Sunday, 30 November 2008

Ship, Sun And A Storm

The old body clock is still out of tune. I never went to bed last night until after 10 pm (3 am uk time) I awoke this morning at around 3am (8 am uk time) I was able to fall back to sleep for another couple of hours. Out of bed, packed and off to Port Canaveral to join the Mariner Of The Seas….
Security, check in etc was stress free and I loved it.
Once onboard it was feeding time, and I mean feeding time…. Seen better manners at the zoo. You would have thought some of the people hadn’t been fed in yonks… Take as much as you want (BUT EAT IT)… Hate to see food going to waste… (Believe me, a lot of food used to go to my waist)
News filtered through that the space shuttle wouldn’t land at KSC because of the bad weather!. What bad weather I thought…. Then it came, a storm from hell. Heavy wind and rain was the order of the hour. A close by Disney ship left its birth because of the storm and a gangway fell into the sea. (Lucky boarding had finished, but who tied the rope?)
The Mariner left a few minutes late (Caribbean here we come)
The ship is so big I doubt if I’ll see it all in a week. Signed up for scuba diving (Another first) Right I’m off for a few drinks, the party starts NOW.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

What Time Is It Dear

As the day went on I kept asking the time... It felt a hell of a lot later than it was. Shopping was the order of most of the day. I bought a waterproof watch in Walmart and had to take it back as the I noticed the security tag was still on it when I got it back to the hotel. (This was after Macy's, JC Pennies, Ron Jons surf shop and a list as long as me arm of other shops)...... AGHHHHHHHHHHHH
We went to an ocean side bar (Beside Port Canaveral) called Grills to meet the other cruisers who had signed up online to the cruise forum. We have been communicating (Via the forum) for months, it was great to meet and put faces to names. We enjoyed a bit of craic and some grub at Grills, with music in the background. It was spooky as I'd mentioned Van the man in the last post and the guy was singing "Brown Eyed Girl" when we arrived (Another VTM's song)
We chatted about our pending cruise (Tomorrow) and watched a couple of ships departing today, one of which was "Disney Magic"
What a site.. A jock (A person who speaks jockenese) once asked me "Whats the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney... Bing sings and Walt Disney"....
Don't forget, the time of this post is -5 GMT, so fi oyu ees an y spellgin simstaeks, I'm tyered......

Sunrise @ Cocoa

Up at sunrise for a walk along the beach. I wasn't the first either. The suffers were already there starting to wax their boards. It was cool (Temperature) and it wasn't long before the beach casters had the lines in the water. It was amazing to see a cruise ship coming over the horizon.
What a beautiful morning...Heading for breakfast soon then a spot of shopping.... "Wish it could be like this all the time" (Van the man)

Friday, 28 November 2008

Up Up And Away

Never thought I’ve ever see the day I’d say it was great to be delayed. We boarded the Virgin Atlantic 747-400, flight VS 15 three hours later than scheduled. As Virgin has a name for all their craft, I was please to see this one was called “Virginia Plain” Y you may ask. “Virginia Plain” is a favorite song of mine recorded by Brian Ferry (Click on the name if you’re under 30)
The flight was undersubscribed; as we were flying poor class (Economy) I expected it to be full. The complete opposite, my little swamp duck and I shared a cabin with six other people. (I heard the flight before us was jammed packed)
I had organized champagne and truffles (With a card) to celebrate our forthcoming 29th anniversary and the ducks (XX) birthday. They arrived in style.. I was so happy as I’d ordered it weeks ago, I was overcome with emotion (Ok tippsy) I ordered another bottle… I went to pay for it and was told “With compliments of Virgin Atlantic”. How cool is that?
As Virgin virgins (Sounds good) I feel our service has been second to none.. The cabin crew has been fantastic. Real people people.
The flight dinner was great (Spinach pasta) and it’s not often I’d say that. What a great advancement it has been from the delay.
Paper work time. Those of you who have been to the USA before know there’s paper work to do before entering the great country. The green form OMB 1651-0113 (Department Of Homeland Security) the usual, name, address, passport number, where you staying etc etc… I started to fill our forms in and came to question C (Do any of the following apply to you, answer yes or no (You get the picture)…. The C question is always the worst, no mater what the forms are. Quote: “Have you ever been or are you involved in espionage or sabotage, or in terrorist activities, or genocide, or between 1933 and 1945 were involved, in any way, in percussion associated with Nazi Germany or it’s allies?”
Let me think? Ummmm…………………..NO, but in all honesty, who the friar tuck is going to answer YES to that question?

