The Crabbitman is Boston Bound

I decided that I needed to get away, and away far and somewhere differentish. So I choose Boston. I had to fly from Dublin to Heathrow and then Heathrow to Boston. Doing it this way worked out about £180 less than flying direct from Dublin.

On the first night in Dublin I headed into the city to meet up with someone I met on one of my ICS holidays. I had two winning scratch cards that were worth €10 –I got 10 more €1 cards. Of those 10 I did quite well and won a total of €31 (€2,€2,€4 and a €25). So next time in Donegal I’ll get another €31 worth of cards (I mean €31 euros isn’t going to change my life-is it?).

The flight to Boston started at 7:40 am from Dublin. And I had to be there 3 hours prior to take off to check in-so I had to be there for 4:40 am. I got to Boston at 13:30 (Boston time). So I was 7 hours in air. The room in hotel is much bigger than I expected.

After checking in I walked round the block and called into a bar called M J Connors-obviously an Irish bar. The bar maid was from Cork and was very chatty and recommended places to go and see. Two men beside me at the bar were talking music and I joined in (as I do). They were two brothers, on was called Jay, and I forget the other one’s name. After they left to go to a concert the barmaid came over to me and said “Do you know who THAT was?” I said “No. Why?” and she said the one who was sitting beside me was  Whitey Bulger’s lawyer-Jay Leno. I did a search on internet later, and sure enough it was the very same person. Surprisingly, I am not sleeping with the fishes.

At breakfast in a café next door to the pub I got talking to an English couple called Kevin and Theresa. I said with names like that they must have an Irish connection-they laughed and said yes. They were touring with a company called Travelsphere and gave me a brief description of their syllabus –sounded good to me. I actually met quite a few other people from their group-I think there was about 40 in it.

On the Saturday I took a coach trip out into the New England countryside. Weather was not great, so I did not get the views I was hoping for. We stopped in a little village called Kennebunk,Maine. Pretty touristy, but nice. On the trip we passed through another little seaside village-waves were high, weather was miserable-but there was loads of surfers out doing their bit. There was also a McDonalds –that was boarded up-seems it shuts during the off season. We also passed George Bush’s summer home-apparently he and Nancy were in. as the flag was flying. There was A LOT of big houses around here-obviously a very affluent area.

That night at the bar there was an annoying English man at the bar, who complaining the lack of Caffreys and Kilkenny beers. And that he got them in New York and moaned on. I interrupted (idiot that I am) and said that I was from Ireland and it was very rare to see these beers even in Ireland, and anyways hardly anybody likes them. I was lumbered with this this buffoon for the rest of the night-I got a look of sympathy from the bar maid. I got away as quickly as I could.

On Sunday I did the heritage walk with a group and guide. She asked if there were any English people in the group-reckon this was because her script had some anti-Engllish its in it. She asked us all to say where we were from, when it came to me I said Northern Ireland but that I had an Irish passport, and that on forms where it says Nationality I write “confused.” I got talking to people on the group, one guy asked me “What brought you to Boston?” and I said “British Airways.” And then I told him the real reason. After the walk I hooked up with a couple from Baltimore and we went off to the Cheers bar for something to eat and then we went out to Harvard for a look around. After we parted I got the train out to see the JFK museum –which was great.

Decided to give the bar a miss-in order to miss the annoying English man and hit the bar in the hotel instead. And also decided to stick to the Sprite too (as the Sprite was on tap, I liked the way I got a top up)-and got some fries too, which to me were drowned in salt. The person beside was actually the guide from the travel group and he gave me links to a couple of touring groups and his own. Noticed something pretty strange at the bar in hotel-they do not serve more than 2 drinks to one person at a time, if they are at the bar on their own.

Next day I decided to do the hop on/hop off bus –to make a start on my little shopping list. And the table tennis bat at the top of my list. I got a blank look in the first sports shop that I went into-he did not know what I was talking about, I quickly discovered that over there they are called Ping Pong Paddles. They had none any ways. He directed me to another sports shop called Modells. Went there-and they had none left. Later on the bus trip we passed Fenway Park. Whilst walking round the block I saw a bar/restaurant called Blazing Paddles and it had Ping Pong Paddles on its logo-good omen I thought. No. they just rent them, BUT the waitress told me the store where they get them-Target. So I went there to try-no. Apparently they sold the last lot to…..yep-Blazzing Paddles.

