A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Saturday, August 28, 2004

A Busy Week

I arrived back in the UK at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday. It only took five hours and was quite uneventful. Andy of course, was there waiting for me at Glasgow Airport. He too had been up all night as it was a five hour trip up to get me.

We hung around the airport for about half an hour while Andy got a bit of rest and then off we went into the highlands of Scotland. We visited a town called Oban first. It was beautiful and historic and very, very Scottish. We ended up climbing the local mountain to the town's historic ruin - it was a good one to start off with, and besides, it was only about 8:30 in the morning. Funnily enough, we were halfway up the stairs when we heard laughter and believe this, smelt beer. Yup - right at the top in typical Scottish fashion were a bunch of young men drinking lager. I would assume they were still out from the night before, but I could be wrong.

Halfway Up Ben Nevis Posted by Hello

Around noon the jet lag hit me and I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Andy pulled over to a lay-by in the road so we could get some rest. (Unfortunately check-in at our B&B wasn't until 2:00. When we finally did check in we spent most of the afternoon in bed. We got up around 6:30 and went in hunt of a nice fish dinner at the restaurant we had spotted in town, however they were full up. We ended up back at the Inn where I ended up ordering Sea Bass. It was scrumptious, however I couldn't eat it until I had covered its face up with lettuce. Next time I see 'Whole' on the menu board I'll know what that means!!!

Isn't it breathtaking? Posted by Hello

The next day found us traveling even higher into the mountains. We stopped at Ben Nevis (the highest peak in the UK) and took a cable car half way up and then proceeded to walk to the next peak where there happened to be a couple of bagpipers -how fantastic!!!

A little hike around Glen Coe Posted by Hello

Of course once we came down off the mountain we went even higher, up to Glen Coe, as I needed to see this place that is so well known for the Clan MacDonald Massacre (remember my blog back in June???). It was absolutely my favorite place during the trip. We didn't stay too long, just hiked around some of the lower peaks to take a few pictures - we are definitely going back there for some proper hiking.

A break at the top.... Posted by Hello

So, Monday morning we ended up picking up the boys with no problems and we've been having a fantastic week. We don't bring them back until Wednesday evening at four. We spent all Monday evening and most of Tuesday out on our bikes (what a workout!) and then took off for Nottingham early Wednesday morning to pick up Andy's sister Alison before hitting the UK's Theme Park, Alton Towers. It was a good day out despite the fact that it rained the whole day. Some of the rides there are pretty exciting, however I only got to go on two really crazy ones as A) noone wanted to go on the ones that took you upside down, and b) the line ups were horrible! We waited over an hour to ride on one that is very similar to Top Gun in Toronto!!! I guess I'll have to wait until Stacy's around for the scarier rides!

The next day we headed off to the Peak District with the boys and ended up doing a three hour hike through, get this - even more mountains! Let me say, we were well and ready to get some serious sleep on Thursday nite!

On Friday I ended up taking it easy and just catching up on some housework. Tonite the boys' cousin, Jake, will be joining us for a movie in Lincoln and staying with us for the next two nights. I believe I have another couple of busy days in store!

Oh - we just bought our brand new BBQ today! Guess what we are having for supper tonight???

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

OK, Where To Start???

Since it has been so very long since I really blogged, and I have so much to talk about, I will try to condense things a bit. I may not blog about everything I would like to, because I'm sure that after so long, some of it may be quite un-interesting.

The Surprise Un-Shower

On Thursday the 12th I was due to go to Kristin's (my former boss) for supper with her and her family. When I pulled up outside of the house I noticed that there were a few cars around and that the drive way was empty. This usually spells party at Kristin's and for a moment I thought maybe she had invited a few people over from work. After quickly scanning the cars for any I recognized, mainly Marina's and Darla's, and not seeing any, I figured that someone else on the street must be having people over.

Karl and Teddy were in the front window watching as I pulled in the drive and exited the car. Kristin came happily out of the house and hugged me, before ushering me straight thru into the kitchen. At this point I had noticed a few familiar pairs of shoes and pop and drinks set up on the kitchen table. Kristin steered me toward the patio door and opened it... there waiting to surprise me were my mom and Stacy, a couple of very close friends, all of my aunties minus 2 and a bunch of girls from work. I was absolutely stunned - I stopped in my tracks, went behind the door jamb and proceeded to cry. Not tears of anger (as some might have suspected), but because I was so overwhelmed.

