Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas

Just got back from a walk to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, known hereabouts as the Rowe Street Church. I was planning to go to midnight mass at 10 pm. Local stories agree that the mass was changed some time ago due to the fact that bars close at midnight on Christmas and some inebriated persons became disruptive during services (they were described as pi**ed though, not inebriated). You'll never guess, this year the service was changed to 9 pm. So I arrived just as the service was about to end. I missed the choir which was the main reason I was going to attend. So I swallowed my disappointment (it apparently wasn't meant to be) and walked back here and into my snugglies and decided it was time to update the blog.

We have had a bit of sunshine lately and I have tried to remember to take my camera so I could get pix. One morning I took pix of the outside of my apartment complex.

This is the door I enter to get into the building.

This is the entrance to the courtyard. My post box is on the left.

My parking spot is two over from the one you see parked here.

These are abbey ruins seen from the parking lot.

The bushes are still in flower.

This is the view from the sidewalk. I am in the right hand three story building.

On Sunday a couple of weeks ago, I went with the Ramblers to Curracloe Beach again and took some pix. It was a drizzly day, but still a fabulous walk.

The beach from the trail.

The beach from the beach (LOL).

More beach

My walking buddies.

Bit of erosion and exposed roots.

Hard to quit taking pix when at the beach.

Some perspective.

A starfish. He was still soft and perhaps alive, so Lionel picked him up with the tip of his umbrella and returned him to the water.

Here are some pix from my walk along the quay. I hope you aren't tired of these views - I'm not.

The steps from the quay to the bridge.

Da Bridge (A little Yooper influence)

A fishing boat

Wreaths left in memory of suicides.

A selfie on the quay. Must have been late in the day. Look how tall I am!

The quayside businesses from the quay.

This is actually on Main Street.

I brought my camera with me the last sunny day that I walked around town to get a variety of shots for you.

Thought these doors were rather Christmasy in color.

I like the red brick with the light shutters on this building

The Santa Train

Santa posed for me here in his booth.

This is the equivalent of our dollar stores, but the prices are varied.

A hamper is apparently a gift bag or basket.

A nice view down to the quay from Main Street

Fresh produce all the time.

Nice cafe and I love the name.

These last two are from the inside of the Wren's Nest where I frequently eat lunch.

I talked to the bank this week about a car loan and am in the process of pre approval. I am hoping to find something through a dealership that is a year or two old with low mileage. I find I really don't mind traveling by bus, but there are some places I want to go that are not easily accessible.  I will keep you posted. I've been looking at Cirtoens and Skodas. They are small and affordable.

I went to Richie Doyle's today to get some food for the next two days as everything is closed on Christmas day. I love this butcher shop. I chose a pork fillet and had him trim the fat and butterfly it. He then put dressing on it and rolled and tied it. I brought it home and baked it in the over for about 45 minutes. I also made garlic mashed potatoes and mashed root veggies. It was a delicious meal and I have plenty for tomorrow.

It would only have been better with company. I love to share a meal.

I've been FaceTiming my family watching the opening of gifts and the making of Christmas cookies and just visiting. I do miss my family at this particular time, but am not truly homesick. With as fast as time passes I feel it will be no time before I am snuggling with them and enjoying their dance recitals and field days. Looking forward to FTing again in the morning to see what kinds of loot they received from Santa. Such fun!!

I've been spending lots of time with Catriona this past week or so and have learned tons about Irish custom and cooking. She makes the best Christmas cake (fruit cake, but nothing like that awful stuff in the can that I was used to seeing in the States) and fabulous mincemeat pies (again, nothing like the canned stuff). She makes everything from scratch with the best ingredients and has multiple pans and recipes going at once. I think she must have been a juggler in a previous life. She and her husband and the two dogs have gone to Sligo to have Christmas with their families. I look forward to their return. Sarah and John are in Sicily for the holidays and I am missing them. They are experiencing lovely weather and delicious food. Looking forward to their return after the new year.

I've been invited to a New Years' Eve Party by a California couple, Richard and Heather Burns, I met at the Fusion Cafe last week. They are artists. I am planning to go unless it is pouring rain as I walk everywhere. Hoping to meet more people, but hope they aren't all Americans. I am so enjoying the Irish culture and am planning to try to learn a bit of Irish (not Gaelic - that is Scottish).

I've been seeing some very good fares for round trip nonstop flights Chicago to Dublin, which is what I will fly in the future. It will be worth the train trip and bus ride to get back and forth to Ohare if I can forego the 6 to 10 hour layover in Boston. Looking forward to some visitors, just let me know when you are coming.....


Friday, December 11, 2015

Week of December 7, 2015

Monday is generally my art day. Kevin and Dimitry have a free drawing class in the Friary along John Street, not far from me. This week we worked on using our outstretched arm with a pencil in our hand with a squint to measure relative size. Here is my attempt at a still life.

A couple of pitchers.

Two tries at an antique planer.

The second part of the lesson was drawing negative spaces. The set up was two chairs - one upright and the other on its side up against the upright one.

You can see it (and all the photos for that matter) better if you click on it.

After art class I met Sarah at TK Maxx to look for a handbag for her upcoming travels, then on to Simon Lambert's for lunch. Sarah had already eaten so just had coffee. I had lamb with chips and roasted root vegetables. We then strolled around town stopping in some of the shops and it began to rain, lightly at first and then the sky opened. We ended up at Dunnes and Sarah called her husband, John, and he came and picked us up.

Talked to the grand girls via FaceTime in the evening to see the decorations at Papa's that they helped hang and found out that my Christmas package was already received. No worries this year! All my shopping is done and I didn't go over my self-imposed limit.

On Tuesday, it was again another sunny morning as I set out for my group walk across the bridge.

This is from my parking lot; you can see my spot marked 17.

See the beautiful sky.

More sky and interesting chimneys

Love, love, love being by the water.

The Wexford Bridge that I am walking across to meet my group.

The decking can be very slippery when wet, so walkers have to be careful.

Just about 3/4 of the way through our walk, it started to pour - I mean it was coming down in buckets! I was soaked from the bottom of my jacket to the soles of my feet, but stopped in to the Riverbank House Hotel for our tea anyway. This time we sat by the fireplace, though. It was dry walking home afterward, but I was still wet and cold. So when I got home I turned on the immersion heater to get some water hot, did some laundry to hang in the spare bedroom on the clothes horse by the radiator, then showered. I really must try the shower in the main bathroom. It is in a bathtub. My shower is a rectangle standing one and my arms are too long. I am forever banging my elbows.

Late in the afternoon I met Sarah at Dunnes, then went to Trimmers for tea. It was quite chilly this evening, but quite pleasant without the wind.

I had a lovely surprise in the evening - Mona called me via Messenger and we talked for quite a long time. I miss her and my other friends at Gallery Place. I look forward to seeing them when I am back to visit in late May and early June.

Wednesday is usually my Fab@50 aerobics class, but my thumbs are still very sore from kickboxing last week. I go back to A&E on Wednesday next week for a reappraisal, but am still being quite protective of them. I walked instead to Bean & Berry for an omelet and then took a walk along the quay and across the bridge and back. I stopped in at the Wexford Dental Clinic on my way back and made an appointment for an evaluation and cleaning close to Christmas. If I understood the receptionist correctly, the exam and the cleaning both done by the dentist will cost €65. Unbelievable!

I continued my walk to Pettit's SuperValu for a few groceries, then stopped by home to put them away. I am still getting mail for previous tenants so walked to the post office branch on Main Street before heading for St. Aidans to see the other, bigger SuperValu. I really like the selection there. It is much bigger and is a better walk for me, so I may take my business there from now on. It is owned by the same family that owns the downtown one and they have their own farm from which they get their meat.

When I got home I lazed around for awhile playing Words and Wordbubble (I am addicted to it, Anne, just as you predicted), then went out after dark to get a few more pix. The day time photos below are from across the bridge near the pool where we meet to walk on Tuesdays.

The next ones are from around town and the quay after dark.

On Thursday I usually do aqua aerobics at the gym, but the thumbs, you know, so instead I headed out for a walk to an area I haven't walked before. It included a walk up a really big long hill. I enjoyed it and took some pictures from the top of the hill.

This is from the top of the hill. You can see the River Slaney just north of the Wexford Bridge in the distance.

This one was taken toward the north from part way down the hill and shows the Super Value I trekked to the other day.

This is at a junction. I usually go left (The Fide is how I think people pronounce it), but today I went up Mulgannon to the top of the hill where it dead ends in a cul de sac. My friends Lionel and Connie from the group walk and Sunday ambles live up there.
I walked along the Faythe on the way back because there is a juxtaposition of two buildings that I thought would make an interesting picture. What do you think?

A gun shop right next door to a Montessori school.

Here are a few more pictures from the day.

Another beautiful sky from the parking lot of my apartment. There is something rather special living right next to old ruins.

More ruins

I love these brick buildings with the interesting and colorful windows.

And another.

Love architecture and colorful buildings.

Appears to be an old graveyard along the Faythe.

See the empty (at least I think they are empty) kegs from the evening before along the sidewalk

Look slightly familiar?

I have no idea what these lads are doing, but thought it made a good photo.

One of the local fishing boats.

Lovely skyline.

Along the quay with a partial reflection.

It's Friday and I stayed up very late reading last evening. I couldn't believe it when I checked the clock when I got up. It was just after 10. Got up, made coffee and laid around drinking it then had a banana before getting dressed and heading out for my first walk of the day. I did my usual walk over to Redmond Square across to the bus/train station and then across the bridge, then back and along the quay before heading into town. I noticed that Simon Lambert's had butternut, carrot, coconut milk soup so stopped. That banana didn't go very far. It was only in the mid-40s, but without wind it was quite pleasant. Sarah called me just as I sat down to order, so she walked down to have lunch with me. She had the soup too.

Walked over to the butchers (Doyles) for a lamb roast as I had some root vegetables I wanted to roast. Brought it home to put in the fridge and then headed for Tesco. They have a wider selection of toiletries and I needed deodorant, mouthwash, and fingernail polish remover. When I am done with the blog I will attack these fingernails. I also bought some fresh rosemary to rub into my lamb roast along with some olive oil and cooked it slowly with carrots and turnips. Wonderful meal.

Tomorrow the TidyTown group is supposed to be meeting on the quay near the skating rink. I am not sure what we are doing - picking up is my guess - but it is supposed to rain tomorrow so I will wait and see. On Sunday a friend, Susan, is performing in a choir performance at Clonard Church and if it is not raining Sarah and I will be going. It is so nice to have things to do here. So far I have not been at a loss for entertainment. I am also on my last book - it is called Ask Alice - and I am quite enjoying it. I may have to find time to get to the library tomorrow to replenish my supply.

Hope I haven't overdone on the photos and have not bored you to death. Maybe I shouldn't wait so long between posts. What say? Do you like a weeklong post like this or do you prefer a shorter version more often?