here i go again groan and moan

I’ve grumbled about this before-the old what if? mumble. Some of you know I took an early exit from work just over 2 years ago. Early exit? Early retirement ? call it what you want. I got a nice little compensation payment to tide me over until my official pension started. I worked out how much to get by on monthly for the almost year and a half before the official pension started. Well the official pension starts next month-I got another nice little hand out along with it.

Now my what if questions about other careers/jobs have stopped. When I get those annoying calls trying to sell me a pension plan, I say “I’m a retired civil servant.” This cuts them short, they apologise and say “your pension is best out there, there is no way we can beat that”

Donegal Joanne told me that I am very good at taking myself out of things. True, I keep wondering what will go wrong if I try something. With my savings and that nice little hand out, I have enough to buy a house and furnish it (well enough for me) and will still be able to get a holiday or two a year. My last job actually taught me how to be frugal and be prepared to pay for things. So now I am actually starting to talk myself out buying a house. I am visiting an estate agent (real estate person?) to make an appointment to view a house. My buddy is an architect, he said that he will come along with me and tell what needs to be done to fix it up (if anything). I suppose my biggest worry is being in the house on my own. Now I love the outdoors, so if I can help it I’ll only be there when it’s time to go to bed and get up for breakfast.

I have seen a couple of houses I like –one is next door to my sister-it was she who suggested this one. Good location, space for car and my architect buddy gave it the thumbs up. Was in town looking at another house today. A new house “new turn key house.” And VERY nice it was too. Very compact, as that’s what I want. But no space for car, street parking and it is about £16 or £17,000 cheaper than the other. BUT there are loads of other houses around it-no idea what neighbours will be like and with such a cheap price (less than £100,000) I would imagine people will be buying houses here to rent out. My brother seems to think living next door to family is a big mistake. He has pointed out another house in town cheaper. I’m thinking just tell estate agent –look I can get these cheaper. To be honest I prefer house beside sister location wise –and location IS important-isn’t it. Mind you, shame about that new house.

On a lighter tone yesterday’s cycle ride was  FANTASTIC !! glorious weather. A couple of old graveyards, an old abandoned railway bridge, saw the rich area and well a good day.

But still, never realised house buying was so tortuous-peope coming at me asking me why I am looking where I am looking and why am I listening to certain people.

Does anybody else think buying a house with a sibling as a neighbour is a mistake? now i DO get on ok with her.

No time to edit-well i do, but i’m just too lazy


party on dudes

A quick HAPPY 4TH OF JULY !! to all/both of my American readers. Dam the british and all the other solgans you shouted back in 1776 (i think). Do any of yous wish to go back to the old style pre indo day ? naaah don’t think so. i know a Dubliner who wishes THEY could go back to old ways (the man’s an idiot)

ANY WAYS hope yous has great weather (was pretty miserable here, if you’re watching the boring golf you’ll know that). And yous got a day or two off work to get out and do things you love to do.

I’ll be down Dingle way cycling in 2 weeks time-hope weather is favorable and there be some feisty dames in the group.

Might be a grumpy blog coming soon, i have a lot on my mind, and need to let off steam.

Currently reading and enjoying a Paul Theroux book and listening to to wonderful album (vinyl) “Damage and Joy”

and you lot?


Finally Got There

At the end of June 2002 my little cycling club went on a big trip over the sea to The Isle Of Man. This year was not a great year for me-I decided to give the cycling club a break –and in a spurt of madness I joined a gym. BIG BIG mistake. For a start I missed out on the Isle of Man trip AND I managed to put on almost 2 stone in weight ( 28lbs for my American readers). My cycling buddy has often mentioned this trip and for the past 2 or 3 years we have talked about a (well for him) a return visit-and this week we did.

Legend has it, that Finn MacCool was having a frequent row with some Scotish giant and he dug hi hands in the ground in Northern Ireland and threw it at him. The gap in the ground here is where our lough Neagh is and the lump of ground is-the Isle of Man. Now there IS a similarity in the shapes of the two-so I am not disagreeing here.

The Isle of Man is most famous for the big motor bike race –the TT and it is a somewhat tax haven. It has a population of about 85,000 –which is about the same as Belfast. And its main town (at the ferry landing spot, unsurprisingly) Douglas has a population of 30,00 –about the same as Derry (Northern Ireland, not over by Boston) .

On landing my buddy (Paul to save time)  went straight to the hotel-but (to cut a complicated story short) we decided to double check the date of our depature. Now, from Belfast there are only 2 crossings a week Sunday and Wednesday. So we were out on the Sunday and back on the Wednesday. I thought it was odd the times were the same-turned out they made a mistake and the return trip was 3 or 4 hours earlier. If we had not checked we would have been stranded.


So we did a short little run, took us up round a road that was shut off to cars due to erosion and falling rocks-which is great for walkers and cyclists. We came across an abandoned resort that had gone to rack and ruin, despite being a very lively and upbeat place about 20 years ago. On the way back from here Paul decided on trying an offbeat route that looked good to him-this was more a mountain bike route which even my trusty gerdymobile (dawes galaxy) found tough. We eventually finished with our traditional end of day’s cycling pint of cider and crisps (potato chips usa peeps).


We were invited up to the house of a friend’s son for a bar-b-que. Which was a great way to end the day.

Next day was our first proper day’s cycling. We discussed this the previous night and were warned there was a hard climb en route (HARD? HARD?). At the start the weather was not great. I was looking for a new gillet and a water bottle from an I.O.M bike shop with their logo on it. Now hard was not the word for a few climbs that day. I did not know whether to cycle or wallpaper these climbs and there was at least one descent that scared the do das out me. En route we came across a fascinating junk shop called Junk Jurby-it was like stepping back in time 50 years and like inside of Dr Who’s Tardis. I would have needed 2 days in there in the record section alone. They were in no order and had bizarre titles. Given time I bet I could have found something really bizarre like  “The Isle of Man Kazoo Orchestra Does AC/DC” or maybe even a rare Bruce Sprinsteen or mono rolling stones or beatles in mint condition for 50p. There was also a book selection-that I would have needed an extra week to look through as it was mayhem too. There was really old postcards and a bottomless box of buttons.

I set my new speedometer (OK Marni?) at the start of the trip –at the end Paul and I went for our traditional cider and crisps and we had a bet on the miles-he thought 60 but I thought 70-but for some reason the mileage froze at the junk shop stop and only said 32-we decided that was about half way.


We were shattered after that day and decided to request an easier route for the last day (ha ha). Looks like the isle of man has a lot of hills. After a bit of trying I eventually got the water bottle (gillet was easy enough). At a coffee stop we passed some scaffolding were there was workmen working –but a large chunk (and I do mean LARGE) chunk of wood fell of a hoist (or something) and very nearly hit the guy who was in front of me’s  head. Not a word was said –no sorry. There were some police officers close by so my friend and Paul went over to report this. I noticed that the police woman they were talking too was pretty easy on the eye (and I have a thing about women in uniform), so I decided I needed to make my statement too.

All in the trip was great. Most of the time the weather was great. Pretty good scenery parts reminded me of some roads near home. Quite a few somewhat brutal hills. On the last day we were shown a kind of Greenway-an old railway track, that I was told they were working on as a route for walkers/runners  and cyclists-and it was great (and obviously flat). Think the mileage this day was 47 miles. One place we stopped did a pretty good icecream-the sort that gives you a brain freeze. 6 am sea front below.


Isle of Man is great for cycling-BUT, like in most things, the weather helps. And I brought a stone from the top of the £$$%!!! brutal climb to place somewhere on the next ramble and will once again upset the balance of nature-and spelling mistakes, typos and wrong grammar are all my own work too-so there.





Bucket list 2 and more

For some reason I have redone my bucket list. As usual in my own way of doing (or wanting to do) things are trivial, even daft-even huh? But then it’s MY bucket list. Hopefully as things get done I will ad to it.

BUT yesterday I decided to get on the gerdymobile and go for a wee cycle. I have decided to go that little bit further each ride now. Normally when I am on my own it is usually around 15-20 miles. Yesterday was a glorious day,so I just HAD to get outside. When I got to the point where I would turn I decided to head on towards the beach-Benone. This is a beautiful beach, pretty close to where I live. Part of it was actually used in “The Game of Thrones”-so there! At the usual turning point the sign said Benone 5 miles-hmm I thought 5 miles out, 5 miles back means an extra 10 miles-nothing wrong with that. When I got to the beach I munched on my obligatory banana and took in the glorious view. On the return trip I called in at an old graveyard that I was always curious about, and then at a little café for a dam fine cup of coffee (and I said that to the waitress) and a scone. Then homeward, calling in at a local shop for a 99. I checked my little speedo thing expecting 20 miles  and it read…35.3 miles.

So next time I’ll be pushing for the far end of the beach which is another 5 miles out.

ANY WAYS the typical me bucket list (so far-can’t get the colour change to work for the reasons)

  1. Go on a long train ride –possibly one with a sleeper thing (been reading Paul Theroux recently and this has fuelled this idea)
  2. Holiday abroad once a year ( abroad is anywhere outside Ireland, even England or Scotland-but preferably a bit further-more in an email Marni)
  3. Buy 3 x £10 scratch cards –or even 6 X £5 ones or 15 X £2 ones in one go (told you this was silly-that’s a very extravagant waste-will be using coins in my loose change money box for that one)
  4. Bet £20 on a long shot (if I win a lot on the scratch cards I’ll do this £20 on a horse with odds of 20/1 or something with “a name I like” )
  5. Get a car valet (just too lazy to do it myself)
  6. Get a tea-leaf reading (don’t believe in this stuff-but curious, and with a “big burfday” coming up-is this not a better time than ever?)
  7. See a proper Shakespeare play on stage (preferably Macbeth-and live on stage not one of those “live telecasts” in a cinema)
  8. Have a REAL Chinese meal (or Japanese or Vegan one) ( I know the stuff you get in them takeaways are not the real thing-so want to see how much different/better it is)
  9. Experience a cruise (a couple of people have told me I would hate this-the whole being boxed up in the one place and all that-but I’d like to try it just once)
  10. Send a note in a bottle (would have thought everybody would like to do this)
  11. Talk about what ails me without being pushed to do it (it takes a lot-and I mean A LOT to get me to open up-think the last time it took 2 or 3 pints of something to get me to talk)


And that’s it so far-as I tick things off  I’ll ad more and blog about it. And as you know i am just to lazy to spell check and read over.



But I’m Not SUPPOSE To Like It

It took me some time to get into music. I think I was as old as 14 or 15 before I discovered what was to be the ruination of my school days. The first single/45 I bought was (and I still have and I still like) was in December 1972-a re-released copy of “Nights In White Satin”-The Moody Blues. Don’t think I liked much of any of their other stuff. My brother who is a year younger than me was my source of education. The first single HE got was “Whiskey in the Jar” –Thin Lizzy. The first album/lp he got was “Aladdin Sane”-David Bowie. I can’t remember the first album I got-think it may have been 10cc’s first one. They were a pretty good band, but primarily a singles band. I decided to do some home work and check out the old stuff that I missed, and became drawn to Buddy Holly for some reason. In 1979 I got a boxed set called “the complete buddy holly.” This was absolutely everything that he recorded-even stuff in his apartment. My local record shop miss-priced it and I got it for (wait for it) almost 1/3 of the price it should have been. I spent a whole day listening to it – I don’t think I ever played it again. last year I gave it to the man who runs a very good second hand record shop in Derry (N.I.).

Now being a typical teenage boy there were some groups/singers I was not suppose to like. The teenybop stuff, the stuff that all the girls seemed to like mainly because the singers were “lovely.” I even pretended to like stuff I did not like or sometimes even heard. When I got older I realized that some of that stuff was actually quite good. It was not until he died, and a work colleague (1979 now) made me realize just how good Marc Bolan was . So here is my Top 10 of songs I like by artists that I am not suppose to like. You have to be a certain age (or even nationality) to get some of them. In no real order-here they are, guilty pleasures I suppose.


  1. “Crazy Horses”-The Osmond Brothers
  2. “Back For Good”-Take That
  3. “Stop”-The Spice Girls
  4. “Rocky Mountain High”-John Denver (this song actually cheers me up when I am feeling low)
  5. “Escape (the pina colada song) –Rupert Holmes
  6. “Never Be The Same Again”-Melanie C
  7. “I Want To Be Your Underwear”-Bryan Adams
  8. “Rock On “-David Essex
  9. “Angels”-Robbie Williams
  10. “Young Guns (Go For It)-Wham


So reader(s) what is the one song YOU really like that you are not suppose to like?

A couple of years ago I saw a great group called Beggars Velvet and they did a good cover of the pina colado song-I think I was only person in the crowd who knew who Rupert Holmes was .I also think it was then that i realized i liked this song.

