Year ago photo…Adults only please… More favorite photos…8 days and counting…

Breathtaking view over the bay.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 

“Wet summers are no myth. They say, “it’s always raining in Ireland,” and the sad reality is that they’re not wrong. While we Irish love to think that we bask in the sun for hours on end during the summer, but the reality is pretty grim. We have one of the wettest climates in Europe: in the summer of 2007, for example, it rained in Ireland for 40 days straight!”
Today was one of those rare days when I didn’t feel I had it in me to do a post.
As I begin here now, it’s 1400 hours, 2:00 pm, leaving me little time to prepare a comprehensive post with stories and links.
John, our friend and the fish guy with Tom in the driveway.

So please bear with me as I race through it, feeling compelled and yet pleased to finally be typing on the keyboard of my laptop. A nap is beaconing me, and although I usually only doze for 15 minutes, it’s everything I need to spur me on for the rest of the day. We’ll see how likely that will be.

This morning, knowing Ann was coming at 9:00 am to clean the house, we both bolted out of bed in a hurry knowing we’d like to get breakfast out of the way, tidy some of our “stuff” throughout the house, and be ready for her to take over for several hours.

Mom and Baby.

As always, Tom made bacon and the perfect fried eggs on the planet. This morning there was a special treat to savor with my two eggs:  fresh crabmeat John had dropped off last night. Adding chopped celery and a bit of mayonnaise, I made a quick crab salad, along with a few ounces of smoked salmon and a tiny avocado on the side.

Tom enjoyed the bacon and eggs as usual while I savored my low carb, moderate fat, high protein breakfast. Portions were small, but together, it was a perfect combo of flavors.
Rescued donkeys are commonly found in Ireland, where love and respect for these animals are evident.

Once we cleaned the kitchen and hung a load of laundry on the rack in the entry room, we planned the menu for our remaining seven breakfasts and seven dinners in Ireland. It was effortless planning this together as we always do.

After chatting with Ann before we left, knowing we had many stops ahead of us, we took off ready to tackle the day. Tom needed a haircut, and I needed to visit the pharmacy for a few toiletries and to speak to the pharmacist about some of the meds I am trying to wean off in the next few months.

Messy, dirty sheep with red identifying paint.

I’ve discovered that one of the drugs makes me feel exhausted and results in too low of a pulse, often as low as the high 40’s when at rest. The surgeon suggested I get off several of the drugs at this point, which hopefully won’t cause any issues. I’m down two drugs with two more to go.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin the slow weaning process he suggested, which may take a month. But, the process is slow since this particular heart medication requires a prolonged weaning process to avoid a sudden increase in heart rate. I can’t wait until the toxic substances are out of my system.

Ruins in the neighborhood.

So many of these medications have severe, life-threatening and debilitating side effects. Since I tend to be sensitive to drugs anyway, this surely is the right path for me at this point. I am looking forward to feeling like my “old self” once again, if that’s at all possible.

Ann and Eileen suggest we try Sullivan’s hardware store. Tom had accidentally broken the glass French Press coffee “plunger,” and we hoped to find a replacement in Clifden. Luckily, he found a replacement, and we were on our way to the supermarket.
Belted Galloway cow all possess this unique pattern of a white belt around their midsection.

He’d stopped at the barbershop while I started the grocery shopping at SuperValu to discover so many customers waiting. He joined me with a plan to return to the after grocery shopping. He had no choice. He needed a haircut, plain and simple.

Once we loaded the car with the groceries, we drove the few blocks to the tiny barbershop, put money in the parking meter, and prepared ourselves for a long wait.  Although three other men were waiting, within 25 minutes, Tom was in the barber chair.  

Piles of cut peat are often found at the side of the road.

After a good haircut, priced at Euro 12, US $13.37 plus a generous tip of Euro 5, US $5.57, we were on our way back to our holiday home. Ann was still here finishing the cleaning, but we worked our way around her and put everything away.  It was sweet saying goodbye to Ann once again. Such a lovely woman with whom we became very attached over the past three months.

Tonight, we’ll lay low enjoying a roasted chicken dinner with rice for Tom, cooked cabbage, a side of spinach, and broccoli for me. Later, we’ll hunker down to watch a few favorite shows.
Scenic lake.

As we wind down our time in Ireland, we can hardly believe three months have passed. We’re ready to move along, hoping a change of scenery and activities will be good for both of us.

Have a pleasant evening!
Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2018:
Little attempting to mate with this young female. For more photos, please click here.

A heartbreaking story…15 years ago…Favorite photos have begun…Eight days and counting…

Fishing is big business in this village.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 

“Argentina’s Navy was founded by an Irishman. The Irish have made their way to the far corners of the world in the past, and Admiral William Brown is a great example of Irish accomplishments abroad. Brown was the creator and first admiral of the Argentine Navy and is today hailed as a hero in Argentina for his attempts to protect Argentina from the Spanish invaders successfully.”
In some parts of the world, equipment such as this couldn’t be left in plain view. But, here in Glinsk, crime rates are meager.

Shortly after we arrived in Glinsk (also spelled “Glinsce” in the Irish language), we had an opportunity to chat with our property owner, Eileen, a lovely woman who’s lived in this area all of her life.

Eileen is a beautiful artist, and numerous sea paintings line the walls in this unique property. She’s spent the past 15 years without her beloved husband Josie, who perished at sea in 2004.  

She shared the heartbreaking story of Josie and three of his buddies who drowned in a storm when they were attempting to relocate a 20 meter, 65-foot boat to another area.

