Friday 30 September 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 30/9/22

Brrr it's definitely autumnal here.  

I've missed a couple of weeks here so lots of things to be grateful for including:

1)  My trip to Ireland with friends.  You can read about it here.  It was so lovely to get away and we had a great time.

2)  A hubby who is happy for me to do my own thing from time to time as in leave him here for a week while I get away with friends.  Thankfully he can be quite independent although we did have an interesting conversation during the week about how to set up the washing machine.  

3)  Catching up with the Grandkids.  We saw Vinny and Rory last Friday as it was Vinny's birthday.  2 already! And then we stayed and had a chinese takeaway with my son and DIL.  We caught up with Ella on Monday and then on Tuesday I took Nathan to his tennis lesson so I had time with him.  Tomorrow we are off to Nottingham for Miles' second birthday and a catch up with our eldest son and the rest of the family.

4)  A walk around the lake today.  It was quite sunny at the start but had begun to cloud over by the time I got home.  It was just nice to be out in familiar surroundings.

The cygnets are almost fully grown.  It will be interesting to see if the male parent tries to chase them off the way he did with last years brood.

It was hard to get a decent picture of them this afternoon as they were all busy feeding.

5)  Good starts to school for Rory and Noah.

Have a good weekend all.

Sunday 25 September 2022

Ireland Trip 2022

I'm back and ready to report back on my trip to Ireland.  This was with my "Ladies Lunch" group, Ana, Mary and Catherine.  Ana's late husband's family have property and land there and Ana now owns the house that David built on their plot of land.

Many of you will associate Ireland with Dublin which is of course one of the closest points to the UK but we were staying in a small village called Ballyconneely - the blue dot on the map below.

After a slightly hair-raising cab ride to Stanstead airport (I'd allow at least 45 minutes for the drive there, the cab driver made it in 25!) we had plenty of time to check in, get through security and have some lunch.

The flight was uneventful and we arrived at Shannon airport on time.
Shannon is not far from Limerick on the map.  We picked up our hirer car and set off for Ballyconneely.

The first part of the journey was fairly straightforward, the roads to Galway are good and there was very little traffic.  Unfortunately we hit Galway at rush hour so it took a while to get through there and on to the road to Clifden.  The nearer we got to Clifden (the nearest town to Ballyconneely) the smaller the roads became.  And more winding.  But the scenery was beautiful.

We stopped in Clifden to pick up some essential shopping.  It has a very nice supermarket with lots of choice.

Then it was on to Ballyconneely.  Around lots of bends and over 2 bridges which are only wide enough for one car.  Just before you get to Ballyconneely we turned off onto the road that leads to Ana's house.  I say road but track is probably a better description.  It is only wide enough for one car, winds round and round and up and down and you find yourself praying you don't meet a car coming the other way unless it's by the driveway to a house where there will be room to pass one another.  Fortunately, the whole time we were there we didn't meet too many cars and every time they reversed back enabling me to pass!

And finally we reached the house.

Like many houses in the area it's single story but it has 3 bedrooms, kitchen, separate dining room, 2 reception rooms, bathroom and shower room and great views with their land running down to the lake you can see in the 3rd picture above.

Our first couple of days we had really good weather.  It was bright and sunny although chillier than it had been at home.  Cattle and sheep graze on the land which is part of a heritage protected site so there are strict restrictions on what building can take place.

Of course we had to explore the beach which is just a short walk away.

Mary, Ana, Catherine

We stopped on one of our travels to take a picture of this lake which was just like a mirror.

One of the local neighbours


Kylemore Abbey

A meal out in Clifden at the Marconi restaurant

Spot the seals!

Overall we had a lovely relaxing week.  We did some of the obvious tourist things - we ate out at lunchtime and then cooked back at the house in the evenings.  We went to Mass at the village church on the Sunday and tried out the local pub. 

We visited Kylemore Abbey and a place called Roundstone where we had a lovely seafood chowder.  We went to a concert and listened to an amazing fiddle player.  We browsed lots of craft shops.  Catherine and I watched the Queen's funeral.  We met some of Ana's in-laws and we even joined in with a memory walk around the nearby Marconi site raising funds for the Alzheimer's society.

The Marconi site is where the radio pioneer set up a radio station to transmit across the Atlantic.

It's also where Alcock and Brown landed when they made the first trans-Atlantic flight in 1919.

This picture of a map shows just how much water there is in the area!

Roundstone Harbour

The hotel at Ballynahinch

It's a beautiful part of Ireland to visit but it must be quite bleak in the winter months.  We were lucky with the weather - the only rainy day was the Wednesday before we came home on the Thursday but we still got out in the afternoon.  We headed for Ballynahinch Castle where there is a nice hotel for lunch although we inadvertantly took the scenic route crossing a bog between mountains but the road was actually well surfaced and marked and we had more lovely views of a lake.

