Tag Archives: England

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 83. On Neighbours.

Mozart lived here when he was younger.

While I was in London this weekend, I stayed in The Belgravia Hotel (more like a guest house, but there you go) on Ebury Street, about ten minutes walk from Buckingham Palace. I took a bus tour of the city and it actually passed through Belgravia. I learned I was in august company. Mozart lived across the road from the hotel (he composed his first piece at the age of eight in London); Ian Fleming, Roger Moore and Sean Connery lived nearby too. JK Rowling and Margaret Thatcher are current residents.

Geniuses all, with the exception of The Iron Lady.

 

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 71. On Nice.

Wish You Were Here?

One of my least favourite sayings currently doing the rounds, especially in the bar trade, is “It’s nice to be nice.” Really…is it? Sometimes it’s nicer not to be nice. Sometimes you can get a hell of a lot of satisfaction just by being rude to people who deserve it. Of course, you can turn the other cheek – but why leave yourself open to another assault. It doesn’t make sense.

There is another nice – Nice, in the South of France. If you’re looking for me in the coming week, that’s where you’ll find me, lying on a beach, having fun.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 63. On a Sense of Community.

Dublin supporters on Hill 16 at Croke Park.

Nothing brings a community together better than a sporting occasion. And nothing unites a community more uniquely than a victory. In much the same way a country can celebrate a major win in competition (Ireland beating England in this year’s Cricket World Cup springs to mind), Dublin’s All-Ireland success over their arch-rivals Kerry last Sunday has brought a smile to the brow-beaten face of Dubliners.

Whether your a fan of GAA or not (I’m ambivalent most of the time), it’s hard not to get caught up in the euphoria a victory can bring. Already we’re looking forward to next year.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 61. On History.

I mentioned to a customer the other night that I was taking a weekend trip to London in a couple of weeks. He liked England, he said, it is steeped in history. Ireland, on the other hand, has no real history to speak of.

I disagreed. Ireland has a fascinating history because of its ties with England. For better or worse, our relationship with our closest neighbour is an essential part of our history.

Can you imagine someone writing an autobiography that didn’t include any relationships or active engagement with another living soul? It would be boring and isolationist. People need people.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 46.2 On Nationalism.

We love him despite his unique looks.

Wayne Rooney plays for Manchester United, a soccer team with plenty of Irish support. To us ManYoo fans, Rooney can do no wrong. He finds the net on a regular basis.

Steven Gerrard is a Liverpool player. To fans worldwide, he is the heart and soul of the team. Likewise with John Terry and Frank Lampard. Irish supporters of Chelsea FC know their team depends heavily on these lions of football.

But put an England shirt on any of these players and Ireland bays for blood. It seems ironic that these men are both heroes and villains to the same set of supporters.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 14. On Cricket

England won the Second Test yesterday at Trent Bridge, beating to the world’s best test playing side, India by 319 runs.

What? I hear you shout. Why is James babbling on about a game none of us neither like nor understand? The answer is very simple. I inherited a lot of things from my father (good looks notwithstanding), including my support for Manchester United and a working knowledge of the ins and outs of cricket.

It’s a field game in which the side that’s in avoids getting out. The side that’s out wants in. Oh and they take tea. A lot.

 

 

On This Day…1 October

Friday, 1 October 2010

I welcome you to today’s installment of On This Day, the first one in the merry month of October. I know it should be the “merry, merry month of May,” but we do things differently in Ireland. Like bailing out banks to the tune of 29 billion euro. Yes, Anglo Irish Bank, I’m looking at you!

*Fumes*

Anyway, before I have a total canary, I’ll go straight to events on this day in…

959 – Edgar the Peaceable becomes king of all England. He succeeded Gerald the Bloodthirsty Warmonger.

1795 – Belgium is conquered by France, despite going 1-0 in the first half.

University of Capetown

1811 – The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrives in New Orléans, Louisiana.

1829 – South African College is founded in Cape Town, South Africa; it will later separate into the University of Cape Town and the South African College Schools.

1880 – First electric lamp factory opened by Thomas Edison. What a bright spark he was!

The George Washington Bridge. (Image: paulscharffphotography.com)

1903 – Baseball: The Boston Americans play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series.

1931 – The George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey and New York opens.

1946 – Mensa International is founded in the United Kingdom. I’m still waiting to see if they’ve accepted my membership.

1957 – First appearance of “In God We Trust” on U.S. paper currency. Just as well God isn’t a banker!

1971 – Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida, United States.

1975 – Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila, Philippines.

1989 – Denmark: World’s first legal modern same-sex civil union called “registered partnership.”

Birthday wishes go to:

Jimmy Carter, former American president and world-famous peanut farmer, is a dry roasted 86-years-old today.

Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music star Julie Andrews is 75.

Randy Quaid is 60.

And Irish pop singer and actor Keith (Boyzone) Duffy is 26.