Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

camp action climat

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

hey there peoples,

so, internet access in france is a bit like hens teeth; very hard to find.

we spent a bit of time trying to get sort out a pay as you go type of affair for web access but have found that in france it isn’t very accessable. so, now that we are at the french climate camp i’m lapping up the access!!!

The camp is in Le Havre and were we are camped has a view of a vast industrial area of refineries and port facilities. When you look down the hill you can allways see tankers and container ships of all different nationalities moving in the water and it reminds me of just how much energy we spend moving junk around.

We are here in our van and have become power providers for some kitchens….and the onsite bakery. You heard me, and onsite bakery. Its fantastic to get up to the smell of fresh bread right outside your window. On a culinary note, the food here has been very good and i’ve enjoyed moving between the kitchens for different meals.

the camp is full of workshops and activities, and they’ve got a really good tat pile from which to make ‘stuff and things’. the other day myself and ben built showers, and people are making bike generators and screen printers and kites and all sorts of other crazy stuff all around.

well, i’m off to prepare for some workshops so i’ll get back later with some pictures and actual news…

take care

a bit of an update, written on 6th of june

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

now we’re in france. its been a bit of a mad few weeks but things have settled nicely. a few weeks ago, after leaving barcelona we headed up to perpignon. we stayed with a friend of grainnes for a few days and had a most relaxing time, and did all our washing!! kate made us very welcome and we enjoyed life by the med, drinking coffee and cycling about. i must admit to being a bit dissapointed with the medeterranian- i thought that it’d be warmer. but hey ho.
grainne left from perpignon and got the train to bonn, so left to my own devices i headed back to to see karl and karo in toulouse. we’d been there on our way down and it’s a sweet city, so on i went. i drove some some very beautifully french towns, surrounded by vineyards and tiny villages with a post office, a bakery and an old man with a bike (every town has one…). on the way i stopped at a very groovy campsite near foix, in a place called ‘la venert’, but more about that later. karl had sorted me out with free tickets to a gig, on the monday, so after my arival we got stuck straight into some drinking and seeing the town. i discovered a french favourite ‘la pastis’, which is pronounced ‘pasties’, but has nothing to do with cornwall or pastry. it’s basically pernod, but drinkable, and it’s great. also went to see a cool art exhibition in a warehouse were cool artist workshops are based, and found a guy with more bikes than neils old house.

after spending a few days on there, i went back to the campsite near foix and had several days of just me, the staff, and ocassional herds of stag parties who stayed for a few hours and then left. on an interesting note, a stag/hen party is called the ‘girls/boys funeral’ in france. nice.

on i then went through the south of france, and on into the basque country, french side. i’d decided to stay on the french side ‘cos i’ve realised that some fo the french i learnt in school has stuck and i can communicate and coverse a lot more than when on the spanish side. Also, a big shout out to karl for helping me with my linguistic skills. As i made my way further west along the pyrenees i seemed to be attracting a lot of rain, but kept going. i eventually got to biarritz to meet grainne, and it just continued raining. In biarritz i managed to find a very cool place to park for free which was just beside a beach. a sweet spot, and was right beside lots of costal walks, which was nice. I also enjoyed being beside the sea and forgot how much i like being near it.

Grainne arrived back on a friday (maybe) from germany with a sore back, and we stayed in biarritz for another few days, and i got time to practice with my new sling shot (thanks ben) on the beach while G convalesed in bed. but while in bonn she heard about a land occupation in nantes, against the propsed building of a new airport, so we decided that that would be the thing for us. After 3 days driving north i again remembered that france is really big, but we were delighted to arrive at this place. we are on a piece of land beside a tattered house, with a beautiful wood cabin and some carivans and shacks around. its part of a much bigger land occupation covering about 1200 hectares of land and forest. i’ll write more about it soon, but i’m a bit tired now as i was up this morning working in the gardens and spent the afternoon building a solar oven and a bench. also, i’m outside and being hasseled by giant flying things attracted to the screen
a plus tard

