Ireland day 0196. Tuesday 12 April 2022- Zoom!
Technology has many pitfalls and I know it can cause immense frustration and even harm if it’s not properly used, or if its limitations aren’t fully understood. But for me, living in Ireland as I do, it’s been a bit of a godsend.
I’ve spent over half a century cultivating my friends so naturally most of them are in the UK. When you move abroad, you put a lot of effort into finding new friends and I’d say Val and I have been moderately successful in that respect already – through Val’s work and my walking clubs. But you can’t expect that the friendships you have developed in six months will have the depth and richness of shared experience of those that you formed over the decades before you moved away. So for me, at least, it’s important – and nice – to seek the easy company of friends you’ve known for years, even if you have to make do with technologically enabled contact rather than the real thing.
Today was a case in point. With a poor weather forecast in the offing and Val out at work, I’d taken the opportunity to schedule four, more or less back-to-back, video calls friends back to the UK. I have to admit that if there have been any upsides to the pandemic at all, the launch of “Zoom” must rank as one of them. I’d used older videoconferencing services like Skype or the systems you used to use in the office in the early 2000s, but Zoom seems to be altogether easier to use, higher quality, and far more robust. So today, the calls all worked perfectly and somehow you seem to be able to have a much richer dialogue when you are talking to someone you can actually see.
Our conversations covered a huge range of subjects, from Covid war-stories to the French election. But the common theme that seemed to occupy us most was the transition from paid work into the next phase of life – which all of us are grappling with at the moment. Everyone seems to have found a different approach – one has adopted a rescue dog and got an allotment, another has taken up judging for an athletics association, a third has joined a brass band and the fourth seems to have taken up landscape gardening in a big way. And I have come to Ireland.
It’s encouraging to see that nobody has really just given up and put the slippers on. Personally, as I reflected on today’s calls, the move to Ireland has been the best thing I could possibly have done at this stage in life, as it has completely dispelled the comfortable brain fog and inertia that I think I might otherwise have succumbed to if I had stayed put. I am eternally grateful to Val for throwing herself so wholeheartedly into the project alongside me.
Although the video calls were highly enjoyable, they didn’t leave much time for anything else. Just a quick dash into the library to renew some books, a bit of shopping, and then cooking tonight’s dinner (chicken fajitas). There’s nobody left to call now for a week or two, and the weather forecast is looking up a bit , so plenty of options to get out and about are starting to present themselves. Next, I just need to decide how get the best out of them all.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(No map today as I didn’t go anywhere of significance)