Tag Archives: Waffle

ziaja-ft
May. 27.

Waffle Wednesday: Things You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Trans Person

ww-logo-thThere is a video currently doing the rounds of internet land, that was originally made by BBC Three’s Free Speech programme, entitled Things You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Trans Person (But Probably Shouldn’t) that has popped up in my timeline a couple of times in the past two days. It was on The Journal today (where I engaged in the comments, which are a dark soulless place – bad Robyn, don’t read the comments, you know that!), and it does pose an interesting question as to just what is and isn’t okay to ask.

Looking at some of the questions included in the video, you have to wonder just what some people are thinking in believing it is okay to ask these things. Let’s be honest, if you were to go up to a woman at random and say “Can I feel your boobs?” you’ll be lucky to get away with just a slap around the face. Why should someone who is trans* be any different? Likewise, how do you have sex? If that is your opening line, you better have much more than your charming personality to go with, because it alone is letting you down. There seems to be an attitude that trans* people are at best curiosities, and at works (as put by one commenter on The Journal) creatures, seemingly beneath basic human rights and boundaries. That is very much not the case.

That said though, I do believe that sometimes asking questions, in the right way, and at the right time, is acceptable. If you are asking for the right reasons, to learn and understand what trans* people go through, then I wouldn’t mind answering them, and I’m sure most trans* people would be the same. (Some questions may be off limits unless you are really close though). And so, if it helps anyone, here are my answers (though they’re probably nowhere near as good as the ones of the people in the video!)

  • When did you decide to be transgender? I never really decided. I just am, though to give something, I suppose I became aware of it in my mid teens.
  • Have you had the op? Medical questions, woo! I’ve been through so many ops now that I lose track of them, but the ones you are thinking about, no. Patience, grasshopper!
  • Which bathroom do you use? The one that is there when I need to pee. Which one do you use?
  • How do you have sex? In bed with the person I love. Get to know me better and ask again.
  • Are you a drag queen? No. I don’t have the makeup skills for the eyes and contouring.
  • Are you sure you aren’t just gay? Gender and sexuality are two completely different things, with infinite different stops on each scale. Variety is the spice of life after all. Wouldn’t life get boring if we were all the same.
  • Can I see a picture? If you know me well enough to see a picture, great. If not, too bad. There’s not much difference, except for my being much more fabulous.
  • Can I feel your boobs? Can I feel yours? No – then don’t be such a tit and stop asking stupid questions.
  • I can tell you used to be a man/woman – Well good for you, but the thing is I don’t really care. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, move along.
  • I never know what to call them – he/she/they? This is quite simple. If you see a woman you use she. If you see a man – he. If you’re unsure, they is gender neutral and works great until you politely ask. That should clear up and issues. If in doubt, ask. We don’t bite (much)
  • Do you think you’ll ever go back? Happiness is everything. Why go back to being unhappy?

As I said, there are some questions there that should really never be asked. I know curiosity may get the better of you, but stopping for a second and thinking whether you would reasonably ask a cisgender person the same thing will give you a pretty good basis for asking or not.

I must also say thank you to BBC Three for putting together the video, and for their respondants for giving such excellent answers!

Robyn

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Tree
Dec. 06.

Something Else Saturday: The Christmas Tag

ses-tree-thI’ve been tagged by two people to do the Christmas Tag, namely Amy from Red Lips;Red Hair, and Sam from All The Buzz. As I love these ladies so so much I really couldn’t say no. It’s very simple. There are 10 questions about Christmas, and I answer them. Easy peasy!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?

Usually, with so many people crowded into the house at Christmas, it is very difficult to watch anything, as someone else grabs the remote every 5 minutes. That said, I do like Die Hard (It’s set at Christmas, so it’s a Christmas movie) and I also enjoyed The Santa Clause & Home Alone when I was younger.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or on Christmas morning?

Open presents on Christmas Eve?!?! HAHA they’re usually only being wrapped on Christmas Eve! That’s how organised I am! They never stay wrapped for long though, being opened again on Christmas Morning.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

As children, we would usually be awake at about 4.30 on Christmas Morning, inevitably waking up the grinchy uncle who had only gone to bed within the previous hour. Somehow we would occupy ourselves with Christmas Stockings for 60-90 minutes, while trying not to wake grinchy uncle (again) before waiting on the stairs for my dad to clean up reindeer droppings and eventually declare the sitting room open.

