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Learning Irish August 31, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge.
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It’s time to start learning a bit of Gaeilge again. Somewhere down in the far reaches of my brain there lies a bit of a grá for the language that was forced on us as children in the most boring and bland way you could ever imagine ! Can you remember ? Will I ever forget ? I’m ashamed I can’t speak, read or understand more than the absolute basics of our once thriving language.

Picture the scene – 20 something impressionable young kiddies sit in 1st class (1st grade, 1st form, year 1 – call it what you will) … we had minds like sponges , ready, willing and mostly able to soak up everything the education system could throw at us. If only we could make some room for … drum roll … the good old COMHRÁ. The jolly atmosphere in our co-ed classroom used to plummet each day after our morning break. Fresh from the yard we’d come, fuelled by fizzy orange and some now long redundant brand of biscuits and slump disheartened into our green and black moulded plastic chairs, knowing what was about to come. The comhrá – or conversation – which formed a basic cornerstone of the way our native language was instilled in us as children.

Looking back on it, I get depressed when considering the comhrá and how bad it actually was. We were taught by repetition, reinforced by gaudy cardboard cut out figures of Dadaí, Mamaí, na páistí agus an madra stuck to a black, pre-Velcro nylon board being moved around to supposedly stir in our minds all sorts of wonderful adventures and scenarios … all as Gaeilge, of course. The effect it had was the opposite and the only good to come from it was minor in terms of vocabulary. Ask any Irish child of the 80s who endured Irish as a “sit down and stare subject” – they can probably repeat at ease the immortal phrases “Tá Mamaí agus Dadaí ag dul go dtí an siopa. Tá Bran (the f*cking dog !) in aice leo.

So that’s the level of my Irish at the moment. It has only slightly improved since the days of my early youth. Over the past few weeks I have been trawling the web for a few sites dealing with learning Irish from the beginning (not necessarily beginner’s Irish) and have
come up with quite a few good resources. I’ve also started going to the bookshop at lunchtimes and reading the likes of “” or “Foinse“. There are also some very interesting articles around concerning the differences between Irish in different parts of Ireland and the sometimes high-and-mightiness of speakers as to whose dialect is better than others and so on …

I’m sure the road will be long and hard and sometimes a bit bearránach but deamaim mo dhícheall to speak a little bit more of the language in the months to come and expecially now since there’s a sprog on the way. And before anyone goes stone mad, as gaelgóireanna sometimes do with me, I know you can’t put English words in with Irishy words but sure didn’t we all understand the sentence ?

So I’m going to learn the language my way – and if that means that the native speakers I regularly encounter can’t understand me (i.e. I might as well be speaking Urdu) then that’ll be their problem – I’ll be learning for my own satisfaction.

Foclóir beag – A few translations

an Gaeilge n., pr. on Gale-geh ; Gaelic or Irish Gaelic or Irish ; the name of the Irish language, in Irish Gaelic.
Comhrá n., pr. ko-raw ; conversation ; a method of teaching Irish in 1980s, using cartoon cut-outs of family figures arranged into situations, which were then supposedly talked about.
Grá n., pr. graa ; love ; to have a grá for something means you have an affection for it. Phrase in common use in Hiberno-English.
Dadaí n., pr. dad-dee ; Dad.
Mamaí n., pr. mom-ee ; Mom.
na páistí coll. n., pr. neh pawsh-tee ; the children.
an madra n., pr. on mod-ra ; the dog ; he was always called ‘Bran’, which was Fionn macCumhaill’s dog.
an siopa n., pr. on shupp-a ; the shop or store.
n., pr. law ; literally meaning ‘day’ ; title of an Irish language daily newspaper.
Foinse n., pr. fween-sha ; literally meaning ‘source’ ; also the title of an Irish language newspaper.
bearránach adj., pr. barr-awn-och ; annoying.
deamaim mo dhícheall said expr., v., pr. day-nim muh yee-hull ; I will do my best.
gaelgóireanna coll. n., pr. gale-gore-enna ; native Irish speakers.

