The Haunted House

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Anniversary and Birthday In Rhodes

This year for my birthday and wedding anniversary we decided to go on a cheap break to the Greek island of Rhodes. We set off Saturday afternoon and went to Nottingham East-Midlands airport and dropped our car at the Prestige secure carpark company, more on these people later. We checked in and waited in the bar for our flight. We arrived at out hotel about 4 in the morning, so went straight to bed as we was knackered.

The hotel was really nice. We went half board so the breakfast and dinner was included and the food was pretty good, and pretty similar to most buffets we have seen at other hotels. The only slight downside to the hotel was that it was directly under the flight path for Rhodes Airport, but after the 1st day you get used to the planes going over, so it wasn't too bad. We wasn't planning on doing that many excursions and trips on this holiday, just mainly relaxing by the pool. On Tuesday we decided to get a cab into the main Rhodes town and have a look around.

The town is split into 2 sections, the old and new towns. The new town area has a lot designer shops and standard shops you would expect to see in the UK, like Marks and Spencers, and BHS. We looked around here first as we was told that a lot of the shops in the new town closed at 2 for an afternoon break. Once we had finished here we went to the old town.

The old town is separated by city walls. We started off by walking around the inside of the wall area which was a nice walk, and then headed into the markets inside. There were lots of colorful stalls selling everything from herbs and spices to cheap plastic flip flops.

The place was quite busy but no one hassled you to go into their shops like they do in Turkey, so you could have a more relaxed walk around without any pressure to buy a load of crap you don't want/need :-)

Once we had finished looking around the old town we went for lunch and then a walk down by the marina. Docked at the marina were some huge cruise ships.

Once we had finished in town we got a cab back to the hotel and sat by the pool. My birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary was on 20th September, the Wednesday. We spent this by the pool relaxing with a few glasses of beer and archers and lemonade for Amanda. It was ideal. The only trip we booked was a boat trip around some of the bays of Rhodes. We did this on the Thursday.

We got picked up at 7.40am by coach and was driven to the marina in Rhodes town were we joined our boat for the day, the 'Kaptain Mike'. Unfortunately only Me and Amanda plus 4 other people were British and the rest were German, so the guide only spoke in German, but we wasn't really that bothered. You don't need an English guide to sit in the sun and jump into the sea.

After a couple of swim stops we dropped anchor near a beach and we was all transferred to shore in a speed boat. The captain must have packed about 20 people into this boat at a time, I'm surprised it didn't sink. As I tried to get on the boat it suddenly moved and I nearly fell in the water backwards, but luckily a burly German chap grabbed hold of me and helped me keep my balance. :-) Was still pretty embarrassing though!!

After lunch we went back to the boat and did another couple of swim stops. The rest of the holiday we stayed in/near the hotel and just relaxed, so nothing really that interesting to write about. We left for home Saturday evening about 11pm. Because we booked the hotel ourselves, separately from a tour company we had to transfer ourselves to the airport by taxi. Once we got there we checked in and waited for our flight which didn't leave until 1.50am!!!

We arrived back at 4am UK time and went to get the car from the secure parking company. When we got there we was pretty pissed off with what we found. The car had been valeted which we payed for, but one of the hub caps was missing and the rear view mirror had been detached from the windscreen. We was absolutely livid, and the dimwits working there at that time were not very helpful. One of them even tried reattaching the mirror with double sided sticky tape. We have to complain on Monday and get them to pay for the fixes plus get a refund. So in my opinion if you are traveling from Nottingham East-Midlands airport and have a car, don't use Prestige parking they are bloody useless. And considering the car was supposed to be parked on their site, the mile counter had gone up by 6 miles also. We need to get an explanation for that too!! So a bit of a pants ending for really good holiday.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Live From Leeds

On Saturday Me and Amanda went to Leeds for the Robbie Williams Close Encounters concert. Amanda has been a Robbie fan since Take That were around years ago, so she was quite excited about seeing him live again. We left the house at 12 and drove up to Leeds. It only took about and hour and half to get to Leeds, but once we turned off the motorway the traffic slowed to a crawl. It took us over an hour to go just 1 mile.

Once we had parked, we phoned our friends, Sharon, Mark and Sharon's sister Cheryl as they were going to the gig too. They were already in the arena so we walked around to the main gate and started the impossible task of trying to find them. This involved lots phone calls and waving arms around. There were probably already 50,000 people in the arena at this point, so you can imagine how hard it was to find them. The gig had a capacity for 90,000 people, and the tickets had sold out.

This concert is the first concert to be broadcast in High Definition and it went out live on Sky as well as 26 other countries. Not bad!!. We had a long wait for the first support act to come on. Unfortunately it was too difficult to sit down due to the amount of people, so we had to stand. The first band Orson, didn't start until 6pm. Orson were pretty good, nothing special, but they played some good songs. They were only on stage for 30 minutes.

The second band on stage were Basement Jaxx, and they were amazing. I was looking forward to these, probably a little more than than the main act :-). I didn't think Amanda would like Basement Jaxx, but she seems quite content dancing away.

