Monday, December 22, 2008


What a strange build up to Christmas for me. I'd been so looking forward to all the festivities and Christmas-i-ness all around - the late night shopping, mulled wine, present wrapping, kisses under the mistletoe, tree decorating, food shopping, party food, etc, etc. But instead I have spent the whole last week feeling wretched and most of it curled up on the sofa or in bed - coughing, wheezing, pill popping and general snivelliness. On a small upside it's one way of loosing 5lbs in preparation for the Christmas over indulgence! (but I wouldn't recommend it!)

Finally it's the 22nd and I am perhaps back in the land of the living be it with a giant balloon still surrounding my head so everything feels and sounds a little hazy! Ho hum! We've spent this weekend in London with family celebrating Christmas 'avec le Backhouses'. Apart from the fact I couldn't taste most of the food it was all quite delightful and thank you everyone for the first of my Christmas pressies!! Did you know you can get a whole YARD of jaffa cakes!!?! Oh Joy, I am in Christmas heaven! Also keeping me going was the amazing book 'World without End' by Ken Follett. The absolutely captivating 1200 page sequel to Pillars of the Earth which he wrote over 20 years ago. Loved every minute of it and it was one of those books that it was sad to finish.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Emmanuel School kicks butt at Rugby!!

We were chilling out on the sidelines at an away match against St Dunstons school today - watching our nephew Callum play Rugby. Obviously with such charming sideline cheerleaders they were bound to win!! Great game and lots of hard work for the zoom lens that has been sitting neglected in the camera bag for the last few months! Go Emmanuel School!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NEC Bike Show

The largest motorcycle show in the UK and I was lucky enough to accompany my dear husband - oh lucky me!! It's overwhemingly HUGE - 4 exhibition halls full of bikes, accessories, oh, and more bikes! (Oh how I could dream if that space had been full of scrapbooking stuff!) We stayed all of the 8 hours it was open and I'm sure I checked up at least 5 miles in mileage from walking around! But I'm happy that he's happy and he's VERY happy. A new bike helmet for Chris - and proudly sporting a great St George's cross so perfect for him riding around north America - just to make sure everyone knows he's English! Clearly it's not just about the latest models of bikes - this one's just for Chris!! And me trying out my future choice of bike. Just cause Chris has lowered his standards and gone Jap doesn't mean I can't keep up the family standards and ride Italian!! just need to get in a little practice before I get let loose with this lovely Ducati.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Rock

So it was a miserable rainy day, but that seemed somewhat fitting for visiting a little piece of England eh?! (and Yes I will always be a Brit and discuss said weather constantly, normally with a hint of whining! - old habits...) Chris last visited Gibraltar about 20 years ago, me - I'd never been and was keen to! So despite the weather we took the cable car up 'the rock' - a 1396ft tall monolith looming over the entrance to the Meditterreanean sea. Good views and......LOTS of Monkeys!! Gibraltar rock is home to around 250 Barbary Macaques, commonly known as 'apes'; they are the only wild monkeys found in Europe and they're very fond of the tourists, plastic bags (preferably with food in) and biting (apparently). Actually them seemed cute enough to me and frankly are outrageous posers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Strictly Come Dancing...!

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This is the most AWESOME website I've found in a long while. Hours of fun and crying with laughter moments will ensue...! You've got to check it out!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Costa del Sol

So we couldn't turn down the offer of a week in Spain from my Mum and Dad. They had a spare bedroom in their apartment in Estepona for a week and flights were £90, so with 2 days notice we packed our bags and made tracks. Swapping the cold, snowy weather of England for the sunny(ish) climes of Spain! This is us - Margaret - a family friend, my Mum and Dad and me, enjoying the views of Ronda.
Ronda is a lovely ancient town waaay up in the mountains. Cobbled streets, white buildings, sunny views, wine at lunch - you get the idea!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is not England....!!

Hola Espana!!
My latest view!! Not bad eh?!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Somerset Carnival

I've been to a few great parades in my time but there's nothing to match a Somerset carnival. It beats Mardi Gras, it beats the Rosebowl parade - seriously this is great. So on the final night of the Somerset county circuit we drove off to the last carnival in Weston-Super-Mare. It's an evening event and is one of the largest so lasted about 2 hours. There were over 100 entrants - many of them huge great flatbed trailers being pulled by tractors and decorated in thousands and thousands of lightbulbs. They all are themed and have costumed dancers, decoration, some have mechanical moving parts - It's so difficult to describe but is truly an awesome spectacle! The weather wasn't kind sadly but it didn't seem to dampen many peoples spirits, certainly not ours - we enjoyed every minute!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Welcome Home! this is what Chris's house in Swindon looks at right now. We had planned on moving in last week but as you can see...given that the toilet is currently residing in the bedroom and both shower enclosures are broken and there's no heating and there's building dust EVERYWHERE and the previous tenants left with most of useable furniture. Well best not eh?! Perhaps we'll give it another week or two.
It's a frightening sight but bizarrely I'm looking forward to the challenge of renovating and redecorating over the coming months (anything to avoid getting a job) We will be ripping out the kitchen and fitting a new one - should be fun! and further reno work top to bottom!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Introducing....Mr & Mrs Andrew Coles

This was the reason for the trip to Chicago. Wonderful to have family all together for this happy occasion. My Uncle Andy, and now I have a new Auntie Sue!!My cousins Emma and Rebecca were the 2 maids of honor and looked completely gorgeous. And they were joined by Esme the little flower girl (who I think may be in love with my 7 year old cousin George (the best man!) George - the little best man! The Wedding Party - moments after they said I Do And since this is my blog - a picture of me!! And my 2 gorgeous cousins! We scrub up well don't we?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Moving on...

It has occured to me that the blog 'Road Trip USA' isn't all that appropriate anymore. I feel that part of our life has come to it's natural end and we can't hide from that fact any longer. We never knew 'how' the trip would end. I always dreaded the idea that flights would be booked back to England and Harvey would be off to the knackers yard, no longer part of our family. But then I never was very good at facing up to these things, though it's gotta be said the path we're taking isn't exactly an easy option in itself.

And so the path to Canada beckoned. Immigration into Canada is far from easy. The current wait times for a federal application processed in London is 4-5 years and from all accounts getting longer by the day. Still that little nugget chugs along in the clockwork of London CIC. And our road trip ground to a standstill in British Columbia - our new home of choice! Basically if we can find a job and have a few bits of paper signed by the future employer there are ways and means of getting here somewhat quicker. In the short term as a temporary worker (being able to start work in as little as 3 weeks) and in the longer term as a permanent resident (that old application gets hauled out of the dusty cupboard to be processed with priority). Different options. Different choices to be made.
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