Sunday, 30 December 2007

More Car Parks

Foolishly agreed to go shopping. It's madness in every car park but I found the one from hell today. Marks & Sparks at the AbbeyCentre.....
The car Park was full and it was lashing down, at one stage it looked like a Scalextric track. the same cars going around and around with no where to park. This blonde (Honest) driving a big merc van abandoned it in a part of the car park which then glogged up. I noticed a lady trying to get out of a space but was hampered with the merc van. I saw this as an opportunity sent from above. So I went to her rescue (I could have her space) I stopped my car which stopped every other on behind me, and I got out in the pouring rain and directed the lady out (40 cuts later) she stopped to thank me and while she was telling me how wonderful I was this clampet came from the other direction straight into the empty space.... I was gutted (And soaked) I just decided to join the race again ..... found a space after about 20 minutes ..... crazy, never again

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Junction 1

Took a trip down to Junction 1 @ Antrim, just to get out of the house. Needed to walk off the turkey and ham I'd been eating over the past couple of days. The car park was mad, as I thought it would be. I have to say I was disgusted with Junction 1 management for letting a truck take up 4 disabled spaces. The car park was full and I saw drivers with disabled badges on their cars having to park away from the main shopping area as all spaces were taken. Do Junction 1 management not know the disabled spaces are not only to enable people to park close to the shopping area but also are wide enough to assist people who have difficulty getting in and out of their vehicle. The truck was arcade type entertainment wagon, I'm sure it could have parked in another location close by and not in the disabled spaces. I suppose at the end of the day it's down to money.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Spirit of Christmas

I've heard a couple of stories over Christmas that made me smile. I'm sure there are loads of stories of the spirit of Christmas and how people did something for someone else. (Without reward) The first story is closer to home.
A lady went to Forestside to do her Christmas food shopping and became sick. A other lady stepped forward and asked if she had a shopping list (Which she did) and the lady then went and got the shopping for her. Many of us would have went to the sick Lady's aid, but how many of us would have went that extra bit? (Well done missus)
The second story I read about online. It's tell the story of a Leeds business man who bought a load of snow off Ebay. He got them to deliver the snow to a local childrens hospice. (Well Done Sir)

I just love Christmas.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Christmas Shopping

I went walking into town yesterday at lunchtime to get a quick Christmas gift for someone. It was like a scene from a horror movie. Women (Who, can be aggressive shoppers at the best of time) seem to transform into zombies this time of year and will walk over anyone who is unfortunate enough to get in between them and the item they want. I was pushed and shoved by these undead and not an excuse me or sorry came out of there mouths. Groups of them gathered outside shops to check their receipts causing even more obstructions on the footpath. Waited on the bus home after work only to be met by the Grinch driving it. (Surely by the laws of averages I'll meet a pleasant bus driver soon) Loads of the undead were waiting at the bus stop with their many shopping bags. Have you ever tried to sit beside someone on the bus who is holding around six shopping bags ...... crazy .... and they won't move and give you a look that would sour milk.... AGHHHH
I was so glad to get home after such an experience.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Ikea Comes To Town

Agreed to go and see the new Ikea today. I think everyone else in the city had the same idea. Before we had parked the car I was regretting it. Noticed a police car, police van, and 2 police motorcycles sitting outside the main door, I thought maybe they were refurbishing some station, the car had the guy's who were picking the stuff, the van was to deliver it and the bike's would escort the van. I was wrong, apparently they were there for crowd control. I never seen a single peeler inside. On holiday in Florida when I went to pick up the rental car only the driver was allowed into area for getting the car. That idea should be put into practice in other area's of shopping. I recon family's just came out (Dad, Mum six kids) to hamper people who really wanted to buy goods (Yes I bought shelving) some kids were running mad setting off door alarms while their parents just stood there and smiled. Come on guy's control your little monsters. By the way, I never did find out the real reason for so many police vehicles at Ikea?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Christmas Parade

Had to get some eats in, so off to the new (Refurbished) Tescos at Ballygo. What a surprise when I got out of the car I could here bands playing from somewhere near. I thought, 15th December and a band parade? then I remembered a band parade is not only for July. (As a pet is not only for Christmas) and I never heard a single Christmas tune being played.
Then some of the band members descended into Tescos (Their millies following close behind) for their Saturday night specials. Me I continued following the master shopper. I thought, shopping is like snakes and ladders, you start off, go up all the isles and at some point you have to retrace your steps to pick up something that was passed over in the first place then back on the ladder again until the next time. I HATE SHOPPING

Friday, 14 December 2007

Home

Arrived into Gatwick at 07.40. Not a bad flight but as usual I never slept. As we got in early we thought we would try and bump on an earlier flight. Went to the Flybe desk and asked if any chance. Of course, but it will cost you £131 each, needless to say, we waited on our 16.45 flight. By the time we got home it was ZZZZZZ time.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Checked In

Well, that's the holiday over and what a belter it was. Up at 8 o'clock this morning left the Doubletree Hotel and headed east to Lake Buena Vista to the Travel City Direct early check in. What a fantastic service, got rid of the cases and checked in for our flight by 9.15am. Leaves the rest of the day free to do whatever. I said to my swamp duck is there anything you'd like to do. Why oh why did I ask, so off to the Festival Bay Mall we went. Good thing we had already checked the cases in as it was all window shopping. Denny's on International Drive for a late breakfast then a nice steady drive up the Interstate 4 East to exit 90. Onto Lake Mary Blvd and forward to Sanford International Airport to leave the rental back, all very painless.

