Wednesday 29 August 2007

Our First Long Car Trip!

It was a very looong trip, the roads in Ireland are a lot slower than in S.A. We elected to take the "scenic"coastal road which was neither more scenic than any other road, nor very coastal! I think we spotted the sea about 3 times on the way, so a long way for no particular reason in the end! I think Ireland is scenic no matter which way you go, patchwork fields abound and little towns with interesting looking pubs pop up fairly often. we stopped for lunch at the Antique Tavern where I had a delicious soup and sandwich, Malcolm had a sandwich and the kids had wraps, all very tasty in a cutesy setting. To get to the toilets we had to duck through the doorways! Appetites satisfied we headed off again towards Waterford, realising as we got closer that we would not actually have time to stop for a look at the crystal factory as we had to be in Kinsale by 18h30. Waterford was so busy anyway, terrible traffic so there was no way we could stop! A little while after Waterford we were compelled to stop on the side of the road to stretch our legs and feed......a LOT of swans! Of course they were very spoilt swans because they got biscuits as we had no bread! So the swans feasted on Fox's, hee hee that really is the brand name of the bikkies they ate! Finally after some very good navigating we found ourselves on the road to Kinsale and discovered that Patrick was not far behind us, so we stopped at a garage in a town called River Stick...I kid you not(!) and waited for our personal escort to show us the way to his home, our final destination!

Thursday 23 August 2007


Well we are finally getting out of Dublin for a long weekend....not that we have really had to wait that long, but with so much going on it feels like forever! We are driving via Waterford because we think the drive will be very pretty and the holiday starts when we start driving. Hopefully stop at a few little villages along the way for a cup of tea, some lunch or just because we can! Final destination....not too sure, we are meeting Pat and Isabella in Kinsale and then making our way to their place between Ballinspittle and Killbritain with a view of the sea! Looking forward to seeing them again, relaxing and sightseeing. Au revoir!

Tuesday 21 August 2007

Let the school year begin!

even start? I guess I had no choice in the matter because we chose a house rather far away from the schools the girls' were supposed to attend! Jessica's school is 4 miles, 6.4 km from home w with bad weather and one car might not be the smartest move we can make at the moment. The a bus that gets Jess to school from here, but not Kirstin and it takes about 50 minutes! My life line/neighbour/landlady (Geraldine) suggested a school and it is on the Luas line,a good thing because we are 1km from a Luas station too. It is also on Malcolm's way to work so he can d them off in the morning and they can catch the Luas home. And and and....the primary and high schools are on the same campus!!! Yippee!!!!!!
It has been an agonising decision to make, Malcolm had done so much hard work looking in May and we were all very happy with his choice but he fully supported me doing some extra research and Jess, Kirstin and I visited both schools and we all made a vote and it was unanimous! Malcolm really likes the school too, he had tried to contact them when he was here.....but they did not call him back! Normally I would have left it, but as Geraldine had made the suggestion I decided to give it another go and was luckier than Malcolm. This all started happening on the day I went out and bought Jessica all her text books, (260 euro) she came home and started covering them in plastic, I saw the school on the Internet, shouted stop the bus, she winged, (thank goodness only history had been covered though), and I started running around like a headless chicken trying to make the right decision for the next 5/7 years of my children's lives! Yesterday I went and enrolled them both, went to a book shop to buy all Kirstin's text books (120 euro) and came home to see whether all Jessica's books were the same. Here is the synchronicity part...the only books that are the same at both schools are the history text books!
The principal at Kirstin's school is DIVINE, she took the school report, opened it at the back and told Kirstin that the only thing that really mattered at the end of the day was what was written to summarise her. Of course this was all good, first term report comment was, "Kirstin is a dedicated young student with a good work ethic. She has set high standards for herself and quietly sets about meeting these. She is undemanding, independent and a pleasure to have in the class room" She told Kirstin that the main school rule was: be kind to others and do your very best. All of this was done standing next to Kirstin, not sitting behind a desk and she was most interested in speaking to Kirstin, which is the way it should be.
Today I will be madly rushing around, exchanging text books and buying school uniforms and all without a car! So bicycle and Luas here we come!

Friday 17 August 2007

Did you know?

I found this on Dublin zoo website and thought it was worth sharing....

Oldest captive orangutan Guas – Philadelphia zoo died 1977 aged 57.
Elephants have 24 teeth that grow in groups of 4. Each tooth weighs 4 kgs.
Asian elephant has the longest tail of any land mammal, it can be up to 5 feet long.
Elephant hair can be up to 3mm thick, 40 times thicker than human hair.
The smallest flying mammal in the world is the Bumblebee bat from Thailand. It has a wingspan of 160mm, about the same as a large butterfly.
It takes an elephant calf six months to learn to use its trunk.
A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a four foot child inside.
There are more plastic flamingos in America than real ones.
The first archaeological evidence of soup being consumed dates back to 6000BC, with the main ingredient being hippo bones
Giraffes are 6 foot tall when they are born.
A crocodile cannot move its tongue.
During your lifetime you will eat about 60,000 lbs of food, that’s the weight of about 6 elephants.

