Posts

Welcome

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Welcome to Old Ireland.   My initial idea for this site was to cover only classic vehicles, but since classicireland.ie was already taken and the best alternative I could find was this one, my thoughts for the site began to broaden.   A lot of the inspiration for this comes from the few magazines for which I have written articles.   Let’s get these mentioned early, because you should not be surprised to see a little of their influence here.   Real Classic is subscription only in print, but also has an excellent site at https://www.real-classic.co.uk/ , where Frank, Rowena and a host of writers entertain and inspire.   Then there is Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, formerly in print monthly, but now only on line at http://mnmotorcycle.com / (unfortunately now obsolete.  You will need to use the Wayback machine to find it).   MMM’s archives could keep you reading happily for months, and the like it or not truths told by Thomas Day (Geezer with a grudge: see his own site at http://geez

Christmas jokes 2022 - The usual disclaimer applies because you know what Christmas cracker jokes are like by now!!

  How did Mary and Joseph get their groceries delivered when they were in the stable?  On a Lidl donkey! How much did Santa pay for his sleigh? Nothing, it was on the house! What did Mrs. Claus say to Santa when she saw this year's Christmas tree? You could spruce it up a little! Where does Santa always stay when he goes on any vacation? At the ho-ho-ho-tel. How did the reindeer know it was going to rain? Because Rudolph the red-knows-rain, deer! What does Santa do when the reindeer drive too fast? Hold on for deer life. Where would you find a snowman dancing? At a snowball! What's the Grinch's least favorite band? The Who! Why wouldn't Ebenezer Scrooge eat at the pasta restaurant? It cost a pretty penne! Which one of Santa's reindeer has the best moves? Dancer! How long are an elf's legs? Just long enough to reach the ground! What's red, white, and green? Santa Claus when he's travel sick! What did one cranberry say to another at C

Ancient History - Working as a Motorcycle Courier in Belfast

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I haven't forgotten about this site, or given up on it; honest.   It's just that there are other things going on in life that have been taking up a lot of my time recently.  Not that many people will have even noticed if the site stats here are anything to go by.  Just in case I don't manage to get areound to posting anything else before Christmas......HAPPY CHRISTMAS READER.  🎅🎄🤶 ________________________________________ I mentioned in my profile write up that I had once upon a time, in a land that now seems very far, far away, worked as a motorcycle courier.  For some obscure reason memories of that time came back to me yesterday, so I suppose it is about time to put some thoughts out there about working in that job, here in Belfast in the early 90's.  Just remember when reading this, that hindsight is a wonderful thing.   😁  The motorcycle press of the time was full of adverts for the London version of couriering, promising £500 per week wages( a damned good wage

Like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

  I haven't commented on politics for a while even though there is so much to talk about.  Sorry, but I can’t resist this. One name at the moment conjures up all sorts of comments and chaos: Liz Truss. I had thought of commenting on her during her campaign to be elected leader of the Tories, but I really didn't expect her to win.  For the short of memory, her campaign promises centred around free market policies that went out with the ark, (well; with Maggie Thatcher anyway).   According to Liz, giving the rich more money by cutting taxes and removing regulations would lead to increased investment which would lead to more jobs, and thus the UK economy would grow exponentially.   From this obviously larger base, the government would easily recoup the money it lost by decreasing taxes in the first place and the UK would become some sort of Shangri La, where everyone got paid exceptionally good wages with which they would then start yet more business with and the whole wondero

Local History - Witches on Islandmaghee and Other Strange Tales.

 I'm sure you will have heard of the witch trials that proliferated through Europe and America from medieval time onwards.  Perhaps the two most famous one were from Pendle (Yorkshire, 1612), and Salem ( Massachusetts, 1692/93).  Here in Northern Ireland we came late to all this persecution, our one trial starting from incidents in 1711.  I had heard of this trial, but not of the twist on it put on it in the story below.  This comes from  an old guide book to Northern Ireland called "Thank You Now", written by someone called Oswell Blakeston that I read recently.  I have already mentioned one other fact that I learned from it in a previous post about the First Car.  It seems to have been very well researched and written, but being from 1960 it is a little dated in places. Anyway, back to the witches.  Given some of the incidents being used as evidence against these women, the twist sounds very plausible to me.  The text starts part way through a chapter, so there are some

Bye, Bye Burgman

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 Well, that's it, the Burgman is gone.  Some new owner will hopefully now get some enjoyment out of it.  Since I am now officially ancient, and have a 'Smart Pass' that gets me free travel on both the buses, trains and even some ferries throughout Northern Ireland, I will do the environmentally friendly thing and use this for my commute to work.  This will be good, especially since it looks like I will always retain some degree of home working, so the Burgman would never have been putting in the mileage that it used to.  When/ if I make it to be 65, our government hands out a better version of this pass that gives free travel throughout the entire Island of Ireland, so by that age there may be a few more adventures opening up.  :-)  So I now have two bikes remaining, and I have to admit that the winds of change may still be sweeping through my garage.  The two bikes are my 1974 R75/6, and my 1961 Triumph 5TA.  The R75 goes Ok, but is a little rough around the edges since pr

The first Car?

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 You learn something every day.....hopefully.  I've been reading an old guide book to Northern Ireland called "Thank You Now", written by someone called Oswell Blakeston.  It was published in 1960. Towards the end of the book, one small sentence caught my eye, "Lisburn can claim another first for Ulster: a man called Rowan built the very first car to be put on the road in 1836".  Remember, the date for Stephenson's Rocket was 1829, so that would make this a very early attempt at a car. This warranted a quick Google search, but only one decent lead comes up:   Did Doagh man John beat Karl Benz by creating world's first car? - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk The basics of the story are that John Rowan built a steam powered vehicle 50 years before Benz and drove it around the streets of Belfast to show it working and to entice potential investors, but they could not see the potential.  Have a look at the Belfast Telegraph Article link above.  If true, this could be

Another Dirty Little Secret.

If you are really desperate, you can find the first of these undiscussed secrets here:    A Dirty Little Secret? (oldandireland.blogspot.com) .  There must be hundreds such undiscussed details that could effect our society. ____________________ OK, it's summer here in the northern hemisphere and it's hot out there.  So hot that wild fires have been breaking out all over the place.  A carelessly discarded ciggy butt caused a fire yesterday that burned down 10 houses!  Temperature records are being broken yet again, and the TV news channels would have you believe that venturing outside for more than a nanosecond at mid day will instantly vaporise you.  As someone who once (many years ago), worked in a desert where temperatures in the mid 40's centigrade were normal, and where you were expected to work in those temperatures, I find this hard to believe.  Granted it took a week or two to acclimatise to the desert, and unlike the humid conditions here the air was so dry that swe

Money for Nothing

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 It is difficult to avoid all the hype about crypto-currencies these days, even here in backwaters of the world like Northern Ireland.  My cynical nature means that I am never really likely to be a fan of these, but I'm not particularly knowledgeable about them, and a recent TV program both astounded me and piqued my interest into finding out just how flimsy their value really is.  So here's the disclaimer; this is all my opinion.  Feel free to have your own, and better yet if you disagree,  reply to this piece and show me where I am wrong.  I am not particularly against the companies mentioned here; I personally just choose to avoid them like the plague. The best known crypto is obviously Bitcoin, so I have restricted my scant research to it.  Life is too short to start trying to find differences between them. We all know how the real world economy works.  People make things, grow crops, write music or books, make movies, mine commodities like copper from the ground, or any on

The Generation Game.

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  Part of our solar Panels.  There are another 5 panels on the next section of the roof. Our solar panels have been in for a year now, so it's time for a quick review.  The table below shows some figures for the year. Some of these need a little explanation.  For example why we both export and import electricity it is easily explained.  Since the solar obviously does not generate after the sun goes down, but we still want to boil kettles and watch TV after dark, we still import electric.  Similarly, there are days of bloody awful weather, and the short winter days in this part of the world, which all lead to consumption without much generation.  Yet there are also good days where the amount we generate exceeds what we can consume. The total consumption figure is made up of the total generated plus the electricity we imported from the grid, less the amount we exported.  It is high because we are trying to use as much of the electric we generate as possible.  We do this because of th

Six Degrees of Separation - An Easter Story.....Sort of.

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  I love the contradictions in Irish/ Northern Irish history, and the way that these things twist and conjoin on occasion.   Try this one. Just before WW1, on Friday the 24 th , and Saturday the 25 th April 1914, the protestant (and supposedly loyalist) Ulster Volunteer Force smuggled an entire boat load of arms and ammunition into Larne.   Their goal was to fight against any attempt by the British government to force home rule (based in Dublin) on the province of Ulster.   Smaller boats distributed the arms to Donaghadee, and after this initial unloading the ship crossed Belfast Lough to Bangor to unload more weaponry.   The ships correct name was the Clyde Valley, and some enterprising soul bought it as a hollow wreck in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s and brought it to Carrickfergus where it remained tied up for years while funds were sought to restore it.   The fundraising failed and it was eventually scrapped.   I remember as a child being at a funfair on the waterfront in Carr

Replacing your car isn't easy these days.

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 My apologies for not posting anything new here for a while.  Retirements and Covid infections in work have made work crazy for the last month or two.  I have written this over the last 4 or 5 weeks every time that I had five minutes to spare so hopefully it will not read like some disjointed series of random thoughts. ____________________________________________________________ I mentioned here months ago that I had been forced to get rid of my old Vauxhall Astra.   I had started early on prepping it for it’s MOT, but discovered a few good sized rust patches.   One, for example was just beside the suspension mount under the front passenger wing.   Looking at this area I noticed a loose piece of the sealant used at the joint between the different panels there, but when I went to peel the loose sealant away, a large piece of the inner wing came away with it!   This and a few other patches made it seem unviable for a fix, so only one month before its 20 th anniversary, it went for scrap

Christmas Jokes 2021 - My apologies in advance for these :-)

  What’s an Elf’s favourite type of music at Christmas?    Wrap. What do you call an obnoxious reindeer?  Rude-olph. What’s the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet?  The Christmas alphabet has Noel. Why does Santa go down the chimney?  Because it soots him. What do you call a broke Santa?  Saint Nickle-less How do you get your Christmas tree ready for a house party?   You spruce it up. Why are Christmas trees so fond of the past?  Because the presents beneath them. Why can’t Christmas trees knit?  They have too many needles. What music should you play to your Christmas tree to keep it healthy?  Spruce Springsteen. Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Mary.  Mary who?  Mary Christmas. Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Olive.  Olive who?  Olive Christmastime, don’t you? Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Honda.  Honda who?  Honda the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…….. Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Dexter.  Dexter who?  Dexter halls with

And then what?

 If you have been reading these ramblings for a while, you may have read here:  The Burning Question of Our Times. (oldandireland.blogspot.com , that my conscience is giving me grief for my many years of burning petrol for fun.  You may even have seen this, posted way back in September 2019:  Old Ireland, new technology. The search for reliable solar water heating. (oldandireland.blogspot.com) , where I was looking for a good alternative for a solar thermal system that we had fitted on our roof. The tubes for it were made by a local company called Thermomax, and supposedly had a twenty year guarantee when we bought them.  They broke repeatedly and eventually catastrophically which meant that they were never likely to pay for themselves, and the guarantee turned out to be worth nothing because Thermomax went bankrupt.  Great. Because of my experience with those thermal tubes, there was no way that I was going to fit anything similar any time soon.  Still, I needed something to assuage t

Happy Birthday Rock and Roll

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 There are many candidates that might be considered as the very first rock 'n' roll record.  One of the most promising ones is Rocket 88 (watch it on Youtube here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbfnh1oVTk0 ).  This birthday really happened in April of this year since the record was released then.  I am surprised that the 70th anniversary of its release (April 1951) didn't get more headlines. It is credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, but in fact this was an alias for Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm.  A damn fine record that spawned a whole genre.  What's not to like?  It is certainly worth celebrating.  :-)