Fishing gear on the dock.

Numerous articles were written about the tragedy including the following story we chose to share from the Irish Times.  (See the story here). Although the article is dated December 2004, the tragedy occurred on September 17, 2004. Please see below:

“Drowning inquest told vessel struck rocks in gale
One of four men who lost their lives when a fishing vessel sank off Connemara three months ago only joined the boat at the last minute, an inquest heard yesterday.
The channel at the boat launch in Glinsk.

Boatyard owner Mr. Josie Connolly, of Leitir Ard, had told his wife, Ms. Eileen Noonan Connolly, that he would not have fancied going out in the St. Oliver on the night in question as the weather was terrible.

However, Ms. Noonan Connolly saw her husband boarding the 65-ft vessel later that evening, September 17th, and when she ran outside to ask him what he was doing, she was told by a local man that he was assisting the delivery of the vessel back to Rossaveal.

She said she spoke to her husband by phone and he asked her to pray that he did not get seasick.

Fishing using this equipment is hard work, hardly compares to the ease of using a fishing pole with bait.

Mr. Connolly, who was in his 60s and from Glinsk, Connemara, lost his life along with fellow crew Mr. John Dirrane, the vessel’s skipper, Mr. Michael Faherty, and Mr. Michael Mullin, when St. Oliver hit rocks off Duck Island (Inishlacken) south of Mweenish island off Carna, in a gale on September 17th.

Mr. Dirrane and Mr. Faherty, who were in their early 40s, were lifelong friends from the Aran islands and both had moved into Inverin. Mr. Dirrane’s wife, Una, had recently given birth to their fourth child. Mr. Faherty’s wife, Carmel, was expecting their first child when the accident occurred.

The inquest in Galway yesterday heard how the youngest of the four, Mr. Mullin (18), of Moyard, had sent a mobile phone text message to a friend, Ms. Regina King, before the sinking.

At the Glinsk pier…

The message said: “Was in Carna all week. I just finished today. We were steaming towards Rossaveal. Rough as f***. Our two computers f***ed. Hardly know where the f*** we’re going. Will give you a buzz later.”

The text message was sent at 8.23 p.m., but Ms. King did not receive it until 9.30 p.m.

Mr. Eamon Torpay, search and rescue operations manager with the Irish Coast Guard, said the emergency radio beacon (EPIRB) on the St. Oliver was activated at 9.03 p.m, and the satellite signal was relayed from Scotland to the Irish emergency services.
Some of the old boats could have been on the Glinsk dock for decades.

The Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Shannon, the Naval Service patrol ship LE Ciara and lifeboats were dispatched to the scene in very bad weather conditions.

The bodies of three of the men were recovered off the Carna coast within 24 hours of the sinking. Mr. Dirrane’s body was found near the wreckage a week later.

The skipper’s widow, Ms. Una Dirrane, told the inquest that her husband had been working on St Oliver, which was in dry dock at Mr. Connolly’s yard at Leitir Ard, at the time.
The beaches in this area are rocky and not suitable for swimming. Also, the windy and cool summer weather may keep beach-lovers away.
On September 17th, he phoned her to say he was taking the vessel back to Rossaveal. She had called him at 8.30 p.m. that night, and he said the weather was “messy.”

Mr. Faherty’s widow, Ms. Carmel Faherty, said her husband had been in good form when she drove him to Carna. The weather appeared to be okay. She phoned him on the vessel at 8.10 p.m. that night, and he told her that Mr. Josie Connolly was on board.

She asked him to call her when they reached Rossaveal, but at 10.30 p.m. Ms. Dirrane had phoned her to say that the vessel was in trouble.
Expansive view of Bertraghboy Bay as seen from Glinsk.

Medical evidence showed that three of the men died from asphyxia due to sea-water drowning, while Mr. Dirrane died from fractures and other severe internal injuries which were consistent with having been in a boating accident.

The coroner for West Galway, Dr. Ciarán McLoughlin, expressed his sympathy to all those who had been touched by the loss of the four men.”
Ruins by the sea in Glinsk.
In the years after the loss of Josie, Eileen set about to finish this house that she and Josie had started together. She worked hard to get it completed in a manner that would appeal to holidaymakers who visit from all corners of the world.

Her handling of our rental has been impeccable and we truly appreciate her kindness and efforts to create a peaceful environment for us during our three-month stay.  

Fluffy white calf over overlooking the sea in Glinsk.

Eileen has bravely made a life for herself and we commend her on her determination and courage after losing the man she so dearly loved for decades.  It gives us pause to think about how fortunate we are to have one another and to be able to experience this period of time in this house in which we can feel the love.

When life is hard, it often takes hearing the stories of others to fully embrace what we have, not what we have lost.

Be well.
Photo from one year ago today, July 30, 2018:
This morning we opened the door to find 19 kudus in the garden, breaking our prior record of 17 at once.  The one closest to the veranda is the girl that constantly licks my toes.  She is identifiable by an oval notch in her right ear.  For more photos, please click here.

The Wild Atlantic Way…Nearing the end of five year ago Madeira, Portugal photos…

Five years ago, on a walk-in Madeira, Portugal, we spotted this waterfall. For more details on the 2014 post, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
“Wild Atlantic Way is the longest coastal driving route in the world.

