Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Waiting to meet Obama

I am sat at Stansted airport waiting to meet President Obama who is arriving here later for G20. I hope he is as much fun as Judy ... more on that to follow :-)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blog meet: Debenhams

I am going to London for a couple of days to shop in Mango (ours has been removed and I feel the loss keenly) and meet Secret Agent Schultz, she of the most contagious laugh!

For those of you who are confused by the title of this post, Judy lives in Debenhams at Barking. Barking. I should fit right in.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why I can't have football

This would never happen at a rugby match. Bloody Neanderthals.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Crown of Thorns

Clark Datchler, former singer with 80's wonders 'Johnny Hates Jazz' in case you recognise the dulcet tones.

I love love love this song. I bought it on 12" when it was released in 1990. I've not heard it for years, and years ... and years! I was, and still am, mesmerised by the lyrics.

There's a really strong message here and I'd love to ask Datchler where he stands spiritually and what's behind his words.

Enjoy ... opinions welcome!

Breaking News ...

There is a camping trip in the offing ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Race for Life

Can I start by saying that although the title of this fundraiser is 'Race for Life' I will absolutely not be moving any faster than a dander*. That sorts out any Trade Description issues up front.

Please feel free to dig deep or alternatively, chuck in a couple of quid. Any money raised means Cancer Research UK can work at preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, and that's a very worthy cause, even if watching me walk 5 km on two dodgy ankles isn't!

If you know me online, maybe you'd like to sponsor me online – it’s quick, easy enough for even me to understand and totally secure. Just click on the sponsor me button thing over there -->

If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the Gift Aid box when donating so that an extra 25%, plus a 3% supplement, can be added to your gift at no cost to you. That means your £2 becomes £2.57 or something like that; maths was never a strong point.

Anyway, what's important about Gift Aid is that we get a chance to fleece the government together !

Thanks in advance for any monetary donations. Chocolate donations are also welcome, but no training advice please. Feel free to pop along and watch the event ... feel free to bring an oxygen tank with you if you do.
*dander, leisurely stroll: 'John's just gone out for a wee bit of a dander.'

Random thoughts

Aircrew (and even apparently one pilot) on Irish airlines have allegedly been wearing Irish rugby shirts this week. The party rolls on.

I got word that in Houston they are having an Irish music festival. Here in Belfast we have just started a month long shopping festival. I wonder did someone somewhere got those two venues mixed up.

Mother's cat is staying with us this week. Await disaster.

Having said I would do the Cancer Research 'Race for Life' it is now probably time I actually did something to get ready for that. Like walk the length of myself, or even registering would be useful.

I am babysitting my nine month old niece tomorrow. She is very smiley and very contented and I trained nursery assistants for 5 years so I'm sure we will get on great. She doesn't need a litter tray so already she's on a better footing than the cat.

Spandau Ballet are reforming again today. A lot of 80's groups seem to be taking up their zimmers and boosting their (probably collapsed) pension plans by reforming. I'm not excited. Now, if Johnny Hates Jazz were to do it ...

Finally, when asked to name the core values of the Ireland rugby team, Paul O'Connell (next Lions captain - watch this space) responded "Honesty and integrity - big Irish things - and being humble as well."

I think that sums us up pretty well. Here endeth the lesson.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Green is the colour

I have just returned from a quick dash to the local shopping centre where I stocked up on supplies to enable us to sit in front of the tele and watch three consecutive rugby matches as the rugby Six Nations comes to it's finale today.

It's a big day for Ireland, first chance at the grand slam in 61 years. Not that I honestly think we'll do the slam, but I believe we'll win the championship.

Anyway, it appears everyone in Ireland is wearing green today; I saw more green in Forestside this morning than I even saw in Houston on St Patrick's Day, and that's saying something! One in ten shoppers was sporting an Irish rugby shirt. The shopping centre was buzzing, but come 12.30pm I'd say the shops will be deserted!

My prediction then: Italy for the spoon, I think England will win the Calcutta Cup, mores the pity, and although I think Wales will beat Ireland robbing them of the Grand Slam, I don't think they will get the win of 13 points they need to deprive Ireland of the Championship. So ...


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Did you hear the one about the Irish woman

trying to cross the road in Houston?

Everythng is bigger in Texas, even the roads. Yesterday I had occasion to cross a minor seven lane road to get to the shops. An absolute necessity!
So I pushed the button and waited for the green man, but here he is white. Interesting point - is the green man only green in Ireland??

So I am waiting and waiting because I don't want to be caught jaywalking and sent to jail as I think they might have the death penalty here. Eventually the white man appears and I start to walk. I get to the end of the second of, don't forget seven lanes of traffic, and the white man disappears and the big red hand starts flashing at me.

