Member of the Magic Circle

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There’s a Dress, a Magician and a Florist

We have a dress! Or rather Vicky has chosen a dress. I know nothing more about it other than it’s from Wedding Belles of Otley. I also know that the bridesmaids’ dresses are 2-tone pink. I’ve seen some cloth swatches and some pictures of flower bouquets and they look a really good match. As for sorting out my own attire, I must admit, I’ve done zip about that. There’s still loads of time! (Famous last words)

The magician is sorted. We met him at the Devonshire Arms to discuss what we were looking for. It’s bread-and-butter stuff to him. He showed us a couple of tricks and I could work out how one of them could be done; I just couldn’t see him doing it!

The guest list is pretty much there too. I don’t think(!) we’ve forgotten anyone . Now all we have to do is work out where people are going to sit. We had thought of just assigning people to tables and letting them place themselves but we’re mulling that over some more.

Sorting out the evening music (which is one of the things people will really remember) is proving more difficult than it really should be. Three Men and a Bass have been recommended to us but getting a dialogue started with them is like pulling teeth. We’ve given them a deadline so we’ll see what happens.

We met with our preferred florist yesterday. The deal with the Devonshire Arms includes table centre pieces but the room itself will need some inspired decorating as it’s a very bland space; it could be used for anything from a board meeting to a funeral service without too much effort. Susie loves it simply because, as a result of its sterileness, the scope of how it could be decorated is wide open.  Also, you’ve got to hand it to her; her dedication is unquestionable!  She met with us even though her 3rd baby was due any day now.

It’s ages away but it won’t be long in coming!

There are two phrases I keep hearing of late. The first is “oh it’s ages away yet!” and then in almost the same breath “It won’t be long in coming!”. How is it possible that both these statements are true at the same time? Still things are moving along quite nicely.

We’ve been to the local registrar’s office and given notice of marriage. The “individual interviews” were far from private. Anyone in the waiting room could hear the questions asked and the answers given. Including those put to the other couple who were there for the same reason. He was a fleet manager and she got his birthday wrong. Oopps!

We’re organising a buffet the night before the wedding for people who will have travelled a long way. It’ll be a very informal thing, just a “thanks for coming!” kinda thing. We’ve got an appointment at our local hotel to sort out that menu, etc.

Organising an appointment with the magician is proving a little difficult. The date & times we suggest don’t suit him and vice versa.

There’s still the music side of things to sort out and neither of us has done anything about wedding attire yet. Still lots to do!

Sorting out bits and bobs

There’s not really been much progress of late. Other things have distracted us both from doing very much. So the To-Do list looks something like this at the moment…

1) select music for during the ceremony – I know that Vicky’s given this some thought as there are some wedding music CDs knocking about;

2) find a (jazz?) band for night do – we have listened to some samples online and we’re waiting to hear back from 1 enquiring e-mail;

3) sort out some kind of entertainment (magician?) for wedding breakfast – there will be quite a few kids at the wedding breakfast and rather than them getting bored during the speeches, we’re going to distract them in some other way;

4) contact the florist and room dresser about the colour scheme – I’ve always said that I was getting married in a kilt and so this is waiting on me finding a tartan. I’ve got 1 in mind; I just need to make a final decision. I haven’t told the best man that 1 yet. I’m not sure how that’ll go down.

Playa de Las Americas – Tenerife

After a long, difficult year ( the reasons are many and varied ), I needed a break away from everyone and everything! Saying that I settled for Tenerife seems a little unfair. After doing some research on the internet, it seemed quite a popular destination in the winter months. Having been there, I can see why. I booked 7 nights in Playa de las Americas with MyTravel. Flying from Newcastle Airport takes approximately 4 hours. Confirm your check-in times with this company. They will probably tell you when the check-in desks open, not close. I made the mistake of not doing this, turned up at the airport at some ridiculous hour of the morning then had to wait around for ages.

Arriving at Aeropuerto Reina Sofia was hassle free except that the travel reps for MyTravel didn’t exactly stand out. I wasn’t expecting a neon sign or anything but I was expecting a clipboard held aloft at least. I finally found their desk in the arrival area and got the transfer information I needed there. The transfer from the airport only takes 20 minutes so it’s really easy to get to.

Even in mid-November, the temperature reaches upto the mid-20 degrees Celsius so always have your sun cream handy and especially when you first arrive. There are numerous information points dotted around the resorts. Throughout the holiday, I never saw a temperature reading less than 18 degrees Celsius and that includes at night. Even on the beach front where there always seems to be a noticeable onshore breeze, it’s warm enough for a short sleeved shirt. During the day, what seems to happen is that early morning cloud is quickly burned off by the sun and stays clear for most of the day. Occasionally, it can become dull during the day but more so in the late afternoon and without the direct heat of the sun, it can feel a bit chilly.

I chose the Hotel Bitacora which has a 4-star rating. The rooms are comfortable but I found the bed too hard to be really comfortable for me. The en-suite bathroom was small for the number of people the room could sleep but very practical. There is a safe available in the room but using it is extra depending on your reservation. For a VIP stay, the 12 euro deposit is refundable. The hotel complex is clean and comfortable with 2 heated swimming pools, loads of sun loungers and a games area. There are loads of free activities everyday from 11 o’clock, for example, water aerobics, pistol and rifle shooting, french boules.

The food in the hotel is excellent with quite a varied selection of foods available, both each evening and throughout the week. It’s self-service from the buffet-style counters but it does give you a chance to see the food before you choose. The waiters/waitreses wear a different style every night but it didn’t seem to have any bearing on what type of food was being served. From 10pm each evening, there’s a show of some kind in the bar; a singer, a magician, acrobatics.

Another of the hotel’s facilities is massage. Someone rear-ended me in a car accident in July and I’d been having physiotherapy treatment to ease back pain. During the flight, it had flared up again and no amount of swimming would ease it. Instead of the gentle back rub I’d expected, it felt more like a half-hearted beating that I agreed to. However, to give the guy his due, 2 half hour sessions was all it took to fix me up. Even if you’ve no particular complaints, give it a try. I promise that you’ll feel much better afterwards.

The shopping in Tenerife is fantastic. You can get everything from cameras and perfume to designer clothes far cheaper than in the UK. Late night shopping means exactly that. Some places are open until midnight. I bought an SLR camera lens for about 100 quid less than the UK. It even comes with a European guarantee which is important if you’re buying electronics or some kind of technology.

There are numerous excursions available whilst on holidaying. I chose whale watching with Freebird Sailing and a visit to Loro Parque. To be honest, the whale watching excursion could do with being better organised. It seems very popular but my impression of the Freebird crew is that their clients are a necessary evil for them to enjoy themselves sailing a posh catamaran. On the up-side, standing on the bow, watching a pilot whale swim right underneath me and then surface to breath is quite moving. I’d certainly recommend the trip but maybe not with Freebird. Diametrically, the trip to Loro Parque is fantastic if you’re into getting up and close to exotic animals. For me, it was another brilliant photo opportunity, especially the sea lion and dolphin shows. My only criticism would be that the excursion doesn’t allow for enough time at the park.