Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Carry on cruising…

It come to that time of year, again, when thoughts turn to the holiday you booked and paid for so many months ago. The bank account was drained, well Mrs Giant68s bank account was drained (and not by some dodgy Nigerian), Euros have been purchased, along with sun cream, new sunglasses, new suitcases, new swimming cossies, and assorted other things that, when you think about it, you didn’t really need. And then, one Sunday morning, mini giant68 picked us up and took us to the cruise terminal 15 minutes away from home.
Now, you know me as a grumpy bugger, and in queues at airports I could grump for England, so what was I going to be like here? Got out of the car and opened the boot, got the cases out and a bloke put them on a trolley and took ‘em away. So far so good, no queue to check in the bags. We walked into the terminal, had our photo taken for the ships records and 10 minutes later I am sat on the top deck with a beer in my hand, in the sunshine. Wow! No grumpy giant68. Yet.
And that was it for the day. Down to our cabin, sorry, stateroom, unpack, as the bags were delivered straight there, and out for a wander round the ship.
A modern cruise liner is a thing of wonder. There are cinemas, theatres, ice rink, shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, swimming pools, hot tubs, gym, spa… More than enough to keep me happy for a fortnight.
Twelve nights at sea were to follow, soaking up the sun on the deck during the day, when not ashore.. Weather was glorious.
But there was a black cloud hovering on my horizon. And it was all to do with the food. We would go to breakfast in a ‘cafe’ at the stern of the ship. There was a huge vista of sea for us to view while we ate, absolutely marvellous! But then there was the breakfast. A vast servery with every kind of breakfast food that you can imagine, and then some. I love breakfast, best meal of the morning. Every morning I would make a pact with myself that I would only have a light brekkie. And i would, invariably, turn up at the table with a mountain of food on a plate. I am sure I ate my own body weight in bacon every morning. And as my weight was increasing daily the amount of bacon would go up exponentially.
Lunch would be similar. And dinner, at 8:30pm, would follow along similar lines, although this would be delivered by the smiling gourmet assassin that was our waiter. Believe me, the food was a absolute pleasure, from the crispy bacon in the morning to the surf and turf in the evening.
I forced myself to use the stairs to our room on deck 10 every time. I even went in the gym a few times and did some miles on an exercise bike. Otherwise the stone I put on would have been joined by some more. I am currently sporting the spare tyre from the back of  a Massey Ferguson tractor around my waist. My diabetic review is probably going to be soon and I will be lucky if my feet don’t fall off before it. The nurse is going to give me another rollicking. Oh well…
Next time I will tell you about kids, bad parenting, Barbary apes and Portuguese buses.
Till then…       
Giant68 Smile

Saturday, 19 April 2014

And so, the return trip…

You have read about my adventures in France, getting there and what we did while we were there. But now the adventure continues with ‘The Return Trip’

So, we have had an excellent time sat around a terrace of some French Gite. We are so chilled that you could hang a side of beef in us for 6 months. so relaxed that we are almost comatose. Now we have to go home. Load the car, lock the door and off we go. French roads are lovely, I have just spent a week driving around the French countryside and enjoying every minute of it.  So I am looking forward to the drive, apart from the fact that we are going home. We make good time until we get close to Toulouse where we find traffic, it is football tonight and everyone wants to go to the stadium. Although no one is going to the stadium as they are stuck in traffic on the motorway heading to Toulouse airport, bastards! This is the point that you find that you have a car full of backseat drivers! Oh what fun!

Eventually we get to the airport and after only a few circuits of the carpark we find the drop-off point for the car. park the car only to find that the keys now have to be returned to the main desk, at the other end of the airport! I am suffering from a bad hip, the ‘hippy hippy ache’  as it was christened by Hannah, and Stuart has his problems, so where do we have to go now? The other end of the airport, quelle surprise, as the French would say. So we have now walked from one end of the airport to the other, now we are walking back again. And guess what! Once we have checked in we have to go back again! Why does this always seem to happen to me? Are the people who own and run airports that concerned with my health that they want me to do as much exercise as I can can? Again, bastards!

You may detect that my aura of chill is now starting to become the aura of a really pissed off person. Now I am stood at the departure gate, in stifling air, not enough seats and an aching hip watching the speedy boarders get let through. Now this makes me wonder. What is the point of the speedy boarding? Some time ago, when you checked in at the airport and took a chance on what seat you got speedy boarding would make sure that you got the best seats, for a price. But now, when you book in online you get to choose the seats you want. They let the speedy boarders through, then they let the rest of us through to catch up with the aforementioned speedy boarders. The point of speedy boarding is now lost on me.

Now comes the funny bit. The large bint who has realised that she is going to be crammed in to a window seat beside a mother and baby. This doesn’t appeal to her, obviously, as she is trying to get the cabin staff to move her to a better seat. The arguments that it would be better for the young mother are not working. Nor the ‘I am a frequent flyer on Easyjet and i know how this works’, or threats of complaints to head office. If she wants to move she must pay £19. To be honest, I was tempted to pay the £19 to move the mother and baby to the front, that would have really pissed off fat bird! She already had a face that looked like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle so God knows what would have happened. She announced, quite loudly, that she would spend the rest of the flight composing her letter of complaint. The fact that she made herself look like a laughing stock was lost on her. She remained quiet, though, for the rest of the trip until the steward wanted to make sure that she had her belt done up. As he couldn’t see it she got quite fired up again.  Me? I watched a TV show on my phone that I had downloaded earlier, the flight seemed to fly by, so to speak.

