My Sunshiny Life











{July 16, 2009}   Mauled by a Medusa

Today started out like any other day in paradise, who knew it would morph into a scene from Jaws.  I was happily paddling around in my new Reefs (crime against fashion exhibit two, but necessary because of the rocks on the beach) and my noodle, trying to balance myself as my rubber reefs kept popping back up to the surface taking me off balance. 

Crimes Against Fashion (exhibit two)

Crimes Against Fashion (exhibit two)

Then it happened.  Out of nowhere there was a searing pain in my arm quickly followed by another sting and then pain in my other arm.  OH MY GOD!  I was either being targeted by killer bees or surrounded by giant jellyfish that were determined to sting me to death.  I screamed like youve never heard someone scream before, flung my noodle and swam towards shore, still screaming.  People thought I was being attacked by a shark and the beach cleared in about 30 seconds.  I got to shore and stood on the beach uncertain as to what to do now.  Sympathy, thats what I needed, lots of sympathy… and maybe a bit of pee.  Thats meant to fix it isnt it?  Chad and Matt were all out of pee and no one else offered.  So I stood there, bottom lip jutting out trying not to cry.  Three massive welts came up over my arms. 

Jellyfish Stinging Welts

Jellyfish Stinging Welts

Lisa came over with my rescued noodle and took me to the cold water shower which helped relieve the sting a little bit.  I showed a few interested (and some not so interested) lounger neighbors my welts and sat back in my lounger worrying about delayed analphalactic shock.  Chad offered to run to the pharmacy if my throat started closing up.  If Id had my iPhone I would have googled the symptoms, but all I had was my imagination, so I sat there running little self checks on whether it hurt to swallow or not.

The little kids wouldnt go back in the water, even with their father in there trying to reassure them that the coast was clear.  Matt joined the “come on in, the waters fine” brigade and went into the water too.  He went over to them and told them I was crazy and hadnt been stung at all.  You would have thought hed told the funniest story in the world the way that was received and he had an instant fan club. 

The "come back in the water" committee

The "come back in the water" committee

Much to Matts delight and the appreciation of the woman standing at the waters edge, the father said he looked like Bruce Willis.  They were instant best friends, bonding over a discussion of life, politics and the ways of the world (all in Italian, go Matt!), all while his daughters steadfastly refused to get in the water. 

Bruce Willis?

Bruce Willis?

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little one finally relented and started making her way to her dad when the cry went up from the beach “MEDUSA”    Yep, it was right there, a little pinky jellyfish.  They scooped it out and we examined it.  Who could have thought that something so little could cause so much pain!

Jellyfish of Death

Jellyfish of Death

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{July 14, 2009}   Terror at Trevi Fountain

It was our last day in Rome and we had a lot to fit in.  Our first stop was the Spanish steps, which we had seen the day before but hadnt taken photos at.  I had romantic notions of channeling Audrey Hepburn and eating gelato on the steps.  I thought it would be much bigger too, but that is quite often the way when things are built up.

Then we tootled off to the Trevi Fountain where a hostage situation was unfolding.  The whole area had been cordoned off and the police were negotiating with a man who had climbed up to the top of the fountain, cut his stomach open and was shouting obscenities at the crowd.  As Chad rightly pointed out, its hardly a hostage situation if there is only one person involved, but in my mind he was holding himself hostage!  After a couple of hours he finally came down and we could go and appreciate the fountain, taking the obligatory photos = all of which I have my eyes closed in, most disappointing!

The Panthenon rounded out the big three sights for the day.  We were so rubbish, we didnt take our guide book with us and had no idea what the panthenon was all about, so had to go hunting for a sign in the place to get clued in.  The entire construction was dedicated to 12 different gods, now that is hedging your bets on a free pass through the pearly gates!

Terror at Trevi Fountain

Terror at Trevi Fountain



{July 5, 2009}   Henley Regatta

The british class system has never been more obvious to me than yesterday.  We went to the Henley Regatta and there was a definite social divide.  I also discovered that people don’t go to Henley to watch the rowing, they go there to see, be seen and to drink lots of Pimms.  People watching was the main attraction and there was plenty to watch! 

There are SO many rules and regulations surrounding the regatta enclosures, even the plebville Regatta enclosure that we were in, of which anyone can apply for tickets and gain entry to.  There wasn’t a dress code here, but most people got into the spirit of the day and wore lovely sun frocks and there were head pieces a plenty.  The rules were about where you could take your drinks, you weren’t allowed them down by the river, or past another point down the other end and men in full suits (which must have been VERY hot) would stop you from moving past in a polite yet firm manner.  This meant that many people didn’t see the action on the water all day, preferring to sit in the garden by the bar.  We scored a table in the garden area, beating off a very presumptuous man who slid into the seat as the other table were departing and pompously told us he had six in his party so Miss Grant and I weren’t welcome.  He didn’t know who he was dealing with, as we took OUR seats, gave him a withering look and comment and continued our conversation.  We ended up taking over the whole table as Dee, Cynth and Jaim arrived.  Girl Power! (sorry, know that is cheesy, can’t help myself)

