Thursday, 8 June 2017

Hilbre Island with the HennaHolliBells

We should have learnt the first time
Gloriously sunny in Chester DOES NOT mean gloriously sunny in New Brighton. 

Diesel was having the most perfect weather in Chester for her daughter's wedding#1 while we were getting our heads blown off.

Talk about a hoolie ......

It didn't stop us having fun though.

And half way across Hilbre Island we had news that baby Maisy had been born to one of my keep fitters :)

We nipped up Old Pale the following day....

It was our last chance to get together with the soon-to-be Mr and Mrs Bell before their wedding in Skiathos.

oh Lawrence :(

I had never considered owning a yellow car, but after that drive up to Citroen Bradford just to "view" one (WHO drives up to Bradford  just "to view" a car?) I fell in love with it, bought it and instantly christened him Lawrence. This was to be my forever car!!!!  People would see me coming! And as it had a state-of-the-art navigation built in, I would know where I was going. 

Two weeks later on a busy FRIDAY I was sweating it out on St Oswald's way where every car in Chester seemed to be, due to Brook Lane bridge being closed. It was SO not the best place to break down and I was lucky not to be hit by drivers coming up the hill and seeing my hazard warning lights at the last minute. "OH, that little yellow car isn't moving....swerrrrve"  

It was a dangerous place to be stuck but I WAS opposite the Northgate Arena who couldn't FAIL to see a yellow car, in the middle of a busy dual carriageway with a damsel in distress in her short shorts (oh Lordy) They sent the troops from Finance and Lawrence and I were pushed to safety where I could begin the zillion phonecalls.

Husb was fabulous. He was down south at the time so he sent one of his chums to keep me company and offer some moral support.

The AA were fabulous.

The first truck that came had a lovely young lad on his first week at work with the AA. He hadn't done his towing qualification, so he had to ring for another van. The second fella didn't seem too excited at towing me a mile down the hill to the garage and offered to follow me.
 (Cub!!! Get ME doing a snazzy É!!!)

It was a Friday, it was busy, there were at least 2 right turns, there was the Fountains roundabout, I was cold, I was sweaty, I was supposed to shopping for a cricket tea, I had no eye drops with me, I had no biscuits (NO biscuits??) I had to get back in time to spin,

And to be fair, after 20 minutes of strapping Lawrence on, Geoff from the Wirral and I had a lovely chat, mostly about this hobby of old cars that he had done up.

Just for the record, Citroen had Lawrence in their garage for 5 weeks. Lawrence was given a new throttle pedal and a new ECU but we had lost a bit of faith in him and he went back home to Bradford.
I'm absolutely gutted . He was to be my FOREVER car.
But you have to be safe on the road and it wasn't to be.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

West End, Roatan Island, Honduras. 2017

Husb did good today.
He'd booked us a little local chap "Enry", to take us across the island to a local, uncommercialised beach and it was GENIUS, we had such a lovely day.
We passed his son's football pitch, the airport, a lot of very nice houses and condos and hundreds of mango trees. When we were dropped off at WEST END at their equivalent of 8.30am (they were an hour behind ship time) we wondered what we had come to but it turned out to be GENIUS as there wasn't another blue Thomson towel in sight, we weren't pestered once, not even by the "beach flies" that we'd been warned about, or even Enry's mate who would be starting up his beach BBQ in a few hours time. 

The snorkelling was EPIC because although I ditched the breathing tube, the mask was GENIUS.
So many colourful fish, huge cabbage type leaves, billowing fronds, spikey sea urchins, sponges, jelly shapes that were obviously alive, sharp coral, it was a proper underwater world in such a clear blue sea. It's the second largest coral reef in the world, I couldn't wait to tell Cub.

The beach filled up a bit, well, not really "filled up", just a few more locals, and we wondered how the other cruisers were getting on on West Bay Beach which would have been full of tourists and vendors.
 I nipped for an Earl Grey before a bit of logging.

Well LOOK at it! 
It was crying out to be sat on. Or planked on. Or balanced on.