Free parking? never…

Sunday, May 9th, 2010
the inside of our van (back half)

the inside of our van (back half)

So we arrived off the boat, having almost given up the rest of our journey, instead staying in Ireland to help out with the Irish Climate Camp and so I could learn how to surf in Lahinch.  We decided to continue our journey and we’ll see by August where we are, perhaps in a field somewhere in Ireland…

Our first port of call was Le Mont San Michel, a really spectacular castle plus village on an almost island in the sea  We parked on the side of the road with all the other cars, to be immediately told by a very polite French man (unlike the boarder control man, who got very excited at what he thought was our secret drawer for our “cannabus” but instead found our chemical toilet…) that campervans had to park in the field behind.  So we obediently went to the field only to find about 30 other campervans – white, shiny and worth a hell of a lot more than our (monetary value only!).

After visiting the island, nearly getting stranded with the very fast incoming tide, we stayed the night in the field wondering when someone was going to ask us to pay.  We awoke the next day to see our van surrounded by sheep – there’s worse ways to wake up.  We then left, and seeing that our exit was blocked we drove down a new path to a carpark where people were paying to get in.  But much to our surprise we didn’t have to pay and left thinking excellend thoughts about the French.

Our good luck with free places to stay continued right throughout our journey through France.  Apparently its just expected that there will be free places to stay for a night while on a journey somewhere.  Bit of a culture shock for us, we had expected to be sneaking into little corners of villages to avoid paying.

Next we went to Toulouse to visist our friend Karl and his lovely girlfriend Caroline.  As Brian would say “we shot the shit”, ate baguettes, drank beer, reminised about Maynooth and Sterling.  It felt really good to be French for a few days.  They were wonderful hosts and sent us on our way well fed, clean and with tips for places to visit – oh yeh and the promise of better weather as it had been raining in Toulouse.

Grainne, x

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Ireland was real nice. We had passed the mot, sorted out all we needed to with regards paperwork, but the van needed a service, and Grainnes uncle Charlie was our new best friend. We went out to his place in strokestown and i spent 4 days in the pit. ’twas great. got to grease nipples, play with spanners and wallow in oil and dirt. i loved it. I also got to spend some time on a proper farm (he is really a farmer) with cows and stuff.He normally works on traktors which is why he knew exactly how to service our van – i’m not sure what that really says abot the van, but i take it as a good thing.


I work in computers enough to know that i don’t want them running my van, i’d rather it was me. After all that hard work, we went to see a friend of ours who lives in Lahinch, Co Clare. For those of you who don’t know, Clare is a county on the west of ireland, facing the atlantic. As a result, it is most excellent for surfing, and Rob gave Grainne her first lessons in surfing. It was great, and i got to get my first bit of sunburn of the year. I’m sure more will follow, but it was beautiful and we felt like we were getting a taste of the holiday to come – sitting on a beach and enjoying a beer. Nice. Jealous? you should be.

We had some other family business to do when back in Dublin. One of Gs oldest friends, Cliodhna, got married to Lyndon and we had a great time singing along in the church and gettin’ pissed in the hotel. I had to wear a suit, but Grainne looked great and i got to take it off, so it was real good.


We also had to do some Farrelly business. My sister had another kid and we were able to get along to the christening and enjoy that too. Actually, as we spent a month there i was able to hook up with and spend time with family members (and their families). Its funny how when you visit for a week you never get to have proper conversations that cover more than just the basics. In saying that, i’m sure i speak for both of us when i say that we are tired of explaining that we live in a van (yes, a van), and that we don’t really know were we are going (really?). Once we get beyond that, it’s all good. All of my clan were together for the first time in a long time, as neil had just come home from brazil, so that was ace.


