Thursday 27 December 2007

Christmas Do-Over anyone?

Yep folks the tree has been abandoned. I was watering it and everything until our visitors arrived and then routines were out of kilter and husbands were home and I forgot. Yesterday with a heavy heart I removed all my little trinkets, of which I had added a few during the festive season, and dragged the messy spruce out the back door. And there it lies on the driveway in the rain, naked and abandoned. It is too depressing, so next year I may have to go with the fake fur because I have never enjoyed a Christmas tree for such a short time before. All the decorations are nestled in their tissues back in the tins and the box is already in the attic, ow!

On the plus side I feel enormously organised when I look into the clean and tidy living room. It has been such a strange Christmas for me. I read englishmuminireland(link under favourite places) and she got me in the spirit for a while. Bought the tree and all, but then with all the visitors I stopped reading her blog and forgot it was Christmas! Seriously I was all out of sync, the kids were not finished a school year, (in S.A the school year runs from January to December) it is WINTER and I am used to summer and we did not go to Knysna. I guess being in a new country did not help and even though the folks came over it really was all out of whack for me. We also do not know too many people yet so we were not organising Christmas Eve parties with our friends and getting ready for a big New Year bash. Somehow I did manage to get all the pressies bought and wrapped, so I was not completely oblivious.
I love the festive season so it really is rather depressing that it is gone and I nearly missed it. I snapped to attention while trying to fall asleep on 23 December and of course lay there planning how I could possibly make things more festive with one day to spare, hence the egg nog, fire in the fire place, candles all over the house and mulled wine, at the last minute. Turned out pretty great in the end, Geraldine dragged me off to the neighbourhood ladies Christmas drinks on Christmas Eve for an hour and on Christmas Day after a wonderful Christmas dinner with the family Martin and Geraldine appeared at the doorstep around 21H00 and invited us over for drinks. We made the most of their wonderful company and got back home at 02H15. I cannot believe that all that is now left is New year and then we are in 2008...let me say that again TWO THOUSAND AND EIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a good one!!!

Not stuffed and trussed but wined and brined

Yes I took a different stance on the old turkey this year, thanks to Nigella, I decided to brine the big bird! I had read the recipe earlier in the year and was rather intrigued but as the day drew closer I was not sure that this was the way to go. I had another look at the recipe on the morning of the 24th but decided that perhaps the safest option would be the traditional version as the ingredient list was extensive and my herb and spice collection sadly depleted after our move here.

Now in true ME style I only decided to go with this method a about 13h00 on 24 December after I had already been to a heaving SuperValu for supplies, without a list of the required ingredients (the brining idea only took hold as I stood in front of the spice selection at said supermarket) A LOT goes into the brine, salt (duh),oranges, mustard seeds, ginger, star anise, allspice berries (?), cinnamon sticks, pepper corns, caraway seeds and more. So of course I did not have at least 50% of the ingredients, including a bucket, I did say it was a BIG bird. I had managed to get some of the spices I needed but when Malcolm went to the shop I gave him the rest of the list, LONG list, he was slightly unamused...especially as did I mention...I had already been to the shops...so when I cut the orange that was called for in the recipe and discovered that it was a grapefruit I pointed out long sufferings mistake and hastily added that, as it was still a citrus fruit I would make do and added it to my brew. I also could not find star anise and nor could Malcolm and he really did try! So I adapted the recipe slightly again and used juniper berries instead of allspice berries (what are they???) just to make things even more interesting.

I happily mixed up my brew merrily adding a box of Maldon salt and 125g table salt as the recipe stated and put my turkey in its bucket feet first. Now Nigella enthuses about how she cannot stop herself from looking in on her lovely vision of a brining turkey, but let me say that this is not the case when using a cream plastic bucket! Of course fridge space is not an option so luckily we are in the Northern hemisphere and the turkey was sent outside and spent the night in the boot of my car, to ensure that the fox did not get our Christmas dinner before us.

I also made egg nog which is still sitting in my fridge as Malcolm has terrible sinus and is avoiding dairy at the moment, wonder whether they would make great snowballs as described in englishmums blog....

Then off I went with my neighbour Geraldine for mince pies and wine at a house 3 doors down, of course not REALLY 3 doors, only Irish 3 doors!!! While there we were all discussing our Christmas day feasts and one of the ladies had heard a huge debate on the radio about the correct cooking time for turkey and how Nigella Lawson had it all wrong in her book. So now my ground was feeling a little shaky underneath me as I was determined not to dry my turkey out, but nor did I want to serve it medium rare! AND I had elected to go the Nigella route....what if she did have it all wrong? Nigella reckoned I needed 2 hours 30 minutes, Marks & Spencer (very sensibly) put the cooking time on the weight label of the turkey which was 3 hours 50 minutes.
On Christmas day I decided to follow the recipe for allspice gravy as per Nigella's suggestion and while reading the recipe and I quote... "1 tablespoon maldon salt/ 1/2tablespoon table salt" Note the slash in that sentence...I paled, VISIBLY and my stomach quietly knotted as I turned back to my brine recipe....yes,
250g Maldon salt/
125g Table salt
The slash of course means either or but I did not see the slash when I made the brine because the ingredients were listed below each other and by now my feet first turkey had been happily marinading in the Dead Sea for 18 hours! I felt nauseous. I also knew that I would just have to carry on regardless and hope that we did not have jerkey turkey...
I also had the cooking times of the turkey to worry about, by now Christmas was not fun anymore and I no longer wanted to play "Nigella, Nigella".
Anyhow....I brought the turkey to room temperature and put it in the oven to roast and consoled myelf with the fact that with all the veggies, (cauliflower cheese, roast parsnips, caramelised cinammon carrots, brussels sprouts butternut and peas) garnish selection (sage and onion stuffing balls, chipolatas and bacon rolls *thanks Marks and Sparks*)and ham nobody would go hungry if the turkey was a disaster.

I went with Nigellas cooking times, I took the turkey out of the oven and did the knife in the thickest part trick and the juices were clear. I was still worried that after the required rest (the turkey was tired after all that time in the oven) we would carve and hit pink and by then all the veggies etc would be ready and I would be manically microwaving turkey...

And now I can say with authority that Nigella is right, Marks and Spencer wrong and my turkey was cooked through, maybe even ever so SLIGHTLY dry. The gravy was fabulous Nigella and the roast potatoes (par boiled 4 minutes add 2 T polenta and shake that pot! Add to very hot oil and roast about 60 minutes) perfection! Sadly I do not even have a picture of my slightly over bronzed bird and PERFECT potatoes to proudly display so you will have to do it all justice in your imaginations!
The wine flowed, the family were together and we stuffed ourselves instead of the turkey. Merry merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Needles and creepy crawlies

My tree has been liberated from the confines of the stocking (net) it has been sitting in, and is taking up a lot of room in the lounge. Martin kindly cut the trunk for me and did a sterling job of keeping it straight, I hate to think of what it would have looked like had I given it a go. I did get out the drill, the tree needs a hole in the bottom, middle of the trunk to screw in the stand. I certainly learned a few lessons in the process. Most important one, the drill bit gets hot. Friction I realised as I tried to wipe saw dust off of the drill bit after my magnificent attempt at drilling required hole. I screwed in the stand, dragged the tree through the house to the lounge and managed to erect it all by myself, happy little lass was I! Then I snipped away the offensive net stocking and out sprung my voluminous tree. Unfortunately some of the branches were touching the floor so out came the bread knife. What? It was all I had! It rose to the challenge and I got through all the branches in no time. And then I saw the needles and the creepy crawlies, the floor was MOVING with them, I had been under the tree head and all and my scalp is still itchy. I swept them all up and got rid of them posthaste, I am sure there are still a million of them living in the tree. I have put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign as I would rather they remain where they are than start looking for new accommodation in other parts of my house. Now I shall share some before and after pictures of my spruced up specimen. I know we still need some glittery bits but I had such fun finding a place for all my little treasures on the tree.


