Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Student Bangers

Would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our stereos? – Braveheart

As students continue to be consigned to house arrest, they’ll only get through this with the staples of Uni, drugs and rock’n’roll.

No sex please, we’re British!

And so in a nod to our future parliamentarians, pioneers and care providers.

Here are some old bangers which got me through my young days.

And the places it took me too.

Tennessee waltz

With WC Handy in Memphis, Tennessee on my Deep South journey

On highway number 19 the people keep the city clean – Tina Turner, Nutbush City Limits

Nutbush City Limits and Tennessee (Ike and Tina Turner): And Nutbush was one to get everyone on their feet in the students’ union (alas no longer there).

I little thought then that I’d be bombing along highway number 19 on my Deep South American Odyssey 30 odd years later… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.

Mine’s a 99

Ninety nine dreams I have had, In every one a red balloon, it’s all over and I’m standing pretty, In this dust that was a city – Nena, 99 Ref Balloons

99 Red Balloons and Germany (Nena): You couldn’t qualify as a student when I were a lad if you didn’t march for the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Nuclear Disarmament or to Free Nelson Mandela.

And this anti-Communism clarion call by this German ball of energy played endlessly out of the window of the girls in the next flat.

The wall came down five tears ago and while I have still to make my mark on today’s wall, I have since visited behind the old Curtain.

Ich bin ein Dresdener

To see the revival of Dresden, the Venice of the Elbe, and learn about the Prague Spring and a nuclear bunker.

Mandela days

With my friend Siseko in Port Elizabeth

Are you so blind that you cannot see? Are you so deaf that you cannot hear his plea? Free Nelson Mandela, I’m begging you, Free Nelson Mandela – The Specials

Nelson Mandela and South Africa: And, no, Free Nelson Mandela wouldn’t be one for the dance floor although maybe we pogoed to it.

It really came into its own on protest marches, demonstrations and the Free Nelson Mandela concert at Wembley.

Where me and my old pal from Cardiff student days clung onto our old undergrad days for just one more summer.

And while I never got to meet The Great Man I did get out to his home province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

And stood in his Voting Line.

So, for every student in the land, turn your boom boxes up loud and channel your Labi Siffre

Your light will shine so brightly it will blind them.

Tell me what your University bangers and we’ll share

Africa, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, Pilgrimage, UK

Happy Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah, Happy Jewish New Year, and because we want to see off this bloody year, and pray to Yahweh for a better new year, here is when and where all our cultures see out the old and bring in the new.

Hello, Chinas

Pandamonium

The Chinese New Year: And sitting down for our annual Chinese New Year celebration with Wendy Wu Tours in Dublin in January at Chai Yo we gave sympathy and Chinese tea (and every food known to man that you can eat with chopsticks) for the plight of the poor people of Wuhan.

Little did we know, of course, that we would be suffering too within weeks. The Year of the Rat should have been a warning.

And what are you all having?

Next year when it will be celebrated in February will be the Year of the Ox and he is much more our reliable carrier of all our human burdens.

And rest assured I’ll be back in Chai Yo next year with Wendy’s friends, the Two Johns, before hopefully we follow The Son and Heir out to Wuhan’s neighbour Chongqing.

Iran the bells

Smiles from Iran. http://www.itto.org

Nowruz (Iranian New Year): And there is a diary date in my calendar which I can’t bring myself to delete – my trip to Iran which was deferred after the Americans fell out with them again and then this virus came along.

I do hope that when I do get out there it’s in a March when they celebrate Springtime when it coincides with the Northward Equinox.

They trumpet in the day, colour eggs and eat a hearty soup, Ash-e-Reshteh noodle soup.

Sri Lanka is my cup of tea

Sri Lankan New Year: And here we have two Sri Lankan cultures celebrating a date, April 14.

Aluth Avuradda, the Sinhalese New Year, marks the end of the harvest and is one of only two occasions when the sun is directly above Sri Lanka.

You’ll be eating small oil cakes called kavum and plantain dishes.

The Tamils of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka celebrate with new clothes, music, sweets and rice colour kolams (street art).

The Tamil Diaspora too celebrate April 4… so Malaysia, yes, and The Maldives too where one pasty-faced Scotsman once became an honorary member of the staff’s football and cricket teams. Yes, Mr Jim is coming back to Kuramathi.

