Moving with the Times

So, the Lenin-mobile (aka my old Skoda Felicia) has been replaced with a newer model (Skoda Fabia) which has all the bells and whistles: remote central locking, electric windows, CD Player, etc.

It's odd how you get strangely attached to inanimate objects! I felt quite emotional waving it off as the new owner drove it away. I've learned to drive and passed my test in that car, packed it full of my belongings when I moved to Ireland and it kept me earning money when all the work I could find was dog walking.

So, I placed a really honest advert (exhaust hanging off, engine cooling fan not working, radio screwed, full of sand and dog hair) and to my surprise, I managed to get a few quid for it. The guy who bought it had a mechanic friend and they are going to repair it and keep it going a bit longer. It would have been extra sad to have seen it scrapped! Not bad for a 14 year old Soviet tank.

Vantastival 2012

Last weekend was spent at one of the best small festivals in Ireland!

Imagine a few thousand people, lots of vintage VW and other campervans, Lambrettas and Vespa scooters. Add some brilliant friends, great music and cheap tickets. Oh, and a yurt.

Good times!

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Wolfhound Stories

A few friends are fostering dogs over the Christmas period to help out local rescue centres.

Now, since I am here in the house most of the day typing, I am very tempted to give in and foster myself. I'm sure Pace would enjoy the company. However, I realise that I am also a big soppy idiot who, no doubt, would not be able to give the damn dog back at the end of it. So, I'm under strict orders not to entertain the idea.

One day I think we're going to have to rescue a wolfhound. But first we will need our own house and a very big car. Here are some amusing tales from a real-life wolfhound owner.

Climbing up and marching on

Dublin's new indoor bouldering centre opened last Saturday. Myself and Ken were there to see the ribbon cut and launch ourselves at the problems:

It's a sister centre of the excellent Climbingworks place in Sheffield. All of the other Irish climbing walls are either located in private gyms or university sports centres, so you either have to be a student or pay upwards of 300 euros to use them. Hence, they are not very popular and there's only a small climbing community over here. This will definitely change things! Now, they just need to open a leading/top-rope centre and I will be ecstatic!

I also ended up on a very long march on a drizzly day, with 15,000 other students from all over Ireland to try and protect a university system which is a lot better than the UK loans and huge debt shambles. There will be fees of at least 2,000 euros next year I'm sure, with all grants to be cut. Since the government won't consider loans (as, quite rightly, the students would need to go overseas to find work afterwards and not repay them!) it's going to vastly reduce the numbers of students and quality of universities in Ireland. Unless you're rich.

Horrorthon and Samhain

I love the fact that IFI in Dublin has a five-day fest of scary films every Halloween.

In past years I've seen Dawn of the Dead on a big screen and met Captain Rhodes (who was high as a kite on something or ten) and this year was even better.

Films watched were:
Troll II (So bad you can't actually tear your eyes from the car-crash unfolding onto the screen before you and it actually has its own documentary film about why it was quite SO AWFUL!)

The Divide (Post-apocalyptic ensemble movie with Michael Biehn of Terminator and Aliens fame. Apparently, the script was thrown out on day two and you see some amazing acting as the cast were literally allowed to make up characters as they went along.)

Saint (Dutch Anti-Christmas, black-humoured, blood-and-guts rollercoaster with no flab at all.)

We couldn't get tickets for the Burkina Faso-set zombie flick The Dead but its out to buy on DVD so it will still get seen at some point.

One bad thing about Halloween in Ireland is that everyone seems to let off a million fireworks even though they are illegal to buy, and Pace is a nervous wreck. Poor dog.