I've been in Ireland for the last few days visiting family with my father. It's something that I've meant to do for an age, but never got round to. Now I'm back I'm wondering why I left it so long.
We were in Killarney and Wicklow, both are beautiful. Spent a bit of time taking trains - Irish trains are brilliant after traveling on British trains. Everything links up, if a train is late for its connection the next train waits (I still can't quite believe that), the prices are really reasonable, the carriages are clean and modern, and apparently it's free for pensioners. It is, in short, the best advert for a national rail service you could imagine.
I meant to do lots of reading, but I fell asleep on the plane over, gossiped with my father all the time on the train, and got really absorbed in the Shetland Wool Week annual he bought down for me when I was on my own, so there's a backlog of books I need to read now, but never mind.
Meanwhile it was really good to spend the time with dad, and with wider family. Dad is a twin, and it's been a very long time since I've really seen him with his brother for any length of time - I had been more aware of the differences between them before this trip, but hanging out with them for a couple of days made me realise how similar they are too, and there's something very satisfying about that.
I also got to see a few more of my great grandfathers (Francis Swithin Anderton) paintings, all quite different to the things my father and I have, so I'm now better able to assess his range and how good he was. I'm quite excited about this (almost as excited as I am about how good Irish trains are) and even more after a previously unknown to me cousin in Canada got in touch. She had also been researching our great grandfather and emailed me the day I went to Ireland. The pictures her family have are particularly good.
Altogether it's been a good few days away with the chance to forget about the work situation for a while and concentrate on other things. Now to get back to the books.