Tag Archives: Winter

A New Year, A New Start (Coming Soon)

Howdy folks,
So we’ve been back from the UK for a week now and I am already counting down the days until summer! I thought the nosebleeds due to the dry air were bad enough (after using my hands to stem the flow while hurrying to the bathroom, I now know what I’d look like if I feasted straight from the flesh of a warm animal corpse. Haunting, I tell you, very haunting…also sort of badass), but then we drove home and were greeted by snow, freezing temperatures and horrible road conditions. Thanks Minnesota for that lovely welcome, we missed you too. Yep, after almost three weeks of a moderate English winter where the worst we experienced was a few blustery days that caused us to entertain the idea of wearing a second layer, we really needed that reality check the first day back in the US. The worst part is that the weather we have now isn’t even that bad. Oh the joys of living in the north.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! Although the celebratory closing of 2016 was rather uneventful for us (sadly I was too ill and too miserable to go anywhere), we had a wonderful time visiting my homeland.  Seeing family and old friends after over two years was awesome. Although we didn’t explore as much as we perhaps could have, Vanna and I did what we set out to do – visit as many people as possible. And on top of that, we did have a fantastic experience in Edinburgh near the end of our trip too. Saying goodbye again wasn’t much fun, of course, and the flight home was fairly arduous (not to mention the horribly abrupt return to work and responsibilities)…but it was all worth it. I don’t regret a single moment. Except for my decision not to bring more food with us. I do regret buying only the two boxes of wine gums. They did not last long at all.
Other than that, it was a truly great holiday. BUT, as much as I would like to tell you about everything we did, there isn’t actually that much to share other than our aforementioned trip to the Scottish capital, so I’ll spare you the details (what really can I say? We went and saw my family, ate British food, watched British TV and went to a few places that I’ve already blogged about before, such as Seaham and Hardwick Hall. Interesting to us, but to you? Not so much). Regarding Edinburgh, however that story will be uploaded soon; I’m still waiting on the pictures (Vanna went overboard) but I should be posting sometime within the next week. Our day in Edinburgh was the tourist/blog highlight to the trip, so please come back for that.
Beyond that, both Vanna and I are really focused on getting back to normal life. Her studies are going well, my work is fine (actually attended our Christmas party last night) and I’m slowly finding a balance to my waking hours. I mentioned in my last post about my goals for the future, including a minimum monthly post on the blog, and I still intend to achieve that goal. It probably wont result in the blog reaching the dizzying heights it had back when I had the freedom to post almost daily, but I think it will benefit me, and if there is one thing I’m good at, it’s doing things that benefit me.
And on that wonderful note, I’ll end this post. Only a quick announcement I know, but I have three weeks of no Xboxing to catch up with. And there will be pictures and more coming soon, so I reckon I can get away with a 600 word catch up.
All the best guys,

Birthday Blues

So people, where was my anonymous gift yesterday? I was expecting a nice card with a thick wad of cash in it, but nothing arrived. I’m very disappointed in you all. Very disappointed.


It was an okay birthday in the end. Vanna’s still struggling with the wisdom teeth removal (I’m glad I didn’t need to do it…very, very painful) and spent most of the day in a drug coma, so that really kiboshed (is that the word?) our plans. We’d already decided to postpone our meal out until next week because, well, I wouldn’t enjoy it much if Vanna was stuck on soft foods while I’m feasting on whatever. So we just hung around at Becky’s instead, which was fine by me. Especially today, we’re going back for lobster! I’m looking forward to that. Never had it before but hopefully I will like it. Vanna made muffins this morning too, so I’m counting it as Birthday part 2. Two days of not having to do anything? I’m not going to complain.

And that’s not all! As well as some money from family, a shaver from Vanna (I think she’s trying to tell me something…), a fishing license from Becky (I’m going to better the Northern Vanna caught, just you wait), I also got a $25 Amazon gift card from Mandy…which lasted approximately ten minutes. Soon as I got home I was on my laptop. I’ve been waiting for months to get another Light This City (I might write an open letter to Laura Nichols [LTC’s singer], because I find it incredibly depressing that LTC broke up for her and another band mate to make a lame punk group that fail to utilize her lyrics or her voice) album so I got that, and an EP by a power/melodic death metal band called Unleash The Archers (here’s a link if you want to check them out). I’m excited to listen to them, though I accept it might be a while…Vanna isn’t a fan of either. Too busy listening to Lorde these days…pfft.