Me, neil and Cathy got to hang out which was nice, and all in all i’m glad we stayed as long as we did. It was my longest time in Dublin in nearly 10 years. So, after all that adventuring we’re now on our way to France. So, stay tuned and we promise to be more regular in the future. speak soon dudes.


updated adventures

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

So, its been a while, so an update is definitley in order. After spending a really enjoyable and cold month in Berlin we headed to Amsterdam for a weekend. Those of you who know me well enough know that this is one of my favourite towns. the bikes, the wonky buildings and having lived there for a long time, the enjoyable feeling of being at home. We were there for a CJA meeting which covered what we wanted to get up to after the COP15 event, the meetings were productive, and it was great to see a different side to the city than i’d seen before. And to be honest, it was a bit of a social because we seemed to know quite a few people there and enjoyed catching up. In fact, there were 6 ‘bobs’ there, so that was a real bonus.

We stayed at a campsite in the east of the city, and having our bikes with us meant that we could get around cheaply and not feeling like tourists. Since i’d last been there the trams had gone up in price, so we were sorted.  As i mentioned, i’d not been there in a while and was dissapointed to see some changes….such as no coffee shops sold beer anymore, and most of the clubs i frequented in the past were either closed or just plain rubbish. But i don’t want to paint a dull picture. It was good to be there, and had a great time.

After our brief weekend in the ‘dam, we got the ferry from Donkerque to Dover. We’ve had the van a year at this point and an MOT was due. We got back to london and were welcomed back by all our old friends and got to work on our projects and finished unfinished buisiness. We spent time in Hackney with p & r, and in brixton with c & s. And we got to hand around with another ‘super dog’, called scruffy.

me and scruff

One of the things that i wanted to do was to build a mobile sound system. When in copenhagen i was inspired by the work of filistine with his portable bike sound systems, and i wanted to build my own, but make it bad ass. Ben had collected some parts in tipping point, and we got to work putting them together, and the end result was the ‘dissident dreadnaught’. Its bad ass and it currently lives in mare street., and  the DI crew are putting it to good use (see it in action). We painted it black and me, diddy, michael, james and bryn did up some stencils to turn it into a crazy terrahwak type of cube. Not many peopple get that reference, but if you do, then you’ll know just how cool it is.

Preparing the van for the MOT was a bugger. Me and G know funk all about engines so we concentrated on the body work, and my god did it need it. After filling up 4 holes in it, we found another 5. Thats perhaps an exageration, but it seemed like loads – including one right beneath the accelerator pedal. If we hadn’t fixed it then, i could have ‘put the foot down’, and literally put it through the hole and onto the ground. So, we fixed all that and went through all the other things we’re supposed to check and brought it to a place outside of gillingham to be tested. So, the dude started poking and prodding and eventually he takes me aside and says ‘i’m gonna have to fail you due to a rear light not working’. He hands me the failure slip, and before i had a chance to try and win him around by crying and wailing, he whips out a screwdriver and repairs the light and then passes it! Diamond.

London was great to visit again, but after 4 weeks there we felt it was high time to bust a groove. Rather than going all exotic, we headed back to Ireland.


berlin went by really fast

Monday, March 8th, 2010
Marx never saw them coming...

Marx never saw them coming...

So, Berlin. Really big and cold. I liked Berlin. After leaving Copenhagen we spent a night in the Danish countryside with Pete and Jo, before getting the ferry to Rostock. We rocked up to Berlin in early in the day and parked near Kopi. Catherine lives at the far end of the street from there, so that was sweet. Her place was cool and we were staying there mostly, and some nights in the van. We got to do lots of cool things while there.

When we arrived it was -15 at night and was super grateful for the big fire in the flat. It was a big enclosed fireplace, so although there was a big fire, you did’t actually see it, which i thought was a bit strange. It was nice to spend some time with Catherine and go see some of the local places and things and meet people. I also learned a few cool things, such as how to make peanut butter soup. On a food related note, there are also some very cool vegan places to eat, and peoples kitchens every night of the week. We were also treated to an excellent tour looking at the gentrification of the friedrichshain area, as well as about the squatting movement in the area.

