Thursday, April 30, 2009

Have A Drink On Me by AC/DC

On route to Tahoe, WT insisted we play the ABC game.
You know, everyone takes a turn and names an animal beginning with a letter through the alphabet.
A - alligator
B - bear etc,etc

After about half an hour of this, interspersed with a couple of I Spy's, I suggested ABC's of girls names, then boys names, then store names.
WT wanted to do school names and so we continued.
Having exhausted our limited imaginations SB decided we should do Cocktails!
He landed the E and came up with Elephant, yeah right ( feckin cheating with an "animal"answer)
The rest of us took our turn and SB got J.
SB - Jumping Jehosaphat! Now there's a grand name fer a cocktail!

Last night SB asked me if I would like a drink ( A village somewhere obviously missing it's idiot)
He offered me an "Elephant"
Hmmm rather tasty.

elephant Pictures, Images and Photos

His Elephant apparently consists of Vodka , Creme De Cassis and lemonade.
(Unfortunately he's one of those bartenders who twitters crap and thinks he's being funny.)
Having slurped through my Elephant and feeling quite relaxed in a " I do so enjoy an Elephant now and again" kinda way, SB asked if I would like to try a Jumping Jehosaphat?
Me- What's in that?
SB - I dinnae ken yet!
Me - I'll pass
Alchemy at it's best, he started mixing "stuff" and mumbling.
He tasted his concoction and began grinning. ( At least that's what it looked like )
SB - Oh, Oh you've got tae try this!
Me - *sighs* and *sips* and WTF?
SB - Good eh?
Me- WTF is in it?
SB - Well, ye see it's the same as an Elephant but ye add some Brandy!

A Jumping Jehosaphat WILL do this to you!

brain freeze Pictures, Images and Photos

Aye good old SB
As a failure he's a great success!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Riverdance by Bill Whelan

I've been reading other Blogs and quite a few "darlings" have mentioned my twin sister, the one and only Susan Boyle
Yes we are indeed identical but she sings better than me.
No one however, seems to have espied "Stavros Flatley" and his son, performing Riverprance!
The real deal, Mr Michael Flatley must be SO proud of Stavros and his son.
I saw both Riverdance and Feet of Flames a while back...wonderful
Michael, you have inspired sheer genius for which I personally thank you from the bottom of my wee heart!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lets Dance by David Bowie

SB and I took Scoot to the Library today.
It's taken almost 14 years but at long last Scoot has moved "slightly" away from Noddy videos and other UK tots TV shows ( how he remembers them beats me as he was just turned 4 when we moved to the US )to SPIDERMAN!
Onywie, as we were driving along we spotted a waving green Pickle.
There it was, outside a restaurant, waving.
Waving one hand.
Waving one hand, in the style of Queen Lizzie II of England (I of Scotland!.)

Dan in Pickle Costume Pictures, Images and Photos

SB - That's a pathetic Pickle.
Me - Yep, it could at least move both it's arms.
SB - I suppose it's tryin tae be kindae a Royal Pickle.
Me - Aye but it's no very animated fer a Pickle
SB - If I was a Pickle I'd be movin ma feet. I think Pickles should dance.
Me - Aye, they should!
SB - Noo a burger on the ither hand widnae dance.
A burgers kindae sedentary.
But no a pickle. A pickle wud be gettin doon wi it's bad self!
Me - Maybe ye should apply fer the job!
SB - A Prancin Pickle!
Me - There ye go!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't Leave Me this Way by Thelma Houston


Look LOOK!
I did it all by myself!
My beautiful award from Bilbo can now be seen by EVERYONE! (all five of you ;-) )
*does the Hoedown Throwdown - I'm getting better at it! *
And look at my typing!
I am ?6 and I'm a PC...

