Ireland day 0168. Tuesday 15 March 2022- Odour

Ireland day 0168. Tuesday 15 March 2022- Odour
Today’s summary Discovered how to take photographs on my iPhone without using my hands, and also the source of a peculiar embarrassing odour.   Nice walk along the coast and into the castle demesne, then Spanish in evening
Today’s weather Light westerly breeze.  Bright and dry, occasional glimmers of sun.   About 11C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Coast and Park walk Malahide

Today I made an important discovery.   Well I made two important discoveries, in actual fact, but they were closely linked.

I take all the photos for this blog on my iPhone, which is generally pretty good.   I especially appreciate the convenience of having a decent camera in my pocket which I can use quickly and unobtrusively whenever a photo opportunity arises.   But iPhones do have – for me – one big disadvantage.   Because of the security features that Apple builds in, you have to swipe up on the home screen, or press a “virtual” button on your home screen with your finger, in order to access the camera.   This is fine in normal use but a real nuisance when you have got gloves on.

Now I know you will say “well just get some touch screen gloves then!”  but the fact of the matter is that I haven’t got any and the ones I have had in the past generally haven’t worked very well.   This was a particular problem when I was doing the Carnavaddy walk, where I had to keep taking my gloves on and off in order to take photos.   The gloves I am wearing have the peculiar feature of being extremely hard to put on if your hands are wet (the cloth inner liner sticks to the wet skin and your hands seem to end up getting tangled up in the inner gloves in a very uncomfortable way).   So I was keen to find a solution which would enable me to take photos without having to remove my gloves.

Suddenly the answer became as clear as the nose on the end of my face.   That is because the solution was the nose on my end of my face.   The iPhone touch screen requires bare skin to activate it and I realised – because I don’t wear a mask when I am walking (unless it is very cold indeed) – that my nose is always exposed so was the perfect instrument to activate the screen.

I tested out this theory in the flat this morning and – lo and behold, it worked!   I was completely able to turn on the phone and take a photo, just using my nose.   I am fully aware that this is a bit weird but I don’t intend to make a habit of doing it in public (though I did try it out on my walk this afternoon when nobody was watching – and to my relief it actually did work).   So I am now really looking forward to a going on a cold wet walk when I can test it out in anger – all the while keeping my hands safely warm and dry in my gloves.  If Irish weather lately is an indicator of the pattern to come, I won’t have long to wait.

But the process of testing out my nasal switch theory led me to make another important discovery.   Not to put it too finely, I noticed I was detecting a rather peculiar – and not entirely pleasant – smell whenever I sat down to read or work on my computer.   Over the last week or so, I have to admit I have been getting a bit paranoid about it – I wondered if I was suffering from some horrible medical condition that was causing me to become smelly?   Or perhaps I had sat in something horrible which had got onto my clothes.   So I rigorously washed all my clothes and started obsessively having two showers a day – but the smell just wouldn’t go away.

By this stage of course as you can probably imagine, a degree of panic was beginning to set in.  What if it was me that was creating the odour?   Would I ever be able acceptable in social circles ever again?   It’s easy to see how you can catastrophise these matters in your mind and they become existential questions.   Anyway, the process of testing my fabulous new camera facility of course meant that I had to hold the camera close to my face and at this point I realise it was the phone that was smelling!

Actually, to be a bit more precise, when I did a bit more sniffing around, it turned out that it was the phone case, not the phone itself, that was the source of the problem.   The problem I think had its origins on the same Carnavaddy walk that  led me to seek the nose-camera solution in the first place.   My phone got wet – which is OK because Apple tells me it is waterproof – but I had failed to realise that water must have got between the phone and the case and soaked the inner lining, which is made of soft fabric.   Over the coming days, it must have slowly dried out in my pocket, and as it did so this thin film of warm water must have incubated all sorts of fascinating – but smelly – microorganisms.   So this was what I could smell.   The dead remains of a unique ecosystem, right in my pocket.

The odour remained remarkably tenacious.   I had to wash the case three times – the final time in neat bleach – to get rid of it.   Now after a thorough rinse (after all I don’t want it to dissolve my pocket) it is drying out on the radiator, restored to its proper, odour free, glory.

Well after all that, I was emotionally drained.   There was just time to fit in a quick video call to a friend in the UK, then a relaxing walk along the coast and back through the castle ground, and now it’s time for Spanish.

So – all in all a very unusual day, but one which has been most rewarding and a source of enormous relief.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Down by the lagoon this evening.   A wonderful, calm, day, and the tide was out.   Would have been a good day to see if the coast road on the other side had appeared above the water line.   But not suitable for new Yarises, obviously! This seagull with a black head is, in fact at Black Headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus.   The other main sort of gull you find down in the lagoon is the Herring Gull, Larus argentatus.   You can tell it apart from the black headed gull because it doesn’t have a black head.   It is also bigger.   
This canoeist seemed to spend most if his time upside down.   Fortunately there was someone standing beside him in the lagoon to turn him the right way up again but I think it would be unwise to rely on such assistance being to hand when canoeing down the rapids, for example. All signs of the sweetly-scented heliotrope flowers, which were in full bloom here in January, have disappeared now, leaving just the characteristic dinner-plate sized foliage behind
The back of a road-sign on the Coast road.   I thought it was a nice touch, especially as the painting is on the back so hardly anyone ever sees it.   Whoever did it must just have painted it for sheer pleasure A couple of weeks ago, up in the castle demesne, my way was blocked by diggers and lorries busily putting tarmac on the path.   This is the result, so now the route around about three-quarters of the castle demesne is fully tarmaced.   It’s great for people with accessibility issues, and parents with buggies, but a bity hard on the feet if you are a runner.   But I’d say the benefits greatly outweigh the inconveniences, so a good investment by the park managers
I know Giant Redwoods aren’t native to the British Isles, but that doesn’t stop me liking them.   I never fail to be impressed by their size which is – well – giant, and by their thick soft bark which feels like balsa wood (I suppose it’s there to protect the tree from forest fires).   I must have photographed this one in the Malahide Castle demesne dozens of times, but the peculiar way it branches halfway up always catches my eye
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 8731 m
Max elevation: 30 m
Min elevation: -1 m
Total climbing: 116 m
Total descent: -117 m
Total time: 01:37:23
Download file: Coast And Park corrected.gpx

You can read earlier and later days’ blogs below

Previous day’s blog
Next day’s blog
Ireland home page