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Phrase of the day #22 August 31, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“She has more chins than a Chinese phonebook !”

Explanation : Jaysis, thats a helluva lot of chins …

Beware of Rodents August 30, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Rodents of all kinds grate on me. In fact, you could go so far as to say that I hate all rodentry (sic). Some months ago it became apparent to us that there might be a leak in our water pipes.  At the same time we realised we were getting nightly visits from an unwanted four-legged furry fiend.  One morning, coming downstairs to find a half-chewed banana and an apple core on the parlour floor, we knew we had a fight on our hands.

Not putting two and two together and equally not envisaging that a rodent could be causing the water trouble, we called out a very diligent plumber who, despite his best efforts, could find nothing wrong with our non-functioning, dead-as-a-doornail heating system.  He took it apart and put it back together again, got new parts, sucked his teeth a lot, spent a lot of time on his hands and knees, put in new pipes etc. all to no avail.  So he recommended we get an electrician to see if the fault was electrical and lo and behold, in the middle of his wire stripping antics didn’t the equally adept electrician utter an off-the-cuff remark that there seemed to be a lot of water seeping out onto the ground under said dead boiler.

To cut a long story very short and not wanting to bore readers with repeated attempts at filling gaps under the floor boards with expanding foam and other sorts of anti-rodent remedies, being the clueless D.I.Y. enthusiast that I am (more Damage-It-Yourself, than Do-It-Yourself) and the garden having taken a lot of rain in the preceding few days, I decided to venture into the attic to have a look at the tank.  With the plumber, now back on site armed with a new theory, leading the way we ventured under the eaves to find that there wasn’t a drop of water in our entire pipe system.

The cause ? See below …

pipe.jpg and yes, that is a solid wavin pipe the little shit chewed through.  Boy, did I dance around the kitchen a few mornings later when we caught the bastard – with a Mars bar no less. So if you learn anything from this, it’s the following : don’t leave fruit out in the open at night and rats like Mars bars.

PS : I’ll spare you the pictures of the dead rat.

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Phrase of the day #21 August 30, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“He has a brain like a steel trap – anything that enters gets mangled !”

Explanation : No matter how hard you try, he just doesn’t get it …

Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 29 August 29, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Well week 29 is here and the arrival grows ever closer. We had an appointment at the hospital this week and all is well – it seems my calculations were (as Laura pointed out) a little off because it seems we are actually 30 weeks and 3 days along … so keep a watch out for Week 30’s post at the end of this week. It’s hospital / doctor every alternating 2 weeks from here on in.

This is a somewhat strange time for me – there is about 9 weeks to go now but it seems that time is slowing down again the way it did when we first found out that we were expecting. I guess when you spend every day with someone you don’t see them changing as quickly as they actually are. At the moment having a bad back and maggoty legs are the only indicators that things are changing. Well at least to my uneducated eye … This time when we went for the scan (which we only knew we’d get once we arrived), they were not just checking to see if the baby was OK but all sorts of things like weight and length and level of fluid around the baby, breathing and so on … is this really happening ?

Having paid a visit this past weekend to relatives with a small 9 month old child (adorable, of course) it has hit me square between the eyes that, please God, in a matter of weeks, we will be in charge of a small little person ! I used the brief time with the relatives to have my first non-botched nappy changing experience – the original one was when the same child was 4 months old and it didn’t go well. Think armpits ! The parents of the child seemed so organised – they had all the stuff, knew what and when to feed the kid and so on … I know none of that but I guess it comes in time. It also surprised me that when said child chucked up her dinner in the middle of crawling along the floor that I sprang up and cleaned it without even thinking … there must be male hormones on the go in sync with the female ones than induce some sort of cluckiness or latent responsibility in me – I dunno … Our little one is now around the 15cm/2.2 lb mark but I stand to be corrected as the bloody firewall in my office has blocked out the pregnancy newsletter I signed up for.

