Random thoughts while packing.

… for a weekend away in the UK.

You are never sure of the weather so you end up packing,

– sun screen and swim wear. Just in case the weather god takes pity on you and grants you good weather. This, by the way, never, ever happens to us. With our luck, the sunscreen comes back – untouched, most of the time 🙂

– you throw in warm layers, because you never know, in this country!

– you dare not forget that water proof jacket, because you can rest assured that the one time you forget, you can guarantee bad weather.

And you will always have pictures on the beach, wearing multiple layers, with winter hats and boots to boot. That is a different kind of fun too, you know, after all how many people in those warm, sunny countries would have done that?

– The car is full of all sorts of emergency clothing, which we might have thrown in at the last minute, but comes to our rescue when adverse weather hits us.

And finally after all that preparation, some people like us, land in a totally different place for our holiday. That is soon to come in another post 🙂

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This is how we keep busy ..

during term breaks when the weather forces us indoors.

We make pizzas.. with play dough..

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We do crazy craft things which don’t look they way they should..

That creature is supposed to be a lion, although any self respecting lion would cry if he saw this 🙂

We make our tributes to Easter. Although since mum was too lazy to bake a cupcake, we made do with chocolate mousse.

We dance..

And when we run out of things to do.. we always have our books, don’t we?

We also had a bunny trail at home, and another at the library, but I did not take any pictures of it 🙂

That is the first week of the holidays almost over. We have plans to go away for the weekend, but it all depends on the weather. Hopefully it will be dry enough for us to go. Fingers crossed. Otherwise, we will just relax at home.

Hope all of you have a great break, I’ll see you next week – if we do go away, or else, I will be here reading and commenting 🙂

Holiday Tales Part 5 Living in a ghost town

*Long post alert*

Some time back, during our trip to America, we had been to a ghost town. Well, we needn’t have bothered. We were to have an opportunity to live in one, not just visit one.

As I mentioned here, we decided on Greece based on a friend’s holiday pictures until then we had been debating between Turkey and Greece. So while planning it out, I spoke to my friend, and he advised us on the best places to stay. A beach and a sunset point. Two nights at each, we decided. Our first place of stay was near a beach. Our friend had said that we would not need to rent a car, there is enough to do in one place. So at the airport, we took a taxi to our hotel. Please note, we did not even bother asking the locals this time 🙂 We could not possibly handle lugging suitcases once more.

It was a scenic drive. Cliffs on one side, the sea on the other. Gorgeous! We could see those cute blue domed churches around us. Some of them had miniature replicas of themselves built near the road. I never managed to take a picture of them, though.

We reached the hotel within 20 minutes. Our taxi dropped us off, and drove off. It was only when we walked towards the entrance of the hotel that we realized that it was shut. We got a little confused. Were we at the wrong hotel?  Rechecked our booking, and it looked and sounded like the place we booked. I asked husband and daughter to wait while I walked around the building to figure out if I could find the staff. As I walked around, it just grew more eerie. Not a single soul around. All doors locked. It looked empty. Then I thought, may be everybody must be sunning themselves at the beach – it was a glorious, sunny day, when I reached the pool, which was drained! Oh my god! Did our booking get cancelled? Did we miss an email from them? Has the hotel shut shop? What were we going to do now?

I got back to where husband and daughter were waiting, worried, and tensed. I would have preferred lugging suitcases to being shut out of our hotel room anytime! Finally, we happened  to notice a paper with emergency contacts jotted down, stuck to the reception door. So we decided to call the mobile number that was mentioned there.

Thankfully someone picked up. He said he would be there when I mentioned that we had a booking at their hotel. He sounded as if it were a totally normal situation of hotel guests landing up at a shut down hotel, with not a soul in sight. And just to clarify, this was not a tiny B&B or a low-priced hotel. This was supposed to be a ‘Boutique and Spa’! And it looked grand too – only with no staff or guests.

As I said, 5 minutes meant more than 15 minutes here. Our guy here was no different. Finally he arrived with a lady. Turned out he did not know much English, nor was he very friendly. It almost felt as if he were resentful that we landed up here and spoiled his vacation. It was a change after all those wonderfully friendly Greeks we came across in Athens.

