Well, Winter has certainly come a knocking as we enter the best time of the year in Maryhole. Brisk nights and clear days with max of low 20s. I love the daytime low 20s but maybe in a sign of old age approaching a couple of degrees more in morning would be ok, like around the 10C mark. As CLP always says , well just a little more would be nice . Not sure what she is referring to…. Thinking of getting some of the airplane aisle floor lights installed in house between bed and loo! Of course early starts on the golf course dont help I guess but I am a creature of habit. Mind you not only is the weather glorious here but Maryhole is leading the world into the 20th century. Dont believe me ? Check out this non fake news item I prepared earlier

May is a busy time of year Grandkiddy wise especially the last week. Started with annual camping trip to Rainbow last Friday for Harry’s 6th. By camping I mean I drive down, look at the camp, spend some time with Harry and family and then move onto more salubrious accommodation at Maplehead. You know, walls, roofs and that sort of stuff. Mind you the Pipers now have a camper trailer which could almost entice. Once they get full plumbing and an ensuite of course. It was a very windy day so no swimming undertaken but a lovely time all the same

By end of week time to celebrate Pat the Lad turning 7. What do you make for such an event? Well patty cakes obviously. What is interesting though looking back on photos is that while Pat has changed a lot in 7 years I look exactly the same. Spooky stuff

And of course as Winter hits not many places in Qld colder than the old Toowoomba as am sure Ryan would agree. Will be great to see the Woomby clan again in a couple of weeks for Ranny’s Engagement party

So, in other inconsequential news a lot is going on I guess. SOO approaches and while always thought this was the year we start losing even before Eyelash Boy bailed the side NSW has picked does give us an outside chance and by that I mean we could lose by 50 or win by 8. Its a side brimming with speed and talent but is inexperienced and if get behind early could be some panic. If NSW lose the first game, let alone the series, they will be in the foetal position for years to come. Of course with first game being in Victoria we need to help that mob work out their allegiance

TV and Politics entwined again as is the norm these days. We had the Roseanne nonsense followed by equally deplorable Sam Bee comments and floating around all this was the bizarre image of a Kardashian in the Oval Office. So many great comments and memes served up of course with this maybe my fave titled “Massive Arse meets Massive Arse” . Too easy really

Of course the truly Trump result of all this was that yes he did pardon a few people but not the one that KK saw him about!

In actual TV Land there have been some good shows out and about. The ONJ biopic with Delta was not one of them. Likely the worst TV will see all year and onl6 half way through. The Americans has wrapped up now so that is next cab off the rank. The Terror was rather compelling viewing and an interesting subject matter. The Picnic at Hanging Rock remake was mostly style over substance as expected but really any lavish Aussie TV production is generally better than current US slop. Of course when discussing this story always reminded of Sir Leslie Colin Patterson’s original idea. Check out from about the 4 min mark. Better still watch the whole clip and get some edumacation – Pissup on Hanging Rock. Classic humour from those glorious non PC days

With flights now booked and paid for Wired for Winter is set in stone. Or Ice as the case may be. Have my new Qantas Premier Mastercard so accumulating points at a rapid pace now. Always fly PE but with now being a Dreamliner plane with some rather poor PE reviews will be trying to upgrade a leg or two to BC as one does #firstworldproblems. Accommodation mostly sorted as well with just a train here or there or book. Was looking at a few non Qantas options for internal flights but they have some strange rules regarding entry to their domestic lounges so Qantas seemed the best answer on many fronts . One always need to load up suitably before any flight just in case. As someone who really doesnt sleep on flights upgrading first leg appeals most as can really hook in to the great service (food and DRINK) and get PJs to use rest of trip. Sweet.

So as the sun slowly sets and the temp drops accordingly all is good in Flashland. The Grandkids are and always will be pure joy especially as all different in their own way in age and character. Jacks tournament is on at present so that is daytime TV sorted for tomorrow. My own golf today was rather embarrassing today but still enjoyable especially any day get into Hoge’s back pocket. Glorious weather, great company and free beer.

