned to be the Monaco or Monte Carlo of South America. Just hotels, apartments and nice beaches. Highlight seems to be a giant concrete hand coming out of the beach. You’d have thought they could have at least put some nail varnish on the nails to brighten it up.

Try to sample some Mate. Supposedly the most popular drink of South America. So popular you can’t try it anywhere.

Hmm….

After 6 mile stroll we get back on board for lunch.

Flexible dining then we go mad and go to the Tango show – good god we’ll be watching Saturday night dance shows next. I always thought Tango was supposed to be sensual and exciting. I manage to nod off through it so it probably gives you some idea of the quality of the show. Second half of the show was a tad more exciting as some supposed Gauchos pranced around the stage swinging two, what I can best describe as illuminated YoYos, around and around.

Wednesday

Eva Perons resting place.

Buenos Aires today and despite our original intentions of not doing any ships tours we’ve signed up for a tour of the city, followed by lunch and yet another Tango show.

Buenos Aires seems a tad more sophisticated and pleasant than Rio but given the dire warnings on crime in Buenos Aires you really do wonder what we’re doing in these so called civilised countries.

Buenos Aires – dodgy area.

Tour’s quite interesting and as well as few photo stops you get a good overview of the City and we see our intended hotel. 

Lunch is pretty good with sherry to start with, a tad bizarre, followed by free mediocre Malbec. The Tango show is a bit more stimulating than last night, but distinctly lacking in bare flesh or sexy attire.

Tango show.

Really a pity they didn’t pass on ??? and spend two days in Buenos Aires.

Flexible dining tonight, but not before a trip to the Crows Nest for happy hour with a glass of wine and a second for $2. Take these back to the room ready for dinner. Have to use every trick in the book to beat them at their own game.

Thursday

Monte Video.

Montevideo today and an “Easy Montevideo” tour. Really not exactly a lot to see and do here but it is good way to get an overview of the city. Just another overcrowded South American city. All crammed together like sardines in high rise tower blocks. All these places so far really make us appreciate Belthorn – now there’s a rare thing. It’ll probably be at least 3 weeks back home before I criticise it.

Monte Video harbour, anchor from the Graaf Spey.

Flexible dining again, rejected because I was wearing shorts. Then followed by a magician on the main stage. Problem is he did a lot of close up magic. Unfortunately none of us had binoculars so could hardly see what he was up to. The rest of his magic was rather mediocre cutting rope, repairing the cuts and escaping from a straight jacket.

Then Happy Hour for a couple of Tasooch Bourbons. Never tried it before but very mellow. After a nice night cape we tootle off to try and watch another Rake in bed without nodding off. Failed again.

Friday

Monte Video harbour. Is this a Uruguayan navy gun boat?

It’s a sea day with not really that much going on.

Catch up on an hours work. Might as well earn some money to help pay for the excesses of this floating gin palace.

Take a power walk around the deck, just over a mile. Attend a lecture and venture to the gym and finally get down to this blog.

Around the pool.

Open a bottle of Malbec. Have a couple of glasses before dinner.

Then before we know it dinner time is upon us.

Despite my resolve not to, I polish off the rest of the Malbec after dinner. No will power.

Saturday

Iceberg ahoy.

Another sea day. Power walk around deck; saunter around the ship and before we know it, it’s lunch time.

Quick trip to the gym.

After lunch the Captains spotted a giant iceberg. Thank god for that otherwise we might well have had a Titanic moment. To get us a good view of this rare sight so far North he takes a detour and passes by within a mile – close enough – so everyone can get a good view. Apparently it’s 250 feet tall and estimated to be about two years old – haven’t a clue how they figure the age out. Awesome sight.

Everyones up on deck and the bow snapping away, including some numpty who sets up his camera on a tripod – beggars belief.

Our Titanic moment. That’s close enough.

Then it’s a lecture on the Battle For The Falklands given by our Argentinian tour guide. Have to say it’s a very balanced presentation.

Up to the Crows Nest for 16:00 Happy hour for two glasses of wine and two spiced rums for my alcoholic in training wife. Take the wines up to the restaurant for dinner. Where there’s a will there’s a way, certainly have to counter screw them as best we can.

Good dinner as usual and reasonably pleasant company although I’m next to a gobby American, she could talk the balls off a pool table. Pass on the show of more singing and dancing so we go back to our cabin for more Rake. Wendy knocks back her rum and cokes whilst I get a Rye Tatoosh for a nigh cap.

20181029 – Rio De Janeiro


Monday

Lazy start to the day. Then set off down to Bretts.

Well crap a dead cat if the M6 isn’t just one roadwork North of Birmingham. It really is about time there was some so called planners and Ministry of Roadworks dickheads fed to the Lions for some Saturday afternoon entertainment. You really couldn’t make it up, 18+ mile roadworks, along with signs proudly proclaiming roadworks for the next 3 years.

Dinner at Brett’s after a visit to Waitrose.



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If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.  ~One of Murphy’s Laws of Technology


Tuesday

Cococabana beach from our room.

Brett drives us to terminal 5 Heathrow.

Have to use one of those dumb check in machines rather than join a small queue to speak to a human. But of course it struggles to read my passport. Who designs these systems? Do they ever test them? Then we check luggage in with another idiot machine. Poor HCI all round. Confusing where to scan, second suitcase comes up overweight all because it was still logged as first passenger. I bet that occurs regularly.

Who says AI hasn’t already taken over and enslaved us.

Moral to coping with all this confusion – log in online before and just bag drop.

More taxis in Rio than s many than there are tea towels ridden with dandruff in Afghanistan.

Security was very smooth. No queues. Although Wendy’s brandy caused the usual confusion.

Amazing that the lounge wasn’t full. Very comfortable and a good breakfast.

Flight was on time, comfortable and they didn’t loose our luggage, all despite my dread of flying BA. Copious wine and brandy.

Pick up a maniac taxi driver at Rio de Janeiro. I think she was either hormonal, wrong time of the month or had just fell out with her boy friend. She be better in a demolition Derby.

Check in to hotel and are greeted with a glass of champagne – more booze. This geezer tries to carry my suit case, so pretension and idle just like valet parking, not really my thing.

Our executive room is gorgeous.

Wednesday

A stroll along Cococabana.

Hotel is a fantastic 5 star. Room is lovely, complete with sea view over the world famous Cococabana beach. Breakfast is fantastic, even champagne available if you’re so inclined.

Decide on a stroll into town to pick up some basics. Place can’t be too uncivilised as they have a Starbucks, although there does seem a lot of poverty. In the afternoon we went a stroll along the beach. Bar keeper tried to rip us off, but not having any of that – challenged him and he coughed up the right change. Oh he was oh so sorry, he didn’t realise – Yeah I’m sure.

Hotel’s rooftop pool.

Afternoon tea around the hotel pool on the 16th floor. Amazing the Germans and their deck chair towels get everywhere.

Evening meal in the hotel is delicious and not too badly priced. After the excesses of alcohol yesterday I’ve sworn off alcohol for a few days, that is until the Maitre De comes up and asks us if we’d like to try some free samples of Brazilian wines. It would have been a sin and impolite to say no, so I girded me loins and suffered. Sadly they were all white wines, very palatable and I ended up drinking more than if I’d ordered a couple of glasses. Oh well. As they say, shit happens, suck it up.



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Theres a Nespresso machine in our room, it’s about as useless as using a croissant as a dildo. It just doesn’t do the job and makes a mess. Just about ready to give it a flying lesson from the 6th floor. Hopefully it can fly better than it makes coffee.


Thursday

World famous statue in Rio.

We’re booked on an early morning tour – to beat the crowds – to go to the big statue of Christ and then to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Great idea. Only downside is that pick up is at 06:40. Early awesome break fast then a short stroll to pick up point.

First stop is the statue of Christ. Drive up through the urban jungle – literally a national park / jungle in the middle of a city. Thankfully, with all the chemicals were lathered in, no mosquitoes come within a 100 yards of us and any humans will have to wear hazmat suits. Pass on the lift to the top. Do the 220 steps.

Thank god we went to see this early. At 08:00 it was heaving, hotter than the hinges of hell and more folks than queueing at the pearly gates. Heaven only knows what it would have been like by lunch time.

