Thursday, September 30, 2021

'Tis the Season... keep my eyes open for the first Christmas biscuit sighting of the year. Yesterday was the day. We were in the grocery store in the next village and there they were.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Maybe This Means We've Really Arrived :-)

 My computer had been having issues these past few weeks and nothing seemed to make them go away, so I reluctantly admitted that it was on its way out. It wasn't a surprise. There had been indications that it was struggling for a few months before and I think almost never using it for the month we were moving and only had brief access to wifi prolonged its life a little bit. We always buy refurbished computers, mp3 players, etc, for environmental reasons, so it wasn't expensive and I got years of use from it. Still it was somewhat annoying to not be able to do certain things that just don't work well on the tablet. I didn't have to deal with the issue for long, though, because Bill found a refurbished computer in Ireland that meets my minimal computer needs. Since Brexit we are much more careful about avoiding UK sellers--too much hassle and various fees. Anyway, since it was coming from Ireland, we figured there was a good chance it would get here on Monday. We were heading out when we saw the postman drive up a lane across the street, so we waited to see if he would come here next. There is a mail slot in the main door, which locks automatically when it closes, so if there is a parcel and no one happens to see or hear him, he drops a card through the slot and we have to go pick up the item at the post office in the next village a mile and a quarter down the road. There used to be one in a wee shop in our little village, but it closed. 

On this day, the postman came down the lane and swung around next to us. He asked if it was Bill and said he had a parcel. It was my computer. Bill brought it into the apartment and we headed off. As we were walking, I said to Bill, 'Now he knows who we are, so it won't be long before he sees us walking around between villages and stops to give us a parcel.' Indeed it did not take long! Today we walked to the library and then the grocery store. We were on our way home when I suddenly saw a van heading towards us. Then I saw the an Post logo. He pulled up and handed Bill the book I'd asked him to order for me. I guess it was just a tad too thick to go through the slot. He said he'd left a card for us to pick it up, but we could just rip it up. We rarely buy stuff online but when we do it is almost always a book or books, so there may be more opportunities to have them delivered while out and about. Now that we're known by the postman, maybe it means we've really arrived in the village.πŸ˜€

This is the book I got and I am excited to own it. It's one I plan to keep.

Sunday, September 26, 2021


 I was reading along, nearing the end of the book. A weird-ish mystery, published in 1955 and then reissued in 1993 as part of a series of forgotten classics. I was about 30 pages from the end. Loose ends were being tied up and explanations given. I turned a page and found this:

I turned this page, hoping the story would pick up there where it had ended on the previous page, but nope. These blank pages were supposed to contain actual words important to the story. I muddled on, knowing I had missed some important bits. I turned the page again and was faced with more blank white space. After that, I flipped through the rest of the pages to see if there were more blanks. There weren't and I finished the book, but the experience would have been better if four of the final 30 pages had not been missing! I do not recall ever having come across this kind of thing before and I hope it's the last time! πŸ€¨πŸ˜•

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

July Books: Fiction and Short Stories

 I read some great fiction and short stories in July.

Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)
This book was originally published serially in 8 parts in 1871 ans 1872. The story is set in the fictional town of Middlemarch between 1829 and 1832 and runs roughly on two tracks, although they intersect frequently. The novel begins with Dorothea Brooke, a very young woman who, with her sister, Celia, has been raised by an uncle on the death of her parents. She is pretty uninterested in the expectations put upon her as a woman and instead is more interested in intellectual pursuits and improving the lives of the poor and exploited. She makes a very big mistake and learns from it as the consequences gradually become clear to her. This part began as a long story revolving around the character of Dorothea and those who are in her orbit.

The second storyline revolves around a young doctor, Tertius Lydgate, who is new in Middlemarch. He has some newfangled ideas that the older generation of doctors does not like, which creates tension. He befriends the Vincy family. He also makes a big mistake that causes him suffering. This part of the book was meant to be the novel Middlemarch until Eliot realized she should intertwine both storylines into one book.

When I read classics, and particularly Victorian classics, I am always struck by how many things sound exactly like what is going on today. The technology and channels of communication are different, so these things happen in different ways today, but it’s still the same stuff. For example, virtually everyone in the novel, no matter their class situation or occupation, was always focused on keeping up appearances and hiding things that would cause people to look down on them. They didn’t have social media influencers, but there were influencers of another kind in the form of gossip. Word (whether true or not) didn’t get around as quickly as it does today, but it did get around and changed people’s lives in profound ways.

