Sunday, May 31, 2009

Glorious Garden Day, 31st May 2009

What a wonderful day - in fact, another wonderful day. The sun has shone all day, the sky is a beautiful blue and it's been hot. A bit too hot in fact! Yesterday there was a breeze but today it's been missing. Ah well, we pottered about slowly! We are trying to clear the allotment bed which will be the home for our poly-tunnel. It's full of dock and buttercups and it's jolly hard work. We have taken it slowly and completed about a quarter! Yesterday I took lots of photos but didn't post them all, so I'll pop the flower photos on today. The flowers are bursting forth as we watch them.

The first rose in our 'snake shaped bed' in flower. An old fashioned rose I think.

The Rootery is a carpet of speedwell, buttercups and grasses of all descriptions

In one section is this lovely yellow pimpernel

A closer shot of the speedwell. It's so delicate and pretty

The laburnum tree is the best it's been. It's a real cascade of gold.

This primula is still flowering. What a rich colour.

This is the first bloom on our climbing rose.

The lupins are a picture

This delicate cistus is covered in blooms
We have many of these fuchsia bushes and they are all covered with little ballerina like flowers.

A delicate pink potentilla - and one of the flowers below

I love the contrasts in this section of the garden. That acer was tiny when we brought it here.

This is a 'before' photo of one of the living willow fences. We 'stripped the willow' yesterday. Must take an 'after'!

Our spotted orchid in the meadow is just beginning to flower. I love it.

This is another spotted orchid nearby and it only has one flower so far.

The Deenery from the meadow crossroads. The orchid is just down on the right. I'm not sure whether you can see it or not.

The entrance to 'Dead Tree Walk' through to bluebell walk

Looking back from the end of bluebell walk. Most of the bells have gone now.

Jim just outside Bluebell walk among willows and blackthorn.

The first water iris at the bottom of the arboretum

A pretty bi-colour lupin
This yellow and white iris came out today. Isn't it stunning?

Our front garden today!
Sandy and BlackJack retired to Buster's chair to cool down.

That's it for now. I hope you've enjoyed the quick floral garden tour.

Unexpected Night Out, Gorgeous Garden Days 30.5.09

Gosh, the weather's been just lovely the past few days. Summer has come at last and we're loving it. Yesterday we gardened of course, mostly planting things that Jim has grown. I tackled the back of the sleeping shed. I had started it a little while ago and thought I'd finish it. It's also in the shade so more comfortable to work. It was all full of brambles and stinging nettles and buttercups, which I removed as much as I could. Some time ago we have used many of the stones holding up the bank for our road and the larger ones had just tumbled down and landed in a haphazard fashion, which is where they stayed. I thought I'd have a go at moving some stones to hold the bank up again and ended up creating a rough rockery with a flat section at the bottom, which Jim seeded. Now we'll be able to walk around the back of the shed (when the grass grows) instead of fighting through stinging nettles, etc. This is the end result:
I'm really pleased with it. The flat section is a bit hard to see but it's behind that little bush just to the right of the shed. I planted the rockery with wild flowers and garden annuals that Jim had grown from seed. It should look good then. Do click on the photo to enlarge it. I then tried to carry on weeding around the shed. We have a nesting box on this end and the 2 blue tits were going frantic with me there, so I gave up on that idea and moved round the other side of the shed, so that they couldn't see me!

An evening Out

We had to pop down to see Danny to arrange some cat feeding while we're away. Joe mentioned that there was a bit of a do on at Cannys Pub in the evening. The local councillor Pat Hayes was hosting an evening to raise his profile and his brother, Martin Hayes, was going to play the fiddle with a couple of other musicians, one on squeezebox and one on guitar. We made up our minds to go. Now Martin Hayes is an internationally renowned fiddle player and it was too good an opportunity to miss. The following is a little bit about him, so you can see the status of the man:

