Holiday Highlights continued

Ghana and Thailand have joined my country views. I can only think that shares on facebook are responsible as according to my stats no-one has arrived recently via search engines so thank you for the shares.

Holiday Highlights continued

3. My team won the camp quiz!! Score 73 out of 80. On the day of the quiz I was perturbed to see Wonderful Man perusing the quizbook that he has used for previous quizzes. The questions in this book are hard. So hard that my initial enthusiasm for his previous quizzes has dwindled as the gaps in my general knowledge are shown to be gaping holes. The pleasure I gain from quizzes and board games increases substantially if I win and truth be told I much prefer engaging in things I think I will be good at and feel quite p**d off if it turns out others are better than me. It was with ambivalence that I joined my team – Mr Fry, Mrs Tie-Dye and Cindi. Within seconds my hopes were rising and so were my suspicions that Mr Fry had seen the questions and answers due to his confidence in the answers he was giving. When the half time scores were shared it was clear our team were doing very well or to be accurate Mr Fry was doing very well. This does not lessen the importance of Mrs Tie-Dye’s and Cindi’s rare contributions. These may have been the ones that pipped the second place team who scored 71 if my memory serves me right. I greeted the announcement of the winning team with cheers of delight and congratulated myself on being a winner despite only knowing three correct answers. Tip – If you are likely to know the answers to only 3 questions out of 80 in a quiz, spend the hours before the quiz testing people’s general knowledge   and choose your team based on this (it was by chance I ended up in Mr Fry’s team. I shall be more pro-active next time).  

btw – Wonderful Man is no relation to Wonderful Woman but he is talented in many areas, including plumbing which is a very desirable quality through my leaky shower eyes.

4. Communal rejoicing of A level results. With university places at stake, a mass wave of shared joy and relief spread across the camp. My personal highlight was the phone call from D1 to let me know she had got her place. Jessie was the Usain Bolt of exam results with A*/A performance in three subjects, short and very sweet. Romany, with her amazing results spread over four subjects, was the Mo Farah. They had the wow factor but they all had the Yeeeaaaahhh factor. This leads nicely into highlight 5.

5. Zumba. Disappointingly/annoying, my months of training did not make my performance any better than that of virgin zumba-ites. Nevertheless it was great fun. Well the first session was. Details of the second session may well feature in Holiday Lowlights. One noteable difference between camp zumba and my usual zumba was participant’s attire. It ranged from everyday clothes, through vests (not sports vests, just vests) to sleepsuits. The level of craziness was slightly higher and the greek style dance in a circle was novel. One of the instructors crossed the room to be next to me in the circle (had she spotted my tendency to move in the opposite direction to everyone else and so come to reign me in?) and because we were holding hands I had to explain that she would have to hold my little finger on account of my finger injury. I was momentarily cross because the music started before I had finished the entire tale but my attention was soon diverted to counting steps. Instructor’s Tip – to get a good hip movement, pretend you are clenching a spoon in your bottom and stir a pudding (note the word pretend).

More Holiday Highlights to come at the weekend.

Q. How can a useful service turn into an awkward situation?

A. The weather was a hot topic of interest throughout the camp and after being mis-informed by the BBC, I became a convert to the weather channel app which was accessed through’s phone. is one of those helpful people who generally makes life easier and jollier. After the weather channel’s first accurate prediction, I returned to for regular updates. Often he would be updating other campers at the same time, like bees around a honeypot. Then the awkwardness began to creep in. I didn’t want to think I only approached him to get an update but it seemed dishonest to make idle chit chat for a few minutes before slipping in the weather question. I tried asking the weather question and then following up with chit chat but either way the main motivation for making the journey across the mud must have been obvious. On one occasion when I saw, and I honestly did not need or want a weather update, he pulled out his phone and proceeded to share the forecast. I sincerely hope knows he means much more to me than just being a useful source of weather information.


Holiday Highlights

I had a plan to make notes during my recent holiday so that when it came to writing my blog I wouldn’t have to try and remember all the details. Of course I didn’t record anything but hopefully my memory won’t let me down too much. My memory along with my eyesight has diminished over the last few years. During my holiday someone alerted us to a fleeting wonder of nature (it could have been a shooting star or a passing dragonfly or something else, I can’t recall the exact wonder now) and I totally empathised with a fellow camper who scrabbled around to locate her glasses, only to find them a moment after the wonder had disappeared from view. Her comment that she misses loads while she is looking for her glasses will be familiar to all those who are in or have been in the twilight zone between needing glasses on occasions but managing much of the time without them. Going into anywhere with a menu and having to ask someone else to read it for you is another common feature of this twilight zone.

