Wednesday, December 30, 2009

As promised, a few more photos - the poor old ducks didn't cope too well with the snow: a lot of falling over...The snowman looked quite good, although some little creature decided to have one of his eyes ( Brocolli ) for dinner ! The Brodie bunch also came up to admire our handiwork, and escape from the rain and powercuts down the road in Fermoyle. Rachel managed to get this short clip of me snowboarding down our field - not exactly radical action, just a small jump off of snowman Mark One's head! At this rate we'll be setting up Moan Laur as a ski and snowboard chalet....

Firstly, many, many thanks to Mark, Laura, Jim and Carol for a magnificent Christmas dinner, and of course to Padma and Jago! We spent a great afternoon and early evening at the Brodies and had a lovely time. The weather had turned a little wet overnight, but it improved as the day went on, and we even had a walk along Fermoyle Strand around tea time - nice and clear by then. Caitlin was delighted with her new bike, and joined her friend Chloe, who also got one, for a ride along the lane to the beach. It may take a while until she can reach the brakes properly, so a bit of supervision is required!
Secondly, we've had more snow! It snowed all day yesterday, a little more overnight, and it's now snowing again. The pictures were taken at about 08:30 this morning, still a bit dark with the heavy clouds. The main road was very bad in the middle of the afternoon, but they even had a snowplough working, which I have never seen round here before. They carried on working through the night, and the road is now passable. More to follow!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Merry Christmas to all our family and friends! It looks like we may even be in for a white Christmas: today we still have some snow around, and it's a beautiful clear winters day. The forecast for Christmas Day is a little precipitation - will it be snow?
Here's another picture taken from the balcony.....

Monday, December 21, 2009

When people ask what the weather is like here in the winter we usually say that it's quite mild with the odd frost and occasional snow, BUT, the last few days have been really cold, with snow and ice. Yesterday and today there was a covering on the road and garden, and it was still around freezing point at 9:30: the drive was so icy we couldn't get the car out! At least it's been bright and sunny in between the snow showers. We had a walk on Camp Strand on Sunday afternoon, and were treated to sun, snow, and a rainbow on the beach. The ducks, chickens, and sheep are not too impressed with the snow and ice, but Caitlin is loving it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A lovely evening last night - it was Peggys last night staying with us and the Carol Service was on in Camp, so she came with us to join in. It was a really nice service, and a load of the local children did a musical re-enactment of the Nativity story. We were then treated to Linda Fitzgerald ( a local lass who is in Irelands Got Talent no less! ) doing a solo of Silent Night in Gaelic: she has a beautiful voice. It was great having Peggy to stay, I think she must have brought some good weather with her, as it's been clear all week. This morning is really cold, with a hard frost, and some very confused ducks as their pond is frozen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some interesting sights over the last couple of nights: on Sunday it was really clear and you could see the Geminid showers in the night sky. There were quite a few to be seen, and you should be able to see them for a couple more nights. Then, on my way back from Inch Beach tonight I saw a huge Otter run across the road in front of me! I hadn't seen any around before, but friends had spotted them on the beach in Camp and also towards Fermoyle.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Great! The fine weather has returned, and its been bright and sunny for the last few days - just in time for Peggy and Judy who are staying for a few days. Last night was the famous Gortbrack Farm Christmas Party ( or was it infamous - I feel a little fuzzy today....) A brilliant evening held in the biggest of their cabins, with everyone providing food for dinner, and combined with birthday celebrations for Lucy, Cathy and Con - Happy Birthday to all of you! Today Caitlin wanted to have lunch outside, and though it was cool, it wasn't bad in the sunshine, as you can see. Then off for a walk on Inch beach, where we rescued a small starfish left on the sand as the tide went out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

