Friday, August 29, 2008
The bomb squad on the move.
Horse drawn hearse.
I was getting new tires so I decided to take out the camera when this funeral came down the road. A horse drawn hearse. Very popular with gangsters, but in this case it was a dear old mum.5 limos followed so she must have had a big family.RIP
People of my age will always remember the funeral of one of the Kray twins in London years ago. Bouncers in top hats and loads of "orses pulling erses"with their black plumes.
It is quit a while since I saw them carry the coffin in procession through the streets to the cemetery. Sometimes they carry in for 1/2 a mile or so, just to oblige the last wishes of the deceased, but its very rare now.
Well the Electric Picnic kicks off today look here.
Next Monday all the schools will be back at work, mums bringing the little dears in in their SUVs. Still I won't complain because the teachers will not be out driving their taxis(yes folks teachers on paid holidays drive taxis).
The third level students are flat hunting and I brought 4 ladies from Quait to Henry St. for shopping, I dropped them at the bottom of Moore st only then did I get my instruction for Spire pls..It took a while to explain that Henry st is closed to traffic and I would have to go around Parnell square and back down O'Connell to get to the spire. Strange how they would not get a second glance in Moore st. 90% of the people are non Irish down there. A great place to buy a bit of meat FX Buckleys and Troys is open again. I swear I saw his shop in Burnt Oak near Edgware 10 years ago.
His trademark is to have a tape recording and blearing out to the street"Grand bit of mutton there misses, have a look at me chops they are a bargain if ever I saw one...etc etc.
Talking of food I got sick mid week and had to take the day off, which gave me a chance to reat Alf Townsends book The London Cabbie.
You will find it on Amazom.com.
It was very good gave you a great insight to the "knowledge" You start by learning 400 trips from the "Blue Book" in his time he drove 14,000 miles on his moped with his map propped in front of him.
This test makes the London black cab drivers the best in the world.
Our system is so bad its incredible, drivers not knowing where the most basic places are.
The holding area at Heathrow which sounds like the parrot house at London Zoo, exactly like ours. He spoke of the scams and how the scammers paraded around the canteen like heroes..just like here, with nothing ever done to them.
One story told in the book was of 2 guys who wanted to go to Epping forest a good fare, but he declined as he was reaching the end of his shift. One of the newer guys took them there and they shot the driver dead when they reached their destination.
They were escaped prisoners on the run. But it scared everyone, it could have been any of them. A close shave.
Talking of the knowledge there is a play which was made into a film about 4 rookies doing the test. Its really good. I met a girl here in Dublin and her uncle wrote it.
Bet all he had to do was carry a note book, you might find it on www.blackstar.co.uk.
Remember the American actress who didn't tip?
I must say I was being very hard on her, she did come running from a hospital so the opportunity for there being something wrong with her or one of her friends should allow me to be very sympathetic.
One fare of interest happened when I picked up my last fare of the day today.
A guy on East Wall Road going to Grafton St.
His phone must have rung 50 times on the journey. He also arranged to meet someone en route. I did have a bad feeling about him from the start, all the whispering on the phone did not help.
His mate was slow turning up then this what can only be describes as a model walked over to the car and jumps in...Kissie Kissie followed. She was an Essex girl type.Here you been slumming it with a well known Irish footballer ? No I ain't. A guy with a big nose....Oh yea I only went with him cos he was a good shag...
Then the other suspect arrived he had been transferring cash and off we went to Grafton st.
The fare was something like e14.80 he gave me e50 give me back 30 mate and off they went.
I don't think I would be exaggerating if I compared it to another time a few years ago.
A "Model" got into the taxi I need to go to Church st and then to the airport.
She was drop dead gorgeous,around 18, well her story was that her boyfriend had given her a package to bring over to his mate in Dublin,he had arranged for them to stay in Blooms hotel, but at the last minute he dropped out and rather than waste all the money she came over alone. The guy she was supposed to meet now she had lent money to he was late and it looked like she would have to go to the airport without her money.
Her boyfriends mate got on the phone to her and he went over to the guys house and met us with a blood splattered tee shirt. He forgot about the money so I just had to remind him. Have a safe trip home and tell Johnny I will see him next week.
I drove to the airport seething about hew dumb this blond was, carrying drugs and what a scumbag her boyfriend was in sending her over like that,she really was only a kid.
She would not be as pretty after 10 years in Mountjoy jail locked up with the Scissors sisters and the black widow not forgetting Lying eyes.
Yes the old world is a series of parallel lines, each persons life or reality is so different from someone elses.
Thank God you did not meet some other people when you walked out the school gates, your life and prospects would be so different.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
In Dublin Google is a place on Barrow St.
Queues again at the American embassy.
Today I had my day off. Off I use loosely. I work most mornings then I had to do the shopping. I have most of the school books, now I am on to clothes and later shoes.
