A day out in Limerick

Where I find some colourful horses and lots of street art…
A cold but sunny morning on the second full day of my holiday saw me heading off to Limerick in search of some street art. I’d found a few examples when I was there in September and since then I’d found a website listing several more and their locations so with a list written in my notepad I was now on a mission to find and photograph them. Getting off the coach at Arthur’s Quay park I crossed the grass to get a view of the Shannon river, and though I took a photo from there back in September it looked so nice I just had to get another shot. Sitting on top of a post in the water was a seagull, so still that I thought for a moment someone had somehow put a stuffed toy up there, but eventually it moved so I zoomed in and took a snap ; its red beak and legs told me it could have been a red billed gull, one which also seemed to be still quite young.
DSCF3356 - CopyDSCF3357 - Copy
Along the road from Arthur’s Quay was the Hunt Museum, originally an 18th century Customs House designed by an Italian architect. After a major restoration and refurbishment in the mid 1990s the building was established as a museum to house the important and extensive art works and antiquities collected by John and Gertrude Hunt during their lifetime ; more information about the museum can be found here.
Standing outside the museum were two life-size and very colourful horses from the Horse Outside Project, a joint venture between the museum and a community arts initiative. The work on the horses evolved over several months and the colours and images painted on them were inspired by various objects in the museum’s collection, including sacred and religious items.
DSCF3366 - CopyDSCF3367 - CopyDSCF3368 - CopyDSCF3369 - Copy
Just along from the museum the road took me over the river and I followed it past St. Mary’s Cathedral to St. Mary’s Church where information led me to believe there could be a mural on the opposite corner. There was, a large and very colourful one on a gable end wall with a smaller one on the back yard wall of the butcher’s shop next door, and though the pig needed no explanation I couldn’t really see the significance of the wording. It was rather amateurish compared to others I found and wasn’t on my list but it was worth including it.
DSCF3419 - Copy
Artist – Betarok75
DSCF3420 - Copy
Artist unknown
Heading back towards the city centre I came across a narrow street off the main road and set at an angle to another street with a triangle of grass and trees between the two. The houses were double-fronted and the door and window surrounds were all painted different colours making the terrace look quite attractive. There was a car parked outside the far end house and four or five young cats were playing round it, chasing leaves and whatever else they could find. One of the cats looked particularly pretty and while I didn’t want to get too close in case I spooked them all I managed to get a shot of that one.
DSCF3421 - CopyDSCF3422 - Copy
Back across the river and in a small courtyard on the side wall of a solicitor’s premises near the bridge I found the first ‘proper’ mural, and though it wasn’t on my list, right across from it on the side wall of a small modern 2-storey office block was another one, presumably done by the same two London artists known as Church of Best Ever. At the far side of the office building, between that and the library building, was a long narrow alley and as I passed the end I spotted some more street art about halfway down ; none of it was on my list so I had no idea of the artist(s). The alley was a dead end, leading to what seemed to be a boat repair business ; a few old dinghies were lined up alongside the wall of the workshop and these had been painted to incorporate them into the art on the wall ; unfortunately I couldn’t get the full mural as a couple of cars were in the way.
DSCF3377 - CopyDSCF3378 - CopyDSCF3380 - CopyDSCF3379 - Copy
Back past the Hunt Museum and across the ground floor windows, doors, shutters and walls of a disused building was the slogan ”Culture is where we are from” while round the corner was the same slogan but with the word ‘from’ replaced by ‘going’. Back in 2014 Limerick had been Ireland’s first National City of Culture and the slogans were produced in a 2016 bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2020, though the city lost out to Galway. Unfortunately due to the amount of traffic and/or parked cars I couldn’t get either slogan completely but with a lot of patience I managed to get the best bits.
Although I’d made a list of the artworks I wanted to find and the street names of their locations I’d forgotten to print out a street map before I left home so my next port of call was the tourist information office, where I got chatting to a very friendly and helpful lady who gave me a street map and also marked on it the locations of the artworks I wanted to find. I didn’t get the lady’s name but I did tell her about this blog and she made a note of it – so if you’re reading this, whoever you are, then thank you, your help was much appreciated.
Walking up the road from the tourist office my eye was caught by something which appeared to be flying above a narrow lane on my right so I stopped to have a look. There was a pub and bar on the right with seating outside and this ‘thing’ was suspended on chains between the upper floor of the bar and the wall of the building across ; it was a bird of prey, possibly an eagle, though what ever it was supposed to be it looked rather weird and seemed to have no significance to the bar.
DSCF3435 - Copy
Further up the road I came to the Biodiversity Garden and the next two artworks on my list. The garden was created several years ago from a corner plot of derelict land, to coincide with Limerick being the 2014 National City of Culture ; over 100 small native Irish trees were planted, along with over 35 species of Irish wildflowers and several larger trees in recycled oil barrels decorated by local artists. Now while I have no doubt that the garden initially looked very pretty it certainly doesn’t look like that now ; with overgrown and untidy shrubs, a stack of pallets against one wall, a couple of traffic cones lying on the floor and a hotch-potch of other detritus in various places it looked very unkempt, unloved and abandoned.
The artwork, called Love Me So, is on two adjacent walls in the garden and was painted in 2013 by Dermot McConaghy. One section stands at 30ft x 50ft and the other is 20ft x 30ft, with both pieces taking a total of four days to complete. The larger piece features a woman looking back on herself as a child and the smaller one features that same child. Unfortunately the child’s face was looking a bit worse for wear and both pieces were partially obscured by overgrown trees and shrubs but I managed to get a reasonable shot of each of them.
DSCF3390 - Copy
Love Me So (1) by Dermot McConaghy
DSCF3391 - Copy
Love Me So (2) by Dermot McConaghy
Across the road from the Biodiversity Garden was Fox’s Bow arch at the entrance to a narrow back lane leading to the shopping street beyond ; on the side wall of the arch was a mural by Louisa Donnelly but I couldn’t get the whole thing as there was a car parked right in front of it. Unfortunately it had been defaced in a couple of places but seen face on it was the abstract face of a big cat, possibly a tiger. Towards the top of the road the whole frontage of one particular building had been given a makeover with some psychedelic art ; at the time I didn’t know who the artist was but I suspected it could have been Maser as his artwork is very distinctive, and later information told me I was right.

DSCF3392 - Copy

DSCF3393 - Copy
Artist – Louisa Donnelly
DSCF3395 - Copy
Artist – Maser
At the top of the road I turned right and right again into the road behind, where I found the next artwork on my list. On the corner of a 3-storey car park building it was painted in 2014 by an Australian artist of Irish parentage, and though the colours may have faded a bit from when it was originally done it’s still a great piece of art and so far has managed to escape being defaced by senseless graffiti.
DSCF3401 - Copy
The Fishermen by Fintan Magee
Having temporarily run out of street art with that last piece I made my way down the road to take a walk along the riverside in the direction of the docks, though I only went as far as the Shannon Bridge. At the far side of the bridge was a skate park with a sea theme painted on its outside walls, and though the shark wasn’t in the same league as most of the street art I’d seen it amused me enough to take a photo of it.
DSCF3407 - Copy
Retracing my steps I came to the Seamens’ Memorial, set down off the quayside and with its back to the river. Originally it was in remembrance of the lost seamen of the Shannon estuary and wasn’t specific to wartime casualties, however in 2004 a stone tablet was added to the base of the memorial, listing the names of the Limerick and Clare men who lost their lives on three Irish Merchant Navy ships during WW2 ; this was because the bodies of the men were never recovered and their families wanted them to be remembered in some way.
DSCF3406 - Copy
The Seamens’ Memorial on Bishop’s Quay
Further along the riverside, where Bishop’s Quay becomes Howley’s Quay, was the Dockers Monument, commissioned by Limerick City Council and erected in 2010. At the time when Limerick’s dockyards were a major source of employment working there was one of the most enduring and difficult ways to earn a living so the life size bronze sculpture by Limerick-born artist Michael Duhan now pays tribute to all those men who served at the docks, with their names on a commemorative plaque beside the monument.
DSCF3404 - Copy
The Dockers Monument
Heading back in the direction of Arthur’s Quay park I was beginning to feel quite peckish – it was time for coffee and cake, and I couldn’t think of anywhere better than Jack Monday’s Coffee House where I’d had a nice lunch on my day in Limerick in September. Crossing the river at the next road bridge I repeated my September walk along Clancy’s Strand which would bring me out opposite Jack Monday’s. Towards the end of the riverside boardwalk and displayed on a tall pedestal was the Treaty Stone, a large irregular-shaped block of limestone which was once used as a mounting block for horse riders and where the Treaty of Limerick was reputedly signed on October 3rd 1691.
DSCF3410 - Copy
The Treaty Stone
After indulging in coffee and a slice of gooey chocolate cake I crossed back over the river to find the last artwork on my list ; it was situated on a gable end wall across from the castle although what’s there now isn’t what I was originally looking for. After my visit to Limerick in September I’d found out about a large artwork in that location, though I couldn’t understand how I’d missed seeing it at the time as it was very much ‘in your face’, however the lady in the tourist information place had told me it had been removed in September, obviously just prior to my visit there which would explain why I didn’t see it.
Just along the street from the new artwork was a piece which had only appeared since I was there in September. It was on a side wall set back off the street but so far I’ve been unable to find out who the artist is and what it represents. Further along still my eye was caught by an old advertising sign on the wall above the Cauldron Bar, a premises no bigger than an ordinary terraced house though maybe years ago it was once a little hardware shop. Although not strictly street art I took a photo of the old sign as I like things like that and I remember the brand name from my early childhood.