4. Favourite Christmas food

The Christmas Pudding, which is generally made in batches of 6 in the house. One is consumed when it is just made. One a couple of days later. Two more are sacrificed over the 25th and 26th, with another one around new year’s. One may survive long enough to be hidden and be left to mature in a bottle of whisky for a year, before being eaten. Yum!

5. Favourite Christmas gift

Being an almost Christmas baby (December 18th) I was very lucky to be given, as a combined 21st birthday/Christmas present from my parents, a ticket to the middle of the United States, so I could spend Valentine’s Day with my then girlfriend, who was 4,068 miles away.

6. Favourite Christmas scent

The combined smells of Christmas Pudding and my mum’s sage and onion sausagemeat stuffing cooking. It makes everyone gather in the kitchen, which is really too small to allow people to gather, so we are all promptly thrown out again.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Our Christmas Eve Tradition is very simple. Stay out of the kitchen, lest ye get smacked around the head with a wooden spoon. Aside from that, usually go and collect grinchy uncle from the airport (except for 2010, where I drew the short straw and had to drive through the snow to collect him from the ferryport. He’s a professional driver, while I had not long been in possession of my first car).

8. What tops your tree?

A bird box, but don’t tell Coillte. Seriously though, a star tops the tree. The same one that has done for about 2 decades now.

9. As a kid, what was the one extravagant gift you asked for but never got?

With so many kids in the house, extravagant was never an option. We never asked, and were never disappointed!

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

A combination of the food, as I do really REALLY love excellent food (just ask my waistline), and the family getting along with each other for a while. Having everyone together, and happy is a great thing!

And there you have it, my Christmas Tag. Once again, thank you to Amy and Sam, and as I can’t think of anyone specific to tag that hasn’t already done it, I’m going to leave it open. If you like what you’ve seen, go for it!

Robyn

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hospitalbed
Nov. 05.

Waffle Wednesday: A Frustrating Hospital Update

ww-bedthAnyone who has been following me on Facebook or Twitter, or who has been reading Robyn Rants and Raves for a while knows about my adventures in healthcare, and mid to late October saw another chapter written in the ongoing saga. Unfortunately it has not been a good chapter.

If you didn’t already know, I spent 5 weeks in hospital late last year, after discovering a problem with my kidneys and bladder (we’re rapidly approaching the 1 year anniversary). The bladder has been sorted, and in March we discovered the cause of the kidney problem – a polyp causing an obstruction. It was minor, and they were willing to wait and take a look at it again in July.

July turned in to October after 4 cancellations, but in mid October they finally got me back in to look at things again, and it had gotten worse. It is now a more serious problem, as it is completely obstructing the kidney.

The doctors suddenly decided that things must be done. Within an hour of getting home from the hospital that day I had a phone call giving me a date just on the opposite side of the weekend to bring me back in. That didn’t happen, but it did happen that week, on the Friday, for urgent intervention with the aim of protecting the kidney. Even that didn’t go perfectly. They were able to complete one part, but not the other. Cue a weekend of sitting in a room doing nothing. A LONG long weekend of doing nothing over the bank holiday. On the Tuesday they decided that yes they wanted to try again, and did try the next day. And again it didn’t work out. So they sent me home, with the aim of trying again next week.

So, the current plan is to being me back in on Tuesday, with the aim of trying yet again on Wednesday. After that, I have no idea what will happen.

This is where things get frustrating. It is rapidly approaching a year since this all began. A year where I have had to put things on hold. A year of not being able to plan ahead, not knowing when the hospital would want me again.

Then there is the lack of communication. I have been taking quite an interest in my treatment. I find it helps to have some idea of what has been done, and what still needs to be done. The medical team this time around seem a little unwilling to actually discuss things, and in the most recent stay, I didn’t speak to my consultant, even to have him say hello.

And of course there is the feeling of going backwards. These interventions have been done before, deemed to no longer be needed, and taken out. Now we are putting them back in. This doesn’t seem any closer to a resolution.

To know we are getting closer to the job finally being done, to being able to get my life back on track is all I want. Physically I am better than I was this time last year. I can put up with the poking and prodding and sticking things in me to try and do something. Mentally, however, I am suffering. It is not easy being unwell. If you haven’t experienced it, I hope you never do. If you have, this probably makes too much sense.

My GP today said something to help, a little bit of good news to remember. At least the polyp is benign.