i’ve got some photos, so tune back soon for more updates, and some pictures too…


Hitchhiking knee deep in snow!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Swe1 So we finally managed to leave our lovely home in Copenhagen (if only for a week) and headed to Sweden.  Inspired by our fellow travellers in Tegleholme we decided to hitchhike for the first time.  It was ver cold and our promise of a ten o’clock start had turned into an actual 3pm start.  So after 45 minutes just as we began to consider getting the train a car pulled over for us and took us to the exact place in Malmo we needed to go.  It literally takes half an hour to get to Malmo, just have to go under the tunnel, over a bridge and through a toll (40 euro).  Quite a few people commute from Malmo to Copenhagen.  People live in Sweden (its cheaper) and work in Denmark.  So our first hitch quite successful all in all.

So we went to a cafe Jo (my activist lonely plannet guide – had reccommended, and within 5 minutes we were talking to a lovely guy who was telling us all the secrets to good hitching.  He never goes anywhere by any means other than hitching!  First impressions of Malmo definately good!

So then we met our couchsurfing hosts, another first for us.  But as you’re required to have winter tyres in Sweden and we didn’t really fancy driving in the snow we were persuaded by our fellow travellers again to try couchsurfing –  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, you can join the site fill out a profile and offer your couch to surf or if you’re travelling surf other people’s couches.  I got a bit excited before we went to Malmo and got so many replies that we had the choice of around 6 couches to choose from, we chose a vegetarian couple who love to travel – Linda and David.  David arrived down to meet us dressed in summer trousers and flip flops – Brian was in his ski trousers and I was in full ski outfit with my salopettes and ski jacket (my uncle Chris’s from the 70s).  David immediately started laughing at our outfits – a common theme throughout our trip so far.  We clearly don’t know how to be fashionable in the snow!

skating on the frozen lake

skating on the frozen lake

David and Linda were the most perfect hosts, we hit it off straight away sharing lots of things in common.  After a really delicious meal cooked by our hosts we drifted off to sleep with a list of places to visit the next day. We arranged to meet David and Linda the next day to go for a sauna by the beech.  David walked with us through a beautiful park where the lake was completely frozen over.  The sauna was amazing, with a very interesting addition – the pluge pool was outside in the sea, where they had knocked a hole in the ice at the bottom of ladders.  Definately something to try once in your life (
So after a wonderful few days in Malmo we headed on the train to Stockholm, off to our next couchsurfing adventure.  The train ride itself was worth it, we passed the most beautiful countryside.  If I had only one word to describe Stockholm it would be ‘snowy’.  We thought we had been in snow before, but my goodness was there snow in Stockholme.  We decided to go for a walk on our first evening in Stockholme, our couch surfing host Evin was really surprised we even wanted to go out it was so blizardy! snow angelWe took a really long walk along the harbour of Stockholm’s main island.  To everyone around us it was obvious we weren’t used to snow, we played every game we could think of involving snow and ice! we arrived back red faced, snow in every crevace but boy did we sleep well that night (well I did, Brian was on a couch half his size). The next day we went to visit one of the many islands in Stockholme, really beautiful and gave us a much needed sense of countryside.  After a really nice all you can eat buffet with our host Evin (I suck at the buffet game – I loaded up too much on my first run and didn’t manage any more whereas Brian had at least 4 plates full) we went to the old town, where I met my long lost cousin!

Swe12Outside some old back there was a statue of some guy who I’m convinced is a Gannon, he looks like he could be singing in the base section of the people’s college choir in between my dad and uncle Pat. Lots more walking and sightseeing.  Outside the Royal Palace they’ve 18 year old guards very similar to the ones outside Buckingham Palace, the ones that don’t talk or move.  We were wondering around trying to get to the train station when we went into a no go zone without realising it. “halt” shouted the guard, we turned to him apologised and then asked him directions to the train, he was most upset at having broken his silence rule! we wanted to go back the next day and make snow angels in front of him and try to have a snowball fight, but unfortunately we couldn’t find him again.

After so much sightseeing and a tremendous amount of snow we headed back to Malmo where Linda and David were having a house warming party. It started on the Friday night and by Monday the last guests besides us had left.  Such a great weekend! In Sweden you can only buy alcahol from state run shops open Mon- Fri until 6pm and half a day on Sat and they’re really expensive.  So there’s a black market in alcahol, where people buy from Germany and sell to your door in Sweden. On Monday afternoon we hitched back to Copenhagen, getting a ride after an hour.

Our favourite couch surfers!

Brian with our wonderful sign!

amusing sign!frozen lake

we got into that naked!another frozen lake!how cute!easily amused...

No slides are available.

all good things

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Swe6well, they say that all good things must come to end, but i don’t believe it. However, we are leaving our home in Copenhagen, Teglholmen, tomorrow morning. Today was beautiful, the sun was shining on the melting snow and everything looked bright and clean. We shovled a lot of snow to clear the road from the warehouse to the front gate but at least we can get out to the road.

Last week we spent some really good time in Sweeden. It probably deserves a blog entry of its own, but here are some highlihgts. Snow – loads and loads and loads of it. Water – Stockholm is on 14 different islands so you cross bridges and suddenly its a different area. Couch Surfing – stayed with some cool people and partyed all weekend with Linda and David.

cop22Getting back to now……The van is ready to go. Checked the oil and things and realised i was lucky to do so as most things were at their minimum levels. Never realised just how much servicing our van needs, but i’m learning a lot. I have learnt loads of things during our stay here, from welding and angle grinding, to non violent communication and living with a large group of people.

The floating city is coming along well. the hanger is now full of hugh stretlight poles and giant fiberglass tanks. The people here are skilling themselves up and getting ready for the big push to get things done. There are some people here at the moment who are building a ‘skate ramp, bar, tower, climbing frame’ all in one structure, which is huge, so the building vibe is in the air.

So, next up is a bit of tourist action in denmark as we make our way down to see Catherine in berlin. I’m looking forward to seeing her and also seeing berlin. lots of people i know say that its kick ass, but it must be said that a small proportion have caled it rubbish – calling it the hackney of germany – ouch. So, if anyone has any ‘must do while in berlin’ ideas, then let us know.

anyway, gotta go. catch you later.

Welding vegan chocolate cakes!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

26 January 09

cooking in tegleholme

cooking in tegleholme

Ok so we made it to Malmo and I haven’t written anything about Copenhagen since Christmas so Sweden is on hold until I catch up.   We moved back from the posh house after Christmas to the very welcoming arms of all at Tegleholme.  I spent the first week back working with Sinne and Monne building a kitchen.  It was amazing, I saw the kitchen go from basic and not very cosy where everyone cooked in 2’s and 3’s (mainly skipped meat) to collective meals of 15\20 people and the kitchen being the place to hang out.  That probably took longer than a week to achieve, but the building structure was in place after a short while.  We made a breakfast table out of old pallets and found wood, which was sanded and oiled so we could use it for shopping.  Its been really amazing learning such practical skills from 2 really amazing women, who although they say they’ve forgotten their ages, they’re only 18!

I made it my mission for the next while to improve my cooking skills! Cooking at Tegleholme was like being on a surreal version of ready steady cook!  Every few days a few people would go on a mammoth skipping mission (going to the bins of the supermarkets and taking what we needed), it was like a weird Christmas morning each time they back.  Whoevewr was in the kitchen would ooo and ahhhh at the delights they had brought back.  The chefs mission for the next few days was to try and make as many wonderful dishes out of the food as they could.  The first week I was there we had leeks with everything, last week it was broccoli and banana.  I made a skipping wish list (mainly with baking ingredients) that some saw as a challenge, Monne definitely won, bringing practically everything on my list home.  Staying at Tegleholme has definitely made me reassess my relationship with food.  I have been so shocked with the food thrown out from supermarkets.  We were able to live like kings, eating organic, having fresh cream, milk, bread, amazing danishes (the ones we get in Ireland or the UK are not like they are here), rounds of cheese, wine basically anything you could ask for – I’ve eaten better quality food here than I have since I left home 7 years ago.

