Landed in Toronto this afternoon and this is my first sunset tonight outside my Uncle's place in Oshawa. Beautiful. I've flown over to be with my family after my Godmother's passing and I seem to have hit a heatwave. I haven't had a summer trip to Canada since the very first one in July 2005. Roll on lots of sunny, hot days!
Yorkshire road trip
Just over a week ago, I helped my mum and her friend find a place to stay in Yorkshire, whilst they road trip next month. They're planning to tour Yorkshire in 8 days and I'm interested to hear all about it, having never visited this part of the country myself.
They've booked what looks like a lovely little cottage in Langcliffe, Settle, North Yorkshire on the Sykes Cottages website. We will see what they make of it...
Tribute to my Godmother
This post is a tribute to my Aunty Soni, one of my Godmothers, who passed away in Canada two days ago after suffering a massive stroke.
I couldn't sleep last night, so, in the early hours of this morning I started writing a poem for my Aunty. I finished it within a couple of hours. Writing poetry is part of the grieving process for me.
For you Aunty Soni
In Your Moment
I had you at your best
You opened your heart to me
In your moment you were brilliant
That's all I wanted to see
I know you weren't perfect
But none of us are
And we don't even realise
Until we've gone too far
I lived in your moment
That was enough for me
You gave me your everything
So we could just be
Reminiscing and laughing
Talking endless books and TV
How I cherished those times
So very precious to me
My 25th and cooking for you
Skydive vids and travel tales
That job lot of slippers at your house
Pots of soup with random egg shells
Remember at Granddads funeral
The funny incident with the rose
I couldn't hear what you were saying
It's hilarious now, I suppose
And I wouldn't sit on Aunty's lap
I was being tough and strong
But it takes hindsight and wisdom
To show this was wrong
So ever since then
I've led with my heart
I'm crying and crying
And it's tearing me apart
We might only get the one chance
To say the things we need to say
I let my barriers down with you
And we played it our way
I try to see the best in people
Whether living or dead
So when the worst is upon us
The tears are easier to shed
They've been flowing for you
My dear, dear godmother
I know we had something
And we loved one another
Sleep easy my love
Be at peace with the world
Just you in your moment
No longer being hurled
From whatever your troubles
And the demons inside
They're gone and your safe
Let the pain now subside
I will miss you forever
Our memories live on
It's time to meet your maker
My dear Aunty Son
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
After hacking two thirds of my mum's bay tree back to a more manageable, rounded bush, I uncovered the Blackbird's nest she knew had been in there and I found this egg inside from the chick that hatched. Unfortunately, there was also another egg in a gooey mess in the nest. 50% success rate.
Poem For My Agents
This is a poem I wrote to all of my agents across the globe, when I left my travel job the first time, to write my book back in September 2009:
I really cannot quite believe
the journey I have lived and breathed
The things I've done, the places I've been
Wow! It seems but just a dream
To soar above Victoria Falls
To visit where the lion roars
Safaris in the dawn and dusk
and the thrill of nature's musk
To camp under the stars at night
and search for tigers at first light
Churches, temples, special places
and the many different faces
Elephants, camels, desert wilderness
Moonscapes, coastlines, beautiful landscape emptiness
Ancient Leptis and Petra standing tall
I was privileged to see it all
Being inside a pyramid for the first time
was a childhood dream of mine
So many memories, so much to tell
I can hardly wait to regale...
I do not know what I would've done
without your friendship and the fun
of being able to experience such things
and enjoy the wonderment that it brings
So these 10 years have been the best
but now it's time for me to rest
to ponder, muse and laugh and write
my ramble, rhyme and such like
It's not goodbye
It's not the end
I'll see you when I see you
my dearest friends
Travel industry funnies Pt.2.
More travel industry funnies coming up now. Bearing in mind I used to work in Product and Contracting, so we would read these notes made by Reservations if and when we needed to look at a booking. They would also print out automatically for our agents around the world. Bear that in mind when having a read - think cultural differences, language barriers, different palates and food, terrible grammar and spelling... and then laugh your head off as we used to! These are 100% genuine and names and details have been changed where the joke is not affected...
Ms Elizabeth Jones likes to be called Sian
Pax Mr Joseph III Edwards and Mr Joseph IV is the correct spelling of their names
Nicola Smith is vegetarian. She does not eat fish and rarely eats eggs
Pax Heslop has irritable bowels and may need to go to toilet randomly, but should be ok
Miss X and Miss Y would like a twin room, they do not want to share bed
Pax Mrs K does not want to share a room with Mrs C. Pax Mrs K is happy to be roomed with anybody other than Mrs C
Mr B is not vegetarian but enjoys a lot of vegetarian food
Pax Miss Richard Smith pre existing medical conditions are: he has 3 stents in coronary arteries placed in 2010. No impairment of physical activity / paralysis of right diaphragm in 2007. Physical activity only compromised over 6000 ft. Full cycling capability at lower elevations. Pax currently cycles approx 1700 miles per day.
