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(2 recommendations so far) Message 1 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameMnMischief  (Original Message)Sent: 1/4/2006 11:22 PM

Holiday Hijinks is the place to post your pictures and stories from your holidays/vacations. You may think you've gone nowhere special, but many of us have never been to those places and seen or done the things you've experienced! Share those events! Weekend trips, week long holidays at the beach, wherever!


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 Message 118 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameTea-oneSent: 8/5/2007 11:50 PM
Unexpected trip to Canada.
A trip to Canada was as far from my mind as a win on The Lottery. However, an endowment policy matured and we were in a position to make the trip that Bev had so looked forward to for the past four years.
This all happened at the beginning of July. Bev straight away declared that we should book seats and make an arrangement with her sister Shirley in Orillia. Kimberley, Kelly and Aidan had all booked their own Holidays. Owen would of course come with us. We should go NOW! I argued for a later date ... some time in The Fall.
One. It would be cooler, perhaps more beautiful than any other time of year. ( Bev cannot bear the heat ).
Two. It would give us time to arrange leave of absence from School for Owen.
Three. We could arrange a holiday over three weeks. ( Its an expensive trip ... get value for money! Cheaper flights too at that time of year. )
Four. I had a trip in July fixed already, based around a Trades Union Rally at Tolpuddle.
Five. I'd been quite unwell for the past week and indeed saw myself being quite unwell for a good part of the trip. An abcess had given me an infection of a lymph gland, my face was swollen and painful, I was on strong anti-biotics.
Six. We had to be in England by the 25th to travel down to London to be with Kim at her Calling to the Bar at Lincolns Inn.
Bev organised this trip almost without consultation. With not a thought for my own plans, I found the tickets booked for July 14th, returning on the 24th. It was with real regret that I told Aidy that Tolpuddle would not be possible for me this year. He was understanding in the extreme. He reckons what we have achieved this year is contribution enough. I disagree but what can one do? Work? Domestic issues? No question about it really. Work supercedes all too often, time to be a husband and parent. Time to chill.
The flights were booked at reasonable times of the day and conveniently, from Birmingham. I won't mention the price! It is the very first time that Bev and I have ever travelled abroad together. Imagine, it's our Pearl Wedding anniversary this year, ( tomorrow in fact! ) thirty years and the farthest we have travelled is probably Scotland! So, there we were, Friday the 13th of July and at seven o clock in the evening I was packing a case and trying to feel a little excitement about the forthcoming trip.
There was a two hour delay at Birmingham. Some medical emergency on the inbound aircraft meant that a new, full medical kit had to be rushed up from London. Remember, this is an Airline here. They decided the quickest method of transport would be by car. Car I ask you. Helicopters, private planes, motor cycle courriers, they chose to deliver it by car.  Bev is not a very patient person, she does not turn down any opportunity to exercise the right to grumble. Not complain ... to grumble, to me and to Owen. This is not fun. To the persons within hearing distance she appears to have the grace and charm of a Fish Wife. Owen and I are mortally embarrassed and feel like gagging her, tying her up and dumping her in some dark corner of the departure lounge until we can board. We discuss this in detail and have developed a cunning plan to lure her away from the public gaze while we perform the nefarious deed. By good fortune the tannoy announces that we can board our 'plane seconds before we execute our plan.
Finally, two hours behind time we are in our seats and airborne.

 Message 119 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameUSAmeetsUKSent: 8/7/2007 4:45 PM
 My first reaction on hearing that Brian was so near to Western New York and I didn't know..
My second reaction...this is Candy sulking>>> 
But then Brian promised to come back in the Fall........

 Message 120 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 8/8/2007 12:02 AM

Unexpected trip to Canada. 2


Bev had taken care when booking the seats so that we all three sat together and that we had at least a window seat and an aisle seat for my long legs. This was good. Good until we were airborne and she insisted too many times on leaning over Owen to peer out of the window. He offered to swap, but of course, it wasn’t necessary. Shortly into the flight I also discovered that the rare atmosphere had an effect upon her bladder control. Is forty times too many times to visit the bathroom facilities? Or is it just me? By the time the flight was over Bev was on nodding terms with the entire rear section of the flight and had precise knowledge of the hometowns of the sullen flight attendants. When I say they were sullen, I think they just got ticked off at this relentless traffic from row G to the rear of the plane.<o:p></o:p>


