A Travellerspoint blog

July 2011

TALL SHIPS AND FARMYARD FROLICS

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On the way to Waterford, we stopped in at New Ross to buy some airtime for the phones and internet dongle. The roads into the centre of Waterford were all closed for the Tall Ships Festival, and 3 large Park ‘n Rides with shuttle buses were in operation, coping very efficiently with the half million visitors. We parked in the CareDoc carpark and from there only had a short walk into town. There were thousands of people on the quay in a very festive mood. Queues were long to explore the ships, but there were plenty of stalls to browse, and foods to buy.
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The balloon seller was dressed as a pirate,but it was difficult to capture his whole body!

The balloon seller was dressed as a pirate,but it was difficult to capture his whole body!


We had seen this fascinating musician with his troupe of moving puppets at Midleton, Co Cork before.

We had seen this fascinating musician with his troupe of moving puppets at Midleton, Co Cork before.

We trudged slowly back to the van to catch up on a little sleep, as David had a full night’s duty ahead. Fortunately the patients were distracted from their ailments by the festival, so the shift was quiet and David snatched a few hours sleep in the duty room, while Sandi slept in the van outside. Even the firework display did not disturb us.

On Saturday the sun came out so we took the opportunity to give Mr Stubby a good clean and scrub.
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David worked that evening till midnight, then joined Sandi in the van for a few hours. We needed to make an early start the next day, as we had to drive 2 hours up to our accommodation for the week ahead, drop Sandi to settle in, with David needing to get back into Carlow by 9am for the day’s duty.
The fully-equipped doctor's car used for home and hospital visits.

The fully-equipped doctor's car used for home and hospital visits.


Hillview B&B is on a dairy farm near the village of Kiltegan.
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We were given a little self-contained cottage next to a field with shy 3 month-old calves, frisky ducks and plump chickens.
Our cosy cottage

Our cosy cottage


Lovely moo-babies outside our window, with himself in the front, and the farm in the background

Lovely moo-babies outside our window, with himself in the front, and the farm in the background

Afternoon siesta for the calves with the glorious Irish hills beyond

Afternoon siesta for the calves with the glorious Irish hills beyond


It is always a great treat to be able to cook for ourselves, and we raided the bargain shelves at Tesco for salmon, lamb and pork rib, which together with Sandi’s special seafood chowder, made for excellent cuisine for the week.

Breakfast each day consisted of the best eggs we've eaten in Ireland, in over 2 years, prepared by B&B owner, Rosemary - the Poached-egg Princess of the Universe!
The happy hens who supplied the eggs for our breakfast

The happy hens who supplied the eggs for our breakfast


At breakfast each morning we looked out at the beautiful view and watched the antics of the wild birds as they flitted around the bird feeder in front of the window.

The view from the breakfast room.

The view from the breakfast room.

We laughed at the frisky calves, who played like children at dusk every day. The long summer evenings, spent looking over the hills and trying to talk to the calves, were very relaxing.
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Closer shot of our shy neighbours

Closer shot of our shy neighbours

The calves weren't the only frisky ones - the drakes were positively lascivious, nabbing the ducks at every opportunity, as they ran for cover. Raunchy bunch these waddlers!
Puddleduck and Co.

Puddleduck and Co.


David worked in a GP practice split between the 2 nearby villages of Hacketstown and Rathvilly.
Typical Irish townhouses in Rathvilly.

Typical Irish townhouses in Rathvilly.


On Saturday it was again a long drive down to Waterford for a day shift for David. The van radio had stopped working, and it transpired that the amplifier had probably blown. So he had no alternative but to sing loudly [and tunelessly] to pass the time. Some of you may remember this Irish ditty from younger years:

About a maid I'll sing a song ……… sing rickety tickety tin [melody and words available on application]

Posted by davidsandi 10:15 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

TORRID TIMES IN TRURO

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With 5 days to spend in Truro, waiting for the van to be fixed, we set about planning what to do i.e. making lemonade with our lemon. On Saturday we were invited to lunch by Anton and Kay Kruger, old varsity pals of David’s, who live in a lovely country homestead, just outside Truro.
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We headed for the veggie garden and tunnel to pick lunch: fresh, organic broadbeans, French beans, chillis, white radish, new potatoes, coriander seed, courgette, carrots, raspberries and strawberries. Yum! Nothing could taste better!
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The veggie tunnel.

The veggie tunnel.

Picking raspberries.

Picking raspberries.

Lunch!

Lunch!


Sandi found the perfect raspberry to photograph.

Sandi found the perfect raspberry to photograph.


The woodpile.

The woodpile.

Kay's beautiful clematis.

Kay's beautiful clematis.


