Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Travel essentials

One of the things that we always and definitely pack for a holiday is a good book, and it has to be a page turner, other wise you're stuck with a boring book for the entire holiday. When we were at our first stop in Turkey, a small and beautiful riverside town called Dalaman, we stayed in a hotel owned by the parents of a coursemate I befriended in Uni of So'ton. There was a bookshelf at the reception area where you see stacks and stacks of English novels left behind by people who have finished reading them. Anyone is welcome to take any book that they fancy reading. And then when we arrived at the Elvina apartment, again there was a bookshelf full of books that people can help themselves to. We soon realised that even if we had forgotten to pack a book, there was plenty to choose from here. Reading, is one of life's greatest pleasures and a good habit to inculcate. And the best thing about it is that because it is such a wonderful book and you'd want to share it with others, you don't mind leaving it behind for others to enjoy. Either that or it's someone who was making room for duty free alcohol and ciggies to take home and had to sacrifice their books.

Today, we were relaxing at the Kalamar Beach Club and EVERYONE lounging on a sunbed has a book to read. Upon close inspection of the different kinds of books that people were reading, Steve and I came to the conclusion that the ultimate read of this summer has to be the Twilight saga. Especially among groups of teenagers, one would be reading Twilight, the other New Moon, and the other Breaking dawn, and these would then be swapped around I suppose. As for moi, I am reading the new book by Stepehie Meyer, 'the host' which was one of my birthday presents and I must say that although the reviews for it were still good, it is not Twilight and there was no 'Edward Cullen' in it.

Oh did I mention that as a joke, Steve got me an Edward Cullen 'Kent' doll as a birthday present? The man does have some funny sense of humour :P

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Sun Worshipper

I've never been someone who enjoys the sunshine. Mind you, coming from Malaysia where the midday sun is torturous rather than pleasant and the humidity envelopes you and makes you sweat like a pig, who can blame me?! So it is rather surprising that I am now finding myself acting like a typical ang moh, in my skimpy bikini (albeit the muffin top and the jelly belly), lying on the sun lounger, basking in the sunshine. The difference here is you get a constant and pleasant seabreeze which keeps you cool. And plus for some unknown reason that I have yet to figure out, when you go on a holiday people expect you to come home with a tan. The more tanned you are, the more 'successful' your holiday. So I'm 'working' really hard on that tan. What's frustrating is that at the end of each day I get quite tanned, then it peels off like snake skin! And the next day I have to start from scratch!!

At the moment I am fully exposed to the sun and it actually hurts so much that I'm tempted to abandon my mission and hide under the shade or jump straight into the pool to cool down. It's a useless cycle of trying to dry myself off to go to town coz that way I'll never be dry. How do people endure the torture of going to sunbeds once a week in order to achieve that 'holiday' look? God only knows.

For the time being, I shall flip over on me belly and get the other side of me tanned so that I don't end up looking like ebony on one side and ivory on the other. Pain pain pain.

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Blogging from Turkey

As I'm lying on the sun lounger composing this entry, this is the view that I'm appreciating. The Elvina apartment on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey that we've rented for a whole week beginning today sits on a small hill overlooking the ocean and we have our very own pool which we share with one other apartment next door. When we first arrived the whole view just took my breath away and there's even a small table and chairs where you can sit out and have breakfast in the morning. The only down side is that because it is so high up whenever we go down to the shop to get something it is quite a hike up to get back up again and it's not doing my foot any good to be honest. But I ground my teeth and made my way up slowly earlier and jumped straight into the pool when we got back.

Because the apartments were newly built everything in here looks brand new. And the kitchen, living room and bedrooms look modern with impressive designs and wooden furniture. When I was surveying the whole house I can't help but kept thinking how nice it would be to have our home in this house. It's spacious and with a view to die for and a pool that you can readily jump into anytime you like.