Expensive times we live in for sure.
I had a lucky break,I picked up a fare going to the IFSC then I got a fare straight at Connelly station. Connelly station is being all uprooted as they change the line.
Now if you or I or a child of 6 was designing a station and we knew that we would be extending the line soon you would (I hope) put in the junction to be used at a later time. Not our city planners. The line is hardly 2 years down and its all ripped up again.
Traffic all a mess.
When I dropped her off I headed off from Ballsbridge only to spot a few people outside Bewleys hotel, quick turn and out again with a handy one to Vincents private hospital. Just as we were driving through the barrier the lady said its the wrong hospital, it should be the public one.
I didn't start the meter again, (must be slipping) as we pulled up at the main door a girl with dark glasses jumped in as they jumped out.
Taxis to the left.Taxis to the right.
But this was not a taxi rank !!!!!!!!!!
An actress from New York no less going to Rathmenes.
That's 2 Stars in 4 days.
I never ask "Whats your name ?" If they say it that's OK if not that's all right too.
Stars(I use the word loosely) have a tough time. They need to have the public adore them, but they want to be treated as ordinary, though very special people.
A casting director told me once that he would know 30 at least actors who could do a part, easily. He would pitch them all knowing that only one would get the job.
The other 29 would be left "resting" until the next casting session.
Take care of yourself miss, whoever you were.
And please remember that it is the custom to tip taxi drivers and waiters in Ireland, after all you will never know who might be bringing you your next script,he might just loose it.
Look after the little people on the way up and they will be kind to you on the way back down, thats a basic lesson in life..
There is a story of Julia Roberts and a Dublin taxi driver, they met when she filmed Micheal Collins in Dublin. He was her driver and they got on well. She brought his family to Hollywood later and she wanted them to stay. His life was in Dublin but they remained friends. Later when she married( they were there) and divorced Lyle Lovett she fled to Dublin pursued by the media.
He brought her from the hotel dressed in overalls with a tool box and she lived in his corporation house with his wife and kids, going shopping like an ordinary person, until she got her head together.
You can be sure they still phone each other.
Two worlds so different that they attract.
I once was called to a house about a burglar alarm problem, when I had finished I stuck my head around the door to say good bye, the cast of the film "Dancing at Luisa" were around the table, Meryl Streep and Mia Farrow and a few of other stars were there, I recognised none of them, after a few brief words and a joke about the last supper I departed.
Their host told me later on that they were genuinely disappointed that I didn't stay for coffee.
He told them some of my stories, but even from a storyteller (which he is )they are not as good second hand.
I would not like to be famous and known by sight.
You would find it hard to strike a balance in your head.
I hope no one recognizes me.
Why don't these people stop looking at me.
Why do they not recognize me? After all I am so famous.
And the paparazzi ?
All this from working with a casting company for a summer long ago....so many stars... so little light. Not my words.
I used to meet Freddy White on a weekly basis, on Mondays in Quinnsworth in Castleknock. A great singer who has yet to reach his potential, after a while we spoke a bit every time we met, guess we both moved on.Hope this is him.
I am winding down to do my tax return, getting papers in order. Buying tires for the winter...That sort of thing.
I am also going to Eastbourne in the south of England to a magic convention from the 24Th Sept. Hope to meet this guy again
WE had our photo taken before when neither of us were handsome, but we have both had a lot of fun in our own way since then.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Another thing you didn't know about Dublin.
Wonder did he ever drink in the Long Hall, the pub was there then.
Well I have survived for another week!
The festival of foreign cultures took place in Dun Laoighre in brilliant sunshine!
All the foreign people I told about said that they would not be going because it is raining so much would have been pleasantly surprised.
I went out and saw that there was plenty of taxis there, but I did get a fare to Ballybrack from people who attended. They said that they didn't know what was going on at any time so they waked around until their little girl got tired.
Earlier I got a fare to the ferry and I saw a group of people gathered there.
I went into the terminal building and asked what was going on.
The driver of the shuttle bus was new. He came up and drove away again before the passengers got off ! Now he was down in the bus station bringing people to the ferry which would be sailing in an hours time.
So I took it upon myself to be helpful, I told them of the delay and that 4 people would ride into town together for around e18. Thats less than the bus costs.
One of the people said "Here is the bus coming now". Well that is as may be but you would be at your hotel before the bus leaves the dock area,allowing for loading and unloading.
I don't think your bus will take you directly to your own hotel.
I left them to stew in their situation and drove off.
Reminds me of the day when there was a bomb scare in O'Connell st which was closed off and the Aircoach couldn't operate.
A group of travelers were waiting at a stop in Leeson St. I pulled over and told them the story, "Get a taxi and share the cost, it is cheaper than the aircoach anyhow, Thell the driver to go up Pierse St and out by the Malahide rd to avoid the traffic."
