Sunday, 16 July 2017

Once

Spoiler alert!
**Contain spoilers** Do not read this post if you have not seen Once and want to see it (film or musical)** Details about the plot are contained within**


Image result for once musical olympia

Once is showing right now in the Olympia in Dublin.  You should go if you can.  It's so wonderful!

Above is a photo of the set which is one of the (clever) stars of the show.  It is a beautiful depiction of an Irish pub, in a semi circle drawing you in so that feel you are actually in the pub with the cast.  And in fact some of the audience were actually there.  At the beginning, and the interval you can go up on the stage and buy a drink from the bar on the stage - while the cast are in the middle of a traditional Irish sessiun.

So while I enjoyed the film I always thought that it felt a little "low budget" - which of course it was.  But more importantly not filled out enough or unfinished or something.  I don't know if that makes sense, but that's the way it felt to me anyway.  The musical however closes that loop for me.  I think it was made for stage - and whoever adapted it for stage is a genius.  Some of the pieces are just perfect, for example the three girls dancing with headphones on is stunningly beautiful and both old fashioned and modern at the same time.

I cannot say how much I loved this.  And how uplifted I felt when I came out - which is unusual considering the poignancy of the story - two people sharing a 5 day experience, unbelievably perfect for each other but destined never to be together.  Please go see this if you have the opportunity.

Bits and pieces


This photo popped up in my facebook memories yesterday.  And I know, I know, I am always saying "this is my favourite photo"  but come onnnn this absolutely have to be.  This is from 2012 when I arrived to my mams for Sunday dinner and there was Nana wearing a cardigan very similar to mine.  I am not sure what is the message here - is Nana dressing young?  Or was I dressing old?  Or do we meet somewhere in the middle?  Whatever!  It just has good memories.  We all laughed ALOT that day.
I looooved that cardigan I was wearing,  It was vintage Jaeger and had a bit of Chanel feel about it - which of course was similar to the twinset Jaeger style which Jaeger was originally famous for.  Anyway that cardigan is long gone, it is too big for me as I am smaller now...good that I am smaller, bad because I miss that cardi.

On Friday evening I met Cousin Kasey and Enid in The Garage Bar.  Kasey had messaged me earlier the week when I was at Once to see if I was around that night to meet.  As an alternative I said we could go for a drink that weekend.  For fun I said we should go to a dive bar and have a good old natter.  I think a dive bar has a different meaning here in  Dublin than elsewhere in the world.  We ended up in the Garage...there is a big long story about this pub from about 1995, involving Enid, Alice and I and some lecturers from a film course we attended that Summer but that will have to be saved for another day.  To be honest it's best told over a drink and in the Garage!



Last night I watched Brooklyn on Netflix. You might remember I went and saw it twice in the cinema when it came out.
Saoirse Ronan is just amazing in it. I remember after reading the book, when she was announced, thinking she was too young to play Eilis. But she's just completely perfect in it. She's such a talent.
And as for Colm ToibĂ­n. I love a lot of his books but this is my absolute favourite. I've seen him a couple of times out walking near Enid's house and I always want to stop him and tell him. I'm always too shy though...but after watching it again today maybe next time I will..
And yes I bawled through it again.

Canal Clean up

Enid and I went out and joined a canal clean up group on Saturday.  Last "TeamCleanupDublin" meet we went to was back in April in Ranelagh - my blog about that is here. And in the past we did a lot of clean up meets on the Royal Canal (West/Northside).

This time however it was the Grand Canal. We met at Waterways building near Grand Canal theatre where we met a lovely woman who while had partaken in it before was running it for the first time.  She got involved in it primarily because she lives in the docklands on a houseboat.  How lucky is she! 

Once we had signed in and got all our gear (gloves, hi vis, picker tools) we set off  I had assumed we would be doing something similar to our Royal Canal days i.e. walking the length of the canal between locks, and picking up the litter on the canal paths and in then bushes.  This was different: we concentrated on the Grand Canal basis and we were also pulling out rubbish from the water.

I love this dog.  How adorable does Bones look in his hi vis jacket.  Plus the head on him is always adorable.  He was a pain however!  Enid let him off the lead and was like a lunatic when other dogs came along.  So then she had to manage him on the lead while trying to work.  Eventually she rang Ciaran to come get him.