I think I'm ready for another dip in the pool. Will blog again soon and tell you about the other place we spent our first three nights in Turkey before arriving at the Elvina apartment. Adios!
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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Turned down by the bus

When people say that a particular experience has made them 'grow as a person', what do they actually mean? Are there other experiences out there that will make you 'grow as a bear', or a 'gorilla' or a 'cat', or possibly a 'dog'? A witch or wizard would be nice...

I know, I'm in one of those nasty moods today, in fact these past few days. The fact that I was bought a new laptop for my birthday by the wonderful bf did not stop me from being sarcastic, horrible and grumpy towards him. Bless his cotton... for putting up with me. I blame PPMS (Pre and Post menstrual symptoms, so that pretty much covers the whole time).

So yesterday I cycled to work because I had a physiotherapy session at 3.30pm, which means I had to get away from work at 3.15pm and make my way quickly down to the health centre, and one way to do that is by bicyle. So it was all good on the way there coz it was downhill all the way, so i went 'weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' all the way down. But then came the time to make my journey to Westbourne for my 5pm shift at Marks and Spencer and I can just picture those three massive hills that I have to overcome. Did I not mention in my previous post about damn steep roads in the UK? Plus I really hate turning up at work hot and sweaty and out of breath. So I made the decision to take the bus. I know. It sounds silly now but it was perfectly justifiable in my condition (honestly). So I thought, you can take a dog up the bus, you can take a massive baby pram (I mean really massive like a bull dozer with all kinds of compartments up, down, left, right and centre) I thought a bicycle should be okay? Besides, it's a double-decker bus, surely they have enough space?! NOPE. The bus came, I flagged it, the driver shook his head, and even had the courtesey to open his doors and shouted 'No other buses would take you with that, so you're gonna have to cycle'. Gee thanks.

So begrudgingly I started my cycle journey to Westbourne and by the time I had arrived, because it was such a hot sunny day I was panting like a dog (unfit) and sweating like a pig (if pigs sweat).... and had only 5 minutes to rest before I had to change into my uniform and start work at 5pm. And when I told my most justified bus story to colleagues, they laughed at me (how dare they) and one of them said 'You don't take cars on the train, do you?' Well in fact some people do !!! On the Euro tunnel !!! Hmph !!

I can just imagine people on the bus as well as the driver cackling away and thinking to themselves 'bloody foreigners, they haven't got a clue, have they?'

Ah well, I still think it's perfectly justifiable to take the bus, with a bicycle !!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

On why I nearly threw my new laptop out the window!!!

I cannot believe that it's been 5 days since I got my new laptop and I still have not had the chance to properly 'play' with it or use it yet...

Here's how the story goes...

Long, long time ago, when you buy a new pc/laptop/notebook/netbook, you will find a vacuum-sealed pack of documents, instruction booklet, guide and most importantly, a Windows back up disk, or disc whatever you want to call it.

That time is long gone.

These days, user guidebook - install online.

Instruction - go to

Windows back up disk -- buy either 2 DVD or 14 CD's and make them yourself !!!

Which I did. Gave the other half very specific instruction on Thursday to get me blank DVD and despite getting back from work at 10.15pm and tired like a dog, I took a quick shower and sat the notebook on me lap and got cracking.

The reason I had to do this before anything else is quite obvious. A factory default back up disk means you don't play with it and mess up the settings and everything... a factory default back up disk means you do it right from the start, so that in case you need to reformat your system, you get it back to how you originally found it.

So I got started and found it quite easy because there was already a pre-installed software for the job and all one has to do is follow instruction. But when it came to burning onto the DVD, I encountered problems. Since there are so many versions of DVD out there, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, 16x, 8x, 6x, 4x, da da da, I put it down to the other half having bought the wrong DVD so I went to bed feeling a little annoyed that I had to wait another whole day before I get to touch my new laptop again.

The next day, I found another type of DVD (which is supposedly compatible) and gave it another go. Still it didn't work. By that time, I was annoyed, frustrated and a bit angry.

So another bright idea was to look online to see if there have been similar problems in any online forum that I could find the solutions to. Of course did I not proudly brag that this laptop is the LATEST top of the range model, which meant that you won't find much information about it??!! Dang. By this time, profanity was the only thing that was coming out of my mouth.

