Sunday, 26 July 2009

The Art of Procrastination

Why is it that, no matter how much I tell myself that "next time I'm not going to leave everything till the last minute," a deadline inevitably creeps up on me and, once again, I find myself scrambling in the eleventh hour to finish? I am a master procrastinator. Case in point: I should be researching Birmingham's top employers or writing about Florida's climate, but instead I am going to catch up on the latest Tour de France highlights.

Once I have finished the two freelance jobs I am currently working on (one with a deadline tomorrow and the other next weekend), the 10 articles for suite101 that I have to have published by August 13, and the design work I agreed to do for my former boss, I intend to update this blog more frequently, which I admit has suffered lately as a result of my bad work habits. It's not as if I don't have lots to write about (I even have some titles forming in my head and a few entries already in the drafting process). I'm especially looking forward to writing about an exciting new job I'll be doing in early August: filming as an extra for a new movie version of Gulliver's Travels. Intrigued? Stay tuned....

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Down by the Seaside

We've just returned from a weekend on the Kent coast, where we celebrated my brother-in-law's birthday, which also happens to fall on American Independence Day. We had a lovely day on the beach in Margate on Saturday, where we basked in the glow of the warm sunshine and dipped Crumpet's toes in the North Sea (which did not go over well with her!), followed by a few hours in neighboring Ramsgate on Sunday. Although we didn't have much time in Ramsgate, we did get to see the harbor and parts of the old town, which was very nice. Much nicer, I must say, than Margate. It does have a certain charm (particularly in the old town), and in its day I'm sure Margate was the premier seaside retreat, but too many abandoned buildings and tacky arcades have just been left to ruin. With such a wonderful sandy beach, the town needs a seafront to match. The problem is that the council doesn't want to invest money into the town if everyone just jets off to Spain instead, and people don't want to forgo Spain and go somewhere like Margate if money isn't invested. It's a real Catch-22. Imagine what it would be like if the seafront was restored to its former glory:

The trip there and back was arduous. It would have been fine if we could have just gotten on the train at our local station and enjoyed an uninterrupted ride to Margate, but changing at two stations and navigating stairs and escalators with all the baby gear -- and the baby -- made things difficult. That, and the fact that Crumpet was overtired but refused to sleep in her pushchair, finally giving in and crashing out on Daddy (after much patience on his part, I might add). As much as I may lament driving, there is something to be said for just popping Crumpet in the car seat and driving off, knowing that a) she would most likely fall asleep in her car seat and if she didn't would only be bothering us (and not a carriage-full of other weary travelers) with her cries of protest and b) that, barring major traffic or road works, it would be a straight shot to our destination. But, despite all that, I do enjoy train travel.

Aside from serving as a nice mini-break, our trip turned out to be very educational. I learned a few things about traveling with a baby:

1. Always pack more food than you think you'll need. I packed enough food to last through lunch today, but by midday I realized we wouldn't be home until well after Crumpet's usual dinnertime, which necessitated a mad dash into Poundland (one of the few places that was open on a Sunday) to pick up a few extra jars of baby food.

2. Wipes! You can never have enough wipes!

3. When going to the seaside, always pack Little Swimmers. Even if it isn't warm enough for swimming, these are great for the seaside because they just pull on and off, meaning that one person can hold baby by the arms while the other changes the nappy, keeping sand out of places where the sun doesn't shine.

4. Always hope for the best, but pack for the worst.

All in all, our first solo* travel experience was a success, and I look forward to many more family trips to other UK destinations.

*I say "solo" because our destination was not either of our families' houses, but instead involved our first hotel stay.

P.S. Now time for a little self-promotion: In case you haven't noticed the new link in the sidebar, check out my newly published story on the women's travel web site Wanderlust and Lipstick. You can read it here or click on the link to the left.