by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
The Rock-itt : September 2009
This is the second episode of my family's trip to Europe, we had the first, rather exciting (I thought) couple of weeks last issue; now let's see how it develops. I do actually know, I'm back in Oz now but this is just me trying to make it interesting! In case you missed it, the personnel are me, my wife Julie and our 23 year old daughter Lauren. Occasionally I escaped them but not that often, however.... I was going to stay with my mate, Brian in a place called Holmer Green, West of London because we had an early morning start to make a flight to Cork, Southern Ireland. Main purpose of the trip was to see Christy Moore, ace Irish singer do a gig in The Marquee in Cork. Christy Moore. If you don't know him, you should; www.christymoore.com We had an early night because the flight was at 5.50a.m., all the way over the east side of London from Stanstead Airport. We were up at 3am and because Brian lives out in the countryside within 30 minutes of starting our trip, we had spotted a Muntjac Deer, (look it up!) a Badger and a Hare on the roads in the early morning dawn, lovely to see. We got to Stanstead about 4.30a.m. to find the airport in full party mode. This is where the Stag and Hen parties leave from to go and create drunken misery for the people of Prague and Dubrovnik. I was a little shocked, there were thousands there and the drinking had already started for many of them. I declined a pint of Guinness at 5a.m. and got ready to board our Ryan Air flight. Ryan air is one of the cheap, no frills airlines that are very popular in Europe. Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary says the carrier is in talks with Boeing about designing aircraft with standing room, allowing it to squeeze more passenger onboard flights!!! They make Jet Star and Virgin Blue look like high end operations. The seats and cabin were so sparse and plasticky that it wouldn't have surprised me to find out that they just hose down the interior with water at the end of every flight. Still, with an outward flight cost, Stanstead to Cork of 25 pounds ($50Aus) and a return cost of just 5 pounds, ($10Aus!) I guess you get what you pay for. No problem with the flight, we arrived on time and were greeted with the pilot playing an advertising jingle at ear splitting volume underlining the fact that Ryanair prides itself on timely arrivals. Upon exiting the plane at Cork, I realised before I made it to the arrivals hall that my passport had dropped out of my jacket in the overhead locker and I asked a ground hostess to retrieve it for me. She said she would but insisted that I go through immigration and passport control and wait for her, Irish landside. How, without a passport? Turned out to be easy, the immigration official was very happy to welcome me into Ireland just by showing my NSW Drivers licence! Passport retrieved, we were met by a friend of Brian's and at 7.40a.m. we were on our way for a trip around the Dingle Peninsula. Brian and I are both Antarctic nuts, we've been down there a couple of times and were very keen to visit the home village of one of the men who explored the 'Frozen Continent' with Sir Earnest Shackleton. Tom Crean left the family farm near Annascaul to enlist in the British Royal Navy at the age of 15. In 1901, while serving on New Zealand, he volunteered to join Robert Falcon Scotts 1901--04 British National Antarctic Expedition on Discovery. Tom Crean was a member of three of the four major British expeditions to Antarctica during this period. After the Discovery Expedition he joined Captain Scott's 1911--13 Terra Nova Expedition which saw the race to reach the South Pole lost to Roald Amundsen ,and ended in the deaths of Scott and his polar party. During this expedition Crean's 35-mile (56 km) solo walk across the Ross Ice Shelf to save the life of Edward Evans led to him receiving the Albert Medal. His third Antarctic venture was the Imperial Transantarctic Expedition on Endurance led by Ernest Shackleton, in which he served as Second Officer. After Endurance became beset in the pack ice and sank, he was a participant in a dramatic series of events including months spent drifting on the ice, a journey in lifeboats to Elephant Island, and an Tom Crean with sled dogs in 1915