Friday, 24 October 2014

The Paleo Diet

I was looking at a book in easons about the paleo diet. It is a diet based on what our hunter gatherer ancestors ate before agriculture started. All grains and processed foods would be eliminated on that diet so it's suitable for coeliacs and people with other inflammatory and auto immune conditions. Corn is safe for coeliacs because it is made up of different amino acids to wheat and other similar grains and so the immune system doesn't detect the gluten which means it can be digested by a settled gut. But technically it is a grain not a vegetable so would be eliminated on the paleo diet. I think potatoes (a staple of the Irish dinner) would also have to be eliminated, especially for diabetics because of a relatively high sugar content or glycemic index. I forgot how the book phrased it because I only browsed through it quickly.
The percentage of meat to fruit and veg is about 60% meat, 40% fruit and veg. Dairy is also excluded unfortunately. I'm not lactose intolerant so I can have dairy in my diet and my dietitian recommended plenty of dairy as the best source of calcium. So I would include dairy as it is mentioned in the book as an allowed non paleo if taken in moderation. I like a bit of meat so I'm glad I can have pretty much as much healthy lean meat as I want if I did try that diet. I think the basic rule was a fist size portion of meat as just over half of a main meal and the rest veg. But I'd have to look at the book again to be sure.
I might invest in it and try it out. But when you are used to certain eating patterns and habits and have a taste for certain delicious modern foods it's difficult to change and meals would need more planning and preparing. Something that I can be lazy about at times. I might give it a go. Maybe invest in the book anyway to motivate me to try.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Further Parametric Modelling

I haven't done one of these in a while so here's an example of the rendering I was doing on my CAD course recently.
This is a butterfly valve assembly with a galactic background.
You can check out further animated examples on my youtube channel.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Saving Gaeilge

There was a post on facebook with a photo in relation to the people of the gaeltacht protesting that the new minister for arts, heritage and the gaeltacht doesn't speak Irish. Eventually the comments underneath drifted to how it's taught in schools via the current government's seeming lack of commitment to saving the language.
This got me to comment my own opinion and I thought it might make a good blog post, so here I am.
I'm of the view that it's (partially at least) the way it's taught in schools. So how do we change that? Practice makes perfect. Get the people speaking it regularly. TG4 does work to a certain extent in that I sometimes find myself trying to tweet "as Gaeilge" if I'm talking about something interesting I saw on the channel. But ultimately I don't tune in for too long because I cannot understand most of what's going on without subtitles.
My idea is based on getting teens conversing in the language. Have a compulsory class in secondary schools where it is mandatory to speak in Irish (as Gaeilge). Then let the teens chat and gossip with each other about anything they want during the class. The only condition being that they speak Irish. The teacher's role would be to make sure that no one drifts into comhrá Béarla (conversation in English) and any word they don't know in Irish can be written on the board so that the pupils can take it down so they know it next time. This could potentially be a class that even the least academic of pupils look forward to because it's almost like an extra break. It would get people used to speaking Irish and there maybe even new slang terms and cool words and phrases that would be integrated into everyday conversations - derived from the Irish speaking classes in school. That's what I think would save the language.
It's a language and not a cultural status symbol or heritage snobbery. The people who push for the literature end of things to stay compulsory in schools give off the status symbol / snobbery vibe at times even though I know that's not the intention. But to keep the literature, poetry and prose relevant (needed to maintain cultural heritage and identity), there should still be a written/literature Irish class as an optional subject in school. I know most people probably won't choose this class without parental pressure, but if people are happily speaking the language every day it won't die out.
That is how I think the language can flourish. Make speaking it relevant and cool to younger generations.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

