Thursday, 31 July 2014

How to Impress an Employer at Interview. Part Two.

How will you impress an employer at interview?

In the last post we looked at some of the things you need to think about before you go for that all-important interview which will lead to your offer of a job. an interview.

It is the time of year when many are entering the bewildering world of work for the first time. You may be looking ahead to when you leave school/college next year or even want to improve and progress from your current employment.


Continuing the theme of employability skills with excerpts from  Skills for Employability Part One: Pre-Employment, this post will look at what happens:

On the day of the interview.

 Get up bright and early. Allow yourself plenty of time. Hopefully you will have been able to book a day’s holiday from work or changed your shift. Do not just phone in sick. This is a common ruse and employers can usually see that you are not being honest. You do want a reference don’t you?

 If the interview is in your own organisation, you will need to speak to your line manager to arrange some time off in the day.

  A good breakfast will set you up for the day. A shower and clean hair is essential. Don’t forget deodorant and clean teeth! You did get an early night didn't you? Or did you go out and come home the worse for wear? If so—bad move!

  Dress carefully allowing yourself plenty of time to catch your bus or train or to get through traffic. You have planned your route haven’t you? You need to arrive in plenty of time to get through any security or checking-in procedures.

  Many organisations have a security gate. If so, the security guard usually has a list of people expected. They will tell you where to go. You will probably be directed to the reception area. Here the receptionist will take your name, and usually ask you to take a seat while someone comes to escort you to the interview room. This will be part of their security procedures.

  While you are waiting, go over your notes about the job—how will your qualities help the organisation to prosper. Take deep breaths. Remember the three C’s—cool calm and collected. If there are other interviewees in the room, do not give anything away. Stay in your own space. A smile of greeting is enough.
      When your turn comes:
  Head up, shoulders back and smile, smile, smile! If your head is up your rib cage lifts. You can breathe better and as your chin will be up, you will communicate better and more clearly. A smile on your face comes through in your voice.

  Answer the questions clearly and calmly. Perhaps bring out a piece of information on what you have done e.g. certificates, to clarify and expand on a point. Did you prepare some notes to help you refresh your memory beforehand? Be positive. If asked about your last job, focus on the things you did well.

  You will probably be asked if you have any questions. Did you remember to prepare some?

  How much will you be paid—the advert may have given a salary range.

  Holidays? Sick Pay? On-the job training? What opportunities are there to advance in the organisation?

These are just a few points. Skills for Employability Part One: Pre-Employment has a lot of useful links where you can find more information. Links are live in the eBooks.

Chapter Two. Job Applications. Check your knowledge.

Write your answers down without looking back on the chapter.
  1. In which order should your jobs/qualifications be listed on your CV?
a)Current or latest first and work backwards to school? Y/N
b)Leaving school to the present day? Y/N

  1. What is an employer looking for in an interview?

  1. You should find out about the organisation that is advertising. Why?

Now you can go back and check your knowledge!

In this chapter, we looked at identifying what employers are looking for, looking at job vacancies, identifying personal skills and qualities, a self-assessment checklist, what do I need to do better/learn?
You will hopefully be more confident in applying for a job and attending an interview.

Social Media.

**Now might be a good time to think about how you use social media, i.e. your Facebook Page and Twitter. It is easy for an employer to find you. Do you give a good impression of yourself in the way in which you communicate with others? I came across an e-book (29 pages), which brings home how a bad social media page can cost you a job. The link to this Kindle book is at the end of this book under ‘Links’. If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, download the free Amazon Kindle app. to your computer.
a user-friendly workbook where you can work at your own pace, and explore the links for more information at a time to suit yourself.

I kicked off this theme on employability skills with an excerpt from Chapter Three - Working Effectively in the Workplace.July 24th 2014


To read more and prepare for work or to improve your current practice follow the link here to your favourite bookseller or online retailer worldwide in the bookstore. Available in print, Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions *pdf and ePub for iBookstore, Kobo, Nook etc.



