Archive for February, 2005

February 28th, 2005

Running away with people

Got the train to Dublin early on Saturday. OK. 9:25 isn’t that early, but we had been out to celebrate Mike Mulcahy becoming old on Friday night. We all crowded into the snug in Nancy Blakes for a few hours of fun and conversation, met some of Mike’s old college buddies and tried to decide if Nev or Maria would be the best Iago. I hadn’t read Othello before, so i picked up a copy in Eason’s and skimmed it. Now I am quite worried that a number of people are willing to play Iago to my Othello. Maybe I don’t have as many friends as I like to imagine. In any case I think a Maria vs Nev to play Iago would make a good poll for our Wireless POLL of the week. Non wireless group members can voice their opinions in the comments.

Hilary was in Dublinfor the weekend, and a bit before and a bit after; so that was my reason for visiting. We had dinner and went drinking. Or at least I went drinking, Hilary had already started without me. Dinner was great fun, lots of catching up with side orders of mirth and hilarity and people looking at the crazy couple who were making lots of noise. We weren’t even pretending to be a couple but Hilary was tipsy and had this dominating “I’m in charge and ordering everything” thing going on, and I did eat a lot of her main course.

A lot of people were wondering where Jamie was (Funny that none of them were ex-Broadcom people). Jamie was in Southampton and so the inevitable follow-up question was “you are meeting Hilary by herself!. Will he (Jamie) be ok with that?”. Hilary’s reaction was of course Jamie would expect us to get together for dinner, and what did people expect that we would run away together!!! So we put together a plan whereby we would run away together and live off credit cards, but it fell apart at the point where we had to fake our own deaths (its not a good running away plan if someone doesn’t get to fake their own death). The main problems were the fact that we would have to wait 7 years to claim life insurance without a body, and that neither Hilary nor I have life insurance and what would Jamie do. I maintained that if we weren’t going to run away together then at least I was entitled to a frankenbear or an onkey. But in the end we just settled for defrauding some random company into paying for dinner under somewhat less than true circumstances.

After dinner we went to Dakota to meet up with some ex-Broadcomers. It was Emer’s birthday so she was out with Tommy and Dave, who is just back from Australia joined us as well. Emer is the first person I interviewed for Bradocom when I got back from America and had a bit of a shock realising she was/is older than I remebered (or imagined) her to be. Maybe I am spending too long in collge. In any case we all get older sooner or later. Even Hilary…

Anyway, we broke up early in the morning and I headed back to Adrian and Lavinia’s on the Nitelink. I like staying with them. It is the only place I have ever rented that I can still go back to and the apartment is much more comftrable now than when Adrian and I were living on concrete floors with minimal furniture. I now owe them big time, as they stepped in at the last minute and offered me somewhere to stay, even knowing that I wouldn’t be able to spend a lot of time hanging out. So we just have to juggle schedules after Mother’s Day, Easter, trips to malaga, paris, beijing and warsaw and a couple of weddings and see what falls out as a free weekend for all of us.

Got the 14:05 train home on Sunday, which meant I missed the rugby match. In fact I missed all the rugby matches this weekend!! But Wales and Ireland did well in spite of this and it still looks on for a decider in Cardiff.

February 25th, 2005

Nevishness on the radio

Nev’s radio broadcast on the Limerick School of Arms is here. Its about 12mins long. Enjoy

February 24th, 2005

mmmm…. …minion

minion: One who obeys orders. Most often someone working for an evil being.

February 24th, 2005

Fencing on the Radio

Mr Neville Gawley of the Limerick School of Arms shall wax lyrical on the wireless concerning the noble and useful art of the defence on Friday morning at 10:25 on Limerick’s Live 95FM. Wireless transmission over the interweb is facilitated for those who patronise Windows Media Player.

February 23rd, 2005


You try to help someone out. you put a link to their blog. You write witty incisive comments. And what do you get in response…

Death threats. Thats right! Death threats.

It may be time to start the Magic Maz series up again

February 23rd, 2005


Everybody is getting blogs now. Maria has one, Ronan has one. Even Danny has one; maybe two

February 22nd, 2005

mmmm…. ….Toast!!!

As an addendum to the Limerick Pizza post, leftover Black Pudding, Blue Cheese and Spicy Tomato Sauce can be used to make really good toasted sandwiches. Just make sure the black pudding is thin enough to cook properly in however long it takes the cheese to melt.

February 21st, 2005

Limerick Pizza!!!

After our Haggis and Blue Cheese Pizza experience in Edinburgh, we were wondering what a similar ethnic experience would be for Limerick. I decided to reject Packet and Tripe out of hand, because it is just gross. Nev suggested Black Pudding instead. And so a Pizza was born. Well more or less, there was a bit of hassle and effort getting some of the ingredients.

For starters, Dunnes wouldn’t sell me a pizza base on its own. Not the worst problem in the world as their bases are a bit manky, but I didn’t want to use a frozen Margherita Pizza as a base, or bake my own. Eventually I found a fresh (non-frozen) 9″ Margherita Pizza and used that as the base.

I made my own sauce. Yes the Margherita pizza had a sauce and some cheese – but not a lot of either. In any case the Edinburgh Pizza had a spicy sauce and I wanted one here as well. So I used Jamie Olivers basic tomato sauce recipe from the Naked Chef and then knocked it up a notch using my spice weasel. Hilary will remember the nocked-up sauce from the time I did meatballs for Her and Jamie. Nev tried some leftover sauce cold, from the fridge, last night and was suitably impressed.