Onto the holiday highlights which I will list together with some tips for future reference. For those of you who don’t know where I’ve been, here is a summary of the destination. Accommodation = tents in woodland. Facilities = a shower block, toilets and a cabin with a cooker and sink about 300m from tents. Clientele, aka fellow campers = a mixed bunch of families.

1. By chance, my neighbours for the holiday were excellent in many ways. Goldilocks and Thespian managed to be both easy going and incredibly organised. This was great for me. Camping next to them provided good company and easy access to bits and pieces I needed but had failed to pack. Can opener, 10ps for showers, kitchen roll, wipes, aloe vera, etc were produced from their tent like items from Mary Poppin’s carpet bag. Tip – Camp close to someone who appears to be well equipped. Signs of this are a trailer and a range of boxes and shelving. Avoid campers, such as myself, who arrive with most of their stuff in carrier bags. This indicates rushed, last minute packing.

2. By chance, I poured boiling water over two of my fingers and sustained a rather nasty scald. The initial hour of pain, the inconvenience of having to shower with a carrier bag over my hand and the trickiness of washing up with one hand could have been a lowlight but it proved to be very positive. Firstly, I was given lots of attention. Some fellow campers even thought I should go to A&E with such a shocking injury. (They were no doubt impressed at my resilience). Following this I was offered various lotions and dressings from several different people. Pixie became my main supplier of plasters and threw in some tlc for free (the plasters were free too). Whenever there was a lull in conversation I nonchalently moved my hand around until someone asked how my fingers were or even better asked “Ooo, what have you done?”, which gave me the opportunity to regale them with my tale of folly (I didn’t hide the fact that I had caused the injury by lifting a handleless pan of boiling water with a tea towel). By the end of the holiday everyone knew. Tip – Make the most of injuries. Thespian sustained a rib injury but rarely mentioned it. He could easily have winced to get attention each time he stood up or used it as an excuse to take a break from wood chopping. His moniker is based on a revelation about his successful youth acting not on his performance at the camp.

More highlights will be published tomorrow. I am about to get ready for another wild night on the town! 

Zumba goes on holiday and the trouble with Melanie

Having missed three Monday Zumbas in a row I was expecting to be top of the non compliance* table but there were some zumba-ites at the session tonight who I hadn’t seen before. If they have been there in the previous three weeks I expect they thought I was the new one and were impressed at how well I was picking up the moves. I did feel quite experienced in their presence. Watching the olympic athletes has shifted my perspective of wonderful woman and therefore of myself aswell. Since starting Zumba I have been completely amazed at her ability to carry out all the zumba moves, including adding the arms, inbetween feet, skips, the reach and jumps (all of which I miss out except the reach which I love) whilst at the same time calling out instructions and encouraging words and never getting out of breath. Prior to my olympic viewing I was of the opinion that very few people could do this and the majority of people would be nearer my level of fitness than hers. It seems I may have misjudged our positions in relation to the wider population. The other day I watched women swimming 1500m, cycling 40km and running 10km and then 5 minutes later they were being interviewed with no hint of breathlessness and appearing full of energy! Hundreds of other athletes have similarly appeared to have far more energy after their events than I have before I start any physical activity. My thinking was wonderful woman in top 10% of fittest people in the world and I’d be amongst the other 90%. Now I’m thinking there is 90% fittest people above my 10% of others. That maths might not make sense but in simple terms, wonderful woman is not so unique in her amazingness but I am more unique in my speed at becoming breathless. 

I will be going on my annual camping holiday later this week and I am very pleased to announce that I have secured a Zumba instructor to run a Zumba session at the camp. whoop. whoop. At this time I do not know if I will have the capabilities to blog from camp and so the outcome of the Zumba session may not reach my blog for some time. I am hoping that I will be reporting that I dazzled my fellow campers with my interpretation of the Zumba moves. I have been partly motivated to set up the session because of my confidence that I will impress everyone there and I will be secretly very annoyed if anyone outshines me.

My annoyance with Melanie’s actions came to a head this week. For some time I have excused her behaviour as a one off, then a two off, even a three off but she has got into a pattern and I have had to assert my power by introducing a strict door policy. No matter how many times Frodo and I have explained to her that bringing guests into the house without our permission is not acceptable she has carried on doing it. I think one guest may have been in more than once but to be honest I have no interest in getting to know them. I just want them out as quick as possible. She has been free to come and go as she wants but now the door will remain locked until she gets home so that we can check she is alone before letting her in. I don’t like being so controlling but the latest incident pushed me to it. I knew something was going on in the hallway by the unusual noise she was making and when I investigated, there she was, laid next to a frozen-in-time frog. I’m getting used to this now and didn’t even bother screaming. I just stomped into the kitchen to get a receptacle to put it in for its journey back to the wildlife area. While I was gone it unfroze and by the time I had got back it had hidden itself somewhere in the pile of footwear. I then had to engage in a game of cat and mouse aka human and frog for the next five minutes. Melanie, meanwhile, had taken herself off to the living room for a cat nap. Frog, apparently unharmed, hopped off into the grass when I released him back to the wild. As with most of my household policies I have already begun to let it slip. The inconvenience of having to answer the door each time Melanie wants to come is unfortunately as annoying as the uninvited guests. She also caused a stir earlier this week when she jumped out of the loft window, slid down the roof and got temporarily stuck on top of the upstairs bay window. To cut a long story (that involves a plank of wood, Frodo, Son, a ladder, three neighbours, a bag of dry cat food, me and half an hour) short – she got back in the house via the loft window. Her brother, Martin, has had a less eventful week.

Stats news – Switzerland has joined my growing list of country views. Who can it be??? 

As previously mentioned, I am on holiday later this week so if no blog posts appear for a while don’t panic. I will be back with a mega blog about the amazing holiday I’m about to have.

* com·pli·ance

the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding.
a tendency to yield readily to others, especially in a weak and subservient way.
non compliance is the opposite.
On-line dictionaries are marvelous.

Olympics 2012 medal table full information

Olympics 2012 medal table full information can not be found in this blog post. In an attempt to catch some passing trade (someone might google a search term that matches my blog) I have used a title which lots of people might be googling. Tactics. A reader has alerted me to a site that records global rankings of web pages. Mine has risen from 7,417,550 to 6,259,488 this week!

I don’t have much interest in the Olympic medal table myself but I have found the events and interviews I’ve watched very emotional. I’ve shifted from stifled sobs, which were greeted with incredulous cries of “are you crying?” from D1 and Son, to streaming tears which are greeted with raised eyebrows between D1 and Son and tutting. Without taking anything away from the amazing athletes, my children’s reaction is probably based on my tendency to cry regularly at things I see on TV, including a recent episode of the Simpsons.

Last night I utilised a variety of vegetables to cook up a delicious soup to be eaten later this evening. In their pre-soup state the vegetables looked past their best and it crossed my mind to dump them in the compost bin, knowing that if left another day they would be too far gone to be used. I was tired, having already completed the evening meal cooking, washing up and emptying bins events but I dug deep and found the strength to pick up the vegetable peeler and give the soup my best shot. All the years of training I’ve put into cooking paid off and I was rewarded with a gold medal soup (based on one judge’s score). During the selection of the vegetables the recurring question ‘how green can a potato be before it poisons you’ came up. My mother’s answer to this is “just eat it” and I suspect I unknowingly ate many green potatoes as a child. However I am cautious about eating them nowadays and extremely cautious about feeding them to my offspring. A couple of weeks ago I finally got round to googling the question when I was faced with some slightly green potatoes as I was about to embark on a planned meal of jacket potatoes. Worryingly I discovered that some potatoes can contain a poisonous substance even if they haven’t turned green! Reassuringly it is extremely rare that anyone dies from potato poisoning. Armed with this information I went ahead with the planned meal after cutting off the greenest parts and all who ate the meal are still living. I must get around to clearing out the food cupboard and make some decisions about how long past the best before date something needs to be before it should be thrown out.

Another unanswered question I have is “what is the best way to fold a fitted sheet?” I imagine two people would have more success in folding it flatter with the sides evenly tucked in, than one person would but I can’t imagine anyone in my house, other than myself, folding a fitted sheet. I am on my own when it comes to folding bed linen. My current preference is tucking corners into corners but I think with more practise the folding of all four flaps inwards would produce a tidier finish. I must admit I don’t get much practise due to a ‘one day off, wash, dry, on’ technique. Fold in half and roll is quick but looks very messy.

This week I have been ruminating about mugs and how different households deal with them after they have been used. In our house they are used for one round only (a round being a single cup or 2 cups from same teapot brew) and it doesn’t take long for a large number of mugs to join the washing up queue. I was recently re-alerted to the fact that some people use the same mug for a second round of drinks. This is what my mother does, sometimes with a swill and sometimes without, between mid morning drink and lunch. It seems other frequent tea drinkers often use the same mug. Why I don’t do this I don’t know, especially given the tardiness that surrounds washing up in my house. Rodney made me feel better about the accumulation of unwashed mugs though by observing that it looked like we’d had lots of people round. That was enough to deter me from making a resolution to increase the frequency of my washing up.

Other stats news – 2 US views again today. Almost every time I visit my blog, I play out a scenario (internally) where I get a comment from an overseas reader and squeal with excitement. Comments so far have elicited ‘ooos’, lots of grinning and a temporary increase in heart rate but no squeals yet.