We've gotten into the habit of doing our weekly shop on Wednesdays, because it seems like the best time to avoid crowds. After breakfast, off we went, neither of us really feeling like we wanted to go, but looking forward to having it done.
As we approached Aldi we could see that there were more cars than in the car park, at least for a Wednesday, which I suppose has something to do with the upcoming Easter/bank holiday weekend. We kept walking and went to Lidl instead, which had fewer people there. It's just a little further down the road than Aldi.
I was thinking that I'm glad we moved when we did, because it would be harder to do this in the place we just left. First of all, the grocery store there was good, but sometimes not well-stocked. And while I had a good-sized freezer, the fridge was a small under-counter appliance. That would be fine, if it worked properly which it didn't. It was old. It never shut off. Stuff on the top shelf would freeze, even though I had it set to the lowest setting. It was small enough as it was, but even smaller because I couldn't use the top shelf. And if I put leftovers in before they were room temperature, the milk would often go off. None of this is good from a food safety standpoint. It was always wet inside, so if I stored carrots in there, for example, they would quickly start to rot, so I had to find another place to keep them. Getting things fixed was difficult, because the letting agent who managed the place was not easy to get in touch with and whether or not he passed things on to the landlord, we do not know. I did get the fridge looked at once, because it was hot inside. When I called the office, I was lucky enough to get the letting agent's mother, who did start to tell me that she would have to tell her son who would have to call the landlord who would then have to give permission for them to call someone to look at it. I interrupted her and said, 'I cannot use my refrigerator. It is hot inside.' That changed things. She raised 5 kids, so recognised the importance of the refrigerator! She said she'd have someone out that afternoon and she did. Who knows how long it would have taken if I had not been lucky enough to call when the son was out and she was in the office!
However, when he showed up and looked at it, the guy said the fridge was too old to fix, so he took care of the problem with the switch that turns off the light bulb by removing the bulb. because the switch was broken, the light stayed on all the time and since the fridge was so small, it quickly heated up inside. His solution for the freezer compartment door that would not stay closed was to take a sea shell that we had on the nearby windowsill and wedge it in. He kept repeating that I was not to worry because the fridge would come back on (we'd turned off the plug and removed the food, using a neighbour's fridge), but would then go off again. I told him that I know that they go on and off, but this one just stays on. He kept repeating that when it shut off I shouldn't worry and I kept repeating that it didn't shut off. Finally he left and we could at least use the fridge again. It did not shut off.
Now, if we were using that fridge, we'd have a hard time keeping much food in it, which would mean more trips to the grocery store, which we want to avoid. I am happy that I have a decent fridge now. It's bigger (not as big as US fridges, but plenty big enough) and it works properly, as does the freezer on the bottom. It is not wet all the time. My carrots don't start to get mouldy within a couple of days. We can buy what we need at one time and avoid extra trips to the shop. It's funny how little things can make such a difference.
We moved the clocks forward a week and a half ago, so it is still not dark at 9 o'clock. In addition, the weather is becoming spring/summer-like with more sunshine. People are starting to show up in various small coastal towns and villages to spend the Easter/holiday weekend at their holiday homes, much to the chagrin of local people and health officials. People are supposed to stay home. So now the gardaí have the power to stop people and fine/arrest them if they do not comply with the rules. The commissioner reminds people that they are still a community policing force and they will first 'remind' people of what the rules are. He does not expect to have to detain or fine many people, but as a last resort, he says, they will. He also said that if people were thinking about going to their holiday home, to think again and stay where they are, but if they have already gone, they need to stay there indefinitely and not go back to their main home. Simon Harris, the Minister for Health said,“If someone is showing disrespect to your health, to my health and risking your family’s health, and my family’s health, and refusing to comply, gardaí can ensure they do comply.”
I'm not sure how many of the people showing up are from Northern Ireland. In Donegal, many holiday homes are owned by people from Northern Ireland. The UK was slow to implement stay-at-home measures and there was an uproar here in the republic a few weeks ago when people from Northern Ireland came and packed beaches. I'm not sure whether there will be checkpoints at various points along the border or not, but that carries with it a whole other set of political tensions.
One of the characters in a book I recently read would repeatedly say, 'It's a funny old world.' Indeed.