We arranged to rent a cheap car for the next four days so that we would be mobile, and managed to find one for £25 a day. The first one had a dodgy electronic lock and could not get into 5th gear, so the lady exchanged the car for us the next day, but gave us one with a dodgy gearbox instead! The joys of having only a Rent-a-Wreck budget. We spent several hours on Sunday wandering around the cute little harbour town of Falmouth. It was so nice to start relaxing without an agenda and without time pressure.
Lunch here was a pie and a beer.

Lunch here was a pie and a beer.

Falmouth harbour.

Falmouth harbour.


We then headed for Penzance, but missed a turn somewhere and ended up in the southern-most point of England, Lizard.
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How's this for a serendipitous find?


On Monday we drove to Ebford near Exeter, to visit cousin Judy and Rob, who, after 2 years are still struggling to sell their property. We stayed overnight [it felt like coming back to our old home] and had a lovely time catching up with them, before driving back the following afternoon.
Summer lilies in Judy's garden.

Summer lilies in Judy's garden.

David and Judy's post-prandial stroll.

David and Judy's post-prandial stroll.

On the way back we stopped in at a favourite antediluvian haunt: Trago Mills, a fascinating, time-warp, multi-department store, selling everything, and then some. The parking lot is full of eccentric statues.
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Stress levels were steadily climbing, as we waited for the van repairs to be timeously completed by Wednesday, as time would be extremely tight if there were any delays at all. David was just about to book the ferry crossing for Thursday evening, when an email came in expressing interest in buying the van. The couple would drive down from Plymouth that afternoon [Wednesday] to have a look, after we had picked the van up from the garage – it sounded really promising! Bob immediately phoned a friend, who offered us a reliable car for £600. So we had a buyer for the van and a car with which to travel to Ireland. Fantastic! All we had to do was to collect the van at 5pm, as we were assured that it would be ready by then, drive back to Truro in the rush hour traffic, give the van a quick wash and be ready for the buyers at 6pm. Our ferry to Ireland was a mere 30 hours away, if we were to cross the Irish Sea in time for David’s overnight shift at 6pm on Friday. Life is never dull in Nye-land!

We popped down to Truro centre to shop for the time in Ireland, as food and wine are so much cheaper in England.
Crabs in the market - which were however not on our shopping list.

Crabs in the market - which were however not on our shopping list.


The Drummer - a newly unveiled statue on Lemon Quay, Truro.

The Drummer - a newly unveiled statue on Lemon Quay, Truro.


Truro cathedral.

Truro cathedral.

But it was not to be so easy! The first blow was a call from the prospective buyer cancelling the appointment to view. This was followed shortly by a call from the garage to say that they had to order some brake callipers, which would be sent down from Exeter the next day. We both felt quite desperate with time running out. Our only option now was to take the van to Ireland and to use it while trying to sell it. An added stress was trying to find accommodation for Sandi in Waterford for Friday and Saturday, since there was absolutely nothing to be had in either this, or surrounding towns - not what were were expecting. It turns out that, unbeknown to us, David's shifts coincided with the Tall Ships Festival - an event that attracted half a million revellers to Waterford for the weekend! The decision was made that Sandi would sleep in the van, in the car park behind the Caredoc office. With that decision made we finally booked the ferry for 2.45am on Friday morning, and went to bed, praying for no more surprises. The emotional roller-coaster was however running at full throttle, and both our stress levels were stratospheric!

Sandi's Stress-Double!!

Sandi's Stress-Double!!

On Thursday morning David went into Falmouth with Bob to help him with packing up the boat, while waiting for the van to be ready. By 12.30pm the parts had still not arrived! Sandi was back in Truro stressing, and packing and unpacking to keep busy. By 2.30pm the parts arrived and they got to work on the van. We were assured that they would be finished with the repairs, and that the MOT would be issued by 5pm. This was really cutting things fine, as David still had to drive back to Truro, pick up Sandi and load everything into the van, by 6pm at the absolute latest, and start the long 6 hour drive to the ferry port in Wales. David got the key back at 5.20pm and the ferry countdown journey began. The whirlwind with which we loaded our belongings [by now all waiting on the lawn outside], was second only to the staggering blow of the whopping £627 bill [and they even forgot to do the oil change]. We hit the road in record time, leaving Bob's sanctuary at 6.10pm.
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We eventually arrived at the ferry port at 1.30am and were relieved to be able to board immediately. We grabbed our pillows, found a seat and fell asleep. The sun was rising by 4.30am and we had a greasy ferry-style English breakfast, as they stopped service at 5am. At 6.15am we disembarked in Rosslare, Co Wexford, grateful to once again be on the terra firma of this lush Emerald Isle, which has been one of our special homes-from-home during our 2-year walkabout. Although exhausted, we had made it, and the relief was beyond description!

Posted by davidsandi 06:19 Archived in England Comments (0)

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