Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hole Problem

Reports this evening of some locals breaking in through the fence. From the description of where given over the radio I know exactly where it is. It has been used before. A team were dispatched to check it out. Once there they inform Control that there is a hole on the fence. To which Control ask "what kind of hole". I think the team can be forgiven for taking a breath before answering "for someone short of stature". They were then asked if they were still in attendance. While the answer seemed simple enough, basically no because there was a fire truck parked opposite, this then seemed to turn into a prolongued debate about what kind of fire truck it was.
In other news, it was reported that Huggy, Handbag and Chris were all seen running. To be more accurate, in the case of Chris at least, this involved full power but as it was uphill nothing much happened. Exactly how running fits with the normal operational plan for escorting off site is not exactly clear, but I understand that a last minute swerve was required in order to avoid actually catching them and thus invoking extra paper work.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

On tenterhooks

Whoops, 4 am and I just woke my daughter up. Have you any idea how difficult it is to get into a tent quietly! All those zips and things. Anyway, I think it was only a brief break in her slumber.
There are a lot of tents at Greenbelt. Of the twenty thousand or so people attending the festival, the majority are campers. A few always manage to lose their tents. Being asked to help find a green tent among a sea of green tents may not rank highly as a favourite pasttime for stewards. So to be volunteered to drive not one but two lost campers when the only thing they can really tell us ia that the tents are not together wasn't an ideal way to end the shift. To be fair, the guy wasn't too bad, but the woman rraly has taken out the book on dizzy blondes. {An aside, these two knew each other from university fifteen years ago, and they didn't know they would be here. How's that for coincidence}. Driving around the curfew campsite she was more interested in offering us muffins (no euphemism intended), trying to sing us a song, and asking what nickname she would have if she was on our team (Happytalk comes to mind). Anyway talking so much that she completely misses her tent despite us asking if she recognises anything, so we end up having to so another sweep. She fails to understand why we can't drop her in the middle of the campsite in the middle of the night with no idea where she is going. No, somewhat like Mastermind question, once started we must finish. And, I am pleased to report that, after a false start when she opened the wrong tent, we did get her back safely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cold Thought

There are a lot of reasons I come to Greenbelt. Ignoring the "it's what I always do" one which might suggest something of a rut, I meet with friends, I get to do something very different to my every day, I get challenges that push me beyond my comfort zone. I also get a chance to reflect, to think. About myself, about humanity. Sometimes those reflections are happier than at other times.
This year there is an ice sculpture sitting out on the grass. It is a cube about three foot by three foot by six foot. Inside it are crosses, rossaries, a model of Jesus. It was beautiful, not so much because of how it looked but because of the thought behind it - that over the weekend it would gradually melt and these items would be released. The ice was clear and it shone. When I came across it last night my heart lifted.
But humans are a destructive species. We are yet to learn our lessons, and maybe never will. By this morning this cube tells a different story. Instead of the elements doing their work, and maybe a warm hand making a fleeting impression which will vanish as the surrounding ice melts, the cube has been attacked. The column on the top has been broken off. People are chipping away at the ice to get at the buried treasure. The ice is no longer crystal clear, it is now fractured, stress limes running through it. Instead of smooth molten surfaces there are jagged edges and holes.
Maybe it has turned into more of an analogy than it's makers ever dreamed off. It tells the story of how we let greed blind us to beauty, and how our desire for personal gain means that we deny others the chance to see something that can touch their soul.


Tonight is the first proper nights work. By that I mean that the Greenbelters are here having fun so we really are looking after them. As for the last couple of years we have a sweep through the campsite in the early hours of the morning to make sure everyone ia settling in, there are no problems, and to just highlight that we have an effective security presence. Again we get to use the golf buggies but, to my disappointment I end I driving the 4x4 and give others the chance to drive the buggies. And they are so much more fun, but it is good to share the experiences and two new drivers had a great time (although moments of concern when decaff couldn't find reverse).
A rather surreal moment, or half an hour in fact, when the main topic in the radio was of a stolen kangaroo. Of the inflatable and not the live type. It was the mascot for the organic beer tent and they were very upset to have lost it. Luckily another of our team found it being carries through the catering area. It was amazing how many people volunteered to take it back, I am sure not swayed by the thought of what the reward might be.
And yes, we may work late hours, but walking back to my tent at four in the morning I get to see a shooting star. How lucky am I!

