25 January 2015

An Irish Ghost Story

From a backlog of emails I selected this tale for your amusement

picture courtesy of
This story happened a while ago in Dublin, and even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's true. 

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitch-hiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a big storm. The night was rolling on and no car went by.

The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and stopped. John, desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door.... only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn't on. 

The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared out of nowhere through the window, and turned the wheel. John, paralysed with terror, watched as the hand came through the window, but never touched or harmed him. 

Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, so, gathering strength; he jumped out of the car and ran to it. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had. A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying... and wasn't drunk. 

Suddenly, the door opened, and two other people walked in from the dark and stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other....

Look Paddy....there's that idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it.'

20 January 2015

A Sign of Things Past.


Like Ron, I love signs, though my problem is finding them. Local stores don’t seem to go in for them anymore. I guess that’s because of the rapid changeover, I mean what’s the point of paying for a beautiful sign when a store’s actual existence is in question? However, now that I have a super duper camera, I really should get out more to look for more signs. Oh, if only local stores would get with it!

On my travels I used to see lots of fabulous signs but rarely took a picture – except when in Switzerland, when I found the MOST GORGEOUS sign... made from wood and hand carved. I took a picture, the only sign in my collection of holiday snaps. See it - bottom right. I was so enamoured with the whole place I framed a group of pictures which adorns my kitchen wall to this day. 

I tried to find a clearer picture of the sign on the internet but it seems to have disappeared. There's no 'sign' of it anywhere!!

Two weeks in Switzerland was a wonderful holiday. We stayed in Grindelwald in the Jungfrau region. It was summertime so the only snow was on the mountains. It didn’t matter because it enabled us to travel round a bit. Yes, even up mountains, although at a certain point on Schynige Platte I had to let Joe go on alone because the rarefied air caused breathing problems. I wasn’t the only one suffering, most of the Chinese visitors had the same problem. Isn’t it odd how some are affected and others are not.

Anyway, back to the sign. It was at the entrance to Schynige Platte mountain railway in Interlaken (Bernese Oberland) and the sign told us the height of the mountain was 1,967 metres, that’s 6,454 feet) – pretty high, huh? However, on the picture at the start of this post the height is quoted as 1,983 metres. 

I like the way the artist had the man peering through binoculars at the summit. I doubt I could have bent my head far enough back to see the summit, let alone go up top. The train travelled on a single track with passing loops and you could guess the steepness by the tilt of the seats ... the entire journey uphill was almost like lying on my back. I was sure we travelled in a tunnel the whole time, I can still remember the train stopping at 'viewing places', but modern day photographs seem to suggest an open air route. I guess things change with time, and our visit was way back in June 1988 - anything could have happened during intervening years. Hmm, I wonder if Switzerland is still there!!

It was a shame I couldn’t complete the trip up the mountain because I missed seeing a display of ice statues and a team of husky dogs. I had to put up with coffee in the restaurant while I waited for Joe to return. Imagine that, a fully fitted restaurant three-parts of the way up a steep mountain, though from what I’ve read there is now a fully fledged hotel/restaurant right on the summit. Still, there were other things I could do so I’m not complaining.

Thank you, Ron, for reminding me of a great vacation.

19 January 2015

Getting it out of the system!

Is it decreed in the heavens that everyone should have an off day? Is it ordained that if one partner has it rough the other should likewise have a bad time?
My upset started early this morning. Remember the problem I had and still have with the damned washing machine? Well, it just had another turn! I had got into the habit of loading the washing machine for an overnight wash because then it seemed to be less temperamental. I religiously load two of everything, never one, never three, because the machine doesn't like it. So last night I wool- washed two jumpers. It has been done before many times but this time the machine objected and left the two garments in a sodden state. Several times I tried the independent spinner but no joy there either. So now the garments are hanging - indoors because of the weather - and dripping into the laundry room sink. 
Joe's upset came at breakfast when the bag inside a practically new box of sugar puffs decided to split - just as he was getting his breakfast. You never saw such a mess, although to be fair the bag did split over the work counter and not too many went on the floor. 

I have now discovered that blackbirds quite like sugar puffs. 

Maybe tomorrow will be better. 

Thanks for listening :o)