Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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Day 7 (Sept 18/19): A perfect night

Well, folks, the cloudless sky of earlier did not disappoint.

The sky tonight is, if you’ll pardon the pun, stellar.

Even though I’m still inside the village and there are a few lights around, the light pollution is really quite minimal.

If I walked just 10 minutes to the right of my place, it would be much darker, but like I think I said before, I’d also end up in a ditch or down over the cliff (it is the Cliff Road, after all). Even dressing in reflective gear wouldn’t help really.

And, really, who cares? The sky here is still beautiful. I know it would be even more spectacular if it were completely pitch black, but if we constantly chase whatever we think perfection might be, we miss out on what we already have.

And what I had tonight was fabulous. I stayed out looking up, wayyyyy up, until I got a kink in my neck!

The binoculars my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday allowed me to see even more, too, which was great! (I had no idea how shaky I am, though!!! Even with my arm resting on something, it was hard to get it to hold still. I’ll be looking for a tripod adapter and tripod before too long!)

When Mother Nature decides to put on a show, she really puts on a show.

There was a star fairly low on the horizon, over the entrance to the bay that was so bright, it even reflected off the ocean! It might even be a planet. Venus and Mars are out and about tonight, apparently, so Mr. Google just told me.

I love looking at the sky and appreciating the beauty, but I am absolutely not at expert at deciphering what I see! Well, I can recognize a plane or a satellite…cuz they are moving, and I can find the Big Dipper and sometimes Orion’s belt, but that’s about it.

Anyway, it was spectacular to me. The beautiful show in the sky, complete with the Milky Way Galaxy, the ocean rolling gently onto the beach…

An absolutely wonderful way to end the day!!

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Day 7 (Sept 18/19): Beautiful sunset #999?

I know, I know… enough with the sunsets!

But can you really, truly ever have enough of them?

This evening’s was/is spectactular. Remember the reds and vibrant colours I mentioned yesterday? Well, we had them this evening!

Unfortunately, my tablet doesn’t have that good a camera, so the pictures below don’t show them that well.

If you can use your imagination, paint the whole bit above the hills a beautiful deep red and orange red.

AND…the clouds haven’t come in yet, so I think I’m going to get the starry, starry night tonight. 🙂

Sunset, Waterville (facing towards Ballinskelligs), just after 8pm, Sept 18/19

Sunset, Waterville (facing towards Ballinskelligs), just after 8:30pm, Sept 18/19

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Day 6 (Sept 17/19): A beautiful evening

Waterville is located in the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve.

A dark sky reserve (or preserve) is “a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment.” (darksky.org)

I do enjoy a beautiful starry sky so I have been looking forward to seeing some stunning night skies while here.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a clear night since I got here.

This evening, though, when I was out on the patio reading, it looked hopeful – a beautiful blue sky with only a smattering of clouds.

Having a read in my favourite spot

However, before too long, the clouds began to roll in from the east and my astronomical hopes were dashed. Boo hiss.

That said, the sunset was quite lovely. There were no bright reds and oranges – colours normally associated with stunning sunsets, but it was beautiful nonetheless. I’ve included a few shots and you can decide for yourself. 🙂

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Day 6 (Sept 17/19): An artistic challenge!

My friend Shamima gave me an art journal for my birthday and I brought it with me on this trip.

Today I challenged myself to sketch the view from the table in the sunroom.

It’s not 100% accurate and is definitely not to scale (as you can see from the pictures in previous posts), but the main pieces are there. It turned out better than I thought it would, actually!

(The book pages already had the quote and the flowers in the bottom left and top right corners.)

I’m not, as you can tell, good at drawing, but that’s what challenges are about, right?

If you are already good at or comfortable with something, doing it isn’t a challenge.

I plan on doing some more of this scene, so maybe it will get better as I go. 🙂 In any event, I’m still happy with this first go at it and that I did it at all!!

My first attempt from my window

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Day 5 (Sept 16/19): In and out today, like the tide!

It’s been a day of not sitting very still.

This morning, I went for a few groceries that I didn’t think of on Saturday. I had also planned on going to the tourism office, but it was closed till noon. So I just went for a little walk before picking up the groceries and coming back home.

I then did the boring, but necessary, check in on the budget. It’s not my forte and if I’m not careful, I could spend the works of it within days and have nothing left for the rest of the trip. That would make for a very boring time!!

After that, I headed to the tourism office where a lovely gent named Barry gave me some really good tips and suggestions for things to do while I’m here. If I do only half of what he suggested, my FitBit will be very happy!

