Monday, May 31, 2010

Holiday Madness

It was Friday at 7:10 pm, I was out of the office and for the next nine days I was on holiday.
Its now Sunday 00:59 Sunday night - Monday morning and being free is simply fantastic.
Don't get me wrong I don't dislike my job, but being on holiday is sooooooooo much better.
Unlike all my other holidays, this time I'm not running around visiting friends and family in England or Ireland, this time it's all about taking it easy and relaxing.....well sort of.

On Friday evening as I cycled home, it felt as though it was my last day in school and I had all the time in the world. I must have stayed up until 3 or 4-o-clock watching movies that I've had for ages but hadn't managed to watch. To Una it seemed that I was high on something as I bounced around the apartment in this giddy humour, Tiredness and Exhaustion had clearly lost the battle of my mood to Happiness.

As I shuffled into the kitchen the next morning, Una return with our new table. Although furniture isn't usually something to blog about, this was not just any old table, this was a piece of our proverbial jigsaw. For the last few months we've been looking for something to improve the place and when the table arrived, the latest piece of that jigsaw fell into place.

With coffee, cake and magazines spread across it, the table which was now tucked in by the window, had magically transported us to a place in the country. Looking out the window and watching the world go by, my euphoria of the previous night had been replaced by a relaxed calmness that told me that all was right with the world. Time was irrelevant, for I had all of it that the world possessed, watching telly, reading books, bound and gagged and then once again returning to the land of the table in the evening. But this time we weren't looking out into the countryside, this time it was the view was of a Mediterranean. The sudden and crazed rainfall an hour earlier had passed and the sunshine was back. With the window wide open and a drink in hand the mood had somehow changed to a Spanish setting, don't ask me to explain but that just how it was.

Forget "Jamie and his magic torch" this was "James and his Magic table".

Saturday night eventually became Sunday morning and another tremendous day was about to unfold. But Sunday /Today, deserves a blog all of its own.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Valli Baar

There is bar in Tallinn called "Valli Baar" and from outside looking in through the window, it's the kind of place that you would pobably take one look at and then keep walking by. Surrounded by other pubs full of the young, slutty and tanned this place is like a backwards oasis. The furniture was recently updated, well as long as you consider 1977 to be recent and the floor was probably last cleaned around the same time, yet there is still something quite memorable about the place.

It's not the same bunch of customers who appear to have been there from dusk till dawn since that last refurnishing, nor is it the wrinkly old guy sitting in the corner playing an accordion, actually this is beginning to sound like half of the pubs in Dublin, but the remarkable things about Valli bar is that its the only bar in Tallinn that has this throw back to the 70's look.
Oh yes and then there is the Millimallikas (Jellyfish).
The Millimallikas is Valli's house shot, comprising of Vaccari Sambuca, Tequila and Tabasco sauce, yes that's right Tabasco sauce. You have to knock it back in one go and of course you could soften the taste by chasing it with orange juice, but where is the fun in that. When you drink Millimallikas you have to savour that burning tingling sensation for as long as it lasts.

Now you may say that it was because of the drink or perhaps it was just that I suddenly had a lot of energy that night, but right after leaving the bar I climbed on top of the newest statue in Tallinn. Literally moments after jumping down a police car drove by, I'm not so sure if they would have seen the funny side of it.
After this it was off to Tallinn's only remaining Karaoke Bar. "The Helsinki" as you can imagine is aimed at the Finnish tourist market, but on quiet Monday evening they were delighted for any custom they could get. Without any encouragement required at all I got up on the stage to sing Tom Jones's "Sex bomb", to me it was singing, to the few people that were able to stay in within the reach of my voice it probably sounded like screeching mettle, but I loved it. The highlight of the night was Una and I doing a duet of "Only Yesterday" by The Carpenter's, OK, the truth is she was singing in key and I was singing like a bunch of keys scrapping along the ground.
But we had fun and that's all that matters.

Una the Puma

On Saturday Una took part in the Maijooks (May Run).
It was a 7 km run and she completed it in an amazing time of just 44 minutes, which was way ahead of the majority of the other 9,000 women .
It was a really hot day and I was just standing there waiting for Una to re-enter park. So you can imagine how tough and hot it must have been for her.
While the women took part in the run, I and the other hundred or so other blokes who turned up to cheer their woman along, waited in what could only be described as an adult play pen. It was a relatively small patch of the grass near the finishing line where beer and food tents had been set up. I guess that sums up the needs of my gender.
But this day wasn't about me, it was all about Una and her fantastic achievement, even as she crossed the finish line unlike many of those who started before her and finished alongside her, she didn't stumble or fall over it,but rather found a last burst of energy and charged past.
Three cheers for Una the Puma.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Europe Day

On May 10th. Estonia celebrated "Europe Day". It may not be as well known as Christmas or Saint Patricks day but its still worth celebrating, if for no other reason that it gave Una and I a chance to look around half a dozen European embassies and photograph absolutely everything or at least until the novelty wore off.

The day was organized like a treasure hunt. At the start of the day you picked up a "Passport" which contained a page on each of the European countries and then had to go to ten of them and get it stamped, before returning it to so we could take part in a competition.
The Swedish embassy blasted out Roxette songs while giving away food and drink, the German let me play in their new BMW's but charged for the beer while the Irish err, well they didn't offer anything but stamped my book. The last place was Bulgarian embassy which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere and took forever to get there, in fact it took so long we barely had time to return our completed passports.

But as its now a couple of weeks since this happened I must bitterly report that the much hyped "European Union Gravy Train" didn't stop at my door, as I haven't received anything.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Day in the Country

What a day, out and about by 8:00, yes that's right 8:00 on Sunday morning.
Traditionally Sunday is meant to be a day of rest, but on this occasion a
change is a as good as a rest and today was certainly a change from the ordinary.

By 8:30 Una and I had stacked our bikes up against the wall of a train and were heading down to her days country house.

When we got of, it was a then a not so short 20km, of course 20km cycle. The "not so short" comment is because we were constantly cycling against the wind and in a country that is as flat as Holland, it suddenly seemed to have plenty of hills.

It was a day of BBQ chickening, planting peas, photographing the strangest looking cows I have ever seen. I'm not really a country person, but sometimes it great to get out of the city, especially if you have the right company.