Good to know!
Mr Berger and Mrs Berger is a vegetarian
Mrs F would prefer to use a male frame
Mrs E has the following dietary requirement - no dairy with the exception of plain yoghurt, rice, milk or soy milk. Oat puffs or rice puffs is ok for breakfast. No wheat so only wheat free breads or rolls. No margarine but butter is ok. Oats are ok. Drinks: apple juice / still water / decaffeinated teas like chamomile, peppermint etc
Pax W has allergies to pets and as the hotels accepts pets, please room her in a clean "no pets" rooms, thanks
Miss B will probably not be eating an evening meal as can't eat late at night
Mrs P is worried about snorkelling. She has never done this before so please spend a few minutes with her showing her what to do?
Mrs M cannot eat eats in any form and she does not like fish
Alison B hates blood pancakes
Ms M does not eat red meat and am wheat and cow's dairy intolerant. This means I can eat fish, all poultry and seafood, plus rice, potatoes, rye polenta, corn etc, plus goats and sheep cheese. I can eat anything with flour in it as long as it's not wheat flour. What she cannot eat is red meat, bread / pastry or pasta made with wheat flour, cows milk / cheese / yoghurt / cream
Yes, I think we've got it now, thanks!
Pax Mr B does not like peas
Miss J will be needing to park her car near the office - please help her to organise this
Ms Berry is a vegetarian
Travel industry funnies Pt.1.
I've been going through a boxfile of old travel industry stuff and came across some hilarious bits and pieces to share on the blog:
First up, I was writing some copy about Malaysia and I sent an email to my colleagues entitled Go to Penang for a boob job, then relax on the beach - according to Lonely Planet! I'd found a humourous quote on the web as follows...
"In addition, the Lonely Planet's top travel list includes Malaysia among the top spots for medical adventures. The guide states, "Mix procedures with pleasures in Malaysia, another leading destination for medical travellers. Places like the beach resort town of Penang, on the country's northwestern coast, are popular for breast enhancement surgery that comes with packaged-tour. It is good that a recuperative vacation is included since doctors warn that long plane journeys after surgery can cause thrombosis." "
So there you go!
We used to write notes in a person's booking if they had a specific requirement or request. Here are some of the more funny ones. And yes, this kept us entertained for hours (and still keeps me entertained) !! 100% genuine and names changed where the joke is not affected...
Ms Rabbit is a vegetarian
For your info. Michael X and Anna X will be on their honeymoon. Pax would like triple room if possible
Mrs X does not want a double room please. Only book her in a twin cabin as she does not want to have to share a bed with her son
Miss X is allergic to wheat bran and will bring Ryvita etc with her. She is also phobic of meat on the bone, for example she can't manage to eat a chicken leg or a lamb chop, but can cope with a chicken breast or a sausage
Mr Smith is a vegetarian. Pax prefers to be called Beatrice
Miss Y only drinks water and hot chocolate
Suzanne likes to be called Susan
Pax Z is slightly shortsighted, however they are covered by insurance and wear contacts
Mrs A is quite a bad snorer
Miss B normally cycles on a 17 inch
Pax Martin Smith is known as Helen
Mrs C would like quite an upright bike
Pax Miss D cannot eat chives
Mr Last will be late to the hotel
Pax Miss E is tomato intolerant
Pax Smith can't swim - if it comes to it, give him his life jacket first
Family F are vegetarians but eat fish. Child 1 has a nut allergy but he can eat things with traces in. They have a pen just in case as it is not severe. Child 1 is also allergic to fish and eggs. Family F are travelling land only but on group flights from MAD-SVQ and SVQ-MAD
Pax Miss G is allergic to nuts and is a VEG
Miss H has an allergy to brazil nuts. If Miss H eats brazil nuts she will be sick and have a rash
Mrs Green is a vegetarian
Mrs I does not want to be called Penelope. Please can you call her Penny
Pax Duddy x2 booked a flight for the wrong day so are arriving on 27MAR12 at 17:30 and will make their way directly to the train station. Please make sure you look out for them
Mr J is allergic to the following foods. Beef and pork. All dairy products including milk, cheese, yoghurt. Potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, red and green peppers. Mushrooms. Tea and coffee. Pineapple, grapes, coconut and strawberry. Red and white wine
Pax Ms Knorr is a vegetarian. Pax Ms Knorr requests hormone free meat
Dr K likes a bike with a smaller frame than her height would suggest
Ms L is vegetarian but does eat fish and occasionally has eaten meat when on holiday
Mr M has requested a small framed bike pref with a slopping top tube
The Duck Can Can
To kick off a new month, here's a totally quackers, silly short video I made about the ducks on the River Test!
Created on the app Splice that I've had on my old iPhone 4S for about 3 years. I get around to these things eventually...
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.