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!
Title might be a reversal of the video title, lol!
Today has been a bit of a preparation day, mainly for the holiday, but yes, I’ve finally done one thing I should have done about 3 months ago, moved my stuff over to my new handbag, which seems to have far more space than the old one, and when I bought it, I wondered if it had as much space. Considering I bought the old one for about £8, about 10 years ago, its fair to say I’ve got my money out of it. In truth, other than that the ‘paint’ has peeled off in several places, the bag is actually as good as ever, but ‘a lady’ really ought to have a nice bag, so I made the purchase in Seattle in May. To me, it looks vintage style, even if it is very modern, and about twice the price of the old one! But fine, if it lasts 10 years, it might outlast me!
The other is the new laptop, which I had planned to switch to, today, but then I went and got my hair done (yes, natural blonde for a few days at least, lol), and I’m still on the old one, lol! I know, by Monday week, I ideally need to have changed over, but… it might yet end up being done on return, after those few days away, oopsie! Its all those logging in things, darlings, definitely not the Cats Whiskers, as everything is auto saved on here.
Oh, I need new shoes to go away too, but as I have a Shoe Zone, free next day delivery voucher I can use (if I spend £20, which wont be hard, as nearly all my shoes have ‘holy’ soles at present. Fine in this weather, but shortly… Yes, these composite soles hate wet weather, and I hate spending extra money on better quality soles, ah well…
The other holiday preparation is actually for later in the year, November. I’m trying to be practical, I’m pretty sure my back isnt going to get through another UK winter, without assistance. And the best form of assistance it can get, heat, lots of it. So I’ve been waiting on my bonus from work, to try and get something booked, to try and placate it. There had been talk of a trip to Florida, but because of the way events are working out, thats not going to happen then. Oh darlings, the secrets that I keep, lol! No, thats not the video! 😛
So anyway, I had a search today, on a pretty limited budget, to see if I could find anything that would fit the need, and I suspect, that unless something dramatic happens, I will be doing my second ‘sentimental journey’ of the autumn for a break. Algarve (Portugal) holidays are a bit more recent than Inverness, but its still been a while since I done one. But now, looks like I’m going back, though to the Eastern end this time, to Monte Gordo. Might even allow me to see a bit more of Spain this time (its about 3 miles from border, with ferry crossing), as this time, currency will be the same both sides of the border. Last time I did it, I couldnt spend money on the Spanish side, as it was Pre-Euro’s days, wow!
So unless someone wants to offer me a holiday home, suitable for a (very modest) actress for a week, somewhere warm/hot, thats the plan. In truth, I’ve never got the concept of those celebrity holiday things, but if someone wants to pay me to act like a star actress, or something (Sweet kind, a la Harlow, I might add), then thats the idea. If anyone that knows me, wants to come on a ‘gentle old ladies’ holiday to Portugal that week, starting 10th November, then let me know before Tuesday! Mind, acting the ‘qiuirky actress’ might be fun, lol. Equally, if Rotwang reads this (fictional characters read this, yeah…) and needs another woman for Metropolis type experiments, give me a call before then! 😉
Right, video time. Some groups dont show their age, it can be said. Well, he’s got a lot less hair now, than at start of 80’s, but otherwise…
One of the things I’m contemplating doing in November, is to try and take a week in the sun somewhere, so that in theory, and probably only in theory, that extra heat might help to get me through the UK winter. There is one possible event that could make this blog irrelevant, but regardless of that, its still something designed to annoy a singleton like myself. Lets face it, who would want to share a double room with me for a week? I mean, I wouldnt inflict me on Eric for more than a few days away, and we live in the same house together, though not in the same room.
Snag for me, I’m on a budget, pretty tight one, I suspect. I’ll be able to work out just how tight, or if its even no go on Wednesday, when I see how much my bonus actually boosts my wages by this month! And yes, I have to allow for the physiotherapy out of that! Hopefully tomorrow, or next week, my back gets zapped so hard that I turn into a robot, and these issues go away, lol. Oh, I hope!
Yes, November (w/c 10th, if anyone wants to book me something, lol), to get heat, I will need to go south, just a matter of how far, and then finding somewhere that is Trans woman friendly. Yes, I have a friend currently away by herself in Egypt, and it sounds perfect, but… its perfect for ‘natural’ women, but having looked at Wiki, it does seem it might not be the same for women like me! Also, not sure if the budget would allow me to go that far, anyway, but if I could…?
Oh, fine, the rant. Yes, its all these special holiday deals I see on websites, or on these discount email voucher things I get. The prices look wonderful, but then you read the small print, all prices are based on 2 people staying together. So for me, no good whatsoever! Shame, because I saw one yesterday, for 5 days full board (inc flight) in Benidorm (which I assume would be warm enough, even mid November?) for £259, which would be perfect, but yes, must be 2 people, 2 vouchers, so… I know, its only that cheap because they’re going to get 2 people in a room, but in truth, if I could get a single person deal like that, for about £100-140 more, I’d probably go for it. But oh no… grumble, grumble!
So fine, much though I hate the single supplement, especially for places where you get squeezed into a tiny room, rather than a standard size room, I do get it, to some degree. Doesnt mean I like it, but…
But yes, if anyone is free that week in November, and clinically insane enough to be prepared to share a double (ideally twin) room with me, somewhere warm/hot, let me know. If its proved you’re not actually crazy, lol, well, who knows? Just note, I am 60, not a party animal, with back issues, so if you’re looking for someone frisky, to have fun with, I’m not your girl!
Alternately, if anyone knows of a small apartment I can rent, or the like, somewhere warm for that week, that wont bust a small budget, let me know. So no, Mr Branson, Necker Island (or whatever its called) is beyond my budget, lol, unless you’re providing it for free! 😛
But yes, please, bargain holiday people, please consider offering a single person price, even at a small supplement, for those of us who dont have partners! Fine, rant over.
Video time. A little vintage Abba, seemingly actually live!