When I shared our big news last week, I mentioned that we’re trying to spend as much time as possible visiting family and friends this summer. We started with our wonderful trip to Harris at the end of June, and I said at the time it was one of the best weeks DorkySon had ever had. That remains true, but after the fortnight that we’ve just spent in the States I think we’ve got another holiday to add to the list of favourites. Continue reading
DorkyDad and I are just back from a wonderful weekend in Galway, celebrating the wedding of two very good friends. DorkyGranny was kind enough to babysit, so it was just the two of us (and 100 other guests, obviously!). Other than the wedding itself, which I don’t think I can write about yet without being too gushy, here are a few of the noteworthy moments.
Packing to go away without DorkySon was stranger and more stressful than I expected it to be. “Oh my gosh, I’ve no room for nappies. Oh no wait, I don’t need nappies. And I probably don’t need all those Organix oat bars either. Hmmm, I wonder what make-up I’ll wear at the wedding. Ach, I’ve loads of space, I’ll just take it all. And what jewellery am I going to wear? Ach, I’ve still got loads of space, I’ll take all my jewellery with me too. Where’s that Peppa Pig magazine? Oh, I don’t need that, do I? So I can take a book! And my camera! And my iPad! And all my bras! No, I probably don’t need all my bras, I’m only there for three days…. three days, hmm. I wonder if we can cram everything in or if we’ll have to narrow it down. Can we have Guinness and oysters for lunch AND a traditional pub meal in the evening, or can we only choose one? I wonder if we have to book ahead. Or maybe just wait and see how DorkySon’s feeling. Oh no, wait, he won’t be there. I might get a massage! What should I wear in bed? I wonder if they’ll have shampoo or if I should take some miniatures. Oh gosh, the last time I used those miniatures was in hospital after having DorkySon… When I’d forgotten the nappies. Must remember nappies this time… Oh no, wait…” And on it went. I guess I’m normally so busy remembering everything I need for DorkySon that I just throw a few things into a bag for myself without thinking about it. I hadn’t realised how much easier that is! I also hadn’t realised that even without DorkySon there, we would continue to point out tractors and diggers to each other, which is a little worrying…
Irish taxi drivers are the best. Truly. Our first one – Patrick – picked us up at the airport and headed off in the direction of our hotel, only to stop at a petrol station 200 yards down the road so he could buy a bag of sweets to share around the car. He then spent ten minutes talking about his biggest claim to fame, which is that his uncle appeared in some of the crowd scenes in The Quiet Man. Our second cabbie – Sean – spent the whole journey shaking his head and wondering what the world has come to. Apparently his son is at university in the UK and one of the lecturers there is a cross-dresser. Nothing wrong with that, he was at pains to add, but having seen the man he just wishes that his mini skirts were a couple of inches longer. Our third cabbie – Joe – has 21 grandchildren, and can remember every one of their birthdays, although it almost bankrupts him to do so. Bless you, Irish cab drivers, for the most entertaining car journeys I’ve had in a long time.
Food and Drink!
So what do you know, Guinness really does taste better when you drink it in Ireland. And much like we Brits enjoy talking about the weather, the Irish like to speculate often, and at length, about just why that is. Unfortunately, DorkyDad and I did not find a definitive answer, but we did enjoy testing the stuff in several bars and pubs, just to be sure that standards weren’t slipping… We also enjoyed amazing falafel from the Gourmet Offensive stall at Galway Market (I know, I know, not exactly traditional Irish fare, but awesome nonetheless), and the best seafood chowder ever at O’Grady’s on the Pier, which we slurped while sitting in a window seat, looking out over Galway Bay. Add to that an amazing four course wedding meal, and potato cakes with black pudding for breakfast three mornings on the trot, and I’ve discovered than it’s not just in the States I have to watch my waistline…
So you know at the end of the night at a Scottish wedding, the band or DJ plays something like Auld Lang Syne or Loch Lomond so that everyone can join hands for a big old lovely sing-a-long? In Ireland, the last song of the night appears to be the theme from Riverdance; so all the drunks can get up on stage and indulge in some tippity-tappity-foot-stomping shenanigans. It’s a beautiful sight. On the subject of dancing, this may be one to add to the ‘Things They Didn’t Tell Me About Parenting’ list – or indeed, perhaps just one that I should keep to myself – but it seems that my post-birth pelvic floor is no longer up to the task of letting me pogo along to the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles. Two years after DorkySon was born, I suddenly realise why I should have spent more time doing kegels. My shame at being unable to relive the songs of my student days without needing a change of knickers was made even worse by DorkyDad’s impressive dancefloor exploits. He surprised us all with his energetic gator dance. He got a shout out and a round of applause from the lead singer in the band. And his new favourite expression is ‘cutting some shapes’. I am praying that there is no photographic evidence of my experience, but extensive evidence of his. ..
And a few random, unrelated discoveries: If you want to buy a Maori style hand-carved bone necklace, you don’t need to go as far as New Zealand. If you want to go to Galway and dine on the Orient Express, you can do so. And when the religious traditions in your country don’t allow for condom machines in your public toilets, the slightly bemusing alternative appears to be vending machines that dispense Toffee Poppets. Cead Mile Failte indeed.
Okay, I promise this will be my last holiday-related post. After this I’ll get my head together and start focusing on life in not-so-sunny Scotland again. But our ten days away were too full of good moments not to share at least some of them. This also serves as my ‘Live In the Now’ post for July, because it captures so many details that I don’t want to forget.
Well, the travel itself wasn’t exactly awesome. In fact, I dedicated an entire post to how much I dislike flying. But what I loved was discovering what an amazingly good traveller DorkySon is; five planes, three taxis, three buses, two cars, one train… and not a single toddler meltdown. I would love to say that it was our thorough preparation that led to the smooth journey, but in fact we’re just incredibly lucky to have a mellow two year old, who barely seemed to notice the delays and queues. He slept on almost every aeroplane, attacked the inflight meals with gusto, and beamed at the cabin crew every time they passed our seat. He was thrilled by the taxi rides, excited by the bus journeys between terminals, and is still talking about his ‘special seat’ in the hire car. Whereas DorkyDad and I usually ended up crumpled, tired and crabby, DorkySon emerged from every journey with a smile on his face and ready for the next adventure. I don’t know how he did it, but he’s a champ. Continue reading
I’d only been to Portsmouth, NH, once before this holiday. So I wasn’t sure if the amazing artwork painted on building around the town was a permanent feature or a special exhibition. A quick Google search on my return revealed that they were part of the Street a.k.a. Museum exhibit, curated by the Portsmouth Museum of Art.
I’ve had a wee look at this map which gives the locations of all the artworks, and although I didn’t manage to spot them all in the couple of days we were there, here are the ones I did find: Continue reading
We’re just back from a fantastic holiday to North America, where we saw a lot of friends and family, enjoyed some great weather, and ate far, far too much. There were many highlights, which I hope to have time to write about over the next week or so, but I thought I’d start by sharing DorkySon’s perspective on things.
On our first full day in Canada, Uncle P offered to take us to see Niagara Falls. DorkyDad had been before, but neither DorkySon nor I had, and I was looking forward to it. I wasn’t disappointed. How beautiful is this?