Mind you, I might not have to wait long as we’ve got another weekend trip, starting tomorrow! This time we’re heading south to the cities, to watch the state dance competition. We head off early Friday morning (like 5.am early…how romantic) and we plan to stay overnight in a hotel. I’m not sure what time I’ll be back on Saturday (or if it’ll be Saturday at all), but I’ll try to at least blog on Sunday. Otherwise I’ll let you know how it goes on Monday. Hopefully with pictures, but no guarantees (movement isn’t the easiest thing to capture). Perhaps you guys can use that time to put my birthday present together, eh? I’ll accept it late…I’m not fussy.


Right, I better go. Muffins are calling me.

Speak to you later,








Bemidji Pictures

So Vanna and I had a good time in Bemidji. We saw her friends, had a look around, took some pictures…nothing special but we’re glad we went. Here’s a brief run-through of our three days in the “First City On The Mississippi” (even the cops have it on their cars so it must be true).


Got up early and started the journey north. Took us a couple of hours, so I entertained myself by taking pictures. You can see them here if you haven’t already. If you really love roads it is worth checking out. Just saying.


Once we got to Bemidji we met up with our friend Sharissa, and she took us out to lunch at an Irish pub. It seemed fairly authentic to me. I had a “Messy Molly” which is a vegetarian sloppy joe sandwich. Was rather nice.

Later on we headed back to Sharissa’s place and chilled out with some wine. I watched State Of Emergency, a very impressive zombie apocalypse film which I must admit I enjoyed more than The Walking Dead and, for a better comparison, World War Z.  No well-known actors (at least not to me), but it was very, very good.

*I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi films on Netflix lately, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by most. I’ll try to review them all soon*


Spent the day with Vanna’s friend Liss and her room-mates. My accent got some attention, but other than that it was a relaxing time (I am very self-conscious about my accent here, especially when we’re buying things or in the presence of strangers).


Thanks to a missed text, our plans to watch Sharissa at a dance show fell through. Instead we hung around her house until she came back (oh, and I watched my football team win 3-0 which was nice…Chelsea are top of the league now), and then headed out. We spent a few hours in downtown Bemidji checking out the shops, before finishing up by Lake Bemidji and the big statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe.

Naturally, I took pictures. Enjoy!

The view from Sharissa’s driveway
Where Sharissa’s car got stuck
Looks like we’ll be walking on the road then
Sharissa and Vanna
Downtown Bemidji is a happening place
The Bemidji council (or whatever they call themselves) commissioned local artists to brighten up every street corner. Pretty cool, huh?

There’s me for a size comparison

And that was about all we had time for. It was getting cold and dark (my hands were numb and the pictures were blurry), and as Vanna and I had an early start on Sunday, we went back to Sharissa’s. Once we’d packed up and had a quick nap, we then said our goodbyes and left.

As I said at the beginning of this blog post, nothing amazing happened while we in Bemidji (no fireworks or big parties for example), but that’s not what we made the trip for; we came to see our friends and that is exactly what we did. And I saw Bemidji for the first time too. So it was successful weekend as far as I’m concerned.

Back to the present, and nothing much is happening. Vanna is still suffering from her wisdom teeth removal despite the concoction of drugs she is on, so she’s sleeping the pain off, while I’m waiting for the football to start at 2pm (8pm back home). Very exciting…

Speak to you later,


P.S Ah yeah, it’s my 22nd birthday tomorrow. So if you all want to pitch in and get me something…it would be appreciated. Doesn’t have to be anything special…I’m happy with anything. Preferably cash, but uh, I’ll let you decide.


The Drive Up To Bemidji…In Pictures!



A few notes:

Vanna’s dental surgery (wisdom teeth removal) went fine. She’s feeling it now though and it’s very painful, so I didn’t want to spend too long on this. The story of our time in Bemidji will follow later.

These pictures are from a new photobucket account. That makes it 2 blogs and 2 photobuckets. Bah, uploading pictures is getting harder to do. So slow!

Above, there are a lot of pictures of almost identical road scenes. You may be wondering why. The truth is…I really like the roads here, all right? I can’t stop taking pictures of it. I even deleted 20 pictures of other sections before I uploaded. I just can’t help myself.


Hope you enjoyed the photos.


Heading North

On Thursday, Vanna and I will be leaving the Brainerd Lakes area for a weekend trip to Bemidji (the first city on the Mississippi according to their website). The main purpose of our visit is to see a couple of Vanna’s friends who are studying at Bemidji University, but I’m hoping this trip will also give me an opportunity to explore the area. Though Vanna has been there before, I’ve never ventured beyond Duluth so I’m excited to see what Bemidji is like.