I had no choice but to try and use 14 CD's in total to create my back up discs (it would have been only 2 DVD's had it worked).. So I got the first glimmer of hope when it finally managed to write onto the CD's. But by the 4th disc, the same problem ocurred and each time it would start writing on a brand new CD-R and stop halfway through and not complete due to verification problems. So I had to keep feeding it new CD's in the hope that the next one will be completed !!! And the whole process of trying to burn 14 discs took an annoying 3 hours, and I was reaching disc 12, when I ran out of blank CD's to feed this, annoying, obnoxious, arrogant and greedy metallic monstar !!!!! So I was hoping that some of the rejected CD's might work so I kept popping them back and they kept being rejected. So I was at my wit's end and I tried the DVD's as well to no avail and in the end, the only thing I didn't do was to throw that damn thing out of the window. So, I had to end the job and live with the fact that the next time I start that back up process again, I will have to start from disc 1 (a painful experience I found out after I had finished burning disc 1 and 2 and had to terminate the process to go to work and come back to find that I had to start the whole thing again)

When I went to bed, I was beyond frustrated and threatened to throw the thing out the window. So Steve said that we'll take it back and get it changed for a new one. And I thought, as if anyone would allow you to take back a laptop so easily? But I had his assurance that he will deal with it *perhaps just to shut me up so that he can get some sleep?*

To make it short, all in all, I have ruined 31 CD's and achieved nothing !! Not to mention I am stuck with 10 blank DVD's that I can't take back or use.

I had to abandon the post half way through and as I am writing this paragraph now, it is 6 hours since I started this post and the latest update on the laptop issue -- we are getting a replacement on Tuesday (hoooray! Trust Steve to deal with customer service) but Tuesday is sooooo far away and am currently blogging on me ol' faithful (my old laptop).... I was a bit terrified that it won't start because it was in a strop with me for replacing it. But thank god, it didn't let me down and it started fine.

Anyways, these pictures show a happier times when I first opened the laptop!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

On why I will not get a netbook for my birthday.

Recently, two close friends have got themselves new netbooks - no.1, through the generosity of the husband, or perhaps it was a bribe for a few hassle-free golf outings? :P who knows; no.2, an independent working lady who buys herself whatever she fancies (fair enough, she's got the kind of job that comes with that kind of money, lucky)

Of course, seeing that my birthday is just round the corner, and also my laptop has recently given up on me by turning itself off whenever it fancies, I managed to mention more than once, excitedly and animatedly about how nice those netbooks are to the other half, to the point that I was absolutely convinced that a netbook is in the bag. The only question remains, what brand will it be and what colour? I didn't even allow myself the luxury of browsing the web to look at different netbooks in case that act will 'jinx' all possibilities of getting one. However, being sensible, I still told him constantly, don't go crazy on my presents this year. Steve has always been great at pressies and surprises. Three Christmases ago, he surprised me with a Nintendo Wii when everyone else was still queueing outside the store to get their hands on one; two years ago, I got an Ipod Nano and he hid that well; last year Christmas, he managed to pool everyone together and got me a top of the range YAMAHA digital piano and managed to arranged for it to be brought all the way to Yorkshire where we were spending Christmas !!!

So yesterday, Steve announced that I might be getting an early birthday present, if I behaved (as if) and the reason being, I might need to take it back if it was the wrong size !!??

What was that all about then?? 'If it was the wrong size??!!!' ... I was supposed to get a netbook !! Not something to wear??!!! Then I started feeling all deflated and disappointed. I supposed I don't even have the right to feel that way coz I did tell him to tone it down on the pressies. But it still didn't stop me from wondering what I was going to get when we get home from the cinema, watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

So the suspense when we got home was killing me and we had to get dinner out of the way before we commenced to 'present opening' ceremony. Dinner to me was tasteless because I was too anxious and was behaving like a 5-year-old the night before Christmas.