Onwards dear reader to the final destination of our Inter rail journey, Greece.
The plan was that we would spend the last week of our trip relaxing on a Greek Island then fly back to the UK.
It's was a great idea and it was MINE!
I had no intention of participating in an overland "reverse trip"
It takes too long.
We literally scooted through Bulgaria ( we had been there on Honeymoon :( it was a disaster, so we had no fond memories ) to Sofia where we jumped on a train headed for Thessaloniki.
It was an overnighter and we were due to arrive around noon, Sunday.
There were a few Inter railers on board, a couple of Irish girls and a pack of Australians.
The usual Border checks occurred and a young American guy was marched off the train!
We never did find out why.
Recalling him I have to say you could play "Spot the American Inter Railer" and win with 100% accuracy every time!

Young people of the World backpacking!

mochileiro Pictures, Images and Photos

American backpacker!

Backpacker alert Pictures, Images and Photos

No offence, of course. They're just so CLEAN! Creases in shorts, perfectly ironed shirts, cute wee shoes and the hair, OMG the hair! "like you've just stepped out of a salon"

We were in Greece! hurray! well not for the American kid but...
Everyone fell asleep only to be abruptly awakened at around 6a.m. and told to leave the couchette and move into a regular carriage.
This we did, because we are respectful of Railway authority!
There were around 12 of us ( all backpackers) in the carriage.
Where had everyone gone? They must have all got off while we were sleeping.
One of the Australian guys went to check it out.
He informed us that we were now the ONLY carriage!
Oh well, not to worry, Thessaloniki here we come.
I'm going to say it was around 10a.m. ( SB would be more accurate because he's anal ) when the train stopped at a kinda siding. A platform with a stand pipe and two rotund Greek railwaymen with a cooler, drinking Amstel. There was a wee village in the distance, the rest of our scenery was fields and well, things that looked like fields.
We waited, all chatting about where we had been, what we had seen, funny stories of our exploits, you get the picture.
Half an hour or so later we heard a train chuffing off.
The Australian guy ( our savior as it turned out ) again went to check it out.
He returned , ashen.
They had de-coupled us!
The engine was feckin GONE!
Twelve of us in a feckin railway carriage "somewhere" in Greece, abandoned!
Everyone laughed. We did, we laughed.
11 a.m Laughter had subsided
11:30 a.m. Everyone was beginning to get antsy ( it was getting hot, in the 80's)
12 noon Decisions were being made! The Australian had us all pool our food and water.
12:30 He and another guy got off the train to ask the two rotund Greeks ( now on their 4th bottle of ice cold beer ) if they knew what was happening. They were met with shrugs and a lot of head only Greeks can do
We were all debating whether or not to get off the train, what if the engine came back?
1:30 We had all had it. Our water was finished as was the food. Everyone disembarked.
We all stretched our legs and sat in the shade.
It was now in the 90's
3:00p.m. Everyone was becoming dehydrated. The stand pipe was looking more like a beer pump by the second. To drink Greek water or not...that was the question.
An argument ensued. We were hot, cranky, thirsty and abandoned.
- The water's not safe
- The water's not potable ( some smart ass with a PHD, who TF says potable? )
- There are germs in it
- My mum made me promise to only drink bottled water or I wouldn't get to take this trip
- If we drink it we're all going to wind up in Hospital, in Greece!
- Hey if we drink it we could all wind up dead!
Australian Guy - If we DON'T drink it we're all going to feckin die anyway! It's over 100deg
and we have no idea when or if the feckin engine is coming back!
12 thirst crazed loonys attacked the stand pipe.
Sated and exhausted we all began to doze.
At around 5p.m. we heard the distant sound of an engine
We all dived back into the carriage which was duly re-coupled and we were off!
For about a mile.
The train stopped.
Some rail workers hooked a flatbed piled with logs onto the back of our carriage.
We were off!
To our wee platform with the stand pipe.
The flatbed was De-coupled.
We were off!
For about a mile.
The train stopped.
Some rail workers hooked a flatbed piled with logs onto the back of our carriage.
We were off!
To our wee platform with the stand pipe.
The flatbed was De-coupled.
We did this five feckin times!
We really were off!
We arrived in Thessaloniki at around 2a.m
We had no drachmas, no food, no water and nowhere to sleep.
I begged, I did!, I begged a couple of guys (shutting up an open bar) for water.
We slept on Platform 6 of Thessaloniki Station.
Our last week was spent in Skiathos, hotel, beach and lazing around recovering.

skiathos Pictures, Images and Photos

I would recommend everyone/anyone to take an Inter rail trip no matter what age!
If you can pick up a backpack, your good to go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Take The Money and Run by Steve Milar Band

I have to start today with a huge THANK YOU to my darlin friend BILBO who gave me an Award! I'll figure out how to show it to y'all ASAP.

Romania , Sighisoara and Vlad Dracul

We arrived in Sighisoara and were dumped at what was "we assumed" the Railway Station.

OCR Vankleek Hill Sub / old siding @ Dalkeith ON Pictures, Images and Photos

There was one Hotel in town circa 1940.
No electricity but we did have a dribble of lukewarm water in the shower.
The town was very picturesque but extremely poor.

sighisoara Pictures, Images and Photos

We went for dinner in the wee house which is the birthplace of Vlad, now a restaurant.
They had little or no food!
Salad was one lettuce leaf and half a tomato.
Entree, no choice, a wee slice of pork and half a potato.
Dessert? Forget it the couple at the next table had ordered the last grapefruit!
We headed back to the Hotel bar, flashlight in hand.
( oh by "no electricity" I mean NONE inside or out)
Fortifying ourselves with a couple of beers we took a seat and were joined by a young couple from the North of England, lets call them Peter and Lois!
We arranged to meet them again the following night for drinks.
The following night...
We arrived at the bar and found Lois sitting on her own looking decidedly worried.
Me - Hiya! Where's Peter?
Lois - * bursts into tears*
SB - What? Whats happened?
Lois - Well we didn't think we had enough "Leu"
Me - And?
Lois - Well, Peter went out to try and exchange some money * still sobbing *
SB - How long has he been gone?
Lois - Almost an hour * serious weeping*

Aside - when you go on these Inter Rail trips you are told repeatedly NOT to EVER try to exchange money on the streets/black market.

SB - Ok, I'm gonnae get ye a drink and then I'm gonnae go and look for him!
Me - Aye like feck ye are!
SB - Got a better idea?
Me - Ok, we'll all go though * stomach churning*

SB went up to the bar to grab three shots.
The door of the bar crashed open and in stumbled Peter, wheezing, panting, sweating, trembling,hanging onto the door.

SB - WTF happened?
Lois - Clinging on to Peter *hysterical*

SB set down 4 shots and 4 beers and assisted Peter to our table.
We all downed the drinks and Peters breathing regulated.
He managed to tell us WTF happened, it went kinda like this...

He took of to the streets with Dollars ( we all had dollars, easier to exchange than sterling)
Having approached a couple of wily shysters with no success he happened upon an old lady with a corn cob stand.

crone Pictures, Images and Photos

One of those things you can push around. A wee cart.
He took out a One dollar bill and using "sign language" tried to exchange it for Leu.
She offered him some dubious looking corn cobs.
He shook his head, pointing and gesticulating.
She shook her head, waving her arms and yabbering.
He took out a Five, thinking she wanted more!
The ancient crone grinned and took the five.
Now he was getting somewhere!
He put his hand out for the Leu.
She pointed at the Corn Cob Stand and started to walk away!
He'd bought it!
The feckin Corn Cob Stand!
He started shouting at her " No No No!"
She came back toothless grin, turning the stand towards him.
He walked away.
She followed pushing her wee "business" and calling to him.
He upped his pace to a fast walk.
She started to jog.
He started to run, looking over his shoulder, there she was!
He started dodging down alleys and back streets.
By the time he'd lost her HE was totally lost.
He ran around the streets in a total panic trying to find the Hotel and remain "under cover"

Peter - So I've no feckin money but anyone hungry?

