Sunday, December 28, 2008

Firstly a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to everyone, with thanks for the many generous gifts - mainly for Caitlin! Christmas seems to have been a blur, with loads of visiting and socialising. Caitlin and I went to Andy and Lydia's for a get together on Tuesday, which almost ended in disaster when I backed the front wheel of the van down a drain! Luckily he had an huge piece of wood and a block on hand, so with a bit of help we levered the van out. We had a great time, and Caitlin was amazed at the size of Andy's Dobermans! On Christmas Eve it was down to Garry and Suzannes place and then on to Mark and Lauras ( briefly as Caitlin was a bit over excited, to put it mildly! ) Christmas Day was bright and sunny, and warm in the sun - I was lucky enough to get out for a surf in lovely conditions at Drainpipes. It was a great session, and nice to see a few people out. Jamie Knox came out on his paddle board, and shouted at everyone to gather round: he had a small bottle of champagne tied to the back of his board - we all had a swig, what a gas!
Then it was off to Corinne and Dans for dinner, beautiful roast duck. Saint Stephens Day saw us join Phil, Tracey, Jess, Molly and Vic at their place, and today we had a walk in the sunshine at Inch with the Brodies and McSweeneys.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gearing up for Christmas, and as usual everyone is rushing around! Caitlin has been very excited as she first went to a kids disco in the Old Schoolhouse in Camp, and the following day at playschool they had a visit from Santa Claus. He arrived in a Garda car complete with sirens, but she insisted on telling me he arrived by reindeer. I was busy up on the mountain digging up water pipes with Gene and John - problem hopefully now fixed - and in the middle of all this got a call from the other John asking if we could help put the lights up on the Christmas tree at the church in Camp and very nice it looks too! Then Caitlin and I went to Andy and Lydias for a get together ( poor Rachel had to work ) which was really nice. So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to friends, family and all our guests!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I've spent a couple of days at Gortbrack Organic farm again, helping Ian out clear all the building debris so the paths can be laid for the eco-lodges. This wasn't the cleanest of jobs! Rachel was shocked how dirty I was, black and soaking wet from head to toe, but the paths are now just about there, and all the rubbish has been cleared. Ian is planning on having people to stay over Christmas, and he's just about on schedule. We also prepared the walkways around the tree nursery, which was looking a bit like a lake! In the meantime, Brendan brought some of their goats up to graze on our land, which makes a change - so far they are behaving themselves....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Had a call from Phil this afternoon, who said the Irish Seal Sanctuary people were about to release a seal pup on the Maharees. Caitlin and I joined Phil and Molly and rushed down just in time to see the big event. The pup didn't seem that keen, and was being washed back in a bit by the waves, but did make it out into Brandon Bay eventually - probably a bit too used to warm milk and fish on tap! Bumped into Laura, Padma and Jago, so it was back to their place for tea and home baked fruit bread afterwards - very nice!

