Thursday, 31 May 2018

Ennis - A to Z of Places I have Visited.

For the next few months I am going to write about some places I have visited and do them in alphabetical order.

Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.





In March 2015 my husband had to visit several different sites in Ireland because of his work.

I don't normally travel with him on work trips in fact let's say we could probably count the number of times I have done so on the fingers of my two hands and we are talking of a time span of over 30 years.

However on this occasion he was going to a different location each day so that meant a long working day followed by a long drive to the next place and a different hotel each night so he suggested I go with him for company on the journeys.

We live in Northern Ireland (CLICK HERE to go see the difference between Northern Ireland and Ireland if you have not already read my blog post on this) and then come back here to finish off this one.

As I was saying , we live in Northern Ireland but have not been to very many different places in Ireland so it was an opportunity for me to see some towns and cities during the day as well as not have to cook for almost two weeks.

It was also an opportunity to see quite a few hotel rooms and resulted in a blog post on Top 10 Things that Make a Good Hotel Room which you probably want to read as well






and another amusing one about all the strange/quirky things I encountered in those hotel rooms see 10 Things that made me laugh in Ireland.








On this trip we stopped one night outside what I thought was a small town called Ennis.


The next morning after I had a late breakfast and did a few puzzles I ordered a taxi and simply asked the driver to take me into Ennis so that I could have lunch and go for a walk around.

The taxi driver dropped me off beside a very tall statue and when I asked where I could get a taxi back to the hotel again he pointed over to another street and said I'd find a taxi rank there.





Convinced that this was a small town, and this seemed to be confirmed by the narrow streets, I walked along without a care in the world looking at the shops as I passed by on my mission to find somewhere nice to have my lunch.

I could see shops, I could see pubs, I could see coffee shops, I even passed a hotel on the main street but nowhere that looked like it would offer a simple lunch.

On and on I walked turning into one small street after another and starting to get convinced that I would get lost in this town of narrow streets when I turned a corner and there it was - I am so disappointed that I did not take a picture of it or think to write down the name - but I had found my cafe.

It was lovely inside and there was a peaceful atmosphere about it.  I ordered and was definitely not disappointed when my food arrived.  After eating I lingered on reading my book over a cappuccino enjoying both the beverage and the surroundings, but eventually I had to leave to see a bit more of Ennis and find my way back to that statue to get a taxi again.

Some of you may have read in previous blog posts that I like unusual roundabouts but I certainly wasn't thinking about finding one here, yet that is exactly what I did find. Shortly after leaving the cafe I turned a corner and found myself in a somewhat wider street with a roundabout at the end of it.

I immediately asked myself a question - was I really seeing a cow on a roundabout?




And the answer was yes.

A cow and two figures.

I had lived near a roundabout that had several animals on it in Tervuren in Belgium, they were all playing musical instruments and forming a fountain (it is absolutely beautiful) but never a cow just standing there.

There must have been some reason behind this but I have yet to find it out.

At least I remembered to take a photo of the cow and the figures before I went on finding my way back to the statue.

At the statue I then headed over to the place the taxi driver had told me about, at least I thought it was where he was directing me but there was no taxi rank there. I wandered around a bit and eventually ended up going over the river Festus.




It was a lovely calm view from the bridge.





It was the Harmony Row Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge in a arched shape.






The bridge and river look good from this view too.

Well I asked several people about the taxi rank yet never got any help but eventually I spotted a taxi coming along the road I was then on and I hailed it down.   Yes, I hailed it down, something I have never done before even though we have lived in The US and have been in London several times.

The taxi took me back to the hotel just as Fred was arriving back from work for the day.  He was tired and hungry and I was tired and my feet were getting sore from all that walking and walking.

On doing a little bit of research on Ennis online (should have done this before I got there of course) I discovered that this town of the narrow Streets (as I will always think of it) is actually the County town of County Clare so it is larger than I thought and that explains why I ended up walking through so many streets.


Have you heard of Ennis the Irish town with the narrow streets?


The tall statue is called the O'Connell Monument with a link to the Crimea War.  The figure at the top of it is Daniel O'Connell who is called the "Great Liberator"

I also discovered that there are other statues apart from the tall thin one I met on my arrival and those on the roundabout. 




Yes there is one of a hand.

I never noticed it.  I wonder is this the only large town sculpture of a hand in Ireland and I also wonder if there are other unusual large sculptures in Ennis.

