Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Scotland: The Beach

In my last post I let out that our caravan site was near the beach. Due to my very poor geographical knowledge, I'd never before imagined that Scotland, particularly, Edinburgh would be near the sea. In fact, when I mentioned I would be staying in a caravan by the beach to my work friends; they simply just laughed. "This guy is talking bull!", they must have thought.

In fact, Edinburgh is near the sea and the sea is visible from the hills of the city centre. To be staying so near the sea during our stay was just lucky. Well done organising our accommodation Auntie and Uncle De!

The beach was of the rocky type. During the only time we had to visit it the tide was low revealing different types of seaweeds and barnacle ridden rocks.

The beach was literally just across the road from our caravan site, and it was surprisingly very, very clean.

The person who enjoyed the beach most was unarguably Sarah. Sarah was running towards the small pools of water, admiring small fishes and risking getting herself wet in the pools.



The parents, however, were slightly much less happy. The morning was windy and cold (notice in the pictures we were all wearing jackets and jumpers, except the exothermic Sarah and hyperthermic Uncle De). The waters were freezing and Puan Mama Sarah was getting annoyed that Sarah would get the car dirty with sand and water. Not to mention their set of clothes were limited.


The only picture of yours truly!

I love this picture of Amar, as if gazing towards Sarah but seperated in space and time (this picture was not GIMPed)

Emyr enjoying a run. Notice Puan Mama Sarah getting left far in the distance (she was scared of the worms...)

Uncle De expertly handled both the kids

Pools of freezing water, with small "fishies". Sarah and I ran straight across one of these (despite risking a frown from Puan Mama Sarah)

Don't be fooled readers; although from the pictures the day looked warm, the sea in the UK even during summer is icy freezing cold. I know that from first experience (I thought the water was warm! Instead, think about swimming in ice water, and you'd understand). Despite that, Sarah wanted so much to swim and even went shin-deep into the water.

I never thought our weekend in Scotland would include a day at the beach!

Scotland: Staying in a Caravan

I've set a mental note to myself to post differently from Puan Mama Sarah's posts on her own blog, just so that readers would have two different perspectives on our stay in Scotland. My posts would be slightly out of sequence as well, so bear with me my friends :)

To me, our stay in Scotland was made ever more interesting by the fact that we were staying in Caravans. This was actually Auntie and Uncle De's planning (which is why I love travelling with these two people, they always have bright ideas on how to make the journey alot more interesting). They were at first urging us stay in a cottage, but due to the Bank Holiday Weekend, all nearby accommodation were all fully booked.

Our caravan site. At first, I was quite apprehensive about staying "in a caravan". I imagined living like gypsies (nothing wrong with that), in very cramped accommodation with limited amount of water that we have to share between us. I didn't even dare to imagine about toilet matters...

First step. By the time we reached the caravan site, we were nearly-to-tears tired. I had my share of carrying the 15kg Sarah, and we were walking for miles and miles along the hills and valles of Edinburgh city centre - in very bad weather, too! All we wanted was a good place to stay. Apprehension was building while we took our first steps towards our caravan.

Inside. I was blown away, and became so excited seeing the innards. It was like a small apartment. Above was us after uploading all our luggage into the caravan. True, space was slightly limited but as you could see:

Still inside our caravan. It was like inside a small apartment. Everything you could imagine inside a small apartment was available (from left to right): a small kitchen complete with microwave, our shower and toilet, a single bed, even a kitchen sink, a TV, heating, a stove for cooking food ourselves, a room with a double bed, and lots of small cabinets to stuff our things into. Cool!

The caravan had one living room with the tv and a small dining table, one room with a double bed, and two rooms with two single beds (i.e one small bed, and 4 single beds). If you had come KKL, there would have been plenty of space for you to sleep in - seriously. Probably with room to spare for Nnydd as well!

Happy smiles. Our expressions probably indicates how much we really enjoyed the trip.

All of us, outside. The space outside of the caravan was not too bad either. There were lots of open green areas between the rows of caravans, enough for our Amar and Sarah to run around in, the very second we open the door! Amar would run in one direction, and Sarah would run the other leaving me having to chase after both of them (before they reach the street). Safiya and Emyr were MUCH more behaved, though. Probably because their parents did this:

Locked in.


Night. The day expired quickly, and Uncle De and I were left to hunt for food. Conveniently, there were chinese take-aways nearby, where we ordered Prawn-everything: prawn with cashew nuts, prawn crackers, prawn with chinese vegetables and spicy prawns. Prawns were the only thing we could eat (that's halal)! No one complained though, as I thought the meal was delicious, especially in such a special place.