Well, I suppose I only have myself to blame - after saying it wasn't too cold we had snow yesterday! Still it all looks lovely and Caitlin was very excited. Not quite enough for a snowman though....She has been busy at playschool making Christmas cards, they turned out well, although they always want to spell her name Caithlin, not Caitlin! I've hardly seen Rachel this weekend as she was out for a Thai meal on Friday night with some of her friends, and then on to Fabric, Tralee's hottest nightclub. Then she was at a Salsa party in the Brandon Hotel on Saturday night - party on!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Had a good surf this morning at Gowlane with Mairt and Pauline, nice waves and not too cold either. Just to show that its still relatively mild, here's some grapes grown in the polytunnel - honest! We've had twenty bunches or so, and for the first time since we had the vine they are quite sweet. The grape is a Black Hamburg, which is quite tolerant to the cold. Maybe a Moan Laur vintage next year....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The weather has been beautiful this weekend, clear and sunny, so I took Caitlin down to see her friend Padma at Fermoyle. We spent most of the day at Mark and Laura's house: Esther and Nathan were over from England for the weekend, and Nathan and Mark had been surfing - it looked fantastic, but wasn't quite as good as it looked, so I didn't miss out on much! We had a lovely walk along the beach at Fermoyle later in the afternoon, and I don't think Caitlin wanted to go home...Rachel has been helping out in the 3 phone shop in Tralee where her sister, Corinne works, and she was amazed that she could see Venus in the night sky all the way home: it looked so large and bright, although we did miss it passing across the face of the sun the other day, quite a rare event. Sunday was really frosty, our first proper frost of the year, but still managed to pick the last few tomatos from the polytunnel, amazing for December. Also, for reasons best known to themselves, the ducks have decided its time to lay, so we had five duck eggs this morning, so brunch was boiled duck eggs with toasted, buttered soda bread - luxury!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We had a great evening round at Gortbrack with Ian and Eileen, who had an early Christmas party as Niamh and Con are off to Costa Rica shortly ( very nice too! ). Cathy and Felix, Lucy, Aoife, Ryan, and Thomas and Claire were also there, and everyone brought some food, so we were really well fed. Ian and Eileens dog, Lola, has just had nine puppies, so they were the centre of attention, and Ian was trying his hardest to get us to take one or two...Thomas and Claire have some land just over the hill from us at Gleann Na Gealt ( the Valley of the Mad, so called because the stream was a source of Lithium, so people used to come to partake of the water! ) and are busy planting for their shop Manna in Tralee. They have about a hundred apple trees on order from Seed Savers, and a lot more woodland and edible varieties to plant: the place should look great quite soon.
The weather has turned cold, with some hail and sleet, but lovely and bright in between: Caherconee looks impressive covered in white. Rachels friend Nicky had four days of good weather with just a few showers in between, so they had a lovely time exploring the peninsula.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Different stuff again - this time I went to check out how the Eco lodges were going at Gortbrack Farm, and was helping Ian prepare for a new reed bed for the lodges. An 8m x 6m area had been dug out which we lined with old carpet, then pond liner, before another layer of carpet which was to be followed by stone, sand and more stone. As soon as we had the liner in a big frog slid down the side, obviously checking out his new home! Then today I was up to my waist ( literally ! ) in the peat bog on the mountain behind Moan Laur B&B as we think there may be a blockage or leak in the water pipe. John and I narrowed it down a bit, but will have to get digging! We still have plenty of water, so no panic...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rachel and Caitlin had a trip to see Circus Siamsa, at Siamsa Tire in Tralee at the weekend. This was a modern circus show hosted by the Fanzini Brothers who sound Italian, but are in fact Irish ( we know Con from surfing! ) They had a great time. Today was varied as usual, helping Jo cut down a big Willow tree in the morning, and then was going surfing with Phil, but ended up helping paint the set for the Castlegregory Panto! We also have the first results from Rachels pottery class, two bowls and three tea light holders - most artistic.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another interesting day, this time I was helping John out doing a bit of archaeology! The best way to describe it was making a polytunnel inside a warehouse, so some ships timbers could be kept at the correct humidity. These were part of a ship found in Dublin Bay, and were being looked at by Eachtra Archaeological Projects This was fascinating, but I'll have to ask the experts a bit more about the history. They did have an aerial picture of Tralee in the warehouse, detailing all the sites they were currently looking at, and it was amazing the number of finds around the area.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The party season continues, at least for Caitlin, who went to two birthday parties yesterday, so, Happy Birthday to Georgia and Hazel! Rachels parents are visiting for a long weekend, so of course the weather has been pretty poor. It was dry and sunny for a few days before they arrived, and is due to improve when they go home. ( Just to prove it here's a picture of C on Fermoyle Strand - she always has to wear shorts on the beach! ) At least there have been some breaks in the rain....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lots of excitement round here as we have had our new kitchen fitted by Pete Woodley, who I know from playing football. He makes handmade wooden kitchens and furniture just outside Castlegregory. Caitlin had to give a hand dismantling the old one, but could only just lift the hammer! It's now just about finished, although I need to do the tiling. It's great to have some more cupboards and workspace, and its really brightened the place up. Caitlin has also had lots of excitement with a Halloween party at playschool ( a lovely photo of her and Molly! ) and also later at Les and Paulines house in Camp. They are always lucky with the weather, as it was a clear and starry night, and I even saw two shooting stars. Party animal Rachel then went to Spillanes on the Maharees for more partying!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A big day yesterday as it was our tenth wedding anniversary! This is represented by tin ( or aluminium ) so Rachel bought me a few tin/aluminium presents, each with a little comment. There was a gravy boat ( you're my dream boat ) a set of cookie cutters ( you're a cut above the rest ) and a tiny grater ( you're the gratest! ) very funny! After a quick surfing session with Phil we went of to a Family day at the Seven Hogs, complete with Bouncy Castle, Derek the Magician, and face painting courtesy of Clodagh, which Caitlin loved.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An interesting few days! I rushed off to the beach on Wednesday to go windsurfing after work, and raced out at Stradbally with Gavin for what turned out to be a fantastic session - big waves and plenty of wind, just right, but had to pack up when it got just too dark to see what was going on. On Thursday the rain was torrential, with flooded roads all around the place, and poor old Matthew down in Drom had a flood in his house - I think only the ducks were happy! As usual in County Kerry, things change quite quickly and today was bright and sunny, with just the odd shower. This was handy, as we had Carsten staying with friends Thomas and Christa from Germany. We also have Claudia and Ger staying from Dublin, so they all got to see the place in the sunshine which was great. Carsten is now working on another book on Ireland, so we're looking forward to seeing that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fantastic! Brendan brought us some Beef from his brothers herd in part exchange for keeping his sheep on our land: steaks, round roast and fillet, so we have been dining royally for a few days. As Rachel doesn't really go for Beef, she has had Bass from Brandon Bay, personally caught by Mark ( thankyou very much! ) which was also delicious. The Bass was a huge hit with Caitlin, who gave us her verdict in the photo. Rachel has been back to her pottery class for the second week, and has apparently made all sorts of artifacts, although I have not seen the evidence yet. The pottery class is also used as an excuse for the girls to go to the pub...poor Gerry forgot his front door keys last night, but soon found the gang in the local - how did he guess?

