Saturday, October 17, 2009

Good Crieff, There's Been a Murder

Saturday 10 October 2009

Recently I noticed that the sticker on the front of our Vauxhall had split and looked a bit of a mess and I thought it would be easy enough to get a replacement. Boy, was I wrong. I e-mailed Vauxhall Customer Care and a Customer Care Manager called me to say I could get in touch with my local Vauxhall dealer and get one there. Due to work and other commitments I'd been unable to get in touch with said dealer and as a result I've been pestered by phone calls from Vauxhall Customer Service ever since. (I did attempt to e-mail the local dealer but their e-mail bounced back!) Vauxhall e-mailed me to say they hadn't been able to get in touch with me so I replied to suggest that they could just send me a sticker through the post. It seems that that is too straightforward and sensible. Customer Care called me yet again to say they couldn't send me a sticker (no reason given) and that I should contact my local dealer who would supply one "for a fee". "How much?", I enquired. "I don't know", came the unhelpful response.

I received an application for the quiz show "Pointless", which I'm glad has been re-commissioned. The rather excellent first series was essential viewing in our house, albeit on fast forward having been Sky Plussed. The combination of Alexander Armstrong and trusty statto sidekick cum beatnik Richard Osman works well and bring a certain gravitas to a quiz that would flounder under the stewardship of a lesser presenting team.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Another day preparing Flick's playroom before I head off to do my radio show, which features Beatles covers and Beatles novelty records as well as a track by John (the show is to "celebrate" his birthday on the 9th) himself.

Monday 12 October 2009

It's an early start and off to Crieff Hydro we go. K and I know we need this pampering break while Felicity just wants to see the pony! A slight detour on the outskirts of Crieff delayed our arrival but it wasn't long before we unpacked and headed straight for the pool. There's the free pool, with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, and the altogether more peaceful adults-only facility, called the Victorian Spa, for a reasonable £10 a day. The latter will be tomorrow's treat.

After an uninspiring lunch at The Hub, we put a couple of entries in for the Monday lunchtime Crossword Challenge, one in K's name and one in Flick's, and were delighted to see Kirsty's name posted up on the noticeboard later on as that day's winner! Okay, so it wasn't exactly The Times crossword but a win's a win! What the Hydro really needs in the evening is a quiz night and I know just the man to host it.

Today I spot two women from the world of Scottish sport enjoying the delights of the Hydro, one a gold-medal winning World Champion athlete and the other an ex-athlete turned BBC Scotland sports presenter. I don't speak to them but, hey, they didn't recognise me either!

After a spot of outdoor table tennis and some Hide and Seek with Flick in the Victorian Garden (we got her to pose on top of an empty plinth as Usian Bolt - who needs Anthony Gormley?), we head to the Ballroom for some Ceilidh dance lessons. This is primarily for Flick's benefit in anticipation of our attendance at that evening's Jockanese hoe-down but she soon loses interest. For all my recently gained fitness I'm absolutely knackered by the end of it and suffering with shin splints. With Flick already tiring following the first-day holiday excitement I know we won't make the evening ceilidh. I'm right.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Felicity is booked into Big Country, the Crieff Hydro kids club, to allow us some peace and quiet to do our own thang and for Flick to do likewise. She's probably glad to get rid of us, what with us cramping her 5-year old style.

I head off to the gym while Kirsty heads off to the pool for a paddle and a steam. After a spot of cycling, rowing and walking we head off to the Beauty Salon; Kirsty for the Ultimate Aromatic Facial Treatment and I went for the Full Body Massage. Surprisingly, K's treatment takes longer! A Latvian lady called Monica does my massage and it's amazing. I try and make polite conversation about Latvian Eurovision entries (she'd heard of Brainstorm but not FLY) and famous Latvians (no, me neither) but I soon relaxed into an amazing experience and one I can't recommend highly enough. I'm never sure if the hole on the bed is for putting your head into or for drooling through.

After an alfresco lunch at The Hub (better than yesterday's offering), Flick returns to Big Country and K and I head to the putting green for part 2 of the Johnno Olympics. Having won a tight game of "wiff waff" yesterday (23-21), I was looking to complete the double on the leaf and twig-strewn hilly 18 holes of the putting green. After sprinting out to a three hole lead after three holes K knocks in some cracking putts and the pressure is on me at the turn. K gets back to level but with form temporary and class permanent I hold her off to win 2 & 1. Get in there!

I head for a solitary 45 minutes in the snooker room while K heads off to do some quality knitting into a room called Loggia. With Crieff Hydro looking like an art deco building straight out of an episode of Poirot we've re-christened Loggia as The Murder Room. We collect Flick and head off for a pre-dinner swim.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

After brekkie flick heads off to her last morning of Big Country while Mummy and Daddy luxuriate in the child-free Victorian Spa. While there I share a jacuzzi with a well-known BBC Scotland presenter. At least she's cheerier than the World Championship gold medal winning athlete we've also spotted elsewhere in the Hydro. Talk about a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle...

After lunch in the Winter Room, adjacent to the Murder Room, it's off to the stables for Flick's pre-booked pony ride. Flick has talked of nothing else and as sure as eggs are eggs, as soon as she sees Polly the pony she cowers behind her mother and doesn't want to go anywhere near the most docile, timid animal you could ever meet. Eventually she is lifted on to Polly and taken for a circuit of the paddock, which I catch on my Flip Ultra for posterity. No-one is booked after Flick so she goes round again. This time she is persuaded to rub Polly's nose, albeit with a couple of gentle fingers. Once again the idea of a pony ride was a more exciting proposition that the actual event. No doubt, though, she'll be raving about it when she gets back to school!

After the pony ride we take the short walk into the one-horse town of Crieff. We'd heard there was a really good toy shop there and sure enough we found it easily. Flick's holiday money was spent on more Playmobil (a show jumping set and a Santa) before we took the long walk back. It's only a 5-minute to the town from the Hydro but then you realise that's because it's all downhill. It's about 15 minutes on the way back, especially with a weary child in tow.

I pop into the gym before joining the girls in the pool. Then it's off to the Brasserie for dinner.

Again we don't make the ceilidh but console ourselves with sweeties and Johnny Depp in the not-bad remake of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on ITV.

Thursday 15 October 2009

We stuff our faces at breakfast, fill the car and head to the busy pool for one last swim. I hit the gym first and see the gold medallist and her husband on the cross-trainer and treadmill respectively. I stick to the bike and rowing machine as I don't want to show them up.

After the rest and relaxation of Crieff it's back to the "delights" of Flick's playroom. Where is Changing Rooms when you need it? The day is spent building Trofast furniture from IKEA and weeding out a lot of rubbish - broken toys, old magazines etc. It takes the rest of the day.

Friday 16 October 2009

It's a repeat of yesterday but we finally seem to be making some headway and Flick is finally allowed in to play late afternoon. There's still some de-cluttering to do but the bulk of it has been done. I'll be glad to get back to work for a rest.

I finish putting together Sunday's radio show and Flick beats me and K at Disney Trivia Pursuit.

Saturday 17 October 2009

I don't really know what to be at today. I've a mountain of things to do and I just don't know where to start. I end up doing some pretty aimless pottering until tea and then listen to Collins and Herring's Podcast 85 while the girls watch Strictly Dumb Prancing. I also listen to Frankie Boyle's free podcast during which he tries out stuff for Mock the Week. It's interesting to hear the stuff that doesn't work as well as the stuff that makes it on to the show.

Watch last night's A Question of Sport and then Match of the Day, which includes Sunderland's bizarre goal, which goes in off a beach ball.

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