Archive for May, 2010

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.