Friday, October 10, 2008

From the lovely sunny weather we have now returned to Autumn for a day or two. Yesterday was very windy so went for a sail at Dumps, and when the wind switched a bit onshore, went to Stradbally - mad!! The wind gets funnelled down the Conor Pass and I was overpowered on a 3.7m sail. Mark has a few of his windsurfing mates visiting from Norfolk, so they were going for it! It just goes to show how quickly things change as only a week or so ago we were watching some guys gliding in lovely clear, calm weather, and landing at Kilcummin Strand. Had a long chat with one of them from the Kilkenny Gliding Club, who said that they have two weeks in the Autumn were they are allowed to take off and land along Brandon Bay or at Inch. The views from up there must be fantastic...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another lovely day in County Kerry - clear, bright, sunny and warm. The last few days have been good ( with the exception of Saturday, which was desperate. ) Went for a surf at Stradbally, which was beautiful, and there were even Dolphins playing close by. Rachel and Caitlin joined Laura and Padma for a run around the beach as well, so everyone had a good time. Rachel, Laura and Emily have signed up for a pottery course starting in Castlegregory this week, so we're looking forward to some strange shaped bowls to decorate the place....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back to the monster vegetable series we found this cabbage that looked like it was about to explode! Still, it tasted good...
Rachel and Caitlin went up to Seed Savers in County Clare the other day: they had great weather and got to sample apples and juice from loads of traditional varieties. They also came back with some interesting seeds, many of them vegetables from years ago. The seeds we have had from them in the past have been really good, nothing like the hybrids of today. The weather has also now got pretty autumnal, and most of this week has been windy - the beaches have been full of visiting windsurfers. Fermoyle was good yesterday, also today, and had the start of a good sail at Shitties, until I broke the downhaul pulley on the bottom of my sail. Board and sail parted company, so I was a bit stuck, until Serge came to my rescue, hanging on to my board as I de-rigged: cheers Serge, I owe you a couple of beers! Also congratulations are due to Mark and Laura who tied the knot yesterday. Good old Mark still managed to get out windsurfing in the morning, AND in the early evening!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It looks like the Indian Summer has finally arrived! The last few days have been glorious, so Caitlin and I went for a picnic on Camp Strand on Saturday. She had a great time playing in the rock pools and jumping over the little streams. Even when the sun had gone down the temperature was still around 14 degrees at about half past eight in the evening ( not bad for the end of September! ) On Sunday we went for a walk at Anascaul Lake: the views are lovely, with rocky mountains reflected in the water of the lake. Caitlin would have stayed all day throwing pebbles in the stream. We then had six walkers in for B&B, from Switzerland, England and Canada. They were all really happy with the weather, and it looks set to stay for a week or so...fingers crossed!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The chickens have been hard at it again with one giant egg yesterday! It turned out to contain two yolks, although it did look like it should be more like three...
Rachel and Caitlin had a trip out with the Organic Garden Project at Shanakill in Tralee to the Nano Nagle Centre at Ballygriffin, County Cork. This is a Heritage, Spirituality and Ecology centre run by the Presentation Sisters, and has a large organic garden, also hens, ducks, sheep and cattle, all looked after by the nuns. Rachel said it had a very calm atmosphere, and Caitlin loved it: the weather was perfect too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We discovered today that Caitlin absolutely loves fresh corn on the cob - the sweetcorn in the polytunnel is now ripe, and after eating quite a lot raw, she then ate a whole one herself, before stealing my one and devouring that.
I also forgot to mention that after Rachels birthday bash we were left with a couple of bottles, and were delighted to find a fine vintage amongst the wine - Nobleman Full Cream British Fortified Wine. Rachel says she is looking forward to a glass or two in the afternoon....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today we went along to the christening of Anna, Huw and Emilys little one, and then back to their place on the Maharees for a barbeque. The weather wasn't fantastic, with a bit of rain, but Huw had rigged up a canopy over their deck so we all stayed dry. The food and company was excellent, Caitlin didn't stop running around, and we got to meet their relatives from Anglesea and Sweden. We also saw Gerry and Carolines new rough collie, and as Rachel used to have one a few years ago, she now has her heart set on a new pet! Watch this space....