On the way up to Sugarloaf.

Then it’s off to Sugar Loaf, two cable car rides and hardly any steps. Not quite as busy as our religious experience. Awesome views.

We’d not signed up for the afternoon city tour but decided to get all of the touristy things over with in one day so coughed up another £10 each and went on the afternoon city tour which started with a all you can eat meal. I pass but Wendy imitates a rabbit.

Afternoon tour consists of suffering Rio Traffic. Visit to the carnival place to see where it is held, some costumes – which if you happen to be a transvestite you can try on – or even have your photo with a trollop in high heels, a skimpy dress and boobs like two giant melons just about to cause a costume failure in their attempt to escape their confines – I pass.

Then it’s onto the football stadium, with some geezer trying to imitate Pele, then onto the cathedral. Very impressive but I’d already had my overdose of religion for the year.

The steps.

Finally we go to the Saint Teresa steps. All covered in pottery tiles from around the World. You can go all the way to the top if you really feel like risking being set upon by thieves and vagabonds. Our guide warns everyone not to. Not surprised really as it’s dodgy enough at the bottom to make me appreciate the benefits of open carry.

Get to try some local spirit. In the raw it tastes like schnapps / fire water but mostly they’re just excess sweet calories, in which case you really might as well just drink a flavouring. Bang goes my alcohol free day again, but fortunately such small sample that even one of the elusive mosquitos wouldn’t get drunk on.

More steps to climb on.

Then it’s battle through the traffic back to our hotel.

For our evening meal we have been recommended the Churrascaria Palace for an all you can eat meat extravaganza – guaranteed way of avoiding Vegetarians and other tree hugger types. Every form of meat you can imagine and they just keep bringing it out for you to try along with a salad Buffett. In the end the meats win and we both give up.



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Talking of which we’ve spent a fortune on every conceivable mosquito killer / gallons of repellent / wipes / spray / gel / bee keepers head gear that would delight muslim fundamentalist and so far not a single one has been seen.


Friday

Top of Sugarloaf.

It’s Dia de Finados (All Souls Day) today so the whole country is on holiday and I think they’ve all come to Rio. A festival of the dead was originally a Pagan belief that the souls of the dead would return for a final meal with the family and placing candles in the window of houses would guide the souls back home, and another place was set at the table.

What a sight.

After yet another awesome breakfast we set out to hire some bikes for a ride down Ipanema and Cococabana beach. First bike shop and the entrepreneur is too lazy to get off his arse and come and talk to us; second shop only accepts cash; third shop doesn’t speak a word of English. Pass and head off on shank’s pony down Ipanema beach. Actually given the number of bikes on the bike paths, it would have been a death wish on a bike. The three lane road has been closed to traffic so everyone can stroll along. It’s heaving with all those souls on holiday.

Playing.

Stop off at three different places to have an iced tea, but the scruffs running these beach cafes have even less entrepreneurial skills than your average Frenchmen. End up having coconut milk out of what I hope was a fresh coconut.

Booth beaches are heaving, all very clean. Sadly no topless bathing, although given some of the thongs dividing those two globes of heavily dimpled adipose tissue it was probably for the best. If you weigh over 16 stone you’re probably better off in a burkini (perhaps that was all these Muslim clerics intention for the burka) rather than causing offence.

On the beach. Let the shops come to you.

In the afternoon we venture onto Cococabana beach. The hotel provides towels, deck chairs and umbrellas, all very civilised. Fascinating watching the locals selling their wares. Merchandising gone mad, I think you can just about buy anything from these itinerant mobile emporiums, although I have to say I didn’t see anyone selling beds. Just manage an hour before boredom and sun stroke sets in.

For evening meal we chicken out and stay in the hotel for great food, reasonably priced and in the top ten on TripAdvisor. Another alcohol free day, despite many temptations.




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Want to buy a table cloth while on the beach. Might come in handy.

Project fear is rampant.

Lorry parks on the M25, planes crashing into each other in mid-flight, thousands of passengers – those who survived the collisions of course – will be stranded and unable to go back to work, UK citizens living abroad will be locked up and have their pensions confiscated, the NHS will run out of insulin and Band Aids, the Queen will have to move to Switzerland or possibly Uganda, our ports will shut down and ships’ captains will simply dump their cargo into the sea, our squirrels will infect everyone with rabies…I can hardly wait to hear what else is going to happen.

