Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though). of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.

          The Perfect Wedding Gift or ‘How our Adventure to Ireland Got Even Awesomer’        

Now it’s that time of year where loads of romantic gestures are appearing all over the internet, and lovely as they all are, I think we may have one of the best…. Right from our first meeting with Shane and Rachel back in Bournemouth, we knew we were going to be in for an awesome […]

The post The Perfect Wedding Gift or ‘How our Adventure to Ireland Got Even Awesomer’ appeared first on DigitalBohemiaWeddings.

          Merry Christmas!        
I’ve been busy on all fronts the last month and have no posted here as I would have liked to. I really need to take a page out of CBWs book and do a stern 1 week update. It’s never that there isn’t anything to talk about. More an issue of, should some of it be spoken about in a public form. 

We’re trying to get a deal together on a building in Black Rock and the support from the community has been tremendous. I really can’t say how great they have been to work with and we’re only pitching some ideas right now. The actually negotiations on the building have not been progressing as I’ve like. Hopefully I’ll have better news on that front by the 6th of Jan. If not I’ll like be forced to put everything on ice until I get back.

Speaking of getting back, I’m leaving for a bit. The USAF finally have dates ‘set in stone’ for deploying to Afghanistan. They’ve told me that these ones are for sure so I will be out of the country for 10 of 12 months in 2012. Longer then original expected but it will help buffer some of the startup costs, and I should get allot less smack talk from the Army. (a value in its self). This will delay the start up by 9 months, why so much more? Winter, its allot harder to move equipment in, doing concrete work in the middle of winter makes things harder than it should be; so we’ll wait for spring of 2013. Not what I want to do but what is necessary to do. 

This week I also brought Dana Saylor of to do some research. She has a pretty cool site and its interesting work. I haven’t seen the finished product so I can’t vouch for her as of yet, but I feel pretty good about it so far. 

Lastly I promised more book reviews. I read a handful on my last few trips across the country. Just for a quick notes on them I’ll say if I liked them or not.

Great American Ale Trail: Its just a list of bars and a couple of lines about them. It’s sort of a good reference and The Blue Monk in Buffalo was in the notable mentions section for NY. If you’re thinking about opening a beer bar up I would say it’s pretty good. Other than that I don’t know anyone with the time or money to visit 1000+ beer bars in the country. Once we get New Buffalo Brewing, I’ll have my beer books on site so if someone wanted to stop in and check for a place feel free.

The Story of the Irish Pub: The begging with a history of the licensed trade was good, so about 70 pages of the book are good, the remaining 150, not worth it. Just little notes of where a bar is and who owns it. Over all very disappointing. If your going to Ireland it might be fun to stop  into one, but that’s about it.

In the Classic Beer Style Series, I picked up and read, Porter, Brown Ale and Stout. This series has been pretty fun to read, and for a serious home brewer I’d recommend them They all are set up with a little history, some water information, a few home brew recipes and a list of examples that are current for the time it was published (the early ones are over 12 years old). This book are really great for someone looking to starting a microbrewer, to see how far the brewing world has come in a decade. Also as an American, to see how we have consistently tossed out style guild lines and made so many great new beers. 

Porter was a really weak read, maybe if I hadn’t already read the mild book it wouldn’t have seemed poor.

Brown Ale was very good, tons of information on the different sub sets of Brown Ale and good information all around. So many beers in this style and information about most of them.

Stout has been the best read so far, The writer has a clear passion for stouts and has offered an immense amount of information on it, the different sub-styles and many references to Guinness. I’d recommend this the most of any of them so far. I will put out the disclaimer that I too love stouts. If there is just one style of beer I could have it’s a thick cream stout.

This should have been spread out to a couple of updates, but with the holidays I don’t know if I will get around to many in the next two weeks. Also one last pitch for buying our sweet gear for someone over Christmas!

          The FWA Podcast: 31st March        
Western Mail's Chris Wathan joins Alex Dunn to reflect on Wales' draw with the Republic Of Ireland and to look ahead to Swansea and Cardiff's games this weekend.
          Listen. Northern Ireland v Croatia preview        
Mark Walton and Thom Kirwin preview Tuesday evening's international friendly between Northern Ireland and Croatia.
          The Punt: Monday 14 November        
Mark Walton stands in for Dave Kelner, and is joined by Thom Kirwin to offer their best bets for England v Spain and Northern Ireland v Croatia on Tuesday evening. Enjoy.
          The FWA Podcast: Thursday 10 November        
Oliver Kay, the Chief Football Correspondent for The Times, speaks to Lee Phelps on this edition of the podcast. The pair look ahead to the Home Nations and Ireland's World Cup Qualifiers, including the latest renewal of football's oldest international rivalry as England take on Scotland. #football #England #Scotland #ENGSCO #betting #FWAPodcast #FWA
          The Punt: Monday 10 October        
Dave Kelner is joined by Sam Norris to preview the World Cup Qualifiers involving the Home Nations on Tuesday night. England travel to Slovenia, Scotland to Slovakia and Northern Ireland to Germany. Sam gives you his best bets. #football #betting #thepunt
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 2 September        
The FWA Podcast features the best football writers in Britain discussing the biggest stories every week. This week, Sunday Mirror sports columnist , Andy Dunn, joins Mark Walton to give his predictions for the Home Nations and Ireland's World Cup Qualifiers. Enjoy.
          The Punt: Thursday 1 September        
Dave Kelner, Derek McGovern and Thom Kirwin get together to preview the World Cup Qualifiers involving the Home Nations and the Republic Of Ireland. The chaps go through numerous betting markets and Thom and Derek also give you a bet to get involved with in the other Internationals. #betting #ThePunt #football #Eng #WCQ2018
          Euros Punt Podcast: 26th June        
Sunday's games see France take on the Republic of Ireland before Germany v Slovakia and Hungary v Belgium. On this edition we hear from Dereck McGovern, Chris Mayer & Stefan Bienkowski on the respective matches. Enjoy.
          The Punt: Euros Podcast 18th June        
Jack Critchley is joined by Chris Mayer to preview Belgium v Republic of Ireland and Tom Kundert to look ahead to Portugal v Austria. There's also a preview of Iceland v Hungary.
          The Punt: Euros 16th June        
Jack Critchley is joined by Derek McGovern and Stefan Bienkowski to look ahead to England v Wales, Ukraine v Northern Ireland & Germany v Poland. Plus there's trivia, country files and all of the best betting tips
          The Punt Euros podcast. Monday 13th June        
Euros Punt Podcast: Monday 13th June 0:0019:17 Share on Facebook twitter Google+ Jack Critchley is joined by Derek McGovern, Karl Matchett, Chris Mayer and David Swan to look ahead to Day 4 of the Euros. Including a preview of Belgium v Italy and Rep. of Ireland v Sweden
          Euros Punt Podcast: Sunday 12th June        
We have a jam-packed podcast with Emre Sarigul, Stefan Bienkowski, Neil Lennon, Derek McGovern and Lee Phelps all joining Michael Wood to preview the day's games. Turkey take on Croatia, Poland face Northern Ireland and Germany are against Ukraine. Listen now for information on all six nations playing on day three. #ThePunt #betting #football #Euro2016
          The Euros - Group E Preview        
Group E involves Belgium, Italy, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland. Nick Walsh, Simon Barlow and Al Ross are the men providing the insight on this group. Enjoy.
          The Euros - Group C Preview        
The world champions Germany enter the Euros in Group C alongside Poland, Ukraine and surprise qualifiers Northern Ireland. This time Pete Farries, Jack Critchley and James Buttler talk you through their best bets. Enjoy.
          Best Offer Bg/sblc For Lease Or Sale        
We are Ireland based majorDirect providers of Fresh Cut BG, SBLC, POF, MTN, Bonds and CDs and this financial instruments are specifically for lease and sale.We are one of the leading Financial instrum...
          Ireland, Gertrude Irene (Long)        
IRELAND, GERTRUDE IRENE (LONG) who was a long time resident of Pawtucket RI, went to be with her Lord, husband and son on August 4, 2017. Visiting...
          Good bye....for now        
All jewellery charity shopped.
Our heatwave finally departed last Thursday. On Wednesday it was 31 degrees and by Thursday it was much cooler at around 20 -21 degrees, cloudier and with a slight breeze. Thank God, I said.

This was last Tuesday's outfit. I just wore the jacket to and from my volunteering and stayed sleeveless the rest of the time - bingo wings and all!

Everything charity shopped except the watch (present) and sandals which I bought in the Clark's sale about six or even seven summers ago. Note I'm not wearing any bangles in these photos but see below...

The cotton trousers are by F&F, the jacket is by M&S and charity shopped in Kettering just before Christmas 2016. I've had this sleeveless navy top for donkey's years...

On Monday and Tuesday I volunteered as usual at the Red Cross and the Food Bank. When I was at the Red Cross on Tuesday afternoon I finally began my training on the till. Whilst the manager was training me, my colleague; who had been previously been on the till went out to the sorting area and took over from me. I'd been sorting the jewellery. 

When I got home from the shop I realised I wasn't wearing my bangles. The last time I'd seen them they were on the sorting table at the shop; I always take them off as they get in the way when I'm writing the price labels. Yes, you've guessed it - my colleague had priced them up and put them out on display! Luckily, they weren't sold and I picked them up the next day.

I had my hair cut and eyebrows done on Wednesday and ran a few errands in town which included a visit to the 3:16 shop. I bought a tunic and a couple of winter items for 1.00 each. When I finished I came home and stayed in the coolest room in the house reading.  I didn't do the Weds evening Summer Solstice walk as it was still too hot at 8.30 pm.

 I've relegated these trousers to the charity shop bag. They always wrinkle around my calves
I don't know why...

I managed to get out for a walk on Thursday and walked almost 6 miles in a much cooler temperature. 

This was Thursday's outfit - everything charity shopped except the shoes which are from local retailer PJ shoes. Trousers; H & M; t shirt; 1.00 rail somewhere; green kimono jacket from a 50 p bin in a charity shop. What a bugger it was to iron - I can see why someone donated it! I've donated it too...

All jewellery charity shopped.

I passed this colourful front garden on my walk and had to take a picture of it.

On Friday the weather was cool again so I went for another walk after the school run. I started out from Great Denham; having had a look in Barnardo's first, then walked to Kempston Mill: along the river Great Ouse to the Queen's Park area of Bedford. From there I walked back to Great Denham along the the other side of the river; 6.42 miles in total. Queens Park has a beautiful Hindu temple:

And on the return journey I saw these magnificent, huge willow trees:

Everything charity shopped. The yellow tunic is from the 3:16 shop on Wednesday and I bought the beads in Barnardo's. Jeans from Red Cross charity shop.

I can't remember where I got the white lace top but I bought earlier this year somewhere. Sandals also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday OH wanted to go for a rummage. We had thought of going to London where we could fit in a visit to his mum but we ended up going to Luton and Dunstable instead!

Everything I'm wearing above is charity shopped except the sandals - my comfortable Clarks. The kimono is from Primarni; the top is a M&S one and white jeans are from Matalan.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings - from Sainsbury's.

My jacket was much admired by total strangers. They were very surprised when I told them where it came from. When I was last in Devon visiting Hilary I found another similar one - also by Primarni;  it had a beautiful print on it and Hilary bought it.

Of course you want to know if I bought anything. I did. I bought some interesting mustard colour cotton trousers in the Red Cross for 1.99; a blue kimono jacket from the 1.00 rail in Keech Hospice and some padded hangers; a pair of earrings and a yellow sleeveless top for 2.00 in Age Concern. (The earrings seem to have disappeared. I remember taking them out of the bag at home but haven't found them since - they'll turn up somewhere). There were only six charity shops in Luton town centre which I found surprising. Bedford is a smaller town and has twelve. Dunstable had about five charity shops and I din't buy anything in them. I don't think I will be rushing back to Luton or Dunstable for some rummaging any time soon...

On Monday I stayed at the Red Cross until it was time to pick the grandchildren up from school. Two of the volunteers were off to celebrate Eid and the manager had a day off leaving just myself and the assistant manager. There were so many donations to sort and I served at the till, too.

This is what I wore. Everything is charity shopped except my underwear - and you're not seeing that! Jacket; Next, 1.00 Red Cross, zebra print trousers from Barnardo's last week: 2.49. Next top; charity shopped last summer.

Sandals; charity shopped.

All jewellery; charity shopped.

This is going to be my last post for a while. On Saturday I'm going to drive to Holyhead and catch the ferry to Ireland on Sunday morning. I should reach the van about 4 pm having stopped off at Lidl to do some shopping. As I've said before the internet connection at the site is both weak and intermittent so I doubt that I'll be able to post more than once every couple of weeks and then only when I'm somewhere with free wifi.

I'm so looking forward to the next couple of months where I will just be chilling out; reading, crocheting, walking; visiting family, sight seeing and a bit of charity shopping of course! I'm looking forward to having a few visitors to stay. I shall miss my children and grandchildren and OH but I will see them in Ireland. Whatever transpires I'll be back in September so I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

          Phewww what a scorcher it's been!        

Yes, a whole week of a sunshine and high temperatures...

As well as the heat something else happened. My poor little donated laptop died on Tuesday. I had to go out first thing on Wednesday and replace it. Just what I didn't want to have to do as I'm going on holiday in two weeks time..

Anyway I have a new one now and I'm very lucky to be able to get another one.

Everything above is charity shopped. Trousers and white top both from assorted 1.00 rails; trousers are by George and the top is by F & F at Tesco. The sandals were charity shopped in Donegal last summer for 2 euros.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Thursday Ann and I went out for the day. We went to Uxbridge as I had something to do in a little town near there called West Drayton. We had lunch out and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

 I'm wearing white trousers from F&F; a no label green tunic and my lace top/waistcoat/vest - all charity shopped. I think the green top came from the 1.00 or 99p rail in Barnardo's in Ampthill; the other two items  came from the 1.00 rail in the Red Cross and the 3:16 charity shop. Red Mary Jane's from local shoe store; PJ Shoes.

Scarf charity shopped (1.00) from Stevenage charity shop.

Earrings; Christmas present from Ann years ago - I had a matching bracelet but it broke...necklace from local shop Simi and Lola. Only the bangles are charity shopped.

 Of course we looked in some chazzas and yes, I did buy a couple of things. I spent 3.50. I bought a brightly coloured and patterned pleated skirt for 1.50 in the Harlington Hospice shop in West Drayton and a new spotted cup (I had two and one broke) which cost 1.00. I also bought a pink Principles cardigan for 1.00 in the Thames Hospice shop in Uxbridge. The piece de resistance though was the 'Everything 5.00' shop where I bought this oversized striped linen tunic and wore it on Friday.

Being linen it creases like anything but I find it so cool in the sweltering temperatures we've been having lately. I'm not good in the heat; I wilt and my energy seeps away. Mind you, that could be old age!

Same trousers as yesterday and charity shopped Mary Jane's.

All jewellery charity shopped. The necklace has gone a little off centre...

I did the school run on Friday, did the food shopping, fitted in a 4 mile walk and went for my induction at the library. I'm taking on another volunteering activity at our local library. I start the week I come back from Ireland and will be doing a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon. Apparently, our main library, which is my local one, is becoming digitised from September. It will be staffed from 11 am to 4 pm and will be self service only outside of these hours. I'm really looking forward to starting but wonder how many people will have lost their jobs through the new changes. We are lucky to retain our library; there have been several attempts to close it but public protest has intervened.

You may be thinking I've been very muted in colour choices this week but never fear; I went for colour in a big way on Saturday when I went to see my son -  in temperatures of 28 degrees I might add!

Skirt; 1.50 West Drayton charity shop; M & S jacket from the Guild House in Bedford and the white top by Monsoon from a 1.00 rail somewhere...

Black sandals charity shopped two years ago but can't remember where or how much. I also got round to painting my toe nails at last!

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Sunday my youngest grandson was seven. We went to Milton Keynes to one of those 'eat all you can' places to celebrate. It was unbearably hot all day and I did very little. I am afraid I do not like high temperatures; about 23 or 24 degrees is what I can cope with. The flowers in the garden seem to like it though!

As I type this OH is in the garden watering the plants and talking to them...

Everything charity shopped except shoes and watch.

I've had this cardigan for years. The skirt is from the Red Cross shop last week; 1.99 and the white top is Land's End from a 1.00 rail somewhere.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Have you been enjoying our heatwave? Or is it cooler where you are?

I hope you have a fab week wherever you are!

          Normal system resumes...        

I'm always very pleased to be able to earn a little extra money but I'm also so grateful to return to my lovely 'retired' life.  Because of being a poll clerk at the general election I had to do the food shopping on Friday instead of last Thursday. There were several errands to run in town and of course there was the school run. I still found time to visit the 3:16 charity shop though, and picked up this little lacy cardigan in the 1.00 basket. The last time I had a rummage in the 1.00 box here I found a Ted Baker skirt and top for my daughter!

Everything is charity shopped except the shoes - local retail outlet.  The patterned tunic is from Debenhams and is a stalwart of my summer wardrobe since I bought it about four years ago.
Photos courtesy of youngest grandson.
I  recently bought the blue necklace in the Red Cross shop and the white jeans. I've had the earrings for many years; the silver and turquoise cuff was bought for 2.50 in the RSPCA shop in Bedford.

In the 3:16 shop I also bought 3 colourful (pink, blue and yellow) painted bangles for 50p each and a nice Marcasite brooch for 1.00. I wore it on this jacket when I was running my errands but it was too warm on Friday really for a jacket.

Saturday was a lovely day with a clear blue sky, very warm and a good breeze. I had a leisurely stroll around town to do more errands and spent the afternoon in the garden reading and sewing the ends of the blanket in.

All jewellery charity shopped. I'm wearing two of the bangles I bought on Friday.

Everything charity shopped. The tunic is by H&M and was a 1.00 rail bargain somewhere; the white lace top the same and I can't remember where I bought the harem pants from but it was a charity shop. I have a similar pair I bought from Bedford market years ago for £5.00 but with a different pattern and set of colours.

The  gold sequinned shoes were brand new and picked up at Barnardo's in Great Denham for 99p!

I spent the rest of the afternoon at my best friend Ann's house. We hadn't seen each other since the 60th birthday party in March and it was good to catch up. We're going to have a day out together next Thursday. Ann is a carer for her husband who had a stroke 18 months ago and it will be a good break for her.

I had just washed my hair and it wasn't quite dry. When it is dry I use Argan oil on it which gives it a shine...

On Sunday I went out early for a walk and walked 7 miles. I came back and did the usual Sunday housework and cooked Sunday dinner.

Necklace present from OH; earrings, Bedford market and all other jewellery charity shopped.

Everything is charity shopped. The top was from a 1.00 rail at the Red Cross; the grey embroidered skirt from Barnardo's in Ampthill - it's by The White Stuff and was 2.99; the gold slip on shoes were 99p at Barnardo's in Great Denham.

On Monday I volunteered at the Red Cross. I rescued a Monsoon pleated skirt from the rag bag...

On Tuesday I was at the Guild House in the morning and did an extra shift in the afternoon at the Red Cross. I'm going to be in Ireland for two months so felt I should offer to do extra to make up for my long absence...

I was on my feet from ten in the morning until nearly five so I was in need of a good sit down when I got home! I wore my floral trousers bought from Age UK in Stevenage; blue t shirt charity shopped somewhere a few years ago; cardigan from La Redoute sale about six years ago. It was the very first thing I ever bought at La Redoute.
I must have been looking at a bird...

Pink Mary Jane's charity shopped.

          A trip to London and down memory lane...        
Last Wednesday, I walked with the Ramblers after a break of two weeks;  I was invigilating on the two previous Wednesdays. There are some evening walks coming up which I am looking forward to. I love evening walking. There's a special evening walk on the 21st June which will be the longest day of the year and it's starting at 8.30 pm - in the pub!

I changed into this outfit after walking 7.5 miles. I bought the scarf with pearls in a charity for 1.00; the top and trousers are also charity shopped. The scarf is to compensate for a low neckline; it was too warm to put a camisole under this top. All jewellery charity shopped.

The trousers from M&S have gone to the charity shop bag. They're too long and too big and do nothing for me even though they are cool and comfortable in the hotter weather. My new pink floral trousers  bought on a recent rummage in Stevenage and Hitchin are their replacement; one in and one out wherever possible...

These are my new (retail) shoes. They have a t strap which you can't see in this photo.

I walked again on Thursday - another 7 miles. It was a very warm day; 25 degrees by the time I finished.  I was trying to recce a new walk for the Ramblers Winter Programme. I tried a footpath I hadn't tried before but it took me nowhere. Not because it didn't lead anywhere but because the footpath was so overgrown I couldn't see where it was meant to take me. I walked around the perimeter of a huge field; climbed over a gate in a farmyard (naughty Veronica!) and found myself a few feet away from where I started!

Everything is charity shopped. The linen top is a French label but I can't remember where I found it; likewise the three quarter leggings.

Mary Jane's bought in a charity shop in Ely in May 2016.

Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were one of  the three for a 1.00 I bought on last Saturday's rummage in Hitchin.

On Friday, I took my middle grandson to London for a day out. He wanted to go to the Houses of Parliament so we had a guided tour. This was taken on the tube to Westminster.

The  House of Commons terrace where you can take tea...

I look very rotund in this photo taken outside Westminster Abbey!

Tunic; charity shopped; trousers; Lidl last summer; Mary Jane's charity shopped; all jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought online. I bough the African print bag at a car boot sale a couple of weeks back.

We had a lovely day; we went to Canary Wharf (his choice); the Monument and then I took him on a tour of the area where I grew up and went to school i.e. Maida Vale/Paddington.

This is the first house I ever lived in; 144 Elgin Avenue, London W.9.  I was born in 1954. Mum and Dad rented one room in this rather posh house. I checked today's house prices on this street; a one bedroom flat for 785.000; three bedroom flat 999,900; a four bedroom flat over a million. These are flats not houses! It is absolutely incredible and to my mind, obscene.

When my brother Mark was due, Mum, Dad and I moved here:

I spent the next 13 years of my life in this 3 roomed basement flat with my parents and two brothers. We had no bathroom, an outside toilet; no central heating or hot water. I shared a room with my brothers until I was almost 15 years old; my parents slept on a sofa that converted to a bed all the years we lived here. Relatives from Ireland came and stayed - sometimes for months at a time until they got established and moved out.

Again, I checked the prices of properties in this street; a three bedroom maisonette; 1,395.000. A four bedroom house 1,800,000. My parents privately rented throughout the 1950s and 1960s; in the early 1960s Mum and Dad got the opportunity to buy the entire house above for a little over 700.00! My Dad didn't want a mortgage - he was a strictly cash up front person - so they declined the landlord's offer...

In 1969 having been on the housing list since I was born; Mum and Dad moved to a council maisonette in this house in Portnall Road, W9.

The top left hand window was my bedroom - the box room! We had a bathroom and indoor toilet; a separate living and dining room; Mum and Dad had their own bedroom and my brothers shared a bedroom. It was heaven to us.

I checked the prices on this street, too. A one bedroom flat; 500,000. Two bedroom maisonette; 699.000. Not as pricey as the other two streets but a whole house must sell for over 1,000,000. Astonishing - and still obscene. How on earth are ordinary working people ever going to afford to buy anywhere to live in London? The rents are also ridiculous; eldest grandson spends 70% of his earnings on rent.

This was my old school - Paddington and Maida Vale High School for Girls (PMVHS). It was situated in Elgin Ave near to the first house I ever lived in and it took me less than 10 minutes to walk to school.

I asked my grandson what he thought of where I grew up and his reply was - 'all the house you lived in are the same'. This was very true; all Victorian terraced houses. There was a huge house building boom in the Victorian era and many of us continue to live in and love these old houses.

On Saturday I went to see my son. Everything charity shopped except the shoes. Dress by Mantaray; jacket by M & S bought in Kettering for 4.00.

All jewellery charity shopped except watch.

Necklace bought in Derry for 2.50.

Woke up on Sunday to more terrible news.

Top; Store 21 sale; trousers; Primark, charity shopped 99p rail at Barnardo's, Great Denham. Orange shoes also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped. Necklace bought at Oxfam in Newport Pagnell last summer for 2.50.

On Monday, I volunteered at the Red Cross shop. I do so enjoy working there. I have a laugh with colleagues; we sort a mountain of stuff and sometimes I find wonderful things. My special area of responsibility is the jewellery. I found a rather 'good' piece on Monday in some stock from another Red Cross shop - a gold bracelet with purple stones. I showed it to my colleague, as I could see it looked special. He has a jeweller's eye glass and it was marked 18 carat gold. He took it to a a local jeweller who buys gold and silver; who then confirmed it was gold -  and the purple stones were real amethysts. He gave us (Red Cross)  95.00 for it!

This was Monday's outfit. The green harem pants are from Next and I bought them on my first visit to the new Barnardo's in Great Denham last year. When I got them home the elastic in the waist was gone, so I never wore them at all last year. This year I had the idea of wearing a large elasticated belt I have around the waist of the trousers to hold them up - unfortunately you can see the belt outline  under my yellow patterned M & S charity shopped top! The jacket came from the Guild House and the Mary Jane's were charity shopped in Ely last year.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which were donated by my daughter.

On Tuesday I went to volunteer at the Food Bank and in the evening I had Poll Clerk Training for the election on Thursday.

Jewellery and tunic charity shopped. The tunic is from Red Cross 1.99. The earrings were bought in a shop in Bath on my 50th birthday with birthday money I was given by my family.

Navy trousers, Primarni; cardigan, Studio catalogue about four years ago and shoes local retail.

I invigilated for the Open University on Wednesday all day in Luton and on Thursday I poll clerked. My day started at the polling station at 6.15 am and I finished at 10.50 pm. There was a steady stream of people coming in to vote all day and it went surprisingly quickly, but I was really tired when I got home. Luckily the polling station is only across the road from my house!

The Chrome Book is holding up although there are more distractions on the screen in the form of coloured lines but hopefully it will last until I can afford to buy a new one.

I plan to chill out all weekend to compensate for my extremely busy week. I hope you all have a great weekend; the forecast is looking good...

          Some rummaging, Star Wars and a trip to the seaside        
The forget-me-nots (above) were clustered in the corner of a field and are for the victims of the bomb in Manchester.

It was horrifying to wake up last Tuesday morning and hear the dreadful news about the suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester. What a truly wicked thing to do. It does nothing to improve the perceptions of Muslims here and elsewhere; as they have now become the new persecuted minority; based on the acts of individuals who carry out these horrible deeds. No one who carries out this type of act is a true Muslim.

My heart goes out to all the children, adults and their families who were killed or injured in this dreadful attack.

Well, what a wonderful week of weather we've had!

Last Tuesday I was at the food bank and was glad of its coolness, for once, as it was quite a muggy day. When I finished there I went for a walk and walked 6.8 miles. It was my first walk for over a week and I had missed it. 

It was a beautiful afternoon. The mugginess had gone; the sun shone; the birds sang and the bees and insects hummed. I remembered to put Factor 50 sunscreen on my face in the morning before I put my make up on and I did it everyday whilst we had such lovely sunny weather. The back of my neck, upper chest, hands and feet get very brown in the summer as they are always exposed; I have to remember to apply sunscreen to these areas and to wear a hat!

Everything is charity shopped except the Mary Jane shoes bought from PJ Shoes; a local shoe retail shop; about 3 years ago. The trousers are from George at Asda and the blue top was bought from a £1.00 rail somewhere...

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Wednesday I invigilated in the morning and ran some errands in town after I had finished. But first I paid a visit to Barnardo's in Great Denham where I hadn't been for a few weeks. I bought a few things from the 99p rail - it would have been rude not to!

 What did I buy? I bought some brand new, never worn metallic gold slip on shoes; a plaid night shirt (for winter); a grey shrug/cardigan and a beautiful pale lime green, boiled/felted wool jacket (again for  winter). When I finally went into town I bought some lovely silver earrings in the Reuse shop for 2.00. I managed to walk almost 3 miles in the course of my errand running!

I spent the rest of the afternoon crocheting and sitting out in the garden enjoying the brilliant weather. I was determined to finish the blanket last week and spend the next week sewing the ends in (aaagggghhhh - such a horrible job!) and making a border for it. I'll save my next crochet project for Ireland as I'm going to be away for two months...I'm planning to make a V stitch blanket and use up my stash of blue and green wool in making it.

I made this one a few years ago and it's on our two seater sofa where it gets quite a lot of use on cold evenings...

Everything is charity shopped except the kimono which was a Christmas present from my daughter three years ago. Trousers are by Tu at Sainsbury's; linen top no label but from 1.00 rail in the Red Cross.

Because it was such a hot day I had to put my sandals on but my toenails needed painting...

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings - 99p from e bay.

I invigilated again on Thursday morning and in the afternoon. It was another scorching day.

Top by Principles; 1.00 rail at the Red Cross. Linen M & S trousers; £1.00 rail Barnardo's in Ampthill. I bought the vintage blouse/kimono by Kanga in a charity shop in Cambridge last summer for 2.99.

Shoes; PJ shoes. Can you see how puffy my feet are? They swell in the heat and they're worse when I've been on them for hours as I was on Thursday. I also wore my large turquoise ring on Thursday but I took it off to wash my hands and couldn't get it back on again because my fingers had swollen too...

All jewellery charity shopped except watch (present) and earrings; 99p from e bay.

On Friday I ventured out after the school run for a walk. I walked 8.5 miles and sweated like a pig from beginning to end. Boy, was it hot! I also had to do the food shopping after that and the school run. One that was over I finished my latest library book 'All We Shall Know' by Donal Ryan. It's an absolutely beautiful, emotional read and I can't recommend it highly enough. Donal Ryan's writing is poetic and his use of the rhythms and phraseology of Irish speech is wonderful. It made me cry and laugh and I don't think you can ask more of a novel than that.

On Saturday OH and I went for a rummage. We decided to go to Stevenage and because they only had 5 charity shops we went to Hitchin as well. Hitchin is much smaller and has 8 charity shops! Weird.

I wore a hat to shield my face from the sun. I got my face a little burnt when I went walking on Friday despite Factor 50 sunblock. It wasn't so hot on Saturday but it was nice and breezy; so breezy in fact the hat blew away several times and I abandoned  wearing it.

Everything, including the hat, is charity shopped. I can't remember where I bought the dress; the linen jacket is from the Guild House.  I wore these Mary Jane shoes because they are very comfortable with a raised platform and ideal for walking around.

Bangles and ring charity shopped.

Beads charity shopped in Donegal, earrings bought in the week from the Reuse shop and brooch charity shopped.

Of course, I  had to buy stuff. I bought 3 pairs of earrings for a 1.00 in the Garden Hospice shop in Hitchin; another pair with a Celtic design and a deep red pair both a 1.00 each in two different Hospice shops in Stevenage. I bough a pair of Boyfriend jeans for 1.60 and an ethnic print top for 2.00  on a reduced rail in the Salvation Army in Stevenage; a pink floral pair of trousers for 4.00 in the Keech Hospice shop in Hitchin. A good day's rummaging, I thought. OH did very well, too.

We saw a Storm Trooper (from Star Wars) and R2D2: (edited thanks to Sheila!)

They were part of a fund raising event for Age UK.

On BH Monday we went to the seaside at Holkham, Norfolk with the grand kids. It was bloody freezing! We ate our picnic there.  Holkham is also a nature reserve and when we were leaving we saw 2 Spoonbills flying over head; they looked like arrows, long and thin with wings; it was a marvellous sight and it made my day.

Courtesy of Google images
We then drove to Wells Next the Sea; which is about mile and a half away -  a pretty little seaside town where we warmed up in a cafe with hot drinks; wandered about; spent ages in the arcade and finally left as the rain was coming down. Of all the days to pick to go to the seaside we chose the worst one!

Wells Next the Sea

Wells Next the Sea

I've now finished my crochet blanket and done the edging. There's only about 300 tails to sew in so it will take me some time...

My Chromebook (which I inherited from the eldest grandson) is in terminal decline. The screen has a line across it and what looks like a side view of a breast with a silouhette on the right hand side of the screen. I don't know how much longer it will last; the 'breast' is getting bigger and is blocking some of my page content. I'm hoping it will last until I go to Ireland but I may have to buy a new one soon and that will eat into my holiday money. We'll see. Hopefully, I 'll be able to post next week but if I don't you'll know the Chromebook has died!

          Before Barnsley and after...        

Last Wednesday was such a fabulous day! The sun shone - all day. It was warm. At last a proper May day. I went walking with the Ramblers from Sandy to Blunham; 7.8 miles. In the afternoon I had more errands to run in town.

I bought myself some new Mary Jane's in Kempston. I've been looking in the charity shops but so far no luck. I bought this turquoise pair. Palazzo pants; Jane Norman, charity shopped. Elephant top; charity shopped in Co. Donegal somewhere - can't remember where. Cardigan - Studio catalogue a couple of years ago.

Headscarf; charity shopped. All jewellery charity shopped except earrings which, of course are from Sainsbury's and the watch; Christmas present.

Thursday's outfit. Trousers; Bedford market last year; top; Red Cross 1.00 rail last Monday; cardigan; Christmas present; Mary Janes; charity shopped in Donegal.
I went out for a walk by myself and did 6 miles.

The youngest grandson took the photo above and likes to sit down when doing his photography, so I always appear to be looming in his photos!

All jewellery charity shopped.

On Saturday we set off for Barnsley. It was surprisingly quick to get to; passing Sheffield on the way. Hi Curtise!

Everything is charity shopped except the shoes; Tesco outlet store. David Emmanuel coat, also charity shopped.

Tunic; Donegal charity shop; white jeans; same.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Once we had booked into the hotel we went into town to look round the chazzas. We visited 7 charity shops in Barnsley; I bought two skirts; one by Barbara Hulanicki (of Biba fame) for 1.00 in the Arthritis research shop and a brightly patterned, M&S summer skirt for £1.39 in the  British Heart Foundation charity shop. I also bought two pairs of earrings 1.50;  4 bracelets for 1.00; a green top 1.00 and a pair of green suede winter boots for 1.99 in Age UK. I was very pleased with my haul and liked Barnsley town centre and market very much.

I didn't opt to wear either the green gloves or the new vintage coat to the reunion. The coat is heavy and the hotel was so hot; too hot in fact.  OH and I both woke up in the night because of the heat  even though we left the window open in the hotel bedroom! We're used to a cool bedroom...

I wore this black lace dress which I last wore to my niece's wedding in 2012; charity shopped (forgotten where) and the turquoise coat is by an unknown brand but was nice and light; also charity shopped. The shoes were bought with an M&S Christmas gift voucher years ago and are from the Twiggy range. Handbag bought on a rummage to Royston and Baldock last year.

We didn't think to take a photo together - doh!  But OH did get lots of video footage. He has a new phone and was trying the functions out.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings and watch - presents from my daughter. The turquoise bracelet and ring were charity shopped from the Hospice shop in Kempston last week.

The reunion  evening went well  although it turns out that this reunion was not what I expected. It wasn't OH's battery reunion but another battery whose numbers have been depleted over the years. OH's full battery reunion is in September in Birmingham.

We set off at 10 am on Sunday morning after a big breakfast and were home 2 hours later!

Everything charity shopped. Tunic; Monsoon, RSPCA shop; snakeskin patterned jeans; Barnardo's. Can't remember which charity shop the orange shoes came from; they're so comfortable, and the headscarf was also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped except the earrings which were donated to me by my daughter. That's my vest strap showing there; I can't quite summon up the nerve to stop wearing an under layer even though the weather is much warmer than it was. I'm obviously getting old...

The irises in my garden are blooming!

On Monday, I was volunteering at the Red Cross; we were frantically busy as two staff members were off and we have a visit from the area manager on Tuesday. Everything had to be up to date and neat and tidy. I hope to be trained to use the till from next week, so that when people are off I can cover the till on a Monday if needed.

This was Monday's outfit. I wore the green top I bought on Saturday in Barnsley for 1.00 and one of the 4 for 1.00 bracelets. It almost matches my necklace but is chunkier.

Everything is charity shopped except the Mary Jane's bought new last week. Jacket M&S; charity shopped in Kettering, M&S skirt; can't remember where I bought it, probably Red Cross!

All jewellery charity shopped.

I've booked the ferry to Ireland and I'm very excited as my best friend Hilary maybe coming with me. More about that soon...have a lovely week everyone.

          Green gloves and a blogger meet up!        
I'll get to the green gloves in a bit...

On Wednesday I led a Ramblers walk of 7 miles. It was a chilly, overcast day and we were cold at the start but soon warmed up. Everyone enjoyed the walk including me! It was the same walk that I did the first time I ever led a walk back in May 2016, but I reversed it and added on a short bit to the end. I've now led 3 walks for the Ramblers and want to find a new walk to lead for the Autumn programme.

Trousers are from the Tesco outlet shop, boots present from daughter this Christmas. Every thing else is charity shopped.

I went for a rummage on Thursday afternoon after the food shopping. I went to the Kempston charity shops as I hadn't been for a while. I got quite a few summer items for the grandsons and for myself some green earrings 75p; a white top 1.00; and finally an animal print blouse in brown; 2.49 in the Keech Hospice shop. A yellow  scoop neck top for 2.99 in the Cat's Protection League and last but not least, a turquoise bracelet and ring; 1.00 each from the Day Hospice shop. I didn't bother going to the Barnardo's shop as I was chazza'ed out by then.

I wonder if any of you know what this tree is? I saw it whilst collecting the youngest grandson from school - it's just around the corner and I thought it was so striking. Please let me know what it is as I haven't a clue!

I bought this necklace in a charity shop in Derry for 2.50. Top and shirt also charity shopped.

On Friday, I went walking by myself and it was a brilliant walk. The weather was pleasant; bright but windy. I saw my first swallows of the year and you know what that means don't you? It means summer's here! At last. Thank the Lord and pass the gravy. I'm sick of overcast skies and wind and cold...

Jeans from the 1.00 rail at Barnardo's Great Denham bought on a rummage with Linda; man's shirt £1.00 box Keech; cardigan 1.99 Red Cross shop. Boots; DDB.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Top by Wallis; charity shopped, Country Casuals jacket; charity shopped. Trousers; La Redoute sale and black brogues; Tesco outlet.

It was no longer summer on Saturday, in fact it was overcast and cold again.  But despite the weather I went to Rushden for a blogger meet up. It's the first one for me and it was with the very lovely Kelly of the Mother of Reinvention blog HERE.  Kelly's blog states she is a:

Plus-Sized Sewing Scientist with a Love of Corsets, Kittens & Cake! Vintage Seamstress, Novice Knitter and All-Round Crafty Type.

 It was a pleasure to meet Kelly.  She had moved to Rushden five weeks previously for a new job and luckily really likes her new town and neighbourhood. It was so nice to meet another blogger and I felt I had known Kelly for ages already through reading her blog

We started with a cup of tea and a chat and then went rummaging! We had a fab time and started by visiting the most excellent Salvation Army charity shop where Kelly's friend, Bill, joined us. Kelly found some lovely material - she loves to sew. She also found some great square plates with matching bowls, some cookie cutters and a cute pottery butter dish. I found some earrings for 50p, a lace skirt for 3.50, some wool for 50p and a boring, but useful, tupperware dish; also 50p. We went on to visit 4 other charity shops where I bought a large cake tin and that was it. Then in true blogger fashion we all decamped to Wetherspoons for a drink and some lunch!

Kelly and I plan to meet up again and next time we'll go to Kettering or Northampton - both good places for charity shopping.

I bought these beads at the Red Cross shop last Monday. Earrings from Sainsbury's; bangles and ring charity shopped.

On Sunday OH and I went to a car boot sale at Lidlington. We got there at about 11 am; we don't like early starts... I bought a lovely handmade vintage coat for £2.00 which I am so delighted with. I still have to steam it and then I'll post a photo.

We're off to a reunion of OH's ex battalion at the weekend - Barnsley here we come! I don't know Yorkshire very well at all so I'm curious to see what Barnsley and its environs look like. We might squeeze in a quick rummage. Anyway, I may wear the coat with a knee length dress; I'm still thinking about it.

Monday was volunteering at the Red Cross. By the time this photo was taken at about 8.30 in the evening my linen trousers were baggy at the knee and very creased - I'd just been on my hands and knees washing the kitchen floor!

Everything charity shopped except the shoes which are from a local shoe outlet called PJ shoes in Kempston.

Of course I couldn't leave the Red Cross without buying something...
I bought some books; some elbow length emerald green gloves; some brand new grey Mary Jane's with a little heel and a top. I don't know where on earth I might wear the green gloves but an occasion might present itself - who knows? It's always as well to be prepared!

Aren't they fabulous?

I went completely mad on Friday and swapped my winter wardrobe to my summer wardrobe; I'm now thinking I was a bit premature. It was cold on Saturday when I met up with Kelly - I was cold the whole day. Then Sunday was very pleasant but Monday was cold, grey and windy. Luckily, I only pack away the thickest of cardigans so I still have a few warm  ones in the wardrobe. Just as well as one was needed on Monday.

Tuesday was a warmer day but still cloudy and grey. I had a busy day running errands here, there and everywhere. My blanket is about half way done:

I want to have it finished by the time I next go to Ireland so I can start a new one whilst I'm there.

I went to town today without a jacket or coat and was warm in this outfit. Everything is charity shopped. Skirt is by Phase Eight; top by M&S, sea green cardigan; Per Una at M&S. Mary Jane's charity shopped in Ely almost a year ago.

All jewellery charity shopped. The ring was bought on my rummage in Kempston last Thursday and the necklace is from the Red Cross shop last Monday. Earrings are from Sainsbury's and have to be at least 7 or 8 years old...

I still haven't got round to steaming the coat but here it is:

This is the button detail on the sleeve. I love it. I think I might wear it on Saturday evening to the reunion - what do you think?

          A very happy week was spent with...        

This is my cousin, Linda. She is the oldest of the cousins on my mum's side and we first met when I was 7 (in 1961) in my granny's house in Ireland.  Linda had never visited England before so she came to spend 5 days with me in April; we had such an enjoyable time.

In the photo above I'm wearing an  embroidered wool waistcoat from a charity shop which Linda bought me.  I'd seen this same waistcoat on a rummaging expedition with the OH last year and didn't buy it. I'd been regretting it ever since!

 Linda and I spent a whole day charity shopping and a couple of hours on another day. We went to the Ampthill and Great Denham charity shops and quite a lot of the Bedford ones.  There were still seven charity shops in Bedford we didn't have time to visit  so that's for Linda's next trip. Did Linda find anything? Yes! She found some beautiful cardigans;  some trousers, a sweater and some shoes. I found a pair of jeans; some colourful trousers; a skirt and some pictures for Ruby Super.

We went for dinner at my daughter's one evening and also managed to fit in two six mile walks on two different days. On one of our walks, Linda marched up the drive marked 'Private Property' and in the photo above is at the door of Clapham Park House which was:

'Originally built in 1873 for the Howard Family, founders of the Britannia Works in Bedford, Park House is a magnificent striking piece of Victorian architecture in a French Gothic style.' (From the Rightmove website).

We went to London for the day on Saturday where we saw the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Treasury. This was taken in Parliament Square. We also went to the Tower of London.

We set out to visit the Perspehone bookshop in Bloomsbury but got there too late...

We went to Harrods at Linda's request and splashed out on some pastries - I'd scoffed mine by the time I took this photo. Linda's is still in the bag...

I'd never been to Harrods before. I was wondering why the sales assistant was staying so close to my side in the women's wear department as I was stroking a white suede and fur coat. Then I looked at the price tag - £35,000!!

We spent the rest of the day in Chelsea where we paid a flying visit to my eldest grandson at work and then met up with my brother and went out for a meal.

On Sunday the family came for the dinner.

These are the colourful trousers I bought in a Bedford charity shop and all the other items I'm wearing are also charity shopped. 

I took Linda to the airport last Monday and was very sad to see her go. I always wanted a sister when I was growing up and feel that I have a sister in Linda. 
Life resumed as normal on Tuesday with a stint at the Food Bank.

Everything charity shopped. Purple velvet jeans; Red Cross 1.99. Grey waistcoat is from Gap and patterned shirt is from M&S. 

Boots - Christmas present from daughter.

Beads present from OH but charity shopped as are the earrings, bangles and watch.

On Wednesday I invigilated at the university where I used to teach. I shall be doing more invigilation in May and in June shall be poll clerking on election day. All the little extra cash is most welcome as I still have another 2.5 years before I get my state pension...

Everything, except the boots, is from a charity shop. The tunic, which has a French label was 1.99 at the Red Cross - the collar has a row of hook and eyes fastening as do the sleeves. I chose to leave them open as the beige (gah!) trim made a nice contrast and went with the beige M& S trousers. The waistcoat was from the 99p rail in Barnardo's. All jewellery is charity shopped except the earrings which are from Sainsbury's. The headscarf is a recent acquisition (must stop buying them - the picnic basket where I store them is filling up) from the 3:16 shop for 1.00.

On Thursday I did the usual food shopping and went for a 6 mile walk. My youngest grandson is staying every Thursday evening now as my daughter has taken up boxing and has a late training session. I take both grandsons to and from school on Friday so it is just as easy for him to stay overnight with me.

This is the tunic/dress I bought in the Killybegs charity shop for 2 euros. It's by Apricot and I loved the red orange flower display around the bottom. Everything is charity shopped including the boots, but the grey leggings are from Sainsbury's Tu range.

All jewellery charity shopped including this necklace which I also bought in the same Killybegs charity shop as the tunic but about two years ago. It's a bit of a treasure trove that charity shop...

I went on a bus walk with the Ramblers on Friday and we walked from Henlow to Langford and back again; about 6.5 miles. I kept my jacket on the whole time as although it was a nice bright day the wind was chilly. 

This is the Holy Trinity Church in Clapham, London and the site for the origins of The Bible Society.

I walked again on Saturday; only this time it was in London and the 34th 'Unlock'  London walk. You can read about the 'Unlock' walks HERE in more detail, but they are essentially fund raising walks for urban charities, visiting a range of different churches in different parts of London.

This year the walk was in Battersea and Clapham. It's the third consecutive year I've done this walk and it's always very interesting. It attracts those of a religious persuasion (not me!) and walkers.

This is St. Mary's on the Thames path near to Battersea bridge. It wasn't one of the seven churches on the walk but I rather liked it.

Battersea Bridge built in 1890

We ate our lunch here. Behind this bridge (Battersea Railway Bridge, built in 1863) was a helicopter landing pad; the helicopters were arriving and taking off about every ten minutes.

I wondered about this building  in Comyn Road, SW11 - it looks like a boring red brick red modern building, but if you look carefully there are a couple of old fashioned, possibly Victorian, dresses sculpted on the front of it. Was it originally the site of a factory? An orphanage? A school? I wish I knew - and Google wasn't any help.

This beautiful flowering tree was in the sub tropical section of Battersea Park but I have no idea what it was.

This Victorian Gothic church is called St. Nectarios; it's near Lavender Hill and is now a Greek Orthodox church containing the most beautiful icons.

We walked about 7.5 miles on the walk and if I include my walk to and from the station it was more than 8 in total. We returned to King's Cross by bus and I just managed to snap this sculpture; behind Marble Arch, from the top deck front seat of the bus. It was almost like being back at school again!

On Sunday I went to see my son

Everything charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas present several years ago; the necklace and earrings were donated to me by my daughter.  The Next corduroy blazer bought from Red Cross for 1.99 about a year ago.

White jeans bought in Derry and the spotted top was bought on my rummages with Linda, in the Ampthill Barnardo's.

I was quite excited as it seemed warmer and sunnier on Sunday. I thought I might begin the winter to summer wardrobe swap over but changed my mind as the day went on and it got colder and colder...

Monday was a bank holiday but it was business as usual at the Red Cross. I started at 10 am instead of 9.30 am but finished at the same time. Did I buy anything? Yes, I did. 2 more necklaces (naughty me!) one turquoise and one an orangey yellow colour. A yellow top and a cardigan both 1.99 each. Two books for my friend Hilary; whom I'm hoping to visit in Devon at the end of May or in June.

This is the Desigual tunic/dress I bought in  the Red Cross in Derry. The top underneath is from Primarni; the leggings were bought retail at Sainsbury's and the Mary Jane's are from a local shoe outlet. I had left them behind in the caravan and made sure I brought them back with me as I hoped we may soon start to have a summer...

All jewellery charity shopped and the head scarf was one of 3 bought at the 3:16 charity shop.

My crochet blanket is coming along nicely, but I'm not getting that much reading done. I never do when I'm crocheting. I did manage to read the last of my 'Furrowed Middlebrow' birthday books and have now read four in this imprint. I've enjoyed them all but none have gripped me in the way many books have and I doubt I shall be buying anymore. They are also very tightly bound and you have to 'crack' the spine or fold the pages back severely to read the books properly. I still have two new Persephone books (also birthday books) to read and then there's all those books on TBR pile...

I really want to start the winter to summer swap over but I daren't - it's too damn cold. Here's hoping it warms up soon!

           Normal service is resumed        
Hello everyone! 

It seems like a long time ago since I last posted but it's only been 24 days. In that time I've been to Donegal for two weeks and my cousin from Ireland came to visit me here in Bedford. I have had a wonderful three weeks and it was also good to have a break from blogging! I did miss everyone else's blogs and have tried to catch up since I returned.

I'm going to dedicate this part of the post to Fiona of 'Made in a Muddle' here. Fiona has a mobile home in France and asked me to do a post about about my mobile home in Ireland - so here goes.

The site we stay at  is at the top of a hill and has about 180 mobile homes in total. It is split into two separate areas by a road. There is a children's playground; a green play space with trees and tyre swings; a football/tennis/basketball pitch; picnic sites and a hut for wet weather activities, on site. There are also woods to the rear of the site, two nearby lakes and lots of local beaches.  Our mobile home is on the upper slope of the hill and at the end of a row. It is a truly beautiful spot and we are surrounded by mountains.

We are 17 miles from the town of Donegal; 3.5 miles from Killybegs and about 7 miles from Ardara. There is a garage cum post office cum grocery shop cum deli at the bottom of the hill, about 4 miles away and it's our nearest shop.

Image may contain: sky, cloud, house, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

This is 'Ruby Super' hereafter referred to as the 'caravan'. She is a static caravan or mobile home made by Atlas and was originally made in the mid to late 1990s. I bought her in April 2014 after I retired in March. I had the wooden decking/patio and base around the caravan made especially. Ruby Super has three bedrooms but can sleep eight people as the seating area in the living area pulls down into a double bed.

There is no central heating but I do have a gas fire in the living room and two other electric heaters. However, electric voltage is is limited in a caravan and you learn pretty quickly how many electrical items can be in use at the same time. When the electricity is 'tripped' it's only a short walk to the decking to 'throw' the switch. As it can get very cold, in the evenings especially, I always have a good supply of throws and blankets which are stored in the large basket.

I like the layout in the caravan  - apart from the sleeping areas and bathroom, everything else is open plan. From the kitchen window and two of the bedroom windows I can see St. John's Point which is one of the longest peninsulas in Ireland.  The peninsula is separated on either side by McSwyne's Bay and Inver Bay; which feed into Donegal Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, I can also see Ben Bulben mountain  across Donegal Bay in Co. Sligo. If you look very carefully at the picture below, in the distance on the left hand side you can just make out Ben Bulben. There were very few clear days on this trip but when it is clear it's as if I can lean out of the window and touch the sea!

The kitchen is compact but has lots of storage space. I have no washing machine but there is a laundry on site with two washing machines and two tumble dryers. They are not free; unfortunately...

This is the bathroom. There is a shower to the left of the photo.

There is a separate loo

One double bedroom complete with another wardrobe of clothes, shoes, jewellery and perfume!

Two twin bedrooms.

When we've been away from the caravan between September to Easter, the caravan suffers from mildew. We leave plates of salt and humidifiers (non electrical) bought at hard ware shops to help with the mildew. This year we've left the blinds up and curtains open to maximise any sunshine and warmth; until I return in July. The caravan heats up really quickly when it's sunny. 

We also have to pack any clothing or textiles, including bedding, away in plastic bags to avoid them becoming mildewed. If we were able to visit more frequently this would be less of an issue. So far though, it has been the only problem we've experienced and we love Ruby Super. When I return in July, I shall be applying weather protection stain to the decking and washing the outside of the caravan with a mop and bucket. Thanks to Fiona for alerting me to this - it was in the terms and conditions,  but I had completely missed it!


Are you ready for some outfit posts? Not many I'm afraid; I was too busy having a good time!

I only managed one selfie with the selfie stick. Everything charity shopped. Cardigan; 50p at a jumble sale, top; £1.00 rail somewhere, can't remember where I bought the trousers.

All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

When OH arrived we spent a day in Derry.

Taken outside the Guildhall in Co.Derry. Everything charity shopped except the bag; online retail and the boots; Christmas present. The mac is by Max Mara and I bought it for 4 euros at my favourite charity shop in Killybegs, Co. Donegal. I also bought a pair of brown trousers and a green and black pair of trousers there for 2 euros each and a tunic by Apricot for 3 euros. It was a chilly day in Derry hence the gloves and scarf!

I'm standing against the wall that once surrounded the city of Derry. This plaque is in memory of all those who were killed  by weapon systems within the city and district of Derry.

Another part of the wall. 
OH and I had a really good rummage in the charity shops of Derry on Easter Saturday. There were nine in total that we found and only one was closed. I was quite restrained for a change (!) and bought a necklace in a hospice shop and a Desigual tunic top in the Red Cross shop; where I got discount bringing the price down from £6.00 to £4.80! On the way to Derry we stopped at Ballyboffey to have a rummage and I bought a pair of trainers and a pair of walking shoes for 99 cents each. In the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop I bought a ring for 5 euros and a couple of books.

This picture was taken in Letterkenny, where we stopped for a meal on the way back from Derry. I have no idea what the sculpture is and there was no information about it that I could see.

 We also spent a day in Sligo where we went rummaging as well as visiting family. I bought some white jeans for 2.50 euros and a couple of bangles. I also visited another cousin and his wife in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo before OH came out. This the view of the Atlantic from their garden:

On that occasion my cousin's wife, Martina and another cousin Caroline, and I, went walking around the base of Ben Bulben. It was a beautiful walk and we had two dogs with us who were very well behaved throughout. 

And other than reading, eating, sleeping, a bit of walking, listening to the radio and starting (finally) a new crochet blanket, I did very little else! 

Only another 100+ rows to go....
I'll post about my cousin's visit in my next post. It's good to be back!

          Donegal is calling me...        
Saturday was such a beautiful day. Warm, sunny but there was a chilly breeze at times. Spring is most definitely here with warmer weather forecast for this week.

OH and I had a rummage in Rushden and we also visited Emmaeus in Carlton on Saturday. Emmaeus is a charity for homeless people and is international in its scope. At Emmaeus they do furniture; household goods, electrical items, antiques and vintage items, bikes, garden equipment, clothes, shoes, bags. jewellery, craft materials, toys, books, DVDs, CDs and LPs. I bought a bangle and a ring, a small terrarium for plants, 2 succulent plants and a cafetiere for my daughter who's been after a small one for ages. I spent 6.50 in total.

This is how I started out. I soon discarded the scarf and gloves - too warm!

Everything except the handbag is charity shopped. Trousers from Monsoon; felted wool jacket by Paraphase; bought in the Donkey Sanctuary Charity shop in Ballyboffey in Donegal. Apart from the lovely embroidery on the jacket; it has golden bugle beads up near the neckline. It cost 10 euros, but I love this jacket and need to wear it more often. Boots from Red Cross shop winter 2015; for 1.99.

I was getting a bit of practice in with my selfie stick. I'm off to Donegal on the 4th April for two weeks and OH won't be out for the first 8 days I'm there, so I'll have to take my own OOTD photos!

The floral top is from the Red Cross 1.00 rail and the cardigan was bought in Barnardo's in Golders Green for 1.99.

Both scarves charity shopped; watch, necklace, ring and bangles charity shopped. Earrings; a present from my friend Natalie in Cambridge. See my nice, clean, shiny kitchen? 4.5 hours it took me on Friday; my arms were aching on Saturday.

In Rushden I bought a grey dress by East for 4.00 in the Salvation Army. I may not get any wear out of it now but it will be useful for next autumn and winter. East clothing is very expensive so I had to snap it up. I also bought a small wool picnic/lap blanket for 1.00; this will be taken to the caravan as it can be very chilly in the evenings. I also bought a lovely velvet patterned top in Cancer Research for 3.00. All in all a good day's rummaging. OH did well, too.

I got up early on Sunday and walked 6.8 miles. With Wednesday's 6.7 miles my total for this week was 13.5 miles - 6.5 miles short of my target of 20 miles.

Sunday afternoon was tea at the Swan Hotel in Bedford courtesy of my wonderful daughter. It was delicious and I was so stuffed at the end of it.

This is the African print skirt I bought at the 3:16 charity shop last week for 3.50. The top is by Cotton Traders and the jacket is by Country Casuals; both charity shopped at he Red Cross for 1.99.

Headscarf and all jewellery charity shopped. Boots; Christmas 2016 present from daughter.

On Monday there was no Red Cross volunteering. The manager had rung me on Friday to say there was a flood in the shop from a leak upstairs and that the shop would be closed until Wednesday. It felt really strange not going into the shop but I had errands to run in town so walked past the shop anyway. There were buckets everywhere catching the drips! There was also what looked like a 1970s maxi dress on the model in the window! I decided to go back on Wednesday and see if it was my size.

 I had plans to go for a walk in the afternoon but the weather was so horrible I didn't bother. Cold and windy and grey...

On Tuesday I was at the Food Bank and in the afternoon I walked 8.25 miles. It was a good day; sunny and warm but with a cold breeze and eventually the clouds got darker and it rained a little.

Everything charity shopped except the loafers bought on sale at Tesco's outlet shop about 3 years ago.

Earrings; a present from my friend Natalie. All other jewellery charity shopped.

On Wednesday afternoon I went back to the Red Cross; wouldn't you flipping know it they had sold the dress from the window! I bought a brown patterned tunic and a Planet summer jacket in bright orange as a consolation prize; both 1.99 each. In the morning I walked with the group from Great Denham; we walked 7 miles and it was a a very pleasant walk. As we finished back in Great Denham I had a quick browse in Barnardo's and bought a white linen shift dress and a pair of navy blue leather loafers - both 99p each.

It was such a gorgeous day on Thursday! It registered 21.5 degrees centigrade on my car barometer.  It felt like a summer's day so I dug a summer dress out of the chest where I store my summer clothes. I bought this dress which is by Studio from a 1.00/99p sale rail somewhere at the end of last summer when it was too late wear it, so this is its first outing.

The jacket was one of the first things I bought at the Guildhouse when I started there; it's linen and made by an Italian company. I paid 3.50 for it. I wore tights and a long slip underneath the dress and the boots were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter.

Headscarf, bangles, necklace and watch all charity shopped. Earrings are from Jamaica and are made of copper in the shape of steel pans...present from OH.

On Friday I went on a bus walk with the Ramblers from Kempston via Wootton and Bromham. We walked 8.75 miles culminating with tea and cake at Bromham Mill. The best way to finish any walk I think!  The weather was fine. By the time I got home I had to go straight to collect the grandchildren from school so stayed in my walking gear. My walking total this week was 24 miles over 3 walks.

On Saturday I went to see my son and wore this:

Everything is charity shopped except the loafers which were bought from the Tesco outlet sale about three years ago.

Necklace was a present from my youngest Grandson's dad some years ago. All other jewellery charity shopped.

I shall spend Sunday packing for Ireland; I've had the car checked, got my euros and the ferry's been booked for ages. I shall be taking a break from blogging and when I get back my lovely cousin, Linda is coming to stay with me. It will be her first visit to England and guess what she wants to do? She wants to come charity shopping! That can be arranged with no difficulty...

I hope you all have a lovely Easter and if you don't celebrate Easter that you at least get a nice break. Take care everyone and see you on the other side!

          Birthday celebrations and a swap        

Our birthday celebration trip to London was brilliant. It was a really pleasant day; warm with the occasional bit of sun.

Here is the wonderful bloggers scarf - birthday present from my daughter, and the leather jacket was a Christmas 2015 present from her; boots, Christmas present 2016 from OH; hat, Christmas present 2014 from eldest grandson;  black leggings M & S retail; dress from New Look, charity shopped in Cancer Research for 3.75 last week.

Silver necklace bought in Age UK, Sandy two Saturdays back.

Earrings and bangles charity shopped. Watch; Christmas 2102 present from daughter.

We started with a cup of tea in West Hampstead and a rummage, of course! It got warmer as the day went on and I discarded the hat and then the scarf...I had some birthday money from my brothers to spend but I was quite restrained. I bought a bottle of Orla Kiely perfume for £15.00 (retails between 35.00 - 47.00 on line; a bargain in my eyes) and a pair of sparkly tights for 2.75 in the West Hampstead charity shops. We then hopped on a bus and went to Golders Green. They had quite a few charity shops and I bought a yellow cardigan for 1.99 in Barnardo's. We didn't have time to check them all out as a couple were closed for the Sabbath, but we were also running out of time. We had to get back to Chelsea and meet up with brothers and nephews.

Should have taken more pictures but here's the West Hampstead fire station. (LCC stands for London County Council).

 I have a soft spot for West Hampstead, although I grew up in Paddington, as it's where my favourite and regular disco was ('The Purple Pussycat' - I kid you not!) and it was a favourite destination for me and my mum on our rummaging excursions until she moved to Kettering in 1999.

After leaving Golders Green we headed off for Sloane Square where I was able to go to the eldest grandson's restaurant - he works there - and say a brief hello. He was rushed off his feet the poor lad.

Two brothers, one daughter, two nephews; OH and me in Battersea waiting for our meal.

The return journey. Missing  - one nephew and one daughter who had things to do, places to go, people to see...

It was a lovely day and although we all had sore feet (the oldies) we're going to do it again before too long.

Sunday was housework and cooking dinner for the family. On Monday I was volunteering as usual in the Red Cross shop. Busy, busy, busy. I bought a bracelet and a short kimono top (see Tuesday's OOTD). I still had birthday money to spend so no guilt feelings about buying stuff...

Everything charity shopped except boots which I'm sure you recognise by now. The tunic was bought in a Donegal charity shop. All jewellery charity shopped. It was another nice day like Saturday; with a slightly chilly wind but at least it didn't rain.

I wasn't needed at the Food Bank on Tuesday. When there are too many volunteers in we can't get much done as we are in each other's way and have to queue at the weighing scales for ages. Everything is weighed in and out at the Food Bank. If you donated a single tin of beans it would be weighed in and recorded!

Top; Red Cross, 1.99, red top; 50p rail in a charity shop in Royston; jeans, charity shopped and red boots bought on line.

So, I had a free day to do exactly what I wanted - sort of. I had a hairdresser's appointment to keep, I was cooking dinner and I was picking up middle grandson from a football match, but in between I was free. I went to Barnardo's at Great Denham for a rummage (birthday money burning a hole in my pocket) and they still had their 99p rail. I bought a Jaeger checked jacket for 99p. I washed it and it came up fine. I might wear it on Saturday to a friend's 60th birthday meal in Luton - yes, I'm off gallivanting again at the weekend!

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings bought with 50th birthday money in Bath - my 'Bath earrings.' I've just realised that was 13 years ago but it feels like it was yesterday...

I also paid a visit to the 3:16 charity shop in town as I haven't been there for a bit. I bought a pair of jeans; a necklace and a ring. I had planned to start my next crochet blanket but got engrossed reading a play by Kate Atkinson called 'Abandonment'. Before I knew it it was time to pick the grandson up...

On both Wednesday and Thursday I went walking by myself. I walked 7 miles on Wednesday and 6 miles on Thursday. Wednesday was the most amazing day; 16 degrees, sunny and a beautiful blue sky.

This was at the beginning of the walk. I'm at the top of a field and the housing estate in the distance is where my daughter lives. Look at the sky!

I met Mr and Mrs. Mallard out for a stroll...

In fact, I met lots of people and as one elderly lady, astride her mobility scooter, said; "the sun brings everyone out".

 Over the two days of walking I saw and heard quite a lot of birds. It's one of the pleasures of walking for me - what birds and plants can I spot? I saw:

  • A Kestrel
  • A Red Kite
  • A Buzzard
  • Magpies
  • Rooks
  • Crows
  • Jackdaws
  • Wood Pigeons
  • Dunnocks
  • Sparrows
  • Great Tits
  • Blue Tits
  • Coal Tits
  • Pied Wagtails
  • Meadow Pipits
  • Blackbirds
  • Starlings
  • Goldfinch
  • Mallard
  • Moorhen
I also heard but didn't see:
  • Skylarks
  • A Woodpecker

Near the end of the walk. I was going to the left and across some fields but the path to the right leads down to my youngest grandson's school.

I babysat on Wednesday evening for my daughter who was playing in a netball match and just remembered to take a selfie:

Everything is charity shopped including the jewellery. The striped top is one of the 99p sale rail bargains from Barnardo's last week. It didn't fit as I expected; it was a bit baggy at the bottom but it will look alright over trousers or jeans. I wore it over a denim skirt.

I also paid a visit to Barnardo's and the RSPCA in Ampthill  on Wednesday afternoon as I hadn't been for a while. They still had their 99p rail, too - I wonder if it will be a permanent feature? I bought a brown cardigan - I don't have a short brown one, and a green tunic; in the RSPCA I bought a tunic off their 1.00 rail. I also bought four books for 1.00, two of which were books by Iain Sinclair that I haven't read, so I was well chuffed. I've spent all my birthday money so no more charity shopping until I get to Ireland!

The weather on Thursday was such a contrast to Wednesday. It was cold, grey and there was a sharp wind. I took this photo of Ravensden Church on my walk as it is so small but beautifully proportioned.

Everything charity shopped except boots; Christmas 2013 present from daughter, and leggings bought in a sale ages ago - can't remember where. The dress is from Next; I bought it in Barnardo's, Ampthill for 99p in the summer but it will be going in the charity shop bag. I don't like it. The waistcoat looks better over trousers or over a longer dress or skirt - see below.

I last wore this waistcoat in November 2015!

I had a clothing dilemma on Friday; I wanted to wear black and white again - why? I really don't know. Some days I think I want to wear purple today or black and white...I usually plan my outfit the night before and hang it up ready for the morning. I started out with leggings; realised the top was too short, so added the skirt instead. I had to wear a cardigan as it was a chilly day. I think the top is too long for the skirt so may have to try the top with trousers and if it's still not right back in the charity bag it goes. I shan't be wearing this outfit again at any rate!

Everything is charity shopped even the boots. The tunic is the one I bought in Barnardo's, Ampthill for 99p on Wednesday.

This week I've put in the charity shop bag: 3 tops, a pair of jeans; a skirt and a dress. At the weekend I've decided to go through my scarves to try and reduce them.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Finally, the post title says " and a swap". As you will already know I am a great fan of Persephone books see here and ask for them for birthday and Christmas presents. A few weeks back, Rosemary of  'Rosie's Ramblings' here was giving away some Persephone books and sent me 4. Unfortunately, I already had 3 of the 4, and although I've managed to pass on one of the duplicates I still have 2 left. Does anyone have some Persephone books they would like to get rid of or swap with me? The 2 duplicates (both highly recommended) are:

'Few Eggs and No Oranges' - Vere Hodgson
'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' - Winifred Watson.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

          How my brother found us...Part 2        
The Ballad of Kathy Flynn - (2012) - Julian Littman

Long ago, young Kathy Flynn took a train to London Town
She fell in love with an Indian hero - he turned her heart around
With a Vir Chakra into his jacket - how could she resist?
He took  her to his hotel room and there they more than kissed
He said;"Kathy, will you marry me?"
Of course, she answered yes.
She dreamed of life in far Madras - an Indian Princess.

He telephoned long distance to his father in Madras
And told him of his intention to wed the Irish lass
The old man flew into a rage and said your future's been arranged
Marry her and you'll die without a rupee to your name
Without a word he slipped away leaving not a trace behind
And left poor Kathy waiting -  out of sight and out of mind.

Chorus: I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and the dreams she could not keep
I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and sing that girl to sleep.

She met a man of magic - the Great Marlo was his name
They took a mind reading act out on the road and found some kind of fame
Pretty soon she realised a child was on the way
Her Indian hero had left her with more than a broken heart that day
She cast her fate to the Mother Church who duly took her in
She gave away the boy at birth and never saw him again.

Chorus: I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and the boy she could not keep
I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and sing that girl to sleep.

The boy grew up in a happy home but when his folks had gone
The boy was curious to know more about his mum
He traced her to a little town and called her on the phone
But she hung up when she heard his name - shaken to the bone.
She wrote him a letter saying never a day goes by
 When I don't think about you, boy, but I must go on living a lie
You see, I've a family of my own  - our secret's never been told
The truth would tear this house apart and I'm too frail and too old.

2nd chorus again

Julian knew he was adopted from about the age of 8 or 9. He came home from school one day and asked his mum a question that he was constantly being asked at school. "Mum, why is it that I'm a different colour to J (Julian's adoptive parent's natural son) and you and Dad? His mum told him in a very matter of fact way that he was adopted and his biological parents were an Anglo Indian pilot in the Indian Air Force and his mum was an Irish actress.

Julian's dad, Anthony Ignatius Kenneth Suares, was an Indian hero; he had been awarded the Vir Chakra in 1949 and you can read about it here. He died some time ago and Julian never managed to trace him. He still wants to explore that side of his family.

 My mum came to England from Ireland in 1948, aged 16, as a Nanny for a family in Edgeware. When she was 18 she was 'discovered' in Lyons Corner House in Marble Arch by the man I knew throughout my childhood as 'Uncle Marlo'. Marlo, or the 'Great Marlo' to give him his stage name; was a magician and mum was his assistant;  'Georgette'. They did a mind reading act together and travelled all over the UK. Mum had a tiny speaking part in a film about boxing in the 1950s, but we've never been able to discover the title. She would never have described herself as an actress but she always said she had been 'on the stage'. She and 'The Great Marlo' often did publicity stunts for their act; below is a still from British Pathe news item  - narrated by Eamonn Andrews - and available here on youtube; where mum was buried alive for one such stunt. It was a very cold day; everyone is wearing overcoats but mum appears dressed in a bra and skirt - some things never change when it comes to women...

As children we loved Uncle Marlo - he used to make sixpences and shillings appear out of his ears or from up our sleeves! He lived just off Church Street market in London; and he and his wife were very good to my mum because she when she applied to St. Pelagia's to have Julian; she gave her address as their address; she must have been living with them throughout her pregnancy.

What I have found out is Julian's birth was something that probably only one other family member; my Aunty Betty, knew about. Betty's name appears on the St.Pelagia documentation as mum's next of kin. In the latter stages of pregnancy mum could have told her four sisters; all of whom were living in London at the time, she was away touring with the Great Marlo. My dad never knew about Julian; in Julian's adoption paper's this is made clear as they state the adoption forms to be signed by mum must be sent in a plain brown envelope addressed solely to my mum.

This is my mum's oldest sister, Aunty Peggy's, wedding in 1950 or 1951 in Paddington, London; mum would have been 18 or 19 at the time. Mum is on the far left in the plaid dress; next to Aunty Betty, (her confidante); behind Mum is Aunty Mary and next to her, Aunty Ita.

Much of what Julian puts in the song above 'The Ballad of Kathy Flynn' is true but not all. We don't know how, when and where mum and Julian's dad met. We don't know if it was a one night stand or a relationship. We think the asking to marry bit is right because it's stated in the documentation Julian gathered together in his search for mum. I think it highly possible that getting married would have entailed mum moving to India and that she probably didn't want to leave England - but we'll never know.

Julian went to drama school aged 16 and has spent the rest of his life performing, singing, playing and composing. You can see his bio here. It's very strange to think that when I was a student nurse in the early 1970s I used to watch 'Rainbow' - a children's programme on at midday - in the nurses lounge whilst eating my lunch. I must have seen Julian on TV dozens of times but never knew he was my brother!

By 2005, Julian's adoptive parents had died. Julian knew a lot about his birth mother and her subsequent family, but he couldn't out find where she lived. One evening, after a gig two fans came back stage to see him; he found out they ran a business tracing adopted children's birth parents and or families. Within two weeks they had found mum living in Kettering; and as the song says a phone call was made and mum wrote Julian a letter, but didn't want to meet.

I've read the letter she sent Julian and it is a beautiful letter. But, I still find it really difficult to understand (although I do, in many ways) why she didn't want to meet him. By 2005, mum knew she had COPD and that it would it kill her soon. As her children, we would have been delighted to meet Julian and would have welcomed him with open arms and would never have judged mum's actions. Mum must have known that about us as well as we were all very, very close. I'm just so sorry that they didn't get to meet because mum would have had almost four years left with Julian in her life.

You must be curious to know how Julian did eventually find us and I'm now coming to that part...

Julian discovered mum had died using 'Google' (God bless the internet - it's a marvellous invention but what a horrible way to find out about your mum's death). We had published a small notice of thanks in the local Kettering paper after the funeral in 2009. Julian waited for several years (I can only marvel at his restraint) and one day in 2013 he was on his way to the Derngate theatre in Northampton, with a group he was managing at the time. They knew his story and pointed out that Northampton was only 14 miles away from Kettering and as he knew my brother Mark still lived in the same house he and mum had moved to in 1999; he should, at least, drop a card through the door. So, he did!

When I rang him that morning in February 2013 we spoke for two hours! We arranged for Julian to come to Bedford the following weekend and we would all go out for a meal and get to know each other. So, we did!

4th March, 2013

 At my house looking at Julian's paperwork. Seated L to R:  Brother Julian, me, brother Mark and standing, brother Tony. Someone's cracked open the beers!
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After the meal we went to a local wine bar and had a few more beers and bottles of wine...that's my OH, Wesley on the far left.
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Time to go home, lads!
It has been a wonderful experience meeting our 'new' brother. I have to admire his magnanimity and his generosity of spirit; he holds no hard feelings about his circumstances. He is not bitter that my mum wouldn't meet him. (I think I would have been, had it been me given up for adoption). We share a mother and although Julian was raised in the Home Counties in a nice middle class home and we were raised in the inner city, children of poor, working class immigrants, we have nothing but love and affection for each other.

We meet as often we can - Julian is always busy (thankfully, in his line of work). The one nice thing we were able to do for Julian was ask him to help us scatter mum's ashes (her ashes had been living in the sitting room for four years) later that same year; 2013. We videoed the ceremony - it was just laughter and jokes all the way.

RIP Mum - I'm sorry you had to live in such unenlightened times but your four children are united in their love for you.

          How I found my brother - Part 1        

I said I would tell you about how we found our brother and here it is - true to my word. How my brother found us (Part 2) will follow soon.

One Friday evening in February 2013, my OH and I were on our way to Kettering to meet up with my brothers. We were stopping at the eldest brother's to pick him up and then go on to the the youngest brother's for a drink and a catch up. My mum and eldest brother had moved to Kettering from London in 1999, and my youngest brother moved to Kettering in 2006. My mum died in 2009 and my dad died, aged only 47, in 1980.

When we got to the eldest brother's house he told me that someone had come to the door earlier in the day; spoken to him and had left him a card. He said the person - a man - said that he used to work with my mum. This immediately rang alarm bells because I knew my mum had for most of her working life, worked predominantly with women.