DSCF3417 - Copy
Artist unknown
DSCF3418 - Copy
An old advertising sign from way back
And so to the new artwork across from the castle. Designed and painted by Dublin-based artist Aches it’s dedicated to The Cranberries lead singer, Limerick-born Dolores O’Riordan, who died suddenly almost two years ago at the age of 46. It was created by overlaying three separate images of her performing on stage back in 1993, images chosen to immortalize her as a young woman at the peak of her career. I must admit to not being terribly familiar with any of The Cranberries songs, I only really know Linger, but for the people of Limerick memories of the singer will certainly linger on in this colourful artwork.
DSCF3415 - Copy
Dolores O’Riordan by Aches
That was to be my last photo of the day, I’d been wandering round Limerick for four hours and though it was still only just after 3pm I didn’t want to be too late in getting a coach to Roscrea as the ride back would take over an hour. I’d found all the artwork on my list and more besides so my day out had been very successful – it was now time to get back to Roscrea and relax in front of the fire.


A couple of hours in Nenagh

A day in which I don’t get to climb a tower but I do experience some Irish logic…
After an uneventful and fairly relaxing journey at the beginning of the month my first full day in Ireland started with the anniversary mass for Michael’s dad and Uncle Jimmy. It was too late afterwards for me to go anywhere which was any great distance away from Roscrea so I decided to go to Nenagh, just a 25-minute bus ride away, to repeat last year’s climb to the top of the castle tower. When I got there however I found that the tower was closed ; I knew there was a couple of days when it wasn’t open but couldn’t remember which days and unfortunately Monday was one of them. Having been up to the top of the tower once though I wasn’t too disappointed at it being closed this time so I decided to have a general wander around instead.
In the grounds of the castle tower an open gate was set in the wall on the far side and when I went through I found myself in a small garden set between the castle’s outer walls and the perimeter walls of both the St. Mary’s churches. Devoid of any colour in the flower beds it was still a pleasant and peaceful little place and would probably be very pretty in the spring and summer months.
DSCF3300 - CopyDSCF3303 - Copy
Round the corner from the garden and across the road was the last remaining (disused) block of the old prison built in the 19th century, and the octagonal governor’s house which is now a heritage centre and museum. Guided and self-guided tours can be taken and I would have loved to see the inside of the prison but just like the castle tower the place was closed ; now I may be missing something obvious here but I really can’t understand why many places are closed on Mondays.
DSCF3306 - Copy
The former prison governor’s house, now Nenagh Heritage Centre
DSCF3308 - Copy
The last remaining old cell block
Heading out of town I took a walk to Nenagh Town Park, built on a small flood plain surrounded on three sides by the Nenagh river, and opened in October 2014. I’d been there last year and wasn’t terribly impressed as it seemed to be little more than a kids’ adventure playground rather than a proper park, but it was only ten minutes or so from the town and the afternoon, even if somewhat chilly, was quite nice so a there-and-back walk was actually very pleasant and it was nice to get away from civilisation for a short while.

