America, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Cocktail Hour around the world

It’s Cocktail Hour all day today (not just 6pm) because it’s World Cocktail Day, and I’ve been swallowing up the hours.

And while holidaymakers may like to mark their territory with their towel, I like to claim a coaster at the bar.

For my fave Strawberry Daiquiri cocktail.

Which I have savoured… from the Maldives to the Caribbean My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/. And http://www.visitbarbados.org and http://www.visittobago.gov.tt

Now if we can’t get out there to our exotic locations we can at least conjure up the taste of the Tropics at home.

With these cocktails:

Something for Buffalo Bill

The Colorado Bulldog, Colorado:

Colorado-Bulldog-1

Ingredients: Vodka, coffee liqueur, cream or milk and coca-cola.

A White Russian with a fizz… and this would put even more whiskers on Tsar Alexander’s bushy beard.

How to: In a shaker mix vodka Kahlua, cream/milk. Pour into a glass with ice and add Coke.

Visit www.colorado.com and take in Beertown Denver www.denver.org and Go West and The New Frontiersmen.

Take it as red

The Redhead in Bed, 25 Degrees, Huntington Beach, California:

Cocktails and food at 25 Degrees - Huntington Beach

Ingredients: Ketel One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, sparkling wine.

I’ve yet to have a Redhead in Bed anywhere (honestly) but if I did it would be in Huntington Beach.

How to: Mix One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, and sparkling wine for an added kick.

For those who like to drink their dessert, 25 Degrees offers four spiked shakes, mixing vanilla ice cream and your choice of Guinness, Maker’s Mark, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, or Kahlua among other sweet milkshake additions.

Visit www.surfcityusa.com and My weekend with Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Turning Japanese

Shochu Mojito, Japanshochu-mojito_002

Ingredients: Mint, shochu, sugar, lime, fizzy water

If you had been planning to get out to Japan this year for the Olympics then you have our sympathies but here’s a multi-discipline event you can do from the safety of your own home.

This is a Japanese twist on a classic mojito which swaps the rum usually found in a Mojito with shochu, a Japanese liquor typically made from buckwheat, sweet potatoes or barley.

This is an easy cocktail to whip up once your guests arrive (two minutes prep time) and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

How to: Add the lime, mint and sugar to a tall glass and bruise with a muddler. To this, add the shochu and fizzy water and stir. Serve over ice with mint to garnish. www.japan.travel/en/uk/

And, of course, you all know by now that all your favourite Scottish bartender needs is a cocktail brolly, a maraschino cherry and a shaker and we’re talking Jocktail Hour… Jocktails… the Strawberry DaiquiriJocktails – Whisky Sour, Hungry and Thursday – sangria and La SagradaJocktails: The Bajan Monkey, 

Jocktails – the Hurricane  Jocktails – Mimosas Jocktails – the Sazerac.

And a host of others.

America, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Hungry and Thursday – the end of buffets?

Buffets are like marmite (and you can get that too) so the prospect of no buffets is just another thing to pile on our COVID tray.

First off, a history question? Who introduced the buffet?

Padova in north-west Italy actually.

I discovered this on a trip to the Veneto region… https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/11/padova-city-of-frescoes/amp/.

Boney’s Italian adventure

Napoleon, it transpires, was responsible for the introduction of the buffet when he held parties for his pals in the Italian grand casas.

Well you don’t think he got that girth from croissants do you? Visit http://www.turismopadova.it/en/basic-page/padua-24-or-48-hours.

Here’s where I’ve stood in line for my food asking for more. And there’s always more!

Carry on Cruising

Cruising: And one of the draws of a cruise for many is their food.

And you can eat around the world on a cruise, and go back and do it all over again!

Get there early for breakfast, lunch and dinners on MSC Cruises https://www.msccruises.ie/en-ie/Homepage.aspx and The call of the fjords

Particularly when the food-mad Italians are around!!!

Of course where you go on your cruise can inform your choice of foods.

And on the Celebrity Cruise Edge https://www.celebritycruises.ie/onboard/our-ships/celebrity-edge/ maiden voyage I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here from Florida to the Bahamas they like to spice it up.

And that’s my five a day

If you want though a taste of home then Royal Caribbean are the cruise for you.

When you can visit an authentic British Fish and Chip Shop.

Authentic that is for being on the top deck with a cocktail in hand https://www.royalcaribbean.com and A Royal Party and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/24/messi-around-on-the-water/amp/.