Finally dinner was over and I was told to go into the office to 'look for my present'. I went into the office and couldn't see anything unusual. And then I spotted it !!!!! Lying next to my chair, inconspiciously, was a long, rectangular brown box that had a seal on it. Upon close inspection, the seal said 'ACER' !!! tum tum tum....... *eeeeeeeee*

What followed was a mixture of happiness and tears and me telling him off for spending so much money on me and me asking him to take pictures with the camera (I know, very vain) and me tearing the brown box apart. Then the box was on my lap -- a top-of-the-range, latest model of an ACER proper laptop (Acer 5410) with 3GB Ram, 240GB Hard disk drive, eco-friendly feature, built in web cam, latest technology of wi-fi... yada yada yada.

Before I opened it, Steve said to me, "You might want to be careful opening it, in case you want to get it changed for something smaller, coz you go on and on about how much you love those netbooks."

Then I was in a dilemma. Sure I love those chic and 'carriable in handbags' netbooks, but this really, really cool laptop is paper-thin (less than an inch) and only weights 2.5kg and has a great big screen of 15.6-inch !!!! And Steve was right, where would I carry my netbook to then?? If I was to carry it upstairs and use it in bed, 2.5kg is nothing and also it has a special feature that will make it stay cool and not become hot when put on the lap. Isn't it better to have a proper laptop with a proper size screen which you can do all kinds of magic like splitting the screen in four and this that and the other. And also, I was told that there is no optical disc drive on some of the netbooks. So that's when I decided that I will keep my brand spanking new proper-sized laptop and started setting everything up !!

All night I went 'ooooo'... and 'ahhhhh' and I even barred other people from touching it lest they scatch it (I know, I am anal)... and carried the laptop upstairs with me and was still amazed by it when I eventually went to bed at 1.15am (only because I have a double shift today and I think some sleep might help).

Can't wait to get home to my new toy at 10pm tonight !!!! argghhhhhhhh....

ps: will post pictures of it in the next entry when I learn how to collage pictures.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

I am a silly aunt.

Every year, two weeks before my birthday, I will get a text from my sister-in-law asking for my postal address in the UK so that my lovely nephew and nieces can make a nice birthday card and post it to their aunt.

So this year, without exception, I received that text this morning. I replied, with my address and asked after her.

When I got the reply, the text told me that it was my little niece who was texting.... and then it hit me!! My little niece who I onced cradled in my arms to try and coax to sleep; my little niece who once sang 'Happy Birthday' over the phone in the cutest little voice... my little niece is now 7 years old and is now using the mobile phone to text me !!!!

I know I am a silly sausage for saying this but I did get a bit misty-eyed, looking at the text and thinking to myself.... awwwwwwwwwww. Before you know it, she'll be getting married next !!! time flies !!

Monday, 10 August 2009

A foody weekend

So I came back from Edinburgh this morning on a 7.20am flight and until now am still thinking of the nice and wonderful array of food I had over the weekend.

After the terrible 'Tigerlily' experience in that posh restaurant on Friday night, we decided the following night we would cook something ourselves and have a nice evening in. Yours truly, is quite an invalid at the moment, suffering from a foot condition called 'Plantar Fasciitis.' Basically, it's tissue damage to the right heel and I can't walk very fast or very far and have to take it easy (hence, the new shoes and all that). So we did lots of walking on Friday, and also on the Saturday day time, so by the time we made our way back to the flat on Saturday evening from Princess Street, I was limping (ding happily called me 'disabled'). My foot was aching and throbbing, but the best thing about it was that because of that, I didn't have to get involved with dinner preparation. In fact, I was being served quite well, water being brought to me, food being brought to me on demand and I was beginning to think I should perhaps move to Edinburgh permanently, haha !! So when dinner of wonton noodles with wonton, chinese mushroom and pak choi was served to me, I couldn't help but take a picture of it because it was absolutely delicious and scrumptious !!

This was then followed by more greengages, and nectarines and cherries.

