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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.

29 June 2010

Garden Blog

Overhead, against a thundery sky swifts cut a dash through the air as they gorge themselves on flying insects. Down at the old cowhouse fledgling blue tits perform Immelman turns as they dart about the place. Biggles flies again, except the Kestrel took Bertie out this morning, leaving us with three aces, Biggles, Algy and Ginger. Von Stalhein has nothing on our predatory Kestrel; Baron Von Richtofen and his Jagdstaffel would be put to shame by our three heroes.

My neighbour will be devastated when he gets home from work and sees Berties feathers, bloodstained and tattered, lying at the foot of the gate. The Blue Tits grew up in a nesting box in his sycamore that had lain unused for a decade.

We don't credit birds with feelings like ours, but since noon, when the dreadful deed took place, there has been a succession of birds landing nearby. Maybe they hope to lelarn something about Bertie's death that might aid them escape Baron Von Kestrel for another while. Flight Lieutenant Bertie Blue Tit, RIP.

Since I moved back here in 2008, we have always had a plethora of Magpies. Six in next door's Lawsonia, eight in the firs over the wall at the end of our garden. Many's the pitched battled waged overhead, and indeed, on our lawn as the Over the Hill gang took on the Seaview Eight. Magpies and Hoodie Crows would gather from all over the hill to watch the great aerial battles, sometimes joining in. No doubt a political manoeuver to incur favour from whichever side won. We are reduced to three magpies from the Over the Hill gang and one lone Seaview clan magpie who sits sunning himself on the grass forlornly. No breathern to keep an eye out for predators.

The relief from the Siewview Apartments [fir tree] residents - i.e., The Woodpigeon family, is palpable, the numbers of woodpigeon, blackbird and thrush has escalated dramatically. You could be in danger of loosing an eye from a low flying Great Tit. The Long Tailed tits, heretofore twelve in number, now rejoice in a squadron of 18.

Last night OH, YD and I sat out on the back patio until ten to one in the morning. A mild, humid night, we investigated the contents of a bottle of Merlot Pinot Grigio - perfectly satisfactory! Check, the latest young fox to grace our garden, strolled onto the patio around eleven, bypassed us within 2' and, not finding any juicy tidbits, passed on by. She has no fear of us; her grandmother would nearly vanish up her own brush at the mere sniff of a human, times - they are a changing.

At 2p.m., Torquil and Dean, the two donkeys bray their contentment as Old Alex arrives with a tasty morsel or two for them. The sound of their ectasy carries far and wide and can lift you out of your skin with shock, and yes, that IS Torquil and not Torville. May read the name Torquil in a Georgette Heyes novel many years ago and decided it would be a nice name for a donkey. No comment!

The elderberries are in full bloom and roses are prolific everywhere, Mum's Gertrude Gekyll is coming out and I lookforward to a sterling display. Apparently all the rain during the winter has made for a great Rose year. I have nearly achieved a dream - roses 'round the hall door. I took a cutting of a dog rose from down at the cowshed, liberally dowsed it with comfrey tea and it has raced up through the Pyrricantha. By next summer it will be possible to bring it up and over the door to meet with a newly planted Albertine rose.

Fox gloves abound this year. From one seedy looking character in'08, I have seven, self seeded. The bed under the front bedroom window is beginning to look like a proper cottage garden flowerbed. Antirriniums, foxglove, bizzy lizzie, campanula, poppies, wall flowers and pansies. We will get there. The three year subplan of a five year plan is beginning to come to fruition.

I have kept one flower bed solidly and forever Mums. Bit by bit OH and I are making our changes. Yd has set up a bed of her own, boy! wouldn't Mum be thrilled? YD is the last person she would have thought would take to gardening. See Mum, told you so!

The cabbages took off so well and the lettuce in the veg garden that our friends are starting to grow white tails and whiskers and, in truth, I am getting a bit weary of salad teas, lunches etc. OH will plant slightly less next summer and probably less will grow!

Aha! The long tailed tits have arrived in the Blue Cedar. Time for afternoon tea. they always land promptly at 4p.m.

22 June 2010

June is bursting out all over...well the sunshine helps

Back to work on Monday week after two weeks feeling dire; the only consolation was a bright round orb in the sky that, I was told, was - The Sun. Neighbours stood at garden gates looking at it, wondering if it might stay around for long, would it heat up the country and - could we get more than four days of it and have to deem that Our Summer????

Having been on the 'sick list' for the previous two weeks, the house was in dire need of a good shake out, and nothing loathe, I set to on Tuesday morning, determined to hit every nook and cranny. I forgot two things, one being dust and allergies, and just recovering from a chest and sinus infection, and t'other was the fact that this house has more nooks and crannies than the Wicklow house. Add to that chaffeuring OH around because his car, which went in for a routine check up discovered that liked being 'hospitalised' and spent another day in the garage getting a new gear box. At least damage to the gear box cannot now be laid at my door, I have my own jalopy and she's singing like a bird.

The reason for the big clean up? Mother-in-law and Sister in law visit in sight. Mother in law might be in her nineties, early dementia approaching [so we are led to believe] but I do not particularly relish a walking stick being waved at a ceiling corner and a stentorian voice demanding "how long do you intend to keep that spider in permanent housing?" or words to that effect.

I spent Wednesday coughing and spluttering like a mad thing, but had the place spick and span by Wednesday night. OH was threatened with having dire things done to him [i.e., his prize cabbages infested with slugs] if he so much as even looked into the study and I confined him to the sitting room and the World Cup. Rather he than me, I lost interest after Thierry handed Ireland out of the running. As a nation we are not bitter over that, much, but hark, is that the sound of glee I hear coming up the hill from the green fields and lean streets of Ireland now that France's WC chances have died a death. Let us give them a big Thierry...'er I mean a hand up off the pitch.

Friday night saw E.D. and I head off to the Gaiety Theatre in King Street in Dublin, "The Importance of Being Ernest" [Wilde] was on. A wonderful performance that gripped the audience from beginning to end; we got to meet Stockard Channing in the Green Room afterwards. A wonderful performance from this diminutive but powerful actress. E.D will probably come back to earth sometime in the near future, the programme with Ms Channing's autograph has already been put safely in a plastic cover. She brought it up to show her Dad on Sunday, and as sister in law flicked through the pages of the programme I feared for her life [well, her hands] in case she tore a page, or The Page, by accident. No mother ever watched a child as protectively as E.D watched her programme.

We have been basking in sunshine and warm weather since Thursday, it is always a bit colder up here than down in the plains; on Sunday I was delighted to be able to serve the inlaws Sunday lunch out under the Blue Cedar. A gentle breeze kept us cool, the flies away and we had a very relaxed afternoon. Mother in law is, however, concerned that there is an above average number of woodpigeons about the place and they might damage her sons cabbages.

OH and I haven't had an indoors meal since last Thursday, we dine on the patio and life is made easier not to have to traipse the length of the house to the dining room from the kitchen, by next year hopefully a different tale will be told. I have found my builder and as soon as he comes back off his honeymoon we will sit down and discuss "the doings". The three year plan is beginning to come together. At last.

Tonight, after the WC Match was over, OH and I took a gentle ramble around the hill. The lanes are redolent of the smell of woodbine, clover both red and white, purple loosestrife, purple tufted vetch, campion, ladies fingers, and the humming of bees. We stood at a break in the hedge to look out over the golf course and admire the rabbits grazing in the evening sunshine. These are the days when the day will last a bit longer until it starts to slip back bit by bit. We stopped along the way home to chat to neighbours. The weather, as always, the main source of gossip.

As I grew up with a lot of the people we chatted to this evening, and played on the hill on long summer nights with them, our thoughts turned to evenings spent making daisy chains, playing chaineys, hopscotch, rounders over on the commons, and collecting wild flowers for our Mothers, a good way to get out of a scold for being in later than the deadline. To-day is the feast of St Winifrid. Happy feast day to all Winifrids [or Winnefreds or Winnifreds or Winifreds as my elderly cousing used to spell her name].

Yesterday, being the longest day, I sat out in the garden until well past midnight. It was wonderfully tranquil after a very busy day solo in the office. I have re-vamped the back patio, the frost and snow had damaged Mum's plants, we managed to save a pelargonium and I am nursing another one that climbs all over the place. In place of the lost plants I have started filling all available pots with bizzie lizzies, and I came across some beautiful double flowered ones that enhance the whole place by looking like miniature roses.

