News & Updates

A Special Birthday Surprise

Christian gave me an extra special birthday this year – not only is my present a trip for later (to Venice – yay!) but he also proposed. He presented me with this gorgeous cocktail ring – we’ll choose the “real” ring together later and had arranged for a stunning bunch of roses.

I said yes immediately – so now ich bin verlobt! (I am engaged) and very very happy 😀


The Big Adventure aka Spot the Difference

So there we are at Frankfurt am Main HBF – the main railway station in Frankfurt. We’ve just had a quick bite to eat and it’s time to head to our train. I’m largely in the dark as Christian is chatting to his parents in German, and while I can follow the gist of the conversation the details elude me. I’ve learnt not to worry about that and generally go with the flow.

But there’s a Haagen-Daaz stand and boy I could kill for an ice-cream right now. So, with Christian telling me to be quick cos the train is going to leave soon I dash to the shop, grab my Belgian chocolate scoop in wafer cone and race back to the platform. The sign says this train is going to Fulda, it’s platform 7 – which is the platform we generally catch the train to Fulda from, but there’s no sign of Christian nor of his parents.

Remembering that they tend to go towards the front of the train I race along beside, checking the carriages – I can’t see them at all. I go up and back before I hear the announcement that the train is about to leave – there’s nothing for it, I jump on board and pull out my phone. Roaming charges be damned! As the train doors close I call Christian and he finally picks up – he’s waiting outside the train on the platform he says. But the train is leaving! I say. No it’s not. Yes it is!

I’m on the wrong train. I’ve no ticket, no identification – Christian has my bags. All I have is my iphone and some change. We agree that I’ll get off at the first stop and try to explain things to the ticket inspector if he comes around. I can then meet them on the later train at Hanau towards the front of the train. So I wander up towards the front of the train and sit in the first class area (why not?) while I wait to be confronted by a ticket inspector. By the time I reach Hanau, none have turned up, so I jump off the train.

A quick scan of the timetable to confirm that the next train to Fulda will indeed be waiting at this platform, a 10 minute wait in the cold and I’m reunited with the others.

Apparently I should have realised that the train we normally catch is not the ICE but the bog-standard train (takes longer but is cheaper and is therefore better). Honestly I was just worried about the leaving now thing and getting left behind!


A trip to the ER

It’s certainly been an eventful week for me!

It started with a slight scratch in my throat last Thursday, right before I flew to Edinburgh for the weekend. I had a good rest on Friday and spent a lovely day with Christian so I figured that it probably wouldn’t be too bad, but alas by Saturday my nose was running. Grr… especially annoying since we were seeing Anton and Gavin whom we hadn’t seen in far too long. The cold, however, seemed to be reasonable and so we had a great time catching up and it was so brilliant to see the guys. I figured that was the worst of it but how wrong was I! By Sunday afternoon the migraine had set in.

Monday I worked from home, I was exhausted, my shoulders ached, I was feverish and my head was still sore – I treated the migraine yet again. (It’s not totally uncommon to treat for three days of migraine for me) I could barely keep my eyes open and was sound asleep by about 9:30 that night.

Tuesday I had to get up at 5:30 to get my flight back to Dublin. Not sure how I made it, my head felt heavy, I felt weak and soooo tired. I slept for most of the flight, and most of the bus trip to the office. Once in the office I started to feel positively ill and feverish again, and the migraine was back. After lunch I went home – no idea how I got there, it’s not a long walk but every step was so painful. Definitely a bad attack.

Wednesday I couldn’t go to work, I stayed in bed with fever and sore head and drinking water like we were about to enter a drought. I staggered downstairs to the pharmacy at one point for rehydration salts – the pharmacy was teaming with people looking for cold remedies, this is not a nice one! By late afternoon the migraine had stopped responding to drugs – not a good sign, it had also crossed hemispheres and I was still feeling ill. I realised I hadn’t eaten more than a few mouthfuls since lunch on Sunday. Not a good sign, so it was off to the doctor.

Doctor gave me some drugs to knock me out and a referral to the ER in case when I woke it was still bad, I figured this would be it – I’d wake up and all would be right with the world. So I went home happy in the knowledge that I would soon sleep well. I did. But I also woke up with the migraine still bad and still there. And so at midnight I found myself checking in to the ER and trying to answer the questions from the triage nurse.