Oh I forgot to mention, we went for sushi on Saturday afternoon, and I had eel with rice for the first time and it was absolutely delish. And ding ordered Dark Dragon Roll, also with eel and they weren't bad either. Got picture to show you.

The green bit on top is avocado with a dollop of mayo and teeny tiny roe. Sushi is actually quite filling. Ding and I shared a portion of eel and rice, and also a portion of this dark dragon roll, which is about 4 pieces each and we were stuffed.

It was a shame that although I was there for the beginning of the famous Fringe Festival of Edinburgh, I didn't get to see any parade or shows. To be fair, we did browse through the catalogue and almost went to see a dance show but we didn't in the end because foot was killing me was raining, the perfect excuse to stay indoors and watch movies, back to back.

Anyhooo, overall it was a fantastic weekend and not only did I get to catch up with my mate ding, I made new friends as well that I hope to see again quite soon.

Oh yeah, I've got a picture of me blogging from my friend's new netbook as well, what a biatch (Fely that goes to you too, haha).

Can you see the touchpad? There's an up-down arrow on the touchpad that allows you to scroll up and down the screen easily and it's a really, really handy feature on a touchpad.

Hmmmmmmm...... (do I really need one though?)

Friday, 7 August 2009

Blogging from Edinburgh

It was a mad, mad day which started at 4.45am when I had to wake up to be at the airport for my 6.45am flight from Bournemouth to Edinburgh. Steve had to wake up at the same time and drove me to the airport, bless his cotton.

So I got down from the plane at Edinburgh airport and started snapping pictures of EVERYTHING just to show my friends on Facebook and ended up queueing at the wrong queue for the wrong bus *DUH*.

I was finally directed to the right stop, waiting for the right number bus after much palavar...

The bus came, I got on without any further incident and then comes the part of WHICH STOP SHOULD I GET DOWN AT?

My best mate and I had carefully 'engineered' this plan, where I would ring her upon leaving the airport, and then ring her again when the bus passes by ASDA (I know, ingenius)... and then she would start walking to the bus stop and then I would see her standing at the bus stop and I would somehow see her from a mile ahead, press the bell and get off. Simple? No.

So I thought to be safe (in case she somehow doesn't get to the stop before the bus gets there), I told the nice driver to let me know when my stop would be.

The whole way, I was craning my neck, spotting my 'landmarks' and making my calls to alert my mate and then as I had anticipated, when the nice driver told me to get off at the stop, my friend was no where to be seen !!! Cheeky monkey !!!

Anyway she came two seconds after that and we started walking back to her flat, which was conveniently situated right in the city centre of Edinburgh.

It's truly amazing that although we haven't seen each other for 4 years, as soon as we started catching up and talking about old times, it was as if we've seen each other only last week. The only annoying bit of it is that I have ballooned up to the size of a baboon and she is still the same as ever, a stick insect.

Ding, my best mate, was a secondary school friend and we went through a lot in high school together, even after high school for a brief period of time we were in college together before I got accepted into MPIK. So, we go way back and it was really wonderful to be seeing each other again and do nothing but chat.

Obviously it would seem silly not to venture out and do a bit of sight seeing of the city centre now that I've come all the way here so we went out to Rose Street and had lovely mussels in Mussels Inn (where else?). It was absolutely yummilicious and delicious. We both love seafood so we were appreciating each other's mussels cooked in different flavours. I had the mussels cooked in Thai broth and she had hers Moroccan. Very, very spicy but she thoroughly enjoyed hers.

In the evening, it was one of her work colleague's birthday so we went to a posh restaurant called 'Tigerlily' for a meal to help celebrate her birthday, joint by my best mate's flatmate. The decor inside was very nice and the people drinking cocktail at the bar were all dressed to the nines. I was in my scruffy jeans as usual and did feel just a teeny bit conscious about not dressing up.