Security railings everywhere, says something about the crime rate.

20180919 – Caravanning In Normandy – Let The Pictures Tell The Tale

Wednesday

Sadly with all this dam consultancy work (mind you the moneys nice) I’ve not much time left for the blog so it’s a pictures only version of our trip to Normandy, complete with the new blow up awning.

Welcome to France. Might as well have stayed in Belthorn.

Our new blow up awning. The ultimate in divorce proof laziness.

Called in at Brett’s on the way home. Popped into Windsor and yet again it’s changing of the guards. Every time we go there they’re doing it – must be every hour!

20180725 – The Second Batch of Kids Takeover

Isn’t he magnificent. Just over our fence.


Wednesday

Deer Valley concert.

Sorry for belated posting, but this working for a living is making keeping up the Blog difficult. At least there’s enough of a pattern by now to guess what we’re up to each day.

Leisure bike rides from Maxwells to the old barn. Kids come down with me and Ross does most of the ride but abandons to go back and sort Susie and Honey out.

In the afternoon I escape for some sanity at the gun club. Some time off from my new found challenge of trying to organise this lot – like trying to herd frogs.

Then it’s back home and drive offset to the free Deer Valley concert with picnic and wine. Groups pretty mediocre but typical can’t resist making political statements. Why don’t they just stick to the music and rest the temptation to bore us with their politics – we’re really not interested.

Thursday

Kayaking on the Jordanelle.

Hire a couple of tandem kayaks and a single kayak for me. Ross and Co. come kayaking. All seem to enjoy it, especially Devon. Mind you the kids don’t contribute much paddle power. Then the kids go on the Webit blow up water park.

In the afternoon I take Honey to archery with me. She gets to spend the whole 90 minutes shooting and tries out both recurve and compound. She quite likes the compound.

In the evening Wendy and I escape for a quiet evening and leave the kids to it. Go for dinner at Sammies, love their pork sandwich. Then it’s off down to the High West to buy a bottle of their new released “Valley Tan”, not bad but not as good as “Yipee Ki Yae”.

Friday

Annual geriatrics ten pin bowling bash.

Take Ross and Co. tenpin bowling with the Geriatrics from the Newcomers. Kids have a great time and Devon manages to graduate from rolling down the ramp to slinging it down the lane – takes a while to get to the pins but he’s trying.

Meanwhile Wendy goes shopping.

In the afternoon I go and play Pickleball with my super new paddle – doesn’t improve my game.

Ross drops Wendy and I off at the Bowling Bash for the annual Newcomers Bowling Bash and barbecue. What a friendly lot they are.

Ross and Co. go to the Demolition Derby.

Saturday

Guardsmen Pass.

Start off the day with the intention of doing the Tollgate canyon hike, but we’re late out so take the brood up to Guardsmens Pass and do a shorter hike up to Jupiter. Devon manages a mega melt down after just 200 yards, sits down and refuses to go any further. If it been up to me we’d have left him there and picked him up next time we went up there.

Take everyone up to the flying aces show. Must be about the 6th time we’ve seen it. Wendy goes to sit in a open spot and guy next to it says ‘we’re saving that for someone”. Wendy’s response is “Well they’re not here so tough”. Don’t mess with my hormonal wife.

Sunday

Devon has yet another meltdown.

Another Sunday another trips to the Silly market with the brood.

Lazy afternoon.

Monday

Fun at PCMR base.

Wendy and I explore the Masonic hill hike to see if it’s suitable for leisure hike.

This hike has passed the acid test for leisure criteria and received the “Wendy Seal of Approval” – if Wendy can do it without giving me earache then it must be ok.

The kids go up to PCMR base for a discounted fun day. We pop up to see them and then leave them to it.

Tuesday

Group play Duelling Banjos for me.

Wendy’s off to the CC for the morning.

