|From the Mourne to the Cooleys - winter sunshine|
Happy New Year dear blogger friends. May 2022 be kind to us all.
Lots of love and blessings
It takes me ages to get photos organised and get around to writing about outings but as Autumn turns to winter I was looking through some photos and thought I'd share a trip we took a couple of weekends ago when the leaves were still holding on to the branches and those that were lying on the ground were begging to be rustled through and kicked in the air.
We took the caravan out for the last trip of the year, thinking we'd be the only ones mad enough to go at the end of November. But boy were we wrong. We went to CastleWard in Co. Down and the park was full - so we're not the only nutters lol. But the van was so cosy and comfortable and we were blessed with the most perfect Autumn weather.
But, back to the photos - I'm not quite up to her standard but it is alarming how many of my snaps are out of focus - and they look perfectly lined up to me when I'm taking them .. Like these sheep above - I was sure I had the next cover of the Countryfile calendar - perfect composition - the sheep was out on the point looking in to the water - but my eyes deceived me. I'll have to wait for my moment of glory some other time.
But it's a bit like life at the moment - nothing is quite in focus yet - there's the promise of things happening but nothing certain, the queries about things perhaps happening but then nothing. And it is very frustrating. It spills into every part of life - it's like living in prolonged holiday mode where you just can't seem to get moving.
So I'm still helping Belinda a couple of days a week in her gift shop and we had a lovely last minute run up to the north coast again - this time to Ballycastle and Fair Head - that's one of those places that get mentioned on the shipping forecast. Wow! On the clear day we could see Rathlin, the Mull of Kintyre and Iona. A giant like Finn McCool would have only needed one step to get to any of them:).
So let's see what next week brings, what might open up and how much more into focus life may become.
It's been a busy couple of weeks around these parts - my friend Belinda opened her second Good Craic gift shop on very short notice a few weeks ago, and both Tom and I have been helping her until her staffing settles down. Such a leap going from a sole trader to having several staff to manage. She's doing brilliantly, the shop is a joy to be in and the location of the new place, at the Silent Valley Reservoir, has been simply lovely to go to during this fabulous spell of weather.
|driving past Slieve Binnian on the way to Silent Valley|
Silent Valley is one of three reservoirs in the Mourne Mountains that feed the greater Belfast area and with people staycationing this year lots of people from all over NI and the South of Ireland have been discovering this beautiful part of the world.
|photo from Wikipedia|
In the middle of all that excitement my Mum celebrated her 94th birthday out in her garden picking fruit. We had a gorgeous two days with her - she's still living on her own and managing well.
I am so far behind with my round the world book journey and reviews that it'll take me ages to catch up. However, I just had to write about Days Without End and its sequel A Thousand Moons written by Sebastien Barry.
After deleting several blogs I sort of followed at one time, the spam problem went away and Hurrah I can see your blogs again. Just in case, I've changed my password and am slowly working my way through all my password protected things - how did we end up with so many passwords!
So on to the good news ...
* * * * * *
In one of my very rare cleaning spurts I came across some old envelopes.
This one is Dreaming, one of the first songs I wrote - during one of our first trips to Germany when we were based for 6 weeks out in a tiny village in the country with limited German language knowledge and "You eat someone" and "What you think about a whiskey!" the limits of our host's English. I got very homesick, thankfully the only time that has happened to me and this song came out in actual dreams. We still sing the song in our set - probably the only one we do that reflects the idiocy of life here in NI and I was surprised to find an extra verse in it that I'd forgotten about. not sure why it wasn't included at the time but maybe I'll relearn it now.
With life being a bit lopsided it's lovely to be moving in to summer mode - the garden AND sport on the tele. Brilliant. We're good armchair sports coaches in this house! Andy coped well at Wimbledon, Lewis is struggling a bit in the Grand Prix and I'm looking forward to seeing the Women's Formula One, Rory needs a good talking to in the golf and who knows what we have to look forward to once the Olympics start. Of course there's always cricket if we get really fed up - that's still a mystery to me much to the frustration of my Australian friends. Football is the only no-no.
I hope you're all well and enjoying little bits of freedom - the joy of having coffee or lunch with friends is fabulous - things still aren't open in the south yet so we can't take my mum out much but that'll come soon, fingers crossed.
Tom has been busy building in the garden ...
and here I can reveal
my Green House :)
Made from recycled windows and wood - I am so pleased. He has done a brilliant job. It's warm enough to sit in and bring a small table in to, but I've high hopes for the tomatoes and lettuce and chilli I've planted.
Scratching my head now to see what's next on my list :) ... mwah haw haw ...
I've just been bombarded with dozens of blogs from Blender Ukraine and can't see any of your blogs for the past couple of days - already gone back 4 or 5 pages!!! Grrrrr. Anyone know how to delete blogs from the reader? Not sure if it's safe to post. Just using this to test.
It looks like somebody I'm following has been hacked ... I don't know a lot about this but I've changed my password, perhaps it might be worth checking and changing yours. So annoying.
|White Park Bay from the road above with Tor head in the distance.|
Rathlin is special for many reasons, mainly as a roosting site for puffins and many different seabirds who migrate there each year. The seabird centre, run by the RSPB, gives access to a viewing platform to watch the many nesting sites. It was also the place that Marconi used for his first transmissions across the Atlantic.
One of our local authors, Bernie McGill, wrote a cracker novel based on Rathlin called The Watch House- definitely worth a read (imho) - set at the time of the modern world starting to impinge on island life.
|The supervisor at the Caravan Park:)|
Things otherwise here are fairly routine - I've discovered that I work best to deadlines and without those practising is just a chore. "I sing for other people" someone said recently and it resonated with me. Still no dates for concerts as the arts centres and touring venues have no date to open and will need weeks to get the venues ready for people again. But, there's lots of work getting done in the garden - it's finally taking shape and Tom has just finished building me a garden glass house made from reclaimed windows and wood - I knew there was a reason I married him lol