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thanks to everyone that came along to Rachels little birthday bash, and for all the food, drink and presents. She was walking around with a big smile on her face all evening: it was great to see everyone. Even the monster courgette made some half decent soup. The kids all seemed to enjoy themselves as well, with no major incidents! Now we just need to find an excuse for another do....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oops - an unintentional addition to our monster vegetables series! These were supposed to be courgettes, but we left them for a few sunny days and this is the result. Looks like we'll be living off courgette for the next week...
Anyway, today is a date to remember: its Rachels birthday, so Happy Birthday, and also to Tracy too as its hers as well. Another co-incidence is that they are both 25( well, thats what they told me!! ) Some of the girls went out for a meal at the Seven Hogs last night and had a great time, lovely food, a few drinks ( but not too many ) and we have a few people dropping in today - more on that later...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A mixed bag of weather again! Friday was a bit wet, coldish and there was a strong Northerly blowing, so went for a windsurf at Dumps - not great!! Pretty choppy and no swell, but then Saturday was a beautiful day, so had another go, even though it was very flat. Saturday night was busy, with six guests from Holland and New York: four had been sent up by Mahmood who runs Sammys Restaurant on the beach at Inch - a great location, and always to be relied on for a good meal.
We were even busier on Sunday as it was the Harvest Festival at Kilgobbin Church in Camp. There's always a good turnout, and all the kids got involved bringing up fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk and flowers. Mairt ( the Reverend Hanley! ) does a great job of organising everything, including the Barbeque afterwards at the Community Centre. There were loads of good friends there, so it was good to catch up with everyone. There was also a bit of a jumble and Cake sale, and together with contributions about 600 euro was raised. The lads loaded the remains from the sale into my van to be taken away, so Caitlin thought she was getting a whole heap of toys and books !

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

As predicted, the weather has improved as soon as the kids have gone back to school! I wouldn't say it was perfect but we've had some good sunshine with a few showers over the last few days. The photo is a view from the balcony looking up the valley. We managed to do a load in the garden, spreading seaweed over the beds, and having a bit of a tidy up. There has also been some wind! A couple of really good sessions, particularly at Gowlane on Sunday, with lovely head high waves - it was pretty busy though, with a few windsurfers, surfers, body boarders, and stand up paddlers! Its now getting to the time of year when all the windsurfers arrive for wind and waves, so we're starting to see a few familiar visitors at the beach. Rachel and Caitlin are having a couple of days house sitting for Corinne and Dan, so they have a dog, two cats, a lizard and two snakes to look after. Caitlin loves it because it means walking the dog, and generally getting very wet and muddy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At the moment the Rose of Tralee festival is taking place. There are loads of events, street music, entertainers, a fun fair and Fossets Circus is in town. Caitlin has been very excited seeing the big top so we took her along yesterday ( I'm not sure if Rachel or Caitlin was more excited! ) They pack a lot in for a small circus, and guess who got dragged into the ring with the clown to do a trick? Yes, that was me....I had to go in with three other lads, who were all grumbling, and do a trick involving sitting on chairs, then arranging ourselves so that they could be pulled out leaving us supporting ourselves. Just to add an air of tension they were playing the stripper music in the background. We all then fell into a heap in the middle of the ring. Caitlin wasn't too sure about this and had to hold my hand for the rest of the performance in case I got dragged off again. Of course that wasn't the end of it as the clowns were later chasing a bloke in a gorilla suit around, and he had to sit down next to me and put his arm around me - on the next circuit he sat on Rachels lap! Caitlin was less than impressed with the 'scary muncey!'
As for the Rose, contestants arrive from all over the world, all with an Irish connection, hoping to be crowned Rose of Tralee. This is televised, and they all have to have a chat with the presenter, who usually tries to embarrass them. ( one apparently had a phobia of belly buttons. ) They then do a turn, for instance one girl played "The Bare Neccessities' on her cornet. Most bizarre....

