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150-year-old stone cottage

This man (who wishes to remain unnamed) is a builder and his grandfather lived in this stone cottage. It's typical Irish construction, a dry stone wall whitewashed on the outside is protection from the weather. He guessed that it was built in the 1800s. we had a great conversation about building, the Internet, and living on the sea for about 10 minutes. Wonderful to run across a kindred spirit.

The Gallarus Oratory

It was a gray, overcast/sunny day when I peered up over a hedge and saw this little building. It stopped me in my tracks. It was built 1300 years ago at the South-eastern corner of Smerwick Harbor on the Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry, on the central west coast of Ireland. It's about 24 feet long by 15 feet wide by 15 feet high. The stones are laid at an angle so they shed rain. I fall in love with buildings from time to time, and this is right at the top of the list. I hung around for an hour and a half and shot over 100 photos. I'm sure there's a lot of information online about it. I'll post some more photos, including some panoramas showing the encircling stone walls, when I have time.

Irish window number one

The Golden Hinde Replica in London

It was a thrill to see this replica of Francis Drake's flagship in London (docked in St Mary Overie Dock near the
Tate Modern Museum), to think that this little ship circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580 (and sailed right by our home town in Northern California). These sailors/navigators/priates not only sailed the world, but pillaged other ships, with no motors, just the wind.

Masonry Detail in London

Homemade Door Closer

Kees Kramer, a cabinet maker in Bantry, Ireland, rigged up this door closer with a water-filled bottle. A piece of plastic clothesline cord runs from an eyehook at the top left of the door to an eyehook shown at top right on the jamb. Push the door open and the bottle goes up; leave the door open and the ball goes down, and it closes automatically. Vary the amount of water in the bottle to get the right weight. (This is the same principle that Lloyd House uses to lift his boat out of the water in British Columbia, as shown in Builders of the Pacific Coast.)

More Brilliance From HBO

This is so cool and witty:
Click on the message, ("Click here for more than you imagined")

Then go here so to see new territory in moving visual media:
Be sure to rotate the cube so you see the scene from eight different angles.

On the west coast of Ireland

Kinsale, Co. Cork
Skibbereen, Co. Cork

Ryanair: Airline from Hell

This airline represents a degradation in the human spirit. You feel degraded through the whole process, they are so sleazy and nasty. They charged us 40 pounds ($65) apiece (!) to issue boarding tickets at the airport. Being as we were checking in on line from a hotel, we had no access to a printer. They get away with this chickenshit practice because here you are at the airport, checked out of your hotel, and needing to get to your destination. What can you do? $130 for boarding passes for two people who were already checked in. Can you believe this?

Their weight allowance is way lower than other airlines, which they don't make clear. My bag weighed 20 kg & their max was 15. How much for overage? £5 pounds per kilo, i.e. £25 ($40). Naturally I loaded it all into my by-now heavy backpack. The Englishman next to me on the flight (from Gatwick (London) to Cork (Ireland) said "They're a rip off," and told me about an old lady they were once trying to charge 200 pounds for excess baggage.

Everything about the check-in process, the flight, and dealing with these dispirited and often rude employees is a bummer. They're like McDonalds or KFC. Their prices are cheap and their products are shit. When you look them up on the Internet, you find out what they're really up to. Check these quotes from Wikipedia:

"The airline has come under heavy criticism in the past, for its poor treatment of disabled passengers. In 2002, it refused to provide wheelchairs for disabled passengers at London Stansted Airport..."//"In January, following a BBC investigation, Ryanair conceded that a claim it had cut its CO2 emissions by half in recent years was "an error."//"Ryanair has been described by the consumer magazine, Holiday, as being the "worst offender" for charging for optional extras."//The Economist newspaper wrote that Ryanair's "cavalier treatment of passengers" had given Ryanair "a deserved reputation for nastiness" and that the airline '…has become a byword for appalling customer service ... and jeering rudeness towards anyone or anything that gets in its way.'"//"New Ryanair aircraft have been delivered with leather seats which do not recline, no seat-back pockets, safety cards stuck on the back of the seats and life jackets stowed overhead rather than under the seat."

Don't patronize these sleazeballs. Tell your friends.