DSCF3316 - CopyDSCF3322 - CopyDSCF3320 - Copy

DSCF3321 - Copy
On my way along the road back into town I cut down a side street to the remains of the Franciscan friary. Founded sometime before 1252 the friars lived there until being expelled by the Cromwellians, though it wasn’t long before they returned. A community stayed in residence until 1766 but even after they left some friars continued to work in the area as parish clergy ; the last Franciscan of Nenagh was a Fr. Patrick Harty who died there in 1817.
DSCF3313 - CopyDSCF3312 - CopyDSCF3309 - Copy
Back on the main shopping street I turned right instead of left towards the shops. Just out of curiosity I wanted to see if there was anything worth seeing if I went out of town in that direction and I hadn’t gone far when I came across a large abandoned and seriously derelict building. There was nothing to say what it was or had been but it was worth a few photos and later information told me that it was an old military barracks. The complex was built in 1832 and occupied by members of the British army for the following ninety years, after which it was handed over to the new Irish State and was used for various purposes over the following years until the early 1980s. In spite of various proposals for preserving the barracks no work was ever carried out and the complex gradually became derelict. In 2009 the Department of Defence offered the property to the local authority but the proposal was turned down and since then most parts of the complex have become dangerous and beyond saving.
DSCF3337 - CopyDSCF3340 - CopyDSCF3339 - Copy
Back in town I window-shopped up the main street until I ran out of shops, and that’s when I experienced some great Irish logic. Among the last few shops in the row was a hair salon with an A-board outside displaying the various prices and also the words ‘No appointment necessary’ and ‘Walk-ins welcome’. Looking through the window I could see there was no-one in there and as I badly needed a cut and restyle I decided to take the opportunity and get it done, however it wasn’t to be. With no customers in the shop, and the stylist just sitting having a coffee, I was told she could only offer me a 3.30 appointment, which would be too late if I wanted to get the 4.15 bus back to Roscrea. Needless to say I didn’t book it, but as I walked back out of the salon I did wonder what happened to ‘No appointments necessary’ and ‘Walk-ins welcome’!
A few yards along the street from the hair salon a right turn took me past another row of shops and on a corner I came to an old bell tower and what had obviously once been the entrance to something. There was a wrought iron gate across the archway but it opened when I tried the latch and I walked through into a small but pleasant cemetery. Many of the headstones were quite old but the more recent ones suggested that this place was still in use. Later information told me that the bell tower, gateway and attached mortuary chapel had been built in 1760, added onto an Anglican Church of Ireland church built forty years previously. The church was in use until 1865 then it was abandoned and eventually dismantled after the congregation moved to a new church ; the inter-denominational burial ground lies where the old church once stood and the bell tower and roofless mortuary chapel are all that’s left of the building itself, although strangely I’ve not yet been able to find out what the church was actually called.
DSCF3331 - CopyDSCF3333 - Copy
Those were to be the last shots I took in Nenagh ; no doubt the town had other interesting places to see but there was something I wanted to look for in one of the shops and I didn’t want to be late for the bus or I would be stuck there for another two hours. I arrived back in Roscrea to one of Nellie’s delicious cooked meals and the remains of the trifle from the previous day then spent the evening watching a bit of tv and planning my next day out, with fingers metaphorically crossed that the weather would stay nice for me.

On the outside looking in

Well I wasn’t actually  looking in but I was  on the outside….
A few weeks ago, while walking home from work one evening, I took a shortcut through a small local park close to home. Backing onto one corner of the park is a church and there must have been something going on in there that particular evening as all the lights were on, lighting up the stained glass windows. Most of them looked quite plain but the one which was, presumably, behind the altar looked really lovely and certainly worth taking a photo of, however I didn’t have my camera with me at the time and on the numerous occasions I’ve passed since then the church has always been closed.
That was until earlier this evening. I’d been out for the afternoon taking photos for a future post and noticed the church lights were on as I passed nearby so I did a quick detour to get a shot of the window from the outside, and in the dark of the evening the deep colours of the stained glass really stood out.
DSCF3727 - Copy
I’d love to see the window from the inside but unfortunately the church only seems to be open for normal services and not to visitors so I’ll have to be happy with my shot from the outside.
And talking of churches, I had a lovely few days away in Ireland and visited three churches while I was there – one which I discovered almost by accident – so there’ll be lots of stained glass windows appearing on this blog once I get my photos sorted out and I start writing about my holiday.


