Apologies for the delay in posting this week but it has been rather a rough few days. After several months rolling smoothly along the sheer weight of new things – people, places, procedures – caught up with me with some quite negative impacts. There is a rich and extensive bureaucracy in Ireland and it is only too easy to run foul of it, especially in these uncertain times. Despite some recent “opening up”, Ireland is still coping with a backlog of cancelled appointments for just about everything. Licences, inspections, dentists – you name it, it can take weeks to see anyone. Or talk to anyone – or, most difficult of all, get someone out to check or repair something.
Our immediate problem is transport. We are trying to insure the car but have just been told we need the Irish equivalent of an MOT. Fair enough, except we were told it wasn’t needed when we registered it and got our nice new Irish number plate. We were also told the offices would contact us to say when we should go and test the car. They didn’t. So now we have a car we can’t insure unless we get the test. But we can’t get to the centre (which is about 15 miles away) without driving. And we can’t do that without insurance.
(Bangs head on table repeatedly)
In fact we can’t do anything – shop, post a letter, get to a doctor or vet – at present.
(Must stop banging head on table as we are running out of aspirin).
Sometimes the bureaucracy is a little too helpful. Last month we exchanged our driving licences but I got a text message asking for a medical report. It was, apparently, so I could keep my entitlement to drive large vans. This had been inexplicably added to my UK licence. I had told the very helpful woman at my interview that a/ I had no idea I even had that and b/ I really didn’t want it. Just car and motorbike, thank you.
Anyone who knows me will be aware I couldn’t drive a van even if I wanted to. At just five feet tall if I could see out of the windscreen I couldn’t reach the pedals. The centre in Dublin, eager to ensure I didn’t miss out on this exciting prospect, reinstated the van category – and then asked for the medical. I hope it’s sorted now, but has delayed the issuing of my licence.
A couple of features of our previous lockdown life have proved helpful this week however. When we arrived we couldn’t go out anywhere so Jacqui ventured into the murky, labyrinthine world of on-line grocery shopping. Stuck here trying to unpick the car insurance tangle, we are slowly emptying the freezer and awaiting the delivery truck. Also Jacqui tried her hand at bread making and results are quite delicious.
We also instituted a special Saturday meal to end each week and have kept this up every weekend since. We set the table with my parents’ special china, have several courses and a selection of wine. So to finish I offer the sommelier’s suggestions for this week, to go with baked cheese, duck breasts and a selection of local cheeses. Two Pinots – Pinot Grigio from Italy and Pinot Noir from Chile. Both under 7 euro a bottle from your local supermarket.
Here’s to a better week coming up. Cheers!