Saturday, May 22, 2010


One Friday around 3:31 only minutes after the last children of Marlee’s had left her hands she was on her phone with me planning our next adventure. I thought the weekend we would just do the regular grocery shop/laundry/watch downloaded shows off the internet/eat chips and dip sort of weekend. But being the smart guy she is, she decided that we should go to Brighton for the day. Me, being the adventurist I am quickly agreed that we would go on Sunday.
We quickly booked our bus tickets that were cheaper than a McDonald’s happy meal and started to think of what we would take. Since we were going to the beach and the weather was SUPPOSED to be up to 26 we thought it would be a good time to start working on our tan. We packed up the night before with everything from bathing suits to sun screen to a lovely picnic. We were stoked. But in proper English fashion we woke up to a rainy, windy, cold, dark morning. Needless to say, no tan was going to be established this day.
We took a coach to Brighton which took around an hour and fifty minutes. I couldn’t wait to get my feet into that ocean and check out the pier that we had heard so much about. We got off the coach and although it cold and windy at least raindrops were not wetting my do. First thing is we found the ocean which was near and second thing is we just stared. When you think of ocean you think of endless beaches full of softer-than-a-babies-bottom-sand, clearly if you are thinking this you aren’t thinking of Brighton. The city of Brighton I think is in the process of making their own sand over hundreds and hundred of years. The beach is made up of rocks the size of the lid of a 2 litre pepsi (dad..i thought you’d really be able to grasp that) and needless to say it’s not cosy. Of course those rocks get stuck in your sandal’s and hurt, but if you are bare feet it is as pleasurable as butchering chickens. We got to the ocean, and stuck our feet in. Yup-frigid. No wonder Rose froze from the Titanic, I would have too! It was really cool however to finally have my feet in the ocean regardless of the temperature. We had a snack on the beach and just sat and enjoyed the ocean.
Next, we went on the pier. From the road the pier does not look to impressive. It looks like it has a few different things, but overall, it seemed as thought it was pretty small. When we got walking on it however we realized it was the size of Endeavour. (I mean it IS a pier on the ocean pretty impressive) First you see lots of different shops selling fish of all sorts. I don’t think it gets much fresher if you are cooking it on the ocean. Sometimes you had to wait for your fish and chips while a little man with a green fishing rod casted off the pier trying to catch your meal. Sometimes, you didn’t eat if they fish weren’t biting. Also, there was basically any food that is bad for you but you can’t get enough of. From ice cream to cotton candy to chocolate to lolly pops to delicious pizza and Chinese noodles, the possibilities really were endless. You keep walking and come across these buildings the size of the skating rink FULL of games. A giant ruckers, was this heaven? We kept walking and then we found the Yorkton Ex part of the pier. From the road again, there didn’t look to be too many rides, but there was probably around 20 or so. We bought some ride tickets and we were set for the day.
Being the HUGE ride fanatic I am, you can imagine I was just THRILLED to be going on all these spiny, flippy, dizzy, bouncing rides. NOTE MAJOR SARCASM HERE. Regardless, I bought some tickets and was prepared to enjoy some of the rides, as long as they weren’t TOO scary. The first one we went on was this one where it is kind of like a rollercoaster in that you drive in these cards through the maze. The ride gets going however, and the next thing you know you are freaking out because it feels like you are going to fly off the edge and into the ocean! Next, we went on the rollercoaster, which looked like a ride through the country side. Although it was small, boy was it mighty! Next, we went on this ride that is like those tea cups but for grown ups. I think the guy working on it, spotted us and decided to make our life living hell. The ride started out not too bad, but when we got spinning I thought I may die in the cart. I noticed the guy doing the ride was snickering like my dismay was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. I just kept shouting at Marlee, “I don’t like this...I DON’T LIKE THIS...I DON’t LIKE THIS” as my head was glued to the back of the seat and I was reaching for safety. I’ve literally NEVER laughed so hard in my life after this ride. What can I say, the guy could sense fear in my eyes! After this one, Marlee still had some sort of death wish so she went on this ride that went up to heaven then spun you to hell then back to heaven in a minute. No thanks! Then we went on the log ride which was a blast, soo funny! Then lastly I worked myself up into going on this ride with marlee. It was called the Screamer. Basically, you got strapped into this mechanism and they raised you slowly over the ocean , just when you could touch the clouds, it plummeted going about 340830948 miles an hour to the ground. It wasn’t too bad, but certainly never again. I really though that my worst fear of falling into the ocean and drowning was coming true.
After this we checked out all the little shops along the ocean. They sold everything and anything you could possibly ever want. We then had some fish and chips and mushy peas, that were of course delicious. By this time, it was getting late and we were due to leave Brighton in an hour and a half. We were spent, but needed some activity to pass the time. First we got Jagua on our feet, (same thing as henna, just black) then just as we had half an hour left Marlee decided she needed the toilet. While Marlee was in the toilet, the people of Brighton Pier made me fall into a trap. I jiggled the change in my pocket and noticed that there was quite a lot. I looked teh other way and there shining in the light were millions and millions of pennies in those games where you add pennies and then some fall and you win prizes. I stuck all the pennies from my pocket in, then wondered over to the change machine and popped in a 50 p. I was just trying to win our trip back! Then, Marlee saw the fun and we were BOTH throwing pennies into the machine as if it was our jobs. We got so addicted that we almost missed our bus back!!

