As I said, m'Sister was visiting from England. On Sunday morning, they were giving snow-showers with bright spells so she and I set off up the hill to see the drains, the sheep and a snow-covered Mt Leinster. It was glorious: a snappy wind but sun on our backs and not too wet underfoot. On the ridge of hill above the forest we saw a biped approaching along the path. As the vision loomed larger it looked curiously insect-like because the head was tightly enclosed in the padded hood of a wind-cheater and the face was almost completely occluded by enormous reflective dark show googles. We all paused to pass the day.
Solo hill-walker was quick to apologise for his alien aspect: he had given himself a poke in the left eye a few days before which was therefore highly sensitive to the buffeting chilly wind. From the bottom of his hiking rucksack he had dragged out a pair of snow goggles which he had bought fro €10 several Winters ago from ALDIDL. "They'll come in handy someday", he'd said . . . and begob, here and now, so they had. I shared my story of leaning across the boundary fence several years ago talking to me neighbour. He had recently been forbidden by his wife to go to LIDL. She would send him into town for a simple list of messages - buttermilk, eggs and flour, say - and he'd come back buttermilk, eggs and an angle-grinder. I used to be seduced by the Middle Aisle of the discounters: I have an electric chain-saw which has not exceeded a use-time of 20 minutes in the 15 years since I bought it. But as I get older, it seems increasingly unlikely that "They'll come in handy someday", because the days are more obviously finite.
MeFi getting off on the bargains of ALDIDL:
Ninazer0, a MeFi commenter: Oh god, I love LOVE Aldi. The middle aisle has been a source of wonder and entertainment for me for years now. I have seen unicycles, flamingo watering cans, trumpets, tents, cast-iron cauldrons (actually some sort of camp pot but still...), motorcycle helmets and boots, canned black truffles, washing machines, 3D printers, breadmakers, copper cookware, the list really does go on. Willpower is really helpful.
Meanwhile, back up the mountain, it was natural to talk about Paddy Looney when it turned out that Solo came from the next town to where Paddy had lived . . . and died. Indeed, I had been telling m'Sister about how Dau.I and Dau.II had fattened on the emergency candy-bars which Paddy off-loaded on them when he came down from his treks on the mountain. "Yes, of course I knew Paddy", said Solo, "he taught me everything I know about navigation when I started to walk these hills". It's nice to know that, while people still walk in these hills, Paddy will still be alive in their hearts.
Note to self: The drains are in a shockin' state of disrepair, I must make time to grub at them and throw a few sods on the water-diverting berms across the roadway.