Sunday morning and it is May bank holiday week end. I spent Friday night promising myself that I would not get out of the bed until at least 10.a.m., on Saturday morning; and then I remembered that the architect was coming to measure up the place so that plans could be drawn up for my new kitchen - and I fairly hopped up like a twenty-something in excitement. At 6a.m.
By twelve he was done, and on the road back home, so filled with restlessness I hopped into the car and away with me to West Wicklow to a friend who "ruralised" with hubby number 2 about six years ago. They bought a beautiful stone cottage on a hillside, surrounded by forest on three sides and a vista in front, to die for. I haven't seen them for two years, with all that has happened in the past year, time has flown by. Following my phone call to see if they would be "at home" to visitors and an afirmative, it was lovely to be out on the open road.
Things, I am sad to say, are not as rosy in the garden as they were. The recession is biting, he is on a three day week and her firm closed last month. Around my own age [the sweet side of 21+++] they are mortgage free, the family is scattered to the four corners of the earth and they have a thriving vegetable garden [walled] and sufficient hens and ducks to give them enough surplus eggs to sell in a local shop. She is a prodigious jam maker and her chutney is legendary - so on the self sufficiency basis they are doing o.k.
We sat in a sheltered part of her garden and discussed three day weeks and what they meant to our respective OH's at this time of life. We blatantly decided that we were old enough to have survived the 70's [trying to save to get married during hard times and oil crises], the 80's [trying to rear children and financial gloom] and how the the 90's and early celtic tiger fuelled 00's had passed us by without making any radical changes to our lifestyle, so unless all goes totally to hell in a handcart, we might even survive this latest episode.
They sold their house at the top end of the boom - we didn't and the difference in prices between the years is amazing; still, can't complain, being mortgage free in these days of the complaining banks is a luxury. My heart goes out to those now suffering the new disease called "negative equity". The new game show is "guess the drop in value of your three bed semi-d". So there you go.
After a lovely afternoon exchanging gossip, I drifted back home on an M50 that was surprisingly traffic light for a bank holiday week end [more evidence of recession methinks] and settled down with OH and ED for a quiet night in with a nice glass or so of Merlot.
Six a.m., this morning, loud bang on bedroom door. I was foolish enough last night to decide that this morning would be THE BIG LIE IN, and E.D is calling for her Daddy to give her a lift for the early train. Still sleepy, it didn't occur to me to remind her that Ireland + Bank holiday week end + trains = when? Darling Dad, never one to let his precious girls down, staggered from the bed, and the upshot was a drive all the way into the city to deposit a grumbling E.D at her destination. Sleep gone at this stage, I decided to get up and have a nice traditional Full Irish breakfast on for him upon return. I don't "do" fries these days, but decided to make an exception.
All done and warming in the oven awaiting his return and just the eggs to do, I sat looking out over what is to be new lawn. Two magpies companionably sauntered down this new territory [heretofore a briar patch minus rabbits] as a swallow impersonated Biggles in low flight and a quick swoop over the wall at the end of the garden. Through the open window the woodpigeons in the Lawsonii cooed softly and a blackbird was singing in competition with a dunnock.
Suddenly silence, and the two magpies shot into the air as if from a cannon; out from the tussocks by the elderberry trees and gorse patch came the Silver Vixen. She stood stretching herself and yawning. The russet gold of her fur caught in the early morning sunlight, the wind from the south west fanning the neck fur into a sort of ruff, making her look regal. She walked slowly across the newly opened space and disappeared down the glen among the newly appeared fern shoots. Queen of her land, she feared nothing. At her passing the chorus started again.
By ten o'clock, dishes chortling away in the dishwasher, I was off for a walk down a nearby lane and there, sitting on a rock high above me sat the reigning queen. There might be a recession, but there is none in the beauty that surrounds me.