I stop dead. Panic!! What do I do? Do I turn back to where I started, or do I keep going in my original direction? Peopel in their cars are looking at me oddly and I know it's not because I'm wearing my St Patrick's Day bloopers. SO I make a snap decision to continue to the other side ... and run like hell!

I'm safe mum, all those posts Nancy's about to make about visiting me in hospital - they're not true!

Monday, March 16, 2009


I can't really blog too well as I am working from a funny wee keyboard thing on my knee sitting on the bed in my room. I am still on Belfast time which means I was awake from 5am local, ready for the shops at 8am just to discover that the shops don't open until 10am!!!

And they call this civilised society?? :-p

I am now speaking American quite fluently, although not as fluently as some of my American friends are speaking Belfast. Dana has an 'awesome' Belfast accent ... say 'now' Dana! I have read a lot of phonebooks and repeated a lot of nursery rhymes for peoples pleasure.

I love the ads on TV here. You gotta love them - they go on forever. And they are not afraid to advertise anything. I was in the bathroom last night cleaning my teeth listening to the ads and this one comes on "Ladies, is your contraception pill not working for you..." (told you they advertise everything) "... then try neutering!" I'm thinking 'wow! now I've really heard it all, human neutering advertised on the tele!'

Out of curiosity I dashed into the bedroom to see what pictures they had put with these words to discover the ad was for Nuta-Ring, a new form of contraceptive coil.

I am having a great time here with the 'gals', Houston First Baptist blew my tiny Irish brain, Southern hospitality is all it's cracked up to be and today there is a rumour going about that the sun will shine! Yee-ha!

To finish, yesterday in Barnes and Noble I finally discovered what the 'X' in the St Patricks day alphabet stands for. I can't believe I didn't think of it myself ... that most Irish of musical instruments ... Xylaphone. My education is now complete.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


to the lovely people of Texas who went out of their way to welcome me to Houston in a traditional Irish way by blowing up the offices next door to my hotel at 7am (local) this morning!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bloggers meet: Houston

In just a couple of hours I will be leaving to start the first leg of my journey to Houston, Texas, to meet Dana, Kelly and Nancy. And possibly a yellow rose, or two.

I will also be exporting enough bread to keep the Irish economy ticking over for the foreseeable future and to clear Paul Rankin's tax bill!

Friday 13th

Flying to Houston with Continental on a Boeing 777-200. From todays Independent; should I be worried:

Warning over safety of Boeing engines
Rolls-Royce ordered to redesign fuel component to resist build-up of ice

A faulty component in the engines of Boeing 777 aircraft which caused two near-fatal accidents could malfunction on other planes at any moment, the US air accident investigation body warns.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued an "urgent safety recommendation" on Wednesday in which it said there was a "high probability of something similar happening". It instructed engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce to redesign the part, and told airlines to ensure it is fitted to all aircraft using the affected engines at the earliest available opportunity.

Yes please, like TODAY ;-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Belfast, 10/03/09, 13:00hrs


'Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.'

Brian O'Driscoll March 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

When they were four, my children had to write little bits for the inside of Mothers Day cards they made at school. This is what my pair had to say about me ...
My mum's name is Alison. Her hair is blonde and her eyes are green. My mum has curly hair. My mum likes to have a bath. Me and Michael keep mum busy. I love mum because she is beautiful.
My mum's name is Alison. She has blue eyes and yellow and brown hair and sometimes curly hair. My mum works in a school. My mum bosses Graham around. I love my mum because she hugs and kisses me.
My name is Alison. I actually have grey eyes and blonde (out of a bottle) hair with lots of grey bits. I do work in a school, I do like to have baths and I do boss Graham around. Still.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Breaking News

Team Book Circle are signing up to Race for Life, charity event for Cancer Research UK.

On second thoughts, maybe we should call ourselves team Pudding Club and nip any false expectation in the bud.

Looking for something to read?

At Book Circle and Pudding Club this month we carried out a rather interesting little exercise. Yes, we did (briefly) discuss the book of the month, which was Danny Wallace's 'Friends Like These'. And yes, we did eat pudding as normal, but this month we also rated all the books we've read to date.

If you are interested in the titles we have read and maybe discussed so far, look here. If you don't read but are interested in the puddings we've eaten you'll find a list of some of those there too.

However, I digress; the ratings. A complicated system was employed to work out which book we favoured and the results were as follows:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Rarely is a victory so sweet as when we beat the English. Sorry if you are English and you are reading this, but when it comes to sport, we just don't like you.

Which is why even I got excited on 7 Sep 2005 when David Healy's goal gave Northern Ireland an amazing, unexpected victory in the football World Cup qualifier against England.

This weekends 14-13 victory over England in the Six Nations was sweet indeed. Sweeter still as it was against a team coached by the man who infamously refused to move for Irish President Mary McAleese before the Ireland v England Rugby game in Lansdowne in 2003.

Well, slap that up ya big lad :-)

Monday, March 02, 2009