Monday, 13 November 2017

The red cups are here!

Sign that Christmas is Coming #1

Today I met my mam for a quick coffee at lunch.  We had a lovely chat about lots of great stuff.  Plus we were both excited to see that the Starbucks Christmas cup (aka the red cups) are here.  We did however discuss how we are disappointed that Starbucks do not use a recyclable  cup, and in fact how much waste in general Starbucks generate in just one transaction. 

Em I will say however.
Is it just me?  Or does this sleeve remind you of Give Blood ad or slogan??!:-)

Like this!

Chores, chores

Yesterday one of my radiators just stopped working. Like literally went kaput as I stood against it - it was freezing yesterday, and I had the heating up high, and was having a whale of a time leaning up against the rad while people watching out the window.  What a great Sunday lol!
So I figured first thing to do would be try bleeding the radiator.  I searched high and low for something to do it with.  I was thinking maybe an allen key, or better even a pliers.  Anyway (a) I don't possess any of these anymore - I really need to work on getting a basic tool kit together and (b) in my heart I knew I needed the proper utensil for it (a proper radiator key)
This little bad boy cost me the princely sum of €2.50 in a dodgy little huckster type hardware shop in Talbot Street.  To be fair in larger shops they wouldn't stock this type of thing so Talbot Street rocks for these kind of things.

As I walked to the hardware shop I saw this pub which gave me a good laugh. 
It's a long story, I won't go into the details but I was in this pub (it's verrrrry touristy) for drinks quite recently and had a really great night! 
It still makes me laugh however, thinking of  how twee and touristy it is - and let's not forget - it'sTalbot Street!!!! Dodgy!!!

Anyway, I digress,  The good news is that my heating is back working after bleeding the rad.  Good because it's cold at the moment.  And in other good news tomorrow I get to defrost my freezer with a hairdryer.  The good times just keep on coming!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

This is 40

Key West 2017
What's there to say about the trip of a lifetime with my two best friends, to one of the best little islands in the whole world?? Enid and I know Alice 33 years, this holiday has been in the planning for 3's been worth the wait!
Great fishing, eating, drinking, singing (Alice), sunning, shopping, biking, chatting and laughing. Can't ask for more than that!


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Key West 2017 - First Flight Out - a close call

I'm a reasonably travelled person I like to think.  And thankfully I've never missed a flight.  Well on Sunday we were thiiiiss close to doing so.  Listed below are a litany of issues we encountered on our trip to Key West

Enid and I arrived at Terminal 2 at 7.00am for our 10.05 am flight to Toronto (3 hours in advance of our flight time).
According to our itinerary we were flying with United.

Issue 1: There was no United Toronto flight listed on the board.  A lady working for United told us we were actually flying with Air Canada (ummm not according to our itinerary!!!)

So we walked to Terminal 1 (ringing Alice on the way and telling her to go to T1 not T2)

Issue 2
If you recall our flight time (noted above) was supposedly 10.05 - again, this was according to our itinerary.  There was no 10.05am Air Canada flight to Toronto listed on the board.  Instead there was a 9.05am flight.  This meant our 3 hour timeline was suddenly reduced to 2 hours

Before we could even get into the queue for check in we were met by a Swissport/Air Canada official who told us we needed visas for our Toronto layover.
Enid and I quickly went online and applied for the visas (took about 10 minutes and cost CAD $7). 

We will take responsibility for this! We should have checked if a visa was needed - even though we were just transiting through.

Issue 3
Enid got accepted immediately.  My visa was "referred for review, we'll be back with a decision in 72 hours"

Alice had arrived at this point - and her visa application was accepted automatically also. 

Enid and Alice got into the queue and I went off to the Swissport desk to try ring Canada to see what was happening with my application.  Literally as the guy got through to Canada I got an email through saying my visa was accepted.  I rang back to Alice and Enid who were had just arrived at the checkin desk. It was now 7.40am.

