Tuesday 17 April 2018

April Showers

Back to the roots? This house was formerly owned
by Steak Lady and Theo.
My last post saw Australian cousins Dee and Luke head off from here on the final leg of their family-finding tour of this island. They were headed from here via Strokestown House and the Famine Museum to visit 'Sparks' and Kim, from there up to north of Dublin to call in on Auntie Mary, back to Dublin for some hotel-based exploring and then the lengthy flight home on Thursday (19th).

Good egg yields at present.
It has been good to be able to follow some of their adventures on Facebook where they regularly post pictures and update stories. Last time I looked there were 247 pics of the "Ireland Family" in an album. One bit I did enjoy was Dee and Luke's little diversion to try to look up a street in Dublin where both families lived in the 60s just prior to the emigration. Dee's family lived in house No.1, Elizabeth's family in No. 3.

Scrambled eggs don't come much yellower. Elizabeth had been
making meringues and there were 4 yolks left over. I added two
'whole' eggs to thin it out a bit. 
All the kids' playing was done out in the street in those days but it was a cul-de-sac and you were only allowed "down" as far as the line in the tarmac where it changed from the cul-de-sac to the MAIN road and all the Mums (or probably all the grown ups) were allowed to clip the ear of any child who strayed, no matter who 'owned' the child, and send it back up to the permitted area.

April Showers brewing up.
It turns out the street and the houses are still standing, although No. 1, being on the end, has seen some major extending. Dee was able to stand on the ground where she had once played and even spoke to the owner of No. 3 (The nicest garden in the street!) who had bought the place from Steak Lady and Theo all those 48+ years ago when they had sold up to move to the 'new estate' in Portmarnock (N. County Dublin). Top roots-chasing Dee and Luke!

Bottoms up.
Dee and Luke actually managed to time their visit here to perfection in terms of finding a gap between the wet bits. As they arrived we'd enjoyed a good week of drying weather after a very wet March and April, so they were able to explore and meet the livestock with minimal wellies involvement. As they left another huge Atlantic storm brewed up with all the associated warnings for rain all up the coast. This storm was subsequently named 'Irene' though not till after it had passed dumping huge amounts of rain on us, joining up all our puddles again. One heavy shower today even had the ducks running for shelter, which was a new one on me.

Luke found some good beers in his travels. I'd not met the stout
version of Galway Hooker, or this superbly labelled 'Hairy Goat'
None the less, we still believe in Spring. Our first swallow turned up on the 9th and I have since seen them in threes and fours every day diving about between the rain drops and wind gusts, fuelling up on flying insects. They don't usually nest here since our cats became too athletic and too good at snatching them from the air as they dived from the bright sunshine into a shaded barn (and were briefly blinded, presumably). I also saw today that the local pair of coal-tits have come back to their nest hole in the gable end of the goose house.

Light reading for the Birthday Boy.
Not too much else happening except that, having got through the family visits, we have re-opened the humble abode to the Help-X volunteer students. We were advised that to increase the chances of your 'farm' being spotted on the website by prospective helpers, you should update your sales pitch. The website apparently brings fresher updates to the top of its look-up queues. As ours has said for the last 6 months, we are "closed for Winter", the simplest update seemed to be just to change that to "now emerging from Winter" and we are suddenly of interest to a German lass, an older couple of bee keepers from Canada, a French lad who fancies August, and a German lad who wishes to come this month. More on these as and when they work out.

Oxford Sandy and Black Pig Group 'merch'.
I think I will leave it at that for now. Talk to you again when we have dried out a bit.

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