Friday 11 March 2016

Three Flavours of Fame

21 Today!
First up (how could we do anything else?) a HUGE Happy Birthday to our good friend and favourite 'Mother Goose', Pig grappler, Sheep wrangler and duck chaser, Charlotte, who is 21 today! Charlotte is away at college at the mo so cannot get home to spend the day with the gang here, but is being looked after by the Dublin arm of the family while she battles with assignments and essays. She gets a good length 'Easter' holiday this year as it runs from St Patrick's (17th March) round through Easter and we have promised to talk possibly pregnant Nanny Goat, Nanny Óg, into holding off kidding till she is home. You have a great day, Charlotte and we will see you very soon. Now I don't want to get anyone into trouble but young Henry (4) was arguing the toss with me today that you are actually 36. What do I know? Incidentally, we moved the billy goat over to your new abode today where he is showing every sign of enjoying the sudden wealth of old brambles, young Christmas trees and other hedgerow rubbish. He had eaten our pig run clean of anything browse-able.

Healthy lambs, Ebony, Ivory and Rosie.
On the not-so-good news dept, I am sad to report the loss of that lamb we were bottle feeding, Lucy. We bottle fed her through Monday and Tuesday but always felt that we were persuading her and almost forcing it on her. I am advised since that this is not how it goes - a hungry lamb will be almost ripping the teat off the bottle in her eagerness to get at the milk. When Charlotte was feeding 5 they were climbing over each other (and her shoulders!) to get at the bucket before she had a chance to pour it into the 5-way feeder.

Outdoor rhubarb starting to move.
On Wednesday morning, early, I went out with my nice warm bottle of milk and tub of 'crunch' and my heart sank when I saw Lucy stretched out flat on the straw, barely moving, occasionally gasping what looked like her last breaths; so shallow that they were mouth-gasps and did not seem to be filling her lungs. I gathered her up and brought her indoors, then sat with her on my lap trying to massage some hope back into her. Liz joined me but both of us could see there was little hope. Liz put her on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, safe from the madly curious terriers and went back to check on her ten minutes later but she was gone. We are sad, obviously but we take comfort from our friends advice that she was probably a 'wrong-un' doomed to fail and there was nothing we could have done. We have learned many lessons from this, mind - how to spot a hungry lamb, how to bottle feed and maybe to bring it indoors to the 'nursery' sooner rather than later. And then there were five.

Facebook post about the lost wedding ring
But what of my title about 'fame'? Three (sets of) friends seem to be courting the spotlight this week. First up our friends from the local Post Office have hit the headlines by losing and then being re-united with, the lady's wedding ring. She (Anne) lost it in town when it fell from her finger because she had been wearing it on the 'wrong' finger after injuring the right one. In Ireland, though, it is common to get the wedding ring engraved on the inside with the date of the wedding, so that even as she was hunting it down by re-tracing her steps, it had been found and the finder was tracking her down from the date. Happy reunion and for the (1968) happy couple, over 27,000 hits on facebook and the phone in the Post Office jumping off the hook with well wishers ringing from all around the world, their son in the UK and so on. They were tickled pink.

2nd up, a good friend and neighbour has got himself into the local papers by contributing to a lovely project organised by local writer/journo, Gerry Boland. He tapped into the local Rural Mens' Groups and rounded up "38 Men" to tell stories and relate memories from their history in Ireland. The Book, called "From Ballaghaderreen to Drumboylan: 38 Men Talking" is now for sale in lots of shops locally. We are going to buy one tomorrow and casually lay it in front of our friend (2nd from left in my pic, if you can recognise him!) and get him to autograph it.

Maureen O'Sullivan - Liz's English Teacher and possible
candidate for "Speaker of the House"
Thirdly, regular readers will know that Lizzie is fascinated by politics and elections almost to the point of obsession. One facet she follows particularly closely is the carreer of her former English teacher, Maureen O'Sullivan who, having narrowly squeaked her seat in the house (Dáil) at the recent General Election was tipped for higher things. She was, for a while, front running favourite for the postion "Ceann Comhairle" (pronounced, roughly, 'Key-ann Corl-yer'), the Speaker of the House.

Is this goat pregnant or just fat? She is keeping us guessing
Thousands of her former pupils were texting and 'tweet'-ing support and Liz thought that there could be no better authority controlling the unruly debating chamber. Liz remembers that when 'Mo' was fed up with the class room full of Liz's contemporaries she would admonish them with a catch phrase, "YOU PEOPLE need to ***********" Liz tweeted this and many many pupils picked up on it. Sadly, this dream gig was not to be. The 2 main parties (Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil) were so evenly matched that they spotted a chance to take out one vote of the 'enemy' - all the FF guys voted for the FG man and vice versa. Maureen (an Independent) came a lowly 3rd in the race.

When this tiny part on your Zanussi dishwasher clogs up
with food particles, expect a €110 bill from the engineer!
Ah well, enough for this one. We are enjoying a quiet evening for a change with nothing organised - we are not out and nobody is dropping in. I was chef; we had baked cod with new potatoes and Mediterranean roast veg. I am tired from the 'buildering' - we have been 'slabbing' the Sligo house - fitting plasterboard and insulated slabs up into the "open to the rafters", 45º ceilings. Liz has been working hard on the village website. Do go visit it - you will be in good company. It seems to be taking off as the news spreads by word of 'mouth'

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