Homeward Bound

Today is our last day in Leitrim.  We go home tomorrow.  It has been the most amazing journey.  While the outcome is not exactly what we expected…it does feel right.  We have had an opportunity to live in Ireland….at least for a time.

IMG_0797We will miss Liam’s lovely stone cottage…img_6070And our turf fires.  It really has been a lovely experience.

img_6135I have seen daffodils come up in January.

img_6153And had flowering plants all winter.

img_6123There have been sheep…..

imageCows…

img_5973Waterfalls….

img_5856And even rainbows.  

It has been magical in many ways.

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 I found my storybook cottage….even if it is no longer for sale.

img_1081And there have been castles…

img_6108And ancient stones.

img_1075Magnificent cliffs….

img_1474…favorite villages…. 

image…and of course, pubs.  

It has been such a journey.

IMG_0798Ireland called to us..and we came.  We thought that we were coming to stay. But it didn’t turn out that way.  Instead, Ireland led us on a merry adventure….with twists and turns….frustrations and delights….all peppered with good natured “craic.”

We have learned that time flows differently in Ireland…and things rarely work out the way you were expecting them to……but they do work out.

We did not end up coming home to Ireland..but we did find our way home.  

img_5814 And we are ready!

Slainte!

If you want to follow along on our adventures there, you can go to:

https://brookwoodshire.wordpress.com/

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

A Surprising Decision

We have now been in Ireland for over three months.

 It is absolutely beautiful here.  

img_6160 There is the occasional early morning frost, but the weather has been mild.

img_6135The daffodils are coming up!   In early February!  We are hearing of snow, sleet and freezing rain at home.

img_6153The flowers  in our entryway continue to bloom happily.

img_6138And the tulip bulbs I planted are coming up!

img_6163Cut daffodils are in the grocery stores already…

img_6162So of course I have them all over the house.  It is heavenly!

We have found a few places to walk…. and made a few friends.img_6121 img_6123

There are many lovely waterfalls in the area and we have visited a few.img_5973Fowley Falls, here in Rossinver.

img_6120And Glencar Falls on the way to Sligo. 

We are settled into Liam’s lovely stone cottage.img_6005Enjoying cozy turf fires.. 

The question is…what happens next?  Our original plan was to go home in March and sell Brookwood Shire.  We would then return and stay here until we found “our cottage”…our new forever home.   But prices are rising and we are not finding a lot of cottages that we like.  We do not want to give up Brookwood Shire and then not be able to find something similar here.  And we are beginning to wonder if there even IS anything similar here.

The trouble is, we are realizing that Brookwood Shire is a very special place..    We have been “customizing” it for the last thirty years.  And it has exactly what we are looking for.

There are gardens..img_5721

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And a greenhouse.img_4224

And of course, there is Cluckingham Palace.img_3018

While Brookwood Shire is not a 300 year old stone cottage, it does have a cottagey feel.img_5513

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And while we don’t have any neighboring sheep,  I was reminded the other day, we do have great neighbors!

And, Bill does have a studio…in the cellar perhaps, but it does work.

In addition, Brookwood Shire is in a small college town with many shops, restaurants, parks, bike paths, etc.  One of the hardest things to adjust to in Ireland has been the lack of “amenities.”  There is a small grocery store, and a farmers’ market.  There is a cafe and one pub that serves food.  But they are all in Manorhamilton….20 minutes away.  There are more things in Sligo…about 30 minutes away….But we are used to being 5 minutes from almost anything.  It is not something to give up lightly.   

Ireland remains a stunningly beautiful place with rolling green hills dotted with sheep, ancient stone circles, castles and other ruins.  The trees are covered with moss and ivy and there are many magical places.  Rainbows are common and the climate is very mild and gentle.  The people are some of the kindest, warmest and most welcoming people you can imagine.  It is all the things I thought it was.  But it turns out, it is not home.

Brookwood Shire, even with its long, snowy, cold winters, hot, often dry summers, annoying mosquitos, and hungry bears, deer and bunnies wandering through the gardens and helping themselves to my vegetables, is.  We have missed it.

img_5814And Merlin is there as well.  We miss him.  

