Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
About those fireworks...

Ellie Mae or may not...

Ellie Mae or may not...
In through the out gate...

Rattler relocation

Rattler relocation
Snakes are beautiful critters.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
"Let us bee happy in our work..."


Nothing says summer like zinnias.

Pink Yarrow and carnations

Pink Yarrow and carnations
Life on the farm

HappyDay Farms grows it better.

HappyDay Farms grows it better.
Home-grown by HeadSodBuster

Where the living is easy

Where the living is easy
Garlic drying, with our newly painted water tank in the background

July magic

July magic
Artichoke-strictly for ornamental purposes

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ireland # 5: Day the Fourth-A Slice of Lemon, a Slice of Lime

Day the Fourth
A Slice of Lemon, a Slice of Lime
Today is regroup day, and we have done an excellent job.   Yesterday was Bunratty, and tomorrow is Cork, so today was sleep and catch-up for me, and it meant a long walk for Annie.  We are having pasta for din-din tonight, so that will be easy, and tasty, especially for me who doesn’t have to do a thing.
Every traveler has to figure out how to take care of business when he or she arrives at the intended destination.  Our scene is pretty simple, and pretty cool.  We like to shop for groceries and cook our own meals, as opposed to going out to dinner each night.  We have eaten at MacNamara’s and we’re going to Cork for two nights, but while here at the house, we are on community action channel, and it seems to work pretty well.
So after a day which consisted of writing, jigsaw puzzle working, sleeping, leftover-munching, chatting, more writing, and reading,  Annie and I decided to go out to the village.  We wanted to sit in Carmody’s for a while, so that I could post my blog, and we could enjoy some late afternoon libation, and Eric joined us.  Upon inquiring at the bar, he found out that, if desired, I could order a shot of Bushmill’s Black Bush, a step up from Bushmill’s “regular” (which is pretty tasty already).  I have found Black Bush in Cali, at a spot like Trader Joe’s, and it is worth the additional cost.  Since Eric was doing the honors of navigating the ordering of our drinks, we settled in at our table.
Instead of Mark behind the bar, there was an ancient, who moved with the deliberate slowness that indicated [in this case] back problems, so I woke Tera Jean up, and put her through her paces.  I always try to have my narrative all edited before I get to the posting stage, so that part goes quickly.  Today, my next step was to do a quick check on my email, where I found out from JT, that the G-Men have stumbled badly against the Snakes, and that it’s time for me to schedule a memorial service in the Church of the Eternal Bleacher, for the soul of 2011, and for the future.  That alleviated the need for me to visit, even though I recognize the fact that by doing so, I am starting the “letting go” process.  This will eventually mean that I will have to successfully  transition to the frame of mind, which allows me to cheer for the (gulp) Phils, when they end up playing the Yanks in the show.
It’s so macabre that the word “Yank” as applied to me this past week, and the other kind of Yank, as applied to that baseball team from New York, can be one and the same.  One is such a friendly sort of word, while the other... It turned out that the ancient who served us, used to own Carmody’s for fifty years.  When his son prepared to emigrate to Australia, for the purpose of establishing a business, the old guy simply told him, that if he was leaving for that purpose only, he could save himself the trouble, because the bar was his if he wanted it.
His son Mark took him up on the offer, and now runs the place.  The old guy needed a little helpful guidance from Eric (and doesn’t that work nicely if you are already a guide?) to locate first, the little bottle of Chilean Cabernet for Doll, and then my Black Bush.  This almost turned out to be Johnny Walker Black, if Eric hadn’t have gently turned the course of action down exactly one shelf, to the appropriate decanter. When the ancient forgot to include Eric’s Guinness in the bill, and Big E reminded him, he gave Eric the beverage for free.
 [We also had to point out to Brenden, at MacNamara’s, that there was only one Bacon, Cabbage and Potato dish on the “bill” (not check), instead of two.  We seem to be good at catching mistakes in the management's favor.  And I apologize for mentioning that dish to you; we all agreed, even if the thick bacon was not considered, that it didn’t get any better tasting than this.]
Later, when I bipped back through the swinging door into the front part of the bar for a refill, I had to similarly direct the ancient’s hand, so as to get  a repeat.  I had a very typical conversational gambit with one of the patrons, who initiated the conversation by asking how I was.  The part that intrigued me was that he asked what it was that I was ordering.
“Irish Whiskey.  Bushmill’s, that,” I responded, figuring that should be enough, in the land where you could go, as Robert and Kevin did, to the source of the nectar of the gods.  
“Bushels?  Hmmmm. Don't know that one.”  I noted there was a glass of a dark brew in front of him, obviously in the same pew of the church as Eric.
However, when he saw the bottle that the old guy had actually managed to snag, after a gentle correction, he was all about it. 
“Ay, sure and now I know what you’re talking about.”
Brand recognition.  Nice.  
Of the eight decanters plugged into the dispersal unit, lining the back of the bar, six were easily recognizable brands, with only two being Irish in origin, and not exported to the States.  One of them was Paddy’s, an Irish whiskey that I was going to try and snag a bottle of, for a certain Minnesotan who inhabits Island Mountain; all I have to do is figure out how to get it back.
We talked to Patrick about mailing stuff back to Cali, and he said Ann could mail a small decorative bottle of mead, but that we would have to take the 750ml bottle back with us on the plane.  That meant wrapping it up in multiple layers of pants and sweatshirts and storing it in the hold of the plane, because you sure couldn’t bring it back in your carry-on bag, as liquids were a no-no.  I was up for the task.
It’s nice that we have our own space in the back of the pub, which is where patrons go who want to watch televised sporting events.  Though we were assured that the wi-fi (internet set-up) was regularly used by patrons, hence its availability, we haven’t seen any other patrons indulging.  I feel no sense self-consciousness from my computer use; my take is that we already present such a diverse flavor in the pub, that the laptop is just a superfluous embellishment, part of the entertainment provided for free.
Pasta beckoned, and we responded by packing up our dueling laptops (Eric had been tending to domestic logistics) and bustling back home to take care of business.  Not having immediate access to our tomato sauce hoard, we settled for supplementing a Tesco tasty tomato/basil sauce with onions, bell peppers, garlic, mushrooms and spices brought from home, to assemble a most excellent repast(a), (sorry :)) including the green olives that Annie and Eric sprinkled into the sauce to give it a bit of a tang.  If the olives didn’t happen to appeal to you, there were three diners poised to help, their forks perched at the ready, should some assistance need to be rendered.
After dinner, about seven in the evening, Annie and I decided to bundle up and go out for a power walk/stroll, whatever that looks like.  If the people are the story, then we need to find them, and that isn’t going to happen at our house.  I have seen three cars pass by our front window, the one with the sailboat in it (that’s how I can tell that it is our house-that, and the green door), so off we went.
Our first destination was (again) Carrigaholt Castle, which I had only seen the first day, from behind the bordering wall, several hundred feet away.  Annie had returned earlier yesterday morning, and had spent some time giving it a closer look, well worth the effort.  This landmark, so ancient, so packed with local angst, is as powerful in its own way, as its more sophisticated (not to mention bigger) cousin, Bunratty Castle.
The sign referred to our castle as a "tower," and I paced out the dimensions to better illustrate that point.  Beginning with its most impressive feature, it stands five stories high, so that by standing at the base, you are staring straight up at a stone wall, close to fifty feet tall.
It is about thirty-five feet long, and it is sixteen feet wide.  This massive edifice is only as wide as my kitchen.  How they accomplished this, poses the most interesting scenario, from a home-builder’s perspective.  Why sixteen feet, and not bigger?  
Included in the sign’s brief historical account, was the fact that at one point, the tower had been defended by its inhabitants, until a surrender was arranged, premised on the promise of spared lives. The Earl of Thomond, an Irishman named Murrough O'Brien, lay siege to the castle and broke his word.   All of the defenders were hanged, in spite of the promise.  What kind of force would emanate from that site, with that kind of history?  Could we compare it to the “Trail of Tears?”  Man’s inhumanity to man?  How often, on Bell Springs Road, does that kind of energy rear its head?  Not as often as a glance in the direction of the fish market in Carrigaholt does here, for these natives, no matter who it was inhabiting the tower at the time. 
I haven’t said much about the weather, because it has not been a factor, either good or bad, since we arrived.  We were very well prepared by Eric for cool weather, which is not the same as cold weather.  Yes, we see precipitation every day, and it is breezy, but it has not deterred Annie and me from trotting around the neighborhood.  Cecilia prefers to enjoy her leisure time reading, knitting, organizing, and I am sure she would welcome warmer weather, but from someone who has spent his summer in the relentless heat of a construction site, whew.

