Holiday pt 3

So in part 2 I spoke about food mostly, now here in part 3 I want to talk about theme parks, zoos, and the disappointment that was for one the original Mc Donald’s and Virgin Atlantic.

Let’s start with the theme parks.

As we all know looks & size wise there can be not a lot of difference between a child that is nearly 3 and a child that already is 3 years old. Why am I telling you this? Well as it was our very first visit to Disney’s magical kingdom the boys were nearly 3 which meant instead of over $400 dollars we spent over $200 on a day ticket for all of us, it was brilliant though. The first thing was the lovely little tram that took us from the car park to the ticket office. Then there was the monorail that took us from the ticket office to the entrance of the park. Which was all very friendly and all that. So first things first we went on this delightful little train ride around the park.

The boys absolutely loved and adored the dwarfs mine train rollercoaster. It was fabulous! Then there was the flying elephants ( lot of dumbos going round & round and up & down ). Tomorrow land’s people mover was brilliant as well even if it was just a slightly different slow train ride, showcasing all the other rides and attractions. The next ride we went on was the Buzz Lightyear one where you have to shoot the aliens. At one point we stopped off for a bite to eat and wow was that freaking expensive! as I never been to florida let alone disney, I wanted to see the carousel of progress. Horrendously slow and completely outdated in every aspect! the only thing that slightly held the boys attention there was a mechanical dog which barked at appropriate intervals!

We then went to the monsters inc. show and it did hold the boys attention for a minute or 2 until eddie wanted to go and Alex fell asleep. To be fair it did feel and look a little naff. We then sat down somewhere near the people mover and both boys just went to sleep. They slept for about an hour and a half.

You should have seen Alex on the “pirates of the Caribbean” ride now that was a sight to behold.he really enjoyed himself. Eddie wasn’t that sure of what to make of it. Oh yes one more thing we did at the magic kingdom was this lovely little boat ride safari. How hard must it be to keep this Jolly and downright brilliantly funny tone of voice all day?

Now we know there is a lot more to Magic kingdom than what we got to see, we decided not to wait until the evening parade as the boys were so tired all you wanted to do was get them back home!

Even though it was quite an expensive theme park, you pay more for the name than for the attractions & fun you can have there the boys enjoyed the day immensely and as Becky said ( having been there a couple of times as a kid and teenager ) : It does make it fun & new again seeing your child react to it for the first time.

The park of sorts we went to next was the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. We saw some really quite stunning animals, ranging from Lemurs, monkeys, giraffes to snakes, rhinos, cheetahs & leopards. It was all very interesting, we also saw some creepy crawlers. $3 for a bottle of water or soda where you know you need at least 2 or 3 of them in that hot & humid weather is actually quite pricey.

Ok this zoo might not have had any rides but the boys still very much enjoyed themselves which made a welcome change from that day we spent over $200 for tickets and nearly another 100 on top for food & drink. Disney ain’t cheap!

But the best we did save up until last. Let’s see we flew home Thursday night, so yes it definitely was sort of the last thing. We went to sea world on the Tuesday before heading home. We found a special online deal for SeaWorld which required us to have an US postal address & an US bank account/credit card account. Luckily we do have family over there so Uncle Bob was kind enough to sort it for us.

To start with we saw some protesters at the Gate of SeaWorld waving placards saying the Dolphins are given psychotropic drugs, that it’s unnatural for a dolphin to smile. The orcas are being mistreated etc.

First thing we did was we did rent a buggy this time. And those $6 were very well spent! the amount of walking we did at SeaWorld would either have been spent with winging boys or with very sore arms for us!

We saw some Sting-Rays, some Manatees, some lemon sharks, zebra sharks, lion-fish, Dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, walruses, but the most spectacular thing we saw at SeaWorld had to be the Orca show, now that was amazing.

There were a few rides at SeaWorld as well. A delightful little carousel which the boys loved, a tiny little train where the boys managed to get the front seat in the drivers cabin. Then there was a proper little rollercoaster for the little ones, but the most impressive thing about that area wasn’t the rides or the little water features, no it was this massive obstacle course high up above the seating areas. A maze of netting, rigging, tubes, going up and down, even had a couple of slides with it. It really was more aimed at older kids, but didn’t stop our two trying to get up there. Alex at first wasn’t too sure about it, took a couple more minutes to start climbing the stairs to the first set of ropes. So Uncle Paul followed Alex, where as I followed eddie. The way & speed with which Eddie climbed those ropes was really quite impressive. No wonder he looks tall & in very good shape. He really is quite strong our Eddie. By the time we found the Exit of the ropes and then stairs to go and join the others I was really rather puffed out.

All in all another brilliant day had by all. You might see protesters at the gates to SeaWorld, but really, honestly, how do you get people interested and clued up about the environment & wildlife in general? Only by providing a completely commercialised atmosphere where the harsh facts of the here and now are sugar coated and served to you in easily manageable small quantities. Some people will not give any of that another thought when they leave SeaWorld and some will be inspired to learn more, much more.

Florida definitely is a wonderful place to come and spend your holiday at. Be under no illusion that it won’t be setting you back about 3 to 5 thousand pounds. It definitely will, but what you get for that amount of money is absolutely priceless!

And as my wonderful wife said: Florida grows with you.

See this was our very first visit ( ok not for my wife, but in a way it was her first visit all over again as she got to experience it through the eyes of our kids ). The boys are at an age where a day spent in & around the pool, watching TV & then going out for dinner is a great day, same as going to a theme park is a great day for them. Now once they get a bit older they will be able to appreciate things like Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal & Hollywood Studios and a few more years they’ll absolutely love Bush Gardens and going out in Downtown Disney, going to Daytona Beach, going to Miami and the Keys. There is something to be found for every age group in Florida.

I definitely want to go back there!! We absolutely bloody loved it! It was fantastic! I would go again tomorrow if I could!! All this was made possible by my wonderful wife & her sister and brother in law. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart, you truly are amazing!

If you read holiday pt 2 you are probably wondering where the bits about chuck e cheese & MC Donald’s are I was talking about?!

Well one day we went off to do our own thing with the boys and let kathy & Paul do their own thing and we thought hey why don’t we see if we can find a chuck e cheese somewhere close by. Which we did. It does have a certain charm about it I give you that. The good thing also is the person at the door giving you and your kids a uv light stamp. So that the it is definitely the same group going out that came in. But the rest was quite disappointing. The were lots of games and tiny rides you had to pay for, a minuscule play area for babies & toddlers and a very short overhead tube labyrinth. Most definitely geared towards the slightly older kids who the pester mommy & daddy for quarters & dollars. So we decided to give it a miss and head over to Mc D’s.

At arrival at Mc D’s it said it was the worlds biggest Mc Donald’s! There were all those billboards at the side of the road advertising a brilliant deal on MC D food upon inquiry I was just told that it was not available in this store. We went upstairs as I heard so many stories about Mc D’s having these amazing play areas attached to them.

What i found were loads more of these money hungry machines/games and a series of very small tubes. Which weren’t even padded or anything. But the boys still went and wanted to check them out. Now I went back downstairs to get the food and it was ridiculous the amount of choice you had. Some people ( me included ) have the occasional blank and think what do I actually fancy here?

So I got our usual: Big box of Nuggets, happy meals, burgers, fries, drinks. All that came to around about $23 the only thing that vaguely tasted anything like the mc D’s you get over here were the fries. The rest all tasted, well I don’t really want to use the word taste. There hardly was any to speak off. when people slag Mc Donald’s off for doing rubbish food and it tasting of nothing then they clearly have eaten at an American Mc Donald’s and were not referring to the British Mc D’s. The British Mc D’s is utterly different. The burgers actually taste of beef and the nuggets taste of chicken and weirdly enough they are friendlier, oh and a lot cleaner!

I had to pry myself into one of those tubes the boys were playing in as eddie got his foot stuck somewhere and if I known what the state of those tubes were like beforehand I would never have let them in there. Thankfully my boys, despite being very premature have quite a decent immune system, which you needed crawling around those tubes!

So all in all I have a bit more respect now for the British Mc Donald’s than I had before and was left utterly disappointed with my visit at allegedly ” the biggest Mc Donald’s in the world ” in Kissimmee/Orlando.

So the thing about Virgin Atlantic was the flight to Orlando was perfect, couldn’t fault them whatsoever. But for the return trip we, in all our holiday happiness forgot to check in online early enough and thought “should be fine, we were told as we are a family of four we will be seated together” and we were assured that as we reserved seats together ( 4 in a row ) we would get them. They however forgot to mention that rather then this “reserved” meaning that it is a definite, it is a request at best and therefore can be easily ignored if you have a mind to. So when we got to the airport we were told that we had be allocated seats as we did not book in online. Those seats were 3 in a row and 1 behind that 3 in a row. The best thing still was that one of our boys was officially put on his own. We tried our best to ask if we could change it, to no avail. All we got was “no cant do anything about that.” At one point I got the feeling that someone was seriously trying to suggest we should be grateful we got the 3 in a row and 1 behind.

So let this be a lesson to everyone! if you think you have seats reserved in Economy do not believe a word they say, check in as soon as you possibly can to guarantee you get the seats you want/need! luckily it was an over-night flight so for a lot of the flight the boys were actually asleep, imagine it hadn’t been an overnight flight? On the outbound trek we “bookended” the boys which worked fabulously well, hardly any tantrums at all!

I tried to get in touch with Virgin Atlantic via Twitter and I was told that we never should have gotten any kind of statement that seats would be guaranteed, it would be a request at best! To which I thought of two letters that sums this up brilliantly: B & S

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Esate Agents love ‘em or hate ‘em

Sitting here in a room at a travelodge in Long Sutton near King’s Lynn not being able to go back to sleep even though I am dog tired I thought I tell you about my perception of the level of service I have received from the estate agents we got our new house through.

I don’t think it is too much to ask that an estate agent marketing a property for sale or like in our case for rent knows a little about the area, etc.

Questions like what is the most commonly used broadband provider with the best signal around here? am I expecting too much or should a local estate agent know that kind of thing? Instead of just saying ‘It obviously doesn’t come with this and you would have to find that out yourself’. He didn’t seem to have a clue about waste & recycling services in the area either. When I asked him about the 3 bins and if there is a seperate container for food waste. ( some councils do have that ). While we were on the subject he could have mentioned the local bin collection day?

But one of the most important issues in my opinion I got told he would need to speak to the landlord to find out. Stuff like “when was the house built” “as there is oil fired central heating when was the oil tank last filled up did it get serviced/cleaned/refurbished recently and how much is left in the tank?” In my opinion these bits of information are quite important when making a decision to rent a house.

But all of that was nothing compared to the rush job and the feeling of discontent and hurry I got when being shown around the place. I think he wanted me to be through there in about 2 min flat? at the time of the first viewing I had my boys with me. So you can imagine that the viewing of a house with two 3 y.o. does take considerably longer than 2 min.

So we really liked the house and in the end did go for it, despite my misgivings about the estate agent. I was at their offices today to pick up the keys and there was another thing that rather annoyed me. If you have so many properties you need to show people round and have dozens of key bundles lying around why don’t you label the keys properly? Being quite vague as to which key was the front door key and handing over a set of spare keys without being able to tell which is for what door again does not inspire me with confidence in their services!

Seriously am I being too hard on this young-ish estate agent or are some of the things I listed actually required knowledge for a local estate agent?

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Holiday pt. 2

Hey there. So in part 1 i was talking about the journey and arrival to our holiday destination. This time I want to talk about food & shopping.

As Florida heavily relies on tourism,to finance the whole of the state, it is not surprising that the service is unbelievably friendly, courteous, attentive and all round first class. Apart from the occasional staff member in a supermarket or two. But then it doesn’t really stick out that much too us because we’re not really used to this level of attentiveness anyway so when we get a similar sort of person than you would get back home it is kind of familiar.

As mentioned in my first holiday post the very first restaurant we went to was the Longhorn Steakhouse. Everyone was going on about Prime Rib Steak and that it was amazing, but not something you could get in England. The closest you could get to it was the chateaubriand which in itself is fabulous and delicious. The PrimeRib though I tried at the Longhorn was more fingerlicking, lipsmackingly gorgeous. Usually I am not one for ordering Rare steak, prefer medium Rare or just medium. But I tried a piece of my sister in laws steak and that was even better than mine. So yes I will be going for a rare PrimeRib next time. I’m sorry to vegetarians or people who insist on having steak well done. You shouldn’t ever have a PrimeRib well done, the most you should do with this amazing piece of meat is medium rare. It is a waste of a gorgeous piece of meat otherwise in my opinion. I guess you can see from this that I quite liked the meal I had at Longhorn.

The next day we went to Perkins for a late breakfast. As is so often the case we over ordered without realising that we were ordering a bit too much. Let’s get back to the start though. As soon as we walked into the place we knew it was going to be good, it all looked very welcoming, friendly & appetising. Cathy & Paul ( my sister in law & her husband who we have gone on holiday with for the 3rd time now. ) were praising the sheer quality and tastiness of the Coffee at Perkins ( and that is saying something as they aren’t very much into coffee at all ) so I decided to order some myself to see what it was going to be like. The coffee itself is nice enough, nowhere near as strong/bitter as you get back in England which is a plus, but what makes the coffee divine is the wonderful french vanilla coffee creamer Since then we have been to Perkins a few more times, the third time we went unfortunately the service wasn’t as brilliant as before as the waitress we had the last two times wasn’t around and it seemed that they were quite short staffed?! Now to be fair it did actually seem to us as I said that she was on her own serving everybody and not everyone can be happy & smiling all the time.

I mentioned this incident on twitter and the people who run Perkins’s social media picked up on this and escalated this further with the end result being we went back a couple of days later. Our usual waitress was back, the service was excellent and there was no problem whatsoever with the meals and as the manager was in he took care of the bill for us. So it does go to show that the US does customer service in a completely different way than most other countries I know off! we’ve been back since and are planning to go there one last time tomorrow before we head back to the airport!

Other than that we have been to Denny’s for Breakfast where we made the mistake of ordering a full breakfast, plus we ordered milkshakes & smoothies. A reminder for the future if you go to Denny’s for breakfast you either order milkshakes or have a breakfast. It is very difficult to do both! What makes the decision even harder is that both the shakes and the food are rather delicious!

When we went to a huge complex that is the Florida mall we stopped off for a bite to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s which again was really rather delicious. I had something completely different to what I usually have. Just fancied to try something new. It was called the the coastal trio: Tender lobster tail and jumbo skewered shrimp brushed with garlic scampi butter paried with light, flaky tilapia topped with your choice of creole seasoning or a lemon-Parmesan crust. Before that day I never even heard of Tilapia and never tried Lobster before either. You should seriously try it, it is utterly divine. The tilapia with the creole seasoning is just perfect. I was being a bit of a spoil sport, as I actually asked to have fries with it. Hey I love fries, there is nothing wrong with that!

The day after we went to the Winter Garden Village Shopping experience. A huge great big array of shops arranged like a small village. No air conditioned walk ways between shops. It literally is a shopping village. We were going to go to a restaurant called Chilli’s but as the boys had been up all day, without naps and had been really good walking around all of these shops with us, we abandoned plans to go to a restaurant and just filled the car up, bought some drinks & crisps and headed back to our house.

It really is quite different trying to fill up your car over here. You just cannot just start filling up your car, then head inside, pick up a few bits and pieces and pay for everything? No no it doesn’t work that way at all. You either have to pay with a card right there at the pump regardless of if you wanted to go in anyway and buy a few bits & pieces. Or as we did, we went inside, picked up the bits & pieces and asked for $40 worth of petrol, paid for the whole shebang and headed back out, started filling up to exactly $40 and then drove back to the house.

However on the way back to the house, after we all shared a big bag of Lays original we decided that yes we would like something else to eat so I was sent into Publix to get 2 of these huge sandwiches.

Friday was our Date Night, where Cathy & Paul babysat for us ( which was spent mostly in the pool @ a playground and out for dinner at Bob Evans ) which we were & are very grateful for. Obviously we spent most of the day together. Went for a brunch to Perkins yet again. That was the 4th time we were there. As I thought I mentioned before it enabled us to head down to downtown Disney and have some time to ourselves. We went to the house of blues for dinner ( I had some gorgeous ribs & becky had some lovely salmon ) and afterwards we went to the cinema to see “Lucy” which was a bit unusual but still quite entertaining and after that we went back to the house of blues as they had a live band performing.

On Saturday we went to see relatives of ours. Allison, Keith & Douglas Gadd. We had a fun afternoon catching up with everyone and later on we went out to dinner with everyone and went to somewhere called ” Millers Ale House ” which had a shed load of different beers, loads of TVs showing all kinds of different Football & Baseball games. The food was brilliant. To start with I had 35 shrimp blackened. Which was exactly what it said 35 little shrimp cooked to perfection and blackened with a slightly spicy marinade. The main course was marvellous another bit of steak.

Sunday was spent around some more family, Uncle Bob & Aunty Gillian Bellavia. We also were joined by a friend of the Family, Matt Sanford & his Girlfriend Megan, Bob’s brother and his wife turned up too. Aunty Gill was amazing with all the nibbles, food & desert she provided.

Monday I believe was spent going to Perkins yet again ( fabulous again ) and then heading our seperate ways. Becky, the boys & myself went to the central Florida zoo & botanical gardens and after that over to Uncle Bob &Auntie Gill. Where Cathy & Paul had a day all to themselves. In the late afternoon/early evening Uncle Bob & Auntie Gill looked after the boys while Matt, Megan, Becky & me went out to dinner. Colorado’s Steak House I belie it was called we went to, it was superb. You might have guessed it I did have the steak yet again. Probably should cut down on the red meat when we get back home!?

On Saturday while we were at Gill & Bob’s house we booked some online tickets to SeaWorld that were quite a steal. Which we used on Tuesday. For most of the day it was glorious weather. The boys were so knackered after the day going around SeaWorld that we decided they would not be good company in any restaurant. So went home, with a stop off at publix & papa john’s. Cathy & Paul then generously offered that we could still go out for dinner even though the boys weren’t up to it. So we did, we went to Chilli’s to have some Enchiladas and then did some shopping at Walmart.