I’m leading a leisure hike up Dawns trail – hard going – then down Armstrong. Have an interesting altercation with a stroppy, bad attitude, waitress who seems to struggle with the concept of a customer. I explain that I have this syndrome where I go through life with the delusion that I’m a customer. It’s not dangerous or contagious and I’m receiving treatment for it.

Lazy afternoon, well not really so lazy as I do some consultancy.

In the evening Wendy and I escape up to Stein Ericsson for dinner. Not cheap and interesting that as soon as you present a 2 for 1 voucher they bring out a more expensive menu. The bill is a disaster. Great waiter but it takes them about 4 goes to get the bill right. Seems to be my day for bill problems.

Food was ok. Haute cuisine which I think is French for “go home hungry’. Mike knew the blue grass band who were pretty good and played duelling banjos for me.



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Leisure hikes are usually a success with everyone except when you get Republican walking next to bleeding heart democrats.

I think in future I’ll have Red name badges, and blue name badges and ensure at least 100 yards, out of earshot, separation between them.


Wednesday

He’s here again.

Lead a leisure bike ride up to Silver star and back, Ross joins us.

Wendy’s at the CC for the day.

Then it’s back home and a quick change ready to go and exercise Joes 2nd amendment rights down on the gun range.

Back and another quick change to take us and all the rug eats down to the free guided tour of the Natural History museum, given by Bob. Fascinating tour and just love the passion he has for it.

Back home we go round for farewell drinks at Laurie and Mike’s. Turns out there’s food in abundance and good to see Jerry and Diane are back.

Thursday

Kayaking on the Jordanelle with Ross and Honey. Then Honey takes Ruth (mind of a 16 yer old in a geriatrics body) on the splash zone. Give Ruth her due she was up for it, especially because she was deprived of such excitement when she was younger.

Afternoon Wendy goes shopping and drops the rug rats off to go handbag shopping.

I tootle off down to archery. Really like that compound bow they have.

Then in the evening we’re off to Donna and Joe’s for dinner. Great evening, great well done steaks just melt in the mouth and great company.

Friday

At the Christian Centre.

Wendy does her CC thing.

Ross and co. come with me to Newcomers bowling. Kids love it.

In the evening Ross takes us all out for dinner. Try the Boneyard but get kicked out because we have rug rats with us – Utah crazies strike again.

All troop round to the Windy Ridge cafe where we have a lovely meal, and drinks, sat out on the patio.

Saturday

In the hot tub.

Up at the crack of sparrows to take Ross and tribe down to the airport. Think they had a good time here and can now see why we spend so much time here.

Lazy afternoon and then in the evening we go to the Summer bash laid on as a thank you for all the NAC volunteers. Good food and even a few beers. Pleasant evening even if we do get an ignoramus blobby sat next to us.

Back home catch up on some TV. My the house is oh so quiet. Make the most of our 36 hour reprieve.

Sunday

Jasper and Beatrix ready for their long trip to Park City.

Wendy and I explore the RTS trail ready for a leisure hike. Wendy completes it without any earache so it receives the Wendy seal of approval so I’ll get it posted.

Then in the evening we pick Fiona and the kids up ready for the 2nd wave of guests. Seems like she had quite a good trip and the kids were oh so well behaved.

Monday

Early start for everyone. I have conference calls and Beatrix is just a night owl.

Jasper and I troop off to the library to renew my books and choose some for Jasper. Then we’re off to the park. Meanwhile Wendy and the rest of tribe are off down to Walmart.

In the evening Wendy and I are off to Grappa for a birthday with Sylvia. Good evening and food’s ok. I even end up having a veggie main course.

Tuesday

Jordanelle picnic.

Usual crack of sparrows conference call. A bit like herding frogs.

Then we’re all off up to the Jordanelle for a picnic with Bob & Marilyn’s crew. Sadly Bobs not well so he dips out and we pass on barbecue. Have butties instead. Take jasper kayaking and Brook has a stand up paddle board. Meanwhile Beatrix tears around on the grass. Good day had by all.

Wednesday

Jasper showing us his moves at the concert.

Wendy’s at the CC all day so we’re limited what the kids can do.

I go on a leisure bike ride led by Howard so I just bring up the rear. Makes a relaxing change not to have to lead or be responsible (having the mind of a 16 year old I’ve always had a problem with that).

