Plastic bags and other garbage…

Cows in the side yard as we drove down the driveway to the main road.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Some Irish surnames begin with “O.” This translates to “grandson of” in Gaelic.”

This morning, we knew we had to drive the long distance to Clifden to shop for groceries. Usually a 45-minute drive, Tom can easily make it in 35 minutes on the narrow winding roads.  

He’s become quite adept at shifting the manual transmission with his left hand and driving on the opposite side of the road from which he was familiar in the US for most of his life. When he intends to use the turn signal, he hits the wipers.  (This is opposite from the US in most cases). Each time he’s done this, we laugh out loud.

Cattle are so busy grazing. They hesitate to look up a photo op.

I wasn’t feeling up to going out. It was drizzling. The skies were grey and, ominous-looking clouds hovered over the sea. Somehow I mustered up the energy, bathed and dressed for the occasion. By 9:38, we were on the road.

Shopping in Clifden is an experience in itself. The streets are busy with shoppers with many cars searching for suitable parking spots. The grocery store, the ever-popular worldwide, SuperValu has an accessible underground parking ramp.  

A Connemara Pony in the pasture down the road.

As is often the case, Tom dropped me off at the ground-level entrance to the big market. Although Clifden is a very tiny town with a population under 1600, farmers and country residents come from all over to shop at the well-stocked store.  

Unlike in some other parts of the world, the grocery stores sell wine, beer, and spirits, and thus, there are few actual liquor stores, although they exist in the larger cities.

Since we arrived almost two months ago, this brown colt seems to be growing up quickly.

Before heading to SuperValu, we stopped to check out the specials at the Aldi supermarket at the edge of town. I’d first visited an Aldi in the US, finding prices good but with many fewer options from which to choose than the many popular grocery stores in Minnesota. We found the same scenario to be the case here in Ireland.

We made a few purchases on competitively priced items, mainly vegetables, and meats and were on our way. We still use our insulated bags when we shop, including the yellow Costco bag we’d purchased in Maui in 2014. It’s held up well along with a few others that have traveled with us all these years.

Recently, we read the following from this site: “Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags in 2002. China, Israel, South Africa, the Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritania, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Albania, and Georgia have since implemented similar bans.  New Zealand is the latest country to ban toxic bags.  

At low tide, many inner waterways appear boggy and muddy.

When we’ve seen plastic waste in the oceans (and on land) as we’ve traveled the world, we wonder why it took so long for countries to begin looking at this serious issue. Surely, many of us have watched heartbreaking videos of wildlife encased in fishing lines and various plastic refuse, struggling to survive. 

As nature lovers, this is particularly disturbing for us. Although our contributions are tiny compared to the big picture, we’ve been traveling for 348 weeks, shopping at least once per week but often twice to pick up extra items in between.  

We would have used 15 plastic bags per week, including all shopping trips. We would have used 5220 bags. With over 7 billion people on earth, if only 2 billion shopped and used 15 loads a week during this same period, 10,440,000,000,000 (yep, that’s over 10 trillion) bags would have been used. It’s no wonder the earth is choking from plastic.

This morning’s view across the bay to the Twelve Bens mountains.

Thus, we’ve carried our several reusable and mainly washable bags with us for all these years. As they’ve worn out, we purchased more, preferably cloth, recyclable bags. 

We’re not heroes for doing this. It’s merely a sense of responsibility most of us possess. For us, it’s similar to not throwing trash out the windows of our cars, and yet, people still do this today.

Ah, I could get on my soapbox on this topic and others. But, our intent here is not to preach, not to shame but merely share the nuances of our everyday lives, some of which may include our sense of responsibility.

Be well. Be happy.
                                           Photo from one year ago today, July 5, 2018:
At a 4th of July party at Kathy and Don’s third-floor veranda overlooking the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.

Loss of a valued digital item…Heading out to sightseeing venue and shopping…Road trip photos…

We crossed the Bridgewater Lift Bridge on the drive from Penguin to the Huon Valley.

Its Monday morning in this part of the world. Tom is watching a US NFL playoff football game. At 10:00 am the cleaner arrives, a service which wasn’t included in the rent but we opted to pay on our own. Who wants to clear the floor and glass doors? Not us!

It’s hard to believe this was a week ago, we left Penguin to start the five-hour drive to the Huon Valley.

Prices for such a service is considerably less than in the US from what I recall which is probably much higher these days. The cleaner will stay two hours for the price of AU 50, US$37.82. 

Far from the ocean and near the center of the state, the terrain has changed drastically from lush green to a dry desert appearance.

We clean and dry the sheets in order to avoid folding.  Marguerite can put them back on the bed. Oh, yes, there’s a dryer here. That’s a first for us in the past 18 months. The washer is located in our unit. The dryer is in the garage. Easy.

At several points we drove through mountainous roads.

We’ll head out after she arrives as soon as the first of the two football games end at around 10:00 am. Once we return several hours later, Tom will watch the second game on his app, NFL Game Pass, since it will long be over on TV. It surprised us that the US games are on TV in Tasmania. Then again, Aussies love their “footy” and perhaps evens ours.

At no point did we encounter any traffic except for a construction zone and when we arrived in Hobart with 45 minutes left on the road.

After spending a hefty sum spent on groceries last week, AU 514.52, US $389.13, we have little to purchase this week. The grocery list only contains about 15 items. 

I had to take all of our photos while the car was moving due to a lack of shoulder which is always challenging.

Speaking of grocery lists, which I always keep an app on my phone, much to my disappointment my phone died a few days ago. For the first time in years, I’ve had to handwrite the grocery list. My handwriting is awful making it a laborious process to write the list and later decipher it while in the grocery store.

As we neared Hobart, once again we could see the ocean.

Tom’s phone also died several months ago, which we replaced receiving a new unlocked Windows Blu, dual SIM, we’d ordered from Amazon several months ago to arrive in a box of supplies we’d had shipped to us in Bali.

When my phone died after I’d tried every possible fix, I too placed an order from Amazon. The phone will arrive to our mailing service within a day and will be added to a variety of other items we’ve been accumulating to be shipped to us here in Tasmania. 

We made it to the Hobart city limits.

Without my phone its been a bit frustrating since I, like many others these days, spend idle time looking at my phone, reading news and books, playing games and checking Facebook and email.  Although we don’t have a phone contract we’re able to use the Wi-Fi in the house or our hotspot to be online. 

Speaking of WiFi in the house… It’s much better. Anne spent quite a bit of time working with Telstra and the new booster she’d purchased to enhance our signal. It’s not perfect, but its greatly improved, enabling us to do everything we need to do without using the pricey data for the SIM card. 

There must have been a “trike show” occurring in Hobart. Australians are quite the vehicle fans.

If we download a video or file, we have to place the laptop in the bedroom where the signal is stronger. Downloads are slow but overall its working and we’re now content.

I’m rushing today to be done with this post by 10:00 am or thereabouts (once the game ends) when we’ll head out the door to a local popular tourist attraction that’s on our way to Huonville.  Watch for photos tomorrow!

Ocean view as we made our way to Highway A6 which leads to Huon Valley.

Once in Huonville we’ll check out the meat market, drop off the dead phone at a recycle facility, visit the health food store and head to Woolies for the few grocery items.

The sun is peeking out, the clouds are wafting away and today looks like it will be another gorgeous day. We’ll make a point of cherishing every moment and sharing it all here with YOU!

Have a fabulous day of your own!

Photo from one year ago today, January 23, 2016:

One year ago, shortly after birth, this baby alpaca was nursing. This is so sweet!  For more detail, please click here.