Friday 29 March 2013

Oh, I did some travelling, on Wednesday..

I flew to Frankfurt, on Wednesday morning, and spent the day there - I'd planned to go and see the city, but I ended up being so tired that I just didn't have the energy to drag myself and my laptop bag anywhere, so I stayed at the airport. It was still nice, though. People-watching, occasional chats with strangers, etc.. I'll blog more about the trip when I've flickr'ised my pics.. (I've uploaded some to Facebook already..)

Only a handful of people knew where I was flying from Frankfurt, that evening.. Thursday was my stepdad's 70th birthday, and he had no idea that I was coming for a visit. As my parents know some people who are on my Facebook friend list, I didn't want to say anything to anyone, in case someone might accidentally say something and ruin the surprise!

My mam knew that I was coming, of course, but didn't say anything to my stepdad, and he was totally surprised when I rang the doorbell at 1am =D

Going home on Tuesday =) 

Good Friday

Saturday 23 March 2013

I was in Galway, yesterday

Galway day-trip tickets from the day before (DART, Luas, train)
I made a day-trip to Galway again, for a casting etc.

I left home at 6:40am, and I was barely out the door when I was forced to walk ankle deep in water as the lane between Seapoint Road and Bray station, was totally flooded. I did think about turning back and walking the long way around, but I wanted to get an early DART, so.. As a result, I spent the whole day in wet socks and shoes until coming home at midnight. Well, at least the day was otherwise blissful.

Galway day-trip - DART to Connolly.. Galway day-trip - Luas to Heuston..
I actually got an even earlier DART (6:55am) than I'd planned! I had a soggy Metro to entertain me.. The sea looked rough, but beautiful..

Hopped off at Connolly (Jebus, the mental image..), and went straight to the Londis near Busáras, to get some breakfast & snacks for the train journey.. Luas then came right after I'd bought a ticket, and I Luased it to Heuston station..

First things first, so I bought myself a day return ticket. At that point, it was 8:30am, and I noticed that there was an 8:40am train to Galway, so I could have taken that, but I'd already made arrangements for Galway, so I decided that I'd rather wait at Heuston station at that time of the morning as there was more to do there.

I decided to keep my Londis sambo for a train snack, and thought I'd have some breakfast at Supermac's. (Hadn't been to a Supermac's in years..) I'd have fancied their chicken breast sambo (and nothing with that), but they only served breakfast, at that time! Chicken breast sambo would have required waiting for about 15 minutes =/ So, I got a breakfast roll with tea. Left most of the tea, though as it was way too hot, and I couldn't be arsed to go and ask for more milk for it. A pigeon was flying in and out =)

Then I bought an RTE Guide and a crossword puzzle magazine at Eason, and I'd grabbed a free magazine at the ticket office, so I wouldn't be bored to death on the train.. Generally, I don't like to use much Facebook on the phone as the battery goes flat so soon - it turned out, though, that the trains had outlets, so I was able to charge my phone twice, during the day =D

I must make a separate blog entry about the toilets at Heuston station.. Mainly, about the idiotic flush button!

Galway day-trip - Train entertainment..
The train was already there (15+ minutes before departing), so I got in and got all comfortable, until I noticed that the seat was pre-booked.. Grrr.. They could make it a bit more obvious! Anyway, I just grabbed a free seat across the aisle and got comfy again.

Galway day-trip - Leaving Dublin.. Galway day-trip - Snacks (from Londis @ Busáras)
The train departed at 9:25am, and I started working on my first bag of Maltesers.. =)

Galway day-trip - Tullamore.. Galway day-trip - Tullamore.. Galway day-trip - Tullamore.. Galway day-trip - Tullamore.. Galway day-trip - Tullamore..

Galway day-trip - Train.. Galway day-trip - Train..
Phone & cam snaps of the train..

Galway day-trip - Stopped here for a moment..
Stopped here for a moment..

Galway day-trip - Ballinasloe.. Galway day-trip - Blurry Ballinasloe..
Ballinasloe and blurry Ballinasloe..

Galway day-trip - Fields of Athenry =P Galway day-trip - Athenry..
I ran the top left photo on Facebook as "guess the song".. Dympna got the Fields of Athenry =)

I even survived the train toilet =D I try to avoid using such places on trains and planes as they are tiny and shaky, but sometimes your bladder just demands it. I blame the Supermac's tea =)

Arrived in Galway at 11:40am, and I'd estimated that I'd make it to the hotel at 12 noon - it turned out that I was spot on! The weather was terrible, of course.. I always get soaked in Galway.