I was met by skeptical faces and blank stares.One guy broke rank and asked me to take them."Sorry I'm booked on another job, but I didn't want any of you to miss your flight."
The scramble for taxis was instant and as I crossed the road I saw the biggest skeptic standing at the bus stop alone, his choice now was to not believe me and miss his flight or get a taxi alone for e30.
I wonder did he make his flight?.
I didn't see any buses for another hour.
It was a false alarm anyhow,some twit had left his bag on the bus.
I had a couple from Malaysia in the car, he was looking at the car for a long while then when it was my turn to go they hopped in.
They were looking at the Prius display and asking loads of questions.
She had the English, so she did the talking.
They said they were going to Lucan but as we approached the river Liffy they decided they would go to Mary st. instead. Perhaps the next time I should dispense my information more slowly.
Still Lucan is a long ride in a taxi so it would have been expensive.
I had a letter from the DAA today.
"If you don't pay us e400 to renew your airport pass before the deadline if Sept. 2nd you will not be allowed to renew your pass and you will be moved to the back of the waiting list of people looking for passes.
(1)Well if you look back at the beautiful new toilet which is seldom cleaned, with the puddle of urine across the floor.
(2)Add to that the sometimes 2 hour wait to pick up passengers.Plus when they get up to the top customers say "there has been no taxis up here for 15 minutes"
(3) I have reported taxis who have avoided the whole taxi queue only to have nothing done to them.Once I was told that the camera where the pick up took place was controlled by the police and they did not have access to the tape.
(4) Drivers who scam the public at the airport are not a rare breed, yet there is nothing done about them.
(5) There used to be an airport pick up charge and baggage charge which was abolished, so you see they just want money from us poor mugs to pay for the airport extension.
(6) When you are dropping off in the morning it could take you 40 mins or more to reach the departure area. Why? Well departing passengers coming from the multi story car park cross the road on a zebra crossing in ones and twos causing a tail back of cars. The solution is simple, a guy with a whistle and a baton directing the flow.
Simple but seldom put into operation.
They should be paying us!
Sorry boys fresh out of contributions.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Inside and outside the Long Hall on Sth Great Georges St.
Well the steps I take to show you Dublin.
This is one of the finest Victorian bars in the city, spic and span.
Near this spot is the first rubber factory in the world.
Photo to follow next posting.
I saw two things which caused me concern, perhaps its a sign of the times, I don't know.
I collected my kid from a concert and we arrived back in Fairview at around 12.30am
While he was getting his kebab (I was waiting outside) a boy of around 11 years walked across the road from Fairview park. He had blood smeared over his cheeks and down his jaw. He walked into the kebab shop and asked something, then he ran back across the road,5 lanes, and back through the park.
When the lads came out I ask them what the lad had said. He was looking for the Clontarf road, so when I brought the lads home I drove back to the Clontarf Garda station.
I rang the bell in reception.
I waited a while and I could hear 2 male and one female garda talking.
Then I rang again and I noticed that the slatted spaces in the mirrored partition had been covered up to stop the public looking in and them seeing out.
I rang the bell again.
I waited and I could hear another garda making a phone call not 6 foot from the front desk.
My blood pressure rose and I walked out, on the way out I met a garda car coming back in and I told him my story.
He was not too concerned, but said he would "Look into it"
As for them not answering the bell. "He would tell them"
The cynic in me is saying that he was bringing home the Chinese dinners and that no one would be looking for an 11 year old boy lost,with blood on his face for quite some time.
You would think he would say, "give me your mobile number in case we need to contact you"
I know the problems in every city are bad, but the boys in blue need to do a bit more than set up speed traps,chase taxis from loading bays and check for road tax.
The other thing I saw was a taxi with 2 bald tyres, so bald that I THOUGHT THEY WERE SLICKS
so I got out for a closer look, the one on the right was so bald that the canvas was showing right around the outside of the tyre.
If he had a crash his insurance would not be valid!
In any properly run industry he would be hunted down and disqualified from driving.
The cars which are out at night need much to be desired 20 year old cars in some cases. Cars which have not been cleaned in weeks reeking of tobacco.
Driver not much better.
These cars are often hired out by the week and driven by a selection of people.
Many of these drivers do not hold PSV licences or even Irish driving licences.
God knows who some of them are, I hear stories and they are not happy ones.
Well I have had my rant, perhaps the driver has no money, who knows.
I herd of a taxi stopping at Bakers corner the other morning. Lights went green, guy stays there, so my man who told me said when he got a chance he drove past him.
There he was at the lights asleep!
Now if you fall asleep in the minute it takes the lights to change he must be in a bad way. Pity the poor people he might crash into.
Perhaps he has kids to feed! or school books to buy.
Then the taxi regulator says we just need to work harder.
But you know if there is 50 taxis per thousand people or 150 taxis per thousand.
