Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shelley's Bah Humbug has been temporarily halted to bring you this bolg

On Monday Lumberjack Dan volunteered to go out and get our tree while I waited at home for the post man. An aside on that. Yes he really does drive a van just like Postman Pat. But the point I was going to make was that if there is nobody to answer the door then the things that are larger than a letter get put back into his little van and then driven to Post Central Hell where you have to wait in line for a minimum of 45 minutes to speak to a little man behind a glass window who may be a demon who misbehaved in life and is now being made to pay penance. Anyway to avoid a trip to P.C.H I stayed home to wait for Pat the Postman ( I don't think his name is really Pat) and Lumberjack Dan went to get the tree.
Right that was more of another blog so much as an aside but I am sick and therefore I might not be thinking or writing in coherent sentences.
We continue with Lumberjack Dan. In England when you buy real tree you get it wrapped up and it is kind of like a shrink wrap in to say that it looked much smaller in the car. When Amber pulled the shrink wrap off it sort of morphed into a giant room eating, green monster. Apparently when I told Lumberjack Dan to pick a tree that would fit into our front room without needing major renovations he did not take me seriously....

After moving all the furniture round and squishing the tree into the corner of the living room Amber then discovered that to make it stand up straight she had to get pretty much underneath it and start sawing branches of it with Lumberjack Dan's trusty pocket knife. I could have helped in this process, instead I decided to laugh and take photos.

And now for the finished product and one of Amber opening one of her Christmas presents early, they were decorations for the tree which is why she got to open it early, and a couple of us being silly buggers and torturing Dini.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

8 Inches

Morning all,
We got another 8 inches last night and it is still snowing.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So today is Dans and mine day off and Amber is still home sick so for a change we were all at home on a week day. Which was nice as this was what I saw when I looked out the window when I woke up.

This is our flat

The park down the road

Us being silly buggers,

According to the forecast we are going to have snow for the next 3 days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Who was I?

This year for Halloween we decided to do something different. Our friends were planning a party for their 5 year old son and so we invited ourselves to go. As we had only just returned from Venice two days before there was a very quick trip to Crawely (Crawwwwleeey) to find something that would work as a costume.
This is who I decided to go as:

Amber decided to go as a fairy:

We found these really cute wings for her that had a pattern of a spiderweb on them and in the middle was a spider!

We found a spider to put in my hair, and a really pretty spider necklace that was made of black and red crystals. And then we found my 'spider' who is really a balloon but he is really cute and I named him Horrace. He is now hanging out with the rest of our soft toys.

This is a really scary Frankenstein. He also goes by the name of Jack

These are our hosts. Mr and Mrs Dracula (Nick and Dawn):

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Okay, so write in the coments what character you think I am dressed up as. After you have made your guesses I will post more photos from this years halloween.....

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Venice baby! Parte seconda

Before we move on, I would like to backtrack a bit to Burano; we sort of skipped over it in Part One, but one thing that Burano had was some pretty awesome Mask Makers. . .Amber's mask was bought there and photos will come at the end. . .We will not only have photos of the masks we bought, but also - photos of some FANTASTIC mask shops :)
But first - onto Parte Seconda:
We emerged bright and Early the next day with a plan of attack. Being our last full day in Venice we decided that we should get to the San Marco Basilica before all those annoying tourists turned up. The Basilica is enormous and we were able to get up to a lookout point for some very good views of the piazza.
Once again we had to resort to the internets to get a decent photo of the outside of the basilica

The view:
(In the above photo (which is a very iconic view of Venice) you can see the Doge's Palace on the left and on the right, The Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, which was a really HUGE library!)

This is us about half way up the Basilica

Probably not the four horses of the Apocalypse:

Our next stop was the bell tower which thankfully had a lift (otherwise I doubt Amber would have done it; I would like to interject here and say that that's to do with my issues with height and not exercise!) so we were able to get some really good views of the city.

The obligatory photo of Amber with her head in a guidebook!
The next thing on our to-do-list was probably the one thing that we had been looking forward to the most since we had first starting planning our Venice holiday. The Gondola Ride!
We found a very nice English speaking man who agreed to Amber's request that we go beneath the Bridge of Sighs.