A lot of practical things are now beginning to fall into place to welcome the little one into the world – how lucky we are to be able to afford such things as a nursery and all that goes with it … the painting starts this weekend and the consensus is that it will be an “off-white” (I let her make the colour decisions because to me, mauve is just a shade of red) with a Winnie the Pooh border … Thomas the Tank Engine got voted down in case it’s a girl. Fair enough.

Another interesting thing happened this week and I don’t know whether to put any credence to it at all – the wife was on the phone to her Mum in Sweden and said that people have told her she’s “very neat”. Immediately the MIL said that the child must be a boy … has anyone heard of the way a woman is carrying the child being an indicator of the gender ? Maybe if a midwife said it I’d believe it …

Phrase of the day #20 August 29, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“If I’d a garden full of mickeys, I wouldn’t let her look over the wall !”

Explanation : Not that gardens full of mickeys are common, but you wouldn’t … ever !

Phrase of the day #19 August 28, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“He’s so thick that blondes tell jokes about him !”

Explanation : I’m working with a fair few of both …

Phrase of the day #18 August 25, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Would you like to be buried with my people ?”

Explanation : Hats off to the most rose-mantic marriage proposal ever …

Star gazing August 25, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Having always had an inquisitive interest in things beyond this planet, my thoughts are presently drawn to the magnificently named E.L.T.A. – the Extremely Large Telescope Array, which is being built way up in the Chilean Andes. The place itself is called Llano de Chajnantor, 17,000 feet up in the middle of the desolate Atacama desert. It seems this place is going to be the new site for “the greatest show in the universe”.

When the telescope array, numbering about 64 dishes, is completed in the year 2011, it will dwarf the already huge V.L.T. – Very Large Telescope array, in Paranal, Chile and a similar installation in New Mexico, known from the film ‘Contact’.

This new array of star-gazing scopes and computers, properly called the A.L.M.A. – the Atacama Large Millimeter Array – will be able to give scientists and astronomers a new insight into the galaxy, possibly telling us more than we already know about the Big Bang, planet formation and the make-up of the whole cosmos. Stuff like what banged, how it banged and what happened next sort of thing. The project is also being part funded by the European Space Agency (yes we have one !) as well as the Americans and the Japanese.

So what would you like to see or look at if you could peer into the A.L.M.A. for a half an hour or so ? Details of the project can be seen on the A.L.M.A. website or the newsletter the European Southern Observatory in South America produces.

Well worth a nosy …

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Ireland : 24 August ’06 August 24, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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A few items of note from the ould country today.

There appears to be a growing security threat in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary of all places, as there’s a man barricaded into his house and he’s threatening to blow it, himself and all around to high heavens. The house on Rosemary Street has been cordoned off with businesses shutting down and people being evacuated. At least the local TD, Michael Smith seems to know what is going on when he says “He appears to have certain pieces of equipment which would lead one to the view that it could be harmful but there is no proof of that.” he said. So hence the Garda cordon and the bomb disposal experts – better safe than sorry I guess …

Elsewhere its good to know that the Irish oil worker from Co. Galway, who was taken hostage in Nigeria, has been released. Apparently over in this area, kidnappings are a regular occurrence with most people being freed unharmed within days – it seems that these oil companies still make money even after paying high ransom figures … madness. It’s not altogether clear whether the bosses at US firm Halliburton (what are they doing in Nigeria ?) paid a ransom for the release of the men or not … I’d be on the next plane home if I was them !

Good luck to Derry City who are back in UEFA cup action tonight after their excellent 5-1 away win over Gretna of Scotland a week or so ago. If they get through tonight’s game (and it’s unlikely Gretna will win 5-0 away), then they are into the 1st round proper of the UEFA cup. If they get a good draw there, who knows what might happen …

It appears the tracksuited drug pushing scumbags who inhabit our capital city in droves have taken to plying their wares on the famous Liffey boardwalk and in broad daylight. The story, taken from the Irish Independent today, is utter madness. People are now afraid to have their lunch on the boardwalk because of the hordes of junkies buying and selling drugs.

