Sunday, October 31, 2004

Foggy morning

We had sushi breakfast. Went out for a walk with Charlie. Thick fog over the river Shannon, no wind. It’s amazing how different the soundscape is when it’s foggy. All sounds are more dampened and it’s quieter.
We made egg-and-sausage sandwiches and packed our gear for a day out. First beach was the one down by Donaha. A few times, the fog cleared and we got glimpses of sunshine, but as there was now wind the chill of the fog remained. After a couple of hours we drove to the other side of the peninsula, to Bridges of Ross, where we had our (late) lunch while watching the tide starting to come in. Still no real sunshine, but the scenery is spectacular in any weather. For a finish, we took the small back road out to Loop Head and then back to Lisheen house. Dinner tonight is stir-fried teriyaki salmon with vegetables and noodles.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Great morning with blue skies and sunshine

We had breakfast while listening to Mooney Goes Wild on Radio 1. I made a quick excursion to SeaLyons to get some fresh fish. Salmon, Brill and John Dory. We went down to the new beach by Donaha and spent most of the day there, at low tide, exploring cliffs and caves.

At early teatime we went by the house and made sandwiches and went back to the beach. We enjoyed our sandwiches while the tide was rising. Being such a beautiful day now coming to its end, we decided to go out to Loop Head to watch the sunset. We made it out there in good time before 6 o’clock and found a comfortable spot to sit overlooking the mouth of the Shannon and the Atlantic. We also saw some dolphins!

This evening we made sushi. The quality of the fish out here is just outstanding!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Still quite windy

and it is overcast, so far. Today, we’ll start with Rinnevalla Bay for our beach walk and dog swim, as the tide is now low around noon. Rinnevalla is probably one of the best places for beach finds, especially when the weather is rough. We had a lovely long walk all long the bay. Apart from all the usual seabirds we saw an Osprey, a very impressive creature!
Later on, in the afternoon, we found a new little stretch of beach just beside the village of Donaha. The tide was on its way in but Charlie had yet another go at swimming.

In the early evening I went up to Kilkee for some groceries and on my way back I saw the most extraordinary sunset I’ve ever seen in my life. In general it was overcast but out West it was clear. When the sun was starting to set, it suddenly appeared just between the cloud cover and an absolutely clear horizon. With the sun so low and bright, the shadows in the landscape grew really long and colours flamed.
Dinner this evening was Bouillabaisse.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Beautiful but stormy morning

The sun is shining most of the time and it isn’t raining, but the storm clouds are still chasing across the country. We walked all the beaches. Dear Charlie insisted on swimming, as often as possible. Can you imagine a soaking wet dog that just can’t wait to get back into the water? I bought oysters and plaice for dinner.
Lots of phone calls during the day, trying to sort out Bruce’s thesis and the comments from his External Examiner.
When back at Lisheen House, Charlie just went to bed, exhausted after his aqueous adventures. The oysters were great, just barely out of the sea. I went down to the Long Dock to read Clare Champion and for a chat and had some nice interaction with the locals. After a couple of hours, back to the house and cooked dinner – fried plaice with chips, remoulade and salad.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The storm is on its way in over Ireland

All morning they’ve been talking on the radio about risks flooding and storm damage. It’s believed that it’ll hit the south coast first and hardest. Here, in the mid-west, it’s greyed over and windier than yesterday but not too bad.
In the afternoon we went down to Carrigaholt beach for a walk, but the wind had picked up and the tide was coming in so it was a very short walk. I got soaked to my skin. Later, I went up to Kilkee for some shopping and on the way back I stopped at the Long Dock for a quiet pint. I had a great chat with some of the local gentlemen.
This evening I cooked chowder with cod, crabmeat and mussels. Also, added plenty of onions, garlic, parsnip, bell peppers, potatoes and a bottle of white wine.
The storm is roaring outside. It’ll be a bad night. We played Scrabble (Mona won).

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Normal weekday, Tuesday

First, in the morning, bright sunshine over the river Shannon. Now, it’s overcast and some rain. The wind is picking up and the weather forecast is storm by the evening. As I’ve said many times before – there’s no bad weather, only the wrong equipment – so a few drops of rain and some wind won’t stop us.
I went down to Lyon’s to buy fresh fish. A whole cod (just a few hours out of the sea), a bag of mussels and some crab meat, all absolutely fresh. It’s a hell of a difference to the stuff you get in supermarkets and shops. You can smell the difference and touching the skin of the fish you can feel the difference in freshness.
After buying fish, I went to get petrol at the local coop. There, I also bought a pair of gloves as I had forgotten to bring my gloves from home. I got a pair of bright yellow work gloves for two euro. All gloves in the coop store were bright glowing colours – perhaps so that they can see you waving your hands if you fall into the sea ;-).
Dog-walk on Carrigaholt beach, including excessive throwing of sticks.

Shopping in Kilkee, including running up and down the main street between Nolan’s and Mace, not finding what I was looking for. Best advice from local shop keeper: go to Kilrush if you want that.

Toasted crab sandwiches

4 slices wholemeal bread
8 tbsp crab meat
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 crushed cloves of garlic
8 tbsp grated mature cheddar cheese
2 avocados in thin slices
course ground black pepper and salt to taste

Mix the crab meat with the mayonnaise and garlic. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Spread the crab and mayo mix on the slices of bread.
Divide the avocado slices between the sandwiches.
Top with the grated cheddar.
Toast in oven, on grill setting, for about 5 minutes.
Serve (possibly with a green salad and cherry tomatoes) and enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Sunny spells with scattered showers

Both yesterday and today, we woke up with the sun blazing over the river Shannon. While having breakfast, we saw the showers come and go. It’s so fresh our here – the air is as clean as can be, you can walk for miles without seeing a single discarded Lucozade bottle or Tayto crisp packet in the ditch. I can only think of two possible explanations. Either, people out here care more about their environment, or, it’s so windy that the rubbish blows away.
It’s Bank Holiday (silly concept) Monday, hence Lyon’s won’t be open today. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to restock the fridge.
Out here, it’s the ultimate sensorial quality. You might think that when John Cage spent some time in an anechoic chamber, he experienced silence. In fact, he did not, which he also wrote – that there is no silence. Cage thought he heard his own blood stream and nervous system (I’d say, his own tinnitus!). Here, in West Clare, you can have real high quality silence. This silence is not quiet. You can hear the structure of nature surrounding you – sea, wind and possibly some rain. You start to notice the sounds of your own footsteps, your own breath, your dog’s movements, etc. Out here, you could navigate by sound. In a noisy city, you can’t, or, it’s very difficult.
We’ve been to two of the beaches today, Carrigaholt and Rinnevalla. Now, we have the tides right. Charlie, our dog, is totally exhausted after retrieving a stick hundreds of times from the sea. Normally, he has tonnes of energy left over each evening but here, he goes into the bedroom and sleeps when he gets back to the house.

QuickTime VR panorama

When we got back to Lisheen House, it was time for hot cocoa and sandwiches (although I have to confess that I grabbed a can of Guinness instead of the cocoa ;-). Mona discovered that they were showing the first Star Wars film on TV, and we enjoyed our late lunch (or as some would call it, tea) while watching the old movie (and listening to an extremely quirky old sound design. When C3PO kicks R2D2, or, when R2D2 falls over, apparently the Foley guys had a great time with a metal trash can). At this time, I can’t help Mel Brook’s version to interleave my perception of the film, and I think it is partly because the telly here is about 14” (which adds to the cartoon feel) while at home it’s 28”, and the film was designed to be seen in overwhelming wide-screen format, with surround sound.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Windy and wet day

We went to Carrigaholt beach twice. We drove out to Loop Head and went for a walk there as well. Then back for some shopping in Kilkee.
We had the times for the tides wrong. I had printed off last week’s tides from the web. The Palm Pilot application I found doesn’t do this longitude and latitude, so we have to make do with the closest approximation. On the other hand, after a couple of days out here one tends to start to synchronise, subconsciously, with the rhythm of the sea.

This evening, after dinner and watching Killinascully on TV, we tuned in to Lyric FM. Heard John Kelly talking about the ICO and they played
Coisir an tSionnan! Phoned Sean, phoned my mother. It feels somehow very good to sit out here, in a small cottage almost as west as you can go in Europe and hear the music we worked so much on two years ago.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Design Sonore – Paris

I’m back after a great week at Design Sonore. Together with Eoin B and Stephen S, I went to present our latest discoveries on pseudo-haptics, and to enjoy discussion and interaction with numerous sound designers from all over the planet. It was an excellent and intensive program with many different views on sound design, ranging from film to products to interaction design to architecture and art.
We met up with Laurence one evening and another evening we dined together with Davide R and Stephen B. French food is excellent, including the many sushi restaurants ;-)

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Murphy's Law

Yesterday, I had my car serviced. Then, I went to town to get new front tyres. Driving home, it was beautiful. Just as a new car. This afternoon, after work, I drove away from the UL car park to find one of my rear tyres FLAT. So, in the afternoon rain, get the jack out, put on the spare, etc. Then back to town, get new tyres on the rear of the car. I had hoped for a nice few hours reading postgrad a thesis or two, but now I’m stuck in the normal rot.
When things are looking great, life is just waiting to kick you in the arse!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Let there be colours

The autumn is here! This is probably my favourite season. It’s fresh, not too warm. Despite the fact that I really love green, which we have plenty of all year in Ireland, the autumn brings out all colours of the spectrum, including some gorgeous rainbows. You get plenty of soft days ;-) Put yer wellies on and get out there!

QuickTime VR panorama