Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Frills Flights

Something Willowtree said recently on Plurk (don't ask me what it was because I've now forgotten) made me think about how flying to Dublin has changed since I took my first ever flight back around 1995. Yes that's right I was in my 50's before I stepped aboard a plane. I bet to many of you that will seem really odd.

Growing up after the war ordinary folks like us were fairly poor and as my mother ran a shop we didn't even have a holiday until I was 16. That year I was lucky enough to be allowed on a school trip to Switzerland (ferry and train). I remember it so well being *abroad*! That was the same year my parents sold our shop and we also had our first family holiday in Devon. I digress and that's a whole story in itself, which I think I may have touched on before.

As you will know Beccy moved to live in Dublin in 1994 and so began my regular flying back and forth. In those days it was only Aer Lingus who flew from Bristol Airport and flights cost over a £100. It didn't occur to me to be nervous about the actual flight but I was very nervous about the nuts and bolts, such as getting on the right plane! Of course it was easy once you you had done it. It is a very short flight but you got breakfast back then -well coffee and a muffin. If you travelled with children you got a goody bag to keep them occupied and I recall they even allowed children to peep into the cockpit- can you imagine that happening these days.

Then along came Ryanair, a budget airline, based in Dublin, who slashed the cost of fares. It was wonderful, I can remember a return flight for as low as £10 and I think I once only paid £5. For many years I regularly flew to Dublin for under £20. This meant I was able to visit Beccy several times a year; the other good thing back then was there were no restrictions on luggage. You would be amazed at the things that have been taken over to Beccy, such as pushchair, bikes, step ladder, three large kitchen stools.

I don't exactly recall when Mike O'Leary (Ryanair Chief executive) decided to tighten things up. One of the first things I recall is he started charging for wheelchair use, however, I believe this was challenged, but I understand everyone now pays a wheelchair levy! He reduced the luggage allowance, then he charged for checking in a bag, as he only wanted people to travel with hand luggage.

As the Ryanair prices increased I realised that Aer Lingus flights had become more competitive and there was only a pound or so difference. The advantage was a more generous luggage allowance, a more comfortable flight and better scheduling, so I went back to using Aer Lingus. Then a couple of years ago Aer Lingus stopped flying from Bristol and I had to again return to using Ryanair. You will often see they advertise very low cost or even free flights! Don't be fooled because this is misleading- once all the extras are added on the price of the flight creeps up.

You have to pay various airport taxes and an insurance levy since 9/11; plus you get charged for using a debit or credit card and even though it is one transaction I believe you get charged double for a return flight (unless you use their credit card). There is no choice you have to use a card to book, be it on line or over the phone actually it costs more over the phone as they only want people to book online-very clever.
On top of this you can pay for priority boarding but why you would want to I really don't know. The free drink and snack has long gone and I'm not sure what they charge for a coffee because I never buy one.

I think you are getting the picture no frills flights are becoming much more expensive for less of everything -less luggage, less service. Ryanair actually plan to dispense with the check in desk altogether over the next year or so-they assume everyone had internet access to check in online and the facility to print a boarding pass!

Now I started writing this post a few days ago but didn't get it posted so there is a...

Just heard on the news Ryanair are even thinking of putting a coin slot on the doors of their plane toilets. In the future it might cost £1 to spend a penny-what ever money making scheme will they come up with next!

2008: I nearly didn't join the party + Keeping Sam Company
2007: Fun Monday-6

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Witty Wednesday # 87

Which family member are you!!!!

