Sunday, February 25, 2007

House Of Sand & Fog

Joe... "Well we've moved into our new apartment at Annagassan overlooking Dundalk Bay (the Irish sea). This picture was taken recently on an incredibly foggy afternoon. The scaffolding on the left side has come down since the pic was taken - the developers had some last things to finish! The tide comes and goes very fast and people wander along the shore with their dogs, kids looking for shells in the mud - very Ireland! The view across the bay from our big picture window actually reminds me a little of Hawaii (believe it or not) - mountains rising out of the water in the distance. And this view changes throughout the day as the weather changes - clouds rolling across the sky with the sun occasionally breaking through. Yes, it pretty much rains every day in Ireland in one form or another. Here is a typical Irish weather forecast for the week...
Monday - some rain & sunny spells
Tuesday - mainly fine with some showers
Wednesday - sun breaking through in some areas, with light showers in others
Thursday - heavy rain & wind
Friday - cloudy with light rain, etc, etc...
You get the general picture. In the end, you just don't notice it anymore. So each morning, I cross some country lanes (watch out for those slow tractors), and join the motorway to my office at Swords which is about 35-40 minutes away. And Clare goes off to her office in Dundalk, in between her fabulous trips."
Photo Link: <Norway photos>
Clare... Thanks for your cards and emails. Keep them up. Last Thursday night I got back from far northern Norway - way above the Arctic Circle (Tromso). I was there for a meeting of the EU salmon research project I am working on. It was cheaper to go on a cruise of the fjords than to stay in a hotel - and you can’t escape and end up doing twice as many meetings but still it was all amazing. It got down to -20c on the last morning in Trondheim. Unbelievably cold. I couldn’t breath and had to breath thru my scarf but still have the asthma today. On the first day I had to run out and buy a set of gloves and wooly hat. Wouldn’t have survived without them.
The cruise was spectacular and the weather held for the whole trip blue clear sky, just mind blowingly cold. Had to dress like a polar bear every time you went on the deck. Snow and ice everywhere. I’ve never seen anything like it. Will send some postcards in a few weeks when I stop for a bit. I fell over on the ice on the last morning but onto my backpack like a Xmas beetle, so no part of my body touchéd the ice and so didn’t sprain my ankle, tear a ligament, break a small bone in my foot or large bone in my thigh. Thank goodness. Didn’t even break the bottle of 7 year old Havana Rum I had in my bag. Good packing there. And we saw the northern lights on two nights. The first time was a bit poxy - like the milky way really. But the second night it was proper northern lights with the light pulsing across the sky and with green and pink bits around the edges. Couldn’t take a photo though.
Think I'll pop off to bed now and will promise to write a decent story about Norway soon. I have to go to Berlin and Brussels with work in the next few months and Joe & I are going to stay in a villa in Tuscany at the end of May with Chris & Shay. And we have a long weekend in London in March and I will take Joe to the far south of Ireland (where I go for work in remote fishing villages) on the St. Pats long weekend. Joe has a secret weekend planned for us over Easter. And the EU salmon project has a trip to Brazil in October and we're going to a wedding in Las Vegas of one of Joe's really good Brisbane DHL friends in October as well. We're going to stay for a bit longer and drive from Denver to the Devil's Tower in Wyoming (Joe says - think "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind!")
I went to Holland a few weeks ago with work to see a mussel factory (in Yerseke spelling ?) and stayed the weekend with a friend (Dorine in Nymegen) from my Africa trip centuries ago. I also went to the western part of Ireland - Connemarra about 2 weeks ago. The salmon place I did in Connemarra was all Irish speaking. The only English conversations were with me. Even the phone is answered in Irish. A totally different lost world down there. They just want to be left alone to keep on with their way of life. Since so much has changed around here (eastern Ireland) in the last 5 years, places like that are fighting to be left alone in peace and quiet. After centuries of being left alone due to abject poverty now they want it kept that way. To buy a house there you have to pass a Irish language exam - written and oral. It was the first place that didn’t ask about me being Australian - you are just another outsider from somewhere else, so exactly where doesn’t matter - Dublin or Sydney. They did ask me “Winkel - what type of name is that ?” The Dutch of course wanted indepth and precise answers to that question the other week. They actually assumed I could do their audit in Dutch! Bye for now.

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