While if you’re Irish (lucky you) you’ll know about the greatest Sri Lankan-Irishwoman, my old friend Tess De Kretser and her Olcote in Ceylon resort.

Ethiopia will take years off you

Enkutatash, Ethiopia: And this has become a fixture on my calendar in Dublin over recent years thanks to my friends at Ethiopian Airlines.

It, of course, takes years off you, not just the meaty food which you scoop up with your bread, and wine and Ethiopian coffee.

But also because it’s on the Julian Calendar which means that this will take seven years off you.

Scotland, the home of Hogmanay

Scottish Hogmanay: And in the words of the greatest dustman in television soap opera Norman ‘Curly’ Watts who decided the Scots owned New Year.

Well, they do own Hogmanay. And why Hogmanay which is what we call New Year’s Eve.

An early reference to the term is from The Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence as deriving from the Greek word agia mine or ‘holy month’.

More like a hooley though as many libations are taken to keep out the cold.

Which is probably where the tradition of bringing coal, shortbread and whisky with your when you go first-footing, being the first person to cross someone’s threshold (first-footing).

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO WHOEVER YOU ARE AND WHEREVER YOU ARE

 

 

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – Weird Vending Machines

To think they used to only save you from starting a family.

Which is why today Hungry and Thursday turns its attentions to those magic boxes, vending machines.

And a big thanks to my Japanophile friends who have set me off on this latest ramble.

Where’s the larvae?

Something with a sting in it

Canned bees and wasp larvae, Japan: To sip down the coke.

Bees and wasps larvae are harvested from their nests.

And they are cooked in sugar and soy sauce to make the delicacy of Hachinoko… and yes, it’s crumbly.

Stock up on it in Inokashira Park, Tokyo and nibble away on your Three Star Road route.

Start out in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and trace an arcing line through the mountains to Ishikawa Prefecture.

The best bar none

Anyone want a bar?

Gold, Abu Dhabi: As you never know when you’ll put your hand in your pocket and realise that you’re down to your last bar!

The five-star Emirates Palace Hotel installed the first bullion ATM in its lobby.

Bubbles

Champagne, Selfridge’s, London: If you’re having to slum it without your comp champagne which is changed daily with the laundry at Sandals in Barbados.

And you’re in the vicinity of Selfridge’s in London then you won’t be able to get through the day without your bottle of bubbly.

Hair today

It’s all her own

Hair extension, Philadelphia: OK, so it might be too late for me but there was a time when I tried a pony tail.

Although it met with a putdown from my old late pal Gadge who maintained that ponytails should only ever be on ponies.

These tails belong in Phabulous Philadelphia, Freedom City, so that’s all right by me.

The cat’s whiskers

Form an orderly queue

Stray cat and dog feeder, Istanbul: I can’t say I saw these when I visited the Bosphorus.

In fact the kitties are well looked after judging by how they’re pampered in the Grand Bazaar.

But if you do want to spoil the cats and dogs of Istanbul.

Then slot in a plastic bottle into the machine and then pop out come the goodies before poop…

Countries, Deals, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – Ryanair’s a homer’s odyssey in Ireland

Ryanair has always retained its Irish quirkinesses on its way to conquering the world as the major low-fares airline.

Its harp, its name after founder Tony Ryan and its home passengers saying rosaries. playing the lottery and clapping on arrival.

Some unpronounceable name below

And they never forget where they came from and want us to visit, offering seven days in Cork, £17.23pp return, Monday, September 28-Monday, October 5.

Five days to Shannon, Sunday, October 11-Friday, October 16. down from £24.23 and five days in Dublin, Sunday, October 11-Friday, October 16. See terms, conditions.

Another great aspect of Ryanlife is introducing you to places you’d never heard of to keep the costs down.

Ergo the sale which offered among others, Lublin 106 miles south-east of Warsaw then I’ll let you know of the next i e.

They were offering €9.99 one-way in your Ryanair September sale. It ended midnight last night, Tuesday, September 15.

More Aer time

This is your captain speaking

And Ireland’s national airline carrier Aer Lingus want to fly us away too… for the price of a night out.

