Strictly, as of 4.00 yesterday afternoon, until a week on Wednesday, I’m not on medical leave, I’m on holiday. Ironically, as with March, it would have been my Saturday (every 5th week) to work this week. Of course, as history has dictated, I havent worked since that fateful day in March, and of course, accordingly to several medical sources, it seems that March 9, 2019 will go down as the last day of my working career. So why, you ask, does this week count as holiday, technically at least?
Well back at the end of last Summer, we are asked to pick our 2 preferred weeks of holiday, and this week, starting tomorrow was the start of the first of mine. I hadnt ever got to making any serious plans for this, in truth. So where would I be, if fate hadnt stepped in, who knows? Its actually possible I’d be where I am now, sat at home, as the US trip this year was always going to be September. I might also have been in Belfast, as Ireland are playing 2 cricket matches there in these few days (first was today), but had not made any definite plans by March on that.
I know where I would love to have started my holiday week, a day early, and that was Pine Bush, New York. Yes, yesterday was UFO day there, and yes, Stacie was there (its not far from here), and yes, I’m jealous. I will state now that if I’m allowed to still do International Travel after having been by the neurologist, its on my target list for next year, believe me. And yes, if I do, I’m definitely doing the full Alien look, and if I can find a flying saucer/space craft to travel there by, yes, I’m doing it, ideally in said Alien outfit. Or new Alien body, who knows? 😉
Why did I pick this week, you may be asking? Well, a week tomorrow is a Bank Holiday, so I would have got an extended holiday, thats why! But now, does this even count as a holiday any more? Technically yes, but strictly, well?
Video time. This is most definitely not live, however much they might want it to look like it is. Apart from anything else, the male ‘singer’ didnt even sing on the record. Oh, and the lead singer’s outfit, yes, I’d love it, if anyone is offering?
A piece of amusing fluff that my brain can probably cope with today that I want to get out of my system, even if I know I’m not going to get any positive replies. Please note, this is only based on the 99.99% assumption that I’m not going to be fit for work ever again, or at least in the foreseeable future. Should my neurologist have the skills of Rotwang, and either replace my brain with the most complex AI system, or even better, do a Maria on me, and turn me into a robot, then this wont be needed, and I’d be a happy bunny. Again, given this is less likely than the other 0.01% chance, lets go with the flow (and silliness).
In September/October, the other 2 here are planning on heading down to Portugal on a leisurely basis, away for 3-4 weeks. Now if my body, and more importantly my brain were functioning normally, all would be fine. Cats might complain about erratic feeding times, but they’d survive. Thing is, my brain most definitely isnt functioning normally, is it? So yes, I’m going to need a minder of some kind, arent I? Even if the meds do seem to have my problems currently under control (if not my mind under control, sadly), I do need to be checked regularly, just in case. Unless…?
Oh fine, lets face it, I’m not your perfect companion/courtesan type, am I? I’m not a pretty, sexy little 20 something female, happy to pay her way in company, and err, other things (sex stuff, for those who really are innocent), am I? I’m a less than stunning, 60 something, with a few health issues that need keeping an eye on, and thats before you even get to the bit about being pre op Transgender, with no interest in sex! Equally, I’m less demanding than said sex kittens. As long as I have something basic to eat (clean minds, please), have internet connection, availability to televised baseball/NFL maybe, a comfy bed, and someone to make sure I dont have a seizure or something, I wont demand the world. Thats not to say that if someone offered the world (or any decent life standard in between), that I wouldnt say no, but…
And yes, I dont need an apartment//beach house (yes Marion Davies, looking at you) permanently, I just need somewhere comfortable to live for shall we say, 4 weeks? Mind, if you want to set me up as your modern day ‘Marion Davies’, well…?
