26 August, 2010

Back to the real world.

It's been a hectic few weeks in the Gabs household. We had the Texan Infestation (just kidding, One and Four) for a week, and four days later was our third wedding anniversary.

The sisterly visit was lovely. I so rarely get to fly home, twice a year if I'm lucky, it was great to have family over here. We did all the touristy stuff, the bus tour, caught a show, bought Build-a-Bear in Hamleys, ate fish and chips (with which Four became promptly and overwhelmingly obsessed)... a good time was had by all. We did, however, shop rather more than I'm accustomed to, and I had never before spent three consecutive hours in Primark in my life... *lol* To be fair, dressing Four is like having a real life Barbie to play with, so that aspect of it was fun. She was a good sport, tried on everything One and I forced upon her (including some fairly ridiculous jeans at Desigual) and let me take pictures throughout.






Pictures... I think I took a thousand. I doubt that's much of an overestimate, actually. Poor kids, every time they turned around, I was snapping away. My approach is "take a thousand, get a hundred good ones" and I think I managed it rather well. I got some truly beautiful shots of Himself and of both girls, and some not completely hideous ones of myself.








We got them back to the airport in the car we rented to go to Stonehenge and Brighton (left at quarter to six or some other godforsaken hour of the morning) in the hopes that they'd have an easy straightforward journey home. Our hopes were unfortunately in vain, as they were forced to route through NYC, take a bus from JFK to LaGuardia, spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in the airport, and then finally hopped a flight back to Dallas. Just over 24 hours of travel later, they were home. The next morning saw them at IHOP, which made me see green for a little while... I miss American breakfasts. *sigh* Oh well, at least they made it home in time for One to get back to work and Four to start school on time.

The anniversary warrants a little spinning out of its own... The weekend the girls left, I started asking Himself what he might like to have for dinner on our anniversary (as we'd decided to stay in). He said he'd let me know... Monday night, when I'd still heard nothing, I asked him again. He said he'd been to the store and bought food for the anniversary dinner...!? I went straight to the fridge to check the contents, and what did I find? Fresh fish, fresh asparagus, new potatoes, carrots, camembert to bake for a starter, and a VERY expensive bottle of white wine! Colour me impressed. When I was on my way home on Wednesday (the anniversary) I asked if I could start dinner, to which I received a resounding "no". Not only did he choose and pay for the groceries, he cooked the meal as well! Dessert, you ask? Why yes, there was, and it took the shape of iced berries with melted white chocolate poured over the top. *drooling slightly*

We also exchanged gifts, of course. Third year traditional anniversary gifts are meant to be leather, which stumped me initially. The man only has one pair of leather shoes, his dress pair, which he only wears when his suit sees the light of day (read: not often). He wouldn't wear a leather jacket, and he's already got a bag and wouldn't use a briefcase. I've given him a wallet in the last year, he doesn't need a belt, and has a watch he loves. I don't even really know how I came upon the idea of a toiletry bag, but the one I eventually found is beautiful and big enough to fit all his kit into when we travel. I also went out and bought his favourite bits with which to fill it. He ended up buying me a Radley bag (!!!), along with a limited edition copy of Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal", which we watched the first half of last night after the feast he concocted. Colour me spoiled rotten. *smug face*

I've been dealing with the mundanity of catching up with projects/emails after a week away from the office, as well as the business of becoming permanent here at HEx. I had a drugs/alcohol test out at Heathrow, and have loads of paperwork to get Himself to cast an eye over before I sign my life away and enter a life of permanent drudgery to The Man. In all seriousness, I haven't been this happy in a job in I don't know how long, so everybody stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and knock some wood that it stays that way.

So, that pretty much constitutes a full brain dump/catch up on everything since the last installment of "Gabs: The Musical". Stay tuned for the next edition.

19 August, 2010

Familial frivolity.

Our little house of two (and two mogs) has grown exponentially for the week. Two of my sisters (numbers one and four) are here for a visit. One has been here many times as she used to work as a flight attendant, Four is new to Blighty. We've done all the usual touristy bits, rather a lot of shopping, taken a fairly ridiculous amount of pictures... all in all, it's been good.

I've had the week off work, which feels more than a little strange. The Friday before the fam arrived was completely manic, racing around trying desperately to get everything sorted out for my time off as well as dealing with the process of becoming a permanent employee saw yours truly a little overwhelmed. It's also a real shame that the timing of the sisterly visit coincides with the last week of work for one of our team members, a truly lovely guy who's leaving for greener pastures, so we're all going to his leaving do tonight.

Tomorrow, we will rent a car and head for Stonehenge as it seems to be one of the places all my overseas visitors want to see with their own eyes. One wants to drive in this country, it'll be her first time. I'm amenable to the idea, I want to see how well she copes with the "wrong" side of the road and the car. *grin*

So, I'll leave you with a few of the myriad photos we've taken this week. Enjoy.

This is Four with a VERY handsy tiger at Hamleys...


This is One, who is never happier than when she has a Starbuck's peppermint mocha in her hand...


And this is the three of us all together. Aren't we adorable? *snigger*



On that note, I'm off. Have a great day.

