This is so true!
Who knows when a brilliant idea is going to burst into your head?
The only thing I think the hotel should have also remembered – is to have a pen nearby…..
This is so true!
Who knows when a brilliant idea is going to burst into your head?
The only thing I think the hotel should have also remembered – is to have a pen nearby…..
Firstly guys, I would like to say “Hello, I’m back”. I haven’t blogged for over a month. Work has been manic and so I haven’t had a moment to think.
At the end of September I flew over to London to take part in the first ever ‘Big Gay 10k’ run. I was very excited about doing the run. It was my first ever run. I was going to
crawl and possibly die in a gutter do my best and try to get a good time.
For those who had read more on my Just Giving charity site would have known that I had been training to run since the beginning of July. Fun, fun, fun…
Well – 400 people took part in the 10km run in London. Some were runners, some were walkers and the rest were mincers!
The route was fantastic! Here are some photos from the fantastic day. (I’m in the blue vest, my fiancé is in bright yellow). Our super friends Sue and Caroline came to support us.
The race was started by Cheryl Baker, in pink in the photos (from Bucks Fizz, the 1980s pop group who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981). I even met her and had a post-run-sweaty photo together. Once the race was started, Bas and I were off like a shot. My music was playing and I was high on adrenaline. I wanted to get a good time. So far my best time had been 10km in 52 minutes (I was averaging 55 mins).
We kept up with the front group and split from the main ‘pack’. The streets of London were packed. As we all reached the Embankment, where the London Eye stands we had to wriggle and jump in and out of the tourists. As it was the first Big Gay 10k in London the organisers had been unable to clear roads or pavements, meaning for us that we had to contend with human-obstacles. They must have wondered what was happening…
Halfway through the race I realised that I was well over my usual pace. I got ahead of Bas who probably got caught in the crowds. Bas caught up with me at about 7 or 8km into the run. That was when we came face-to-face with the photographers. (Time to look as though I was loving it…).
At 8km I hit the wall. Not literally – a wall of pain. I really didn’t know if my body would get to the 10km finish line. Bas was brilliant and ran along side me the rest of the way. The last bridge was the last hurdle. I said to Bas “I don’t want to go uphill anymore”. He replied that we were there.
We had made it.
We came 28th and 29th (seconds divided us). 29th!!!! From 400!!!!!
Stunned. You can see my time below. Just under 51 minutes. It probably took me those 41 seconds to stop my timer.
You can see how much money I was lucky enough to raise for a great charity in London! Brilliant supporters – thank you!
Discovered in Antwerp in Belgium.
I was just minding my own business and taking a little visit to the toilet when I walked in and saw this.
Okay – it made me laugh – out loud. It was quite tricky to concentrate while standing there.
Which one to stand at?
I have some friends who love knitting.
Okay, I should be clear on this one. Some love knitting and some like to croquet.
The urban knitting craze is taking off and here are some wonderful examples of how the craze has taken an unusual twist.
Perfect for all the abandoned bikes here in The Netherlands.
Now THAT is a bus I would love to catch!
Isn’t this just the cutest Smart Car!
I also found a great website with fantastic knitted things. It’s called Mochimochi Land. Take a look.
I thought it would be a good idea to summarise my months throughout 2012. It is set to be a cracker of a year (a great year, to all my non-English readers, or should I say readers from outside of northern England).
January started most dramatically. Bas, my husband-to-be (I love saying that), and I travelled back to The Netherlands after enjoying Christmas in the UK. The drive from England to the Channel Tunnel was horrendous. When I say horrendous I mean utterly vile. Scary. At-my-wits-end-scary. I thought my life would end at some point on that journey. The rain was torrential and never-ending. Once through the Channel Tunnel (and after a welcome 30-minute break on the train), we continued our hell-raising journey into France where the bloody rain continued. How could so much water fall from the sky? Belgium proved to be no better – The rain poured from the sky and our car barely managed to stay on the road. Driving through a swimming pool is never recommended and as the car shook, swerved and vibrated its way along, the thought went through my head on more than one occasion that skis may have been a better option than wheels. I lived to tell the tale though, so all’s well that ends well.
