Monday, June 3, 2013

The Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker

Nope, never mind. Just the Baker. That's me!

So, I arrived in Ireland on Tuesday morning. Got to the house here about 3 p.m. in the afternoon and was told to take the rest of Tuesday and all of Wednesday recovering and sleeping. Which I did, most gratefully.

Thursday morning rolled around though, and I was out of bed at 5 to get to the bakery by 6. Apparently, Thursday is the busiest day that the bakery has, with the most different kinds of things made. Nothing like leaping into the deep end! On Thursdays, the bakers are usually there until 12 noon, sometimes 1. I made soda bread, scones, banana bread, tea brack, scone mixes, coffee icing, and chocolate icing. I think. Amy, the other baker, was making cakes and I'm not sure what all else.

I knew Amy was leaving at 8 a.m. on Friday to go on vacation, so I was trying to learn as much as possible before she went! So far I've had help even though she's gone, but tomorrow I'll be all by myself. However, Tuesday would probably be the easiest day, so I'm not too worried yet.

All right, as promised, pictures of the store/bakery!

This is the sight that greets me in the morning. The sign for Jaybee's. Before you get excited about the gas prices, that's per liter.

And here's the front of the store. Actually, when I first get here in the morning, everything is closed up, since the store doesn't open until 8. 

 Just inside the store. The girl behind the counter is my lovely upstairs housemate, Rosalie.

 And the one you've been waiting for -- the bakery itself. We have three small ovens and two large, there on the left. Two big mixers, ample counter space, and a big sink and sterilizer in the corner. Lovely! I must say that this is how the space looked after an hour of cleaning this the midst of baking, there's no telling what you'll find stuck on the counters, stacked in the sink, or gritting beneath your feet on the floor!

Now, a quick(?) vocabulary/culture lesson before we move on. From now on, if I use a word that seems funny, refer back to here to see what I mean.

"Irish" words on the left, American words on the right:

queue = line
till = cash register
hob = stove top
cooker = oven
trolley = cart
petrol = fuel or gas
biscuit = cookie
chips = fries
crisps = chips
take away = take out (food)
shop = store
charity shop = thrift store
sultanas = raisins
rubbish = trash or garbage
rubbish bin = trash can
ice creams = ice cream
notes = bills (like dollar bills)
post = letters or mail
holiday = vacation

If something is "grand" (if someone says "that's grand"or "you're grand" or just "grand!") it means fine, or sometimes thank you.
I've heard a lot of "how are ye?" for some reason. Don't know where that comes from. :) Also, "thanks a million."
And lots of rhetorical questions like, to a customer, "I'll just grab a bag for you, won't I?"

Today, we had what is known as a "bank holiday." There's nothing special that it commemorates. It's just a day off (except if you work in a bakery, and everyone wants scones and cakes for their holiday!). There are several of these throughout the year.

The money is in euros and the fractional amounts are cents. €3.50 could be read as three euro and fifty cents or just three euro fifty. So far I have seen euro notes for 5, 10, 20, and 50 euro. I don't think there's a 1 euro note. However, they have coins for 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, and 1 cent.

Speed limits are in kilometers/hr, instead of miles/hr.

Almost all the cars are manual! I guess I'll have to learn!

We measure some dry ingredients in the bakery by grams, on a scale, rather than cups. I love it, because it's easier and more accurate!

Temperature is in Celsius. I'm still getting used to this one. "What do you mean the scones bake at 220?!"

Jugs of milk come by the liter or 2 liters, not by the gallon.

So far the butter I've worked with comes in a package of 454 grams. So, basically a "stick" of butter is a tiny bit bigger than a pound of butter in the States (picture all four sticks as one big one).

The shower is electric. There's no faucet handle to turn. You use the bottom dial on the white box, and turn it to the number corresponding to the temperature of water you want, and it comes out the shower head! Nifty!

Well, that's all I can think of for now. My readers from Ireland will have to tell me if I've got things right in this post! 

Thanks for reading! I don't know when or what the next post will be. Let me know what you want to see/read, and I'll do my best! 


  1. Hi Bekah! It's your dad's cousin Jane (as in Japan Jane). I've loved reading your posts! And I can relate to your sense of adventure and cultural learning/adjustments. Keep the descriptions, observations, and reactions coming! And keep in mind the stages of culture shock just in case.

  2. Trying, once again, to leave a comment....I love reading about your new experiences and the photos make it seem like I'm almost there with you!