Dinner was a bit disappointing as I had to send my food back (first time was undercooked, and when it came back it was overcooked).... So I had a word with them and managed to get my main course taken off the bill (but poor me I only ate half of it coz I couldn't stomach overcooked rice noodles that taste like a lump of mash) so I went home almost empty stomached and had to munch on bread when I got back to her flat. Anyone who's had the experience of dining with me more than once is familiar with my 'amazing' luck of always getting badly prepared food and having to send food back into the kitchen. Seriously I am not being picky but it's just extremely bad luck that everytime I dine out, there is almost always something wrong with my food. Bizarre. Absolutely mind boggling.

By the way, am blogging from a netbook that my friend's just bought herself yesterday and it is absolutely amazing !! Fely I am so envious of you!! I might have to get myself one of these babies. Have got the netbook on a cushion on me lap and it's brillllll-iant !!

Hmmmmmmm..... (yearning....)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

On organising a conference..

My current project at my uni job is being a chief conference organiser. Having not attended a conference before, let alone organised one, this is a daunting, challenging and exciting task. In a way, my naivety has served me quite well as starting from the time I took up this post till now, I had no idea of the magnitude in which this task can grow. For months, I was in this bubble where I managed every little task that popped up in a cool and calm manner, and living under the impression that everything was under control.

So yesterday the boss suggested I meet with someone in the Uni who's recently organised a conference so that I can get an idea or two. An hour later, I can tell you I came back with more than an idea or two! I came back ashen-faced, with four full pages of scribbled notes, templates for this instruction, templates for that form, sample for this and that and what not you have it. It was during the meeting that I fully appreciated and understood that it was going to be a mammoth's task.

"You have to make sure you know when your keynote speakers are arriving so that you can have a back up plan in case they get here late.".... "Okay...." says me.

"You have to decide if you want real flowers or artificial ones on the main table."..."Okay..."

"You cannot be at the Registration desk as you'll be running around so you must assign two other people to do that"...."Okay..."

"Everybody who comes will have lots of questions and requests and you have to be readily availabe at all times."..."Okay..."

"Check that the menu for lunch for the two days is set and teas and coffees are arranged for the right time and there is a room for the delegates' luggage."...."Okay..."

"Make sure you have the right form for registration and evaluation..."

"Make sure all presentation slides are uploaded onto the pc in each room and test them to make sure that they work..."

"You have to think about how the delegates would get to the Hotel for the dinner and give them instructions for that..."

"The forms for delegates to choose their sessions will have to displayed with the abstracts..."

"You need to arrange two white boards for this and set that stand for that and...."

So when I came back into the office, I was in 'reality' land. To say that I wasn't aware of the different administrative tasks that a conference involve would be entirely untrue, but I guess all these minute details right from 'Registration' through to the Conference dinner and finally the closing on the next day, every single step needs very careful planning and execution. One detail missing and the thing can be messed up BIG time. Before this, I was only concentrating on the 'before conference' jobs as in marketing the conference, collecting papers for the conference, liaising with presentors and answering their queries, engaging sponsors, arranging the timetable for the two days... This time, visualising the REAL event has made me realise that careful planning is really the key to a successful conference. NOTHING can be missed !!

I am glad to have this opportunity to do all this, something which is completely different from my previous job which is teaching. It's exciting when you learn something new every day and you cross that invisible barrier in your mind and prove to yourself that YOU CAN DO IT!!

After the conference, I was told, that I have the task of editing the Conference Proceedings to look forward to !! That should be fun !!

The conference is not till September and by early September, I reckon everything will be in full swing by then and I shall try very hard not to be in a panic mode. I will keep you posted with how things go, chaps.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Almost 10 long years ago...

It's amazing the kind of treasure you sometimes unearth when you do a bit of digging around.

I was riffling through the drawer just the other day looking for my certificates when I stumbled upon several pictures nicely tucked inside an envelope.

Crikey Blimey !!

The pictures are so old and memory of all those good ol' days some 10 years ago came flooding back...

This picture was unfortunately taken during the 'pre-digital' age so it's not so clear and the quality isn't great. But you can still see these young, happy and fresh faces of Bognor Regis very clearly, obviously enjoying a great feast while not forgetting to smile for the camera like typical Malaysians.

