Sunday, July 30, 2006

Back in Montreal and off to the beach

Flew back in on Saturday afternoon, after a really smooth and suprisingly short trip home, it was time to focus on being back here again after having such an amazing time back home.

So what better way to enjoy the weather here but to head to the beach in the middle of the race track. It cost $7.50 CAD (£3.53 GBP) to get in and it seems like a strange place to put a beach, but you would be amazed at how little you are reminded of where you are. Of course now I'm older, it was time to build comedy sand castles, no prizes for guessing what the "mature" people built. Jez, Blake and I entered into a who can flip who furthest competition whilst swimming... Jez won.

Jez seemed most comfortable here, apparently they supported his head and his Hulk Hogan tash extremely well.

How can that many cheese puffs fit into someone that small, the bag is almost as big as he is.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Southport - I'll ave it Blue please

Basically wipe it's arse and send it in please, that would be easier. Mum and Dad took me to Cambridge 129, it has become the one resturant I have to go too everytime I'm back in Southport, and one of the only places I trust the Chef to cook my steak blue, none of this medium rare, or even rare rubbish... Yep I think I'd like it blue please.

Liverpool - Suprising my Nan

As I had been galavanting all around the country visiting friends I hadn't been back to Southport since I left the monday after I arrived. But I knew that it was important to meet up with my nan, and with her visiting the hairdresser my mum decided to hatch a plan for me to suprise her, and pick her up.

She is really frail now and I hadn't wanted to tell her when I had arrived back as I would of had trouble seeing her before I went to Bristol. But with the majority of my trip over, I was winding down and wanted to take my nan to Crosby beach for an ice-cream. The above picture is the moment she recognised me, and in my mind it's priceless.

Whilst there I noticed that there were several bronze statues in the water, from a distance they just look like people looking out to sea. But I soon found out that they are part of a project on the beach by the artist Antony Gormley not sure what they are supposed to mean, if anything, but it seemed like a good photo opportunity.

Saima enjoying the sun in Liverpool, even though she lived in Liverpool for over 7 years, she had never been to this beach.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bristol - Simple Minds and Leaving

Bristol is known for it's hills, cider, pirate sounding accents. But it is also home to the Ashton court festival, an annual event that each year is headlined by an act that used to be huge.

This year it was the turn of the Breakfast Club theme tune singing "Simple Minds", they were belting out hits such as "Don't you forget about me" and "Alive and Kicking". I have to admit that these where the only 2 tunes that any of us seemed to remember, but the atmosphere was electric all the same.

It was an 80's revival of the highest order and even without recognising many of the tracks you were still taken back to those awkward school disco's where you would stand in your group of mates waiting for the group of girls to approach you. I was belting out the Breakfast Club theme tune down Saima's ear, which seemed to amuse her for about 2 minutes, until I realised just how loud I was being, the poor girl couldn't hear a thing.

We also took in a Bristol Bangra Funk band, which suprised me how good it was, they were mixing asian music with drum and bass, funk and various over styles, if you ever get the chance give it a listen

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

London : Bristol - Zanna

Zanna and I hangin' out at Junction 17. All the cool kids go there.

Whilst driving back from London, with a massive hangover, I get a phonecall. Who should it be but Susannah, from Bristol. I was originally hoping to see her whilst I was in London as she now works for Disney there. But was gutted to find out that she was on a shoot for a childrens tv program in Exeter.

Anyway, I had given up hope of seeing her when just outside of Swindon she calls to say that she is on the M5 and heading in my direction, all I had to do was pull over at a services and we would get our reunion.

So 20 minutes later I pull up in the car park, and just as I switch the engine off I hear a shreek shouting "Kristjan!!!!". A very random meeting, but one that was very welcome although very brief.

Monday, July 24, 2006

London - Sarah, Chantelle and Nick

I'd managed to catch up with a lot of people upon my return, and I had told Nick that I would visit him in West Hamstead. With the car overheating (again) on the M4 over to London from Bristol I was all ready to turn back, as the traffic was becoming a nightmare. Sarah was telling me that it might be hard to come over as she was double booked. It seemed like my London leg of my tour would be postponed.

