11.02.2010 - 07.03.2010
We went up to Miltown Malbay near Spanish Point on the west coast of County Clare, where David was booked to do several ‘red-eye’ shifts [midnight to 9am].
Fortunately, the doctor usually doing these shifts is a SA doctor who lives here with his wife, and they have gone to SA for a holiday. They kindly let us use their house, which is fantastic for us to have a 'home' for a while. We can cook and have our own space, which is so important to us after constantly being in somebody else's space. It also saves us loads of money in accommodation and meals. This became our base for three weeks, from where we made several trips across country to work in GP practices, returning each time to MM.
The first few nights were very quiet so David got several hours of sleep, while getting paid!
We are lucky to be 500m from the most beautiful beach at Spanish Point.
Just up the road, on the other side of Milltown Malbay, is White Strand beach, where Dusty the dolphin apparently comes to play with the bathers throughout the summer!
David has just finished a week in a GP practice on the Curragh near Kildare, which was very different to the first GP job. Here were lots more social problems among the patients; drugs and alcohol and teenage pregnancies, as it is an army camp community. The Curragh is a vast expanse of grassland extending over 5000 acres, which is rich in limestone. This is the reason that the area is renowned for breeding fine race-horses, as the limestone gives them strong bones. The nearby race-tracks of Curragh and Punchestown are very popular with the Irish.
Sandi had found us a good deal at the Carlton Abbey hotel in Athy [rhymes with fly, and Nye] about a 30 minute drive away.
Back in the house in Spanish Point, life is settling into a routine. It is beginning to feel like home. David works [or sleeps] at the ShannonDoc centre up the road at night, while Sandi braves the house alone, and we spend the daytime leisurely watching TV, going for walks if the weather is not too bad, corresponding, reading and cooking. The weather is freezing most days, and David has to scrape the ice off the windscreen of the van most mornings. Really can't wait to have a bit of proper sun in May, rather than this weak Irish excuse for a sun!
David took on a one-day locum for a GP in Enniscorthy, which entailed 4 hours driving in heavy rain and sleet to get there, and another 4 hours the next evening to get back. During a walkabout at lunch-time, he visited the cathedral, which was decorated inside with stencilled art; unusual and rather beautiful.
After a couple more red-eye shifts in Miltown Malbay, we travelled across to Borris, Co Kildare, for 2 days in a GP practice. Borris is a pretty, rural village in the foothills of Mt Leinster, and we had a lovely view from our B&B over the valley, village and viaduct. The viaduct was built 150 years ago to carry logs by train down to Wexford, and apparently one of the longest in Europe.
After another 2 days in a practice in New Ross, it was back to MM yet again [3 1/2 hours drive]. We took a drive up the coast to the nearby holiday resort of Lahinch, where there were dozens of surfers in the water.
We decided to have another look at the Cliffs of Moher, before we finally bid farewell to Co Clare, as we had only glimpsed them in foul weather on our last visit.
Mr Stubby was also starting to sprout random spots of rust, so David decided this was a good time to do some patching up. It proved to be more tricky than he anticipated, because even on the sunniest day there was always a sea breeze, which blew the masking paper and paint all over the place! It was only by using the golf umbrella as a wind-barrier and waiting for brief lulls in the breeze, that the job got finished [certainly far from a professional-looking outcome!] Once again we had difficulty starting the van, but this time even a jump start did not help. We called the RAC, who sent a mechanic from Kilfenora, 20km away, who declared our battery was just not powerful enough for starting the van, when conditions were suboptimal. This made a lot of sense, as we often had starting problems when it was very cold or it had been standing for a few days. So after 3 hours of reshaping the battery bracket, and 170 euro later, we had a new, larger and more powerful battery. The end to our starting problems at last!
So bye for now, from the nomadic Nyes, as we continue on our freezing midlife-madness-meanderings!