I spent the next 8 hours in ER. It was a quiet night so I was able to get some sleep on the horrible wooden seats in the waiting room before they called me in. Took nearly two hours, mainly because of an ambulance arrival and then the Guards brought in two people who had clearly been in some kind of altercation. I was in a lot of pain, but I know enough to know that the triage nurse would have bumped me down the list into the long wait category. Finally it was my turn. I was given at least 4 rounds of various drugs and had my blood tested. They tested my for viral meningitis (I always thought one of the symptoms was a rash but apparently not) and most likely various other possible causes. The conclusion was that I was suffering from a dehydration induced migraine (after a previous migraine from other causes), a standard rhinovirus (cold) plus a rotavirus (stomach flu) that had knocked out my gastrointestinal system so that the normal migraine drugs weren’t being effectively absorbed, I’d have to look at upping my doses for a while and so they sent me home.

I spent Thursday mainly in bed, missed the This is Knit Yarniversary party (I was looking forward to that). The headache came back again Thursday night so I hit it hard and slept like a log apart from the strange incident at 3am where someone started shouting hysterically at “Michael”. Today I’m resting as well. Still no appetite, it’s been 5 days since I had a proper meal now. But the good news is that I feel like I’m on the mend. Have even started a new knitting project 🙂

News & Updates, Travel

Weddings and Cyclones

Those of you who know me well will know that I recently took my first trip back home in over 5 years. Quite an emotional event, and one that if truth be told I’ve kind of avoided on account of the fact that the last time I went home my world fell apart in a not particularly pleasant kind of way. But this time there was no avoiding it – my baby sister was getting married and so I just had to be there. As the date got closer I got more and more excited, and found myself missing home more and more.

For the last few months I had been working on some tatted necklaces for the bridal party which was just making me more and more homesick! Being the perfectionist, I started them over about 6 times before finally getting into the groove of them. The lovely ladies at knitting were very supportive (read – they yelled at me if I tried to do anything else) and as a result, all was done with plenty of time to go before the flights.

So 31st Jan Christian and I boarded the flight to Melbourne via London and Kuala Lumpur (another country to add to my ever growing list). Cue a few days of getting over jet lag, meeting Jenna’s fiance and Tegan’s new man, exciting family news and showing off Christian to family and friends.

Meanwhile, Australia was in the throws of yet more natural disasters – this time floods and a really ghastly cyclone called Yasi. It didn’t look so good for those up North.

On Friday we headed off down the coast road to Rosebud – about 3 hours drive south of where my parents live. All the way down we stopped at various places – such as Acland Street in St Kilda, Brighton Beach and more. The whole way behind us we could see sinister black clouds, but only a little rain started to hit us in a few spots. When we arrived however we found out that we had been driving (and stopping) ahead of what must have been a wall of water from Cyclone Yasi’s very wet tail! We were lucky to not get caught out by the flooding which seemed to be about knee high on most of the roads we have traveled down earlier.

The next day the wedding itself went without a hitch, the rain stayed away for the ceremony (just) and it turned into a lovely day. It bucketed down that evening, but I don;t think anything could have spoiled that day. Jenna looked simply stunning – but words won’t convey as much as pictures, so here’s a few from the day and the lead up to it.

[slickr-flickr tag=”2011_Feb_Wedding”]


Air trails

I’ve woken up today to what has become an unusual site – trails from aircraft across the skies of Dublin. The last week has been quite chaotic with the eruption of a volcano in Iceland that has sent volcanic ash into the European flying zones.

BTW today’s picture is not by me – too much glare to get a good shot myself.

It’s been interesting to watch the complete lack of leadership from governments who seemed to just be hanging around waiting for it all to clear, last time this volcano went off it did so for ages. It’s the first natural disaster to hit the EU for years and yet no sign of the EU president anywhere – which leads one to ask what is he for and where is he, oh and what is his name again?

Meanwhile, country level governments seem to have been doing as little as possible to help people get home, which has just opened the doors for the corporations to start putting on pressure. So today regardless of the ash cloud the planes are flying again.

It’s going to take another week to sort out the mess at least – and I wonder if anyone is going to suddenly come up with funding for volcanic ash testing in planes????

Ryanair seem to have been the only airline acting with any kind of leadership and sensibility. They can fly today but have decided not to fly Ireland/UK so that they can move planes to where they’re really needed. Sure, that’s put us out and now means that Thursday will be an epic adventure day for Christian as he trains and boats over to Dublin, but to be honest I’m quite happy that he won’t be flying while the ash is still such an unknown quantity.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Ning in their wisdom has decided to start charging people to access their networks – which means that eTatters will soon not be available. Totally sucks, so desperately trying to get the info off of there.