It’s been a long time since I flew on a commercial flight. I’ll come clean; it was a BUA charter-flight on a BAC 111 from Heathrow to RAF Guttersloh in 1967. The difference was unimaginable. We had flight information straight to TV monitors, in-flight entertainment, and food. Only real difference was we are no longer allowed to smoke. Bear in mind, this smoker had been without his anti-social habit for four hours in the Departure Lounge ( that damned medical kit! ) and eight hours on the aeroplane. I wasn’t quite first off when we landed. I had to climb over several strapping ladies, argue with a German man and his very vocal family and barge my way past forty or so foreigners who foolishly believed they had priority. All I wanted was to collect the luggage, clear Customs and Immigration and get outside for a fix.<o:p></o:p>


Bev and Owen were not as agile and aggressive as me. I waited while the rest of the flight de-planed. They strolled happily towards me as I glared at the luggage carousel, willing our luggage to appear. With two hundred undeserving people in front, we queued for Customs and Immigration. I could feel my friendly pipe and tobacco in my pocket. Customs; and a school leaver who had apparently flunked every workshop class available, and had to be forced from school on the basis that twenty-five years old, was too old to still be at school ?and here he was, waiting to greet us. Bev passed through first. We were separated by a statutory ten feet lest we confuse this idiot any more by crowding him. I could see that Bev was bristling and contemplating an education in manners, grace and charm. She passed through and he summoned Owen.<o:p></o:p>


Owen stepped forward and surrendered his passport and ticket. From ten feet away I could see and hear that Owen was not able to answer the questions that were being asked. He looked back to me for help. I stepped forward. “I’m the boy’s father, let me help him, and you out.?With the utmost reluctance, I was allowed to assist: I’m a British citizen, I’m used to queuing, used to arrogant beaurocrats, used to answering pointless questions, used to snotty, spotty youths and shoddy service. I’m used to foreigners ‘phoning me while resting at home, telling me that I must be some sort of idiot - for not banking with them, buying my gas and electricity off them, purchasing their ‘phone networks, double glazing. This youth, maybe Canadian Customs and Immigration, takes the biscuit.


"Have you visted a farmland or touched any livestock in England within the last twentyfour hours?"

"No" (Owen wants to say something, I silence him with a look!) More inane questions about farm animals.

“Why are you visiting Canada??lt;o:p></o:p>

“We’re taking a holiday.?lt;o:p></o:p>

“Where are you staying??lt;o:p></o:p>


?SPAN>Where are you staying  in Orillia??lt;o:p></o:p>

“With Shirley and Nick. Do you know them??lt;o:p></o:p>

“Shirley and Nick Who??lt;o:p></o:p>


“What is their address??lt;o:p></o:p>

“I don’t know, we’re being met.?lt;o:p></o:p>

“What is the relationship with these people??lt;o:p></o:p>

“These people? Shirley is my sister in law, my wife’s sister. Nick is her husband?<o:p></o:p>

“And where is your wife??lt;o:p></o:p>

“She’s ten feet away, over there, the one that’s looking a bit cross.?lt;o:p></o:p>

(He’s beginning to look a little weary.)<o:p></o:p>

“Have you any gifts for any Canadian citizen worth more than thirty dollars??/FONT>

“I don’t have that much regard for any Canadian citizens. No?<o:p></o:p>

(Cold stare.)<o:p></o:p>

“Enjoy your stay.?/FONT>

“I really wish you meant that.?/SPAN>


I could sense him reaching for his white latex gloves and the alarm button. Get me out of here!

 Message 121 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameMnMischiefSent: 8/8/2007 12:52 AM
LMAO!  I'm so glad to see that there are customs officials worse than the Americans!

 Message 122 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 8/8/2007 10:41 PM
Americans? Canadians? There's a difference?

 Message 123 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameUSAmeetsUKSent: 8/9/2007 12:13 AM
OH GRRRRR...that's like saying.."What?  aren't the British are the same as the Irish?"...
to tell you the truth, Canada isn't really a country!!!  I thought everyone knew that??

 Message 124 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 8/9/2007 11:29 PM
Only teasing Candy!  I know the difference. A Canadian is an American with his brains bashed in

 Message 125 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameMnMischiefSent: 8/10/2007 1:43 PM
"It seems everything's gone wrong
Since Canada came along!
Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
They're not even a real country anyway."
"The only thing Canada lacks is respect."

