Thursday, 14 December 2017

The World's Most Beautiful Cruise, the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage

For many years I had wanted to go on this trip and when I saw it at a bargain price I jumped at the chance to go on what is advertised as the world's most beautiful cruise - and I wasn't disappointed.

Day 1.

We flew to Bergen and from there were transported to the Hurtigruten Terminal where we did a smooth and well organised check-in. Afterwards we were free to go on board the ship, we couldn't yet go to our cabins so we explored. Hurtigruten ships are not cruise ships, they are a vital part of daily routine up and down the coast of Norway. They deliver and take on supplies, post and local passengers during the 34 stops going north and 33 south, they are working ships. But having said that the seven decks were beautifully fitted out with a lovely restaurant, two small cafes and a bar in the panorama deck which has the most comfortable seats in the world! There was also a shop, reception, expedition desk where trips are booked and information given. There is also a small gym, sauna and a jacuzzi on deck.

At 6pm we were able to go into the cabin which was small with a square porthole, very clean and had all we needed.  We then went to the Torget restaurant for the evening buffet which had everything under the sun and was absolutely amazing!

Later there was a meeting with the friendly expedition team, Bjorn, David and Natasa who gave us all the basic information for our trip and what to expect on the voyage. They also told us that if you walk round deck five four times you have walked a kilometre, so I decided I would do that at least once a day as I knew I would have to walk off some of the wonderful food we would be having!

Day 2

I had a lie-in and skipped breakfast as I didn't sleep well due to the motion and engine hum of the ship. Today the major stop was at Ålesund. Marian decided to go on a hike up 400 steps to Mount Aksla which overlooks the city. I went out to explore the city by myself rather than go on the organised tour as the ship was docked right near the centre and it was not a large area to explore. Plus the tours are quite expensive!
Art Nouveau Building in Ålesund

The city had been almost totally destroyed by a fire in 1904 (the fate of many Norwegian towns/cities due to them being mainly built of wood in the past.) When it was rebuilt much of the architecture was in the Art Nouveau style which is one of the things the city is renowned for nowadays. It was a mild and sunny day as I explored the cobbled streets of Ålesund which indeed had some beautiful buildings often painted in bright colours in typical Scandinavian style. 

The city is built on islands and there are lots of bridges and waterways, it is very picturesque, laid back and I really liked the place and it would be a city I would love to return to and explore some more one day.

I returned to the ship and Marian returned not long afterwards having enjoyed her hike with its amazing views over Ålesund.

Leaving Ålesund
We later went to the Norwegian Way of Life talk by Bjorn and David which was very informative and entertaining covering such subjects as elk, language,music and art of Norway.

During dinner it came over the ship's intercom that the northern lights were visible. There was a mass exodus from the restaurant as people headed out to see the.  The lights were light green and formed a semi-circle in the sky  at the front of the ship. They were gorgeous and magical and it was also surprisingly mild out on deck five. What a brilliant start to the trip!
Northern lights from the ship's deck

Monday, 4 September 2017

Re-planting the Joshua Tree, a Poem by Debbi Voisey

After seeing the first show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 in London I asked if Debbi (who is a very talented writer) would write a poem about the gig, U2 and what it means to longtime fans like us. In 15 minutes she wrote the poem below which speaks so eloquently for me and I'm sure for many other fans of this amazing band. You can read more of Debbi's writing here - My Way by Moonlight.


A symbol of resiliance
Survival, faith and prayer
Planted 30 years ago
And in music you took us there

To a place of sheer rejoicing
And we followed you because
There is beauty and profoundness
In those songs you gave to us

Some years ago you chopped it down
And took us somewhere new
As your lives took many different paths
And as men you changed and grew 

We've been there to witness all of it
To share in all the joy
As our band became the man that was
Always hiding in the boy

A concert full of wonder
Emotion, love and tears
The Joshua Tree re-planted
After 30 glorious years

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Dublin and the U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017 (part 2)

We arrived in Dublin after a bit of a nightmareish Ryanair departure from Manchester. They announced over the tannoy that it was the last boarding call for the Dublin flight. When we got to the gate everyone was waiting, and waiting and waiting for at least an hour, no one told us that the plane had been delayed in Dublin and was not even in Manchester yet (we found out later!) Eventually we boarded and before we knew it we were back in Dublin on a pleasant evening. We caught a taxi to our accommodation, which was lovely and larger than it looked from the photos and a good location. As usual on our arrival evening we got the shopping in from a nearby Tescos, ate in and had some wine. 

July 20th
We were woken far too early by building work going on beside our apartment. We had an easy day and then later Debbi and I split up, she went to meet a friend and I went to Dun Laoghiare to see friends Ken and Elizabeth. As I travelled south on the DART Dublin Bay looked beautiful. calm and blue on this lovely summer evening. I had good night with my friends, as usual Elizabeth had laid on a good spread, which unfortunately, due to my stomach problems, I couldn't eat as much of as I would have liked to.  

July 21stWe went to Bewley's Cafe Theatre (which is still being held in the Powerscourt Townhouse while Bewley's is being renovated) to see To Hell in a Handbag. A very funny play about the secret lives of a rector and a governess inspired by Oscar Wilde. We had delicious mushroom soup and the best soda bread in Dublin as we watched the play. This was going to be our lazy day, we always have one when we are way, we just drift from pub to pub and chilling out. We first went to The Octagan Bar in the Clarence Hotel to sample their Joshua Tree cocktail, specially created for this U2 tour, it was delicious. Next stop was O'Neill's pub, a large place over three floors with lots of nooks and crannies. We ordered some chips (the best in Dublin) and some onion rings, strange combination but it was what we fancied! We had a long wait but it was worth it, the chips were proper chips, big and tasty and the onion rings huge and crispy, very yummy. Our next stop was The Brazen Head pub, the oldest pub in Dublin, but it was heaving so we left and walked the short distance back to our apartment.

July 22nd

Showtime! First we stopped off at The Study at The Clarence Hotel and had coffee, and I ordered a scone. First off we had to ask at reception to be served, then waited ages for the simple order. Then I had to ask for sugar for the coffee and also pointed out that I should have had whipped cream with my scone as per the menu. The waiter left then came back and said said they had no cream (??!!) and would I like something else like honey - yuck not with a scone thank you! I said that wasn't very good and could I have a discount, again the server left and came back and said no, the price is for the scone and the jam and cream are extras! I was dumbfounded, how ridiculous was that? The server was very nice, it wasn't his fault, but it was terrible service for a simple order. Finally we again had to go to reception for them to call someone so we could pay, the Clarence isn't what it once was.

We got a taxi which dropped us off as near to Croke Park where the U2 gig was going to be. It was already quite busy and we bumped into our friends Declan, Jane and Sharon. Declan was actually on holiday in Portugal and had come back to Ireland and was flying back to Portugal the next morning, that's dedication for you!

Our seats were really good, and shortly before U2 were due to be on we were joined by our friend Paddy. This show had a lot of energy from the band and the audience. The set list was simlar to London, Bono added a it of America on the end of Bad instead of Bowie's Heroes which I felt did not work as well, Heroes was perfect. As the band started playing the Joshua Tree songs with Where the Streets Have No Name, the Irish Flying Corps flew over the stadium trailing smoke in the colours of the Irish flag, very impressive! Only U2 could pull that off. Half way through the Joshua Tree Bono said, "Welcome to side two of the Joshua Tree Cassette," Which made me smile, some of the younger people there wouldn't even know what a cassette was! The show was amazing, once again Exit was the highlight for me. I was sad when it finished as this was to be our last show of this tour.

Paddy, Debbi and  Me in our Seats
After the show we met up briefly with Declan, Jane and Sharon again, then Paddy went off to have a drink with a few friends and was coming to our place later, whilst Debbi and I went off looking for a taxi home. There was absolutely no chance of getting a taxi and we ended up almost home by time we found one. We were exhausted when we got into our apartment and almost kissed the floor with relief! I'd barely put the pizza on when Paddy arrived, he'd left after an hour with his friends and got a taxi easily!

We had a lovely night putting the world to rights, discussing  an eclectic mix of Trump (Paddy lives in America), genealogy, art, and guns to name a few subjects. Paddy left at 6.30am and we crashed at 7am, we are real rock chicks lol!

July 23rd
Got up in the afternoon and later we went to the Octagon bar to meet our friends Jane and Sharon, we were sad that our friend Dianne hadn't been able to come due to travel problems, but I'm sure she was with us in spirit. Another friend Patty joined us for a while too, it was good to catch up with everyone. Debbi and I had another Joshua Tree cocktail but this one was totally different to the one we had the other day! Afterwards we had an early night as we were off home the next day.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

London and the U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017

July 6th

I had treated myself to first class for my long rail journey to London, had salmon and scrambled egg for breakfast and a delicious soup for lunch, very good indeed. When I got off the train at Euston it felt like I had alighted in the south of France it was so hot! Debbi was waiting for me and we headed for our accommodation, a two bedroomed apartment in Ealing. We found it ok and it was very nice were pleased to see all the basics food and drink-wise had been provided for us.

After a cuppa we haded to a nearby supermarket to get our supplies in. It was really, really hot and I was wilting, heat really saps my energy and I was glad when we got back to the apartment. We did our usual first night thing, eatingin and catching up on each others news. We also opened a bottle to Veuve Clicquot in celebration of being friends for 25 years!

July 7th

Our Lunch at Claridge's
Had a lie in and then headed into the city centre for our planned lazy afternoon in Claridge's. It was a hot and humid journey there and we were so frazzled when we got there when we went into the bar

the first a server asked us if we wanted some cool water which was like nectar and helps us recover. We had a sharing platter of  delicious duck spring rolls with a plum sauce dip and a cheese platter along with a bottle of  refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. We spent a wonderful afternoon relaxing in the bar and got friendly with George the server who loved a good chat! Claridge's is upmarket with excellent service, but it is not stuffy, it's an easy place to chill out in (and become bankrupt!)

We left and went into the nearby pub called The Running Horse for a drink (cheaper than Claridge's!) It was still very hot so we sat outside in the shade. Later we headed home and had an easy night eating in.

July 8th

Debbi's husband, Keith, arrived early afternoon, he was going to see U2 for the first time that night! It was still very hot. We had lunch at Bill's on Ealing Broadway. Because of my stomach problems at the time I could not eat much so I had the pate starter while the others had proper meals. I must say I was envious of Keith's delicious looking flat iron steak!

Keith, Debbi and Me Before the Gig
Afterwards we got the tube to Richmond where there were shuttle buses laid on to take people to Twickenham Stadium.  Our seats were in the back corner, not the best but they gave us an all round view of the stage which was quite simple. A plain stage with a back screen with a Joshua Tree on it and a b-stage in the shape of a Joshua Tree and that was it. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds were ok. U2 came on at 8.15 (there is a 10.30 curfew at Twickenham.)  And played a few songs from The Unforgettable Fire, including Bad that had me in tears as usual and I loved the snippet of Bowie's Heroes on the end, it worked perfectly.  The screen came to life with Streets and the beginning of the playing of the entire Joshua Tree album.  The screen was amazing such bright, crisp colours. It was a treat to hear this album in full and I especially enjoyed hearing songs I'd never heard sung live before such as Trip Through Your Wires and One Tree Hill, but the highlight of was
Photo by Kinda Cownley
Exit.  Black and white on the screen showing Bono whipping himself up into a murderous frenzy, quite scary! And also absolutely brilliant, it gave me goosebumps. A beautiful Mothers of the Disappeared,  with video on screen showing women in shadow holding candles that they individually blew out one by one, simple and moving, brought the first part of the show to an end.

The second part of the show was a mixed bag of songs beginning with Miss Sarajevo. Bono got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday for his daughter Eve who had turned 25 the day before. A new song called The Little things That Give You Away was played, sounded good, but I needed to hear it again before it really sinks in. At the End of the gig Noel Gallagher came back on and the show finished with U2 and him singing Don't Look Back in Anger. I was disappointed at the ending, it didn't feel like a proper U2 ending somehow.  I really enjoyed the show and felt it was very much a
show of two halves. The first very structured, a nod to The Unforgettable Fire album during the first four songs and then The Joshua Tree in full, it all flowed beautifully. The second half was more disjointed theme-wise and though I enjoyed it I preferred the first half.

Afterwards we walked to join the massive queue for the shuttle buses, it was still very warm even though it was late. It took over an hour before we were on our way to Richmond station.  We got home about 12.30am and did our usual post gig thing, pizza and wine and chatting until the early hours.