Gave the pub a miss again, mainly as there was no seats at the bar, and I could not see the Cork bar maid. At hotel bar I got talking to a guy who was there on a 24 hour Hackathon. He asked me if had seen much USA TV and we discussed a few shows. I told him I got the Pixies CD-he said he was a fan. When I said my favourite Pixies song was “Monkey Gone To Heaven” he said that he did not know that one. That night I called into a 7-11 store and got 2 scratch cards @ $2 each-I won $4. There was a beggar outside-I gave him the cards and told him if he uses them for 2 more and wins the big money, to give me a mention on TV. ANOTHER THING to get rid of loose change I would give coins to beggars-one woman looked at them removed the coppers and said “I don’t want THEM” and tried to give them back to me and then threw them on the street.

Final day with time to kill I walked up to Quincey Market and Fanuel Hall. Somebody told of a shop there that might do Ping Pong Paddles-Newbury Comics.

They actually did have them-BUT it was the really cheap ones a kiddie would play with. In the comic section I asked about a particular comic and the attendant had no idea what I was talking about, he had to check it on the computer to see if they had it.

HMMP the guys in The Big Bang Theory would be in a state of shock at this.

I tried another part of the Freedom trail on my own. In an American/Italian district I came across a lovely little book shop called I Am Books. Got talking to the owner he asked me about the last book I read. I said “High Fidelity” and told him my Nick Hornby story. He said that he had the Italian version of the book and reached down and showed it to me..

So all in I had a good time there. I would go back again but as part of a group. As Joanne said it’s nice being able to turn to someone and say “Gord, would you look at the cut of that!” Once again to busy to spell check-extra/hidden  bit is on the other blog…still working on photos will email ones I have emails for when done, but my id on flickr is gerdybaby.

 

Advertisements
Standard

He’s on the go-well nearly

Well it’s not long to go now until The Crabbit Man travels to Boston (MA I think). Excited as I am, I am having a typical grumble or 2, or even 3 (come on now-I AM The Crabbit Man.)

  1. The cost of the hotel in Dublin the night before the flight is pretty high, considering breakfast is not included. BUT!, and I say BUT!-there is a complimentary “snack” on the first leg of my flight/ Oh! I fly Dublin to Heathrow and then Heathrow to Boston. Doing this saved me about £180.
  2. The flight time from Dublin is at 7:40 am-and you need to be there 3 hours prior to check in-so this could mean (even with my minimal packing system) I would need to be up and away at about 3 am-hopefully I’ll get a bite to eat at airport-or I’ll munch on an apple on shuttle to the airport.
  3.   The hotel in Boston charges $17 a night for use of internet,the gym,phone calls,newspaper each day, and something else (NOT breakfast) whether you use them or not. But I believe most hotels over there does this now. I WAS tempted to take out my trainers/shorts and use the gym in the morning-but decided could be doing better things than that.

The shopping list/things I want is very short. As leaving fight is not until 22:40, I think I could get them on the last day-and what do I want?

Something Redsox connected-a baseball cap/bobbly hat/gloves

A decent pen with Boston on it

Some sort of notebook/journal/day to a page diary with Boston on it

Cycling gloves for the winter

A little Herbie car (I asked for one in the Disney shop  in Belfast and the girl did not know what I was talking about-where DO they get their staff

Some local writing (short stories or something), a cd by a local band/singer (the new Pixies album does not count-although I hope to get a copy too) hopefully I get to a bar where I can catch decent music.

A book from a second hand book shop with a bookmark. Maybe secondhand cds too-don’t think I have room for vinyl…or do i?

A good table tennis bat, if I can get one with my name put on it, that’ll be even better.

 

I’m hoping to get in some exploring-do a couple of guided tours/walks/boat trips round the city, and get outside the city to see at least one small town and of course the New England countryside. Might even try to get to a movie, just for the experience. And no doubt i’ll see something silly that takes my fancy when I’m over there…

 

 

Standard

I AM BACK-WELL KIND OF, I SUPPOSE

I ‘ve been off this for a while now. Taking a kind of break,hiatus,gap,rest, lazy fit-call it what you may. The crabbit man has been doing a fair bit of traveling/moaning.

