Madam Pounce enjoying the sunshine at the hall door last week end. It was delightfully mild - indeed it was surprisingly mild and to be able to leave the hall door open and let fresh air in was a wonderful treat.
The tea-pot came from a charity shop, the tins were a "find" reduced from €36 to €16 a couple of years ago and all because of a tiny dent in the largest one.
A reminder of last year's snow, and a reminder to say THANK YOU GOD for a mild Christmas this year. I spent most of early December panicking in case it would snow over Christmas. Eldest now lives in London and I had visions of not being able to get to the airport to collect her, or flights being cancelled...but she got home and we had a wonderful Christmas. Mother in Law passed away last June, and Sister in Law decided to spend it with friends instead of with her brother's family [us]. The dynamics changed with that one decision. For over 30 years dinner was always served up at 14.00hrs, in order to enable SinLaw and MinLaw to return home as they "never liked to be away from home for too long". This year we dined at 7, after a leisurely day chatting, going for a long walk on a nearby beach en famille, played Ludo, and ending the evening with lovely hot creamy Bailey's Irish Coffees.
There is nothing like a few farmyard animals to remind us that this was once a dairy farm; hen-keeping is on the agenda. That is if we can get past his insistence that a cockerel is a necessity, and mine that hens are independent and need no male to make them cluck happily! He only wants a cockerel for two reasons, one is to back answer the neighbours two donkeys, and the other is he is blessed among women.. YD and I, and ED when she is around...another male voice to crow about the garden would suit him well! Yeah! Right!
For some reason, this cloud reminded me of someone being blown along! YD says it reminds her of Mary Poppins. Taken at dusk at the end of a lovely day.
We had a mad rush to finish the decoration in the "sitting room" [as my Grandmother used to call it] for Christmas, but gone is the 80's taupe/gold/brown squiggly carpet and a nice wine Axminster with a small pattern on it graces the floor. Far more complimentary to the fireplace, with its blue tiles, and the walls are now cream instead of a dull beige as they were when we moved back in in 2008. For some reason the fact that ED was coming home for Christmas put a push on OH to get the long promised decoration finished; and, even if I do say so myself, the sight of her face as she viewed this room and her own newly re-decorated bedroom was the best present we could have had.
We are now in the next phase of the five year plan, but a year ahead of ourselves; conversion of an outbuilding to a cottage to let. I still haven't decided if I will use if for holiday lets or full time letting; but with the way this Government has clamped down with its austerity measures, the extra income will not go amiss. Nowadays, here in Ireland, you turn on the t.v.,/radio with fear and trepidation; newstime announcements only seem to bring news of more taxes. We have taxes for owning a house, septic tank taxes, you name it and they'll tax it, yet nothing seems to stop them from paying exorbitant amounts to "Advisors" way beyond the cap on their income. A cap that is mesmerising to the ordinary Joe O'Soap in the street. Bets are now being taken on how long before we find ourselves with another General Election to rid us of the Government that was going to put things right after the unholy mess we found ourselves in reached mind boggling proportions. We're still wa..................it.......................ing.....................!
However, they haven't managed to tax bird song. Yet. We hope. It was wonderful today to stand in the garden and listen to the thrush, blackbird and robin form a quartet with a dunnock and treat us to the best Opera going. The hedges and trees are alive with the sound of flitting wings as blue tits and coal tits roam from tree to tree. The long tailed tits arrive promptly at eleven and four and the greats lurk around the fat balls ready to attack all would be incomers.
The narcissi and daffodils are showing willing, and if the wind that has blown us out of the garden for the past week drops for long enough we may even see that river of daffs we planted last year come to bloom. In the lane the flowering current [Ribes] is showing its pink petticoats, and the dwarf Iris are abundant. My favourites, the snowdrops, are late this year, they usually show by Christmas, but this year they are peeking daintily at us - maybe they await St Brigid's day on Wednesday.
From Monday on for the next few weeks the sounds of building will be ringing in our ears, and this year it won't be just the birds.