Ireland day 0076. Monday 13 December 2021- Unorthodox

Ireland day 0076. Monday 13 December 2021- Unorthodox
Today’s summary Drove to the airport to return the hire car.   Had breakfast at the airport then walked back to flat as bus was cancelled.   A swan gatecrashed our lunch-break
Today’s weather Dry and overcast.   No wind sun or rain.   About 7C
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Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location
(Click button below to download a GPX of today’s airport walk):
Airport return

I suppose as birthdays go, today has been a bit unconventional and wouldn’t pass most normal people’s test of what a perfect birthday should be like.

But for me it was brilliant.

After a leisurely start to the day – a welcome relief after two successive days of getting up at 7 am, which was altogether too much like going-to-work time for me – our first task of the day was to return the hire car to the airport.   So we set off as soon as we’d had a cup of tea, only pausing en route to fill up with petrol (I was amazed by the way to find that the car only needed 20 litres to fill it, after having driven 400km – which I reckon equates to nearly 60 mpg.   Hats off to the Kia Picanto – in all other respects a totally unremarkable car, but it did the job and was amazingly cheap to run).

Drop off was successfully accomplished so on the spur of the minute, Val and I decided to pretend briefly that we were jetting off somewhere more exotic than the bus station, and head upstairs to Terminal 2 Departures.   We found the airport equivalent of a greasy spoon, i.e. a posh coffee shop, and treated ourselves to a proper birthday breakfast while watching the rest of the punters excitedly heading off through passport control to sunnier climes and London.

After an all too brief moment daydreaming over our cappuccinos we donned warm weather gear and headed out to try and find the no. 102.   After half an hour waiting at the bus stop, I did what I should have done at the start and consulted the timetable, only to discover that the bus had been cancelled and there wasn’t another for an hour.

If you’ve consulted Google Earth, you might have noticed that Dublin Airport is actually quite close to Malahide so after a brief consultation we decided to do something neither of us had ever done before, which was to walk home from a major international airport.   So a large part of my birthday was actually spent dodging the trucks and vans as we trudged alongside the R132 dual carriageway.   I suspect there are a few readers who might think this was not an ideal way to celebrate, but bizarrely, we both quite enjoyed it.

Soon, a corner shop came into view so we dropped in to treat ourselves again – this time with more coffee and a packet of peanuts.   By now we had virtually reached the shores of the Broadmeadow Lagoon, so we found a suitable park bench to sit on and enjoy our refreshments while watching the waders and diving birds on the beach, who were presumably also searching for their own afternoon refreshments.

As an aside, the cost of a couple of coffees at breakfast, and more coffees and some peanuts on the way back came to €22 which was, coincidentally, almost exactly the same as cost for a full day’s car rental.   Funny how the economics work out.

As we were nibbling our nuts, a suspicious looking swan started sidling up towards us – clearly thinking that if he moved slowly enough we might not notice his approach.   But the thing was gigantic, hissing furiously, and with a neck like a camel so was pretty hard to miss.   By the time he reached my feet, he was gazing up avidly at my nuts (I know, it happens to me all the time) and I realised that it was going a battle of wills.   Would I cave in and scatter my snack for him to enjoy in the hope of making him go away?   Or would I hold firm and risk a full attack?

You will be pleased to know I held my nerve and firmly put the peanut packet back in my pocket, making clear that I was in charge of the situation.   He glared at me for a bit then waddled back to the water, taking out his frustration by hissing furiously at the other birds in the lagoon, and indeed at anything that dared come anywhere near his airspace.

Crisis safely defused, Val and I packed up and finished our walk back, following the coast path all the way to Malahide and the flat.   When we got back, I discovered to my delight that she had made a special birthday cake for me, so now we are enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake before getting ready to head out for a curry at the Kathmandu Kitchen this evening.   You might be surprised to learn that this will actually be the first time in eleven weeks that we have been out for dinner – but if you reflect momentarily on the price of coffee and peanuts, you will probably realise why.

Happy days!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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Enjoying birthday breakfast at the airport.  All the excitement of departing on holiday with none of the stress of actually going anywhere. Yep, that’s our bus home.   Cancelled.  Well don’t you just love public transport?   But at least it wasn’t raining while we waited and then walked.
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Glamorous, isn’t it!   Val striding out alongside the R132. Like Banksy but in colour – a decorative roadside adornment brightening up a telephone exchange box.
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Coffee and peanuts at the seaside in December.  What could be better? Here am I blissfully unaware that a significant avian incident was about to unfold
Sid Vicious
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