Monday, 16 November 2009

A Special for " NANA CAROL"

BOOK YOUR SEATS
your
THURSDAY NIGHT
STARTS RIGHT HERE
@
6pm
COMMING SOON to this screen

video

with lots and lots of LOVE

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Tickets booked todate = 11 @ 18:30 Wednesday evening.

dont forget there is " buy one get one free pop corn"

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The IRON MAN competition - S-Africa/Scotland

Tania and Andy came for a surprise visit on Sunday while Billy & Ria were away on holiday in Dorset - Southern England - November 2009

There was 3 bottles of wine and a long way home..........................

Now that you have read the book, it is time to see the MOVIE

What a lovely surprise it was and it looks like it was a tie after all. video

Camera work - Leon on his IPHONE

Edited by: The editor ( who else)


The winner takes it all

WHEN I'm 64 - MITCH 17-11-2009


Well the day has arrived when Mitch turns 64



Just a few memories of days gone bye

video

Happy Birthday Mitch from us all

Kevin's Birthday 17/11/2009

Molly - Carol - Billy - Tessy - Tricia - Franky - Monica - Kevin

Happy Birthday "BOET" from all of us on the blog

video

17-11-2009

If anybody watching this knows where in the world our KEVIN COWLE is, please contact one of us or by leaving a comment on this blog.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Coopers go to ITALY - October 2009

Yes, the Coopers had one hell of a time in Italy, they aslo got snap happy with their camera, in order to share their holiday with us all.

Here is a short video of some of the pictures
video



To view all the photos in the Cooper PICASA web albums just click here or you can visit http://picasaweb.google.com/pat.cooper100 there is plenty to see, so grab a cold one-sit back and enjoy "A Holiday in Italy" by the click of your mouse.

Day 1- Dropped the bags at hotel and headed off- landed up at The Spanish Steps and was amazed at the crowds of people. Could hardly walk down the stairs for people sitting shoulder to shoulder. Stopped at a small pavement patisserie for a bite and then were off again winding our way thru the narrow streets to the Trevi Fountain. Disappointed at the lack of coins but only found out afterwards the coins are clearer at regular intervals. Suppose at the strength of the euro, a small fortune would be sitting under the water. Wandered back to the hotel to do some Internet search for a hotel for the rest of our stay in Rome. Bit surprised at EUR 12 per half an hour Internet usage in the hotel. Managed to find a hotel on the other side of the Vatican which suited our pockets.
Day 2 - Made our way by taxi to new hotel where we waited for the arrival of Allan's mom. Settled her in, then the 3 of us headed out to the Colosseum . 'Gladiators' outside ripped us off for EUR 20 by standing in our picture and then demanded payment telling us EUR 10 each for Allan and I and they will not charge 4 Allan’s mom! Did the tour with the audio guide - interesting. Took a slow walk down. Passed the 'wedding cake' late lunch, early dinner with Allan having his 1st plate of spaghetti cabonare. Wandered back and took a rest on the steps opposite the wedding cake. Got caught up in a gay pride parade with loads of police presence, helicopter circling above. Looked peaceful enough but decided to leave while the going was good.
Day 3 -Did the open bus tour of Rome. Fortunate to be going past St Peters sq at 11.15 with the pope outside saying mass to the crowds gathered in the square. To far away from the actual balcony to see anything but did see him on the big screens placed round to square. Off at Piazza Navona. Stopped for a coffee that turned into lunch, a bottle of wine, Allan's 2nd plate of spaghetti carbonara and some divine tiramisu, walked on to find the Parthenon. Back on the bus back to St Peters and a taxi back to the hotel.
Day 4-Left Allan and his mom having coffee and enjoying the Italian sunshine and rain, while I headed off on a tour of the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peters. Loved it but again very crowded with the rain made it worse with all these people pushing to get inside out of the rain where I was enjoying the rain in the Vatican gardens. Being a history lover and a traditionalist to be surrounded by so much history was amazing and food for the soul. Talking of food, after a 2 hour trip on a tram to some very dodgy parts of Rome, landed up at a tiny restaurant near the Vatican for Allan's 3rd plate of spaghetti cabonare! Anyone want a critique on spaghetti cabonare in Rome - ask Al!

Day 5 -Taxi to the station and onto the train for Florence. Took the slow train - arrived 3.5 hours later. Found a delightful hotel on the bank of the Arno - Hotel Principe. Settled in relaxed and then went off walking to find a place for dinner - Allan decided to start his gnocchi trip and had gnocchi
Day 6 -Did the bus trip round Florence soaking up the history and the great arts. Freezing cold - 5 deg! Left Allan and his mom sitting in the sun at the Doumo and went off to find a closed pair of shoes. Shopping in Florence - what can be wrong! With my feet now warm in my new shoes, it was back on the blue route to do the 2nd tour. Back to the hotel and then out 4 dinner. Walked for ages and finally settled in a restaurant with an Italian menu with no English translation and a waitress that spoke no English so had no idea what we were ordering. No recognizable cabonara or gnocchi in sight! Al landed up with a plate of dried meat all displayed nicely on his plate but needed a cheese sammie after he had finished and I landed up with a delicious lamb shank done in a locally brewed beer.
Day 7 -Walked to Ponte Vecchio and browsed the jewelers shops. Looked for Kate and Marc's lock but could not find it. Then another walk round the streets and left Al and his mom sitting in the sun while I went off to the statue of David in the academia museum. Dinner - shared a Florentine steak with Al. Supposed to be the origin of steak. This huge piece (Sunday roast for 6) very rare and sliced to perfection - really good.
Day 8-Ppicked up the hire car and headed off to Pisa. The beautiful white marble and the leaning tower were stunning. From there entered the co-ordinates for the 6th Division Infantry war cemetery. Wonderful drive and found the cemetery with no problem. Very sad walking amongst the graves and reading the names, ages and inscriptions of all these South African soldiers who lost their lives in the war. Cemetery beautifully maintained by the British war commission. Left there feeling very sad and thinking of all the current turmoil and boys at war. Made our way for the east coast via Assisi. Now there - all that white stone and marble up on the hill is stunning. Need to research St Francis storey. Beautiful ,stunning amazing what else can I say. Stopped at a non de script hotel and landed up at Ancona. Lovely hotel on the Adriatic sea. Walked for ages looking for a place to eat and loads of pizza places. Landed up getting the car to drive to a restaurant. Landed up at another pot luck place all in Italian and no idea of what was ordered. Must agree with the lonely planet that the best for tourist in Ancono is the road out.
Day 9 -Worked our way down the coast. Very boring and nothing remotely pleasant to see. Even stopped at McDonald's for a coffee! Made the wise move to head inland and travelled thru some amazing small villages including a place high in the mountains with the mountains covered in snow. Bit chilly! Views were magnificent Headed back to the coast to Vasco for the night. Found a small restaurant where only the chef spoke English so had service from the chef himself. Great meal and then off to find a bed for the night.
Day 10 - travelled further down the east coast hoping it would get better, but hopes were in vain. Had lunch- dinner at MacDonald's! Moved a bit inland and after a dreadfully drive thru Foggia headed inland. Stayed at a nice hotel - Queen Victoria.
Day 11- Headed off to Sorrento on our way to Napoli. The descriptive word that comes to mind in dreadful! Found the San Nickoli Hotel and headed off to find some dinner. Besides coffee shops, bars and Pizza places - guess what we had for dinner - yes. MacDonald's!!
Day 12 -Oon route to Napoli. Just on long road of rundown and dirty streets. Loads of clothing hanging on rails on the pavements. The Tree shops in Dar had more appeal. Drove into Naples, cashed some money at the station and drove out. Must have missed the good parts as what we saw was filthy sidewalks, traffic Jams, washing hanging everywhere and mad drivers. Offer me another paid trip to Naples or Dar es Salaam at my own expense and I would take Dar. Stopped in at Pompeii and visited the archaeological site of this town buried after Mt Vesuvius erupted. The drive out of Naples on the autosrade up on the hill overlooking the med was stunning. Sorrento to Naples from a distance looks picture postcard perfect - just don't go too close! Drove back up into the mountains and found this lovely town built on the side of a hill. Beautifully maintained and clean Muro Lucano. On our way out happened on a lovely hotel. Bougainville - not a Bougainville is sight, but had a very peasant stay with a good meal in their restaurant with some local wine.
Day 13 - Had to head for Bari for mom to catch her flight early Friday morning. Entered a destination into the gps and off we went. An hour and a half later we were back looking at the village on the hill where we spent the night! A major bridge was closed and no matter what road we took the gps kept brings us back to this closed bridge! After going thru the same tunnels for the 3rd time, decided to follow the road signs and head for Potenza the old fashioned way with the road signs and the map. Arrived in Bari early afternoon and relaxed. Currently sitting in the hotel garden updating what we have been up to. Run out off books to read and resorted to an e book on my laptop and read till the battery went flat. No adapter so now no e book. Will have to find an English book store to buy a book tomorrow which should be a challenge! Having a menu with the English translation is a bonus at least we can see what to order and know what we are getting. Had a great meal and finished off with a great cuppachino.
