Thursday, December 31, 2009

31st December 2009. One day left!

The Deenery with its completed extension and the remains of the demolished barn in the foreground.


It's 31st December and in about 20 hours time we'll be saying goodbye to 2009. I can't say I'm sorry. Of course, it's not all been bad but it has been a bit of a tough year for us. I suppose the extension has been the main worry and the neighbours' complaints. Hoorah that it's all over now and we're going to reap the benefits of the new build in 2010.

The Winter weather has also been pretty grim with frosts, snow and then ice, oh, and floods of course!! We have been waiting for the plague of frogs or locusts but so far we seem to have escaped those.

Our nice neighbours, who have a 4 wheel drive car, spent Christmas with relatives in Dublin. They returned home the night before last and ended up skidding on the ice up on our main road and putting the car in a ditch. Luckily some helpful lads came past and helped them out.

It rained a lot yesterday so we decided to try going to Galway today. It wasn't too bad and much of the road had at last been gritted - presumably fairly recently. Galway itself had clear roads, but it was sleeting and snowing while we were there, so we didn't stay too long. We checked out the Tesco sale and stocked up on food, then ran the gauntlet of the sleet across the car park back to the car. The journey home was a bit hairy as it was snowing quite hard, but luckily we made it without incident.

In our absence, Buster had emptied one of the bins and a box full of balls of wool that I had foolishly left on the floor! Well, it all looked rather like spaghetti and Jim and I spent some time trying to unravel it all. I still have a couple of woolly birds nests to try and make sense of!

I have been cutting up material ready for some collage, Artist Trading Cards and maybe a new rag rug. I have re-joined our ATC group - we still have 10 members but not quite the same 10 and will start our alphabet all over again in early January. I really enjoyed it last time and now I have found all my missing things, I should have lots of supplies to work with.

My camera has lost the ability to focus, which is why there aren't any new photos today. Jim has said I can use his instead so I will do that from now on.

Tomorrow evening we are staying in and have bought some nibbles and dips to eat. That'll suit me down to the ground. I have been suffering with an almost constant headache for a couple of weeks. Hopefully they will clear up soon - or it'll be a new year trip to the doctor - not a good start.

I am loving being in my new studio and hope to get the sewing machine set up soon so that I can have a play with it again.

I have really enjoyed blogging this year and making so many wonderful and new bloggy friends. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2010 - I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.

Me and my birthday cakes, September 2009.

February 2009, the flooring for the extension had just been laid.

And the first photo above, the completed extension, December 2009.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

We Have Water! But Can't Get to the Sales! Old Photos.

Thankfully, the water de-frosted yesterday so we had running water again. It does make life easier! We have had sun during the day which did the trick I think. The trouble is, the sun has melted much of the snow, then at night the temperature has dropped to freezing and it's all frozen again! What with our water freezing and the gas freezing, Jim said 'I guess it's the plague of frogs next'! lol.

We thought we'd head off to the sales today. We haven't been out since the Monday before Christmas because of the weather. We expected the roads to be ice free by now. How wrong we were. The road up to the main road isn't too bad as the farmers have been gritting it, so we reached the top road ok. Far from being clear, the top road was just sheet ice. We struggled to get up the first incline and decided fairly quickly that it wasn't worth the risk, so turned round and went back home! Ah well, the best laid plans and all that.

It was a bit disappointing as we'd both fancied a day out. Buster was so excited to see us, you'd think we had been out for hours, not 20 minutes.

So we spent most of today sorting out my studio/office. Jim put a curtain pole up and we have hung one curtain up on it, as that's all we have that fits! I have brought things down from upstairs and the shed outside. It's so exciting rediscovering things that were in store.

Old Photos

Like most people I have many old photo albums, some of which are falling apart. Jim is going to scan them for me and has just started. My daughter K and son Jason will probably be surprised to see these photos. Please forgive the quality, it was in 1973 and 74! The one at the top shows K and Jason at the top of our slide. This was taken in the garden of our old cottage in Thetford, Norfolk. My first husband and I bought it in 1972 for not much more than £2000! It was very small with 2 bedrooms upstairs and 2 rooms downstairs. We then bought the one next door and eventually the one next door to that! The whole lot cost about £5000. Hard to believe now. Inside were huge oak beams and the ceilings were very low and the windows tiny.

Jason at the top of the slide. What a mucky face he has!

K (she was called Trina then) at the top and Jason waiting at the bottom of the slide.

This photo was taken after a wedding with Jason on the left and Trina on the right. I remember making that suit of K's!

Finally, this is Jason and K's dad Ken, my first husband at our housewarming party. I don't remember the lady but she was called Pat according to my note under the photo!

That's it for today -short and sweet. I hope those of you still on holiday are enjoying the break.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Has Come - and Gone!