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Night

Yes, the first night is over. After a hectic day I am settling into my sleeping bag - last nights hotel a distant memory. I. between two training sessions we managed to put up my tent, the wind being less, well, windy basically. Knd of ran out of time for anything else though so not unpacked. I have my sleeping bag and that is about it. Hopefully tomorrow after the mornings training session I will get time to come back and sort it out.
The training went well. We give the stewards some role plays and try to make it all as interactive as possible. It's strange how the dynamics of groups can be so different. Some get a lot more amdram about the role plays than others. The irony of telling stewards to loook after themselves and then realising at 1800hrs that I haven't eaten anything does not escape me. But then I have always seen an irony in telling them not to overdo it, when I full well know that I used to do 23 hours a day when I was a younger steward, and the one hour of sleep was spent in the steward tent just in case something came up. On the plus side it makes me well qualified to say how silly it is, if for no reason other than the drive home at the end.
And then we got the team out for their shift. The first night should be quiet as it is really stewards stewarding other stewards, no campers yet on site. So more a chance to familiarise themselves with the site. This seems to involve quiet a lot of familiarisation with the layout of the tea urn and biscuits. We can afford to cut them some slack though, after this it gets harder and they may not see a cuppa all night. The idea of the Support team is to be able to fill in wherever neede. Tonight saw a first when two were left in charge of Front Desk. Whether we ever will be again remains to be seen but, for the record, I can categorically state that it was not me who put the pig, the sheep and the cow on top of the panelling (clearly stuffed cuddly toys and not real farmyard animals).
When our team are not gainfully employed - in other words being kept running around site - they do seem to create there own amusement in weird and wonderful ways. I still haven't worked out how a theological discussion degenerated to the point of one of the team being a satanist. I do however think that the slaughter of virgins in a Monday night is a terrible waste of virgins.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chalk It Up

So up and awake, standing outside Rymans. I need to buy a flip chart for the training. I've got the easy job, Zippie has to find a room for us to use. If you're starting to get the impression we aren't fully organised then you may be right. I've been working at Greenbelt for approximately 21 years and yet it always sneaks up on me. Which I have to say seems indredibly ungrateful of it considering my dedicated service! Instead of a flip chart I may try a magic white board (as seen on dragons den woo woo) although not 100% convinced they will work.
While I am up I suspect the others are having a lie in and making the most of hotel facilities. It felt so wring to be in a hotel. I am completely off kilter now.


What can only be described as a fairly inauspicious start to Greenbelt this year. Now, in the last week I have driven past Cheltenham Racecourse four or five times. Each time the weather has been poor veering towards miserable. So trying to summon up the sheer willingness to set off this morning wasn't easy. Home was sunny, I could already see from comments on Facebook that Cheltenham was not only NOT sunny, but was also windy. Wind and my tent do not go well together. It's fine once it is up, but for the last two years it nearly took off with someone holding on to it as we were erecting it. So I was not encouraged. Finally I set off, about 4 hours later than I had planned. And just as I arrived in Cheltenham I got a phone call from one of the team. They had been trying to put up a tent and it just wasn't working. They were giving in and going to find a hotel for a night. I got to the racecourse to meet them and sure enough it was a strong wind. Plus it had started to rain. I couldn't exactly ask for help with mine could I. Add to the mix that I had to write a training presentation for tomorrow (I had my previous stewards training session on a USB stick that blew up about 6 months ago, I thought I had back up but it turns out I didn't, or at least not somewhere I could find {although, now thinking about it I may just have realised where} so I got an old version off someone else but it needs tweaking) and the battery was running low on my computer. All in all I felt that the fates were conspiring and a dignified retreat to a hotel was called for. I just remembered why, for a few years, I hired a caravan. Anyways, it feels completely wrong to be at Greenbelt and in a hotel. Hopefully tomorrow will see the tent going up (inbetween running training sessions).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Destroying Dreams

It's sad when we make our children grow up too quickly. When their quirkiness is seen as a problem rather than something to be enjoyed. When we forget that our children can remind us how to live.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


You have to wonder what we did to deserve him don't you. The man who wrote a book called "Courage" seems perfectly able to comment on the deaths of Jade or Jackson, feels he needs to pop in niceties about sports teams and music stars, is able to show concern about "Britains Got Talent", but he is completely incapable of making one sensible statement about Lockerbie. Even when he does finally speak he doesn't actually say anything. In fact, anything that is trivia and "happy", then he is jostling to the front of the queue, but when real issues strike up then he is nowhere to be seen. There is a wringing of hands, a washing of the blood, a finger pointed at another saying "it was them", but no evidence of courage and a willingness to be counted. He was trained well by Blair.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Doctor In The House

