Mexico in Mexico

I can’t actually believe that tomorrow is our last full day here and that soon I’m going to have to contemplate wearing shoes, drying my hair and, you know, adulting!

As I write this I am lying on a sunbed, with my wireless headphones (thank you NLMK) pumping my holiday playlist into my lugholes, barely inches from a very inviting swimming pool. There are guys and gals regularly wandering past asking me if I’d like a tequila sunrise, a pina colada or any other manner of delectation.

Of course, we could’ve chosen to go and imbibe our choice of poison at the swim-up bar in the next pool, but we prefer the quieter more relaxed vibe of this pool (and we’re drinking Diet Coke so really no need of swim-up bars).

There are coatis wandering around in the foliage behind me, cats lounging in the shade trying to keep cool, tropical birds chattering away to each other in the trees above me and occasionally a flamboyance of flamingos soaring high over head.

Spot the imposter!

This truly is an animal lover’s paradise. Not so good for those not so fond of the fluff and the feather, but really, we’re in their home, not the other way round. A guy flicked water at a coati yesterday on purpose as he got out of the pool (the guy, not the coati). The coati didn’t give two sniffs of his turned up snouty nose and carried on about his important business of snuffling and being cute, but hubby and I were both incensed (in a most internal and private British way).

We’ve had such a fantastic time (and it’s not over yet). We really are so lucky that we have the means and the opportunity to take holidays like this every so often. The luxury of doing nothing, or everything, depending upon your mood is something to be thankful for. Admittedly we’ve spent the vast majority of our time doing the nothing rather than the everything, that’s exactly how we wanted it.

We went to the beach one day. I couldn’t tell you which day as I have very little comprehension of time at the moment. It certainly wasn’t yesterday, because yesterday was somewhat spectacular, but more of that at a later date when I have photographic evidence. Maybe it was the day before? Maybe not. Who really cares?

The beach is just over the road, through one of the sister hotels (where you can also make use of their all inclusive facilities). We walked over, down a lovely sheltered promenade, but for the infirm, over-heating or, dare I say it, exercise-shy you can jump on a golf buggy to be deposited a stone’s throw from the white sands.

The beach was very pretty, although, I think hubby and I have been spoilt by the indescribable, and untouched, beauty of the Maldives and any other beach will now struggle to match it. Still, first world problems and all that.

Hubby went snorkelling but reported slim pickings (or should that be viewings?) on the fish front. I had a bit of a paddle. We stayed at the beach until lunchtime and then headed back along the promenade to our hotel. The only shade on the beach was provided by palm trees and the sun beds were somewhat crammed in and the humidity was high so we were in need of a few minutes of air conditioning to cool down.

Today we could’ve joined in with a coconut party at the next pool. We politely declined due to a serious lack of botheredness, but I have to say, I was slightly intrigued as to the specificities of a coconut party. The entertainment staff promoting it were dressed a la Carmen Miranda, sporting coconuts on their heads, but I assume the actual party entailed more than careful balancing of fruit on one’s bonce. I wasn’t concerned enough to extract my derrière from my sunbed, but from what my ears could detect, there was much whooping and singing of the Macarena. Not sure what that has to do with coconuts, but whatever!

I was just interrupted by a passing band of coatis (I just guessed at the collective noun, but then googled, and I guessed right. Score!) This happens every day towards late afternoon. They’re around all day and evening, but they like to patrol the pool around now. Presumably they’ve learnt people are likely to have dropped (or disposed of) food by now.

This is a common sight. Coati bottom protruding from a rubbish receptacle!

Look at the teeny tiny baby!

Hubby has just gone off to the shop to dispose of another 160 MXN (£6.11) on Cheetos crunchy.

Totally worth it (even though we’re all inclusive), they’re amazing!

Anyway, silly boy left his Diet Coke unattended and a coati, having a very sweet tooth as we’ve discovered coatis do, has knocked over and pilfered said Diet Coke.

This really is a real-time post today!

It was supposed to rain today, but we’ve had about three and a half spots! Hubby is now back with Cheetos, so I think we may make our way back to our room before the weather changes its mind, and also before the dreaded mozzies come to consume our blood. So far I’ve managed just two bites (both before we realised they’re active in the day and therefore had neglected to liberally apply the deet!)

Having re-read my post, I realise that Eleanor Oliphant (fantastic book that I finished in two days at the start of the holiday) has rubbed off on me and my parlance is somewhat loquacious and elaborate (I did that bit on purpose!) Sorry!

