Monday, November 27, 2006

a beach of a day

My sister was here for the weekend from London; we took her to the beach yesterday.

I suspect she'll enjoy going to the beach a bit more when she goes home to SA for Christmas in a few weeks.

It was about 6 degrees outside. But if we thought we were cold, I can only imagine the eejits who were kiteboarding in that weather!

It may be only mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the midday sun, but who, other than Irishmen, would be out doing water sports in the middle of Winter?!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

music, movies and kisses

I feel like I owe you a decent post after yesterday's pathetic attempt. So today I'm going to talk about... I dunno, just stuff, I guess.

We rented a couple of DVD's on saturday night for the first time since we moved into the new house. Mostly 'cos we have the full Sky TV package so we've sort of made do with what's been on. But that's beside the point.
The second one we watched was 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley'. It looked like a good movie but I must admit I gave up after half an hour and went to bed. It was a little too aggressive and raw for my mood. Hubby seemed to enjoy it, though. Am I turning into a wuss?
Tough sh*t if I am; I just wanted to hold onto the mood that the first movie put me into. 'Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest'... now THAT's what I'm talking about!
I love fantasy movies and I loved the first one and I have to say this was one sequel that was easily as enjoyable as the first movie was. Plus, we got to see Johnny Depp kiss the girl.
Not to be disloyal to George Clooney who is still top of my list of sexiest (fantasy) men alive but if there was a best (fantasy) kisser award I think Johnny Depp should get it.

From movies to music (I've been storing this stuff up for a while)...
I recently purchased some new additions to my CD collection. Two in particular stand out.
I finally gave in and bought that James Blunt album that half the world was raving about and the other half was dissing. I figured there were one or two songs of his I'd heard that I liked, and it's always good to have a mellow CD around for background music. This seemed like a better option than Westlife since my stepdaughter has threatened to disown me if I get a Westlife CD, hehe!.
The verdict? Well I have to say I'm with the second half of the world. There are a couple of good songs but I actually can't force myself to listen to the second half of the CD anymore. I always listen to an album all the way through a couple of times when it's new so I can give it a chance but this one - Oy! It's not that it's really bad... it's just really overrated, as far as I'm concerned.

The second one is a different story altogether: The Snow Patrol album (I can't remember the title but it's the latest anyway) is one that grows on me a little more every time I hear it on my MP3 player. It may not be the most uplifting album but the music is lyrical and has substance. What I look for in music is its ability to envelop my entire being so that I don't just hear it, I feel it.

Snow Patrol: 1
James Blunt: 0

But that's just my opinion.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I've started this 4 times now

... and I haven't yet written anything I'm happy with. Probably 'cos it's first thing Monday morning and I'll be leaving for work shortly and I normally only wake up some time during the commute so ... what was I saying?

Oh yes.

Basically I am as yet incapable of coherent thought.

So here's a photo in the meantime:

I took it last night while hubby was trying to watch "Top Gear" on TV. Can't have been easy with me bobbing around in front of him trying to get the angle right. We had the fire burning on account of the freezing winter storm that was howling about outside. Was there a hurricane warning I missed somewhere? 'Cos I had to go trudging around the garden this morning collecting up all our furniture again. The wind, she was very very bad.
The icy rain - well it's Winter in Ireland so it was sort of expected.

So OK I have to go now else I'm gonna miss my train. What did everyone get up to this weekend? Let me know in the comments...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Go Bokke!!

No I mean it. Go. Go home. Go practice. Go do something, just don't do it in Ireland anymore.

I was so looking forward to this last Saturday - we bought tickets to see the South African rugby team play Ireland at Lansdowne Road. Tickets were scarce as hens' teeth but we managed to get some for our friends, who drove up from Cork, and for my cousin Del and his buddy who flew over from London to see the game. It was going to be monstrous - The Boyz were going to do us proud. Hubby even met them in town on Friday and they promised they were up for it; they lost to Ireland the last time they played here and it was time to redeem themselves.

So we left home around lunch time on Saturday and headed into town, had a couple of pints in a pub beforehand and then joined the thousands of South Africans (and a few Irish, of course) streaming into Lansdowne Road stadium.
And what happened?
The Springboks choked. They were abysmal. We stood for two hours in the freezing cold, in the rain, shouting encouragement until we were hoarse... and all for nothing. They didn't just lose, they played really badly and were soundly beaten. The final score was 32 - 15, I think. By the end of the game it didn't really matter.

Do you think they know how much this stupid game means to those of us living 10,000km from home? Do they care that we put all our support behind them, that we pay good money to see them, so that we can spend a few hours together with some sense of national pride... only have it obliterated? And then we have to go back to work on Monday and take the flack from our Irish colleagues who are now convinced they're the next world champions, having beaten the mighty Springboks.
I could shake Jake White so hard his whole family tree rattles!

Jake: take your damn experimental teams somewhere else. Give us a break.
Once was painful.
Twice is too much.
I won't go to the next one.

Before the game, during the anthems, when we still had hope.


Disillusioned as we were after the game, it would have been remiss of us to have not gone for a drink afterwards with our countrymen. Men and women of varying shapes and sizes but all sporting the Springbok emblem somewhere on their attire filled the pubs and spilled out onto the streets. It felt good to be surrounded by familiar accents, strange thought it was to hear so much Afrikaans being spoken in Dublin.

And for all my bitching, our Irish hosts are as magnanimous in victory as they are in defeat and it turned into a fun night. We met a group of men who had flown over from Johannesburg on Thursday just to watch the game, and were flying back the next day. At least I hadn't gone to quite those lengths, so I felt a bit better. They kept trying to figure out why we were living here. It's so cold! they said. And here I was thinking it was actually quite a mild night. There's something to be said for acclimatising, hehe.

The funnest part was when my buddy and I went outside for the occasional smoke... now that
was entertainment! Let's see, there were the three drunk Irishmen - brothers - who for some reason kept wanting a group hug. Then there were the two drunk Irishmen and the drunk South African who were together but seemed to be having three different conversations. At one point one of them said something to me and my witty response was, "Are you on drugs, buddy?" The joke fell flat when I saw him taking half a joint from his mate just as I said that.
Oh, I almost forgot we also met The Most Boring Man On The Face Of The Planet. He was an accountant, and he wouldn't stop talking. Eventually we just skedaddled back inside while he was half way through a sentence. He didn't look offended - I kind of got the impression he was used to it.

I'd forgotten how much fun a night out on the sauce can be in Dublin.
I'd also forgotten how horrid a hangover feels.
I think next time the Bokke come here I'll just skip the game and go straight to the pub.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

making a write mess of things

I think I may have given up writing. Probably not forever, but for now yes. It's like this, you see...
Last week I signed up for NaNoWriMo on the advice of my good friend Reluctant Nomad who, incidentally has become an even better friend 'cos he really did post his carrot cake recipe on his blog.
Anyhoo... it seemed like a great idea. I had a storyline complete with beginning, middle and end, and everything!
So I started writing.
And I was trying to keep up with the blogging too because I feel it's a bit rude when I don't visit the people who are nice enough to visit me.
And I was working late - at my job, that is.
And I was trying to make dinners and do laundry and keep the house clean.
And... by Sunday evening I had written about 4500 words of utter crap, and was feeling really stressed about the whole thing.

So I did what I do best: I threw a tantrum. It was a mini-tantrum, but a tantrum nonetheless. A sort of "I don't know why I'm bothering / this is a pointless waste of time / I'm not going to write anymore so there!" tantrum.

For the rest of the evening, I didn't write. I closed my laptop and read a book in between making dinner.
I didn't write on Monday either.
By Tuesday I realised that, y'know, I'm the one causing myself the stress. I actually feel better having let go of one of the things that I was stressing about.

And therein lies the key - not "giving up" but "letting go". It's something I have never been able to do very well and it has caused me all manner of problems in life. Perhaps this is the beginning of learning how to let stuff go.

I'm sure at some point I will write again and in the meantime, I don't think I'll be leaving Blogland any time soon. But perhaps I just need to take some pressure off myself for a while.

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Commuting is such fun

Take this morning, for example. It was cold but sunny when I left home, plodding along the country roads at a gentle pace towards the train station because for once in my life I wasn't running late. The train wasn't too crowded when it arrived (almost on time, too) and although there were no seats available there was plenty of standing room. I found a spot in the aisle, which is my favourite trick because that leaves me favourably placed in case someone who has a seat gets off at one of the outlying stations. On occasion I have been fortunate enough to not have to stand for the full 40-minute train journey.

