Autumn’s arrival

The weather has definitely taken a turn toward fall.  The sun comes out and then it rains.  The rain turns to mist and the sun peeks out again. Then it rains.  The wind has been blowing rather steadily for about 2 weeks now; I suspect that’s not going to change until the spring.  I just saw a tremendously large magpie stroll into our front garden, displaying gorgeous blue plumage, rummaging for something to eat.  The crunchy leaves are all just wet now.  PJ the groundskeeper is busy trimming back the foliage and mowing the lawns.  The blackberry vines have stopped producing so prodigiously.  The fresh summer fruits have disappeared from the farmer’s market and are being replaced with gourds, squashes and hearty root veggies.

Next week we go back to the Garda immigration office to renew our visas.  How exciting!

Sunday sees the big All Ireland hurling match replay between Galway and Kilkenny – the first match ended in a tie.  The whole city is in a dither.  Gaillimh Abú!

— Cindy


Cycling and the Change of Seasons

Cycling to and from work has become rather mundane.  There are only so many routes to take.  In general I have 3 that I stick to.  The long route is, as the name implies, longer but flatter and runs mostly along the river and canal.  This is the route that I generally take.  The wind is generally at my back, from the west in the morning, and not too strong in the afternoon. Along this route I get to see the kids going to school, the swans and ducks on the canal, and cycle through the college campus.  The steep route is, as its name implies, steep.  It traverses the steepest hill in the area and makes for a hard morning ride as the bottom of the hill is only 100 meters or so from the front door, so not a lot of time to get warmed up before I am huffing and puffing up the hill.  This route is nice when the wind is blowing out of the south, or when I am a bit late as it is much shorter, and once over the hill mostly down to work.  What it makes up for in speed it lacks in view and vista — save for the top of the hill on the way home.  The middle passage winds between the two and provides the best shelter from the wind on the way home.  But with the middling hill it is only worthwhile on very windy days.  This route takes me down one of those roads that is so narrow that the buses stop to let each other pass, and like the steep route, it lacks the view and vista of the long route.

Mixed in with all the common sights and smells there is, on occasion, something that leaps to the forefront.  The other morning, while toodling down a side road I was struck by the scent of a turf fire; a scent that reinforced the feeling that fall was here.  A few days later it was the scent of a wood fire.  The other day, while riding home in the rain, there was a small white swan feather floating in the canal.  Just the white feather floating peacefully on the grey raindrop-pitted water.

Speaking of riding home in the rain, I recently was reintroduced to that sickening feeling of the bicycle’s rear wheel sliding away.  In an off camber corner after a light rain, the rear tyre broke lose and all I could do was utter a single multisyllabic curse word before I was roughly introduced to the tarmac.  I slid a bit, but it being wet and my being fully clothed due to the weather I only received a slight abrasion and contusion to my right elbow, a weak contusion to my left palm, and drastic injury to my pride and ego.  And while they say “pride goest before the fall” mine “wentest” during the fall.  What was there to do, but pick myself up off the ground, thank all of those who asked about my welfare and unknowingly contributed to my increasing embarrassment, get the handlebars back facing forward, and continue my cycle journey home.  For as I noted in The Nature of Adventure, for me adventure arises from willingness to make the attempt and the acceptance of any defeat with good humor.

But that was then and this is now and more adventure awaits…

— Claude

A different kind of everyday

Not much new going on with us – but every day presents something new.  Does that make sense?

On Sept. 2nd we saw Arlo Guthrie at the Town Hall Theatre – he was great.  It’s probably one of the most unique concerts I’ve attended.

The weather’s been turning cooler but the sun shines between soft showers. Claude had his first road accident on his bike today, he slipped on the wet road and got pretty scuffed up but he’ll be okay.

It’s been quite interesting to watch the blooming plants change over the course of the year.  They seem to run through the gamut, one plant blooms, then another, then another, in a cascade that never seems to end.  My latest flower discovery is pretty interesting.

Our own personal austerity program has kept us from going out for meals as often as we used to so I’ve been continuing to hone my culinary skills.  Cooking vegetarian is quite the challenge.  Found an extremely easy chocolate mousse recipe that produces a delicious dessert in no time.

I wander around the city with my camera and occasionally I find something worth shooting.  We enjoy our Saturday market mornings very much.  We’ve found a cheesemonger who sells the most amazing cheeses.

Still very much enjoying my volunteer job.  I’ve applied for another one, this time with an at-risk youth group.  Just have to pass the Garda vetting again.

We’re reading Don Quixote together in the evenings before bedtime.  I’m not entirely sure Claude is enjoying it so I’ve found a couple of books of Irish myths and legends that we may switch over to; however I’m going to finish Quixote because it’s a great story.

Claude’s new contract has been signed and is almost completed.  It’s only good through June 2013 so he’s looking for other work.  The jobs are mostly in Dublin, which kind of scares me – moving expenses, new lifestyle, etc. – but we’ll do what we have to to stay in Ireland.  I said something today at Age Action about that man telling me that Galway is where careers go to die and one of the ladies who works there said it was a well-known phenomenon called “termination of trajectory.”  I like that.  We’re ready for this trajectory to terminate here in beautiful western Ireland.

— Cindy

Fómhar : The End Of Summer

This week seems to mark the end of summer.  For the first time in a couple of months it was cold enough that I rode to work in long pants. The sun is headed toward its wintry nadir as is evidenced by its later rising.  The mornings are colder, I can see my breath.  I will soon be cycling in the dark again.

Fómhar has come in with a vengeance.

— Claude

A Morning’s Travel

This morning on my daily ride to work the day was clear and the morning sun shining.  As I rode along the shore of the river Corrib I saw the mist rising behind the cattails, on the far shore the ruin of an old estate, and in the distance the square tower of an old castle.  Nothing but the sounds of birds singing and the bicycle tires crunching along the dirt path.

Ahhh the wonders of an early Irish summer morn; brilliant.

— Claude