Or, in fact, Yoga Treed on.

Even though the heat had set my eye off again, it was a fabulous cruise.
We liked the Thomson Dream ship.
It had NOTHING fancy, no climbing wall, crazy golf,  real grass, expensive art etc...
We particularly liked Thomson because they use PGTips teabags, YAY.
And there's a kettle in the room.
Thomson Dream have a full prom deck...BIG TICK.
Lovely food, very British, even fishnchips.
And the entertainment team were probably the BEST we've seen.

We actually had a back stage tour of the theatre on our sail back to Montego Bay. 
I love a bit of dressing up.

It was a great flight home but we didn't get much sleep.

Consequently we fell asleep on the train home and MISSED Crewe 
We  must've looked hilarious when we woke up and had the initial panic of 

And as if it was laughing at us, the Piccolino train that passed us on Warrington station as we tried to reroute was THE CITY OF COVENTRY :) You couldn't make it up.

And just for the  record, I made it to Rowton Hall on time.
Got back to Chester at exactly midday and was in the hotel pool by half past.
Fabulous stuff.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Belize. 2017

I didn't even know where Belize was till I'd been there. 
It's in Central America just down the road from Mexico before you get to Honduras with Caribbean Sea to the east and dense jungle to the west. Cub did some great diving when he came here, there is a massive Belize Barrier Reef with rich marine life, but we opted for a JamesBondesque speedboat ride through the jungle to the Mayan Temple ruins of Lamanai.

What an absolute TREAT! 

The speedboat was thrilling. 
We sped 25 miles down the New River into the heart of the jungle till we reached the ruins, and we LOVED it.

Snake cactus.

We didn't see a single other boat on the water so everywhere was so still and so quiet and the water was like glass, it was stunning.

I've read some reviews of this trip and it appears we were very lucky to have the river to ourselves as some days are much MUCH busier.

We saw a Jesus bird (Jacana) walking on the water,

bats on bark (ZOOOOOM)

frigate birds,

a turtle, a huge iguana, a pair of crocodiles fighting, (OMG what are the chances?!!) osprey....
 and all the time the reflections on the glassy water were mesmerizing.

Jaguar Temple

Dolly and the Jaguar Temple.

Looks a bit like a jaguar's face doesn't it? A bit.

The ball court.

High Temple.

We were allowed to climb up High Temple but up the wooden steps at the side to preserve the stone and also with a bit of regard for health and safety. (Blimey)

View from the top of High Temple.

Nil health and safety!

But what a fantastic view across the treetops, out to the river.

We heard the Howler monkeys howling before we saw them.
They were  swinging in the trees. Awesome.

Mask Temple.
The faces were originally a face inside a crocodile's mouth.

Mummy Howler monkey with baby Howler monkey on her back.

We made some ripples speedboating back for our traditional Belizian lunch.
UnBelizeable :)

I had plenty of fried plaintains.

Today was brilliant.
 Who would have thought we'd see a large crocodile eating a smaller crocodile? 
And Howler monkeys. 
And we sampled a traditional Belizian meal.

What we learnt.

The people of Belize are delightful and completely unoffendable. Calling someone "fat" would be seen as an endearing, affectionate way to say they just liked eating.
We saw houses that were literally sinking.
They all adored Prince Harry who visited recently. He drank all their rum, danced with all their women, shook everyone's hands, he was like a breath of fresh air to them all, one in a million.
We heard the story of Queen Elizabeth 11 eating capybarra, now known as the Royal Rat, because she liked it that much she had seconds.
We saw the University, the schools, the immaculate uniforms, we heard about the smacked bottoms for naughty children and other mild physical punishments that kept the children in line.
We drove on the right because the two adjoining countries, Guatemala and Mexico drive on the right and it was too confusing for people passing through to keep changing sides, haha.

The tour guide was a brilliant storyteller and he painted such a good picture of the locals and their way of life that we might want to return.  Fabulous stuff. And we saw crocodiles and Howler monkeys. What  a great day.