passing muster

Good things happened this weekend in every way. Munster beat Leinster, and I’ve been learning all about Dublin stereotypes. On Friday, my housemates walked down to Tesco for a full shop. It was fantastic, we split the bill and as a result, got to buy lots of fruit and veg and a couple treats, and still be within budget… Oat flakes were 42 cents, so I got a lesson in how to make flapjacks: Heat in a pan roughly 2 cups oat flakes, a half cup butter, and a half cup of golden syrup (to taste). Then bake in a caserole in a warm oven til you like the smell! We sat down to those and indulged in Sex and the City! How pleasant to enjoy irish and american “culture” at the same time.

Saturday called for adventuring around Dublin. It was a young Irish musician’s day out: we all met at St. Stephen’s green and went practically everywhere. We visited the Iveagh gardens first, entering through a little gate from behind the National Concert Hall. The gardens are contained within the block, yet are very spacious and nearly empty. The ilex walk spans the garden, and there are so many varieties it took me a while to realize they were all holly! To the north of the axis, there is a sunken rectangle of lawn, ringed with benches against the garden walls. All the walls are hidden by greenery. At the end of the axis, there is a simple grotto: a large stone fountain that I am told is a popular destination for Parkour! On either side of the fountain, there is a very ornate wrought iron gate under very strange quartz-filled rock arches. The path then continues down to a small labyrinth (perfect toddlers and still entertaining for nicola’s!) and a sunken rose garden. The roses here were just over. The centre of the garden is a large expanse of green, with several haunting guardian angels.

Then to Claddagh Records and on to NPU. They were filming so we didn’t get a long visit, and instead we settled for Chinese food, my first in Dublin. I believe my spring roll was made of puff pastry. I usually like puff pastry… Went for my first walk through the Henry/Mary St. mall. It really was Metroworld, could have been anywhere. We also made it to Glasnevin, to the Botanical Gardens. First class glasshouses here! Very interesting to compare with Edinburgh and Glasgow. The river Tolka runs through the gardens, and we enjoyed playing Pooh Sticks very much. I, of course, “won”. Finally, later on I went to a session later at Hughes’. Had an interesting time getting back home after midnight, but Dubliners are, in all, very kind and helpful! It is much appreciated.

And then on Sunday, a dear friend arrived from London! We decided to go for a walk, and ended up at Dalkey, a town just south of Dublin on DART. I knew a shop there stocked Emma Bridgewater, so we poked our noses in: but the shop had just closed a week earlier. Very disappointing, especially with the thought of a sale! So we picked up a snack at Spar, and wandered down to the water. The whole town is very cute, and a registered National Historic site. Having our nibbles by the seaside, we decided to take the short boat ride to the island just offshore. Dalkey Island, where there are goats and bunnies and ruins. The sun was out. Wow.

Kathy at Dalkey Island Dalkey Island

Today was a good day for practicing umbrella wielding skills. By the time I leave Ireland, my talent for dynamic shifting and wind direction sensing will be well-honed. My weapon-of-choice is an already broken in; it’s a light-weight black watch brolly. It triple extends to the perfect length: I can either tuck it inside my jacket or wedge it against my hip and shoulder and walk into the wind. It’s really a hands-free device! Today in particular, I was practicing walking to class with only two feet of visibility: the wind was from all angles so I had to hunker down to avoid it. It was quite exciting!

Probably inspired by the weather, I felt like being lazy. So after class I came home and settled in for a good read of “The Meaning of Europe”. It was a tough choice between that or “The European Culture-Area” and ‘The Breakdown of Nations”. School is finally demanding a bit of time. This evening was the sci-fi society’s first gathering, so I am all caught up on Heroes! Looking forward to the club’s lending library, which gets up and running next week…

It’s getting cold here again, so I’m back under four blankets and a full set of sleep clothes. My favourite mohair socks are toasting my toes tonite…

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