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Ireland Bound-The Wheelchair Wizards

The Wheelers (2)

Ireland, A trip to remember.

At the insistence of our children, my wife and I decided to pack up our home in South Africa and emigrate to Ireland. Given our age and many other vital factors, we decided this would be the wisest thing to do.

It was late 2020 and under severe lock-down conditions that we made our flight reservation. With all our paperwork and forex on the ready, we began the packing of our four suitcases. We sold our apartment, cars, and other possessions and put, what remained of our lives into four bags. This was a remarkable feat on its own, as these contained our lifelong possessions.

Seniors Seats

Understanding that we were leaving on Thursday, we were busy packing early on Wednesday. Our travel agent called to remind us to be at the airport before noon. “You mean today?” My heart skipped a couple of beats! “Yes,” he replied. Pandamonium broke out in my family’s home. How were we going to pack and still make the airport by 12? We all began running around like headless chickens, with me in the lead and yelling, “It’s impossible; how will we make it?” Moments later, the travel agent called again. He apologized profusely saying, that our flight was Thursday, not Wednesday. There we were, six family members, having different expressions of relief. Some were angry at the agent’s error, others, including me, lying on the floor, gasping in relief.

Once all settled down, we reverted to a more leisurely packing process.

Our Daughter-in-law called from Ireland to check all was running to plan and casually asked if we had requested assisted travel, as we were both over seventy, “I thought that was just for minors,” I remarked. She reassured me it was a wiser arrangement to make. I duly called our agent and organized it with him.

When we arrived at the airport, two gentlemen shepherded us to wheelchairs. I was shocked, as I was sure we didn’t need wheelchairs.

Family

It turned out the best arrangement for the two of us. Our carers wheeled us to all the correct checkpoints, ahead of the long queues, and knew which documents were required, helping us select these from the huge pile we were carrying.

On boarding the aircraft, we were seated in a convenient place (near the loo) without another passenger squeezing into our three-seat row.

On landing at our first destination, we enjoyed a similar treatment on both arrival and departure.

What amazed me was, on our arrival in Ireland, we were afforded the same treatment. Our trip was seamless because three different sets of carers in three countries were skilled, compassionate, and understanding.

We arrived, if not a little weary, in our new country, safe and sound. A surprised (at how fast we came through the red tape.) but relieved family welcomed us, and we drove to our new home.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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Bags & Bags – Johannesburg, South Africa

Reblogged from: Bags & Bags – Johannesburg, South Africa – DanVenture Travels

Earlier in the year, I wrote about flying home for the first time in a while. I wanted to share an experience I had on my way back & give some advice to help you avoid being in the same situation.

After having 2 weeks at home, it was time for me to go back. I packed my bags & kept valuables in my hand luggage & other items in my checked-in bags – as best as I could. I weighed the checked-in bags & I was underweight – Perfect! I headed to the airport.

Checking in for an international flight is not as quick as it used to be so it took a while for all my documents to be checked & finally my bags were looked at. I know this happens often, but it has been years since my hand luggage has been weighed so I have developed a habit of stuffing as much as possible into the poor bag. It weighed 12kgs & the airline allowed 7kgs. The gentleman working at the check-in counter asked me to remove some stuff & place it in the checked-in bags. I happily complied. Some of the stuff I removed were sweets & treats (Important info for later). I would strongly advise you to follow your airline’s baggage weight restrictions & this is something I will be taking a lot more seriously from now on.

I said goodbye to my parents & then boarded my flight. Everything went smoothly from then onwards, the flight was great & the arrival procedure was so much easier than I expected. I was on this wonderful travel high… and then I got to the baggage belt.

I knew something was wrong when I saw the front compartment on my one bag was open; I never leave that open. So I take my bags off the belt & notice that both have had their locks & zips cut open. I reported this to the airline & then I went to my apartment to see what had actually been stolen. I lost 2 pairs of shoes, fragrances, biltong & those sweets & treats I mentioned earlier. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me flying out of Johannesburg & I am quite certain it happens to dozens of people daily just at that airport. Having said that, I don’t promote negativity & DanVenture Travels is not intended to incite anger. It did happen though & unfortunately, it is a risk you take when traveling by air.

The first thing I would recommend regarding this is making sure there are no valuables or important/sensitive documents in your checked-in bags. Secondly, get your bags wrapped. Most airports offer plastic/saran wrapping for bags, but it can be quite pricey so perhaps buy the plastic at a supermarket & do it yourself.

