Monthly Archives: May 2017

Rocky Mountain Hi

This blog has been back at work for two months now, producing an average of one post every four days.

Obviously such incredibly hard work deserves a holiday, so Mrs Tin and I are off to Canada for two weeks.

People say that the journey is a long one, but it doesn’t seem too bad. We are flying out of Dublin at 15.15 tomorrow and arriving, via Heathrow, into Calgary at 20.15 on the same day. Honestly, it takes longer than that to drive to Tralee. (Curiously, though, the trip home starts on a Wednesday evening and ends the following afternoon  – perhaps we’re flying uphill).

As I’ve said before, Tinson2 is in Whistler on a two-year student visa, and we are going to visit him for three days. Travelling all that way for just three days would be a bit daft, like visiting the moon on an afternoon off, so we are starting with a ten-day tour of the Rockies. The first eight days are by coach along the Iceland Parkway, and we are not at all worried by the fact that, just last Thursday, an attempt by Parks Canada to trigger a “controlled avalanche” to lower the risk of, well, an avalanche, brought down more snow than expected and blocked the entire road for over 24 hours. Perhaps they don’t have disaster movies in Canada, since all such movies begin with someone saying “it’s okay, we know what we’re doing”, followed by the sentence “hang on, that shouldn’t be happening” and then the phrase “aaarghhh!!”, and thus act as a salutary warning to anyone tempted to use the phrase “controlled avalanche” as part of a serious suggestion.

The last two days are on a train called the Rocky Mountaineer:

The tour ends in Vancouver. For the rest of the tourists that will be the end of their holiday, but we’ll have the best part still to come – one last coach trip to Whistler, to visit our boy. We are bringing Tayto crisps, and Dairy Milk chocolate, and Barrys tea bags, and lots and lots of love.

So that’s that. See you all in a fortnight.

 

 

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Man and Superman

He is no ordinary hero, because he is an ordinary hero.

Wherever Superheroes, and indeed Supervillains, who are just Superheroes who’ve made bad career choices, gather, they speak in awe of Ordinary Man, the one who stands out from the crowd by being part of the crowd.

His costume consists of a tweed jacket, corduroy trousers, and brogues, though in light drizzle (in other words, this being Ireland, on about 150 days a year) he adds a New York Yankees baseball cap.

He has a back-pack, his equivalent of a utility-belt. In this he carries his sandwiches, a book of Sudoku puzzles and, at the very bottom, his driving licence, though he is unaware of this last bit and has in fact been searching the house for the licence for the last six months.

He carries no weapons, though the Sudoku book could, if rolled up, bring a sharp sting to a miscreant’s ear.

He has a Man-cave, exactly like a Bat-cave except that it is not underground, and is constructed of wood. It is, to be honest, a garden shed, but he has equipped it with a small TV that picks up Sky Sports, a fridge with four cans of Heineken, and a dartboard into which he can actually place the darts, since the cave is only four feet long.

He has gadgetry, like James Bond. His car has a Sat-Nav, which is unfortunately of little use since every village in Ireland has a Main Street, a Dublin Road and a The Square, and the Sat-Nav girl’s voice has started to complain of a headache and to ask for a transfer to a country with postcodes. He has a smartphone, capable of many things, but on which he simply has his collection of music, mostly Coldplay. It has a single App, one which he downloaded by accident, which sends him a text every time a goal is scored at Euro 2016, and which has been curiously silent for almost a year now.

He has a side-kick too, though others simply call it Dad Dancing – an odd little hop that he gives when he’s dancing along, at weddings, to the chorus of Sweet Caroline.

Like all superheroes he has one superweakness – the ghastly man-flu, an affliction so awful that God has spared all of womankind from ever having to suffer from it. Man-flu seems a fit unfair, because the burden of his superweakness is not balanced out by the thrills of any superpower.

Unlike Superman, he can’t fly. Unlike Spider-Man, he can’t weave a web. Unlike Thor, he can’t use a hammer – actually, that one isn’t true, he can use a hammer, usually to put up shelves, or to hang pictures of his children.

He could probably talk the Penguin out of bank robberies by offering to lend him a few quid, talk the Joker out of blowing up the world by laughing at his jokes, talk Catwoman out of her sexy outfit by sheer Irish wit and charm, but such opportunities never come his way.

Yet he does fights crime – by paying his taxes to help fund the police force. He fights political corruption and incompetence by voting for the other crowd at the next election, and fights white-collar criminals by pointedly ignoring them when he meets them in the bar of his golf club.

He solves crimes, too, mostly while watching American cop shows, with his by-now famous maxim: “whenever you have eliminated the impossible, then it was probably that guy over there in the ski mask, running away”.

And he saves the planet, by trying whenever possible to cycle, to re-cycle, and to use the eco-wash cycle.

So let’s hear it for Ordinary Man. He helps to make the world a better place.