18/9/15 – On the road again

I can’t wait to get on the road again. More of traveling on visitation purposes – this time to see Flick in the Isle of Wight. We originally wanted to get there late tonight, but with Kel finished work at five, we just couldn’t count of making the last ferry at nine with Friday night traffic. It took us well over four hours when we drove to Folkestone and that was much earlier in the day. So we decided beforehand to still travel down and spend the night somewhere more nearby, so we wouldn’t have to get up at ridiculous o’clock for our early morning ferry.

Because I started work at six this morning and took a half hour lunch, rather than an house, I got to finish at two and have time to do a last minute Asda run, get showered and finish up packing. We grabbed food from the chippy when Kel got home, got some money out for the trip – I know the island’s meant to be fairly remote, so I don’t know what the cash machine situation will be like – said bye the oldies and the woofie, loaded up the bags and headed out.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a long road trip and this was also the first the first time that Kel’s drove! Flick pre-warned me that the bumpy roads on the island may not be very nice to my low-down Mazda, so the old Yaris is our transport for this trip. Since I’m still insured on it, we can always share the driving. As Kel was happy to drive down towards the coast, it meant I got to play DJ for the first time ever. We hit my musicals and Disney/Don Bluth playlists. I bet nobody else’s musicals playlist goes from Wicked to Sweeney Todd to “shut your fucking face, uncle fucker”. We did out usual duets, including some new ones from the Swan Princess and J.D. and Turk’s “Guy Love” from Scrubs. Such fun!

The drive took just under two and a half hours. We managed to find our bed and breakfast, the Roebuck, somewhere amongst the back country roads in the dark. It’s a bizarre place. A B’n’B slash pub slash social club slash shop slash house. Since we needed to check out so early in the morning, we were told that breakfast wouldn’t be served then, but that they’d leave packed lunches for us outside our room. So special!

It turned out that we’d booked into spider room, as we immediately found several dotted around the curtains. Thankfully, nothing big. Touch wood. I did manage to throw a sachet of coffee out of the window when trying to dislodge one that was hanging off the handle. Oops. Let’s hope I didn’t hit anybody down below. It’s an odd room – the decor’s colour scheme is like Kel’s bedroom meets the stuff we sell at Homebase. None of the carpets line up with the walls properly though, so let’s just hope those gaps aren’t a haven for more spiders. Think this may have to be one of those rooms where we keep all our luggage on the tables, like we did in the Appalachian Mountains. Ah, memories.

Brought my last bottle of Stowford Press with me, so I had that in the room whilst Kel had a quick shower. Praise the keyring bottle opener that lives in my makeup bag. Our rule of thumb with hotel rooms is that I don’t like sleeping in the bed closest to the door and/or window, whereas I think Kel prefers it, so we followed that as per usual. It turned out I’d lucked out with that, because my bed was soft as anything and Kel’s was horrible and springy. Win!

We decided to hit the hat at a reasonable-ish time because of our early start in the morning, but that was very much ruined by the karaoke that started up at the social club, which sounded like it was right outside our window. It was so loud that not only could you hear exactly what songs they were singing, you could also hear just how bad they were. Of course we were giggling in bed over some of the silly pisspot music, but this wasn’t exactly what I’d signed up for. My packed lunch had best be good now!

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8/3/15 – Tone vs. Food

Tasha actually beat me as first up this morning. That was a new one! Had a cookie to munch on and Sar and Kel both got up not long after. Dad then popped round to tell us that they’d overprepared this time and cooked all of the breakfast already. Last night there’d been a bit of hoo-ha over us being late over there for food, so we all hurried over sharpish to make sure it wouldn’t happen a second time (minus the boys, who were still asleep again). Breakfast was yummy once more. The oldies all decided they were going for another walk. Since it was raining we decided we’d had our share of walking for the holiday and went back to our own cabin.

The four of us spent the next few hours having a good natter and gossip about everyone and everything. Ben and Mark got up amidst the chatting and joined us. We had a run over to the other cabin to collect some more fresh pizzas to cook at ours and all got super invested in the Take Me Out re-run. Last of the series, sob. Ben took a real interest in my Superfreaks story, which always really flatters me. He also got what was probably the most in-depth rundown of it that I’ve given anyone so far. After a while we decided to check out the game room. I beat Kel at darts, but she beat me at foosball and our crazy long game of ping pong. We also played with some giant dominoes, but as we’re not entirely sure of the rules we don’t know who won. We’ll call it a draw.

I came back up to the cabin just as Sar had gotten out of the hot tub. Boo. She went in the shower so I got some Fall Out Boy going on the sound system, got my notebook and a can of cider and went to do some writing in the hot tub. It should have been the most ideal way to write (apart from sitting out in the sun and catching a tan at the same time) but it didn’t last very long when Dad, Auntie Ann and Uncle Colin came creeping round to chuck cold water over me. Normally I’m all for cheeky antics, but this time I wasn’t impressed because A) I’d tried so hard to keep my hair dry so that I wouldn’t have to wash it before going out for food, and B) my notebook got soaked and I don’t have any of it backed up. Thankfully best cousin Sar had been stood out in her towel chatting to me after her shower and she ran inside with my notebook before they chucked more water. Saviour of the day!

I didn’t stay in the hot tub much longer after that. Came in and got dried off and sat watching most of Mulan on telly with the others. Things are always better with a bit of Disney. Found out amidst the compulsory Disney talk that Mark loves Princess and the Frog. Oh yeahhh. Most underrated Disney film ever! Since my hair had gotten wet I then had to go in the shower and wash it. My notebook seemed to have survived the drenching so I guess I couldn’t really complain. Once I was dried and ready we all got into cars and headed back to the George and Dragon Pub Inn from the first night. They had the Stowford Press on draft and an amazing looking menu so I was certainly happy to go back.

I had a mixed grill this time and asked for my usual no veg of any kind (in this case peas, mushrooms and tomato. Bleugh). Even still it was friggin’ huge! I had a steak, a big piece of gammon, a pork chop, two sausages, two pieces of black pudding, homemade chips and onion rings. I pawned off the black pudding after having a little taste and being unsure if I actually liked it or not. Still can’t decide. But I of course devoured everything else and everyone cheered. Apparently I have hollow legs – I always seem to amaze people with my capacity for food, The worst part was that I wasn’t even full! I still had room for an Eton Mess sundae afterwards. Did feel a little bloated once we got back to the cabins, so I just chilled in the hot tub with Sar and Ben for an hour or so. They asked me a million and one questions about writing, which again was incredibly flattering. It was really hot in there again and I ended up having a major granny attack (i.e. a sweat) so we all got out. Got changed, grabbed a cider and we all settled down to watch 22 Jump Street for the night.

I didn’t stay up to watch the whole thing. Kel had already gone to bed so I knew that meant we’d be packing everything up first thing in the morning. Sob, just when I was starting to get attached to this place. Goodbye for another year, hot tub holiday!

Goodbye, super nice cabin!

Goodbye, super nice cabin!

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!