Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Celebrate or not to Celebrate, That is my Question.

Birthdays have been to the forefront of my mind lately. Between the 18th of June and 18th July we have six family birthdays totalling 327 years. Last January when life was calm, I decided we should have a party to celebrate before I leave for Bodrum.

When I was young, birthdays were red letter days. My parents loved to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries. I have brought this love of celebration with me from childhood to present day.

Hubbie is the complete opposite. He is very practical. Birthdays are just another day. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day Father's Day, money making rackets created by Hallmark!

I love to buy small surprises that will bring a smile to my family and friends faces, a bookmark that lists the 100 best books or a blanket printed with childhood photos, an appropriate charm for a bracelet, a photobook of memories. Unfortunately, Hubbie has not grasped this concept. I have been sent to buy my own prezzies. Gifts I have bought for him lie unloved and unused. The only time I nearly got it right was when I bought him a small keyring torch for Christmas. He found it a week beforehand and stole it. It was the best Christmas present he  was not given!

Over the years I have adjusted. What is the point in arranging a party that is not wanted, buying a present that is left to gather dust. I've learned that if I want a present I better a) tell him what I want or b) buy it myself. Forget surprise!

But a few years ago I became fifty. I got stroppy. No more compromises. Fine if he does not want to celebrate but I sure do. Hence this years party. However this post is not about the party. it's about my birthday. This year I finally had my red letter day.

 07.00  Metin had sent me a text to wish me a happy birthday - he keeps forgetting the 2 hour time difference!

07.30 A text from my brothers girlfriend. She is also my physiotherapist, the encroaching years have brought a variety of aches and pains. She hoped she hadn't woken me

07.35 I opened Facebook, and was chuffed to discover friends from Australia, Switzerland, Africa, Turkey  and of course a few locals had all left messages to wish me a happy birthday. Added to these were birthday wishes from my blogger friends, again located all around the globe. Also good wishes were rolling in from people on the Turkish Living Forum of which I'm a member. I know that Facebook reminds friends of birthdays but it is heartwarming that some I have not seen for a year, some I have not yet met and others I was only talking to last night, would take the time to stop by and wish me happy birthday.

08.00  had a chat with a relatively new cyber friend, living close to Paris.

08.30 I got up with a warm fuzzy feeling.

08.40 arrived in the kitchen, there were flowers on the table and three balloons with faces to represent my three missing daughters. It brought a smile to my face. There lat"super large cranium."

My Mum gave me a "Willow Tree" figure. It is called "Free Spirit- dances through life with laughter" Oh my, someone knows me and what makes me tick.

My birthday card speaks for itself. It contained a voucher towards camera lessons. Joanne said it was an investment in her wedding photographer, I showed it to her boyfriend tonight. A bad move, we almost had to drive him to hospital. It's a good job I did a CPR course a number of years ago.

The card also contained a new fridge magnet. I was told this was to be my mantra for the next few days. Believe me I needed it.

I then received a croissant with a single birthday candle. Do they think I'm so old now I'm out of puff?

Wow, it was only 09.00 a.m. but I have had the best birthday celebration in many a long year. To those of you who contributed to making my day, a big, big, cyber hug.

 And of course "THE CONCERT" was a smash hit. How could it have gone wrong today? Why did I worry?

How do you feel about birthdays? Are they just another day, are they something to be passed over quickly with the passing years or do you like to celebrate?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uninvited Guest!

This day fortnight I'll be winging my way to Turkey for the summer. I'm sitting down to make a list of what I need to do. As soon as I get there I will do the usual list of jobs, a big shop, pay the house insurance and the council tax. This year I have a more urgent job topping the list and it springs from a very near nasty incident at the end of last summer.

It was a lovely summers evening, Metin had come to visit and we had had a very loud raucous game of table tennis, you can see from the action here that I'm not in the slightest bit competitive. And a Turkish man let a woman beat him.... you can picture the scene.

The temperatures were in the high thirties, and that was just the weather. For once I was on form and had won my game.  We were tied so in the interest of entente cordiale we retired to the terrace to eat some ice-cream and have a long cold drink.

Nature called. I decided to use the loo in my bedroom as I also wanted to turn on the air conditioning. Air conditioning on, not to be indelicate I was doing what a girl needs to do.
Sitting on the "throne" I happen to glance down and there not 6 inches from my foot is this small brownish creature. Oh oh, it has a tail that has a distinctive curve to it. Now I will have to admit while I'm no Miss Muffet - I can take spiders, bugs or moths in my stride -I draw the line at snakes and scorpions.

