Ireland

20.12.17

Some pictures taken on our (probably) last walk on the beach this year. we had to go because I wanted to collect some more stones to take home with me.







19.10.16
Yesterday was a great day again. Only some rain in the morning but the afternoon was fine, so we went to the beach because I wanted some more shells to finish my shell wreath. Because of the coming in tide, we went to Reen Roe (http://www.theringofkerry.com/reen-rua-beach) beach. I know it is not a great beach to find shells and obvious I did not find many but I have been able to add a few more to the wreath and we had a lovely walk. The dogs loved it and so did we! Next time I want to go to Ballycarbery beach where I know I will find the right shells that I want and lots of others as well.




14.10.16
The battle of the bridge barrier!

It would be really funny if it were not so dangerous!

The council had put up some barriers to stop traffic going across the half collapsed bridge. They moved the barrier closer to the bridge so that we can still get our car in and out of the drive. The first barrier was put up on Tuesday, October 4 and they came around again the next day to change it.

On Sunday morning when we let the dogs out, we realised that somebody had removed the barrier and thrown the bits all over the place including the stream (some drunk youngsters? But we never heard a thing even though we are living next door to the stream). The last picture shows what the barrier still looks like this morning and the council people were around this morning to see how things where!

The problem is that the hole may not look too large but there is not much left under the tarmac and the rest could collapse at any time, especially when tractors or heavy 4wheel drives drive over it!

I suppose that when the barrier is taken down again the council will put down some concrete blocks which will be heavy to shift! Unless the idiots that keep shifting the barrier have at last seen sense!

Stronger barrier
Next morning!
They covered the hole and put safety cones on the side
and threw part in the stream
and also took down the barrier on the
other side of the stream where the road forks.
Put up again by the council and is still standing this morning.
The other part of the barrier is still in the stream!




10.10.16
Brilliant day yesterday, when I got a sunburn by reading in the garden, we had another brilliant day today with lunch in the garden! But the nights are getting cooler so I am pleased that the chimney  is sorted and tomorrow Alan will reinstate the woodburner again.





9.10.16
Finished two more lampshades. Same lamp base but different sizes of shades:



5.10.16
When we came back here in December 2015 we found a heap of dead bees on the windowsill. When we came back this September, we found a heap of dead (and some still live) wasps on the same windowsill.
Since we were here last winter, Alan had problem getting the woodturner to work properly so he decided last Saturday to check the chimney. He had to stop later that day because of the deteriorating weather but started yesterday again. He had a lot of problems getting the pipes out, but managed this morning. And this is what he found:

On the roof on Saturday!
This is what he found on the closure plate!

Dead bees!
Carbonised bees, clogging up the whole pipe.
Could have been a bee hive! 
Difficult to get everything out!
5.10.16
After reporting the hole to the council, we are now locked in. There is a barrier at the end of our garden and another barrier at the other side of the bridge. And our car is stuck between these two barriers. We're lucky that we have not planned to go anywhere today by car! If we need the car tomorrow, which we do, we will have to push the barrier on the side and put it back again and hopefully we can leave the car at our neighbours garden on our return.

There are advantages, though. We do not have to be careful when we open the door and let the dogs in the garden! For all I care, it can stay as it is! It is also quite funny meeting all these people who want to have a look at the hole!




4.10.16

After three days of torrential rain, this is what happened to the bridge next to our drive - and the hole is getting larger by the hour!



02.10.16
We have been here now for three weeks and I have not done much. At least not as much as I wold have liked but hey I can do what I want. Right? I'm retired and enjoy being retired but somehow I have the feeling that I should be doing something, especially when I see what Alan does all the time.

But to be quite honest, we did have some problems when we arrived back here.

I  am sure most of you have been here before as well but whenever it happens, it is very frustrating. One problem leading to another, to another, to another.

For the past seven or eight years we have been coming to Ireland and even though I feared it might happen, it never happened before – no Internet connection!

Years ago I started with a Three internet USB stick and it worked beautifully. Then, one day we came back and it stopped working but miraculously there suddenly was a computer shop in Caherciveen and the girl in the shop knew what she was talking about and sold me a Three mobile internet gadget that I could use anywhere where there was Three connectivity. We had an excellent and fast connection and even visiting friends without Internet I could take it with me and use it if it was needed. And the great thing was, I only needed to buy Internet access when we where in Ireland with no further monthly payments.

