This is a cover version of the original song that was written in 1939 for The Wizard of Oz and performed by Judy Garland. Mixed with the reggae rhythm of the ukulele and the amazing voice of Israel that contrasts with his size I find this version completely captivating.
It was initially recorded on the album in 1989 and featured on a number of soundtracks before being released as a single long after Israel’s premature death in 1997 aged 38.
Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high And the dreams that you dream of Once in a lullaby, oh
Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly And the dreams that you dream of Dreams really do come true-ooh-ooh Someday I’ll wish upon a star Wake up where the clouds are far behind me Where trouble melts like lemon drops High above the chimney tops that’s where You’ll find me, oh
Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly And the dream that you dare to Oh why, oh why can’t I? I
Someday I’ll wish upon a star Wake up where the clouds are far behind me Where trouble melts like lemon drops High above the chimney top that’s where you’ll find me Oh, somewhere over the rainbow way up high And the dream that you dare to Why, oh why can’t I? I
It’s hard not to feel that history is repeating itself and that it’s decided that the worst of the 20th Century is what is worth repeating. Up first we had a global pandemic that was eerily similar to The Spanish Flu of 1918 and now we have a military invasion of an Eastern European country by a neighbouring dictator that sounds horribly similar to the start of WW2.
Newsfeeds and news channels are full of blame and the rhetoric of politicians far removed from the terror and death that’s facing the people of Ukraine. World leaders doing what they want and playing power games while ordinary people suffer and die.
Facebook is full of profile photos displaying Ukrainian flags, sunflowers and #istandwithukraine. I get it, people are concerned and want to show their displeasure and support but what good does it really do? It doesn’t really help anyone in Ukraine and it only makes us feel a little better.
This time 100 years ago Irish men and women were fighting and dying in an attempt to have freedom and independence from an unwanted occupier and today that’s happening in Ukraine. From our modern, comfortable lives what can we know of anything that these people are going through?
Today turned out to be yet another stormy and overcast day in February. I had a notion to go into the hills but couldn’t face the thought of being blown off a summit so instead I went for a long walk on local roads and trails and had lunch in the forest. It was the perfect antidote for all the potential stress of the rest of life.
the humble ham sandwich and cup of tea
the sun made a short appearance while sitting enjoying the peace of the forest
It’s almost impossible for me to write about “Welcome to the Jungle” and not think about this track. It’s the 3rd single for Guns ‘n’ Roses and came hot on the heels of “Sweet Child o’ Mine“. I absolutely love the guitar and drum solos, especially the section between the first and second verses. The sheer power and energy as the track switches into the second verse is vividly seen in the live section of the video below.
Without a doubt this is one of my favourite songs of all time. Whenever I hear it after a long break it’s great to turn it up to full volume and blast it out. I was lucky to be among the 80,000 to watch Guns ‘n’ Roses live in Slane 1992 and this track was the encore. That followed by Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” as we walked up the hill away from the river and stage is one of my favourite memories…
Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home (oh, won’t you please take me home) Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home (oh, won’t you please take me home)
Just a urchin livin’ under the street I’m a hard case that’s tough to beat I’m your charity case so buy me something to eat I’ll pay you at another time Take it to the end of the line
Rags to riches or so they say Ya gotta keep pushin’ for the fortune and fame You know it’s all a gamble when it’s just a game Ya treat it like a capital crime Everybody’s doin’ the time
Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Oh, won’t you please take me home Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home
Strapped in the chair of the city’s gas chamber Why I’m here I can’t quite remember The surgeon general says it’s hazardous to breathe I’d have another cigarette but I can’t see Tell me who you’re gonna believe
Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home, yeah yeah Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Oh, won’t you please take me home, yeah yeah
So far away So far away So far away So far away
Captain America’s been torn apart Now he’s a court jester with a broken heart He said “turn me around and take me back to the start” I must be losing my mind “are you blind?” I’ve seen it all a million times
Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home, yeah yeah Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Oh, won’t you please take me home Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home, yeah yeah Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Oh, won’t you please take me home
I wanna go, I wanna go Oh, won’t you please take me home I wanna see how good it can be Oh, won’t you please take me home Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Take me home Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Oh, won’t you please take me home Take me down, lead me ’round Oh, won’t you please take me home
I wanna see, what a woman can be I want to take you home Take me down to the paradise city Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty Oh, won’t you please take me home I wanna go, I wanna know Oh, won’t you please take me home, yeah baby
I’ve read and listened to a lot of stories about long distance hikes over the last year or so. From Bill Bryson’s adventure on the Appalachian Trail (AT) to Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and recently Reg Spittle’s second book about trekking in the UK and Europe. I’ve just started yet another PCT themed audiobook, by Barney Scout Mann, entitled Journeys North.