From there I headed to An Corcan restaurant for another late-ish lunch. I had the chicken panini and fries. The panini was delicious but the fries were meh.

I think they maybe had been through quite a rush during the regular lunch hour (I had counted at least 5 tour buses in town on my way to the tourism office). It seemed a strain for the owner to be friendly.

I don’t mean to imply that she was rude. She wasn’t. She just seemed…frazzled. Bless her heart.

After that, I popped into the post office. I had bought two postcards there this morning on my sojourn, but couldn’t find them when I got home. So I checked in and yup, I had left them there. (See…when I say I’m forgetful and easily distracted, I’m not joking!)

I came home again then, postcards and all my pamphlets from Barry in hand, and caught up on a few emails.

I opened the windows for a while, but dang…there were a kajillion little flies all over the place! I massacred a goodly number of them (they wouldn’t shoo out the window) and closed everything up. New investment idea: Window screens. One good marketing campaign and you are in the money!

We were heading towards 5:00 by then and I thought about putting the chicken in the oven. But then I figured that by the time it’s done and I’ve eaten, it would be dark.

I wanted to go for a walk and doing that in the dark isn’t the smartest thing. The roads, as you may know, are very narrow and there aren’t shoulders to speak of.

Ending up in a ditch (or the hospital) is not on the top of my list of things to do on a holiday (or any time, truth be told!), so I opted for the walk first.

I went to the south/east this time, on a path along the bay for about half of it and then along the road. I went as far as the Currane River and it felt like it might rain so I turned back.

I’m in now for the evening, I think. That’s enough in-ing and out-ing for one day I do believe! Except now (7pm) it’s a bit late to put a chicken in the oven, so I might need to go out again for supper. 🙂

Speaking of in and out, below are a couple pictures for you showing low tide and high tide today. (NOTE: They might not be the actual lowest and highest points – just the lowest and highest that I saw today.)

The third picture is for my cousin Juanita who is following along. 🙂

Low tide, Ballinskellig Bay, morning Sept 16/19

High tide, Ballinskellig Bay, late afternoon Sept 16/19

For the O’Reillys!!

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Day 4 (Sept 15/19): Fixing the WiFi, more switches, figuring out the oven, locking a door, a walk, and relaxing

I’ve been playing catch up on my posts because when I arrived yesterday, the WiFi wasn’t working. When I was at supper last night, I posted some quick things to Instagram, but the WordPress app requires a bit more attention than IG.

I talked to the owner of the place today. She didn’t know how to fix it, but said she’d reach out to the guy who had installed it. She warned me, though, that he might have gone to Dublin for the football match yesterday and might not be back. Not a biggie…I could survive a day or so without Internet, right?

Before I go further, let’s step back. Remember the story about the light switches in the hotel in Killarney? Well, it turns out that switches are very popular here, too. Now, I haven’t found a master control light switch here, but alllllllll of the outlets have switches. One for each plug. So for each outlet with two plug sockets, there are two switches. You have to turn the switch on in order for that socket to work. (I imagine it saves on electricity, which is a great idea!! It just takes a little getting used to.)

And remember the windows without screens? From what I have seen nobody uses them. I didn’t see them on other hotels (or any building for that matter) in Killarney or on buildings (homes or otherwise) on the bus trip. This place doesn’t have them, either. A Google search has revealed that it’s actually common across Europe not to have screens. Apparently they don’t have as many mosquitos as we do in North America. Who knew!!

Now, back to the Internet. I had, like you would, done the unplug-and-plug-it-back-in thing with the router. It powered up. My tablet said I was connected. But there was no Internet.

While I was talking to Siobhan, I noticed that something else was plugged into the other socket where the router was plugged in and that 2nd socket switch was turned off. I turned it on. It didn’t seem to make any difference, so Siobhan said she’d try to reach that guy and get back to me.

About half an hour later, I thought I’d give it a go again and ta da! It worked!! So…that was fixed.

A couple of other “How does that work?” things also happened:

1. The door to the deck off the master bedroom would not lock, no matter how much I tried to coax it. Siobhan told me the tricks about that via text. (It wasn’t a big security concern as it’s on the 2nd floor, but I thought she’d want to know. I also didn’t want to end up having it look like I had broken it.)