I really enjoyed this book. I could relate to some of the feelings expressed by Dorothea in particular.  There were some funny bits, too, which made me laugh.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
We were in the charity shop one day, dropping off a couple of books when I saw this on the shelf. I'd been looking at it for months in e-audiobook and e-book on the library site, but it's too long for me to want to read/listen in those formats, so I never borrowed it. But there it was, so I bought it, figuring I could read it right away and donate it back so I wouldn't have to move it. As it happens, since there's no wee free library in Dungloe, we ended up sort of creating on on a shelf in between the sets of doors that make up the entrance to the old church where the library is housed. We would put books on an empty shelf with a 'free books' sign on top and they got taken, so we added more. This book ended up on one of those piles. It's a good book.

Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor
This is an epistolary novel which consists of letters between friends and business partners. One is a Jewish person who runs an art gallery in the US and the other is his partner who goes back to Germany as Hitler is coming to power and falls under his spell. It’s a chilling but important work, particularly now.

The Last Resort by Jan Carson
This is a collection of linked short stories, each told from the perspective of a different person. All of them are set in a caravan park in Northern Ireland, located on the edge of a crumbling cliff. This is a new addition to the library’s e-book collection. I loved it!

Learning to Talk by Hilary Mantel
This is a collection of short stories I picked up in a charity shop a couple years ago. The last story is an excerpt from her autobiography, which was published shortly before this. It was clear from that how biographical the previous stories were. They all revolved around childhood experiences. This is a good collection and well worth reading.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

July Books: Nonfiction, Folktales, and Poetry

 In addition to all the (mostly) classic detective fiction, there was some fascinating nonfiction in the book pile in July.
In Praise of Wasting Time by Alan Lightman
When I came across this title in the e-book section of the library website, I was eager to read it. It did not disappoint.
‘We have apps, smart watches and calendars that constantly remind us to be productive and stop wasting time. We have created a frenzied lifestyle in which time is money, with not a minute to be wasted, and the twenty-four hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced down to small units of efficiency.  

Professor Alan Lightman documents the rush and heave of the modern world, and examines the many values of ‘wasting time’ – for replenishing the mind, for creative thought, for finding and solidifying the inner self and letting the mind lie fallow without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks.

Carl Jung did his most creative thinking and writing when he took time off from his frenzied practice in Zurich to go to his country house. Gustav Mahler routinely took three or four-hour walks after lunch, stopping to jot down ideas in his notebook. Albert Einstein described letting his mind ‘roam’ to make connections between concepts that were previously unconnected.

In this timely and essential book, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam. In Praise of Wasting Time teaches us all that sometimes, the best thing to do is to do nothing at all.’ Here's a quote:

Queen of Whale Cay: The Extraordinary Story of ‘Joe’ Carstairs, the Fastest Woman on Earth by Kate Summerscale
I found this in a charity shop years ago, but as it was a small paperback, I always set it aside to read larger books that I didn’t want to haul with me during a move. This time it came to the new place, but I read it and brought it back to be donated to the charity shop. It’s the biography of ‘Joe’ Carstairs, a woman born into a wealthy family who lived as a man and broke speed boat racing records before buying an island and declaring herself queen. Cay is pronounced ‘key.’

Dorothy L. Sayers: A Careless Rage for Life by David Coomes
This is a biography of Dorothy L. Sayers, best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels. She was one of the Queens of Crime during the Golden Age of detective fiction, but her output in the genre was not as extensive as some of the others. She also did a lot of theological writing. This author, who worked for BBC Radio in the religion department, is primarily interested in the latter. He skims over parts of her life, but quotes extensively from her letters and other writings that pertain to her religious views. I found this mildly interesting, but had it been a longer book, I probably would not have finished it. 

Why the Moon Travels by Oein deBhairduin
This is a collection of folktales from the Traveller culture. 

Quiet Enough by John Stevenson
This was a book of the week in an email from the Haiku Foundation. These haiku and senryu bring many images to mind, some of them sad as he writes about experiences and feelings leading up to, during, and after a break-up/divorce. But others made me smile and created a feeling of peace, like this one:
autumn wind
the leaves are going
where I’m going

I look forward to that autumn wind! 