The service to the public might get better in the short term.
As incomes fall the crooks and trimmers step up to the mark.
Joe public starts to ask why so many drivers don't know their way around.
Or why sometimes it costs twice as much to come home some nights?
I see the vultures waiting at hotels to swoop on tourists, taking them the scenic route.Ripping them off without mercy.
The honest driver will decide that the trade has become tainted and he will move on, leaving it to the crooks and skimmers.
I am still taking it easy as the schools are going back next week.
Third level students are coming back to the city form their summers work abroad to look for accommodation www.daft.ie or the evening herald is the place to look.
Rents are down or so they say.
So are house prices, a guy who works for a leading bank told me that a house I was looking at will(in his estimation) drop another e70,000 before prices stabilize.
That would be a lot of negative equity.
Now with talk of recession in the UK as well things might go back to the 80s, which will be really hard for the spend generation.
Plastic credit card kids.
Anyhow I don't know where my future lies in this "industry", as with many others we must think of other things.
Perhaps I will go to Hollywood and be a young stunt double for Robert Redford.
Or perhaps the Lotto millions, who knows?
I see from the news that the upper managers have given themselves hefty pay rises with good bonuses. These are the guys who were saying that the minimum wage should be cut by e1 per hour. Hypocrites.
Just a thought for the HMS Prison service in Britain. Someone lost a memory stick with the details of 80,000 prisoners un encripted....and wait for it....the entire prison population will be entitled to sue.
Happy days for the legal profession, I can see them heading for Belmarsh and Strangeways as I write. Goodnight all.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
From the TV series "Only fools and horses"
Gills pub with Croke park in the background.
Bride on the run,seemed they were walking to the reception!
Lovely dress though, seemed happy enough.
Well they say that deaths come in threes so I was somewhat shocked when I was told of the death of Chuck Feeney, I rang up his office and I was told that he was indeed alive and working away.
As Mark Twain (I think)said once said "rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated"
Work continues on the home front.
I am going through old boxes of papers and the shredder is working overtime.
Bills, bank statements back to 1983. Utility bills. receipt for the purchase of my house. They go so far back that I almost expect that some of them should be in copperplate handwriting,but not quite.
I found the missing folder from when I bought my first hackney car. A taxi could pick up on the street a hackney had a radio and was work was dispatched via the radio. No meter, you negotiated the price by the mile. Taxi plates cost up to 80,000 punts at one point around then.
You had to buy an existing plate if you wanted a taxi. In Wales a driver told me that they called that buying "Dead mans shoes." You had to buy them to enter the trade.
I half rented a taxi for a year as a "Cosy"
I worked days he worked nights.
He was as odd as 2 left boots.
And as wicked as a bag of cats!
Could never see that I wanted Tues and Wed off.
Your days off are Monday and Tues. rows about flat wheels cars not washed and filling up the car caused friction.Add to that getting a long job when you are supposed to be handing over. Add into the equation no mobile phones and you have a recipe for divorce.
When the hackneys came along it nearly killed him,Then he died, but his widow did manage to sell his plate before deregulation.
Well back to the missing file. Metro charged deposit of (Punts)125.00 for the radio 30.00 per year for insurance on radio and 67.00 per week rental.
I signed on the dotted line 19/5/93 Mary Meagher was the manager there at Metro.
She really ran the place.
I had a Toyota Corola 1989.which cost 6150 4 years old.It would be cheaper today.
Then I became "Driver 71"
The stories of the adventures starting off are mostly forgotten.
Except for one day I flew out to Dalkey to the 11 restaurant, after searching all over I spotted the local garda and asked him. "No such place" came the reply.
A phone call later sorry about that 71 its called "il resrarunte"
Anyhow when I went in the mat re d told me they would be down in a minute, when they hopped in we headed off to the big smoke.
We were in Ballsbridge when the radio comes on "where are you 71, your customers are ready now and can't find you?"
My "customers" had seized the opportunity to grab the cab from under their noses.
At that time taxis were like gold dust, so their dinner was well settled before they got another taxi,still they were showing a certain amount of indifference by expecting a car to wait for 1/2 an hour on a Saturday night, or then again it might have been the waiters fault.
Now it has gone to the other extreme,with more taxis in Dublin than New York.
THAT'S A FACT
I managed to squeeze in a few hours work, trying to get on the end of ranks and driving around searching for work.I had a lucky couple of hours the other day.
It seemed that all my ducks were lined up and my stars were in the ascent,one after the other people hailed me just as I became empty,it was really good.
Whats seldom is wonderful, as they say.
I had an American actor in the car the other day a great character Patrica O"Connell.
"My mother and father had the same name Pat O'Connell. They say that when 2 people with the same name marry their children will never catch whooping cough and I never did.
Thres a lot of wisdom in those old sayings."
