North Wales

For a complete change of bank holiday scenery The Dude has headed out to North Wales.

This was quite a journey on public transport, first trekking by coach over to Liverpool which took far longer than should reasonably be expected, then meeting up with some Scouse kids from the course who thankfully had a car.

Yesterday we went on what they called The Precipice Walk – I was expecting some hard core climbing, but it was actually most gentle, but absolutely beautiful. At one point we could see for miles across mountains to the sea and I felt quite moved by it all, even though we got quite wet.

Not surprisingly though there has been a lot of drinking interspersed with a little bit of walking. I’m at the table in the little cottage that we’ve rented now trying not to allow the waves of nausea to get to me.

There are bottles all over the place, and George didn’t even make it to bed. Somebody has put a blanket over him and he’s snoring away on the sofa.

I’m hoping we’ll walk up Cadir Idris today, just the sound of it invokes dragons and mystery to me. But I’m not sure there’ll be any movement from the carnage any time soon.

I’m going back to bed in the hope I don’t have to throw up.

Sorry to bring this beautiful place down to the level of real life student world. I’ll come back and enjoy it properly one day I hope.

Precipice Walk

Send My Bag

Kristen was on about a cool travel service called Send My Bag (.com, just follow the link) that takes the pain out of travel. It’s a way of sending your bags ahead of you that avoids having to carry everything (I bet it’s brilliant if you’ve got children).

I haven’t travelled much yet, but I’d like to think that at some stage I’ll be off around the world, or even just off to the Canaries and I just love the idea of not having to carry anything other than knapsack or maybe just an iPad – how cool would that be?

Apparently you just organise everything via a simple app, then your bags are collected before you travel (that would force me to be organised) and delivered to your destination before you get there. Wicked!

The airlines that we all thought were dirt cheap have started using all sorts of cunning tactics to charge us by what I think are pretty underhand means, and letting you take less baggage on board forces you to pay through the nose to check stuff in. This little service could not only be the most convenient way of sorting out your travel, it might even prove to be self funding.

Now all I have to do is get my act together and get planning a big trip. Please don’t remind me that I can’t afford it. I don’t want to let reality spoil this lovely day dream. Even if it’s an age before I go I’ll still Send My Bag!

Balti Heaven!

This lad Pete gets the piss taken out of him something rotten because of his silly accent, but here in Birmingham everyone seems to sing a slightly downbeat song and I’m already starting to like it, mainly as it sounds great on one of the girls Pete brought out last night.

Needless to say she was a sweet as any girl I have ever cast my eyes upon (as every new girl I fantasise of is). Christine didn’t sound clever, but she’s doing a PHD in some medical specialism, and she certainly knows how to wear a short short skirt!

We ate at Diwan where Pete reckons he has been having amazing baltis since he was first allowed to eat spice at ten. Twelve years a faithful customer is good going, and they looked after us well despite getting a bit rowdy after the beers started kicking in. It’s unlicensed and there’s a mad off license down the road from it called bizarrely Amex.

I’m even converted on the whole principal of Birmingham Baltis being the best curry in the land. Ours was stupidly cheap, we had huge and tasty nan breads that fed the whole table, and the guys couldn’t have been nicer.

combination-balti-all

I just wish I could write “Youallright” in the fab way they talk there.

After the balti it was back into Moseley proper where everyone wanted to hear of our plan to sleep in a shed for two weeks. I’m well up for it now, the first leg of the journey has been great fun. Next stop is Bristol for twenty minutes stretch break – then Cornwall here we come.

National Express – End To End

There I was on Sunday saying that I didn’t get around to blogging much.

I have time for plenty today.

We’re on the bus! Newcastle to Birmingham, then we have been promised some beers and a balti (Brummie curry) by a lad from college called Pete who has a flat in Moseley in Birmingham. After that it’s another coach tomorrow morning to Penzance.

That will mean we spend precisely half a lifetime on buses. Well, it will feel that way.

It’s not bad for me, if fact I like it. But the lanky tuss is uncomfortable already and we’re only an hour and a half out of Newcastle. He has a double seat opposite me, and I have a sweet looking girl by the window, but that’s OK, I’m glad I’m wearing clean clothes even if I do look a tramp as usual. She said hello when she sat down, but then put her headphones on straight away and I haven’t seen her move since.

Thanks Tony Wilson for this lovely shot of a National Express coach – looks great doesn’t it. I think that could be York station – we haven’t been there yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up doing so.

ne2top1As I’m sitting here typing this I wonder whether there could be some kind of dating scene created around the coach network. It’s all old biddies who don’t mind taking forever to get places, and young students who don’t have any choice as every other option is too expensive.

It would have to have ride in the title wouldn’t it?

 

Living abroad – ooh, looks expensive!

We were looking at he cost of living today and how the UK compares with abroad.

I’d expected this country to be quite expensive, but it seems that we have it good. I’ve just been doing some poking around and found this study that was sponsored by the visa experts IXP Visas who asked over two thousand British ex-pats whether they thought life was dearer wherever they are.

Not surprisingly Japan came out top of the study with 72% of people claiming that life was most expensive, or a lot more expensive. I can’t believe that 28% didn’t seem to think so as everything I’ve read makes it sound crazy costly.

Switzerland and Norway were also cited as being very expensive. You can see that though can’t you? Both are immaculate, with very strong social support for workers. In Norway even the blokes get a years’ paternity leave, so you have to pay for that somehow. They are so well paid though. I’ve a Swedish friend who’s a teacher, yet she goes to Norway in the two big holiday sot work in hotels as she can stash a whole lot of funds.

Perhaps I should talk to IXP Visas about doing a stint abroad? I can’t see it happening, although the trip to South America is still a real possibility (note the slight downgrade from a certainty as it was a few weeks back, that’s just me being realistic).

Spotify has just served up Damien Rice’s 9 Crimes. Oh god, the song is so poignant, even without really understanding what it’s about. But that’s Damien Rice I guess. The girl, Lisa Hannigan, could sing to me all night. And I’d happily go live in Japan for her if that’s what it took.

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