Layed back would not be in it. We were queuing at an end that said queue here, this lady told us to queue at the other end. When security opened, the same lady then opened the barrier and told us to walk through all the rows (Where she had moved us from in the first place, and we were the only two going through) to end up back where she was standing to check our boarding cards before letting us proceed to security. No problems with security, think as we were the first ones through they let us test all the security measures (Bar the rubber glove, thank goodness) Off with the belt, shoes, watches, lose objects etc and bags through the x-ray machine. 100% for them. I have no problems with that it's for our safety.
Paid 11 GB pounds extra for the Royal Palm Lounge at Sanford. Fantastic, free Internet access, large soft seating area (Yes big chairs) 2 free alcoholic drinks and unlimited free soft drinks, tea & coffee.
Just waiting on our flight now (Which is delayed 90 minutes) but dung happens.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Holiday Coming To An End :-(

Nearly finished, two wonderful weeks coming to a close. Today we thought we would have a drive out and eat on the hop. Spotted a Mickey D's and seeing as we are in the land of not only Mickey Mouse but also Mickey D's let's grab a Burger. Stopped on highway 192 at Kissimmee. What a disappointment, the big mac I had was nothing less than boggin. By the time I had my chips the mac was cold, and I thought at one stage I was eating my napkin. I know I should have complained but, the length of time it takes to be understood when ordering in the first place is enough for anyone. At least in Mickey D's at Castle Junction the food is warm

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Macy's Christmas Parade

Went to Universal Studio's today. The place was deserted, it was great, not long to queue for the rides (Still didn't stop some morons pushing past and queue jumping though) I did bite my tongue for a while. But when the these three tall blonde haired teenagers (who looked like they were marching across Poland) nearly took my head off as they jumped in, was the last straw. After I said something like, "Say excuse me, you silly boys" One of them came back to tell me, "I am from Germany" in a way to suggest that he couldn't understand me. Unfortunately my German isn't great, but I think he understood before he rejoined his mates.
All was not bad though, after some rides and shows, I took a seat on the sidewalk (Futpath) and waited to see the Macy's Christmas Parade. It was great with loads of floats and balloons, reminded me of our Lord Mayor's Show. (Only, without the floats) Throughout the day Universal characters from stage and screen where on hand at various parts of the park for photo opportunity's. (The Simpsons, Scooby Doo, Blues Brothers etc) I think Zorro got a bit annoyed when I said to someone in a raised voice "Oh look, Batman" but It did get some smiles from the bystanders. Santa's little helpers were a great hit, with every little boy between 1 & 100 rushing to get their photograph taken with them. Happy Holidays.........

Monday, 10 December 2007

They Know How To Do It

You have got to admire the Americans, no mater what they do, they do it in style. Whether it's invading other country's, destroying evidence tapes, or just pimping their vehicles for Christmas, they go the full nine yards. While out holiday shopping (If there is such a thing) you know what I mean, the day thats set aside for present shopping. (As well as all the flea markets, I spent over 3 hours in the Florida Mall today, please help)
At a car park in Kissimmee, the pickup truck that was parked beside me was decorated for Christmas (Happy holidays, as they say here) The front plate had "Ho Ho Ho" on it and the rear had "1 Santa". I thought it was so cool, (See, I've picked up some local lingo) I'd love to see something like this in Belfast city centre.
What do you recon?

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Back On Land

Off the ship without any hassle, got the rental (Hired car) and headed north. Broke the journey with a couple of stops. One stop was at the old town of Kissimmee. The place is all done up for Christmas. As well as artificial snow they had Christmas singers. Got me into the Christmas mood and it even made me smile.
Checked into the hotel and was waiting on the elevator (Lift) while waiting, a few other people arrived to wait on the lift. The minute the lift doors open the others run in as if there were something free in it, so I lifted my cases and just about got into the small space. I was going to the 14th floor so the ones going to the lower floors had to clamber over my cases, and I didn't bother to move them. Nobody said a dickybird .. think they got the message.

Nassau, Bahamas

Great that I was able to blog from Nassau yesterday. With regards to the Internet on board the Costa Fortuna, it was that slow, and at a $1 for 2 minutes people renamed the ship the Costa Fortune.
The ship was in Nassau for 5 hours, Walked the streets, went into a lot of shops, but couldn't wait to get back to the ship for Toga Night (You really don't want to know)

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Internet Cafe Nassau Bahamas 4

Friday 7th December

Day at sea. Now heading for the Bahama’s. Looking like a lobster this morning (Thank god for aftersun) Bit cooler today only 27° (I could live with that) Onboard there are many nationalities, a lot of Europeans. I read on cruising review website that you have to expect Europeans to just step in front of you, even though you may have stood in line for ages. (Apparently that’s what they do) Hey I met Mrs European this morning while I stood in the queue for customer services. I had been waiting from about 6th in line and just as it was going to be my turn to approach the desk, she thought (Even without a glance) that she was just going to go in front of me. (She was wrong) I had my little Rottweiler with me (Who I have to say is the world’s greatest ambassador, at sorting out delicate situations) I wish I could stay that calm …. Mrs E got the message and away she went straight to the back of the queue, to the delight of the other passengers standing in line. (That’s ma girl).

