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Springing A Leak

May 2, 2008

Flower Pots

I had a somewhat productive day in Nenagh. After paying €4 ($6.23) for 45 minutes at the internet store, I went right to the bank to try opening a bank account…the first step in being allowed to sign a contract for wireless internet (the same standards don’t hold true for getting a pay-as-you-go mobile phone). Without a Tax ID, an electric bill, an insurance bill or some other official document, it doesn’t look like the bank will take my money.

Hmmmm, maybe if I told them I had €100,000 I’d like to invest they might think twice…of course, they’d probably throw me in the street when I show up with €100 instead.

I was then off to the hardware store to replace a leaking “T” joint that connects the water supply to the water main. My usual hardware store was closed for lunch, so I went across the street to McLoughlan’s.

The place has always been, shall I say, interesting…Things have some semblance of organization in the front, with garden rakes and screwdrivers hanging from pegs on the wall, but the further you go to the back, the more chaotic it becomes.

There are definite aisles, but they are lined with stovepipes and plumbing gear and boxes of screws.

As I approached the counter at the back of the store, the woman was explaining that her “man” (tradesman) was gone at 1 today…with the bank holiday and all. The customer was still hoping to get something today.

“Well, ye see, he’s got a wedding in Cork and he’s gone at 1.” The customer was dismayed.

I usually deal with that woman, but today I settled for the man standing next to her holding a big book of hand-written sales logs.

I presented my leaking joint and he walked over a pile of boxes and passed a collection of paint cans that had once been on the shelf, but obviously someone needed one from the back, and the others were never put back.

He went through every joint, but wasn’t finding a match. He asked, “Did it have a red joint or a blue joint attached to this part?”

“These two had blue ones and the this one had a red one.” I could tell he was disappointed that I knew the answer. The Irish have an unbelievable disposition NOT to disappoint, so questions like the one he asked were intended to get him off the hook. Had I not known the answer, he would have been able to tell me he couldn’t quite tell me which one I needed without that information.

He then showed it to the woman at the counter. I learned long ago that she was the mastermind behind this unusual organization technique (which, I should note, has improved dramatically from ten years ago). She immediately went to a red bin near the top of a self. She pulled out a joint and compared it.

“No. No. Now, ye see, this is the new one,” she said pointing to mine. “And they haven’t sent us the new ones yet…we’ve only got the old ones.”

I knew this joint was at least five years old…hence the reason it was leaking. I just sighed. “Now, yer’ man would have one of these,” she said…referring to my plumber.

“Well, maybe if I bring in the other parts and we can replace the whole thing.”

“That’d be grand,” she said as she climbed her way back to the counter.

I then went to Woody’s DIY and found the closest thing to what I was looking for.

Right across the street from Woodie’s is a Dunnes Store…it’s kind of like a Kohl’s or JCPenny back home. I like Dunnes…and this one has a grocery store inside too (most of them do now).

There in the fresh fruits and vegetables I found a basil plant (yesterday, when I was looking for one at Woodies, I was reminded that is was pronounced “bah-sil” not “bay-sil” here.

Woodie’s didn’t have basil, the Dundrum Nursery didn’t have basil…but my local grocery store did…and a very healthy looking plant at that.

Biscuits & Firestarter

The odd thing I noticed was one of the aisle endcaps. They had a wall of biscuits (cookies) right next to Zip fire starters. Firestarters are like fibrous styrofoam doused in accelerant. It has enough of an odor that I wouldn’t want it next to my toilet paper, much less my biscuits. Needless to say, I didn’t buy either. I was pleased with my basil…and since it was 2 for €5 ( $7.78 ) I also picked up some rosemary (I’ve already got thyme, oregano, sage, fennel and mint growing in the flower box).

My attempts to fix the leaking pipe weren’t entirely successful. When I attached the new piece, water sprayed from all three connections. I was worse off than before.

Then I combined half the old pieces with half the new pieces and got it working reasonably well. It still dripped, but it wasn’t spraying. I’ll have to call “me man” to take a look at it.

Just as I was finishing up, the neighbor Mikey stopped by to say hello. We had a quick chat, and I said hello to his dog Rex…who isn’t as much of a puppy as he was six months ago.

Tonight I think Tony and I will be heading off to visit Liam’s cousin Mehal.

This Week’s Photo Album
My Ireland Expense Report

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