Category Archives: travel

West Hollywood Halloween Extravaganza

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Boo! Just as a warning, I am on my second glass of wine…muhaaaaaa!

Guess where I spent my All Hallows Eve?

 

Ah, forget the guessing. I’ll tell you. On the streets of West Hollywood at the craziest, rockin’est Halloween Party ever!

Here is where I was going to give you a little history on the carnival.

Not! Couldn’t find any. But what I can say is that this party is one of the largest, if not the “most attended on one single evening” festivals of its kind. Seriously, I thought we had arrived at the festival until my friend Jamie and I actually arrived at the festival.

On a personal note. Thank you Jamie for allowing me to talk you into this craziness and indulging me on this adventure.

From babies in backpacks to geriatric in wheel chairs, every nationality, gay, straight and in-between could be found in attendance of this annual event hosted by the City of West Hollywood. I thought all the hype was more urban legend than fact but it was more than I had ever imagined. And, it was awesome. The electric energy created by so many gathered in one place for the sole purpose of expressing their alter egos was mind-blowing. I felt ALIVE! A phrase I actually yelled out from the crowd that had gathered in front of the main stage. We were all bouncing to some unrecognized Techno tune spinning out from one of the featured DJ’s. For a moment I was transported back to my youth and the memory of an outdoor concert at some forgotten location. I was pressed in amongst hundreds, our bodies vibrating from the base, moving to the music.

Let me regress. It was kind of a last-minute decision to attend this carnival. I really can’t say what made me think of it but I got it in my head that I wanted to go. And, my first choice to accompany me was the only person I thought I’d be able to talk into it, my very dear friend Jamie. But when I made that phone call he sounded a little hesitant. Still, I was persistent, promising him an adventure and, Oh boy!, did I deliver on that! Yea, and I wanted to dress up too because I had this great costume, but I got the Kibosh on that, it was a no go.

I did have to work that day so I didn’t get home until 8:00 pm. The festival started at 6:00 but it went until 11:00 so I figured we’d still have plenty of time there.  I navigated us through Hollywood via the side streets I’d remembered traveling during my clubbing days in the late seventies. That worked well enough until I had Jamie turn onto Santa Monica Boulevard. YIKES! There we sat in gridlock while his classic, air cooled, Porsche  911 heated up. A half hour later we’d made it to the first intersection, one quarter of a block. We turned off and headed back up, to Sunset strip. The Pink Taco was our first official stop as we let “Baby” cool down and re-thought our plans on where we would find parking. By the way, good ceviche, Pink Taco.

Back on the road, Crescent Heights and Melrose. Behind Fred Siegel‘s. $20.00 got us a parking spot. Without even asking, the attendant points towards Santa Monica Blvd. “15 minute walk”.

Right! A 15 minute walk if you have the speed and the size of a small 12 year old and can dodge between the solid mass of people clogging the same sidewalk you’re on.

But, just the walk itself was so interesting. I hated that we were all passing each other so quickly that I couldn’t get a good look at the costumes. At time I was seriously feeling over stimulated. It was just ridicules trying to take it all in…, visually.

So, this is where I stop and the pictures begin.

Yea, and once again a disclaimer. I am not a photographer! And, to really bring this point home, sometimes I don’t have my camera on the right setting. (Like I knew there was more than one.)

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Not the first we met on our way to the carnival but the best in costume.

A solo Ghost Buster I stopped along the five block walk to the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hookin’ up with Charlie admits the crowd on Santa Monica.

There were warnings all over about buying from unlicensed hot dog vendors. But they sure look good!

 

Ran into Cher and Kiss as they were leaving the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Cienega Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd

 

The man of the hour and fellow adventurer, Jamie. You are über awesome! And, still walking.

Freaky! But we’ve arrived!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crowd is just unbelievable. It’s like this for blocks. Not for the claustrophobic!

After bouncing to the DJ I was off to the port-a-potties where I ran into this lovely lady.

 

Then I met up with this flamboyant pair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, of course, what party would be complete without a visit from the original party go-ers, Adam and Eve.