Buster and Sandy enjoying a Christmas Eve cuddle!

Christmas Day

So that's it for another year! Christmas Day has come and gone. We had a quiet time. So far since the cold snap our gas has frozen and now our water has frozen now so we're eking out the water in the hot water tank! We also couldn't go out shopping because the roads are so treacherous but in the end we managed without. We're going to go to Galway on Sunday to have a look around the sales.

Today the temperature has risen a bit and tomorrow is supposed to be the same, so with a bit of luck the water might de-frost!

We've had a leisurely day today. The exciting news is that most of the furniture is in my new studio and I'm in it now. What a Christmas present.

We didn't have our Christmas Dinner until about 4pm, but that was fine, we were in no rush. The turkey was gorgeous.

We opened our presents a little while before dinner. I am now the owner of a super strong new pair of Wellington Boots, a pair of moccasin slippers, a lovely craft book on making dolls, a couple of scrap books and 2 huge bars of chocolate! I also received the Susan Boyle CD and the Will Young Hits CD, both of which I wanted. Happy me!

I watched Dr Who and the Christmas special Strictly Come Dancing which was lovely and Brian and Ali won. I think everyone was swept away by the romance that has developed between them, but Ali is a beautiful dancer too.

Buster had a Christmas Present too - of a rugby ball, which he has managed to destroy already. Bad dog. Still, he's enjoyed attacking it and he and the cats have had some turkey too.

Here is Buster opening his present:

Here's Jim about to attack his Christmas dinner:

And in his Christmas Hat!!

My Play Room/Studio

Here I am at my desk in my new room. What a great present. I also have some shelves on the other wall now, with more to come. Of course the walls are rather bare at the moment, but I'm sure that will soon be rectified.

Frosty Photos

I took loads of photos on Christmas Eve as the frost was so thick and the sun shone:

The Deenery covered in frozen snow and frost.

Rose Bay Willow Herb.

Frosty Bracken.

I do hope everyone else has had a good Christmas Day and continue to enjoy the holiday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Frozen In - What a Difference a Day Makes

A gorgeous Robin standing on the ice.

Snow and Ice

We have been off line since yesterday so I've only just been able to post. We had snow - yes snow on Sunday, then yesterday it froze and today it's even worse, with temperatures hitting -7 last night, which is very cold for Ireland. We have been using extra pellets in our wood pellet boiler as a result and supplies in our barn have become depleted. Jim rang to see whether we could get a delivery. They said there were 15 deliveries before us and they couldn't guarantee it before Christmas, so Jim decided he would have to risk it and go and collect some.

To get to the main road from here is a mile long track/road and the half up to the road is up hill! It was ok going out as the temperature had risen a bit and the worst part, as you have to stop at the top of the hill to see whether you can move out onto the main road, was slushy, so Jim managed that ok. He had to drive pretty slowly all the way. The weather forecast gave freezing temperatures up until Christmas Day, so Jim decided he'd do the shopping on Monday in case we couldn't get out again.

I took Buster for a walk and the snow had frozen on the road. We hardly made any footprints at all. Buster can't understand the ice and why he can't drink from the buckets as he usually does. I took one or two photos of course!! I didn't dare cross Kevin's yard to get down to the lake side as a stream runs down it and it was solid ice! It seemed to get dark so early, I guess it was about 4 ish and Jim hadn't returned. I was a bit worried but he turned up about 5 armed to the teeth with Christmas food!

It's started snowing now!

He had managed most of the journey without mishap except the last part, just before the turning to the long road to ours, where a tanker had got stuck. Lots of people helped, someone fetched grit and a tractor pulled the tanker away. Then Jim couldn't get the Doblo moving up the hill, so it had to be pushed and away he went. The track to ours was by then frozen solid and he said he just slid most of the way! How frightening.

We think we are now stuck in until it warms up again. It's just not worth risking the roads, that's if we could get out to the main road! Talk about climate change.

Jim took a few photos of the snow falling on Sunday:

Buster licking up the snow. He thought it was wonderful.
The barn behind the snow. Roses on the left!!

Snow on The Deenery steps.

Buster in the snow.

Compare my frog, in the top picture he's all frosty and underneath, he's wearing a snow hat!

The barn patio covered in frozen snow, taken 21st December, 2009.

Frozen snow on stones.

The road to the lake with Flagmount sprinkled with snow behind.

Melting ice on the road. Do click on this if you have time - the patterns are amazing.

Bracken with melting snow.

Feed the Birds

We have been feeding the birds daily. We have 2 feeding stations and today Jim put a coconut out, which the tits particularly love. I managed to take some photos of them feeding yesterday:

A goldfinch enjoying the nuts

This is the face of a goldfinch, they have a lovely red band round their beak, which is so cute.

