Twiske evening walk, Thursday 23 July 2015

The RSS feed of podcasts published by 99% Invisible only goes back 100 episodes. I started listening to 99PI back in April on my last marathon walk, which was around episode 161: Show of Force. So to go back beyond episode 61 I manually download them and load them into Downcast (my current podcast app of choice).

Or I use the web archive to go back the each episode’s permalink, and play it directly from there. That’s what I did on Thursday 23rd July. I had a week of time off at home after our two weeks away, and I used most of it to reorganize my office (again). The stacked-plastic-box filing solution I had been using to replace my old steel filing cabinet wasn’t pleasing me, and the giant bookcases had been feeling oppressive. I cut one of the bookcases down into two parts so that I’ve got some wall space to hang things up, and I made an Ikea run to acquire a couple of under- and near-desk filing space. It makes a big difference, and even now, almost a month later, the clutter equilibrium on my desk is at a much lower level than before.

But the maintenance work left me feeling tired and depressed, so I went out for a walk in het Twiske on the Thursday evening. Listened to the (short! 4-5 minute long) first episodes of 99% Invisible, and enjoyed the golden hour around the setting sun.

Bridge, water, Landsmeer in the distance
Still water, warm evening

Back to OZN

Early (for us) on the morning of Saturday 18th July, we did a final packing-up run, filled up the car, and drove back North to Dublin. Going through security, the scanner operator commented on the unusual quantity of MacBooks in my carry-on (four), and proceeded to tell me about the two gentlemen from the previous day who were travelling with a 12kg gold brick. o.O

Travel back was uneventful for the humans, but quite exciting for my checked-in suitcase, which took a detour via Bucharest.

Essential travel supplies for the motion-sick: zip-loc bags, bottled water, and kitchen roll
A well-lit Alex


Thursday 16th July was a rainy day, and we all stayed indoors. (I think that might have been the day we showed Alex and Fiona Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the first time.) On Friday 17th all of us (including Alex! We didn’t give him the choice of stying home this time) drove to Cork, where we met up with all of Rowan’s family (her dad Myles had taken the afternoon off work so we could all get together).

Cork top tip: don’t take your car into the city centre. Just don’t.

We met up in the city centre, and had some refreshments in a crêpes café by the river on South Mall St. We walked to Elizabeth Fort, which is a neat tourist attraction in the making, with great views out over the city centre. A little further on we saw Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, which looks like a neo-gothic rocketship. After the sightseeing we split up into various car groups and drove out to the Awesome Walls indoor climbing centre, where we sat around chatting, had some food, and climbed a bit.

Because we had a two-hour drive back to the cottage (and had to be up early the naxt day to catch a flight), we called it a day at about 20:30. About five minutes before we left, the conversation turned towards role-playing, and we discovered that Myles and Sam, just like us, were Amber RPG fans from way back when. Yet another thing we had in common. We had a great time hanging out with them, and I hope we can meet up again some time. (Living in different countries can be a bit of a barrier to socialising.)

St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, ready for launch

Hook Peninsula

On Wednesday 15th Abi and I drove from the cottage South to the tip of the Hook Peninsula. We parked near the harbour in Slade, and walked along the South-eastern coastal path to the Hook Lighthouse. We had set out in mid-afternoon, and it was just about 18:00 by the time we got to the lighthouse, so we didn’t have time to go in and look around. We just skirted around the sea wall, and walked back up the main road to Slade again. Beautiful day.

Abi on the coastal walk
Coastal grain
Coastal fence
Coastal wevboew
Hook Lighthouse
Coastal evening sun
Clever topiary or absorbed house?
Absorbed house
Granary Cottage


At Worldcon last year Fiona made friends with two other girls of her age. They bonded over Minecraft. Unfortunately the three girls all live in different countries. But our holiday to Ireland this year brough Fiona close enough to meet up with Rowan, who lives in Cork. Fiona had been excited about this FOR MONTHS ever since Minecon 2015 was announced back in February, and we started planning our summer holiday around it.

We met up with Rowan, her brother Oscar, and her mum Sam in Tramore on the Tuesday 14th July. (Alex stayed home at the cottage.) I think that both sets of parents were a little apprehensive about meeting again, and how the girls would get on after a year of not being very much in touch. Right from the moment we met up on the windy and rainy Tramore promenade, though, it was like they had never been apart. We had some lunch at Misty’s diner on Strand Road while the worst of the rain passed, went for a long walk along the beach (watching the surfers, picking up rocks), and then let the kids indulge in a bunch of rides at the amusement park. Just before we split up to head home later in the afternoon, the kids had some great fun trying to avoid getting soaked by the waves as they crashed into the concrete ramp from the promenade to the beach.

In fact, we all had so much fun together (adults, too!) that we decided to meet up again later on in the week. Huge success.


We didn’t do much at all on the Sunday after we arrived at the house in Ireland. On Monday 13th, Abi and I left Alex and Fiona behind (this will become a theme), and drove to Waterford for a wander around. Nice wee town with a bunch of Viking remnants. One of our first stops was at the Shaws department store on the Quay to get some toiletries. My eye also happened to fall on a new wallet to replace my old one, which had been falling apart for some time. We strolled around the Viking triangle, had some refreshments at a café on Barronstrand St, and generally had a very quiet and pleasant afternoon.

Parts of Waterford reminded us a bit of France
Not these parts