Continue reading


Wish I Could Be Here…or There

I don’t know folks are things REALLY ever as they seem in the movies or TV shows? I watch some shows and there seems to be some idealistic place with colourful friendly characters that I would love to move to. I have seen/and still watch stuff like:- “Northern Exposure,” “Local Hero,” “Hamish Macbeth,” and think that I would love to pack my bag (yes bag-I don’t need much) and retreat to one of these wonderful little places where I will be welcomed with open arms and hugs that are as good as Carolyn’s . Take it from me folks Carolyn gives REALLY good hugs.SOOO good you don’t want to let go.And it is a let down when she lets go-cos there is no way that I want to let go first!!Yeah my idea of heaven would have to be a hug from Carolyn.
Even in the soaps new characters just walk into the local grotty pub and before closing time they are bosom buddies with practically everybody.
Yeah,my dream location is a small village with no wi-fi ANYWHERE, No television. You have to make an eight mile trip for any internet connection. A radio station like KBHR in Northern Exposure. I would love to do a show like Chris in the Morning. I could call it Gerdy Rambles On. I would also need a Maggie character too, someone I would call by her surname and she too would call me by my surname and we would have the whole love hate relationship and people would be wondering about the whole are they/aren’t they-will they/won’t they thing.
Back to “local hero” I like the idea of the weekly Ceilidh for the trad music and characters at it.
Of course today in the real world it doesn’t quite work like that. I would be treated with some suspicion and it would take a while before I would be accepted by the community-pity.
But knowing MY luck the place that I land in would be like Sumerisle , or even like “the village” in “The Prisoner” or even Royston Vassey (can anybody remember that show without going into a search engine-I remembered the show but had to search on the village name).
So is that too much to ask for? A hugger like Carolyn, a sparring partner like O’Connell, KBHR,no wi-fi and friendly colourful people, weekly Ceilidh, OH! And the phone box like in “Local Hero” and Jenny Seagrove in the wet suit too… and a hugger like Carolyn (I know, I know !! but boys do I miss her hugs). Cue the music from “Local Hero” and picture of the village with the phone in the phone box ringing…


thoughts on veganism and something

Hi folks

I was watching a TED talk (why do they have that name?) which was basically a big push to go vegan. Now I must admit I have given up red meat –but I still really like fish/sea food and the odd bit of chicken or turkey. AND cheeses and some dairy products. Some bits of the TED talk were quire harrowing. I think this is a link to the talk-kept until the end of this. She does make some pretty good points. But we are pretty high up oin the food chain, and some of them wildlife films I have seen have shown various animals killing other animals for THEIR food, and it is not quite humane (if you know what I mean, or something). AND how do we know that an apple does not scream in pain when we pluck it from a tree and munch on it.

It got me thinking, and some of you know I have a pretty warped mind-you could have guessed that from that last statement. Now here’s what I was thinking. What if we had a world leader who decreed that we all had to become vegans and this applied to humanity for time ever after. What then would  become of cows? What need would we have for them? Would they be roaming wild in the hills and when they died what would happen to their bodies? Same with pigs? I can easily manage without the red meat, but I would really miss the fish. But I suppose if I was introduce to some really good vegan meals I would go that way. But I don’t like cauliflower –needs to be drowned in cheese sauce for it to work for me. I hope I get some comments here.

On the other hand I had a great run on my bicycle  (aka the gerdymobile) on Sunday. No idea how many miles and I don’t care (think it was around 40 odd). At the start I was taken to an old graveyard where I aim to get back to with my good camera as it was very picturesque  (picture here taken with my little compact) We had a slight detour –due to an odd reason (my buddy realised he left his water bottle at a pit stop we had a good few miles back, and the water bottle came with his bike and had the bikes name on it-boardman). On the way out we had a pretty steep hill climb and we had just descended the downside of it, so, yep, we had to do the climb again-and this time into a head wind. And near the end we had to contend with heavy traffic gushing past us. We stopped for a bite to eat near the end too. Normally cyclists get a sugar boost –a mars bar and a sugary drink (or a coffee if lucky)-but not him, he was searching the little shop’s shelfs for various breads,cheese spreads,colesaws , hams (I made him get chicken). A culinary experience it was. Much that I enjoyed the ride I was glad to see the cars and get home for a good hot shower.

Like I said comments please on my ponder and suggestions for a new diet-or is the fish and milk enough? and as always too lazy to spell check and read over this.