I sincerely hope this never happens to you & wish you the best of the travel experience.

Use #DanVentureTravels on your Instagram posts so I can follow your adventures. Follow the DanVenture Travels Facebook page for other travel content.

Keep traveling, keep safe.
DanVenture Travels

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Thirst Quenchers Around The World

This is a reblog from Danventure Travels: https://danventuretravels.com/2021/08/07/thirst-quenchers-around-the-world/

Soda. Soft drink. Pop. Whatever you call it, you know what I am referring to – a carbonated, sugary beverage.

I know soft drinks are not healthy at all, but I love them & they might be my biggest guilty pleasure. Different countries have different soft drinks & very often international brands make country specific products. It is super exciting for me to try different soft drinks along my travels. This is a massive topic & could go on for ages so I’ve decided to limit this post to just a handful.

Thums Up

When I was in India with my brother in 2017, I ordered a Pepsi or Coca-Cola in a restaurant & the waiter replied with “Thums up?” and gave a thumbs up. I thought this was an odd response, but I assumed he was just confirming my order so I gave a thumbs up back to him. The drinks arrived & he had brought a Thums Up cola… and the earlier interaction made sense.

Thums Up was launched in the late 1970s when Coca-Cola pulled out of India & it quickly became very popular. Later, when India opened the market, Coca-Cola bought the brand & intended to phase it out & replace it with their own brand. However, it became apparent that consumers would buy Pepsi if Thums Up was not available. Coca-Cola then relaunched the drink. To date, it is the leading cola soda in India.

Rivella

The first Swiss products which come to mind would most likely be chocolates, cheese, watches & Swiss army knives, not a soft drink. Enter Rivella. This beverage has an interesting taste but is actually really good. It is made from milk whey as well as herbal & fruit extracts. The taste is difficult to explain, but it is less sweet than a typical soft drink & has an almost gingery flavor. The drink is very popular in Switzerland & has been on sale since the 1950s.

Fanta

This brand alone is large enough to produce many blog posts – I’m just going to list a few facts here. There are over 150 flavors of Fanta worldwide which means if you are traveling to another country, there is a high chance of you getting to try a new flavor. Orange seems to be the most prevalent flavor worldwide, but the formula differs. It will be sweeter in some countries than in others. The color varies from a neon orange to a light yellow. I grew up in South Africa where the flavors pineapple & grape are produced alongside orange. I now live in Qatar where strawberry & citrus are popular.

Fanta Exotic found in Sweden
Fanta Orange in Ethiopia

L&P

Lemon & Paeroa, or simply L&P, is a soft drink produced in the country which is often left off of world maps, New Zealand. It has been on the market since 1907, but it is very difficult to find outside of New Zealand. Being a lemon drink, it does have a slightly sour taste, but it has a good balance of sweetness. I think this refreshing beverage might be New Zealand’s best-kept secret.

Sparletta Creme Soda

Okay, so cream soda is not an exotic idea since a form of it is available in many countries. The flavors & colors vary greatly from country to country. Sparletta Creme Soda finds itself in this blog post because it is my favorite soft drink. From what I’ve found out, it entered the market in 1953 in South Africa. It is green & the cream soda flavor is not as strong as other cream sodas, but it has been described as having a ‘floral’ taste. It is sometimes called ‘green ambulance’ in South Africa because it is believed to help cure hangovers.

What are some soft drinks you have found to be interesting? Are there any from your country you think I should try?

Use #DanVentureTravels so I can find your posts on Instagram & follow the DanVenture Travels Facebook page for more travel related posts.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

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Even More Kilometers & Kilometres – Across The Globe – DanVenture Travels

Dans Wing (2)

I have just passed my 2 millionth kilometer traveled by air. That distance is just over 50 times around the globe & is equivalent to roughly 118 full days of flying. A pretty long time spent in economy. The flights I’ve taken span 107 airports in 67 different countries. Here’s to another million. I’ve included a map of all the flights I’ve taken for visual reference.

When I hit the 1 million kilometer milestone, I posted an update. A lot has changed with regards to air travel since that post. We saw a global standstill. We saw airlines focus on hygiene and cleanliness. Quarantine & air travel went hand in hand. We saw masks and other face coverings become mandatory for flying. We saw PCR tests/rapid antigen tests become a requirement to enter almost every country. Airport lounges were closed & duty free stores were shuttered. Airlines drastically reduced service on board.

