Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Galway races

 At this time of year there is a race meeting at Ballybritt its the Galway races, 2 taxi drivers headed off hoping to bankrupt the bookies.

You might almost predict that their wishes did not come true and they were heading off home stone broke.

Thre was a cheerful young lad thumbing a lift and he was delighted when he found that they were going all the way to Dublin. Its Crumlin for me as he settled in.

The conversation was mighty and he told them of all the races he had been to this one was the best ever.He hoped that their luck would be better next year.

This was before the modern roads and there was a bit of a traffic jam in Kilbeggan. There in front of them was a Garda and he stopped them.

"The reason I asm stopping you is that you have only one headlight and your tax disc is 3 months out of date, you have a bald tyre and a rear light not working.Give me your license. This is 6 months out of date as well"

So he took out his note book and wrote down all the details, he told them to drive on when the passenger got out and walked up to the Garda.

These are fine men they are giving me a lift and they are coming home from the races,

be easy on them and they will fix everything in the morning. No No said the Garda and the young lad started patting him on the back and on the chest, No I have to do my job said the Garda. With that the young lad jumped back into the car and started to direct them on a short cut back to Crumlin, sure across country through Clane and they landed in Crumlin. Pull over here on the left lads, turn off the engine for a minute and we will say goodnight.

The reason I did so well at the races is not that I picked winners, I am a pickpocket. Here I have both your wallets and I also have your wristwatch.

Now don't worry about that old Garda he will do nothing, because I took his note book.

It was a wonderful challenge for me as he had a button on the pocket. 

Now there is a story you can tell if you ever get back into the pub

One week down

 Well I am back and thanks to all my customers who directed me to their destination.

I was off for 18 months owing to Covid and I have forgotten so much of the city.

Building sites which have grown into apartments while I was away, streets have become pedestrian only and more.Thank God for the good people who kept me on track.

I turned on the SatNav on the phone a few times and it is a crazy navigational aid. I was going to Bishop St and I put it into the phone and it told me to turn around and go back the other way, so I said to the passenger "Is that not Bishop St?" Yes it is, but the SatNav is telling me to go the opposite way.  I am lucky to have you on board to keep me right

We have a new grandchild on the way and DV that all goes well.

I was lucky that I had the blog which helped me to write the book, its not brilliant but I suppose it kept me out of trouble. "The steering wheel university" By Paul Malone.

My youngest son was in the same class as the son of the writer Roddy Doyle and at parent teacher meetings we would meet. He read this blog and often told me to write the book,the only thing you will regret is that you never tried. So thanks to Roddy we have it.

My first born has a significant birthday coming up. He lives in London and there was a lot of doubt if he could come home or not, it looks like it is all go.They really grow up fast.

We dug up loads of old photos and have sent him photo books spanning the years.

Just keeping this short and I want you to say a special prayer for the mother and father

in Northern Ireland. For some reason of total madness the mother killed her 2 year old son and stabbed her baby.  As a father of 3 boys and 2 grandchildren it distorts all that we believe in.

I hope and pray that everyone involved can find peace.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

You are damned if you do and your damned if you don't

 I did go back and worked for a few hours, nothing too hard.

The funny thing is that I confessed and took guidance from my customers

I went shopping on the way home yesterday and when I was coming out of the supermarket there was a lady loading tons of stuff into her Mercedes car, I asked her if she was running an orphanage and we spoke for 10 mins.She was in fact shopping for online customers and delivering to their homes. Her work had dried up owing to covid and this low paid task helped her through the week. I was gobsmacked in a way I admired her bottle for getting out there and making a go of it.Most of us curse the dark instead of turning on the light.

Later on I met a lady who was speaking Arabic on her phone. When she finished her call I said the only Arabic words that I know,"Shockran Habibi" (Thanks honey bunch )

We spoke about this and that and I asked if she was a nurse or a doctor. She turned out to be an interpreter and she said that she would hate to work in social services or child protection.

The thing about that is you damned if you do and damned if you don't  

Then she hit me with this story.

Did you hear about the 16 year old boy who was taken into care because his parents were fighting ?

He really wanted to talk to his mother and they blocked him.

He was upset beyond all reason. Then he saw his chance to escape and went out down to the river Liffey and killed himself.

He was only 16 he needed someone to listen to him and to help him, not to be locked up. 

A mediator to be placed into the house for a few sessions might have brought around a more peaceful solution.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

This has gone on long enough

Well I finally have had enough and I am going back next week.

I am fed up being bored and short of pocket money.

I bought a different type of respirator which blocks viruses and bacteria. 

The cloth ones are useless or so I was told.

Amazon are a strange bunch a whole heap of stuff will not be delivered to the Irish republic, but I can get them through my son in the north of Ireland.

Mr. Kitchen the 3 star Scottish chef must be really feeling the pain of his actions over there in Scotland. Keeping the staffs tips was never a problem for him before. He and his wife took £700 each every month, the manager took another slice of the cake while his staff worked under dreadful conditions in the restaurant and were given a fraction of their gratuities. 

Morality is always for the other people. 

Another case of privileged people has hit the headlines. None other than Prince Fiasal Bin Turki Bin Abdallah Al Saud he is the grandson of the late king of Saudi Arabia.

His domestic staff fled his mansion in Paris and took refuge in Paris, they lodged a complaint of cruelty starvation and that his children were encouraged to beat them and spit in their faces.

The French are proactive about this kind of thing so we will see.

You know the story about the guy from the Saudi Embassy that I had a row with?

I stopped and asked him what would his mother think if she could see him now?

A few months later I had this guy in the car and when I told him the story he wanted me to look at the staff photographs and he would send him home.

This present passenger turned out to be the charge de fer of the embassy and he was very impressed that I would not let him be punished.

He asked me for my number.