Let’s see-I’m living in the land of retirement just over a year now and still loving it. Occasionally I DO get a little bored and I wonder what would I doing at work if I was still there-and THEN I realize life is so much better.

I’ve redone (or should that be I have started to re-DO) a bucket list. One item is to try to get away abroad at least once a year. And on Friday of next week (30th September) I am bound for Boston (or is is Boston Bound, answers on a post card to the usual address). Doing a bit of homework/reading up , so I have an idea what I want to do/see. No doubt I’ll be looking for second hand book shops,record shops, somewhere decent to eat, real Boston bars away from the touristy ones with decent music (on a blog I heard someone called Will Daly-so I will be hoping to see him.) I want to get outside Boston on at least two coach/boat trips and see the New England countryside and maybe a little town in the small town America atmosphere. I’m not meeting up with anybody this time-so it’ll be a pretty good adventure. I’ll be sending myself a post card too-a new thing I have started. Not sure if I will get away with the stone this time.

In May my little rambling group was over in the Isle of Skye. We had near perfect weather-breath taking views. Not often you are bothered with midges AND snow. If you are interested here’s a link to the photos.
https://flic.kr/s/aHskAHy94Q

This was my first time in a hostel-it was actually quite enjoyable. But if I did it again I would try to do it with a group that would be big/small enough to take up a room-rather than share with strangers. I suppose that way we can safely lock our gear in the room when we head out for our exploring. The train journey to and from at start and end had outstanding views and there was no way any body would want to be reading a book during it.

In August I was off on my usual cycling holiday. For 95% of the time we had superb weather-sunny skies AND a tail wind. I knew most of the small group. Much that we enjoy each others’ company, I was a little disappointed that I was not meeting any new people-so perhaps next year I’ll try not to meet up with the same people again. On the first day I managed to get lost on my own (as I always do). I decided to call at a house and get directions or find out where I was. The door was answered by a stunning blonde woman wearing only a short dressing gown. Now I knew that there was no way I would remember what she was going to say as my mind was elsewhere, thankfully she called her boyfriend to explain better. Here’s a link to pictures from THAT trip-none of her I’m afraid to say.

 

https://flic.kr/s/aHskG2V7fZ

 

So hopefully I’ll be back with stories to tell of Boston and its surroundings soon-and maybe a new venture I am contemplating. AND as yous can see I’m still to lazy to spell check.  But i WILL be back

 

Standard

Dark Side? Let me tell YOU about a dark side (or two)

In the movie “When Harry Met Sally” Billy Crystal (can’t remember the part he played) says that whenever he gets a new book he reads the last page first-so that if he should die before he finishes it he knows how it ends (this is not a spoiler folks-this will not have you knowing how the movie ends). And Carrie Koch said “Life is uncertain,eat dessert first.” Carrie ALSO said “Life is mind over matter. The people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t mind. I can do whatever I put my mind to.” This second one is something that I say to myself every day.
ANY WAY the Billy Crystal bit leads into what I am going to go on about. I do something similar with movies. Movies I have already seen, I hasten to add. If I am watching a movie on DVD I will whiz through to my favourite scene-just in case I die, the world ends, my dvd player gives up the ghost etc etc. Here are some of my favourites. I will try not to make any spoilers:-

1 “White Heat” –obvious here the “Made it ma, TOP OF THE WORLD” bit.
2. “Match Point”-the bit were James Ellis solves the crime.
3. “Love Actually”-the cue card bit (even though I know from experience it doesn’t work like this in real life-but I AM OVER HER!!)
4 “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”- the end bit when he says “did you see Le Forge out there?”
5.”Hi Fidelity”- the Bruce Springsteen bit
6 “Annie Hall” –the scene with the movie queue
7. “The Bourne Ultimatum” – the bit at the end just before the music kicks in and the knowing smile on her face.
8 “True Romance”-my number one favourite movie here- 3 bits here- Alabama’s monologues at start and end (but you need to see the whole movie for the second one to make sense)-(that’s 2) and the Clifford Worley /Vincenzo Coccotti scene
was going to stop here but feel obliged to make it to 10
9. “The Godfather” –the end bit as the door is shut
10. “Stranger than Fiction” –the bit where Harold plays guitar in Ana’s apartment (mind you the scene where he first meets her is pretty good too-hubba)
Well that’s it. What about you lot? What bit of a movie would yous fast forward to at the start-JUST IN CASE? but the bonus here is-if nothing happens you get to see it twice!

