Finding Mexico & Africa in Dublin! good food and books

What €7 meal is worth a 2 hour car trip? A tasty & inexpensive Mexican one at Boojum, ( we are Mexican food lovers & were quite happy to find this place!)

boojum tasty lunch deal!

especially when combined with-HOORAY!- a several hour shop in Chapters bookstore! I didn’t take a photo of my 3 yummy vegetarian soft tacos (rice, and/or  black and/or pinto beans) with choice of cheeses, guacamole, sour cream, mild to very hot salsa, & more. (I went for the pico on the salsa front.) But I DID take a photo of my fabulous used book finds!

Well, 2 of them- Congo Journey by Redmond O’Hanlon & Facing the Congo by Jeffery Taylor– I got a few weeks ago, but I wanted to group them all together & roll in them they way movie folks do with cash after they’ve robbed a bank or whatnot.

For only €47, I got 7 books, most of them hardback. That’s kinda nice, because I usually donate my books to our little local library after I’m done, & hardbacks will be sturdier. (Our library’s book buying fund got badly hit by the recession) On another library note, inter-library book requesting  is brilliant, & a great way to get a hold of books not on the local shelf.

Anyway, I went whole hog for books on Africa. One of the ones I got was by Facing the Congo’s Jeffery Taylor: The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. This book got a 4 star rating at Amazon, & his other a 5, so I’m quite looking forward to them. I also got some books in which the travelers carry on despite what seem to be quite limiting physical factors. A Sense of the World is the true story of a man traveling from the beginning of the 1800s (excerpt from the book’s jacket:) ”known simply as the Blind Traveler—a solitary, sightless adventurer who fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon and helped chart the Australian outback.” Click the book title above to go to the author’s site & find out more. I also got Far Horizons, written by Frank Gardner, who was paralyzed from the waist down when he was shot 6 times in Riyadh. He did not let that stop his adventurous spirit, & is still travelling to & reporting from rather extreme places!

None of these books were the ones I actually hoped to find- I was looking for Blood River by Tim Butcher, and perhaps his new one Chasing the Devil. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get those on inter-library loan, though. There’s a review of Chasing here, & if you click the Blood River title, you’ll find a review from Catherine, who also met him after he read a mixed review she wrote!

So now, this

ahh, reading in bed!

will be me for the next while- even lazier than an armchair traveler!


Town of Books & Michaelmas Festival

The Town of Books is on this weekend in Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, along with the traditional music festival. After looking forward to this all year, wouldn’t you know it, both my husband & I are too unwell to go enjoy them! I did manage to sniffle along to a few book stalls in the drizzle of yesterday afternoon & found 2 Michael Connelly mysteries for my (considerably sicker than me,) better half.  Today (Sunday) I’ve got to work, so will miss Micheal Kelly of Grow It Yourself Ireland speaking at 3pm. The plan was to send The Hubby to listen & report back, so if anyone reading this went- let me know what you thought!

Next weekend is another favorite- the Michaelmas Festival ( their website is quite good, with interesting history & photos as well as the current events listing & such.) Last year we really enjoyed  the lovely weather, beautiful breeds of farmyard animals & old fashioned farming items & skills on display, and some VERY tasty duck pie & steak & Guinness pie from one of the stands. There’s lots more on offer, too, & we bought this lovely pitcher from a stall featuring local New Ross potters Lavery Pottery.

Not to forget the tasty pint or two on offer from the local pubs!

We didn’t win in the duck race (payback for eating a relative?) but it was great fun to watch, especially when the swans crashed the party!

I recommend this charming festival, & we’ll be taking our immune booster to be sure we don’t miss it!


Eat those weeds!

A few days ago I sampled a new delicacy that grows like a weed  in our part of the country; in fact it is a weed. Himalayan Balsam has a pretty flower that is loved by bees.

It also has copious seedheads that are incredibly fun to pop-they EXPLODE!!  Technically you shouldn’t, as this is a

VERY invasive non-native species that can completely take over to the detriment of native plants and the myriad insects that depend on them. In fact, its one of the 10 most invasive species worldwide! Here is a local