The Only Thing more Tedious…

December 31, 2010

… than sitting through someone’s holiday snaps, is sitting through their plane-by-plane and train-by-train account of their not-after-all disastrous (indeed miraculously but hence rather boringly snag-free) journey home. So I shall spare you the latter and merely inflict the former on you

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The first one, by the way, is not a photo of where a really interesting bird was about 3 seconds before the picture was taken, but is just to remind me of what a properly blue sky looks like. Or indeed, any kind of a blue sky. If today was anything to go by, I’m going to need to keep referring to it until about March.

Here’s wishing you all a fantabulous new year and many more adventures in 2011. I shall be taking my jetlag to bed around about 9:30 so if you guys want to stay up and celebrate, please do so quietly.

Thank you.

Tomorrow we…

December 28, 2010

… have to drive to the airport, take a flight up to Chicago, catch our connecting overnight flight to Heathrow, take the tube across London, get a Virgin train to Carlisle, change to the chuffer to Bigtown, pick up our car from where it has patiently been waiting for us this last three weeks and finally drive home.

What could possibly go wrong?

Still, at least nobody in the party has been energetically taunting the weather Gods recently, so we should be fine.


Trousers too Tight to Mention

December 27, 2010

I have much to say but can’t type long because I have knackered a finger playing ‘touch’ football with the nephews (no photo by popular request), and I need what little use I have in my hand to keep hitting the refresh button on the Guardian’s over-by-over commentary for the Test Match.* So I’ll just have to leave you with the news that Levis have inexplicably changed their sizing policy so that the size I have been wearing ever since I was in uni unaccountably won’t do up comfortably. At least, I think that’s what the problem is. There’s certainly no other logical explanation that I can think of.

*Only England could manage lose from here, so I’m watching with fascination to see how they do it.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2010

Hope Santa made it to yours too…

Dear Santa…

December 23, 2010

The local paper here has been devoting increasing amounts of space (far outweighing such fripperies as foreign – and by foreign I mean ‘outside Colarado’ – news) to letters from the local children to Santa. Mostly they’re just recitations of demands, punctuated with the odd duty pleasantry towards the reindeer, elves and Mrs Claus, and assurances that the writer has been good. All human life is there: over-reaching ambition (XBox, car, house), bafflingly specific detail (‘a nerf zig-zager but I want it to be blue but not the small ones just the bigger sizes’), banality (world peace, cure for cancer), outright bizarreness (a butler?) and a touch of pathos (‘warm clothes and sneakers so I can run around’).

And then there are the writers who already seem to have a novelist’s grasp of narrative and the telling detail. Such as Aaliyah, who wants many things but confines herself to the four she wants most: a Betty Boop dress, so she will have something to wear to the talent competition, an art studio, so she can make paintings using all colours of the rainbow, a bunny rabbit to replace the one she used to have before her sister killed it by feeding it too many cheetos, oh, and for ‘me, my sister and my brother to be reunited with my mom and for everyone to get along.’

It brings a tear even to my cynical eye. Although I would advise her, if this reunion is effected, to keep her sister away from the replacement rabbit…


It’s that ol’ viral marketing again, but given the topic, I was unable to resist this.

I guess that’s what makes it viral…

I Know I’m Going to Regret this…

December 22, 2010

… but I just don’t feel I can justify my cowardly silence any longer.

Yo, weather gods? We’re here. There’s feet of snow falling everywhere else in the state, there were high winds (as in trucks tipping over on the Interstate, that kind of high) and the weather chaos in the UK has even made it into the local paper here, which puts it up there with the Royal wedding. I keep checking the weather forecast for Bigtown, wincing, and hoping that the Rayburn is keeping our pipes unfrozen. Meanwhile, we’ve had a light dusting of snow which melted away the next day, we hid out in the shelter of the trees during the high winds and today we went for another bike ride in the sunshine.

I hope you lot over there appreciate this; I’m doing it for you.


I forgot to add, while you’re in Google Maps,  go to ‘Get Directions’, put ‘Japan’ in the from field, ‘China’ in the to field and then scroll down to step no. 42 in the directions. That is all.

Why is it…

December 21, 2010

… that in the land of endless choices, where ordering a sandwich can take up to fifteen minutes (seven kinds of bread, five fillings, eight additional fillings on top of that, plus extras, and a side, and if you order salad for your side that needs a dressing, and whatever you do don’t order the raspberry vinaigrette because it’s so sweet it actually tasted better on my ice cream than on my salad), the waitress still has to make a special note to the chef to have someone butter my bread? I mean, if a sandwich doesn’t start with buttered bread (sourdough, if you’re interested) what does it start with?

It reminds me of the now legendary time I was ordering a sandwich somewhere in the midwest. ‘You want mayonnaise with that?’ ‘No thanks.’ ‘You want mustard?’ ‘No thanks.’ Pause. Look of horror. ‘You mean you want it DRY?’

For the record, he went ahead and put mayonnaise on it anyway.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My

December 20, 2010

We’ve had a glorious day’s walk along the Arkansas river today but – sunshine, warm December days and mountain views notwithstanding – signs like these:

Make me quite glad our rural hazards are generally a little tamer.


The other half would like it on the record that he thinks Britain would be vastly improved by the addition of mountain lions.

Eyeholes, Earholes and …*

December 17, 2010

I think one of the reasons why I find shopping in America a little disconcerting is the differences in the ingredient lists. ‘E numbers’ might have been the scary bogeyman of my childhood, but over the years we’ve got used to them and somehow ‘E250’ on a list of ingredients looks a lot less scary than ‘sodium nitrite’ even though it’s exactly the same thing.

Mmm, delicious

And then there’s the sheer level of detail, which goes above and beyond what was strictly necessary. I’m fairly certain that European chorizo contains exactly the same parts of the pig as this American version does. And I’m just as certain that I preferred it when I didn’t know.

Still, that’s supper tonight sorted, as long as we can bring ourselves to eat it…

*if anyone can find the link to the ‘checkout girl’ sketch on the Fast Show about rissoles, I’d be grateful

We’re Going on a…

December 16, 2010

…bear hunt*, we’re going to catch a big one, it’s a beautiful day, we’re not scared…

Oh no!

It’s never a good sign when the path you thought you were following turns out to be a gully full of tumbleweed. But then again, it never fails to amaze me that they have actual tumbleweed here, and not just in a metaphorical sense.

We can’t go under it, we can’t go over it, looks like we’ve got to go through it.

Fortunately, it turns out that tumbleweed is easy enough to wade through and the gully rejoined the path and everything

Swishy-swoshy swishy-swhoshy swishy-swoshy swishy-swoshy

And we never did catch any bears.

In other news, if the weather forecast is anything to go by, it looks like the weather gods have figured out our whereabouts and are coming to get us, so enjoy these shots of blue skies and sunshine while stocks last.

*this one is for Ffion.