This evening, the wind was as strong as Eric had seen it since he had arrived.  We hardly noticed it, at least as far as deterring us from our walk.  We noticed it as we walked briskly down the single lane roads, with a posted speed of eighty kilometers, and any type of motorized vehicle whizzed by, inches from us.  Annie had vigilantly sought the proper protocol, earlier in the day, by observing a number of local pedestrians, on similar byways.  
With the whole lefthand focus eliminated by the nature of a single lane, pedestrians walked on both sides of the road, in both directions (though not simultaneously) indiscriminately.  Pick a side, and just hug the edge, without the need to leave the surface of the road, so as to avoid wet shoes from walking in the undergrowth that lined all lanes.  Though water resistant, our shoes were not impervious to moisture.  The pedestrian trusted the driver to stay the course, and the driver relied on the walker not to get blown by the wind, into the path of the vehicle.  So inconvenient, all of that legal business, not to mention blood.  We decided that the driver had the better end of the deal, so we braced ourselves well against the wind.
Actually, it was a breeze; it’s only wind if you are cold.  As George Carlin said, “Lenin had a beard;  Gabby Hayes had whiskers.”  Two nickels or a dime, slice of lemon or a slice of lime.
We were in the process of discussing the temperature, when a car drew up beside us.  I felt that if it were below fifty, the wind would have produced a “chill factor.” My contention was that it was not cold, so it must have been at least sixty degrees, thus producing a “breeze factor.” Meanwhile, Eric, ever the host, was venturing out to make sure that we were OK, but discovered us about a hundred meters away from the house. (Did I use “meters?”  That’s a first...)  We had simply not given time a thought, and been gone close to two hours.
You would have been gone that long too, if you had had an encounter of the culinary nature, with Max Bites, or take-away chips.  Talk about a time, from a language teacher’s point of view, when the difference between a noun and a verb, makes all the difference in the world. (another exclamation point)  In Cali, if Max Bites, then you avoid it at all times.  However, tasty bites of piping hot, salty chips, are dank.  It’s the best I can do, after spending all those years trying to teach language students how to use a derivative of “hope” to form sentences using one of each: a noun, verb, adjective and adverb...examples at the end of this piece...
The [Pakistani?] proprietor was friendly, and informed us that many Cal-i-for-nor-i-ans came to his shop.  Pondering his comment, I looked at the menu, which included pizza, cheeseburgers, kebobs, and every conceivable deep-fat-fried delicacy imaginable, including several appealing veggie offerings.  Fast-food and California?  Two buds in a cola.    Singh kebobs were also offered to keep cultural diversity as an option for any adventurous Cal-i-for-nor-i-ans, as was “doner.” There were doner burgers, doner kebobs, and doner nuggets, so while our chips were being prepared for “take away,” as opposed to take-out, I played Carly Simon's "Anticipation" in my mind.
The burning question I had for the guy behind the counter was, “What’s doner?”  Once he grasped the question, he was happy to explain.  Turning sideways, he lifted the cover off of one of the many containers, and fished out a piece of nondescript meat, turned to us and said, “Meat,”  Oh.  Since beef, pork and chicken were listed as available in different forms, I wondered which category doner fit into.  Annie suggested that it was like hot dogs, in that it was comprised of an assortment of various sources, and used accordingly.  Mystery meat?
Annie was positively giddy with anticipation, at the thought of accomplishing one of her long-time goals-eating ”take-away chips”- which were really French Fries, as opposed to eating potato crisps, which were really potato chips.  It was all so confusing.  Then there are the signs advertising “car crash” services, but you don’t see any signs advertising automotive repairs.  We see that you can reach Colm O’Grady on 001-123-4567, as opposed to at 001... on telly?  We had to pay a "motor car tariff" to cross on the ferry and we were informed by sign that we were "head of queue."  
We doused our chips in sea salt, while I added malt vinegar, and I was offered ketchup, from the shelf below the countertop.  The other condiments were on the counter, meaning that he really did know Californians.  Gathering up our monstrous bags of blisteringly hot chips, (they were the “small” size, only two Euros) and my ketchup, we walked back in the direction of the post office, and by it down to the water, a football field’s distance away.  Though strewn with small rocks, the water’s edge was actually concrete, as there was an intersection of jetty wall and water-front wall, alongside of which were lined a dozen vessels, each a different size, shape and color from the others.
The rain fell intermittently, and the wind-make that the breeze-swept around us, but we munched away contentedly, while we waited to see if we would still be standing there when enough water from the rising tide had flowed into the waterway to float those boats.  Whereas a few looked so worn and derelict while dry-docked, they looked primed and ready while bobbing on the surface of the ocean estuary we were facing.
Sounds like me-primed and ready, thanks to Brother Thom and his timely words; I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Verb:  I hope I can send an e-mail to JT while on the ferry.
Noun: My hope is to e-mail JT from this ferry we are boarding.
Adjective: Alas.  It was hopeless; the system let me down.
Adverb: I will hopefully be able to cope with my disappointment.
Buggle’s Pub Rogles Durty Nellie’s
Holyfield’s the Anvil Bar Murphy’s Bar
The Castle Inn Griffin’s Bar Larkin’s Pub
Black Valley Bar Oscannol’s Auld Triangle
Penn’s Bar Dan Buckley’s Bar Dinneen’s Bar
The Great Escape  (my favorite name)
(Apostrophes appear to be optional.)

1 comment:

  1. Give me a quote from bro Thom - I could use it.....
    Love the account of the ancient and the bar - and how his son now runs it. And your description of your dinners - repast (a) - cute! And the grammar exercise at the end? Hmmmmm?
    The bad stuff at the castle - The Irish "Trail of Tears" - it is amazing how cruel and evil people can be.