Its not the Holy Trinity but dang its close folks

To be honest though not a lot has happened since Ireland Fling. A few family gatherings here and there which are always great but in the scheme of things not much life altering. And who would want to change this action packed life I lead . When I get out of bed and go straight to my nanna nap it may be time to shuffle off my mortal coil. In the meantime, winter has poked its head out of the arid dry brown land and the common folk rejoiced. In keeping with my contrary nature though I have decided to come out of my cave as in unhibernate (its a word, look it up) and leave it to the bears. After all there is enough shit in the woods now

Speaking of which, what a sad world we live in these days. Its been a slow decline maybe but it only takes some nonsense like a pointless royal wedding for the terminally moronic to focus on and there goes what passes for a “news” feed for 6 months. I miss M&M. No not the chocolate confectionery as captivating as that is but rather Mike Higgins and Mike Willesee. You had 23 mins of actual news broken clearly into national, international and sport news segments. Then Willesee interviewed important people that had actually contributed in some way to life that didnt involve holding a phone back to front. After you were suitably bought up to speed you then could relax with N&N. Norman Gunston and Number 96. All bases covered before heading off to bed knowing you could wake up safely in the morning with no morning TV crap to endure and impose on your daily routine. Its all an industry of course that spreads like a cancer for which there is no cure. The amusing aspect of this latest tax payer funded extravaganza is the US connection. They have always been fascinated, while uniquely ignorant, of the Royal Caper. Mind you fascinating ignorance pretty well sums up USA circa 2018 but I digress and refuse to mention Buffoon Bob again. Maybe. They sent their best and brightest to amuse. They obviously missed the connection and instead Ferrell and Shannon appeared. Like most Ferrell stuff sans Wiig the laughs run at about 10%

The one shining light in Harkle 2018 is that it has cleared up one issue for me. Without hesitation Megan Boone is clearly the worse actress currently on TV with her main ,and rather stiff ,competition having sashayed down the aisle with Big Ears last night. While they couldnt agree on how to spell their first name they were certainly united in woeful acting skills, the latter word being a stretch admittedly. I really have nothing against the Royals per se and think the two lads would fit in rather well at an Aussie BBQ. They could discuss how their fathers knew each other

This non event was of course quite correctly overshadowed by the much more important question sweeping the world making Pratts of us all . No laurel for picking the winner there

There is always something happening in the US of course and its rarely good and especially when it involves schools and shootings. You simply become immune to it though becasue of their peculiar mentality and of course the words/inactions of the law makers. Flags at half mast, empty words, vigils. Give me a break

Sequeing to TV it is a packed schedule as usual. Safe was pretty disappointing in the end but at least Dexter didnt start cutting down trees. 13 Reasons Why is back and after one episode realised rather quickly I no longer need to know why. Blacklist ended Season 5 on a rather bizarre reveal while one of the best shows around Brooklyn 99 was saved from the scrap heap. TV sadly often reflects life so no surprises they cancel that show and bring back Last Man Standing. Extreme Dross. Its also the year of the pointless reboots and nothing demonstrates this better, or worse, than Magnum PI. Without a moustache. Purleese

In sporting land the NRL remains a tipster’s nightmare so imagine sheilas are leading most office tipping pools. You could argue that Broncos have had the rub of the green 3 times now and hard to disagree but they wont threaten this year or next so let them be.If they can hold together the young group of forwards things look bright in 2020. Of most concern though of course is SOO 2018 which was always looking losable this year but now is rather dire. No issue with Eyelash boy pulling the plug but the timing was poor. The real concern is that if and when NSW win they could go on a multi year run and the NSW biased media will become unbearable. Again. Still

The year is certainly flying by although Feb 2019 still seems a year away. At least to Qantass . Release some cheap fare deals ya mongrels so that I can lock something in and stop changing plans to amuse myself. Latest incarnation is “Wired for Winter” which admittedly is very much in draft form, especially the title. San Diego, NYC and Baltimore. Since last we spoke Las Vegas has fallen off the table. Ah crap. Boom tish, here all week etc. It really does not seem to be my cup of tea at least as a solo visitor, the main attraction being close proximity to Grand Hole in Ground and Big Stop Water Flowing thingy. Much prefer head over to East Coast hunker down in the snow, get the flu and swear never to do it again in winter. There is a certain certainty about that.