Until Sarah graciously decided to cancel her footy match and come to West Hamstead as well. Sarah and Chantelle had been over to Montreal, with Chantelle actually living here for a few months. Now whenever I meet up with Nick, randomness always ensues. This time was no different with Nick buying bottles of wine, flashy London style, smoking huge Havana cigars at 3 in the morning, whilst discussing with his next door neighbour the influence of a Dublin poet's writings on acting... The girl that was talking about this I think personally was talking out of her backside, she also seemed to believe that the French resistance didn't exist. But by this time I had given up listening to her and decided that I'd much rather wind her up than seriously discuss anything with her.

despite the fact I don't smoke, cigars seemed like a good idea at the time, besides, is that really smoking? It was Nick's way of welcoming me back home. Each to there own I suppose.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bristol - James, Justin and Aardman

Being an animator I love all things film, and even though Aardman's Feature studio is here and knowing quite a few people that work there, either from Uni, or via friends. I have never actually been around and seen the inner workings of the studio.

So when James had a word with his floor manager and managed to swing a tour as a guest of his, naturally I jumped at the chance. Not many people get this chance and even though I could give you a detailed run down of a games studio, I have not been around many film studios.

Obviously I can't tell you or show you any pictures of the things I saw, but I really appreciated the chance to see the inner workings of one of the last major feature animation studios in the country. I was excited to see some of the stuff they were doing, and hopefully it won't be too long before it's on our screens.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bristol Weekender - The Lad's

I actually arrived in Bristol on the Monday evening but hadn't taken any pictures and had just been hanging out with Saima and other friends, I was expecting it to take a little while to get back into the swing of things. But Andy soon cleared that up, within roughly about 5 minutes we were acting as if I had been in Bristol and had never left, and was the exact welcome that I was looking for, trust Andy and Sha to deliver.

Andy and Sha are getting married in November and I'll be doing everything within my power to get back for it, especially after this weekend. Saima and I were staying with Andy and Sha for the weekend as we would be spending the majority of our time with them it seemed to make sense.

I really appreciated that everyone had made the time to see me, James and Leanne were going to be in Bristol anyway as James was having a fitting for his best man's suit. So it meant that everyone was going to be in the same place. The entire point of this time back was to press reset, see everyone again, re-establish connections with friends and generally enjoy myself. I didn't really care how that happened as long as it did.

So the weekend was spent drinking, laughing, catching up... Drinking etc, hanging out around Bristol, above is a new piece of "graffitti" that has turned up in Bristol, by Banksy a well know Bristol artist, he tends to turn up in some of the most random places and is something of an enigma.

James is putting on sympathy weight whilst Leanne is pregnant.

The best man and the groom to be, hats or no hats?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Henley - Will and Collina

On the way back from Brighton, Saima and I decided that it would be a good idea to pass by Henley near Reading to meet up with her friend from Uni, Will and his girlfriend Collina.

Henley would of been somewhere I would of avoided a couple of years back as I would of thought it to be boring. Maybe it's a sign of getting older that I wanted to go now, but it was likely to be the only chance I would have during my time in England that I could relax. I Henley is the king of place that you feel that you should whisper even when there is no real need. Swans on the river Thames, little cottages on islands in the middle of the same river and picnics in the park.

Very civilized don't you think?

When we stopped in Henley I managed to get a picture of where the bird hit the car, you can actually see where it's wings were!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Brighton - The Basketball Challenge

I had to post a couple of pictures, otherwise Jez and Mike would never forgive me. Here is me showing my form... Look at that extension.

Although not regulation height, I tried but this time failed to win the prize, but it just goes to show that it isn't as easy at it may seem, I could blame it on a million things, the wind, the heat, the ring, the heavier ball, or even the pressure. But maybe at the end of the day... I've just lost it... But it just confirmed to me Jez, Mike and Andy that the original basketball story is the best.

Brighton – Jez and Mike (Ex Hothouse)

Mike and Jez loving the camera

The tour continued with a visit to Brighton, to see Mike and Jez, this was also the scene of the original Basketball Story, now I’m not going to bore you with the entire story but it basically involved me showing my calmness under pressure on a basketball stand about 4 years ago, resulting in a win against the odds and a cuddly tiger. But that wasn’t why I was there this time…

Jez no doubt telling one of his yarn's this alone could of been the reason I went to Brighton.

