A land of a myriad hazards for the curious mind/the reckless or the hot-blooded – read spontaneous :)depending on where you stand


 No exit at the pier – or do you really think you can drive on water?

Rhonda commented on our trip to Linnanes in my previous post, and reminded me that I almost drove into the ocean that night, so intent was I on finding the restaurant, so worried was I that I’d miss the seafood experience of a lifetime, if I didn’t put my foot on the pedal and zoom down country lanes in the pitch black night driving trusting

1) instinct 2) the fact that there are few cars on the road at 9pm in rural Ireland 3) that in the absence of streetlights you can see cars coming towards you “out of the dark” so to speak and 4) that the faster I  drive the faster I will get there.

I was driving, fast, although I hasten to add, for any traffic cops reading that I was well below the speed limit but the speed limit is 100km/h on Irish windy country lanes with no visibility and as I was repeatedly told ” just because that is the limit, it doesn’t mean you have to actually drive that fast..” And as I drove I was also told – the GPS says the ocean is coming, and I said, that’s where seafood restaurants are supposed to be, on the ocean…… Luckily I was persuaded to slow down, because it would not have ended well – the GPS showed large expanse of blue ocean coming up, and there was no warning sign at the end of the road we were on at the time…..

P1020353Waiting till the cows go home, or recommendations on what not to do when you want to look at ancient historical crosses in fields

Another day, another hazard.  The scene: A large, beautiful and beckoning Celtic cross in a field behind a church in the midst of  a field full of bovines + A curious mind and the confidence of someone who spends most of their time at a desk but has milked a cow once + a stile inviting that mind in to have  a look…. = climb stile to look at cross. And ended up in a madcap dash across field as a herd of young and curious bulls galloped down their field towards me.

P1020351I ended up running across the field and jumping behind the fence protecting the cross. Where I then stood, at 5pm on a cold overcast October afternoon, looking from behind the fence at the herd of bulls….. me looking at them, them looking at me. It was a comic situation in a slightly cold way.

The nearest exit to the field a 2 minute sprint, no Irish person in sight……Luckily the sensible part of our couple managed to flag down a nice Irish lady with a dog, explain the situation with some embarrassment no doubt, and the nice Irish lady then climbed into the field and shooed away the bulls, enabling me to clamber out to safety….Her comment “you must have looked friendly, they are used to the farmer climbing in to feed them nuts….”

Small additional digression: I am the only person I know who is always approached by religious groups looking to convert, in any city, anywhere in the world, I am also always asked for directions, whether I am in Russia or at an Israeli airport, and always in the national language. The religious guys answer my question “why me?” with ” you look friendly and approachable and as though you won’t be offensive” – apparently bulls also get that message……..

The spontaneous thing – move fast, question later, is a habit of mine I realized as I wrote, two stories from the past:

Slower is faster 1: Now an old boss of mine used to tell me – slower is faster – in research this is true and for sure it’s healthier ( I still cannot feel the tip of my thumb due to acrylamide..oh well)  and will keep you sane longer and your cell cultures will be less contaminated, and you will make less mistakes because you are frazzled… However, those of you who have worked in basic research (and have replaced the bench and the funky lab tools, with the kitchen and mundane, much less funky kitchen tools) may understand or even remember succumbing to the temptation of running multiple exquisitely finely-timed experiments in parallel, following the beck and call of a collection of timers blinking at you like unforgiving generals on the battle field and feeling oh so in control and effective.  And maybe the scenario of the harried researcher trying to get as much in to a day, and a night and a weekend, in the pursuit of that elusive scientific breakthrough will be familiar. Any of you who spend hours in the kitchen producing 15 different dishes in one sitting will definitely know what I am talking about.

Slower is better 2: Also recently clearing up papers in my parents house I came across an essay I wrote as a child, aged 11?, it was wildly imaginative, as I read I wondered if I had copied it from a child’s fantasy book, the story had giants and beanstalks, and strange old ladies in it, bad witches, and morals and ears being chopped off, and death threats, the type of thing you could never have written in a Swiss school back then, because essay topics were always sombre and sober like:  “what I did on my last holiday” whereas topics in the English schools I went to encouraged you to go wild being creative, which I love to this day. Anyhow the essay was marked: very good, and the teacher wrote a comment: if you could just steady on a little your work would be excellent………(she also wrote and be more tidy, not sure where that came from, back then my handwriting was at least legible….)



2 thoughts on “A land of a myriad hazards for the curious mind/the reckless or the hot-blooded – read spontaneous :)depending on where you stand

  1. What a great bunch of stories! All too often, travel becomes a sort of death march from one “site of interest” to another and it’s curiosity mixed with a bit of stupid that makes for great memories. I, myself, have had a few brushes with catastrophe while out and about, but fortune favors the bold and we’re the one’s who have tales to tell.

    • thanks a lot for reading. Wasn’t sure initially how intelligent it was to post a story of me running willy nilly but with total enthusiasm into a field of cows….and being chased. Love the death march and totally agree I remember traipsing through israel egypt and then greece from one historical site to the next, diligently reading each inscription and pages of guidebook info and despairing and my mind which is quick to snap up local language, customs, recipes and the flora and fauna, refused point blank to store any relevant archeological data. So at some point I had to admit with a heavy heart that it’s hard to get enthusiastic about yet another set of stone walls that may or may not have been a bath house (unless there were nice mosaics with dolphins and fountains, I always liked those) and that meeting the locals, if lucky getting invited to their homes, dancing at weddings or spending 2 weeks with a family I met while hitchhiking made for great experiences, real life encounters and gave me a sense of place and time, maybe only in the now, but very intensely so, and I loved that. Fortune favours the bold, again, agree probably mostly. Although, of course the bold who were not favoured aren’t around to tell the tale… so it’s a biased observation 🙂

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