Archive for category On The Road

Yeah, I Hang Out With The Stars, Me

Four Arms

Take the Pinheads Golfing, Take Them Golfing

Golf - 2003Golf - 2008

A weekend at Centerparcs. Very, very cold, particularly when we were out on the bikes, which made me ask myself if it was really worth all the stress of strapping them to the roofrack and wondering which stretch of the M6 they would fall off on.

The boys flew birds of prey, played football, climbed trees (Richie did at least), swam and archeried. We played short tennis and mini-golf, and Sarah did some pilates. I had a small victory in that I actually managed to finish a book (The Prestige, by Christopher Priest, top notch, as is the film), which brings this year’s total to, I think, two.

Amazed to find out that it was 2003 when the first of the pictures above was taken, and D. must have been not yet two.

What We Learned About Holidays In Orlando

  • It’s possible to have cracking time without going to Disney at all. The Universal parks are smaller and easier to manage, and there’s lots to do away from Disney. With kids, obviously, you’re not going to be able to get away with this as a plan (and I know I nominated three Disney rides as the best rides in Orlando), but if you don’t want to mess with The Mouse, or you’re making a return trip to Orlando, it’s worth a thought.
  • If the rain’s going to come down, then it usually arrives mid- to late-afternoon. It’s worth getting an early start (and if you’re from Europe, the time difference helps you to do this.
  • You don’t need to hire a convertible. No-one who lives here has one, because the sun is too fierce and you’re better off with a roof over your head and the air-con on.

Best Ride In Orlando

I think we decided on our favourite ride in Orlando – the Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios.

Richie, Davy and me loved the thing. The lads didn’t get the “Twilight Zone” stuff, naturally, but the atmosphere and the sleight of hand of the engineers in the lead up to the pay-off was great, and the power-dive of the elevator wasn’t pretty darn great too (as my hat floated off my head…)

Honourable mentions also go to Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and Mission: SPACE at EPCOT (take the so-called “extreme” version).

Tu Tu Tango

We had a fantastic evening at Tu Tu Tango tonight. The food (American Tapas – huh?) was great, Spanish dancing occurred (performed by professionals, I hasten to add, not by us), and the artist-in-residence showed Richie how to make a turtle and a hammerhead shark out of clay. Best meal of the holiday, I expect, though Sarah particularly enjoyed Jiko, back at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Note To Self

Five boys aged ten and under is too many for two adults to deal with.

Tour de France

Here’s what happens when you go to watch the Tour.

  1. You spend two hours watching various motorised adverts zoom past you. The locals will cheer these to the rafters, and will push you out of the way to get their hands on, for example, free samples of washing powder.
  2. The bikes will then appear, and thirty or forty drug-users in brightly coloured lycra will zoom past you. You may get to see their bike helmets whoosh by. This all happens in approximately 0.0000001 seconds, and your children, who have been waiting in the baking heat for two hours, will miss it.
  3. You go home.

Glad I saw it, though.

Bunnymen Come On Down To My Rescue

So, to Oxfordshire this weekend for the Cornbury Festival. We spent the previous three weeks anxiously checking the weather forecast, as the wettest June ever drenched the UK… then a day before the festival, the rains stopped and the sun came out. That’s the point at which I should have realised that things were going our way.

Still had a huge trek to get there, driving round in circles trying to find the entrance, lugging the tent across the fields (whilst separating the boys from each other all the while, natch), no space left in the VIP camping (bless) and all the rest of it. Kids couldn’t see the acts (being short – we really should have thought of that), so come Saturday evening I was feeling really hassled.

Then Echo & the Bunnymen came on, and with the opening bars of “Rescue”, everything was suddenly OK.

And we had a great time.

Looking back, my favourite moments would have been…

  • The Bunnymen, as above
  • Davy just howling with laughter on the waltzers
  • The Proclaimers doing “Sunshine on Leith”, which was just transcendent
  • The healing power of a good shower on Sunday morning
  • Spending most of Sunday morning sitting outside the tent, drinking loads of tea
  • My back holding up
  • The festival finishing at 22:40 on Sunday, and the rain starting up again at 22:45. We were charmed.

North Country Boy

Some pictures from our trip to Scotland and Northumbria:

Isle of Arran

On Arran this weekend, with my bike. Drove up on Friday night, stayed at the new hotel next to Kilmarnock FC, and caught the ferry over to Arran on Saturday morning. I was intending to cycle the 60 miles around the coast of the island, but only got half way around when I started to realise that it wasn’t going to happen (held up by some appalling wind and rain), so I cut across the top of the island and back down into Brodick. Luckily the weather has better in the afternoon and I got to the hotel at about six.

The Belvedere hotel was, um, interesting – it doubles as an alternative therapy centre. Had dinner with the proprietors and a guest who was into colourpuncture. Lawks.