Friday 30 November 2007


When we were still living in South Africa my friend Lee Ann got a pair of crocs. A beige pair. Shaun, her husband got a navy blue pair. I though they were the stupidest (yes, stupidest) shoes I had ever seen. Ugly too. Who on this green earth would want to wear fat, plastic, holey shoes? Well they swore up and down that they were the most comfortable shoes, and VERY popular in the USA. I decided that they had to say that because the shoes were so gross and if they wanted to wear them so be it. As time went on more people started wearing crocs. I even looked at a pair for Malcolm as a Christmas present last year. To be honest I even tried a pair on. Unfortunately I looked like a duck, I have a narrow foot and it swam inside the shoe. Also the sizing was all wrong, medium was just too small and large was well, too large!
Then 9 months later I walked into Arnotts on Henry Street in Dublin and a riot of colourful crocs greeted me, AND the jibbitz!!!! Now I really do not think I am an accessory kind of girl but the jibbitz sealed the deal. I needed a pair of crocs. Luckily for me they have a new style, the cayman (clever croc people) which fits my foot a lot better. I also learned that it is supposed to be quite a loose fit. I decided if I was going to wear these ugly plastic shoes I was going to make a statement with the colour so I chose purple. Of course they would be my house shoes so it did not really matter anyway. Kirstin chose a wonderful pearly pink pair and we oohed and aahed over the all important jibbitz and added them to our purchase. Jessica, the sensible one, did not get crocs, she loved the jibbitz but decided she did not think she could stomach the shoes. The jibbitz had me hook line and sinker. I got home and put on my jibbitz and started wearing my caymans, to the shops, to the mall, on the bus into town, hill walking, driving, even went for a 7km walk around the area in them. I could not stop wearing them! So much for house shoes, they are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. I do not care if people look at me funny, I am walking on cloud 9 all the time! I must say that in SA loads of people were sporting a pair of crocs when we left, here I feel like the only one. I do not care. When we went away for the weekend I wore them on our memorable soggy hill walk and my feet got soaked, duh, the shoes are full of holes, but after the wet muddy walk I ran them under the tap, dried them and stuck them straight back on! The kids wore their takkies (runners), they were wet and filthy. We tried to clean them as best we could in the shower and put them in a bag in the car. They took 3 days to dry. I think I will get a pair of wellies for walking, but I will only wear them if it is wet and I can't wear my crocs. I am going back to Arnotts to get some Christmas jibbitz for December, and perhaps if the budget allows another pair of caymans. At the very least they will be on my Christmas list, so Santa I do hope you read my blog! The small picture on the top of the page can be enlarged for a better view of the jibbitz!

Thursday 29 November 2007

A while ago I posted something on the Irish, now I can even up the scores with a South African list…I think I actually need to sit down and make up my own one, this came off of Face Book. I am sure there are a lot more funnier things about SA than listed here but it is a start. As you will notice...crime is a strong theme, just like living in Dublin I have discovered that weather is the biggest reason Irish people are surprised that we moved here.


Ø You produce a R100 note instead of your driver's licence when stopped by a traffic officer.
Sad but very often true, although not EVERYONE does this!

Ø You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
- Anything from DVD’s, Coca Cola to seasonal fruit, also availalbe from your car window at a traffic light (robot)

Ø You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car
_Available at all shopping centres near you!