Galway day-trip - Casting.. Galway day-trip - Casting..

Galway day-trip - Casting.. Galway day-trip - Casting..
It was busier than this (above) when I arrived, and the photo queue ran around the room.

Galway day-trip - Water..

Finally, we had a rainy walk to my friend's van, and then did a little Salthill spin. Would have loved a cuppa at O'Connors (where I haven't been since late 90's when it was my local), but it was closed at that time of the day =( So, we went to Salthill Fish & Chips for some food instead.

Galway day-trip - Rainy Salthill.. Galway day-trip - Rainy Salthill..
Phone & cam snaps of the delightful weather..

Galway day-trip - A bottle of Fish & Chip Shop Taste !!!
I had to take a picture of the bottle of Fish & Chip Shop Taste - Original Flavour !!! =D Brilliant.. And I forgot to try it!!! LOL

Galway day-trip - Blissful meal @ Salthill Fish & Chips
The food was gorgeous! I had scampi in batter, with chips.

The rain wouldn't stop, so we were just driving around a bit, and ended up parking on a disabled parking spot for a while - would have parked on a regular spot, but a disabled driver had parked on it! We were very upset.. =) Eventually, we got a regular spot, though, and no disabled people were traumatised or left without a spot.

We went to a nearby pub for a while, and then I got a lift to the station where I took the 7:15pm train back to Dublin.

Galway day-trip - Galway station.. Galway day-trip - Galway station..

Galway day-trip - Galway station.. Galway day-trip - Galway station..

Galway day-trip - Train..
It had been a long day, so I was just Facebooking, napping and texting on the train back.

Galway day-trip - Idiotic flush button @ Heuston station.. Galway day-trip - Idiotic flush button @ Heuston station..
I was thinking of making a separate entry about this, but fukit, I'll put it here..

WHO THE FUCK designed the flush buttons for the toilets at Heuston station?!?

They are IDIOTIC!!!

They're very stiff, so you need to push hard and deep to flush the toilet, but the button goes in to the very narrow frame (see the pics above), so you can't push it with your knuckles, or the sides of your fingers, for example. No, you have to either use the very tip of your finger, or a tool.

Most women have some length on their nails, so flushing a toilet like this becomes impossible. Not everyone would even have the strength to push that feckin' button with their fingertip!

I really think that the designer of this satanic device, should be named and shamed in public.

Galway day-trip - Waiting for the Luas at Heuston.. Galway day-trip - Waiting for the Luas at Heuston..

Galway day-trip - Waiting for the Luas at Heuston..

Galway day-trip - Waiting for the Luas at Heuston.. Galway day-trip - Waiting for the Luas at Heuston..

Galway day-trip - Waiting for the Luas at Heuston..
Waiting for the Luas at Heuston..

Galway day-trip - Liffey..
I always prefer to walk to Tara Street station, on the way back..

Galway day-trip - Waiting for the DART at Tara Street Galway day-trip - Waiting for the DART at Tara Street..
I had to wait for 19 minutes until the next DART to Bray =/ At least I'd charged my phone again, on the train, so I could Facebook to kill time..

Galway day-trip - On the DART with Maltesers..
Maltesers on the DART..

I'd seen it in the morning, and I heard that Bray / M50 flooding had been on the news, during the day, but when people stepped out of the DART in Bray, there were spontaneous groans of misery.. The steps of the station bridge were like waterfalls, and it was still raining..

My feet were still soaked, since early morning, but I chose not to walk through the lane lake, and went around Carlisle Grounds instead.

I got home at midnight, and the first thing I did, was to take off my wet scarf, coat, ankle boots and socks, and put on a dry pair of woolly socks, mmmm.. Bliss! (Then I ate that Londis sambo I'd been carrying around all day! LOL)

Ending this with a recommendation;

Salthill Fish & Chips brochures - brilliant chipper!
If you're ever in Galway - this is an awesome chipper..

Monday 18 March 2013

How to waste Irish taxpayers' money

Above, a screenshot of a public Facebook post by Galway Cat Rescue - click on the picture to view it in full size (=easier to read), or click here to read it on Facebook. (Also, my comment on FB)

I have been following that issue, mainly on Facebook, and I find it appalling.

As many people know, removing feral cats from a location, is not going to create a cat-free area. New feral cats will move in.

The way to control a feral cat population, is to TNR all of them. (If you're not familiar with TNR, read about it on Wikipedia; Trap-Neuter-Return);

Trap-neuter-return (TNR), also known as trap-test-vaccinate-alter-release (TTVAR), is a method of humanely trapping unaltered feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and releasing them back to the same location where they were collected.

