I spent four nights in Dublin last week, as a guest of Tourism Ireland, and every time I headed back to the hotel on Pearse Street, just up the road from the giant Garda station and across the way from Trinity College, I walked past this sign and had a little titter to myself. I know loads of Dubliners loved having the Queen pay a visit recently, but obviously someone wanted to make sure she knew the rules about parking!
I don't care what the naysayers say. I don't care that it's uncool to like U2. Last night's show at Glastonbury was perfect Friday night entertainment (on BBC2, 3 & 4), with only a few cringe-worthy moments and two hours' worth of hit tunes. What more could you ask for?
Place: Howth, north Dublin, Ireland. Date: June 19, 2011. Camera: Panasonic TZ3.
The last thing I expected to see when I made a quick visit to Howth, on Dublin's north coast, yesterday afternoon was seals frolicking in the harbour.
But there, right by the fishing trawlers and moored boats, were three seals delighting the crowds.
It felt a bit surreal to make eye contact with these amazing creatures, who did not seem at all afraid of the humans staring at them from the harbour wall. If anything they seemed to relish the attention and put on a bit of a show, jumping up out of the water, doing somersaults and deep dives, and blowing bubbles out of their noses.
I overheard one elderly lady claim that up until fairly recently you could buy a bag of fish for €3 to feed the seals. But the trade was stopped when it became clear that too many people were feeding the seals and the sea creatures were stacking on the weight.
From my internet research, I now see that the seals are pretty famous. They have their own Twitter feed and one of them, Sammy, has his own Facebook page!
I seem to be going through a period of watching sporting documentaries.
A few weeks ago I saw Closer to the Edge, a 3D movie about the Isle of Man TT, at the cinema. It was an exciting film but I had a few journalistic issues with it.
And then, on Saturday, we went to see Senna, a documentary about the life and death of Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, which left me reeling in its wake. I came out of the cinema feeling completely shell-shocked, and I've been thinking about the film ever since.
I think it's fair to say that Senna is a triumph of film editing. There are no "talking heads" in the film. The entire feature has been put together using archived footage of interviews with Senna, including race footage and home movies.
Similarly, there is no single person narrating the story. It is told by sound clips and interviews with people close to Senna -- his mother, his sister -- and those that worked or raced alongside him, including key figures in Formula One racing.
It all adds up to a well-rounded portrait of a young Brazilian who is regarded as one of motor racing's greats.
Even if you don't like F1, I'd urge you to go see this film. Not only is it a a truly remarkable feat of documentary film-making, it tells a compelling story about a man who transcended sport to become a global superstar without losing his integrity, his values and his beliefs.
Obviously it doesn't have a happy ending -- Senna was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1, 1994 -- but the film is inspiring, dramatic and sobering, by turn. I hope it garners awards aplenty for the director Asif Kapadia.
The names of Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Michael Holding dominated my childhood and teenage years. For 15 years, the West Indies cricket team ruled the world. They were the only team that toured Australia that everyone wanted to watch.
But it wasn't always that way.
This documentary, which I watched on DVD last night, reveals how they climbed to the top, with, I might add, a little help from Australian media mogul Kerry Packer, who apparently gave them a kick up the backside and told them he'd boot them out of his World Series Cricket competition if they didn't lift their game. The rest, they say, is history.
(Dad, if you are reading this post, you've got to see this film, you'll love it!)