This has been the most wonderful experience.  We have dreamed of living in Ireland for many years.  And now we have had a chance to try it..to live the dream.  There have been many magical moments…and many frustrating ones.  We have learned a lot…about Ireland and about ourselves.  

On New Year’s Day, I sat in the fairy seat near the Cliffs in Bundoran and made a wish.  I can tell you what I wished for now, because, it has been granted.  I wished to find “our cottage”   And we have.  Perhaps not the storybook cottage of my dreams (though I DID find that),  perhaps not one nestled into an Irish hillside with sheep and cows nearby,  and perhaps not one with lovely Irish “self watering” gardens.  But nevertheless, over the course of the last few weeks, the twists and turns of our adventure here have led me to “our cottage”….and we won’t even have to move!

We have decided to go home on March 5….to stay.  There is no one more surprised by this decision than we are…but it feels right.

But we still have a few weeks left in my beloved Ireland…so let the adventure  continue!

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Further Thoughts…

So it has been over a week since we saw the cottage.  It remains off the market…and there is no telling when it will be back on…or if the price will have gone up when it does come back.  We have thought a lot about the cottage and what our options are.  While it is still true that anything can happen….especially in Ireland…where time passes differently and things have a way of working out in the end….I have to admit that most likely my magical cottage is fading into the Irish mist…

It will not be easy to find one as perfect.  But prices ARE rising and we are feeling like they will soon be more than we can afford.  So we have continued to look.  When you eliminate the modern bungalows and the derelicts that are more than we want to take on, there is not much to choose from.  So we sat down and made a list of all the things we wanted.  Not that one can expect to get it all, but we thought it would help clarify exactly what we were looking for.

It was not really a long list.  Small, single story if possible….set back from a not very busy road but close to a village and not too far from a market town with a few shops and restaurants/pubs.  Old..or at least with a cottage feel…no modern fitted kitchen.  Sky lights for natural light…Some land..at least ½ acre with room for gardens and hens.  Space for a studio for Bill….a greenhouse or polytunnel…

As we reviewed the list we realized that we were describing Brookwood Shire.  Well that was interesting.  Not surprising since we have spent the last 30 years there customizing it.  But something to think about for sure.

Perhaps we will not find “our cottage” here…perhaps we already own it….

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Ups and Downs..

So we are back from Waterford.  If you remember, we were going there to view a house I had found online…..

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Just possibly the house of my dreams….

It has been a very interesting few days.  But let me start at the beginning.  We drove down to Waterford last Monday.  It is a long drive….over 4 hours.  Ireland is a small country, but we are in the north, almost on the border of Northern Ireland and Waterford is in the south…the bottom of Ireland..the southern coast.  And since we don’t exactly leave at the crack of dawn, it was dark by the time we got there.  The hotel we were staying in was outside of town….the in town b&bs were closed since it is off season so we didn’t have a lot of choice.  It took awhile and 2 phone calls to actually find it in the dark and because their restaurant was closed we then had to leave again and drive about 10 miles to the next town to the only pub that was open.  As I said, it was a long and frustrating day.  

Not the best mood to be in when you are about to view a house that might just be your new forever home, but I was confident that things would look better in the morning.  And they did.  After breakfast, we decided to see if we could find the cottage on our own.  The estate agent was scheduled to show it to us the next day, but I had said that if we could find the cottage we would just meet him there rather than try to find his office.  We had seen it on google maps and it was right off a main road so I thought we could find it.  And we did.  Down a lane…past a field, a farm, more fields…a bungalow and a farm.  The last house on a cul de sac.  And there it was.

A gate…and behind it..rising through the mist..was the most beautiful thatched cottage you can imagine.  I spent my adult life as a kindergarten teacher.   Stories with lovely thatched cottages are not some distant memory from my childhood….they are part of my life.  This cottage was out of one of those storybooks…but real.  Not part of some museum..an example of one..this was a real cottage where people lived.  It had a gate and a stone wall around it..through that gate were paths to gardens..a  peaceful sanctuary….just magical….and just sitting there..in front of me.. waiting for me to step inside it.

I was smitten.  But we couldn’t see it until the next day, so we went off to explore the area.  The town of Lismore was nearby with its castle and cathedral and heritage center so we headed there.  As everyone had told us, it was “lovely.”  There were little lanes and walks..beautiful old architecture and a few shops and pubs. The castle wasn’t open but we could see the outside of it….just magnificent.

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More fairy tale images…I was in heaven.

But there were more adventures in store for us.  Our car, a loaner from the place where we have ordered our car, is not exactly a new car.  We had noticed a strange noise when we were in Doolin, but it went away so we ignored it.  But it was back…and worse.  Perhaps we should get it checked.  We headed back toward our hotel and the Garda where stopping cars checking for road tax or something.  So we asked him if he knew where we could find a garage.  He was busy checking cars so he asked us to pull over.  We assumed he would get to us when he had a minute, but no.  This was Ireland.  An opportunity for a bit of craic was not to be missed.  He leaned into our car…arms on the window and settled in for a nice long chat…”were we on holiday?  where in the States were we from…”  We explained our situation.  He asked if we owned the car or if it was a rental. We explained it was a loaner.  “Well,” he said, “I wouldn’t want to pay for any repairs on a car I didn’t own”  He thought we should just bring it back to them and let them worry about it.  It did not phase him that they were in Donegal…..MANY miles away..and we had no idea if it was safe to drive.  It also didn’t phase him that lots of cars had gone by..unchecked.  He was busy helping us.  After repeating that he didn’t want us to get stuck with a repair bill we shouldn’t have to pay, he reluctantly told us about 3 garages nearby..but he thought we should get the owners of the car to pay the bill.  We thanked him and amazingly actually found one of the garages.

It was going to be one of those days…that was clear.  The man at the garage was lovely as all the Irish people we have met have been.  He started by telling us he was late for an appointment and didn’t have any time for us…but after hearing our story he decided to help us.  He checked the car and said it was a broken spring….he would have to order a part..he had another car to do tomorrow…when were we leaving?  After more conversation (which included him telling us about when he had lived in San Francisco) he told us to bring the car back in the morning.  It might take all day to do because the part had to be ordered and he had another car, but he would fit us in.  Great.  Sorted.  Now what?

Well, we would not have a car tomorrow to get to the cottage so we decided we should try to find our estate agent to see if he could pick us up and bring us.  That would give us a chance to check out Dungarvan..another nearby town.  So off we went.  Found a place to park..found a cafe for lunch and even found the estate agent’s office.  Things were looking up.

Of course it was lunchtime so he wasn’t there.  Most things close in Ireland from 1:00 to 2:00 for lunch.  It is quite civilized..if inconvenient.  But I phoned his mobile and wasn’t he on his way and we should just stay there and he would be right with us. Grand.

He arrived, pleasantries were exchanged and I explained our situation with the car….But, he also had a story.  it turns out that there was problem with cottage.  The right of way.  It used to be just a matter of getting signatures of the other people on the lane and you were fine.  But they have changed it…now it is done in Dublin…at the land registry.  And of course, Dublin doesn’t care much about rural Ireland so it could take awhile to sort through it all..2 weeks…maybe 2 years. !!!  So the sellers have decided to take the house off the market until it is all settled.  And he wouldn’t be able to show us the house after all.   WHAT?!!!  I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  The fact that the cottage is 300 years old and the reason the lane is there in the first place was not the only thing that went through my head.  Not see my magical cottage?  After driving all this way?  That just was not an option.  I explained that this was our only chance to see the house.  By the time the right of way was sorted and it was back on the market, we would be back in America.  If he showed it to us now, we would have seen it and if we liked it we could go ahead and make an offer from there.  That made sense to him so he agreed to call the owners and see if they would agree.  Phew!

So the next day we dropped our car off at the garage and walked over to a nearby bakery to wait.  Michael, our estate agent, would pick us up at 1:00 to go to the cottage.  We had coffee and chatted with the people in the bakery.  We told them our situation and hoped they didn’t mind if we just sort of hung out. No problem.  They actually knew the cottage and were very excited for us.  Fingers crossed…hopefully it will work out.

