Thursday, October 30, 2008
And if you're nearby, please feel free to call in on Saturday morning for a cup of coffee in aid of Tear Fund.
If you're not nearby, I'm still happy to accept your money!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
We had to collect our free tickets at the door, so I joined the queue of other people collecting their free tickets and very quickly established that everybody at the concert seemed to be there on the free ticket scheme, with no one actually arriving at the venue with a £25 ticket and walking straight into the main hall.
Once I got the tickets, I noticed with absolute horror that we had seats in row A. However, the nice lady on the door told us we could sit anywhere we wanted, so we chose the back row. Or at least the back row that was in use, which was actually the sixth row!
I should say that most of the audience looked like they were on a day pass to be there, (my own companion fell asleep during song three) and can anyone tell me why the ones with the weakest bladders always sit in the front row?
To be fair, Mr O'Sullivan gave a good concert. And he was delighted with the crowd because, when he last performed in Belfast, it appears that there were only about 10 people turned up!
Obviously nobody told him Queens had emailed everyone who had ever attended, worked at or even walked past the University in the past 25 years and offered them free tickets to be there and still could only fill a third of the venue. But hey, who am I ...????
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
(You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy)
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary')
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Take it from me ... Pink IS beautiful!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
- 4 days until my next 'work-free' day
- 5 days until the men from Stade appear in Belfast
- 8 days until my next pay cheque
- 12 days until my trip to London
- 17 days until the Halloween holidays
- 29 days until the next book club meeting
Thursday, October 02, 2008
The mountain of dumped suitcases, most with labels still attached, hand written by those who thought they were going to work, not to death. The sound of an old Jewish man sitting playing a violin outside one of the many, many huts.
And the rows and rows and rows of photographs of people who had passed through the camps. From ceiling to floor along both walls in every hut. Black and white images of men, women and children, shaved and robed in striped overalls. It all started to look the same, until the third or fourth hut we went into, where in the distance something red caught the eye.
As we got closer we saw it was a single red rose, tucked behind a photograph of an old man. And that's when you realise, this was someones father, brother, son, grandfather, uncle, cousin, husband. A real person, not just a photograph on a wall.
If the sights, sounds and smells of Auschwitz stunned us into silence, nothing prepared us for the trip across to Birkenau.
Here we saw the true extent of the deception that was carried out as Jews got off the train. Work camp to the left, death to the right.
I will never forget the size, scale and number of gas chambers, the mass communal graves and more than anything else, the eerie silence all around. I remember standing at the end of the train track, looking to my right and seeing row after row of huts. And beyond the rows of decrepit huts, where the worse buildings had been demolished, the chimney stacks remained, as far as the eye could physically see.
I know from hearing other peoples accounts from recent visits that Auschwitz-Birkenau has changed quite a bit since I was there. You can no longer wander round freely as we did, for example, and at Birkenau they have cordoned off the original huts and built replicas housing displays instead.
However, the impact that a visit to this place has on you will never change.
I recommend The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Silver Sword and The Book Thief as three pieces of fiction which cover the events of the holocaust and the plight of the Jews in three very different ways; read all three - it's worth taking the time to do that.
But I strongly believe everyone should see Auschwitz-Birkenau firsthand, that's why I've sent my other half to Krakow this weekend, and urge you if at all possible to go too.