Oktoberfest 2019

7 Oct 2019 – Goodbye Summer, Welcome Autumn

Fri: TGIF and a fabulous weekend to all. This year, Got Talent made its way to China in an adaptation known in Chinese as Dian Feng Zhi Lu=World’s Got Talent. While it’s a worldwide competition, one exceptionally stunning duo caught my complete attention and it must be the most amazing dance performance I have seen even when I am not a ballet fan!


Drove #1&2 to school to catch their rides to Jacksonville, FL New World Fall Spectacular hosted by BishopSnyder HS. Keeping my fingers&toes crossed for them – such a good experience&privilege for these girls to do an out-of -state XC-Meet. Shopped for hours to stock up grocery, etc while I had the car. Needed to also pick up some fall decorations, following the weather forecast and hoping that Fall will be here tomorrow.

#3-5+friend entertained us with #3 (12yrs) playing the cello – Grieg’s PeerGynt-MorningMood. Dinner from Chick-fil-A, my favourite fast food place for their Chicken-Strips, but unfortunately the coleslaw is taken off the menu.

Sat: bright&early to get chicken curry started. #5 kinda believed that the Fall decorations help to start this cool weathers! Just like his sister some years ago when I asked #4 to sing to the EasterCactus before she went to bed and the blooms will open the next day!! Absolutely lovely morning, paying them to pick up various cones outside – US$5 S$7perbag, making me US$70 S$97 poorer but worth it. Lunch was served@the Tree-House.

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence – Thomas Hood

Oktoberfest in Newberry, a charming city app 32m 52km W of Irmo. Jeff worked there for 4yrs when they first moved here to SC.

#5 enjoyed being in that giant bowling ball knocking all the pins down. #4 (10yrs) surprised me by climbing to the top of this stonewall. Have been informed by #3 that the Pelican’s snow-cones are the best, had a taste of his and it is pretty good.

Old Newberry County Court House (1852) built during the period of cotton-bred wealth, the Greek Revival structure was a testament to the success of the town’s merchants and planters.


Originally built in 1882 and recently renovated and reopened as of 1998, The Newberry Opera House is one of N America’s premier historical theaters and performing arts venues – it is supposed to be haunted!


Enjoyed the crafts and bought the pineapple-beer-caps art as a gift for a beer-drinker friend where the pineapple represents Southern-Hospitality, in Asia, it is wealth.


Need to make a collage of these interesting hair-dos. First time eating this yummy Funnel-Cake, scrumptious when it is pipping-hot&fresh, could feel the pounds adding on even just by looking at it – shared it with #3-5&Jeff who all also thought it delicious. After all these snacks, there will be no need for cooking dinner.

Buildings with personalities

Sun: creative chalk art-work on the driveway and movie day. Both #5&I have seen Aladdin but not #3&4 and we did not mind seeing it again US$3 S$4+pp which is even cheaper than the SIN senior-ticket. Tkx to Jeff – tasty Sunday roast for lunch.

Linn+#1&2 are home safe&sound and pleased with their 4th-place for the IrmoHigh XC Varsity Girls Team. Way to go ladies, proud&happy for them, she works so hard to get this team where it is today. #1 placed 6th out of nearly 200girls.

Mon: Happy Birthday to my dear bro Leslie in SIN.

Feeding My Flock

3 Oct 2019 – LAM Without The B

It’s a myth that generally Asians are mostly vegetarians. The Japanese are the kings of red meat, but it’s expensive. The Chinese and Vietnamese love their pork. Many Indians, especially the Muslims, can’t live without their lamb – Wolfgang Puck

Mon: without a car and no public transportation here, time to read&chill. Enjoying the Colombia Metropolitan Magazine, getting good Southern ideas for the Fall. Today’s menu – veggie fried-rice with meat o f the side from Sunday’s left-overs wild-rice.

