Archive for May, 2012

Nineteen

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2012 by David Palmer

Since the last blog, the temperature has been up in the high twenties and not a cloud in the sky.

On Tuesday Lee came down to stay. Charlotte and Ellis came over and we all went to Dingley woods to see the blue-bells and have a swing on the ropes. Much to my amusement (and Charlotte’s horror) I was in charge of Ellis when he rolled head over heels down the slope. Afterwards, he thought about crying, but the lure of the swing was too much and he was keen to have a go, though he did now look quite scuffed up and a proper lad. The blue-bells were ‘going-over’ but still out, and the swings were just as much fun as ever. On the route out of the woods we had to divert as Lee and I were wearing shorts and the path was overgrown with nettles (ouch!).

As we were walking through the woods, we spotted a cow in the field next to it. She had just give birth to a calf and it was trying to take its first wobbly stops. We stood and watched  and mum stood and stared at us.

We stopped at the Cherry Tree on the way back for much-needed refreshing drinks and for Ellis to have a little play in the beer garden.

Last Wednesday, Sarah had her nineteenth birthday (doesn’t the time fly?). We had the family around for a BBQ and Lee came down to stay for a couple of  days, for a couple of days. I had cleaned and chlorinated the pool, so it got used and was quite welcome as the afternoon was hot. Sura mischievously brought water balloons, and the younger ones chased around the garden throwing them at each other. Jamie caught Sarah a corker on the shoulder and didn’t count on the half an hour chase around the garden as she attempted to exact revenge. He eventually gave up and got soaked when he realised she was not going to stop.

The following day, Sarah and Lee went to a water-park near Stoke on Trent. It was a good choice as the day was again very hot. They went out for a meal when they returned later that evening. The following day, Lee drove home.

Jamie seems to be enjoying his new job and is getting about the country quite a bit, as well as working in the warehouse and offices. He occasionally brings back pieces of meat for Sue and they are frozen or cooked straight away for tea. He and Harley went out for a meal to celebrate 3 years of being together (doesn’t time fly?) Harley told us that her mum and dad may be moving to Norfolk next year and I think she said something about her going to Cardiff (may have got that wrong).

Last Saturday and went with some friends to see the Tigers play Harlequins at Twickenham. The the Tigers deservedly lost, it was a lovely day out. We had drinks and fish and chips at the Lord Blucher before watching the match and sat in the shady side of the stadium. Just a shame that Tigers chose not to ‘turn-up’ on the day.

Harlequins v Leicester: live

I have been building some decking for Charlotte in the back garden. She came over one day last week and we bought all the wood we needed and I transported it back to Rothwell on the roof of my car (slowly). She had to wait for a few days before I had the time to start work, which I did so with the help of a friend, Peter  from the rugby club. We spent a couple of hours one evening making a start, and the following Sunday Suraj and I spent another couple of hours on the project.

On Sunday, Sarah caught the train to London. She is spending a couple of days there with Lee. They certainly have picked the right weather.

On Monday afternoon I drove up to Yorkshire. Aunty Josie (sister) was staying with Nan in readiness for their trip to Spain and I was taking them to the airport. We went to the pub in the evening and had an early night. We were up at 4am and on the road to Manchester by half past (over the moors). As expected it was a quick journey at that time of day, and by 6am I was with them in the terminal checking their baggage in. I said good-bye as they went into the departure lounge and I started a nightmare journey of traffic jams (road works) back to Harborough. I arrived around 10am, had a coffee and went to bed. I got up at 12.30pm, had something to eat, picked up Peter and drove over to Rothwell and spent another 3 hours on the decking. That afternoon we heard that a lady had backed into Suraj’s car in Tesco car park (not too much damage but a hassle all the same). On our return to Harborough, Charlotte came over with us as she had to pick up her car which had been in the garage for repairs.

Woke up this morning to another hot day and the return of Sarah from London.

Home and Away

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2012 by David Palmer

The drive back from Heathrow went without a hitch, at 7am on a Sunday morning there wasn’t much traffic. Th rest of the day felt strange as besides being cold (because it was cold) we busied ourselves with unpacking, ringing the family (when they had woken up) and tried hard to stay awake as long as we could. We managed to make it to 9pm before climbing the stairs, but if the truth be told we were both dozing in the lounge for a good hour before then.

The following day I checked the loft for water in the bucket (from the hole in the roof) and there was a little. It was still cold and damp outside so I decided to leave doing anything about it other than emptying the bucket, until a  a better day. I did however re-plaster the hole in the ceiling (where my knee went through) and unless you knew and looked hard you would never guess what had happened (yes, I do go to SpecSavers). Jamie also started his new job. It is just 5 minutes down the road and so far this week he has had a variety of tasks from being in the warehouse,  delivering and being in the office. He seems to like the variety and they are a small family firm,  in the food business. The Rothwell’s came around during the afternoon. We gave them their presents and watched a bit of TV.

Usually I write the blog on a rainy day. After a whole week of miserable weather, today is scorching hot, having spent most of it in the allotment planting carrots, I have resisted the urge to join Sarah in the pool and settled down in my nice cool study and started to type away.

Last Wednesday evening I drove up to Sheffield and dropped several suit-cases off at Sarah’s digs (ready to pack her stuff in) , then carried on to Nan’s for the night. She had stayed up to meet me, though I have a key and it wasn’t necessary. After a coffee and a chat, it was off to bed.

The following day I had arranged for EON to service Nan’s heating system. The engineer arrived for 9am and took an hour to thoroughly service it. Nan insisted that I sit in the lounge and watch him!. I planted some curly kale in the garden that I had been growing for Nan.  Afterwards we drove into Rotherham to the bank for her to get some money and close an old account, we then carried on to Sheffield and picked up Sarah for lunch. We were going to see Aunt Edna as she had not been to well recently, so we chose a pub nearby to eat in. We stayed around an hour with Edna (she seems to be getting quite confused now) and then dropped Sarah off (she was partying that night) on the way back to Thurcroft. That night we both watched soccer on Sky and went to bed late (after 9pm).

Friday morning saw Nan and I shopping for new potatoes in Dinnington. As soon as we returned, Sarah rang and requested that I pick her up. When I arrived I asked if she wanted to eat, but she was keen to get home, so we set off.   There was an accident on the M1 near Nottingham and the traffic was horrendous (according to the radio), so we detoured and added another hour to the journey. Charlotte and the kids arrived within an hour of us getting home (she has missed her sister).

Saturday morning saw me pick up the summer season’s batch of Sodium hypochlorite (12 barrels), I have been hoovering the pool each day and now it needs the chemical to clear it and kill off any bugs.algae. That evening saw Sarah working behind the bar at a Harley Davidson Weekend Meet, I watched Leinster v Ulster at the Angel (with Roger and Jim) and then later at home, Chelsea beat Bayern Munich.  I haven’t a clue how they did it, but they did, it was a fascinating game. Sarah got home at 3am. That afternoon,  Nan rang to say that her heating wasn’t working. I talked her through all the checks that I could think of (such as switching it on etc.)  I then rang EON and they had some one there within the hour. Later that evening when I rang to see how they had got on, Nan sheepishly confessed that it wasn’t broken, just switched off. I am not saying anything (she reads these).

Sunday morning I planted lettuce and runner beans. After lunch I took Sarah over to Charlotte’s to stay the night. Charlotte has started to go to church and Sarah was keen to go with her.  I stopped off at Roger’s on the way back for a coffee and a chat. That Evening I started to make a video from our Borneo photos.

Monday I planted tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse, onions, rocket and  carrots in the garden. Charlotte and the kids came in the afternoon and stayed with Jamie for tea. Afterwards we watched the Borneo video.

Today as I have already mentioned it  is stinking hot!!!! Charlotte and Suraj have been collecting firewood for me. On Sunday I had brought back a load and stacked it next to the garage, then I had an idea. This morning I put my plan into action. They had collected some wood that was two planks nailed together at both ends and the middle with a cubed piece of wood that left a 12 cm gap in the middle. I dug my allotment, placed three of the pieces of wood, end to end across the plot. I filled the gap in between the planks with compost and then sowed carrots into it. Finished off with a watering. I did two rows before lunch and two in the afternoon. They look like mini raised beds. We shall see if it works, it is sure to be hot gossip on the other plots!

Borneo10

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2012 by David Palmer

Going home today. Tried a breakfast of lamb curry followed by chicken curry, a few other dishes I couldn’t spell the names of and some yogurt and fruit. The thinking being that if  there was an unpleasant reaction, it wouldn’t be on holiday, but where the medical services were a bit more predictable. In the end (excuse the pun), there was no reaction and I quite enjoyed the experience of having the usual finish of a goodnight’ s rugby celebration, after I had woken up, instead of just before going to bed.

Bukit bintang from kl monorail 2009.jpg

We packed our suitcases before leaving the hotel for a wander around China Town. We didn’t have to check out of room until 2pm and the taxi wasn’t picking us up until 8pm so we had a lot of time to spare. We used the mono-rail to get to Maharajalela, which was the station closest to where we wanted to go. Beside the station was a Chinese temple, so it got visited, as did another just a 100m away.  We headed for Jalan Petaling (Petaling Street), which was the area where all the shops are. We spent a couple of  hours ducking into whichever shop front took our fancy, only stopping for half an hour for the obligatory cooling drinks. We bought Jamie and Suraj  T Shirts each  (labels of course and authentic we were assured).

We got the train back to Bukit Bintang and the hotel (Park Royal).  We cooled off again with a shower, took our suitcases down to the lobby for storing and then checked out.

We had decided to spend the afternoon at the Aquarium. The walk there was up Bukt Bintang Walk, onto the air-conditioned sky-walkway to the Convention Centre. It was a long route but much more pleasant in the cool.

Pedestrian walkway bridges tourist centers in Kuala Lumpur

The Aquarium was fascinating, it was laid out in much the same way as the many Sea-Worlds we have visited, but on a larger scale (both in size of venue and the exhibits). We spent around 3 hours there.

On the way back we decided to eat. Not sure what we fancied, we had several abortive attempts at choosing, but we kept changing our minds and moved on. In one establishment we got as far as sitting at the table having a hot peanut dish presented for our appetizer before deciding to move on. I think the fresh fried field frog was too f’s for us! We eventually ate Taiwanese as they seem to make their food out of recognisable ingredients.

We returned to the hotel, recovered our suitcases, went up to the guest facilities on the 6th floor, showered and got changed for the flight home.

PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur

We waited in the Lobby until 8pm and the taxi driver promptly turned up. Like previous Malaysian Taxi drivers we have had he was very chatty and the source of all knowledge, the hour’s journey to the airport passed quickly. As it was Friday night, the check-in desks were busy with people getting away for the weekend. It took half an hour to drop off our bags and get our boarding cards. As we knew what gate we were leaving from, we knew we had to catch a train to the correct terminal, so we made straight for it. We were one of the first at the gate and so as a consequence one of the first on the plane.

Again the flight seemed to go quickly. Of the 12 3/4 hours I slept for 8 hours and watched 3 films, had two meals and quite a lot of drinks. We landed at 5.30am, we waited ages for our cases to come off the belt, but that was made up by the bus being at the stop to take us to our car. We were driving home on the M4 just 15 minutes later.

We both agreed it was a great holiday. The Orangutans were brilliant, Malayans are very friendly, Kuala Lumpur has to be our favourite city, we are not over keen on Malaysian cuisine but there are plenty of other restaurants from other nationalities to choose from.  Both hotels we stayed at were top-class, and though we didn’t choose them we couldn’t have done better ourselves for location and facilities.

Borneo9

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2012 by David Palmer

Woke up to another bright sunny day. After breakfast it was decided to catch the mono-rail to  the Bird Park. It was supposed to be the world’s largest undercover aviary and we both like pretty coloured birds. The walk from the hotel to the train station was just 2 minutes and we bought two tokens for RM2.10 each (about 50p). To gain access to the platform you just have to touch your token against the barrier and it opens. The train arrived within 5 mins and we were off to the end of the line (KL Sentral).

The Park was just under a kilometre away so we decided to walk it. We should have caught a taxi! It was far too hot and we made an error at the very beginning and walked around in a circle back to where we had started. Setting off, this time we w got it right, but because there is so much building work going on and the roads are a nightmare to cross, plus the Malayans think that pedestrians are surplus population and therefore do not accommodate them in any way, plus flat pavements are not found anywhere. After what seemed an age walking we had to stop in a cafe for cooling drinks and a respite from the heat. Refreshed we set off again and within ten minutes we were in the park and striding up the hill to the Aviary. We bought our tickets and entered. It is truly massive and full of the most friendliest birds you could want to see or meet. While waiting for Sue (outside a loo) I was surrounded by inquisitive storks who just stared at me, I stared back. Later we had to shelter from a brief shower and sat under a gazebo next to a very pretty waterfall that had pink flamingos wading in the water.  When the rain stopped I took some photos of Sue being covered in parakeets. We spent a pleasant couple of hours there before locating the restaurant had having ice-cold fruit drinks followed by very large ice-cream fruit sundaes (yummy).