Us grandma's have to stick together; thank you for these Pamela

An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher.
'They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!' she cried.
The dispatcher said, 'Stay calm. An officer is on the way.'A few minutes later, the officer radios in.
'Disregard.' He says. 'She got in the back-seat by mistake.'
Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together.
One night the 96-year-old draws a bath.
She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells to the other sisters,
'Was I getting in or out of the bath?'
The 94-year-old yells back, 'I don't know. I'll come up and see.'
She starts up the stairs and pauses 'Was I going up the stairs or down?
The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her sisters.
She shakes her head and says, 'I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood.'
She then yells, 'I'll come up and help Both of you as soon as I see who's at the door.'
Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day.
One remarked to the Other, 'Windy, isn't it?'
'No,' the second man replied, 'it's Thursday.'
And the third man chimed in, 'So am I. Let's have a beer.'
Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.
One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, 'Now don't get mad at me .. I know we've been friends for a long time, but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is.'
Her friend glared at her.
For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her.
Finally she said, 'How soon do you need to know?'

Two elderly women were out driving in a large car - both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection.
The stoplight was red, but they just went on through. The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself 'I must be losing it I could have sworn we just went Through a red light.'
After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red. Again, they went right through.
The woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous.
At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went on through.
So, She turned to the other woman and said, 'Mildred, did you know that we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could have killed us both!'
Mildred turned to her and said, 'Oh, crap, am I driving
Thanks for these Daffy

Even if you've seen these before, they are still hilarious!!!
What DO they teach in journalism courses these days?

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?!
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
No, really?
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!
Panda Mating Fails;
Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Those good-for-nothing lazy so-and-sos!
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!
War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya' think?!
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
Enfield Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren't they fat enough?!
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That's what he gets for eating those beans!
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chain-saw Massacre all over again!
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
And the winner is....

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?
Hope you find something to give you laugh.

2008: Fun Mon-55 What's in a name
2007: No Archive

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day as we often call it here in the UK. It's the last day for indulgence before Lent and abstinence by giving up things (wonder what should I give up-any suggestions ?).

Now I haven't made pancakes for years so having no pictures to share I had a little delve into Sam's archives to see if I could find one. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I came across this post from 2005.
Reading about her memory of our pancake days when she and Beccy were children prompted me to get out the recipe book and beat up some batter.

True to tradition the first one was not brilliant but the second one turned out fine and I even tossed it with no trouble (wish I could have got a photo)!
Squeeze with lemon and add a sprinkling of sugar- yummy.

The basic batter recipe came from my Marguerite Patten's Every Day Cook Book.
It will enlarge so that you can read and I notice it has lots of batter splashes on this page, but then I've had this cookery book since 1966 and it's much loved and well used.

If it's Mardi Gras that you are celebrating then I wish you a wonderful day. If like us you are having pancakes enjoy.

Related Posts:
Shrove Tuesday 2008

2008: Memories
2007: Requiem for an Old Friend

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun Monday # 104 Kitchen Counters

Today's hostess Ari-1965 over at Beyond My Slab thinks it's time for show and tell. She says:

What does your kitchen counter look like right now? (And no fair cleaning just for the picture!) Do you have any favorite or unusual items on your counter?

How could she do this to me! I have the most cluttered and untidy work counters you ever saw. I promise they were very neat once upon a time. My excuse is that my mother likes to have a lot of her things out and on hand and this takes up a lot of space (see third photo).

My kitchen is very dated as it has not been re-vamped since it was installed back in the 1980's. At the time we took out bright orange formica units and light oak was very fashionable so the kitchen looked good. Now I would love a light bright kitchen but I don't think it will ever happen.

Now this is the time of the year I usually give my kitchen a Spring clean. You can see from the area below, partially out of sight, around the corner of my cooker that it desperately needs clearing.My latest little addition below-not that I add that much salt to my cooking.

I know I'm going to have kitchen envy when I come visiting.

