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Phrase of the Day #117 March 30, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“You’re so narrow minded you could see through a keyhole with both eyes !”

And keyholes are small !

Hope is the thing … March 28, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Hope is the thing …

by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Where is the Green vote ? March 27, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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The general election is slowly but surely lumbering onto the horizon and it’ll be upon us before you can say “Brown envelopes in Manchester” … which brings me to the topic of the hustings – otherwise known as the politicians who call door to door, accompanied by “the local man”, with a view to securing your vote.

I am one of those people you could label a “swing voter”. I am undecided, both as to the party I am going to vote for and the persons themselves. But no politicians ever come near my house … except Sinn Féin and the Greens – neither of which are likely to make any impact in my constituency.

The Green vote always interests me as I would be a supporter of anyone who does anything to improve the environment. But, although the Green support is growing, it seems to me that on the day, not nearly as many people vote Green as thought they would or said they would. I’ve often heard the answer “Maybe I’ll vote Green” in answer to the “How are you going to vote ?” question. In my experience, if you haven’t made up your mind to vote Green before you go in, humming and hawing over the ballot paper on the day doesn’t bode well for whatever party.

I think that if everyone who thought they “might” vote Green (perhaps because they couldn’t make up their mind about anyone else and the Greens were an acceptable alternative) did actually vote for them, then they’d be laughing … so where are all the latent Green voters ? I think the party needs them now more than ever, if they are to perform well in the upcoming election. Take a look at their website – they’ve got some good policies outlined there but I remain to be convinced of their governing pedigree. So come on wannabe Green TDs – call to my door and swing me.

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Phrase of the Day #116 March 27, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“If you can’t ignore an insult, top it; if you can’t top it, laugh it off; and if you can’t laugh it off, it’s probably deserved.” – J. Russel Lynes

All insults and jibes that appear on “The Rambling Man” are of course, meant in jest. Don’t any of ye be gettin’ fierce notions now …

Ireland cricket team through to Super 8s March 26, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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And so the Ireland cricket team’s brilliant performances have earned them a spot in the Super 8 stage of the Cricket World Cup. Fair bowls to them !

So what does this mean to the average cricket ignoramus ? Well, it means that Ireland are now in a round-robin series of games with the best cricketing nations in the world … and they deserve to be there !

Our next 6 games are against England (Fri Mar 30th), South Africa (Tues Apr 3rd), New Zealand (Mon Apr 9th), Australia (Fri Apr 13th), Bangladesh (Sun Apr 15th) and Sri Lanka (Wed Apr 18th). The big boys !

Just how big ? Think Longford Town vs AC Milan … or Kilmore Harriers Junior Bs vs Kilkenny hurlers !

Let’s hope the lads on the Irish squad can learn as much as possible from the experience and maybe even win a game or two ! It’ll be interesting this Friday when Ireland play England and Ed Joyce – who recently left Ireland and declared for England – should open the batting for them … against his old team !

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Joe Walsh – I’m glad you’re retiring ! March 26, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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Mother of God – I’ve just turned off the wireless and still can’t believe what I heard from former Agriculture minister, Joe Walsh. Mr.Walsh is not running for election this time around and was giving us an insight into how difficult it might be to, let’s say, go to the airport, as an ordinary Joe (oops!) Soap …

It appears that when you go to the airport, Mr.Walsh didn’t know that you had to find the check-in desk and then, heaven forbid, after check-in find the departure gate on “a monitor!”. The fact that the duty manager wasn’t on hand to personally just hand you your boarding card was much bemoaned.

Mr.Walsh’s puzzlement at these “completely new” phenomena was abruptly compounded on his return to the airport where the mental quagmire that is a baggage carousel awaited him. Jesus, Mary and Joseph haven’t we come along way hah ?

You mean to tell me, Mr.Walsh, that on the two occasions (1992–1994 and 1997–2004) that you were a minister you never had to endure the shambles at Dublin airport and never knew about baggage belts, departure screens or check-in queues ? Just how out of touch are our politicians ? During his interview – on Morning Ireland this morning – I was immediately reminded of the infamous Pee Flynn episode of the Late Late Show some years back …

Give them enough rope ….