That’s it. Stay optimistic. Keep the chin up. I’ll get through it eventually.

Robyn

P.S. This is also the reason for my sporadic posting in the past couple of weeks. Trying to juggle getting things ready for the hospital, being in there and blogging is difficult. I’ll try to do what I can though.

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poseidon2
Oct. 08.

Waffle Wednesday: There’s Something In The Water

ww-fish-thOkay, I may as well say it now. This is not a post about Irish Water or water charges. I’m not going to get involved in that discussion. Instead I am going to talk about something else in the water. Something moving, something swimming. Something fishy.

Years ago, as I child I remember keeping a pet goldfish. He was won at the fair, and was put into a pudding bowl of water, expecting only to last a week with him. He lasted several years. Then someone gave the family a gift of a large, 4 foot long fish tank, lights, stand, the works. Just add fish. So we did, and at maximum capacity we had 24 fish of different colours, shapes and sizes. Again we had the fish for years quite happily, until somehow the tank got chipped, leaked and the fish died. And that was that, until recently.

Lir

Lir, the Lionhead Ranchu

I had been thinking about keeping fish again for a while. For one, I find it incredibly soothing to watch fish. I could spend hours staring at them, watching them do their thing, and be content doing it (both me and the fish). It is also a great way of learning about the management of them. Childhood me was wrong about just putting a fish in a bowl of tap water it seems. There are so many procedures to work through to get everything set up before you even think about fish. But I found myself a tank, the right equipment, water additives and decorations, set them up, and a few days later got some fish.

poseidon2

Poseidon, The Fantail Goldfish

In adding fish to the tank I went for three species, a Lionhead Ranchu, which is like a golf ball with no fin on his back and a flowing tail, and two fantail goldfish, which are like normal goldfish, except a little fatter and they have a double tail. These were called Lir, Poseidon and Amphitrite, after Gods and Goddesses of the sea.

amphitrite2

Amphitrite, The Fantail Goldfish

Then there was 6 White Cloud Mountain Minnows, which look like little silver streaks, with vibrant red tails. There was no way I was going to be able to tell them apart, so I just collectively called them the Minions, as a play on words of minnow, and as they were going to be under control of the Goldfish Gods.

minions

The (White Cloud Mountain) Minions

Or so I thought. Things didn’t work out that way. I am not sure whether it was through poor quality fish, or poor set up and care on my part, but Lir, the Ranchu, died within 36 hours. Poseidon and Amphitrite followed between one and two days later. It was gutting to think that as a clueless kid, I kept goldfish quite happily in a bowl of tap water, but when I try to do things properly, things turned into a disaster. I was fortunate enough that where I got the goldfish from offered me a credit note for them (and a lecture on how I must be doing things wrong) but it was still not a pleasant experience.

Unfortunately too, I lost one of the Minions around the same time, but I believe that was accidental where the poor thing swam into the base of a decorative plant and got stuck. By the time I found him again the next day it was too late. Since then though things have settled down, the remaining 5 minions have settled in, and yesterday, just under two weeks after the disaster I was able to add in a few more fishy friends, in the form of 6 Zebra Danios, which “look like the stripy toothpaste” as blogger and fish lover Amy from Red Lips; Red Hair put it. They’ve come to be known as The Herd (zebras come in herds, and that’s enough logic for me).

It is good to see some life in the tank again, as while it is a fairly modest desktop tank, the fish are only small too. The Herd add a lot of playfulness to the tank, as they can always be seen chasing each other, or the Minions around. Feeding time too is a joy to watch, as once the food hits the water the whole lot explode into action, leading to a minute of total craziness before they start settling down again. Below is a video of feeding time if you don’t believe me!

Do you, or have you kept fish? Are you more of a furry four legged, eight legged or snake fan? Please do let me know!

Robyn

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top10-all
Oct. 05.

Something Else Saturday: Top Ten Tag

top10-thYes I know it’s Sunday, but I was lazy and sore yesterday so you’ll just have to live with my slightly delayed Something Else Saturday post, as requested by Nicholle Bartlett, who two weeks ago tagged me to do the Top Ten Tag. If I have this right, there are 10 makeup categories, and I pick my top product from each. Seems simple enough, so lets get into the products!

Foundation – Max Factor Skin Luminizer

top10-foundation

Since arriving on my desk this has become a firm favourite of mine. It is a great light shade, isn’t too sheer or too heavy, and lasts really well!

Concealer – Benefit Fake Up

top10-concealer

This is great for use where there are spots or dark circles on my face (read: everywhere). It is hydrating, creamy, and works really well in connection with my foundation to even things up.

Powder – Benefit Hello Flawless

top10-powder

This could nearly be considered as another foundation, but I love layering it on top of foundations or BB creams as a setting powder. It has a little colour in it, mattifies and keeps my face in place FOREVER!

Blush – NYC Cheek Glow

top10-blush

Perfect for a sheer, buildable pop of colour, these really do add a glow to your cheeks.

Bronzer – Physicians formula Season to Season

top10-bronzer

It’s 4 shades of bronzer in one, all of which are lovely on their own or mixed. What more do you want?

Highlighter – MeMeMe Beat The Blues

top10-highlighter

Bigger, cheaper and possibly better than High Beam. Enough said!

Mascara – Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes

top10-mascara

I got this during the Debenhams €10 offer and it is genuinely lovely. Maybe I don’t use it often enough though, as I am always looking for new products to slather on my face!

Eyeshadow – Sleek iDivine Palette Range

top10-shadow

I have the limited edition Celestial palette here, but generally, just get your hands on as many of these babies as you can and be happy!

Brows – Maybelline Brow Drama

top10-brows

With this my *sigh* brows become WOWS in seconds. The medium brown shade I use is perfect for daytime wear, when I don’t want my brows to be over the top. Just brush it in and be done!

Lips – Wet n Wild Megalast Range

top10-lips

Specifically here I have Cherry Bomb and Sugar Plum Fairy, which I got before I knew they were dupes for MAC. Either way they are intensely pigmented and last so well. Cheap as chips too. Result :-)

And that’s my top 10. I think there is a good mix of budget and higher end products there, which shows that sometimes budget can be better.

Of course, this is a tag, so I tag:

What do you think of my choices? Agree or disagree or just think I am an idiot? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Robyn

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hospitalbed
Sep. 24.

Waffle Wednesday: Yet Another Hospital Rant

ww-hospitalthWell, it’s time for another one of those posts where I talk about hospitals (I’m making a habit of it). As you may know I was in hospital for 5 weeks before Christmas, than again for a couple of days at the end of March, and since then I have been waiting. Well I am going to rant a little about still waiting.

I was told at the start of April that I have an issue affecting one of my kidneys. It’s minor, and they wanted to look at it again before deciding what to do about it. So they gave me an appointment to repeat some tests in July. July came and went. All I got was a letter to say it had been rescheduled until the start of September. I later found out that it was because my consultant had been called away for a time. It happens. I wasn’t entirely happy but I persevered.

The start of September came. I got a phone call going through the standard 101 questions that would be asked time and time again, was told that it was going ahead and all was good. Then I got another phone call saying that the theatre wasn’t available for when I was scheduled and it was postponed again. I couldn’t really give out to the admissions secretary, as it was not her fault, but I was quite annoyed. I think that is understandable for me to be unhappy. Having it cancelled once is unfortunate. Having it cancelled twice is a pain.

Well, let’s figure out what is about to be said. It’s the 24th, and I’m writing this about an appointment for the 22nd. You can guess that it was cancelled yet again. This is just getting ridiculous. Again after being told it was all good and it was going ahead, I got a phone call. About 12 hours before I was due in the hospital I got a call from the on call registrar calling it off. He told me that he would have called me sooner but there was difficulty finding my contact details, and that because of a number of cases arriving in over the weekend mine was cancelled.

The trouble I have isn’t solely with it being cancelled again. It’s with what it is doing to my head. I am sick of waiting for this. I am sick of getting myself ready, being told that it is going ahead, only to have it called off. I am sick of what feels like being fobbed off with excuses.

Is it too much to ask for to actually get things done? To know that there is further work required or that it is something that can be left as is? I want to be able to get myself sorted out, back doing something, and not just waiting around waiting to do something.

All I know at the moment is that the appointment has been rescheduled for early October, yet still another 2 weeks away. Again I have been told that it is not going to be cancelled, but bitter experience has taught me that until I’m actually there, that being told it’s not going to be cancelled means nothing.

Robyn

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broadsheet-bluetit
Sep. 11.

Waffle Wednesday: Yes, I do Have Nice Tits

broadsheet-bluetit-thFirst things first. For those of you who found this link looking at a Google search for tits, there, in the circle is an image of a blue tit. I am not however going to show you my tits. Away with you now. For those of you who are staying, this is going to turn into a bit of a feminist rant about comment sections.