Tomorrow Bulgaria to Greece, then I'm done and back to the present...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shoot To Kill by Greyhoundz

I must have been addlepated yesterday, nothing new there!
I was all set for the Romanian saga and totally forgot about the Czech Republic and PRAGUE!
Prague is THE most beautiful city I have ever visited and an absolute must if you ever have the opportunity to visit Europe.
Paris, Rome, Athens...forget it. Prague is the place you want to be.
We had intended to stay for 2 days and were still there a week later!
The only bummer was that we had no time to go to Poland and had to scoot over to Romania.
So Prague...

Charles Bridge Pictures, Images and Photos

Two wee stories to tell ye!

There is a Pub ( surprise! ) called U FLECKU
We decided to go for lunch and sample the famous "brown beer" brewed there.
It was a lovely day so we got ourselves settled in the courtyard.
No sooner were our arses parked than a waiter slapped a couple of huge mugs of beer in front of us. No order necessary!
We scoofed the first beer as we perused the menu.
No sooner was the first beer finished , "viola" a new one appeared!
Impeccable service and not a word spoken other than " Dekuji "
After a couple of these puppies, food was the last thing on our minds!
As the beer flowed, the pub had a regular influx of tourists, bus parties mainly, arriving, having a few sips of beer, then leaving. Ahhh the waste!
Around 3ish ( and 6/7 beers into it ) the band started to play and our waiter began to feed us shots in between his beer runs.
Some kind of peach Schnapps, rather nice as I recall.
Suffice to say we were happy.
Six o'clock ( maybe?) it began to drizzle, a few minutes later the heavens opened and a thunderstorm raged.
The band dispersed , the waiters all took off to the sanctuary of a covered area, tourists vacated en masse.
Well when yer wet yer wet, keep the booze coming!
We remained seated through the storm as our waiter ran back and forth under an umbrella with our drinks.
A couple of hours later the sky began to clear.
The Staff, the whole bluddy lot of them (15 or so) surrounded our table and gave us a standing ovation! The applause and cheers were quite remarkable!
No accolade in Scotland for being imbibed!
We smiled, bowed and curtsied and continued our "mission" until the bar closed.
Go team Bogie!
A couple of days/hangovers later we needed to go to the train station to book couchette tickets.
We had bought underground tickets at the start of the week so we hopped on an underground train.
Up the stairway and right into the Railway Station.
Tickets purchased we were ready to head back down to the Underground.
SB - We need to punch our Underground passes to go back down
Me - Dinnae be daft, we've never left the building, we just came upstairs!
SB - I'm no being daft! We left the underground!
Me - It's all the same thing, it's all trains!
SB - Look ya Eejit, the underground is one thing and the Railway Station is another. We need to punch our passes to go back down!
Me - Silly man ( or words to that effect )
I go stomping off with SB twittering behind me and march through the side gate towards the stairs.
I was aware of shouting and some commotion behind us!
SB - Feck!
I looked around and found myself with a feckin GUN pointed at me!
SB had one pointed at him too!
Three Railway Police guys, two with guns and the other yelling - you come with us!
He proceeded to yell that we had not punched tickets and so a crime had been committed.
- You walk this way!
We were marched, at gunpoint across the Railway Station towards a huge stone pillar.
Me - Awwww SB their gonnae shoot us! ( hysterical )
SB - Feckin TOLD ye we had tae punch tickets!
Me - I dinnae want shot! ( more hysterical )
SB - Dinnae be feckin daft! They're no gonnae shoot us for no paying "50 cents"
Me- Aye the are and I'm gonnae pee maself!
SB - *stifled giggle*
Me - *groaning*

- You come round this side - Policeman pointing to the back of the pillar, out of view of the rest of the station.

Me - *sobbing* I told ye they 're gonnae shoot us!
SB - *shaking head*

On the back side of the pillar there was a wee notice, in English, explaining that tickets had to be purchased or punched when leaving the Railway Station for the Underground.

