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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Roll Up Roll Up, Let's All Join The Circus!

I bet nobody realised that back home in our unsuspecting office in Pembrokeshire, Activity Wales and sister company Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire were hiding away some of Wales' most talented members of society.

I kid you not, make way for your favourite, old familiar circus tricks with a twist, as I bring you the few exceptions to our sophisticated team behind Activity Wales and Coastal, 'The Welsh Wonders', Sarah W, Linda, Alison and the man who cannot be named as he is simply far too famous to mention and his secret identity simply cannot be revealed for security purposes. I do believe he considers his identity to be as precious as The Stig on Top Gear, though he does refuse to dress up in a silly white get up as it does not justify his manly physique. You know who you are.

Let us first turn our attention to our valued older member of the team Linda, aka 'Lady Dog'. Pretty much does as it says on the tin, in her spare time Lady Dog is keen to impress by learning a number of dog tricks, to name but a few, giving her paw, playing the 'paw' guitar, and 'barking' to her favourite tune, 'Who let the Dogs Out' by the Baha Men. The irony of the story is, that Lady Dog is taught by none other then her very own pooch Peggy Sue.

Peeping in to be revealed secondly is shall we say, our middle of the road member of the team Alison, aka 'Hopping Biscuit.' Hopping Biscuit enjoys nothing more than munching on one of her favourite biccie's, an orange tangy Jaffa Cake whilst hopping on one leg. I am guessing as Hopping biscuit is right handed, that asking her to hop on her left leg is probably the funniest and most entertaining. This circus phenomenon may sound a little simple, but please feel free to try it, not as simple as it first sounded is it?!

To have a little break from the wondrous talents for a second, a researched the meaning of the word Circus for us all to understand and appreciate the true meaning.

'The word (circus) also describes the performance that they give, which is usually a series of acts that are choreographed to music.'

How interesting. So I thought I would add a little spice to their individual stories, and enhance their expertise ever so slightly and assign a song for each person, to suit each character and reflect their abilities.

For the two I have already mentioned, I thought that I just had to stick to 'Who Let the Dogs Out' for Linda, and considered the 'Fast Food Song' by the Fast Food Rockers for Hopping Biscuit? You know, to keep it food related, 'A Pizza Hut a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut, McDonald's...' yes I shall stop there.

So to carry on, I shall now reveal the sensation of Sarah W, aka 'Flaming Hot Monster Munch'. Now, Monster Munch (for short) has not only one tremendous talent up her sleeve but two. Firstly, one morning when the birds were chirping and the sun was shining, Monster Munch was practicing her amazing abilities of being able to juggle better than any Clown you would have ever seen. I can so confidently assure you that that Monster is simply greater than any clown because Monster Munch finds no need to use boring tools such as juggling balls. Oh no, Monster can juggle any food on the plate, with her speciality being that in the shape of a baseball, an orange and a banana ladies and gentleman!

Secondly, Flaming Hot Monster Munch practices her next gift religiously every morning before work, revealing her true dedication to her circus trick talent, in the shape of 'Flaming Zambuca'. I really should only touch on this trick lightly as it is only something a few of us (over 18) can relate to and requires a a strong minded individual to pull this trick off professionally. Please do not try this at home and leave it to our expert Flaming Hot Monster Munch. It really is an art and Monster is so close to perfecting it. Good Luck!
With the recent re-launch of Take That, I felt 'Relight My Fire' most appropriate, I hope you all agree.

Last but by no means least, the man who cannot be named, aka 'Rocket Boy.' I am pretty sure at this point your cogs are turning and you can put two and two together on this one. But for those who may not have yet realised, Rocket Boy is the unlucky one that is placed comfortably in a cannon (with a pillow of course), before shooting into space returning with a sore bottom, frazzled hair and steaming ears. It is a tough job but someone just has to do it, and Rocket Boy during the fair allocation of tricks, drew the short straw fair and square. On a more positive note, I do believe that Rocket Boy has been assigned the best song yet, 'Space Cowboy' by the one and only Jamiroquai.

And yes, I do have a valid reason for blabbering on yet again about random happenings, and it is all to do with a brand new provider with us at Activity Wales Inhouse Entertainments. Based in Swansea, Inhouse Entertainments offer two different types of events, both Experience and Team Building Days.