Anyway, the coatis are now trying to steal my bag because they can smell my Cheetos so I shall vacate my sunbed forthwith! Chat later!!

That’s my knee bottom right of photo – they get that close when there’s a chance of dinner!!

Leaving on a jet plane

… except I do know when I’ll be back!

We waved goodbye to this gorgeous duo before 6.30 this morning and headed to the airport. As I write this we are at 38000 feet heading south west and we’re off the coast of Canada, near somewhere called Goose Bay (when I say near, obviously I mean 38000 feet above it). We’ve travelled 2200 miles and we have 2833 miles to go. It’s -50 outside. Toasty in here though.

41EA70C1-B39A-4732-BE6F-FBD0CE6AC437

Obviously I’m not going to be able to post this until I get to somewhere with WiFi, but I thought I’d help pass the time by documenting the day so far. We’re on a Boeing 787, otherwise known as a Dreamliner. This is Boeing’s newest addition to their range, and, if I’m not wrong, was recently the first plane to fly non-stop to Australia from the UK.

You can tell it’s new. It’s fancy pants! The windows have a button that adjusts the tint in the glass so it’s either completely transparent, completely opaque, or anywhere in between. None of the old window shutters that you normally get on a plane.

0DBD6ED3-5E5D-42C8-A776-14DA45F59547

When we got on, the windows were all normal transparent glass but after we took off the crew activated the ambient lighting which is supposed to replicate the conditions in the time zone that you’re flying to, which allegedly reduces jet lag, so now the windows are semi-opaque. I never really get jet lag when flying west, so we’ll see what effect it has on the return journey (not that I’m thinking about that yet!)

When they activated the ambient lighting, all the lights down the ceiling of the plane changed colour. I was too busy marvelling at it and forgot to take a photo, but hopefully they’ll do it again so I can show you (update – they didn’t!)

Seatback screens are nothing new for anyone who’s flown long haul on a decent airline, but I don’t recall them having USB slots before. Fab! No need to worry about how much candy crush I play then, I can just charge my phone if need be.

B9EA9A83-0D75-4D48-965F-0D2F1DBD5F8F

So far we’ve done quite a bit of eating (which is fine because calories don’t count up here, right?) We had breakfast in Wetherspoons at Birmingham airport (once we’d found a seat that is! Very busy airport this morning).

7585FAF8-8CE5-47D4-9184-9485F47DACB1

Apparently it was lunchtime a while ago (I have no idea, what with being up at the crack of dawn and all this ambient lighting business) so we were served a meal. I know lots of people don’t like aeroplane food, but I really like it.

We had chicken in tarragon sauce with roast potatoes, broccoli and carrots with a bread roll. Then we had cheese and crackers and a chocolate orange ganache dessert. Yum!

Apparently we’ve been flying for four hours and thirty four minutes, and in that time I’ve been luxuriously unproductive! Lots of procrastination, faffing and generally doing entirely what I want while not having to organise, remember or be reliable. That, while I’m here, is someone else’s job, and they are welcome to it!

I have started to crochet a gift for my new baby niece who is currently incubating in utero.

884D0A07-780B-41B7-8D3B-A526B4BAC039

I have candy crushed all my lives several times (including changing the time to trick it into giving me more!) Level 2518 completed! (Update: levels 2519, 2520 and 2521 also completed). I’ve played a million games of traffic rush. I’m sure my high score used to be 287, but it appears to have forgotten that, so I was determined to beat 200 before I stopped.

3DB15AC7-8C83-4B4E-ABF5-CCA12C95CAAC

What else to do now? I have Red magazine from ages ago that I hadn’t got round to reading. It has Keeley Hawes on the front and I’m interested to see what she has to say about the Bodyguard (update: nothing about the Bodyguard but she seems lovely).

I have Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to read, which my best friend bought me for my birthday. I’m looking forward to this – I never read actual books anymore, unless they’re non-fiction with pictures that don’t translate well to my kindle, and this is an actual book, with pages and everything. I find the kindle easier normally because I do most of my reading before I go to sleep when I like to turn the light off to ease my eyes, so a book’s no good and also, there’s a very real risk of dropping an actual book on your face when reading lying down, and that hurts and you feel a bit silly if your husband sees! I’m going to have plenty of time and opportunity for actual book reading over the next week though. What bliss!