Celeb Spotting

One thing to do when a delay happens at an airport is Drink...opps! Not anymore. What I did mean to say was Celebrity Spot. I hadn't started people watching for long when, strictly come dancing retiree John Sergant past within inches of where I was sitting... I saw him an immediately pulled my feet in, just in case he stood on my toes.. He looked strictly peed off.... (Must be on our flight, for he looks the way I feel)
Yee laptop was running out of steam so I'd to find some more coal... Most power points in public areas are public proof and unuseable. Spotted a bank of seats by a pillar with two RCD power points. The have to work I thought..... AND THEY DO.... more steam, more steam..
Just said hi to Gloria Huniford, a much nicer smile that JS

USA Here I Come

Started on the journey in a taxi at 5am. The George Best city airport was almost deserted when we arrived. Checked in with no problems and headed through security. I had cameras, chargers, this laptop and I sailed through. My other half though had a different story, they went through every single thing in her carry on luggage…. (The mystery of a woman’s bag)
We went to the gate to board and I have to say it was freezing… Got a text message from Virgin Atlantic to tell us the good news that our flight to Orlando is delayed for three hours (Just what I did not want to hear) They were de-icing the plane as we climbed the steps to the Flybe flight to London Gatwick. It was colder inside the plane as it was on the tarmac.
Great flight of about hour. Sitting in Gatwick now people watching and looking for blogging subjects…lol. Loads to choose from.....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Holiday Eve

Spent today charging this and that and making sure all is packed and ready for tomorrow... First flight out in the morning to LGW (Gatwick) and our flight to Florida is suppose to be at 12:55. Been keeping an eye on the departures for the flight in recent days and they have been very punctual, that is until today... It left 290 minutes late (4 hours 50 minutes) Ah well, tomorrows another day.. (I hope)
Think I'll go out for a Pizza......

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Late Grumpyhead

Today started off with my swim, I then went for breakfast with loads of time in hand. I started talking and before I realised it, I was ten minutes late for work. (I SO HATE BEING LATE) Bad start to any day. Late (There's that word again) afternoon had a team meeting. As it was my last day at work before my holidays my boss and the great team I work in, wished me Bon Voyage for Friday (What a team, they keep me sane)
Tonight, the first stop was my weekly weigh in... I know I've reached target and I'll get shouted at if I lose anymore, well, I've put on weight the last two weeks, and as I'm off to Florida on Friday, I thought last week I'd try and give myself a few extra lbs to play with by losing some more. I did that little bit extra training (Swimming, walking) and I'd four and a half pound off this week. I am really please, but I know there are other people with different views on the subject.... 105 lbs off.... (I wonder will I get my 15th half stone award?... now theres a question!)
After class my LSD and I went out with our phoneless Daughter (She had her mobile nicked today) and Son in law to Darcy's .... for a pre holiday meal, and what a fantastic meal it was.

Back home to do a little more holiday sorting...... I suppose today was really spot on and I wasn't too Grumpy (Well, compared to most days)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Spanner In The Works

Left work with the growing holiday feeling, yee old grumpy feeling as distant as my next Ulster Fry (Full Irish if you're reading this down South) I even stopped and let cars move into my lane including a couple of taxis. The atmosphere in the car was as calm as a mill pond...
That was until I was trying to turn right off the main road. The traffic lights changed to stop for the oncoming traffic, so I thought I'll get across now. Wrong, this car just blocked the way. I nodded to the lady driver (In a nice way) that it would be possible for her to move forward another four feet closer to the car in front so I could proceed. The back windows of the car were darkened out, this arm came out of the darkness and gave me the fingers. (How rude)... the clam broke. I did asked the owner of the arm if they had a problem... When he showed his face I realised why the windows were darkened out. It was like a bull dog chewing a wasp...
She did move forward and I did turn right but I wish I'd taken a photo.....