 

There was entertainment at several locations, and bands, along with DJ’s and so many great costumes. There was just no way for me to photograph them all. Really, physical impossibility, there was no way! But I hope the pictures I have posted will give you some idea of just what a bitchin party it was.

 

“Next year. You take the day off, dress up and we get here before 6:00 pm.”  That’s what Jamie said.

 

Hope everyone had a great Halloween! Until next week.

~ K.L. Parry ~ Author of The Pirate’s Daughter and a King’s Ransom

 

 

 

Buckhorn Camp Grounds

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Hi Folks!

 

Yes, I’m back after a torturous month of self reflecting and some tooth pulling, (literally!), to tell you about my latest adventure.

 

 

 

Buckhorn Camp Grounds is located 34 miles from La Crescenta, California along the 2 Hwy in the Angeles National Forest. A little over an hour drive from my home in Burbank when traffic conditions are light. Do be wary of bicyclist, motorcyclist and canyon racers as this highway can get crowded with them, making driving along this road quite treacherous especially on the weekend.

Much of the area was devastated during the 2009 wildfire known as The Station Fire, and can be evidenced as you traverse the whindy mountain road. However, Buckhorn and some of the surrounding camp grounds were left untouched and provide a great local escape for the out-door adventurer.

 

Dry Stream That Runs Through The Camp Grounds

 

 

This camp ground is located above 6,000 ft and nestled in a canyon so be sure to bring warm clothing for the cold nights. During my stay in mid September, it got down to the 40’s, but the day time highs were very pleasant hovering between 75 and 80 degrees.

 

Amenities at this sight include picnic tables, fires rings, vault toilets, water spigots and bear boxes, though I’m told your chances of sighting a Bear are not very likely. Still, we did put our food up at the end of the evening. No sense in tempting Yogi.

 

There are several nearby hiking trails and I was told some decent rock climbing areas a little further up in the canyon. Look out for poison oak particularly along side the stream.

Dogs are welcomed but keep them on a leash. You don’t want Rover tracking through poison oak or becoming a dinner entrée for the local wildlife.

Water Spigot Site

 

Ok. Done with the official information. Now here are some personal notes.

Choose your camping partners carefully. There is nothing worse than being trapped in the wilderness with people you can’t have an intelligent, or even an unintelligent conversation with. Unless, you find yourself in the wee hours of the morning suffering excruciating pain in your head. Now, that is worse! I was subjected to both when a cracked tooth decided to give me grief the first evening out. By dawn the following morning I was making my way off the mountain in search of a dentist and thus putting an all too early end to my camping adventure.

That being said, I do hope to make another attempt at it before November if my work schedule permits. This time I’ll be traveling shy one tooth and a couple of camping partners.

 

Thanks Michael 😉

 

~ K.L. Parry ~ Author of “The Pirate’s Daughter and a King’s Ransom”

 

 

Campsite At Buckhorn Camp Groun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lady Luck

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I‘m back…muhaaaaa. Yes folks. I’ve returned from my annual jaunt to Las Vegas. As always, it was a frenzy of flashing lights, chiming slot machines and people all looking to hit it big. I’m happy to say that I out did myself from previous years hitting a total of 15 different casinos in my attempt to find the video poker machine that would throw me a Royal Flush.

Alas, my search was futile. Lady Luck was not smiling down on me in that respect but I had fun at the attempt.

On the way into Vegas, stopping at State Line, I saw the longest line of people waiting to buy California lottery tickets. (Mega Millions was up to something like 568 million.) The wait was 6 hours. Geezzzzz! Needless to say, we only drove by to get pictures of the crowd. You can’t tell by this one but that line is doubled and snakes around the front of the building and extends as far back as where I stood to take this pic.



I did breakfast at my favorite casino coffee shop located in the Golden Gate Casino which has the best buttery scrambled eggs ever!
I had the worst prime rib dinner at the Gold Strike, located on Ogden. Not to be confused with Gold Spike which lies outside of Vegas in Gene.

I hit a few pawn shops looking for treasures,(didn’t find any). Checked out an Antique mall with the hopes of locating a piece or two of my vintage china.  Still trying to replace what an ex-boyfriend broke a couple of years back. (That’s what I get for asking him to do the dishes…lol.) No luck on that one either.

Jonelle and I drove out to Red Rock to see some spectacular scenery. Unfortunately it was late in the afternoon, so we didn’t stop to do any hiking. However, we did drive the 13 mile scenic route and, by the way, they don’t tell you in the guidebooks that there is a fee of 7.00 to get into the area. Clever…huh.

But…, the most exciting part of this adventure was the drive home.

Leaving Vegas at a warm 85 degrees with moderate winds, outside Baker the temps dropped almost 35 degrees and we were hit by a sand storm. Shit, howdy! At first Jonelle thought it was some sort of tulle fog rolling in but no, it was waves of fine sand and pebbles. Dark thirty, we crawled along at 35 mph, down from the 80 I was averaging. After five or so miles of that, the sand stopped and the rain hit. It was crazy! To top it off, I nearly ran out of gas. I’d been pushing against a strong head wind all they way and hadn’t paid attention to my gas consumption. I had to stop to gas up in San Dimas, about 30 minutes from home. Wild when you realize that it took less than a tank of gas to get to Vegas.

So, the paint on my car is a little worse from the wear, dings from the pebbles and the hood looks like someone ran sand paper across it but it had needed new paint since before I bought the car. (Bad clear coat.) Oh, well, I’ll put that on my list, adding to a million other things I need to save money for…lol. What can you do but laugh.

Just for fun, here’s the list in no particular order of the casinos I visited.

What? It was over four days.

Golden Nugget (My favorite place to stay. Nicest place on Fremont Street with the best beds. Pillowtop mattresses, but no blow dryer. Bitchen water slide that takes you through a giant fish tank.)

Golden Gate (Best Homestyle Breakfast)

Four Queens

Binions

The Plaza (Bingo!)

The California

Las Vegas Club

Gold Spike (Old style machines that pay out nickels.)

Gold Strike (Worst food and you have to wait for an attendant to pay out.)

Silverton (Super cool Mermaid bar. Jelly fish tank and Mermaid tank. Bass pro-shop.)

Whiskey Pete’s (Still a dive.)

Fitzerald

Fremont

Stratosphere (Won at Roulette here.)

Main Street Station (Beautiful old style Lobby and elevators done in Victorian style woods.)

Note: I will be reducing my posts to this blog to every other week, alternating between this one and my other blog, “Following The Dream.” I’m feeling pinched for writing time between the two blogs, my manuscript for the next novel, working two part time jobs and trying to keep my apartment safe enough for human habitation. Hopefully this will make for better quality posts as I won’t be pressed to write more than one a week.

In the meantime, don’t trust too much in lady luck and you won’t be disappointed.

~ K.L. Parry ~ author of  “The Pirate’s Daughter and a King’s Ransom”

Kum-ba-ya on “The River”

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Welcome back to my blog and Yeah! I’m so excited! I’ve booked the rooms for my annual Vegas Retreat and I can’t be more excited. Three days of no responsibility, what so ever. Ok, that’s not exactly true, the responsibility part, but you know what I mean.

Now this year my sister couldn’t make the commitment to go with me, seeing that she’s got some pressing home repairs to finance, so I’ve invited another friend, Jonelle, to accompany me. I hope she won’t mind my snoring too much, and my constant bouncing from one casino to the next…,he,hee. What can I say? That’s the whole point of staying on Freemont Street, the close proximity of 13 casinos…, I said,13! 

But let me tell you about what else I did this week.

So, Monday, I took off with another very dear friend of mine and headed out to Santa Anita Race Track. I know, sounds like I got a thing for gambling and I kinda, do but always within a strict budget and I never exceed that, no matter what. Now, listen. Yea, you can enjoy the track from the cheap seats  but if your someone like me that doesn’t get to go very often, spend the extra money and pay for the Club House Admission. Then, head on up to the Front Runner Restaurant. Make a right down the narrow hall past the window tables, (act like you know where your going), then out the doors to the outside tables. This is where I love to sit. White table cloths, food and drink service with attentive waiters, your own private tv to better view the action, easy access to betting counters and restrooms and a quick exit when it’s time to leave via the Turf Club Elevator. No, I never win at the track so I keep my betting to a minimum but the experience is what I really enjoy. What a great, relaxing time and a must do when you need to decompress.

