Whassup Ryanair?

I’m due to fly tomorrow. I checked in last Wednesday. I even printed my boarding pass. And I just got an email reminding me that my flight is tomorrow and that I should ‘consider checking in’. mmmm…For a minute there I stopped and wondered if I were me or someone else but no, the codes are the same. And yes, the site says I’m checked in. But the message came from Outlook. Whew. For a minute I wondered.

In and of itself, even if it had been RyanAir, this would have been no more than a blip in the system. But in the last week or so, I know of five RyanAir flights that have been delayed. And not just delayed but planes sitting on runways for an hour or more with other in-terminal hold-ups. And this is just between Budapest and Dublin going both ways.

And just yesterday, the Indo ran a piece of a flight from Dublin to Budapest that was diverted to Bratislava, according to the Captain, but then ended up landing in Vienna – with passengers left to find their own way to BP – after midnight.

I can forgive RyanAir a lot of things. I suck up the priority boarding fee because it really is a baggage charge – the only priority you get flying from Budapest is to board a bus first – not a priority bus, not a bus that allows priority passengers to disembark first, just a bus with all the other punters. So I’m really paying for the privilege of carrying on my carryon. I can live with that.

I can forgive it the steadily deteriorating inflight service. Last flight, my hot sambo had gone cold before my luke-warm coffee arrived. But I really should have known better and eaten before I got on the plane. And given that it would appear that the cabin staff pay for their own training and bring their own food onboard, I shouldn’t be expecting stellar service.

But after years of suffering that horrendous clatter they make when their flights arrive on time or ahead of the buffered schedule, I’m beginning to miss it.  I can’t believe I said that. But I hate being late. So, whassup RyanAir?


2014 Grateful 13

I got on the scales this morning and read the digital numbers wscales1ith a contentment  I don’t normally associate with mornings. Over the course of the last few months I have dropped more than the official checked-baggage allowance on RyanAir. I am 16 kg lighter than I was (that’s about 35 lbs or 2.5 stone) and for the life of me I cannot figure out how I could have carried all that extra weight and not known it.

Yes, yes, of course I knew it – but I didn’t really get it. While some part of my intelligent self knew that my heart would thank me if I lost some poundage, as would my back and my knees, I’ve never had the motivation to do so. And therein lies the crux of it all – I had to want to change – and I didn’t. Until recently.

diet 2I can’t remember what the catalyst was. I can’t put my finger on what started me down this road. Perhaps it was yet another photo of me that I hated? Or being out of breath having climbed the stairs? Or slipping into the size 18 range? Whatever it was, it worked. I never thought I’d ever see the day when I would enjoy exercise. Yes, enjoy! Me – that great believer in Churchill’s philosophy: never run when you can walk, never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down. Now I look forward to being put through my paces by the inimitable Young Malcolm twice a week. Diet and exercise, two words I despised, have come home to roost.

diet3As I continue to grow out of my wardrobe, I allow myself the luxury of enjoying the occasional compliment – another big change. Six months ago, I’d have been cringing at the attention.  But the lost pounds are being replaced by a graciousness I’ve come to enjoy. Is this what maturity looks like? Today I’ve got my walk on. I feel more alive than I have done in years and while those same years advance and the big 50 peeps over the horizon, it’s younger I’m getting.

The chosen few, those honest enough to tell me to my face that my face is aging, are on point duty. The minute the weight loss starts to age me, I stop. In the grand scheme of things, everything else being equal, I’d prefer tdiet4o look younger than to fit into a size 12. But it’s nice to have the choice.

This week seems to have gone on forever. It’s been busy every which way – and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to keep up. I’m grateful, too, to the encouragers, the motivators, the compliment givers … keep ’em coming 🙂




When rugs were rugs

Ah – do ye remember when a rug was a rug and not a hair piece? When the back seat of every car in Ireland was covered in a rug or, at the very least, every car boot in Ireland had one tucked away for emergencies. When picnic rugs were part and parcel of a day at the beach or a walk in the fields or an afternoon by the river. Back in the days when simplicity was king, attention spans were longer, and people had interesting things to say. Back before we needed to be plugged in to function. Remember those classic old tartan rugs with the fringes that you could plait and unplait? Or the fancier herringbone ones that lived on the back of couches or over the arm of an easy chair, just begging for a cold winter’s evening? Or the rugs than seemed to come free with every wheelchair and stick like a second skin to very old person you knew?  [Sweet mother of Divine Jesus, when did I get so old?]

And then rugs were cast aside, unceremoniously, in favor of the fancier-sounding ‘throws’ or the ubiquitous duvets. Fashion crept in and things had to coordinate. We started to value things for how they looked rather than for what they accomplished. Tough, sturdy wool was relegated to the back of wardrobes or the attic in favour of softer, synthetic materials. Fashion won out and the only rugs being sold were made of human hair and came with a free pot of Brylcream. But now, as we find ourselves dusting the cobwebs off sensible words like frugal, hard-wearing and solid, rugs are making a comeback. At Bath Farmers Market recently, Amanda Bell from Featherbed Trading was doing great business where tradition and fashion merge using bright colours and contemporary design. Had I not been travelling with RyanAir…

An aunt of mine, God rest her, the proud owner of a selection of tartan squares, was very fond of wrapping me up and proclaiming me ‘snug as a bug in a rug’. Apparently, this originated with Benjamin Franklin in 1769 and he later went onto use the same phrase in a letter to a female friend whose squirrel (which he called Skuggs) had died, suggesting the following epitath (1772):

Here Skugg
Lies snug
As a bug
In a rug.

I think it’s now official. Am losing my mind. If I can get this nostalgic about a squirrell and a rug, think of what a stick of rock would do for me…