Have Rosalie's Chatter delivered to your Kindle or other device wirelessly with Kindle Blogs and automatic updates. Free trial.Amazon UK  Amazon US


Rosalie 

Monday, 28 July 2014

How to Impress an Employer at Interview. Part One.

It is the time of year when many are entering the bewildering world of work for the first time. You may be looking ahead to when you leave school/college next year or even want to improve and progress from your current employment.


I am concentrating for a few weeks on the theme of employability skills with excerpts from  Skills for Employability Part One: Pre-Employment. This a user-friendly workbook where you can work at your own pace, and explore the links for more information at a time to suit yourself.
I kicked off last week with an excerpt from Chapter Three - Working Effectively in the Workplace.
But now we will back-track a bit and look at what you need to know before you get to that all-important interview which will lead to your offer of a job.

How will you impress an employer at interview? 

You have identified what employers are looking for.
You have prepared a fantastic CV.
You have written a stunning covering letter and made sure that it is factually correct.
You have emphasised your strengths in your 'pen picture' of personal profile.

Going for an Interview.

One morning, the eagerly awaited letter arrives on the doormat. You have been selected for an interview! Well Done!
Full of excitement and anticipation you make a note in your diary and leave it at that. Right?
Wrong!
You have a lot of preparation to do before THE DAY.

Some point to consider when going for an interview.

How will I get there? Bus, train, car, get a lift off someone? You need to be sure that you can travel to work without any problems so it would be a good idea to do a dummy run beforehand if you can. If travelling by bus, check the bus timetables and any connections. If you live a distance from the organisation, they will want to be sure that you can get to work on time, especially if the job involves odd hours. It certainly would not do, in any case, to arrive late for the interview. It is much better to be self-sufficient and not rely on other people for getting to work.
It is far better to have this information to hand when they ask the question.
Do I need a haircut? Do this in good time to allow your hair to settle in afterwards.
What will I wear? Even if you are going for a manual job, a suit is never out of place. If you don’t have a suit and are unable to get one, a shirt and tie is an absolute must with a smart pair of trousers (male). You could then perhaps get away with a smart casual jacket. For the ladies, a suit is always suitable with a nice blouse—no low-cut tops please! It is however not just an interview for the job, but for your future. A good rule is to dress for where you want to go to, what you want to be. Dress to impress is another maxim and very true as first impressions really do count.
Do my clothes need cleaning/washing/pressing? Get this organised in good time.
Have I looked on the Internet for information on the company? I do need to impress them.
What kind of questions will I be asked? You will most certainly be asked why you want to work in the organisation, why you want the job or even what makes you think that you are suited for it. Have this information ready.
You may be asked about the organisation, for instance, what they do.Have you researched on the Internet? Do you have some notes ready? There is more on the sort of different questions that you may be asked on the following website—http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Jobseekers/Helpapplyingforajob/DG_173785
Have I got all my Certificates and/or Record of Achievements (School), or CPD Portfolio ready?
(For CPD see Release Your Potential: Making Sense of Personal and Professional Development. Marsh 2011)
Do I know which part of the building I have to go to, who I have to ask for, and what their position is?
Check your letter and if needs be, ring up and ask for the department who sent out the letter and ask anything you are not sure about. If nothing else, it breaks the ice and gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself. You now become a person. Not just another name.

Task:

Think of three examples of good practice when attending an interview.
1.

Why? What is the reason?
  
2.

Why? What is the reason?
  
3.
  
Why? What is the reason?


Think of three examples of bad practice when attending an interview.
1.

Why? What is the reason?

2.

Why? What is the reason?

3.



Why? What is the reason?
(There are more preparation tasks in Skills for Employability Part One: pre-Employment.   
Did you follow the link earlier about the kind of questions you may be asked?
Take another look and pick out those that apply to the job for which you are applying. Answer them below or on a separate piece of paper. This is not a test. It is designed to prepare you for what could be the most important meeting of your life.)

On the day of the Interview.

This will be covered in the next post. 

Social Media.


**Now might be a good time to think about how you use social media, i.e. your Facebook Page and Twitter. It is easy for an employer to find you. Do you give a good impression of yourself in the way in which you communicate with others? I came across an e-book (29 pages), which brings home how a bad social media page can cost you a job. The link to this Kindle book is at the end of this book under ‘Links’. If you do not have a Kindle e-reader, download the free Amazon Kindle app. to your computer.
a user-friendly workbook where you can work at your own pace, and explore the links for more information at a time to suit yourself.

I kicked off this theme on employability skills with an excerpt from Chapter Three - Working Effectively in the Workplace.July 24th 2014


To read more and prepare for work or to improve your current practice follow the link here to your favourite bookseller or online retailer worldwide in the bookstore. Available in print, Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions *pdf and ePub for iBookstore, Kobo, Nook etc.



Have Rosalie's Chatter delivered to your Kindle or other device wirelessly with Kindle Blogs and automatic updates. Free trial.Amazon UK  Amazon US

Rosalie 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Looking to get into Employment? Some Employability Skills to Help You.

This week, I posted about working effectively in the workplace. Next week - Monday July 28th and Thursday July 31st, I am focusing on job interviews and a successful application as it is the time of year when many are entering the bewildering world of work for the first time.

So what is all this about? Some time ago, my research for another topic led me to a need for employability skills and Skills for Employability was eventually born. In two parts, covering pre-employment and moving into employment, they are user-friendly workbooks where you can work at your own pace, at a time to suit yourself.

Who are these books for?

Below is an excerpt from the Foreword.

"The target audience for this book is diverse. This includes those at pre-employment stage e.g. school leavers up to graduates; 16-18 year old unemployed who have not obtained sufficient grades to follow their preferred path; returners to work; those with disabilities who are seeking a change of employment; those in employment and seeking to enhance their prospects or are between jobs. Currently [01.2012] there are over 1 million people in the UK who are ‘Not in Employment, Education, or Training’ (NEETS).

Many do not have the life skills and/or a basic understanding of what is required to become and stay employed and enhance their future. This book—one of a series—will provide essential information to fill the gaps identified through research and enhance the prospects of a successful interview.

There are many publications which address the gaps in adult literacy, numeracy, and Key Stage 4. The whole raft of knowledge needed for employability and personal development—on which business success depends—is not currently fully represented. This book will address those aspects of employability relating to current business and work-related practice. Currently, most practitioners engaged in work-based learning design and develop their own training programmes. This book will reduce the burden. It is designed to be a non-threatening user-friendly resource for anyone to use whether or not they attend a formal training course.

Those seeking employment may be familiar with much of what is normally (but often not) contained in an induction programme. This book will enhance the process; learners will be entering employment forearmed; it will be a reference in the future.

Skills for Employability Part One:  Pre-Employment is made up of chapters, which cover a number of topics.
Preparing for Work covers: identifying what employers are looking for, looking at job vacancies, identifying personal skills and qualities, a self assessment checklist, ,what do I need to do better/learn? Check your knowledge & Signposting to QCF Units.
Job Applications covers: writing a CV and covering letter, how to structure a CV., Pen Picture & strengths/weaknesses, going for an interview. Check your knowledge & Signposting to QCF Units.
Working Effectively in the Workplace covers: attitude and behaviour, getting to work, effective communication, working effectively. Check your knowledge. Signposting to QCF Units.
ICT Skills in the Workplace covers a self-assessment checklist of ICT skills, e-mail, Internet, health, safety, and security relating to ICT. Check your knowledge. Signposting to QCF Units.
Progression. Where do I go from here points you to the next stage of your journey.
Each chapter will detail the learning outcome (tell you what you will be learning). There will be a series of tasks for you to complete along the way as well as some links to the Internet where you can explore the topics in more detail. This is to give you some variety in your learning journey and to check your progress. In turn, you will have a sense of achievement and will be able to see how far you have travelled.

