I was just reviewing my output over the last few months to realise that there has been no presence by me at all really. There was a time but that has passed. This venture always needed to be nurtured on a regular basis to achieve a sense of worth. I look to others for inspiration and with a gung ho attitude I have wonderful intentions but the transfer to the keyboard never seems to happen. It might be the fact that my laptop is kaput at the moment and I can only rely on my work PC with peering eyes  wondering what your up to.

Lately I have been using an apple mini ipad that Santa got for the kids at Christmas which is a fine piece of equipment. Can you imagine that he brought it all the way from the North Pole all wrapped up with millions of other Apple products. There must be an Apple manufacturing plant up there…..brrrr!! Previous to the Apple mini we had a Nexus 7 which has battery issue…needs new battery…so we made the leap!! Posts can be written on tablets but a keyboard is always better for flow of words and thoughts.

Can I let you all in on a secret…..in June we are going on holidays to sunny France…down south near the border is a little town called Argeles sur Mer which will be our destination for 2 lovely weeks. This has been a long time coming people….Even though Ireland can be a lovely holiday destination….my recent holidays over the last few years have been peppered with shocking weather and this year I am not spending my designated 2 weeks off putting my hand out to feel for drops of rain. The only drops I want to feel is the sweat running down my back as I wait for a drink at the bar. We have been to the South of France before but not so near the French /Spanish border.

I was thinking of the last time we were away with the kids and they were only toddlers. They can’t really remember…they were too young really. Sure, I can barely remember myself…it seems so long ago!! But I’ll never forget that warm fuzzy feeling of hot sun and relaxation…seeing new places…listening to different languages…seeing how others holiday.

Do you remember the time when people could smoke on planes. In my past life I was a smoker and recently I was chatting with colleagues about this. Down the back of the plane a cloud of smoke with a crowd of people puffing away thousands of miles above the earth…amazing now when you consider it…..crazy really!! Myself and my brother smoked ourselves all the way to the states…not a bother!!! To do it now would be lunacy!! A pack of cigarettes in Ireland is coming up to 10 Euros…daft!! There have been moments …fleeting…that I might get a whiff of fresh smoke in passing and it would envelop  you and get a hold….the smell would tickle your nostrils and creep to the back of your throat!! With this sudden attack comes a longing for the day when you used to flick a match against the flint of the match box and bringing it slowly up to your face …to light the stick of tobacco clenched between your lips……the first drag of the smoke into your lungs filling you with a release like no other!!! MMmmmmm….You remove the cigarrette to check if its lighting correctly and roll it between your fingers sometimes admiring the chemical reaction of the burning paper and tobacco combined to give a perfect white smoke like no other.

Hold me down people before I rush out the door to the local tobacconist to jump over the counter….searching for my favourite brand ….nothing will get in my way of the release that only tobacco can give me…..tobacco has the key and its rattling it right in front of my face…taunting me with its pleasure. Then…just as quick as the secondhand smoke enters my body I snap back to reality and carry on with my penance!!

The first time we went to France, Niamh and I were like walking chimneys….we smoked our way through that holiday…the cigarettes were so cheap that we always bought 2 boxes….just in case! The amount of tobacco we consumed would be embarrassing today!!! We just ate them!!! It amazes me how we ever kicked the habit…but looking back now I remember that we both had come to a specific moment …..one of those ‘it’s now or never moments’ when we just had to do it…give them up , that is!! It can take months of persuasion to come to that point when you know its right and then one day you just stop.

Thats when the voices start….voices you may have never heard before….it can take you on a discovery of your mind that you may have never gone on or experienced before. It’s like going on holidays to a foreign land!!! These voices can be very persuasive…arguments and trickery that can twist your mind…playing havoc with your decision making process. The minute you overcome and win the first argument with ‘you’…thats when there is a gradual decrease in the power of the remaining suitors who come smiling with suitcases to the doors of your mind choc full of cigarettes just waiting to be tasted. You will eventually learn to ignore the knock and carry on with your life…Simple!!

Everybody smoked years ago…it was de rigeur…”Are you going for a fag?”…”Sure , I might as well…I’m only just after one but another one won’t kill me!!” …And you could smoke anywhere you wanted to….there was always a designated smoking area for those who obeyed the rules!!! The smoke in the pubs used to be overpowering, especially as the night wore on…with more drink taken there was more fags smoked…a cloud of smoke hovering over your head…waking up the next morning with the stink of smoke permeating your every pore…How did we put up with it for so long??

When your abroad…smoking takes on a whole new meaning, especially if your in Spain, they just love their fags. There is a whole culture surrounding Le Cigarette abroad. Picture a coffe shop…enter a tall dark man in a trenchcoat…walks casually up to the counter saluting in the foreign way…reaching the counter..”Expresso…por favor!!”…he stands with his back to the counter and in one swift movement he lights a cigarette with a shiny silver zippo…turning slowly back to the counter to reach for the fresh expresso and nodding in gratitude he holds it for a brief few moments aloft to let the smoke disappear. With 2 puffs and 2 quick swigs and 2 more long drags he stubs the cigarette and exits…no hanging around for compliments or small talk…just in and out like a stealth bomber. Thats the way they do it in far off lands…just like the movies!!

I’ll leave with a picture of the ultimate smoker……Jah Rastafari….


One thought on “Excursions

  1. Strange isn’t it to think how frivolous we were with indoor air quality! I remember flying from Victoria to Toronto when I was 17 and thinking how cool I looked being able to smoke in the lounge…yes the plane had a bar/lounge with a bartender. I too was a smoker years ago and can’t even fathom it now. There are so many more star gazers now with all of the back porch smokers outside! I still love the smell of that first match to cigarette when I happen by it once in a blue moon. How about our parents who use to drive around with us kids in the car while they puffed away! Is that even legal now? I must say I was pretty happy when they took smoking out of the pubs although it did cause a big stink ( mind the pun) over here for quite some time.

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