Thursday, 31 July 2008

Born-ee-mouth

Current mood:  hot

So what's happened since Iceland?
Well, nothing much.  I've only left the house three times (wonderful life! ), and once was to Tesco tonight.  So let's focus on the first of the other two outings.  I'll write about the other tomorrow when I have more time - the computer packed up today, and we've spent ages on the phone to AOL, so I really have to get some e-mail catching up done before bed.
Friday July 25th ~ Mum and I went by coach to Bournemouth.  I prefer it when the pair of us go out together, without David constantly interfering and causing arguments.  I also adore the seaside, as you all well know - just watching the sea makes me feel calm.  So I'd really been looking forward to this trip.
But there was one problem:  Mum was still suffering from her bad stomach. (As she is now - I'm worried about her, but she won't go to a doctor )  I also had a stomach ache of the other kind, if you get what I mean, ladies, and was horrified to see there was no toilet on the coach.
We had all overslept, and didn't have time for breakfast.  Fortunately, we stopped at a service station on the way, and as well as using the public lavatories (which were totally useless in the sense NONE of them would flush), were able to get some small turkish delight bars.  I ate mine all at once, but Mum saved half of hers for just before we arrived at our destination.
Our coach driver was Mum's favourite, Paul, the one who spends his life making stupid jokes, which actually make her laugh (rare occurence!)
Neither of us took coats (too much to carry), so were horrified when the sky turned grey.  Luckily, by the time we were dumped off in Bournemouth (or Born-ee-Mouth, as Paul pronounced it.  It's actually Born-mooth for those who don't know), it had brightened up a little, although it was still chilly, and my arms felt strange in the shorter sleeved MLP t-shirt I was wearing - great for the weather, huh?!
We discovered there was not much in Bournemouth, seaside amusement-wise.  We went on the pier which cost £1 (It would have been more - but apparently I'm under 16 so it's cheaper...well, we weren't going to argue, were we?!), but there were only three kiddie roundabouts on there, so I didn't photograph many rides for the website I'm hoping to create.  However, I did see one "old friend" at a nearby amusement arcade...


GREY BEAUTY!!!  Yeah, you may think I'm mad to be so excited, but it's really odd to go back and see these old rides that I can remember actually riding when I was small!  Unfortunately, the old photo is not currently scanned, but Mum kindly took a new one for me to put with the old one when I do get my childhood pictures online.


Please excuse the fact I look like an idiot.  I'm not quite sure how I was trying to pose my legs, not to mention the weird fuzzy face and glasses.  I'm in hiding from someone, don't you know?!
We spent the rest of the day walking around the shops, although there weren't really any good shops there.  All the same old chain stores, but smaller branches.  I saw another Sweetie Pup in TKMaxx...where on Earth are they all coming from?  No wonder I'm not getting any offers on the pair I've been trying to sell!
However, I managed to get one of the cute MLP bags that's been available in TKMaxx for a while much cheaper in a small warehouse type shop.  They had other sweet G3 merchandise too, but I couldn't afford anything else.
Throughout the entire shopping trip, we had to keep running back to Debenhams and up the stairs to the fourth floor to get to the toilets, which was pretty crazy.  "I shouldn't have eaten that turkish delight..." Mum moaned.
Of course, she wouldn't eat any chips or ice cream again, even though there was a lovely Harry Ramsden's (brilliant chip shop) there.  She said that I could have some anyway, and even though I felt guilty, I agreed, knowing she'd eat some of my portion anyway.  But Harry Ramsden's restaurant was shut!  Just our luck.  So I got a chip roll from a little seaside-y stall, and sat down by the beach to eat it.  Not on the beach - all the semi-nude people made Mum feel sick.  But just sitting on the promenade with our feet dangling down towards the sand was pretty good.  After finishing the chips, we got on a little land train that ran along the promenade.  We thought we had plenty of time, but instead of that, the people who ran it waited until the entire train was full up, having already charged us when we had first arrived, so we couldn't leave (Again, I was considered under-16...and for once I was trying to look at my best too!  Please take a look at the photo above, and tell me what made them think that again and again.  The t-shirt, the sunglasses...?).
We eventually set off about 50 minutes before we had to catch the coach back to London!  We had thought the train ride was only about ten minutes long, but soon discovered that there was ANOTHER train running back and forth which had confused us!  So we didn't enjoy the ride, and instead really stressed ourselves about making it back in time.  When we reached our destination at the other end of the promenade (after fifteen minutes or so), we were told that the train would not be going back for a further 20 minutes!  And if we wanted to catch the coach, we had to get a BUS (which cost another £3) back to the pick-up point.
So that's what we had to do.  We were the only people on the bus, so the driver had a cigarette before we set off, and took his time about it too!  As it turned out, we were hurtling along about three cars BEHIND the coach we were trying to catch.
Luckily, we just made it, and were able to slip into the queue to get back on board, without anyone noticing we were a little late.
Sorry if that blog seemed rushed - I really must write to Emma before I go to bed.  I've been promising to send her some photos from Iceland for over a week now.
I'll get this up to date tomorrow, with the latest news from Woodberry, and other tales (Ooh, exciting for you all, isn't it?! )
Best wishes,
Desiree Skylark  xxx