So in the meantime its early mornings out on the golf course rearranging grains of sand and occasionally mowing some green stuff before grabbing that first coffee and working out how to fill in the remaining 12 hrs of daylight until I can drink the squeezed grape stuff. Sundays are becoming a dilemma though as my go to Sip Espresso is closed. Yeah thoughtless right. The Maccas drive through experiment failed after two weeks as it really is swill without the Mcmuffin to soak it up . Toast doesnt open now until 7 am which is almost lunchtime for me now. These are real world problems folks. Still life goes on at its usual hectic Maryhole pace. Life is good but as The Dude would say

Before we get to the elephant in the room lets reminisce about a lovely few hours spent in Toowoomba soon after return to celebrate my 60th Birthday. All kids and kidlets were in attendance and is great to spend time with the younguns as they are all at different ages. Universal joys the bunch of them

Back to reality after that which means early mornings back on golf course but its still dark at 5 am! Still pesky rain on and off too which is keeping everything nice and green but also tres muggy.

And so to Dumbo. Three words describe – not explain the inexplicable – the latest cricket debacle. Hypocrisy, Stupidity and Arrogance. Aussies have long cried foul about what other teams do with the ball etc while painting themselves as the pure guardians of the game. Meanwhile Blind Freddy knew every team does it and there was a certain acceptance. Much like the Evangelical that decries sexual perversion and then is discovered in bed with a goat – the holier than thou approach will always bite you on the ass. Not kidding # boomtish . In this day and age every cricketer knows there are 10,000 cameras at the game because that is why they get paid 10,000 a game! No one is saying JFK was a more moral president than Slick Willy – simply his actions were not reported or not discovered etc. Its a different media these days. To think you can still do anything on the field and it not be seen is stupid. Then we get to maybe the most galling. The arrogance of Smith to think he could or would still be Captain next game. Bancroft has some form in the sweet science of ball tampering it would appear from newly released footage #boomtish. Maybe he was the stooge or maybe Smith thought he could protect him. To me it smells of a Warner involvement. He aint the brightest tool in a box of rather dull implements admittedly. What then of the involvement of Boof? The video of him seeming to tell Handscombe to get out there and clue in Bancroft looks damning to say the least. To me there is an easy and typically Aussie explanation for all this.

Qantas is major sponsor

Qantas this week debuted the Dreamliner route to London non stop

Sandpaper lining of your undies is a dream way to stay awake for 6 hrs on the field

And you get non stop rash and itching


There is only one happy cricket follower in Australia today. Trevor Chappell. He is no longer the most reviled player in history. He got a bum rap of course simply following brothers instructions and doing something that was at least legal if not palatable. Gregory of course used the stress yarn to explain his actions – no doubt this will be mentioned in this saga as well at some stage if not already. Ding Ding. It may well be a stressful job. Kinda why you get paid $1.2 million to do it every year. Sick to death of professional sportsmen complaining about stress for playing a game. If u cant handle it get a real job – then see what real stress is when the bills roll in. Crash Craddock made a prophetic statement many weeks ago. He said Smith should forego the IPL riches and concentrate on Aussie captaincy which pays well and he can remain it for years if he reduces playing schedule and not try and make millions for a few years. All gone now. Of course the alarming difference between this and the underarm is the success of this stupid ploy is akin to McKechnie hitting the underarm ball for 6! It didnt work. Thought we had the worlds most feared bowling attack and a reserve bunch of 23 ready to move in should an ingrown toe nail flatten Starc. Yet we cant take 10 wickets unless the ball reverse swings after 20 overs? Fellas, try natural swing and seam. Line and length. Its been know to work in the past

Enough cricket, how about NRL. There are some similarities between the two – ball tampering and salary cap rorting that is. Well, one glaring one. Everyone does it. In NRL they will continue to do it because the penalties are so weak in most cases. Manly actually come out $160 k in front in this latest nonsense as Paul Kent clearly explained. NRL players may well be the only professional sportsmen who make cricketers appear smart mind you. The big question though is when is a player agent going to get fined/booted/shamed ?? One thing is certain – Broncos wont threaten in 2018. With all this crap going on all I can say is thank me for Golf – the last honest game in the world