Afternoon is the gun club with Joe.

Then in the evening Wendy and I are off to the free concert picnic and wine with Jasper, he enjoys booing away but after an hour he’s bored. Pity really because for the first time it’s a good group for free.

Another perfect day here in paradise.

Thursday

Fiona and I are off kayaking with PCMSC in a double kayak. Great having someone else to do the work. Have a relaxing time on the Jordanelle, it’s the calmest it’s ever been.

Meanwhile Wendy’s coping with Beatrix.

In the afternoon I’m off down to archery with the NAC kids.

Evening is a quiet, well as quiet as you can be with 2 rugrats, evening in.

Friday

PC park.

Fiona gives me earache because her arms are aching from the kayaking.

Then Fiona, Jasper and I are off tenpin bowling with the Newcomers Geriatric Bowling Team. Jasper has a great time.

Again Wendy ends up looking after Beatrix.

In the afternoon I take the kids and Fiona to the park and then we pick up Wendy from the CC. What awesome parks they have here.

Friday evening we all go to Windy Ridge cafe for dinner. Tina and Neil come along, how brave can you be having dinner with our tribe. Awesome Mac and Cheese yet again.

Saturday

Bike race. We didn’t bother entering it.

Fiona and I have a good bike ride down to Kimble junction. Fiona spends “3 hours” browsing in T J Max whilst I read the paper and get a caffeine top up to cope with the waiting. Then it’s decision time does Fiona want to go back on the bus or ride up. Her pride gets the better of her and she rides back up with me rather than chicken out. A good workout.

Timing on the bike ride is perfect as we arrive at Willow Creek park just in time to watch the Tour de Utah whisk past. Amazing how close they ride together. Get some good photos.

In the afternoon take Jasper to the PC Marc swimming pool. Wow he sure loves that slide.

Evening we dine out on the back patio on steak and salad. I exercise amazing constraint as Ive designated it a no alcohol day. Fiona makes up for my restraint and retires a tad rat arsed.

Sunday

Kids love the PC Marc pool.

Well last nights excess alcohol for Fiona seems to have wrought havoc as she wakes up with a crook in her neck from sleeping / passing out on her hair bobble.

Wendy and I go for a hike with B&M. Just a 4 miler up skid row and across. Just 2 hours. Quite pleasant although a tad hot.

In the afternoon B&M and tribe come round for a jacuzzi and we have a relaxing barbecue and of course a few drinks.

Thursday

Breakfast at the Chateaux. Best of all it’s free.

Kurt and Fiona come white water rafting with me and Hal.

In the Jacuzzi again.

At the Flying Aces show.

Mid-Mountain hike with Fiona. Free coffee at the Montage.


Missed a few days don’t know where they went, hence the pictures. Could it be alcohol induced amnesia or just too much consultancy work.
It’s the day to move from the Racket club to the canyons. Kurt and Fiona have done the smart thing and flew off to San Diego for Five days so we’re looking after Grand kids as well as doing the move and not to forget dropping them off at the airport. Removal is an absolute nightmare. We have so much stuff its unbelievable. Fortunately we have good friends, bob and Marilyn and Hal all come round to help with the move. It still takes about five trips to transfer all the stuff..

By the time evening comes Wendy and I are cream crackered.

Our new home for The next week is down at hidden Creek. It’s okay, although they must have employed a dam good photographer. Not as nice as our Racquet club home.

Friday

Jasper loves bowling.

After an interesting nights lack of sleep with Beatrix up to her usual shenanigans we have a lazy start to the day. We are that knackered that nothing has been unpacked yet.

I take Jasper tenpin bowling and bugger me if it doesn’t managed to beat me. I think I will start bowling with Guard rails up. Jasper gets given 10 free tokens for the arcade by they bowling alley manager – yet more freebies here in paradise, it must be the accent that does it.

Then we wander across to McDonald’s to meet Wendy and Beatrix and Angela.

Afternoon involves yet more shopping. As if we don’t have enough stuff.

In the evening we all go out to be Billy Broncos for dinner with Bob, Marilyn, Janel and Mike.

Then it’s another early night after playing a few games with the kids.

Still not unpacked.




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You really could not make this crap up and then people wonder why the UN has no credibility.
Saudi runs the UN Human Rights Commission and Syria runs Disarmament, come on !!!!

Going for a stroll.

At This Is The Place with the kids.

Beatrix playing.

Mid-Mountain hike with Kurt. A rare Father and Son moment.

20180711 – The First Batch of Kids Arrive


Wednesday

Just pruning the trees for us.

Start the day off yet again with 2 crack of sparrows conference calls, first one at 0530. They’re a nightmare – literally you have to wake up for them – but it’s better than trying to fit calls into our busy schedule. It’s just like trying to herd frogs, jumping in every direction and they can’t even follow the agenda.

Wendy’s at the CC all day. I’m off on one of my leisure bike rides, fortunately someone else is leading from Willow Creek up to Wasatch Bagel for coffee, so I can relax. Good group of 8, lot of new faces.

Leisurely afternoon, catch up on some work, even get time to read the paper and do my long overdue blog.


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Well I may not have much spare time, with all this consultancy work, for rants, religious commentary and sick jokes but this is one major rant I’ve really been bottling uP:

Frigging hell how two faced can you get. That duplicitous waste of oxygen, Sadiq Kahn Mayor of London, had the brass balls to defend the Trump balloon and say “that offending someones feelings doesn’t matter as we have free speech”. Yet he’s banned anything that can offend his precious religion of pieces and permanent offence, playing their sacred islamophobia card. So does that mean he has now recanted and when I get the time he’ll come and read some of my religious comments and not be offended. Nay even defend my right to express them. I think not.


Thursday

Another sunrise conference call.

Bob picks me up and we’re off kayaking for the morning with PCMSC.

Wendy goes shopping.

In the afternoon I ride down to National Ability Centre for archery. Yeah us volunteers get free NAC tee shirt as a just reward for all our hard work.

I finally find a compound bow, similar to my one at home, that I like and it makes the arrows go where I want them.

Then it’s the long haul back up the rail trail on my tank of a mountain bike.

Friday

And yet another 2 sunrise conference call. This time with lawyers. Why can they never give absolute advice, it’s always tinged with caveats and maybe’s. Why does it take them so long to do just a simple thing like change a couple of letters. Becoming the bane of my life.

Have a quick bike ride to check out the route of next weeks leisure bike ride. Good job really as the golf club – only $70k to join and $30k a year membership – have closed the gates on their road so no access.

Ten pin bowling as usual. It really is a good job we don’t take this seriously – abysmal score. Have a Starbucks to commiserate.

Wendy’s at the CC for the afternoon.

Call and get some coffee and, because you can’t get the staff I even have to venture into a supermarket un-escorted for some tooth paste – aren’t I brave.

Wendy does Pickleball.

Then at 1730 it’s Pickleball with B&M. I’ve booked a court and now I’ve had all of a hours playing I’m showing the rest of us how to play. It’s 33C and we do amazing to survive nearly an hour. I think they all enjoyed it. I think it’s amazing. Will certainly be playing this more and need to seek out a place to play back home – I’ll be lucky, not really in keeping with the likes of Blackburn.

Este’s for a well deserved beer and some pizza. I settle for a Calazone – awesome, especially with jalapeños.

Back home I can’t resist a few night caps and as luck would have it Wendy’s uncovered an excellent bottle of Armagnac that I’d forgot about and was hidden in the pantry.

Saturday

Street Party American style.

I explore a leisure hike up Dawns trail (boy is it a up) and then down Armstrong. Not a bad one, I think I’ll do it for the club. Come across a couple on the ultimate in laziness, electric mountain bikes – only in America.

Lazy afternoon, even got to read a book and do my blog. Wendy went shopping with Marilyn.

Then in the evening its the now World famous Dunlop Court Street party. At least you don’t have to bring your own spoon with coloured thread round it, as we did for the Queens coronation party.

Evening starts with a Dead Mans boots, carries on with some Merlot and crescendo’s with a tase Armagnac and some High West Bourye, net effect is head hits pillow and sleep takes over.. Another perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday

Fun at the library.