Maybe I need another visit to seek out more and to find that lovely cafe again.




As for any of you readers, well this just might be a good town for you to visit in Ireland because I think it would be just what some of you imagine an Irish town is like.



Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Cards on the Table - Book Review


Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.



I am reading through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and writing a review on each one.








Cards on the Table



1936



Description


A flamboyant party host is murdered in full view of a roomful of bridge players…
Mr Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he was a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana’s private collection.
Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether…






My Thoughts



This is the 27th book by Agatha Christie and the 14th Poirot Mystery

How does someone kill another person in a room with 9 people and no-one sees the murder being committed, not even the great Hercule Poirot himself.

There is no noisy atmosphere, no moving around because 8 of these people are playing bridge while the murder victim sits quietly and watches his guests.

We are faced with the secrets the bridge players are hiding from the world.
We are faced with the idea of a strange weapon that one of them could possibly have had with them.
We are faced with the problem of how Poirot will be able to interview the suspects when so little is known and so little happened that could be asked about.
We are faced with the dilemma "Was it spontaneous or premeditated?"

Definitely a difficult teaser for those little grey cells our favourite detective is always talking about.

But I felt there were just too many coincidences among the lives of players.
That was the one part of this novel that makes it not one of my top Christie books.



If you would like to know more about this book then click on the title or picture above.


 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Amazon
Books by Agatha Christie


If thinking of reading this book in the future why not pin this pic to go back to later.
















Thursday, 24 May 2018

Durbuy (The Labrynth) - A to Z of Places I have visited


For the next few months I am going to write about some places I have visited and do them in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q and X etc. but maybe I will have a brilliant idea later.





My D for the series is Durbuy, a small town in the Luxemburg region of Belgium.

We lived in Belgium for over 6 years and loved our time there especially seeing so many new places.

One day trip we made from our home in Tervuren (on the outskirts of Brussels) took us to the Labrynth (Maze) at Durbuy and being a Mathematical person I am also a logical person so I love to have a puzzle of some sort to work out.



The Maze Was Very Large 



and it was also very tall.  No seeing over the top of those hedges but if you managed to get up higher somehow (you'll find out later) you would have seen that




there was something at the centre of the Maze.

Fortunately we did get a map of a kind to help us find our way to the activity at the centre.



So Off We Went 




and to start with I had the map.

Fred was looking at it along with me and our son Jonathan was coming behind taking some photos.
It was a lovely day with the sun out and we were very comfortable in our short sleeves but because the hedges forming the maze were so tall parts of the trail were in the shadow and that meant a lot of dark patches for the photos.

Fred is 6 foot tall so looking at these photos now I'm presuming the hedges were between 7 and 8 feet high.




At one stage Fred ended up with the map on his own - I was probably lagging behind talking to Jonathan.




Then Fred was off and I had to






run to catch up with him before we would get lost.

Fred had decided that he knew exactly where we were and where we were going and so he took the lead and we just followed.

Of course he was right (as always) and a little while later we had arrived at the centre.   



Walking In There





we saw some other people were sitting waiting and there were a few people dressed as soldiers. 

 One of them had a map of the regions of Belgium so that everyone could see where we were. 

Soon some other people arrived and the soldiers took charge and gave some commands for us to stand and then they picked out some from the crowd to come to the middle of the clearing and the rest of us had to sit down on benches around the perimeter of this area.


Well Guess Who Got Picked




Fred!


My husband is always full of fun and always willing to enter in at times like this and Jonathan and I were happy to sit and watch and laugh and laugh.





The soldiers tried to teach them all to hold a gun (really a large stick) making them look and act in a very funny manner and then


they had to be able to do something with their hands held up - I don't remember what that was because we were just laughing so much at them all.





Each one of the "volunteers" got picked on for a part of the training 





and then they had to practice marching.


After our bit of entertainment we had to find our way towards the exit of the Maze and Jonathan found himself a great place for a view over it all.






Now you know how we have those first two pics looking over the maze.

We took some photos of him up there as well as him climbing up and down it and he got some photos from that height too. 


Then He Took a Nice Pic




of his old mum and dad sitting below.

Before we left he took another nice one of us on a wooden seat under a trellis.




It is a lovely place and we had a relaxing time there even though we had to navigate a maze.



An entertaining day in the middle of a puzzle in Belgium



If you are ever in that area of Belgium do make the effort to go and I hope you get a nice sunny warm day as we did.