January also brings with it the worst time of year, the post-Christmas-blues. Apartments and houses look so bland and bare without the joyful Christmas decorations. Is it just me, or am I the only one who never ceases to be shocked at how bare a home can look without the decorations hanging? It never seems that bare in November…
I was back at work, greeted by a class full of happy little three-year olds all eager to see their friends again – and their teacher, of course. One little boy saw me on the first morning back and said my name with such enthusiasm. It was as though he’d not seen me for months, years – or as though he thought he may never have seen me again…. Bless.
In order to brighten the mood, we had friends over for a games evening. I love games. Bas does not. Therefore, we played games. And Bas loved them. I won’t hear a word against them. That is the basis of our relationship. I am right. We played some great games – word games where one team had to name 10 things related to a category. The highlight of the night being when my team was asked to name 10 deserts… We looked puzzled and skipped the category. I don’t know deserts other than Gobi, Sahara… I’m struggling. We asked to hear the answers – clearly out of interest. Answer #1: Pavlova. I have to hold my hand up and admit that after a few glasses of wine I sat and pondered where this Pavlova desert may be. Possible Eastern Europe…? The penny did not take long to drop. DESSERTS! My wonderful other-half avoided reading the next answer – trifle. We would have been laughing into the early hours. I love games.
Throughout the rest of January, we visited family in The Netherlands, caught up with friends, helped our wonderful friend-and-bride-to-be choose her wedding dress. Yay! We had a decorator in to plaster the kitchen (our kitchen shall be finished this year – finally); we watched Carnage and The Iron Lady (Streep must win Best Actress at the Oscars) at the cinema; and we had meals out. Good fun all round.
Oh, but then there was the party Sunday. The Sunday we shall not forget. It started with a neighbourhood borrel (drinks and nibbles) at the pub along the street from our apartment. All our Dutch neighbours were there – although we didn’t recognise a soul. Normally I know one or two – but the absence of everyone from our actual street made the stress-levels rise. I was using all my Dutch skills. Speak Dutch and survive. I survived – almost. We were labelled on entry with a post-it note from the very official looking ‘organiser’, power-dressed in red. After spelling my name repeatedly (in Dutch), I changed from Jamey to Jami to Jame where I finally gave in. I’d be Jame for the evening – for the quiet life. Jamie isn’t difficult to spell. What panicked me next was seeing the organisers hand out coloured flower stickers. There was a game to be played. Panic stations. I know, I know – I like games. But not in Dutch and not when I know that my Dutch partner is clearly not going to be in my team. We ended up separated. I must not panic. I must keep calm. Drink. Hours later, and after meeting some lovely neighbours we made our way, on bikes, to another party. You can see where this is going. We drank. We chatted. We drank and had a fantastic evening – until home time. That was when the wall of reality hit. Cycling home was an experience.
Oh – and January officially became my busiest month for hits on WordPress. Thanks guys!
What a month. January – you have been memorable.
Bring it on February!
What better way to remember a birthday than by jumping off a mountain. That was how I celebrated my 32nd birthday.
It could have been my last.
I said that to the guy…
I survived – clearly.
Paragliding is a must. I am now converted the wonders of the jump.
I’ve just got back from a two-week camping holiday in France. It was amazing. Lac d’Annecy is a stunning location for a holiday for all tastes. Relaxing if you like. Sporty if you want. Adventurous if you dare.
Our paragliding experience was well organised. A team of instructors picked us up (me, Bas and A.N.Other). We headed up a windy and very steep
death trap mountain road. The madman driver clearly hadn’t taken his tablets knew the route and we whizzed around bends on two wheels. Oh the joy. We reached the summit and grabbed the gear from the back of the minibus.