I feel sorry for these poor doctors who thought they had passed, only to later be told that the results were wrong. It must have been a horrible experience. After almost 20 years I still have nightmares about not passing my exams (this is the honest truth) where I dream of standing in front of the noticeboard and seeing "Fail" next to my name. It is such an intense time, so much pressure, and seeing a pass is an amazing sense of relief. To have thought you were clear and then get dragged back doesn't bear thinking about.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lightening McQueen

And yet again he knocks over another world record. The guy is unstoppable. But you ahve to wonder how he came to have a surname like "Bolt" don't you? Talk about written in the stars.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Student Days

Right, last night I said I had things I wanted to say but was too tired, so I had better get on with it tonight. Unfortunately have kind of lost my thread a bit, but here goes.

Student loans have raised their head again. At a time when households are having problems with money it was revealed that a student can expect to leave university with £23000 debt. There is some argument that this isn't true debt, in the way that credit cards are debt. It gets paid off through the pay packet and can get wiped out if not paid over time. However it does cause students stress, and does hang over people. Personally I am incredibly grateful for the fact that student loans didn't exxist when I went through university, and I realise that I was incredibly lucky.

But I believe the real problem is that we are now at a stage where everyone thinks that they have a right to go to university. This all started a long time ago, with polytechs striving to be rebranded, and Labour saying that they wanted everyone to go to further education. Now, I do beleive that it is incredibly important that everyone goes to school and has a proper education, that they learn to read and write properly (and not just emoticons) but that is not what university is for. University should be about learning particular skills for a job (OK, you might call it a vocation but it is still how you earn your living). And not every job requires people to go to university. We have done our youth a disservice by placing the ideal of university above things like apprenticeships. Rather than sending everyone off to do Film and Theatre Studies we should be giving them other options such as learning to become a plumber or an electrician - both as essential to our lives as a veterinary surgeon.

What we shouldfocus on is making sure eveyone has a future and can make a living for themselves and theeir family. We do not all have to be equal, in that we must all go to university etc. We have a right that we will be supported by our society but that support can be different for different people. We should not try to force round pegs into square holes simply becasue we think that everyone should be square.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I ought to blog. I have things to say. But I don't have the energy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Long Distance Haul

Can someone tell me where London ends? Because it seems to be stretching further every day. Yet another airport is now billing itself as "London", this time it is London Oxford. Anyone who has been to either London Luton or London Stansted already knows that these are a signficant distance from the city itself. No commuter in their right mind would pick either of these if they wanted London for the day. And using either of these two I have previously wondered how they get away with the "London" tag. But Oxford, a beautiful city with great history and heritage, why would that even want the tag of "London". It doesn't make much sense.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting Catty

I was planning a blog on a story about a man who is blaming his cat for downloading 1000's of porn pictures to his computer. After all there have to be some jokes and puns hiding in there. However I am currently experiencing some major problems with my wifi connection. I don't know whether to blame Virgin Media or the computer itself. Actually hoping it is Virgin as they are coming out next week to upgrade me to 50mb anyway. If it is the computer, and please god don't let it be the computer, then I have to go back to Yoyotech and I am not sure I have the energy to do that. Anyway searching the web for corroboration of stories is currently not possible, so signing off for now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Speak Clearly

I've been asked to fill in a quick customer survey. In moving to the new computer I had a problem with Photoshop. Now Adobe did a good job and actually gave me an extra licence. And a few weeks later they want me to complete the survey on how well they did. I clicked on the link thinking I would give them a glowing report. And yet on the first page I am already so annoyed that I don't know if I can continue. Why am I annoyed? Because they ask what is my preferred language. The choices are "English", which clearly I am about to click on, after all I live in the UK, it is our native language, OR, and this is where I get annoyed, "British English". What the hell is that about? I have seen similar when loading other programmes and the language choice is English (US) or English (UK). I am sorry, there is no such thing as English (US). English is English, it is how we speak in the UK (allowing for minor welsh and scottish variations, OK and northern, and south west and....... oh you get my point). What it definitely is not is American. That's right English (US) is not English, it's American!!!!!!! America might think it is a superpower rather than just an upstart, but it can't have our language.

No, I'm sorry, you did a wonderful job Mr.Adobe, but you have now upset me too much, I am not going to tell you how well you did. After all, you might not understand my accent.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


There is a certain ironny in a government that have spent a decade running down the farming industry now suddenly deciding that we need to be careful about how much we waste becasue we will run out of food. But the move to ban Buy One Get One Free offers in favour of half price offers shows a marked lack of understanding of sales and marketing.

The BOGOF has an important role to play in pricing, or more specifically maintaining prices. It is in the buyer perception. Say I want to sell a punnett of strawberries for £2. I make a good margin and am happy at this price. The consumer is happy and willing to pay this price as well. Now, I suddenly have some strawberries that I need to get rid of quickly. If I put them on display at half price then they whiz into the baskets and everyone is happy. But next time my consumer enters the shop their mental recollection of the price of the strawberries is £1 (they forget that this was half price) and this is what they expect to pay. Cue one unhappy consumer when they see the price of £2, twice what they expect to pay. Now, what if we do this as a BOGOF, then the perceived price remains £2, after all that is what they paid for their strawberries. Therefore happy consumer when they come in next time to find the price of strawberries hasn't gone up (although in reality they end up with half as many strawberries as last time. See, BOGOF keeps the price at the level the market one while managing to shift stock, half price offers slice the overall market price for the long term.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Holiday Blue

That really was too much of a shock to the system. Back to work after two weeks off. Apart from a little flurry half way through when some issues cropped up that I had to sort, I basically managed to forget about work for a fortnight. Unlike last year when I was getting up at 0200 hrs to check my emails on the computer every day. And while relaxing was good, it makes it all the more cruel when you get back. And whereas last year I could just move onward with the day, today I had to catch up on 480 emails. I have a system for that, first go through relatively quickly and delete those that aren't important or file those that are just informing me of something. Then go back and deal with the ones that will take 5 minutes or less, such as organising meetings. Then go back through them again and deal with the ones that need more input. And finally do the remaining ones. It works quite well and tomorrow will now be a "normal" day. But I was absolutely shattered by the end and didn't get home until very late so I was very naughty and didn't go to the gym. I will go tomorrow instead though. That is unless I have run off to Menorca.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Book List

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien - x

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen - x

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman - x

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams - x

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling - x

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee -x

7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne -x

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell - x

9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis -x

10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë - x

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller - x

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë -

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks - x

14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger - x

16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame - x

17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens -

18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott -

19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres - x

20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy -

21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

22. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling -x

23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling -x

24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling -x

25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien - x

26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy - x (well half read)

27. Middlemarch, George Eliot -

28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving - x

29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck - x

30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll - x

31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson

32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez - x

33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett -

34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens -

35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl -x

36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson - x

37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute - x

38. Persuasion, Jane Austen-

39. Dune, Frank Herbert - x

40. Emma, Jane Austen -

41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery -

42. Watership Down, Richard Adams -x

43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald - x

44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas - x

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh - x

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell - x

47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens -x

48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian -

50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett - x

52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck - x

53. The Stand, Stephen King -

54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy - x

55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

56. The BFG, Roald Dahl - x

57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome -x

58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell -

59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky - x

61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman

62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden - x

63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens -

64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough

65. Mort, Terry Pratchett - x

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles - x

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - x

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett - x

70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding - x

71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind -

72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett - x

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl - x

75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding - x

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

78. Ulysses, James Joyce - x (attempted)

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens -

80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl - x

82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

83. Holes, Louis Sachar -

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake - x

85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy-

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley - x

88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons - x

89. Magician, Raymond E Feist - x

90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac-

91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo-

92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel -

93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett - x

94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

95. Katherine, Anya Seton

96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer - x

97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez - (reading now)

98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot -

100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie - x

So I score 56, not including the unfinished one and the ones on my shelf to be read soon. Reasonable I suppose. But looking at the list, rather than making me pleased, it concerns me that the BBC think most people will have only managed 6. It isn't a list of absolute classics, of inaccessible books. It includes popular culture and childrens books. So an average of only six is a sad inditement on our society.

PS - I think this is taken from the BBC Big Read list, ie the top novels voted by listeners to the BBC. However there are a number of different versions floating around and I can't find anything that references the BBC as saying only 6 will be read on average. Still an interesting list though.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Computer Age

I so may regret this, but the saga of the computer may be over. Trying to buy a new computer has been a nightmare. Well, not so much the buying, but the setting up. It all sounded so promising with an "A" list rating from PC Pro but instability bugged the first one to arrive. Sent back for a new motherboard they then decided that the hard drive was also faulty. When the computer arrived again then the hard drive was at an angle that would be called jaunty if referring to someones cap, but when referring to a hard drive could only be described as wrong. Given one more chance they took longer to build a brand new computer than expected, but as I was away it wasn't too much of a problem. New computer delivered, missing windows verification number and with some sound issues. However both those are now sorted and all barr one piece of software loaded. Everquest is taking ages to download, but I think that is Virgin Media capping me and I don't think I can blame the computer. In fact Everquest is taking so long to download that it seems to be going backwards. At 1800hrs it was supposed to take 3 hours to complete the download, it is now going to take five and a half hours. Maybe leaving the computer alone overnight will do it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


