Saturday, July 31, 2010

Val's Visit Part 2

Now where was I? Aha, yes, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

On the next floor up from the banqueting room there were some wonderful Belgium tapestries on the wall. I love old tapestries and have enhanced one to show what it would have looked like when it was freshly finished:

This is a section of the one above. I love his beard.

This is probably nearer to the original colours.

This rather scary little person was set into one of the walls. There was a wooden carving depicting country scenes by the window. Here is one of its sections:

We climbed right up to one of the corner towers. It was a long way down! Here's a view over the Shannon estuary.

Here's Val studying the castle map to make sure she didn't miss anything!

Val hated the stairs, especially going down.

The last Duke's chapel was up some more stairs in another corner of the castle and this is the restored ceiling. Fabulous.

We were ready for our cup of tea and headed to the tea rooms. It was warm enough to sit outside. The hawthorn hedge alongside us was full of sparrows and I caught a shot of this one:

It looks enormous, doesn't it?

After the castle, we toured some of the park. It's huge, much bigger than we thought it was going to be. There are lots of dwellings recreated to show how the Irish folk lived. This cottage was a representation of one lived in by people at Loop Head. The thatch had to be roped down to stop it taking off in the high winds by the coast!

This was one of the more salubrious dwellings. Most of them only had 2 rooms and some had the animals in with them. There was an open fire and a few meagre pots and pans.

There was a rather handsome cockerel wandering about the place, followed closely by a white hen:


Here is the inside of one of the cottages:

This is similar to our cottage layout. The 'crane' swings the pots over the fire. We found our old crane and are going to try and fit it back into our fireplace.

We had a long and tiring day but an ice cream on the way home revived us a bit.

The next day, Val's last full day, we took it easy in the morning, then decided to go to Scarriff then on to Lough Derg in the afternoon. We were pleased to see that our favourite cafe in Scarriff, which had been closed for a long time, had re-opened. We had tea and cakes and a great chat with all the people who came in and out. We walked to the harbour but there weren't many boats about. I did find this rather splendid piece of machinery though:

And a boat for sale: At least, I think that's what it said!

Having stopped at various points round Lough Derg, we realised we were quite near the wind farm. We can see the sails from our gate on the top of the hillside. We couldn't get right up to the farm but we were quite close.

The photos weren't very good but here's one of them.

Now the photos won't upload at all. Still, we know Val really enjoyed her stay and we loved having her. Our next guests arrive on Thursday! My daughter K and Granddaughter Lina. Hoorah!

The Gort Show

Next Sunday, 8th August, is The Gort Show. Jim and I and K and Lina are all helping as stewards. Plus we are also entering lots of things so it's going to be a horribly busy week. I've just put tassles on the end of a scarf I have knitted, found a made card from Christmas and have printed ONE photo!

Have a good weekend and week everyone. I may be gone some time.....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Visitor From New Zealand - Val Part 1

Val admiring our garden and the butterflies.


As I have previously mentioned, Val is Jim's older sister and they are quite close. Jim went and picked Val up from the airport while I stayed and finished the cleaning up! The new spare bedroom went down well and was just right for Val. She is an undemanding visitor and is happy to sit and chat or to go out and play.

The day Val arrived was Killanena GAA Family Day. I gather games were played and there was a bouncy castle and a barbecue. We chatted for ages then decided to head to the GAA Field. It was about 4.30pm by then and the festivities were almost over! We saw Michael, a local farmer and he chatted away to us happily. As we walked away I asked Val how much she had understood. 'Very little' was the reply! He has a very strong accent and speaks really fast!

Val knew little about Hurling and asked some unsuspecting chap all about it. She is very interested in any sport, particularly rugby league. She is the Gran of the 4 Burgess boys of whom I have spoken a few times. They all play rugby league, Luke, the oldest, plays for Leeds first team. The twins at 18 are already signed with Bradford Bulls, where Sam used to play. Sam now plays in Australia for Russell Crowe's team! More of that later

We stopped at Cannys on the way home and the quarter finals of the Hurling championship was on the large tv there. Val was fascinated and we sat and watched. The spectators in the pub got very excited as it was a very close game between Galway and Tipperary. We were cheering for Galway but they lost by one point. Boo!

Val engrossed in the game.

Watching the game intently

Our neighbour Hilary and Joe's daughter Cassie, who works in the pub. You can see the tv with the spectators at the game.

So off we went home and Jim made our dinner. Val and I took Buster for a short walk to the lake:

It was rather misty but this fisherman wasn't put off.

Neither was Buster of course. He has fattened up well since his last adventure.


Jim went out that evening back to Canny's as there was a concert on. I wasn't really interested and Val was very tired, so she had an early night and I waited up for Jim - who'd had a great time.

On Monday we decided to go and visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Every time Jim and I go to and from the airport we pass Bunratty and always say 'we must go there one day'. So this was the day. It was quite warm and the sun shone intermittently. We first visited the castle itself:

This was probably used for animals. Here are Val and Jim ready to explore.