The Wild Atlantic Way, a stunning drive that stretches from the cliffs around County Donegal in the far north of Ireland down to the beaches of County Cork, is the ‘longest defined coastal driving route in the world.’ The 2,500 km, 1553 mile route passes through nine counties and three provinces. Can you name them all? If you’re planning on driving this famous route, then make sure you build in some time at Ireland’s best surf spots along the way.”
In the above “Fascinating Fact of the Day,” the Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500 km coastal drive that passes through nine counties (not countries) which includes the following route:

The Wild Atlantic Way in 14 Steps

Here is the map from this site indicating the counties in which the Wild Atlantic Way passes through:
This could be an exciting way for ambitious tourists to see a considerable portion of Ireland in only a few weeks. As mentioned in the above site, there are numerous bed & breakfasts, hotels, restaurants, and local points of interest along the route.

The 2500 km, 1553 miles, journey could take weeks, especially when stopping for overnight stays and sightseeing. However, with fuel costs, hotels, and dining, the price for such an adventure may well be less than a two or three-week stay in more expensive hotels in large cities.

As shown in these other photos, we walked through this short tunnel to reach the ocean at the other end.
We’ll be spending one night in a hotel in Dublin before we fly to Amsterdam in a mere ten days. We used priority points from on our site, but without our credits, the cost of the four-star hotel is Euro 121.35, US $135.

We’re anticipating dinner to be approximately Euro 72, US $80, in a nearby restaurant, plus we’ll need to add another Euro 37, US $40, to our expenses for taxi fare and tip. Once we arrive on Thursday (next week), we’ll drop off the rental car and use the hotel’s free shuttle to the airport.
Nothing is as mesmerizing as the sea.
The total cost of the one night stay at the hotel near the airport is expected to be Euro 230.35. US $255. Sure, we could have chosen to drive to Dublin on the day of our 1320 hrs, 1:20 pm flight. It’s a 3½ hour drive from here.  
But, to keep stress to a minimum, we felt this short hotel stay was worth it. We’ll have an unrushed breakfast (included) at the hotel and then plan for a relaxed pace to arrive at the airport a few hours before the flight.
Two small waterfalls flow from the rocks in a natural rock wall.
If a tourist chose to drive the 2500 km Wild Atlantic Way route as their holiday in Ireland, most likely they could do it for the Euro as mentioned above 230.35. US $255 plus costs for car rental, extra meals, and tours.  
Multiplied accordingly, the anticipated two-week journey may incur a cost (excluding rental cars, tours, entrance fees to various venues, and additional meals and snacks). The total cost could be Euro 3209, US $3570.  
Clouds were rolling in.
Add approximately another 30% for car rental and extras as mentioned above. This could prove to be quite a holiday, especially for families, if the kids and adults typically enjoy rode trips.

Oddly, for world travelers, one would assume we look forward to long road trips, but as we’ve mentioned here in the past, neither of us enjoys long periods in the car. Tom is a relatively aggressive driver with little patience for traffic.
The preformed cement blocks aren’t attractive but serve a useful purpose.
Riding in the car can be stressful for both of us. Our lives intend to keep stress to a minimum, especially with my recent heart surgery. We’ve found we’ve been able to thoroughly revel in our travels without embarking on long road trips.

The 3½ hour drive to Dublin on August 8th will be a long enough drive for us.  When we arrive in England after the Baltic cruise ends, we’ll fly to Exeter, England, and over two months, we’ll be driving to our four chosen holidays rentals every two weeks or so as our address changes. These shorter trips will be perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the English countryside.

Have a great Monday!
Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2018:
Male kudus have horns; females do not.  At about 15 months, the horns begin to take on the shape of the first spiral. For more photos, please click here.

Breakfast?…Necessary or not so much?…Five year ago photos…

The was my measly pile of clothing to pack as we prepared to leave Madeira, Portugal, keeping in mind this includes not only all my everyday wear but, also two Scottevest jackets, three remaining bathing suits, two sets of Bugsaway clothing including three hats and three small handbags which I no longer have.  For the post from July 28, 2014, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
is derived from the Irish festival of Samhain. At the end of summer, the Celts
believed the gulf between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits
thinned, allowing malevolent beings to wander the Earth. Irish immigrants in
the US raised the popularity of Halloween in the 19th century.

In an effort to do intermittent fasting for health reasons, for years we didn’t eat breakfast except on cruises.  On a low carb diet (over 8 years since I started) eggs and bacon may be staples.
However, recently in an effort to increase my protein consumption and in consideration of the healing process, we’ve been eating breakfast most days.  Tom has taken over the cooking.  He makes neater and more perfectly fried eggs than I have ever done.  
These were all of my shoes in 2014, six pairs.  I don’t recall ever having so few shoes since I was a kid when I got one new pair of Buster Browns once a year.  Since this photo, I’ve replaced the water shoes which hurt my feet and the black sandals which bit the dust.
He makes three eggs and bacon for himself while I have two eggs, some type of fish and possibly one piece of bacon.  Occasionally I’ll add some veggies if I’m feeling extra hungry.  But usually, the eggs and fish is adequate, keeping me full until dinner.

We’re still doing intermittent fasting from 9:00 am until 1800 hours, 6:00 pm when we usually have dinner.  After dinner, another round of intermittent fasting begins from 1900 hours, 7:00 pm, until breakfast the next morning.  We’re avoiding any snacks during the day and in the evening.  

This plan works well for us in keeping our weight under control which seems harder and harder to do as we’ve aged and allows us the benefit of not digesting food for several hours each day.  
Late-blooming Bird of Paradise, aptly named.
I often wonder if all these health rules I’ve followed over the years were beneficial.  It didn’t prevent me from having open-heart surgery.  But my three doctors assured me if I hadn’t been so conscientious with my diet and exercise most of my life, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.  They advised me to continue my low carb way of eating.

