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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


Smithfield photos

... from the roof terrace.

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Thank goodness

Finally, some sanity (NZD/Euro)


Hanging in there

Sheesh, it's been two weeks since I've posted! Where has all the time gone?

Well, most of my (awake) time has been spent at work. I still like work, which is a minor miracle. I like the driving-commute better than the bus-commute, and haven't had an accident yet (another minor miracle, considering the generally poor driving skills I've encountered). I'm finding the time difference with my Canadian and American colleagues frustrating at times, so I've started leaving a weensy bit earlier, and emailing in the evening. I get less purely work-free time, but I'm far more efficient.

I have spent a small amount of time knitting. Much less time that I would have liked. But I'm well on my way to finishing a beautiful shrug in a jade green bamboo that I bought in Paris. I really, really hope I'll have enough yarn - I asked for extra, but the girl gave a Gallic shrug as a response, which at the time I took to mean "oh, okay then", but which may, actually, have been "no, you won't need it". I think I *do* need it, so here's hoping...

The funniest bit of knitting the shrug was translating the pattern. No wait - it was watching myself knit it faster and faster as the ball of yarn dwindled into almost nothing. It was as if I might magically have more yarn if I knit fast enough. (Translating the pattern was pretty entertaining too, I realised that I remembered a lot more 5th-form French than I credited myself with.)

I've been reading a little, but not enough. I'm often too tired to do much other than slump in a chair in front of the tv and eat what David gives me. Tonight's blog post comes courtesy of our currently tv-free state in our new apartment - otherwise I'd be slumped and incommunicative.

Speaking of which, the move has happened. All that remains is for us to clean the old place and fight to get our deposit back. The new place is large, airy, light, and much more like what we're used to. It's not large-large, but it feels much larger than the old place, even if it's probably just the same size. Plus, we have an under-the-stairs cupboard, aka the Harry Potter cupboard.

(And no, I haven't read the new Harry yet - I'm trying not to buy a non-matching book for my set of paperbacks. So that's a 6-month wait... Someone did very kindly offer to lend me their copy though, and I'll certainly take the offer up once they're done.)

I've spent a fair bit of time talking about the weather. Ireland is having it's coldest, rainiest winter yet, apparently. I'm not entirely convinced that people aren't conspiring to lie to us till we're too entrenched here to leave. But it rains every day, and for a fair bit. Plus it isn't hot. So no summer for us this year. I'm beginning to think that the Ireland-and-green association is not only due to the trees, grass, etc. - but also to mould from such a damp climate...

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it's almost my birthday again. I'll be 29. As in, 30 on my next birthday. Now, I know loads of people who have turned 30 or more, and they're all fine. I truly believe that my 30s will probably be even better than my 20s. Yet I still feel like I'm playing at being a grown-up. I find myself saying and doing things like my parents (hi, parentals!), I like early nights, and I complain about noisy, inconsiderate people. It's like I've gone straight from 20-something to a pensioner.

Oh, and David teases me that I'm the fun police.

Anyway, as the big 2-9 approaches, I ponder the usual questions, plus a few new, fun ones:
- Can I nip down and buy some booze right now, or do I need to find some photo ID?
- Do I still look about 18 when I wear jeans and a hoodie, or do I now look like a mid-20-something?
- Why do I always want yarn that is impossible to buy in, or get shipped to, where I live? I mean really, I have relatively pedestrian tastes, and I could understand NZ - but this is EUROPE, people! Not continental Europe, but Europe all the same!
- Now that we live in a 1-bedroom place, what's to bet that *everyone* will want to visit us? (Luckily for you, there's a nice and cheap hotel 2 doors down - or you can bring a tent and camp on the roof terrace if you don't mind the rain!)
- Are the 30s really the new 20s?
- When I turn 30, do I have to start buying swishier clothes and shoes?
- When are you really supposed to start with the eye cream?
- Will living in such a sunless country (seriously, people, the rain and rain and RAIN!) undo some of the sun damage that NZ wrought in my skin? If I spend 5 years here, will I cease to age for those years?
- What do I really want for my birthday, anyway? (Damned if I know, it's a tough one. Answers to my questions would be useful.)

Oooooooooh! One little brag before I finish. In November we're going to Pisa and Florence. Our flights cost us 90 euros altogether. Which is stupidly cheap. Plus, it's Italy. All we'll need is a pair of elastic-waist trackpants each, and an empty suitcase for all the wine we'll bring back. Oh, and a week to sleep all the pasta off :-)

And with that verrrrrrry long post, I'm off to read a bit of my book, and hope that David will bring me my post-yoga (his yoga, but anyhow) kebab soon. No Britain's Next Top Model tonight (no tv, ergo no tv shows - did I mention how much I miss having tv yet?) - might try catching up on some sleep instead.

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Smithfield or bust

We've kind of made it and we're mostly moved.

We're also exhausted.

The Golf in toe, we embarked on a mammoth shopping mission of glasses and microwaves and drying racks spanning two large shopping centres - then we moved several loads from Temple Bar to Smithfield.

Everything was slightly difficult. It's hard to find a park in Temple Bar, and the lift there stopped working. In Smithfield, our access keys here haven't been programmed correctly, so we can't easily use the lift in the carpark to get to our apartment. And someone keeps parking in our carpark. And of course it drizzles constantly.

Lots more to say, but can't manage it. Going to have a bit more Pinot Grigio and go to bed.

Just after I re-admine the view from the roof terrace.


Catching up

It's been ages since I've last posted, so I have lots of little things to post about.

My trip to Vancouver
The trip was great - tiring & very informative, but I also made some time for fun. I didn't see loads of Vancouver itself - or the surrounding areas - because I was based in Burnaby/Coquitlam. What I did see, I liked. It is a beautiful place.

I also loved the fact that it was so culturally diverse, with lots of different peoples and their cuisines. Without my intrepid co-eater I failed to fully take advantage of the food - he'll have to tag along next time so we can do that.

There was a lot to learn at work - my predecessor departed in October - so I should be kept very busy for some time.

Apart from the shopping (which was excellent, I must post a photo of my yarn acquisitions, which were impressive on their own!), the bit I enjoyed most was staying in the hotel, with all of the little niceties that went with it (but that I didn't have to pay for). Like having fresh towels and sheets whenever I wanted them, and never making the bed. Ah, heaven.

Work is good. Busy, but good. I don't foresee a slow period anytime soon.

Although the people at the office all work for another company (owned by the same parent company) - apart from my Irish boss, 3 days/ week - they are very nice to me. The location continues to be sub-optimal, but our new car really helps. Once I have a better feel for, and more confidence around how big the car is, I am sure my commute will speed up even more.

Finally I've managed to make some time for some knitting. In addition to my stash increasing more the longer I don't knit, I also wanted to make some progress on my current WIPs. There are only 2 - a scarf for my brother's mother-in-law (yes, still going), and a shrug in bamboo. My photographer is at yoga as I blog, but I look forward to posting some photos of my progress soon.

It looks like we have a new house lined up. And by "house", I mean "apartment". We sign the contract and move in on 25 July. So if you're planning to send us anything soon, please don't - or email me for my work address. (Yes, An Post can be that slow.)

I am looking forward to a decent night's sleep (lots of roadworks near here at the moment make it noisy, along with all the other noise-makers). And tons of storage. And a place that isn't on the road, or low down, so you don't get a fine layer of black dust (soot?) on everything that's left out.

I am also looking forward to the carpark in the building. Our interim solution is a park in a building only approx 1km away, but it will be nice to be close to the car, so it's quick, and safe.

So that's about all for the moment. I could complain about how I can't understand a word that Irish people from the country say (sad, but true - the dearth of Irish people at my workplace means I'm less familiar with the Irish accent than I should be), which makes it funny when they hit on me; or I could talk about how my fellow Dublin-based drivers are very timid at roundabouts.

In fact, I could go on at length about any number of things. But I won't. David's at yoga and he'll bring me a kebab for dinner, and we have no laundry to do. So I have some free time to try to catch up on my email, my Facebook profile (how do you people have time to do all that and everything else?), and some knitting. And it's only 1 1/2 hours till Britain's Next Top Model....

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Glendalough after party

We made it, and have the photos to prove it. A great drive to Glendalough (60 kms or so from Dublin), then back home along the coastal road via Dalkey (for fush and chups), and Dundrum for shopping at Tesco. Are we real Dubliners now?

I must post a picture of the car!

