I will openly admit that I am being very lazy at the moment.My past week in pictures.
If BBC can do it, then so can I. My flip seems to be malfunctioning which is a huge shame as I got, or at least thought I got, a great photo during the week.
Last weekend myself and the girls packed our cabin bags and headed to Guernsey to visit our friend Michelle. I emphasise cabin because Flybe’s overhead cabins are pretty tiny so I had to put my bag on a free seat!
For those of you who don’t know, Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands about 30 miles from the French coast and 75 miles from the English
coastline. Guernsey has a deep, rich history which I don’t know much about so I won’t pretend I do. What I do know is that it’s a tax haven so lots of rich people hiding out there saving their pounds! One of the Islands celeb residents includes Jenson Button, which is interesting as the speed limit on the Island is 35 miles per hour! A welcome change for him, no doubt!
The island is approximately 6 miles x 12 and has a population of 70,000 so its quiet heavily populated. Guernsey is a ‘crown dependency’ but they basically govern themselves and are not part of the UK or the European Union.
Like many tax haven’s I think Guernsey is the kind of place you will only visit if you know someone who lives there. It’s a beautiful, interesting Island but a real pain to get to from Dublin having to stop in Gatwick or Southampton. It’s also relatively expensive as many inhabitants, but not all, would have a high level of disposable income.
Here are some of my observations:
- House prices on the open market, for foreign residents can be up to 50% higher than for the locals.
- Foreign residents need to have a license to live there, a license which does run out.
- Meat Auctions are popular in pubs on a Saturday night where you buy a raffle ticket and can win anything from a shoulder of lamb to an
- Honesty Boxes litter the sides of the small narrow roads. You can pick up eggs, potatoes, daffodils at the moment, books and veg. You simply leave the money behind in a little box! Apparently a few years ago money was stolen from an Honesty Box, an incident which made headlines in The Guernsey Press.
- The Island in stunning with beautiful coastal and cliff walks. It is also super clean and tidy.
- The Island is famous for its Pearls, dairy produce and wool
- Victor Hugo wrote ‘Les Miserables’ in Guernsey.
So that’s it. On my return Michelle’s boyfriend Stephen, who is a Gurn, will be there to give us the historical tour. I shall look forward to it.
A little birdie told me a few weeks ago that Jo’Burger man from Rathmines was setting up a pop up restaurant in Crane Lane, Temple Bar.
‘Tweet, tweet’ said the little birdie, and I did. Securing some of the coveted ‘#tweetseats’ for me and my inner circle.
Crackbird is what it’s called and yummy is what it was. The food was simple buckets of chicken and sides. Why is it that when something is served in a bucket it tastes so damn good.
Be prepared for very sticky fingers, well to be honest a sticky everything! The sauces are amazing but the Habanero will not meet hotness expectations. Follow @crackbird on twitter and try to secure a free dinner, if not you’ll pay, but not much.
Another great tip for foodies is to try to get a table at one of Lilly Higgins’ ‘Loaves & Fishes Supper Club’. Lilly has basically set up an underground restaurant that she runs from her sister’s home in Dublin. We were served delicious food, in an amazing venue by a great team of Higgins sisters. Check out Lilly’s Blog to see photos and details of the next supper club.
I am hoping to try an underground restaurant Chez Moi at some stage over the next couple of months. There are a few obstacles to my success, small house, small oven, neighbours on both sides! But I think I can make it work with the proper planning and patient guests! My Chef sister, San Francisco resident, recently held her second ‘Knead to Know’ underground pizzeria. I might look into this, I make a mean pizza, just not sure if the oven would handle it. I’ve tried fire bricks on the BBQ but it just didn’t work! Check out ‘Pig in the City’ to see how the ‘Knead to Know’ evening went!
In the meantime I am doing ‘Come Dine with Me’ with the girls. They’d eat anything, but are tricky customers all the same and @crackBIRDdublin stole my idea, they really did.
I like doing new stuff, it makes me feel satisfied at the end of the day. Even the stuff I hate I put down to experience, like the time I took
Kayaking lessons, culminating in tears rolling down my face in the middle of the Liffey at strawberry beds in the pouring rain one summer’s eve! Oh god I hated it.
So on Wednesday night I did a new thing, I baked B
agels, real ones: a real bagel is boiling them before you put them in the over.