Can practice make perfect?

I am wondering about this. I had hockey practice last night. I was awful, embarrassingly so. They did an exercise and I kept running to the wrong place and doing the wrong thing. Of course all the other girls in the team have been playing for ages. They understood the exercise, they ALL got it right and it went like clockwork until my turn. Worst of all I do not play with the team, I just practice with them as the Vets do not practice and I really need help so I dutifully arrive on a Monday and Wednesday evening to provide light entertainment. Honestly, if I was watching me I would dismiss myself as a total airhead. Perhaps I am in over my head but I am not going to leave with my tail between my legs just yet.

Monday 3 December 2007

NEWSFLASH

Remember those U-G-L-Y hamsters the kids got 2 weeks ago? Well now we have oh about 7 hamsters. Yep Jessica chose a hamster "with child", or should I say children? They were born today and discovered about an hour ago, tiny, tiny little pink things. I have even tried to take pictures of them and if I was successful I will add them to this post, little Miss Techno genius over here has not learned how to upload pictures from the camera to the computer, got to make Malcolm feel useful and powerful, you know the whole hunter gatherer protector thing? Do you know that if pappa hamster was in there with her she could be having her next litter in 20 days, the saying should be "Life's a hamster" not life's a b*tch. But Pappa hamster may be her brother, we really do not know, eeuww. This will cause another set of problems as of course with in breeding we will have deformed hamsters, oh please please don't let that happen. Also we have to separate the males from the females at 4 weeks, can you believe it, breed like rats they do. He he. After this litter my job is done and I think Kirstin can chose a female from the litter and the pet shop in Blackrock can take back the male that they assured us was female. I should have listened to Kirstin and Jessica, after checking out the Internet they insisted that Kirstin had a male hamster. I decided to chance it as they do live in separate cages and we keep them apart. I have learned my lesson, female + female = no more hamsters. I have just removed the cage from Jessica's bedroom as she and Kirstin are going to be exhausted tomorrow from all the peaking. I made the image small because in my experience if you click on the image it will enlarge. When I add large pictures clicking on the image does nothing! I refer to Miss Techno genius status for any further enquiries

Covert operation

I bought a Christmas tree! It is still in its net (for transportation purposes) and I have to get it sorted out in the morning. Before I can do that I need to re arrange my lounge. I have to do it during the day, Malcolm might not be amused, I think it is bigger than it looked in the lot. Or I have built it up in my mind, this is an ever hopeful thought that pops into my head. When I chose the tree I did keep the ceiling in mind, I did not really think about the circumference of the thing and I think it is really bushy. I am not even sure I can put it in front of the window as planned as it may block out too much light. I have to say though that it is beautiful and I cannot wait to adorn it with all my trinkets. I guess that part can wait until the kids get home...maybe.

Scottish Invasion

Well that is what my father-in-law is calling it and I guess he is right. I just call it a lot of people staying in our house for 2 nights (who happen to have Scottish blood running through their veins!). We are lucky enough to have the folks visiting us for Christmas. This is great as it is obviously also our first Christmas away from home. We are already getting prepared...well shopping for things we like to decorate the tree and table for Christmas with...my fridge is too small to actually buy food so that will have to be done on a daily basis! Luckily we can keep the beer, wine and Guinness in the backyard as it is nice and chilly now! Probably all manner of refrigerated goods will spend some time on my back step in the near future! I am actually thinking of getting a plastic drawer set just for the purpose of outdoor refrigeration. Of course it does also have to drop a few degrees or I might have health and safety on my back or a lot of very sick guests and only 3 bathrooms...
Anyway, I can't wait. I am racking my brain about what to cook because we will have 7 adults and 2 kids, it is only for 2 days which makes it a doddle. If I still had all my kitchen paraphernalia from S.A it would be easier as I had loads of pots, platters, lasagne dishes etc. I am now horribly limited so unfortunately I may have to add to my growing collection of dishes again. Oh woe is me. He he he.

Friday 30 November 2007

CROCS and CAYMANS

When we were still living in South Africa my friend Lee Ann got a pair of crocs. A beige pair. Shaun, her husband got a navy blue pair. I though they were the stupidest (yes, stupidest) shoes I had ever seen. Ugly too. Who on this green earth would want to wear fat, plastic, holey shoes? Well they swore up and down that they were the most comfortable shoes, and VERY popular in the USA. I decided that they had to say that because the shoes were so gross and if they wanted to wear them so be it. As time went on more people started wearing crocs. I even looked at a pair for Malcolm as a Christmas present last year. To be honest I even tried a pair on. Unfortunately I looked like a duck, I have a narrow foot and it swam inside the shoe. Also the sizing was all wrong, medium was just too small and large was well, too large!
Then 9 months later I walked into Arnotts on Henry Street in Dublin and a riot of colourful crocs greeted me, AND the jibbitz!!!! Now I really do not think I am an accessory kind of girl but the jibbitz sealed the deal. I needed a pair of crocs. Luckily for me they have a new style, the cayman (clever croc people) which fits my foot a lot better. I also learned that it is supposed to be quite a loose fit. I decided if I was going to wear these ugly plastic shoes I was going to make a statement with the colour so I chose purple. Of course they would be my house shoes so it did not really matter anyway. Kirstin chose a wonderful pearly pink pair and we oohed and aahed over the all important jibbitz and added them to our purchase. Jessica, the sensible one, did not get crocs, she loved the jibbitz but decided she did not think she could stomach the shoes. The jibbitz had me hook line and sinker. I got home and put on my jibbitz and started wearing my caymans, to the shops, to the mall, on the bus into town, hill walking, driving, even went for a 7km walk around the area in them. I could not stop wearing them! So much for house shoes, they are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. I do not care if people look at me funny, I am walking on cloud 9 all the time! I must say that in SA loads of people were sporting a pair of crocs when we left, here I feel like the only one. I do not care. When we went away for the weekend I wore them on our memorable soggy hill walk and my feet got soaked, duh, the shoes are full of holes, but after the wet muddy walk I ran them under the tap, dried them and stuck them straight back on! The kids wore their takkies (runners), they were wet and filthy. We tried to clean them as best we could in the shower and put them in a bag in the car. They took 3 days to dry. I think I will get a pair of wellies for walking, but I will only wear them if it is wet and I can't wear my crocs. I am going back to Arnotts to get some Christmas jibbitz for December, and perhaps if the budget allows another pair of caymans. At the very least they will be on my Christmas list, so Santa I do hope you read my blog! The small picture on the top of the page can be enlarged for a better view of the jibbitz!






Thursday 29 November 2007

A while ago I posted something on the Irish, now I can even up the scores with a South African list…I think I actually need to sit down and make up my own one, this came off of Face Book. I am sure there are a lot more funnier things about SA than listed here but it is a start. As you will notice...crime is a strong theme, just like living in Dublin I have discovered that weather is the biggest reason Irish people are surprised that we moved here.


YOU ARE PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN WHEN:

Ø You produce a R100 note instead of your driver's licence when stopped by a traffic officer.
Sad but very often true, although not EVERYONE does this!

Ø You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
- Anything from DVD’s, Coca Cola to seasonal fruit, also availalbe from your car window at a traffic light (robot)

Ø You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car
_Available at all shopping centres near you!

Ø You can count the national soccer team's scores with no fingers
Ø To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750
Ø Hijacking cars is a profession
Ø You can pay your tuition fees by holding up a sign at a traffic light
Ø The petrol in your tank may be worth more than your car
Ø More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election
People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty, Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Patience, Precious, Innocence and Given
Ø "Now now" can mean anything from a minute to a month
Ø You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction
Most likely on the wrong side of the road with about 20 people squeezed inside – one holding the door to keep it closed
Ø Travelling at 120 km/h you're the slowest vehicle on the highway
AND that is the speed limit!
Ø You're genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it
Ø A bullet train is being introduced, but we can't fix potholes
Ø The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday
Ø You paint your car's registration on the roof
So the helicopters can find it if your car is stolen/hijacked
Ø You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital
Ø You have to prove that you don't need a loan to get one
Ø Prisoners go on strike
Ø You don't stop at a red traffic light in case somebody hijacks your car
Ø You consider it a good month if you only get mugged once
This one is a bit of poetic licence, kind of like people saying it ALWAYS rains in Dublin.
Ø Rwandan refugees start leaving the country because the crime rate is too high
Ø When 2 Afrikaans TV programmes are separated by a Xhosa announcement of the following Afrikaans programme, and a Pedi ad
Ø The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are
Ø The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the programme you just finished watching
SABC is our national TV station (like RTE here in ireland)
Ø You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather
Ø You call a bathing suit a "swimming costume"
My friend Karen pointed out that the reason that a lot of Northern hemisphere people call it a bathing suit is because they use it in the BATH whereas we use it in a SWIMMING POOL!!!
Ø You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you've never had any
Available at all fine health shops and even some Super Valu's in Dublin!
Ø You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them
Ø You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela
Ø You go to "braais" (barbecues) regularly, where you eat boerewors(long meaty sausage-type thing) and swim, sometimes simultaneously
Ø You know that there's nothing to do in the Free State
Ø You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from SA

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Fat Santas and other things

Wow, I cannot believe it, less than a month to go and it is Christmas! I am so looking forward to Christmas in the Northern hemisphere. For starters we are getting a REAL tree, I am just trying to decide where best to put it for maximum enjoyment. I love taking out all my tins of Christmas decorations, I have some that the kids have made over the years, ice cream sticks stuck together with red noses, cut out card glitter trees, pipe cleaners and polystyrene balls and more. Then I have the ones my mom bought me in my favourite shop in Harrison, Greetings and Salutations, nice fat Santa's in different colour suits, red, green and purple. The stained glass ones my mom-in-law gave me for Christmas one year, and so many more. The best thing about taking all the decorations out are the memories that come out with them. I have never been one to just go out and buy mass produced supermarket baubles. I like the little angels I found in a florist shop, the snowmen I found in a Christmas shop after Christmas on sale. ooohhh and the globe I bought at Costco with the lights that come on in the village, the big nutcracker my friend Maiju gave me....
Having said that I do think a formal Christmas tree is absolutely beautiful, but it definitely does not fit in my not so formal home!
Now I am off to the attic to rummage through my things....how long does a fresh Christmas tree stay fresh???

Tuesday 27 November 2007

A weekend in the life of...

Another weekend has whizzed by, they just seem to go so fast! On Friday evening we invited Rob, Irene and kids around for dinner. I decided to do lasagne, salad and tiramisu as I would not have to be stuck in the kitchen cooking. I used Isabella's recipe for tiramisu with a slight adaptation and it was all eaten, so it must have been good! Afterwards we got hold of the Playstation and played Buzz (quiz game) which was loads of fun, Rob and I came from behind to be victorious and then in the second round the tables were turned on us by Malcolm and Irene!

On Saturday morning Jessica had a hockey match at her school so Malcolm took her and Kirstin and I met up with them later. Unfortunately I missed most of the game as I had got the start time wrong. After the game we went to St Killian's School as they were having a German Christmas fare. I was really looking forward to it as I imagined browsing through all sorts of wonderful Christmas goodies. To say that I was disappointed would be a HUGE understatement, it was over-crowded and there were not very many Christmas goodies but there was a lot of second hand bric-a brac (rhymes with...C--P). We beat a hasty retreat, well not so hasty as we had to squeeze through so many people, and went home.

We decided to go and try the hamburger joint, Joburger for dinner as we had read about it and Rose had also recommended it to us. http://www.joburger.ie/ We had a look at their website and decided it was definitely worth a visit. We had to wait for a bit for a table and then got squeezed onto a bench. The restaurant setup is just long tables with benches for seats. Jess and Malcolm did not like that so much, Jess has this thing about sitting too close to other people....and she obviously gets it from Malcolm! Of course to make matters worse for Malcolm, Jessica sat as close to him as possible so that she could have a bigger gap between herself and the stranger to her right! The menus were brilliant, old annuals that have the menu inside the first page - very c-l-e-v-e-r! I had a Famous Five, good ole times! The music was great, all 80's stuff until the DJ got there and then he added his own...spin.
The hamburgers were huge, the toppings are unique but I had my burger in a wrap and the way it is served makes it extremely awkward to eat. We ordered a side of bush fries which were not really anything to write home about, and of course with such big burgers we could not eat them anyway. I thought the whole set up was a lot of fun, the place is very small though, so the windows got all steamy and it was very warm and toasty, maybe too warm and toasty!
I don't think that Malcolm and Jess would rush back, unless it was lunch and not so busy, and they are definitely the fan of the hamburger in our family. I think it is definitely worth a visit with friends, but keep in mind, the people next to us were asked to leave as there was a queue for tables so eat up!!!

On Sunday we got up late and pottered around all morning. Then I took a stroll down to the Farmer's market and bought bread, relish, nuts and some DIVINE croissants and pain au chocolates (spelling?). I felt decidedly European, especially buying the pain au chocolats, the man serving was very French, told me butter does not count on a Sunday, after tasting a sample of a croissant I decided to believe him! Came home and we ate bread, cheese and relish and later had coffee and the delicious French treats.
At around 18h00 Malcolm and I went for a nice long walk around the neighbourhood, of course it was pitch dark but it was great to get out of the house.
Monday morning turned into a mad panic, Malcolm turned his alarm off in the morning and we woke up at 07H45, the time Malcolm and Jess normally LEAVE!!! I told Malcolm to drop Jess off at the luas as it would be quicker than driving, so Jess still made it to school on time, 08H20, public transport sometimes you got to love it!

Monday 26 November 2007

With thanks to friends in the know and GOOGLE

I have learned a lot since my anonymous guest book comment. I also realise that there is still so much more to learn! The most important lesson I learned is that friends and family stand by you and are willing to stand up for you too!
Secondly, my friend showed me how to look up an IP number, from this you can do a search and it will give you some interesting information, often even an email address. I found out the following: "John Smit"(this is also the name of our South African rugby captain just by the way) lives in Ireland and the range he/she uses is used by smart telecom DSL customers who subscribe to mysmart.ie! From the IP number we got latitude and longitude co ordinates. I then did a search for those and map quest even provided me with a nice little map, not quite pinpointing the house, but fascinating none the less! I am not sure how accurate it is but it came out near Mespill Rd and the N11 in Dublin south, I actually had a look at the area on a website like google earth. According to my friend you can often even get an actual name if you know someone in the know, know what I mean? Anyway, this was just a post on how little I know of what goes on out there, and I know that I am not alone so I decided to share! Now I shall put all of this to bed and not worry about it ever ever again.
I am sure it is not the first nor the last message like that, I really do not mind, just leave YOUR name, if you have something to say stand behind what you say! Or as my mom has always told me...If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all...but not even I can manage that all the time!

Sunday 25 November 2007

Guest book comment

I always check my guest book. Most of the time I am disappointed. When I do get a message I get excited. Until yesterday. Somebody left a "lovely" message on my blog. Now he is entitled to his questions, but I object to his anonymity, "John Smit". Also if he is in Ireland why use a Georgia flag? I am open and honest on my blog, I even supply pictures, as this is something I do for my friends and family. As far as I am concerned as a holder of an Irish passport I am welcome in Ireland. There are many privileged people in Ireland, whether I am privileged or not has nothing o do with it. We pay our taxes, embrace our life her and have made some friends. Walk in our shoes for a few years in South Africa and then we can have a chat about the decisions we made for the sake of our children. Watching a grown man backhand your daughter in the face during a supermarket hold up and then hiding under the shelves with your daughters (9 and 6) while a security guard is shot, handbags are grabbed from screaming women and then walking out 40 minutes later with no policemen in sight is very sobering. Leaving home and family is not an easy thing to do, we miss the familiarity and the fantastic friends we have there, but we have made choices that we felt were necessary for our sanity.

Friday 23 November 2007

Sleepless nights

Kirstin went to play at Ciara's house 2 weeks ago. Ciara has hamsters. Kirstin came home asking for a hamster, Jess started asking for a hamster. Now they both have hamsters. They have driven me up the wall asking when the hamsters will be at the pet shop, we had put our names down as the girls want dwarf hamsters and none of the pet shops had any. Yesterday I got the call, 2 female dwarf hamsters were available. They had both saved their money, they want them, they pay for them. The cages are pretty cool, tunnels, wheels, ramps, a platform and the little house with a window and door...the hamsters are U-G-L-Y. They are albino hamsters, they have pink eyes. I like the grey striped dwarf hamsters but the kids see inner beauty better than I do, obviously. I think they look a lot like rats, the other dwarf hamsters resemble chipmunks just a little. Which would you prefer? Oh well, the girls are thrilled and they have paid for and will care for their furry bundles of joy so who am I to compare?
Ahhh but wait, hamsters are nocturnal. We knew this when we got them but what we did not know was that Ruby, Kirstin's fluffy friend, would absolutely LOVE her wheel....her "wake me up in the middle of the night" squeaky wheel. Not good. So her first night home and she is not a very popular little rodent. Jessica's, Nibbles, has been a very good quiet hamster up until now but they can both sleep downstairs in the lounge from now on. I wonder if I can put cooking oil on the wheel?

Sticks and Stones

I have lost my first stone! That is 14 pounds or 6.8 kg's for all my South African friends. The cool thing about it being called a stone is that when you reach this milestone (hee hee) you get a little glass pebble (stone). Then everyone in the meeting gets to here about the trials and tribulations of your road to success, all me, me, me for a few minutes...I must say that it has been a fairly slow process but it is good because I have still managed to have good nights out and lose weight.
Unfortunately I could not stay for the meeting as I had to rush home for dinner because I had a hockey meeting at 20h00. Of course after reaching such a fantastic milestone I had pizza for dinner, I may have lost a stone but I know I will never become a stick! So 1 more stone to go and then I will have reached my goal, hope I don't fall off the wagon, I have never made it through maintenance on WW, I always get to a good weight and then just stop going! This time I hope that I can continue and actually finish the maintenance part of the plan.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

The H Day has Arrived

Monday was a miserable day, it was cold,windy and wet. It also happened to be the day I was to go down and watch a bit of hockey and meet my potential new teammates. I was beginning to think that hockey was a BAD idea for the following reasons:

1. It is a winter sport....in Ireland winters are cold and wet.
2. Have you seen how hard people hit the ball? Serious injury concerns.
3. I have not run around for 60 minutes in a very long time. Or ever!
4. I have not played hockey in 18 years.
5. When I DID play hockey I played with the people who did not want to play hockey...it was a
compulsory sport, and I did not like being told what to do...TEENAGERS *sigh*
6. I do not know the terminology, the positions or the rules.

Recipe for disaster...I think so. But good old industrious Karla called me on Monday, their game had been cancelled. I breathed a (silent) sigh of relief. Ah but a little bit too soon, things were actually WORSE, she had organised a game against one of the other teams in the club, a practice game so it would be perfect for me...(insert grumpy grimacy emoticon here) So off to the shops to buy a gum guard, yes I would like to keep my teeth they have served me very well so far. When I got home I then had to mould said gum guard by placing it in just boiled water for 12 seconds and then biting on it and sucking all the air out and running my tongue along the back of my teeth etc. The sensation of this lovely device in my mouth made me want to be sick, not a good start. Then I had to rummage through Jessica's cupboard for her socks and shin guards, hockey ball on the shin is also very unappealing. Luckily I could wear tracksuit pants as it was a friendly and I wore my red fleece with SPORTY emblazoned across the front, just so that they could all see that I really meant business. I made sure that we had dinner nice and early, I did not want to ruin their astro, especially as I knew it was going to be difficult enough creating a good impression gallumphing after the ball....
I said goodbye to the kids in the warm cozy house and braced myself for the dark, cold, windy night. Into the car and I was off....quick U - turn at the top of the road...forgot my hockey stick! Phew, thank goodness I realised before I met 11 new ladies. Of course I got there way too early, 20 minutes to be precise, but there was a soccer team practicing so I sat in my car and watched them play and kept an eye on the trees swaying around in the wind. I was mad, what was I thinking, holy moly I am in over my head where I don't want to be. This is NOT a good idea. Then I saw a lady who I thought could be Kara (up until now I had not met any of the hockey ladies) and knew that I had to be brave and get out of my warm little car and face my deep fear of the.....cold.
The ladies were all very nice and once we had all been introduced, there were 2 other new ladies as well, we went for a little warm up run around the astro, all I could do was pray that I could keep up, I didn't know how many times we were going to have to go around. Thank goodness they all very wisely decided that once was enough and then we stood in 2's and knocked the ball around. Astro is cool! Last time I played hockey it was on lumpy grass, on astro the ball GLIDES, and you only have to tap it and it moves quite quickly. This was NOT so bad after all, tap, tap, tap, pass, pass, pass, I can do this!!!!!
Which position would I like to play? Oh HELP, um wing? I remember playing inner at school...not that we ever played a match against another team, all I remember was running across the field doing feather dribble and spending a lot of the time on the sidelines with "shin splints". I have also spent a lot of time watching Malcolm and Jess play, now all of a sudden I realise that most of that time was used in constructive conversation with other moms or wives. This game is nothing like I remember. The ball moves really fast and I run a lot, my gum guard makes me want to see my dinner again but I really don't, so I slip it out every now and then when the ball is far away (just in case) which helps, and then the whistle goes for half time. Wow, 30 minutes has gone by already! I am warm and flushed and even though I have made some really stupid mistakes and I don't know what Kara means when she says "Go wide" I am really having fun. And there is still 3o minutes to go, yippee.
After the game Kara gave me a timetable of all the upcoming games, so perhaps my faux paux's were not so awful after all, maybe there is hope for me yet!

Sunday 18 November 2007

Wicklow Mountains

On Thursday I decided that we should go and spend a night in the Wicklow mountains. I did some research and came up with a place called Kippure Estate, seemed perfect as it had self catering accommodation. Now this is really not far, 45 - 50 minutes by car but the whole point was to take some board games, watch no TV and have some good old Q time with the kids. I only booked for 1 night, Saturday as I thought the Friday night would be a waste as Malcolm only gets home around 18H30 on a Friday. So Saturday morning dawned rainy and cloudy and we packed the car and set off on our little adventure at 10h00.