July 9th

Photo by Linda Cownley
Debbi's husband left the next morning and Debbi and I went into London for a while, it was still far too hot for me and I was wilting. We had a late lunch in a restaurant called Burger and Lobster which was blissfully cool. It was expensive, so we both had the starter of crab goujons and a glass of prosecco.

Afterwards we headed towards Twickenham again. This time we had standing tickets, and we spent ages trying to find a good place. There was one place where Deb could see but I couldn't (I'm smaller) so we split up and I spent ages wandering trying to find a place where I could  see more. I eventually noticed a line of small women so headed there and found that in front of them was an open area at the entrance to the Red Zone kept free by security. I sidled through and stood at the end of the line of women and had a really good view of the main stage though could not see the b-stage (which seemed rather low on this tour) and that was my spot for the rest of the show.

The set list was quite similar to last night's show but I enjoyed it. Bono, as last night, was in good voice with amazing energy for his age. Exit again was stunning, and this time they finished with One, the perfect typical low-key U2 ending.

After the show Debbi and I met up and headed off to the shuttle buses again. It took even longer to get on one than the previous night and we got to Richmond station at 12.05 only to be told that the last tube was gone and we'd have to get a normal train to Waterloo! We simply could not believe it, there were loads of people coming behind us many, like us, not knowing London well and not sure what to do.  Surely extra trains should have been put on for such a major event? Debbi checked how far Ealing, where we were staying, was and as it was only around four miles we decided to get a taxi as if we went on to Waterloo we might not get a tube back from there and that was even further away. The transport organisers should take a lesson from Glasgow where crowds from Hampden are away in record time because of brilliant organisation by police and transport staff and train after train leaving the local station.

We got home and were really relieved to be back as we were really tired. The heat and standing for a long time took it's toll on us and I think that may well be our last standing gig! We had something to eat and some wine and then crashed out.

Next day we headed home, and I must admit I'm always glad to be leaving London too big for me and on this occasion too hot as well! But it was worth it for seeing the shows, such a treat to hear those all those Joshua Tree songs live, some for the very first time.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The BowieXperience

My friend Jayne and I recently saw The BowieXperience at The Sands in Carlisle. We are both David Bowie fans, though only Jayne has seen him play live. I thought that the singer's voice was very like the original Bowie's, the backing band was tight and the screen behind them added to the experience and there were countless costume changes for "David." The BowieXperience went through all his great songs and their show was very well performed. Watching it made me realise all the more what an amazing artist the real David Bowie was, how he constantly reinvented himself and his music, pushed boundaries and remained very relevant. I do regret never having seen him play live. Jayne enjoyed the show too and afterwards made the classic quote, "Bowie had better legs"!!

If you are a Bowie fan I would recommend going to see this tribute act, they put on a good, professional show and bring the great artist back to life and make you realise all the more just how amazing his talent was.

(Image from The Bowie Experience Website)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Venice - Beauty, Grandeur, People and Far from the Madding Crowd.

I have neglected my blog over the last few months, I've been very busy and just haven't had time. But I will try to get back into writing it regularly now. First of all I'll write a brief catch up of the last few months.

First of all I'll write a short write up of the trip my friend Jayne and I went on to Venice.  We arrived at Treviso airport on a hot morning. We got a shuttle bus into Mestre and walked the short distance to the Hotel Delfino where we were staying. After some lunch we got the very crowded and sweaty bus into Venice. We just wandered around in the city trying to take it all in. It was very beautiful but also very busy. We went into the first church we saw, S. Maria di Nazareth, built in 1674, and were taken aback by its over the top, ornate, baroque interior. It was just stunning, we both gasped as we entered. It was also an oasis away from the heat and crowds, beautiful, almost as if time had stopped.

We wandered a bit away from the main streets and it was like a different world once you go into the narrow alleys, much quieter, with the day to day life going on there for the locals, it must be hard for them to share their beautiful city with all the tourists. We headed back to the hotel and had an early night as we had an early start that day.

Next day we got the sweat bus to Venice and got on the valporetto, the water bus, to St Mark's Square. We had a snack at a cafe and got chatting to a couple from Peterborough, he was Italian and she was English, we had a nice chat. We then went to St Mark's Square, it was hot and busy with people. We went into the basilica which was beautiful but very dusty. We walked around the square peering in the famous Caffe Florian - the oldest cafe in the world opened in 1720 - with its stunning art work - too expensive to go into. Later we headed into the peace of the quieter lanes and found a cafe for a snack and the same couple from Peterborough were there small world! We had a lovely snack there and then got the valporetto to the Jewish ghetto where we were meeting our guide for a tour, pub crawl with chiccetti (snacks.) On our way we came across a gorgeous standard wire haired dachshund called Olga who I just had to pet!

The lane from the Jewish Ghetto
to the canal
Our guide's name was Beatrice and she was excellent. After a snack and prosecco we entered the nearby Jewish ghetto and immediately it felt like another world. The houses were five stories high (the only area of Venice where that is) and plainer in design. The word ghetto comes from the Italian Gheto meaning smelting which took place here. The Jews were shut in at night until Napoleon freed them in 1797 and it is still a Jewish area to this day. We came across a large square where children were playing, and the water wells were still there. Beatrice explained how Venice was built on wooden stilts and bricks. It was very peaceful and relaxing there.

We left the ghetto and went for our last drink and snack near the Rialto Bridge, more prosecco and that was the end of our tour, I would recommend it highly.

It was now almost dusk, the colours were rich and an almost full moon hung in the sky, it gave the place a magical feel. It was also much quieter along the canals and I wondered how the locals coped with the hordes of tourists that descend on the city nowadays.

Next day we rode the sweat bus into Venice and got a valporetto to the island of Murano, famous for its distinctive glassware. The trip took about 10 minutes during which we saw a coffin heading to the nearby cemetery island of San Michele on a speedboat, a bit different! Apparently nowadays it is expensive to be interred there and ordinary people are buried on the mainland.

It was raining but still warm (much preferred this to the heat there had been can't take the heat) when we got to Murano and it was noticeably quieter than Venice. We had a coffee in a nice little place beside the main canal. We went to the glass museum which was quite interesting but could have been better.

The heavens opened so we had a late lunch in a canal side cafe. The service was terrible, but we got the wrong bill at the end and only paid a small amount for our meal! Normally I would have said something but due to the bad service we felt it was only worth that anyway! Interestingly an Asian girl on the table beside us got a pizza with chips as a topping, even her friend laughed when it arrived!