10 August, 2010

Manx Adventure, second chapter.

Yeah, that internet connection at the hotel... pants doesn't quite cover it. So, I shall commence with the second installment of the Isle of Man pics now that I'm back on the mainland.

Saturday morning dawned clearer than Friday had been, so after breakfast (at which, yes, I did eat too much and then wanted to go back to bed) Himself and I headed out for a wander in the opposite direction to where we'd gone Friday night. Turns out it was a great decision, as you'll see from the pics. We went all the way up the cliffs, and the views were spectacular.






We headed back to the hotel around eleven to start getting ready for the main event, namely the entire reason we were on the Isle in the first place, Jimbo and Lisa's wedding. Showers all around, then Himself settled in to watch some tv while I began the in depth renovations on my face. That's right, folks, I wore makeup. Don't get used to it.


The coach came to take us to the wedding, which turned out to be in the bride's grandmother's home church. Sadly, her gran passed away a couple of years ago, but all her friends had come to decorate the church and sing at the wedding. The bride's father had affectionately termed them the "Barregarrow Mafia", and they all turned out decked resplendently in their best frocks. The church is the cutest, quaintest little thing I've ever seen (see the pics) and the service was lovely. When they were well and truly married, the local police came and closed off the road between the church and the field where the pavilion had been erected, and we made the procession accompanied by a quartet of folk musicians that then went on to play at the reception.



The pavilion. How hilarious. Apparently, the field in which it resided had until days before been occupied by a flock of sheep belonging to the bride's uncle. Fair enough, we're in the middle of nowhere in a field on a tiny island, sheep only add to the charm. However, nobody realised how ... uneven ... the field was until the floor had been installed inside the tent. Sloping doesn't quite cover it. Who bit the dust first, you ask? Why, yours truly, of course. Heels + tilted floor + always unsteady Gabs = first wedding casualty. Unfortunately, I wasn't the last. As the evening continued, the drink flowed more generously, and ... well, draw your own conclusions. *grin* The funniest bit was that every person attempting to leave via the front door took a markedly circuitous route as they bravely fought against gravity (and booze). Picture a giant fish hook instead of a straight line. Legend.




I will say this. Himself HATES dancing. Did that stop him? Not this time... *lol* I believe I was the recipient of at least ten dances, and he joined in willingly for the wildly swinging traditional folk dances as well. Now, he might be regretting it after the fact as he seems to have pulled a calf muscle with his wild gyrations, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. *grin*

The coach returned to ferry us back to our respective hotels, we got a (very) short night's sleep and caught a cab back to the airport at quarter to seven on Sunday morning. The cabbie for that journey was just as informative as our first cab driver on the Isle... remember the tiny castle from the pics in the last post? Turns out it was built by Sir Edmund Hilary after he found people stranded on that tiny island, and was stocked with provisions and water in case it ever happened again. Fascinating.

So, thus ends our Manx Adventure. A good time was had by all. x

06 August, 2010

Gabs and the Manx Adventure.

So, Saturday sees Gabs and Co. on the Isle of Man. One of Himself's university mates is getting married tomorrow, and as the majority of the family belonging to the bride-to-be resides on the Isle, here we be.

It's beautiful here. The local colour asserted itself immediately in the form of our cab driver from the airport to the hotel. She gave us a little mini-tour/history of the island during the drive. We drove over a bridge charmingly storied to house fairies, who traditionally are meant to be acknowledged when you cross the bridge or the fairies will give bad luck instead of good. There's a tree to one side of the bridge where children write letters to the fairies in exchange for wishes.

We got to the hotel, checked in, and headed out for a wander. It's grey and a bit rainy, but I still managed to get some fairly good photos. Let's take a magical mystery tour through Douglas, shall we?












And last but not least...



Yes. Even off the coast of England on an island 33 miles tall by 13 miles wide, there is a mention of Texas.

So, given that uploading the photos took an inordinately long amount of time due to the ropy internet connection in the hotel, I'll leave this here. I'll have more pics after tomorrow, but for now, we'll call it a night. x

03 August, 2010

Excuse-less.

I've decided it's silly to keep apologising for missing my FFF posts.

My life has changed drastically since the creation of this blog. When I started, I was unhappy on every level. I hated my job, I was depressed and unhappy in myself and in my home life, life sucked. *grin* Self pitying, thy name was Gabs.

Now, I like where I am. My job keeps me busy and I'm appreciated in it, I'm going swimming every day and feel better physically, and I've learned to appreciate the small things. I smile more, I laugh more, I am contented.

If (God forbid) I regress into unhappiness, I will restart my FFF. When I began them, I needed a physical reminder that there were happy things around me. Now, not so much.

And that's enough about that.

I will put up a proper post, I've taken some amusing pictures this week that I want to put out there but I don't want to give away what they feature until you can see them with your own EDBDIs. (Granddaddy joke, you'll have to forgive me that one.)

Go smile at something that amuses you. See if you can catch an elderly couple holding hands, or a teenager on the bus picking his nose like he thinks the window stops people from being able to see him. Have a good day. x