If you’ve been follow my recent posts, you’ll know that I’ve been watching ABC’s “The River”, which aires on Tuesday at 9:00pm. Somehow I have found myself now in the business of posting weekly recaps and reviews of each episode, at least until they bore me or piss me off and I decide to stop watching. But, since that hasn’t happened yet, here you have it!

 “The River”- Recap Episode 4

Ah, well, ABC’s new paranormal, thriller, adventure, “The River” redeemed itself this week with what I thought was an engrossing episode that sailed all too quickly through its 60 minute time slot. Interesting nature against man situations, a smoky spirit and the introduction of a new cast member definitely kept my interest this week.

The episode started out with our rescue party chugging happily down an Amazonian river sharing a Kum-ba-ya moment complete with guitar and accordion played by Lincoln and Lena. No doubt a tune recalled for their shared childhood. And that’s when our young, seemingly physic, mechanic’s daughter, Jahel spots a man hanging by his neck in the vines along the bank.

Now here’s where I can’t remember whether Jahel’s taro cards warn her of impending trouble before or after they’ve rescued the hanging man who happened to be, Jonas Beckett, camera man from the missing Cole expedition. But whether prior or not she seems to have the physic insight for what troubles are about to befall our rescue party.

Jahel does her best to convince the others to send Jonas back to the jungle spirit that she believes threatens them all as it seeks to re-enslave the camera man.

We have a mass bird suicide followed by an invasion of some large flying bugs.

Producer, Clark reviews old tapes left by Cole to get some kind of clue as to what might have happened with Jonas.

Jonas does his best to hide the truth from the rescue party until it’s discovered that he recorded the sacred funeral rites of an Amazonian Elder and in fact, managed to steal the Elder’s soul when he captured it on his cellphone camera which is revealed at the end of the episode when Jonas, in a desperate act to save the search party from the spirit storm that is on them, allows himself to be hung by the vines that await him on the ship’s deck.

He drops his cell phone that still displays the image of the spirit which then escapes.

Jonas is released from the spirit’s curse.

Of course I’m just hitting the highlights. And like episode 3, there was a moral of sorts which looks to be the trend for future episodes. The good thing is that this new addition to the crew will provide more insight as to where adventurer, Emmet Cole, was heading.

I, for one, predict Jonas will become a rival like/love interest and cause some tension between the Lincoln and Lena, childhood sweethearts that grew apart but are starting to like each other again, relationship. (I’d bet money on it but then I’d really have you thinking I’ve a gambling problem…,lol.)

The only thing that I thought lacking was the scare factor, I didn’t have any “edge of my seat” moments. And they rushed the ending a little bit for me. I didn’t see the Jonas character make that transition from denial to the acceptance of having done something wrong. It was just BLAM! suddenly Jonas was running towards self sacrifice for the greater good and hadn’t we just seen that in the last episode? Still, all in all, I was engaged, entertained and quite pleased with the pace and will be anxiously awaiting next week’s episode.

Until next week, when you have the choice, buy USA!

~K.L. Parry~ author of “The Pirate’s Daughter And A King’s Ransom”

McDreamy McDeere

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Well folks, I’ve got nothing. Truly the most exciting thing that I’ve done this week was to make the 1 mile walk to the Electric Company to pay this month’s bill. However, I am in the planning stage of a Gold Panning Adventure. So, if you have any great ideas please post them here or email me at pinkmurex@yahoo.com. I’d love your input.

I did have the opportunity to watch the pilot for a new series. “The Firm”.

(Omgoodness! My ding dang ancient iMac can hardly bring up a page that contains anything more than just text..sheesh! Yes, I am trying to view NBC’s web site. It’s givin’ the old green apple a pretty good work over with all the graphics.)