CAD 3D Parametric Modelling

I noticed that I haven't done a blog since May, so I might as well do one now. I moved out of Gort. I'm in Tralee now. I'm sharing rented accommodation for the first time in years. But it's OK because my house mate Tom is a nice fellow and we chat like we'd known each other all our lives. He was very understanding when I told him about preparing my food separate from his and using my own utensils because of being coeliac.
I started a course in cad. 3D parametric modelling it's called. I like it. It's different from 2D in that you draw a random shape that's vaguely in the ballpark of what you want it to resemble. Then you constrain the dimensions and that brings it close to a more accurate drawing. After that you extrude the shape and put holes, chamfers and fillets where necessary until it becomes the component you want it to be. In 2D cad you have to be much more accurate from the start and if you need to see it from another angle you have to draw it again from the different perspective. But once the 3D part is drawn you can rotate and swivel it to look at it from any angle on the screen. We just did all individual components at the moment and we're due to move to assembly next. So the 3D cad is great because you can bring different components (saved as individual files) into a single assembly. Also, let's say you needed numerous parts like bolts (all the same size) for example, in an assembly, as long as the correct bolt is drawn once you can insert it in multiple places in the assembly. So it's very versatile. I am looking forward to doing assembly on the 3D cad.
The food situation is not good on the course. When I went to Fás (as it was called then) before I could get a fine dinner for a very low price. Now I have to be more careful because gluten (even cross contamination) will damage my gut. I tried the food in the training centre for a couple of weeks to see how it would affect me. I even told them I'm coeliac but I had pain in my stomach last weekend and minor cramps in the days leading up to that so decided to bring my own lunch from now on. It's the safest way.
Other than that the course is going well. The instructor is always smiling and enjoys a laugh whenever something funny happens. Solas (what Fás is called nowadays) has actually outsourced our course to a Galway company called Cad Services. Although we're still training in Kerry ETB Training Centre in Monavalley. But our instructor is employed by Cad Services. Anyway, that's what I have been up to since I blogged last.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

More Audacious Projects

So anyway, I got up early yesterday morning. Not because I had anywhere specific to be or anything specific to do. I was awake and happened to be dressed before I realised how early it was. With loads of spare time, I decided to convert a couple of cassette tapes to mp3. I had converted the 2 I'd chosen already, but the sound quality was poor. It was never going to be perfect from cassettes that are almost 20 years old but I knew I could get it better than what it was.
So I got out the tapes again and put a drop of white spirit on the sponge bit underneath the tape in the cassettes and cleaned the heads of the cassette player. It was a bit of an improvement in volume, but the clarity (or lack thereof) was still that of cassettes that had been played a lot over the early years after purchase. Still, at least they're on the usb stick and copied to the memory card in the phone.
After that I decided to try something else. There are songs on the usb stick that won't play on windows media player without a codex. They are not mp3 files. But I copied them to the phone memory card as well to see if the Walkman app would play them. It worked out fine. Now I have the songs that I used to have on the old Nokia E5 on the Xperia.
The Walkman app is handy for playing different audio files. The portable cassette player just needs to be plugged into a usb port to work. The Audacity software is available to download without the player and can export recorded media to mp3 and wav files.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Vitamin D

So this is about my coeliac condition. I had to go to Tralee today and there was a letter at the door as I was leaving the apartment. I didn't get to open it until I was on the bus. It was a prescription for vitamin D. There was also a note attached from the Doctor at the coeliac clinic in Galway. My blood test for vitamin D level showed 28. This, I'm told, is very low. It should be greater than 50. Anyway I came to Tralee and ate a fantastic dinner at The Gluten Free Kitchen Company. I had chicken goujons. I also had a vitamin juice since I thought it might be helpful considering the letter earlier. I wasn't going to have anything else but the owner (who's a gorgeous woman, but that's beside the point) suggested dessert and I remember seeing photos of what was available on their Facebook page. I didn't resist the temptation and went for an eclair. I booked into a b&b then because I have an interview for a Fás course early in the morning. Public transport would not get me there on time that morning. That's why I had to travel the day before.
At this stage the prescription had slipped my mind. I was just settling into the b&b when the phone rang. It was my doctor's surgery. The practice nurse was calling to let me know she got a letter from the coeliac clinic about my low vitamin D level. She ensured that I had the prescription. She made an appointment for the following week. Basically I have to get 2 injections, 3 months apart, of the vitamin D prescription. I suspected they'd be low because there is so little sun over the winter that the body cannot generate it. But I never thought I'd need injections. Especially since we're coming up to the summer. In the original blood tests in September, that I got the diagnosis from, my vitamin D level was perfect - as the doctor put it - a testament to how much sun we got last summer.
But ever since I was diagnosed I've always done my best to be upbeat and positive. The positive from this is the level of care, after care and support I'm getting from my gp and the coeliac clinic. It's keeping me positive in a week where I'm experiencing symptoms as a result of my previous visit to Kerry. I need to be more careful preparing food away from my own place so that I don't get "glutened".

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Something different

I decided to do something different for my blog this week. It'll all become clear if you read to the end.
The only thing I can do to make a lunch or dinner at a later stage, and the driver for a few days ago, save money by purchasing the best of the things. That you have any queries regarding this issue has a new job is going well as a new job.
I have to go to the side of the screen to confuse people. Who are you? A call on the computer in the UK and Ireland and the fact that the drivers for the first time in the future of the most important thing is that, the drivers for the first time in the future.
The weather was too good at what you want. A more accurate and the team would have gone to Norway. I was just the same as for my first post. Comments are closed, for you can also use this link. Then I will not be in touch with the best team. The best way for me to go there now. I am a bit more research into a new member.
I have to go to the side of the screen to confuse people. Who are you? A call on the computer in the UK and Ireland with the exact location and I have already registered. Then I have been trying for the first to review the New York and I have already registered. Then I have been trying for the first to review the new year with a paddle. I have to go to the American Airlines.
But it was not the case with you in Zambia. I'm not going on in my job file and the fact I think the last time I had to do with different people to get the gluten. The same as a result I have a new job by a friend of a new one is the best driver.
Predictive text on the Xperia keyboard. Don't you just love it?! I added the punctuation myself. Just my silly sense of humour.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

An Unpopular Opinion

I had been intending to write a couple of blogs about opinions with potential that could prove very unpopular, if not controversial. I finally got around to one of them with this one.
I have been following the recent crisis in Crimea on the news and it got me thinking. First of all I thought it was war mongering and America thinking it could enforce it's own agenda on the world under the guise of "policing" the free world when there was talk of a missile defence system being set up in Poland and Russia threatening conflict if it went ahead. America tried to play down their intentions as a result of an unpopular war in Iraq and trying to use the excuse of potential nuclear armament of Iran to ease Russia's concerns. But, judging by the invasion of Georgia and now Ukraine, the Americans had better intelligence on Russia than they let on to the ordinary layman in a neutral country like me. Putin is ex-KGB as we know, and I suspect would love to turn back the clock to a time when the Soviet Union had Eastern Europe either in its territory or controlled those countries outside it with puppet governments. Regaining lost territories from the breakup of the Soviet Union looks like the ambition for those in power in Russia now.
I'm not in favour of this, obviously. While the EU has its flaws and the breaking of their own rules on the Euro lead to the current financial and economic crises, it is better than a divided Europe with powerful countries lead by dictatorial megalomaniacs such as was the case in Germany and Italy pre-WWII. Irish governments negotiated structural funds for Ireland in the 1990s that helped our economy to grow and, in that sense, the EU has been good to us. So despite our own troubles and trouble in Greece, Portugal, Spain etc., the fact that we have economic and monetary union allows us to pull together and learn from each other and trade and attract foreign investment from across the world by companies who see the market here as lucrative. It's also easier to go on a foreign holiday within the EU and that benefits tourism dependent economies. The point I'm trying to make is that countries like Georgia and Ukraine are looking west for prosperity, would be welcomed by most in the EU and Russia does not like this.
