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1) Britain is the second biggest consumer of chocolate in the world after Switzerland; we eat 7 kilos per person per year. That doesn’t actually sound like that much does it?
2) A mammoth’s femur is longer and heavier than our rather stocky six year old.
3) French teenagers can play football and smoke at the same time.
4) Full fat milk has a blue top and semi-skimmed milk a green top in Spain too. It’s very helpful but I imagine the European Parliament had a hand in it. What would the Daily Mail make of that?
5) Nuns fart. Really. And when they do they make biscuits.
6) The Spanish for pig’s trotter. Shame it was after I’d ordered what I thought was a pork chop.
7) How to get five seats in a row on Easyjet. First, leave your morals at home…
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1. The banking system in Japan is antiquated. The only ATMs which accept foreign cards are those in 7-Elevens and post offices. The latter are closed in the evening and at weekends. If you forget to withdraw cash on a Friday, you will have a tedious hike around town in the pouring rain looking for a 7-Eleven so you can pay your hotel bill. The hotel of course only accepts cash.
2. Planetarium type shows in scarily intellectual Tokyo science museums are a great place for a sneaky nap.
3. The Japanese take Disneyland VERY seriously. Never have I seen so many grown people dressed like Minnie Mouse.
4. Since we have been away, restaurant menus have become perplexingly complicated with sections called small plates, intermediate plates, big plates and so on. Makes ordering confusing.
5. You can get alcoholic ginger beer. I wonder if Enid Blyton would approve?
6. When all the magazines and newspapers are in your own language, there’s more to read than you can possibly manage. After months of word deprivation, it’s lovely.
Party No. 1 won the Thai elections. I expect it was the promise of free wifi that did it.
Night flights are always grim and you never get used to them.
Japanese public loos usually don’t have any hand drying facility. You are expected to carry a small towel at all times.
Japan is very environmentally friendly (see above) with recycling bins in every conceivable location, including trains.
Japanese taxis are eyewateringly expensive. It’s a good thing the public transport’s so efficient.
You can buy pet stag beetles in Japanese supermarkets.
To save electricity after the tsunami damaged a number of power stations, only essential lights are being used. Tokyo is therefore weirdly dark at night, with only a single light on the tops of buildings to stop aeroplanes crashing into them.
1. Entrails don’t taste as bad as they sound, not that I’d go out of my way to eat them again. We ordered them thanks to Mr Gum and an insistent four year old.
2. Cinemas in Thailand are fabulously comfortable, cheap (tickets start at under £2) and before each film they show a montage of photos of the King during which one stands up.
3. Lychees in Thailand are the size of apricots and so juicy you have to eat them over the sink.
4. There is an election in Thailand tomorrow. One of the campaign slogans says “politicians are like babies’ nappies, and should be changed as often”.
5. After three months in South East Asia without any serious stomach problems, I can categorically confirm that it’s safe to drink the ice.