So yesterday we had a very slow day until the early afternoon, when we went out to the Florida mall to do some more shopping we hired this cute little double buggy for $5 so the boys didn’t have to walk too much. That’s one of the problems with going through big malls that kids get tired and then get grumpy and don’t want to do anything else. After some more playing & shopping was done at Sears ( awesome store that is ) we left the mall to head to Chuy’s a lovely little Mexican place on highway 192. We all munched on tortilla chips to start with, the adults had this lovely, slightly spicy salsa as well. As a main we all had the same: chicken & steak fajita combination. Which was absolutely delicious. I even found the guacamole that came with it rather nice, where as I don’t usually like it much at all.

So today will be spent packing, going to Perkins, going in the pool, doing some more packing and then saying goodbye to the lovely house, the wonderful area of Davenport and heading to the airport to return our brilliant cars and checking in for our flights and heading back home to England.

Stay tuned for part 3…

Theme parks, shopping, and the utter disappointment that was mc Donald’s & chuck e cheese

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Holiday

Hey there everyone! we are on Holiday. In the weird & wonderful US of A. Davenport, Florida to be exact. We’re are here with my Sister in law Cathy and her Husband Paul. Let’s rewind to Wednesday for a bit.

So on Wednesday I took the boys over to see their grandparents and I came back to the house to finish off the last few bits of packing, clearing out the fridge of perishable items, finished off the exceptional Curry from SpiceBoys in Horley and then made my way back over to my in laws. We played with the boys until Dr B came back from work and then headed over to the airport to check our luggage in. Which made sense because you don’t really want to be queuing with two 3y.o. do you? But that meant keeping the little ones up a little bit longer which in the end wasn’t a problem. We did have the option of taking a buggy or car seats with us. So as we were going to rent a car anyway, ( really who wouldn’t want to rent a car over here? ) and were quite sure the isofix connectors would be compatible, we put those seats with ‘oversized luggage’ and then headed back to my Father in laws.

As his place is virtually 5 min away from the airport we stayed the night and headed off from there in the morning. So anyone who had/has toddlers will understand that it can be quite daunting heading off at half past 8 in the morning and spending most of the day in a plane.

Security at Gatwick was not a problem at all. They have a family security bit, hardly any queue there at all. Getting on the plane was not a problem either. There were a couple of incidents during the 8 hour flight but all in all we were really quite proud of the way the boys handled their first long haul flight. The problems ( tantrums ) started when we landed at Orlando. Imagine standing in line waiting with all your other fellow passenger in an extraordinarily long queue to get through immigration with a child and then multiply that by two. It was horrendous! the tantrums, meltdowns etc we expected on the plane we had almost ten fold while wAiting to get through immigration. OMG.

So when we finally got to the car hire people we got this: http://ca.autoblog.com/photos/review-2011-dodge-grand-caravan-0/#photo-3943608/ a Dodge GrandCaravan. It drives like a Van/Minibus with all the comfort of a luxury SUV. Having never driven in the USA before some of the American Highway Code does sound pretty strange. Like for example in some instances it is permissible to turn right even on a red light if there isn’t a sign saying you can’t do that and there isn’t anything that your turning would be obstructing. I mean a red light is a red light isn’t it?

Anyway when we finally got to the house in Davenport first impression was brilliant. Nice house, clean and well kept, lovely pool area. After getting everything in from the car and getting the boys settled sort of Paul and I went out for some much needed supplies while Cathy and Becky stayed looking after the boys. We went to a nice store called Publix, they do some amazing Subs there. Obviously they aren’t really called Subs because Subway I think have the rights to that term? But it was the same sort of thing we bought there, aside from a few other things. By the time we got back the boys were in bed asleep. Well after that length of a journey it wasn’t surprising how easily they were persuaded to go to sleep.

What I found strange though was the fact that I had to go to a different store to buy my favorite alcoholic Drink ( Vodka ). Went to an actual Liquor store.

All in all the flight was much better than expected, the stint at Immigration was much worse than expected, the journey to house was shorter than expected and the supermarket was just as nice as expected. They are all so very nice, politely and ever so helpful. They all pack your bags for you.

This morning was spent by the pool now that was wonderful, even if I don’t swim and can’t even seem to feel comfortable just holding onto to a lilo. We then collectively had a bit of a snooze afterwards. About half past 3 ish we all went for a drive in our big car and ended up about 4 o’ clock at Longhorn Steakhouse.

Again the friendliness, politeness and sheer effort to make sure we are happy is just phenomenal. We all, apart from the boys, ordered PRIME RIB steak. I heard so much about it I Just had to try it. Let me tell you it was an utterly delicious dinner. The boys munched their way through hot dog, fries & broccoli.

After that we were going to go to publix again but then decided to go to Walmart instead. Had a good look around the place and did a big shop.

… To be continued …

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Theme parks, budget hotels, dentists and passports.

*Just sitting here in the waiting room of the dentist and thought I start another blog post. *

As the title suggests I thought I give you a piece of my mind on theme parks. You see for Christmas last year we bought ourselves the premium Merlin Passes. Premium you say, wouldn’t just the Merlin Passes have been enough? I don’t know about you but I don’t always have loose change with me so we opted for the premium as that has parking included. We all know how annoying it can be to have to pay for parking.

First things we tried out with our Merlin passes were SeaLife Brighton which is a wonderful thing for the boys “Fish! Fish!” You heard all the time, even when they weren’t actually fish. Nowadays they do differentiate, thanks to the Octonauts! Marvellous program the “octonauts” already teaching little toddlers about the sea and marine life. We did have the opportunity to meet a life sized Kwazi & Cpt. Barnacles but the boys were rather shy and didn’t want to.

Apparently the little tour on the glass bottom boat isn’t usually included in the free entry with the Merlin passes but because we went the first time out of season and it was rather quiet we seem to have had the luck that we didn’t have to pay for it. It was very exciting for the boys to see all the fish, crabs, turtles etc. the only thing was they didn’t want to sit down and look. They did get a bit damp and dirty but hey that’s what kids do isn’t it?

* so now back in the waiting room after having had an X-ray taken of a tooth that might have become infected, the annoying thing there is that this tooth has an expensive crown on top ( NHS dentist but still that crown and everything that went with it was £220 ) and now it seems that the tooth might have to be taken out anyway? What did I pay the money for the crown for then? *

Anyway getting back to the sealife centre. On further visits to sealife centres we decided not to go on the boat tour because it can be quite expensive if you are there with a group of people. We’ve been a few times now to different sea life centres.

