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!