Internet Cafe Nassau Bahamas 3

Thursday 6th December

Woke up this morning to a view of Catalina Island, which is just off the Dominican Republic. Went ashore. The calypso music could be heard as the tender approached the island. I was going to do a bit of sunbathing and swimming.
(30°, warmest day yet) Found a lounger just by the water, fantastic spot. Went swimming for a while (I think some people thought they were at SeaWorld when they saw me hit the water, and it was no fun getting pulled into the water every 10 minutes by Greenpeace. I heard one voice shout “Keep him damp til the vet arrives)
Talking about voices, There were a family close by (12 I counted) deliverance material, no kidding, I don’t think one of them knew how to speak quietly.
After all, we were on a Caribbean Island with not to much noise about
Back on the Costa Fortuna now awaiting our evening trip to La Romana in the Dominican Republic, I’m hoping to get this onto the site tonight.
Needless to say I never got the blog updated. Went ashore to catch a shuttle bus which runs every 30 minutes. $7 PP return. Headed off into the dark with the city lights of La Romana heading in the opposite direction. The buses took the cruise passengers to this holiday village about 12 minutes away from the ship. We went through at least 3 secure areas getting to the village What a load of rubbish it was. 10 minutes covered the whole village and if you purchased anything and paid in US dollars they gave changed in peso’s (Yeah right I thought) Ordered drinks and asked “If I pay in dollars can I have my change in dollars” No was the answer, Yes I cancelled the round …. Sweet. Headed back to the ship and met everyone waiting for the shuttle bus all with the same reviews about the place. The thing is, they give you a city map as you pay your fair, but they don’t go anywhere in the city. Ah well, dung happens. (When you’re a tourist)

Internet Cafe Nassau Bahamas 2

Wednesday 5th December

Arrived in St Thomas United States Virgin Islands (USVI for short) 28° again today. Got off the ship and got one of the quayside tour buses for an around the island tour. It lasted well over two hours ($25 PP) well worth it. (I’ll not say what the ship was looking for the same tour) The viewing points Charley Erin (Driver) took us to in his open sided bus were fantastic.
Got some great wee trinkets to use as gifts (The shopping was not very expensive but anyway it the thought that counts) Ended the stop by having some local liquid at a quayside refreshment booth….. Hic
The photo is an over view of the Port Charlotte

Internet Cafe Nassau, Bahamas I

Tuesday 4th December

28° today (I know, its hell) docked in San Juan around 5pm local time. (I love it when they announce the time as local time, what other time could it be. Did not bother with the cruise organised tours instead we took advice to walk to the end of the pier (No, not jump off) as there will be loads of tour offers. Just through the gates and we met our tour guide Rodger. This wonderful guy from San Juan took us (Plus others) in his air-conditioned bus around the old and new San Juan giving us all the information about the place. Turned out Rodger was also a history teacher. A great tour of about 2 hours long with many stops, even took us to a nice little ocean side bar (What a guy) mind you, don’t think the women were impressed. Cost was only $10 USDs PP. Cost if booked on board around $25 USDs PP At last money saved.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Internet Cafe, San Juan (2)

Monday 3rd Dec

Long sleep in this morning, ship on the choppy side. Looked beautiful outside, so I went for a stroll around the top deck, soaking up the sunshine and letting the strong wind blow away the cobwebs. Went for breakfast, and while I was standing in the breakfast line I noticed the pancake eaters, they just piled the pancakes, bacon, hash browns etc onto their plates, but when it came to adding the syrup, they turn into Picasso, and pour the syrup into some sort of a design, me, my design was just like an oil slick ….. yum yum.

Tuesday to follow, having a fantastic time.

Internet Cafe, San Juan (1)

Have had to find an Internet cafe as the Internet on the ship is slow and works out $30 an hour. Will try and up date when i can.


Sunday 2nd Dec

Thought I was up early yesterday but this morning took the holiday record. Woke at 4.30am and I was on the road for Fort Lauderdale by 5.30am. .More or less a straight run of 209 miles. Honest, roughly 3 mile to the Florida turnpike from my hotel then a 180 mile drive before having to make a turn. Stopped at a service area after about 100 mile for coffee, then again just before Fort Lauderdale to fuel up before leaving the rental car back to Dollar at the airport. Very painless so far, then I realised after a few minutes after leaving the car off that I’d left my mobile in the car, so went back no more than 5 minutes later to discover they had moved the car and hey, no sign of my phone. (Phoned and cancelled straight away). Why didn’t that surprise me? But hey, it was only a phone, and with any luck the battery will explode in the pocket of the thieving bar steward that nicked it.
Bus from the airport to Port Everglades. There I would be joining a cruise ship which would be my home for the next week. The Costa Fortuna, total WOW factor I have to say. My first time with Costa and as I sit here in Cabin 8430 (With a balcony, I may add) sipping my pre-ordered champagne my first impressions are good. The speed they got people boarded for one thing was great and food and drink was at the ready. Got to go for lifeboat drill at 4 pm then I think it’s me time after that.
Can’t wait till we leave port, I’ll be singing “Sailing” (In a Scottish accent) let’s hope its not “Row Row Row the boat” if you know what I’m sayin…………

Just back from the safety drill, life jackets had to be worn. I don’t think I got through to the crew when I asked why in this day and age do they send the men to the back I don’t have a problem getting up to give a lady my seat, holding a door open to let a lady in or out but in this age of equality when the dung hits the fan, in my opinion it’s everyone for themselves.

The ship has now sailed and we are heading for San Juan. Leaving Fort Lauderdale was breath taking. So looking forward to what’s ahead ……..

Saturday, 1 December 2007

At Last The Sun

Up @ the scrake of dawn, clear Sky's except for this great big burning sun. At last the weather I came for. Showered, shaved and the third S done, off I went to a Dennys on International Drive (6 Minutes from my hotel) Got a great breakfast complete with the usual tourist concern "How ya doin, have a nice day now" I have to say I could get used to it, could you just imagine getting onto a Translink bus and the driver saying "How ya doin, have a nice day now" (Instead of the normal grunt) After breakfast straight to Universal Studios theme park. I just had to do the Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, in short a right good soaking. I was absolutely ringing when I got off the ride. People were getting onto the ride wearing poncho's and I thought whimps, I did change it to smart guys after about 30 seconds into the ride.
Noticed my rental car was half full of fuel (Or was it half empty, I can never tell which is right) topped up to a full tank $19. Why is our fuel so expensive, yeah you've got it TAX. Someone once said "A fine is a tax for doing wrong and tax is a fine for doing right " Think they hit the nail on the head. Back at the hotel now to totally let my shorts dry out and later I'm going out for a nice evening meal. I may not get to blog tomorrow as I'm driving down to Fort Lauderdale to catch a cruise ship to the Caribbean.
Yeah I know, life can be a bitch sometimes.