Michael arrived as scheduled and off we went.  It turns out, the couple who own the house are a retired British couple.  They love old cottages and this is what they do.  They buy old, derelict ones and they restore them…then they sell them and move on the the next one.  They have done a few.  He assured us they really know what they are doing and it was a very special place.  I told him that we had seen it..the outside at least.. the day before and that it certainly seemed it.  And then we were there.  He opened the gate and we drove in.  Out of the car, over to the cottage.  He turned the key and opened the door and I stepped inside.  I did not take any pictures.  The house was not for sale and it was very nice of them to even let us see it.  It would be rude to then intrude more and take pictures.  So I can not show it to you.  But I will say that it felt like this lovely couple had restored the house with us in mind.  You stepped into an entryway/hallway and then through a doorway into the kitchen.  The walls were thick and the ceilings were low but it did not feel cramped or crowded.  It was cosy…enveloping you with warmth.  The kitchen was perfect.  NOT a modern fitted kitchen at all.  Open shelves above the sink and counter.  An old fashioned rounded refrigerator…a lovely Irish dresser…a small table with two chairs… A gas hob with an electric oven AND an old AGA wood stove/cooker.  There was a half door leading out to the garden with a shelf above it.  The floor was terra-cotta stone.  The walls were white..the lower cabinets were white and the counter and shelves were wood.  Michael told us that in the summer, with the half door open, the light poured in and you could hear the birds in the garden.  Yes.  It was perfect.  But there was more.  Off the kitchen was the utility room with a washer/dryer and a freezer.  Another wall of cupboards (with the loveliest ceramic knobs to open them), a WC with a sink AND a walk in pantry!  I have always wanted a walk in pantry!  Michael said it was cold in the pantry…so good for storing things.  A cold larder….not many houses have one of those.  Wow.

The living room was also nice.  A small wood stove with couch and chair in front of it.  Open shelves beside the stove…a gorgeous little window with a very thick windowsill (Merlin would love that!) and on the other side of the room, double doors leading to the garden…the floor in the room was wood…but the entry way by the double doors was stone.  There was room for a small table by the little window…like at Brookwood Shire…We would fit perfectly into this space.

There was a second sitting room which would be perfect for Bill’s studio.  It would be a big improvement on the cellar that he has at home.  He was not as smitten as I was, but he really liked the house.

Upstairs were two bedrooms and a bath.  The master bedroom had a walk in closet!  These people thought of everything!  The bathroom had a walk in shower, and more shelves for towels.  They had managed to find room for enough modern conveniences to make it comfortable and still retain an old fashioned feel.  It was just amazing!

Outside was a turf shed and a garden shed.  There was a sort of tent like green house (not a polytunnel or a glass house..sort of a combination) and some raised beds….two had cold frames on them.  The raised beds were fenced off from the the rest of the garden.  There was also a lawned area with shrubs and a few fruit trees, and an arbor (which had wisteria growing on it in the summer).  There were arched gates and hanging pots.  Primroses and pansies filled the window boxes near the door of the cottage.  There was plenty of room for hens and the yard was gated with a wall around it…safe for a puppy….and there was no passing traffic in any case.  I had found my perfect cottage.  It was even thatched!  But it was not for sale…at least not at the moment.

We told Michael we were VERY interested.  I gave him my number and my email.  He gave me his card.  He assured me he would contact me when the house goes back on the market..but of course he has no idea when that will be.  

He dropped us back at the bakery.  I was ecstatic about the cottage.  I couldn’t believe how perfect it was….what an amazing job they had done…how magical it felt…..and slowly it sank in that it didn’t really matter how perfect it was.  It was not for sale.  Period.  IF it came back on the market in time and IF we made an offer and IF they accepted it and then IF we could go home and sell our house…..IF…IF…IF.  This was clearly in the hands of the goddess.  Someone would really have to be pulling for us to make this happen.  I had to admit that it wasn’t very likely.  But we have gotten this far..so clearly anything can happen.  Fingers crossed for sure!