Phrase of the Day #115 March 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Jaysus, if Moses had seen her, there would’ve been another commandment !”

The 11th commandment … Thou shalt not be let out of the house !

A bad experience with “the hunt” March 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
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Just thought I’d give the local hunt a kick in the arse following the very bad experience I had with them a couple of weeks ago. I had been threatening to write a letter to them but couldn’t find who to write to or what, if anything, could be done about it …

Picture the scene – myself, the good wife, the child and the hound en route to the local beach and we happen across a fragment of a hunting party scattered across the public road, causing all sorts of chaos. You know the foxhunting types – dogs (beagles) everywhere going a bit mad, horses trying to keep them in check, red blazered men on horseback standing around, all looking for a way to catch and kill a fox.

So about 5 or 6 dogs jump further out onto the road than they were already and cause the car two in front of us to swerve and the ones behind, including us, to pull in hard onto the verge. Frustrated by this and because I nearly de-biked a cyclist, I rolled my window down and asked the men immediate to me to please get their dogs off the road and reminded them that this was a busy road with fast moving traffic and they shouldn’t be on it. They were causing an obstruction I said, and were likely to cause an accident or worse …

Much to my surprise, I was met with a snickering “Fuck off !” from a perfectly respectable looking gent on a horse and equally shocked by the “Yeah, fuck off you fat c*nt !” from the teenager beside him on foot ! “What did you just say to me ?” I said back to him … but knowing that I couldn’t get out of the car (as I was now causing an obstruction by not moving !) he laughed his arse off at me, all the while looking around for the smiling approval of his hunt colleagues. Needless to say I was hopping mad for hours after it ! It didn’t bother any of them in the slightest.

So, members of the Waterford hunt, is this the way you treat the general public ? I challenge anyone involved in that hunt to answer me as to why they think that abusing the public and causing an obstruction on our roads like this, is the way to gain acceptance for your barbaric pastime ?

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Keano gives FAI a right good bash March 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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Roy Keane gave quite a frank interview when visiting Ireland to support the very worthy Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s “Shades” 2007 campaign yesterday. His mistrust and dislike of the F.A.I. and the way the organisation is run was clear to see.

When Saipan happened, I was annoyed with Keane for walking away (out?) from the World Cup but quickly realised that the things he had to say about the F.A.I. et al. was something we couldn’t ignore forever. Nowadays, I am a great admirer of Keane for the way he will speak his mind about these issues – it seems to me that a lot of what he says and a lot of his footballing opinions are based on common sense. When you compare this common sense approach to the current mess the Irish team faces, you get a clearer picture of the bag of shite job the F.A.I. are currently doing.

As Keane said, it all comes down to attitude. With no managerial experience, he himself has brought Sunderland from relegation candidates to promotion probables with the space of half a season. His team are playing with confidence and look likely to be successful in their efforts to return to the Premiership. You can be sure he takes no shit !

Contrast this with Stan “world class manager” Staunton and Bobby “nobody knows what he actually does” Robson, who since taking over the Irish team’s management has seen the side plummet in the rankings to 54th, below such football giants as Uzbekistan, Guinea and Cuba, of all places ! Not only have we a snowball’s chance in hell of qualifying for the next umpteen tournaments but we have now fallen to the depths of struggling to beat a team like San Marino and celebrating wildly when we do so in the last, gasp, lucky minute …

I remember thinking to myself as to what had gone wrong. Ireland had basically become a bad team overnight ! and continue to get worse. Just a couple of years ago we were in with a chance of qualifying for the World Cup but now the depths of seeding group 4 (or even 5 !) await … and as Roy Keane said “It’ll do !”. Fingers must be pointed at the manager in the immediate term and the parent organisation in the long term.

The points Keane makes are plainly obvious to the ordinary football savvy punter who will fill the stands on Saturday with false expectations of a huge upturn in our national team’s fortunes … the reality is very different – Staunton’s job must be on the line. The decisions he makes with regard to selection are verging on the ridiculous and the once “decent” players who played (and scored) in World Cup finals for Ireland have fallen away to struggling journeyman professionals with less than ambitious clubs.

