Tuesday 30 September 2008

Wot I done on my holidays

Hello again gentle readers both great and small!
I have returned from my holidays, well you will have probably got that already as I have done a couple of post. So there you have it! I am back in god's sod and like all good A+ students I have the "Wot I done on me holly dayz" 500 word essay ready and I am prepared for the start of the new autumn/fall term/semester. Which means I am basically on the wind down to Xmas.

Last year our outward journey to the land of Homer and Euclid was a complete FUTILE invested disaster. So collective breaths were held, fingers, toes and all bendable appendages were crossed and it WORKED for this year was a breeze! A quick hop from Belfast to Birmingham (UK) then a very pleasant evening with my middle sister and then a 5am flight to Skiathos in the Sporades island chain in Aegean.

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Now I don't want you all going and booking holidays there next year so .... it is really a horrible place, ghastly truly horrible you cannot adequately describe the levels of awfulness that are reached ... OK have you turned off.. good :-)

So for anyone who has kept going, Alonissos is a what we in "Norn Iron" call "Toetee" , or in the more common parlance, "very small" island.There are no big discos, no noisy bars and most of all no northern european arseholes demanding Pukka Pies and cheap cider .. absolute bliss!

I am a simple man and have simple tastes and requirements for my vacations. I want to be able to paint, eat , drink and sleep but not necessarily in that order. Alonissos delivers all that and more.
I stayed in the Paradise Hotel which hangs on the edge of a cliff about 10 minutes stroll from the harbour in Patitiri town. Bessie and Kostas the owners run one of the most wonderful hotels in the world. I, through work, travel all around Europe with occasional trips to the US and Asia and I would gladly mark the Paradise higher than many of the 4* hotels that I have stayed in. They only have 2* at the minute but on the McDonagh Scale they score 10 out of 10 .. yes I do think they are THAT good!

I did some painting every day, it is the only part of the year where I can spend several hours painting and not let the 1001 other things slide. You may notice that I don't paint on paper, this is in fact not as it has been spread around because I am so "tight" that I won't spend money and buy paper. This is NOT TRUE.

There is a long story that explains my stone decorating issues. A story that involves dolphins, gypsies, sunburn, boredom and leaving a little bit of yourself behind when you leave. Perhaps I will fill you in on it one of these days.

Briefly this is a daily routine - I get up and have a long brekkie and a bit of a chat with the other guests. Then go for a wander before it gets to hot. This walk is usually down to one of the beaches on a hunt for material for that day's painting. I have to pass some tavernas (lucky that) which at that time of day are full of Greek gentlemen fiddling with their Komboloi (Worry beads) drinking Greek coffee and watching the world go by. Sometimes I join them on the way to the beach, sometimes on the way back. So it is nearly dinnertime or there abouts when I get back to the hotel. The sun is high in the sky and the temperature is in the high 90's. As I get sun-burnt under a naked 40W bulb I head for the shade somewhere near the bar and get out my paints and ... paint until it is safe to venture out into the sun on late afternoon.

One of the benefits of painting in public is that it is a great ice breaker. People come over to see what I am doing and you get talking and soon you are firm friends. [ Hi Bert,Ria, Roger,Anne and all the other others I met under the trees :-) ].

You may be wondering what happens to the stones (I do 2 or 3 a day) No I don't take them home, I give them away to folk that say they like them ... LOL ... I will never make a fortune but I have met some amazing people and have made some great friends so it is good karma if nothing else.

The food is uniformly excellent in all the Taverna's I have frequented. It has to be said that Roger and Anne [who have been coming to the island for many years cos it is a fantastic place to walk] were of great assistance here as they know everyone and can point you to the best kitchen for lamb/goat/fish or the amazing "Alonissos Cheese Pie".

I do have to add at this juncture that "We don't like Skopelos" a phrase often repeated when Cheese Pies are mentioned. Skopelos is the island next door [and was the location for the MamaMia film of last year] and they are alleged to have "stolen" the recipe and shape for Alonissos cheese pie and made it their own! Should you ever be in the Sporades please do sample the cheese pie on any of the islands ... BUT do not expect to be able to move afterwards if you buy one just for yourself - they are ENORMOUS!

