Who knew Earth, Wind and Fire did a Christmas album. Wish they hadn't, but who knew.
Last year I had lamented over the Italian Post Office, and its brazen, unabashed incompetence. So now we're here in Ireland, and things are different.
For starters, the Irish Post Office has grabbed Christmas by the horns. Barely three days had passed since Ireland's weeklong celebration of Halloween, and they have pulled out all the stops with mechanised Santas, nativity scenes, and general holiday mayhem all splayed out in their voluminous lobby. It is clear they do not intend to play second-fiddle to Marks and Spencer or Arnott's or any other high-falutin' department store when it comes to the holiday spirit.
The employees are very personable, in a next-door-neighbor kind of way: there is no faked smile, or the pretense of them being overly excited you have appeared at their window, but once there will happily chat with you and answer your questions. And while no one would accuse them of being on technology's leading edge they have their Italian brethren beat hands down when it comes to knowledge and execution of their jobs. There are still anachronisms for sure--this week we bought 140 holiday stamps, and the clerk printed out a receipt with 140 line items for each individual stamp--but at least they had the stamps at the ready and didn't have to meander for 15 minutes in the back room looking for them as if they worked in a hardware store and not a post office. (I don't mean to denigrate Italians, by the way--they are wonderful people, except for three of them in the downtown Bergamo post office who, if there is a god, will soon be burning in hell.)
So good on you, Irish Post Office, you represent your country well.
Although it is not necessarily below me, I keep records of my whereabouts not for vanity but for the IRS, who takes a keen interest when I leave its immediate jurisdiction. My time in France has all been for work, in Ireland all for pleasure, and Italy and Germany a mix of the two. We traveled to Greece for our big birthdays this year, to Barcelona prior to the Catalonia independence movement troubles, and a brief stop in Switzerland on the way through to Germany. The UK was a mix of work and vacation too, and includes our big trip to Scotland for the Clan Macnab International Gathering. In August we traveled back to Kentucky, Ohio and DC for a wedding and to catch up with friends and family.
The rest of 2017 will be in Ireland, with Stewart's brother and sister-in-law arriving for the holidays, and me traveling to the U.S. and Caribbean for work beginning in November. More on that later.
Ok I admit I gave up on blogging for most of this year, but crikey I'm ready to get crack a lackin'. Here we go.
(Part 1 is further down the page)
8. I have recently started genealogical research on the McNabb family line. What I have learned so far is that U.S. Federal Census field representatives and County Clerks who record marriage, birth and death records, pride themselves in tweaking names, ages, and locations just enough to make the identified individuals seem like your relatives, but not without placing a nagging doubt that you're being conned.
9. We are headed to The Netherlands tomorrow for a couple of weeks. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, with a two day diversion to the Isle of Man in the middle of it.
10. Next February we are looking to celebrate our 70th and 50th Birthdays, and our 20th Anniversary. If we can hold our bodies together by then. Stephen's Dad turns 80 next Summer, so the celebrations may continue for most of the year.
11. Next August we are attending the Macnab Clan reunion in Killin, Scotland, and we're participating in Edinburgh's Military Tattoo as a part of it.
12. Stewart's son Chris still lives in Spokane, daughter Caroline still lives in Melbourne. Stephen's parents are still in Lexington, his sister Lori and her extended family in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
We trace our location not so much for vanity but for the IRS, who takes a keen interest in our daily whereabouts.
Just finished reading Stewart's informative pamphlet on hernias.
Right along side our home in Ponteranica is a farmer's right of way, to access other agricultural property to our south. It's not used often, but every now and then sheepherders appear with a large number of sheep, a few donkeys, a gaggle of lambs, and a few dogs to keep the group in line. Quite the spectacle.
Update: the next day the same sheepherders and sheep were across the street, this time not going anywhere in particular but grazing on an empty lot. I had not thought much of the intellect of sheep before, but it was interesting how quickly they responded to the threat of a slap from a wooden rod, but only for that duration of time as the sheepherder was looking. The moment he turned his back, they were back up on the road eating the much greener vegetation there.