Between our small group of half a dozen or so we filled four big refuse sacks of rubbish.  The basin in the last point before the rubbish goes into the Liffey.  From the Liffey it goes into the sea.  From the sea it goes into the world.  We stopped a tiny bit of this happening. A good morning's work!



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Bloggers block

The antidote when I am unmotivated and don't know what to blog...a "what I've been up to" post!

What I've been reading:

Image result for elin hilderbrand the identicals

As usual I am reading a few books together. 
I am struggling through "The Writings of Ivor Browne. Steps Along the Road: The Evolution of a Slow Learner".
I am dipping in and out of Bernie Sanders "Our Revolution A Future to Believe In".
I am slowly reading "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train).
And the good news is I am flying through Elin Hilderbrand "The Identicals".

What I've been watching:

Image result for jackie brown movie

I watched Jackie Brown on Saturday night! Instantly I felt about twenty again.  This was one of my favourite films around 1997, and I particularly loved the music in it. It was as good as I remembered and I really enjoyed my quiet night in. 

Other things going on with me...
I went on a very enjoyable walking tour of Dublin docklands - good architecture and some interesting stories.  I'd recommend taking a stroll around this area to feel the vibe.  If I ever have to move from where I currently live,  living in the Docklands area would definitely appeal to me.

New bar in Dublin (another one!).  Myself and the Friday night O'Reilly's crew checked out Ruin Bar on Townsend/Tara Street.  It's the reopening of MacTurcails which must have been closed 3/4 years at this stage.  It's fine...the clientele is very similar to the old MacTurcails so it felt a little bit young  for me anyway.

Enid, Alice and I had a nice catchup on Sunday morning. Main topic of conversation was The Big Trip.  It's less than 4 months away at this point and is getting very real!  (Don't forget this trip has been 3 years in planning!!)

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Exciting times

Stuff.  That is going on.
 
Enid moved job! 
She has left Fingal library services after 17 years and is moving to a new library in a different area. 

Before Enid starts the new job she is going on a holiday.  Which means Bones is going to his grandparents!  T'his is him being dropped over - that dog gets more like a baby every day.
There is a funny story about Bones and when he stayed/stays in Lyttle Holme (well a few stories actually).  So first one is that he is only recently back staying with Mam and Dad.  This is because of some bad behaviour a couple of Christmasses ago involving incidents of eating things he shouldn't have namely two cupcakes, a Christmas pudding AND a little small antique book.  Come on! Seriously Bones! A book?? Enid denies it but I was there and saw it all!
Anyway Enid was stuck for a minder a while back and Mam said she'd take him again.  And wait for this.  He now sleeps on the bed with the two of them, and gets gravy on his doggy biscuits.  She has him ruined! 
So good/exciting times for Enid.  I am excited for her.  I've lots of good stuff happening too :-)  So here is a happy excited kitten with a cute little face for both of us.
 
****************************************************************
 
What's been going on in Merrion Street these days?
 
Today there was a large pro-life rally held on Merrion Square.  No doubt we will see lots of pro life and pro choice rallies from here until the proposed referendum happens next year.
 
These aren't great photos but it made me laugh when I saw this earlier this week

Three journalists standing outside Government buildings
 
The umbrellas aren't clear but they were from RTE, TV3 and FM104. 
It made me think of the end of Anchorman when the tv hosts arrive from all the different networks and channels, and at 7.30am in the morning it made me smile.

 

The rejuvenation of Dublin 1 continues...opening of Piper's Corner

The old Sean O'Casey pub on the corner of Marlborough Street and Sackville Place has been closed and derelict for the last 6 months or so.  To be completely honest even when it was open it was pretty decrepit and run down.  So it was exciting to see that it had been sold and the new owners had started the overhaul and now it is coming near to completion.

Just one week ago it looked like this


Whereas it now looks like this!  It's very interesting isn't it - a real standout - and I particularly like the type on the name sign.  It's a massive change and a welcome addition to an area that is going through a real rejuvenation. With Irish Life's big renovation of their plazas (which look amazing by the way), with the coming arrival of Wetherspoons on Abbey Street, and with the building opposite Piper's Corner apparently going to be a hotel things are definitely on the up!

So it seems that Piper's corner will be open in a week or so and I for one am looking forward to it. From the name I think you get the message that it will have a strong musical influence and with Sean Og Potts, son of The Chieftains Sean Potts involved no doubt it will be a success. As I said, I am looking forward to checking it out once open - and am sure a lot of my colleagues are too, as we are always lamenting the lack of a good "local" right beside us.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Ukulele Tuesday

My dad has been talking to Enid and I for a while now about the ukulele night in the Stag's Head and we had been promising him that we would all go.  So finally after a lot of chit chat we arranged to go Tuesday one week ago.

It was great!  But busy!!!  It had started at 8pm and by the time Enid and I arrived at quarter past it was completely packed.  My dad arrived later. He always does this!!! Saunters in... Not because he is a "late person" (that's me lol!) but just because he likes us to arrive and get the lay of the land and then he can just join in.

Then a couple of days later we met up with two friends of our visiting from the USA (bear with me, there is a ukulele connection here - kind of)


We met with them in the Hairy Lemon which we were all happy with - it was close to their hotel and the food was good.  I had the Guinness and beef pie which I thought was very flavoursome.  And Joe and Jean tried Dublin coddle for the first time!  Which they loved.  We had a good discussion about food - with a focus on Scottish haggis and Irish black (blood) & white pudding. They like that too
Joe & Jean have THE most adorable story of how they met - on an exchange program visit to Edinburgh when they were in their teens - so they have liked Scottish/Irish food ever since then.


Outside of the pub Jean took this photo of Enid and I with our bikes.  I love it.  I think in years to come, no matter where I am, I will always remember this period of my life living in town and breezing around on my bike - a lot of the time with Enid.  We have the best chats when on the bikes.


On Tuesday, before their flight home the next morning, I met with Jean and Joe again.  They had visited the Stags Head that afternoon and were considering the ukulele night (Jean likes to play a little) but when they saw how busy it was they said they'd give it a miss - on this visit!  So instead I met in then Library Bar in the Central Hotel where they were staying.  We had the loveliest chat that night and solved the worlds problems.  Ok so I exaggerate...but some of what we talked about certainly gave me food for thought and that's always a good thing. 
And we talked about fishing in Key West! That's always a fun to talk and think about.  I shall be doing that come November this year!




Sunday, 25 June 2017

Could I beEEE any busier?

Where to start!

I've had the most maddest couple of days on the social front over the last few days.  This is not normal I must say!  And I probably won't be out for the next month.  It just happened that a lot of things came up together on this one weekend.

Starting with:
Thursday
Thursday morning I had a couple of appointments and some stuff to attend to.  That afternoon I met Enid for lunch and we went to Beeftro on Balfe Street.


I cannot recommend the food enough, the steak was incredible, one of the best steaks I've had in Dublin for a while now.  We were in between Lunch and Dinner so the restaurant didn't have many people in but it is so nicely decorated/great setting that there still was a good atmosphere.  And I always enjoy my time with Enid so we don't necessarily need a big buzzy atmosphere anyway.

We pottered into the Stephen's Green SC as I wanted to look at something in a shop, and from there we then headed to Farrier & Draper on South William Street. F&D is within the old Powerscourt Townhouse, now the Powerscourt (shopping) centre, and takes its name from two age old trades that were practiced within the walls of Powerscourt: the farriers who shod the horses of the aristocracy and drapers who operated in the building (for over 140 years! From the middle of the 19th century right up until the 1970s).



We neither got our horses shod or bought new clothes and instead drank espresso martinis.  And more nice chats.

And then! We moved to The Dean Hotel for a Whiskey Tasting with Powers, hosted by Powers and the Irish Times. 



Well this was just wonderful.  I learnt so much and have a much better appreciation for whiskey now - it's not a drink that would be my preference ordinarily.  We were doing live tweeting during the event so if you want to find out more search #PowersWhiskeyWisdom

Friday
Friday evening Enid and cousin Kasey called over for some nibbles and drinks.  Which Enid did everything! I mean everything! She brought over all the food (crab claws mmm, and other stuff) and the wine.  It was all lovely and we had a great night of chatting.



Saturday (1)
Up early and headed to The Odeon on Harcourt Street to meet members of my company's Diversity & Inclusivity Group to help set up and run our pre-Pride Parade event.



Here's our merry gang of volunteers slash party planners. Great venue, great people, great atmosphere and it all worked out for a smashing morning for all!

Saturday (2)
We then headed down to St Stephens Green to assemble for the parade. 



It was a long time standing round but the sun was shining bright and hot, and the atmosphere was super.  And off we set!  There was a new route this year and I was not bowled over with it (I like our parades to go down O'Connell Street) but I did think the ending place for the main Pride party of Smithfield worked well.