Please can somebody tell me why there are no Guards about ? because there aren’t enough of them , that’s why. If a reporter for the Irish Independent can picture people openly selling drugs and everyone knows about it, why don’t the Guards bust them ? Apparently only two Guards were there on duty the whole day … there should be fifty bloody two once they know it’s going on … and stop and search every bloody one of the w*nkers.

And finally on a somewhat lighter note, spare a thought for the would-be bank robber in Austria who tried to hold up his local town hall instead of the local bank. Having realised his error, he fled, only to be nabbed when he returned a while later to pick up his bike, which he had left outside ! And you thought these things only happened in bad Bruce Willis movies …

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Phrase of the day #17 August 24, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“She’s as subtle as a well thrown brick !”

Explanation : The woman in question regularly puts her mouth where her feet are …

White Paint August 24, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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I hate white paint ! Especially when it’s smothered all over the ground in the most untidy “keep outside this line” ever seen on an Irish building site.

lines As you can see from the heartfelt effort these builders have made, people are simply walking on the thick white paint and carrying on as normal !  That is until yours truly, in a mad rush to get home, walks out and walks straight into it.

There’s bloody paint everywhere – on the floor of my car, on my “good” shoes, on the floor at home, on the stairs … even a bit on the dog’s paws … grrrrr

Review : Kinnitty Castle, Co.Offaly August 23, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Hotel & Restaurant reviews.
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So we were at “a weddin” in Kinnitty Castle, Co.Offaly this past weekend and I thought it well worth a mention here. The wedding reception was for approximately 160 guests and was held in the castle’s ballroom. We were mightily impressed (not always easy).

The castle itself is an old grand house as opposed to a classical castle but it does have towers and courtyards and so on. It’s set in its own estate, up a long wooded drive lined with dense forest. Upon arriving at the front of the property, you get a great feeling of space and importance as the castle building is set atop a large paddock, higher than all around it.

The buildings themselves consist of the castle, which holds the Dungeon bar, Monk’s Kitchen restaurant and reception/drawing rooms and then across the courtyard, the ballroom. The bedrooms (25 approx.) are finished to a high standard, are clean and try to include some of the older charm of the castle. The hotel bar is in “the Dungeon” and I’ve never seen anything like it – either it’s a very clever design with a multitude of nooks and crannies and snugs or it once really was a dungeon ! that’s how authentic it felt – the perfect place to while away a few hours while the bridal party get their pictures taken in the magnificent gardens.

Being skeptical enough about venues which hold 3 weddings a week, we were more than pleasantly surprised with the high quality of food and service. The function hall is just about as unique as they come – a long central hall with two round tower like spaces at the top. So the “top table” sits in a [ shape with the guests all facing them. It was a very clever setup with guests sitting at long tables along the walls. Very reminiscent of how it might have been way back when. The best thing I can say about the service and the servers is that we didn’t even notice they were there – everything arrived on-time, hot and in plentiful supply. The room is also cool enough at 2am that 100+ merry revelers don’t get too jittery.

So hats off to Kinnitty Castle – couldn’t recommend it highly enough for a nice meal or indeed for your big day.

PS : No idea about the cost but I’d venture that it ain’t cheap …

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Phrase of the day #16 August 23, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“If he were any more stupid, he would have to be watered twice a week.”

Explanation : I think everyone knows a person like this … most of them are in government !

Ireland or Outer Bleedin’ Mongolia ? August 22, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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Sometimes I wonder, when I look out my window, are the fields and hills and river and houses that I see actually on the outskirts of Ulan Bataar, Outer Mongolia, rather than dear old Ireland. No, dear readers, I am not going through a crisis of identity but it seems many of the invading UK multi-national companies that operate here, just might be !