- You see? You understand?- Policeman pointing at the wee sign.

Me - Yes, yes, please don't shoot! (waving our Underground passes at him) We have tickets!

- No shoot, but we make fine! -

We were marched back to the Underground entrance where SB had to cough up the equivalent of a $50 fine, which went straight into the Policeman's pocket!

- Now you go and punch ticket and have good holiday - all three Officers grinning.

Me - Oh mummy daddy, mummy daddy, etc etc
SB - Well that was a feckin cheap entrance fee...
Me - Sorry *whimpering*
SB - *sigh*

Yes dear readers, I, wee me, she who has NEVER broken the law, was indeed arrested in Prague.
So if you do ever go there, please remember to punch yer ticket!

Romania tomorrow...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Across The Border Line by Willie Nelson

The dust has settled, literally, feckin housework, I HATE it.
But, I do it SO well.
It should be an Olympic event, Housework!
I'd win, no contest really I guess, just a feckin Gold Medal to add to my dusting.

Onywie ( as we say in Scotland) of we go to Austria, Hungary and the "trip"
Austria was pretty...darned expensive.
We only stayed one day/night in Vienna.
SB forced me to walk to the top of St Stephens Cathedral with my tormentor strapped to my back.

St. Stephens's Church Pictures, Images and Photos

Just about friggin killed me...

We were getting pretty train savvy by this time and decided to book a Couchette
for our next destination, Budapest!

COUCHETTE! Pictures, Images and Photos

Then the real "fun" began.
We get all snuggled up, exhausted and ready to become totally comatose when we hit the Austria/Hungary border at around 1a.m.
We stop on the Austrian side.
Door crashes open and the lights come on.
( I really need you to use you imagination here and hear the accented voices of the officals. Bilbo should have no problem with this for sure!)
Everyone in the couchette sits up, startled, WTF?
Enter, "Franz von Papen" shouting - Teeckets, teeckets I vont your teekets!
Six of us scrabbling around in a feckin couchette shoebox, trying to find our friggin "teeckets"
He checked them, stamped them, handed them back, slammed the door shut, lights out.
We are all mumbling, complaining, whining(me) as we settle back down to sleep.
Around 10 minutes later...
Door crashes open and the lights come on.
Everyone in the couchette sits up, startled, WTF?
Enter, "Rudolph Hess" yelling Passports, Passports I vont your Passports!
Repeat performance from Couchette occupants.
Passports checked.
Now we are all really pissed as we try once more to SLEEP.
Sleep? Yeah right!
No more than 5 minutes go by when guess what?
Door crashes open and the lights come on.
Enter feckin Adolph himself!
Screaming, seriously screaming
-You have Drugs? You have guns? You have ammunition?
He starts going through our backpacks!
- UP! UP! UP!
We all get out of bed ( bed- I use the term lightly as you can see from the pic) and he proceeds to look under mattresses and between sheets/blankets
Having established that all we had were backpacks full of stained, sweaty, grungy thrice worn stinky socks and underwear, he departs.
The couchette is silent.
5,10,15 minutes go by.
We all being to whisper... that was feckin AWFUL!
The train begins to chug along slowly.
Thank god that's over, we all agree.
The train stops. We're out of Austria and into Hungary! Hurray!
Ten minutes later?
Door crashes open and the lights come on.
It took us around an hour and a half to cross the border!
We arrived in Budapest "zombified"
It's a City well worth visiting though.
Buda castle is beautiful and the food...yum yum.

Next stop Romania , Sighisoara and Vlad Dracul !

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photograph by Nickleback

Hello Honnies "I'm HOME"
A grand time was had by all.
Enough snow to satisfy Scoot and WT and enough hot tub for TCI.
I've decided to post "real" photos, why? because I've figured out how!!
So we have Scoot and WT about to get into it over the blue sled!