Day 14 -Dropped mom at Bari airport and headed inland. Fortunately drove past Foggia this time and not thru it. Back in the mountains with some wonderful scenery. Must have been high up to see the odd ski slope sitting tucked in the mountains waiting for the snow. Took some scenic pics near Lavelli. Drove to L Aquila then onto Riete and looked for a hotel in Treni. Busy town on a Friday night so headed out to Todi. Following signs and winding round on narrow mountain roads in the pitch dark looking for a place to sleep was not my idea of fun. More by luck than judgment, happened across VillaLuisa on the out skirts of Todi at 20:45. Booked in and had a delicious plate of penne with cream. Mushrooms and sausage. Poor mom only got home after a five hour delay as all the communications were down in Italy and no flights could take off or land. Glad she eventually got home safe and sound.
Day 15- After breakfast of another roll and cheese ( oh, what I would give for a plate of bacon and eggs!) Went in search of a Laundromat. Walked round the village with its interesting Saturday morning market, found the wishy washy and sat for an hour while the machines did their thing. After depositing the clean clothes at the hotel, went off to explore the old city on foot. Amazing! Wondered round this ancient town that has been restored so well and maintained to perfection. The narrow roads up steep hills - you can just imagine to donkey carrying his load. Unfortunately replaced now with smart cars with mad Italian drivers behind the wheel delivering booze and supplies to restaurants and up market shops tucked in corners or down narrow alleys. Managed to get Al into 2 churches! The one from 1276. At 5 to 1 we were rushed out the church as it was closing time for siesta. In the normal Al style, he approached a rather large cat and bears the scars from the encounter, Brutus will leave a permanent mark on Al reminding him of Todi. Took a slow drive round the area and back to the hotel to join the locals in this siesta pastime. Dinner at the hotel of a delicious meal including the local Truffle and a great bottle of Umbrian wine finished off with some Italian ice cream and a coffee.
Day 16 - Woke up very confused with the tv showing the time as 7.08 and my watch as 8.08 - the clocks had been set back an hour for the daylight saving and the winter time. Once that confusion was solved, heading out of Todi with a sad feeling as it is such a delightful place and seeped in history. Headed for Siena via Bolsena. Al wanted to see the lake there. Arrived in Siena just before the start of a football game ( Siena vs Juventus) with crowds of people making their way to the stadium which is just about in the centre of the city. Fortunate to get parking and set off to explore the delights of Siena. Stunning ancient architecture and seeped in history - walked round and saw all the major sites and a few hours later had the task of finding our way back to the car. Fortunately saved the location on the GPS so after a strenuous walk up some steep mountains ( they were actually hills, but felt like mountains!) Located the car and headed out of town for the daily hotel search. Just as well we left when we did as Siena lost the football 0-1. Spotted a sign and landed up at a perfect hotel which completes my image of a hotel in Tuscany - the hotel Belvedere di San Leonino. A large country house built around 1400 recently converted to a hotel whilst keeping its architectural features and original atmosphere. Could just park here and throw away the car keys and the return tickets. Wonder if they need a dishwasher!! Dinner was to die for - vegetable antipasti followed by gnocchi with a fresh tomato sauce followed by veal with spinach finished of with a fresh fruit salad. Good thing we only staying 3 nights as longer than that and my jeans will not fit.
Day 17 -having my coffee sitting in the garden under the Tuscany sun (think - read a book with that title 'under the Tuscan sun, ) with the sun shining and a beautiful crisp morning - what more could you ask for besides another 3 weeks! After breakfast headed for Livorno on the west coast. Not much to offer besides a huge naval base and training school. Travelled down the coast visiting all the coastal towns on the Med. Not sure if they have been closed up for the winter or they have been hit really hard by the recession, but all these towns are boarded up, no people walking round, no activity at all. Can't imagine what it must cost to close a whole town up for 6 months. Once again no use of the coast, as most places you could not see the sea for either a forest or a train line. The few we did actually get down to the sea had a marina with loads of boats, no people and not even an open toilet never mind a ice cream shop or a coffee shop! Went as far down as Follonica via Piombino then up again towards Siena and back to the hotel for another delicious dinner of selection of cold meats for antipasti then minestrone soup for me and pasta with 4 cheese sauce followed by pork fillet done in a peppercorn cream sauce, with an apple cake dessert accompanied with a bottle of red wine from the local winery.
