Monday, June 30, 2008

The Website is down

This tech support training video is hilarious (also available at Who says tech and marketing people can't communicate?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Schwarz, Rot, Gold

The excitement has been building in the last few weeks with regard to Germany's participation in the European Championship. Neither Heike nor I are particularly interested in football, certainly not enough to fly a black, red & gold flag from our cars, as most Germans seem to be doing. Apart from anything else, the extra drag caused by those flags no doubt translates to another few million tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.

So instead we decided to put a flag on the kids' bike trailer, as shown below.

In addition, Liam is super-proud to have an extra large (freebie beer advertising) flag installed on his bike.

The fact that a three-year-old is trailing a beer advert around is somewhat embarrassing, but the price compensates.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Family Barbecue in Kilmacanogue

Although our main destination at the weekend was Cashel in Galway, we also found time on Sunday evening to get invited to a family barbecue in  Fiona's house. This being the Cassidy family, there were plenty of people around, as the picture of the younger generation below shows.

The food was pretty good too.

David and Cliona's Wedding

Heike and I were in Ireland at the weekend. After depositing the kids with my sisters in Dublin, we journeyed over to Connemara to help celebrate the wedding of our friends Dave and Cliona. As can be seen from the picture below, the bride was radiant, and the groom was very happy.

The priest doubled as Cliona's uncle Sean, and generated a laugh or two when Dave needed to be prompted for an "I do". To be fair, I don't think Dave or anyone else was expecting an "I do" in the first 60 seconds - I suspect Fr. Sean was deliberately trying to throw him with the hidden negative - "Do you declare that there is no impediment...".

The reception venue was the very pleasant and comfortable Cashel House Hotel, famed apparently for once housing Charles de Gaulle, and even having a wooden bench on the grounds named after him. The bench is pictured on the right, there's nothing that spectacular about it...

It being Connemara, the landscape was beautiful and the weather was terrible. Apparently there was a storm during Saturday night with trees and power lines down, but the sound was drowned out by revelry. Below is the view on the following day from the De Gaulle seat of Cashel Bay and the Atlantic beyond, unfortunately my photographic skills can't do it justice.

The honeymoon destination was at the time of the wedding a closely guarded secret, known only to the groom. Poor Cliona was left in the dark about what to pack and for how long - David had made secretive arrangements with her employer for the absence without her knowledge. There was naturally some speculation amongst the guests, and some discounting of destinations where shots and visas are required, but at the time of writing I am no wiser where they went.

Update on 30.07.2008: The current information is that the destination is Australia

The great thing about weddings of college friends is that you get to meet people you haven't seen in years, and so it was here. Below are some snaps of Caitriona, Dorothy, Heidi, Albert, Dara, Dermot, Rachel and Jebu proving that if anything they've only become younger and better-looking in the intervening years since graduation.

As is traditional on such occasions, the Best Man (ab)used his position of authority to chat up women, though not much is known about his success rate, nor even what he was boasting about below.

There was some singing and speechmaking in the first official language. Starting in the church with a round of "Ar Nathair" (spelling?), David was really belting that out. Cliona's father peppered his speech with more of the same, then if memory serves correctly Amhrán na bhFiann brought the musical entertainment to a close at about 1 am. My wife tells me that I was in the room by 4, so that leaves not much time at all where I can't explain my whereabouts.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stadt an den Fluss

On Sunday we joined our neighbours Ralf, Fabian and Anne for a cycle trip to the "Stadt an den Fluss" Erlebnistag to celebrate the coming pedestrian area on the Neckaruferpromenade. The plan is to build a 2.6 km tunnel underneath the current riverside road, and pedestrianise the entire riverside area. There were various stalls, bands and street performers available to give a flavour for pedestrian street life will be.

The weather played silly buggers, but fortunately in a quite innocuous manner. We managed to get our bikes locked before a sudden downpour drove us under some trees for shelter. Ten minutes of torrential rain later the sun was out again, and we enjoyed the bands, bratwurst and beer which make summer living in Germany a pleasure.

As usual Rosalie was in a good mood

and Liam was thrilled to have his friends Fabian and Anne on hand for climbing around the Altstadt.

On the way home we passed by the Heidelberg Globetrotter shop, and noticed that it was open - strange for a Sunday. Since Ralf knows the owner we dropped in, and were treated to a beer by the owner Sven. Now that's what I call service!


Last week saw the Cassidy-Schwab household transplanted to the Loire-Atlantique town of Préfailles. Here we met up with assorted Cassidys, Nolans and Conneelys for a very pleasant holiday.

I can definitely recommend the accommodation if you're looking for a 9-bedroom self-catering place to house 12 adults, 5 children and two  dogs.

The photos are to be found here. I like this one of Rosalie particularly:

Liam of course could not leave the country without his Laufrad. Here he is posing in front of his favourite cousin Alannah.

and my dear wife was also on hand to do some insane smiling :-)

For those who claim that Germans are immune to humour, my brother-in-law proved otherwise by changing the locks on our house while we were away. The humorous part was of course to not tell us, so on our return at 3am I had a chance to impress my family by breaking in. What fun and games.