As for Tom and his passion for sweets, bread, and starches, his weight would be out of control and he may not be free of taking any medications as is the case now.  When he was 18 kg, 40 lbs heavier, he was huffing and puffing handling our luggage and other tasks.  Now he has no health problems and takes no medication.

Apparently, his genetic component is less diseased than mine where many conditions ran rampant on both sides of my family.  There’s nothing one can do about their heredity.  
We never got enough of the clouds rolling in over the hills.  Each time it occurred we watched from the veranda in awe of the beauty.
Often, we hear stories of athletes and fitness aficionados developing numerous health conditions or dying as a result of heredity, regardless of any efforts they may have made to avert the possibility.

The magic of eating a low carb, high fat, moderate protein breakfast is its ability to keep us filling full all day and not thinking of food until dinnertime.  In our old lives when eating a high carb breakfast, we noticed how hungry we were in as little as an hour later.  I suppose that’s why “they” say that eating Asian food causes hunger an hour later…which most often is high carb due to sugary sauces, rice and fried doughy dishes. 

Of course, we only purchase organic free-range eggs and nitrate-free bacon (when available).  The quality of our food is more important to me than the quantity.
Our neighbors in Campanerio, Madeira were harvesting some of the treasures from their garden.
Today, we’ll lay low, catch up on a few financial projects and prepare a “Sunday roast,” a popular tradition in the UK and Ireland.  This will include three types of roasted meats, including lamb shanks for me, carrots, mushrooms, onions, cooked spinach, and cooked cabbage.  

The vegetables will fill 80% of my plate, less so for Tom.  But he loves the higher carb roasted carrots, of which I’ll only have a small portion.  Carrots, especially cooked and caramelized are high in carbs.

We’ll eat the roast for a few nights and then save some of the meat to shred for beef taco salads to which I’ll add a small amount of meat along with avocado and numerous diced vegetables.  Tom will add cheese, onions, olives, and tomatoes.  

We hope you’ll have a delectable breakfast today and a divine Sunday dinner.
Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2018:
We had a full moon party in Marloth Park and got this shot of the “blood moon” from the veranda.  What a sight!  For more, please click here.

Associations can tarnish a otherwise good memory…

Busy preparations surrounded the church in Campanario as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities.  For the post from this date, five years ago, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
The ashes of St. Valentine, believe it or not, have found their final
resting place in a shrine inside Whitefriar Street Church, in Dublin city
center. Brought here from Rome by
an Irish Carmelite is known for his work with the poor, the ashes were a token
gift from Pope Gregory XVI. Many couples visit the shrine inside this small
Irish church, to ask St. Valentine to watch over them and pray for a long life

Unfortunately, at times experiences during world travel may not be ideal, emblazoning the hoped stunning memories in our hearts and minds with painful and sorrowful recollections.  

Overall, I’d say we have nothing but fantastic memories of which we’re easily reminded when we see photos and read past posts.  For example, today’s five year ago photos and stories remind us of days long past where pain, discomfort, and fear were definitely not in the picture.

Now five years later and after almost seven years of traveling, it has become necessary to emotionally and financially regroup after the shocking state of affairs over my recent open-heart surgery.  
These roads leading to the site were decorated with lights and garland.

Also, a cardiac bypass is a temporary treatment, not a cure.  The genetic fact of arteriosclerosis continues regardless of diet, exercise, medication, and lifestyle. In other words, there’s nothing one can do to prevent a recurrence.

Many patients discover that the new grafts have occluded as soon as one year later requiring more surgery.  What does one do then?  Go through the same thing all over again?  I don’t think if I’d be willing to do that all over again.

It was disheartening to spend those last three months in Marloth Park recovering from the outrageously invasive surgery.  Prior to those three months, we had nothing but happy memories of our year in South Africa.

Only a few months prior to the surgery, I recall telling Tom and our friends that the year in Marloth was the happiest year of my life.  And then, everything changed.

And for almost three full months, I was unable to walk out onto the veranda to see any of the main reasons for my prior exquisite joy and happiness…the constant visits by a wide array of wildlife and time spent with our fantastic friends, all of which came to a sudden halt.

Local citizens mulling around the area chatting and smoking amid the workers preparing for the big event.

Oh, our loving friends came to visit over and over again.  Toward the end of the extra three months, they even hosted a dinner party at our house bringing all the food, cooking, serving and cleaning it all up.  I didn’t have to do a thing.

The fact that they’ve all stayed in close touch since we left in May, only reminds us of the strength and commitment of their loving friendship.  We miss them all. 

We don’t know when we’ll be able to return. We were banned from South Africa for five years due to overstaying our visas by the three months due to my necessary recovery period.  

As mentioned in prior posts, we applied for a waiver but now, almost three months later, we haven’t had any news although we’ve called and sent messages many times.

Here while in Ireland the recovery barely progressed, based on side effects of the statins and other drugs and I am associating our time here with similar trepidation.  How disappointing it has been not to be able to get out for more sightseeing to fully enjoy this lovely country.

As we drove away from the church we spotted these flowers.

The future?  It will continue to be a “work in progress” especially now that the debilitating side effects of the statins have lifted, although not entirely quite yet. There are several other heart-related drugs I am taking, that according to the doctors,  I can stop by the six-month mark, coming up mid-August.