A history lesson: The Bridge of Sighs is the bridge that prisoners were led over on their way to begin their incarceration. The bridge is completely enclosed but has windows and the story goes that the prisoners would look out these windows and sigh because it was the last view of Venice they would see. Also Casanova escaped prison via this bridge, or so the legend goes. The much more soppy legend is that when two people kiss under this bridge on a gondola at sunset while the bells chime they will be destined to be together forever. It is quite a famous bridge. Get it? Right.

This is our Gondolier
If you are wondering what what is going on in my head in this photo it is pretty much 'Eeeeeeeeeeeeee'!

View of the Grand Canal from the water
Traffic jam
Random crumbly buildings

Things we learnt from our Gondolier:
* His gondola belongs to him (and is called Sandy).
* It is 11 meters long.
* To be allowed to be a Gondolier he had to go to a school to learn how to drive his Gondola and then he had to pass a test
* It took him 3 years to learn how to "drive".
* After he got his "license" he had to learn how to speak English, French and Spanish and, also, the history of Venice.
* When coming up to a blind corner he calls out to let other traffic know he is coming (much better than a horn).
* There are over 300 Gondoliers in Venice and only one of them is female (and she's only just recently become one).
* Now there are over 3000 bridges in Venice, however there didn't used to be any and the canal entrance was considered the "main" entrance to a building.
* Nobody in Venice lives on the ground floor due to rising sea levels/amount of sinkage (when it still was). The ground floor is only used for storage or shops.

The other thing we noticed was that when we went under a bridge all the tourists that were were walking over that bridge had to stop and take a photo of us (being that we were in the gondola)

It seems like this automatic reaction, see this is our photo of complete strangers that went under the bridge we were standing on.

The Bridge of sighs (and although it wasn't sunset, we did dare a little public display of affection and Amber kissed Shelley on the cheek)

More pretty crumbly buildings

After we finished our gondola ride we decided it was tiramisu time so we went looking for this restaurant that we had seen several days before. Now the problem with this is that after walking all over Venice one crumbly alleyway starts to look like all the other crumbly alleyways and it gets pretty hard to remember just where certain things are. It took us about 2 hours and lots of walking in circles before we found it. The same thing happened with a boutique I wanted to look in, we went back the next day to find it and it only took about 3 hours but we did and the clothes were totally worth all the trouble. As was the Tiramisu:

The next part of our plan was to go mask shopping for me. We had seen lots and lots of amazing masks in our travels but I still had not found the right one. Amber told me she just wanted one of everything and she would never be able to choose for herself so I picked her mask for her. I figured that when I found the right one for me it would be easy to choose. This was a good theory but in the end Amber picked my mask because I had decided that I was not going to get one. it wasn't so much that I couldn't choose, it was that the one I had chosen was expensive and I did not want to spend that much on me. Amber decided that I was worth it. She told me after that she had an ulterior motive, that it would look really good displayed on our wall at home and she would be able to wear it!

Now for some masks. The first mask shop is one that we saw after visiting the islands. The quickest ferry that would get us back to the main island dropped us on the other side from our hotel. We decided to walk back and try to find a shoe shop that we had read about in our guide book. The shoe shop sucked. But, we found this awesome mask shop:

Sorry about the reflections, its really hard to take photos through a window. . .

yes, that is a cat :)

THIS mask shop is the one where Amber bought Shelley's mask. . .They claim to be the same mask place that did masks for Nicole Kidman and the scientology freak in Eyes Wide Shut and also for Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo and Juliet. They have their autographs and everything so it's pretty believable :)

And now. . .the ones you've all been waiting for - Our Masks

Guess which one is Amber's :)

And finally - A stamp which we bought for our books. (the initials were added to personalise it and ours is EXTREMELY unique because he had run out of 'w's and had to turn a 'm' upside down. Which means that even if someone else were to pick the same stamp and have the initials SW (Shambles Watson), ours would still be different :)

Just to rub it in, this is all "the loot" we scored while we were there :)

So anyway, that was Venice. Next up is ..... Prague (maybe)