Magic Kingdom, Here I Come

Woke up yesterday morning to a very overcast Orlando. Out around 9 ish and headed to the Mall at Millenia to see what I can't afford (Even if I could it wouldn't fit me) all the top designer shops, great place to window shop.
Just left the hotel car park and it started to rain. (Warm rain though, only lasted around 30 minutes). The mall was massive, not quite on the scale of Castlecourt I thought. (Yeah right) The Christmas tree inside the mall was bigger than our Christmas tree outside Belfast City Hall. (Why did that not surprise me) Headed to some shopping outlet at Lake Buena Vista (To suit my wallet). Bought myself a new watch in the Fossil shop. Got back to the Hotel and discovered the watch was dung (broke) took it back a to be told "This watch is broken" (I knew that strangely enough) replacement watch now on my wrist.
Early evening I headed to The Magic Kingdom for Mickeys Christmas Parade and fireworks, what a great night. Went on some of the rides, relaxed and watched the parade had ice cream. Left the Magic Kingdom around midnight drove back to the hotel and had a night cap before retiring to my bed.
In the words of Van the Man "When it's not always raining, there'll be days like this"
"Know what I mean?"(Slang I just picked up)

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Early Start Again

Up before dawn (Think that's what her name was) checked in at London Gatwick by 7 am. Told by the check in girl that XL120 has been delayed by 90 minutes. In the great scheme of things that's not too bad. 5 and a half hours of people watching .... (Oh dung I thought to myself) turned out not too bad. Only two football shirts and a rugby shirt seen all day. When I did get to the departure gate and looked around I have to say I've seen happier people at funerals. Seriously, I counted only 6 people laughing or smiling out for a full 767/300 passenger load. Come on I thought, laugh you miserable lot (It was another word, but I wouldn't use it).
Rotated at 12.59 (Another word for took off) and 9 and a half hours later, touched down (Landed) at Sanford Airport in Orlando Florida. Got the rental car and headed to the hotel (Down by Universal Studios) I did honestly think I knew where I was going. Down came the rain and I missed a turning. Heavy rain, total down pour for about 30 minutes and where was I?...Lost. Just by luck I found Interstate 4 took a chance and went west and found my bearings and arrived at the hotel safely. (More by luck than skill)
The hotel has wifi so I can update this blog. Went for a pint (Water) and I have to say it was like drinking in JD's without the smart guys....
The photo by the way was taken as we passed the Kennedy Space Centre on approach to Sanford.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The Joys of Travel

Early start and off to the George Best City Airport. Checked in and then it’s time to people watch, and there’s nowhere better place to people watch than an airport (In my opinion that is) With all the euro football happening at the moment I wasn’t surprised to see loads of Liverpool Fans heading over to Anfield for tonight’s match against Porto.
Chatting to one fan he told me he was heading over hoping to buy a ticket at the ground. (I thought to myself, someone is going to make a packet from this idiot) what’s more I noticed that most of the LFC fans travelling had shaven heads, can you imagine the confusion if the ball is kicked into their part of the stand.
The plane was one of Flybe’s fleet latest the Embraer 195 (Thanks to Flybe for the photo) Have to say it’s a lovely plane with enough leg room for us short legged people, but I’d advise longer legged people to ask for seats 1A&B. Great flight but a sparkling water cost 90p for a 150m can. (I think the waters free but the bubbles are very expensive)
Staying Travelodge at Gatwick, book online; I saved £18 by doing so. (That’s 20 of Flybe’s 150m cans of sparkling water). £10.50 in a taxi from the airport.
Guess what, went out for a walk and it’s pouring down, that’s why I’m updating my blog.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Bah Humbug

Thought I'd eat out for breakfast this morning. I was driving up the Shankill Road so I decided to call into the Rose Of Sharon. Ulster fry (It was a just a fry, but when you eat it on the Shankill it's an Ulster fry, if you eat it on the Falls it's a full Irish) and a cup of tea and a read at the daily rag. Thought to myself it was rather quite even with the customers talking then I realised, no music. One of the ladies said that they have now been told not to play a radio or Cd's without first getting a licence from the council price £150. They had even bought new Christmas Cd's.
I told them to ring the biggest show in the country and complain. Then I got to thinking, how long before you have to have a licence for playing the car stereo with the car window rolled down.
(By the way, the fry was lovely)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Christmas Spirit

The Christmas lights are on, the continental market is open and Belfast is running at full steam ahead. Only 33 days now til Christmas day. I’m sure many of you will visit the city and the continental market on the final countdown (December) before it leaves this wonderful city.
There are those of you who get into the Christmas spirit sooner, like, the minute the beer tent is open. Nothing wrong with that as long as you invite your mates and share in your spirit.
The continental market is open from 21st November to 18th December 2007. I myself shall be visiting the market a few times before it finishes, I may even give the beer tent a go.
HO HO HO.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Soft Tyre

Had a soft tyre so headed to the nearest filling station. How often has this happened to you? On arrival at the filling station the pump is not easily spotted or it's broken so you have to go into the shop and ask.
I went in "Excuse me" I asked, "Do you have an airline here" to which the smart (looks like a donkey) replied "Frig mate, we're lucky if a bus stops here" after he stopped laughing he said "It's round the back mate"

When I went around the back I was greeted with this air pump. Needless to say i never went back into the shop.
(Have a wee portable air compressor now)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Big Motors

