Monthly Archives: May 2001

Fire! Fire! Fire!

Fire Engine People

Fire in the Convent!

It was 21:00 on May 19 and I was getting ready to go and see ‘SkyFest’, a fireworks display, which was part of the St. Patrick’s Take 2 celebrations.  To make sure it was warm enough to head out without a jumper or jacket I opened my balcony door and noticed a huge amount of smoke, looked to the right and saw that the old convent in my complex was on fire!

I ran down stairs with my digital camera and told Marian (flatmate) that the convent was burning.  She didn’t quite get what I was saying until she came out and had a look too.

After taking some pictures with the digital camera I decided to go and get my Cannon SLR and tripod to try and get some decent shots.  I think I managed to get some good ones, but I will have to wait and see when I get them back from the photo shop on the weekend.  Most of them are on slide too, so I won’t be able to scan them in here.  Sorry.

Fire Engine Lights

Fire Engine Lights

I took my camera gear back and headed into the city, but the fireworks had already started so I missed the official show.  I think I was the last person allowed back into the courtyard where my house is located, as they evacuated everyone and wouldn’t let Marian back in until after 00:30.

The old convent was being renovated to be turned into apartments.  The builders were in the middle of the process, restoring windows, doing plumbing etc.  I was even talking to the plumber about the building when he came over to look at a water problem (we had none) in my house.  When I asked him what it was like working in there he replied with “It’s a real pain in the arse, as it’s a listed building and we have to work around walls and other obstacles that we can’t change.  It would be easier if we just started again.”  Quite funny!  Maybe it was him!

Fire Day After

Day After the Fire

It took around seven fire trucks to get the blaze under control, but the building’s internals and roof were totally destroyed.  They had one fire truck with a cherry picker which helped with the roof, but the effort was mostly in vain.  Hoses were connected to fire hydrants all over the neighbourhood.  They even ran a hose about 500M to a nearby canal and had a fire truck pumping water from there.

When I arrived home around 01:30 there were still two or three engines there.  The final engine left almost 24 hours after the blaze started, as the fire kept flaring up in different locations.

Nosy People

Nosy People Watched by a Policeman

The police put a permanent guard on duty to protect the site until the investigation team could come and determine the cause of the fire.  At this stage we still don’t know what happened.

Home Theatre System from 2001!

Well I’ve finally got my home cinema system sorted out and it’s fantastic :-).

Front Including Sub

Front Including Sub

Here is what I bought:

Sony 28″ Wide Screen TV
Marantz DV3100 DVD  Player
Sony STRDB940 Amp/Receiver
Front Speakers – Tannoy MX2
Rear Speakers – Tannoy MX1
Centre Speaker – Tannoy M (I think)
Subwoofer – Tannoy MX 10
Four stands
Cables, otherwise nothing much would happen 🙂

Front Close Up

Front Close Up

The TV is not a digital one as I thought that the digital standards are still settling in and the digital boxes cost quite a bit more, so I went with an analogue wide screen TV.  When I was looking at the TV sets the Sony stood out as having the better picture, so I bought that even though it was more expensive than the other brands, as Sony always is!

I went for the Marantz DVD player, as it was on special and had all the features that I needed, plus I wanted to use the DVD player as a CD player too.  Since Marantz make good quality hi-fi equipment I decided to get this over some other brands that might not have paid too much attention to the CD playback.  That said, I’m sure it’s not as good as my CD player back home!

The Sony Receiver has won praise as the best in its price range, so I decided to go with this component for the value for money reason.  It also came with a learning remote which allows me to work the TV, DVD player and Receiver from the one remote control.  I’m still working out a few of the commands, but it does the job most of the time.  This was the most expensive component.

The Tannoy speakers are again in the value for money segment, at the budget end of town.  Good enough to do the job :-).

The stands and cables are really there to make it all work, so I wont go into detail there.

I’ve joined the local video store and have hired out a couple of movies.  I also bought Blade Runner and Batman and Robin with Arnold as Mr. Freeze.  The Matrix and The Fifth Element are very good on the home cinema system :-).

You can see one of the rear speakers below, which kind of blends in with the surround, which is good, but I’m going to get the black ones in any case.  They are on order.

Rear Speakers

Rear Speakers

Sorry about all the sun in the pics, but it was the only time I remembered to take them :-).

My Car in Ireland

Subaru WRX Front

Subaru WRX Front

The car left Australia towards the end of February and arrived in Dublin on April 17, just after Easter.  It took customs until April 25 to clear the car and my personal belongings, so I had to wait longer than I thought :-(.  Anyway, I got the call on the 25th, that all was ok and had to figure how to get to Kill which is about 30-40 km out of Dublin.

