Wednesday, May 19, 2010

As Rakim and DJ Premier Once Said, It's Been A Long Time!

Well it’s been a while, so long in fact that we’ve had a change of government and the domestic football season is in it’s final throes.

Looking out of the window here is looks as though summer may finally be on its way arriving.  At home the woolly sheep has been taken off the bed, washed and put away until…next week probably!

So, apart from the election, I’ll only get depressed if I talk about that, what been happening since the last update?

The Bees’ season ended on 8th May with draw number 20.  This time Hartlepool came to TW8 and took home the point that kept them up and sent Gillingham down.  What rotten luck for the Gills!  Did I mention they went down on goal difference, no, well they did.

There is still plenty of football being played however.  The Football League Play-Offs are in full swing and are providing their usual end of season excitement.

In the Championship Cardiff City and Blackpool have made it to Wembley while last night Millwall comfortably beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 in the their second leg and will face Swindon Town who beat Charlton Athletic 5-4, <> on penalties on Monday.

The League Two finalists will be decided tonight and tomorrow.  Rotherham United take a 1-0 lead into their second leg at home to Aldershot Town while tomorrow Dagenham and Redbridge play Morecambe having smashed them 6-0 in the first leg.  Sadly the antics of union boss Bob Crow made more headlines.  Shame we can’t send him cockle picking tomorrow night!

Away from football Sarah and I went to Ireland for a long weekend on 22nd April.  We got really lucky because that Thursday was the first day of resumed UK flights, great timing :)

It was my first trip to Ireland since 1989 and considering I have a fair amount of family there it’s pretty shameful that I’d not been over before.  Sarah hadn’t been over for around 15 years so we were both well overdue.

We had hired a car at Dublin Airport and buzzed up to County Louth via the relatively new M1 motorway.  We stayed in a dodgy B&B and spent most of the time with her family in and around Castlebellingham and Blackrock.

Sarah’s grandma was born in Castlebellingham so there was a lot of catching up with cousins and extended family.  We did a bit of touring around in the car but I’m not one for enjoying a drive just for the sake of it so we never ventured too far!

We headed back to Dublin on the Saturday evening, handed back the car and took the bus into the city centre.  The hotel was right on O’Connell Street, handy (to say the least) for getting around the city.

After dumping our bags we went out for a couple of pints, here and here and then went to find the place Sarah had in mind for dinner.  After a stroll around which took us past Trinity College and up to St. Stephen’s Green we got to the restaurant only to find they had stopped serving.  Sarah wasn’t too pleased but a little further down the road we came across the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill, which, of course was very much to her liking!  I have to say, it was a cracking dinner.

On Sunday we both had a superb Irish breakfast (with a brownie and vanilla ice cream for afters!) at Gruel and did the tourist thing   After having our end of tour pint of Guinness we met up with my cousin Bríd and her youngest Edward.  They live in Blanchardstown and took us to a lovely restaurant for a bite to eat.  Edward recommended the steak, music to our ears.  It came served on a hot slab of slate so you can cook the meat to your preference.  DE-LIC-IOUS.

On the way back to the hotel Ed drove us past the pub where notorious Dublin gangster Eamon Dunne had been shot two nights before.  Even the Lonely Planet couldn’t detail this new stop on the tourist trail!

It would have been rude not to go out for a couple of evening pints so we duly obliged.  As it turned out our couple of days/nights in Dublin coincided with the NFL and NHL finals (no not more US sports!) meaning that there were a lot of people sporting various county colours and states of intoxication.  It was good to see that people who are well past needing one last drink get served as easily in Ireland as they do in the UK.  Shame on the US and Australia for being sensible ;)

On the Monday we went back to Gruel (once Sarah finds somewhere she likes nowhere else gets a look in!) for the same breakfast and brownie combo before heading to the airport for the flight to Heathrow.

No delays on the way home and we even flew over GP on the way in which never fails to excite.  We got pretty lucky with our flights judging by the on-going travel disruption that the Eyjafjallajökull volcano is causing.