The dogs had a blast and wee Fiddle turned into a superstar! Off leash...go Fiddle!
Banjo on the other hand would never be seen again should we "unleash the beast"
TCI with Fiddle gazing lovingly into her eyes.
WT sporting a Pink hat holding onto Banjos collar for dear life!
Well, I had a lesson in cell phone technology from TCI whilst trying to relax and enjoy our wee cruise across the Lake...bluddy teenagers ;-)
Oh and that's half of SB to my left!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holiday by Madonna

I'm taking my old broken self off to Lake Tahoe for Spring Break.
The other "four" and "twa dugs" are coming with me!
I'm sure I'll have lots of reading to do when I get back ;-)
See y'all next Saturday!

Sunday Morning by Howie Day

I'm taking a break from our European adventures to wish everyone Happy Easter.

Happy Easter sign Pictures, Images and Photos

If you don't "do" Easter then Happy Sunday.

Sunday Pictures, Images and Photos

If you don't "do" Sundays then just be Happy You Woke Up this morning!

happy easter Pictures, Images and Photos

I know I am...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant

I'm going to rush through Holland and the "Hellish Hollish" as I fondly remember it's inhabitants.
Amsterdam is a fun City. Great street entertainment, wonderful Indonesian food and very picturesque.

Amsterdam Pictures, Images and Photos

We did take a stroll through the "Red Light" district, well SB strolled I kinda slunk.
I had no idea what you would even consider doing with 90% of the items on display in the shop windows!
Still don't, nor do I care to find out, thank you very much!
Ignorance is bliss.
Moving on to Germany.
Freiburg, to meet our wonderful friends Peter and Ursula. ( We met them when they were backpacking around Scotland a few years earlier).
We were met at the railway station and Pete promptly brought out a cooler filled with beer from the trunk of the car! We sat on the sidewalk guzzling for a while the headed out to Urs's (is that right Urss' Bilbo assistance required plz!) apartment where we would be staying for a couple of days.
Pete is a "list" kinda guy.
Pete - Now we make walk
Pete - Now we eat
Pete - Now we drink
Pete - Now we make trip to the lake for swim!
Swimming sounded wonderful, it was in the 90's and a dip in the Lake sounded just delicious.
*Quick aside - Pete and Urs are both TALL! SB comes in at around 5ft6" and I'm 5ft4". When we all "make walk" SB and my wee leggies are moving FAST to keep up with our striding German friends!
Ok, get the visual?
Soooo, we arrive at the Lake and they take off with me almost running to keep up and SB jogging behind. I'm focused, the Lake is busy and I don't want to loose sight of our guides!
SB - Fiona!
SB - Fiona! (rising panic noted)
Me- WTF?
SB - look!
Me - What?
I turn to him and he's developed an unattractive, nervous twitch, affecting his whole head!
Me - Are you ok?
SB - no
He tries to point but the affliction has now progressed to his arms and hands which are shaking uncontrollably.
I glance around and dissolve into fits.
It's a nudist Lake!
I gather him up and we continue, SB staring at the path.
Pete and Urs have found a nice spot and are laying out towels.
We all sit down admiring the Lake, SB staring at his feet.
Pete and Urs start to strip off...totally
SB- (whispers frantically) What are we gonnae do?
Me - Oh I'm fine, I put my bikini on under my dress! (smiling)
SB - WHAT? Feck,feck,feck,feck
Me- What the hell is wrong with you?
SB- I put my trunks in the wee backpack, how am I gonnae get them on?
Me - Oh just Do It for feck sake, everybody's bluddy naked anyway, no-ones gonnae be lookin at yer "Thon"
SB - I dinnae have a "Thon" It's gone...
Me - Dinnae be an eejit, what do ye mean gone?
Me - Oh!
Meanwhile on the German front, Pete has whipped out his - CAMERA - and is bobbing around stark naked shouting " Now we make photo, yes? "
Poor wee SB...literally
We three ran down to the Lake and immersed ourselves in the beautiful lukewarm water, allowing SB a modicum of privacy to wiggle and wriggle out of his shorts and into his trunks.
We had a wonderful swim and watched the sun begin to set as we bobbed around.
Pete - Now we make walk and eat
SB - *groans*
Me - What?
SB - How the FECK do I get out and back into my clothes?

