Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Baptism by Tyre"

Originally posted on Posterous, April 29, 2012

Took today slowly—actually slept til noon (an ability I thought I'd lost YEARS ago to dictatorial small children).

We didn't have the research done for this trip as well as we usually do; I'd bought an armful of guidebooks, but hadn't had a chance to open even one. So, while we lazed about the flat and took our time over tea and toast, Tom dipped into a couple of the more interesting guidebooks, I caught up with Twitter friends and checked in with Mike, the friend we'd intended to meet up with tonight.

Despite the wind and drizzle, neither of which I mind, we went out to have a look round the area that once was medieval Dublin. Not much is left of that era, at least in terms of buildings, but the present face of that part of the city is fascinating all the same. Most of St. Patrick's, the cathedral across the street from us, was apparently built in the late 1100's. The cathedral is supposedly built nearly upon the site of the well in which the saint baptized his converts. (That bad audio backing the video with this is the bells of St. Patrick's, caught with my phone.)

Medieval cities had narrow streets, and so, thanks to its medieval origins, does this part of modern Dublin. As the rain came down harder, the puddles in the streets grew correspondingly larger. The narrowness of the roads means pedestrians don't have a sporting chance of avoiding being repeatedly splashed; it's a wonder more of the creatures living in this part of town aren't ducks.

Partway through the walk, we stumbled across the building that once housed Dunlop's tyre factory—the world's first—which, for some incomprehensible reason, obscurely pleased Tom. We seem to have lost something since the 19th century: their solution to the problem of the discomfort caused posteriorly by bicycle seats was the invention of the pneumatic tire (or tyre, if you happen to have been born this side of the Atlantic). The current solution? As observed by Scott Adams, dorky pants. I think Dunlop's solution was superior, but then, I'm a runner, not a cyclist...

Disaster seems to have preceded us: we're two for two on not managing to make intended 3D meetups with friends, thanks to...um...unforeseen circumstances. Paul has had the flu most of the week; Mike's perfidious plumbing today made a valiant attempt to drown him and his family. Goes without saying, doesn't it, that both visits went down the dumper....

One thing to do, then.


*Please note that Tom is responsible for the title; blame HIM.

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