Not the most flattering shot but I think you get the gist of it

After I was finally coaxed out onto the patio, the evening was spent chatting with as many people as I could (hopefully I didn't leave anyone out) and then eating the delicious food everyone had prepared. My mom had even stopped at May Garden for my favorite eggrolls! That wasn't it, after dessert I was ushered into the family room where I was again surprised. This time with a beautiful white tree with lights and ribbons. This was covered in money and cards - what is known as a 'Money Tree' a shower gift that is perfect for a girl who lives 4000 miles away and could not ship gifts.

I then proceeded to unwrap the money and read the cards... I cannot believe how much money Andy and I have as a result of this one little party. A few people who couldn't be there even sent cards.

I had told my mom and Stacy upon arrival in Nova Scotia that I did not want nor need a shower, including a money one, and especially a surprise one. Although I did not want this, now that it has been done and I see how much it meant to those who care about me, I am very grateful. The money was great, but the thoughtfulness and caring meant even more.

Andy and I have decided to use the money on a BBQ, Blender/Smoothie Maker and a Chair (from IKEA). Any left over will be used for small household items!

Mercy River

On Friday morning after the un-shower, Dawn, Stacy and I picked up my young friend Tasha and headed up to Mercy River. We chose to forgo the TeePee's this time in lieu of a cabin. It was a good choice, however that night was so hot and humid, sleeping was difficult. Add to the fact that Stacy had hidden under Dawn's bed while she was in the bathroom, only to grab her foot while she was changing - something that scared the hell out of her and seemed to set the rest of us in spook mode for the remainder of the night.

The kayaking and canoeing were absolutely fantastic as usual. We spent the whole afternoon on the lakes and river, the majority of it to the ringing tune of 'JOOOODDDYYY' or Joooddddyyyy I'm stuck, come GEEEETTTT me... I don't LIIIKKKE this' as Stacy got herself stuck on numerous rocks. Dawn being Dawn just kept on paddling and left me to assist my sad little sister.

Dawn & Stacy Posted by Hello

Saturday we woke up with full intentions of hitting the river again, however as it was pouring down rain we made our way slowly back the coastal roads, stopping again in Bridgewater for our lunch. I can't believe the amount of time I have spent in that place this summer. Funnily enough I had only been there once before this year!

The Rest of the Week

I spent the last of my vacation home catching up with friends and family I had not yet seen and hanging out with Stacy. We only managed to catch one more movie and sadly I had to leave on the day Open Water came out, however its due to be released here on September 9th, so that's ok.

I went in to have lunch with Darla and Kristin on the Wednesday and went with the residents of SVGH to the Public Gardens in the afternoon. It was really nice to catch up with a few of the girls - Colleen, Kathy and Debbie T, and it was especially sweet to see the residents happily eating their strawberry ice-cream that was melting more quickly than they were able to eat it! Like children, they didn't seem to care that they were wearing most of it, which is the way it should be on a hot, sticky day!

One Last Night In Halifax

So... My Aunt Nita flew into town from Saint John's on Thursday afternoon to have a night out with me before I left Friday (she was originally due to fly in on Friday). Mom, Stacy, my Aunts' Marg and Shirley met up with us, as did my cousin's Tracy and Wayne (it was Wayne's b-day), my Uncle Reg and Tim and Roisin. Things started off peacefully enough with a meal at the Ale House. We then moved on to the Old Triangle where things were pretty quiet, until a few of us went up to the Snug and started goofing around. We then left there and headed up to Pogue Fado's as my Aunt Nita's daughter Tina was supposed to be there that night. At this point, Ra, Tim, Uncle Reg, Aunt Shirley and Wayne left us.

Snug in the 'Snug' Posted by Hello

Pogue's was fantastic, a great band from NB was playing and the drinks were flowing. Next thing you know Tracy and I were on the dance floor shaking it up with a bunch of people we'd never met. Next thing you know, we were over at the bar doing shooters (or at least I was with the guy and girl I had met on the dance floor). You just gotta love Halifax for meeting up with people. I honestly think I invited them to the wedding! Crazy I know, since half the people I wanted to invite I couldn't due to space! Anyway, long story short, I got extra loaded and ended up being more hungover than I have been in AGES... thus ruining my Friday plans to have a yummy NS lunch and to shop for the few food items I'd wanted to bring back to the UK. Owell I had fun and I can get the foodstuff in less than six weeks!

