28 August 2010

22 August 2010


For my research to continue it is imperative that I get more samples of barnacles. Which means that for the past couple of weeks I have spent every other day or so going on long drives and visiting a stack of different Irish beaches. First down County Clare way and then up Galway County. And of course for me this sampling is just a great way to get to know the beaches that are in driving distance. This first picture was Doonbeg. It was interesting and pretty and there was a really friendly dog there. But not the right type of beach so have only visited it the once. But that was enough time for me to sink into anoxic smelly black mud up to my knees.

Next was a gorgeous sandy beach that remined me a lot of our own Oreti beach, except there were a lot of rocks out in the water. Ireland is just full of rocks. So these two pictures are a beach that in general is in an area called Tromora, but it probably has a more specific name than that. And look at that blue sky, and the sand and the dunes. At least it was a good day for it.

Next was Spanish Point, a real touristy wee place. Lots of rocks. There were a lot of people on this beach and it seemed unlikely that there would be any animals. Off to the side were some ruined walls, so we went to investigate.

So anyway, on the way across the rocks I saw a gumboot just sitting there, and I was on my way past so I stopped to take a look, and what would you know but there were two small (dead) barnacles on it!

And of course I pick up the stupid gumboot and as I hold it up to point out the stupid barnacles (it was exciting because these were the first that we had seen you see) I lose my balance and slip on the copious layers of wet seaweed, my feet slip out from beneath me frighteningly fast and before I know it I have hit the rocks, leaving many bruises that have only disappeared about a week or so later. So after all that excitement it was time to take it easy and head up to Doolin.

Doolin has a pier from which you can take a ferry to the Aran Islands. It is very rocky and has a lot of debris washed up. Which is good news for those looking for stranded oceanic barnacles. Such as myself. And again we came across some debris with stalked barnacles. A lot more of them this time.

So this is all good news for me and my sampling efforts, it just means that I have to be there at the beach at the right time and things might wash up. Next stop was Fanore.

Gorgeous place Fanore. No matter how often I go there I always want to take more photos. And again I found some barnacles washed up. This time stuck to seaweed.

So not wasted time, all these days of walking up and down beaches. And swimming. Way better than being in the office.

10 August 2010

My move into the city

Woo we have sunshine! And I have moved house. I have spent the last two weeks moving and then settling in; and now I feel settled.

The living room of my new apartment. See the sunshine! That does not happen so often.
My bedroom. By Ireland standards it is huge! I am happy with it though. Just need to decorate a little.
Last but not least, the guinea pig. It's pretty friendly, even when it's trying to eat my toes.

My new apartment is right in the centre of the city - a slightly dangerous location considering that every second establishment that I pass on the way to work is a great cafe. I will have to slowly try each one out until I find the best. And not only cafes, but all the shopes! I am right amongst them. Luckily Galway doesn't actually have such a great selection of shops, so my dilemma could be worse.

Here is Quay St, with lots of nicely painted establishments to put out of mind the excessive price of everything here.

But as it is, it's quite bad. Except I am broke for the next couple of months so I don't need that much will-power to prevent myself from shopping - my lack of money will do that for me. The view is not great. It could be worse I think but still - I am right on a relatively busy road, facing yet more apartments.

And this is the street that I live on. As you can see it is not very exciting.

But when the traffic is quiet I can hear sea-gulls because the docks are just one road over. And the location is great. The kitchen is a bit cramped but nothing like some of those Dunedin flats. And my room is huge. Unfortunately some nights I hear drunk people making a huge racket. And what would you know it but the worst lot were a bunch of bloody aussies - which I know because they began chanting aussie-aussie-aussie, oi-oi-oi. To think I could come all this way and still be woken up by that!

So other than moving, all I have been doing recently is working. And I don't really feel that I have been doing much of that either. I had my review the other week which looks at my progress and determines whether I can continue in the PhD. Which is not actually a scary thing unless you are doing really badly so it was quite good, it gave me a chance to talk about all my results, which I like to do, and to hear that I am progressing well, which is always nice. My crazy supervisor is still crazy, and still has a new topic for me to focus on every other week. But I don't see her much these days so it's not so bad. My barnacles are still stupid. They don't breed, they don't produce lots of adhesive for me, they just take up my time.

But luckily it is very important that we get more samples so that means trips to the beach, yay. Because other than the beach I am going nowhere exciting until October, when I will take a holiday to Dubai for a couple of weeks. And after that? Maybe Vienna for my birthday! So that is how things are at the moment, and it is pretending to be summer here in Galway for the time being so now I must go outside and make the most of it.

Here is the Corrib and the Salmon Weir, plus the fishermen that catch fish in there. The other evening you could see the salmon jumping out of the water all over the place.

01 August 2010

Galway Races

Well this week in Galway was race week. Which means that the city is packed for a week. But that didn't really make much a difference to my week. I would have loved to go for ladies day but instead I went with the postgrad society. And it was still fun, but it would have been more fun if a. it had been sunny and b. there had been a bigger crowd of postgrads and c. I had won more money. So how was the day? Well it was my first horse-race. The races themselves take about 2 minutes. All of the rest of the time is spent betting. All the bookies insist on a 5 euro minimum so I bet on the first race, I chose a name that looked interesting.

But I didn't win. So I stopped betting because I really wasn't there to make money. It wasn't ladies day but the women in general still dress up nice. So later I managed to come across the more official betting company and they gave a lucky-dip type ticket. So I got that. It didn't win anything either. And it was getting cold and my feet were sore, due to the high-heels and all. But I went with my friends as they placed their last bet for the last race. And I was just wandering around having a look, wondering if I should also place another bet. And I overheard some old fella's talking about this horse, not the favourite but one of the one's way up there. They were saying how it has just won millions in Japan and now has moved to Ireland to train. So I figured what the hell, I'll bet on that. And it won!!! So I came out on top! Not by much because I didn't bet much but still, at least I didn't lose anything! But you know, if I had bet all my rent money on that horse I would be so rich right now. Of course, that is probably how people get in trouble while gambling.

So after all of that. the whole horse-racing thing is not really that interesting. But when you have a bet and it looks like you will win and the horses are near the finish line - then it is quite exciting. In an anxious sort of way, because what if that horse suddenly fell over or something? There were no bad falls though, just one jockey came off of his horse. And I would like to go again next year, and get all fancied up. Except apparently ladies day is really crowded. And it would be nice if it was hot and sunny.