Ana is a great hostess and we all get on so well so there was lots of laughter.  Hopefully we'll be going again.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Another week gone? How did that happen?

I feel all out of routine at the moment.  Of course we had our family reunion week and then last week I ended up looking after Grandsons Rory and Vinny for the whole week as Vinny just wasn't well enough to go back to nursery. Understandably I was exhausted by the end of the week so we had a reasonably quiet weekend.

On Saturday I did meet up with some former colleagues at a reunion which was good and on Sunday we dropped in on a "Flea and Tea" event at the local church which supports a Food Hub.

Of course it's been a strange time following the death of the Queen last Thursday.  I think it took us all a bit by surprise as only 2 days before she'd been welcoming our new Prime Minister into her post and then 2 days later the Queen had passed away.

Queen Elizabeth was an incredible woman and such a great example to us.  Having reigned for such a long time this is the first time many of us have experienced the death of the monarch and then the move to a new King.  The Accession ceremony was very interesting to watch as it had never been televised before but it was a great example of all the pomp and pageantry we are known for.  The language was very archaic at times - the ceremony has taken place for hundreds of years with little or no changes.

Accession to the throne is then followed by a series of proclamations throughout the country - in previous times there would have been no TV or social media or even radio to spread the news of a new monarch so it was done by word of mouth and this continued with the Accession of King Charles III.

The TV schedules have been swamped with programmes about the Queen and her family during this official period of mourning.  Various events were cancelled at the weekend and even the radio stations seem to be playing sombre songs.

I'll be in Ireland with friends when the funeral takes place - we're hoping the TV will be working ok.

Of course going away again is disrupting my routine and although I've managed to read many of your blogs I haven't been leaving comments so apologies for that.  We won't have any WiFi at the house we're staying in either so you'll have to wait until I'm back for photos and details of the trip.  I'm sure we're going to have fun!

Monday 5 September 2022

A week in Kent - August 2022

I feel like I've been MIA for ages.  We had a fantastic week away with all hubby's extended family and I did intend, as we were back last Friday, to do a Friday's Fave Five post but I was just too tired.

Socialising with such a large group (30+ adults and up to 15 kids depending on the day of the week) is tiring.  Also we were sharing a room with my daughter, her wife and their two children who did not sleep well.  Consequently none of us slept well.

For those new to my blog, every year over the August Bank Holiday hubby's family get together.  In the past we went camping but as time has moved on we've opted for a more comfortable setting - a converted Oast House in Kent.

Obviously the pandemic put paid to this for the last 2 years so this year we were all excited to get back together again.

The weather was kind to us - warm and sunny but not the unbearable heat we've had recently and I think we only had one short rain shower during the days.

Each family took a turn to prepare dinner for everyone - that was a mammoth task.  There was much playing of games and singing karaoke and time in the pool.  We even had a Club Tropicana pool party on the Saturday afternoon.

As requested I did take lots of photos and I've "borrowed" others although they are in no particular order!

My youngest son and his wife.

Grandsons Noah and Rory helping prepare the biscuits for the base of our dessert - Key Lime Pie

The youngest of the Great Grandchildren generation celebrated her first birthday while we were there.  (We still refer to them as great grandchildren despite none of the Great Grandparents from Hubby's family being alive.) 

Granddaughter Ella. Not sure about her reading material lol.
The obligatory "stairs" photo of my family.  Our photographer took loads of shots and these were probably the best two although none of them were perfect.  Co-ordinating 6 little ones is a challenge!

This is Maya the birthday girl and her cousin Poppy with their grandparents.  Some of you may remember how poorly Poppy was as a baby and although her condition is lifelong she is such a lovely girl.
Ella and Vinny

Nathan ready for the pool party!

Ella is getting so grown up but she's not 2 until November
She really wanted my hat.
Some of the family
We definitely had a lot of water babies.
Bedtime story
The downside of being in the pool - getting out.
Pool party ready
Ella and Miles with my daughter
Some family members took the pool party dress code more seriously than others.
TV can be a wonderful thing.
Maya, the birthday girl.
Noah, Nathan and Rory.
Henry (the packhorse) was the only French grandson to attend but he is such a lovely young man mixing in as well with the little ones as he did with the oldies.
More family - my eldest son and his wife are sitting at the front, you can just see me behind my DIL and Hubby is standing on the left.

Noah and Nathan

I'd like to say I'm having a rest this week but Grandson Rory starts school this year in a Reception class.  Well school started today but his school are not having any of the Reception children in for the first 2 weeks as staff will be conducting home visits.  During week 3 the children will attend until 12.00 noon each day and during week 4 they will attend until 1.30 pm.  In week 5 (w/c 3rd October) they will be allowed to attend full time.

I could get bogged down in sharing what I think about this but we'd be here all night!  Anyway it means I have Rory all this week so that his parents can work and as Vinny has had an upset tummy and cannot attend nursery I have him as well until Wednesday at least.

Retirement is no easy life!