Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Known to the Police?

The village 'Centre' gets new varnish in the main hall in
this 365 offering.
First, a little more on the Gallowglass Warrior featured in the last post, if you'll bear with me. I had a root around (not too hard!) and found that our man is the work of an African born, UK-working sculptor name of Clare Bigger. The website has it that "Clare Bigger’s sculptures are all about movement.  With subjects ranging from athletes and dancers  to race horses, cats and birds of prey, her sculptures can be anything from 10cm – 10m high.  She works in stainless steel which allows her to create light airy structures which are both strong and weather resistant.

A bird in the hand? Hubbard Chick.
Clare has always had a keen interest in sport (which includes a black belt in Tae Kwon Do) and her work often reflects this, its dynamic nature capturing a dancer balancing on point or a sprinter in full flight. Clare Bigger’s sculptures are a revelation, a celebration of life and the spontaneity of movement.

She was born and brought up in Africa and has since travelled extensively with destinations including Solomon Islands, Bhutan and Costa Rica."

Some good curds in the latest goats' milk cheese batch.
Her website has an impressive gallery of pics of her work. I contacted her just to say how much I admired her warrior, that I had posted a blog on the subject (I hoped she approved) and that I was trying to get a picture of the guy silhouetted against the sunset. She replied that she was delighted that I liked him, had enjoyed the blog and was looking forward to my sunset pics. I have since found out that a local pub is holding a light hearted competition to choose him a name - I'm not sure what Clare would make of that! I suppose it depends on what name they choose.

Pre-game huddle for the boys in black and white.
Meanwhile the ever more diverse campaign to find interesting things to photograph for '365' took me into the world of sports photography. Not having a big interest in sport, I do not go there every often and had not actually been to the local GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association - it covers all the good honest Irish sports like Irish football, hurling and handball) ground when a game was on in all the 4+ years we have been here. It was a bit of an adventure with me the nervous newcomer creeping warily onto this hallowed turf of all things rough, tough, Irish, athletic and sporty.

Ah well, I shmoozed up all the right people and even went to see club chairman to check it was OK to sneak around the boundary with my big 'pap' lens, a 100-400 mm telephoto like a newspaper man's. The club (Éire Óg - pronounce it 'air' and then 'og' as in bogus; it just means "Young Ireland") were playing rivals 'St Croan's' that day. Our lot play in black and white, so I just had to make sure to get good pics of the boys in black in the sunny first half before the drizzle set in at half time and I had to pack away the gear. Our lot co-operated by putting in plenty of attacks which brought them up 'my end' so I got some pics which have pleased those in the know who have seen them so far. I have found out since, however, that 'we' lost in the end 2-6 to 0-16 (12 points to 16) but I enjoyed my involvement and they know I am happy to come take some more in future games.

Carrying on with the Hubbard harvest. This is bird #7 of 12. 
So, what's all this about the Police, then, in my title? Well, it's like this, m'lud. UK readers may not know that the Irish Police are called "An Garda Síochána" (The Guardians of the Peace), and the officers are known as 'Guards' or 'Gardái' (gard-ee), Garda Sergeant and so on. They are a modern force, very similar to the UK force, equipped with all the modern gear you'd expect and dealing with similar problems plus given to a bit of cruising around getting to know the locals and the territory - Community Policing, I suppose. Out on my dog walks I occasionally see them driving about but none had ever stopped to chat or ask me anything and I'm fine with that. Probably like everyone else, I immediately start to feel guilty if a policemen stops me and start dreaming up things I might have done or seen, so easier if you just avert your gaze and slope by un-noticed!

Our current pair of broodies - 'Crate Girl' and 'Dustbin Girl', both
due in the next couple of days. Can we arrange a happy event
while the guests are here?
Not so a couple of days back when the car stopped and the boys in blue fancied a lengthy chat with me. This is how I described it on Facebook.

"(Relatively) new kid in town, happy to chat and 'explain myself' to two coppers (Gardái) in a car who pulled up when they saw me out with the dogs. Anxious, of course to let them know that I was 100% law-abiding, harmless, no trouble etc. Gave them the abridged life story, bit about the house we've done up (which was once owned by retired guard so is well known here-abouts). Of course, being police, you'd know that they were sussing you out between the lines etc but hey, open and honest me, Officer. Cheerio then, off they drive.
It's only then I look down and see the lurid spray of blood on my trouser leg which can only have come from the chicken I dinged just before the dog walk. They flap their last, sometimes and the blood can go everywhere. That's my story, anyway. " Ooops. One friend on FB even offered to cook me a cake with a metal file inside it in case I got arrested next time and slung in the local lock-up.

Not the best pic - I only had the standard lens on when this
dragon fly started laying egg after egg in our pond margin.
This shot is cropped out of the middle of a bigger pic so has
lost quite a lot of detail. Sorry, species is unknown. 
The rest of our news is about getting ready for an invasion by some UK guests; these are a couple we have had before but in the interim had used 'their' room as storage for the house-move-to-Sligo dept. They could have slept in there but would have been sleeping in fear of an avalanche of boxes and black bin-liners falling on them in the night. We shifted all that stuff yesterday and were able to give Liz "her room back" so today has been a blizzard of cleaning that room and assorted heroics in other rooms prior to the guests arriving on Saturday.

Tidy Towns picnic
I have been out exploring for new walks, too, but was in that search, disappointed. I had gone armed with a very pretty, helpful brochure from the local tourist-y department, ('Lakes and Legends') which told me of a way-marked 'bogland trail' brim full of historic and wildlife interest. A nice country walk, in fact, which would surely see me way off the beaten track, climbing the local hill (Bockagh Hill) where I could get views out across Sligo and could see an historic 'Mass Rock' (a secret religious site dating from when Catholicism was outlawed).

The Young Pretender, "Corporal".
Unimpressed, then, to find that the 'trail' was just a 4.5 km loop of tarmac lanes fenced either side to keep you out of the cattle fields or off the actual bog. A few green arrows on posts led the way but there were no interpretive boards, just one rustic seat to sit on to look at Sligo and a complete absence of signage for the advertised "diversion" to the Mass Rock. To add insult to injury we didn't even get near the summit of Bockagh Hill itself - our tarmac lane skirted by on the lower slopes about half a mile east of the summit. If I want to walk 4.5 kms of tarmac, guys, I can do that just outside the house gate here. I won't be coming back to try the other walks on your brochure.

Rosie, our 'keeper' ewe. She was born this year beautifully
marked in blacks, greys and whites. All that remains of this
now are a few white spots on her face. She's having a good
old chew on her cud in this picture. 
Finally a village event which WAS a pleasant surprise. We were invited (open invitation to the whole village) to a picnic to be held in the central garden area at the village cross roads to celebrate the end of a busy season by the Tidy Towns team. They had asked people to bake a cake or turn up with some food; Liz had baked a gorgeous fruit cake. It was very pleasant - good company including many people we know anyway from the village, a nice sit down, chattering away being plied with good tea and superb cakes and biscuits. There were some children playing or sitting on a duvet cover someone had spread out for a 'picnic blanket'. It was warm and almost windless and the midges mostly stayed away. Very pleasant.

No, it is not a trick of the light. Deefer (top)
really is green from having rolled in the newly
mowed lawn  just before supper. Poppea
(bott) has a few smears while Towser (mid)
is un-accountably clean.
We couldn't stay long there, as Liz had another engagement, a meeting for the upcoming Half-Marathon which pants exhaustedly past our gate in September. Liz got involved with the publicity this year so ended up attending a few evening meetings either at the village centre, or down at the GAA ground. What rock'n'roll lives we do lead?

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