I just had to show her where Rex Ingrim lived. "Well I never". She is working with the Druid theater group. She spoke about Brendan Behan and the other drinking class Irish acting fraternity.
They put a lot of celluloid on the cutting room floor, it wouldn't happen today.
Some people will tell you their life's story and are a joy to meet, others you are really happy to see the back of them.
By chance I picked up 2 fares who were going to Heuston station. First one a student of Japanese with a Japanese man. Next an Irish man with his Japanese girlfriend both going to Heuston. back to back to the same place,unusual.
At the Westbury hotel a German woman asked me if I would lead them to the Avis depot on the Old Kilmanham Rd and bring them back, she had great English, with the slightest accent. Her son was very tall and built like a Panzer tank 2 meters 3 cm, 6foot 8 inches in old money.
They had a good holiday apart from the weather. They found the people very friendly.
Their sat nav gave them great problems but the Avis man refunded them the hire charge.
Another development here is a Polish medical center in Parnell Square in Dublin.
They are a big operation back home as they run hospitals and clinics all over Poland.
They will be able to examine you, send you off to their Polish hospital and look after you on your return.
A Checz girl told me about how bad our medical system is. "I went to an Irish doctor and his consulting room had a carpet !, my God what bacteria would there be in that carpet. There was no wash hand basin in there either".
But Checz people do not like Polish people, so she won't be going there.
Tomorrow Marley Park will host Metallica so expect loads of people with loads of eye makeup and black clothes that will be the boys.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Ronnie drew RIP
With a voice that gives us all hope to be great singers.
Bono pays a tribute.
Goodbye Luke as well.
Well I herd the sad news of the passing of Ronnie Drew the other day.
Well I knew he was sick, he had a great life.
The Dubliners have been the soundtrack to our lives for generations.
Ronnie Drew is more Dublin than Molly Malone.
He will be sadly missed, but he has given us a great legacy since the 60s
He was even more Dublin than Guinness now that that business is soon to move out of the city.
Anyhow if you hop over hereand here,you can listen to some great music
I had a posting ready to go and it vanished from the screen.
But this is much more newsworthy !
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
A Welsh goat
Special day for your diary, 6th September.
Don't be the one who didn't take the day off and bring our special needs kids out for their big day.
Its only one day of the year, so mark it in on your calender and phone the lads.
01 4250780 lets blow our horns and waken up the regulator as we whiz past.
I was out buying school books today up in the Northside shopping center, I arrived early and there was a queue of 5 people waiting when I was going with only 1/2 the books in my bag for e138.
Thank God I only have one going to school.
The leaving cert results are out today!
All the worried and happy faces around the schools.
I hope the students don't take it too much to heart,its only an exam.
Its not the end of the world.
The richest man in Ireland is Sean Quinn he didn't graduate from primary school !
Yet he can do multi million deals, he says himself that he is surrounded by good people. He is not afraid of taking a chance either because you learn from mistakes.
He can scan a company report better than most accountants.
Did I ever tell you how he sacked his brother for being late into work and leaving early?
Well he did and it woke him up.
Exams test your skills in one way only, they say David Beckham is thick, but then again Stephen Hawking is lousy at football,so where do you draw the line?.
I know a guy, he would be in the top 10 cleverest people in Ireland, Mensa stuff.
You couldn't send him to the shops without a list, even with a list everything would be wrong, yet by the intellectual yardstick he is very clever.
Once there were 2 boys who sat together in school, one was very smart, top of the class. The other was dumb bottom of the class and last.
Years later the clever one was stopped in traffic when a big Rolls Royce car pulled alongside and started blowing its horn.. He looked at the driver with scorn, but the driver pointed into the back of the car where his old school buddy sat looking at him through the open window. He asked if they could pull into a hotel up ahead to have a chat.
The slower witted of the two was delighted to see his old friend.
Tea was sent for.
What did you do after you left school?
Well the clever one had gone to university and became a school teacher.
That's wonderful I always knew you would do well,as for myself I worked at different jobs until I went to sea and traveled the world, I saw many countries and cultures. I bought silk in China for example and started trading, nothing much but I built up a wide circle of contacts.
One of my contacts asked me if I could find a market for his product, so we set up a company and we now trade worldwide. We also carry some other lines as well.
This is our main product he said pulling out a small cardboard package.
They cost us e1 each to produce and we sell it wholesale for e5.
We sell a lot of them,,, you know we do OK on just 4% profit.
So you don't need to be too bright to succeed you see.
You just have to be able to seize the opportunity.
Lifting lino put down in October 1988.We on the Northside we put newspaper under lino. The southsiders put money under theirs.
The Evening Press it was a long gone newspaper.
Colette Jackson was miss Ireland, I wonder what she looks like now.
Christmas trees cost 6 quid each.
All prices are in Punts.