My Kitchen in June 2007 Fun Monday-20

2008: Glamorous Great-Gran
2007: Signs of Spring

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

I -spy EmBee

This morning after Embee had collected the Sunday papers he decided to go into the front garden to clear the rubbish. One of the penalties of living on the main road is we get a lot of junk thrown into the garden and on the pavements outside the house ( I won't go into detail but you would be amazed at some of the things we have found). To keep it looking tidy we clear up every few days.
I'm not sure if he noticed me spying from the window. I quickly ducked out of sight.
Poor old boy needs a helping hand!
I did remind him to look behind the bushes!
He suddenly turned and saw me but look at his response! At least we are rubbish free for a few days. Well done EmBee, for being rude your penalty is that you can take me out to lunch!

2008: Mango Bread-LiveStrong
2007: Whose got Brownie Points

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Boots from old Buses

I've been meaning to share this since I read the article a few weeks ago.

It's not a very clear picture because I was taking a photo of a newspaper article.
Apparently the *First* Bus Company are using some of the old seating and tyres to make these boots. Well that's a novel idea, and recycling is good for the environment but at £70 a pair I'm not convinced they will catch on.

This little video about the boots was taken in Bristol and will give you a better look at them. Let me know what you think!

2008: Reminder to self
2007: The Wanderer Returns Home

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Fish Pie # 2

Now I know what you're thinking "didn't she show a fish pie photo a few weeks back" and you would be correct. However, although this might look a very similar picture it is a completely different recipe. Well to be honest the first one was my own invention but this one is a variation on one of Jamie Oliver's Recipes, and another dish I had when I was visiting Beccy.

1 kilo (2.2 lbs) potatoes (peel and cut {quarter})
1 carrot
2 sticks celery
150 g cheese
1 lemon
1/2 red chilli (I didn't add this)
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley (I used curly because it's what I grow)

300g (11oz) Salmon
300g (11 oz) Haddock
125g (4.5oz) King Prawns (I substituted with Black Hake)
(Crème fraîche to fish optional)
Handful spinach
Couple ripe tomatoes quartered.

Pre-heat oven 200C (400F/6 gas)
Cook potatoes (12 mins approx)

Deep baking tray add grated carrot/celery/cheese + fine grated zest lemon & chopped parsley.

Cut fish bite size squeeze over juice of lemon drizzle with Olive oil add salt and pepper and mix in Crème fraîche; spread over base add spinach and toms (optional) and mix.
Top with mashed potato dot with butter and bake approx 40 mins.

I bet you are also thinking broccoli spears are the only green vegetable I eat- not true but I do love broccoli and have it several times a week. Embee loves sprouts and I often cook him some and we like green beans and cabbage.

Also I used a bit less fish than the recipe suggested.

2008: Witty Wednesday-38
2007: Hand Art

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Giraffe Birth

One of my plurkfiends posted something that I had to share it. The link below will show you a video of the birth of a baby giraffe, which is fascinating. They didn't know that the mother giraffe was pregnant, so it came as a surprise to the staff.
Giraffe Birth

2008: Rocking Grandmas
2007: Fun Mon-5 Precious Objects

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Witty Wednesday # 86

Daffy sent me this amusing little story:

After this was marked and the child brought it home, she
returned to school the next day with the following note:
Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of
me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and
had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent
snowstorm. This drawing is of me.... selling a shovel.
Mrs. Harrington

This is one of Embee's

Fred and Mary get married but couldn't afford a honeymoon,
So they go back to Fred's Mom and Dad's house for their first night together.

In the morning, Johnny, Fred's little brother, gets up and has his breakfast.

As he is going out of the door to go to school, he asks his mom if Fred and Mary are up yet. She replies, 'No'.

Johnny asks, 'Do you know what I think?'

His mom replies, 'I don't want to hear what you think! Just go to school.'

Johnny comes home for lunch and asks his mom, 'Are Fred and Mary up yet?'

She replies, 'No.'

Johnny says, 'Do you know what I think?'

His mom replies, 'Never mind what you think! Eat your lunch and go back to school '

After school, Johnny comes home and asks again, 'Are Fred and Mary up yet?'

His mom says, 'No.'

He asks, 'Do you know what I think?'