The Stewards enclosure is full of rules and regulations and there is a several year waiting list for this enclosure – here, it’s REALLY not about the rowing, it’s about a social occasion dahling!   (This is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the Stewards Enclosure)   The Stewards’ Enclosure is also known for a strict enforcement of its dress code. Men are required to wear a “lounge suit, blazer and flannels, or evening dress, and a tie”. Women are required to wear a dress or skirt that covers their knees, and are “encouraged to wear a hat” (although women wearing hats is often frowned upon in higher rowing circles). Anyone not suitably dressed can be refused entry, no matter their prestige in rowing or elsewhere.

Bec couldn’t have put it better as she commented when we were leaving, ‘I don’t like being down the bottom of the food chain’.  Quite frankly, neither do I.  On the events I normally go to, the money dictates how you play it out, like at the theatre – you choose your seats based on how much you want to pay for your ticket.  Here, you don’t have that option.  It was a nice day and I don’t think the Stewards Enclosure had a lot more to offer than the Regatta one (from what I could see) but knowing that I wasn’t allowed entry had me a little piqued.

Here’s our digital diary of the day’s events…

LMS and Miss Grant

LMS and Miss Grant

Icecream Appreciation Society

Icecream Appreciation Society

Dee and Me

Dee and Me

Tom Cruise best glasses, raybans or aviators?

Tom Cruise best glasses, raybans or aviators?

Patriotism on the 4th of July

Patriotism on the 4th of July

 

Us with the 'please don't take your drinks there' man

Us with the 'please don't take your drinks there' man



{June 3, 2009}   Picnicking on Primrose Hil

Recipe for a Memorable BBQ Picnic

Add fabulous people, endless jugs of Pimms, fresh supply of ice (cold drinks feature highly in the list of picnic priorities), football, croquet, frisbee, birthday boy, birthday cake, guest of honour from Mumbai,  far too much beer and wine, more hamburgers, sausages and chicken that can possibly be eaten – cooked on an illegal bbq, they taste even better

Mix up well and serve on a hot summer day – like the day we had on Sunday!

Chet, Chief Pimms Maker

Piggy in the Middle Football 
 
 
 

Chet, Chief Wine Drinker

  
Raj, Guest of Honour

Raj, Guest of Honour

 

Danilo - Birthday Boy

Danilo - Birthday Boy

Me and Naomi

Action Imad

Action Imad

Me and LH



{May 26, 2009}   A Squirrel Picnic

While the sun was out on Saturday, we went to the park for a picnic. There were a few very friendly squirrels that looked over at us but they kept their distance.  One cheeky little squirrel was very bold though and ran straight over to us, head cocked on the side waiting for his own picnic.  We threw him some popcorn, which he sniffed curiously but dismissed.  Then he left for a bit, but must have been thinking to himself, SURELY they’ve got something better than that!  He came back and hit the picnic jackpot with some pasta curls.  Much more pleasing to his picky little palate.

He was a like a park performance artist, paid in pasta curls.  After finishing his second pasta curl he scampered off again.  If he could talk, I’m sure he would have said ‘thank you ladies, it’s been a pleasure’.  He seemed like that sort of squirrel.



I spent the long weekend in Barcelona and loved every second – actually, not EVERY second.  Like when I ended up in one terminal and my bag was in the other and I couldn’t find it… well that bit sucked.  The rest was amazing though. 

I rambled down Las Ramblas, I meandered through cobbled lanes, I trekked up hills and skipped happily from shop to shop (not literally, that would be a little bit weird!).  I loved the shopping, in the little boutiques and in the markets.  The fruit in the market on Las Ramblas were like works of art.  Delicious plump fresh fruit arranged in stacks that seem to defy the laws of gravity. 

Fruit StacksStrawberry Bums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other thing about Las Ramblas is the street performers.  The guys who stand still and only move when a coin drops into their container intrigue me.  I know I’d have an itchy nose, or I’d sneeze, or start watching someone in the crowd.  These guys are good, granted though some are better than others.  There was one guy feeding a bunny rabbit baby food – everyone clapped at the end like he’d just sung an opera.  Very strange.  I love this dog, he looks slightly bemused about being the centre of attention in such outlandish gear.

 Taking it in his stride!

My new boyfriend

Sunday arrived and as all the shops were shut so I thought I may as well see some sights.  I set off on my little red, open top tour bus to see some Gaudi architecture.  I didn’t go into the Sagrada Familia, the queue was too long and I couldn’t be arsed.  So I continued on my journey to Park Guell.  I loved it and wandered around for ages. 

Park Guell

Me in Park Guell

I was travelling alone and mastered the art of the self portrait (a long time ago), but struck up conversations with loads of people by asking them to take my photo.  I quite like the randomness of solo travel, people are so much friendlier to you when you’re on your own – or is it that you’re more open so they’re friendlier??  I also like doing exactly what I want, when I want to… although sometimes you wonder what someone else would want to do if they were with you, and if their idea would be better than yours.

I’d had enough of the park now so I set back off for the bus, except I couldn’t find it.   The bus stop had totally moved and the park had turned around.  I was officially lost.  I had the same feeling that I had at the airport the day before.  I decided to just be lost and enjoy it, for about 5 minutes but after trekking down a massive hill to an awful main road I decided to be pissed off again.  I got into a taxi and asked him to help me to find my bus.  Five euros down, with the meter ticking and his expression still blank, I got back out on the road.  I ended up geting a local bus down to the beach, aided by some very helpful locals.  The little red bus and me were all done and dusted.
You can’t go to Spain without drinking Sangria and I managed to drink quite a bit.  It was fabulous sitting in the sunshine (or sensible shade for me), glass of sangria in hand just watching the world go by. 

 

Little Miss Sangria
You also can’t go to Spain without shopping until your credit card bleeds, well not if you’re me anyway.  The jewellery at the markets was fabulous and it was so nice buying little items from the person who had crafted the piece.  Gorgeous clothes, handbags and shoes, what more could a girl want!  Although it’s a bit of a pain when the shops shut for siesta.  I was in shopping mode and the little boutiques were slamming down security grilles faster than you could say ‘Do you accept Mastercard’?
With my shopping curtailed, I hit the tourist track again and made my way to the Casa Batlo, a house designed by Gaudi in the early nineteenth century.  I loved it and spent quite a long time there, just soaking it all in.  Which is pretty bloody hard when there are a million other people trying to do the same thing, but I managed.  I think I’d like a house like that – why settle for straight lines when you can have interesting shapes and curves!  I imagine prohibitive cost is the first setback, but it’s a Euro Millions roll over this week so I’ll keep my brochures just in case I need to give them to an architect 😉
Casa Batlo
On the roof at Casa Batlo
I noticed a few things on my trip to Barcelona.  It is VERY hard to find a place to get a pedicure and after three days of constant walking that’s all I felt like.  I finally found a little place in Gracia, a lovely little suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas.  Another thing I noticed were the amount of little fashion accessory dogs, but the relative lack of dog poop.  Unlike France which is gross on the dog poop stakes, Barcelona was ok.
I think I’d like to learn Spanish and go back to get a bit further under the skin of Barcelona.  This would also stand me in good stead to travel through South America, another target on my travel hit list.  I just need to work out how to speak as beautifully as the locals and try to erase that kiwi twang. 
I bid a fond and kinda sleepy farewell to Barcelona at 5.30 yesterday morning on my way to the airport.  To coin Arnie’s phrase, I’ll be BAAAAAAACK!


{April 27, 2009}   Weekend Wrap Up

Most of my weekend was consumed with my Come Dine with Me dinner on Saturday night.  My theme was Mystical Middle Eastern and the full blog, along with videos and piccies is on http://dinneratmine.wordpress.com

On Sunday, when my raging hangover had been tamed, I went down to Clapham to see Alex for one of her leaving drinks parties.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, with blue skies and not a cloud in sight.  We sat outside the Clapham North pub and I drank my first Pimms of the summer… the first of many I hope!   Nothing like hair of the dog to make your day look brighter.  The icy cold Rose wine went down a treat too!

Ladies who drink

Alex (front centre, with her lovely new hair colour) is leaving the UK to start her new life down in NZ with Dave.  Dave’s already down there and has sorted them out a house and everything.  So Alex is now enjoying her last few weeks in London,  as a lady of leisure catching up with all her girlfriends.

As we sat there we noticed a few things, sitting on a main road is great for people watching.  There was a guy that went past in a horse buggy, like a proper racing buggy.  Where did he come from, where was he going and where on earth did he get the horse from – his communal garden?

Then Miss Marilyn rocked up at the lights and she looked HOT!  She was driving a fabulous retro pink car and she was styled to within an inch of her life.  She looked uber glamorous and we were all waving and taking photos.  It must have totally made her day.  If you put that much effort into your appearance and pull it off so well, you deserve to have a little random appreciation!

Marilyn Monroe



Today was a glorious day to be living in London, actually it was more a glorious morning.  Now it’s shit again.  Grey, cold, windy and rain is lashing against my window as I type.  BUT we hear enough moaning about winter in London (for bloody good reason I may add), so lets focus on my morning. 

I went for a power walk around Hyde Park and it was one of those fabulous spring days where the air is crisp, the sun is shining, people are smiling and I swear to god the dogs are smiling too.  One of those days where you’re just happy to be alive.  What heartened me even more was the pretty spring blossoms.  It’s a sign from Mother Nature that yes, winter has been hard, cold and grey but look at what I’ve got in store for you.  Keep the faith, summer is coming!

spring-blossoms

spring-in-hyde-park



et cetera