second thoughts

In my last muttering I said something about not renewing my passport and having an aversion to flying far/anywhere. Was chatting to my brother in law , and he said “well, you never know what will happen. Why NOT renew it?” Welllllll after a bit of thought I decided to renew it. I discovered I could do it online. So I went to a nearby chemist (aka pharmacist) and got the photo taken (i wanted to make sure i did it right) they emailed the photo and an id number and i was all set. It was relatively easy, quick and cheaper than than applying by post. My old passport expires in November-so I suppose i temporarily have two passports for a while-ahhh what mischief i can get up to now?

ANYWAY, I said it was very unlikely I would be in the USA again-but as the bro in law said-you never know. I think I COULD go back, but it will take a lot of thinking , coaxing etc. I have seen Boston,New York and DC all twice. And Philly very briefly. If I did return it would have to be somewhere different, somewhere not so big. I would like to experience small town America (or even not as big as the big places). And if it was a big(ish) place somewhere where there would be a bus tour of some sort where i could see the smaller places. As long as there is old graveyards, second hand and indie bookshops, indie cafes,live music I will be happy. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Nashville region I suppose. I saw a company that does a holiday that takes in this region-think it does Gracelands too-don’t think i would want to see Gracelands, Elvis’s grave-maybe, but not the house. And of course I want somewhere that is not THAT far away from an airport.

I found out by chance/accident that a friend i made on one of my cycling holidays died at the end of March . I suppose this has got me thinking about this more. I think he was about 60. And as far as I know never travelled outside Ireland. He was from Dublin and I think he was only ever up here in the north just the once.

All things being well I will be off to the Waterford area in Ireland this summer. I think a few in the group knew the man that died, so no doubt we will have a drink to him at least once.

Maybe next time i will take time to remember how to put photos on here to go along with this.

take care everybody and I am still far too lazy to check over this.


Update-or the likes

Hi folk(s)

It has been a while since I did one of these things. Been a while since i have done anything actually. What with Covid and a couple of other things I have not been a way ANYWHERE! Well maybe a two night trip down to Sligo a couple or 3 months a go that has been it. I have noticed that my little used passport expires next year. Again with the horrible C word I don’t think i will be going abroad, or even get into an aeroplane again. Well MAYBE a short flight, but it will take A LOT and I really mean A LOT to get to to fly abroad again. I did not even get over to my friend in Scotland this past couple of years. And we have vowed to catch up for lost time, hopefully this year-big time. I wouldn’t mind hopping on a train/bus and do a journey round Ireland. Stopping at various places-hopefully a couple of places i have not been to properly before. Even a similar journey through England, Wales and Scotland. Like I said i MIGHT go somewhere far , like America a gain but it will take A LOT to get me on a plane. Bit likke Mr T inj the A Team (if you are old enough to remember).

I have not even been out with my camera-hope to make up for lost time there too. But want to get rid of some gear i just don’t use or even look at any more. I will be rejoining the “club” i was in and will just give it to them-bound to be somebody who can make use of it.

Been pondering on a few other things, after watching the excellent Ricky Jervais show on Netflix, “After Life” I am for making more of my life too. Working on my will too. Will try to make it as much of my character as I can. Telling people they should know by now that life is just too short. The days are long, but the years are short, that sort of stuff. And to spend what ever money they get a quickly and recklessly as possible, and not to shove in savings for a rainy day. But will ask them to get a cheap tacky (tackier the better) nick nack to remember me by.

that’s it for now. Hope to be back soon with some photos and more positive things to tell you all. Got some reading catch ups to do on this site-and some culling too. Off Facebook over a year now. Apart from one or two (maybe 3) little things i am not missing it at all. Must also check how to tidy this up again-so this will have to do for now

to be continued, but don’t be holding your breath

Crabbit Man


up date-or somethingorother

Well, I am trying to avoid talking, thinking , typing about the whole covid thing. It hasn’t had a major change on my lifestyle. EXCEPT I didn’t get away ANYWHERE last year. Not even my trip down south, my annual trip over to the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland, even my weekend on Rathlin, come to think of it not even my little cross border cycles. During this time I got in little local cycles, and during the winter moths I invested in, and used a turbo trainer. Which (as some of you know) is a boring half hour.


