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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


London Revisited

We just spent an enjoyable weekend in London - one of those lovely tardus weekends where it felt much bigger that it was.

Saturday saw us up at 0300 (ugh), flying to Stanstead, taking the airport train to Liverpool St station (45 mins), tubing to our hotel to drop our bags off, then straight back on the tube to Tottenham Court Rd (a good spot for electronics) where I picked up a Lumiquest Softbox (for better portraits) and a pair of headphones that don't make me look like an alien. Then to Liberty to look at wool. Then by tube to Angel to check out Islington (nice!) and another wool store. And then, wearily, we caught the overground to Hackney Central and walked for some time to the Broadway Market. Hackney was cool and the market was cool. It was lovely to see "alternative types" - it reminded us of Grey Lynn.

We bought samosa chaat and some latke and fish balls and ate them in the park. To our good fortune, there was a mini-heat wave. It was around 20° and it was supremely lovely. We tubed back our hotel, checked in, and zoned out.

On Sunday we met Laura's Friend Geraldine in Fulham and enjoyed brunch (Dublin doesn't do brunch), then some shopping, then a viewing of her apartment. Then it was multiple tubings and trainings to get us back to Stanstead for out flight at 1930.

Compared to my last (and first) trip, I slightly fell for London this time around. I'm sure the great weather had something to do with it, but so did the markets and brunch. Basically the cosmopolitanism ("so sophisticated as to be at home in all parts of the world or conversant with many spheres of interest"). Dublin is, sometimes delightfully, rustic by comparison. Don't get me wrong, I like Dublin, it's just different. Until the early 90s, Ireland had net migration. It's still finding it's feet in this regard. But it really does try hard, and often triumphs. And being able to visit London whenever one feels like it is pretty nifty.

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Rarely used plurals: a trap for non-native English speakers

"crystal balls"




I'm sure Paul won't mind me posting this: this is his child Ava, his first born, the fruit of his loins. And that's Laura holding her.

I'm posting it because I like the photo. It's taken with the 55mm lens in natural light. It must nearly be at wide open and you can see it has a disturbingly narrow depth of focus.

Welcome to the blogosphere Ava.

(I can't believe I said "blogosphere".)
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ipod Battery Replaced

My trusty ipod mini's battery had completely died and I was permanently tethered to my USB port for power, but for the low low sum of $US9.79 (= about €6), including delivery, I had a replacement battery sent from Hong Kong.

It arrived this morning and came with two screwdrivers to aid in the replacement.

You ply the white the covers off the top and bottom (which, if you're me, causes a little bit of damage to the plastic, but not much), then unscrew two screws at the top of the ipod - unfortunately the screwdriver supplied was not quite the right size for this job, but Balaji in IT lent me another.

Then you disconnect the motherboard from the touch wheel module and slide the motherboard out (it's quite impressive to behold the 4GB microdrive - it's impossibly tiny).

The battery replaced, it was reassembled in about 2 minutes. And now I'm free again.

What I'm wondering is how anyone can make a profit from selling this kit, and posting it, for €6.



(pretty terrible) Jokes

An American tourist to a Dublin taxi driver: "What state is Limerick in?" He replies, "It's in a awful state, so it is".


Two old timers sit in a Dublin pub and watch out the window as a girl with a Muslim headscarf uses a payphone. "There's something you never used to see" sees one man. In agreement, the other says "10 years ago you'd never find a working payphone".



News round-up

What a dearth of postage. I guess we haven't been in the mood: sadly Laura's grandma passed away earlier this month and Laura went to Florida for a week for to be with her family... and we haven't quite recovered.

Noteworthy items:

- On April 5 we celebrated 1 year in Ireland. Time goes fast and it's hard to believe it's been a year since we were deposited, bleary-eyed, on Marlborough St by our taxi driver only to discover we couldn't find our accommodation, only to be rescued by some friendly locals, only to eventually find our building, only to find we couldn't rouse anyone inside nor would they answer our phone calls, only to eventually make contact and get in. It is strange; slowly it stops feeling different to be here and it starts to feel normal. But then odd things will remind you again; be they gossiping girls saying ".... the fecking eejit...", or the rapid development of a nostalgia you never knew you had.

- I am now the proud owner of a provisional Irish driving license, with Laura hot on my heels after a successful theory test today (yay!). Unfortunately a new rule was introduced in December which means we can't take our practical test until we've held our license for 6 months. So we have no choice but not to drive, or to drive semi-illegally on our NZ licenses. Oh well.

- Some time ago, but still within the scope of this post, I purchased a Canon 55mm 1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical lens in mint condition from Casanava Foto in Barcelona. From the late 70s, I have it on good authority that when it was released it was the most expensive standard SLR lens in the world. It's a very exciting lens because Erwin Putz, a Leica guru, reckons it's better than the equivalent Leica lens. This means it is a very very good lens, and the photos I have taken with it certainly back that up.

- Since Laura expressed very little interest in arbitrary train journeys (especially those involving Russia, go figure), I have booked myself a short holiday in the first week of June (my contract is over, and although I'll probably renew it, it means I can make plans recklessly without "asking the boss". It's reckless, it's great). It's a holiday-cum-medical experiment. It should probably be the subject of another post, but I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome some years ago, and still have the occasional symptom. There is a lab in Brussels which can conduct some fancy blood tests and discover things. So I'm going to do that; so I will fly to Brussels and spend nearly two full days there being analysed, and analysing the beer. According to my email confirmation, I'm staying in a small backside room. Then, in the spirit of aimless wandering, I am catching a train to Cologne in Germany for no other reason than it's a decent way away (a few hours). Then I'm spending two nights there in a really seedy looking guest house (there's some hugemungus trade fair on and all the nice places are either booked out, or really expensive). Then I'll return to Cologne by train, kill a few hours (more beer tastings I suppose), then - the highlight of my trip - I will catch the Eurostar direct to London. It's a 2 hour journey, but due the time difference I will be in London's St Pancreas station approximately 1 hour after leaving Brussels. There, I will spend one night at Mike's, then fly back to Dublin (I just booked that flight; all up, Gatwick to Dublin, including taxes and booking fees, it was £7.99! Ryanair of course.)

- Depressingly I turn 30 in 16 days. But Wikipedia just informed me that "30 is the largest number such that coprimes smaller than itself are also prime" and that has distracted me for the moment.

I think that will do. If you've read this far, you are a true and loyal patron of this blog. I hope Laura will post soon, and I hope also to hear from you, dear reader: many of you are truly awful communicators; I'm referring specifically to you Janelle as you have ignored my Facebook email for weeks now. And Emily, you're not much better.



When are you allowed to use a musical horn on your vehicle?

Despite ongoing negotiations between the two governments, Ireland still does not recognise New Zealand driver's licenses (it does however recognise Australia and South Africa!). This means we both need to sit our licenses from scratch :-(.

Step 1 is the theory test. I have mine tomorrow and I've been practising taking tests using the official CD-ROM. I attach for you here some of the more... amusing... questions. I'm certain I had only straight-forward practical questions on my NZ test.

Can you see the hand signal clearly? I can't.

(They tractor and car theory tests are the same)