At the end of each chapter, there will be signposting to personal life development/employability awards and certificates, and/or Functional Skills. So if you read the topics carefully and complete all the tasks you could have some evidence to go towards this. This is called Accreditation of Prior Learning. No learning is ever wasted; learning can come from all sorts of situations both formal and informal, from work or from leisure activities. Once you have learned something, there is no need to go through the process again if it appears in a different qualification. Although this book is not designed to give you a qualification in itself—more to help you develop yourself—the bite-sized chunks mentioned in the Personal Life/Development and Employability Skills qualifications are given a credit value and are transferable. This book will contribute to the knowledge and understanding needed whether or not you are undertaking the qualification at this time.

To read more and prepare for work or to improve your current practice follow thelinkhere to your favourite bookseller or online retailer worldwide in the bookstore. Available in print, Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions *pdf and ePub for iBookstore, Kobo, Nook etc.


Have Rosalie's Chatter delivered to your Kindle or other device wirelessly with Kindle Blogs and automatic updates. Free trial.Amazon UK  Amazon US

Rosalie xx

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Working Effectively in the Workplace - An Employability Skill.

It is the time of year when many are entering the bewildering world of work for the first time. Below is an excerpt from Chapter Three. Skills for Employability Part One: Pre-Employment. A user-friendly workbook where you can work at your own pace, at a time to suit yourself.


Working effectively in the workplace? Hmm! What does that mean? You may say:
‘I know how to work with other people. I mean, we stand there and chat and take our time with jobs. We have a great laugh. Sometimes, I am a bit late but my pals cover for me until I sneak in.’

Right?  Wrong! Of course, it is important that you enjoy your work but there is more to it than that. Working effectively in the workplace starts when your alarm bell goes off in the morning or someone calls you that it is time to get up.

It is important that you work effectively with your colleagues and supervisors otherwise orders would not be met. Customers would be lost and, in the end, your employer would not be able to pay your wages. You would not have a job anymore. You must be able to show that you are a reliable person to employ. How do you do this?

In this chapter you will learn about:
                       ~ Attitude and behaviour.
          ~Getting to work.
          ~Effective communication.
          ~Working effectively.
Please go to the next page where we will look first at acceptable levels of attitude and behaviour.

Attitude and behaviour.

  In this topic we will cover:
 ~ Behaviour in work.
  ~Following codes of conduct.
  ~Being flexible and adaptable.
  ~Motivation.
  ~Being professional in work.
  ~Thinking about your own approach and attitude in work.

Why is it important to have a positive attitude? Why is it important to behave properly in work and not lark around? Can you think of one or two reasons?

Task. 

Put your thoughts in the box below. No one is going to mark them. We just want you to start to think about it.

                                                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What would happen if you thought you could just turn up, work at a slow speed, waste time and generally be sloppy in work? Well, you wouldn’t last very long! Your colleagues would soon get fed up of covering for you and doing your work. After all they don’t get paid extra to do your work and they have their own timescales and quotas to meet.

If you show a willingness to do whatever task you are given, ask for more work when you have done the tasks given, are friendly and helpful, then you will please your employer/supervisor and soon become a valuable member of the team. You may get more responsible work to do and more pay. That means more goodies in life – nice clothes, holidays, better place to live etc. More importantly, you will have a feeling of achievement and self worth which can only be good for your confidence and self-esteem.

It is hard starting at the bottom or taking a job which you think is beneath you but we all had to start somewhere and sometimes – especially in the case of temporary jobs – it is a kind of long interview so that the firm can see if you fit in.
So be positive and look to the future. Be a ‘Winner’ and look up to where you are going.

Task

Give an example of when your behaviour has been positive
  
How was it appropriate?

Have you ever volunteered to do something? Y/N

When? How long ago? If not, why not?
   
Give an example.
  
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Larking around in work or acting in an unsafe way would soon have you up for a talking to and possibly a verbal or written warning. Health and Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility and we will cover this in more detail in Skills for Employability Part Two:Moving into Employment.

I mention it here as it is so important and must be emphasised at the outset. However most workplaces have what we call a Code of Conduct. That is the minimum standard of behaviour expected of you. This may be a formal written document e.g. in larger organisations, or you may just be instructed on do’s and don’ts on your first day. In either case you must follow them. The Health and Safety at Work Act (HASWA) 1974 covers employees’ responsibilities and this must by law be posted up where everyone can see. Make sure you read it.

As we leave this topic, there is another aspect of attitude and behaviour which we must talk about. Can you think what it is?

Now discuss this topic face-to-face either with one of your colleagues or fellow students, or in a group, and compare what you have learned. Make some notes.

To read more and prepare for work or to improve your current practice follow the link here to your favourite bookseller or online retailer worldwide in the bookstore. Available in print, Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions *pdf and ePub for iBookstore, Kobo, Nook etc.

Have Rosalie's Chatter delivered to your Kindle or other device wirelessly with Kindle Blogs and automatic updates. Free trial.Amazon UK  Amazon US

Rosalie 





Friday, 18 July 2014

Another interesting week - friends, family, and dreams.

Social Media.

I am a prolific, some say, Tweeter and Facebook poster. I was invited to a face-to-face social networking event called a Tweet-Up. What is a Tweet-up? You may ask. It is simply an opportunity to put a face to all those names with whom you chat on a regular basis. The host introduces each part of the event and you can make some interesting connections. Usually there is the dreaded 30 or 60 second individual introduction by everyone. (See Talking the Talk:Getting the Message Across for overcoming nerves and preparation.) There is sometimes a speaker on relevant business issues and a chance to mingle.  If not - well you have got out from behind the desk and back into the real world. 
It is some time since I have been to a tweet-up and was looking forward to connecting at the North Wales Tweets event at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Wrexham which is only a stone's throw away for me. 
This monthly event was a little different; what I understand is a regular, weekly, on-line #nwhour of tweeting, continued here where everyone was focused on their phones and tablets to chat about things to people in the room. It was both preceded and followed by open networking where you could mingle and introduce yourselves. 
I have to say that Jaz Gabeen did a brilliant job in coordinating the event. We had a short chat at the end. I managed to take some pictures from a distance with my phone so apologies if they are not our usual quality. Click here for the Facebook album.
I don't know who provided the cake to sustain us but it was delicious and Becky treated us to a few songs with her powerful voice.
Other people I mingled with were:
Dave Ledward who runs #nwalestweets -Keeping North Wales Social. 
Nikki and colleague from Job Vacancy Portal (Prestatyn).
Debbie Thomas of Grangewood Copywriting. We shared an interest in the learning and development side of HR.
Ms Gaz Jabeen a Dance Teacher . Choreographer from Bollywood Burnout. 
James from 5%Plus Speciality beers from around the world. He runs the Bar at events.
Dan Salisbury of DLS Business Solutions. Web Design and Hosting.
@Chester Tweets.
And last but not least Phil Woods. Editor/F1 Journalist of Pit Lane Reporter. Quite a character. We had an interesting chat about publishing, jacket design, eBook formatting etc as he has written two books.


Different stages of life - a reflection.

I sometimes reflect that as children we simply played with our friends with the only care in the world was what to spend our pocket-money on; which sweets would we choose in the local sweetie shop. As teens we discussed clothes, shoes and the latest pop records - Pat Boone, Cliff Richards, The Shadows as we listened to the latest release through the headphones in the record shop's (Dawsons?) sound-proofed booth. As twenty some-things we discussed babies. Into our thirties it was growing children and their teens. The forties and fifties brought tales of travel and more agonising over adult children. Now  we still discuss families and travel but the main topic of conversation is, I hate to say, about our husbands and our own various limitations and ailments. Knees, hearts, joints, backs - you name it! What will the next era bring? Nursing homes et al?

