The one about the parking fine and the summer holidays

Hello Readers,

Hope you are enjoying/have enjoyed or will be enjoying some downtime this summer. We are just back from the Bells on tour, spending some time in sunny Portugal, followed by a shorter breaker on Inishbofin( As it happens the weather was glorious there too ,which was really the icing on the cake). It was at the end of that trip I found a note on my windscreen with a parking fine… More about that later:)

We had been looking forward to our trip to Portugal, and as we are about to leave I reach for a raincoat. David says, why are you taking a raincoat? I said, well, just in case it rains.. It hasn’t rained in Albufeira in months, and the weather forecast did not allude it was going to rain anytime soon time either. So I left my raincoat at home. We left early morning from Shannon airport. It was raining. I got wet….

I am still struggling with the change of weather, you get on a plane and it’s lashing with rain. Fly for less than 3 hours, the doors open, and it’s blue skies all the way.. wonderful. We had booked a taxi online to bring us from Faro Airport to Albufeira, the driver turned up, and in less than an hour we were in Albufeira. It’s good to know that, in less than 4 hours, we can get to a sunny place, without having to travel to Dublin. We had a relaxing time, spent some time at the beach/pool, saw the sights, ate lots of ice cream , read books, drank blue wine, ate tasty Portuguese food and enjoyed each other’s company.

I was all excited to make use of the free roaming the EU recently announced. As it turned out, my SIM card wasn’t compatible, and for it to function , I needed to get a new SIM Card. So apart from Wifi in the apartment, I didn’t use my Phone. I didn’t miss it. It didn’t rain, in fact they are having a drought there, and farmers are struggling. If only we could send them some of our rain, we’d gladly share it.

Short video of the Catamaran tour we did – Enjoy!

Returning to Ireland was a temperature drop from high thirties to early twenties. It was as if they didn’t want us to have a too traumatic entry, as the sun was shining when we arrived in the airport.Once home, it stayed sunny for a while. Rain arrived soon after, you can’t beat  the sound of  rain. I sent it to someone we befriended in Portugal, she said she missed the sound of rain.

I briefly checked into work, to then start packing again for our annual Inishbofin trip, or Bofin as we call it. Packing for Bofin is an interesting exercise, as you need to pack for all seasons! So long trousers, sweaters, raincoats, rain trousers, hats/gloves and then a much smaller portion, namely a towel, swimming togs, t-shirts, shorts and suntan lotion.  Co. Galway is one of the largest counties, and the trek to Bofin takes us well over 2 hours. And then there is a ferry to catch, to finally get to Bofin. Cars are parked in makeshift car parks in Cleggan.

Last year Co. Galway opened  a proper asphalted car park , and parking was free there. I dropped of the boys with the luggage at the pier, and drove back. The usual car parks looked quite full, so I drove further to the car park where we parked last year.

This year the parking meter was switched on, so after doing some computations on how much I had to pay, I figured out how to operate the machine ( remember I was still very much in holiday mood) and got my ticket. And then I got distracted by a lady who also struggled figuring out how to use the machine. I helped her buying her ticket  and without giving it anymore thought, I didn’t lock my car and walked to the pier. As I was getting on the ferry, I realized my mistake…. oh no…I was hopeful I’d figure something out once on Bofin, even if meant I had to go across again…

As we are unloading our luggage on the pier, I explained my conundrum to the host of the hostel. After some discussion with the ferry people, he said they would take care of it. I gave him the keys to my car and forgot all about it. Holiday mood fully returned.   We arrived with sun, and for the next 3 days, it was there to stay. Met up with the regular families/friends at the hostel ( there is a gang of us going all at the same time), went pier jumping and snorkeling( did you know Ireland has 500 different types of seaweed??), listened to Mick Flannery in Concert in the Dolphin hotel( my new favourite Irish artist), spent a full day on Duach Beach- it felt like we were in Portugal( without the crowds and more bearable temperatures) – and I went swimming -several times- in the cold water – without a wet suite – what have I been missing!

The last night we went for a beautiful meal in Murrays with a beautiful view over the ocean, our skins glowing from the sun. And then it was time to pack. Slightly overcast we returned to the real world. If I didn’t get using my phone in Portugal because of the SIM Card, I don’t even try using it on Bofin, as I know from experience I have no reception there at all. A total social media detox. I did take some pictures, you’ll see them in this post. And then it happened. I arrived at my car , to find a 40 Euro fine between my window wipers.. for not displaying a parking ticket… What??? This must be a mistake..Upon further inspection, I notice  that the parking ticket was on the dashboard, but it was turned upside down, so you couldn’t see the details of the ticket.

The following day I went back to work, and made a quick visit to the County Galway offices. The lady that looks after appeals was on holidays. I wrote a little essay on what happened, enclosing my parking ticket that I did purchase, asking her if I can ignore the fine. A few days later I received a letter from the said lady, with the good news that my appeal has been successful. Only in Ireland. How was your holidays? Where  did you go? Any stories to tell? I’d love to hear them. Thanks for sharing if you liked this post.

Rainy greetings from Ireland ( the holiday feeling still lingering)



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Posted in Co. Galway, Inishbofin, West Of Ireland.

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