This was a good holiday, one of the best I have had. We went away with good friends and we returned as good friends, what more could I ask. We ate cheese sandwiches in the car on the way back to their house, we went to Wetherspoons for breakfast the next morning and then we came home. Holiday now seems to be a million years ago. But we can look forward to the next one. Or just meeting with friends for lunch, or a day out, or just a drink. Good friends make the difference and i have enough to make a big difference. I hope you do too.




Giant68 Smile

Monday, 14 April 2014

Have I Lost My Grump?

I am getting worried that I may be losing my grump! I haven’t felt grumpy enough to write a blog for quite a while, but it may have returned. And this is down to my holiday. I know, a holiday should not make anyone grumpy and, on the whole, it didn’t. Just parts of it.

Back last year it was suggested by friends, for the sake of this blog we will refer to them as Stuart and Hannah (probably because that is their name!), that we go on holiday together. This could be dangerous as we have only spent a couple of days together since we met, apart from the week or so that we spent on a Nile cruise where we first met. But in those short meetings we have got on like a house on fire. So we weren’t really worried. They booked it and we paid our share, I think although i must check the final numbers, and off we set to their home before our flight from Gatwick. We were all making our way to Broze near Toulouse somewhere down the bottom end of France. Mrs Giant68 and I have never been past Paris and this, sort of, coloured my opinion of our neighbour across the channel in a negative way.

But enough of that. Where did the grumpiness come from? Airports, that’s where. Your holiday and, therefore, the start of the process of shedding the stress begins at the airport, in my opinion. But no, the stress levels build. You arrive at the aerodrome looking forward to the adventure that is launching yourself inside a metal tube full of other peoples farts into the sky. You are shot down almost immediately as you join the queue at check in. Even though you have taken advantage of ‘online check in’ you still have to join the line to drop your bag off. You are met by a surly airport worker, I was, who wants to know why you are in this queue. To drop my bag off, I inform her. No you should be in that queue comes the response comes, and she sounds as if she has been sucking a lemon all night.

Once you have lost your bag you have to wait, one eye on the departures board, for information on your flight time. In this case the board told me that there would be more info at 8:15. It was already 8:20, huh?

Next? The queue at the gate. First through are the ‘speedy boarders’, those who have paid extra for an allocated seat… hang on! I have an allocated seat but I am not a speedy boarder… Seems like a waste of money to me. But the queue gives way to another queue to get on the plane. The first person on will now hold everyone else up as he is sat by the door but must now stand in the aisle while he gets everything he, or she, needs for the flight out of their hand luggage and then put said hand luggage in the overhead locker. While there is a size limit for carry on bags it seems that this doesn’t apply to some travellers as they try to force a bag the size of a grand piano into the overhead locker.

You take off. Then begins the added torture, worse than the CIAs waterboarding: crying babies, small children kicking the back of your seat, being crammed into the smallest seat possible… the list goes on. Is there any wonder why I am grumpy?

You will be pleased to know that my stress level did drop when faced with these views:




There was also this stuff called ‘red wine’, food and friendship. You will be pleased to know, maybe, that I survived the airport experience and returned home a bit less stressed, although depressed at being dragged away from the aforementioned items.

Enjoy your holidays Smile




Sunday, 12 January 2014

I must be mellowing

It has been a long time since I wrote a blog. Maybe I am mellowing with age. Or maybe I am just getting apathetic. I find more and more, that things that angered me before no longer warrant the effort of a rant.

Chavs with their trousers below their arse, witless bints walking down the street in their pyjamas, discourtesy, general rudeness and the general devolution of humanity don’t seem to light the fire that they did last year. Not sure what is wrong with me. Maybe the pressure of work, things going on in my life, or maybe I am just coming to realise that my rants do no good. They change nothing. People are still rude, ignorant, generally nasty to each other, still want to rip each other off for the smallest reward.

I think we all have to accept that the world changes. Not necessarily for the better, but it will change anyway. We used to have manners, we used to dress smartly to go to the cinema. Then came the MacDonald's generation, a generation that seems to have adopted the hoodie and half-mast trousers as their uniform. Or a sort of effeminate, androgynous style. The manners and the courtesy seem to have been replaced by a level of arrogance where a meeting of the eye results in a look that says “what the f^*k are you looking at?” Where we used to doff our caps to women we now avert our gaze, no one holds doors open for another anymore.  Not sure that I like this world but I don’t think that there is anything I can do about it. I will still hold doors open, give up my seat on a bus ( that’ll be a hard on as I wouldn’t use a bus if you paid me, but you get the idea), and be generally polite. Lead by example and maybe I may change one persons attitude towards others. Or maybe not.  



Giant68 Smile