Caribbean cruising

Barbados: And seeing we’re talking about the Caribbean (and aren’t we always?) then a Caribbean buffet always has something special?

Yes, rum!

Because bread, cakes, pancakes, bacon, you name it they have it, and it will be on the hot plate in Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org and Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

Der buffet

Dresden: And for Germans, eccentrics that they are, that means doing things differently.

And the Saxons in Dresden Dresden’s renaissance https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/tourism.php at the German Travel Mart https://www.germany.travel/en/trade/gtm-germany-travel-mart/gtm/gtm_10.html put out all their meats at one side of the room and the veg at the other.

Guess which one I went for!

America’s a rollercoaster

Orlando: You’ll pay for it if you were overdoing the Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/things-to-do/dining/pat-o-briens.

Because in American hotels bigger is better.

And there will always be a chef waiting with a frying pan offering an anything you want omelette.

As well as the plethora of sweet treats.

But remember you have theme parks of loop the loops awaiting you.

And believe me you don’t want to make the Hulk angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

See https://www.visitorlando.com/en-ie, https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us. And Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s.

MEET YOU AT THE BUFFET- SOME TIME

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

Hungry and Thursday – A dog’s dinner

No, I’m not complaining about the fare I’m being served up here during lockdown… I’ll leave that to the Son and Heir.

It’s just that my dog-mad extended Irish and American family have been preparing for the reopening of restaurants by flagging up how their pets have been coping in lockdown.

Well, is the answer if Harry and Coco are anything to go by.

Few are as barking about their pooches as the Americans and the Japanese but where they lead (sorry) the way we have followed.

So here’s my five top of the pups (there’s more of this!).

New Bark, New Bark

Paws for thought. Credit: Jenna Murray/IGC Hospitality

The Wilson NYC, New York: And where I first encountered puppy pampering and pedicures down on the block on Rockville Center in Long Island when I first visited the Big Apple in my first summer after school.

And only in America as they say because puppies never got their nails painted in Glasgow!

I’m glad to say that the New Yorkers still treat their pets as Top Dogs.

And Halloween gives them the perfect chance to dress their pups up as Superman, Batman and other superheroes down on Battery Park.

This Chelsea favourite sees the maitre d’ (for dog) put your pet up at the high table and treat them to a distinct dog menu.

With fancy options like a 16-ounce grilled ribeye steak for $42, pan-roasted salmon for $28, and grilled chicken breast for $16.

All on the restaurant’s side patio and front terrace, where their pet humans order their own steak off the regular menu. See https://thewilsonnyc.com, http://www.nycvb.com and Old New York: Hamilton.

Indian pup trick

Puppychino, New Delhi: The Indians have a religious love for their animals which is endearing but surprising for those not brought up around animals.

Such as my Dear Old Dad who baulked at the bus driver who stopped the No. 52 while a cow ambled across the road. Before getting off his coach to do a dump in the street and get back on.

This is Puppychino and it is one of many cafes and restaurants around India where the animal is put first, rather than in some establishments I’ve been in where you’re treated like an animal.

See https://www.zomato.com/ncr/puppychino-dog-friendly-cafe-1-shahpur-jat-new-delhi, http://www.incredibleindia.com and Yoga-dabba-do – International Yoga Day.

Japanese growl

Your table’s ready, Sir

Mame-Shiba, Cafe, Harajuku, Tokyo: Now Japan’s culture of low tables and sheer eccentricity lends itself admirably to dog cafes and restaurants.

And these guys are in doggie heaven…

The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and a time slot of 30 minutes with your favourite furry friend. Get there early to avoid long queues. See http://brangista.j-server.com/BRAOWLCATF/ns/tl.cgi/http://owls-cats-forest.com/free/mameshiba-harajuku?SLANG=ja&TLANG=en&XMODE=0&XCHARSET=utf-8&XJSID=0 and https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html and https://www.japan.travel/en/uk/.

Don’t mess with Le Toutou

You big softie

Le Toutou, Brussels: So Le Toutou means doggie, but you knew that, right?

And there’s no distinction between doggies and humans here.

With both being treated to a choice of dishes from pasta or rice to vegetables, beef or chicken, all being high in fibre and low in salt.

The pooches though get their own beer, as they should, Red Dog.

It’s an energy beer which is described as the ‘subtle taste of bone marrow’. Visit https://visit.brussels/en and In Flanders fields.