The rest of the trip was a bit of a blur. Our car was ready..we picked it up…had a lovely dinner at the pub and went back to the hotel.  The next day we returned to lovely Leitrim…

So now what?  That is the question.

The adventure continues….

 

 

Clare

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The first time we came to Ireland, many years ago, we stayed in an Irish Rent a Cottage in Corofin, County Clare.  It was where we first fell in love with Ireland and since we usually fly into and out of Shannon, it is where we begin and end all of our trips.  It is “our” Ireland and we have many favorite spots there.  It has been very strange for us to be in Ireland without visiting these places.

So we decided to spend a few days in one of our favorite places in Clare, Doolin.img_1471If you are ever in Doolin and need a place to stay, I can highly recommend Doll’s Cottage.img_1490 It is run by Sean and Naimh O’Connor who are two of the loveliest hosts you can imagine.  Sean is the son of the famous Gus O’Connor (you may have heard of the pub) and knows everyone and everything there is to know about the area.  

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It is just around the corner from Gus’ which is very convenient. After a day of exploring, it is a quick walk to the pub.  The food is good as is the Guinness.  A great place to end your day. 

There is a glorious cliff walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher, but there was a wild wind the day we were there….not pleasant for a long walk.  So we drove to the Cliffs.  

img_1075We actually got there before the buses started to arrive and had a few minutes alone with the Cliffs.  

A lot of things are closed this time of year, but there is still lots to see.

img_6097We discovered this friary on our first visit and were thrilled that they hadn’t done anything to it..no visitor’s center or tea shop….just this sitting in a field.

img_6100I love the gray stone with the green grass in this light.  Timeless.

img_6103Celtic crosses in the churchyard…many old but more recent headstones as well.  This is still being used as a burial site.  Such a restful place.

img_6108The Poulnabrone Dolmen is a must see for us..even if we have seen it many times….It was most likely built somewhere between 3800-3200 BC.  as a burial place of some kind.  It really is magnificent. 

img_6107There was a bit of snow in the grass around it from the snow squall we had had earlier.  It was one of those Irish days with rain, sleet, snow, clouds and sun on and off all day.  

It was wonderful to drive around just enjoying the views.  

img_6109This is the view from the top of Cork Screw Hill….named for the many twists and turns as you go up.  That is the Burren in the distance with the sun shining on it.  My little phone camera couldn’t capture it very well, but you can see the texture and the light.  Gorgeous. 

There was great music in the pub one night and on another night Niamh invited us to go to a local Quiz night at one of the pubs..It is for charity and it was great fun.  Doolin is a very special place no matter what time of year you go.  The people are warm and funny and very welcoming and the scenery is stunning.  It was a wonderful few days.

We are back in Leitrim now, but on Monday we head to county Waterford.  We have never been there before but have been assured by everyone that it is “just lovely.”   I have found a cottage there that looks very interesting so we are going to have a look.  

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It may just be the storybook cottage of my dreams….

 

I will let you know.  We see it on Wednesday.

 

 

A Walk by the Sea

Now that the cottage is pretty functional and the holidays are over, we are hoping to have more time to do a bit of exploring…both around Leitrim and around other parts of Ireland.  It is such a beautiful country and there are no crowds at this time of year.

So today we headed over to Bundoran in Donegal.  It is about 10 miles from here…a seaside town very popular with surfers…at least in the summer..not too many surfers at this time of year.  There is a lovely cliff walk called the Rougey Walk.  It is not a long walk but there are nice views of the beach, and the Atlantic Ocean.  img_6077This is the view at the beginning of the walk…waves just rolling in….

There were people on horseback on the beach below,img_1061Bill took this one….his camera is much better at distance pictures than my little phone camera.  You can see what a nice sandy beach it is..”a blue flag beach.”img_1062Rocks below..with the waves crashing around them.

img_1063That is the Tullan Strand with the lovely lumpy hills of Donegal beyond it.  

This is a “Fairy Bridge.”  img_6078Cliff arches, carved by the ocean….quite magical.