 Message 126 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 8/19/2007 3:45 PM
Canada Trip. 3
It was about six in the evening when we landed in Toronto and after the hulabaloo with Immigration and Customs we met Shirley at the arrivals point. Emotional as it was for me, it was of course moreso for Bev. I've known Bev burst into tears quite frequently over the years, ( over things that I've done, the kids have done, the dogs have done ) but never at the sight of her sister before.
Hugs and kisses and compliments exchanged, we were whisked to the car park. First impressions of the North American Continent? The cars. They are huge! They have everything. Air con....Heated seats.  ( Isn't that a paradox? ). DVD players, CD players, head phones. Mobile phones....BUILT IN! Space. Lots of space. Headlights on all the while. The front lights only. The cars have no separate indicators. We British have pretty orange ones that act independently of the brakes and tail lights. Confusing.  Automatic gear boxes. ( Bit Girlie guys.  ) Gas....less than a $ a litre....half of what we pay!  Air bags in front, behind, at the side. Cup holders...everywhere!
The drive to Orillia was exciting. The landscape unfamiliar in so many ways, the names of towns and communities vaguely familiar. The buildings, the houses...well...Colonial. ( I mean that in an un-patronising way  ) Arriving in Orillia we were busy looking out for the house that we felt we should recognise from the photographs we had seen. It was nothing like we imagined. It was huge! Shirley and Nick had sold a quite modest house in England...and ...they had bought a veritable mansion....Five bedrooms, all of which were three and four and in the case of the master bedroom...ten times the size of the rooms in my own house!  And.... They have a pool. A heated pool!  Late as it was to us jet lagged travellers...we sat and marvelled at the style in which they lived. Chatted and laughed, caught up with news. 
You remember I was taking anti-biotics? Strong ones? Well I refused the beer wine and whisky that was offered. I remembered the words of advice from the Doctor. ( These are VERY strong. Do not under any circumstances take any alcohol. I was good.  ) The infection was all but cured, swelling down , pain gone. Another day and I should be fine! It was an early night for Bev, Owen and I. We spent the next day ( Sunday ) walking around Orillia , seeing the Lake, the walks around it. Visiting what few shops were open, eating any oversized junk food and cakes that we could find. The range of snacks, drinks and refreshments is amazing, orgasmic, too good to pass by! Drinking in the atmosphere we wandered around the small town and adjusted to the North American ... Canadian life-style. By midday it was as hot as I can remember it ever being on any holiday I had ever had! We went home and plunged in the pool!
Shirley had arranged for a few friends to call around that afternoon ...for a cook-out. (That's a bar-b-que to me) It was fun meeting them all. They were politely inquisitive about Great Britain. Keen to know what we thought about Canada. It was fun talking. Sometime after lunch, I decided that sufficient time had passed since I'd taken the last of my medicine. I had a beer. I had a few beers. I had a few beers then a few whiskies. I swam in the pool, drunk as a lord. Someone brought a bottle of wine to the pool. Thats the last I remember
The next morning I had a cut on my forehead, a lump the size of of an egg and I had double vision and a very sore neck. I was concussed ... I've been concussed before, I know what concussed is. Disappointed Don't dare complain about it Brian. I could fore-see the bitter discussion. A trip to the Emergency Dept. A lecture about my drinking...about drinking and taking medicines, about acting my age. Eye-rolling I kept quiet and suffered the cutting remarks. Angel
Nick and Shirley took us out for a tour of the nearest National Park. Algonquin Park. It's something like the size of Wales. I'm told there are about 25 million lakes of some size in Canada. I may have that a little wrong....( I was concussed ) ... It certainly is huge and beautiful. We stopped at a visitors centre, we parked and walked, we took photographs, all the while looking for Moose, Deer and other Fauna. At around sunset, Nick drove us to a small town dump. This was a good place to see bears ... lots of them. I imagined some sort of huge pit, around which we could stand in comparative safety, separated by a cage, protected by people with guns.
As we were parking the car on a dirt track, Shirley shrieked that a bear was behind us. Bloody right there was. Big as a house and not twenty feet away, a huge black bear shambled across the gateway to the dump. That was scarey! I'd seen enough, hadn't managed any pictures, but I'd seen enough! Thinking Nick started to unload everyone from the car. We had to...I mean HAD TO...walk into the dump and keep our eyes open. Nick, Owen and I walked ...crept ... sneaked into that dump. I could see these large, dangerous, dark shapes in the treeline surrounding the dump. Nick's jokes about what to do if one charged, tipped me over the edge. Sick
Trip the guy next to you...the bears wont chase you, they'll go for the weakest, the lamest!
Thanks Nick. Besides, I was seeing two bears for every one bear that they both saw! I was spooked. I made my way back to the car....on my own! I could hear these creatures in the trees, see them peeping at me from the foliage! As I made it back to the car, Bev found her Brave Heart and wandered over to Nick and Owen. There is a wonderful clip on my video camera of the three of them standing, gazing about them, totally unaware that a bear the size of an outside lavvy is watching them. Shirley can be heard telling me to get a little closer, and I can be heard saying, "This camera has 40 times bloody zoom....this is close enough!" THAT was an adrenalin rush.

