Monday 16th sees us all mainly ‘swerving hard work’. It feels like that kind of a day. We played indoors with Mum and Dad on the computers, catching up with the finances, whacking some kitten pictures up on Flickr and cracking off a soda bread loaf and a couple of yeast-bread loaves, breaking in Dad’s new loaf-tins. Mum and Dad declare these breads “Very nice”. The soda bread is so delicious they have eaten most of it already.
Mum was maybe a tad more productive, constructing a couple of IKEA flat-pack CD rack/shelf units and Domestic-Goddessing bathroom and downstairs. Other than the indoor stuff, Dad was supervising chooks who DISGRACED THEMSELVES by climbing onto one of the raised beds (only the one with Dad’s seedling leeks in it!!!!) and laying it waste with their scratching. Dad’s own fault really - we've been saying for a while we should fence them "out" of that bit. He even have the wire sitting in the shed, but heh, mañana and all that.
As Dad describes it, the campaign to “try to make the 6 year old Westie bitch, Deefer, (that’s me!) learn to love the new kittens. Deefs is a natural "only child", (says Dad) fiercely jealous of anything that might come between her and her Dad, and also with a divil of a killer instinct when it comes to vermin and prey animals. We have worked our way through new (cat-friendly)dog-Coco, Charolais cattle and then chickens, all of which she got used to, bored by, and is now hearing our instructions not to kill. She's now on rabbits which are still worth a chase round the outside of the run and a shout at though the wire and we, foolish humans, have now introduced another prey species and this one IN THE HOUSE!” That sounds about right, Dad!
“There is no doubt at all that Deefer” continues Dad, “left to 'play' with kittens unsupervised, would do that shake-rat thing and we'd have two corpses in a few seconds. We are therefore trying to give her 30 minute sessions with her on the lead in the room where she can look, sniff, hear us trying to instruct her and see us doing "we love this kitten... it is a member of the family... it is a pet... part of our pack... it is not vermin" at her”.
On Tues 17th July, the main event is undoubtedly that Mum and Dad find, at last, a proper Irish Traditional music session. This is happening (and does each Tuesday night) in the Village Inn pub in Lough Glynn and was told about to us by John Deere Bob who goes to it most weeks even though he is Teetotal. It was, after 25+ years of searching and chasing down tips, finally a real traditional session, not some kitsch laid on for tourists and not a formal 'gig' where you go to see a specific band or person. It’s just a motley collection of blokes and a couple of young girls in a pub, grouped at one end of the bar behind a balustrade thing. It started off fairly 'formal' (probably because the team from the “Comhaltas” National Archive were there video-ing), so each of the regulars got their turn on camera if they wanted - as I said, mainly old boys dressed in dark suits, some with old venerable hats on (flat caps, but also a baseball hat), ties, black shoes and in one case wooden soled clogs. One had a superb Dubliners style bushy beard and a pink, Father Christmas face. The two gals were young teenage local 'celebs' having won the Roscommon Fleadh (Music Festival) with their squeeze box playing, but were demon penny whistlers too. As well as music there are “Recitations”.
The 'recitations' were something to behold, tales of missing home and eventually returning, tales of ganders which were no good at stud, tales of some Cockney trying to fool 'Paddy' in London that his ass (as in donkey) was actually his brother etc. The musical group even indulged a couple of local 'characters' ("a bit-een simple" was how one of them was described by our own John Deere Bob after the event) by allowing them to sing or 'clog dance'. To be fair, one of them was a good singer and parodied a well know song by bringing in local JCB contractor Noel R (Our own “Poetic Plumber”) who everybody knew and changed the lyrics to suit all the local landmarks, towns and pubs. The other was a bit of a dire singer and his clog dancing was the subject of Mum reporting to have been "in awe" when describing it to friends. Loud, certainly but having a rather loose relationship with the rhythm of the reel.
After the National Archive people packed away their kit it all went a bit more random and the group was joined by several more including extra bodhrán players, spoons and a bloomin' good banjo player, young lad. Mum and Dad report that it was just an absolutely meltingly brilliant event which they wouldn't have missed for anything.
Also on that day, Dad strings a length of chicken wire across the kitchen garden to fence the chooks out of the raised beds. He also clears the felled elder round to the shredder heap. This is now getting rather big and ‘we’ need to hire a shredder to process it through into suitable path material for the kitchen garden, between the raised beds.