Deck The Halls

The Christmas spirit is just increasing daily in our house. Just watched this years first Christmas film on TV "Santa Clause 3" (Nice wee movie)
The dinning room has now been converted into what looks like a scene from a Christmas movie, I can't wait until the the old bird is lying in the centre of the table (Turkey), spuds and veg close at hand and the family (Minus a few) sitting around the table on the Santa covered chairs. (I'll not go as far as saying, and singing Carols!)
I usually lose the Grumpiness over Christmas (Peace and goodwill to all etc etc) so just like me, if you have any senior neighbours don't forget to pop in and say hello and make sure they're OK!.
Have to say, today is a sort of sad day for me like. (Sort, like, street talk, no what I mean like) I'm selling my Santa suit. With losing my weight I think it just wouldn't be the same being the jolly old thin man in the big red suit and having white hair and beard. I've been doing Santa for years and years and have always had a big red suit in my wardrobe, but time to move on..... It was a dream job, only had to work for three weeks in any one year... HO HO HO
(BTW only four weeks til Christmas Day)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Bah! Humbug!

I may be Grumpyhead but I do love Christmas.. The trees went up in our house yesterday and they look fantastic (Well done Mrs Christmas)
We are off on a break at the end of this week and my very organised her in doors wanted to get the trees up before we go. (Still more to do with regards to the old decorations when we get back) then it will be all systems go..

I love my time off at Christmas, the turkey, the ham, those old Christmas films, my favorite being "A Christmas Carol" Starring Alister Sims (1951) as Scrooge.

Bah! Humbug (Has a certain ring to it don't you think?)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Ticket Day

The last of our holiday tickets arrived yesterday. Only five days to go before we fly out to Florida (The Mickey Mouse State) Starting to really get that holiday feeling. Sat for a while and put some destinations into the Sat Nav (Hotel, eateries, attractions etc) so hopefully when we get there in the dark, finding our way from the airport to our hotel at Cocoa Beach will be a doddle for the Sat Nav... (Still going to take a map though)

Last year when we were out one night in Orlando the rain was so heavy you could hardly see a road sign, and with it being also dark it took me ages to find my way out of the hotel car park. (He He)

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Old Dog New Tricks

In the old days (What a saying) I got my friends around, put the projector and screen up, loaded spools and spools of Super 8 film, showed the movie and of course the hundreds of 35mm pics of the holidays, waved my friends goodnight and then tried to contact them the following day.. No chance! I had bored them away.... (Ok, nothing new there then I hear you say)
Equipment needed: A Super eight camera, spools of Super eight film (To be sent away for processing when finished, returned in about a week).. a projector and screen to play the films.. and things got even more complicated if sound was used. The 35mm films had to be sent away also for processing and at least two thirds of the photos were binned as they were dung.

Things are so different now... I just love the digital age... you can do all the above with the minimum equipment of just a mobile phone (With the required facility's of course, which most have anyway) some website or social network to host your movies and photos. and someones PC or upload straight from the phone. Another great advantage is you can view the result the second after you have taken the photo or movie and best of all, once uploaded to the web, if people want to see your media (Movies/Photos) it's in their hands, and they still remain your friends. I hear day and daily people saying "I'm to old to learn all that stuff" NONSENSE I picked it up and I'm nearly 45 (OK OK.. 50) (Oops, maths was never my strong point) Seriously.. it's great fun.... Give it a go... You're never too old for the digital age....

Friday, 21 November 2008

It's Started

The hustle and bustle of the festive shopping. To make things worse there is a pre Christmas sale on at one of the major stores in the city. Of course her in doors had to go... I tried to lend my support (Carry bags) but the pushing and shoving of the Christmas shopping psycho bitches just drove me out of the store ... like a demon being exorcised from a poor possessed soul.
Though it is great to see the City busy coming up to Christmas....

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Give My Head Peace

OK OK, I know the blog hasn't been updated in a couple of weeks but there is a good valid reason.. "I couldn't be arsed" (Nah, only joking) The truth is I've been somewhat busy on the home front. Have been entertaining here and there and just had to prioritise my time. Been also getting ready for my up and coming holiday to Florida.
Looking forward to speaking to the locals and finding out their reaction to latest election result and what they think of the new President Elect.
I would usually stay clear of FRP (Football, Religion, Politics) but think it will be interesting to hear what some of the locals have to say.