 Message 127 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameBuckshotBob11Sent: 8/20/2007 11:08 AM
What????? Brian was across the pond?????? and He couldn't come a few more miles to see Cindy, Candy, and I???????

 Message 128 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameTinkluvsPanSent: 8/21/2007 9:02 PM
LMAO@ Brian!  Ain't the New World a kick!?

 Message 129 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 9/1/2007 10:22 PM
Canada Trip 3
It was the middle of the first week and Shirley had planned a trip to Niagara. I suppose they have taken every visitor from England to Niagara at least once and were probably not as enthusiastic as we were about it. However, we planned a two day trip and a stop overnight with a meal out at least, see what Niagara has to offer. Shirley wanted to take her two dogs along. She has two West Highland Whites, cute little doggies, loads of personality, not quite as much energy. We found an Hotel that takes dogs, packed a bag and set off in glorious sunshine. The air conditioning was a god send. So was the DVD player, Owen and I watched two films back to back while Nick slept and Bev and Shirley gossiped. That's the way to travel! A pit stop ever hour or so for coffee and doughnuts, a comfort break.
The Hotel was quite good. We had adjoining rooms and super sized beds with a balcony view of a high wire walk from the Falls to a point just by our Hotel. We unpacked and watched the show from the balcony drinking wine. Show over and down to the Falls.
I don't know what I was expecting exactly. The walk from the Hotel was pleasant, we passed more hotels, restaurants, bars. The whole town seems geared up to entertainment, no signs of any business premises, residential premises, just entertainment for the visitors. The roads opened up to the river, we were facing straight at the American Falls and we followed the direction of the huge clouds of spray towards the Horseshoe Falls. The warm sunshine disappeared and we were drenched with a fine rain. The wind was carrying the spray right towards us. It took a few minutes to walk through it and we walked past the Falls and took pictures galore. The small boats, all named Maid of the Mist carried raincoated visitors in relays up to the foot of the Falls. I imagined my friends there just a few short weeks ago. Something I noticed about having two West Highland Whites, un-energetic as they are ... They are a WOMAN magnet! The number of ladies, young and old that stopped to pet them and talk was amazing. I pointed this out to Owen. It wasn't long before he had the leades and was chatting happily with girls from Japan, Australia, England, America! What a happy lad!
I have to say that the Canadians seem to have the better view of the Falls. I'm looking forward to the day I see them from the other side! We took the obligatory ride on Maid of The Mist. That feeling of the power of the Falls is so awesome from that boat. We also took the tour behind the Falls, taking an elevator down to the tunnels that poke ot right behind that massive curtain of water. The vibrations are something to experience! You can walk out onto observation decks and FEEL the power as the waters surge past almost within touching distance.
With the evening approaching we went back to change and take a meal. There was a restaurant and pavement bar that looked paricularly good. There was a guy on his guitar who was singing so well, and singing all of our favourites! Owen was uncomfortably embarrassed as we sang along and called out for some more of our favourites. He was even more embarrassed when we sang louder and better than the man himself! ( well, the beer seemed to make it that way! ) The drink flowed and later in the evening we were treated to a huge firworks display. What a wonderful night we had....apart from Owen I guess.
We spent the next morning back at the Falls and then travelled with the River to Devils Hole where Owen and I took the cable car over that seething vortex. It's a loop in the side of the river where the waters just swirl in and BOIL. They say that you'd sink even with a life jacket on. Yet, a hunderd and twenty feet below we saw people fishing and passing the time of day. As we were half way across, I looked down and saw this neat little boat filled with people scream into "the Hole" and perform the most amazing turns, banks and manouvers I have ever seen a boat do before! Gotta have a go on that! I told Nick about it and he said that although he hadn't seen it, or heard of it... we would go and look for it!
We passed a few toursist centres and found brocheures that described two possibilities ... Shooting the Rapids ... and Wet and Wild. Both trips were available from Niagara on the Lake. Here we come! The first place we saw, was Wet and Wild. Just what we wanted. Not cheap, but we were going to get an hour travelling up the river at 120 KMPH shooting the rapids, sailing into devils Hole and being treated to the stunts that only these Jet boats can do.
We had to take a quick safety course, sign a disclaimer, get dressed in life jackets, remove shoes, borrow sweaters and oilskins, then get aboard! I tell you! It was the MOST EXCITING AND WETTEST trip I ever had. The bow of that boat is designed to scoop up the water and throw it into the boat when the brakes are put on .... and the brakes went on quite often! We ploughed over rapids that ordinary boats would founder on. We performed what I can only describe as a handbrake turn. The boat stopped dead in the water and changed direction within it's own length, in the process sending hundreds of gallons of water onto the seating area. The louder we yelled, the more exciting the ride became. Imagine, twenty something year old kids with the fastest flat bottomed jet boats and being told to enjoy themselves! What a blast.
We drove home to Orillia in the worst storm that Ontario has had for about fifty years. Thats another story.