I gave him yours instead.

About the talking version of the book! Not as easy as I thought.

I will have to find a producer and a sound man, as if something is not done properly it is not worth doing at all. I understand,I know nothing about sound production, I also need a neutral opinion about a professional actor  reading the part. 

I wonder if Gabriel Byrne has some free time ? 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Take my tips Mr Kitchen ?

 I love when justice comes to people who have sinned and deserve to be punished. Like the guy who overtakes you at a bad spot only to be noticed by an unmarked police car.

The guilty often go free, but when they got caught it brings joy to my heart for sure.

So in Edenborough in Scotland there is a 2 star Michelin restaurant there called Scran &Scallie the management are accused of taking the tips which were rightly given to staff. Mr Kitchen the owner and his wife it is alleged took £700 a month each. 

Well a whistleblower spoke to the Times, then other staff came forward with further allegations of bullying and violence against staff. 

Joe public is of the opinion that the stars be taken from him and the union has jumped up to defend staff.(Where were they until now)

In Dawson St. in Dublin there was a restaurant which was doing exactly the same, or so it was alleged.

I must go in and ask the staff how things are going now.

It is really nice to see the bully getting a slap, hotel staff are really badly treated.

Micheal Winner who used to write for the Times newspaper had a brilliant story about a place in Italy. The tables were always booked for many weeks in advance.

There was a bench on one side which seated 4 people. They were the reserve and if they had a no show the diners got that table. But at the end of the night those people would get a free meal if no table had become vacant all through the nigh, to reward their patience.

The Matre De went from table to table asking how they liked the food and he knew many of them by name. He closed the establishment for 2 months every year to rest the staff and have redecoration done. One day a small French gentleman was eating there and he introduced himself as Egon Rone of the Michelan guide and he was going to present him with 2 gold stars, this is very rarely awarded. "Please please keep your voice down". He then sat down at the table and talked to him and asked him how he could improve, you are very welcome to come back at any time and eat with us and I am so pleased to have met you. He brought him into the kitchen and introduced him to all the staff. Egon praised their methods and the cleanliness of the kitchen.He watched for 1/2 an hour as the staff worked their magic

We will not be accepting the award, this would be a poisoned chalice, my staff would be under pressure, people would come to judge my food, not to enjoy and be surprised and many of them would not want to pay. This will not happen here.

Mr Rene here is your bill, please do come back to visit us again, you are very very welcome. 

So you see two sides of the same coin.

I have an award so I will steal the tips of my staff. 

I take pride in my restaurant and look after my customers and staff

Saturday, July 10, 2021

No place like home

 I know that I have only been away for 6 days, but it seems longer.

My son lives in Armagh in Northern Ireland, so we got the jabs and we haven't seen the grandchildren much for the past 18 months.

That is a long time for small kids.

We visited two stately homes when we were there and had tours around parts of them.

You could not fathom the wealth of these Lords, one of them said that he could walk from his stately home to Dublin without leaving his own land. Thats around 150 miles!

The estates were broken up and death duties and inheritance taxes finally finished them off.

Northern Ireland is a complex country. Republicans who want to be in Southern Ireland and the the Loyalists who want to stay under British rule.

You would be a very clever person to be able to work it all out. There is a lot of innocent blood on the hands of both sides. 

Anyhoo I hope to start the audio book over the weekend and the the Steering wheel university will breathe a new life. I gave a copy of the book to a neighbor and he told me that there was 2 spelling mistakes !. I was stunned for a second and asked him how many spelling mistakes there was in his book.

I tried to share Paul Bradys song the island but you will have to go to YouTube yourselves.

Paul and I are the same age. just a few days apart.

He on the other hand is a very talented man.

Paul Brady - The Island

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Missed chances

Before I say anything

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and relatives

Go to You tube and put in Yankee doodle dandy !

Everyone knows the story about the music director who turned down the Beatles, he said that there was no future in that kind of music.

One day I had the head honcho from EBay in the taxi and he asked me if I had ever used it.

Back then there was no Amazon so I had used it and what a great idea it was.

Then he said that they were going to celebrate 10 years in business and he wanted to treat 30 of the key staff to a meal out. Where do you think would be a good place to go?

There is a hotel in Ballsbridge that does a special taster menu, 30 or so dishes with different wines, I have been told that it is really special. I couldn't think of the name of the Dylan hotel at the time but I said that I would call in and get them to call him.

I did call in and asked to speak to a manager, no one was available, perhaps the catering manager? No. 

So I gave the number to reception and asked that they call, two hours later I phoned him and he thanked me, but they had not called. He told me that they had booked out Patrick Gilbeau restaurant. Your meal there in today's money would be around €200 a plate.

A university professor from Cambridge was going to the airport, he talked to me about property prices here, he wanted to buy an investment property. He gave me his card and I said that I would get someone to call him this evening.

This was before the internet took off !

There is an estate agent that I had used before at the bottom corner of the Malahide rd.

I went in and I could see my man through the glass, but the receptionist would not call him out. Then she just shooed me out of the office. I went up to another auctioneers office DNG, the guy knew me from having sold me my present house. He stood up and shook my hand and I told him my story. Then he took my number and a few days later he rang me back to thank me and he said that it looks like he is buying 2 propertys.

6 months later he rang again to thank me, he had made 2 sales.

That is good business, but you cannot dwell on the missed opportunity.

I am off to visit my son in Northern Ireland and I had such a job getting Sterling. I went to the post office and they told me 2 photo IDs I handed them in and the guy said that the ID has to be current and less that 3 weeks of issue. I know nobody that could do that. I went to a second place, same thimg.

The next day I went back with driving licence passport and 2 current household bills and got the money. At no time was I asked to bring bills or even on the website,

Anyhoo I am off to see the grandchildren