Saturday, 17 November 2012
I'm a nerd at heart. I have geeky pursuits and I like dorky things.
Some of those nerdy things include history and science, which pretty much sums up why I love places like Dunsink Observatory.
Dunsink Observatory was built between 1783 and 1785, was once home to the great Sir William Rowan Hamilton (who, from what I can surmise, took a stroll one day and had a big idea), used to provide local standard time for Dublin and was mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses. Who wouldn't want to visit it?
Better still, they host public open nights for free during the winter and all you have to do if you're interested in going is ask a lovely lady named Hilary. So I found myself a few weeks back at Dunsink taking in a lecture on the concept of time. What is time? How do you actually quantify it? How do we know what time it is right now?
After learning all about time and how it's actually not what time we think it is at all, we had a chance to visit the South Dome where they keep the Grubb Telescope.
Beautifully crafted? Why yes. Housed in a stunning (albeit, freezing cold) dome? Indeed it is! Provided an amazing view of celestial orbs and acted as an earthly gateway to our universe? Not in the slightest. Unfortunately, Dublin is far too cloudy and full of light pollution to see much of anything but it made me feel like an early explorer all the same. If you have a chance, go visit!
Monday, 5 November 2012
Growing up I was always envious of people who holidayed at their cottage each summer (surpassed only by my jealousy of people who jetted off to Europe each July, bidding adieu and waving their passports as they skipped off to the airport - grrrrr). While I would periodically receive invitations to join in on the fun, somehow the timing was just never right.
Would I like to join you and your family for a bonfire, s'mores and some singsongs at your lakeside retreat over Labour Day weekend you ask? Perhaps some canoeing in the Thousand Islands? No, no...I have far too much to do in my suburban paradise, thank you very much...what with working 3 jobs to pay for my overpriced university education and all. I couldn't possibly pull myself away to live the good life, even for one weekend.
And as time went on, summers came and went and somehow, my cottage fantasties remain limited to the confines of my imagination....until now...
After university I moved to Ireland which is a country that is more or less permanently devoid of warm summer weather. However, what it lacks in sunshine, it makes up for with some of the world's best year round surfing.
So this is the year that I get my cottage. Okay, so it's not summertime...and there's not a lake in sight. But there's a view of a castle from my bedroom window and it's a short walk to the beach. That beats s'mores and singsongs in my books any day...
Friday, 26 October 2012
Life's too short. It's time to get up, put on your best frock and dancing shoes and go have a good time.
I have a life list of things that I'd like to experience before I close my eyes for the last time...
- Be an expat
- See Roman Holiday on the big screen
- Appear on a radio show
- Create my own alter-ego
- Vroom! Vroom! Get my Irish driver's license
- Travel an entire London Underground line
- Have a deluxe picnic in the Iveagh Gardens
- Find a job where I can cycle or walk to work on a daily basis (or better still, do in my pajamas)
- Say yes to every opportunity for one week
- Make the perfect playlist for every situation and mood
- Eat in at least 15 Michelin star restaurants
- Transfer all the old family movies and photos into digital format
- Write a bedtime story for the girls
- Build the world's coolest snowfort
- Build a sandcastle that's bigger than me
- Throw himself the best 30th/40th/50th/60th/70th/80th/90th/100th birthday parties possible
- Watch a summer sunrise over Grampie's pond
- Pick strawberries at the U-Pick and make strawberry shortcakes for dessert
- Make up a dance routine with Dann & Eric (preferably to a song from one of the two cassette tapes we owned as kids and used to make up our own musicals to)
- Watch "Power, Passion, Murder" with Eric again and see if we laugh as hard the second time around
- Make the biggest chocolate chip cookie that can be cooked in my oven
- Throw an old-fashioned tea party complete with handwritten invitations
- Unplug and live a Walden-like existence for one month
- Build a really cracking bonfire and make smores
- Live a bi-continental lifestyle for at least one year
- Paint a decent watercolour of a sunny destination
- Make my own unique flavour of homemade ice cream
- Ride a tandem bike - weee!
- Do an annual cartwheel
- Outdoor yoga in St Stephen's Green
- Do a 20km Volksmarch (ideally finish with a bratwurst and chips mit curry ketchup und einen Bier)
- Take a long bike ride by a beach
- Have a pint of Guinness at an early house
- Watch every single Hitchcock film
- Build a maze out of cardboard boxes and challenge my friends to go through it after many cocktails
- Create a fun fair in the back garden for one of the girls' birthdays
- Design a house that is Frank Lloyd Wright-esque
- Drive a vintage VW bug (or bus, I'm easy)
- Make a breakfast egg mcmuffin on a camping stove on the beach
- Throw a cabaret
- Make up a really killer verse for "The Auld Triangle"
- Discover an undiscovered artist and buy some of their work
- Go skating as far down the Rideau Canal as possible
- Scall all my letters from Pappy that he's sent me since I was 8 years old
- Host the perfect BBQ
- Act silly at every opportunity
- Take fancy dress for Halloween VERY seriously
- Own a house by water
- Build my own walled garden
- Soak up Europe by Interrail
- Visit Shakespeare and Company in Paris
- Show himself how much fun Oktoberfest can be
- Raowr! Go on the Viking Splash Tour!
- See a musical in London's West End
- Go to a London Blitz Party
- Go lawn bowling and drink Pimms in the sunshine in summertime London
- Have Afternoon Tea at Claridge's
Rent a surf cottage for the winter Explore the universe like it's 1785 at Dunsink Observatory
- Be Quasimodo and ring the bells at Christchurch Cathedral
- Travel to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with 2 of my favourite boys
- Go to the airport and take the next available flight outta here
- Get on a bus going to an unknown destination
- Visit Central Park
- Take the overland/water route from Dublin to continental Europe
- Do a wine tasting tour in Napa
- Visit the artist colony in Deia, Ibiza
- Go sailing in the Mediterranean
- Spend a summer in a cottage in the 1000 islands
- Go camping in Corsica
- Document visits to 100 Carnegie libraries
- Cross the Atlantic by boat
- Go surfing in Hawaii
- Cross my own country sea to sea - Oh Canada!
- Discover what's left of Route 66
- Travel in style on the Orient Express
- Cross at least 3 countries on foot
- Perfect my French and German language skills
- Have a conversation entirely in Irish
- Build a reperatoire of cocktails - at least 10 classics
- Learn how to swim without a noseplug
- Join a chess club
- Learn how to play guitar
- Learn how to drive the 4-wheeler and take it for a spin in Grampie's woods
Figure out how to knit
- Hit the bulls-eye in archery
- Take a dressmaking course, design and make a frock that Audrey Hepburn would be proud to be seen in
- Make the perfect apple pie
- Learn to make homemade pasta
- Master the waltz
- Have a tea party with the girls using Nanny's baby pink art deco teapot
- Start the Blackrock Artist Colony
- Open my own vintage clothing business
- Renew our vows in Vegas...in fancy dress...
- Make a bed so a quarter can bounce off of it
- Ride in the sidecar of a vintage motorbike
- Never go to bed angry