We thought it was about time to put up the Christmas tree, and dug up one from the garden - I must admit it looked a bit smaller was the first time I had to stand on a stepladder to get the star on top. Anyway, it looks lovely, and its a good job we have high ceilings!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I had to take a trip to Castletownbere on the Beara peninsula today, not a great hardship as it was such a beautiful day, and it's a lovely drive. You have to go through the Killarney National Park, and through the mountains to Kenmare and then onto Glengariff, then onto the Beara peninsula. The first photo is of the one of the lakes near Killarney, then Castletownbere, Glengariff, and the last two are from Ladies View in the Killarney National Park. I think the photos say it all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It looks like winter has arrived; a big surprise looking out at the tops mountains covered in white stuff on Saturday morning. It also coincided with Santa Claus arriving at Ballyseedy garden centre ( aka the Crystal Palace ) by helicopter. Clever chap also seemed to turn up at numerous other locations simultaneously.....Anyway, Rachel and Caitlin joined Laura, Phil and their respective crews to greet him, and everyone got very excited. I sneaked out for a quick surf at Gowlane - cold, but not that cold yet, and then round to Laura's for dinner - delicious, thankyou. Good luck to Mark today in the Norwich half marathon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A very sad few days...our good friend, Fintan, lost his life whilst out windsurfing at Banna strand this Saturday. He was eventually found by his long time friend, Graham, who managed to sum up what went on that day. Anyone who knew Fintan would confirm that he was one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, an avid and accomplished windsurfer, and a loving father and husband - our hearts go out to Catriona, Laura and all the rest of his family. It was always a pleasure to see him at the beach, and his infectious enthusiasm added to the enjoyment of a session on the water. He will be greatly missed....
I have to say well done to Colin, Hannes, Will and Graham, and all the rescue services and locals who joined in the search - a tough job.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A busy few days around here, especially for Rachel: childcare meetings one evening, art class the next, then community power down training, and then off to Siamsa Tire to see Madame Silk. I do sometimes see her at weekends...The weather has definitely changed as well - wind, rain and gales, though on the positive side, we managed a great afternoons windsurfing at Stradbally on Sunday, and as a bonus, dinner at Garry and Suzannes place!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We've just returned from a great weekend in Lahinch, County Clare, visiting Brian and Jenny ( and also celebrating my birthday! ) They moved into a lovely place overlooking Lahinch at the end of the summer and are now well settled. I went out with Brian for a windsurf at Liscannor on Saturday which was great - logo high and cross shore, although it was starboard tack, and I was pretty out of practice ! Brian cooked a mean curry for dinner: we were joined by Dan, and even managed to slip out for a couple of beers and watched the end the Rugby - Wales vs. New Zealand - in a pub in Milltown Malbay that had a load of Welshmen in it! Had a good look around the surf spots on Sunday, and ended up back in Lahinch for a quick session. Monday was unfortunately extremely wet, but we went for a drive up to the Burren, and looked around Doolin, before ending up with a quick windsurf at Fanore, small waves, but fun, a lovely spot. I was out on my own as Brian was busy with the latest edition of Windsurfer International Magazine. It was great to see Brian and co, and Caitlin loved seeing Bay, Flynn and Clover again ( all very well behaved! ) Didn't get a chance to take many pictures as we left the camera at home, so there's only one above of the soggy Burren!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Caitlin is now completely Halloweened out! She had a party at preschool, followed by another one in the afternoon as she was in the creche ( with Rachel and I both busy ) and then off to Jess's party in the evening - Phil had decorated the house, shed and caravan, so everything looked very spooky, and had persuaded Pauline to dress up as a witch and scare all the kids! We all then went to Les and Paulines house for their annual Halloween party - this seems more popular than ever, with a great turn out and fantastic costumes. It also looks like Autumn ( or even Winter ) has arrived with a bang: there have been gale force winds for a couple of days, so I managed a quick windsurf at Fermoyle yesterday, and then at Shitties today. The wind had turned NNW, and the swell in Brandon Bay was huge. Jamie, Hugh, Niall, Rob and Caroline were out, and a couple of french guys, then Andy and Ryan on kites. The waves were well over mast high, with swell probably double mast high. The picture doesn't really show this too well, but when you got out the back, you realised the amount of water moving around. The weekend is forecast to have nine metre swell!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Been a bit busy lately so I've been slow updating the blog! We've still been really lucky with the weather - there have been a couple of rainy days and a couple with showers, but generally its been nice and sunny, and mild: there's a nice shot of Inch last week just to prove it! There's still loads growing in the polytunnel and outside as well - tomatos, lettuce, turnips, courgettes, runner and Borlotti beans, chard, kale, pumpkins, and even grapes.
What has been a bit unusual is that there hasn't been much wind over the last few weeks: normally you'd expect gales around this time of year, and apart from a few days with southerlies ( not the greatest direction around here ) and one day where it was absolutely crazy, we've hardly had a thing, and I haven't windsurfed for a good while. BUT, the surfing has been good, although Rachel and Caitlin only caught Phil and I on camera on our way up the beach at Stradbally after our last session, so no actions shots.
The most important thing is that it was our eleventh wedding anniversary on Monday - this is apparently denoted by steel, so I bought Rachel a pasta machine ( romantic huh? ) and we had great fun making tagliatelle, with Caitlins help of course.
i took the rainbow picture on our way back from Dingle, and I'm still looking for that pot of gold....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Today was beautiful - sunny, clear and calm, and despite working with the electrician was still lucky enough to drive along to Cloghane from Camp and enjoy the fantastic views over Brandon Bay. Rachel and Caitlin were on the beach at Inch, and I went down after work for a surf. Inch has been the place to head for the last few days, with nice clean waves, and this evening was just fantastic, with wonderful views all around, and about fifteen out on the water, all enjoying the conditions - perfect!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I had to go down to Caherciveen yesterday, so along part of the Ring of Kerry. You get to look back over the water to the mountains behind us, and also towards Glenbeigh and Inch beaches. Another lovely day, with hardly any traffic, also very calm as you can see in the photo.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Still good weather here with only one morning of rain, fine and sunny apart from that ( oh, but today doesn't look great! ) Rachel and I had a drive out towards Fenit and sat on the seafront looking back at the mountains over the water, lovely. I've also had a couple of days working with John the electrician, and took a photo of the view over Castlemaine harbour from the mountain road heading out of Camp. We both reckoned the commute to work was worth it with views like that.

