Monday, November 25, 2013

Unlucky Ireland

Well the NZ v Ireland game today was a stunner and Ireland were mega unlucky to lose. At one point I was shouting at the TV, Angie was shouting at the TV ( and she isnt a rugby fan) and all the dogs were barking it was bedlam. New Zealand came back in overtime to score a try and convert it at the second attempt after the Irish jumped the gun and charged the kicker. They won by 2 points. Scotland were not as lucky against Australia but it was a good game too.

Packing my bags here for my wee excursion to Scotland and making Christmas cards out of photoshopped images like the ones below.

I put John,s head on supermans body for a bit of fun too and its going viral on Face book lol

Friday, November 15, 2013

Autumn colour in the Garden

I spent an hour or two raking leaves in the secret garden today, the ground is green colored again, before I started it was covered with yellow, orange and brown leaves. I have a really handy 1 ton bag that is great for moving clippings and leaves and the like it came full of gravel and I am not sure if the bag was meant to be returned, but it wasn't and has proved useful since. There is still a wee bit of color left in the garden but it is muted color now.

I booked some of the things required for my excursion online yesterday, I cant remember how I would have done it before the Internet came along. It is just sooooooo handy to be able to compare prices/ locate on a map/ check out photos of rooms and book all without making a call or getting out of the chair. I take it a step further right enough. My ferry gets into Cairnryan at 0952 and I have five hours to get to Glasgow so I looked for a bookstore that has this book I need for a Christmas present in stock somewhere that I would be passing through in the five hours, located the store, and noted the postcode for the satnav. Put the closest parking into Google maps locations on my phone, checked the earliest book in time for that evenings hotel, worked out the travel time via the hotel and closest car park to the bus station my Mom is arriving at, and checked where the best coffee can be had nearby. Then I printed out all my booking receipts and then had another wonder at how I would have had to do that organizing without the good old internet.

There is another good weekend of rugby union coming up this weekend with England v New Zealand, Ireland v Australia, Scotland v S Africa, Wales v Argentina, and France V Tonga. I would predict victories for NZ, Ireland, S Africa, Wales and France but would love to see Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and Tonga get up. One never knows England beat NZ this time last year.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I should have been a journalist

The very nice gentleman who delivered my coal and peat this morning started teasing me about wind farms, he thought the hillside above the house as well as the bog below would be excellent for turbines due to the windiness of the place. He was saying this with a straight face and I was just about to start lecturing him when he started smiling and told me he had been reading my blog and that I should have been a journalist. Apparently he had happened on my blog while searching for the Martello Tower on the shores of Casla bay, I had mentioned it in a blog when I was out sailing a while back. Its a small world and I have a post it note now, on my monitor to be nicer to the feckin Irish in future :)

Its dry this morning and cool with the NW breeze, Angie gets home from her UK trip (second this month) so it will be nice to have company.

Its a strange old world we live in when someone can spend £54 million on a stone (The Pink diamond), and $250 million on a painting (The card players by Cezanne) while the world's average salary is $1,480 (£928) a month, which is just less than $18,000 (£11,291) a year. 4779 years for a stone. When I win the Euro millions lotto tomorrow at around £100,000,000 I will be looking for a full time gardener, a dog sitter and a helicopter ohh and I may start my own paper "I always fancied being a journo" he said nodding his hoary head.

Planning an excursion

I quite like planning excursions, probably as it means I will be getting away for a wee break, this one is to see my Dad in hospital and help my Mom visit him too. I would have much preferred for my Dad not to be in hospital but it will be great to see them both, I was hoping when we moved to Ireland to have been able to visit home more often than I did living in Australia but with the three dogs here and no real income to talk of its not as easy as I was hoping. Maybe I will get a chance to do some Christmas shopping while we are in Glasgow.

Today is another HDR day (Horizontal Driving Rain), yesterday was nice but today is back to Gales and sheeting rain, the pond is yellow in colour with all the leaves on it and the lawns are also covered in leaves, I was going to rake them yesterday but walking on the grass would have turned it to mud it is so soggy so they remain. I did manage to get most of my log piles covered in tarps right enough and chopped some firewood. My left arm with the broken elbow is not so good with the wood chopping as my grip sometimes goes weak just as the axe connects and the axe tends to fly off, lol sounds dangerous ehh.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nice suprise

Well I should get Angie to do the shopping more often, she got a tap on the shoulder when she was in the line to pay for her groceries in the supermarket in Barna, the person doing the tapping told her if she swapped her milk for this other brand they would pay for the groceries :) bill was over 120 euros so that was a nice surprise. She got her photo taken and it will get posted on Facebook as part of the deal. I hope she gets a lottery ticket tonight too.

Heavy rain showers and bright periods here today so the dogs and I cleared some bracken and brambles between the showers, Gus ends up with a bramble encrusted tail which needs to be cut out so he may not make Crufts dog show again. They should have a section "how not to groom your dog"

I see Super Typhoon Haiyan has crossed the Philippines causing havoc, three-quarters of a million people were ordered to leave their homes in villages in Haiyan's path and who knows how many will have been killed by its fury. This storm is one of the strongest to make landfall ever with winds over 200MPH. The strongest winds I even was in were gusting to 114MPH  I know because I was talking to the lighthouse keeper who was monitoring the wind speeds in the Butt of Lewis lighthouse and I was trying to find shelter close by. The lighthouse was automated in 1999. When you are out in that sort of wind you cant see anything but spray and the noise is unbelievable. On that same night one of the purse seiners in Mallaig  broke her lines and was charging up and down the wharf bumping into other boats so I was glad, after the even not to have been in that harbour.

Fingers crossed here for tonight's Lotto win, I have it spent already. Ohh its great to daydream ehh.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Big tide and high river

Well the river was flooded from the sea up to the bridge at Casla this morning, a tide with 5.2 meters height and the recent heavy rains have the whole low level ground down there covered with water. I think the wind this morning has also raised the level of the water a bit.
I,m a bit bored this morning, not much into gardening in the rain, "this is Ireland Rob come on  get yer wadders on m8". OK that did not do it either, usually a pep speech will get me motivated but not today, hopefully it will dry up a bit later. The thing with all this rain is the dogs tend to turn the grass into mud running around and then they are black when they come indoors so I have to clean up after them. I could do with a website to work on to keep me amused this week.

The Russians have a rocket taking the Olympic Torch into space today and yesterday the Indians did their thing so I have decided to remortgage my house and send Benny into orbit, the aim will be to provide a first defense capability and have him bark really loudly if he sees an approaching meteor that looks like its on a collision course with Derrykyle. Apparently there are some firecrackers left in Northern Ireland where it isn't illegal to buy and sell them, so on the way back from Glasgow I shall fill the boot of the Forester with them and basically its just a case of strapping them to the dog and standing back and listening for barking.

And the chiefs of the three spy networks in the UK are in parliament this afternoon to answer questions on their activities, I can just imagine the answers " no comment" "ehh no comment" "hmmm I,m not allowed to comment on that" "definitely no comment" " that information could damage the countries safety so no comment" anyway I may listen in anyway as I like the phrase " no comment".

Making a banana bread as we speak, hopefully it is edible as Angie makes a really good one and I hate it when she gloats lol. It looks like it is fairing up a bit outside too so the day isnt totally written off.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Govan shipyard and the Independence movenment

The news today had mention that Govan Shipyard may suffer massive job losses. There are currently 3,200 people employed by BAE across Govan and Scotstoun and what a boost it would be for Alex Salmond if the jobs go before the vote on independence. The opposition to Independence have said before, that IF Scotland gets independence then the jobs building British warships would obviously not be tendered out to a Foreign country.

Now I don't even live in Scotland, and haven't for almost 24 years but if you look at Alex's policies like wanting 100% energy from renewables, wanting to join the euro, and independence it is like he has a political death wish. 100% from renewables is impossible, 30% will be really hard to meet, will cost billions to the consumer and will ruin Scotlands landscapes and beauty, why on Earth would you want to join the euro when so many countries would love to get away from Germanic monetary rule, and independence, well if you take away the romantic aspect of being your own country it makes no financial sense. Lots of people here ask me if I would be for independence, hearing my accent seeing the tartan scarf and rugby shirt every time we head onto the park to play rugby or football or lawn bowls, they expect an "Ochh eye Jimmy" but I can honestly say I think it would be stupid.

Rant and shaking of hoary head over.

John hopefully gets out of hospital today, he has been in for almost a month. I think having Chemo breaks down your immune system so hospital is a bad place to be.

I got a request for a quote yesterday to do a website for a company that builds Irish Gypsy Caravans which could be interesting, they also build pizza ovens but I think I managed to talk him into keeping the two things separate, he can have two URL's on the same server account so it wont cost double to have two sites. My initial idea for the caravans would be to have an old worldly type feel with a painted logo of one of the vans. I get lots of requests that lead to nothing but if I can get a deposit they usually come through. I think working on this one could be interesting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“In The Service Of Human Kind.”

“In The Service Of Human Kind.” is the motto for the Indian Space Research Organization, in about half an hour they are about to send A$73,000,000 into space, to go look for life on Mars.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has publicly called child malnutrition "a national shame," A$73 million is not a lot of money when it comes to feeding India's starving children but if the whole amount made it to their mouths instead of being filtered off in bribes to officials it could help.
Save the Children’s largest humanitarian operation, in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami received funding of US$272 million, largely through generous donations I wonder how much of that made it to ground zero. I find the Caste system and the Indian nation sending A$73,000,000 into space repulsive when their children are having to sift through cow dung for seeds to eat.

