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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

17 February 2010

Garden foxes and the History Society

An army of grey clouds march in serried ranks across a mauve blue sky, chased by a giant snow white cloud shaped like a dinosaur. Behind the hill grim pewter coloured clouds lurk menacingly. A cargo ship wends it way through safe channels towards the mouth of the River Liffey. Dublin Port silts up with monotonous regularity - dredging is a profitable business in this old town and in these recessionary times.

On the horizon the Mourne Mountains lie mistily foretelling bad weather,so close as to make me feel I could reach out and touch them. High overhead, lit by the Westering sun, a Sparrowhawk hovers. A wily Magpie forrages in the stalky shade of a Cotoneaster. Joined by a Comrade they shoot up into its protection as the hawk swoops down towards them. You can almost hear them sing "you can't catch me I'm part of the Union" - the collective of Magpies that scream warnings at each other while fighting at the same time over a crust of bread.

The Hawk recovers and spirals up highlighted by the waning sun, a few moments later a pigeon fancier's best bird will not return to its loft this night. Feathers trickle down to earth to be examined by the Magpie detectives. The Hawk flies to a nearby rock, prey secured. Food for energy to beat the drop in night time temperatures.

The dirty delph is stacked everywhere in the kitchen; the dishwasher clean and empty. I have no thought nor inclination to load it. I am on a mission. The day-trips have meant that I am not getting on with my housework in my usual way.  I have a backlog of laundry and a steely determination that it will all be cleared today. I have a need to hover and gossip with OH in between loads. Admiring crocosmia and daisies  is far more compelling than laundry loading.

A month ago I got my lengthening locks cut, best friends, OH on occasion, all encouraged me to grow my hair longer. A softer image suits you they chorused. Bah! humbug! I hated it, and since I made the decision to go au naturél and not get it coloured any more I hated it even more. The wispy young mistress of a sharpened scissors informed me with great authority that "aws Modom hos daysided to disponce with dee colour, Modom will need to fonk hit up" and before you could say "Croi na ngael" she had started to 'fonk' it from the back. Forty five euro for what? You couldn't fill a mouses pillow with the cuttings on the floor. Yesterday I purposefully marched into the salon Mum went to. There, surrounded by ladies of all ages, shapes and sizes and conversation aplenty, a lovely lady did the deed.

By one of those chances of fate, she was the same lady who as a 'young girl' had cut my hair thirty-four years ago for my wedding, long time no see. Down to business with her and I emerged with a Judi Dench style of silver threads upon a happy head. No, Judi isn't in any danger of having competition from me, but the hair style and length is similar. Or so I tell myself. End result? I am thrilled, feel forty years younger, happier and everyone is remarking on the pep in my step. Even Bf who threatened removal of friendship if hair was chopped is telling me how glad she is I took her advice. Yes dear. Fifteen euro dearer but worth every cent! The frump is vanquished.

There was war last night in the front garden. Sister in law was out for dinner on Sunday and I had cooked two beautiful chickens, one with lemon and the other with garlic. If someone tells you Foxes don't do garlic, don't listen. I threw the  carcasses out onto the lawn, and sat at the window to wait.

Dash fox arrived first, sniffed daintily at everything, making up his  mind as to what morsel he fancied first of all. Then, with appalling bad manners one of this years cubs dashed in, grabbed the biggest piece and off with her to the nearest gorse bush. Nothing loathe, Dash gave chase.  As they stood screaming awful insults at each other, the other cub dashed in and cleared most of the leftovers.

I have joined a local history group; part of a Heritage scheme ongoing in this country at present.  It's all about showing the history, from a local viewpoint, of your town, village, city and is part of the Tidy Towns scheme.  My family is one of the oldest in this village, and there are five of us who can trace our roots back to 1856, in my case, and 1860 and so on for the other five.  Three of us married out of the village, moving to other counties and, ironically, we all inherited our Mothers houses and returned to live here.  I am the youngest, ironically, at 60, because my grandfather married late in life.  The oldest member of our group was my Mothers closest friend, and her memories of life in the 30's. 40's and 50's is invaluable.

One of the side effects of being in the group is the shared memories, the collective historical facts, the tales we have learned at our respective Mothers knee. It has given us a rapport, and a sense of self and place that is awesome. The wider group who are involved in other areas of improving the appearance of the village are probably beginning to feel a little fed up with us.  Most of them came to the village in more recent times, or their parents did and they are first generation compared to our fifth and sixth generations.  When they call certain lanes by one name, we call them by another.  It makes for delightful confusion on occasion.  We have decided to remain together - we five - after the Grand Exhibition on the History of our Village has been held in October.  We hope to meet up once a month to exchange histories, gossip and continue the good times and great laughter we're enjoying at the moment.

Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose, 
There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften'd from below.

The Deserted Village
Oliver Goldsmith


Withy Brook said...

That was sooo beautiful, Ie. I can't think why I have not found you before. Your observation and descriptive powers defy description.

With regard to Mum. I will pm you.

her at home said...

I am afraid that I have seen too much carnage wroght by foxes to view them so prettyly but you write so well it is hard notto be entranced! I very beautiful piece of writing indeed!

Arcadian Advocate said...


Pondside said...

What a delicious read! Thank you for this at the end of the day - lovely to imagine your birdsong-filled garden.

toady said...

That was lovely! Roll on the Spring.

Years ago you blogged about some ladies at a hotel dancing. I'd love to read it again.

Frances said...

Irish Eyes, I thank you so much for letting me visit your home and garden. I do feel as though I was beside you, looking out that window at the clouds, the birds, even those foxes of the evening.

And, I thank you again for sharing the cup of tea, the visit to the garden, and the memory of your mom.

Wonderful that you went for the second trimming of your coiffure. It's wonderful to find a stylist who understands what styling you do actually prefer.

Please do treat us to another post soon. xo


Lovely expressive Post as usual IE. Plenty of activity up on the hill. We have the odd fox in the cul de sac.Cant wait to see your owls. Can fully understand how the Spring brings up the memories of your devoted Mum.She must be very happy looking down on all your activities. I think we are all hoping for a good badly needed Summer. We must meet up soon to catch up. You have inspired be to get back blogging. xxx

Cowgirl said...

I love your blogs, IE. You paint vivid and poignant pictures which make me want to dash to Ireland and march up The Hill...... one day!

ChrisH said...

Isn't it wonderful how a good hair cut can pick you up... but equally how a bad one can make you feel terrible!

I can empathise with your feeling about your mum - I still miss Dad in the same way.

Frances said...

Hello Irish Eyes.

I have tagged you, hoping you will be able to write another blog soon.