Friday, August 22, 2008

It seems like I spend most of my time talking about ducks and chickens, but yesterday was a sad day as one of our original ducks, Lily, has gone off to the big duckpond in the sky. We weren't sure exactly how old she was, but we had her for over four years- the people that had her before had named her the Reverend Mother ( and Billy was known as Colonel Gadaffy, so those names soon got changed ! ) As for those pesky chickens, they now have their own run, although they seem to be in cahoots with the sheep, who scratch their bums against the door of the run, and let the birds out....
Rachel has been busy planting loads of herbs in the courtyard at the front of the cottage, and its beginning to look a bit tidier.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yahoo! A few days of nice weather - well, the odd shower, but generally quite nice, so rushed out and mowed the lawn. The next instalment of our large vegetable series shows Rachel with one of her onions: she probably harvested about fifty the other day - not all quite this size!

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm sorry to say that Rachel has been found guilty of teaching our guests strange English words. Andrea and Martin from Germany stayed last night after walking the first part of the Dingle Way from Tralee to Camp. They were looking for a certain word that wasn't too rude to use in polite company, so Rachel taught them 'poop.' They thought that this was hilarious, so we wonder if this will become commonly used in Germany....I'm not sure if I mentioned that last year we taught Marcus, again from Deutschland, the very useful 'bingo wings' and 'muffin top'.....Anyway, on a more sensible note, here's a lovely picture of Caitlin, just after her third birthday.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Early last week we had one of the worst days rain that we can remember: Newcastle West was flooded, with many shops and houses under water, and diversions through Mallow, where the river had burst its banks. True to form the sun came out at about 7pm and we had a lovely evening! We were really pleased to see Sean, Michelle and Alana with her friend, Becky again, after they visited last year from Northern Ireland. They were lucky with the weather, and had a good few days, spending lots of time on the beach at Inch, horeseriding at Castlegregory, and boat fishing from the Maharees - thanks for the Mackerel and Pollock!
My ongoing battle with the escaping chickens has resulted in the construction of a run for them: they still have plenty of room to roam, but at least now there's a chance that they won't be in the veggie patch. We shall see.....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We said goodbye to Thomas, Regina and Sarah last night: they had been staying for eight nights, and had enjoyed some fine weather, so were going back to Germany with a good suntan. We won't mention the last day or so, which were wet, and today is dismal!! At least the ducks are happy. We also welcomed Cathy, Rob and Lisa, all the way from Perth, Australia. They kindly bought some gifts from back home - a bookmark made from a eucalyptus leaf, a nice pen with Perth on it ( which Caitlin loved! ) and a tea towel with a great kangaroo logo!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wow, after a few small to medium size potatos, I went to dig some more for dinner, and found this whopper! It weighed in at about one pound - I'm sure there are a lot of bigger tatties out there, but this was our prize winner. Should have entered it for the local show...We have now let the young ducks out to join the rest of the crew, so there was a lot of chasing and quacking going on: they seem to be settling down, but its been keeping the guests amused seeing us running around trying to get them into their shed. The weather has been pretty good most of this week, with some hot sunshine at times. This has been great for everyone in the B&B, and we have had guests from Germany, the USA, Switzerland, South Africa, Holland, Australia and France!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Had a lovely mail yesterday from Evie, who I used to work with a JPMorgan Chase in Bournemouth. She sent some great underwater pictures of their little one, James, who is obviously a real water baby. It was also great to see Andy and Darcy again - they'd just finished walking the Dingle Way, so they filled us in with the details of their travels. The evening was lovely so they went down to the Strand Hotel at Inch for dinner: the view down the beach is impressive, and it was still warm in the sun down there: quite a few were still on the beach. The following morning they gave Wilhelmus and Henrica from Holland the lowdown on their walk, as they had just done the first leg from Tralee out to Camp. Andy and Darcy were just off to Adare, before heading home to Wisconsin - maybe we'll get to visit them one day!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Great excitement today as it was Caitlins third birthday. She was, of course, completely spoilt, with loads of cards and presents. She kept making us laugh as she commented 'Oooh, Granny and Grandad!' after opening each card. We bought her an easel with chalkboard on one side, and whiteboard with magnetic letters and numbers on the other - she was happy just to scribble away, and then rub it all off again. It was her friend Chloe's 4th birthday as well, so they invited the rest of their friends to Toby World in Tralee for a party. Cara had organised a cake, which came complete with an edible photo of Caitlin and Chloe on the front: very impressive, and soon devoured by all. Everyone was so generous with gifts, thankyou all: she was a very happy little girl.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rachel took Caitlin off to a puppet show in Castlegregory this evening, which was part of the Summer Festival. I was left to my own devices, so had to find my own dinner. This didn't turn out too badly - scrambled duck eggs with chives, new potatos, turnip, swiss chard, mange tout, and some baby carrots, followed by strawberries and raspberries, all from the garden! Now if we could just squash some of those grapes......

