Come on in #19…

Jess and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on 10/31….yes, Halloween…and no we did not dress up…at our wedding or at Halloween! This weekend I organized an overnighter to Portsmouth NH. Jess and I really like this part of NH and Portsmouth is such a fun city.

One good thing that comes with maturity…yes, I’m admitting publicly that I’m getting older…is the ability to stay and more importantly pay for nice hotels. This time it was the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel.

View from our room. We could see the water but not the giant sandbag! The staff were friendly and the hotel was very nice. Recommend if you have a few extra shekels to spare. Bonus is you can walk to downtown which is full of great stores and restaurants.

Saturday night was a bit of a blur as we were both tired and just wanted to chill. Dinner was at the Portsmouth Gas Light. Food was great and the porter I had did the trick quite nicely.

Sunday am was fun as we got an extra hour of sleep. Bonus was no upstairs neighbors walking about like elephants or dog or kids! As usual no visit to Portsmouth is complete without breakfast at the original Friendly Toast and the whole reason for the following image puzzle I gave to Jess.

Think about it for a few. Answer below.

Liquid gold in a mug….fine, black coffee will have to do.

The Friendly Toast is full of really fun items and people.

We waited for over an hour to get a table. Actually, high top this visit. Jess was very excited when the food showed up. As usual it was all wonderful.

If all bathrooms had one of these signs we’d all be happy. Even alien who apparently lay around.

Decisions decisions…in all fairness we were starving and 8 hours later I still have not eaten anything.

Now thats a good looking flag!

Stone carvings on the main drag. We sure don’t design like they used to design.

Its that good looking flag again in Market Square.

All in all it was a great mini get-a-way. Love you Jess…looking forward to the next 19 and beyond.

Image puzzle answer: We will be having pancakes at the original Friendly Toast on Sunday morning. So pack your bags and we’ll get out of here. Food in fridge, kids will be okay.

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Yum…..

If I can’t buy a McLaren I guess a good breakfast at 5pm will do. The Friendly Toast in Burlington MA filled that gap quite well.

BTL Benny for me…

Hash Keish for Jess…..

In the middle was the reminder of a banana pancake….yum.

Documenting on high

Today I’m doing some live Revit documentation of a church steeple. Really cool stuff.

Apparently the top of the steeple is leaning for the least 100 or so years. The intent is document the structure to see if a suitable jacking point can be used to right the steeple.

Water has done a number over the years but overall the building is in fine shape. I really like the rock counter balance on top of the bell.

Looking skyward to the top of the steeple. Clearly my iPhone flash is not bright enough to illuminate all the way up.

Corner structure detail. It was fun figuring out how all the loads are transferred down. Cold job this am and the entire steeple shook a lot when the wind picked up. Below is an image from my finished Revit model.

Random photos

Just some random photos from the past week.

Clockwise: The boys in uncle Richie’s shop. On the way home from NJ we checked out the shop. It came out great and Richie is very happy with it.

GMan opening his new and very cool sneakers. The name on the box says it all.

The shop that Al designed….outside of Richie shop. Would love to have one just like it in my own back yard!

Friendly Toast

We have a Friendly Toast in Burlington MA! No more driving to Portsmouth NH…..unless a side trip to Kittery Trading Post is included.

Jess surprised me for our anniversary. Happy to say the food and service are spot on….and if you go in hungry you will not come out that way.

The bonus is if you like shopping is it’s in the Burlington Mall….right next to Legal Seafood.

Random Ireland photos – 8

No trip to Ireland is complete without a trip to Sean's and Murray's. We got to Sean's in the afternoon and I made Murray's tonight with my brother.

Gangs all here. Sean's bar is officially the oldest bar in the world and the first bar I (illegally) bought a pint in.

Pint of black for me and a glass of cider for my better 1/2.

One of my favorite spots in Sean's, just inside the front door on the left.

I really like this pint glass nook. My hat is off the the architect!

I didn't take any photos in Murray's, that was strictly a "have a few pints and go home" event.

Cheers all. It will be hard getting on the plane tomorrow, but we'll be back again.

Random Ireland photos – 6

It's a grand Irish summer day. Blue skies and a high of 56F. Here's a view out outlet hotel window. Yes, I stood on the furniture, reckon they own me for the lack of parking.

I call this one "Cork roofs".

Here's a shot of the massive parking lot. I stand corrected, it has 21 spots, that's for 101 rooms! Good ratio if you're a room, bad if you're a car.

Various photos of Cork City.

Yes, the coffee is exactly the same!

Oliver Plunkett Street is one on the main shopping places and it's pedestrian only.

We did a bit of shopping and headed north.

Along the way we went to the Devils Bit. Here's a link to read all about it. We were unprepared to hike so a photo will have to do.

Ireland is littered with stone towers. This one is down the road from the Devils Bit.

Here's a really odd flavored snack food. For those who don't know prawns are shrimps stateside…..and no, I did not sample them.

Back at our home away from home we made ice cream with the kids.

Random Ireland photos – 5

First Castle of the day was Birr. Since we stayed in Birr it was a short walk. I visited the grounds before but never the actual castle. I'm not sure if it was even open to the public or we were too broke to pay the extra charge.