While we were waiting husband had made plans to spend the afternoon at the beach. It was a gorgeous day, just perfect to be at the beach. So as soon as our hotel manager(I assume, I still don’t know), turned up, husband was eager to know about the beach. The hotel had advertised a private beach, and we just wanted to get there.

As soon as we mentioned beach, he said, ‘Beach closed, No beach’.

‘Beach closed?’, we asked, ‘ You mean, the beach is closed? Why’?

‘Season finished’, came the answer!

‘If the season is ‘finished’, why on earth did you take our bookings??’, is what I wanted to ask, but was so flustered by this, that neither of us knew what to think or say.

‘You want car?’, he asked. We said no, because our friend had said that it wouldn’t be required.

‘Breakfast, yes or no’, he asked. I said no, because it was not included in the room tariff, and after what we had seen, I wasn’t too sure of what they would provide. He and his colleague spent about 15 minutes locating the room key. Finally he took us to our room, which was not too bad. It was quite good, to be honest. Although I could not locate a kettle, and by the time we tried to ask them, they had left the hotel – again. And we were the only guests in the hotel. Spooky, is what it felt. All alone in a big hotel with nobody else on the premises.

The view from our room.

As soon as we freshened up, we decided to step out for lunch. By then doubts and worry had started to set in. If the beach was ‘closed’, then what would we do here? And how on earth can a beach be ‘closed’? That too, when the weather was so gorgeous! We would be lucky to have such lovely weather in summer, in the UK!

We set off on the road, hoping to find a decent place to eat. We crossed a bakery, and a super market, and our hopes rose. I went into the super market and asked a lady where we could find a restaurant. She indicated the direction in which we should go. So we walked on. We found a few restaurants which had menus hung outside, but were closed. It looked weird to say the least. It was as if people had abandoned them abruptly. Some even had ‘Today’s Menu’ written in chalk, and closed. I wish I had taken pictures, but at that point in time, we just wanted to find a place to eat. It was hot, and tiring to walk down an empty road, in a place where beaches were closed. We kept going, and kept finding these abandoned restaurants. Finally, we decided to turn back and go to that bakery we saw. Hopefully we would get something in the form of lunch.

The bakery had some food. Some pies, and being extra hungry, we even bought some baklava, which were delicious, but a tad too sweet for me. The biggest bonus was the owner of the bakery who was such a wonderful person! He told us that the season was drawing to a close and most of the restaurants and hotels shut shop during this time. Apparently in November, all the hotels and restaurants in this area would shut shop. He told us to rent a car, as that would be the easiest mode of transportation. The local buses were hourly and would go only to the capital, Fira. The best thing he told us was that the beaches were most certainly not ‘closed’. In fact according to him, this is the best time to come to the beach, as it would not be jostling with tourists. Nice and peaceful – his words. Needless to say, we felt less disheartened now. All we needed was a car, and lunch, of course.

So we went back to the hotel, to relax and have our lunch. Daughter did not like the pie too much, but husband and I ate what we could. After lunch we decided to go and rent a car.

We had been told that rental cars are available, the agency was about 1km away.

So off we went, the three of us. The only people on the road was us! We craved to see one tourist. One little proof that we were not the only crazy ones 😦 Whoever said that it is nice to be away from touristy places, was certainly not us. I have never wanted to see people so much before this. People and open, functioning restaurants.

Every second shop on that road was a restaurant(closed, albeit with their menus out there, for us to see, and maybe come back to, in summer?) or a car rental place(again, closed). Oh, I forgot to mention that the hotel manager had given us pamphlets of car rentals, with their numbers on them, but none of them picked up the calls. All in hibernation, I guess.

Finally we walked, and walked until we reached the one shop that was open, and busy – the Tattoo shop! The lady in the tattoo shop had no idea if the car rentals next to her place would open or not. Nor did she have their numbers to try to call them. By then we had reached the beginning of the beach.

See that mountain? We were right there. The road ended at the mountain, and a little road led us to this beach. One thing that was in plenty were directions to the beach. All roads to the right( from the main road), apparently led to the beach.

Given that we were so close to the beach, we decided to make the most of it, and forget about cars and rentals, and just enjoy the beach. As you can see, finally, we managed to see some tourists 🙂 Most of the beach was empty, for us to relax and enjoy.

See the boarded up shops/restaurants..