Tue: a cuppa@Starbucks/TrenholmPlaza, tried their new Sous Vide Egg Bites made with Cheddar & Peppers Diced ham with roasted red and green peppers, inspired by the classic Denver omelet – quite good, but would have been better with a touch of tomato ketchup! Nice to catch up with Sarah who is just back from the UK and is originally from the UK, Linn’s running friend who once qualified for the Olympics. Today’s dinner menu, veggie paste+garlic-bread (to carbo-load the runners for tomorrow) with meat on the side.

Wed: this household starts their day before 0500hrs with #4&5 on their school bus before 0700hrs.  Driving onto the sunrise this morning as the school-bus for #3 did not show, drove him to his MiddleSchool, #2 to her Orthodontist and getting the car home in time for #1.

XC meet was hosted by ChapinHigh@CrookedCreekPk in 99ºF/37ºC, 65%+humidity is no joke. #3 looked as red as a lobster, but did finish his race. #2 did not run due to previous injury and #1 was running+pacing herself for practice, ie not racing – amazing and total respect to these young ppl for running while my head&heart were throbbing uncomfortably just walking in these conditions.

Did not get to explore the area except to walk across this bridge to the start&finish line. Tkx to Cindy for driving and for Caesar’s pizza dinner.


Thu: another hot day in the forecast – best to stay indoors in the AC and drink lots of water. Leftover pizza+taco for dinner. Record Heat Today and Friday, Much Cooler By The Weekend. 


3 Happy Bday CHONG SiongYin

6 Happy Bday David WONG

7 Happy Bday Leslie LAM

8 Happy Bdays Larry LAM, Audrey WONG and KONG HengSun

12 Happy Bday Karen SCAF-BENHAM

13 Happy Bday David YUNG

16 Happy Bday Patricia LAM

21 Happy Bdays Steve LAM & Dee HALL

27 Happy Bday Ellen HALD sr

29 Happy Bdays LAM KwokLock & Kiera CHUA

31 Happy Bdays Adeline LEE, Mark BOROWSKY, Haley (40th) and Happy Halloween

Last Homecoming For #1

30 Sep 2019 – Irmo High School

Fri: TGIF and a good weekend to all. The trees have grown and so have #1-5. Nothing stirred except the mistress of the house&Zuno the dog who welcomed me with his wagging tail yesterday morning before 0500hrs. Blessed&happy to reunite with the family.

Tkx to Linn, was able to stay in the AC-cafeteria and had more than a few bites provided for the faculty. It was way too hot&humid outside before the sunset and both my head&heart were not happy with me.

Would think that I could gather my flock for a family pix@Irmo HighSchool with #1 representing the XC-Girls in the Homecoming-Court! Somehow #2 seemed to be camera-shy for this round!!

Am told that there will be other Kodak-Moments, but interesting hair-dos caught the attention. Being awake since 0400hrs this morning, needed to take leave with Jeff (who is on-call this weekend)&#3-5 just after half-time. And just as well as the score was 7Home and 40Guest!


Sat: last Homecoming game (last night) & dance (tonight) for #1 – she will graduate high-school this summer. Nice to see #1&2+their dates all dressed up and blessed to have such beautiful grandchildren inside-out+all angles and with a sense of humour – here they are showing their running shorts in case they have to run away! Somehow out of 6, #5&6 are the ones with darker hair and am still convinced about the recessive genes on the maternal-side of the family, but probably way far back.

Sun: while the flock is at church, took the opportunity to prepare a salmon lunch. Sun is the only day of the week that we can gather together for an more elaborate meal, other days will be just simple home-cooked dinners. Love cooking for them as they like my cooking and always eat up nearly everything I make for them.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent – Barbara Bush

da297e5b174c5b21eddf480796aa056f--cleaning-humor-prince-charmingMon: goodbye to Sep 2019, Oct is going to pass by quickly in a household where activities for 5grandchildren are quite a handful. Thank goodness #1 drives and she can help getting those younger ones around. The grocery, cooking&cleaning up after me is all I can handle nowadays!

