Saturday, March 25, 2017

Quiet Day, Simple Supper, And Springing Forward

We had a quiet day today. I slept until 10, had some breakfast, then sat on my couch, drank cups of coffee and tea, and read a book--Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell. I found a download of a BBC Book Club discussion about the book, so now that I've read it, I will listen to that later. Bill started a book he picked up at the library yesterday--Ray Bradbury's short stories. He is not keen on it so far and is not sure whether he will continue.

I'd decided to make a frittata for supper. I used a big pan so there would be leftovers.
 I buttered the baking dish and put in cubed, cooked potatoes, some sauteed broccoli, garlic, chopped red bell pepper and onions, some cheese (a cheddar/mozzarella mix and some smoked) and black pepper. Then I beat 10 eggs and some milk, and poured it over the top. I baked it for about 20 minutes at 180C in my fan oven. Had a square with an apple and the rest is n the fridge.
I also made some stuffed cheese rolls. I made pizza last night and used the bread maker to make the wholemeal pizza crust dough. As I always do, I made a large batch, even though I did not need it all for the crust.

I cut off what I need and put the rest in a container in the refrigerator. The next day I take it out and let it sit for a while before rolling it out and cutting it into pieces. I add cheese and whatever else to half of each piece, and then fold over and seal the edges. They are never the same when I make them. Today I kneaded some shredded cheddar/mozzarella into the dough before rolling it out. Then I added some emmental cheese and chopped some scallions on top before folding, sealing, and baking. It has just occurred to me that I should have spread some Dijon mustard on the dough before I put the cheese on--that would have been good! Oh well. Now I have a plan for next time 😋
I have a couple of these left too, and they will heat up nicely tomorrow.

We move our clocks forward tonight--that always bums me out. But I have nowhere I have to be tomorrow and no timetable, so I will get up when I want and meander through my day. At least supper is already taken care of!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Immersion Incident: The Flood

This afternoon, I was sitting comfortably on the couch with my cuppa next to me, settling in to type a completely different blog post than this one. Then we had an immersion incident and the day went off in an unexpected direction.

When we moved in here, I went into the hot press (these are closet spaces that may or may not contain shelving, but all are storage areas in which the immersion also lives) and noticed a bit of water on the floor under the immersion (water heater) and against the wall. It was not a lot of water, but that area of the floor was wet and looked like it had been for some time. I got a torch, since there isn't a light in there, and I checked the pipes, which were dry. Then I bent down to look under the immersion and sure enough, there was a water-stained slat on the shelf it sits on, and a single drop of water hanging from it. We went down to the letting agent's office to let them know and the woman there said she would get in touch with the plumber. Later that day, she called me and said he would be by the following day.

That was two weeks ago and this morning, the floor was still wet and there was still a single drop of water hanging from the slat. We went by the office again and as soon as we walked in, she asked me if we'd heard from the plumber yet. I said we had not and that was why we were there. 'The immersion works fine, but I am concerned about damage to the house, even though it is not much water.' I told her. She said that she had called the plumber 4 times and she said she would call again while we were in the office, which she did. She asked him if he could come by the house and take a look. He said he would be here today. She told us that if she did not hear from him by 4, she would call him again. We went to the grocery store and the organic farm store, came home, and proceeded with our day.

Just as I was settling in to write my blog post, the phone rang. I assumed it was the letting agent's office, but our mobile phone coverage is crappy here, so when I answered, there was nothing. Then Bill's phone sounded. Same problem. He went outside to try to connect and I went into the other room for something. When I came back into the living room, I heard voices and realised that the plumber must've come. He and Bill were upstairs. Bill was pointing out the problem. And then the floodgates opened!

I sat here listening to water gushing and wondered where it was all going. I soon found out that it was running across the upstairs landing and down the stairs. Bill came down to get the mop. The plumber asked if we had old towels. I went up and got some. When I came back downstairs, I discovered that water pouring from the light fixture in the kitchen. I got a bowl and an old pan to catch the worst of it.
Bill and the plumber were soaking up water upstairs and on the stairs.

Then I got a little lesson in plumbing and, I guess, chemistry. As soon as the plumber went to take off the insulating blanket to look at the immersion, the water started flowing. Turns out that blanket was the only thing holding it all together and this could have happened at any time. I am sooo grateful it happened while the plumber was here and not at 3 am in the middle of a holiday weekend!! He told us that the person who installed the immersion, in an effort to cut corners, used iron fittings instead of brass. The iron ones cost a euro and the brass 4 euro. But the iron and the copper do not play nicely together, so the whole thing was rusty and corroded.
bad part

those holes are where the problem was
Once he moved that blanket, the piece just fell out of the hole and the thing emptied itself. It is a good thing it is small! He said that in his 15 years of being a plumber, he had never had anything like that happen. Now he has a story to tell.
bill and the defective tank
The plumber left to report back to the letting agent and to get a new tank. The water was still dripping from the light fixture in the kitchen and from the light switch by the door into the utility room, but it was slowing down. Then the power went out, which is good. We were thinking that we should have an electrician check things out, so I walked down to the office to tell them while Bill stayed here and waited for the plumber to come back. She tried one electrician, but he did not answer. She tried another guy, but she was not sure whether he was in town or off working in Sweden. Turns out he was around, though not at home just then. His wife expected him back a little after 5, so she asked if he would call in to us--he lives just a little way down the road from us.

