Thursday, 13 September 2018

Ireland Part 2...

All jewellery charity shopped. Blue earrings bought in Co. Sligo charity shop for 99 cents
Hello again. Thank you for the lovely welcome back comments; I really appreciated them. It's such a fabulous supportive community blogland. Mostly, anyway....

I can't say it hasn't been strange since I came back. I did very little for nearly eight weeks and now I'm back to rushing around but first let me tell you a little more about my time in Ireland.

I wasn't aware OH had taken this photo outside the church at the funeral of my cousin.  Here I'm checking with my cousin Gillian who is reading which bit at the service. Behind me is cousin Irma and of course, cousin Doirin in black and white. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped and the kimono is the first one I ever bought. I'm wearing a black shirt underneath it which I bought in a charity shop in Donegal for 2 euros and the black and white trousers are 1 of 8 pairs that I had. I left this pair in Ireland.

 Whilst out walking in Mountcharles, Co. Donegal, I spied one of these:

Do you know what is?
It's a robot lawnmower. I saw it moving from a distance and found it a little bit scary but it was doing a great job mowing neat, even strips of lawn, then turning around doing another one.....

When my daughter came out to stay we spent a couple of days in Belfast. We stayed overnight and did some sightseeing on both days. The second day we did an open top bus tour and one of the most interesting things we saw were the murals on the 'peace' walls dividing the Protestant areas from the Catholic areas. I took many more photos but my phone ran out of memory and in the effort to free up some space many were accidentally deleted. These are all I have.

Daughter in front of a Peace Wall

I hung out with my cousins; Gillian, Doirin and Irma in Irma's new house. The red striped top was charity shopped in Donegal for 3.00 euros.

I went to a summer festival in Sligo with Martina and saw Paddy Casey;

And Mundy

Of course it rained but we were prepared with folding chairs and umbrellas... Martina danced her socks off - she did, honestly!

When OH came out we went to visit Lissadell House in Co. Sligo. We first visited it 19 years ago. It was the home of the Gore-Booth's; of whom Constance Gore Booth, better known as Countess Markievitz, was one of the prominent and the only female leader of the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin.

This is the only photo I had left on my phone. Lissadell Bay seen from the Alpine Garden of Lissadell House.

In the walled garden  of Lissadell House, there were several signs asking us not to pick the fruit and vegetables.  I posed for a photo where I was pretending to pick a pear. As I reached up, a drone suddenly appeared and hovered above until it was sure I was only pretending! 21st century security....

We also took this ferry from Burtonport to Aranmore Island, population 400!

You can see from the photos that it was misty, drizzly day. We didn't see the island at its best but it was a beautiful, peaceful place. We'll definitely be paying a return visit and will hope for better weather!

I didn't get much crocheting done on holiday. I just wasn't in the mood very often. I've crocheted the equivalent of two rows of my latest blanket so there's only seven rows or 63 squares left! I'll be getting back in to it now I'm  getting back into my usual routine.

When I got back from Ireland, I had the grandsons for two days as they didn't return to school until Wednesday. On Tuesday we went to Woburn Safari Park. Some of my photos didn't get saved because of the memory problem so a giraffe and some lorikeets is all you're getting...

Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped including my African print bag.
I don't know why youngest grandson is pulling such a weird face...

Lorikeets drinking nectar....

We saw lions, tigers, bears, camels, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, eland and other deer, spider monkeys, lemurs, capybaras, sea lions, wallabies, emus and water buffalo. Middle grandson did a high ropes course called 'The Giraffe Climb'.  We had a lovely day.

On Wednesday, OH and I went to Leighton Buzzard for a much needed rummage. Leighton Buzzard which is in Bedfordshire was home to Mary Norton' author of 'The Borrowers,' one of my favourite children's books of all times.

This is now a school.

We had never been  to Leighton Buzzard before and there were 7 charity shops including one for Breast Cancer. - that was a first for me.  I bought  a pair of trousers for 2.00 and a tea cup for 49p! We stopped in Ampthill on the way home where in Barnardos they had a 49p bin for men and women's clothes; getting rid of summer stock, I suppose. I bought quite a few bits -  not all at 49p!

These leggings were one of the 49p bin buys. Everything else charity shopped; the turquoise cardigan is an old faithful wardrobe staple. Pink shoes charity shopped in Donegal.