We browsed the shops a bit more and bought a few items then headed back to the valporetto stop. We had intended going to Burano and Torcello too but as it was getting later decided to do that tomorrow. We bought some wine and food at the supermarket beside our hotel and ate in that night.

Another day another ride on the sweat bus into Venice and a repeat of yesterday valporetto to Murano then changed to another to Burano an island famous for its lace making. This island was much further north in the lagoon and I enjoyed the ride though we had to stand all the way. When you get off the boat at Burano the first thing you notice is the colour - the buildings are painted in bright colours that even on this rainy day looked so cheery. However, I was not so cheery when I discovered my phone had been stolen when I wanted to take photos. There had been someone on the sweat bus that I thought was touching me up and I moved away but he had already got my phone. For that reason I only have a few of my own photos from this trip.

We went to the lace museum which I found really interesting, much better than the one at Murano. We went to the church nearby but it was closed until later in the afternoon. I'm not really into lace so didn't buy anything.

We got a valporetto to Torcello, about 15 minutes north of Burano and when we arrived it was very quiet. We walked along a path beside the canal, passed a few houses, a bridge and ended up in an very old looking square which had small Byzantine-looking  cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Unfortunately we couldn't go in as there was a wedding on. We wandered along a path away from the square which lead to a reedy channel of water which I imagine most of the lagoon once looked like. I really liked Torcello, loved the peace of the place.

It was just after 4pm when we headed back towards the valporetto stop, the boats only come to Torcello once an hour so we went into a little cafe and had some prosecco and chatted. We next checked the time and it was just after 5pm so we decided to catch the 6pm valporetto and had more prosecco and chat! When we did leave the cafe the sky was blue and the sun shining and the walk to the stop was delightful. Later I found out that Torcello was once highly populated and a leading trading island of the lagoon, hard to imagine.

Venice is a beautiful and unique city in so many ways, but for me though it was too crowded during the day, it was an ocean of people and I don't like that. It is one of those places that you have to visit once in your lifetime though and the islands nearby are ideal if you want a day chilling.

All photos by Jayne Malley.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Dublin - Food, Wine and Friends

20th August

My trip started badly, first I got to the railway station and saw my train was cancelled, the next one was an hour later. luckily I always leave loads of time when travelling so I was still ok timewise for my flight. Met up with Debbi at the airport good to see her again, but our plane was an hour late in taking off so more waiting, patience is a virtue.

St Patrick's Cathedral from our living
room window
We landed in Dublin and as usual immediately felt at home, it's the first time we've been there in the summer for a while. We got a taxi to our accommodation, an apartment right opposite St Patrick's Cathedral, lovely to look out at. It was a lovely place, very clean and in a super location. We got our food and drink supplies in and then ordered a Chinese to be delivered. It was delicious, sweet and sour chicken and duck in plum sauce, we decided every first night in a place we will be doing this in the future.We stayed up late chatting, lots of catching up to do, it felt wonderful to be back again.

21st August

We had a lie in and then walked to Sophie's, a rooftop restaurant in the Dean Hotel for brunch. The restaurant has windows all around three sides which give you views over the city. I had eggs benedict which was good, but a bit rich for me early in the day. On the way out we just had to have a go on some swings that were hung opposite the lifts. A bit weird but it was fun reverting to our childhood for a while.

Our Tagines at Dada's
Afterwards we set off on a mission, I had forgotten my ipad lead and Deb her plug, with four devices between us we needed these things.  We trudged across to St Stephen's Green, then down Grafton Street, onto College Green, Dame Street popping in and out of phone shops along the way, the prices were high and we weren't willing to pay them. We headed towards our apartment via Aungier Street and found a little shop off the beaten track that had what we wanted at a good price, mission completed. That day we walked around five miles, and the irony was, that once home, I found my ipad lead and a second plug in an inside pocket of my handbag! Ahh well the walk was good for us.

That evening we went to Dada Restaurant. We'd been there a few years ago and loved it so decided to go back as we had loved it so much. We were not disappointed, I had the most delicious lamb tagine with apricots, nuts and cinnamon amongst other spices. I will write a full restaurant review about Dada's in a separate post at a later date.

August 22nd
After breakfast we headed out towards the Powercourt Theatre to see the play Buridan's Ass. This production is part of the famous Bewley's Cafe Theatre but as Bewley's is being renovated at the moment they are using the nearby Powerscourt theatre. We had the soup and soda bread as usual and sat at one of the small wooden tables right a front so had a brilliant view. I thoroughly enjoyed the play, which is a dark comedy set in a struggling taxidermy business with the boss, Mahone, last in line of the family ("a genetic cul-de-sac" and his keen apprentice, Ernest. Mahone pondering on his life and future and it had a good twist at the end. So even though headless dachshunds came into it (don't ask, as I wrote it is a dark comedy!) I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So today was our lazy day, we have one of these where we just drift from place to place having a drink so our first port of call after the theatre was Cafe en Seine the fabulous place celebrating Belle Epoque where I had one of their gorgeous Singapore Slings.

The Bar at Kehoe's
We then wandered round to South Anne Street to try out Kehoe's pub and I loved it! We went into the bar and I asked if they had any prosecco, the barman said "I don't know, I don't work here" Apparently he was just filling in for a couple of hours, he had a look and found little bottles of prosecco and seemed surprised at how much it was and that we'd pay that much for the drink! There was an amazing old-style till at the bar. We sat in the snug (an original one, this pub dates from 1803) and it was lovely. There was a lot of Irish banter between the bar staff and the place just felt comfortable place, a world away from bustling Grafton Street close by.  It reminded me a lot of Dockers pub which was a favourite  haunt of ours for years until it closed. Now all that's left is the frontage on the quayside, all the atmosphere and history swept away.
O'Neills Chips, the Best in Dublin

Next stop was O'Neills in Suffolk Street. This is a large pub with lots of nooks and crannies and a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. Debbi was happy to go there because it had her favourite beer which isn't available in many places. By then we were getting hungry so we ordered two portions of chips and they were the best chips I've had for years and years, real chips!

We ended our lazy day pub crawl there as we had to be home as our friend Declan was coming round. Lovely to see him again, he only had a knee operation a week previously, so it was so good we managed to meet up.

23rd August
Next day we got the DART train to Sandycove and Glasthule to see our friends Ken and Elizabeth who had invited us for an Irish brunch. As usual Elizabeth was very generous with the food and it was delicious, glad it included white pudding which I love! We had a good chat and caught up on each others news.