As I sat there, Check, the latest youthful fox incumbent of the garden [ancestry traceable to her grandmother the Silver] trotted around the side of the house and into the patio. I don't know who was the most surprised. I sat still, spoke quietly to her and she backed off up towards the veg garden. She sat there watching me for twenty minutes, sniffing the air delicately, looking around her. She was quite unfazed by my presence. After a bit I think she realised I wasn't going anywhere so she trotted off around the flower bed down by the patio wall, past the kitchen window to pick up the bread we throw out for the birds in the evening. The poor adult birds have had a busy time of it with the fledglings, so they need a bit of a helping hand. Check and her family are not unwilling to clean up the leavings.

Long may the fine weather reign.

04 June 2010

En4ced Rest & life b4 txt frm me 2 u

Things were going along swimmingly since the last blog; but a suspected sinus infection sent me to the doctors [three units of ambulance men were nearly needed to revive me when I got the bill] and a chest infection showed itself to accompany its fellow ailment. If that lot sounds pompous, try sixty euro to be told what you already suspect and another 48 euro to pay for medication that makes you want to call for the priest!

Short form is: Antibiotic's made me feel like passing over, doc recommends drop to one a day and I know stomach will never be the same again. Enter Trudy; "Yogurt, me dear, Glenisk is the best - it'll help your stomach". Trudy has now been voted lifesaving pal of the century. We go back a long way, 56 years to be precise, our Mums were three beds apart in the same ward of the same maternity hospital. Our Mother's came from neighbouring villages and we never knew each other until thirty seven years ago, come August, when we were introduced by a mutual friend. It was dislike at first sight. We l-o-a-t-h-e-d each other. Mutual friend emigrated to the USA and we continued to travel home together by train in thinly veiled truce. All this ended when a pal of hers let her down over a summer holiday and she came along to Greece with my friends and I. We had a blast! Things were never the same again...well, they couldn't be could they? After all I remember her and that night with the Ouzo, and she recall's my being chatted up by whatshisname...all very tame really by today's carry on in such places as Ibiza, but a mutual bond was formed and we took to the disco's upon our return like they were going out of fashion.

We have been firm friends ever since. Mind you, most of her and my other friends are convinced we are arch enemies - the level of what they see as sarcasm and what we see as never ending 'slagging' or leg pulling being high. We refuse to text each other, despite both being fairly competent with texting vocabulary. It's a sort of "lets be old-fashioned" about it. It's also an excuse for very long, very hilarious chats which keep Eircom in business, despite both having "packages" to save on calls.

As the week progressed the text messages started to roll in, it was obvious I was not seen in my usual haunts so Lisa landed this one "wer u? Nt cn u 4 4tnite - u ok?" or, for the text illiterate Where are you, haven't seen you for a fortnight, are you ok?...she got back, "nt so gud, antibi's mkng me fl yuk" to which she replied "por u, cn i gt u n-e tin" or, poor you, can I get you anything. Ger's "herd u r sik, hop ur betr, u up 4 cofy nx wed?" up for coffee next Wednesday, darling girl, I was hoping to reach the "able to eat tea and toast and keep it down" stage by then, never mind sit at our favourite cafe and slosh back cappuchino's and latte's by the gallon!

And it went on. And I started to think. And it hit me that by 2025 there will probably be classes in schools in Old English, and for those really interested Olde English. What will differentiate the two? Olde English will be the English of Chaucer and Shakespeare, and Old English will be the sort of thing we currently write our blogs in. Most communications will probably be in Nu Nglsh or Txt speek 4 u. When people speak to each other, ninety per cent of the words will be drowned with the "like" insert as I call it. Like, it will be, like speaking, like, in, like short4m, like, and, like, if, like, we can ever, like, get a sentence, like, out, like, we will, like, be, like, doing good. Like.

Have you ever eavesdropped on non-national English speaking conversations? The Irish have their own format, and it is not necessarily filled with shure and begorrahs! The English have theirs [regional variations included], American English and Canadian English is different again, take in New Zealand and Australia and the varying formations of a sentence are interesting. Like.

Anyhow, I am now off out to the patio, to like, sit, like, and read a book, like, and recouperate, like, before I have to, like, txt a fu pals 4 d l8st nuz! like.