MARTIN HAYES is regarded as one of the most extraordinary talents to emerge in the world of Irish traditional music. His unique sound, his mastery of his chosen instrument – the violin – his acknowledgement of the past and his shaping of the future of the music, combine to create an astonishing and formidable artistic intelligence. He is the recipient of major national and international awards: most recently the prestigious Gradam Ceoil, Musician of the Year 2008 from the Irish language television station TG 4; previously Man of the Year from the American Irish Historical Society; Folk Instrumentalist of the Year from BBC Radio; a National Entertainment Award (the Irish ‘Grammy’); six All-Ireland fiddle championships - before the age of nineteen - and cited by the Irish Sunday Tribune as one of the hundred most influential Irish men and women in the fields of entertainment, politics and sports in the year 2000, as well as one of the most important musicians to come out of Ireland in the last fifty years. He has recorded two acclaimed solo albums, “Martin Hayes” (1993) and “Under the Moon” (1995) on the Green Linnet label. Martin Hayes is the Artistic Director of the Masters of Tradition Festival held in August each year at Bantry House in Bantry, West Cork, where Ireland’s most distinguished traditional musicians are invited to play in an exquisite chamber music setting. In January 2009, Martin Hayes will lead a group of Masters of Tradition musicians to the Sydney International Festival where they will perform at the Sydney Opera House for two nights.

A native of County Clare, to which he returns for extended periods several times a year, Martin Hayes has been based in the United States, now living in Connecticut, for the past twenty-three years. He has drawn musical inspiration from sources as diverse as the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the Spanish viola da gamba master, Jordi Savall, and the jazz genius, John Coltrane, but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in his own locality, Maghera, Feakle, East County Clare where the music which he learned from his late father, P. Joe Hayes, the legendary leader of the long-lived Tulla Ceili Band, profoundly influenced his musical accent and ideas forever after. In his younger days he played in an experimental electric band in Chicago; recently he has composed scores for film, theatre, and modern dance, and has collaborated with like-minded musicians from other genres, such as jazz guitarist, Bill Frisell and eclectic violinist Darol Anger. He views these explorations as a means of shedding light on his ongoing artistic journey, as well as a challenge to any rigidity of thought. The fundamental artistic quest is to go deeper and deeper within traditional Irish music and himself.

It seemed the evening wouldn't start until about 11pm, which is normal for Irish events. We donned our glad rags and off we went about 10.30pm. Mary Leonard was there, a local we know through the Gort Show, so we sat with her. Martin Hayes was there but not playing and Joe and Hilary turned up shortly after our arrival (our neighbours). Pat Hayes eventually arrived and it was gone midnight before anything happened! Martin played his fiddle and it was, without doubt, breathtaking. We have seen quite a bit of live Irish music but his playing was something else, as you can imagine. What a privilege to watch him - and for free! Pat seemed a good egg and bought everyone in the pub a drink! We also had some rather splendid sandwiches and a fair amount of Irish dancing went on too. It was a great night, we were thoroughly entertained and all so totally unexpected. Jim took a few photos but it was a bit dark. I'll post them anyway:

Martin Hayes is in the white shirt

Martin and some of the dancers

More dancing. Look at the size of that chap's belly on the left. He could hardly move.

Jim also took a little video with his camera. The light wasn't strong enough but you can hear the sound and get a taste of the terrific atmosphere that there was.

We left about 2.30am and it was still going although the musicians had stopped by then. What a crazy place. There was one man propped up against the wall and he was fast asleep. I kept worrying that he would fall off his chair!

Jason, Jack and Kitty

In the Green household, Jason has put some photos on Facebook and I snaffled 2 of them! They are just wonderful:

Jason feeding Kitty. I don't know why it's so small

Jack and Kitty. Look at Jack's little face... aaah.

The Garden

With the sun out, the tortoiseshell butterflies were out today, feeding like crazy. I took a few photos:

I also took a lot of flower photos but maybe I'll keep them until tomorrow!

It was the final of Britain's Got Talent tonight and the much feted Susan Boyle came second and the thoroughly deserving winners were Diversity, a dance group of friends and relations. They were utterly brilliant throughout.


Buster was far too hot today. Here he is cooling by the bench on top of the Fairy Hill

Then he decided to walk off with a hedgehog ornament under the bench!