When I read the card (I still have it), I literally went weak at the knees and had to sit down, but I knew at once that what it said was inescapably true. On 13th February, 1953; thirteen months before I was born in March 1954, and before my mum married my dad; my mum gave birth to a baby boy whom she called 'Julian Jerome Flynn' - (her maiden name was Flynn). She gave birth to Julian in St. Pelagia's Home for Penitent Girls (I kid you not) which was  in Highgate, North London. It's since been demolished and is now a gated development.

All three of us were very close to our mum. We all loved her deeply. She was our rock, we knew she loved us unconditionally and she was always there for us. She was great fun to be with; we loved her company and spending time with her. Yet, none of us knew about this other brother. On that night I could only feel shock at the not knowing as we set off to the younger brother's house.
Image result for St Pelagias Home for Penitent Girls image
 St. Pelagia's Home

St Pelagia's Home
St Joseph's Maternity Home
34 Highgate West Hill, N6 6NJ
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1889 - 1972

St Pelagia's Home for Destitute Girls at No. 25 Bickerton Road in Upper Holloway was founded in 1889 by the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters Servants of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.It provided  accommodation for unmarried mothers and their first-born babies, who were allowed to enter the Home when the child was a fortnight old.
The girls were admitted free of charge on condition that they contributed to the earning power of the Home by working in its laundry.
The Home later occupied the neighouring house at No. 27 Bickerton Road.

In 1934 it moved to West Hill Place, a large house on Highgate West Hill, where it re-opened in 1936 after the Convent of Sacred Hearts had been built adjoining the original mansion.

In March 1948 Mayfield, an adjoining 2-storey Victorian house, was bought and equipped as an antenatal and maternity home.  It had 18 beds and was named St Joseph's Maternity Home.

The Labour Ward was on the first floor, while the ground floor contained 6 antenatal beds, and 12 postnatal beds in 3- or 5-bedded wards, with 12 cots for the babies.  An isolation room was added later.

The patients, who stayed for an average of 12 weeks,  were cared for by three nurses.

The LCC paid a guinea (21 shillings - £1.05) a weeks to the Home for expectant mothers and 25 shillings (£1.25) for mothers and babies (this was later increased to £2 10s (£2.50) a week).

In 1954 the Homes had 70 beds for mothers and their babies.  Both properties had extensive gardens of 2 acres, but the buildings were in much need of repair, with damaged ceilings in St Joseph's and a leaking flat roof.

The Homes closed in 1972.

Present status (February 2009)
The Homes and the convent were demolished in 1970.  Their site now contains Hill Court and the West Hill Park estate.

Source: Google (for both photos)

This is an article about St. Pelagia's from the Telegraph.

It is certainly worth reading although I don't believe my mum was forced to give Julian up by the nuns, but it would have been extremely difficult to have kept him. One, it would have got back to her parents in Ireland and the shame of having an unmarried daughter with a child could have led to ostracism by their community. Secondly,  in England there wasn't much in the way of good affordable childcare in the 1950s and mum would have to have worked to support herself and her child. There was a lot of stigma and shame attached to being an unmarried mother at that time.

When we got to the youngest brother's house I told him get himself a glass of wine and sit down as we had some news for him! We spent the rest of the night on the computer trying to find out more information. The one thing we did know was that our dad wasn't Julian's dad. 

I rang Ireland and spoke to two of our surviving aunts - my mother's sister's - they were totally unaware of Julian. One of the aunt's told me they had only been made aware of my existence (and my mum's marriage) when my mum turned up in Ireland with me aged 11 months! I was left  with my grandparent's and my aunt's, who were only young teenagers at the time, for about 3 months whilst she returned to England and work - of which more later.

Our searches on the computer kept taking us to an agent who represented Brian May (of Queen) and eventually brought us to a picture of someone called 'Julian Littman. This person looked exactly like one of our first cousins; the eldest son of my mum's older and closest sister, Aunty Betty.  Unfortunately, this aunt had died in the late 1980s.

The card that had been left had telephone contact numbers on it and we agreed that in the morning I would call the numbers. I didn't sleep a wink that night and got up really early to search on my own computer for any information. This is what I found:

Hello to everyone and I hope you are all keeping warm! February seems to be flying by; we're almost half way through. January dragged.

I went out on Sunday morning to recce Wednesday's walk. It was cold, damp and very foggy. After about three miles I realised that I couldn't see any landmarks and that the fog was getting thicker; I had to turn back. I walked 6.8 miles and was glad to get home. It stayed cloudy, cold and foggy all day.

This is what I changed into when I got back. Everything is charity shopped. The animal print top is a 50 p rail bargain. I'm still looking for the perfect animal print shirt with long sleeves...

I woke up on Monday with the lurgy.  Middle grandson had it last week and he'd given it to me. I have had a drippy nose, cough, aches and pains all week; I felt yucky but I went in to the Red Cross on Monday. I'm still sorting and pricing clothes; as I'm waiting for a PIN number to arrive in the post that I need to work the till. I've been allocated a special area in the shop for attention and it's the jewellery. Hooray!  I enjoy untangling necklaces and sorting out the wheat from the chaff...

On my way home from the Red Cross, I passed the Salvation Army charity shop and on the 50 p rail outside spotted the grey checked shirt below. It was washed and ironed and I wore it on Tuesday.

I went to the Guildhouse on Tuesday morning. More sorting and pricing of clothes and I did an hour's ironing! I don't think I've ironed for so long since my children were small and I used to do the Sunday evening marathon iron of everybody's clothes for the week...I bought an emerald green cardigan in the sale there for £1.25, but it's a little bit too big. I really wanted an emerald green cardigan so I might try and wash it on a hotter than usual wash and even tumble dry it and see if it shrinks a bit

Everything charity shopped except the boots which were donated by my daughter (DDB).
Red jeans and grey knitted top both by Oasis. All jewellery charity shopped. I didn't realise how bobbly the top had got....

 I went to recce the walk again on Tuesday afternoon. It was the most glorious day. The sun shone and it was so warm I had to take my jacket off; although it was very muddy, boggy and even waterlogged in places. The air was full of bird song, cheeps, calls and trills and the hum of insects. You could feel Spring in the air.

On Wednesday, I did my walk leader's bit and for the first time decided to use my walking poles which were a birthday present from my daughter last year. I found the poles quite easy to use and they do work your upper arms and shoulders. I'm still aching days later - or is that the lurgy? 

 There were 22 of us walkers in total and all was going well. Then one of my poles decided to extend itself and I fell flat on my face! My pride was hurt but I was fine. I had mud on my scarf, mud on my jacket and mud on my trousers. My hands were covered in thick mud where I had put them out to break my fall. It's a good job I hadn't put my wrists through the loops on the poles otherwise I may have fallen more awkwardly and hurt myself. Luckily, one of the walker's had wet wipes (a woman of course - I just couldn't see any of our male walkers carrying wet wipes with them) and I was able to get most of the mud off my hands. As for the other stuff it was all put in the machine when I got home and washed.

Everyone said they enjoyed the walk; one person said they wanted to re-walk it another day which I take as a compliment. We were lucky with the weather as the sun came out. Since last Sunday, I've walked more than 20 miles and I hope to do another 7 mile walk next Sunday if the weather holds.

This is what I wore on Wednesday.
The necklace was recently bought in a Devon Age UK charity shop for £2.00. The earrings were bought from Debenhams about eight years ago when they had a 'two for a fiver' offer on their costume jewellery.

The shirt is by Punt Roma; the jeans are Laura Ashley - both charity shopped and the cardigan was a Christmas 2015 present from OH. Bangles charity shopped.

Boots are DDB.

On Thursday I went to spend the day with my friend Natalie in Cambridge. We had planned to look around the charity shops and go somewhere for a meal. Natalie is extremely talented at up cycling furniture and she has been up cycling my bureau which I left with her the last time I visited. When I got to her house this time it was finished!

Isn't it lovely? She had also up cycled a very small table in the same colour and pattern which I'll put my printer on - and she recovered an upright chair in similar patterned material. My study is now a haven for me to read, crochet, listen to the radio and write my blog. I just need a very small armchair to complete it... 

Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter. The jacket is by Boden and was charity shopped in the Red Cross a few months back for £1.99. I like the pleated collar. The tunic is by Fat Face and was from the Red Cross for £1.99. For warmth,  I layered a camisole from  Lidl underneath. The jeans are from Next but can't remember which charity shop.

All jewellery charity shopped.

It was bitterly cold in Cambridge.
I bought three green Virago books in the RSPCA bookshop; a picture for the spare bedroom; some glasses - we keep breaking glasses at the moment -  a pair of earrings, a necklace and a pair of ear phones for grandson all in the Salvation Army.  Note, I didn't buy any clothes! 
Natalie picked up a three cornered children's chair and a side table on wheels; both to be up cycled.

On Saturday, OH and I went rummaging in Northampton.  OH hadn't been rummaging for a while and was missing it; so ever obliging as I am, I went with him... We hadn't been to Northampton for more than a year. The only things I really wanted were: 1) A brown animal print shirt. 2) Another yellow cardigan - my present one is not very warm.

Saturday was a horrible day. Grey, cold and very misty/foggy. Northampton was relatively quiet as a result of the weather. We visited 10 charity shops in total and I found nothing on my list.

Everything charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas present from my daughter in 2016. Knitted tunic from Esmara (Lidl), M&S jeans, top; Dorothy Perkins.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I bought some clothes (oh dear!); a pair of Next jeans from the £1.00 rail in the Sue Ryder shop -  and a lovely tunic which I paid £6.00 in Age UK for; as I really liked it. I also bought a necklace (£1.99) in the Heart Foundation shop and two pairs of earrings at £1.00 each in Age UK. It will be back to no rummaging next week as I'm trying to go only once a month now. It won't be too long before I go to Ireland again... I've had a blip this month because of going to Cambridge as well as Northampton, but in March, probably around my birthday I'll have another rummage in a different town. You never know I might even get taken away for the weekend somewhere!

I believe the weather will be getting milder in the week to come so let's hope it does and that we see even more signs of Spring. I'm also hoping that the lurgy will have gone and I'll be back to my normal self - whatever that is!

          I've been wearing prints all week        
Mondays are always busy for me. Often the youngest grandson stays on Sunday night and I have to get him ready, breakfast and then do the school run. Then it's back to get ready and off to the Red Cross from 9.30 to 1pm. I usually have a few things to pick up in town when I've finished there then I go home and have some lunch and do some chores. Before I know it, it's time to pick the children up from school. I didn't get to sit down on Monday until 5 pm!

All jewellery charity shopped except watch, Christmas present 2016 and earrings which are from Sainsburys.

This is the coral cardigan I bought from the Red Cross last week for £1.99. It's from Monsoon.

Jeans, M&S; Top, George. All bought at the Red Cross. Boots; Christmas present 2015 or 2014.

Tuesday was foodbank in the morning. I worked so hard I was actually sweating - although I did have a jumper, a thick cardigan and gloves on! After the foodbank I spent much of the afternoon sorting out kitchen stuff for eldest grandson who has moved to a new place in London. I went into town to look for a few extra bits for him and managed to get them in Poundland and in a couple of charity shops. I was very good and bought nothing in the way of clothes for me! I now have three bags of kitchen stuff waiting to be collected...

I have finished 'A Harp in Lowndes Square' by Rachel Ferguson. It was quite a strange novel but really enjoyable; I do like this author and have another two books of hers waiting to be read; one of which is a Persephone book. I've only managed three books this month as I've been crocheting. If I want to achieve more books read this year than last I need to get on with it. I should save the crocheting for when I'm watching TV.

I've been wearing animal prints quite a lot this week. In the picture above which was Wednesday's outfit I'm wearing an M&S blue animal print cardigan over black cords and a denim shirt. All charity shopped. I'm all crumpled because these photos were taken just before bed.

The boots are also charity shopped.

All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were bought in Devon last weekend for a £1.00.

I went walking on Wednesday as well as walking around town doing errands like renewing my parking permit. I walked about 7 miles in total. I'm also walking on Friday  - as bus walk from Milton Ernest back to Bedford. I just hope it doesn't rain!

This coat is vintage - I think. There is no label; not even a care label. It is so reminiscent of coats from the 1960s; they sometimes also had a detachable fur collar and often the buttons were huge. My mum had one. I bought this in Devon at the weekend for £3.00.

It has  a very musty smell unfortunately which I'm trying to eradicate. I had it hanging on the line all day and I sprayed it with what I thought was Febreze - only it wasn't. It was Febreze air freshener! The next thing to try is to steam it with my hand held steamer.

On Thursday I took the youngest grandson for his UV treatment at the hospital. He suffers from eczema and the treatment is really helping his skin. I took him to school and then went and did the food shopping. I didn't need to go Sainsbury's this week just Lidl. I used to do my main shop at Sainsbury's and top up at Lidl. Over the years (since 2002) the balance has now shifted, so I do the bulk of the shopping at Lidl and top up with certain things at Sainsbury's.

I'm wearing a dress from New Look and an animal print shirt from Per Una at M&S. Both charity shopped in Devon at the weekend. Boots from Sainsbury's; Christmas 2017 present from OH.

All the jewellery is charity shopped. I bought this necklace in Oxfam in Newport Pagnell early in 2016.

 I did a bus walk on Friday with the Ramblers and walked 7 miles. It is so much more enjoyable walking across fields and through woods and by rivers rather than just road and street walking which is what I've been doing lately. It was muddy but that's only to be expected with all the rain we've had.  I saw a buzzard showing off  its lovely plumage and saw and heard skylarks. I always associate skylarks with Spring but they're here all year  round, I think.

 More animal print today; a tunic from M&S; gilet from  Mc and Co;  both charity shopped. Leggings M&S retail and OTK boots bought on line.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I have been so good this week. I've bought no clothes at all and have put the following in the charity shop bag; 3 cardigans, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of trousers and 2 tunics. I've sorted out one of my coat/jackets to take to Ireland at Easter as I have a replacement one now.

I also had a brainwave this week, so I'll share it with you although you may have been doing it already! I ruin a lot of my tights as my big toes frequently poke holes in the foot (this is despite me cutting my toenails regularly!) There is nothing as uncomfortable as tights with holes in the feet. As I tossed yet another pair of tights in the bin this week, I suddenly thought why not cut the feet off and add socks to cover the missing feet? It works but only if you're wearing boots!

We went to see my son  on Saturday. It's his 37th birthday on Monday. We all gave him money and a few little extras from me.

Everything is charity shopped except the OTK boots - online retail. The dress was BNWT and came out of the 49p box at the RSPCA in Sandy earlier this year. They were obviously trying to get rid of their winter dresses. Yes, I'm wearing the mustard jacket again - it goes with lots of my clothes; it's by Country Casuals and was 1.99 at the Red Cross.

Earrings are old and from Sainsburys about 8 years ago - tiered necklace 50p from Red Cross charity shop. Bangles, ring and brooch all charity shopped.

I've got tomorrow and next Tuesday afternoon to recce my walk for the Ramblers on Wednesday. I just hope the rain keeps off. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

          Away for the weekend        

If Lidl has these flowers (Alstromerias) in, I always buy them. This double bunch was bought on 22nd December and lasted for four weeks!

Monday's OOTD
This is what I wore at the Red Cross where I volunteer.

All jewellery charity shopped except watch.

Everything charity shopped except boots - bought on line.

Red jeans; Laura Ashley, cardigan by Faithful and True (!); spotted top by Anthology, bought for 49p in Barnardos last week.

The contrast in the amount of goods donated to the Red Cross and Save the Children (my previous charity shop) is huge! At Save the Children we often had to keep old stock out as there wasn't much to replace it with. At the Red Cross, when I got in on Monday, there were at least 8 black bin bags of donation to be sorted and tagged; by the time I left three and a half hours later there were a further six bags donated!

Did I buy anything? Of course! I bought a coral coloured cardigan from Monsoon (it's a colour I don't have) for £1.99;  a tunic for £1.99; a scarf with pearls on it for £1.50 - how could I resist a scarf that has pearls sewn into it? Two fine multi chain necklaces for 50p each and a brooch for 99p. With staff discount it came to just under six pounds!

Tuesday's OOTD

I do like this dress. It's colourful and warm, but it's an example of something not suiting me.The shape of the dress is not right for me. It just hangs from my boobs and is sack like; I look like a box on legs! This dress will be consigned to the charity shop bag. It was £1.99 from the Red Cross bought in winter 2015. Goodbye dress...

Everything is charity shopped except the boots from Sainsbury's and the leggings, also Sainsbury's. The jacket is a 1980s Geiger jacket.

All jewellery charity shopped except watch.

This is a really good example of learning what suits (or in this case) - what doesn't; by seeing a photo of me wearing the garment.

Tuesday was my first proper volunteering day at the Guildhouse. We spent the time sorting out stuff for a forthcoming sale and I even did some ironing! I hate ironing but they don't have a steamer; only a rather spiffy steam iron...

This was Wednesday's outfit. I didn't really go anywhere except to run some errands in town. I didn't even go for a walk; I can't even remember why!

I really like this jacket and keep on wearing it. Everything is charity shopped even the boots.

On Thursday I set off to drive to Devon to visit my friend of fifty odd years. She retired in December and we had a lovely time catching up,  walking, going out for meals and meeting up with her daughter and grandchildren. We also had a marathon charity shopping spree! We visited the charity shops in Tiverton on Friday and on Saturday visited the charity shops in Exmouth. We visited 20 in total!

This was taken outside the almshouses in Tiverton.
The coat was bought in the La Redoute sale a few weeks back. Scarf, jewellery and jeans charity shopped. Boots, Christmas 2016 present from daughter.

The almshouses date from the 14th century. They were built by John Greenway 1460 - 1529.

This chap was over the door of the almshouses.

This charity shop marathon is my last until I get to Ireland in April.
What did I buy? Another coat; vintage I think but no labels at all, £3.00. An animal print shirt M & S; £2.00 (I've been wanting one of these for ages). A blue pinafore type dress £2.25; a red summer skirt £1.00; another scarf, red this time; £1.00. A set of stacking mugs in a container from M&S; £2.50 and lots of jewellery - two pairs of earrings; 4 bangles, two of which are purple and what I've been after for a while; a brooch, a yellow ring and pretty yellow necklace. And finally more padded hangers x 3 and two books!

This was my outfit on Sunday. I got back from Devon on Sunday afternoon and it rained all the way...

Everything charity shopped; except the boots Christmas present 2015.

Wrap green cord trouser; Red Cross £1.00. John Rocha top and M & S shirt. Necklace £1.00;.
 Salvation Army.

That was my week - how was yours?

          Not a New Year's Resolution        

I have been getting on really well with my crochet blanket in browns, creams and beiges. I can get on with it if I'm watching TV and it will encourage me to watch more DVDs as I can crochet and watch a screen at the same time, but I can't crochet and read at the same time! I have DVDs I got for Christmas presents years ago that are still in their wrappers so I'm definitely going to make sure they get watched in 2017. It's not a New Year resolution though....

It was cold on Saturday but at least it was bright and sunny. I walked to Aldi and back again and into to town to pick up a parcel and walked 6.5 miles in total. If I manage to walk again on Sunday I'll have completed my thrice weekly walking plan for the first time this year. I want to try and do this this every week. It's not a New Year's resolution though just a plan I want to carry out...

On my walk I visited the Beds Garden Carers charity shop where they have a small clothing area upstairs. I bought 3 tops for 50p each; one is a white fitted shirt, another a brown and cream top - I lack brown tops  -and the last item was by Yasmin Le Bon and is a beautiful, white, embroidered sleeveless tunic. It's for my cousin Doirin in Ireland as I think she'll like it.

I bought this top the first time I ever visited the Bedford Guildhouse charity shop which was last year sometime; but I'd never got round to wearing it. It's by John Rocha and I liked the turquoise and yellow floral print. Jeans also charity shopped, as are the necklace and bangles. The earrings I bought in Topshop in 2002 and the watch was a 2012 Christmas present from daughter.

Boots from Lidl

Yellow cardigan online retail; 2015 Christmas present from OH.

Because this is a blog about (my) real life here's how I looked on Sunday. Same jeans as Saturday; no make up. T shirt charity shopped in Donegal 50 cents; cardigan M&S charity shopped; all jewellery charity shopped.

I suppose the New Year is a time for reflection on the old year gone out and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you about what I've learned since I started blogging. Please feel free to skip this part if you want...

Thoughts on Blogging in no particular order....

The blogging world of style/fashion/older style and fashion seems to be filled with incredibly kind, supportive and lovely bloggers most of whom have a terrific sense of humour.

I had no idea how time consuming blogging would be. Not only do you write and edit the blog, but there's the taking of photographs;  then the uploading of same. Then there's all those wonderful blogs to read and comment on. I doubt I could do this if I worked, so thank goodness I'm retired!

People like it when you respond to their comments on your blog.

Taking photographs wearing different outfits has taught me so much about what suits me; what works and what doesn't; what flatters and what doesn't. Sometimes I have a mental image of what an outfit will look like on - and it may look ok in the mirror - but a more objective perspective can be gained by looking at a photograph of me wearing it.

I've learned that my style and taste in clothes has changed as I've get older.  For example, I've learned to love orange and yellow; avoid mid calf length skirts/dresses and the importance of accessories.

 I've improved my layering skills and learned to try new things; OTK boots for example.

I spend too much money in the charity shops on clothes.

It's better to concentrate on quality rather quantity when charity shopping.

Invest in padded hangers. I buy them whenever I see them in charity shops at reasonable prices.

As I have  too many  a lot of clothes I've had to organise them so I can see what I have and therefore wear. I organise my clothes by type; blouses/shirts/tops together for example, then by colour. Occasionally, I find something I have no memory of buying and it's been in the wardrobe for ages hidden between things.

I button at least one button on shirts/blouses when I hang them up to prevent its fellow getting tangled up inside. This is particularly relevant as I have too much a lot  on my rails.

It doesn't matter how much storage space I have I will find clothes to fill it.

I usually plan next day's outfit just before I go to bed; although occasionally inspiration strikes sooner - see below. I hang everything up ready for the morning and sometimes I even get the ironing of the outfit done the same evening!

Sometimes an idea for an outfit pops into my mind, and as I can't rely on my memory I have now started to write them down. So far, I've managed to write down 9 outfit ideas since Saturday 14th January 2017; when I first thought to do this. This will be so useful on those occasions when I think "what the heck can I wear today"?

This is what I wore to the Red Cross shop on Monday. Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were bought with Christmas vouchers from Debenhams about three Christmases  ago.

Skirt; £1.00 rail Barnardo's Great Denham; scarf and lace top charity shopped; green cardigan by Benetton; charity shopped years ago.

Beads, bangles and watch; charity shopped. Earrings, Bedford market.

You may remember that I was trying to keep track of my spending in the charity shops and did it for the month of November. What I learned from this was that I spend far too much and I really want to cut down.

 I'm going to spend a weekend in Devon with my friend Hilary at the end of January and at Easter I'll be going to Ireland, so I have an incentive to save as much as I can for these two trips. My plan, therefore, is to a) spend only in the Red Cross charity shop or only on the £1.00 rails in any other charity shop; b) don't visit any charity shops on my free afternoons or for a day out - at least not till I get to Devon!

So today I put my plan into action (note it's not a New Year resolution). I bought a pair of green cords at the Red Cross shop for £1.00. I have a green pair already, but they're a little too short in the leg and have a miniscule hem so I can't let them down. It will be one pair of trousers in and one pair out. At the 3:16 shop which I pass on my way home I bought; a blue and white striped M &S shirt and an Old Navy blue and white pleated skirt for the summer. Both were a £1.00 each.

On Tuesday I was at the foodbank and went to town in the afternoon. On Wednesday, I walked with the group and we walked 6.5 miles from the village of Clophill to Haynes and back. After the walk we went for a meal to celebrate 20 years of Wednesday walking with the Ivel Valley Walkers. I've been walking for almost three years with this group.

This is what I changed into in the car after the walk. The top from New Look was one of the 50p tops I bought on Saturday in the Bedford Garden Carer's charity shop.

Long sleeved brown top F & F, charity shopped. Leggings; M & S, retail; boots Sainsbury's, retail.

All jewellery charity shopped.

On my way back from the meal I drove through Ampthill so I stopped off and had a look in Barnardo's. I was so proud of myself; I only spent £1.49 and bought a red pair of capri pants for the summer and a blue spotted top.

Photos by middle grandson
On Thursday I went out for lunch with my friend, Ann. We had a good catch up. It will be a year this Thursday since her husband had a stroke and she has been caring for him ever since. It was good for her to have a break from the house and usual routine.

Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped. Boots, leggings, tunic (M&S) and short sleeved cardigan.

All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsburys and watch bought with Christmas money from New Look.

Friday was busy. I took the children to school and the youngest grandson had an assembly which I stayed for. When that was over I went for a 6.5 mile walk. The weather was great; cold 2.5 degrees but very sunny and bright. When I came back I changed then went and did the food shopping (booooring). Picked up children from school then took youngest grandson and his dad home after 5. Then there was dinner to make and finally - chill time!

A selfie taken after the assembly - specially requested by grandson!

This is Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except boots from Lidl.

Knitted dress; Dorothy Perkins; probably the Red Cross; shirt unknown but charity shopped in the Red Cross. Wine coloured tights charity shopped somewhere...

All jewellery charity shopped except watch which was bought in New Look with Christmas money.

I went to see my son on Saturday and on Sunday I'm  hoping to go for a walk and recce my walk for the Ramblers.

Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots - on line retail and the watch, New Look and the necklace which was a Christmas present from one of my brothers about five years ago.

Skirt, M&S; top by Cavita bought in the Mercy in Action Charity shop in Olney last week. Jacket by Country Casuals and bought in the Red Cross for £1.99. Scarf; charity shopped.

Earrings and bangle charity shopped.

          A week of maxis...        

We had a lovely Christmas. Why wouldn't we? Lots of nice food, drink and presents, but most of all family.
We always have fun at Christmas especially when we play charades after dinner. This year even the youngest grandson joined in - and loved playing it - he wasn't half bad either!

My daughter made a delicious salmon in pastry dish. She usually makes us a Beef Wellington but wanted to do something different this year. We also had turkey and all the trimmings. It was all very good.

Here we all are mid dinner. Some of us have finished; I've only just sat down. Just can't get everything on the table at the same time... OH is missing because he's putting his dinner in the microwave; he likes everything at nuclear temperature! Daughter is taking the photo. All three grandsons and two of my three brothers. My third brother in London was having a bachelor's 'open house' Christmas!

I got such lovely presents. A new Paperwhite kindle, new ankle boots, perfume and a Persephone book from my daughter. New long black boots; two 'Furrowed Middlebrow' books and 2 CDs from OH. Eldest grandson bought me another Persephone book and my brothers gave me money. Didn't I do well?

I drank Sherry, Prosecco, Canadian Club and Ginger Ale and sampled an Amaretto Sour ; courtesy of eldest grandson who mixes a mean cocktail - very moreish...

This is what I wore on Christmas Day. Dress from the Hospice shop in Kempston; waistcoat from Zara also charity shopped. Boots; Christmas present from OH.

All jewellery charity shopped.

Day 1 - Maxi Challenge

This is the skirt I bought in Barnardo's, Great Denham for £1.00.

Cardigan and boots charity shopped.

Green top Primarni; headscarf present from my friend in Cambridge.

All jewellery charity shopped.

By Tuesday I was going stir crazy. I hadn't been out of the house on Christmas Day or Boxing Day; only to drop middle grandson home so I took youngest grandson to Sainsbury's. One of the Great Uncles had given the youngest grandsons a bag of coins; when we changed it up in the coin machine it gave them £15.00 each to spend! Another Christmas present and Christmas is already over. Lucky kids!

Day 2 - Maxi Challenge

 I tried wearing a belt with this maxi.

Everything is charity shopped except the boots which are light brown with metal bits round the toe; a Christmas present from my daughter this year. The skirt is by Country Casuals; t shirt M&S 50p in a Donegal charity shop;  cable pattern cardigan; Red Cross shop probably, but really can't remember. Belt charity shopped about 10 years ago.

Necklace charity shopped in the Oxfam shop; Bedford. The earrings are 99p from e bay.

Day 3 - Maxi Challenge

On Wednesday OH and I went rummaging. I hoped the charity shops would all be open but I guessed some wouldn't reopen until after the New Year.  We went to Hitchin, Hertfordshire, a market town, and also to Ampthill; a small market town in Bedfordshire.

My goodness wasn't it cold! I woke up to frost everywhere and the water in the bird's' bowl had frozen. I feed the birds everyday. I'm even more vigilant during the cold weather months and always leave out drinking water. I really should have worn trousers! The temperature was -05 degrees when we set off for a rummage around the charity shops. It warmed up to 2 degrees and then dropped again by the time we got home. Out of seven charity shops in Hitchin only two were closed.

It's hard to put outerwear over maxi skirts. I'd planned to wear my brown leather jacket but it was too cold. I wish I still  had my brown corduroy maxi coat that I bought in 1970 from Bus Stop. It would have been perfect to wear over this skirt!

Jacket, River Island from Red Cross, £1.99; scarf, Save the Children; £1.00, beret; can't remember where.

I've had this navy jersey type M&S skirt for about 9 or 10 years. I used to have a bottle green one, too, but ruined it by getting it caught in the wheel of my bike when I used to ride my bike to work. I also have a similar black skirt, but from BHS. All were charity shopped.

Top by Canda - an old C & A brand; charity shopped in Save the Children, recently. Wool jacket by Gilbert; from Barnardo's, Great Denham. Boots - DDB (daughter donated boots).

All jewellery charity shopped.

About two weeks ago I bought yet another strand of orange beads for £1.00;  now I like to wear the three strands together!

In Hitchin, I bought 4 pairs of earrings for £3.50 in the Hospice shop and Cancer Research; three balls of wool at 50p each; also in the Hospice shop and an animal print top for £1.50 and a knitted angel boiled egg cosy for 30p - everyone needs a boiled egg cosy, don't you know!  In Age UK, I bought a ring for £1.99. In an antique/curio shop I bought some black beads for £1.50.  Total  spend in Hitchin, £10.29 . In Ampthill; the sale was still on at Barnardo's. In fact, they had reduced quite a lot of the stuff to 49p! I bought two double sized duvet sets with matching pillowcases, each for 49p. One set was brand new - it still had the stiffening product in it that they use in new bed linen. I also bought a pair of orange and black loose trousers for 49p; a pale grey Next top for 99p; a black Next jacket - never worn, 49p; a black and white striped blouse for 99p and a pair of bootcut jeans for 49p. Total spend here £4.45. Then I spent another £1.50 in the RSPCA on two books and a new make up bag. Total day's spend £16.24.

Go on - you know you want one!

Day 4 - Maxi Challenge

On Thursday I finally got out for a walk and did 6.3 miles. I hadn't walked for two weeks and was feeling both lazy and guilty. Once I started walking I was fine and realised how much I'd missed my regular walks. On Friday, there is a nine mile bus walk; I'm up for it but it is an earlyish start, and one of the things I enjoy about the holidays is there is no need to get up early. I'll just have to see how I feel on Friday morning...

This black Next corduroy skirt is about 5 or 6 years old and was charity shopped. The striped blouse by Peepers was bought in Wednesday's rummage at Barnardo's (99p) as was the light grey Next top (99p). Boots, old; Christmas present from my daughter. Middle grandson is on the sofa with his trusty laptop - hence the trailing flex.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I did the usual food shopping on Thursday and the bargain of the day was a £4.00 box of Christmas crackers for 40p in Sainsbury's! They're going up  in the loft ready for next year. Sainsbury's also had lots of packs of Christmas gift tags for 10p a packet, but we still have two large unopened packs of gift tags bought in the sales last year. I also bought  a reduced tin of shortbread biscuits (£1.50) and mince pies (40p) per packet.

Day 5 - Maxi challenge

Friday was such a miserable, cold and foggy day. I didn't go walking but am determined to go on Saturday afternoon as there is a 6.5 mile walk in Houghton Conquest which is about 6 miles outside of Bedford.

What I did do was to go to Bedford and spend my Christmas money. I'd already spent some of it on a fur coat on line. It's not my perfect coat; I am still looking for that one, but I needed a warm short coat. I have a Parka coat but that is a bit too casual sometimes. In Bedford I bought some perfume and soap in TK Maxx - I do love scented soap and prefer to use soap rather than shower gel. I also bought myself a new watch from New Look. Christmas money spent; I returned home to make soup and read one of my Christmas books.

In today's maxi and long cape I felt like a Victorian governess! The pure wool cape is from Ist Avenue bought for £1.99 in the Red Cross shop. Leather gloves charity shopped.

Maxi skirt; part of a cardigan suit charity shopped in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland. I've worn the matching cardigan separately, last seen here. Shirt and cardigan both from Red Cross shop. Boots, Christmas present from OH this year.

All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were bought on Wednesday in Hitchin in the Cancer Research shop.

I'm glad the week of maxi's is finished; I can't wait to wear a pair of trousers.
So far with these challenges, I have worn a week each of; skirts, cardigans, shirts, dresses, trousers and maxis. I don't have enough maxi dresses to do a week of those so I think I might go for a week of stripes, spots and checks for next week. In fact, I've edited this to say that I'll do a week of patterns next week and the stripes, spots and checks for the week after.

 The challenges keep me thinking of different outfits to create and helps give little worn items a wear. That in turn, helps me assess whether or not, I want to keep it and if I don't means more space in my wardrobe. I have also got rid of several clothing items this week so I'm not feeling too guilty about those I've purchased.

What are you all doing for New Year's Eve? I've got both grandsons New Year's Eve so we'll see the New Year in with them. I'll see you all in 2017!

I'll leave you with a look at all my lovely Christmas book presents...

          It's Spud Time        

The United Nations wants more people to appreciate the potato's potential to fight world hunger

Food for Thought

As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food crop, trailing only corn, wheat, and rice.

For 8,000 years, the humble potato has been a staple in the South American Andes, its homeland. Spanish adventurers encountered the New World crop roughly 500 years ago and brought various types back to Europe. Today, potatoes are cultivated not only throughout the Americas, but also from China's uplands to India's subtropical lowlands—even on Ukraine's arid steppes.

A testament to the potato's Western roots, production of this crop in the States and southward leads the world. Fully 40 percent of the 2006 potato harvest came from North America, with Latin American farmers contributing another 16 percent.

However, appreciation for this nutritious starch within developing countries outside of the Americas—especially in Asia—has been growing steadily, with production of the crop in those regions climbing some 5 percent annually. Indeed, 2005 marked the first time in recent history that production of potatoes in the developing world exceeded that in developed nations.

Although most people think of potatoes as a commodity, in fact, more potatoes are processed to make fast foods, snacks, and convenience items than are sold fresh in the market place. Today, China is the leading producer of spuds, followed by the Russian states and India. International trade in potatoes—worth $6 billion annually—has also been growing within developing nations.

You might then ask why, with all of this pre-existing global interest in potatoes, the UN feels compelled to devote a year of workshops, research contests, and other focused attention on this one particular food. And the reason, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization argues, is that much of the spud's potential to feed the poor remains untapped.

For instance, although Asians eat nearly half of the world's potatoes, per capita consumption even in Asia remains modest—just 25 kilograms per year, or roughly 45 percent of U.S. consumption and just 27 percent of what's typical in Europe.

Even were potatoes to win greater respect for their nutritional attributes and ability to serve as industrial feedstocks, they couldn't necessarily make a big contribution in new regions of the world without significantly more research. The tubers are vulnerable to a host of major diseases—like the one that set off Ireland's 1845 potato famine. Some varieties of potato are especially resistant to particular diseases, but may not grow well in new regions of the world or taste that yummy.

That's where potato scientists come in. They can identify the climate, soil types, day length, and native diseases with which any new potato crop would have to contend. Then they'll cross lines of wild or cultivated spuds to develop ones with traits that will allow them to thrive outside the Americas. The good news, the UN program notes: "The potato has the richest genetic diversity of any cultivated plant." So there's plenty of potential to tailor a new cultivar to meet the needs of farmers in most places on the globe.

But the potato's biggest advantage, according to the International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, is that it yields more food, more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop. Up to 85 percent of the plant is edible, compared to only about 50 percent for cereal grains. Moreover, the Center notes, potatoes "are ideally suited to places where land is limited and labor is abundant—conditions in much of the developing world."

To help get this word out to agricultural agencies in parts of the world not already turned on to spuds, and from them to farmers, the International Potato Center will be sponsoring a March 2008 meeting: Potato Science for the Poor–Challenges for the New Millennium ( Those who attend will have the opportunity to explore the possibility of cooperating to fine tune existing potatoes into higher-yielding varieties.

The International Potato Center's gene bank safeguards the largest biodiversity of potatoes—7,500 different varieties, of which 1,950 are not cultivated. Research on spuds, especially studies aimed at fostering food security and the alleviation of poverty, have become a focus for the center.

With all of this talk of potatoes, are you hungry yet? The UN program has so far identified 172,000 web pages containing recipes for using potatoes. Stay tuned, it says: "We will gather the best of them" and share them on the Year of the Potato website.

If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.


International Year of Potato (IYP) Secretariat

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Room C-776

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla

00153 Rome


International Potato Center

Apartado Postal 1558

Lima 12,

Further Reading

Gorman, J. 2000. Novel sensing system catches the dud spud. Science News 158(Nov. 25):341. Available at [Go to].

C. Graves, Ed. 2001. The Potato, Treasure of the Andes: From Agriculture to Culture. Lima, Peru: International Potato Center (208 pp). Available at [Go to].

Raloff, J. 2005. Food colorings: Pigments make fruits and veggies extra healthful. Science News 167(Jan. 8):27. Available at [Go to].

______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].

______. 2004. Coming soon—Spud lite. Science News Online (June 19). Available at [Go to].

______. 2003. How olives might enhance potatoes—and strawberries. Science News Online (May 24). Available at [Go to].

______. 2002. Acrylamide—From spuds to gingerbread. Science News Online (Dec. 14). Available at [Go to].

______. 1998. Taters for tots provide an edible vaccine. Science News 153(March 7):149. Available at [Go to]

          Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide [Audio]        
Speaker(s): Howard Davies, David Green, John McFall, Sir Steve Robson, Gillian Tett | As international financial markets have become more complex, so has the regulatory system which oversees them. The Basel Committee is just one of a plethora of international bodies and groupings which now set standards for financial activity around the world, in the interests of investor protection and financial stability. These groupings, and their decisions, have a major impact on markets in developed and developing countries, and on competition between financial firms. Yet their workings are shrouded in mystery, and their legitimacy is uncertain. Howard Davies was the first chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the whole of Britain's financial sector. He was a member of the main international regulatory committees for several years, and is now director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). David Green was head of International Policy at the FSA, after 30 years in the Bank of England, and has been particularly closely associated with the development of the European regulatory system. He now advises the Financial Reporting Council. John McFall MP is Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons since 2001. He was re-elected to this post in October, 2005. In 1997 John served as a Government Whip and in July 1998 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. His portfolio included responsibility for the Department of Education, Community Relations, the Training and Employment Agency and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Economic Affairs. Sir Steve Robson is a former senior UK civil servant, who had responsibility for a wide variety of Treasury matters. His early career included the post of private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and secondment to ICFC (now 3i). He was also a second permanent secretary of HM Treasury, where he was managing director of the Finance and Regulation Directorate. He is a non-executive director of JP Morgan Cazenove Holdings, RBS, Xstrata Plc, The Financial Reporting Council Limited and Partnerships UK plc, and a member of the Chairman's Advisory Committee of KPMG.
          Europe Summit Aims to Revive Lost Momentum Toward Unity         

WITH public opinion soured on the merits of European unity, European Community leaders hope to ``relaunch Europe'' with a special summit tomorrow celebrating ratification of the long-awaited Maastricht Treaty.

``It's important to get the public thinking in terms of Europe again,'' says one Belgian Foreign Ministry official.

But the celebration risks being seen as irrelevant by much of the public it targets, as Europeans worry about record-high unemployment, challenges to their infant-to-elder social-welfare system, and instability on the continent's eastern borders.

``In Germany, at least, people are thinking about their job security, while published opinion is wondering about the future course of Russia, and neither one sees how the EC can have a major impact on those concerns,'' says Josef Janning, deputy director of the research group on Europe at the University of Mainz in Germany. ``People are seeing such issues less in European and more in national terms.''

The Maastricht Treaty, an ambitious blueprint for providing the EC with a monetary union and a common foreign and security policy by the latter part of the decade, was supposed to have been ratified and the process of its implementation begun in January 1992. That the treaty was not fully ratified until this month, when the German constitutional court finally approved it, provides a measure of the public doubt about Maastricht's goals.

In the two-year delay, Maastricht was battered by an initial outright rejection by Danish voters in a referendum, plus rough ratification battles in Britain and France. The European currency crises of October 1992 and this past summer mocked the monetary union goal, while the EC's weak and disjointed response to the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina posed deep questions about the feasibility of a common foreign policy. Operation `restore stature'

Tomorrow's summit, held in Brussels, is a German-French initiative to try to restore both Maastricht's and Europe's public stature. But even in France, where regard for the Community runs high, doubts are strong about what this summit can accomplish.

``No one should expect much of anything concrete out of this summit,'' says Phillipe Moreau-Defarges, an EC specialist at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. ``There's too much division among the EC countries for decisions to be made.''

One possible area of action that Mr. Moreau-Defarges cites provides a good example of the Community's current lack of a common vision. The summit could give a new boost to earlier economic ``growth initiatives'' that have had trouble getting off the ground, he says.

Elsewhere in Europe, where public spending is already causing record debts, and where skepticism is strong over the actual impact of large public-works programs, enthusiasm for such proposals is slight.

``The German public is definitely not in favor of this kind of centralized program to rebuild Europe's economic strength,'' Dr. Janning says. ``People in Ireland or Portugal may see Brussels [EC headquarters] as a guarantor or creator of jobs,'' he adds, since those countries receive substantial EC development funds, ``but they certainly don't in Germany.''

Germany and France also had wanted to take up another issue at the summit: Community institutional reforms. The larger countries feel their power is too limited by the generally equal rights of smaller members, and concern is growing that the Community's enlargement to include three or four new small members by 1995 will further tilt the balance and generally render the Community more bureaucratic and plodding. Putting off reform

German proposals for streamlining the EC administration met with staunch resistance from small members, and reform will likely be put on hold until the next EC treaty review in 1996.

To demonstrate that Maastricht is now in force, EC leaders are expected to prepare the next stage of economic and monetary union by launching the European Monetary Institute, ``embryo'' of a future European central bank. The institute's location in Germany is likely to be approved, a move that could open the way for decisions on the placement of several other new EC institutions, including a patent office and environmental agency.

Still, there is a lingering feeling that Maastricht, negotiated in 1990, is a treaty already left behind by European events. ``By spring of next year we may very well have a new imperial Russia to contend with, something never imagined when Maastricht was written,'' Janning says. ``Economies are seen more in national terms. [Community] leaders will have to work hard,'' he adds, ``to demonstrate that Maastricht is relevant in these conditions.''

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          Michael Saenger        

Michael Saenger, associate professor of English, wrote a review of The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, vol. 1, Cheap Print in Britain and Ireland to 1660 that appeared in the most recent issue of Notes and Queries, a publication of Oxford University Press.

          NBC is launching a streaming service for the worst TV imaginable        

If your secret shame is reality TV, and you live in the UK, Ireland or Australia, then things are about to get a whole lot more disgusting with the launch of NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Hayu. You’ll now be able to watch shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Real Housewives as new episodes air in the US, as well as binge-watching more than 3,000 pure, brain-melting past episodes. The platform will work across all major devices and costs £3.99 in the UK, €4.99 in Ireland or AU$5.99 for unlimited access, plus there’s a 30-day free day. Hayu will also have social integration with…

This story continues at The Next Web
          EXCLUSIVE: Jon Bernthal 'Cannot Speak' in Medieval Epic 'Pilgrimage' Co-Starring Tom Holland        
In the new film opening in theaters and on demand Aug. 4, the 'Punisher' star plays a mute warrior who helps a group of monks (including Tom Holland) travel across Ireland.
          Unlimited Internet Access in Ireland Without the Risk of Extra Fees        

The first time I traveled to Ireland with a smartphone, I set up an international data plan and STILL came home with a $650 phone bill. OUCH! I easily talked my carrier down to around $200, but I will never forget how the first glance at that bill made my stomach swell uncomfortably into my […]

The post Unlimited Internet Access in Ireland Without the Risk of Extra Fees appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          #153 A Daily Dose of Ireland with Alexa and the Amazon Echo        

  Here’s an overview of how you can keep up on Irish music, news, weather, books, and travel plans using the Amazon Echo. Audio Version: SHOW NOTES 00:05 Alexa, the Amazon Echo Dot – (affiliate link) 00:10 Shamrock Bot by Rusty Noodle 00:42 Getting an Irish music fix 01:30 Pandora Spotify, TuneIn iHeartRadio 01:37 […]

The post #153 A Daily Dose of Ireland with Alexa and the Amazon Echo appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          #152 Medications and Your Trip to Ireland – Audio        

Whether it’s prescriptions or over-the-counter, you’ll need to know how to pack them, what you can bring, where you can get more, and what to do if you need an emergency refill.

The post #152 Medications and Your Trip to Ireland – Audio appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          #151 Powering Your Electronics in Ireland – Audio        

Whether it’s your phone, tablet, laptop, curling iron, or sleep apnea machine, here’s a look at how you can power up all your devices while visiting the Emerald Isle. SHOW NOTES 00:24 Ireland’s wall outlets/sockets are the same as the United Kingdom and therefore do not fit plugs from North America, Australia, or many other […]

The post #151 Powering Your Electronics in Ireland – Audio appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          The Ring Forts of Cahersiveen, County Kerry        

Along the Ring of Kerry near the village of Cahersiveen, there are two ancient ring forts worthy of a stop. The forts share a gravel car park and require a short, rewarding walk. Cahergal Fort has been restored and offers Ireland’s most impressive restoration of what the early Irish achieved using dry, stacked stone. The […]

The post The Ring Forts of Cahersiveen, County Kerry appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          SPECIAL: Airports in Ireland with the Irish Fireside and the Traveling in Ireland Podcast        

I recently had a chat with Jody Halsted from the Traveling in Ireland Podcast about the ins and outs of Irish Airports. You’re invited to have a listen below…

The post SPECIAL: Airports in Ireland with the Irish Fireside and the Traveling in Ireland Podcast appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          What’s Your Favorite Ireland Travel Itinerary        

About 25% of all inquiries that arrive in my inbox ask about itineraries. As a result, I’m looking to tackle the topic of itinerary planning on the podcast and blog, and I’d love your help. If you’ve been to Ireland and have an absolute favorite itinerary, please tell me more about your travels using the […]

The post What’s Your Favorite Ireland Travel Itinerary appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          Lighten Your Load: Five Things You Should Leave at Home When You Travel to Ireland        

For the last twenty years, I’ve been hosting visitors to Ireland, and certain items always get packed, but rarely used. Here’s a look at some things you should think twice about before bringing them to the Emerald Isle. Computers Aren’t the Only Way to Go Digital Now that phones and tablets have essentially become handheld […]

The post Lighten Your Load: Five Things You Should Leave at Home When You Travel to Ireland appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          The Myths and Legends of Ireland’s Great Rivers        

As an island nation, water has always played an important role in Ireland, and has given rise to some of their greatest legends and stories. However, it’s not just the sea that shaped aquatic myths. Here’s an infographic that will introduce you to some of the tales connected to Ireland’s great, inland waterways. Click the […]

The post The Myths and Legends of Ireland’s Great Rivers appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          We’re Thrilled to Share Some of Last Year’s Highlights from the Irish Fireside        

Here are links to the articles mentioned in the video: Farmette Cookbook Budgeting in Ireland Flying a €10 flight from Ireland Planning an itinerary Could my holiday rental be a scam? What kind of adapter do I need Best Irish Castles for Kids Should I book ahead or […]

The post We’re Thrilled to Share Some of Last Year’s Highlights from the Irish Fireside appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          Adventures from an Irish Farm with Imen McDonnell’s Farmette Cookbook        

A series of only-in-Ireland driving instructions led Liam and me to the McDonnell farm… As we pulled in, a large dog – an Airedale – sprung from the side of the house to greet us, and Imen McDonnell waved us in from the front door. We were quickly acquainted with the dog named Teddy and […]

The post Adventures from an Irish Farm with Imen McDonnell’s Farmette Cookbook appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.

          Nollaig shona dhuit: An Irish Fireside Christmas Tradition        

Episode Guide – Podcast #30 Lullaby for Caoilte In the spirit of Christmas we bring you this song performed by our friends in Tipperary, Ireland – Sheelagh Chadwick, Kathleen Costello and Theresa Larkin. Merry Christmas everyone. It’s become a Christmas tradition for us to post this one every year. CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON below to […]

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          #149 Budgeting for Meals and Miscellaneous Expenses in Ireland with Stephanie Chastain – Audio        

Our efforts to answer Brian’s question about budgeting for a trip to Ireland continue with Stephanie Chastain from Infinite Ireland as we focus on food and other expenses.   Show Notes 00:00 Liam and the public toilet in Nenagh, County Tipperary 01:25 Intro – Mary Mulvihill – Episode #144 How Much Should I Budget […]

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          A Gift from Ireland: Aran Sweaters        

We’ve arrived at the heart of the holiday shopping season here at the Irish Fireside, and we wanted to take a moment to share an extraordinary gift idea. Our sponsor Aran Sweaters Direct provides a full line of gorgeous 100% authentic Irish knitware. Their fine products provide the perfect gift for that special someone on […]

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          Choosing the Right Irish Airport        

Most people outside of Ireland are familiar with only one of Ireland’s airports — the country’s largest in Dublin. However, there are other options that may suit a traveler’s needs. Let me take a moment to introduce you to them and offer a few “insider tips.” DUBLIN Ireland’s capital city hosts the country’s largest airport. […]

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          I Flew RyanAir, and I Almost Liked It        

What it’s really like to fly on a €10 flight from Ireland. After typing in dates for a flight from Shannon – Ireland’s west coast airport – to London, my computer search churned out an insanely broad range of flight options. Several came in at around €130 ($140), loads more were over €200 ($217), and […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Curraghmore House        

Curraghmore House, Portlaw, County Waterford. If you look closely, you’ll spot the top LePoer Tower in the upper left side of the photo… which was featured in Episode #23. Submitted by AJ Walsh

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          Introducing Some of the Best Irish Travel Blog Nominees        

It’s awards season for the blogging community in Ireland, and voting has opened in the the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. In all honesty, awards like these aren’t always perfect at highlighting the best blogs; but with a bit of online exploring, they offer a way to discover some great bloggers. You might remember the Irish […]

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          Some Handy Info for the First Time Visitor to Ireland – VIDEO        

Here’s a video that covers a few of the most commonly asked questions before a trip to the emerald Isle.

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          Irish Shard Jewelry Makes Its Way to Ohio        

Liam and I spent a good part of our summer in Ireland hunting for broken dishes and crafting shard jewelry from the pieces. It’s something we’ve been doing for nearly fifteen years, and we love it! Today we’re putting the finishing touches on several new pins and pendants, and THIS WEEKEND we’re unveiling the them […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Nun in Solitary Prayer at Knock Shrine        

  On a recent trip to Ireland, we stopped at the Knock shrine in County Mayo. The site has become a significant pilgrimage site for Irish Catholics. Here is a description of the events that occurred in 1879 taken from a chapel plaque: Submitted by Tim Scanlon — The Irish Fireside “Postcards from Ireland” […]

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          Planning an Itinerary that Starts from Shannon Airport        

Summer greetings from Ireland where the farmers in our parts are bringing in their second cutting of hay and silage, tourists are mastering roundabouts, and everyone is enjoying the long hours of daylight. Two weeks ago, I hopped across the Irish Sea and spent a few days in London where I was invited to speak […]

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          Tips for Planning Your Irish Itinerary        

  When planning a big trip, it’s easy to feel pressured to get it right. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are a few tips that might help you along the way. Work out the critical details first. While you can work on your Ireland wishlist at any time, there are a few decisions to […]

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          A Movie Star Fortress, a Special Holy Well, and a Night in a Castle…        

We’re always trying to introduce you to new, interesting places to visit on the Emerald Isle. If you’ve got a hankering for Ireland’s offbeat and unique, check out a few of the new additions to our sister site, the Ireland Travel Kit… Cahir Castle – One of Ireland’s best preserved and often missed castles, County […]

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          Could My Perfect Irish Holiday Rental Be a Scam?        

My heart sunk when I received an email in February from a reader named Dana… She found the perfect Dublin vacation rental property on VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), which is part of HomeAway — both are well-known, trusted vacation rental websites. When she inquired, the property manager wrote back with bad news. The townhouse […]

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          Q&A: What kind of adapter do I need to keep my electronics charged in Ireland?        

We’re from the U.S., and we’ll be traveling Ireland with our iphones and ipad. What kind of adapter do we need? — Marie There are two things you need to know before “plugging” in your devices in Ireland: Ireland’s wall outlets/sockets deliver 220 volts (countries like the US and Canada only use 110 volts). Ireland’s […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Claregalway Friary        

Claregalway is a small town, 10 miles north of Galway city and is home to the ruins of Claregalway friary. The Claregalway Friary is a medieval Franciscan abbey and can be seen from the main road through Claregalway. Today, the abbey buildings and grounds are open to the public free of charge. The burial grounds surrounding the […]

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          Celebrating a Hundred Years in Music at Ireland’s National Concert Hall        

The centenary of the Easter Rising in 1916 is being marked by talks, plays, books, seminars, parades, speeches, art works, and many other ways across Ireland and through its diaspora across the world. In the heart of Dublin City, Ireland’s National Concert Hall is joining in with a series if concerts running from 28 March […]

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          Kiss Me I’m American!        

The Irish Fireside on This Week in Travel To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, I made a return appearance on the This Week in Travel Podcast. Jen, Chris, and Gary took a break from their regular travel topics to chat a bit about Ireland. We even hatch a plan to bring the Fourth of July to […]

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          #148 Explore the Best Irish Castles for Kids with Jody Halsted – Audio        

Jody Halsted answers Max’s question about choosing the best castles for kids in Ireland.   SHOW NOTES 00:00 Intro 00:23 What are the best Irish castles for kids? Jody Halsted from Episode #115 Fairy Hunting with the Family in Ireland – Episode #125 Your Smartphone in Ireland and the best apps for Irish […]

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          The Women who made Aran Sweaters        

Ireland has always had a long tradition of knitting and to this day it still is a very popular pass time however, no one could knit an Irish Sweater like the women of the Aran Islands. The women of the Island’s invented and first designed the traditional Aran Sweater. It was their passion. Without the […]

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          Q&A: Do we need to prebook our accommodations in Ireland or can we “wing it”?        

We have our “places to stay” all set up for our trip this September. However, we’ve left two nights “unscheduled” to see possible places we might not have heard about until we get there. Will it be easy or difficult to find a place to stay while traveling without booking ahead? – Lexa If you’ve […]

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          Ireland’s Best: Destinations to Watch        

Irish tourism comes into the year on an extremely high note. 2015 was the best on record for visitor numbers, currencies continue to stand strong against the euro and sterling, more flights are connecting Ireland to more places, the country hasn’t tarnished its reputation for hospitality, and security-concerned travelers still view Ireland as one of […]

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          Traditional Textile Crafts of Ireland        

The Aran sweaters, Irish lace, woven tweeds, and fine linen stand out among Ireland’s unique history of textiles. The traditions go back generations, and the craftsmanship remains today. Our friends at put together this informative, interactive story map to show the roots of Ireland’s best-loved textiles. You can view the full-screen version here.

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          Enchanted by Irish Thatch        

There’s something irresistible about a thatched cottage in Ireland. One can hardly resist stopping the car to snap a photo after spotting one of the country’s iconic natural-roofed homes. I spent many nights dreaming of thatching my own cottage in County Tipperary… even though the application would be a complete historical inaccuracy… and probably financially […]

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          #147 What Sites Can I See Outside of Dublin Without a Car? – Featuring Pól Ó Conghaile – AUDIO        

Pól Ó Conghaile answers Terry’s question about seeing sites outside of the Capital without renting a car. SHOW NOTES 00:00 Liam talks about Drogheda and Oliver Plunkett’s Head 01:15 Terry asks, “We’ll be in Dublin this September, and want to strike out and see some other parts of Ireland, but we won’t be renting a […]

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          Finding Our Creative Centers in Ireland        

— Submitted by Yvonne Higgins Leach My life partner Ed and I attended our first artist residency – he as a photographer, and I as a poet – in West Cork at a beautiful manor house on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork during early October, 2015. The residency is called Anam Cara and is […]

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          A Marriage of Classic and Contemporary Irish Music: Gregory Harrington on Violin        

  Although he’s played his violin with many of the world’s most-notable classical musicians, you might not have heard of Gregory Harrington before today. His pedigree places him firmly as Ireland’s premier classical violinist, but it’s his crossover appeal that will win over fans of contemporary and traditional Irish music. In this clip, he plays […]

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          Ireland’s Most-Haunted Places        

The Halloween season has crept up on us again, which is always a great time to look into Ireland’s slightly spooky and seriously sinister spots. The folks over at the Dunloe Hotel in County Kerry have put together a list of their favorite haunted spots… Still want more sites with a dose of haunting or […]

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          #146 What Is Tax Free and Duty Free Shopping in Ireland? — AUDIO        

Michele Erdvig sheds some light on a topic that can save tourists some serious cash on their purchases in Ireland. Show Notes 00:00 Liam and the whiskey lady at Shannon Airport Duty Free 01:20 The world’s first airport Duty Free shopping started at Shannon Airport in County Clare in 1947. 01:56 What is Duty Free […]

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          Consider This Your “Nudge” to Plan a Trip to Ireland        

  Last week, I sent a e-mail to our e-newsletter subscribers. At the time, I had a message to get out, but it didn’t feel like the right thing to post on our blog… but based on the responses, now it seems like it’s exactly what needs to appear in this spot.   Lamb Photo […]

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          Introducing Ireland’s Great China Makers        

As Corey and I prepare the set up at Milwaukee Irish Fest this weekend, we decided to enhance our booth this year with information about some of Ireland’s most popular china makers. While you may have heard of Irish Belleek, you might not be so familiar with the stories of Irish Wade, Royal Tara, Arklow, […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Old Irish Houses        

I recently drove from Galway city to Kilkenny (160km) and noticed a lot of boarded up houses. So on my return trip, I pulled in each time I spotted one and took a photograph. It was quite a ‘funny’ drive. I’d be motoring along keeping an eye out, spot an old house, glance in my […]

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          Words and Phrases that Have a Different Meaning in Ireland        

My time in Ireland was brief, so I promised my cousin I’d call her on the phone rather than pay her a visit on the evening before my departure. Imagine my horror when I made the phone call as planned, and she immediately asked when I’d be arriving for dinner. Some how, the clear message […]

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          #145 How Much Does Accommodation Cost in Ireland? – AUDIO        

Stephanie Chastain returns to the podcast to talk about the various accommodation options available and how much you should set aside in your budget. Show Notes 00:00 Liam talks about one of his more memorable castle stays in Ireland 01:26 Budgeting for your accommodations in Ireland 01:45 How much does a trip to Ireland cost? […]

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          Happy St Patrick’s Day from the People of Ireland… and Liam Neeson        

I’d say this St Patrick’s Day message from Tourism Ireland does a pretty good job of putting all of us in the mood.

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          #144 How Much Should I Budget for Transportation on My Trip to Ireland? – AUDIO        

Stephanie Chastain steps in to help us figure out how much it will cost us to get to Ireland and how much we should set aside for getting around once we get there. Whether it’s a self-drive or public transportation, she’s got us covered.   Show Notes 00:00 Liam talks about how he once saved […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Cottage in Knockbrittas, Co Tipperary        

We took a little detour outside of Tipperary town and found ourselves driving through a beautiful valley called Knockbrittas. The scenery was stunning, but it was this abandoned cottage that captured my imagination. I had visited the area many times, but some how never managed to find this road. Submitted by Liam The Irish Fireside […]

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          #141 Irish Travel Questions & Answers; “Practice Speaking Irish Day” – AUDIO        

We’re announcing a new segment on the podcast where we answer your questions about travel in Ireland. You’re invited to email you questions or record and send them. Plus, there’s a new “holiday” in the works… Practice Speaking Irish Day! A few of our upcoming questions: How much does a trip to Ireland cost? How […]

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          Q&A: What are the benefits and pitfalls of a self-drive tour of Ireland?        

My son and I are in the planning stages of a 15-day visit to Ireland. We decided we are not interested in the canned tours and want to strike out and see the countryside on our own. Could you point out some of the benefits and pitfalls of trying to do tours on our own? […]

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          Q&A: How Much of a Tip Should I Leave in Ireland?        

I’m an American, and I’m unsure of what is expected in terms of tipping waiters, waitresses, bartenders, taxi drivers, etc. in Ireland. — Barbara Tipping in Ireland is truly at your discretion and intended to show your appreciation for good service… which differs a bit from the US where many workers, especially wait staff, rely […]

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          The History and Symbolism of the Celtic Cross        

Celtic Crosses dot hundreds of cemeteries across Ireland and Scotland, as well as Wales, England, Europe, and beyond. Few symbols are as recognizable as the Celtic Cross as the embodiment of Celtic Christianity. It is popularly believed that St. Patrick introduced the Celtic Cross in Ireland, during his conversion of the kings from paganism to […]

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          Q&A: What are the rules for traveling to Ireland with medications?        

What are the rules for traveling to Ireland with medications? My husband takes prescription pills for his blood pressure, and I take Ibuprofen several times a day. Do I take this in my carryon? Should I wait and buy Ibuprofen when I get to Ireland? Is it even available there? –Angie — Indio, CA I […]

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          #140 Feeding Your Soul on Clare Island and on Your Trip to Ireland – AUDIO        

Carl O’Grady takes some time to talk about the wonders of Clare Island and Corey offers a few tips that will help you take a second look at your travel plans and assure you don’t over extend your itinerary. Have a listen and feel free to read the show notes: CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON below […]

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          Here Come the Celtic Holiday Giveaways and Special Deals        

You want to give the perfect holiday gift, right? Well, before you run off to one of the big retailers, take a moment to check out our Artisan Shop. We’ve got gifts from artists and small business owners who are inspired by Ireland and offer a unique alternative for your holiday shopping. We’ll be offering […]

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          Q&A: What is Tax-Free Shopping in Ireland?        

Could you explain VAT refunds on purchased items for tourists in Ireland? – Angela via email One of the advantages of shopping in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for Americans and other non-European Union residents is that certain purchases can be bought tax-free. It’s a great opportunity to save on your purchases. However, […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: The Sky Road in Clifden, Co Galway        

These photos look back and on to Clifden Bay from a Sky Road High at a pull-off between the Belleek and Fahy townlands. From this position you have a breathtaking panoramic view of Clifden Bay flowing into the Atlantic Ocean and out to the Turbot and Inishturk Islands. That morning the sun was finally breaking […]

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          Live Chat! Take a Virtual Trip to Milwaukee Irish Fest        

I’m teaming up with Jody from Ireland Family Travel and Eoin from Bitesize Irish Gaelic this Saturday at Milwaukee Irish Fest at 5pm CST for a casual meetup. Can’t make it to Milwaukee? You can join us live on Google Hangouts. When the time comes you’ll be able to watch it LIVE in the box […]

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          Best Boutique Hostels and Unique Budget Stays Along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way        

When I suggested we stay in hostels on our Wild Atlantic Way trip, Liam groaned, “I did hostels thirty years ago. I’m waaaaaay beyond the age of traveling like that.” He proceeded to recount tales of waking up to a goat in his room, a bathroom with a clear glass door that didn’t lock, and […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Saint Mullins, County Carlow.        

This stretch of the River Barrow is steeped in legend and has been settled for millennia. The place name in Irish is Tighe Moling, the House of Moling. Saint Mullins is the location of a monastic site built by St. Moling. He was born in 614 AD and during his lifetime he became a poet, […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Howth and Croke Park        

The first photo is of me & my two sons Sean and Tom at Deer Park Golf Course in Howth.  That’s Howth Castle and the Eye of Ireland in the background.  We were in Dublin for the 2012 matchup between Notre Dame & Navy on September 1st but managed to get in a few rounds […]

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          #138 The Unexpected Value and Comfort in Ireland’s Unique Hostels — AUDIO        

Hostels have come a long way in recent years, and many hostels offer a boutique, yet budget, experience for travelers. In this episode, I get reactions from my friends Liam and Tony about their stays in Irish hostels and reveal my list of the best hostels for those who might have reservations about staying in […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Hook Head Lighthouse        

Hook Head Lighthouse is located in County Wexford on the Hook Peninsula.  The tower marks the entrance to Waterford Harbor. On other side of the Harbor is the village of Crooke.  Supposedly, the phrase “by hook or by crook” originated from William Cromwell in the 17th century who was invading Ireland and said that Waterford […]

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          Ireland on a Budget        

This summer I’ve started a new project that centers on Ireland’s best budget accommodations. It’s been an interesting task; and I’ve been quite pleased with some of the places I’ve visited — most for under €25 per person!!! This research has opened my eyes to some absolutely outstanding places to stay that are under the […]

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          Postcard From Ireland: Castlewellan Castle        

  Built by the 4th Earl Annesly in the Scottish Baronial style in 1856 Castlewellan Castle  is located in a large  forest park and is framed by the Mountains of Mourne.  Below the castle is a scenic lake. The estate includes the lovely, walled Annesly Gardens. The castle is currently used as a Christian Conference Center. Forest walks, […]

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          Highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way        

You may have heard about Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way… the world’s longest defined coastal driving route. It’s quite spectacular and the folks at the Dunloe Hotel put together a little infographic that I thought did a nice job of featuring some of the highlights along the route.

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          Postcard from Ireland: Mussendun Temple and Downhill Demesne        

Mussendun Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Derry, Northern Ireland. Perched on a 120 foot cliff over the ocean, this dramatic spot is a fantastic place to explore and visit. The beach below was used in the Game of Thrones series to film the burning of the Seven Gods. The mansion was built in the 18th […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Our Jaunting Car Driver        

This is a picture of Robert–a Jaunting Car Driver in Killarney National Park.  He has been driving in the park for over 45 years, and naturally a wealth of knowledge about the park.  The trip through the park via the Jaunting Car is between one and two hours—depending on what you want to see. Tim […]

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          Barack Obama Plaza? The Curious Tale of How an Irish Rest Stop Was Named After a US President        

Cruising down the motorway between Dublin and Limerick, I am reminded of the building boom that overtook Ireland during the Celtic Tiger years. Before the millennium, a wide divided highway like this simply did not exist in Ireland. Somewhere near Kildare, the stand of modern industrial parks and high embankment walls lining the road give […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Monasterboice        

  North of Drogheda is the early Christian settlement of Monastboice. The round tower is 35m (114.9ft) high. This place is most famous for it’s 3 high crosses, with Muiredach’s High Cross the most intact and possibly the finest high cross in Ireland. We stopped by one afternoon while in the area for a […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Connemara        

Stopped roadside from Clifden to Oughterard on the N59 to snap this beautiful island. I’m sure it has a name but I do not recall it now (if I ever did) as this photo was taken in 2010. Anyway, I’m pretty sure those are the Twelve Pins in the background. It’s such an amzing place, […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Finding Irish Family Roots in County Laois        

Here are my postcard photos of Roundwood House which was originally built by my 8th Great Grandfather in about the 1670s.  The long low house was the original dwelling built by the “Dublin Merchant” and Quaker Anthony Sharp.  Anthony was a business associate of William Penn and owned a large portion of the state of […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: On the Way to the Giants Causeway        

While traveling to the Giant’s Causeway we stood by the side of the road and took this picture. How peaceful it is. When I look at it I think of how many stories this place could tell. It takes me right back to that beautiful August day and I wish I was there again. Aida […]

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          My Introduction to Irish Tug-of-War        

For me, every visit to Ireland starts off with a round of visits to cousins and neighbors. This week when I met up with my cousin John; and after we caught up on all the news, he had an interesting request… he asked for my boarding pass. Yes, that little piece of paper that seems […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Along Dingle’s Slea Head Drive and the Great Blasket Island        

While on a short stroll at one of the many incredible vistas along Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, my husband sighed and said, “You can bury me right here.” No words from me were required so I squeezed his hand while understanding exactly what he meant. Two locals overheard his comment and said, […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Birds of Prey        

After a walking tour of the Burren in County Clare, we decided to stop into the Birds of Prey Centre. I have visited Aillwee Cave on several occasions but never the Bird Centre. It was very educational and interesting to see all the different type of raptors – most in their cages but the flying […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Horse on Inish Née, County Galway        

Sending this shot taken during our Irish travels in 2010. We were staying in a lovely whitewashed cottage on the island of Inish Née, near Roundstone.  We were rewarded for rising early to walk the lane with some breathtaking pictures of the island, water, and mountains coming alive. Looking forward to trip number 14 in […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: The Causeway Coast        

I loved the Northern coast line! It was beautiful from the small towns like Portrush, with it’s sandy beach and surfers. To the ruins of Dunluce Castle perched on a cliff. And the unique coastline of Giant’s Causeway. It’s hard to pick just one. I only spent one day in the area, but I’m sure […]

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          Postcard from Ireland: Kells Priory, County Kilkenny        

In September 2011, we visited Ireland on our honeymoon. Every place we went to was more beautiful than the next and the people in all parts of Ireland were simply amazing. During our travels we had the pleasure of staying at the Lawcus Farm Guesthouse in Kilkenny, Stoneyford Co. The owners, Mark and Anne-Marie Fisher, […]

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          A Call to Prayer        
A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on with the following details:

Title: A Call to Prayer
Subtitle: Preachers who influenced us
Speaker: Tom L. Daniel
Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
Event: Sunday - PM
Date: 6/14/1970
Bible: Genesis 32:9-12, 24-29
Length: 60 min. (64kbps)

Overview: Following a nice trip to England, Ireland and Scotland, Pastor Daniel felt led to call his people to more earnest PRAYER. He reminds us that the very BREATH of a child of God is -or ought to be- PRAYER to his Heavenly Father.----This message was preached at the evening hour, following the morning message on -The High Cost of Sin.- Both are good messages to introduce our late pastor to the Sermon Audio audience. You will detect, we trust, the great level of compassion the preacher has for his people.----For a synopsis of the Life and Ministry of TOM L. DANIEL, please write to us. It will be sent as an e-mail attachment FREE of charge.
          Feliz dia de las madres        
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! This year I learned that while our mother's day is on Sunday, the Mexican dia de las madres was actually on Tuesday. I had no idea!

For this year's Mother's Day, Nick and I drove up to my parent's and had brunch at the town's elementary school, where mother's eat for free and the rest of us were only a dollar! It is put on by a community club and has pancakes, eggs, sausages, orange juice, and coffee, and the drinks and things were fetched by little boy scouts. It was fun!

After brunch we hung out with my parents at their house. Troy was still in . . . Ireland, I think?( He bounced around from Italy to Ireland to England to Germany in just a few days, it got confusing. But he comes home tonight! In like . . . 20 minutes his flight comes in!!!) That was nice, I don't spend as much time with my parents as I'd like to anymore.

Then we went to my Nanny's apartment and stayed for a while to talk and wish her a Happy Mother's Day. She recently got new hearing aides and it is noticeably easier to talk with her!

And then we were off to Nick's aunt's house where all his family was gathering for a Mother's Day dinner feast, full of yumminess and delicious 6 month old baby cousin giggles.

We left early because we both had homework due the next day.

It was a great Mother's Day. (Though I must admit, planning holidays now for two families can be haaaard. But worth it.) ^_^
          England U20s' strong form continues while Scotland beat Ireland        
Under-20s Six Nations Grand Slam champions England moved to within touching distance of a semi-final spot at the World Rugby Under-20s Championship after a second win of the campaign in Georgia.
          England look to build on good start in U20 World Championship as Ireland look to bounce back against Scotland        
The World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 got underway in Georgia on Wednesday, and the future stars of world rugby put on a show of running rugby that didn't disappoint.
          England get defence of U20 World Cup off to excellent start as Ireland suffer defeat to Italy        
England convincingly beat Samoa to get their World Rugby U20 Championship defence off to an excellent start. The Red Rose ran in 12 tries as they beat Samoa 74-14 at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi.
          Comment on Liz Garcia’s newest film to premiere at Tribeca Friday by hopper, 04262017, Paris, Portland, Ireland, New York, Barcelona        
[…] The coffee shop helps her do it. A screenwriter goes to the coffee shop to let the adrenaline of writing take over. […]
          Acrylic Plain Beanie        
Acrylic Plain Beanie

Acrylic Plain Beanie

          Acrylic Scarf        
Acrylic Scarf

Acrylic Scarf

          Acrylic Stripe Bobble Beanie        
Acrylic Stripe Bobble Beanie

Acrylic Stripe Bobble Beanie

          Alternate Classic L/S Jersey        
Alternate Classic L/S Jersey

Alternate Classic L/S Jersey

The classic cotton jersey is a supporters favourite, often worn with pride. The alternate plum colouring offers something different to the established Irish green.

          Alternate Classic S/S Jersey         
Alternate Classic S/S Jersey

Alternate Classic S/S Jersey

The Ireland classic short sleeve shirt has a cotton construction, designed for comfort and heritage. The plum colour is a rich piece of Irish rugby history, heralding from the early caps the players used to receive at Lansdowne Road.

          Alternate Short         
Alternate Short

Alternate Short

Get behind the boys with the Ireland Alternate Short. Lightweight and flexible, perfect to show you support whilst training and watching the big match.

          Alternate Sock         
Alternate Sock

Alternate Sock

Add the finishing touch to your kit with Ireland Alt Socks

          Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Jersey         
Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Jersey

Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Jersey

Inspire the future generations with Ireland's Vapodri+ Alternate Pro rugby jersey. The plum aesthetic offers something unique, away from the iconic Irish green.

          Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Kids Jersey        
Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Kids Jersey

Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Kids Jersey

Inspire the future generations with Ireland's Vapodri+ Alternate Pro rugby jersey. The plum aesthetic offers something unique, away from the iconic Irish green.

          Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Womens Jersey        
Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Womens Jersey

Alternate Vapodri+ Pro Womens Jersey

The Ireland Alternate Pro Women's Rugby Jersey has a tapered fit and is a close representation of the kit that Ireland wear when they take the field.

          Alternate Vapodri+ Test Jersey        
Alternate Vapodri+ Test Jersey

Alternate Vapodri+ Test Jersey

The test jersey is an exact replica of what the players wear on the field. It has an extremely athletic fit and performs at the highest level. This has the option to be bought as a collectable or the jersey you wear to match days.

          Cotton Training Polo        
Cotton Training Polo

Cotton Training Polo

          Fleece Short         
Fleece Short

Fleece Short

          IRELAND ACRYLIC SCARF        






          IRELAND FLAT PEAK CAP        




          IRELAND FLEECE PANT        


          IRELAND FLEECE SHORT        


          IRELAND GYM SACK         


          Ireland Home Pro Kids Voda         
Ireland Home Pro Kids Voda

Ireland Home Pro Kids Voda



          IRELAND SMALL BACKPACK        










          Ireland Training Full Zip Hoody Kids        
Ireland Training Full Zip Hoody Kids

Ireland Training Full Zip Hoody Kids

















Train like an Ireland player in this replica training jersey with VapoDri+ adaptive technology - adapts to your changing body temperature so you can focus on your performance. The stretch bound neckline, self fabric cuff and flatlock stitching ensure a secure and comfortable fit. Finished with heat transfer sponsor logos and an embroidered IRFU and CCC logo, ensuring you feel great and look great.



Train like an Ireland player in this replica training jersey with VapoDri+ adaptive technology - adapts to your changing body temperature so you can focus on your performance. The stretch bound neckline, self fabric cuff and flatlock stitching ensure a secure and comfortable fit. Finished with heat transfer sponsor logos and an embroidered IRFU and CCC logo, ensuring you feel great and look great.



Train like an Ireland player in this replica training jersey with VapoDri+ adaptive technology - adapts to your changing body temperature so you can focus on your performance. The stretch bound neckline, self fabric cuff and flatlock stitching ensure a secure and comfortable fit. Finished with heat transfer sponsor logos and an embroidered IRFU and CCC logo, ensuring you feel great and look great.

          IRELAND VAPODRI+ S.LIGHT TEE        


Innovated for the best performance, the Ireland VapoDri+ Superlight Tee keeps you cool and dry so you can focus on your training. With forward facing side seams for ease of movement and a drop back hem to elimate garment rise, the tee also has a low profile collar - ideal for larger necks and the rugby physique. Mesh sleeves, collar and upper back provide additional breathability and the tee is finished with heat transfer logos.

          IRELAND VAPODRI+ S.LIGHT TEE        


Innovated for the best performance, the Ireland VapoDri+ Superlight Tee keeps you cool and dry so you can focus on your training. With forward facing side seams for ease of movement and a drop back hem to elimate garment rise, the tee also has a low profile collar - ideal for larger necks and the rugby physique. Mesh sleeves, collar and upper back provide additional breathability and the tee is finished with heat transfer logos.



The Ireland Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 team jersey is the first ever jersey available to supporters and is EXCLUSIVE to our store. The limited edition supporters’ jersey celebrates Ireland’s participation in, and the hosting of, the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 which takes place in Dublin and Belfast from 9th to the 26th of August.    Thermoreg technology is employed to encourage thermal regulation, ideal for cold training sessions on the field. VapoDri features throughout the range, designed to wick moisture away from the body and maintain core temperature throughout grueling workouts. Vaposhield offers crucial water resistance and quick-dry technology to aid both comfort and training performance.   Pre-order your jersey today. Available: 17th July





The supporter’s rain jacket is part of the exclusive range, only available to members of the Official IRFU supporters club. A little shower is always slightly anticipated whilst watching Ireland, being prepared with this exclusive supporters club jacket is one of the best ways to stay dry, whilst still showing your support.

          IRFU VAPODRI+ S.LIGHT TEE KIDS        


Innovated for the best performance, the Ireland VapoDri+ Superlight Tee keeps you cool and dry so you can focus on your training. With forward facing side seams for ease of movement and a drop back hem to elimate garment rise, the tee also has a low profile collar - ideal for larger necks and the rugby physique. Mesh sleeves, collar and upper back provide additional breathability and the tee is finished with heat transfer logos.

          Jacquard Polo        
Jacquard Polo

Jacquard Polo

          Stretch Training Pant         
Stretch Training Pant

Stretch Training Pant

          Striped Polo        
Striped Polo

Striped Polo

          Striped Polo         
Striped Polo

Striped Polo

          Vapodri Superlight Poly Tee Kids         
Vapodri Superlight Poly Tee Kids

Vapodri Superlight Poly Tee Kids

          Vapodri Superlight Poly Tee Kids        
Vapodri Superlight Poly Tee Kids

Vapodri Superlight Poly Tee Kids

          Vapodri Superlight Tee         
Vapodri Superlight Tee

Vapodri Superlight Tee

          Vapodri Superlight Tee        
Vapodri Superlight Tee

Vapodri Superlight Tee

           جوز بلق شامي ذكر معشر انثى Ù© ريش         
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جوز بلق شامي
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فروخ مميزه
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السعر: 150 د. أ,
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           2 red factor + enteyit hasoun         
السعر: 70 د. أ,
Red factor omer 6 chehor
Hasoun 3omer senteyn chegaleh
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السعر: 200 د. أ,
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           ببغاء عمره سنتين         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
ببغاء ابوجامبو رمادي ذيل احمر لا يتكلم
           Red factor         
السعر: 50 د. أ,
Red factor 3omer 6 chhor
           بيض فري         
السعر: 3 د. أ,
بيض فري جمبو
كل 100 بيضة ب 8 $
           طيور فري نوع بوب وايت         
السعر: 3 د. أ,
فري بوب وايت
عمر 7 ايام
           African grey parrot         
السعر: 1,500 د. أ,
Great african grey
good health and speak
A very smart parrot
           كنار long         
السعر: 70 د. أ,
كنار long كتير حلو
           جوز حسون مع قفصون         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
انتي او دكر حسون
           حسون دكر او اني حسون عتقن عمرون سنتين         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
دكر انتي حسون عمرون سنتين
           حسون مميز نهري 150$         
السعر: 150 د. أ,
حسون كتير قوي ومميز دقن بيضة
           حسون نهري         
السعر: 150 د. أ,
حسون نهري وعنده طفرة بيضة حقه 150$
           بيض حجل         
السعر: مجاناً,
بيض حجل مع نسبة تفقيص 90 %
           Hsesin hane ndife         
السعر: 30 د. أ,
Fi chi tali3 wchi alich kelon fhoule 9 habet 3omer sene w1 3ati2 chayle wehde lhabe lewhde bi 45.000
           كنار دكر بتيفان         
السعر: 80 د. أ,
كنار بتيفان حجم كبير لون اصفر حلو كتير ب80$
           5 canary for sale         
السعر: 120 د. أ,
5 canary for sale
           4 dkar canary         
السعر: 120 د. أ,
3 dkar gehzin +1 fere5 +2nteye far7a kamen
          The 200% World Cup: So What Can England Expect, Then?        

Two of England’s World Cup group opponents were in international “action” this weekend. And Mark Murphy was there for 200%. Well, more “there” than BBC Northern Ireland, anyway… Uruguay 1 Northern Ireland 0 I’d all-but-overlooked this potential humdinger. Northern Ireland are on a two-match South American tour. And before Wednesday’s trip to Chile they were […]

The post The 200% World Cup: So What Can England Expect, Then? appeared first on Twohundredpercent.

          Euro 2012: The Quarter-Finals – England 0-0 Italy (Italy Win 4-2 On Penalty Kicks)        

So, then, to Kiev and to the quarter-finals of the European Championships. It’s the final match of the round this evening, featuring an Italian side that is something of a curates egg, excellent against Spain in matching them every inch of the way before being slightly underwhelming against Croatia and The Republic of Ireland, whilst […]

The post Euro 2012: The Quarter-Finals – England 0-0 Italy (Italy Win 4-2 On Penalty Kicks) appeared first on Twohundredpercent.

          Comment on Xiaomi Redmi 4X Review: Best Android Smartphone Under $150 by Beatrix Faerber        
Many thanks, Arnav. (I am not sure that Gearbest can answer this question, since they are only the intermediaries.) In the meantime, I have just set it to the region 'Germany' though I am in Ireland, and it seems to work with the SIM card provider (Lycomobile). So it seems to me that this setting actually does not have any consequences for the operation of the mobile phone service. But I am still puzzled that the country name was omitted from the list. I have also asked a question in the MIUI forum (software is MIUI 8) yesterday since I thought it must be a software bug. But I have not had a reply from any of the people who are active there. Again, many thanks for your help. 2017-08-02 12:08 GMT+01:00 Disqus :
          Comment on Xiaomi Redmi 4X Review: Best Android Smartphone Under $150 by Beatrix Faerber        
I bought this model from China via Gearbest. It has come through customs and arrived today in good shape, but I have a problem. When I have to set my region in the 'settings' at first configuration, Ireland is not listed (nor the U ited Kingdom). So is this a software bug? Will this smartphone not work with an Irish SIM card if I cannot set it to my region? And until I have it set, I cannot connect to the Internet (to get a software fix) Has anybody else come across this problem? Should I contact xiaomi support directly? Many thanks for help and suggestions.
          Irish Surveyor Demo : YellowScan’s new UAV LiDAR        

 Irish Surveyor Demo Our partner and distributor Geoinspect is organizing on September 7th a demonstration in Ireland: the Irish Surveyor Demo . Come and join us at the Hempstown Quarry in Blessington, just 15 minutes off the M50, to witness the incredibly precise, easy-to-use and all-integrated LiDAR that is the YellowScan Surveyor! If you are […]

Cet article Irish Surveyor Demo : YellowScan’s new UAV LiDAR est apparu en premier sur YellowScan.

          Comment on Banners Design for Mobile Unlock Base by MichaelImmed        
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          [news] Grudge Match: China vs. Europe + "It's Malaysia Time ..."        
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Dateline: China
This week marks the debut of my bi-weekly (or so) column for the AlwaysOn Network, Silicon Valley's premier online social networking venue (and unofficially linked to Silicon Valley's premier in person social networking venue, the Churchill Club; I'm a member of both).  I will be sharing "Letter from China" columnist duties with Paul Waide, the head of Pacific Epoch, a Shanghai-based boutique consultancy that advises hedge funds on alternative investments in China.  My first column is on Shanghai and a couple/few forthcoming columns will examine cultural differences between Chinese Nationals, Chinese-Americans and Anglo-Americans, especially within the context of IT and IT marketing.  I will post my AlwaysOn "Letter from China" columns to this blog/e-newsletter, although please be advised that my intended audience are readers based in Silicon Valley.
Grudge Match: China vs. Europe
Staying on topic, I'd like to make a comment about a recent "Grudge Match" on the AlwaysOn Network.  See the item marked "Grudge Match" for 08.05.04 (5 August 2004) at .
In the referenced "Grudge Match," China was pitted against Europe.  China received 45% of the votes in contrast to Europe's 55%.  Frankly, I'm surprised that China did so well.  I've found that the AO "Grudge Match" results tend to indicate sentiment more so than reality.  For example, a recent match pitted SpaceShipOne against NASA and SSO absolutely clobbered NASA (besides, perhaps most of the votes for NASA came from either Ames or the Blue Cube).  Of course, SSO is a high school science experiment compared to what NASA is doing, but I believe the results accurately reflect sentiment. 
But what is amazing (to me, at least) is that China was pitted against Europe in the first place!  Let's face it, this is a rather goofy "grudge match."  For Europe to include First World nations such as Germany, France, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark (yes, some countries are intentionally left out) -- and to compare the collective whole of First World Europe (a.k.a. "Western Europe") to China is absurd.  If this was First World Europe vs. China circa 2020, okay.  But TODAY?  Yet, the sentiment indicator showed a strong vote in favor of China.  Europe "won," but barely.
I propose the following "grudge match":  China vs. "Eastern Europe" (i.e., the former Soviet Bloc).  Look, if China can do so well against Europe as a whole (including First World Europe), I'm sure China would absolutely kick Second World Europe's butt!!  And a China "grudge match" against Eastern Europe more accurately reflects current "history."
But even this is a bit misleading.  The real "grudge match" is this:  China + India vs. Second World Europe.  And given this choice, only someone stranded on Mars for the past decade might choose Second World Europe.  Yet, this is the real so-called "grudge match."  First World Europe is in descent, to be sure, but it's descending from a high altitude.  It will take at least a decade or two for China (and/or India) to truly match First World Europe.  But China ALREADY is superior to Second World Europe.  And don't rant about NATO and EU memberships; this is simply window dressing.  Then combine China with India versus Second World Europe, playing into my "Golden Triangle" theme, i.e., it's all about the U.S., India and China.  This is where the action is, ESPECIALLY in IT.
"It's Malaysia Time ..."
I must be getting punchy since I'm borrowing a theme from a beer commercial, but it seems that Malaysia is experiencing its 15 minutes of fame.  The Philippines has recently been "hot," and several articles of late have been touting Malaysia (see, for example, an article which appeared in Space Daily).  Frankly, I'm getting tired of all this nonsense.  Look, when it comes to ITO (IT outsourcing) in East Asia, there are just two choices, i.e., India and China.  And, it's not really a competition; both have their strengths and weaknesses.  A few crumbs to Singers (Singapore), maybe even a few crumbs to the Kiwis (New Zealand).  The Philippines deserves notice, albeit passing notice, and Malaysia might be okay for some BPO.  But ITO?  Come on, give me a break!!  See my Furl archive for more links.
The only thing I recently found interesting regarding Malaysia was an article on Satyam's IT boot camp in Malaysia.  This isn't really unique, after all, IBM has been doing this sort of thing for decades.  So does HP.  Kind of like training plus a bit of brainwashing, but the brainwashing is acceptable since it includes political survival skills -- and said skills are essential, especially in F500 corporations.  But I like the idea of SI (systems integrator)-based training:  This way SIs can focus on "real" versus theoretically perceived needs.
IT Tidbits
Which certifications have the best ROI (return on investment)?  Playing off the idea of SI-based training, which are the most important certifications?  Well, Cisco leads with three out of the top five, although Microsoft picks up a couple of "wins" when looking at fastest-growing ROI, with RedHat and Oracle getting one win each.  SIs in China may also want to benchmark how much U.S. employees are paid given a certain certification, e.g., Microsoft DBAs receive an annual average salary of US$80,600.  Think about how much SIs in China pay for a certified Microsoft DBA.  For example, what do they get paid in Jinan -- or even in Dalian?  Compare this to US$80,600.  Spot any opportunities?  See and .
ITO in the news.  Two particularly noteworthy items.  First, ITO got Slashdotted.  The Slashdot links are worth a review.  Probably some good insight into what American software engineers are thinking and feeling.  The second is a review of Lou Dobbs' new book on ITO and BPO.  Mr. Dobbs is a well-respected host on CNN; his views shouldn't be taken lightly.  A couple of excerpts from the review:
"GE, as Dobbs makes clear in abundant detail, is only one of many companies outsourcing high-tech and professional jobs to India and other parts of the world where wage expectations are lower.  Among the others spotlighted by Dobbs for outsourcing jobs to India, the Philippines, Romania, Ireland, Poland and other countries are IBM, SAS Institute, Intel, Microsoft, Perot Systems, Apple, Computer Associates, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Sun Microsystems."  My comment:  Romania is the Changsha of Third World Europe, i.e., their programmers are about as cheap as programmers come.
"'India can provide our software; China can provide our toys; Sri Lanka can make our clothes; Japan make our cars.  But at some point we have to ask, what will we export?  At what will Americans work?  And for what kind of wages?  No one I've asked in government, business or academia has been able to answer those questions,' Dobbs writes."  See the review in the Tallahassee Democrat or my Furl link .
So-called infrastructure vendors beat out app vendors in terms of their ability to meet expected ROI and TCO (total cost of ownership) levels.  I don't really like the way infrastructure and application vendors are defined in this article and related survey, but top honors go to IBM and Microsoft.  There's a lot being written between the lines, but in general this plays into my "build-to-a-stack" strategy, albeit Oracle is left behind.  See .
Speaking of Microsoft ...  A good, quick review of the various IBUs (independent business units) at Microsoft.  (See .)  For a take on MBS, see .
New marketing technologies.  Interesting article from the premier issue of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).  There are two ways to view this:  1) which marketing technologies can be used by SIs in China for their own marketing endeavors, and 2) which marketing technologies will likely be adopted by retailers, e-commerce sites, financial institutions and numerous other sectors -- and which in house skills does an SI in China need to implement these new technologies (all of which are IT-related)?  See .
Looking for partners in the utility computing space?  For a start, try the top 25 vendors.  (See .)  Yankee gives a quick look at utility computing ROI (see ).  HP chimes in with their take, too (see ; it's a PDF).
The battle of the SI globals.  Two related articles both based on the same Forrester report.  (See and .)  Issues being considered include scalability (i.e., handling US$100+ million accounts), the need for broad offerings (e.g., strategy consulting) and expanding geographical presence (hey, where is EDS in China?).   "(T)he (Forrester) study finds that Infosys and Wipro have melded together a mix of CMMI, P-CMM, Six Sigma and ISO 9000 to create a culture focused on consistent and repeatable processes and value-added tools."  For China's SIs, mostly food for thought -- and a bit of dreaming.
... and how to battle the globals.  The article was a bit silly, after all, G2000 firms joining forces to battle Accenture or Infosys doesn't really fit the notion of smaller firms joining forces.  But I believe that they're on the right track and that a myriad of partnerships will be formed to most effectively capture new business and battle the globals.  However, ISVs (independent software vendors) have to walk a very fine line.  SIs need to carefully consider ISV responses and existing alliances.  See .
"Infosys to set up second outsourcing facility in China."  The article states that Infosys is running out of space in their Pudong facility and that they're scouting for additional digs.  Come on, guys, running out of space?  There's not enough space in the Shanghai Pudong Software Park?  I don't think so ...  The reality is that Infosys needs to find lower cost developers.  As my column on Shanghai for AO's "Letter from China" notes, developers in Shanghai are a bit pricey compared to other places in China.  Infosys China is primarily servicing their global customers in China and looking for high-end integration within the domestic market.  However, this is a tough nut to crack and Infosys will need another development center to lower their overall costs -- and this is why they are looking for additional space IN ANOTHER CITY.  The idea that they're running out of space in the SPSP is ridiculous.  (I've been to their Shanghai digs ...)  See .
Zensar gets broader press coverage.  Kind of like watching a meme, a couple of non-Indian IT trades have picked up the Zensar/Broadengate announcement.  See and .
"Rethinking the business case for Java."  A good article.  Hmmm ... maybe not much of a case, eh?    Hey, I'm still a believer.  See .  Of course, Java programming ain't what it used to be ...
"The selling of SOA."  Two-part series in Line56.  SUPERB!!  (I prefer the singular to the plural, i.e., "architecture" versus "architectures"; personal preference.)  Reviews various viewpoints on SOA.  See and .
Urls update.  Expect to see lots and lots of stuff on software engineering and development.  Great stuff, too!!  Later this week.
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
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          Getting to Germany — Hahn, Germany        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          Mom comes to Ireland! — Dublin, Ireland        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          Shall We to Paris? — Beauvais, France        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          Thanksgiving in Ireland — Raheny, Ireland        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          My First Irish Snow! — Raheny, Ireland        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          It's Always When I Think I Know Where I Am Going — Dublin, Ireland        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          My First Touristy Day in Dublin — Dublin, Ireland        
Student Teaching in IRELAND
          ....Some in Michigan are living...        
Calling me back "home," beckoning me is a little piece of land. Ironically it is called Barkhamsted Lighthouse. I ponder the inhabitants of the Lighthouse "Tribe" even thought what it's name would mean to those coming after them. To me it is a beacon deep in my heart. A passion that was my mother's and my grandmother's to stand where the Websters & Chagum's once stood. To see the old cemetery & foundations of the homes, that are barely noticed today. To somehow feel their presence from the past. To visit the town's Historical Society and Records vault, to find my ancestors name in some forgotten record.
It all starts with JAMES CHAGUM and MOLLY BARBER.

James Chagum, son of Great James Chagum and Jane/Priscilla Sands, was born in Jun 1710 in Block Island, Washington County, RI. James went to worked as a gardener for Molly's father. Other notable events are; Land Grant: 1760. "James Chaugham being awarded a land grant in 1760 by the British Gov. of GT.", Military Service: Possible that he served in the French Indian Wars. Molly Barber was born about 1714, uncertian where, some reports of Ireland others Wethersfield, CT. Her father's name could be Peter Barber, but it is unknown. In the 1800, Litchfield County, CT. "Mary Chaugum, P. 32, with 1 Female-over 45, 3 free persons in family"

The story goes that Molly had many male callers, she fell in love with a gentleman caller, and her father denied them to get married and locked her up on their grounds, the gentleman then moved out west. James seeing Molly so sad gave her a rose from the garden and a friendship blossomed. They eventually fell in love and decided to run away so they could be together. Molly's angered father chased them from Wethersfield, CT into an Indian village near Barkhamsted, were he passed right by Molly and didn't even recognize her. Molly and James fearing that they'd be descovered then settled in the mountain range around Barkhamsted where they flourished. They had 8 children in all; Two boys Samuel who married Miss. Green of Sharon, CT and Solomon who married Miss Hayes & now I have found that he may have also married a Ms. Sophia Bills (Webster) who died while giving birth on 3 Mar 1848 in Kent, Litchfield County, CT. Six girls, two who never married Elizabeth who died in 1854 and Sally who died young. Meribah (aka: Mary) who married Samuel Lawerence. Hannah Sands who married Ruben Barber in 1784. Mercy married Isaac Jacklyn. Mary (aka: Polly) married William Preston Wilson Sr, who was a preacher (some say Baptist) and a school teacher, he also served in the Revolution War, he was lame possibly from battle of Monmouth.

William P. Wilson Sr & Mary/Polly Chagum lived at the Lighthouse site, & had 4 known children; Susan (b. 1795) married Daniel F. Clarke, Esther (b. 1796) married David Haskell, Polly (b. 1771) married Joseph Elwell Sr. [I have found 6 children for them, one who is Sybil Elwell who married Montgumery Webster, who was the father of Solomon Webster], and finally their only son William Preston Wilson Jr, (b 1799) married Harriet Wilson - daughter of Eli Wilson & Huldah Wadsworth Cook. [I have found 5 children for them one of whom is Mary Wilson who married Solomon Webster the son of Montgumery Webster].

Sybil Elwell & Montgumery Webster's children were said to be 11 but I have only found 8; Solomon (b. 1828) married Mary Wilson, Henrietta (b. Jun 1830), Minerva (b. 1834), William (b. 1840), Prudence (b. 9 Jan 1845), Henry (b. 1 May 1848 d. 20 May 1848), Stephen (b. 15 Jun 1849) & Samuel (b. Nov 1850). Sybil died 21 July 1851 in Bela Squire Crossing in Farmington, Hartford County, CT age 47 years old and Montgumery died 16 Aug 1883 in Winchester, Litchfield County, CT age 81 years old.

Solomon Webster & Mary Wilson had 11 known children; Franklin (b. 1850) married Mary Corlis in 1882, Laura (b. 30 Jul 1851) married Isaac Elwell [grandson of Joseph Elwell Sr. & Polly Wilson], Frederic Roy (b. 1852) married Mary Blett, Riley (b. Mar 1858 d. 24 Jun 1917) never married, Susan (b. 14 Aug 1861) married Andrew Cochran in 1878, Watson Squires in 1888 and Walter Humphrey in 1810, Janet (b. 1864) married Edwin Snow, Isadora "Dora" M. (b.1860's) married Francis W. Hack, Emma (b. 22 Feb 1868) married Egbert King in 1891, Mary (b. 1869 d. 1869) died of Cyanosis, Daniel (b. 1870), Justina Janet (b. 1870 d. 1870) died of Cyanosis. I also have two other children in the census with them a Prudence (b. 9 Jan 1859) and a Ferdine (b. 1859) - believe these are the same person & I also believe that Prudence is Solomon's sister.

The above photo was taken at Bert's wife Lizzie's funeral July of 1921.

Left to Right: Stanley, Bert, Frank, Fred Jr, Nora, Minnie, Elmer, Judd. Fred & Mary Webster standing in front in the middle.

Frederic Roy Webster [moved to Michigan with his aunt & uncle, Isaac Elwell (b. 1812) & Thankful M. Wilson (b. 1812) after 1870] he & his wife Mary Blett had 6 children who where all born in Michigan; Frank E. (b. 1878), Lena Belle (b. 1881), Fred Agusta (b. 1883), Bert Alvin (b. 1887), Nora Delle (b. 1889) & Stanley (b. 1892). It should be noted here that in 1880 Frank should have been about 2 years old & he was not in the census with his parents, however a child was with them named Charles that was born in 1879, I believe this is Frank. Also Mary was married before to Henry W. Price & they had 4 children - Nellie, Minnie, Elmer & Byron Judson (aka Judd) & in many census were named Webster.

(The photo to the left is Webster children back row left to right is Frank, Bert, Fred Jr, sitting is Nora & Stanley. Missing in Lena Belle since she died in 1916, I'm assuming that the photo was taken after that time.)

Bert is my great grandfather, his daughter Edith Webster married Roy Lash, her daughter was Ruth Ann Lash who is my mother.

I hold in my hand two wonderful books. The first one is A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site by Kenneth L. Feder. GoodReads calls it "A fascinating story of Native Americans, freed African-American slaves, and assorted European outcasts who came together and established a settlement that thrived from 1740 to 1860, this case study integrates the history and archaeology of a multicultural, multiethnic New England village." I have had the book since I purchased some for my mother & grandmother from Walt Langraf in May of 1998 & he sent me a copy as a gift. At that time I was still in college & had limited time to read it, I have recently started reading it again. The book talks about Archaeology terminology & a basic knowledge of Archaeology. It also talks about my second wonderful book "The Legend of the Barkhamsted Light House" by Lewis S. Mills, MA. , which is written in the style of The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

In Feder's book is more factual, while Mills' book is more "romantic" - both are prized possessions of my collection of family heirlooms. Not only do I treasure the information in those books & the papers I received back in 1998, I treasure the friend I had in Walt Langraf, I know that this world is a little bit darker now that he is no longer with us.
One day in the near future I hope to step onto this Valley where my ancestors lived & loved. One day I hope that my children can see the importance of history. The song by Cher, "Gypsy's Tramps & Theives" keeps running through my head; James Chagum was considered a run-away servant, he & his brave wife Molly Barber was considered outlaws...

In Lewis S. Mills book, "The Legend of the Barkhamsted Light House" page 93 he writes...

“Molly Barber and James Chaugham
Dead and Buried-gone forever:
Scattered now are their descendants.
Some are in the Town of Woodbury
Busy digging graves and hunting;
Some in Riverton and Colebrook
Some in Harwinton and Winsted,
Some in Michigan are living.

… Generations speeding onward
In an ever widening circle,
Carry far the blood of Chaugham
And his spouse, brave Molly Barber..."
My family are part of that "...SOME IN MICHIGAN ARE LIVING...."

          Lighthouse Tribe of Barkhamsted, CT        

They were a quiet little community in the hills of Connecticut. Here is there story...

It all starts with JAMES CHAUGHUM and MOLLY BARBER. James was born to Samuel & Priscilla Chaughum circa 1710 on Block Island, Rhode Island. James went to worked as a gardener for Molly's father. Molly was born in Ireland about 1714. Her father's name could be Peter Barber, but it is unknown. It is unknown when they came to Wethersfield, CT.

The story goes that Molly had many male callers, she fell in love with a gentleman caller, and her father denied them to get married and locked her up on their grounds, the gentleman then moved out west. James seeing Molly so sad gave her a rose from the garden and a friendship blossomed. They eventually fell in love and decided to run away so they could be together. Molly's angered father chased them from Wethersfield, CT into an Indian village near Barkhamsted, were he passed right by Molly and didn't even recognize her. Molly and James then settled in the mountain range around Barkhamsted where they flourished.

They had 8 children in all; Sally, Samuel, Solomon, Meribah (Mary), Hannah Sands, Mercy, Mary (Polly), and Elizabeth. Samuel married a Miss. Green, Solomon married a Miss. Hayes, Meribah (Mary) married Samuel Lawerence, Hannah Sands married Ruben Barber in 1784, Mercy married Isaac Jacklyn, Mary (Polly) married William Wilson before 1797.

My link is Mary & William Wilson (click on their names above, and it will take you to their website)

Suggested Reading
A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site, by Kenneth L. Feder (Mayfield Publishing Company, Mountain View, California---1994).(Book cover scanned by Sherry L. Carsten)

Barkhamsted, CT and its centennial 1879, by William Wallace Lee, (Meriden, CT: Republican Steam Print, 1881).
The Legend of Barkhamsted Light House, by Lewis Sprauge Mills, (Lewis Sprauge Mill, publisher. Barkhamsted, CT).

Other Links to the Lighthouse

          Melody Rose Christmas        
We are getting ready for Christmas and thought we’d let you know, we’ve updated our last posting dates for you here. LAST CHRISTMAS POSTING DATES   UK – Dec 21st 2016 or 22nd Dec 2016 for Express Delivery Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg – December 16th 2016 USA/Canada/Finland for Christmas 2016 – 15th Dec […]
          Gorgeous Greyhounds/Lurchers for Adoption this Christmas (UK)        
We all know that dogs are for life and not just for Christmas but there is no better time to give a gorgeous Greyhound his or her forever home. Rescues all over the world are working particularly hard to find these beautiful creatures and dogs of various other breeds homes in these tough economic times so if you have room in your home, family and heart (as well as on your sofa/bed, which will automatically become their property, haha!), please take a look at these gorgeous Greyhounds and Lurchers:


At Dun Roamin Rehoming in Warwickshire, Kane is a gorgeous 2 year old Lurcher who has a fabulous disposition. He is vaccinated, innoculated against kennel cough and microchipped. He has unfortunately become very stressed in kennels so a foster or permanent home is needed as soon as possible for him. Call Lee during office hours on 07854 743726 if you are interested or visit the Dun Roamin website for more information.


Judy is a 4 year old friendly Lurcher who is currently located in the Edinburgh & Lothian SPCA Centre. She has had 3 pups, all of whom are also available for adoption. There is little other information on the SPCA website, but a picture of Judy can be seen here. Please call 03000 999 999 to discuss her and please be sure to read the rehoming guidelines on the web page as well.

 ***The SPCA has other Greyhounds and Lurchers available for adoption so please see the website for Jetson, Tip, Levi, Lucky and the other beautiful dogs there.

 Sophie & Lucy

Sophie and Lucy are mother and pup Greyhounds who were rescued from Ireland. Having been found as strays, they were hours from being put to sleep when GRWE found them and brought them to the UK. A specialist Greyhound charity, these are not the only dogs available for rehoming. There are many more in need of their forever homes so please call 07000 785 092 to enquire about the girls or any other dog you would love to love. Check out the Greyhound Rescue West of England site for more pictures an details.


Finally, Annabelle is in the Shrewsbury branch of Dogs Trust and is looking for her forever home. Very sociable and loving, Annabelle is no more than 2 years old and is a big softie, or a couch potato as they call her there! She needs a home without children and needs a little training but will make a beautiful pet. Call 01952 770225 for more details.

***You can go to the Dogs Trust website for a search of the latest Greyhounds they have for rehoming at the moment. There are many.

Please remember that Greyhounds, like any dog, may need a little work and each one has their own individual personality but they make brilliant pets. Each one of these certainly deserves a loving home so please consider them or their friends. Each rescue has its own rehoming policy so expect to be asked for a fee, to make a home visit appointment and have a little patience because the process is certainly worth it in the end.
          ALERT!!! eBay Auction in Memory of Snip Nua Ends TODAY!!!        

Today is a very sad day. Today is the 2 year anniversary of the death of Snip Nua, a gorgeous Greyhound who was owned by a syndicate, Fior Gael, including Irish comedian Dara O'Brien. A greyhound who sustained an injury that was completely treatable. A greyhound who was put to sleep instead of being treated because she could no longer race.

Each and every one of those individuals who took that decision should be ashamed of themselves.

She was born on the 27th April 2008, and became a star when she featured in the BBC programme Three Men go to Ireland on New Year's Day 2010.

By that time, Snip Nua was already dead.

On the 14th December 2009, she fell during a race at Harolds Cross greyhound stadium in Dublin. She suffered a hock injury, one that did not threaten her life. Sorry, should not have threatened her life. She was put down on economic grounds. In my humble opinion this practice should be illegal because it IS animal abuse. The Dublin Society for the Protection of Animals also think so.

To raise awareness and funds, artist Tomasz Adamski has created the beautiful portrait of Snip Nua that can be seen above. It is currently being auctioned off but this auction ends TODAY.

If you would like to be bid then go to the eBay auction behind the link to bid on the gorgeous girl's image. It still has 4 hours to go so please, if you can afford it, consider bidding. All of the proceeds go to Action for Greyhounds, a fantastic non-profit organisation that campaigns tirelessly for improvements in welfare for Greyhounds and who do their best to promote rehoming.

***Please feel free to share this page or the information on it to promote the auction. This little girl may be beyond our help but every penny bid on this portrait will go towards helping other Greyhounds avoid the same fate.
          Harrowing Stories Of Greyhound Abuse & Slaughter        
It's been a few days since my last post and I have very little time on my hands today so I thought I'd just provide a few URLs that might be of interest to thoe of you that are as disgusted by the Greyhound slaughter occurring worldwide as I am. These links prove that Greyhound slaughter does actually take place and that it is not a figment of our imagination... as some people seem to think it is.

The links below are to news sites and so offer details of cases that are hard to read. They are somewhat graphic in nature and may not be good bedtime reading for those that cannot stomach such details. However, I highly recommend that you take the time to read them and pass them on to anyone you feel might be interested in spreading the world and adding their voice:

Concentration camp for more than 30 greyhounds, article here

Hartelpool greyhound found dead with ears hacked off, article here

Pregnant greyhound found killed with ears hacked off near Bristol, article here

Greyhound found drowned in the river Foyle (Ireland), article here

Dumped greyhound found in Sittingbourne, involved in a road traffic accident, article here

Greyhound found stabbed to death in Sunderland, article here
          MoD Orders More Starstreak Missiles        
Starstreak, built by Thales at their plant in Belfast, forms part of the UK’s ground-based air defence capability, which was used to protect London during the Olympic Games in 2012. The contract with Thales to increase MOD’s stockpile of the missiles will sustain 475 jobs at the company’s facilities in Northern Ireland. The high velocity missiles, which can travel over a kilometre in less than a second, provide the Army with an air defence capability that is able to ...
          The Republic of Ireland and the 1964 European Nations’ Cup        
Gerry Farrell rewinds more than five decades to take a look at Ireland's often forgotten qualifying campaign for the 1964 European Nations' Cup.
          Already? Midsummer madness as European competitions return        
Alan Moore discusses the return of the major European competitions as a number of League of Ireland sides prepare for battle.
          Andrew Samonsky, Hannah Elless and Bryce Pinkham to Star in BENNY & JOON Musical at The Old Globe; Cast, Creatives Set!        

The Old Globe today announced the complete cast and creative team for the first show of its 2017-2018 Season, the world premiere musical Benny & Joon, with book by Kirsten Guenther, music by Nolan Gasser, and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein. Based on the beloved 1993 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture written by Barry Berman and Leslie McNeil, Benny & Joon is directed by Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director of New York's Transport Group.

It will run September 7 - October 22, 2017, on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Previews run September 7 - 14, with opening night on Friday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $36 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18 at 12:00 noon.

Benny & Joon is a delightful world premiere musical based on the beloved offbeat '90s romantic comedy movie. As Joon's sole caretaker, auto mechanic Benny makes sure his eccentric sister lives a comfortable, safe, and predictable life. But when Sam shows up, his off-kilter take on the world-full of classic films, Buster Keaton, and an oddball approach to domestic life-turns everything upside down. With unforgettable characters and a beguiling and tuneful score, Benny & Joon explores what happens when we step out of our comfort zones and take a leap toward love.

The cast features Andrew Samonsky (Broadway's South Pacific, Scandalous) as Benny, Hannah Elless (Bright Star at the Globe and on Broadway) as Joon, and Bryce Pinkham (Tony Award nominee for Broadway's A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) as Sam, along with Colin Hanlon (Broadway's Falsettos, In Transit) as Mike, January LaVoy (Enron on Broadway, Coraline Off Broadway) as Ruthie, Paolo Montalban (Globe's Allegiance, ABC's Cinderella with Brandy) as Larry, Natalie Toro (Broadway's A Tale of Two Cities, Les Misérables) as Dr. Cruz and Mrs. Smail, and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Disney's Freaky Friday at La Jolla Playhouse) as Waldo and Video Store Owner. Completing the cast as Understudies are San Diego local Katie Whalley Banville (Globe's A Doll's House, Playhouse's Freaky Friday and Escape to Margaritaville) and Jake Millgard (Globe/USD Shiley M.F.A. graduate, Globe's Guys and Dolls).

The creative team includes Scott Rink (Choreographer), Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design), R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Michael Starobin (Orchestrations), J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director), Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting), Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager), and Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager).

"I'm truly excited to open the Globe's 2017-2018 Season with this special new musical," said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "A world premiere based on the delightfully offbeat 1993 MGM film, Benny & Joon centers on something rare in the musical theatre: the bond between siblings. The love between the brother and sister of the title is deep, moving, and real, and it gives this musical a gentleness and sweetness that I find completely captivating. Creators Kirsten Guenther, Nolan Gasser, and Mindi Dickstein have brought to the Globe a memorable and unique show, and my friend Jack Cummings III-who has carved out a unique space in the American theatre with the very human, people-driven stories he tells-brings Benny & Joon a beautiful spontaneity and freshness. The show's score-rich, complex, melodic, and fun-won me over instantly when I first heard it, and I am happy to share this bright new work with San Diego audiences."

Additional events taking place during the run of Benny & Joon include:

VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m.

An opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatregoing experience. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE.

SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, September 16 following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians, and scholars. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play's concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! FREE.

POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, September 19, Tuesday, September 26, and Wednesday, October 4.

Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. FREE.

Single tickets to Benny & Joon start at $36 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18 at 12:00 noon. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more.

Performances begin on September 7 and continue through October 22, 2017. Performance times: Previews: Thursday, September 7 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, September 8 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 9 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.; and Thursday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. Opening night is Friday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances (September 16 - October 22):Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be no performances on Saturday, September 23 at 2:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. and no matinee performance on Saturday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m.