Standard

Is there such a Thing as a Happy Ending? Does being cryptic work?

I suppose, thinking back it was really idiotic,stupid,foolhardy, a big mistake and so on and so on. But what’s done is done now. In a way I am glad I did it. I felt I had too.I had nothing to lose, even though I knew it would not get anywhere, I HAD to do it. I went miles outside my comfort zone-even light years outside my comfort zone. Some people have this impression that I am confident-well I am NOT. I am timid, shy-even cowardly. Only problem here was, I did not get the reaction I was hoping for. Never happens the way it does in the movies, does it? Maybe I said it the wrong way? Maybe I’ll know better next time? Yes, I think I WILL know better next time too. Word it differently; I’ll still be me when doing it though. Hopefully next time it’ll get a better reaction, even if it is another rejection.
If I could go back in time, (butterfly effect scenario again) I think I would still do it, only word it better. But maybe NOT the tacky little present (you are going to have to email me about that).
So, I’ll just put it behind me and move on. That’s all I can do, see the funny side of it. That is something I am actually good at doing. Way back when, my life was actually in danger (seriously it WAS) with Barmy Brenda-a potential bunny boiler she was, but I can see the funny side there-in fact I can even see a good side to her too. Believe it or not, she got me out of a really bad period of my life.
ANY WAY that’s it. And why is this blog under this heading? This one would normally be under another blog heading that I do. My only cryptic answer there is-you never know. It may just get a reaction…Maybe there is such a thing as serendipity after all? Answers?