The weather men nearly blew it for us. At the beginning of the week I checked to see the 5 day forecast for around Chessington World of Adventure. There was a discrepency between the BBC and the iPhone. I decided to trust the BBC, and we therefore elected for a trip today. Which wasn't good news when we saw the weather forecast last night which indicated rain. Lesson 1, the iPhone is more reliable than the BBC. Lesson 2, weathermen can't see into the future. Lesson 3, don't plan based on the british weather (I so miss Menorca).

Anyway, we decided to go no matter what the weather. And, for the most part, were lucky. It only started raining around 1700hrs, so we got some sun. As normal my daughter was looking for the fast rides. I promise I don't egg her on (well not much). And we found Dragons Fury, a neat rollercoster whcih spins you around as it goes along. Quite unnerving actually, at times it feels as though you are going to be thrown off the track. So we had to go on that twice. And Vampire, which is the first dangly down rollercoster she has been big enough to go on. Hanging down in a seat is, of course, an extrememly different experience from sitting in a car. So we had to do that twice as well! Along with a few other rides we ran out of time so didn't get to the zoo.

Overall not greatly taken with Chessington - badly laid out, not a lot of attention to the "experience", disgusting drinks (although branded drinks they were more sweet and e-numbery than normal). Drayton is better.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cat Life

Simon's Cat videos are good because the capture the pure essence of cat. All that illogical behaviour which starts off sweet and then develops into irritating. Hard to capture in words, much easier in video.

Last night I was watching TV. Every so often there was a soft bang. Initially I tried to ignore it. However it gradually got louder and more frequent. Looking around the room I finally realised it was Shimmers tail, being swished from side to side with ever increasing agitation. Although it was pitch black outside he was staring through the patio doors. What could be out there anoying him so much. I got up and took a few steps. Couldn't see anything. I got down on my hands and knees and looked in the same direction as him. Still couldn't see anything. "J" turned on the light, but that didn't work as it was even harder to see out. Shimmer still stared intently at a set point. "J" turned off the light, went out and turned on the conservatory light so that it shed light outside. I still couldn't see anything. "J" came back and also got down on her hands and knees. We both got as close to the glass as we could. At which point Shimmer looked at us, came over, nuzzled both of us once, and then sauntered off with an air of "got you" about him!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Splashing About

Whoops. Seem to have forgotten to blog while away. I was full of good intentions but Menorca distracted me. Bit of a shock coming back today though. After a week of temperatures between 29-31 and hardly ever a cloud in the sky, torrential rain and thunderstorms of the UK are not inspiring. Even considering hopping back on a flight.

I haven't been abroad to somewhere like Menorca for a very long time. So I wasn't sure what to expect. And the initial introduction into package holidays "Hi I'm Jasmine, your rep for the week, are we all ready to have fun ..... not loud enough, are we all ready to have fun" filled me with certain foreboding. But when I discovered that the sea really is as blue as the brochures, and that it is great for snorkeling (something else I haven't done for about 30 years but I have now been bittne by the bug), and that we could get out on boats then the holiday took on a different outlook. I haven't driven a car all week, which was great as it meant cold beer at lunch time was an option. And sangria in the evening helped mellow the day away. The boat trips made it for me though. The first was despite a daughter taking a sulk and just wanting to stay by the pool. And I almost caved, but then I decided it would be good to get out and that I would put up with a sulky daughter if need be, because staying by the pool was going to "do my head in". As it was "A" loved the trip, we talked about pirates and imagined where they hid, we swam in the sea, we had icecreams (I think she averaged about three a day in the end) and it was all such a success that she first apologies and then asked if we could go on another one. So very last minute we arranged one for the last afternoon, which was a great trip, around the north coast in a renovated Scottish fishing trawler, just eleven people on board including the two crew. And when we stopped at a beach I was able to go snorkeling again off the side of the boat. In fact "A" tried snorkeling as well, starting at the beach and she took to it like the proverbial duck to water, very excited to see the fish.

Fresh air during the day, swimming, boating, and then able to read my books in the evening. All in all a nice way to spend a week.