So we have Put the Princess from the left ~Put and I were in Miri together for a few years after MPIK and it was great getting to see her daugher and also getting to know her mum quite well (a really nice lady); Shafie ~ no comment, haha; Moi, with the tiny t-shirt that I will not be able to fit into anymore; Shaminie ~ at the moment happily married with two great kids, living in Hampshire; Fely ~ needless to say, my 'partner in crime' throughout the 6 long years of our course, a great companion, a good laugh, always ready for a giggle; Kak Yu ~ recently married, very happy for you girl; Beatrice ~ also another of my on and off 'partner in crime' who looks after me and feeds me well whenever I visit her in Reading; Munirah~ always very soft-spoken and very polite, and always with a nice smile on her face. In the background we have Maria, our Student Services Co-ordinator while we were in Bognor. And tucked away at the back, you can hardly see, is Sha, looking a bit 'hurt' I think for being excluded from the picture, haha. Oh yeah, can you see those shoes I was wearing in the picture? The biege one? Yesss... I still have them and am still wearing them. It seems that my feet are the only parts of my body which have not expanded too much, haha.

And then there's another picture I want to share with you.

This is taken during one of our stops in our round-the-UK-in-5-days-roadtrip!!

All 17 of us were working at Silverstone in Kent for the British Grand Prix, selling baguettes and picking rubbish, and sleeping like sardines in a shipping container (remember that??). And after the grand prix, six of us (yess, breaking the law the entire way by squeezing four people at the back of the car instead of three) got into a Renault and drove from London, to Birmingham, to Leeds, to Edinburgh, to Isle of Skye, back down to Edinburgh, then Blackpool, to the Lake District, past Manchester, and back to London again, all in 5 days.

So this picture was taken during our stop at Edinburgh when we were visiting Anusia and the lot. From the left we have Bea's sister's friend who tagged along; and then moi, and in front of me we have Dyanthi who cracked all sorts of funny jokes along the way; and then Anusia, in the middle, holding Bea (in a funny position, haha) and next to Anusia is Bea's sister; and next to her is our Ah Moi driver who drove us round the UK, queendrey aka Audrey.

If I remember rightly, at that time Anusia was cooking lunch for all of us. It's great to have friends all over the UK when we were here almost 10 years ago because most of our accommodation was free. We stayed with Lili and Audrey in London; and then with Bea's friend Gerard in Birmingham; and two nights I think in Edinburgh and the only place we had to pay for accommodation was at the youth hostel at The Isle of Skye!!

There is so much more that I wish to share with you and I could go on and on and on about all the things that I can remember from the good ol' Bognor days.... but for the time being, I think this will do.

Did I miss out anything that anyone would like to share ??

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Felicia Hooton the silly ol' moo...

So months and months ago Fely and I started planning a trip to meet up in London to get her passport renewed. In order to get a good deal I bought my bus ticket as soon as we confirmed a date. We got so excited about the trip that we started counting down 4 weeks before the date, announcing it all over Facebook about the trip and sending each other silly texts that said "3 more weeks !!!", "2 more weeks!!" and then "One more week"...... and then on Monday before the trip, I heard the bad news that she wasn't feeling well. But being the real trooper that she is, she said, "It's okay, I am sure I will be well before Friday." And it sounded to me like even if she had to crawl her way to London, she would. So she texted me frequently to update me on her condition. The next day, she said in her text, "OOOoo I'm feeling much better, I'm sending my hubby to get my ticket, tell me what time you're arriving at Victoria." So it looked like the trip was set to go according to schedule, we were really excited and I was all geared up for Friday. And then Thursday came the horrible news that she's been diagnosed with the horrible pig flu. Her exact words -- The doctor just told me I've got swine sodding flu !!! That later turned out to be chest infection, which was no better than the pig flu. So in the midst of being sick and confined to bed rest, as well as being drugged with all sorts of medication, she said, "Oh I feel terrible, I must pay you back for your ticket" and I of course dismissed her and told her to concentrate on getting better.

