Friday, April 18, 2008

Car free

Yes, indeedy, as of today I am a car free woman. That is to say, I haven't actually managed to sell my car yet but since my insurance expired yesterday I can no longer drive it. I'm mostly feeling relief but also a tiny bit trepidatious. However, living within four miles of the city centre and within 10 to 15 minutes walk of plenty of bus routes (luckily including two which don't just go into the city centre but out to Blackrock via Dundrum and to Sandymount via Rathmines and Ranelagh) not to mention no more than about 20 minutes walk to a supermarket and only 7 to smaller shops, including a bakery I should be fine. Terenure village is just about 30 minutes walk and there are more shops there, plenty of restauants and pubs (not that I go out much), banks and the library. Really no reason for me to have a car except for (a) driving up the mountains to go walking or (b) driving out to the outer suburbs to visit friends who have bought houses (it's the only place anyone of my age can really afford to buy, I can only live so centrally because I'm still renting and sharing a house). Swords, Clondalkin etc. are all accessible by bus even if the journeys are a bit on the long side. I will miss walking up the mountains but there are some beautiful parks near me or at the other end of a bus route as well as Sandymount Strand so I'll just have to walk in different spaces for a while.

My sister is coming home from Australia in a few weeks for a holiday. I'll probably hire a car one of the weekends they're here but need to find out first what her plans are. They will definitely be heading down to the parachute club for at least one weekend and that's only accessible by car (or plane obviously) and it might be nice to go with them for a day. Will wait and see.

Otherwise I'm looking forward to getting a bit fitter by having to walk more. It costs €1.50 for me to get the bus into town but up to or over €2 to go further afield. It's probably not practical for me to buy a monthly ticket yet as it costs €85 and that's a lot of money to spend if I'm not sure I'm going to always use at least two €1.50 journeys per day - during the week that's no problem but at the weekends I won't always need to go somewhere on the bus. The flexibility would be nice though. For now I'll continue to pay just the normal fare to and from work and have bought a Travel 90 handy pack to use on weekends. That's ten tickets for €1.70 each and you can use them for two trips provided the first one starts within 90 minutes of the second. For things like going into the market on Saturday mornings I should easily be able to get in, do my shopping and be back on a bus within that amount of time. For travelling to visit friends it'll also be a saving as it'd be €1.50 into town and then maybe €2.00 out to them and now I'll be able to do the same journey for €1.70. I'm going to keep a careful log of the money I spend on transport going forward so that I can make sure I'm spending the least amount of money necessary but it's nice to have options.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

International Downshifting Week

Haven't posted for ages but have been getting a lot of stuff done. I will catch up on events soon I'm sure.

For now, just a quick post about International Downshifting Week, which starts on Saturday next, 19th April:

"If you are looking for a little help to slow down your pace and enjoy life more, this is the place for you!

Our campaign was formerly known as 'National' Downshifting Week. This year, as a result of the strong support we've received from around the globe asking if other countries can officially 'join in', we've simply decided to rename it
'InterNational Downshifting Week'!"

For more details, check out this link

As I normally find out about these things after the event I was glad to hear about this one. I already do a lot of the things suggested but I think having a 'week' is a good idea to help me re-focus my attention. Sometimes I'm so busy trying to simplify and downshift that I forget what it's all about! I'm making a good start to it though as my car insurance runs out tomorrow, 17th April and despite not having managed to sell my car yet I haven't caved and just renewed the insurance so from tomorrow I'll be a car-less person, back to enjoying the simple pleasures of walking to the shops and so on.

Happy Wednesday all!