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Roast Potatoes

When they come out perfectly there is no better time to be had. Recipe: Ultimate roast potatoes by Angela Nilsen (BBC Good Food)

Hello muddah, hello faddah. Here I am at Camp Granada

We have arrived.

In fact we arrived last Friday (or August 15th, 2008 in NZ time) after a looooooong flight from Singapore which was after a loooong flight from Christchurch. I am now sitting in shorts in my parents bedroom using my fathers PC (bless it) as I catch up on the rugby (hee hee), the emails (eek) and the blogging.

I'd love to send you all a photo but we lost our new camera on the flight from Singapore so no holiday snaps for us until we get a new one via insurance - took me a good day to get over that!

It's quite surreal being here in, as I said, shorts and struggling to get to sleep at nights because it's so darned warm when a mere week ago it was coats and snow weather. Singapore's humidity and general tropical-ness did help. It also definitely helped with the body/time/fuck-around malarkey as well as it's only taken me 4 days to adjust; Jack and Meg were even quicker and probably haven't really had any problems in that sense, more "this is all a bit much parents!"

Before we arrived though we had to leave. Awesome to have the family at Christchurch airport all those days ago (it does seem sooo long ago). It made everything so much "easier" ... great blubbing was had by all.

The flights were a doddle. Jack watched TV, ate and mooched around with occasional bursts of running up to first class to annoy the rich people (I encouraged as much as I could, especially when he was covered in food). The second flight (13 hours) he was in heaven, on-demand-movies and he watched Ice Age and Ice Age 2 over and over again, aren't wee forming minds incredible. I managed to se the start of V for Vendetta on flight one and the end on flight two - I loved it.

Meg didn't even notice we were flying at 41,000,000 feet (or whatever it was) and spent the time doing what she normally does - sleeping, being incredibly engaging, eating and playing with her feet. My advice if you have children is to travel the world when they are 6-8 months old, it's perfect.

Flickr: Singapore ZooShe wasn't even that bothered by the temperature difference in Singapore. The day at the zoo nearly killed the rest of us (we had such a good time we spent most of the day there) but she took it all in her stride. When we met Jude, Philip and Josh for a drink and food later that evening she joined us for a while then retired to her pram as per normal schedule and left us to it.

Derek and Betty were there at Heathrow to meet us as were Ken and Di to ship the baggage back to Monmouth for us. Oh, and no excess cost despite us moving around various countries carrying more articles than the the general populace have seen in a lifetime. We had a wee meltdown from Jack and managed to get into our salubrious Reading Services Travelodge (don't ask, just put it down to not our greatest decision) and crash to sleep. This was around 10pm. 2am it was time for the kids to wake up and start the day.

No British service station is a wildly exciting place at 3am but we had to stick this one out as we had to do something. What we did do was experience Great British "service" in action with this fabulous exchange ...

The scene, standing near the kids play area which to it's credit Jack loved and therefore so did we. In the kids area was a TV in a locked cabinet playing a Postman Pat DVD. The DVD had played and was stuck at the main menu.
I approach the solitary Moto staff member (who had recently put out her fag at a table with a prominently displayed "No Smoking" sign ... it was 3am though so I let it lie). She was from Glasgow ... probably:
Me: Hi. Um, can we get the DVD over here working?
Her: Huh?
Me: The DVD, here in the kids area, it's not going and we'd like to see it.
Her: Oh. Um, it's not really up to me. It's only for kids anyway.
Me: mmm, yeah. He [points to Jack] is a kid so it's probably OK.

[we walk to the cabinet to get a close view of the "problem"]

Her: I can't do anything, sorry. It's all on a system.
M: Oh. Um, can we just see if we can get the DVD to play?
H: No, sorry. We're not allowed to touch it. It's all on a system and we can't do it. Sorry.
M: Oh well, never mind.

[She opens seemingly locked cabinet - I don't know why she did but she did. Inside is a standard, off-the-shelf DVD player]

M: Oh, cool. It's not locked. There ya go, we can get it playing.
H: No. Like I said, we can't touch it. It's all preset out the back on a computer and we aren't allowed to touch it.
M: But ... that's the play button there. Can't you just push it?
H: No. Sorry.

[I lean forward to show her exactly the button to press]


H: Sorry sir. We're not allowed to. And customers aren't allowed either. Sorry.
M: But ... um, but that's the button. Right there. There.
H: Sorry.

[Jack has moved on a while ago and I am about to break down with laughter - sleep deprivation and culture shock combined]

M: Oh well, if it's not allowed then I understand.

She made a boring 3am+ mildly acceptable ...

Once we all arose, got out of the room we had unfortunately booked but managed to have Meg poo all over (revenge is not always served cold) we tootled off down the M4 to sunny Wales with a side trip via Gloucester and the Forest to avoid a massive traffic jam (our first, I felt so honoured it happened on our first day).

Arriving in Mum and Dads place was always going to be daunting as it's ... small. Nothing else I can say. We knew it would be small and with 3.5 more people it's feeling small. We've all managed to survive the weekend though, had a swim, found a few of the pubs from my youth, programmed the mobile with a gazzillion people's details, had a BBQ, watched some of the many TV channels, listened to some music, walked here, there and everywhere and even got ourselves into a rhythm. We are doing very well.

Tomorrow is the first day of work - find a job work!

We're get to use the nice shiny red car that's been sitting on the drive since our arrival soon, I promise.

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