It is safe to say, almost everything changed.

Although there have been numerous negatives to the changes that have taken place, perhaps there are some positives. Going forward towards the next million, I would like to see physical distancing being kept at airports. I would like all airlines to keep hygiene and cleanliness a priority. I would like to see continued use of personal protective equipment by airline & airport employees. I would like to see cheaper PCR/rapid antigen tests. I would like to see duty free stores & airport restaurants open again. Lastly, I would love to see people using aircraft lavatories with shoes on – seriously, that is the last place you want to be barefoot.

Until the next post. Like the DanVenture Travels Facebook page & use #DanVentureTravels on your Instagram posts so I can follow your adventures.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

I was unable to reblog from Dan’s site, if you wish to see the original, follow this link: https://danventuretravels.com/2021/07/23/even-more-kilometers-kilometres-across-the-globe/

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Weekly Words of Wisdom

Trees

Dancing Trees

Along my life journey, I bend very often in confronting issues I face. I do this as the better option to resisting these issues. I learned this from the trees I see every day outside my window. When a storm moves in with all its ferocity, high winds blowing at an alarming, speed, hail and rain pelting down; what do the trees do? They bend with the wind they bow to and fro, looking as if they are clapping their branches and swaying in a rhythmic dance with their companions.

Are they afraid of the lightning strikes, the booming thunder, the howling winds? No of course not, their branches open wide to welcome the storm, this is their brief moment to be swept into a dance with their peers, for, in a short, while the merriment would be over and they will stand rigid once more, having lost a few leaves that flew away in the excitement, raindrops hanging like diamond jewelry from their leaves and boughs. Already they await the next storm to come their way.

The trees have taught me to welcome the storms of my life; bend, sway, dance and clap my hands, lose some old issues in my life, welcome the diamonds of opportunity left behind from the storms; above all to declare my gratitude for the benefits I will gain from welcoming the storms!

Featured Photo by Miguel Constantin Montes. Upsplash.com

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Meditation Magic

Flying Birds Eye View

I love meditating and indulge myself daily in this liberating experience. This discipline has made a remarkable improvement in the area of my spiritual, mental, and physical strength.

I journey through my body, from the top of my head and on to the soles of my feet, using a homespun mantra of thanksgiving for the perfect health of every component in this precious body of mine.

From here, taking sound advice from my unofficial distance mentor, Eckart Tolle (‘The Power of Now.’) Who says that we should never chase the thoughts coming into our minds, but rather observe them, without becoming involved, I enter my meditative state.

“Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” – Alan Watts

My aim, with no pre-planned strategy in mind, is to silently drift, as clouds do ahead of the winds, in a yoga pose seated on the floor. I have no idea if the pose is essential to a deeper meditation or not, but at the very least, it does wonders for my posture.

More recently, in my meditation, I have taken to ‘flying’ in my body, sometimes only thirty or forty meters above the ground. Because I am invisible to the naked eye, I can observe, unnoticed by humans, animals, and birdlife, as they go about their daily activities. At other times I soar above the clouds and see the curvature of the earth below. I am grateful that I have sufficient ‘pictures’ in my mind to achieve all this. It’s so peaceful, relaxing, and above all – calming. I am slowly learning the art of ‘being.’

For me there are no rules, except to gain maximum from Eckart’s teaching, I steer myself into the now moment and discipline myself to remaining there.

Aaah, sweet bliss, I love this time, first thing in my day.

Photo by Nik Ramzi Nik Hassan on Unsplash

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Weekly Word of Wisdom.

Self-Development

Little Brook

In terms of my self-development, I strive for the highest and even if I underachieve, I will still be higher than when I started.

I find self-development, for me, is not a matter of a destination to accomplishment, but more an exciting journey, where discovery is the order of every step. With each new discovery, there is a direction to new creativity within me. On this journey are the times when I create best.

I love creating, it is a powerful gift and deeply satisfying to my soul. My creativity never disappoints me, it springs forth from me like a gentle brook of crystal clear, cool water flowing down a hillside.