So there I was, unhurried and stress-free, my MP3 player blaring sweetly in my ears, when movement from one of the seated passengers caught my eye. I really need to pay more attention to my surroundings, people. The two seats next to which I was standing were occupied by a guy and a girl, who I'd estimate to be in their very early twenties at the most. She was all in black, with her rather jelly-like boobs almost falling out of her top. Not something I wanted to spend too much time looking at. The movement, however, was coming from her companion, a little blonde-haired fella with blue eyes, also dressed in black, and flapping some sort of red scarf - sorry, bandana would probably be more accurate - around. To attract attention, obviously. He was looking at me, daring me to.. I don't know what. He seemed to be expecting some kind of confrontation. Instead, I gave him a wink, like a mother might give to a wilful child. He acknowledged this and turned back around. It was then that the smell of beer wafted up from his girlfriend's can to my nostrils. Pleasant odour, so early in the morning. I shifted position so I was facing away from them but I wasn't going to move away just because they were there, or just to avoid a situation. I may have mentioned this before: I don't like bullies. And I refuse to be intimidated. But at the same time, I'm not easily inclined to provoke an unpleasant situation.
{sigh} Unfortunately not everyone has the same attitude. About 10 minutes along the tracks our bandana-waving youngster must have decided he wasn't getting enough attention, or perhaps he is uncomfortable with the special kind of lazy silence that is typical of the morning commuter train, because all of a sudden I could no longer hear my MP3-player music because it was being drowned out by some ghetto / rap crap blasting out of said scumbag's ghetto-blaster. (I don't know if they still call them that but it certainly fits the situation.) Now, I while I realise there are some people who enjoy that sort of 'music' but quite frankly I find it offensive to hear a stream of bad language being bellowed out to a tuneless 'doof-doof-doof-yo' first thing in the morning. I'm sure most of my fellow passengers felt the same, judging by the look on their faces.
But... nobody said anything. They all just sat or stood there in agony and let this young asshole act out like a spoilt child.
See this is where I tend to get myself in trouble because I get REALLY pissed off when someone invades my space in any way.
So I took my one earphone out, leaned over and said (nicely, I might add, and without any filthy looks), "Would you turn that down a bit, please?"
I though the woman standing next to me was going to fall over and the rest of the passengers in the carriage looked at me with something approaching horror.
You know what happened next?
I put my earphone back in my ear and turned around again. And he turned down the volume.
And I wanted to shout at my fellow passengers: "Grow a pair, you spineless twits! He's one small spoilt brat - why do you let him treat you like this?!"
But I kept quiet and continued doing my best to ignore the young couple.
Which was going well right up until the bit where the man and his daughter sitting opposite them got up to leave the train two stops later.
What a dilemma! Here were two empty seats, and about twenty people standing in the carriage, who would normally just about step on each others' heads to get a seat. But because the seats were opposite the two young lushes, nobody made a move.
Nobody except me, that is. I figured, why should I stand for the next twenty minutes if I didn't have to?
So I went and sat down opposite these two, still listening to my MP3 player, and turned my head to watch the countryside speed by past the window. Not long afterwards an elderly woman and her husband moved down and she sat next to me, with he standing next to her with a protective hand on her shoulder.
By now the young oxygen-waster was bored again so he once more turned up the volume on his noise-maker, and once again everyone around just looked pained, but said nothing. I gave him one filthy look then turned my head again to ignore him, which I did successfully for the rest of the journey.
He turned it down after a while when he realised he wasn't getting a reaction.
And in the end, I almost felt I was as bad as the rest of the passengers, just letting this boy get away with anti-social behaviour. But there were a few things that stopped me doing or saying anything further:
One: my husband's voice in my head saying, "He's just trying to get a rise out of you. Don't give him the satisfaction."
Two: the fact that they had both been drinking and we all know that trying to reason with a drunk person is like trying to convince a woman with PMS that chocolate is a bad thing.
Three: fantasizing about smashing his head repeatedly against the window until he stopped. Just stopped.

And in the end, I did get some form of satisfaction: When he eventually realised that I wasn't going to react in any way, he picked an argument with his girlfriend instead, and by the time they left the train the people whose day had been spoiled the most was theirs.
Karma, people, karma. You get what you give.