Bought this tree at some thrift store a couple of years ago and Linn commented that it would be perfect with a dog too. Took another year looking around for a black dog, but found only a brown one, so a black marker came in handy – now if only I could get pix slotted into the frames.

‘Go Raibh Maith Agat & Slán’

26 Sep 2019 – Hello Orlando/MCO, FL/USA

Mon:  May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again. Appreciations to Mick who drove his car ahead to lead me to the airport and to Ann who sat beside me while the rental car found its way back to EuropCar. EUR425 S$645 full insurance coverage (considering the flat+looking at the hub-cap, am sure glad I took full coverage!) inclusive tax, etc for 2weeks of app 1,600km drive using app EUR105 S$165 in gas. Arr in good time to get things sorted out (invoice reimbursed for the flat tyre), breakfast&shopping at the airport.

Been a while since in this airport watching that my checked-in bag being loaded during a slight delay before take-off. Uneventful DUB (catching up on flight-time) – CPH (1+hr on transit, just enough time to catch the other flight and arr on schedule) – MCO on NorwegianAir NOK2,956 S$460. Tkx to Jim for meeting me at the airport, the only airport I have worked in, but memories are getting blurred here.

Pix credits to Francisco for this areal pix of  Lake Howell HS. WhatsApp was invented by a LHHS-grad. Bet he was the guy who made the anonymous donation to make LHHS what I see in this pix! There is nothing there I can recognize from L&M (HSdays 8yrs total) where I practically lived then!

Tue: appreciations to Jim&Lisa for putting me up in their beautiful home – this screened porch is a reminder that I am back to places with bugs&mozzy!  Where my SIN HDB – pubic housing one-third of the size of this house and there I paid the same as what this house cost! Just goes to show the difference of the value of property!!

Life@The Springs, a gated community in the luxury of Wekiwa Springs – SpainishMoss always amaze me even though it is an invasive parasite and eventually kill the trees they grow on.

With the wild inhabitants in this surroundings, life is peaceful not getting caught up in the rat-race, but one still has to be aware&cautious with the bears (have been told that they are in this neighbourhood).

Lunched@Zoës Kitchen and Italian-Ice@Jeremiah’s which is new to me, CaffeLatte+Chocolate a good choice for flavours in this hot weather.

Irish Smoked Salmon (bought in DUB-airport), grilled scallops+mixed veg dinner, tkx to Jim&Lisa in good co of their friend&neighbour Norm.

Wed: tkx to Jan&her aunt Lily for lunch co@Another Broken Egg Cafe – delicious Brie&lobster omelette+fried green tomatoes.

Dinner@Café Tu Tu Tango

Artist paints as you eat at this funky tapas joint.

Tasty food but on the salty-side and the heart was not happy…

The only moon tonight is this profile-moon to Lisa&Jim for their kind hospitality and such fun being driven down I-Drive&I-4 in her convertible MiniCooper. I-Drive is now a total tourist street with the world’s largest McD – Peabody Hotel&MingCourt are no longer.

Saw the sign The Holy Land Experience and was told that it is a biblical museum. Looks like some major spaghetti-junction constructions on I-4, doubtful that I will see the completions and no, do not want to be the driver driving there, have always dreaded having to drive this interstate.

The life’s work of Walt Disney and Ray Kroc had come full-circle, uniting in perfect synergy. McDonald’s began to sell its hamburgers and french fries at Disney’s theme parks. The ethos of McDonaldland and of Disneyland, never far apart, have finally become one. Now you can buy a Happy Meal at the Happiest Place on Earth – Eric Schlosser


Thu: tkx for Mexican dinner to Terry&Dee. Catching the Amtrak from my favourite train station, WinterPark/FL.


And no, did not stand on any of the tracks to take these pix…

Rugby World Cup 2019

22 Sep 2019 – First Rugby Match

Thu:  long drive from Ballyshannon along LoughErne on a misty Thu morning, clearing up to a beautiful day to Portrane.

