Tuesday 16 May 2017

Breakfast in Bed

Baking for the next guests - choc, pear and nut dessert
This post brings a nice sense of tidying up on a couple of issues; of "stuff" being sorted out and squared away. No longer an issue. Move on, as they say. First up, Friends of the Blog may recall that I was anxious about these new pigs - that they did not seem to be eating with appropriate gusto and were also very wary of me and shy of approaching.

Square miles of Ballymoe burned off in the recent fires
Well a few more days in that is all changed. They are now sprinting out to meet me and the breakfast or supper bowls and if I sit quietly they will eventually amble over and start chewing on my boots to find out what I taste like. Sprinting, that is, except for on Saturday when the morning brought lashing rain. That day the pigs were on their feet but standing just inside the ark doorway looking at the rain and at me, approaching, dripping in my big yellow hi-viz coat. They had cleared a small area of floor just inside the door, moving just enough bedding for me to land the food bowl INSIDE the ark, out of the rain. Breakfast in Bed for piggies that day. Spoiled!

The cats have pretty much wiped out the local rats. The very
occasional one we get now seems to be brought in from away
across the fields in a neighbour's turf barns.
The poorly tractor belonging to our friend and neighbour down the lane is also fixed and back home. He phoned me on the morning when I knew we had guests arriving so I thought I might be in trouble - his calls for a 'taxi' (Ah. you might just run me into town...) have a habit of suffering "mission creep" and turning into multi-stop mini-epics.

Liz with visitors Angie (left) and Liz (snr). Chicken Savoyard
When I was working in warehouse distribution, the salaried lorry drivers used to always try to get nice clean one-stop missions - load, drive to the supermarket in town X, unload, drive home arriving with not enough 'tacho-hours' to be given a 2nd run. They hated any mission with lots of stops and drops, rudely referring to them as "milk rounds".

Could be the least desirable cheese you ever saw? Espadán
(I think) is a soft-rind, extra mature goat cheese brought back
from Valencia by Mum-in-Law. It mingeth.
That is exactly how I am with these one-stop taxi runs which, once the 'customer' is in the car, gain extra stops at an alarming rate and grow extra miles and hours faster than I can 'deliver' the legs - can we stop at the bank, or the Mart, or the Railway Station? Can we just "stand" (pause) at this cemetery because I need to see can an extra name be added to a gravestone. Ooh, and we better stop for a bit-een to eat too. It's not worth getting to x-point before 2pm as they'll be closed for lunch. And so it goes on. Somehow we managed to check on the man's cattle and do all this rake of jobs, drop him to his tractor repair and get home still before the guests arrived.

The 'Parma' style ham in its posh new stand
The visitors this time were distant cousin Angie (Great great grandpa in common with Liz (jnr), all very complicated.). This lady is a 'find' from the Internet (Facebook, I think). This family have a very rare and unusual surname which most people conclude is Italian but is actually Corsican. In Corsica way back they were Baron-level land owners but backed the wrong king in some fight (Napoleon?) and found themselves dis-possessed. As Liz puts it, "we were Huguenots, thrown out of more European countries than you can shake a stick at" before some ended up in Ireland and, in Angie's case, Bristol (UK). The rare name means that they can nowadays find unknown pockets of family through Google and the Internet.

Fancy new ham cradle. 
Angie was over in Ireland on a round up meeting all the distant rels she has found during these searches and was here for the 2nd time, taxi'd up in this case by Liz Snr. We had the usual fun doing hospitality. Liz arrived fresh back from a break in Valencia and with a 2nd Parma-ham related gift. Last time she brought the proper purpose-designed ham slicing knife. This time, even more generously (Thanks, Mum!) she had bought one of those special wooden support cradles which hold the leg at a jaunty angle while you carve. It was flat-packed but dead easy to assemble.

'Charlie' Moss rummaging around for suitable plants for all
 four of we customers. 
One of the attractions for this visit, enticing the ladies all the way from Co. Laois was that I have finally made contact with a plant nursery specialising in perennial plants. I have been chatting to the owner of this business (Charlotte Moss) on Twitter for a while as part of the normal banter between small holders on that network but it had only recently dawned that her name on Twitter (@CMossPerennials) could well indicate that 'she' was actually a specialist nursery business.

We finally got round to her beautiful, scenically placed, rambling house/walls/buildings/steps place nestling under the Curlew Mountains overlooking Lough Gara today. We loved them all at first sight and 'Charlie' (she asked to be called) is a brilliant, very knowledge-able plantswoman with a superb collection of potted plants which must surely be the result of endless hours of hard and good work. Over the course of a very enjoyable hour or so we filled the car boot to bursting and made no visible dent in her stocks! We were even invited in for tea and then taken on the tour of the lower fields, the fruit trees and the lovely dry-stone, Sligo style walls. It was all gorgeous and thank you so so much, Charlie, for having us and treating us so well. We now have many hours ahead finding the right homes for all these pollinator-friendly goodies.

No comments: