Saturday, 25 January 2020

An unexpected bonus

It was one of those grey, miserable days when the weather did little to inspire me and the temperature remained low on the scale.
I was going into London for the Chinese new year celebrations, but with the possibility of the new Corona virus being present I decided another destination was called for.
So, choice was Ashford, Canterbury or Maidstone. All had a Wagamama so all held my attention. 
Maidstone was a free bus ride away whilst the other two required trains and possibly rail replacement buses.
No brainer, I went the free route and had a fabulous time; I hadn't realised the January sales were at their peak, oh what a bonus.
I was in Mountain Horse getting two for the price of one knitted, thermal hats, when I heard the sound of drums and cymbals.......a Chinese dragon must be near by......
These two, operated by young men with immense stamina, frolicked and danced in the town square, nibbling and sniffing adults and children, cocking their legs up trees, fluttering their eyelashes at little children, making them laugh and grabbing young women by their hands and taking them into the dance.
The laughter was infectious and children chased after them, laughing and shrieking with delight when they came close.
I had missed out on the stylised dancing in Trafalgar  square and I didn't see the large dragons fighting in and around the fountains, but the proximity and the genuine fun of these dragons far outweighed all of that.
This was a true dragon dance for the community. Not a spectacular,  just honest fun from one of the dojos in town. 
How could I possibly top that? 
Well, lunch at Wagamama, what else?

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Just so you know.....

That other blog I kinda hinted might be created is now up and running

https://eclecticmagpie101.blogspot.com
I call it Eclectic Magpie because I believe it sums up the content; topics which catch my attention, ideas which rumble about and just general chitchat, as you do.
I have, some say, and over active thinking brain. I consider it normal to hold internal discussions and sometimes I find I break out laughing as aspects of me get embroiled in an argument which becomes progressively more humourous. The quick one liners start and me, invariably the bystander, can't help but giggle at the empass.
So, for what it's worth Eclectic Magpie is the verbalisation of some of these internal dialogues.
I hope you find them interesting, fun and potentially thought provoking. 

Saturday, 21 December 2019

It's blowing up for a storm

11 December 
Leaden skies have replaced the invitation to warmth of this morning.
It began bright enough, wall to wall clear skies with small, white, fluffy clouds which took the burning away from the sun as it rose.
But by 1pm that changed and I ran for the inside and a cardigan; I'll be pleased to get changed to warmer clothes later.
Having had a beautiful lunch of a Spanish pork stew and roasted aubergine, tomato and courgette I have retired to the lounge area to watch the winds rise and the clouds thicken.
For me it's the perfect end to the holiday, and yes, on balance, if I take away attempting to poison myself with a yuk water bottle and that tuna, it's been a great holiday.
I happily forgive the rain, the winds, the cool temperatures but do wonder at my failure to use that blasted bus service...again! 🤬
If I don't next year, someone slap me!
I've already begun the hunt for good recipes of beef and pork stock and am really looking forward to getting the slow cooker out when I get home.
Next year I'll bring a kettle, that's what has driven me mad about this holiday, not being able to enjoy a drink first thing in the morning without having to go down to the restaurant and face other people. 
No, I need waking space, oh, do I need waking space. 
So, now I wait. In about an hour I'll go and get changed and then it wont be long before my pick up.
The transfer minibus is only making two stops, so we should get to the airport in plenty of time.
I've eaten well so hopefully I will last until this evening when I reach Gatwick and the Premier Inn. 
Wonder if M+S Food will still be open?

One More Sleep

10th December 
I've no idea who it was in the family that coined the phrase but the final days of any holiday were heralded by the number of nights left. 
I think it has much to do with the waking in the morning and still being on holiday and knowing there's one more full day before travelling back home. 
Whatever and wherever it came from, its something I invariably say to myself when I have 'one more sleep', one more day.
Both the forecast and the sky herald a beautiful one too. 
As usual its chilly first thing but that tends to burn back by about 10am and then the burning heat off the sun is felt full throttle.
Travelling to the Canaries at this time of year always requires a wind proof jacket with a bit of warmth attached to it. The mornings and evenings can be particularly cool especially when pitched against the heat of the midday.
I don't get picked up until 15:50 tomorrow so I have half a day extra to enjoy. 
Although out of my room by the latest midday, so they can prepare for the next occupancy, I can use the changing facilities by the pool if I want or just do a quick strip tease in the Ladies, there's plenty of room.
So, today. 
I want to go along to Ale Hop and pick up a new water bottle. Mine is now impregnated with something that is not good and however much I sterilise it, the algae comes back all too quickly.
Then its coffee at McDonald's and a wander to the surfing beach to see what's going on.
Well, that last part depends upon how quickly it gets hot. I might save McDonald's until later in the day and just hit the beach. Ale Hop will be open until 8pm so no rush.
So nice to have one more sleep left.
Lovely walk; three miles as it turned out, so I've been doing that most days. Oh dear, that sets a precedent for when I get home.
I went to all the places I said I would but failed to go to Ale Hop as a serious case of the foreigners-tummy had seized the moment.
I went straight back to the hotel after a really delightful coffee,  having already nosed at the beach; nothing happening there, too early I suspect.
Anyway, I know what it was, which had caused the holiday tummy, tuna.
Usually I love it and cooked on the hotplate its lovely, but this chef is not as good as the usual one and the fish had been sitting on the warm plate only partially cooked for some time....recipe for disaster.
As a result, I spent the remainder of the day in peace in my room, either hiding from the sun or soaking it up. 
It was really hot today. The forecast says not as hot tomorrow, I think today was the peak for a few days so I've been lucky.
Partly packed too, so I can enjoy tomorrow. Have Imodium should I need it and two more capsules to keep the sinusitis at bay.
God, I'm falling to bits here.
Mind you, for 66 years of age I'm not complaining about the photo.