Time for everyone to wake up and smell the re-hydrating decaffeinated isotonic sports drinks …

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Phrase of the Day #114 March 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“You’re so ugly, you’d scare the flies off a shite wagon !”

Aaah the insults are back ! I haven’t posted a true insult in ages …

Unsung Irish : Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty March 21, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor, The Unsung Irish.
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Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty was an Irish priest, born in Caherciveen, Co.Kerry in 1898.  O’Flaherty is credited with saving at least 4,000 allied soldiers and Jews from the hands of the Germans during World War II by ensuring safe passage and lodging for them among his network of friends and parishioners in Rome.

Having visited many POW camps in the early years of Word War II, he was remember by the Allied servicemen, who, when Italy changed sides in the war in 1943, sought his help.  Without the knowledge of his superiors, he created a network of contacts and safe houses around Rome that enabled the safe passage of the servicemen and Jewish people. 

Eventually, O’Flaherty earned the nickname “the Pimpernel of the Vatican” and because of his elusiveness and use of disguise, he became a target for the SS.  The German officer in charge of  Rome, Herbert Kappler issued a decree that O’Flaherty’s network was to be wiped out but an attempt to assassinate him by the SS failed.

Towards the end of the war when Rome fell, the vast majority of the escapees O’Flaherty and his friends had helped, were still alive.  A very compassionate man, O’Flaherty treated all prisoners equally and insisted that the German prisoners in Rome were also treated fairly.  His one time enemy, Herbert Kappler, having been imprisoned after the war was often visited by O’Flaherty and the two eventually became friends.

I was also very interested to find out that the man was an avid golfer (as I am myself), a keen boxer and a skilled diplomat. 

In 1960 and in failing health, O’Flaherty returned to Ireland and continued to lead an active life.  He died in 1963, aged 65, having recently taken part in a “This is Your Life” program on the life of his friend and ally Colonel Sam Derry.  He was to be the original subject of the program but due to illness he couldn’t travel.

To date, the only monument in Ireland to this great man is a grove of Italian trees planted in his honor in Killarney National Park in 1994.  Fittingly, the poet, Brendan Kennelly wrote the following poem to mark the occasion …

Hugh O’Flaherty’s Trees

By Brendan Kennelly

There is a tree called freedom and it grows
Somewhere in the hearts of men,
Rain falls, ice freezes, wind blows,
The tree shivers, steadies itself again,
Steadies itself like Hugh O’Flaherty’s hand,
Guiding trapped and hunted people, day and night,
To what all hearts love and understand,
The tree of freedom upright in the light.

Mediterranean Palm, Italian Cypress, Holm Oak, Stone Pine;
A peaceful grove in honour of that man,
Commemorates all who struggle to be free.
The hurried world is a slave of time,
Wise men are victims of their shrewdest plans.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.

Heart attack in a Box March 20, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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I feel I have to do a little piece about the shite that gets served at so-called ‘deli’ counters in most major supermarkets and corner shops in this country.

The word ‘delicatessen’ literally (from the German) means delicat/essen, or delicate or light eating. Some rotten bastard in Ireland obviously translated it as “Heart attack in a Box” and it caught on …

salad.jpg Take the terribly named ‘salad bar’ in my local nationwide food chain … every feckin’ thing in it is either swimming in mayonnaise or drowning in oil of some sort.

There’s not a dry salad option in sight, save for a dish container of sorry looking lettuce that has long wilted under the strong lights.

Potato salad in mayonnaise, potato salad in low-fat mayonnaise, tuna with mayonnaise, apples and celery with mayonnaise, beans and tomatoes with mayonnaise, rice in oil … need I say more ? And I’ve often seen them come around and give the various containers a good stir to break up that cruddy crust that forms on top of the salads because they’ve been exposed so long. It reminds me of my school dinners where, towards the end of the week, the tea ladies would pour fresh mayonnaise in on top of Monday’s salad, give it a good stir and slop it up to us. Sure we knew no better !