After leaving the Bird Park we walked across the road to the Orchid Gardens. Very beautiful and full of exotic flowers with long sounding names. There was a spectacular view over KL from the top of the hill.

From there we walked to the Butterfly Park. As the Bird P{ark was covered in a huge netting tent (to keep the birds in and the monkeys out) so was this, though quite a bit smaller. Inside the air seemed full of fluttering wings.  Seeing the brightly coloured insects was not a problem, trying to photograph them being still was, but we managed it.

The place also had a fantastic insect collection as well as some lizards and snakes. While we were inside, unknown to us the monsoon hit out side. Raindrops the size of golf balls were turning the roads and paths into torrents of water. I spotted a taxi driver sheltering in the cafe and we negotiated a RM15  lift to the mono rail. The roads were truly flooded and it would have been impossible to have returned on foot. The lightning was flashing and the thunder echoing across the city and it was pleasing to be in a taxi making bow waves down the road. After being dropped off at the station we caught the train back to the hotel and a nice cup of coffee. That night we ate in an Indian Restaurant, the food was very good as was soon proved when the place filled up with Indians who seemed to be getting off tour buses to eat there. We walked back through the Parkson Mall. Yet another huge retail Mall that defied belief as to size, yet this had something over the others. It was for the very affluent. The outlets were Armani, Gucci, Burberry etc. There was hundreds of them that Sue had heard of but I had not. I noticed there was no price tags, which reminded me of the time when I went with some rugby friends to an Armani shop in Prague and was told, “Sir, if you have to ask the price then this shop is not for you.”  I also noticed that there were very few shoppers and many, many shop assistants who were dressed in suites and  very nice outfits looking bored. The people who were   shopping obviously had no taste and were wearing gear I personally would not be seen dead in. We bought nothing.

It had been a tiring day so, it was straight to bed when we returned to the hotel.

Borneo8

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2012 by David Palmer

Down for breakfast at 7pm as we had a a city tour booked for the morning. Stuck to mainly European fayre (don’t want to upset the stomach) but the curried fish heads did look appetising.  Afterwards we waited for around 15 minutes in the Lobby before the mini-bus and around 10 other guests from the hotel turned up. I wasn’t expecting much from the tour, but it turned out to be informative and interesting. Our guide had a good sense of humour and knew his stuff. We stopped first at the National Malaysian Museum. Lots of interesting displays that we could easily have spent a couple of hours at our leisure wandering around (that’s the problem with guided tours). Sue had her photo taken with a snake around her neck. She has a fetish for things that are long and slim, ergh!

We next moved on to the New king’s Palace. Only been built 6 months ago at a very great cost. We watched the changing of the guard, they were on horseback and looked quite spectacular in their uniform. We stoppeWd long enough to take a lot of photos, but it was too hot and I was glad to get back into the air-con on the bus.

we moved from there to the War Memorial. It marked WW2 and the troubles the Malaysians had with the Communists. A very pretty place with great views over the city. Again, it was too hot and it was good to have a short stop at a cafe for ice-cold drinks before moving on.

Next stop was at the British Colonial area.

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The buildings were surrounding a large grassy field that they use to play rugby on (that grabbed my interest), before moving onto have a drink in a mock Tudor pub. How civilized.

Next was a visit to a Pewter factory. We had a talk on the history of the place, then a tour of the works and watched how various things were made. And at the end we went through the shop to have an opportunity to buy some. We did.

Selangor Pewter

We didn’t buy this!

Finally we stopped near the Petronas Towers for a few photos. As you have to book days in advance to up to the top, we decided we would give this attraction a miss. We were then dropped off at the hotel

After a cooling shower and a change we decided to trek to the KL Tower. It didn’t take long to walk to the base of the little hill it was on, but we were glad there was a free bus that took you up to the top. Once there we wandered around outs side, then on the inside, before wandering through the native village there and then having some more ice-cool drinks in the cafe. refreshed, we paid for our tickets and took the elevator to the top. The views as expected were very good. We took lots of photos , before descending and waiting for the bus down the hill. While we were waiting I chatted to Sarah on Skype and discovered Jamie has a new job (much closer to Harborough). We walked back to the hotel.

