Monthly Archives: June 2001

Moving into my New House

I’ll save the story for the bottom of the page, so you can see the photos first!

You’ll have to excuse the mess in the shots, but they were taken while unpacking all the stuff I bought and was only the second day I was there!

This is the view of the Kitchen from standing near the entrance from the hall.

Kitchen Left Side

Kitchen Left Side

This is the view of the Kitchen from standing near the entrance from the hall and looking out towards the courtyard (if the curtains were open :-) )

Kitchen Right Side

Kitchen Right Side

This is the lounge with real leather sofas!  Haven’t even taken the tags off yet!  This is looking from the window at the front of the house.  You can see through the doors the light coming from the kitchen.

Lounge from Window

Lounge from Window

This is the view from the entrance of the lounge looking towards the front of the house.  Gas fire place.

Lounge to Window

Lounge to Window

This is my room on the top floor.  The ensuite is to the left and a very small balcony to the right.

My Bedroom

My Bedroom

After being told that the house would be ready to move in no later than March 8, I was told it could be March 5.  On March 5 I was told it would be March 9!

The lady fro the relocation agency, Ingrid, wanted to go over the lease with myself, Chris (Dutch flat mate at work apartment) and his flat mates.  She came out to work and started to go through the document which was essentially a word document with no formal look or feel about it.  A bit different to the standard government contracts for rental agreements in Queensland, which meant we had to go over every point.  We started to note errors such as landlord’s names being different throughout the contract, dates incorrect, names of tenants spelt incorrectly, a cleaner clause was not what we had agreed to etc.

When we arrived at the house to sign the contracts we were told that the houses mentioned on the contracts were not available, as they were still not finished.  The lady then wanted us to sign the contracts without any amendments.  I complained about signing the lease on the grounds that it was a legal document and had too many errors to sign in it’s current form.  I asked that we make the changes to the contract or add another page with the changes to be made and all initial it.  The lady representing the landlord said she didn’t have the authority to do that.

After checking that I could still stay on in my current apartment I refused to sign the lease until a correct copy was ready on Monday.  Chris had been listening to all this and did not want to sign either.  Unfortunately Chris’ flat mates were in a tough situation as they had other people moving into their old rooms.  After a couple of calls it was decided that all we had to do was make the changes to the contract and initial it. :-)

After that we got our keys and started the move.  Ingrid moved both Chris’ and my belongings from our work apartment to Chapel Gate, which was a great help.  I had to go and buy some bedding, which you can see in the photo above, otherwise I would have been sleeping on an empty mattress!

I had to wash the sheets, pillow cases etc. before sleeping on them, so I had to read the washing machine manual.  Front loaders may be better for your clothes and the environment, but they take for bloody ever and you can’t put much in them.  I had to do an empty cycle first as it was brand new.  I turned it on and waited for 10 mins while it was making a whirring sound.  It was not going through the cycle, so I figured something was wrong :-).  I had a look under the sink (the washing machine is in the kitchen!) and saw some pipes and what looked like taps.  Flicked the taps on and then there was life in the washing machine.  The poor pumps had been running dry for 10 mins.  I hope I didn’t do any damage!

Waiting for a washing machine to complete it’s cycle is not very exciting when you don’t have a television or a stereo.  It finally finished at around 10 pm.  I then put the first load in and headed off to work to see how long it would take to walk there and do some chatting and read email.  It takes about 25 mins to walk to work, which is about the same time as from my previous place.  I can get to the top of O’Connell St. in the city in 20 mins walk and there are heaps of buses going past on the Drumcondra Rd. too.  A taxi fare home costs around £4-6 depending on the traffic.

The next day I put another load of washing on (I’m getting good at it by this stage :-) ) and headed out to get some basics, like pots, pans, utensils, cutlery etc..  I had some help from Amanda (Irish lady I met from ICQ), who was my slave for the day, carrying the home starter kit I purchased while I carried the dinner set.

When we got back to the house it was like Christmas had come again.  With packaging, bags and new toys to play with strewn across the kitchen.  After Amanda had left I decided I’d better work out the rest of the appliances.  I put all the new kitchen stuff into the dishwasher and tested that out.  It will take a while for one person to fill that up again!  On to the gas cooker, that didn’t take long :-).  Then I had to clean out the oven and do a ‘burn in.’  Read about the freezer too, but haven’t got around to the fridge yet!