Monday 13 August 2007

Dublin Zoo

A new record for the Rules in Ireland, out of the house at 08h00 on a Sunday morning! Roelie had invited us to join him and his family in Tullamore. There was an agricultural fair taking place there and we decided that it sounded like a fun day out and the kids could see a bit of the country. Unfortunately Catherine (Roelie's wife) had a bad night, newborn baby, been there done that(!) so she stayed home. We were merrily following Roelie on the highway, the sun was shining and the day was full of promise, when he pulled over near an exit and we saw him chatting on his mobile... turns out he was listening to the news and heard that the Tullamore Fair had been cancelled.....because of flooding OOPS!!!
Aimee had been so looking forward to seeing all the animals that Roelie decided that a visit to the Dublin zoo at Phoenix Park would be a good alternative. We had been planning to take the kids there at some stage, no time like the present... so we all turned around and went to Phoenix Park. Of course it was still early, 09h30 and the zoo only opened at 10h30 so we went for a little walk to see the Obelisk (pictured above) and then had a quick cappuccino at a little tea room outside the zoo. Aimee thought we were leaving when we left the tea room to go, it was so cute, she said "But Daddy we have not seen any animals yet."
Now the list of animals is long....we saw LOTS, including some idiot sneaking bread to the penguins while his children looked on which was really irritating as there are signs asking people not to feed the animals and as Jessica and Kirstin loudly proclaimed, "Penguins eat FISH".
On your left is the new look reindeer according to a woman standing outside the BONGO enclosure, she was very keen to impart her extensive knowledge to the little sponge brains around her. The fact the the animal happened to be in the African Plains section of the Dublin zoo seemed to escape her. Now to be honest I would not have known that the animal was a Bongo, and on the endangered list, but I did know that it was NOT a reindeer and I have learnt that if you do not know....say nothing!!!!

We were lucky enough to see some baby animals which was really cool, especially because there was a baby long neck! The baby gorilla scored top marks for cuteness and the baby Asian elephant was very shy and stayed half hidden behind his mother! The website for the Dublin zoo is and it is pretty cool, so instead of waffling on about the animals anyone interested can have a look there!
We also experienced a typical Dublin day with regard to the weather, we got caught in 2 showers and took cover twice! The second was fairly amusing as we were in the farmyard section which has a whole lot of little "houses" and I was with the dogs, the kids were with the rabbits and the guys were with the guinea pigs! Luckily both showers were fairly quick affairs and within minutes everyone was walking around like nothing had happened! we all decided that after the second shower it was probably best to call it a day before the heavens really opened. When we got home the sun came out and the clouds rolled away and isn't that just typical! And your lesson for today.....when it looks like it is about to pour in Ireland.... "It is going to lash".

Sunday 12 August 2007

Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy...

On our first BIG shop at Dunnes supermarket Malcolm joyously discovered that Ben & Jerry's was on special and proceeded to buy all the flavours he could get his little paws on. Of course I did absolutely NOTHING to discourage the addition to my trolley!

Sunset in Dublin

We were lucky enough to be treated to a beautiful sunset from our attic window the other night and I really wanted to share it with all my friends......even in Dublin a sunset can be magnificent! I am sure we would see many more sunsets let's say one week in S.A. but as far as sunsets go this is a goodie!!!

Saturday 11 August 2007

JHB International oops Oliver Tambo!

On our way to the airport on the 14 a call from Karen, she got to the airport to say goodbye before us and was looking for us everywhere! We had decided to get to the airport early so that we could check in all our bags before the rush and to have a drink and say goodbye in a relaxed way. Poor Sabrina had been sick the day and night before but apparently wild horses could not keep her away! Had a heart stopping moment at check in....apparently because the girls were going to Ireland for so long (return ticket for 28 February) they needed a visa on a S.A. passport. Malcolm told the guy that because we both had Irish passports this was not the case and the airport official said that he would have to call the Irish embassy to check. I went so hot and dizzy, after how hard all the goodbyes had been and all the preparation and madness of the final week I could not face doing it all again! Luckily Malcolm was right and after that even the fact that our plane would possibly be delayed was good news!
Watching Sabrina and Kirstin was hard, they sat there with their "fluffies" and I promised myself that I would do my best to help them stay in touch. It is so hard to keep communication going from far away but I will do my best. If their friendship can endure through this monumental move then it truly is a special bond.

A good night's rest

Buying duvets and pillows in a foreign country in a hurry…! We have no clue as to what a good brand is, we could be merrily buying cheap quality and not even know it. I wanted to tear my hair out, the selection was poor and we did not know where else to go! The little I did know was not enough! The tog over here is the measure of how warm a duvet is, and I had seen some lovely duvets on the internet, a 2 in 1 scenario where there is a light one for summer a medium duvet for Spring and Autumn and you clip them together for Winter, fantastic! Little problem…where had I seen them?
Pillow talk… a pillow is very important for a good nights’ sleep don’t you think? Here again we had no clue as to what was good, bad or ugly, I did find some down pillows (good) so we bought one each and then got another “it looks nice” pillow (bad or ugly, will let you know) to try as well. We did our best and got duvets and pillows that we thought seemed okay, not a clip together good idea one…just a regular 10.5 tog duvet! My thinking is that if our house is centrally heated so we should not really get too cold…

I did manage to get lovely duvet covers on sale for all of us, so at least one of our 5 senses will be satisfied because our beds really do look great! And please note the heaters in all the rooms!!!!

Week ONE

- Malcolm got a job!
- We found a house.
The mind boggles at the speed at which things have happened. Malcolm had an interview set up for Wednesday at 10:00 with Post bank. He thought that the interview went quite well and was told that they would contact him in about a week. Excellent news, and as Malcolm was not in a hurry to start work things were going along swimmingly.
The plan was that he would start work in September, about the same time as the girls went back to school, this way he could have his feet up and enjoy being a man of leisure for a while. Alas this was not meant to be….he got a call back from Post Bank requesting a second interview the following day and was offered the position at that interview….to start on Monday 23 July!
At the same time as all this we were also looking for a place to stay, and believe me it was not all plain sailing, we saw some rubbish! Luckily amongst all this we had found a lovely 2 bedroom apartment in Booterstown, so if all else failed that was our fall back.
Then we saw the place I described in a previous posting and we signed a year lease! So having been in Dublin for a full 4 days Malcolm had found employment and we had a place to call home.