Waiting for the AA

Waiting for the AA

I’m glad my wife Jacinta insisted we join AA Ireland. I’ve had over 15 years of almost trouble free driving (ok, the electrics in my Alfa 147 died once, but stopping and starting the engine fixed that, and it’s an Alfa Romeo, what do you expect?) but this morning as we drove into town and approached Mc Curtain Street in the lashing rain and howling wind the windscreen wipers stuttered.

The wipers slowed down, they stopped, then started again, and just as we got through the lights at Coburg Street and Bridge Street they stopped completely. Jacinta was driving and I have to applaud her for keeping her calm as rain water streamed down the window, obscuring her view. Luckily we spotted a parking space just outside Dan Lowrey’s Pub further down the road. She pulled in, tried the controls but there wasn’t a budge from the wipers.

It was a really lousy thing to happen. In the lashing rain, in the worst storm of the new year our car couldn’t be driven. If it had been bright and sunny we could have carried on our way. It’s only the wipers. For weeks we had cold dry weather with clear skies. The only upside, was that we parked directly outside that pub. Jacinta and Adam and all our gear went into the pub and I waited (with Oscar our dog) for the various service people to come and help. Anthony, the owner of Dan Lowrey’s Pub made us all very welcome, and I can’t recommend his establishment enough!

After ringing the AA, a mechanic soon called out, declared the wiper motor dead and arranged for our car to be towed back to Blarney. Our cover included a replacement car for 48 hours and eventually someone from Enterprise Rentals rang and my sister (thank you!!) took us out to the Kinsale Road to pick up a 08 Opel Astra.

OK, it’s only an Astra, but it’s been a few years since I drove a newish car. It has bluetooth which I connected to my N73 and couldn’t resist calling Jacinta later while she was out. Sound quality from the radio is good, and while the ride is a bit harder than the Renault Megane I drive now it was comfortable. I must admit the indicator and wiper controls are fiddly. They spring back to the central position again. Very odd.

The Renault Megane is with Barry at Blarney Auto Centre so hopefully he’ll have it fixed before I have to return the rental car.

Already thinking of what to buy to replace the Megane. Any time something goes wrong with it, I hear, “Oh yeah, that goes wrong with these cars a lot.” The Toyota Corollas I’ve owned kept driving and driving and driving, so I’m tempted to go for that model again. The Ford Focus gets a lot of good press too. I’ll be buying used. I think it’s going to be many years before I can afford to buy a new car, and anyway, they really aren’t worth it. Depreciation on ’em is terrible!

Aperture ƒ/4
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/50s

Directions to Blarney Castle

Directions to Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is that way. Go out the gate, turn right, turn left and park. Right in front of you.

I got back to Ireland yesterday afternoon. A mostly uneventful flight home, except for some problems with check in and I had to check in twice more. On the last attempt I got bumped to Economy Plus with more legroom and to an aisle seat thanks to the very nice lady at the gate.
The check in computer should be smart enough to offer an aisle seat in Economy Plus to me, even after I’ve declined that upgrade first. An aisle seat is worth the extra $109 because I was late checking in.

I hope Lenny and Eoin got home without much hassle. We had hoped to meet up in Heathrow but my text to Lenny only delivered moments before I boarded the Aer Lingus flight to Cork. Guess United is faster than BA? I saw a flight around the same time to Dublin was cancelled so they may have had a wait.

I love that I can run up the stairs now without getting winded. Wet? Damp? Oh yes! I don’t know how many bottles of water a day I consumed in Breckenridge because the air was so dry. Lovely people there, shame about the altitude!

I have at least 100 photos to post to Flickr from this blog. I should write a plugin that emails the image there with description and tags from the WordPress interface.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/125s

Blarney Half Marathon 2008

The annual Blarney Half Marathon ran through the village and surrounding countryside yesterday. Here’s a gallery of shots I took while walking the dog. A light drizzle of rain soaked everyone, and hurried my steps home and back to the warmth. The weather was much nicer last year!

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Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/125s

And the rain keeps pouring

Rain has been pouring out of the heavens all day with little break. Here’s my neighbour’s car shot through the windscreen of my car this evening. Just back from acupuncture, need to shoot something not sharp to counter the needles I watched being put into my feet and hands, never mind the ones I didn’t see go into my neck, arms, hands, back and legs previously. at least 26 in all. Feel sluggish now.

Phil has amazing rain photos from a few days ago, too tired to link right now, sorry!

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 200mm
ISO 800
Shutter speed 1/50s

It even rains in Arizona

It even rains in Arizona

If you’re living in Ireland, you’ve no doubt noticed that this summer hasn’t been great. Actually, I haven’t. I work at home and looking out my little window at the rest of the world is some days the closest I get to the outside world (almost!)

Well anyway, this is to console you if you’re suffering through yet another flood, or a downpour. It even rains in the desert. Of course, it was late January, and the shower was a light one that lasted about 20 minutes but it’s the thought that counts, right?

In other news, I’ve just released Tweet Tweet, a plugin for WordPress that archives Twitter conversations. It’s been a nerve wracking experience as I’m using a few technologies that I haven’t had much call for before.

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/80s

The Yellow Rose

A yellow rose in Fitzgerald’s Park in Cork. I made this photo a few weeks back and it had just rained, leaving nice little droplets of water on the delicate petals of the flower.

A rainy day on the street

It’s raining in Cork, possibly. The weather has been all upside down this summer. By the time you see this on my photoblog, I’ll be on my way to San Francisco. Check my Flickr stream for tomorrow’s pic :)

I couldn’t run my future posting script because Flickr changed their filename naming scheming to protect original images. Good move, but it’s annoying if you blog the original sized ones!