Sunday was not quite as exciting with the purchase of an iron and ironing board.

There a lot of photos here, so please be patient!

This is the view from my balcony.  The house I’m in looks exactly like the three in the centre of the photo.

Sorry about the sun!

View from Balcony

View from Balcony

This is the view to the left of my balcony.

View from Balcony to Houses

View from Balcony to Houses

My ensuite.  There is a cabinet on the left.  The basin and toilet are on the right.

My Ensuite

My Ensuite

Here are the basin and the toilet!  Exciting hey!

My Ensuite Again

My Ensuite Again

My room looking towards the balcony.  Note the low ceilings, that’s the roof!

My Room Looking to the Balcony

My Room Looking to the Balcony

Study from left hand corner.

Study from Door

Study from Door

Study from right hand corner.

Study to Door

Study to Door

Single on the left, then double, bathroom and the double with ensuite is around the corner.

Room Doors from the Stairs

Room Doors from the Stairs

Single room.

Single Bed Room

Single Bed Room

The double room from the door.

Room with Double Bed

Room with Double Bed

Double room from the window.

Double Bed Room Wardrobe

Double Bed Room Wardrobe

This is the main bathroom.

Main Bathroom

Main Bathroom

The double room with ensuite from the bed.

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite

Double room with ensuite from the door.

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite 2

Room with Double Bed and Ensuite

Double room with ensuite, ensuite!

Ensuite of the Double Bed Room

Ensuite of the Double Bed Room

Front door through to kitchen and out to Courtyard.

Front Door to Courtyard

Front Door to Courtyard

The courtyard from the kitchen.

Courtyard

Courtyard

Kitchen from door. (Cleaner now :-) ).

Kitchen From Door

Kitchen From Door

Kitchen from sliding door.

Kitchen From Sliding Door

Kitchen From Sliding Door

Stairs from hallway.

Stairs

Stairs

That’s it folks!



Weekend in Newtownards

I visited Christine, a friend I’ve met off the internet, up in her home town of Newtownards on the weekend of May 5 and 6.  The weather was fantastic and we managed to get out and about and see quite a lot of the country side.

Unless you are completely blind the first thing you notice when driving into Newtownards is the Scrabo tower located on a nearby hill.  It was built in 1857 as a memorial to the Third Marquis of Londonderry.  There are 122 steps inside which take you up the tower on the right hand side and up to the  viewing area.  From the top you can see Belfast in one direction and out over the sea to Scotland in the other.

A family used to live in the tower and make cups of tea for vistors.  Now it is filled with educational material about the tower and the surrounding area which is now a park.  There is even a life size model of a dinosaur that was believed to have lived in the area in the Triassic era.  They have only ever found a foot print of the beast.

Scarbo Tower

Scarbo Tower

The picture below is a panorama of almost 360 degrees, so it is quite wide!  The base of the tower is on the left, followed by Newtownards, the airport, Strangford,  Lough, farmland, a golf course, Belfast in the distance, more farmland and finally the tower again.

Please click on the image for the full size version.

Scrabo Tower Panorama

Scrabo Tower Panorama

The town of Bangor is a lovely sea side community.  The picture below is a panorama taken at the marina, from the Pickie Park (see below) side, looking back towards the town.

Again, please click on the image for the full size version.

Bangor Marina

Bangor Marina

The Pickie park is a small park with these swan boats for people to peddle around in, a model train ride and a paddling pool and sand pit.  Great for the little ones and those that don’t want to grow up :-).  No I did not go in the the swan boats, swim or make a sand castle, but I did want to go on the train ride.  Just kidding!

Bangor Pickie Park

Bangor Pickie Park

Bangor Pickie Park Sand Pit

Bangor Pickie Park Sand Pit

The following day we headed off to the east of Newtownards with the aim of driving down the coast and getting the ferry across the Lough at Portaferry and Strangford.

Portaferry Ferry

Portaferry Ferry

Portaferry Ferry View

Portaferry Ferry View

I was amazed the the caravan parks along the side of the sea and that people would even want to spend anytime there at all!  They are everywhere and there is nothing to do there, it’s just awfully boring!  Oh well, when you don’t know any better I suppose it is nice :-).