So if you fancy yourself as the next 'Rocket Boy' or 'Hopping Biscuit' then please do take a look at our brand spanking new provider who could get you on the road to Circus Tick amazement ready to entertain the whole family over Christmas dinner!

I would just like to pop a little note at the bottom here in appreciation of all members of the team mentioned above, that kindly provided their circus secrets to myself to share with you all in good gesture. Thank you and keep up the good work!

Monday, 10 November 2008

All is to now be Revealed...

Well here I am live and kicking with a few suspicious bruises on my feet and toes. I bet you are all now thinking that I am going to start revealing some kind of hilarious story about how I got them, but sorry to disappoint, I haven't got a clue!
I am sure that you are all on the edge of your seats whether at work, school or at home awaiting my revelation of my secret weekend, so I best crack on and start typing!

It all started on a crisp Friday Morning, the sun was slightly shining, the kettle boiled and excitement rife. I presented Martin with a spotty brown box tied with a pretty pink bow and dangling ribbon. He still didn't have a clue where I was whisking him off to, only that he best make sure that he packed his wetsuit and a nice warm jacket.

Not being one with a great sense of direction, I managed to direct him as far as Carew roundabout (about 5 minutes drive from my house) then I went blank and thought it was best he pulled over in a lay by, find out where we were going and let him fathom the way to go!

Drum roll please...cue voice over guy to reveal...Llangollen, North Wales!

If any of you have ever been to visit Llangollen, you would have witnessed the outstanding beauty of the mountainous surroundings in which it possesses, or are aware of it being host to the popular International Music Eisteddfod each year.

As I have previously mentioned in my 'Autumn is in the Air...Soon' entry, I love the Autumn season, full of golden yellows and burnt oranges, racy reds, chocolate browns and falling leaves. Llangollen appeared to have been flushed with riots of colour all around and was extremely attractive, especially looking out over the Dee valley from the famous Horseshoe Pass.

The main reason for taking a road trip to Llangollen in particular, was not only the superb countryside and humble nature of the people who live there, but to experience the refreshing chill of the River Dee with a spot of White Water Rafting. It was quite surprising how much attention the River was still recieving at this crisp time if the year from locals and visitors alike, whether it be making the most of the Autumn photo oppurtunities, Kayaking, Rafting or Survival Courses on offer.
We were booked to partake in the White Water Rafting on the Saturday morning, and so having arrived at around 16.00 on the Friday, we felt a shower, a few drinks and a hot meal was called for to brace ourselves for the action to follow the next morning.
It was really funny actually because the same weekend that I had decided to go away, my Nan and Grandad had booked for a leisurely holiday too, just down the road!

I had booked for The Wild Pheasant Hotel with Champagne on arrival (I know get me hey!), and my Nan and Grandad had booked themselves into The Chainbridge Hotel only a stones throw from us! It was hilarious as I didn't tell them that we were going and so we just had to surprise them. Thier faces were a picture when we knocked on their room, I do hope they weren't disapointed that we interrupted them watching Countdown!

Anyway, that evening we ordered a Taxi into town, an absolute bargain at a mere £3.00! In chatting with the lady driver we discovered that Gales Wine Bar in town was rather interesting for a large glass of wine and some tasty grub. Taking her kind advice, we headed there and discovered what a pleasant, quaint little place it really was. The roaring fire was blazing and we enjoyed a warm bowl of Autumn Vegetable soup and a large helping of White Wine.

Wake up, rise and shine to a slightly grey, rainy morning, perfect for tumbling down the river in an inflatable raft!
Again only two minutes away from The Wild Pheasant is home to JJ Canoeing and Rafting (White Water Active) alongside the magnificent River Dee. We were pleasantly greeted by all, where we were to declare any medical conditions that they should be made aware of before we got kitted up in our wetsuits, helmets, waterproof jacket and buoyancy aid, all kindly provided by the centre for all participants.

Once kitted up and rearing to go we recieved an introduction by our leader Josh, in how to best handle the raft and paddle, sit down and how best to store your feet! Maybe my enthusiasm for stuffing my feet as hard as I could down the side of the raft was the cause of the strange bruises on my feet, just a thought!

I tell you something though, you really have to be careful swinging your paddle around. Josh was saying how a fellow colleague of his was 'accidently' caught on the receiving end of a flying t-piece, resulting in a broken jaw! Ouch.

Heading for the River, we carried our raft together and plonked it into the water, jumping on and taking our positions. I think Mart and I had drawn the short straw at the beginning opting for the front of the raft, but I reckon it was the best place to be myself, staring the adrenalin square in the face. We did though at times swap around so everyone was able to enjoy the thrill of the front and have a refreshing wash every now and again!

It really was so much fun, 'surfing' in the swell and capsizing. Yes, that is correct, the raft decided to turn upside down with us all underneath. Personally, I don't think it was my fault for eagerly grabbing onto the rope concluding with the raft turning upside down, but everybody seemed to be glaring at me as we scrambled to the bank, so I took the hint!! Clearly, at all times you have your qualified instructor on board with you, and a number of guys floating around in Kayaks to ensure your safety.

I was rather glad of one guy in the Kayak as he saved me from drifting down stream at one point. I thought I was on my way to waving to my Nan and Grandad in the window of The Chainbridge half way up the River! What a scream.
There we all were, out of the raft, laying down in the water one by one and allowing ourselves to let the current take us slightly downsteam, through the wash and then swimming safely to the bank. But no, not Natalie. I started off as supposed, until I realised that my bum was a little to low in the River and discovered the shape of a rather large stone hidden under the water. As I bumped the stone, I automatically reacted by grabbing my sore spot with my hand, resulting in me forgetting to hold my nose as I went under the water with the swish, getting a mouthful of water and missing my cue to start swimming. I thought something was wrong when Martin looked the size of an ant, waving his arms frantically for me to start swimming, I thought I was! I failed to grab the rope that was practically handed to me on a plate in front of my nose and was still floating along enjoying the scenery.

But just when I thought my knight in shining armour had forgotten me, I looked up and paddling towards me in a brightly coloured Kayak was he. I took hold of the handle on the front of the Kayak, hooked my legs around and off I went to find my feet on the bank. Phew. For a second I thought a croc was going to slyly appear from behind the rock like they did with Jack Osbourne! But fear not, I don't think Llangollen has got anything scarier than a black sheep or two.

I really do recommend this experience to everyone and anyone. I'm sure there was a little fella of around 12 years old having a bash, so what are you waiting for?! Okay, it may be a little chilly and the wetsuit may reveal a few unwanted lumps and bumps, but the joy and laughter out weighs them all. Trust me.

Through Activity Wales we are able to book White Water Rafting in either North or South Wales, along with accommodation such as The Wild Pheasant or Chainbridge Hotel to tie up your weekend activity package. Please feel free to give myself a call to discuss my individual White Water Rafting experience as I would be delighted to share my story with you over the phone. I have probably told it about a million times over now, but never mind, to me it never gets old!!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

My Last Day...

Today is my last day.

Now I know what you all are thinking, that I am leaving the team at Activity Wales and fleeing to America to pursue a successful singing career led by the super gentlemen that is Simon Cowell. But, do not worry, panic or shed a tear, as you are wrong, and I am only off for the weekend to a secret destination.

The reason for it being secret and therefore why I cannot identify the location, is due to me being a terrific partner and whisking Martin off for his 30Th birthday celebrations, and that he is likely to read this at some point before we leave. As I have managed to keep this to myself and a very additional few others since the end of August, I would find it rather devastating if I gave the game away now. I must simply keep my trap shut and stay tight lipped for a little while longer, which for those who know me and work with me daily appreciate how hard this has been for me.

So, why am I pointlessly writing and telling you all something that I cannot tell you? Well I'm not to sure really.

I guess it's because I will be able to share mine and Martin's birthday experience with you all on my return, and believe me there will be story to report!

I will now leave you pondering in a puddle of thoughts to whether we are going Quad Biking in Dulais Valley, having Helicopter Lessons at Whizzard, or joining Jack Osbourne in the Sahara Desert for this weeks episode with Josh Hartnett. I know I'd be hoping for the latter!

This is now Natalie signing off for the weekend, and fear not I will be back in the very near future with stupid stories, the revelation of my secret location and amazing activities to experience in Wales!