Finally, we managed to find a few open restaurants, buzzing with activity, music and tourists further on the beach. We also managed to get the numbers of one car rental, that everybody said is open. It was such a relief to find people! I think it gave us a perspective of how it would be to be far away from civilization.

Getting a rental car, still took some time. The owner of the car rental told us he would be there in 10 mins, but as expected, it took him over half an hour – but we were just delighted to get our freedom 🙂 Now we could go somewhere, drive around, find a place to eat! Yay! Armed with the car, and a map, we set off! After ages, it was different driving around in an unknown place, without a GPS, but as our friend, the baker said, it was impossible to get lost there.

We stayed in our ghost hotel for another day, but it was much better because we managed to get away and explore the rest of the island. It was a little spooky coming back to an huge, empty hotel. I just hoped that no cats or bats would jump out to scare the wits out of us 🙂

We did have a tough time finding a place that was open for breakfast, but our trusty little bakery saved the day.

Thankfully, we had a fun time, despite the initial hiccups. It will be something that we will always remember. In a way, because it was so empty, we ended up driving around and seeing the rest of the island. I am quite sure that we would not have bothered had the place been buzzing with activity. Silver lining, and all that.. Certainly made sense to us that day!

Edited to add: Husband read this and reminded me of how he tried to spook me out. He wanted to tell me the story of the movie ‘The Shining’. I did not let him tell me though 🙂 

A Walk to remember.. Post 28

This is where we were last month, this day.. We had landed up at a village called Lizard. It was the last day of our holiday, and we just chanced upon this place. We found out about a scenic Coastal walk, and that appealed to all of us.. All I can say is, it was a walk to remember..

Doesn’t this look like that place from where Hindi movie heros/heroines would try to commit suicide?

I love the rocks, and the fence made of stones..

And this reminds me of something out an Enid Blyton book.. Swimming under that cave would lead us to some sort of a hidden hideaway of the bad guys…

And that’s the path that we took..

And chanced upon a birdie party..

Finally, we landed here- The Most Southerly Cafe, which serves the most delicious ice-cream! I would kill to have some now!

Actually I would kill for weather like that too! I can’t believe that end of April, we actually had summer like weather, and now, end of May, we have the worst weather possible! Anyway, I guess I should be counting my blessings – we got to have a lovely holiday when we least expected it!

We’re on a break..

A half term break, not a blog break. So all you guys who heaved a sigh of relief, that I won’t be bombarding you with posts, well , not so quickly 🙂

It’s daughter’s half term break, and  it’s already driving me crazy 🙂 We are even busier than we are when there is school. We have play dates planned, day outs, and other exciting plans(for her). And you know what is the worst part, I am reading the ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ ,which is riveting and daughter is certainly not happy to let me read!

I envy all those parents who use these breaks to get lie-ins and extra time to relax. For me, it is rounds of cleaning up and tidying up. Don’t believe me? Look at my carpet 😦

And did I tell you that the weather has been going crazy? Just when we thought that spring  was round the corner, we got this! Snow, all over again. That should teach me to not rejoice so quickly!

You know, I keep complaining about my dying plants. Now I have a plant growing, and I have no idea what it is. I had planted some tulips and daffodils, but this looks different. Any idea what it could be? Is it some variety of tulips?

So what have you guys been up to? Who else is a fellow term break mum here? And how do you plan to get through the week?

When the most interesting thing happens to be the weather..

There is a reason why the favourite topic of the British is the weather.

The last few days, we have been gloating over the rest of our friends on this island. The whole country seems to be under 10 inches of snow, while we have a beautiful dusting of Christmas Card snow. Yes, it is cold, and walking outside is as good as asking for a broken leg, but still! At least we are not snowed in. You see, it is normally the other way around. We are the ones with the snow, while those in swanky places like London, call us telling us how much they wished they could have that kind of snow.  Well, you asked for it.

We may not have the snow, but we have all the cold and more. The temperatures touching -11 at night and the max daytime temperature has been -4. I have never lived in such cold climes before. The other day, I was convinced that I had lost all my fingers – despite being well covered in warm gloves. I found I was not the only one covering her mouth and nose, in a desperate effort to prevent my nose from freezing and falling off my face.

