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Tuesday, October 29, 2019 9 comments

Clocks Back; Sun Rises & Sets


As the clocks fell forward this past weekend, walking to work Monday was a huge, but pleasant surprise.

Normally, I walk in the dark with my trusty torch to light the (partial) country road if a car comes along, but I was instead treated to a wonderful sunrise - and then a nice sunset on the way home.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow's "show" will be like - if I'm lucky :)

Walking past the cemetery and I look up...

Searching for a more open spot, I didn't want the glow to go

A solitary trucker on the way to work? Way home?

Found my open spot at 07:24...

Walking home at 18:04...

"LEFT! I Told you we had to turn left..."

I love this canal/viaduct-y thing so much that I should know what's it's called. If you do, share in the comments, please!
"Goodnight, John boy!"

Friday, October 25, 2019 7 comments

Friday Fun - and One Adorable Cutie...


Thought I'd finish up the week with some pictures, a few laughs and at least one, "Oh my, what a cutie!"

Pictures are mostly of things I've seen or tasted over the last couple of weeks.

PS: All comments are meant with love and 100% tongue-in-cheek. Trust me, the butchering of my "Spanglish" skills has brought strong, Andalusian men to tears this past year.

This orange soda has no preservatives either!

Why write your name in when you can bust a tune instead?

Sadly, I went all shy and didn't know what to ask the 4-legged oracle...

When you know the Prix Fixe menu is a best-seller!

One reason why bread is so cheap at ALDI?

"Lady is offered to clean graves." What a dead, reasonable price, too.

One of these days, I'm going inside to ask. I will. Don't try and stop me.

What a cool tractor!

It's still in use...

...And even has a pallet-rack* on the back. (*Not original parts.)

Another one zoomed past me the other day... This is a happening town, y'all.

Had seen this fountain - dry - during the day and now I know why...

I reckon the owner of this bike has had a few stolen in the past...

Where old beer tables go to die...

Where young wine goes to be drunk...

Son #3 (age 13 months in 2013.) "Oh my, what a cutie!"

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 6 comments

Baby Talk? Grow up Instead.


I woke up Sunday morning and I was in a right, old shitty mood. This was going wrong and how was I going to fix that?

With the steel blinds only cracked an inch, I lay there, the gloom of the room suiting me fine as I stared up at nothing,

Saturday had been one of those bloody days, we've all had them, I know. Mine wasn't even anything that special, but the few things bothering me were a weight on my heart and a constant worry on my shoulders.

As I waited for The Answer to descend from the off-white ceiling, I looked at the digital clock on the side table. Whatever, I'm staying in bed for a bit longer.

About to turn over, go back to sleep and hopefully wake up on the right side of the bed, I stared at the clock again for a few seconds -- and was hit with a slap of shame.

The sister of someone I know, who's suffering from a terminal disease, was scheduled to have an operation at that exact hour.

I sat up against the headboard and asked for forgiveness. I was acting like a spoilt baby with the several "issues" of my life -- all of which are completely solvable -- and there was a young mother going under the knife, possibly at that moment in a near-desperate attempt to stave off the destruction of her entire life and existence.

I'm no prayer warrior these days, but I spent a few minutes chatting to God and asked him to please give strength to the person I know -- and her niece who would be together in the waiting room anxious for any news.

I shouldn't have to say this, but it's so easy to get all wrapped up in baby talk. We should instead take stock of the goodness and the great things in our lives. Moaning and groaning won't solve anything and sounds so childish, especially when you consider there's so many more people far worse off than us.

PS: Please keep (or start) telling your loved ones that you do. Who knows when it may be the last time? 

Thursday, October 17, 2019 5 comments

One. More. Chance: Rep. of Ireland men's team: My ex-girlfriend for 30+ years


Look, this is hard to share, but bear with me will ya, as me poor heart can't take much more of this.

For the last 30+ years, at least eleven manly men in loose, green jerseys and tight white shorts have, for example, had me:

· Jumping up and down at Dublin's old Lansdowne Road when Brady beat Brazil in '87

· Hugging leather-clad men in "Big Willie's Bar" (formerly of Amsterdam's Red Light District (Italia '90)

· Screaming with pain getting my first "Fighti'n Irish" tattoo for USA '94. (Nope. Not a typo... and I'm a writer... sigh :)

· Screaming with joy at the telly in Seville as we bate the bleedin' shuite outta the reigning world champs, Germany (Euro '16 qualifier)

· Listening, no matter the time of day or night, with always battered nerves via Internet radios all over the damn world to my one true love:

The Republic of Ireland Senior Men.

A football squad with the ragged hopes of a nation on their shoulders. And, every single time they cross the white line and enter the green fields of dreams, they are, and always will be, encouraged by the songs and chants of the Green Army of award-winning fans who follow the hashtag #COYBIG around the world.

Take Euro 2012 (not our finest competition) ...Ireland were on their way home, were currently losing to Spain 4-0 and CLICK HERE to see what happened next :)

To me personally, the spirit of the collective Irish squad is like that poxy ex-girlfriend who wanders in and out of your life every few months.

