Friday, 26 November 2010

Been around the world and I I...

I haven't suddenly developed a fascination with Lisa Stansfield but the title is more a description of what we did in the summer. Yes, the summer was almost 4 months ago. Yes, many details have since been forgotten but we can't really blog about our travels and miss the biggest one out. The only reason it wasn't posted before is because of the 'pause' in our activities owing to the malevolent trucker (see previous post).

Writing this a few months later will probably work out much better anyway as, hopefully, I'll keep it brief(er).

The whole reason we ended up with a round-the-world ticket was purely for economical reasons. Nothing satisfies me more than spending hours, no, days trawling the internet to find hotels/insurance/flights at their cheapest price. I feel a masochistic sense of pleasure when I've managed to save a whole £5 off a hotel room. A fiver is a fiver after all. If you add them all up over the year...

Anyway, I was looking for a cheap ticket to get us home last summer when Trailfinders offered a 7-stop ticket for a couple hundred quid more than a standard return. Bloody hell, this was better than a fiver saved!

So we came home in the summer (and had a great time-thank you) and then did a whistle-stop tour of the following places:

Visited all over really but would recommend a trip to the south west of the island for its rugged landscape and completely unspoilt beaches. Recommend a stay at Jake's. Want to live there. Probably can't afford to for the next 15 years.

Did Vegas (avoid unless you have a gambling addiction, are alcohol dependent or have a fetish for the badly-dressed morbidly obese), San Francisco (great as always and got to see the Giants play. All good until charged $7 for a portion of chips!), LA (as exciting and seedy as you'd expect) and all the small towns in the desert (not much to say about them apart from they were interesting to look at. Got a speeding ticket though. Probably won't be able to enter America again until the $300 bill is paid...)

Cool for surfing. But I don't surf. Would recommend the Waikiki Circle Hotel. It's right on the beach front, cheap by Hawaii prices, clean, comfortable and friendly.

Another place I want to live. Brilliant city (thanks Andy & Midori for putting us up and showing us around. You also have the best behaved children in the world). Would recommend Japan to anyone. Didn't see the infamous crazy kids in the park, however. Must have been their day off.

Was exhausted after it all but enjoyed every minute of it. Will be slowing down the travels after Christmas though. Can't keep it up forever. Mores the pity.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Although based on real events, names of participants have been changed to protect their identities

A few months ago, the other half and I made the blog 'invite only'. This wasn't because we wanted some kind of private club (we are painfully aware that only our friends, and the friends with too much time on their hands at that, are the only ones to read what we write) but because our privacy had been infringed.

I can see you laughing back there. And you rolling your eyes thinking "Who does she thinks she is? Last time I looked, she wasn't Madonna". However, when you are a teacher you are not the same person in front of the kids as you are at home. The kids do not know about J's filthy jokes or what I was like as a student. They don't need to. But you all do. As our friends and family, you already know what we're like. As for any strangers who have stumbled across this blog, I'm assuming you don't really care but quite like what we've written about different countries. The kids however...well, that's quite a different story. In school, I am Ms D***** and the old bean is Mr J*******. We do not have a private life. Some of the kids don't even know we're married. That is how I wanted it to stay.

But a malevolent force with special powers (and a charming range in trucker tatts) found this place we call a drop-off for our musings and showed it, during a lesson to the kids. Who then said they'd look us up at home. I didn't want that. Why should I want that? It's not like J and I actually DO anything offensive but I still don't really want the kids to see me with a glass of wine (or 3) in hand in my civvies.

So, we made the blog private. Then we just stopped writing on in altogether. But, we like to write. Writing in a diary isn't quite the same because no one (hopefully) will read it. And let's be honest, there's a little bit of a show-off in all of us. As kids we showed our paintings to our parents, as teenagers our piercings or new cds off to our friends. In this new fandangled age, we show off our thoughts and opinions on a blog.
So here we are again, except this time we've changed the web address and the name and erased our names. If you want to leave us a comment, call us D or J or 'the clever one' and 'her husband'. Only messing! Honest.

We're not coming home just yet and so call this is a way of us all communicating. Aside from email. And Facebook. And Skype. And Twitter.
See you soon x

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

"I am just going outside and may be some time".

Being at times, humiliated by a country who feeds its children gargantuan amounts of food and names them things like Chuck, Eugene and Bub, is the equivalent to being beaten to the South Pole by a Norwegian.

Terry, Lampard and the rest of the London council estate scrubbers posing as England footballers should do the decent thing like a true Englishman- take the example of Captain Oates on Scott's fateful mission to the Antarctic and walk into the equivalent of a snowstorm citing 'they may be some time...' and are never seen or heard from again.

Walking into district 6, Cape Town with PW Botha masks on would be a fitting contextual equivalent or walking into some friendly fire from the US in Afghanistan would also suffice....