There are some Irish shortbread biscuits and jam under the hall table for my friend Ann...

The navy top by Wallis was another 49p bin buy! The kimono was also bought in Barnardo's for 2.99. Navy trousers from Primarni about three years ago. Shoes as before.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I bought this necklace in Donegal for 2.00 euros.

I also went to visit my son at the weekend and wore this:

All jewellery charity shopped.

I bought this coat by M&S for 7.00 in the Cat's Protection League; either earlier this year or late last year. Either way the weather was not right for it, so since I've come back I'm wearing it as much as possible. Black sandals charity shopped locally just before I went to Ireland.

Green trousers, Next; patterned top, Next; lace shirt unknown label; all charity shopped.

Yellow scarf charity shopped.

Finally, I ended my first week back at home with a 9.5 mile walk with my friend from the food bank.

I've been enjoying the warm, pleasant and sometimes sunny weather  since I came back from Ireland and it was so good to wear my summer clothes and sandals. I wore sandals only on maybe three occasions in Ireland because it just wasn't sandals weather. But there is a definite autumnal feeling in the air now The evenings have drawn in, the trees are changing colour and it may be time to start checking out what summer clothing needs to be swapped over...

Until next time, cheers!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Off to Ireland and back again!

Since I last posted on here I've been to to Ireland and back again but let's just backtrack a little....

To look at what I'm wearing below you might think I am very patriotic. I'm not and as for the football World Cup I was not very interested...oh dear my secret is out! I did, however watch Argentina v France in the pub when we went out with my brothers in Kettering for an early birthday meal in July. where we also went for a bit of a rummage...

All jewellery charity shopped.

In this photo everything I'm wearing is charity shopped except the sandals from Clarks.

I bought this red/white/blue vest from a bargain
 rail on our rummage to Kettering. I also bought a necklace, some earrings and a brooch. That's it. Nothing else. OH did remarkably well and bought 7 tops; including a rather nice linen one that I spotted on a 50 pence rail!

Navy linen trousers by Next; cotton jacket by F&F.

Do you like my new hall table? I 'rescued' it from a skip. It just needed a good scrub. The baskets have white cotton liners which need to be ironed and so far I haven't been bothered. The L hand drawers house OH's collection of caps and the R hand drawers hold some of my scarves - all nicely folded and rolled and all my gloves. The top shelf will be used for things that need to be picked up or dropped off to members of the family or others. There's always something; in this photo there's a football sticker book belonging to youngest grandson and a book of mine for the charity shop.

On the Tuesday before I left I volunteered at the Food bank. This was what I wore. When I return from Ireland in September I'll be volunteering every week as I've given up the library. I'm also thinking of becoming a 'Befriender' at the Yarlswood Immigration Detention Centre, which to my shame is located in the village of Thurleigh in Bedfordshire. I shall find out more about it when I'm back and make a decision. It's something I've been thinking about for a while.

 Everything is charity shopped. I just can't remember where I got this homemade lightweight jacket but it was  few years ago and I love it. I love the colours; the length is good for trousers or skirts and the material has a metallic sheen which lifts it out of the ordinary.  The snake print jeans are by Next and the green top by M&S. I got this top in the Red Cross shop for 1.99 and I wouldn't be surprised if the jacket didn't come from there, too. Can't remember where I got the black sandals from.

All jewellery charity shopped.

In the week before I travelled to Ireland I tried to take things easy. I had errands to run in town and managed to  walk 5.75 miles  on Wednesday, but when I got home my knee hurt a bit going up and down the stairs, so I rested it all afternoon. 

The last of the lilies from the garden.

Everything is charity shopped except my shoes which are from PJ shoes. Trousers are by Select and again I can't remember where I got them from...

I bought the top from a sale rail at the Sally Army shop in Rushden for 1.00. I felt a bit miffed I didn't find much on our rummage to Kettering, so I visited Rushden for a quick peek on Tuesday afternoon after the food bank. I also bought three pairs of earrings and some books (they had a book sale on) in the same charity shop.  I bought three geranium plants for a 1.00 at  a florist shop as well, They always have bargain plants.

All jewellery charity shopped; the earrings picked up from the Sally Army in Rushden.

This is what I wore to travel to Ireland in on July 8th. The kimono top is actually a dressing gown; I bought it in the 3:16 shop on the 1.00 rail. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped.  Top by Next 1.00 rail. Blue shoes by Clarks also charity shopped.

On the ferry out I was accompanied by this seagull who spent a lot of the crossing eyeballing me inside!

What a fine fellow!

I spent 8 weeks in Ireland and it was a wonderful break from the usual routine but it was bittersweet in many ways. My uncle who was in his 80s had a stroke before I left for Ireland and died shortly after I arrived. I attended the funeral and met up with several of my mother's cousins whom I had never met before. It was lovely to meet up with lots of family even though it was a very sad occasion. There's only two maternal aunts left now.

I wore the same outfit to the funeral but with different trousers. Those are my cousins Linda and Doirin at the front with me and two second cousins behind; Sean and Eamon, and my uncle's best friend Michael. This is the graveyard where my maternal grandparents are buried and several of my mum's sisters.

Then 6 weeks later my cousin Richard died unexpectedly. It was very shocking and it hasn't really sunk in even now. He was only 49 and left two children aged 6 and 4.  Life is very cruel sometimes. Again, I attended the funeral and went to the cremation but this time OH had come out so we went together.

RIP Richard. You will be sorely missed.

I spent most of the time in Ireland on my own. I visited cousins, did some walking, my daughter came out for a few days and OH came out for the last week. One day, I took myself off to Fanad Head in Donegal.  It is the furthest North I've been in Donegal and next year I must make it to the very furthest north of the county.  On the day I went to Fanad Head it was one of the few nice days I had in terms of the weather. Most of the time it was grey, very cloudy, drizzly and sometimes torrential rain. It was never cold though although the temperature was usually a a good ten degrees lower than in the UK.

I bought this jacket in Oxfam in Kilburn for 2.00. All jewellery charity shopped. I took very few personal photos as I forgot my selfie stick.

The one and only occasion I got to swim in the sea. It was glorious and the sea was warm once you were in. It was only the salt water in  my eyes that made me get out...

I went walking with cousins. On this occasion we walked in Union Wood, Co. Sligo and up to Union Rock. Cousin Caroline and cousin in law Martina, with Willow and Taylor - two beautiful dogs.

The orange shirt I'm wearing was one of the very few items of clothing I bought in Ireland. From a charity shop in Donegal for 2 euros. In total I bought 2 tops; 1 dress and 1 hat. I bought a few items of jewellery and quite a lot of books. I also read a lot of books; 26 in July and 20 in August. Have a look at my 'Books Read' page if you'd like to see what I read.

If you look carefully in the background of the picture above you can see two famous Co. Sligo mountains. To the right of me is Ben Bulben and to the left; Knocknarea. At the very top of this mountain, just discernible, is the cairn of Queen Maeve. The first time I brought my family to Ireland in 2005 we climbed this mountain and laid a stone on top of the cairn.

It's a bit more obvious in this photo.

On my walks, I:

Met a hare

Picked wildflowers; Monbretia and Meadowsweet.  
And I did a very special walk of 20 miles! 2018 is the 460th anniversary of the sinking of a number of ships  from the Spanish Armada along the Sligo and Donegal coast. The walk I did was to commemorate the walk of shipwrecked Spanish sailors from the 'La Duquesa Santa Anna' off the coast of Donegal. The sailors encamped near Rosbeg at Kiltoorish and then walked 20 miles to Killybegs to join some Spanish ships that had taken shelter there from the dreadful storms that had caused their shipwreck in the first place.

This stone will be placed at the starting point of the walk. As you can see it is not properly mounted here.

These two guys were dressed in Spanish sailor and soldier costume from the period. They were part of a re enactment group and gave us a very interesting talk and demonstration of weapons; costumes and social history.

The walk was split into to two parts. 7 miles in the morning; back for lunch at the Ardara Community Centre (above) then 13 miles to Killybegs in the afternoon. I made it, but oh boy was I stiff the next day!

Ceremony in Killybegs to lay the plaque to denote the end of the walk.

Spanish Armada 1588
The last steps of the 1200 crew of La Duquese Santa Ana  and La Girona on Irish soil.

I really enjoyed the walk; I met some lovely people and I have a new personal best in walk miles!

It's very good to be home. I'm loving the beautiful warm sunny weather here. I really missed my grandchildren and children so I've been spending the past few days with them to make up for lost time.

In my next post I'll fill you in on what else I did on my holidays!