Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, Ireland, UK

A 94-year Mum odyssey

Happy Birthday Teasy, for you it’s been a 94-year Mum odyssey, and thank you for bringing me along for some of the journey.

I say that, but latterly I have done most of the heavy lifting…

And this Donegal Diva has fallen back on the credit she has built up over the years.

Like how she hounded me on a trip to New York when I was her plus one for my cousin Eddie’s wedding.

Teasy’s Travels

Or when I took her up to Ballybofey where my American cousin Kath and Dublin cousin Monica had also congregated.

And she tactlessly complained within my earshot that she had a husband, four brothers and three sons and I was the most selfish of them all.

The thing is as My Scary One, my wife, will tell you she’s the only one who could get away with that.

Slice of heaven: With Mum in Glasgow

Teasy, or The Squeezy, as we affectionately call her, has infused me with much, not least my looks.

And a love of travel although she has a fair jump on me there with South America and the Antarctic the only continents she hasn’t visited.

And I dare say she’ll get there yet.

When she does she’ll be able to regale them of her travels around the globe after she empty-nested.

A holiday Saga

Wall, what is it good for? Great Wall of China

It was quite the Saga… the Squeezy dragging my Dear Old Dad up mountain, down dale and across ocean.

They were Ying and Yang, no, not twins on their China trip but opposites.

My mum was up for anything which meant she jumped at the chance to fly over Mount Everest.

While Dad was back in the bedroom with Delhi Belly.

Chop, chop: The Great Canyon

They also took the helicopter over the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon with me retracing her footsteps years later.

While Mum followed the pilgrims on their knees up the steps of the Catholic Cathedral in Mexico City.

Probably though it was the tequila. Dad, of course, got Montezuma’s Revenge.

The rest of the world

Got the hump: In Australia

There was Australia, South Africa, Russia and all points in between all while I was having a very different Saga experience.

Not, not early onset dementia, but working for Saga during summer holidays in Aberdeen University student halls.

 

 

Africa, Australasia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

An Irish rugby conversion

As an Irish-Scot it’s when I’m at my most conflicted when it comes to international sports, but when it comes to egg-chasing mine’s is increasingly an Irish rugby conversion.

It wasn’t always so but then that’s 13 years in Ireland, and working in rugby heartland Ballsbridge in Dublin for you.

Scotland the grave

Scot the lot: Springjock Duhan van der Merwe

My own native land is Scotland of course, and let me remind you I followed them as a schoolboy through thin and thin in the late 70s and reported on them in even thinner times in the early 90s.

And now while the same can’t be said for Ireland in a football sense, in rugby the Boys in Green are actually for the most part Irish.

As opposed to a Scotland side which is filled with players who have been discarded by New Zealand, Australia and worst of all England.

In fact we’ve even coined a name for the legion of South Africans who have rebranded themselves as Scottish… Springjocks.

All of which running around aimlessly brings me to the imminent Rugby World Cup in France next year when I will more than likely be waving my Tricolour instead of my Saltire.

Now if you want to put yourself in the safest travel hands then get on board my old Irish pals Cassidy Travel‘s deals for France RWC 2023.

Deal us in

Vive La France: Les Bleus

Cassidy’s packages include return flights, return airport transfers, hotel accommodation (unless it’s a day trip) and t tickets,

So, whether you want a quick day trip, a longer 2-3-7 night option or a bespoke tailor-made sport holiday then Cassidy have you covered.

Game on

Drum up support: Romania

So without further ado here are the matches you can be at, starting with the Romania mania.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Romania

Day Trip Package to Bordeaux!

9th September 2023

Don’t have time to stay? No problem at all! Make it a day trip!

Ireland meet the European runners-up in Bordeaux.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

Match tickets

All from €599pp!

Rand old team

Rainbow nation: South African support in the townships

Bok your team, if your team is Ireland, against South Africa.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v South Africa

2 Night Package to Paris!

23rd September 2023

The perfect two-night deal for rugby fans!

Package Includes:

Return flights from Dublin or Shannon

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets

All from €1099pp!

