My son is the same age as the Good Friday Agreement - why that matters

Our Belfast-born son turns 20 this summer, the same age as the Good Friday Agreement, signed on April 10th, 1998, that marked the start of the end of what in Northern Ireland was known as ‘the Troubles‘. Throughout his life, he’s heard me talk about the Troubles. But the Belfast I’ve described, a city of... Read more »

To our son as he sets out on his Interrail trip

Our youngest is about to head out on a rail trip around Europe. In my era, the ‘you’re cool if you own a Sony Walkman’ era, the Interrail trip was a rite of passage, when college-age kids rode all the railways of Europe over one month for one ridiculously-low price. You could spot them a... Read more »

Senioritis versus senior moments

Our youngest is just finishing high school in America. We’ve been told to monitor closely for signs of senioritis, an affliction that apparently hits all final year students as they approach the end of their school career, and which can manifest itself as a reluctance to get out of bed in the morning, or an... Read more »

So do real sailors roll up their underwear neatly when they go to bed?

I’m learning to sail. And the first thing that struck me after Lesson One was whether the sign of a real sailor is when they’re as neat and tidy in their own homes as they are on their boats. Because if we all lived life on earth the same way as life on board, there... Read more »

The art of giving directions

There’s one tried and tested recipe in our household that guarantees a matrimonial meltdown. It actually doesn’t involve the house at all – just the husband, me, a car and the need to get from a to b. It’s worked for the past 25 years, and while the tempers are perhaps slower to rise these... Read more »

Farewell to the espresso machine that saved us over $7,000

Our beloved espresso machine gave up the ghost this weekend. The irony of it happening on Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection, did not escape us. This little machine has been resurrecting us on Sundays, and every day in between, for the past 4 years and 6 months. We know that because I’ve an exact record... Read more »

What's worse: being dragged off a plane or dragged through the press?

The doctor forcibly dragged off United Airlines Flight 3411 on April 9 has been identified as Dr David Dao. Unfortunately for the doctor, that’s not all we now know about him thanks to the world’s press. I’m not going to repeat the facts that have been unearthed about the doctor’s past, and I understand that even... Read more »

United - how is dragging a passenger off a flight an example of 'Friendly Skies'?

If you don’t yet know what this blog post is about, please first watch the video below. It’s very short, but does contain sounds you might not want your kids, work colleagues or random strangers to hear. Just to let you know. And then ask yourself what this could be about. If you do know... Read more »

Holy Shimmering Shamrocks, Batman - it's St Patrick's day

Happy St Patrick’s Day! That’s it. I’m done. I’m out. I’m off to have some fun. You might have sensed the silliness level was increasing over the past day or two. I mean, Mickey Mouse and bunny ears. Who’d do that to their little leprechaun. I did in fact receive a nasty comment from a... Read more »

Paddy's off on a wild bunny chase in today's Chicago Padvent Calendar

I’m beginning to see little green men in my dreams, so I reckon it’s almost St Patrick’s Day. Just one more sleep, as we say at home. My personal little green man can’t wait, as then he’s hoping to get some sleep himself. This whole Chicago Padvent thing has taken quite a lot out of... Read more »