Last night I caught up with a good friend whom I haven’t seen for ages, no excuse really and hopefully that’ll get rectified soon. Had a great chat about so much – love it when you have those times when you really get to know more about someone you care about.

OK, so I’ll sign out now – back to bed for me. This cold has come back with a vengeance and I’m feeling totally shattered.

a) a feeling of total crapness from this stupid persistent cold which has now turned into a really nasty sore throat


Big Surprise in Edinburgh

Just back from a gorgeous weekend in Edinburgh. Christian’s parents were visiting and he had no idea that I was planning on being there. I got a stupid-o’clock flight on Friday morning and was in his living room when he got up for breakfast 🙂

We walked down to Leith for lunch, which was hard going considering my gym session the day before, my legs were screaming at me! We had lunch in the Granery where I tried the Haggis – not bad in small doses especially when served with mashed potato and a whiskey sauce. Don’t think I’m up for a large amount just yet. Friday evening we headed to Blonde for dinner. (Review to come)

Saturday saw Christian and I traipsing from one end of Edinburgh to the other, chasing a parcel which had arrived from Austria arranged by his parents. He had no idea what it contained, he just knew that he had to get hold of it. That afternoon he opened it – to find a set of hand-made bagpipes, the perfect gift! They’re traditional German pipes and they look gorgeous. I’m sure they’ll sound great once he’s practiced a little 😉

I then popped into town and picked up a maxi-dress I’ve had my eye on, at nice £ pricing which is a bit cheaper then the €. Now the big question – can one wear a maxi dress to work? Also got some cute red ballet flats…

Sunday we watched a DVD – Death at a Funeral. Alarmingly funny in a bite your knuckles kind of way. We both thoroughly enjoyed that one. Managed to finish the bit of tatting that I was working on – a length of Hen & Chicks in white. Then made a new pendant in Lizbeth Western Sunset with red beads and started with a length of Hen & Chicks in the left over Western Sunset. So a tatting-productive weekend as well 🙂

The afternoon was over far too soon. I was back home in Dublin and I’m already planning the next trip over.


German Holiday

Had an absolutely lovely long weekend in Fulda, Germany. I left work at lunchtime and headed to the airport where I met up with Christian who had flown in from Edinburgh. We then grabbed a flight out to Frankfurt. Sounds rather silly, but it was actually cheaper to do this than for Christian to fly out directly from Edinburgh, plus we got the added bonus of an extra few hours together which is pretty precious at the moment.

At Frankfurt airport Inge and Helmut were there to greet us, so lovely to see them again 🙂 It was then off to Vapiano for dinner, I was quite chuffed with myself for remembering the address of the place too. Vapiano is a great concept – a pizza/pasta/salad place where you get a card on your way in and then head to the appropriate counter. They then make the food up for you on the spot and swipe your card – and it’s gorgeous food. Pasta is all freshly handmade and the pizzas are lovely – Christian always gets one with parma ham, figs and honey. Their coffee is good, being Illy. The only thing they don’t do well is the desserts. The first Vapiano I went to was in Antwerp. Since then I’ve visited them in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. I know they’re in London and Brisbane too – so get yourself there! I digress…

Friday was a day of shopping and setting up the fabulous canteen in Helmut’s school for the party on Saturday night. We spent a good two hours getting it all organised and it looked fabulous. Inge had organised sheets of thick red paper, with rose-print serviettes, candles and vases on the tables. The vases would be filled with white tulips. With the red walls of the room and the bright green chairs it all went together very well. Later that night as we were waiting for Julia and Florian to arrive it started to snow. About 4 inches of it in two hours. I knew it had been cold!

The party itself on Saturday night was lovely. Inge and Helmut had gathered 70 of their friends and they introduced every one of the guests to the crowd with anecdotes of how they had met or with stories about them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a large crowd of people so attentive for such a long time! Christian was translating where he could, but I’m getting better at understanding and a couple of the stories I understood pretty much in their entirety. We had a lovely buffet dinner (no sauerkraut) and the band played some great tracks (mainly in English). At the end of the night I drove us home….

Yes, I drove on the wrong side of the road. Granted it was 3am so the streets were pretty much deserted, however, the road was covered in ice which I’ve never driven on before and I had to make two trips – one to take Christian’s grandmother home and then the trip to take Christian, Flo and Juli home. The adrenaline was pumping pretty hard by the time I pulled up into the driveway but noone was hurt and no scratches on the car so I’d say a resounding success there.

Sunday was spent relaxing and Monday afternoon came around far too quickly. We were soon on the flights back to Dublin having had a wonderful weekend and a great celebration. Hope we can get back soon!