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Sun, Rain and Music

June 20, 2008

Puddings at the Mill

corey says…Today Pat and I had to head to Shannon to swap out the car. You’re only allowed to have a car rental contract that lasts about 28 days…so every month I’ve had to change cars and sign new contracts…after about that many days, it’s kind of nice to get a nice, clean car anyway 😉

Although I’ve only had one not-so-great car rental experience in all my trips to Ireland, I still get a little anxious each time I have to go in. As usual, I drove up to the returns lot outside the airport. To my surprise, they didn’t send me to the desk inside this time. The fella at the returns desk, just happened to be one of the people who was able to process everything on the computer (not all the people at the lot know the ins and outs of the computer system, so they often require you to go into the airport).

As usual, my rental record was a bit confusing to him because there were several open and closed contracts. Fortunately, he was able to sift through them all and get me a new car relatively quickly. Things would have gone even faster if he wasn’t constantly being asked questions by the other workers there (he was obviously the guy in-the-know in the lot). I didn’t mind the interruptions though, because I knew he was getting the job done. There’s nothing worse than sitting for a length of time and still wondering if everything was going to work out in the end.

I had dropped Pat off at the terminal, so she could go inside to the cafe and relax while I handled the car issues. I could have asked if I could leave the car at the lot until we were ready to leave the airport, but with the lot being so busy, I didn’t think it was worth the effort. Instead, I drove the car to short-term parking and met Pat at the cafe.

She was reading her book. Since I had about two hours of computer work to get done, I figured I’d use the airports free wi-fi, and Pat would be able to enjoy some tea and scones. Our plan worked perfectly. She read and watched people and I downloaded, uploaded and emailed like a madman. In the end, we paid €4 for parking and another €4 on tea and snacks.

When we left the airport, I decided to go home via Sixmilebridge because on our way in, we passed a lot of construction that was backing up traffic in the homeward direction. My plan was foiled when we hit a very long diversion outside of Bunratty, but the drive was gorgeous and there was no traffic there.

We laughed because the day was alternating between bright sunshine and heavy rain. Our eyes were peeled for a rainbow, but no luck finding one today.

We stopped and had a great lunch at Molly’s in Ballina (near Killaloe) and then headed to Hanley Woolen Mills outside of Nenagh. We always enjoy visiting the shop there. Pat couldn’t resist their seconds rack, which included many discontinued patterns that had no flaws. The woman at the shop has been there for years, and she was great about letting us know what relegated each piece to the seconds rack…this one has no fringe, this one was the end of the bolt, this color isn’t to be made anymore, this weave isn’t popular, this one has a flaw on the corner.

Pat had her purchases shipped, which cost about the same amount as her VAT (tax) rebate, so the price she paid with shipping was about the same as the price on the tag. I found a lambswool sweater that I simply couldn’t resist…and I’m not a clothes shopper. It was €40 ( $62 ).

We then headed home for a nap before spending the evening at Jim O’ the Mills outside Upperchurch. It was a mighty session that evening. It started with the children’s session…which is quite common in the summer. Only one girl was there this evening because school isn’t out until next Tuesday…in the upcoming weeks there will likely be several youth there.

The session turned out to be one of the best I’ve experienced there. Musicians were coming out of the woodwork and everyone was there to enjoy the songs and craic.

As usual, two woman came out of the kitchen before midnight with puddings on buttered bread (they always taste sooooo good there). About 45 minutes after that, the crowd starts to thin out…and that’s when real fun started. Stories and jokes were being told…some of the more bawdy songs were sung and everyone who was left was having great fun.

We pulled back into Liza’s driveway at 2am…and we left a crowd behind. Note…after midnight, the Mill “officially” closes, so if you’re there later, you’re at a “private party.”

This Week’s Photo Album

My Ireland Expense Report

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