A shower, a change and we went out for our evening meal. We chose a Malayan restaurant. We both enjoyed our traditional Malaysian main courses, but we both had doubts about dessert. They started off ok, very nice and sweet, but further into then we discovered things like , maize and beans and probably other vegetables. Not to our liking, we won’t be ordering traditional Malaysian sweets again.

After another good evening meander through the streets of KL looking at the street vendors and the various legal and illegal businesses going on around us, we returned to hotel and sat in the lounge having drinks and listening to a pianist and singer, before retiring for the night.

Borneo7

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 by David Palmer

We woke early (6.30am) and had melon and pineapple that we had stored in the fridge for breakfast. A bell boy came to collect our suitcases at 7am and then we walked down to reception and paid the bill. While Sue waited for our taxi to arrive I went down to the internet room and wrote the previous day’s blog.

As soon as I returned, the taxi turned up. An hour later we were at the airport and had checked our baggage in without any problems. The airport was very quiet so we did some shopping before going through passport control. Sue bought a pearl bracelet for herself and some postcards. We had breakfast in MacDonald’s, looked ok but tasted of the usual cardboard. Afterwards we went through security into departures.

With only a few people around, we walked the full length of the concourse then sat down at the gate and waited half an hour then boarded the aircraft. The flight wasn’t full and we had a window seat. Breakfast was served and was indeed very tasty.

We landed in KL at 1pm. After a long, long walk to baggage our suitcases popped up straight away. As we entered the arrivals hall we were met by the taxi driver and he took us to the car. An hour later we arrived at the Park Royal Hotel. Within 15 minutes we had checked in and were having a well needed coffee in the room, sat in the window (9th floor) looking down on the monorail and KL skyline.

Around an hour later we picked up a map from the concierge, quickly decided to visit a Buddhist Craft Centre and tried the map out. It proved to accurate and easy to follow. Our route took us about half an hour, through very busy traffic. The Centre was made up of lots of little shops, some were air-conditioned (we lingered there) and some were not (we didn’t stay so long here). We chatted to some of the artists and Sue bought some silk Batik’s of flowers to give to Doreen next door. We had some lovely icy cold drinks in the cafeteria before leaving around 6pm to retrace out steps back to the hotel.

An hour later, after a shower and a change of clothes we went looking for a place to eat. We chose a Taiwanese restaurant because we had never eaten Taiwanese food before. I let the waiter choose something typically Taiwanese and for me and Sue chose her own. Both meals were very good and very filling. We walked over to Times Square which was opposite the hotel. It proved to be the largest Mall I have ever been too. It was 12 floors of wall to wall shops. Around 3000 outlets. We thought that Sarah and Charlotte would have loved it there! After wandering around a couple of floors to see what was what, we took a rather circuitous route back to the hotel. In one of the Plazas that we passed through Sue bought a toy from a street vender for Lucas. I can’t really explain what it does, but Suraj will love it, and we have four of them.

Back to the hotel and bed. I am afraid there are no photos as this computer does not take and SD card.

Borneo6

Posted in Uncategorized on May 8, 2012 by David Palmer

Took the car key to reception for 9am and waited for the hire car rep. After 20 minutes he hadn’t come so I left the keys with the concierge and went back to the room. Sue and I walked to the Activity Centre as we had booked another session to see and feed the Orangutans as well as a canopy walk. The group that we were with was much larger and the apes were quite reluctant to come at first, but as the heat and humidity took its toll of guests and they left, the apes eventually came down. ImageImage

The canopy walk saw even less guests accompany us as the heat continued to take its toll. It wasn’t as long as the 3/4 of an hour as they predicted, and it was quite tame compared to most we have been on before, but it did afford one spectacular view over the beach that we would not have otherwise seen.

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Afterwards we had a spot of lunch back in our room to cool off. During the afternoon Sue went to see them feed the baby Orangutan and I had a shower. During the afternoon we had a walk through the golf course and spotted a lizard that was around a metre and a half long. He ran away at a blistering pace, he left the mosquitoes behind as the attacked us with a vengeance and forced our retreat back to the Centre.

Early jn the evening we went to the cocktail bar for free cocktails during happy hour. Unfortunately we sat next to a couple from Birmingham that we had come across before. They were moaners and could anything to complain about, after half an hour of listening to what was wrong with life the hotel manage who was mixing with the guests, sat down to chat with us. They were in their element (poor man) and we quietly left them toImage it. It was quite a spectacular sunset. we had an early night as we fly to Kuala Lumpur early tomorrow.