Does your heart sing when you hear the tinkly music of the Mr Whippy van coming up the road? Where I live, he comes not just in summer but all year round. He drives past my house around 2 o’clock every Sunday afternoon and there’s nothing like a choc-top soft serve to round off the weekend.
This week I had the best work experience ever. I learned how to be Mr Whippy!
The real Mr Whippy himself gave me a lesson in how to create the perfect ice cream. It’s important to be swift and sure because soft serve can become sloppy serve if you’re not quick enough.
First, fill the cone with ice cream, taking care to gently twist to achieve a nice peak.
Then, upend the cone and quickly dip the ice cream into the molten chocolate. Don’t leave it hanging too long, or your carefully constructed ice cream will fall off into the chocolate, which can be very messy. (I found this out the hard way!)
And that’s all there is to it; minimum effort = maximum gain!
PS Don’t ask me why Mr Whippy’s van said Mr Twirly on the side! Maybe they are related.
My favourite ride at Tokyo Disneyland was Space Mountain.
Even with my Fast Pass it took some time to get to the front of the queue, but I whiled away the time by watching as each car full of daring riders came to a screeching halt.
It took no more than a few seconds for those people to exit and the new group to climb aboard, buckle up and off they went. I counted – four cars came in and out again every minute.
That’s a lot of people hurtling through Space.
The ride itself was so much fun, but it was super-speedy and over in a flash.
As soon as I got out I went straight round and joined the queue again.
I’m the fastest beaver in the world!
You’ve probably heard the saying “The early bird catches the worm.” Believe me, it’s not just an old wives’ tale. I was watching this morning as a kookaburra, out and about just as the sun rose, was looking for a tasty treat for his breakfast.
And it’s not just worms he was after. The campers down the road were cooking sausages, eggs and bacon on the barbecue and Mr Kookaburra was keeping his beady eye on them – the sausages that is, not the campers.
Luckily for the hungry campers Kookie was distracted when he spied something delicious moving in the grass.
I’ll have that leftover sausage thanks!
This week I went for a ride on the Shinkansen, more commonly known as the Bullet Train, from Hakone to Tokyo.
The Shinkansen is able to reach a maximum speed of 320 kilometres per hour. I don’t know if we actually travelled that fast but once we started everything was a blur.
My personal assistant Mrs ET says these terrible photos she took are blurry because we were travelling so fast.
I’m not so sure about that. She’s had this problem before…
Every café, restaurant and food stall in Tokyo has its display of plastic food in the window, designed to tempt and tease us. Like everyone else in Harajuku, I was drawn to the spectacular array of sweet treats at Santa Monica Crepes. It was as though an irresistible magnetic force was drawing me in and I just had to have one.
Deciding to have a crepe was the easy part; choosing which crepe was not so easy. There are 60 different fillings on the menu and they all sound divine!
These delectable desserts are made fresh to order. The batter is poured onto a hot plate and the cook skilfully pours, shapes and folds the crepe in a matter of seconds. My crepe was filled with scoops of sweet vanilla and raspberry ice cream, topped with glistening berries and finished off with a tangy berry coulis. Oh my…it looked deeeelicious!
I was so eager to tuck into my crepe I took a bite before my personal assistant, Mrs ET, could get the camera ready, and once she had her photo I polished it off in no time.
Only 59 crepes to go!
I know what you’re going to say when you see this photo. At first glance it looks like the Eiffel Tower has had a makeover and turned a brilliant shade of orange. Well, you’re sort of right but completely wrong!
This is Tokyo Tower, a communications and observation tower in the centre of Tokyo. Its shape was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, but that’s where the likeness ends. At a height of 333 metres, Tokyo Tower is nine metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. And while the Eiffel Tower weighs a massive 7000 tons, Tokyo Tower is a lightweight in comparison at 4000 tons.
The most striking thing about Tokyo Tower is its fantastic colour, known as international orange. The colour is meant to “set objects apart from their surroundings” and it has been used by NASA for some of its spacesuits. It certainly makes Tokyo Tower stand out.
From the observation deck there are great views of Tokyo.
My favourite view though is through the glass floor, 250 metres down to the ground. Look at all that orange framework.
I wouldn’t like to be the painter.
Manny and I should have known something was up the day we went to the Natural History Museum in London. All the signs were there but we weren’t very observant. We were much too excited for our own good!
There were some very strange creatures hanging around outside. They were all smiling, but not in a nice way.
In Hintze Hall we met Dippy the Diplodocus. He was larger than life and very skinny. We wondered how long it had been since he had a good meal.
This bony fellow seemed a bit the worse for wear too. I think he’d seen better days.
Even the great man himself, Charles Darwin, was looking a little pasty. I introduced myself as a fellow world traveller with a passion for learning but our conversation was definitely a one-sided affair.
Lucky I had Manny to keep me company.
The Natural History Museum is not for the faint-hearted!
My personal assistant, The Eternal Traveller, travelled to the centre of the earth at the Natural History Museum. Sometimes she is very brave!
I’ve been learning on the job again, this time at the Happiest Place on Earth. That’s right; I’m now a fully trained employee of Tokyo Disneyland. Recently I joined my fellow cast members, as Disney employees are known, in some practical training in customer service and ride organisation.
I was fortunate to spend time with some lovely Disney mentors at several rides and now I’m able to work anywhere any time. The most important skills I practised included smiling, waving and saluting!
Every ride has its own uniform and because I’ve been trained for them all, I will need one of each. I can’t decide which uniform I like best – It’s a Small World has a lovely number in pastel shades while Space Mountain personnel wear a flashy blue creation.
I’m sure I’ll look great whichever uniform I have to wear. Versatility is my second name!
Cast members have to be able to explain to guests what to expect when they go on a ride, so I needed some firsthand experience. I flew sky-high on the StarJets, went for a wild spin on the teacups at Alice’s Tea Party and dropped in on Roger Rabbit.
Next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom at Tokyo Disneyland, come and say hello. It should be easy to find me.
I’ll be the one teaching Mickey how to yodel!
I have a passion for hearts – not the beating kind but the decorative hearts we see at this time of year. So does my friend Jude. Look at her wonderful photographic collection of hearts.
I’ve seen some beautiful hearts on my travels, like this tinselly one in Akaroa.
My favourite is this heart of steel. I found it on the boardwalk in Mandurah. Isn’t it gorgeous!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
You know I’m always up for a challenge, especially if it’s a little out of the ordinary. So when the opportunity arose to climb the Eiffel Tower, I couldn’t resist.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…millions of people climb the tower every year. This is true. But not so many have done it on the outside!
As an alpine beaver, I have a great head for heights. So I wasn’t daunted at all by the thought of going right to the top.
Lucky that policeman didn’t turn around!
The Eternal Traveller has been playing with scale too!