Oates: True Englishman, standing for the Great British values of humility, bravery and self-sacrifice in a moment of true shameful embarrassment.
Terry: Scrubber, standing for modern British values of arrogance, lethargy and cowardice in an equally monumental moment of shameful national embarrassment. And the cause of my sore throat on Sunday 13th June 2010.
District 6: modern "snowstorm"
Botha: Sexier than Terry?

People's Republic of South Yorkshire- World Cup Winners!

More World Cup mania- players eligible for the PRSY- scrubbers from S2, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley are not eligible!

Eat your heart out Our Glorious Leader KimJong Il and North Korea

Players from Sheffield Wednesday that have played in a World Cup- it's quite an impressive bunch really:

-------------1. Ron Springett

2. Roland Nillson 5. Peter Swan 6. Des Walker 3. Nigel Worthington (c)

8. Chris Waddle 11. John Sheridan 4. Wim Jonk 7. John Harkes

-----------9. Trevor Francis 10. Albert Quixall

Subs: 13. Woods, 12. Viv Anderson, 15. Kevin Gallagher, 16. Simon Donnelly, 14. Dan Petrescu, 17. Deon Burton, 18. Marc Degryse, 19. Klas Ingesson, 20. Niclas Alexanderson, 21. Efan Ekoku, 22. Scott Carson, 23. Kenwyne Jones,

Reserve list: Martin Hodge (cruelly left off the '86 squad by a media friendly Gary Bailey) Darryl Powell (significantly a waste of money)

Manager: Jack Charlton

I'm sure these lot would win!

If the Wednesday made England teams...

Due to the World cup mania and counting the days down till we go home and having no Wednesday representatives in the World Cup, I thought this might be interesting...

Worryingly the Blades have had more England internationals thanks to their superior prowess in the 50s and our pre-war internationals having their careers disrupted by war as well as superior & humungously talented forward players around in the 30s, 40s & 50s- such as Matthews, Finney, Greaves etc

So here goes:

-----------------------------1. Ron Springett--------------------------

2. Mel Sterland (c)------------5.Des Walker--------3.Andy Hinchcliffe

--------------------6. Tony Kay---------4. Carlton Palmer------------

---------7. John Fantham------------------------10. Albert Quixall----

8. Chris Waddle------------9. David Hirst-----------11. Ellis Rimmer

Subs: 12. Peter Swan CB 13. Chris Woods GK 14. Ron Staniforth RB 15. Thomas Crawshaw CB 16. Michael Gray LB 17. Jackie Sewell AM 18. Jackie Robinson AM 19. Gabriel Agbonlohor CF 20. William Clegg CF 21. Trevor Francis CF 22. Redfern Froggatt AM 23. Brian Marwood LW

Reserve list: Ernest Blenkinsop LB, Francis Bradshaw CF, John Brittleton CM, John Brown GK, Harry Burgess AM, Horace Burrows DM, Earl Barrett RB, Edward Catlin LB, Nigel Clough AM/CF, Mark Chamberlain RW, Scott Carson GK, Henry Davis RW, Edward Davison GK, John Hudson DM, Francis Jeffers CF, Fred Kean CB, Thomas Leach CB, William Marsden CM, William Mosforth CM, Stuart Ripley RW, Fred Spiksley LW, Jackie Sewell AM, George Stephenson AM, James Stewart AM, Alf Strange DM, Andy Sinton LM, George Wilson CB, Gerry Young DM

Manager: Howard Wilkinson

Justification for formation/tactics

I've gone for a mix of youth and experience... the pre war players would be used to playing like this which is a slight defensive rework of the old WM formation that served English sides so well before the late 50s/early 60s- it also is quite contemporary in its outlook when you look at the better technical sides- although not England sadly.

Hinchcliffe and Sterland would look to push on and carry the ball when in possession like a couple of Brazillian full backs and as such Carlton and Tony Kay would be looking to keep back on these instances. Fantham and Quixall would be an equivalent Gerrard and Lampard looking to pull the strings and weigh in with their fair share of goals from distance.

Waddle and Rimmer supplying the crosses of course, for a glut of goals with head and foot for the ultimate centre forward that England never had.

Justification for selection

1. Springett- already a veteran of the '62 world cup and would've been a shoe-in, in the real world if it wasn't for the maverick brilliance of Sheffield's own Gordon Banks.

2. Mel is frankly SWFC through and through and the best homegrown product I've ever seen. He would also make a great captain and if it wasn't for southern media bias for Gary Stevens/Viv Anderson should surely have been on the plane for Mexico.

3. Hinchcliffe- strange choice but was loads better than Le Saux and Gray in this team and I think poorly managed by Hoddle for inclusion in France '98

4. Carlton- again much maligned by England fans- nearly as good as Viera comparisons aren't really far off the mark.

5. Des- Quite frankly the best player ever to wear an England shirt with SWFC connections in my lifetime. Man of the tournament in Italia '90 for me. Only just edges Swan out because of my age as I believe he would've been a world cup winner but for the betting scandal in place of Jack Charlton and of course was first choice centre half in '62.

