Thursday, December 15, 2005

In Between Daze...

This blog was an attempt to keep track of the days as they passed. Our last days in England to be precise. Which were not that many really so to date this is a pretty poor attempt. If someone were to read this in 1,000 years time they would think nothing more than how crap we were a keeping a diary.

So, what have we been doing for the last week?

I hosted a Champagne Tasting evening for our Women in Business network. It was a pretty good event by all accounts but then again when you mix Champagne and women you can guarantee that hilarity will ensue.

We included an informal quiz where we asked the women to guess how much they thought the Champagne they were tasting cost. The prices ranged from £7.99 through to £79.99 a bottle. Only one woman guessed the most expensive (Vintage Dom Perignon if case you were wondering) and one pair thought the £7.99 Cava was worth £79.99. Philistines.

The woman who ran the evening for us owns a speciality wine shop in West Didsbury called Reserve Wines and was brilliant. And she kindly let me take the left over DP home for Ian, who I failed to tell that I'd already had 3 glasses of the stuff.

We got up the next morning at 4.30 am to catch our 7.00 am flight for Belfast. Bad planning in some respects but it was nice being up in that pre-dawn crisp air as we dragged our bags to the train station at 5.00 am.

We were off to visit our friends Irene and Bill who actually live in just outside Sligo, a 3 hour drive from Belfast. They met us in Enniskillen and had a lovely meandering drive back to their village of Ballymote. We lunch in a village called Blacklion just over the boarder into Ireland and 3 hot whiskies in a pub in a village the name of which escapes me. I wanted to fold the pub up take home with me. It was just so lovely and warm and smoke-free!

The only reason we did not stay longer at said pub was Irene and I were quickly on the slide into inebriation and, as the boys were driving, were none to keen to hang around as spectatators. I honestly could have sat by that lovely wood burning stove and continued to stare at the bottles of Irish and Scottish whisky as they glittered in the half light. It sure beat staring into middle distance.

We had a lovely, relaxing weekend eating, reading the papers and discussing how we would change the world if we had the power to. The conversation boardered a little on the depressing side as we discussed Howard's Australia, Blair's United Kingdom and Bush's rest of the world.

We spent our last few hours in Belfast sitting in the Crown Liquor Saloon where we met Renee & Steve, a couple of travelling Australians from Greensborough. They had been on the road since March so we sat for ages shareing travel tales.

We chatted about Northern Ireland and the Troubles as they had taken a Black Cab tour of Belfast that afternoon. The tour was meant to be unbiased however, their cabbie seemed very much at home on the Shankill Road where he seemed to know everyone he saw. After their half hour trawl around the Loyalist areas they were whisked through the Catholic areas with nary a glimpse of an Irish flag.

At any other time we would have felt grateful that we had not grow up in Belfast. However, we had just heard the news of the disgraceful scenes Cronulla. We all admitted that at that point in time, we were ashamed to be Australian.

My brother sent me the above photos of his son, Harrison the other day and I realised again that the saying that there are three things you can not help but stare at; a naked flame, the sea and a sleeping babies face.


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