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.

Will I be ready in 18 days?…Clothes and shoes…

Clouds reflecting on a body of water.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland” 

“In 2017, Leo Varadkar became
Ireland’s prime minister. Born in 1979, he is Ireland’s youngest prime
minister, the country’s first openly gay leader and the first of Indian

The last few mornings I’ve gone back to sleep after Tom gets up, usually at 6:00 am.  On both days, I didn’t awaken until after 9:00 am which is unusual.  The only justification I can provide in this regard is entirely about an escalation in the healing process.

Fishing for income isn’t uncommon in Ireland even by these smaller boats.

Since the plasters (bandages) came off my legs a few weeks ago, the wound on my left leg has quickly begun to fully heal.  It still looks scary to someone who may not know about my situation.

To draw less attention to myself on the upcoming cruise I’ll only be wearing long pants.  Once the wound is less obvious and just a scar, I’ll be willing to wear Capri length pants.  The former hematoma on my right thigh continues to be painful but also appears to be improving but, it will leave a nasty scar from the top of my thigh to my ankle.

Partial view of Twelve Bens (mountains).

I’m doing well, although it’s painful to climb the stairs to the second level of the house several times a day to build stamina.  The walking up the steep hills continues when it’s not pouring rain and, I make a concerted effort to log as many steps as possible on my fitness watch, never missing a day.

Walking around the house over and over is boring.  Often, Tom listens to his favorite radio stations and podcasts, which help distract me while walking.  With his poor hearing after years of working on the railroad, he makes it loud enough that I can hear it as I wander through the main floor. 

We see mountains wherever we travel.

Storage on my South Africa-purchased smartphone is eaten up and I can’t download any podcast apps to listen to shows, although I’ve uninstalled all the apps I don’t often use. 

We’ll be getting new phones when we go to the US in a little over three months.  I can’t wait to have enough storage to download any apps I’d like.  But, as we’ve said over and over again, adaptation is the key to managing with less available options of products and services.

From our window, fiery looking sunset overlooking Bertraghboy Bay.

There are numerous products I use which I’d always purchased from CVS pharmacies and other stores in the US.  Most of those products do not even exist in this or many other countries.  

As a result, I’m using unfamiliar brands that don’t quite fulfill my expectations.  I’m looking forward to shopping in the US to stock up enough items to last until we return again.  This time, as we had while in the US in 2017, we’ll purchase supplies and new clothing.  Those we purchased at that time are showing signs of wear and tear after so many washings.  

And the shoe situation?  For me, at present it’s awful.  I have boots for the bush, running shoes for working out, water shoes, and two pairs of worn-out sandals.  At this point, I don’t have a single pair of appropriate shoes to wear to dinner on the upcoming cruise.

Kylemore Lough (Irish: Loch na Coille Móire)is a freshwater lake in the west of Ireland. It is located in the Connemara area of County Galway.

I checked out the shoe departments in a few stores in Clifden (there’s no specific shoe store).  I’m hoping, once we’re in Amsterdam for two days, I may be able to find a few options.  Tom seems to have enough shoes to last a few years.  Deciding on how long items will last is entirely unpredictable.  Of course, quality is a factor but we have tee shirts from Old Navy priced at Euro 8.90, US $10, that have held up as well as more expensive items.  Go figure.

Today is another dark, windy and rainy day.  We’re making low carb Italian meatballs with homemade low carb pasta sauce topped with grated mozzarella cheese.  Each meatball is stuffed with a chunk of fresh mozzarella cheese with one extra chunk on the top. I only eat a small amount of this dish adding many veggies on the side.

Hope you have an opportunity to enjoy a delicious Sunday dinner.


Photo from one year ago today, July 21, 2018:

It’s always thrilling to see elephants along the road.  For more Kruger photos, please click here.

Cow day!…The simple pleasures of barnyard animals…

Note the different sizes of her horns.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland” 

“While Guinness
will always be Ireland’s most famous drink, more of the black stuff is consumed
each year in Nigeria than it is back home in Ireland. In fact, the Brits are
the largest consumers of Guinness, followed by Nigerians, leaving Ireland in
third place!”

From this site with Ireland’s livestock stats.

Livestock Survey 
December 2018 

Add 000’s to the following totals (for millions):

   Cattle  Pigs Sheep
2017 6,673.6 1,616.4 3,981.8
2018 6,593.5 1,572.2 3,743.5
% change -1.2 -2.7 -6.0

Many females of certain breeds have horns.

Without a doubt, our readers are well aware we have an infinity toward wildlife and domesticated animals.  In our “old” lives we had plenty of daily interactions not only with our own dogs but also the neighborhood dogs.  On a private road, there was no enforcement of leash laws and our dogs roamed freely visiting neighbors along the road.

Living on a lake in Minnesota also provided us with frequent wildlife sightings including heron, geese, eagles, wood ducks, loons and many other varieties of birds.  It was truly a bird watcher’s paradise.  

This short rock wall borders the holiday home’s garden.  We saw something move to realized several cattle were very close to us.

In addition, we could count on seeing coyotes and foxes, mostly in the winter when they could walk across the frozen lake looking for “little dog lunch.” Also, in the spring, on occasion, we’d see a moose swimming across the lake.  

The photo ops were outstanding.  At the time, neither of us could take a decent photo, although we had a digital camera.  At the time, neither of us would know that we’d have loved to look back at photos of wildlife, let alone the photos of those we love.  

I was a little too far for using flash when it was almost dark as I took this photo from the living room window.

When a family event was underway someone always yelled out, “take a photo” and we’d all turn and look at one another trying to see if anyone “bit” on the concept.  Seldom was the case.  If only we had photos of those events.  Sure we have a few hundred photos stored on a cloud, but nothing like we have now, thousands of photos each year from our everyday lives of world travel.

We didn’t start taking photos of our travels until we were a few months into it, realizing using our smartphones wouldn’t be satisfactory for our posts.  Over the past almost seven years, we learned a little but never enough. 

This cow was busy grazing in the side yard but picked up her head when we drove toward the main road from the driveway.

From time to time when the lighting isn’t ideal, we struggle to get good shots.  It could be us, it could be our cameras…most likely it’s us.  Thus, we apologize for the lack of clarity in some of today’s photos taken when it was almost dark.  The photo opp happened so quickly we had no time to change the settings on the camera.

Now, in the lush green of Ireland’s summer, we’re thrilled to be able to see barnyard animals and livestock.  After all, 15 months in Marloth Park is hard to beat when at any given moment we had amazing animals standing at the edge of the veranda.

Mom and baby.

A few nights ago we were reminded of Marloth Park when we saw movement outside our living room window.  We jumped up simultaneously, each grabbing a camera, hoping for some good shots.

Alas, as late as it was, close to 2200 hours, 10:00 pm, we were pushing our luck.  As the days are getting shorter since the summer solstice on June 21st, it’s still light here, at least to some degree, between the hours of 5:00 am and 2230 hours, 10:30 pm.  

This morning I awoke at 4:30 am, still needing more sleep, realizing our sleeping problems most likely are a result of too much light in the bedroom with the thin draperies.  Luckily by 6:00 am, I fell back to sleep for a few more hours.

This photo was taken in the evening before the sun fully set.

Thus, when the cows were near the house, although it was still light, our photo taking was marginal at best.  The remainder of the photos were taken during daylight hours albeit with a heavy cloud cover.  Today, it started out sunny but now the dark clouds are rolling in from the sea.  This is common for Ireland.  

Regardless of the weather, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the cattle, sheep, donkeys, horses and occasional pigs we’ve seen while driving on the narrow winding roads.  It seems the cattle and the sheep are most prevalent which, as you can see above, the numbers are obvious.

Soon, when we depart for Amsterdam, it’s unlikely we’ll have many opportunities to take wildlife photos.  We’ll be staying in the city for two nights, taking photos of a different kind of wildlife!  It should be fun.

May your weekend be filled with many wonderful surprises!


Photo from one year ago today, July 20, 2018:

Hippos resting on a sandbar on the Sabie River.  Note the number of oxpeckers on the hippos hides!  For more Kruger photos please click here.

Loving the countryside…Ruins…The Belted Galloway…

From this site:  “In 1842, a German writer and geographer called Johann Georg Kohl traveled around Ireland, publishing an account of his journey the following year. “Of all the countries in the world,” he observed, “Ireland is the country for ruins. Here you have ruins of every period of history, from the time of the Phoenicians down to the present day… each century has marked its progress by the ruins it has left. Nay, every decade, one might almost say, has set its sign up on Ireland, for in all directions, you see several dilapidated buildings, ruins of yesterday’s erection.”