So we turn up at Brighton late, after shooting down, hitting what seemed like a massive bird on the way (That would come back to haunt me later on). So I am meeting Jez and Mike at a small bar near the hotel, but even though I had travelled over 3000 miles he still seemed reluctant to meet me at the hotel. Although he did offer to get the drinks in for when we got there. It doesn’t take long to slip back into old habbits with Jez “affectionately” calling me simple, Mike bringing up embarrassing stories for Saima and Jez’s girlfriends pleasure. Of course drinking was standard, but then it wouldn’t be a night out with these guys without it.

Now I know that they were keen to appear on the blog, so I don’t want to disappoint.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was really fun to be back in Brighton, so it would be rude not to take a trip along the pier, and who know’s maybe win another tiger? Alas is wasn’t to be, as this time dispite my best efforts luck wasn’t with me this time and although it was a good effort of 2 out of 5 it wasn’t good enough to repeat the feat of 4 years ago.

But I still managed to get my authentic Brighton fish and chips, work on my farmers tan and see some good friends. Next stop Henley.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mussings of an airport lay-a-bout.

So I'm sitting in Toronto airport waiting for my transfer and I get talking to the barman after my second pint. He starts going on about how much fun he has whilst in Montreal, and for the first time ever I actually start to miss it.

But this is offset by the couple sat next to me speaking with a really thick Northern accent, by northern I mean Northern English, Manchester to be precise, and this starts to get me excited about returning home for the first time in 11 months.

It's a strange feeling as I actually feel torn between my 2 current homes. Just then I hear the boarding call and now I'm really excited, I don't mind the night flights as it's all quiet, and I can catch up on a couple of films or some reading either way it's nothing to complain about.

I decided to ask for a cheeky upgrade as you get nothing if you don't ask, this could also have something to do with the couple of pints I sank earlier, but unfortunately I'm denied. Although I am well aware that my time in Montreal will be limited to the length of time I choose, the feeling I have at the moment is that Montreal is going to be somewhere I am going to miss immensely.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Long time coming.

So this Friday I'll be returning to England for a couple of weeks for the first time since my sisters wedding last August, to say I'm excited about see everyone would be a little bit of an understatment.

With last time being such a whirlwind tour of Southport and Liverpool, I intend to take my time a little, but I have no intention of relaxing as you would with your normal holiday. Flying into Manchester on Saturday morning and then heading to Bristol on Monday afternoon, with hopefully trips to Brighton, London and maybe some other random places all on the cards, it's bound to be hectic but sure to be a lot of fun.

It'll be strange coming back after a year away, especially driving a manual (which I haven't driven since last August), but give me 10 minutes behind that wheel and it wouldn't suprise me if I racked up another speeding ticket, although not the intention.

As has become the norm with all Brit's living in Montreal, I shall be stocking up on Jaffa Cakes, Chocolate, Tea Bags, and other flavours of home. Whilst also appreciating real fish and chips, and of all things a decent curry. Maybe it's just Montreal, but so far here they SUCK!!!!

Wouldn't you know it, as if on automatic pilot, my body seems to sense that a 2 week break is coming, and is deciding to shut down and have the start of a cold, but not going to let that stop me... But it might also have something to do with being eaten alive by mosquitos whilst jumping with the lads on Saturday.

Jumping at Point-Des-Cascade

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jumping off of high stuff

It may or may not be known that I'm kinda a little scared of heights, not sure why but one thing is for sure it doesn't make jumping off of high stuff into water easy.

So when I went jumping at Point-des-cascade with Jez. Nick, Blake and Jeff, there was no way that they were going to let me go until I'd jumped off the dam at least once. With my pride getting in the way, I didn't want to let them down, but I also wasn't going to be goaded into anything. But they did anyway... The above picture is me in mid flight, trying desparately not to injure myself this time, especially with a return to England imminant.

After jumping we all headed down the river to a quiet spot with a little more breeze and alot more mosquito's for a little bit of BBQ action, and with it being so hot we decided to go for a little swim, and even tried to push Nick off into the current with his lilo.

Here you can see in all it's glory the jump at Point-Des-Cascade, I think it works out as around 35-40 ft high, which seems to hold no fear for anyone else except me. I think I did actually manage to jump within the first hour we got there this time, which is considerably quicker than the last couple of time. These times, I would have to wait for someone someone else to jump (last time I think it was a random 16 year old girl), before I ended up flinging myself off.

As you can see it was a perfectly calm day, I think this must be what the summers here in Montreal are all about.

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