On the next floor up is the Banqueting Hall. Today they hold medieval banquets with music, mead and lots of food. This superb bell was on one of the window sills:

Many of the windows had pretty little stained glass sections:

The castle had fallen into disrepair and was bought by a wealthy gentleman. He restored it completely and gave it to the nation (of Ireland). The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland.

'Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Today, the castle stands peacefully in delightful grounds. The houses and cottages of the folk park spread out at the foot of its massive walls, much in the way that the cottages and crofts of old would have clustered around its base. We invite you to wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past.'

I think that's enough for today - more of Bunratty tomorrow in Part 2.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bad Back Stops Play

A close up of The Drinker Moth with my new super Canon camera. Do click on it if you have a moment.

Oh my back! I must have done too much gardening yesterday and today I can't actually stand up straight. If I try, my lower back goes into spasm. I'm hoping a good sleep will sort it out.


I have done a few new ATCs. OK Jason, you can skip this bit (he finds them boring).

The Puffin Series

Chocolate or Fish?

'I can Fly'

'Puff-in Boots'. Sorry, I couldn't resist!

I've gone all zentangly too, these are my early attempts:

I tend to play with these while I'm waiting for photos to upload!


Jim took these excellent photos of butterflies in the garden:

A tortoiseshell on a French Marigold.

A ringlet Butterfly.

This poor meadow butterfly has been in the wars!

This is another moth that was on our wall. I'm afraid we don't know what it is called!

Jim's Veg Patch

Doesn't that look just splendid? We are eating fresh veg almost daily and soft fruit too. It's all delicious.

A lovely cabbage

The peas have been amazing and are still coming. I love fresh peas straight from the pod.

Lough Graney with a super sky above. This view is just by our gate.

The wind machines are on the far horizon. This shot shows how good the zoom is on my new Canon PowerShot SX210. It has a 14 times zoom yet it fits in my pocket. Marvellous.

Can you Solve the Mystery?

A while ago I posted some photos of our aquilegias. One of you out there asked if you could have some seeds from the yellow one, which I duly collected today. Now I can't find the person who asked for them. Was it you? Do get in touch if it was.


Jim's sister Val, who lives in New Zealand, is coming for a few days on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it. Jim has been working hard on the kitchen/diner today and it's looking better, but it's still not finished. I'm sure there will be some photos from Val's visit.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buster was Missing - I made Beads.


Jim took Buster for a walk on Sunday teatime, after which Buster headed off - and didn't come back that night or Monday night. As you can imagine, we were frantic with worry. On Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take the car and go and look for him. I drove down the lane and stopped at our neighbours Joe and Hilary - and there was Buster huddled outside their door. Joe appeared and said he'd been there about an hour but 'didn't look good'. Too right he didn't. Of course I was so thrilled to see him - to be honest we thought he'd been taken or killed.

I tried to move him towards the car but he wouldn't take a step. He was incredibly thin - you would have thought he had been ill treated for weeks to look at him. I rang Jim and he came down. I lifted Buster bodily into the back and got in with him and we drove the short trip home. He did get out of the car and managed to walk inside. I don't think he'd eaten since Sunday and had obviously been running through all manner or undergrowth and brambles as he's covered in scratches. I guess he just followed a scent and got lost. He ate a whole tin of dog food and a bowl of dried food too. His stomach just swelled up! Then he crawled into his chair and slept. He's more or less been there ever since.

He stayed out overnight once before but not for this length of time. I hope he's learnt his lesson this time but somehow I doubt it. His pads are really swollen and he's licking his joints. Goodness knows how far he must have run. Here he is just after his return:

His tail was between his legs. Poor Buster. He has had lots of cuddles and food and has been out for the necessary just now.

I didn't mention it on my last blog post as I thought he'd soon reappear.


I think I've mentioned that I belong to an on line group called the Milliande Art Community for Women. In the textile group, there was a challenge to make some beads and one lady organised a swap - so, I make some and send them to her, as does everyone involved and she shares them out to everyone. Sounds fun! With a little help from Heather at 'Ragged Old Blogger' here are my efforts:

The last two are actually very small! So I've made 10 in all. I must say I've enjoyed making these and may make some in paper now - there are such lovely designs and things stick to it so well.


This is one of our latest poppies to flower. I've never seen anything quite like it!

Also this 'black' double poppy has just appeared. Isn't it just gorgeous?

The dahlia have also started to flower. This one is a cactus dahlia:

I think it's a rather delicate pink - and I'm a poet - but Jim growed it!

House Progress

With Jim's sister Val coming soon, we've made another effort at the inside of The Deenery. Having made a list (in a book) - we are trying to knock the kitchen/diner into shape.

Jim has tiled, I've painted and cleaned grout. Now Jim is going to box in the central heating pipes. Hoorah! It's all beginning to look better. I'll take photos when we're nearly there.

Happy Wednesday Everyone.