Well there you have it.... the remainder of my trip home in much long drawn out detail. Tomorrow Andy and I are taking the boys to the UK's theme park with his sister and spending the night in Nottingham. I will try and catch up with the rest of my blog no later than Friday.

Sorry if the blog was too lengthy this time!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

It's Been So Long...

I can't believe how long its been since my last post, yet I have so many things to write about, and surprisingly I have even received a few emails as to when I might be blogging next. That, I must say, is a great feeling.

My time here, especially these last two weeks has gone very quickly. When I get back to England I will have a lot going on, but I'm hopeful that I will be able to sit down and blog about my experiences to date. They are as follows:

The (Non-Shower)and Gorgeous Money Tree
Mercy River
Hanging out with Cousins and the 'Wedding Video' - not mine
The Dress (Again)
(oh and a few movies again)
Saint Vincent's and my friends there

Events Yet to Happen (i.e. next few days)

Pubbing with Mom, Stacy, My Aunties and Friends
The Highlands of Scotland with my 'cough' fiance
Getting home and picking the boys up on Monday morning (fingers crossed).

So... I have so many things to talk about that have already happened and so much is going to happen this coming weekend/week that I will have a hugely long blog. I also don't have any photos yet, and of course will want to publish those (that will be dependent on Dawn of course!)

So, thanks to all of you who read my blog regularly - your support is amazing. Hopefully when I do get around to proper blogging, I'll get a few more comments ;)(that's a wink btw).

Monday, August 09, 2004

Movie Review

I have seen a number of movies in the past two weeks or so. Some at the cinema, some here at home. Most Recently:

Little Black Book I went to this movie not expecting much but a couple of light laughs, however I came out of it with a different opinion. After the first 10 minutes or so, I really got into it. For some unknown reason I have tried not to like Brittany Murphy but alas, she has won me over. It was more than just a light comedy, as it had a good little twist. Holly Hunter addeded a little vim to the movie, and as well, there is a very surprising cameo at the end.

Collateral Again, I wasn't expecting too much, and although I guessed the ending, it was still interesting enough to keep my attention with its sense of dry humour. I was surprisingly pleased to see Mark Ruffalo as one of the main characters.

The Village Although most people are trashing this film I have to say, they don't know a good movie if it hit them in the face. I loved it. I guess if your looking for a gory horror flick your not looking in the right place. I think this movie was frightening and suspensful at times - it also made a valid point about the world we live in today.

Boat Trip: I was dissapointed to see Cuba Gooding Jr. in such a silly role - I found the movie to be crass and stupid for the most part, however there were a few scenes that got a chuckle out of me.

13 Going On 30 I loved it! It was light,cute and touchingly funny.

The Big Bounce : Despite having Owen Wilson and Morgan Freeman as key players, I found it boring. Bottom line: A waste of time.

Another This and That

1. How do you like your eggs? Omlette style or scrambled (and sometimes sunny side up, but then I only dip my toast in the yolk - I hate the whites).

2. What do you collect? Nothing really, besides the normal junk most people seem to gather without meaning to.

3. Do you carry a purse, backpack or briefcase on a regular basis? If yes, does it contain only the essentials or a whole lot of everything? Sometimes I carry a purse or bag, the only essentials being my wallet, cell phone and a lipstick - and if the bag's big enough, my book.

4. When is the last time you've read a book, put together a puzzle, built something or did something crafty? I feel empty and lost if I'm not reading a book. I read at least one a week. (Oh and I went and painted pottery on Friday).

5. What was the highlight of your weekend? Painting with Stacy on Friday afternoon and then having supper with her and Darla at Pogue Fado's while listening to an excellent guitarist called Keith Andrews play.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Less Than 2 Weeks to Go

Well I've been here four weeks and only have two to go... I still haven't accomplished everything I had wanted to do such as see some people I have been waiting to see, however within the next two weeks I will be making a concerted effort to do so. Some people have been calling to set up times with me and so far I just haven't managed it. This is my week to do so. Anyone else who hasn't really shown a whole lot of interest in hanging out, well maybe next summer. I'm not sweating the small stuff. When you only have so long at home, that's exactly it - you only have so much time. Next time I'm here it will likely only be for two weeks and most of that time will be taken up with family - mine and Andy's.

