Archive for March, 2018

So , a long day beckoned. The Ashling was an impressive hotel and a good choice given it was done in 3ms. Quite room and great breakfast . Flight was due at 1300 and as has been case all along with BA the mobile options for checking in etc are useless so little Anal Annie thought we need to be at airport in plenty of time. Taxi booked for 0900 as probably at least 30 min drive

Taxi arrived at 08:45 . No traffic. We were tarmac adjacent just after 9 am! So we start the check in process and of course not simple. Our names are on flight but don’t match e ticket. Wait 20 mins for the one operator who can fix this who is taking20 mins to deal with one customer! Then it happened. “ Hey handsome, would you like to get on an earlier flight”? Well call me Chauncey and show me the way . In a double bonus for CLP we couldn’t sit together! I got 35 F which is where they would put the second roll of toilet paper if needed. Literally the back corner. So the flight was due to leave at 10:30 but of course delayed until 11:15. No sweat . The “ flight” is nominated at 90 mins from go to whoa which allows for getting off ground and getting to gate at Heathrow. Actual fly time is only 50 mins. Still we did not arrive until after 1 pm and then bags took at least 30 mins. Heathrow is your basic nightmare. We had prebooked Heathrow Express which is a great service

Now I had joined Accor as a member and as such had booked the Novotel at Paddington for a good price . This gave CLP much pause which turned into much grief for moi given the reputation Paddington as a bit of a hole. I had done my research though and the hotel is in a revamped area and had requested a high floor. The windows are double glazed and cannot hear a thing , not even a bear wandering the hallways

Then it was time for a walk around the area . It was cool and grey but quite pleasant . Had a coffee first up and even a lamington. There is an area nearby called Little Venice and there is a far canal with boats on it. Walked to Kensington Gardens but we were a bit shaggus by now and Princess Di was still dead so back to hotel as looked like a good bar with some great share plates. And a happy hour at 5 pm every day. It was only when we sat down we realised it was only just after 4:30 pm! After 15 mins of looking at my sad face the bar tender gave us the cheap drinks

Ah so share plates are not for one 😏

All in all not a bad day in the end . Hopefully we can relax next few days, get better, and stop having to deal with a new contingency plan every few hours

I couldn’t Bear it in Paddington as well

So , plan today was to train it down to Waterford and back as trains supposed to be “ back on track” at 0900. They are not and so our plans lay shattered on the floor like a smashed 14th Century Ming Dynasty Chamber Pot. Oddly here at Rosquil breakfast only starts at 0900 on weekends or as we call it back home – lunch! Thus on the good news front we do indeed get to have one last full Irish breakfast here . Little optimist me .

Like a snowball rolling down a hill gathering abandoned rail tickets our plans are also of the rolling variety and likely to change as day progresses. First update is

0800 – have booked pm train to Dublin and a hotel in Dublin thus forfeiting our last night in Kilkenny. We now await Irish Rail update at 10am to see if in fact train is running . I feel like I am in prison and certainly have the Blues, just hope I hear that train a coming soon or I may just have to shoot a man

What a fookin nightmare . Everyone directs you to check online. Online keeps saying another update at x.xx . It comes and goes with little helpful info especially for foreigners who strangely enough don’t know every hick town in Ireland. Very annoying Bus Iran ( yes deliberate nickname ) take nonrefundable bookings online for routes that will never run. With no updates easing our minds decided to walk down to station having already told our host we are leaving today. It was closed

Bloody French! So a group of 3 Frogs were also there with luggage and Tony the Taxi boy was doing hard sell on them. They also needed to get to Dublin. By now we were told no trains today. He would take them for 170 Euro. I suggested if we could get a maxi we could share cost . Oui. Tony only take 4, we needed 5. No other taxi company would go so didn’t feel like we could take the taxi ourselves and leave Frogs behind. In meantime Tony decides he just spoke to mate near Dublin and he wouldn’t get there by taxi even. Take us back to B&B then please. On way back he says” I may have someone who would do it, let me check” Back at B&B and I smell the old taxi shim sham happening . He gets out of cab, makes phone call , or at least pretends to, and comes back and says he will do it but it will be 220 Euro. And what is your cut Tony? Look we were getting ripped off but at this stage past caring. We had been frugal last few days and just wanted to get out of Kilkenny .

Good run up to Dublin on Highway but streets are dodgy in the city . We made it though and the Ashling looks great once you get past all the people sitting in lobby with suitcases!

As luck would have it only a 10 minute walk in the slush to The Brazen Head, home of the worlds best Irish Coffee. Or so we thought . It was crap this time and only cost us 400 Euro to get there 😰 Had a nice Guinesss stew at least and then time to head back to room

So, today’s particular version of Hell on Earth was drawing to a close . Once again if we had not been proactive and walked to train station and met up with Two Taxi Tony we would probably still be in Kilkenny. Mind you we havent left Dublin yet . Snow has finished but very cold and a bit wet so roads a mess. Still have to get to airport let alone board a plane that is still leaving

What possible new joys could tomorrow bring ?

