Archive for the 'sun' Category

Nice places to bring the dog if it could ride a bicycle

We started about 2 years ago with occasional trips to scarva along the newry canal, quick stop in the pub  and back again trying not to cycle into the canal on the way back.

It has been about 10 month since the last one.


So today we were back on – quick cycle to the chippy and dine on the steps of the boat club and then cycle to scarva, avoiding the dog poo and inhaling half your body weight in fies.

The photos below illustrate the danger of trying to take photos while cycling while trying to keep flies out of your eyes.



The pub is one of those pubs where people go to watch Coronation Street. They also did a wonderful offer of buying six pints get one free. Note the “Drink Sensibly” logo in the bottom corner.


Half way back wee Philly’s (Philly-O-Fish/Lord Phildemort/Milhaus) chain broke, Not just came off, just broke. Despite some valiant, greasy fingered attempts to fix it we had to abandon the idea.

We did manage to construct a towing device out of two bicycle chains and managed to tow him the rest of the way.

Good times.


Nice places to walk the dog – No. 6-9

Given 2 days off work and 15 episodes of Lost, I had to make the most of it.  I couldn’t quite face a full 12 hours solid watching Lost, so I split it with walking the dog and driving the Antrim Coast Road. Luckily seemed to have got the nicest day of the year so far for it too.

Having already been in Belfast in the morning I couldn’t quite face the whole coast road from Carrickfergus and all that. Instead I cut the corner and headed over the hills to Cushendun and let the dog out for a quick piddle and a paddle.




From there round the usual, windy, Torr Head Rd, and finally to somewhere I’ve managed to never have a dander round before. At the tail end of the Torr Head Rd is a wee turn off up a single track road over a few cattle grids and past a lot of sheep, lies Murlough bay.

The road becomes a track and ends up at what looks like the nicest wee holiday home in the world. At least it did when I was there.

I had come prepared with flask of hot water and some coffee and perched myself on the rocks over looking the Irish sea and watched the sun go down the ridge behind. I didn’t see a soul (I’ll not start on whether the dog has one…) which kind of made the whole experience so good.



I finished up with an old favorite – white park bay. Mainly cause it reminds me of one of my favorites from New Zealand.

It was also gloriously empty.



After all this activity, I watched Lost till 2am while the dog slept. Such a day.

Nice places to walk the dog – No. 4

Tollymore is one of the childhood haunts. Second only to Castlewellan in the idyllic caravan filled weekends of my youth.


More than ever Me and Simy would go back to being in our single figures and riding bikes and feeding ducks.


After a feed of chicken and roast spuds we hit the road on the nicest day of the year. No doubt you were engaged in some sun-drenched activity yourself. When the sun shines in Northern Ireland I don’t want to be anywhere else. All the thoughts of emigrating slowly slip away. It happens about twice a year as you’ll see


Everyone else in Northern Ireland appeared to be here too, mainly in the car parks with their portable BBQs and small children and canines. There were rows of people carriers with their boots open and 5 Live blazing the football while the grannies in the cars next them frowned severely.


The dog noticed none of this. The dog notices nothing when the tennis ball is in view. It is hypnotic in effect Other dogs turn up and sniff her bits and she’s not the slightest bit distraced. It makes her appear well trained and disciplined.




Postcards from far away part 5

Woke to the view of the harbour in Portree and a quality brekkie and a sit on the pier reading Volf.


Drove to the north west of the island (yesterday was the north east) stopping for photos of the sweeping moors and old churches while listening to page cxvi.

Skye is a pretty big place, geographically anyhow, despite the fact that all the people seem to live in Broadford or Portree.


The north west seems to be one of the more deserted areas and more than anywhere seems to remind me of NZ – and let’s face it all this is an attempt to get back there.


We stopped at Dunvegan where the Mcleods had murdered the Macdonalds in huge numbers in 1550. They attacked by surprise while they were all in church. Not that one group were heathen and the other Christian. Both were Christian be they still murdered each other. Maybe there’s a common denominator that’s not religion running through all these. We seem to be able to do horrible things to each other no matter what our creed.

There are memorials to all this on the penninsula. A reminder that whole communities once inhabited this place before it became the dominion of the sheep.

People lived and died here on the western most parts of civilisation. They lived and brought up their kids overlooking the western isles knowing that the clan divisions may bring their downfall at any point.

What would they think of us?


