Monday, May 31, 2010

AK Ilen

Photo catch-up for the weekend, beginning with the Framing Out ceremony for AK Ilen on Friday afternoon. First launched in 1926, up until the 90s the Ilen worked in the Falklands, transporting livestock between the islands. And through a somewhat bizarre coincidence, she ended up returning to Baltimore, where she was built.

Ilen is currently in a stone shed, with lush ivy creeping through; the cobbled floor harkening back to times when it was the courtyard of an O'Driscoll stronghold.

For the ceremony, children carried trenchers of smoking gum arabic incense through the crowd, and Brother Anthony of Glenstal Abbey spoke effortlessly of the wonder of a creature of land transforming to a creature of the sea. Live Oak was fixed to the Ilen to give thanks for the wood, and blessed as Brother Anthony invoked the elements of wood, air, water and fire.

I helped with fire, being one of the designated Giver of Candles :-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Festival Weekend

I have a few moments in between the Last Thing and the Next Thing: just enough time for a crosaire, I reckon, if it's not too headwreckingly difficult.

The Wooden Boat Festival weekend is upon us. Boats are gradually appearing, and the pier is being decked out for the stalls that will tempt us with goodies for the duration (for it is also the Seafood Festival). I'll be helping out a bit, so should hopefully be in the thick of it and able to take some photos along the way.

In the meanwhile, when we were out Sea Safari-ing the other day, the Beacon had some bovine visitors, and looked like this:

And up at the Beacon the other day, I looked like this:

Have a lovely weekend :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bushes Communiqué

Broadband is still fritzey, so I’m sitting in Bushes, with an open crab sandwich ordered and a selection of village wifi to choose from…

The week is simply zipping by. And although for me, it’s much taken up with visiting friends, conversation with others tends to be about when I’m off – so regularly asked, that my answers sound like a countdown. This close to leaving, I have a tendency to nurture a pre-emptive nostalgia. Today in the Glebe I took a moment to walk through the garden by myself, enjoying the breathtaking bank of iris, the myriad aquilegia, the papaver… I remembered past seasons, past visits – sunshiney coffees and meals and rehearsals and birthdays and performances.

And I slipped off my shoes and walked barefoot on the warm grass, savouring the sensation and knowing that I’d remember it another time, perhaps in a city, and would savour it all over again.

Pics from Sunday night, when the Drama Group had a little 'do' to say goodbye, which turned into a session before the setting sun...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Steps so tiny they're almost more of a little waddle

Sort, pack, sort, pack. Bushes for a Sanity Lunch, after which a dear friend found me on Skype and shared a heartwarming tale of rescuing four baby blue tits whose mother had died. Lovely chat; perfect timing :-)

Sort, pack. A friend called in, needing a finishing touch for a present. Luckily, the bag of treaty ribbons had not yet been packed.

And now to wrap up the very lovely martini glasses given to me by my very lovely mum. Sort, pack... The music at the moment is REM's 'Life's Rich Pageant' - smiled as I was singing 'Trust in your calling, make sure your calling's true...'

Baby steps.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Ah, the paperwork sorting & packing day was always going to be the worst.

Apart from the current miscellany marking Life Here and Now, there is paperwork stretching back through the years, from Big Milestone legal documents & certificates to as-yet unresolved matters: the Madeiran Shipping fiasco, the problematic US Pension Paperwork (addressed to me at a house which has since been knocked down - the post kindly redirected from the golf course next door). My habit is to go through everything, to make sure that I'm not moving extraneous stuff, but it's intense work, shifting from professional to personal and back again.

Needless to say, this is the kind of day you break up into Baby Steps. And it's been divided up nicely: friends dropped in for coffee this morning, then lunch out, and now I've paused again, and the kitties have bounced in from the garden declaring it to be Snuggle Time. Which is fine be me. Days like this work kinda like the Incident Pit in scuba diving - you resolve your issues as you go, so that they don't cumulate into Ginormous Wig-out Panic.

Because Ginormous Wig-out Panic is something we try to watch out for, and avoid :-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Packing Code

About half-way through clearing the upstairs, I remembered that Packing Days necessitate the presence of pizza and wine and myriad easy-access treaty things.

All of which I am off to buy now :-)

Meanwhile, life feels kinda like this.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The boxing commenceth in earnest

Manky drizzley day here. The morning was spent trying to problem-solve aspects of moving; most frustrating. Eventually took sanctuary in coffee & catch-up lunch with friends - lovely and re-energising and perfectly timed, for another friend had lots of boxes ready for me, which I shall fill up presently with a miscellany of things :-)

Those pretty paper flowers? Well, one was eaten by a dog this morning - for ages, he held it in his mouth all Ermintrude-esque, then finally chomped down. And Dubh is skating across the floor with another two. Little multi-use decorations...

Monday, May 17, 2010

folding the time

Yesterday felt like something of a washout. Heading to bed, I was trying not to think of the last week as 'x days lost, days when I really had a zillion things to do'. I was trying to encourage patience, compassion, permission to be ill and recover in my own time...

Anyhoo, as I powered down the house for the night, I went to blow out the candles, and remembered that during Columbo, I tried my hand at making origami kusudama blossoms.