So you're probably thinking that surely nothing worse could happen.  Well you'd be wrong

Issue 4
At the check-in desk we were told that we were not flying Air Canada but United ("as per your itinerary) and need to go to Terminal 2.  After explaining we were there already - and that in fact the 10.05 flight did not even exist the staff member looked up the flight number

The staff member confirmed it was a Air Canada Flight.  Not United as per our itinerary.
The staff member confirmed the flight was at 9.05.  Not 10.05 as per our itinerary

Issue 5 - and this is the major one!!!
The staff member stated that no tickets existed for us!
Even though we had booked the flights back in January 2017.  Even though we had been getting monthly emails/updates from ebookers.  No Tickets!  What does that even mean.

It was now 7.45am.  Check-in for this 9.05 flight closed at 8.05.  And we had no tickets!

We were told to go to the Swissport desk to explain there was a "ticketing issue".

So!  It is now 8am (remember check-in closes at 8.05) and the ticketing issue still is not resolved!

Enid runs back to the check-in to see if they can hold open for us.  Apparently they can't.  Which seems strange considering this is their massive cockup with their incorrect itinerary (airline and flight time).
Hmm on second thought maybe it is ebookers or United and not Air Canada's mistake??

She arrives back and literally right at that moment we are handed two passports (mine and Enid's) and told ours are sorted.

We run back to check-in where there (thankfully!!) OPEN check in for us in order to check in.  Alice arrives 2 minutes after.

Issue 6
We are handed boarding passes - that have no seats!!  And told to RUN to the gate.  It's now 8.20 - for 8.25 boarding (and 9.05 flight).  And we are told that it is currently taking 30 minutes to get through security.

We RUN. Alice grabs a security guy and explains (very quickly) about the whole debacle.  He RUNS us through security in 5 minutes - although not before Enid's bag is pulled for a random drugs swab,

Alice and I leave Enid and run through the airport to our gate.  From here thing go smooth we are given new boarding passes with seat numbers (all separate - that's ok) and on we board.

We are off!  A trip, 3 years in the planning and all of the above happening before we even left.  Not good for the heart I tell you!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Nostalgia's not what it was

Following on from my blog post last week, the excitement about Pigsy's exhibition (Nostalgia's not what it was) continues to grow. 

Pigsy as you know is my brother in law - and if you will allow me the immodesty I am just a little bit proud of him. And how could I be anything but, after coming across THIS in the Irish Times on Thursday.  Not bad being referenced in a piece with the incredible Jean-Michel Basquiat eh?!

For the online text of the article see here.  And for more info on Ciaran/Pigsy check out his website. 

If  you are around Dublin this Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun why not drop into the Fumbally Exchange on Dame Lane and say hi.  I shall be there most of the weekend helping out and enjoying the vibe :-)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Winding Stair

Looking for a nice restaurant in a city centre or Northside location?  You absolutely CANNOT go wrong with the Winding Stair.

How picturesque is the Georgian building where its located, overlooking the Liffey.  Right beside the Ha'penny bridge - which you get a lovely view of from inside the restaurant.

Hence its name :-)

I started with the whiskey cured salmon, char-grilled cucumber and cucumber ketchup, sea beet, dill and Goatsbridge Farm trout caviar.  The flavour combination was incredible!

And then this masterpiece!
Cider braised McLoughlin’s pork cheeks, black pudding scotch egg, grilled baby leeks and crushed swede.  The black pudding scotch egg was something special I tell you. 
A glass of malbec rounded it all out.  I'll definitely be back here. And soon I hope! That scotch egg is calling me :-) 

Digital detox

Enid sent me this pic last week of an article from the weekend section of the Sunday Independent. 
I'm way ahead of the pack! I've been switching my phone off and removing it from my bedroom at around 9pm for over a month now.  It is not an overstatement to say that I am enjoying life so much better since I've started doing this. I am back to reading more books and I am sleeping better.  I cannot recommend it enough.
The one question that everyone asks me when I tell them I do this is "but what do you do for your alarm".  Like in the article, I too have bought an alarm clock!