Reidy writes

Saturday, 30 July 2011

A pint of your finest Craic

Walking in to cousin Helen's country house from the 1700's made me feel a little King Henry the 8th. I had to take a little look around the place as it just oozed character. When they bought it it was a little run down but it got heritage listed and the government gave them a grant to fix it up. Its definitely a house i would have loved to of grown up in. One of the barns has a full size basket ball court, FUN. We woke to find Helen had washed and ironed all our clothes and laid them out in our rooms. She then drove us the 40min to Exeter airport. Thank you again Helen, we owe you big time !

Arriving to an overcast and drizzly Ireland was exactly how i imagined it. As we jumped in a taxi heading to Central hotel Dublin i was so excited. Ireland is somewhere i have dreamt of going since i started pulling drunken tourists out of Bondi's backpacker rip nearly 10 years ago ! Once there we were whisked next door to The Exchequer bar. The joint is totally amazing, it has an old Irish feel with a modern twist. Ian (one of the owners) sat us down and served us each a pint of their finest and some delicious steak sandwiches.

Once our bellies were full we were on the hunt for the black stuff, Guinness ! The factory just around the corner is where its made and we were headed there to rip into a couple. Our tour guide Nick was an absolute champion. He explained everything in terms a bunch of boof head Aussie lifeguards would understand. We got the opportunity to pull a few from the tap and of course we had to taste the fruits of our labour and sample all that we'd pulled. The tour is a must for anyone visiting Dublin, just don't take the rental car as once you have one your gonna want another !

No sooner had we necked a pint of black we needed to rush back to The Exchequer for some media commitments with IrishTV3, a radio program and some print press. We did some interviews inside while trying a cocktail the team at The Exchequer had made up just for us called "The Bondi Junction", very exotic. We then strolled outside in to the Irish sun for some photos.

Straight after the media stuff we had an organised meet and greet. I was blown away at how many people turned up and the distances they had travelled. Hanging out with the people that like the show is exactly why this trip came about and we're all so stoked to be able to meet everyone and say G'day. 

It had been a really long day and the boys were all pretty beat so we had 2 nip's of water and went to sleep :)) You'd be a fool to believe my last sentence...

Day 2 in Dublin I welcomed my first sleep-in in about 2 weeks and boy was it nice. My head was a little sore from the night before but all in all I was feeling the goods. We headed down stairs and enjoyed a very tasty full Irish breakfast thanks to the legendary Kitchen crew at The Central Hotel.

Our day had begun and we were off to Dundrum Shopping complex, about a 20min drive from the city. There we got to meet with people that are interested in the show, enjoy some delicious Sushi and just hang out and shop around. Goodtimes !

I don't like to play favourites and I know I've only been here a couple of days but I'm just gonna put it out there and say Ireland is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world. Wether it was the amazing hospitality of our legendary hosts at both The Exchequer and the The Central Hotel, the electric atmosphere that is Dublin, or even just warm and friendly people that live in this pretty city, either way I'm sold and I'm definitely coming back again for a lot longer next time. Another thank you I would like to say is to an Irish friend of mine back in Australia, Aislinn O'Toole. With out her putting both teams: Owl Marketing & PresencePR together Ireland may never have happened. Thanks to all !

Another early start and big day awaits tomorrow. We are on the ferry at 8am heading to Holy head. Once there we are going to Trearddur Bay to see the RNLI from 12pm and hang out with the lifeboat crew. Then we are meeting Prince Willy for a cold one at The White Eagle, just not sure if he has got the memo yet :)

Thanks again Ireland, you were awesome !

Till next time y'all !

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Devon11, sunshine !

Day 1 at Devon11 was fun filled and action packed ! We started the day out with a full english breakie that came piping hot from kitchen at the Orchid Hill hotel. The couple that run this rustic/chic little boutique hotel always offer a smile and a laugh. Staying there only enlightened our whole vintage England experience. Thanks guys !

Chris our new best friend with 4 wheels arrived around 8:30am to pick us up and head down to Croyde beach, North Devon. Down there we were going to spend the morning meeting with the RNLI Lifeguards, sponsors of Devon11 and captain a few teams of ripping surfer kids from around the coast of the Atlantic.