His mom replies, 'Ok, now tell me what you think?'

He says: 'Last night Fred came to my room for the Vaseline and I think...

I gave him my airplane glue.' oooooooh

Happy Wednesday

2008: Fun Mon-54 Nothing to laugh about
2007: Sugar Loaf

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Minestrone Soup

On my recent Dublin trip, Beccy made a lovely Minestrone Soup. I decided to give it a try myself and this is the result.


2-3 pints stock
2-3 sticks celery(sliced)*
2 medium carrots(diced)*
1 large onion (sliced)*
2-3 tablespoons oil
2 leeks sliced
2 Rashers fat bacon (cut into small pieces) or lardons* (I used lardons)
1-2 cloves garlic (crushed)*
1/4 of small cabbage (shredded)
1 small can tomatoes OR 2 rounded dessert spoonfuls Tomato Puree(I used the puree)
Bouquet garni
Salt & Pepper

Parmesan Cheese (grated garnish)


Fry veg and bacon (indicated by*) gently for 5 mins.

Pour stock into the pan and bring to the boil

Add leeks, tomato puree, seasoning, and Bouquet garni and simmer 30 mins.

Add shredded cabbage (I also added some broken up wholemeal spaghetti)

Continue cooking gently tell all veg is cooked and you have a good flavour.

Top with grated Parmesan before serving.

Serve with crusty bread to make a filling tasty meal.

I actually fried the lardons separately because I forgot to add them to the veg when I was frying. This meant I was able to drain off the fat; not sure if this altered the flavour of the soup! It is a very substantial soup and I think it is going to be one I make regularly from now on. I wonder if Embee will like it!

2008: Beach Bums

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Fun Monday # 103 Winter Warmers

Our hostess this week is Gattina.

She is very brave as she wants to see what we wear on our feet. I cannot bring myself to show you the tatty old indoor shoes I wear in the winter. I vowed to replace them this year but haven't seen anything I particularly like.

As you may know it's been very cold here in the UK this year so I've worn thick socks inside my old shoes to keep my tootsies warm. I have these blue fluffy socks and a purple pair.
In the evenings I sometimes wear my bed socks. Now what you can't see in the picture, below, are the holes in the bottom (they are nearly 30 years old so I can't complain)-if anyone has a simple knitting pattern for bed socks that they would like to share I would be very grateful.
The other socks that I find useful for home wearing are the free flight socks that I have collected over the years (most of these are from Virgin or BA flights but now I think they may have stopped giving them out). They are very colourful and surprisingly cosy.

Well that about it for me.......Ok I know you are curious so I'll let you peep..The white splodges are paint. You can be a rude as you like I know they need throwing out.

I'll be around later to see what the best dressed feet wear!

2008: Carrot & Honey Cake & Award
2007: Recycling

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Killiney Bay # 2

Just a few more shots looking up and down the beach.
Above is looking towards Killiney Hill.
Below is looking towards Bray, which is further around the headland (or a couple of stops on the DART [train]).

Never mind the weather Ben had to sit down to play.
The tide was on the ebb.
I hope you've enjoyed sharing my fleeting trip to Killiney. I'm now busy thinking about when I can plan my next visit!

2008: Drugs in Sport
2007: All's Well that Ends Well

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day 2009

Embee did not forget the day I had this pretty gift to open.
This will be another ornament to add to the Christmas collection.
Inside the package was this heart shaped luggage label. Red is EmBee's favourite colour and, whilst I'm more conservative, it will certainly make it easier to spot my luggage.
Thank you for the surprise Embee-now are you hinting that I need to take another trip! By the way is the champagne on ice!

I wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day.

2008: Valentine Surprise + Marmite and Champagne makes a Happy Valentine
2007: Tomato Penne Bake + Dublin here I come

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Killiney Bay Part # 1

The day after I arrived in Dublin we awoke to snow but by the afternoon it had cleared and the sun was out so we decided to take a walk along Killiney beach.
In the summer they actually import sand to parts of this beach; in winter it's all pebbles, but it's still a popular place to enjoy the sea or exercise the dogs.

