Archive for November, 2018

Autumn Nights

Posted in Art with tags on November 19, 2018 by telescoper

I stumbled across this abstract painting (acrylic on canvas) by the artist Victoria Kloch and thought I’d share it this autumn night. Do check out her website. There’s lots more interesting stuff on it!

Victoria Kloch | fine art

'Autumn Night' 5"x7" acrylic abstract on canvas by Victoria Kloch ‘Autumn Night’ 5″x 7″ acrylic abstract on canvas by Victoria Kloch

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Hip Replacement

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2018 by telescoper

From this month’s Oldie..

A Good Deal of Brexit

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2018 by telescoper

The Irish media were full of Brexit last week, as are the British newspapers this weekend. The prospect of Theresa May’s daft (Shurely ‘draft’? Ed. ) deal being agreed caused a brief spasm of optimism in the currency markets during which the pound soared to the dizzying heights of €1.15 but when it became apparent what a dog’s breakfast the deal is, the £ came right back down again:

Notice that the BBC website article grabbed above (which was published on Thursday evening, 15th November) bears no relation to the reality revealed by the actual data. No change there then.

Anyway, regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve long considered it inevitable that the UK will depart the EU without a formal agreement having been put in place. The last couple of weeks have only strengthened my belief.

Given this, my only hope is that there is another period of false hope during which the pound rises just long enough for me to get a ‘Good Deal’ allowing me to move my savings to Ireland at a decent exchange rate. I missed the blip on Wednesday. I hope there’s another…

FlyBe in a Mess

Posted in Biographical, Cardiff with tags , , , on November 17, 2018 by telescoper

Having to return to Cardiff for the weekend, on Tuesday I booked a ticket with FlyBe for a flight from Dublin as I have done on many previous occasions.

Yesterday I tried to check in online to get my boarding pass beforehand (which speeds things up a lot if you have only hand luggage) but the system failed. I contacted Flybe and they said I’d have to check in at the airport. When I arrived at Dublin airport this morning I found the staff at the check-in desk unable to check anyone for the Cardiff in because the passenger list had not be generated, evidently as a result of the same computer glitch.

I waited. About an hour passed and a large queue grew. Fortunately I was near the front as, anticipating issues, I was sure to get to the airport in good time. Eventually the staff resorted to an older, manual, system and I was checked in. The plane was delayed taking off but I got to Cardiff about 10am.

Today’s mess was entirely self-inflicted as it transpires that it was an error arising from an update to their computer system. That sort of thing won’t do FlyBe any favours. The airline is currently up for sale as it is steadily losing money. These are difficult enough times for the air travel industry, without antagonising customers with displays of sheer incompetence. There were very many disgruntled passengers in the line behind me who won’t be using Flybe again.

To be fair, though, I have used this airline quite a lot in the past year and have had few reasons to complain.

I hope Flybe doesn’t go bust, as the livelihoods of many workers are at stake. But finding a buyer a few months before Brexit might not be easy. The consequences for Cardiff Airport would in that case be very serious, as this piece explains.

For myself, I’m just relieved that I longer have to commute weekly between Cardiff and Dublin as I did earlier this year, as Flybe is the only airline operating on that route.

Women-only Professorships in Ireland

Posted in Education, Politics with tags , , , , on November 16, 2018 by telescoper

Earlier this week the Irish Government made an announcement that has ruffled a few feathers: it aims to create a number of new senior positions at Professor level in Irish Universities that are open only to female candidates. I don’t know the details of how this scheme will work, but I understand that the positions will be targeted at subject (and perhaps geographical) areas in which there is a demonstrable gender imbalance and the scheme will cost about €6M.

Reactions to this among people I know have been very varied, so it seems a good topic on which to have a  simplistically binary poll:

For the record, I should state that I am broadly in favour of the idea, but I’d like to know more about how these positions will be allocated to institutions, how they will be advertised and how the recruitment will be done. I’ll also add that my main worry about this initiative is that it might distract attention away from the need for Irish higher education institutions to have much better promotion procedures; see, e.g. here. There are plenty of female lecturers in Irish universities, but they seem to face ridiculous difficulties getting promoted to Professorships.

 

 

The Dublin Castle Scandal (1884) and “The Unspeakable Crime”

Posted in History, LGBT with tags , on November 16, 2018 by telescoper

This is quite a lengthy blog post but it gives an absolutely fascinating insight in a story of the underground gay subculture of Dublin in the 1880s…

Come Here To Me!

The Dublin Castle homosexual scandal of 1884 is a complex story. It involves more than a dozen characters that were introduced over a series of separate criminal trials. All sections of society were involved. The upper echelons of serving police detectives, eminent civil servants and British Army captains. Aspirational middle-class bank clerks and Trinity college graduates. Right down to the semi-blind brothel-keepers and young male prostitutes who were described as “persons of the lowest class of life”. All of these men were accused in newspapers and in court of having same-sex physical relationships. Irish society was shocked.

My main interest is in one specific aspect of the scandal – the backgrounds and post-prison lives of three men who were convicted of running homosexual brothels in the city in 1884.

But before that, a very brief background.

Tim Healy (Irish Nationalist MP) accused two high-ranking British establishment figures, of being homosexual in the United…

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What are we going to do now?

Posted in Politics, Television with tags , on November 15, 2018 by telescoper

On this tumultuous day in British politics, this blog is proud to be able to show exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the Cabinet discussions at Number 10 Downing Street: