||Blog Entries 
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:30 AM
Wednesday. Back to work - with a vengeance. I had over 100 emails to go through and so many reports to get out. Needless to say I din't quite get it all done but I made good progress and it will still be there in the morning.
I had a Zest Smoothy for lunch a fat burner one it was very good and tonight wathced a doubel bill of Heroes so am all caught up now. We love it. Getting really good.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:25 AM
Tuesday. A day to do all the washing - six loads in total - hang it all out on the line to dry and get all the upstairs cleaned and tidied and all the unpacking done. Not to mention taking delivery of the Ocado shopping order and unpackign all that and then later in the day going out to Woking with the boys to get their new school shoes.
Rushed off my feet I was - didin't really sit down but was very satisfying. I even cooked a proper meal for the first time in ages - pasta Bolognese which we had with soem of out Apple Tart bought in Calais yesterday.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:19 AM
Monday. Leaving Day - Richard's birthday (43) and Wendy and Richard's Wedding Anniversary (19).
We had to get up early to pack up load up and be out by10.30am. We did it but not without drama. Richard managed to wreck the car doors on Adam's and my side by attempting a U -turn and scraping heavily against a rock. He was not happy at all.
We made very good progress time wise leavign the parc and gettign to Dunkerque. They wouldn't let us on the earlier boat so we drove to Calais to find a Hypermarket and nearly ran out of diesel. Fraught times I can tell you. We did get some wine and a nice apple tart and variosu other pieces. We did get soem diesel too - Citie Europe's finest but we had to take the bicylce off of the roof rack first in order to squeeze under the barriers to get to the lower level where the petrol staiton was.
Out ferry home was meant to leave port at 8.00pm but wqas delayed due to technical difficulties for over an hour. We didn't get home until after midnight. Dog tired - bed was never so inviting. The hosue had that funny coming home from holiday stale air smell. Summer is over too soon.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:15 AM
Sunday. Our last full day at De Eemhof. We make the most of it. The boys go climbing in the afternoon. Mark chcikens out a bit but makes it in the end and then we have a final session at The Aqua Mundo. It is all good fun - I even do the Rapidsa gain - twice - I can't believe myslef but I still prefer The Lazy River ride.
We opted for the Fondue and the Raclette Fun Coking packs tonight. They turn out to be q motley collection of odd foods and copious amounts of potato salad and coleslaw which will be wasted on our boys. We end up cookign ti all first and then having a mass eat and drink out. I buy a strawberry tart in honour of Richard's birthday tomorrow and our journey home. It has been a really good holiday and I have one last sauna because there is no hot water still and it is the only way to keep warm.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:10 AM
Saturday. The Weekend already. I have a nice long lie in after yesterday's adventure but have to get the boys up early as they have a nine o'clock dates with the wild Water rafting on the Rapids at the Aqua Mundo. I go down their much later with Richard but don't swim and only read my book. I am making good progress with Harry Pooter and The Deathly Hallows.
In the afternoon I take a long cycle ride with Richard down to the locks on the far side of the park. IT is a very hot and sunny afternoon and am quite exhausted when I get back. It is a nothe barbecue night tonight but htis has prooved to be quite the best way to cook for all nine of us.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:06 AM
Friday. Day trip to Amsterdam for Wendy and me. we drive to Almere and then take the train to Amsterdam Central Station. Outside the Station we pick up a canal bus - hop on hop off tour and head over to Anne Frank's House first stop. We have lunch at a pavement cafe - great club sandwiches. The queue outside Anne Frank's House is long and uninviting so we walk around for bit and then get back on the Canal bus and take the tour - Green line all the way back to the station. We then do a spot of sopping for souvenirs and then have a quick coffee and juice and then head back to Centerparcs.
We meet all the boys at Hamilton's Bar and Grill where we have a really nice meal before turning in. A most enjoyable day.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 30th August 2007 at 12:00 AM
Thursday. So fine tuned is my memory that I can't actually remember what we all got up to today. Aqua Mundo interspersed with Harry Potter - maybe some Action Factory and it was certainly all rounded off with a barbecue.
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 29th August 2007 at 11:42 PM
Wednesday. Today the boys sample the delights of the Flow Rider ride and I go on the Rapids ride - much prefer the Lazy River.
We have a meal out at the Market Cafer tonight. Food good but service very slow and we are having a probelm with our hot water like we haven't got any and showers and baths ar eout of the question . The Sauna is fun though. Could get used to that.
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 29th August 2007 at 11:38 PM
Tuesday. We get acquainted with Centerparcs today. Do a bit of cycling and visit the swimming pool - the Aqua Mundo for the first time and generally get our bearings. We book the boys in for a few activities over the week. Suss out the restaurants and various other features of the park.
Tonight we have th efirst barbecue of the stay with bits and pieces purchased in Almere the day before. Weather is OK surprisingly considering we were expectign lots of rain. It is cloudy but not unpleasant.
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 29th August 2007 at 11:34 PM
Monday. We travel from Bruges to De Eemhoff for our Dutch Centerparcs experience. It is a good journey and we make very good time, arriving in time for lunch.
It is too early to get our keys so we escape from the parck to go to the nearby town of Almere in order to stock up with supplies from the supermarket - called PLUS - it is anythng but and we discover that you can't use debit or credit cards their so rapidly use up all our euros.
We get back to the park at 4.30 or so and get out keys and find oue cottage, a VIP villa. It is very nicely located and very spacious - certainly more luxorious than the caravans that we have been used to in the past. Wendy and Richard and co arrive a bvit later and once they are unpacked - they all come over for dinner - lasagne which Wendy brought over. There are no ovens - just microwave and hob so we have to warm individual portions in the microwave but we get there in the end.
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 29th August 2007 at 11:27 PM
Sunday. Our day in Bruges. absolutely beautiful. Such a pretty city. The horsedrawn carriage tour was a brilliant way to get around and take in all of the sites. Adam decides he must have waffles and Mark opts for the Chocloate museum. Richard opts for the chocolate. we have anothe meal on the Market Square at the Four Winds restaurant. I sit an eat with three of them - ther emust be something in the water. The Belgians are into their beer, their waffles, their chocolate and their chips. Sadly their cuisine leaves a lot to be desired. The beer and chocolate more than make up for this though.
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 29th August 2007 at 11:23 PM
Saturday. In which we set off for Bruges via Ypres, the Menin Gate and the Commonwealth Cemetery and amazingly find our hotel, The Golden Tree without so much as a map. Like the Market Square in Bruges and decide that I am defiantely having a horsey ride in the carriage tomorrow.
Posted by Laura on Friday 17th August 2007 at 11:58 PM
Friday. I am on holiday now tonight. Packing up for going to Bruges tomorrow. No more work for 12 whole days. Total break - I cannot believe it. I managed to complete everything that I wanted to today which was good - workwise.
We don't seem to have packed all the things that we wanted to - its all goign to happen tomorrow morning apparently which I find somewhat daunting to say the least. The ferry leaves at 10am . We must be in Dover for 9am. We will have to leave hear at 7.00am whoch meas we should be packing at around 6am. We have no idea how long it will take to strapa ll the bikes on to the new bike rack that Richard has got. He is not happy at all with me. Hid car is scratched because Adam's bike fell on it because he left it propped up on my car and it fell over and hit his car and it is all my fault apparently. What a disaster. We weren't even on soeakin terms for most of the evening. Coudl be a fund holiday. I hate all the stress and will nbe glad to just get away.
Posted by Laura on Friday 17th August 2007 at 12:00 AM
Thursday. I am tired so tired and so ready for a holiday but so ill-prepared. I haven't done an ounc eof packing yet and as usual am leaving it all to the last minute, night before. Makes it more exciting that way I suppose. I also need to prepare for Richard's birthday which I have as yet done nothing about. I am not very organised at all in that respect.
I went to Richmond today and it was a long day but I am so chuffed that I have now discovered how to pay for car parking tickets via credit card because I no longer have to grope about for change. What a relief.
There will be a ton to do tomorrow at work but no worries I will get by. They will all just have to manage without me next week and I know that they will. Activity reports are all delegated to others. So everyhting is hunky dory. I hope.
Posted by Laura on Thursday 16th August 2007 at 01:14 AM
Wednesday. I had to drag myself out of bed this morning. I never have to do that normally. I normally jump out of bed the second the alarm goes off but not today. I really wanted some more sleep. It has a lot to do with the light. I wake up when it is light and it wasn't again this morning - at least not really. You just know that the last grains of the summer we barely had are surely slipping away.
