Monday, May 5, 2014
It’s quite windy this bank holiday! We are still trying to translate some of what we hear on the radio and in the weather forecasts. So this morning, the forecast was for wind which would start out “moderate to fresh” and then ramp up to “strong and gusty.” It has done exactly that, but we are still trying to figure out exactly what a fresh wind is--given the way it’s been used in the past, I thought it was the same as strong. Must be between moderate and strong, though. We have also had “persistent rain,” which has now become “showery rain,” although no sign here of the “thundery rain” so far. There are many kinds of rain.
It’s been a lovely weekend in many ways. After a few days of warm and sunny weather last week, the skies turned grey and it got cooler. It has rained off and on for the past three days. It’s been exactly my kind of weather! Friday was grey with no rain and we went out walking. We were coming home from our errands when instead of turning right onto the street that would take us home, I said, “I wonder where this road leads,” and we went straight to find out. We didn’t go all the way down the road, but cut down a side street, thus discovering a new way to get to Tesco, finding a hardware store, and discovering the bike shop. We are considering getting bikes, but I’ve said that if we do that I want to take a class in bike maintenance and repair. Now we know where the shop is, we can go there and see if they have such classes.
We went into Tesco on a hunt for Altoids--Bill is just about down to his last tin and he likes to have them in his backpack when walking. There are apparently no Altoids to be found in this area, but we found a reasonable facsimile in Tesco extra strong mints. They come in rolls and not tins and they are larger, but they will work! On the way out, a lady with a netbook asked if we’d do a short survey about Tesco, so we did. At the end, she asked if we lived in Ballinrobe (which is pronounced with the emphasis on the “robe" part--as in BallinRObe) and where we’re from. We told her. She assumed we had relations here and we told her we didn’t. She assumed we’d been here before and we told her we hadn’t. She seemed surprised and then said, “Well, everyone’s leaving and going to America. It’s nice to see people coming the other way for a change!”
We were just about at the corner where we live when a guy walking in the opposite direction lifted his had in greeting. I expected a “Hello” or a “How ye?” Instead, the guy stopped, greeted us, introduced himself as David, and started talking to us about how we ended up in Ballinrobe! He knew exactly where we live and was asking us where we came from and what brought us here and stuff. He was very friendly. He said, “Welcome to Ballinrobe! I hope you’ll be very happy here for the time that you’re here and I hope that’ll be 20 years or more!” Unlikely that it will be 20 years--LOL. I have never lived in one place for more than 8 or 10, and a few less than that, but I never say never! Finally, he turned to go on his way, calling out “God bless ye!” as he walked away. Bill asked me who that was. I told him I had no idea. We had not seen him before, nor have we seen him since. Guess he’s seen us, though--life in a small town!!
On Saturday we went out in a misty rain to get the Weekend Irish Times and pick up a few sale items at Super Valu. Other than that, we’ve stayed at home. I read all my library books, ending with the nice, big, mindless novel I grabbed last week. It was a bit over 600 pages, so was long enough to keep me entertained for a few hours. I saved it for last, thinking it would be just the thing with which to spend some time on a quiet weekend--and it was! I read the first 2/3 of it yesterday between lunch and supper and finished it off this morning between breakfast and lunch. Bill finished up his own big novel, which he purchased a couple of weeks ago at the charity shop. We will either donate it back there or to the library. He’s now reading another book he found in the charity shop about Nelson Mandela. I am not sure yet what will be next up for me. We’ve drunk tea, read, listened to the radio, and I have crocheted and listened to podcasts. I am feeling quite good and very relaxed. Bill isn’t as stressed as he was last week. He still wants his internet connection, but we did get something in the mail which indicates that we are in the system, so perhaps someday things will work out!
He also made fast progress with regard to the info update he needed to do with the people from Social Security. He had to do that through the embassy in Dublin, so Thursday when we were at the library, after we had to keep reconnecting (computer restarts and troubleshooting gave us a few minutes at a time), he was able to copy and paste a letter into an email and send it. He had provided his email address, phone number and one of the mailing addresses, hoping that someone would contact him using one of those methods. The guy called within the hour and papers are supposedly on their way. It was good to end the week and begin the weekend--feeling like some progress had been made!
It seems that, just like Memorial Day weekend in the US, this May bank holiday weekend is the unofficial start of summer here. It’s staying light a bit later every day--it was 9:45 last night and even with the clouds, it wasn’t completely dark. It’s not as extreme as Fairbanks was, but it does remind us of how far north we are, even if the weather is moderated by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s raining again. That’s what I call a GREAT start to summer!!!