But seriously, if any generous person wants to simply ‘mind’ me, for a few weeks, somewhere decently warm (or warmer), no commitment, for little financial reward, then fine, thats all I really need. I’m not very mobile, to put it politely, but I’m definitely not an acting diva, either, darlings. But if you want a companion for events/meals, well…
Talking of which, if all this supposed time travel stuff is true, and someone in the 1920’s reads this, and fancies a less than frisky flapper for a few weeks, looking the part, send me a telegram, or something. Or email (email@example.com), if really a time traveller, lol. (modern people can also use said email address too)
Alright, my dream result of this request? A wealthy person from California, or Florida, seeking a companion for a few weeks, probably live in, or regularly visited, where I could play the part of the ‘lady of the house’ for a few weeks would be heaven, but that doesnt happen in real life, does it?
Equally, if anyone needs a guinea pig for robot, or AI experiments, well…? 😉 Lets face it, I could really do with a new brain, or ideally, body! Now that really would be fun!
OK, wishful thinking over, which leads to video time. Being bisexual, I couldnt go strictly with the song title, but this would be heaven. One of those delicious movies with a 20’s feel! Oh, I love Twiggy’s outfit!
OK, fine, they think its all over, well it pretty much is now, lol. No, I’m not talking about the current government, though that might yet prove to be apt. But being strictly politically neutral on UK matters…well…? No, seriously, I mean my little break in the sun.
Of course, the sixty four million dollar question is, has the break in the sun done my back any good? Well, I’ve been taking less pills than usual, so I guess thats a good sign, but how long the effects will really last when I get back to the UK, who knows? I certainly havent missed not hearing all about the chaos at home over Brexit, and other stuff, for sure.
Yesterday, I headed to Vila Real De Santo Antonio as planned, and had a look around. In a sense, its more my sort of town than Faro would be, more peaceful, laid back, and dare I say it, old fashioned? Sadly I didnt get to Spain, as I reached the ferry terminal after town, and lunch, to see it pulling out for Ayamonte, across the river, in a different country, and given the next one wasnt for another hour in the off season, I didnt wait. That would have put me on the 2.30 ferry across, so earliest back at 4.00, and then needing to get back to Monte Gordo, all would have got a bit late for me. Maybe another time, maybe not, who knows?
Today, as I have done most days (gentle exercise, which is good) I took my stroll down along the front, and down part of the boardwalk, over the beach. I did some shopping, a little bit more than I’d planned, but nothing too dramatic. Oh, I got one of those coats, seems they had a zip up version as well for same price, so deal done! So I guess at some point soon I’ll need to go into work looking like a 30’s film star, lol. No, its silly really, I dont need a winter coat, but… Yes, I found the PIN for my credit card, but then found they only took cash, no cards, aargh!
I must admit, if, as I hope, I can retire somewhere with all year round warmth, then Monte Gordo has done a pretty good publicity job this week. I know its off season, but its quieter than the more popular end of the Algarve, its pleasantly warm, even in mid November (70 today), and cost of living is definitely lower than the UK too. But whether I will be in a position to make it happen, who knows? Will it even be possible once we’ve left the EU to move out here easily? Rolls eyes… Who me, a remain vote, well, you might think that, but I couldnt possibly say! 😛
Last amusing note, before I close for this holiday. There is a spa at the hotel I’m staying at. I did notice on their website that the spa does those body wrap things, and I’ve always fancied that. Go into my cocoon as the ugly caterpillar, come out the beautiful butterfly, yeah, I wish! So today, with budget sorted, I went to see how much it was. Yes, as I expected, way above what I had left, 80 Euros, for admittedly 80 minutes of pure pampering heaven. So, a fair price, but… To be honest, it was pretty much all above my budget, but I guess a 4 star hotel with spa (I’d say closer to 3, but anyway…), thats probably going to be the case. The thing was, they had a special offer for a hot stone massage, at 49 Euros. for 50 minutes of pampering, which I could just about scrape together. But anyway, being practical, I checked on Google, and it said not advised for people with Osteoporosis issues, so I ended up passing. Probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry with boring old me!
It was funny tonight at dinner, I got asked why I was drinking Coke, when everybody else was drinking wine, so I explained about the painkillers, and all that. Again I wonder if thats just me being extra cautious, as I know people taking those pills, and drinking booze, and being fine, but…I am being boring, lol!