Amazingly at work I almost feel like I have caught up on everything - just ready for me to go on holiday and fall behind again. I handed over the last of my activity reports today. I can't believe that I won't be doing them again -a t least not regularily. It's been such a large part of my life for the last three years. Ahh me.
Tonight was Heroes night - I love it and Brothers and Sisters but I fell asleep during that one due to overwhelming tiredness. Barcelona is surely catching up with me.
Posted by Laura on Tuesday 14th August 2007 at 11:35 PM
Tuesday. It was dark when my alarm went off at 6.00am this morning. Dark. I really had a sense for the first time this year that summer is over - a summer that had barely, perseptively begun. It was raining too and it didn't stop all day. A light persistent yet intense pervasive rain; a dampness and a coolness. A season out of time. I had to travel to Guildford today - by train and I had to trudge up that hill shrowded by my umbrella, dogding puddles and the spray from inconsiderate cars. It was not good. none of this augers well for next week. I hope it is not a completr washout but I have to admit that my expectations are not very high at all now.
I had to do my white wash tonight and I will have to hang it up indoors before I go to bed. This is really very disappointing indeed.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 11:28 PM
Monday. The countdown to our holiday begins. Arghh I am just not ready. I did the coloured washing this morning and tomorrow I will put on the whites. The house is an absolute tip and I have no prosect of tidying it up until I am back from holiday.
I managed to get throught the day without being too tired. Barcelona seems a distant memory once again. Am too much in panic mode for Belgium and Holland now and preparing my handovers for work. There's so much to do and so little time. I was exhasuted by the end of the day and didbnt even feel like folding and putting away the washing. Bed is beckoning most deliciously now. Sweet dreams.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 11:23 PM
Sunday. the long return from Barcelona. Spent most of the day either waiting around or travelling. It was a long day. Started of with the great breakfast again. Had another of the omlettes - just as good as yesterday. We caught taxis back to the airport. I managed to get Barcelona football shirts for the boys at the Nike shop at the airport. The flight seemed a little delayed leaving - we didn't take off until arounf quarter past three but we still touched down at Gatwick at only just after 4pm.
Sadly Richard was nto there to meet me and so I had to train it back to Guildford and Woking. He did at least pick me up from there.
I had to cook tea tonight .I waa quite hungry as hadn't had much to eat on plane - so did steak and chips.
I should really have gone to bed early but I wanted to see the spectacular Perseid meteor shower promised for this evening so I got some cushions and a blanket and lay on the patio table to watch the show. I lay out for over an hour and a half saw abot 20 meteors - 2 were amazing but mostly they were quite faint. There semed to be lots of other objects in the sky too and they weren't all airplanes. UFO's perhaps? It was good but I wouldn't have described it as spectacular. al thoug each time you saw a metero - a shooting stat it was both thrilling and exciting.
I am glad I made the effort. It was a new moon tonight and this is the best show expected for many years to come.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 11:11 PM
Saturday. After just over 4 hours sleep - got up for the Hotel breakfast. IT was a brunch affair and most excellent. I went for the cooked option to set me up for the day- stuffed omlette and bacon - cooked by aggressive Spanish omlette lady on large hot plate with great flourish and show-womanship. Had it with beans and fancy grilled tomato. Very good as was the coffee but not so the orange juice which was very disappointing and more like orange squash.
Went sightseeing on the Tourist bus with ten others. It was good fun and we saw all the Gaudi buildings and the Sagrad Famiala befor ending up in Parc Guell. For lunch and beer sor in my case mineral water. I am amazed at the capacity and thirst for alcohol possessed by some of my work colleagues. I'd be dead of alcohol poisioning before some of them had even gotten really started.
After the tour we walked the way down Las Ramblas to the Port and then hooked left to find the beach where we were meetign the others. We must have walked for over two miles. The beach was impressive - we didn't get there until gone six and we stayed until about quarter to seven and then headed off in search of an elusive taxi. At one point it looked like we would be gettign the metro home but fortunately 2 taxis arrived in quck succession and those of us who hadn't stormed on too far ahead managed to secure a ride home.
