6 November 2010

Dublin at Night in Winter

Night Town

5 November 2010


Sunset in October in Ireland

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4 November 2010


Recently my blogs have gathered a merry band of followers.
Thank you for taking time to add your interesting blog links here.

Seeing Yourself as Others See You

There is a useful travel site, Travelexpertguide, where posters share tips on safety while travelling. "How safe is Dublin for alone female traveler?" gives a fairly balanced view of how to look out for pickpockets and how to avoid discussing religion.
For some reason, the religion seem to grab the visitor's imagination and it's worth mentioning that it is something that most people here never think about.
I have got used to street photography in Dublin, and have to admit that my fears were soundly founded on the impertinence of waving a camera at strangers in a public place, rather than on any fear of being attacked. Dubliners are an easy-going bunch and are never as given to excessive drinking during the day as some tourists would like to believe.
Night-time is a different matter and, as in any city, it's wise not to wander round alone. This, from a person who used cycle night and day for years without feeling any fear, may be as sign of old age on my part.
Being frightened of other people is a neurosis. Best avoided...


Having noticed that live linking here is increasingly bring IPs from far and wide and slowing my connection, I have decided to leave the reader to search for links themselves, if anything takes their fancy.
It's worth studying IPs with the use of a firewall, btw. IP blocking can speed a connection up quite a bit.


Today is Thursday..

... the day that the National Gallery in Dublin offer concessions on admittance fees to all comers. Most of the gallery is free for all, but the current exhibition by Gabriel Metzu normally costs 7 Euro.

I'm not usually a great fan of Dutch interiors with their arcane moral lessons and exaggerated domestic dramas. Give me a gentle Corot landscape any day.
However, having made the effort to take public transport and get to the gallery on a Thursday, I was delighted to find the entrance was just 4 Euro and even more delighted to discover that far from being a heavy-handed litany of moral lessons this exhibition glows with life and sparkles with astonishingly fresh colours.
There are several cases of artifacts from wealthy Dutch houses and the sombre lighting, designed to protect the pigments, has a calming effect on the visitors.
A series of lectures ensure that one goes to the exhibition with a deeper understanding of the culture of the time and most of them are free.


I Spoke Too Soon...

When considering the possibility of street violence in Ireland, I was not thinking clearly about the number of people who actually enjoy a good scrap and take any opportunity to vent their spleen in any society. Thinking about who pays for damage and, more importantly, who might get hurt, does not seem to occur to them.
Last evening the news showed footage that seems to be straight out of Paris in 1968... except that it was short and quickly dispersed. Everybody thinks now that 1968 was a glorious delight all round. In fact, I know so much about it because I was studying it with a very personal interest. If the riots had not stopped, I would not have been allowed to go to France. I have had a horror of riot police ever since that time. And having been on a peaceful march in Dublin which ended with the burning of the British embassy, I have no time for violence of any kind. In fact, that was the last time I walked in a street protest.

Kyle Tunney has some very humourous photos on his blog of the 3 November, 2010 students' march, which was peaceful and good humoured up to the point where it was upstaged by outsiders. The most amazing is an image of old fogeys like myself in a large glass fronted building looking down, like God in Chaucer's "Troilus and Criseyde", upon the folly of the mortals below.
"What next? Freedom of Speech?" was printed on a drummer's sweatshirt.
Ah yes, the wit of the Irish...

3 November 2010


A twitter post that mentions the difficulty of withdrawing one's money from a bank has reminded me of one of the horrors of contemporary life... the fact that banking is not safe.   Apart from the fact that I have actually met people who have known people who were in a bank during a robbery (the equivalent of knowing a man who once knew a man who worked), there are now so many checks and balances between one and one's hard earned cash that it makes one start up with... well, with a start.

Earlier in the year I brought in my own draconian cutbacks. No more weekly trips for a coffee. No more buying clothes that were not in sales (I even got caught out by buying a garment before waiting for the very last reduction)... no more driving without questioning whether it was ABSOLUTELY essential to go anywhere...never use the telephone unless the friend in question could not be emailed.

However, one detail was missed. The fact that my bank set a limit on withdrawals while abroad. The average teenager would be insulted by the allowance set. I was so frightened by the experience that I stopped buying anything.

Today I was reminded of this by the Twitter post.

Now I'm faced with finding a bank that treats customers like adults and that is likely to remain solvent for the foreseeable future. Even the post office, a haven for ordinary people is run by a bank.

It's all a bit of a bore, but must be faced...


The Tan

The pathway running round the perimeter of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is known as "The Tan". The surface is tan coloured and it was once used as a horse track.

Nowadays it is much frequented by joggers and walkers. The Tan


It Could Be Worse?

There is something pleasant about being indoors in Winter. Horizons shrink to the wall opposite one's computer, where photos of countries far, far away are inviting more travel.

"I have no complaints" was a common answer to being asked how things were years ago. Nowadays everything seems to be dramatically awful, which sends me off into a fit of "fou rire". Nobody else seems to see the joke in not being to assess whether fiscal ruin will come in the form of 6 or 8 billion. My idea of expense and luxury is set at having a coffee out from time to time, rather than in the comfort of my own kitchen. Looking forward to a break from all the moaning when I head for upbeat Australia keeps spirits up. There is no advantage in whining in Melbourne.

Friends in France seem to have more to lose at the moment, as there was once a very secure way of life there that meant that citizens did not feel obliged to emigrate every time the economy was dented a bit. Now the pensions row has got everybody riled up, which means that I am not inspired to visit a country where the populace is in a mood and throwing things. It would be alright if one just stayed there, but getting in an out of the Hexagone recently has been awkward and stressful.

Also, recent bellicose noises coming from EU leaders makes living on a rock in the Atlantic a wise choice.

It certainly could be worse.
I could be forced to go out of doors... Skink on a Red Hot Rock

All in the Mind?

The Irish Patents Office has a series of very helpful pages about the legal position of intellectual property in Ireland.

Having an idea is not enough. The form it is presented in is everything. Only when it is printed or embodied in an image can an idea be classified as "intellectual property".

This is becoming increasingly tedious as I work through many photos and generate new fractals. In a society where the value of each individual's input is lessened with each passing day, where the moaning about the future is like a drone of doom it would seem foolhardy to think anything.

Marketing the fruits of intellectual labour would seem like an act of lunacy?

2 November 2010

Metropolitan Lights