After a 45min drive we arrived at the beautiful Croyde beach, the only way I can describe it would be "Oil Painting". We met many of the lifeguards including area manager Vaughn, who by chance, used to work for Waverley Council back 20 odd years ago. Was great chatting to all of them about how busy their season had been and finding out they just recently had a day that included 56 rescues and a major spinal where there helicopter actually landed on the beach. Croyde beach is half the size of Bondi but can fit nearly just as many. Reason being the tides are so big the beach can be 3 times as deep. Its also home to Dasiy the surfing cow. Very funny.

We then moved over to the other side of the beach where one of the many Devon11 competition areas were. This housed events such as, Surfing, Body Boarding and Goat boating just to name a few. Here we were gonna team up with all these extremely talented grommets (young surfers) and battle it out in a Surf tag competition. Basically, each guy or girl in the team must run down and paddle out around a marker buoy. On the way in he must get 1 wave and do a cool surfing manoeuvre although in this case it was Cockroaches, Coffins or Kangaroo's. Big congrats to Gonzo's team, mostly made up of Frenchies, who took out the gold. 

Lunch time in  Croyde beach can only mean one thing, The Thatch. Its a little bar / restaurant. The food cooked by a super friendly South African guy and its delicious. If your ever in that neck of the woods do yourself a favour and have the lasagne. 

Over the hill to Saunton Sands beach we went to meet with the crew from the surf life saving club and check out the junior lifeguard program they have recently started running for the little guys that wanna do more than just nippers. The kids were fantastic and actually made me feel a little intellectual.  We were also there to check out all the surf lifesaving action and hand out some medals for the Atlantic Watersports Games. Saunton sands beach is much bigger than Croyde but much safer, there were fun waves for the event. The competition was super fierce and there were many close races, very exciting to watch. Once the real athletes finished up we had our own little board rescue race using some of the junior nippers as patients. Maxi got a wave in to take line honours but I made my patient charge past Gonzo before the line to take second. Let that be a lesson kids "never, ever, give up" :) Special thanks to the lovely crew at Saunton Sands surf lifesaving club for being so welcoming, you guys really made us feel at home.

From there we onto the Devon11 Athletes village for dinner then straight back to our hotel for shut eye. It was a massive day in the sun and we were beat !

Day 2 at Devon11 was a little less full on but we still thought it best to start the day with another big english breakie from our hotel. It was then straight down Westward Ho ! beach. No thats not a spelling mistake, Westward Ho ! is the only place in the world to officially have an exclamation mark at the end. We were down there to try our hand at kite surfing but unfortunately the winds weren't gonna play nice and it wasn't quite strong enough to hit the water. Although i was jumping out of my skin to have a crack we still managed to have a little fly on the beach. Maybe next time :(

Before we hit the closing ceremony for the games we spent 2 hours filming lead in's for CBS reality. They broadcast the show over in the UK so keep an eye on your television. Good chance you'll see 3 boof heads at Devon beach on the promos of the new series airing soon.

Wrapping things up for the games they bring in bag pipes and all. Its a big afternoon where they hand out trophies for overall winners of each events. We heard many war cries from many countries, some I understood, some i didn't. Its good to see such friendly competitiveness from young kids from different countries and cultures.

Just like to say a thanks to everyone from Devon11 for being so welcoming and taking such great care of us. Special mention has to go to the bloke in the photo below. His name is Chris and he is, by far one of the loveliest guys i have ever met. Not only was he working 16 hour days over the last week making sure the event was going smoothly and everyone was happy. Then the poor bloke had to look after 3 Australians for the last 3 days. The guy showed qualities i thought were lost in humans in this day and age. I'm proud to now call him a friend and hope we don't lose touch. Thanks for everything mate !

Getting to Exeter airport early Friday morning was always going to be problem for us as it is a nightmare public transport wise. but when you're in a pickle there is always family somewhere to help you out. Let me introduce you to my wonderful cousin Helen pictured below. We had only met once when i can remember 3 years ago but before that she was around when i was a baby. She made the hour drive to come see me a Croyde last Wednesday and while there heard about our dilemma. Being the saint she is she came back with the family tonight, picked us up, drove us to their beautiful 1700 year old family home in Sticklepath, Devon, made us give her our dirty washing and is insisting she drive us to the airport in the morning. Thanks you very much Helen :)

It's 12:15am and I have another big day tomorrow so its snore time for me. 

Ireland and boy are we excited. 

Chow for now !!!