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Icelandic Adventure ~ Final Part

Current mood:  happy
 
On the morning of Monday July 21st, Mum was still in a bad mood, and had a huge row with me, telling me she definitely wasn't moving, and she'd gladly go back to sleeping on the floor rather than see me get what I wanted.  She said other stupid things too, but I can't remember them.  I know the pair of us ended up yelling pretty loudly in the middle of this guesthouse, and everybody must have heard us.  Having come out of the bathroom, I noticed that David wasn't there, and asked her where he was, to break the silence if nothing else.
"He's gone to breakfast." She sulked.  So, having heard that, I stood up and walked down the corridor to go up to the breakfast room.  Just because she was sulking/had stomach ache/whatever other reason she wasn't eating, I wasn't going to go without food too.
The next thing I knew, Mum had RUN down the corridor after me, physically grabbed me by the arm, and dragged me back to the room.  I had no idea she had that much strength!  "You b*tch, you're just proving another point and showing how little you care about me again, aren't you?!"  Huh?  I gave her a puzzled look.  "After all the shouting you did, I cannot show my face at breakfast, and yet you were prepared to go without me?!"  Um...  I hadn't even known that was her reason for not going downstairs.  I decided I probably shouldn't point out to her she had been shouting just as much as me, sighed, and sat back on the bed, waiting for David to return with a cheese sandwich for us both.
When he did, we had another argument about how Mum wasn't going on the boat trip to see the whales she'd come to Iceland specifically to see.  I told her I wouldn't go if that made her feel any better, but of course I couldn't stay at the guesthouse - that would be too dangerous in a foreign country.  (God, what WILL she do if I ever do get to Vancouver?  Set up CCTV on my apartment?) Anyways, eventually we managed to convince her not to be so stupid, and we all made our way to the boat, by way of a little van which came to pick us up straight from the guesthouse.
It was absolutely POURING with rain.  Typical, after the two days of perfect weather.  We thought the boat wouldn't even run, let alone the fact Mum believed her coat wasn't waterproof (which had caused all the trouble the day before, remember?).  But when we got to the it, we found it was running.  However, we were given a whole load of safety notices due to the weather, which scared Mum to death.  We got on board and found a seat undercover...but soon discovered we couldn't see anything through the windows.  Then an old German man sat next to me, and I started to worry.  I felt blocked in should we want to go up on deck - I really didn't want to make this poor old man get up again.  But, of course, we had to, otherwise we wouldn't have seen anything.  David convinced Mum to leave her bag on her seat, but no way was I leaving mine, complete with camera and Pinkie Pie.   So off we went, my bag hanging on my arm.  As we started to ascend the stairs, we were all issued with a huge thick orange waterproof overcoat.
So imagine us, climbing up on deck, realising just how bad the torrential rain was.  We were already drenched before we got halfway up the stairs.  David's glasses were totally covered in raindrops, so he reached into his pocket for a tissue so that he could wipe them.  But the tissues were soaked too!  My face was so wet I was convinced my cheap mascara must be running down my cheeks in rivers, and my mum would notice that I was wearing it. My bag was drenched, and I had no idea if it was actually waterproof or not.  There was no way I could stick my hand inside and check my stuff to see if it was dry - opening it a crack would have meant letting in a flood of water.  My hands were dripping anyway.  Everyone looked totally miserable, the three of us being no exception.


I promise those two are my parents, even if you can't see Mum's face...
Just then Mum announced that she had left her own glasses in her bag downstairs, so David had to go and get them for her, meaning lowering himself down those slippery steps again.  Although it honestly looked for all the world as if he was lowering himself into the sea!


We passed one of the main puffin islands, but the rain was too bad to really see much of the seabirds.


At that point, I realised my camera had to go back in its pouch in my bag - it would get ruined in my pocket, occasionally being drawn out for taking pictures which weren't coming out well in this weather anyway.
Once we got into the main whale watching grounds, the weather took a turn for the (even) worse.  We saw some minke whales feeding beneath a flock of seabirds.  Everyone rushed to the side of our boat, me ahead of everyone else.  I got a perfect viewing point for all three of us, but as more and more people came to that side of the boat, it lurched and I admit it did feel like we were going to go overboard, but it only FELT like that.  Nobody was worried...except Mum.  She started shrieking like a lunatic about how "bl**dy dangerous" the boat was, and how the railings should come up twice as high as they did (about waist height).  At that point she got hold of both David and I, and started pulling on our arms, trying to drag us back beyond the crowds so that none of us could see a thing.  She almost pulled me over on the slippery boat, and the Suicide Bombers (who were also up on deck) grinned at me in the most annoying way.  Please, at least give me credit for trying to get everyone to a good viewing point, people! 
Mum said we could see just as much by kneeling on a bench beyond everyone else.  True, we could.  BUT we got even more soaked, as the bench had a huge puddle on it which we had to kneel in.  My trousers were plastered to my legs with the freezing cold, rotten egg-smelling water.  No matter though.  At least we weren't "about to fall in the water".   I got some great views of the whales, but it disturbed me that I was soaked through, frozen, couldn't hear what enyone was saying through my hood over the rushing wind, and people kept coming up to me, asking if I was the captain because I was "up high and wearing an orange coat".  Er...did you not notice half the rest of the passengers were wearing coats too?  It just depended on whether you were wearing thick waterproof coats already whether you got one or not!
Mum was bent over double (Still scared she was going to fall in) and people kept trying to give her tablets for sea sickness!  Um, I don't think that's the sickness you should be treating actually.
Eventually, we had to give up and go back downstairs, dripping wet.  Even the lining of my moonboots was soaked, and I made awful squelching sounds wherever I went.  David must have run into Wifey and started talking to her.  She tried speaking to Mum and I but I couldn't hear a word she said.  Even my ears were full of water!  And David kept mouthing "go away" at us.  Er...what's so private?  Still, we obeyed and went and walked away.  David then went in the toilet to try to empty some of the water out of his boots.
While he was in there, they announced that dolphins were playing in the waters outside, so Mum and I raced to a window to see if we could get a look at them.  But then David came out of the toilet, and yelled "What ya doing?  Get over 'ere!" at us.  Mum obeyed again, and I had to follow or else she would have gone crazy.  I still don't know why he called us.  But we never got a good view of the dolphins.  Only a shape which may or may not have been one.   Oh well.
Then we went back to our seat for the return journey.  But the German man had invited two of his friends to join him, so there weren't enough seats for us all.  Mum slid in by one of the windows, and I followed, then a man sat next to me crushing me between himself and Mum.  I started to feel increasingly seasick, something which has never happened to me in my life, and David kept coming and offering me food.  Why, thanks a lot...not!
Luckily, when the man next to me got up to go to the toilet, I could go for a walk and felt a little better, although I still kept hanging on to a sick bag the organisers of the trip kindly provided.   We bought a few postcards for people, although David stopped us getting enough for everybody as they were (*Gasp*) the equivalent of 70p
 I made it to dry land without vomiting, you'll be pleased to hear.  My parents then wanted to go shopping in Reyjavik, the idiots.  How did they propose to go shopping in (literally) dripping clothes?
We had to get back in the van (and soak the seats of the vehicle, as it was!) and get changed at the hotel.  Well, we would have got changed, but Mum had only taken one pair of trousers, so we had to wait an hour for her trousers and our boots to dry a little.
Then we rang for a taxi to take us into town.  The taxi cost the equivalent of about $30!  Still, there was no other way into town.  Svarta-Perlan of the MLP Arena has been going on and on about all the rare Alternate Birthflower Ponies she keeps finding in Iceland in a charity shop.  I know she lives in Reykjavik, but was away on a trip while we were there, so I got David to ask at the guesthouse about charity shops, and they told us they only knew of one.
First to the biggest shopping centre in all of Iceland - it has just over 70 shops.  It was nice to wander round and see all the prices in kroners.  Somehow it made it seem so much more real being in a foreign country.
But what we were really looking for was Lush, where we were supposed to be getting Emma the exclusive Icelandic products.  Well, we found the shop without asking anyone for directions!  For our standards, isn't that amazing?  But guess what?


