Strange and unusual

Look carefully at this photo and tell me what’s out of the norm.

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I was sitting at my computer this morning doing research on tablets for my student at computer class when a large fluttering of wings caught my attention.  I may be wrong, but I think this is a small hawk perched on our patio table.  He was only there for seconds and I had to walk stealthily over toward the door with my phone in front of me to get the picture; apologies for the quality.

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Amazing how strange this place can be.

— Cindy

PS: The Buddha apparently likes the spillway railing…

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Further random observations

  1. The other day I was riding the bus into town and noticed the bus driver was listening to a radio broadcast with a woman speaking in a calm, soothing voice.  As I approached the front of the bus to get off at my stop, I realized that it was an obituary report!  She was naming the dead person, the time and date of their service, and the charities or families to whom one could send condolences.  Morbid!
  2. I was chatting with my new volunteer mate at the till in the Oxfam shop last week when I asked her what the difference is between cookies and biscuits.  She told me that only chocolate chips in the treat make it a cookie, otherwise it is a biscuit.  I went to the grocery store and confirmed it for myself.  Only the cookies with chocolate chips were labelled as “cookies”!
  3. Somehow I got on the subject of hoarding with my student Maire at the computer class the other day.  We talked about how she finds it very difficult to throw out things that even she has a problem justifying keeping around.  She told me she thinks that hoarding is in the DNA of Irish people.  After all the many decades of poverty and privations, a lot of Irish people find it tough to throw things out.  She said it’s the “7 Year Rule.”  An Irish person must keep something for seven years before it’s okay to let it go.  This leads me to believe that my darling mother-in-law is much more Irish than even she realizes.
  4. Google “uniquely Irish” in the images search and these photos come up in the first 12 choices:
Father Ted

Father Ted

Claddagh-Ring

Claddagh ring

stileirish

Irish stile

uniquely_irish

That whitewashed thatched cottage that every American thinks is where every Irish person lives

— Cindy

Mother Nature vs. the Galway County Council

At the beginning of January this year Galway – and the entire western coast of Ireland – was hit extremely hard by a major winter storm.  High winds and heavy rains lashed the coasts for days.  We watched on the news as live webcams and camera feeds showed the ocean snatching away buildings and seawalls in a matter of moments.  Damage amounted to millions of euros, fishermen lost their living for weeks, re-building took a toll on property owners and business owners.  Leisureland, the local fitness/swimming/amusement center, is still rebuilding 10 months on.

The Prom is a seaside walking trail along the sea coast of Galway Bay, extending from near the Claddagh to the Blackrock diving tower, and is one of the main attractions in Galway.  People come from all over the world to walk the Prom.  I once met a couple from Dublin who made it a habit of catching the bus once a month from The Big Smoke out to Galway specifically to walk the Prom.  (Frankly, I count us terribly lucky indeed to live so close to such an amazing place.)  The county council extended the Prom past the diving tower some years ago, all the way out to Silver Strand.  This little path was situated only a few hundred yards up the beach and right next to the golf course.  It was mostly gravel with a bench or two along the way; it was also a marvelous walk with incredible views of Co Clare, the Burren, and on good clear days, the Aran Islands.

The trail took the brunt of the damage of the storm and was wiped out.  Folks were disappointed but the ocean does what it wants.  But there was no stopping the council.  They got right on rebuilding that trail – into a monster!  It is now paved the entire way, bordered on the golf course side by curbing (that likely contains conduit for electricity…) and on the bay side by these enormous rock walls that completely obscure the view unless you’re over 4.5 to 5 feet tall.  The gigantic rocks are held together with a slurry of concrete that looks for all the world like a rock monster got ill and sicked up everything it had eaten for years all over the place.  Honestly, it is so bleeping ugly!  There is one break in the wall about halfway between the diving tower and the strand that allows people to access the beach.  Word on the street is that they plan on lighting the entire path, but that may take a while considering it’s taken them 10 months to complete only about 75% of the trail.

We expect an outcry if the lighting goes up – but here in Ireland the government rarely listens to the people, much less follows their mandate.  Maybe we’ll get lucky… Who knows, it could happen.

But whether the lights go up or not, in our opinion the trail has already been ruined.  To be perfectly honest, we’re kind of hoping for another storm like January’s, localized onto this horrid Sasquatch of a trail, just enough to take the damned thing out and give us back our lovely walking path.  Ah well, one can hope…

Claude trying to enjoy the view

Claude trying to enjoy the view

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The horror of the concrete

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The horror continues forever

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Life and beauty attempt to prevail

— Cindy