P.S. I just found this on Wikipedia:

The freemen of Dalkey inherited the right to elect a King through the boredom of young bloods back in the Dublin of 1787. The full title is King of Dalkey, Emperor of the Muglins, Prince of the Holy Island of Magee, Baron of Bulloch, Seigneur of Sandycove, Defender of the Faith and Respector of All Others, Elector of Lambay and Ireland's Eye, and Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of the Lobster and Periwinkle. Hugh Dempsey was crowned the first "King of Dalkey" in about 1780. The current King, Larry Wilmott or Larry the 2nd, was elected in 1983. In July 2007, a new King is to be crowned in Dalkey - watch this space!)



Glendalough - that's where we're going

Wow, we haven't posted for ages. But it's not for lack of things happening.

Last weekend, we bought a car! But we didn't take delivery of it until Wednesday as we needed to sort out a carpark. It's a 2000 Golf GTi. It looks brand new. It has airbags for Africa, it has ABS breaking with traction control. It has a 1.8L 20V turbo engine. It's a 5 door. Slightly oddly for a GTi it's an automatic (I was a bit worried about that, but my first trip in city traffic reassured me it was a good idea - and the engine is powerful enough that you don't miss the manual transmission. Unless you were racing, which of course I wouldn't do). It's so much better than the Starlet! That thing was a turbo-charged deathtrap. And it's going to take me a while to stop being excited about it. It's very liberating to think we just drive anywhere. We'll be able to really explore Ireland now.

So Laura's driven to work on Thursday and Friday and I think she'll confirm it's far superior experience to the bus in every way. And because she's driving against the traffic, it's fairly fast too.

Today, if we get moving, we're going for our first real drive to Glendalough, touted as one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. And currently it's not raining! It has rained pretty much everyday for the last month - sometimes hard, sometimes just drizzle. Even the locals are complaining, they reckon it's it worst summer they can remember... but people are always saying that (something to do with inaccurate childhood memories).

We're also moving, again. This apartment, while it looks nice, has proven to be totally unsuitable, due to the hot water problems, the fire alarm system being deactivated, and the noise noise noise. We're also wrangling with the letting again so fingers-crossed that we'll get our bond back without having to go to the tenancy board :-(. More details to follow as they come to hand.

So Glendalough in County Wicklow it is. I'm going have a shower and pack a day bag :-).

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Compelling reasons to get a car

A 6 1/2 foot tall colleague of mine was mugged for his cellphone by a guy with a knife, in broad daylight, outside the business park, on a busy main road.

My commute is an hour from door to door each way - but when it rains, it can be 1 1/2 hours.

(It rains a lot in Dublin.)

It would be convenient to be able to drive places and do things when it suited us, not just when it suits Dublin Bus/ Bus Eireann/ the DART or the Luas.

And most compellingly, this morning on the bus, the guy behind me puked, with 30 minutes left in my journey.

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Trials and tribulations

I'm safely home from Vancouver - it was a great trip, no complaints there. And once our current crisis is sorted, I'll post about it in more detail.

Right now we have 2 problems:

1. I'm hugely jet-lagged and suffering from a cold. Last night I got about half an hour of sleep. I'm taking today off as a lieu day for all the travelling on the weekend.

2. We haven't had more than 3 minutes of hot water or heating since 18 June, and any at all since Saturday.

It is not fun to have to boil the kettle to wash your hair.

It is even less fun to have to tell your landlord that you want to move because of said water problem - and the fire alarm that's been deliberately turned off for 2 months, and the hugely excessive noise - and have him tell you that you either need to get a replacement tenant, or you forfeit your deposit.

Never mind that it's illegal to turn the fire alarm off. Or that the water and heating problem last happened 6 months ago, and has been worked on for the past 2 weeks to no effect.

Add to that the pressure of finding a replacement apartment in a central location, of a similar size, of a similar standard, and with a car park (looks like I'll need to drive to work, so we may need a car), and for the same price, just so you can get a decent night's sleep and a hot shower or central heating.

And did I mention that people queue up to view properties, and it's intensely competitive, so you don't necessarily have a great chance of getting one, even if it does magically meet all your criteria?

So we're a bit stressed at the moment. Frankly, I don't know how David manages it - looking forward to yet another cold shower, dealing with an overtired and grumpy wife, plus doing all the usual work and home stuff. He's a star.

Right, off to look for somewhere to live. Otherwise, we may be homeless.

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