I've often wondered what it would be like to sit in a Bentley. On a visit to Currys at Newtownabbey I noticed a Bentley parked as I was reversing into a free parking space. What drew my attention to the Bentley was the fact that the driver (Chauffeur) was still sitting in the car, and his fog lights were blinding any person unfortunate enough to have to look in his direction. Then I twigged on, He's a poser. If it had been a lovely day he'd been out polishing the bonnet but as it was dark and raining he put his fog lights to be noticed. (OK, you drive a big car)

Not to be left out I put my full beam on, but sadly people were not interest in my mere little gold Proton

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Local Graffiti

Isn't the art of local graffiti dying out. Now we have the lovely mural's depicting scenes of the countryside or local landmarks. Beautiful to look at I agree, but not as much entertainment as spotting the speelings mistakes (Sorry, spelling) of the local artist. This one is from some well educated artist from the Skegoneill area.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Poppy Appeal

It's the Royal British Legion Poppy appeal time again. Thousands of Poppy appeal boxes are now with shops, clubs, bars, and of course places of work.
There is a box of Poppy's sitting in our staff canteen (Sorry, Restaurant).
A colleague was telling me he went to buy a Poppy and when he asked for a pin he was told they could not be put out for health and safety reasons... (I thought, we are adults for goodness sake) Within minutes of him telling me this, we witnessed someone dropping three cups of coffee (So maybe they have a point after all)
The Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to millions who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces, and their dependants. Currently, nearly 10.5 million people are eligible for their support and they receive thousands of calls for help every year. Please give what you can.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Futuristic Superstores

I was reading, apparently in the future when you visit new superstores you could be greeted with the following. They may have automatic water sprays to keep the produce fresh, and just before the sprays turn on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and sense the smell of fresh rain. When you get to the dairy section, you can hear cows mooing and you experience the scent of freshly mown hay. In the meat department there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks, and when you approach the egg shelf, you hear hens cluck and cackle, and the air is filled with the pleasing smell of eggs frying. The bread department features the tantalizing smell of fresh baked bread & cakes. It all sound so futuristic and fantastic, but there is always a down side ...
Something tells me, I wouldn't fancy shopping there for the toilet paper.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Street Clean Machine

Dear me, I did feel sorry for this guy this morning around 8:50 as I headed up the Donegal Road towards the M1. As I got to the junction of Sandy Row I noticed a bit of a tail back of traffic and right on the junction (traffic lights) in the right hand lane was this piece of junk, Oil running out of it. Not a good place or time to break down (I know how the driver felt, been there done it) what did make me laugh, as I maneuvered around it this smart guy in a black merc thought he would try a fly one and over take my large vehicle and he pulled right up behind the broken down vehicle (which had it's hazard lights running) eventually when the penny dropped and he realised he wasn't going anywhere he tried to change lanes yet again the other motorists were very reluctant to let him back in ..... loads of horn blowing .... I love it.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

The Belfast Wheel Part 2

Got a chance to ride on the Belfast Wheel today. It filled all my expectations. I have to say it was worth the £6. The loading was quick and straight forward. The pods hold a total of six persons and there is provision for the disabled. We hadn't long to wait after boarding before we started our journey to the stars (OK, above the City Hall). As I said in an earlier blog, I expected to see the side of buildings for most of the trip and I was right. Once above the City Hall and surrounding buildings you can see a 360 of Belfast. Weather today was overcast. I would have preferred it if the wheel had went a little slower to enable the taking of more photos. There were five persons in the pod (3 Adults and 2 Young Persons) and I thought there was enough room. We got four revolutions of the wheel, it was good, but think they could have picked a better location for it.

Monday, 29 October 2007

F1 On The Run

Isn't it sad when a poor F1 nearly world champion can't go about his daily millionaire business without the media in tow. The poor guy is moving to Switzerland to avoid the camera's that appear from God knows where, wonder does he also realise he'll save on tax?

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Ardoyne Riot

Went onto the world wide web this morning to get the up to date news (BBC News) One of the main stories told of a riot last night in Ardoyne, two police officers required hospital treatment and some police vehicles were damaged. What did set me wondering, every time there is trouble no mater where in this country it is the police always manage to arrest just one person!. Is it just me who thinks it's could be the same guy?
It's about time we had a spot of zero tolerance against the scum who are determined to unsettle our peace cart and wasting millions of the tax payers money to pay for it. The police are quick enough off the mark when it comes to cracking down on the motorist. (Which I have to say has my backing) but lets target all law breakers with the same vigor.
If stopped by the police while driving your car I wonder how the old "It's not my fault I broke the law, I'm from a broken home" would work when it comes to revenue collection.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Quote Of The Day

I went to Specsavers today to enquire about contact lens. The Optician who tested my eyes made what I would call a quote of the day.
"You have one dominant eye, and one non-dominant eye"
It 's good to know I have only two eyes.

Friday, 26 October 2007

The Belfast Wheel

Now we have the Big Wheel is the next step nomination for the 2016 Olympics. What a great place for the Belfast Wheel to be situated, right at the side of our Belfast City Hall. I personally can't wait to go for a spin in it. I can just imagine it, I've always wanted to see the roof of the City Hall , the Ulster Bank and I believe you can see the roof of Argos in Arthur square not to mention all the traffic that pass the City Hall. (This is after you have nearly reached the full height) I'm sure the lough, the Cave Hill, the Waterfront Hall will be easily seen from the top, I'll take my binoculars with me just to make sure. As well as the location haven't they just got the timing perfect, winter. Just think, those few and far between rainy days we get during our winter, I do hope the people pods have wiper's. At least it will be somewhere different to go to get out of the rain.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Ye Old Maiden City

How sorry I was to hear of the violence that occurred in the Maiden City, 50 to 100 people were engaged in rioting . I'll not say the name of the city as sure as I'm thin someone will moan no mater what I call it. When I started the blogging at first I made a promise to myself (which I have to break now) that I wouldn't comment on any troubled areas, but the weekend disturbances need a mention.
Yet again ye old police force of this country comes under criticism from some of ye old political parties about their heavy handedness in the handling of the situation. According to police reports, bricks, bottles and paving slabs were being thrown at police and thousands of pounds worth of damage done to property. One question is, should the police be issued with polystyrene batons in case they injure the thugs and hoodlums who are carrying out this criminal damage?. What about ye old parent's ticking off about the police hitting their children? ... The rioting happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, funny the parents didn't care that their offspring's where in a riotous area? ... but hey, what else is new.
Good news though, the police made one arrest, I was wondering if it was the guy parked on the double yellows?

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Fireworks

As well as the Christmas stuff already on sale, it looks like the fireworks have also been readily available. The rockets have been going up and off in and around my area for the past week. Not quite sure if the young scientists have actually worked out that not only can you hear them, but if you wait until dark before you set them off, you can also see them. Then again they are probably at home doing their homework at night ..... so their parents would like us to believe....

Thursday, 27 September 2007

iPod Sock

Ordered a leather case from eBay for my new iPod 80GB Classic. It will take about 5 to 10 days for delivery. So what am I going to do to keep it from getting damaged before the case arrives. A colleague of mine suggested I buy an iPod sock, available in most well known high street electrical stores. I had a thought, I'll use a grumpyhead sock, available from most bedside drawers in my bedroom and at no extra cost ..... it works a treat.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

How Heavy Is A Box Of Crisps

The van left the big crisp castle in Trandragee early morning in time to get to the shops to catch the morning school traffic and block the footpath. I was going for the bus for another excitement fill day at work when I had to change my traditional route because this big van parked on the footy.
OK, I appreciate the old delivery van thing, get as close to the delivery shop as possible, but this is ripping the tail end out of it. How heavy can a box of cheese and onion really be. Look at the space available and this clampet decided to park on the footpath ..tut tut.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Learn Road Rage From A Pro

I'm not sure on this one, but they may be bringing in road rage training for new drivers. I was driving along Howard Street when this car (Driving instructor) forced his way out of Upper Queen Street with what can only be descried as aggressive driving. I then noticed him change lanes and then try to get in front of an Translink bus by cutting him up, unlucky though the bus wasn't for stopping. As the bus stopped at traffic lights the car then went further up and made sure he was getting in the lane with more aggressive driving by blocking the bus, as you can see by the photo his lane discipline is also lacking. I was sitting at the same traffic lights when I noticed the driver getting out of the car and shouting the odds at bus driver..... So if you want to learn the finer art of road rage that's the driving school to contact .....

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Titanic key is sold for £90,000

A tiny key that might have helped prevent the Belfast-built Titanic sinking has fetched £90,000 at auction, according to the BBC News Website today. It's an interesting story, apparently the key opened the binoculars store. Some officer had left the ship with it in his pocket and the ship left Southampton without it. The crew had to rely on the naked eye for observation. I was wondering how big an ice berg has to be before it's visible to the naked eye?, something for sure though, £90.000, I bet the auctioneer didn't need binoculars to see the buyer coming...

Friday, 21 September 2007

Emergency Services

After another road rage free trip into work on the bus, I was walking up Donegal Place when I observed a fire appliance with the blues on (Flashing emergency lights) parked outside Boots the chemist. No sign of the crew apart from the driver who was sitting in the cab people watching. People were going about their everyday business, ignoring the fire engine and without a care in the world. I was wondering if it was a party wagon or perhaps Boots have a 3 for 2 offer on ..... I'll watch the news tonight.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Public Transport

It makes a nice change to leave the the old environmentally damaging car at home and get the bus to work. Sit down, put the ear phones in and watch a bit of video on my new 80Gb ipod classic (Thought I mention the ipod) I have to say it started great as the bus pulled up, doors opened and a lady driver saying good morning, what a change from the usual grunt I would normally receive from the male drivers. A nice steady drive into town, leaving any road rage that had to be had to the driver. The only downside was the ignorance of a passenger (Young adult) who just sat down and feet and backpack straight onto the seat in front. (It was raining, so his kebs were wet) I pointed out to him (in a polite manor, after I'd taken the photo for the blog) that other people had to sit down on the seat his wet feet were on. He put his feet down, got up, lifted his bag and moved to another seat ..... Result

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Bike Idiot

This young biker is an accident waiting to happen. Yesterday on the Ballysillan road while we were keeping to the speed limit he decided we were not going fast enough and seeing there was approaching traffic, he undertook us on the inside. What an idiot. I did not smudge out the number plate this time, so if you know him have a quite word in his ear, and hand him a copy of the highway code.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Turning Right

I know so many people who need to be refreshed about the art of turning right at road junctions, especially when turning from the main road. The following was taken from the good old Highway Code (Remember it)
In a nutshell, move to the centre of the road at the point you intend to actually turn right. GOT IT.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Paranormal Egypt

Did anyone see "Paranormal Egypt" on one of the satellite channels last night. Starring Derek Acorah and Tessa Dunlop, what a load of camel dung it was. (In my opinion)
First of all D&T are on the outside of one of the pyramids. T asked D could he sense anything. So he put both his hands against the pyramid and he said he could feel loads of energy as if it was a site where many many men laboured 24 x 7, get away Derek, really. My old history teacher must have been physic as he told me the same thing when we were studying egyptian pyramids. They then ventured inside the pyramid (are you scared yet) and climbed to the queens chamber. D said he could detect an unknown smell before entering, the next camera shot was D actually entering the chamber from the outside. (There's your answer of the smell anyway, the cameraman) He looked around the chamber and announced he could feel the sense of Royalty, get away Derek, really in the queens chamber. Then onto the kings chamber where Derek came under some kind of trance and climbed into an empty sarcophagus. Through his trance he mentioned that some ancient Egyptian called Khufu used to reside in the sarcophagus (I thought he'd asked for coffee to be honest) All a bit scary. While all this is going on T keeps asking the question "Where's his mummy, where's his mummy" With her being blonde I wasn't quite sure if she was asking about his mummified remains or his ma .....