You ask, "Where can I find this creativity, I do not seem to have the gift of which you are talking?" It is waiting for you in the treasure box that's kept in your heart; and on a still moonlit night that shines through your bedroom window, if you look carefully, at the palm of your hand, you will find the key to the box. Open it and take your creative gift - its there, just for you.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

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Black Rock Castle

Black Rock Castle

The Ruins of Black Rock Castle

The first evidence of human presence in Ireland may date to around 10,500 to 8,000 BC. The receding of the ice after the Younger Dryas cold phase of the Quaternary around 9700 BC, heralds the beginning of Prehistoric Ireland, which includes the archaeological periods known as the Mesolithic, the Neolithic from about 4000 BC, the Copper and Bronze Age from about 2300 BC and Iron Age beginning about 4000 BC, the Copper and Bronze Age from about 2300 BC and Iron Age beginning about 600 BC. Ireland’s bronze age begins with the emergence of “protohistoric” Gaelic Ireland in the 2nd Millennium BC and ends with the arrival of Celtic la Tène culture by central Europe.

The Viking Port Vykyngelo Black Rock
The Norman Castle built on Black Rock

By the late 4th century AD Christianity had begun to gradually subsume or replace the earlier Celtic polytheism. By the end of the 6th century, it had introduced writing along with a predominantly monastic Celtic Christian church, profoundly altering Irish society. Viking raids and settlements from the late 8th century AD resulted in extensive cultural interchange, as well as innovation in military and transport technology. Many of Ireland’s towns were founded at this time as Viking trading posts and coinage made their first appearance.[1] Viking penetration was limited and concentrated along coasts and rivers, and ceased to be a major threat to Gaelic culture after the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The Norman invasion in 1169 resulted again in a partial conquest of the island and marked the beginning of more than 800 years of English political and military involvement in Ireland. Initially successful, Norman gains were rolled back over succeeding centuries as a Gaelic resurgence[2] reestablished Gaelic cultural preeminence over most of the country, apart from the walled towns and the area around Dublin known as The Pale.

I took a stroll down the historical lane the other day and visited the Port of Wicklow Town. Judging from the pictures, appearing on the Information Board, it is quite a startling fact that these buildings could have been built so many years back. The area around Wicklow was referred to as Menapia in Ptolemy’s map which itself dates back to 130 AD. The Vikings landed in Ireland in 795 to begin their plundering of the land.

The Anglo Norman Castle Black Rock King Edward 11

Situated on a rocky headland to the South of the estuary of the Vartry River in Wicklow Town, County Wicklow Ireland, stand the lone remains of Black Rock Castle. Said to be built by the Norman Baron  Maurice Fitzgerald in the late 1200s.

The castle was built on the site of the original port occupied by the Vikings and who named it, ‘Vykyngelo’, being an old Viking word that means ‘Meadow of the Vikings’ in the 9th century. In the following years, it was captured successively by local Gaelic clans, the O’ Byrne’s and O’ Toole’s, then taken by the English King Edward 11 in 1311. Retaken once more By the local clans in 1313. Over the years the Viking name evolved to the present Wicklow.

My next visit will be to the Wicklow Gaol, once lockdown lifts and I shall give you a few more Irish History titbits

Text Credits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ireland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicklow. en.wikipedia.org .

Picture Credits: Historical Information Board on Black Castle site.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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The Lucky Man – An Act of Malice

Recent release by Author, Monika Martyn

A Review by fellow author – Sir Peter James Dotcomé

The Lucky Man – An act of Malice is the work of Monika Martyn and the story is set in Hawaii and surrounds in contemporary times.

Monika says the story was inspired by a ‘beached whale in Mexico.’

About The Author

Monika is a cocktail of dynamic business achiever and an uncluttered free spirit!

In her teens she emigrated from Austria to Canada, where she achieved phenomenal success in the cosmetic industry, allowing her to retire young and now Monika enjoys a nomadic and minimalistic lifestyle with her Husband.

Apart from her life in Canada, Monika has lived in Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and Europe.

It is not difficult to appreciate that Monika would write a book like ‘The Lucky Man…’ given her life experience and especially her travels. There is more to this though. She mentioned in her blog post entitled “Uncomfortable”: “If you want to make anyone uncomfortable, simply tell them that you own nothing. In a second, their eyes roll slightly inward as they compute the idea of what ‘nothing’ could mean and that you must be joking: they’re waiting for the punchline that what you’re saying can’t imply the same nothing that means nothing.”