 Message 130 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 9/2/2007 12:07 AM
Candy, Bob ... All my friends in America,
It's not that I lacked the will, the wish, the where-withall, I was snookered. The trip was organised in a very short space of time, and it was organised by Bev. Bev never gave a thought to the places I might like to visit, and to be fair, in the ten days we were over there, it would have been unfair of me to Gad about seeing friends instead of family.
And ... America requires all visitors from England to have a visa ... see! I did enquire! They would not have let me cross over in case I was a terrorist or undesirable.    Undesirable though I am ... I'm no terrorist . C'est la vie.
Next time

 Message 131 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameUSAmeetsUKSent: 9/2/2007 12:32 AM
I understand Bri, and forgive you...

( but only if you promise to come see me next trip!!!!  

 Message 132 of 132 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameDasDratsab1Sent: 10/22/2007 8:29 PM

Canada Trip 5.

With being deprived of the Internet for a few weeks, with being an "awfully busy chap" ... I've all but forgotten to complete the Canada Trip stories. For what it's worth ...

The journey back from Niagara was made in some of the worst rain that Canada has seen for many a year. Record rainfall, horrendous storms, some kind of freak tornado. I hardly noticed it as I slept contentedly in a seat at the back of the MPV. I so seldom find myself as a passenger that I couldn't help myself, it was a refreshing change.  Did I feel a little guilty? Not in the slightest! It was pretty late when we turned onto the drive of Shirley and Nick's house, it was also raining VERY hard. The roads and gardens were awash with standing water. Actually, it wasn't standing, it was a torrent ... something like the floods that we were watching on TV happening in England in the previous few days.

We unpacked, had supper, drank beer and wine and whisky, we went to bed. It was still raining and very stormy. I 'woke the next morning with Bev pushing me out of bed telling me to get dressed and to go and help Nick in the basement. The basement was flooded. No shower, no shave, no time to brush teeth, just go and help.

The ground-floor area of the house contains a huge den / utility room, a huge den that serves as a study with the PC and library, and their daughter Lauren’s rooms. It’s HUGE. It was flooded. The house is quite close to Lake Orrilia, the water table is low. Low water tables mean frequent problems with damp, Nick had installed a sump pump, a deep hole with a water pump that kicked in when the hole filled with water. The torrential rain had soaked the land and the water table had risen. The pump had kicked in okay, and had continued to work until it literally burned out. Result? A flooded basement.

We mopped, scooped, swept, took up carpets, moved electrical goods, furniture. Nick called the Insurance Company. Nick and I set about fixing the pump. It was a simple matter to buy a replacement, but I complicated things by asking where the water went when pumped out. Nick showed me. Fifty feet from the house a buried pipe pumped the water to the end of his garden. Even though the pump was working overtime, there was not much sign of any water.  I started digging. Nick had literally just buried the pipework in soil. When it was working ?then stopped, the soil washed back into the pipe and blocked it.  “Nick, you need a sump with a filter?says I. Nick and I sit with a coffee and a smoke and plan a most elaborate sump and filter. This fiasco is NEVER going to happen again. Armed with a plan and a design, we head for the local equivalent of a builders merchant.

For an hour and more we collected pipes, U bends, filters, and a huge water tank to contain the gravel. Must have been a couple hundred dollars worth. As a helpful assistant considered our list, he said ?“’Course you could use a re-cycling bin?$12.00, and a grid filter?$5.00 ?and half a dozen sacks of gravel?$3.50 each?That would do the trick too ?Huh? ?All you’d have to do is drill plenty of holes in the re-cycling bin of course?

  Back on the shelf with all the fantastic devices we were so eager to buy.  Collect the bin, grid and gravel. It was a hot day after the storms, Nick and I toiled digging a hole in water laden soil. We got pretty muddy, but we got the job done in a few hours, even re-laid the turf over the hole! We sprayed each other clean with a hose then jumped into the pool while a contractor cleaned out the flood damaged carpets and wooden flooring. Got to say, Canadian Insurance Companies do not mess about. Neither do young lads at the builders merchants.
( The sump is still working perfectly! )

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