Birthday Candles, Rings, Planes & Travels

Yesss! We nailed it. We all disappeared on vacation and jam packed as much as is humanly possible in to a one-month trip. 

Now do you see how I used the word vacation there instead of holiday?  That is another reason why one was so badly needed. As much as we all love our Dubai home, it has been way too long since we touched base with our own culture and that has it’s downside. Aside from the usual missing friends, family and important life events, we are losing the little nods to our heritage, like in my case, terminology. My friends back home had a good laugh at my Americanisms or perhaps they are Canadianisms given the proximity to our fellow Canucks. Poor Pat has been made to speak mostly English instead of his native French Canadian for so long that he now dreams and thinks in English. Although it does seem that some of us are embracing the changes. Will has been doing his Scottish homework for a very long time. He is forever quizzing us on our vocab and trying to learn all the “numpty’s”, “Bawheid’s” and “soor Plooms” he can memorize. However perhaps there was always an ulterior motive there, as we will soon find out… Dun dun dunnnnn…

So as a result of a 2-year holiday hiatus it was a long overdue trip back to our respective countries. 

First off Gill and Will made the epic 24-hour journey back to Winnipeg. It was especially exciting for Will as he hadn’t seen his family in three years and one little lady in particular (his 3 year old niece Rae-Anne, who was born literally days before he left on his last trip home).

Gill and Will crammed in some pretty dedicated eating during their stay.  Apparently there were Slurpies, ice cream, perogies, hot dogs, some good old fashioned home cooking, Maple Syrup, Poutine, fudge and fondues to list just a few button-popping goodies, but of course they had to find some way to shake off all that goodness.

So to work off the edibles they busied themselves camping, canoeing and horse riding and of course it wouldn’t be Will and Gill if they didn’t add to their holiday tattoo collection, so they both made sure to stop in on their favourite tattoo artist for some more ink. Will finally took his Star Wars obsession to the next level and made Darth Vader a new home on his arm and Gill found a time hungry Butterfly to settle under her hair on the back of her neck. They also put in some serious auntie and uncle time by scooting little Rae-Anne around the best kiddie spots and spoiling her with some ‘Finding Dory’ merch. They then whizzed over to Saskatchewan to visit Will’s dad and more family there before heading back to Winnipeg to celebrate Canada Day in proper Canadian Street Party style. And let’s not forget Gill’s guest drumming appearance in Will’s Stepdad’s Blues band; The Flipcats.

So before we are done and dusted with Gill and Will’s little section we have a couple of pretty mentionable moments they’d like to share with you.  Firstly it was Will’s birthday while he was home and the entire family (92 year old grandma included) celebrated his love of Star Wars by hosting an epic Star Wars themed birthday party in his honor.

Secondly, Will not wishing to steal all of the limelight decided to go on ahead and POP the big question to Gill. Yup, he did it all ladies and gents, the permission from her dad, the one knee, the surprise, the romantic Rocky Mountain setting.  He went for broke and ticked all of the boxes and poor Gill left him in agony for the following 10 minutes because she was so overwhelmed she couldn’t answer.  We can however tell you now that she of course said YES! How could you refuse that cheeky little Star Wars loving face eh Gill? Needless to say, we had a good few bottles of Champagne to celebrate once we were all reunited back here in Dubai.

Now we had one more little Boxtone traipsing off around the wooded areas of Canada and that was our favourite Frenchie, Pat. He popped off home to Quebec and partook in a whole lot of conversation where he wasn’t mimicked or given a hard time for adding H’s to any words beginning with A and I’m sure he pretty much LOVED it. Back to mountains and trees and whilst visiting his mom he reveled in no earthly sign of any Internet connection. As Pat is our main research and data guy we can imagine this must have been heaven. He tells us he was trekking, cycling and reading whilst looking out on beautiful vistas and basically just enjoying the calm and restorative elements of being home. Of course it wasn’t all meditation and back to basics in the woods, he did manage to fit in some music, eating and boozing too. 

Pat spent a fair bit of time with his family and reconnected with some pretty talented friends doing what they do best. He saw ‘7 Jours en Mai’, a project with two of his old ‘Mountain Daisies’ band mates collaborating with 5 renowned artists from Quebec. He also went to see his friends, Pastel and Melissa Ouimet, perform songs from their latest albums and managed to squeeze in some shopping and nostalgic eateries whilst he was at it. It also happened to be the French music festival Les Francofolies in Montreal so our Pat was found on a few occasions heading over to check out the music scene there too. Just what the doctor ordered and a pretty perfect holiday agenda!