Bringing stars of the big screen to television is really becoming a popular thing. So glad to see Josh Lucas and Juliette Lewis in this “made for TV” adaptation of the John Grisham novel. The show picks up the story of lawyer, Mitchell McDeere, and his family who have just emerged from witness protection to begin their new life after the mobster Mc Deere had caused to go to prison, dies. Just as they are settling in, word comes that the mobster’s son may be seeking revenge for his father. But that’s not the only trouble lurking in the shadows for the McDreamy McDeere.

I’ve got to say that I was really drawn into the story line. I liked the exciting flash backs filling you in on what had happened in the past. The acting is top quality, the characters are believable. Though this type of crime drama is not usually my cup of tea, I will be tuning in next week and probably the next. The Firm will be airing on Thursdays at 10/9c.

Unlike the reality show “Mobbed”. Howie, how could you? What a spectacle of embarrassing craziness. Yea, it’s cool all that goes into putting on a production with 500 flash mobbers, which is what most of the show is about. But it really pushes the word EXTREME television to the limit. That is to say, to my limit and NO! I will not be tuning into another episode. If you haven’t seen the show yet which I think is in its second season, (For God’s Sake, people what are you thinking?), it takes someone with a secret they want to reveal and makes a huge theatrical production of it. Interesting to watch…,ONCE. And that’s all I gotta say about Mobbed.

Well folks, that’s it for this week. Make it a great one and remember if you have the choice, buy USA and give industry a reason to return to the states. Only you can bring jobs back to America.

Keep it strong ~ K.L. Parry

 

Part 3 ~ Davis, Here I Come!

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I do hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. For me, it was the best one yet with all of my family gathered in good spirits, and, oh, the food, fit for a king!  My sister and I did not let slip the opportunity to break out the video camera. We captured our next cooking video for your u-tube viewing. Watch for news of it’s release in a future post.

Now for the conclusion of “Davis, Here I Come!”

Day 3, thursday morning, has arrived and it is the last day of our visit. Knowing that my son will be in class for the morning, it is decided that I will get the opportunity to fulfill my gaming desires. Cindy and I head out to one of the local Indian Casinos, Cache Creek. Now, many of these places are located way out in the boonies as was this one. I must say that I enjoyed the drive there probably better than the actual casino which had only two video poker machines that played Duces Wild. Ah, what a disappointment. But, the two lane roads, winding between green rolling hills, crowned with homes that looked to have stood since before the turn of the century made up for it. We drove past orchards and farms and a sea of yellow butterflies that went on for miles. Unfortunately the drive to the casino took much longer than we had anticipated allowing only an hour to play before we had to start heading back to Davis. As it was, we were late in returning and no, we didn’t win big at the casino but we did manage to leave with what money we had brought with us.

Meeting up with my son, we all set out to tour the campus of UC Davis. Our first stop is, of course, the student store. Yup, had to purchase me a sweat shirt, bragging rights, you know. Then a little lunch at the cafeteria that looked more like the food court of a mall and then onto the campus proper. This place is so massive that it host a lake and a very large arboretum which you can schedule a tour of, or not. I plan on seeing both on my next visit. Their just wasn’t enough time left to do it on this one.

Now I must tell you that Bicycles are the main mode of transportation not only on campus but off as well, evidenced by the concrete bike racks outside every building and apartment front door. I was told, though I don’t know how true this is, that there are more bikes per capita in Davis than in China. Hum? Part of the reason for this, I’m sure, are the meters at each car parking spot on campus allowing only a maximum time limit of two hours. Talk about discouraging drivers!

But really, I was cracking up over the whole bike thing. The campus even provides a bike garage, bike repair shop and rentals. Oh, and there is a bicycle graveyard where you can buy discarded bikes in all sorts of disrepair. According to my son, on the first day of school returning students set up a viewing station complete with lawn chairs and ice chests at a particular campus intersection where they watch the newbes crash into each other as they take to their bikes for the first time. I know, sounds a little cruel but at the same time, hysterical. A little bit of Jackass and Animal House all rolled into one. 

Back on campus, the hour of our departure has arrived, then it’s a short drive to the bachelor pad to grab our bags. Kissing my boy good bye and giving a big hug to Simon, Cindy and I are off and back on the road. Oh, but we still had one more stop to make and that was to pay a short visit to Cindy’s childhood friend Karen. It was a bit out of our way but, hey, I didn’t have to be to work until noon the following day.