Ø You can count the national soccer team's scores with no fingers
Ø To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750
Ø Hijacking cars is a profession
Ø You can pay your tuition fees by holding up a sign at a traffic light
Ø The petrol in your tank may be worth more than your car
Ø More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election
People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty, Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Patience, Precious, Innocence and Given
Ø "Now now" can mean anything from a minute to a month
Ø You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction
Most likely on the wrong side of the road with about 20 people squeezed inside – one holding the door to keep it closed
Ø Travelling at 120 km/h you're the slowest vehicle on the highway
AND that is the speed limit!
Ø You're genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it
Ø A bullet train is being introduced, but we can't fix potholes
Ø The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday
Ø You paint your car's registration on the roof
So the helicopters can find it if your car is stolen/hijacked
Ø You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital
Ø You have to prove that you don't need a loan to get one
Ø Prisoners go on strike
Ø You don't stop at a red traffic light in case somebody hijacks your car
Ø You consider it a good month if you only get mugged once
This one is a bit of poetic licence, kind of like people saying it ALWAYS rains in Dublin.
Ø Rwandan refugees start leaving the country because the crime rate is too high
Ø When 2 Afrikaans TV programmes are separated by a Xhosa announcement of the following Afrikaans programme, and a Pedi ad
Ø The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are
Ø The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the programme you just finished watching
SABC is our national TV station (like RTE here in ireland)
Ø You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather
Ø You call a bathing suit a "swimming costume"
My friend Karen pointed out that the reason that a lot of Northern hemisphere people call it a bathing suit is because they use it in the BATH whereas we use it in a SWIMMING POOL!!!
Ø You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you've never had any
Available at all fine health shops and even some Super Valu's in Dublin!
Ø You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them
Ø You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela
Ø You go to "braais" (barbecues) regularly, where you eat boerewors(long meaty sausage-type thing) and swim, sometimes simultaneously
Ø You know that there's nothing to do in the Free State
Ø You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from SA

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Fat Santas and other things

Wow, I cannot believe it, less than a month to go and it is Christmas! I am so looking forward to Christmas in the Northern hemisphere. For starters we are getting a REAL tree, I am just trying to decide where best to put it for maximum enjoyment. I love taking out all my tins of Christmas decorations, I have some that the kids have made over the years, ice cream sticks stuck together with red noses, cut out card glitter trees, pipe cleaners and polystyrene balls and more. Then I have the ones my mom bought me in my favourite shop in Harrison, Greetings and Salutations, nice fat Santa's in different colour suits, red, green and purple. The stained glass ones my mom-in-law gave me for Christmas one year, and so many more. The best thing about taking all the decorations out are the memories that come out with them. I have never been one to just go out and buy mass produced supermarket baubles. I like the little angels I found in a florist shop, the snowmen I found in a Christmas shop after Christmas on sale. ooohhh and the globe I bought at Costco with the lights that come on in the village, the big nutcracker my friend Maiju gave me....
Having said that I do think a formal Christmas tree is absolutely beautiful, but it definitely does not fit in my not so formal home!
Now I am off to the attic to rummage through my long does a fresh Christmas tree stay fresh???

Tuesday 27 November 2007

A weekend in the life of...

Another weekend has whizzed by, they just seem to go so fast! On Friday evening we invited Rob, Irene and kids around for dinner. I decided to do lasagne, salad and tiramisu as I would not have to be stuck in the kitchen cooking. I used Isabella's recipe for tiramisu with a slight adaptation and it was all eaten, so it must have been good! Afterwards we got hold of the Playstation and played Buzz (quiz game) which was loads of fun, Rob and I came from behind to be victorious and then in the second round the tables were turned on us by Malcolm and Irene!

On Saturday morning Jessica had a hockey match at her school so Malcolm took her and Kirstin and I met up with them later. Unfortunately I missed most of the game as I had got the start time wrong. After the game we went to St Killian's School as they were having a German Christmas fare. I was really looking forward to it as I imagined browsing through all sorts of wonderful Christmas goodies. To say that I was disappointed would be a HUGE understatement, it was over-crowded and there were not very many Christmas goodies but there was a lot of second hand bric-a brac (rhymes with...C--P). We beat a hasty retreat, well not so hasty as we had to squeeze through so many people, and went home.

We decided to go and try the hamburger joint, Joburger for dinner as we had read about it and Rose had also recommended it to us. We had a look at their website and decided it was definitely worth a visit. We had to wait for a bit for a table and then got squeezed onto a bench. The restaurant setup is just long tables with benches for seats. Jess and Malcolm did not like that so much, Jess has this thing about sitting too close to other people....and she obviously gets it from Malcolm! Of course to make matters worse for Malcolm, Jessica sat as close to him as possible so that she could have a bigger gap between herself and the stranger to her right! The menus were brilliant, old annuals that have the menu inside the first page - very c-l-e-v-e-r! I had a Famous Five, good ole times! The music was great, all 80's stuff until the DJ got there and then he added his own...spin.
The hamburgers were huge, the toppings are unique but I had my burger in a wrap and the way it is served makes it extremely awkward to eat. We ordered a side of bush fries which were not really anything to write home about, and of course with such big burgers we could not eat them anyway. I thought the whole set up was a lot of fun, the place is very small though, so the windows got all steamy and it was very warm and toasty, maybe too warm and toasty!
I don't think that Malcolm and Jess would rush back, unless it was lunch and not so busy, and they are definitely the fan of the hamburger in our family. I think it is definitely worth a visit with friends, but keep in mind, the people next to us were asked to leave as there was a queue for tables so eat up!!!