I checked. Not one time was The Beast from The East implicated or even questioned. No surprise really because so far it’s been a bit of a pussy . Now those words may come back to bite me when sitting on a tarmac on Sunday afternoon with a shovel in my hand but as with many of these “events “ there has been overkill. By all means close down transport, schools etc for public safety but stop trying to justify it with 24/7 reporting of some idiot standing in the snow with a microphone. Let you in on a little secret. We were walking the streets of Ghost Town after 4 pm curfew yesterday and if an ice cream shop was open I would have gone in . There has been snow overnight here and will likely continue today . The problem for us hearty visitors is because of the red alert in place businesses just shut down for two days so doesn’t matter if I went nude cycling into town later , no shops are open. Maybe a pub though? At least the news would have something to report “ That’s not a bike pump. This is a bike pump” #crocdundee4

So plans for the day are casual to say the least . First up though will be breakfast at 0800. Still rather sick sadly and no surprises as still sweat during the night and then wake up with damp PJs and not just in the nether regions.

Time to venture out into the neighbourhood or at least 100m up the road to Newpark Hotel for a coffee. Very swank looking place with a great bar for future reference . And the cricket is on!

Then back home for a Brains Trust meeting. Sadly it was poorly attended. We booked a train to Dublin on Sunday as well as Bus is a bit hit and miss. Mind you if we have to use train making the flight will be tight and we will be trying to change to a later one same day . Irish Rail is good with cancellations so let’s hope Plan A goes ahead on Sunday – 0725 bus to Dublin Airport and catch 1 pm flight to Heathrow. Now time for some lunch kindly provided again by hosts – split pea soup . Perfect

Back out in the light snow in afternoon for a walk into town and search for that elusive second great Irish Coffee. Failed miserably but did see some great sights including Kilkenny Castle but of course everything is closed

There were quite a few people around and cars on street although conditions were a bit tricky . We finally dropped into Matt the Millers bar on the river which was a great looking bar but very ordinary Irish coffee

Then it was time to head home and get out of the weather as now seems CLP has caught the dreaded lurgy . Have no idea how . Maybe when I sent her out to do the washing last night ?

Tomorrow we may do day trip to Waterford depending on weather and trains . Hard to fill in another day in Kilkenny methinks

After all we have already made an impression here

No wonder a person can’t get well. So we did have a taxi booked to take to train at 6 am this morning . He rang last night and cancelled . So started the walk in the snow at 5:30 am. It was -8 degrees, real feel -19. Surprisingly no one else was on the streets. Not sure wheels on luggage will have survived. Anyhoo we made it in time, had a hot chocolate and boarded the train

So at least we will make it to Dublin which is something . At present they say our 10:15 train out of Dublin Heuston to Waterford is last one running today so fingers crossed still is . If we get to Kilkenny we will look back on this and laugh one day . If we don’t then reflection may be more harsh. Walking the streets early in the morning in rather harsh conditions made me feel like the 5th Yorkshireman . Someone had licked road clean and definitely was a paper bag in the road

Ok so we didn’t make it to Dublin. Stop start trip had us at least an hour behind schedule and we would miss connection to Waterford. Or so we thought. So helpful conductor suggested we get off at Kildare some distance south of Dublin and catch our next train as it passed through at 10:41. Getting off train just after 10 am this seemed a good idea and it was . Just not the day for trains running on time. The train to Waterford left Dublin over an hour late – ironically we could have stayed on train and relaxed in much more comfortable Heuston station then the outpost Kildare is

Train finally arrived about 70 mins late and it was crowded. Still at last Kilkenny was in sight . We will now be closer to the dreaded 4pm whiteout get off the street curfew blizzard blowout and still need to get to our lodgings with no taxis operating and at least a good 20 minute walk . And find something to eat and maybe a few supplies for the next 24 hr lock down

There actually were taxis operating so could afford to have lunch in town, very passable Chinese. Most shops closed . Arrived at Rosquil and looks a lovely place indeed. Our room is spacious and at the back. And there is a bath !

Given Armageddon was not happening anytime soon thought may as well have a look and a walk around neighbourhood in case tomorrow is a wipeout. Plenty of churches and some quirk including an Elvis fan house

So what could have been a disasterous day turned out ok with some proactive actions. Once buses in doubt didn’t hang around, went straight to train. No taxis, no sweat . When we were obviously running late on first train asked about our connection and he organised the stop at Kildare . Realising we may struggle to get out tonight for dinner asked our B&B host about options and she came back and said she would cook something up for us

Apparently my charm even works over the phone 😏