Archive for August, 2011

Shhh shhh it’s ever so quiet..

A blissful weekend, the other one was the only person I had to see, and speak to, for two whole days. This sadly isn’t to give him credit for my enjoyment, it’s not like living with Oscar Wilde (or Johnny Depp for that matter and besides there’s no bathtub to fill with champagne here) but merely to note that after 3 weeks of being constantly with people, it was great not to be. Quite why I created Social Seychelles I sometimes wonder.

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I'd just grab those beardy plait things...

Said film hit Seychelles last week and maybe being in Seychelles has given me an aversion to pirates but I have this to say:

Sling yer bloody hook Captain Jack Sparrow, do us all a favour and WALK THE SODDING PLANK.

I prefer my pantomime on stage when I can join in, shout, and BOOOO loudly. And I would say that to Johnny Depp’s face, really I would, I’m just not sure if that would be before or after I tried to snog the living daylights out of him. Hmmm maybe after.






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Earth with a bump

Reality kicked in as the sad events of the week unfolded and news broke of the shark attack off Anse Lazio claiming the life of Briton Ian Redmond (and while I’d been in England also that of Nicolas Virolle, a French tourist). The phones went crazy and,surprisingly, quite a few UK dailies sent over reporters (no wonder the printed editions are losing money), all eager to know more. Paramount, however, was the privacy of Gemma Redmond and her family. I cannot even begin to know what it must have felt (and still feel) like. It’s only been a week, the family still grieves, but the news has moved on. The phones are quiet, the search for the shark continues and the thought remains, it can happen to any of us at any time. I’ll have that second bowl of London Dairy thank you very much and not worry too much really about anything. Live.

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# The Return – Three bags full

Landline dead, no internet.

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# The Return – Two kgs under

That was all we had left of our luggage allowance when our bags were weighed at the airport; twice what we took with us. I wouldn’t mind but we were useless when it came to bringing things that we might actually need, crisps, chocolate, pan scrubs, tea, nice smelly fabric stuff, school books (the other one, honestly).

And then…Not a day later and some punks, robbed us while we were in the house!! I say robbed, they only found some Hall’s Soothers (but as seeing as though I’ve never seen them here I reckon I could fetch a fairly decent price). They were stuffed in a bag that thankfully I’d emptied of anything worthwhile, but which they’d managed to drag across the floor and through the bars on the window by using a long pole they’d poked through! I’m fairly sanguine about it as they didn’t nab anything valuable and they soon scarpered but that was day 2 of our return.

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A trip in brief

26 days, 13 bedrooms, 13 kids, 10 magazines, 7 cities, 6 parks, 3 towns, 3 films, 2 takeaways, 2 oyster cards, 4 sandwiches, 2 chai lattes, 1 doctor, 1 dentist, 1 optician, 1 sushi, 1 pizza express, 1 pret, 1 champagne cocktail, 1 twirl, 1 sunday newspaper, 1 birthday, 1 year older. Harumph.

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#Days 23-28 London like an old slipper

Regent street with bus

Dear old friends, another pub birthday celebration, packed tubes, crap weather, managing to avoid a riot or two. No one’s going to stop me walk the streets of London.

And all too soon our trip was over.

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# Days 18 – 22 It wasn’t us promise

A trail of devastation – Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff and London. We left, the riots began. No correlation at all. I reckon it was the mates we visited, they were distraught we’d gone.

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# Day 11- 17 Mancs are in the house

A rare sunny, piccadilly gardens in Manchester, before 200 rioters rampaged a day later

Home sweet home. A whole week in the place which God created on the Sixth Day  – MANchester. It was good to back, I love it even if I don’t live there : )

We started in the outskirts in Macclesfield, where we made a beeline for Toni and Guy and the poundshop (well I did, the other one hovered outside while I got excited about 6 packets of Walkers Crisps for a £1!).  We then nudged closer in to Stockport and Knutsford, with a side trip to Buxton, so thinking about it we weren’t in Manchester at all. Still, we got a night out in the Northern Quarter, where unconsciously my heart let out a huge contented sigh, I try to convince myself otherwise but there the city still breathes, I’m not so sure I could do suburb style living, but then we were home, tucked in bed by midnight. I’m not sure that’s exactly Manc form either.

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#Day 8,9,10 – Lisbon Layabouts

view over lisbon

A 3 hour train journey to Lisbon passed smoothly and after a false start or two, lugging our rucksacks in the sweltering heat, we found our hotel, Hotel Estrela, a snazzy designer affair that, as it turned out,  was more style over substance, but a hell of an improvement on the Ibis. Housed next to a tourism school, the ideas is to allow its students to get some real world practice at the hotel, which while great in theory is not so great when they’re not very good. Special mention though to one guy who recommended that on our scheduled trip to Sintra, we had to, had to,  make sure that we visit Quinta da Regaleira and he was bloody right.  

Looking from the bottom to the top of the well

The main house was nothing exciting, it was the gardens that were the real treat designed by a theatre set designer. It was like being eight years old marooned in world, a cross between the secret garden, the magic faraway tree and the munsters – full of grottos and caves and doors in walls and the Initiation Well, apparently based upon Freemason and Knight Templar initiation practices, winding round eight or nine stories high. I regressed badly for a few hours. It was way better than the Palacio Nacional, a marvel of a fairytale castle that I thoroughly enjoyed but the other one couldn’t see the point of. Maybe it’s a girl thing.

The other major highlight of Lisbon was the Museum Calouste Gulbenkian, named after one man’s bequeathal to a city that offered him shelter during World War Two after he was kicked out of Britain, his Turkish background to blame. Having accrued his wealth from oil, Gulbenkian amassed a heap of treasures including oriental vases, Persian carpets, Impressionist paintings and much more. We spent an afternoon marvelling his collections.

The rest of our time in Lisbon we spent pottering around the city, idling the hours away in a variety of bars, cafes and restaurants, highlights being the funky, narrow streets of Barrio Alto and a meal in a traditional beer hall where I ate a deliciously rich and unusual meal that I can only describe as prawn, bread and butter pudding.

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