As the beautifully drawn red line shows, I have not yet left the Brainerd – Twin Cities – Duluth triangle during my time in Minnesota.

It would probably be nicer if it wasn’t winter (the further north you get, the colder it is…man, just when I was getting used to weather that was warmer than -20c!) but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless. I’ll be bringing my camera and plenty of batteries for sure. My laptop too, though that will be more for the Chelsea game on the Saturday morning than for blogging purposes…sorry but no doubt there will be plenty uploaded on my return!).

Anyway, that’s what we will be up to later this week. Nothing else going on really, other than work. Well, I say work as if it is both of us, but of course it is just Vanna putting in a shift. Just, as I usually tag along with her, I like to pretend it is my work too…even though I just sit on the chair and watch T.V (I occasionally play games on my laptop to, you know, vary it up). But hey, someone’s got to nothing while everyone else grafts, right?






Ice Fishing Pictures (Story To Follow!)

Here are some pictures from Saturday’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza. I couldn’t take many because of the cold (more on that later) but I tried my best (Vanna helped on the way out). I’ll tell you the full story about what happened yesterday on Monday; I’m a bit of a hurry this morning/early afternoon and have to go…well now.

Enjoy the pictures (there are more here, if you want to see more of the event…alas, they didn’t include any of us).

Oh, and I probably should add that we didn’t win a truck, or even an ATV. We didn’t get on the leaderboard (top 150 catches) at all, so no prizes for us. Why didn’t we? Well…mostly because we didn’t manage to catch a fish.


Ahem. I’ll, uh, explain later.


Before the Event:

Getting started:

Time For Home:

Hereeeeeeeeeeeeee’s ALEX!

It’s getting colder, folks. It has been -20C lately (I’m finding Fahrenheit so annoying; it’s all they use here and there is no logical way to convert it…come on America, switch to a normal scale please), which is probably the coldest temperature I’ve endured in my life. Well, it is the coldest that I can remember. We don’t really do negative in the UK. It was big news last week because some parts of the country had frost. And here? It has snowed two feet and nobody has blinked. Can’t say that would have ever happened at home.

For the most part, the snow/cold hasn’t bothered me. I wrap up warm…no big deal. What has bothered me is the staying indoors business. We don’t have the gas to go anywhere and there is nowhere we can walk to (and I don’t think a jaunt outside is really encouraged when it is like this), so we’ve spent a lot of time in the house. This shouldn’t be an issue – I can spend a full week at home without opening the door – but it is driving me mad. After a few hours I get angsty (or is it antsy? I don’t know…I’m too wound up to think!) and pace from room to room. Is this the beginning of Cabin Fever? Most definitely. I haven’t looked it up, but I reckon I’m only a day or two away from attacking Vanna like Jack Torrance from The Shining. I don’t have an axe, but we don’t have any doors either, so it could easily happen.

Fortunately, Vanna has a solution that doesn’t involve murder. Tomorrow we’re going to compete in the Ice Fishing Extravangza; the World’s Biggest (here’s an article about it from the Daily Mail! Famous!) Ice Fishing Event that takes place every January every year in Brainerd, Minnesota. Over 20,000 people turn up to Gull Lake, make themselves a hole and then sit by it for three hours hoping to catch a fish big enough to win them one of the 150 prizes on offer. Vanna and I aren’t entering individually, but we’ll be keeping Becky, who is partaking, company. Maybe we’ll be lucky for her. Who knows?

There are many positives to going to the Extravangza (not sure that is the official name as I didn’t read that article, but I’m going to assume it is): it’ll cure my growing cabin fever, it’ll be a good experience, good blogging material AND we might even win something! There are a few downsides, however. Firstly, I have to get up at 7am. Secondly, and more importantly, it is going to be hellishly cold on Gull Lake. Like, seriously cold. I don’t know what it will be in the proper temperature scale, but even I can recognize -25F (with dangerous wind chill) is bad. Especially when we have no cover (that’s against the rules!) and we’re going to be out there for at least 7 hours (3 hours to fish, 4 hours to prep). Urgh. I’m going to wrap up warm but if I don’t make it back…it was nice knowing you guys.

*wipes away a solitary tear*

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes (providing I get back and I still have my fingers) on Sunday’s blog. Wish us luck (I want an ATV…or maybe the 1st prize truck)!


P.S Apologies again for not blogging yesterday. I was hoping to take some pictures but that didn’t happen. I’ll try to take some today instead and upload them tomorrow before I leave (what is with all these early starts? Ridiculous). Otherwise I’ll be back on Sunday with Ice Fishing news.