And nearby, the Wishing Chair.

img_6080Another rock formation..can you see the seat?  You are supposed to hold on with both hands…stare out at Donegal Bay and make a wish.  You can’t tell anyone what you wished for..There was a puddle in front of it today but I managed to sit and make a wish…..

It was a lovely walk..by the sea….

A very nice way to start the year.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Greetings from Lovely Leitrim

After a stretch of really lovely weather (all the more appreciated because of reports of snowy and frigid weather at home in New England) we are now having what I have always described as “Irish weather.”  Overcast with bursts of rain, periods of sun and wind.  Rainbow weather.  We saw a beautiful rainbow yesterday coming home from Manorhamilton.  But it is still warmer than at home and I am loving how the green grass sparkles in the early morning..glistening from last night’s rain and reflecting the morning sun as it peaks through the clouds.  Just gorgeous!

So I thought I would catch you up a bit on what we have been up to.  Last week we went to Westport in Mayo.  It is a lovely town noted for its restaurants and pubs and its Georgian design.  It also has a “greenway.”  We would call it a bike path at home….that stretches 42 kilometers to Achill Island.  It tends to be VERY crowded in the summer so it was nice to be able to go off season….though it was far from empty. img_1050I didn’t take any pictures so I found this online.  There is an arched bridge in the center and a famous clock and tower.

We had wonderful dinners.  The first night we ate at the Pantry and Corkscrew.

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The food was wonderful and I was especially pleased at the number of vegetarian entries. 

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The next night we ate at Sage.  More wonderful food, beautifully presented and lots of vegetarian options.  

There were also many little shops and tearooms.  It was fun to wander and chat with shopkeepers.

We also managed to find the Foxford Woolen Mills which is nearby.  Absolutely gorgeous wools..blankets, throws, scarves, sweaters…

img_1043…..a feast for the senses.  As a weaver and a knitter, I absolutely LOVE wool and cannot resist woolen mills.  There is one in Donegal, not too far from here that is on my list of MUST visits.  But that is for another day.

We have also been exploring on foot, from the cottage.  We have found a nice loop to walk and hope to make a habit of it.  There are quite a few sheep to visit on the walk.

img_6047Though it may take awhile for them to get used to us.  They were NOT interested in posing for pictures.

img_6048Though this one paused for a moment before joining the others.

We also pass a holy well.

img_6042A beautiful sacred site beneath the trees.

img_6045This is a view from the walk.  Ireland stretches out before us.

And inside?   Most of what I ordered for the kitchen has arrived.

img_6039The bread box and little canisters…

img_6067A new tea canister and a milk jug.

img_6068Coffee with a basket for the filters.

It is looking less empty and is more functional.  The last thing to arrive though, the biscuit jar, sadly didn’t survive the voyage.

img_6050I will get a refund, but the seller doesn’t have another one.  So I will keep looking.

img_6066And I have found a tin to hold the cookies for now.  So it remains all good.

We are not doing a lot for Christmas…It is enough to be settling into our cottage in Leitrim.

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Happy Solstice, everyone!

Bringing In The Greens

Anyone who knows me knows that every December I go out and gather greens and pine cones and winterberry.  I fill the house and the window boxes with greens.  Greens are the “flowers” of December and make things festive.  

But this year we are in Ireland.  First of all it is very mild here.  While there were a few frosty and wintery days when we first arrived, it has gotten much warmer and this week especially has been mild with temperatures in the 50s (sorry, I am not thinking in celsius yet).  And there is no snow.  Not that I am unhappy with snowless, mild days mind you, but it is different.

And then there is the fact that most of the greens that I gather in New England don’t grow here.  White pine, princess pine, winterberry, hemlock…I haven’t seen any of that growing.  There are some sort of Spruce “plantations” here and there….but not much spruce in the wild.  There is a bit of cedar and of course LOTS of holly and ivy.  And something that looks a bit like Mt. Laurel….