A Great Tit and a Goldfinch's tail!

A blue tit, another of my favourites.

Latch Hook Rug

Yesterday evening I finished my turquoise latch hook rug. I'm quite pleased with it, although I'm not sure where it will end up:


My son Jason and his family have had a lot of snow in East Anglia, UK. I stole these photos from Jason's Facebook album:

Beautiful Jack with 'Chilly the Penguin'. He made it with his Daddy.

He looks so excited, doesn't he?

Jack on the settee, warming up his very cold feet!!

I can't wait for a Jack hug in January. And a Kitty one of course.

Decorating Progress

Jim is busy painting my room, which is having yellow walls. He is concentrating on the wall where my computer goes, so that I can move it in there. I can't wait. I have already varnished the skirting boards and door surround.

That's about it for now. We have received some gorgeous Christmas cards, including one of/from Poppy and family. I will photograph it and show you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Catch Up, Christmas is Coming...

Gold and Black Baubles in a shopping Mall in Galway.

Oh life is just too busy at the moment! The weather's been very frosty, so I've taken more photos which take time to sort out, crop, etc.

Galway Trip

Jim and I went to Galway for the afternoon on Wednesday. It was damp and cold, but we still enjoyed it. I love the shops when they are all decorated for Christmas and took a few photos with Jim's camera. I managed to get a few Christmas presents too, but still need one more shop before I'll finally finish.

Unfortunately, when I was heading round a corner, I slipped and fell and took a lump out of my knee! I didn't think I'd done much damage as I was wearing jeans, but when I inspected, there was blood everywhere! However, since then it has healed pretty well thankfully. I must be getting old!

Here are a few photos from Galway:

The river runs through the centre of town and it was a raging torrent. The light was fading but if you click on the photo, you can see the flow under the bridge.

This was taken on the other side of the road and the river had huge waves! It made me feel weird, as if I was on a boat, looking down at the water.

I think that says Happy Christmas!!

Pretty blue trees

These fabulous clocks were in one of the many splendid shops in Galway

Together with these fantastic Santa decorations. I wanted them!!

Inside one of the shopping malls
This shop had huge baubles in the window - I thought they were amazing.

Another of their windows.

Yes, they even had a Marks and Spencer!

Supermac's, the Irish MacDonalds went to town with their lights.

The gold and black baubles in the top photo were my favourite. The shopping centre they were in contains Tescos.

Do click on any of the photos to see all the details.

Our Temporary Bedroom

We have been sleeping in the spare bedroom for a week now and it's lovely and warm and comfortable. Jim had a bit of trouble sleeping one night as did I another, but we seem ok now. Here is a photo of the bed, lampshade and curtains:

The teddy by my side of the bed was a 60th Birthday present from our friends Ivor and Maureen.

I'm not so keen on the large mirror Jim has put on the wall, especially when I'm getting dressed.

Theatre Visit

Tonight we went to the theatre in Ennis. The play we saw was performed by the Druid Company from Galway. We had previously seen this company perform a play called The Cripple of Inishmaan and it was brilliant, so decided to take the opportunity to see them again. The play tonight was 'The Gigli Concert' by an Irish playwright, Tom Murphy and is thought to be his greatest work to date.

It was a much heavier work than the previous one we had seen, very wordy and quite tough to watch at times. There were only three characters, two men and one woman and all the acting was quite superb. This is a brief synopsis of the play:

The Gigli Concert is widely regarded as one of Murphy’s masterpieces. It deals with seven days in the relationship between dynamatologist JPW King, a quack self-help therapist living in Dublin but born and brought up in England, and the mysterious Irishman, a despairing construction millionaire who asks King to teach him how to sing like the great Italian opera singer Beniamino Gigli.

There were moments of high drama, comedy, passion and pathos. All three characters had invented stories around and about themselves and these fantasies unravelled as the play progressed. I found some of the dialogue hard to hear as the songs of Gigli were often played whilst the actors were speaking and with my hearing difficulties, that didn't help. However, it was a super evening and a fine production which I am glad we made the effort to go and see.

A Few Other Photos

When I took Buster for a walk to the lake the other morning, it was as smooth and clear as I have ever seen it. I will post just a few of the 'reflection' photos I took as a result.

This is a joiner of Lough Graney. Please click on it to see the details and reflections.

The edge of the lake was frozen and Buster couldn't understand why he couldn't drink from it as usual. I had to throw stones in to break the ice so that he could have a drink!

Tree Reflections.

Lough Graney

Buster reflected.

Flagmount Reflected in Lough Graney.

The ice at the edge of the lake.

I could have taken photos all day except I was cold, especially my hands. I took loads of frozen leaves and grass and frozen posts! I think this particular post has gone on long enough though. I do hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and keeping warm.