Holiday and aftermath

The holiday was excellent. Great hotel, fantastic staff, and an absolutely fantastic location. One of the best weeks I’ve spent on holiday in recent years. It’s a real pity that the tour operator (can’t name them yet – I’ll explain later) were  either uncaring or possibly downright malicious in aparrent efforts to scupper what was supposed to be a great gift.

The tour company pretty much lied about the terms that were applicable to the gift, saying originally that the gift applied to all of the destinations in the brochure, and would be applied against the brochure price as printed in the catalogue.

However, as we were doing our research on the locations and the timings, we were told that no, the gift didn’t apply to destinations that flew from Belfast as those were advertised in Sterling in the brochure and therefore the gift wouldn’t be allowed to be used there.

After raising the isuse with the people on the phone, we were told “Sure aren’t you getting a free holiday, what more do you want?” Well what one would expect from such a tour operator would be politeness on the phone, after all we would be spending a significant amount of money with them, and it could have been such a possible public relations coup. But, no, they chose to be bad-minded about it. After re-chosing our shortlist of destinations to only ones that flew from the Republic, we phoned back to get the relative costs of each destination possibility. Armed with this information we made our choice, and phoned back to book. Yes, would you believe it, the so-called “brochure price” had gone up by close to €1000 euro in less than an hour. “Oh, yes, it’s a booking on our live system, the prices can do that” we were told. Of our 8 destination/hotel combinations on the shortlist, 7 had raised in price by over €500. A quick comparison between our quoted final “brochure price” and the actual cost of booking online through their website that day, showed that the difference between the prices was not far from the value of the gift…. It’s a bit of a coincidence I think.

However, destination 8 had only risen by something like €300, and was still within the budget that we had set ourselves. So we booked, and paid the amount over that this holiday would cost over the gift value.

The further coincidences that we were the victim of, were interesting. We were not sitting together on the plane out, nor were we sitting together on the plane back, and the airline had no capability of changing the seating as the travel company did the allocation themselves (I saw the ticket screen and the block that had no change capability). Arriving at the hotel, we were told that our room was on the pool level and had no balcony as a result. The hotel staff knew that this was a less-than-ideal room for a couple on holiday but they had no capacity left to enable a change in room. However, there was a capability to upgrade us to the sister hotel nearby, for no charge. So we naturally took them up on the gracious upgrade offer and we had a brilliant holiday as a result.

Problems and solutions?

Personally, my attendance of the wedding triggered some unfortunate actions and statements from a few small-minded people that have such personal prejudices and terrible small-mindedness that they were willing to invent situations that didn’t exist, and self-persuade that their world-view was so right, even to the point that their stupidity and downright idiocy that could have caused so much hurt and division. However, the people that could have been hurt again, were all adults about the situation, and the hurtful behaviour was put down to it being the result of small-minded and emotionally stunted people, that could have known better yet chose to act the ways that they did.

It’s absolutely fantastic though to be no longer having someone attempt to control me in such a hurtful and damaging manner. It’s a pity that the resolution to that issue had to take the course that it did, as the others involved  have neither the emotional maturity nor the capability to understand what is going on, and the means that they will have to sort out their own problems individually and hopefully gain the mental tools to be able to grow up and play nice with the rest of the adults, before the overall situation resolves itself. They will have to be ready to admit for once that maybe they were at fault, and that there may be  a need for an apology to not only myself but to a lot of the other people involved. But that would be the mark of adult behaviour, of people that have matured emotionally, and  that can interact with other people without displaying such anger and naked agression as they have in the recent past.

As with a lot of things, it takes an admission that there’s a problem before the problem can be resolved, and they are too misguidedly proud and too arrogant to admit that there is a  problem that might lie with them. In an ideal world, they would self-analyse, and see that their behaviour was in fact both insulting and inappropriate, and that there is a need to apologise for that behaviour. That would be a good start. Then I’d like to see them seek help for the unresolved issues that they have, that are getting in the way of their lives. Then after that, they should have the nous to realise what is next needed to make restitution with those that they have deeply hurt and angered unnecessarily. Once that step is taken, then they can start to rebuild the relationships that their previous attitudes and behaviours had shattered.

