Sunday, August 28, 2011


You know you're in a small village when you walk into the local pub with a glass in hand and say "Excuse me, I'm having Sunday lunch with my bro a few doors down and wonder if I can get a pint of Guinness to go with it?". The old geezer standing at the bar didn't miss a beat and said to the barman "it's alright, she's Red's sister - I saw you in here the other night having a half". " Crikey and I thought I lived in a small place. "And you are"?, I asked curiously, turns out he's my neighbor which explained everything.

Let me tell you, that Guinness and my homemade Sunday lunch were bloody marvelous.

No Sunday lunch is complete without a good walk afterwards, so we took off on a ramble though the fields to see the locals.

Here's one of them and how cute is she?

Afternoon con trails.

I noticed these beets left on a wall and asked a courgette and lettuce laden woman "wazup wit dat"? Turns out the veggie growers at the local allotments leave excess produce they don't want on the wall for anyone who does. In the same vein when I came back from my walk, I found a bag of gobsmackingly delicious cherry tomatoes on my door step, courtesy of Jackie the jam lady (pub geezers Mrs.). Digging the veggie love.

Our bearded lady of the washing line.

And finally, are there are no manors in the animal kingdom? Talk about a free lunch, look at this cheeky chappy scaring away all the cute little birds, no wonder my bro has to top his feeders up so much!

Friday, August 26, 2011


They say an Englishman's home is his castle, my village digs certainly feel that way to me.

The worlds most perfect front door.

Or is it this one? Don't let this cute moggy fool you, he's not called Sid Vicious for nothing.

And this is Sid's mate Maxwell......more on him later.

This place is so picturesque, even from a field.

The shrine to which my mother is devotional.

"Be warned, there's bell ringing practice on Friday nights" my brother had said. My first thought was "I'm so in" and assumed it was a free for all. But as I gawped into the belfry window at the top of the steeple, it was apparent this was a proper practice and not for visiting nit-wits wanting a giggle. Reluctantly, I lurked near the graveyard hoping someone would see me, take pity and wave me in, but they didn't. Instead I took this naff video. I'm not a church goer, but I love the sound of bells and it's a bloody good job as I'm living a stones throw from them. I think I'll call the Revd. Andy and see if he can hook me up with the cool kids for next Friday's practice!

Brrrrrrrr, a bit of sunshine to finish, enough in fact to have an early dinner outside with Mum. The long light evenings feel luxurious and are something I didn't know I was missing. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It's that time again, to journey off the beautiful rock and back to the old country.

But first a pit stop in San Francisco where (except for a few fantastic meals out), I spent the entire weekend like this, chatting with my friend Jules and catching up on life.

Laurie, Imants and Jules are some of my dearest and longest friendships on the planet. The kind you can flop down and rest in, which is probably why I didn't stray far from the couch.

Here's a bit of a rude awakening-no latin classes required. As jobs go, I have a magnificent one which was made all the more obvious when we hopped into a cab and saw this. Dear God, the fact that you have to address puke in your work place would be clue enough for me to choose another career (and no I didn't incur the vomit charge)!

One way to clarify that it no longer is what it was.

Fast forward a few days and I awoke alone and hugely contented in my brother's little village house. I padded down the stairs and was momentarily puzzled at the vision of no kettle on the stove. It took me a moment to switch my US circuitry to UK and remember that all kettle's in Britain are on the counter. They sit there in a perpetual state of readiness waiting to serve their masters at the flip of a switch, by rapidly bringing water to scalding point for the greatest ritualistic healing of all time.....tea.

We'd met my brother's neighbour in the pub the night I arrived (as you do) and post pint, while he played sherpa, Jackie kindly handed over a welcome gift of freshly jarred Plum Jam. "It's not set properly" she advised, but as my tea steeped, I poured the scrummy runny gift on top of my freshly buttered toast and crawled back into bed grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

Hmmmmm, I wonder what her next gastronomic delight will be, pickled onions perhaps? I see a Ploughman's Lunch in my future.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


A change is as good as a rest and with the Lanai Ukulele Festival coinciding with my friend Ian's birthday camping weekend, it was a no brainer to hop on the ferry and go.

Manele Bay is as picturesque as it gets. As the troops schlepped their coolers, tents, sleeping bags and made base camp, I travelled light with my American Express card. From the ferry I hopped onto the Four Seasons shuttle (I know it's becoming a habit), appreciatively accepted a chilled lemonade and checked in.

Even the roof was lovely.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've only ever been to Lanai once before on my 40th birthday. Ten years later I had returned with Ukulele in hand and ready for a 1pm workshop at The Lodge at Koele. The lodge is just a 15 minute ride to upcountry Lanai, yet it's a world away from the energy and warmth of the beach.

I stood alone and awkwardly in the music room like the new kid on the first day of school. "Good you brought your Uke" said Benny "play something", so I took him literally and played that very song by the Beatles. "Nice" he said stopping me before I'd even got going, then he took a few measures and went off da hook with it! Thankfully as we'd been playing others trickled in and soon we were a cozy group and treated to a jam session with Brittini Paiva and Benny Uyetake.

Meanwhile back at base camp it was like a scene from Pretty Woman as Meesh produced evening wear t-shirt attire for pre dinner drinkies at the Four Seasons. Ian's birthday had brought out the breast in her creativity (see below).

Sure we'd get kicked out for misbehaving, a sharpie bra was added for modesty to Ian's shirt which did little to erase the birthday boy's concerns that he really is a ......

Pretty evening light washed over the bay.

I believe the same can be said of Mr. Hayward.

Lanai hasn't seen this much effort in a while, it's definitely a relaxing and mellow place.

Of course with all this tranquility and calm, you know the Brits from Maui were getting restless.
It was time to put the couch in the water.

Danny and Ian are roomies and have known each other a long time, they know each other a little more intimately now!

The shore break was insane jacking up at the last minute and thwacking onto the beach, here are the girls holding hands about take the drop!

Dan getting the best air of the day.

While Danny (seemingly unaware) teeters on the edge of oblivion.

Later that night as I lay on my dry land couch uploading photo's to facebook. I could hear the laughter from the day ringing out in the comments that were posting as quick as the photo's. Good times people, good times.