Monday, December 22, 2008

O Tannenbaum

Yo Ho Ho! I think I'm finally feeling the Christmas spirit. Or it could be that I can finally relax now that I've got all the presents. Note to me: next year get all your presents in November. If there is a worse place to be 3 days before Christmas than the Trafford Centre then I don't want to even think about it ;-)

We took Abby to the Stockport plaza yesterday to see Cinderella with Lisa Riley and some unidentified people who may or may not have been from Hollyoakes. It was alright, but it wasn't very faithful to the original story that Abby knows so well, and the guy who plays buttons wasn't as good as Stu Francis who was in a lot of the pantomimes I saw when I was a kid. Anyway, Abby enjoyed it although she did spend most of the performence with her hands over her ears (all the kids were booing and shouting a bit too loudly for her)

Oh yes, and the Christmas tree is now finally up after the holiday delayed it. We (ashamedly) had it delivered after Abby had hand picked it in the garden center. Really, when the revolution comes, I will be first against the wall ;-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Across the Universe

Oops, I'm supposed to be working but all I can do is read geek blogsites...this one is quite good, the pictures on the left are not much to look at, until you realise what they are. A so-called GRB is formed when two superdense stars collide and form a black hole. The resulting carnage is bright enough to be seen for a few seconds across the universe. The one on the right is GRB080913, which is the most distant GRB ever detected, at a numbing 12.8 billion light years away. In other words, when the star died to create this explosion, the Universe was less than a billion years old… and when it reached Earth, the light from this ancient detonation had been crossing the reaches of space almost 13 billion years, since before the Earth was born, before the Sun formed, before there was even a Milky Way Galaxy. All I can say is wow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Annual Bavarian Beer Market

Well, I've been back over a week from holiday and the post-holiday blues are starting to kick in, so I think I'll cheer myself up with some pics of the kids being cute in Egypt! We've also planned a trip to Shanghai next year to visit R's brother so I will need to book some immunisations next month. I was due to get them before Egypt but the GP Nurse got worried when she found out I had CF and basically just deferred and faffed until it was too late. At work it's the Christmas party on Friday, (which will be a bit odd because I've only been there a few months really) followed by meeting some friends at the annual Christmas Bavarian market in Albert Square. They always do great mulled wine and black beer, the trick is to avoid hypothermia whilst sitting outside for several hours in December... ;-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sharm El Sheikh

Wow, One weeks holiday is never enough. You and your kids are just beginning to get into it and you have to come all the way back again. It was great, but we were debating whether to go somewhere less ambitious and take the grandparents along for some support looking after the kids. In hindsight, maybe that would have been a better option. Ah well, swings and roundabouts as they say. At least we went somewhere guaranteed to be warm; 28 Degrees Celsius plus and we could afford to go for the all inclusive option - I'm sure I've put on half a stone, my work pants were a real struggle to get on this week.

Sunday - The much feared plane journey. Abby had her own seat for the first time (and hand luggage, her pink-princess case was stuffed with toys and princess activity books) and she loved it. In the end Abby was very good on the five hour flight, it was Oscar who was a bit of a nightmare; wriggling, wailing, and generally being a little monkey, so I ended up having to let him suck on my little finger for large periods of the flight to chill him out -my little finger has not recovered yet, god only knows what it's like for R breast-feeding. The meals were just just a nightmare as Oscar didn't have his own seat, and we had to pass him around and take turns eating. Abby did a big whoop when the plane landed which was just the cutest thing ever and brought tears to R's eyes ;-) Abby was very impressed with the massive hotel lobby and I did play on the fact that it looked a bit like Princess Jasmin's palace from Aladdin, which is one of her favourite films at the moment. Discovered our room had been upgraded to a deluxe family room, which meant Abby had her own room with a choice of two beds. Oscar had to slept in our bed because the cot didn't arrive in our room until the Monday...although Oscar seemed to like being piggy in the middle because he slept through the whole night with only one feed ;-). Got a late dinner the main dining hall, which was then I started to notice the place was full of Russians. Who were a bit rude pushing in, it has to be said.
Monday - The day was mostly spent exploring the massive Grand Azure grounds...four swimming pools, loads of slides (Abby found the slides good but the unheated water a bit cold), beach, and jetty. Abby was a bit overwhelmed by how big the hotel was and had trouble sitting still once the entire day, it was as if she wanted to do everything all at once. Needless to say she was exhausted by about 6 PM and threw a few strops. We met the rep and booked a glass bottomed boat so Abby could see the reef fishes on Wednesday. Food in the main dining hall was good, with plenty of calories on display (!) although not authentic Egyptian, unfortunately. Normal service was resumed with Oscars feeds though and he seemed to wake up every 2 hours for feeds during the night...this is especially tough on R as she has to try and stay awake during the feed whereas I tried to stay awake and usually failed miserably. Breast is best maybe but it is tough for the ladies ;-)

