Inane Banter

A Little Bit Broken

For those of you who have never visited Ireland my recent visit to a Irish hotel sums up the country perfectly. Ireland is  perfectly pleasant country. Rolling green hills, quaint pubs, friendly people yet despite all this you come away with the niggly feeling that everything is just a little bit broken. Not massively broken, it’s like drinking  perfectly nice pint of beer from a glass with a chip rather than drinking a pint of rat poison. The sort of broken that makes you chuckle rather than rant.

Things got off to a great start as soon as we got to the room and I put the card in the little slot that turns the lights on.

light slot

What this photo doesn’t show is what happens if you just put the card in and push it down. What happens is the card shoots into the holder and you spend the next half hour with the needle from the sewing kit trying to get the card back out again. At this point I was still blissfully unaware of the problems lurking within the light switch but more on that later.

A visit to the bathroom brought a nicely tiled area and problem number two.

What the photo doesn’t show is that the fly is dead and slightly squashed. It’s not unusual to find a squashed fly however this was February and the fly must have been squashed sometime in the autumn of the previous year. Cleaners hadn’t noticed or bothered removing this ex-fly. The dead fly has probably been at the hotel longer than some of the staff.

After a couple of cheeky drinks at the bar there was time for a shower and a bit of telly. Take a look at this shower handle, can you guess what function it performs?

If you guessed that pulling it would turn the water on and turning it would change the temperature then I’m afraid you are wrong. If you guessed it was a flimsy bit of plastic that is loosely clamped around the temperature dial and that pulling it would result in it coming off in your hands then well done you. It must be designed for people who find the concept of turning a dial too much.

Apart from that the shower was delightful and as I dried off I settled down to watch a bit of telly. You may think you know how televisions work but not this one, this one had a magical Irish box attached to make sure it was a little broken.

What this box does is hijack the useful functions of the remote control. Want to change channels by pressing the numbers? Sorry they don’t work. How about channel up and down? That works but not how you’d expect. Pressing channel up changes up by one channel. If you then pressed channel down it would change back to the previous channel. However the telly would then become locked to those two channels. To change up or down from these channels required not touching the remote again for five minutes. You could then change up or down by one more channel. It would then be locked to that channel and the last one of the previous channels for another five minutes. On top of that the channels were in a random order so you couldn’t even guess what direction to head in to find the channel you wanted.

After heading out for a delicious meal that passed without incident it was time for bed.

It was now time for the tap to play tricks. It had happily done it’s job perfectly during the day dispensing both hot and cold water. At night it decided the only water it would give out was scaldingly hot water. I don’t know if you’ve even brushed your teeth with roasting hot water but I don’t recommend it.

Remember that light switch from earlier? It was now time for it to shine, almost literally. The rightmost switch controlled a useless light in the open wardrobe. The light not only lit up the wardrobe but also shined straight into the eye of somebody trying to sleep.

The switch to control that light wasn’t really a switch but more of a spring. Turning the light off just resulted in it springing straight back onto the on position. Getting it to stay off became a sleep-deprived game of buckaroo. The room cleaner kindly turned it back on each morning so I could play the game every night.

It won’t surprise you to discover that one of the bedside lights didn’t work.

The bed was very comfortable and there was no noise despite it being a Saturday night. The next day was spent enjoying touring around the countryside in bright sunshine. I was parched when we arrived back in the evening.

Yes, the bar was closed at 7pm on a Sunday night. It never opened all night. Yes, there is a bar in Ireland that is too quiet to open on a Sunday night. Fortunately the restaurant had a small bar attached that did serve drink but it scared the hell out of me.

Now I know it sounds like the place was a disaster but I’ve only mentioned the bad things. Most things were lovely, the stay just had a large number of slightly daft faults and that is pretty much Ireland all over. You’ll find lots of quaint shops that sell things you’ll never really want assuming the shop bothered to open in the first place.

I’ll leave you with one final example I noticed as we were was about to check out.

In case it’s not clear the card says “SMILE, YOUR IN THE CARLTON”

Inane Banter

Northern Irish Sport Must Die!

Warning sense, rationality and logic will not be found in this post. In it’s place you will find swearing, vitriol and gushing bile.

Firstly I don’t watch a lot of television. I hate soap operas. Years ago you could avoid them by going out a few nights a week. Now they’re on every day with omnibuses in case you happen to get a life by accident one day. However they are very popular (like boy bands and happy slapping) so you can see why they fill schedules.

Documentaries have steadily become so dumbed down there isn’t any point in watching them if you’ve read a book in the past 20 years. I don’t need programmes to tell me that fat girls who drink 20 units a night, smoke heavily and have unprotected sex with strangers are not doing themselves any good. David Attenborough is still whispering about animals. They still get born, shag, kill a bit then get killed themselves only now in high def.

Reality TV got boring years ago. Celebrities brightened up the tired format for a few years but now they’ve ran out of celebrities and the same faces pop up more often than an afternoon playing speed “Guess Who” with a child on pure E numbers.

What I do like however is a nice bit of comedy. Not especially sit-coms which have been generally weak for years now. I like light, throwaway quizshows and the stand-up comedians. Stuff that’ll make me chuckle and if I’m distracted by something I don’t especially mind as there’s no plot and a laugh will be along in a minute.

Apparently the programme schedulers in Northern Ireland hate programmes I like. They can’t stand them. Specifically the sports programmers. Any excuse and the schedulers happily replace whatever I want to watch with some turgid match or other. The match is always shown at around 9:30pm. Heaven forbid it would interfere with the viewing habits of the soap ghouls or be shown live. Instead my programmes are replaced by nasal rat-boy Stephen Watson fawning over some shitty footballer who wouldn’t make it into an English non-league team.

This is made all the more annoying by the fact that people in Northern Ireland don’t watch Northern Irish teams play football. They couldn’t give a shit. Your football teams are chosen at birth based on the religious beliefs of your parents and they are Scottish and/or English, never Northern Irish. So I despair as the humorous antics on “have I got news for you” is yet again replaced by Ballyshithole Vs Kilcuntsville. For the 5 seconds it takes for me to realise this the viewing figures are doubled.

I’ve gotten used to my BBC comedy being ruined but tonight I should be watching Al Murray and his pub landlord based chat show. Instead I’m typing this blog because in NI we’ve got Kelly’s Sporting Heroes. I quote “Gerry celebrates the local sports people who have put Northern Ireland firmly on the map.”

To paraphrase – fat, beardy, twat who should have jacked it in years ago, Gerry Kelly tries desperately to find a sporting “hero” from Northern Ireland who hasn’t drank himself to death or wrapped his head round a lamppost  on a motorbike. Apparently whilst typing this I’m missing George Best’s sister managing to avoid talking about alcohol and spousal abuse, some footballing guy I’ve never heard of who now does the Spanish commentary for Sky Sports, Pat Jennings who is at least famous mainly I believe for being very tall in Top Trumps, fans of a bike bloke, not even the bloke himself having hoofed himself into trees at high speed 8 years ago.

The shows highlights to me appear to be a blind water skier called Janet Gray. People always say that when you’re deprived of a sense your other senses become better to compensate. Janet appears to have picked a sport where her other finely honed senses are going to be fuck all use. Janet doesn’t need to be Daredevil to know that when your hearing is muffled, you taste salt, you smell liquid and feel wet you’ve fallen off.

Saving the big guns ’til last Gerry chats to Dennis Taylor. He will of course always be fondly remembered for being jolly, ginger and wearing stupid fucking glasses. Oh he also used to play a pub game.

Worst of all they never once cancelled “Give my head peace” the home grown”comedy” that managed to drag one joke kicking and screaming for about 600 series.