From Bok to Jock

Split loyalties: Ireland v Scotland

And one where any Irish-Scot can’t lose.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Scotland

2 Night Package!

7th October 2023

Two-night deal for you to enjoy one of the best

Rugby World Cup France 2023 events.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets

All from €899pp!

Pieces of eight

Hakademic: The All Blacks’ Haka

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Quarter Finals!

Tickets to both matches included!

14th & 15th October 2023

Should they progress, Ireland will then meet the winners or runners-up of Pool A,

which includes France and New Zealand, at the Stade de France.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets for Both Games

All from €1599pp!

And, of course, if Ireland beat the All Blacks (and everyone defeats them these days) they get to keep them!

So get your green out and support the Boys in France next year.

And that even includes Irish-Scots looking for a proper team to support… it’s an Irish rugby conversion.

 

 

 

 

 

America, Australasia, Countries, Ireland, UK

Visit our Neighbours

They may have left but Ramsay Street is still there and you can guarantee we’ll be back to visit our Neighbours… and other soap sets.

Everybody needs..

Lou, Lou, skip to my Lou: Lou Carpenter

Neighbours: Yes, you can tour around Vermont South (that’s the Ramsay Street neighbourhood) in Melbourne. Austraylya..

And sink a cold one in The Waterhole or Lassiter’s, or a cup of tea in Harold’s Cafe.

Who knows if you’ll see an overalled Aussie tomboy mechanic too just waiting to burst out into hotpants?

Corrie on regardless

Dance away: Roy and Norris, don’t ask

Coronation Street: If only the walls of England’s most famous pub, the Rovers Return could talk.

But the guides can, and do, and what they don’t know about the cobbled streets of Weatherfield ain’t worth knowing.

You’ll get everything you need to get you through the day in the Manchester suburb… a Weatherfield Recorder at The Kabin.

A fry-up at Roy’s Rolls before a night in the Rovers.

Dallas in wonderland

Well shot JR: Mr Ewing

Dallas: Not all soap is the same and Texas’s most famous ranch is a world apart from Newton & Ridleys and Our Kid.

And while Corrie has hotpots it has hot plots too and that it does share with the Ewings and Barneses of Dallas in Stetson Country.

What is now Southfork was once Duncan Acres ranch (yes, that Joe Duncan) near Plano, Texas, and now fittingly belongs to a dude called Rex.

You’ll get to see the gun that shot JR, Lucy’s Wedding Dress, the ‘Dallas’ Family Tree, and Jock’s Lincoln Continental.

Kilcoole for cats

Down on the farm: Glenroe in Co. Wicklow

Glenroe: From the sublime to the agricultural and Holy God it’s Glenroe.

And for people of a certain age in Ireland then Glenroe, the everyday tale of farming folk in the Garden County of Co. Wicklow, conjures up nostalgia of a more innocent time.

It also has a special resonance for those of us for whom it was the next village (real name Kilcoole) down the train line from my old stomping ground in Greystones.

Glenroe has, of course, been replaced but certainly not upgraded by the grittier Fair City which is set in fictional Carrigstown in Dublin.  

I’ll be in Scotland before you

Loch who’s talking: Take The High Road

Glendarroch: And as with everything Ireland and Scotland move pretty much in step, even with their soap names.

And so the Jocks had their Take the High Road set in Glendarroch, which is really picturesque Luss in Loch Lomond.

Before moving on to River City,set in Shieldinch in Glasgow.

And where Glenroe had the Biddy and Miley plotline Take the High Road had busybody Mrs Mack.

Much like Mrs Mangel to make a parallel with Neighbours.

And where the Aussie soap gave us Kylie, Russell, Guy and Margot, Take the High Road gave us James Cosmo.

So all you soap fans there’s something of everything to keep you going.

As we contemplate to visit our Neighbours… and other soap sets.

 

America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe, South America, UK

The Highland Games are back

They were forced indoors to toss their cabers in lockdown, but now we can gawp at them showing off their special skills in public again… the Highland Games are back!

Ours, in North Berwick, east of Edinburgh, is on August 6.

And it corresponds with our Fringe by the Sea, our offshoot of the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Highland Games have, of course, their origins in the training of the clans for warfare.

Although what use lifting a trunk and then heaving it forward is anyone’s guess.

Piping hot: Livin’ it up in Glasgow

Unless, of course, you wanted to land it on a gentrified Englishman’s slippered foot.

If some of the events look familiar from Olympic Games you’ve watched then it’s because they are those events…

The stone put, the Scottish hammer throw and the weight throw.

Because Baron Pierre de Coubertin was influenced to renew the Olympic Games after watching a Highland Games Exhibition in Paris in 1889.

The Heelan’ Games

Kilt it: The Heelan Games

The Heelan’ Games, as we Scots like to call them, are celebrated around the world.

Ours in my youth were the Luss Highland Gathering which we would regularly attend in the summers.

The Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon in the West is held in August.

And it is thought to have the most competitors in the world, at 3,500.

Cowal kids: The Worlds

The Americans though naturally do it bigger in terms of numbers of spectators.

We’re told the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival is the go-to Games in North America.

New Hampshire being in our favourite New England… go figure.

Dance away

Glasgow Green: The World Piping Championships

The Cowal Games does though host the World Highland Dancing Championships.

I must give it a fling, particularly after attending the World The World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow Green back in the day.

With my wee Irish dancer herself, my Dear Old Mammy.

Now because us Jocks are a peripatetic people you’ve probably heard us coming before you even saw us in our wee skirties.

And that’s why they still have Celtic festivals around the world…

And may I recommend plenty of water when doing Eightsome Reels in the Barbados sun.

Games around the world

Braziliant: Samba Highlanders

Of course Commonwealth countries and the English-speaking (well their English) USA are obvs to the fore.

But there are Highland Games too from Rio Janeiro to Jakarta with Brazil and Indonesia both getting into the twirling and the swirling.

While Central Europeans get in on the act too.

Well where there’s beer you’ll find Czechs, our meaty stews will go down a treat with goulash-loving Hungarians.

And well the mountainous Swiss already have a head-start on us for the fells running.

The Belgians are somewhat of an outlier in Western Europe.

But there are few more Brit-loving countries in the world… and again there’s the beer.

So get your Scottish vibe on and don’t worry if you don’t know the steps.

There will always be someone there to teach you how to do a Gay Gordon’s or a Dashing White Sergeant.

Aye, the Highland Games are back.

 

 

Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Car hire and higher

Off on a road trip, well it’ll cost you because it’s getting car hire and higher out there.

And nowhere more so than my spiritual home Ireland where in some counties they’re a must.

My old mum would oft refer to her homestead of Donegal in north-west Ireland as the ‘forgotten county’.

And it didn’t help when they ripped up the rail tracks in 1959.

Donegal driving

Donegal Mammy: And son at Doon Well

So now if you want to get about you need to either have a car, rent a car…

Or your hotel or B&B can get Eileen to ask Aoife who knows Niamh is passing and can get you halfway.

Where Bladhana can get you to Sorcha, but make sure you’re ready or they’ll leave without you.

By the end of it all, of course, you’ll feel one of the family.

Of course, many of us prefer our independence, but alas that comes at an increasingly greater price.

With DiscoverCars.com revealing the average cost of hiring a car in 2022 rose by 267% on the previous year.

Site for sore eyes: Discover Cars

Their data highlights an average increase of 47% worldwide.

With the average cost of a one-day car hire rising from £43 to £67.

So to get on the road in Ireland you’ll shell out £155 (yes, we know they’re in the Euro), up from £42.

Now we would never let a small thing like expense put us off a destination… we’re just giving you the road manual.

On the road again

Obrigado: With the Scary One in Portugal Centro

The world’s second biggest country takes some getting around.

And that no doubt is the spiel for a spike of 264%.

Full reveal here on the third biggest mover here, Portugal-Azore Islands.

Because when we toured Hidden Portugal, Portugal Centro, we had the services of a driver/guide/historian and Coimbra’s most famous son.

