Ghost bus!!!!!!

As everyone knows, Halloween is fast approaching and in Dublin the excitement is mounting! I feel a bit silly confessing this but Bepe and I actually bought and carved a pumpkin last night and now it is adorning the outside window of our apartment. So if you're on Bachelor's Walk and you up to see a particularly scary pumpkin grimacing down at you, that's ours. I designed it! I'm disproportionately proud, but I'd like to think that my masters in Gothic literature is finally paying some dividends :-)

Purists will tell you that the real traditional lantern in Ireland is not made from a pumpkin but from a turnip. But as I've had a lot of experience chopping up turnips (they're widely eaten where I come from) I wouldn't relish the thought of trying to hack one of those hard things into a viable lantern.

Our boss at work has had a cool idea and has organised for us all to go on Dublin's Ghost Bus (in three shifts, of course, or the restaurant wouldn't open). It's going to be fantastic and very Halloweeny because they take you to all the scariest, most atmospheric places in the city. They have keys to all the historic cemetaries! I can't wait.

Halloween isn't even upon us and already my Mom is worrying at me about Xmas. I don't know how I'm going to tell her that there's no way I'll be able to get home. I can't leave work and I don't really feeling like going, anyway. Somehow it seems that I'm ready to have my first proper Christmas as an adult...

Free cinema!

I've loved the IFI since I arrived in Dublin, although lately I haven't been getting there as often as I'd like. It's not just an arty cinema, it's also a film archive. Every month they are doing free showings of old films from the archive at lunch time.

What a great idea! Of course, this is one of those things I think I'll get and then don't, because life and work get in the way. But I'm definitely going to go tomorrow. In fact, I'm going to try to work it into my weekly schedule somehow because it just seems like such a great idea. And of couse it's free, which makes it even better. So, hooray for the IFI. This month it's an American film about Ireland, made in 1961. I'm hoping there will be lots of street scenes as I'd like to see what Dublin looked like in 1961. I actually asked my greengrocer (born in 1955) what Dublin was like when he was a kid and he said, "Smellier, because in those days most people only had a bath once a week".

Anyway, I'm glad that people have showers nowadays!

And while I'm on the subject of showers, I noticed some long, red hairs in MY shower this morning. Now, as I'm blonde and my flatmate Bepe's got black hair, I think there must be a new girl on the scene. And he has such horrible taste in girlfriends, too!! I was out at the Cobblestone bar last night after work and didn't get in until late so I didn't see anyone. But the thought is annoying as this flat's just too small to have three people in it on a regular basis. The Cobblestone is great, by the way. It's a real "old man" pub, as in a genuine sort of place with great music. When you go in, you feel as though you're not just stepping into a pub, but into the countryside. I was surprised to see that they have such a nifty website, as a matter of fact. Anyway, highly recommended!

costume ideas

I want to dress up for Hallow'een this year. I'd been resisting the notion for quite a while but what the hey. Hallow'een only comes once a year, and while I'm sure the festival has changed a lot over the years, it started here in Ireland, right?

So I've been pounding the streets of Dublin in the search for the perfect costume. The thing is, most of what's on offer are sexy little numbers of one kind or another, and I'd really rather go with a ghoulish look, in the spirit of the whole thing. Someone told me that a good way to make fake blood was by mixing corn syrup and food dye, so I might give that a go.

Anyway, most of the nightclubs about town will be having events for Hallow'een for the grown-ups but there's also a lot on for families and I'm seriously tempted by the fireworks display in Marlay Park or perhaps Airfield. Town is full of excited foreign students getting ready for their first Hallow'een in Ireland and it all reminds me of myself last year!!

I've been getting into the spirit of things. The restaurant where I work will be serving pumpkin ravioli this week and they only use the best bits of the pumpkin, so I've been taking home odds and ends with a view to making a gigantic pot of pumpkin soup this evening, 'cause I'm having a few friends over for a meal. I've never made it, but soup is my speciality, after all. I was thinking I'd maybe go up to Moore Street and pick up some fresh vegetables for a salad too. We'll probably be consuming way too many calories in liquid form this weekend, so it makes sense to eat healthy tonight, right?

The weather is so amazing right now. It's coldish (it's the end of October, after all) but it's bright and sunny, and the city looks just beautiful. In the parks and on the leafier streets all the trees are in their fall colours, and people are wearing knitwear and winter coats, which I think suit the Irish better than summer wear. All in all, this is my favourite time of year in Dublin!