Our night out didn't start until quarter to 10 and then we didn't gert to the restaurant - Pizza Express - until gone 11. We left the rerstaurant at 1.30am and I left for bed because I couldn't face another late night out. It was nice to have soem time to myself. Being in agroup all the time can get to be a little too much. I wanted to be fresh for the journey home. I was so whacked I slept really well and didn't hear either of the Anna's coming back in.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 10:59 PM
Friday. Barcelona day - well afternoon/evening at any rate. Richard had to go into work really early so he coudln't drop me in at the office this morning which meant I had to take a taxi to work. I based myself in Woking. Got all my required work done. bought my ticket to Gatwick at lunchtime and then set off at 3.30pm. Caught train to Guildford and then met all the others on the platform for the Gatwick train. Flight was on time and we all met up OK.
Our Hotel the Hotel Catalonia Aragon was very good. Really impressed with room - am in a triple with Anna T and Anna G and it seems comfortable. We all went out en masse tonight. We took metro to Las Ramblas start thereof and then hit an Irish Bar and then a club. We stayed out until something like 4.30am. Very late for me. Hope I manage to last the day ahead.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 10:53 PM
Thursday. Preparations fro goign away tomorrow. Got my euros by day and packed my case by night. I am ready. I have clothes and will travel. I hope that it goes OK. I didn't get to bed until really late but I think I am ready.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 10:48 PM
Wednesday. Went to Richmond for the afternoon and saw Hardeep for the last time as we prepared for the new administrator to start at the end of the week.
Tonight TV was great. Waking the Dead, Heroes and Brothers and Sisters. It is the only night of the week when anythign decent is on.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 10:45 PM
Tuesday. John's birthday. He came over for supper tonight and stayed the night.
Posted by Laura on Monday 13th August 2007 at 10:43 PM
Monday. Work day and shopping night. I went to Sainsburys after work and stocked up for the short week. Can't believe I am going away again this weekend. Barcelona beckons.
Posted by Laura on Sunday 5th August 2007 at 11:16 PM
Sunday. The hottest day of the year so far. The thermometer hit 28C in Boothby Pagnell today - in London it was nearer 30C. Very hot. So peaceful it was. A lovely weekend. Mark got his first taste of playing the drums - hoepfully is not too hooked - although he is quite good. Adam and Mark had some kind of altercation involving a been-bag and Adam came off worst witha bloody nose that bled intermitently during the afternoon. Luckily he was OK for the journey home. we got back in 2 hours and 20 minutes today - even quicker than the journey up yesterday which was 2 hours and 28 minutes. A pleasant surprise.
Posted by Laura on Saturday 4th August 2007 at 07:52 AM
Saturday. We are heading off to Lincolnshire for the weekend to Boothby Pagnell. The weather is looking great and it will be good to get away. My house is looking like it could do with a really good clean. I will have to sort out a new cleaner when we get back from our holidays. I need to find myself someone. I may have to advertise in a shop window. Watch this space...
Posted by Laura on Saturday 4th August 2007 at 07:49 AM
Friday. It is getting hotter and hotter and it looks like we could be in for a good weekend. I had a good day at work - got through alot - but as I feared not quite everything I needed to but I should have some time to catch up next week. Barney is on holiday so I won't get any extra demands from him that could set me off course. I can see what is going to happen though. Everything will be all straight and then I go on holiday for a week and a day and I spend the next month trying to catch up with myself. Ahh such is life.
Posted by Laura on Saturday 4th August 2007 at 07:45 AM
Thursday. Training day. And I got through it. It all went really well actually. The room was too hot but all the attendees participated really well and the feedback was good. I wasn't a total failure and so I feel a lot more confident about doing the next one. What a relief.
Posted by Laura on Saturday 4th August 2007 at 07:42 AM
Wednesday. And suddenly it is August. How did that happen? And it is summer or at least I think it might be now.
Reporting and preparation for my big day tomorrow. I am teaching my first training course for a few years. It is always a daunting prospect but it should be fine. Lord knows I've lost enough sleep over it.
To take my mind off things tonight anyway, I watched a double bill of Heroes and also Brothers and Sisters. Both my favourite programs on the same night. It is all too much.