She's ("Squad of he's") always arriving off the bus, looking fit as a fiddle, brand new clothes on, with charming tales and wonderful ideas that when She's whispering to me (just me) of how -- this time -- everything will be OK, I believe that She's telling the truth. (And, sometimes she does, don't get me wrong... I'm a lover, not a hater.) Nothing will go wrong. That what She's been saying since 1987, to me, anyway.

The current manager, can't remember his name, in his playing days...

Seems like a nice quiet fella..

Er, yeah, about that....

And while, She's raised me up Groban-esquely to some mad, fecking heights to where I've met some of the most wonderful people like Dubliners, Michael and Dierdre Mangan, formerly of LA.

Now, back home, the couple took me under their wing when I was new and alone in California in 2001, and I'll never forget their generousity and continued friendship.

Mix that in with the pain and the anguish She's causing for so long and no wonder She's doing me head in.

No. I mean it this time, I say -- every time. I'm done! No more. Enough is enough. I'm off to join the Chess Club.

But, there She's going again on the field. You can watch me over a few drinks. It's only about ten dates a year, and She's never planning to let me down again.

Like a Depeche Mode song, I belive She's telling the truth - the lads on the team wear the Green with honor and pride, but seemingly when we always get, sometimes really, really close to planning a holiday for the following summer, She's goes and ruins it all.

Sipping my Strongbow, I'm left weak and weary as She's walking down the tunnel, gone again for the season. It'll be months until I see the balls shake in the bowls and hear when She's back in town.

Depression sinks in after awhile, lifted only when I watch old videos from the Good Ol' Days when Big Jack of Ashington was in charge for ten years, and a wee Scotsman put the ball in the English net. Oh, yes he did.

Spring, summer and autumn arrives and my heart lifts when I see She's full of pride and looking ready and strong for the challenge. I push away my chair and stand up for the national anthem and know we can beat the naysayers, Monday morning trolls -- and will always have *that* England game in Euro '88 to show our grandkids how Big Jack gave life to our collective hopes and dreams.

Today, I mention this lifetime of laughter, tears -- and low expectations coupled with moments of brilliance and utter love -- because next summer She's not needing to make plans to travel very far as the UEFA European Football Championship, aka Euro 2020, will be hosted, in part, in our hometown of Dublin.

Jaysus. I still take a moment to imagine the possibilities of putting them under pressure.

All these years, She's been travelling to places like West Germany; Italy; (and met the Pope - as you do); America; South Korea; Japan; Poland and France. There's a chance She's gonna get to next play maybe a couple of games in Dublin's Fair City.

For the last few months, I've leant back and savored the thoughts, nay the dreams, as I see She's ready to play a sold-out Aviva Stadium at the Euros. (Please, dear Lord. I'll do 50 Hail Mary's, I swear to God.)

But... this is Ireland.

She's messing with me head again, and because it is Ireland, She's never, ever (not once) going to make me life easy.

Just this past week, She's gone and played two games (a win is three points with one for a draw.) Difficult games on the road to be sure, but She's gone and walked away with only one out of a possible six.

Ah, for feck's sake and the holy Jaysus. Here we go. Again.

But, hang on a moment and stop the presses. For once, She's played the game well enough and while not qualified for Euro 2020 - yet - there's One. More. Chance - to automatically qualify.

She's gonna play Denmark (bunch of wankers - don't mention 2017) at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on 18 November. If She's a home winner, She's off to the races. The partying and real dreaming will begin and the fans will have another chance to take their shoes off for the boys in green :)

If She's a loser that night, my heart will be broken and She's gonna walk away and leave me for another few months. Again.


We could win.

Fuck. No, we can't. Look at the state of us.

And, a draw is shuite and isn't any good to us.

We have to win. We have to.

Yes, yes, we can do it.

Oh, fuck. I dunno.

Jaysus. What if we lose...

End of Part One...

To be Continued next week...
Monday, October 14, 2019 4 comments

Pictures of a Week


I'm happy that it's October for several reasons, especially as the cemetery I walk by every day now has extended hours now! (Well, it is the perfect month.)

Here's some shots of one side of the grounds and I'm hoping (dying is too strong a word) to make it to the back area this week.

Having walked past these gates 2x per day, 5x a week for the last two months, when I saw them finally open, I was like, "I'm so going inside."

Starting up the first path, I could already sense every inch was taken...

Many of the grave sites were decorated and well maintained...

...And then, I discovered some grave sites as simple as this one...

Having explored other Spanish cemeteries, they are always fascinating - and full.

Many, if not most, graves at this town cemetery are above ground, which is the norm, at least in this part of the country.

It was sad to see the possibly forgotten laying next to the well-remembered...

No headstone nor ceremony, but at least they had made it to the cemetery...

It was 5:45 p.m. when I entered, and with 15 minutes before the gates were closed, it was nice to walk the peaceful grounds alone.

The moon made an early appearance last week, too.

The trees in Orange Plaza are full of fruit, but no one eats them as they are incredibly sour and not at all tasty!

Which is why this is such a common sight in most every town or city right now!

Someone has a good sense of humor!

Made me hungry for a fish dinner...

One of the roadside barriers was "repaired" the other day!!!

Thank God there's an orange cone there, too. Nothing can go wrong.

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