On Sunday we got up late and pottered around all morning. Then I took a stroll down to the Farmer's market and bought bread, relish, nuts and some DIVINE croissants and pain au chocolates (spelling?). I felt decidedly European, especially buying the pain au chocolats, the man serving was very French, told me butter does not count on a Sunday, after tasting a sample of a croissant I decided to believe him! Came home and we ate bread, cheese and relish and later had coffee and the delicious French treats.
At around 18h00 Malcolm and I went for a nice long walk around the neighbourhood, of course it was pitch dark but it was great to get out of the house.
Monday morning turned into a mad panic, Malcolm turned his alarm off in the morning and we woke up at 07H45, the time Malcolm and Jess normally LEAVE!!! I told Malcolm to drop Jess off at the luas as it would be quicker than driving, so Jess still made it to school on time, 08H20, public transport sometimes you got to love it!

Monday 26 November 2007

With thanks to friends in the know and GOOGLE

I have learned a lot since my anonymous guest book comment. I also realise that there is still so much more to learn! The most important lesson I learned is that friends and family stand by you and are willing to stand up for you too!
Secondly, my friend showed me how to look up an IP number, from this you can do a search and it will give you some interesting information, often even an email address. I found out the following: "John Smit"(this is also the name of our South African rugby captain just by the way) lives in Ireland and the range he/she uses is used by smart telecom DSL customers who subscribe to! From the IP number we got latitude and longitude co ordinates. I then did a search for those and map quest even provided me with a nice little map, not quite pinpointing the house, but fascinating none the less! I am not sure how accurate it is but it came out near Mespill Rd and the N11 in Dublin south, I actually had a look at the area on a website like google earth. According to my friend you can often even get an actual name if you know someone in the know, know what I mean? Anyway, this was just a post on how little I know of what goes on out there, and I know that I am not alone so I decided to share! Now I shall put all of this to bed and not worry about it ever ever again.
I am sure it is not the first nor the last message like that, I really do not mind, just leave YOUR name, if you have something to say stand behind what you say! Or as my mom has always told me...If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all...but not even I can manage that all the time!

Sunday 25 November 2007

Guest book comment

I always check my guest book. Most of the time I am disappointed. When I do get a message I get excited. Until yesterday. Somebody left a "lovely" message on my blog. Now he is entitled to his questions, but I object to his anonymity, "John Smit". Also if he is in Ireland why use a Georgia flag? I am open and honest on my blog, I even supply pictures, as this is something I do for my friends and family. As far as I am concerned as a holder of an Irish passport I am welcome in Ireland. There are many privileged people in Ireland, whether I am privileged or not has nothing o do with it. We pay our taxes, embrace our life her and have made some friends. Walk in our shoes for a few years in South Africa and then we can have a chat about the decisions we made for the sake of our children. Watching a grown man backhand your daughter in the face during a supermarket hold up and then hiding under the shelves with your daughters (9 and 6) while a security guard is shot, handbags are grabbed from screaming women and then walking out 40 minutes later with no policemen in sight is very sobering. Leaving home and family is not an easy thing to do, we miss the familiarity and the fantastic friends we have there, but we have made choices that we felt were necessary for our sanity.