A few of us ended up in Delaneys on South King Street for a debrief, relax and few drinks.

Saturday (3)
I left Smithfield around 5.30pm and set off walking home but realised quickly that I was quite far away from my place so I jumped in a taxi.  I needed to be home asap in order to get ready for Jackie and Gillian calling around.  I had intended doing some cocktails but I was just too tired after the long day of Pride. 


So I just did some quick nibbles, and chips and dip, and we drank Proseccco - actually after such a long day I only had a small drop of Proscecco and instead had two cans of Coke Zero which seemed to re-energise me so that was good!

Saturday (4)
Nolita on George's Street was venue number one where we met up with Kamilla and all her friends.



Kamilla is heading back to Poland :-( after eight years in Ireland.
Nolita was good - busy, and good music.  I must say though I thought it would be more jammers considering it was Pride and we were on George's street (which would be a gay district in Dublin) but maybe all Pride attendees were up on Capel Street at Pantibar??

Sunday (1)
At around 12.30 we headed around to Lillies.



I guess we were a little early so it was quiet enough...but there was some good music playing.  However the long day had taken its toll on me and I left at about half one.

Today
This morning I am due to meet Enid and Alice for food and chats.  I love our catchups...
Then I need to go to Lidl to get my food shopping for the week - I need to get back to good eating, plus I have schedule planned to get back into my spin classes this week also.
Then later today Enid and I will meet two of our friends from Key West who are touring Europe - France, UK & Ireland.

Phew! That's a lot.  As I said that is probably me done for a month now.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Clothes swap / fundraiser night / fun with family

For the last couple of years one of my aunts has hosted a really fun social night which also raises money for a good cause.  For the past couple of years the funds raised has gone to our local hospice St Francis's which does the most incredible work ever.  This year the charity chosen was Laura Lynn which is a hospice specifically for children.
 
A lot of work goes into the evening! 
This is the conservatory which is set up and decorated to look just like a real shop. Doesn't it look fantastic. We all pay €10 each and then you basically try on and get to take anything you like!

My aunt also runs a raffle to raise further funds. Every year she gets some has great prizes which are donated by the attendees  Amongst the prizes this year were some Jack Vettriano prints, a Coach handbag, a silk scarf, a beautiful painting done by one of the guests, and other nice items.  Tickets are priced at €2 each and most people buy €10 or €20 worth.

The lucky dip is a lot of fun. 
It costs €1 and you take a little wrapped parcel out...which tends to contain a novelty gift.  Again these are donated by the attendees.

My aunt does the best food! 
In the red pot is her famous chilli made with her special South African spices!
 

Oh this is fun!
Another way of raising money is that she holds an auction of old photos.  An envelope is held up that has three names on it (of people at the party).  The photo within may be of any one of them. Therefore all three want it - so they all bid against each other to buy the photo.  The bidding starts at 10c and the photo is sold for around €1/1.50.  There is always great craic and competition to "win" the auction!
 
I bought this photo of my mother (second from the left in the trousers and jumper)

And I bought this photo for Enid of her wedding!

The best thing about the night is of course the clothes.  How cool is this Pucci-esque dress that I got?!  Perfect for my holiday to Ibiza in September I think!

And I got this dress!
It's not something I'd normally choose to buy for myself but that is what is good about this night you tend to pick up something a bit different.
 
A lot of fun was had.  I tried on loads and loads of clothes/outfits and modelled them putting on funny accents to match each outfit to make people laugh.
 
And then the next day I got a text from my aunt announcing the good news that €550 had been raised!  She should be very proud of herself.  Like I said at the beginning of this post it's a lot of organisation - before, during and after (all clothes left over need to be brought to the charity shop!)

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The past is a different country

So in a previous life I was quite the collector...or as some people (Enid!!) said quite the hoarder!  Anyway I think you may know that I downsized my life and in the process I sold or gave away a lot of my collectible items.  Who can forget my collection of 50 never unboxed pristine 1994-1997 Barbie Dolls! Which by the way really held their value and in fact some of them increased a lot!  But selling them was tiresome and I won't lie I was delighted when I saw the last of them gone to their new owners.

One item I kept - it's small afterall - is my minicall.  I enjoy it for the whimsy of it, such a funny item and very much "of a time", Plus all the memories it brings back of the time I got it (the stories from back then are always funny to reminisce about with Alice and Enid!)