Jose Madomis of Madomis Tours.

Now we’ve availed too of the services of our own fellow Britons, ninth with an 85% rise, but still cheaper than the trains.

With Katarina in Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, fifth at 131% but again with a history lesson thrown in… and Becherovka and salty age-defying water.

While Greece is tenth at 81% which may persuade you to do a Pheidippides and run the 26 miles or so from Athens to Marathon.

There’s no rhyme nor reason why the other countries on the list should have seen such hikes.

But Israel, Iceland and Albania are countries where you need wheels because donkeys correctly have rights now.

Slowly does it

By hook or by crook in Tenerife

Of course with everything on the rise sometimes the best we can hope for are small increases.

And the Canary Islands at just 2% leads the way here.

Though if you do hire a car (at only £25 the cheapest on the list) then why not walk some of the way.

With CanariaWays where you’ll experience the many Tenerife eco-systems before refuelling at the Franco-theme Bar in Afur.

Fly drive

Love a duck: At Epcot Centre, Florida

Now for many of us getting behind the wheel of a car in a foreign country requires a deep breath.

And my only attempt, in a Fiat 500 in Cannes, and it’s dashboard gearstick, never got out of the car park.

Although I kept that quiet from the organisers of the Florida Keys road trip.

Alas, but fortunately for other road users, it got cancelled by Covid.

Cut-price cars

Rocky mountain high: Colorado Rockies baseball team

Unbowed, I’ll be back though to the Sunshine State and you will too particularly with a 23% decrease in the hire of a car.

Bookended in the top four is America’s Playground, Colorado.

That’s when you’re not roped into their abseiling, freestyle rock climbing, white water rafting or roadside skiing.

Who is squeezed in between the two, why Guadeloupe and Australia… let’s go Outback.

And let’s not be put off when we see the car hire and higher.

 

 

 

America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, South America

Joby Aviation lost in translation

And how those of us of a Scottish variety sniggered how Joby Aviation got lost in translation.

A jobby, as Glasgow’s second most famous son, Billy Connolly, revealed to the world is the contents of your bottom.

But there is nothing crap about the all-electric aircrafts for commercial use that are coming to Scotland.

Flying by the seat of your pants: The Joby

As we reported in the Daily Record the The Joby is a five-seat, piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

And it has a maximum range of 150 miles and a quiet acoustic profile.

Now we imagine the new aircraft will be s***-hot but perhaps they should rebrand for Scottish fliers.

All of which has us reflecting on the brands which we have seen lost in translation.

C U Next Tuesday

We swear by it: Northern Territory

Northern Territory, Australia: And I’m indebted to the doyen of Irish travel writers Eoghan Corry for clueing me in on this historical brand gaffe.

Now everyone is an expert after the event and the same mistook visited an old, and much-respected, boss.

When he cropped a picture of an England flag for an old newspaper so the ‘S’ and the ‘Horpe’ got cut from sCunTthorpe.

Coors fails sniff test

Colorado cool: But they’re too hip for the Spanish

Golden, Colorado, USA: And the Golden nectar with the taste of the Rockies will slake your thirst like few other beers.

The Coloradans, as anyone who has been out there will tell you, have a lifestyle and language all of their own.

But it doesn’t always translate, and their ‘Turns it loose’ slogan means ‘you will suffer from diarrhoea. Sloppy!

Fly solo

Grounded: Braniff

Braniff International, North America: And one from the vaults here when Braniff ran routes.

Primarily in the midwestern and southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America before expanding into Asia and Europe. 

They ran an advert in Spanish boasting of their leather seats and urging passengers to fly ″en cuero,″ or ″in leather.″

Only the similar ″en cueros″ means ″naked,″ and when pronounced on radio or television, the two terms sound identical.

In the Nip

Wide-eyed and innocent: Kinki Nippon

Kinki Nippon Tourist Company, Japan: Japan‘s second largest tourist agency hadn’t factored in the Western World’s less prudish attitudes.

And they began receiving requests for unusual sex tours.

Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company decided to go with KNT in English-speaking countries.

Road tripped

Put the brakes on: Ford’s gaffe

Ford, Detroit, USA: Now many of us love a road trip and Henry can lay claim to changing American society with his Model T which you can see in Motor City.

Alas, again the Iberian languages caught marketers out, this time the Portuguese tongue.

Ford blundered when marketing the Pinto in Brazil, unaware that the term means male genitals in Brazilian Portuguese.

These are brand new too

Black name: The Negro licquorice

Along the road we’ve come across a Wanktunnel in Bavaria, an ISIS chocolate bar in Brussels airport and Negro licquorice in Croatia.

Share with us the brands which you’ve seen that have tickled your fancy, as it were.

Because how Joby Aviation got lost in translation is not an isolated incident.

 

 

 

America, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

The ten homes of whisky

It’s the golden seal every country strives for, to be the home of something… so where are the ten homes of whisky?

You’d probably not to be surprised at the top five.

And so it’s more of a case of shuffling that pack to see who is tops.

The next five though is a bit more surprising.

So on this World Whisky Day join me for a distillery tour.

But do me a favour please, don’t ask about distilling or the mashing process.

It just holds us up on our way to the sampling.

Scotch Wahey

Fergie’s dram: Sir Alex’s bottle in his cabinet near Aberdeen

Scotland: And the reach of Scotch (just whisky in Scotland) became clear when the distillers held a whisky-tasting in Barbados.

Now we can blind you with science and stats… 44 bottles of whisky are exported from Scotland every year.

There are five designated whisky regions… Cambeltown, Highland, Lowland, Speyside and my own fave Islay.

They’re all heavenly and 

But my No.1 is Laphroaig. It’s so peaty, just like a bowl of water in an ashtray but stick with me here.

After all you have tried haggis.

United Nips of America

Mark of a whiskey drinker: Kentuckian Mark, Cath and Mum

USA: And, of course, when the Scots left home they took their whisky and its secrets with them.

And adapted it to the new world of America and went on to produce nectar such as Kentucky’s Woodford Reserve bourbon.

But US whiskey isn’t restricted to the Deep South… branch out to Oregon.

Where Westward Whiskey have released a reimagined single malt for World Whisky Day.

Green, malt and gold

The oul’ sod: The oldest distillery in the world

Ireland: And Teeling only made it into our Barbados tastings.

While Bushmills lays claim to being the oldest distillery in the world, established in 1608.

They were also responsible for the extra ‘e’, well the Irish are the masters of using two words when one will do, and more letters too.

Land of the Rising Suntory

Made in Japan: Suntory

Japan: Now this is a love story that drams are made of.

And is the result of a relationship between a Japanese chemistry student at Glasgow University Masataka Takaretsu and Jessie Roberta Cowan.

Masataka had been dispatched by the Settsu Shuzi liquor company.

A love Suntory if you will.

Maple leaf

We’re in the Club: Canadian Club

Canada: Right, we’re told that Canadian whisky has its origins not in its big Scottish diaspora.

But because the natives, the First Nations, got a taste for what they called the traders’ firewater.

It was a meld of rum and ‘high wine’ which developed into Canadian whisky, of which Canadian Club is the most recognised.

Sikh beatha

Basket of goods: Indians love their whisky

India: Or Sikh of life, my twist on the uisce beatha which is Gaelic for water of life and is what Scots call their favourite drink.

And long may the Indians keep up their love affair with whisky which they have been producing since 1948 since Amrut entered the market.

More than half of all whisky drinkers in the world come from India. 

Wizards of booze

Bonzer: Aussie whiskey

Australia: And we should have come to expect this with our ne’er-do-wells sent over there as convicts.

Specifically Tasmania is whisky haven with the best Aussie whiskies Sullivans Cove, the best Single Malt at the world awards, and Lark based there. 

A Swede whisky

That way, Sweden

Sweden: Now here’s something you don’t get at your local Ikea with your meatballs but should.

Mackmyra was Sweden‘s first distillery and the Swedes got it right first time, winning the First Edition Gold Award in 2013.

The Isle of Tai

Gold standard: Taiwanese whiskey

Taiwan: You see what we’ve done there. Yes, Taiwan‘s connections with the West probably plays its part here.

Kavalan whiskey won the World’s Best Single Malt at the awards in 2015 and the island’s distillery produces 9 million bottles a year. 

Ja beauty

Dram busters: Germans on the whisky

Germany: Now some of us have ripped it up in Germany at the Oktoberfest where it’s lager obviously but also schnapps chasers.

The Germans though are open to everything and they have around 250 distilleries and around 130 of them are focused just on whisky production.

So, on this World Whisky Day a big Slainte to the ten homes of whisky.

 

 

 

 

America, Australasia, Countries

Don’t shake the Cook coconut tree

We all want to conserve our favourite destinations’ USP so as we don’t shake the Cook coconut tree.

And that’s why we leave the minutiae of building committee meetings to spreadsheet junkies.

While we fill in the colour of why our landscapes can grow so far but no further.

Climb the tree

The deep blue sea: And you’ll have a devil of a good time

Deep in the Pacific Ocean they understandably measure their growth against their most widespread feature.

And so developers on The Cook Islands are limited to how high they can build.

Against the measuring rod of coconut trees.

Brand new

Party time: In the Cook Islands

All of which builds up a picture of an island removed of modern branding.

And, you’d be right.

Its 15 islands are free of global brand hotels, chain restaurants, mass market fast-food outlets and traffic lights!

And people… with only 17,500 scattered across the isles.

Ready, steady Cook

Hands up: Tranquil evenings

You interested? Then you’ll be glad to hear that you can fly to the Cook Islands direct from Auckland with Air New Zealand and from next month Jetstar.

News on the return of direct flights from Sydney and Los Angeles will be released later this year.

And you’ll be good to go with a double vaccination, and without the need for a PCR or Antigen requirement.

News of which I hope to share with you for other travels I am planning and tearing my hair out trying to get over the line.

Back to quirky planning regulations and tales of keeping the skyscrapers down.

Philly steam ahead

Rocky and Jocky: In Philadelphia

Now proud Philadelphia doesn’t defer to its more celebrated east coast neighbour New York on anything.

Except on the size of its buildings… and with good reason.

Because their founder, William Penn, is keeping a watchful eye on his descendants.

The convention in the City of Brotherly Love is never to build higher than the peak of Billy Penn’s hat.

But somebody in the committee obviously had forgotten to read the memo.

Because with the 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper they exceeded the height of Billy’s statue atop Philly City Hall.

And they lived to regret it when their sports teams failed to win a title until 2008 when the Phillies took the World Series.

Quirky buildings

Philly high: And the city skyline

So how did they do it?

Well, a year and four months before a statuette of the William Penn figure atop City Hall was affixed to the final beam of the Comcast Center.

And this made it the highest William Penn figure in the city at the time.

All good to know for when I come to be immortalised in my home city of Glasgow.

Tell us too about your destination’s quirky buildings superstitions and we’ll get this conversation going.

For now I’m back to these pre-departure tests and thinking how stressless the Cook Islands and others are making it.

And I’m happy to promote them because you don’t shake the Cook coconut tree.

 

 

 

Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe

There’s nothing like Australia and it’s back

There‘s nothing like Australia and it’s back.. and back with a funky calling card.

The bright single strokes (of a kangaroo and sun) are instantly identifiable as being inspired by the Ken Done school

You might not be able to place Ken Done, particularly if you’ve less than half a century on the clock.

But Ken marketed the imagery of Australia in the Eighties when I first started drinking and living with Aussies.

And I would see his Aussie iconography T-shirts on the backs and on sale at the Munich Beerfest.

Well Done

Sydney sun: A Ken Done

And also on other shores where Ken’s particular talents lent themselves to capturing the essence of their cities.

Ken showcased city landscapes and cultural reference points and as a sample brought out t-shirts of Boston Harbour and Paul Revere.

