Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort was living proof of the American dream in the heady days of Wall Street. Nicknamed the "Wolf of Wall Street", he lived in a fabulous mansion, with his beautiful wife and child, flew his helicopter, indulged in copious amounts of drugs, all while running a busy brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmount, which he had founded.

Stratton Oakmount found fame as one of the biggest "boiler room" brokerage firms. Belfort was eventually convicted of selling purpotedly profitable stocks at inflated prices and spent two years in jail. This book attempts to tell the tale of his high life and how it all fell apart around him as his drug addiction spiralled out of control.

There is no doubting what this man, and his company did, was odious. But as you read the book, what really comes across are Belfort's superb skills as a salesman and motivator. This is evident in every description of his motivational sessions at Stratton Oakmount, and even later when he was in rehab. You can only imagine what he was like to listen to in real life.

Also apparent from the book is the scale of Jordan's intelligence. He comes across as quite a clever person, who however, devoted a significant part of his life to circumventing stock trading laws. His descrption of how he bugged the SEC personnel who were investigating his books is quite amusing and novel.

His descriptions of his drug taking make you realise how easy it can be for an intelligent person to persuade themselves that their drug problem is under control not a problem at all.

This book is quite a quick-paced, interesting and amusing read. Granted, the subject matter is unpleasant to some, but it is entertaining and quite an interesting insight into the mind of Jordan Belfort.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where Am I Wearing? - Kelsey Timmerman

I received an advance copy of this soon to be published book courtesy of Kim at John Wiley & Sons.

Kelsey Timmerman is a travel writer who blogs at Where Am I Wearing? One day he took notice of the labels inside his clothes and a quest began. As the author himself says:
I was made in America. My “Jingle These” Christmas boxers were MADE IN BANGLADESH. I had an all-American childhood in rural Ohio. My all-American blue jeans were MADE IN CAMBODIA. I wore flip-flops every day for a year when I worked as a SCUBA diving instructor in Key West. They were MADE IN CHINA. One day while staring at a pile of clothes on the floor, I noticed the tag of my favorite T-shirt: MADE IN HONDURAS. I read the tag. My mind wandered.
I liked the fact that Timmerman's first trip to Honduras to meet some garment factory workers turns out to be not such a success. He found it difficult to frame questions to workers, consequently feelt embarassed and returned home without having really achieved anything. I found this honesty refreshing and in stark contrast to the bolshy attitude of many crusaders.

However, the question remained in Timmerman's mind, and he decided to try again. He travels to Bangladesh where he gains access to a garment factory under the "guise" of an American website owner on the quest for cheaper merchandising. To our hilarity, the aforementioned Jingle These boxers are examined minutely by the garment factory manufacturers in order to determine their providence. He shares a day with Arifa, a determined and able worker in one of the Bangladeshi factories.

Timmerman continues his on his journey to Cambodia where he befriends a group of young female garment factory workers who make jeans andtakes them bowling and for pizaza, much to their bemusement. He then proceeds to China where he meets a young couple who live far apart from their son and family in order to work at the factory where the author's flip flops were made.

In all instances, Timmerman describes the surrounding economic situation of the country and the context/importance of the garment industry within that country. He reviews the western attitude to sweatshops and child labour. Overall, the reader is left with the conclusion that the author didn't visit anywhere that would disgust us, but rather visited places where life is tough and the only option open to many people is to work long, hard hours. It's not the child labour itself that is awful, but the fact that it is a necessity for many children in the developing world to work.

Despite Timmerman's journey, there is a distinct sensation of dis-involvement (is that a word?) or distance in the book. The author doesn't really make any moral judgements, but rather presents the facts for us to read and review. The pace of the first half of the book is somewhat lacklustre but it does gain some momentum and attraction in the second half as the author himself appears to warm to his quest.

The book is written very much in the style of a blogger, as opposed to a serious journalist, and is a suitable read for someone wishing to learn more about the world of cheap, mass-produced clothing. Timmerman doesn't overwhelm us with statistics and obscure legalities and economics, but presents it as he saw it. The decision is up to you.

Ananda Indian Restaurant - Dundrum

Ananda is the newly opened Indian restaurant in Dundrum Town Centre. It's been open for a few weeks now and I had eagerly anticipated a chance to eat there, which finally arrived last night.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the hostess went to check on our table, leaving us to stand in the corridor outside the restaurant. At this stage I felt a little like an orphan child sneaking a peek in through a window, but not being allowed to eat at the table. Eventually, the host/manager noticed us standing rather desolately outside and he apologised for the lack of seating for waiting guests. We were seated at the table, which was still in the process of being set with silver and glass ware.

