24 May 2010


This morning I check my facebook and what do I see, but a ton of posts complaining about the cold wet weather. And you know why this is so funny? Because here in Ireland it is SUNNY! Over the weekend it was 25 degrees and sunny - I went to the beach! And it was still sunny yesterday, ate lunch outside. And I am burnt, because who would expect it to be so hot and sunny in Ireland in May? They call it a heat-wave! Sadly it is getting cooler and will rain soon enough I'm sure (though it didn't yesterday despite me killing a spider). But maybe it will be hot again, and just a good summer in general. That would be nice.

And the beach here is so funny - the city beach that is. It is just down the street from me. All I need to do is get on my bike and go over a hill and there it is, just 10 minutes away. It was insanely crowded though, just like you see on tv, people everywhere. There are diving platforms too, but of course I was too wussy to go off any but the lowest. It's not a beach full of waves unfortunately but still, better than nothing. So I did the bare minimum of work over the weekend, that can wait till it rains. Instead it was a weekend for going to the beach and reading books outside and of course for BBQ's.

Big few weeks at work to come, so I should probably be working a bit harder. It's so hard when it is still so nice outside though. The other day I made afghans for the people at work - they got a good review but people did wonder about the cornflakes. Plus the cornflakes weren't very crunchy at all. In fact, they weren't really the same as when you get afghans back home. So no pictures. I will stick to ANZAC bikkies I think, everybody loves them. And in a few weeks is a colloquium where we all present our work, and afterwards pot-luck BBQ. So I will make ambrosia, because it turns out it is a NZ thing. Everybody knows of pav, there would be no surprises there if I made one. Ambrosia is much better.

15 May 2010

Another tour of Connemara

As I predicted, now that I have returned to Galway my life has been taken over by work. Plus despite what the Irish may think it is not actually warm outside, or summery at all. It is cold. Work is very hectic, but on the upside my office is warm.

So last weekend at least I managed to take a day off. I went on a tour-bus with my french housemate who otherwise would have done the tour all on his own. The thing is, there is not actually that much to see in Ireland. Sure it's old and full of history, but it's not history that has left a big, impressive, lasting landmarks. But still, the last time I did the tour of that area, with Mum, the weather was foul and for the most part we stayed on the bus. So this time the sky was blue and we got out of the bus to take photos.

Now apparently donkeys are a very important part of Irish heritage. This tour was of Connemara which is a very rural and very Irish part of Ireland. So the fact that donkeys were relied on for farmwork makes them a part of the history. So there you go. But all the foreigners love it. I guess they are not so used to animals. Donkey's are alright. I really don't get why all the tourists want to see/photograph/pat sheep though. There was a lot of excitement over the lambs - they were not even newborn. Mostly were the size of an adult.

And did you know that here in Ireland there are heaps of NZ plants? They just grow everywhere - ferns, flax and cabbage trees. Only they don't call flax and cabbage trees by the same name. It's funny that here it is not a big deal though. They are more interested in their bogs and peat, and even the gorse. Only the bus driver spelt it out to us (for all those foreigners that don't know what gorse is), and he spelt it G-O-U-R-S-E. I didn't bother to correct him.

The lakes here are somehow just not the same as NZ lakes. Some of them are very big though. I think maybe it is the lack of mountains and rainforest that makes it less impressive. Around the lake we found some old bleached sheep bones and a skull though, and being ecologists/zoologists, such things can be very intersting. See you are not a real zoologist until your desk is cluttered with random things like bones and shells and rocks. I even have a starfish. I think I need a potplant though. But one that doesn't need much attention or it will probably just die.

Sadly this weekend there is no touring for me. They are very tiring though so that's alright. Despite being at work I am not working very hard. Nobody else is around so you would think I would get more done - I actually am actually spending my time playing on the internet. My barnacles are feeding though so techinically I am working. It's just that once the food is set up nothing much is really required of me, so I have time. Unfortunately I now have to feed my barnacles fish and it stinks. They seem to like it though, inasmuch as a seemingly non-sentient creature can.

You know though, something odd about Ireland? Or at least about Galway? It is really hard to find decent but inexpensive kitchen equipment - like for baking. So much trouble. You would think that it is bad enough that you can't get chocolate chips; I also can't get texas muffin tins, can't find a good set of sandwhich-tins (because there are birthday's coming up to make cakes for), and everything costs heaps! How terrible is that. Thankfully there is always ebay and amazon. Life here without the internet would be terribly deprived.

08 May 2010

Galway Again

Been back in Galway a week now. I forgot how it is to be here. I have a list of about a million things to do at work. I arrive early and I leave late, yet the list seems to get larger, not smaller. It is very tiring. Galway is nice though, it is colder than Vienna but the sky seems to be bigger and bluer - perhaps because the buildings are smaller. My new place is okay - the people seem nice but the girl in charge is a of a clean freak, like really OCD about it all. Yet I don't think she understands anything about hygiene really because she is perfectly content to wash the dishes in cold water. Strange. But there is a cat, yay.

My first week has been entirely taken up with work. And now I am back that will probably not change. The barnacles take up a lot of time that I would rather be spending on real work, like what I was doing in Vienna. They have not survived so well over the last four months, I reckon I have only about a third of what I did. It is summer now though and time to begin sampling. So despite the fact that I don't really want more barnacles, at least the sampling is an excuse to go see the beaches around here. And I will have to make the most of the nice weather while it lasts and see what I can of Ireland. Pretty soon I will probably find it hard to believe that I was in Vienna a whole four months.