It was a good job I was sitting on the loo, I certainly needed one. The sight of this tiny creature frightened the **** out of me. However, this led to its own problem. Sean was not at home that left only Metin to summon for help, not something I could do from the loo. It was the longest couple of minutes (probably only seconds) that this guy and I had a staring match.

Why had I taken up the Turkish fashion of removing my shoes in the house? Trying to take my feet off the floor and finish what I was doing was an even more awkward position than using a Turkish toilet.
Finally, I shot off the loo and raced for the door being careful to avoid my new found friend.

I hollered for Metin. He came to the foot of the stairs. It was not normal to ask a young man up to the bedroom. He hesitated. I quickly explained using frantic gesticulations. I had never needed to learn the Turkish word akrep before and I certainly wasn't going to take the time to look it up in the dictionary.

He finally got the message. There was too much panic in my voice for me to have lost my reason and be inviting him to my bedroom. He bounded up the stairs and took a look. The scorpion was still in the same place, he took a can of shaving foam and hit it a fatal blow. Then the lecture began. Why had I waited for him. I should have killed it myself. The scorpion could have disappeared under the shower to emerge again when he saw fit. Yada yada yada. He was worse than hubbie, and there was I just shaking in terror.

What was worrying me more was where was the scorpions family? Would they swear an eternal vendetta for the contract I had taken out on one of their family members? A scorpion mafia is to be feared. Metin also told me that there were two types of scorpion in Turkey and this one was the more poisonous variety. Gee, he knew how to reassure a scared woman. Probably revenge for winning my game of table tennis.

 I made Metin go through the whole bedroom. He looked behind pictures, wardrobes, under the bed. I even had him strip the bed clothes to check for more scorpions. I didn't want to cosy up to one in the night. The whole time he was laughing at me for being such wimp! All I could do is thank my lucky stars that Ireland has no real nasties. Saint Patrick threw out all the snakes. I can cope with a few midgie bites in summer.  We don't even have mosquitoes.

It  took me several nights before memory began to fade and I slept easy again. I got a regular teasing as too why I was so scared of something that was only about 4 cms long, especially if there was an audience.

A couple of weeks after I returned home I had a call from Metin. He had had a bad night. He had awoken from sleep to find a scorpion on his leg! He managed to kill it before it did any damage. He left it in the corner of his room as a warning to all other scorpions that might come his way. But he too had a few sleepless nights.  What goes around comes  around! I'll have to admit to taking pleasure in his sleeplessness, once I knew he was unharmed.

Top of my to do list this weekend. Ring Metin and ask him to put down pesticide before I arrive. No more unwanted visitors please!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Volcanic Landscape - Cappadocia

Todays post invites you to Cappadocia. Located in Central Anatolia it is the most amazing place I have ever been and I would return there in the blink of an eye.

I first heard of Cappadocia or should I say Cappadocians when I was a child going to Sunday Mass. St Paul wrote several letters to the Cappadocians. I never dreamed then that 40 something year later I would fly over the place in a hot air balloon.

Cappadocia or Kapadokya as it is in Turkish is a unique landscape. It is a major tourist attraction. It is the land of the fairy chimneys. The area was formed by the volcanoes, Mount Eriyces, Big Hassan Mountain and Little Hassan.
Mt Ericyes
Big Hassan and Little Hassan
The volcanoes began erupting about 14 million years ago and continued up to about 8000 years ago.

The solidified lava flows and tufa or tuff stone formed a natural plateau that was then crisscrossed by  deep valleys caused by erosion.
Rose Valley
This erosion caused the formation of  "fairy chimneys" as the tufa weathered faster than the harder layers of basalt underneath. The fairy chimneys are so called as the ancient people believed they could not be formed by humans, and as fairies lived below ground, these formations must be their chimneys.

Love Valley

The tufa was easily worked and so many cave dwellings and churches were cut into the rock and the valley walls. These are still to be seen today. The church walls were decorated with frescoes, some simple, some infinitely more complex.

Pigeon Valley

Frescoes at Goreme Open Air Museum

Goreme Open air Museum is an area where there are several of these churches located together. The Byzantine frescoes date from 900-1200 AD. Most are in a very good state of repair though most of the figures had their eyes gouged out by superstitious locals who lived in fear of the "Evil Eye" Also you can see Dove cotes carved into the hillside as the whites of the pigeon eggs were used as a glaze.

