Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Escapism and Ukeleles - Why KC wants to go to Hawaii

Boys and girls of the internet, I have a cold. My brain is all fuzzed up from a combination of horrible gooey coldy stuff and as much medication as I can safely take, and I suspect any attempts to string a sensible sentence together may fall sadly flat. So I've enlisted the help of my much perkier boyfriend to tell you about his upcoming holiday hopes! The poor chap doesn't usually get much of a look-in when it comes to making holiday plans but - particularly after our most recent big-coat-weather-and-bunk-bed-accommodation trip to Bruges - his dreams of sunrises, beaches and mansions in Hawaii seem pretty darn appealing!

I'll hand you over...

Photo credit goes to Kerry who was lucky enough to visit Kauai on her honeymoon!
  Hello everyone. It’s a delight and pleasure to be able to write a few words here at Let’s Go Somewhere Nice! By quick way of introduction – Kel is my better half and you may have heard me referred to as “KC” on this site previously. I go lots of places with Kel but I’m often quite shy so you may not have seen my face on here before! 

   (When I say “shy”, what I mean is that I’m usually too busy taking my own photographs of birds and wildlife whilst Kel does the important task of actually documenting our trips with the kids. If the photography was left to me, there’d be no pictures of the two young ‘uns growing up, but lots of excellent close-ups of the Wall Lizards of Malta and the massive cranes of Bruges).

   As you can tell by this quick intro, I don’t think it’d be unfair to call me a nerd. Aside from wildlife photography, my other hobbies include watching wrestling (I’m 35), painstakingly creating spreadsheets for my fantasy football team, and committing myself to seeing far too many movies. I don’t think it would surprise you, at this point, to let you know that I once did an MA in film in my spare time and tried to progress to a PhD whilst working 40 hours a week too. Sadly, I’m on infinite sabbatical from my comparative research on North and South Korean post-war cinema. Such a shame for the academic world, I’m sure you’ll agree!

    The reason I’ve run through all of this is that, I think you’ll have noticed, all of my interests and hobbies have one thing in common: escapism. How can I find room in my brain to worry about adulthood when my entire mind is focused on getting the perfect close-up shot of a cow (my favourite animal), or if I’m cheering on Kevin Owens to lay the Smackdown on Shane McMahon in a WWE ring, or if I find myself transported to far away worlds by the magic of cinema?

    It’s the latter of these, though, which feels closest to micro-holidays. Whilst I’m fortunate enough to actually travel to a fair few places each year (and have found the tranquillity of Iceland and remote Scotland as my favourites so far), cinema gives me the chance to dream of places I’ve never so far had the opportunity to set foot in. Whilst I’ll never get the opportunity to travel back in time to Bogart’s Casablanca, and Florin (in The Princess Bride) proves something of a handicap by being fictitious, there’s quite a fair few places that the silver screen has inspired me to get to.

   Having previously mentioned “remote Scotland”, one of my favourite places in the world is Pennan – AKA the place they shot Local Hero. If you haven’t seen this absolute classic, I insist you stop reading this piece now and track down a copy. Back? It’s pure joy and wonder isn’t it? Getting the chance to visit this summer (thanks Kel!) was one of my favourite days and has made me thirsty for similar opportunities. I’ve stood next to the legendary phone box in Scotland – but where next?

   A part of me was once always tempted to visit Pyongyang (the North Korean capital) after becoming enchanted by watching more communist propaganda movies than one healthy man ever should, but those plans are probably no more for at least a little while. The splendour of Paektu (the mountain in which all Korean people have, by fable, originated from) is something I will have to forgo at least until the feud between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump dies down somewhat. So, instead, where could I head which is both inviting, safe, and inspired by the movies?

   The answer came to me during the trailers preceding James Franco’s hilarious and touching The Disaster Artist. The preview advertisements included a short spot for Alexander Payne’s forthcoming Downsizing – a fascinating looking movie starring Matt Damon. Yet, it wasn’t this film itself which provided inspiration of where I’d like to head to next. It was, instead, the fact that seeing Alexander Payne’s name jogged my memory – I was delighted to recall how much I’ve enjoyed each of his previous films (from Citizen Ruth and Election onwards) but, as the first drops of snow fell, it was one of his more recent efforts that stuck in my mind: The Descendants.