However, any upset we may have been feeling disappeared once we got down to the serious business of reading the menu and selecting our dishes and wines. Poppadoms were served to the table along with a choice of 4 sauces, two of which appeared to be mango chutney and none of which possessed any real heat. The toasted spice tomato relish was very nice though.

Our starters consisted of a duck platter with a terrine of confit duck, tikka duck, pickled cucumbers, mango sauce and apple sauce. The terrine could have benefited from being slightly warmer in order to release the flavours a little more, but the duck tikka was delicious, especially with the accompanying mango sauce. Our other starter of free range guinea fowl fillet was served with a deliciously spicy tomato based sauce and potato crisps. It left a wonderful warming heat in the mouth long after it was cleaned from the plate.

Mains were monkfish tails, served with rice and a green curry sauce which was flavoured with curry leaves. The other main of duck chettinad (sliced fried duck breast served on crushed potatoes with a fantastic aniseed/star anise flavour).. A chili cheese and a gluten free roti bread were our accompaniments to the meal.

Throughout the meal, the attention to detail and presentation was top notch. Each sauce focussed on one or two flavours rather than hitting you over the head with strong curry flavours. House wines were excellent value and served to complement the food.

Two espressos served with little chocolate bonbons rounded off our meal which came to approximately €90. The only downside was the slow service, but the hostess did apologise for this, stating that they were short-staffed on the night. Personally I don't want excuses, I want service to continue and not be left waiting for 5 minutes to get a refill in my water glass.

What do I think overall? This is what I would consider the second good modern Indian restaurnt in Dublin (following the excellent Indian Summer in Kilmacud). There is no doubt that Ananda has the greater pedigree of the two with the involvement of Michelin chef Atul Kochhar. But will it be enough in the current climate?

Dublin still awaits the arrival of a good value everyday Indian.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

X-Rays from Sticky Tape - Who'd Have Thought?

I just love it when physics intrudes into everday life. I love the idea of flashes of light from collapsing bubbles which have been excited by sound (sonoluminesence), or the idea that some hard sweets spark in the mouth. It's also well known that unwinding sticky tape produces sparks of light that can be seen in the dark by the naked eye (a phenomenon known as triboluminescence).

Well, sticky tape has taken it one step further - it's capable of producing X-rays as it is peeled. Researchers Carlos Camara and Juan Escobar, at the University of California used a motorised peeling machine to unwind a roll of Scotch tape at a rate of 3cm per second. When they placed the equipment in a vacuum, they were able to measure X-Rays of sufficient strength to take an image of a human finger!

This is the kind of experiment that I would have loved to have performed in my lab when a postgrad. The story is detailed in this week's issue of Nature.

I may not be a physicist anymore but I am still in love with the subject. I truly believe physics is the most fundamental and valuable of all sciences - not knocking zoology! Discoveries like this one add some excitement to the world of physics and help bring it to a wider audience. If this discovery gets people thinking about the world that surrounds them - then that's a great thing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Secret Lives of Men - Christopher Blazina

I received a copy of The Secret Lives of Men: What Men Want You to Know About Love, Sex and Relationships from the author Christopher Blazina, who took pity on me following my surgery to correct a detached retina, and promised to send me a copy to read while recovering. Unfortunately, the book arrived long after I had returned to work, but I still looked forward to reading it. So a big thank you to the author for following through on his promise.

TBH, self-help and guides to better living are not generally my thing. I do take a certain pride in the fact that I think things through as much as I can, and also discuss things very frankly with my better half. However, you can never know enough and different perspectives can be quite illuminating. So I approached the book with an optimistic and open mind.

To be honest, while the title of the book concerns itself with males, both sexes can learn valuable lessons from this book as the author takes an unbiased approach. He aims to teach the important people in a man's life on how to connect and interact in a meaningful way. The author states the 10 commandments of being male and the pressures and fear that face modern men on a regular basis.

My only complaint is that the book is possibly too long. A shorter snappier book might be easier for people to complete and digest. However, it is an interesting take on how to emotionally connect with an important person in your life.

