Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010 ATCs & Postcards

Me wearing a romper suit - one of my Christmas presents from Jim!

The view from our meadow towards Flagmount and to the right, Tipperary hills.

Hello everyone. Can it be NYE already? Guess it must be. We're not doing much to celebrate - I'm in my office and Jim's in his! Mind you, we did do some gardening earlier which we both really enjoyed. It's lovely to get outside now that all the frost has gone. I did some weeding, digging, rock moving and path weeding. Jim attacked a load of blackthorn that is threatening to take over up on the meadow.

It was a quiet Christmas at The Deenery but we enjoyed it. We had a walk round the land and opened our presents:

2 piles of presents, mine on the left! I have a new phone and had a box of Thornton's chocolates:

This is the 2nd box! Jim bought this in Tesco yesterday as it had been much reduced - which is more than can be said for my waistline after I've eaten them all! I have charged up the phone but that's it so far. I'm not good with new things and instructions..

I also had a lovely warm hat - of course now it's too warm to wear it! I'm sure some cold weather will return before our Winter's end.

How splendid is my hat? In my hand is an ice crystal. I've been amazed at their beauty, like little works of glass art. Here is a little pyramid of crystals:

Do click on this photo and enlarge it.

Here is a photo looking down on a whole heap of ice crystals on the meadow:

Again, if you get the chance, click on this photo.

Buster and Sandy came with us on our walk:

I had some treats in my pocket for Buster.

We walked all round the meadow admiring the frost on the ground. Buster and Sandy came all the way. Then we heard Blackjack coming up the path. He was a bit late to the party! He decided to try and frighten us by arching his back and puffing himself up! It didn't work:

Buster 'what's he doing Mum'? lol.

They all tried to get through the cat flap at once. Crazy animals:

Here I am with my Christmas Dinner:

It's now 2nd January - I didn't finish the other night so will try to do so now. Tonight a couple who live by the lake came for tea at 5pm. We made scones and banana bread and had a tin of Cadbury's Chocolate biscuits and large mugs of tea. It was lovely to entertain someone having been on our own all over Christmas.

Art and Craft

Between Christmas and New Year I made some postcards with all the bits and pieces I'd saved from sewing, wrapping and sweet eating! I think they came out rather well:

Then I cut up an old art project into ATC sized pieces. Some of them are ok as they are and others will need some more adding to them. I think they turned out ok:

These are all for swapping if anyone would like one or more of them. Just leave a comment here or email me.

That's it for now. Wishing everyone a very Happy, healthy and artful New Year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Little Drama in The Deen House

A frosted leaf at Doorus.

Our Little Drama

The best laid plans of mice and men..... Jim's not been feeling too well for about a week. He suffers from heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure, both of which he takes medication for. We went shopping to Limerick on Wednesday and in Tesco he said he'd had enough and needed to go home. Once there he fell asleep.

He woke at about 11pm and felt awful. His heart felt as though it was swollen and he could feel that his blood pressure was high. He looked ashen when he came to me and said he thought we ought to visit the hospital. His BP was 177/something too high! So off we went in the car to Limerick where we knew they had 24 hour Accident and Emergency facilities. It was white with frost and thick fog drifted across the roads. We arrived about midnight and Jim was taken almost immediately into 'cubicles'.

Sticky leads on the chest, hooked up to the heart and BP monitor, his BP reading 180 now. I could watch on the monitor every time his heart missed a beat. They took a trace and showed it to a doctor. They asked the usual questions. Any pain? Any tingling or pins and needles in the arm? Their fear was clearly heart attack, as was ours.

To cut a long story short, after an all nighter in A & E, Jim's BP was down and they took several blood tests. Apparently if the heart is damaged, it gives of an enzyme which is unique to the heart and so far the blood tests didn't show any of this particular enzyme. At about 6am, they said they were going to keep him in and do further blood tests. I drove home at this point, having left the dog and cats on their own and unable to do much else. Jim was looking happier too and I knew he was in the right place.