Tomorrow Expensive Austria and High jinks in Hungary

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Leaving by Jesse McCartney

I've been reminiscing.
So sit back, relax and let me take you on an "InterRail" journey with SB and moi circa 1993.
We had the tickets, we had the rucksacks, we even had a plan!
SB and a couple of his buddys had done it 5 years earlier and he loved it, so...
We had been saving "vacation" time from work for 2 years ( you could do that kinda thing back then)
This was to be our great adventure before starting a family!
Our last gasp attempt to be young and carefree.
I was adamant that even although we were taking a tent (Sherpa SB in charge of that puppy) we would be checking into Hotels on route.
My idea of roughing it was staying at the Holiday Inn as opposed to The Savoy.

Day 1 - Leven our home town, to Dover, where we would get the ferry over to Bruges (Belgium)
SB (Backpack on, including tent) Are you ready then?
Me -
SB - Come on or we're gonnae miss the bus ( bus from Leven to Edinburgh)
Me - I cannae lift the feckin thing!
SB - What? Your joking right?
Me - no
B - WTF did you pack?
Me - A lot?
SB - Well your just gonnae have tae manage!

He picks up my backpack ( with some difficulty) and slaps the fecker on my back. I of course assume the Igor stance and stagger the 20minute walk to the bus depot, grabbing railings, trees and the occasional unsuspecting random person in an attempt to keep my balance.

We loaded onto the bus with me in tears insisting that there was no way in hell I could lug "that fecker" around Europe for 6 weeks. My anguished cries received no sympathy.
A trolly thingy at Edinburgh train station calmed me down somewhat, as did a few drinks in the Bar as we waited for our first train.
I felt much more positive as we alighted in York for lunch, having consumed the entire contents of British Rails "beverage" trolley.
I was now swaying and staggering with a purpose!
The port of Dover provided us with more refreshments as we waited ( I LIKE waiting )
All Aboard...we were at sea...literally
We dumped our gear in a cabin which I'm sure was actually a locker with two wee mattresses squeezed in and went in search of the bar.
Hey! I was thirsty. I'd been hauling "the fecker" all over Scotland and England!
Some hours later,
We couldn't find our Cabin...
Up and down decks, back and forth, swaying ( well we're on a bluddy ship after all )
No luck.
Back to the bar, amazingly we found THAT no problem.
We did a good job. We managed to drink our way across the Channel. Quite an accomplishment
Dawn was breaking as we docked in Bruges.
The Bartender had somehow? taken our Cabin key and managed to have our backpacks brought to us...nice guy
We haul ourselves down the gangplank and collapse.
When we come too, it is to discover that every single passenger has disappeared, gone, we are alone.
No cars, no buses, nothing!
Me - What are we gonnae do?
SB - *shrugs *
Me - Oh THAT'S ok then...
SB - Look there's a bus coming
Me - Aye but where is it going?
SB - Disnae matter we're getting on it
Me - WHAT?
SB - Welcome to InterRailing darlin!

Tomorrow, From Belgium to the debauchery that IS Amsterdam!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline

I'm broken...again.
Don't even ask, suffice to say I'm a big GOWK
I am now "not so proudly" sporting the following;

1. Bruise on left eyebrow resulting in a bluddy KEEKER
No 3 people, my name is NOT Wullie and I do not have a hairy "thingy"

Black Eye Pictures, Images and Photos

2. Sprained right wrist
3. Gouge out of right index finger
4. Abrasion to left shoulder
5. Sore neck
6. Sore bum

I feel as though I've gone five rounds with Lennox Lewis and guess who won?
Oh, the shame.
I will NEVER again place a three legged stool on chippie stones, in an attempt to haul my ass up,
to re-arrange the feckin Jasmine plant ( which by the way is looking lovely)