It was the only shop in the entire mall to be CLOSED!
We asked a flower seller outside what was going on.  Was this their lunch break or something?  Nope.  Mysteriusly, nobody had shown up for work today!  WTH?
Well, we wandered around anyways, and I found some MLP tattoos in a little book shop.  Everything was SO expensive there.  There was a MLP game too.  Fortunately, I already had it - the "Balloon Race" one, in a tin with Wind Drifter.  Anybody remember it?  It cost about $60 there!
There was a souveneir shop there too, where Mum fell in love with some Icelandic troll figures.  Strangely, the very ones she had been calling "utter cr*p" the past two days.
We got one for ourselves, and one for Emma.  Mum liked a bigger model (one that was feeding some puffins), but David wouldn't get it as it cost about $40.  I said I'd buy it for Mum's birthday, but he wouldn't lend me the cash until we got back and I had no Icelandic money.
Once we'd finished in the mall, we went for a walk, in search of the charity shop.  After about half an hour, we found it!  It was massive, as far as I was concerned.  Although to most of you from Canada and the US, I would guess it was just like Value Village or something.  A big shop with aisles of second hand treasures, and mad people pushing shopping trolleys into each other, desperate to catch a bargain.
There was a big toy section, and half a shelf which was obviously specifically set aside for ponies.  I admit I broke into a trot at that point, seeing coloured plastic horses with nylon hair...  But when I finally did reach the shelf around a lot of bad tempered Icelandic bargain hunters, I found a lot of fakies, with just one real MLP - Wind Drifter.  Oh well, maybe not a Scandinavian exclusive, but she was in much better condition than my old one, so I got her anyway, for the equivalent of about $2.
Here is Pinkie Pie posing with her new friend at the guesthouse.


Next we had to get another expensive taxi downtown, to look for the other branch of Lush in Iceland.  And, yep, we found it...  I didn't take a photo.  It was just too wet outdoors by that point.  BUT the shop was there...in the form of a pile of smashed bricks.
Obviously they were building on the site.  So no success getting Emma anything from her favourite shop.  *Sighs*  We did get a packet of chocolate biscuits in a little shop there.  Do we get any points for that?
With no more money to waste on taxis, we walked all the way back to the guesthouse, stopping at a health food shop on the way where I was able to get the Icelandic version of my favourite Alpro soya drink.
And I think that was about it for Monday.  We all went to bed as soon as we got back.  My feet were too damp and painful to do anything else.
Actually, I lie!  We found the internet access that night, didn't we?  I remember writing a Myspace blog from there.  Yeah, just perfect.  Our last night and we finally found the computer.  And guess what?  It was in a lounge on the fourth floor just as I had thought.  Why do people never listen to me?!
THEN we went to bed.  After Mum had debated stealing a book on Iceland from the lounge, that is.  (Her honest side got the better of her in the end, and she left it there, by the way. )
However, we did end up stealing some other stuff from the guesthouse - by accident, might I add.  When we returned to England, we found both one of the guesthouse service books, and a do not disturb sign in our bags!  The suspected reason?  The coach showed up very early on Tuesday July 22nd, and we were left rushing around like lunatics in order to get everything packed into our cases.  I think they had come to pick us up early because of all the trouble on Sunday - they wanted us to have time to calm down before we picked up Wifey and the Suicide Bumbers.  So they got a nice surprise to see that the three of us had calmed down and were smiling for once in our lives.  Yep, we'd reached the final day of the holiday, and were finally being friendly towards each other.
It was going to be pretty much a wasted day anyway.  We were only going to the Blue Lagoon, and since Mum and I can't swim, and I couldn't strip down to a swimsuit (even if I had one) for obvious reasons, we just had to sit inside and watch the rest of the coach party bathing in the clear blue waters.  Just as well really, as Anna gave us a great long warning on how the waters would make our hair go "...a little strange...like, stiff.  Just put some of the conditioner they provide on, and it should be all right again in three or four days..."  Hmm...quite.
We went up to the viewing platform, and I took a few photos, while Mum commented on the fact that a little girl behind me was carrying a Make Me Better Rarity.  I saw her back in the airport - I believe she was going back to America.  It's nice to see ponies being loved by the younger generation again.


We sat in the cafe for a while, where I finally got some Skyr in a different flavour (vanilla), but we still couldn't have any Icelandic ice cream, because Mum still had a bad stomach ache.  There was a woman talking on a mobile phone there, and she had the most gorgeous Vancouver accent.  Kind of ironic, huh?  Go to Iceland and swoon over the accent of a Canadian tourist.
We watched a few people getting out of the hot water, and slipping over on the ice.  It was quite amusing actually.  Why would anybody in their right mind strip off and walk around in swimsuits in that weather?!
After a while, Wifey came in, and sat down in the cafe behind me.  Mum (who was sitting opposite me) started to giggle, and I asked her what was up.  "Wifey's found a friend - a woman who looks JUST like her!"  I turned around and, sure enough, Wifey was sitting opposite another old lady who could have been her twin!  Wifey's twin was talking politely, while Wifey sat drinking from a glass bottle, getting more and more drunk by the moment.  Eventually, Wifey's new friend managed to sidle out of her seat and walk quickly away.  Wifey put out a hand to call her back...and knocked the glass bottle on the floor.  It shattered, and the contents went everywhere!  Wifey's solution?  She simply got her COAT and mopped it up!  How crazy is that?
Mum and I were in fits by this point, and David was telling us to shut up, so we had to go in the gift shop.  Everything there was far too expensive though - $180 for a small bottle of hair conditioner!  We left David to buy a bath fizzing thing for Emma (much cheaper than the conditioner, but still more than you would expect to pay for such a thing!), and went outside to rush back to the coach, having realised our time was up.
Just then, Mum announced she was upset that I hadn't taken her picture, apologised for being so stupid and proud the past three days, and begged me to take a photo.
So, late as we were, I dashed to get a couple of pictures of her, and a couple of both of us together.  The pictures of the pair of us are AWFUL, and I refuse to show them here, but these are the ones I took of her.


