Saturday, September 29, 2007

..// Shadee Acres \\.. 2004

Photo Link: <..// Shadee Acres \\.. 2004 photos>
Video Link: <YouTube video... "Welcome To Shadee Acres">
With Halloween 2007 coming up fast (Halloween is REALLY big in Ireland), it was time to get the old stuff onto flickr... so here are some great memories from 2004 - the "Shadee Acres" Halloween Party at Wavell Heights...

Always trust the local guy

A gentle mist has descended tonight. That was after the soft rain today. There was really great trad music on the car radio as I took an early evening dash to Tesco's to buy some lightbulbs, to replace all the one's in our apartment that simultaneously blew this week... But apart from the lightbulbs blowing, it's been a good week, where Clare and I have both been quite busy. I suppose it's taken us a while in Ireland, but between Clare's work, and my involvement now in photography & trips with the Hash and other things going on, we feel like we 'belong' a bit more than before. We're constantly learning (and it does take time), how things work here, and there's somewhat a sense of community emerging in Annagassan too.
So the trusty Nissan Almera has got a few more miles left in her yet, according to the local mechanic at Dunleer who installed a new radiator for just 180 Euros (which is an absolute bargain I can tell you - I was quoted 100 Euros just to get the car towed out of Dunleer!) Now she drives better than before - mmm, I guess that swiss cheese radiator may have been causing problems for a while (in hindsight). While going through my own car "withdrawal", I rented a car for a week from Budget for 100 Euros. A great little black 5 door Polo that went quite fast on the motorway (hhmm). If you're planning on coming to the UK or Ireland and renting a car, you must, must check out this site - This seems to be THE BEST price comparison site in Europe for car rental, hotels, flights, etc. Even flights from the UK to Australia can be compared here. Clare's boss couldn't believe that you could rent a car for a week for 100 Euros (about AUD 160) - and that was all inclusive too, no catches. I don't think you'd get a car for a week in Brisbane for that. But when it comes to travel bargains, of course nothing really beats Ryanair over here, where you can regularly get 20 Euro return flights to London (well under AUD 40) - that's the TOTAL fare!
Got some good feedback on my 6 photos at the photo comp the other night. There was some really great beginner work, needless to say I didn't win (I didn't expect to), but my highest scoring photo was Siena Window, which I think got a 9 (out of 10) from one of the judges. My 6 entries were pretty much 'point and shoot' efforts, and while the quality of cameras are improving and everyone is becoming an expert, you still need to know about the basics of photography - composition, light, shutter speeds, etc. So I have lots of learning to do. Sorry no new photos to add to this blog tonight, as I haven't had the time to take any more!
Only 2 weeks to go before the Australian Leprachaun's hit Vegas & Wyoming...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tales of the week...

Autumn is well and truly upon us. The days are brilliant blue sky but it gets positively frosty as darkness falls. The grit trucks were out on the motorway last night and the temperature was 4.7c on our bedroom windowsill this morning, so it's time to rug up for winter. The fireworks places on the border have cranked up too, and shops are stocked with Halloween stuff. The whole fireworks thing is really weird as you're likely to hear the whiz and bang of a rocket being let off at any time, any place, from now till New Year!
The radiator in my car literally disintegrated late last week. I was driving up the M1 onramp about 10 minutes from home when steam started billowing out. There wasn't just one hole in it... it looked more like a smashed up honeycomb (eg. LOTS of holes!) So I managed to coast and hop the car down to a small town called Dunleer (about 1km away), then took the bus to Swords instead. We found the local mechanic on the weekend by asking people outside the pub. So that's where the old Nissan Almera is this week... Well, it does have 147,000 miles on the clock so we're looking at the options of getting a newer car, and I've got a rental car for the week in the meantime.
Clare has been in Dublin all week for the World Seafood Congress 07. Busy, busy, perhaps finding time for a tipple of rum or two with the Aussie visitors in the evening!
Not so many tractors on the road this week as the National Ploughing Championships are on (the equivalent of the Ekka in Brisbane). Loads of exhibitors, trade village & food and of course LOTS OF PLOUGHING! Couldn't see it for myself as they have it midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) and we definitely don't get a holiday for it!
Bye all.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Planning, planning...

Colorado, Wyoming... Too many miles? I just can't help planning, and Google Maps makes it too easy. Got to see Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, etc, etc... Clare says one day she's going to book a trip for us that will be truly spontaneous and unplanned... What the?

Change Of Season...

6th August, Unloading Cockles

Just a quick update this week, as we really didn't do a whole lot over the last weekend. Even the pub was quiet on Friday night. Clare is still working away furiously on her MBA, and I'm really getting into photography, having joined the Drogheda Photographic Club and getting my entries together for my first competition (for new or non-advanced photographers!) Those 6 entries are blogged directly from flickr following this post, which reminds me I really need to take some more Irish Pub Of The Week photos (I've fallen way, way behind with those), but I might also be helping out with a bit of an experimental photographic project in Drogheda in the next couple of weeks too...
On the homefront, the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and it hit 5 degrees the other morning. Signs of the months to come, after such a great summer (ok, an Irish summer!) The cockle pickers have been digging away on the Annagassan mudflats at low tide. We're pretty sure it's a commercial operation, and the workers are bussed in from somewhere. Starting to make plans for Christmas, etc.
Trust all is good in Brisbane town or wherever you are right now!