Of course since Ireland Fling thoughts quickly moved to USA 2019 and there has been much thought and backflipping involved. Do I take the easy winter option of NYC or stick in California and do Golden Triangle.? San Diego is a lock so then question is do you then fly onto NYC and Baltimore for some winter wonderland or go to Las Vegas and Los Angeles for some glitz and glamour? At present leaning towards GT although spending time in LA especially after LV does raise some issues with filling in days. All I really need is a rough plan of when I fly in and out of LA and whether I need Qantas metal for NYC or not. That way when flight specials are released in coming weeks can move quickly and snap them up. Whether I stay 2 days in LA and 10 in LV or vica versa doesnt matter at this stage as long as know when I enter and when I leave the good old USA. These are first world problems of course but do fill in time during the day as it is the planning I enjoy most.

Certainly more than the paying at least…..

Ireland Fling 2018 – The Flashies

Posted: March 15, 2018 in Travel

The wait is over but the thrill remains. Like repeats of MAFS. You know I really hoped since I had been away shows like that may have ended but all in vain

Best Flight Any flight that lands is a good one really and any flight that crosses a lot of the blue stuff is long so you never really walk off any flight and say “Well that was fun” ‘ The comfort of the Qantas Club before hand always helps ease one into it and of course all flights at start of holidays are more relaxing than at end if for no other reason than the excess baggage you have to bring home. Then there is also your luggage! PE is still a good experience especially on the A 380 and the half empty return flights were more comfortable no doubt but then we were also sick on them, especially the last haul for CLP. Will go with first leg Melbourne to Dubai as still fresh and did get some sleep so 14 hrs only seemed like about 13hrs 45. Food still seemed tempting and I had slept ok the night before

Worst Flight Most flights have a bad experience associated with them whether it was check in, arrival, customs etc but the worse one was the BA flight from Dublin to London apart from the fact we actually got on it of course . BA was a pain to deal with on holidays and the check in was a nightmare. It was a slow load and stuck in far back corner by self. Heathrow is a nightmare to land at, get to actual gate and then literally a 30 minute wait for luggage. Would not like to have to connect to another flight there in anything under 3 hrs. Special gong goes to Qantas though for the “Domestic Transfer Gate” at Sydney -what chaos. In future if cant fly into and out of Brisbane you can shove me in an overhead compartment and call me stupid. Unless a really good price of course and booked at least 30 days after this last experience

Best Accommodation Obviously some accommodation is better than others because of price paid. The Lake House at Killarney was clearly the “best” hotel we stayed at but came at a price although still good value. The best accommodation on balance for moi though was Rosquil House in Kilkenny. At least I think it was Kilkenny, everything was white and wet. It had benefits of a B&B but with a spacious room. Great breakfast, helpful host, extra rooms to relax, walk to town etc

Worst Accommodation Really there was no bad accommodation but if had to pick one it would be Anach Cuin at Galway simply because it was a more typical B&B. Small room, noisy creaks etc However it is a bit unfair to single out as comes at a certain price point, hosts were wonderful as was breakfast. It was a fair hike out of town as well but that fact was never hidden, simply poor research. Narrow staircase to Ruprechts room as often is case also

Best 60th Birthday Experience

Waking Up

Seriously though it was a packed day of wonderful experiences – massage, hot tub, champers, dinner…….. last day of not being sick 😉 It also fell in the middle of our first real experience of what we considered “true” Ireland in Killarney. Good weather, great countryside , friendly people etc. The Lake House is a stunning hotel to stay at even if got some Jack Torrance vibes at times. It also saw the emergence of my alter ego Pat McGroin, the dapper Irish Gent

Best Meal Aqua at The Shard was a superb experience from service, location and food. In the scheme of things and being in London it was not overly expensive really. Dans Le Noir the night before was also a memorable experience but ruined a little by ignorant dinner companions

Best Drinking Experience The Guinness Skip The Line Connoisseur was rather good. Very small group in a beautiful bar and both of us healthy. The first Irish Coffee we had at Brazen Head was one of the best drinks had all holidays and could never repeat the experience. Even after spending 400 Euro to return to Dublin early and go back to same pub!

Best Tour The Ring of Kerry tour from Killarney was easy winner but that says more about the others actually. Personally would say ROK is a bit overrated. Not a brilliant day maybe but pretty good. A few great views but a lot of ho hum driving in between. Small group, good driver

Worst Tour Easy winner, Healys Connemara Day Tour from Galway. Easily the most poorly organised tour ever been on and no surprise no response from them afterwards . Of interest our lovely host Marty at Galway used to be a driver for them. No images can really explain the ineptitude

Best Public Transport We saw the best and worst of Irish Public transport. In general Irish Rail worked well as even when cancelled we always got a refund and the online booking process and seat allocation worked well. When running, on time. When trouble ahead they adjusted plans – eg drop us off at Kildare rather than Dublin

Worst Public Transport Buses in general but JJ Cavanagh in particular. Absolutely hopeless with communication or refunds. Bus Eireann not much better with accepting bookings for cancelled trips and no refunds

Best Fun in the Snow Probably first walk in Kilkenny. Found some snowmen and some quirk

No fun in the Snow Walking to fucking railway station in Cork at 5:30 am for a bloody hour. Am I still a little ticked off? Maybe…. Something to tell the Grandchildren one day “When I was young…” Mind you after that walk if not had already procreated the lineage may have been in jeopardy

Standing around at Kildare station for about 90 mins waiting for train comes a distant second

Worst Taxi Ride You know , we paid 220 Euro for a Taxi ride from Kilkenny to Dublin but still say the taxi ride from Brisbane Airport to Sandgate Road was worst. Expensive and a totally useless lazy driver. At least in Kilkenny we knew going in we were being bent over bonnet and chili on stick inserted

Best fun in the Sun Given only sun really seen was in Dubai an easy winner. Pool was crowded but also tried the beach at times and of course the pool bar

Best Fun at Sunset Once again, a few very pleasant evenings by the pool in Dubai. Pretty well guarantee a great sunset most nights . Throw in a beer and a hubbly bubbly and all good

Biggest surprise on Tour

I put on 3 kgs. Felt more like 5 easy

Actually The Miracle Garden in Dubai was stunning and good value and a must see if you visit

So ends Ireland Fling 2018. I have entertained you clowns for enough. Time to plan USA Feb 2019. As predicted the lure of NYC is already strong despite my hesitation to travel to snow again. The problem is spending 3 weeks on West Coast is a bit dull 😉

Well as a certain pig says

We had a very pleasant last night at pool and then the fun started . Got back to room with a bit of the wobbly boot on but still functioning like a normal 60 yr old. Opened the door to darkness. Now most seasoned travellers would know in most hotels without a tin roof you get two key cards and one is usually needed in the power slot for lights etc. We came, we saw, we conquered. I know what goes in which slot . Generally.

Our card was gone. So put the actual one u need to gain entry in slot and voila. Found a phone and rang the desk. “ The housekeeper must have removed it Sir. You will need to come down to reception and get a new one “ “ Say what Sweetheart “? Some over zealous sheet flattener stole my card so I have to come back and get it . What the fuck?? So trudged with my not happy face on – ok usual one, fair call – and was ready to tear Abdhul a new date so to speak when his basic response if I know my Arabic was “ What the fuck” So we bonded over this and I asked to make up for it could he send the first 71 virgins up at 10 minute intervals and save the good looking one for breakfast . His response was “ You Aussies” or could have been “Fatwa called”. Not sure

So went back to room now with 3 cards. If housekeeper comes back u know which slot the 3rd key is going in. All very odd really because room has been serviced within an inch of its life. You use the towel to wipe your hands or after a shower and hang it up fine. Come back two hours later and there is new folded one . 3 new towels a day I shit you not. I now have 4 pairs of slippers but still only 2 feet .