Me and sparky sat in the ruins of one of their houses and held our own communion service. Here at the end of the world we broke bread and wine (or biscuit and whisky) and had a few readings from the gospels and declared the joy and hope of the resurrection. CHRIST is risen, hallelujah.


Here at the end of the world I recommit myself to the faith, the hope and the glory. To the great story that I find myself in but yet do no comprehend. I do not often know why I stick with it. I keep thinking of the quote from the disciples that “where else o lord would we go”.

Here at the end of the world I acknowledge my brokenness and struggles, the immense sense of loss that accompanies everything I do these days.

Here at the end of the world I find the tears and the laughter that will take me home.


By this stage the sun was out and determined to make up for it’s absence over the past few days. The windows were wound down. The sun roof was open, the sunny tunes (unsurprisingly I only have about an hour or so of these on the iPod) were on. I was stopping every 5 mind or so for photos of the rapidly approaching mountains.

The Cuillins are truly spectacular. Huge, ridged, stony mountains that seen to explode from the earth.


They fill me with me with awe and fear in equal measure.

At the base of the mountains beside a gravelly beach lies Glenbrittle camp-site. Which has jumped to number one in my all time favourite camp site list.


Huge soaring mountains in the background, a sweeping sun lit bay in the foreground. Camp Volvo was established. We didn’t even need the awning I’d designed for the car. When I planned this trip this type of campsite was what I had in mind.


I finally got to try the portable BBQ that Morsies had bought me for Christmas. Despite needing 4 firelighters to get it started (the consequence of leaving my charcoal sitting out the back of at john’s all winter) it cooked up a storm accompanied by some coffee, some red and the chorizo sausage I bought in Inverness.

By now it was only 7pm and I hadn’t even started the Sunday times.

The sun sets and leaves us campers surviving by the glow of propane and the shelter of the nylon. This may be British summer time but I am currently wearing a hat and 7 layers on top and 3 pair of trousers. I am exceptionally cosy it must be said. That in itself is kind of satisfying.

The Cuillins raise their intimidating profile in the background. Weather permitting we’ll have a go.



Postcards from far away part 3

Sitting in a hotel on the isle of Skye with a working wi-fi connection. Catching up on the whole blogging thing.

Lots of driving today. From Perth to Inverness in one run through some of the most pleasant and unpleasant weather I’ve ever seen in one day. Good scenery. Good tunes. Good times.

In Inverness we were in t-shirts in the sun. 20 mins up the road alongside Loch Ness we were fully wrapped up. The joys of Scottish weather.


The Loch Ness monster is an odd kind of myth. Though it seems to make a lot of money from the looks of things.


One of the great joys of road trip is the actual driving. I have always loved driving for the sake of driving. Not the speed or anything just the bant and the tunes and the scenery.

The standard iPod rules are as follows. Everyone gets to choose 3 songs at a time. No same day repeats.

Humerous place names of note
– Wick
– and a B&B ran by a guy called William Dick. Just imagine the nicknames.

Ended up on Skye. Which was the whole point of the trip in the first place. Skye is just as fantastic as I thought it would be. This is somewhere I have always wanted to come.


The weather on the way in was a bit dubious and scared us out of camping so we ended up in a lovely wee b&b overlooking the Scottish coastline. It’s kind of like Donegal on a good day.

Good feed. Good ale. A cornetto sitting on the pier watching the sun set. This is about as good as it gets. Apart from the cold. Having driven 500 slightly zig zagged miles across Scotland I think we’ll probably find ourselves ensconsed here for the rest of the trip. Bring it on.



Nice places to walk the dog – No. 2

For today at least, Northern Ireland was the nicest place in the world. (even if work may not have been…)

Cycling back from work I detoured as shown below and ended up sitting on a bench in the sun wanting it never to end.

simple things in life and all that.







Sunlight hits the snow

I like a nice play in the snow. I’d texted 25 or so to see who wanted to go. I got 4 in the end. Useless bunch of lay abouts the lot of you…



Sparky apparently looks like the phone jacker with that hat. Which is still in my car dude


Maysie looks like he was born in the hills


Rachel was the only one not squinting with the sensible and cool looking sunnies


That’s an unfortunate picture of Coils i know. Apologies. I made it very small if that helps…


I always look this good.





The hills on the other hand have rarely looked better.


And I’ve no idea how that car managed to get there.



March 2018
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