A new addition at the farm

As there’s no Monday Walk this week I thought I’d post something which definitely has the ‘awww’ factor. On November 21st Smithills Open Farm, just fifteen minutes walk from home, welcomed the arrival of a miniature Shetland pony born to Shetland parents Dinky and Stuart Little. It’s the first Shetland foal ever to be born at the farm and though its arrival was a bit later in the year than would normally be ideal mum and baby – apparently smaller than she looks on the photos – are bonding well and both are very healthy.
As from last Saturday – November 30th – the little foal will be going into the pets corner at the farm and the farm staff will be running a competition to choose a name for her. I’d love to go and see this adorable little foal for myself but at £8 per adult I think the admission price to the farm is a bit steep, so I’ll have to be content with these photos – which obviously aren’t mine, they come courtesy of the local paper.
**As I’m currently on holiday in Ireland and have no internet access this post has been scheduled so I’ll reply to any comments when I get back at the end of the week – and maybe by then the little foal will have a name.


Scavenger photo hunt – November

Once again the photo challenge has arrived though it doesn’t seem like a month since the previous one, nor does it seem like almost a year since the first one for 2019. The topics for this month are – seasonal view, oops, seashore, card, stripe/d and as usual, my own choice. Some of the photos I wanted to use for this month have proved to be inaccessible due to a corrupt camera card (a problem now sorted with a new one) and I’ve really had to delve into the archives for some of these so here goes.
The first one was taken on a bright autumn day in 2018 while walking round the grounds of Smithills Hall, a historic manor house not too far from home. With the oldest parts of the building dating from the 15th century it’s one of the oldest manor houses in north west England and the extensive gardens and woodland are great for dog walking.
Copy of smithills walk - oct. 2018 025
Seasonal view – gardens at Smithills Hall
The next two photos are from an ‘oops’ moment entirely of my own making while camping in Norfolk four years ago. I’d mistakenly put 40 quid’s-worth of petrol in my diesel tank and a mile or so from the petrol station smoke started pouring from the back of the van. I pulled into a lay-by and phoned the AA who sent a local breakdown truck to take me, the dogs and the van five miles back to the camp site then another guy came out to drain the tank and dispose of the contaminated fuel. As misfuelling isn’t covered by AA membership it was an expensive mistake and one I hope I’ll never make again, though it was also an easy mistake to make at the time…
At home I always get my fuel from my local Asda and at the time the diesel pumps were on the right so at this particular Asda store I’d automatically picked up the right hand nozzle. At first I couldn’t figure out how I’d managed to misfuel and it was only when I went back to the store the following day that I realised the diesel pumps were actually on the left. Since then my local store has changed theirs round but now I always check before filling up.
California - Sept. 2015 034
California - Sept. 2015 036
Oops – the result of putting the wrong fuel in the van
The next shot was taken about five years ago on one of my favourite beach walks in Norfolk. The camp site where I stay (in the two photos above) is on a cliff top above the beach and just over a mile to the north is the little village of Hemsby ; one of my favourite dog walks takes me along the cliff top and through the dunes to the village then back along the beach. The conditions on that particular morning were just right for a bit of seashore photography and with no-one around other than a couple of guys fishing in the distance I had the place to myself.
California - Sept. 2014 172
Seashore – my favourite almost-deserted Norfolk beach
A couple of years ago I joined Postcrossing, a worldwide online project where members send and receive postcards to and from other random members in other countries. As it’s all totally random I have no idea who or where my next postcard will come from so it’s always a nice surprise ; I’ve had some really lovely ones from many different countries and this one from a member in America is one of my favourites.
Postcards 080
Card – a postcard sent to me from America
A few years ago when I went to visit a friend she showed me some bedding she had got for when her grandchildren had a sleep over – pink for the two girls and blue for the boy. Now I wouldn’t say I’m particularly fussy but I do like all my camping accessories to be co-ordinating and as my tent was blue so was everything else ; the blue duvet set my friend had bought would look great in the tent so the following day I went into town and got one like it, and when I used it the next time I went camping I was really pleased with it.
Manorafon - Easter 2013 119
Stripe/d – the blue bedding in my tent
And finally, if anyone knows what my own choice is then please let me know. The camp site in Cumbria where I stayed at Easter and again in June is family run and has several large aviaries in the grounds, home to various species of birds including some quite exotic ones – apparently it’s the hobby of the father of the family. There was nothing on any of the aviaries to say what the different types of birds were and although some were obvious – mynah birds and cockatoos were some – I hadn’t a clue what this one was. There were actually two of them, they looked quite pretty and in flight their wing feathers were the most gorgeous bright blue.
DSCF0782 - Copy
My own choice – now identified by Joanne as a Blue-bellied Roller
So there you have it, my selection of photos for this month and the final ones of the year as there’s no photo hunt for December. Last year I missed two or three months of the challenge so I’m really pleased that this year I’ve done them all. As usual I’m linking up with Kate’s blog and I’ll be popping over there soon to see what everyone else has selected for this month.