I have finally got round to putting some stone down on the beds at the front ( but realised I needed loads more! ) Still, its beginning to take shape. Ian at Gortbrack had some spare drainage stone, so I popped up to see him and had a look at their Eco cabins: they look very impressive and are coming on fast.
Lots of visitors again, and this week our first from Mumbai, India: Abhay and Matt from Galway visited with their parents from India and the US of A respectively. We also got a mention in Darcy and Andys travel blog on TravBuddy - it's worth a look, it really made us laugh! We'll catch up with them in a couple of days as they are coming back to stay at the end of their walk around the Dingle Way.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Aaah, the joys of working for an electrician! Have been busy most of the week working with John, and he had a call from someone who said their fuseboard was making a burning smell. We went to take a look, and found that a mouse had crawled across the fuses, and had been well and truly fried! The smell was awful.....
The B&B has been pretty busy as well, and we had a visit from Eoin who runs the website. It's a really good site, with a description of the trail, and information on some of the B&B's along the way. He's been making a few improvements, so soon there will be more photos, and more information on the various B&B's along the trail. He takes the photos on the website himself: they look very good.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Here's a picture of the new ducklings: they now have a small run inside the barn, and seem happy splashing in a bowl of water. No names yet, but I'm sure we'll come up with something appropriate soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We have had another few good days here: at the moment we have John and Val visiting from Sheringham, Norfolk. They're here for two weeks, but had a night in Cork to see their son, Luke, who is driving Dolly Partons band around on her tour. They went to see the show, and said it was really good, and were well looked after.

I managed to get an excellent windsurfing session at Kilcummin the other day: light winds close to the beach, so hard work getting through the waves, but once you did get out it was great. Today was the christening of Mairt and Una's newest arrival, Oscar. It was a short and sweet ceremony, with lots of kids in the congregation which was nice to see. Then it was back to theirs for refreshments and a barbeque, but yours truly slipped away to Fermoyle for another quick windsurf!

We've had to give up the hatching for a bit, as the last lot of eggs did nothing but get smelly! So, off went Rachel to the mart in Dingle and brought back two ducklings. They are only 2 1/2 weeks old, so we have some more work to do until they can join the other ducks once they are bigger.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We we're pleased that our friend Madeeha phoned us, and asked if her father, Khalid Rashid, could stay for a couple of nights. Her Mother and Father were visiting to help look after the twins, who are now eight months old. He was our first visitor from Pakistan, Islamabad to be exact, and it was a real pleasure for us to meet him.
Mark phoned on Sunday to say he was going Windsurfing at Inch, so I rushed off down there for a quick blast - the weather was great again, with some small waves, and just the two of us out on the water. Laura was there with Padma and Jago, and her mum Philomena, and I also got to meet Great Auntie Sheila ( known affectionately as GAS I believe! ) Rachel brought Caitlin down for a run around, and of course, she had to rip all her clothes off and get all natural. ( Caitlin, not Rachel...) Corinne and Dan also came down, and then back to ours for Sunday roast ( Organic Chicken from Milltown Market, very nice. )