Ashbourne SD 3 bed house 18,000
Woodford Downs Clondalkin.21,000
Drimnagh Donard Rd 3 bed 23,000
Earn over 2,000 a year on advertising !
Taxi plate and meter wanted 21,000
Married man wants taxi plate to rent.
They were making efforts to save Clondalkin paper mills.
Guinness Peat aviation profits were up 59%.
Sadly they are both gone.
Marley Park is on today I see on my credit card I spent e75 on one ticket.
I hope my son enjoys it because he went without a coat and the skies are about to open up again, what a washout this summer has been.
So there might be a bit of work about up until late.
One other thing of interest I herd on the radio about the flooding.
Dublin airport expanded and did not put proper drainage systems.
The caller reckoned that they should have been forced to dig a channel over to the sea.
When the downpour came the airport fire brigade pumped thousands of gallons of water through a fence and then the water flowed down the hill and destroyed a mans home.
A spin doctor for the airport came on,, no no not us we were working the other side of the airport. This was in spite of him saying that he had 6 witnesses who saw it happen, she denied it ever happened.
It is a worry when a large semi state body representative tells lies!
Well we have to believe them when they say that they have emergency back-up, yet twice the radar system went down at the airport in the last few years.(with no back-up)
Lets just hope they are not telling any other Porky Pies (lies)
I think we will have to carry inflatable boats as part of our kit in future.
Drive safely and remember.
Its reckoned that more accidents are caused by fatigue than from drink.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The entrance to Powerscourt house
The view from the front, the back is grander.
I got a run down to Bray from some people who had arrived back from Florida minus their luggage.Only for that one fair it would have been a poor day.
I had always wanted to visit Powerscourt house so as I had the camera on board I headed for Enniskerry (Where Ballykissangel was filmed)and into Powerscourt grounds.
I was stumped as it costs e8 to visit the gardens and as this was a flying visit I just looked around. Then I got a chance to photograph the main house and my card was full,I couldn't delete some photos as I didn't know which ones were backed up.
I went in to see the outside of the Ritz Carlton hotelThis is a really expensive place but worth a look.A fairy palace.
I just went on to the website and checked out the rooms.
Well the presidential suite costs e5,000 per night. OUCH
Its like a fairyland palace.
Gordon Ramsey is doing a special 2 course lunch for e30 per person or e40 for 3 courses.
I must go back to the website to have a look at the dinner menu.
You can get a 2 course lunch in a few places on Parnell St for e8.50
Most of the pubs do a carvery lunch for around a tenner.
So go where you get the value.
I must do another top ten restaurants again.
Or then perhaps there is no one reading this any more.
I dropped my son and his wife off at the port on Sunday.
I turned around and joined the queue of taxis when I saw someone I knew.
Johnny Vegas he is a great entertainer.
Comedy is a hard gig, but any taxi driver could do stand up,or so I reckon.
I like his style. He has lost a lot of weight.
I went up and shook hands with him. "Johnny great to see you."
You could see the still living braincells wriggling.
"Who is this?
Do I know him?
Perhaps I should know him but have forgotten who he is?"
He has lost a good bit of weight thank God, he was heading for a heart attack.
Well then I had a father Ted moment. I pressed the button on my ear piece, nothing. I pressed it again. Nothing.
I tapped my pockets,only to find that I had left my phone in the house and had been driving around with an ear piece and no phone for an hour.
When I got home I rang my son who was on the boat, did you meet Johnny Vegas?.
Who is Johnny Vegas? He says.
Such is fame.
If you ever stood waiting on a street corner for a taxi and you wondered why there are so cabs out when its busy. Take a look at this.
That little driver is no pushover.
But it can get very rough at closing time.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
The city lying below, from Sutton graveyard
Well the last headline could be put up again.
I went to Belfast to a cousins 60th birthday,a great occasion.
Its nice to meet your relations at a time when it is not a funeral or a wedding.
I didn't get a chance to get photos of Belfast, but I tell you that things are much better now that the civil unrest is over.
When I travel to Belfast or anywhere in Ulster the memories of every bomb and killing still comes back to me.
One side strikes then the other, 2 little boys in Warrington get blown up, in Omagh a market town on a busy afternoon a car bomb is set off while people look for school books and school uniforms. 2 men talking at a street corner, a car pulls up.
For the people who were there, they tell their stories over and over again.
"I was in the crowd when there was a flash and I woke up covered in blood, from head to foot, people were running around, I thought I must be dead as I didn't have any pain.
Then I found I could move, when I stood up I realized that the woman who had been standing in front of me had taken the full force of the blast,she was dead in an instant all the blood was hers .I was unharmed".
Their stories are repeated in Iraq, Palestine, Delhi and Indonesia today tomorrow and it seems forever.
Today it happens again in Georgia!
As time passes the media become numb to the stories.