First time we went to chessington we went out of season, most of the rides were still closed, there were a few open and the zoo part was open too. So we still had a fab day there. Next time we went was the first time it was open in the new season and it was even better. We especially enjoyed the runaway train and the bubble works ride. All in all Chessington was a great success with our boys the times we have been there now.

We also made it our mission to go to Legoland as soon as it opened for the season which was late March. It was absolutely wonderful. Eddie is one big speed freak, even though he is only small he absolutely loves anything fast. Basically there doesn’t seem to be anything too high or too fast for him. He does take after his mother in that respect.

I do have to admit I have a moderate fear of heights. Well not so sure it is just a fear of heights. I’m fine in a plane, fine in most lifts ( completely incased in glass and going really fast is my idea of hell ) but I can’t get myself to go down a very steep slide. I have problems going up ladders that are very steep & quite wobbly. So my other son might Alex might have gotten a little of that from me. Some of the rides Eddie really wants to go on Alex really doesn’t.

We went on one of these pirate ship rides ( the back & forth motion kind ) and I absolutely cannot handle this kind of motion in a ride. I have a lot less problems on tamer roller coasters, like the runaway train types, but this is a big no no as I found out.

* as I hadn’t blogged for 8 months as I was dedicating any spare time to me, my boys and my wife, this is the second day I am writing this. At the moment on the train to London to pick up my passport from the Embassy. *

We’ve been to Legoland twice now. The second time we went together with good friends of ours ( the Dixon family ) during half term as both their kids are already in full time education. Trying to que with two 2 year olds can be an absolute nightmare. The rides we did get on we’re absolutely fabulous though. And Sophie, Theo, Nicola & John had a great time too!

So the first time we decided to head off for a few days away was late last year. Did I actually blog about that? I don’t think I had?

We went to a little town called Acle situated between Norwich and Great Yarmouth. We looked at hotels in the area and with toddlers in two we thought it probably be easiest and cheapest to stay at a travelodge.

That was wonderful. A bit off the beaten track but still reasonably central to what we wanted to do. We explored the area. Met up with some friends in Norwich and went to Gt. Yarmouth and to the Pettitts Animal Adventure Park ( @PettittsReedham ) ( Pettitts Facebook page ) which was just amazingly beautiful and the boys really enjoyed themselves! if you are the area you should definitely go and see it, we loved it.

* I am on train back from London now, having picked up my new passport. So I am finally rid of that ghastly picture of me in my old passport! *

Not to bore you too much and waffle on and on and on I shall leave it at that. The next instalment shall be about the time we went to Thorpe Park, up to Blackpool, up to Alton Towers and fell in love with the area in Norfolk around King’s Lynn.

none of this post was in anyway commercially motivated, it is all just personal opinions & experiences

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Hello again! Has it really been 8 months?

Seems like another lifetime when I last wrote something? But in fact, I looked it up, it seems to be 8 months ago.

So what have we been up to? Lots and lots of stuff. To tell you everything that has happened since my last post would take ages and I am not really capable of that at the moment, as I started writing this at half past 4 in the morning. Boys have woken twice so far and I am in their room now tryng to make sure their mummy who has to go to work isn’t disturbed anymore than she already was.

Let’s just say we’ve been doing a lot of stuff. A lot of it mundane and every day type of stuff. Like going to play groups, soft play centres, playgrounds, going shopping with the boys which is getting increasingly difficult, and there will come a point when it will be easier for all involved to just do the shop online, although if what we are planning these days will come to fruition, which we are determined to see to, then an online shop might not be such a good idea!

But I am jumping the gun again.

So the boys development has come on leaps and bounds really. Nowadays whenever we are in the car it is all about: “the poo tanker and the petrol tanker”! Didn’t you know there are only two types of tankers, poo & petrol, according to the boys at least! Oh yes and who could forget those adorable questions: “Where digger gone” or substitute Digger with any manor of vehicle like Lorry, Rubbish truck, Van, MiniBus, ambulance, Bus, Taxi and the good old PoliceCar. Not to forget the fact that the boys now point out planes and helicopters!

My dad had been over again in February, and then for the first and quite possibly last time the boys and I went off on our own for a few days, well not completely on our own. I had my dad with me. So we set off from home to Germany and it all went reasonably well. The boys enjoyed themselves, they did miss mummy obviously but at this age you can still quite easily distract them. Mummy missed her boys a hell of a lot too. To stay in the kiddie/parenting speak: Daddy missed Mummy a hell of a lot too!

Anyway I have a lot of ideas of what to write. l just do not exactly have the time or energy to post it. This also goes for reading blogs. I have quite a few blogs I loved to read ( still not quite sure what to make of Manneskjur ) but not really get the time to do that either. I only got to write this because I couldn’t sleep and was making sure the boys didn’t disturb anyone other than me!

When I get to write more I can’t exactly say yet, but watch this space. There will be stuff about Merlin Passes, Legoland, Thorpe Park Park, Chessington, Alton Towers, Drayton Manor, Blackpool, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, travelodge & premier inn, the wonderful experience of trying to get a new passport as a German in England, the pursuit of happiness, different lifestyle and better work-life balance which looks at the moment to possibly take us to Norfolk soon-ish.

Until next time

Bye Bye

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Wednesday words on a Thursday 07/11/13

Hello everyone, here is another Wednesday words on a Thursday! I use this lovely little App called timehop! Which shows you posts you done on Facebook and twitter in the past, that same day 1,2 and 3 years ago mostly. Which just so happened to remind me of the time our little Alex was in hospital yet again two years ago and we met this couple who had their son on the PICU at Southampton General Hospital just like us. Unlike us though their son was not doing as well as ours. We were talking about our kids when they told us about this wonderful piece on what it is like to care for a child with difficulties/disabilities.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

So thanks to timehop for reminding me of this lovely bit of writing.

Until next week for another Wednesday words

Crazy With Twins

Wednesday words 30/10/13

Hi there everyone! I been going through some of my pins on Pinterest, especially the ones on a board I called ‘Qoutes, Illustrations & Posters’ and came across this one:

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I would like to dedicate this not only to Emma who is just amazing, but also to Zoe, Jennie, Kylie and anyone else who has ever felt the loss of a child, either directly or indirectly. Please go and browse through this wonderful site:
saying Goodbye

Anything at all you can do to help will be very much appreciated!

