Welcome to Old Ireland.   My initial idea for this site was to cover only classic vehicles, but since 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 , 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 / (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

Yet another gripe.

"In the four parts of the earth are many that are able to write learned books, many that are able to lead armies, and many also that are able to govern kingdoms and empires; but few there be that can keep a hotel."    Omar Khayyam (Poet, philosopher, mathematician and genius in many other fields.  He lived in what is now Iran from  18 May 1048, to  4 December 1131)    It seems to me that in many respects, little has changed in the last thousand years or so.   I'm not really that grumpy a person by nature, although I suppose you might need to get a second opinion on that statement.  Yet, looking through past posts here, a hell of a lot of them are complaints about services.  Oh well, here is another one. We booked a short hotel break at the end of January.  It wasn't far away, but we were looking forward to a good meal and nice surroundings for a few days, and to having the beaches and scenery of the Antrim coast within easy reach.  We could have done day trips to this

Joining the dots.

  WW2 was still a big influence on life when I was born.   I suppose it wasn’t much more than a decade and a half earlier, but its effects were still all around.   Many of the houses near my childhood home were inhabited by single women, and many of those had been widowed by the war.   Local fishing boats often lost nets when they snagged old mines.   There were constant stories of these being shot to make them explode, resulting in complaints from the fishermen who lost nets as a result.   There were occasional problems with the souvenirs (Well, it was assumed to have been a souvenir, but I do wonder about that), that the servicemen brought home too, as below.   By the mid 70’s when I was in my teens but still at school, the troubles were of course at their rampant worst.   You would think that in such a situation, our local Police would take explosives seriously, but …….. On a beautiful summer’s day during the school holidays, I arrived home to news that the Seacliffe Road, clo

Rogue State?

  West Bank settler expansion: a year on the frontline – Channel 4 News   Have a look at this Channel 4 report about a Palestinian farmer trying to live on land he owns on the West Bank.   It is scary, horrifying, and ridiculous all at the same time.   I said before in a previous piece about this damned conflict that Israel must take the moral high ground and live by the law.   If not, then how much better than the Hamas terrorists is it? The report looks at a Palestinian family who lost their land when Israel was originally set up in 1948, but who managed to buy a plot in what is now the West Bank, to the south of Hebron.   So then the 1967 war happened and the family once more found themselves at least nominally in the stare of Israel.   That would be fine if the state actually treated all their citizens equally. The report shows how numerous incursions by Israeli settlers are taking land by force from its existing owners, and how owners like this family have been trying for

The First Million Dollar Movie - 1924

  Just to get in slightly ahead of time (for once!), the world's first million dollar movie was released almost 100 years ago on 18th March 1924.  How do I know about it?  Well, many years ago, a friend and his family were moving to England, and I went round to help them pack the van they had bought to move their stuff in.  It was relatively small, and a lot of their things were being left behind.  One of the things they were going to dump was a copy of the rather classic movie poster shown above. I asked for, and was given the poster for my help.  Then, some years later, Channel 4 showed a series of historic movies, including this one, and since I had an interest in it because of the poster, I watched it.  Channel 4 included a short presentation on the movie before showing it. Of course these days, it is freely available on YouTube if you want to see it.  The visual effects which seem so crude now must have been stunning to audiences back then.  The silent overacting does seem par

Putin’s War

 Alright, democracy isn’t perfect, but it is a great deal better than what Putin is offering the world. Putin is not just at war in Ukraine, he is also doing his utmost to destabilise pretty much every western democracy.   Russia’s attempts to spread misinformation during elections is pretty well documented.   We have all heard about it during British and the United States elections, and you can be certain that it happens in European and other countries too.   It has got to the point where a number of organisations that I know of, make particular efforts to screen internet traffic for anything that can be traced as coming through Russia.   Monitoring Russian (and I’m including other countries here too that are supported by Russia) internet traffic is not an attempt at censorship, rather Russia’s unseen information and economic war is everywhere, and in my opinion is just a small part of deliberate attempts to undermine the fabric of modern society.   We should all be aware of, and wo

On eating out.

  I’ve mentioned before that we were building an extension.   Because of it we lost our kitchen for a few months and were living on what we could either microwave or air fry in the house.   That is a pretty boring diet, so we also had more carry outs than we have had in years and have been doing the rounds of local pub grub establishments and restaurants. I have to say that for a town the size of Bangor, the restaurants despite not being cheap to dine in are almost universally pretty poor.   Buying wine in a restaurant costs a lot, but what you get in return for your hard earned cash has frequently been not much more than vinegar.   Why is it that £6 to £7 quid can get you a pretty decent wine in a supermarket, yet three or four times that amount in a restaurant buys something only fit to put on chips? Restaurants here have been complaining for years about people not eating out as much as they used to yet provide a not very enjoyable eating experience when you do go out with medioc

Two Wrongs…….

 This has been bugging me ever since Hamas were stupid/ callous enough to raid Israel on the 7 th October. What did they expect would happen with the current right-wing government that is in power in Israel?  There is a lot of truth in what Israel are saying about Hamas using their own peoples lives for propaganda. However, and this is a very big however, there is, or at least there should be, a huge difference between the terrorist organisation Hamas and a legitimate state like Israel.   I’ll give you a couple of rough, home grown definitions that might hopefully illustrate the point.   We have a lot of experience in dealing with terrorists here in Northern Ireland.   What Israel is doing categorically will not work.   They will not get rid of Hamas, in fact heavy handed tactics like they are applying will only drive more volunteers into the ranks of Hamas. 1)       A terrorist organisation does not follow the rule of law, that's why they are an illegal organisation.   Th

Bloody Putin!

