It's about 2:15pm local time. Today I had great plans! After my walk yesterday, I was anxious to get out and go further. I intended to visit a local artists studio a few kilometers away first (www.glendaraart.com). And, if I made it there, based on my limited knowledge of the area, I could then walk 4 more kilometers to the nearest village, Feakle. My destination there would be Peppers Pub (www.peppersoffeakle.com) for lunch. I thought if I got an early enough start, I could make it back after lunch. Walking should only be roughly 60-90 minutes each way.
But, the weather had other ideas. It started storming last night, and has continued on into today. I am so glad Steph took me to get food and fuel on Tuesday! We have a wind advisory until 8am tomorrow morning. The wind speeds are 55/65 km/h and will gust up to 100/110 km/h. It sounds like the roof will blow off at any moment!
As hard as the winds are gusting, no shaking going on here. The cottage is very sturdy and warm. I close the heavy curtains over the windows to block out the drafts, and keep the fire going. I've gotten pretty proficient at keeping the fire going all day long. Now I know exactly what "tending the fire" means. Every 45 minutes to one hour I throw another peat brick on. As long as I do this, I only use the fire starters in the morning. I have a mixture of peat and wood fuel. The only thing I miss is this fuel doesn't crackle like our wood at home, but that's okay.
I let the fire die down when I go to bed. The loft gets very warm, so I don't need heat while I'm sleeping. In the morning, or whenever I get up, I go clean out the ash from the stove, and start the fire for the day. I have an electric heater I can use, but I prefer to use the stove. I just figured out that if I close the bathroom door, it stays much warmer. This is what the fuel looks like:
I put a firestarter in the bottom of the stove, which comes in a box and breaks off in pieces. It's a combination of peat and some kind of lighter fluid, and other substance. Once that is lit, I add 2-3 bricks of fuel. For the first few tries I despaired I could do it, but then I got it figured out. I find it fascinating because I am used to central heat. This is a whole different situation, where I am responsible to keep myself warm. I don't get the luxury of pushing a button and out comes hot air. But there is something very cool about it. Not as a novelty, but as a way of life. I'm living like a local, which is exactly what I wanted.
I won't have a car for about 10 more days. I did that on purpose too. One, because it's kind of expensive all the way around. Gas is 1.40 per litre, and there are 3-4 litres in a gallon. Two, because I wanted to force myself to be here and experience life in the cottage. Having a car would tempt me to be going here and there, and I did not want to over-schedule myself. For the first two weeks I'll live as a local, and the last two I'll be here as a tourist.
I've been reading more and more about the Wild Atlantic Way (www.wildatlanticway.com) and I'm going to drive as much of that as I can once I get the car. I'm already heading up to Northern Ireland for a night to see the Giant's Causeway (www.giantscausewayofficialguide.com) and tour the Bushmills Distillery (www.bushmills.com), so I am going to continue to head West and then down the coast. I have no reservations anywhere, except for Bushmills Inn (www.bushmillsinn.com) , because it is a 10 minute walk from the Distillery. Plus, it's a gorgeous 4-star property and it will be my one big splurge night.
I find myself feeling very at home here. Though I am several thousand miles away from anyone I know, I have learned that if I have WiFi and can stay connected, I'm good. There were moments of panic when I first got here, but I think that had more to do with being tired and the newness of the experience. I've finally adjusted to the time difference and caught up on rest. Tomorrow should be much calmer weather-wise, so I may try my walk then.