GMan and I in front of the castle.

A fine family selfie.

Above are photos of the telescope one of the former Earls build. For many years it was the 3rd largest in the world.

Formal Gardens.

Birr Castle has the coolest tree house in Ireland!

Here's JMan peeking out the tower window.

Pedestrian entrance and exit.

Moving in we headed to The Rock of Cashel. The drive down was much faster than expected thanks to all the new motorways. However, the last time I made this trip was in the back of an NSU heading to Youghal with my entire family. Back then this was an epic journey of 104 miles. With lots of he's touching me and she's on my side remarks from the rear seat followed by "will you lot shut up" coming from the front. In fact on one occasion the NSU gave us a bit of bother coming into Cashel. Jimmy (my dad) was not impressed but thankfully a local scrap car place had the parts necessary to complete our quest. I was quite young but can distinctly remember seeing Jimmy in the scrap yard with another fellow wandering the isles of cars from our vantage point high above on the castle walls.

The castle is an impressive structure and has a commanding view of the surrounding area. I can only imagine the daunting task of building such a huge castle atop a hill. They were mighty men and women and clearly labor was very cheap.

Lots of arched opening around here. I'm certain St. Patrick's was quite the place back in its day.

JMan at the back side of the castle. It looks like no one was there but it was fairly busy. I just waited a second for the other tourists to move out of my shot.

The round tower form of St.Patricks meeting the North Transept.

The convergence between St.Patricks and Cormac's Chapel. I'm fairly certain neither one follows any kind of set back rules! I'm also very certain that no such rules existed at the time of construction. Only now are ADA type rules coming into Ireland. All new construction needs to follow strict rules but existing can remain as is. Which really means that a person with disabilities simply cannot use restrooms in any restaurant, bar and some hotels we visited this trip.

Here's JMan in the same gap.

Here's a photo that shows the connection in plan. St.Patricks in blue and Cormac's in yellow (on the right).

Gangs all here.

The boys playing on the rise around the castle and Jess below taking photos of us.

I'm a sucker for a cool Elevation. There's are hanging on the wall just inside the main pedestrian entrance/exit.

From here we headed more south to Cork City. Jess booked a hotel in route and we ended up at the Maldron. Upon arrival I found a typical Irish parking lot with a gate just big enough to squeeze through and space for 10 or so cars. However, there were already 15 wedged in sideways. Again in true Irish fashion I drop the car in the middle of the entire mess and we proceed to check in. I asked about parking and was told "theses plenty outside". Outside where I enquired, and she pointed toward the door. At this point I actually laughed out loud and indicted that the massive parking lot was full and the response was "you'll have to find a spot in the street".

This was a sign I ignored as we should have gotten back in the car and left, however, GMan and I decided to go find a spot. We drove around the block a few times then expanded our path. Mind you Cork is all hills and all one way streets. We found nearly every back road in the area but no spots. I could have dropped it in a no parking spot, which seemed to be a popular idea, but decided that getting clamped was not a way I would want to start my morning.

We again expanded our path but this time lost our bearing and had no idea where the hotel was. So let's sum this up, lost in a city that is all one ways with hills in a standard car that I'm not familiar with, a city I last drove in 20 years ago and we didn't know the name of the hotel or have cell service or a GPS!

We immediately took my phone out of airplane mode and called Jess for the name of the hotel only to get her voice mail. At this point, which was 30 minutes into "you'll have to find a spot in the street", my patience were running out. Finally we get Jess on the phone and got the hotel name. We tried getting directions but that failed and Google maps refused to work, beside finding the hotel was useless and we really needed to find a parking spot. I put on my thinking hat and decided to find a parking garage (what a novel idea) lose the rental, and cab it back to the hotel. After all we were still in the city (I think) so how much could the cab cost. Idea in hand a few minutes later we we squeezing the car into a spot and 7 euro later we were back at the hotel.

We later found out from another cab driver that the hotel was originally a hospital and in his words "sur no one had carrs back then…what would you need a big parrking lot fur". (YouTube a Cork accent and you'll understand my deliberate spelling mistakes). Never a truer word said I thought to myself.

Out and about in Cork we found this gem.

JMan doing some sort of head test on my pint of Murphy's. What's Murphy's you ask? It's a stout brewed in Cork. It's available in a few places stateside but a true Cork man would never order a Guinness and may find it hard to get Murphy's outside Cork. I don't get the difference, to me it's Guinness with a different name. Kinda how Trump should rename Obama care to Trump care and call it s day!

It was a long day with lots of clutching on hills and trying to decipher the local accent. We will all sleep good tonight.

Random Ireland photos – 2

Johnny Rockets….eat your heart out. Clearly someone spent some time in the states.

Athlone Castle.

North Gate Street lock.

When's the last time you played dress up.

Chess anyone?

Old library and the River Shannon.

Evening walk by Lough Ree.

The boys exploring the lake edge.

With my sister in law and kids.

Jess and I selfie.

Flowers by the lake.

GMan taking it all in.

Richie Sachs water bottle. At home anywhere!