Sunday, July 29, 2007

A weekend in July


The spirit of my Sunday night posts are always the same - a sort of lament that the weekend is not at least one day longer. Time doing the nice chilled stuff of life always seems to go by too quickly! We did, as usual, enjoy a great weekend.

After a busy week of work and seeing friends, I was delighted to see the weekend arrive. On Friday night we had dinner with friends from Scotland who are over in Northern Ireland for a visit home and it was lovely to catch up. Then bright and early on Saturday morning we met Stu's parents at Central Station to get the Enterprise train to Dublin. Attention all Northern Irelanders out there - there is a super promotion on right now and you can go from Belfast to Dublin return for only a tenner!! I had ambitiously booked the 6.50 am train for us all (except Stu's dad who can go free anytime because he's 65 - lucky!) and had worried that maybe that had been overly enthusiastic but in the end it worked out really well. I think we all felt proud of ourselves arriving in Dublin by 9.00 am in time to go to Bewley's on Grafton Street for a lovely breakfast. I have to note that when we came out onto Grafton Street after breakfast there was a huge line of exceptionally posh Dublin women waiting outside Brown Thomas to get the newly released Dublin and Milan edition of the 'I am not a plastic bag.' I couldn't help but do a bit of smug 'been there, done that, got the t-shirt (er . . . bag)' thinking!

After breaky we took advantage of the (rare!) sunshine and hopped on the open top bus tour and then spent the remainder of the day doing a lot of the usual wandering and window shopping. I love the busy vibe of the city. There happened to be a potter demonstrating throwing clay in the Kilkenny store - it was amazing to see how easy he made it look! We had to remind ourselves that he was a professional with twenty years experience. We rounded out the afternoon by having a late lunch at the Avoca Cafe which was delicious and it was lots of fun to spend the day with Lesley and Derek! Today we slept in, did a longish run on the path by the river (during which I did my usual routine of getting grumpy with the flippin' Sunday walkers with off leash unwieldy dogs who cannot seem to grasp the concept of getting over to one side of the path to let runners and cyclists pass - grrr!), cleaned the house (well, it's about time!) and then went to church. After the service we went out for coffee with friends which was great. Now it's definitely time to hit the hay!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Churchiness

I hope this is not too inappropriate to post but I really just cannot resist.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

hostels, soul music and shock jocks

Friday night after work we hit the road to go up to the north coast and spent one night at our favourite luxury accommodation in NI - the Whitepark Bay Hostel! It's a lovely place with its own private beach, rooms with views of the coast and a spotless kitchen for self catering. It also doesn't hurt that it's relatively cheap. We were even fortunate enough to have dry weather . No, not hot, but this 'summer' (using the term loosely here!) we counted ourselves lucky to have a day without rain!

We came home on Saturday afternoon in time to go to see a gig at the Waterfront - Foy Vance put on a great show and it was a really good night out with our friends. If you can get your hands on Foy Vance's debut album 'Hope' do so (I don't know if he's available yet on Itunes in North America.) Stu and I are liking it! Right this very minute as I blog before bed I am listening to Amy Winehouse's album Back to Black - I know I'm not being very cutting edge here with this announcement but it's good (just bought it yesterday - gotta love the instant buys with Itunes!)

Hmmm . . . What else did I want to chat about tonight after yet another long gap in blogging (blame the 'summer' I say!)? Oh yes, in between work and the other usual stuff of life I am on a mission to find the East Belfast woman who was commissioned to knit a sixteen foot scarf for Tom Hanks new movie City of Ember that is being filmed here in Belfast. Bizarre and cool I say. I have it on good authority (Stuart who heard the interview) that she was interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster's Stephan Nolan show last Friday (for those of you who don't know, Stephen Nolan is Northern Ireland's resident 'shock jock' and for me is like nails on a chalk board or something else decidedly unpleasant!) . . . I know, I know - it should be simple enough to find out more (I'm wondering if she has a EB Stitch 'n' Bitch) but I just can't bear the thought of listening to a whole hour and a half of the show in order to hear her story. Here's where my devotion to the craft of knitting is really put to the test!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thank heavens for the world wide web

Calling all knitters (or even those of you just passively interested in knitting because I tend to talk about it from time to time) . . . Check out this story (thanks Joel ME for sending me the link - I love it!) about the girl who knit a car! That's right . . . I will now officially stop complaining about how annoying knitting the sleeves of Thermal is proving to be. Mad props to the (undeniably mad) car knitter . . .

What else is new? Ah yes - I have another tidbit of internet randomness for you. A word of caution to anyone contemplating posting pics of last weekend's kegger (or any other badness that you might get up to) on Facebook. Beth (a new knitter, I should mention!) sent me this crazy story reporting that some soon to be Oxford grad's fates are in question after the uni got hold of pics of students breaching the institution's code of conduct in various forms. Luckily the height of my conduct breaching these days is staying up late watching an extra episode of Grey's while waffle stitching on a work night (okay, I'm exaggerating slightly here) so I think I'm safe. But for those hooligans among us, you've been warned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Where the ocean kisses Ireland


Oh the Green and Red of Mayo
I can see it still
It's soft and craggy bog lands
It's tall majestic hills
Where the ocean kisses Ireland
And the waves caress its shore
Oh the feeling it came over me
To stay forever more
Forever more

From its rolling coastal waters
I can see Croagh Patrick's peak
Where one Sunday every Summer
The pilgrims climb the reek
Where Saint Patrick in his solitude
Looked down across Clew Bay
And with a ringing of his bell
Called the faithful there to pray
There to pray

The Saw Doctors

Oh how quickly a week of holiday fun passes! My friend Beth sent me these song lyrics about the west coast of Ireland when I mentioned that Stu and I spent last weekend exploring county Mayo and Galway. After a week of volunteering (read staying in a flat with friends and getting very little sleep!) at a Church of Ireland conference in Sligo we were ready for a bit of chill out time and the picturesque Westport was a perfect spot. On Saturday we went for a nice drive through the countryside and it was interesting and sobering to see the various famine memorials along the roadside. On Sunday we decided to get going bright and early and walked up Croagh Patrick. The mountain is a pilgrimage site and rumor has it that on the last Sunday in July some 60,000 people (some of them barefoot!) go up to the little church on the top to received mass. The views of Clew Bay were really breathtaking from the top! This holiday report can't be too long as I must rush off to work this morning but I wanted to post even if it's short because over a week long hiatus on Always Paddle is just not done :)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Paris Je T'aime

We went to see this film at our favourite independent cinema earlier this week. The show was about two hours long and featured 18 short vingettes by famous directors. The stories are linked only by a common theme of love (the good and the bad . . .) and a common wonderful setting of la belle Paris. There are plenty of famous faces among the cast including French and American stars. While some stories drew me in more than others (I found myself 'enjoying' the more tragic tales so I'm not sure what that says about me!) overall I really liked the film. I also really love the beautiful soundtrack song by Feist (English and French versions!) and I'm sad because it doesn't seem to be available on Itunes UK.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Summer hols

I finally got around to doing a very fun task tonight - trolling through the past few years of my digital pics to post some of my favourites on Facebook. It was especially good to look at our wedding pics (four years ago this week - time flies when you're having fun!) Browsing through the pics from last summer made me feel very homesick for family and friends (who, thanks to our man Anton are now officially known as Saskatards) and I found myself yearning (as usual) for the wonderful warmth of July in Saskatchewan . . . Ah well, despite the really cold and miserable weather that we Belfastards are being treated to ;) I really can't complain as I am just starting a week of holidays! We're off to Sligo and Westport and I'm looking forward to getting away and to exploring a bit of the Republic.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We'll set about ye.

Meet the toast of the UK John Smeaton - the Glasgow airport baggage handler who tackled one of the drivers of the burning SUV last Saturday. Now you can join a Facebook group in support of the living legend or visit www.johnsmeaton.com to pledge a pint for John (aka Jack Bauer) at the airport Holiday Inn! I'm loving it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Good news!

A welcome change with good news this morning as BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was released. In interviews that took place immediately after his release after 114 days as a hostage, he demonstrated an amazing ability to reflect and process events as he was experiencing them. I hope he gets home to the calm west coast of Scotland and his lovely parents very soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

APYOC on YouTube

A while back I thought I would be really cool and do a video blog. I fiddled around one night filming myself sitting talking (read pontificating) to the computer. Basically, Stu came home and when he watched my video it became achingly clear to both of us that I was pretty much a big numptee. Anyhoo, I thought I'd removed the video from Youtube but apparently not. This morning I found out that AntoTV who was suprisingly nice and pleasant had posted a video response to my ramblings. I felt a bit weird and promptly took down the video of my thoughts from the website. My favourite part is where he says I don't sound like a Belfastard.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The true north . . .

Happy Canada Day!! Yes, it's that time again - hope everyone's heading to 'the lake' for a long weekend full of BBQ's, lazing on the beach, campfires and hot hot hot July weather! I will try not to depress you (or myself) by talking about waking up this morning to rain and much coldness here in Belfast. I think my parents took all the sunshine with them back to Sask-land. Ah well . . . On the plus side there's a Canadian flag on a house at the end of our street, but that is for other political reasons that, as far as I can tell, don't have much at all to do with Canada!

All whining aside, I have to admit that we are enjoying a nice and chilled out weekend. Yesterday we did a bit of shopping, went for a run (yes, I am going to update you on our fledgling running progress as a means of self-motivation) and went for a nice dinner at Stu's parents. This morning (to celebrate Canada in our own way) we've been out for breaky at our local diner-esque spot and now it's time to read the newspaper while listening to some (Canadian!) Arcade Fire. Somebody be sure to paint a maple leaf on their face for me . . .