My parents were great. When we were kids, they’d go to New York and bring home fresh bagels, they’d bring home croissants and fresh cherries from Paris too! We’re eaters, they made us happy. Anyway I baked my own, and they were fab, a little odd looking but just like the real thing!
Then at the weekend I decided to go home to Wexford to my sister’s house and go horse riding on her horse Billy. I hadn’t been horse riding in about 20 years. See I broke my arm 4 times when I was younger, one time getting up on the horse and falling off the other side! So that was the end of my horse riding. Anyway I decided I wanted to have a go again. It was cool, althoughI had forgotten how bumpy it is. My three year old nephew was there, as he doesn’t see me very often he is still a little unsure as to who I am so he told his mother ‘the lady wants to ride the horse’. Yes, a lady.
And I saw frog spawn, god I haven’t see that in years. It’s like it ceased to exist, but it didn’t, I just haven’t been in a wet ditch in a while.
This week I am going to start the training to become a mentor at the ISPCC, where I work! Last week I visited a 5 year old client with my colleague who is experiencing behavioural problems. He was a gorgeous little boy, full of life and wonder. We did ‘me’ maps, colouring in and played Jenga, another thing I haven’t done in a while. It’s amazing what a little support can do for a family.
Oh god, the annual problem of finding a way to use the 20 precious days we are granted, more if we are lucky, by our employers.
Every year I panic about this issue. How far can I go, how many days will I take at a time, how much money do I have. Is it a bit sad just to stay in Europe, or Ireland, or do I have to go to Papua New Guinea, or Hong Kong for the weekend. Normally, its easy enough to work out!
Last summer it was over 2 weeks in Spain, taking in 8 days of walking the Camino de Santiago. I bought the new boots for hiking, that I was supposed to break in, and didn’t. I got all the stuff and headed off with himself landing in the beautiful, must-see Bordeaux and then making our way by train and bus to the start of the camino, a 790 km walk from St Jean Pied de Post in the french Pyrenees to Santiago in Northwest Spain.
The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage, and you will be called a pilgrim the whole way along with your pilgrim passport (get it in St Jean/St Jame’s Gate in Dublin), you’ll order pilgrim menus, stay in pilgrim hostels and go to pilgrim masses. I did not do it for religious reasons but for the challenge, adventure and of course the craic. For many it is a real spiritual journey, for me it was a nice long walk in the country side with many stops for food, beer and wine!
The first day was the hardest, the longest, the highest and the steepest of the eight that we did. But it was amazing, and we were really lucky to get a beautiful day with fabulous visibility. That night we stayed in a 120 bed hostel. Lights out at 10 – lights on at 6 and monks singing alleluia. Oh the joys!
We carried our bags the whole way but you can choose not to. There are many companies that will collect your bag each morning and drop it off in a specified hostel at your next spot. Most people walk the structured way so you will run into the same people the whole way along. We ran in to my boyfriend’s mother’s cousin who was a 79-year-old sex therapist from Canada, he hadn’t met her in 20 years! That’s a story for another time!
The Camino continues with daily walks of between 17-24km , at least for the stretch we did. We walked through beautiful little villages and towns with everyone along the way greeting us with ‘Buen Camino’! We spent a night in Zuibri ,a sign just outside the town says ‘You are now leaving Zuibri and some comedian has added ‘thank god’.
Then on to IIarratz, pamplona, Uterga, Puente La Reine,Lorca, the stunning Villamayor de monjairdin, Los Arcos,
Torres del rio and ending in the crazy Logrono.
Logrono seems to be the stag and hen capital of northern spain. A really chilled out, no frills city with a nice central square, great food and easy access to elsewhere in Spain if you only get that far along the Camino like we did.
The Camino is marked the whole way along so there is no need to worry that you may lose your way. If you are young and able I would suggest carrying your bag as it gives you a real sense of the struggle!! If not, as I said, there are loads of companies to carry it for you. My biggest tip, one that no one gave me, is to bring books and lots of them. Yes your bag is heavy, bla bla bla but most days you will arrive at the town where you will stay at 3/4pm in the afternoon. Once you have washed your knickers in the sink, had a beer, bandaged feet ( I didn’t have to do this, thank god) etc. you will want a book to wind down!
And then compeed, compeed and more compeed. If it doesn’t save your life it will help you save someone elses.
We covered approx 200km and then on to Barcelona by train for a few days. I’ll definitely be back for more. Buen Camino.