A mentioned before, we arrived back in Ireland about three weeks ago. I immediately charged my Three Internet mobile and noticed the next morning that there was no connection. I have had that before so I was not too worried but when I still could not be connected the following day I started to get worried. We have no telephone landline and in Carherciveen there is no (and has not been for a year or two) computer or telephone shop. I started to get really nervous and when I ran into our nearest neighbor I asked him which broadband provider he was using. Of course he has a landline telephone but he informed me that he used Ivertec, a company providing broadband for most of Kerry. He also informed me that not having a landline telephone was no problem; they install some sort of dish on the house. As their offices were more or less just around the corner we went there immediately the next day to ask for information. They were very helpful and after signing the required documents we were told that we would receive a message when they would come around to install it. This normally takes 5 to 10 days. So as from Wednesday September 28 I have been able to get onto the net again.

I have been a member of the Caherciveen Library for quite a few years now and they provide Internet access. But not having my own car here, I am depending on Alan to find time to take me there. It is too far to walk and I don’t like to drive his car, it’s too big and apart from that he will not let me! We went the end of the first week and I used one of their computers. Apart from the fact that I use a Mac and they use Windows and I did not take all my passwords with me, I only had a look at my emails to see if I missed anything important. I did not. On the way out I asked if they have wifi that I could use so that I could take my laptop with me, and they do. So a week later we went again (had to go shopping anyway!) and I took my laptop with me and it worked great. 

You see where this is leading? If I had my own little banger of a car I could go whenever I wanted and not only that, it would free up Alan’s time as well (great argument!?). I told him last winter that I wanted to buy a bike when we went back to Ireland and he did not like the idea at all. Too dangerous! I must admit, he has a point there, it is dangerous here, especially when you’re not used to cycling. Also I have not ridden a bike since I left Holland in the late sixties, except for a brief period when the kids were small. I grew up with bikes without gears, and if you wanted to brake you had to back paddle! Even for that brief period when I rode a bike in Switzerland I was not really used to hills: either going up (hard work!) nor going down (will the brakes hold?).  I am therefore now looking for a car which we (I) can use and leave in Ireland.

Not being able to get onto the Internet gave me lots of time to do some sewing. I cut out the fabrics for a new bag, ironed the interfacing on and unpacked the sewing machine, which I had brought back from Scotland to France earlier this year and had not used this summer as I had one in France already. I took it back to Ireland and want to leave it here when we leave again. So, I got the right colour of thread and started putting it on the sewing machine. However, I did not get very far as there was a little thing missing on the top where the thread has to go though. I searched the room and the car but I could have lost it already in Scotland, or in France when loading the car, or it might have dropped here when we unloaded it again and if it has fallen on the ground here. 

Anyway, you see where this problem is leading? I wanted to find out if I could order a replacement part but for that I needed Internet access. I did not want to do this in the library. It was only a cheap sewing machine from Lidl but it worked beautifully. However I had this nasty feeling that I might not be able to get a replacement part so I would be looking for a replacement sewing machine, etc., etc.
However, as much would have it, when they installed the dish for the broadband connection, Alan had to drive his car further onto the drive and came back inside with a little metal thing and asked me if this was what I was looking for. He found it between all the montbretias which cover our garden and we cannot get rid of! Of course by then we had been here about two weeks without me being able to do anything!

On top of everything else, I found out that I had not taken all my paper bead necklaces with me and I still had my Etsy shop open. I had put all my bags on hold because I did not want to take them with me to Ireland and only left the necklaces in the shop. I did not close the shop because of the fact that I always had been able to get onto the Internet and when I was at the library the first time I did not have my Etsy password with me so that I could not close my shop (anyway I had not yet found out that I did not have all my necklaces with me and if somebody had bought one I thought I would find an email).  When I went into my shop that morning I saw that there was a message for me. It was a request for one of my paper bead necklaces, asking if it was possible to send it to the USA by express mail so that would arrive before September 30th! Obviously it was one of the necklaces that I did not take with me! I am still trying to work out what happened to all the necklaces. They must be somewhere in our house in France, but for the life of me I cannot remember what I did with them. Early onset of Alzheimer?

