o ‘m dduw ‘i ‘n araul! (English translation: Oh my god, it’s sunny!)

I like Wales, gorgeous place  and perfect destination for our Easter holiday break.  We set off on Thursday night and braved the M4 like 80% of the population in London.  After edging about 30cm or so for a good half hour to even get onto the M4, we knew the journey would be a bit of a long one.  We were pleasantly surprised to find the rest of the journey wasn’t as congested as we managed to get to the cottage in about 3 and a bit hours.  Got to love my iphone that becomes a tom tom!!

There were six of us in all, seven if you include the peacock that become like one of the family on day one.  Cheeky bugger he was and subsequently became the focus of a lot of camera attention, particularly from one member of our party!  100…maybe 150 photos, he could have set up his own facebook album.  Anyway, day one saw us not only in awe of our new pretty little bird friend, but in absolute awe over where we had landed the night before.  It was fantastic to wake up to rolling green hills, fresh country air and the rushing river.  I was in heaven!  No bloody thunderous plane noise, screaming sirens and monotonous traffic for 5 days….bliss.  You do realise how noisy and stinky London really is when you leave.  I do miss clean air and quiet times….food for thought! 

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Our cottage (Abercamlais) was in the Breacon Beacons, the national park in the centre of Wales.  I decided to perfect my Welsh, as you do on the journey in the car down. Not the actual welsh language mind you, just my crapversion of the accent.  M was mighty impressed I can tell you.  Anyway, I digress…the cottage itself is attached to a mansion house ,the land itself  had belonged to an English Knight around 1570.  His descendents are still living in the mansion today, very cool.  I love that about this little island, the history!  The cottage is called the Dovecote and named after the Dovecote that still stands next to it today.   river-views

It was fantastic to just enjoy some quiet time with mates, play tennis, darts  if you wanted to or just read and eat and soak up all that sunshine…and then eat some more and maybe have a few bevvies or ten.  We even checked out a few castles in the area, well one to be exact and the famous Tintern Abbey, just beautiful. It is only a shell now but it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up how magnificent it would have been in it’s day. 

And to top it all off, we even got to celebrate a birthday. Young D at 31….Happy returns my friend.

If you ever get a chance, go and visit Abercamlais, you won’t be disappointed.

Born to be wild

Riding on a highway!!

Well, not quite. But riding down Wandsworth high street doesn’t really have the same ring to it.  Muffin went and bought a motorbike the other week.  His justification for buying it in these tough times is “because I need one.”  I need Christian Louboutin shoes too but hey, I’m holding back! 

Holding back is not in the Muffin nz dictionary. 

I can see the definete positives to having a bf with a bike.  I can also appreciate it in my girly way.  It’s big, black and shiny and goes really fast!!  Needless to say after the time spent riding around last summer on the ole honda classic, I am a bit addicted.  So much so, that when M said he was getting a bike, underneath my ‘where-the-hell-will-we-£-for-that” scowl, I was secretly jumping for joy!

It is soooo much fun and you feel so free how could you not love it?! I am very keen to now get my own license, after all this girl wasn’t made just to sit on the back of boy’s bikes and look pretty (even though I will look quite hot in some leather pants 😉 ),  I definetely need to be in the driving seat and not let him have all the fun.

Stay tuned and watch this space!

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Lesson 101: How to bbq blighty style innit.

Today I woke up to 5 inches of snow.  Biggest snowfall London and the country has seen for over 18 years.  It’s not often that you get to wake up and use the “I can’t come to work because I’m snowed in” excuse.  Today was that day!  Of course the city has all but shut down as there are no buses, trains or tubes running. It is traditional in the UK to shut down all forms of transport etc when such “extreme weather days” occur.  Even though the rest of Europe sees this kind of thing everyday and copes. It is the British way to poke ones head out the door, assess situation and get back inside with a good cup of tea and hope it all blows over.