By 11h00 we were sitting in the town of Blessington having overshot the turnoff to Kippure, but deciding that it was only 8 km's into Blessington and it sounded like a great place for breakfast. I had a ham and cheese omelette, figured what the hell, I would be walking it off in the mountains later, Malcolm had a full breakfast and the girls had B.L.T.'s, the best I have EVER tasted! Home made bread toasted to perfection, for the sandwiches and our breakfasts, freshly squeezed orange juice and cappuccino's....darn fine start to our trip. After that a short walk through town to the local supermarket, for milk and salad and then back in the car to retrace our steps to Kippure.















Now...for a shopping parking lot this is not too shabby a view....what say you? I know the picture does not quite give it justice but it is better than NOTHING!

Kippure was not too far away and a very pretty drive on very narrow roads! When we turned into the entrance it was so pretty, the Liffy River babbling along to the right of us with mountains, well looked more like big hills, behind it. The peace oozed out of the very air!!

When we got into our unit it was freezing cold and raining, we turned the heat up and had a look around our accommodation. Pretty nice, lots of wood and 8 beds, nice to know for when we have friends or family and want to go away for a weekend. Unfortunately it had started raining and being the South African wimps we are, we opted to stay indoors and play board games, wait for the rain to stop which actually never happened, so much for walking off my BIG breakfast!

Here is the soggy view from our balcony, enlarge it and you may even spot the river!!!


This is the living area of our unit. The view from the kitchen window and the hill with the marching trees
We ended up spending the rest of the day playing Rummikub, Exploring Europe and reading books, which was fantastic as it was great to have the time to play games and read books without thinking of the washing that should be done, the email that needs typing etc etc.

On Sunday morning we woke up and it was not raining! We all had coffees or hot chocolates and a biscuit before heading out for our hill walk. Now....it was very wet out and I decided to wear my crocs as my takkies/runners are new and I did not want to wreck them. The girls wore their takkies as they are already fairly mucky and Malcolm had a nice waterproof pair of hiking boots....hurumph... Of course crocs are dotted with holes so within 5 minutes of being out my socks were wet! We climbed the silly looking hill which had the last laugh as it was a lot steeper than it looked and had us all slipping and laughing the whole way up! We were lucky enough to see a whole herd of deer with their stag keeping watch and heard them warning each other of our noisy ascent. Once we got to what we considered the top, the trees that marched along the top of the hill, see pictures, we discovered that we were not at all near the top and it would be another long hike to get to what would probably also not be the top! The kids and I were oozing water out of our shoes, little rivulets of water kept catching us off guard as they flowed their merry way down to the river below. But it was so much fun! We made our own pathway back down towards the river with the idea that there would be a nice path along the river which we could follow back to the bridge to take us back to Kippure. Lots more rivers and much slipping later we arrived at the river to discover that no pathway existed so we had to carry on making our own through wet ferns nearly as tall as ourselves staying close to the river so that we could get back to the bridge! By now our feet were icy and the kids were almost looking for puddles, huge contrast to the beginning of our walk where we were all gingerly stepping over puddles and suspiciously muddy areas, a waste of time we had soon discovered. Now we were all gleefully slipping around in our shoes laughing hysterically when the mud oozed all the way to the laces. My crocs were AMAZING though, the purple beasts stayed purple and when I got home all I had to do was rinse them off under the tap and they were good as new! The takkies/runners......suffice to say they will probably only be used next time we go walking up a muddy hill!


Home and hot showers, mad packing and another coffee and we were all checked out and on our way home by noon. We decided to go a different route and went through the Wicklow mountains home. We got to an intersection and had to jump out the car and take pictures, it was so typically Irish! Malcolm was not too impressed with my photography so he was about to click away himself when I saw that we had started a mini traffic jam with 2 cars waiting patiently behind us! So my pictures will have to do!!! We passed people doing orienteering which the kids thought sounded like a lot of fun, it may even be something we can do in teams, we will do some research...Anyway before we knew it we were back in Dublin and around the corner from home an hour after our meandering had started! Now I will stick some pictures of our walk, maybe you will get to see some of the fantastic views we enjoyed so much this morning.


The beginning....




View of Kippure as we were going up the hill....


Nearly there....



Up close and personal with the marching trees we could see from the kitchen window

What a view....king of the hill


And heading down down down...


Now this does not even LOOK real!



At base camp!




The fern forest, all brown and sadly dead!



How cool is this, fairies paradise according to Kirstin.

The bridge is in sight!





All roads lead to.....


And last but not least our new addition to the family...




Friday 16 November 2007

There IS such a thing as a free lunch!

I went to Super Valu yesterday, and Super Valu it proved to be....there is a new Knorr mashed potato out and the marketing lady was giving out tastes. Jess and Kirstin decided it smelt too good to pass up and so they both got a little cup and a teeny tiny little fork and they were hooked! I was standing chatting to Geraldine, keeping her away from her customers...well the lady needs a break (!) and the kids went off in search of pots of dehydrated mashed potato and Geraldine happily went over to the marketing lady and made sure my girls got another heaping bowl of mash....see it IS who you know, I have connections...he he he.....and free lunch.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Best Blogger Award

I am so nervous....tonight is the night, the Net Visionary Awards and my favourite blogger (Head Rambles - see the link on the right) has a 1 in 3 shot. In my opinion he is head and shoulders above the rest and he puts a smile on many a faces every day. Well I am sending him all my good karma, not that he really needs it, I think he is THAT good! If he does not win it is rigged I am telling ya! GOOD LUCK GRANDAD

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Mackintosh's and galoshes

Ha, woke up to rain this morning, watching it patter down onto the skylight as I type. I cannot tell you when last we woke up to this weather, we have had rain but it has not greeted us first thing in a while, I cannot even remember when....now where is my book......for now I still love this weather

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Facts about Ireland

While browsing the web I came across this little list....thought it would be fun to share!

1. The average height of Irish men is 5' 7".
2. The average height of Irish women is 5'5".
3. 90% of Irish nationals are Catholic but only 30% ever attend church.
4. The average Irish adult spends 3,500 euro a year on alcohol.
5. The most popular Irish Radio station is RTE, attracting 1.1 Million listeners every weekday.
6. The Irish report the lowest annual number of UFO sightings in Europe.
7. The Irish eat 12 million cream eggs between New Years Day and Easter.
8. 70% of married Irish women would consider having an affair while n a foreign holiday without their spouse or children.
9. 90% of all Irish men would do the same.
10. The Irish buy 20 million cigarettes a day.
11. Experts believe that the average price of a 3-bedroom house in Dublin will rise to 250,000 by 2005.
12. The most popular cars in Ireland are the Ford Fiesta & Focus, the Toyota Yaris and the 3 series BMW.
13. The average Irish household has three TV's and two video recorders.
14. The average Irish married couple has sex one and a halftimes a week.
15. The average Irish single couple has sex four times a week.
16. The average unattached Irish male only has sex once every six months.
17. 76% of all Irish nine-year-olds have tried alcohol and cigarettes.
18. 63% of all Irish people think that corrupt politicians should be made bankrupt and then imprisoned.
19. 73% of Americans are unable to locate Ireland on a map bereft of country names.
20. Bra sales in Ireland increased by 4million between 1998 and 1999.
21. Raymond O'Brien is the shortest person in Irish history. The midget, who died in 1795, was one foot eleven inches tall.
22. Less than two percent of the Irish population have been bitten by poisonous snakes.
23. The Irish drink four million pints of tea a day.
24. The average Irish farmer receives 40,000 euro in EC subsidies every year.
25. Ireland has one of the lowest rates of crime against tourists in the western world.
26. Dublin is the Gay capital of Ireland with over ninety percent of the indigenous gay population residing there.
27. The average Irish family is made up of two parents and two point nine children.
28. Irish women believe that thirty is the best age to get married and begin a family.
29. Irish men believe that thirty-five is early enough to settle down.
30. Only 9% of the Irish population are natural red heads.
31. May is generally the driest month of the year in Ireland.
32. Galway is the Hash capital of Ireland.
33. Dublin is the Smack capital of Ireland.
34. RTE's "The Late Late Show" is the world's longest running Talk Show, initially hosted by Gay Byrne, Pat "The Plank" Kenny now hosts the show.
35. 57% of Irish people wear glasses or contact lenses.
36. In 1907, Bernard Murphy legally swapped his daughter for three cows and a sheep at a Donegal market.
37. Cat's now out number dogs by two to one as Ireland's most popular pet.
38. Almost 100% of Irish Catholic children take a pledge to stay away from alcohol until they are eighteen. Only 2% of them actually stick to it.
39. 58% of practicing Catholics see the church as outdated and in need of major overhaul.
40. Dublin boasts one pub for every 120 head of population.
41. Tourists cite the severe lack of Dublin taxi's on weekend nights as the main reason they would not recommend the city as a short break destination to their friends.
42. Only 1/8 of Irish people under the age of 24 are married.
43. Irish marriages last an average of thirteen years although the majority do not end in divorce. Irish couples prefer to separate and live in sin with their new partners rather than go through costly legal proceedings.
44. An album only needs to sell 5,000 copies to top the Irish music charts.
45. A book only needs to sell 3,000 copies to top the Irish best seller's list.
46. The Canary Islands are the most popular sunshine holiday destination with retired Irish citizens.
47. 89% percent of the population were in favour of permanently separating Northern Ireland from the Republic.
48. The fattest Irish person on record was Aine Gowan. At the time of her death she weighed over thirty stone.

Silver linings in strange places

I went to Superquinn yesterday to do some grocery shopping. Unfortunately the banks in Ireland do not think I should have a chip and PIN card, so every time I do shopping I have to withdraw cash from the ATM. I have to say this really irks me as I am accustomed to using plastic and it is so much easier than having to make sure I have enough cash all the time. I guess that is one more of the painful things to add to my list of changing countries, no credit history.
ANYWAY….I got to the ATM and guess what? It was “temporarily out of service” this caused me to want to have a good tantrum as it is the ONLY ATM in the shopping centre! As I stood there trying to decide what the heck to do, a coin security guy came around the van to go into the back of the ATM, my lucky day! I asked him how long he thought the machine would be offline and he looked at me and said…”You should know not to hang around in dangerous places” in what can only be described as a South African accent! I laughed and then looked around and saw that there were 2 cash in transit vans in the car park! Not one gun wielding heavy hiding between the cars or standing at the van, and I suddenly realised that my heart had not gone into thumping mayhem as it used to when I went up to the local shops and saw those vans. I was always petrified that there would be one of those huge hold ups with flying bullets; I know Karen narrowly missed a heist on her way home one day. Of course this was a great epiphany (yes probably a bit of strong word, but I am the author ok?) as my thundercloud above my head evaporated, the fact that I cannot get a chip and pin card was suddenly a small price to pay. As Kirstin clung to me to ward off the freezing wind I suddenly did not feel that cold.

Monday 12 November 2007

They have been warned...

I can't actually believe I am going to do this so let me tell you before i chicken out....I am joining a Vets hockey team! They know where I stand, here is an exerpt of the email I sent them:

"No seriously, I last played hockey when I was 16, and as I was a swimmer at school and hockey was a compulsory sport during winter, I half heartedly ran around the field with a stick. Funny thing, as I have got older I have suddenly got this urge to join a club and play hockey, go figure! Anyway, wanted to get all that out the way because I would hate to arrive and disappoint a team who thinks I am a good player. It does not have to be Vets, if I am too young LOL, but I figure the Vets are where I may be comfortable, even if I am out of my depth (or is that breath) to start with."

I think that is as close to the truth as I am going to get, what do you say Lizle? Anyway I go down next Monday to meet the team and see how comfortable I am, they ahve 3 other new players which should help! BTW I am on the cusp of making Vets here, made it by 6 months, my my time does fly.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Life so far...

I am independent, independent woman! I was actually feeling rather independent already, even though I grumbled a while ago that I was not. Of course you get used to things and I had become accustomed to walking to the shops, walking to the next town and it was all actually pretty darn fine. Then Malcolm bought me a car, now it is even better! I can drive further than the next town, go and do grocery shopping while the kids are at school, fetch them if they are sick, if it is raining, freezing and when it is dark. I have a dinky little Honda jazz and she is so cool!
Now I actually got the car on the 2 November and then I got sick and could not drive around in my new toy because I was in bed for 3 days with tonsillitis! I had decided to fight the germs woman to germ and sadly I had to call in the reinforcements on Thursday when I woke up in severe pain and could not even TALK, can you imagine...not being able to TALK? I have never wanted pills so badly in my life, I could not get to the doctor quickly enough. Of course once I allowed the army into my body via little blue capsules they defeated the enemy and by Saturday I was happy again. Jessica proved to be a real trouper through my whole "ordeal" and made lunches for school and helped cook dinner and gave up her bed for Malcolm, so that he would not get sick and she slept on the futon mattress on the floor in her room.
We still had a quiet weekend pottering around the house and on Sunday we all went out for breakfast and then off to the shops to buy the required jacket for the coming foul weather. Malcolm and Jess found what they were looking for and Kirstin and I are going to test our SA ones for a while longer and buy later if necessary.
We have also decided that the kids can each get a hamster...probably madness mixed with a tiny bit of begging from our wee one, but at least we can still go away for a weekend and the hamsters will be fine. Of course the kids trawled the yellow pages and the Internet for pet shops and for information on what type of hamster to get. I personally know that Kirstin was keen for a Molly 2, i.e. another dwarf hamster but she went through the research with Jess nonetheless and killed a tree by printing said research.
Jess is definitely getting older and wiser because unlike Kirstin she did not argue with me when I said that I know the day will come when I will be telling them to clean the cage, play with the hamster etc. She sat there very quietly a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, ah well, at least she knows I can only say I told you so to Kirstin.

As far as settling down is going....Kirstin HATES Dublin, yes with a capital everything and Jessica LOVES it. I know that Kirstin will eventually come around, and even though she says she hates it, days go by where we have no complaints and she happily goes to school, comes home and plays with Sophie, her new neighborhood friend. She will NOT use the Irish “words” like 'grand' or any of the other quirky things they say, like “Please may I have one of THEM sweets” , Jess of course merrily uses the colloquialisms with abandon. I am getting on with it, enjoying the freedom and the ability to go for long walks and Malcolm and I love the fact that we can leave the kids at home for a while and go out for a meal or to the local for a drink because they really do feel comfortable at home alone. I am also looking at joining a hockey club as I think that will also help me settle and meet new people. I certainly do not regret moving here, but I do miss the familiar and my friends. Malcolm is also happy to be here, work is much busier and he is enjoying having something to do. He would still look at moving around, if the right opportunity presented itself, but he has said that if we do leave Dublin it will not be to return to S.A.
Phew, that is an update of all things Rule for now, sorry that I have been so slack with my posts, no excuse really.....I guess the problem with blogging is that I do not really know whether my posts are being read by friends, it is not like email where you get an answer! Then I did get a mail from Lizle, she had been on the blog, and that spurred me back into action, so thanks Lizle, it was a gentle prod to keep going, one that was sorely needed!

Wednesday 31 October 2007

My Incredible Friend

I got a parcel today! I was expecting it, I had been warned, but it was still like Christmas! The kids even paused their TV show to come and witness the opening of my parcel. To say I am touched would be an understatement, but I am not sure how to articulate without being gushy, Karen might not appreciate all the warm mushy stuff I could spew!
Anyhow, I am also going to brag, because besides a book which Karen said she knew was a book for me (Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen), I got 4 copies of her incredible talent...now I am going to scan them and share them because I cannot keep them all to myself. They are pictures she painted of the school that our girls attended in SA and she displayed them at the Spring festival. Karen you are so TALENTED and I miss you loads.


Friday 26 October 2007

Weight Watchers week 7

After a weekend of wine meal replacements which went horribly wrong....because I still got hungry and had to eat, I was DREADING the scale. I just knew it was going to find some of those lost pounds that I have managed to duck and dive from. I managed to consume 5 bottles of wine in 5 days and after every one of those 5 days we would have a remedy breakfast somewhere...and I still lost 2 pounds! I do have to admit to making a BIG pot of 0 point soup the day the Collins family left and walking 7km's on Wednesday and another 5km's on Thursday in a desperate attempt to avoid the lurking pounds. Somehow I evaded them, although they might rare their ugly heads next week so I will be manically walking around my neighbourhood making sure they don't find their way back....and eating more cabbage soup....the things I have to go through for a bit of fun. Worth it? You betcha!

Thursday 25 October 2007

Weekend of Debauchery...

On Friday evening Adrian, Nicky and their son Ricky arrived for the weekend. I had made homemade pizzas, it seems to be a standard issue for new visitors arriving late at night! We had a few drinks and a good catch up session until about 2 in the morning when we decided that bed might be looking rather good...

On Saturday morning we walked to the local pub for breakfast at about 11:30 after having had coffee and a slow start in the morning. After breakfast Nicky, Ricky and I went to Superquinn grocery store to buy things for dinner, more on that coming right up! When I got home I madly started making and baking as time was rapidly running out!
Our evening was fabulous, I ended up doing burgers, coleslaw, spinach salad and brownies, it has worked well in the past so I decided that it was the easy no fuss option! I went to fetch Irene and Rob so that they would not have to drink and drive, then they ordered a cab to collect them from our house after the game. The kids all wore their green and gold, as did Malcolm and Rob. Nicky and Adrian are England supporters, well Nicky was a little confused because she is from SA but has been living in England since she was 19. We were all very stressed….although quietly optimistic, I was so scared that the English would have a point to prove after the horrible whipping they got last time! At the end of the game we all whooped and cheered like idiots and Jess and Kirstin went and wrote GO BOKKE on the road with sidewalk chalk! Ricky even helped, he got over the fact that his country had lost fairly quickly, and declared that it was fun that SA had won after all!
The cab arrived to pick up Rob, Irene and kids and Adrian, Nicky, Malcolm and I set off for the Glenside, our “local” leaving the kids at home with Play station like the responsible parents we are…hmmmph.

We bumped into our neighbours, Geraldine and Martin who said there was no way we should head to the Glenside after such a victory, they told us to go to Gub Dandys in Terenure. Terenure is a town about 5 minute away. We convinced them to join us and walked to the main road and hailed a cab. Geraldine, Nicky and I jumped into the first cab, with no money so Geraldine quickly got e20 from Martin and we set off. Malcolm, Adrian and Martin ended up jumping on a bus, because one arrived just as we left so they decided it would be quick enough. We got there and Geraldine managed to get hold of 3 chairs and sat us all RIGHT in front of the guy singing! The hubby's were not far behind, thank goodness because we had no drinking money!! We had a ball, the singer sang In the Jungle in honour of SA winning the World Cup (it was the only song he knew from Africa!!!) and Geraldine asked him to play Hotel California, because seeing The Eagles in Dublin is what started the whole mad ball rolling for us moving to Dublin. It was all good fun and a great end to a fabulous win for South Africa. At around 1:45 in the morning we decided that it was home time coz the bar closed and the men were thirsty!

On Sunday we went to Dublin for a bit of sightseeing. We wondered around trying to find a pub with live Irish music and food which was difficult as we had the kids with us. In the end we had lunch without the music and after lunch Jess suggested that the kids head back home on the luas and the adults head for a pub with live music. We gladly accepted her offer and walked them back to the luas and then went in search of a pub to fill our requirements. We stopped at The Hairy Lemon to watch the Grand Prix and have a couple of drinks and once that was done we headed towards Temple Bar and found a pub with live music. A bachelor party was in progress which made for good people watching, it is not often that you see a man in a red wig with a snug fitting green dress to compliment it. At 20H30 we left because I did not want to get home too late as the kids had school in the morning and I knew we needed to be home to get them into bed!

Malcolm managed to take the day off work on Monday and after breakfast we went for a little drive around to show Adrian and Nicky some of the sights. We ended up at Johnny Fox's Pub, apparently the highest pub in Dublin and it was great, so full of character. We were going to have lunch there, but the menu is 95% fish so we opted for toasted sandwiches at home because Adrian does not like fish and I was doing a big roast leg of lamb for dinner anyway.

The kids got home from school and did their homework and then we had an early roast lamb dinner because Malcolm and Adrian wanted to go and watch the football at the local...Nicky and I were very content staying home, drinking wine and having girly conversation.

On Tuesday Malcolm had to go to work so he took the girls to school and I had a lie in, I had very cleverly made lunches the evening before! Once we were all up we all walked to the restaurant/café called Howard’s Way for breakfast. It was a beautiful morning and we sat outside and enjoyed the day and our breakfasts! Then we ordered cappuccinos and sat a little more...because we could. Once breakfast was done it was back home to do last minute packing and then the door bell rang and it was the taxi to take our visitors away, boo hoo.

I have a sneaky suspicion we will be seeing them again fairly soon....by hook or by crook.....or the pubs and the nooks!!!

Friday 19 October 2007

United we shall stand

Yes folks rugby fever in South Africa is fever pitch! I got this email from my friend Lee Ann....

Hello over yonder
I wish you could see this country today. The schools and nursery schools have all asked the kids to wear green and gold. Steers have made all their buns green. The taxis are painted green and gold. It was proclaimed a green and gold work day and when I came to work this morning you just see all the Bokke shirts . I get goose bumps just typing this. And now we even have support way over the sea. I don’t think people are going to do too much work today. There are also stacks of street parties happening.

Pretty cool, and when you consider that even Bok supporters in Dublin have been called upon to wear their colours it is a pretty amazing day for South Africa. I am feeling very proudly South African...also a VERY SCARED one as...can you imagine if we l - o -s -e ?
For the sake of my fellow country men...please win, please win, please win...and if not you got us so far and made us so proud and united us all so a big thank you.

Monday 15 October 2007

Rugby World Cup....FINAL

Wooohooo! What a game! We all went down to the Punchbowl in Booterstown and sat and cheered our country on. Irene prepared a FANTASTIC meal at her house beforehand and we all went down to the pub afterwards for the game. Irene had booked tables for us all with a good view of the TV's and had made sure that kids were welcome. We proudly wore our S.A shirts and are now all excited and geared up for the final next Saturday. Adrian, Nicky and Ricky will be here for the weekend and they will be shouting for England so it should be fun!
GO BOKKE!!!!!!!

Thursday 11 October 2007

Pork sausages

I cannot seem to get away from it, I have now joined Weight Watchers on 3 continents! First time when we moved to USA I gained a ton, well not quite, but it felt like it! See, I gave up smoking and discovered Ben & Jerrys ice cream, a super substitute with oh about 20% fat per scoop...and I NEVER stopped until I scraped the bottom of the eco friendly packaging, no need to elaborate more than that. 4 months later I realised I had a problem, walking Jess up to school, I bent down really fast....and yep I split my jeans! My STRETCH jeans.
ANYWAYS I did manage to lose it in 4 months but then 2 years later when I found out we were moving back to South Africa I was so sad I cried into Ben & Jerrys for a few months...so back in Africa and back to Weight Watchers! And NO it was not only Ben & Jerrys, he was just my favourite!
So I have learned that in times of stress I turn to food and I love food, so I kinda had an idea that I would be back at WW when we decided to move to Dublin. Moving house is stressful, moving countries is diabolically so, and let's just say I did not take up smoking again; as I said to Lee Ann...I was bursting out of my clothes like a cooked pork sausage.
I have now been on WW for 4 weeks and feeling better already, I can bend my legs when wearing jeans. Hopefully I will be back to normal in time to eat my way through Christmas.....

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Tuesday 9 October 2007

Torns...

When we first got here Jess and Kirstin befriended a couple of kids who spent their evenings fishing with their dad...they would go down to the Dodder and the 4 of them would abandon said father to fish alone while they did some exploring and splashing of their own. One day they were playing with a ball which went into the bushes...Paul seemed reluctant to fish it out (ha ha) so Jessica started to reach in....."Mind the torns" Paul warned. Jess, rather confused asked what torns were. (we were new to the country, for all she knew it was some sort of creepy crawly) Paul looked at Jess as if she had completely lost the plot...."Tóse tíngs that stick into yer skin and scratch" ..."Oh THORNS"says Jess...
So if you want to fit in with the Irish, drop the TH for T t'row in a "ti's grand", "yer man" and "good craic" for good measure and then to seal the deal go to Grandad's blog...because he always has some good advice Grandad's blog

Out and about with Wally...



We were lucky enough to have Wally and Dave stop by for a couple of nights, unfortunately we only really had one day so Wally and I did the tourist thing while Dave holed up in our attic and worked! I was pleased to have a day out, thoroughly enjoyed myself, we did the Dublin hop on hop off bus, had lunch in Temple bar and visited the Guinness Storehouse. Unfortunately it was rather chilly, especially sitting upstairs on a topless bus! I have to say that the first time I did the hop on hop off last year we went on the RED bus and this time we went on the yellow bus and the red bus was a lot more informative. Something to keep in mind if you ever do that specific tourist activity!


The picture on the left is of the water that they use to make your Guinness, no siffy Liffy water for this specific brew.



Also while waiting in line for our tickets I happened to look up, I do not think my picture does it justice, but it is pretty cool anyway....you should be able to click on the picture for a bigger photograph.
After that I did a lot of looking up and this is what I saw....a crane hanging above our heads on an open bus...mmmm
We had a good day all in all and Wally enjoyed drinking Guinness at the Gravity bar...

Thank you Mr Bus Driver

A picture says a thousand words. I thought I would share my bus journey into Dublin with you using my camera....I know I am no Walker Evans, or ADR Photography but I hope you enjoy.






Monday 8 October 2007

The Police concert at Croke Park...

Well it has to be said....we should have bought the DVD. Sting did not interact with the audience very much, all 82 000 of us. We were so far away from the stage and the screens were all really small, our TV would have given us a better view! The best part was the use of the bar area (we were in the "premium section"dahling) and one of the last songs when I finally decided to get up and dance. I went and stood out of the way of people behind me, unlike the guy in front of me, who got up and danced on more then one occasion....blocking my 'birds eye' view severely. I am still young enough to stand and will not go to another vibey music concert to sit, which should please Malcolm coz the tickets are cheaper. Unfortunately by the time we booked we could not buy standing tickets, only premium tickets were available....live and learn. Perhaps if we had been able to dance it would have been a very different experience, I know I enjoyed dancing to The Police greatest Hits on Saturday morning and Jess giving me the disdainful teenage "eye lift" at her mad mom...aahh well. Found this in the Independent, so it was not jsut me! http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/sting-in-the-tail-1117320.html

Sunday 7 October 2007

Oh Bokke!!!!


OMG what a game!!!! We were all on the edge of our seats and I nearly ran away after the second Fijian try, after they had their player sent to the sin bin...thank goodness I decided to be a true supporter and sit it out!!!! 2 chickens on the Weber, celebrations will be good....wish we were celebrating with all our friends, lonely victory but perhaps visiting France for the semi-final will make it all the better to deal with! Now where is that bottle of rum? If Malcolm has enough of it he might give me his credit card details........Jess and I are hoping Scotland get through, have you seen Chris Patterson ladies???? Holy moley.

Saturday 6 October 2007

Hospital Play Volunteers


I found this advert for volunteering and I decided that this would be something I would enjoy doing and I have the spare time. I emailed them for more information and they were very good at getting back to me, unfortunately I was REJECTED. Can you believe it? Turned down as a VOLUNTEER. Now it is not their fault, I understand why, it is because they cannot get a Gardai vetting for me (police clearance certificate) because I have not lived in ROI for the past 12 years...or my whole life. So because of all the creepazoids out there the children will have one less helping hand. In fact I would say a LOT LESS helping hands, I am 99% sure I am not the only one... They are trying to change it so that they can get vetting for England, Wales and I think Scotland but South Africa does not feature on the list. So anyone who reads this, can spare the time and has been residing in ROI for the past 12 years with no bad deeds done...give a helping hand! Or just pass it on to someone you know who may be able to help, this way at least I am trying to do a little SOMETHING.

Friday 5 October 2007

Ireland 300 South Africa 100

Wow! I have now reached triple digits for South Africa! I have been keeping an eye on the counter, hoping to be able to say that! Glad that Ireland reached the 300 mark at the same time, could make for a very sad score line....mmmmm come on SA.

Thursday 4 October 2007

Malcolm's Spectacular Soccer Debut in Ireland...


While paging through the local paper, People of the Southside I discovered a little ad for "over 35's who wish to join a soccer club". I diligently cut out the ad for my beloved and triumphantly presented it to him that evening. He made a phone call and discovered that practice takes place on a Tuesday evening and all was right with his world. Tuesday dawned and excitement built, first soccer practice since his New York days and his foot was itching to kick that ball. Map book scanned, directions ready and at 20h40 he was out the door. At 21h30 when I got a call from him I just knew that he had got lost, but alas I was wrong. He was asking me to open the gates as he was home (but practice finishes at 22h00?) I opened the gates and watched him hobble inside, dejected, first kick of the ball and his grass soccer shoes did not grip to well on the indoor surface and oops...down he goes! Sadly he has pulled his ligaments so we iced it, rubbed arnica cream on it, gave him some Ibuprofen and visited the doctor the very next morning. He will need a bit of physio and all should be okay, new shoes and back to soccer he shall go.

Wednesday 3 October 2007

The Police

Our first concert...on Saturday night! We are going to Croke Park with Derrick and Rose and I am sure it will be a great experience. I love Police songs, but I never realised how MORBID most of them are, they are all so catchy and sound fairly upbeat. I decided to look for the words of a song to go with this post....but I wanted to burst into tears at the lyrics....okay not really but the words really are depressing!!! here is an example...


The Police - Can't Stand Losing You Lyrics(Sting)

I've called you so many times today
And I guess it's all true what your girlfriends say
That you don't ever want to see me again
And your brother's gonna kill me and he's six feet ten
I guess you'd call it cowardice
But I'm not prepared to go on like this


I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't
I can't stand losing you
I can't stand losing you
I can't stand losing you
I can't stand losing you


I see you've sent my letters back
And my LP records and they're all scratched
I can't see the point in another day
When nobody listens to a word I say
You can call it lack of confidence
But to carry on living doesn't make no sense


I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing


I guess this is our last goodbye
And you don't care so I won't cry
But you'll be sorry when I'm dead
And all this guilt will be on your head
I guess you'd call it suicide
But I'm too full to swallow my pride

I can't stand losing you

Mmmmmmmmmm should be fun!