Debbi and Me at the Trocadero

That evening we went to the Trocadero, a large restaurant that has pictures of famous people on the walls, lots of mirrors and very comfortable seats. I had pate to start and chicken in tarragon sauce with pesto and chorizo. It was good, but , for me, not exceptional.

Next day it was home, it had been a short but wonderful holiday. It's always like coming home when I visit Dublin. We did all the touristy things decades ago and now we just enjoy the Dublin for itself, good food, drink, theatre and friends, the best things in life!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Memories and the Bard in Stratford upon Avon

My first visit to Stratford upon Avon was on a school trip. It was the first break my friends and I had been on without parents and also our first time seeing live theatre. We had an amazing time, lots of sightseeing, messing about on the River Avon, soaking in the history of the area and lots of youthful
Me Messing About on the River Avon in the 1970's
fun. Shakespeare came alive on stage and I was captivated, and so started a lifetime of being a fan of The Bard. Not long after that trip I went back twice, and then never went back. I don't know whether it is getting older but recently I started wanting to go back and so my friend Marian (who was with me on the school trip) and I recently spent a few days there.

My journey took four and a half hours but it all went smoothly. Marian and I met up at the railway station and walked the short distance to our accommodation, a two-bedroom house in Guild Street. We had a cuppa and then went out to explore. It was another short walk to the centre of Stratford and it really hadn't changed much at all, so good to see.  We got a little shopping in and then went to look for a restaurant to at at. We found a place called Mida and had a lovely meal there, I had pizza that was delicious followed by an equally delicious tiramisu. The owner was a little eccentric but very friendly.

The Auditorium

 After that we headed for the theatre, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was a little different, there now was a tower to its right, and a change to the roof another floor I think, but otherwise pretty much as I remembered it. People sat on seats amongst the flower beds in the large open area in front of the theatre just as years ago, though there was now also a beautiful swan fountain.

We had tickets for A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of my favourite plays and it was good to see it at midsummer too! Once inside I realised how much the theatre has changed, it was now in the style of the original Globe Theatre in London. The stage jutted out into the auditorium was surrounded on three sides by galleries of seats, that were decorated in a actors also came on and off the stage via walkways between the stalls seats. It made for a very personal experience and you felt almost part of the play. I loved this production, the humans were dressed fifties-style and fairies in black and scarlet with Oberon in a striking white suit. Local school children were also amongst the fairy cast. Puck (played by a woman, Lucy Ellinson) was a feisty, mischievous and energetic character. All the humour, magic and brilliance of this play shone like a beacon. It may have been written almost 400 years ago but so much is still relevant today. And I've taken up one of the lines as my motto, "Though she be but little she is fierce."

Me Outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
We came out into a warm and relaxed evening with people milling around, I remembered well how it had been such a revelation to see Shakespeare live for the first time, I was blown away, and now here I was, many, many years later still being captivated by the Bard.

We strolled back to our house and had some prosecco before retiring to bed.

21st June
Marian was up early and went exploring, I met her at the theatre and we walked up to the Dirty Duck pub, which had been a popular haunt for us in the 70's even though we were under 18. In this day of constant change and age it is wonderful to be able to say the Dirty Duck was hardly any different. Two sets of steps up, seats and tables outside and a friendly atmosphere. I had a delicious brunch of ham, egg and chips.

We walked up to Holy Trinity Church and wandered around it, I couldn't remember much about it from that first visit to be honest.

Shakespeare's Classroom
After this we went to Shakespeare's School Room and the Guild Hall which have recently been renovated. The Guild Hall is downstairs and was built between 1416 and 1420 with a school, chapel and almshouses added over the next hundred or so years. The schoolroom is upstairs, and is a large room with huge oak beams, desks, chairs and a raised platform at the front on which stood a well used leather bound chair for the master. You could dress up and play the master which I couldn't resist doing! Boys here were schooled from the age of seven to fourteen and had long days, 6am to 11am and then 1pm to 6pm. Shakespeare attended this school in the 1670's. I couldn't help but look around and think that a young Shakespeare would have seen the same things, the room was so atmospheric, so much has been learnt there.

We went home for a while before heading up the the Fairy Portal Camp in Avonbank Gardens inbetween the theatres and Holy Trinity church. The camp was set up by Slung Low Theatre Company who do similar events all over the country. This particular production was based around A Midsummer Night's Dream and the belief humans can open a portal to the world of the fairies at midsummer. They provided free meals, classes and entertainment, all very interactive with people who drop in. We decided we'd go for the evening meal but when we got there it was curry, which I can't eat, so we decided to go to somewhere else and come back for the entertainment later.

Pimms at the Dirty Duck
We ended up back at the Dirty Duck and had a great meal, I chose chicken supreme which was delicious and very reasonably priced. We washed our meal down with an equally delicious Pimms, the perfect summertime drink.

Afterwards we walked back up to the Fairy Portal Camp which was in full flow. We were warmly greeted and given headphones for the silent performances and disco. There was a small bonfire surrounded by tree trunks on which people sat. There were also tables and benches and about eight teepees. We were given labels on which to write an "incantation" which would be used in the final big celebration the following Saturday, then we went to a small tree and tied the labels onto it. The performances were really good, I especially loved on by a young woman which was haunting, very "sean nos" in style. Then it was time for us, and we danced away to Whigfield's "Saturday Night" of all things! Finally it became a mad group dance, everyone joined in and it was great fun. All in all it was a lovely way to spend our time and it cost us nothing.

On our way back we passed a fabulous, huge oak tree which must have been around in Shakespeare's day. Still buoyed up by our hippy abandon at the camp we had a tree hugging session lol. We walked along the riverside path and it was a beautiful evening, there was a stillness about it I remembered from that schooldays visit. We passed the theatre and on back to our accommodation.

June 22nd
We first visited a nearby Costa for the WiFi (the only downside of the house we rented was that there was no WiFi.) Then went to the canal basin and went on a barge trip along the river on the Jennifer May. It was very relaxing, and went as far as the church and then back on itself. Some of the famous Stratford swans followed us for a while hoping for some treats I think.

We had a browse in the theatre shop which was quite expensive but interesting to look around. Although we'd been to Shakespeare's birthplace on our first trip we fancied going again and so headed there. However, on seeing the entry price of £17.50, we decided to give it a miss!