Overall, I think that Brighton is one of my most favourite places’ I have visited thus far. It was beautiful, it was the ocean, it was fun, it had major character and they had penny gambling machines. What more could you ask for in a day. It was great, I hope someday I will get to go back!

Monday, May 17, 2010


After much anticipation.......
The last part of the parent trip begins...

We stayed in Liverpool over night at a hotel very near the air port (only about 10 miles away) We decided that this would be best since we had a 6:30 flight. If you do the math, it would mean that we had to be at the airport for around 4:30 to ensure that we had enough time to check in and everything. Since I was in my OWN room with my own comfy bed mom and dad did not have an alarm. For some reason here they don’t think it is a necessity to have an alarm clock never mind even a clock in the room. Thankfully, I had my phone, dad however didn’t fair so lucky. He didn’t pack an alarm clock and his sun dial was not working because he didn’t get the international version when purchasing. He therefore, relied on the handy “European wake up call.” You ask, “how is a wake up call different?” Well, here they just knock on your door until you answer. Mom and dad had booked their 3:30 am wake up call. Around 3:50 I began to wonder why they had not come down to my room. When I knocked on the door they were still in bed! So within ten minutes they managed to get themselves ready and off we went, just in the nick of time!

Our flight was very good, but then again how could it be bad when it was only 40 minutes long! We arrived in Dublin and found our bus to the city and off we went! Dublin is beautiful! We dropped off our suitcases and went on a walking tour...I was thanking baby jesus that it was NOT the London walking tour again! Dublin and Ireland in general have such a history dating way back to the Vikings so there is a lot to see. The first thing we saw was the Dublin Castle, which in terms of castle’s looks pretty new. We also saw things such as Temple Bar area, Christ Church, a former Viking House, the parliament buildings (which design was copied by the US white house), Trinity University as well as the Ha’Penny Bridge. The Ha’penny bridge is that little white bridge that you always see in the post cards of Dublin. It is called this because way back in the day, they used to charge half a penny to cross. They figured it out and if they still did that they would make some ridiculous amount of cash. Perhaps this would be a good idea for Preeceville to consider as a way to make a quick million?? Maybe then we could FINALLY afford to get some kick ass kind of monument (similar to the one of our neighbouring town, Sturgis’ horse. Ha ha ha) Anyways, after the walking tour we went back to our hotel and called it a night due to the 3 AM start. Our hotel was another interesting adventure. This time, rather than me having to sleep in a cot, we ALL got our own bed. I booked a triple thinking ok, one double and one single bed. WRONG again. I don’t think i’ll ever master the hotel system here.

Day number two in Dublin was going to be an exciting right from the get go. It was the day that I had been waiting for through the whole trip. I was finally going to get to kiss the blarney stone! We went on a day through Ireland with a company called “Paddywagon.” No, we weren’t going to the local penitentiary like you may think. We got to the Paddywagon office ready to head out for the day. We met our tour guide, Colm, and the other two people we would be traveling with. There was only 5 of us signed up for the particular day, so rather than a big coach we got to travel in a mini van. The other two people we traveled with were from Vancouver, such a small world! As we started to travel out of Dublin I could already tell we were going to have an interesting day of traveling. I was sitting in the very back and couldn’t hear a thing that buddy said, which i was thankful for because I think if I was to talk I would have probably thrown up. You see, Colm had this issue. He did not know how to keep his foot on the gas pedal. I think he thought he was in some famous band and was the drummer hitting the bass drum. Up and down up and down up and down up and down went his foot. Dad counted once that he had done this 93 times in one minute. It was like riding in the wagon to hell. The winding roads and constant roundabout sure didn’t help. I, who NEVER get’s car sick was basically pukingi n my mouth and swallowing it over and over. FINALLY, the other girl asked Colm to stop. She got out and puked. Being good Canadian’s they had some Gravol packed. We all took some and continued. At one point I actually asked Colm if they had cruise control and if they did to put it on! Mom also asked him straight up why the van did that. He said it was him!