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland” 
“Ireland has made many trading partners over the last few decades. Today, the United States accounts for 20% of Ireland’s exports, while the United Kingdom accounts for 38% of the country’s imports.”

We’ve been out each day since we arrived in awe of the wonders surrounding us.  From the ruins of various buildings to cattle, sheep, donkeys, and horses along the road in our “neighborhood” (so to speak), any drive on which we embark provides a plethora of photo-worthy scenes.

This area of Connemara is not necessarily a hot summer vacation/holiday spot compared to many other European locations. We’ve seen several B & Bs and a few hotels, resorts, and holiday designated areas. Based on its online booking calendar, this holiday home is almost totally booked for the remainder of the year.  

A Belted Galloway cow. From this site:  “Belted Galloway cattle originated from western Scotland, a region whose weather is strikingly similar to Ireland’s damp climate! This makes Belted Galloways perfectly suitable for the wet, cold winters and the soft boggy terrain of Irish farms. Their long, curly outer coat is ideal for rainy weather, as its coarseness deflects moisture from the animal’s skin. They also have a soft undercoat to keep them warm in colder temperatures. The head of the Belted Galloway has long hair around its ears, preventing frostbite in a case of an extreme Irish freeze. Common nicknames for these cattle are ‘Belties’ or even ‘Oreo Cows’ due to their peculiar resemblance to the popular treat!”

Whether tourists have come here to do something comparable to our plans, sightseeing or visiting relatives, they come to this area and love it.

The rough and uneven terrain and the boggy landscape aren’t ideal for walks on the beach or gaining access to the ocean for swimming or snorkeling.  However, several beaches are within a two-hour drive for swimming and enjoying the ocean-related activities, although the cool weather may easily be a deterrent.  

We spotted several Belted Galloway cattle in the country.  The last time we’d seen this breed of cattle was while living in New Zealand in March 2016.  See our link here.

Perhaps when it’s officially summer here in June, it will warm up a bit.  The average summer temperature is between 17.7 C, 64F and 20C, 68F, still very cool. This morning upon awakening, it was only 9.4C, 49F, and now at 10:00 am, it’s a paltry 12.7C, 55F, not necessarily good weather for swimming, snorkeling, or boating.

For us, this isn’t an issue. I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the cool weather after the heat during our 15 months in Africa. We’re more interested in the historical aspects, researching Tom’s ancestry, and, as typical for us, immersing ourselves in local culture while we make every effort to blend in.

As we drove through the countryside in Connemara, we were amazed by the number of ruins.

The kindly people we’ve met thus far seem delighted with the fact that Tom is almost 100% Irish based on a DNA test he did a few years ago through, where he’ll spend hours each week in research and building his family tree.

In US records, he hit a wall. His ancestors immigrated to the US from Ireland from the 1830s, and he’s updated his family tree to the best of his ability and the availability of records available to him.  

To go further back to continue building the family tree, it’s necessary to research records from right here in Ireland that may not have been uploaded to the Internet and stay as paper files in churches, governmental buildings, and public record-keeping facilities.

From this site In Ireland, large-scale domestic and industrial peat usage is widespread. In the Republic of Ireland, a state-owned company called Bord na Móna is responsible for managing peat extraction. It processes the extracted peat into milled peat used in power stations and sells processed peat fuel in peat briquettes used for domestic heating. These are oblong bars of densely compressed, dried, and shredded peat. Peat moss is a manufactured product for use in garden cultivation. Turf (dried out peat sods) is also commonly used in rural areas.”

Fortunately, through years of research, he’s been able to determine many of the towns and counties where his ancestors lived and worked. It is some of these locations we’ll visit in our time here. 

He’s beginning to research the possible locations where such records may be found. We hope to travel to one new place each week, giving us a further opportunity to explore this scenic country while stopping along the way to go through various records at specific facilities.

Depending on the weather and how I’m feeling, we plan to go on our first exploration next week, having left this week to get settled, grocery shopping, and get into a somewhat familiar and comfortable routine.

A handsome horse at a pasture with other horses a few doors from our house.