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sunny again today, so a bit more work in the garden - we've been doing raised beds, so another three are now complete and are topped up with manure! Hopefully this will do the trick, and we'll be getting bumper crops!
We also have just seen the latest Lonely Planet guide for Ireland and we're listed in there - just a line or two, but it's still good....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The vegetable garden is starting to take off as we have some sunny weather, with a few showers in between. Today we got some mange tout, cabbage, broad beans and some mixed salad leaves. We should have strawberries in a few days as well, so looking forward to that. We're full tonight in the B&B, with guests from Germany, Holland and France ( our own little Euro 2008! ) and it was really nice to meet Carstens nieces from Berlin, Sandra and Beata last night.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another good couple of days! On Tuesday I had a great windsurfing session at Goulane; sunny, warm water, cross offshore wind and good waves. Wednesday began with a heavy downpour, but it was warm and sunny again by 10 o'clock, and then a little showery this morning - good for the garden, but sunnier in the afternoon. I went up to Gortbrack Organic Farm today to see Ian and Eileen, who were just back from Bloom in the Park in Dublin. Their garden was really well received, and got a mention in the Irish Sunday Times as being one 'not to miss' and were on The Den, the kids TV show. Best of all they got a silver gilt medal ( Diarmuid Gavins one only got a bronze ) so they were really pleased.
Still on the green front, we have just switched our electrical supplier to Airtricity so our electricity now comes from the wind farms. We also decided a couple of months ago to stop using the tumble drier. We always tried to dry washing on the line, but now if its showery we put stuff in the polytunnel - it dries really fast in there!

Monday, June 2, 2008

We continued with our mission of trying to explore more of the Dingle Peninsula today. We did a nice circular walk starting at the Gallarus Oratory, west of Dingle. We've been to the Oratory before, so we carried on up the road, and this soon leads you to a settlement of five stone huts within a ring fort called Cathair Deargáin. Its really well preserved with walls that curve in, low doorways between the huts, and superb views. Just down the road from this is the Chancellors House, Tigh an tSeansailera, which is the 13th century home of the Bishop of Ardfert. Its well preserved again, and apparently quite a large house for its time, but pretty basic. You can then walk down to the church at Kilmalkedar - this is Cill Maolchédair in Gaelic, coming from an Ulsterman who founded a 6th century monastic settlement here. The church has ancient stone crosses and an inscribed Ogham stone outside. The church is quite ornate compared to some structures nearby, and you can also see St. Brendans House, which is an old priests house, and another small Oratory further down the road. We then walked down to the small village of An Mhuiríoch, and along the beach. From there you can head back towards Gallarus via Gallarus Castle along the Way of the Saints. Actually, the only ones on this path were a large black hen and her brood of chicks! Its an interesting area, full of history, and the fields and hedgerows are filled with flowers at this time of year. Rachel and Caitlin did have to indulge in some apple pie and cream at the cafe at the visitor centre, so they were happy!
As an update on the fishing trip: Mark, Squinty and I went to see if there was anything in the lobster pots we put down. Pot number one contained two big spider crabs, a brown crab and a conger eel. The conger eel was desperate to escape, and we were hopping around the boat trying to avoid his teeth! We managed to catch him in the end, so on to pot number two, which contained another brown crab, and a bigger conger, who went straight back into the sea. The first one had actually bitten the claws off the crab ( head surgeon Squinty discovered this as he chopped up the eel...) We caught a few more Mackerel for tea, and then tried frying up the eel - it tasted OK, but had too many bones, so the bits went back into the sea. Some sort of justice there as the crabs will probably eat him.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I managed to get out fishing again, with Mark and Kevin, and had a bit more luck this time ! The weather was calm and sunny and we caught about thirty Mackerel, so went back and had a barbeque on the beach, with Mark, Laura, Padma and Jago, Kevin, Clodagh, Georgia and Noah, and of course Rachel and Caitlin. The Mackerel were delicious, and Laura even brought some Champagne along so we were really spoilt! It was really a perfect day, and good to see all the kids playing together on the beach.