The Final Reckoning - Sam Bourne

I wanted a nice easy book to read on the Eurostar between London and Brussels, and I hadn't read a thriller in ages. It's pretty clear when you look at any bookstore shelves at the moment that Sam Bourne seems to be the nom de jour. The Final Reckoning is his latest novel and judging by the author's notes and comments at the rear of the book, it is well researched and very much based in fact.

A elderly man is shot dead in front of the UN in New York. A disillusioned ex-UN lawyer is asked to visit the relatives of the deceased and stumbles upon a secret reaching all the way from the Holocaust and some of the darkest times known. Excepting the relationship between the lead male and female characters, the book fairly rattles along and is an easy, gripping read. Other characters come in and out of the novel and are dropped before the climax leaving you with a sense of shadows and unfleshed characters.

The great positive about this novel is that it left me with a desire to find out more about the historical events and people upon which the novel is based. Sam Bourne isn't writing anything incredibly new or original, but for the most part, he is writing it well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fabric Shopping London October 2008

This weekend, I used the excuse of cheap flights and the need for a weekend away to get over to London and undertake some fabric shopping.

To get to London, I took the Eurostar from Brussels Midi to St. Pancras Internatioal in London. What a treat - no fuss with security, liquids, gels or the like. Straightforward and simple. What a pity that there isn't such a service between Dublin and Brussels - it would beat the pants of the combined depressing, soul-sucking experience that is Brussels Airport and Aer Lingus

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel on Shoreditch High Street. The region of Hoxton and Shoreditch has become quite cool and trendy of late, with some cool bars and restaurants to be found along Old Street, Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road. We had a relaxed time wandering around the locale on the Friday and Saturday night, taking it easy and absorbing the London cool.

On Saturday morning, we headed off on the tube to Goldhawk Road, home to many fabric shops, which sell fantastic selections at fantastic prices. The shopowners can be a little pushy as they try to sell to you, but hold tough and take the time to browse the shops. You will not be disappointed.

My first purchase was an embroidered brown satin material at £2 per metre. I'm not quite sure yet what I'm going to do with this, but at that price, I wasn't leaving it behind.

My next two purchases were in the same shop. First was this textured black cotton fabric, which I can see becoming a smart work dress or suit. If I remember correctly, this was £2.50 per metre.

My other purchase was a patterned satin fabric. Again, this is great material for a dress or skirt. It's nice and lightweight, with a nice drape. The pattern is nice without being too busy and I think it came at £2-3 per metre.

My last purchase was the reason I had gone fabric shopping in the first place - my material for a Christmas party dress. I like the idea of a raw silk, but lots of the bolts that I saw were of the wrong colours, or had vertical threads running through the fabric. In the end I opted for gun-metal grey and steel-blue taffetas priced at £2.75 per metre. Now I just need to find a pattern that I can work with to make in two colours.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Ethnic Foods - Brussels

For those of you in the know, I've been working on a project in Brussels since the end of May. There are several sandwich and salad shops around my work location, including chains such as Exki and Pulp. However, my clear favourite is independently-owned Ethnic Foods.

The same friendly staff are always at work, making fresh sandwiches and salad to order. Or if you prefer, you can pick up a pre-packed salad and one of their tasy and just-desserts. Tomato and olive breads are offered to accompany salads (un morceau du pain?) which I always decline. At this stage, it's a little joke between the staff and I.

The owner is friendly and charming, offering tastes of salad fillings or soups of the day. What a great way to run your business. Additionally, complete their loyalty card (5 stamps required) and receive a free dessert with your sandwich/salad. I love my full-loyalty card days!

Today, the owner informed us that it was the 3rd anniversary of Ethnic Foods and presented each of us with a little bag of fresh herbs as a little gift. Right now, the herbs are being put to use in a stew and I just want to take this opportunity to wish Ethnic Foods another 3 years of success.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Simplicity 2766

Doesn't this just look like the most adorable pattern. Bows are optional thankfully, because I do think that the bows on the hem are overkill - turning you into a Barbie. But I'd definitely keep the bow on the waist.

I'd really love to go back in time to the Rocking 50s and see the dresses that women wore then. Would they like up to these pattern illustrations or are we just lusting after something that never existed in the first place?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm coveting Miu Miu Again

I've gotten some great Miu Miu and Prada shoes over the last few years. I don't always like her utilitarian style, but she also has an adventurous streak that I just adore. Right now I'm coveting two pairs from the new collection.

