Friday, June 27, 2008

Puppy, Visitors, Rain and Wind.. 27 June 08

I cannot believe how cold it is tonight. It's late June and so cold and wet.

The puppy is now officially Buster. After several attempts at names (including Samson, Rocky and Brandy), we hit upon Buster. It seems to suit him and it's one I can remember!! Everyone thinks he is a beagle and so I guess he is, though his colouring isn't quite right. The more we read about beagles on the Internet, the more fearful we become! They are notoriously difficult to toilet train, obedience train and they run off a lot!

Today we took him to the vets as he had fleas and was due his 2nd vaccination and wormer. The 2 girls in the vets adore Buster and as we were the only customers, fussed over him like a baby! He was given a toy to play with and a doggy treat! Sadly the proper vet wasn't there and so we'll have to go back for the vaccination, but they gave him a worming tablet and some drops of flea stuff on the back of his neck. We have to keep him dry for 24 hours, so are having to keep him in our conservatory as he goes in and out of the cat flaps at will otherwise! More piles of poo and rivers of wee to look forward to.

It's been difficult to do much gardening lately as the weather has been pretty awful. I know his is Ireland but even so.

We have had our first visitors of the year, my daughter Kay and one of her wives, Rachel. They came for the first time, so I was looking forward to their visit no end and wondering what they would think of our cottage and land. I have been looking forward to attempting some ATCs (Artists' Trading Cards). Jim re-arranged the computer table and book shelves so that I had some space to work and I made my first one. I gave it to Rachel as I know she makes them too. The idea is that you swap them. They are never sold. I was pretty pleased with my effort bu forgot to take a photo of it. Kay please note.....

We knew the weather forecast wasn't wonderful but as it turned out, those 2 days were much better than today! The first day, Tuesday, we picked them up from Shannon airport and drove home. We decided to do local things as we also had the land to walk around. In spite of the drizzle, we did walk the land, which took some time. Kay and Rachel both loved it and wanted to move in! I knew they would really...

After our walk, we came back and dried off, then had the most gorgeous curry made by Jim. It was without doubt the best he had made by far. We togged up with coats and hats and headed down to the lake. It was a bit dark and drizzly but ok. The ground underfoot in the wood was a bit soggy in places but we poddled through it all with a spirit of adventure.

The wood is full of lichen on the trees and thick moss on the ground. It smelled of slightly damp moss, old leaves and the damp moss, gorgeous. We reached the lake which was much admired, especially the big stones and waving rushes. It was quite choppy and windy and the sky blackened, so we headed back at a fairly slow pace. Rachel has a painful big toe from a karate accident and Kay has aching joints and a dicky heart. And of course there's Jim's dodgy back too. What a group of invalids!

Much chatting ensued and playing with puppy and cats. It was great fun, light hearted laughter.

Everyone was exhausted, so we called it a day.

On Wednesday we didn't make too early a start to the day. We were off to The Burren, which is really not too far from our home. We had a very civilised breakfast, reminding Kay of my parents' breakfasts years ago when Kay and Jason used to go and stay with them in Lancing. I am growing into my mother apparently. Cereal, tea, toast and chat. Excellent.

Donning weather gear, off we headed to The Burren. The weather was showery with breaks in the cloud but so windy. Unseasonably so. We started off at the visitor centre at Kilfenora. Stopped for coffee and small eats. We took in a couple of tourist shops as Kay wanted to buy some presents. Just near the centre is a Church of Ireland cathedral, now pretty dilapidated, but it has a glass protective roof and is currently well looked after. Around the cathedral is a graveyard which has many beautifully carved Celtic crosses on the graves. We spent quite some time wandering around and taking photos. Kay has a very posh mobile phone with an excellent quality camera in it. Much photo taking went on with this piece of high tec equipment all the holiday! I managed to walk into a very low stone arch and momentarily saw stars!

We then headed off to show them the Dolman. I knew they would love it there and indeed they did. We timed our visit well, as one coachload of tourists were just leaving as we arrived and as we left, after quite some time, another coach pulled up. We met a couple from the USA who said no wonder the Irish left for other lands with our weather! It was blowing a real gale by then and we really had trouble standing at times. We still managed to poke about among the burren rocks and search for the plethora of flora hidden in the abundant nooks and crannies.

We saved the last part of the tour until the last part of the day. There is a tiny ruined church in some dense woodland on one part of The Burren. Not many people know of its existence and it is really beautiful there. It was quite a walk from the road, but still worth it. This part of the Burren was absolutely covered with orchids. Amazing. We squelched our way up the rather muddy path and into the thick cover of the trees. You are greeted by ancient lichen and moss covered trees and masses of ferns. There appears before you an incredibly pretty stream and a tree which is covered with ribbons and other 'presents'. A hermit used to live in a cave at the top of the wood and we clambered up to it. Jim sat pretending to be a gnome with a fishing rod!

We explored the cave, which was actually pretty small for a home. The hermit apparently paid for a vicar to come and live in the church so he would have some company. There isn't much left of the original building, but the whole atmosphere is spiritual and Kay and Rachel were as awe struck as we had been on first discovering this place. I think we probably picked the best places for our particular visitors this time.

As time was passing rapidly and we had left Buster alone, we headed back to the car. Jim hates wind and his back was obviously giving him pain, so he went ahead. We battled our way through the wind and arrived a short time afterwards. The relief when we sat in the car, out of the wind, was fantastic.

We headed back through Gort, our local town and home. Kay and Rachel enjoyed some rest and relaxation while Jim and I made a big spread of meats, nibbles and fresh picked baby salad leaves from the vegetable plot. It was really lovely and we sat around the table for a long time eating and chatting, discussing the day's events and delights - and weather! Kay and Rachel tidied up my computer for me, Rachel having fixed it the day before. Clever girl.

As they had to catch a plane at 6.30am we tried not to be too late to bed. I think I had 3 hours sleep!

It was a super couple of days. It's quiet now but we've busied ourselves taking the dog to the vets, a little shopping and generally tidying. We did go back to bed this morning to catch up on some sleep. It's been a dreadful day weather wise, almost incessant rain and cold. I do hope July and August bring some warm sunshine.

Must to bed soon. I have some great photos of the past 2 days, so will post some of them here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Puppy Puppy Puppy 9 June 2008

The big news is the arrival of a new puppy. Totally unplanned, he 'found' us. Last Wednesday, we were heading off to Shanon airport as Jim was going to the UK until Saturday. It was teeming down with rain. Our lane to the main road is a mile long and about half way along we came to a grinding halt. In the middle of the road there was a wet, soggy, shivering bundle of puppy. I got out and moved it to the side of the lane, thinking someone would be nearby. It ran under our car. I tried again. It ran under our car again. I think walked about 20 yards behind our car and rushed back to it. The puppy bounded after me and ran under the car.... Well, we were getting nowhere and the puppy appeared to be on its own. We decided we'd better turn round and take it back to the barn out of the rain until I returned, which is what we did. I left him in a cardboard box with a big blanket, cold, wet and miserable!

Dropped Jim off at Shannon airport then did some shopping, including some dog food, just in case. It was quite late when I got back and I put the puppy in the car go try and find the owner. I only got as far as our neighbours down the lane. They only knew of one family with puppies and they said they weren't like this one. I decided to go back home and try in the morning. The puppy came inside in its box and drank some milk, turning its nose up at the water.

The cats were not amused! The poor thing grunted like a little pig and shook with fright. I put him in our conservatory so the cats wouldn't be able to hurt him and went to bed, having chatted to Jim on the phone.

Thursday saw a very different puppy, all bouncy and full of fun - and cat biscuits! The cats still didn't like this think much and moved every time he tried to get near them. I had to go into Gort, our nearest 'largish' town to finish getting the adverts for the Gort Show Catalogue, so left puppy in the conservatory again, with some toys.

It poured with rain in Gort, and hail!! Still, ads done, I stocked up with cat and dog food, 2 soft toys from Mrs Quinn's Charity Shop (1 euro each) and headed back to Killanena. I thought that if anyone at all had heard of a lost puppy it would be Mrs Broderick in her little cafe opposite Broderick's Furniture Store, so I stopped there on the way home. It's an amazing place, no prices, no menu and all for charity. Mrs Broderick's sister is a nun and is in Zimbabwe where she helps provide things for the poor children there. Mostly care and school uniforms and books, etc. The money donated at the cafe is all sent over to help. They collect an amazing amount.

I was duly given a cup of tea and a scone (I didn't ask, Ann Broderick knows I like them)!! I asked about the puppy and she didn't know of anyone who'd lost one but would ask around. By now I'm beginning to think the poor little chap has been abandoned. Mrs B realised she had to go and pick up her Grandchildren and take them swimming. She left me in the cafe alone and rushed off. I finished my tea and scones, washed up and put the jam, butter and milk in the fridge and left. No door locked. What a wonderful place. You won't find many like that in the UK.

By now, puppy has decided I'm Mum. As I wander about, I'm now followed by 2 cats and 1 dog! See for yourself (oh yes, I took photos on the first evening)! I think it's a Beagle or Beagle cross. He is utterly adorable and now ours. Mine. LOL. So I haven't achieved much since Wednesday. Lots of mopping up of poos and wees and playing with 2 cats and 1 dog. This morning we're off to the vets to get him sorted and see whether he has any problems. He certainly seems to fall over a lot and we wonder whether he has some back leg problems. We're having name problems. He's been Samson and Rocky but neither of those seemed to fit. Jim wanted to call him Jeremy, as in Jeremy Beadle!!! Hmmm. I think I'll call him Beagly. Any other suggestions? Photos on Facebook or here of course. How jealous are you all now?

I collected Jim from the airport on Saturday, 11pm and took Beagly with me. Half way there, the car filled with a noxious odour! I stopped where I could and pulled over. Beagly was not in his bed in the back but had crawled under the back seat and onto the floor behind the passenger seat, then onto the floor behind my seat. It was pitch dark and I could smell but couldn't find the offending 'present'. I plonked Beagly back in his box and pulled out this little mats. Aha, one was the little parcel, all splodgy and yukky. I had little choice, as time was passing, but to leave the mat at the side of the road! I drove with the windows open to drive out some of the smell.

At the airport, the plane was delayed, so I had a bit of time. Oh, also I was almost out of petrol. AAAAH! Anyway, Beagly was a bit messed up from his journey, so I took him into the ladies and washed him off in the sink. He thought this was ok, but didn't like the dryer much! Took him back to his box, came back and gave me a thorough wash! The plane then landed and I rushed back to the car and got him so that he could be there to meet 'Dad'!! Now the petrol problem.

Jim realised we were very low and we had to decide where was the best place to go where there might be a garage open at 12midnight on a Saturday night. He decided Ennis was probably a good choice and drove very economically along the new road, both of us watching the needle dropping further and further. I was so scared we'd run out and was feeling very guilty because it was my fault for not filling up the day before. Well, as we drove into Ennis, there in the distance we could see the lights of a petrol station shining in the darkness and welcoming us. Phew! That was a VERY close run thing.

Much relieved, we chatted dog most of the way home, missed our turning so decided to carry on and into Gort to buy some food. Back home and that's about it. Jim's back is in an awful mess so he hasn't been able to do much. A recurrence of the problem he had a couple of months ago. I think he needs the vets too. Poor man is in a lot of pain and can't get comfortable. He's also feeling sickly, probably from all the pain killers.

On the plus side, the garden looks lovely. The grass was very long and Jim did manage to mow. I cut all the edges hard back and it all looks very neat and tidy. Yesterday evening I did some bramble and nettle clearing from the other side of the fairy hill. It was getting very overgrown and some of it hadn't been tackled at all. The tiny midges drove me inside at 10pm!

So, our life has taken an unexpected turn! I know little about puppies so have bought a book on ebay about training your puppy and have read up about Beagles. Seems they have a few behavioural problems, but nothing we can't sort I'm sure.

The bottom 2 photos are from the first evening. How miserable does he look? The top right hand one is the following day, his tail wagging at last. Happy puppy.

Happy me.