Category Archives: Life

Life Begins At – 60!

It’s been such a long, long time since I posted here and a lot of water has flowed under the proverbial bridge since then. Recently I’ve been looking for a good excuse to start posting again and I can’t think of a better reason that celebrating my 60th birthday.

The expression goes that life begins at 40 and I guess there’s a certain amount of truth in this. Certainly a lot has happened since my 40th birthday; got married to my fabulous wife, raised a wonderful, strong daughter who has recently flown the nest, moved county (twice) and a whole lot more.  But turning 60 is like opening a brand new volume in the saga with so many new challenges becoming. What better reason to reinvigorate the blog?

Moving On

This is not an easy post to write.

For the last 14 months I’ve been running my own business, Computer Troubleshooters – West Cork. Unfortunately, despite all my best efforts, this simply isn’t paying the bills, let alone putting food on the table. So I’ve decided to wind the company up and look for a fulltime position again.

For me this is a bit like trying to change gear in the middle of taking a sharp corner rather too fast. Life is lurching rapidly towards the curb whilst I’m struggling to keep it under control, not really sure in which direction I’m headed.

One thing I’m hoping is that this post will allow me to transition out of Computer Troubleshooters mode and back into “prospective employee” mode.

At least I should have more time for posting to this blog 🙂

PS. The business is for sale if you’re interested. It’s a franchise business and you’d get it at a fraction of the cost of setting up from scratch. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

Why I Hate DIY

There’s an age old adage that you’re probably familiar with:

Measure twice – cut once.

Well for me it goes more like:

Measure twice – cut three or four times, measure it again and cut a couple times more.

I don’t know what it is; but I just can’t seem to get the measurements right. Take this afternoon for example. All I had to do was put two hooks on the back of the bathroom door to hang a bathroom “tidy” on.

Two hooks, same height up the door. Easy!

So I put the two hooks up, hung the tidy on it, stood back; goddammit it’s crooked. Had reposition one on the hooks to get it level.

Me and DIY don’t mix.

Review: Dyson DC23 – A Great Vacuum Cleaner

Up until now we’ve used a Miele S718 vacuum cleaner to quite good effect; but since we got a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel last year it was obvious that the Miele was struggling to pick up the pet hair off the carpet.

By the way these dogs are described as “moderate shedders” of hair. I’d hate to see one that sheds a lot!

So we decided to replace it with a Dyson DC23 “Animal”. The vacuum is a compact format, as opposed to an upright, and comes with a good selection of tools and accessories including the all important turbo head for removing pet hairs. The vacuum has reasonably well packaged and took only a few minutes to assemble, though I struggled at one point to figure out just how the hose fitted around the cleaner body.

Time for a try out. There’s a reasonable length of electric cable; but I did think it could have been a few yards longer to reduce the need to keep moving sockets. I had hovered the sitting room only the afternoon before and the dog hadn’t been in there so I was completely amazed by the amount of hair that the vacuum picked up. Hopefully you can see this in the image.

Dog hair in the vacuum cylinder

So that’s a result! If I had any criticisms on this cleaner it’s in the very plastic construction of some of the parts. Only time will tell if these stand the rigors of domestic life.

As well as the large turbo head you also get:

  • Small turbo head for tight spaces (good for the stairs)
  • Wide brush head for hard floors
  • Small round brush head
  • Small narrow head for maximum suction
  • Small flat head for upholstery

The large turbo head and the three small heads all fit neatly onto the body of the cleaner for easy transport from one room to another.

Here are images of the vacuum Cylinder and the turbo heads:

The vacuum cleaner body

Large and small turbo heads

Photo Blogging

This weekend I’ve create a Photo Blog for myself using the excellent Pixel Post tool. Most of my photographs are more snaps than art work; but they represent things going on around me and so I think they’re fair game for a blog. I’ve posted a few pictures from the past 12 months for a starter.

Unfortunately the comments section of the photo blog doesn’t work reliably if you’re using Firefox and I’m currently trying to get a fix for this issue. If you’re using one of the other browsers then I’d be delighted to read your views.

Update: The Firefox issue seems to be peculiar to my personal set-up and may be related to the Firebug add-on that I’m using. However other users of Firebug have reported no problems. Hopefully it works for you.

The First Cut…

Is not necessarily the deepest. Just finished cutting the lawn for the first time this year. This has to be a record for the first cut; but the dry spell looks like it might come to an end tonight. I wanted to get a cut in before the grass takes off and we have a jungle out there again. Not that we’ve got much grass left; for some reason a lot of weeds took hold last summer and killed the grass in parts of the lawn leaving a lot of bare patches. Ideally I’d get the whole lot torn up and re-laid; but this isn’t an ideal world!

