After the end of Summer

I looked out the window the other day and discovered the tree had broken out in red.

The last of the glass is in the recycling.

The morning commute has been windy and level 2 wet.

The seaweed scented wind has been blowing from the east.

After the end of Summer is Autumn — and a fine start to Autumn it is.

— Claude

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Back on the bike

After spending 2 weeks trying to get to and from my new job on the bus, I gave up and went back to the bike. I had planned to do so but just not so quickly and not by jumping in the deep end with both feet; however travel by bus led to long trips (longer than across town to the old job) or long walks.

I made a short trip on the bike to ensure that it was in shape, and that the shape I am in (round) would not hinder my cycling too much. So Monday, I put 2 glass bottles in the panniers along with a change of clothes, soap, shampoo, and towel and headed to work. I stopped at the glass recycling station and dropped off the glass. “This isn’t too bad, I can do this every day and fix our glass recycling backlog.” I made it to work, and made it home again without incident. Ok, the trip home was a bit hard – into the wind, slightly up hill at the end. But I made it and I didn’t collapse into a heap on the floor. Hooray for the little victories.

Today, I forgot the bottles, though I remembered as I neared the recycling stop. The wind was behind me so it was a nice fast trip into town, and then rain bucketed out of the sky; full on level 7 rain.  Stopped in a portcullis and waited… and waited… and waited.  Finally I put on my jacket and braved the rest of the trip.

So here we are, Autumn in Ireland, cycling through buckets of rain but still enjoying every moment.

— Claude

The End Of Summer

Well, the Irish Autumn, as reckoned by the Gaelic calendar, is upon us – and I thought it might be time to look back on all things I thought about posting but didn’t.

The other morning I spotted a crow that had learned a few tricks from the sea gulls.  I was standing on the rocks at the edge of the bay when a crow carrying a mussel in its beak flew over the rocks.  It cast its head back and forward, then hurled the bivalve to the ground.  It then circled back and began to enjoy its breakfast, after which it wiped its beak on a handy piece of seaweed.

I changed jobs recently, working for IBM again.  It was a very welcome change.  The new offices are near the old DERI offices and I hope to start cycling again.  To that end I got the bicycle out of the shed yesterday, inflated the tires, changed a wheel, and rode off to Eyre Square and then back home again via the University.  It was a hot, sunny day and the first day after the Galway Races, so the square and Shop street were packed with people out enjoying the day.

Last Thursday was Ladies’ Day at the races, and when I went into town to meet Cindy for dinner the square was full of ladies in strange finery.  The young ladies seemed to be partial to fascinators, while the older generation tended toward hats. Accompanying the ladies in their finery were properly dressed men: 3-piece suits, hats, not a trainer in sight.  Intermingled in the crush of finery were the typical afternoon square visitors, and the often found drunk.  Cindy told me that she was talking with Vinnie (of Candyland fame) when he said something like “Jaysas lad don’t whip it out”.  Seems a rather intoxicated young lad decided that taking a piss in the middle of the green was appropriate. He finished making his puddle in the grass, spun around to rejoin his mates, lost his balance and fell backwards into the pool of his own making.  Sometimes the universe applies the best punishments.

The other day while I was walking to work, having missed my bus connection, I noticed the blackberries were ripening.  Later, in the kitchen, a co-worker mentioned that it didn’t feel like the end of summer to her.  That, in her mind, summer ended when the blackberries were ripe.  I mentioned the ripening berries I had seen, and she commented that they seem to be ripening earlier this year.

And so here I am back where I started: at the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn as another year speeds past.  So happy Lúnasa everyone.

— Claude