Getting fit.

In an effort to alleviate some of the problems mentioned in the last paragraph, I am being very good and sticking to my plan of an Aquafit session for an hour on a Monday plus a session in the gym followed by a gentle swim in the nice warm pool on a Thursday. I think it is starting to work. My hamstrings have a bit more stretch and I did more in the Aquafit exercise class this week. The dates are in my diary not to be moved.

Writing.

The Long Leg of Italy. Amidst all this I did manage to get to the end of editing the chapter on 'The Hidden Lakes, Alps, and Dolomites of Northern Italy' this week. Re-playing our video film was, I found, quite emotional as I re-lived the whole tour. Actually the whole book has been an emotional journey spanning many years, as our first visit on a three cities tour independently was when we had only been abroad twice before - in middle-age. Next to edit is 'Our Journey to the South'.  Watch this space.
All this editing, creativity, and software manipulation certainly keeps the grey cells in shape
Enjoy the weekend.

Rosalie xx

Discover-Rosalie at www.discover-rosalie.com
e: rosaliemarsh@discover-rosalie.com
For info, photos and videos:


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Exploring Lisbon and the Estoril Coast.

Lisbon - the capital of Portugal -  is such a wonderful, vibrant city with much history and diversity. The old quarter of the Alfama contrasts with the more modern part of the city, sitting as it does on the Tagus Estuary.

Further down the coast to the west lies cosmopolitan Estoril which can be easily reached by a short train ride from Lisbon. Well worth a visit for the shops,the Tamariz beach with its wonderful waters, and the long promenade which leads to Cascais on the tip of this coast.




When young Charlotte fell into a dream and found herself - now all grown-up -  in Portugal with her friend Daisy she got into all kinds of escapades.



Friday, 4 July 2014

Another sneak peek into Rosie's adventures in Ireland.

Touring across Ireland to Westport. What happened when Rosie returned. Today - Further Afield.


Book stores in Westport, Co.Mayo, Ireland.
". . . The following day – Friday – we decided to set out for Castlebar. Firstly, we went into Westport town to browse the shops and try to catch the owner of the little specialist bookshop which carried unusual books. We hung around for a bit, as we thought it may be our last chance. Eventually he appeared, striding along with his dog at his side. He had e-mail access and had replied to my earlier correspondence. I had followed-up with a telephone call whereupon we had a lovely conversation, so I did not feel that we were strangers now. We had a small chat in the shop before making our way back to the car to start our calls for the day. It was still quite early; the town was just waking up.
Westport is such a pretty town with flower baskets everywhere. The river, flowing through the centre, is so tranquil. It was lovely to see that the shops had not lost their individuality even though they were modern and up-to-speed inside. The Tourist Office had moved since our last visit. Then, it had been housed in a small building on one side of the river in the Mall;   quite near what had been the Railway Hotel where I first started to recount our experiences in 1998 and where Just Us Two  was born. Now we found that the Tourist Information Centre was housed in a magnificent building. Very imposing it was with its white pillars and steps up to the door. It was very modern inside and much better suited to provide the variety of services needed, along with a gift shop for souvenirs. There was plenty of room to browse and queue if it was a busy time.
The Railway Hotel I have just mentioned was now a hotel no more. Instead, it had been converted to a suite of apartments. What a wonderful location in which to live, right in the centre of town with the river running in front of it and everything close to hand!  We noticed on one of the roads out of town that there was now a big supermarket. Now that was progress!
Heading to Castlebar, we just followed the signs. After the events of the previous day, we both agreed that we would just follow the signs, park up and look for information of the location of the bookshop we were looking for. Parking up as best we could, as by now the town was busy, we found an information board on the corner of the street. I was worried in case we would get a ticket as parking instructions were not clear but we took a chance. Finding our bearings, we headed towards the main street. It was nearing lunchtime by now. A little early but we had a lot to do. As we came from the car, we passed some very old buildings in what appeared to be a little ‘close’ with a grassed area bordered by railings, nearby. It was all very peaceful and pretty.
Castlebar is a lovely town; it has a very long main street with shops and pubs of all kinds. The street was thronged with shoppers strolling and people hurrying along as they went about their business. I looked around and reflected how vibrant everything was. Across the road, we saw a couple of pubs and thought that the one on the corner looked OK. It was painted black and looked very old and very much like a traditional Irish pub. Going inside we made our way to what looked like a back room but was really an extension of the bar where they served food. Squeezing into a booth, we caught our breath as we looked around in wonder, drinking in the uniqueness [to us] of our surroundings. . . ."
Order the Paperback.
Download the eBook

