I am on on the train again. Being a Monday, the service is busy busy busy. I could have taken a later train, but the only problem is, if I leave later, I am not guaranteed a parking space at Stockport Station, where I leave from. It happened to me once before – and Stockport isn’t over-flowing with parking options either.

We had a mixed weekend. It started with Sale Sharks rugby on Friday night. Possibly the worst game of rugby I have watched in 10 years! Really that bad. It didn’t help that the ref seemed clueless and inconsistent. Add onto that that the Sharks just didn’t seem committed and then the cherry on top being the most annoying commentator. He’s new this season and no-one seems to like him). They never contested a line-out. How can you try and win it if you don’t contest it!?!? It’s the first game in ages where everyone, including us, decided to leave before the end of the game.

Saturday we had a lazy day. It was great not to have to rush off anywhere. And Sunday Tim cooked a Coq au Vin as Paul and Rachel were coming over for a late lunch. They have just returned from a holiday in South Africa, which they loved. They showed us all their holiday snaps, and we were jealous and longing for a trip back to the game reserve. (Known to non-South Africans as “Safari”, but no South African would ever use that term unless speaking to foreigners)

My poor husband is in dire need of a holiday. He works too hard, can never switch off from work, worsened by the fact that he often has to work weekends and work can ring him any time of day or night. If there’s a problem on a night shift, he just gets the computer out and sorts it out. In April / May they promoted him, but have conveniently forgotten about his regrading etc. Now, the business is under pressure due to the recession and he doesn’t want to rock the boat. His problem (if you could call it that) is that he is very committed – too committed. And as no-one’s job is safe these days, instead of taking it slower, he needs to work harder to prove that he is a valuable member of the team. So the only thing that is going to stop him from becoming more stressed, is to try and book a holiday. We are thinking that a good time will be end of January when my contract ends. But where do you go for a week in January / February. The initial requirements were:
 Short flight
 Warm
 Not expensive
 Active holiday (or mixture)
 Limited connectivity (so neither of us can work)
But unfortunately it seems that these are mutually exclusive. There are cheap long-haul flights advertised (but Tim didn’t really want to go long-haul), you have to fly at least 4-8 hours to find somewhere properly warm. All the nice warm desitnations are expensive. The places with limited connectivity are generally in the middle of no-where are hard to get to.

We found a holiday in the Pyrenees where you can go showshoeing (walking in the snow), but there are no flights from Manchester to Pau / Lourdes. You can go by train, but that will take 12 hours! Then there is still a 2.5 hour transfer to the lodge in the mountains. Or we can fly to London, then take a flight from Stansted, except there are no flights from Manchester to Stansted. Ah, I give up!

Tim is going to ring our friend, Michelle, who is a travel agent. Perhaps she has some ideas for us. Otherwise, we’re just going to have to find the compromise. Either spend more, or go further. If we do either of those, we have a great deal more options.

I wonder who designed the train seats? I am so uncomfortable, I really struggle. By the time I get off my back is killing me. And then to make it just more unbearable, they are pumping HOT HOT air from the back of my back. I swear I feel like someone has stuck a hairdryer under my seat, blowing it strait up onto me. I have stuck my scarf down the side to try and re-direct or absorb some of the heat, but soon I will have to strip down to my underwear. It feels like I could be sitting on a volcano! If only I could travel Business Class. When am I ever going to be important enough to travel in comfort??

I have some good news though: I spoke to my dad last week and they’re planning to come and visit again next year. My dad has been helping Angus Buchan, and old family friend and (very famous) evangelist in South Africa. Apparently Angus has 2 meetings planned for the UK in Spring/Early summer next year. So my folks will come over for that, then come and stay with us.

We generally have a logistical problem when my parents come to stay: because my dad is over 60, we can’t add him to our insurance. And we can’t take out insurance for only 2 weeks. That means they can’t drive our cars. So in spite of the fact that one of our cars spends almost its entire life in our garage, they will have to hire a car while they are with us! It just doesn’t sound right.