Monday, September 20, 2021

July Books: Mystery

 Because we were in the process of moving and only had wifi for short bursts of time, I never posted my July and August books. I'll start with July and try to get to August at some point in future.

Death of a Bean Counter by Sandra Balzo
I was in the mood for a cozy, so clicked over to the e-book section of the library website. I found this and it was available, so I borrowed it. It’s part of a series and not an early title, so a lot came before, but it can be read as  a standalone. It provided me with what I wanted. If I saw another book in the series at the library or a charity shop, I’d probably pick it up but for now I don’t feel inclined to seek them out.
‘Amy Caprese is the star barista at Maggy Thorsen’s coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds. But her new beau Kip Fargo has been shot dead in his bed – and Amy is the prime suspect. Determined to prove her barista’s innocence, Maggy soon makes a number of disturbing discoveries. Can she untangle a web of lies in time to avert the disaster that’s brewing?’

Death of a Glutton by MC Beaton (audiobook read by David Monteith)
I borrowed this at the same time I borrowed an e-book when I was in the mood for a cozy mystery. This is a Hamish Macbeth novel and I took it because it was available at the time. In this one, a marriage agency has booked a local hotel for their matchmaking getaway. The co-owner of the agency, who organized the whole thing, did this deliberately because her partner was on holiday. To the dismay of everyone, the holiday was cancelled and this woman shows up. She is a glutton and turns everyone off with the way and amount of food that she eats. She inserts herself into outings where she is not wanted. People try to steer clear until one night she gets a message from her accountant and announces that she is worth 3 million pounds. After that, the men in the group decide maybe they can put up with her after all. This popularity doesn’t last long, because she is soon found dead with an apple stuffed in her mouth.
I found this book problematic. The way she describes the victim is pretty over the top. For instance, at one point, she says she ate a 12-egg omelette with sides. I am not sure whether I will ever listen to any more of these, but if I do, it won’t be for a long while.

Grave Mistake by Ngaio Marsh
This is the 30th book in the author’s Roderick Alleyn series and the last to be considered an English cosy mystery. It takes place in the fictional village of Upper Quintern, with the quirky characters you’d expect in such a novel, both old-timers and newcomers. The Hon Sybil Foster and her childhood friend, Verity Preston are neighbours, each living in homes they inherited. Sybil decides to make yet another visit to a health spa/hotel called Greengages, which turns out to be her last. At first it seems like a clear case of suicide, but then it becomes clear that some things just don;t add up. Why did Sybil make a new will just before she died? Where is the rare and valuable postage stamp hidden away by her first husband before he was killed in the war? Where is her stepson? Alleyn and his sidekick, Fox proceed to find out.

I enjoyed this book as I have all the previous ones in the series. I have only two left before I’ve read them all, but there I’ve requested the collection of her short stories from the library. I also discovered that she had written the first few chapters of another novel before she passed away. This was completed by someone else. I’ve requested that one, too.

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie
Christie originally wrote this as a play and it was later turned into a novel by Charles Osborne. Poirot is summoned to the home of a well know scientist who is working on a formula that is quite valuable to the government that gets it. Just before Poirot and Hastings arrive, Sir Claud Amory is murdered, so they jump right into the case.

Death on the Air and Other Stories by Ngaio Marsh
Almost at the end of the Roderick Alleyn series by Marsh and as I was looking to see what book came next, I was reminded of this collection of short stories. I requested it from the library. 

Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy
This book was completed after Marsh’s death. She had left part of it and Stella Duffy completed it. She did a good job. This book takes place during WWII, so it was not published in chronological order. Roderick Alleyn is in New Zealand in an undercover capacity—incognito at a hospital run by nuns. He is drawn into an investigation that he is afraid will blow his cover when some money and the head of the institution go missing.

Trent’s Last Case by E.C. Bentley
A classic mystery that I had on my e-reader. It was published as The Woman in Black in the US. Philip Trent is a freelance journalist who is commissioned to go to a country estate where a wealthy man has been found dead and report on the case. He investigates. He is no Miss Marple as his conclusions lead him in the wrong direction, but of course, the case is solved in the end. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Beauty All Around

 I've been grooving on colours and shapes lately as we walk and I stop to look at the gorgeous flowers still in bloom. Still so many to observe and enjoy!
still hydrangeas in bloom

even as some begin to dry out with a beauty all their own


more blooms to come

I don't know how long flowers will bloom or what the weather will bring as we head into autumn (yay!), but there is always something beautiful to notice when we're out and about, no matter what the season.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Park Here!

 When we got to the end of the long lane we walked to get to the library the other day, we took a left turn and then another a few steps later. We spotted the park.

The top of the sign (public park) indicates that it's a project of ΓšdarΓ‘s na Gaeltachta, which is a regional authority promoting social, economic, and cultural development of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking areas). Note the wee walker at the bottom of the sign. We'd seen a trail behind some greenery and a fence when we were nearing the end of the lane, so now we knew what it was. On the way back, we veered off and strolled along the short looped trail. It was quite lovely, surrounded by green and with lots of benches. It would be a beautiful spot to sit with some tea and a book or some stitching. 

I always notice the lichens and mosses on the trees. Such beautiful abstract artwork my Mother Earth.
What a great find this wee park was for us--we'll enjoy meandering along the trail again.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Dew Hang Around

 Even though it was mid-afternoon when we walked to the library yesterday, there was still some dew (or maybe mizzle from the night before) on some of the plants. Gorgeous!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Let's Go This Way

 Today we decided to take an alternate route to the library. It's about a kilometre longer than the way google maps recommends, which is the way we've gone before, but that's OK. We headed out and started down one lane, then took the second left onto the long lane that would take us there, coming at the library from the opposite side.
It was a lovely walk.

on our way home

It takes us longer to get to the library when we go this way, but that's OK. We can go the other way if we want to get there quicker (15-20 minutes each way). We can go this way if we want more of a stroll. Or we can go one way and come back the other--it'll just depend on what kind of mood we're in on a given day. It's all good and with the library as the destination, there's no way to go wrong! πŸ˜€

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Climbing Out of the Pit of Despair

 Pema Chodron again, like last week. I so value her teaching. When I was at a very low point, living in Sucktown and seriously depressed, hoping every night that I would not wake up in the morning and being angry and upset when I did, it was her teaching that started to help me out of it. I was working at the local library at the time and I would check out audiobook CDs by her. As I lay in bed crying, I would listen and she provided me with things to think about without getting up and while still crying. Eventually, I stopped crying and I got up. I was healing. I climbed out of the pit of despair. I continue to be grateful for the access I have to her and other Buddhist teaching/psychology. I hope I never feel like that again. I find secular Buddhist thought/teaching to be very commonsensical. This quote makes perfect sense and as so often happens, I read it and think, 'Exactly!' Sometimes, though, I need a reminder.

'Let your curiosity be greater than your fear.'

And here's one from a different direction:
'When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it—don't back down and don't give up—then you're going to mystify a lot of folks.'

—Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


 A couple of weeks ago, we had to go to Dungloe for an appointment. We took the opportunity to do some grocery shopping and use a voucher we had from a local store. As a result, when we were on our way home, my large backpack was heavy. We walked from the grocery store to the bus stop--about 1/2 mile. The bus came and we got on. Our usual driver, John (not his real name) was back after an absence of a couple weeks. When we got home, John pulled up in front of our building and got up to open the door and go down the stairs. As he was going for the door, he grabbed my backpack and said, 'I'll take that for you.' and brought it down the steps. When we were all outside, he said, 'You know, I do a town run. I will be at SuperValu at about 1:40. I'll remind you next time.' He said this two or three times and I was surprised, but nodding and saying, 'OK, go raibh maith agat' (pronounced go-ruh-ma-huh-gut, or something similar depending on dialect--this means thank you).  As we were making our way inside and he was driving away, I was thinking about this. I remembered that he had driven up as we were heading to SuperValu, so had seen us there. It dawned on me that he might be concerned about the weight of my pack and me carrying it from the shops to the bus stop. 

Yesterday, we went back to Dungloe. As we were disembarking, he reminded me that he would be by at about 1:40 and added, 'There's no need for you to carry that heavy pack all this way.' Of course, after that, we would have felt like jerks if we didn't wait at the store, so we did even though we could have managed the load. He drove up, we settled in and stayed on the bus until we were dropped off right outside our door again.

We've been riding various buses here, in different areas (mostly rural), for over 7 years and I have been so impressed with how kind and considerate everyone is. There have been one or two grouchy drivers, but almost all of them have gone out of their way to be helpful. This is particularly true on these small rural routes. On this one, many people come from small villages further out than ours to go to Dungloe and get groceries. The shops here are pretty good, but they are more expensive than Aldi, Lidl, or SuperValu. Sometimes they aren't well stocked. And the shops in Dungloe have other things besides food. So older people will get on the bus with their 'granny trolleys' and go grocery shopping in Dungloe. Even before we moved here and started using this bus, I've seen them in Aldi and Lidl doing the town run. The drivers were in and out of the bus, taking bags from full trolleys (the grocery store carts/carriages) and loading them into the bus for the people riding. They get out and open the door when people get on and off. When someone gets on and wants to chat, they engage in conversation. One day during our move, Bill and I were the only two on the bus back home. I asked John a question about Irish and we had a mini Irish lesson. Then he told us some stories about the area and what it was like when he was growing up. It was great fun. 

The bus also serves as a social setting. Irish people get free travel passes when they turn 66 (Bill has one that allows both of us to ride free), so older people get on in groups or they sit by someone already on and the conversations and laughing begins. People talk about their own lives, what's going on in the community, people they know, world events, and more. Sometimes people  reminisce about the old days. I've learned a lot as I've ridden various buses! It's a wonderful part of living where and as we do!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Still a Bit Off, But Still Grateful

 Since we finished moving, I've been trying to settle in and get into a new routine. I have been unsuccessful. I'm still feeling a bit discombobulated for some reason. This may partly be due to the summer weather we had last week. This always throws me off kilter as I am uncomfortable and don't sleep well. I am so looking forward to autumnal weather--less sun, more mizzle and drizzle, wind with a bit of a sharp edge to it all make me extremely happy, comfortable, and I sleep well. I think I just need a week or two of restful sleep at my ideal time (2-3am to 9-10 am) and walks that do not involve feeling like I am being roasted alive.

I am also getting used to working in a kitchen without a freezer or an oven. I knew there was a chance of being freezer-less, but when we looked at the place, I didn't think to check. The fridge is an under counter one, but it's for under a tall counter--in this case, it's under the breakfast bar. It's a nice size that I'm happy with. And I won't miss defrosting a freezer, but I do miss having one. We've looked into it and we can get a mini/tabletop freezer, but we decided to see how we get on before buying one. We really do not want to own an appliance like that. If we do end up moving again, it'd just be one more thing to either haul or try to sell. When we were moving this time, the local charity shop couldn't accept anything with a plug, so donating it could be tricky if it came to that.

After we got the keys and were hanging out here for the first time, it took me an hour or so to realize that there is no oven here. I did not notice when looking at the photos in the listing or when we came to view. This I do not care about. I am happy enough to have the cupboard space instead of having it taken up with an oven I would try not to use. Every oven I've had since we came to Ireland has been crap--very inefficient. When I would turn them on, I could feel the air being blown out the door as the fan came on. The seals were probably shot. They were all old. It took forever to preheat and cook things. If I tried to use them without the fans, cooking time was even longer. I hated them. I'd never used ovens like that before--small with fans (but not convection ovens). In our first Irish apartment, I found the manual in a cupboard so used that as a guide to familiarize myself with the symbols and settings. When I read that it would take half an hour to cook a piece of salmon, I knew this was not gonna be a great appliance. And I've experienced worse ovens since. A few years ago, a then local grocery store had George Foreman indoor grills on sale and I happened to have a voucher. We bought one for 15 euro, figuring that it would pay for itself in electricity cost savings. It did and it didn't take long. Since then, I've kept my eyes open for other ways to avoid the oven, such as making things like stuffing and lasagna in my slow cooker instead of the oven. They come out much better and use a fraction of the energy. Still, there were some things for which neither the slow cooker nor the grill would work, so we looked into it and decided to get an air fryer to use as an oven. After reading some blogs and watching some videos, I understood that we needed to look for one that was wide instead of tall, with more surface area at the bottom of the basket. Lo and behold, on the day we got our security deposit back and handed over the keys to the apartment in Dungloe, we were in Lidl picking up some groceries and what did I see but exactly the kind of air fryer I was looking for. Yay! They had another smaller one that was half the price, but I could tell from the picture on the box that the round basket had a small bottom, so I passed on that one. The one we got has a 9 1/2 inch square basket. It seems like it will work just fine. I decided to keep it simple the first time I used it, so just made some fresh potato wedges. It took 15 minutes to do what has taken at least an hour in my previous ovens. So I'm happy. I will be learning the quirks and have been getting a few cookbooks from the library.

As a bonus, when we left Lidl, it was about 1:20. The bus we take between here and Dungloe also does local town runs, the last of which is at 1:30. So we waited right outside the door with our groceries and our large box. The bus pulled up, the driver got out, grabbed the box, placed it on a seat, and waited until we got on before closing the door and moving along. Then we did the rest of the town run, went back to the Main St. stop, picked up a couple more people, and came home. We get dropped off right outside our door, so we did not have to try to carry the box around town on either end, which would have been awkward. It still amazes me that we can live out here in this very rural place and we do not have to burden ourselves with car ownership. It's another thing that I am grateful for.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

 From my Tricycle Daily Dharma email this morning:

'It can be hard to tell what’s a failure and what’s just something that is shifting your life in a different direction. In other words, failure can be the portal to creativity, to learning something new, to having a fresh perspective.'

—Pema ChΓΆdrΓΆn, “How to Fail”

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Very Vivid!

 Still plenty of colour around

Friday, September 3, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Happy Ending

 The day we came to look at our new place and set a date a few days hence to start moving in, we were happy, but cautious. After the experience with Dick2, we knew we had to wait to see the lease before we got too excited. We had a strange weekend as we waited for Monday to arrive. When it did, we each packed our big backpacks and caught the bus, asking to be dropped off at the office. The lease was what we were used to—it laid out responsibilities on both sides without being hostile. It was just a few pages. We signed and got the keys. The letting agent said he would drive us to the flat. He came in and did a video of the place and its contents. Before he left, he repeated what he’d said when we viewed it—that they wanted a nice, quiet, friendly situation for everybody. We unpacked the few things we’d bought, had a cuppa, and basked in our happiness and relief about how things had turned out. 

A couple hours later, there was a knock on the door. It was the owner coming to introduce himself. He came in and showed us how things work. I mentioned the issues with the place we were leaving and he said, ‘Oh no, you won’t have any of that here. No weeping walls! The whole place is insulated.’ Then he proceeded to tap on the walls and around the windows. He said the attic is insulated, too. It’s a very warm flat, he said and used his son as an example. He is our neighbour and ‘uses his computer for heat.’ The landlord tapped the storage heater and said his son has not yet ever turned his on. He seemed really nice and we like him, too, as we do the letting agent who manages the place. When we were looking for the place to plug in the router, we discovered a wall plate that was broken in a neighbouring plug behind a piece of furniture. Bill took a photo to show that it was like that when we got here and sent it to the letting agent. Within two days the owner was here to fix it. He stayed a while and we had a nice chat. Before he left he said he hoped we’d be happy here and that they wanted a nice, quiet, friendly situation for everyone. The fact that this eas repeated so often makes me think they’ve had some issues in the past. I can only imagine.

So we settle in. The other day, we finally walked down to the beach again. We hadn’t been there since the day we came to view the flat, even though it’s just down the lane—a 7 or 8 minute walk from our door. 
When I was walking on the beach and turned around, there was Mt Errigal with some clouds covering her conical top. Beautiful.
We’re slowly finding our way into a new routine and exploring our new location. We’re both sleeping better than we have for months. It all feels really good!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Dick2 Reappears

 There I was, sitting in the B&B after a long hot day wandering around what would be my new village/townland. I had discovered that there were messages from Dick2, the guy who wanted us to sign a dodgy lease over a week before. I’d emailed him with questions and concerns about this document, telling him that when we had answers, we could think about how to proceed. He had not responded until this day. 

I called him and he started out being calm and polite, asking me about the lease. I told him I’d sent him an email that he’d not responded to. He interrupted—a pattern that was to continue throughout the conversation. ‘I never got an email!’ I calmly reiterated that I’d sent an email on the same day we got the lease. His agitation level notched up a bit and his voice got louder. ‘I never got an email from you!’ ‘No?’ I replied, ‘Well, it’s in my sent mail folder, so I can forward it to you if you’d like.’ We were not going to talk about the email any more after that.  Had my brain not been fried from the nasty sun and heat, I might have thought to say that Bill also got the CC so it was not believable that he did not receive it. We both think that what happened was that he saw it and figured he’d ignore it and we’d cave and sign it.

