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.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Crusing Mood

After seeing the cruise ship I had to upload a piece of video of the Majesty Of The Seas onto YouTube, It was our cruise out of Miami 2004. I do hope you enjoy it. (To be honest I don't care either way)

Visit Of A Princess

Grand Princess, the flagship of Personal Choice Cruising, offers a wide variety of services and features -(So their website says)- enabling them to customize their cruise experience with a myriad of dining, entertainment and activity options. Here are just some of the features Grand Princess has to offer: 2,600 passengers, 710 staterooms have private balconies, Full deck of mini-suites, Digital photography studio, Wedding chapel featuring wedding-at-sea program officiated by the ship's captain, to name a few. It is just fantastic to see such magnificent ships shadow our quaysides. You would think the City Council would get their act together and create an tourist area for the cruise ships to berth in dignity rather than sticking them at the dock beside the old power station. I went onto the good old Internet to find out about the ship, I noticed they had a bridge web cam so I took a screen capture of it. As you can see by the photo, the ship thinks it is Alongside in Greenock, Scotland, lets hope the Captain knows better. Talking about Captains!, as I'm sure you have read in previous posts we are cruising later in the year. My missus (God bless her) said "Do you think we may get sitting at the Captains table?". I had to burst her bubble, no way am I paying good money for a cruise and then end up having to sit with the crew to eat my food.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Bangor By The Sea

As you will have noticed no post for yesterday. I was working all day then out with mates for a few pints of lunatic soup. (great night had by all) So today I had points to make up so I took my spouse to Bangor (If you live there it's pronounced Bang-Gore) When we approached Bangor we saw signs about parades being held in the town so we deiced to just head around the ring road. Had a stop at the Bloomfield Centre. While in the card shop my spouse over heard a lady tell her young co-worker that they expected 60,000 people to visit the centre on the day because of the parade (60,000 people ???) and was instructing her on the art of detecting fake £20 notes, as there will be lots of people from Belfast down. (Do the seasiders really think so little of us)
Whats the old saying "The people in Belfast live above their shops, but the people in Bangor live above their means"

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Bus? What Bus

How many times have you heard the powers to be encouraging us to use public transport. I'm a great believer in, when public transport picks me up at the door of my house or work, at the moment I require it and take me to where I wish to go and wait, then and only then will I get rid of my car. My wife took the car today so I was forced to get a bus home. I went to Wellington Place to get the 5:25 home. I arrived at the stop 5 minutes early. At 5:40 still no bus going my way despite two 11b's one after the other. I spotted one of the helpful inspectors and asked him if there was any sign of the 5:25. This was his reply "It's running at least 20 minutes late, you will more than likely catch the 5:45 before the 5:25" Then he walked away. I just wonder if we had other bus companies competing for passengers in the city would they be so quick to dismiss the fact that a bus has not arrived on time and left people standing. Whats the point of two buses arriving at once... Oh by the way this bus was parked 10 feet from the stop. Good old Translink!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The Biggest Blow (Show) In The Country

While listening to The Biggest Blow (Show) In The Country this morning, a story caught my ears. This guy who had parked his brand new Aston Martin car outside the Holiday Inn in Ormeau Avenue. The well loved NCP traffic officers noticed no tax displayed on the motor so they called in the car lifter. I wonder if The Biggest Blow Show In The Country would have been interested if the car had been a 5 year old banger. The driver of the AM (Who was in the gym when someone told him his car was being lifted) rushed out to confront the officers and put a defence of "I've trade plates in the boot". (I think that's a clear sign that the traffic officers should be issued with x-ray classes). He also said that he was waiting on his personal number plates coming from the mainland.
Bottom line: There are set down regulations in how trade plates can be used, I'm sure going to the gym is not one of them....."Sorry officer my tax disc is in the boot" ... I could just see me trying to use that one.
Anyway if the AM driver is fit enough to go to the gym, he should be fit enough to walk home.... Just pay yer fine mate and stop gurnin.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Electronic Stuff on a Plane

Sunday evening as I got comfortable in my 8A seat on our De-Havilland Dash 8 (I had asked for a window seat only to discover this one was between two windows, so I had to lean forward or back to see out) I thought as it was a lovely evening to fly out of CWL to BHD it would be nice to take a short video of the take off. I asked our friendly flight attendant Joe would it be OK to use my digital camera to capture the take off. No came the reply ..... not until the seat belt signs have been switched off. To be honest there is not much point in capturing sky. I asked a colleague today who not only has a vast knowledge of flying but is in fact a pilot. he informed me with regards to electronic equipment that has no signal radiating (Apparently even then it doesn't mater) from it, there is really no reason why it cant be used. So why can I use it once airborne with the seat belt signs off and not any other times?
Found this one on YouTube.

Monday, 20 August 2007

It's Only Water

I like a good husband took her indoors to what I thought was only going to be a quick shop .... did I get it wrong, there is no such thing as a quick shop. After a few days away it was like old mother Hubbard's cupboard in our house so off to Tescos for some vittles (Turned out a full shop, date checking included). While walking around the superstore looking for what was super about it, my heart sank when I heard an announcement over the in store PA "Would the owner of car reg number xxxxxx please go to the information desk" It was my car. I moved swiftly to the desk (OK, walked) to be told than some kind of fluid was leaking from what could be my petrol tank. I immediately twigged on it was water dripping through a drain hole in the spare wheel well. I have a leak that I haven't found yet and the water ends up in the spare wheel well. As the car was sitting for a few days and it lashed down everyday, water was running out the drain hole. As I was walking to the car I noticed quite a few people had gathered around the rear of the car. I assured them it was only water and thanked them for their concern.(If it had been petrol it was rather smart to gather around the vehicle) But amongst the group was the ultimate knowledge brother, he was not satisfied with my explanation, so I had to open the hatchback and show him the spare wheel well.
I was glad to see the carp were unable to escape! ... I'll get it fixed I promise.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Tourist Day

Checked out of the hotel and headed down to Cardiff Bay. Great area to spend a few hours. Went to the loads of spots and caught the bus into the city centre (Return ticket £1.50, paid by Michel. Thanks) Headed to CWL (Cardiff International Airport) for the return flight to the BHD (George Best City Airport). While waiting on our flight a flight for Palma was checking in. The ignorance of people is unbelievable at times. The queue for the Palma flight kept blocking the public walk way within the terminal. So people catching other flights had to make a detour to get past. An airline official made a gap for people to use but as soon as she left back to square one. So me being me got my case and used the walk way, when i got to the blockade I asked people in a polite manor to make a gap as this was my traditional route, (no one got the joke) .... but they did of course move.
Meanwhile at BHD, for security reasons taxis (Minicabs) have to pick up their fares in the short stay car park, where as the Black Hacks (Airport taxis) can pick up at the arrivals door, the Bulkies (Harbour Police) are on hand to enforce this ruling!. (One rule for one, as the saying goes).

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Bogging Cinema

Headed into Cardiff tonight to the Red Dragon Centre went for a Chinese buffet and it was wonderful. Thought we would catch Rush Hour 3 in the on site Odeon Cinema. We paid extra for the premier seats. The film was in screen one and I have to say I have never been in a more disgusting screening room in my life. The place was full of dust and even with the lights low you could see the dust on parts the walls were the vacuum can't reach (By the look of things) and the top of the exit was thick with dust, the place also had a somewhat pong about it. (Smelly vision)
Letter of complaint away to Odeon.

Wet Wales

I'm at a Quality Hotel just 5 miles outside of Cardiff. It is lashing down outside (yet again). I'm sitting at the Internet connection in reception, there is a 42" plasma screen on the wall a few feet away from me, with a showing of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and the volume set at max. (Nine pence a minute to be online, so I better try and get my spelling right first time around or the extra spell checking will cost me more money let alone the TVs high volume effecting my hearing)

Friday, 17 August 2007

Wonderful Day

Had a fantastic day at the wedding of Raymond and Lydia. It was a wonderful occasion, you can see the photos online.
If anyone was to ask me what the hardest task Ive ever had to do, I can honestly say now, that it was making speeches at my children's weddings.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Hungry Travelers

7am flight to Cardiff, pick up the rental car and hit the road. Onward to Pembrookeshire. Hunger kicked in so we stopped at a Little Chef. Now it doesn't take a Gordon Ramsey to work out that if four people sit down for breakfast and two of them order pancakes with bacon, and the other two order and full breakfast that you leave cooking the pancakes to last. Not here they don't. The pancakes arrived first and by the time the full breakfast arrived the pancakes had gone. Better luck next time I guess.
Destination reached (Wolfscastle Country Hotel) Checked in, freshen up then out for a drive was the order of the day. Fishguard here we come. Called for refreshments at the Hope and Anchor (I'd a soft drink as I was driving). Onto the beautiful St Davids. The roads were packed with holiday drivers and a few locals who thought as they lived there it automatically gave them the right of way WRONG! ... As I entered a narrow part of the road with another car up my tail end I proceeded forward when (Wait for it) a women driver came racing past a passing lay by and stopped in the road. I stopped the minute I seen her coming. She wanted me (And the car behind me) to reverse back. I singled to her it would be easier for her to reverse back to the lay by. Which she did after she caught on I wasn't moving. As I past the lay by I thanked her and she returned my compliment by giving me some agro. I ignored it of course but my pit bull in the back seat took the bait and got cross snarling and spitting. Headed back to the Wolfscastle via Newgail a beautiful part of Pembrookeshire I have to say.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Balloon Flight

This is just a test video that I have put onto YouTube. Forgive the quality, just in it's test stage. As you can see (hopefully) it was a balloon flight over Orlando Florida one brisk December morning (2004). It was fantastic.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Which Lane

I know I've mentioned it before about the lack of lane discipline, but have a look at the picture of a blue van man and make your own mind up. How do you get into this position without really trying.? It's dead easy, all you have to do is 1. Not give a care about other road users, 2. Don't worry about what colour the traffic lights are sitting at. 3. Own the road. I'm thinking of taking up writing and perhaps may write a book to help those who at times are in more lanes than a Olympic Athlete, just because they are unsure which lane is the right lane .... or is it the left lane?

Monday, 13 August 2007

What Is The Point

I've been at a loss for words ever since I spotted the new addition to St Ann's Cathedral. The Spire of Hope was ascended to above the cathedral in April 2007. I personally think it is an eyesore on what is a magnificent building, It is a total waste money (in my opinion)that could have been put to better use. I don't believe any reason can justify the cost of this monstrosity.
Every year coming up to Christmas I get encouraged and inspired by the generosity of the people of this land, in the giving to the Black Santa, who without fail, (hail, rain or snow) is collecting money for the needy outside the cathedral. Whether or not you agree with The Spire of Hope, this year like all years, the needy will still be the needy, so give what you can this Christmas.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

For Mrs Grumpyhead

I often ask Mrs Grumpyhead if she had read my blog, "no", is her normal reply, so I thought I'd put something on the blog just for her. I searched YouTube (Isn't it just great) for some video of the cruise ship we hope to sail on later in the year. You can watch it as many times as you want but really this is for her...enjoy Mrs Grumpyhead.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Just Use Type

I like to chat on Windows Live Messenger, my typing I have to say is getting better so my replies to messages are getting a litter faster. But a new form of messaging has entered my world and it's doing my head in. It's type with graphics and animations. It must be a sign of me getting older but by the time I've worked out what the message say, yet another message has come through. It looks cool I have to admit, but deciphering codes is not one of my strong points. Remember KISS .... Keep It Simple Stupid. (For me anyway)

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Serious Topics

It amazing what gets discussed first thing in a morning. I was walking to work after I'd parked the car and met someone who I hadn't seen in a while. After the usual pleasantries he was telling me of a recent bereavement. The conversation move to the question "What would you do if a doctor told you how long you had left" My goodness what a question to be asked, I had loads of thoughts but to be honest could not come up with a real plan, so many avenues for discussion this throws up.
I then remembered years ago having a discussion in a bar with mates on the question "What would you like someone to say as they view your remains in a coffin" this question was a lot easier, my answer was "Look, he's moving"

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The Tufty Club

Does anyone remember the road safety scheme The Tufty Club? I can't remember when it was stopped, it must have been over 25 years ago or perhaps the two ladies I met today never went. On my way into work this morning I noticed this lady crossing the road, she looked around and watched me driving towards her, I slowed down. Now, if you're crossing the road and a car is coming, you are left with two choices, go forward or go back (but quickly). She decide to keep on walking at a speed that would have been more suited to the catwalk . She held her head high and wiggled. Blonde hair, 6 inch stilettos, (Not that I took that much notice) mutton dressed as mutton need I say more? Whats more why do people when crossing the road don't take the straight route, they seem to go diagonally (A to B the shortest route dear) On the return trip as I got to the Oldpark Road number two was crossing the road with her two kids. She had one by the hand and the other running behind her. I stopped and let them cross as the traffic behind me was very heavy, and the three cars in front had stopped 15 feet away at a pedestrian crossing, why use it I suppose when you can use your kids as part of a traffic calming scheme.
Wise up people.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Cat Erpillar

My son who lives in Goodwick, Pembrookeshire sent me this photo. His cat brought this creature into his house last night. It is a caterpillar unseen by us before. He checked the Internet and came up with the name "Hornworm waved sphinx", (Ceratomia undulosa) Apparently they are native of the United States of America. (Unless you know better) It must be on holidays visiting Wales.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Hedge Cutting @ Last

Yet again more heavy rain. I was glad I listened (and took heed) to the weather forecast. Before I was forced to go shopping yesterday I was able to get the rear garden hedge cut. It has been waiting for cutting for ages. With all the bad weather we have had I've not been able to get set up and and the hedge cut. I like to keep the hedge under control, by this time last year I was into my fifth cut of the hedge, this one was only the second, so as you can see by the photo it has just grown wild. I purchased a platform ladder which I have to say makes life an awful lot easier when cutting the hedge. My brown recycle bin is now full to capacity and ready for the bin men on Monday.
I know a newly wed couple who decided to go camping with their friends to a country park near Armagh for the weekend. I had advised them of the weather ahead, but hey, what would I know. Unfortunately they had to cut their camping trip short and return home earlier this morning. (Honest, I didn't laugh, well not too hard that is)

"Wonder would them have stayed if they'd taken their wetsuits with them, perhaps they did".

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Hungarian Grand Prix

If you're a fan of formula 1 and miss the televised Hungarian Grand Prix, may I suggest a visit to Tesco's in Newtownabbey to feed your racing crave. From the minute the trolley is collected it's like taking part in a race. No practice laps though, it's the checkered flag as you go through the doors. You can see the determination on the other drivers faces the second you're spotted. They do everything in their power to stop you passing. Weaving two and fro, turning sideways and stopping without warning, slowing down to talk to someone, completely blocking your way. I do believe there should be isle marshals to install a bit of lane discipline. So many different types of drivers, too many to mention all. The blue rinse brigade have their fare share, the yummy mummy's would come a close second (with their kids running around the isles to distract the rest) There's those drivers who cant keep moving because they have to check the date on every single item en route, and what about the single guy driver, he collects items as he starts the race and you can she him putting them back as he changes his mind in other isles. The store attendants also participate by building chicanes using whatever caged trolleys they can find. The last lot of yards are the most dangerous, heading for the checkout always ends in a sprint. It really is a circuit any F1 driver would be proud of.

Quote of the day "I'll take these eggs, we can make omelette's with them" ....

Really ?

Friday, 3 August 2007

Lifts / Elevators

What is it with people waiting on lifts / elevators (depending on what you like call them) The minute the vessel arrives and before the doors have fully open they are trying to climb in. Why do they always assume it is empty on arrival or those on board don't wish to disembark. It drives me mad. I think all lift doors should be see through so these people can see the lift is empty or not, and a big flashing neon light saying PEOPLE WANT OUT
I was in a lift today in work, (that's what I like to call them) descending from the sixth floor carrying some equipment to the ground floor, as the door opened this guy carrying a portable television immediately started to come in as I was about to walk out.
He stopped inside between me and the doors and asked "Are you getting out" I'm sorry but sarcasms just took over, I said "No, I'm multi-skilling as a lift attendant" at which he stepped sidewards and asked for the fifth floor ..... Have I met my match do you think?

Thursday, 2 August 2007


Still on the theme of Tourism I got wondering, why do people come into the city when we have such beautiful countryside that can be explored, our countryside is second to none (I bet it's the women who want to go shopping) anyway , then they jump onto an open top bus to do the city tour. The bus leaves from the city centre, up the heal and ankle and down the bat and balls.
I was on a bus the other evening going up the heal and ankle and I have to say I felt embarrassed for my city, tourists having to look at bonfire remains. Surely in the future arrangements need to be made for volunteers to do a clean up operation immediately after the event, after all there are so many volunteers willing to help when it comes to collecting and building the bonfires. Then its across city to see where the famous Titanic was built. This one is the mystery to me. Frankly, I really don't get the point in promoting the fact that we built a ship which never completed it's maiden voyage, due to an accident which resulted in it sinking with such a tragic loss of life.
Off then to Stormont which I think would make a great golf and country club. (I heard the only bunker is under the building) Tourists to the building are shown around by club members. (Sorry MLA's) The entrance to the building has been improved by the removal of a big stone which had been blocking the revolving doors. Back onto the bus for the return journey to the city and perhaps an enjoyable pint in one of our many fine establishments that our city has to offer, Cheers.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Tourists Galore

Isn't it wonderful to see we now have tourists flocking into our city. I can't remember seeing so many before. (well, not in uniform and carrying a rifle that is). No mater what you think or think you think, it's fantastic to see the tour buses and cruise ships arriving into the city.
Another thing I thought I'd never see are the tour buses, filled to capacity as they tour the city sightseeing, no mater what the weather. (and there as so many sites in this city to see) I went into the city this lunchtime for a walk and couldn't believe the variety of languages I had heard. Foreign tour buses were dropping off passengers at the City Hall and the tourists were heading into the city centre, with umbrellas in one hand and city maps in the other. The only thing is they want to study the map standing in the middle of the footpath while you are trying to get past.
I thought "I Know" I'll learn how to say excuse me in different languages, just in case I need it.

German: Entschuldigen Sie! (ent-SHOOL-de-gen zee)
French: Excusez-moi
Italian: Mi-scusi
Spanish: Perdone
Japanese: Sumi masen
Irish: Gabh mo leithsceal

Tell you what, just Click Here to learn more