In the opening chapters Mann mentions how some hikers walk long distance trails in sections rather than thru-hiking the entire trail in one go. This has been mentioned in every story so far but yesterday it seemed to have found more fertile soil in my brain and I started considering my own options for section hiking.
Close to home I have a number of waymarked walks. Of Ireland’s 42 National Waymarked Trails there are 5 in Donegal. Of these the only one I’ve walked is The Bluestack Way. I walked the Glenties – Lough Eske section of this almost 10 years ago as a charity walk for the Bluestack Foundation, approx 30km in 9 hours was, and still is, my longest day’s walking.
Three long distance walks also pass near my home. The Irish leg of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) approx 450km from the Slieve League cliffs in Donegal to Larne in Co. Antrim, The Ulster Way, a looped trail just over 1,000km that circles Northern Ireland and The Ireland Way that is also 1,000km from Castletownbere in West Cork to The Giant’s Causeway in Co. Antrim.
the international appalachian trail – ireland
the ulster way
the ireland way
All three routes meet and overlap at the border between Donegal and Tyrone and follow the same route until The Giant’s Causeway where The Ireland Way stops. The IAT carries on with the Ulster Way until Larne where it stops before skipping across The Irish Sea to Scotland.
Many years ago I read one of the few books on The Ulster Way by Alan Parker and first published in 1989. Alan was the first ever person to walk the entire Ulster Way in 1979. It’s a really interesting read for more than just the walk itself. Alan was a real old school hiker and used B&B accommodation all the way. It’s a fascinating glimpse of a different pace of life in Northern Ireland at the end of the 70s and surprisingly unaffected by The Troubles.
I was familiar with the Ulster Way having seen the signs on many occasions throughout Northern Ireland and reading this book gave me my first real desire to do a long distance walk. However, 30 days is difficult to fit into any life when work and family also need attention so unfortunately it never happened.
The idea though has never left me so it’s unsurprising that it was The Ulster Way that I turned to today to investigate the possibility of section hiking. WalkNI have a very detailed section on their website that details a variety of different 1, 2 & 3 day and 1 week suggestions and there are 2 that really appeal.
Belcoo – Belleek: a 47km section including the optional Lough Navar loop. This is an area I’m very familiar with and Lough Navar has an amazing viewpoint looking out over Lough Erne. Possible as a day hike but more enjoyable over 2 days.
Lough Bradan – Gortin: 60km and recommended as a 2 day walk. Being close to home this is a very familiar area and although I’ve walked or cycled some of it, most of the route would be new to me.
In the middle of a very wet, cold and stormy February it’s nice to look at these routes and dream of long days walking and camping in warm sunshine (ideally!).
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved this book! It’s completely different from anything I normally read and written in a very formal, old fashioned manner of speech. Once I got used to that (pretty quickly to be honest) it added to the read.
The four main boys plus Sally are brilliant characters, each one so different yet work so well together. The array of supporting characters are also well rounded and easy to keep in your head. I hate when too many characters lead to confusion but not in this case.
This was the first song written by the band as a collective, their second released single and featured on their debut album. It was named the greatest hard rock song of all time in 2009 by VHI and has received many high accolades since its release. To me it is Guns ‘n’ Roses at their purest.
As a hard rock song of the 80s though it hasn’t aged well. The original album cover art featured a robot attempting to rape a woman and the lyrics are highly suggestive of the same.
The video contains footage of violent riots mixed in with a live performance of the song. Some of this footage is taken from riots and disturbances in Northern Ireland including some from Bloody Sunday in Derry, 1972.
Oh my god
Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun and games We got everything you want honey, we know the names We are the people that can find whatever you may need If you got the money, honey, we got your disease
In the jungle, welcome to the jungle Watch it bring you to your sha-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n knees, knees Mwah, I, I wanna watch you bleed
Welcome to the jungle, we take it day by day If you want it you’re gonna bleed but it’s the price to pay And you’re a very sexy girl who’s very hard to please You can taste the bright lights but you won’t get there for free In the jungle, welcome to the jungle Feel my, my, my, my serpentine Ooh, ah, I want to hear you scream
Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play If you got hunger for what you see you’ll take it eventually You can have anything you want but you better not take it from me
In the jungle, welcome to the jungle Watch it bring you to your sha-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n knees, knees Mwah, I’m gonna watch you bleed
And when you’re high, you never ever wanna come down So down, so down, so down, yeah
You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby, you’re gonna die In the jungle, welcome to the jungle Watch it bring you to your sha-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-knees, knees In the jungle, welcome to the jungle Feel my, my, my my, serpentine Jungle, welcome to the jungle Watch it bring you to your sha-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-knees, knees Down In the jungle, welcome to the jungle Watch it bring you to you It’s gonna bring you down, huh
I’ve had a small day bag for a good few years now that accompanies me on most hikes. I bought it in Lidl of all places for not much money. I usually only need a small amount of stuff and it’s comfortable, reasonably well spec’d and simply does the job. It’s pretty worn now though and for the last few months I’ve been trying to find a replacement.
So far I’ve ordered three different bags that I’ve returned for various reasons. Mostly the fit and/or quality wasn’t what I expected. Today though I think the search is finally over!
A fellow Irishman has a YouTube channel called “Rambling On”. The video below is his review of a Decathlon 40L bag that looks fantastic. However, I was looking for 20/25L max. In the last couple of weeks I spotted a 20L version on the Decathlon website, delivered today and it’s pretty much perfect 👌
Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
We watched the TV show based on these books a few years ago and while it was difficult to separate the two I did find this book very enjoyable. There were interesting differences in Inspector Perez and his friend Duncan between the TV and book but I think I can see why from this first story.
The author writes in a very relaxed way, probably suited to island life and also manages to give what appears to be an authentic view of life on the Shetlands even if it is in the unusual turmoil of a murder enquiry. I’m looking forward to reading more of these.
A Peeping Tom is frightening the women of Eastvale; two glue-sniffing young thugs are breaking into homes and robbing people; an old woman may or may not have been murdered. Investigating these cases is Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, a perceptive, curious and compassionate policeman recently moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stress of city life. In addition to all this, Banks has to deal with the local feminists and his attraction to a young psychologist, Jenny Fuller. As the tension mounts, both Jenny and Banks’s wife, Sandra, are drawn deeper into the events. The cases weave together as the story reaches a tense and surprising climax
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Enjoyable story and a very good first book from this author. It reminded me very much of Peter James’s Roy Grace character although his home life is very different. This book came from a recommendation. I can’t remember who but thank you for doing so as I have a feeling this series and character will develop further and get better as they grow.
I did find the first half a bit slow going but once the strands of the cases began to come together the story really picked up and I found it hard to put down. Don’t give up if the same happens to you, it’s worth sticking it out.
Over the last couple of years most of society has given up a lot of control to others. Many of the decisions we had been used to making ourselves were restricted by the decisions of those in government over us. These restrictions have resulted in many positive impacts with health services not becoming over run and the lives of many being saved. There have been negative impacts also with the mental health of many being badly affected, health appointments, checkups and surgeries delayed and many people becoming frightened and isolated from the rest of society. Finally though, with the end of the latest Omicron wave, it appears that life will now begin to return to normal as restrictions are being completely removed in many countries around the world.
From a personal point of view I feel that I have lost control of certain aspects of my own life and especially so over the last 6 to 12 months. I’ve written a number of times here about my inate lack of motivation and tendency towards laziness and putting things on the long finger. I know Covid has made that more difficult but in some ways it’s also an excuse that I’ve been using to justify my actions or rather inactions. That needs to change.