Yes, I know the scenery is hardly the best.  In my defense, if only she had allowed me to take some photos before the last minute, maybe I could have done better.
Then back to the coach, and in turn the airport.  The tour guide and driver said goodbye to us, and David gave Anna a tip, which I could have sworn was an English £5 note.  I hope he didn't really make that mistake!  Mum was annoyed as Anna apparently didn't even smile at her.  I didn't notice.  Now the long queues to check our baggage in - no worries!  A helpful woman who worked there told us that we could check in via a computer monitor, which had all of our names recorded.  "Oh, splendid!  Good, really great!" Wifey, still a little drunk, cried.  She had to wait for her turn while the Suicide Bombers and ourselves checked in.
The Suicide Bombers were not registered though, at least not by the numbers on their cases.  "Hmm...what's your surname?"  Now for the moment you've all been waiting for.  They were not the Suicide Bombers in reality, were they?!  "Crumb." Mother Suicide Bomber said.  Again, Mum and I went into giggles.  Having been so proud and boastful about everything all weekend, she was speaking in a whisper now - she obviously hated her surname!  Oh, crumbs.
We still had our cheese sandwiches which we had made up at the hotel.  "Do you want them?" David said to Mum and I, practically eating them as he spoke.  Mum still had a stomach ache, and I wasn't really all that hungry, but I took both of mine, and she managed one of hers, just to annoy him.  He gulped down the second within moments, and threw the carrier bag in which they'd been wrapped in the bin.
Then we had to go through customs again - fortunately, all of our valuables got through just fine.  We had loads of time left before our flight came in, so we spent some time around the duty free and other airport stores.  David kept wandering off, and Mum kept panicking that we weren't going to find him in time.  Unfortunately, as you probably guessed, we did, and he is safe and sound in this house with us, as always.
Finally, we convinced him to get some souveneirs, such as postcards, chocolates and another of Mum's favourite trolls.  We spent so much time in the gift shop though that we suddenly found we were late for the plane, and had to run all the way there.  We were the last people to board, and only just made it!
This time Wifey sat opposite us, on the other side of the aisle, although she fell asleep within minutes of take off (surprise, surprise! ) and the Crumbs sat behind us.  The flight was pretty uneventful, with me trying to watch "27 Dresses" on the TV, and Mum keep interrupting to say "How much further?  Are we there yet?"
When we came in to land, she didn't want me to look out of the window (I had the window seat this time, by the way), because she wanted me to hold her hand!  Ew...her palms were all sweaty.  Why does she have to get SO scared on a three hour flight?!
We waited ages to collect our baggage at Heathrow, then David bought a Radio Times (of course, his first thought is television as ever) and rang Nick to come and collect us.  I'm still really grateful to Nick for being our chauffeur, and taking us right back to the car.
The kids were asleep by the time we got to Emma's house...well, some of them were. The others were settled down and too tired for us to really see them.
I don't think Emma really appreciated the souveneirs we brought her back.  The troll was described as ugly.  We gave her a quick run down of Iceland, and Mum got embarrassed that she had got more for her birthday than we had brought back for them from the trip.
She told Mum that she should go whale watching elsewhere in future.  "How about, like, Canada?"  Mum picked up on that and has been taunting me ever since.  Did I bribe Emma to say that?  Um...no.  Why the heck would I want to visit Vancouver with my parents, and have our constant quarrels mess up "my" place too?
Well, I guess that just about concludes our Icelandic Adventure.  You really don't want to know about our trip to Tesco, or coming back to this messy house, do you?  Nah, didn't think so.  Tomorrow I shall give you a run down of what has happened since Iceland.  Most of it isn't really all that pretty, but if you could bear all the arguments throughout this episode, I'm sure you can take what's to come!
Thanks so much for reading.  I hope you enjoyed the story.
Best wishes,
Desirée Skylark  xxx

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Icelandic Adventure ~ Part Four

Current mood:  depressed

We had to get up even earlier on Sunday July 20th, as we were being picked up for the coach tour at 8am.  This posed a problem as the official starting time for breakfast at the guesthouse was actually 8am, so we ended up asking for an early breakfast, which highly embarassed me.  Still, it meant we were in the breakfast room on our own, and we were able to sneak out some cheese sandwiches for Mum to take her tablets with later on.  We'd thoroughly learned our lesson re. food the previous day!
Then we set out on the coach.  As we raced along the road, Anna pointed out that there was a great view of Eyjafjallajokull, one of the main glaciers in Iceland.  So they pulled up at the side of the road, and let us all get out to take a photo.  Mum sent David after me to "make sure I crossed the road without getting run over". So she was the only one who stayed on the bus in the end.  I think I actually could have got a better picture from the coach.  My photography skills are awful.