Friday 23 November 2007

Sleepless nights

Kirstin went to play at Ciara's house 2 weeks ago. Ciara has hamsters. Kirstin came home asking for a hamster, Jess started asking for a hamster. Now they both have hamsters. They have driven me up the wall asking when the hamsters will be at the pet shop, we had put our names down as the girls want dwarf hamsters and none of the pet shops had any. Yesterday I got the call, 2 female dwarf hamsters were available. They had both saved their money, they want them, they pay for them. The cages are pretty cool, tunnels, wheels, ramps, a platform and the little house with a window and door...the hamsters are U-G-L-Y. They are albino hamsters, they have pink eyes. I like the grey striped dwarf hamsters but the kids see inner beauty better than I do, obviously. I think they look a lot like rats, the other dwarf hamsters resemble chipmunks just a little. Which would you prefer? Oh well, the girls are thrilled and they have paid for and will care for their furry bundles of joy so who am I to compare?
Ahhh but wait, hamsters are nocturnal. We knew this when we got them but what we did not know was that Ruby, Kirstin's fluffy friend, would absolutely LOVE her wheel....her "wake me up in the middle of the night" squeaky wheel. Not good. So her first night home and she is not a very popular little rodent. Jessica's, Nibbles, has been a very good quiet hamster up until now but they can both sleep downstairs in the lounge from now on. I wonder if I can put cooking oil on the wheel?

Sticks and Stones

I have lost my first stone! That is 14 pounds or 6.8 kg's for all my South African friends. The cool thing about it being called a stone is that when you reach this milestone (hee hee) you get a little glass pebble (stone). Then everyone in the meeting gets to here about the trials and tribulations of your road to success, all me, me, me for a few minutes...I must say that it has been a fairly slow process but it is good because I have still managed to have good nights out and lose weight.
Unfortunately I could not stay for the meeting as I had to rush home for dinner because I had a hockey meeting at 20h00. Of course after reaching such a fantastic milestone I had pizza for dinner, I may have lost a stone but I know I will never become a stick! So 1 more stone to go and then I will have reached my goal, hope I don't fall off the wagon, I have never made it through maintenance on WW, I always get to a good weight and then just stop going! This time I hope that I can continue and actually finish the maintenance part of the plan.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

The H Day has Arrived

Monday was a miserable day, it was cold,windy and wet. It also happened to be the day I was to go down and watch a bit of hockey and meet my potential new teammates. I was beginning to think that hockey was a BAD idea for the following reasons:

1. It is a winter Ireland winters are cold and wet.
2. Have you seen how hard people hit the ball? Serious injury concerns.
3. I have not run around for 60 minutes in a very long time. Or ever!
4. I have not played hockey in 18 years.
5. When I DID play hockey I played with the people who did not want to play was a
compulsory sport, and I did not like being told what to do...TEENAGERS *sigh*
6. I do not know the terminology, the positions or the rules.

Recipe for disaster...I think so. But good old industrious Karla called me on Monday, their game had been cancelled. I breathed a (silent) sigh of relief. Ah but a little bit too soon, things were actually WORSE, she had organised a game against one of the other teams in the club, a practice game so it would be perfect for me...(insert grumpy grimacy emoticon here) So off to the shops to buy a gum guard, yes I would like to keep my teeth they have served me very well so far. When I got home I then had to mould said gum guard by placing it in just boiled water for 12 seconds and then biting on it and sucking all the air out and running my tongue along the back of my teeth etc. The sensation of this lovely device in my mouth made me want to be sick, not a good start. Then I had to rummage through Jessica's cupboard for her socks and shin guards, hockey ball on the shin is also very unappealing. Luckily I could wear tracksuit pants as it was a friendly and I wore my red fleece with SPORTY emblazoned across the front, just so that they could all see that I really meant business. I made sure that we had dinner nice and early, I did not want to ruin their astro, especially as I knew it was going to be difficult enough creating a good impression gallumphing after the ball....
I said goodbye to the kids in the warm cozy house and braced myself for the dark, cold, windy night. Into the car and I was off....quick U - turn at the top of the road...forgot my hockey stick! Phew, thank goodness I realised before I met 11 new ladies. Of course I got there way too early, 20 minutes to be precise, but there was a soccer team practicing so I sat in my car and watched them play and kept an eye on the trees swaying around in the wind. I was mad, what was I thinking, holy moly I am in over my head where I don't want to be. This is NOT a good idea. Then I saw a lady who I thought could be Kara (up until now I had not met any of the hockey ladies) and knew that I had to be brave and get out of my warm little car and face my deep fear of the.....cold.
The ladies were all very nice and once we had all been introduced, there were 2 other new ladies as well, we went for a little warm up run around the astro, all I could do was pray that I could keep up, I didn't know how many times we were going to have to go around. Thank goodness they all very wisely decided that once was enough and then we stood in 2's and knocked the ball around. Astro is cool! Last time I played hockey it was on lumpy grass, on astro the ball GLIDES, and you only have to tap it and it moves quite quickly. This was NOT so bad after all, tap, tap, tap, pass, pass, pass, I can do this!!!!!
Which position would I like to play? Oh HELP, um wing? I remember playing inner at school...not that we ever played a match against another team, all I remember was running across the field doing feather dribble and spending a lot of the time on the sidelines with "shin splints". I have also spent a lot of time watching Malcolm and Jess play, now all of a sudden I realise that most of that time was used in constructive conversation with other moms or wives. This game is nothing like I remember. The ball moves really fast and I run a lot, my gum guard makes me want to see my dinner again but I really don't, so I slip it out every now and then when the ball is far away (just in case) which helps, and then the whistle goes for half time. Wow, 30 minutes has gone by already! I am warm and flushed and even though I have made some really stupid mistakes and I don't know what Kara means when she says "Go wide" I am really having fun. And there is still 3o minutes to go, yippee.
After the game Kara gave me a timetable of all the upcoming games, so perhaps my faux paux's were not so awful after all, maybe there is hope for me yet!