More On the Dress

So, Wednesday morning after trying to be good for a few days, and before it got overly hot and sticky I tried on the damned thing - it fit pretty much the same as it did when I bought it. I was hoping it would as I finally got around to taking it into the tailor's to have it 'altered' - by which I mean to say - have the enormously HUGE train taken off it - sorry but I ain't prentending to be anybody's Princess Di. So, Friday at lunch time Stacy and I went to Nick and Mike of Gottingen Street (these men were strongly recommended by a dear friend - thanks Valentina!) and I put the dress on for them to assess. Both men loved the color of it and exlaimed that they had never seen a dress like it before in the 40 years they have been in the business. Anyway, the dress was a little sticky at that hour, but was still ok. As at the beginning of July I still have a bit of work cut out for me. I never wanted to be a bride who had to lose a town of weight just for her wedding, and thankfully that is still the case. I think that is so icky - I want to lose weight of course, but on my own time. I don't need to be skinny for that day, I just need to still fit in the dress, which I will!

So, speaking of the wedding (again). Tawny informed me the other night she had set up a wedding blog for me. I was a little bit shocked as I had informed her and everyone else who reads my blog that I wouldn't be setting up a wedding blog as I really wouldn't have that much to say i.e. basically talking about all details leading up to including the occasion. (Although I'm very happy that Tawny did this for her own wedding!) As we all know I'm just not into it that much. However Tawny quickly assured me that this blog is just for her and I, to keep track of wedding info such as Guest Lists etc. Since she is in charge of a few things involving this event, it makes perfect sense. I love her for her organizational skills (amongst other things) and honestly couldn't do this without her! (Not that I'm doing much, except telling Tawn and my Planner what I want/don't want - jeez even Roisin informed the planner of what flowers I'd be wanting as I have no clue!)

One more wedding thing: I folded to conformity and bought a pair of proper shoes... I had told myself a month ago that if I found a suitable pair I would buy them, but wouldn't go out of my way - which is exactly what happened. Owell I'm happier to be able to wear the flops now... oh, and my cousin Denise very sweetly and kindly offered to make my wedding cake. I told her that as sweet as she was being in offering it, I really don't want one. We're having Apple Carmel Cake for dessert - that's enough. A wedding cake is just another excuse to pose for a picture, besides who really even eats it/sleeps with it under their pillow?.

Trucker John

My dad has been steadily making his way home after crossing the US in the swealtering heat. Only one day into his trip his AC went and he was left to travel the southern states into Texas thru the most unforgiving heat. My dad is a big man and finds the heat hard even when he's in the house here in NS, I can't imagine the hell he was in travelling and sleeping in a big rig in those conditions.

Thursday night he made it into Ontario and had a night with Tawny and Taylor and then I believe he hooked up with Sandra on Friday night. He's been travelling pretty much straight thru today and will probably be here in the early hours. It'll be good to see him - he deserves the break this week for sure!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004



Tonight I figured I'd better try on that dress to see if I could still squeeze into it, as I'm due to go get it altered this week. Squeeze being the appropriate word. Basically, the dress isn't working at the moment. I could barely breath and to put it plainly, its now too small. It zipped up, but barely. So... I knew this would likely happen what with having most of the summer at home, however the over-eating has to stop. I'm sure the fact that I'm bloated and swollen from a drinking binge last night and the sweltering humidex of today isn't helping, however its time to seriously begin watching my food intake. When I bought the damn thing is just fit then, so I knew I was gonna have a battle. However as discussed with my sisters, I know once I get back to England I won't have a problem dropping some weight so I'm not gonna stress too much.

I did get some pretty plain flip flops to wear under it though, which makes me happy. I had bought a pair of proper shoes but they are the wrong color. Owell I didn't waste time moaning about that. I'm happy with the flops.

The friends I have in my life are truly the best.

As most of you know, I used to have a friend who put way too much on my shoulders and expected far too much from me. Sadly, because of all these expectations (some of which were very unreasonable) and the fact that I could never be the person she wanted me to be, we went our separate ways.