First up are these sequin-embellished beauties. Just look at the different colurs! Mmmm... tasty

Then there are these somewhat bizarre pointy-toed platforms. They have the look of shoes that could be on sale later as no one really quite likes them. But I do!

From a previous season, we have these diamond-patterned shoes - they just bring out the joker in me!


Blog Action Day

I didn't find out until late last night that yesterday, October 15th, was Blog Action Day 2008. The aim is that bloggers everywhere will discuss poverty in some way. By all posting on the same day, it is hoped to highlight the topic through the sheer level of conversation and to increase awareness, and ultimately, hopefully, bring about some change.

Ireland has a long track record in contributing charity to 3rd world countries through agencies such as Trócaire and Goal. We also weighed in following the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster with charities such as Chernobyl Children's Project International.

I think that Irish people are fantastically generous and willing to open their hearts and purses to others.
However, and this may sound controversial, I think that we are quick to ignore the poverty that exists in our own society. People possibly enjoy the rush and sense of self-satisfaction that they get from adopting a child in Africa but are quick to dismiss the drunk on the street as a "waster". We fail to realise that it is all too easy to end up in such a state. Read the stories of people who've ended up on the street. It's not uncommon for middle-class men to lose their families and homes and find themselves with nowhere to go.

Take the recent story of Tony Paget, a homeless man
who saved the life of a Dublin Bus Eireann driver, whose bus went into the Liffey through the wall at Butt Bridge. Tony, who is 26, was later presented with an Irish Water Safety award. After helping to save the driver and also after the award, Tony returned to the streets.

Official government figures are based on the last Housing Needs Assessment, undertaken in 2005. This shows that 2,399 households were categorised as homeless in 2005, with 1,725 households living in unfit accommodation, 4,112 in overcrowded accommodation and 3,375 involuntarily sharing. Simon Communities estimate however, that this figure vastly underestimates the true levels of homelessness in Ireland.

Given these times of economic trouble, it is probably not unrealistic to expect the levels of homeless to rise in Ireland. While we should not turn our back our fellow men in foreign countries, we do need to focus on our fellow countrymen and tackle the problem of poverty that exists on our own doorsteps.

Support charities such as Simon Communities and Focus Ireland.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Swishing in Ireland - Update

Following my post on Swishing yesterday, I received several reports of such events taking place in Ireland.

Dublin: Swap Idol takes place at Sheeben Chic on South Great George's Street every Saturday between 12 and 4 pm. You gain tokens for every item brought into the swap meet, which you can then use to obtain other items.

Cork: Chamber's Stitch or Switch takes place in Chamber's pub on Washington Street every morning between 10 and 11 am.

Please, if anyone knows of any more locations, let me know.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I was watching BBC Two tonight when I saw a new program - Twiggy's Frock Exchange - based on the new concept of swishing. Swishing is where women gather together with a selection of clothes from their wardrobe and swap them amongst themselves.

The first thought that comes into my mind is that such a party or get together might only feature trash, but one of the rules of swishing is that at least one item from every woman must be of high quality. Sounds good.

I've always harboured dreams of finding something fabulous and vintage in charity shops. Unfortunately, due to the rise of mass-market, cheap retailers such as Penneys (or Primark), charity shops are full of tat these days, making it harder to find those bargains. Maybe swishing offers a new avenue to finding that piece of clothing, or shoes, of my dreams.

The show also features advice on how to restyle old clothes, echoing a section on Gok Wan's previous Channel 4 show, Gok's Fashion Fix. It's an inspiring idea, that a dress or outfit can be modified with a little effort and a trip to the haberdashery.

So far I haven't found any listings for Ireland, but I'm sure that fashion savy Irish women will be looking to this new trend, and excuse for a get together, in order to inject something new into their wardrobes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

College Girl - Patricia Weitz

Author: Patricia Weitz

I received an ARC copy of College Girl from Penguin Group USA and it immediately looked like a book I would want to read. I couldn't find the note, if any, that came with the book, and therefore I do not know who to thank. Unfortunately, due to a combination of work and exams, it took me a while to get around to reading the book.

However, once I did pick up the book, I absolutely devoured it from cover to cover. The story is based on hard-working studious Natalie Bloom. Coming from a working class background, she is determined to better herself and earn respect through hard work in college. She constantly struggles against her upbringing which has left her with a repressed sexuality and questions about her brother's suicide.

