Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cheap flights

A friend who heard of my Ryanair flight plight sent me this to cheer my up.

Word or two of warning, the language is a bit ... Irish, and I would srongly advise you switch off when she asks if you are of a nervous disposition ;-)

Do you remember I said...

If I ever suggest you join me on a rugby tour........

Uh huh, uh huh

So, I booked another rugby tour this week. Bath again, in December. Travelling with the very boys I made this trip with to Paris, no... Brussels ...no... Paris. And oh, how we laughed, how we joked, and we said nobody should ever let us fly together on the same flight to a rugby match at the same time ever again.

Ha bloody ha.

And, because I was a little late booking, I booked my flight out with Easyjet and back with Ryanair, for reasons of cost and convenience. Just like I did on this trip; wouldn't you think I'd have learnt that lesson too?

So the big news in Belfast today is that, as of the 31st October 2010, Ryanair will stop operating out of Belfast. Fullstop. That's it. Adios, Au revoir, Arrivederci, Slán agat, Fecked, Goodbye.

Oh, all is not quite lost ... you can claim your refunds on a Ryanair helpline charging £1 a minute and yes, the claiming of the refund will cost you more than the flights did in the first place....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Come for Coffee

On the morning of Saturday 18th September, mum is hosting a coffee morning as part of the Macmillan Cancer Support 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning' event.

The official date is Friday 24th September, but as we will be in London then, mum's is a little bit earlier.

When dad was diagnosed with lung cancer last Christmas, Macmillan were one of the agencies who were there to offer help, support and advice, so this is just a little way to say thankyou and give something back.

Everybody very welcome; it goes without saying, as it's actually being held in MY house (well manipulated mum!), tea will also be available ;-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Curse of the Celts

On a recent visit to my brother's, instead of the usual friendly 'hello, how are you?' I was greeted with 'what's wrong with your face??'

It all started here, on a rugby trip to Bath when I needed a bit of emergency dental treatment that required a needle up the underside of my nose and left me unable to move my facial muscles for 12 hours. No, not botox. The morning after the event I woke with a face like a belisha beacon only red, which I assumed was a result of the previous days anaesthetic.

Now, I'm not in the habit of looking at myself in the mirror, apart from when I put a bit of slap on on mornings when I'm working, so when my brother draws attention to my face and my family point out this is a regular occurance I suddenly realise this is not the after effects of a dose of freeze that would immobilise your pet donkey.

To cut a long story short, a trip to the doctors has confirmed a diagnosis of rosacea, aka 'the curse of the Celts'. As if we don't have enough bloody curses hanging over our heads without one of them actually manifesting itself on our faces.

So apart from applying medical cream prescribed, I am on a mission to discover what my triggers might be and avoid them, and I was doing OK until I hit this one, as listed by WedMD:

Weather conditions that cause rosacea:
Hot weather
Cold weather
Humid weather

That's it then. Cursed for life.

Friday, August 20, 2010

So, she's pregnant

Adam from the BT ads older woman ... Jane. (had to Google that!)

Bit of a physiological miracle that, considering in all the years they have been 'dating' on our screens they've never once been seen in the same room at the same time. But, if that's what the public voted for, who am I to point out such minor details.

Of course, the next public vote will probably be 'who is the father?'. Wouldn't it be ironic if it was the local Virgin Media engineer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yarnbombing bombs

It's billed as knitting meets graffiti. To celebrate August 'Craft month' statues across the city were to be sporting colourful knits.

And so off we set, armed with information and having seen photographs of 'yarnbombed' sites in Belfast to see what we could find. And the result?

Apart from this one lone bird outside the gates to a local park, nothing. Not one thing anywhere. How very, very disappointing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lose the belly

Tonight I embarked on a regime to get rid of a wee jelly belly I am cultivating. Too many packets of crisps and the fact I never did any pelvis floor exercise starting to catch up with me.

Oh, and middle age.

So I downloaded the 'Lose the belly' app and set to with the exercises.

The first one required me to lie on the floor, which was hard enough in itself, with my knees above my hips, my hands behind my head and then simultaneously lift my hips and shoulders so that my spine was smiling.

I was 30 seconds behind before this woman even started her set because I had to negotiate getting my knees above my hips and out of the more comfortable position they favour above my boobs.

And, I tell you now, my spine was anything but smiling!

And then the sadist on the video clip says to do 25 repetitions. Twenty five!! At which point I am laughing so hard and so loud that children start to appear to see what is happening. 'When you have completed your 25 (that's twenty five) repetitions', she says 'you can lie down and have a drink'.

Yeah, I'll have a Bushmills, and make it a double.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Champagne and shooting stars

I was out last drinking champagne and watching shooting stars with three ex-colleagues last night.

The more champagne we drank, the more shooting stars we saw.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flying part II

Last week I had opportunity to fly to London and experience the hostility at Belfast City Airport.

It started with me being asked to remove my shoes, and my belt. Just me, nobody else in the queue. I HATE removing my shoes and having to walk in my bare feet round the security area, so imagine the scene as I waddle around, walking only on the outside edges of my feet so the soles don't touch the ground. This is probably a throwback to having a verruca, which, not being a swimmer, I probably picked up at an airport in exactly these circumstances.

So I am making my way through the scanner in my peculiar motion when it beeps. Frankly, I only ever beep in Belfast, which always results in the full body search and frisk. And that is not an easy task for the security personnel when their 'victim' is balancing on the outside edges of their feet.

