Thursday 28 August 2008

Red Dwarf to return?

One of my favourite TV shows may be returning! This week on Seattle public TV station Robert Llewellyn (who plays Kryten) announced that the BBC would be filming a 1 hour Red Dwarf special in October. Hints of this were also posted on the official Red Dwarf website earlier this month. Also see this link: Red Dwarf Rumored to return

However, there has been no official statement from the BBC and the official Red Dwarf website has not been updated.

Lets hope this really does get made. Unfortunately the series has been in limbo as they were trying to get funding for a movie version. I had also read earlier this year that the BBC had passed on doing a Series 9. Hopefully if there is enough interest in this special a new series could be commissioned!

Sunday 10 August 2008

Our Ireland, New York and Seattle holiday

On Monday 7th July, Ruby and I left on our 3 week Ireland, New York and Seattle holiday which we were both looking forward to. I was also keen to try out my new Canon Eos 450D. Now this is a long post, so for those of you who just want to see the photos (all 112) here the links to the albums: Ireland, New York, Seattle.

It took us 35 hours door-to-door to fly to Dublin (via Singapore and London Heathrow) and for the most part this was on the new Airbus A380 (which we were very impressed with). For the first leg, our seats were more towards the front of the bottom deck of the A380 and we felt very little turbulence. The same cannot be said for the flight from Singapore as we were the 3rd last row and felt every bit! In fact while waiting for the toilets (which are right at the back) I lost my balance, ripped the back of my jeans and had to quickly get back to my seat. Not the worst turbulence I have been in, but then again I have never been standing up in turbulence before!

We arrived in Dublin around lunchtime and despite being tired we decided to make the best of it and wander around Dublin until dinner. Since we were staying close to Trinity College we had a quick look there and at the Book of Kells (which Ruby really wanted to see). Next we headed to look at the shopping area to get me some new jeans where we spotted Ronnie Wood eating at a cafe (nah no signature, might have if it was Keith or Mick). We finished off the day by grabbing a bite to eat at Gallagher's Boxty House in the Temple Bar area (the boxty is yum!). Now we did plan to stay up to get in sync with the Ireland time, however, we were very tired after dinner and slept very early.

The next day we woke up (early) to rain, but since it wasn't like Sydney rain so we decided to walk along the Liffey and then go to the Guinness Storehouse. This was a very impressive tour with a look at how Guinness is made. Ruby and I spent the entire moring there! After that we walked over to Kilmainham jail. I had not heard of this place before, but Ruby was keen to see it (she kept mentioning the video for the U2 song A Celebration and Bono's red jeans!). It turned out to be very interesting (read the Wikipedia and YouTube links for more info).

The following day we picked up our hire car and started our circumnavigation of Ireland. First stop was Slane Castle (U2 recorded an album there). We then moved on to Belfast where we ended up getting a city tour which included Shankhill and The Falls Roads where there was lots of conflict there during The Troubles. Now, however, Belfast seems to be a vibrant city with lots of development going on. That night we stayed in Larne, ready for the next day where we had lots to see and lots of driving to do.

From Larne we headed for Donegal along the northern coast of Ireland (which was a fun drive for Ruby!) and first stopped at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. It was blowing a gale when we got there (so much that the rope hand rail was bowing inwards) but we were definitely going across (though on the way back Ruby did cross rather quickly!!).  Then it was on to the highlights of our trip: The Giants Causeway. This was simply fantastic and we were lucky the sun came out so we could get some great photos! We had filled in a lot of our day already, but pressed on to have a quick look at Derry, the location of the Bloody Sunday incident in 1972 and some memorable murals depicting events during The Troubles.  At the end of the day, with some lucky navigation (our road map was sort of useless for this part), we finally found our B&B in Donegal.
Our goal for the next day was to head to Galway where we would be spending the next 2 nights. However, instead of the direct route on the main road we instead took more of a zig-zag through increasingly smaller Irish roads. First stop was Knock, then west to Ashford Castle and then further west along the shores of Lough Corrib to Kylemore Castle and then a late evening dash to Galway.

The following day was meant to be a rest day and for the morning it was. However, since Ruby was going to spend the next day talking to her PhD supervisor, Niclas, we decided to head for the Cliffs of Moher (even though it meant backtracking!). This was via the coast road which was very narrow! The drive was difficult but the scenery along The Burren and at the cliffs was fantastic. Driving back to Galway, on the other hand, was awful...
Ruby and I spent a large part of the next day at the uni with the last part just driving to get to our B&B at Killarney. The following day we were back to being tourists and did tours of Ross Castle (more a tower than a castle!) and Muckross House before driving to the B&B at Waterford. To be honest I was really disappointed in Waterford as it was just dull and run down (though Ruby does have her own club there: the Ruby Lounge!).  The only good thing there was the tour of the Waterford Crystal. Our last day in Ireland was spent driving back to Dublin with a quick stopover at Kilkenny for lunch.

New York
We spent all the next day flying to New York (via Frankfurt). At the airport when trying to get to our hotel in Manhattan we nearly got conned into spending $100 for the trip, in the end we only spent $30 (though we had to walk a couple of blocks). Since we only had 3 days in New York we decided to fit in as much as we possibly could. Despite it being hot (35 C) we walked over 14kms and visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall St, World Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square and the library from the start of Ghostbusters. I even managed to buy a new pair of Doc Martens on the way (only $AU90!!).

 On the 2nd day we went straight to "Top of the Rock" at Rockefeller Center which gave a great view of New York. From there we meandered back past Times Square to meet the bus for our "Sopranos" tour. While this was a good break from wandering about New York and we did visit interesting spots in New Jersey, the tour seemed geared more towards hard core fans of the show. On our last day we spent the morning at the Metropolitan Muesum of Art then wandered through Central Park on the way to the 5th Avenue Apple store and Dylan's candy bar.

Our flight was due to leave New York at 9am and we thought we would be in Seattle by mid afternoon. Unfortunately our Chicago - Seattle flight was cancelled by United. Instead we had to fly via Denver, on to Portland and then via a very small plane (it had propellors!) to Seattle. We ended up arriving at 10pm. In Seattle we were tired from being tourists so we didn't do much (well Ruby did do a bit of shopping!) except visit the Seattle Aquarium and the Boeing Everett factory (on our last day). The Boeing factory was cool and I enjoyed seeing how the planes were made.  However,  I really felt the tour guide went way too far with how wonderful Boeing is and how magnificent the 787 is. 

This time our flight back from Seattle was a little different. Normally we fly back going via San Francisco. However, we found out that Air Canada now flies non stop from Vancouver. This does take 15 hours, but overall should have taken less time than via San Francisco. We hardly noticed the 15 hours as we slept most of the way...
Overall we really enjoyed our 3 weeks, but looking back we should have included a couple of rest days. The food was good too and the highlights were the Irish Champ mash along with the Pizza and cheesecake in New York. On the beer front, after trying a number of Irish beers, I still prefer Guinness. Also, there were many foods with Guinness as an additive (from fudge to stews). They were are not really any better due to the Guinness, better to have the two separately!

Oh and the camera went well too, though I am thinking about a new lens...