She had since recovered and we even set a new date for our second attempt at our rendezvous. On Saturday, the postman arrived with a letter for me and the writing looked oddly familiar. I became quite suspicious that it might be from Fely and when I opened it and I was greeted by this really nice looking card.

Upon opening the card, I found this !!

True to her words, that silly moo had sent me a cheque with a note of apology !! And the best thing of all was that she had handmade the card herself !!

How sweet is that???

I was moaning to Steve about what a silly moo she is for sending me a cheque and he gave me a brilliant idea.

So I have decided not to cash the cheque and keep it together with the card as a special reminder of how funny our trip to London turned out to be. Haha.

Fely, thanks for being such a great and wonderful friend and may our friendship last as long as it can last :)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Best Noodle Bar in Bournemouth !!

Today it was pissing down with rain. The glorious sunshine from yesterday was a long forgotten history. After Steve and I had finished running some errands, we thought there was only one thing that could cheer us up on a day like today ~~ Noodles.

We drove past our usual Noodle Bar two weeks ago and it was shut till further notice. So we ended up having to go elsewhere to satisfy our noodle-craving and we weren't satisfied at all because it wasn't a patch to what we were spoilt with at our usual noodle haunt. Since then we were left hanging on limbo with unsatisfied minds and mouths, craving some really good home-made noodles in pure, delicious home-brewed broth, the kind that only Bournemouth Train Station Noodle Bar can do.

So we decided to try our luck again today and from far far away I could read the sign that says 'Open' and I would have done a backflip in the car if there was space for it. Even before Steve had properly parked the car, I was jumping out and making my way into the shop.

As soon as we went in, we were greeted by the friendly and nice cook/owner, Richard, from Hong Kong, who we had gotten really friendly with through our weekly visits to the noodle bar. It's good to see both him and his wife back at the shop running the place because at one point they had let someone else run the place and it wasn't a roaring success so he's decided to come back and take over.

Although they have lots and lots of different things to try out on their menu including Korean and Japanese food, I always ended up ordering the House Special Noodle Soup because it's my favourite. Today, however, we saw some newly added items on the menu and we decided to be adventurous and try something different. Steve ordered a 'Japanese Pork Bone Noodle Soup' and I ordered a 'Singapore Pork Bone Noodle Soup' which I was told slightly resembling the Malaysian 'Bak Kut Teh'.

Our noodles came quite quickly and we both dived in with our spoons and chopsticks, having a taste of the noodles and broth which we both craved badly for so long. And we were not disappointed at all, as usual. That heavenly taste of pure, home-brewed broth boiled for hours with bones, accompanied by really nice home-made noodles.

The pictures were taken with my mobile camera so weren't great but the noodles were absolutely delicious and within minutes, there were just two empty bowls in front of us and we were finally, and truly SATISFIED.

We both agree that the Bournemouth Train Station Noodle Bar on Holden Hurst Road (opposite Staples) is no doubt THE BEST noodles we've ever had in the UK and it's truly a gem that not many people know about. When you see that the place is usually packed with Chinese customers, you know that it's good. Even Steve's brother who lives in London and who has frequented many different Asian eateries, would agree that they do the best noodle soups simply because they make their own noodles and cook the broth from bones rather than use packet seasoning. That make all the difference !!

While I was enjoying my noodle-fix, I vowed that I would write a blog about it and make sure as many people as possible know about this place because good things are meant for sharing and I definitely would like people to try this fantastic little place which does the best noodle soup.

So it's Bournemouth Train Station Noodle Bar on Holden Hurst Road and they do the usual Chinese Takeaway as well.

To think that two weeks ago I was feeling really depressed thinking that the noodle bar had gone bust because workmen were taking out the shop fixtures.... and today we found out that it's still very much open with the REAL cook back on duty .... a truly fantastic day !!!

We shall resume our usual weekly noodle activity now and that makes me the happiest !!!