Originally uploaded by


Originally uploaded by


Originally uploaded by clare&joe

Siena Window

Siena Window
Originally uploaded by clare&joe


Originally uploaded by clare&joe


Originally uploaded by clare&joe

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mystery Bus HHH

BBQ "On The Rocks" at The Saltings, Annagassan
(please click on this photo for a larger version)

Photo Link: <Dublin HHH (Mystery Bus Trip), 09 Sep 07 photos>
Time: 2pm Sunday afternoon; Location: the end of a lane somewhere in the backblocks of County Down, Northern Ireland (bandit country until a few years back); Problem: have you ever attempted a 3 point turn in a 35 seater bus in a narrow country lane? Perhaps not. But the enthusiasm of the hashers (possibly alcohol fuelled) got us through, even though "Bernie The Bus" (our driver) had a little trouble finding the reverse gear (crunch)... This was our Mystery Bus trip to Mullingar, which of course didn't go anywhere near Mullingar. But Clare and I knew one of the destinations very well (as we helped to set the trail), but that was still to come later in the day...
Chris & Shay came up to Annagassan on Friday night so we started the weekend with another trad session at The Glyde Inn. A couple of different musicians turned up and the music was excellent as always, with some brilliant blues too. Saturday morning and Chris & Shay left to set the first trail (the location of which was kept secret from us of course). When they returned later in the day, Clare and I learned the finer points of Hash trail setting, using shredded paper, flour and chalk...
The Annagassan trail started on the road coming into the village from Castlebellingham: false trail on the seashore, up the hill (onto the rath), past the hay bales and the water tower, down the hill, false trail to the end of the harbour wall, under the bridge, along the river, over a stile and across a cow paddock (be careful of the electric fence), across a harvested wheat field, false trail along the esplanade, clamber down the rocks, along the beach, diversion around the pub... (exhausted yet?), finally ending up in front of The Saltings. I think we did a good job! After we set the trail we headed down to Parnell St (Dublin) for some Asian food. Clare had crab and said it was one of the best meals she's had in Ireland! We stayed the night at Chris & Shay's place, so we could board the mystery bus with everyone else on Sunday morning...
Everyone made it to the bus (10am'ish) and we headed north out of Dublin taking plenty of diversions along the way including Ballymun (keep going driver) & 360˚ loops around roundabouts, etc. but still ended up on the M1. We took bets on Slane or Carlingford but steamed right past those motorway exits and were soon in Northern Ireland where we took a left turn through Jonesborough (the locals were not amused by our coach squeezing through the market day traffic). We finally reached Hawthorn Hill Forest (Slieve Gullion) for the first trail of the day. After the trail (and beer & snacks), we boarded the bus again and promptly got lost (refer to paragraph 1!) Finally followed a kind driver out of the woods, toilet stop at Camlough, diesel stop at Dundalk, then onto Annagassan where we quickly kicked off the second trail (refer to paragraph 3!)
This was all followed by a BBQ on the rocks right in front of our building. Then we waved everyone goodbye as they drove back to Dublin (well after 6pm I think). There was still a case of beer left at that stage. Another great hash adventure.

Monday, September 10, 2007

flickr photo updates

Just a few more flickr photo updates. We now have 2,309 photos online with thousands of individual picture views. This was really pushed along by our Rolling Stones pics. I've also joined the nearby Drogheda Photographic Club in the hope of enhancing my skills!
So these photo folders all had major updates in the last week or so:
Photo Link: <2007... A year in Annagassan>
Photo Link: <Aviation at DUB Airport 07>
Photo Link: <Clare's USA Trip 99> (getting lots of comments on these)
Photo Link: <New York, Oct 03>
Photo Link: <Our Top 20 Most Interesting Pics>

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Photography Nut (and Movie Nut)...

Making hay while the sun shines in Annagassan, 02 Sep 07
(please click on this photo for a larger version)

While Clare is slaving away on her MBA, Joe is doing a bit of a personal project (instead of watching 200 channels of nothing on Sky TV)... to get ALL of our digital photos into flickr (they go back to 2001, with some scanned from earlier too)... My first digital camera was a little 1 Megapixel Kodak (please don't ask how much it cost back then). That camera has gone to Phoebe now (my niece), but I'm sure it ended up in a dusty box somewhere. Of course it could be used as a good paperweight. Anyway, flickr is probably about the best online community I've found yet (with the possible exception of the Sydney planespotters!) You receive (and give) feedback on photos, and they have meet-ups too. You start to learn a lot about what makes a good photograph (or maybe what everyone thinks is good photography!)
So we have another album online now:
Photo Link: <New York, October 2003 photos>
This was part of a bigger trip we took back then, and I'll put the rest up soon.
Also putting some movie reviews onto the SBS Movie Show website (at their invitation), so look out for me - it's a good website to visit too if you want to know what's on at the movies.
Bye from Joe & Clare.

Saturday, September 01, 2007