Jasmine Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, April 3, 2009

Apeman by The Kinks

Since yesterdays post had the most comments EVER, I'll stick to what seems to work, for today anyway!
As a very, very, dear friend of mine said - just the other day actually - "she just ain't right"
This opinion stretches further than the eye can see, in the Horse World or at least my corner of it.
I am actually a totally self opinionated "person" when it comes to our equine friends ( or in NARMS case enemies)
I never anthromorphize ( there's one for ya BILBO!) ever.
It's going to get you into more trouble with your horse than anything else you do.
I hear it all the time ;
My horse loves me
My horse hates me
My horse only likes men
My horse only likes women
My horse is happy
My horse is sad

What a lot of TWADDLE!
These Prey animals have no such thoughts! They can't. It's stupid to think they do.
Here's the reality.

My horse respects my leadership.
My horse has no respect for my leadership.
My horse has been abused by a man ( glances at Narm) at some point in it's life and has a rightful fear of tall humans, humans with deep voices, etc
My horse has been abused by a woman etc etc you get it...
My horse feels good about it's self mentally, emotionally and physically.
My horse feels lonely ( they are herd animals remember), bored and out of shape.

I teach people.
I teach horse psychology to humans.
Not a day goes by when I'm doing my thing, that some "experienced" equestrian looks and listens to my lesson and walks away with that "she just ain't right" expression!
Sure, I could Cowboy up, wear spurs, use a bigger bit, kick harder, pull harder on the horses face BUT brute force and ignorance are things of the past.
It's all changing, slowly but for the better.
For the horse to want to please rather than be forced to perform.
Maintaining the dignity of the animal is paramount in my lessons.
I do groups lessons at a reduced rate!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

King Fear by The Babylon Whores

Yesterday found me living up to every ones expectations...I WAS "the fool"
Nothing new there, so let's move on.

Working with horses and being a riding instructor I have to manage varying degrees of fear every day.
It's a dangerous thing, being around 1000+lb animals.
You have to be "on your game" all the time because horses are really smart and know, with 100% accuracy, when your not paying attention.
That's when they test you!
I've been doing this "horse" thing for a LONG time now and pretty much have my butterflies in formation.
This is not the case for many of my students.
I spent much of the weekend pondering how best to help them, it's my job.
I reached some conclusions.

1. I have to respect that the fear a student feels is VERY real, for them.
2. There is no point in my saying "Oh dinnae be an Eejit, it'll be fine"
That's MY reality not theirs.
3. We only learn "out of our comfort zone"
That said, if we go too far then we are in a frightened place and no longer learning.
4. As humans we would be daft NOT to experience fear.
It's our brain kicking into self preservation mode.
5. Fear causes Brain Freeze.
6. Overcoming fear leaves us with three scenarios:

i. Oh Shit moments become Oh WOW moments. eg someone who's been afraid to Lope
becomes confident and before you know it all they want to do is go FASTER!
ii. You become indifferent. eg Picking hoofs can be scary for some people and rightly so but as
confidence builds it becomes just a job. Not, Oh WOW, just, get it done.
iii. The fear remains but at a manageable level. As I said, butterflies in formation NOT
flapping around bouncing off the walls.

I have strategies.
I have a responsibility to my students to use these strategies!
As my mentor Mr P says "Take the time it takes, to take less time"
Move closer stay longer.
True story-
My BFF horse, the one I put 6 year olds on, the love of my life.
Four years ago that horse and I looked at each other, through pipe panels for 6 weeks.
I was terrified of her!
She was terrified of me! ( I was THAT predator)
It took a full year for us to get on track.
It was a journey, a wonderful journey and one which changed me as a person, a trainer and an Instructor, all for the better!
When it comes down to it, most of the time, our fear is of the unknown.
The Bard says it much better than I ever could :
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

(translation ;-) )

And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!