There is a lack of simple, healthy lunch options or a restaurant where you can go and get, as the man said, “a simple oul sallid” without all the trappings of modern heart-attack inducing condiments … at least there’s none where I live. If I opened one, would they come ? Alas, I think burgers and chips and tuna enfused mayonnaise is what the modern Irish palette craves …

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Phrase of the Day #113 March 19, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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“That’s greatest thing since they reinvented unsliced bread.”

Funny how things go out of fashion and then back in – like big hair and the good old “sliced pan” – which was never bought sliced !

Why use 1 word when a few will do ! March 19, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Sometimes words get the better of me … in an annoying sense. Some of the thing’s things you read really make me sit back and scratch my head. I ponder whether the people writing this stuff really are intelligent and oft come to the conclusion that a three year old would do better …

Stuff like “it’s a unique, once in a life time opportunity !” and “it’s absolutely essential” that you go for it ! It’s a double saying, no ? “Once in a lifetime” is unique to me ! Or what about if something is “boiling hot !” “Jaysis Tommy, don’t ate that – tis boilin’ hot !” Show me boiling that isn’t hot (nearly as bad as ‘ice cold’ !)

And cars and the car industry – it’s full of them ! What about the NCT test – the National Car Test test … or the many ‘foreign imports’ that are around …

We recently got an invitation to a friend’s wedding and on the end of the invite it read “RSVP please to ….” and I’ve often heard of “protective helmets” having to be worn at building sites – aren’t all helmets protective … yadda yadda – I’ve little to be grunting about. Tis far from redundant redundancies I was reared. 🙂

Beannachtaí Lá Féile Phádraig March 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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And if you are in Italy for the rugby match “Buona San Patrizio !”

… be safe people and remember … when the Irish say that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, what we don’t tell you is that he was the only one who saw any snakes in the first place !

It’s the way ya tell ’em ! March 16, 2007

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A little bit of humor to start the weekend off on the right note !

Two drunks coming home, stumbled up a country road in the pitch dark. “Jaysus, Mikey, we’ve stumbled into the graveyard!” says Tommy “and here’s the headstone of a man who lived to the age of 103!”

“103 ! Mother of God, Tommy. Was it anybody we knew?”

“Don’t think so” says Tommy, ” T’was someone named ‘Miles from Dublin’ !”

Man’s best friend March 16, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Daniel is one of the coolest dogs I know … and I know a few. Daniel just hangs around where I work but he’s not a stray. After many weeks of trying to figure out why this barrel of a dog was waddling around the building site right outside my office, I was pleasantly surprised the other evening when I finally found out Daniel’s story !

He’s the dog of the foreman of the building site and comes to work with him each day. He usually sits in the man’s truck all day and around lunchtime (cute huh ?) gets down and goes for an amble around.

daniel

You couldn’t help but give him the last of your sandwich when he comes ambling over, tail a-wagging, covered in builder’s dust.  He’s such a big, lumbering, loveable oaf of a dog … fantastic fella he is – and he has two different coloured eyes !

So this is a message to Daniel … WOOF, WOOF, GROWL, SNIFF, GOOD DOG ! See you Monday.

Bertie does MasterChef ! March 15, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.
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Did anyone see Bertie on MasterChef last night ? My word !

Its the final of the MasterChef and the 3 remaining contestants had to prepare a meal for Tony Blair in No.10.  And of course Bertie is visiting, no doubt talking about something important regarding Northern Ireland and the recent elections, when they get served with a dish of venison wellington.

Now, picture it !  More accustomed to fish and soggy chips in some dodgy chipper in Drumcondra, Bertie offers a fantastic comeback to Mr.Blair’s venison quip.  “The trouble with venison” says Tony, “is that it tends to be tough !”  “Ah Tony” says Bertie “The secret is to marinade it of course.  Ya should try it yerself !”  Cue knowing laughter …

I’d say now he wouldn’t know one end of a lump of venison from a hole in his ar…..

Phrase of the Day #112 March 14, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

One could perhaps attribute this to the participants in “You’re not a Star !” ? One notable exception being young O’Connor from Wexford ?  Anyone ?

Cricket 101 March 13, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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As many of you may know, and more of you may not, Ireland are participating in the cricket World Cup for the very first time. The tournament is taking place in the West Indies and is a series of one day internationals, meaning that each match must be completed in a day. Ireland are in a group with Pakistan, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

If you are a complete cricket dunce (such as me) but still have a slight interest, here follows a brief cricket 101 … I am open to correction, inspiration, education and ridicule – in that order …

– Cricket is played between 2 teams of 11 players, on a grass field which at its middle has a 22 yard long, rectangular pitch set at either end with 3 wooden stumps and a white line called a crease. The object of the game is to score more “runs” than the opponent’s team.

NB : In this game, you want “runs”, as opposed to “the runs”, which you never want !

– One team bats and the other fields and bowls – the bowler bowls the ball at the batsman on the other team. A man is “out” if (amongst other things) he gets “bowled” by the bowler who tries to hit the stumps behind him.

– The object of the defending team (the batting team or the team that’s “in”) is to score as many “runs” as possible, with the least amount of men “out”.

– The batsman defends the stumps and tries to hit the ball away and score a run. Runs are broken down into 3 types. (1) A single – he only hits it far enough away so that he runs to the other crease and back once (2) A four – he hits the ball to the boundary of the field – the ball having hit the field at some point (3) A six – he hits it over the boundary without it bouncing on the field.

– The bowling team (the team that’s “out”) try to get all the batsmen out by either bowling them (hitting the stumps), running them out (hitting the stumps with the ball while the batsman is trying to run to the other crease) or catching a struck ball before it hits the ground.

– Once out, the next batsman takes his place, until the team are “all-out”. Then the other team comes in to bat and the process starts in reverse. Whoever has the most runs at the end, wins.

Easy huh ? So now for the hard part – the bleedin’ terminology. I think a lot of the time, people look at a cricket match and see and hear things they don’t understand and say “Feck it, I’m off to the pub !” These are a few of the more colourful sayings you might hear this week – impress you mates !

  • A googly – a ball bowled as if to break one way, that actually breaks in the opposite way.
  • Silly mid off – a static fielding position designed to catch the ball from a misplaced block or other defensive shot.
  • A snick – a small deflection of the cricket ball off the edge of the striker’s bat, usually not deviating much from the ball’s trajectory, and often to the wicket-keeper for a catch.
  • Sticky Wicket – a pitch containing a lot of moisture, usually from exposure to rain.
  • A Duck – a batsman who gets bowled out without scoring any runs.
  • A Chinaman – a left handed bowler who spins the ball.
  • A century – a hundred runs scored by a single batsman.
So good luck to Ireland and enjoy the experience. We’re not expected to do very well but cricket isn’t a very big sport here.And you can’t hassle and belt lads on the 21 yard line when the referee isn’t looking ! I’m sure they’ll give a good account of themselves. Cricket Ireland's logo

A slightly more tongue in cheek look at cricket can be found here and on tea towels all over Ireland !

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Phrase of the Day #111 March 12, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here !” – Stephen Bishop

I couldn’t find the Stephen Bishop to whom this quote is attributed, but I liked it none the less.

Warning March 12, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Warning

by Jenny Joseph

When I am old I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go or doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now ?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Thanks to Red Mum for suggesting this one.

MCAD madness ! March 9, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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I’ve got the first module of the MCAD exams in .NET developing in the next few minutes … wish me luck because I’m not looking forward to it !

Update :
Halle-bleedin-lujah. I passed. 1 down, 2 to go !

Phrase of the Day #110 March 9, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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Some people stay longer in an hour than others can in a week !” – William Dean Howells

I’m sure there are plenty of neighbours/relatives/flatulent old uncles that you could apply this one to !

A Kildare woman up a mountain March 8, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, World Affairs.
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Just wanted to say a big “Well done !” to our friend Claire, who is doing some sterling volunteer work in Tanzania. Before she carted herself off to spend a week recovering on the beaches of Zanzibar, she climbed Kilimanjaro ! No small feat !

kata.jpg

So well done Kata – keep the emails coming and remember to put on your coat and not to drink river water and that elephants may look clumsy and nice but they have been known to stamp on things … and they’d never forget it either !