Our first "real" stop was at a small shop where we were supposed to be able to get some food, since they'd dragged us all out of our hotels before breakfast officially started.  Wifey and the Suicide Bombers got some meat from the cafe there, while we got some very expensive Kit Kat bars, and I got a pot of the wonderful Skyr yoghurt, this time banana flavoured.  I told David it was a waste of money as it would go off before I got a chance to eat it, but he wouldn't listen.  No way was I trying to eat it there though, after the chip saga of the previous night.  Mum walked all the way around the souveneir shop, looking for something for Emma and family, but found nothing.  There were some fakie MLPs in Icelandic packets, and I really wish I'd got one now, but David kept ahold of all the money all the time, so I had no independence whatsoever, and I hate asking people to lend me cash.
Our first proper sightseeing stop was at Skogafoss, another famous waterfall.  There's an old tale that a man hid his treasures behind the fall, but nobody has ever been able to recover more than a handle from the supposed "treasure chest".  Mum was more interested in the fulmars that were flying around the huge waterfall.  While she was looking at them, I opened my pot of Skyr, but discovered it had already turned to slop. 
I was so annoyed about my Skyr turning nasty before I'd got the chance to try it, and Mum was so busy watching her fulmars, we didn't notice that David had disappeared around the corner!


"Oh my God, he's fallen in!" Mum cried, distraught.  "Don't be ridiculous!" I replied, still staring at my ruined Skyr.  Suddenly, David popped out from around the corner and walked back towards us.  David told Mum off for being so silly, and she told David off for scaring her.  I also told David off for wasting money on the Skyr, when I had told him it would be ruined.  So he told me off for not eating it at the other place, when I know I wouldn't have got it finished before we had to get back on the coach, and took the pot of slop off of me to try and find a rubbish bin in the middle of a field.  Fun, huh?  Especially when we were being called back to the coach.
I think David took the slop back on board with him, but I'm not sure where he disposed of it in the end.
Next to Myrdalsjokull glacier.  The ice there is black, due to lava from the nearby volcano, so Mum thought it looked more like mud than ice.  "What a letdown!"
To get there we had to travel down a long trail, with massive hills.  The coach groaned, and spooked even me.  "Oh, bloomin' heck!" Mum cried. "I didn't know we were going on a bl**dy rollercoaster!"  Even Wifey had to look up from showing David her map and laugh at that one!
I took loads of pictures of the glacier, but here are just a few choice shots from our hike across Myrdalsjokull:


And just a couple of funny shots of us "on the surface of the moon", as Mum decided it did indeed look once she cheered up a little.
David shows us a piece of ice:


I stand wearing my sunglasses, looking even more of a fool than usual:


And finally, my parents demonstrate moonwalking...


And, with that image, I shall leave you all alone and get off to bed.  I promise to get this report completed tomorrow.  There is so much more still to say!
Thank you for reading the long story so far,
*~♥~*Desirée Skylark*~♥~*