If the current crisis was to escalate to a wider conflict with Europe I don't think Europe and America should back off and try to be diplomatic in the name of political correctness. I think we should combine forces. I even think that Ireland should break with our "neutrality" tradition and actively take sides and contribute military personnel to an EU defence force. "Are you mad?" I hear you ask. "how can a country with a small population and a relatively tiny army make a difference?" Well my opinion is based on an agenda. There is no way we could fight a war against a super power. Look at how easily Russia's army swept through Georgia when they invaded a few years ago. But let me use sport as an example. We have always punched above our weight - relative to our talent pool - when our soccer team was on form with its best players. The same can be said of our rugby players in the professional era of Rugby Union and our provincial system competing in The celtic league and Heineken cup. So too, our soldiers could make a significant contribution to an EU defence force fighting together for a common cause and have experience of conflict zones in the Congo, Lebanon, East Timor, Chad and most recently the Syrian war in the Golan Heights region as a result of their many UN peace-keeping missions.
This is the agenda part. In order for the strategy to be really effective we would have to keep China out of the conflict. The negotiating tool we have there is that a lot of America's recent borrowings may have come from China, or so I've heard, and a lot of companies from the EU and US have relocated/outsourced manufacturing to the cheaper Chinese market, creating jobs for Chinese and allowing the country to prosper. If these countries are ruined from being on the losing side of a war China doesn't get its investments and borrowings back and foreign investors from those regions pull out of China. China can also keep young Kim Jong Il in North Korea from misbehaving during an EU/US vs Russia conflict. If the West defeats Russia, it punishes Russia by getting it to pay for the war. Partly financially and partly with its oil and gas reserves fueling the West. EU countries that fight against Russia offloads their debt burdens to Russia as the cost of the war. Ireland can be one of those countries if they contribute militarily to an EU defence force. Europe makes a fresh debt-free start and prospers economically in time. Ireland would have backup, should an imperial power ever try to invade us again as well.
I'm not exactly saying this would happen and I know that Russia would have allies as well and the countries not directly involved could seize territory and resources from under everyone's noses and both sides in the conflict would lose out. I am certainly not advocating what could be world war 3 and nuclear devastation. I'm just saying that the potential threat of Russia facing a war on 2 fronts and a nuclear war that nobody wants could be the incentive for Russia to re-evaluate its territorial ambitions.The EU needs to stand side by side with the US and project its combined strength against Russia and stop it bullying smaller neighbouring nations. Ireland will still have its seemingly infinite debt, but at least a stable Europe means it can go on existing and trying to better itself. Ireland's relationship with Britain could also be at an all time high as a result of standing together militarily against a common threat. This could lead to a lasting peace and settlement in terms of the Northern Ireland peace process.
I know there would be ant-war protestations such as that old lady at shannon protesting against American military aircraft, if we were to participate in a show of military strength against Russia and its allies. But I think participating rather than doing nothing would be the lesser of too evils.
I've waffled on longer than I thought I would and still didn't get to say everything I could have said on the issue. But whether you agree or disagree with my somewhat controversial opinion of Ireland breaking with its neutrality tradidtion, I still hope I got my point across.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

