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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Well that was (almost) 2012!

And I made one blog post in the whole year!   

I did start off full of good intentions - perhaps to post something once a week, or even once a month, but, do you know what? I lost my blog. Something to do with getting a new laptop, and no bookmarks...

So the last anyone heard from me on here, I was just back from Singapore.   Would still like to go back, but while that's unlikely to happen, I did have a lovely week and a bit in Portugal with Jennifer.  Well it was supposed to just be Jennifer but coincidentally, Iain's ship was in Portugal just as we arrived, so he was able to come and join us for the majority of our holiday.  The weather was a tad on the warm side, so not a lot of exploring was done - mostly just pootling along the beach in the morning, siesta in the afternoon, and out for dinner in the evening.   We had a nice little apartment facing on to the square in Costa da Caparica.  That's the view from our apartment right there. 

The next trip away is to Holland in early March.

Well that was back in late August/early September.   A little earlier in the year Jennifer and I went off in an adventurous fashion to the great city of Sunderland, home of the Stadium of Light, and which just happened to be playing host, one rainy June evening, to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Did the rain bother us? Not a lot....a great night, and to be repeated this coming June at Hampden Park in the even greater city of Glasgow.  The Big Man (Clarence Clemons) was suitably remembered, and in his nephew, Jake, the band has a worthy replacement.

2012 was a pretty exciting year for the UK as a whole.  Between the Queen's 60th Jubilee celebrations, the Olympics, and the Paralympics, I had a smashing summer.   The highlight for me had to be Andy Murray winning Gold at the Olympics!  A bit sad that Roger Federer lost, as I am a big fan, but when the day of the final came, I supported Andy all the way.  I've been up and visited his gold post box in Dunblane, where I posted a birthday card to my sister.  She was well pleased.  Sorry I don't look my best in the pic, some people offered to take the pic unexpectedly.   

Much enjoyed watching the Jubilee celebrations from the comfort of an armchair, and feel a little sorry for those getting soaked on the Thames.  Still, it was a day never to be forgotten, and the rain didn't appear to dampen any spirits.

Just had a lovely family time over Christmas.  For the first time ever we went out to a restaurant, along with Eileen and family, for Christmas dinner.  Back to normal yesterday (Boxing Day) and had all the family (18 in total!) to us, where much eating, drinking and making merry was carried out.  As always, when it was over, I said - never again - but, you know what?  I probably will do it all again next year.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and that 2013 brings you peace and happiness.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It's been a while...and I'm a bit jetlagged.

Came across this the other day -

Author Unknown

The American investment banker was at the pier of a
small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with
just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.
The American complimented the Mexican on the quality
of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer
and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the
processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you will run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Just thought it was worth passing on.   It'd be nice to have money but that Mexican guy's life sounds pretty damn good.   Anyway I've just had my own version of that kind of life for three weeks.  

I had the pleasure of flying to Singapore (business class dontcha know!) to meet up with my husband who is working over there for a little while.   So the days kind of went like this....
  • See husband off to work
  • Make coffee
  • Take coffee to balcony, enjoy the early morning as the sun rises
  • Have leisurely bath or shower and get dressed
  • Wash up coffee things
  • Get things needed into bag (including shades)
  • Stroll out in the sun
  • Wander round shops, or go off somewhere nice (Botanic Gardens were fab!)
  • Have the occasional massage
  • Stroll back (or if a bit tired and hot, get a taxi) mid afternoon
  • Have a look at what's been bought and place on shelf (shelf got fuller and fuller and ended up needing a suitcase all to itself!)
  • Have leisurely afternoon shower and dress in clothes for evening
  • Welcome husband home
  • Have chat about where to go for dinner over tea/coffee/beer/wine/vodka (depending how his day went, he would decide what he wanted)
  • Watch tv while he gets himself showered and organised
  • Stroll out for dinner
  • Stroll back
  • Have nightcap
  • Go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just
  • And............repeat!
So do you think I had a good time?  You bet I did!   And would do it all again if I ever got the chance.   Didn't have too many days with my husband there, but I'm pretty used to going off and doing things on my own so didn't worry too much about that.

I mentioned the Botanic Gardens - what a beautiful place.  So very very peaceful, beautifully laid out and with surprises round every corner.   I think my favourite part was the walk through the rainforest.  Always fancied a trip up the Amazon and this was how I imagined it would be.  Well maybe without the concrete path....  

Swan Lake is another very beautiful spot....

Real swans - they came from Amsterdam Not real swans

I also visited the Chinese Gardens, had a trip in a Duckboat, went to Bugis Street (a long time ambition), explored Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India, and had a few dinners out with work colleagues of my husband.

and here - Clarke Quay where we also celebrated our wedding anniversary

A wonderful evening at Clarke Quay was also spent with my cousin Sandra, her husband Stephen, her son Nick and his partner Wendy.  We haven't seen each other for the best part of forty years, so it was a night of much catching up, and hopefully we'll be doing it again soon, albeit perhaps not in such salubrious surroundings.


Back down to earth now, and now the jetlag is over, I've been out and about and got some shopping in, so things are going back to normal.  Iain isn't home till the weekend, Jennifer has kept things going at home, looking after Charlie, etc, and I think she's quite pleased to see me back.  

I think I may just start saving for my next trip.