Frisk completed, I make a dash for my shoes which have appeared at the end of the conveyor belt, but before I can get them on the nice man behind the desk asks me, just me, not anybody else in the queue, if he can take my liquids and test them. Before I have time to draw breath he has emptied the contents of my plastic ziploc bag onto his desk and I'm watching my bottle of £23 Benetint liquid rouge roll precariously close to the edge.

While this is happening and I struggle to put my shoes on, I become aware of a woman moving towards me slowly. In fact, she gets so close I eventually look up (still trying to put on my shoes) and glare at her. At this point she grabs my bag and 'invites' me to join her in a little room at the back of the security area.

So, with one shoe on and one shoe off I diddle-diddle-dumpling, still on the outside edge of one foot, to join her and my bag in the room. Once I get in she slams the door shut, and in her best Eastern European voice instructs me that she is going to swab the contents of my bag for explosives. I don't even have time to wonder when Belfast City Airport started employing the KGB to do their security before she turns my bag upside down and empties the entire contents onto a table. And of course, you know who's going to have to tidy up that mess, once they've got their shoes back on.

Eventually, I am free to go to the departure lounge, where the first thing I do is buy a big bar of chocolate to calm the frazzled nerves. And when I open my purse to pay, there, staring out at me, are a pair of the biggest, sharpest, most illegal looking nail clippers you have ever seen....

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Last night, 'somebody' managed to take a sizeable chip out of one of my £59.00 Nicholas Mosse dinner plates.

All I can say is that 'somebody' needs to watch that 'nobody' drops chocolate on the upholstery of their car and then sits on it to melt it in.

Flying part I

My mum is flying to the Isle of Man tomorrow with airline Manx2, so being the seasoned traveller that I am, today I did her online check-in.

Now, my understanding of on-line check-in is that it is supposed to speed up the boarding process and stop you from having to join one of those awful queues at the airport and stand in line for half a day.

So I go through the whole process for checking in and print her boarding pass, which she reads and then asks 'why does it say if I have a suitcase I am not allowed to check-in online?'

Well, I think, that's a bloody good question, and sure enough, there it is in black and white on her boarding pass. What an absolute stupid place to divulge that rather important little bit of information; they couldn't have done it on one of the webpages relating to online check-in, to stop you checking in online if you had a suitcase? Oh no.

So I tell her it's alright and just to turn up and leave her bag at the drop and she'll be fine, but this is my mother ... so I end up calling the Isle of Man no less to find out if her boarding pass is valid, what she should do with her bag, how much earlier that will require her to be at the airport (I wouldn't say she's panicing, but I'm thinking of taking her tonight with a sleeping bag and some sandwiches) and will she be allowed on the plane.

And it turns out that her boarding pass is valid, she has checked in online, but ...

She has to go an hour early tomorrow, queue at the desk with her valid boarding pass, leave her suitcase at the desk and have her valid boarding pass stamped. Now, I ask you, WHAT is the point in having online check-in when you have to go through all the processes anyway?

Is it possible we have a company here who are trying to out-do, in a totally opposite way, the efficiencies of Ryanair?

Syncing, syncing ...


Yes, for the second time in two months my iPhone has died; completely tattie bread, unresurrectable, dead as a dead thing, rigor mortis, dodo-like dead.

Which is a shame because yesterday, for the first time since it died the last time, I was finally able to get all the apps reinstalled. But, ha ha, none of the music.

And of course, just to rub a little bit of extra salt into my wound, the geeks at the Apple 'genius' bar don't have any appointments until .... Saturday!

I am in a very, very, very bad mood. No really, a very very bad mood

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

80 hours 49 minutes

and counting

He can always get a job with Ryanair

US police have arrested a flight attendant after he had a row with a passenger on a plane and fled using the emergency exit slide.

Steven Slater, 39, reportedly became furious with a passenger who opened his overhead locker before the plane had stopped at JFK International Airport. He was apprehended on charges of criminal mischief, trespassing and reckless endangerment, police said.

The JetBlue plane was travelling from Pittsburgh to New York on Monday. On the plane's arrival, Mr Slater told passengers to stay in their seats until the plane stopped, according to Associated Press news agency.

When a passenger stood up and opened the overhead locker, Mr Slater went to stop him but the bag struck him in the face. He then demanded an apology but the passenger cursed at him instead.

Becoming irate, Mr Slater then used the loudspeaker to tell him off, before grabbing a beer from the galley and activating the slide. After making his dramatic exit, he then walked to his car and drove away.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


A little innovation I knocked up in the kitchen this afternoon in honour of my mum and her friend coming for coffee in the morning. A 'scancake' is a cross between a scone and a pancake - a bread with the texture of a scone and the height of a pancake.

At least, that's what I'm going to tell them, because they ran a coffee shop for many years and that means they have the God given right to be critical of everyone elses scones. Many, many times I have enjoyed their company over coffee and a scone where the scones have been 'awfully big', 'awfully dry', 'awfully dense', 'awfully plain', 'awfully hard' or just plain 'awful'.

Well, with the invention of the scancake I have managed to incorporate all of those features into one (just about) edible creation.

To be fair, when I first lifted them out of the oven I left them sitting for half an hour in the hope that by some magical process they might rise up and look like proper scones, but returned to see they had actually sunk further.

But all is not lost, because I also baked a ginger cake. Which I burnt... but I can cut the burnt bits off and nobody will know.

So mum, after you have read this tonight, you might want to stop off somewhere on your way over from the dentist in the morning and buy a scone or two.

In the meantime I am deciding whether my scancakes should be sold to local rioters as ammunition or used in clay pigeon shooting as targets. Or, if anyone is planning on making a rockery...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Going to the loo on an express train

There's a blog all in itself. But I won't. I'll let you imagine the

Sent from my iPhone