Sunday 18 November 2007

Wicklow Mountains

On Thursday I decided that we should go and spend a night in the Wicklow mountains. I did some research and came up with a place called Kippure Estate, seemed perfect as it had self catering accommodation. Now this is really not far, 45 - 50 minutes by car but the whole point was to take some board games, watch no TV and have some good old Q time with the kids. I only booked for 1 night, Saturday as I thought the Friday night would be a waste as Malcolm only gets home around 18H30 on a Friday. So Saturday morning dawned rainy and cloudy and we packed the car and set off on our little adventure at 10h00.

By 11h00 we were sitting in the town of Blessington having overshot the turnoff to Kippure, but deciding that it was only 8 km's into Blessington and it sounded like a great place for breakfast. I had a ham and cheese omelette, figured what the hell, I would be walking it off in the mountains later, Malcolm had a full breakfast and the girls had B.L.T.'s, the best I have EVER tasted! Home made bread toasted to perfection, for the sandwiches and our breakfasts, freshly squeezed orange juice and cappuccino's....darn fine start to our trip. After that a short walk through town to the local supermarket, for milk and salad and then back in the car to retrace our steps to Kippure.

Now...for a shopping parking lot this is not too shabby a view....what say you? I know the picture does not quite give it justice but it is better than NOTHING!

Kippure was not too far away and a very pretty drive on very narrow roads! When we turned into the entrance it was so pretty, the Liffy River babbling along to the right of us with mountains, well looked more like big hills, behind it. The peace oozed out of the very air!!

When we got into our unit it was freezing cold and raining, we turned the heat up and had a look around our accommodation. Pretty nice, lots of wood and 8 beds, nice to know for when we have friends or family and want to go away for a weekend. Unfortunately it had started raining and being the South African wimps we are, we opted to stay indoors and play board games, wait for the rain to stop which actually never happened, so much for walking off my BIG breakfast!

Here is the soggy view from our balcony, enlarge it and you may even spot the river!!!

This is the living area of our unit. The view from the kitchen window and the hill with the marching trees
We ended up spending the rest of the day playing Rummikub, Exploring Europe and reading books, which was fantastic as it was great to have the time to play games and read books without thinking of the washing that should be done, the email that needs typing etc etc.

On Sunday morning we woke up and it was not raining! We all had coffees or hot chocolates and a biscuit before heading out for our hill walk. was very wet out and I decided to wear my crocs as my takkies/runners are new and I did not want to wreck them. The girls wore their takkies as they are already fairly mucky and Malcolm had a nice waterproof pair of hiking boots....hurumph... Of course crocs are dotted with holes so within 5 minutes of being out my socks were wet! We climbed the silly looking hill which had the last laugh as it was a lot steeper than it looked and had us all slipping and laughing the whole way up! We were lucky enough to see a whole herd of deer with their stag keeping watch and heard them warning each other of our noisy ascent. Once we got to what we considered the top, the trees that marched along the top of the hill, see pictures, we discovered that we were not at all near the top and it would be another long hike to get to what would probably also not be the top! The kids and I were oozing water out of our shoes, little rivulets of water kept catching us off guard as they flowed their merry way down to the river below. But it was so much fun! We made our own pathway back down towards the river with the idea that there would be a nice path along the river which we could follow back to the bridge to take us back to Kippure. Lots more rivers and much slipping later we arrived at the river to discover that no pathway existed so we had to carry on making our own through wet ferns nearly as tall as ourselves staying close to the river so that we could get back to the bridge! By now our feet were icy and the kids were almost looking for puddles, huge contrast to the beginning of our walk where we were all gingerly stepping over puddles and suspiciously muddy areas, a waste of time we had soon discovered. Now we were all gleefully slipping around in our shoes laughing hysterically when the mud oozed all the way to the laces. My crocs were AMAZING though, the purple beasts stayed purple and when I got home all I had to do was rinse them off under the tap and they were good as new! The takkies/runners......suffice to say they will probably only be used next time we go walking up a muddy hill!