Most years at either the end of December or the beginning of January I make a list of targets and plans for the year ahead. I intentionally didn’t do that this year. As 2021 drew to a close I’d been thinking about this lack of control and what I was going to do about it. I decided that this year was to be about taking back control of my health, fitness and weight. I’ve been very inactive especially since about August and my diet has deteriorated quite badly. Consequently I’m now less fit and heavier than I have been for a good few years. I’m 49 this year and that’s not a good place to be at this age. I decided that getting back to regular activity, cutting most of the crap from my diet and getting my weight back to a healthier level was more important than arbitrary distance targets or streak challenges this year.
Changing jobs has given me a new impetus and also new opportunities with a shorter commute and slightly shorter working day but the change has also brought new challenges with new systems, people and routines to learn and establish. I did get a little more active in January but not to the level that I need.
Last week saw the turn of the month from January into February. The 1st of February is celebrated in Ireland as St. Brigid’s Day but in ancient Ireland it was known as Imbolc. Halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox it traditionally marked the beginning of Spring and generally associated with new beginnings. What better week to start afresh?
On Monday I finally made it to a physio to get some work done on my back. It’s been an issue for me for quite a few years but has been a consistent annoyance now for the last 4-5. I’ve had a few episodes of very bad pain this last year and twice over Xmas and New Year. I’ve been to physios before but it’s always been a temporary fix and I haven’t maintained the stretching or exercises to get into shape and keep the pain away. This is now the time to reverse that. The physio gave me a good examination, some massage and stretching followed by some dry needles and electro therapy. I was tender for a day or two but the next couple of days were the best I’ve felt for a long time. I have a follow up appointment this week and then a series of strengthening and stretching exercises to do daily to keep it good. Despite my lack of effort this seems to be an issue that should be reasonably easy to treat if I apply myself.
On Tuesday I then read a blog post written by Jim at Fit Recovery. Jim writes a lot about cycling, more recently about bowling but also a lot about recovery from alcohol addiction. This particular post was about recovery but it definitely struck a chord with me, especially the bit about not letting the argument in your head start at all. Just shut it down before it starts. Too many times I let the argument run and it wins and I do nothing or put something off. My big challenge now for this year is to make that my new habit.
With that new momentum I decided to cycle with the Club on Wednesday morning. I got the bike prepped and my kit ready for the morning and for the first time in well over 6 months I went for a group spin. It was a damp Wednesday morning so it was only the 3 of us and the other guys were stronger than me. However, we went out with a headwind and with them taking turns on the front and me on the 3rd wheel we all had a good workout and at much the same level. At Ballinamore School (21km) I turned back for home while they went on to Fintown for an extra 10-15km. I knew I didn’t have the legs for that and was able to enjoy the tailwind home solo. I had a surprising amount of anxiety about going out for this spin that took significant effort to suppress. However, I went out, performed way better than I expected and had a good time despite the tender ass and tired legs!
With no plans for the afternoon, buoyed by my successful morning and the encouragement from the two guys I spent some time that afternoon getting my MTB sorted in order to join the Club run on Thursday evening. I used to do this 2-3 nights a week a few years ago but the small group we had broke up when the other guys switched over to Zwift the following winter and I couldn’t get a new group together. In the meantime a new group formed but I’d never joined them. Thursday was to be the night.
Again I was a bit concerned about my fitness but this is a very mixed ability group and the ethos is to stick together so I was feeling better about joining them. Altogether we were out for over 2 hours but lost 20-30mins with an awkward puncture. It was a whole load of fun, I’d forgotten how great it was to get cold and wet in the dark on a MTB!
The next stage of my comeback was to join the Sunday morning road bike group but a storm blew in over the weekend making it dangerous to ride and definitely not fun. Despite this early setback I’m ready to roll tomorrow evening again with the MTB group and looking forward to it.
I still have a bit of a way to go to take back control of other things I’ve been letting slide but the journey has started and so far I’m feeling good.
On a complete tangent this post has been rattling around my brain since yesterday and every time I think of it I end up singing this song…..