If you are on twitter please say hello to these amazing ladies:

@crazywithtwins
@edspire
@bearandspoon @sayinggoodbyeuk
@kykaree
@downssideup

Wednesday Words
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Gosober ’13

Ok October is almost finished and I am just now writing about it, but I am sure a lot of you know what it is like when you have kids that don’t exactly work to your schedule and once they are asleep in bed for the night you feel so knackered all you want is a couple of hours vegging out in front of the tv.

I have been rigorously keeping up with the GoSober movement. I haven’t had a single drink since the last day of September. I haven’t used any Golden tickets although there were a couple of moments when I really could have done with a little drink!

So here is my Gosober site which is really quite lonely: https://www.gosober.org.uk/profile/misterdoctorbeckymark2

Any help would be greatly received, not just by me but also and mainly by macMillan cancer care.

Here now follows a GuestPost by the brilliant @mammapolitico Better late than never I say!

It’s Just Drinking – isn’t it?

Go Sober for October is underway. This is my take on why I think it’s a brilliant idea.

I had a surreal shopping trip to Asda with my soon to be ex husband on Sunday. A bit odd because he had just signed divorce papers that morning. Good in a way too though, because we were there like a normal family, choosing clothes for our eldest son as he is going away with school next weekend. Amicable, grownup – that’s the best way to be with these things isn’t it? As we reached he far side of the supermarket, I started to feel tense and stressed. A familiar pattern. He headed off down the alcohol aisle and came back with a big box of lager. He put this in his trolley then disappeared again, reappearing a few minutes a later with Pear Cider and a bottle of Whisky. I bite my lip. Stop myself from saying anything. My youngest two children look at me waiting for a familiar reaction. Not this time. “I’ve just forgotten something I say’ and walk off up another aisle – two minutes alone to get my composure back. That alcohol, in HIS trolley is not MY problem anymore.

What’s the big deal you’re thinking? A few drinks on a Sunday never did anyone any harm?

My soon to be ex husband, who I met as a student 20+ years ago, has slipped over the years from a social drinker (albeit an enthusiastic one) into a high functioning alcoholic. A professional, a man who loves his children, but someone who chose to continue his drinking habits, rather than carry on living with us. Having an alcoholic parent is something I lived with as a child and letting my children see this kind of drinking behaviour every day is not something I will allow to happen any longer. He’s working on his addiction. I’m working on building a new life without the stress of coping with his drinking. It’s real a shame that a long marriage which produced five amazing children ended up this way.

So I say give Go Sober October a go if you are worried about your drinking habits or even just to prove to yourself that you can take a break. Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti alcohol at all. I’m a big fan of Aldi Gin as it happens. Take care and drink sensibly. Don’t let alcohol get in the way of your relationships because they are what really matter.

Recently I had started keeping a booze diary via drink aware

Sign up now at:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/mydrinkaware/dashboard

Please visit this site and see if you can help in anyway!

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/get-involved

thank you very much for reading and @mammapolitico thank you very much for the guest post!

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Wednesday words on a Thursday for #gosoberforoctober

I was rather busy yesterday and unfortunately didn’t get time to think of ‘Wednesday words’ so here is another rendition of Wednesday words on a Thursday! As it is October and there is this brilliant thing called Go sober for October I was looking for a song about alcohol and remembered this one:

Beautiful South’s “The liar’s bar”

Songwriters: HEATON, PAUL / ROTHERAY, DAVE

Well sitting in a bar alone where no-one knows your name
Is like laying in a graveyard wide awake
You’re scared that if you cough or yawn you might wake up the dead
So pretend to read a paper or just drink instead
I’m a stand-up comedian but I’d sit down if I could
The world just seems to want folk like me to stand
And the punch-lines seem to disappear like clouds across the sky
And the laughter could be real or could be canned

Rum by the kettle drum
Whiskey by the jar
At Liars’ Bar

Well living with a lying man could never really hurt
But living with a drunk, well no-one deserves
And you’re looking for your husband, you’re not sure he’s still alive
Don’t bother with the cemetery, he’ll be down at liar’s dive
I’m a travelling businessman, I just stopped in for one drink
You’ll find that I’m not like the other men
Their noses are red whilst mine is only pink
And they didn’t choose their drink, their drink chose them

Rum by the kettle drum
Whiskey by the jar
At Liars’ Bar

And the grave-digger’s smiling at his reflection in his spade
He’s visiting the seediest, the shallowest of graves
The vocal chords of elephants and the characters of mice
They’re singing “whisky, whisky”, so good they named it twice
And son, this is rule one:
Well don’t pass buildings with lights on, if I said that I did I’d have lied
‘Cause what looks like a Chinese restaurant, may have Chinese New Year inside
And son all my life I’ve been searching, the bars I’ve been in I forget
The lights outside ever brighter, but a light on the inside, not yet

Rum by the kettle drum
Whiskey by the jar
At Liars’ Bar

And he’s a world-wide traveller, he’s not like me or you
But he comes in mighty regular, for one who’s passing through
That one came in his work clothes, he’s missed his last bus home
He’s missed a hell of a lot of buses for a man who wants to roam
You’ll never get to Rome son

And son, this is rule two:
If I look rough I am rough, if I look sad I am
If I look broke am I broke, just a broke down piece of man

I don’t mean to get sad on you at all but this is the truth:
I’ve turned over enough leaves to fill an autumn, if I had one final wish
I’d be your slave for a decade if you could take me away from this pish
If you took me away from this, I’d be different you’d see
‘Cause I didn’t choose the drink, a drink just chose me

Rum by the kettle drum
Whiskey by the jar
At Liars’ Bar

Well I’m smoking like a chimley
And I’m drinking like a fish
At Liars’ Bar

Liar’s Bar lyrics © Universal Music

The people at Macmillan cancer support are doing a fantastic job. Go have a look at what they do and how they help people: http://Macmillan.org.uk and if you can please donate £5 by sending a text to 70550 with the word ‘mobile’.

what do you think constitutes an older parent

Older Parents?

What would you class as older parents? Not trying to be nasty but in some areas of the Uk an older parent is late 20′s in some parts of the world early 20′s is considered older parents.

Now I was 36 when I became a dad for the first time. Which I personally would consider an older parent.

