You might say that when you’re retired you have more time to let the unexpected into your life. I wrote recently that while my planning hadn’t always worked out, events brought about by random chance or fate or accident or serendipity or whatever you want to call it, had come through strong. You couldn’t have planned yesterday with a crystal ball. I suppose it was just one of those Irish holiday days that happen now and again, whatever it was it certainly was interesting.

In brief it went something like this – because Millie seemed to have a rash and was losing some hair we decided to take her to the vets – another first on this holiday. I mean when we were thinking about what we might do on this visit we didn’t say to ourselves, you know we’ve never been to the vets when on holiday in Ireland. Two visits for me to the doctors on previous trips but no vet’s visit. So we put that right because obviously we were worried about her. The visit cost us 150 euros, that’s 150 more than my two visits to the doctors. Now that was a surprise.

I can’t say that the shopping trip to Lidl next was unexpected but buying some plastic ties and reading glasses wouldn’t figure on the usual shopping list, both were cheap as is the wind-up radio that’s not available until Thursday. I have to admit that the souvenirs we take home with us are not the kind of items we have bought on past trips around the world. Gone are more typical souvenirs – art objects, prints, sculptures, carvings, books and other mementoes and, in their place, cable ties, triple cigarette lighter attachments, a hair trimmer, glasses, sewing kit and the like, if there is a like. Just a change of retirement priorities I suppose. I did buy two more Quirke novels, no surprise there having enjoyed the first one, the only surprise was that the shop owner sold me two for 10 euros. Having said books were expensive in Ireland I’ve picked up bargains by the barrow load.

The dogs had to be patient for their first walk, they’re happening much later than back home but when we did get to the walk on Ventry beach it was pleasant enough but nowhere near as pleasant as a new habit we’re somewhat acquiring. Coffee made with my new gizmo. I’ve had it a while and this is only the third time we’d used it. Carry a jar of coffee and long life milk and a bottle of water, a Kit Kat from the local shop and we’re good to go. I have to admit, to contradict everything I’ve said so far about planning not working, we did partially plan this and it worked out well. A simple pleasure, sat in the Land Rover with our coffees over-looking Ventry beach.

A bit later in this varied day I went over to the Blasket Centre to set up the posting of Tuesday’s blog (which you will now have seen, I hope), certainly no dramas like last time, the internet worked perfectly on this occasion. So then off to our second beach walk. We decided to try a different beach, one we haven’t been to on this trip, or at least not this part of it. Near the end of the walk we came upon an unexpected sight, yep, back to the random chance thing, a man trying to dig his car out of quite a deep hole with the tide coming in.

you can’t see how big the hole is

A chance to help another human being in trouble and show off the capabilities of the Defender to boot. Off-roading allowed by Mrs Summerhouse (she usually frowns upon it), she could hardly refuse to help a fellow human-being. Anyway I drove on the beach after some serious four-wheeling, pulled up behind his car, as I hope you can see, we found an old piece of rope from an abandoned fishing creel (is that a word?) – a previous piece of netting had snapped, tied it to both vehicles, obviously, and I pulled him out of his very deep hole, with only a little trouble. I said, she didn’t want to come out did she? No, sorry he said, I left the hand-brake on. Never mind, she’s out now and after calling me an angel he drove his slightly battered car off the beach and off to wherever. A good deed like a candle in a naughty world indeed.

Now all this leads to the finale of this blog and perhaps of greater importance. We shall see. Because of my sterling work we decided I had earned a drink at this brewery pub we had passed on the way to the beach. We’d tried before but it was always locked up. It seemed that way again when I tried. Nobody around it seemed so Mrs SH went in and came out with a lady who said she was just closing (it was 7 o’clock in the evening) and said we could come in if we only had a quick one. No problem, a quick reward was all I needed, but surely I did deserve that much. But the thing is we started chatting as you do in Ireland. She told us about the history of the place and what she was trying to do with the pub and the brewery and how sometimes she did food and sometimes she didn’t and she had lodgings but no petrol station or shop because they had gone under in the recession.

Point is she said come back Friday night (which will be today for you) we have music then and you can join in if you like. People play whatever you want, very easy-going and there was a piano. True the piano wasn’t great (like the last pub) but it had a certain charm. My point is, again, this, in a random world, it felt like the whole of today had led me to this moment. It felt like the timings and the events of today had made Friday night music and my appearance as easy to take part in as it was ever going to be. How could I refuse this seemingly random set of events leading me to my first (and probably last) appearance in a musical setting in Ireland? Here’s me at self-same piano (me at the beginning of this blog, and what do you know I’ve cleared the room). So phew, what a day. Will I ‘appear’? You will have to wait and see, as will I.


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