Is it just me or is it impossible to get anything delivered to Ireland that originates in the UK ? Take for example my recent, and on-going, frustrated battle with the good folks at Homebase. Now Homebase have a plethora of stores in this country but are UK owned and run with their HQ being in Milton Keynes. To cut a long, drawn out story very short, I bought a bathroom and a kitchen from their store on the Naas Road in Dublin. Everything turned up except the bath. Homebase don’t want to know. I should’ve more carefully read their terms and conditions on delivery to “Southern Ireland” but the divils at the store in Dublin didn’t tell me it would be a 3rd party company that would handle any problems and messed up deliveries that might occur.

That was at the end of June. This is the end of August. I haven’t had a bath since ! Joking aside, nobody seems to know where the bath is or when, if ever, it is going to appear. The best I have gotten is “We do have difficulties sometimes finding people in Southern Ireland”. It seems that once they see Republic of Ireland on the address, the radar breaks down. This opinion has come from experience – without a postcode we’re f*cked because that’s how their systems work in terms of referencing addresses and linking to delivery schedules.

It makes me think. If I can order a set of golf clubs from Bumblefuck, Ohio, USA and have them sitting in front of me in 4 days (having come through the UK !) why can’t Homebase, M&S or any of the other large UK retailers bloody deliver here ? When pressed on the matter of “Why do you not deliver to Southern Ireland, when you do to Northern Ireland ?”, the customer service department customer answering department of M&S sent me this rather formulaic reply.

“I am sorry that we do not provide a delivery service to Southern Ireland at the moment. This is because the delivery company that work for us do not currently deliver in this area. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

People, it’s not the other side of the world ! Sometimes I do wonder if it would be easier to get something delivered to Outer Mongolia than to Munster … Alas, it seems nobody south of Newry need apply !

PS : On a slight aside, it strikes me that despite our closeness in geographic and so many other ways, we really know nothing about each other – I mean I know Milton Keynes is in Buckinghamshire but trying to find it on a map would be akin to George Bush looking before he leaps ! I’d wager it’s the same for some Joe Soap in Manchester trying to find the arse end of Ballyragget or one of our more classically named towns like Knobber, Collon or Killinaspick !

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Phrase of the day #15 August 22, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I’m as sick as a plane to Lourdes !”

Explanation : Once again the libations have gotten the better of you and you are as sick …

Pregnancy for Fathers : Week 28 August 21, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood.
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Another week gone with several interesting facts learned along the way. After all the books I’ve been flicking through and all the websites I’ve been surfing, it seems you always do “learn something new everyday”.

I’ve been reading up on the subject of “lightening”, which is basically when your baby drops a little into the pelvis in preparation for the upcoming labour. Apparently with first time mothers this can be as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the due date so we’ve got a few weeks to go, but it’s an interesting addition to the thoughts of what the next couple of months are going to hold.

The sprog itself is kicking its mother quite regularly as is moving and wiggling about lots every day, as if to say “stop changing position Mummy !” … it also really reacts to the brand of orange squash the missus drinks as well … sugar free apparently ! The wife has also got creepy-crawly legs at night which might explain the bruises on my legs … the cheese wedge shaped pillow I bought for her seems to be doing the trick supporting the bump though …

Development wise, the books say that this is the time of the pregnancy when the brain is continuously developing so I must make a point of stopping on the way home to get some fish – isn’t that supposed to be good for our brain ?
We also paid our first visit to a nursery shop this weekend – it’s funny because it’s situated in the back of a well known toy store and the only adults who are allowed by the excited kids to make it that far are expectant mothers or first-timers like us. Good niche in the market that – catering for all ages of children, even the ones not yet born !

Anyone got any views on unusual but manageable names for boys ? Traditional Irish names need not apply (her idea, not mine !)

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Phrase of the day #14 August 21, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I’d crawl ten miles across broken glass to kiss the exhaust of the van that took her dirty knickers to the laundry.”

Explanation : She’s had a rather positive effect on you this bird …

How’s this suit ya, Coastal Aussie ?