Friday, October 2, 2009

We've just returned from a great fews days in Spain, staying in Castelldefels, just south of Barcelona. This is where Caitlins cousins, Ellis and Jake live, with their dad, Martin and the lovely Vanessa. Caitlin had never met her cousins so there was great excitement all round. The weather was superb and we met up with everyone on our first evening: they have a nice apartment in Castelldefels, which is a lively town, with a nice atmosphere, based around a town square where everyone meets. We hadn't seen the guys since we left England so it was really lovely to catch up. The next day we took a trip to Barcelona to look at some of the sights: there is a magnificent Cathedral, where you can climb up to the roof and have a fantastic view of the city. There are also amazing ornate grottos throughout the Cathedral. We wandered through the old, narrow streets: it seems that every buiding is ornate and detailed. Caitlin wanted to go to the zoo, so we spent the afternoon there - the zoo is not huge, but really well laid out with plenty to see. We walked back via the Arc de Triomph, and by this stage Caitlin was so tired she fell asleep in my arms, despite being in the middle of rush hour Barcelona! The following day we cycled along the beach front at Castelldefels - this is lovely and peaceful at this time of year, with nice restaurants along the beach, and a wide paved walkway. You can cycle along this and cycle paths right by the Olympic Canal ( used for the rowing when the Olympics were held there ) and into the town. We then met Ellie and Jake on the beach, and spent the afternoon with them. Later everyone met up for dinner at a great place run by Argentinians, and as you can imagine the meat was first class - I had Vacio, which turned out to be half a cow on a plate! Delicious, but I was defeated.....
Back to Barcelona the next day, where we went to the Gaudi designed Park Guell, a quite fantastic place with unique architecture and views. The mosaics are stunning, and Caitlin loved running around the walkways and steps. We can't wait to return and see more of the place, and especially all Caitlins relations!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A quick update! Rachel hasn't broken anything and her shoulder is feeling much better after a visit to Emilie for physio. We're now into our third week of fine weather, with only a couple of overnight showers and the odd bit of cloud in the mountains. We had a great evening with Andy, Lydia, Mark and Laura, sampling some of Brendans lamb - all very good, roasted with vegetables from the garden, and thanks to Lydia for the delicious crumble and Laura for the naughty chocolate delicacies!!
Had a good surf at Gowlane with Phil today - beautiful warm weather and clean waves. Life is good! Rachel has gone off to a music festival in Blennerville tonight, a new event, so hopefully another good evening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh no! Rachel has managed to hurt her A/C joint ( her shoulder ) lifting children around at a birthday party at the weekend, so I have been on taxi duty all least she managed to do her gardening for the kids at the after school club in Camp. We bumped into Hugh and Emily there ( with bump - if we didn't say it before , congratulations! ) and Emily gave us the lowdown on the injury, as she'll probably be looking after Rachel for physiotherapy. We have to go off to get it X-rayed today, so let's hope it's not too bad. Busy looking after animals at the moment: Les and Paulines donkeys whilst they enjoy the sun in the Canaries, and Johns dog while he attends the National Ploughing Championships, as well as our ducks, chickens and cat. The youngest ducks all seem to be laying now, so plenty of omelettes and baking!
Well done to the Kerry team for their 5th All Ireland final in a decade as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The lovely weather has continued, lucky for Rachel's Mum, Dad and Brother who have been around for a few days ( although they are still convinced that it rains in Ireland the whole time!! ) We tried some of Johns lamb for dinner, delicious, followed by the biggest Blackberry crumble in the world - I did think it would last a couple of days but I didn't count on the Craddocks appetite...the Blackberries have been fantastic this year with the fields and hedgerows full of them.
Good surf this week as well, with a good few out on the water at Dumps and Drainpipes.
Rachel and Laura paid a visit to the Camp Fair on Friday, with Padma, Jago and Caitlin, and they loved seeing all the sheep and horses, although they didn't sample the world famous mutton pies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fabulous weather for the last few days, just as the kids are back at school - typical....nice for Ali and John who are staying for a bit, always good to see them. It was a great day for the Dingle marathon and half marathon yesterday, so well done to Mark and Rob on the half marathon, and to Suzanne for the full one, especially as there was a big hill before the end. A lot of the runners said how good the course was with the fantastic scenery. Also must say well done to Adrian who stayed with us the night before the run: he did it in 3 hrs 40, even when he hadn't had much sleep the night before thanks to their lovely little lad!
Today was a great day as well, with a Family Fun day at the Camp creche and the Camp Vintage rally - all the pubs were packed. Off to the beach in the late afternoon sun with all the kids which was great, splashing in the sea and no-one wanted to go home.

