The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Christmas/New Years 2005/6
Thursday, 5 January 2006
I know, I know. You poor darlings, it must feel like simply AGES since I’ve last updated. Apologies – but I’ve been having a holiday. Of course, as with all worthwhile holidays, I now need another one to recover. Not to mention the fact that my blog pages have been sick (the sidebar wasn’t on the SIDE) which required immediate fixing prior to writing an update (aka. Procrastination).

So…we had a large party. I did my pony performance, as I mentioned, and everything went quite swimmingly – all things considered. There were many drunken shenanigans…including Kyle and Tarlin snogging (they had their hands in between their lips – but you can’t see that on the photo can you! Mwwahahaha). I stayed relatively sober, collecting photos for blackmail purposes really – which I’ve then immediately posted here.

When I say to another female “I’d shag ya”, it doesn’t actually mean that I have ‘lesbian tendancies’. So when I uttered the above, to Lucie – who looked dazzling, I was rather taken aback to have Nanny Rose (Lucie’s fathers mother) quiz me on my ‘lesbian tendencies’ and I’m afraid I may have been a little flippant about whether or not I fancy other women (I tend not to, their lips are too soft, snogging them is just odd!). This flippancy caused Rose to completely flip out, claim that Lucie and I had “Better not bloody well be lesbians, as they’re dirty c**ts…” and so on. This she spat about 5cm from poor Lucie’s face…and after she stomped off to the kitchen, Lucie, understandably, burst into tears. One throwaway comment from Nomes and the night has it’s first major rant. Malcolm (Rose’s husband) offered Lucie a handkerchief and said, “if you DO decide that you like girls, you might want to tell me, not Rose, first!”. Good call Grandad. Sheesh.

A definite highlight of the evening was at the end (no, I’m not attempting to be rude, as it happens) when most people had gone home, and Lucie encouraged me to request a shoulder massage from Kyle. Now, consider that I last saw him at the annoying age of 8 (9 years ago) and things are considerably different now. Now, when his stunning, ‘cousin-once-removed-but-only-by-civil-law-not-even-marriage’ requests a massage while wearing pyjama’s, the poor lad can be entirely forgiven for making lewd comments. However, since he plays as goalie for the UK blind football team (that’s the actually BLIND football team, I’m not slagging off the national team) he’s got a bit of sports therapy under his belt (so to speak – filthy minded individuals that you are) and so after being told in Hungarian that my shoulder was no good, I offered it to him. And wow…that boy shouldn’t bother with the day job. I’m truly impressed. AND he’s a nice lad now too (a large surprise given my opinion 9 years ago). Ta K.

After lunch with Lilian and Reg the following day, I managed to find a moment in time during which I squeezed a trip to visit Nis. To do so, I took advantage of the British Rail system (by which I mean the network of iron in the ground, not the company title per se). I’m clearly so unaccustomed to long distance transport by rail that I totally forgot to make a mental note of where the troublesome looking toddlers were. Consequently, as well as sitting opposite a cute gay couple (who were, unfortunately, rather demonstrative) I also managed to sit close to (ie. within eardrum splitting distance of) one such pain in the, well, ear.

So London. The ubiquitous wander around Leicester Square gave us nothing in way of cheap late tickets to a show, so we headed to a Belgian Bar instead (as you do) in search of frites. Nothing can stop the Christmas binge. We found a lovely place (Nis: insert name again please) and had fruit beer which was divine. However, neither of us are accustomed to beer consumption, so I fear we felt rather bloated after one (or one and a half in my case) glasses. Disappointing huh? But this beer was absolutely not like beer at all (which is why, in my opinion, it tasted so damned good). After that, a quick ride on the front (top) of a red bus, and back to the house in Fulham. Which is absolutely bloody gorgeous. However, I must comment that when I’m 60, I really hope that I’m not offering out rooms to 20-30yr olds – unless I actually want them for company (and really, will I?). It’s a little bit sad to think of the owner doing it to pay the mortgage…

…we sat in the kitchen with peppermint tea and mince pies (yes, a contradiction in terms if ever there was) and went through photos. You readers out there have no idea how long it takes to document our travelling, so I do hope you appreciate it. Then finally (2:30am) off to bed. I slept in a room decorated with lilies (live ones, in a vase) and I’ve now discovered that one shouldn’t sleep with them. It’s not so much the pungency – that wasn’t a problem. It’s the fact that when I returned to the room after my morning shower, the room smelt of stale breath. And I KNOW I can’t breathe THAT much during a 4 hour kip!