I came home and the plumber was back with a new tank. He felt it was safe enough to reset the circuit, which he did, but suggested an electrician should look at it. He put in the new immersion and did what he needed to do. He was putting stuff away when the electrician appeared. They chatted on the pavement (sidewalk) and the electrician came in. He had the plumber show him what he'd done. Then he checked the switch and the light fixture. He showed us what all the circuits are for and explained to us what had happened. He looked under the sink and said some corners were cut. Then he asked to see the hot press, so I brought him up and he showed me where things had been 'grounded to the earth.' He said there should be a similar thing under the sink, and they'd cut corners, but it was safe because we had the ground in the press. He told us everything was fine at that point.

We were happy to have had a professional person look at it--if we had not had him come, I would have wondered whether I was going to zap something every time I flipped a switch or plugged something in!

By the time all of that was finished, we were getting hungry, so we went to The Cosy Cottage and had some supper. I even got myself a caramel square to go--it will be lovely with my coffee later. They make the best caramel squares I have had.

The first day of spring was an eventful one, but at least it is all sorted now. Tomorrow, I wash towels!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Digging in at the Community Garden

Last year, when we were first in Moville, we walked around just to see what we would see. One day our travels brought us to the community garden. It looked like a good project, but we did not look into it any further at the time. A few months ago, Bill decided he wanted to check into it, so he found someone to contact and sent an email. She said there was space and would be in touch. A couple of weeks ago, she sent an email to say that there would be a meeting this morning, so we wrote it on the calendar. This morning we walked up the road, introduced ourselves to Mary, and looked around from inside the fence this time. It's a nice space in a good location. In addition to the outdoor beds, there are a couple of hoop houses, a shed, and things planted in pots. We both expected to get some information and then return home, but it was much better than that.

Once Paddy came, the information did start flowing. He is the expert of the group and is a good teacher. He has extensive gardens at his house, but due to some spinal issues, he cannot do as much as he once did, even though he has built his raised beds to accommodate his physical issues. He also has people come from all over the world--they learn about gardening and see the local sights. He has a great personality for that kind of thing. I immediately felt comfortable with him and I learned quite a bit just today. He explains things well and is clearly passionate about gardening. I also liked the way he gave us a task right away. I have a feeling that this will be like a fun, hands-on gardening class.

We assumed that this community garden set-up would be a situation where people just come and go when they want and if they happened to meet another gardener, there would be a chat, but it is much more social than that. People do come and go as they want, but there are also get-togethers like the one today. These happen every 3 or 4 weeks and include the very important 'tea and buns break.' Today with tea there were homemade scones with butter and jam and a homemade apple pie. We had refreshments before the flame thrower was fired up.

We were given an outdoor bed and two beds inside the hoop house. Paddy told us that were annual weeds in our outdoor bed, but they would be burned off and in any case, we should not plant anything there yet--nights are still too cold. We were also given two beds in one of the hoop houses. These had been covered in seaweed last fall and then covered with plastic. We were instructed to cover the top with compost from the pile just to the top of the bed and then it would be ready to plant. They use a 'no dig' method whereby the various nutrient providing things get placed on top. The compost was mushroom compost and also had straw, lime, and other stuff in it.They also grow organically as much as possible, which is great! No one will be spraying a bunch of chemicals around. Yay!

So we got a shovel and a wheelbarrow from the shed and started adding compost to our hoop house beds.
before compost

after compost

Bill spreading compost
our hoop house beds are ready to plant
After we got the hoop house beds taken care of, we went outside and learned about using a flame thrower to get rid of the weeds! We all had a turn using it.
Paddy waiting for the thing to get hot enough--just a small flame to start

then a bigger one!

Bill and I each had a turn--these beds had tougher weeds

Mary doing our bed, which did not have many weeds--she is experienced
Now we let our outdoor bed sit for a few days before going back and adding a layer of compost on top. In the meantime, we have to decide what we want to plant. We will have summer crops and then in August, we plant our winter stuff--broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Paddy is a wealth of helpful information and he seems to really enjoy sharing what he knows. This is excellent, because I do not know much about gardening and I am clueless about gardening in Moville.

In addition to the practical information, Paddy showed us the communal parts of the garden. There are a few apple trees in the main part of the garden, and a section with a couple of apple trees and various kinds of berry bushes.
doesn't look like much now, but things are budding
There is also a separate space that contains 12 apple trees--all are traditional Irish varieties. I love that!
future Irish apples
We discovered that this community garden thing is much more than we thought, and serves many purposes in addition to providing beds full of dirt. There is an educational aspect--not only is Paddy eager to share his knowledge with people who have a plot, but there are also plots for schoolchildren. He spends a day or two each week teaching kids about gardening. Inish Fusion, a restaurant (which is across the street from our house) is planning on having a barbecue sometime this summer--they will use produce from the gardens and talk about how to use it. Some hospitality industry students are growing things and learning how to cook with them. There is a social aspect--the 'community' part is very important, it would seem. We were told about the monthly gathering (and the tea and buns) a few times while we were there. People also advised us not to buy or start too many plants, because there will be plenty of them around and people will be trying to give them away. And it is just a really nice spot to sit and chat. There are some daffodils blooming now and we are told there will be more flowers. There are a few picnic tables of varying sizes and the view from those tables is not bad at all!
I had a lot of fun up there today and I expect to have many more fun times there in the months ahead. I also expect to learn a lot and to get to know some nice people, some of whom are our neighbours. I can see myself sitting there with my flask of tea on summer days after tending our little plots and enjoying the view. And we will hopefully end up with some yummy veggies and fruits too! I'm lookin' at you, Karen--with a little luck, there could be some Irish tomato sandwiches in your future!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Scenes from a Rainy Day Parade

Earlier in the week, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it felt like spring. Today, when there are St Patreick's Day parades all across the country, it is grey, windy, and rainy. A couple of places had to either postpone or cancel their parades for safety reasons, but here in Moville, it was not too bad and the parade went on as planned.

We walked down to Market Square and listened to the music for 10 minutes or so, but there were a lot of umbrellas, one of which caught on my hat as the woman holding it walked by. Then we realised the parade was going to begin by turning down our street, so we quickly walked home and stood in front of our house. There were people and umbrellas, but not as many and not bunched together, so it was a much better viewing spot.

Here are a few scenes from the parade.
Moville's St Patrick

'How do the Mexicans feel about Trump's wall? They will get over it.

Co Donegal--the coolest place on earth

protecting the accordions

great slogan for a skip hire company
When it was done, we turned around and walked through our front door. It is too bad that the weather ended up as it did. The festivities in Market Square were supposed to be more extensive, but the bouncy castle was deflated and the little food trucks did not seem to have customers. I am sure the pubs will not suffer from any loss of business though!

Happy St Patrick's Day 🍀🍀🍀

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Donegal Doily

Last night/early this morning I sat in bed listening to an e-audiobook i borrowed from the library (Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal, by Jeanette Winterson) and crocheting the last round on my Donegal doily, so named because it is crocheted in the Donegal colours of yellow and green. I got done in plenty of time for St Patrick's Day. Yay! 🍀🍀🍀
I chose a chart from my crocheted pineapple lace book and made only a couple of very small changes on a couple of rounds.  I am quite a fan of crocheted pineapple designs and I always enjoy stitching them. When I was done, I was inclined to pick another chart and start another piece of lace, but I decided to read a little instead. Today I picked up my sock yarn and size 1 dpns and cast on the second sock in a pair. I left my lace book upstairs on my bedside locker (nightstand) and I suspect I will be flipping through it late tonight to see if something jumps out at me. I do have a possible larger lace project in mind.

Right now, I am sitting here listening to some lovely music on Classic FM and drinking my cuppa. We went out a while ago to put books in the wee free library and to stop at the shop for some milk (want to avoid any sort of shops tomorrow, when things will probably be a bit chaotic). When we stepped outside, the sun was shining. Five minutes later when we were at the wee free library, it started to spit. Then the hail started coming down. We walked through the hail shower to the shop. We were in there for about 5 minutes and when we walked out, it was sunny again. The cuppa is particularly nice after being chilled and feeling the hail bounce off my face.

Hope your day contains some simple pleasures too.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Getting Ready for Patrick

Moville is gearing up for the St Patrick's Day festivities on Friday.

The parade starts at 2:30 sharp.
They put up the bunting along Main St and up our road.
Shop windows have been going green, orange and white.
 There's even some seasonal crochet in the charity shop window.

Things are quite festive around here 😀

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Socks: Good Moving Project

I started these socks before we left our apartment, carefully placed them in a project bag to bring them to the house, and finished them on our second or third night here. Turns out they were a perfect project for this time. There was enough attention required to keep my interest, but not so much that I would lose my place when knitting while tired.

It was great to have the project to pick up and work on for a while in between tasks or at the end of a day while listening to the radio, a podcast, or an audiobook. The simple lace pattern on the top was a 4 round repeat, so I could do another repeat even if I had just a few minutes. I adapted it from my stitch dictionary to make it work in the round instead of flat and with the number of stitches I was working with.

After I finished this pair, I cast on another and finished the first one. Then I started feeling like I should switch techniques for a bit. I'd been making the same hand/wrist movements for a while as I made the socks, so it seemed like a good idea to move in different ways to avoid pain/injury. I started a crochet project, which is coming right along. Once I am done with that, I will cast on the second sock of the second pair.

As I type, they are outside putting up the orange, white, and green bunting along our street, in preparation for St Patrick's Day. My crochet project is in the Donegal colours of yellow and green, so I feel like I am in the spirit 😃