One Of Those Days and Surprises From Germany

Except for Monday, it had been one of those days… all week long. At the moment, I’m taking a forced break from baking more Christmas biscuits.

Last weekend one of my dogs started limping again. Since about two years this happens now and then. It might have to do with his age a little but I think it is more likely due to the recent drop of temperature and the wet weather. Those of you who have pets know how hard it is to watch them being in discomfort. (Yes, no worries, I have taken him to the vet and he is now on medication.)

What happened Monday? Remember what I have said in my post Advantages Of Online Shopping?

There are things we would love to have, we sort of miss, things that remind us of Germany – things that we order online and receive by post. 

Well, Monday we received another surprise parcel from Germany. No, not an order but something my sister-in-law bought for us and sent over. What a treat!

This was the second parcel from Germany within a short period of time. A little while ago my mother-in-law had sent us a parcel filled with Nippons (yummy rice cakes covered with milk chocolate), a baking dish and a couple of other things.

How did that feel? It was so exciting and felt a little bit like Christmas🎄had already arrived.

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Christmas Biscuits

I went grocery shopping on Tuesday and bought quite a few extra items. Can you guess what for?

Yes, you are right: baking! Baking what? Christmas biscuits or cookies as the American would call them.

Isn’t November a bit early to start baking? Well, yesterday somebody asked me if I’m mad 🙂 However, my grandma and her two sisters always baked their biscuits weeks before Christmas. My mom used to say that these goodies taste much better before than after the holidays. So maybe it’s in the family? I find that with only 7 1/2 more weeks to go, it’s about time to start. 😉

I started with a batch of 40 Spitzbuben (the ones with the jam) on Tuesday.

These are quite common Weihnachtsplätzchen (Christmas biscuits) in Germany. My grandaunts would have made these every year. So delicious! Baking this kind of biscuits brought back lovely childhood memories.

When do you usually start baking for Christmas? Do you have favourites? Do you enjoy baking for friends and family?

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Advantages Of Online Shopping

It’s fun going places during the summertime. I don’t mind driving to the next town when the weather is nice. However, during wintertime I prefer to stay at home as much as possible. That’s the time for me to order groceries and have them delivered to my doorstep. 😛

In Groceries Delivered I’ve told you that, while we were yet living in Dublin, I’ve often placed an order at Tesco and/or Superquinn to have it delivered to our door. We didn’t own a car back then and the deliveries were such tremendous help. They saved us money not spent on bus tickets and we were spared from having to carry home the heavy items.

Another thing we save when shopping online is time. It takes time to drive to the stores and back. It also takes up a lot of time, looking for the items and, if they aren’t available there, searching for alternatives or having to drive to another store to find them. I noticed that, even to get a weekly shopping done, I will usually spend 3-4 hours outside the home while I could be loading the virtual shopping trolley in under an hour. Delivery? That’s no problem and done within 10-15 minutes!

Well, having things like eggs, flour, milk and honey brought to your doorstep might not be that thrilling but it does have its advantages. On the other side, it’s exciting to receive something you’ve ordered by courier, isn’t it? Even if it’s just a certain kind of chocolate or an unique kind of soap, we can’t wait for the parcel to arrive, can we? There are things we would love to have, we sort of miss, things that remind us of Germany – things that we order online and receive by post. Now that is exciting and sometimes unpacking the items even feels a little bit like Christmas… 😉

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Vets

It was time for Missy to get her annual booster, so we drove up to Dublin on Monday.

“You are driving all the way up to Dublin just to visit the vet?”

“Yes.”

“Why? Can’t you find one here?”

We just happened to live in Tallaght, Co. Dublin first before moving to the South East of Ireland later on. Back then we didn’t own a car and that’s why we needed a vet within walking distance. Our friend highly recommended a veterinary practice to us. We thought we’ll give it a try.

A few years back our sheepdog hurt his dew claw and needed surgery done. I tell you, I was so nervous! It was Rapsy’s first time to lie on the operating table. We went to the Animal Hospital and they handled things quite well.