Home and hot showers, mad packing and another coffee and we were all checked out and on our way home by noon. We decided to go a different route and went through the Wicklow mountains home. We got to an intersection and had to jump out the car and take pictures, it was so typically Irish! Malcolm was not too impressed with my photography so he was about to click away himself when I saw that we had started a mini traffic jam with 2 cars waiting patiently behind us! So my pictures will have to do!!! We passed people doing orienteering which the kids thought sounded like a lot of fun, it may even be something we can do in teams, we will do some research...Anyway before we knew it we were back in Dublin and around the corner from home an hour after our meandering had started! Now I will stick some pictures of our walk, maybe you will get to see some of the fantastic views we enjoyed so much this morning.

The beginning....

View of Kippure as we were going up the hill....

Nearly there....

Up close and personal with the marching trees we could see from the kitchen window

What a view....king of the hill

And heading down down down...

Now this does not even LOOK real!

At base camp!

The fern forest, all brown and sadly dead!

How cool is this, fairies paradise according to Kirstin.

The bridge is in sight!

All roads lead to.....

And last but not least our new addition to the family...

Friday 16 November 2007

There IS such a thing as a free lunch!

I went to Super Valu yesterday, and Super Valu it proved to be....there is a new Knorr mashed potato out and the marketing lady was giving out tastes. Jess and Kirstin decided it smelt too good to pass up and so they both got a little cup and a teeny tiny little fork and they were hooked! I was standing chatting to Geraldine, keeping her away from her customers...well the lady needs a break (!) and the kids went off in search of pots of dehydrated mashed potato and Geraldine happily went over to the marketing lady and made sure my girls got another heaping bowl of mash....see it IS who you know, I have connections...he he he.....and free lunch.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Best Blogger Award

I am so nervous....tonight is the night, the Net Visionary Awards and my favourite blogger (Head Rambles - see the link on the right) has a 1 in 3 shot. In my opinion he is head and shoulders above the rest and he puts a smile on many a faces every day. Well I am sending him all my good karma, not that he really needs it, I think he is THAT good! If he does not win it is rigged I am telling ya! GOOD LUCK GRANDAD

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Mackintosh's and galoshes

Ha, woke up to rain this morning, watching it patter down onto the skylight as I type. I cannot tell you when last we woke up to this weather, we have had rain but it has not greeted us first thing in a while, I cannot even remember where is my book......for now I still love this weather

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Facts about Ireland

While browsing the web I came across this little list....thought it would be fun to share!