If you missed any of the previous places in this series just click on the Titles below:

A for Alicante
B for Bratislava
C for Calpe





Sunday, 20 May 2018

Smile God Loves You!! Psalm 100:5 - Sunday Scripture


This Sunday's Scripture on God's Love is Psalm 100 v 5  





 One of the things that makes God Good is His Everlasting Love which is exactly what this verse talks about and then it leads on to His Faithfulness.







Look at the powerful words we see in this verse telling us about the Lord, His Goodness, Love and Faithfulness.


It tells us 2 things about this Love

  • it is steadfast  -  sure, dependable, unmovable, like an anchor
  • it endures -  lasts, strives, overcomes everything


Because of this great dependable love that overcomes everything God is faithful to all of us who come to Him.

What else could we ask for to feel (as the well known hymn states)

"safe and secure from all alarms"




The Love that makes God the True Faithful One.













Thursday, 17 May 2018

Calpe - A to Z of Places I have Visited

I have started writing about some places I have visited and posting them in alphabetical order.
Still wondering what I will do for the more unusual letters like Q  etc. but I think I have an idea for Z.






We have been to the same villa in Calpe 3 times and love both the villa and the town of Calpe.

We found it by chance on the internet and discovered that it is owned by a guy from Liverpool who is married to a Spanish girl and lives in the next small town to Calpe.




After we had already been there we invited my sister and her husband to come for a week with us to celebrate my birthday and their wedding anniversary (I mentioned the fact that she got married on my 13th birthday in the first post in this series on Alicante).



Calpe 

Calpe is found on the South East coast of Spain about an hour's drive north from Alicante airport.






The drive north along the coast is beautiful on a sunny day - and we have only seen it in the sun.

The town of Calpe sits right on the coast and has all the usual restaurants and tourist type shops but it is not overly full of tourists, at least you never feel like it is the way Benidorm would be.

Smaller seaside town with good sandy beaches and a very relaxing feel about it.



Meeting Friends

When I was planning this trip I had mentioned to our oldest son that we were going back to Calpe again.  Later he was talking with some friends of his and ours and they mentioned they were going to have a trip to Spain but then imagine his surprise when they said they were going to a place called Calpe.  He quickly told them we were also going there and then discovered that our holidays would overlap by three days.  So it was arranged that we would meet them the day after we arrived which would be the day before they left and we would have coffee on a beach north of Calpe.

Me, our friends from Wales and my sister & brother-in-law.


Not only did we find that nice beach and have a great time together chatting and drinking coffee and then having lunch but when they realised that my brother-in-law loved to eat at carveries they told us about the best one they had ever been to which was only 10 mins from that beach.

Well you can guess what happened - yes we met up again a few hours later at the restaurant and spent a lovely evening together as well.



Surrounding Area

While we were there we went round Calpe and also some of the small places nearby.




 Here is a picture I took of Fred taking a picture of Averil & Victor on one of the lovely coastal walks we found.

North and South of Calpe you will find many beaches and other little towns to walk around and of course stop for a coffee or cold drink.




Of course everywhere we go we always find something to laugh about and this time it was a medical van with my initials on it so of course a photo just had to be taken.




Calpe Rock

There are 2 main beaches in Calpe and they are very easy to get to from the town because the town is basically built beside them.

There is also a very large well-known rock at Calpe which juts out into the sea and the two beaches have formed on either side of that rock.

Here is a view from the beach on the right hand side of the rock




Victor got a good picture of it here.



And here is the view from the beach on the left hand side




The water was great for bathing there and we had fun - Fred and Victor and I are like kids when we get in the sea together.






The beach on the left was longer and had more shops along it which was good because the day we went there was the hottest day and we needed to buy a parasol to use on the beach or we could not have stayed for as long as we did.





Amazingly we had a view of the rock from our appartment as well.

A suppose the rock is so famous there because it is so large and hence very noticable for quite a few miles along the coastal road.



Have you ever been to Calpe? Check this out to see if it is worth visiting.



Our Appartment

While we were there the weather was very hot but the appartment and the grounds were lovely




 meaning that we had breakfast outside each morning and almost any other meal we had when not off exploring.







There was also a very nice pool a couple of mins walk from the appartment to go for a swim before dinner in the evenings.







The flora is very colourful in that area and around our appartment there was this lovely dark pink display of flowers which made a nice background for a picture before going out for a meal one evening.













The Pramshed