A kettle makes all the difference

9th December cont.....
Strange, I've been attempting to work out why, apart from the poor weather, this holiday has not been as it should have been.
Weird things have surfaced; continually loud and excitable Spanish holiday makers (especially the women continually talking 10 to the dozen high pitch, and semi-shouting), the complete lack of friendliness from the other guests and a kettle!
At the end of the day, people are a transient issue I can move away from. I'm happy in my own company and a stack of trash novels will keep me entertained for days.
I love walking and when I am feeling well, I can walk for hours and be perfectly content.
But the kettle!
I need a cup of tea in the morning before I face anyone or anything. I like to be able to spend time in my room (I paid for it, she says, petulantly) and I enjoy sitting in the sun (er, yes, we won't go into that) on the balcony and enjoy a drink of something.....hot.
Ironically, it's the kettle which makes the holiday, everything else becomes incidental. 

The day promises sunshine and no showers

9th December 
Having been woken at 03:25 by furtive activity above me (I have no idea what they were up to, beds were moving, doors opening and closing, loudly, wardrobe doors slid back and forth) but a set of earplugs later and I fell back into a sort of sleep. 
I'd already placed my coat over me so I was warm. I stayed put until gone 07:30 when their antics became beyond adorable 🤨.
Really not that hungry but desperate for a hot drink, I went down with two teabags and my mug.
Sitting outside I was pleased I had a cardigan, the sun hadn't reached as low as the poolside and the cold air of night hugged me tight.
Went back in and had a tomato and, gathering my second hot drink, returned to my balcony to enjoy the sun and tea. Now it's this combo which makes a holiday.
In my mind it's a must. If you plan to stay in hotels and there are no tea/coffee making facilities in your room, take them! Collapsible kettles are less than £40, some less than that, and last. Dual power,  they will travel world wide too. 
So, its now 09:40, time to head for the supermarket, pick up something to drink and head for the beach. Nice weather to watch the sea.
Now, that swim wear, is it decent enough for a swim......? Er, no.
I decided on the beach as it was so lovely, so as to stand in the surf and watch the surfers who were out in force today.
Watching the water, and the ways people were unexpectedly being bowled over, I gathered these still had some energy. 
There was a mixture of surfers, some body surfing using half boards and others with the full boards attempting a ride. I suspect the body surfers had a better time as it demands good surf rather than good wave and there was plenty of surf for everyone. 
I noticed one guy going out with a waterproof camera. Made me quite jealous.
I'm back in my room now having just had some lunch. The sun is burning and looking in the mirror I already resemble a medium roast coffee bean.
So sad about the swimwear but I was obviously not meant to swim.
This afternoon? I'm going to let the sun cool a tad, then go for a walk. Fancy a coffee and a wander to the main surfing beach. Always good fun watching them ride the waves as the crash past the breakwater.

The sun has its hat on and the birds are singing

8th December 
I wake at 03:00 and pull my coat over my bed. I've followed this ritual these past few nights, it's cold and it stops me sleeping well.
The night sky is clear and the stars are clearly visible; they will have good viewing from the observatories tonight.
Once more I fall asleep knowing the bed will warm.....
Its 07:00 and I need the loo. Dragging myself out of bed I aim for the balcony door and swing it wide open.
Fresh air; still dark and the cockerels are still silent. 
I stagger to the bathroom, one eye firmly shut and then return to bed.......just five minutes....💤
So, by 0800 I was more inclined to get up. Dress, tidy room (I must have fallen asleep before 22:00) and then a breakfast....want a hot drink more!
Really didn't fancy anything there so ended up with hot milk and two pear halves with my cocao and coco powder topped on it. It's a nice combo and gives me numerous mineral salts and fibre without the need of much food. 
As I said to Kellie, right off food at the moment.
Anyway, the sun has finally returned and I am on my balcony listening to the cockerels sing their final choruses 
across the valley.
Time for me to catch up on the news.
Sadly, the sun only took its hat off for a couple of hours and then returned to cloth itself in deep cloud cover and the occasional pitter, patter of rain.
I walked.
I'd been sick and had one of those bad headaches and neck tension, so my system was crying out for.......a packet of biscuits, I need an injection of carbs.
Knowing its Sunday, I went out to get some fresh air but there was a chance.
I wandered round the block and to my delight came across the Hotel Turquesa and its associated mini-mart.
Two cans of Fanta and a packet of Hob Nobs later I came out and headed for the sea. It was cold but I was determined to enjoy some of the day.