Brendan came round with a big box of lamb for the freezer and Caitlin asked what was in the box - when we said it was lamb, she said it was very quiet.......bless...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

An industrious day today: Caitlin has been concentrating hard on painting and Rachel has been busy baking bread ( delicious by the way! ) We also managed to finally get to the bottom of why we were losing water pressure - Gene came out with his mini digger and we dug up about 300 yards of water pipe and then discovered a broken joint right in the middle of a boggy part of the mountain. This was also right by a stream so you could not see any of the water leaking out: I'd walked up and down a few times when the weather had been dry for a long period and couldn't find any leaks - joint fixed and problem solved ! The view is of the rear of Moan Laur from halfway up the mountain.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Some sun and showers with rainbows everywhere you look. Good fun on the windsurfing front with sessions at Fermoyle and Gowlane ( all day yesterday, poor long suffering wife was at home baking lovely bread.....) Missed out on seeing a pod of Dolphins on Sunday who were out in the waves when Paidraig and Phil were surfing, right up close with them ! Caitlin is extremely excited today as it's back to pre-school to see all her friends ( and a little bit of peace and quiet in the mornings! )

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Firstly a big well done to Tris and Imme who managed to walk all the way from Dingle to Camp to stay with us in the most torrential rain we have seen this year! They said it was a bit difficult to tell which was the trail and which was the stream, but at least they were rewarded with a nice evening and sunny days yesterday and today. There was also some decent wind and mast high waves at Gowlane, cross offshore winds as well, but really hard work ( a good few broken masts and sails tell the tale....)
Most important was Caitlin dancing as part of the Michael Jackson tribute for the Rose of Tralee, on the stage at the end of Ashe Street - it was packed!! She did really well, considering she's one of the youngest, and didn't seem to be fazed by the hundreds of onlookers and the loud music. All the little ones looked great in their bumble bee and ladybird outfits. They're doing another performance tonight, and I'll post a little video as soon as I can...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Caitlin has been very happy as her favourite, sweetcorn, has been ripe for a few days now. Rachel has been feeding them so they seem bigger than ever! Everyone seems to be getting a polytunnel now - I gave Andy a hand putting the plastic on his one, just needs Lydia to plant it up. We've had a real mix of weather with some lovely sunshine ( at last ! ) wind, cloud and this morning torrential rain. Here's hoping for an Indian Summer....
We've been enjoying Georgina and Jonathan's company over the last few days: Jonathan is a surfer and got a good day yesterday with some offshore wind and head high waves in Brandon Bay, while we went off to the Community Barbecue in Camp to celebrate raising all the money for the Defibrillator fund.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of our busiest weeks, with lots of visitors, particularly from France and Spain, trying to escape the heat ( well, that certainly worked as it's been showery here! ) Really enjoyed having Dom, Veronique, Samuel and Quentin from Grenoble stay, a chance to practice a little French, and for Veronique to improve her English.
I must mention our friend Brian McDowell's new online magazine Windsurfer International - it looks fantastic, great pictures and content, well worth a look.