We first stopped along the way at a town called Cobh (actually pronounced Cove). Cobh was a MUCH needed rest and a chance for all of our tummies to settle again. Cobh was absolutely lovely! It had this huge church at the top of a hill that we checked out and it also had ice cream! YUM! Cobh was the last place that the Titanic touched ground. It picked up 123 Irish people who worked in the basement of the ship fixing it and what now. Only 44 of those people survived because, well, let’s face it, they were in the basement and everyone was too damn worried about Rose. The day that we were there was actually the day that the Titanic was, so they were having a memorial service for it. Neato!

We somehow managed to get to Blarney Castle after only having to stop and ask for help 90 times. It was Colm’s first trip to the Blarney Castle. We had about an hour and a bit to explore the castle to have my very own kiss with the stone! In order to get to the stone you had to walk up these meandering stairs that were really thin and shiny and almost slippery looking! At some points it almost looks as if you are not going to fit because it is so narrow. None-the-less, we made it to the top and voila, there was the blarney stone in all its glory. I was the first one in our group to brave the upside-down-hanging-a-long-way-from-the-ground-with-only-a-metal-grate-stopping-you-from-falling kiss. I was really surprised how far down you have to bend backwards in order to kiss the stone! Whew! The guy that holds you and pulls you back up really didn’t give me the chance/opportunity to have a REAL kiss with the stone, so I hope the gift of gab still caught. Again, mom didn’t want to do it because she was too scared, so again I made her the if-you-don’t-do-it-i’m-going-to-shave-your-head deal. I think me and dad both guilt tripped her enough about coming all this way and blah blah blah and she finally kissed it! So beware at the Ward house, we’ve got seven years of the gift of the gab! There’s no shutting us up now!

After a long day, I decided that I’d better sit shot gun to make sure that the van didn’t smell like puke for the rest of the day. This is when the TRUE entertainment began I like to think. Colm is best described as a 26 year old man trapped in a 13 year old’s mind – possibly the easiest person to banter and bug that i have EVER come across. The four of us younger people (sorry mom and dad this doesn’t include you) had many a enjoyable chat at the front. No longer was Colm going on about the scenery, but we got talking about non-important things.
Things we talked about rather than scenery..

1. Canada. Colm thinks that “Oh Canada” is sung to the tune of the popular Christmas song “oh Christmas tree” and thought that singing it over and over again would some how make it right.
2. Partying and good “craics” that we have been to and different traditions at each. Different drinks we like/don’t like.
3. The importance of driving a van that says “paddywagon” all over it.
4. The reasons for ending every sentence with “eh” or “hey”
5. Famous Canadians.
6. Different words we have for different things. For example, we say garage in a very sophisticated whay whereas they say it “garreee—ijj.” Perhaps the favourite of the day was the “bunny hug.” I don’t think that Colm would eve stop laughing about that. He now calls them “huggy bunny’s”
7. Gypsy Fights- Colm told us that often on small narrow roads on the country side two different clans will basically go at it. People park on the side of the road (similar to that of an auction) We were told that a lot of the gypsy’s drive big white vans and always dress in suits. Google “gypsy fight in Ireland” I’s nutso.

Day #3 was the day we had chosen to go to the Guiness Factory. The factory was amazing, it was in one of the old buildings of the factory and they converted it into a step by step process into making the awful beer. The museum is in the shape of a giant pint glass and at the top is a 360 degree’s bar where you get a complimentary glass of Guiness. All I have to say is that I really don’t fancy a Guiness. I think they are actually a meal deal. You get full off of one because you basically have to chew it is so thick. I think I’ll stick to Bud, after all, it’s made out of rice! Guiness is made out of roasted barley and hops. We also learned that Guiness has a 9000 year lease on the land that the factory is on. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure Guiness will be around even AFTER the world ends.

Things I learned about Ireland
1. Roundabouts are awful. Rather than the standard 4-way stop they have these massive roundabouts. The faster go on them, the more of a hero you are. It reminds me of one of those wind up hot wheel tracks. You know, the ones that go around and around and eventually SHOOT OFF THE TRACK. Whew!

2. There are many pieces of castles standing everywhere because back in the day the new King thought it would be good to show people who was boss by just knocking down parts of the castle.

3. Fairy Forts. (forts where fairies live) They are a pile of stones with a tree growing from the centre. I guess the legend has it that if you cut one down or mess it up in anyway you die or have the worst fortune ever. For example, the Kennedy’s from the States had this piece of land that they wanted to sell, they cut down the fairy fort to get more money for the land. Think about the Kennedy’s, they died! Irish people say....”DON’T EFF WITH THE FAIRIES”

Overall, I loved Ireland. I think it is now my second favourite next to Scotland. The people all seemed very friendly and helpful. When we got home from Ireland it was time for mom and dad to pack up and head home back to Canada. Luckily, they did get back to Canada seeing about 8 hours later flights were grounded for the next week and a half!

It was an absolute BLAST to have them here and I’m so glad that I got to experience Ireland and some of England with them. I was sad to see them go, but in not to long I shall see them again!