Photo is Kerry's again - check out her Instagram for more luscious travel shots!
   As Bradford turns dark and glum over the winter months, there’s few places I’d rather be than the languid, tropical climate of Honolulu, Hawaii which gives Payne’s film its setting. I don’t think Kel would argue too much, either, to the idea of being stuck on the island with George Clooney. In December, the amount of natural light West Yorkshire gets is minimal – a fact which is bound to effect SAD in even the most stoic of us. I can only dream of watching the sun rise and set in Honolulu, and how calm the surroundings must be as night turns into day and vice versa. For context, as I write this one evening, my typing is sound-tracked not by waves crashing against the shore, or the stereotypical twangs of a ukulele but, rather, two dogs fighting one another as my neighbours blare out UB40 at an ungodly volume.

    Why else, would I like to be in Hawaii then? I’m more of a day-dreamer than a surfer, but the sprawling beaches would give me the chance to do either. There’s the chance to soak up history (another hobby of mine) at Pearl Harbour or hike by Diamond Head. Perhaps, best of all, there’s the chance to soak up a whole new array of wildlife – I’m giddy even imagining the type of birds I could spot. As snow softly falls in dull and grey Bradford, I’ve begun to dream once more of a holiday away. If we go, though, I’ll trust Kel to take the pictures of our actual holiday – I’d be too busy snapping Hawaiian honeycreepers, Palilas and crows. I did mention, I think, that I’m a bit of a nerd?
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Friday, 1 December 2017

November Happenings, December Plans

I know I've been complaining all year that time is running away from me too quickly, but that's never more true than when Christmas is approaching! 

I think I'm nearly at a place (at home at least, work is a very different kettle of fish!) where I can start to kick back and enjoy it all a little but November has seen a lot of packing away and tidying up of miscellaneous stuff, so I can get the house clear enough to get 'Christmas' down from the loft! I know it wouldt be such an arduous task if I didn't let it all spiral out of control throughout the year, so I have no one to blame but myself - but it seems this annual tidy-up is now almost as big a Christmas tradition as Home Alone and Chocolate Oranges.

I have managed to fit in a couple of bits and pieces alongside all the tidying though! I mentioned last month that a couple of us had a big karate tournament coming up, so the first half of the month was spent in extra training sessions whenever possible. Sadly we came home medal-less on this occasion but 'twas a grand day out and I'm sura all the extra practice will do us the world of good! 
 

That didn't leave us with a lot of time for adventuring in early November, but we did manage a sneaky trip over to Bruges towards the end of the month! It's surprisingly easy to take a quick trip from the Yorkshire (overnight ferry!) and it's not only such a pretty place to visit but it always feels very Christmassy!

I also managed an actual evening out too - Simone and I were invited over to the Lush store in Leeds to chek out their new Christmassy bits and learn about the latest addition to their spa treatment offerings! Lush always put on the nicest blogger events, and I always end up leaving with a strong determination to fully move into their spa! 


And while I've not moved in yet, this is related to one of the thigns I'm very much looking forward to in December - I finally got myself booked in for a Lush spa treatment, woooo! I received a voucher for their signature treatment, Synaesthesia, last Christmas and it's taken nearly a year to gey myself organsied enough to book it in, so I'm thrilled to actually be going soon!

Apart from that, everything is going Christmas crazy! We have the house to decorate, santa to visit, pantomime to see, and christmas parties aplenty - and thats before the day itself! (Hopefully I can find time for some shopping!) Our Christmas Day usually consists of a painfully early morning and too much food - pretty much standard! I can't wait for a nice break from work too, as we shut down from Christmas Eve 'til the New Year, and the idea of some nice quiet family time away from the spreadsheets sounds like all I want for Christmas! 

Please tell me I'm not the only one that has loads to do still! What does your December look like? Any fun Christmassy tradtitions or activities you've got planned?
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