The feelings of lonliness and sexual curiosity that are common to university students are keenly evoked by the author and you will find yourself nodding along and agreeing with so many of the incidents. As Natalie develops sexual relationships and friendships, you will want to catch her and stop her from hurting herself. The story took me back to my own college days and my own efforts at those crucial first adult relationships.

It is a credit to the author that the book is easy and light to read, despite the heartful subjects at hand. It is an accurate experience of the college experience and I would recommend it as good reading for any young student who has questions about themselves and their relationships. To make an analogy that shows my age, it's a Judy Blume book for the college generation.

Empress Orchid - Anchee Min

Author: Anchee Min
Empress Orchid tells the tale of the early life of Empress Dowager Cixi, the last empress of China. She is a controversial figure, often blamed for the downfall of the Qing dynasty and Imperial China. It is somewhat accepted now that she may not have been as despotic as comtemporary press made her out to be, but she was definitely of a conservative and nationalistic political stance. Anchee Min's dramatisation of her early life is sympathetic, but even so, I still caught glimpses of a shrewd and determined operator.

Orchid enters the Forbidden City at a long age, having been selected through open competition to be a concubine and wife to the Emperor Hsien Feng. Her early time in the compound are filled with loneliness and desolation as she remains unselected for the Imperial bed. She begins to play the system, resulting in becoming a favourite of the emperor, bearing him a male heir, and gaining exposure to the political and foreign pressures faced by the emperor.

The book follows Orchid's life as the health of both the emperor and China itself decline. Orchid is forced to come into a more open role in order to secure the future of her son. We are treated to glimpses of a sympathetic, yet driven and manipulative character. Upon finishing the book, you aren't too sure who Orchid really was, whether she was truly a person capable of manouvers, or whether life in the Forbidden city had turned her into such a person.

This is an excellently colourful book, packed with descriptions of the costumes and courts of the era. However, it also captures the sense of decline and confusion that must have been rampant in the China of the time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Best Coffee in Dublin

Grand Canal Harbour area is gradually coming to life in Dublin. I've previously written about Riva and Herbstreet restaurants but on Friday I went to Il Valentino café and continental bakery for the first time.

Owner Owen Doorley missed fresh Italian bread so much when he returned from Italy to Ireland that he decided to found Il Valentino. All breads are baked on site and are free from additives and preservatives. Since opening, press coverage has been nothing less than laudatory, focusing mainly on the excellent quality of the bread.

Although the range of cakes, pastries, breads, pizzas and sandwiches looked amazing, all I really wanted was a coffe. Il Valentino brews Bristot 1919 coffee and man, is it good! It's probably replaced La Corte in the Epicurean Food Hall as my favourite coffe in Dublin.

Well done to the staff and owners of Il Valentino. It was a pleasure to enjoy your espresso.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Death Race

I saw Death Race at a preview screening in UGC de Brouckere in Brussels where the total cost for 2 tickets including credit card booking fee was €7.50! Suck on that all other cinemas.

Death Race is one of those films where the trailers only appear about a month or so before it's releases. Therefore, you're not already bored and tired of it before you go to the cinema to see it. A good start. The premise of the fim is simple. It is the near future and the american economy has collapsed (rings true at the moment, doesn't it?). Prisons are overcrowded and are turnedover to private companies to run. In order to make money, the prisons broadcast a television show where prisoners race to the death. Simple eh? and rather reminiscent of ancient Rome.

The film stars Jason Statham, one of the true current action stars, as a man who is *shock* framed for the murder of his wife. Why? Because he is a superb racing driving. But he is of course a man of honour and decency, though not without a mean streak, and not unsurprisingly takes offence at being sent to jail.

What did I think? Overall, it's not a bad film. It's one where you can leave your mind in neutral and enjoy the loud, noisy and messy car scenes. It races across the screen in full high-octane mode and Statham produces a mean performance as toughman Ames.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pineapple Express

Sunday night rolled around and, once again, I was facing the prospect of getting up at 5 a.m. for the morning flight to Brussels. Sunday evenings like that suck donkey balls (as an old friend of mine used to say), so in such situations, the cinema is always a good option.

