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27 August 2012

More Spiders

I am having a rough week. First, the spider under the toilet keeps coming out of his hiding place and hanging around in the evenings.


But that's bearable. I know where he is and that he will stay there, because he is clearly happy enough with his home. What is worse is what happened last night. My flatmate found this in her bedroom:


The picture is no exaggeration. It really was huge. It was too big to fit under a pint glass. I have never seen such a big spider in Ireland; I assumed there weren't any. Admittedly, it's taken nearly 3 years to come across one, but still, I can't help but be a bit worried that there are more of them. Though if I remember rightly it's not actually as bad as the ones that used to come in the house when I was a kid - they were definitely this big but a lot fatter and darker in colour. And I used to have to deal with them because Mum wouldn't. I remember I would get the cup and cardboard (with spider inside) as far as the door, then just throw the whole lot out onto the lawn and not go after the cup till the next day. But even this giant spider isn't the last of my spider troubles. There is another fat black one sitting right in the doorway to the apartment building. It arrived last night and was there this morning, with it's web taking over the top right hand corner of the doorway. I will have to find someone to get rid of it because I just can't handle walking under a spider every day, several times.

On a more positive note, despite the work that I am currently doing not going well at all, the work that I was doing in my first year or so here (which did go well and was enjoyable) has finally been published. It's available online and eventually will be available in a printed journal and now I am a published author, which means I will be able to get a doctorate and get a job. See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmor.20067/abstract. Look at all my pretty pictures. Maybe even read it if you like.

Now to end, over the weekend I brought myself a treat. One that is very fitting. A pair of earrings that look like chocolate chippie cookies!


17 August 2012

There's a spider living in my bathroom

See, it's a long story. First of all, ages ago, there was a rumour of a spider living below the toilet. Rumor because I had not seen it, just heard about it from my flatmate. Apparently it was really big. Then it was dead one day, and we vacuumed it up. For the record, it wasn't that big. Maybe Ireland big, but absolutely nothing compared to those huge dark brown spiders that used to appear on the bedroom wall back home. Which I used to be able to deal with, but now would not be able to go near because I am so un-used to big spiders that the smaller ones make me run away.

So, to get closer to the point of the story. The other night I had tag practice and they kept us running for 2 hours in terrible humidity, after which I really needed a shower. I got home and jumped in the shower and switched it on, then I looked down and there was a centipede crawling around the plughole trying to get out! It was really big too! I mean, not like tropical big but pretty big for what you expect to see in you house. It was all crawly and full of legs and I started yelling 'ew ew ew ew ew ew ew' and turned the shower off and jumped out, wrapped my towel around me and rushed out of the bathroom to get my flatmate to come and deal with the centipede problem. Which she did, amid lots of laughter. So the centipede was gone, we put it out the window and it happily landed on some roofing tiles. But that's not the end of the story.

See, in the morning, I was just getting out of the shower (yes, I had to have another shower, because how can you wake up without a shower?) and I saw another centipede! It was big and gross and crawling over the bathroom floor. But then it crawled under the toilet and suddenly it couldn't seem to move anywhere, it was just wriggling about in one place. Then a big spider came out and attacked it. At which point I left. And no, the spider wasn't that big, compared to big NZ house spiders, but I am accustomed to no spiders in my nice little city apartment so it seemed pretty big. Next time I went into the bathroom there was neither centipede nor spider to see, so I guess the spider must have pulled its meal into its hidey hole. I have since vacuumed the house, including the bathroom, so I must have got the spider web, but the spider was hiding, and he has probably made a new web. I have never seen him since, but I know that he is there, beneath the toilet somewhere. He is not as big as the spiders that used to live in the bathroom when I was growing up, but it is still unsettling and I am not impressed.

13 August 2012

Sunshine!

After a spectacularly wet end to summer here in Galway, autumn decided to treat us to a couple of last days of warm weather. It went from this, the weekend before (which I did spend lazing about on the couch after all):


To this on the Friday just been:


It was 25 degrees! I took the day off to make the most of it, because it is very unlikely that it will happen again this year. Spent the whole day on the beach, went for a swim, and only got very slightly sunburnt. It is still the school holidays here so the beach was packed with kids and parents, but luckily we found a nice quiet spot down the end.


Of course, after a long day of sunshine I was incredibly exhausted, and my head was pounding, though that may have been on account of staying up late to finish my book. So I spent the weekend quietly, enjoying the slightly colder, but still good weather. Until Sunday, when we woke up to sunshine, went out to make the most of it, only to have it cloud over. So we went to a cafe and sat in the garden, but then it started to spit and it was awfully windy. So we picked up our things and went inside. Next thing you know, the sky opens up and drops down another heavy, torrential downpour. When it finally stopped we went home, and luckily we live right in the city centre, just in case. Not that it would have helped much, just a few seconds in that sort of rain and you'd be soaked to the bone. Now it is on and off every day, and we can only hope that it stays fine for rugby on Thursday.

04 August 2012

Autumn has begun...

Galway has finally got a pie shop. It is right beside where I live. They have steak and cheese pies. But it is not a steak and cheese pie. If they tried to sell this in NZ they would have to hang their heads in shame. First of all, there are no noticeable pieces of steak in the pie. The gravy is not rich and meaty. There is carrot in it. And the cheese is just not right. Plus the pastry is not so good and the pie is sort of soggy. It does not cut the mustard. Clearly Galway and the whole of Ireland could benefit from a proper NZ pie. I don't know why it is so bad, when the UK is so close and they can make a good pie. They have this franchise over there called Pie Minister and they make amazing pies, with proper steak and gravy and delicious pastry. This Galway pie shop is just a half arsed attempt at making money of ignorant tourists and gimmick loving city people that don't know what a real pie is like. Even the outside of the shop shows it, it is poorly painted and the signage is terrible.

So other than a terrible excuse for a pie shop opening up down the street, absolutely nothing has been happening here. OK, so there was the arts festival, but that's not so great. I didn't even manage to see the Macnas parade, which is the only real parade that they have in this city, because it was on at 9 pm on a Sunday and it was raining so I just did not want to leave the house. And then when the arts festival was over the Galway races began, but I'm not much into wasting money on horses, so I didn't bother with it. For a little while I got excited about the prospect of ladies' day and the best dressed competition, but then everbody from here told me that it is not actually a competition that includes the public, no matter what they say, but it is always pre-determined and the winners are members of societies like the Rotary Society or Miss Ireland or something like that. How crappy is that, when the advertisements say that anybody from the crowd could be chosen? They should have a proper little fashion show included, that would be much better. So after getting all excited about the idea of making something and winning something again I didn't bother because apparently it doesn't work that way, and just in time for the races the monsoon season has hit Galway so there is no way that I was venturing out to the race track to stand around outdoors in a dress an heels while it rained down on me.

However, it is a long weekend here in Ireland and I feel that I need a proper break from work so I hope that the torrential downpours stop for a day or so, so that I can get out of the house and do something, so that my long weekend will not feel wasted. Besides, this apartment is so small and race week is so loud that if I don't get out I will surely go stir crazy, so hopefully I can find some entertainment for the weekend. If not, I will just have to walk around town mindlessly window shopping because I have cute new boots that need to be worn in, until they stop giving me blisters, but I can't go too far in them in case I really need to rush home and take them off, on account of the blisters and all. Yet window shopping is difficult in this ridiculously crowded city, so maybe after all that I will just stay home and read books and watch movies, because that is the best thing to do when it is raining. Besides, techincally it is autumn here now, so a colder season has officially started and it is time to stay in the house and bake yummy things to eat.