2. I wanted to roast a chicken, but could not get the oven to work. Mary, the caretaker, dropped by to see how I was doing, so I asked her about it. She had no clue, beyond someone must have flipped the switch on the wall (again with the switches!!! Seriously – invest in switches in Ireland) and reset the programming on the oven. It’s not a fancy oven…I have no idea what programming is involved, but in any event, she said I should reach out to Siobhan, which I did, and she walked me through that fix.

In addition to working out those little bugs, I went for a walk today once the mist and fog cleared a little and did some colouring, totally relaxing with the sounds of the ocean. (You will hear me talk about that a lot…it’s one of my favourite things in the world, so yeah…it will be a repeated theme on this trip!!)

A foggy, misty morning today

On my way back from my walk

My perch, sitting on the rocks above the beach, across from my place

Some colouring after my walk


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Day 3 (Sept 14/19): Killaney to Waterville – the last day of travel!

This post was written on Sept 14/19, at various stages of leaving Killarney to go to my final destination of Waterville.

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Surprisingly, I slept better than I thought last night. A 5-hour time difference does do a number on you, but I think I’m good now!

My room booking included room-delivered full breakfast, which was definitely a great way to start the day. I forgot to ask for ketchup, though. Sausage without ketchup just isn’t the same, but I didn’t want to be a bother by bringing down for some so I somehow survived without!! 🙂

I toodled around again after breakfast before coming back to check out. There are loads of pubs and interesting shops – mostly geared towards tourists. I didn’t buy anything, but got some ideas for gifts towards the end of my trip.

Once I checked out, I left my bags at the front desk and headed off for lunch. I asked the girl at the front desk for a recommendation – there are loads of pubs around, but I wanted something different so I asked where she would go. She recommended the Cafe du Parc so that is just where I went!

I ordered the club sandwich. It didn’t come with anything, so I was skeptical as to whether or not it would be enough, but it was quit filling on its own. In fact, I only ate just over half of it. It was really yummy, too!

The club sandwich at the Café du Parc

After lunch, I scoped out info on some tours for when I come back in a couple of weeks, particularly for Killarney National Park because if I don’t go there while I’m in the area, my brother Bill might disown me. 🙂

Now I’m waiting for the bus to Waterville to depart. While standing outside waiting, I got hit on by an octogenarian (possibly even a nonagenarian) named Michael, so I guess I still got it…?

A little later…

While waiting my turn to load my bags into the bus, I saw a young fella putting a bag in the storage area. He had thick, fuzzy, fingerless gloves and I wondered if he was the bag loader, but he left and went back to the boarding line so I figure nope…he’s a passenger.

Then it was my turn to load and he came over and did it for me – before I had even started. So I changed my mind again and thought, ok, he must be the baggage guy.

But..the story does not end there!!! When I got on, there he was, a seated passenger.

He wasn’t the baggage guy. He was a nice guy who just took it upon himself to do a nice thing. And it wasn’t even as though I had been struggling with the bags. I hadn’t even started when he came over. He was just a nice young guy.

As I walked past him on the bus, I thanked him again. He chuckled a little, with a little shyness, and said, “It’s no problem…”

As it says in one of my favourite quotes:

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. (William Arthur Ward)

The bus ride itself was absolutely fabulous!!! If you are ever in the area, be sure to take a bus tour. It’s stunning. I didn’t take many photos – I thought about it lots, but just wanted to enjoy the view and not spend my whole time looking at it through my tablet camera viewer.

When I got to my place in Waterville, I unpacked, went for groceries, put those away, and then went for dinner at Dooley’s before hunkering down for the night. It was just soup and salad, but I tell you what – the dressing was delicious and the vegetable soup was the best soup I’ve had in I don’t know how long!

As an aside, from the time I arrived in Killarney and till now, everybody has been talking about today’s (Gaelic) football match between the Kerry team and Dublin. Being in County Kerry, everyone has been hoping for Kerry to win and green and yellow jerseys have been everywhere. Sadly, while I was eating, I could hear from the bar side of the restaurant that Kerry had lost.

As with all sporting matches — particularly rematches like this one – there was a super fun energy leading up to it the past two days since I’ve been here. Even the cashier at the grocery store was fully into it. She wasn’t thrilled about only being able to listen on the radio and not be able to see it, though!

Anyhoo…Here are some photos from today (Sept 14):

1. The bus

2. An ocean view on the route to Waterville

3. A video from my patio – the location is why I’ve taken this place. The sight, the sound, and the beautiful salty sea smell!

3. A sunset view from my place in Waterville

4. My dinner at Dooley’s