In that great Crowded House song, the lyric, everywhere you go, always take the weather with you, is repeated again and again until it gets stuck in the head in that totally poppy way. Still, I wonder if such a sentiment is true. Does one always take the weather with them?
I started to believe the truth of Neil Finn when I was recently in Ireland. Apparently, Ireland had a summer of rain and rain and well, more rain, but then Sunshine Jen was in the country, and oh yeah, the sun came out. I even got an Irish suntan, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
When Honey Bunny and I left LA, the temperature was hot, the mountains were on fire, and ash was flying in the air. When friends in LA heard that I was going to Ireland, they wanted to come too. Now don’t get me wrong, we love our LA sunshine, but we were living in a furnace.
When we landed in Dublin, it was rainy, misty, cool. I had never been so happy to be in rainy, misty, and cool. Much to the dismay of the Honey Bunny Mama, I threw open windows and let the cool breezes come into the house.
I should tell you that this dismay was more cultural than personal. The Irish take pride in having rooms without draft where they can seal themselves in against cold and damp even when it’s bright and sunny outside. In LA, we’re all about airflow, so we open windows to get things circulating. I tend to fall asleep if a room is too warm and stuffy.
As Honey Bunny and I relished our new found humidity, we got to listen to the complaining. It was the same complaint told over and over again. It had rained all summer. It was awful, just awful. We can’t get out. We can’t mow the lawn. Everyone told the same sad rainy story. Honey Bunny and I must’ve repeated many times, we just came from 42 degrees, mountains on fire, ash in the air, hell on earth. I think some people understood.
For this trip, Honey Bunny and I had planned a boat trip up the Shannon with Honey Bunny’s old friend, Slim Jim, who had a 28’ sailboat (with the mast removed in order to go under bridges). The plan was to spend five days puttering up the Shannon River from Lough Ree to Lough Key (Ree to Key, hey they rhyme) to see what we could see.
The Shannon River cuts through Ireland like the Mississippi cuts through the US. Flowing North to South, it was open to full-on navigation in the 1800s for commerce. Locks controlled the flow, and the majority of what we sailed on was wide and deep. In the mid 1900s, the Shannon was reopened to navigation. Locks and bridges were repaired. Now, it’s a popular tourist destination (especially with Germans), and people can rent pleasure boats and cruise up and down with style.
Even though there was talk of a gale coming up from Limerick, Honey Bunny, Slim Jim, and I decided to go on the day we had planned. If we waited for the weather to be good in Ireland, we would never go. We all had rain gear, and if it got really bad, there were towns we could stop at along the way.
As we passed Nun’s Island (more on Nun’s Island later) on Lough Ree, a thick layer of grey clouds floated over us.
It’s not so bad. It’s not so cold. I said in my best cheerleader voice to Slim Jim. I figured as the only female and non-Ireland-born person, I should keep it all positive and optimistic even though I left my yoga mat at home.
Slim Jim chuckled. I wasn’t sure if it was a good chuckle or a this-chick-is-wacked chuckle. Slim Jim wasn’t much of a talker. Still, he never tossed me overboard and he let me steer, so I figure I’m okay in his book.
As we pulled into Tarmonbarry on our first night, the rain was pouring, and we were most definitely in the rain gear. We had a nice fish dinner at Keenans, the pub hotel in the town, and we all retired to the boat to sleep.
However, trying to fall asleep on a rocking boat with rain falling onto the roof of the cabin and realizing that you should’ve made one last stop to the ladies toilette is just a little hellish. Fortunately, it was not just the girl’s problem. Honey Bunny had to go, then so did Slim Jim, so we all got up, we all did our business, and we all achieved sleepy sleep on take two.
I tell this story not only because it amuses me like a good Marx Brothers bit, but also to illustrate how interconnected the three of us were. There weren’t many places to go on a 28’ boat, so we had to get along. Fortunately, we did, and there were no arguments. In fact, we all kind of mellowed out the longer the trip went on. So sorry readership, no boat drama.
Although, this is what the frying pan looked like one morning. . . .
When I asked the boys if I should clean it, they responded with a No in unison. I didn’t ask a second time. I just avoided all eye contact with the frying pan.
As we cruised up the river, the clouds started to part, and by the late afternoon, the sun had come out. Yes! What a sight! I even saw a rainbow. . .in Ireland. How fecking cool is that? So yes, Sunshine Jen had brought the sunshine with her. I take full responsibility for the blue skies and sunshine. That declaration also got a chuckle out of Slim Jim.
We had excellent weather the rest of the trip. Sometimes a cool wind would chill me, but mostly I was chillin’ on the good river vibe. Okay, that was a stupid sentence. I doubt very highly Slim Jim would chuckle at that.
One fine day, right after we had docked at Roosky, two nuns walked by. We exchanged pleasantries and thoughts on the weather.
Oh yes, it’s good while it lasts. One of the nuns said. Nothing like a little optimism.
When it was still raining and cool, I had an interesting exchange with an old lock operator who noticed that I was wearing some very bright rain gear (which was keeping me dry).
Terrible weather. He said.
I love it! I’m from Los Angeles. I said holding the rope as the water rose around me.
You don’t look like an angel. He said.
That’s cause I fell to earth. I said.
One is apt to do that in Ireland. He said.
More on the Shannon River trip is coming soon. . .