Sunday, 16 September 2007

It's A Sin


Had cause to visit a church yard near Lisburn today. Just had to take this photo. Church members even show disregard for disabled parking, heaven help us all.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Sat Nav

As I had said in a previous post, my wife and daughter are going to a big scary castle on a ghost searching trip with the NIPS ( Northern Ireland Paranormal Society) The trip is tomorrow. I was quite taken aback when I was asked by my wife for the lone of my Garmin Street Pilot navigation system ......
I thought a spirt guide would have shown the way?

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Did You Hear The One About ......

I read an article on the BBC News website, about a Northern Ireland man who got into hot water over Irish jokes?
It brings to the front the ridiculous way in which people go out of their way to be offended on behalf of others. I have to admit, I don't tell Irish jokes myself ... but did you hear the one about the two Mexicans called Paddy and Seamus ..........

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Proof Of Global Warming


Someone sent me this photo of global warming, has it really gotten to this stage.
I wonder when the photo was taken? I'm sure it wasn't taken this year anyway.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Christmas Has Arrived (@ Tesco's)

Took her indoors to Tesco's at Newtownabbey. As soon as I walked inside I was met with shelves full of selection boxes, further down the store came the shelves with all the Christmas puddings stacked on them.It's now Monday the 10th September, that makes it only 105 shopping days til Christmas. Perhaps the Easter eggs will be out on display around November?

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Sunday in Kent

Had a long sleep in and was awakened with the sound of Horton Kirby church bells chiming, what they were playing is anyone's guess. After a humongous full English, William and I took Tia, a beautiful springer spaniel for a walk in the nearby Westminster fields. The weather was warm and sunny. Back to the house and packed our bags. Headed back to Gatwick for our return flight home. What a fantastic weekend we had.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Admiral Duncan

Headed down into Soho to the well known bar The Admiral Duncan. It made me think of what home was like 20 years ago, as I was searched going into the place. A good night tho.

Le Gavroche

Le-Gavroche is the ultimate in dinning. I still cannot find words to describe the experience of the night. It was an incomparable experience. The finest food I've ever tasted, the staff, everything about this restaurant oozes with class. (Yes they did let me in) You must visit their website, better still visit Le-Gavroche and you will see what I mean.

(Thank you Karen)

We Will Rock You

Headed in to London to catch the musical "We will rock you" A musical by Queen and Ben Elton. It was at the Dominion, it is a must see for all Queen fans. We had gone to the afternoon show and were seated in the eighth row back. The row in front was empty and I heard a grumpy looking lady who was sitting in the 6th row say that the music was too loud and hurting her ears. She said she was going to move at the interval, she did, to the row behind her. Must have been at least a hundredth of a decibel less. Good thinking missus.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Horton Kirby (Part Two)

Horton Kirby is a sleepy Kent village where my friends live. It is the centre of the universe, close to everything. After my friends William and Karen collected me and my good lady at Gatwick we had the 40 minute journey to HK. Dropped off the luggage then out to lunch at The Rising Sun, a local pub. It had the best pint of Guinness I have tasted away from Ireland, and whats more it's the first time I've seen it poured properly outside of Gods country.
Another local hostelry we visited was Hilltop, met up with some new friends, great food and great craic was had by all.
What a wonderful place.

Gatwick Flight

Early flight to Gatwick with Flybe had a bad start. When I originally booked online I paid for one bag (luggage, before the wise cracks come in) but being me I deiced to take two small bags. The lady at the check in desk said I have to pay for another bag so off I went. £18 I had to pay for the return trip of the bag, so remember to book it online. The flight was on a BAe 146 operated by another airline with spanish crew. Seat configuration of 2 & 3. The pilot announced that there was a delay of 15 minutes due to air traffic control in London. So we sat on the tarmac for 25 minutes without another thing being said, pushed out and taxied to the end of the runway, full throttle with the brakes still on, when he took the brakes off I nearly went into the row behind me. The safety brief was something to see, I could have done it better, the worst one I've ever seen. Then one of the flight attendants announced no electronic devices to be used at all during the flight, I asked another is it OK to use my ipod once the seat belt signs are turn off, oh yes was the reply ...... I thought, tell yer mate will you.

When I Was A Lad

When I was a lad (as the saying goes) going away for a weekend break needed no packing as such, as long as you had a change of clothes, clean undies, tooth brush and soap was enough to see you over the weekend. Now days the first things I seem to organise is, fully charged mobile phone, digital camera, camcorder and ipod, then I start thinking about the rest.
How times have changed.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Almost Haunted

My wife and daughter will be going on a ghost busting mission soon and spending a night in a big scary haunted castle. I was thinking, there may be scary things closer to home, who knows?.
video

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Young Art

Never say to a young person "Draw me" My two wonderful niece's Jane and Katie had drawing pens and were drawing everyone, so it got to my turn. Unfortunately I cant find the drawing Katie had done (I think it got turned into a paper plane somewhere along the line) but I can share Jane's drawing with you. I thought at first it was a digital photo of me ...... what do you think?
At least I got a star and a babe sticker ...... There was a film out called babe, I think it was about a pig ...... Nah they wouldn't have thought of that angle, or would they?

