Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tired And Ridiculous Dog In Shower


Touring was put on hold today while I dealt with the car and camera problems. I called Renault first thing to see if I could get my car seen to. The girl answering the service desk phone said they were booked solid for two weeks, but would check to see if I could be accommodated. She put me on hold for about 10 minutes (which cost me about €15 because my phone has a UK number, and even with so-called Euro discount packs, I'm charged a couple o'limbs for the pleasure ... even when receiving calls from overseas). I hung-up, called back and they said they would fit me in on an emergency basis.

After breakfast, I checked the website link to review the location, and discovered to my embarrassment that I'd called the Dublin branch of Citygate Renault, instead of the Galway branch. I tried stopping in at a garage around the corner, but it was swamped, and so I took my chances with Galway Renault as an emergency issue. Happily they took the car, got someone to give Bondi & I a lift back to town, and then called me an hour or so later to say that the work was done: a new left rear shock-absorber, and the car could be picked up at my leisure. The guy who drove me into town was from Poland, and he sad that he could make more money here in one day cleaning cars, then he could in a 6 day working week back home. That would explain why you'll see electronic translators for Eastern European languages displayed prominently in storefronts here at the opposite end of the EU.

Meanwhile I'd replaced my camera with a Sony DSC-w100, which I had agonised over purchasing a few weeks ago. It's basically a more powerful version of my recently deceased DSC-V1, in half the volume, with a bit of a trade-off on optical zoom (3x rather than 4x). Sony have of course managed to throw in a kicker of no longer supporting their own MemoryStick cards, and you have to buy a fractionally smaller MemoryStick Duo (as in "d'you owe us more money").

I picked up some stamps at the post office next door, Bondi following me through the roped off queue like a bison on the red-carpet. A clerk asking nervously if he was fullsize already. I replied that he was "a postmaster short of fullsize", which brought a round of slightly nervous laughter from the entire office.

I was looking in the very excellent Charlie Byrne's Bookshop when Renault called with the good news. The staff had taken a decided liking to Bondi, and were very happy to babysit him while I grabbed a taxi out to Renault. Before leaving I had this interchange:
Older woman customer: How big was he when he was tiny?
Me: Tiny.
Older woman customer: Oh, so he was tiny. [flees stage right]
The taxi ride back out to Renault was also interesting as the driver explained some of the best places to visit on my planned loop through Clifden and Westport tomorrow. He said that I might be lucky to get one of the older nuns from Kylemore Abbey to show me around. Unfortunately that probably means using the secret old nun handshake, which involves them closing a piano-lid on or applying a cane to your fingers until your hands shake.

Back at the B&B, just as I unpacked the new camera, Bondi disappeared into the bathroom to cool down. Somehow he managed to get into the shower stall - a mite larger than a Parisian elevator.














George Bush chose the 25th anniversary of the CDC's first advisory on the AIDS epidemic to mount an attack on gay-marriage / civil unions. Jon Stewart's Daily Show provided a series of hilarious ripostes to current Republican Party dogma through parody and interviews.

Taking some time to review some new family-tree data, I stumbled on a hitherto unknown branch. I had wondered how my Coniston, Lancashire-born great-great grandmother Hannah had ended up in Dolgelley Wales. Some of the census data I had reviewed showed that she had a younger brother Thomas, who I had missed before as he had left home early and didn't show up in subsequent census reports with his parents' household.

At first I thought he might have followed in his father's footsteps as an engineer and was away working with him on the census nights. However, while tracking through all the Thomas Jones born in Lancashire in 1841 (probably just after the 1841 census), I found one who was living in Dolgelley in 1871 - where his sister was to raise the family that included my great-grandfather to be. This Thomas Jones' birthplace was listed as Launceston Lancashire - which doesn't exist, and I surmised that this was supposed to be Coniston Lancashire. He was working as a Gaol Warder, and at age 30 already had 4 children.

Fast forward 10 years, and he is a prison warden at Lancaster (from whence many had been deported to Australia), with another 3 children. From this point on, his birthplace is correctly identified as Coniston. In 1891, the last time I find him, he is Chief Warden of a military prison in Hampshire, and there's another 4 children. Obviously condoms weren't being handed out in 19th century prisons...

In 1901, his widow Mary is living "off her own means" with 4 of the children in Clapham, London. One of the children is listed as a locomotive fitter, and another as a shorthand writer & typist.

So this means that my great-grandfather Griffith Williams (of Dolgelley) was not only now living in London in close proximity to his Davies cousins, but also his Jones cousins, each of whom had moved towns almost every decade up to this point.


What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints? This.

What about when you test a small fraction of that on the human body? This:

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