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

In defence of… air travel

If you’re reading, Greta Thunberg and the Flygstam (or flying shame) brigade…

I can’t tell you how many air miles I racked up last year.

I was away more than a dozen times with everywhere from Tobago and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago

Through the Oo Es of Eh and and living the California life My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Down to South Africa What’s new pussycat? and up to Jordan The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

I only mention them over the other equally fabulous and welcoming destinations who hosted me because they were at the extremities of my Travel footprint.

Do I feel guilty, or should you? Well, yes. How could we not the way Greta goes on?

Of course there’s a multitude of evidence out there on the world wide web to back up Greta.

And like everything on the net you can find anything to support your view.

But I wax taken by the research done by on the subject.

And their contention that air travel was better for the environment than car travel.

They estimate that the world’s drivers go through 1 billion gallons of fuel a day against 750 million gallons for air passengers.

Of course the fact that one form of transport is less harmful than another is not a strong enough argument.

Against that I would propose the positive effects of air travel… in expanding our minds, our frontiers and our appreciation of other peoples.

While fielding the accusations of the Flygskam brigade that the world is only in lockdown because of selfish air travellers who carried it across the globe…

In big monstrous metal birds.

Just imagine though a world in which our possibilities were restricted by a lack of air travel, or if you will, the past.

A world where we only learned about other peoples through the books and information we are given.

Now I’m not suggesting Boris Johnson or Donald Trump are feeding such a narrative but here is a cautionary tale of what could happen when we close ourselves off from others…

Legend has it that the people of Hartlepool in the north-east of England hanged a monkey who they mistook for a French spy during the Napoleonic Wars.

I have always believed that we are at our best as humans when we are being progressive rather than regressive.

While obviously being respectful of the world around us and those with whom we share it.

And being aware of our limitations with many a salutary tale out there from time immemorial of when to pull back.

Such as the tale of Icarus who flew too close to the sun only for the wax on his wings to melt.

This, and many more moral fables of how we should live with the natural environment around us, are all around you in Greece.., and My Greek odyssey.

But like Odysseus I have gone off on a tangent.

I will deal with the other forms of transport in the next parts of my ‘In Defence of’ series which will include cars,.

And no car hater me… how could I be? I should by rights be driving through the Florida Keys right now.

But to leave you on an up… the South Africans have discovered a balancing solution to carbon emissions under their feet.,, This plant can save the world.

And our shared history has shown too that our medicinal cures too can be found in the natural world.

So here’s to when we can all travel again.

And a shoutout to all our friends in the aviation industry who are our dreamcatchers… #DontPanicPostpone.#loveairtravel.


Happy Newer Year – from Ethiopia

Happy Enkutatash. You’ll notice here that I look a year or two younger.

That’s Enkutatash for you, the Ethiopian New Year, when the years just roll off you.

In fact seven of them.

The thing is that the Ethiopians are on a different calendar from the rest of us.

These are popular all over the world

Theirs is fixed to the Julian Calendar from the Roman Emperor Augustus in 25 BC with a start date of 29 August J.C.

Which I guess must be September 12 in our money.

And this establishes the New Year on this day.

It is also associated with the return of the Queen of Sheba (I’ve one of them at home)  to Ethiopia.

Following her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem in 980BC.

The coffee ceremony

It is also a permanent fixture on our calendar in Dublin.

When Ethiopian Airlines, Meseret Tekalign, the Country Manager for Ethiopian Ireland and our friends from the Airlines invite us to share in their New Year feast.

So if you like your injera (flat bread) and wat (stew) which we do in Ireland and Britain. And wine (guilty again) then this is the New Year for you. 

And you’ll also get to watch their traditional coffee-making ritual. Beats my spoonful of instant, hands down.

We’re hungry

Every New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay as us Scottishy type people like to call it, is a time of reflection.

And Ethiopian rightly reflected on this year’s plane tragedy while emphasising their commitment to passenger safety.

Smiles better: Our Meseret

It is also a time for Enkutatash resolutions I’m imagining, and I’m resolving to get out to this intriguing and glorious ancient country.

Where they have nine UNESCO World Heritage sites.

I love Lucy

And a certain little lady, Lucy, the first human, thus called because the excavators were singing Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds at the time.

Like your Beatles? Here’s a treat

Like your Africa? Then here’s another

And, of course, because Lucy is on the Coptic calendar she’s probably only about 40… and looking just as good too!


Flyday Friday – time travels

You’d be mistaken for thinking that I’m always an accidental tourist. I do like to plan ahead particularly when it comes to our great annual festivals…. Christmas, New Year, Enkutatash.

My first Christmas and New Year invites came in this week. More about Christmas another time apart of course from using it as an excuse to reprise this picture…

But straight to Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year which I will be celebrating with my friends from Ethiopian Airlines in Dublin on September 12 as I have been doing these last two years.

And don’t you think I get younger (and better looking) each year?

Smiler: Meseret Tekalign, Country Manager at Ethiopian Airlines Ireland

That’s because the Ethiopians use an ancient Christian calendar and it is seven years behind our standard Gregorian calendar that we use in the West. So on September 12 it is the first day of 2012.

We reckoned you might want to be there in Addis on the day so we found you a return flight to Addis Abbaba on September 11 and returning on September 18 from £1692 (€1900). Visit

Drop in on Boris

Taxi for May: Photo by Bruce Mars on

If you were looking at happenings in London on television through the gaps in your fingers then you wouldn’t be alone.

Truth is though that I wanted to be there… and not just to tell that eejit who was playing the glockenspiel through all the interviews where to stick his, er, stick.

Of course, we take London for granted because it is our back yard but we shouldn’t. It is one of the world’s great cities if not THE great city.

And it is so easy and cheap to get there. Ryanair flies one-way to London Southend for €12.99 one way among other cut-price flights across the continent. Visit

And talking about Boris, did I ever tell you of how I spent the night listening to him playing jazz in London’s West End… or the nearest thing to him? Visit in a new tab)

It all points to Gatwick

Photo by Chris Schippers on

If you’re a bit of an oul luvvies like me, are a big Carnival fan, or you’ve something in mind yourself then you’ll want to know that Aer Lingus has a great London offer just waiting for you to avail of.

Collect Double Avios points along the way on your flight to Gatwick for flights booked and flown between July 25 and August 31. Visit

Happy 80th Shannon

And so say all of us

And doesn’t Shannon look good on it.

Eighty years ago this month a Belgian tri-liner Sabena Daviola Marchetti S-73 landed on the old Rineanna airfield before its passengers were flown off via Foynes on a flying boat, while 500 excited locals watched the plane fly back to Belgium.

Shannnon goes from strength to strength and is a major economic driver while also carrying us to where we want to go and bringing friends, family and visitors here.