And finally there is the fact that the window boxes here still have violas blooming in them.  No need for greens there.  But it IS December and it feels like time to make things festive.  So I went out with bags and pruners to see what I could find….

img_6010The red berries are not winterberry.  They are from a plant here by the cottage.  I asked Liam what it was..he did plant.. it but he wasn’t sure what it was.  I do not know how well they will hold up but I decided to use them anyway since there were no berries on the holly.img_6012I made two pots for the front entrance.img_6009The pots are not exactly the same size, but I think it still looks festive.

I had greens left over after I did this so I made another pot for the entryway.img_6013It may be too warm there as there is heat and lots of solar gain on sunny days.  We will have to see how it does.

I didn’t bring any greens inside yet.  I usually fill every vase I have with greens, but I don’t have any vases here so I will have to think about it some more.  There is still time before Christmas.img_6006And a cozy chair by the fire..a lovely place to seek inspiration!

 

Visitors Bearing Gifts

We had our first official visitors today.  I don’t really count the wonderful Liam as a visitor.  He just comes by to make sure we are alright and have everything we need.  An amazing landlord, always kind and generous..which seems to be common here.

In any case, Anne and Simon came today from Roscommon.  They are sort of friends of friends.  Anne writes a blog called An Irish Alternative.  You can find it here.  My friend Carole, from Whispering Pines Farm (where my lovely girls are), has been following Anne for awhile and told her we were moving to Ireland.  Anne has been welcoming and helpful, though we had never met.  She read on my blog that I was looking for some potted herbs and she offered to bring me some from her gardens.  How nice is that?

We had such a pleasant visit…just sitting by the fire and sharing stories.  They are originally from England but moved to Ireland years ago…moved to Spain for a few years and are now back in Ireland.  They grow food and keep hens and are very familiar with the area.  When we start looking for our “forever” home here, I am sure they will be good resources.  They even have experience building a straw bale house…something I would love to explore…

We have been met by nothing but warmth and kindness here.  Everyone has been welcoming, generous and helpful.  It has made our transition much easier and more pleasant than I had expected it to be.  Just lovely people.

And now I have some potted herbs.  img_6001Parsley….

img_5997Mint..

img_5999Thyme….

img_5998And sage will all be happy in the entryway with the primroses.

img_6002But the basil will stay inside.  I have never had luck with basil inside in the winter in New England.  Perhaps it will do better here.

She also brought me a bay tree and quail eggs.img_6004I have never had quail eggs before.  They are very small and quite adorable.  Five quail eggs is equivalent to one hen egg.  They are good for baking or can be scrambled.  What a treat!

Anne also brought some cut herbs to dry.  Rosemary,sage and bay.  I hung them on the fireplace.img_6005Just what it needed…a little greenery!  And of course, it smells heavenly.

It was a lovely day…with new friends….the first of many I hope.

 

 

 

 

Flowers in December

So I promised you pictures of the flowers I got at the garden centre the other day. Are you wondering what I could have gotten in December?  Well, those of you who know me and have been following along at Brookwood Shire might guess.img_5938Yup. Primroses! Of course!  I absolutely LOVE primroses!  In New England they begin to appear in stores in January and they have always gotten me through winter with their cheery little blooms.  But in Ireland they are in garden centres now..along with pansies and violas..and heather…

I can NOT resist primroses.img_5958So I got a few.

img_5939Some are not yet flowering so I don’t know what colors I have..but I know they will be beautiful!!!  

img_5957I also got some cyclamen.  They seem very Christmasy as we have them at home in December as well….inside.

img_5945I think it might be possible to have them outside in Ireland though.  They were outside at the garden centre..as were the primroses.

I got some for the entryway..

img_5951And some for inside.  We don’t have our Christmas decorations with us so these will have to do for the moment.  

img_5956This stunning red one is in another window.  A few flowers do make things festive.

img_5962This little ivy is by the kitchen table.  I still hope to have potted herbs here for the winter but I haven’t found any yet.  So this will do for now.  It is good to have green things in the kitchen.

Flowers in December.  How very lovely.  I am sure I will go out and gather some sort of greens soon….there is holly everywhere…and do my traditional Christmas decorating…but it is so strange to have violas and primroses in December!

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