Friday, 22 April 2011

What Doesn't Kill You, Keeps You Alive

[cont'd from here] - I arrived in Victoria Bus Station in London on a September Saturday evening after a marathon three day bus/boat trip from Greece. I hadn't saved much money from my summer job and I blew what little I had in Greece, so I was now down to just enough for the train and ferry back to Dublin.  My parents would be none too pleased about the sorry state of my finances which were supposed to go part way to pay my fees. I must have been feeling fairly foolhardy or just plain dumb, since I decided to try and track down my cousin who was working in London for the summer between college semesters. I poured  some coins into a pay-phone (remember no mobile phones in these days) and called his home in Dublin and got his address from his brother.  I bid my college buddies farewell and headed off to try and navigate the London public transport system. I was now a seasoned traveller and had survived Denmark and Greece, so what could possibly go wrong?

By 10pm, I had finally arrived at the address of a very 'ethnic' neighbourhood in Hackney, East London and knocked on the door of the house.  I was wearing shorts and tee-shirt with a backpack and was sporting my newly acquired pink tan.  The door finally opened and I asked if Patrick was at home. The Carribean woman looked me up and down and must have put 2 and 2 together. This pasty pink Irish git must be a friend of the other pasty white Irish git that moved out 2 months ago. With a thick Carribean accent she said - "He no be livin' here no more, but me gotts' him address he be wantin' his mail sent to".  I wasn't too happy to have to head off to the far side of London - Brixton, but at least I had the details.

As I started to make my way back to the tube (subway) station, I noticed a dodgy geeza' (a rough looking individual) who seemed to be following me. There was no one else on the street and it was now dark.  He started to quicken his pace so I quickened mine. I had a heavy backpack on so had difficulty picking up much speed. I could hear he was gaining on me so I fumbled around in my pocket and took out my pen knife. He was now running after me so I ran as fast as I could.  When I realized I couldn't out run him, I turned around and warded him off with my knife (all 2 inches of the blade) and shouted "Keep the f#ck away, I have a knife!" .  He slowed down at first but then to my horror raised a brick he had in his hand above his head and with a muffled slurred voice said - "I'm gonna f#ckin' kill ya!"

His eyes were red and glazed over and he looked like he was off his head on drugs but he seemed hell bent on pounding me to a pulp with a brick. I was beyond scared.  I was terrified, so I took off as fast as I could running in the middle of the street with the psychopath giving chase.  A car was approaching, so as I ran towards it, I waved it to stop. The driver was a big Rastafarian and rolled down the window to ask "What the heck be goin' on man? " The brick wielding lunatic was still hot on my heels and was now chasing me in circles around the car.

Rasta dude got out of the car to intervene.  Thankfully, he was built like a ox and in a flash grabbed the drug crazed nut job, pushed him up against a wall, knocked the brick out of his hand and shouted "Get the f#ck outta my turf man!"  I didn't wait around to thank my Rasta saviour. I simply turned and fled.  I saw a bus pulling up at a bus stop and jumped on.  It didn't matter where it was going.  I was back among people - safety in numbers and all that.

Once I was well clear of the scene of the crime, I splurged on KFC for dinner and then a taxi to reach my cousins new abode in Brixton and got there around midnight.  It turned out to be a grafitti riddled squatted council flat.  The neighbourhood was not at all inviting.  Gangs of kids were hanging out on the corners smashing bottles.  I knocked on the door several times but no one answered so I sat on the front step and wondered WTF was I going to do now. I was already short of the money needed for the train / boat back to Dublin. Western Union didn't exist in those days and even if it did, I was going to get a 'boat' load of grief asking to be bailed out after 'working' all summer, so I was rightly up shite creek without a paddle.  At 2am an unfamiliar body drunkenly stumbled up to the door and asked in an Irish brogue "who de feck are you?"  I'm looking for my cousin Patrick" - I explained. "Ah yeah, Patrick moved out a few weeks ago - Not sure if he's still in London" - he said.  He could probably tell I hadn't had the best of evenings.  "You can stay here if you want, but just for tonight."  "Thanks" - I said. All I wanted was the safety of 4 walls and some sleep. Hopefully I'd  figure something out in the morning.
I slept late the next morning and finally woke up when my host turned on the TV. It turned out I went to high school with his younger brother so we chatted about what each of us had done for the summer and I told him of my adventures the previous night.  "So you have no idea where my cousin is? - I asked. "No, he was due to go back to college soon so he may be back in Dublin already" - he replied.  There was a knock at the door so he went to answer it.  "Ah it's yerself!" - I heard him greet the visitor.  And there, drunk as a skunk, wobbled in my long lost cousin Patrick.  He greeted me with indifference in his intoxicated state.  "Ah it's yerself!" - he said, immediately followed with "Jaezuz - I'm burstin' for a pish! there any beer in the fridge?"