Luckily Basement Jaxx were on for nearly an hour unlike Orson. I personally think Orson were there to test the speakers for the Jaxx and Mr Williams. lol

Once Basement Jaxx finished we had a 40 minute wait whilst the stage was prepared for Robbie Williams. 5 minutes before he came on stage, the director made an annoucement reminding everyone the concert was being broadcast to half the world and to make a lot of noise, and 90,000 people all shouting certainly makes a right din. 70,000 of those must have been women :-)

The concert started to the tune from Close Encounters, and then following lots of firework, and fire, Mr Williams popped up from the middle of the stage and all hell broke loose as he started the first track. The lighting , and screen rigs on the stage were phenomenal, a lot of effort had obviously been put into the design. But I'm a geek and am impressed by that sort of thing. :-)

The concert went on for 2 hours, and I must say it was rather good. I'm not really a Robbie Williams Fan, unlike Amanda, but he does know how to put on a good show. Once the concert ended, there was the mad crush to try and get out of the arena and back to the car park. It took us about 45 minutes to get back to the car, and then a couple of hours trying to get out of the car park. The traffic getting out of Leeds was terrible as you could quite imagine. We didn't get back home until gone 3 in the morning. But never mind, We got to have a lie in on Sunday.

The concert was repeated on Sky 2 on Sunday night, so we decided to watch it. It was interesting to see how different the concert looked on TV compared to seeing it live. Naturally, seeing it live was an order of magnitude better than TV. I would like to see the High Def version but we haven't got a High Def TV. Amanda, can we get a HD TV? ;-)


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Angela and Johns Wedding.

This weekend we went up to Gateshead for Angela and Johns wedding. Both Me and Amanda had roles to play in the wedding. Amanda was one of the Bridesmaids, and I had volenteered to take the photos for the day.

I left work at 4pm on Friday and met Amanda in Derby and we drove straight up to the hotel. We got there about 8pm and checked into our rooms before going to dinner. We had a fairly early night as we had to be up at 6am to get ready and have breakfast before being picked up by Amanda's mum, Anne, to go to the hairdressers. Seeing as I was taking photos for the day, I also went to the hair dressors to get pictures of them getting ready.

All the bridesmaids and Angela's hair were done by about 9.30. After that we went to Angela's house so they could all put on their makeup and dresses. After hanging around with them all for a good 3 or 4 hours, I feel I know a little too much about makeup than I really should.

Angela and John were using their own cars to go to the church. They are both mad on cars and their cars are there pride and joy. One of the cars was parked in the back driveway covered up to protect from the rain.

At 12, Barry came around and picked me up and we headed off to the church, so I could get photos of Angela arriving. When at the church I started getting pictures of the guests and John waiting. Unfortunately it rained quite hard all through the day which made getting the photos harder.

Angela arrived at the church just after 1 and I was there to get pictures of here. It was still chucking it down, and I got soaked, but I got some good pictures.

I had all the groups photos planned out beforehand. I was supposed to do them outside the church near the side wall, but because it was raining so hard we couldn't really go out there. So I had to do the smaller groups in the church and the larger groups back at the hotel. Wedding photography is really stressfull, I certainly would never want to do it as a job. I was worried that doing some of the photos in the church wouldn't look that good with the flash, but luckily the photos came out very well. Phew!! :-)

When we got to the hotel, I went into the reception room with Angela and John to get pictures of them pretending to cut the cake. I thought It would be best to get these pictures early as when they go to cut the cake for real, there would be loads of people crowding around trying to take pictures. The cake was really cool. On top of it, there was 2 cars and a bride and groom made out of icing. I did say they were mad on their cars :-)

Before the meal I completed the rest of the larger group shots in the hotel. This went well, we kept people in the bar area, I and called out the people needed for each photo as and when they were needed. This stopped over crowding.

Angela and John wanted some photos of them infront of their cars. We couldn't do them earlier on in the day because it was raining too hard, but after the reception meal, the rain stopped for a bit, so we rushed outside to get the cars moved into position. I got loads of photos here, a sample of which you can see above.

After these photos had been done we went back into the reception to hear the speeches. Once these were done we had some free time to chill out before the evening reception. I took this time to go back to the room and backup all the photos taken so far on my laptop. I stored them on 2 different hard drives, and burnt 2 dvd's for saftey. Probably a bit over cautios, but I had to erase the memory card for the evening, so wanted to be safe.

The evening party started about 7.30. There was a disco in the main hall, and by the bar there was a chocolate fountain with lots of sweets and fruit you could dip into the chocolate. This thing was brilliant. Pure belgium chocolate. I liked this with the strawberries and turkish delight.

For their wedding present Me and Amanda are putting together a nice wedding album of photos from the day. In total we took nearly 800 pictures, and we now need to go through the pictures and decide which ones are to go in the album. This will probaly be fairly time consuming, but will look great when done. I have included a few sneak peeks in this article.