Tuesday, August 07, 2007

older and wiser

I was chatting with a couple of colleagues this morning - the conversation went something like this:

[Terri] "Hey, L, can you give me the name of the people who did your attic conversion? They did a great job and we're thinking of getting ours done."
[L] "Sure, it was (xyz) - they have a website so you can look them up. They're very professional."
[W] "You know, ladies, this is a very middle-aged conversation you're having, hahaha!"
And we all laughed.
And then I asked (still chuckling), "OK so what is middle-aged, officially?"
[W] "Well I suppose mid- to late thirties."

Uh, back up here. Are you trying to tell me I am officially Middle Aged???! When da hell did dat happen?!
I suppose the fact that young Cinderella turns 17 tomorrow should have given me a hint. That and the fresh crop of grey hairs over my right temple (why only the right?!) which I've been steadfastly convincing myself are actually blonde, not grey. Ahem.

However, I cannot really complain about growing older, as my wisdom apparently has no bounds... [insert raucous laughter here]...

Hubby and I decided that since this past weekend was a long weekend we would take a drive down to County Cork. You may recall we have made numerous trips to Cork to visit our good friends in the past. Well those good friends went back to SA a couple of months back, but as if on a relay system, Hubby's sister and her family have taken the plunge and moved over to Ireland - County Cork, to be precise.

Welcome to Ireland, guys!!!

So on Friday evening we packed the car and after several false starts ("Forgot the camera!", "Forgot my phone!","Forgot the directions to their place!") we hit the long and winding road to Cork.
Some of you may also recall that last summer, on our famous (though as yet un-written-about - sorry 'bout that!) bike trip around Europe, we occasionally took a wrong turn. This prompted Hubby to declare that life was not complete without a handy little Sat-Nav / GPS thingy. Having bugger-all imagination when it comes to gift-giving, I bought him one for Christmas. My position as Family Navigator had been usurped but who am I to argue? Even I must admit defeat; after all, Paris and Brussels are indeed nowhere near each other.

So there we were, happily driving along on the big N8 road down to Cork, and Mr SatNav in all his wisdom decided that we should take a left. Personally, I would've elected to go straight but sure, it's a clever little piece of equipment, right? Perhaps it knows something we don't. Besides, we weren't heading for Cork City, but for a (much) smaller town on the coast, east of the city.
The roads narrowed, then twisted. We didn't mind - it was really pretty and we had made good time so far. We were happy to take the road less travelled. It began to rain, but we weren't too concerned, after all, life is an adventure, right?

And then as the road steepened and narrowed even more as it climbed a mountain I confess I had no idea existed, the windscreen wipers sort of ground to a halt.

We stopped at a lay-by to see if there was anything obvious like a loose wire and of course while we were staring blankly at the Audi's engine compartment a Local in a van pulled up and with a smirk at our smart car and blank faces, asked if we needed a lift. You could see he was thinking, "Eejit Townies, stuck out here in the back o' beyond and not a clue how to fix their fancy car."

We smiled and said no-thanks, shut the hood, smoked a cigarette and continued along our not-so-merry way. The road continued to worsen, as did the rain. I left the radio off - somehow in the gloomy, misty half-light in what can only be described as Deliverance country, music seemed out of place.
I was making like the co-pilots in the rally cars... "Sharp left in 5-4-3-2-1... Mind the sheep!"

Eventually we neared civilisation again, I turned on the radio and the rain lightened up. And the car screamed at us in it's peculiar electronic voice, causing me to almost dive for cover. Hubby grinned and pulled into another lay-by, confidently telling me that he'd been expecting this.
"This" turned out to be a low-on-coolant situation but being the boy-scout that he is, he had a jerry-can of water in the back. Apparently the water-pump has a minor (?) leak.
So we topped up and set off... and about 2km down the road the windscreen wipers suddenly creaked back to life. By the time we reached our destination they were working as if nothing had ever been wrong.
El-GPS, however, had been well and truly abandoned for a good old-fashioned paper road map, which yours-truly used to ensure we stayed on main roads for the rest of the trip.

Pah! to these new-fangled electronic gadgets, I say!

And on the subject of weather - this is what our Irish summer looks like from the side-mirror of our trusty (?!) Audi...

Sunscreen, anyone?


laurie said...

what a gorgeous picture that is, that top one.

i have loved getting lost in ireland. and i can see where a good map (or gps) is necessary; those signposts are nearly useless! but i love it.

angel said...

aaah, but you see- el camera made a deal with el gps and they both blackmailed el audi (coz they know about her last "service") so el camera could get to the top of the mountain for that picture. el gps is easy to bribe, he was happy to go along for the ride! hence no more hassles when you got back down...
do i see a lightbulb going on over your head?

Terri said...

Laurie - There are some very pretty parts in out-of-the-way Ireland; especially with all the rain we've been having. It's all so green!

Angel - Your explanation is just a little too pat, Missy. You were the instigator, weren't you? 'Fess up!

DelBoy said...

Sounds like the windscreen wipers were frozen to the windscreen. Got to love that European/Irish summer.

chitty said...

If middle-aged is mid- to late thirties, then I need to retire. Sheesh!
Getting lost can be fun, but only if you manage to find your way eventually.

LiVEwiRe said...

Irish summer looks a bit, uh, ominous! But anyplace where sheep play such a vital role in travel is ok with me! Of course I don't think all that humidity would give my hair much option other than to curl up as it pleased. Then again, middle aged gals like us don't care too much... ;)

Rowe Unzipped said...

Hi Terri,

Can you believe I was searching google for something on South Africans and came across your blog, it is so weird, it actually came up with a post you did in March about what it's like to live in SA now etc. We are ex-jo'burgers living in Dublin for 6 years now, my daughter is 4 and she is starting school next year and just for that reason I won't go back to live now, maybe later when we retire but who knows. We also have friends who moved to Dublin from Jo'burg 4 weeks ago, so people are still leaving. I will keep a link to your blog on mine it is great reading about other South Africans in Ireland! Keep up the good work.

Terri said...

Del - I hadn't thought of that; you may be right!

Chitty - Retirement sounds good, eh? And don't worry about me - I always find my way :)

LiVEwiRe - You have no idea how right you are about the hair thing. The only comfort is, it affects the entire population so you know you wouldn't be alone. Imagine: nationwide Bad Hair days!

Rowe Unzipped - Well Hi! I'll pop over soon. And am I silly for being excited that I can be found via Google?!