I still can’t quite understand why or how a city such as this, shuts down when there is all but a hint of snow, wind, flooding, leaves on the train tracks!   You would think after many hundreds of years of experiencing this kind of weather, they would have developed some systems to ensure we could function on even the simplest of levels.  But hey, I’m not going to complain when they shut down my school and a forced long weekend is upon me! What else is a girl to do, get me to the park for some building of snowmen and play fights! Woo hoo!

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Finally…

Today the trash was finally taken out of the White House and dumped on the front lawn.  Thank god is all I can say.    I didn’t want to fill my blog with little political ramblings but you know, it’s not often that you get to witness history.  And I’m sorry but who wouldn’t want to witness seeing that guy (I won’t blemish my blog by mentioning his name) bugger off out of there.  Let’s hope OB lives up to all the hype, for all of our sakes.

As I just finished watching a funny (but reasonably disturbing) show on the ex presidents on telly, I feel inspired to give Dub a fair send off.

Here are some of his best quotes (courtesy of About.com:political humour) He could quite easily give Homer a run for his money.   Enjoy!

“We hope to make America a more literate country and hopefuller”

“Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.” —  parting words to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

“I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” May 12, 2008

“Thank you, your Holiness. Awesome speech.” — To Pope Benedict, Washington, D.C., April 15, 2008 (Watch video clip)

“I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be — hold hands.” — On how he can contribute to the Middle East peace process, Washington, D.C., Jan. 4, 2008

“And so the fact that they purchased the machine meant somebody had to make the machine. And when somebody makes a machine, it means there’s jobs at the machine-making place.” — May 27, 2008

Virgin territory

Well, here it is, my first blog entry.  Thought I’d start 09 with something new and different, like 99.9% of the population….of course,  it’s the New Year.  I made sure  my other resolutions were sorted out back in November, not January when I’m  recovering from a perpetual hangover and mourning the loss of several million brain cells.   I also figure that I will remember them and be much more commited to actually making them reality if I have a few months run up, a little trial if you like to see if they stick.  It’s no good making, breaking and disappointing oneself at the start of a New Year when I can do it back in November and recover with a good couple of stiff vodkas in December if all goes awry (it is the party month after all)

In all seriousness though, I do plan to make this year a productive one.  A fantastic New Year (not particularly productive but very busy and fun nonetheless!) has ensured a great start to 2009.

Dubai…sand, sun, sheiks, singstar.    The scene:  a week in UAE with Aaron, an old and dear friend of Rusty’s who moved to sunnier shores a couple of years back.  Huge thanks to Aaron for being a magnificent host, we’ll be back my friend. Hotel White was simply superb!  We were lucky enough to stay at Aaron’s apartment which quite simply, would rival any 5 star hotel for style and location.  I’ve attached a couple of photo’s of our trip below, one is the view from his place.  I tell you, it was pretty hard waking up to this everyday.   We spent the week sunning ourselves on the balcony or checking out the beach.  The beach was interesting…from watching some of the locals swim in full burqas to trying to figure out what the groups of Indian guys on the beach were looking for exactly??  They would just sit in these little groups in the sand and just gaze out at the ocean, I hope that’s what they were looking at anyway.  Below are some of my other favourite bits and not so fav.

The highlights:   The water park at Atlantis, meeting and partying with Aaron’s lovely mates, New Year at Dunc’s.  We managed to party on down anyway regardless of the outlawing of all fun and games that night.  And of course the dune driving to Pink rock, Rusty and Aaron going nuts in the sand with the Hummer, a brilliant day!

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Not so good bits:  The lack of respect by the locals for their own environment.  People throwing cans and bottles straight out of the window of their cars into the desert, couldn’t quite believe it. It was quite a sad sight.  The cancellation of New Year…no outdoor parties, alcohol or fireworks.  I understand why the fireworks were banned but the whole celebration??!   More rubbish dumped in the mall carparks, put there as they know people will clean up after them. Major recycling programme needed here people and a programme aimed at Dubaians to help them sort their crap out (literally)

Overall though, the positives out way the negatives and we had a fantastic time here. It was so lovely to spend time with a good friend and relax while absorbing as much vitamin D as possible.  Something all of us in the Northern hemphisphere need a little of right now.

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