Standard

THE CRABBIT MAN DOES THE RING OF KERRY/DINGLE SAFARI FOR 3RD AND BEST TIME

Right first things first-I can’t find my notes, but maybe that’s a good thing. Some bits I may have to hide so as a kind of directors cut when you see the symbol click on it and I’ll send you’ll see a hidden bit telling you what you missed.
Way back in 2000 I, by chance caught a travel programme on Irish Television that was showing a cycling holiday. It was Irish Cycling Safaris, every time they were talking to a participant they seemed to be in a pub. Hmmm I thought –cycling and pubs-sounds good. The year is now 2015 and I am still with Irish Cycling Safaris-although now, to be pedantic it is called Cycling Safaris-but the old hands like me still call it Irish Cycling Safaris.
This year I decided to do The Ring of Kerry/Dingle Safari. I had done this one twice before so I kind of knew what to expect. But because there is a big bunch of regulars like me ICS changes/ads to the routes on all the safaris to make things a little different-which is good.
Travelling from Derry to Killarney by bus is a long tiring trip, so this year I decided to do it over two days . So on Friday I took the bus to Galway –well I was actually a passenger, I couldn’t fit it in my bag. Managed to get an early bus and it was quiet until we got to Sligo-then it filled up. An elderly couple got on the bus and for a few reasons they were in separate seats. The woman was down at the back and the husband was up near the front –sitting beside me. That’s another thing, get onto a bus- pick a seat near the front and you’ll find you’ll have it to yourself longer than if you pick a seat near the back. As people like a seat to themselves, so they walk past you hoping there is a seat empty further down the bus-usually not, but they never turn back. Now they were going to the holy shrine at Knock (I know that because he told me). She started shouting at him but he could not hear her-so he was asking me what she said. They continued to shout back and forward-with me telling him what she said. I KNOW I could have tried a seat swap for them-but this was more fun.
Galway was good-always is! There is a real feel good atmosphere when you leave the bus station in Ayers Square. Some great and different types of buskers in Shop Street. Came across a great singer from Kerry –who is actually a cyclist too. And got her CD. And NO Jorg I did not flirt with her! Found a great wee pub away from the touristy ones in Shop Street that did a top class pint of Smithwhicks-and I told them that. Had a kind of early night.
Kilarney bound. Must admit the free wi-fi on the bus is great as I was able to keep in touch with Joerg , who I met on 2 previous ICS trips, to arrange a meet up and have a pint, before meeting the group. We decided to explore Kilarney too. There was one guy standing in front of a box –written on it was a mental maths problem-it went something like this “ 1000 +40+1000+30+1000+20+1000+10=?” apparently 95% say 5000 but the answer is really 4100 I may have got this slightly wrong, but you get the drift. He made me say say it out loud.He asked me where I was from =”Northern Ireland.” Says I “Me too.” Says he “What part?” and I said “All of me.” As I was doing the sum I was wondering “where is this going?” “What’s his sale/trick” I noticed the man beside him had a Bible in his hand. As he was starting his “talk” with Jorg I was looking around for an escape route. I noticed an old fashioned sweetie shop behind him and my favourites-Jelly babies in the window. I just shouted “Jelly Babies!!” and was away in a shot leaving Jorg on his own. The Jelly Babies were great and weighed in the old fashioned way .
We made it back to the hotel and as we sat in the bar we played spot the cycling safari person as they come in. We seem to get it right 8/10 .
There was ten people in the group. This number is just about perfect. Mind you I am STILL hoping that someday I am the only man in a group along with the Cuban Woman’s Beach Volleyball team . The guide was one I had before Aidan Ryan (no relation ) so I knew we were going to have a very good time.
The first day was a leisurely cycle to a little village called Sneem-good long steady climb to the lunch spot at Molls Gap-very scenic-then it is practically downhill to Sneem. Very good hotel here-to be honest it is too good an act to follow. The double bed in the room was so big I would have needed a map to get out of it. Jorg and I decided to explore the village before dinner and check out a pub or two.This was my first time actually exploring the village and was bigger than I thought.
We asked the group if anybody wanted to come with us, the French woman in the said that she would join us. So we knew we were off to a good start-well anybody who is up for a pint (or two) after the day’s cycle before dinner is most definitely a good person in the Kitty Club’s books . I got a very good strawberry mulkshake there too (thought that would amuse you Isabelle).
Next day, we were Glenbeigh bound-a lovely little seaside village-the route was about 50 km (that’s 31.5 miles in the old money). There was a pretty steep climb up over the Gap of Ballaghbeama-as far as I remember everybody managed it. Then it was a lovely winding descent to the lunch break spot. Some of us went down to the beach that evening before dinner-but when wading in I saw a couple of really big jelly fish and was out pretty quickly.
The next day we had a coach ride to Dingle, where we stayed for 2 nights. There was a very good/interesting cycle that day. We went by a few Stone age forts and we stopped at a beehive hut settlement. The man in the entrance hut gave little info leaflets that were in English, French and German-I said to him that it was odd with us being in a Gaeltaght area there was nothing in Irish. He laughed and told that he had just recently retired, and said that he was looking forward to spending his days in the pub, but his brother talked him into doing this job. We stopped at the Blasket Visitors’ Centre for lunch. I was there before so I straight into the centre first had a quick look around and took a picture of the Blasket Islands through a window. After lunch I told the others they HAD to see the centre. As we were about to enter a girl shouted at us and told us there was an admission charge-I must have avoided her twice-we decided to get on the bikes and head to Dingle. When Jorg and I got to the B&B we were somewhat “surprised” to see a double bed in our “little room”- he said that it was 2 beds together and he would separate them. Now the room really was quite small and I thought he had a task here all right-but he in fact managed pretty well. Despite the compact size of the place the hospitality was gigantic.
Wednesday was “rest day” do you own thing and all that-Jorg and I decided to do a boat trip round the harbour-saw the dolphin, 45 years old it is. I think it is a computerised model or a hologram by now. I wanted to get out to the Blasket Islands but those ferries where cancelled due to inclement weather forecasts.
Thursday was Dingle to Kilorgin 69 km (43 miles) the guide pamphlet said “for the morning “challenging climb at beginning of the day followed by a relaxing cycle). Now this route is a “pretty hilly one.” But the second half of this day was the toughest. In fact it beat me-bit more push, if I had gritted my teeth and thought of somebody I did not like I would have done it-but no, it was just too much. Only one person in the group, the Spaniard- José made it. Fair play to him. Up here we had great views of the Macgillicudy Reeks.
That night we were in a great B&B in Killorgin. There is not an awful lot to Killorgin, but we did find a great wee group in a pub there.
So it’s Friday-the final day. Killogrin back to Killarney- 64 km (40 miles). Today’s trip took us over the Gap of Dunloe. A very scenic part of this trip, a lovely climb up to the main road-near the top of the climb someone had written the name “Jerry” across the road-OK it’s not Gerdy or even Gerry-but close enough for me. On the way back we stopped at the Torc Waterfall-pretty impressive it was too. Dinner that night was in the Bricin Reastaurant back in Kilarney-where most of had the delicious Boxty.
So that was it we said our goodbyes-some of us I KNOW will meet up again on other trips.
After that I was back in Galway for 2 nights. On my first night, by accident I heard a super band Beggars Velvet. An acoustic 3 piece-guitar, tea chest and bass. Did great covers of songs that I am not suppose to like, plus an outstanding cover of a song I love “Baba O’Reilly.” I asked the bass player to write down where they where the next night. But I could not make out his writing. I was in a café the next day and asked a waitress-she could not make it out either, but said she would try a colleague –“oh that’s the Skeffington” he said. I said “You must have been a chemist in a previous life” he said “Actually I am training to be a doctor” “that says it all, I said”
So I got to see them a second time and it was great. Next time I am in Galway I will definitely be looking out for them.
So that’s another Cycling Safari done, and another one most enjoyed. Come December I will probably be discussing with Kitty Club members old and new the plans for 2016 DV and that. And what’s done is done let’s just forget about it and move on.