Back to Paddington again in the morning via another red bus – and it is true…none come for ages then three with the same number at once...and a tube ride. Enjoyed the pride in the announcers voice as she told us to beware of our belongings ‘PROFESSIONAL thieves’ operate in the Paddington station, you know, not just those bloody amateurs. I noticed on the ride home that women age incredibly poorly in England. Not only that, but they all look kind of the same too. I know I was going to Hereford – but they can’t be THAT inbred! It’s either bad morale/weather/moisturiser. Perhaps one needs to study this.

Back at Cheryl’s and I’d requested a night in her kitchen cooking lasagne (I know, cliché or what?) and garlic bread. Lucie was my capable assistant, and I finally managed to persuade Cheryl to sit down and drink wine (she hates other people in her kitchen). Still…the lasagne turned out fine, and five of us (the two girls, Richard, Cheryl and myself) sat down in the conservatory to eat. Joel had chips and beans in front of the telly. A lively debate about religion finished the evening off (in a good way, not a stomping/slamming way) and then Cheryl packed for Ireland while I did the flickr thing (more appreciation in my direction please).

In the morning, Lucie and I were left to our own devices (dangerous indeed) as Cheryl, Richard and Joel went off to Ireland for the day and Allie went to work. We sat on the couch, had pain au chocolat for breakfast, watched Layer Cake, spoke to Graunty (blee) Viv (that’s Mums to the rest of you) and generally relaxed until 1:30pm, when Lilian and Reg arrived to collect me to Cardiff (from where I flew to Edinburgh). Apart from the bidding war that’s now going on between ‘the sisters’ with regards to daughters qualifications (seriously Mum, I REFUSE to do a medical degree just so that you can win points!) there was little to note.

I made it to Cardiff airport in hideous weather, with Reg being pessimistic the whole way down. Me, I’m more of a lacksadaisical traveller, if I have to run for a plane, so be it. If the airport’s closed due to snow, I can hire a car and drive 8 hours. Nothing’s really that big a deal. So having someone fuss every 5mins about us ‘not getting there on time’ from about an hour before we have to arrive was unnerving to say the least. Suffice it to say, I made it with 2mins to spare (before the check-in counter closed) and the lovely lady on the desk bumped Dr Boxall to business. Shame it was only a 40min flight huh?

Got to Edinburgh and was somewhat alarmed to note that the baggage carousels are in the SAME area as the ‘meet and greet’ which freaked me out completely. I had to fight my way through the throngs of happy travellers and small children (ARGH!) to get to the bathroom in order to change into some warmer gear. Unfortunately the bathroom was tiny, so I went to the ‘parents’ room so I could open my suitcase, which incurred me the wrath of at least three people with children. However, if any of them make a complaint, I shall claim reverse discrimination towards the infertile (or some such) so I doubt it’ll come up anytime soon.

Waited for Marten and then we took the bus into town and met Paul. It was SOOOOO good to see him again at the pub, very natural indeed. Off up to the house to dump our belongings (only 5mins walk up the road from the station) and then off to The Walkabout (Aussie & Kiwi pub) for karaoke. They actually had live guitarists on stage with the singers…of course I did two songs. They didn’t have Son of a Preacher Man so I did I Will Survive (that old crowd pleaser) and Papa Don’t Preach (for which I had to be counted in, since I haven’t really heard it since I was singing into my hairbrush. That’s years ago thank you very much!

Emily didn’t make it to the pub, but we caught up with her (it was snowing) later on and walked home via the kebab shop. YUM!!! It felt so ‘normal’. Slept soundly, then met up with Lynn (a lecturer friend from NZ) for lunch. Wandered around the city for a bit and then everyone else arrived. Everyone else is: Bonnie, Amanda (Mindy), Allison (Ally), Colin and Belinda (Bel). They were all up from England. Once they were there we sort of started getting ready to go out: Too Many DJ’s were headlining at City (a nightclub) so we checked them out, having first gone around to Mark/Ruth and Brenden’s place for a few warm-up drinks. We eventually had a good night. Am not sure whether the music was quite to my taste (sometimes, the mixing was a little bit dire) but the dancing and the camaraderie was phenomenal. Especially when you consider that no one knew each other prior to that afternoon. The only low point of the evening was momentarily on the dance floor when it was SOO packed that you didn’t have to move your own feet, you could just let the crowd move you instead. Didn’t stay down on the floor though – found a little cosy nook in the upper corner.

