Monday, July 30, 2007

Wine by the Kilo!

During the first week of our holiday, we decided that we needed to catch up on some mini-golf. Its a family thing with us. We like to COMPETE in mini-golf and look for a good course wherever we land for our holidays.

There is a good mini-golf course under a mile up the main road from where we were staying. It's a course we have played before and we knew which holes were going to be difficult. In some mini-golf courses you'll get the difficult holes on the first stroke or you'll take about twenty seven to get the little ball into the bastard hole. Just before dinner, we walked up the road to the mini-golf course. The owner, a delightful Finnish woman named Heidi (really that's her name) remembered us from previous visits. I don't know if her remembering us is a good or bad thing.

This year the prize went to The Man of the Place. I beat George by ONE stroke. We take no prisoners in this game. If you ever play with us, I recommend that you remain vigilant the entire time. Watch and count the number of strokes your opponents take and make certain that they write down the correct number, not the number that they wished they had taken. Also, watch for creative addition at the end.

When H and I first met, we went to Chapmans in Cedar Rapids (no longer in business) for a fun day out. This day out included mini-golf. I was aghast when I caught him cheating! Gloves were off after that! I'll try to get away with anything if he loses concentration for one second.

Back in Skiathos, we had finished our game and then decided to walk across the road and have some pizza. A taverna/pizza place was conveniently placed directly across the road. Henry waved the tally sheet in front of him like a banner as we crossed over the road to be seated. Nobody likes a gloater.

To drown my sorrows, I decided to have some wine. Now, I love Greece, but most of the wine they make is terrible. I had a discussion about this with a pal of mine who has a wine shop in Lockerbie. He says that even though grape vines that are used for making wine originate in Greece, the vines never get a chance to rest properly during the growing season. Vines and the grapes benefit greatly from the little rest at night that a cool evening breeze brings. It's too hot in Greece for cool evening breezes and the grapes suffer for it.

I didn't care that night. I'd just had my backside kicked in mini-golf by a now insufferable husband. The quirky menu said that I could order a kilo of the house white wine for not much money. Now, technically a litre of water weighs a kilo in weight so the menu isn't WRONG, its just that in my world liquids are sold by volume and not weight.

(photo by George!)

The white wine duly arrived and it was pretty bad. What was I going to do? Send the carafe back? Nope. I'm a game old bird, I'll drink it.

One would be hard pressed to tell if the wine I had that night was a sweet or dry wine. I think it was supposed to be a dry wine, but the large amounts of residual sugar made the lines between dry and sweet blurred. It also had a strong taste of acetone. Hmmmm nail polish remover!

After the first three glasses, it wasn't so bad really. I got through most of the wine during dinner. I had the spaghetti carbonara - very good, but then something happened. The owner who had seated us came around and said what a lovely family we were and hoped we'd come back again. With that he plopped another kilo of white wine on the table. "On the house!" he said with pride.

I thought I had been quite good to get through the first carafe of wine unscathed. Now I was confronted by a second. (gulp!) Henry was no help, saying things like, "Peg, it's Greek hospitality, you've GOT to drink it!". "He'll be insulted if you don't drink it!"

George and Henry were very much amused by my new problem. Ha! I didn't have a miss-spent Midwestern youth for nothing! I got most of it down with no difficulty at all. George, bless his heart, helped his mother by drinking a glass. Towards the end, I did put my foot down. I told The Man of the Place that I wasn't going to be drinking another drop until he drank a glass of the stuff. He drank a glass and then I finished off our second kilo of wine.

We payed the bill and left quickly before any more wine could be inflicted on us.

It could be that the restaurant had a whole vat of this crappy wine and give it to the tourists to see what they'll do.

"Look at the faces on table three Kostas! Woo hoo! I can't believe tourists will drink this stuff!"

I certainly slept well that night.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

45 (gulp!)

I got a wonderful birthday present today. My mother phoned me!

My mother was the recipient of a cochlear implant earlier this year. Her blog has been documenting the progress she is making as her brain gets used to processing sounds.

She has been using the phone for short conversations for a short while now. It was such a treat to be able to speak to her on the phone. We haven't had a phone conversation without a TTD machine or a relay service since about 1981. Even then, those last conversations were limited.

So today's conversation was a real treat. It's nice to be able to hear her voice and more importantly, have her hear my voice!

I also received a great gift from The Man of the Place and George. They have given me a voucher for a Shark Dive!!! The Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth offers dives in their big tank to divers. The only catch is that you have to help do a bit of cleaning while you're in there. No problem. I can clean stuff. I clean algae off my own aquarium glass all the time. They've got some reef sharks in there and a big nurse shark too. I won't be in there alone either. Health and Safety requires that there be more than one diver in the big tank. Really, I'll be just fine. The most dangerous thing in that tank will be me and a lion fish. Lion fish spines are quite poisonous, so I won't be grabbing it.

When I told my neighbour Myra about my gift, she was worried that Henry and George were trying to get me killed. I'm sure that this is not the case. I really can't wait to get in there!
Other than that, it's been a normal weekend day. The Man of the Place finished wallpapering our old bathroom (it really needed it - the old wallpaper was curling off the walls) and I went into Carlisle and rented a carpet cleaner. Woo Hoo! We sure know how to have a hot time 'round here!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Diving Photos - Skiathos July 2007

Here are some of the pictures I took whilst diving on Skiathos.

I think they turned out pretty well. I'm quite proud of them.
Dusky Grouper
Two Octopi fighting - though only one octopus is visible.
Hello, I'm a moray eel. Got any squid? This is a Scorpion fish - very well camouflaged. Can you see it?
I'm a moray eel too. Beautiful orange sponge formation.
Purple nudibranch. This photo is now my wallpaper. I just love the delicate purple spikes.
Spotted Doris nudibranch. It is eating its favourite thing. Sponge. They're very spotty and there were hundreds of them on one of my dives. I was in nudibranch heaven on that dive. My poor dive partner had to wait and wait while I took photos.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


One of the things I love about visiting the Greek islands is the sea. The sea could be my favourite thing of all. Swimming in the cobalt blue, gin clear water is effortless and so relaxing. I really could spend the rest of my life swimming in the Aegean.

One day when we were on Skiathos, we had a lazy beach day on this beach.
We spent time napping under these homemade umbrellas or cooling off in the sea.Mr Plank helped us to dig a hole in which to bury a mouthy child.If you fall asleep, you run the risk of somebody drawing on your head!
Here is the child we had to stick into the sand. (note that somebody has drawn a beard and moustache on the child when he couldn't do anything about it)

Here are a few views of the beach and little taverna from the hills above.

Holiday Hint: If you are sitting on the end of your sun lounger and the person who is sitting at the other end gets up, the sun lounger may tilt. To prevent humiliation, you can try pretending that you don't care.

Aaah! Pure comfort!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Did I see you on the back of a motorcycle with some Greek guy?

When we are at home, Henry and I both drive muted blue cars. I wear suits to work that are brown or beige, black or sometimes a muted green. So it is always a delight to pull my holiday clothes from bottom dresser drawers. Oranges and pinks, reds and yellows! Because I don't get to wear my summer clothes very often, they don't get a lot of wear.

When we hire a car on our holiday, the more colours, the better we feel. We have rented this particular jeep in the past. Its a shame it's such a wreck now because the colours are wonderful.

Here is the same jeep in 2004:
Here is the photo of the dune buggy that G and H got. I wouldn't get in the thing.
The day that Henry and George went off on the dune buggy, I went diving with Nick. Nick is the owner, along with his wife Julie of Nick's Cafe on Papadiamantis Street, the main tourist street on the island. We had a great time on our early morning dive. After the dive, I got a ride back into town on the back of Nick's motorcycle. THAT was fun! Naturally there were no helmets worn and no bike leathers or gloves. If we had taken a tumble, that would have been it for me. I was in shorts and a swimming suit, sandals and a t-shirt. Nick nipped through the narrow cobbled streets of Skiathos Town like a thief evading the police.

I picked up the keys to our jeep from Nick's cafe where Henry had left them and drove back to our apartment. After getting cleaned up, I made a social call on friends of my sister Sally. Lena and her new husband Leigh have a villa on Skiathos and live in New Jersey not far from my sister and her family. We met them two years ago when by some strange coincidence, my sister and her family were on Skiathos at the same time, staying with Leigh and Lena. It turned out that I should have visited them much earlier. They were just packing up the last of their things, turning off the lights and waiting for the taxi to take them to the airport. If I had left it another hour, I would have missed them completely.

In our rushed conversation, Lena asked if by any chance I had been on the back of a motorcycle earlier in the day. (grin) "Yup. That was me!" I explained to Lena the reason I had been seen zipping along the streets of Skiathos on the back of some big Greek man's motorcycle. I'm glad somebody saw me. It was that fun!This photo is for my sisters who have used the word "fabuloso" for years. Now the word is being used by some company to sell Greek floor cleaner.

Do you notice in the above photo that the floor cleaner Ajax is Azax in Greek? There is no "J" in the Greek alphabet and they have to adjust things accordingly.

This particular sign at Dino's Cafe had George in stitches. He wondered if he could get fish and chip there too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

We arrived back in Carlisle at about 11:00 pm on Friday night. We had to stop in town and get a few things like milk, bread, pet food etc. . . . I noticed that all the display units were up for the last Harry Potter book. Looking at my watch I saw that the book was due to be placed on the supermarket shelves at midnight.

We were MUCH too tired for me to even suggest that we hang around for me to get the book. I had to be back in Carlisle in the morning to spring Polly from the kennels. I could pick up my copy of the book then.

I started reading the Harry Potter books to George when he was very small. The first book, the Philosopher's Stone was a bed time story that I picked up at a local bookshop. What would become enormous publicity for the series was only in the rumbling stages back then. I can't even remember how many of the series had even been published at this point. If I remember correctly, there were three books already out and not even a whisper of any movie.

I would read a couple of chapters to George at night before bedtime. I was a fan from the very first moment I cracked the first book open. I read to George until he started to fall asleep. After tucking him in, I put the book under my arm and went to continue reading in the living room. I had to have two book marks, one to mark the place in the book where I was for George, and one book mark for me. If I remember correctly, I managed to rip through the first three books before I had finished reading The Philosopher's Stone to George.

I had told my family that years ago, I had the same round glasses that are described as worn by Harry in the book. Sadly, I have never had any proof of this until recently.
This is an actual photo of me circa 1969 wearing my soon to be very popular (a few decades down the road) Harry Potter look. I even have the green eyes and brown, unkempt hair. In this photo, my father is teaching me to play cribbage.

When the Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I had to get two copies. One for middle son Sean and one for me. This kept the peace and prevented both of us from having to be selfless and SHARE the book. I have helped increase Ms Rowling's fortune considerably by buying multiple copies of each of her books. I have also purchased them on tape and CD for listening in the car.

In this last book, I am sure that I will be purchasing it on CD when it comes available. The voice of Stephen Fry is such a tonic. I swear I could listen to him read the phone book. I wonder if he gets an advanced copy so that he can start recordings early.

Saturday morning, I picked up my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and a few other items that we forgot the night before, got processed through the check out and went off to get my dog.

Before I go any further, I would like to state that I rarely buy books from the supermarket. I don't think it is a good idea to do this AS A RULE. It puts a terrible strain on our local book stores. I am sorry Carlisle and Dumfries booksellers. I feel I cheated on you by doing this, but I'll make it up to you. I promise.

I got back to the house with the book and the dog. After unpacking the other purchases and throwing another load of holiday laundry into the washing machine, I got a mug of tea and settled in to our comfy sofa and cracked open the book.

I'd like to thank my family for not pestering me while I read. The Man of the Place even let the big stereo in the front room remain silent. Now THAT'S love! I drifted off to sleep a couple of times yesterday as I plowed through the story. It wasn't due to any dullness in the text, we just had a very busy day yesterday. I was obviously very tired.

Stopping from time to time to reload the washing machine or fix food for the family were the only big breaks I had in my reading. The book even came into the bathroom with me when I had my bath. The last thing I remember yesterday is reading the book in bed. I must have fallen asleep with it on my chest because when I awoke this morning, my reading light was off and the book was on Henry's bedside table.

This morning I spent time taking clothes on and off the clothesline while getting to the very exciting end of the book. Sorry, there will be NO spoilers or hints from me about the content of the book. I will say that I enjoyed reading the book and indeed the entire Harry Potter series.

Thanks JK. My sisters, my brother (picking his nose) and I salute you!
This photo was taken on the ferry from Bayview Wisconsin to Madeline Island, one of our favourite family camping spots years ago.

Fire in Skiathos 12 July 2007

The 12th of July, started out as a normal day. We were pottering around our nice little studio apartment in Aghia Paraskevi (the name of that section of the island) getting ready for a nice day at the pool side. It was too windy to go out on the boat to dive.

George was finishing a book that he was engrossed in. I thought I smelled smoke and had heard a few airplanes go over and went out to have a look.

You can hear by that first clip that the wind was pretty strong that day. The worst sort of thing to have during a fire is high wind. It seems that this fire had started up near the municipal land fill near the highest point on the island.

The smoke got denser and looked to be getting closer. We weren't overly concerned at this point as the wind was blowing the fire in the opposite direction.But then the sun got blocked by the increasing smoke, You can see that the water scooping Canadian aircraft were flying a lot closer as the minutes ticked by. The wind had changed direction slightly and oops we were now a bit more concerned.

It was just after that last video clip was shot that we were told to evacuate the area. George, who had started darting around in a bit of a flap had already packed his things. All our heavy diving equipment was over on the dive boat, thank God we didn't have to worry about that gear. We're all pretty light packers and it took us two minutes to get everything stuffed into our cases and get to the meeting point.

I got to the meeting point in the parking lot first. The holiday representative from Olympic Holidays was there telling everybody to go up the road where there were coaches waiting to take us into town. I turned around and waited for Henry and George to catch up to me. When they had caught up, we started to go towards the buses. We made about three steps when a Greek police man, who was directing traffic pointed at us and said, "BEACH!" and then made motions for us to hurry our backsides the 500 meters down to the beach. He had a gun strapped to his waist. We weren't going to argue.

Here we are down at the beach. You can see from this photo of George that the smoke here was pretty bad. We smelled of smoke for the rest of the day. Here are our bags by a sun lounger on the beach. The big grey bag is our snorkeling gear that wasn't on the boat that day.Looking back to where we had come from was pretty frightening. The fire was following us. The wind was still very high and our bare legs were getting shot blasted with the wind and sand.

Very quickly, it had jumped the main road that we had crossed and the fire was burning the trees down the beach from us. It caused us to have to move up the beach a few hundred meters. We could feel the heat from the flames even at our distance. We could see sun loungers and beach umbrellas on that part of the beach catch fire. It was just a few meters away from the beach-side taverna at the Skiathos Princess Hotel where we had been just the day before for our lunch!

Then, the wind switched again and the fire had left our part of the island and started to make its way towards Troulos. A lot of the smoke that had kippered us on the beach dissipated, anxieties started to calm and it seemed that the wind was dying down too. That is the hillside behind our apartment complex just an hour after the fire had passed. There are still hot spots at this point, still smoke and there is ash everywhere. Flash fires like that clear out all the undergrowth. The largest trees survive these fires. That is what happened here.

When things started to calm down, we walked back towards the main road. We were met by another of our holiday reps who asked us to stay by the roadside until we could be collected and taken to a holding spot with the rest of the Olympic Holidays customers. In due time, we were collected and taken to an apartment complex closer to town where there had been no fire. It was nice not to smell smoke anymore.

We spent the rest of the day lounging by this new pool. There was a supermarket next door to this new complex and I trotted over there with George and we picked up stuff for a picnic. We sat in the shade and had sandwiches, iced tea and Cheetos.

Around 7pm that day, we got news that it was safe to go back to our apartment. The power that the fire had knocked out was already back on(!) and we could get cleaned up.

The fire burned an estimated 2,000 hectares of land on the island. Some homes were scorched by the flames but miraculously, no homes were badly damaged by the fire. Thankfully no human lives were lost either.

There were little swirls of ash behind our apartment door that night and in the cracks of the pavement outside and there was a layer of soot and ash in the bottom of the pool. The cleaners at our complex had the entire place ash-free in two days! I'm sure that when the island gets its next rain, the smell of smoke will leave.

It was high adventure for us. I've never been that close to a forest fire in my life! I never wish to repeat the experience either.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Holiday

Sorry for any wierd alphabet thingies that may appear. I'm bloggin on a very Greek blogger. I wish I could send you all a screen shot so you can see what it's like.
Here are some photos I've finally been able to upload.

Very groovy yellow starfish. It was quite big.
Frilled sea worm.
Its ME!

Going out to our first dive of the holiday. It was the 50th dive of The Man of the Place. We celebrated with baklava! Henry finally got to use his dive knife for something useful, cutting up the baklava!
In a taverna, waiting for the second trip out.
Happy MotP!

George smiling for the camera!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We're Fine

Just in the off chance that anybody has heard about the forest fire on Skiathos, we're fine.

We were evacuated as the fire got pretty close, but the fire has passed and we were able to get back to our little studio apartment. Henry and I got some great photos and better stories.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Holiday on the Island of Skiathos Part 1

Here is a photo of nudibranch eggs. I took this today during our second dive. I also saw a beautiful purple nudibranch but couldn't get a good in focus shot of it.We're having a fantastic and relaxing holiday. I'm sitting in a cybercafe covered in a thin layer of salt and my ears are gurgling from all the sea water in them. I told Theo that it is just that I love the sea so much, I always want to keep a bit of it with me.

Blogger and I aren't having a very good time at the moment. I have only been able to up load that one photo. I'm glad that the one photo is one that I find very interesting. I hope that photo doesn't disappoint you guys.

We've been trying to be careful about sun, but the three of us "caught it" in a few places where we missed with the sunscreen.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

We're here on the island. We landed at about 3:30 pm local time. The smell of the air was so evocative. It said "holiday" to me.

The sky was clear with just a few wisps of cloud and the weather was warm. That makes a dramatic change from the weather we left. It had been raining for days when we loaded the car up in Scotland to make the journey to the airport. As it was night, and raining, I completely forgot about sunglasses. I didn't remember them until we were at Skiathos Airport and the sun dazzled my eyes. (sigh) I got some clip on shades instead of regular sunglasses. I can't really see without my specs and wasn't going to wear off the rack non-prescription lenses. These clip on things aren't the normal sad old clip ons that flip up. They're actuall quite stylish.

We are staying at the Roulla Apartments in Skiathos. After the nightmare of a guesthouse in Dublin last weekend, this place was a delightful surprise. The room was small but spotless. Everthing is in perfect working order. The pool is clean and in good repair and there is a pool bar that serves food! Woo hoo!

The residents of Skiathos are always so friendly and welcoming. A few people have recognised us from previous holidays and gave us big hugs.

It is now just before 1 pm and we have just finished our first dive of the holiday. As young George and I haven't been diving in almost a year, we didn't take the camera along with us this time. We had a relaxing dive and our pal Theo pointed out an ancient (and intact!) Greek amphora. If we dive there again, I'll get a photo to show you all.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back in a Bit!

We're off on our annual family holiday extravaganza! I'll try to post whilst I'm away.

Regular service will return in two weeks.



The Worst Guesthouse

It is possibly the worst guesthouse in which we have ever stayed. It could possibly be the worst in Dublin.

The Man of the Place booked us a room in a hotel/guesthouse on-line last week for our stay in Dublin. It seemed that this was no mean task as we needed a room for three people. This usually means that we require a family room. Sometimes hotels will put a fold out bed in a double room, but we couldn't find that. Dublin was full. Naturally, if we had loads of money, we could have stayed in very very nice hotels, but sadly, we're on a budget. The Dublin version of The George V was not for us this time.

There was a phone call at the house the day after the booking was made. It involved Henry having discussions with somebody for ages. It turned out that where he had made the reservation required that guests stay for a minimum of two nights at the weekend. In the end, somebody phoned him a second time and said that the reservation for one night would be fine and they looked forward to seeing us on Saturday. With that Henry printed off the confirmation voucher and packed it with the rest of our travel documents.

We went on to Dublin. We arrived in the city early in the morning. It was too early to check in, but we had been told that they would be happy to hold our bags until later on in the day. When we arrived at our guesthouse, we were met by the owner of the guesthouse herself.

Henry explained that we had a reservation for the night and immediately there was a problem. She stated that she wasn't going to be honouring the confirmation voucher as it clearly states in all the information about her place says that there is always a minimum stay of two nights when booking on a weekend. The confirmation voucher Henry held and the conversations he had with the assistant manager were worthless in this woman's eyes. In the end, she deigned to let us have the family room at an inflated 55 Euros per person. That comes to 165 Euros for the night!

At this point, if there had been any other room available in Dublin we would have left then and there. We were over a barrel and took the room.

Later on in the afternoon, after check in time we came back and viewed our room. At first glance it was depressing. The room smelled of stale cigarette smoke. There were cigarette burns on all the bedside tables. The door knob on the bathroom door was dangling and certainly un-lockable. We had to promise George that nobody would accidentally walk in on him when he was in the bathroom. The sheets were clean, but the bedspread had old cigarette burns in them. Who was in here before? The Marlborough Man and his family?

The room was tidy but uncared for. The last time they had painted the room, the headboard on the double bed was left bolted to the wall and the painters merely painted around it. There were coffee mugs, tea bags and sachets of coffee on a tray, but no kettle. (sigh) It would have been so much worse for our young traveler if the tv was broken, but no. The tv worked just fine.

I am an early riser and Sunday morning was no exception. I woke before everybody else. So as to not disturb my slumbering husband I got out of bed and went over to the unoccupied second single bed to read. This is the point in our stay where if we hadn't been stung for so much money, it would have been very funny. There were dried boogers (bogeys) on the wall! Yuck!

Breakfast was okay. It certainly didn't make up for the condition of the room. There were two women serving breakfast. One was madame hotelier herself. The other was a young woman who obviously hated her job. Service with a sulk! That's what we like!

Please avoid the Phoenix Park Guest House when visiting Dublin. It's awful.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I don't know if I like the term "ex-patriot" or even the shortened version ex-pat. It seems that that term implies that one is no longer willing to be patriotic about the land of their birth.

I love the US and I don't want anybody to think that I don't. I just prefer to live over here in Scotland. I still miss the US and really really miss my family and friends. From time to time, I even think about what it would be like to move back but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Today is Independence Day in the US. A time for barbeques, fireworks and sunburn. We spent a number of our 4th of July celebrations with my paternal grandmother in Elcho, Wisconsin. We'd collect jars full of fireflies and sneak beer from the unguarded back porch coolers of Grandma's welcoming house.

I have tried a small 4th of July celebration here in Scotland, but we're just so far north. This time of year it isn't dark enough until about 2am.

I hope that all you folks over in the US have a lovely time today and that your fireworks aren't rained out. Light a sparkler for me.


Thanks to Ann who pointed out that it is expatriate and not ex-patriot. I have stumbled over a homonym that I didn't know about.

Monday, July 02, 2007

24 Hours in Dublin

We got to Newcastle airport in plenty of time on Saturday morning. George, Henry and I flew on a no-frills airline to Dublin. I'm so glad that we chose to fly from Newcastle instead of Glasgow this weekend. The consequences could have been much worse!

If I use an airport for work related flights, it is almost always Glasgow. I consider it my "home airport". Damage by terrorists at Glasgow airport feels personal. Bastards!

This is a gruesome photo of the terrorist being hosed down before arrest. The man's clothes were all but burned off him. Grim.

On to a lighter note:

We had a whole day to ourselves before Henry and George went off to the concert. We decided to go to The Dublin Zoo. George and I love zoos. I love the birds that can be found at the zoo and took a photo of some of the resident herons and the penguins.

The herons seemed to hang around in two places, by the penguins and by the California sea lions. Perhaps it is because these two groups of animals eat fish and there might be some extra fish going spare.

Each subspecies of small primate has its own little island out in the lake with a bridge to their enclosure where they sleep at night. This little macaque isn't fishing for FISH, he is getting some food. The keepers throw food out onto the island and some didn't make it very far and plopped into the water. This guy didn't mind getting his arm wet.

My favourite creatures to visit are the primates. The zoo takes part in an international breeding programme for endangered primates. One of the most endangered species is the gibbon. The zoo had some wonderful gibbons who delighted us by swinging effortlessly around their little island.

One of the gibbons had a little baby. It was very good at clinging on for dear life as mum dashed about many feet off the ground. We didn't manage to get a good photo of the Siamang gibbons, but they are worth seeing.

The also have just about the cutest baby orangutan available. This little lady will be two in September and was wonderful to watch her being cared for by the group. She was so full of playfulness and confidence.

We also loved looking at the Western Lowland Gorillas. MAN, those are some big apes! They have a HUGE old silverback in there. I was so astounded at his size and strength. There are some holes in the ultra-thick glass that have been caused by this big old boy. We couldn't get a good photo of these guys either as the sun was in our faces.

We walked for miles on Saturday. At the end of the day, Henry and George went off to the Olympia Theater. As I wasn't going to the show, I went off to buy a newspaper, eat some dinner and then wait in a nearby pub for the show to finish.

The boys enjoyed the show. Henry had a good time meeting all his fellow R.E.M. buddies. I finally got to meet Dave Belbin and his charming wife Sue. We tried to find a place where we could all talk and have a beer after the show, but it was difficult as we had a minor child with us. In the end we were allowed into a place called Thunder Road in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. The music was SO LOUD we could barely hear each other speak. (sigh). We've invited Dave and Sue up to visit us in Scotland. I hope they make it up.

It was well after midnight when we made our way back to one of the worst guest houses we've ever stayed in. (another blog entry in itself) We fell asleep almost instantly.