Alas, I fear on one of my many moves around the UK and Ireland it went missing.

But hopefully someone else has enjoyed the benefit of it or it ended up in a charity shop.

I’m reminded here of the largesse of my old friend, the inimitable Travel journalist JP Thomson, who would give souvenirs to the homeless.

Bonzer Australia

Wild Australia: And another Done

All of which going around the world is what we will all be doing soon now Australia has opened itself up to the rest of the planet.

I’m indebted here too to charming and fun Travel professional Charlotte who has stepped off the Royal Caribbean ships.

And into a new brief at Travel Australia which, of course, she’ll nail.

Charlotte has outlined the regulations for travelling to Australia.

And Novak Djokovic they’re not that difficult to follow.

Memories of Oktoberfest

Shake that ass: Funky koala bears

When you do get over to Oz, or if you’re headed for the renewal of the Oktoberfest you may come across Aussies in risque T-shirts.

Of racy koala bears and a reference to knowing your roots.

And if you do say hi to Brownie and Smutley from me.

Because there’s nothing like Australia and it’s back.

 

America, Australasia, Countries, UK

Top Trumps Celebrity Hotspots

I’ll see your Lisa Vanderpump and raise you a Marlon Brando in the game of Top Trumps Celebrity Hotspots.

I’ll give the storied Casey Jones, the father-in-law, and his slide show, his due.

While one of the best ways to clear the room is to bring out the holiday pics his slide show did have the odd surprise.

From his round-the-world ship return from Australia to England.

Like Marlon Brando’s island in Tahiti… and my future wife as a child in a hula-hula skirt.

Of course she won’t try one on for me even though I rock my Maldives sarong at any (or none) invitation.

All of which going round the world brings me back to my subject in hand, celebrity hotspots.

And this selection box (and it’s not even Christmas) which our dream providers sent me.

Tahiti treatie

Atoll do nicely: The Brando atoll

The Brando, Tahiti: And it’s what you do when you love the island you’ve visited… or in this case atolls.

Buy them which is what Marlon Brando, a modern-day reincarnation of Fletcher Christian, whom he played on Mutiny On The Bounty.

The Brando, opened in July 2014, in his memory on Tetiaroa in Tahiti.

And it is an all-inclusive resort featuring 35 deluxe villas, each with its own private beach area and plunge pool.

On Santa Monica Boulevard

Cocktail hour: The Pendry

Wolfgang Puck, West Hollywood, California: And West Hollywood is all about checking out all the joints.

So, if you’ve taken in The Real Wife of Hollywood Lisa Vanderpump’s PUMP restaurant you’ll also want to check out…

Pendry West Hollywood is where Puck stops… by with his celebrity pals.

Arnold Lane

Eh, an Arnold Palmer: For Arnold Palmer

No, you won’t be the only one and this has nothing to do with Psychedelic Pink Floyd but indulge me.

This is golfing legend Arnold Palmer’s back yard in Greater Palm Springs, California 

The legacy of the American lives on at this Coachella Valley Arnold Palmer restaurant.

With a country club feel, the restaurant celebrates the golfer with memorabilia, while serving his favourite foods.

Each room in the restaurant is named after a different golf tournament and focuses on a unique part of Palmer’s life. 

And, of course, your thirst will be quenched with an iced tea and lemonade, the famed Arnold Palmer.

Andy’s smasher

You’re welcome: Andy Murray

And when I first started out on this scribbling lark I was given an assignment to a foreign land… I was living in England at the time.

It involved me returning to my Scottish homeland and a country house, Cromlix House in Perthshire, Scotland.

Fast-forward to the current day and Cromlix was obviously a favourite of a young, aspiring tennis player.

Andy Murray only went and bought it and I dare say there will be evidence of the Great Man around the hotel.

Keeeeep dancin’: With Judy Murray in Portugal

And that isn’t a prompt to get an invite (honest!).

Particularly as I’m on dancing terms with his Mum Judy from her tennis course in Quinto da Lago in Portugal.

So tell us what are your Top Trumps Celebrity Hotspots?