Many of these drugs cause exhaustion on one hand and insomnia on the other.  I can’t wait to feel energetic again. I remind myself every day, regardless of how hard or disappointing the slow recovery has been, I am grateful to be alive and having survived these first difficult months. I am grateful to Tom for his loving and diligent caregiving, for making me laugh and for family and friends who’ve stayed in touch.

And, of course, I am grateful for all of you, our readers, who frequently write kind and thoughtful messages, all generous of spirit and heart.  How can I ever thank you?  Perhaps by getting well and writing about new adventures shared here with many photos.  

Your continued support is an association I’ll always fondly remember.  You inspired me to keep pushing, keep a clear mind and maintain a routine we’ve treasured for years.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2018:
This is our friend Tusker.  He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm).  He’s so comfortable here he often lies down for a short nap.  Eventually, we didn’t see him anymore when “Basket, an enormous warthog scared him off and claimed the territory.  We missed him.  For more details, please click here.

A stunning discovery…Everything has changed…

In Madeira, Portugal, five years ago today, we wrote: “Nothing like a view from the veranda at dusk.”  For more details from that post, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
The Royal Cork Yacht
Club, founded in 1720, is widely recognized as the world’s oldest yacht club.
The club plays host to Cork Week, Ireland’s largest and most prestigious
sailing event, held every two years and attracting boats and sailors from
around the world. There is still a very strong tradition of sailing in many of
our coastal towns, and you can either hire small sailing boats for your own use
or sign up to sailing courses in towns such as Schull and Baltimore.”

In an effort to avoid complaining and becoming known as a “whinger” or “whiner,”  I haven’t disclosed here quite how bad my recent situation has been.  My painful legs and arms made walking or performing the simplest of tasks unbearable.

Yes, I walked everyday recording steps on my fitness tracker but each step took everything I could muster.  Also, I wasn’t noticing any improvement after all the walking up the hill, up and down the stairs, and throughout the house.

I’d mentioned this to Tom but didn’t emphasize how severe the pain was.  I didn’t want him to worry any more than he’d worried already.  As of several days ago, I was imagining life in a wheelchair along with an end to our travels.  Desperately, I tried not to keep mentioning it.
A summer rose in Madeira.
The only relief I had was when sitting or lying down.  When I was cooking or hanging laundry I could barely stand in one place.  I was trying hard not to let this get me down but I was teetering on the edge.

Each time we’ve grocery shopped or took off sightseeing, I could barely get my legs to move.  My arms and shoulders ached.  I did arm and shoulder exercises to no avail. Getting dressed took everything I had.

Each day I contemplated what we were having for dinner and how long I’d have to stand in the kitchen to prep the items.  I let carrots spoil when I couldn’t imagine peeling them while standing at the counter.  I know I could have asked Tom for help but good grief, it’s been over five months and I’ve needed to be more independent.  How would this ever improve?

I wrote to the cardiologist and he assumed something was wrong with my heart and I needed to make an appointment with a cardiologist.  But, my heart is fine.  When I’ve walked up the hill in front of the house my legs burned beyond description.  My pulse was exactly where it should have been.  I wasn’t out of breath any more than Tom would have been.  He’s very healthy!
Lush greenery, blue skies, and the sea create a colorful scene in Madeira.
At a loss, I didn’t know what to do.  Subsequently, I started reading the medical literature, kindle books, and reputable information by world-famous and highly regarded cardiologists and physicians…not public opinion, not forums, and not heart-related blogs.

After weeks of research, I discovered what I’d expected, that as much as 30% of patients stopped taking their prescribed statins due to side effects.  In the US, over 28% of people over 40 years old are on statins.  How much money Big Pharma has made!

Prior to the discovery of my cardiac issues, I was a stench naysayer about statins, having read volumes about them.  I’d pull out my statin “soapbox” from time to time (when appropriate) and express my views.

But, when suddenly I was a cardiac patient after triple bypass surgery, the first drug they gave me was a statin, comparable to a drug called Crestor in the US but known as Zuvamor 40 mg in South Africa.  
Rooftops, power lines and terraced hills are a common sight.
When I questioned the doctors expressing my aversion to statins during my followup appointments, who are often funded by “Big Pharma” they insisted the drug would save my life.  Frightened, while not feeling well, I acquiesced and took the daily dose.

Every day that passed, the pain escalated and I came to the conclusion it was the statins, for the very reason I was vehemently opposed to this class of drugs.  Conducting more research I discovered it takes 77 hours or more for the drugs to leave one’s system.

On Tuesday night, I took the last pill deciding I was done with statins.  If, and I mean, if, I believed that they’d protect my health, I might be worried about stopping.  But, after considerable research, I feel at ease knowing I am doing the right thing.

Please keep in mind my decision to stop statins in no way is a suggestion you do the same, nor am I soliciting any medical advice. Each of us must become well educated as to what works for us with the support of medical professionals you trust.
Banana leaves along the road.

That’s the keyword…”trust.”  I noticed in the medical report I received from the surgeon (upon request) that he stated I’d had a heart attack.  I did not have a heart attack and asked him to amend the report accordingly.

This morning, less than 77 hours since I stopped the drug, I got out of bed, hopeful.  Alas, after moving around I noticed an 80% improvement in the pain in my arms and legs.  I’m anticipating that as more and more of the drug leaves my system, I’ll continue to feel more relief.

This morning we grocery shopped and for the first time shopping since the surgery on February 12th, never once did I think about pain in my arms and legs.  Once back at the house I easily put away the groceries while Tom helped as usual.  