Old Barkie

Dog-tired

Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe: Billing itself as Scotland’s first dog cafe its owners are barking about two things…

Cakes and dogs, and chihuahuas to be precise.

They advertise that resident Chihuahuas will roam freely amongst guests.

For you to pet, cuddle, play with, take photos or simply observe and enjoy.

Just what Edinburgh’s most famous doggie, Greyfriars Bobby, would think of the Chihuahuas getting all this pampering…

Don’t worry though Bobby, you’re still No. 1.

Bobby and Jimmy

And we’ll never stop patting you, although kissing his nose has left it to wear away!

See https://edinburghchihuahuacafe.co.uk/product/thanks/ https://edinburgh.org, http://www.visitscotland.com and Edinburgh – an old friend and Putting these statues on a pedestal.

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

Raising the Bar

And Sadie, you’re going to be the one that saves me.

Oasis (maybe)

Oasis are belting out their pub standard and I’m putting my own spin on it.

Of course, it’s not the actual Gallagher brothers themselves, but three hipsters who make up the house band, and one of them is on a banjo!

And it’s not a mega stadium, but just off the Liffey.

‘Cause after all, this is Temple Bar.’

And it’s Valentine’s Night so every tune is a rousing anthem.

I’ll have my usual

While you and your loved one may have been gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes in your favourite Italian restaurant last week, and maybe even in a restaurant in Italy, I had taken my beloved to Dublin’s party hub

Obviously hoping to spend it in a sports bar… Celtic were playing that night.

Rush hour

And they’ve even got the Scotland flag out

Now before I have the massed regiments of womenkind taking up arms against me, we did do the romantic dinner bit.

With an eight-course tasting menu at the Morgan Hotel before we went out on the town.

I had arrived from the office with seconds to spare for our sitting, after working up to the wire.

All overheated from a lower walk from my work in Ballsbridge, three and a half kilometres away.

Herself? She was as fresh as a daisy.

The refurbished Morgan is sat plumb on Fleet Street, next to the Hard Rock Cafe, but is a haven from the throb of humanity that populates Temple Bar, day and night.

Like much of Temple Bar itself it’s multi-national and its staff are bursting with life.

All the world is here

Busting a move: With Oliver St John Gogarty

I joke with Spaniard Sonya at reception when she tells me that my wife is upstairs and I ask if she is alone.

And then there’s our waitress Anastasia who smiles patiently as we dither over cocktails…

A special Valentine’s frothy concoction just whets our appetite for another with ‘Mother Gin’ Herself trying out a Ruby made from Ha’Penny Rhubarb Gin, apple, lime and lemon juice with a basil leaf.

All on medicinal grounds you understand… as she was quick to point out that it had said on the drinks menu.

Now, clearly we don’t go in for tasting menus at home… because somebody’s specified chores are dish-washing.

Catch of the day

Melt in the mourh

But there is something particularly civilised about taking small portions, and your breath, between dishes.

The dishes at the Morgan restaurant, 10 Fleet Street, are beautifully created and almost too good to eat.

But eat we did, mackerel, salmon, duck, roast pork cheek, and king scallops and bream, and even the Baby Beet Salad they slipped in there when they didn’t think I was looking.

Glowing from our cocktails… and with some credit in the bank from giving Herself my uninterrupted attention for once at dinner time I went in search of my football match.

Surprisingly though, for all that Temple Bar is Party Central my attempts at finding a pub with the game on were proving fruitless.

The Temple Bar hostelry was jumping, but not with rowdy football supporters but good-natured music-lovers, cooing couples and young people just there for a good night out.

The best bar none

Every hour is cocktail hour

And while I half-expected the playlist to be all diddly-aye music, the band’s set was rockier.

They are an eclectic bunch in the Temple Bar tonight…

We share holiday reminisces with Amsterdammer Sandor until he either tires of my attempts at engaging with him on the Ajax game the previous night.

Or because he is diverted by a pair of brown eyes.

Now Temple Bar isn’t cheap and it is wise to pace you drinking with a pub crawl perhaps the best idea.

It also helps you clear your head.

Buskers, our next stop, strikes me as a little too modern for our lining… and what do you know, the singer is only playing Wonderwall.

Hat’s not fair

Something for the palate

The Oliver St John Gogarty is perhaps the best-known pub in Temple Bar and for research purposes we end our night there…

Probably because to go on would have meant having to sell a vital organ to afford another drink.

It’s busy, yes, and loud, ditto.

But the Temple Bar revellers are mostly good-natured, although if a fatter ‘Phil Mitchell’ tries to meet your vacant gaze by the side of the stage then it might be best to find another place to stand.

That, or be prepared for a delicate spot of diplomacy to get your hat back.

Perhaps feeling guilty at the prices of their drinks they did hand out little bowls of chips and a sausage roll.

Because eight courses back in the Morgan was never going to be enough.

*The Morgan Hotel http://www.themorgan.com/http://(00353) 1 643 7000. The Morgan is running a spring offer of 30% off room-only rates on bookings until March 31 (valid on stays until December 31) from €150 per room.

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail in 2019.

The Menu

Rose petal: Absolut raspberry vodka. Chambord, rose syrup, lime jice pineapple foam.

Torched cured mackerel fillet: Cured mackerel filled, dried lime, caper berries, lime gel, lime oil.

Gin & Juniper Cured Salmon: Cucumber escabeche ribbons, pepper drops, fennel sour cream, rye crisps.

House smoked rare duck: Bumblebee mixed leaves, yellow pepper coulis, heritage tomatoes, lavender, lavender oil.

Baby Beet Salad: Beetroot yoghurt cream, beet brittle, pomegranate, orange segments.

Slow Roast Pork Cheek, King Scallops: Sea salted baby kale, garlic baby carrot, blackberry & basil gel, port jus.

Baked filled of bream: Sweet potato crisps, orange cauliflower, sweet pepper dressing.

Whiskey smoked pear: Caramel droplets, cardamon infused saboyon.

And if you want to check out a great Dublin institution in rugby heartland then here’s my review of the InterContinental Rugby central, it’s the InterCon… what a Ledge!.

*This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail in 2019.

What’s your favourite Dublin hotel? Let me know and we’ll share.

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

Dans La Rue en France

La Scary One does all the driving from Chez Murty.

She grabs hold of the inside lever on the door as soon as I turn the ignition on.

So as not to hurt my feelings she says it’s because she taught me how to drive.

Red-hot

The owner of the French Fiat 501 firm in Mandelieu-La-Napoule was less diplomatic The Boat D’Azur.

Does this car look big in me?

And after I’d stalled his car in the car park for the third time, with its gearstick on the dashboard, he put his hand out for the keys.

There was a frosty drive around the French Riviera until we met up with our hosts again.

A pool all to yourself?

All of which circuitous route from A to B brings me round to Airelles’ three and seven-night road trips in the South of France https://www.france.fr/en.

Chateau living

Where you’ll stay at Airelles Gordes, La Bastide in the hilltop village of Gordes, Château d’Estoublon, a stone’s throw from Les Baux de Provence and Château de la Messardière, a stone’s throw from Les Baux de Provence and Chateau de La Messardiere in St Tropez.

Al Fresco dining

Airelles is naturally flagging up the culinary delights of France and its spas which Le Scary One would be all over.

A week to remember

But as thoughts during lockdown turned to dream trips she did put in a request for lavender fields which is just what Airelles is offering.

And drinking

The seven-night road trip breaks down into:

Two nights in a Superior Valley Room at La Bastide, Gordes,

And a further two nights in a Residence at Chateau d’Estoublon, Les Baux-de-Provence.

Room with a view

And three nights in a Superior Seaview Room at Chateau de la Messardiere, St Tropez.

From €7,000 (£6,250) based on two sharing. Full board (excluding drinks).

Un jardin to yourself too

Three-day trip

The three-night road trip includes:

Enjoy one night in a Superior Valley Room at Ka Bastide, Gordes.

One night in a Residence at Chateau d’Estoublon, Les Baux-de-Provence.

And another night in a Superior Seaview Room at Chateau de la Messardiere, St Tropez.

From €3,000 (£3,125). Full board (excluding drinks).

Food for thought

And they’ll throw in daily picnic baskets with lots of goodies in them. The trip is flexible around your needs and dates. Visit experience@airelles.com.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food

Hungry and Thursday – sweet, sweet ice cream

King Henry VIII’s Greensleeves means two things to me… Miss F’s slow wedding march and the ice cream van.

Just why Tudor music should be the go-to tune for ice cream vendors I’ll put out there for you to chime in with an answer.

But I rather enjoy the image of Henry running out in his padded garb for his 99.

And I suppose it could happen… on a film set. And I dare say Jonny Rhys Meyers and Damian Lewis like a double nougat or a screwball.

Porty’s finest

Did you know though that the 99 was created just up the road from here?

In my old stomping ground of Portobello, Edinburgh’s town beach https://edinburgh.org and www.visitscotlsnd.com.

Arcari claims to be the birthplace of the 99 with the number that of their address in Portobello High Street.

Where Stephen Arcari broke a chocolate flake in half and put it on the ice cream

Hundreds and thousands please

An alternative explanation is that it comes from slang, 99 meaning excellent and alluding to an elite guard of 99 soldiers who served the King of Italy.

The Pope’s fave

Now I don’t know about the King of Italy but our Popes have been partial to a gelato, or ice cream.

We have the Good Book, the Vatican Cookbook, as our holy scripture here which tells us that Pope Francis loves an Argentine fave dulce de leche and its caramel flavour.

And he knows his flock loves gelati too, being known to hand out 3,000 ice creams to Rome’s poor and homeless.

And some raspberry sauce

All of which kept my mind occupied as I stood socially distanced in my queue.

Walk this way

And for a quick and invaluable guide on Rome and how to get there by foot with Francigena Ways see www.FrancigenaWays.com, https://www.rome.net and Small roads lead to Rome.

MEET YOU IN THE QUEUE

Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine

Jocktails… the Strawberry Daiquiri

A sweltering hot summer in Boston after Aberdeen University, three jobs, and a thirst on me like a blindfolded man in the desert.

And a party of office workers unwinding in Quincy Market with a jug of Strawberry Daiquiri.

I was in… and from that moment the slushy, ruby-red rum cocktail has always ben my go-to.

It doesn’t have to be a cruise ship although here I am again…

I know where I’ll put this

I’ll bring you more Jocktails from around the world as I go but here’s the recipe.

And you might be surprised to hear that I’m the one who makes them around Casa Bandana while the Scary One is the one who devours them.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Zesty flavour

5 cracked ice cubes

1 measure of white rum

A half measure of strawberry liqueur.

A quarter measure of lime cordial

Garnish with a strawberry.

Jocktail tip: Stick some strawberries in the blender too for extra fruitiness.

Method: put the rum, strawbs and lime liqueur into the blender for 30 seconds. Pour into a margarita glass with the cracked ice in it and decorate with a slice of strawberry. Oh, go on, stick in a cocktail brolly and stick with a couple of maraschino cherries on it.

And because I’m writing about Boston visit http://www.visitbostonusa.com and http://www.visitusa.ie.

Want to know the best places to drink one. On a Royal Caribbean cruise… A Royal Party and www.royalcaribbean.co.uk.

Boston is well served by the major airlines from Ireland… look out for best deals in Flyday Friday.

And…

MEET YOU IN THE BAR

America, Countries, Culture, Food

The Sunday Sermon – Inner City America

Weeping may stay for the night But rejoicing comes in the morning – Psalm 30:5

Now we’ve been here before and will be again… racial tensions, police brutality, inner city riots and American cities in flames.

But as Dr Martin Luther King vows in his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech on the National Mall in Washington DC in 1963 the weeping will stop.

That we could do with someone of the status of Dr King now is undisputed.

But we have his words, his legacy and an example from history to guide us.

Memphis memorial

When Dr King was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee https://www.deep-south-usa.com https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org and The Promised Land there was a curfew.

It was put in place for the inner cities where the worst violence broke out.

Bur not in a certain diner on U Street in Washington DC www.washington.org and Easy DC which the authorities allowed to stay open.

U Street was the Black Broadway of its day popularised by the likes of Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday and…

Ben Ali.

Super Bowl

Trinidadian Ben and his social hub, Ben’s Chili Bowl was allowed to stay open as it provided the local community with somewhere to go.

And eat.

Ben’s Chili Half-Smoke is an institution in the American capital.

And it was here where Barack Obama dropped in a week before his inauguration.

When a local Mamma asked the Security brief who the VIP was for there to be such a fuss…

He turned and pointed at her pin on her coat… ‘Him’!

A cast of heroes

Ben’s is adorned with pictures of luminaries, Bono among them obviously, with Ben.

While the outside walls are a kaleidoscope of murals of famous people among them Dr King.

Ben’s is still at the heart of the community and as you would expect it is helping out frontline workers during this crisis.

Just follow https://www.toasttab.com/bens-chili-bowl-u-st/giftcards and enter heroes@benschilibowl.com.

A fine example

Dr King may be gone but Ben’s is still going strong.

Just sit on a stool at the diner and you’ll see why it’s called Ben’s Chilled Bowl.

Also see www.visitusa.ie and www.visitusa.co.uk.

Africa, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Ethiopia’s first lady

No, not Lucy, the earliest female for which we have bones, or the Queen of Sheba, or Sahle-Work Zewde, the President of Ethiopia.

Although all are celebrated examples of female power and contribution not just to Africa but the wider world.

No, my first lady of Ethiopia is the first Ethiopian lady I met… the graceful Meseret Tekalign.

Happy New Year

A smile that lights up a room

It was, of course Ethiopian New Year, Enkutatash… Happy Newer Year – from Ethiopia

And had we known each other before we would obviously have exchanged compliments… that we were looking years younger.

Seven years, of course, as our calendar is on a different time scale to the Ethiopians.

It was always a high point of the year to spend Ethiopian New Year with Meseret, Ethiopian Airlines’ Country Manager Ireland, and the Ethiopian community.

Hands up for Ethiopia

A bright future

And eat with our hands, a type of pitta bread to scoop up the meats, rices and vegetables, all washed down with Ethiopian wine.

Before we watched the traditional coffee-making ceremony and sampled the coffee which I now only take out on special occasions.

I was entranced by Meseret as soon as I met her.

And she by me, obviously, and she even invited me to send a writer to Ethiopia to celebrate International Women’s Day.

I’m a woman!

IMG_4893
Tuck in: And there’s seconds

When Ethiopian Airlines https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/aa put an entire female crew on from Addis Ababa to Washington Dulles via Dublin.

Always putting others first I asked if I could blag it, wear a dress and pass myself off as a woman.

After all being of the Scottish variety I’m no stranger to wearing a skirt.

I was, of course, happy to support such a wonderful idea.

A long history

IMG_4894
One more cup of coffee for the road

And to promote this land of mystery and awe, a country that has no fewer than nine UNESCO heritage sites.

Meseret is heading back to Addis with the good wishes of all who she took to her heart over the past few years.

We’re glad she enjoyed the craic as she revealed:

‘Taking up my first post in Europe was something I relished and will always look back on it fondly.

‘I feel lucky it was Ireland where the people lived up to the hype of being the friendliest in Europe even in business.’ 

And, of course, she and us feel years younger for the experience.

Pride of lions

And, of course, if all this talk of Africa has tempted you then remember that Ethiopian command’s the lion’s share of the Pan-African market.

And talking of lions and Africa, the two go hand in paw.

At a safe and respectful distance as I discovered when I visited the Eastern Cape of South Africa…http://www.southafrica.net What’s new pussycat?

I’m working my way up the continent. We’ll meet again, Meseret.

Food, Food & Wine, UK

Lockdown door-to-door booze delivery

It’s the must-have supply for lockdown or self-isolation… a five-litre keg of beer delivered to your door by bike.

An Edinburgh brewer has come up with an old-fashioned solution to our booze needs, biking and vanning our beer to us, while we are confined to barracks.

Andrew ‘Barney’ Barnett has turned to home deliveries from his micro-brewery in Summerhall while his normal outlets are on hold.

Barney time: Barney delivers every time

And his new business has been a Godsend to a broad section of the public, from students to those of us with cabin fever, to our senior citizens.

‘We’ve found that people don’t like the inconvenience of having to queue at supermarkets and have been ordering in our beers,’ he said.

‘We’ve had everybody from students to people who have had to self-isolate, ordering our beer. 

Load ‘em up

‘One older gentleman in assisted accommodation was particularly grateful to have his beer left out for him at the end of his path.

‘It’s been a treat for him, a bit of social contact to see a cheery smile and a wave.’

While Barney, 53, brews up, Edinburgh firm Farr Out Deliveries takes the beer which comes in 12 and 24 packs around to your home… the kegs will follow from Wednesday.

Barney has now rolled out his beer-delivery business across the whole of Britain with the help of DHL.

Award-winning beer… at Barney’s

And all with a cheery smile and a wave. 

There is a £5 delivery charge for under £50 and free delivery for over £50. 

See https://www.barneysbeer.co.uk/about/.