Christmas swim

Christmas swim today!  It’s an annual fundraiser run by COPE Galway, a local homeless assistance charity.  The diving board area was crammed with people, some wearing their warmest winter coats and hats, some wearing nothing but a swimsuit. Thank goodness the fierce winds and hail had finally cleared off or it could have been a tragedy!  But instead it was a lot of fun.  We’ll be sure to get there earlier next year and with plenty of coin in our pockets for the buckets.

Happy Christmas!

— Cindy

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It’s beginning to look a lot like …

Winter!  I awoke the other morning, threw open the curtains and there was snow on the ground.  Actual snow!  A few moments later it began to hail and I wondered if it actually was snow, but Claude assured me later that it really was.

The weather has taken a decidedly wintry turn since then, with howling winds and lashing rains, along with some flooding along the coastal areas.  On our weekly trek into the city to the farmer’s market we saw seaweed strewn across the road.  Quite astonishing.

With Christmas day now nearly upon us – finally, it’s almost over – it’s been interesting to find how many people we have established relationships with over the past two years.  Ron at the fruit & veg stand who always knocks a euro or two off the total because we shop there every week; Layla at the bread stand who we’ve come to know fairly well, who married the baker Jonah last year, and is a pretty, vital young woman who always has a smile on her face; Hugo and Stefania at the cheesemongers stand who always have an interesting new cheese for us to try (Chocolate cheese? You bet I’ll try it!); Vinny & Ally at the Candyland shop, purveyors of American goods – mostly sugary – whose kindness in saving aside our favorite things has lent a little touch of the familiar to our lives.  My new friend Delia whose apartment has the most wondrous view of the bay and the diving board, and whose need for someone with technical savvy gives me the opportunity to visit with her and take in that view, and to enjoy her tea, cakes and biscuits, and hear her amazing stories of a long life well lived.  All my lovely cohorts in the MS exercise class who were slow to accept me but finally treat me as one of their own.  All the wonderful people I work with at my two volunteer jobs, and the friendships I’ve been lucky to forge with a special few.  And the people who have come and gone during our time in Galway who are not forgotten and with whom we connect when they come back to the City of the Tribes.

Just this minute the sun has broken through the clouds and shines brightly, however briefly, on the water of the bay, this morning dull and gray, now a shining bright silver.  The beginning of the lengthening of the days brings hope and happiness to our little corner of Ireland.

Happy holidays to you and yours and a prosperous and healthy 2014 to you!

— Cindy

Winter in the garden

Winter in the garden

Brrr!

Brrr!

The Wind and The Rain

Yesterday the wind blew from the south with great ferocity and the rain fell with a vengeance.  Cindy and I were waiting in the shelter of the bus stop, the wind literally rocking the shelter wall. I noticed that the collected water on the roof of the shelter as it dropped to the ground on the lee side would exit the slight wind break and meet with an upward gust that caused the rain drops to halt their fall, whereupon they were struck from behind by their fellows to shatter and disperse in smaller droplets that, being lighter, were blown upward. As the droplets collided with other descending drops or merged with those traveling in a similar direction, the resulting spray looked for all the world like foam.

We watched for several minutes until our bus came.  When we returned the day had cleared and nothing remained of the episode save for our memories – and now this blog post.

— Claude