When we got to Portaferry we went to the Exploris aquarium, which had some displays of fish from the local area as well as some from other places.

Exploris Aquarium

Exploris Aquarium

On the way back to Newtownards we came across an Orange march!  You can’t really see, but they do have orange sashes.

Orange March

Orange March

In between Belfast and Newtownards lies the Northen Ireland Parliament.  Takes a while to walk all the way to the top!

Northern Ireland Parliament

Northern Ireland Parliament

Northern Ireland Parliament and Me

Northern Ireland Parliament and Me



Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-A-Rede Bridge and Coast

On Sunday we headed off to see the Giant’s Causeway, a natural phenomena caused by a volcanic eruption.  The drive was quite pleasant with excellent roads and little traffic.  The weather was even better with clear blue skies, although it was still cool!  When I was at the coast I had a t-shirt, Canterbury top and a woolen jumper on!  This is summer after all :-).

Anyway this is a place well worth the visit!  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

This first picture is the main view of the area that you seen when you’ve walked down the access road (there’s bus people who need it or for lazy people).  The causeway is the main outcrop of land in the middle of the picture.

Giant's Causeway View

Giant's Causeway View

This is the actual causeway.  Amazing seeing rocks formed like that naturally.  Better when you are there I guess :).

Giant's Causeway Rocks

Giant's Causeway Rocks

I had to put one of me here, just to let you know that I was really there and I am getting out and about.  These pages are not a figment of my imagination after all :).  As you can see the formations are quite big.

Me at Giant's Causeway

Me at Giant's Causeway

This is a panorama of five shots taken on top of the causeway.

Giant's Causeway Panorama

Giant's Causeway Panorama

I’m not sure how many people have photos of this with blue sky! :)

Anyway onward to the next attraction, the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge.

The bridge has been used by fisherman for over 250 years to get to the best places to catch migrating salmon.  The waters are often too rough to go out in a small boat so the island location was ideal.

A new version of the bridge was finished for the millennium, so I got to walk across on a rather studier version than the original and even that of a few years ago.  The original version only had one side rope.  The previous one was slightly better with one rope on each side, but with less rigging than the current one.  My sister was not impressed when I spoke to her today, as she thought that was half the fun when she did it.

Apparently some people still don’t think it’s that safe.  About four Spanish girls were coming across the bridge when Christine and I were returning.  One girl was given the camera to take pictures of the other girls as they crossed.  When they had all crossed they asked her to come across and being the camera.  She was too scared and one of them had to come back and get it!

This is the view of the bridge upon returning.

Carrick a Rede Bridge with People

Carrick a Rede Bridge with People

This is me walking back across.  No it’s not a new hair style and I’m not wearing flares, it’s just blowing a gale!

Carrick a Rede Bridge with me Walking

Carrick a Rede Bridge with me Walking

This is the view from the top of the cliff that you have to walk along to get to the bridge.  The main island is called Sheep Island. which apparently fattens 9, feeds 10 and starves 11 according to local lore :).  The cliffs were quarried for limestone with some facilities in the area only abandoned in the 1970’s.  The small island in the middle of the picture has some construction on it where winding gear was located to send the stone out from shore to waiting boats.

Larrybane Sheep Island

Larrybane Sheep Island

After that we headed down the coast on a scenic route, which is Irish for a road fit for donkeys, but with nice views. :-)  Well the road itself was actually quite good except for the width.  When someone was coming in the other direction it was necessary for both parties to come almost to a halt, avoiding scraping each other or the walls on the sides of the roads.

Coast

Coast

Back onto normal roads on the way home, with the weather getting cloudy we came across this tractor merrily travelling along at around 40 km/h if that.  This is where I get frustrated, as many Irish cars do not have the grunt to overtake such obstacles without a runway strip to perform the manoeuvre.  I passed three or four cars at once on a couple of occasions in similar situations.

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam

Christine fed me before I headed back to Dublin that night, where I arrived home at 11 p.m. It took about 2 hours and 20 minutes to get back from Newtownards, which is not a bad effort.

It was a great weekend and Christine did a great job showing me around yet again. She can even read maps and navigate really well! :-)