So I’ve introduced proper English scones to Denmark! I said I was going to make scones and got a few shrugs from those in the kitchen, so I made them, put a bowl of home made jam and fresh whipped  cream with them beside them and told people to dig in.  They went down very well with exclamations of “these aren’t scones these are amazing”.  In the following weeks I taught others how to make them and now they’re a staple part of breakfasts at least once a week, and now when anyone new comes along they’re treated to “scones but not like Danish ones!”

Most of my recipes are coming from a cook book I took from my mam when leaving home – the stork cookbook.  Its falling apart, looks very old but has how to make everything in it, including cheese sauce which went down a treat! Its not very good for vegan dishes though (with the arrival of Jo and Pete that made 2 vegans and 3 vegetarians and the rest freegan – eat anything if its free) so I had to improve my vegan baking.  Monne lent me a vegan cookbook called ‘don’t feed the bears’ where you are encouraged to play a named death metal song while you cook! I’ve learned how to make a very simple vegan chocolate cake that actually tastes amazing! Although I still think it tastes better before it goes in the oven, the first time I made it, I ate the leftover batter with fresh cream and was in heaven!

I haven’t spent all my time in the kitchen though.  Although I do have to say that cooking has been a thoroughly relaxing and very satisfying experience, those of you who know me that past few years know that I spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, Brian does most of the cooking.  It was very funny to hear all these people talking to me as if I had been cooking for 20 my whole life.  New challenges are what its all about!

cop23Speaking of new challenges, I’m learning to weld (picture to follow) not quite as scary as I though it would be, Martin turned out to be an excellent teacher, very patient and extremely positive with all my efforts.  Angle grinding is my next mission.  Its been really great doing lots of workshops, I now understand a little more about 12volt electricity from Brian and Rob’s wonderful 2 part electricity workshop, I helped make a pedal powered washing machine and Casey did a really interesting ‘non violent communication’ workshop.  All in all lots of new skills learned.

We also managed some trips out, i went to the sauna in Christiania with Jo and Jim, a hot but relaxing day out and then chilled with coffee and had a really interesting chat about black bloc, climate camp, green capitalism etc.  We also visited a group of people living on a boat nearby.  They’ve made their own submarines, very cool!

Staying in Tegleholme has done my soul well, I feel rested and with many new skills.  The people staying there are one of the most welcoming and open groups\collective I have ever come across.  They are so happy to share their home, skills, food and just about anything with anyone who wants to stay.  An amazing bunch of people I’m sure I’ll come across again – maybe not on land….


Grainne, x

wowser, its been a while

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010


having started out with this blog and promising myself that it’d be regular. So, now it’s time to atone and do some updating.

we’re still here in Copenhagen and enjoying life here. an example of a typical day in 2010 has been getting up at about 12, working in the workshop for a few hours, having dinner (possibly even making it for 20 people), do some electrics, eat again, do a bit of reading/writing, watch a movie, then go to bed. Its great. I’ve been having a chance to not do anything. Nobody is relying on me finishing something, i’m not due in work, not meeting anyone in particular at any particular time. Nice…

the space in cop is really nice, and the community is growing up nicely. there are workshops being run every day on things from yoga to electrics and its a chance to do lots of learning. To be honest, it’s just as well that there are things here to do as its too cold to go outside. Yeah, it snows all the time here. What really gets me is when i get out of bed feeling a bit bleary eyed, and then open the door and this wall of bright white snow. I don’t love that.

We’re gonna head up to sweeden in the next few days, for a few days. The idea of heading up closer to the artic circle, ordinarily would appeal to me, but at the moment the cold is scaring me off. Oh, and we’re gonna get the bus/hitch, so without the comfort of our van it might get chilly.

anyway, here is a load of random pictures of random things with random people

(it would seem that we’re experiencing technical difficulties. please hold the line)