As Monika has spoken of herself in this way, we would be safe to surmise that she is essentially a ‘Free Spirit.’ One who delights herself in every nuance and essence of the life that surrounds her, and who finds unnecessary baggage stifling.

Given the above, Monika was more than qualified to write this exciting story.

Genre

The story is fiction, thriller, and has healthy helpings of action and adventure.

Story Flow

I read an e-manuscript of The lucky Man and found the story easy reading. If it were not for time constraints, I would have got through reading in a day. Through eighty per cent of the reading it was brisk and found me excited and intrigued. The other twenty percent, where Monika was dealing with describing the lesser important issues of story, it was slow, but never boring.

In Part Four “One Down,” the flow takes an abrupt ‘detour’ and I went through the next few chapters feeling cheated that I never found out what happened to Jack languishing in his canoe! However, “One Down” is very interesting in itself; introducing a new location and four additional characters, who at the time, were floating on a self-made raft and then returning to an Island where they had been shipwrecked for many years. They found an unconscious Jack in his canoe and I felt happy that I was connected to the main story once more.

Part four moved briskly with a brief interlude of sex in the ranks and a little under-radar planning by two of the characters, Rose, and Mark. The only link missing in Mark’s plan was a lack of suitable transport to affect it.

Jack’s arrival on the island saved his life and solved Mark’s transport issue.

With Marks’s departure and safe arrival in Mexico, he was able to initiate the rescue of the group on the island and this culminated in an assumed happy ending. I say assumed, because there is no detail provided about a joyous reunion with Jack and family, especially his distraught mother, or for that matter, the return of Kai’s beloved canoe, ‘Kilo.’(Boo-hoo, I’m such an emotional sucker.)

I was never on the ‘edge of my seat,’ but was hooked and had, by choice,  to keep reading.

The Plot

The plot was well thought out, but lacked sufficient tight twists, which might have savored the story with little more mystery. The characters were suitably chosen each fitting well into their parts. Sequence of events was seamless.

Characters

From my viewpoint there are, three primary characters: the Protagonist, Jack, Myra, Jack’s Mother and Kai The security Boss. A solid support cast consisting of: John, Jack’s Father, brother Michael, Brody, (Jack’s best buddy), Wayne, and Bruce, two thugs. Finally Mark, Ron and Rosie, the shipwrecked islanders, followed by a host of others in bit parts.

Monika gets kudos from me for her character portrayals.

Jack is a super athletic type, tall, handsome, raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. A strong personality whose exceptional looks caused him to magnetize all women. He struck me as well-meaning and generous, but typical of those to whom all things come easily, he treated the women in his life with a relational indifference, focusing only sexual conquests. Jack gives the expression, ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ new meaning. His exploits, especially cheating on Brody, led him on a slow spiral downwards, until, when his life was severely endangered, he repented to the winds of his wicked ways; all the while promising to make good to ‘someone up there.’

Myra is a typical besotted mother, having favored Jack, over Michael, her younger son. Yet she is a strong determined woman who never stops believing her son is still alive.

Kai, the young security boss, is a simple, dedicated, loving husband and Father, caring for his Father, over and above the costly support of his own family. He is dedicated to his job and a man of integrity, who is also compassionate toward Myra and the loss of her son. Considering the inclusion of the shipwrecked Islanders, there is a fair list of characters, but the reader is never confused as to who is who in the milieu.

General

Monika is a master of the English language and pays attention to detail, sometimes lingering a little too long in this area. Her ability to make her description so effective is such, that it forms a canvas in one’s mind; this is a delightful experience, as it makes the tale live. Her technical knowledge of ‘adrift in the ocean’ with its see-saw of terrors and gentle calms; the fish and the ability to secure them in the scene of desperation left me feeling as if she was writing her autobiography. Jack’s shifting mind games, as he fights for survival, caused me to mouth alternately, “Your Karma has come to visit Jack,” to “Hang in there man, you gonna make it!”

Read it or skip it?

I read the e-book version but would have loved to read the book instead. Read it? Yes, yes, yes! My prayer is for it to hit the Best-Seller lists, not just for Monika’s sake, but for the many that would be gifted by its read.

As a writer, I not only loved the read, but learned much from Monika’s inimitable style.

Well done, go ahead now and reap your pot-o-gold Monika!

Buy now available on Amazon

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’ Button.)