I also got in some reading, and through the reading and watching a couple of interesting TV shows have embarked on a clear out of clutter. Apparently this is the year of the Beaver-a good time for moving things, someboady told me. So I am working through books, DVDs and CDs and “stuff”. And actually enjoying this. Playing CDs I have not played in ages and deciding I can very easily live without them. One TV show I caught by accident, about people who are living “in the wild” has got me more interested in living without a lot of stuff that is so time consuming, and not really needed. The TV show is interesting, some of the people I admire and can adhere to. Others I think won’t last very long and others either scare me, others I think are nutters

If this pandemic happened when I was at school-we did not have the technology and entertainment media we have now. There would have been no home schooling for me. Even when I started work-no computers. I would have been away somewhere exploring and up to no good. I only got into the cycling when I started work. So only then would I have been away on the bike somewhere.

I think the clearing out will be an ongoing thing. Pondering on things like-what do I really want to keep. And asking myself why I bought some stuff in the first pace. Like I said , REALLY looking forward to getting away somewhere-even somewhere in Ireland. The whole staycation (as they call it) thing has appealed to me for a long time.

Might be more later-getting into habbit of doing this thing again and need to relearn some stuff. As always I am too lazy to spell check and read over this. Did anybody out there get away anywhere? Learn anything about themselves during this thing?


what next?

Going to try to keep this virus/covid/corona free. BUT, most people are going on about things they will do when things are back to normal. Normal? I don’t think normal will be as we once knew it. A new normal I suppose.  After all “normal” is where this happened.

There is a couple of things I am going to do-I was going to them any way-just kept putting them off-writing a will and getting a new fridge. Don’t really need one-just want one with a separate freezer. A few things I am NOT going to do, even stop doing. One is flying abroad. To be honest, I don’t like flying anyway. And during this whole self isolation carry on, I have noticed there are some people I am not missing one bit, and don’t really care if I never see them again.

But I AM missing my localish travels. My runs down to the south of Ireland. Galway city, Dublin , parts of Donegal and Scotland. Iy also looks like my annual cycling holiday with Irish Cycling Safaris is off-and I have been using them almost every year since 2000.

So here are a couple of my holiday stories. My terrible cruise experience is on here somewhere else. Way back in 1978 a friend (Peter) talked me into buying a bike from him. Legend has it, he needed the money for to get a suit for a wedding at which he was the best man. We went out on little runs in the area. The following year he encouraged me to do a cycle to Galway with him. Now this was my first big cycle. We really roughed it and we camped in fields, never a camp site.  I suffered on the way down for the first 2 days. One day I was totally shattered and tired.  At our camp spot for the evening “meal” we had alphabet spaghetti and sausages. Peter noticed the tent wasn’t sitting right and asked me to give him a hand in fixing it , I was too tired and feeling ill and said no. To be frank all day tempers were frayed. He was a pretty experienced and the long miles and big hills were tough on me, and my moaning was annoying him. When I was supping a mug of tea after the “dinner” I shouted “Peter! What does wrxtrb spell?” He come round holding a tent mallet and very angrily said “WHAT?” and I repeated my question. He exclained “What the £$$%! do you want to know THAT for?” I pointed to the ground and said “Cos I just brought it up!” The two of us laughed , and after that the bad air had gone. To say our hygiene was relaxed on that holiday is more than an understatement,” You know the old joke “I have a bath every saturday, whether I need it or not”?  Well take it from me, when we were in a B&B on the 5th day -we NEEDED it. At the end of the holiday that we christened The Tour De Where Are We? despite atrocious on the day we left Galway, Peter said to me, some day we will do a cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats-and I said yeah, and pigs will fly. In 2005 we did that very cycle, which we secretly called The Tour De Where Are We II.