Previously, I had to pull up a chair to the open refrigerator to put things away.  Today, I easily bent over the under-counter fridge to load the vegetables in the drawer.

With few homes having clothes dryers, railings on verandas become clotheslines.

Am I taking a risk?  With no conclusive evidence that taking statins prevents heart disease, I don’t think so.  But, if I am taking a huge risk, quality of life is most important to me.  Living in a wheelchair due to side effects from a drug is no quality of life for me, especially for our lifestyle.

You may say, try another statin.  I appreciate the concern.  But side effects are many regardless of the brand name and even lower doses.  I’m done.  Done and happy to be so.

My legs are weak but now instead of walking gingerly and favoring the pain, I can begin to walk with confidence and finally build some strength.  No, I’m not totally 100%.  That will take time, especially at my age.  But, I will continue on this path with optimism and hope for the future. 

Thank you for listening…

Be well.  Very well.
Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2018:
This giraffe was having a “bad hair day!”  The hair on the female giraffe’s ossicones is usually short and straight up.  For more photos, please click here.

Five years ago today…Tunnels…Thanks for positive response!!…

In a busy beach area in Madeira, Portugal,, cars were parked inside this frequently used tunnel.  See this link for more.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 

“The ancestral language of Irish people is Irish Gaelic. However, the
2011 census found that 82,600 people in Ireland speak Irish outside of school
(where it is an obligatory subject). The census also reported that 119,526
speak Polish meaning Irish is now the third most spoken language in Ireland
after English and Polish.”


We have a long way to go before we start packing to leave Ireland and this time, I don’t plan to start until two days prior to leaving, giving us ample time to weigh our bags and pay for them online. The baggage fees for this upcoming flight are as much as the airfare. That’s how “they” get you!

This time it appears it will be easier to pack than it was three months ago when we left Marloth Park.  We had accumulated so much peripheral “stuff” during our 15 months in South Africa whereby, here, we’ve managed to keep it to a minimum.

A “massage salon” at the beach.
Yesterday, I literally forced myself to work on three months of accumulated receipts.  What a relief I felt when this looming task was completed.  Now, I’ll only need to log the few upcoming trips to the market, any fish we purchase from John and one trip to the pharmacy for products we’ll use on the cruise.

Tom suggested we wait and purchase toiletries once we arrive in Amsterdam but we’ve heard prices are outrageous in the city.  Also, based on allowed baggage, we’re within the weight ranges and won’t pay extra for hair products, saline solution, and toothpaste which we’ll place in our large suitcases. 
Exiting yet another tunnel.
Purchasing such items on a cruise is three times the cost for the small sizes so running out of any items is a waste of money.  

We’d hoped our cleaning person, Ann was coming to clean the house today but it appears she’s still under the weather.  Of course, we wish her well but don’t look forward to cleaning the house, changing the sheets, vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the kitchen and baths.  

If I was feeling stronger this wouldn’t be an issue.  I try not to complain to Tom and do everything I can to help.  But, he’ll do the bulk of the cleaning while I do the easy stuff.
There’s been little rain and yet the hillside is lush and green.
Yesterday and today, many of our readers wrote to encourage me not to be so concerned over not having new photos to post right now.  This means a lot to us and takes off the pressure of getting out when I don’t feel up to it.  Thanks to each and every one of you!

Today’s photos are from the enjoyable 2½ months we spent on the exquisite and unique Portuguese island of Madeira.  We stayed in the small village of Campanario, where literally no English was spoken.  Somehow, we managed and even learned a few words of the Portuguese language.
On a few hour outing in Madeira, Portugal, we’d go through as many as a 20 tunnels.
We loved the contemporary house in the hills overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  There, too, like John in Connemara, there was plenty of fresh-caught fish sold by in a truck.  The Madeira fish guy had a truck with loud music blaring from a speaker on the rooftop, specifically known as the “fish guy’s song.”

When we were around and we heard that song, we ran outside hiking up the steep hill to buy one of his fresh-caught yellowfin tuna.  Nice memories were created there, as they’ve been here in Ireland as well.

Speaking of fresh fish, tonight I’ll have hake, one of my favorite fresh fish while Tom has the remainder of his bone-in pork roast.  Luckily, John comes to the door and knocks when he arrives and we don’t have to climb steep hills to get to him.

That’s it for today, folks.  I continue to walk and work hard to get more mobility and stability but sadly, it’s taking more time than I’d expected

Be healthy!
Photo from one year ago today, July 25, 2018:
Classic scene of three vultures on a limb.  We were thrilled to get this shot from quite a distance.  From this site:  Vultures are, however, great ecologists, having a high sense of personal hygiene and are a manifestation of the adage of patience as a virtue. They clean the veld of carrion, thereby minimizing the impact of animal disease, and they bathe regularly in rivers after gorging themselves at a kill.”  For more photos, please click here.

Photo shortage…Photos from five years ago today…The island of Madeira Portugal…

These old stone tunnels are common throughout Madeira.  To see this five-year-old post, please click here.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
“The population of
Ireland currently sits at around 4.5 million people, which is still almost 4
million less the population before the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852.
However, it has been reported that almost 80 million people around the world
have Irish passports. Up to half the entire population of Australia claim Irish
ancestry, while just over 39 million Americans believe they are part Irish.”

With all the wind and rain this week we haven’t been out to take photos.  This creates a certain amount of concern as I struggle to share photos for each day’s post.  

This fact has been a constant dilemma when at times, especially lately, I haven’t felt up to going out.  Now as we wind down our time here, leaving in 15 days,  I doubt we’ll go sightseeing before we leave.
There’s a substantial Catholic population on the island.  It’s not unusual to spot a shrine of the Virgin Mary in public areas such as this.
I’ve kept track of the interest by our worldwide readers when we post sightseeing photos and oddly, there are no fewer readers when we haven’t been sightseeing, taking lots of photos.  I can’t quite figure out this dilemma.

At this time, with the ongoing realities of my continuing recovery, I don’t feel like riding in the car for hours at a time.  Instead, we’ve decided to only go out when we have to shop in these remaining days in Connemara.
There are a few sandy beaches on the island.  Most are rocky such as this.
In the interim, I continue to walk, climb stairs indoors and walk the big hill from the driveway (which I haven’t done in a few days due to bad weather, fearing the slippery rocks could result in a fall).  

Perhaps I am babying myself.  Its what I feel like doing right now.  We’ll be plenty busy when we get to Amsterdam and two days later board the cruise with many ports of call we’d like to see.  
As we drove through a village, this bell tower warranted a stop.
We apologize for this “change” over the next 15 days but once we’re on the move, many photos will follow.  In the past over seven years since we began posting, (March 2012), there have been few occasions when we didn’t post photos, except perhaps for the first year before we became excited about taking photos.

Sadly, we didn’t do what we’d hoped to do while in Ireland, mainly further explore Tom’s ancestry and sightsee.  For now, the timing wasn’t quite right and the distances required to do so would have resulted in six or more hours of driving each day.
This village was decorated for the upcoming banana festival which occurred over the prior weekend.
Had I not had the dreadful surgery in February, everything would have been entirely different.  But, this is our current reality.  And, as hard as its been, we’ve made every effort to stay upbeat and positive.

Without getting out much, writing here has been challenging.  Much to our delight, our readership hasn’t faltered during this less exciting period.  Thanks to each and every one of you for sticking with us.  
Soon, it will become more exciting as we work our way toward our upcoming travels, cameras in hand and enthusiasm in our hearts and minds.  No doubt, we too, have missed the excitement.
Ironically while in Madeira, Portugal, Tom got a kick out of this sign for an Irish Sports Bar with a photo of a camel on the sign.  We couldn’t quite grasp the significance of the camel and Irish.  There aren’t any camels in Ireland, are there?  Not that we’ve seen thus far.
Over the next few weeks, we will add photos from past adventures often going back as many as seven years.  During the last week, we’ll begin posting our favorite photos of Ireland and then, a few days later we’ll be in Amsterdam.

Yesterday, we wrapped up our travel health insurance.  From August 11th, when we board the ship to November 8th when we arrive in the US, we’ll be covered including my preexisting conditions.  

The total cost was for the short term policy for both of us was Euro 1113,  US $1240, half as much as our old policy which no longer covers my preexisting condition.  This gave both of us peace of mind.  (The policy doesn’t cover time spent in the US).

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  See you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 24, 2018:

We took this photo on Volstruis Street.  The word volstruis means ostrich in Afrikaans.  For more photos, please click here.

Finally, we found travel insurance…

This photo is similar to a photo we posted a few days ago, but we couldn’t resist posting this alternate view.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 

“Contrary to popular belief, and despite being the
Patron Saint of Ireland,
St. Patrick was not actually from Ireland. Born in Wales around 386 AD, he was
in fact captured by the Irish and sold into slavery, working as a shepherd in
the West of Ireland. Later in life, he returned to Ireland as a missionary,
helping to spread Christianity in Ireland.”

It’s been difficult finding health insurance for me based on two factors; my age, 71, and my preexisting condition after cardiac bypass surgery.  The new policy requires 180 days to have passed since any surgery or medical treatment.  

This 180 day period will have transpired once the insurance goes into effect on August 11,  2019, the day we board the ship.  At that point, the waiting period is off by one day but, they have a two-day grace period which confirmation I received in an email from the company.

Lovely scenery even on a cloudy day.

These two risk factors made us fearful that we’d never find insurance for me.  We’d done hours of research and finally found a company and policy that works for us.  The company, UnitedHealthcare Global may be found at this link.

Today, after posting here, we’ll sign up and pay for the policy which will run from August 11th to November 8th, the day we arrive in the US where we’ll stay for a total of 83 days in three states.  

The coverage doesn’t cover stays in the US and thus we’ve decided to pay for the period ending November 8th when we arrive in the US.  Subsequently, we’ll purchase a one-year policy beginning on January 30th, when we fly to India.  This is an ideal plan for us.  Each year we’ll renew for appropriate periods excluding the US visits.

Across an inlet.

This gives me great peace of mind.  I was losing sleep over this, worrying we’d be traveling without insurance.  If you’re interested in pricing for this type of policy there is an app at their site which calculates many factors to determine your rate.  

We do not have to pay an “upcharge” for my preexisting conditions
The policy includes evacuation insurance.  The prices are lower than most and the benefits are many.

View of mountains and sea.  Such lush greenery which Ireland is known for, The Emerald Isle.

Soon, we’ll cancel our existing policy which does us little good at this point, especially as we continue to deal with their non-payment of my claims.  More on that later, when we know what’s going to transpire.

It’s another windy, rainy and overcast day.  Since the grounds around us are covered in vegetation and weeds, the pollen in the air is intense.  Both Tom and I are sneezing a lot.  