This is one bizarrely good film, in my opinion. I don't think I've ever seen a film that combines stoner sequences with hard action. Those aren't two themes that you'd think would sit well together, but it works for Pineapple Express. Denton (Seth Rogen) is a slacker and dope fiend, who holds down a job and a teenage girlfriend. His supplier Saul (excellent performance from James Franco) is lonely and looking for a friend. When Denton witnesses a murder, the two end up on the run hiding from the murderer.

This film tries to convey some messages (such as growing up into adulthood and the effects of dope) but the final action scenes override these and the engaging characters really made the film enjoyable. A surprise surprise for me.

Happy Birthday - Komodo Dragon Style

Meet Krakatoa, resident of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. He recently celebrated his 8th birthday with a party hat and a birthday cake - with a twist. Krakatoa's cake was make from meat with an "icing" of dead mice (of which he normally eats about 10 a day).

Mmmm... Yummy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weezer - Troublemaker Video

Weezer are a band who have been using the internet and email to reach their fans on a regular basis recently. Fans are regularly informed about upcoming shows, invited to view videos and recently Weezer invited fans to attend the shooting of their new video for the song "Troublemaker", from the Weezer Red album.

It looks like the fans had a great time making it, and the results are available for viewing on Yahoo! Music.

The only problem I have with such greatness on the part of Weezer is that I live in Ireland, and they never seem to announce any European gigs/dates. C'mon Weezer. Remember your fans in other parts of the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Free SLR Training Course from Nikon

I recently invested in my first SLR camera, a Nikon D40, and received an invitation from Nikon to attend a free afternoon sesion featuring an introduction to SLR photography. For several reasona,s I decided that it would be worthwhile to attend. These included

  • I'm not a girl to turn my nose up at a free gift;
  • I really don't believe in the RTFM school of thought; and
  • Finally, and most importantly, after two months of owning an expensive camera, I still hadn't really progressed much beyond the point and click technique (though I did make an effort when visiting Bruges in September).
The course was presented by Joe Houghton who turned out to be a very kind man with the patience of a saint. He patiently bore with our crowd and answered question after question. He especially showed considerable charm in dealing with a woman seated at the top of class who thought she knew everything and was intent on demonstrating it.

The class was simple, but I appreciated the fact that Joe took the time to come and speak to us, and run through the basic common features of most SLRs. It opened my eyes to how the camera operately differently in each mode, and really fired me up to go out and take some decent photos.

Go check out Joe's rather slick website (Joe Houghton Photography) and see some of his picturesque landscape photos.

Irregular Choice Sky Fox

I bought another pair of Irregular Choice shoes!! This time I went for quite a blocky pair of heels, with straps across the front. This isn't my normal style as I dislike cutting off part of my feet with straps, but these are nice.

They're comfy too for such high shoes. The padded sole will definitely help ease the height. And there are cute little bears printed on the shoes. I bought these online at Schuh, and had them delivered to the Dundrum store for free. Now that's just great service from Schuh.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aer Lingus and Trade Unions

I am currently in the middle of a love-hate relationship with Aer Lingus. It's a bit one-sided as they aren't really aware of the extent of my feelings. But as I'm stuck with them for a while to come, this relationship is only going to develop further. On one hand I like their relaxed style and pleasant crew. On the other hand I despise their tardiness and lack of apology for said tardiness.

For those who don't know, Aer Lingus is an Irish airline. Once upon a time, it was state-owned but is now only partially owned by the Irish Government and is quoted on the Dublin and London stock exchanges. Their aggressive Irish competitor, Ryanair, controversially own a stake in Aer Lingus which is slightly less than that of the Irish Goverment.

Aer Lingus is now operating mainly in the budget carrier arena and as such is trying to operate leanly. There is a current initiative to save €100 million through cost-cutting but Aer Lingus suffers from one main problem - the legacy of the trade unions. The trade unions involved at Aer Lingus have not woken up to the fact that the world has changed in the airline industry and Aer Lingus is no longer a cushy public-sector job. Today they announced that they would oppose management cost-cutting plans whereby jobs would be outsourced.

I have sympathy for people trying to protect their jobs and their livelihood. But the face of air travel has changed, and so must the mindset of people working in the industry. The recent collapse (and near collapse) of airlines such as Alitalia, XL and Silverjet show that there is very little room for sentimentality.

It's time for the trade unions at Aer Lingus to stop living in the past. Yes, be praoactive and keep what jobs you can in Ireland. But don't put the whole airline in jeopardy.
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