Well that is my rant for this morning he says, as he nods his hoary head.

I am going across to Scotland on the 26th of this month for a week or so, while my Father is in hospital, it feels like I haven't been out of Connemara for years, I'm turning into a hermit here, one who sits in his cave and rants about India's space program while nodding his hoary head.

Monday, November 4, 2013

First frost

Well it was "bright too early" yesterday and today may well go the same way, but it did stay dry and I have hopes for today again. The frost was only very light, just enough to whiten the grass, I thought it could be called hoar frost so shot the term through an online Thesaurus and it also means "showing characteristics of age, especially having grey or white hair; "whose beard with age is hoar"-Coleridge; "nodded his hoary head"" I,m nodding my hoary head here after another successful search online.
The river had a mist above it, obviously the water temp was higher than the air temp this morning.

Today so far I have been doing a bit more patio stones removal, the Southern end almost three quarters down the house I did last winter. The patio is 5 pavers wide each paver is about 2 ft square, basically what I do is take up the middle 3 pavers and replace them with small stone gravel. It worked well this year apart from the dogs running over it tends to scatter the gravel onto the remaining pavers. The reason I am doing it is that the patio settled over time and the gaps between the pavers are different sizes and the weeds just love to get established in the gaps. the picture below is how it looked when we moved in.
I had just power washed all the gaps in that shot and it doesn't really show how bad they were. Anyway the easiest and cheapest way to smarten it up a bit was to replace them with stones. I better get back to it while the weather is good.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beautiful morning and thoughts of my Granny

I awoke this morning to clear skies and calm winds with the sun just about to pop its head over the horizon, its nice to waken up naturally instead of to the sound of Angie's alarm clock, poor soul has to get up at just after six and its still dark this time of year even with the clocks changing. I usually get up with her but if I don't she has a cunning plan to keep me from falling back asleep, she lets the dogs in, one goes mining and the other two sit on my face and jump on my, not unsubstantial belly at the same time.

With the bright sunny calm morning today I was reminded of my Granny who had a saying "It's bright too early" in my early teens, itching to go swimming at high tide in the afternoon I thought it was very pessimistic but she was right more often than not and by the time high water came along it was overcast or worse. I remember one time when I was about 13 or so she asked me to make her a bow and arrow, it turned out the neighbours Tom cat was spray scenting her kitchen window drapes and when she shoed it away it would sit just outside the range of throwing things at it. First shot she had she nailed it, well didn't actually nail it but gave it a clunk to remember.
I am not sure what the occasion was that she had a half empty bottle of whiskey, but Slanthe anyway Granny. Maybe it was after the cat nailing.
My Sister in Law, Gail and her hubby George are taking their yacht back down the Queensland coast just now and George has his leg in a cast as he tore his Achilles tendon. She was complaining about head winds they were enduring of 25 knots, it reminded me of the winter before we emigrated to Australia, we had a wee fishing boat called the Dolphin  
We sold her to a guy from Bukie on the East coast six months before we left and for that six months over the autumn and winter there was hardly a single day that the winds were less than force 6 and I think there were a dozen days force 9 and above, the poor soul wouldn't have got any fishing in. I hate to tell you Gail but odds are that you will have 25 knots or more for a good portion of your time at sea even on the NSW coast the sea breeze in the afternoons gets that strong, that is unless you moor the boat in the Doldrums somewhere. I wish I was across there to sail the boat back down for them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It takes a lot to wake me

Well I sleep soundly (unless my elbow is hurting) and it usually takes a lot to wake me during the night especially with the new double glazing, you hardly ever hear a thing here. Anyway last night the wind and torrential rain woke me twice, it was almost as impressive as the southerly busters we used to get in Australia. I think one of the most impressive storms (Busters) we had was when we lived in Riverwood in Sydney.

The landlord, who lived next door, was a retired TV newsreader and personality called Roger Climpson, I couldn't remember his name so Googled retired nine news commentators by  year and found it, anyway getting back to the storm, it was a boiling hot day hovering around 40C, so hot our plastic garden furniture was buckling when you went to sit down, a friend Tracy was over for a barbi and we watched the storm approach from the South,. The house had a great view from an elevated position above the Lane Cove river and we could see the massive Cumulus Nimbus clouds gathering for a couple of hours before the storm hit, when it did come we could see the trees along the river buckle under the 70 mph initial gusts the day turned almost as dark as night, hailstones the size of wall nuts hit the glass doors onto the patio and the temperature dropped from 40C + to 18C in seconds.

We are forecast to have storm force winds here again this afternoon so I just popped down to the marina to check on a pals boat for him, he left the keys with me here as he lives in Cavan  in the midlands of Ireland.

Angie is heading down to Waterford to see John in hospital this afternoon and will head across to England for work tomorrow so I shall be left to my own devices until Wednesday, I shant be alone right enough I will surround myself with hamburgers and chippies.