IFET

I thought I blogged about this before but I looked through my blog and there is no mention of F.E.I.G.P.S.
I have been working on a little project lately. Well, maybe not so little. Towards the end of 2008 I was unemployed and living in an apartment in Galway. Life was boring and depressing because I was fairly isolated in that part of the country, being from Kerry and no relations living in Galway and very little interaction with people because of not having a job to go to. So I had to do something to keep my mind occupied when there was nothing to watch on tv during the long boring days when I just couldn't afford to go anywhere or do anything. One of the things I was passionate about at the time was Formula 1. I was worried that I would become disenchanted with the sport the way things were going and the fact that one of my favourite Grands Prix - Canada - had been dropped. It turned out that this worry was unnecessary at the time because slick tyres were coming back and Canada was only off the calendar for a year.
I got to thinking about if I was running my own formula, how I could make it compete with Formula 1 on a smaller budget and not to expect lap times to be as fast as F1 in my formula. I came up with an idea that I can best describe as being like a cross between Champ Cars and A1 Grand Prix. It would be an international racing series that would include a Grand Prix race at Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, Il Notre Dame, Montreal. I also had it in mind to have one race in Ireland and to try and include classic tracks like Spa and Suzuka and possibly Mount Panorama if it could be made safe for single-seater slicks & wings racing. I would also include oval races to appeal to the American market, even though I'm not a big fan of oval racing. America's biggest racing series is NASCAR and if I wanted to attract those race fans I'd need to include the odd oval event because NASCAR is raced in all ovals bar 2 races..
Ireland were competing in A1 Grand Prix at the time. They would go on to be champions in 2009. A1 was a single driver and same car for all teams formula. I would have gone with this for my formula. Only my one would have the driver being the team leader so the team would be out of the championship if the driver was out. The driver builds up their team around them and the team is named after the driver. All drivers would run the exact same car/engines/tyres etc., and have the exact same number of personnel with the exact same job descriptions in their team. So the best driver and the driver with the best team to set the car up for the race would be the most competitive in what I would hope to be the most level playing field in motorsport. It would have been similar to pre-2007 Champ Cars in terms of the design of the car (except for the engine and an air scoop like F1 instead of just a roll hoop) and the fact that the drivers had to change gears using a lever in the cockpit rather than paddles behind the steering wheel. My view was that there would be more of a skill to racing if drivers had to clutch pedal and use a lever to change gears. It wouldn't be a "H" system like road cars though. It would be sequential - back for up, forward for down - with a button on the steering wheel for reverse if the car needed to get out of the way in a dangerous position.
The points system has slight variations for long, short and oval circuits and I won't go into it in detail here. But it is a system that would reward consistency and that I think fans of American racing points systems would approve of. Points for pole and fastest lap (except for ovals which only have points for pole) and generally 35 (originally 33) points for a win and every finisher gets points, was the system for Formula Eamon. I wrote the first rule "book" by hand on blank A4 paper in 2008 during those lean times in Galway. I called it the Formula Eamon International Grand Prix Series (FEIGPS). A few years later in 2012 in Waterford I tweaked and upgraded the rules and regulations and stored them on my computer with a word processor.
For 2014 I did a bit more research and headed more in the direction of  Formula 1. I decided to change from a 3.5 litre, normally aspirated engine to a 2 litre turbo engine married to a hybrid system. I considered going the same way as Toyota's WEC/le Mans car and keeping the 3.5 litre engine with the hybrid system. But ultimately I had a better idea (from my research) of what power and boost figures could be got from 2 litre turbo engines in single-seaters. I also decided to regulate fuel usage and boost output for the races in line with how the road car industry strives for more eco-friendly economical cars and the boost regulation to reward faster drivers for more natural speed. I also went with a paddle shift system for gear change so drivers could maintain 2-handed control of the steering wheel for safety at high speed. But I kept a clutch system that retains a bit of skill in the gear change and still rewards driver ability. I still based the car design on Champ Cars, but the current design is more like the old Champ Cars because it doesn't have the F1-style air scoop, but a roll hoop over the driver's helmet. The original update on the computer in Word was 27 pages. The new 2014 rules and regulations book is 32 pages and has a little bit more technical detail.
I also decided to change the name to a shorter one that would have more impact and to suit the new version of the formula. It still retains the "Formula Eamon" part of the name, but instead of Formula Eamon International Grand Prix Series, it's now called International Formula Eamon Turbo - IFET for short. It is also a better name because you can now pronounce the short version in 2 syllables instead of 7 letters: I-fet. I made one more tweak to the fuel regulations. Since originally writing this, I discovered that formula 1 regulates it's fuel in kilos because of something to do with different properties for the fuel in its liquid and gas states. So I decided to do the same. I must update the pdf copy during the week as well. 
So that's my fantasy motor racing series Formula Eamon.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A Make Over?

Ok, I'll be very brief with this one. I'm thinking of giving my blog a make over. Changing the colour scheme to something brighter perhaps. Or maybe keep this the way it is and set up a new blog for specific types of topics. Although, now that I think of it, I don't always post here with any degree of regularity so maybe keeping 2 blogs on the go would be a bit of a chore if not a waste of time.
No, I won't set up a new blog. I don't like that idea now that I've thought about it. I'll experiment with a new layout and colour scheme for this one though.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Lost Contacts

I got a text from a friend last night. I had a fair idea who it was because of the nature of the text, but his name didn't come up with the text just his number in the form of +35387... So I assumed he must have got a new number. I wanted to text someone else today and noticed that all the texts in my inbox bar those from one contact, had only numbers and no name up. The one number I would have known without the name was the one that happened to have the name with it. Anyway, for some unknown reason all my contacts were lost. I went into the contacts app and tapped on a few letters to no avail. I read the texts in the inbox and could tell who they were from because they were all family except for the guy I mentioned at the start. I went to the gmail app, thinking I could recover them from there because my contacts are supposed to be backed up to google. The problem is I can't access a contacts folder in the android gmail app. It was lucky I had my old Nokia E5 stashed in a drawer in the bedroom. I was able to get the numbers off of that, including where I'm doing my internship and my doctor's number. When I finished that sentence I double checked my phone to ensure the contacts are still on it. They are... whew!
A couple of things could have caused it. The first is that it could have happened when I stopped apps and fiddled with settings and moved data to the sd card to clear phone memory - although there is plenty space in the phone's internal memory even without the sd. Maybe it hid my contacts in a way that I don't know how to recover. But I did a thorough search of all the sd card folders and nothing showed up. The other thing, that I think is the more likely of the two, has to do with the twitter app. I downloaded it a few days ago. Whatever it is about the phone software, facebook and twitter have some sort of sync going on with twitter for xperia and facebook for xperia. I just thought of a third probable cause but I'll get to that soon. Back to the twitter issue. When I login to twitter there is a sync contacts on twitter for xperia. I tapped the 'agree' button, thinking it wouldn't do anything. I didn't register my gmail when I opened my current twitter account. So it tried to sync my other email that I use for applying for jobs and registered for online banking and getting electricity bills by email and business like that. None of my contacts are saved there. So maybe twitter for xperia synched my contacts app with twitter and my other email and lost my existing contacts in the process. That's what I think was the most likely cause. I also remembered, as I was writing this, that I recently set up the socialife app to sync with my twitter and facebook so that I could view both feeds at the same time and share news, sport and entertainment stories. Maybe that caused it. I doubt it though because I registered with sony using my gmail.
My contacts are back on my phone now. But I'll be disallowing that sync option when I login to twitter on the android app from now on. I may even delete the app altogether if it gives anymore trouble. You need to be careful what you allow the apps on your phone to do.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Gluten bloomin' free

As you can probably tell from the title, I'm not entirely happy. You see, I decided to get a few things before going off the gluten free stuff for the week leading up to my O.G.D. on the 27th. I need to have gluten in my system so that the symptoms will show up that day. No, I am not looking forward to the symptoms but that's not the subject I'm unhappy about
in this particular blog post. Anyway, I got a few gluten free things to keep me going until I do my full grocery shopping later. Aldi doesn't do a specific gluten free section like Super Valu, which is where I got the few things. The thing I'm not happy about is the price. €25.30 for a few items I paid for at the "10 items or less" checkout. I would easily have come in under €20 (if not €15) at Aldi for the same amount of items.
So the plan is to shop as I did before the blood test diagnosis and compare the spend. I think I will save up to €25. Before going gluten free I could budget for between €30 and €40 for groceries each week. Now I stop counting the spend at €50 and there are still a couple of receipts I wouldn't have looked at. I have a short term strategy to deal with it. But, with a much higher percentage of coeliac and gluten intolerant people in this country than the UK, shops in this country need to cater for that market and bring regular shoppers along as a healthy option as well. And those that do already need to give more affordable choice and value to their range.
So the message to Aldi and Super Valu is: give people like me the same type of affordable choices that everyone else has.
P.S. I just want to add something to this. The receipt on the left is for 10 items in Super Valu. The one on the right is for 14 items in Aldi. €25.32 for ten items vs €20.38 for fourteen speaks for itself. If only all the Aldi items could be gluten free.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Holidays

