Ok, so the tales from Amsterdam will have to wait. As I'm sure you know, we're finally in TDT's domain, on the west coast of Ireland. I've been to almost every country in Western Europe, but never to one of our closest neighbours. So, at about 9:10 yesterday morning, we touched down and I could cross another country off the list.
So far I've made a few observations.
Bugger me. The roads! In the UK I thought the roads were bad. I know why there are no bangers in Ireland though. This is because the cars shake themselves to bits after a couple of years. If I wanted to re-educate myself for a new career, it'll have to be a Dentist. When you're bumping along some suburban road, your teeth suffer. Either that, or I'll become a shock absorber mechanic. The main roads are passable, reminding me of some old closed off road that hasn't been used by much traffic for a decade or two. Meanwhile, the small side roads are in danger of not being fit for a pony and trap. Maybe this is why TDT keeps nagging me about driving straight over mini roundabouts in the UK, because over here you have to avoid as many bumps as possible if you want your car to last more then a fortnight.
I know TDT will tell me off for this, but f**k me, the prices of things out here. She warned me it was expensive. She wasn't kidding. The lack of sleep from the night before we came out meant my eyes were very dry and I could do with some Optrex. We popped to the local chemist's and there was a tiny atomizer spray of Optrex, and there was their own brand stuff. In my local Tesco, you can buy own brand eye wash for a couple of quid, and if you felt extravagant, you can buy Optrex for £3-ish. €15 for the cheap one (!). Fifteen-fookin'-Euros! I nearly passed out. We went to Tesco for essential supplies (see: beer) and I had a good look around whilst there. I think the rule of thumb is take the price in pounds, which at the moment is about the same as a Euro, and then double it.
I was puzzled by Tania's broadband. She said she had it from a satellite dish, but I couldn't understand how it would work quickly enough for Skype. A bit of investigation says that it might be a posh huge wireless network, with special high gain aerials on the roof. Every house apart from Tania's has a Sky dish, and they have these tiny stubby aerials that look like normal TV aerials with an inferiority complex. A few houses have what looks like a microwave receiver also attached which is maybe the receiver for the broadband. I wanted to plug in a wireless router (rhymes with "rooter") but I can't get it to recognise the network and unlock it, so a bit of investigation on the existing modem shows that it might only allow one pc connection which is pants! The TV meanwhile has RTE. It has a fuzzy RTE2 and something else I haven't deciphered yet.
The presents have been wrapped and are under the tree. The bed is warm and cosy, and the company is exquisite. The apprehensions about travelling were unfounded, and finally I have begun to relax. I reckon this could be one of the best Christmases in years.
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