Sunday, April 29, 2007

Evil Genius

Well there has been an earthquake in Kent yesterday at 4.5 on the Richter scale, the rest of the country has been bathing in the hottest April since records began (mid to high twenties) APART from the North East coast above the Humber WHICH HAS BEEN FREEZING IN COMPARISON!!! Aaaaaarrgghh!! Guess where we live!
Well we won`t get skin cancer that`s for sure.
So what`s happening - the highlight for me in the last few days was Anne and I getting prophesied over by Lois Gott after I preached at Ken and Lois` church in Newcastle last weekend - Anne and I will now be bringing Chicken Tikka Masala to the the souls of the nation! You can ring for more details!
I was accused of being a "henchman" at work as I tried to reign in a member of staff with an xs payment in their job plan - I was annoyed at the time as I felt I was much more the Evil Genius, masterminding the revolution from the NHS into the business environment of a Foundation Trust!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Versace Pizza oven and the barbecue King

Well it arrived - inspired by the Arizona bbq`s we replaced our decrepit old chiminea with a "Mexican" Pizza oven Chiminea (we noted sadly that it was made in china). It is a great outdoor fire BUT also a fabulous barbecue when you remove the chimney which has an oven in it for baking! The chicken cooked in about 5 minutes!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

last week of sunshine

After feasting on Nigel`s BBQ and helping the kids with their chocolate overload we went walking around the wash in the evening light sorting out the world and its problems. We find its much easier to do this when the sun is shining, and then a desert sunset.

Next day we all decorated pottery which will be glazed and fired for us, and brought back to the UK by lovely friends: it was lots of fun but who knows how the finished product will look. You could get some great sermon material out of that, if Angus was writing!
One of the final highlights was that we eventually got to go the Black Angus steak house, despite pleading that Angus really was his name there were no freebies with the logo on to bring back as a souvenir, but good steak anyhow!!
Next day we ( as in all of us Bells except Angus and Jonny) had to get up before dawn in order to meet the sun as it rose from the east. We then ascended into the skies by the power of hot air, no not Debbie and Anne discussing recipes again. Quite an amazing experience, felt much safer than going up in an aeroplane anyway. Gave us fantastic views and a real sense of awe. Also took this flukey photo with the moon.
Our final few hours were spent organising Jonny and his year out in Phoenix, starting this August, and eating out again, this time Nigel trying his best to make me like Chinese food. Then a final swim in the balmy evening air before becoming sardines for BA and coming home!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Barbecues and the Easter bunny

Nigel continued his master class on the barbie with salmon cooked on cedar planks,
serenaded by local musicians who played both forms of music .... Country AND Western!

On Good friday we went to Rawhide and had steak and then a Bull riding rodeo with the Easter Bunny - yeehaaw! Ride `em bunny!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Phoenix continued into second week

So we cycled round the estate working off the vast amounts of food that Nigel and Sue forced us to eat, along with the most fabulous Californinan wines. The Passover meal was one of the most memorable as Nigel and I found a butcher in Cave Creek where we got a 15 pound leg of lamb which Nigel spit-roasted on his humungous gas barbecue by the pool (how they have suffered for the Gospel!!). Did you know that there are 4 toasts throughout the Passover meal which have to be done with different wines? Suffice to say we were biblically accurate and went an extra mile!!

Anyway whilst we were exercising Nigel and Sue practiced for their retirement sitting out on their porch, don`t they look lovely for such old people?
Later in the week Nigel and I did a 4.8 mile hike in the hills by Cave Creek in the blazing heat and developed a raging thirst that could only be quenched at a genuine cowboy Saloon where they were doing a special price on chilled ice cold beers $1 pint which washed down a big dish of guacomole and melted cheese with chips. We sat at the table under the Welcome Bikers sign in the shade! Did I mention how hot it was??

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Flight from Mexico back to Phoenix

On the way back across the border we stopped to shop for wormy Tequila and Mexican crack which we all enjoyed in the car (Toffee and peanut crack!). Given how chilly the weather seemed to be (sometimes less than 30 degrees C) we thought the Blanket selling garage would do a good trade!!!
The driving across the desert was difficult, requiring concentration what with all the sudden sharp bends and people with boats!
Once back in Arizona we started to warm up - here is Anne on our cycle ride round the housing estate

Flight to Phoenix - the second report

The evening beach walk to see the sunsets were amazing but blink and you missed them!
We all needed lots of rest as Nigel had just returned from Ecuador and Sue, the children and all the Bells had just come from the UK.
The abiding memory will be the "Barbecue of death" that Nigel did
on our balcony one morning complete with liquid fire of flaming fat pouring onto the barbecue frame near the gas canister (unfortunately not caught on camera as we were all running away at the time)!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Flight to Phoenix - the first week`s report

So we have returned from Arizona, after visiting the Mallon clan just north of Phoenix. To start with we were immediately dragged kicking and screaming across the dusty desert to the west coast of Mexico where we were told "don't pack any clothes, it's really hot there!"
This was the view from our balcony- yowza, but then the curse of the Bells caused the weather to turn nasty!
Ooo it was chilly I can tell you - the howling gale - the sandstorm, the rattling windows - it reminded us so much of Tynemouth in spring!!

We huddled in towels and ate spicy food to keep warm - then the next day glorious sun and allsorts of beach fun - huge digging projects, mucho beers and Napa sparkling wine, ridiculous hats and big white bellies on show. We went to Puerto Penasco "Rocky Point" at the northern edge of the Sea of Cortez.