In the meantime all problems have been sold and I should get on with it. At least I have redone some lampshades which I had wanted to do for quite some time. So my time up to now has not been completely wasted:

 



22.01.16

Leaving tomorrow for Scotland. Nearly packed up and cleaned the house for coming back later in the year. Alan has finished the job he wanted to do this year. Well, maybe not all, he would have liked to have it skimmed as well, but the plaster boards are up, ready for skimming and painting except for a very small part which still needs thinking about.

We had a great time despite the weather. Living upstairs has had the advantage of not sitting in a draught whenever the kitchen door opens! 


Part of the ceiling where the electric cables are
hidden by wood panelling instead of plaster boards!


This part will still have to be finished of with wood.


This is the small part that has not yet been covered by plaster boards.


12.01.16

I have changed the spare room so that I have some more sewing space. The guest beds are on top of each other now (very handy to keep stuff on) which gives me sufficient space on one side of the room for a table and ironing board.

I am not yet completely there. I still need a proper work table because at the moment I am using some shelves on trestles and these will eventually be used in the kitchen. I also want some things put on the wall for hanging baskets, hooks and a wall light so that the workspace is larger and can be used without having to put everything on the side when I want to do some fabric cutting. Except for the table, I have it all, it just has to be hung up and I hope Alan will find some time to do this before we leave again in two weeks time, so that it is all in place when we come back!

The pictures are not all that great because, despite the fact that the weather is brilliant today (at least until now but that may change soon again!), this room is west facing and gets the sun (when there is any!) only in the afternoon. But when the sun shines I have a fantastic view over the bay and Valentia Island, and when the weather is good the changing skies and lights are to die for!





29.12.15

As the weather has not been all that great since our last outing to the beach, Alan has been able to make some good progress with the ceiling.








22.12.15

We had a great day yesterday - it was the first day since we arrived in Ireland when we had no rain and no gale storm winds. At least during the day and of course this changed again in the evening. So, in the early afternoon we decided to take the rest of the day off and go to the beach. 

This time I did not want to go to Reen-rua beach but to a beach where I knew I would be able to find some shells. On Reen-rua beach you can only find the normal sort of shells like limpets but I wanted whelks which I knew I would find at Ballycarbery beach. 

Unfortunately it was high tide and we could not find the way to get to the beach after we parked the car (click here for a view of the road). We had not been there for a number of years and I was convinced that there was a bridge across the small river. During low tide you do not need a bridge - you can just walk through the small stream. 

Instead of going onto the beach we walked around on the stones near Ballycarbery castle and by the time we got back to the car the tide had gone down quite substantially and we saw a man with two dogs walking on the other side of the stream so we knew there was a way of getting there. We walked again to the wall and this time climbed on to it and it was easy to get to the other side. We were told by the owner of the two dogs that there had indeed be a bridge (so it is not yet Alzheimers) but it had been blow down during a storm they had two years previously (when there were a few trees blown down in our garden!). 

We had a great time on the beach. Alan walked a long way, I collected whelks and Tuppy had a great time sniffing at all the nasty smells and stinks like a skunk again!



07.12.15


At the moment we are doing some 'boutique' living! Alan decided, at last, that this year he will do the ceiling in the kitchen. I used to say 'I don't know where the cobwebs end and the mineral wool starts' until he covered that part of the ceiling with plastic sheeting and we have been living like that for years on end when he finished off some other projects that also needed doing, like having a door in the bathroom, etc.! 
Anyway, yesterday we put the table and chairs and some other essential items like TV, up to the landing upstairs, which up to this year I had been using as my workroom! It is quite cosy. I am using the spare room as my workroom now. Because there are also two beds in that room and I do need the ironing board up constantly, it is quite restricted, but it works!

Years ago, Alan made some shutters for the downstairs windows to be used when the cottage is empty. However, we realised that closing everything up, made it very damp and in the end they were taking down again and put in one of the sheds. A few years ago, after a terrific storm, which made Alan get up in the middle of the night and wait for either the roof to come off or one of the windows to be blown in, he decided to put the shutters up again and to be used in the evenings when we are here  and when there is a gale force storm blowing. He opened the shutters this morning but decided to close them again - the wind is just too strong and because we are now living upstairs and there are no shutters there, we can keep them closed for as long as necessary!



The landing - a very boutique place and
we have to be careful to move about and not to fall over cables!
The bedroom on one side of the landing

and the workroom on the other side!



Part of the ceiling with plaster boards!
Part of the ceiling with plastic covering!





01.12.15
Arrived back in Ireland two days ago on Sunday after a terrible trip with gale force winds and we had quite some cleaning to do before we could unpack the car.



It must have been a whole hive that came in through the chimney and could not find their way out again. We also found four dead bird and that has never happened before. We will somehow have to close up the chimney before we leave again!



21.01.15
A typical Irish weather day, brilliant sunshine and rain. However, we got the best of it while we introduced Tuppy to the seaside:

Funny sort of water! 
My feet are getting wet!
I'm not sure I like this!
I could just sit down and wait until it disappears!
Anybody watching me?
Mmm.. what's this white stuff?
I'm all wet!!
Nobody ever listens to me so I may as well enjoy my walk!
Snow capped mountain range.

Froth capped waves.

At last - going back to the car!


18.01.15
Another brilliant day.








3.1.15
We are having some brilliant days in between the raining and gale force wind days. Today you could have lunch outside after a very foggy start of the day.

In the distance on  the left Valentia Island can be seen and behind the telephone pole in the distance is Port Magee.
Picture taken from our front bedroom.
Picture taken from our back bedroom.


31.12.14
After a day and a night of high winds, the weather seems to be changing!? Some blue sky is coming in from the Atlantic!















28.12.14
A brilliant day for a walk with Tuppy!

Mmm... I think that is water!

Looks like a lot of water!

It is a lot of water!

Do I really have to go through there??

Don't worry. I will carry you!

Good view from here for a small dog!


And a post with a great smell!

End of the road. Shall we go back again?


05.12.14
Got the new fridge/freezer and it's full again!

Alan has shown me the work he has been doing since last Sunday. He noticed that the water was not draining away properly and that during the gales of last winter one of the trees had fallen over our stream. He had to hack a way to there were the tree had fallen. Because the weather had been so bad last year, he had not been able to cut back the trees and had to hack his way toward the stream.


Mud path to the stream
At least we will have some firewood again! 


The drain is being diverted because the course of the stream had changed


05.12.14
It never rains but it pours!
After the car (which Alan fixed), the water pump, the shower (which Alan fixed), now the fridge freezer has stopped working! The freezer compartment was, of course, full of all the stuff we bought on Sunday on the way back from the ferry and I can throw all this out!
We had to buy another one this morning, which, fortunately, will be delivered still this morning! I can't help but wondering what will be next!?


01.12.14
We're back again!

It was quite an eventful trip. Up to the ferry port in Liverpool and the ferry crossing, it was uneventful. The problems started when we left Dublin behind us. 

We left the ferry at about 6 AM and until we got to the M7 it was just dark. Then the fog started. It was horrendous driving in the dark and the fog. We had never experienced this before in Ireland. As Alan always does the driving on long trips, I try to stay awake so as not feel too guilty about not doing the driving. It is difficult to keep your eyes open on long motorway journeys as they are just so boring. This time I felt it was even more important to keep my eyes open because of the fog. The fog started to get lighter when the sun came through, which was after 8 AM. After that it was either sunglasses on or fog lights on. In between the banks of fog the weather was brilliant, warm, blue sky and brilliant sunshine. We really enjoyed that part of the trip.

We normally stop to fuel up somewhere after Adare and yesterday we did the same. When Alan got out of the car, the car alarm went off once and stopped immediately again - until I opened my door! We have never had as many problems with the car alarm as with this car! Alan gave me the car keys to stop the alarm but without much success but then it suddenly stopped. I went inside the shop to pay and joined Alan again in the car....... which did not want to start! We had a problem like that when we got off the ferry in Newcastle but the problem was solved that time (after a lot of swearing and waiting and keep other cars from leaving the ferry) by using the spare key. We found out later that we only needed a new battery in the key to make it work again. Which could not be the problem this time as the battery was only four months old! Alan tried it anyway but without result. Because we were standing at the first pump (where els!), we were keeping the cars behind us from driving away, so there was no other solution than pushing the car away from the pump and have another think. No easy thing to do because the car is large and was packed full of tools and other stuff to keep us going in Ireland for the next two months! We managed, however, with the help of one of the staff.  Then we sat in the car trying to work out what to do next. After going over several solution (like phoning AA, or asking the shop staff if they know about a garage - both my proposals!), Alan came up with the idea of getting out of the car (taking Tuppy and my bag in case this did not work), lock the car and unlock it again and see what happens. His reasoning was that we may have confused the electronic system by doing something we should not have done (I don't know what, but there you are!). We did as suggested and hey presto, it worked!