Hi guys! How did the holidays go? I got my holidays a week before Christmas. It was a nice long holiday because I didn't come back to work until the 6th of January. Christmas was ok this year. I suppose the fact that I had been working before this holiday season meant I was so glad of the break that I wasn't as bored as last year. Even though it was two weeks of doing very little. I went to my sister's for Christmas dinner. A lovely day was had in Ballybunion. I stuffed myself as usual. My sister and I went for a walk with her dog and I remember hearing a constant thundering rumble in the distance. It was the sound of the Atlantic ocean battering the shore and the big waves rumbling in the wind. I didn't quite make it down to the beach that day. By the time we went for a walk, it was already getting dark and when we saw threatening looking weather blowing in form the Atlantic we decided to turn back.  Speaking of visiting siblings, my younger brother and another sister live only a mile away from my parents' house, so it was handy to walk down and visit them and my nieces when things were too quiet at home. I also took the opportunity to play a few tunes on my nieces' guitars as well, which was fun. Maybe I should try and take up the guitar myself again because I was rusty but some tunes still came as naturally to me as when I used to play them all the time. My older brother visited a couple of days as well. The new woman in his life is very nice.
Overall I didn't eat as much over the 2 weeks as I normally would at that time of year. I had to be careful of what I ate since having to avoid gluten. I remember the rest of them eating cake and pizza and biscuits and I couldn't have any because of the gluten in them. I bought gluten free biscuits in the shop one evening as a result. I did have a little bit of glutenous (is that a word?) food in the latter end because I was due to go to Galway hospital for an O.G.D. on the 3rd of January to confirm the coeliac diagnosis that a blood test showed in September. So I needed to display symptoms for that.
It got quite stormy at times. I was woke one morning, before Christmas day, by thunder and lightening. Another night I was watching tv and the wind was quite wild. It must have battered the ariel because the picture on the tv got quite shaky. Thankfully we avoided the power cuts affecting some parts of the country. I didn't mind the storms. The biggest thing to bug me was the fact that mobile phone signal is so weak at the parents house, and indeed the whole parish, that sometimes there was no signal at all.
But the storms did affect me in the end. My sister and her children's father were supposed to take me to Galway for my O.G.D.appointment. My dad decided to drive me to her house in the morning, even though she could easily have come up for me in her car... or so I thought! Just down the road a few metres from the house was the sart of a few straggling wires on the road that had been broken off the poles by the violent winds that night. We got to the village and stopped before the bridge because the fire brigade were blocking it. There was an exceptionally high tide that morning, combined with low atmospheric pressure, that flooded the village on the other side of the bridge. I made the decision to call the hospital to cancel my appointment. My mom told me how she heard on the radio that the Shannon had burst it's banks and flooded the road near Foynes. My brother couldn't go to work as a result. Conditions were not safe for travelling and the lady in Galway hospital was very accommodating, obviously understood the situation and arranged another appointment. The sun came out that afternoon and when the flood waters receded I decided to visit my sister. She didn't make it to Galway with me, but she wasn't at home. She said she evacuated when she got the chance. It was an appropriate word. She was wise to do so because the flood returned the following night. I was not going to come back to Gort until the Sunday. I had planned to return to my parents' after the O.G.D. But when that was cancelled I decided to return on Saturday on a relatively calm afternoon weather-wise. The wind was due to pick up again on Sunday and I didn't want to get stormed in and miss days at work.
Looking back, I didn't think the holidays were quite as dramatic as reading this back suggests. But I suppose it was. Maybe that's another reason why I wasn't so bored this year.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy new year

Happy 2014 people. Just a quick one today, since I hadn't posted a blog in a while. It's my intention to blog about my festive season here in Ballylongford when I blog again. I also hope to express a few personal political views in the next while as well. But for now I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a great new year.