It was Joe who said we'd never swum on a runway before and he was right. We were in Mountshannon in all the heat, down at the beachy swimming area. We'd gone beyond the nursery slope (you can walk out beyond all the gyrating children and still not be out of your depth) when we heard the sound of the propeller.
If you look carefully you can just see the owner of the propeller to the right of the marker, just in front of Bushy Island. Harbour Flights have started doing Seaplane Scenic Tours - you can fly around Lough Derg for €85 - and the plane was coming in to land as we bobbed about in the water. It's a tiny thing - not for those who get the jitters on Aer Arran. Noisy, I suppose, but no worse than some boats. A novelty at the moment - 'Oh look! There's the seaplane!' but that will wear off soon enough.
There's a bit of a fuss in Mountshannon at the moment - a clash between native (though re-introduced) and manufactured fliers. The white-tailed eagle chicks have just fledged, so there's a bit of sensitivity about what's happening around Bushy Island where the eagle parents nested. Harbour Flights have in the past organised an air show in Mountshannon, but claim the reason they won't be doing it this year is because the Golden Eagle Trust don't want it to take place over Mountshannon. The Trust say they have no influence on whether the show goes ahead. The people of Mountshannon have lost their voice! claims Emelyn Heapes of Harbour Flights. We hope the eagles will be here for many years to come, says John Harvey of Mountshannon Community Council. You can see more in the Clare Champion.
But ... I'm in there too! Here's the link. This is why we have this issue of the Champion. I had a call from the publisher of The Skipper & Her Mate to say the Champion were going to do a piece on the book, and did I have a photo. I didn't. We were in Portumna at the time, but Joe decided this venue wouldn't do for the shoot - we couldn't get me and the boat in properly in the submarine pen style of concrete jetties they have there.
So. Joe took the boat and I took the car to Dromaan. I thought we'd get a photo there, but suddenly the place was inundated with sails and many many young people.
They all sailed in through the narrowing entrance in very little wind. Impressive. Not the place for a photoshoot though.
In the end we got the shot in Mountshannon, showing off Winter Solstice too without the dot over the i.
The deck was so hot I couldn't put my feet down. Looks a bit weird.
Pre-launch feedback on the book has been brilliant. I'm astonished and delighted.
Looking forward (with some trepidation) to what the publishers call a celebration of the book at the Scarriff Harbour Festival:
Come if you can! (Yes I know Scarriff is a long way from most places). Be there in spirit anyway.