Paris Hiltons lack of knickers become headline news again!
I hope our war is over forever and I say a prayer that your war will be over soon too. George Mitchell,Bill Clinton and John Hume will be remembered forever.
Fact is that Ian Paisley did sit down with Gerry Adams too.
Here is a piece sent to me by Mike the native American Indian.
War is complicated. It is like a well cut diamond,if you look at it from a slightly different angle you see a another picture.
Again and now you see war the from another perspective.
Just outside Armagh a monument to the hunger strikers.
Its hard for a soldier on a wage packet to defeat people who have a cause to die for.
There was only losers in the Northern Ireland conflict, as in many conflicts the war is not won its just over.
Anyhow while I was away they had monsoon rains in Dublin(76 mm at Dublin airport a new record) and there was flooding all over. The M1 was closed but the big signs which flash up warnings along the motorway said nothing about what was going to happen ahead.
Some signs just said port tunnel closed use alternative routes.
This kind of thing happens all the time,nothing unusual.
Next thing the traffic is stopped.
As we got closer the signs said port tunnel open get in lane, so I decided to go through the tunnel. When we got closer we met cars coming back up the motorway on the hard shoulder. the road was flooded!
So I crossed the grass and up the ramp for Santry village, edging our way along I saw that the road outside the Swiss chalet was flooded....Well muggins decided to go through the water,so I tucked myself behind a 4X4 an off we went 2 inches deep 4 inches 1 foot.
Then I saw a bollard on my left about a 18 inches deep in water and the next one on was 2 foot under. No turning back.
The jeep paused for a second and I saw the wash of water come back but then he sprang forward with me in hot pursuit.
It was a bit like Moses passing through the Red Sea.
We made it! More by luck than anything else.
A few years ago there was a flash flood near my house and someone drove a brand new top of the range Merc into it and stalled. The car still had the plastic on the seats. I asked the garage Ballsbridge motors how much the car had cost. The sales guy told me the price which I forget and he said that it was sold by them and It had to have a new engine and new carpets plus lots more. She was lucky the seats did not get wet as white leather seats would never be the same again.
Anyhoo when we made it back on the Swords road there was a Garda standing at the crossroads, there he was,leaning over the railings on the traffic island, traffic blocked to his left, blocked on his right and blocked straight on.
He leaned over the barrier with his hat at a jaunty angle like something out of the movie "the quiet man".
No bother to him!
You say he had the expression of "A goat looking at thunder"
We were OK but some cars ran out of petrol,some drivers ran for a pee in the bushes, others had babies on board crying.
There was no planning at all.
We had no show to go to or flights to catch.
We were stuck for over 2 hours.
John another taxi driver told me he saw a big punch up between 2 drivers.
Fact is, if someone steals a bicycle they put up the Garda helicopter,thousands of cars were stopped and no master plan sprang into operation.
I did see the emergency response unit coming but any emergency vehicles I saw were fighting their way through the stopped traffic instead of coming back on the empty motorway on the closed section of road. There was no one in charge or so it seemed.
On the way into Santry village there was a river of water coming down the hill. All the shores were blocked!!!!
I was in Vichy France years ago the thunder and rain came but the shores were 2 meters long and nothing was blocked. 2 people were killed by lightning in the area that day though.
Guess you can't cater for everything.
Then doing nothing is not a solution either.
As I write the M1 and M50 remain closed in places.
Have a good one.
MAKE LOVE NOT WAR.
Ask driver for details.
Monday, August 04, 2008
James Joyce carved in wood aboard the Ulysses.
The lord mayors coach.
I forgot my camera and the Dublin horse show started the other day, the lord mayor in full uniform in his stately coach pulled by 4 horses went in procession to open the show. Alas it was in torrential rain, I have seldom seen the weather to be so bad, apart from last year that is.
When the kids were small we had a book called "Bagpuss on a rainy day"all about a little mouse who asked everyone to stop the rain. He was just about to give up when he met a gnome who said certainly and he turned off the rain...Moral of the story is that you can ask from the biggest to the most important, but if you don't ask the right person it won't be done.
Will someone please turn off the rain.
Every time I see mad driving I feel that if only I had a video camera.
Well in this day and age someone has...And thank God they put it on the iternet.
Now even I thought this was mad.
I have seen a lot.
Sometimes you meet someone you have not met in 50 years and you see the young face that was there all those years ago, sometimes not.
Just the usual small talk where are you going to? Do you know so and so? How do you know them? Then, I know you !
I am ******** Well you could have knocked me over with a sledgehammer !!!
She was an old woman, 5 stone overweight and had difficulty standing up or walking..
God, time had been hard on her looks too.
I rang an old school friend who had met her recently and he agreed with me but said that she had been a heavy smoker for years, which might explain her bad skin and withered looks. Lets just say she was no Jane Fonda.