Many of the cave dwellings have been turned into high class hotels and into panysions. When we visited we stayed in the Kelebek Hotel. Our cave room was wonderful and missing those mod cons like TV and telephone. A perfect retreat.

Fairy Chimney at Kelebek Hotel

Our Cave Room at the Kelebek
There are also approximately 15 underground cities in Cappadocia. Some are huge complexes 8 levels deep like the one we visited in Kaymakli.  Four of these levels were open to the public. Each level could be sealed off with huge millstones.

The top level was used as stables. It is thought that people did not live permanently in these underground cities, rather they moved underground in times of attack and may have lived there for months at a time. The complexes include separate areas for each family, wineries, churches, kitchens etc.

The caves stay at a constant temperature of 15 degrees. Cappadocia produces up to 30,000 tons of seed potato every year. The caves because of their constant temperatures and low humidity are eminently suitable for storing the potatoes.  A modern day use for the ancient formations.
Dawn flight.

No trip to Cappadocia would be complete without floating over the area as the dawn breaks. It is the best way to view this fascinating, voluptuous landscape.

To see more  V posts click on the link to visit ABC Wednesday.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Photo Shoot!

Why is it the one time you need to be up early you can't sleep. Saturday night was a busy night. Blog post written, I had done the obvious things, camera batteries charged and packed, spare memory card formatted and ready to go. I've got the right change to pay for the balance of the workshop. I've even popped my manual into the bag in case I was lost and had time for a sneaky peak.

Super organised. Oh oh, tripod. Guess what is going to be next on my shopping list! My tripod is too light for my new camera. Mum has one in her attic. Sean was hauled from in front of the TV and asked to climb into her attic. She was away but gave vague directions to where it may be. I followed him up the ladder. I think a sat nav would be necessary to to negotiate the clutter. 15 minutes later tripod located I backed down the ladder. Have I ever mentioned I don't do heights.  A couple of pieces of aluminium strung together with some more flimsy bits doesn't inspire confidence.

On first examination Mum's tripod is definitely heavier than mine. I unscrew the legs, no nice easy flaps on this baby. Figured out how to get the camera secured, it seems steady, I'm all set to go! Okay! Put the camera back in the bag. What? It won't unscrew!! Deep breath, take my time. Do it again. No luck. HUBBIE!!!!! He comes running thinking I'm having a heart attack. Actually probably not too far from the truth. He calmly begins to unscrew the camera but it simply spins on its axis.

But he's a man. He immediately get the vice grips to hold the bottom screw. Ten minutes of what appears to be sumo wrestling he gives me a proud grin and hands me my camera without the tripod.
Won't catch me using that one tomorrow. Where would I find a vice grips and a hubbie to come running.
It has been 9 hours since I drank a cup of coffee but I'm wide awake. I spent some time blog browsing.
The birds are beginning to sing. It is a quarter to five and I have to be up at seven. Murphys  Law.

 Seven o'clock came around quickly  and it's p***ing rain.  The sister-in-law arrived to collect me at eight. She's just the kind of sister-in-law that you would love to have. She joined the camera club after me, she now cleans up in club competitions. I don't get a look in edgeways. I brought her to Turkey with me and all my friends thought she was 20 years younger than me. In truth, she is one year younger. I'm going to have to find older, uglier and less talented the interest of my mental health.

The ferry to Waterford Castle
We arrived at Waterford Castle, the location of our workshop.  It is still spilling rain. The Castle is on a small island and we have to cross by ferry. I rolled down the window and took a photo of the ferry as we waited for the other members of our group to arrive. There was no way I was getting out of the car. Don't think I need worry about "THE CONCERT" There is no way that it can be June 12th. It feels like January 12th. I'm wearing socks for God's sake!  I have just emerged from the shower like Bobby Ewing and the last few months have just been a dream! Nope reality check, it is the 12th of June and I've got to get out of this car and make a run for it.

 Tony is at the door and directing us to the room where we will be working. I'd murder a cup of coffee. I only had two hours sleep and a caffeine shot would be most welcome. Paddy, the club chairman, directs us to coffee in the reception area.  But Tony turns us back. It's down to work, coffee at eleven:-(((((((

Two models are getting their hair and make up done. The room is full of serious looking equipment! Lighting and reflectors of every kind. We hear of Rembrandt lighting , Butterfly lighting and Beauty lighting. I'm not a Celebrity, how will I get out of here????

Our first model Marie

This was bad enough but then there was a lot of talking about metering, if this stop is that and that stop is this you need to do X! Somebody throw me a life buoy, I'm drowning. I'd made a particular point of asking was this workshop suitable for beginners. Even a look at the strong sturdy tripods, let alone the serious cameras tells me there is very few at the same level that I am. Thank God for the sister-in-law. She is doing a lot of eye rolling beside me while frantically scribbling notes. Guess who forgot pen and paper? That's right, miss super organised herself!!

Photo  taken with natural light.
The door opens and the tea and coffee arrive, but it is not to be. Tony is enlightening us on feathering the lighting. We're never going to have all this equipment. Or are we? It turns out the club has a lot of these lights and we are welcome or even entitled to borrow them. Move over David Bailey, I'm after your job.

Model number 2

I asked Poppy to throw her Bouquet.

This photo was to show the beauty of the location
Interesting tip. If photographing someone with a double chin, ask them to touch the top of their palate with their tongue and gently push the tongue up...the head automatically comes up and tilts back, stretching the neck. Bet you're trying this out now as you read. It might be more helpful if I could remember shutter speeds and f/stops.

Thank God, we finally get permission to have our shot of caffeine, but by now I'm considering a shot of something infinitely more stimulating. And this is from one who doesn't drink. The cups are small and the coffee lukewarm. I'm paying for some past sin.

Enter our models. We are broken up into two groups and given a remote trigger for the flash. We are given the readings for shutter and aperture. What the hell is 1/60th of a second. My camera doesn't say 1/60th. Doh it's plain 60. Only stupid question is the one that you don't ask.

What followed next was a couple of hours shooting the models. I was so nervous the first time. It is nerve racking when you are being told to talk to and pose your model when all you're trying to do is to focus the damn camera!

Poppy is wearing a Philip Treacy hat.

We broke for a light lunch.....we paid €10 for the privilege. I won't be coming here to eat too often. We had another cup of tea or coffee and 2 small triangles of salad sandwiches. I'd hate to be paying for dinner. I went to the ladies rest room. Wow, I've no camera, I run back to get it. The toilets are very unusual. I have to photograph them. I know that I'm not a portrait photographer. Landscape or the unusual catch my eye. These are not the most technically correct, shots I've taken. I got lazy after the earlier work and put my camera on Auto.

After lunch, our models reappeared wearing a change of costume. Poppy was wearing a Philip Treacy hat This time I'm not as scared  and wonders of wonders, I've learned the shortcuts for changing my aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. I learned hot to reduce the flare from the window when shooting in natural light. Waiting to take my turn Tony asked to see the photos I'd taken earlier. Imagine my blushes when I turn the dial. Who else has photographs of toilets when there are two very beautiful models just waiting to be "shot"

The workshop finished about 4.30. I'm brain dead but feeling a lot happier than I did at 10.30. Looking back I didn't get great photos, but I learned to handle my camera and my fear. I've uploaded the best of my shots here and of course the ones of the bathroom.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Personal Bloggers Are Us.

Blogging is relatively new to me. I did an in-service education course on blogging as it can be a useful tool in the classroom. I never dreamed I'd end up a personal blogger.

I love to read. Reading is a sensual  as well as a cerebral experience for me. I love the look, feel and smell of books, as well as the pure joy in losing myself in a story well written. My idea of a good day  out shopping is to be let loose in a book shop with money in my pocket.  There is no trauma here, no seeing something I really like, trying it on and finding it just doesn't fit or it doesn't suit.  I don't have to look sideways in a mirror. A quick glance at a back cover will tell me if I need to explore further. Easy peasy, no mirrors. Sean's biggest gripe with my passion for reading is that it is expensive - at the rate I read. His next gripe is that once read I will not bring the books to the secondhand shops or give them to charity. I will loan them to friends who have a proven track record in returning them. Other than that, they sit on my bookshelves making our house look cosy, lived in, loved. Of course now the bookshelves are in the sitting room, the bedrooms, the kitchen and now we almost have to walk sideways to get past the shelves in the hall.

 Blogging doesn't just involve writing. It involves reading other blogs. Hubbie doesn't know whether to be happy or sad. I now follow over 50 blogs. I love peeping through the curtains of other peoples' lives. I have learned many new things. And as for the photography....words fail me. However, keeping up with my "blogging" reading means I don't have the same amount of time for books. Hubbie is trying to decide if having more money in our pockets, and the end of books encroaching what little free space there is to walk around this house, is worth the amount of time I spend on the computer. If he ever decides to leave me, the computer will be cited in the divorce case!

To make matters worse (on the homefront), I have recently joined a group of Bloggers called Personal Bloggers Are Us #PBAU. The idea behind the group is to promote the idea of personal blogs and bring them to the forefront.  Some of us are quite new to blogging and this will help us get in touch with other bloggers, to share ideas and encouragement. It is a 90 day challenge and we will share posts every Tuesday and Friday. We start on Tuesday.
At the moment there are 22 of us. Please check out their blogs. There are some amazing writers here. I have listed them in no particular order.

  1.  Josie Speaks Up - the musings of an Australian gal who is re-inventing her life
  2. Charlie Nitric - Charlie likes to share his  experiences, poetry, hopes and dreams.
  3. Life Through Lucylastica's Lense - Lucylastica2 writes wittily  about her life and observations.
  4. Skank Rattle and Roll. - LaliaGigiVoce  who is finding her voice through her blog.
  5. Confessions of Green Queen. - My glass slippers is a writer for film, an environmentalist and a globe trotter.
  6. Are you Serious? - Alexandra  uses her blog as her creative outlet. She is a currently studying Communications.
  7. Hajra Kvetches. - This blogging group is part brainchild of Hajra. She enjoys a good "kvetch" now and then
  8. Reflections from a Red Head. - Janine is the other brain behind this group.  Jamine likes to reflect on  life, love, family and of course being a red head.
  9. What Little Things - Samantha blogs on the little things in everyday life in Peru
  10. Growing Up Jenny - Jenny is a freelance writer in Ontario. Jenny has wrestled with depression and now plans to do everything she missed out on growing up.
  11. To Gyre and Gambol - Thom likes to enjoy the passage of time. Follow the tree outside his office window through the seasons, in addition to his reflections of life.
  12. I've become my Parents - This guy writes about things his son should know before he turns into him.
  13. Stepping through grief. - Esdeer offers hope and comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
  14. Sweepy Jean Explores the Webby World - Sweepy Jean is a wonderful poetess. Her blog also contains her musings on life.
  15. 40blogSpot - in her own words this is the blog of a French Yummy Mummy living and blogging in London
  16. ~ just my thoughts - Cath is an artist, an amazing photographer and combines these with just her thoughts, the result, a truly captivating blog.
  17. Tale Spinning Stuart spins some great tales. Check him out and you will be caught in the web he weaves.
  18. It's All a Matter of Perspective - Holly is professional writer and claims her blog is 99.3% truth and .7% blatant lies!
  19. Catharsis - Joy Page Manuel is a blogging Mom who is finding her way through motherhood and homesickness for her native home.
  20. Return to Sender: A Fat Girl's Letter to the World. - Sarah has two degrees in Creative Writing. She has adapted and thrived in the fashionista realm with  creative ingenuity and a willingness to wear anything once.
  21. From Coach to Entrepreneur - Diana has had a varied career and  is now a coach, through her blog she shares her experience.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June Blizzard hits the Sunny South East of Ireland

Geez Louise, could someone scratch the month of June off the calendar and just fast forward to July. Feels like a blizzard blowing. The temperature today was icy and I feel snowed under.

Today was school Sports Day.  Lots of fun interrupted by heavy rain,  and NO practice for the school concert. I have a one track mind lately. But it's worth it. One child today announced she had bought a gun (toy) with her pocket money. She has decided to shoot all the teachers except me, the reason??? I'm doing her school concert. This child doesn't usually shine in school but this is her chance. She has a few lines and she feels like a star. Moments like this make it all worthwhile!

Saturday: need to do some serious study of my camera manual. I only got the camera at Christmas and still finding my way around it. Why the urgency? In a moment of madness I signed up for a Portrait Photography workshop with award winning photographer Tony Tang on Sunday. Several members of our camera club have also done so. We are expected to have basic knowledge of exposure, shutter speeds, white balance etc. If only my head wasn't like a sieve. Why do I choose my busiest time of year to push myself and challenge my boundaries? I'm intimidated - but I'm still going!!

That's the weekend covered.
Monday: school in the morning followed by a regular run-of-the-mill gastroscopy in the afternoon. Went to see a consultant today. He decided he better do a "scope" just to check out the heartburn I've been having for the past year. Family history is a bit dodgy in this area.