That evening we went to the Edward Moon Restaurant on the High Street for the pre-theatre menu. It was very reasonable and the food excellent, I had chicken again, in a white sauce with butter beans which I love.

Afterwards we strolled to The Swan Theatre, which is housed in a Victorian Gothic-style building that is the only remaining part of the original theatre that burned down in 1926. There was a very grand staircase that took us from the foyer to the first floor. We went into the auditorium and found our seats. This theatre was just like the main theatre but on a smaller scale.

We were there to see Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. I found this production very stark and dark, I have seen this play before and enjoyed that version more.  Both Marian and I commented that the two plays (though of course very different in content) really showed how special Shakespeare's work is, he speaks for very type of person in his plays and people can relate to that.

And that was it, my return to Stratford Upon Avon. They say you shouldn't go back to places that hold special memories years later as you remember them differently and places change so much over the decades and you are left disappointed. But I can say that Stratford hasn't changed much, Shakespeare still captivates and is somehow more special seen in his home town. The town itself also still feels very much the same for me as it did to the young girl all those years ago, and it was lovely to share it all with Marian who was with me on that first visit too, more good memories to add to those of the past.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Lake District Wildlife Park Keeper Experience

The other week my cousin Janet and I visited the Lake District Wildlife Park for their Keeper Experience. The drive was lovely, the Lake District looked so beautiful in the morning light of the sunny spring day with it's lush green foliage and spring flowers adding to the stunning landscape.

Zeke chilling
 We were greeted at reception by our keeper (I've forgotten her name but she was really lovely) and she told us a bit about the Park and how it plays an important part in animal conservation and works in conjunction with other zoos lending animals for breeding.

She then took us to meet the tapirs for their morning grooming session. We went in with Muffin and her son Zeke, they were very friendly and keen to be groomed. Both quickly went into raptures during grooming, first closing their eyes and then lying down, totally relaxed. Apparently tapirs are related to horses and hippos, I thought thy might be related to elephants because of their long, flexible nose. It was special to be able to be so close to an animal like this, they are so wonderful.

After grooming the tapirs we went to a hut to prepare fruit and vegetables for the meerkats and ring-tailed lemurs. It was a combination of bananas, sweet potato, apples among other things.

We had to get into the meerkat enclosure quickly as they get very excited at feeding time. There were fourteen animals, but only thirteen were out and about, apparently one female was due to have babies, the keeper said she was probably in her burrow having given birth. The meerkats were smaller than I thought they would be and quite flighty. After a while they plucked up the courage and jumped onto our knees and for the food, all the time chattering away.

We then went on to our final group of animals, the endangered ring-tailed lemurs. They were beautiful, with thick black and white fur and rings of it on their long tails, their faces reminded me a bit of a raccoon. They were a lot more confident than the meerkats and quickly jumped on our shoulders and arms. There were a couple of mums with their babies clinging to their backs, one with twins had one clinging underneath too. They especially liked the banana and would sift through the food you had looking for it.

And so that was the end of our Keeper Experience, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. We then looked a round the rest of the park and watched a bird of prey demonstration in which an eagle called Uni decided that she'd had enough and flew off to a tree for a while! Interestingly, during the demonstration a wild peregrine falcon flew over head being chased by two crows who must have been protecting their nest.

All in all it was a good day, the Animal Park is small and the animals look healthy and happy and well cared for and of course the conservation aspect of the park is vital nowadays. I would really recommend this Keeper Experience, it costs £35.00 and that includes the normal admission fee of £8.95. There are other animal experiences that you can do as well, all the same price.

Address:  Lake District Wildlife Park
                Bassenthwaite Lake
                Cumbria  CA12 4RD

Tel:          01768 776239

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Restaurant Review - No. 34, Carlisle

Three friends and I recently decided to try the mid-week wine tasting menu at No. 34 restaurant, it was a bit different, I don't know of any other restaurant in Carlisle that does a wine tasting menu.

My goat's cheese starter
 The restaurant has a relaxed ambiance, the chairs were comfortable and the tables spaced enough to give some privacy. For my starter I had slow cooked balsamic onion and goat’s cheese tart with a crispy vegetable salad and they gave me Sauvignon Blanc, Panul, Lontue Valley Chile to go with it. I was surprised that the amount of wine (which is complimentary) was more than I expected. I love goat's cheese and loved my starter was delicious, as was the wine.

I chose grilled sea bass, roasted fennel, pomme cocottes, roasted cherry tomatoes, olive tapenade, samphire and a lemon and white wine foam for my main course and this was accompanied by a Pinot Noir, Reserva Vina Mar Argentina. Again the food was delicious, the generous portion of sea bass melted in the mouth. I scraped the olive tapenade off the fish before eating it though, I hate olives in any form. My friends all had pan fried corn fed chicken, rosti potato, pancetta savoy cabbage, celeriac puree,  baby onion and chicken cream sauce with La Brouette Rosé, Vin de Pays du Comte Tolosan wine, they too loved their meals.
Chocolate dessert heaven!

We decided to go the whole hog and have dessert too and mine was chocolate delice with chocolate soil, cinder toffee, orange jelly, orange crisps and mascarpone along with Corney and Barrow Tawny Port. For a chocoholic like m this dessert was wonderful, the delice especially was heavenly! I'm partial to port occasionally, and this one went really well with the dessert.

My friends Kath, Margo and me, photo taken
by Tania

The service was very good, friendly and professional. The cost was reasonable for such excellent food - their wine tasting mid-week special Tuesday to Thursday is two courses for £18.95 and three courses £23.95,

Address:  34 Fisher Street


Monday, 14 March 2016

U2 ieTour Dublin 2 - The Finale

First of all sorry for the delay in finishing my blog about my experiences on the U2 ie tour, life got in the way of my writing for a few weeks. But now things have calmed down and I'll try to remember the last couple days of our time in Dublin!

24th November 2015

So-so Bono Photo
In the afternoon Debbi and I got the Luas to the 3Arena, we had decided to go for the meet and greet and joined the people waiting. It was still cold but not as bad as the day before. We hadn't been there long when a middle-aged American woman came along and asked if Bono had arrived yet. She then proceeded to say that Bono had a bionic arm after his bike accident a year previously (he had needed extensive surgery which included various rods to hold his bones together.) She said she had a bionic hip and then got out a photo of her hip xray which she said she was going to show Bono. Mmmm, we distanced ourselves from her as much as we could!