The beach looks deserted but I assure you there were quite a few people out walking. I just got lucky whith my shots!

The two photos below were taken from the road looking down onto the beach from the other end. The photo immediately above shows Killiney Hill and you might be able to spot the place where I took these last two shots.
Beccy and I had a lovely walk in the sun on Tuesday morning and it almost felt like a Spring day.

You can just see the mountains, that are currently in my header, in the background of these pictures. Also some snow on the high ground.
The gardens of these houses are very well kept and we saw the gardeners hard at work.

2008: Witty Wednesday-37
2007: I'm the proud owner of an Eggbeater T-shirt

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Manderley Castle, Killiney Quiz

A little guessing game who do you think lives behind these gates; if you haven't a clue this will give the game away!

2008: I could have had pigeon pie
2007: Fun Monday-4 Why I love where I live

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Witty Wedesday # 85

I'm very late posting today as I'm just back from Dublin.

I don't know if you can read this but I found it amusing.

This next one came from Karmyn via John

A man boarded an airplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen crabs and asked a blonde, female crew member to take care of the box for him. She took the box and promised to put it in the crew's refrigerator.

He pointedly advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for the crabs staying frozen, mentioned that he was a lawyer, and proceeded to rant at her about what would happen if she let them thaw out.

Needless to say, she was annoyed by his behavior.

Shortly before landing in New York, she used the intercom to announce to the entire cabin, "Would the gentleman who gave me the crabs in New Orleans , please raise your hand?"

Not one hand went up ... so she took them home and ate them.

Two lessons here:
1. Men never learn.
2. Blondes aren't as dumb as most men think.

2008: Fun Monday-53 (song)
2007: Public Conveniences

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Postcard from Dublin

I'm having a lovely time and Beccy is looking after me very well. I thought you might like to see one of the photos I took on Sunday when we walked along the beach close to where Beccy lives. That is my son-in-law in the picture. The time is goes very quickly when you're having fun and I'm flying home tomorrow.

2008: Meme + Award
2007: How not to treat your baskets

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Fun Monday # 102 Bristol is interesting.

Pamela has the perfect excuse not to do any dusting this week as she is hosting Fun Monday.
Pamela wants us to show her in pictures or tell her in words what defines the place that you live.

Now as most of you will know I was visiting Beccy this week and couldn't join in on the day but was keen to do the post anyway. So here I am posting it very late.
I returned from Dublin on Wednesday and my friend, Tina, collected me from the airport. As we drove home I managed to get this shot of one of Bristol's famous land marks. It's not a particularly good photo taken out the window of a moving car, but it will give you an idea of this magnificent bridge that was the brain child of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
He also built bridges and viaducts for the Great Western Railway including Temple Meads Station which has a striking facade. Bristol is also home to a University. The picture below is the Wills Memorial Building which I believe is home to the Law Facilty.

There are lots of quaint little streets that still exist such as Christmas Steps (below) constructed in the 1600's by wine merchants.

There are far too many land marks in Bristol for me to show you everything. However, I can assure you that if you ever visit Bristol there will be plenty of places to visit and lots of history to soak up.
Above is St Mary Redcliffe and Below Bristol Cathedral.

The harbour is the home of SS Great Britain and a replica of The Matthew

Close to where I live is Filton Airport I took this picture as Embee sped pass yesterday! You can just see in the distance on the left (with a magnifying glass) a Concorde in her last resting place.

Doing this post has made me realise that one does not always appreciate the beauty of one's surroundings.
I'm not actually expecting anyone to read this post but I'm glad to have participated and you never know someone might just stumble upon it!

Fun Mon-89(part of this topic was about where you live)

2007: Embee's New Toy
2007: Lentil Soup

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