I think that I'm a pretty good person in terms of my friendships and I try and give what I get in return. A couple of times I have broken plans and the friends that I have are very understanding, especially since I'm home on vacation. Its nice to be able to tell your friend the truth, rather than make up a lie, and have her/him be accepting of it. Now there are times when breaking plans just isn't acceptable, but for the smaller stuff, most of my friends don't sweat it and besides, its not something I do very often.

Case in Point: I had originally made plans to go to the Fire Works Launch with Dawn and her family last night. I was however very much in the mood to head to the water front and the beer tents. There were some very good bands playing and as I've not really tore up the town yet, I really wanted to do partake in the downtown music scene in honor of the Tall Ships. Dawn wasn't up for it but very honestly told me it'd be fine with her if I bailed to go out. She's been working a lot of shifts lately and was tired anyway, and certainly not up for going out. But I was grateful that she is the sort of gal you can be yourself with. If for a moment she had expressed dismay though, I would have kept to the original plan.

So... Darla and Glen (another two very laid back pals) had called to say they were heading downtown for a walkabout and invited me along. Of course the walkabout turned into one hell of a big drunkfest (as we knew it would), but hell it was good clean fun. We were walking around looking for the Celtic Tent so we could see McGinty and we were about to give up when we were pretty sure we heard them. We were behind the tent in the area surrounded by the loading trucks. There was a partition in the tent that Glen stuck his head in, and yup, it was McGinty. Instead of walking around to the front, we just creeped in the back way... and saved ourselves five bucks. After awhile I needed to pee and walked over to the side entrance (not the main). I sweetly asked the bouncer if it'd be alright to leave to go to the bathroom. He sternly informed me I needed a stamp (that I should have got upon entering). I smiled and told him that I was dying to go to the toilet and would it be ok if I just came back in his way. It worked of course. A bit later D&G had to go to the toilet and walked out the same way. A few minutes later I saw them approaching the tent and went and ordered another round. I stood waiting with the 3 beers in my hand but they were walking away from the gate. I watched them walk to the main gate, but again, walk away. A few minutes later the monkeys came waltzing thru the back cover. They were told they had to pay five bucks to get back in! Its good we had our alternate entrance! However I'm sure I could have used my wiley charms to get them in! God its good to know I've still got it!

After we left the tent we moved on to the Old Triangle where Glen and I happily downed a lot of Ceasars with Spicy Beans... yummy.

I was feeling the pain today though....


I was wondering why Andy had called this morning at the appointed time, however when I finally roused myself to check my cellphone, it was again not working properly. (I will be addressing this when I get back to the UK). I finally got to talk to Andy around noon to see how he had made out on his return trip from New York. He'd arrived ok, only to find out that his luggage hadn't! The airlines, after locating it, then delivered it to the wrong home... Andy was supposed to have it back by nine this evening. The check in people at New York had made them remove their locks so hopefully it will be undisturbed - he had a lot of presents in that luggage!

So, speaking of airlines, I booked my flight back to the UK for August 20th. I happily upgraded myself to premium for only a few extra dollars so now I won't have to worry so much about my luggage allowance. I'm flying into Glasgow and once there Andy and I will travel up into the highlands for the weekend. I'm looking forward to this getaway with him as it will be a good way to spend our first night together before picking the boys up that Monday (if all works out the way we hope). I really miss him and am looking forward to seeing him again. The only dissapointing factor was that I had assumed I'd be flying back via Toronto, and therefore get to spend a few days there, however the cheapest flight was direct. Owell at least I know I will be seeing my sisters and Taylor in October.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

On Second Thought...

After sitting around for awhile in the sun this afternoon, Mom came to the decision that she didn't really want to go to the reception either. So, instead we had cool showers and made our way to May Garden where we proceeded to stuff our faces.

We stopped at home to drop off the leftovers (not that I had much, just some rice mom eagerly scraped onto her plate, lol) and perhaps head to bingo for the night (I'd actually prefer that over the wedding of virtual strangers) however Stacy called and reported that she could get off work early if we wanted to do something, so I said 'Come on home!' Its been a nice evening with my mom and hopefully when Stacy gets here we will all find something to do together! Yeah!!!