Both lots of blood the next day were clear of the heart enzyme so at least we knew his heart was undamaged. The end result was that a very few people with arrhythmia are very sensitive to anything else going wrong with the body and that can set off a particularly severe bout of it. It's possible Jim had an infection of some sort without really being aware of it. So - thankfully no heart attack and 'keep taking the tablets' for his BP with maybe the addition of some aspirin each day.

I had tried to catch a bit of sleep in the morning but phone calls and texts mostly prevented it. Visiting was 3pm onwards so I got ready to go back and hopefully collect Jim. There he was sitting in a little 4 man ward awaiting the final result of his latest blood test. All was well and home we went - no alcohol and take it easy was the order of the day. His heartbeat was still a bit erratic but certainly much better than it had been the night before and his BP was down to its usual level. It was all a bit frightening but at least we weren't having to spend Christmas in hospital and no lasting damage had been caused.

We had been hoping to travel by car to the UK on 27th December to visit our family from Yorkshire to the South Coast, but all logic told us that wouldn't be wise in the circumstances. The weather has also been dreadful both in Ireland and even more so in the UK, so we sadly had to cancel our trip. I have all the presents here all wrapped ready to go and it'll be sad not to be able to watch everyone open them - but it can't be helped. Hopefully we'll be able to go over some time later in January and have a 2nd 'Christmas' with our families.

Jim is now quite relaxed and feeling much happier. We will enjoy our Christmas at home and just chill out for a few days, which will also be lovely.

A happy Jim back home with his hospital 'bracelets' still on.


We have had a bit of snow but lots of frost. Limerick was just amazing. The whole world seemed to turn white there - it had clearly been much colder than at Doorus. It was stunningly beautiful to drive through. The trees were all white and the fields too, just like a Christmas Card. As I drove home from the hospital, the car lights shone on all the frost, lighting it up like diamonds - absolutely breathtaking.

Naturally I did manage to take a few photos here and there!

Frosty pole and Lough Graney in the distance.

Lough Graney is partly frozen and during last night (our sleep patterns are a bit topsy turvy) Jim and I could hear really strange 'booming' noises coming from the lake. Today we spoke to a local and he had heard it too. We think it's from the ice but it was very strange.

This is all frost, not snow. Jim took this photo this morning before he went to bed!

A world of white - Limerick, on the way to the hospital.

A weeping willow straight out of Narnia.

Isn't that beautiful?

Has such a mundane fence ever looked so pretty?

Bus Shelter Cobwebs

A tree in the hospital grounds.

I do hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year. See you all after Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mixed Post, Ennis, Archie Doll +

A Very Cute Shop Window Display in Ennis


Great news. All being well the doctor said that Lu can come home on Monday! This is just fantastic. She'll be very weak of course and won't be able to do much but at least she'll be home.

On Wednesday Jim took me to Ennis to do some Christmas shopping. He carried on to Limerick to buy some pellets for our stove. We left early as it was supposed to snow in the afternoon. I had fun around the Chrismassy shops and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.

These figures were all animated and so pretty.

I rather liked the red stars hung in an arcade on the way to Dunnes stores - where I picked up lots of goodies!

While I was waiting for Jim to pick my up, the sky got darker and darker and then it started sleeting/snowing. I ran over to shelter in Aldi's just before Jim came down the road - and drove straight past me! We did manage to find each other and headed home.

The sky got darker and darker!

Cows in the Meadow

Yesterday, I looked out of my studio window and saw several cows up in our meadow! Our gate was firmly shut so I'm not sure how they got in. Anyway, Jim and I herded them along our path and eventually out of the gate. We checked to see if any more were about. During the evening, Jim went up to the barn to get some pellets and there were another 2 small cows standing on the parking area! Off we went again and managed to get them out too. Of course they are Martin's, our neighbouring alcoholic farmer.

Here are a few of them - taken through my window, thus the splodges!