A funny moment from Caitlin tonight, she was at her dance class, practising their number for the Rose of Tralee: when Miss C was supposed to be dancing she was busy admiring and kissing her reflection in the big mirrors at the rear of the stage! Where does she get it from?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Caitlin has been having fun at her Saturday dance class in Tralee, and came home more excited than usual as they are going to be performing during the Rose of Tralee festival. This looks like it involves getting dressed up as a little bumble bee, so more to follow! She also went to Ethan birthday bash the other day and had her hair done in braids by Jatu, and her hair went from neat to curly to bed head in the space of two days. Nicky, Steve, John and Di went home happy after some good weather, and lots of sightseeing - they also enjoyed some lovely food at Sammys at Inch, O'Donnels in Castlegregory and Out of the Blue in Dingle ( and a few glasses of wine! )

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A busy few days with the Bank Holiday weekend and lots of visitors - we also have friends Steve and Nicky staying with their neighbours John and Di - great to see them over here again. Also lucky to have a surf at Kilcummin with Phil and Paidraig, and then a great session windsurfing the following day, with cross offshore wind, and the odd mast high set coming through, very nice. Feeling it a bit today after being out for four hours solid ( also nursing a slight black eye where I was caught by my boom! )
Mikey Clancy was also out with a photographer so he had some nice shots to give you an idea of the conditions.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A bit of drama just down the road as there was a pod of Pilot whales beached at Derrymore Strand and then at Sandy Bay. There was chaos as everyone parked up in Castlegregory for a look - no sign of them yesterday so hopefully they are all back at sea again.
Good news for the community as the target of 8000 euros for the Defribrillator fund was not only reached, but got up to 14000 at the last count!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've been a bit slack in updating the blog - very busy with one thing and another! Big day on Sunday as its was Caitlins 4th birthday, so her and her friends were taken to Tobyworld in Tralee to play, and as usual she was overloaded with presents so thanks to all for their generosity!
The weather has been showery, but warm in between, so ideal growing weather, and the veggie garden is in full flow: broad beans, potatos, courgettes, cucumbers, swiss chard, kale, turnips, carrots and peas! Will have to go vegetarian...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy 50th birthday to John Coakley!! John threw a big party for his birthday yesterday, complete with marquee, all on a 50's theme, with fantastic food, and some great outfits. There was a bit of a last minute rush to get things ready, so we went and helped out a bit, and then had to improvise costumes a bit ( I wore Rachels leather jacket and jeans - a bit tight! ) There were a few Elvises around with outrageous wigs, so we all got to try them on as the evening progressed. There was a collection for John, and this is being put towards a laptop, and as a last minute thought, some chickens! As we didn't have time to get a henhouse organised we just had a guest appearance by two of our chickens, who behaved very well in spite of the noise and crowds. A special mention goes out to Eamonn who you can see in the photo with the two Elvises, dressed up in a wig with two balloons up his t-shirt!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The girls have returned from their trip to Plymouth after having a great time visiting all the relations - everyone enjoyed themselves and the weather was lovely there ( and here too! ) Thanks to Mike and Sue, and Julie and Robert for putting them up. As you'd expect, no sooner than they were through the door, and they were off for a barbeque on the beach! I'd been quite busy looking after the B&B and I don't think Anna and Thalke from Germany actually believed I had a wife and daughter as they were never around! They enjoyed their stay, even after being a bit sore from horseriding on the beach, and loved seeing the ducks, chickens, cat, and also Paudie's donkeys, Pedro and Lefty in the field next to us ( and they enjoyed the carrots....)