1. The average height of Irish men is 5' 7".
2. The average height of Irish women is 5'5".
3. 90% of Irish nationals are Catholic but only 30% ever attend church.
4. The average Irish adult spends 3,500 euro a year on alcohol.
5. The most popular Irish Radio station is RTE, attracting 1.1 Million listeners every weekday.
6. The Irish report the lowest annual number of UFO sightings in Europe.
7. The Irish eat 12 million cream eggs between New Years Day and Easter.
8. 70% of married Irish women would consider having an affair while n a foreign holiday without their spouse or children.
9. 90% of all Irish men would do the same.
10. The Irish buy 20 million cigarettes a day.
11. Experts believe that the average price of a 3-bedroom house in Dublin will rise to 250,000 by 2005.
12. The most popular cars in Ireland are the Ford Fiesta & Focus, the Toyota Yaris and the 3 series BMW.
13. The average Irish household has three TV's and two video recorders.
14. The average Irish married couple has sex one and a halftimes a week.
15. The average Irish single couple has sex four times a week.
16. The average unattached Irish male only has sex once every six months.
17. 76% of all Irish nine-year-olds have tried alcohol and cigarettes.
18. 63% of all Irish people think that corrupt politicians should be made bankrupt and then imprisoned.
19. 73% of Americans are unable to locate Ireland on a map bereft of country names.
20. Bra sales in Ireland increased by 4million between 1998 and 1999.
21. Raymond O'Brien is the shortest person in Irish history. The midget, who died in 1795, was one foot eleven inches tall.
22. Less than two percent of the Irish population have been bitten by poisonous snakes.
23. The Irish drink four million pints of tea a day.
24. The average Irish farmer receives 40,000 euro in EC subsidies every year.
25. Ireland has one of the lowest rates of crime against tourists in the western world.
26. Dublin is the Gay capital of Ireland with over ninety percent of the indigenous gay population residing there.
27. The average Irish family is made up of two parents and two point nine children.
28. Irish women believe that thirty is the best age to get married and begin a family.
29. Irish men believe that thirty-five is early enough to settle down.
30. Only 9% of the Irish population are natural red heads.
31. May is generally the driest month of the year in Ireland.
32. Galway is the Hash capital of Ireland.
33. Dublin is the Smack capital of Ireland.
34. RTE's "The Late Late Show" is the world's longest running Talk Show, initially hosted by Gay Byrne, Pat "The Plank" Kenny now hosts the show.
35. 57% of Irish people wear glasses or contact lenses.
36. In 1907, Bernard Murphy legally swapped his daughter for three cows and a sheep at a Donegal market.
37. Cat's now out number dogs by two to one as Ireland's most popular pet.
38. Almost 100% of Irish Catholic children take a pledge to stay away from alcohol until they are eighteen. Only 2% of them actually stick to it.
39. 58% of practicing Catholics see the church as outdated and in need of major overhaul.
40. Dublin boasts one pub for every 120 head of population.
41. Tourists cite the severe lack of Dublin taxi's on weekend nights as the main reason they would not recommend the city as a short break destination to their friends.
42. Only 1/8 of Irish people under the age of 24 are married.
43. Irish marriages last an average of thirteen years although the majority do not end in divorce. Irish couples prefer to separate and live in sin with their new partners rather than go through costly legal proceedings.
44. An album only needs to sell 5,000 copies to top the Irish music charts.
45. A book only needs to sell 3,000 copies to top the Irish best seller's list.
46. The Canary Islands are the most popular sunshine holiday destination with retired Irish citizens.
47. 89% percent of the population were in favour of permanently separating Northern Ireland from the Republic.
48. The fattest Irish person on record was Aine Gowan. At the time of her death she weighed over thirty stone.

Silver linings in strange places

I went to Superquinn yesterday to do some grocery shopping. Unfortunately the banks in Ireland do not think I should have a chip and PIN card, so every time I do shopping I have to withdraw cash from the ATM. I have to say this really irks me as I am accustomed to using plastic and it is so much easier than having to make sure I have enough cash all the time. I guess that is one more of the painful things to add to my list of changing countries, no credit history.
ANYWAY….I got to the ATM and guess what? It was “temporarily out of service” this caused me to want to have a good tantrum as it is the ONLY ATM in the shopping centre! As I stood there trying to decide what the heck to do, a coin security guy came around the van to go into the back of the ATM, my lucky day! I asked him how long he thought the machine would be offline and he looked at me and said…”You should know not to hang around in dangerous places” in what can only be described as a South African accent! I laughed and then looked around and saw that there were 2 cash in transit vans in the car park! Not one gun wielding heavy hiding between the cars or standing at the van, and I suddenly realised that my heart had not gone into thumping mayhem as it used to when I went up to the local shops and saw those vans. I was always petrified that there would be one of those huge hold ups with flying bullets; I know Karen narrowly missed a heist on her way home one day. Of course this was a great epiphany (yes probably a bit of strong word, but I am the author ok?) as my thundercloud above my head evaporated, the fact that I cannot get a chip and pin card was suddenly a small price to pay. As Kirstin clung to me to ward off the freezing wind I suddenly did not feel that cold.

Monday 12 November 2007

They have been warned...