Kirsten Guenther (Book) previously lived in Paris, where she worked as a Paris correspondent for and penned the popular weekly column "The Sexy Expat," about an American journalist trying to navigate and date the French. Her current theatre commissions include The Years Between (T. Fellowship) and the new musical Measure of Success (The Rockefeller Foundation Grant). Ms. Guenther wrote the book and lyrics for Little Miss Fix-It (as seen on NBC) and the book for Mrs. Sharp (Richard Rodgers Award for the Playwrights Horizons workshop starring Jane Krakowski, directed by Michael Greif). She penned the books to Out of My Head (licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights) and The Cable Car Nymphomaniac (Bay Area Theatre Award nomination). Ms. Guenther is the recipient of a Johnny Mercer Writers Fellowship, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, and a Lincoln Center Honorarium. She has penned sketches for personalities such as James Franco, Jared Leto, Christopher Walken, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steve Buscemi, Kathie Lee and Hoda, and others. She holds a B.F.A. in Acting from USC and an M.F.A. from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University.

Nolan Gasser (Music) is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist. He is most notably the architect of Pandora Radio's Music Genome Project and the company's chief musicologist from its founding in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University. His original compositions have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, among many others. His theatrical projects beyond Benny & Joon include the opera The Secret Garden, commissioned by San Francisco Opera (2013); the oratorio Repast: An Oratorio on the Life of Booker Wright (2015); and the musical Start Me Up, in development. Dr. Gasser's forthcoming book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, will be released in 2018 (Flatiron Books - Macmillan Publishers). He is also the subject of a documentary for the ESPN FiveThirtyEight series The Collectors entitled "Breaking Music Down to Its Genes" (2015). The film highlights his forthcoming work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to pilot an algorithm to provide personalized musical therapy for cancer patients. Dr. Gasser's TEDx Talk, "Empowering Your Musical Taste," is available on YouTube.

Mindi Dickstein (Lyrics) is a lyricist, librettist, and playwright. She wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Little Women (licensed by Music Theatre International, original cast album released by Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records). Her work on Benny & Joon, showcased in the 2016 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival, was developed in part at Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, and Transport Group. Her current projects include Snow in August (based on the Pete Hamill novel), which had a developmental reading at Second Stage in June; and Alight Arise Return, developed at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and Lark Play Development Center. Her other musicals include Disney's Toy Story: The Musical, for which she wrote the book; and Trip (Playwrights Horizons Steinberg Charitable Trust Commission), Notes Across a Small Pond (Bridewell Theatre), and Beasts and Saints (Boston Music Theatre Project, ASCAP Foundation Workshop), for which she wrote book and lyrics. Her short play Starving to Death in Midtown was produced worldwide as part of the 2015 Climate Change Theatre Action. Her songs have been performed widely, including at Lincoln Center's Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists. Ms. Dickstein's honors include a Jonathan Larson Award, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, and two New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships. She received her M.F.A. from and is currently on the faculty of New York University's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Jack Cummings III (Director) is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Transport Group, where he most recently directed William Inge's Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba in rotating repertory. His favorite Transport Group credits include Queen of the Mist by Michael John LaChiusa (world premiere); See Rock City & Other Destinations by Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias (New York premiere); The Audience (conceiver, world premiere); cul-de-sac by John Cariani (world premiere); Normal by Yvonne Adrian, Tom Kochan, and Cheryl Stern (world premiere); Marcy in the Galaxy by Nancy Shayne (world premiere); and Three Days to See (author/conceiver, world premiere); as well as revivals of I Remember Mama; Hello Again; First Lady Suite; Once Upon a Mattress; Almost, Maine; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; The Boys in the Band; All the Way Home; and Our Town. His other New York credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally's And Away We Go (The Pearl Theatre Company), 1,000 Words Come to Mind by Michele Lowe and Scott Richards (Inner Voices Theatre, world premiere), and Arlington by Polly Pen and Victor Lodato (Inner Voices Theatre, world premiere). His regional credits include I Remember Mama (Two River Theater), A Streetcar Named Desire (Gretna Theatre), Violet and The Young Man from Atlanta (Barksdale Theatre), and The Illusion (Nevada Theatre Company). He received his B.A. in International Relations from William and Mary and his M.F.A. in Directing from University of Virginia. He is married to actress Barbara Walsh.

Katie Whalley Banville (Understudy) returns to The Old Globe, where she previously worked on A Doll's House. Her recent credits include Disney'sFreaky Friday and the world premiere of Escape to Margaritaville (La Jolla Playhouse). She is a Resident Artist at Cygnet Theatre Company, with credits including Dainty June in Gypsy, April in Company, Parade, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, and Man of La Mancha. Her other regional credits include Louise inGypsy (Craig Noel Award) and Clara in Passion (ion theatre company), Jenny Hill in Big Fish and Gingy in Shrek The Musical (Moonlight Stage Productions), and Andi Lee in 42nd Street (San Diego Musical Theatre). Her choreography credits include Gutenberg! The Musical! (Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company) and A Christmas Carol (Cygnet).

Hannah Elless (Joon) returns to The Old Globe, where she originated the role of Margo Crawford in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Broadway musicalBright Star. Ms. Elless made her Broadway debut singing "Bless the Lord" in the revival of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell, followed by a very "Neil" turn in the Drama Desk Award-nominated The Other Josh Cohen under the direction of Tony Award winner Ted Sperling. She was most recently seen Off Broadway in Transport Group's Obie Award-winning productions of Picnic, as Millie Owens, and Come Back, Little Sheba, as Marie Buckholder. She can be found this fall on HBO's new television drama "The Deuce." Ms. Elless's film credits include Before Winter, The Lake Effect, and The Over/Under, as well as the upcoming When Mary Met Ally.

Colin Hanlon (Mike) was in the Falsettos revival, In Transit, and Rent on Broadway. He also played Fiyero in the first national tour of Wicked. He was Adam in The New York premiere of Dot by Colman Domingo, directed by Susan Stroman (Vineyard Theatre). Mr. Hanlon was in the original casts of I Love You Because and Edges. He played Pete in the world premiere of The 12 by Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company) and Luke in the regional premiere of Next Fall at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Mr. Hanlon's television credits include Steven on the Emmy Award-winning "Modern Family" on ABC, "Difficult People" on Hulu, and "The Sinner" on USA Network. He also starred in and produced "Submissions Only."

January LaVoy (Ruthie) is makes her Old Globe debut in Benny & Joon. She has appeared on Broadway in Enron and Off Broadway in Measure for Measure (Theatre for a New Audience), Wings (Second Stage Theatre), Coraline (MCC Theater), and Two Trains Running, Home, Funnyhouse of a Negro,and the world premiere of Will Eno's Wakey, Wakey (Signature Theatre Company). Her regional credits include Mattie Campbell in Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Mark Taper Forum), Kate in Good People (Pittsburgh Public Theater), Isabella in Measure for Measure (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Dawn in Lobby Hero, and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (Denver Center Theatre Company), and the world premiere of Native Guard (ALLIANCE THEATRE). Her television credits include "Blue Bloods," "3 lbs.," "Law & Order" (original, "Criminal Intent," and "Special Victims Unit"), and Noelle Ortiz on "One Life to Live". Her voiceover work includes many national commercial campaigns and over 150 audiobooks. Ms. LaVoy has been honored as Audiobook Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly and has received multiple Audie Awards.

Jake Millgard (Understudy) was last seen in the Globe's productions of Guys and Dolls, Measure for Measure (Globe for All), Love's Labor's Lost,Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and Arms and the Man. He received his M.F.A. from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program and appeared in their productions of As You Like It, The Seagull, Clybourne Park, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre. His New York credits include Sex and Violence, On Campus, and Remembering Kimberly. His regional credits include Dracula and A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville), The Full Monty (Northern Stage), and Art, The Odd Couple, and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (Mount Baker Theatre's Summer Repertory Theatre). He also appeared in the premiere of The Open Road Anthology (Humana Festival of New American Plays). Some of his television and film credits include "Grimm," Pudding Face, Placebo, and Frank and Barry.

Paolo Montalban (Larry) was last seen at the Globe as Mike Masaoka in the world premiere of Allegiance. He is best known for portraying The Prince opposite Brandy in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (ABC), as well as the series lead Kung Lao in "Mortal Kombat: Conquest" (TNT), which was based on the popular video game. He has appeared on Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Emilia Clarke; as Manjiro in Pacific Overtures(Roundabout Theatre Company); and in The King and I. He was most recently seen Off Broadway as Tommie Haw, a stripping Chinese American cowboy, in Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons). His other New York credits include Eglamour in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare in the Park) and Claro in The Romance of Magno Rubio (Ma-Yi Theater Company). His regional work includes Arthur in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (The Muny, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company), the world premiere of Bella (Dallas Theater Center), The King in The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music (American Conservatory Theater), The Emperor in The Orphan of Zhao (La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater), and Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ogunquit Playhouse). Mr. Montalban has played recurring and guest-starring roles on "Madam Secretary," "The Blacklist," "Nurse Jackie," and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." His film credits include Just Wright, American Adobo, andThe Great Raid.

Bryce Pinkham (Sam) is making his Old Globe debut. His Broadway credits include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, The Heidi Chronicles,Holiday Inn, Ghost, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. His favorite television appearances are on PBS's "Mercy Street" and Baz Luhrmann's "The Get Down." He is a frequent collaborator with Outside the Wire, a theatre company that brings social-impact performances to American military audiences around the world. His most recent tours include Kuwait, Qatar, Japan, and Guantanamo Bay. He is a proud Leonore Annenberg Fellow and an enthusiastic graduate of Boston College and Yale School of Drama. Along with Globe M.F.A. alumnus Lucas Caleb Rooney, he co-founded a charity that uses theatrical storytelling to empower at-risk youth in Madagascar and the United States.

Andrew Samonsky (Benny) has appeared on Broadway as Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Kenneth Ormiston in Scandalous, and Lt. Cable in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific, with which he was also seen in the "Live from Lincoln Center" PBS broadcast. Most recently he played Robert Kincaid in the first national tour of The Bridges of Madison County. He originated the role of Captain Phoebus in the American premiere ofThe Hunchback of Notre Dame (Paper Mill Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse). Mr. Samonsky was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Frank Russell in the Off Broadway production of Michael John LaChiusa's Queen of the Mist, and he appeared in the City Center Encores! productions ofFiorello! and Merrily We Roll Along. He has originated the roles of Richard in Somewhere in Time (Portland Center Stage), Beauchamp in Tales of the City(American Conservatory Theater), Joshua in Little Miss Sunshine (La Jolla Playhouse), and Nick in Disney's On the Record (first national tour). He is a soloist with symphonies across the country, including the New York Philharmonic and Boston Pops. His television and film credits include "Elementary," "Guiding Light," The Ceiling Fan, and The Secret Song.

Natalie Toro (Dr. Cruz, Mrs. Smail) originated the role of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway and won Sarasota Magazine's Best Featured Actress Award in its pre-Broadway run. She was the first American to play the role of Eponine in Les Misérables, and she was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for her portrayal of Eva Peron in the 20th anniversary tour of Evita. She originated the role of Sally in Alan Menken's A Christmas Carol and also played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Grizabella in Cats, and Camila in In the Heights. She has originated roles Off Broadway including La Bruja in The Yellow Brick Road and Ginger in Zombie Prom. Her regional work includes The Bikinis, Zorba, Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers,Frances of Guernica, Everything's Ducky, and The Fix produced by Cameron Macintosh. Ms. Toro is currently a headliner with her one-woman show on major cruise lines around the world. Her CD Natalie Toro includes a duet with Sutton Foster, and her holiday CD Just in Time for Christmas features duets with Ryan Kelly from Celtic Thunder and Grammy Award winner Jon Secada. Ms. Toro's television credits include "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Elementary," "Person of Interest," and "Black Box." She has also performed with numerous symphony orchestras and at Carnegie Hall and the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Jason SweetTooth Williams (Waldo, Video Store Owner) is making his Old Globe debut with Benny & Joon. He has spent the last year in the new Disney musical Freaky Friday, enjoying runs at La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Alley Theatre, and Signature Theatre Company, where it received its world premiere. He was also recently seen Off Broadway opposite Jackie Hoffman as Prince Dauntless in Transport Group's production of Once Upon a Mattress directed by Jack Cummings III. Mr. Williams is a longtime collaborator of award-winning writer Joe Iconis, having appeared in Iconis's Bloodsong of Love (Ars Nova), The Black Suits (Summer Play Festival/The Public Theater), ReWrite (Urban Stages), and Things to Ruin (album available on Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records). His other favorite theatre credits include Crossing Brooklyn (Transport Group), The Trouble with Doug (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), and The Disappearing Man (Musical Theatre Factory). As a writer, Mr. Williams co-wrote the '70s Blaxploitation-inspired action musical Broadway BounTy Hunter, which had its world premiere last summer starring Annie Golden at Barrington Stage Company.

Scott Rink (Choreographer) choreographed the Off Broadway productions of Once Upon a Mattress, Three Days to See, Queen of the Mist, Hello Again, Being Audrey, Crossing Brooklyn, Songs for a New World, and Normal. Mr. Rink's regional credits include Carnaval de Fuego (Six Flags Elitch Gardens),Alice in Wonderland (Birmingham Children's Theatre), Disney's Mulan (Imagination Stage), and Seussical (Wagner College). His commissioned works include dances for Ailey II, ABT II, Oakland Ballet Company, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Repertory Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, Harvard University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and University of Minnesota, among others. Mr. Rink has created a number of works for his company danceRINK in New York City and abroad. As a dancer, Mr. Rink performed in the companies of Eliot Feld, Elisa Monte, Karole Armitage, and Lar Lubovitch.

Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design) previously designed sets for The Old Globe's production of The Few. His Broadway credits include set and costumes for Deaf West's Spring Awakening, set for Fool for Love, and sets for this season's revival of Once on This Island at Circle in the Square Theatre. His recent Off Broadway credits include sets and/or costumes for Rancho Viejo, Indian Summer, The Christians, and Iowa (Playwrights Horizons),Sell/Buy/Date (Manhattan Theatre Club), Homos, or Everyone in America (LAByrinth Theater Company), Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba (Transport Group), The Harvest (Lincoln Center Theater), The Glory of the World (Brooklyn Academy Of Music's Harvey Theater), Cloud Nine (Atlantic Theater Company), and other work at Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Soho Rep., Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Transport Group, and many others. Mr. Laffrey's regional work includes the Humana Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Goodspeed Musicals, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage, Studio Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, and others. He has also designed internationally in Tokyo, Oslo, Osaka, and throughout Australia. Mr. Laffrey won a 2017 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Set and Costume Design, and he has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and four Henry Hewes Design Awards, along with numerous regional accolades.

R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design) is the resident lighting designer for New York City-based Transport Group, and he has designed their Off Broadway productions of Inge in Rep: Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba; Once Upon a Mattress; Three Days to See; I Remember Mama (Henry Hewes Design Award nomination); Almost, Maine; Queen of the Mist (Hewes nomination); Hello Again; See Rock City (Drama Desk Award nomination); Bury the Dead(Drama Desk nomination); Marcy in the Galaxy; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Normal; The Audience (Drama Desk nomination); First Lady Suite;Requiem for William; Our Town; and the world premiere play And Away We Go by Terrence McNally, produced by The Pearl Theatre Company. His regional credits include The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award) and The Outgoing Tide (Barrymore nomination) (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Cake Off (Signature Theatre Company), and I Remember Mama (Two River Theater), as well as Illinois Shakespeare Festival's 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 seasons. Mr. Kennedy has designed national tours of The Secret Garden (Joseph Jefferson Award Citation), Once on This Island, Five Guys Named Moe, and A Grand Night for Singing.

Kai Harada (Sound Design) designed the Broadway productions of Amélie, Sunday in the Park with George, Allegiance, Gigi, Fun Home, On the Town,First Date, Follies (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), and Million Dollar Quartet. His other credits include Poster Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Beaches (Drury Lane Theatre), Brooklynite (Vineyard Theatre), Little Dancer and First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb (The Kennedy Center), Zorro (Moscow, Atlanta), Hinterm Horizont (Berlin), Sweeney Todd and The Pirates of Penzance (Portland Opera), and She Loves Me (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). He was also the audio consultant for the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Michael Starobin (Orchestrations) previously orchestrated In Your Arms at The Old Globe. His credits include Sunday in the Park with George, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Freaky Friday, Kid Victory, Falsettos, First Daughter Suite, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, If/Then, Annie, Dogfight, Leap of Faith, Queen of the Mist, The People in the Picture, Sondheim on Sondheim, Next to Normal (Tony Award), The Glorious Ones, Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Adrift in Macao, Bernarda Alba, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Assassins (Tony Award), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A New Brain, A Christmas Carol, Hello Again, Guys and Dolls (1992), My Favorite Year, In Trousers, Once on This Island, Closer Than Ever, Legs Diamond, Romance/Romance, Carrie, Birds of Paradise, Rags, Three Guys Naked, and Von Richthofen. His film credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Goofy Movie, Life with Mikey, Home on the Range, Tangled, Lucky Stiff, and Beauty and the Beast (2017).

J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director) previously served as music director of The Old Globe's Rain. He recently penned new arrangements for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, currently playing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His select New York credits include Adding Machine, Curtains, First Daughter Suite, The House of Blue Leaves, Iowa, Mary Poppins, We the People, and seven seasons with Lincoln Center Theater. His regional credits include Barrington Stage Company, Hangar Theatre, The Kennedy Center, New York Stage and Film, three national tours for Theatreworks USA, and Two River Theater. He is part of the founding faculty of New Studio on Broadway at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, as well as the Musical Theatre Conservatory at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and he is music supervisor at Camp Broadway. He is also a composer, lyricist, and writer whose works have been seen Off Broadway. In addition, he is the resident composer for The Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York and is a recipient of an American Theatre Wing Jonathan Larson Grant.

Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting) returns to The Old Globe after casting their productions of October Sky and Bright Star (Artios Award nomination). His Broadway and national tour credits include Bright Star, Next Fall (Artios nomination), The Seafarer, Coram Boy, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Dirty Dancing, and South Pacific. Off Broadway and regionally he has cast productions for Lincoln Center Theater, Women's Project Theater, New York Stage and Film/Powerhouse Theater (Artios nomination for The Power of Duff), Atlantic Theater Company, Naked Angels (Artios Award for Fault Lines), Pasadena Playhouse, Irish Arts Center, Soho Theatre in London, American Theater Group, and New York Musical Festival, among many others.

Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager) has previously worked on the Globe productions of King Richard II; Picasso at the Lapin Agile; October Sky; Kiss Me, Kate; The Twenty-seventh Man; Bright Star; Dog and Pony; The Winter's Tale; Be a Good Little Widow; Allegiance; A Room with a View; Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show; The Savannah Disputation; Kingdom; and the 2007 Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Nero also worked on the Broadway production of Bright Star and will soon be launching the show's tour. Her selected La Jolla Playhouse credits include Sideways directed by Des McAnuff,Ruined directed by Liesl Tommy, A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Christopher Ashley, and Herringbone directed by Roger Rees and starring BD Wong. Ms. Nero has worked with several prominent regional theatres including The Kennedy Center, Hartford Stage, Center Theatre Group, Siti Company, Huntington Theatre Company, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, to name a few. Her other selected credits include Schick Machine (Paul Dresher Ensemble), which toured both nationally and internationally, and Garden of Forbidden Loves and Garden of Deadly Sound (IMAGOmoves), which performed at the International Hungarian Theatre Festival in Cluj, Romania.

Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager) has previously worked at The Old Globe on King Richard II; The Blameless; Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!; October Sky; Macbeth; Rain; The Metromaniacs; Kiss Me, Kate; The White Snake; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; The Last Goodbye; Globe for All (2014, 2015); the Summer Shakespeare Festival (2011-2013); Somewhere; Lost in Yonkers; I Do! I Do!; and The Price. Her other credits include Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin (La Jolla Playhouse), Kiss Me, Kate (Hartford Stage), The Foreigner, miXtape, See How They Run, The Music Man, and The Rivalry (Lamb's Players Theatre), The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, Candide, and Trial by Jury (Lyric Opera San Diego), and SummerFest (La Jolla Music Society). She received her B.A. in Theatre from UC San Diego.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country's leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdooR Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre's artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

          1868 Illustrated European maps.         
In 1868, Dr. William Harvey illustrated various European maps as political figures in the publication Geographical Fun Being Humorous Outlines of Various Countries. The anthropomorphism of each country is even highlighted with the inclusion of their national costume, showing us the diverse personified cultures in the region.



Holland and Belgium
















Spain and Portugal






          Stephen Roche inducted into Giro d'Italia Hall of Fame (+ video)        

Stephen Roche, winner of the Giro d’Italia in 1987, has today become the third man to be inducted into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame, joining five-time champion Eddy Merckx and three-time winner, Felice Gimondi.

His induction comes less than three months before the race visits Ireland for the first time, with three stages that will take it from Belfast to Dublin via Armagh, and took place at a location that will figure on the route of Stage 2 of the race – Giant’s Causeway, on County Antrim’s northern coast.

The year the 54-year-old won the Giro, 1987, was also the one in which he triumphed in the Tour de France and won the rainbow jersey of road world champion at Villach in Austria – only Merckx, in 1974, has won all three prizes in the same year.

Roche said: "I am very honoured by this award because the Giro d'Italia always has a special place in my heart.

“The 1987 Giro was a big victory and it opened up that year’s streak of magic,” said Roche, who lost the race leader’s maglia rosa to team mate Roberto Visentini after the Stage 13 individual time trial to San Marino.

Two days later in the Dolomites, the Irishman disobeyed team orders in the Dolomites to take back the race lead, sealing his victory by winning the final day’s individual time trial in the Aosta region.

“According to the press, only Visentini could be the Carrera captain for the Giro, but in reality, my achievements from the start of that season gave me the credentials to get a good result myself,” he reflected.

“It was really a great success – for the first time I was elevated to the rank of cycling champion.

“With the Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza in Ireland next May, it makes me even more proud of this great honour.”

Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport have produced a video showing some of the key moments from Roche’s victory in a race that is also remembered for Robert Millar’s second place overall – something no other British rider would do in a Grand Tour until Chris Froome at the 2011 Vuelta – and winning the mountains classification.

Speaking at today’s ceremony at the Causeway Hotel, Davide Cassani, former pro turned TV commentator and now Italy’s national coach, said: “As most of you know, I rode with Stephen Roche and I think he was one of the smarter riders I have ever known, very capable of managing his own efforts.

“I learned a lot from Stephen when he was my captain in the Carrera team. I believe that his entry into the Hall of Fame of the Giro d'Italia is a fully deserved recognition.”

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Winner of Italian Grand Tour in 1987 joins Eddy Merckx and Felice Gimondi in a very select club
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          Stephen Roche urges Northern Irish public to 'Be Part of the Start' when the Giro d'Italia hits Belfast        

Stephen Roche, the only Irish winner of the Giro d'Italia, has teamed up with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has launched a campaign urging people to 'Be Part of the Start' and give their support when this year's edition of the race starts there in May - with the toruist board saying the event is for everyone, not just cyclists.

The 2014 Giro starts on Friday 9 May with a time trial around Belfast, and the following day a road stage heads from there along the Causeway Coast before looping back to the capital. On Sunday 11 May, the third stage starts in Armagh and sees the peloton cross the border with the Republic of Ireland and head for the finish in Dublin.

Roche, who in 1987 won the Triple Crown of the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and World Championship, said: “To host an event of this scale is a real coup for Northern Ireland and the Republic.  Northern Ireland is a very beautiful part of the world which will make for a very scenic and of course challenging race which I’m sure that all the cyclists will enjoy.

“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people in Northern Ireland to witness an event like this at such close quarters and with all the festivities being organised to mark the occasion, I would certainly echo the words of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and urge people to ‘Be Part of the Start’ in May.”

Clare McCoy of the NITB, quoted on the website Sports News Irelannd, said: “Obviously, the fact that Northern Ireland is hosting an event as prestigious as the Giro d’Italia is a dream come true for the legions of cycling fans throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic, but the excitement will not only be for the cycling community.

“In addition to the feast of cycling, there will be a fantastic array of family-friendly events and festivals in Belfast and Armagh in the run up to and during Giro with lots of music, food and live entertainment for visitors to look forward to." 

She went on: "As Northern Ireland embraces the pink of the leader’s jersey, this will be a hugely colourful and not-to-be-missed experience which is why we’ve launched our ‘Be Part of the Start’ campaign to urge everyone in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to come along and join in the festivities in May.

“We are not only welcoming hundreds of cyclists but also their families and friends, technical teams and sponsors who have come to support them.  They will enjoy our warm hospitality, taste our local produce, see our sights and meet our people creating positive memories they will talk about when they get back to their own countries.”

Ms McCoy outlined that Nortern Ireland's hosting of major events in the past gave an insight into how the public would react to the Giro's visit.

“We know from past experience that the people of Northern Ireland really get behind the big events that come here and when you think that tens of thousands more will be joining them from the Republic of Ireland and other countries, we are on course for one of the most exciting and memorable starts to the race ever staged," she explained.

“When Northern Ireland hosted the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in 2012, we did it in record-breaking fashion as it became the first European Tour event ever to completely sell out. 

"I firmly believe that the Grande Partenza will give us another opportunity to demonstrate Northern Ireland’s ability to host massive global events and show just what makes us so special by showcasing our distinctive sense of humour, our unforgettable scenery and unique visitor attractions,” she added.

You can find more information on the 2014 Giro's Big Start in this dedicated section of the Discover Northern Ireland website.

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Tourist board says event is a "dream come true" for cycling fans, but adds that event is for everyone
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          Ireland bids to host start of 2014 Giro d'Italia        

Ireland could host the Giro d’Italia in a little over 18 months’ time with tourism bosses on bothe sides of the border putting together a joint bid to bring the start of the 2014 edition of the Corsa Rosa - the Pink Race - to the Emerald Isle.

According to a report in the Belfast Telegraph, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Failte Ireland are co-operating on the bid £3.8 million bid, which has the backing of governments on both sides of the border.

It is believed that staging the opening days of the race, planned for the bank holiday weekend from 2 to 4 May, 2014, could benefit the local economy to the tune of £10 million.

Under former race director Angelo Zomegnan and his successor Michele Acquarone, the Giro has pursued a strategy of internationalisation, including increasing the frequency of the Grande Partenza being held outside Italy.

This year’s race began in Denmark, while two years ago the opening stages were held in The Netherlands, with Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins taking the maglia rosa in the Amsterdam Prologue.

The bid to bring the Giro to Ireland, which is reportedly yet to be formally submitted, is being co-ordinated by Shade Tree Sports, a company co-founded and managed by Darach McQuaid, brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid.

The company, which has offices in Dublin and Richmond, Virginia, was also behind the successful bid by the latter for the UCI Road World Championships in 2015.

A spokesman for the company said, “It is an ongoing project" and added that further details might be made public in early November.

The Republic of Ireland hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 1998, and in Stephen Roche has a former Giro d’Italia champion.

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Tourism boards on both sides of the border co-operate to try and bring the Corsa Rosa to the Emerald Isle
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           Golf holidays in Northern Ireland reviewed         
Inspired by The Open? Head to Northern Ireland for a golf holiday, where a host of top golf-courses have coastal views to match. The Daily Mail's Chris Cutmore tees off at Portrush and Portstewart.
          Alion Science-Reamda JV to Offer EOD, Surveillance Robot Platforms; Doug King Comments        
Alion Science and Technology and Ireland-based unmanned ground robotic systems developer Reamda have launched a joint venture to offer robotic platforms intended for explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance operations. Realion Robotics said Tuesday it aims to help military, law enforcement and government agencies gain access to unmanned ground robots that can function in harsh environments. Doug King, program manager of Realion […]
          Sculptor Bryan Moore To Give Bram Stoker the Bronze Treatment        
Shock Till You Drop
Sculptor Bryan Moore To Give Bram Stoker the Bronze Treatment

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Noted artist to tackle new Bram Stoker bust project.

Celebrated master sculptor Bryan Moore made a splash a few years back with his stunning bronze bust of iconic dark fantasy scribe H.P. Lovecraft and later, of Gothic godfather Edgar Allan Poe. Now Moore is about to mold another master of horror, that of DRACULA author Bram Stoker.

Says Moore:

“The character of Count Dracula embodies what we’d all like to be: sexy, immortal, wise from centuries of lost l’amour, status hard won and enduring to the last. The undead Count represents everything timeless and deathless that never goes out of style throughout the romantic ages.”

With this latest bust, Moore will continue the trend of casting the statue in the city of his subject’s birth, in this case Dublin, Ireland.

“Fans across the globe helped me to place busts of Lovecraft in Providence, Rhode Island and Poe to Boston, Massachusetts. It seemed only fitting that Bram Stoker should return to the Emerald Isle and will be donated to the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square.”

“Placing a bust of Stoker here puts emphasis not only on his personality but also on his nationality” said Robert Nicholson, Curator of the Dublin Writers Museum. “Being born and bred a Dubliner was just as important to Stoker’s genius as it was to that of his contemporary and acquaintance, Oscar Wilde, and to many other writers born here on the cultural fault line.”

Joining Moore in his literary quest of honoring Stoker is no less than Bram’s great grand-nephew Dacre Stoker, who manages the Estate of Bram Stoker as well as co-author of both the sequel to DRACULA entitled DRACULA: THE UNDEAD.

“The Bram Stoker Estate is very pleased to endorse the Bram Stoker Bronze Bust Project. The Stoker family would ultimately like to see a statue of Bram displayed in a prominent location in Dublin. A bronze bust is certainly a fitting tribute and this effort by Bryan Moore is to be commended and is worthy of our family’s support.”

Also on board is noted DRACULA scholar, author and filmmaker David J. Skal, whose book HOLLYWOOD GOTHIC: THE TANGLED WEB OF DRACULA FROM NOVEL TO SCREEN paved the way for his much anticipated biography, SOMETHING IN THE BLOOD: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BRAM STOKER, to be published by Liveright next year.

As with the Lovecraft and Poe projects, Moore will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the costs of the bust as well as personally making a financial donation to Children’s Books Ireland, a local organization that promotes children’s literacy.

“It’s an incredible amount of work for many months to plan and launch these bust projects with the project team, but also incredibly rewarding” says Moore. “So many fellow fans from across the world rally to the cause and help me turn this vision into a reality, which is to celebrate these legendary authors of works that mean so much to the public consciousness and to pop culture. It’s about time that the authors of these classics of horror literature were seen as legitimate scribes of something really special that never becomes dated. Horror will outlast us all.”

The post Sculptor Bryan Moore To Give Bram Stoker the Bronze Treatment appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

          The Channel Will Still Be There And So Will I        
Courtesy of Stephen Junk, North Channel.

Stephen Junk was supposed to be almost on his way to Ireland for his last Oceans Seven attempt.

After completing crossings of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel, and Tsugaru Channel, he had one channel left: the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

But the worse scenario came up for the 56-year-old Australian. "Two weeks ago, I dislocated my shoulder in the chicken/duck pen. I have never had a sports injury in the whole of my swimming career.

In fact, I have watched many of my swimming buddies drop around me with shoulder injuries, requiring surgery. I thought I would easily be able to bounce back into things and tackle any swim put in front of me

Reality has hit him hard - and pushed back his final channel attempt of the Oceans Seven an entire year.

"I realize now that is not the case. I have been seeing a sports medicine doctors and physios to try to get some mobility back in the joint. It hasn't improved and realistically I will need another 12 weeks of ongoing management to be in a position of handling a big swim."

He has no power in his right arm and feels like he may swim in a circle.

"I have had to make the decision to pull out from my North Channel crossing. I was so looking forward to completing this swim. I am angry, annoyed, saddened and depressed as I have put everything into this year of my life. I have put on so many kilos so can now officially be labelled obese, I've done the cold water training, I've done the miles, but can't do this without a shoulder."

Despite his disappointment, his passion and dedication are deep. "I will leave the North Channel till next year. The Channel will still be there and so will I."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

          André Wiersig Crashes Upon The California Coast        
Courtesy of André Wiersig, Catalina Channel, California.

"Finishing an open ocean channel swim for me is very different than finishing an Ironman triathlon or a marathon run," says German endurance athlete André Wiersig who has done marathon runs, Hawaiian Ironman triathlons and four Oceans Seven channels.

"I always feel deep gratitude for the ocean. All you can do is swim and stay positive in your mind. But the ocean makes the rules out there and decides if you achieve or not, if you swim a fast time or if you stuck in currents for hours. That´s what I love so much about open ocean swimming. You are not racing against somebody like I did many years in triathlon and track cycling. Maybe that is why I don't feel like a winner when I reach dry land after a open ocean swim. It´s a privilege to swim and I'm the guest."

When Wiersig recently completed a 9 hour 48 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel, he came across a rocky coast along the Southern California shoreline - and was wondering where and when he was going to reach shore [see photo above].

"We were so close, 500 yards away from the shore and about 9 hours into the swim. The crew guided me along the coast for about one hour. I was wondering and asked if they want me to swim down to Mexico. They said, 'It isn't safe to get out of the water [here] because of the big swells and rocky beaches.'

To be honest, that is not what you want to hear, but I´m glad to have experienced people around me and I made it [onto shore] without any scrapes

Last August, Wiersig completed the 35 km North Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 12 hours 17 minutes. "In the challenging conditions in the North Channel, I was smashed against a rock at the end and I have some scars on my legs and feet as a memory."

But he keeps everything in proper perspective. "Nothing compared to track cycling where you crash most likely a minimum of once a year. That is why I gave up pro cycling and that is the reason why I can't stand watching the Tour de France when the guys crash going over 40 mph, because I know how it feels."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

          Oceans Seven Featured As #1 Extreme Adventure        
Courtesy of The Weather Channel on the Oceans Seven.

Darren Miller, one of the seven aquatic adventurers, was featured on The Weather Channel's Top Ten: Extreme Adventures that was broadcast on August 6th throughout America.

Miller was the first individual to go 7-for-7 on the Oceans Seven (i.e., 7 successful crossings in 7 attempts of the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, the English Channel between France and England, the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, the Cook Strait between the North and South Islans of New Zealand, the Tsugaru Channel between Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan, the Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and Southern California, and the Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Island).

The Weather Channel selected the Oceans Seven as the most extreme adventure in its Top 10 list that also included the Badwater Ultramarathon, running up Mount Everest, walking across Antarctica and Greenland, marine boot camp, cycling across America, and orienteering in Patagonia - all different journeys of the extreme through some of the worst weather conditions on Earth where adventurers willingly take on the unforgiving power of Mother Nature; trekking and treading through freezing temperatures in the mountains, in the oceans and in the Arctic Circle.

"It is great to see open water swimming, and the Oceans Seven in particular, receive the recognition of being an arduous, difficult, and challenging extreme sport, especially relative to distance running, cycling, mountaineering and all the other dryland sports that receive so much more attention," says Steven Munatones. "But, however demanding open water swimming is, swimming is also forgiving on the body and can be done for decades at a high level and by people in their 50's, 60's, 70's and older. This makes it unique among the most formidable extreme sports."

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

          Simon Holliday Is Making A Splash In Hong Kong        
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Simon Holliday has a deep and profound interest in human motivation and resilience.

His drive is both for himself and for others.

He has completed a 15 hour 2 minute crossing of the English Channel in 2011 as well as a 35 km, 10 hour 20 minute swim across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong to Macau in 2014 [see video above] and numerous other open water swim throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Holliday was the protagonist of the 19-minute documentary film called The Clean Cross.

He founded the Splash Foundation, an organization in Hong Kong that conducts swim and water safety courses for under-served communities who may not have the access or means for swim lessons. "The Foundation provides an opportunity to learn an important life skill which develops confidence, improves wellbeing and allows people to flourish both in and out of the water by bringing together experienced coaches in a supportive group setting.

By 2020, the Foundation aims to provide 5,000 people with the opportunity to learn how to swim and be water safe

He explains the core values of the Splash Foundation through OASIS:

Optimistic: We believe attitude is more important than ability. Positive mindsets find ways to succeed and flourish.
Active: We think an active lifestyle and healthy bodies lead to healthy thought patterns and constructive goals.
Safe: We create an environment where everyone feels safe, always.
Inclusive: We welcome everyone into the Splash community with kindness and respect.
Simple: We ensure everything we do is transparent and easy to understand.

For more information, visit the Splash Foundation here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

           Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 64GB         
السعر: 180 د. ب, الماركة: سامسونج, الحالة: جديد,
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 64GB Brand new comes with Warranty and all Accessories
           Study table. Good condition. Urgent sale.         
السعر: 6 د. ب,
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           (Rf No: MH1) Lovely Semi Furnished Compound Villa For Rent         
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           (R No: MHB 1) Modern Spacious 3 Bedroom Villa in Mahooz         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة خدم, أمن, جمنازيوم مشترك, حمام سباحة مشترك, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 200, مفروش: نعم,
This Spacious Fully furnished Villa Located At Mahooz is indeed a great option in terms of style and appearan1ce and is close to city attractions as well
About This Property#
24 hour watchman
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           Gufool 2bedrooms Flat for rent colse to water garden BD.290         
السعر: 290 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 1, المساحة (م٢): 329, الطابق: 2,
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           Iphone 7...128GB... JET BLACK with 8 months warranty         
السعر: 210 د. ب, الماركة: آبل - آيفون, الحالة: مستعمل,
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           A very attractive well maintened 3 bed villa         
السعر: 750 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 300, مفروش: لا,
This amazing semi furnished villa is found in a Prime Location in Mahooz, green, safe, elegant and quiet Community, with an easy access to the airport. It is nearby important amenities such as, Supermarket, Variety of Restaurants’ and Coffee Shops as well as hospital and schools.

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           Numark Ns6 serato dj pro         
السعر: 165 د. ب,
Numark Ns6 serato dj pro call me on 39482076 0r whatsApp as well thank you
           Big 3 Bedroom Flat Fully Furnished Available in Mahooz         
السعر: 800 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرفة مكتب, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 255, مفروش: نعم, الطابق: 3,
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           Beautiful 3 BEdrooms 4 Bathrooms+ Maid Room villa         
السعر: 1,300 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة خدم, مسموح بالحيوانات الاليفة, حديقة خاصة, جاكوزي خاص, حمام سباحة خاص, أمن, غرفة مكتب, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 222, مفروش: نعم,
Beautiful 3 BEdrooms 4 Bathroom big hall and kitchen
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           Amazing 3 BEdrooms 3 Bathrooms verry Big Hall and kitchen         
السعر: 650 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة مكتب, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 266, مفروش: نعم, الطابق: 2,
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           Excellent fully furnished 3BR villa in a compound         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة خدم, أمن, جمنازيوم مشترك, حمام سباحة مشترك, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 300, مفروش: نعم,
This amazing fully furnished compound villa is found in a Prime Location in Mahooz, green, safe, elegant and quiet Community, with an easy access to the causeway. It is nearby important amenities such as, Supermarket, Variety of Restaurants’ and Coffee Shops as well as hospital and schools.

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           5 Bedroom semi furnished villa for rent with private pool and garden         
السعر: 1,300 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة خدم, مسموح بالحيوانات الاليفة, حديقة خاصة, حمام سباحة خاص, غرف نوم: 5, الحمامات: 5, المساحة (م٢): 111, مفروش: لا,
Ref no : ACV 211

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* 5 Bedrooms
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           Beautiful Compoud Villa for rent         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, حديقة خاصة, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 290, مفروش: لا,
Ref # AL034 - Mahooz
Un- Furnished Compound Villa

3 bedroom
4 bathroom
Closed Kitchen
Maid room

BHD 900/- exclusive

For property details and contact 33112433
           Compound villa - SEMI furnished - 3 bedrooms, 4 bath, maidsroom         
السعر: 850 د. ب, الكماليات: شرفة, أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, موقف سيارات مغطى, غرفة خدم, مسموح بالحيوانات الاليفة, أمن, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 10, مفروش: لا,
Mahooz - Semi Furnished compound villa

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           Brand New bldg - 12 flats 2bhk - Fully Furnished with lift, parking         
السعر: 5,000 د. ب, المساحة (م٢): 10, عدد الطوابق: ٤,
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           Mahooz Beautiful Two Bedroom Apartment fully furnished         
السعر: 600 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 130,
2 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
Spacious Hall
Dinning area
Close kitchen ( Fully equipped)
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Steam and sauna
Bbq area
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Security 24 hrs
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Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 600 negot...
           Great 1 bedroom semi furnished in Mahooz         
السعر: 270 د. ب, الكماليات: أمن, غرف نوم: 1, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 80,
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           One Bedroom apartment fully furnished in Mahooz         
السعر: 450 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 1, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 900,
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2 bathrooms
Open Kitchen
Dinning table
Central ac
Washing Machine
Swimming Pool
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Security 24 hours
BD 450, inclusive

For More Detailed Information and Arrange a Viewing for our Properties, you can Ca...
           Amazing Three Bedroom Villa Fully Furnished In Mahooz         
السعر: 1,100 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 250,
3 bedrooms
4 bathrooms
Dinning area
Open kitchen fully equipped
Storage room
Maid room
Central ac
Private swimming pool
Laundry room
Covered parking 
Security 24 Hours
Close to coffee shops and restaurants
Bd 1100, inclusive 

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           Three Bedroom Villa in Mahooz semi furnished         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 200,
3 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
Dinning area
Closed kitchen
Storage room
2 small balconies
Split ac
Covered parking 
Security 24 Hours
Close to coffee shops and restaurants
Semi furnished
Bd 900, exclusive negotiable 

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           4 Bedrooms Semi Furnished Apartment in Mahooz         
السعر: 1,400 د. ب, الكماليات: أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, حمام سباحة خاص, غرف نوم: 4, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 150, مفروش: لا,
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maids room attached with bathroom
spacious hall
closed huge kitchen
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close to Shops and Malls and easy to access highway

VIEWING: 37752535
           Beautiful villa in Mahooz semi furnished 4 bedroom         
السعر: 1,200 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 4, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 400,
4 bedrooms
4 bathrooms
Dinning area
Closed kitchen
Storage room
Central ac
Common swimming pool
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Tennis court
Squash court
Covered parking 
Security 24 Hours
Close to coffee shops and restaurants
Semi furnished
Bd 1200, excl...
           4 bedrooms Semi Furnished Villa in Mahooz         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, أمن, غرف نوم: 4, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 150, مفروش: لا,
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VIEWING: 37752535

We deal only on yearly basis agreements ...
           Villa in Mahooz 4 bedroom semi furnished         
السعر: 1,400 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 4, الحمامات: 5, المساحة (م٢): 400,
4 bedrooms
4 bathrooms
Living area
Dinning area
Closed kitchen
2 Balconies
Central ac
Private garden
Covered parking 
Security 24 Hours
Close to coffee shops and restaurants
Bd 1400, exclusive , negotiable

For More Detailed Information and Ar...
           Mahooz-Villa fully furnished 3 bedroom         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 180,
3 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
Spacious Hall
Living area
Open Kitchen
Dinning area
Storage room
Laundry room
Swimming pool
Tennis Court
Fitted wardrobes
Split Ac
Fully furnished
Close to coffee shops and Restaurants
BD 900, inclusive of municipality, water and electr...
           Amazing Villa for rent in Mahooz 4 bedroom semi furnished         
السعر: 900 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 4, الحمامات: 4, المساحة (م٢): 300,
4 bedrooms
4 bathrooms
Spacious Hall
Sitting Family area
Close kitchen
Dining area
Hall kitchen pantries
Maid room with attached bathroom
Parking for 1 Car
Private Garden
Quiet residential neighborhood
Centrally located  
Easy access BuAshira-Mahuz-Adliya area
BD 90...
           Amazing 2 bedroom apartment for rent in Mahooz         
السعر: 500 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms 
2 bathrooms 
Huge hall
Dinning table
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Swimming pool
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Security 24 hours
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 500 negotiable , inclusive of municipality, water and electricity
           Mahooz- 2 bedroom fully furnished         
السعر: 500 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms 
Fully furnished
Open kitchen 
Dinning table
Central ac
Swimming pool
Covered parking 
Security 24 hrs
Maintenance 24 hrs
Close to coffee shops and restaurants
Quite residential area
Bd 500, all inclusive of el...
           3 B/R Semi Furnished Ground Floor Apartment For Rent (R No. 1MZA)         
السعر: 500 د. ب, الكماليات: أجهزة المطبخ, مجهزة بخزائن الملابس, تدفئة وتكييف مركزي, موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرفة ملابس, غرف نوم: 3, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 130, مفروش: لا,
About This Property#
24 hours watchman
3 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms
Covered Car parking
Walk In Closet
Built In Wardrobes
Closed Kitchen
Facilities Include#
Washing mac...
           Two bedroom apartment in Mahooz fully furnished         
السعر: 475 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
Spacious Hall
Dinning area
Open kitchen ( Fully equipped)
Swimming pool
Covered parking
Security 24 hrs
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 475, inclusive of municipality, water and electricity

For More Detailed...
           Mahooz-Apartment for rent Two bedroom Fully furnished         
السعر: 450 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
Dinning table
Open kitchen ( Fully equipped)
Central ac
Covered parking
Security 24 hrs
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 450, inclusive of municipality, water ...
           Great 2 bedroom Apartment fully furnished in Mahooz area         
السعر: 550 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
Spacious Hall
Dinning area
Close kitchen ( Fully equipped)
Central ac
Swimming pool
Covered parking
Security 24 hrs
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 550 negotiable, inclusiv...
           Great apartment in Mahooz Two bedroom fully furnished         
السعر: 600 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
Closed kitchen
Dinning area
Common swimming pool
Covered Parking
24 hrs security 
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
Bd 600, all inclusive  of municipality, water and electricity
           Mahooz-Two Bedroom Fully Furnished Apartment         
السعر: 450 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 2, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
Dinning table
Open kitchen ( Fully equipped)
Central ac
Covered parking
Security 24 hrs
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 450, inclusive of municipality, ...
           Apartment 2 Bedroom Fully Furnished in Mahooz         
السعر: 550 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 130,
2 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
Spacious Hall
Dinning area
Close kitchen ( Fully equipped)
Covered parking
Security 24 hrs
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 550, inclusive of municipality, water and electricity

For More Detailed Informa...
           Great 2 bedroom apartment in Mahooz fully furnished         
السعر: 650 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
Closed kitchen
Dinning area
Common swimming pool
Covered Parking
24 hrs security 
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
Bd 650, all inclusive  of municipality, water and electricity

For ...
           Lovely Two bedroom fully furnished in Mahooz         
السعر: 420 د. ب, الكماليات: موقف سيارات مغطى, أمن, غرف نوم: 2, الحمامات: 3, المساحة (م٢): 120,
2 bedrooms
3 bathrooms
Dinning table
Close kitchen ( Fully equipped)
Window ac
Covered parking
Security 24 hrs
Fully furnished
Close to Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Quite residential area
BD 420, inclusive of municipality, water and elect...
          'New' iPad landing in South Korea, Israel and 19 other countries, officially ceases to be new in US        
Are you not in one of the 35 countries that already has the "new" iPad? Well, this week may finally mean you can get your hands on the tablet that's already become old hat here in the US. The "resolutionary" slate is landing in South Korea, Venezuela and ten other nations this Friday, while Israel, India and seven more will be granted membership to the cool club on April 27th. Outside of some region-specific language tweaks the devices will be exactly the same as those that have been on sale here in the US for whole month now. (Isn't it amazing how time flies!) If you want to see if you're home is joining the list of places you can pick up a Retina display-equipped tablet head on after the break.
          The Power of Trust        

Cast: Dell Multimedia

Tags: mountaineering, trust, diabetes, ireland, ironman and diabetes

          Trust (teaser)        

Commercial: On the journey to IT transformation, Trust plays a critical role in taking that first step. Watch as EMCer Sebastien Sasseville—Everest summiteer, Ironman athlete, and Diabetes fighter—transforms risk to Trust.

Cast: Dell Multimedia, David Lawless and Brian Healy

Tags: EMC, Trust, IT Transformation, RSA, Information Security, IT Security, Kessler, Shape WLB, Zacuto, Canon 5D, Ireland and DSLR

          2 Continents, 1 Week! Part 1--Ireland        
Wahooo. It's been a CRAZY week!

Let's start from the beginning.

Friday, March 5thA group of us from school went to Ronda, Spain. It was about a 2 hour drive in a miniature bus that held 19 people. Funny. Anyways, Ronda is a super old town that was built on two cliffs and is connected by a beautiful, old bridge. It was incredibly gorgeous. Perhaps the prettiest place I seen so far! The pictures definitely don't do it justice! So we hung out there for the day and toured the city. A group of us had coffee outside at a restaurant that sat on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ravine. It was breathtaking!
Saturday, March 6thWe never made it to Gibraltar. Kelly, Heidi, and I were too exhausted.

Monday, March 8th
I went to Spanish class that morning which ended at 9:45, came home around 10:30 after printing off my boarding pass and such, made some last minute phone calls in case I got locked up abroad in Ireland and never made it back home (Spain), and boarded my 6 hour long bus to Madrid around 1:00 pm. (Here they run on military time, but if the clock reads 14:30, it's said 2:30, I had no idea!) Anyways, the bus to Madrid was long & boring, but I had a seat to myself and read Water for Elephants/slept the whole time. Approaching Madrid I had a decision to make. Do I take the Metro from the the bus station to the airport or do I play it safe and hop in a taxi? I had a little less than 2 hours to get to the Ryan Air desk to check in once I arrived in Madrid. As I was getting my clunky hikers backpack (that totally clashed with my cute outfit) out from under to bus, I made a decision and decided to brave the Metro! I thought it was a necessary learning experience and didn't want to depend on anyone else but myself. (How inspirational. Gag) The Metro has a stop at the bus station so there was no problem finding it. I purchased my 1 euro ticket, asked for a map, and made my way to the train! In order to get from the bus station to the airport, you have change trains 3 times. I boarded the first train, took a seat, pulled out my map and checked perhaps a million times that I was going in the correct direction. (I forgot to mention. I totally wore my security, necklace pouch thing just to make sure no hoodlums got at muh plastic, muh dolla billz ((actually euros)), or muh passport. You would be proud Mom & Grandma). Anyways, I totally on schedule hoppin' trains and hanging out like a Spaniard on the Metro. I'm about to make my last hop onto the train that takes me to the airport when it all goes down the drain... I get off the 2nd train and suddenly there's a huge rush of people in the direction I am going. I'm not sure what's going on, but I go with it. Pues duh. Everyone's boarding the train with the same route I want, so I hop on also. About a stop down the route I realized I'm on the correct line but in the WRONG direction! Oh god, how the hell did I mess this up?? I checked and rechecked that damn map atleast 100 times! It was the rush of people, I got flusstered and went with the flow, even though it was wrong! I immediately get off at the next stop. I have my map out, I'm pacing back and forth looking for a sign to point me in the correct direction. I'm palms are clamy and my beginning to develop neck sweat from my huge neck brace of a scarf. I take a deep breath to settle down, look at my watch and almost pee in pants because I realize I only have 20 minutes to check into the flight! I some how compose myself and figure out I need to get to the other side of the tracks and that train will take me to the airport. I board it. Make it to the airport. Get off the train and have to pay 2 euro to get out of the Metro. What theeee! Now, I'm in the airport and I'm trying to pull out my boarding pass from under my coat, neck brace scarf, and sweater. I was getting weird looks. Did I mention I was run walking at a very fast pace? So I finally make it to the Ryan Air check with approximately 2 minutes or so to spare. I so not over exaggerating this either. After having my passport checked and my boarding pass revceive a stamp on run walking again to the terminal. I have 30 minutes to get to the terminal. Of course the plane is departing from the 1st and fatherest away terminal. Right now it's probably 9:00 pm. There is barely anyone in the airport (kind of creepy), but nice because no one was able to point and laugh at my struggling along. So I'm on my way to the terminal running down the escalator sidewalks which made me feel like I was sprinting (totally cool). Find myself approaching security and see a huge crowd a people. Oh shit! I'm totally going to miss this flight!! Now I'm regretting braving the Metro. As I walk up to the line I realize they're all saying goodbye and aren't actually in line. My dreams of Dave Matthews are still in reach, not all hope has been lost. There's actually no one in line and I breeze through. I collect my belonings from the conveyor belt and shimmy on over to have my passport checked and stamped by security. 3 strides from the check point I look down at my wrist to see how much longer I have until I'll be in tears because I will have missed my flight and realized MI RELOJ NO ESTA ALLI (my watch is not there). I jog my memory as to the last time I had it and 2 seconds later (because I'm really sharp) it hits me that I had to take it off when going through security. Great! I turn to one of the police/security guard men and tell them in panicked Spanglish that I forgot my watch. He lets me pass. I go back to the conveyor belt I was at and see my watch posted up on the desk. THANK GOD. I love that thing. I ask him for it. He asks me the brand. I say I don't know. (Very convincing that it's mine, I know). He senses my panicked rush and hands it to me. THAKS GOD again. I zoom past the passport check again and got the head nod from the man. I'm totally legit. So, now after that craziness, I check my watch to see that I have about 15 minutes to get to terminal 1. Again the run/walk starts up again which is turned into a sprint on the sidewalk escalator. I nearing terminal 1, it's finally in sight and so is a HUGE mob of people. What the hell is going on here? Oh look Ryan Air to Dublin is the first plane departing from terminal 1. Lucky. I hope in line. I'm probably in the front of the last third of people. Not bad. And I hear ENGLISH all around me. Heaven. I board the plane realize I don't have an assigned seat number on my boarding pass & prepare myself for the worst before I ask a nice flight attendent what the sitch (situation) is. I am then delighted to hear that Ryan Air doesn't do assigned seats. Get there early, sit where ever you want. Budget air fare. It was a smooth, 2 hour 20 minute flight to Dublin.

Well uh, the plane landed and when I came out
There was a dude who looked like a leprechaun standing there with my name out
I ain't trying to get arrested yet.
I just got here!
I sprang with the quickness, like lightening disappeared

I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said GOLD and it had 2 pots in the mirror
If anything I can say is that this cab was a marvel
But I thought 'Man forget it' - 'Yo home to Jacob's Inn Hostel'

Creativity at it's best. Thank you very much. Anyways, I made it to the hostel that night around 11:15, checked in, found my way to room which was a 12 bed (6 bunkbeds) mixed sex room at the sweet price of 12 euro a night. Score. There were 2 Spanish girls (they were weird) and 2 girls from Hungary, both sets were there before and after I left. The 4 girls were around my age, early twenties. Besides us there were some random 1 night, never seen except for sprawled out on their beds sleeping visitors. The bed seems clean and so did the room. People were hanging out downstairs were the WIFI was, very college-esque. I fell asleep right away. It was a very stressful day.

Tuesday, March 9th
I wake up around 8:30, hop on down to the free breakfast and feast. I had 2 pieces of toast and ate 1 with strawberry jam and decided to rep Sevilla by using Sevillan Orange jam. The Sevilla jam was disgusting, I tried to mask it with honey--even worse & then I spilled honey on my shirt. Great. On the flip side there was CEREAL, real, crunchy flakes of corn with MILK. Can you say HEAVEN? First bowl in 2 months. How have I survived without my sweet love? Anyways, after breakfast I grabbed my stuff and bounced to the mean streets of Dub. Wandered around a bit with no destination and after awhile thought I should see some of the major Dublin sights, a reasonable tourist thought. I jumped on an embarrassing double decker bus and sat on the top floor and listened to the sweet sounds of tourism while being paraded through the city. Glorious. Among the nearly 1 million stops, I can recall St. Patricks's cathedral, the Guinness Factory, Phoenix Park, the Ha' Penny Bridge, and Trinity College.

Guinness Factory--I toured it the next day. It was full of interesting information and neat things. The coolest part was obviously the Gravity Bar at the very of the touring facility! It had a panoramic view of the city along with a free pint of Guinness. I choked down the dark ale and gazed upon the city. It was great.

Pheonix Park--I just stayed on the bus and let it take me around the park. It's absolutely huge. It's the largest urban park in all of Europe and fit 3 Hyde Parks inside of it. Crazy. Also, the US ambassador lives there along with the President of Ireland. Side note: the prez lives in a house that looks almost identical to the white house. The white house was indeed designed by the same Irish architect who designed the Irish president's house. Crazy. Another side note: There is the Dublin Zoo housed in the park as well. Its one of the oldest zoos in Ireland. Additionally, from the zoo came the lion who makes the roar in the beginning of movies! Wahooo. I've learned so much!

Ha' Penny Bridge--1 of the many bridges in Dublin, but particularly special because it's a pedestrian only bridge. The story goes that back in the day, people were charged 1/2 a penny (idk how you make half a penny?)/penny to cross the bridge. One day 2 clever men approached the toll bridge and asked if there was a charge of baggage when crossing the river. The toll person replied no. One man jumped on the others back and they paid only 1 penny for the two to cross the bridge. Oh good one!

Trinity College--I was confused at first as to how to get inside, the college is like fortified. Finally after meandering along tall walls and being really confused, I found a little door with plenty of foot traffic. I hopped in line and soon enough it opened up into a huge courtyard with buildings and students all around. Super cool! I walked around for a bit and decided to check out the inside of one of the buildings. I opened the door and it was like just at home. Student lounging around in between classes, eating food, and sitting behinds booths for different organizations. So I played it cool and started walking around, made it to another door, tried to open it, but a special key card was needed so when I tried to open it, I created a miniature scene and thought it best to just walk away like nothing happened. As I was a sufficient distance away from humiliation and my face was now only a soft pink, I was approached by a young man asking for directions so I must have looked like I had some idea what was going on. Thank goodness.

Later that night was the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND concert! WAHOO. I took a tram that ran from near the hostel to the O2 where the concert was being played. I picked up my ticket at the box office and to my surprise, the standing room which was the cheapest ticket was right on the ground floor in front of the stage! WHAAAAAAT!?! It was absolutely crazy! and There really weren't that many people there!! Set list:

1. Bartender Play Video
2. Stay or Leave Play Video
3. Funny The Way It Is Play Video
4. Squirm Play Video
5. Shake Me Like a Monkey Play Video
6. Lying In the Hands of God Play Video
7. Gravedigger Play Video
8. Anyone Seen The BridgeAdditional Information: song segued directly into the following onesong segued directly into the following one Play Video
9. Ants MarchingAdditional Information: with Too Much "fake" introwith Too Much "fake" intro Play Video
10. #27 Play Video
11. Seven Play Video
12. The Stone Play Video
13. Crash Into Me Play Video
14. Crush Play Video
15. Where Are You Going Play Video
16. Why I Am Play Video
17. You & Me Play Video
18. You Might Die Trying Play Video
19. All Along The WatchtowerAdditional Information: introduced by Stefan Lessard bass solointroduced by Stefan Lessard bass solo (Bob Dylan cover) Play Video
20. Encore
20. Baby BlueAdditional Information: performed solo by Dave Matthewsperformed solo by Dave Matthews Play Video
21. Cornbread

Pretty good setlist. Shake me like a Monkey, Ants Marching, Crash into me, Why I am, and Cornbeard were the best. Many of them were new/slow songs, not my fav, but overall it was AMAZZZZZZZZING! Nothing like seeing DMB live, pure bliss. Love ya Dave!
Came back home after the concert that night and got a bag of popcorn from the vending machine. Another thing I haven't eaten in 2 months.

Wednesday, March 10th
Woke up around 9:30 went to a little cafe for breakfast. I had scrambled eggs with bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, a piece of toast, a cappuccino, and an apple juice. Wow. That day I hopped back on the tourist bus and went to Guinness and took the tour again. Went shopping. Great shopping in Dublin. Walked around, took in the city, and enjoyed life. Later that night I voyaged over to the Arlington which is a hotel/bar with live Irish dancing and singing everynight! I had a huge 2 course dinner there, a delicious potato soup & some kind of beanie, mushroomie, artichoke baked in flakey crust with a white sauce. It was great! Not my fav, but I eat so many strange kinds of food here I would never consider eating back at home. I love it! I enjoyed my dinner while watching the traditional two steps of the dancers! It was really neat! I'm glad I ventured there even though I was alone and felt like a bit of a creep eating alone. Oh well. I had a fun!!

Thursday, March 11th
Woke up super early in order to catch my 7:25 am flight back to Madrid. I took a bus from one of the main roads to the airport, just navigating the city using public transit. Very economical. No crazy stories like my way getting to Dublin, I'm a pro airporter now. What's up? Departed for Madrid, made it there 2 hours later, hopped on the Metro again, made it to the bus station without a hitch, hopped on the bus, made it to Sevilla in 6 hours, and was home by 7:15.

Overall Ireland was a great city! It was different from Sevilla and provided me with a nice little get away for a couple of days! The concert was absolutely incredible and completely worth missing a week of school. I'd do it all over again in a second! Cheers to having a great life! Thank you God!
          Weekend Plans        
Friday, March 5th--Day trip to Ronda, Spain
Saturday, March 6th--Gibraltar to play with the MONKEYS
Monday, March 8th to Thursday, March 11th--IRELAND to see DAVE MATTHEWS BAND!
          Response: Ireland to offer first Bachelor’s degree in data center engineering        

Most people learned DC in 6 weeks on the job. Why a degree ?

The post Response: Ireland to offer first Bachelor’s degree in data center engineering appeared first on EtherealMind.

          "The Bone That Cracks the Loudest" in Crannóg Magazine        
My latest short story, a peculiar kind of ghost tale called "The Bone That Cracks the Loudest," has been published in the latest issue (No. 45) of Crannóg Magazine, a literary journal based out of Galway, Ireland. It is available for purchase in print here.
          Re: U.S. Armor & Engineer Board, Fort Knox, Kentucky        
Ms, Ferris, I can see by the date of your message it has been about 5 years. I just so happened to stumble on this site browsing for a vehicle I helped to test while assigned to the Test Board from March 1964- August 1967. I knew Mr. James Noblin and Jess Miller and 1 other that worked in the what was referred to as the Electric Shop. The other man was James Cooper and he lived in Vine Grove and owned a laundry mat called the "Wishy Washy". I know more than likely by now all or most of those civilians that worked there have past on by now for it has been 49 years since I left there. That was 1 of my very great assignments I had during my 24 1/2 years in the Army. There are or were 2 of my old buddies I worked with back then living out in Radcliff and Vine Grove. I know the 1 in Radcliff has had health problems lately and the other I ahven't heard from in about 2 years. I was stationed again at Knox when I returned from Alaska in September 1970 but on the other side of the post and teaching new trainee tankers until July 1973 then on to Korea. I never went back to Knox again until the summer of 1975 and then I was going to the NCO Advanced Course. When I came back from Korea in 74, I was stationed at Fort Riley Ks. and never got to go back again until summer 1981 to visit my father in law, ( now deceased) that lived between Knox and E-Town. If you get this message, please reply for I would like to make contact with anyone I can that was at the same place at the same time as I was during my military career. I am now 71, and starting to really feel my age and want to in a way relive my younger years by memories. While I was at the Board, I met my wife, (divorced 22 years later) and our 1st 2 kids were born there at Ireland Hospital and so was the 4th. The 3rd child was born while we were in Alaska. I'll stop now hoping to hear form you or anyone from the old Test Board.
          Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Head of Business Development & Science Support - Belfast        
£47,749 - £52,334: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Further appointments may be made from this competition should AFBI positions become vacant which have similar duties and... Belfast
          Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Science & Business Support Manager - Deputy Principal - Belfast        
£36,448 - £40,072: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Further appointments may be made from this competition should AFBI positions become vacant which have similar duties and responsibilities... Belfast
          Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Higher/Senior Scientific officer - Animal Welfare Research Scientist - Belfast        
£29,317 - £40,072 : Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: AFBI is seeking to recruit a motivated and enthusiastic post doctoral research scientist to investigate best welfare practices for the... Belfast
          Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Principal Scientific Officer in Quantitative Genetics and Bioinformatics - Belfast        
£47,749 - £52,334: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: An experienced Quantitative Geneticist with strong Bioinformatics skills is sought to lead and manage an... Belfast
          Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: Principal Scientific Officer - Pathogen Genpmics Bioinformatician - Belfast        
£47,749 - £52,334: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland Civil Service: This new post offers an exciting opportunity for a skilled and experienced Pathogen Genome Bioinformatician to... Belfast
          InteractCRM and Geomant forms a strategic alliance to provide market leading Multi-channel Contact Center solutions        
InteractCRM and Geomant today announced an Alliance to provide market leading multi-channel contact center products in the UK & Ireland. InteractCRM’s leading Multi-channel Contact Center products that seamlessly integrate with Avaya’s Contact Center telephony platform will be added to Geomant’s range of Avaya and Microsoft Contact Center and Unified Communications products. David Lafone-Ward, UK and Ireland […]
          Meet Sir Basil Seal        
I noticed a write-up on myself and Man About Mayfair over at a place called "The People's Media Company". Well, any group whose title includes the words 'the' and 'people's' is one, for obvious reasons, which has me reaching for the Riot Act...Anyway, there is a lady in Dublin who ran across Man About Mayfair, and has written an introduction for the uninitiated. An introduction which includes many mentions of 'snob', 'prig', 'aristocrat', etc...I must point out a few errors in her write-up, she got the 'snob' and 'prig' part right, but the other website she mentions concerning the Legion of Well-Dressed Men actually belongs to RW, I am just a humble member, and I cannot vouch for RW being a snob or not. And my wife is not a 'baroness' but a Countess...My son is the Baron...And my language is not reminiscent of a 'Dickens novel', I eschew Dickens, how about Waugh or Munro, I would be in better company with those comparisons. And really, everyone is welcome, but a jacket and tie are required...Helps keep the riff-raff out, don't you know...She does go into some technical detail about search engines and the like, which seems to indicate, to my immense relief, that I am hard to find. "Advertise my domain" forsooth, I should think a gentleman would never stoop to advertise anything...But anyway, It is indeed a pleasure to meet you Didi of Ireland, and thank you so much for stopping by...

Now people, be honest, do you really think I look like a snob in my portrait?
          Monarchy in the age of New Labour        

Peter Hitchens:

"...Anyone who tries to discuss the political role of the monarchy is immediately banged over the head by tedious quotations from Walter Bagehot (it helps a lot if you know this is pronounced Badjot), who for some reason is believed to be the last word on the subject, thanks to some 19th-century scribblings that have become famous. He limited the functions of the monarch to muttering hesitant advice, and perhaps warnings, into the ears of ministers. This is taken as a sort of gospel on the subject.

And this might have worked in the dead era when the British establishment was run by gentlemen. Though don't be so sure. George V exerted all his influence to obtain a peaceful settlement in Ireland in 1921, which few can object to, but was he entitled to do so? He may well have gone beyond his powers in helping set up the National Government of 1931. Edward VIII came close to causing complete constitutional catastrophe. George VI utterly disgraced himself when he publicly lauded Neville Chamberlain's catastrophic surrender at Munich in 1938, an error he atoned for later but which oughtn't to be overlooked, ever. It is not often enough remembered that George VI and his Queen (the future Queen Mother) invited Chamberlain on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to bathe in the cheers and admiration of a gigantic, deluded crowd, the whole embarrassing scene illuminated by the only anti-aircraft searchlights then available in London.

There are a couple of interesting fictional reflections on this that are worth looking at. George Macdonald Fraser's 'Mr American', one of his few non-Flashman books, contains an well-observed and historically well-informed depiction of Edward VII and examines the cunning and shrewdness that monarch used to keep pre-1914 Britain from flying apart. Constantine Fitz Gibbon's enjoyable and bitter Cold War thriller 'When the Kissing Had to Stop’ has some cunningly-described scenes as various highly responsible and senior persons try to use the traditional safeguards of the British constitution to prevent a pretty obvious coup d'etat. In an entirely believable way, they all persuade themselves that they are powerless to act until it is too late, and the putsch, with all its terrible consequences, succeeds.

Princecharles_1 Why does this matter? I think our obsession with 'democracy' as the only thing that makes government legitimate tends to blind us to the importance of other things. Why do we make such a fetish out of universal suffrage? If you had a choice between liberty and democracy - which are by no means the same thing, which would you pick? If you had a choice between the rule of public opinion and the rule of law, which would you pick? Are we safer with both Houses of Parliament 'elected' by party machines, or with at least one House whose members are immune from 'democratic' party pressure?

Actually, pure democracy would be unbearable, since every politician, to survive or prosper, would have to be a crowd-pleasing Blair type (actually, this now seems to be more and more what we have got).

Even assuming that we could reconstruct something like a decent education system, it is hard to see how a state governed purely by the popular will could be anything other than a corrupt anarchy, or a demagogic dictatorship. The purest product of mass democracy since it came into being was Adolf Hitler - whose National Socialists would have won an absolute majority in the Reichstag under our first-past-the post system, by the way. This isn't an argument against that system( which I favour) just a warning against being complacent.

Mass opinion can prevent good actions, as well as stimulating bad ones. It was American democracy, and the fervent campaigns of the America Firsters, that prevented Franklin Roosevelt from aiding Britain against Hitler. US public opinion was dead against involvement in a European war, and it's still not clear what would have happened if Hitler hadn't declared war on the USA after Pearl Harbor.

So most serious wielders of power in democratic states devise ways of frustrating, or getting round the 'people's will' which they praise in public. Mostly, these days, these anti-democrats are of the left. In the US, a largely liberal elite has for decades been using the unelected third chamber of Congress - the Supreme Court - to pass radical social legislation. In Canada, left-wingers who could never get anywhere in parliamentary politics have exploited the 'Charter of Rights and Freedoms' to do the same sort of thing.

And the European Convention on Human Rights gives liberal judges and the lawyers the same power to intervene here. The balance of our mixed constitution, partly as a result of this, has tipped heavily towards the Left. Parliament, especially the House of Commons, is now the servant of a left-wing governing party, not at all its master. So who or what can speak for tradition, for conservative opinions, for private life and family, for inheritance and continuity? Certainly not the Tory Party, which flatly refused to defend the hereditary principle against the attacks of Baroness Jay (who just happened to be the daughter of Jim Callaghan, and had no other visible qualification for her grand post as Leader of the Lords, in one of the best jokes of the 1990s).

That Tory failure to defend heredity was a warning to the British people and the monarchy that worse was to come. We all actually value inheritance - we expect to leave, or be left our goods and wealth in legally enforceable wills. We all know that we inherit important characteristics and gifts from our parents, and hope to pass such things on. Our state, with its memory and experience stretching back a thousand years, inherits each generation the principles of law and justice and liberty wrought by centuries of experience and combat. So what is wrong with a Head of State who embodies this idea?

Nothing, except that he or she gets in the way of the Left's desire for total control over the state, especially over the things previously regarded as politically neutral and so loyal to the crown - the civil service, the armed forces and the police. All these bodies are now increasingly politicised. I think that the moment is approaching when the monarchy has either to assert itself or be abolished. The danger is that, in asserting itself, it may get abolished as a punishment, while being slandered as unrepresentative, elitist etc. It will be a very difficult and risky moment..."

          Permaculture and Bees in Ireland        

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a weekend course in Ireland to a lovely group of people. The setting was Carraig Dúlra - an organic small-holding in County Wicklow run by Suzie and Mike Cahn.

In this podcast you will hear Mike talking about his bees, along with others who attended the course giving their feedback on the weekend. Then you will hear from Sammy - one of the younger Cahns - and finally you will hve a tour of the farm by Susie, who teaches permaculture and forest gardening.

The teaching site is on what I can only describe as marginal land for farming, comprising at first glance a rocky slope covered with heather, bracken and gorse. However, when you look more closely you find a whole range of unexpected fruit and vegetables that you would never imagine would thrive in such a place as this. 

If you want to learn about permaculture and forest gardening in a beautiful setting, visit the Carraig Dúlra web site and book yourself in -

I think you will enjoy this podcast and I look forward to your comments.

          With Rebels on Run, Turkey Gets Tougher         

Turkey seems to have won the upper hand in its long and costly war against a Kurd separatist movement. And amid new military gains against the rebel group PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party, Turkey's position has only hardened.

The prospect of a negotiated settlement with the group, which seeks a homeland for the region's ethnic Kurds, including 12 million in Turkey, appears to have faded.

Turkey is a key NATO ally that has increasingly sought to cement its special relationship with the United States, particularly since being snubbed earlier this year for membership in the European Union. The EU cited human rights concerns - including questions about Turkey's treatment of Kurds - as a reason it was not admitted.

The recent capture of a top PKK commander, Semdin Sakik, came amid an offensive in which Turkey's Army also claims to have killed scores of rebels in Turkey's southeast.

'Brink of collapse'

"The PKK has received a severe blow and is on the brink of total collapse," said a senior member of the Army's general staff April 17, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Now it is up to the government and other civilian organizations to resolve the region's economic and social problems, which are the real cause of the violence," he said.

Another military source, asked whether the "defeat" of the PKK might encourage Turkish authorities to listen to recent PKK overtures for a settlement, was blunt: "No one in Turkey would agree to negotiate with terrorists," he said. "We have always resisted any contacts with the PKK, and now that they are crumbling, there cannot be any question of ... acceptance of their conditions."

A call has gone up among liberal Turks, however, to go beyond economic and social reform in the region. There is debate over allowing Kurds to use their language in education, broadcasting, and official contacts.

"If we want this [military success] to be permanent, we have to deal urgently with other aspects of the problem," wrote Hasan Cemal, a prominent columnist for the daily newspaper Sabah, on April 17. "To secure economic well-being in the southeast is only one aspect; the other is to respect [Kurdish] identity and their rights to use their culture and language," he wrote.

Army and government still at odds

Tensions remain high between the Army, which regards itself as guardian of the secular state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk more than 70 years ago, and the civilian government. Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was not told about the raid to capture Mr. Sakik until the operation was over.

At the time the raid was being undertaken, PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan was making an appeal to both Mr. Yilmaz and to Gen I. H. Karadayi, the Army chief of staff. Mr. Ocalan proposed a cease-fire followed by a dialogue, and stressed that he was not trying to establish an independent Kurdish state, which had previously been stated as the PKK's aim.

In a statement broadcast April 17 by a London-based Kurdish TV station, Ocalan pointed to the "Northern Ireland formula" as an example for Turkey. "I'm prepared to leave the arms and enable [talks]," he said.

But one senior government official says Ocalan is simply trying a new tactic. He says Turkey's "southeast problem" - officials still refuse to refer to it as a "Kurdish problem" - has no resemblance to the situation in Northern Ireland.

Public opinion, beyond that of the liberal elite, seems to favor a hard line. Many Turks blame the PKK for 14 years of terrorism, the deaths of 30,000 people, and a cost to Turkey of $80 billion. Many have rallied for the execution of Sakik, who is likely to be tried for several guerrilla attacks, including one that killed 33 Turkish soldiers in 1993.

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          Your Country Hates You        
There has always been two Britains.
There's the majority, everyday Brits who have always been too busy getting-by to have time for Babylon's rules, no matter what shape Babylon took. The ordinary Brit's position of "I couldn't care less about what you pretend happens after you die, as long as you don't bore me with it or try to impose your Babylon-monkey on me", bears no resemblance to the minority Britain of Kings and Nobles; those whose legitimacy to rule has long been entwined with this foreign church.
That Bible is still the doctrinal heart of the state religion of the UK. Our head of state, the Queen, is also know as 'the defender of the faith' and, on days of Royal events, the whole world sees the backward looking traditions of the ancient establishment's pompous ways; it sees a state legitimising itself through Christian rites and, consequentially, the tacit approval of Christianity by the state.