Look I am no superstar myself but she gave me a fright.
Just as well I have a picture in the attic which ages while I stay young.
I went to Lidl the other day.. School folders and colored pens are on display another sign that the "Summer" is almost over,If you drive a car drop in,they were selling fluorescent bibs for e3. I remember changing a tire on the roadside in Spain and the cars almost brushing my back, thank Got they had a hi vis jacket in the boot.
Anyhow it will be part of your kit soon along with your first aid kit and fire extinguisher. Not to mention you GPS positioner and VHF 2 way radio.
A guy who was returning from a tour of S.America. He is a sound engineer he went to Argentina, Boiivia,Venuezela, Nicuragua and Brazil.Talked about Brazilia the new capital city built from scratch and the big beach outside Rio. A very dangerous place Rio. We spoke of the movie "City of God"but in his opinion it is much more dangerous than when the gangs controlled it all.
Now he says it is the police who are in charge of the drugs trade and its much more dangerous.
He told me how they had 2 days rest in Rio the beautiful girls and the great passion for football.
Driving a taxi is great in that your passengers come from all over the world and they will tell you about the exotic places they came from if you only ask.
Click on the photo to enlarge it then look on the bottom R/H corner
A hub from a modern windmill.
A red post box belonging to HM the Queen.
Well this is your lot from Wales. I found my car keys shortly after I promised St.Anthony his money. They were under my bedside chair where they fell when I changed my trousers.Thanks to him St.Vincent DePaul got e10.
Well a lot of people seem to be away and those that remain are doing other things.
I tried to do a bit 4 times and in the end I came home to bed. I was going to get up at 5.15 am to meet the boat,but I slept on when the alarm went off.
How bad it was I cannot describe.
I had a guy who was going to start driving a taxi in a couple of weeks !!
"Are you mad ?, look at the taxis blocking the road at the train station"
You can't tell people but I asked him to hire a taxi for 3 months to see how it goes, then at least he will not have made the financial outlay which is non refundable.
Picked 2 guys going to Artaine. Going up Vernon Avenue I asked if they wanted to go over by Killester and Donnycarney? No comment, so I took it to be a yes.
When I turned the wheel. "Where th fuck r you off to. I said I was going t Artaine not around the world". There was no use arguing so I did a U turn."why didn't ya keep going on whare ya were going"So I dropped him on Ardlea Rd and his mate was going to Glasnevin..Road unknown..so I made him direct me.
During the conversation earlier his mate had said something about the passenger being "home on leave". To return the journey to a more normal vibe I asked him if he was in the army only to be met with "Thats none of your fucking business"
I slowed the car right down, looked him straight in the face,"Watch your lip"
He mumbled a bit and the rest of the journey continued in near silence.
So I feel that he has been released on parole from prison.
He might have been living in a protected situation for a while and he has a chip on his shoulder,but if he doesn't cop himself on he is going to get a good wallop from someone.It would not have been me though.
He was the kind of guy that if he was alone and the sun came out he would argue with his shadow.
The numbers game has become chronic with creep back from the ranks blocking traffic all over the city. The number of taxi ranks is almost the same as it was when there were 2,5oo taxis in Dublin..Now 12,000 taxis try to fit on the same number of ranks.
Now what we need is the city to grow 5 fold and fuel to go back to 60c a litre.
Better get back out there, work hard and be lucky.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
A cruise ship turns in Dublin port.
The funicular railway.
Image from the "camera obscura"
The angel on the war monument.
Signs are in Welsh and English"
Well I am back from Wales,"There be dragons there".
It is great to travel by ship the whole experience is restful,no one asks you to take off your shoes or throw away your water bottle, only to sell you another bottle on the other side of the gate!.
The ship we sailed on is the biggest car ferry in the world and it sails as smooth as anything and our crossings were great.
Don't ask your sat nav to direct you on a long journey, mine brought me through Snowdonina National Park instead of the route we followed coming back.
There used to be a radio programme called "Down your way" where the presenter used to wander around Britain telling us about each town on his travels a great BBC radio show.
Alas like most things its gone.
Well when I arrived in Aberystwyth I recalled how the railway pulled travelers up the hill in a train powered by water balance in tanks and a cable it was built in 1896 in the Victorian age, its quite a climb up.The attraction at the top of the hill was a fairground and they have rebuilt one of the Wonders,the "camera obscura".
The photo above is of the image which is projected on to a steel table, it looks just like a photo until you notice people walking about and the waves breaking on the shore.
When it was first built it must have been the talk of the world.I was quite impressed.
"Its done by mirrors don't you know"
Now I am out of bed and when I get the house tidied up I will be out to work.
When I find the keys to my wife's car that is,I locked the roof sign in the boot of her car while I went traveling.
I can't find the key.
Over here we say a prayer to Saint Anthony and he finds missing things.