I find it comforting, while I’m a bit of a nervous wreck because of something that happened to my dog/s, the vet remains calm and explains every detail to me. A vet should also explain the steps of how to care for the pet. Then, of course, you don’t want just the sole medical advice but also want the vet to see things from your (the pet’s owner) point of view.

“If it would be my dog I would/wouldn’t…”

I’m thinking of another time, when Rapsy became quite ill. My nervousness during the dew claw incident was nothing compared to the one that hit me when I didn’t know if my dog would continue to live and be healthy again or would have to be put down in the near future. Because time had not been an issue back then, I was able to drive to Dublin for the treatment.

You might or might not find a good vet in short distance to where you live. About half of Ireland’s population and facilities are in Dublin — some more are spread all over the country. The chance that you will find a specific vet or animal hospital is higher in the capital. In emergency cases you might have enough time to drive to Dublin but it’s best to find yourself a good one close by as well.

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Storm Callum

About this time last year (16th October 2017) ex-hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland. This year a storm called Callum is on its way. A status orange weather warning has been issued for all coastal counties, a status yellow for the other counties in Ireland. People are advised that high winds (gusts of up to 130km/h in this case) can be dangerous especially around coastal areas.

Once a storm warning has been issued: take it seriously, make necessary preparations inside and outside the house, and take extreme care while driving on the roads.

Preparations

Around the house and in the garden: Are there any objects which could be taken up by the wind and swirled around? Move them into the shed, into the house or into the garage. Remember the bins, too! Put them down on the ground or, if they are empty, put them into the shed or into the house. Think of garden furniture, flower pots and all lightweight objects: secure them or, if there is enough room for them, bring them into the house.

Check your supply and buy: batteries, candles, gas bottle/s (heater, hob), food cans and water bottles – be prepared in case of a power outage. Good thing to charge and keep phones and other gadgets charged all the time.

Drive very cautiously: Keep control over your car and watch ahead and stay alert. Expect spot flooding, high winds (especially from the side), fallen debris on the road and beware of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

Be careful while walking: wear hi-viz / bright clothing! Watch out for sudden gust that could blow you unto the road or knock you over. Think about your pets, too. When walking your dog be aware that he might be a little beside himself.

Looking back to 2017, I find that Ophelia hasn’t been as bad as we had expected it to be. However, storm Brian, which hit the isle just a few days later, did a lot of damage and brought spot flooding along with it. By the way, I’ve published two posts at my AbleToPerform blog. One is called Storm Coming In and is about Ophelia, the other is called Blown Away and shares a few thoughts about how Brian destroyed something that I had to let go…

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PPSN

Living in Ireland you will eventually need a PPS (Personal Public Service) number.

Who will need to know this number and what is it used for? 

People and organizations like your bank, your employer, the HSE, the National Driver Licence Service and Revenue will need to know your PPS.

  • Employment and tax purposes: Your employer will ask you for this number. However, you do not have to share your PPSN with a potential employer. It’s only once you are hired that s/he is in need to know your number. If you are self-employed you will have to have a PPS, too.
  • Bank: Some banks will ask for this number as soon as you apply for a bank account while other will ask you for this number later on. However, sooner or later they will need it especially if you are earning interest with your savings and they do have to pass on this information to the Revenue office.
  • Public Services: Once you are applying for welfare social services, free travel pass, housing grants and more, the public services will seek your PPS.
  • Driving Licence: Beside other documents you will need your PPS number to apply for driving licence.
  • Health Services: if you are applying for a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card, you will need to have your personal public service number at hand, too.

Where can you get it?

The document can only be issued by the DEASP (Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection) is send out by post. However, you will need to go to your county’s PPS Allocation Centre to apply for it.

To find out more detailed information, go to Personal Publish Services Number (Welfare.ie)

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Future Posts

I’m thrilled to see you here!

Over the past two weeks I have moved some of the old posts of 4inIreland to this new Carmen In Ireland blog. The transfer is complete now. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Future posts will include a wide range of topics that fall into the categories you already know from the old blog: Events & Locations, Food & Recipes, Nature and Weather, On Ireland’s Roads, Shopping and, of course more on The Irish (culture) as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing you here, too. Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to share about Life in Ireland. 

 

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