10.07.2011 - 23.07.2011 18 °C
On Sunday, after a final leisurely farm breakfast at Hillview Farm, we bade Rosemary the Poach-Egg Princess a fond farewell, and made our way down the Barrow River valley to New Ross. Our home for the next week [which turned into 2 weeks] was to be at Glendower House with our hosts Michael and Margaret, where we had spent the last 3 weeks of our walk-about, in the winter, last November.
Margaret's large garden is full of colour now, in sharp contrast to the pristine covering of snow last time we were here.
David did a shift at Waterford again that evening, and one of the Caredoc drivers started expressing an interest in our van. We didn’t think much of it, as David settled into the week in a GP practice - with which he was familiar from the November 2010 work stint. Quite a busy practice with hospital visits twice a day.
Tuesday was half day, so we decided to visit the JFK [Kennedy] Arboretum again, as the weather was sunny and mild. The last time we visited here was in early spring and Sandi had sprained her ankle at the start of our walk, so hobbling the route wasn't much fun, even though she stoically refused to abandon the outing. Again we marvelled at the variety and splendour of the trees.
Sandi often had to physically restrain David from gawking, and rather too volubly muttering about obesity [in Afrikaans] and the irony of how it's always those who SHOULD be getting some exercise that don't. Sandi's concerns were more for the poor horses, who were sweating away, as they lugged their heffalumps up the inclines!
We planned to advertise the van on www.donedeal.ie, as everyone said this was much better known in Ireland than Gumtree. Before doing so David called the Caredoc fellow to see if he was still interested, and after first saying “no”, he then said “yes”. Not wanting to get our hopes up too much we arranged to meet on Saturday for another viewing. David had only managed to secure a short shift at Dungarvan on Saturday afternoon, so Sandi explored the village on foot while David worked, and came upon these large, quaint, apple sculptures in a small side-street near the town.
On the way home we met with the couple for a van-showing, and Sandi and his delightful wife hit it off immediately. They spent some time viewing the virtues of the van, which they appeared to love. So, with mixed emotions, we suddenly had a buyer, but we were thrilled that Mr Stubby was going to a good home! Since they have four sons, they were keen to use the van for what remained of their summer holidays, which left us needing to immediately find transport for our remaining time in Ireland.
As there was no work anywhere for David on Sunday, we spent the day booking airtickets from Dublin to Edinburgh, and from Edinburgh to Gatwick. Sandi also started looked at the donedeal website for secondhand cars, as we realised that buying a car was still going to be much cheaper than renting one, as summer care hire costs are astronomical. Courtesy of our kind B&B host, we had the option of leaving the car in Ireland at Glendower House, selling it, or finding locums to use it and defray costs that way. As we were soon to discover, compulsory car insurance in Ireland is not cheap i.e. €560 pa, if you do not have a “claim-free bonus”. Motor tax adds another €425 pa! We finished off the day by treating ourselves to a pub dinner at the Horse and Hounds - a nice change from bedroom fodder!
On Monday, our host, Michael, contacted his garage man, who quickly arranged for a Polish man, who sells cars in his spare time, to contact us. He brought around a silver Ford Mondeo 1.6 for us to look at. It was perfect for our needs: big lockable boot, 11 years old, in great condition, drives like a dream, and we negotiated a price of €725. We were thrilled to have found such a bargain so quickly! We spent our afternoon off, unpacking, cleaning and clearing out Mr Stubby before driving him off [in tandem with the "new" car] to his new home in beautiful, coastal Tramore. Quite a hectic day: bidding a sad farewell to one and the excitement of buying another!
We now have transport when we choose to come back to Ireland, and can plan a camping trip to Provence next summer! We got so excited about the thought, that David insisted on buying a tent and inflatable mattresses at Tesco when we saw them on sale at half price the next day! Now we’ll have to come back!!