Ireland day 0129. Friday 04 February 2022- Intentions
I had lots of good intentions for today. I would get up promptly – no more cups of tea in bed – go for a run before breakfast, walk down to the distant Tesco supermarket to do the week’s shopping, get my hair cut, and go swimming.
But things started to go wrong almost as soon as I got up. The phone went and I had to spend half an hour on the line to the broadband company trying to sort out a billing issue. Eventually – after three months of trying and innumerable phone calls – much to my relief it was finally fixed today.
By the time I’d done all that I had lost enthusiasm for a run, so I had breakfast instead. Then somewhat out of the blue, an idle WhatsApp chat with a friend morphed into an extended video discussion on the relative merits of diffferent subspecies of Seville oranges (yes – those again) for marmalade making, and then on to Ulysses. On the latter, by the way , I have been persuaded that I need to read Joyce’s epic (and there can be no other word for it) tome, so we had a debate about which edition was best to try. We concluded that it would probably be the third, and so tomorrow I am going to head off into Dublin to try and get one.
By the time we had put the world to rights and exchanged news, it was time for my next video call. I keep in regular touch with a group of colleagues from the Natural History Museum in London, and every few weeks we have a discussion about a current scientific subject. Today it was the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna – particularly topical in Ireland which boasts a particularly splendid – and dead – example in the form of the Giant Irish Elk, and also topical in light of the recent discovery of the Mammoth in Devon.
There was general agreement that early human hunters were probably responsible for the demise of these great creatures, but much less consensus about whether it would be a good idea to try and recreate them – even if it were possible to do so, Jurassic Park-style. I’m not a huge fan of grizzly bears at the best of times and the thought of cave lions and sabre tooth tigers as well as bears stalking mammoths and any unfortunate hikers who happened to be in the vicinity doesn’t really fill me with much enthusiasm.
So coming back to my intentions for the day, next on the list was to get my hair cut. This I did actually manage to accomplish – and you can see the results in the photo below. The jury is still out on whether or not a no 4 + no 2 in February in Ireland is a good thing – the barber certainly seemed to be a bit taken aback – but personally I am delighted. For one thing, washing and drying it is much quicker, giving me at least an extra 30 seconds in bed every morning – and for another, I won’t have to do it again until June, so saving me lots of money. I am trying to persuade Val to get hers done the same way but she hasn’t really picked up on the idea yet.
Once the hair and the woolly rhinos were dealt with, it was time for lunch. I carefully crafted a spectacular beans-on-toast special which becomes a balanced diet, in my view, if you add some lettuce leaves to it. You can admire the end result in the banner image at the top – I think you will agree it is definitely a creation a Masterchef finalist would be proud to call their own.
Next on the list was the week’s shopping. I had intended to walk down to the Tesco at Clare Hall – it’s a decent leg stretch (6km) and quite a lot of it is through the castle demesne, so it’s not too unpleasant from a traffic point of view. But by that stage I had discovered that the swimming pool at Portmarnock was open this evening so I thought if I caught the bus I could get to the supermarket and back quickly enough to get into the pool before it closed.
Sadly that didn’t work out as planned. I got down to the shops quickly enough, but spent what seemed like hours wandering up and down the aisles searching for stuff . Even simple things like celery weren’t where I thought they should be and I humiliatingly had to ask for help to find it. And why on earth is custard in the home baking section? Surely it should be near the canned desserts, because that is all you ever put it on?
So needless to say, the whole process seemed to take ages and then to cap it all, once I eventually did finish, I just missed the bus home so I had to hang around in the bus shelter for 40 minutes till the next one came. Once I had got back and unpacked, I was hungry again so I had to get something to eat before i could head off to the pool. Anyway I am sure you can guess what happened next. it got dark and cold outside, the flat was lovely and warm and I was just altogether too comfortable to contemplate the 40 minute walk to the leisure centre and then half an hour splashing around in cold water before repeating the cold walk home.
Shame on you, I hear you cry, and yes, I am ashamed. But I am also warm and dry. Time to put the kettle on.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)