Friday, 26 September 2008

Wishing witches, Camp waves, King goats, and Petrol flavour ice cream?

Yep you read it right, all three of these thing I experienced on my recent trip to Ireland.
Every year my husband, Jim and myself have some time away on our own without our children. This is usually just a long weekend, but this year we choose to have a week travelling around Ireland in a motor home. Now you see as I read that sentence back to myself it doesn’t sound quite right – the first part is ok, the travelling around Ireland bit, but the next - IN A MOTORHOME should have struck a warning sound with me when I first spoke it, many months ago.
I’m the first to admit I’m not much of a ‘camping’ sort of person. Much more a 4star hotel type girl ;-) But it was one of those, seems like a good idea at the time sort of things that I should have thought through more thoroughly. Anyway I’m not going to harp on about the pro’s (very few other than having your own portable toilet with you wherever you go – very handy when you want to go in the middle of no-where!) and con’s (the worst has to be the sleeping arrangements – I need a proper bed to sleep in a night with lovely clean sheets and a soft fluffy duvet. Not a sleeping bag above the driving cabin of a supped up white van!) of motor-homing as I’m sure some people out there love it, and perhaps if it were your own vehicle, and you could furnish it to your own requirements, it wouldn’t be too bad. But I would warn anyone out there from hiring a motor-home from this particular company I’m saying no more other than – DON’T! Go elsewhere. You have been warned. (Unless you want to tour Ireland in a vehicle mostlly held together with Duck tape!)

Ok onto the delights of the Emerald Isle.
Ireland is a very beautiful country, and I would highly recommend visiting its west coast. The Dingle peninsular and the Lakes of Killarney on the Ring of Kerry, are extremely beautiful and definitely worth a visit.

But it’s the quirkiness of some of the things I noticed along the way that I thought I might share with you today.
Here are my TOP 5

In at No.5 is the Automatic Toll with a mind of it’s own:
So we pull up at this tollbooth, and are told the price for our vehicle to go through, then as we sit there rooting about for change, the toll changes its mind to a cheaper price. Great, even better we think, so again we begin to look for the right money, we throw the first 2euros into the bucket, then while there is some more ‘discussion’ between the two of us about the next set of coinage to use, the toll just gives up waiting on us, and opens it’s barrier – as if to say ‘Oh for lords sake – just forget the rest and go through will you, get out of my sight!’

NO.4 The Campers Wave
This may not be native to Ireland, I’ve a feeling it’s more a motor-home thing. However, everybody waves at you when you pass in your huge tin shed on wheels. From fellow motorhomers to random people you pass on the side of the street – you get the ‘campers wave’ a sort of half salute, half wave. (Plus, is there some sort of lower age limit we weren’t aware of before we hired this thing? As everyone we saw driving one was well into their second half century of living, or at least they looked as if they were!)

NO.3 Sheep are supposed to be white, & Dolphins aren’t Toadstools.
It’s patently obvious how proud the Irish are of there local area and it’s people, and never was this more evident than in the support for the local Gaelic football team when we drove through the county of Kerry. The final of the All Ireland cup was two days later and everywhere was covered in Yellow and Green flags, streamers, posters, and signs wishing the team Good Luck. Shop windows where bedecked in Green & yellow, and we even passed an unsuspecting sheep sprayed in the Kerry colours!

There is a small town called Dingle on the West coast where its most famous inhabitant is a 24year old bottle nosed Dolphin called Fungi. we weren’t in Dingle long enough to see Fungi which was unfortunate, but what is more unfortunate I think, is naming a beautiful animal like a dolphin, after a mushroom.

NO.2 Petrol Flavoured Ice-Cream.
Nearly every petrol station in Ireland sells Whippy Ice-creams and has a huge plastic cone on the forecourt advertising the fact – what’s that all about? And more to the point, how, when you’ve paid for your petrol, and bought your ice cream, are you supposed to hold it while you drive away?

Ok and in at NO.1 is…
Crowning a goat as your King!
Every year in the town of Killorglin in County Kerry a group of people go up to the mountains and catch a wild goat. The goat is then brought down to town and a young local will crown the confused goat the King of the Puck. This marks the beginning of the annual Festival, and the town erupts into an orgy of drinking, dancing, and the great Irish singsong. There is a large statue of a crown-wearing goat on the outskirts of the town to lay witness to this.

The Irish – you gotta love them. Well I do, my husband is halfway there already!

Just one more thing before I go today. This is a photo of me climbing the Witches wishing steps at Blarney Castle. They say if you can walk up to the top and down again backwards with your eyes closed your wish will come true. I managed to – so I’ll keep you posted…

Until the next time,
A x
If you would like to see more of my Ireland photos I've uploaded them to my facebook photos page

Friday, 5 September 2008

That's just 'Nasty'!

Time is a funny thing - and I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week.

We either spend our time trying to speed it up, or slow it down – whatever happened to just letting it tick away happily at it’s own pace?
Most of the time we complain we don’t have enough of it; either that or it goes far too quickly, or not fast enough!

For example how many of us mothers dreaded the six-week summer holidays when they were approaching, wondering just what we were going to do with our little darlings to fill their days? But how many of us this week when they’ve now gone back to school, our wondering just how did that six weeks manage to fly past so quickly – and what on earth did we do with all that time… I certainly am.

Why does something you enjoy pass so quickly? Yet something you hate go on forever? There’s still 60 seconds in a minute; 60 minutes in an hour; 24hours in a day?
Why are we always trying to speed up our journey times, but slow down the ageing process? Break world speed records, yet slow down global warming?
Faster – slower, faster – slower, it’s a wonder the whole world doesn’t grind to a halt – maybe it will one day…

From my own point of view waiting for news is one of the worst examples of time going slowly. Yes, I’m waiting again for possible good news on the novel front... and it feels like I've been waiting forever!
Can’t say anymore just now – but don’t worry you’ll be one of the many ‘first’ to know whenever that good news finally arrives – because it will one day… mark my words. I’ve never been beaten yet and don’t intend to start now.

Ok, I’ve just realised that this is quite a gloomy blog for me – so I’m going to try and cheer it up a bit, by continuing something that my daughter and I have been doing through the Summer holidays on here - I’ll call it the Nasty Files ('Nasty' BTW has to be said in the way that Donkey says it in the film Shrek. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go watch the movie it’s great!)
The first entry to the Nasty Files is something we spotted in our TV guide this week:

This lovely side table isn’t just limited to the almighty Manchester United. Oh no you can get it in other football teams too! A bargain at £145 +p&p
& then there's this little beauty :

Who, if you're too young to remember is Nora Batty from Last of the Summer Wine - yours to own on your sideboard forever for only £59 + p&p!
I hope to bring you more items to add to the Nasty files soon...
*Disclaimer: Obviously the Nasty file is just my own personal opinion, and I’m sure there are many people out there that would love items like these to take pride of place in their living rooms ;-) *

Till the next time,

From me & Donkey
x x