Touchdown Ireland

17 July
BA0838 flies over the coast south of the city, slowly banks right over the Dublin mountains and over the farmland and outer suburbs.
Always get a thrill at the first glimpse of the green fields meeting the granite grey sea.
The sun is alive and well at 9pm, a good four fingers above the western horizon  – memories of the childhood summer nights when it was light well up to the 11 mark.
Sitting on the port side so it’s the setting sun and the mosaic of green fields and the legoland of humanity’s mark on this ancient island landscape.
Always love this moment of arrival, just before the wheels touch down.
Staying the night in Dublin and then off to Galway in the morning where at the end of next week surfmuppet has the job of work of hauling his sorry ass across 13km of the North Atlantic in the Frances Thornton Memorial Swim.
Bring it on!
In true surfmuppet family tradition, the welcomers and welcomees get the timing wrong for the reunion at the arrivals gate of Dublin airport. Nobody there.
Son Rory is talking rebellion at the suggestion the bus to Galway may be the next best way to go as his father is too flayed out to go through the hassle of hiring a car and driving.
Understandable bearing in mind we’ve been up since 6am Tuesday morning Sydney time, what with earning a living and the muppet getting the days wrong about when we were actually booked to fly out. With the delayed departure from Heathrow, it is now 9pm Irish time, or 6am Thursday morning, Sydney time.That’s 48 hours uptime with only a couple of hours of catching Zs in the cramped conditions of steerage.
8 hours to KL – not too bad, get or hour or two of sleep, but already knackered on touchdown in Malaysia.
6 hours transit time in KL – hones the tiredness to a fine edge. Clearing up some work emails helps focus the muppet while Rory flays out on an airport lounge sofa. Buy two of  those bean bag filled neck cushion thingamajigies in the hope of getting a bit of an edge on the anti-sleep demon. Hasn’t worked in the past but worth another crack.
13 hours to London – this is the Mike Tyson killer blow, seats in the middle aisle of the full flight, sleep limited to episodes of suddenly waking up with the realisation that one had dozed off while eating/ watching a movie/ reading a book/ staring at the little white plane on the flight path yoke somewhere between Afghanistan and the Carpathian Mountains. As opposed to consciously and deliberately “going to sleep”.Positive note, flying in a brand new Airbus A380 so a little bit more room than usual, the food and service is good, made friends with the two ladies to my right including the lovely Mary from Malaysia, en route to London to visit her student daughter, having the craic with the pair of them at the back of the plane while doing the anti DVT limb stretching and exercising.
One brilliant feature of this A380 is the camera mounted on the tail which the Malaysia Air crew use to provide live images to the passengers of the takeover and landing. Like playing a video game where you get to be the pilot of this behemoth of the skies.
Surfmuppet reckons he did a good job landing the beast at Heathrow using the inflight entertainment controls.
3 hours transit time London – this includes about an hour sitting on the tarmac as the BA staff unloaded from the hold the thirteen suitcases of the clown who didn’t show up after checking in to transit through to the flight. Totally over it at this stage. Just fire her up Mr Pilot and let’s fly west. Kinda over it by this stage.
50 minutes to Dubin – actually read the Financial Times, the “yellow paper”, but might as well have been reading the Beano, as not much is being absorbed. No bullshit with emigration at Dublin, just a check of the passports by the Garda at the emigration desk, chechung of the stamp, a smile and a wave through.All up about 30 hours or thereabouts between takeoff at Kingsford-Smith and the wheels touching down in Swords.
Rory doesn’t mellow out re the bus option with the lure of a 1am punnet of curried chips from Supermacs on Eyre Square once the bus pulls into Galway. Not having a bar of it.
At 18, the young lion knows he’s at the tipping point in the father-son power dynamic with the old bull.
He’s built fairly solid from working out at the gym and playing wing for the Berowra Wallabies U-19 rugby league side.
But the old bull reckons he still has the minerals to be the alpha male in the relationship.
However, recent bouts of horseplay/ wrestling indicate that the writing may be on the wall and the time of the young lion is nigh.
In other words, muppet may not be able to drag his son onto the Galway bus without getting seriously bashed.
Just then the gangly figure of Rory’s 13 year old cousin Tama comes bounding down the arrivals hall and the prospect of a midnight bus trip through Leinster, the midlands, Athlone, Ballinasloe and the west of Ireland hinterland vapourises.
News is that chief welcomer, the brother, is parking the car somewhere in the grounds of the airport after a mad dash from Rathfarnham.
Hugs and handshakes all round as the brother bounds in view a few minutes post Tama’s arrival.
And so the surfmuppet Irish family adventure, 2013, is on.
Bags loaded into the car and speed down the motorway direction Rathfarnham.
First stop the local chipper as Rory and Tama are both starving.
Chipper doing a roaring trade and the surfmuppet gets the ear re-calibrated listening to the patois of the young average Dublin suburban chip eating man and woman.
Back at the house, met and greet with sister-in-law Jackie, just home from Karate training and all sweaty in the dojo gear.Originally from New Zealand, where she married the brother, now speaks with more than a decent slathering of a Dublin accent.Got her black belt last year and won her two bouts tonight by multiple punches in the face and kicks to the side and back of her opponents.Not a woman to mess with is sister-in-law Jackser.
It’s past midnight by the time the haute cuisine of the south Dublin chipper has been devoured, multiple cups of tea drank, photos shared, stories told and the general catching up of how’s doing what to whom in the extended clan. Time to transit over to the Land of Nod.
It’s now 451am on the 18th and first light has come and gone, the dawn lightening up the back garden of the brother’s semi detached.Ireland in summer is a lush and verdant place, especially when you add a bit of sun to all that moisture and the last few weeks have been hot by local standards.
Walk around the garden in the half light catching the scents and feel of the place.
Jet lag kicked in a couple of hours ago but managed to have about three hours shuteye all up.The brother”s birthday today so we’ll celebrate later with a dip at Salthill, check out what the temperature is like.
85th birthday of the father tomorrow, so the family bongo drums are going amongst the six brothers re final arrangements for the celebration.
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