The last time I was in Dublin was 38 years ago

I am not what you’d call a social animal so I asked to go to Holy Island for my birthday meal and we stayed overnight at our friend’s. Turned out she had a couple of other visitors; a young man called Ray who is studying to be a minister and had to withstand, I suspect some rather philosophical conversation over breakfast, when I am sure he thought would be merely get chit-chat. Dorothy said most guests just talk about how lovely the wildlife is and remark on the sound of the seals – not us though. Poor Ray had to work quite hard.  Later Sister Gloria and her (real family sister whom we’d met before) also dropped in for tea and again Ray joined us and it was quite an interesting little party. We had our meal that night at The Ship and afterwards we were talking to a very nice couple from Massechussets (he was a biochemistry prof) and a Swiss lady, also eating there. We discussed Brexit etc etc. That was a surprising number of conversations for a quiet overnight stay on the island.

Up on the Heugh we chatted to volunteers doing the archaeological dig on a chapel that has just been uncovered. I couldn’t do that work. It would knacker my knees.

Now, down near the Abbey, skeletons have been unearthed. I am never sure about lifting the bones of people who expected to be bodily resurrected in another way. It seems a bit disrespectful of their beliefs, if you know what I mean. Anyway they are off to Durham for analysis and I shall be no less interested in the results for all my reservations. It would be a pity to go to Durham aflter all that time and not be able to see the Cathedral. You can see a daily diary of that dig on DigVenture.

We’d planned the Dublin trip since before November last year. I hadn’t been to Dublin for 38 years (see pic above). Yes that was me!

We were to meet our Minnesota friends Kath and Jim Mickelson there and I was looking forward to seeing them again. Then Marie from The Linnet’s Wings was coming too and I had only spoken with her a couple of times on Skype. Then Peggy and Kent were going to be there, then Susan and Ned. I felt a bit overwhelmed — as usual…

In the end we had a lovely time (very late night for me) conversation with students of Jim’s called Rob and Mandy and I got on famously with Marie, and she brought me a gift from Mullingar, bless her heart, and it was lovely to meet Kent at long last and everything went well. The company was staggered because everyone had trips and things to do. Noel got on well with the men — he always does. I coped.

Ballsbridge is the Knightsbridge of Dublin. We stayed at the eponimous hotel. I recommend The Jewel in the Crown and Roly’s Bistro – good Bangladeshi (best Tarka Dahl I’ve had in ages) and good French/Irish cuisine. As ever in a French style restaurant you have to be prepared to wait – the French mindset is that good food takes time, rack of lamb to die for and intense flavours in the jus, and a cheeseboard that good, is worth the time and every euro! There’s another French eaterie called Le Petit Parisien near The Jewel that is also an off-licence and will uncork and temporarily recork a bottle for you to take out and that can save a LOT of bar bill!!! 🙂 plus you get a better wine! We didn’t eat there but if I go back, I will.

It was completely BRILLIANT to spend so much time with Kath and Jim again. It’s incredible to me to have close friends who live in Minneapolis St Paul. I suppose what amazes me most is not Kath’s friendship, because she and I have worked together online, but how well Jim has me taped! He says I am ‘an idealist’ I don’t allow that ‘people will be people’ and so I am bound to always be disappointed. This is true. I am a hopeless, old Trekkie! And I always cry at goodbye, Jim. So there you go…

Peopleful = stressful for me. That’s just who I am.

 It’s worth letting down your guard for true friends though x

and Dublin — it was nice to see you again too.