The Icelandic Adventure ~ Part Three

Current mood:  disgusted

Right, that's it.  I officially give up.
Sorry for the delay in posting this blog.  I really wanted to include some audio files, including the song of the day, and some recordings of our tour guide, Anna, in Iceland.  But it would appear Putfile is never going to work again on this computer, so it looks as though my blog will go back to being mute.  Oh well...
For thos who want to hear Anna's Icelandic accent, just drop me a line, and I'll send you a little via e-mail.
Now, back to the report, starting with us waking up on Saturday July 19th, Mum's birthday.  I got up before Mum and went in the bathroom to wash in the pure cold water.  When I came out of the bathroom, Mum was awake and sitting up in her bed so, despite what she is telling everyone now (*Cough*Emma*Cough*), the first thing I said to her was "Happy Birthday!"  I felt awful that I hadn't been able to get her so much as a card, as I haven't been able to walk around the shops on my own since May 16th, and I had thought I'd get out again after that.
So this is why she's telling everyone that she was "forgotten".   We also had a discussion about how she should carry a cardboard sign with her age on it for a photograph each birthday if she intends to go somewhere every year from now on.  She was laughing about it though, as she hates having her picture taken.
We went to breakfast at the guesthouse, and were pleasantly surprised to find they served up something other than just fish, as Mum had made us all fear.  I was even able to get a normal bowl of cornflakes!  Most people had the delicious Skyr yoghurt on their cereal instead of milk, but I didn't fancy trying that...  Yoghurt is a dessert to my mind, really, even if it is scrumptious!
The coach arrived at 10am, and after picking up Wifey and the Suicide Bombers, we travelled to Thingvellir for a guided walk.  It was extremely hot in Reykjavik.  Yes, it was HOT in Iceland - another surprise!  And, of course, it was much hotter on the coach.  Anna NEVER stopped speaking all the way.  As soon as she stopped talking to us in English, she started distracting the driver in Icelandic!  With a combination of the heat, her voice droning on in front of us...not to mention the fact I'd only had five hours sleep the night before, I must admit I started to snooze.  I struggled to stay awake, but it was near impossible.  Mum was angry.  "You're making a point about how bored you are, and not looking out of the window!" She claimed.  "You could at least make an effort to be good company - this is my birthday treat, you know?!"
Luckily, I managed to wake myself up by the time we arrived in Thingvellir, and could get out of the coach without staggering too much.  David joined a massive queue of Japanese tourists in order to use a lavatory, and Mum got even more annoyed.  "YOU go to sleep, and HE goes to the toilet!" She ranted.  "And this place is disappointing anyway - it looks just like England.  It's cr*p!"
I don't think it looked like England.  It was beautiful there!  We missed a lot of the talk Anna gave by the time David got out of the public services, but I still managed to get some pretty good photos, so hopefully they at least give you a taster of the place...


We walked along a scenic path, where Mum cheered up, because she saw some redwings up close.  However, by the time we had followed them and watched for a while, Anna and our fellow Jules Verne Voyagers were well ahead, meaning that by the time we had caught up, we'd missed yet more of the talk.  Oh well, I don't think much was said about Thingvellir anyway - Anna and Michelle Suicide Bomber were too busy talking about Michelle's son, Michael Suicide Bomber, and how they had just thrown a coin into this beautiful stream...


...despite the fact there was a sign which specifically told them not to do so.  Their wish?  Oh, it was time for the bragging session to begin, don't you know?  "We don't need to throw a coin in for good luck, because he'll succeed anyway, but I bet you wished for good grades for your graduation, didn't you, Mike?  You're going to university soon, aren't you, Mike?"  "Oh, really?" Anna said, politely.  "So you're 19?"  "No, 18...he'll be 19 soon, won't you, Mike?" Michelle answered for her son.  The conversation continued with Michelle telling everyone how many GCSE's her son had, and exactly what subjects he was studying.  I had to feel sorry for Mike; he couldn't get a word in edgeways!  (Must be careful what I write though - I notice he has a profile page here on Myspace, so knowing my luck he's probably reading every word of this, set to get me in trouble!)
Next on to the geysirs at Strokkur. 

It was really windy, and my hair was getting in my eyes, so I couldn't see all that much.  I really need to get my hair cut, but I got in trouble for mentioning it there.  "Stop worrying about what you look like all the time!" Mum ranted at me.  Um, I was actually worrying about the fact I couldn't see the geysirs!
We were all allowed to test the temperature of the water of an old inactive geysir first, which was pretty amazing.  In the middle of that cold windy land, the water was piping hot!


Then we walked over to the active one, and watched it spout several times.  I took a photograph of Pinkie Pie with it, but there's no photo of me because I looked such a mess in the wind.  There's also no picture of Mum (I thought) for the same reason, but that's something to keep in mind to fully understand this story.  Anyhow, this is a photo of the geysir mid-spout:


I knew Mum was in a bad mood, but at that point, I had no idea what about.  Once we got back on the coach, she started moaning at me for "taking so many pictures of a bl**dy pony" (two photos), which had "stopped her getting in the gift shop for very long, or buying anything in the cafe".  Well, first of all, the photos were taken long before we were called back to the coach, and secondly, we DID get in the gift shop, which only sold woolly jumpers (which Mum knew Emma and her family wouldn't want - basically, she was panicking that she hadn't got them anything, after Nick had driven us to the airport), AND look at the menu at the cafe.  None of the food was vegetarian though.
Then on to the waterfall, Gullfoss, where we stopped for "long enough to get something to eat and go for a beautiful walk by the waterfall".  Problem: There was no vegetarian food there, either.  We walked around the gift shop, but Mum denoted everything as "utter cheap and nasty cr*p"...although it wasn't actually very cheap.  Everything is ridiculously expensive in Iceland.  We're talking $10 for a small bar of chocolate!
The three of us went to sit down outside the shop until Anna came to collect us for the guided walk.  David announced that he had left his blood pressure tablets behind ("due to all her whining", don't you know?!  It has since turned out he didn't actually HAVE any blood pressure tablets at home to bring!), and scared Mum to death, then he had to go to the toilet again though, so just Mum and I were sitting there.  We'd had a falling out and were sitting opposite ends of a bench and not talking.  The reason?  Mum now announced that she had wanted her photo taken by the geysir!  So why didn't you say that before?!  I offered to take her photo everywhere after that, but "the geysir was her favourite thing, and she had more pride than to have her picture taken now that she'd had to ask!", she sulked.  Just then, Anna appeared out of the blue and sat opposite us, asking us why we weren't eating.  Mum explained that we were vegetarians.  "I'm sure they do fish in there - they always have salmon!" Anna said.  Er...we're VEGEtarian, not PESCEtarian.  That means we don't eat fish or meat of any kind.
We told her this politely, and she said she'd go in and ask for a salad for us if we wanted.  (Just perfect for Mum's teeth, I'm sure!  Speaking of which, she hadn't been able to have her antibiotics due to lack of food...)  Fortunately, we were saved by the bell, as David appeared from nowhere, and we all went to walk down to the waterfall alone.
It was stunning, but Mum's response was that it was "seriously underwhelming".  I don't get it.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and we saw the gorgeous rainbow which only appears there in the best of weathers, but still she was unimpressed.  It's smaller than she imagined - only 105 ft in height!


And a close-up of the rainbow...


We walked along the path you can see in the above photos, in order to get a better look at the waterfall.  Mum was still unmoved by the spectacular views though...


At a certain point there was a high step in the rock, and she couldn't get any further, so we had to stop before we got to the very top.
Then back to the coach again.  I offered to take Mum's photo in front of the waterfall, but as you know, her pride wouldn't allow that.  Gathered back at the coach, "Wifey" began asking her what she thought of it, and telling her how wonderful she thought it was, in as many positive words as she could think of.  Mum bit her tongue, which surprised me.  Usually, she'd come straight out and say how much she hated something if she did!
Apart from the geysirs, Mum really wanted to see the volcano, Kerid.  Then Anna announced that we were unable to visit it, as coaches had been banned just seventeen days before.  So instead we had to fill the time going to random other places on the way back to the various hotels and guesthouses.  First, "another bl**dy waterfall", Faxi, which Mum thought looked exactly the same as Gullfoss, despite the fact it's much smaller, and the water is clear.
It's not very well known, in the sense of telling people where you've been, which is Mum's main hobby, but still a very pretty sight.


We also popped into a small church, but I can't remember the name of it, I'm afraid.  There were some great stained glass windows there though.


I did take some pictures, but now they're refusing to upload, so I guess that's my computer ordering me to stop writing this blog.  But there's still one last place to mention - Hveragerdi, a special greenhouse where the Icelandic people grow such exotic fruits as bananas.  They usually don't eat them though, they just like to prove that they can grow these things there.  This was another place Mum wanted to see...but we were dropped off for a mere twenty minutes.  Still starving, we went into the cafe, where they were serving up the infamous Icelandic ice cream Mum had been dying to try.  But she won't eat ice cream on an empty stomach, so we had to order some chips.  YES, we actually found some chips!  They cost about $16 though, but we were too hungry to care by this point. 
We sat down and waited to be served, but it was about ten minutes before they actually brought them to our table.  We knew that the coach would be leaving soon, so we sat and gulped them down as fast as we could, giving ourselves awful stomach ache.  And still, about halfway through, Anna came storming through the cafe, having spotted us, and cried, "Ah, you found something to eat!" She paused.  "...But I'm afraid it's time to go now." That was the point at which Mum decided she hated her.  Not only had she not got to see Hveragerdi, she hadn't got an ice cream or even finished her chips.  She was not about to waste her $16 chips though, so she got David to help her scoop them all into an empty carrier bag to eat when she got back to the guesthouse!!!!
There wasn't really much else to say after that - we returned to the guesthouse, where Mum ate her cold, hard chips.  She was annoyed that she couldn't find the free internet access, which was supposed to be available there.  I figured out from the book the guesthouse provided on their services that it was in the lounge on the fourth floor, but of course I wasn't allowed upstairs on my own to look, and Mum "wasn't going to go on the off chance".  Instead she moaned, "Why did I come here?  It hasn't felt like my birthday anyway, and I took myself away from the only two people in the world who can make me happy - Emma and Jill."  (My sister and Mum's family history e-friend, of course).  Well, that's so sweet, isn't it?  I don't make her happy, but they do.  Bleh.
Anyways, enough moaning.  I'm going to switch the computer off and go and have some dinner now, then I'll write another blog tonight when the computer has had a rest, and I can hopefully upload photos again.
I've had some very bad news regarding the house today, so I really want to get this Iceland report done, and have a little rant about that too.  So sorry if any of this has seemed a little "off".  I expect you're all sick of hearing about my weekend away anyways.
Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx