America, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – funny food

Food should be fun and taken out of the hands of foodies… and chefs.

I’m writing this while eating my Swedish ‘vacuum cleaners’ or dammsugare for fika. These are named after the tube-shaped vacuum cleaners of the Fifties.

I had been given them in my godispase, or goody bag.

Clean sweep

The godispase had come courtesy of the Stena Estrid, Swedish ferry cruise company‘s http://www.stenaline.ie and www.stenaline.co.uk maiden journey between Holyhead and Dublin.

It is, in truth, the closest I will get to a vacuum cleaner but it shows the Swedes’ sense of fun.

The Swedish dammsugare

To name this sweet after a common household gadget.

And it’s good to see that the world has been watching because it’s not for nothing that Jim Henson looked to Scandinavia for his madcap Swedish Chef.

You like your marzipan?

Music is the food of life

Now if that gives you a taste for Swedish food why not visit http://www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/376-arrack-rolls-or-vacuum-cleaners-punschrullar-eller-dammsugare?

The dammsugare got me thinking about other funny food you can pick up around the world.

Every city with a well-known red light district obvs like Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Where they also have Middle Eastern food skewered on an actual scimitar in Bazaar, a remodelled old mosque in fashionable De Pijp http://www.hotelbazar.nl/en/restaurant-bazar-amsterdam/ And www.iamsterdam.com.

Get a grip

But also unexpectedly in Portugal Centro Secret Portugal and www.visitportugal.com where I found a shop selling chocolate penises.

While this mug gives a new spin on your hot chocolate.

Get a handle on this

What else is out there I hear you ask.

And where are the sweetie cigarette, cigars and pipes we used to have as children?

Probably replaced with chocolate joints.

And, of course, any excuse to plug this fun for food fixture from my trip on Celebrity Edge around the Bahamas… www.celebritycruises.ie.

With I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

The Germans are funny… full stop. Which gives a lie to the myth that they have no sense of humour.

And there is no elegant way to eat a hamburger… ich bin ein Hamurger Hamburgers and ships and www.hamburg-tourism.de.

While the Norwegians have a playful relationship with their trolls… The call of the fjords and www.visitnorway.com.

 

Fjord fiesta

With my very own Scary One… and MSC Cruises www.msccruises.ie.

While I love the taste of the sea too and few do it better than my own wee country Scotland and my adopted one Ireland, north and south…

 

Slurp it up

That’s www.visitscotland.com, www.discovernorthernireland.com and www.tourismireland.com.

With a tasting menu of the best of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 

With Catherine Fulvio at Ballyknocken

America http://www.visitusa.ie and http://visitflorida.com and is the country who put fun and funk into dysfunction and my safari food out with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com in Florida brought me this nature feast below… it’s all natural.

 

And seeing we’re talking food then let’s finish on the country that leads the way on food… Italy.

With Italy specialists Top Flight www.topflight.ie and Catherine Fulvio at her cookery school in Ballyknocken, Co. Wicklow www.ballyknocken.ie

And some amateur cuoco…

 

Pasta master

OK, OK… mes amis in France http://www.atoutfrance.fr will disagree. And I don’t know what I was eating here but I was smokin’…

 

Send in your Fun With Food, what’s amusing to eat and where.

MEET YOU AROUND THE TABLE

Safari in Florida
The big smoke: In the French Embassy in Dublin
Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Putting these statues on a pedestal

All joking aside about Zlatan ‘The Ego’ Ibramovich being cut down to size.

But is it right that the Sweden soccer superstar should befall the same fate as Lord Nelson here in Dublin and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad?

The fallen Zlatan

Now I’m all for sportspeople, celebrities, actors and even, and particularly, animals to be put on a pedestal.

Because haven’t the aristocracy and the war leaders had their day in our affection and deference?

So here are is my unscientific list of my favourite statues.

And please let me know who I’ve missed out.

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

Bobby’s boy: With Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh

Well, if Bobby’s tale was good enough for Walt Disney then it’s good enough for me.

Bobby is buried not far from here in Greyfriars Kirk next to his master John Gray on whose grave he slept every night.

And he was then awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

You’re advised though not to kiss his nose for luck as many started doing… it’s not lucky for Bobby as it’s wearing away.

For more on Edinburgh and Scotland visit http://www.edinburgh.org and http://www.visitscotland.com.

And, of course, I always like to flag up ma wee hame country. And here’s a wee sample of what we eat and drink…

With https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/19/hungry-and-thursday-whisky-and-the-water-of-long-life/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/26/hungry-and-thursday-curried-christmas-turkey/

Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruleville, Mississippi

A little big woman: Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi

Sometimes it’s the design that catches you and stops you in your tracks.

And so it is with this remarkable little woman,

The President of the USA, Lydon Baines, Johnson took extraordinary measures in stopping her saying her piece at the Democratic Convention by having television change its schedule.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s life was extraordinary, born into a sharecropping family and picking cotton from the age of six, she was later forced out of her home, threatened with her very life and beaten.

All because she wanted to sign on on the voting register.

She summed up her struggle in the Civil Rights Movement thus, and of course nobody could say it better: ‘I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

Visit www.visitmississippi.org

And why not read my American Trilogy… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/elvispresley-the-king-of-kings/?

Anne Frank, Amsterdam

The flower of youth: Anne Frank in Amsterdam

Us journalists like to think of ourselves as hard-bitten but I had to choke back the tears walking through the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam…. http://www.annefrank.org.

The audio narrative dwelt on a passage in her diary where she mentions that she wants to become a journalist when she’s older.

And what a journalist she would have been… ethical (yes, some of us are), prying and fearless.

Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities and Anne one of history’s greatest figures… http://www.iamsterdam.com.

And here is proof of that… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/pictures-of-amsterdam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/george-and-amal-hotel/

Piss, Prague

Statues should be provocative and the Czechs have this one down to a T.

‘Piss’ is the good people of Prague’s commentary on the politicians who have urinated all over their country.

You’ll not see it here but once the water gets flowing they pee all over the map of the country.

The Czechs as well as being the world’s biggest lager drinkers, per population, with some of the world’s best beers, are wonderfully anti-establishmentarian.

Visit http://www.czechtourism.com and here’s some other musings on the Czech Republic https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/24/czech-it-out-2/

Phil Lynott, Dublin

The boys are back in town: With my old pal Al

There are statues to musical giants all over the world but while former Thin Lizzy lead singer Phil Lynott isn’t the best or most famous singer of them all, try telling that to Dubliners.

It is a tradition now for visitors to Dublin to have their photo taken outside Philo’s statue off the main Grafton Street shopping thoroughfare.

That other statue, the Tart with the Cart, Molly Malone? Well you can leave that to the uninitiated.

And seeing you’ll be in town here is where you want to stay… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-intercontinental-what-a-ledge/

And this site will point you in the direction of other goodies… http://www.visitdublin.com.

Nelson, Bridgetown, Barbados

You can stay: Nelson in Bridgetown

He’s obviously not the only Horatio or the biggest, and as I’ve alluded to already some not too far from here even blew him up.

But he was a survivor, except when he was killed obvs, and he lost an eye and an arm.

Death might even have been a better gig too as he was transported home in a vat of rum… a good way to go and one that the Bajans would have approved of.

Until, of course, his old shipmates drilled a hole in the vat and drunk the rum!

Statues are a controversial subject but my Bajan hosts were keen to tell me that Nelson was part of their story too.

And so ignore the white liberals who like to speak for black people, they’re glad to have him keeping his one eye open on what’s going on in Bim.

For more on Barbados see http://www.visitbarbados.org. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

Martin Luther, Dresden

Closer to God: Martin Luther in Dresden

Some statues can withstand anything.

Martin Luther stood as a defiant symbol of Dresdeners refusal to see their city disappear after the Allies’ firebombing at the end of the Second World War.

The Dresdeners rebuilt the obliterated Frauenkirche sixty years later, after they had got rid of the Communists, using as the plans photographs they had asked the public to send in from their weddings.

Dresden was known as the Florence of the Elbe and it is one of the great architectural stories of our age, or any age, to see how the Dresdeners have rebuilt their city to the same grandeur of its renaissance days.

For more information on Dresden http://www.dresden.de and also take a trip through the ages with me with https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen

With Tom and My Little Princess in Copenhagen

Yes, the Little Mermaid is more visited, but personally I prefer the top-hatted Hans in the heart of Copenhagen.

Hans was an eccentric all right and once decamped on Charles Dickens, walked around the house in the starkers, and made it difficult for Charlie to show him the door.

Very Scandinavian and it just makes me want to revisit Denmark… http://www.visitingcopenhagen.com and digging out my Scandinavian wanderings https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

Nelson Mandela Voting Line, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

March to Freedom: In Port Elizabeth

Statues shouldn’t just stand there. No, really. And this is a moving symbolic Voting Line which sums up South African democracy.

This is our host Sisseko and beside him a kid as he would have been back in 1995 when South Africa had its historic vote.

It is also immersive and you don’t have to climb up a plinth to get next to it as they do in Glasgow when they put police cones on the Duke of Wellington.

It is the way I should imagine that Nelson, a native of the Eastern Cape, would have wanted it.

And for more on South Africa’s Eastern Cape visit http://www.meetyoursouthafrica.net and http://www.southafrica.net. And this is how I tries to do it justice… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/

Martin Luther King, Washington DC

Unfinished business: Martin Luther King in Washington DC

We’ll never stop building statues, of course, and I expect a Bandanaman up in my name when my Travelling days are done.

This statue of Dr Martin Luther King is never meant to be finished though.

Until the Civil Rights struggle has been finally met which, of course, it never will be, alas.

But what genius and how moving. For more on my favourite capital city visit http://Easy DC and http://www.washington.org.

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Hungry and Thursday – curried Christmas Turkey

Yes, it’s a thing here in Ireland where St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day to everyone else) is when they curry the left-over turkey.

Which obviously got us thinking about the no-neck poultry.

You’d think that they’d have a built-in antennae for the time of year when they’re most in danger.

But these guys I met in Tobago www.visittobago.gov.tt on my Caribbean adventures https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/12/07/ready-steady-goat-in-tobago/ seemed totally oblivious.

You see my cooking has come on leap and bound this year…

I even cooked something.!

After being given the recipe for Dahl curry by our hosts G Adventures in Dublin… https://www.gadventures.com/?aw_ag_id=49375547731&aw_kw_id=aud-360242417736:kwd-296402816580&aw_ad_id=297109875494&aw_nw=g&phonecode=PPC_SEM_Brand&gclid=Cj0KCQiArozwBRDOARIsAHo2s7t7hmH99Ist6icPt9oHDzkak2RC_How1OfDnhxuuj7arpD5lLi6X2MaAl0BEALw_wcB.

Of course it’s only a start and nothing like the feasts our Jordanian hosts put on for us… Petra and the sands of time And http://www.visitjordan.com

And in the desert too!

Going underground

With their zarb where they bury meat, veg and rice in a pit in the ground, add lots of embers.

And wrap it in blankets and bury it in sand.

The zarb is put on in the early afternoon and by the evening it is meltingly tender.

Not much call for it though in chilly Greystones here in Ireland.

So where’s the best curry. India? Probably. But remember it is Britain’s national dish.

Curry belongs to Glasgow 

And in Glasgow where there is a big Asian population and where they gave birth to Chicken Tikka Masala.

When Ali Aslam, the owner of the Shish Mahal restaurant http://www.shishmahal.co.uk added tomato soup and some sauces to his chicken curry.

To satisfy a Glasgow bus driver who had sent it back because it was too dry.

Scottish and Sub-Continental fusion is a definite thing.

Which I knew about being of the Caledonian variety myself I belong to Glasgow but with which I renewed acquaintance…

Piping hot

When I visited the World Pipe Band Championships… https://www.theworlds.co.uk

In ma wee hame toon Glasgow https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/visiting/top-reasons-to-visit-glasgow and https://www.visitscotland.com.

The perfect fusion between Scot and the Sub-Continent is in fact in the Sub-Continent.

Or more precisely with the Sri Lankan staff on the Maldives with Island… Atoll tale – the Maldives and http://www.kuramathi.com And http://www.kandolhu.com

Where I played cricket, of sorts, and football (chased shadows).

And, of course tucked into their food which comes from everywhere.

Although I might arrange for them to get some Irn-Bru shipped in.

And now that we’re well into the Christmas drinking… here, by popular demand, Jocktails, your favourite Cocktail column by your Scottish cocktail guru.

And this is a reminder of what we’ve got in the bar… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/01/jocktails-the-strawberry-daiquiri/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/15/jocktails-bajan-monkey/

While try out https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/29/jocktails-mimosas/

MEET YOU IN THE BAR

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This Sporting Weekend – Darts

Imaugural World Darts champion Leighton Rees’s fleshy jowls broke into the widest smile.

And no wonder, the Wales team he was captaining had just seen off Scotland in the Home Internationals at Cardiff.

A rookie reporter, I was thrilled to have grabbed the big man for a quick word.

Of course I didn’t understand a word of what he said.

But worryingly neither did he… he was speaking Welsh and when I asked him what he had said he just shrugged those big shoulders.

The World Championships have come a long way since Leighton’s 1978 triumph.

And just this week Fallon Sherrock became the first woman to win a World Championship match to a thunderous reception from the London crowd…

Welsh wizards

My meeting with larger-than-life Leighton Rees was just one highlight from a year in the Welsh capital.

Like the best of friends we often take them for granted and Ireland’s nearest neighbour, Wales, www.visitwales.com falls into that category.

But the ferry journey across to Holyhead is legendary and, of course, has been immortalised in song.

As would happen both combine with the launch of Stena’s www.stenaline.com new ferry from Dublin mid-January, Estrid.

Because my old pal, none other than PR Michael Rafferty of the Handsome Princes, promotes Stena.

Now that’s worth singing about.

Of course the smart money is on Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Dutch masters

Now the Netherlands has some great pubs and they are big Anglophiles so I suppose it makes sense that they love their darts.

Raymond Van Barnevelt retired after being knocked out of the World Championships but having secured his place in the game’s pantheon.

The thing is though that those narrow Dutch bars don’t leave much room for anything else than an oche.

Here’s more shenanigans on Amsterdam… Two lips from AmsterdamPictures of AmsterdamGeorge Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel

And www.iamsterdam.com.

Now, I could go on and on about my darts brushes.

Bristow and I

Like the time I played the late, great Eric ‘The Crafty Cockney’ Bristow.

And he beat me, kneeling down and with his back away from the board.

But I won’t.

And will only leave you with my memory of an even earlier sports interview with the heroic Sid Waddell when I was in Aberdeen… www.visitscotland.com

Who repeated his praise of Bristow: ‘When Alexander of Macedonia was 33 he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Bristow’s only 27.’

MEET YOU ON THE OCHE

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Hungry and Thursday – Whisky and the water of long life

The oldest person in the UK died this year at the grand age of 112.

And one only hopes that St Peter had a tumbler of whisky waiting for her when she arrived at the Pearly Gates.

Grace Jones attributed her longevity to uisce baitha, ‘the water of life’.

She took a Famous Grouse Scotch whisky every day with the blessings of her doctor.

She began the habit when she was 50 (why so late?).

All of which gives me ammunition if the Scary One pulls me up over my nightly dram.

Now I often get asked if it’s Scotch or Irish for me.

To which the diplomatic (and truthful) answer is: Both!

I’m reminded of a wedding guest I met at a friend’s nuptials.

We got talking about where we’d been on holiday and shared our experiences of Islay.

An island off Scotland which you can view from the North of Ireland.

And crucially has eight distilleries which for a population of 3,228 means one for every 430 people.

I asked the wedding guest if she had visited any of them on her travels and felt a little silly when she informed me that she was a whisky taster.

Hiding my jealousy, I asked if she chose specific whiskies depending upon her mood and the weather.

And she regaled me with a story of her visiting a rough and ready bar in Edinburgh’s port town of Leith.

Which she dropped in on on a cold and wet winter night.

The portly Fiftysomething barman asked her what she wanted to drink.

Jocks on the rocks: Tom Sweeney and me

And when she said ‘whisky’ he suggested ‘is that not a bit strong, dearie?’

To which my new friend rasped back by giving him tasting notes on all the bottles of whisky on the top shelf. Back of the net!

While you’re in Edinburgh best check out The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile https://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk

The world’s whiskies

Now I try the whiskies of the world wherever I find them and have become particularly partial to bourbon and rye from visiting Washington http://Easy DC and my cousin’s husband (he hails from Kentucky).

While here in Ireland there’s whiskey under your nose with https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/11/whiskey-irish-for-whisky/ and of course Scotland http://www.visitscotland.comwhere it was invented https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/.http://www.tourismireland.com

And in my popular drinks column which will return… it takes research! https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/12/jocktails-whisky/

Of course there have been strange places where I’ve discovered whisky and none stranger than at the top of the Swiss Alps…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/swhisskey/

And visit www.myswitzerland.com to learn more about this and that cool (well, it would be) ice bar.

MEET YOU IN THE BAR

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Fireworks

They hail from China, herald in the New Year, mark the burning of a Catholic traitor and are banned in southern Ireland.

And fireworks will be lit all over the UK tonight to commemorate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

That was when a group of disenchanted Catholic noblemen attempted to blow up Parliament and the Protestant British monarch James I.

Swizzle: Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com

Now a bit of back story here about Jazza (as he’s never been known, probably more of a Jacques which is why Scots are called Jocks).

James had reason to be more afraid of gunpowder than the next man (and who doesn’t jump when a cannon goes off?)

Because his mum Mary, Queen of Scots (the real one, not that awful Saoirse Ronan version) blew up her Dad Henry, Lord Darnley.

That would tend to do it.

Anyhoos, fireworks.

I’ve seen a few, though few compare to home when I don’t make the bed properly or plump up the cushions.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle: Get the fireworks going

Every Hogmanay (it’s Scottish for New Year’s Eve) there is a fireworks display and a series of concerts.

You can actually set your clock by it.

Which is why a fellow journalist wrote it up in advance of the event.

In the eye of the storm

The only thing is that this would be the one year when an electric storm would lead to it being cancelled.

Embra is one of the great cities, was my home for ten years, and may yet be again.

Ryanair www.ryanair.com and Aer Lingus http://www.aerlingus.com both fly there. And Visit Scotland www.visitscotland.com will sort you out.

Disney

Light up, light up

The Happiest Place on Earth does fireworks spectacularly.

You’d be disappointed really if it was a damp squib, which incidentally is a firework.

Mickey’s mates

I looked out on the nightly pyrotechnics on the parks from my billet at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando www.fourseasons.com. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/en_GB/?CMP=OKC-wdw_themeparks_gmap_421

Here’s how it all went down with me and The Donald in Florida… Why I love The Donald.

I caught up again with the big-mouthed one in Anaheim this year…

Where I partied with Mickey and the gang.

Dresden

Ah, the Elbe

Fire is an elemental force that we must always handle with care

The fireworks over the River Elbe on our evening cruise were illuminating.

Dresden’s party

All the more so as this city has been burnt by fire, the Allied airmen’s firebombs in the Second World War razing the Saxon Venice to the ground.

That the Dresdeners rebuilt their city exactly how it used to be marks it down

As one of the most remarkable stories of modern urban planning… Dresden’s renaissance. And https://www.dresden.de/en/tourism/tourism.php.

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Cruiseday Tuesday – Scotland is Arctic

It can feel positively Arctic in Scotland so it should come as little surprise that Scotland is being billed as part of an Arctic cruise… with our old friends G Adventures.

G Adventures http://www.gadventures.com will be hosting us tonight in Dublin to reveal more of their wares as part of their G Stock Live road trip.

And I will be able to speak to them about their product with more authority (no comments, please) having been their guests in Jordan earlier this year…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/

Of course they cover the Seven Seas too and their Galapagos Islands and Cambodia packages from their current sale randomly jumped out at me.

My fjord escort: My own wee Troll

As did their 16-day Cruise the Norwegian Fjords with Scottish Highlands package for May 17.

Which is reduced from €4899 to €4164.

Starting in Tromso, the gateway to the Arctic you’ll travel as far north as Nordkopp where the Atlantic and the Arctic Seas meet before hopping your way down the fjords.

And believe me they are full of myth and majesty as we found out…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/

Light up, light up. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You’ll pop in Shetland Islands, the most northerly point in the UK, whose nearest train station is Bergen in Norway, before finishing off in Edinburgh.

Heck, the Shetland Islands used to be Norwegian before being given to Scotland in a dowry in 1472.

Every day’s a school day on Cruiseday Tuesday!

Tenerife… I’ll be back

The beautiful Garachico. On Tenerife

The sharp Norwegian winter air is bracing but if you prefer a winter warmer…

Then TUI has seven nights on January 17 in an inside cabin on the Marella Explorer from €879pps.

For more on the Canarian Flavours package visit https://www.tuiholidays.ie. Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store / travel agent.

A toast to the Canaries

Unless you’ve been hiding under a stone you’ll know that I’ve been in Tenerife this autumn.

Where I learned a whole lot of stuff… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/

Just promise me you’ll drink some of the Shakespearean wine, the Malvasia.

And a stroll on the island

And eat some of their wrinkled potatoes with mojo mojo sauce!

Now if you like your TUI cruise, and why wouldn’t you, why not try Canaria Ways’ http://www.CanariaWays.com and read all about https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/tenerife-walk/

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This Sporting Weekend – Solheim Cup

Golfing widows were a staple of Ronnie Corbett and Tom O’Connor stories.

Female drivers too – in fact it was probably the same lame joke.

Of course women are just as able to hit a wee white ball into a wee hole, sometimes even more able.

Sizing it up: Europe and the US

Wednesday afternoons for my Dear Old Dad and Mum were spent on the golf course.

Where my Dad would try to hit the skin off the ball… and end up in the thistle and the gorse.

And my Mum would drive straight down the middle.

It’s a long way up: For the US

Though she did confirm to Ronnie Corbett’s stereotype on the road by swaying everywhere.

The eyes of the golfing world are on its finest women players this week.

As Europe and the USA battle it out for the Solheim Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland.

We’re on ur way: Europe

Captaining Europe is North Berwick’s Catriona Matthew.

And she is as strong a buttress as the Law, or rock, that stands proudly in the Firth of Forth.

And which I know only too well with the Outlaws living on its doorstep.

Scotland’s ‘Golf Coast’ covers 21 golf courses along 30 miles of coastline in the hinterland of Edinburgh.

But the Americans are glum

While, of course Gleneagles in Perthshire further north is something of a lucky charm for Europe’s golfers.

With Paul McGinley’s men’s team winning there in 2014.

Where to find your golf

Catch these websites for more information www.golfeastlothian.com, www.gleneagles.com and www.scotlandgolf.com, http://www.northberwick.org.uk.

And www.visitscotland.com.

And if you want to see how it should be done, er, here’s me at the Paul McGinley school in Quinto da Lago in Portugal https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/12/sportugal/.

I’ll be looking out for you and your cup Catriona when I’m over in North Berwick seeing the Outlaws.

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Saturday night’s all right… for Ryanair

Message to Michael O’Leary… I watch the football on TV on a Saturday.

I think you’ll understand although tonight it’s not your beloved Manchester City but that pesky Liverpool side.

Who seem the only team who can give you a game.

Just so you know though about my schedule the next time you extend your seat sale.

Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com has €25 off return flights on 150,000 seats for travel for September-December. But the deadline is midnight tonight.

Now, I’m noticing too that you’re flagging up on your first page Edinburgh, a city I love, and spent ten years in, before decamping to Ireland.

Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is usual to promote Edinburgh ahead of Glasgow, my home city, but both should have equal billing in my mind.

Which reminds me of the two Glaswegians who had a poke at their Edinburgh ‘friends’ when they turned up in the Scottish capital’s main street, Princes Street, in 1990.

They were wearing sandwich boards with arrows saying: ‘You are only 46 miles from the European City of Culture’.

Iconic sight: Yes, the Duke of Wellington statue, but mostly Mum and I

Glasgow and Edinburgh are €9.99 one-way. I guess you have to do the math for the overall package otherwise they’d be literally paying you to travel!

Here is my love letter to Glasgow https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/. Although I am not blind to its blinkered attitudes to some things https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/31/sporting-weekend-old-firm-madness/.

And the website you should go to for all things Scottish http://www.visitscotland.com.

It’s the other British destinations that are pegged at under a tenner.

Barcelona, a song in my heart

But for a bit more spare change you can get out to Barcelona… for €14.99.

And when you’re out there you may want to pop by this restaurant, not far from La Rambla…

And see why Barcelona is cruising city (no, not that kind) but a port full of big ships https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/23/surfing-the-seas-in-barcelona/

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Sporting weekend – Old Firm madness

It was one of the mainstays of my childhood, so much so that I made a career out of writing about it… the Glasgow Old Firm football match.

Between Celtic and Rangers… just for those who don’t know.

The two tribes go to war on Sunday, and unfortunately that is not a euphemism.

On average one person gets killed, actually killed, not Glasgow slang, surrounding this match every time the two teams meet.

As a cub reporter training with Reading

Which they have been doing since 1888.

Being of the Catholic variety I grew up supporting Celtic.

And that despite my Dear Old Dad’s efforts to guide me away from them.

Not because he had not been a supporter. How could he not?

He was born within spitting distance of Celtic Park.

No, it’s a Sporting Lisbon top

And his great-uncles had helped build the original stadium.

It was just that he knew the religious problems associated with Celtic, the club created by Irish monks for the poor immigrants of the East End of Glasgow.

And the Establishment Scottish Protestant club, Rangers.

Neutral stance

And so I remember there being three football tops in the sports room of our house, Clyde, Kilmarnock and Hibernian.

Alas, going to a Catholic school (yes, only in Scotland, and Northern Ireland are kids separated by their same religion) pushed me towards Celtic.

And being raised in a Catholic bubble I never met a Rangers supporter until my life took a different turn.

It’s only a game

When I had a disagreement with my school and ended up going to the local Protestant school.

And kudos to my Dad for doing what was best for me educationally.

I have mentioned it before but the tolerance and welcome I had there was an education… in life.

And so to this weekend’s big game.

A football disease

The Old Firm is the tag given to Celtic and Rangers on account that the bigotry was seen as being in the financial interests of both.

Things have changed, and for the better, over the years.

With Rangers’ unofficial policy of not signing Catholics now 31 years in the past.

And yet, both Rangers and Celtic fans cling to their ‘traditions’ of support for the Protestant and Catholic sides of the Northern Ireland and Scottish divide.

They manifest this with flags, symbols, songs and antagonism and violence to the opposite side.

Yet it is seen as an unpalatable truism that it can never be changed.

While there have been great efforts and successes in England against racism, it is considered impossible by some that we weed out the bigots in Scotland.

An impossible problem?

There are just too many of them, we are told.

And every time these two monsters of the Scottish game meet the morbid fascination for them is raised to fever pitch.

And the commentariat wax lyrical about it being the ‘greatest derby of them all.’

My pal Billy, and Fenella

I’ve been to enough of them to say categorically that it is not, for spectacle, skill or fervour.

But there will be plenty who disagree. And I welcome that.

Just maybe not mention my religion, though, and I won’t mention yours.

And Julie didn’t care about the football scarf

Because there are, in fact, people who support both sides who don’t.

And many of them my very good friends.

But for a better impression of my home city https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/.

And for the best wee country in the world… all of the above aside…. http://www.visitscotland.com.