 I mentioned a while back that we were getting an extension built.  Surprisingly even building an extension onto a house in good old Northern Ireland can make you a victim of Putin the Plonker's war in the Ukraine.  Let's be clear about the extent of this up front.  This makes me a victim of war in only the most miniscule of senses.  It's not like I've lost a limb, or my home or anything else important.  It's like this:- All the existing doors in our house are varnished pine, so we wanted something similar for the two new doors in the extension.  There are loads of pine doors online, and all the builders merchants and other door suppliers have catalogues that show them.  There appear to be only two manufacturers across the whole of the UK, XL Joinery, and LPD Doors.  So we tried to buy them, firstly from local sources, only to repeatedly get that great sucking of air through the front teeth that lets you know that you have asked a sales rep for something difficult.

Bloody Nokia!

 I've just sent this to their sales department.  Poor service deserves to be recognised. Dear Nokia Sales, Your support desk suggested that I should contact you to register my complaint. About two weeks ago, I went onto your site to have a look at what phones you now had available since I need to replace my old Nokia S7 plus, and had been happy with it.   I decided on the G42 and tried to order off your web site. I live in Northern Ireland, so was automatically connected to your UK site.   This much is logical, since Northern Ireland is part of the UK, yet after going through the whole order process, the site did not recognise my post code.   No errors or redirect messages showed, and I had to contact support to discover that although I live in the UK, I am supposed to order a phone from your Ireland site.   You could at least notify people of this without them having to go through the whole order process and then contact your help desk! So, I went to the Ireland site, only

Music from the troubles

 My MP3 player has over 1600 songs on it currently, and since I normally listen on random, some songs rarely seem to come up.  A recent selection included 'Zombie' by the Cardigans, a great tune and it is about the Troubles here in the good old messed up province of Northern Ireland.  Thankfully all that violent nonsense is now passing into theory at least.  The lyrics are great as well as the music. "It's the same old theme, since 1916 In your head, in your head, they're still fightin' With their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns In your head, in your head, they are dyin' " I have other songs about this sad and wasteful conflict on the MP3 player.  Particular favourites include Paul Brady's song, 'The Island'. " Now I know us plain folks don't see all the story. And I know this peace and love's just copping out. And I guess these young boys dying in the ditches. Is just what being free is all


Way back in December 2022 I mentioned that I had started a time consuming project that didn't leave much time for my rants here on this blog.  In fact, there were really two of them that progressed side by side and claimed my time in varying degrees as each one stuttered onwards.  And then poor old Tilly's sudden sickness came into the mix too. I'm sure that none of you actually care what these two projects were, but what the hell, I'll tell you anyway.  Firstly we are building an extension to the back of our house.  You know the type of thing, an open plan kitchen/dining/living area, and the much needed utility room that suddenly becomes necessary as a result, because who wants to listen to the washing machine drowning out the telly when you are trying to watch a movie?  After some substantial changes to the plans, (why do architects never listen when you give them a budget?), and a lot of time spent talking to builders, we eventually found one we could afford without

RIP Tilly. 😢

  It has taken a week for me to be able to write this.   The effect of the steroids mentioned in my previous story on Tilly was very brief.   They only gave her relief from the pain for a couple of days.  The vet then gave us barbiturate tablets (Tramadol), but these seemed to have no effect whatsoever on the pain in her leg.  They just made her very lethargic.  Over the weekend of 8th and 9th July, poor Tilly seemed to be getting worse.  Where once only her elbow joint was swollen, by the end of that weekend her whole leg was about twice the size it should have been and looked fit to explode.  She avoided putting any weight on it at all.   More worryingly, she coughed a little, and afterwards we noticed a few small blood spots.  It seemed like the cancer in her lungs was progressing too.  We had also noticed a lump on the outside of her chest a week or two before this, and it too was growing.  When lying down she now seemed to be at funny angles; probably to avoid putting any pressure


  In January 2010 I was idly browsing through the ads for pet dogs on Gumtree when I spotted a very poor quality picture of a mainly white dog with some black markings.   The dog was sitting looking up at someone just out of shot, as if obedient to them, (Knowing Tilly now, I suspect treats may have been involved).   The description in the ad was somewhat less than detailed.   She was described as being a mix between a Bearded Collie and an Irish Wolf Hound, and the people that had her, wanted rid of her for free.   That, and a contact number was about it.   Even in the blurry shot on the ad she looked like a beautiful dog, and I was intrigued.   It had been around ten years since our last dog had died (aged 17), but at the time, my wife was nursing her elderly mother, and with a Wolf Hound in the mix I presumed that this would be a very large dog, so I didn’t mention it, thinking that someone would soon take on a dog like that.   Shortly after, the ad disappeared, so I thought tha

Devil's Advocate

  I’m growing increasingly convinced that every decently sized organisation needs to employ someone with a suitably cynical attitude in the position of Devil’s Advocate.   Such a position would not be designed to ensure that we suddenly start to become Satanists, in fact such a stupid suggestion would be exactly what the Devil’s Advocate (DA) would oppose.   Their main purpose in any organisation would be to counter those in direct power and the sycophantic yes men/women that seem to predominate in pretty much any organisation that I have ever dealt with.   I would imagine that in board room or other project meetings, pretty much every contribution they gave would start with the immortal words, “Catch yourselves on!” The position would need to have some clout, like the veto that can be exercised by any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.   OK, perhaps that is a bad example because it is used politically, but you get the idea.   So why do I think this is necessar