Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
So, we are home!
We've had a great holiday, St Patrick's Day in Boston was special, and the skiing at Stowe was brilliant! This is the kids first time skiing and they absolutely loved it and took to it like ducks to water.
This little clip shows Michael running his dad off the mountain, and there's a guest appearance by Jill the 'skiing marshmallow' at the end of the clip!
Pleased to report no major accidents or incidents, just one very bad chest infection (me), a couple of bad coughs and four lots of dry lips to prove we were even away.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Just a quick post from Boston, wishing everyone a very happy St Patricks Day. We had an eventful journey over, maybe more on that after our return, but here we are.
Friday, March 14, 2008
In the Autumn of 2003 England won the Rugby World Cup. Or, to be more precise, Jonny Wilkinson had an exceptional run of matches, scored a load of points with the boot and won the Rugby World Cup for England.
Will the rest of us ever be allowed to forget it? No. Never. Not a chance.
Ireland's performance in the 2003 World Cup was a disappointing affair, although we did manage to get to the quarter-finals, where we were fairly comprehensively hammered by the French and that was the end of that.
After their victorious return from Australia with the Webb Ellis trophy, England had met and beaten both Italy and Scotland in the 2004 Six Nations. Both had been away games. Against Ireland, the English Champions were playing at home, in England for the first time since lifting the cup.
The English (and in particular the English press) were buzzing. For weeks before it, the hype was hyped. A carnival was planned for the day of the match, it was arranged that the RAF would do a fly-by, the trophy would be on full display. The papers talked of nothing else, we were reliably informed that God was an Englishman and the word 'champions' was gravely over-used. You could have been forgiven for thinking the English were the only team taking part in the Six Nations that season.
And the Irish sat quietly in the corner, picking the bog out from between their trotters and watching the pig in the parlour.
Saturday 6th March. 4pm kick off.
Now, I usually shout at the TV when there's rugby on, but this day was inordinate. When D'Arcy made his break I remember standing two foot away from the box guldering at the screen. By the time the ball was passed to Howe on the second occasion, I was on my knees on the floor, peeping through my hands, crying. And when I finally drew breath and looked round, my dad was crying, my mum was crying, my hubby was crying, the kids were crying - the whole flippin country was crying!
Final score: England 13, Ireland 19. Fan-feckin-tastic.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Before they went, their commanding officer, Belfast man Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, gathered them round in the compound and gave this off the cuff pep talk.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Every year we endure an event called the Eurovision Song contest. This is broadcast live around Europe and the basic format is that each country performs a song specially written for the competition and then, after everyone has performed and during an interval item, expert panels from each participating country award points for their favourite song and the country with the most points wins.
In 1994 Ireland had the dubious pleasure of hosting the final of the contest in Dublin. The songs were the same basic Eurotrash rubbish we'd come to expect (but love) over the years, but this final stood out because of the normally insignificant interval item. This was the night that RiverDance was first performed to an audience anywhere in the world, and what was intended to be the 'half-time entertainment' turned out to be the show stopping winner.
I was watching it with a crowd of friends and gradually the chat in the room stopped as we were caught up in the magic of the spectacle unfolding in front of us. Frankly, it was the most amazing thing any of us had ever witnessed and mouths were literally hanging open as we watched.
Two things I still remember very clearly about that night;
1: the noise of the cheer from the live audience in Dublin when it finished, and
2: the complete silence in the room as we were all completely and utterly lost for words afterwards
This is a clip of the first and original performance of an Irish phenomenon that has, and still is, sweeping the world 14 years on.
Listen for that cheer.