Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #49

What’s top of my mind: My trip is coming together!!!

I was hoping that all of the broad brush strokes of the holiday would be settled by the time I started work next week and it appears that it’s all going to plan. In the past week, I’ve been able to sort out who I’m going to see and when and where. Plane tickets are done and the tour to Ireland is sorted.

Scott was terrific in booking the plane tickets to Dublin and back for me. Flight Centre doesn’t use budget airlines in the UK so I needed someone from there to do that bit. On Tuesday I was woken by my Whatsapp pinging at 7 AM precisely, with a message, “Aisle, window, or middle?”

He was obviously waiting for a reasonable time for me to be awake!

Now that the important bits are settled, we all have plenty of time to decide what we’re going to do day by day. It’s all very exciting.

Where I’ve been: to the travel agents.

On Monday I went down the street and popped into Flight Centre to book my plane tickets. I’m fine with booking tours etc, but I’m more comfortable relying on someone else’s expertise when it comes to the Tetris game of juggling airline schedules.

Me oh my – when they say that plane fares have increased they’re not kidding. It is costing me nearly double what it cost for the same airfare 7 years ago.

Where I’m going: Mooroopna.

Forty years ago, I decided to buy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. I contacted a breeder called Jenny. She put me through the third degree about what sort of home I was going to provide for a pup before she put me in touch with someone who had a litter of pups from one of her stud dogs. I appreciated the interview – I would’ve been deeply suspicious if all she asked me was about payment.

When I fell in love with Sarah, my first Cavalier, and decided I wanted to breed and show her, Jenny became my mentor. I was in the show ring for about 5 years and had my own breeding kennels, then when I started having human babies it all became too hard, so I disbanded my kennels.

Jenny and I stayed in touch. She very generously allowed the boys and me to adopt many dogs over the years. My boys were able to grow up with quality, purebred dogs with wonderful natures at a time when I could never have afforded to actually buy them a pet.

Well, time marches on. Jenny is now living up in the country with 2 dogs left. One of them is Poppy and Jeff’s mother, while another is a boy called Silver. While Jen is in the hospital for a few days, Elizabeth and Silver will be coming down to The Best House in Melbourne for a family reunion of sorts.

So today is ROAD TRIP DAY!

What I’m reading: A Slow Fire Burning – Paula Hawkins.

This is from the same author who wrote ‘The Girl on the Train’, which about half the world has read. I’ve only just started this one, but it’s off to a good start.

Oh! By the way – I’ve already ‘earned’ back my rates for this year ( September 2022 – September 2023) – have a look at the sidebar on the right. My next rates bill doesn’t arrive until August sometime, so now I’m just salting away the numbers to attack that one. I only thought I’d do this for one year but I’m still enjoying it.

And another thing – if anyone has a good book about Ireland – either fiction or non-fiction – please pop it in a comment. I have a lot of research to do about Ireland before I get there. I want to know exactly what it is I’m seeing!

What I’m watching: Junk.

Somehow, I got sucked into watching ‘Love is Blind’ on Netflix. I only have myself to blame. Don’t follow my lead, I beg of you. Save yourself!

What I’m listening to: PODCASTS!

I’ll be on the road for at least 6 hours today, so I’ll be able to rip through a lot of poddies that have been slowly accumulating. Finally, I’ll know what ends up happening to Belinda Blumenthal!

What I’m eating: lots of salads.

Ryan28 and I are on a bit of a health kick and we’re chowing down on salads. I make a couple of salads every two days and then we pick away at them until they’re gone. Then I make another couple and the cycle continues. I’m mainly cooking from the two salad books from Thermobexta , (she also has lots of free recipes on her site), and I’m loving my day off from cooking in between.

What I’m planning: How to decorate my desk when I’m at work.

When I was at the travel agents, I asked for a brochure on England and Ireland. I’m going to cover my desk with pictures so that when I’m unhappy at not being free, I’ll be reminded of why I’m doing this.

Who needs a good slap: …

Meh. I’m in holiday mode. No one.

What has made me smile: My notifications going crazy in the middle of the night.

Two nights in a row!

The first night was when Liga whatsapped the Antarctica group, saying that she was going to get a tattoo about the trip on her arm. The group went OFF, with suggestions ranging from a penguin, Ming’s yellow coat, a black panther, plankton or krill coming through. As you can see, she went with the map of Antarctica on her arm.

Then the following night, Scott sent through 11 messages and links about Essex. It was as if there was a fireworks display in my room! I was tired after being up the previous night with Liga’s conversation, so I left them until the next day.

I had such a lovely few hours, sitting on the couch the next morning going through all the links. We’re going to have a wonderful time.


Dad joke of the day:


  1. Maureen

    That picture at the top is causing me to get on top of booking my airfare to Switzerland soon! I’ve heard 2 comments just today about airfares going up and flights booking fast, so I need to get after it! I don’t have any reading recommendations about Ireland, but I brought my 4 yr old there 23 yrs ago and we both loved it – so much history, beautiful scenery, and warm people.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Ireland’s a bit like Antarctica in that everyone who goes there seems to adore it.

  2. Kate

    I don’t know if you have read them yet, “the princes of ireland” series by edward rutherford explains the history really well (as well as being a great read). For being there and “typical food”: get a breakfast roll in a supermarket deli and tayto cheese and onion crisps. If you have any more questions, I lived there (and still have family there) for a long time so happy to help with anything you may want to know. Either way you ll have a blast on that tour. The scenery is breathtaking and the neolithic architecture is amazing. Plus people are really friendly and helpful.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Thanks for the Rutherford recommendation – I’ll chase them up. As I said to someone else – Ireland is one of those places that everyone who goes there comes back raving about.
      I’ll have to ask James about the breakfast rolls – when I’m on the tour breakfasts are provided. I’ll be surprised if they herd us all into a supermarket each morning!!

  3. Bethh

    These are set in Ireland:
    John Boyne: the heart’s invisible furies – it’s been a while since I read it and I have the memory of a goldfish for plot, but I loved it. It follows a few people from about the 1950s-ish to more modern times.

    Any of the Dublin Murder Squad books by Tana French – SO GOOD. Can be read out of order, each one follows a person who was a bit player in another book. They’d be slightly better in order but really not needed. There’s one on the series I couldn’t read, about a family in financial catastrophe, but I loved the rest. She also has a stand-alone book called The Searcher that was pretty good.

    Then of course there’s Maeve Binchy!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Ooo thanks! I’ll have to get a Required Reading list together.
      I think I’ve only read one Maeve Binchy. I’d have to check on Goodreads.

  4. Onevikinggirl

    The best thing about Ireland is the people, most are endless talkers; good fun!
    You’ll have fun! Look at for reading about Ireland, history, nature, art, people etc. Including what we the Vikings did there. 🙂
    For fiction, I recommend reading some of the books about Sister Fidelma by Peter Tremayne.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Ok, those books are now on the list!

  5. kelly hubbard

    Ditto about Tana French books. I’ve both read and listened on audio-LOVE the audio books!
    Dublin Murder Squad series is fab-but so are the stand alones
    just read them all ?

    • FrogdancerJones

      I love that advice – just read ALL the books!

  6. Chasingfiredownunder

    I got sucked into watching *all* the seasons of Love is Blind ???? fortunately my husband sat right there and watched it too so I don’t feel as bad about getting hooked

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