Standard

the story so far…

Well I am into my second month of my new life in retirement. To be honest I am still in an annual leave mode. Somebody told me that (with her experience) it could be a year or two before it hits me that I am not going back to work again.
One of my ex-colleagues told me that she should know this week if she is eligible for the next exit group, and she is so jealous of me. Mind yous, she went on to say that the new office they have been moved too is gorgeous and modern-but then because of the new open plan layout it is “not the same.” I made a list of the things I actually MISS from not working-in some sort of order they are:-
1. The Craic and people (but according to my es colleague, the craic is not the same now-and can be very quiet)
2. The free stationery (yeah! Yeah! I KNOW that’s stealing and the £1 shops have loads of stuff-but come on, lifting stationery is almost in job description)
3. Habits. Yes habits. Friday for me was Treat Day. I would get an jam turnover from local garage,a newspaper with an entertainment supplement and I would treat myself to a coffee from one of the chain coffee places (Costa). (Friday morning is the only time I do this. The bakery next door to the old work place did a cup twice the size at half the price. Usually it was OK-BUT once in a while they get it right and it is better than the one from the big chain).
4. Getting one over on my supervisor on my Friday treat. (I did not clock in until I had finished my coffee, turnover and paper read) Once or twice he asked me why I had no work done when I had been in from 8 a.m. I would tell him to look at my time sheet-was good getting an apology from him.
5. The unwinding cycle after work in the summer months, the buzz on a Friday at home time. 2pm on a Monday (Nobody but me seems to get this one. Once you are half way through Monday it’s a downhill cruise to the next weekend)
6. I miss the moaners-I had a don’t give a monkey’s attitude –just do what I’m told and get on with it. In an old workplace I worked with the very worst-so I knew that place was not so bad. My don’t give a toss attitude did me no harm.
7. Oh! The printer at work!! Great for printing off boarding passes and the like-no printer at home.
ANY WAY I am being pretty frugal now and am watching my spending-and it’s working OK. Hope to try to slip in another USA trip in the autumn. Still have a list of things I want to do-but taking my time on that. I HAD planned a trip to Galway this weekend but I forgot it’s a bank holiday weekend down there-so may do it next weekend instead-or even Thursday to Saturday, or Saturday to Tuesday-I mean I don’t need to ask for a day off now

Standard