Monday, January 21, 2008

Grey old January...

flickr photo link: <Louise Bourgeois, Tate Modern>
We went for a walk down the Annagassan 'Esplanade' yesterday afternoon as the grey mottled sky was settling into black (at 5pm'ish!) 2 of our local dogs followed us down the shore, waiting for us to pick up sticks and throw them. This was after the morning mist (not quite a fog) had finally risen (by mid-afternoon)... It's a funny time of year. You gotta find things to do or the rain and greyscale might just drive you mad! Temperature wise, it's been pretty mild since the snow we had recently. Our days have hovered around 8-9c (almost t-shirt weather :), but with loads & loads of rain - soft rain, hard rain, sideways rain, etc. The other day, looking out from the 5th floor at work towards the Dublin Mountains (which had disappeared from sight), it almost seemed like a movie special effects scene, with sheets of water powered across the landscape by a large turbine fan. But there are no turbines... just wind and rain blowing in from the Atlantic, wave after wave...
This was our first weekend in Annagassan for a while now. We've had trips to the UK for the last couple of weekends (more El Cheapo Ryanair specials), to visit Leisa & Paul in the East End of London (with an afternoon at the Tate Modern), and then to visit my friend Chris from DHL Brisbane who was on holiday. Clare stayed on after that weekend to do a BRC Course in London too. We're quite used to doing the 'Gatwick' run on Ryanair now - excellent train connections to Central London, far less sticky carpets than Heathrow, and they've been pretty much on-time every time. Yes, we've really learned the positives & negatives of Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton & Stansted since we came over here, and we reckon Gatwick comes out on top (if you're heading into Central London). Back to Ryanair, their pilots are highly skilled at landing in Dublin, where you often feel the strong winds swaying the plane on final approach (after you've broken through the cloud layer). Nothing at all like Brisbane of course!
We took a trip to the shops at Newry on Saturday (Debenhams, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer for those of you with a yearning for UK shopping!) We discovered a funky coffee shop too - they even had iced coffees. The Sterling is dropping in value (the UK papers are quite obsessed with recession on the horizon), and that makes it better and better for our Euro. We used to get about 66p for a Euro, now it's up to 75p. So shopping in the north (for a serious supermarket shop, or some clothes) is a pretty good move. They say the Euro might even hit 90p in 2008, and perhaps eventually hit parity with the pound (if the UK really keels over). Not sure what the Irish economy is doing, but they're lucky they jumped on the Euro bandwagon many years ago.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Suddenly Snow

Photo Link: <Snow, 03 Jan 08>
We had some pretty significant snow this evening (03 Jan). I got off the train at Drogheda (now I'm commuting from my new job in Dublin), to be met by flurries of the white stuff - my car was completely covered. Made it home ok, then drove Clare back to Drogheda where blizzard-like conditions had set in, and our tyres soon lost traction, so we got out of there quick. Then the snow set in at Annagassan, but finished off before midnight. Certainly more snow then we've ever seen here before!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Some random photos from Drogheda...

Photo Link: <Drogheda, Oct 07> Just some (very) random photos taken in Drogheda, County Louth (just down the road from us) on a Sunday afternoon in October 2007.