A part of the joy of living in various countries throughout the world is when the time comes that we feel we fit in, especially when we have the opportunity to socialize with locals. As always, it’s entirely up to us to create a social life of some semblance.

There are numerous popular pubs we’ll visit in the town of Clifden, where we grocery shopped at the fabulous SuperValu market, purchased SIM cards, and walked up and down the busy streets. There were numerous pubs and restaurants we’d visit during our time here.

We’re looking forward to sharing more and more with our loyal readers, again, whom we thank again for staying with us during the trying past three months. May your lives be filled with exceptional experiences. 

Photo from one year ago today, May 17, 2019

It was surprising how many boats were on the Zambezi River at sunset.  For more photos of the river cruise, please click here.

Settling in…Photos of this lush green island…A new feature to our site…

Finally, we got a good shot of this pair of cows, most likely a mom and baby, after waiting patiently.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”

“Ireland is a beautiful green country located in northwest Europe. It is
an island that is separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea. The island is
considered the 20th largest island in the world and encompasses 84,421
kilometers squared of land. It is home to 6.4 million people, and the capital
city of Dublin has a population of 1.273 million people. The island has hilly
geography with numerous plains and rivers cutting through the land. Its
currency is the Euro. The country’s official language is both English and
Irish. Most people speak a dialect of English. However, many families who have
lived in Ireland for generations understand and speak Irish. Ireland does not
have an official religion, but the primary religion followed in the
country is Christianity. Its flag is a horizontal flag with green, white, and
orange vertical stripes.”
The pleasant drive from the house to Clifden, although long, presents some stunning views.

There will be plenty of photos of Ireland as we get out more and more each week.  Since we’ll no longer be posting “Sighting of the Day in the Bush,” we’ve changed the feature to be befitting for our time in Ireland to “Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland.”  We look forward to learning about this country as we share these facts with all of you.

Maumturk  Mountains in the background are often referred to as the “Twelve Bens.”  From this site:  
The Twelve Bens or Twelve Pins (Irish: Na Beanna Beola; the peaks of Beola)] is a mountain range of sharp-peaked quartzite summits and ridges located in the Connemara National Park[d] in County Galway, in the west of Ireland. Topographically, the content is partnered with the Maumturks range on the other side of the Glen Inagh valley (a Western Way route). The highest point is Benbaun at 729 meters (2,392 ft). The range is popular with hill walkersrock climbers,[2] and fell runners. The 15–kilometer “Glencoaghan Horseshoe” (Irish: Gleann Chóchan) is noted as providing some of the “most exhilarating mountaineering in Ireland” and “a true classic.” A more serious undertaking is the 28–kilometer “Twelve Bens Challenge,” climbing all bens in a single day. The Twelve Bens was known as “Slime Head” or “Slin Head” throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and possibly before — a corruption of the original Irish name (Irish: Ceann Léime).  It was one of the four “principal heads” or mountain peaks that mariners used as navigational landmarks on the Atlantic coast of Ireland.”

As I continue to recover, with the left leg still an issue, I find I am beginning to be able to move around much more. After all, I only began walking on my own and was able to sit up for a little over a week.  

From African wildlife to barnyard animals, we’ve found a degree of contentment, especially when they are as cute as these two cows, huddled together to stay warm on a chilly morning.

It takes time to regain muscle strength, stability, and mobility, but the daily progress is visible right now. Today, for the first time in three months, I am making dinner, chopping vegetables, standing on my feet, and made the bed this morning. I am very hopeful.

Cows are inquisitive. They often stopped grazing to check out who’s driving by.

As for Ireland, it’s not surprisingly beautiful when we both had been here in years passed. It’s Tom’s fourth time in the country (twice before I was on the scene) and once for both of us as a port of call while on a cruise in September 2014 when we visited the port city of Cobh, the last port of call for the Titanic.

The people of Ireland? Outrageously friendly. Yesterday, the “fish guy” John O’Flannery stopped by with his refrigerated truck to see if we were interested in buying some fresh fish. I couldn’t have been more excited to see a fish guy, but we didn’t have any cash to pay him.  

We’ve seen these three burros.  “The only real difference between a donkey and a burro is their domestication status. A donkey is domesticated, and a burro is wild. Other than that, there is no difference — burro is just the Spanish word for donkey. There is no physical or genetic difference between a burro or a donkey otherwise.”

