Thursday, 19 July 2018

Inflatable fun

I'm a Barbie, (not a blow up doll) but I'm a big kid so when I got the chance to go on this last year I jumped at the chance - literally!

A 1k inflatable assault course! It was much harder going than I expected though, some of the obstacles were truly difficult (I admit I had to pass on one that was just too slippy)  I didn't fare too badly though in reality, a chap behind me seemed overly impressed with my ability to roll which made me feel a bit better when I managed to get to the end - breathless and knackered.

I'm definitely not ready for Ninja Warrior quite yet though!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Holiday watching

I'm on holiday.  Due to a poorly cat I can't go away at the moment so I'm spending a couple of weeks at home.  I've played a lot of computer games and watched dodgy daytime TV. 

I'm fussy about TV (although sometimes it might not seem that way!) I don't watch any soaps or stuff like that and I have a hatred for most reality TV.  I say most because there are a few shows that I enjoy - Masterchef and shows of that type of format can be quite entertaining.  Mostly because I like seeing disasters.

Like this one of obliterated sugar work just before judging...
Bake Off Professionals disaster

Because I don't want to watch This Morning or other daytime talk shows I'm often found browsing the documentary channels.  That basically means I have watched every episode of Ancient Aliens, every Stonehenge or Egyptology documentary and a decades worth of Time Team.  

Over the last couple of weeks I've spotted a 'new' show (new to me - there are several seasons!) called Forged in Fire.  It is that familiar Masterchef format but what amused me most was the sheer abundance of beards.  Honestly, have a look through, it seems to be part of the entry criteria (until you spot that there are a couple of ladies in some of the seasons so they must have loosened the rules for them)  I might watch some of it, I do like weapons and the stuff they make looks quite cool from the 5 minutes I've watched so far.  I will also be giving the contestants additional points for beard/facial hair and styling though....Lets see if the same ones win ;)

Monday, 16 July 2018

Barbie undergoes renovation

So a few years ago I moved.  I'm still in the same place but due to some unbelievable luck it really doesn't look like it.

It started badly, we received notice from our landlord to move out in 6 weeks...that's quite a challenge if you haven't planned but it is do-able, although the housing market in this area moves very fast.  We took it as a good thing as we had problems with our neighbours etc and started the frantic search for somewhere else to live.

A couple of weeks into looking - already after several viewings and lots of disappointment - the 'new owners' of the property had come over...the flat had been sold to a housing association.  They didn't hesitate to offer us the option to stay (or move to  another one of their properties).  I used to work with social housing so I understood that they would never allow us to move to another property of an equivalent size - we are just a couple living in a 3 bed flat after all - so we opted to stay where we were (thank you sitting-tenant rights!) and have the place refurbished around us. 

To give a little background, the building is an old tenement which had been listed a few years ago and was in desperate need of work.  The took it back to the very shell of the building.  Not a single room or part of the flat was left much. dust.  It was a great amount of upheaval and almost a year of workmen coming in every day for different things.  We lived in the bedroom for at least a week!

But is was worth it..

On top of getting an almost entirely new flat they also let us choose the colour of the paint in each room...not sure they expected the front room! (There's not a drop of magnolia in the whole place)

It was Christmas....I'm not allowed to keep the lights up all year :(
Thankfully now the work from the housing association is completed on the inside - we still have some new floors to put down ourselves but that's a work in progress.  The outside of the building is covered in scaffold whilst they fix the roof..Not idea quite how long that will last - one day I will be able to see out the (new) windows properly again!

(and I've been wondering why I haven't had time to post!?!)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Twisted Barbie: Karaoke Queen

I love singing.  It was my ambition to be fully professional when I was younger.  Unfortunately it didn't quite work out how my young brain had planned so the best I managed was a few support gigs and some local pubs - I still love to sing though. 

The only opportunity I get now is at Karaoke.  It's a marmite pastime, some love it some hate it, but thankfully I have a few local friends and a world full of fellow ninjas who also love it!  I occasionally drag along poor Mr B, who seems to enjoy the atmosphere but wouldn't get up to sing if I held him at gunpoint!  He claims to not be able to sing...I know differently, but to get any better he actually needs to do it more often!

Everywhere I go there seems to be karaoke arranged...
Ninjas in Berlin

Dentists in Hong Kong
Proof the Mr B does come along!

The home of Karaoke...

Proof that I do get up too!
One of the things that I enjoy about it most is the look of surprise on the face of people who don't know I sing.   I must have a terrible speaking voice as people do seem awfully shocked! The group in Hong Kong are even demanding my return simply so they can get me on the mic again...maybe I shouldn't give up on that dream after all...

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

2018. What happened?

Wow.  It's July in 2018 already.  Holy Cow! Where has the time gone? 