Irish Cyling Safaris. With them I have me some great characters. Twice I shared a room with a man who;s snoring was so loud it would have set off the Richter Scale. Thankfully (thankfully???) Peter’s snoring is almost as loud-so it did not annoy me THAT much. Once I shared a room with a man who, when I arrived after him at our hotel had rearranged the furniture in the room , had all the little dressing tables stacked in a corner and turned one of the beds round 45° . I was dumbfounded and asked him why he did this. He said ” The beds were too close together.”  When I showed this to a couple of others in the group, they too were puzzled as they thought the beds were not that close. To cut a long story short, one year there was an American boy (16 or 17 years old) who was there with his sister (18 or 19). One day decided he wanted to cycle on his own away from the sister -he had no map or mobile phone – and said he was OK and knew the way to the lunch spot. Yep! he didn’t and he got lost big time. We never saw him until about 10pm in the pub. The guide reported his disappearance to 4 or 5 police stations, 2 or 3 local radio stations, and he and the sister were driving around looking for him. I had the guides number on my phone, to keep an update. In the pub a woman came in and asked if we were the people who had lost a cyclist. I said yes, and said she had picked him up. Turned out he was some 40 miles off course.

So it looks like this year my ICS holiay is off, but I am trying to be optimistic and hope I’ll get somewhere with them in August, or even September. No pics-will try to get some on next time


Johnny seven

Maybe it’s another of them “getting old things” but recently i have been wondering what happened to people i was at at school with. Even the ones I did not particularly like. Part of me is hoping they did not have great success in their working life. Thinking I hope they did not land on their feet jobwise as I did. OK I admit it, there was times I hated my job and would gladly have taken a job sweeping floors (nothing bad with that), (to be honest getting paid to watch paint dry would have made me feel better )as it would have been a pressure-less job. Now I was 23 or 24 when I felt like this. Wasn’t some sort of midlife crisis sort of thing (like Lester Burnham in “American Beauty”). At times it was like being back at school again-some bosses just did not give me a chance or try to help. But-i digress, and I am just to lazy to use the powerful multi media thing to track them down.                                                                                                                                                                  What else? oh the neurofriba thing I mentioned in my last rant. The doctor did not say an awful lot (well she is a GP and is no expert in this-but she did measure it and told me to ring in 2 or 3 weeks and book another appointment and she would measure it again. Now like i said before i am sure there is people out there wishing that this was all they had to worry about. I was reading a book of essays (Constelllations- Sinead Gleeson). The author is a cancer survivor, in the book she mentioned watching a relative suffering with untreatable dementia and said that (amongst other things) that she would take another round of cancer over untreatable dementia. My way of looking at this thing now is that-as long as i can get on on my bikes a run, go for a hill walk, read a book, listen to the radio/music I’ll be ok.

Decide to improve my sleep-and have been trying that valerian tea and staying off the caffeine after 3 pm. And avoiding the “blue light ” in bed. The valerian tea takes getting used to-and am trying honey/maple syrup-any tips much appreciated.


Also decided I need to get away for a couple or three days somewhere, and maybe get out with camera-and maybe try using my macro lens for a few new view points or something. A tune from an old movie was going through my head, and i thought i would check it on You Tube (The Duel from the movie Electric Dreams) and it was not as good i remembered-so dated, although SHE was still nice. Chances are, my trip away will not be too far-Sligo,Galway, a friend over in Scotland or the kid brother in Liverpool.

Maybe even redo my bucket list and stick it on here-any excuse to practice putting on some photos on this thing. OH YES!! Johnny Seven? I was pondering on toys i got when i were a child. Johnny Seven OMA-was a great gun. One year my brother and I got these bazooka guns that shot ping-pong balls. I have VERY fond memories of  these toys and I often wonder if I held them today with my adult(ish) eyes would I see them with the same enthralment as I did back them. Another great toy we got was the james bond aston martin car-we loved this so much we had had to get another one (each) the following Xmas as we wore them into the ground-unfortunately we could not get a much needed/wanted 3rd ones as the mammy’s catalogue (club book) stopped doing them .Such is life and all that. And too lazy to check over this.



no title just letters and words

I don’t know. maybe it’s just one of those getting old things-but I don’t seem to want anything anymore. Material things that is. Back when i was in my teens;twenties when i came into the family homestead with a new LP there was a running joke with one of my friends that our mothers would say

“ANOTHER record? But sure you already have one!” Now I have a reasonable collection of records and cds. Somebody was being interviewed in a TV at least 20 years was talking about his coolection of northern soul singles (it was huge-the worlds biggest i was told) . He was in his 20s (I think,maybe 30s) he was a professional snooker player. He said that if he was to stop playing snooker and just played the singles everyday non stop for the rest of his life he would live long enough to hear all of them just the once. And that got me thinking about my mortality, got me wondering what is the point in having all these things if you can’t get to use them. I suppose now with spotify and the like we have 24 hour access to practically every record ever made/too be made. But I don’t like the idea of renting -technically i don’f actually own them. Same with books-much that i enjoy reading i don’t see the point in having stacks of books i know i will never read again. So now i use the library-if i get a book i think i will want to read again,bookmark, highlight certain passasges THEN i will buy it (in an independent second hand shop of course.

So now i want to experience, get about (even a weekend trip somewhere).

Another thing -something i keep telling myself when i am feeling low is that there are people out there wishing that was all they had to worry about. Must admit it works 90% of the time. I have a thing called neurofibromatosis (think that’s how it is spelled) . A doctor first noticed a little lump on my arm when i was about 11 or 12. I never thought much about it-until I was about 25. I was told what it was and that if i had children the chances of me passing it on was 2:1. As the years went on it got a bit bigger. I noticed one on another (i mean the other) arm and one between 2 toes on my right foot. My sixth toe i call it. The one on the first arm was pretty big-so about 5 years ago i decided to get it removed-it was very painless. I asked the surgeon to let me see it-it was the size of a big marble. The one on the other arm is not that big so i told him to leave. Recently i noticed something on my face-pretty tiny, like a pimple. But i got a bit worried and made an appointment with a dermatologist who did a biopsy and confirmed it is a neurofibroma  “with no evidence of malignancy”

Maybe I did the wrong thing here, but i checked out a couple of pages about the neurofib on facebook and have cases that are FAR worse than mine . There is an actor called Adam Pearson who has the neuro-much more advanced than me. And seems to accept it. i have noticed another started on another part of one of my arms. I feel lucky compared to other people, but the one on my face has got me worried. I have made an appointment with my doctor see about getting the one on my face removed.

Like I said I am sure there are people out there wishing this is all they had to worry about. I’m 62, so maybe whats the point?

litehouse 2


Finish with a picture maybe if i can remember how to put one on. Will try to put more positive ones on later. As always too lazy to spellcheck and read over-some habits never change




The Crabbit Man Goes on A Cruise III

Now where was I? Flaam, I think. I may repeat myself-but  then I never reread or check these things. Flaam had the bike ride and the little museum which were great. Wednesday our destination was Olden. The activity today was “Hiking Mount Hoven and sky-lift” I took a chance and left my hiking boots at home, brought and old pair of reasonably heavy shoes-that were near done, and i felt i could dump them after the hike. The hike did not start until around 13:30. Olden was another tiny little hamlet with a big souvenir type shop at the dock/harbour. In here I got (yep you guessed it) another fridge magnet. Was impossible finding one without a cruise ship on it. It was another pretty wet start to the day. As I had loads of time I decided to explore, and a bit up the road I found a hiking type shop, and in here I got a bobbly hat.

