So the views, this is why we do it, come to Ireland I mean, not retire. The tedium of travel over for a while at least and another beautiful day on the Kerry coast. At least for now, it’s never entirely wise to brag about the weather, this is Ireland after all and the day after, as I sit writing this, I look out the window and can see, well, very little other than a substantial mist and some Irish sunshine, aka rain. What we can’t see at this point are any of the Blasket Islands or even the whole big ocean. They’re out there somewhere, touch wood. But nothing with legs. Our man at the Blasket Islands centre up the road, said this to me yesterday when I was up there posting Tuesday’s blog. I said something about the blog being fine, touch wood and then touched the surface of the table in front of me. Then he told me something I’d never known in all my nearly 70 years.

I’ve used the expression over the years, about touching wood or knocking on wood as a rather silly way of giving weight to what had just been said. But it seems like I’ve been doing it all wrong, no wonder it didn’t always work. If you touch a wooden object with legs, like a table, you’re talking to, as my man put it, the guy downstairs, aka the Devil, and not to Him upstairs who you should be asking for good fortune – apparently. Funny thing was, I think he was quite serious. This is Catholic Ireland when all is said and done.

So a wet walk yesterday morning, as it now is / was but more than compensated for by a lovely sunny, if windy, walk this morning on Ballyferriter beach. And further to the simple pleasures of life, after the walk we had coffee, croissants, butter and jam overlooking the ocean with its white-capped waves illuminated by the bright sunlight. Better stop it with the ‘writing’ but then Ireland does bring out my poetic side, if that’s what I may call it, and consider where the retirement angle comes in. This is after all a blog about retirement.

For example, how does it feel to know that after the two weeks here we will be returning not to work but to our retirement lifestyle – living in different homes, converting our van, playing (at) jazz, sort of tending to our vines, writing this blog, that kind of thing? There’s no doubt that it should feel pretty good and leave no room for doubts about whether retirement is the way forward for us. After nearly five years of being retired, I think I can safely say, it’s going quite well. Not my inclination, of course, to be completely positive about anything.

But, that said, in the positive column I did buy a cheap (5 euros), hardback no less, book from a bookshop in Dingle. Books in Ireland can be very expensive but bargains can be found. For example, like the book I bought on our first visit to the Blasket Centre where they have a small book ‘shop’. It is a book about Irish folk songs, 50 of them, with CD, for the extremely attractive price of 7 euros 50. Couldn’t refuse. How on earth can they get 50 songs on one CD, I wondered. Easy, make each song last, in some cases, about 10 seconds. A mere snatch of the tune and then on to the next. How I smiled. Mrs Summerhouse bought a book on Celtic design (for a design for a ‘family’ tattoo for our son in OZ) and that was good value as well. (See right) So… It’s not part of the design it’s on its side I haven’t time to correct it because of technical difficulties – nuff said.

But the book bought yesterday was a proper book and introduced me to a potential new hero, an Irish, based in Dublin of yesteryear, pathologist called Quirke. This book may be late in the series of 7 because he’s contemplating retirement and decides not to because he would miss his work – cutting up bodies in his case. Work can do that to you, you miss all kinds of things about it, even, I guess, cutting up bodies. Retirement on the other hand is just one long holiday, right?

Everything after this I lost trying to post this blog and of course I can’t remember what I wrote which is why I might be a bit short on the 1000 words. Very annoying. I wrote something about not going to see / listen to music at our usual venues – the music shop and St James’s church but trying to listen to same musicians in a pub but for free, turns out the rest of the town had the same idea so we could hear the music but not see it, so our new strategy was only a partial success a bit like this blog. We may try again tonight.

The other thing I wrote about, as I remember, was relaxing and how our daughter is always telling us to relax because we’re retired and on holiday. Easy for you to say we thought, see how you handle it when you’re our age but then again we won’t because we’ll be dead. We may look down and smile or maybe look up if we keep touching wood with legs. But we have relaxed a little too much it seems at times. At home we often nap after the last walk and when we are reading, but here I can hardly get through a page without nodding off. Is it the sea air, the general relaxedness of Ireland or just encroaching senility. I’ll be sure and let you know, unless I forget of course. OK, this is not quite what I wrote before but perhaps what I’ve missed will come back to me for the next blog on Tuesday.


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