Sunday, November 23, 2014

One From Dublin

You may have heard that the Guinness in Dublin tastes better and you would have heard right!

We have just returned from a two day mini break to this wonderful and vibrant city and if we could, we would return tomorrow.

It was early in the evening as our coach pulled up in front of our hotel for the next two nights, the ....... .......... The end of a twelve hour journey which had started early that day with a taxi ride to the bus station to join our coach and onwards to Ireland. After a long coach journey and a trip across the Irish sea on the ferry, our hotel was a sight for sore eyes (perhaps sore bottoms would be more apt) but there was no time for relaxation as our time in Dublin was limited and we wanted to make the most of it!

We dumped our bags after briefly checking out our room then headed out of the hotel looking up and down O'Connell Street trying to decide which direction we were heading.

We soon ended up crossing the Liffey and entering a lively and photogenic area of bars and restaurant's, choosing not to enter any of them until we'd found the famed Temple Bar and checked out the area enough to settle our curiosity.

Temple Bar ended up being our first port of call and straight away we were onto a winner,it was very busy with people from all over the world sat or stood around talking and mingling and drinking pint's of Guinness mainly but also ales, lager's and wines. Bands were playing Irish folk, pub classics and popular songs, a musical theme which ran through all the pubs it seemed. It had to be Guinness for my first choice of drink and wow, what a revelation a taste sensation, and so it went until after two more when we decided to move to somewhere slightly quieter for something to eat.

Some good food in the next pub and then we moved on to one or two more pubs before the long journey (and the Guinness) started to take it's toll and we headed back to our hotel.

After breakfast we headed out again for a stroll around the shops and onto the Guinness tour, three hours of everything Guinness including learning how to pour the perfect pint of the stuff, a wonderful morning ending around lunch time at the top of the Guinness factory with a cold pint and an excellent panoramic view. 

We left around lunchtime and headed for something to eat before going back to the temple bar area for another pub crawl before going back to the hotel for an early night and an early get up for a rather rough crossing of the Irish sea back to Hollyhead, and homeward bound on our coach.

So if you haven't tried Dublin then I highly recommend it!

I played about with this photo I took in Dublin and quite liked how it turned out!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Book and Beer

In The Old Ways Macfarlane examines the routes that mark - and in many cases lie submerged within or beneath - the British landscape. And not just the British landscape, but Spain and Palestine too. He draws out the connections between pathways and stories, reflecting on the different kinds of thinking and writing there have been inspired by travelling on foot.

Macfarlane is a lyrical, eloquent writer, whose portfolio of interests encompasses art, geology, map-making, poetry, environmentalism and adventure. As he goes about this he is guided by the spirits of many who have gone before him; perhaps the most significant of these is the poet Edward Thomas, with the artist Eric Ravilious another.

This is both a book about journeys and a journey in its own right - into the past, but also into the self. It is scholarly, informative, moving and thought-provoking. All I can say really is wow, what a beautiful and inspiring book, makes me want to get off my arse and go for a walk. The beer was good too :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Well after a hectic set of shifts it was nice to finish work on Saturday morning knowing I was heading to my girl and our caravan at the seaside.
A 45 minute bike ride in the fresh morning air (although not quite enjoyable after a 12 hour night shift) wasn’t too bad and the early morning countryside wildlife was nice, spotted plenty of rabbits, 3 pheasants and a deer on my journey to our seaside retreat.
After getting up at lunch time I was in the mood for a beer and my gorgeous lady had a few drinks in ready for my arrival. A few beers later and I was feeling like my weekend had begun. Later we drank some lovely wine, a French Muscadat and watched National Treasure (a personal favourite of mine) before going to bed after a cosy evening in front of the TV.
After getting up to a cup of tea and a fantastic Bacon sandwich courtesy of Caron, we headed to the beach for a long walk with the dogs, a very windy day but satisfying nontheless.  We walked maybe just 15 minutes up the beach before heading back, wrapped up warm against the wind, all the while Bob and Dottie scampered about our feet and played chase with each other, often with brief interruptions in play to investigate a foreign object and/or smell. I meandered along with Caron eyes firmly set on the sand with childlike excitement at the thought of finding a fossil amongst the many pebbles and rocks, sadly the only discovery was made by the dogs as they came upon the grim remains of a Seal carcass, Caron and I both feeling a pang of sadness at the poor creatures demise.
Later I cycled back home where Caron met me later for a few more drinks and another chilled night in front of tv before Caron headed home to prepare to get up for work in the morning. 
(Photo is of the same beach but taken a few weeks previous)

Book and Beer

I found the first half of this book quite hard going but later in the book it really gets going and I did look forward to reading the other two parts of the trilogy but my desire for reading fantasy has gone at the moment and I fancy a change so will read the other two books when I'm in the mood!

Characterisation is the key to good story-telling and that is where this book succeeds and keeps the reader engaged. By keeping the backdrop tightly contained the author has allowed the characters to come to the fore, and as a result they and their battles are the key drivers to the story.

The world building aspect of this book was very standard and straightforward, not particularly exciting but the real winner here is the plot. The writing style is also straightforward and accessible, an easy read!

I'd recommend this book if you like your fantasy stuff!

Great beer too! :)