So on last morning we found out that breakfast didn’t start until 6:30 pm which is not great for early flights and pretty well in keeping with rather impersonal breakfast experience at this hotel. The pool area is great service, the rest not so much. We skipped breakfast and caught taxi a bit early as knew could hook in at Emirates Lounge at Dubai. It is a massive airport and have to take train from baggage drop to departure gates . Fairly easy check in and security especially as finally allowed to wear my trakkies on plane. CLP still being very sick had set the standard 👍 The Lounge is fine but we were smart and didnt over indulge – I planned on finally having a few sherberts on plane #IBF

We have a tightish connection in Sydney so glad plane left on time. Just wish staff wouldnt bullshit you . “We will push back in 10 mins.” 20 mins later still sipping flat “ Champers “ . “ We have 4 planes in front of us, leaving very soon” . I count at least 10 take off ahead off us, all strangely Emirates😏 Here is a suggestion, why not just say “ When we leave terra firma you will know trust me “ . Speaking of which for a big plane the A 380 does impressive take offs and landings . Just rumbles along slowly and then up . Landing is like an old man easing into the bath. You notice these things after landing on the BA A 320 for example. It hit the brakes hard and threw out 3 anchors and two parachutes by my reckoning landing at Heathrow.

In general the A 380shows its age but the PE is still impressive and more spacious than the 747 . Probably compare to the “ Dreamliner” next year for USA which does not get good reviews. QF2 to Sydney , like the first leg, is rather empty with less than half PE cabin full. Before first crowded leg you are bombarded by Qantas about bid for upgrade to BC. On this flight nothing despite fact many empty BC seats . Anyhoo, makes food service quicker not to mention that 3 rd Rumbo almost pours itself. Well,the wine on offer at lunch was that cheap Aussie crap . Fool me once …

Writing this 2 hrs into 14 hr flight all good . CLP sadly has been very sick last week but hopefully can grab some sleep now . Time for a movie . On a plane not an ocean liner how about Titanic to fill in a quick 3 hrs. The clinking ice in my Rumbo suddenly adds some atmosphere

About 20 mins late landing in Sudney which makes things just that bit tighter . Then you face the Qantas Domestic Transfer section at Sydney . What a bloody mess. It won’t be long of course before book that next flight OS amd will be with Qantas of course but right now they can go take a jump. Their “ online check in “ is a bloody joke. You flew me into the country three days ago . You have my API . What is the problem. I reckon out of last 10 flights have only been able to check in online twice. Anyhoo we made it just as plane was boarding with no confidence our bags would be so lucky. It’s a cut lunch as usual to actually get to your runway and leave the ground but a short flight and quick baggage claim had us on road by 10 am and then home at Sunshine Inc by 11:30. Unpacked the bag and left the washing for CLP to give her something to do and decided to drive home to Maryhole then. Not smartest move as very tired towards end and could have been calamitous especially in the rain . Home now and even mowed a bit of the jungle. Will be quiet couple of days resetting body clock and then out to Toowoomba on Saturday for family gathering to celebrate birthday

Until next time

I think it was Feb 24th in Killarney. Since then one or both of us has been sick or the weather lousy . Or both . So on this final day would be nice to just get a cleaning lady to come in. Oops wrong clip . Ok just a touch….

There was fair wind blowing early at the pool which of course meant the sky was cloudy with dust and Paradise was looking a touch dodgy. Pleasant relaxing time though before we head out for some lunch and those pesky last souvenirs. Yep ok ya got us, we have some AED to offload. Mind you when we started am sure we were getting better than 2.8 AED for our dollar.

Nice Sushi for lunch had us back in our afternoon routine of nap, pool, read, drink and eat at said pool ,sleep. If I had a pool at home then really my routine wouldnt change next week! Of course as last day will have to fit in some packing before drinking . Relatively early start to flight tomorrow . On line check in with Qantas is friggin useless so when factor in it’s a fair distance to airport and all that will be on road around 6:30 am for our 9:30 flight home .

Paradise arrived at about 2:30 pm. The wind had stopped, the sun was out and musical chairs had opened up. It’s a crowded time and you need to ask Abdul for the “ next available two lounge chairs please” while you pretend you are going to buy something from the menu . No sooner had the bean bags been sorted then a spot opened up at the pool bar . Serendipity .

The next two hours passed easily before time to head back to room and pack for tomorrow . Then we will head down to pool for a last Shisha , beer and dinner . I wouldn’t bore you with more photos of those shenanigans surely so let’s sign off for day now and in fact pretty well for Ireland Fling 2018. The Flashies will follow in due course . I wouldn’t say it has been our most successful holiday venture but certainly still some great memories

Well, ok just a couple if u insist

The moment I wake up

The make up didn’t take – again – so thought time for some spiritual guidance and we headed off to the Jumeirah Mosque. Have been to Dubai a few times and have to say CLP has come up with two great new sights to see including the garden yesterday. Although both sick to varying degrees the couple of days in Dubai so far have been very pleasant and mostly because of the level of service and general welcoming nature of “ staff” . To be fair they do work for tips I guess 😉 We thought we could at least spare a couple of hours to learn a bit more about the Islam religion and the 5 pillars based on. Man, Will and Grace were way out ( yeah no specific you tube video so for full impact of this amusing seque …)

WILL: Look at that. I’m 5 for 5.

GRACE: What’s that?

WILL: It’s this test, the Five Pillars of Happiness. It’s supposed to determine the level of contentment in your life. And it comes with a lotion sample, so you know it’s scientific.

GRACE: I can’t believe you would evaluate your life based on something in the Lifestyle section. Ok, that was obligatory. Bring it on.

WILL: Ok, the first pillar is health. I gave myself a big yes, ’cause I just had my physical. Everything’s where it’s supposed to be. I’m running every day and, well…look at those calves. It’s like my knee swallowed a grapefruit. Your turn.

GRACE: I think I’m hypoglycemic. I’m always tired, and I can’t poop.

WILL: I would give that a No. Ok, pillar number 2 is family. That’s a big Yes. You?

GRACE: Well, let’s see. My mother’s idea of bonding is making me scratch her back. And for my last birthday, my father gave me gum.

WILL: That’s another No for Grace. Moving on. Love life. Another No for Grace.

GRACE: Excuse me! No. You can mark that Yes, thank you. Josh and I are doing great. I mean, it’s not perfect, but we care about each other very much.

JOSH: [OPENING THE DOOR] Grace? Hey, what are you doing? You left an hour ago to get bagels.

GRACE: Here. [GRACE THROWS A BAG TO JOSH] Toast ’em up. I’ll be back in 15.

JOSH: Ok, honey. Uh…your laundry’s almost done. [JOSH EXITS.]

GRACE: Well, you get a No on love life, too.

WILL: Actually, I haven’t told you this yet, but there’s this lawyer, Alex. We’ve only had one date, but I’m already seeing 2.5 jack russell terriers and his and his SUVs in my future.

GRACE: Yeah, yeah. Ok. Next.

WILL: Ok. Pillar number 4. Friendships.

GRACE: Ok! Now we’re talking!

WILL: No, no, no. Note the “S.” friendships. They’re talking more than just you and me.

GRACE: This test sucks.

WILL: And the final pillar is Work. I love my job.

GRACE: I work with a lush who insults me.

WILL: Ok. Final tally is… Will: [SING-SONG] Dee diddle-ee-dee-dee! Grace: [SING-SONG] Wah wah wahh.

The actual 5 Pillars of Islam cover a much wider range of course and the hour long presentation was very interesting. Had a few local treats first up before moving inside the impressive Mosque

Back home then for a quick bite of lunch and a rest before hitting the pool again. Our dance card is all marked so next 36 hrs will be just chillin and slowly improving hopefully before that last long haul flight home. Always interesting to walk the streets here and people watch

The pool was usual crowded place early afternoon but we grabbed a couple of Lazy Boys. And quickly put them to work finding us some lounge chairs . I’m here all week, try the veal bacon. But only if u must . Then it was time to try out the Sports Bar on site – The Amsterdam Hub. Serves beer and Irish food. Go figure . It was quiet and rather dull with soccer on all TVs

Which leaves us with the safe option of drinks by pool followed by dinner. Tonight was pizza which fitted in perfectly with the beers but then again what food doesn’t ? And it’s goodnight from him

Rather amazingly thanks for asking. More later

A good nights sleep had me jumping out of my skin this morning. Well, my skin felt tighter than usual so could be only excuse. After 10 days of being a sick old fart I may just be an old fart now having turned the corner. Down for usual impressive breakfast before heading to the pool before the bulging bikinis arrive. With all the massive buildings around not a lot of sun gets through before noon but it is very pleasant and you can wrap yourself in as many towels as you like. The service level at this place is amaze balls .