Anyway, on the conversation went, with me calmly speaking and him interrupting, getting more and more agitated, twisting my words, ignoring what he didn’t want to talk about, and becoming increasingly hostile. In short order, he was yelling at me. ‘I took it off the market for you! I could have rented it to someone else! Other people wanted to look at it!’ ‘Good,’ I replied, ‘Then you should call them.’ That pissed him off more. He did not want to discuss the issues we had with the lease, even though he asked me about them. When I mentioned a couple things off the top of my head, he ignored them and yelled about something else. I was so tired, but my brain was running through all kinds of thoughts about how bizarre this was, how lucky we were to have decided against dealing with this guy, and wondering how long this nonsense was going to go on. But things got even more weird and I started to wonder whether I was actually in a junior high lunch room. 

He repeatedly yelled at me, ‘You dropped me! You just dropped me!’ ‘How does one respond to this, I wonder?’ I was thinking to myself. In the end, I didn’t bother, because he just kept yelling over me, repeating that we’d dropped him. I almost felt sorry for him at that point, because it was all so pathetic. Finally he got tired of his tantrum, I guess, because he shouted that he never wanted to have anything to do with us again, hanging up on me before I could say that finally here was something we could agree on!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Happy Day!

 Happy 1st day of meteorological autumn! Good-bye summer! πŸ˜πŸπŸ‚

Before we had our experience with Dick2, we had high hopes for a different place—the place we’re in now, in fact. The listing had popped up late one night in June. We both liked it, but we had to do some investigation into the location. We discovered that it would meet our needs with 4 different bus companies going through, access to grocery stores, and places to walk. The next morning, Bill contacted the letting agent, who said that there were still a few things being done to the place, then asked him to send references from other letting agents, not landlords. Bill did this and we waited for a date and time to view. At the end of the week, he called and said that the apartment would now not be available until August as the owner’s daughter was staying in it. He said he would call us back when we could view. We were disappointed. We wanted to come here, but we didn’t feel like we could wait and see whether or not it would actually become available, given the conditions at the place in Dungloe. We kept looking, every once in a while reminding ourselves that this was still there in the background as a possibility.

About a week and a half after we dealt with Dick2, near the end of July, Bill got a call just as we were starting supper. It was Bob (not his real name), the letting agent from here, asking if we could come and view the apartment the next day. We agreed. We could have come here and gone back a couple hours later, but we decided to see if we could find a room for the night so we’d have time to explore. It was a very hot day—30-ish C, which is not at all usual for here. It was a hard day in some ways, but we were buoyed by the fact that we knew we were moving here. I wrote about the day here.

When we came to look at it, Bob told us to wander around before inviting us to take a seat. We chatted for about 20 minutes. It was very comfortable and pleasant—nothing at all like the last guy. We both really like Bob and did from the start. We later learned that one of our letters of reference was from a guy he’d taken his exams with years ago. I asked when we would know whether we could rent it and he said within the hour. He was going to call the owner and tell him we wanted it. It seemed like we were kind of pre-approved in a way. Bob said there was another couple interested, but they didn’t provide references. They wanted a nice, quiet situation where everyone gets along and likes one another (there are 4 apartments here and we never hear anyone unless they go out or come in and we hear their door). I can only imagine what has happened in the past. There are two cracked windows as a result of someone throwing stones at them to get the attention of the previous tenant. he’s been trying to get someone to fix them for 4 months, he said. Anyway, he showed us around outside and that was that. He called within 15 minutes and we set up a time to come back, sign the lease and get the keys. This was a Thursday and we did that on the following Monday. We did not allow ourselves to get too excited, given what happened a couple weeks earlier. We’d need to see the lease.

As it happened, the day was destined to be blighted by Dick2. Later on, we discovered multiple messages from the guy—voicemail, text, email. When we got to the B&B, after I’d recovered a bit from the heat, I reluctantly called him. It was bizarre and by the end, I wondered if I was dealing with an adult. We still laugh about it.