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Downpatrick

Can't wait until I can get down to Downpatrick to get a photo of the new statue. I was watching BBC Newsline tonight and they had a news item about it. Apparently it depicts Saint Patrick. To me it looks like someone has lifted my wrought iron gate, melted it down and made a bad attempt at reshaping it. Think I caught them saying it cost in the region of £18000. Some girl was saying "People will know when they get to the statue that they are in Downpatrick" I was wondering, whats wrong with a big 12 x 16 sign saying DOWNPATRICK, only cost's a fraction of the price. The best line in the item fell to a young lady who said "Its a bit like the Angel Of The North only it's a different type" Yes I do believe she was blonde.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Pit-bull

Pit-bull's and alike have had a lot of bad press. I have to say in my opinion owners have a lot to answer for. Attacks by these dogs or any dog for that mater are the responsibility of the owner and in most cases the owner could have done more to prevent attacks happening. I was shocked today to see a young boy of about 11 years of age taking a pit-bull type dog (very muscular) on a lead. The dog was pulling on the lead and the boy was frantically trying to control it, with very little success. What were the parents thinking of, letting a boy of such an age take such an animal for a walk. If anything would have happened there is no way a child like that would have been able to control such a situation.
Sorry no photo, you'll just have to take my word on it

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Hoover

"Aggggghhhhh the hinge on the washing machine door has just broken " was the call from my good lady. "Don't panic" I replied as parts carry a 5 year warranty. They do BUT (I hate it when there's a but) the parts must to be installed by a recognised engineer and here's the deal .... you pay for the engineer. (which is from £60 upwards I believe, and you have to wait on a time that suits them) I don't think so.
My good lady called a place that sell genuine Hoover parts and they had a hinge to suit the model, price:£10. Went and collected the part, unscrewed six screws and removed the broken hinge, attached the new hinge replaced the screws and hey presto it's ready to go. Total time around eight minutes... and I only charged her £20

Friday, 31 August 2007

There's A Space

I was crossing the road after finishing work and noticed this abandoned police car at the side of road. No one was in it or about it. A thought came to me, as it's tea time perhaps they are in Pizza Express or then again they could be just doing their public duty elsewhere, but you would have thought they would have pulled the car off the main road, what a junction to just leave it at, and at peak time.
Wouldn't it be great if we could just leave our cars anywhere? ...

Thursday, 30 August 2007

We've All Done It

Admit it, we've all done it. You approach road works, all the hard working road maintenance workers have knocked off for the day and unfortunately forgotten to leave out the "Caution new road layout sign".
On the way home as I approached traffic lights where I have to say road works have been in place for ages. I saw a car sitting in the right hand lane waiting to turn right. Nothing wrong with that you may think. Well, it's two lanes and two way traffic. (It's easy done).
I stopped well back and blew the horn to try and communicate to the driver that he was in the wrong lane, my attempt didn't work, but think he worked it out for himself when this moron turned left off the main drag and stopped about a foot off his bumper. So the said car started to reverse and the said moron started to follow, until I blew the horn again and beckoned to the both drivers that I was willing to wait where I was so the car could pull in front of me. Both drivers waved their gratitude and the Lexus driver maneuvered to the front of me. Look where he went to, In his defence I have to say, when the road works are finished there will be 4 lanes, but not just yet. I know I said we've all done it, but how many of us have done it twice in as many minutes??? Not me for sure.... well, not yet anyway!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

It's The Start

For some, this morning was first day back to school after the too long summer break. It was obvious by the amount of traffic on the road that brat taxis have resurfaced for the incoming term. Wasn't long until I met the first, which I'm sure is the start of many meetings with the yellow box blocking people. I just cant get it, why can they not see the YELLOW BOX. This prat was blocking everyone who wanted to turn right from each direction. I suppose I wouldn't get the photos if guys like this didn't block me.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Helpful Assistant

It was nice to get real service for a change. I checked out online a camcorder I was interested in buying. So after work I headed down to Currys at Newtownabbey for a look and the intention to buy if it does what it says on the tin. (You know what I mean). Buy online and save money is name of the game. I often buy things online but I prefer having a look at the items first. After checking out the camcorder I decided to go for the purchase, this is where things went down hill for a while. I had asked for the online price. If I buy it online from the same company I would save a further £31:01 and free delivery. Online I can also go for store pickup for the same price without any money changing hands. On negotiation with the assistant he was able to go online and place and order on my behalf. (The negotiation was a case of do it or I'm outta here) and thankfully he did.
I cant understand why they just cant offer the same price online or in store?

Monday, 27 August 2007

Bank Holiday Monday

Decided to go out for a drive in the car, so we headed to Newcastle. On the way over the M3 I spotted yet another cruise ship so I drove down past the new under construction Titanic Quarter to get a few photos. The Crystal Symphony looked so majestic berthed in Belfast with the Cavehill in the distance. Anyway, back to the run to Newcastle. On heading for the Ravenhill Road as I approached the junction at Short Strand this idiot in a Audi (Red with start reg CKZ, I know the rest) came racing round the roundabout tyres screeching passed me (in my experience he was doing at least 60) but caught up with him at the next set of traffic lights as he was waiting at the red light (he he). Lights changed and off he went and as he tried to undertake a car in the outside lane another car in the inside lane indicated left and slowed his lane right down, by this time I was in the outside lane and as I went past him I gave him a smile. He then tried to cut me up as I started to change lane back to the inside lane, but I'm too old a cat to be scratched by a kitten so he had to withdraw and overtake me the legal way. The lights near Forestside stopped him again and I was two cars behind. He took off like a space shuttle. I lost sight of him on the Saintfield Road weaving in and out of lanes, recon he must have had an appointed at Purdysburn, He needed someone to see why he was driving like something was wrong with his head. There wasn't too much traffic on the road but the odd load of hay slowed things down. I was thinking as I approached Newcastle (Kingdom of Mourne) a tourist slogan "See Newcastle and Mourne" ..... maybe not.