Wendy’s been shouting for Hughie and Ruth in the night. Where do the diced carrots always come from. I’ve got the trots obviously all that alcohol has done it’s job and killed most of the bugs for me.

Have to cancel M&B for the jacuzzi and dinner. They just come round for a Jacuzzi and drinks.

I explore a leisure bike ride potential. Up to the top of round valley from Park Meadows, down Round Valley and back along the rail trail. It’s a hard ride up but if I can do it non-stop then it probably qualifies.

Monday

View from Robs trail.

Day starts with the usual weekly video conference call with my team.

Then it’s off on a leisure hike, led by Joe, up Robs trail. A up out and back trails, about 3 miles and 700+ feet. Plenty of shade and you don’t tend to notice the up bit too much.

Wendy had the morning cleaning ready for the rug rat onslaught.

Lazy afternoon.

Evening we’re off down to Hal and Carols for dinner. Steak barbecue and then sit out chatting and get consumed by midges. Great evening, good company as always.

Tuesday

Leisure hike.

Yet another early weekly video conference call. At least it gets me up early.

My turn to lead a leisure hike which by some freaky computer screw up I ended up calling the Bear hike. Sadly there are no bears, nor do we even pass the Bear carvings on the houses in Deer Valley. Instead it’s around Snowtop on the Solamere loop. Very pleasant 3 miles with 700 feet elevation gain, fairly undulating and it’s a loop walk.

Evening is a quiet night in, catching up on the new Madam Secretary season.

Wednesday

Wendy’s at the CC all day while I lead a leisure bike ride from the Boneyard, over Park Meadows and then onto the old barn and back down the South side Bike path – seems so much easier back this way than the North side Bike path.

In the evening we’re off to B&M’s for dinner. Barbecued steaks, they just melt in your mouth. Say goodbye as they’re off to San Diego for 3 weeks. Will be sorely missed.

Thursday

Bob picks me up for the kayaking on the Jordanelle with the sports club as usual. It’s as flat as a mill pond and no wind. Very leisurely.

Afternoon I’m off down to the NAC in my new volunteers tee shirt – awesome colour of blue. Find my favourite bow and have a pleasant afternoon. End up having to drive down, rather than bike, as we’ve friends round for dinner at 1730.

Laurie and Mike come round for dinner and as Tina and Neil have just arrived we somewhat belatedly invite them too. Great evening with Shepard’s pie, Wilson creek almond champagne and plenty of wine and whisky.

Friday

I’m off tenpin bowling with the geriatrics, while wendy goes to the CC for the afternoon.

Choice in the afternoon is do I go to Pickleball and pass on the sport club’s Jordanelle picnic or do we go to the picnic. Wendy’s not too keen on the picnic so I do the Pickleball – need practice and perhaps some lessons.

Leisurely alcohol free evening.

Saturday

White water kayaking

White water kayaking with Hal down the Weber. Just about manage to survive after getting stuck on a rock and worst still stuck down the side of a pylon. Good fun.

Then in the evening we go to the Boneyard, they have a rooftop deck with free music. Meet Sylvia and friends for a very pleasant evening. Manage to escape downstairs, under cover, before the black storm clouds do their bit.

Sunday

Did a bike ride in the morning while Wendy went shopping. Problem is I can’t remember where – old age.

Pick Ross and Co up in the evening. Took all of 20 minutes to drive from the Wait zone to the pickup zone. Never known it so busy.

Monday

Leisure hike scouting expedition.

More early morning conference calls.

Wendy and I set off to do the Tollgate Canyon leisure hike. Only problem is that someone didn’t read the start time correctly – it’s a Wasatch Bagels curse every time I go on a hike from there.

Take Ross and Susie on a bike ride down the rail track to Round valley and back.

Oh well back home, take the kids on an orientation drive around. Then I have to suffer Tangier outlets, Walmart and WholeFoods all in one afternoon.

Lazy evening in. Kids go to bed early.

Tuesday

Kids have arrived. Shopping. Ugh….

More early morning conference calls.

Go and pick Hal and Co. up and take them down to the airport.

Kids go to the PCMarc swimming pool and buy a months pass so they can go any time.

Lazy afternoon and evening. Cancel tenpin bowling as no ones signed up.