Black Pudding is pretty easy to get hold of in Limerick. I was looking for one that would break up easy. This more or less ruled out a butchers as butcher-made black pudding tends to be pretty indestructible – probably because most people “shallow” fry it as part of the morning-after-breakfast ritual. Shaws Black Pudding has no artificial additive or preservatives, and is a local prdouct. I didn’t get to test how easily it broke up in the supermarket and my constant poking at and bending of different black puddings was drawing attention. So I decided to take a chance and luckily it broke up nicely. I added some Spanish Paprika and Black Pepper to my broken up Black Pudding – Haggis is spicier than Black Pudding so I wanted to knock that up a notch as well.

The Blue Cheese used in Edinburgh was quite strong and tended to overpower the other ingredients. Nev recommended Cashel Blue as being a milder blue. Cashel Blue is a really nice cheese, on its own or to cook with, although it is a bad idea to leave it out while food is being prepared as lots of it may mysteriously get eaten… Dice the cheese (or whatever you like) and scatter it evenly over the pizza.

Finally I added Bell Peppers and Onions, together with some oregano – the holy trinity of Pizza toppings.

Got a bottle of Chilean Merlot to wash the pizza down with. Can’t remember which winery -all the Chilean Merlots, in a given price range (this one 9-11 euros) tend to be more or less the same anyway. I note that some people recommend a Shiraz with Cashel Blue. Next time maybe

Assemble the pizza and cook in a 220C oven for 12-15 mins. I got these numbers from the base, which only needed 9 mins. But I had added a lot of stuff so added on some time, realistically I had enough toppings for a 12″ pizza on a 9″ base.

The verdict. Very nice (read: I ate too much).

The spicy sauce, blue cheese and black pudding work together really well. The pudding was smokier than I expected, almost overwhelming in places. So the whole thing would probably benefit from a stronger blue cheese. And a home-made pizza base.

February 11th, 2005

Good vs Evil!

Hilary comments that

“The bloke standing to the left of Nev, in the picture, must be really evil. As per cowboy movies, he’s wearing all balck ergo he is the evil dude. This makes Nev the hero type wearing all white – he will save the day.”

So lets put it to the test.

This is Maestro Paul Macdonald, master of the macdonaldacadamies of arms and exercises. While not necessarily evil; he is holding a 250ml bottle of IrnBru

This is Nev, in the foreground. And while he looks a bit smug he isn’t necessarily good. There are more pictures of nev here and here and an evil mirror-universe nev here.

So the fight. First Nev has Paul on the run.

But in the end Paul is the winner. Thats what happens when you give up your all-white good guy suit and wear jeans!!

The head isn’t a valid target area. But its a good photo

For revenge, Nev attempts to entice Paul’s students away from the dark side

Much to Paul’s annoyance.

But thats OK as Ben is watching Nev’s back.

February 10th, 2005

Drinkin’ ‘n’ Fightin’

So we are back from Edinburgh, where there was much revelry and boisterousness. Ben, Joanne and I set out on Thursday to get in a preview of the city and its drinking establishments. I spent Friday exploring the highways and byways of Edinburgh; they went on a day-trip to Loch Lomond. More on that anon, hopefully with pictures.

The weekend proper started when Nev and Jann, our comrades in arms, arrived and after dinner the Limerick School of Arms had its first encounter with the MacDonald Academy of Arms. Although we were a man and woman down (Ben and Joanne being missing in action) we gave a good account for oursleves in matters related to alcohol and diverse topics of conversation on matters historical, topical, and alcohol. Some time, many pints, three bars and a pie later the Scottish contingent had halved in numbers, ruffians had been encountered and dispatched; we learned why a Scotsman wears a belt with his kilt, how it is bad manners to grab a mans dirk without permission and that you should never grab an Australian by the hair!!!!

Saturday began with a hearty breakfast (Scottish breakfast = Irish Breakast without black budding, but with haggis) to fend off the ills and demons of Friday night. Joining once again with our Edinburgh colleagues; there followed a gentle stroll down the Royal Mile to Holyrood and an interlude for chololate. Saturday afternoon we received instruction in the Scottish Backsword and Italian Cane from Maestro Paul MacDonald.

After an instuctive, blistering and bruising five hours we went for pizza. I have no problems recommending Blue Cheese, bacon and haggis pizza (with onions and mushrooms) just be careful that the blue cheese does not overpower everything else like your breath, immune system or people within 100 yards. Afterwards we met up with fellow travellers from the fencing community; had a few beers and hit each other about head with sticks.

Saturday evening finished up with further imbing and conversation, return visits to the Scotsman and Royal Oak establishments. As the only limerick fencer left at the end of the night I was not positioned to defend the school against an accusation that we were alright fencers but terrible drinkers; all evidence being in the Scots favour.

Sunday morning we exchanged touches with the French Foil immediately behind Holyrood house a traditional Edinburgh location for duels of honour etc. Furthermore Maestro Macdonald and Mr Neville Gawley exhibited diverse techniques with the Epée, Smallsword and backsword. Dinner consisted of traditional Scottish fare – Haggis, Neeps (turnips) and Tatties (potatoes) all mashed to within an inch of their lives; and was immediatly followed by a quick jaunt up the Royal Mile to peruse infomous sites of Scottish fencing (Cricket with Longsowrd and Dagger anyone!!) and rugby. The watching of rugby – not the playing.

I absconded from the group for a few hours as A) they weren’t drinking, B) I wanted to browse a few bookshops C) I wanted to get in a phone call to Jamie and Hilary while we were all on the same island (even if Limerick is probably closer to Southampton than Edinburgh is). I met up with the remains of the group – Nev, Paul and Mike for dinner. We wento to an Italian Restaurant/bar (tavern would be a really good description) convenient to the hostel and occupied it for a number hours, and entertained ourselves with tales of daring-do, monkeys and watching people travel downhill in armchair!