I just have visions of them being a bit older and wanting to do stuff like going to somewhere like chessington or Alton towers and I’m slouching behind because I’m old. There are two types of old. One is just a couple of numbers and the other is actually looking and feeling old.

Which is why we have recently joined one of the local gyms. We decided to go for K2 gym which is a joint venture by Crawley Council and freedom-leisure. Which is why we decided to go for this gym. Ok like any other gym they are out to make money, but due to that joint venture we at least feel that they are doing things for the community as well.

Another good point about this is that they have crèche facilities which means I can leave my boys in a safe supervised environment where they get to meet and play with other children while I go to the gym to work out. Now there are certain problems with that. Problem number 1 if I had not gone for the slightly more expensive membership option which is called “the connected membership” I would have had to pay for 90 minutes in the crèche £4 per child if you have 2 children like us that is £8 every time they visit the crèche.

Problem number 2 I can’t go to the gym as often as I would like because a) it wouldn’t be fair on my boys and b) the crèche is quite popular and does get booked up quite quickly.

But I didn’t actually intend this to be free advertising for K2 no what I wanted to say with this was that there are ways around to get to the gym when you have very young children. Now I am hoping that me going to the gym will achieve certain benefits for me, like getting fitter and looking better, but mainly getting fitter.

Now I, like a lot of men, seem to have started to develop what is known as ‘the pot belly’ where most of my excess weight seems Central to my stomach. Which in itself bears a problem. For one it doesn’t look that nice, secondly it can lead to all sorts of health problems when you get older. To minimise this risk, which includes high blood pressure, risk of heart problems, risk of diabetes, risk of chronic backproblems, I really want to try and make this work for me. I have this horrible vision of having similar health problems as my parents and my in-laws when my boys are all grown up and are starting a family. A very wise person said to me once ‘we sew the seeds to our old age in our 40′s and 50′s’ and as I am nearing this first milestone, the big 40, I am starting to think about what the future might bring? Which is quite funny really. Until late 2009 I never was much of a thinking about the future kind of guy. I was in a dead end relationship, I didn’t particularly like myself, had severe self esteem issues, was always anxious, smoked quite a bit. Real fun kind of guy, not!

Why am I telling you all this? Well I was hoping that the few people that actually read this would have some suggestions what else could be done besides going to the gym, and yes I know eating healthy, not smoking ( which I gave up about 3 years ago ) and not drinking or not drinking excessively plays a big part in this as well!

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Wednesday words 11/09/13

Having read the blog posts from Vic welton: http://www.vevivos.com/2013/09/08/the-saatchi-bill-1/

And now the Wednesday words post from Emma ( Crazywithtwins ):

http://www.crazywithtwins.com/2013/09/11/wednesday-words-insanity-vs-the-saatchi-bill/

I thought it appropriate to revisit one of my earlier Wednesday words and actually try and translate it into English. It is a song from the German pop band ‘PUR’ the song is called ‘In Gedanken’. Which in English means roughly translated: ‘in thoughts’ the lyrics talk about a big fan of the band who they actually met, who had cancer.
I haven’t translated from German into English for a while so it might be a bit rusty but I do hope you get the gist of it. You should have tissues nearby just in case! And as with all translations from one language to another the translation doesn’t rhyme obviously!

Pur ‘in gedanken’

Sie stand mitten im Leben
She had a full life
Hat das Glück angelacht
Laughed with joy
Für den Mann und die Kinder
For the husband and kids
Die treibende Kraft
The driving force

Sie war liebenswert
She was lovely
Freundlich
Friendly
Was man herzensgut nennt
What you’d call a good heart
Jemand
Someone
Der gerne hilft
Who loved to help
Den man auch gerne kennt
Who you’d love know

Sie war noch zuversichtlich
She was still hopeful
Nach dem ersten Befund
after the initial diagnosis
Und sie glaubte und hofft
And hoped and believed
Denn es gab keinen Grund
There wasn’t a reason

Von Gerechtigkeit hielt
Diese Krankheit nicht viel
This illness had no use for the term justice
Sie verfolgte heimtückisch
Und sinnlos ihr Ziel
It followed its aim insidiously

Das grab längst verschlossen
The grave’s been shut a long time ago
Die Schmerzen vergeh’n
The pain gets better
Die Tränen vergossen
The tears are gone
Das kann keiner versteh’n
Nobody can understand why

Die Zeit bringt Vergessen
Time makes it easier
Doch was auch geschieht
Whatever will happen
Sie lebt in Gedanken
Und in diesem Lied
She will live on through this song

All die Operationen
All the operations
All die Therapien
All the therapies
Begannen dem körper
Die kraft zu entzieh’n
Started to take their toll on her body

Doch sie wollte kein Mitleid
She never wanted anyone’s pity
Mit Löwinnenmut
With the strength of a lioness
Oh
Lachte sie weiter
Als ging es ihr gut
She carried on laughing as if she was fine!

Ich sah sie und weinte
I saw her and cried
Sie tröstete mich
She consoled me!
Ja
Das war echte größe
Mir war jämmerlich
That was out of this world, I felt so low.

Sie hat sich auf’s nächste
Konzert so gefreut
She was so looking forward to our next gig
Daß sie’s nicht mehr erlebt hat
Tut mir mehr als Leid
I am so terribly sorry that she didn’t get to see it.

Das Grab längst verschlossen …
The grAve’s been shut a long time ago…

Here is a video with the song: http://youtu.be/YClKmuUBOOk

Feminism or a new age Mary Whitehouse campaign

I’ve been following this campaign to abolish page 3 and lads mags for a while now. The Co-op and probably Tesco too are getting rid of the lads mags from their shelves soon. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with the lads mags, I haven’t actually bought any ever. Flicked through the odd one now and again. I cant help but feel that this is a bit too much.