What was the gear being strapped to my back. I asked no questions.
I didn’t really want to know.
We walked a couple of metres up a pathway and then on to a steep slope of astro-turf (fake grass) which led over the edge to nothingness….. Long grass could be seen poking up, but beyond that…nothing. The lake, hundreds of metres below, was shimmering in the mid-day sun. Stunning. Terrifying, but stunning.
My instructor lay the wing (or canopy) out across the grass, while I looked at at the view and contemplated the drop.
There were loads of ropes called lines (yes, I’ve read up on it now that I’ve done it and survived). He untangled the whole lot and prepared it, then attached his harness to mine. Once secured he said “Right, now we just run”.
That’s the extend of my pre-flight briefing?….”Now we just run!????” (I thought this part - I didn’t want to sound panicky).
We ran…Off the edge of the mountain.
I was expecting a sudden drop. It never came. Unbelievably, we glided off the mountain and into the air. It was the most gentle take-off I’ve ever experienced. The view was amazing! I was silent. In total awe of the view. The lake below looked incredible.
The instructor was busy controlling the wing (fiddling with the lines). I just grinned and enjoyed the view. I looked across and watched Bas and his instructor floating ahead of us. I didn’t hear any screams. All was good. For thirty minutes we floated down above the lake, the trees and roads below.
There had been no wind at the top of the mountain. It was eerily still. Once we were a few hundred metres from landing we hit a rush of wind. With a jolt we were carried higher and higher. It made landing quite a challenge. Our landing field was too far to reach and the wind was too strong. Plan B – land closer. We ended up in a field nearby.
The landing was smoothe. Until a gust of wind caught the wing and whipped us backwards across the field. What a sight. The instructor was laying on his back trying to regain control and there was me, on top of him, wondering when we’d stop. I couldn’t help but giggle some more.
I survived. I loved it!
Enjoy my slideshow…
Want to read more? Some links you may enjoy.
Camping is great! Fresh air, back to nature, living life freely… What more could you ask for? (Okay, so some of you probably said ‘a hotel’……. I agree that hotels and cozy holidays are nice some of the time, but camping is fab – especially when you find the right spot.
I’m hoping that our camping trip to France this summer goes without any problems. I want a chilled time. Total relaxation and time to complete many of the things on My List for 2011. Reading the Harry Potter series in on my list as well as dancing in the rain and writing a poem. I’ll have time to tick off those things…. Wish me luck.
If you’ve ever been camping then I am sure you can relate to the next bit.
Here are some great camping one-liners:
“I thought you packed the toilet paper”.
“Shhhhhh….. Did you hear that noise?”
“Just one more hill to climb, it’s all flat from here”.
“Of course I packed the tent poles”.
”I love camping. You haven’t lived until you’ve cut your way out of a sleeping bag with a Swiss army knife”.
Searching the internet for things about camping has been fun. Here are some good blogs about camping:
I’m so glad that I asked for some questions on my blog last week. I’ve had some great responses. I widened my question-search a little wider with the use of Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to all those who helped. Your questions and responses are below. Don’t expect anything profound. It’s light hearted reading. Here goes…
Kiwidutch was first to respond with the ice-breaker question:
If you had total freedom of opportunity to really follow one of your passions and leave a lasting legacy behind you that benefited the city/country/world, what would you do and what would your legacy be?
Okay – I need to draw a deep breath before answering this one. Talk about starting with a toughie! If I had total freedom of opportunity to follow a passion it would involve children. I’ve always wanted to work with children, so that part is already coming true. I’d like to be involved in developing schools (I used to think that I could only do this in the UK, but since working overseas I realise it can be done anywhere). With enough money and support I’d like to develop education and opportunities for children all over the world. The Jamie Foundation: providing hope for the future….. I’d hope that the children would be the lasting legacy.
Ashley with her cheeky 2-in-1 questions:
If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? Why? Oops…… Looks like there’s 2 questions here. Don’t mind the why then. It could be anything, of yourself or the world history.
Cheeky Ashley indeed sneaking in two questions. Time travel: A dangerous tool to have, but one I would love. On a personal level it’s tricky to choose. All the things that have happened in my life, both positive and negative have helped to make me the person I am today. I would possibly choose that my grandparents had not died when I was a baby. I never knew them and I would have loved to know them. In world history: I would choose that Adolf Hitler had never been born.
Terri (pushing it with three questions, but because it’s Terri I’ll allow it….)
My questions for you:
1. When are you coming to Vegas? Would love to meet you!
2. Do you have any pets?
3. If you have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?
Ah Terri, three questions (naughty). So, Q1 includes an invite to Las Vegas? Wow, you never asked me….. Haha. I would love to come over to USA and see more of the sights. Would love to meet my first blog friend too.
Q2 Pets: I do indeed. I, well I should say we….have two cats. Fudge and Cooper. They are adorable. I miss Eddie terribly, he was Fudge’s brother but was knocked down by a car outside our house when he was 18 months old.
Q3 Dinner: I would throw all sensible invites out of the window and invite……Alex Pettyfer. Of course it would be for the high-brow conversation…..
Sarsm (my happy WordPress friend):
My question is: If you could visit 5 countries in the remainder of your lifetime – which countries would you choose and why? (can be somewhere you’ve been or somewhere new)
The travel question (yay!).I’ll choose 5 countries that I have never visited.
Japan: I have always wanted to go there. I’d love to discover more about the country as I really don’t know that much about it. I had friends who lived there, but never managed to go.
China: The future super power of the world. China has so many wonderful things to see. How could it not be on my list?
Brazil: I want to visit Rio de Janeiro. Oh to stand at the foot of the Jesus Christ statue and look out at the coastline. Immense!
South Africa: I’d choose any African country to visit (having not been there). I want to travel through Africa by train, do the safari and experience something entirely new.
…..and the last one……. This isn’t easy…..
Australia: I want to see the Great Barrier Reef. That means diving, which I’ve also never done. But I would find it so exciting and invigorating.
Helen C (Work colleague and Twitter friend).
If you were to make your favourite three course meal, what would the courses be?
Food question – Yum!
Starter: An set of amuses to begin with. 3 shot size glasses each with different tiny soups. I always love that for starters.
Main Course: Duck. It’s my favourite meal. Not the crispy duck, although I adore that. It would be roast duck with a fruit sauce. Carrots (mashed with orange and brown sugar) and potato gratin.
Dessert: Warm chocolate and fudge cake, drizzled with extra hot chocolate sauce.
Okay, now my mouth is watering.
Chris S (Fellow Actor, world traveller and blogger).
How do I make my blog as good as yours?
8 months of practise and watching ‘what’ people are reading. The blog I set out to create has continued to evolve since Day 1. People don’t always read the blog posts that have taken the most time and effort. It’s all about keeping with the readers I suppose. ‘Know your audience’.
Liz J(Work colleague, friend and IT whizz).
How do you see the handheld device in five years?
Seamless technology that has replaced PCs, mobiles and other technology. Used in schools, homes and in the wider community. Will it work by finger? Will the mind be controlling it by then? Will they indeed be ‘handheld’ at all?
Louise G: (Work friend and glamous puss).
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? X
Living: see above answer. Dead: Diana (just because).
Liz J: Back for more…..
If you could invent something really handy what would it be for?
I would invent a fool-proof system for ensuring the fairest possible outcome in the Eurovision Song Contest. That would be really handy eh?
I hope you enjoyed reading the questions. Did I get all the answers you wanted? Feel free to share or to ask me more questions in the comments section below.
When you arrive in Bali (at Denpasar airport) there is an immediate feeling that you have stepped back in time. The airport has a 1980s/1990s feel about it. Things just are not as modern here.
Once you have shown passports to security, who are seated by little wooden crates (bizarre I know), you collect your bags and head out. Next you are faced with a row of cubicles (all glassed in) with money exchange workers all frantically waving and smiling to get your attention. It feels as though you’re in a red-light district with ‘ladies-in-the-window’ and is somewhat unnerving. It’s difficult not to stare (or laugh) at the weirdness of it all and so you find yourself quickly dashing along. I managed to avoid being lured in to any of the stares. Phew!
Outside the airport there are streams of taxis everywhere. Luckily we had a pre-arranged minbus transfer arranged to take us from the airport to our villa, but it seemed easy enough for people to flag one down. The carpark is chaos and if that’s anything to judge Bali by…..it gets busier. The road from the airport to Seminyak (normally 20 minutes drive) was packed and the journey took over an hour.
Seminyak is one of Bali’s hotspots. Located on the south of the island, by Denpasar (the island’s capital), Seminyak boasts a huge number of private villas, restaurants and bars. It draws in tourists from all over the world, but in particular Australians (many of whom are enjoying their hen-weekends or stag-dos).
So many of Bali’s visitors stay in private villas. I can see why. Behind the doors, away from the chaos of traffic and tourists passing by is a tranquil and harmonius villa. Inside the villa, my eyes quickly did the dream-holiday-checklist. Pool. Open-space. Lounge. Kitchen (I don’t plan on using it, but still….). Bedroom one (huge). En-suite (love it). Bedroom two (also huge). Another en-suite. Decking around the pool. Water feature. My eyes at this stage are flashing from one place to another. I’m greedily taking it all in. Heaven.
Staying in a villa in Bali can be a dangerous move. It’s not life threatening. It’s culturally dangerous. You might become so relaxed and ‘chilled-out’ behind the closed doors that you end up spending your time there instead of exploring. Don’t be too chilled. You must explore.
The nightlife in Seminyak is mixed. It doesn’t have the feel of a stag-do and hen-do holiday destination. It’s not like Blackpool (UK) or Amsterdam (Holland)….. or anywhere else that you find pre-wedding groups drinking their last moments of freedom away. It all seems slightly more classy here in Bali. There are security guards EVERYWHERE. Do not panic. They stand at the road side by every villa, bar and restaurant. If anything you feel safe with them all around, but I did wonder whether they were security or hotel staff (the strict uniform can be quite deceiving). They all carry lightsabers which I found very amusing. Not quite up to the standard and length of Darth Vader, although they still light up red and look great fun at night.
A day trip is a must. Taking a taxi for the entire day is easy and innexpensive in Bali. The staff wherever you stay are more than likely to assist in the arrangement. Our three butlers were brilliant at helping to organise our days. The service is always at its best. The taxi ride is a mouth-opening, extreme sight-seeing and epic journey. The roads are crazy. Busy. Packed……
There are cars. Bicycles. Motorbikes. Mopeds…… For every car there are about 10 mopeds zooming beside you. Think mayhem. Controlled mayhem, although I wouldn’t dare get on a moped in Seminyak.
Next, you see what they are carrying. We’re talking full loads. Mopeds with 4 passengers (oh, plus the driver)…..and one of the passengers is carrying a adult-sized bike on the back. It’s crazy!
Along the road side there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of shops selling wooden carvings, stone work, mosaic bowls, kites and more….and more…..and more. The shops repeat and repeat and repeat themselves along the longest straightest road. My poor camera.
There are lots of hot spots to visit. We choose to visit Ubud with the rice fields. If you have never visited places like this (like me) then all expectations are blown out of the water. The rice fields were great! I wasn’t expecting the slopes to be quite so steep. The driver let us wander and explore. We sat by the edge of the rice fields and had something local to eat. Yum.
In Bali, aside from the wonderful Ubud and the shops we also ventured along the coast. The sandy beaches are beautiful. Palm trees line the coast and add to the holiday feel.
Bali. Simply brilliant.