Wind Farm

We can see a vast wind farm on top of the hills from our gate. It's not always clear but today it was, so I made a panorama:

I'm sorry it's small, please click on it to see the wind machines properly!

I also took a photo of the Tipperary hills from the meadow:

It's a bit of a poor join I'm afraid. The sky was wonderful.

Finally, this is Martin the farmer's field, bursting with buttercups.

Flowers tomorrow then!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Deenery from Afar, Has She Grown?

Local Views

I drove to the post office today to post some ATCs, then when I drove back, I headed up the hill opposite our cottage to take some photos. So you can see where we are situated, this shows the most distant view:

You will have to click on the photo to enlarge it. There is an orange/red roof almost at the centre of the photo, that is the barn roof. Lough Graney can be clearly seen. Not bad views, eh? Here is almost the same view, only with the telephoto lens:

The house in the foreground is ours. The grey section is the extension and the red/orange roof the barn (the one that's coming down). Below is a panorama I put together. Please click on it to enlarge it. Again you can spot our house from the red barn roof.

I also called at the cafe opposite Brodericks Furniture Store. I have mentioned this before. It is run by the previous owner of the store, Anne Broderick, purely for charity. Her sister is a nun in Zimbabwe and she nurses AIDS patients and runs a nursery and school for the children out there. All the money Anne takes goes to her sister's charity. There aren't any prices, you just pop what you like in her collection box. Anne wasn't there today as her sister came home from Zimbabwe for a 3 month break, her first for 2 years. But I did take some photos from the cafe, which is perched on the hill above the lake and has wonderful views. I made a little panorama:
Of course you will need to enlarge it to see properly. You cannot see our cottage from the cafe, it's down a dip! But it's still a fantastic vista:

On the right of the photo just above half way is a house and a large field. That is Michael Flaherty's field and it backs onto our meadow and vegetable plot, so we're just down below the top of that field.

I meet a new neighbour

As I drove down the hill, I spotted a gorgeous foal in a little field and stopped to take a photo. A lady came out of the house to see what I was up to. We ended up chatting for over half an hour! She's a lovely lady called Mary and is 84 years old, though you wouldn't have thought so. We discussed everything from her childhood to the waste of money couples spend on weddings, to our cottage. I have promised to call again. She was certainly entertaining company and is clearly lonely as her husband died some time ago. I almost forgot, these are the 2 photos of the foal:

Isn't he gorgeous? A new foal amongst buttercups and daisies. Perfect.

Jason, Sam, Jack and Kitty

Jason and Jack and Sam's Mum Rene went to visit Sam and Kitty today in hospital. Guess what, some more photos. I think she's grown since Wednesday!!

This is the best one, Jason with his son and daughter. How proud does he look?

Kitty is clearly bored by the whole procedure!
Poor Sam didn't get much sleep last night. Probably because of the noisy ward I expect.

Great Grandad Ivor and Nanny Maureen also visited and lots of 'pass the baby' went on! Jason then took Jack to Ickworth, a fantastic National Trust Property very near their home.
Jack just hanging about!
I think he looks rather wistful here. Maybe considering the situation with the new baby sister!!

He rode his birthday bike and here he's having a rest after all that peddling!!

The Deenery Update

Jim and I have been gardening today as it's been lovely and warm. Jim did a lot of strimming where he can't mow and I finished clearing behind the sleeping shed and raked it flat to sow some grass seed. Then that can be mowed too. Easier to keep tidy that way. I also did some weeding on the fairy hill and cutting the grass around the steps to the top. Eventually it got too festooned with midges to carry on, but we did manage to work until about 9.30pm.

The electricians came back today and finished all they can do for the moment. There are wires hanging everywhere! They have been super efficient, fast and friendly. Just what you want. We don't think we'll see the builders until they come back to break through into the cottage - and we won't see them then either because we'll be away!

I am still making ATCs as and when I can. I'm really enjoying the challenge of producing something worthwhile and attractive on such a small piece of card. The ATCs have to be 6cms x 9cms, about the size of a playing card.

I do hope you enjoy today's photos.