With prices from €29.99 they’ll whisk you away to Athens, Alghero and Alicante.

Now that’s the As I’ll give you a ‘V’ as in Verona and let you run through the other letters.

The offers end variously between September 29 and 30.

Lost in France

Everything you need

I may paint a picture of a Dickensian upbringing but, in truth, my Dear Old Mum did spoil me as the baby of the family.

And I’ll forever be grateful for everything she, and my Dad, did for me, including giving me my wings.

And allowing me to go off on a post-school camping trip to France, at the sane time my aunt stopped my cousin going.

Chic: On the French Riviera

All of which pricked a lifelong interest for Cannes and the French Riviera.

It all feels just now like being a schoolboy all over again as we wait for permission to travel abroad.

I’m still smarting that my Normandy and Monet trip has been deferred but it has merely whetted my appetite for France.

And here’s one resort too look forward to that is pure heaven.

My room (or floor)

Evian Resort in Evian-les-Bains, has the mineral H2O, of course, and the wellness centre with all those lovely spells.

But it also has family fun, sporting activities and camps, and even opera.

Families booking into the 5* Evian Resort (with free stay for under-13s) can also avail of their Le Fabuleux Jardin rooms.

And there is also a flexible 24-hour cancellation policy.

And the view is all mine too

Evian also have a Freedom offer, promising 20% discounts on accommodation from €264 per night to £238 per night for Hotel Royal.

And from €152|£141 at Hotel Ermitage.

And here’s an Ibiza beezer

It’s always sunny

My Dear Old Mum has always been a sun worshiper which is why one year she left my Dad and brothers at home while we went off to Ibiza.

Which is how I grew to love the Balearic Islands.

And you’ll always be outside

7 Pines Kempinski has new 2021 early booking offers, a new Villa experience and a Pershing Yacht Experience package.

The table is set

There is 20% off their 2021 daily rate (starting from €300 per night) as well as a Long Stay Offer with 25% off for stays of eight nights or more.

Oh Mexico

As James Taylor sang to us in the RDS in Dublin ‘it sounds so simple I just got to go, the sun’s so hot I forgot to go home, I guess I’ll have to go now.’

And particularly as my pals at Caribtours/email escapes@caribtours/ are offering a third off seven nights at the Unico 20N 87W Hotel Riviera Maya.

From €2,059pp sharing an Alcoba room on an all-inclusive basis.

Travel 19 December 2020-31 October 2021. From price based on 17 June 2021 departure with British Airways via London Gatwick.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Bergamo unmasked

It was Europe’s COVID-19 Ground Zero when the virus spread to the continent. but Bergamo in Lombardy rallied and is putting on its best, beautiful face again.

And here is an initiative that we are really getting behind… adopting a city through travel booking platform Omio.

In with the bricks: Bergamo

Money is being given to the Bergamo Support Fund based on customer bookings to there between September and December.

A tavola: Italian food is up

The holiday provider are promoting a lifestyle tour created by blogger Federico di Nardo.

The art of the matter

With a visit to Citta Bassa and Citta Alta with alleys, historic squares and shops, restaurants, cafes and stunning views.

Room with a view

While YouTuber and author Nicolo Balini, founder of Human Safari and SiVola, is luring us with treks in the Val Brembana Mountains.

That would like nice in my house

Where you can enjoy overnight stays in lakeside lodges.

For more on Bergamo look at their website.

While we’ll be getting under the skin of the destinations around the world in this Unmasked series.

The Venice Regatta

By bringing you the societies who are opening their doors and their hearts to us.

We kicked it off with Sweden Unmasked and will be unmasking another one real soon.

And tell us, where would you like me to unmask?

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Sweet Caroline, so good!

Hands, touching hands/Reaching out, touching me, touching you – Sweet Caroline/Neil Diamond

And this’ll have you bopping on land or sea… Sweet Caroline, oh, oh, oh, good times never felt so good (so good, so good, so good).

Reaching out: Neil Diamond

You always know you’re onto a rousing stadium song and party favourite when the crowd know their cues.

And so randomly here are some of the places where those good times with Neil Diamond have never felt so good.

The duel in the crown

I don’t know what you’re having

Pat O’Brien’s duelling pianos, Universal Orlando: And you’ll need to bring a fistful of dollars with you (no, not the film though I dare say they’d play that soundtrack too).

Somebody will almost certainly ask for Sweet Caroline, and Piano Man, so that leaves the field open for your other faves.

Randomly I asked for (and got) Barry Manilow’s Mandy… ‘And I came and I gave without taking, and you sent me away, I’m Murty.’

Summer in New York

Holding hands… well, almost

The Beast, The Hudson River, New York: And on the hottest day of the summer with no space on the sidewalk (remember that) then the best place to go is the Hudson.

You’ll want to take the 70ft powerboat The Beast building up to 45mph around the Statue of Liberty.

And as you pass by New Jersey on the other side there’s a nod to that state’s favourite sons Bon Jovi and Livin’ On A Prayer.

Check it out as part of your New York CityPASS.

A gran old time in Austria

And that’s Ehrwald Presley there on the keyboards

Ehrwald, Austria: And what do you give a group of Irish senior walkers for musical entertainment?

The octogenarian oompah-oompah man laid on by Top Flight for Schools had tried some Austrian music and some Elvis.

But one of our group pointed out that we were an Irish group and ran off a list of Irish Wedding Songs… and obviously Sweet Caroline.

Booze cruise

And wait till the party gets started

Royal Caribbean, the English Channel: And we’re in the main shopping and entertainment area, of the Independence of the Seas rockin’ on our final night.

We’ve had the DJ belt out Hi Ho Silver Lining, 500 Miles, Delilah and It’s Not Unusual.

But the one that really rocks the boat is… you guessed it Sweet Caroline. So good, so good, so good.

America, Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

Football’s back – take your pick

Now it all depends on whether you’re American, English, Irish or Australian who all embrace their football game.

It’s in the human DNA you see since the day Cain decided to kick Abel’s skull into a ditch.

So here are some thoughts on some of the teams I’ve adopted from my travels.

Touchdown

Off Pat

New England Patriots: I don’t know if you’re allowed it but I adopt all the American sports teams wherever I go.

It does make it easier to pick a winner if you’ve got the New York Jets (my Long Island cousins’-team), the Washington Redskins who are now looking for a new team, and the Denver Broncos.

It’s just that you go with the team where you spend the most time… and that was my summer after university in Boston.

Hoop dreams

All’s Well: Celtic v Motherwell. www.celticfc.net

And I had little choice growing up in Glasgow in the Seventies where Catholics and Protestants didn’t mix to choose Celtic.

Particularly as my Great-Uncles had built Celtic Park.

But Scots kids were allowed too to have an English team and I chose Liverpool.

Forward fast to the Nineties, had a son on Merseyside and it came full circle with The Son and Heir becoming a fully-fledged Red.

GAA-GAA

Prize guys: Donegal

In Ireland, soccer (football) was known as a Garrison game, a preserve of the occupying British Army.

And Gaelic Football, Camogie (the female version) and the stick game hurling were the Irish sports.

I could pick any of Donegal, my Dear Old Mum’s county, Dublin where I worked for 13 years or Co. Wicklow, my adopted home.

But as my Mum drummed it into us as kids that Donegal was the best place on Earth.

And that the rest of Ireland hate serial winners Dublin, it has to be Donegal.

Perth, WA

What’s up your sleeve?

My bonds with Western Australia started when my parents took me back a jersey of the West Coast Eagles. Minus the sleeves of course.

And continued when I joined a Top Deck booze bus to the Oktoberfest in Munich and discovered they were all Aussies and Kiwis.

Fast forward six months and Brownie and Smutley had arrived on my Aberdeen doorstep and went on to set up a WA colony there with their friends.

My one and only Aussie Rules football game was with an English guy at Surrey’s cricket ground, The Oval.

I remember Collingwood were one of the teams but don’t recall the other.

Collingwood are the New England Patriots, Dublin or Manchester United of their country.

Everybody else dislikes them unless you’re one of them.

MEET YOU ON THE PITCH

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Sweden unmasked

Bork, Bork, Bork… and for those of you under the age of 50, that’s the indecipherable Swedish Chef from the Muppets.

I reckon what he’s actually saying is Told You So, Told You So, Told You So!

It went almost completely unnoticed but the UK put Sweden back on the exempt list this week.

Perhaps because their much derided ‘no lockdown strategy‘ to Coronvarius is proving to work with rates right down.

Which makes it the perfect place to travel to find out how they’ve done it.

It’s got to be Swedish meatballs

Perhaps because they have the self-discipline to be able to keep a social distance from each other.

And that is even more difficult when you look like them.

Although I guess Swedish men probably take their Swedish women for granted and vice versa.

I’m reminded here of the Irish football fans’ song in defeat to Sweden at the European Championships… ‘go home to your gorgeous wives.’

Hello flower!

Of course, you’ve worked out that this is mainly an excuse to show some gorgeous Swedish women.

More than 850,000 British nationals visit the Land of Agnetha every year.

And despite how virulent we are (and it has to be repeated how welcoming the rest of the world are to welcome Britons) the Swedes are still happy to see us.

The closest I’ve got thus far to Sweden is seeing the 16km Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden.

On my MSC trip around the Norwegian fjords.

So what’s so great about Sweden?

Stock in trade

StockholmAnd what do we know? Yes, it’s got the Abba Museum, but also the Viking Vasa Museum and the Fotogrofiska. And 30,000 islands.

And although I feel I’m being intrusive and was on the Hollywood Walk of FameGreta Garbo‘s grave who really only wanted to be alone.

I’m here for the beer

Gothenburg; Yes, and it’s got water too, waterways, and try them on a kayak or paddle board, and I mastered the last, right?

While you should also check out their craft beer Poppels or Stigbergets.

And, of course, more ships… the 17th century Goteborg. Aye, aye Cap’n.

Have a sauna

Malmo: And because it’s Sweden, and I love a sauna, Ribersborg Kallbadhus at the end of the pier.

There are actually five saunas, a steam room, a sun deck and access to the ocean.

Fika is Swedes’ cafe downtime and great for people watching. I fancy that cinnamon roll hes having.

And further afield:

Work out Wallander

Ystad is Wallander country and you can check out Greyfriars Abbey and the Church of the Virgin Mary.

Lap it up

Swedish Lapland: Drive the 223-mile route up the Wilderness Way from the canoeing centre at Stromsund to Vilhelmina via Fatmokakke with its wooden huts.

You want reindeers? Well, Jokkmokk must appeal to Scots!

And then there’s also the James Bond Museum in Nybro. We’ve been expecting you.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines  is who to go with.

 

Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Venice – the City of Masks

They know all about plague in Venice and what happens when you don’t heed social distancing.

But the City of Masks survived it before and they’re not about to have it curtail their lives any more than they have to.

Hence them coming out in full regalia for their famous regatta.

Here’s a choppy history of Venice but be buoyed by their recovery.

Stick your oar in

Quarantino in Dubrovnik

The Italian word for 40 days (but you knew that already, si?) it was first implemented on the Adriatic port city of Ragusa which is modern-day Dubrovnik.

And sailors and traders in 1377 were told ‘they should not enter [Ragusa].

Or its district unless they spend a month on the islet of Mrkan or in the town of Cavtat, for the purpose of disinfection.’

It was actually started as a trentino (30 days) but got extended, partially because of science but also because of religion.

Survivor: Dubrovnik

Because 40 days was always the Biblical go-to number and it was thought that locals would get on board with that better.

The Plague Doctor

Now you’ll have seen these in the shops in Venice.

But luckily for you nobody in person wearing them, or in full cloak, hat and mask (unless you’re at Carnivale).

The bad news for you back in the Middle Ages was that the menacing Black Doctor wouldn’t cure you.

The general practitioner might but the Plague Doctor would be an enumerator, counting the casualties.

Oh, no, he’s come for me

He looked after himself, of course, filling his mask with aromatic herbs in the hope that it would keep him safe.

Thought for the day: it didn’t.

The Plague island

While you relax with your Cappuccino or Aperol Spritz by the Rialto Bridge you’ll be oblivious to those poor souls.

Those who would have given their lives for the soothing balm of a glass of water.

Those who were plague-ridden and were sent to the island of Poveglia.

The Island of Ghosts

The Island of Ghosts where they sent their virulent, 160,000 of them over the centuries.

Classic Boats Venice will take you there and show you around, and it is only ten minutes from St Mark’s Square.

Who was that masked man?

Yes, who was that masked man, you say?

The big one, of course, is the Carnevale which you can look forward to, from Saturday, January 30- Tuesday, February 16.

Venice may have its grisly past but it makes mask-wearing fan.

And maybe come back with a Plague Doctor’s Mask.

If nothing else it could keep the In-Laws at bay. Maybe!

Fresh Aer

And who to go to Venice with?

Well, Ireland’s national airline carrier, Aer Lingus has Venice, down from €45.99 to €29.99 for September. See terms and conditions.

And if you like The City of Masks then why not check out The City of Frescoes, Padova, up the water.

MEET YOU IN THE ALLEYS

 

 

 

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

The rapids adventures of an old Bandanaman

In the event of injury and you dying, and the rapids are nice and lively today. Woaaaaah! Give me a Yeaaah!

Maybe rewind to the bit about dying!

We’re driving down the highway to the Colorado White Water Rafting Center.

And tattooed, man-bunned Brad is banging the top of the roof with the palm of his hand.

Out Travel providers are turning to Adventure tourism as a plank of our comeback.

But will you need a plank yourself, or oar, to dig you out of choppy waters!

Here are five thrills and spills for the future:

Rapids eye movement

White-water rafting, Colorado: Rub-a-dub-dub, three men and three women in a tub.

And one goes overboard, the first ‘jumper‘ of the season.

Thankfully not from our raft, and a support kayaker is there to rescue her.

Your bandanaman hangs in there througb the rapids and my beer at the end of the course has never tasted so good.

Will I try it again? Well, the dudes at Yosemite Tuolomne are trying to tempt me to their Californian canyon. Yeaaah!

Zip-a-dee-doo-da!

Zip-lining, Las Vegas and Barcelona: And yes this should be flying through the air on the Cloud scraper Zip Line the highest in America.

12,000ft above the Arkansas River from one side of the Royal Gorge to another.

But it’s gentle zip lining on SlotZilla through Downtown Old Vegas, Frenont Street.

Where a member of our party got stuck halfway across the street because he was too light!

No such trouble for Bandanaman, or on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas where thankfully the harness kept the shorts up.

A surf bet

Walking on water: Anaheim

California and Barcelona and Portugal: And I’d backed myself to surf after being put through my paces on Royal Caribbean‘s FlowRider in Barcelona.

You see international surfer and Sligo’s own Gearoid McDaid walked on water on their surf simulator and had me doing the same (ŵ

Trouble was when I got to Anaheim later in the year I double booked (not for the first time) and missed out on the surf class.

So I did the next best thing and pulled a surfing pose on Huntington Beach instead.

California is synonymous with surfing but the biggest wave pulled was in Portugal.

And you can check out the water sports at VILA VITA Parc in the Algarve from €330p per night.

While Original Travel offers four nights from £975pp based on two sharing a garden view room or £795pp based on four sharing a family suite.

Hottie for Trotti

Scoot… down the Alpine valley.

Downhill Trottibikes, Switzerland: Now you always have to be ready for the challenge when it is thrown down.

Which it was in the Grindewald area of Switzerland when a Korean took me on.

No, not the slopes, but these scooters… through the forest and onto the main road, weaving between onrushing cars.

Until I passed her and swerved into the bar for my celebratory Aperol Spritz.

OK, it’s a bit of a leap to mountain biking in Mammoth Lakes, California, but I can only work with what I’m given.

And besides I did hone my cycling skills in the Campus, Quinta do Lago, Portugal… til I took a corner too sharply and fell off!

Life is a…

The Cyclone on Coney Island

Yes, Ronan Keating, but I bet you’ve never been on The Incredible Hulk at Universal Orlando or SheiKra at Busch Gardens.

You won’t like me when I’ve got an angry stomach, and, yes, I was green around the gills by the end.

Will I be back? Well, I’ve been on rollercoasters from A-B, Aberdeen to Blackpool to C Coney Island to Ooooooohlando.

So yes, and I’ll have my motion sickness tablets with me too.

MEET YOU ON THE THRILL RIDE