He has an vacancy on Monday afternoon so since I'm heading off for sunnier climes, for two months, I agreed. He was at pains to reassure me. I told him that I wasn't a stressy kind of person. To be honest I'm more worried about my ass hanging out of the back of the hospital gown than what they may see on their camera.

I wish to God someone would have a word with my body and tell it I don't have time to be sick or to have inflamed tendons. I have too many plans. Body thinks it's 90, head thinks its 16. Find the mean and you get my actual age. Maybe its my head they should be examining.

 Tuesday: Back to work and mad preparation for the school concert. They still don't know their words. There is less than 2 weeks left.  One of the classes  is on school tour on Thursday and I'm on tour on Friday. Just as well I'll be leaving the country a week later! But no point in worrying. They are so talented and creative. They always pull it out of the bag just after I've pulled all my hair out. This year I've decided to keep my hair.

Wednesday 100km drive to Dublin to meet my Turkish class to have "our end of year night out" That should be good fun, good food, good company and very definitely a late night before driving another 100km home.

The weekend will be spent writing school reports. I will have to think of lots of inventive ways to say the same thing. Once saw a list of comments like " A photographic memory but the lens cap is glued on" "She would argue with a signpost" " He has been working with glue too much" "Lifeguard wasn't on duty in the gene pool the day your child was conceived" but even I reckon these would be pushing the limit. I want early retirement but not forcibly.

The following week is The School Concert, two nights running, Juniors one night and Seniors the second night.  The smallest ones are always brilliant and the more mistakes they make the better it goes down.  It's the second night that gives me the heebee jeebees.

We also have three family birthdays that week. And two of my brothers and my Mum have birthdays in July. So I decided we should have a 327th birthday party. It was a great idea last January! Still, my Mum will be 85 years young in July and my oldest and youngest brothers are 60 and 50 respectively. Its hard to get my head around my brother being 60. Sounds like he is beginning to get on! I'll be away so I'm having a party for all of us.

Party over and it's the last week of school. Prepare the choir for mass for the graduating class. How did I get the job of being responsible for the school choir. Process of elimination. Next time we have a staff vacancy I'll be clutching my principals legs screaming "Get someone with Music!!!" It would be great if we had someone who can stay in tune and even better could play a musical instrument.

The same day I'll meet the parents of my new incoming class next year. I just found out I will have the Junior Infant Class, the 4-5 year olds. Great fun in store. It is always important to warn them I'll believe half the stories that I hear if they do me the same courtesy! The story I think I  will always remember is when one young man excitedly told me" Mammy is getting a new baby. You know the pills you take to stop you getting a baby? Well she forgot to take them and Daddy is quare mad at her" (Note quare is an adjective peculiar to this region to mean very, e.g. quare good, quare nice, quare bad)

School closes midday 30th June. July 1st I'm on a plane for Bodrum with hubbie and sister-in-law Some days its great to be a teacher......... especially July 1st! I can swap the blizzard for hot, hot hot!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fixing the Irish Economy.

This letter was sent to me today and I was asked to pass it on. I'm all for this solution to our country's financial problems.

Dear Mr. Kenny,

Please find below our suggestion for fixing the Ireland's economy.

Instead of giving billions of Euro to banks that will squander the
money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.

You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 0.4 million people over 50 in the work force.

Pay them €1 million each severance for early retirement with the
following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire.

0.4 million job openings - unemployment fixed

2) They MUST buy a new car.

0.4 million cars ordered - Car Industry fixed

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage -

Housing Crisis fixed

4) They MUST send their kids toschool/college/university -

Crime rate fixed

5) They MUST buy €100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week .....

and there's your money back in duty/tax etc

6) Instead of stuffing around with the carbon emissions trading scheme
that makes us pay for the major polluters, tell the greedy bastards to
reduce their pollution emissions by 75% within 5 years or we shut them

It can't get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of Dail pay back their
falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances

U is for Urban Decay.

Visitors to Sultanahmet, the historical district of İstanbul flock to see sights such as The Blue Mosque,

 Hagia Sofya

 Topkapı Palace.

and the Yerebatan Cistern

While many of the historical konaks - houses- have been renovated and turned into boutique hotels, an early morning walk  through the back streets showed that many of the houses are falling into rack and ruin.

This boutique hotel is next door to the building in the next photograph.

ABC Wednesday