I on the other hand did my usual cramming too much in and ended up in an induced ‘overactivity coma’ the entire trip back, no doubt drooling into KLM’s best synthetic head fluff (God knows we cant really call that a pillow) and completely missing out on an entire season of Friends, free mini wines, pretzels and the usual high salt and low taste efforts a plastic tray can offer. Ah well it was definitely worth it as on our way back to Scotland my mini me and I decided to stay for a little longer than the usual danger game of 50 minutes transfer time, from Paris to Edinburgh. I usually chose to ignore the red text warnings during booking that ‘your transfer time is too low’ in the eagerness to gain the shortest flight time possible because we all know that that extra hour spent in Paris could have held a world of holiday fun at the other end!  Anyhow we played it safe for once and extended the transfer time to 3 whole days Woohoo! 

This was just enough time to terrorize my daughter with a trip up a rickety old glass elevator to the very tip of the Eiffel Tower and watch as she did the very best impression imaginable of a fridge magnet on the metallic back walls of the actual tower. As a side order of scary I dragged her around Pere Lachaise Cemetery where Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried. You know, just a normal kids days out. Next up I decided I was bored of terrorizing my kid and thought I would use her height aversions to torment some fellow tourists. Off we headed to Notre Dame where after climbing up to the bell tower and admiring the stone carved gargoyles, Rosie held up 40 odd visitors by shuffling one foot at a time down the 400 steps, adding a good 15 minutes or so to the journey down time for EVERYONE.

Now who doesn’t love Disney? Our last trip there it was all Princesses and lame rides where you literally queued for 2 hours to do 6 laps around in a plastic Dumbo the elephant. This time however, it was game on. We did all the scariest rides and ended up having the ‘Best Day Ever’! Rapunzel fans will get that last comment!

Anyway the main part of our trip was of course spent back home in Bonny Scotland. I scooted up to the very most Northern Island of Shetland to carry on tracing my Viking ancestors and packed in so many historical sights in Edinburgh. It was great to be so immersed in my culture and history. We visited the creepy bee hive like ruins of Dirleton Castle, took a boat over to the secluded Loch Leven castle (where Mary Queen of Scots was last imprisoned in Scotland), made a trip out to Rosslyn Chapel, (which was featured in The Da Vinci Code) and did a few walking history tours of the city.

I managed to see all of my mahoosive family and rallied 10 of my cousins together to compete in ‘Escape the Room’ events and of course there were the inevitable catch-ups with all my favourite buddies. We had mountainous nachos and far too much Prosecco, we did road trips galore, we reminisced and sang like banshees to my friends well worn out teenage ‘Wet Wet Wet’ collection, we shopped till our recyclable bags were bulging at their shoddy Primark seams and we laughed until Prosecco shot out of our noses. And it was fabulous!

Now let’s take a look at our little workaholic band member Gary. Try as we might we could not entice him out of the steam box that became Dubai in June and July.  However he assures us that he had a blast in the peace and quiet without us. I’m pretty sure that the football season had nothing to do with the empty Corona boxes and boys nights in…right Gary?

According to Gary these were his highlights:

“Things to enjoy when at home alone for 4 weeks include living in your underwear, using one knife, fork and spoon and a single plate for all your dietary needs, and getting up and going to bed when you want to, like a rogue teenager. Many times I fell asleep as the sun was rising, and didn’t rise until it had gone to bed, and during those moments I penned down some new ideas for some songs. I turned the living room into my den of mischief and recorded what I could, when I could, in anticipation of the guys getting back so we could jam. Good summer, lonely and quiet, but I’m not complaining, sometimes it’s nice to have some time by yourself.”

So there you have it guys, lonely and quiet is the way to go! Aww Gary!

Now that we have offloaded our holiday news there are some upcoming gigs we are excited to tell you about.

We will be performing at the Donatello Hotel in Al Barsha in their brand new Sports bar ‘Red Hot and Chili’. You can catch us there every Monday night and as well as listening to us you can get great prices on your drinks whilst getting your game on at the darts boards and pool tables.

Secondly we are excited to say we will be expanding our musical reach to Beirut.  It’s somewhere we have long waited to visit and now we have the chance with a nice little Tuesday night slot at the hugely popular Seven Sisters bar. So keep an eye on our social media for how we get on and what else we have in the wings.

As always the never ending work is continuing to get everything ready for our debut single launch this September and album launch shortly after that. We can’t wait to share all of the exciting things we have coming up…but one thing at a time I’m afraid and this blog is already monster-sized so we will keep some for the next one.

Peace Out

The Boxtones