“I’m singing in the rain…”

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water-wide

Or why rain on an Irish holiday shouldn’t be a problem!

What is it with April? You just never know what to expect. And yet, I’m sitting in the office here, looking out at the rain, and I can’t help but feel good. I don’t know why but I’m as big a fan of rain as I am of sun. Water is just so precious that it’s a blessing we have so much of it. I kind of like the fact that we live in a temperate climate. Never too hot, never t
oo cold, never too wet or dry. Of course, as Irish people we are nationally obsessed with the weather so we talk about it all the time. Anyway, enough daydreaming and staring out at the drops running down the window, the puddles and the way the rain literally saturates the colours of things around us.

I have a confession to make… I LOVE walks in the rain. Especially on holiday, walking through a forest and hearing the rain overhead on the leaves – there’s no better sound. Or down by the sea with a good wind blowing and the rain is coming down over the sea in sheets. It just looks wonderful and makes you feel like you’re really part of nature. As long as you have the right gear on of course. Without a good waterproof and a warm sweater… not so much :-)

As a company which tries to find holiday homes for our customers, we often dread seeing the rain coming. But it’s worth remembering that Ireland can be beautiful rain or shine. Of course some of us are not fairing so well and it’s worth noting that flooding has been a problem for many in this country too and the rain I’m looking at now is thankfully not that bad.

My mum used to say “cast not a doubt ’til May is out”, and she was so right. In Ireland it is never a good idea to assume sunshine until we’re past May. This year though we had some good sunny times during Easter and people were booking up holiday homes in record time. Maybe some ‘green shoots of recovery coming’? We hope so.

Best,

Mike

Holiday Ninja checklist

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Packed suitcases

Packed and ready to go?

What do you always forget on your self-catering holiday?

Well, by now you’ve pumped the tyres, made sure your car has water, checked your oil levels and your car is safe for the road (you have done that, haven’t you?). Well, there’s usually time to do that in the morning before you head off for your Easter break. But here’s a personal list of things that myself and my wife always check off before we set off for our holiday home.

Ok, so we’re not backpacking in the Sahara or anything, but a little preparation will save frustration at the other end of the journey. The last thing you want as you step out of your car at your destination, t-shirt sticking to your back, sticky sweet wrappers and discarded fruit skins up to your knees and the kids bursting to get out of the car, is any more stress :-) So here is my personal checklist before you get to your destination. Things that may not be at your holiday home that you wish you’d packed.

In fairness, all of our holiday homes are very well supplied with all of the things you should need. However, some holiday homes may not supply the niggly food items and other things that we take for granted at home. These are things that I personally either buy before I leave or bring with me from home… just in case. So without further ado, here is my personal ‘pilot check list’:

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Cooking oil
  • Tea/Coffee
  • Milk (enough for tea/coffee/cereal)
  • Wine/Beer
  • Openers for wine/beer
  • Some cereal for breakfast
  • Some eggs/bacon/pudding for a holiday fry up! (sustenance for the first day!)
  • A sharp knife for general cutting of vegetables etc. (I get mad if I don’t have reasonable tools for those kitchen jobs)
  • A sharp bread knife for, well, bread (and cake etc.)
  • We find it handy to have a lasagne/bolognese or similar dish just to make our first meal simpler to prepare.
  • Towels? (Have you checked with us that the property supplies towels?)
  • Tea towels (Again, check with us)
  • Loo paper and tissues (just in case there is none at your destination)
  • Dishwasher tablets (Thanks to Mike Mansfield)

That’s it. My quick checklist to help you get that peaceful holiday feeling a little quicker. Let me know if I’ve left anything off the list!! Make a comment below if you have anything to add,

best,

Mike

I’m being buzzed by fighter planes!

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Interesting day today here in the Ireland At Hompilatus2e offices. I’m currently being buzzed by army air corp Pilatus aircraft. They’re flying loudly and alarmingly low overhead at the moment and have been doing for a while now. One of the pilots definitely said ‘hello’. I’m convinced he waggled his wings in WWII style as he passed over. I was outside the office and rather embarrassingly waved up towards the plane. I couldn’t help myself. I’ve always been a fan of all things aeronautical.

Anyway, just glad they weren’t trying to shoot me or anything. I’m presuming they’re getting match fit for Sunday’s celebrations!

Making memories

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Well, the kids have been off for 1 week. We got away last week down to Waterford. Stayed in some self catering accommodation (naturally!), swam in the pool of the nearby hotel. Visted relations, ate too much, sampled some wine (we could walk to the bar!), anyway, you get the idea. It’s great having the kids around all day. I mean, mostly… until they start getting bored and letting you know. “Mum/Dad, I’m bored!”. “There is LITERALLY nothing to do”. That’s LITERALLY nothing to do as distinct from what?

Anyway, we have a six year old girl, 9 year old boy and an 11 year old girl, so they are ALWAYS looking for something to do. Mind you, introduce a computer into that equation and you can have utter peace. Silent, peaceful, calm sort of peace. The sort of peace I imagine you could get from studying Zen Buddhism. And that’s nice, for a time. Then the guilt sets in! How long is too long on computers and tablets? Does it matter if they’re programming, ‘researching’ instead of playing games? Will I regret years from now that my zombie kids, who’s eyes constantly blink in anything but complete darkness and who are devoid of social skills are now failing their exams in school and…. well, that’s enough of that thinking.

But, keeping the kids entertained and constantly occupied is the flip side of the Easter break. THAT’S one of the reasons we go on holiday. To give the kids some new horizons, get them out in the fresh air, sleeping in a new bed, a new house and hopefully some entertainment, like re-discovering the joys of those boardgames on the rainy days. You know what? I think in the end it’s all about making memories. It’s about the photos that will hang on the wall of their loos and sit on the shelves in their sitting rooms when they’re older, married perhaps and living somewhere else. It’s for the moments they look at one of those photos and remember…

best, Mike