Phrase of the day #13 August 18, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“He’s that thick he thinks ‘manual labour’ is a Spanish singer !”

Explanation : Surely everyone knows Manuel Labor is from Portugal …

Advertising – gotta love it ! August 17, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Don’t you just get a kick out of advertising ? It’s just plain mad the way some of the adverts out there are presented to us …

I’m talking about stuff like ads for sandwiches containing “our specially carved ham” or “our oven roasted” wholegrain bread … for one thing isn’t all ham “carved” in some way ?

I mean there isn’t a point in saying that it’s carved because in order to get into slice form it has to be cut or carved in some way anyway right ? I guess the idea is that into our heads pops this wondrous image of the most luscious sandwich you could imagine, with ham lovingly prepared by a top French chef who has spent his morning pouring over rich honey covered joints of the finest cuts of meat just to carve a few slices specially for you … only for them to end up in a plastic triangle in Ireland 3 days later tasting like shoe leather !

Hands down, my personal favourite at the moment has to be the blurb on the tins of dog food we bought for our beloved mutt. Wait for it … it contains “specially selected chunks”. Now not “specially selected chunks of beef or chicken or some sort of meat” … no, just “specially selected chunks with beef” … what the hell does that mean ?

That’s got to be the definitive ‘most horrible job in the world’ – well I’m presuming that if the chunks (whatever they are) are “specially selected”, there must be a guy (or gal) sitting there at a conveyor belt saying “Yep we’ll take that one. Oh I don’t think that one makes the grade. Yes that one will do !” and so on … specially put-in-a-can chunks from a vat of stewed shite more like it. The dog would still eat it – just don’t make it think its eating chicken chasseur or something … 🙂

Labels and adverts aside, it seems the unnerving ability to describe mutton dressed up as lamb (or offal dressed up as “selected chunks”) also stretches to people in stores and shops and as I have recently noticed, air stewards. Picture the scene – we pay €2000+ to fly to the other side of the world with a well renowned airline and are looking forward to some excellent in-flight service. We’ve heard good things. The steward approaches with a platter of something bound to be better than your average airplane fodder … “Tonight ladies and gentlemen, our chef has carefully prepared a sumptuous shrimp and cheese omelette for your delight …” What we got – a cold lump of egg sponge bet into the side of a small white box.

These people can say anything and we’ll believe them …

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Phrase of the day #12 August 17, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“He has rubber-lined pockets so he can steal soup.”

Explanation : The fellow in question would rival Scrooge in the stingy stakes …

Ireland : 16 August ’06 August 16, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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Nothing but death and destruction in Éireann today it seems. It appears that murderers are taking every opportunity in this ‘end of silly season lull’ to create carnage all round them.

And there are a few mad men and women roaming our streets too.  Not least the chap who ran into the Irish football team’s hotel brandishing what turned out to be a fake Uzi machine gun (where do you get a ‘fake but real’ looking Uzi ?) at Steve Staunton.  According to the papers the man is badly in need of treatment for his depression but one can’t help but wonder did the recent shite poor performances by the Irish team have anything to do with his decision ?

A homeless man was brutally killed in Tralee yesterday, along with an 80 year old paedophile in south Dublin.  The Gords have arrested a woman in connection with the shotgun killing in Cork of a father of two.  The kids were apparently, within ear shot of the whole incident.  Jaysus the whole place is going stone mad.  I think I’ll move to Limerick to get away from it all …

Spare a thought too for the wonderful Maori people of New Zealand, who are today in mourning for their Queen, Te Ata, who died yesterday, aged 75. I, for one, didn’t realise there was a royal family in New Zealand but it seems Dame Te Ata was the 6th Maori monarch – an institution that was formed in response to Maori land losses when the Europeans started arriving years ago …

Today is also a momentous day for the 50,000 odd students around the country who will receive their (dreaded) Leaving Certificate results. I remember the day well – our results were actually read from the pulpit by our priest Principal – nothing like sharing the good news with the rest of your year then ? The results show positive happenings in the subjects of Economics, French and Biology but less favourable outcomes overall in Maths, History and Physics amongst others. Hats off to the girls who once again outshone the boys in overall results. Watch out for the hoardes of partying students tonight so …

And finally, today’s shout out goes to those 2 wonderful and terribly original scutterin’ gobsheens, Podge & Rodge. Check out today’s issue of the Star (p.17) for their guide to college life … it starts off “As you’re rubbing Aloe Vera lotion into your sun-burnt mickey …” Sure only they’d get away with it !

