A weekend in the windy city {Dublin}

I know, I know, okay? When people refer to the ‘windy city’, they mean Chicago. But when we visited Dublin last month, Ireland’s capital made a very serious case for claiming the title. It also drizzled very lightly the entire time. It is not an exaggeration to say that even when it was sunny it was drizzling. But despite the adverse weather conditions and the almost knife fight which we witnessed outside a pub (I wish I was joking) we had a lovely time.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the north of Ireland – it’s where my mum is from – but very little in the South (the Republic). But one thing that all of Ireland has in common is that it feels its history very keenly. I think this probably has to do with the fact the violent events which have defined the country’s history are not long over. And sometimes the odd headline reminds you that those issues are not entirely laid to rest. So you cannot visit Dublin and avoid the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent fight for independence from Britain. Photographs of the revolutionary leaders adorn pub walls; songs tell old stories of national pride. The bullet holes from 1916 still pepper the walls of the General Post Office.

Here are a collection of photographs from the city – I hope you’ll enjoy flicking through. Oh, and if you need a soundtrack, the first picture is of folk heroine Molly Malone, her statue stands in Grafton Street.  Here is The Dubliner’s version of the wonderful song about her.

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Molly Malone, Grafton Street

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The Guinness Factory

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General Post Office, O’Connell Street

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Pint of Guinness

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The Old City

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Temple Bar

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Light bulb moment

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Cream bicycle on cobbles

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The River Liffey

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Irish election poster

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Deli

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O’Neill’s

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Dublin Castle

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Ocean currents

© Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Foodie Adventures: Bunty’s Tea Room, Lincoln

The first thing you need to know about this cafe is that it’s on a very steep hill called Steep Hill.  I just really enjoy that. I spied Bunty’s as we toiled up the hill into Lincoln city centre, and a couple of hours later when the inevitable murmurs of an urgent need for afternoon tea began, I steered us deftly back and in we went.

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There was a warm welcome, friendly service and yummy cake. We went for the Battenberg cake, the peanut butter and chocolate cake, and a fruit scone with jam and cream. All were delicious and presented on gloriously mismatched china.

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The teapots and decor were also really cool – a medley of vintage that was cosy and not overdone.  It just makes afternoon tea so much more interesting when it’d served in a variety of pretty bits and pieces. Oh, and they had a lovely sign made out of Scrabble letters. What’s not to love?

If you find yourself in Lincoln then I highly recommend that you check out this lovely little tea shop. You can find their website here.

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Everything is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Daytrippers: Whitstable

Sometimes, you just have to get out of London.  So on a clear, crisp October day we got on a train from St Pancras to Whitstable, a small fishing town on the north coast of Kent, and spent a lovely day wandering the crooked streets and crunching along the pebbled beach.  It’s the ideal seaside town for window shopping, with endless tiny shops filled with beautiful things, and we were incredibly lucky with the weather – sunny enough to enjoy a pint (of Diet Coke, in my case) on the shingle outside the only pub on a beach I have ever come across.

It may have been cold enough for me to regret saying yes to ice in my plastic pint glass, but there’s something lovely about being bundled up warm in coats and scarves, looking out at the white horses and listening to the pebbles skittering along the shore with each wave that turns. We finished the day with fish and chips from a painted hut on the shore, followed by hot doughnuts out of a paper bag, complete with sticky fingers and sugary cheeks courtesy of the chaotic sea breezes. So here are some pictures from our day at the seaside – I hope you enjoy them.

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Listening to Sax by Fleur East, Sister Rosetta goes before us by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift.

All words and photographs are © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

An accidental hiatus, 101 followers and a little bit of hope

Well hello there. It’s been a while — oops. I promise I have a good excuse.

Okay — not really. But I have been busy. And, to put the icing on the sheepish cake, I logged back into WordPress yesterday after a period of good intentions paving the way to absolutely no blog posts whatsoever to find I’d missed a bit of an exciting milestone. One hundred and one people are now following ohtogoawandering which, I’ll admit, makes me beam with pride. In some ways, I never set out to write this blog for anybody but myself, but equally it’s nice to know that people enjoy what I create here in my tiny corner of the internet.

And I wanted to mark the occasion somehow: it feels like a watershed in many ways — a new beginning. A moment to look to the next one hundred, and the next few years. And it happens to coincide with other lines in the sand.

I’ve gone from a period in my life where I was really struggling a lot, felt as though I had lost my way and was very unhappy, to a period where I feel like the way ahead is clear, bright and full of promise. Where I feel appreciated, where my hard work seems to pay off, and where I look forward to getting up each morning.

Alongside that, we woke up in the UK yesterday to a new government: a less positive change. The fragile hopes of the left wing in Britain were dashed as we welcomed in five years of a conservative majority government. An administration that rode to power fuelled primarily by people’s fear and anger. The leaders of the two main liberal parties in Britain resigned, taking full responsibility for their party’s crushing defeats– their resignation speeches are not easy to watch. It isn’t easy to watch people give their all for a cause you believe in, and then to watch them lose, no matter how graceful their exits.

Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, gave a particularly emotional speech after watching his party lose seat after seat. But tinged as it was with personal sadness and defeat, his message was ultimately one of hope for the future. It struck a chord among a huge number of people: even if Clegg’s political record is far from flawless, he spoke to hope, generosity and liberalism in a dark moment for those who fear another five years of a party whose primary concern is the rich and powerful. And it reminded us that before we turn to the easy refuges of cynicism and anger, the most powerful weapon we have is our hope that things will get better.

It’s that little voice that has always got me through the rubbish times, and it’s that which will preserve left wing idealism. And no matter what your political feelings or your situation, hope is not something to be sniggered at or denigrated in favour of ‘realism’: anybody who has ever changed anything started with a belief that things could change. And they can.

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A bit of an emotional one this time, but it’s something I needed to write. Thanks to each and every one of my one hundred and one followers — I hope you continue to enjoy my blog! 

Listening to: Girl Crush by Little Big Town, I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King, Woman (Oh Mama) by Joy Williams, Word Up! by Little Mix.

The Walt Whitman image is from Pinterest, where it sadly becomes almost impossible to find the original creator. All other content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

Baking is good for the soul

So it seems I am no longer a student. The proof is everywhere: I am the reluctant owner of an Oxford alumni card, I spend most days trawling the internet in search of an Actual Real Job and the government no longer gives me any money. And to cope with the lethal combination of little idea of what the immediate future holds, and a huge amount of time to dwell on that uncertainty, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. So, today I did something for the first time, I baked bread from scratch AND it was edible. It’s amazing the sense of achievement I got from making these french bread rolls, but I guess it’s the little thing in life.

I followed a recipe from the lovely Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, a blog which I’ve become addicted to recently. This lady knows a hell of a lot about everything cooking related, and she has become like my cooking experiment fairy godmother. Within the post on the french bread rolls which you can find here, she has also linked to a tutorial on yeast which I found invaluable being a bread beginner, and with her expert guidance I am now the proud creator of 12 admittedly imperfect but incredibly beautiful bread rolls. (Well, 11 now.)

Russian proverb: ‘With bread in your hand you’ll find paradise under a pine tree’. I guess all I need to do now is find a pine tree.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.