I can't actually believe I am going to do this so let me tell you before i chicken out....I am joining a Vets hockey team! They know where I stand, here is an exerpt of the email I sent them:

"No seriously, I last played hockey when I was 16, and as I was a swimmer at school and hockey was a compulsory sport during winter, I half heartedly ran around the field with a stick. Funny thing, as I have got older I have suddenly got this urge to join a club and play hockey, go figure! Anyway, wanted to get all that out the way because I would hate to arrive and disappoint a team who thinks I am a good player. It does not have to be Vets, if I am too young LOL, but I figure the Vets are where I may be comfortable, even if I am out of my depth (or is that breath) to start with."

I think that is as close to the truth as I am going to get, what do you say Lizle? Anyway I go down next Monday to meet the team and see how comfortable I am, they ahve 3 other new players which should help! BTW I am on the cusp of making Vets here, made it by 6 months, my my time does fly.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Life so far...

I am independent, independent woman! I was actually feeling rather independent already, even though I grumbled a while ago that I was not. Of course you get used to things and I had become accustomed to walking to the shops, walking to the next town and it was all actually pretty darn fine. Then Malcolm bought me a car, now it is even better! I can drive further than the next town, go and do grocery shopping while the kids are at school, fetch them if they are sick, if it is raining, freezing and when it is dark. I have a dinky little Honda jazz and she is so cool!
Now I actually got the car on the 2 November and then I got sick and could not drive around in my new toy because I was in bed for 3 days with tonsillitis! I had decided to fight the germs woman to germ and sadly I had to call in the reinforcements on Thursday when I woke up in severe pain and could not even TALK, can you imagine...not being able to TALK? I have never wanted pills so badly in my life, I could not get to the doctor quickly enough. Of course once I allowed the army into my body via little blue capsules they defeated the enemy and by Saturday I was happy again. Jessica proved to be a real trouper through my whole "ordeal" and made lunches for school and helped cook dinner and gave up her bed for Malcolm, so that he would not get sick and she slept on the futon mattress on the floor in her room.
We still had a quiet weekend pottering around the house and on Sunday we all went out for breakfast and then off to the shops to buy the required jacket for the coming foul weather. Malcolm and Jess found what they were looking for and Kirstin and I are going to test our SA ones for a while longer and buy later if necessary.
We have also decided that the kids can each get a hamster...probably madness mixed with a tiny bit of begging from our wee one, but at least we can still go away for a weekend and the hamsters will be fine. Of course the kids trawled the yellow pages and the Internet for pet shops and for information on what type of hamster to get. I personally know that Kirstin was keen for a Molly 2, i.e. another dwarf hamster but she went through the research with Jess nonetheless and killed a tree by printing said research.
Jess is definitely getting older and wiser because unlike Kirstin she did not argue with me when I said that I know the day will come when I will be telling them to clean the cage, play with the hamster etc. She sat there very quietly a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, ah well, at least she knows I can only say I told you so to Kirstin.

As far as settling down is going....Kirstin HATES Dublin, yes with a capital everything and Jessica LOVES it. I know that Kirstin will eventually come around, and even though she says she hates it, days go by where we have no complaints and she happily goes to school, comes home and plays with Sophie, her new neighborhood friend. She will NOT use the Irish “words” like 'grand' or any of the other quirky things they say, like “Please may I have one of THEM sweets” , Jess of course merrily uses the colloquialisms with abandon. I am getting on with it, enjoying the freedom and the ability to go for long walks and Malcolm and I love the fact that we can leave the kids at home for a while and go out for a meal or to the local for a drink because they really do feel comfortable at home alone. I am also looking at joining a hockey club as I think that will also help me settle and meet new people. I certainly do not regret moving here, but I do miss the familiar and my friends. Malcolm is also happy to be here, work is much busier and he is enjoying having something to do. He would still look at moving around, if the right opportunity presented itself, but he has said that if we do leave Dublin it will not be to return to S.A.
Phew, that is an update of all things Rule for now, sorry that I have been so slack with my posts, no excuse really.....I guess the problem with blogging is that I do not really know whether my posts are being read by friends, it is not like email where you get an answer! Then I did get a mail from Lizle, she had been on the blog, and that spurred me back into action, so thanks Lizle, it was a gentle prod to keep going, one that was sorely needed!