Another few days of nice weather, and yesterday evening some well needed rain. Rachel and Corinne had a great time horseriding on the beach with O'Connors trekking: as they've been a few times before they can have a good old gallop ! They always come back with a big smile on their faces...I then went out for a quick surf at Dumps, the water was pretty warm, and the sun was shining still, a good day for all. Today was back in the garden building some more raised beds for the vegetables, and admiring all our buttercups growing!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The chickens have been providing some more eggs, and the ducks have been doing their bit as well, which means we've been cooking up pancakes for breakfast! Unfortunately the chickens have been testing my patience, as I found them in the vegetable patch the other day. They have now been banished to the lower field, although they don't really get this, and keep wandering back. The fence is only made of sheep wire so they can squeeze through ( just ) so I've had to buy some chicken wire just to make sure they don't go for the veggies again...

The weather has been dry, with a mixture of sun and cloud, whilst England has had some heavy rain - we have had Claudia and Dirk from Dresden staying for ten nights, and they have only had one showery day out of ten so they are really happy. They have been everywhere from Mizen Head, the Beara Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula to North Kerry - well done!

Just realised we had another nice review on Tripadvisor from John and Celia who stayed with us a few days ago - thanks guys!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Caitlin has been in high spirits as she saw her best friend Padma yesterday. She had been missing her as the Brodies had been in London for a couple of weeks. We ( and many others apparently ) follow their exploits on their blog: The Brodie Bunch. Laura always makes us laugh with her comments and pictures. Caitlin was very excited to give Padma a belated birthday present, and sang Happy Birthday to her! She then came home with a pair of Padmas fluffy high heeled mules, and amused our guests by parading around with them on. Caitlin was also happy to collect some more hens eggs this morning, which are now getting a bit more regular, and larger.

We had a nice walk in Glentenassig forest this morning: the approach to the entrance to the forest is impressive in itself, with huge mountains and screes ( a bit like Lord of the Rings ! ) The forest is well laid out with different walks, including ones around the lakes along wooden pathways. You can fish the loughs with a permit, and as we walked around you could see the fish making ripples on the water. A lovely place for a spot of fishing.

Our guests, Claudia and Dirk have been with us for six nights now, and have been exploring everywhere! Today was over to Glenbeigh, and around Lough Caragh and Glencar, before heading down to the Beara Peninsula and the Healy Pass and Dursey Island. The trip did includes a few close shaves with mad dogs, deer, rabbits and Irish drivers, but they survived to tell the tale...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We've made a start on tidying up the courtyard at the front of the cottage: this was often a bit scruffy, just covered in screenings ( rough gravel ) which always gets full of weeds. Now we have some beds edged with small tree trunks, which have been filled with compost and some topsoil, and then covered with fleece to keep the weeds down. We're then going to cover it with drainage stone, which is mainly small pebbles, and Rachel will plant the beds. There will be a couple with herbs, and then some grasses, and we should see a big improvement. The chickens came across to help on a few occasions, but were starting to get a bit cheeky as they thought that the table and chairs on the patio was a fine place to roost. We're now getting a couple of eggs a day from them so we won't put them in the pot just yet!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We have finally had some much needed rain as everything was pretty dry - it wasn't until about five o'clock today though. It did mean that there was sunshine this morning to help John and Dan with the lambs again, this time just spraying. It was lovely up on the hill opposite the cottage, fine views of the mountains and valley. John was telling me a little more about when his grandfather built the cottage, and he had to go the Scotland to dig potatos, and the Darlington to work on the railway to pay for the slates for the roof! Caroline cooked us a delicious dinner as well....

The chickens have been keeping us amused, I had my sandals on and they were pecking my toes - thought they were food! We also had our first egg from them yesterday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The weather has been hot and sunny for a few days now, and we've been busy tidying up the garden, and planting lots of vegetables. We now have mange tout, peas, runner beans, onions, potatos, cabbage, lettuce and carrots outside, with tomatos, cucumber, courgette, swiss chard, melon and pumpkins inside ( and probably more I've missed! )
Had a nice mail from Helmie and Henk, who enjoyed walking the rest of the Dingle Way, and they sent another photo of Caitlin with the rucksack - thanks!