This morning the wind came pounding at the cottage, rattling windows and doors and trying to push in through any crack or breach. It was so loud that the boys woke up at 6am crying, from the noise, but thankfully fell back asleep. Mornings like this are when you remember you are on not-too-large island surrounded by the dark waters of the Northern Atlantic. And tonight I’m nursing some nasty approximation of Theraflu, and hoping I don’t catch Sascha’s cold.
I used to think people in New England were obsessed with the weather, what with the storm trackers and Doppler radars and week-long news cycles, but here it is a new kind of obsession. The weather changes constantly, so despite hearing from two different people that snow was expected as early as next month (! my out-of-date guidebooks said Dublin was more moderate on a whole, and that snow was rare), S pointed out that they could never really predict the weather for the day, so how could they know what it would be like in a month?
Friday was a beautiful, balmy afternoon and I became obsessed with seeing the sea before the season turned for good and artic winds bore down and snow piled up. I google-mapped the walk, which my mom worried was too ambitious because it was almost four when we were at Herbert Park, and the beach was a good 30 minutes or so beyond that. But Mr. Whippy the ice cream truck was parked outside, and I picked up cones for everyone and decided, fortified by ice cream, that we could do it. Worse came to worst, we would just have to see how far we got. Over the DART tracks we passed and negotiated a troubling crosswalk. Not only was there no blinking man to tell us when to cross, leaving us craning our necks to check stoplights and whiplash our heads about like two nutters, but the median was so tiny that with the double-stroller in front of her, my poor mom’s rear was sticking out a bit into oncoming traffic. (“I could lose a few inches anyway,” she shrugged.) We came upon a construction site, and turned the stroller for the boys just in time to see a truck lift a heavy load of dirt and drop it down into the road. If they could retain memories, I am sure this would rank among one of their top sights in Ireland! Then we were on a beautiful curving street that seemed to be unfurling itself toward the sea. There were beautiful Georgian-style brick homes all along this road. Suddenly, the air changed, turning briny and dropping several degrees as we heard the seagulls. We hit Sandymount Green, and then I knew where we were because we considered renting a house nearby. And though it was close to five and cold and windy on the beach, I was ecstatic to see The Strand, and as you saw in the previous post, the boys loved climbing the rocks and playing in the sand.
The next day, Saturday, we had planned to go to IKEA. But S has a story to tell you about that morning, which I think he would like to do as a guest post, so for now I’ll just say that it drained any of us of the mental and physical stamina one needs to even consider going to the twee Swedish-happy-but-made-in-China warehouse of our lives. I’ll also say at times that C behaves somewhat like the chick from The Exorcist, with his arms splayed out, head dropped back, and screaming. Later that evening, when all is quiet in the house, my mom ushers us out the door and we hit the pubs. The first one, Smyth’s, is quite a scene. Guitar rock pounding, young people preening. We sit in a corner booth and feel old, but I discover I do like Guinness. The only other time I had been in Dublin, for a weekend when I was studying abroad in England, I had tried it, as all tourists must, but didn’t like it. Then again, it wasn’t until I lived in Japan that I even had a taste for beer. This time the Guinness was smooth and velvety like good coffee, not too bitter. Then we went next door where the lights were on and hair (where it remained) was mostly white, and no music played. We feel too young.
For all of you who have asked, I think we’ve finally gotten a handle on the whole hot water thing. And in another American expat blog I read, she mentioned this YouTube sketch which may give you a (profanity-laced) idea of what I was talking about with regards to the heater you have to switch on, (but only sometimes, not in the “winter months,” whenever exactly those are: