Bells and whistles

Posted on: 10th June, 2016

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

It’s been a weird month settling back into life in West Cork after six weeks in the US. Thankfully we’ve had some lovely sunshine to remind me just how beautiful this landscape that I call home is. It’s like a balm to be surrounded by the light green of new leaves on the trees. The hedgerows are bursting with bluebells and wild garlic. The first cutting has left fields looking like abstract paintings. I love the long rows of fresh cut hay, which make a field look like it has been draped in corduroy and which fills the air with the heady smell of summer. A weekend away on Cape Clear made my return complete. There are few sorrows that can resist the comfort of the North harbour.

Summer in West Cork is a busy season. The long days expand the available time for tasks and it is finally clement enough to ensure that paint dries and that scaffolding won’t blow away. This summer I have embarked on an ambitious plan of house repairs and renovations: Gutters and drains to check and repair, mysterious leaks that appeared in my bedroom over the terrible weather last Christmas to be investigated, and a long list of dripping taps and broken window hinges to fix. We have also decided to finish the last room in the house — my bedroom en suite shower.

When we moved in 23 years ago this summer, most of the rooms were building sites. Some were gutted down to the original stone. All the empty rooms were full of boxes. As we finished one room after the other, all the stuff got shifted to the unfinished rooms until only my bedroom en suite remained. It has been packed to the ceiling for years, having become the repository of all the boxes, books, old clothes, computers and TVs, that had nowhere else to go. This is probably why it’s taken us so long to finally put in a shower — where would we put the stuff once the room became a bathroom?

Having realised that this was the true impediment to finishing the house, my daughter shifted all the stuff into an unused (though finished) bedroom, and I went out shower shopping.

You’d think that shopping for a new en suite would be a pleasant diversion, but I find having to make infinite choices about colours, plumbing tiles and taps quite trying. There is so much choice! So many bells and whistles vying for your attention!

The last time I had to buy bathroom fixtures, I went into a store and selected three types of taps: bog standard, Victorian style with Hot and Cold in white ceramic, and very expensive Victorian style ones that looked exactly the same as the other ones, but had a fancy name. I lined them up in front of the salesman and asked him to explain the difference. A man of little words he answered: “The first one is €60. The next one is €120 and the other one is €280.”

“Why is that one so expensive,” I asked.

“It’s a designer tap,” he replied.

That was it. As far as their efficiency as a tap, they were all basically the same inside. The bog standard one had no bells or whistles. The bells and whistles on the ‘designer’ Victorian taps pumped the price up almost five fold. I bought the bog standard ones.

The trick when making important purchases is to root out the bells and whistles. Not that everything I buy has to be bog standard. I just hate paying a lot of money for a shiny chrome edge that is going to tarnish just as fast as its poorer cousin. Don’t get me wrong. I love my bells and whistles — in hotel suites and at the circus, where they belong. When it comes to plumbing I want something solid that works well and will last a long time.

As for ‘designer’ stuff, I tend to veer away from it. Sticking a designer label on anything is the nec plus ultra in bell and whistles. It is only there to scream and shout to the world: “I am more expensive than the others. Look at me being all expensive!” I love good craftsmanship, but I don’t need to walk around being an advertisement for the craftsman. It’s bad enough with a handbag, but the concept of ‘designer’ products really has no place in plumbing (There is a category on Amazon called ‘Designer Toilet Seats’!). I don’t want a Dior shower, or Chanel baby clothes, or a Marc Jacobs collar for my dog.

So far I’ve found a lovely sink (on sale), and am starting to know the difference between a quadrant enclosure and a pivot door one. I have made a tray choice (solid, longlasting and easy to clean). I still have to choose tiles, taps, lights, paint etc etc. The worst part is that when work is finally finished and we have our lovely en suite, we then have to figure out what to do with all the stuff in the spare room.

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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