The package from the US only arrived yesterday, containing our two new ATM cards.  When John stopped by around 1600 hours (4:00 pm), we’d yet to take the 45-minute drive to the next biggest town, Clifden, where we could finally go to an ATM for cash.

After purchasing the SIM cards at the post office, we walked along the boulevard in Clifden, enjoying the wide array of shops, pubs, and restaurants.

But, John, friendly and trusting, encouraged us to take our fish choice and pay him next week when he stops by. We purchased a container of fresh crabmeat and a kilo of haddock, fresh from the sea, for a total of Euro 14.00, US $15.66, a sufficient amount for three meals.  

Tom doesn’t eat fish unless it is battered and fried, so I’m on my own with everything we’ll purchase from John in the three months we’ll be here. Before too long, the “vegetable lady” will stop by with fresh organic produce from her nearby farm.  We love country living with these types of perks.

The strips of shops made it easy to get around the downtown area.

As mentioned above and in yesterday’s post, our package from the US finally arrived. The local DHL tried to deliver the previous day but had called our property owner Eileen to tell her we’d yet to pay the Euro 259, US $290 customs fee assessed on the package.  

Plants for sale at a local garden store. The owner came out to greet us.  The Irish are very friendly.

I spoke to the DHL driver and gave him the verification number, proving we’d paid when we received an email requesting payment several days ago. At this point, he was too far away to deliver the box and didn’t bring it out until yesterday after he received notice from the company that we had paid the customs fees.  

Contained in the box were our two new debit cards, which had expired at the end of March. We had virtually not a single Euro in our possession. We desperately needed some cash.  

The Clifden town square.

Plus, we’d tried to purchase SIM cards in Clifden on Monday for airtime, text, and data from the post office only to discover it couldn’t be accomplished without a debit card and cash, of which we had neither on Monday. All we had in our possession was our various credit cards, none of which could be used for this purpose. We returned to Clifden today with cash and debit cards, and now our phones have working calling, data, and text.

St. Joseph Catholic Church is located in downtown Clifden.

Whew!  We’ve certainly had our fair share of complications lately, but somehow, one by one, we’ve knocked them off. In the next few days, we’ll get to work on the waiver for the request to return to South Africa after we were banned as “undesirables” for the next five years when we overstayed our visas by 90 days as a result of the four surgeries in Nelspruit.

The island we encountered during the drive to Clifden.

For now, we’re settled in. For days (if not months), we’ve been reeling with handling many essential and, at times, frightening issues. We’ve always known we ran the risk of dealing with such matters, and as each of the situations, one by one, is resolved, we realize we can handle the most difficult of challenges.

Sheep are marked with paint as described here:  “Farmers “paint” their sheep for identification. Frequently, you’ll notice large pastures blanketed in green grass and dotted with sheep.  Typically, these pastures are enclosed by stone walls or wire fences and are shared by multiple farmers.  When it comes time to claim ownership of the animals roaming around hundreds of acres, a customized painted sheep is easy to identify. Also, during the mating season, the male ram will be fitted with a bag of dye around its neck and chest.  When mating, the ram mounts the ewe, and a bit of dye is deposited on the ewe’s upper back. This way, the farmer knows which ewes have been impregnated and moves them on to another field away from the ram.”

A most peculiar aspect to living in Ireland is the fact it doesn’t get fully dark until around 2300 hours, 11:00 pm, and it’s fully light around 5:00 am. So far, we’re succeeding at sleeping through the night and possibly getting six hours of sleep each night, more than either of us have had over the past months.

Awakening to the divinely cool mornings and spectacular views of the sea is therapeutic and enriching. We look forward to many more mornings, days, and nights in this majestic environment as we “lick our wounds” and strive for a full recovery in this peaceful place.

A ram with curved horns painted in red.

Have a fantastic evening, and thanks again to all of our worldwide readers for staying at our side during these difficult times.

Photo from one year ago today, May 15, 2018:

None of the six of us or our guide Alfred could believe our eyes as we watched this male elephant build his mud pool in Chobe National Park.  We’ve seen a lot of elephants in Africa, but this was a rare sighting for us. For more photos of this elephant and others, please click here.