Appreciations to catch up with Stephen (cousin to cousins Lock, Yun&Chai – once removed cousin to me!!)&family, but missing Trish who had to work when I got in. Chinese dinner and a fun pub-quiz (first time for me) with Stephen&Mario. Tkx to Stephen&Trish for putting me up, the only hotel@Portrane being fully booked.


Fri: TGIF – day catching up with Stephen and a daylight pix of last night’s pub. Waited to say hi to Trish as she was working until 1500hrs before heading back to Kilcloon. The last fam pix of them was in 2012, 7yrs ago when StephenJr was 5, but did not get to see him this time round as he was not well.

Was soo totally lost around the airport on the way back – counted at least 8planes landing during a bumper-bumper traffic! Back safe&sound@Ann&Mick’s before dark and a yummy fillet-steak dinner@Caffrey’s.

Sat: located app 12k W of DUB and about 20mins drive from Kilcloon is this charming&delightful village – Lucan.

Tkx to JohnK for lunch&the introduction to Carrolls Gastro Pub, good pub food. The pie was more a stew with a lid, but was tasty. Good to catch up with JohnM&Pauline who have just moved back to DUB after being stationed around SE-Asia& the MiddleEast.

Interesting to know that Pauline’s grandmother once lived in this clock building (opp the park) where she used to visit in her childhood days – do wonder what this tree trunk used to look like then?? Found my way back to Kilcloon without a single wrong turn with the GPS.

Sun: the rains were visiting when I was in dreamland last night and it is still ongoing when I woke. Started with an Irish Coffee followed by Irish Smoked Salmon breakfast with Mimosa@Caffrey’s watching my first rugby match in an Irish pub with Ireland/27 beating Scotland/3 for the 2019 Rugby World Cup held in Japan. Way to go Ireland for making my last day of this visit a great one.


Perfect rainy day for packing&snoozing in the afternoon – the sky cleared in time to head to Maynooth for dinner@StoneHaven. The steak Mick had cooking on a hot stone was yummy, but was not hungry enough for a steak after having meat for dinner the past 2nights – Ann&I had fish.

Rugby is a game for barbarians played by gentlemen. Football is a game for gentlemen played by barbarians – Oscar Wilde


Wild Atlantic Way WAW

18 Sep 2019 – Sea&Mountain Views

Mon:  early Bfast and got chatting with Alan&Andrew who told me about accommodations in some lighthouses and the 2 in this area were all booked up this whole week. Just as well, EUR500+ S$750+ is not within my budget, but was willing to try just one time – another bucket list item! A short refreshing stroll on the pebble-beach reminded me that the more simple things in life are free – found a couple pieces of beautiful rocks.

Heading to Buncrana, still on the Inishowen Peninular hoping to catch the car ferry across to Rathmullen, but alas no ferry on the weekends as summer is considered over. Drove on to Inch Island and had a break there with all the lovely red hedges and the only other ppl there were fixing a new pier.

Nice drive

With no one behind or in front, A Lam has the time to watch her dinner taking time to cross the road while enjoying the nature around.

Fanad Lighthouse, one of those with accommodation.

Gas EUR35 S$53 before HarryBlaney Bridge (2009) connecting the Fanad peninsula to Carrigart Village, saves some time when driving on WAW. Too many detours trying to chase the sunset@Bloody Foreland. Had to call it the day before it got dark – driving&hiking in the dark for me is to ask for trouble. B&B@Teac Jack, Carrick, Derrybeg EUR50 S$76 – night3.

Tue: heading on the WAW direction, but could not find the way out of Dungloe due to roadworks, so decided to turn around and head for the mountains and am sure glad that I listen to my instinct.

The weather is on my side with this drive around the Derryveagh Mt Range – Mt Errigal 751m is the tallest here.

It is seldom that I see a church with this kind of round tower – Church of the Sacred Heart (1876-77), Dunlewey.