I could go on and on and on boring the pants of you about how drop dead gorgeous the Hora up on the hill is, how wonderfully clear the sea is, how even though the rough guide and lonely planet say Patitiri is not pretty that I beg to differ ... I think it is. Give me the Patitiri harbour any day of the week but then I am probably biased. I can get a coffee, retsina , ouzo or a bite to eat with the minimum of exertion or fuss I even got the share of a coffee and a shot of Tsiporo from a fisherman at 5am when I wandered by looking for somewhere to sit and watch the sunrise.... but i won't drag this on any further.

Oh I have to mention Kostas' and Bessie's daughter Nicholetta and her friends who quite happily played tabli (Backgammon) with an aging Irish hippy without any of that reticence that teenagers feel around adults. Thanks for letting me at least 1 game :-) !

So if you want to experience a "real Greek island" and promise not to ruin it, go to Alonissos, tell them Irish Steve sent you :-) on the other hand perhaps not...LOL...

So to Kostas, Bessie, Nicoletta, Kostantina, and all the locals that made it a holiday to treasure... a great big THANK YOU! You had better prepare for another Irish invasion next year :-)

Wednesday 17 September 2008

LotusBeer Ireland II (now its personal) 26th Sept The Crown Bar Belfast 6pm onwards


Ladies gentlegeeks and GONADs all.

You are all cordially invited to an evening of quaffing and the sipping of whatever takes your fancy in The Crown Bar Belfast on Friday the 26th September starting around 6pm ish and ending when the beer runs out or the last bus leaves.

You don't have to but it would be good to know if you are coming so drop me an email and let me know so we can lay on extra chairs for the chair throwing. Oh and we may have a Keynote drinker this time :-)

So if you fancy a few beers to end the week in the company of some geeks from the North you are more than welcome to come and join in!

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Best Taverna Joke 2008

In the last 2 weeks I have fraternizing with the nicest people on a totey (small) island in the Aegean called Alonissos (of which more later) much good food was eaten, drink drunk and jokes told. The best by a fairly wide margin was this one.. Ladies, Gentlemen geeks and GONADS let me introduce "The Baptising an Irishman" joke

An Irishman, is stumbling through the woods, totally drunk, when he comes upon a preacher baptising people in the river.
He proceeds to walk into the water and subsequently bumps into the preacher.
The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of alcohol, whereupon he asks the drunk,
'Are you ready to find Jesus?'
The drunk shouts, 'Yes, OI am.'
So the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the water.
He pulls him up and asks the drunk, 'Brother have you found Jesus?'
The drunk replies, 'No, OI haven't found Jesus.'
The preacher shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again for a little longer.
He again pulls him out of the water and asks again, 'Have you found Jesus my brother?'
The drunk again answers, 'No,OI I haven't found Jesus.'
By this time the preacher is at his wits end and dunks the drunk in the water again ---
But this time holds him down for about 30 seconds and when he begins kicking his arms and legs he pulls him up.
The preacher again asks the drunk, 'For the love of God have you found Jesus?'

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher, 'Are you sure dis is where he fell in?'

the credit crunch (some scarey reading)

I am going to do a "What I did on my holiday" post in a wee while but this is way more interesting and much, much more scary , even more scary that me in my swimmers!

I asked a chum of mine, a geek that works in a bank, to explain to me what all this credit crunchiness was about and some background into what was going on and he sent me this there is loads of it so

.... Hope you read all that ... or the next bit doesn't make much sense
Sorry for the language but what the f**K?

This is just stupidity stacked up with greed, iced with incompetence and decorated with dick heads in striped shirts. Whats worse it is it seems going to leave a $62 trillion dollar hole in someone's pocket and I have a feeling that some of it it going to from my fecking pension!

"Un-regulation works" does it indeed Mr Greenspan? My fat hairy arse it does! Who needs international terrorism when you have twonks that can come up with a wizzard wheeze like CDS and even bigger wankers that think it is a good idea to let it run?

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