Further to Caherciveen in brilliant sunshine and happy that we solved a problem ourselves!

We knew that we would not have any water getting home. We have a private well and started getting huge electricity bills earlier this year after we left Ireland and found out in the end that the pump had constantly been pumping water shortly after we left in February. We asked the neighbour with the key to switch off the electricity and we contacted the water pump people before leaving for Ireland.

So, after unpacking all the necessities and putting everything where they had to be, Alan got two buckets of water from the neighbours, so that we could make ourselves a cup of tea and go to the loo!

This morning the pump was fixed and is now working properly pumping dark brown water! Anyway we can use the loo now whenever we want to and flush. The tea we will still make from water from a bucket until ours is clear!

I have also been able to set up the wifi system, swap the UK Sim card for the Irish one and we are now properly up and running with all the mod cons!


07.02.2014
Packing up
This is the part I really hate. Alan has started packing the car yesterday afternoon, profiting from the dry weather. Today it is a beautiful sunny day and he is still at it asking me every now and again how much else I have and I keep telling him that we are not leaving until Saturday and that therefore I cannot yet pack everything.

We still have to go to town to exchange a USB charger. I bought one about 3 weeks ago and had to take it back yesterday because it suddenly stopped working. Seems the story of the kettle all over again. When I wanted to use it last night the iPad told me it was not charging. So I will have to exchange this one again!

Alan still wants to saw some wood so that we have sufficient firewood when we come back here end of the year and we are invited for dinner tonight so at least I will not have to cook today.

I have made some pictures of the room I hope he will finish next year. Where he is going to put all the stuff he has in the room is still beyond me but we'll see.
Here is the photo collage:





09.01.2014
It was so beautiful today that we decided to have a walk on the beach for the first time since we came to Ireland this time. After all the gale storms we had over the past few weeks the beach had somehow changed and there was less sand and more stones than previously. But it is still a wonderful beach and we were pleased to see that there were not many people about



 


On this picture, you can just see a rainbow.

There were more large birds than we used to see

and more stones.


And there was also a starfish, albeit a dead one in a puddle.




30.12.2013
A good day today, hardly any rain so I took the opportunity to take Aischa for a longer walk. She is putting on weight due to not enough exercise and too much food! Why should it be different for dogs! Anyway, I felt that I had to go out for a while, the sun was shining, the next bank of clouds was coming in so I thought 'either now, or maybe not at all'. 
When the sun shines, the view on Valentia Island is magnificent. The sea was still very rough. I could see the waves braking on the coast from where I was standing, which is still quite some distance away.






On the way back I also took a picture of the best side of our cottage. It's the best side because Alan painted it 2 years ago. The other sides were once white and are waiting for a period of dry weather so that they can also be painted. Last year it was too wet and the way it looks now, I don't think that it will be painted this year!




19.12.2013
These pictures were taken from the room where I do my fabric cutting and ironing and I love the view from this room. You can see the weather coming in straight from the Atlantic!

The first week we were here at the beginning of December, the weather was quite good. Mild and mostly dry. It has changed since then. Now the fronts are coming in one after the other with gale force winds, rain and hail. Yesterday I thought it would take the windows out, or the roof off! It only took about 10 minutes but it looked like a sheet of water was coming in horizontally!

But the changing of the light all the time when the storms come in is incredible to watch. Especially when you're inside a warm room!





14.12.2013
This is one of the reasons why we love coming back to Ireland. It is not because it is so green! That is just a tourist slogan - it is just as green in Scotland and the Alsace, but it is because of the glorious sunsets, the vast, empty beaches (we are normally here in autumn and winter!), the awesome coastline and of course the people. 

The pictures below were taken when there was half a gale blowing and the cloud formations kept changing.






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