17/11/15 – Where does the lotion go?

Set my alarm so that I could get up and shower first whilst we know that we have a room with a decent sized shower. No idea how big our cabin will be on the boat, let alone the shower, so I’m just preparing. Didn’t have to check out until twelve, so we chose to stick around in the room for as long as possible before getting turfed out into the presumable cold. I watched a teeny bit of Walking Dead to keep the fuel going from relevant Walking Dead dreams, oh yeah.

Had a cookie and Red Bull breakfast and was going to have another try at writing, since I’d only managed a page yesterday (really not good when I need to be averaging at around eight a day) but that idea went completely out of the window when Kel found some Psych on TV for me. Psych! On a normal TV channel! Who knew that Psych aired on British morning telly during the week? Not me, because I’m always stuck at work when I could be watching Psych! (I know I have the DVDs, but that’s not the point). It was a good episode too. Where does the lotion go? Seriously, where does it go?

We had till three before we could get down to the dock and start checking in, so we decided to loiter around the Hull town centre for a while. After checking out of the hotel, we did a petrol stop and then went and found somewhere to park. We spent a good fifteen minutes wandering around in search of a pub, but Hull pubs are clearly stupidly laid out/run. Most were either closed down or didn’t serve food, despite having clear signs that said they do. Well done, Hull. Because of this, the pub idea fell through completely, so we ended up in a Sainsbury’s cafĂ© instead. I got excited because they had corned beef hash on the menu, but what I actually got was mince meat in a giant Yorkshire pudding. I double checked with the waitress and she said that it was definitely corned beef hash. Yeah, right. It was actually very yummy, but still the weirdest take on corned beef hash I’ve ever seen (it’s mash with corned beef, yo – just look at the name!)

We had a little wander around afterwards to kill some time. We were going to sit in Costa’s for a bit, but it was packed, so we were demoted back outside. Apparently people in Hull don’t have jobs – it was seriously busy for a Tuesday afternoon. As it was raining, we soon headed back to the shopping centre we’d parked at. Walking past this little helta skelta slide that was outside, we heard it playing the Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride song from Lilo and Stitch. Of course, I made some pathetic little noise over it. Whilst at Tesco, we bought another mix of snacks to restock up on what we’d already eaten at the hotel. Oops.

We’d used up our allotted two hours in the Tesco car park, so we moved on to another free one closer to the dock that Kel had found online earlier on. The weather was still miserable, so we weren’t really feeling having another wander around. Thankfully, there was a pub that opened up onto the car park called Minerva’s Brewery (aww!) so we sat in there for a while for a pint. I do love being British. They had some kind of beer or ale on draft called Atom, which amused me. Ray Palmer has his own drink! Whilst we had our ciders, we had a look online at things to do in Amsterdam and, of course, top foods to try. I got really excited at the prospect of stroopwaffles (or stroodlewoodles, as Marieke got me into the habit of saying years ago) which are a popular Dutch snack that I love and used to get people to bring me back from Holland visits.

We then headed down to the port to get parked up and check in. Had a right hoo-ha checking in, because the women behind the desk were trying to tell us that we only get free parking for the duration of our trip if we booked through Groupon, which we hadn’t. Luckily, saviour Kel had screenshotted all of the information of what was included when we booked, which specifically said on the P&O ferries websites that free parking was included. So they can suck it. They had us wait around for a little while, but I think they realised we were ready to kick up a fuss, because they then gave us the parking voucher and just apologised for the wait. We went to grab our luggage from the car and display our well-earned parking ticket, then we went to board.

So much more straightforward than airport customs and security. We had to show our passports and tickets and were basically just asked if we had any alcohol or sharp objects, then we were let on board. We found our cabin to drop our things off first. It’s surprisingly big and nice, even if I am on a top bunk. Shower’s friggin’ teeny though, as I’d thought – forget where does the lotion go; where am I meant to go?We then went to explore. The long corridors of cabins were a little creepy, but everything else was super big and fancy. Several restaurants, bars, a casino, two cinemas, duty free shops and kiddie areas. I made a lot of Titanic references, which probably wasn’t a good connection to make, so I soon stopped. We checked out the price lists at the bars, which are surprisingly reasonable, and had a peek out onto the deck. We weren’t allowed actually outside as there were chains and signs up to say that it was too windy, so I couldn’t do my king of the world impression. Okay, promise I’ll stop now. We did manage to get a pack of DC Top Trumps from the gift shop. Geeking it up already.

We came back to the room to get ready and then headed down to the restaurant. What we didn’t get was that the restaurant works on a weird reservation only service (despite the fact that there were only like two other people in there) so we got booked in for a time about twenty minutes away and hit the bar for our first cocktail whilst we were waiting. Again, what we didn’t realise was that the cocktails are basically the ones from the little squeezy packets, but just with a bit more alcohol added. So kind of a rip-off, money wise, but they were still pretty nice.

After our drinks, we revisited the restaurant to actually be let inside this time. Our waiter, Pedro, was very friendly and very funny. We had some bread rolls to start and then I had a steak burger with cheese, crispy onion rings and chips. I’m not really a big burger fan – I normally only have them as a last resort if there’s nothing else that I want – but this one was damn good. And I had a Magners to go with it, of course. We moved onto the bar after that; cue more Magners and us breaking out the DC Top Trumps. We clearly know how to party. We won a game apiece. I was chuffed because the very first card I turned over was Harley Quinn. It was meant to be – she clearly sensed my tattoo.