Bono eventually arrived and first went to the people on the other side from where we were. He took quite a while there with the result that he had less time for our side. As he got near us I heard his security man Brian say to him that they had to go. And Bono passed by us quickly, somehow Debbi
managed to get her copy of our book autographed by him (weirdly this gradually disappeared over time!!) It was all a whirl to me but I did get a so-so photo out of it.

Debbi and Me, Best Pals!
We needed food and warmth so headed to the Gibson Hotel and went into the Coda Restaurant for a meal. I had baked cod with mash and vegetables with bacon, it was absolutely delicious and just what we needed.

Later we met up with Paddy and picked up our tickets. As the previous night there was security, but not as much as I had expected seeing the terrible recent Paris terrorists attacks. Our seats were great, it is such a small arena all seats a close, so much better than the previous night. I could see the floor was very, very crowded, much more so than in London or Glasgow, I was glad I was in a seat. The end of the video screen was almost touching the balcony, they only just got it in. It was a wonderful show and it was good to be able to see it all.  During Beautiful Day Bono spoke to Dallas before going into Bad, later I heard that the setlist had I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For as the final song, so it seems Bono changed the ending and it was the right decision, Bad  performed in Dublin is electrifying, and yes, I cried again! This version wasn't as long as the Glasgow one, it also segued into 40 as in Glasgow and it too was shorter. Because of that, for me, it didn't equal the Glasgow version which was perfection. But it was still a good way to end our U2ie Tour.

We met up with Declan and Paddy, Declan had his son Owen with him, I'd last seen him as a toddler and here he was, a teenager, how time flies by. Paddy came back to our apartment for a few drinks and chat, it's always good to unwind with friends after a U2 show.

25th November 2015

Fire Restaurant
Debbi and I had a very lazy day, we needed to recover, nowadays we can't just bounce back when we are on tour! That evening we were booked into Fire Restaurant, somewhere we had talked about visiting for a long time. We met up with our friend from New York, Michelle, and first went into Cafe en Seine which is opposite Fire for a drink. Cafe en Seine is an amazing place which has a very interesting history, it also makes the best Singapore Slings ever!

After our drinks we went across to Fire and were shown to our table in the large, lofty Restaurant. The restaurant is part of the Mansion House which has been the official home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.

Debbi and Paddy
Paddy joined us there and we had a wonderful meal, everything was perfect and it had a lovely atmosphere, none of us were disappointed in it.Unfortunately because of the passage of time I can't remember exactly what I had.

All in all it was a great way to end our stay in Dublin, good food and wine with good friends!

Michelle and Me

Friday, 1 January 2016

U2ie Tour, Dublin 1 - Catching Up with Friends and Another Show

November 21st

When we stepped out of Dublin airport into the breezy, cold late afternoon, it felt great to be back. It had been almost two years since I was last in this, my favourite, city and I had missed th place. W took a taxi to Smithfield and our lovely apartment. We had a quick turnaround after our arrival as we were both going out to different places. I decided to nip to the local shop for bread and butter so we could have breakfast next day. Well that was my intention. I ended up getting totally lost in the rabbit warren of corridors and the lift kept taking me to a dead end. After ten minutes I went back to the apartment, Debbi said that I'd been quick and I told her I hadn't even left the building! We both went to search for the way out, after another ten minutes we found a different lift and that took us to reception, finally sussed it. However, it was now too late to go to the shop, so we just got our coats on and went out. Debbi was meeting up with some friends and going to a Rush tribute band gig. I didn't really fancy that, it's not my kind of thing,  so I had made arrangements to visit Ken and Elizabeth, friends in Dun Laoghaire.

I took the Luas (tram) to Busaras and walked the short distance to Connolly Station to catch the Dart suburban train. I had a struggle getting tickets out of the machine so asked for help and found the most wonderful railway employee, very helpful and also very funny who went way beyond what he needed to to help me. When I got to the  platform and noticed the next train going my way wasn't due for 30 minutes! The platform was very open and a strong, freezing wind was blowing, I had to pace about to keep warm. When the Dart  came it was toasty warm and I gradually defrosted on the trip south to Sandycove station in Dun Laoghaire. Then I had a short walk to my friends' house.

As usual the welcome was warm. Elizabeth had prepared a lovely meal and we caught up on each others news as we ate and drank wine. Ken and Elizabeth are such genuine people and I've known them for 25 years now, how time flies by! I left just after 10pm and was back in our apartment by 11pm. Debbi was still out, I stayed up a while and then turned in. It felt wonderful to be back.

November 22nd

We had a lie in and caught up about each other's night, then got the shopping in. We had a leisurely afternoon, we have seen all the sights in Dublin over the many, many years we had been visiting, so nowadays we feel no need to do the "tourist" thing.  Later we got a taxi to The Green Hen Restaurant, a wonderful French restaurant we had discovered a couple of years ago. They have a very reasonable Early Eater menu that we took advantage of. We both had Goat's Cheese and Beetroot salad to start followed by Confit Duck, both delicious. I love this restaurant, it's lively without being too loud, great service and reasonable prices.

Afterwards we went home and had some wine and looked forward to the two U2 shows we had coming up.

November 23rd

Gig day! It was cold and windy when we got off the Luas behind the 3Arena. The area is known as The Point Village now and is mainly new (or as in the case of 3Arena a renovated old building) but nearby there are still some old buildings left from the days when this area was part of very busy docklands. We went into the new Gibson Hotel close by, I wanted to see the Bono and Edge painting in there by the Irish artist Fin Dac. We took escalators up to the hotel, the painting is on the first floor it is hug and very impressive, full of movement and energy.

The Fin Dac Mural in the Gibson Hotel
We met our friend Paddy in the hotel, he's originally from Dublin but has lived in the US for many years and had come over for the shows. However, he did not have any tickets! He said if we could get him tickets he would pay for ours for the second night (we already had the first.) I was bowled over, it was a very kind thing to do and he did not know me that well.  Debbi managed to score the tickets so w were now going to two concerts in Dublin.

We went into the Hemi Bar which served Asian food, Debbi and I shared a platter which was ok, but the sauce over the ribs was far too spicy for me. Also, the service wasn't the best, we sat for ages before being served, then there was a long wait for the food. However the place was lovely, it had a central outside courtyard that looked beautiful with all the Christmas lights, though the rain and wind whipping around it made it best just to look at that day! There was also a long outside balcony area that looked out over the arena. Again on a nice day it would be nice to sip a drink out there, but definitely not on a night like this!

We left the hotel and braved the weather as we had to go to the box office to pick up our tickets. For this gig we had Music Generation Zone tickets, it was all a bit chaotic and it took us a while to find the right queue for the box office. Eventually we got inside and it was lovely to be warm and out of that howling wind. We got our tickets and waited a while to get into the arena. When we got in were stunned at how small it was, it's unbelievable that a city like Dublin does not have a bigger arena than this. The place quickly filled up and as the Zone was not higher than the floor I soon realised that I would not be able to see much. And that turned out to be true, so I went to the other end of the area where I could see a bit of the e-stage and video screen. I enjoyed the show but must admit it turned out to be my least favourite and I think my feelings were coloured by my difficulty in getting to see anything, sometimes I wish I was six feet tall! I realised for sure that night that what people had said about the best place to be in these concerts is in a seat was true. It was rather disappointing as when we had these tickets last tour they gave us a great view.

Me, Declan and Debbi
After the show Debbi and I left and met up with our friend Declan and his wife Mary and had a catch up with them, we hadn't seen Mary for a long time. We waited for Paddy to come along and join us but after a while we left as it was freezing cold and that wind was still whipping in off the Irish Sea numbing us to the bone. Later he caught up with us and came to our apartment and we stayed up having a lovely night chatting, eating and drinking as we usually do post gig. I love the touring life!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

U2ie Tour, Glasgow - The Perfect Gig

6th November 2015

We had a break home for a week and then it was on the road again to Glasgow. I love seeing U2 in Glasgow because the crowds are always brilliant and it's a relatively short journey for me! Dianne, Debbi and I got a taxi from the station to the apartment where the owner was waiting for us. It was a lovely apartment that overlooked the River Clyde and was just a ten minute stroll from the Venue, The SSE Hydro. The owner of the apartment had left a welcome pack which included a bottle of Rose wine and a box of After Eights, never had that before and it was a really nice touch and much appreciated!

We got some shopping in and had pizza before setting out for the arena which was only a ten minute walk away. It was all lit up blue and green as we approached and looked quite impressive, though much smaller than the O2 in London. Our seats were very good and we had a great view of both stages and the walkway. The show was great, each time I see it I see new things, nothing in this show is done without a reason and it all gels together very well. Bono was quite chatty tonight, after he got a young girl on stage during Mysterious Ways he kissed her and said he was, "An old man sweating over a beautiful girl." He can be so funny.

My favourite parts are during Iris, it is so moving and personal and  when Bono tries to touch his mother in the old cine footage showing on the video screen only to have his hand go right through her, There is a lot of clever video footage such as when Bono holds a mini Edge in his hand. Raised By Wolves is stunning live, very powerful. Another favourite part is after the short interval when the band are all inside the screen and start playing Invisible becoming visible through the screen and then disappearing before the whole screen goes off and there they all are, I think some people think that the band are on video earlier in the song as there is always a big cheer when the screen goes dark and you see all the band. Over the years Bullet the Blue Sky is a song I'd heard enough of, but the version in this tour is amazing. Bono's rap is wonderful, and I love his passionate argument with his younger self during this. It has revitalised the song for me, I love how U2 often develop and rework their songs which brings out a whole new aspect of them. It is hard to describe this show really, you have to see it to truly appreciate it.

After the show we met up with our friend Dawn and her daughter Melanie and we all went back to our apartment for an after show party. We had a lovely time, discussing the show and having a laugh, it's so nice to do this after a gig.

7th November 2015

We had a long lie in after our late night and had a lazy time before heading to the stadium, it was a damp, cold day, or as the Scots would say, a dreich day. We had a meeting with Adam who was as charming as ever. A fan asked him if there would be any surprises at the show tonight and he said there might be, the fans said will you play 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Adam laughed and said , "Now that would be a surprise!"

We had a meal at a place nearby called The Rotunda which housed a few restaurants, we chose to go to Yen which was an Oriental restaurant on the upper floor of the building. I had the sweet and sour chicken which was lovely, my friends enjoyed their meals too.

Our seats for this show were not as good as the previous night but they were still very good as The SSE Hydro is a small venue. This gig was electrifying, the crowd were very loud and enthusiastic and that energy seemed to inspire the band even more and that makes for a great show.  And I have to say this, for me, was the perfect U2ie Tour show. Bono added Love Will Tear Us Apart and Stars to the end of With Or Without You, for so many of us fans that is the best ending for that song. The end of the gig was just stunning, first came Bad, so cathartic, we all should let go of something from our lives and this song resonates so strongly with most people, it did me, tears were running down my face. At one point Bono collected about five different flags from the crowd and swung them in the air and singing, "Let it go...." he let the flags fly out of his hand, very powerful and symbolic. Then Edge and Adam changed places on the stage and I knew they were going to finish with 40. Oh my I was in gig heaven, one of my favourite songs that I hadn't heard live! It was an extended version and Bono methodically shone a spotlight on every section of the audience as they sang along, it was a true magical U2 moment, we were all one. Then Edge walked down the walkway in the spotlight and left the arena via the e-stage, then Adam, Larry did a drum solo then he too walked out the same way. Finally Bono put the spotlight down, shining straight up and left the arena too. The crowd went nuts, it was just spellbinding. Earlier Bono had said, "We'll never forget this." Well nor will we.

It's Wee Bit breezy!
We left the arena and went out into a damp and windy night, once more lost for words, I still felt
really emotional, all three of us just stood for a while saying nothing. Once more U2 has shown me they are the best live, no doubt at all.

When we got ourselves together a bit we walked home. Dianne went straight to bed as she had to be up at 6am as her plane home was leaving at 9am. Debbi and I stayed up and drank wine, ate nibbles and chatted, we were high on adrenalin. When Dianne came through to the living room at 6am Debbi and I were still up, how rock 'n' roll are we?! She wasn't that surprised, she knows us well. We saw her into the taxi outside, we had our PJs on and had put coats over, the taxi driver was a hoot, he said he liked our PJs especially my peach ones with white daisies. We hugged Dianne goodbye and the driver said, he wanted a hug too, so he got hugs from us, we must have looked funny there on a wet and windy Glasgow street in our vivid PJs! After that Debbi and I decided to get some sleep, luckily we had a late check out.

So that was leg two of our U2ie Tour over, and what a way to end it. Next leg, Dublin!