Dozing off. The little ones soon fell asleep, and all of us settled into our seperate sleeping rooms. Auntie De described it as "sardines" in a can, and (LOL) in the middle of the night we heard two *BUMPS!* followed by cries of pain as *two people* fell of their beds! (LOLOLOL). I'm not saying who they were ...

Breakfast (Spot sapa tak mandi?). All of us woke up relatively early the next morning, ready for our next adventure (surely will be posted in next updates). Breakfast for me were Frosties and toast.

Ready for another adventure.

Fascilities around the caravan site. Within the compounds of our parked caravans, there were many fascilities for visitors: (left to right) an entertainment arcade complete with swimming pool, a laundry, a grocery store, a fish and chip shop, the fish and chip lady pouring lots of malt vinegar on my scampy and chips, and Amar and Sarah competing in a Daytona match.

Amazing. We only had to roll out of our beds to get food, and having a swimming pool nearby was truly great. The price for staying at such a place, to me, was not that expensive. Infact, staying a week for two families could be as little as £200 (i.e less than £70 a night or less than £35 per family per night).

Oh, did I mention the caravan site was near the beach?

The Beach

More pictures to follow dear readers...

The only thing I was greatly missing: an internet connection!!!!!!!!!!!! ;(

Journey to Scotland

It was probably the worst kept secret anyway, but over the past Bank Holiday Weekend we travelled over the Scotland. To those of you who are wondering, a "Bank Holiday" is simply a public holiday, normally on Monday. So, a Bank Holiday Weekend would equate to a weekend that extends from Friday to Monday - a solid 3 days off work.

Scotland. The above picture of several monuments in Scotland was actually GIMPed. It's a composite of three different photos of monuments in close proximity on Princes Street. Look closely, and you'd start to notice several errors in the picture e.g. the perspective is all wrong, and look closely underneath the arm of the green statue - the building on the right suddenly disappears. This was actually easily correctable, but I chose not to, as it would cause a small minaret to pop out from the statue at the "wrong place" (i.e his crotch, LOL).

Dude, a burning car! This burning car was holding up traffic and was causing massive traffic jams. Thank goodness however, in the opposite direction.
The journey to Scotland from where we reside takes a whopping 8 hours. If our family were to travel by ourselves, the journey would have been nice but it was made that more excellent thanks to our closest family friend in the UK that is Uncle and Auntie De's company. Uncle De planned his journey so well (including an accidental toilet break, LOL) that we were able to meet up on the motorway along the journey at a Welcome Break.

Welcome Break. Thank goodness for these rest-stops available at regular intervals along the motorways. Here, we were able to buy food, rest, buy stuff, and take much needed (regular!) toilet stops :)

Lunch randesvous with Auntie and Uncle De. As usual, Fish and Chips. There's not much else we could eat that's Halal in this country, really. However, a much needed break for the long travel ahead.

Diversion. The most excellent thing about travelling with Auntie and Uncle De is the fact that they are really adventurous and could think on the spot of fun things to do. Uncle De suggested a detour to the Lake District, which was on the way to Scotland anyway.

Windermere Quay, Lake District. I have always heard of good things about the famous Lake District but I never imagined the place to be like this. When I imagined the lake district in the past I was thinking of rural lakes, surrounded by open fields, caravans, tents and campers. Instead, the place was close to civilisation and modern but not in the least less breathtaking.

Serenity. The Lake District is a place where you could just sit doing nothing, staring at the beautiful scenery God has created. It was extremely peaceful and serene.

Gazing out. Even Sarah stayed still (only for mere seconds) to take in the beautiful scenery.

Ladies only. Puan Mama Sarah spending quality time talking about "women stuff" with Auntie De.

I wish I have one! The Lake District was littered with boats old and new, big and small. That large white boat to Puan Mama Sarah's right is aptly named The Swan. Probably because of a nudge to the way it gracefully glides on water and its white colour, also a nudge to the numerous swans that are residents of the lakes.

Wildlife. The various fauna found in the Lake District.

Crocodile Hunter Sarah. Away from Puan Mama Sarah's watchful eye, (under my more liberate ones), Sarah ventured towards the tempting waters. She's at the age when she really appreciates other living creatures and she wanted so much to feed the swans.