Catherine’s wonderful wedding.

Catherine’s wedding was fantastic. Even allowing for the absolute stupidity and pure selfishness and complete lack of consideration that some people that were close to me unfairly showed in the days leading up to the wedding, it went off as an event to be memorable for all of the right reasons.

It was never going to be an old-fashioned wedding, but as is the right of those chosing to marry, it was done exactly to their desires. It was fun, light-hearted, and thoroughly enjoyable. Everyone that attended was so happy to have been there to share in the wonderful day/night/weekend that the event turned out to be. Everyone that could, helped out in ways that showed that the real definition of a good family is one that actually helps out without complaint, or judgement.

I’m so glad that I went to the wedding, and I am so happy for the newlyweds. Heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for the life that you have both chosen to embark on

Viewing Planets in Daytime.

Yesterday evening I went out with my ETX to take a look with the solar filter at the first set of sunspots in weeks.

After spending a bit of time there I thought I’d get a look at Venus as it would be easier to see anything of interest with the daytime sky behind it. I could see it clearly and I got to try some colour filters, and trying all of my eyepieces and barlows to get a view.

Next up was to locate Mars – the Autostar made short work of that, and I could easily see Mars against the daytime sky, with well over an hour to sunset. There was not much to see except hints of markings of course, given the 6.2″ diameter of Mars at the moment  and the 2″ rayleigh resolution limit of this little scope, combined with the short 350mm focal length. Still, it was nice to actually see the planet at all.

Feeling confident, I went off and selected Saturn. Lo and behold, there was Saturn, just barely brighter than the background sky, but still visible. I could see the rings almost edge on, and the shadow of the rings on the planet cloudtops. Still impressive I think, and points me to the possibility of observing some items during the day at least

Stolen – Giant Reign

My Giant Reign was stolen from Castletroy on Monday the 17th of May.

It’s a metallic green Giant Reign, with RockShox Recon 335 front forks, and a Specialized V-groove saddle. The bike has sentimental value apart from the actual cost to me to replace it.

If anyone sees this bike either in use or for sale please get in contact with the Gardai in Henry Street, or contact me directly by phone or text on zero eight seven, six four three eight seven two five.

There’s a decent cash reward for information leading to the safe return of this bike.

Binoculars

I got my hands on a battered pair of Teleskop-Service 15×70 binoculars that had been dropped a few times and damaged. The previous owner had tried to fix them but the binoculars just didn’t want to stay aligned. So I had a go at fixing them, and now they stay aligned for the moment and the focuser operates correctly after the addition of a bit of neoprene foam around hte barrels to act as a spring.

First light was Friday night, and it was enlightening to see how easy M101 and M51 were to see, M13 looked like a globular cluster and not just a puffball. M104 was seen as a spindle. It really looked like I was looking  through two telescopes and seeing more than I had been seeing in the ETX.

Stuck in London

That unpronounceable volcano in Icelsnd has prevented me from being at home this weekend.

I can’t argue with the NATS decision to stop air flights, so I’ll have to consider a bus-ferry ticket this weekend as an alternative in case Ryanair decide to not fly again for a few days.

There is some hope about the restrictions being lifted by tomorrow, but the restrictions are looking likely to be back in place by Wednesday. The ash models are showing no real movement except to reach Canada..

Idiot driver – 05 LK 6659

Silver Mondeo hatchback. Try to learn how to use your mirrors on a motorway. Don’t overtake when you don’t have a space to come back into, and you’ve just forced your way back in with oncoming traffic. Also learn the correct time to use a rear foglight. Also don’t be afraid to give a safe gap to the car in front. By the way your rear valence is broken…

Samhain

For the first time I attended Duibhir’s Samhain party on the 31st of October. Great night, loads of photos in the gallery or at gallery
I went as Achmed the dead terrorrist, with my skull face and Jingle Bombs.
Great night!