Day 18 -Decided to revisit Assisi as its only 2 hours from where we are. Stopped of at Castelione Lago on our way where there is a large lake Al wanted to see. Not a fisherman on the shore in sight and not a boat on the water - another village or town gone to sleep for the winter. Assisi is amazing. All those little shops tucked away in corners and the restaurants hidden away in narrow alleys. Walking up and down, seemed more up than down according to how my legs were feeling, the narrow alleys or roads just soaking up the history. The churches and buildings going back to the 1st century BC. The most impressive being the St Francis church, basilica and tomb built 1225 - 1253. Not sure if my dad went to Assisi on his trip to Italy, but I hope he did as he would have loved it. Lite a few candles for my mom, dad, family and friends - real candles and not those electronic ones seen in so many churches today. Walking from the bottom to where the car was parked I would recommend to anyone training for the comrades or climbing Kili! Al even enjoyed the churches and the whole visit even if he did snag these historic buildings. Then the 2 hour drive back to our gem of a hotel for our final night and another gourmet scrumptious dinner, of a dry cold meat, rocket with shaved parmesan cheese drizzled with divine olive oil as antipasti followed by tomato soup for me and spag bog for Al and then a steak with mushroom sauce and glazed baby onions finished off with a cream caramel type dessert - needless to say- washed down with a local red wine. Bonus time as we have decided to spend another night here and leave for Rome on Thursday - yippey! Spend the day visiting local sites and I will do a Tuscany cooking course tomorrow (Wed) night. Tough decision as Al gets another dinner at the hotel!
Day 19 -Started with a lazy morning and at 11 started a drive round the local area. Called the cooking school but could not get a booking so that was off. Now I also get another dinner at the hotel! Drove round some really old villages and landed up at Monteriggioni. A castle going back to the 12 century when Siena and Florence were fighting for supremacy (which Florence won) For a change the actual castle grounds were pretty flat but was tough walking on the un even cobble stones. All the buildings and the small church all from the 12 century. In the afternoon was back to the hotel for siesta ( could get used this siesta thing) . The last supper - ham tomato and olive on pieces of toast. Now I know why tomato is a fruit as the local tomatoes have such a sweet distinct taste then I had soup that was more like a pate it was so thick and yes you guessed right - Al had paste - done in herbs, mushrooms and olive oil. The mushrooms on their own were delicious. Mains were a veal stew with all the red and yellow peppers, which don't agree with me, but what the hell - did not bring rennies for nothing. Absolutely delicious. Dessert was little Italian biscuits with a dessert wine. Oh yes and a bottle of local red wine.
Day 20 -all good thing come to an end - will have to leave Belverdere today. Came for 1 night and stayed for 4. Absolutely no option as we have to be in Rome tonight to catch Emirates flight on Friday. Slow drive to Rome, 3.5 hours. Driving in Rome when you have no idea where you are going, following instruction from a GPS - is a challenge - well done Al (I need another holiday after that) Stayed at the Hotel Princess and the next challenge came when we decided to take the car and find some supper. No problem finding a restaurant, but parking was the problem. A historic city like Rome was certainly not built for sooooo many cars; even if some of them are the smallest cars you will ever see. The scooter drivers, and there are loads, are just waiting to be wiped out the way they drive. Eventually found a parking with Al and I intact as well as the car and no scooters wiped out on our search. Have no idea where the restaurant was or is, as we just drove. Al had his favorite of spaghetti cabonare and I had a lamb dish. Good meal but no wine this time with Al having to drive. Seems the ways of the UAE with no drinking and driving have been ingrained!
Day 21 - Lazy morning and head to the airport at 11. So it’s: arrivedechi Italy and a great holiday. Ps. Looks like France is still the place to execute the retirement plan.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Baarts 1st November 2009

Something to celebrate in the Baart Family


Dear all my family

Nicholas is making his First Communion on Sunday 1st November at 9am mass. Please say special prayers and keep him in your thoughts. He is so excited and very busy this week with rehearsals. I will certainly be sending photos so you can see how grown up and special he will look. We will be having a lunch at Pat and Gerard as their son Kieron is also making his first Holy Communion so the little Baarts will steal the day. I hope the weather is good as there are about 60 people!
All my love
Monica


Just thought I'd let you know, in researching or looking for a special Grace for Nick to say on Sunday I discovered that Saint Tarcisius is the patron saint of First Communicants - fitting to think Sister Tarcisius will be looking down on us........

Some photos of Nick on Sunday - isn't he handsome! We shared the day with Gerard's son Kieron. We had a stunning day. He looked so good and read so beautifully during Mass. He really enjoyed himself.
Herewith also the Grace he said before the meal.

Nicholas

Heavenly Father

Bless the food before us,

the family and friends beside us

and the love between us.

Kieron

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything thy goodness sends,

Father in heaven, we thank thee.

AMEN



Well the editor has also done some homework and come up with the following photos of Sister Tarcisius. One is a old family photo and the other one is when she came "forth in her tri-umph"