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Howth from the air October 31, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Here’s a little snapshot I shouldn’t have taken on board a plane but it was Ryanair and they were pissing me off … cheap flights they may be, but cheap everything else they are too !

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The Hill of Howth seen from the air.

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Phrase of the Day #186 October 30, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Clouds October 29, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Clouds
by Rupert Brooke

Down the blue night the unending columns press
In noiseless tumult, break and wave and flow,
Now tread the far South, or lift rounds of snow
Up to the white moon’s hidden loveliness.
Some pause in their grave wandering comradeless,
And turn with profound gesture vague and slow,
As who would pray good for the world, but know
Their benediction empty as they bless.
They say that the Dead die not, but remain
Near to the rich heirs of their grief and mirth.
I think they ride the calm mid-heaven, as these,
In wise majestic melancholy train,
And watch the moon, and the still-raging seas,
And men, coming and going on the earth.

New words October 28, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Always eager to increase my vocabulary, here are a few of the nicer words that I’ve recently learned from the wonderful world of bloggery …

  • winsome → sweetly or innocently charming
  • maudlin → tearfully or weakly emotional
  • sororal → of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a sister
  • Eid ul-Fitr → abbreviated to Eid – a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan
  • ignoranus → a person who’s both stupid and an arsehole

Maybe you know some or all of those words already ? Maybe I’m just that little bit dummer dumber … but feel free to add your own.

Property prices still crazy October 27, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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Property prices are still crazy in this country – I don’t care what anyone says !

While reading through one of the property supplements this week, my eye was caught by a tiny advert regarding a plot of land available in the town of Enniscrone, Co.Sligo. Now just having come back from there (playing golf), I was interested even more.

But wait for it ! The plot of land, allbeit facing the sea and with a wonderful view over Kilalla Bay, was only .3 of an acre. Yes – point 3. That’s roughly seventy feet square – or even less maybe.

The price ? A whopping and equally shocking …. € 1.2 million ! Would whoever owns this land kindly get a reality check.

Cleaning a ring October 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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It was recently mentioned to me that my wedding ring was looking a bit forlorn and I had to agree.   After only 3 years it has taken on quite a battered and bruised look.

Does anyone know what can be done to clean it ?  I guess the jewellers can clean it for you but this would likely be expensive.

I’ve heard everything from dipping it in Coca-Cola to washing it with lemon juice and sand.

Any suggestions, oh great hordes of knowledgeable readers ?

Irish author wins Man Booker Prize October 24, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, World Affairs.
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Many congratulations go out from the Rambling Man to the winner of this year’s Man Booker literary prize – Anne Enright from Bray, Co.Wicklow. The author won the €75,000 prize for her 4th novel, called “The Gathering”. She was presented with her prize in London’s Guildhall on last Tuesday evening. I hope to do a book review on this novel shortly. You can read about the book here.

“The Gathering” is the story of a family who gather at the bedside of a dying relative and the main protagonist is thrown back into her thoughts about family situations and the life she has lead …

As the Guardian’s review says “…It’s a genuine attempt to stare down both love and death, to anatomise their pains and fears and peculiar pleasures.”

Well done Anne.

A wee riddle October 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, has a bed but never sleeps ?

Now there’s wan for ye !  Answers on the back of a fiver to the editor …

Phrase of the Day #185 October 23, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad. “

– A.A. Milne

Effin’ Eddie in the County Final October 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Poetry & Humor.
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Whoever made this is a genius … a new slant on the well known, little known GAA commentary by the legendary Effin’ Eddie Moroney on the U-21 Roinn B County Final in Tipperary in 1991.

Should Gardaí be armed ? October 22, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.
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I am not a proponent of armed police and armed police enforcement but lately, with Gardaí being targeted in the line of duty, I have had to reconsider this opinion. I am basically prepared to go along with what the Gardaí themselves think but not being a fan of said organisation think they are heading down and tricky and sticky road.

I thin something changes when Gardaí become routinely armed. How much training are they going to get on firearms and when NOT to use them if there resources are as super stretched as they continually say they are ?

I would much prefer the suggestion of the GRA (Garda Representative Organisaton) whereby ordinary coppers on the beat would be backed up by readily available armed Garda response units. How these would work, numbers of them, where they would be and how effective they would be remains to be answered. All I can think of is the SWAT situation in the USA whereby a heavily armed and trained group of police can be readily called out to deal with a serious situation.

I doubt if that sort of availability of resources would’ve saved Garda Sherlock from being shot a couple of weeks ago but sure thats another matter …

Phrase of the Day #184 October 21, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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Country girl gets on no. 16 bus and asks driver how much is the fare.

Driver replies, ‘Where are you going?’
Country girl says, ‘To get my hair done !’

Taken from the wonderful “Overheard in Dublin“.

Happy Birthday baby ! October 20, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Fatherhood, General Bloggery.
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I can hardly believe it ! Our little baby is 1 years old today … it seems she has been around for ever but it was only 12 short months ago that you came crying out of your Mamma’s tummy and lay there in my arms staring at me with your big blue eyes. You looked cross ! I don’t remember how I looked but I felt like a million dollars.

You poo at the most awkward times and you cry when you are not getting your way and the dog is afraid of you. To sleep till 5.30am would be a lie in … but we love you so much !

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How cute are you ?

Happy Birthday from Mamma o Pappa …

Ja må du leva,
ja må du leva.
ja må du leva uti hundrade år!
Ja visst ska hon leva,
ja visst ska hon leva,
ja visst ska hon leva uti hundrade år.
Hurra! Hurra! Hur
ra! Hurra!

Review : Holiday Inn, Kensington, London October 19, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Hotel & Restaurant reviews.
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I have spent 4 nights in this hotel in west London over the past year and as far as London hotels go, it’s just fine. It is a massive hotel (27 floors), located on Cromwell Road – one of the main arteries into London, and is 1 minute from Gloucester Road tube station on the very useful Picadilly line.

The rooms themselves are small by normal standards – the bathrooms particularly so – but when you are only looking for a place to lay your head then they are fine.  Clean, not too hot or noisy … but nothing spectacular.

The price however is another thing … London is astro-fucking-nomically high priced for everything.  Even if I was getting paid in £ ‘s I don’t know how I would be able to survive.  Dublin prices pale in comparison.  And they are blatant about it.  For instance, my room rate was £89 B&B for the first night and then it changed to £189 room only for the second – milk the hell out of you if they can.  2 pints and 2 cokes in the bar cost £25 and lo abd behold when I arrived at the desk to check out, everything was exclusive of VAT – EVERYTHING !  So it hurt the pocket.  Badly !

All in all if you have a few bob to spare and want a great location and an easy stay then go here – it is very expensive but still only a moderately expensive hotel by London standards.  But when in Rome …

Rambling Man rating : 6.5/10

Phrase of the Day #183 October 18, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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Girl: “Givviz a kiss.”
Bloke: ‘Let me swally me phlegm first.’

Taken from the wonderful “Overheard in Dublin“.

What Fifty Said October 18, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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What Fifty Said
by Robert Frost

When I was young my teachers were the old.
I gave up fire for form till I was cold.
I suffered like a metal being cast.
I went to school to age to learn the past.

Now when I am old my teachers are the young.
What can’t be molded must be cracked and sprung.
I strain at lessons fit to start a suture.
I got to school to youth to learn the future.

The Beeb make a blub October 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor, World Affairs.
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It seems even the BBC are not immune to making the odd gaffe when it comes to producing web content.

Take this article for example (apologies if it’s been already corrected) telling of the funeral of a Macedonian singer … who was buried with full state owners

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A classic case of someone transcribing sound for sound, rather than word for word, what a non native-English speaker may be saying to them. Think of the sentence in a heavy Eastern European accent, but speaking English, and you’ll see what I mean. “Owners” is what “honours” sounds like !

Anyway, I’ve little to be worrying about …

* They corrected it !  18-10-07 *

Phrase of the Day #182 October 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.”

– Anon.

“I love my dog, mate !” October 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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A rather sad tale from my weekend in London to report. It just showed me – all in the space of 24 hours – what a range of people and problems there exists in that and every other city and town …

I was accessing extra funds because of my damned hotel rate and was standing in line at an ATM beside which was an elderly looking, quite bedraggled homeless man wrapped up in a blanket with a hoodie pulled down over his head. I had already decided to give him something when an equally bedraggled little Jack Russell terrier dog wriggled its way out of the warmth of his blanket and had a look at what was going on round him.

When I had finished my transaction I place my meagre offering (what is money to someone like that ?) in his tin and bent down to see if he was alright. It turned out that “he” was a “she” and we chatted briefly about her dog. All the while the poor pooch looked forlornly on and one couldn’t help but be affected by both their plights.

“Look after yourself – and your dog” I said as I left.

My heart jumped and broke at the same time, when I heard her quiet response … “I love my dog, mate ! God Bless ya.”

Faith in humanity restored October 16, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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I’m just back from a tiring but very enjoyable trip to the big smoke of London and felt the need to share with people some very nice moments that made me a little less cynical about life … a least for a while !

‘Tis not often that another person goes out of their way to help a person in need, but when I found myself on the wrong side of said situation early on Sunday morning – with a plane to catch – I was delighted at the generosity of strangers.

Picture the scene – It’s before 6am, the streets are deserted and there is a cold mist falling – not rain, but just enough to wet you. Of course you have packed your jacket into your main bag because the last few days were rather humid and you’ve been doing a lot of walking. You have 2 and a half hours to make an hour and a half’s journey to Luton airport and then things start to go wrong.

First of all there are no tubes on the line I needed before 7am on a Sunday ! Such neanderthal-ism ! OK, so at least they have a tube system … and I had just been stung with a hotel rate quoted exVAT (ever heard of that ?) meaning I had to make an extra trip to the hole in the wall for funds. So I reach the train station to be informed by a poster that there were no trains at all on my line until 11am ! Not good for a 9am flight. Not good at all. Luton airport is 45 miles away from the centre of London and a taxi, I’m reliably informed, will cost £80 ! (Velly good price for you my fren).

And so I ask some German tourists would they like to share and lo and behold they can’t speak English so its a good job I can speak the old German – I knew that degree would come in handy ! And so we set out in a taxi for Luton, stopping at 3 different bank machines along the way in order to get some more money – but NO !!! the extra hotel dosh has hit and brought me over my daily limit (I did go slightly mad in Harrod’s earlier in the weekend !) … so there I was, a third of the way to Luton with no £s, plenty of money in the bank but no access to it (my money !), just €20 for the car park at home and nowhere to turn …

The taxi man of course was about to chuck me out when the good Germans turn and say that they will pay, otherwise how I would get to the airport ? So logical and kind ! By this stage I was beginning to panic as I couldn’t go back to London or go any further without money. And so I graciously accepted and as a pitiful token of my appreciation, handed over my business card wrapped in the €20 and a 2 pound coin I found in the bottom of my carry on bag. It was all I had in the world – how reliant we are on the rules of technology.

When we got to the airport, I made a point of insisting that they follow me to the bank machine to see if I could get any more money but no, the card hoodoo had struck again. I was penniless but thanks to the kindness of strangers I was safe. I looked around and they were gone – off into the endless Easy-jet queues to line up for a flight to Dortmund or Hannover or somewhere in that wonderful country. I bet they’ll never even write to me to ask.

So a huge “Herzlichen Dank” to the German tourists … Ich wünsche Ihnen ein schönes Leben noch !

PS – Picture the scene when I find €5 in my clothes and change it into £3 and buy a sandwich – trying to find the most isolated area in the airport in case the Germans saw me and thought me a chancer who really had money all along … I scuttled into a corner with the paper I found on the floor and my treasonous sandwich and longed for boarding time !

Phrase of the Day #181 October 15, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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Is minic a gheibhean beal oscailt díog dunta !

PRONOUNCED: iss minic a gav-awn bale uscult dee-ug doon-ta
MEANING: An open mouth often catches a closed fist!

Apologies for the lack of posting – I’ve been on the mainland in London.

Unsung Irish : William Hobson October 11, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in The Unsung Irish.
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William Hobson was born in Lombard Street, Waterford in 1792 and went on to become New Zealand’s first governor and the primary signatory and author of that country’s founding accord – the Treaty of Waitangi.

As was not unusual at the time, Hobson was sent away to sea at the age of 10 (!) and with the rank of volunteer served the British Navy fro 13 years without leave. He was both stationed and at sail all over the world in such places as the North Sea, the West Indies, North America and the Mediterranean. By 1827, now a commander and in his mid thirties, he married a Scotswoman, Eliza Elliot in Nassau and had a daughter with her.

In 1834 he was posted to the frigate Rattlesnake in the East Indies and ended up in New South Wales a few years later. A new colony was being set up there at the time and Hobson was involved in such projects as laying out the street structure of Melbourne. A call for protection from British citizen James Busby of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand saw Hobson and his ship arrive there in 1836. Later in 1838 when the crown saw fit to appoint someone to New Zealand “invested with the character and powers of British Consul” they called upon Hobson for the job. He was charged with the task of setting up a treaty or accord that would see the natives of that land cede sovereignty of all or part of their lands to the British Empire.

In August 1839 Hobson sailed from England with his wife and family on board the HMS Druid. Arriving in the Bay of Islands in 1840, and with the assistance of Busby and some other British subjects, he arranged for the northern Maori chiefs to meet him at Waitangi for the purpose of negotiating a treaty. The discussions began early in February when Hobson explained the terms of the treaty. The next day, after further argument and explanation, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the Maori leaders. To this day there is controversy over the document and some differences exist between the Maori and English versions.

Hobson himself was sworn in as the new colony’s first Governor in 1841. He died in Auckland in 1842, aged 50, from a stroke and is buried in the Symonds Street cemetery.

Phrase of the Day #180 October 11, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Say it like it is.
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“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

-Douglas Adams

Rory McIlroy earns Tour Card (nearly) October 10, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
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Big congratulations are due to Rory McIlroy who is well on his way to earning his Tour Card for the European Tour just a matter of weeks after he turned professional.

The Co.Down youngster has played in just two tournaments as an amateur but has already earned enough from those appearances to propel himself into 118th place (5th Oct) so as to earn playing rights for next season.

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The day after he turned pro he competed in the British Masters earning €15,128 and the following week came a fantastic third at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship earning him a whopping €212,664.  Not bad for a couple of weeks as a pro !

So best of luck to you Rory.  Here’s hoping that you will be up with the big boys for many years to come and that you do us all proud – and whatever you do, enjoy yourself !

Dida, you’re a twat ! October 9, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Sports.
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I speak of course of the AC Milan goalkeeper Dida, who fell in a heap like he had been hit by a ten tonne milk lurry the other night after some idiot Celtic “fan” ran out and assaulted him !

It brings back memories of Rivaldo in the World Cup before last … got hit in the shin with the ball and went down as if his nose was broken !

Arseholes the lot of them – including the fan …