Tonights video is a song that might have passed most people by, especially as its now 33 years old! The late, great, Kirsty MacColl for your delight
Oh, and as a test to see who actually reads these things, given its Transgender Awareness Week. Yes, somethings been annoying me this week, and I’ve decided he’s got to go! Its fair to say, dont get excited, its not going to happen before retirement, as I’d need way too much time off work otherwise, to get it done before then. Yes, been looking at clingy dresses again, lol, and the desire to wear them, and the current impracticality of doing so. Latex would be fun, but at 66, I dont think so! Of course, the back could have a major relapse over the winter, I need to retire on disability grounds, but until then…?
Might give me a clue as to who ‘likes’ the blog without reading it, lol. 😉
Well, if I were to update you on what I did yesterday, you’d be bored stiff, because I did pretty much what an ‘old crock’ like myself should do, I had a relatively easy day. I went out for a gentle stroll (bit further than planned), had a bite of lunch, then headed back to the hotel again, via a stop for an Ice Cream. Fallen asleep yet? 😛
Today however, was far more amusing, which is the only reason you’re getting this tonight. My original plan had been to head into town (about 11.15), have a stroll, get a coffee, then head down and get the 12.30 bus to Vila Real De Santo Antonio, have a bite of lunch, then hop on the ferry, cross into Spain, just because its easily done (ferry takes 15-20 minutes to cross), have a look round, then come back again. No, as you gathered, I didnt do that!
Instead, as I got into town, just after 11.30, the seemingly slightly delayed 11.27 bus to Faro swung into sight, so I got on that instead! I will do the other trip later in the week, but for now… There may not be a bus every 10 minutes, but they do believe in comfortable bus seats over here, so nice! Fares are similar for distance as at home, for those interested, so it can be done, First Buses!
But the sweetest thing for me, was one of my fellow passengers, at least until Tavira, where she got off. To say this woman was the spitting image of an elderly Gloria Swanson (as in Sunset Boulevard era, or just later) was remarkable. Gloria (if I remember right) was tiny, under 5 foot tall, I believe, but in truth this woman wasnt much taller than that! Oh, and this woman was speaking fluent Portuguese, but other than that… She had the perfect diva attitude too (though I’ve heard nice things said about Swanson, so maybe she didnt?) as she showed when someone was trying to help her with her bags, after she got off the bus.
The rest of the drive to Faro was positively sedate, other than the song that got stuck in my head, this one
In truth, after just over 20 years, I didnt remember much of Faro, beyond the basic set out, but I suspect its changed in that time anyway. Bus station is still as ancient as it was then, mind, certainly no overhaul there!
At home, generally the bus fares are cheaper than the trains, and they take longer to get places, though because of the route the train takes, that doesnt work between Huddersfield and Bradford, because the train ambles round via Halifax. In the old days, the train was also more reliable, but that no longer happens! Here in Portugal, the bus fare was actually more expensive than the train (5.70 Euros, to 5.05 on train), takes longer to do the journey, even allowing for the long walk to the station (about a mile) from here. The snag is, Portuguese trains make Trans Pennine Express look reliable, and thats quite an achievement!
The train back to Monte Gordo from Faro was meant to leave at 3.00, and take 62 minutes for the journey. Even with a 20 minute walk, that should beat a 3.15 bus that takes 83 minutes for the journey! The thing is… The train pulled in from Lagos (yes, Nigeria isnt the only one to have a place of that name) at 3.03, about 4 minutes late, so we all get on. Then a minute later, we all get told to get off again. I have no idea what the announcement said, as it was only given in Portuguese, not a lot of use to most passengers who were tourists! Anyway, said train reversed back down the platform, and sat just outside the station. Just after 3.25, it plodded back into the station, we all got on (and stayed on) and a few minutes later, it set off for Vila Real De Santo Antonio!
I finally got back to Monte Gordo about 30 minutes after I should have, and still nearly made it into town before the bus passed me! Ah well…
Oh, and this leads to the second video of the day, the song I was singing to myself at the station, when I was wondering what the train was doing!
Well, barring the need for a trip that is unexpected at this time, Saturday sees me starting off on my last ever ‘Inter-EU’ holiday, to Portugal. Also, I guess I’d better add the codicil that is the fact that I am assuming at this point that we will actually leave the EU in March 2019, because lets face it, weirder things have happened in life, for sure! But yes, all things considered, this should be the final time I do this. I just hope this doesnt totally ruin my hopes of moving somewhere hot, all year round, after retirement, but fear it might.
Of course I’m old enough to remember a time before we were even in the EU, and back then, if I remember rightly, there were just 6 countries in the Common Market, as it was called back then. At that time, barring 1 school day trip to France, I’d never been to any of the Common Market Countries in my life. By now, I’ve been to 4 of the original 6, and 20 of the current 28, including the UK! The most visited (excluding UK, obviously) would be Ireland, easily, though most of those visits would be before it entered the EU, but besides that…
The thing I’m going to miss the most, is the easy entry to said Countries, as a EU Passport holder. Mind, given that ‘Old Mother Time’ has caught up with me, I will no longer have to stand in the queues to get through passport control any more, just ride through in a wheelchair. I must admit, the main reason I always booked the service to the US was because of getting into that country through Immigration, for which my back wouldnt stand, but I’ve been ‘advised’ that it might be wise to use the service now to Portugal, so yes, its been booked tonight. I cant see the queues being so long that I would have standing time issues, but its done!
Oh, there is one unique thing that I shall be able to do this time around. My only time in Spain was over 20 years ago, when I got the ferry across from Vila Real De Santo Antonio, to Ayamonte, just across the river. The irony back then, the amount of time I could spend in Spain was limited, as I had no local currency to spend. Yes, pre Euro’s days! Now, next week, no issue at all, as one currency works in both countries.
I’m not planning a stressful week for my trip, it really is an attempt to get some sun, and heat into my back before the UK winter kicks in! A planned trip to Faro, (I’m almost in Spain, at Monte Gordo), and a planned trip to Spain, and a lot of relaxation. Oh, and maybe use the hotel spa once or twice, if I can afford it! Other than that, health break, lol!
Oh, to add, I’m out on Thursday evening, so this is the last blog before the weekend, from the Algarve, just saying…
Fine, video time. The obvious song, but not the obvious group. I havent used a Post Modern Jukebox cover version in a while, so lets right that fact tonight
Well, yes, if I was allowed to drink alcohol nowadays, the title might be an even bigger clue to the video, but I suspect some will work it out anyway. Lets just say I would love to have been one of the ladies in this crazy video. As for all those spirals…?
Its funny, you know how you get those emails from companies, pretending to be sorry that they’re messing up your plans, but you know they dont really mean it? Yes, had one of those last night, from the Flight/Holiday company I’m going to Portugal with next month. Yes, they’ve changed my flight time. But yes, actually, they’ve done me a favour by doing so!
Originally I was due to fly out of Manchester at 9.30 in the morning, a thought that wasnt actually filling me with joy, even more so as I cant see a practical way of having the day off before that, due to holiday time, and flexi time having been rather used up thanks to my health issues, and stuff. Even more fun, as I’m planning on being out on the Thursday evening too, that really should be fun, I dont think?
So yes, when I opened my email box last night, and saw I had an email from Jet2 Holidays, stating that my flight time had changed, I groaned. Then I saw it, it was now leaving 90 minutes later, so I changed the groan, to a grin. I mean, dont get me wrong, still going to be early enough, for an 11.00 flight on a Saturday morning, but its better than 9.30! It also means I’ll be 90 minutes later coming home, the following Saturday, but thats less of an issue for me.
I mean, call me a cynic when I say that I find it hard to believe they didnt know they were changing the plane time 5 weeks ago, when I booked it (Yes, flying with Jet2), and just didnt want to admit it? As it happens, it does me a favour, but if it had been the other way around? Especially as I booked with them because it was a reasonable flight time, but anyway…
No, funnily enough, no mention of a reduction, or anything like that for the inconvenience, isnt that strange? Of course, for me, its a good thing, not bad, but I’m sure there are others who dont see it that way? Would all be so much easier if I had my own personal space craft/flying saucer, but sadly, thats not been delivered as yet, nor I suspect, is likely to be, lol!
Right, video time. Probably the only song that has been a one hit wonder, twice!
I had originally planned to do this on Sunday, but something more important came up, lol! Still, as not much has happened since then, you can have it tonight!
Once I started work, back in 1974, my initial break at independence was going on holiday without family. Or, to put it wholesomely by that time, not with my mother, and whichever boyfriend she was on at the time. Well, one eventually became her second husband, and that marriage lasted nearly as long as the first (until his death), so it worked out in the end, but anyway…
In truth, back then, I didnt get into the early package holidays jetting off abroad, seeing that as something more for families, than single people, even then probably, thoroughly confused by their gender, sex, and stuff like that! Hey, I was 28 before I lost my virginity, thats how confused by it all that I was!
Now, being a non driver, and very single, my options were pretty limited. Apart from a few rail rover excursions, some of the journeys of which I still treasure to this day, the main option open to me was coach holidays. Ah, the delight of single room supplements first entered my life! On most of these, I was the odd one out, being the only one not at least in their 50’s, if not older! Well, there might have been one or two others, but not many!
Anyway, I survived the experiences, though about the only surviving memory I have of them, is nothing to do with the coaches, its one I’ve mentioned before, I was on one of those trips, in a hotel in Arrochar, the night Elvis Presley died. The morning after, the woman outside the hotel mourning the fact will now almost certainly stay with me till the day I die!
However, to digress…Saturday morning, I got off the bus in town to change buses, to go to work, and what did I see? Yes, a Shearings coach, with numerous pensioners loading up their cases for a holiday away somewhere. That was when it hit me, thats probably me, in not too many more years, assuming my body lasts that long, and I’m not putting good money on that! I can already face the fact that Transatlantic flightwise, my back has only got so many trips left in it, and after that, when this passport runs out in 2025, well…
Of course, the irony is, much though I was, after a few years of those trips, sick of the sight of motorway service stations, and tourists shops, I now havent seen many in about 40 years! I suspect, like me, they may have changed a bit by then. So yes, seeing my future, and going full circle like that, strange to think! Ah well…
Of course, ‘Dr Frankenstein’ might have taken me off to a nice lab by then, and turned me into a ‘whole new woman’ but I wont hold my breath on that one, knowing my luck!
Right, video time. Its not the song I was originally considering for this, but then one of the music regulars of my childhood passed away at 74. So, in tribute to Chas Hodges (of Chas & Dave fame), and coach trips, I present…
And yes, I went to Margate as a child, many times, though by train!
Totally confused? Oh, I hope so, as thats the plan to make you read this, lol.
OK, catching up on the week so far. Yesterday was more memorable for the things that didnt go to plan, whereas today, with one exception, went pretty well to plan.
So yesterday, lets start with the usual culprit, Trans Pennine, and their non-express service. OK, lets say wonderful service from a member of staff from same company! Even more confused? Oh good!
We arrived at Huddersfield yesterday morning, to find our train was running 13 minutes late. Then it got to 18 late, actually left 16 minutes late, so yes, they have as much clue as a certain US president does, lol. Not surprisingly, it lost more time before York, and basically, we werent going to make our train at Newcastle, and all plans could have gone haywire from there. So, I thought I’d buy a coffee, and at least enjoy that on the journey, when…the conductor told us our train was actually behind us going into York. It was probably going to overtake it en route to Newcastle (it did!), so he got us off there, wrote a sweet message for the guard of the other train, we got on it, and sorted.
Well, apart from my coffee, which was the item I then couldnt carry, and half got lost in the transfer, but anyway…
Next, Edinburgh! I had rashly assumed all platforms were pretty much in one area, and that the transfer, even with limited mobility on our parts (Eric even more than me), it wouldnt be that hard. Unfortunately we were dropped off on a platform about half a mile from the main area of the station, and it was a challenge to get there. Thankfully, we had plenty of time, so survived.