Get a life! Get a minicall!  This was the advertising catchphrase for the pagers.  Said by the heavily  French accented Antoine de Caunes of Eurotrash fame.

This is a photo from the internet of the Benetton branded minicall. Enid owned this!
How we came to own them was that for our 19th birthday Alice gave them to us gifts. 
Very clever of her she bought the Benetton one (which was very very expensive!!) and with it came the black one (mine) for free!

And here is mine now!

Basically how it worked was that I had a pager number.  You'd ring that number and then I'd get a little message on the screen - if I remember correctly it either showed the number of the person who rang me, or alternatively it gave a 1550 number which I rang and I picked up a voicemail from the person via that.
I say "if I remember correctly" because actually I didn't use it that much! Back then you made arrangements and just stuck to them, unlike our pratices today with our mobiles!

I put a battery in it tonight and sadly it is totally dead.
I love the back of it with all the helpline phone numbers etc to ring.
Apparently "Made in Ireland" too!! Surely it's collectible for that reason alone.

There is a funny story about Enid's (designer!) minicall and how it met its demise.  To save her blushes I won't tell it here...it will remain a story for us to have a giggle about over a drink or two on a night out.  It involves CopperfaceJacks...that says it all I am sure ;-)
 
You can read Enid's account of her minicall here

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Next up something else from my past!  These I had not hung on to though.  Instead I came across them recently in Muscat!  Lydia had them for the last few years and God only knows why she took them with her to Oman! But I am glad she did because if they had stayed at home in my parents I am sure Mam would have thrown them out by now.

These are a pair of clogs that I bought when I about 15!  Yes clogs!!!!! CLOGS! :-)
We were on holidays in the Isle of Man and Enid and Aoife bought a pair of plain ones each - Enid's were navy leather, and Aoife's were green suede.  Whereas I went for this really unique white leather with handpainted flowers on them!!  I remember being quite taken with them at the time - ok totally obsessed - I was not going home without them.

So we wore our clogs all of that summer and I remember that then Alice got a pair, plus some girls from our swimming club.  And then when we went back to school in September some more girls got some as well.  We really started a trend!!  But no one had ones like these babies! :-)


They are still in relatively good condition considering they are just 25 years old.  The leather in particular is still quite soft and supple which is good.

I'm tempted to wear them a second time round!!!  Lol.  Maybe with a skirt or dress they'd be nice! What do you think! Maybe they've had their day already?!





Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Stuff & Other Stories

 I went to a calligraphy class!
I used to do (self taught) calligraphy about 20 years ago but it was a very strict and rigid Gothic style which I guess is a little old fashioned and definitely out of fashion now.  So I would like to try something different and develop a more modern freer style of writing.
 
I seemed to have the most ink on my hands out of all the students "yeah you might just be messy" said Sarah our lovely teacher. "Like me" she added - to make me feel better I think lol!

Here I am concentrating intently

Oh my gosh check this out!!!! My own fairy door for a fairy to come live with me! 
Someone wonderful gave me this lovely gift!
 
Hmm. 
Although I do worry that I have ended up with a bold fairy.  This lad rocked up at the door on only the second night, the bowsie. 
The door is positioned below my bar.  I am wondering do I need to lock up the vodka.
Watch this space! 
 


This photo cracks me up!
The big sulky head on me at the Ireland v Austria World Cup Qualifier. 
I swear I actually was having a brilliant time and really enjoyed it all. EVEN when it started raining.
 
It's Pride week and my company is running some great Diversity & Inclusion events to celebrate.  It's culminating in the Pride parade where we/the company will #represent and march for the first time.  I've volunteered to marshal on the day for us and am very much looking forward to it.  This will be my fifth year taking part and last year I remember seeing Paypal and other companies and thinking why on earth we weren't marching.  Other years I have gone with my bike group, my roller derby gals and my wonderful Yes Equality canvass group, but this year will be a new and different experience for me taking part in a "corporate" group. We have a great day planned - meeting preparade for some facepainting and food :-)
 
I met Enid for a decaf coffee after work yesterday.  Oh I was so bold! On the bike on my way to meet her I passed Off Beat donuts.  And I don't know what got into me!  But I stopped the bike and bought us three for us to share.  My God they were luscious but I felt fierce guilty afterwards.  Particularly as I haven't been to the gym/spinning for a week or so now.  I really need to get back to that!