Rob, the Scottish Guy Living in Ireland

A long long time ago, I met a lovely bloke online ... in a chatroom called Travel and we became friends.

He was one of many really good friends I made there.  There was Mary Lou and Marco, Diede and Eltje, Maddalena and so many others.  We're all still friends today but it was Rob, the Scottish guy who used to live in Australia that I wanted to write about here.

He and his wife moved back to this side of the world a few years ago, to Ireland of course, that lovely Scottish couple.  And we were once again on the same side of the world.

We wandered over to stay with them there in Oughterard back in 2011, it my first time driving in years.  Oh how I loved that!

And days unfolded with visits to stations of the cross up in the hills, tree-creatures, and we met highway robbers there too.

It was lovely. 

Today I remembered it all when I found the red rowboat photograph from Oughterard.

The Belgian Bloke ...

I often travel alone ... I’m lucky, the man who found me in Istanbul accepts that a New Zealander living in Turkey might be a bit of a wanderer.

But sometimes he travels with me however I can’t always blog all about that while on the road.  It’s the kind of information burglars might rather enjoy.  There’s the whole google face recognition thing these days and so, when I travel with my Belgian, he’s often not mentioned and it’s sad because I do enjoy traveling with him.

This trip to Ireland was special in so many ways.  He had decided he wouldn’t be driving.  Instead, he had hired an Irish rental car and it was all about me getting back behind the wheel after 7 years as a passenger. 

It has to be said, I loved driving back in New Zealand.  Loved it with a passion!  Friends visiting New Zealand can attest to that, although I would rather they didn’t critique my style here.  Yes, that means you Diede, and perhaps Mary Lou too.

Anyway ... I was a little bit nervous about it all.  7 years is a long time. 

The rental car bloke in Ireland said, ‘so you’re okay with a 2011 Peugeot 308?’  I think I gave him a wee bit of a fright.  I didn’t hug him but I might have said, ‘I’ve only just arrived in Ireland and here I am, having a really excellent time!!!’  He almost smiled, which we felt was an event, as Gert and I weren’t sure he smiled a lot normally.  It was possibly the equivalent of a hearty laugh from a more easily amused bloke.

We trotted out and loaded up the car.  Gert had maps.  He’s great with maps.  I’m not.  I never know where I am in the world.  I accept that.

We did all kinds of M Roads on our journey from Dublin Airport across to Galway, over there on the other side of Ireland.  It was grand.  I had imagined I would sit around 90kms p/h in the slow lane in those places where the speed limit was 120kms but do you know, it all came back to me.  120kms was okay.  Gert liked my driving.  He’s a Flemish bloke.  He’s fairly blunt when it comes to truth-telling.

And we timed it nicely.  His directions were excellent.  I didn’t drive him crazy, not once.  A miracle.

Anyway, we arrived in one piece at the home of the lovely Rob and Angie and just kind of stepped into this magical time of wandering and boating and fishing and stuff, in Ireland.

I took this photograph of Gert fishing ... but that’s a whole other story, involving trees and fish and things.

Sunday in Oughterard, Ireland

We started well, it was a lazy start ... the best kind on a Sunday.

After breakfast Rob and Angie took us all into the forest to walk thrugh to the Lough with the dogs. Unfortunately I got between one of the dogs and her ball without realising, and experienced the whole impact-with-fast-moving-dog thing.  I thought I heard something crack in my lower leg but a short wait showed that nothing was broken.

I headed for home, threw some ice on it half-heartedly and then foolishly decided it wasn’t too bad and that I could walk it out.  Fish and chips for lunch, my first here in Ireland, then we were off to the fair with everyone via one of the tiny roads near Lough Corrib.  Photographs were taken.

Back at the house, downloading photographs, I fell asleep with some ice on that ankle of mine and frustratingly, I’ve woken in pain.  Rob strapped it.  He knows about stuff like this and I’m hoping it’s all gone in time for the ride across Ireland in the morning ...

Meanwhile it’s a beautiful day here.  The photograph below was taken on the shores of the Lough of Corrib.

Rob's Boat, Ireland

I’m sleeping in the most comfortable bed here and it’s making me sleep like I never sleep.  I’m loving it.

Yesterday, this is the boat we set out on ...
Why we turned back is a longer story than I have time to tell here today but Rob’s boat is a beautiful boat, and we were out in it on one of the best fishing lochs in Ireland.