Normally I follow the standard rule of “don’t read the comments”. This is especially true of sites like the Daily Mail (though I just wouldn’t read that website) and the Guardian, where comment threads can become quite heated, albeit quite intelligent at times. I do though enjoy reading the posts from Broadsheet and the Daily Edge. They do cover serious topics at times, and the discussion can become quite heated, but mostly they are a bit more light hearted, and the comments can be a good laugh at times. I have been known to join in too, on occasion. And so I did join in last night on a topic about Michael O’Leary taking delivery of the first of his new batch of aircraft at Dublin Airport from Boeing.

A bit of background. I freely admit I am an airplane geek. I’ve done several lessons, both here and in the States. I’ve gone through the assessments to be an airline pilot, including a simulator test where I was told in the debrief that I showed excellent abilities, but knew the book too well. It did lead to an interview with Flybe for a cadetship. I’ve done work experience in the hangers of Dublin Airport, working on an overhaul of a Ryanair aircraft. And 9 year old me got into an argument with Boeing at one of the biggest air shows in the world over one of their large scale models being wrong (I was right). In short, I know a thing or two about planes.

broadsheet-1

So, when someone left a comment asking why Ryanair didn’t support European manufacturers and buy Airbus aircraft, I left what I thought was a logical answer, involving the costs of changing things too much.

broadsheet-2

This is where the feminist rant comes in, for someone else (not the original commenter) left a completely different response to my answer. Don’t get me wrong, someone calling me out and saying “You’re wrong, and here’s why” I can completely accept. But this comment? I didn’t know whether to laugh at it or get very offended. The comment simply said…

broadsheet-3

I really don’t know how my tits being nice affects the business decision of Ryanair buying Boeing aircraft, but obviously Junglemick thought it was VERY important. So far I’ve made several assumptions about Junglemick, which may or may not be true:

  • He lives in the jungle, where only Men provide for the tribe and women stay at camp.
  • He only recently discovered the internet through Google experimental projects
  • He uses the term “Trolley Dolly”
  • He makes smart comments when he finds out he is on a flight with a female pilot

As I said, these assumptions may or may not be true. It also leads me to a couple of theories. Firstly that Neanderthals have existed since the dawn of mankind, and continue to exist, and secondly that the theory of “Natural Selection” or “Survival of the Fittest” is false. I present as evidence Junglemick and a large section of the population of the Daily Mail comment section.

It is unfortunate that these people exist, but they do. They always will. It should not be a barrier to women doing whatever they feel is best for them, and striving to be the best they can. As I put it in a bit of a snotty reply (though I would recommend usually not replying to trolls):

broadsheet-4

We should not be made to feel intimidated by men who do not and will not ever know better. We can be female and still understand, and contribute to what would once have been seen as male dominated areas. If that leads to certain Neanderthals being intimidated, than so be it. That’s their problem. And because I was being polite I did give him an answer too. Yes, I do have nice tits.

Robyn

Image Credit: Blue Tit/Parus Caeruleus image via Maximillian Dorsch/Wikimedia Commons

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Waffle-150x142
Sep. 03.

Waffle Wednesday: Managing the Blogger-Brand Relationship

ww-wafflethEarlier this week, an incident occurred where an unnamed brand sent an email to an unnamed blogger saying to take a review down or face legal action. It later transpired that it was all a big misunderstanding, but it did lead to a discussion as to how far a brand can go to deal with potentially unflattering reviews, how bloggers would respond, and just how quickly a relationship between a brand and bloggers can go sour.

While everything was unfolding on facebook and twitter, a number of bloggers stated that they would be reluctant, or just plain unwilling to post reviews of that brand that they were working on, out of fear that they would be turned on too, and that is completely understandable. After all, the majority of bloggers write their blogs for the fun and enjoyment they get out of it, and don’t expect to be put on the spot that way. It does though, make me wonder about how to manage the relationship between blogger and brand.

Firstly, one main thing is important. Both sides have rights and responsibilities. The blogger has the right to write and share their opinions of a product, free from pressures from the brand to say things a particular way. The blogger though, has the responsibility to be fair, honest and truthful in their review. They can’t go and say that something is the best thing ever, when it really isn’t, just because they have been given free products to try out, as then nobody will trust what the blogger has to say. But likewise, they can’t go and present something that isn’t true, just out of spite. They can’t say that a brand, for example, tests products on puppies and fluffy bunnies when it just isn’t true.

The brand though, has the right to feedback, good or bad, on products that are sent for review. Even if the review never makes it up onto a blog, it can be helpful and polite to give some opinion on the product and that it is not going onto the blog as the product didn’t agree with you and you stopped using it/have too many reviews of similar products clumped together/insert your own reason here. It shows that the blogger and brand appreciate working together. At the same time the brand has the responsibility to accept what the blogger has to say about the product in question, provided it is truthful. After all, the brand is looking for opinions of normal people, written for normal people. It has a marketing department (usually) to come up with the shiny emotive wording for advertising, while a blogger gives the view of the everyday person using it. Both sides have their uses, but you don’t want everyone to be sprouting the same marketing lines about products.

When something does go amiss though, the way it is handled is unbelievably important. It can be so easy to send a snarky email to say take your review down NOW or else! But that is not the best way of doing things. Addressing concerns, where valid in a polite way, is more likely to get the intended result. Sending an email to say” Thank you for your review. We appreciate you taking the time to write about X. We would like to address a couple of things in your review, namely…” will almost always get a polite response, and the issue cleared up. In the vast majority of cases there is no malice intended by the blogger, and minor issues can be cleaned up, leaving everybody happy. Of course, you can’t tell someone to change their opinion, and you can’t guarantee that everyone’s opinion will be positive, but these things happen.

The knee-jerk reaction though, can backfire spectacularly though. As alluded to earlier in the post, once the original email was sent, the bigger blogging community found out about it, and opinion towards the brand turned really icy, really quickly. Blogging is a social activity, and bloggers are great about sharing information with other bloggers. A brand can suddenly see an entire community turning on them, just from one little faux-pas. That can lead to the opinions of those you want to hear, and that readers want to see, being distinctly unflattering, if they are voiced at all.

Both sides deserve the right to be respected. There are no winners from making threats against people for voicing their honest opinion, or making a small factual error. In the end, both brands and bloggers need to work together for the system to work, and in realising that, we are almost guaranteed an outcome that is acceptable to everyone.

Robyn

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holyhead-poolbeg
Aug. 28.

Waffle Wednesday: Childhoood Memories – Holyhead

holyhead-thA couple of weeks ago I published a post about childhood memories, and how would the experience be if, as an adult, we did something that we remember doing as a child. One thing I remember doing as a child was a day trip to Wales on the ferry, usually on the HSS. Well, I did recreate the experience of going to Holyhead on the ferry, in order to see how things have changed. And this post details how I got on.

Firstly, my recollections of making the trip as a child. There was always an early start and a sense of excitement, of an adventure. After all, I was going on (what to my eyes was) a big ship, and was going to a different country. Onboard there was a couple of hours of fun, exploring the ship, looking around the shopping (it was looking for sweets and toys back then), and playing in the play area. Of course the journey was over all too quickly, and we would find ourselves in the port of Holyhead. From there it was down through the ferry terminal into the train station, and either on to a train somewhere, or else through the station and over the railway bridge into Holyhead.

Of course the first stop was Woolworths, looking for pick ‘n’ mix, and mini cans of drink, which were virtually unheard of in Ireland. We would then take a walk around the shops, before returning to the ferry terminal and the ship home.

Now, having not made that trip in a good decade or more, how does it feel doing the same trip again?

holyhead-poolbeg

Again there was an early start, seeing me up before 5, to get myself ready and out to Dublin Port, to sail on the Stena Adventurer at 8.20. It was certainly a different experience to travelling on the HSS, mainly due to the time the crossing takes. The HSS crossing would have been just over 90 minutes, while the Stena Adventurer takes a good 3 hours plus to make the crossing. Onboard the Stena Adventurer, I didn’t get a sense of excitement, like I did as a child. It could be that in the intervening time I have become so much more well travelled, and have experienced travelling on cruise ships, that there was no way a car ferry could really compare. I got a feeling that the ship was set up for its main source of revenue, freight, and that passenger services came second. That is understandable with the way the world is these days. Passengers fly, not take ferries, so concentrating on moving freight is perfectly acceptable. That is not to say there was nothing to do. There was a bar, restaurant and cafe. There were shopping and kids facilities. There was entertainment onboard. And while I didn’t find the ship exciting, I did find it relaxing, being able to find a nice comfy chair (there were plenty about), grab a coffee, a drink or something to eat, and move about or go browsing in the shop as I see fit.

holyhead-anglesey

On arrival in Holyhead you see how things have changed. The railway bridge into Holyhead, while it is still there, is closed, having been replaced by a new bridge that goes into the heart of Holyhead. Holyhead too, has changed. It has gone so quiet, with so few shops that you would go into. There is a Boots, A Superdrug and a Supermarket, but not much else. While walking from Holyhead back to the port to get a taxi to the retail park about a mile down the road, I did walk past quite a few shops, but they were shops that you could almost walk past without really noticing. They seemed to be the kind of shops that the owners refuse to give up, and while it is great to see that spirit, but Holyhead just seemed a bit uninspiring. The retail park had more shops that adult me would be interested in going to, along with a couple of big supermarkets, and you really have to know exactly what you are looking for, or pick one or the other place to go to. With the limited time available, it was very difficult to visit both places at once.

holyhead-port

The couple of dealings I had in the shops, or with the taxi driver reminded me that the locals are all very friendly and hospitable. The taxi driver especially, when he heard I only had a few minutes there gave me his card and said that once I called him, he would be straight back. True to his word, when I called to say I would be ready to go in 5 minutes, he was waiting for me outside.

The journey back was more of the same onboard the Stena Adventurer. Again I could pick out somewhere to relax, had a spot of lunch (pork, mashed potato and peas, which was tasty, but nothing overly special) with a glass of wine and looked around the onboard shop a bit more. The shop was a little mediocre, unless you are a perfume fan. There was a wall of perfume and aftershave, a quite sorry looking Benefit display (but it did have the most recent releases) and some assorted Dior, Clarins, Clinique and Estee Lauder, but not a great selection. I did fall in love with Marc Jacob’s Honey though, and it could find its way into my possession quite soon.

But, to condense everything down into a little space. Did my experience compare to how I remembered it as a child. Well, no. Things have changed so much since then, both for myself and in the world. I’ve become much better travelled, and as a result it is difficult to come up with excitement when you’re taking the ferry to Holyhead, compared to taking a flight to the USA for example. It just seems so pedestrian. Coupled with not being able to go into the shops I remembered, with Woolworth, unfortunately, having gone out of business.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy myself though. It was certainly a relaxing day out, even if it was a long day. I got to go somewhere different, that I hadn’t been to in a very long time. I got to shop in shops I couldn’t normally shop in (and online shopping isn’t the same). It is a bonus that the ferry only cost €10 too, thanks to an offer that Stena Line have on at the moment.

So, while I can’t say I was able to recreate my childhood memory, I can now safely agree with what one commenter said on my previous post, that it does give way to other ways of enjoying the experience, even if the sense of adventure is no longer there.

Robyn

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Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com
Aug. 13.

Waffle Wednesday: Childhood Memories

ww-wafflethSomething has been going around my head for a while, and I’m open to hearing opinions on it. I’m pretty certain we all have memories of activities that we did as a child. The question I am thinking about, is that, in doing the same things as an adult, how does the experience change? Does it still hold the same sense of excitement and wonder that it did as a child?

Lets take, for example, something that was a summer staple for me as a child, a day trip to Mosney. There was always the excitement of getting up early, making sure swimsuits and towels, and a packed lunch were ready. Taking the dart to Dun Laoghaire to change over to the big diesel train that went out to Mosney. Getting off the train on what was basically a platform in the middle of nowhere, but seeing the park laid out in front of you. Then you got  into the park and there was Funtropica, the swimming pools, the playgrounds and amusements. Oh what a joy it was, and by the end of the day you’d be ready to flop onto the train to go home, thoroughly happy with yourself.

Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com

Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com

As an adult, is there the same sense of joy, or does a lot of it become banal and routine? Many of us use the train every day to go about our lives. It is just there, it is nothing special. Unfortunately, it is kind of difficult to revisit Mosney these days, considering it closed down in 2000 (14 years ago – wow!) but it still leads me to think about this question – is there something you had done as a child, which you’ve done recently as an adult?

What was it about the activity that makes it so memorable for you from your childhood? And, in doing the same thing as an adult, how has the experience changed? Was it as you remembered it from childhood, or did doing it as an adult change the experience for you, and if so, does it make it better, or worse? Please do share your thoughts.

Robyn

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