Posted tagged ‘Ireland’

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

January 25, 2018

Winter is back. It gets quite cold at night and hangs in until late in the morning. The air was brusque when I went to get the papers. It will get warmer over the weekend, the mid- forties, then winter will again rear its hoary head. It is 28˚ right now.

Today is a pretty day with lots of sun and a blue sky. The air is clean and colors seem to pop. The breeze is slight and only the tops of trees sway a bit.

Maddie is sick now. I took her to the vets yesterday as she hadn’t eaten and had trouble going to the bathroom. When I called and described what was going on, they had me bring her in right away. They gave her blood and urine tests and a couple of x-rays. She has a urinary track infection, a high potassium level and a high thyroid count. They gave her an antibiotic and fluid under her fur to hydrate her and I got three meds to give her twice a day. Things aren’t going great. I gave her the meds easily last night and she didn’t seem to mind all that much. This morning, though, she disappeared after getting the meds. I took my flashlight and went upstairs and found her under the bed in the guest room, an old haunt of hers. I patted her and talked to her hoping she’d come down stairs, but she hasn’t. I’ll go back up in a bit. I don’t want to overwhelm her. The vet is calling today so I’ll see what she recommends. Maddie is 18 and a half so anything is upsetting, especially now.

Nothing is on my dance card today. A trip to the dump is in the near future, but that’s it. My cleaning couple can’t come today so, aghast and horrors, I will have to vacuum. I hope I remember how. The laundry bags are still by the cellar door. This is day two of the wash watch.

I love the smell of burning candles. Last night it was cinnamon and before that it was coconut. This Christmas my sister gave me squares of peat and a small ceramic thatched Irish cottage to hold the burning embers. The other night I lit the peat. When it was burning, I was reminded of the old b&b in Youghal, Ireland. It was springtime and cold and damp. We were the only guests. The owner lit a peat fire in the grate in the dining room. The smell of peat filled the room. It stuck to my clothes. I could smell it even when I got home and opened my suitcase. Burning peat is, for me, the smell of memories.

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

July 20, 2017

The weather has settled into monotony. Every day is sunny and hot. We reached the mid 80’s yesterday while Boston was over 90˚. The shade was bearable, but the sun was unrelenting. The only times I went outside were to bring Gracie to the yard where I sat in the shade and waited for her.

I did nothing yesterday and will probably do nothing today as well. A dump run is in our future but probably tomorrow. I do need to water the plants, inside and outside, but that’s it.

When I was a teacher, I traveled every summer, mostly to Europe, and went for three or four weeks. I traveled on the cheap. Go Europe was my travel Bible. University housing and hostels were my hotels as such. Meals were sometimes at bar happy hours where I’d nurse a single drink until I’d eaten my fill or at railroad stations which had kiosks with cheap sandwiches. I usually traveled with a friend. B&B’s were sometimes our stops mostly through Ireland, Scotland and England. I remember one in London, in Earl’s Court. The owner barely spoke English and played music quite loud from the kitchen which was next to my room. The song I remember best is Cielito Linda with the damn ay, ay, ay. I swear it was played over and over. My favorite B&B was in Dingle Ireland. It was over a grocery store. The woman was old. She entertained us with stories about guests including the Frenchman who didn’t know how to eat Corn Flakes and another who wanted a facecloth. She laughed at the thought that the face had its own cloth. Breakfasts were eggs, bacon, toast and coffee and sometimes a grilled tomato. The hostels were cheap enough but didn’t offer breakfast, but they had a value of their own. Hostels were where I’d trade books and information with other travelers. All these trips were cheap enough that I could saved enough money every year for a summer in Europe.

Last year’s trip to Ghana was expensive enough for a couple or even close to three trips to Europe in the old days, but I was perfectly fine with that. I enjoyed the lap of luxury as if I had been born to it.

“And never resist a perfect moment.”

March 6, 2017

Today is bright with sunshine. The sky is mostly blue. The breeze is slight, so slight only the brown leaves are ruffling. It’s a pretty day, but it’s a cold day, wintry cold. It is around 34˚.  I have nowhere I have to go today. I haven’t even gotten dressed and probably won’t. I got Gracie down the steps to the yard earlier. She does well with me beside her. She is actually going by herself. I’m just a safety net.

Yesterday we went to the dump. I had two weeks worth of recyclables and trash. It was so cold at the dump it took my breath away. An Arctic wind was blowing across the whole dump. Every stop meant freezing wind. I was quick to finish, to go back into the warm car.

In my life, I have had some perfect days and nights. I can’t tell you why as the days were all different. The feelings, though, were the same. I felt joyful in a way, happy to be alive. I was aware of everything around me. I could have been Maria twirling on the mountain.

The night in Ireland, in Youghal, is one perfect night. We ate in a small room with a peat fire burning. The aroma was wonderful. We walked upstairs and each step sloped to the middle. My room had a bed with layers of quilts and blankets. The bathroom had saloon doors which left the toilet exposed to the world. The tub was claw-footed. I took a hot bath then ran to get dressed and under the covers as there was no heat. It was early spring cold. I nestled and began to read my Peter Whimsy mystery and eat some of my fruit and nut Cadbury chocolate bar. I realized in that very moment I didn’t need anything else. What I had exactly then was perfect.

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night.”

March 17, 2015

We’re back to rainy and bleak. We’re also back to cold as it will get down to 18˚ tonight. This melt and freeze cycle is creating  potholes all over the roads. I’ve been lucky so far as I’ve seen the holes in time to avoid them. Some people weren’t so lucky as a few hub caps are lying near the biggest holes.

What’s left of the snow is ugly. More of it will disappear because of the rain. All the roads are finally clear of the icy ruts. I’m just hoping the combination of the clear roads, rain and 18˚ won’t cause black ice.

My mother, father, two aunts, my 80-year-old grandfather and I visited Ireland together. It was my second trip there. It was the first for everyone else. I loved traveling with my parents and my grandfather was a trooper. He kept right up with us. One aunt always went with the flow; however, the other aunt I would have sold to the Irish Travellers whose caravans we saw throughout Ireland. She had a couple of heavy suitcases filled with enough clothes for an around the world trip. Every night my dad had to haul them out of the van to her room and then back to the van in the morning. We generally stayed only one night in each spot, usually a B&B, so why she needed both suitcases I never understood. I did ask and she said she didn’t know we would be stopping night by night. She thought we’d stay in one place. That still didn’t explain the amount of clothes and why both suitcases every night. I suggested she bring in what she needed just for the night and the next day, and she got huffy. That aunt is only five months younger than I am; she is number 8, the baby of my mother’s family. That gave her a strange sense of entitlement. Huffy should have been her middle.

My father loved boiled dinners, corned beef and cabbage for those of you living outside of New England. My mother would make the dinner a couple of times a year and always on St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite memory is one dinner when the potatoes disappeared. My mother was filling my dad’s plate with the carrots, cabbage, onions and meat. She used her spoon to hunt for the potatoes. There were none. She saw a couple of lumps of what might have been potatoes floating but that was the only sighting. When she brought dinner to my dad, he wanted to know right away where the potatoes, his favorites, were. My mother admitted she thought they disintegrated. My dad rushed out and hunted through the pan. He didn’t find any either. It became a family legend: the year of no potatoes.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day


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