As it was a fifties cruise (fuck yeah), we had entertainment going on throughout the night. First we had a band called the Blue Notes, who played stuff like Frankie Valli, the Ronettes, Lulu… Then we had a Buddy Holly tribute called Bootleg Barry (at least I think), who was dressed the part but looked more like Greg Proops. By this point, we were both knackered. For some reason, being out in windy weather really takes it out of me. I clearly never venture outside when the weather’s bad. Inside good.

We went back to the room and watched an episode of Flash on my iPod. I was clearly happy with that – hadn’t had any eye candy all day. Then it was finally time to attempt to climb into my bunk and then attempt even more to go to sleep. Rockabye baby may work on kids, but it just makes me feel drunk without the good stuff.

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First drinks is always a good moment – even if they are expensive for what they are.

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6/3/15 – Lost specifically just inside the Welsh border

Our next little vacay is go! This time we had a much more relaxed preparing session before leaving. I still got up fairly early to go with Dad to take Izzy to the kennels. He made his standard joke of did I want to go to the playground on the way back (we’d always done that as kids when taking Star and Oscar to be kennelled). I said yes, but he didn’t actually take me. Rude. Me and Kel ran round doing the last alcohol runs, packing the final things, etc. I made sure we still made twenty minutes spare to watch the newest episode of Impractical Jokers before leaving (that punishment was brutal – poor Murr!)

We met up with the rest of our twelve-person crew at Becketts Farm for brunch. I’m not really fancy enough to make brunch a common thing, but it was an awkward point to eat that was in between mealtimes. Therefore it was brunch. Had a lovely brisket and caramelised onions ciabatta and some fancy onion rings. As we were all getting back into the cars Mom suggested we all follow each other and stop off somewhere in Ludlow first as we wouldn’t be allowed into our cabins until later. We agreed, but then the rest of them sodded off and left us whilst I was still having to faff with the immobiliser. Rude again. So me and Kel armed ourselves with Disney music and her Aussie satnav Bruce and just had to head straight to Knighton, since we had no idea where to find the others in Ludlow.

The drive was fairly similar to the one we follow when we go to Little Brampton. There was an amusing moment when we passed another MX-5 going in the opposite direction – we started waving at each other pretty much at the same time! I love how everyone seems to have the same mindset that they want to wave at other people who have the same car (or in Mom’s case if they just have yellow cars too). The postcode we’d put into the satnav didn’t even take us the whole way, but after a weird detour round some little backwards town with tiny roads and some directions via phone call from Mom we were able to find the right path again.

We’d been driving down this creepy-ass road with room for only one car at a time and overlooked by big spooky hedges when it suddenly opened up onto a massive space that looked out onto Blackhall Lodges in the middle of a valley, where we’re staying. It’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It has several cabins all grouped around in one little field (with a playground too, yey!) Can’t decide quite yet if it’s creepy or cute. We were given the keys to one of the cabins and got to have the first look around. Oh yeah. The cabin’s very nice! It’s all warm and cosy with high ceilings, a loft room and its own hot tub out on the patio that overlooks the surrounding hills. We sat down and chilled to some McFly over the fancy sound system whilst waiting for the others to turn up.

When they eventually arrived it turned out that we’d been given the keys to the wrong cabin, so we had to play swapsies. Luckily we hadn’t unpacked anything from the car yet. Uncle Dave was winding us up about having to move rooms, so I pointed out instead that I’d already used his toilet. Ha! We all unpacked and had a lounge around for an hour or so. Had a Kopparberg (let’s face it; it’s not a Tone holiday without some Kopparbergs) and chatted to Ben about games. Then we all convened again to get in the cars and head out in search of a pub.

Had another mad little detour around the crazy back streets but we soon found one. Was happy to see that they had Stowford Press on draft. Easily the best thing about Wales! The food took a pretty long time and we were all cursing, but it was worth it. I had chicken tikka masala with mixed rice, naan bread, poppadom and onion bhajis. When in doubt go for the meal that has the most extras! It was super dark by the time we got back. Kel had to use the light on her phone as a torch to get us from one cabin to the other. The idiot then freaked herself out by shining it on the anorexic bear statue outside our cabin.

Once we got inside I immediately got changed into my bikini, grabbed another Kopparberg and hit the hot tub with Kel, Mark and Ben. It was absolutely lush – even better than the one at Little Brampton. We had a goss about Arrow and Gotham and had another round of drinks. Getting out was brutal though. I hopped around with my towel outside for all of ten seconds before we all crammed in to huddle together on the mat whilst we were still wet. When I was drying off afterwards I found out that my old bikini had melted all over me in the hot tub. Yay. Safe to say that got thrown straight in the bin and best cousin Sar helped me to get the marks off my back.

We all chilled in the living room for the rest of the night. Broke out the cookies and watched the rest of Bridget Jones 2 that was on telly, followed by some lame horror called See No Evil. You gotta love Zone Horror. The whole time the wind was proper raging outside. Never heard it quite like that before! There’s something about sitting somewhere cosy inside and listening to the wind though. Of course it wasn’t quite so comforting after when I was in bed. Not only could I not get to sleep; there was an even weirder noise outside that sounded like somebody was getting abducted. Cue nightmare time. Let’s hope tomorrow night’s weather is a little less British.

Welcome to The Village. We hope you enjoy your stay!

Welcome to The Village. We hope you enjoy your stay!