We’ve been on holiday in Ireland for two weeks now and can confirm that the weather is shite.
There is so much to do, and such beautiful scenery, but you will probably need to be wearing wet weather gear with a fleece underneath to enjoy it.
The flipside to this is that you never take it for granted when the sun does come out.
On our third day in Dingle, it stopped raining for a bit so we decided to drive up to the top of the Conor Pass.
I had been a bit put off by some of the trip advisor comments; one in particular described ‘semi perilous’ drivng conditions with narrow roads, rock faces and steep drops.
But the lady who lived next to our holiday cottage said the road was two lanes all the way to the top from the Dingle side. And there was a view point at the top where we could turn around if we didn’t feel up to coming down the other side.
The view from the top was stunning, and I could see how the road worked on the way to Tralee, so decided to have a go at the other side. It was fine, you just had to keep an eye on what was coming towards you and stop somewhere where they could pass before they reached you.
There are a number of places that can only accommodate one car, so you do have to be prepared to back up if necessary. But the drops aren’t sheer, there are stone walls between you and certain death.
To be honest, if you are used to driving in London, you’ll be fine!
And it was definitely worth it, as once we got over the pass we found our way to Fermoyle Strand, one of the most beautiful (and emptiest) beaches we’ve ever been on.
Last Thursday was my birthday. It was also the first day of the school holidays for us. This was not a good combination as the kids were overexcited and over tired and DH didn’t get home until almost 9pm as the Metropolitan line fell over.
I has to wait the entire day for my presents. Three of the kids took gifts DH had bought and wrapped, and claimed them for their own to give to me.
But DD2 is 13 and used her own pocket money to buy me this cup from the local shops.
I have to point out that I turned 46 on Thursday, so was NOT born in 1995, but apparently ‘It was the oldest one they had’.
This makes me feel very old indeed.
Happy Birthday to me!
One of the advantages of getting a new car is that we can now sneak up on our cats.
They used to recognise the old one, and when it pulled up they would be sitting on the path, crying and waiting for us to get out. If we didn’t get out quickly, they would walk onto the road which is not the best idea if you are a feline.
But now, they ignore the new one, and seem surprised when we get out of it.
This is our ginger cat on the roof when we came home the other night. He seemed quite comfortable up there, and watched us go into the house, but joined us with a frog in his mouth 10 minutes later…
The girls had a petting zoo come to their guides group last week. I was on the rota as parent helper, so had to take the two smaller ones with me- what a shame.
They had a ball and DD3 loved the little bantams. She spent quite a lot of time hypnotising them and placing them in various places.
Then she had the idea of putting them on the donkey’s back and giving them a ride.
Luckily neither the chooks nor the donkey minded.
My youngest daughter has always wanted a pet bird but neither DH or I like the thought of a bird stuck in a cage for 10+ years. Plus, we have cats.
On Monday there was a post on a local parents’ page saying someone had found a budgie, had anyone lost one? And if not, could anyone take it and look after it as person who found it was asthmatic. I waited a bit to see if anyone more suitable replied, but after a couple of hours dropped the finder a PM. He replied quite quickly and told me that the bird was being kept in a plastic box. It was quite safe and well, but obviously needed more suitable accommodation.
All we could offer was a smallish hamster cage with perches made from apple tree twigs but it would do until the bird’s owner was found. The kids were ecstatic and have named him/her Charlie. The cats were also over the moon and had to be persuaded ( with a water bottle) that Charlie was not some sort of environmental enrichment activity for them.
Charlie has been with us almost a week and I’ve registered him/her on a load of lost bird/pet sites. I’ve had one reply from a lady who lost a blue budgie a week previously. She lost her bird about 6 miles away so it’s certainly not too far away, but hers was a mature male, while Charlie is probably 5-9 months old and most likely a female. So from now on I’m going to refer to him/her as ‘her’.
I think Charlie most likely comes from an aviary or pet shop. She is not scared of humans or cats or dogs but isn’t hand tame. I’ve had to hold Charlie a couple of times to move her and I haven’t been bitten. And budgies can bite quite badly if they put their mind to it!
So for now, we have a bird. DD3 is very pleased, I like having the little chirper in the house and even DH has just ordered a new cage for her so it seems that Charlie has her little feet firmly under the table.
We have two rescue dogs and we do agility with both of them. Actually, when I say ‘We’, I really mean DD1 and DD3.
DD1 has taken on the training of our newest dog and I used to train our older dog myself but I’m too slow for him. So DD3, who is 10, has taken him over and she is doing a brilliant job.
She’s been running him for about a year now and they are probably almost ready to start competing. It’s been a steep learning curve for her and she found it hard at first taking directions from the lady who takes the classes.
She’s had to learn how to use her body language to give her dog the signals he needs to know what’s coming next.
She’s had to learn to think about the dog’s point of view.
And the rules involved in tackling different bits of equipment.
Most importantly, she’s had to learn to cope with making mistakes and disappointment in a way that keeps her dog’s tail wagging.
I think agility is a brilliant sport if you have a dog of any shape or size.
It’s loads of fun for dogs and owners, even if you end up relegated to the sidelines and function as a mobile hitching post. watching your daughters do all the work!
My eldest girls did Brownies, then moved onto Guides and both still attend now. They are 12 and 14 and DD1 is about to move on to the Senior Section.
DD3 did the Brownies thing too, but then she and a friend wanted to join cubs as well. Now they are both 10, in the next month or so they are going to start the move to Scouts.
Part of the reason DD3 wanted to go to Scouts is because they do real camping in tents
their parents they put up themselves. The Brownie and Guide groups around here tend to do indoor camps where the girls stay in dorms or perhaps already-erected tipis.
DD’s kit listed included ‘up to two soft toys’ to make bedtime easier. These are the two that DDs chose, AND I had to evict a 4 foot snake and 3 ft teddy from the black bag under the sleep mat.
She wouldn’t give up the wolf or the lion though and we drove them out to the campgrounds and lugged them across the fields to the site. I was expecting Akela to say no, but the other girl DD3 was sharing with didn’t mind, so the soft toys got to stay the weekend.
Next time I think Akela may be adding dimensions to the kit list.
When your kids are little, and you come across an ice cream van parked outside your school that you don’t want to patronise, you can just say no. Or tell them you have no money, or no time, or the van has run out of ice cream or…something …
But when your kids are a bit older, and you live really close to the school, and one of your children is old enough to run home and let herself into the house to find her purse, then run back to you and her little brother with the said money and offer to pay for ice creams out of her own money, you have a problem.
Or maybe you don’t. Choose your battles, remember?
At least DS didn’t complain about the difference in the size and build quality of their ice creams; he knows not to look a gift horse ( sister?) in the mouth.
We are lucky enough to have a local farmer’s market close by.
It runs every second Sunday and we often go for lunch as it has a good selection of food stalls.
It also has a petting zoo, and the kids sometimes use their pocket money to go and hold/stroke chickens, rabbits, piglets, lambs etc.
Last week it had something we’ve never seen before. For £1, kids ( and their parents) could take a goat for a walk! Of course walking goats is different from walking dogs, as DD found out. The secret is to have something green and juicy in your hand to encourage the goat to follow you…
Even then, they didn’t get far. Goats can be very stubborn, as can DD, and I think she may have met her match.