Eventually it was time for the hike. I glanced at the feet on the bus and noticed everybody had hiking boots-and wondered if i had made a mistake. Some people had waterproof trousers on-but i DID bring my hiking trousers-one or two people were wearing denim jeans. The weather had cleared by now. When we got to the start of the walk via the sky-lift -which was great, stunning views etc, the weather had cleared and things were looking good. At the start of the hike i noticed a few diggers,lorrys and 4×4 cars and a track that was being worked on. Most of the walk was on this track. I asked our guide how long they had been working there and he told me 3 years. Now this track looked very good for a downhill MTB ride. As I said the skies had cleared and the view were breathtaking. This was a good day for me. I could easily come up here with a flask of tea/bottle of water and something to eat and just sit here all day.

But suddenly the weather deteriorated big time. Skies were black, very misty,windy and it started to snow. We could barely see 10 feet in front of us,The guide stoped and told us that we were in charge, he told us were the top was, he told we would see nothing from the top. He said if we wanted to he would take us to the top-but if we wanted to go down early we could. I said the early finish was a good option. So we took the shorter option and we went down to the cafe were the cable car stopped and had coffee and waffles-when i  ordered they just had a fresh batch out of oven-so mine was hot and most most welcome.

Back to the boat-once again a most welcome shower and i discretely dumped my worn out shoes in 2 separate wastepaper baskets on different decks. The “entertainment” that night came from the “headliners” crowd again-as i was not a glutton for punishment i gave them a miss, and chilled out in the casino , watching the quizzes and the karaoke. the karaoke was great too. Some people had done this before and were too good for my liking-but the bad ones were super entertainment- they hadn’t a clue and were most times 2 or 3 lines behind the music.

Thursday was another black tie night-so i gave that a miss. The stop was Bergen-which was a pretty big town-city almost. This also was an early start-8:00 am. Now I am good at the early rising, but i like a slow build up. This one was a waste of time/money. I think I could have done this myself-BUT it did include a cable car ride up to a height were we got great views of the city. The entertainment that night was the Madness tribute band Badness again-with a new show. It was very good but not as good as the first one.


The next day was a cruising day so we were homeward bound-this was long and tedious and activities seemed do be winding down. I heard one man in lift complaining that this was the worst cruise he was ever on-i asked him why, he said staff were very rude to him and the floors in the gents toilets were never cleaned and were covered in urine (i was thinking, well sure the boat is rocking-we are bound to miss the target sometimes-and at that rate they would need somebody in there cleaning 24/7-thus no room to do our business). Also something that made me laugh was the pool table-pool table on a boat? I was half expecting to see a jenga game. Entertainment on Friday night was the comedian Mick Miller again-i was not amused but audience was and i wondered if i was at the same show.

At dinner that night one of the women at our table said that her exercise was walking he six dogs. I asked her if they were all in her house-she said not at the same time. I then asked her if they had relevant names. She looked puzzled and asked me what i meant , I said “Well like -John Boy, Jim Bob, Mary Ellen…” And i got a laugh. Like i said the cruising day dragged and disembarking didn’t come soon enough.


the cruise may have been good, but NEVER AGAIN. I am pretty active and like the open air and spaces. OK the weather did not help here. If I WAS talked into doing another cruise I think i would need somebody along with me. As on the shore days we could hire bikes and head off exploring on our own. I lost contact with some people on the last night but after an hour looking for them i gave up and had an early night. No free wi-fi on the boat-in this day and age, the holiday cost enough etc. There wasn’t the camaraderie as there is on one of the Irish Cycling Safari holidays i go on-so i didn’t write down email addresses or get full names for facebook. Next year i think it’ll be at least 2 cycling holidays one in Ireland and maybe one in England.

For those that are interested pics are on flickr-just key in the name crabbit man-you shouls get them. If you can’t send me a message and i’ll send a link. And as I said before-NO! there will not be a sequel-BUT I am off to Scotland on a coach trip in November, there will be a report on that too-and as always said i’m too lazy to spell check etc


The Crabbit man goes on a Cruise part 2

Ok-it’ll come as no big surprise in telling yous (again?) that the cruise brought out the cynic in me-but somebody (hi Sue if you’re there) once told me I was a cynic with a joie de vivre. Any questions I asked one of the guys at reception got a somewhat patronising answer-but then i can be very curios and i asked some rather bizarre questions.

Now where was I? Monday was the first day the boat docked-so our first “excursion”. The previous evening the entertainment manager-who’s presentation style annoyed me-said that there would be great views of the fjords and said it would be good to get up early to see them as the lighting would be so much better-the boat came into dock at 8:00am and he suggested getting up an hour before that. I am pretty good at getting up early. I did and went up on deck armed with my camera to see a miserably wet and misty morning-waste if time. Moday’s excursion was called “Stavanger Counntryside” starting at 8:30. According to the brochure info we would see the Gloppendasuren Boulderfield “Norway’s largest field of boulders, some as big as houses.” Well to me this was very reminesent of the holy rock of clonrichet (helps to know the show Father Ted) After that we went to see a big craft shop-big shop full of tacky overpriced souvenirs. And included in the price was a mug of coffee and some traditional “lapper” (thick pancakes) with jam and sour cream. Now I had my hopes raised pretty high here, I was expecting a pancake with some unusual kick/flavour-but no, they were like the ones i get in my local supermarket (and the ones in my local bakery were better). As i said this was a miserably wet day and no great views. I DID  see one great shot of a little church with the mountain in background-but bus could not stop. After the trip I had a walk round the little town-saw the old town and got a fridge magnet at a little market stall.

the nights entertainment was another production by the Headliners Theatre Company -i remembered their previous show so i gave them a miss. I went along to see a “comedy magician” who came from Cuba-another mistake. He singled out people in audience to joke with. I saw a woman in a row near the front who was knitting-did he home in our her? canon fodder i thought? did he? No.

Next day was Flaam. The excursion was and  a train ride up a mountain and then a cycle down most of it. Another rainy day-but i was going to get a bike ride-so i did not care. Half way up the mountain the train stopped to see a big waterfall- i’m ok with that too. Flaam is a tiny village-population of about 350. It had a couple of big souvenir shops, a coffee place, a museum all about the building of the railway (which was one of the main employment things there) and it was fascinating , and a KFC (joke joke). The bike ride down was great, brakes. were a different way round as in uk (no real problem) and if you back pedalled it worked the back brakes (and quickly) now this DID take some getting used to for me, as when i freewheel down a hill on the gerdymobile i tend to back pedal as to give the legs something to do. As we had time to stop and take in the view, i really liked this. So the crabbitman had a pretty good day today. As it was pretty wet, much that i enjoyed the day-i was glad to see the boat and my shower (in that order) . there was a little market here-where I got a great bar of chocolate and another fridge magnet.


pics are of Flaam. Now the nights entertainment was a magic show called “Astonishing” the blurb in the daily info sheet said “Prepare to be amazed with this brand new magic and illusion show” “that from start to finish will leave you thinking ‘how did they do that?’ I should have read the small print  (well you could not miss this it was in big letters) “Headliners Theatre Company Presents…” Yep it was that nauseating song and dance troupe again. Going in we were given an envelope and was told not to open the envelope until we were told as it would “ruin the trick.” They did the same trick to different songs. The one were somebody stands on a box, gets into a big bag and when the bag is dropped somebody else gets out. At one or two points i could see a third hand holding the bag up. At another point one of the girls was singing and she did a twirl and the short dress changed into a long one. The man beside me said he was impressed with the way it was done. I told him it was an American dress, one yank and it’s off. And the envelope? it contained 4 cards- it was the one were you shuffle the cards/tear in half discard one half and keep the top card. then with the other half you moved cards around and threw ones away-by the end the 2 cards matched-a simple maths type trick. I was not impressed-and if i new it was that song and dance crowd i would have found a newly painted wall to watch it dry-would have been more varied.