Tuesday - Similar day really, went to the swimming pools, slides, then the beach later on, Abby and R had a walk along the long jetty looking at the fishes, which weren't up to much as the coral near the jetty was completely wiped out. Oscar was a bit whingey and had a bit of a heat rash/eczema, probably just getting acclimatised after the being in cold damp Manchester for his first four months really. Later on Abby discovered the outdoor heated swimming pool and spent a long time in there, which was great.

Wednesday - Took a trip to Ras Mohammed and the glass bottomed yellow submarine boats. It was good, seeing all the fish up close but it did make me itch to go snorkeling, which wasn't really possible with us having to look after two kids. Next holiday... ;-).
We got rudely woken up by a drunk Russian knocking at our door at 3 in the morning! by the smell of him he'd been hammering the cheap vodka all night and was convinced that I was in his room. After sending him away once he turned up at our door again so I called reception and they sent a porter down to get rid of him. Drunkards! harmless enough maybe, but who needs them?

Thursday - Me and Abby went down loads of the tunnel slides - the water was really cold but at the end of the day, it's a great way to wake up in the morning. I should probably add that Abby is really into role playing all her favourite Walt Disney films. Goes along the lines of "You be Dopey" (points at me) "Mummy be the handsome prince, and I'll be Snow White!" Me, just woken up; "Errrr, Ok Abby, I mean Snow White, well I guess I better go down the mine then..." The entire film will then be reenacted for the best part of an hour with me playing the dual role of the dwarves and the wicked queen. Really. We have to get her into amature dramatics, she's born to do it. I was starting to notice I had a *lot* of mosquito bites by now although I never notice the f*ckers when they're doing the biting; don't get me wrong, I would rather it was me than the rest of my family, it's just I had hoped there would be some fringe benefit of having CF like mosquitoes detesting my salty, antibiotic filled blood or something...

Friday - Took a taxi to Nama bay to have a look for some presents. Got accosted by every shop owner on the way into the center of Nama bay, as for some reason we were the only tourists about at 12. What is it they say about mad dogs and Englishmen in the noon day sun? Didn't really buy much in the end as it was mostly tat but it was nice to see the old Sanafir hotel where me and R stayed in Nama bay in 2002; its now a club called Pacha, and the rave capital of Sharm for the hip and trendy. Not sure if it's still a hotel but the funky red bus cafe at the front of the hotel is definitely still there (You can just about see it to the right of this photo.)

Saturday - Last full day at the resort, started off in the heated pool, then went down to the play area with Abby then had a long swim in the kids slide area with Abby she loved it, but we were both freezing by the time we came out and Abby was knackered. I'm very impressed by how confident Abby is in the water (with armbands) the swimming lessons can't be far off (I have no idea how we'll fit it in) Abby was really starting to get into the flow of the holiday now, as opposed to earlier in the week when she seemed to be a bit homesick and a bit thrown by the lack of routine.

Sunday - Spent half the day at the beach and the other half packing for the flight back to Manchester, which we learned was -2 degrees Celsius, Happy days ;-)