This ancient foreign tome is held high-most in this land as the paragon of righteousness! The land's establishment hails the book as evidence of its legitimacy. Yet, if a faithful follower of that fable were to actually follow many of the verses within, that follower would contravene the laws of the land.
The law of the land permits that which the book does not
and prohibits that which the book promotes.
And, further, the state encourages promotion of this fable, which inspires followers to at best, contravene the state's laws, and at worst, if followed to the letter would return our hard fought civilization into a medieval chaos similar to that wrought by ISIS.
I suggest this paradox is something of a constitutional problem; a crisis, even.
We, the people, the true owners of this United Kingdom of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, our laws, practices and government, are in conflict with much of the foreign religion, which ancient invasions imposed on us. This ancient interloping fable, widely promoted, in faith and secular schools alike, as "good" contains commands by a fabled divine being who demands, under pain of eternal torment, the persecution, even, when circumstances demand it, to death of unbelievers.
How is it not disrespectful, to me and the other great many who identify as unbelievers, to have a state religion that views so many of the state's citizens in varying degrees from second-class human to actual living anti-christ?

As many Brits, I'm an 'unbeliever';
... it's disrespectful that the state religion judges us to be spoiled. (Colossians 2:8)
... it's discriminatory that the state religion commands our ostracisation. (Romans 16:17)
... it's divisive that the state religion judges us wicked! (1 John 5:19)
... it's disrespectful that the state religion judges us to be deceiver & ultimate evil! (2 John 1:7)
... it's disheartening that the state religion commands our deportation! (2 John 1:10)
... it's absurd that the state religion wants us dead! (Exo 22:20 Deut 13:6-10,13:12-16,17:2-7,17:12-13)
(These are not ALL of the instances of supremacist hatred or commands to contravene the laws of this land. And unbelievers are not the only minority group targeted.)

Makes one wonder why politicians have not noticed the divisiveness inherent in all such supremacist fables. Perhaps because so many of them have been indoctrinated with fable that they do not see it as a problem. One further wonders, if they were on the other side of the persecution fence, for how many seconds would they be able to remain unaware?

I'm sure I've heard it said that our Members of Parliament are supposed to look out for the rights of ALL their constituents so, if an MP fails to raise this issue, can that MP be said to be doing so?

I would like something to change.

To the cobweb ridden establishment,
If you must keep this ancient fable as some sort of token head-nod to your ancestors, or to give your reign an air of legitimacy, so be it, but at least accept the reality of our present. Edit from this Bible of yours the hate that is commanded against born and bred UK owners, whose generational ancestors' blood, sweat and tears helped raise this world from primitive hovel to World wide web.
For our state to be still seen as promoting these primitive, supremacist, hate-fables demeans us all before the world and our descendants.
With this fable flying as a banner above our society, held high like that notorious black flag, what are we?

So the question here is...
Is it not time for we the people to demand a purge of ALL the hatred from the fable at the core of the UK?
I mean it's not as if a monarch has never introduced an new standard bible; it's called King James version for a reason, why not a peace laden Queen Elizabeth version?
Or, better yet, purge the fable entirely?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
Please leave a comment - Anything will do
The best communications are often,

          Bureau of Military History 1913-1921 I        
On 7 August 2012 the Defense Forces Ireland and the National Archives of Ireland released digitized witness statements from over one thousand people who participated in the revolutionary period from 1913-1921. They were recorded by the Bureau of Military History … Continue reading
          Loesje Ireland        
The Irish Loesje group

Welcome to Loesje Ireland's group page.

          Eleven things you didn't know about coffee for 2011!        
  1. The darker the roast the more dehydrating it can be, also the less caffeine it has. This is mostly because roasting coffee beans causes them to increase in volume, but decrease in mass. Most of us use a volume measure to gauge our coffee (Tablespoon for example). If we were to use a scale to weigh the coffee, dark roast would actually result in a higher concentration of caffeine.
  2. It seems like a lot, but coffee should be brewed with a ratio of 2 Tablespoons of ground coffee used for every 6 oz of water.
  3. Coffee is best brewed in 4 ½ - 5 minutes, using water that is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Coffee is the second most used product in the world, following only oil.
  5. A mixture of coffee and sugar water will revive yellowing house plants during the winter months.
  6. Both Lloyd's of London and the New York Stock Exchange started their lives as coffee houses.
  7. In Ireland, coffee has it’s own celebration day on September 19th.
  8. The term “cup of joe” came from WWII when American soldiers were issued Maxwell Instant Coffee in their daily rations. Soldiers were referred to as “G.I. Joes,” so it followed that their daily cup of coffee would be a cup of joe.
  9. There is no calories in straight or black, coffee.
  10. Coffee beans are really berries. In Arabic, it is called a “bunnu.”
  11. Although opinions differ greatly, the best way to brew coffee is arguably in a French press. Many options exist including vacuum brewing, cold press, drip brewing, espresso, Italian press, percolator and Norwegian egg coffee. The later involves boiling 10 cups of water, adding a well stirred mixture of ¼ cup of water - 1 egg - and ½ cup of coffee grounds, simmering for 2 - 3 minutes, removing from heat and adding 1 cup of cold water. The egg coagulates, collecting with it the coffee grounds. The additional cold cup of water causes the grounds to fall to the bottom of the pot, leaving a rich, very clean coffee that can be decanted into a thermos.

السعر: 250 د. أ,
كلبه مهضومه كتير ونضيفه وبتحب اللعب مع الاولاد وماخدة كل طعومتها ومعها دفترها الصحي بداعي السفر
           alaskan malamute         
السعر: 500 د. أ,
Female , 6 months
           كلبه للبيع         
السعر: 250 د. أ,
عمرها 3 اشهر
           Female dog for sale         
السعر: 100 د. أ,
Female dog for sale
           Female husky         
السعر: 100 د. أ,
Female husky
           Dog Bichon         
السعر: 80 د. أ,
2 month male Bichon for sale for 80$ very cute and friendly dewormed and vaccinated the reason for sell that I also have onther 3 and his mom
           Dog Bichon         
السعر: 80 د. أ,
Male Bichon for sale at 80$ they are 2 month dewormed and vaccinated
           pure golden retriever         
السعر: 400 د. أ,
Pure golden retriever
Age 3months
A5ed awal w tene to3om w sharbet doud
Ma3o beit kbir w 8rado
b7b yel3ab ktr w mahdoum bhb kel el nes
بداعي السفر
           بيشون لولو         
السعر: 250 د. أ,
عمرها 4 اشهر خالصه كل طعومتها ومعها بيت
           for sale         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
Husky and german shepherd
           بيشون لولو         
السعر: 250 د. أ,
عمرها 3 ،اشهر معها غراضها ودفتر الطعم
           kalb lal be3         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
Golden retriever 3omro 3 ashhor
           تبادل على كلب صغير         
السعر: تبادل,
تبادل على كلب صغير ذكر شعر وسط
السعر: 200 د. أ,
ذكر شعر وسط
           long hair         
السعر: 590 د. أ,
11 months long hair ahlo pedegre mdarab ta3a
           Male and female Rottweiler 2 years         
السعر: 800 د. أ,
Male and female Rottweiler 2 years both for 800 $ ( 76899111 WhatsApp)
السعر: 250 د. أ,
White pure siberian husky vaccined 8 months ago name:ghost
           هاسكي تبادل على كلب صغير         
السعر: تبادل,
هاسكي تبادل على كلب صغير
           malinoi female 70 days         
السعر: 450 د. أ,
malinoi very beutifull
           Dog's matrials         
السعر: 30 د. أ,
Dog's shampoo, pet bawl, dog's bed, and a leash
           بدي انتي جيرمن متل مواصفات كلبي         
السعر: 700 د. أ,
بدي انتي جيرمن متل مواصفات كلبي و اهم شي بيكون عمرا مش اكتر من سنتين و السعر مش اكتر من 700$دولار
           Dog Berje         
السعر: 250,000 د. أ,
Dog Berje 250000 alef
           Italian cage / house for dogs         
السعر: 60 د. أ,
Full condition, no broken parts or any scratches
           husky for sale         
السعر: 250 د. أ,
Husky 3omer 40 yom fi aneta w fi dkoura b 250$ lon abyad w aswad kleb pure w mta3amin
السعر: 140 د. أ,
Nice dog 4 months white with blue eyes playful
السعر: 100 د. أ,
Female husky blue eyes, 8 months, mta3ami.
السعر: 600 د. أ,
pure mountain caucasian ovcharka 2 months , passport, microchip,vaccinated .from ukraine
for more infos 03066072
           berger for sale         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
Berge mn america w ma3o wra2o
           husky black and white         
السعر: 200 د. أ,
Husky 45 days
Male and female
           Kalb hasky l3omer 8 shohor         
السعر: 130 د. أ,
كلب هسكي للبيع العمر 8 شهور
السعر: 100 د. أ,
Bichon male and female
           bichon for sale         
السعر: 150 د. أ,
Bichon female sene w nos ekhed kl t3oumto w asaynelo cha3ro cz chob metar bi3o cz ma 3ende ma7al
           Pitbull male 4 month old         
السعر: 300 د. أ,
Pitbull male 4 month old huge size tiger color
           Dog puppies 3         
السعر: 150 د. أ,
Kleb s8ar l wa7ad b 150 dollar w l kber 150 dollar
          EQUATE research highlights parents’ voices on religion and schools and identifies their desire for change        
EQUATE has today published Religion and School: Parents Voices, EQUATE Research 2017 which gives voice to parents’ perspectives on Ireland’s unique education system.EQUATE Director, Michael Barron says, “96% of Irish schools are under religious patronage and in recent years there has been a sustained national conversation about the role of religion in Irish schools.  Discussions have focused on its role in school admissions, how it is taught during the school day and on school patronage.“We
          EQUATE Seminar on School Admissions to discuss the resolution of the Baptism Barrier        
EQUATE Seminar on School Admissions to discuss the resolution of the Baptism Barrier.The Baptism Barrier imposed by many religious primary schools is the main issue under discussion at a high-level seminar in Dublin today on school admissions. It is hosted by EQUATE, the children and family rights organisation which works for greater equality in primary and second level schooling in Ireland. The seminar will be addressed by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton who has placed
          EQUATE: Any changes to the school day must be in the best interests of all children        
In response to today's reports on NCCA curriculum proposals Michael Barron, Director of EQUATE says, “We broadly welcome any changes to the school day as being outlined by the NCCA which would allow prioritisation of the State curriculum and which allows teaching in a child centred way through “areas of learning”.“Ireland has a unique education system in that 96% of our publicly funded primary schools are maintained by a religious patron.  Currently patrons can give 30 minutes a day to their own
          EQUATE calls for a school environment that is inclusive for all children.        
Today’s media reports which indicate that the NCCA’s proposed new curriculum on Education about Religions and Beliefs (ERB) and Ethics programme may not now be implemented as originally envisioned is disappointing.Currently the vast majority of schools in Ireland are under the patronage of the Catholic Church. These schools spend, on average, between just 2-5 hours per year on other religions while spending upwards of 91 hours on faith formation. This does not include the time spent preparing
          Ireland falls short in addressing UN’s concerns of religious discrimination in our education system        
This morning in Geneva saw the adoption of the Working Group Report on Ireland's Universal Periodic Review.  Yet again the Irish government was urged to ensure equality of access to education including “patronage and religious affiliation”.Under the UPR, UN countries review each other's human rights record and in Ireland’s case countries as diverse as India, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and the USA have criticised the denominational nature of our education system.Michael Barron, Director of
          EQUATE welcomes Action Plan for Education and opportunity to embed equality in Irish schools        
Speaking after the publication of the Department of Education’s three year Action Plan EQUATE Director Michael Barron said:“We applaud the Minister’s aim for Ireland to have the best education system in Europe and ensuring inclusion for all children must be central to this. We welcome his restated commitment to diversifying and reconfiguring our schools to increase to 400 multi-denominational and non-denominational schools by 2030. There is overwhelming public support for increasing choice in
          Statement on comments in relation to Castlebar Educate Together        
Michael Barron, Executive Director says, "Multi and nondenominational schools promote equality and bring together children and families of diverse backgrounds and identities. The ever growing support for such schools is a reflection of the reality of the diversity of Ireland in the 21st century."It is also an expression of our belief in equality for all."The suggestion today by a Mayo Councillor that the opening of a new multi-denominational Educate Together school is elitist and will lead to
          New School Admissions Bill Published today. Urgent action still required to end baptism barrier in state funded schools        
“Parents are crying out for legislators to end the baptism barrier so that all children have equal access to state funded schools. It’s time for action on this long ignored inequality which is not addressed in this bill published today. We deserve better from our state school system.”– Michael Barron Director of EQUATE8 July 2016Speaking today on the publication of the School Admissions Bill 2016 Michael Barron, Director of EQUATE ( a children and family rights organisation
          EQUATE gives cautious welcome to Labour Party Bill aimed at reforming the Baptism Barrier        
EQUATE gives cautious welcome to Labour Party Bill aimed at reforming the Baptism Barrier in State Funded Schools but urges legislators to go furtherMichael Barron, Director of EQUATE, a children and family rights organisation which advocates for a substantial change in how primary and secondary school education is delivered in Ireland, has today given a cautious welcome to the Labour Party Private Members Bill aimed at striking down the baptism barrier that prevents children of minority or no
          Opinion on the Constitutionality of Reforming s.7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act 2000        
We have published new legal advice from three leading constitutional experts on how the State can move immediately to amend legislation to reform the “baptism barrier” which allows Schools to legally refuse to admit children from different faiths or none.The opinion was written by:Dr Conor O’Mahony, Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law, University College CorkDr Eoin Daly, Lecturer in Constitutional Law, National University of Ireland GalwayDr David Kenny, Assistant Professor in Constitutional
          EQUATE welcomes agreement between Independent TD Katherine Zappone and Fine Gael on an equality in education strategy        
A new strategy for equality in education as well as a new Admissions Bill and more non- and multi-denominational schools have been pledged by Fine Gael as significant part of an agreement with Katherine Zappone TD. Zappone will be supporting a Fine Gael minority Government as part of this agreement. Speaking after sections of the agreement was published in today’s Irish Times Michael Barron said: “Katherine’s work to create a more equal and progressive Ireland is continuing. The proposals that
          Lack of equality in schools of major concern to electorate        
In the closing days of the general election children’s rights organisation EQUATE has highlighted that tackling religious discrimination in Ireland’s school system is of major concern to the electorate.   “The Irish people are not only interested in economics, they want social issues and in particular religious discrimination in our schools addressed during this general election campaign. Religious discrimination in our school admissions policies is legal. This law is having a negative effect on
          Equality in our Classrooms is a National Issue not just a Dublin One        
  “I do not know any measure which would prepare the way for a better feeling in Ireland than uniting children at an early age, and bringing them up in the same schools, leading them to commune with one another, and to form those little intimacies and friendships which often subsist through life.’’     With 14 days to go until we go to the polls to choose a new government, the pursuit of equality in our education system has become a core general election issue.   This comes as no surprise - we
          How EQUATE got on at the UN!        
What happened?   Yesterday, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Irish Government to Open the School Gates by concretely combating religious discrimination in our schools.   The UNCRC makes observations on Ireland’s performance under the Convention on the Rights of the Child every five years or so across many areas of a child’s life.   In education, they focused on three areas where they said the Government needs to do more: •      Provide opt-outs for children during
          UN calls for end of religious discrimination in Irish schools        
  Children’s rights organisation EQUATE has welcomed a UN Committee recommendations for the removal of religious discrimination from Irish schools.   The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued their Concluding Observations of their examination of Ireland’s record under the Convention of the Rights of the Child today.   The Committee has recommended that the State:   ·       Provides accessible options for children to opt-out of religious classes and access appropriate alternatives to
Children’s rights organisation EQUATE today announced a campaign aimed at making reform of our schools system a priority of the next government. The ‘Open The School Gates’ campaign is supported by key children and human rights organisations including The ISPCC, Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance, EPIC, Migrant’s Rights Centre of Ireland, BeLonG To, One Family, Pavee Point, Education Equality and The Humanist Association of Ireland.   Speaking the launch of the campaign, EQUATE Executive
          Our ongoing commitment to support computer science educators in Europe        

The need for employees with computer science (CS) and coding skills is steadily increasing in Europe—by 4 percent every year between 2006 and 2016 according to DigitalEurope.  But educators are struggling to keep up with the demand, often because they lack the professional development, confidence and resources to successfully teach their students. 

Because of these challenges, we’re working to increase the availability of quality computer science education and access to CS skills by empowering CS teachers globally. We’ve recently launched new support in Europe, the Middle East and Africa through CS4HS, a program to fund universities and nonprofits designing and delivering rigorous computer science professional development for teachers.

We’re excited to be working with 79 organizations worldwide, and 28 in the EMEA region, who are committed to increasing the technical and teaching skills of educators, and building communities of ongoing learning. We believe that these organizations are committed to delivering high-quality teacher professional development programs with a deep impact in their local community and a strong potential to increase their reach.

Classroom image

Growing the community of computer science educators  

Over the past 10 years, CS4HS has contributed $10 million to professional development (PD) providers around the world to help develop and empower teachers—like Catrobat, a non-profit initiative based at Graz University of Technology in Austria who created a free online course for students and teachers, and the University of Wolverhampton, who created a free MOOC to empower teachers of computing to teach programming in the new computing syllabuses in England, among others.

We’re excited to support new and future CS educators around the world. Even though computer science is a relatively new discipline for most schools, the enthusiasm is growing and teachers have a critical role to play in fueling their students’ interest and participation. These grants will help universities and nonprofits reach educators with PD opportunities that enhance their CS and technical skills development, improve their confidence in the classroom, and provide leadership training so that they can be advocates for CS education in their communities.

2017 awardees in EMEA

Asociatia Techsoup Romania

Ideodromio, Cyprus

Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Informatica, Italy

Lithuanian Computer Society

Dublin City University, Ireland

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland

EduACT, Greece

Graz University of Technology, Austria

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Asociatia Tech Lounge, Romania

Association Rural Internet Access Points, Lithuania

University of Wolverhampton, UK

Universidad de Granada, Spain

University UMK Toruń, Poland

Hasselt University, Belgium

Jednota školských informatiků, Czech Republic

University of Lille - Science and Technology, France

University of Roehampton, UK

University of Urbino, Italy

ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Vattenhallen Science Center, Lund University, Sweden

University College of Applied Sciences, Palestine

Hapa Foundation, Ghana

Let’s Get Ready, Cameroon

Swaziland Foundation for STEM Education

Laikipia University, Kenya


Peo Ya Phetogo in partnership with University of the Western Cape & Mozilla Foundation, South Africa

To discover more about CS opportunities near you, explore our educator resources, student programs and resources, and tools.


Please check the following links for self-assessment:

What am I supposed to do at the end of the year?  
Self-assessment grid (English) according to levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) is exactly what its title says it is: a framework of reference in the different countries, that means that if you go, for instance, to Ireland and you show that your level is B1, everyone will know what you are talking about.  At the Official School of Languages we also use this document to assess the different levels, so please check the abovementioned links to find out if you really reach the level you are supposed to by the end of the year, and be honest with you! Don´t think about if you haven´t passed the exams, but about how much you learned throughout the year. Sometimes you just need more time, so don´t worry too much and take it with a pinch of salt.

The document was designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses and curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching and learning materials, and the assessment of foreign language proficiency. It is used in Europe but also in other continents and is now available in 39 languages. 

More info on this topic 

          St PATRICK´S DAY        

HOMEWORK (next week)

Please do the following Webquest. Click on each of the labels (introduction, process, etc.) and do the final quiz. We will go through it next week in class so do it at home and bring the answers, ok? HAVE FUN!

WEBQUEST: Don´t worry, be Irish!

Remember next 17th March many Irish people will probably go out to celebrate this day so if you go to any Irish Pub such as Hannigan´s in Granada, you might find them and practise your English!

          So Long and Thanks for All The Fish... and Crabs... and Bacon...        
This is it, the final post!  The last one of the whole damn blog.  It's a weird milestone, but it wasn't a sudden decision. Actually, I decided this somewhere during my madcap overview of state foods, somewhere between Georgia and Illinois (I can’t remember exactly), and well after I realized that I just no longer had the money, time or gas to go back around the Beltway again.  But still, after 6 ½ years (exactly - the first two posts were on September 12, 2006), 1,780 posts, 2,977 comments (as of this posting), about 310 recipes attempted (most of which were somebody else's recipes I was interpreting) and about 810 eateries, festivals, markets and food trucks visited, it’s time to pack it in.  The “blog fatigue” has taken a strong hold, and just like Ray Lewis (RAVENS W00000000T!!!!!!), Tina Fey (30 ROCK W00000000T!!!!!!) and Benedict XVI (zuh? Er, RAVENS W00000000T!!!!!!), I want to go out on a high.

No, not “I want to go out high”.  I want to go out ON A high.  Good grief. 

I’ve learned a lot these past several years of being part of the Baltimore food blogging community. I’ve tried to winnow that down to a list, with items in no particular order.  Some are more particular than others.  To wit:

1. There are a lot of good crab cakes in this city. And a lot of bad ones.  But the bad ones are usually still better than the ones you find elsewhere.

2. You just can’t buy a stand mixer cheap, even from your favorite thrift store.  You just can’t.  Don’t do it.

3. You can really smoke pork barbecue in the slow cooker.  And in the oven.  Beef brisket, too.

4. Eating something you’ve grown is pretty damn satisfying, even if all you got from several broccoli seeds was one head the size of your fist.

5. Restaurants can actually improve, though how much so is debatable.

6. They can also get worse.

7. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get excellent food or service.

8. But you CAN end up spending a fortune and get craptastic service instead.

9. Chinese food in the US is a bit different than it is in the UK or in the Netherlands. Or, especially, in China.

10. You can actually pop sorghum at home.  Amaranth, too.  And while a dome popper (that rotates the kernels) might be preferable, you can get away with using just a stainless steel stockpot.

11. I now know how to make poi.

12. And sushi.

13. And beer. 

14. And New York, New Haven and Chicago style pizzas.  I just need to make sure they stay flat. 

15. There are some good eats from food trucks.  Here and in DC.  And LA.

16. Recipes are there for a reason.  Use them.

17. And read through them first!

18. That said, so long as you know where to improvise (and what to search for on the internet), you don’t have to follow the recipe to the letter.

19. As much as the woman irritates the hell out of me, I have to admit that Sandra Lee’s heart is in the right place in trying to help home chefs without a lot of scratch make something edible.  She doesn’t always succeed (ahem), but at least she tries.  To paraphrase Sophia Petrillo, her heart’s in the right place but I don’t know where her brain is.

20. Still, what’s up with those goddamn tablescapes!?

21. Guy Fieri, on the other hand... I have no friggin’ clue why he’s still on TV.

22. Hooray for the people who thought up Restaurant Week.  And brewpubs.  And Dogfish 90 Minute IPA.

23. I now know that people in South Dakota deep fry raw beef and eat it on toothpicks.  That’s about as All American as you can get.

24. I have grown an appreciation for wine, but I will always be a beer person at heart.  Double IPA please, only one if I have to drive somewhere, and only water until I can drive.

25.  Oh yes, don’t drink and drive.

26. Homemade tomato sauce has totally ruined the stuff in a jar for me forever.  No high fructose corn syrup! (Seriously, look at the ingredients the next time you buy store bought.)

27. Locally sourced really does taste better than the stuff they ship 2,000 miles across three time zones just so we can have cauliflower out of season.

28. Sometimes all you want is a nice, juicy hot dog. Without bacon.  That’s right, I said “without”.

29. Yes, I love bacon, don’t get me wrong.  But everything in moderation.  If you have bacon all the time, it’s not special.  (Didn’t Margaret Cho say that once?)

30. That said, this blog has re-introduced me to the pleasures of cooking with bacon grease.  In moderation.

31. That Bitchin’ Kitchen show is pretty damn strange, and it rocks.

32. Nigella Lawson has such a great way of phrasing things on her shows and in her cookbooks.  It’s such fun to read her.

33. If you have the time to explore food in local places you never get to visit, take it.  Otherwise someone raised in Lansdowne won’t find the excellent hot dogs in Dundalk, fried oysters in Edgewood or Chinese and Japanese food in Overlea that he should be discovering (or the pit beef in Lansdowne and Arbutus that folks in Dundalk, Edgewood and Overlea are missing, too - and yes there is also good pit beef in Dundalk and off Route 40).

34. The internet is a great repository for recipes, but there will always be a place for cookbooks.

35. I wish there were more people out there like Jolene Sugarbaker, the Trailer Park Queen.  Someone at LOGO get her a cooking show, dammit.

36. Seriously, what is up with this ridiculous "throw it up overnight Frozen Yogurt shop" craze? It has to end sometime. So long as the people working all of them find other work. Don't want anybody out of a job.

37. It's El-li-KIT City, not El-li-COT City! Jeez Louise, people.

38. A few things I regret not having blogged about these past few years:
  • Jamaican food, particularly jerk chicken
  • The Charleston, though that one is because I could not afford it. Still can't afford it. Likely never will. Wah waah.
  • How to steam crabs. Sure we all know how to do that here, but I never actually got around to writing an actual how-to post.
  • The Museum Restaurant, now snuggled in the former space where the Brass Elephant used to be.
  • More family recipes, and maybe an exploration of the hallowed Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery.
  • More posts about food, food production and nutrition writing. I've read and/or listened to on audiobook more than a few lately that really deserve more of a mention on a site like this one:
    • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and family
    • The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
    • The American Way of Eating by Tracie MacMillan
    • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (also been meaning to check out Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. That one's next on the bucket list).
39. This city needs more Ethiopian restaurants. And Nigerian ones, too. And barbecue joints.

40. If you want an array of free cookbooks, go to the Book Thing in Waverly. Not just cookbooks but any books: you can take your old books that you don't want anymore and take home with you whatever you want. Granted, the selection skews towards the older stuff (hello, cookbooks for 600 watt microwaves from the early 80's), but it's still a fascinating bevy of cookbooks.

41. You want the essence of "Smalltimore"? When you are out with your friends getting pizza at Iggie's and you see a member of the Ace of Cakes show outside the window, then you mention it on the blog, and then she comments afterwards! Please keep rockin' this town, Mary Alice, and all y'all at Charm City Cakes. That's Smalltimore.

And that’s it.  I can’t really sum up 78 months worth of posts in one post much less one paragraph, so I’m not even going to try. But I will say that I have met a lot of interesting and talented people in this Baltimore food blog community, and made friends and shared experiences I am lucky to have.  Keep reading their food blogs, because they have forged into directions I had only thought about once in a long while, and many have been able to profit off of the experience (some of them have actual books you can buy now).  I am horrified at the thought of forgetting somebody and not going back to correct it, with this being in my final post and all.  So instead I thank all of you in the Baltimore food blog community as a whole. Y’all are awesome (yes, I meant "awesome" :D ), and you make me hungry.

I finish the blog very fortunate to have even had the money to do this. There are so many people in this country and in this world who just go hungry, who don't have access to anything healthy and have to worry about whether or not to buy food for themselves and their families, and here I am blogging about what I ate last week downtown. Reflecting on that kind of puts some things in perspective for me.

I’ve also learned (in large part on my own) a lot that I did not know, and probably would not have made the time to know were it not for this blog.  Eats around the Beltway that the food reviewers don’t often look at when they’re focusing on the finer and kitschier dining options in the city.  Specific foods in specific parts of the country that I’d never even known existed (from three different kinds of Native American frybread, to what a New York chocolate egg cream actually is, to how to make an honest-to-goodness sabayon for your Seattle sea scallops, to how long it actually takes to boil crawfish Louisiana-style).  Ditto for the world (from Papua New Guinea to Tanzania to leading 2010 World Cup contenders.  I’m looking at you, Uruguay).  The variety of festivals in the Baltimore area that are a cheap way to explore the area’s cultural diversity (and food), the original motivation for this blog in the first place back when it started as the Charm City Snacker.  The silliness of live-blogging a cooking competition show in real time, MST3K-style.  

And of course, this:

Ah yes, Aunt Sandy's infamous Kwanzaa cake video. You didn’t think I’d end the blog without slipping that in one more time, did you?

I am incredibly lucky to have undergone this experiment, and I thank everyone who has been a fan these past 6 ½ years, and the hardworking people who make and serve the food I’ve talked about.

So what does the future hold for me?  Danged if I know.  Work, family, hopefully some romance here and there, definitely some food.  I will say this: I am heading to New Orleans for a conference in May and getting some delicious food there, and hopefully in my down time seeing the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (particularly their Maryland exhibit - they do indeed have one).  Plus I’ll be eating locally and growing locally more often than I have in the past.  Most exciting, however, is a trip to Dublin for my birthday (the one in Ireland).  I normally would not do this or even bother to scrounge up the money, but it’s one of those "big" birthdays and I wanted to do something special.  Again, I’m incredibly thankful and lucky that I even get to do this.

Apart from all that, I will just continue cooking food, growing food, investigating recipes from my own backyard and from around the world, but without telling cyberspace about it (alright, I might mention a few of these things on Twitter, but not on here).  Before I decided to finish the blog, I got a hold of my Great Great Aunt Florence’s old recipe book.  I had thought of working through each recipe and seeing how it turned out (there are two crab cake recipes in there, plus one for a Dream Whip Cake).  Maybe I should write a blog about it?

Nah, done that already ;)


And so, this is John, signing off for the last time.  Don't worry - I'm not taking the blog down. It's staying up for the foreseeable future, and probably longer than that. I will check and moderate the comments for a while and maybe add a few jump breaks to some of the longer posts (now that they've bothered to add that capability when I need it the least). Oh, and I should direct you to the newly-indexed State-by-State page to the right.  But I’m not posting anymore.  Seriously, I’m done.  I am pooped. I will miss this blog, but I’m really looking forward to missing it. And finishing it.  Really.

Now what better way to finish than with one of those crazy food haiku?

Time to close up shop.
Bawlmer Snacker is complete.
Now, what’s for dinner? :)

(No the smiley face doesn’t count as an extra syllable!  It’s still a haiku.  Sheesh.)

          The Colourful Charms of Kinsale        
We visited some wonderful villages and towns in Counties Kerry & Cork, but my favourite was Kinsale, a lovely Georgian town with many of the original houses still surviving and a decidedly colourful approach to decorating them. It was also a fine example of how Ireland has managed to resist chain stores – with a […]
          Not-to-be-Ignored Road Signs of Ireland        
I defy anyone not to pause when confronted with these signs!
          The Scourge of Alien Invasive Plants        
In Ireland I was struck by the ubiquity of non-native plants in the Irish countryside. It took me a while to realise that the lush green grass that lined nearly every lane was in fact the young foliage of crocosmia which must have completely overwhelmed the native species that grew there previously. I suspect that […]
          Wildflowers of Ireland        
We were slightly late for most of the spring flowers, but there was still some loveliness to be seen. There were boggy fields of flag iris, cliffs and shoreline banks were vertical gardens smothered in sea thrift and orchids were everywhere.
          Impressions of Ireland        
I’ve just returned from my first ever visit to Ireland where I loved the landscape but in general found the gardens very disappointing. It may just have been the area we visited – the south west – or it may have been the general view that there’s no point in trying to compete with the […]
          24.11.17 20:00 Uhr - Wendelstein - Irish Folk mit Seán Keane & Band - "The Voice of Ireland"        
Tickets erhältlich unter:

Seán Keane - vocals, flute, whistles, uillean pipes
Fergus Feely - mandocello, backing vocals
Pat Coyne - guitar, backing vocals

Wenn einer das Prädikat “The Voice of Ireland“ verdient, dann Seán Keane aus dem County Galway. In Irland ist er aufgrund seiner prägnanten, unverwechselbaren Stimme, seiner über viele Jahre konstanten Popularität und der Wertschätzung, die er als Musiker genießt, wohl nur noch mit dem großartigen Christy Moore vergleichbar.
Seán Keane schaffte es bei den All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil Competitions 13 nationale Titel in 13 aufeinander folgenden Jahren zu gewinnen. Sein Album "No Stranger" wurde in Irland mit Platin ausgezeichnet und seine aktuelle DVD "The Irish Scattering" kletterte auf Anhieb auf Platz 1 der irischen DVD-Charts.
Auch auf dem Kontinent hat er eine große Fangemeinde. - Von der "living tradition" der irischen Folkmusik kommend, ist sein Repertoire jedoch alles andere als puristisch. Sowohl in alten, überlieferten gälischen Balladen, als auch in Liedern aus neuerer Zeit besingt er zeitlose Themen wie Lebensfreude, Liebe und Leidenschaft, Sehnsucht, Schmerz und Trauer - covert einen Song von Richard Thompson ebenso wie einen Countrytitel aus Nashville. Und wie authentisch er sich dem klassischen irischen Thema Emigration auf seiner DVD/CD "The Irish Scattering" auf hohem musikalischen Niveau nähert, markiert einen weiteren Meilenstein seines künstlerischen Schaffens:
Video 1: und
Video 2:
Seine Konzerte sind geprägt von enormer Bühnenpräsenz und sympathischer Vortragsweise, gepaart mit sprühendem Charme und typisch irischem Humor.
Bei den quirligen Jigs und Reels erweist sich Seán Keane mit flute, whistle und uillean pipes als virtuoser Instrumentalist und kongenialer Partner seiner beiden exzellenten Begleiter - Fergus Feely (mandocello, backing vocals) und Pat Coyne (guitar, backing vocals).
Lassen Sie sich SEÁN KEANE & BAND nicht entgehen!
          Jobs in UK - USA - EU - UAE | Job Seeker | Job Provider        
Search and apply to jobs in UK, USA, Canada, GreenLand, EU. Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy on the #1 job site in the World,
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 03-17-2015 with Wally        

John Frusciante- Murderers - To Record Only Water For Ten Days
Phox- 1936 - Phox
Zion I- Trippin - DJ Amplive Presents Zion I Instrumentals Vol 1
Delicate Steve- Tallest Heights - Positive Force
My Morning Jacket- Wordless Chorus - Z
Aan- Daylight - PDX Pop Now 2014 Compilation
Ty Segall- The Singer - Manipulator
The Devil Makes Three- Black Irish - Stomp And Smash
King Khan The Shrines- Of Madness I Dream - Idle No More
Desert Dwellers- Prana Shakti - DownTemple Dub Waves
Holy Ghost Tent Revival- Getting Over Your Love - So Long I Screamed
Balkan Beat Box- What A Night - Give
Tom Waits- Talking At The Same Time - Bad As Me
The Budos Band- Origin Of Man - II
Damien Jurado- Return To Maraqopa - Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son
Flowering Inferno- Dub Y Guaguanco - Dog With A Rope Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno
The Avett Brothers- Paranoia In B Flat Major - Emotionalism
Foxygen- San Francisco - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace Magic
Rebirth Brass Band- Your Mama Dont Dance - Move Your Body
Terravita- Bach Off - Bach Off Single
Fault Lines- Just Like My Heart - PDX Pop Now 2014 Compilation
Various Artists- Ugly Brown - Ninja Tune XX
Father John Misty- Chateau Lobby 4 in C For Two Virgins - I Love You Honeybear
STEEL PULSE- Roller Skates - Earth Crisis
Django Django- Hand Of Man - Django Django
Atomga- Empire - Atomga
Zammuto- Need Some Sun - Anchor
The Railsplitters- Longs Peak - The Railsplitters
Eddie Spaghetti- I Got A Secret - The Value Of Nothing
Greensky Bluegrass- Wings For Wheels - If Sorrows Swim
King Tuff- Eyes Of The Muse - Black Moon Spell
Man Mantis- Lost Parade - Cities Without Houses
The Main Squeeze- Message To The Lonely - Message To The Lonely Single
Breathe Owl Breathe- House Of Gold - Magic Central
The SteelDrivers- Whiskey Before Breakfast - Get Low Original Motion Picture Soundtrack With Digital EBooklet
Ketch Secor- Give Ireland Back To The Irish - Let Us In Americana The Music Of Paul McCartney
Department Of Eagles- Romo Goth - The Cold Nose
Dirty Dozen Brass Band- Inner City Blues Make Me Wanna Holler - Buck Jump
DJ Shadow- Giving Up The Ghost - The Private Press
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake- Evil Eye - Totem
Fela Kuti- Lets Start with Ginger Baker - Fela Live with Ginger Baker
Ratatat- Drugs - LP4

playlist URL:
          Dave Barry’s 2010 review        
Who better than Dave Barry to recount to us the manifold miseries we endured and depths of despair we plumbed: Let’s put things into perspective: 2010 was not the worst year ever. There have been MUCH worse years. For example, toward the end of the Cretaceous Period, Earth was struck by an asteroid that wiped […]
          Reactions to the Irish financial crisis        
Kevin O’Rourke sees it as almost a kind of bereavement: It is one thing to know that someone you love is terminally ill; their death still comes as a shock. I certainly don’t want to compare the arrival of the EU-IMF team in Dublin last week to a bereavement. But I was surprised at how […]
          Revision of on-line data base for Ingalsbes        
Greetings! The on-line data base of the Ingoldsby Family Historical Registry has just been updated to be the most complete compiling of Ingoldsbys, Inglesbys, Inglesbes, Ingalsbes, and Englesbys to date, beginning back in the 1200s in England and Ireland, through the very early 1900s here in the United States.

Take a look. I’d appreciate your comments, corrections, additions, suggestions.

Thank you. I hope you find the data base useful for your own research.


William A. Brobst, Editor
Ingoldsby/Inglesby Family History Project
6072 Currituck Road, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

          Re: JOHN LONG        
This is probably not your John, but if you run across mine, I would sure appreciate any info. My John & wife Jane Young Henry Long with several children, including John Jr. immigrated abt. 1753 from England or Ireland. Johns grandfather may have been Samuel Long of England & Jamaica. I'm trying to find a link between Samuel & John or what family John actually came from in England/Ireland.
          Wedding Journal Show 2017 Ticket Giveaway! (Closed)        
Once again, I’m teaming up with the Wedding Journal Show to offer my readers the chance to win tickets to the Dublin show in the Citywest Convention Centre this month. This show is Ireland’s biggest wedding exhibition — a perfect place to seek inspiration and ideas for your big day! On-site, you can browse over 300… Continue reading Wedding Journal Show 2017 Ticket Giveaway! (Closed)
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