Before driving the car I had to make sure that I had insurance for obvious reasons!  I shopped around and expected the worst, as car insurance in Ireland is VERY expensive.  Most companies refused to insure me as they didn’t ‘deal with that type of car’, or ‘2.0L is to big an engine, sorry.’  They really had me laughing my head off when I put the phone down.  There was also the ‘Oh I’m sorry they are all on lunch at the moment, someone will be here after 2 p.m.’  and that was with the majority of firms, not just small ones!

Once I began to get some quotes, I was ready to ask for a pay rise.  The quotes were £5,400, £3,200, £2,300 (unconfirmed) and £1570.  Needless to say, you can guess which one I went for!  Insuring a car without number plates proved to be a problem and I had to pay a fraction more for that privilege, but it’s all settled now.

Getting out to Kill proved interesting as it was a bad time of day with the taxi companies getting busy, so it cost me £54 to get out to there, which is an absolute rip off.  They don’t use their meters when they go out of county Dublin, even when it’s not that far.  If I’d waited till the morning I could have got out there for around £30, but the timing was good for work so I headed off to get it.

The taxi took around 1 hour in the wonderful Dublin traffic and to top it off the driver didn’t believe me when I said we had passed the exit we needed to take.  Turning around on he N7 was an interesting exercise even with traffic lights.  Imagine trying to cross a four lane highway at an intersection where they don’t have signals for turning right or left.  It’s just a free for all.  Then you have to wait ages for the lights to change again!

Anyway I got to the moving company, which was quite a big complex in the middle of no where.  They were very helpful and gave me a jump start ot get the car going.  It had already been on for a while, as the engine was warm, so they had either been for a spin, or tried to run it to charge the battery. 🙂

After putting all my belongings in the car (it was packed full) I headed off back towards the highway.  It was about 5:30 pm by the time I got back to the N7, so the traffic was very thick.  There was no way I was going to get across 4 lanes of traffic, so I headed left, intending to turn around at the next set of lights.  When I planted my foot I got a hell of a shock as the car took off, even with all my belongings in it.  You tend to forget these things when you have been in slow, little Irish cars!  Then it put a smile on my face after I had recovered from the fact that I was now going faster than the traffic in a few seconds. 🙂

I managed to find my way back home without a map and didn’t get pulled over by any police asking where my number plates where or my road tax information was, so I was pretty pleased.

The next step was to wait for the seven days before I could get my Irish number plates.  The paper work had to be sent from the customs office to the Vehicle Registration Office (VRO).  I gave them a call a week later to check that the paper work had arrived and made an appointment with them to get the registration sorted out.

I arrived dead on the 2:15 p.m. appointment time and was served straight away.  The man who I had the appointment with soon came to see me and started asking all the normal questions.  I had to provide some more information for their paper work.  He then went way and tried to put the information in the system.  This is when the whole process turned out to be a pain in the backside.  You see they had never seen an Australian Subaru Impreza WRX and didn’t have the correct code for the car in the computer system.  That meant he had to get someone at the office where they make these codes to put one in before he could continue.  He called the person who specializes in the code making business, to find that he wasn’t there.  When he found someone else who could do the same thing we had to go back out to the car and get some more information from the manual and compliance plates etc.  We had to do that a couple of times too!

Finally the code was entered and I was registered!  During this time I had found out that I don’t get the number plates from the VRO, but from any car garage or car parts shop.  All I needed to do was take the registration information into such a place and they would provide me with the plates.  I also found out that I had to pay the road tax at the local council and not at the VRO, but couldn’t do that until I had received the official registration information, which was to be posted out in three days time.

I asked for some directions on the nearest place to get the number plates.  Would you believe that he didn’t really know!  I extracted enough information to work out that I should head for the local shopping centre and go to a garage next to it or a car parts store inside it.  I noticed a tyre, brakes, etc. place and wandered in there to find that they didn’t do them.  They suggested I went to the garage.  I headed over there, but they said they would have to order them in.  Back to the shopping centre and into the store to find that they give you plates with no holes to attach them to the car.  Once I got the plates I headed back to the garage to see if they could put them on.  They agreed and asked me to come around the back, which would have been great, except a delivery van was blocking the dam driveway.

The plates cost me £15 and £5 for putting them on.  I left work at 1:45 p.m. and returned at 5:30 p.m.  When I apologized and explained what had happened, everyone was just accepting saying it sounded normal. 🙂

I went on my first decent drive on the long weekend just gone to Newtownards, east of Belfast, where I stayed with a friend.

Subaru WRX Side

Subaru WRX Side