What I did on my holidays

Dublin has been on my list of places to visit for longer than I can care to remember, so it was good to get on a plane and actually do that last week. Of course, we had to go and pick the day of the worst conceivable weather to travel in for a person whose fear of flying is legendary, but following a three hour delay that allayed my fears that they’d just fly on through a storm regardless, we finally got off the ground and were touching down before I’d even thought to unfasten my seatbelt. The flight itself was obviously not the smoothest in history, but it was nowhere NEAR as bumpy as my ill-fated returns from Athens and Madrid, so if nothing else it taught me not to assume anything from a certain type of weather!

On arrival, we were soon to discover another slight error in our planning, however, which was managing to book a trip slap-bang in the middle of TWO major local sporting events (including the now-infamous Thierry Henry handball game) but this didn’t seem to ruin things too much – we just gave Temple Bar a slightly wider berth than we otherwise would have done. Joe fortunately knows the city well enough to find a bar that wasn’t too full-on on for the first night, so he sunk a few Guinnesses while I continued stoically with the gin that had earlier helped me board the flight…

We stayed in a particularly lovely hotel called Number 31, which was set in the Georgian part of town and very modernist despite its history. They gave us a huge room with three beds and a comically massive chair. It claimed to have won an award for the best breakfasts in Ireland, which turned out to be a very good thing when I discovered the reality of finding a vegetarian meal anywhere in Dublin.

There were plenty of cafes during the day serving veggie stuff but our fine dining habit was curtailed from day one, when Joe was served bacon in a ‘vegetarian’ risotto at one of the places we’d booked in advance. Ho hum! On our last night we shared a romantic bag of chips on Baggott Street followed up by a 9 inch takeaway pizza in the hotel.

Don’t assume we sat around eating junk food and drinking obvious drinks, mind you: plenty of art and culture was observed, including two art exhibitions, a tour around the Chester Beatty library and its wonders, and culminating in a trip to the Gate Theatre to see a new adaptation of The Birds.. In the unlikely event that any of you ever go and see it, I won’t spoiler the end. But good grief it was chilling! We also managed to catch up with ex Benwell Road resident Nora, take a walk along the canal and buy ghastly souvenirs, so all in all not bad going for a three day jaunt. I liked the city and want to go back, but will be factoring in a day trip to Cork next time where the nearest rated veggie restuarant is situated 😉

More photos here.

Admin and outings

Joe and I declared Wednesday and Thursday ‘admin days’, which meant that he played computer games while I went out shopping and got my hair cut. It’s quite short now incidentally – I must have got to that age. Oh, we got some boring stuff done as well – I’m looking at a ‘to-do’ list that’s 90% ticked so some progress must have been made but I’d never be so rude as to blog about it.

Brighton break

No week off would be complete without at trip to see Dad and Julia on the coast, so we picked another gloriously gale-ridden day to jump on a train and show up for a couple of days’ lounging, tea-drinking and cat watching. We also made the obligatory pilgrimage to Food for Friends, which just keeps on churning out the goods. On the cat front, Boingley is still with us (in some senses at least) but has a dodgy thyroid and is so zonked out on drugs to lower her levels that she rarely emerges from the cat basket these days. During the weekend I dragged my folks to a big craft fair that was a lot of fun, particularly since I’d forgotten how amusingly bizarre my Dad’s behaviour is towards total strangers whenever we go anywhere together. This has not changed.

While I was down there, the urge struck me to equip myself with a new phone, and I finally settled on the HTC Hero, having conducted extensive twitter-based research. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to test out its myriad and apparently wonderful Android features as yet, because the person who served me at T-Mobile was new to the job and of course I was too British to demand that someone else do it despite knowing it would go wrong. I’m still waiting for them to put me on the right data package and may soon have to ‘turn to twitter’ to ensure this happens promptly.

Update: It has indeed ‘gone wrong’. I still can’t access the google android store a week later, despite several despairing calls to T-Mobile. If anyone else can help me out here you’ll be my hero…

home is where the hearth is

On Sunday, I packed my bags and headed up to London to play the drums: you can read about the fantastic time I had banging away on them below.



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