The Wild Atlantic Way Roadtrip

Irish world famous tourist attraction in County Clare. The Cliffs of Moher West coast of Ireland. Epic Irish Landscape and Seascape along the wild atlantic way. Beautiful scenic nature from Ireland.

Its that time of year at Eccles Hall that we get all excited. It is time for this years road trip and it’s going to be fantastic.

Last year we did the NC500 the tourist route around the highlands of Scotland, so how do you follow that I can hear you asking yourself.

After a little research and a little prompting for Lady Ann we have found this beauty of a trip, The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland

This is no little expedition its a whopper as Dennis the Menace used to say. Its the longest signed coastal route in the world at 1,700 miles in length and plenty of side routes to keep us occupied.

Now 1,700 miles is a long way to travel and enjoy yourself so we are taking it easy staying a couple of nights in hotels along the route. Because of time constraints and the inevitable constriction of my wallet we have decided that this time we are only going to do the southern part of the route starting in Galway and following the route around to Cork. That’s still the best part of 750 miles so its not for the faint hearted.

We are visiting places with strange sounding names with scenery to die for and visiting pubs and restaurants that already have my mouth watering. We are visiting Dingle, watching a dolphin or two and even visiting the place they shot the latest Star Wars film. (the last location is mine, Lady Ann thinks I am a sad geek), I am not in a position to protest to much haha.

So the car is in for a service next week, Ann has started packing and I can’t wait to get started. So in three weeks off we go and hopefully if we have half the fun I am expecting it will be epic.

Advertisements

The Great Outdoors

DSC00391

The Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley

After the horrific tragedy in Manchester last week, this week myself and Lady Ann have had a Duvet week to try and recharge our emotional batteries. When we were younger we had duvet days but as we are a little older we like to savour the delights of this ritual and take advantage of the fact we are growing old disgracefully.

By Wednesday we were ready for a change of scenery and stretch our legs and go out into the world and the sun shining we ventured out into the bright summer sun.

Now I am partial to a bit of sculpture and I had heard of one I hadn’t yet seen yet so it seemed like the ideal time to go and have a look. Now in our house we play the game of if you do that then we have to do something I want to do game and over the years its worked pretty well.

So, it was agreed I would go and look at the Singing Ringing Tree in the middle of nowhere and that would be followed by a retail based activity for Lady Ann, so off we went.

50 minutes later I was stood looking at this fantastic sculpture on a windy hillside overlooking the town of Burnley. It was by any measure a work of genius, not only does it look fantastic set against the landscape but if you sit for a while the wind makes the pipes hum and it sounds fantastic.

After a couple of photographs and a ten-minute sit down I returned to the car and we set off to a great little place called Hebden Bridge. It is a small market town set in the Pennines and has a very compact shopping centre with all the shops that Ann likes. After copious amounts of Coffee, Cake and the obligatory purchase for Ann all that was left was to return home having had a very pleasant day out.

It amazes me what a little bit of sun on your bones does for your soul, it somehow recharges my batteries which of late have felt a little flat.

After the last two-week emotional roller coaster ride in which I have been unfortunate enough to witness the worst in humanity, tonight I saw the best. I watched in awe a concert organised by twenty-three-year-old Ariana Grande and her team, who showed me that with a little faith and a great team around you can achieve great things.

After watching the fantastic One Love Manchester Event it warmed the cockles of my heart to see the next generation take up the cause of love not war.

I now feel our generation perhaps did something right in raising a compassionate generation of peace makers. For all our sakes, I hope they do a better job than our generation have. I am sure they will.

A little piece of me has been quietly altered!

victims

Photo Courtesy of New York Daily News

It has been a very dark week in Manchester. Every families worst nightmare has been acted out in the Media in an almost sanitised way.

Apart from the heroic efforts of people offering help and comfort in peoples darkest moments it has been relentlessly heart breaking.

The most difficult thing was for me was looking on social media and finding people begging for information about loved ones who were missing and knowing that the inevitable bad news would arrive at any moment.

I feel for the families who have lost loved ones because it was so unexpected. No one ever expects to drop someone off at a concert and not expect them to return home safe. Equally no parent ever expects to be blown up waiting for their children.

It’s not only the horror of what happened that keeps going around in my head, it’s the fact it could quite easily have happened to our family.

Some of the people caught up in this tragedy I know, I have worked with them and that is what makes it so hard. As much as I applaud the sentiment of carry on regardless and the outpouring of “we will not let these terrorists beat us” a little piece of me has been quietly altered.

I am not quite as understanding, I am not quite as forgiving in spite of all the outpouring I have seen and peoples demonstration of solidarity.

Don’t get me wrong I am all for treating people how I would like to be treated and that will not change.

What will change is that I have experienced first hand what has been happening for years in the middle east, the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians on a daily basis with no end in sight and that maybe is a good thing.

People have been horrified by this evil act in our city, but please share a thought for the 500,000 casualties in Iraq alone who have suffered a similar fate since the start of the 2003 conflict.

So as you go to bed tonight please say a little prayer for those families who all over the world are going to bed broken hearted because some have lost the most precious thing they have, their partner, their children or their entire family.

“Three Girls”! A Landmark in TV history

12947801-high_res-three-girls

Lisa Riley broke my heart in an epic performance which will live with me forever

In its finest moments TV can change the world and in is worst when it panders to the lowest production values it’s a waste of a valuable platform.

This week the BBC has managed to do something that rarely has happened in the last 63 years of my life on this planet. It made me cry.

I watched the BBC drama “Three Girls” over three consecutive nights which made me very angry (an understatement by any measure). Now I know you will say it is a work of fiction which is based on true events but this was something different.

It terrified me. It had me thinking that if a child of mine was treated in such a manner I would have to extract revenge not only on the perpetrators but the council and police officers who were fully aware of the situation, but had a reasonable excuse not to take the difficult path.

To add insult to injury in the subsequent aftermath they then shot the messenger, fed her to the dogs just to save the skin of a cowardly Chief Executive who knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it.

The subtext of this story is a tale of woefully inadequate politicians and a communications team who spent its whole time protecting the indefensible and they should be ashamed.

Hats off to the guys who made this landmark programme. We may criticise the BBC for being biased in its political coverage but this programme would never have seen the light of day on a commercial channel and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I have a dream

obdachlos

It may come as a shock to most who follow my ramblings but I have a dream. Not an insurmountable dream but one that is quite achievable to most normal people.

Now I know what you are thinking, he wants to win an obscene amount of money on the lottery or even become intimate with Michelle Pfeiffer. I can assure you all that I am very happy with my life and in particular with Lady Ann and in general my life is fantastic.

Now this does not mean that I don’t have dreams of achieving great things, I do.

I want to make a difference, to be remembered for doing something that will make a difference to those less fortunate than myself. I don’t want adoration or recognition but I want to make a difference to peoples lives.

Can you imagine the satisfaction of being Stephen Spielberg, John Williams or Barak Obama. These guys have one thing in common, they have the ability to communicate on a grand scale and in an instant they can move you, they can make you compassionate, they can make you cry or take you to a place of euphoria in the blink of an eye. (Who remembers the scene when ET is rejuvenated). There was not dry eye in the house.

Cinema has the ability to do this, it is unique, it has the ability to take you to places that often you would prefer not to visit, and to make it worse it is projected onto a huge screen that makes it almost real.

So how does real life compare to the tinsel that is Hollywood?

I pains me to say this but as a species we have become emotionally bankrupt, we look at life as though it is a movie and we overlook the cruelty that exists in our world. We assimilate heart breaking news in a heartbeat whilst reading an article in a newspaper or watching an item on the news without even batting an eye.

Can I take this opportunity to remind everyone that life is real, it is not a soap opera, a news item or a TV drama or a film that you are watching as a voyeur.

Life should be full of compassion for people who are far worse off than you. It should be full of random acts of kindness and above all an understanding that not everyone on this planet has the opportunities that have been afforded to you.

So my message to you all is show some compassion to people who are either heartbroken, ill, lonely or misguided and can I please ask that instead of judging people we show a little compassion and understanding and try to make a difference.

The reality of our collective situation is that no matter who you think you are,  or what wealth you have accumulated you are only two months salary away from becoming homeless and vulnerable.

So after this very sobering thought please sleep well tonight because there are people at this moment who are not afforded that luxury.

Betrayal

 

Betrayal

Betrayal is a word that sounds just like the emotion it evokes.

It arrives in our lives at the most inopportune moments and is often delivered by people who you would least expect it from and that is the bit that hurts. Now there are two ways to deal with this treacherous act, either confront the perpetrator or alternatively (my preferred method of dealing with it) play the long game, after all revenge is a dish best served cold.

So what do I know about betrayal?

By my reckoning I have been betrayed three times in my life, the first time by a so called best friend who stole my girlfriend. Forty or so years on and reflecting on the episode I can forgive him because she was very nice and I didn’t have the emotional experience to appreciate her. So to a certain extent that is how it goes.

The second time was in my career.

When you are a member of a team and you go the extra mile to make sure that everyone gets the recognition for any success only to find out when its to late that one of the team has taken all the glory for your hard work.

The third and final time is now.

I feel betrayed by the government who I put my trust in to look after me in my twilight years. Instead I find we are governed by a group of self serving individuals who don’t give a second thought about selling us down the river and abandoning the infrastructure that enabled them to be in such a position.

On a personal level I have very little to complain about. I have been fairly lucky health wise and our exceptional NHS have provided for me in my most vulnerable moments.

I have been the recipient of a very good education, like many of our MP’s in government who unfortunately a few years ago decided that this opportunity was wasted on the rest of us so decided to charge for courses or starve it of investment so it becomes almost insignificant to the recipients.

But the biggest betrayal of all is that I mistakenly thought that our elected representatives did it out of a sense of duty and to look after the less fortunate in our society.

You might think that I am being naive but I put that down to the fact that I was brought up to respect everyone not just the successful.

So there we have it in a nutshell, the working and middle classes have been betrayed by their own, the opportunists, and the easily corrupted.

This is the time to make a change. Lets give these people the result they deserve rather than the result they expect. It happened with Brexit and in America with Trump.

During this election campaign please hold the thought that these people do not tell the whole truth or even anything like the truth

You never know third time lucky we could do away with the spivs and opportunists and put the fairness back into politics.

All I ask is that you vote, I care not a jot for who (unless its for this uncaring government, then I might wince a little) but for someone who you can trust and can put integrity above the mighty buck.

Unfortunately I am not seeing many of these individuals around!