And I thought that, despite the glumness of the day, it had still managed to bring forth colour and light :-)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Improvement Shown

Well, it's open to debate, but *I* think I'm much better today. Took it pretty easy: caught up on admin this morning, the very fabulous TP arrived with Forager's Soup - chock-full of Vitamin C and all kinds o'goodness. It was very very tasty; nettle was one of main ingredients (a first for me). I am totally sold, and Thick Gardening Gloves shall be procured forthwith.

Napped, listened to HP Lovecraft on the Classic Tales Podcast, trawled craftey supplies websites... I haven't done any writing, apart from a few notes. If I had, I suspect the plot for the book would have come out something like this:

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) on Vimeo. Note: this may only be funny if you *have* seen Star Wars.

There are basking sharks at the mouth of Baltimore harbour, visible from the Beacon. Dying to get up there - maybe tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sick Day

Despite being Queen of the Fester, I've had a nice day. Decadently reading, and even managing to get a fair bit of writing done - at least, until the Dizzy Elves sprinkle their magic dust over me. Then I just lie very still, and snooze a bit.

Anyhoo, Raymond Chandler & Alfred Hitchcock films are helping (thanks, GP), as are the pamplemousse juice & Kurt Wallander book (thanks, TG).

Virtual fish fed. Gonna brew up a Perry Magic Cure (thanks, TP) then it's back to the sofa for me.

Hard life :-)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fiddle Weekend

A lovely, busy weekend: many trad. sessions and a little rugby and a fabulous sunshiney brunch & walk (thanks, D&A) and a couple of days catch-up with a friend who came bearing the best oatmeal cookies ever (thanks, T). And books finished and more to read (I am going to be a total Basque nerd before long).

Moving plans are - well, moving along, slowly. Some hiccups, but that's as expected. Speaking of which, my coughey-sore throat is all grown up into a head cold. Little sigh.

Remnants of the festival folk sat in the square this afternoon; as I left, a single fiddle started up - an elegy for a great weekend of music.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Between election results and fiddles galore, I'm taking a moment for the Lusitania, torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale this day in 1915 (also a Friday). She sank in under 20 minutes. Figures vary slightly, but of the 1961 aboard, it's likely that 1197 died: crew, passengers, and the three stowaways who snuck aboard in New York and were confined below deck.

After a morning of warning and rising anxiety about U-Boats off the South Irish coast, the Lusitania received another Admiralty message: "SUBMARINE FIVE MILES SOUTH OF CAPE CLEAR, PROCEEDING WEST WHEN SIGHTED AT 10 AM." They thought they had come through the worst. When the torpedo hit the starboard side, it made a noise like the slamming of a door.

(Lusitania in New York, 1907, having completed her maiden voyage from Liverpool)

I was reading through some of the Lusitania sites; fascinating to learn that some of her lifeboats survived, and ended up on the Isle of Man, where they were used as viking boats from the 1970s onwards. One was rowed over to Strangford Loch to raise funds in the International Year of the Child: the same boat still helping to save, albeit in an utterly different capacity. Of the 129 children aboard the Lusitania, 94 died in the sinking.

Okay then! On that somewhat sombre note, wishing all a lovely weekend X

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time for Fiddlin'

Well, the Fiddle Fair 2010 beginneth.

Hard to believe it's been a year since we sat in the Glebe being entertained by Les Violons du Rigodon... The forecast is better than last year - cold but dry; hopefully the marquee at Casey's won't take such a battering this time around.

The line-up snakes its way through venues in Baltimore and out to Sherkin, and has something for everyone: concerts, masterclasses and sessions (planned and impromptu) in a variety of trad styles, ending on Sunday night with Lunasa and Kevin Burke, in what promises to be a storming gig. For full details see

The fun kicks off this evening with our own Baltimore Beginners in The Algiers :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pixel invasion

Writing away... breaks to read up on ferry calendars, travelling-with-pet regulations, admiring the deep-blue seaglass that I found yesterday on my little shore walk :-)

Anyhoo, here's a wacky short film by Patrick Jean, called 'Pixels'. I didn't imagine that the destruction of New York could bring a smile, but there you go...

If the viewer isn't showing properly, the original is on youtube over here.

Space Invaders, Pacman, Tetris blocks falling into skyscrapers... it's got it all.

Right, back to work!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Louth Craftmark

Snippets from Drogheda on Saturday: after checking out the book in Easons, and after the hailstones abated, Sharon and I set up Nosey's stand amidst the woodturners and jewellers and silk-painters and felters...

Although there were two official storytimes scheduled, we took turns reading Nosey at intervals through the day, both outside in the courtyard, and inside in the gallery (where a breadcrumb trail of hats lead to us).

A duo from Nationwide covered the event, so Nosey may be included in the feature - more on that in a couple of weeks. Thanks to the staff of Highlanes Gallery for their hospitality, and to the gallery cafe - a branch of the ever-lovely Anderson's :-)

And after coffee and stories and colouring and felting, we went in to the craft shop, for a little shopping :-)

On the trip back down, we kicked around ideas for the Nosey sequel, but now it's back to my book; tappy tap tapping away...