After this we were off to the casino again. There was a movie quiz. I did not take part but helped a couple who were struggling. One question was What movie does this line come from -“You can’t fight in here, this is the war room.”  I told i almost certain it came from Dr Strangelove. They said that they had never heard of it and decided to go with a choice of there own. I told them that when they hear the answers and i am right they will know about it (i am a good loser but a bad winner). They apologised for not listening to me -cos if they did they would have tied for 1st place and there would have been a tie breaker. I was curios and i asked the woman doing the quiz what the tie breaker was -“What year was the film ‘the shootist’* made? i was a year out.

to be concluded-like all trilogy’s

*The Shootist was John Wayne’s last movie. So it was the around the year he died-obviously.


when she was giving out the answers she would ask the question again and the crowd would call out the answers. There was a couple were i was the only one answering. one was to name the rom/com that was based round 10 linked stories-i shouted out ….”Debbie Does Dallas.”   Oh and the view of the fyords was a bit better when leaving the shore






Bucket List- the crabbit man goes on a cruise (part 1)

When I got my early retirement deal I made a kind of Bucket List. Nothing exciting on it-well not yet. Mine is like the Morgan Freeman list in the movie.

One of the things on it was to experience a cruise. A friend told me that I would not like it, the whole being cooped up and all that. When I told her I was thinking of Norway , she told me that with the aspect of seeing the fjords-that might be different. So I booked one with P&O ferries-not cheap. The woman in the local travel agents  had done this one and mentioned one land excursion I would need to pre book as she knew it was very popular-up the mountain in a train and back down on a bike-that sounds good to me. So she also told me , as i was travelling on my own i would be better pre-booking a dinner table. This would mean I would be eating with the same people every night.

Skip the journey to airport to the start. Cabin had twin beds (was on my own) And a small shower. The boat/ship  (just gonna say boat) had a sort of daily newspaper that told us what was going on-games/entertainment feeding times etc. And sometimes i wished i had read the small print.

First moan was-no free wi-fi on the boat-the holiday was dear enough. And in this day and age and so on and so on.

The big entertainment of the first night was a troupé called Headliners Theatre Company , and their show was called ” Electric Avenue” they did songs from (and i quote) “the decade of excess that was the 80s.” singing and dancing to a backing track they did songs by michael jackson,phil oakley, madonna (and gawd forbid) Prince and the like. This was a pain to my ears. Just too glitzy and all the dance routines looked the same to me. The woman beside me (who was at my dinner table) said she could see the gaps in the clothes were they pulled them off for a costume change.  This show seemed to drag on and on. It was very repetitive and dull. If it was not too dark and i could not see the door i would have been out of there after 2 or 3 songs.

i was up from before the crack of dawn to get to the airport-so i had a fairly early night. when i got to my cabin the paper telling me the next day’s programme was left on my bed.

SUNDAY was a cruising day-Norway was still a fair bit away. Dress code for dinner was “Black Tie.” I did not want to do this.  At 9:30 am there was a “solo travellers get together” -this actually was good. i asked if anybody was not up for the black tie thing and two english men said that they were. We discovered that the buffet was not a black tie thing so we arranged to do that. And as we were on own on we kept each other company on the boat. There was also “free table games lessons”. This was in the casino and we were taught the basics of the roulete, blackjack, and 3 card poker (forgot their name for it). And for attending we got “free vouchers” for the casino (you had to match the bet on the voucher-but was only £3).

There was another solo travellers get together at 4pm-as the queues in the buffet were bedlam-and here we got served- i decided this was a better option.

The big band that night was a Madness tribute band called Badness . They did stuff from the ska period (madness, bad manners, the specials etc etc) And they were actually very good. A live band who had a very good feed back with the crowd. After that it was off to the casino to use my vouchers.

The casino proved to be a pretty good spectator sport. Watching people lose loads of money,win it back and then lose it all and more. Me? I had a set amount to play with here, so i did not lose much-think i actually broke even. My friend from the solo tea party and i got hooked up with an english couple at the roulette wheel and proved good company.

There was quizzes going on in here 2 or 3 times a day. No cash at the bar. We just handed over our “cruise card” some of us had “spending money” on our ticket-so i kept pretty much within it.


to be continued


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