6. Tony Kay was apparently a legend in this position according to older relatives- would make Gareth Barry look like Solvedt I imagine- hard running, fearless and never lost the ball. Our loss was Everton's gain- the change in formation where wing halves weren't cool, the prison sentence and Alan Ball, Nobby Styles and various London team midfielders can't have helped in the 60s.

7. John Fantham was also very unlucky because of Jimmy Greaves and Geoff Hurst apparently. My dad used to play against him in the '50s and regularly kick him into the stands in schoolboy football and he also once asked my mom on a dat when my dad was doing his national service in '59. Pathetic I know, but it's my team- I guess Starling (the ubercaptain of SWFC) Robinson (a cult legend for SWFC if ever there was one in a Wednesday side who were like the Man U of the 30s) Froggatt (post war appearance record for SWFC and up against great players in the 50s and missed out on a regular spot due to too many good inside forwards around and Wednesday's topsy turvy decade) and Sewell might be pissed off, but I'm the gaffer like I said...

8. Waddle- what can I say. Speaks for himself- don't think Chamberlain/Sinton should be too disappointed.

9. Same goes- bizarre that Dooley never got a cap- but again short career, not as good/consistent as Lofthouse et al and played in an up and down team- Hirsty didn't and would be the best espcially in this formation.

10. Quixall- again a legend in north Sheffield- the origianl old big 'ead who used to puke before matches in reality. Was snatched by Man U post Munich and the rest his history- didn't live up to expectations as Britain's most expensive player. By all accounts (from my mother who used to live next door to he and younger brother George were regularly beaten by their father- an evil brute of a man who I guess wasn't on his own in those hard times of the early post war austere 50s- apparently George was more talented but had no talent because of this- and Quixall was more or less golden bollocks in his father's eyes) Again another Selfish one but i doubt many would argue against his inclusion in the starting 11.

11. Ellis Rimmer- an absolute SWFC legend and after listening about him from my gran and his grandson who I went to uni with was very unlucky not to add to his few caps with such good players around again. (if only we had that dilemma now) Was always going to get the nod over my childhhod fave- Brian Marwood.

I'm sure all of these could show Jamie Carragher a clean pair of heels alive or dead...

Name Change

The names have been changed to protect the innocent- D and I, thanks for logging in.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

4 posts in one month? But madam, you are really spoiling us!

New Zealand really is an amazing place. I've never been anywhere where you can literally drive for hundreds of miles and only have sheep for company.
J and I decided to hire a camper as it was the easiest and cheapest way to see the country. Despite the freezing cold nights in the South Island, wearing socks, jumpers, jeans and hoodies to bed and hip pains from sleeping in the back of van, they do not take away from the fantastic experience travelling around in it was. The 'Super Tui' became our mucky friend.

As promised to a friend a few weeks ago, this is the rundown of what we did in our two weeks in New Zealand. Be prepared to break the speed limit and have a numb bum from so much driving:
In the North-Mount Mauganui, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Tongariro National Park and volcano, Wellington, Martinborough; in the South-Marlbrough Sounds, Kaikoura, Franz Josef Glacier, Tekapo, Twizel, Queenstown, Dunedin, Otago Peninsula and Christchurch!!! Our favourite bit of the whole trip was walking up and through the volcanoes at Tongariro-amazing. Thanks to Rochelle for making our trip that little bit more special.
After such a good time in New Zealand, I wasn't all that keen on going to Australia. J may have had a few choice words to say about the Aussie officials, but my opinion was much worse. I was actually cursing the day Jon convinced me we ought to at least drop into Australia seeing as we had to fly there. However, I'm pleased to say that my first impression of the country was wrong. Sydney was a lot nicer than I thought.
There's a nice atmosphere to the place and I can see why so many people want to settle there. Possibly not for me but there's definitely a lot going on.
We did the usual: Botanical gardens, the harbour bridge, the harbour, the Opera House (all of which are located around the harbour) and wandered around the districts of the centre. We also took a day trip to Manley Beach (nice but flaming freezing. No sunbathing to be had there) and an hours drive up to the Blue Mountains with a stop off at the zoo first.
As you can see, we didn't spend our 5 days doing an awful lot. The harbour sights took half a day and we didn't do a fat lot at the beach either. We had spent 14 nights in the back of a Toyota van with plywood and 2 inch foam sponge mattress as a bed. We ate beans, toast and more beans and toast from our camp stove. We did nothing but relax in Sydney and it's a good place to do it. Besides, we'd had to sell a kidney each to pay for New Zealand-Australia is also not cheap.

The highlight of our trip to Oz was not our meeting with Clint the Koala or seeing the view of the Blue Mountains but meeting Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet in a very nice Italian cafe. He was sitting there eating, minding his own business with his wife, kids and mother-in-law. And I got J to pester him for a photo. Poor bloke. Never mind, at least I now have a picture that could make me £50 in 'Take A Break'.