He eventually sobered up enough to realize it was no small feat of chance and adventure that we had managed to meet up at all.  He had only showed up at his old temporary abode by chance to pick up his forwarded mail. We recounted our summer adventures over beers that evening (as the Irish do) and we headed back to Dublin the next day on the 24 hour journey of train and boat.  It was one of the roughest vomit comet ferry crossings I have been on, but just a small chink in the armour of this road weary traveller. This had been a summer, I would never ever forget.  They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I now have a much better appreciation and understanding of that expression and a strange but understandable affinity for Bob Marley's music .


Tags: ..Ugly Mugger Fugger..
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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Jason Days wife Ellie Harvey Day is Smokin' Hot!

The US Masters golf just finished up with South African Charl Schwartzel emerging from the closest scramble to the finish in years and unfortunately 21 year old Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy who had led for 3 days, faltered at the last hour to drop far behind.
The buzz on Twitter, which I tuned into in the final few holes was not about the golf, but rather about Aussie golfer Jason Day's wife (Ellie Day). She was shown waiting anxiously on the 18th green and the cameraman and producer seemed to take a shine to her as they kept zooming in on her again and again.  Apparently Jason met the Ohio beauty in an Irish pub called Mavis Winkles where she was a waitress.

I find it interesting that social media is changing the way we interact with more traditional media like TV. Your thoughts?

Here's some more pics of Ellie below

Tags: ..Jason Day's wife Ellie Harvey Day is Smokin' Hot! Photo Pics..
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Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Greek Tragedy

Having worked like a 'Double Whopper' for the summer of 1987 in Burgerking Copenhagen, I headed to the Greek Isles for some R n' R with two college friends before recommencing our student endeavours in Ireland.  We purchased a one way airfare from Copenhagen to Athens and left the rest to fate (something we would later regret).  Athens was a chaotic polluted mess and a far cry from the organized multi-lingual Danish experience. It was a bit of a struggle but somehow we managed to reach our intended destination, the island known as Ios (pronounced 'eeeos' and not to be confused with Apples 'iOS' since iPhones and technology like internet, mobile phones, Skype etc was still a very very long, long way off.)
We were so clueless and ignorant of where we had ended up that we stayed in a room near the port the first night and all agreed that the island was a bit dead in terms of nightlife, since there wasn't a club in sight (fyi - we called them discos back then). It wasn't until the second night we discovered the mayhem and debauchery going on in the main town, 2 miles up the hill. Cheap cocktails with names like blow-job, wet-dream, orgasm and tequila slammer bars and clubs full of party mad drunken lunatics from all over the world.  It was a case of, 'if you can't beat them - join them' and oh brother did we ever join them.
 I finally made it to the beach about 2pm the following day with a motherfucker of a hangover and vague recollections of bumping into half a dozen old high school friends from Dublin. Ios was 'the' party destination back in the day and people came from far and wide to party like rock stars on a student budget .  After seven days of similar antics and having acquired a typical Irish pink tan, we headed back to Athens to arrange our transport back home to Dublin.
What we hadn't factored in was half of the European student population was also headed back from their vacations and last minute flights were extortionately expensive.  The only alternative was bus and boat from Athens to London. 3 long uncomfortable days on stinky, sweaty buses and vomit comet choppy ferry crossings all across Greece, Italy, France and UK.  Ah the follies of youth. The incident that awaited me in London (before I finally made it home to Dublin)  however was to be one of the scariest I have ever experienced, ah but sure isn't that a story for another day.
Tags: .. Greek Tragedy..
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Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools?

It seems Mother Nature has a cruel sense of humour and is having the last laugh on this April Fools. I thought it supposed to be Spring? How's the weather where you are?

Tags: ..April Fools..
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