It was dark by the time we arrived in Danville which I think was around 8 or 9. I must say that Karen and her Husband treated us like long lost family, warm and welcoming. Despite our intentions of making the stop brief…, eat and run, if you know what I mean, we ended up staying much longer than planned. But it was time well spent and with our tummies full, mine with gluten free pasta, we said our farewells and rolled into the Chrysler.

Back tracking to Interstate 5 with a few pit stops to pee, refill coffee cups and gas up, I finally rolled into Burbank at 3 am. Forget about unpacking the car, all I am thinking about right now is my pillow.

And so ends our adventure. It was interesting to get a glimpse into life in this university town. I’ll be looking forward to my next visit.  I’ve added more pics of the UC Davis campus at the end of this blog.

Until next week, keep on truckin’!  K.L. Parry

Davis, Here I Come! ~ Part 2

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Yeah! Welcome back to Part 2 of “Davis, Here I Come!” which, should have been titled  “Here We Come!” cause I wasn’t alone. Sorry Cindy.  

Meanwhile back at the bachelor pad, after a brief discussion with my son, it was decided (by him), that we were to forgo a hotel bill and set up camp at the apartment. Woo hoo, more cash in our pockets for fun stuff! Then we were off, my son Beau, sister Cindy and myself, to check out the town and get a bite to eat. We ended up choosing Thai Canteen on E Street, located in the downtown district of this college town and what a great place. Resembling something of a cafeteria, the food was far from cafeteria quality. Now I wish I could tell you what the exact names of the dishes we ordered were, but I was kind of gaga from the drive. Even looking at the menu now, I can’t remember what it was that I ordered, only that it was a duck soup. But it was delish and so were the other two dishes that I tasted. I did love that they had a standing pitcher of lemon water ready for refills should I have wanted more.

Now this town was hoppin’ as the clock rounded 10:00 pm on a Tuesday night. There were people everywhere, mostly college students I assumed, judging by their ages. I did very much feel like the visiting parent and everyone we came in contact with were extremely polite and nobody gave a damn when I lit up a cigarette outside the restaurant, thank you. (I say this because in Burbank, where I live, they won’t even allow you to smoke on the downtown sidewalks …which is why I refuse to frequent it except for a couple of times a year when I need a lamb chop fix from one of the restaurants located there. I order it to go. It is just one of too many ridiculous laws put in place “for our own good”).  Just keepin it real, folks.

Now, when my son said the town was run by students, he wasn’t kidding as was evidenced by the youthfulness of the staff in every business we passed. Really, I didn’t see anyone that looked like they were even approaching 30.

After a quick trip to the local Target to procure an air mattress, it was back to the apartment because, after all, it was a school night.

The next morning, it was decide that my sister and I would do a little site seeing. We drove, all of five minutes, back into downtown Davis, parked the car and set out walking. The very quaint town was fairly quiet, probably because everyone was at their classes. We strolled past the Hot Dog Hut where they make their own hot dogs fresh everyday. Cindy had one and said it was great. We probably could have used a guide to direct us away from the multitude of eateries and stores selling sporting equipment as we soon tired of that. We then decided to go treasure hunting, heading out of Davis and finding a huge thrift store just outside Sacramento, 15 minutes away. Then it was back to meet the boy and make a stop at the weekly Farmer’s Market where we found, of all things, chocolate honey. I didn’t buy a jar but Cindy did. I would have made myself sick eating it, it was that good.

The rest of the evening was spent with my son and his room mate Simon. I cooked up a nice meal, we talked, Cindy and I drank wine and Simon treated us to a tea party of sorts with teas he had brought back with him from Japan. It wasn’t the sort of stuff that you usually see all packaged up nice and neat in a tea bag. It was loose tea pellets, leaves rolled up into little balls resembling little rabbit poops. And, no, it didn’t taste like poop! It was good and a cultural experience that I quite enjoyed. Thank you, Simon. With that, we ended our evening. Kiss, kiss and goodnight.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of our little adventure, to follow in next weeks blog.

 

K.L. Parry