Friday, March 23, 2012

Graves and bicycles

Looking out to Donegal from Co Sligo

We upgraded our bicycles and have been cycling all over the place. Last weekend we put them on the back of the van and went north, first to the boat up near Carrick where Joe took out the old (broken) fridge and cooker in readiness for new ones going in. Saturday morning, just after making the morning cup of tea (thank god), the gas went. The spare bottle was empty too.

This is where having a van bought in England is a disadvantage - the gas bottles are different to those used here. But we knew they were sold in Enniskillen. We dodged St Patrick's Day parades up through Leitrim and Cavan to get there and arrived to find the streets closed. Onto the bikes and round to Dicky's, the hardware shop with gas, but no luck. Closed til Tuesday. An alternative shop was found. Closed til Tuesday. Looked like no heating, no cups of tea. We watched the parade anyway.

The museum and tea rooms at Castle Archdale

From the Tourist Information place (closed but with an interactive info screen) we found the phone number of a caravan place in Castle Archdale. It was open. A short drive and we were replete with gas bottles once more. It was astonishingly busy for so early in the year with static caravans, tourers and a rake of camper vans too. There was a curfew on vehicles - the barrier giving access to the caravan site stated it wouldn't open between 11.30 pm and 6.30 am. Quite right too. Keep out all the noisy late-night buggers.

Needless to say we didn't stay, but we did cycle all around the Country Park. Great bike trails alongside Lower Lough Erne and through woods to the old castle. Interesting coming to the place via land instead of water.

We spent the night in Enniskillen. It was buffet night again at the Kamal Mahal Indian restaurant so we had to go. In the morning I spotted this down by the Forum.

Enniskillen decorations

What is it about shopping trolleys and traffic cones that drives drunk people to throw them into the nearest waterway?

Monday morning. Bank holiday and time for another bike ride. We'd stayed the night at Strandhill near Sligo, then up to Drumcliffe Cemetery to have a look at Yeats' burial place, admire Benbulben lying quietly in the background, and cycle out to Lissadell House on the small and quiet peninsula next to Drumcliffe.

The church at Drumcliffe
Yeats' grave
The graveyard and Benbulben

The rooks were busy busy in the graveyard trees, courting and squabbling and building their nests.

Sligo coast

Out on the peninsula the tide was out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shrouds in the garden. Protection against the deer's nibbling. I hope this will save the trees. There are four apple trees altogether in the Hollow, all old varieties. The one you can see in the middle is a Ribston Pippin. This is doing the best - it fruited last year for the first time, and is big enough for the deer not to bother it. There's another on the left behind the shroud - a Beauty of Bath.


The left hand shroud is a Scarlet Crofton.

The one on the right is a Widow's Friend, damaged, poor thing, when a willow tree fell on it in high winds. Another, an Ard Cairn Russet, was knocked completely.

Maybe this lad will help keep the unwanted out of the garden:

Joe brought this mask back from Romania. He thought it was friendly. I wasn't so sure.

Didn't keep the frogs away anyhow. More frogspawn, I think, than ever before:

See all the little wrigglers in there. Should satiate the appetite of the rest of the pond's inhabitants for a while once they eat their way out of their jelly.