The following day, after a fantastic breakfast (lunch) cooked for us by Emily and Mindy, and the arrival of Joe, and Donna ‘n’ Steve, we wandered up to the castle getting some of the tickets that were pre-purchased. Then it was back to our friends at Threshers, and some quick calculations later, ‘er, so how many vodkas will we need? Four? Five?’ and collecting soft drinks and breakfast for the following day and it was back to the flat to get ready. We’d thought about returning to the flat after the street party in order to get rid of our ‘street’ gear and put on ‘clubbing’ gear, but decided to just take bags instead. Said bags would also hold soft-drink bottles filled with alcohol (very Fiji/Doha). And we were off. Met a lovely girl called Penny in the queue for the loos at 11:30 on Princes St, who was a Cancer Biochemist (looking at apoptosis – of course – in one strain of breast cancer) – as you do. Met all her friends too (well, seriously, you’re in the queue for about 20mins) and then hightailed it back through the crowd listening for Scottish accents (none) to get to the crew by midnight. I made it. Paul also made it. However, Steve didn’t – so there was one very unhappy girl at the strike of 12. Not me though…I was just glad to be there, amongst mates, yelling happy new year and doing Auld Lang Syne at the wrong time (too quick – damnit) in a large circle (much to the mirth of the Korean gang behind us).

Then a walk through the crowded street to City again, where I learnt three things. Bright Orange jackets are really noticeable in a crowd and a good way to keep people together (Ally’s). So is a pattern of red on a backpack (Paul’s). And at least three other people in the world have ear muffs like mine (my sporty red ones) – they commented when they walked past in the opposite direction.

Finally made it with crew all correct and present, checked my e-mail again (isn’t that the first thing YOU do when you get to a nightclub) before heading up to our ‘spot’ of the previous night. Sadly though, everyone was pretty shattered, so we ended up in the neighbouring lounge bar having a few drinks and talking amongst ourselves. Eventually a song came on that Marten felt like dancing to, so off he and I went to the dance floor. Where I found a lovely tall, bald Scotsman in a kilt to yell at “Do you know, I haven’t had a Hogmonay snog from a Scotsman in a kilt?”. He promptly grabbed my hand and shoved it up (the back of) his kilt and then snogged me. She shoots, she scores. As Lisa said (when I recounted this to her) there’s no need for class in all situations is there?

So Marten and I pretty much stayed on the dancefloor from then until 5am. And that’s where all those photos were taken. It was a great great night and definitely one that I’ll remember. There was none of that feeling of disappointment that the anticipation for New Years had been greater than the actual event. This time, the actual event far surpassed the anticipation – which was pretty huge anyway. And, not only that, but I think I’ve made some pretty good friends too. We all hung out on the 1st , including Brenden who hadn’t yet gone home – after finally getting up at about 2pm and having some lunch – and eventually summonsed the energy to go to a pub in the evening for dinner. A few games of charades (I couldn’t get into it for some reason) and ‘who am I’ which indicated that we all need to watch more animal shows, then a few rounds of scattergories (in which adjectives were NOT allowed – David!) which we pulled from the internet, and we finally hit the hay again at 1:30ish. Early in comparison to the previous two nights.

Everyone left the next day, after a cooked breakfast (honestly, breakfasts were definitely a highlight of the stay) and then there were just four (Paul, Em, Marten and I). Marten and I went for a wander up the castle way again (I got my nose repierced) and drank far too much coffee, while Em went to work in the afternoon. A Thai dinner and some videos finished the evening in a wonderfully relaxed manner, and then Paul packed while we slept. In the morning, Paul and Em headed off to work – Paul off to New Zealand in the evening, Marten dropped me off at the bus station, and then followed a few hours later in order to get back to Amsterdam.

All in all…one of the better NY’s in my time. Goes down in the books with the millennium methinks.

Hope all yours were equally as brilliant and sparkling. Love ya. Nomes XXX
posted by Nomes @ Thursday, January 05, 2006  
  • At 12:35 am, January 06, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Welcome Back - and Happy New Year. Just goes to show you how totally differing NYs can be so memorable.
    Like the blog, but haven't yet seen the pics. Atm we have the McCanns here, along with Y's Mother, Dot, so not a lot of time spent on the net.
    They brought their boat up so we've been out in that for the last two days. How easy it is to slip back in to Doha time. We really are enjoying ourselves - but they leave tomorrow, so it's back to the real world then.
    Will write more next week. Incidentally, no need for the bidding war - I just thought you'd be amused. When you've already won there's no need to flaunt it - what am I saying - to the flaunter extraordinaire???
    Love to you, Mums

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