I found this site to be quite interesting: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-objectification/ here now follows an extract from the afore mentioned website:
Objectification is a notion central to feminist theory. It can be roughly defined as the seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object. In this entry, the focus is primarily on sexual objectification, objectification occurring in the sexual realm. Martha Nussbaum (1995, 257) has identified seven features that are involved in the idea of treating a person as an object:

instrumentality: the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier’s purposes;
denial of autonomy: the treatment of a person as lacking in autonomy and self-determination;
inertness: the treatment of a person as lacking in agency, and perhaps also in activity;
fungibility: the treatment of a person as interchangeable with other objects;
violability: the treatment of a person as lacking in boundary-integrity;
ownership: the treatment of a person as something that is owned by another (can be bought or sold);
denial of subjectivity: the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.
Rae Langton (2009, 228–229) has added three more features to Nussbaum’s list:

reduction to body: the treatment of a person as identified with their body, or body parts;
reduction to appearance: the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look, or how they appear to the senses;
10. silencing: the treatment of a person as if they are silent, lacking the capacity to speak.

The majority of the thinkers discussing objectification have taken it to be a morally problematic phenomenon. This is particularly the case in feminist discussions of pornography. Anti-pornography feminists Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, influenced by Immanuel Kant’s conception of objectification, have famously argued that, due to men’s consumption of pornography, women as a group are reduced to the status of mere tools for men’s purposes. Moreover, feminists like Bartky and Bordo have argued that women are objectified through being excessively preoccupied with their appearance. Important recent work by feminists has also been devoted to exploring the connection between objectivity and objectification. Recently, some thinkers, such as Martha Nussbaum, have challenged the idea that objectification is a necessarily negative phenomenon, arguing for the possibility of positive objectification. While treating a person as an object (in one or more of the ways mentioned above) is often problematic, Nussbaum argues that objectification can in some contexts take benign or even positive forms, and can constitute a valuable and enjoyable part of our lives.

I was more than once, on twitter I might add, reminded that the issue of Page 3 and lads mags have nothing whatsoever to do with the other big issue that needs to be looked at: feminists like Bartky and Bordo have argued that women are objectified through being excessively preoccupied with their appearance.

If you take this as your starting point you soon have to come to the conclusion that the media plays a huge part in this. There are so many publications, tv shows, celebrities, and so on and so forth who tell not just women what to think, how to feel, how to dress, what to eat and what not to eat. How come that in say the 50′s and 60′s even as recently as the 70′s the perfect image of a Woman was not this unrealistic ideal of a toned, skinny size 0 body.

Now lets look at it from a slightly different angle. If you, like me, have no time for all these reality tv shows and “talent contests” you should get where I am coming from with this. All the girl and boy bands around who are more or less devoid of any talent are mostly chosen for their looks and their so called “image” which most of the time has been precisely engineered by the likes of Cowell and Walsh!

So I put it to you: If you want to ban page 3 and all the lads mags. You will have to get rid off all the girlie mags, the celebrity magazines and any other publication that is almost exclusively about these reality shows, their so called stars and these fabricated girl and boy bands. If this isn’t objectification in its purest form I don’t know what is?

The celebrity itself is an objectification, why else would some of us rush out to by magazines like Heat, Ok and all the others.

If we teach our children empathy, ie if they associate women who are on page 3 or are in lads mags with real life. For example she has kids and a mortgage to pay we make them real people and therefore the objectification ceases. If we can also instill in our children to chose their actions and friends wisely peer pressure and being impressionable will have less of a negative impact which will also help to keep the wrong kind of objectification at bay.

We should be thankful that we can have an open debate about objectification. In some eastern countries Women don’t have the right to vote, they will take the opinion of their father, their husband or their religious leader, they don’t even have access to education in some cases.

Wednesday words 04/09/13

So last week we started with ‘Naming of a cat’ well I thought we could continue on the cat based prose by the brilliant TS Eliot. This time I chose one that I remembered from Cats. Never actually seen it in theatre but I do remember bits and pieces from here and there. So without further ado, here is Mr. Mistoffelees:

MR. MISTOFFELEES by T.S. Eliot

You ought to know Mr. Mistoffelees!
The Original Conjuring Cat–
(There can be no doubt about that).
Please listen to me and don’t scoff.
All his Inventions are off his own bat.
There’s no such Cat in the metropolis;
He holds all the patent monopolies
For performing suprising illusions And creating eccentric confusions.
At prestidigitation And at legerdemain He’ll defy examination And deceive you again.
The greatest magicians have something to learn From Mr. Mistoffelees’ Conjuring Turn.
Presto! Away we go! And we all say: OH! Well I never!
Was there ever A Cat so clever As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!
He is quiet and small, he is black From his ears to the tip of his tail;
He can creep through the tiniest crack, He can walk on the narrowest rail.
He can pick any card from a pack, He is equally cunning with dice;
He is always deceiving you into believing That he’s only hunting for mice.
He can play any trick with a cork Or a spoon and a bit of fish-paste;
If you look for a knife or a fork And you think it is merely misplaced–
You have seen it one moment, and then it is gawn!
But you’ll find it next week lying out on the lawn.
And we all say: OH! Well I never!
Was there ever A Cat so clever As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!
His manner is vague and aloof, You would think there was nobody shyer–
But his voice has been heard on the roof When he was curled up by the fire.
And he’s sometimes been heard by the fire When he was about on the roof–
(At least we all heard that somebody purred)
Which is incontestable proof Of his singular magical powers:
And I have known the family to call Him in from the garden for hours,
While he was asleep in the hall.
And not long ago this phenomenal Cat Produced seven kittens right out of a hat!
And we all said: OH! Well I never! Did you ever Know a Cat so clever As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!

Cats Mr Mistoffelees pt 1
Cats – Mr Mistoffelees pt 2
why they had to break it up into 2 videos I do not know, but hey that’s the best version I found on youtube!

Crazy With Twins
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Wednesday Words 28/08/13

Hello there! I bet you all are getting a bit fed up with the constant ‘From the archives’ stuff that is going onto Twitter every couple of hours, well I’ll switch that off for now I think? I still find it a bit difficult to have time to write anything or anything that really matters, I could write and write about every little banal thing that happens or that irks me in some way but a) that’s just not me b) it would piss quite a few people off and c) I don’t really have the time to do that because there is a lot that happens and that irks me! For now lets just enjoy this weeks Wednesday words which is dedicated to all who like and love cats. The boys were running around causing havoc upstairs the other day and handed me this little book and I looked at it and was surprised that it was all about cats and it was by TS Elliot. So here is the first Cat poem by TS Elliot I have ever read:

The Naming of a cat by TS Elliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

(c) TS ELLIOT

Crazy With Twins