As pleasant as pool was we thought we would do Miracle Garden today so yet another long taxi drive. The taxis are very reasonable price wise but as so far from most things still 25-40 AUD to get anywhere. The gardens are simply stunning and truly a wonderful display of colour. It was crowded but no big deal apart from the usual ignorant assholes who walk in front of your camera. Long time since seen so many selfie sticks.

Grabbed some very good Chinese for lunch before deciding time to check out the beach. Ah this is where the good bikini bodies hang out. Always remember there is good naked and bad naked

The water was surprisingly cool which was good as the sun has some kick. Picked up some beach mats and towels from hotel which is very handy. Back to the pool then for another hour or two and day well sorted. Will head back down around 6 pm for a drink and dinner pool side and maybe a Shisha.

Another great night. Starting to taste beer again and had another great share plate. The Shisha tested out any lingering cough and it was a very relaxing end to a very relaxing day. I could take this for a couple of days

Not a bad flight as far as these things go but we are not well in the tummy either so I ate very little and CLP had zip. We arrived in Dubai 20 mins early which is not a good thing as we then sat on tarmac for 30 mins waiting for our gate ! Standard process landing st these large airports. Ya just suck it up. Then a long taxi ride to Sofitel Jumeirah where we collapsed into bed for a couple of hours.

Decided to wander down to the pool around lunch time and it was crowded much like most of the bikinis on display. We eventually got a spot and had an easy lunch. Then checked out The Walk which has changed a lot since last here and the beach. One thing has not changed – idiots roaming up and down street in expensive cars

So not sure how these few days will pan it. It’s a nice room but is a noisy part of town. We are simply out of whack and no real energy to do much although have a couple of things on agenda. Time will tell

We did venture back to pool area on sunset and had a beer and dinner . Very pleasant end to a long day

And so we come to one of those days with travel when 24 hrs is actually about 36 hrs and feels like 48 😰

Today we say farewell to Paddington and indeed London and catch the Qantas Big Bird to Dubai tonight from Heathrow. Plan is a few days R&R in the land of sand but not all plans work well. CLP is really laid low with the lurgy at present and I am still closer to 0% than 100% . One interesting aspect of this holiday as it may well have finally killed off my desire to travel in winter and that includes Feb 2019 USA. Yes I will still do something but may stay in California rather than going over to NYC etc again . Of course I reserve the right to change my mind one week after back home in Maryhole.

Not so hard to fill in morning in hotel on a rather dreary day. After midday though we move camp to the lobby for a few hrs as even we would balk at turning up at qantas Club 8 hrs before flight . I mean you can’t can you?. Apparently not as you can’t drop bags off until 4 hrs until flight ergo 16:45 . The new lounge at Heathrow looks swank and even if can’t really taste it will definitely be hooking into the Gin bar where I did see some Four Pillars . Three more than my usual quota….

Bit of a day of reflection then. Ireland is a great country and we have some wonderful memories but fair to say we got dudded a bit. Even in February this weather was extremely bad . Did have a wonderful few days for birthday in Killarney . London has also been a bit of a washout apart from two superb dining experiences. Just not a city that grabs me like say New York which is similar in a way. Almost seems London is too caught up on the old Empire with statues up the ying yang and nothing free. Look at me, look at me. Tube works fine but not a great walking city for moi. Thames is a poor river sadly

So we stuck it out at hotel lobby for 2 hrs before heading to Heathrow with hope in our heart. Dashed again. No check in until 4:45 pm as predicted but then rather smooth and a gin soak by 5 pm. It’s an impressive lounge apart from bloody tourists . You pick a quiet corner out of the 100 free seats and fuck me if some clowns dont come and sit next to you. My magnetism is becoming a real issue so will start dialling down the charm. You were warned. It’s an impressive lounge with bars on two floors . Luckily the gin one is on ground so no pesky stairs involved. Only 3 hrs to boarding …better sign off now