I could have blogged about loads of stuff, from family visits, Children In Need, The Christmas Market, being discriminated against by a local establishment because of my tattoos (Will blog later about that one when I've finished speaking to the equality commission) just to name a few. OH yes! and my good old slimming class (Yes I'm still there weighing in at)
7 Stone 2 and a half lb off)
I'm going to blog when on holidays.... I know some will say how sad, taking timeout to blog! Listen I just want to tell all about the fantastic time I'll be having (So you can be jealous) I may even include some video so you can see where we have been.
Loads and loads to still do.... Christmas cards written, one Christmas tree up and two to go, they will go up this weekend so the house is in the festive mood for our return.
Speaking of Christmas, Belfast City Council have done a great job this year with the Citys Christmas decorations......

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Who's A Naughty Boy Then

Crossed the line last night at my Slimming World Class. As I said in a last weeks post "Opps, How Did that Happen (29/10/2008)" I had gone over my allowance of weight loss as a target member. (Weight loss target reached, I go for free) This week I dropped another lb, making my weight loss:

7 Stone 4 and a half lb

It earned me an ear bashing from my Slimming World Consultant Sharon (A wonderful person)
I can explain.... After last weeks upset I decided to go off the motorway (Express weight loss route) to the more scenic route (Being that little bit bad) I was out for a meal, a bottle of wine on Thursday night, a few drinks on Friday night and a great cheese board, a wonderful meal plus wine and cheese on the Saturday night (I even had chocolate) finished off with a fantastic Sunday chicken dinner. I was daft and felt guilty (I should know better) I thought to myself that I should up my daily fitness routine. Mon, Tues and Wednesday I hit the gym twice a day,(Even had a walk up the Cave Hill) and that's why I had the result of more off last night..... Lesson learnt ... (Sorry Sharon)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The Holidays Are Coming

Ho Ho Ho.... The holidays are coming.... Christmas trees and decorations are already up in Ballysillan (Not sure if they ever came down from last year) I was passing a house last night and the tree and window decorations were glowing (No not on fire) Christmas lights.

I was passing the City Hall and a notice board for the Continental Christmas Market with be in town from the 19th November to the 20th December... Happy Day's

Monday, 3 November 2008

All About Walking

I was telling my friends about Saturday's walk, and out of the blue came an email with these one liners...

1. Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home.
2. My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60.. Now he's 97 years old and we don't know where he is.
3. I have to walk early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I'm doing..
4. Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise',I wash my mouth out with chocolate.
5. The advantage of exercising every day is so when you die, they'll say,'Well, he looks good doesn't he.
6. I got a lot of exercise the last few years,......just getting over the hill.
7. We all get heavier as we get older,because there's a lot more information in our heads.That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
8. Every time I start thinking too much about how I look, I just find a Happy Hour and by the time I leave, I look just fine.

Hope at least one of them made you smile.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A Walk In The Park

What a wonderful afternoon I had yesterday. For the first time in over 30 years I ventured up Belfast's Cave Hill. I had said to a friend a few weeks back that I fancied giving the hill a climb and she said she would go with me. To be honest I had reservations about my fitness (I know it's only a wee hill, but for me it looked like Everest) but I made it to the top. I met Una at the entrance to the grounds of Belfast Castle then we started our assent (I'm even talking the talk) The weather was fantastic for this time of the year. I could not believe how many people were out on the hill, all ages from the very young to the not so very young. My friend Una is a very experienced hill walker and I was so pleased that I was able to keep her in my sight (I think she took pity on me and went at my pace, or perhaps it was because she has a sore ankle) We reached the summit (Told you I can talk the talk) and the view was nothing short of fantastic. The view of the City, Belfast Lough, Slemish Mountain all in County Antrim to Strangford Lough, Scrabo Tower and the magnificent Mourne Mountains all in County Down.
(Una has said that she will make me climb Slieve Donard sometime soon. We will see about that)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Whats That Sign Say ?

Had to laugh when I read this article from the BBC News website

PC ???

I went into Paperchase in the House of Fraser @ Victoria Square. Saw a few items for sale which I'm still not convinced won't offend some shoppers... You can make up your own mind...
You can buy a money box in the form of a Holy Statue, make Holy Toast or even cover that devil of a scratch with a Holy Plaster.
What do you think ??