Yesterday, I mustered courage, after a couple of days, to enter my conservatory. Our conservatory has central heating – but it is way too cold, even with the heating. So we had just switched of the heating there. The only time I would enter it was to water my precious plants. Yesterday, I noticed that there was a layer of ice, in the saucers that I keep under my potted plants, to catch any water that might leak of the pot. Ice! That’s when I realized that my plants were frozen in place 😦 I rescued the few that looked might have the potential to be rescued.  Just days ago, they were fine and still blooming. This morning, I found them all lank and limp. I can’t tell you how heart-broken I am. Do any of you know what I could do to save my petunias and geraniums? I am almost too afraid to google, I doubt if I could do anything to rescue them.

This morning, I found my watering can, which I had abandoned, still full of water, in the conservatory when I had seen the state of my plants, was frozen. Daughter had a wonderful time touching the ice and shrieking  – anything to keep her entertained during school holidays which does not involve any outdoor activity.

All these are still alright, but the travel chaos is the worst. People stranded in airports, holidays canceled – heart-breaking, isn’t it Our friends had their holiday planned 6 months earlier, and it almost got canceled. Thankfully, they have managed to board the flight.

You know what is the worst thing to happen? High Street shops are having massive sales to lure people into the shops, and with the weather being the way it is, we just can’t go 😦 Life’s little ironies…

On about nothing..

I have always admired people who blog on schedule or daily or even 2 or 3 times a day – on a regular basis. For me, these days, doing a post is becoming more and more difficult.

I have ideas for posts running around in my head, but they all disappear as soon as I get to the laptop. Of course, it does not help that daughter wants my attention right then or she would have dropped yogurt on my carpet, making me jump a mile high and forget all about the post until I have scrubbed out every sign of it out of the carpet and have given daughter a verbal scrubbing too. By the time I am done, a post is the last thing on my mind.

If nothing of this sort happens, farmville, of course, is there to distract me. My crops might be ready for harvesting or the animals ready to collect milk, down feathers or truffles. Goodness! This game is even increasing my general knowledge. I had no idea that farm animals had so many uses! I am sure all this farming will come in use, when I buy a farm after retirement. See, I have my retirement plans all chalked out – I am even practising it – virtually 🙂

Anyway, I was talking about how blogging just does not seem to be happening. Sometimes, when I have a post all chalked out, in my mind, a friend would call. And off I go, chatting away, until I run out of time, and then before I know it, it is dinner time, and then night time! Where does my time go? I really need tips from you guys. How do you manage it? Most of you manage while holding down a job and playing games and being on twitter! I seriously need lessons on time management!

Did I mention that I watch that reality show – Pati, Patni aur Woh? Hitchy, please don’t throw your shoes at me – I had not intended to. Really! I started watching just to see what it was like – and then got hooked in.  But this is it – I am not even looking at another reality TV show ever! I have had my fill of them. My husband has been teasing me that I will sit through that Rahul Mahajan one as well – so I have to prove him wrong.

One of the things I have always been on about has been confirmed by Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forest, we would get a Nobel Prize for Filth! Maybe, they need to create a prize for it. Then maybe, we might change our ways. But it was refreshing to hear a govt minister admitting it rather than the opposition saying it.

Talking of the opposition – do we have an opposition in our country any more? They all seem very busy in ‘internal matters’. Do you think our next election might have Congress winning all seats because there was nobody to contest against them?

Christmas is already here. The shops are all decked up. I am forced to walk to the shops to gaze at a huge Father Christmas holding loads of presents. Poohi thinks that if she stares long enough, he might just take pity on her and hand her one of the presents. They certainly have the right idea though. With all the festive decor, my daughter is not going to let up until we get a Christmas tree, which we had anyway planned to do, but she wants a pink tree – which I certainly don’t fancy. And can you believe it – they do sell pink trees! There must be plenty of little girls in this country pining away for a pink Christmas tree!

I guess I had better end this aimless rambling of mine. Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

If only I could…

live in an idyllic village like this.. and spend time gazing out of the window….

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or this….

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Isn’t there something about the water that has a totally calming feel to it?

 

And one more – with a sea  – as the others don’t work for Winnie the Poohi 🙂

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Edited to add : The first two pics are from Switzerland. Taken from the train journey between Interlaken and Luzern. The last one is from Wales.