The ghostly old church@Dunlewey can be seen (pix zoomed in to max) and the history behind these 2churches is very interesting. In the graveyard lies a single gravestone … a man who was in a mixed marriage (he was Church of Ireland, she was Catholic). He died first and was buried here but she, being a Catholic, didn’t want to be buried here. She’s buried in the Catholic church across the valley. However, even in death she wanted to remember her husband and her grave in the Catholic graveyard faces across the valley to her husband’s resting place (the other gravestones in the Catholic church point a different way to hers).

Blue Stack Mts and it was such a luxury&privilege to practically have the roads and the mts to myself&a zoomed-in horsey.

View to the ancient Valley of Glencolmcille.

Fintragh Bay – did not linger as the sun was setting fast and got into Killybegs just in time before it got dark. BayView Hotel Killybegs, Ireland largest fishing town EUR65 S$100 – night4

Wed: fishing boats are right in front of the hotel and had Bfast with a view. A morning walk to watch the fishermen at work with their nets.

The church is just around the corner of the hotel.

St John’s Point and most of the roads on this narrow peninsula are so narrow that one has to stop and find some space when meeting on-coming traffic. St John’s Lighthouse (another lighthouse with accommodation), took a short hike around the surroundings as I do not know when I can be so near the Atlantic Ocean again. Must ask Morten what those yellow colour growth are in the rocks.

Edited 27Sep: Lichen is the term for the yellow things – tkx to Morten  for the Wikipedia link in archaeology, palaeontology, and geomorphology, lichenometry is a geomorphic method of geochronologic dating that uses lichen growth to determine the age of exposed rock, based on a presumed specific rate of increase in radial size over time.

Got off the road early today. The sunset from the bedroom window. Heron’sCove, Creevy just a few mins from Ballyshannon EUR55 S$84 – night5

The Giant Causeway

16 Sep 2019 – And County Donegal

Sat: 0730hrs heading off towards the north on this lovely morning. Taking a detour (will now call it that whenever I am lost!) at this upside down boots closed-down pub somewhere near Slane. Breakfast at the only place opened and nice stroll around Slane with the gable mural of Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917) – tkx to Geoffrey Keating for knowing his Irish poet.

And I was wondering in my mind
How many would remember me – Francis Ledwidge


Somewhere between Monaghan-Dungannon-Cookstown (now in UK), more detours to discover some delightful building&garden next to the church of St Michael’s Castlecaulfield & St Patrick’s just outside Dungannon town . If on route as planned, would have driven straight thru’ and missing out these. Gas@Portrush GBP32 S$55

Night1: 12 High Rd@Portstewart – clean&well-run B&B including breakfast GBP41 S$70.

Sun: 0700hrs headed down the coastal road to The Giants Causeway – nature is just sooo amazing that words will not do justice until you have step on these rocks – not tempting fate to walk out by the edge of the ocean today. Today’s waves look too intimidating&treacherous.

Was intentionally there early to avoid crowds in the weekend and being one of maybe 2-3 other ppl around. Nothing was opened but was happy to have step foot with the Giants. On the way back on the coastal road passing by Bushmills Distillery, would have visited as it is one of the whisky I like.

Dunluce Castle, White Rocks and back to the B&B for breakfast before checking out.

Mussenden Temple (1785) Game of Thrones filming location is on the surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock perched dramatically on a 120ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic Ocean. 

Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you― George Martin

Back to the Republic and to the county of Donegal. Did have my passport if needed, but there have been so far been no boarders, signs or anything, except for the different flag and when you have to buy something in cash that would make you think that you are travelling in 2different countries

Stroove Lighthouse, not open to public

Malin Head – Ireland’s most Northern point and if you stare&look long enough out to the Atlantic Ocean, you can image the Eastern US coast!

Night2: SeaviewTavan, Ballygorman, MalinHeadIreland’s most Northerly Seafood Restaurant&LoungeBar. A room with the ocean view+dinner (yummy Donegal mussels)+a drink&Bfast EUR88 S$133.

To be edited