Every time we travel by National Express we vow never to do it again. Only, we do it so infrequently it always seems like a good budget option (cheap transport equals more beer money during the trip type logic). Well, let’s remember this journey for next time we book. Or more importantly, let’s remember the people – it made even me feel positively ladylike:

Travelling from London Victoria to Leeds (over 4› hours) on a hot day, in a bus/coach with broken air conditioning, grease-smeared windows, next to the overly-stenching toilet unit, with the pleasure of another young couple sitting behind us. The girl was very pregnant so must’ve felt a need to stretch her legs – she kept going in to the stenching toilet unit for a cigarette every 20 mins or so (smoking being banned on National Express coaches) to give the air an extra putrid flavour. How pleasant our sandwiches tasted. Didn’t seem to help her bronchitic rattling chest either.

There seemed to be a really vile smell of sweaty feet but I couldn’t quite place it, and anyway, it was over-ridden by the dominant rotten odour of wind that the girl kept blasting over (no, I hadn’t packed egg sarnies and a flask of sulphur water). She spent a large part of the journey talking on her mobile phone, becoming more and more unintelligible the more her consumption of superbrew increased. Just as we were approaching Leeds I noticed her bare feet were stretched out between my head-rest and the window. Just to the rear of my face. Mystery of the sweaty feet solved.

Mangosteen thai

Submitted/emailed my last assignment of this academic year, today – hooray! and went out for lunch with Susan. We went to Mangosteen thai restaurant on Ganton Street just off Carnaby Street. It has a relaxed cafU feel to it and the food is delicious. There’s outdoor seating too, when the weather’s nice.

Their own literature states “Mangosteen Thai Restaurant is a charming venue in which to enjoy a taste of Thailand in a friendly, informal atmosphere – no traditional costumes or strait-laced service, just good food and great value for money. Local lunchbreakers …can take advantage of the One Plate lunch menu between 12 and 3pm, which offers a range of vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes served with rice, most for less than £5.00”

Bargainous and tasty too – what more could you ask for!


Keith’s been over in Ireland working hard. His reward was having me join him on Weds evening to spend a long weekend together. Ok, the reward was mine – spending the first night here Four Seasons Hotel Simmonscourt Road, Dublin. We were brought down to earth on Thursday morning when our holiday began – we checked into Mount Eccles Court – a hostel within walking distance of O’Connell Street.

The purpose of the trip was to relax, eat, drink and be merry and we rose to the challenge quite nicely. Highlights include CafU en Seine the Jameson Pub of the Year 2002 on Dawson Street, FXB steak restaurant on Temple Bar’s Crow Street, not forgetting The Oliver St. John Gogarty bar and restaurant on Temple Bar’s Anglesea Street.

A particularly friendly cabby gave us a recommendation which may be worth remembering for next time: a room at Bewleys Hotel on the corner of Simmonscourt Road can cost as little as 70 euros per night – it has the look of being a top star hotel like the Four Seasons, but is apparently fairly budget.

Meeting time again…

Yep, its a year since the last meeting in Palm Beach (and I still haven’t added any descriptions, or even added it to the travel section menu – shame on me) and that means its meeting time again. This year its in Dublin – so expect the odd Guinness-inflected rant or image to crop up over the next few days…