Pier. The Lake District is an excellent place to bring your loved one(s). Utterly romantic.

Roar! The reason why you have to brush your teeth & feet before going to bed, kids. Otherwise this guy will get you!! A rare chance for a family photo.

Love. Pity Amar wasn't in this picture! Uncle and Auntie De cleverly set-up the children for this picture. I just love watching each one's expression: Safiya's cautious, Emyr is happy and Sarah is cheeky as always!
Even though the detour to the Lake District added miles to the already 8 hour journey, it was completely worth it. The place was beautiful and spectacular.

At this point I have to add, Uncle De then decided to go the like-snakes-coiling "scenic route" from the Lake District to Scotland. The lakes and scenes en-route were absolutely breathtaking if only we could stop to take pictures. And if only the little kids were not vomiting all over the car!!!

The trip to Scotland was an absolute blast. Not only did we travel to an excellent place but we were accompanied by Uncle De's family as well. We were also pleasantly shocked seeing Nnydd in Edinburgh! Nnydd being our close friend in Cardiff, and a regular at both Itchiness & Puan Mama Sarah's blog.

It could have been better though: KKL almost came along with us to Scotland (I wish she did) and we almost met up with another Blogger friend & regular - FM.

Happy-go-lucky, intelligent, adventurous, down-to-earth and extremely responsible would be how I would describe Uncle De. Many happy returns, and I hope Auntie De doesn't forget to treat you well today :D

May Allah bless your life and your family, I wish for your happiness and success. Amin.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bank Holiday Weekend: We're Back!

Beautiful picture, taken by Uncle De
Despite our kid's projectile vomitings, and my hyperactive bladder, we're finally back from our tiring, but absolutely wonderful journey. I am 200% tired from the 8 hour journey today (in my 10 years of driving, this was probably the farthest and longest I have ever driven yet so far). Surprisingly, Amar and Sarah were splendidly well behaved in the car and they slept most of the way (probably tired from the relentless weekend).

This is probably going to be our last travel in a while, and it marks the end of our very enjoyable summer (probably our last in the UK). Next weekend's plans are already set: nothing but recuperation!

Thanks to Aida & Fazuan, who were with us in this journey. Fazuan (Uncle De) expertly navigated our way, and Auntie De came up with some quite exciting plans. Thank you also to a fellow blogger friend who gave us a (pleasant) surprise visit at our destination. Lastly, to our blogger friend in Glasgow who kiiiindly offered to even skip class for our visit, thank you so much for inviting us and we're terribly sorry we couldn't make it - mostly due to our extremely packed schedule, and by the end of the day; tired children.

Puan Mama Sarah and yours truly can't wait to share our adventures but first and foremost, we're going to catch up on much needed rest ...

... goodnight everyone...zzZZzzZ

Emyr and Amar

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I've moved to Blogger Beta

I'm finally done with my week long oncall! Argh, thank goodness for that. However, I have to say I did have fun, and had both in terms of learning from seeing new things and practising on practical procedures (this time I got to do a lumbar puncture, pleural aspirate, an ascitic drain and my favourite: a central line). I LOVE doing practical procedures.

Apologies dear readers, my blog is in abit of a mess at the moment. The picture in the header is gone, and everything is all over the place. The reason for the clutter is simple:

I've upgraded to blogger in beta - *Insert evil sounding laughter here*

Errr, so what does that mean? Blogger in beta offer many new and exciting cutting edge features that are not available in the previous Blogger. For example:
  1. I can now tag my posts into various categories just like in Wordpress. (Blogger confusingly calls this feature "Labels")
  2. We now have the option to limit people who could view the blog e.g. everyone or invite only
  3. The templates are FAAAR more customisable, and easily so as well. Elements in a template is just a drag and drop away. Very cool.
Having said all that, I've lost many things from my previous blog as well: the page counter is gone (NOOOOOOO!) and so has the header picture.

However, it'd be a chance for me to design a new header for itchiness *Insert Evil Laughter* <- (yup, I'm an optimist). It may take me a while to get used to this new Blogger Beta, unfortunately that may not happen this long bank holiday weekend. This bank holiday weekend, we have plans with Uncle and Auntie De's family for an excursion. One that has been in planning for many weeks, and one that I have been gleefully anticipating throughout my loooooong oncall week.

Okay my friends, hopefully I'd be able to work well with Blogger Beta, but until then, expect this blog to stay in a semi-messy state. Many apologies.

Yours sincerely

Dyanna - Muahahahaha.