Ireland day 0261. Thursday 16 June 2022- Economydrive

Ireland day 0261. Thursday 16 June 2022- Economydrive
Today’s summary Decided to get a grip on the cost of living crisis by doing some economical shopping while Val was out at work.   Walked into Malahide and then out to Lidl in Swords.   Got the bus back.   Pleasant walk round the demesne and coast with Val in the evening
Today’s weather Dry and bright but mostly overcast.   Moderate south easterly wind.   About 19C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Lidl walk via Swords

At the moment, it seems as if we are being told sixteen times a day that we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis.   And my shock at the petrol pump yesterday convinces me that we probably are.   Even the price of milk went up by 10¢ a litre last week.   And given that, as expatriates, we are vulnerable not only to inflation but also to the vagaries of the sterling – euro exchange rate (and the omens aren’t looking good on that one), we have decided to try and rein in our expenditure a bit.   It’s not exactly sack-cloth and ashes yet, but we have identified some relatively painless changes we will make to try and bring costs back down.

The first thing we are doing is buying own-brand stuff wherever possible.   It’s not too difficult if you look carefully, to find own-brand equivalents of most common goods and some of the price differences are much bigger than I had thought.  In Tesco for example, a 150g bags of Doritos are €2.75 but the own-brand tortilla chips are just 65¢.  And as far as I can tell, they taste exactly the same.   The relative difference in the price between Heinz baked beans and own-brand is even bigger.   I shudder to think how much money I must have wasted by just picking up the first suitable thing I could find in the shop, without thinking too hard about whether there were cheaper alternatives.   The memories of carefree shopping in Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are fading fast.

The other thing we are doing is, if we can, only buying stuff that is on special offer.  Pringles are on promotion at just €2 at SuperValu at the moment, whereas they cost €2.50 at Tesco.  It might not sound like a big difference but if you saw 50¢ lying on the pavement, you’d probably pick it up.   In a similar vein, we have started buying stuff that’s reached its sell-by date – because I have found that if you go to the shops in the evening, the shops are trying to get rid of these items so they don’t have to throw them away.  Meaning that the prices are often significantly reduced.   You can get a decent soda bread loaf for under 30¢ from the shop down the road – and if you freeze it, it keeps for ages.   And I got some brilliant half price Bakewell Tarts this evening, as well.   (You must be getting a very distorted view of our dietary habits by this stage.   We do eat some proper food too.)

But sometimes even Tesco and SuperValu aren’t the cheapest options.   We don’t have a Lidl or Aldi here in Malahide – the nearest are in Swords – but generally if you are careful, they can both be cheaper, provided you just buy whatever they happen to have in stock on the day, and don’t mind weird Norwegian coffee.   My task for today, while Val was at work, was to walk over to Lidl in Swords – which usually has a reasonable range of stuff, as well as providing a good excuse for a pleasant walk alongside the estuary from Malahide.

So I duly set off around noon – having done a bit of bargain-hunting in Malahide in the morning first, and having had my sandwiches in the flat before I left because I was so hungry.   The walk was enjoyable and actually for once not too cold.   OK a woollen fleece was still needed because it was quite windy, but at least the hat and down jacket didn’t need to come out.   The main thing I noticed as I was walking alongside the shoreline was the almost complete absence of seabirds.   All through the winter, the lagoon was teeming with gulls, herons, egrets, ducks, geese and swans.   But apart from a solitary egret and a few swans, the water was deserted today.   I don’t know where they have all gone but perhaps they have decided to follow in the footsteps (or wing-flaps) of the grey bellied Brent geese and headed off to enjoy a refreshing summer in northern Canada.

All told the shopping expedition itself was a mixed success.   I got some good value stuff – and not too many weird things (probably the Carribbean-Style milk spread with coconut flakes was the oddest – but strangely irresistible – thing that ended up in my basket).   But I made the catastrophic error of forgetting to take a bag with me so I had to buy one for an eye-watering 90¢.   And even worse, I bought so many bargains that I couldn’t carry them all more than a few metres, so had to get the bus back to Malahide.   So I probably wiped out all my notional savings – but it was a decent afternoon out anyway.

Then this evening, after a dinner of half price Bakewell tarts with Carribbean-Style milk spread, Val and I headed over to the castle demesne where Kodaline – the next band on the summer season line up – were rehearsing.   What was actually more interesting than the rehearsal was the impromptu classic car show that suddenly seemed to have popped up in the car park.   It was actually quite impressive, but a bit sobering to realise that some of the American muscle cars that I had drooled over as a child were well over half a century old now.

From the demesne, we headed up and over Paddy’s Hill to the coast, and enjoyed a relaxing walk back as the sun set.   The milder weather, at last, made it more of a pleasure than an ordeal, for once.   Long may it last!

(PS: I know today is Bloomsday and you might wonder why I haven’t mentioned it – especially as today is a special one, being 100 years since the first publication of “Ulysses”.  Well I had wanted to find one of the special events that were being lined up to recognise the occasion, but unfortunately there were none near us.   So it looks like I will have to give that one a miss for another century).


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Pretty dog-rose looking its best alongside the footpath running by the Broadmeadow estuary.   Ireland really does roses well.   The challenge for next year is to find one flowering in February – the only month I missed so far in 2021-2022 Interesting brassica-type plant in flower down on the shores of the estuary.   Basically, as far as I can tell, it’s just a fancy cabbage but it looks good anyway.   
Lone egret down on the shore.   Normally the lagoon is teeming with wildfowl but today it was strangely quiet Inside the Chapel at Swords castle.   The new oak roof was installed around 1995 and the floor includes ceramic tiles based on a few found during excavations near the site in 1971.   They look remarkably similar to those we saw in Christchurch cathedral on Monday
Mmmmm lovely.   A supermarket. Definitely not economical.   Fifty year old muscle car on display in the castle car park this evening.   We had accidentally stumbled on some form of ad hoc classic car rally and I must say it was a lot more interesting than the supermarket
A very deceptive shot of Swords castle.   I seem to have managed to make it look like a magnificent ruined fortress sitting on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea.   Actually it’s just at the bottom of the main shopping street and this photo was taken looking over the wall from the bus stop.
Interactive map

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

Total distance: 9280 m
Max elevation: 35 m
Min elevation: -4 m
Total climbing: 128 m
Total descent: -113 m
Total time: 02:57:56
Download file: Lidl Swords compressed corrected.gpx

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