A woodland walk from work

After being unable to download the most recent photos from my camera to the computer and going through a process of elimination I came to the conclusion that somehow the camera card had become corrupted, so a week ago I got a new card and took the camera to work the following morning to test it on my walk home. It was gradually coming daylight as I got near to work and the sun was brightening the sky with a bit of colour so as I walked down the lane I took a couple of shots through the trees.
DSCF3106 - Copy
DSCF3105 - Copy
All the time I was at work the sun was shining from a lovely blue sky but by the time I left the blue had gone and the sky was grey with a decidedly very weak and watery sun just about shining through, not really what I wanted for my photos but even if they looked dull I was determined to retake the ones I took a few weeks previously and which I couldn’t get off my other camera card.
DSCF3107 - Copy
Walking up the lane from work
DSCF3108 - Copy
Looking back
DSCF3109 - Copy
The stump of the tree which fell across the lane, pushed back into where it came from
DSCF3110 - Copy
From the top of the lane five minutes of road walking took me to another short lane and past a farm entrance to where a gate took me to a woodland path. It was bitterly cold and locally it was the first morning with a proper frost, giving the open fields beyond the fence and tree line a crisp white covering.
DSCF3112 - Copy
DSCF3113 - Copy
DSCF3114 - Copy
DSCF3116 - Copy
At the end of the fence a narrow path went down to the right ; I’d never been along there before and I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere so I decided to check it out. It was steep, with rocks, bricks and tree roots hidden under the fallen leaves but I managed to pick my way carefully down without slipping. Almost at the bottom was a very peculiar structure ; from the top of the path it looked like part of a small building but it was actually just a single stone wall with an opening partially covered by a rusty iron gate. With no evidence that there had ever been any other walls attached to it and no clue as to its purpose it seemed very strange.
DSCF3118 - Copy
DSCF3121 - Copy
DSCF3120 - Copy
Beyond the wall the path levelled out and followed the river on the left. On my right was a steep bank covered in undergrowth and with a field at the top ; as I walked along a movement caught my eye and I turned just in time to catch the fleeting sight of two deer which ran along the edge of the field just above me, disappearing into the trees then running up the main path. I’d obviously disturbed them, and though I would have loved to get a photo they were gone so fast that I didn’t even have time to put my hand on the camera.
I could only walk so far before the path and field were bisected by a deep gully with a stream at the bottom ; it wasn’t very wide and under normal circumstances I would have jumped across but I didn’t want to risk slipping on the frosty ground so I turned round there and headed back to the main path. A bit further down was the remains of another fallen tree ; this must have toppled from the steep hillside a while ago, obviously across the path as someone, presumably the nearby farmer, had cut most of the branches off to clear a way through.
DSCF3119 - Copy
DSCF3122 - Copy
Past the fallen tree the path levelled out and I was walking alongside the river, back to a normal level now after being quite a fast flowing torrent from all the recent rain. Ahead of me was the bridge I would cross but first I wanted to check out somewhere else. A few weeks ago, while in conversation with an older friend, she had asked me if there was still a small lake hidden in the trees up the hillside above the bridge as she remembered it from her younger years ; although I’ve walked along the riverside many times over the years, both with dogs and without, I never knew there was a lake in the area so it was time for a bit of exploration.
DSCF3123 - Copy
DSCF3124 - Copy
DSCF3126 - Copy
DSCF3127 - Copy
A rough steep path on the left of the main path took me up through the trees then levelled out, and a distance along it there was indeed a lake. Now it may very well look quite attractive on a sunny day in spring and summer but on a dull autumn morning with bare trees and no wildlife it didn’t exactly have the ‘wow’ factor, but at least I’d found it and could confirm to my friend that it was still there.
DSCF3128 - Copy
DSCF3133 - Copy
DSCF3130 - Copy
DSCF3129 - Copy
DSCF3134 - Copy
Back down at the riverside I took a shot from the bridge then crossed over to what I call the ‘home’ side of the river. It wasn’t far from there to the end of the path which emerged at the bottom of a cobbled lane ; on the right was a small gated yard with three stables where three horses looked out over the doors. The nearest one was Eden and the middle one was Honey but I couldn’t see the name of the one on the left as there was a rug draped over the stable door. The top of the lane brought me out onto the road round a large modern housing estate ; fifteen minutes of meandering from there round minor avenues and I was finally home.
DSCF3136 - Copy
DSCF3137 - Copy
DSCF3138 - Copy
DSCF3139 - Copy
DSCF3141 - Copy
With the exception of the detour to find the lake I walk that route three times a week and from work to home normally takes me 35 minutes ; this time it took me almost an hour and a half but I’d managed to get some reasonable photos, and when I downloaded them onto the computer with no problems later on it proved that there was nothing wrong with either the camera or the computer, and confirmed my assumption that the previous camera card was faulty. At least it had been easily and cheaply replaced, and just in time for another forthcoming trip back to Ireland.
**Two days later, when I stopped to say hello to the horses while on my way home from work, a younger woman was in the process of filling up their hay nets – and she turned out to be someone I’d worked closely with several years ago, and though she lives not far from me we’d lost touch when we both moved on to other jobs. It was good to have a catch-up, during which she told me the third horse is called Archie, and remembering that I once worked with horses myself she said I could go down any time to see her three – and I might just do that.