Surf2Heal 2008

In the last week in August we were very fortunate to be offered a place on the first surf camp to be run in Ireland for Children with Autism; Surf2Heal. Our daughter, who’s eight, had only recently been diagnosed with the condition this was the first opportunity for us to meet with other parents of autistic children as well as an opportunity for Roisin to try surfing.

The camp was being run by Garrettstown Surf School near Kinsale, Co. Cork. Somehow they’d amassed an army of volunteers to help out with the weeks activities from autism professionals, speech and language exports and special needs assistants there was a body of trained and dedicated people to help support us and Rosin during the weeks activities.

I was unsure at the start of the week just how things would go. Each child was booked for an hour and a half session in the sea with two instructors. I know Roisin loves the sea; but I wasn’t sure if she’d rebel at putting a wet suit on or just how she’d manage going out into deeper water. My initial fears were soon allayed. The wet suit was no problem (I think because she was prepared for this) and each child was fitted with a buoyancy aid so she felt safe in the sea.

She had a fantastic time and by the third day was able to stand on the surf board. The smile on her face is a memory I shall carry with me for the rest of my life; it was a beautiful thing to see.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the activities; but instead I want to thank the people involved:

  • Jon and Alayne Hynes who own the Garrettstown Surf School for making this event happen. They must have given so much time over the year to put this together as well as making their premises and staff available for the event.
  • Roisin’s instructors in the water, Triona and Keeley. Their enthusiasm and spirit never wavered the entire week despite taking 4 sessions every day and at all times they kept Roisin safe and having fun in the water.
  • All the other volunteers who helped bring the week together and make it such a safe and enjoyable week for the children and parents alike.
  • Portwest Clothing who supplied the wet suits. Each child came away at the end of the week with their own wet suit.
  • MARTINS, the Maritime Training In Safety initiative who supplied a lot of the sponsorship for the event and the National Maritime College Of Ireland through whom the funds were obtained.
  • Ernest J Cantillon & Co Solicitors who sponsored specially commissioned surf boards for the event.

Apologies to anyone or any organization that I’ve left out.

Looking forward the week has opened a whole world of possibilities for all of us and I’m determined to build on the experience for Roisin. So clear the beach, here we come……

Photo Blogging

Thanks to my new Sony Ericsson K770i I’ve just discovered the delights of photo blogging.

What is photo blogging? My definition is: ‘the ability to upload and publish online a series of seemingly unconnected and probably meaningless photographs’.

OK, that’s a bit cynical I know. More sensibly; as a blog is a written online journal so a photo blog is an online journal created with photographs. My new K770i has a really neat feature that allows me to publish a photo taken on the phone straight to a blog. Unfortunately it doesn’t support WordPress at present so I can’t publish direct to this blog. I’ve created a completely separate photo blog over at blogspot.


A Tough Few Days

I know the blog’s been a bit quiet the last few days as I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with my work situation. I was made redundant last Thursday (31st May) and even though I’ve known this was coming since the start of March I’m still finding it harder to adjust too than I’d expected.

Despite of having lots of plans for the future, this blog being part of those, I still feel angry that I’ve lost my job, and not a little down too. I guess it’s knowing now that all the structures that go with having a full time job; the routine and not to mention the pay cheque each month, have all been stripped away leaving me feeling empty and rejected.

So here are some of the things I’m doing to stay positive:

  1. I’ve lots of DIY to do around the place and this is coming on well. I’ve never had much motivation for DIY in the past; but I’m pleased with what I’m doing now and I’m getting a buzz out of getting the jobs done.
  2. I’m a firm believer in positive thinking so I’ve a list of career oriented affirmations that pop-up on my PC every 30 minutes. These keep me focussed on the opportunities that now present themselves.
  3. I’m also a firm believer that these things happen for the right reasons and that nothing arises in our lives that we’re not already equipped to deal with or find the answer too.
  4. I’m continuing to read up on subjects that interest me and that might lead to new avenues of employment.
  5. I’ve the feelers out with the recruitment agents so I get an early shot at any relevant positions that come along.
  6. I’m continuing with my goals and expanding on these as I go along.

So, all in all, I’ve a good bit to be getting on with. Actually, now that I’ve written this posting, I feel a good bit more energised and positive. It’s been a very useful exercise just to get me back in touch with some of my core values and beliefs.

Right, back to the gardening!

Bat Update

I’m very pleased to say that last Tuesday’s (22nd May) encounter with the bat has not been repeated. So either

  • The bat went out the way it came in and hasn’t bothered making a return visit
  • It’s still lurking behind one of the book cases.

The latter is possible; but there’s been no aroma of expired bat about the place. Believe me if you’ve ever had a rodent expire in the ceiling you know something has died for several days. I think a dead bat would create a similar fug!

I guess its also possible it’s still alive; but I’m sure it would have made another appearance by now if it was.

So, fingers crossed, it’s, “Bye, bye bat”.