Rosalie xx

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Planning a Trip to Ireland? Where to Go - A Sneak Peek.

Touring across Ireland to Westport. What happened when Rosie returned. 

"When planning our journey, I had searched the Internet for good deals and facilities on hotels and had decided on the excellent Westport Woods Hotel and Spa as a base as it was

more central for our family visits combined with our itinerary of visiting booksellers stocking our book. This modern hotel is set in extensive grounds on the edge of town, not far from Westport Quay. With a large comfortable lobby and a choice of the more formal but stylish restaurant or the contemporary Café Bar with waiter ‘service-with-a-smile’, the scene is set for a relaxing stay. The hotel is near to the grounds of the 18C Westport House and gardens – the home of the Marquess of Sligo – which is open to the public. The grounds also house a Pirate Adventure Park. Westport House was built on the site of an old castle, which was owned by the Irish Pirate Queen, Gráinne Ní Mháille (O’Malley).
In Ballycroy Churchyard.
Westport Town. County Mayo, Ireland.

Croagh Patrick from Shranamanragh
A short stroll down the road is Westport Quay and Harbour. Well actually, a bit more than a short stroll. We did not go down there this time, as the road back is quite steep but on our first visit in 1998 we explored more and spent some happy hours down by the quay before strolling through the woods and grounds of Westport House. 
I still wonder if my grandparents used to come here when they were younger, but then, Ballycroy is quite a way from Westport so I expect that visits were on high days and holidays. One of my cousins (second cousin-once-removed) once told me that in days gone by, our forebears (grandparents and uncles) walked from Knockmoyleen, Shranamanragh and Ballycroy to Westport to catch the boat to America and the UK, carrying their shoes around their necks.
‘Why?’ I asked in naivety and ignorance, not fully understanding the conditions at that time.
‘Because they only had one pair of shoes,’ was the dry reply.
Such was the poverty at that time and I am talking about the very early 1900’s – not so very long ago. The road from the harbour and quay with its small fishing tackle shop, carries on to take you west, past Croagh Patrick, to Louisborough on the coast. Here you could enjoy an ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlour to refresh you before the journey back to Westport or beyond.
A large part of our itinerary involved touring through County Mayo to Castlebar, Ballyhaunis and Tuam; north to Ballina and Sligo; east to Cavan; south to Ballinasloe in County Galway. This offered the opportunity to see a good deal of the surrounding area. Sometimes ‘eventually’ was the operative word as Sat Nav recovered and took charge once again. Firstly, we planned to re-visit our cousins in Achill and Knockmoyleen. We had been in touch by post and telephone to make the arrangements beforehand. Both were disappointed that we could not stay with them. The hospitality in Ireland has to be seen to be believed."
Rosie eventually left her heart in Ballycroy. Find out why.

An excerpt from Chasing Rainbows: with Just Us Two. Adventures continued with a return to Andorra - eventually - after going into the French Alps and more. At last they went to the top of the mountain in Ordino in Andorra and more. . .

Rosalie x
http://www.discover-rosalie.com
** These photos are not in the book but there are many others.