There’s always more eating to be done too. Apparently we get afternoon tea later! (Update: we did!)

31202c08-b0a1-4bb4-9cd5-aec469cdfb16.jpeg

Think I’ll get on with some more completely unproductive things now.

We flew out over Ireland, under Iceland and down the east coast of the states. This, believe it or not, is Cape Canaveral. You can see the Assembly Building (largest single storey building in the world) if you look close enough.

It’s funny how you look on the map and think, how have we got another four hours to go, it’s only a couple of inches on the map. Then you realise those couple of inches actually constitute the entire east coast of America! America is BIG!

So as you can tell by the fact that this is published, we have now arrived. Completely exhausted but happy.

Our bags got randomly searched at the airport. The guy seemed to find my wool strangely amusing and was utterly bemused by the copious amounts of Fisherman’s Friends that hubby has (he uses them as an anti-smoking aid).

Haven’t seen much of the hotel yet but our room is lovely (and huge!)

And it has optics!!

EBD750E9-DB07-4436-AD82-D4957F3A1C2E

This could be dangerous!

And this is the view from the balcony.

BFEB7421-371F-4ED9-AFD5-68544DA18379

We’ve already seen a capybara in the grounds. No photo unfortunately but I have a week to remedy that. We can hear parrots outside and there are, allegedly, coatis roaming around.

Not sure if we’ll do much exploring tonight. It’s not 6pm yet here, but our bodies think it’s 11pm and we were up at 5.30am so I think bed may win over exploring.

September Little Box of Crochet

Good evening all!

I’m just quickly checking in because I’ve finally finished September’s Little Box of Crochet which I told you about here.

Oh my goodness I found this one hard, and it took a good deal of grit and determination not to have a hissy, stampy feet fit and give up!

As a quick reminder, September’s project was Gareth the Sleeping Fox.

15E88828-5F2A-4CB9-A4B9-A7BFFE366ABB

Gareth is crocheted entirely in waistcoat stitch which is how he got his name. Gareth Southgate, England Manager, became one of the most talked about men in the country when he dressed so snappily during every game that England played at the World Cup, always including a waistcoat.

I’d never heard of waistcoat stitch before I received my box, much less attempted it. Having googled it, I’ve discovered that it’s often called knit stitch, and it really does look like knitting rather than crochet.

The effect is achieved by inserting the hook in a different part of the stitch to normal crocheting. For any crocheters out there I’ve tried to illustrate the difference in the following photos.

The arrow on the first photo is pointing to where you insert the hook to create waistcoat stitch, right in the v of the knit like stitch. On the second photo the arrow points to the very top of the stitch and this is where the hook goes in regular crochet.

You wouldn’t think this would make much difference to the actual crocheting, but gosh it did! I almost had to resort to using a thimble because it’s so much harder to push the hook through.

Anyway. Enough of that. On to Gareth!

2042E259-BAD4-4800-8337-7731DE62119B

Here are all his body parts before they were foxed up!

E3920BC7-2BCF-4755-803D-9DDEFCC17A65

Tail and body now attached.

73A99E91-EC43-42C6-A31C-792F3B09AE76

Slightly out of focus. Whoops! Foxy face stitched on.

…… and, drumroll!

FB054338-B04D-4080-957B-69DE785CBC302829C08E-5400-4FAD-AC05-130F42EDBFC8E87F5130-5D18-47AA-B407-ABFE7A856D04

Rubbish lighting! Couldn’t decide whether he looked best with the flash, without the flash or just with the big light on! I had to go rootling around in the garden with the torch on my phone to find some nice leaves for staging purposes! Quite creepy I have to say with ghosts and ghouls still lurking around the corner from Halloween and fireworks banging around me! The things I do to try and get a good photo!

I can see a couple of little errors on the Fairisle parts (the bits with white and orange together) but on the whole I’m pleased with how he’s turned out and I’m glad I persevered.

I can’t say I’ll be rushing to do waistcoat stitch again, but I’m happy that I mastered it and have an extra string to my crocheting bow. I might find it easier using acrylic yarn since it’s not as rigid as cotton, but the downside to that is that the stitches wouldn’t look as defined.

So, onwards and upwards to October’s box and another new technique – Tunisian crochet. This one’s coming on holiday with me in four days, twelve hours, five minutes and forty two seconds. Forty one … forty … thirty nine … thirty eight …

63303258-121A-4698-8543-BC7144E789D7.jpeg