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2004

February

  • New site launched

    The book should be in the shops next week, and in preparation for the big day, the new Accidental Pilgrim website is launched today. It aims to satisfy a number of different audiences: those who haven’t read the book yet can try a couple of sample chapters and buy the book online, while those who have read it can find out more about the journey and the saint, and look at some photographs from the road. There’s also a press area for journalists.

    There are still some things I’d like to tidy up on it, but I’m pretty happy with it, and I hope it proves useful to people. Thanks to Paul for all the work.

    And tomorrow I should get to hold the book in my hands for the first time. Which is more than a little frightening.

  • Sad day in Dublin

    I was in the farmers’ market in Meeting House Square when all the sirens started hollering, and police cars and fire engines came down through Temple Bar.

    ‘Weird, I wonder what’s happened’, was the most interested I could get. Then we crossed the Liffey at the Millennium Bridge and I heard a grey-haired Guard say there’d been a ‘bad crash’ down below by the Clarence.

    Now we know how bad it was - and we’re all shivering a little tonight in Hurdleford Town and it’s not just the cold crisp air.

  • Iconoclastic cafes

    An article in today’s Indo describes the problems facing Bewley’s: ‘Bewley’s, which also announced the closure of a northside bakery, said there was a question over the future of the iconoclastic caf?s as a result of Luas disruption, falling numbers of passers-by and steep increases in rates, rent and insurance’ (my emphasis).

    Wow. And I thought the cafes were traditional and conservative. Instead it turns out they (to quote the American Heritage dictionary) ‘attack and seek to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions’. I suppose the flock wallpaper should have tipped me off.

    Clearly the journalist meant the exact opposite of what he said, a mistake made worse when the quote two paragraphs down uses the word ‘icon’ more or less correctly. But where were the sub-editors? Broadsheet or tabloid size, that’s pretty bad.

    It’s not too long ago that the Irish Times ran a letter lamenting the amount of violence on our streets that included the horrific description of someone being ‘kicked into a comma’. Copies of ‘Eats Shoots & Leaves’ for both sets of subs?

  • My troubled relationship with coffee

    I’m trying to give up coffee again. But she won’t let me go.

    First it’s the routine thing. I’m into work, just checked my mail, time for a nice cup of coffee. It’s how I (used to) mark my morning. So I’ve dodged that one by bringing tea bags and brewing up as soon as I get here.

    Then there’s the withdrawal headaches. I normally only drink one cup a day, but if I haven’t had it by lunchtime my head starts to ache. Fortunately, that’s only for the first day or two, so I’m past that now. Not exactly Trainspotting as a cold turkey experience, but it underlines how much caffeine gets to you.

    Then there’s the culture thing. I love sitting in cafes, and they’re not called that for nothing. I know there are plenty of other things I could be drinking, but none seem quite right.

    Finally it’s the taste. Except for a few exceptions, decaff coffee tastes terrible, and few enough places in Dublin have more than a jar of instant tucked away for visiting Americans.

  • Creme Eggs - a life less creamy?

    Creme Egg catastrophe?First Marathon became Snickers, and now this? Creme eggs becoming less creamy?

    In the halcyon days of the mid 1980s, when my only concern was getting home from school in time to watch Grange Hill, the passing of the seasons was measured by the arrival of the foil wrapped egg shaped delights from cadburys.

    But I just had my first creme egg of the year, and the ‘creme’ was more like foam - it didn’t ooze, drip or pour and if you bit the pointy end of the egg and turned it upside down, nothing would happen. You just can’t suck the stuff properly any more.

    Did I get a bad egg, or has there been a recipe change?

  • ‘Could try harder’

    My mum sent me over almost all my school reports. Thirteen years of grades and judgements and the frightening thing about them is that they’re all the same. I hardly changed in my entire school career.

    The first ever report says I was good at English, keen to help in class and a bit quiet. And that’s pretty much what every other report boiled down to until I left for college. I was OK at the sciences, and never caused any trouble, but it was in English, history and languages that I flourished and really enjoyed myself.

    (I was terrible at Art, which prompted the funniest comment: ‘He works politely but without any flair or interest.’)

    I didn’t get reports in the same way in college, but they would have said the same. And I’ve not changed much since.

    Which means the sort of person I am now was already set before I started school. I wonder would my first teachers be surprised to see how I’d turned out? Almost certainly not. I hate being so predictable.

  • Duvet or don’t they?

    his and hers duvetHave to say there’s something brilliant about this duvet cover.  You get one with the positions reversed, too, for couples who sleep on the other side.

    Same sex variants are also available, but we could also do with a set with dogs or cats curled up at the foot of the bed. Or in the case of the cat in our household, climbing over our heads, knocking things off nearby shelves and generally making a nuisance of himself until we get up and feed him.

    (They’re for sale, if you fancy one.
    Thanks to BoingBoing for the link)