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Phrase of the day #11 August 16, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Jaysis, I wouldn’t ride her into battle !”

Explanation : You wouldn’t ride the offending lady into battle, never mind anywhere else …

Are we drinking ourselves to death ? August 15, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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I feel I have to rant a bit. I like pubs. However I don’t count myself among the number of our population whose sole purpose in life is thronging the hostelries of Ireland every Thursday thru’ Sunday night, drinking till I can’t anymore, stopping for an overpriced kebab on the way home, only to see it again the next day. The author is very annoyed at his 50 something next door neighbour’s performance in his front garden at 4am on Sunday morning. “Open the f*ucking door woman or I’ll break it down !” was about the best of it. A lovely fella normally – gives me plenty of DIY tips and lends me tools etc. Demon for the drink, obviously.

Stepping over the puke stains on my way to work this morning, it got me thinking. Is getting arseholed worth it ? Before I get labelled a dry-shite (has been known to happen), I must inform readers that my days of heavy drinking and constant thigh-slapping bouts of alcohol fuelled merriment are behind me. I’m getting on a bit (well not really) and my late night debaucherious habits have similarly begun to slow down.

Think of the scenarios. Think of feeling “hungover as a dog” and then choose your favourite.

(A) You go out for a meal and a few drinks with some mates. You have a couple of pints after your food. You move on to the corner of your favourite pub and get a seat. You spend the next number of hours happily chatting away and getting steadily merrier. You can hear what your mates are talking about and have an all round good time. You leave at a reasonable hour so as to have some chance of doing something useful the next day and are in bed by (guessing here) 2am ?

(B) You go out after work with some mates. You have a pint every twenty minutes or so up until about 7pm when it starts to effect you. You think about getting something to eat but decide against it as you’re already drinking and there’d be no good in it. You move on to the next nearest, busiest pub and after queuing for twenty minutes, manage to find a standing room only spot next to the men’s toilet. People are constantly bumping against you and you can’t hear your own voice, never mind anyone elses. You buy pints 2 at a time at the bar to save having to queue up again. Later, you remember following some possible conquests into a nightclub niteclub. You pay €10 to get in, €3 to leave your coat in the hall, drinks cost over a fiver each and you have nowhere to sit. Later, someone taps you on the shoulder, yells something about not having a home to go to and turfs you out onto the street. Struggling for your bearings and now bereft of your companions, you stumble into the nearest chipper and pay €7.80 for gammy chips and a greasy burger. Dropping half your “food” on the pavement, you start the inevitably futile hunt for a taxi to bring you home. You blag a can of something vaguely familiar from a bunch of very young looking lads on the street corner and remember remarking to yourself that you’re a bit f*cked. You wake at 3pm the next day, unaware of how you got home, having slept in puke stained clothes. Must’ve been a great night because you can’t remember a thing ! It seems to me that I must be in the monority ‘cos I don’t do this … and that there is an overwhleming tolerance to our drink issue …

My questions to you : Am I exaggerating ? Do a huge number of people, young, old and indifferent regularly go down route (B) ? Is someone not properly “enjoying themselves” if they choose (A) ? Is something not wrong about (B) if you do it constantly ?
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Phrase of the day #10 August 15, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“She has an arse like two young fellas fighting in a tent.”

Explanation : The girl in question is a little rotund in the posterior …

PS : This does not mean the author is a chauvinistic b*stard