The rest was straightforward enough, other than the amusement on my part, when I saw they’d put Eric down as Mr Carpenter on the invoice. I know, one name on the booking, twin room, so…Still found it funny, but thats just me? Hotel is lovely by the way.
Today, to Kyle of Lochalsh. OK, this is where the title comes into play. You could call the Skye line, the LGBT line, because we saw rainbows both ways, a very spectacular one heading there, less so coming back. 2 of the stations, the platforms are so ‘large’ they only open 1 door on the train, because thats all thats on the platform!
OK, first the missing hotel. Eric has got one of those ‘drivers eyes’ videos of the Kyle line, but the thing is, it was made in 1987! It therefore showed a building I first saw as a child, the Achnasheen Inn Hotel, on the platform of Achnasheen station. So, someone was looking forward to seeing an old friend again, right? Wrong, seemingly, as it burnt down in 1995! I did wonder if I was missing something, until I found out the news at the museum on Kyle station! Just glad I didnt say anything at the time, as locals would have thought me crazy asking about something that burnt down 23 years ago!
Oh fine, the missing ferry. No, not the one at Kyle, though that is definitely gone. Funnily enough, there was a large boat moored where the ferry used to leave from today though. But further up the line…
The first time I saw this corner of the world, by road, was 1971. We were using an old road map (about 1968?), and it showed the road crossing to Stromeferry, by ferry. I was navigating just fine, until we approached the area, and the signpost said something totally different to my map. Thankfully, wisdom prevailed, I followed the signposts, not the map, as the ferry had been replaced by a new road the year before! In truth, today, nearly 50 years on, I couldnt make out either point where the road met the ferry, so to speak, on either side of the water. Passing of time, and all that!
Tomorrow, so to speak, we go back in time, on a steam train from Aviemore, to Boat of Garten, and back. Lunch booked on the train, ooh! No, I havent bought a flapper dress with me, though maybe I should have done? Thursday, we head back south. More on those 2 days at end of week, I’m sure.
Apologies, but no video tonight. We do have wi-fi at the hotel, but its not quick enough to play videos, from You Tube, for sure. Probably would have gone with the theme from Rainbow, for those who wish to find their own!
Edited to add the video. Yes, the full length version, a first for me
One of the things I’ve got used to over the years, when flying to the US, is that the airlines provide you with a meal on the flight, each way, so its not something I think about too much any more, when making flight/holiday bookings. Some charge for seat selection, especially in economy class (I tend to fly premium economy now, when available), but meals, and soft drinks at least, are provided.
So, anyway, today, I was booking my trip to Portugal for November, to try and get some healing sun, and heat into my back, before the UK winter, package holiday style. Hey, given I have all these hotel chain cards, I normally book everything separately, but needs must…
So yes, cleverly, I put enough on my prepaid credit card to cover the cost of the holiday (which has gone up since first checking, due to pound collapsing against Euro, due to Brexit, rolls eyes…), and a little bit to spare. Only, by the time I’d selected my seats (I’m a window person, darlings), and paid the cost of package, I was beginning to cut it fine. That was when I found out I had to pay extra, again, for meals on the plane! Oops! Anyway, I’ve compromised, I’ve got a meal going out, but nothing coming back, but beyond boredom issue, shouldnt be a problem, as its an afternoon flight, and I should be able to have lunch before leaving Portugal, and survive till after I get back to UK. Of course, alternatively, before November, I can put more money on card, edit the booking to add a meal, and issue solved. But, old habits… No, cant remember last time I paid for a meal on a plane! Oh well… Oh fine, the card now has a balance of £0.04! Lol!
Who knows, I might even get to wear that cute little swimsuit I got yet. Yes, the skirt kind, which will hide a million sins. Unless anyone buys me a burkini in interim (are they legal in Portugal?), and dares me to wear it, at least!
Right, video time. I never thought I would find a live version of this, but lo and behold, I have!