The dog ate my mouse!

And I don’t mean a computer mouse either, so if anyone is a bit squeamish then don’t read any further – though it is rather a funny story.
So a few weeks ago I was cleaning at the boss’s house and even though it was raining it was still quite mild so I’d left the back door open for Dylan the cat to wander in and out while I was working. I was just about to get ready to leave when I found a dead mouse in the middle of the kitchen floor – Dylan had brought me a present. Now I read somewhere ages ago that if a cat brings you a present you shouldn’t dispose of it while the cat is there or it will feel very insulted – I don’t know who thought that one up or even if it’s true but I didn’t want Dylan to think I didn’t appreciate his gift so I wrapped it carefully in some kitchen roll and put it in a small takeaway-type plastic carrier bag, to dispose of it when I went out.
Now to be quite honest, being the soft-hearted person that I am where animals are concerned, I felt quite sorry for the little mouse having lost its life to a big fluffy cat ; it didn’t deserve to be just dumped in the bin so I brought it home with the intention of digging a small hole with my trowel and burying it under the fuschia hedge. However, by the time I’d walked the fifteen minutes back home it was raining harder then ever so I popped the mouse, in its bag, in the top of the planter near the door with the intention of burying it once the rain eased off.
So much later on, with the rain having finally stopped and totally forgetting about the mouse, I let Sophie and Poppie out for five minutes in the garden, but when I opened the door to call them back in I found bits of shredded carrier bag all over the path. At first I couldn’t figure out where it had come from but then realisation hit – with the absence of a little furry body it seemed that rather than the mouse going into a hole under the hedge as I’d intended it had gone into one of the dogs instead.
At that point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was no use being cross with Sophie and Poppie as I didn’t know which one had eaten the mouse but I felt a bit upset that the poor little thing had ended up like that. Fortunately neither of the dogs suffered any ill effects afterwards, and I was just glad that the little mouse had actually been dead before it ended up as a dog’s dinner.
Now I realise that anyone reading this will probably have come to the conclusion that I’m completely bonkers, out of my tree, totally insane and needing a visit from the men in white coats but that’s just me, I love animals and hate to see dead ones however they came by their demise, and though it was a sad ending for the little mouse it does make rather an amusing story.