Today there was another fox on the arboretum. Jim managed to get one reasonable photo:

New Friends

Our neighbours Pete and Sandra haven't been about for ages and I was worried about the cats. I went down there and the cats appeared, so someone must have been feeding them. Later on, a white van appeared - and we happened to be by our barn so they stopped and we had a chat. It turned out that they were coming from the other side of the lake to feed the cats every few days, so we have taken over duties of course. I think we were away when P and S left so they couldn't ask us.

We invited 'Wolf' and 'Melanie' in for a cup of tea and enjoyed a pleasant hour chatting with them about this and that. They bought their place with no roof, windows, doors, running water or electricity! How brave they were. We thought we had a hard time with the builders here for a year. Wolf (short for Wolfgang) is an artist and Melanie makes Irish Straw items, a bit like corn dollies from what I can imagine. We had a lot in common and I'm sure we'll keep in touch. I hope so anyway.

Apparently P & S are in Australia, which we had guessed as Sandra's parents and a sister live there.

I finished another rag doll a couple of days ago, he's called Archie and everyone loves him!!

Back View

His face close up.

Side view to show off his hair cut!

His trousers were made out of an old pair of my jeans and his socks from an old white tea shirt. Only the shirt and bow tie are new material.

I took part in at ATC swap all with a Christmas theme and these are the ones I received:

They are now hanging on my Christmas Tree. Festive Fun.

We are about ready for Christmas. In case we get snowed in we bought most of the food - which isn't that much for us two. I think we have been reasonably lucky with the snow so far. They have had it really bad in the UK again. My son Jason battled from Suffolk to SE London in the snow. His normal one and a half hour journey took 3 and a half. Still, at least he got there ok.

I think that's all from me on this catch up and I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Decorations....

Our Welsh Dresser with 'Charlie' the latest rag doll and 4 porcelain snowflakes.


Lu is battling on. She is now walking to the loo - has most of her tubes out but has picked up another infection so is not able to have visitors except K. She's still up and down with the temperature but on the whole it's all great progress being made. Hoorah!

Latest Doll

I have just finished another rag doll. She's called Charlie and here she is:

I think she has rather a cheeky face!

Here is a close up of her fancy boots:

I am half way through making a boy doll now.

Christmas Decorations

I have just about finished the decorations around The Deenery. Would you like to see? Of course...

This is a little tree in the kitchen/diner.

At the other end of the same room is a bough and a decorated Silver Birch twig (plus our new little tv)!

And Buster:

Well, he's quite decorative!

The silver birch twig and a Christmas photo on the wall which I took in Chesterfield.

In the pellet basket another birch twig and on the wall a plain wreath I bought and then decorated.

A close up of the wreath. Look at the cute robin poking his head out of the top!

In the snug - my big Christmas Tree.

The fireplace has a dangly thing in the centre, various soft toys and 2 decorations on the mantelpiece which have tealights in them. The Santa in front of the TV was made by my daughter K many years ago. I was in a play called 'Season's Greetings' and the tag in Santa's left hand says just that! What a clever girl! I treasure it, along with all the other home made decorations from my children.

A long dangly hangs from the snug ceiling! Here it is in close up:

The angel on top of the big tree.

That small wreath in the photo was bought for me by a friend I used to work with at the NatWest Bank, Nikki. We had a lot of laughs together and still keep in touch via Facebook. I'm hoping she'll come to Ireland next year.

At the back is a collage I made and in front, 3 decorations which have lost their hangers. The angel is the last remaining piece of a nativity set my parents used to have when we were children. I have no idea where the other pieces ended up but I'm glad I have this reminder.

Jim cut and arranged the holly on top of a kitchen cupboard. Our holly's berries have all been eaten by the birds so Jim foraged for this in Martin's hedge!

Jim also arranged these baskets on a high shelf with some tinsel!

That's about it for now. I still have quite a few decorations left in one of the boxes. We had mince pies for pudding today. Lovely.

I'm not very organised with presents yet but there's still time - I hope! Wishing everyone a super weekend.