There are many cat rescue groups and individuals, all over Ireland, who are constantly working on humanely trapping feral cats for TNR, dealing with lost and dumped pets, and trying to educate people on responsible pet ownership, such as having your cats spayed / neutered to avoid creating more cats, when there are already so many without homes.

One of such groups is Galway Cat Rescue. As you can see, in their post, they get €2000 for a full year, from the Dept. of Agriculture (many groups / individuals don't even get that..). I can guarantee that €2000 is pretty much nothing, considering their expenses! So, in addition to all the hard work they do, they have to be constantly fundraising - and that's very hard work as well!

So, this hospital in Galway decided that they had a "cat problem" - apparently, feral cats were living on hospital grounds..

I am certain that it wouldn't have caused any trouble to anyone, to just let those cats live as they were. A sensible thing would have been to pay a tiny amount of money (from HSE = from Irish taxpayers) to Galway Cat Rescue, to collect the cats for TNR, and drop them back later, creating a well established cat population that would not have grown larger.

But no.. Apparently, University Hospital Galway (UHG) has way too much money to spend. They chose to hire Rentokil (pest control) to kill the feral cats. 15-20 feral cats were "eliminated" - apparently, the fee was ~ €4500. That's €225 - €300 per cat. And, apparently, they can't even prove if it was done in a humane way or not. Personally, I think there's nothing humane about Rentokil..

One of the hospital's excuses, apparently, was that fleas had been found in the hospital. So, the cats had to go. Like, WTF?!? Those cats were not even IN the hospital, they lived outside. Also, they may not have had any fleas, and even if they did, there is NO WAY that their fleas would have ended up inside the hospital, even if the cats had been there! Also, it's interesting how the fleas were only found later, as mentioned in the following article;

Two cats killed for every flea found at city hospital
March 15, 2013 - 7:15am

HSE ordered cull before flea issue raised its head

A dozen cats were captured on the grounds of University Hospital Galway (UHG) and killed late last year, supposedly in an attempt to rid the hospital of a flea problem – yet evidence of just six fleas were found, documents reveal.

[more behind the link]

(Years ago, Thatsit and Oimo had fleas. They may have had them for a day or two, before we noticed. They had been sleeping all over the house, but not one flea was found anywhere else than on the cats. Advantage flea treatment was applied, and that was it sorted.)

They (UHG) could have chosen to spend money wisely, by paying a small fee towards having the feral cats TNR'ed, which would have worked for everyone.

They chose to throw loads of money away - after all, the whole bill was even larger - quoting from that same article;

The cost of hiring pest control company, Rentokil, for UHG and Merlin Park increased by 38% last year, to €27,553.

...and what a cruel, unnecessary death it was, for those poor cats. They may not all have even been feral, in fact. At least one local resident has posted on Facebook comments, that her cat is still missing...

As for the flea problem. I have been to that hospital as a patient, in late 90's. I don't know if it has changed a lot since then, but I remember that it wasn't the cleanest of places, at the time..

Sunday 17 March 2013

Cheap and natural face scrub

I'm the kind of person who will apply some cheapo moisturiser on my face, when it gets dry enough so I can actually feel it.. I have zero interest in various creams and liquids many women seem to regularly apply on their faces, and if I ever end up browsing a women's magazine (like, in a waiting room or such), it usually makes me feel like I'm a man.

The other day, my skin was threatening to call the gardaí on me, though, so I vaguely remembered pinning some DIY exfoliator.. I found it on Pinterest (above), and only needed to buy brown sugar as I had honey and olive oil already. €1.46 (for the sugar) totally suits my budget, too! The stuff is meant for lips, but it works just as well on your whole face, or whichever part of your body you'd like to use it on.

I mixed maybe one table spoon of each ingredient, in a small cup, and actually found it hard / impossible to properly mix them together, but it didn't seem to matter, really.

I first tried some on my left cheek, but found it so messy, that I decided to use the rest of it just before taking a shower and washing my hair..

That amount was enough for my face, neck, and as there was still some left, I used the rest on my elbows, which get dry sometimes.

I am amazed! It totally works, and I've kept touching my face today as my skin is sooo smooth! =D I can really tell the difference on the sides of my nose, which can get dry and flaky even several times in one day, whether I moisturise or not.. No sign of that today. (Must remember this trick - as messy as it is, I could even just do the nose sometimes..)

I'm not planning to change my bad habits, but I like this stuff as it's cheap and natural, easy to make, and it works.