In short, I've been working. Mostly, and that doesn't really give me much to say (that I can say on the open web without getting my ass fired anyway!). 

Part of my work is a great deal of fun, I get to travel to cool and exciting places - we will get to that later - but it is also dreadfully boring on the day to day for anyone not involved so it spawns less posts (and takes up my time). 

So, since my trip to Japan, where have I been?  New Delhi, Chennai, Fuertaventura, Berlin(twice), London, Dublin, a second trip to Chennai, and Hong Kong...Phew! now I'm out of breath, that's some miles!

My family have given up on trying to work out where I am at any one time and a friend recently called and his first question was to ask if I was in Scotland...I have lived in Scotland for 13 years but he thought he should check first before driving the 500 or so miles to come see me.  

As you could guess I have tonnes of photos from all of these locations - except Berlin - Here's a whistle-stop tour...

The only two photos(publishable!) I have from two trips to Berlin...
Danish training buddies in Berlin

The Berlin Wall - it is there, honestly!

Henna hand

Love my does it go on again?

Big palace (it has a Name, I just can't remember!)

Dolphins from below

My new little friend

Hong Kong 
Glass bottomed cable car

Dancing lions

Hong Kong at night

See? that's a lot of travel...

I know I promise to start posting again at some point soon, maybe 2018 is the year for it huh?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Barbies Big Adventure: Godan Test

So as I mentioned, for quite a few years now I have studied a martial art.  I love it.  I can't explain why, or how it makes me feel but I really do love it. 

 I recently had the amazing opportunity to go to Japan and train.  It was my first trip over and I was excited, nervous and honestly a little apprehensive.  It was a bucket-list type of trip for me, one I've dreamed of since I started at 17.  My teacher was there for the first few days, he showed me where all the important places were and made sure I was generally settled in. 

This trip gave me the opportunity to take my godan test.  It is one of the few formal tests within the organisation and is the only way to obtain a 5th dan grade. The test itself involves being struck with - or dodging if you're doing it right - a padded sword that is being swung at you from behind.  I arrived on the Friday and made my first attempt that evening.  I think I was too amazed at simply being there to be nervous or as scared of performing badly as I was before my trip.  I and thought that failing would kill my confidence, but surprisingly, when I got hit I was okay about it. Apart from the burning line on my head!...The next day when I finally got up (my teacher had taken us all out and we didn't get home until the early hours of the morning) I realised that I needed to fail on that first attempt.  It taught me the most valuable lesson - what I was supposed to be feeling.

At the Sunday class I tried again, this time knowing what I was looking for and I passed straight away.  I can't tell you what happened, it's honestly a complete blur, all I know was that I knelt, I moved when I felt I should, then there was a shout, some clapping and people congratulating me.

The rest of the trip I attended a large number of training sessions, often getting made to show techniques in front of the class by the teacher as the newest 5th dan in the dojo.  That bit was mortifying but everyone was very nice - I know I looked petrified.  Not as much as I did on the following Friday when the grand master himself pointed at me during class and beckoned me to punch.  I know I looked terrified because people told me so afterwards...but I did it and survived to tell the tale!  Students of my grade wouldn't normally be selected for that so I feel extremely honoured, I'm probably more proud of that experience than I am of getting my grade!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Barbie bucket-list trip ahoy!

We all have a bucket-list, not necessarily a physical one but a list of those things you would love to day....well recently I fulfilled one of my items on this imaginary list and went to Japan.  It wasn't really for what most people would consider a holiday, I didn't do very many(or really any) of the standard tourist type activities because I was there for one reason.  Martial Arts. One in particular, that I have been training in for more years than I usually like to admit to (it makes me feel both old and like I should be better at it by now!)

So, I took a trip to what a friend described from my holiday photos as the ass end of Japan - not meant in a bad way but when you mention a trip to Japan people automatically imagine the bright lights of downtown Tokyo - I stayed mostly in a shopping district and travelled daily to small villages that often contained not much more that a few shops, houses and a dojo.  I have a fair number of photos but I spent quite a lot of time with Hiromi who is a selfie-obsessive so I also have lots of photos that look like this...

I have another post coming soon so I can ramble specifically about the martial art bit but here is the flavour of Japan as I saw it...
Dolls for Girls Day

buildings near Mabashi

Cute little box cars

Purple bunned idea why!

If you're going to groom dogs why not in a window?

Noda shrine

From what appeared to be the pork only restaurant - after some discussions with the waitress!

Typical breakfast in my hotel

"view" from my room, this summed up the oddity of Japan, the big highrises with the little shrine nestled between
More posts will follow about this trip...if only to make me stop talking about it constantly!