With only 15 days until we leave Connemara to head back to Dublin, we’ll be ready to be on the move.  We’ll spend one night in Dublin and two nights in Amsterdam and then…the Baltic cruise will begin.  

More cattle along the driveway from our house to the road could be mom, dad and, calves.

Both of us are excited about this upcoming change, looking forward to the cruise and the two months we’ll spend in four locations in England, living in the countryside, fulfilling one more of our travel dreams.

Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2018:

A wildlife wonderland as seen from Marloth Park.  For more similar photos, please click here.

Dealing with a lack of motivation…

A sailing regatta near Roundstone at dusk.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 

“One of the most well-known facts about Ireland is that Dublin is home to
the world-famous Guinness Brewery. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year
lease for the land.”

From time to time we all feel unmotivated to tackle tasks that must be completed, whether or not we have a timeline.  Lately, these past five months, I’ve been seriously lacking in motivation to do paperwork that is piling up.

Throughout our years of world travel, I’ve never failed to scan receipts and log expenses into our spreadsheet.  When we left South Africa almost three months ago, I had logged everything from our time there but I’d failed to mention the total numbers in a post.

At this point in time, I doubt I’ll ever get to that.  For those of you anxious to see what we spent during our 15 months in South Africa, I can say it averaged about Euro 4457, US $5000 a month, including rent, rental car, fuel, groceries, dining out, tours and safaris, travel and miscellaneous.  

There was no less than a dozen sailboats we could see.

These figures exclude massive medical expenses and lost deposits and payments for future travel we had to cancel.  However, the totals include the two trips we made to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana to safari and tour, in order to renew our visas and, have more fantastic experiences.  

When 2018 tax filing was due on April 15th, I’d only been out of the hospital for a short time and literally could not even conceive of gathering the information for the tax prep necessary to send to our accountant in Nevada.  He filed an extension for us, good until October 15th, 2019.

I’d promised myself I’d tackle this big task before we left Ireland but I think I will hold off until we get to the UK in August.  Hopefully, by then I’ll feel up to tackling this daunting task.  Most likely I can complete this task in two days.

Most of the sails were dark red.

This week I’ve promised myself to scan the receipts we’ve accumulated for Ireland and enter them into the spreadsheets.  Our scanner died but the camera takes decent photos of receipts.  

What makes this task more time consuming is converting from Euros to US dollars.  Of course, we have an app for that on my laptop but it still takes time to do each one. I do all of the currency conversion first, writing the US dollars on the receipt, separate the receipts by category and then enter them.  I will do this task in the next few days.

Why am I so lacking in motivation?  For those readers following our posts on a consistent basis, the answer is clear.  For new readers, the reasons are easily found here beginning on our posts from the later part of February.  This post explains it all along with all the posts that follow to present day.

What do I do all day?  I spend the better part of each day walking in the house.  It requires an enormous effort to walk 5,000 to 10,000 inside on the main floor.
Recently, I added climbing the steps as many times a day as possible, not necessarily consecutively.  It’s getting a little easier each day.

The wind speed seemed suitable for the race.

Spending all morning researching and preparing the daily post, dealing with photos, cooking dinner and taking care of laundry every other day takes up the better portion of the day.  Incorporating the walking and step climbing into the daily routine also monopolizes a good portion of each day.

By the end of the day, I’m done.  After dinner, all I can do is sit in my comfy chair and watch a few shows on my laptop, sent to the flat screen TV via our HDMI cable.  It’s my favorite time of the day when I allow myself to totally relax and unwind.  

Every so often we sign up for various streaming services for a period of time.  Right now we have CBS All Access through Amazon Prime for Euro 2.63, US $2.95 a month, other free shows available through Amazon Prime and Graboid, a for-pay streaming/downloading service we’ve used for years.

Some nights it takes everything I have to stay awake.  But, Tom is good at saying, “Are you awake?” He’s well aware that sleeping in front of the TV can seriously impede a good night’s sleep.  With daylight lasting so long in Ireland, we often don’t head upstairs until after 2300 hours, 11:00 pm.

A nicely horned sheep with a dark face with a white body.

And you may ask, what does Tom do?  He cooks breakfast each day, helps with dinner, does all the dishes and kitchen clean up, all the heavy lifting, vacuuming floors, booking travel-related venues, and checking daily to see if any our booked cruises have had a price reduction.  

A few days ago, he saved us Euro 401, US $450 the day before the final payment was due on the upcoming cruise from the UK to the US at the end of October.  Once final payment is paid on a specific cruise, the cruise lines won’t honor the benefit of a price reduction. Tom is able to get these reductions on many of our booked cruises by watching daily pricing and informing Vacations to Go to lower our price for the same cabin cate.

In addition, he literally waits on me without an attitude or complaint.  If he sees my glass of water or ice tea is low, he’ll refill it for me.  If I didn’t do all the exercise and other tasks, it would be wise for me to turn down his help to force myself to perform more tasks.  At this point, I’m doing all I can.  His help is greatly appreciated and I’ve had to learn to graciously accept it.

Most people have ultra-busy days and nights in this world we live in.  Whoever thought retirement would be relaxing was kidding themselves.  As we’ve heard endless retirees say, they are busier now than when they worked.  How did this happen?

Hope you find time to relax, get in a little exercise, enjoy a great meal, good companionship and appreciate every day of life.  Join me in this, dear readers.


Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2018:

Male bushbuck can be dangerous with their sharp horns.  See this article where a farmer was gored to death by a male bushbuck. We loved for them to visit but we kept a sensible distance. For more photos, please click here.