Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dream Gathering 2014

Oh wow, what an amazing holiday we had. I actually don't even know where to start telling you about it. Each day was so packed full, every moment was as special as the next. It would take me weeks to remember them all and even longer to write them all down. But I'll remember what I can here and perhaps these few snippets will be enough to jog our memories of other times.
DAY 1
On Friday morning we got up and started packing; camping gear and changes of clothes and bits and pieces enough for the festival and then a visit to Garry's home place and his family.
Garry took the dogs to the kennels and I started piling things up in the kitchen unsure how we would fit it into the car. But we did and by lunch time we were ready to go. We stopped off at the supermarket on the way for essential supplies then headed on to Macroom for the 2014 Dream Gathering.
Rebe and Benny wore their tissue bags the whole time, with tissues, some pocket money, some plasters and our mobile phone numbers in case they got lost. I wrote my number on Joa's arm in permanent marker.
 We arrived after what felt like hours of driving around little lanes, lost and no idea where to go. But we found the site and set up our tents, relaxed for an hour and ate some lunch before setting off to explore.

We found the kids area first and took the time to chill out and let the kids have a good explore of that.
the chess set was one of their favourite things although none of them have any idea how to play!

weaving on a giant loom

tight rope walking

giant bubbles
 When the kids area closed for the evening we moved on to explore the rest of the site. We found a shaman who was smudging people and Joa lined up...
 and then Benny. Benny said he wouldn't have bad dreams for ages as a result.
 As it grew darker we explored more. We ate a lovely pizza, made and freshly baked in front of us. We listened to a band on the main stage and as it grew dark the drizzle started. We watched an amazing fire eating show and Joa found a kind juggler who didn't mind us trying out his fabby LED juggling balls. When it was completely dark we made or way to the last stage which was in the woods. There were enormous dream catchers hung at the entrance and we entered the space through a tunnel lit only by UV lights and covered with recycled bottle flowers painted in UV paint. It was so magical! Just at the mouth of the tunnel were a clump of huge wooden mushrooms and behind those the DJ booth set high and in the middle of what looked like a huge painted flower. There was more UV art work hanging from the trees and the beat of the music pulsed through the soft ground and up through our feet. We danced a little but mostly just stared. Benny pulled me down to him and whispered; 'I think we're in someone else's dream!'. It certainly felt like it. We left, through the tunnel and made our way back to the tents. We settled the kids in with their torches and joined some friends outside our tent for some beers and some.... well interesting talk (cigarettes are just like dolphins you know!)


DAY 2
To my utter shock none of us woke until about 8.30am. I was expecting a dawn wake up, but the late night and excitement had tired the kids out. We took our time coming to. Rebe and Benny wanted to go and see if the stalls were open yet so we let them go off to the far end of the field to have a look and asked them to bring tea and coffee if they could find it.
the waiters bringing us our (half full and nearly cold) cups of tea and coffee

tired-fuzzy-headed mama

 When we were ready to emerge we went and found a good coffee stall straight away before doing anything else...
'chino time for Joa
 We then spent the whole day at the kids area. There were so many workshops and activities for them that we didn't need to go anywhere else. We bumped into lots of friends and got to try so many things.

Rebe joined in a dance and rhythm workshop

circus skills workshop

Benny - diablo master

amazing face paints

circus boys


At one point Joa had wandered off and when Garry went to look for him he found him in the middle of a drumming meditation circle. He was actually leading the drumming with those around him following his beat. When we managed to get him to come out again someone who had seen him being smudged the night before and had been watching him drumming said 'He's really spiritual man!' he he!



pirate ship, one of a few play structures made from recycled palates

wands

wooden toy workshop

a balloon clown made Benny this...guess what animal it is...yes an armadillo!!... poor balloon clown but fair play to him for trying!

 face painting for the young...and younger




circus show that Benny got to take part in

he was the green magician

Joa in his festival hat playing

dinner in a very cute 'real' restaurant

trying the gigantic bubble maker

the fire performers were breath taking again

the 2nd night of 'someone else's dream'
 DAY 3

We didn't wake until 9.30am on Sunday! Putting us ever so slightly behind schedule, as we'd hoped to be on the road by 10am.
 We packed up and with help from our friends brought everything back to the car, loaded up, had one last play (and made clay sculptures and paintings) before hitting the road for the long drive to Dublin to visit Garry's amazing family.
Unfortunately, at this point my camera and phone ran out of batteries and as I hadn't brought a cable for either of them I didn't get a single picture of our stay in Dublin. Garry took these pictures on his phone though...
It was amazing and just as much of a special experience. On Sunday evening we arrived (the great unwashed) into the middle of a bbq party for Garry's littlest niece. Most of his brothers were there, and all of his sisters, their kids, partners and friends, and of course Nana Ena, the kids new Granny.
We feasted and drank and played and caught up. The kids were brilliant and took to everyone straight away. The family opened their arms and instantly absorbed them. It made me so happy and so proud to be a part of this special family and to watch the kids being welcomed into it as well.

When everyone had left Garry and I set the tents up again and we settled down to sleep in the garden with the noise of the sea lulling us to sleep.
DAY 4
The following morning was a slow start for us, but when we woke we found the kids had already been in to Nana Ena and had been given breakfast and made themselves completely at home. At lunch time we drove to Skerries a few miles from the family home and met up with Garry's sisters and their kids. What a beautiful part of the world! We had an ice cream at what is undoubtedly the best ice cream shop in the world. After running for shelter from a down pour we went along the sea front to the park where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
That evening we had another bbq party this time to celebrate the Birthday of the youngest set of twins in Garry's family (there are 3!!) It was also lovely, very relaxed and we went to bed full and happy.
DAY 5
I packed up the tents and things while Garry went to his childhood barbers for a hair cut. He took Rebe along and the pair of them got the car ready for the drive home. We made time for a walk across the road to the beach and a quick play.
 It was very special being there, seeing the place that Garry grew up and spending time with his family.
 After a quick lunch we got into the car and headed for home, tired but very very very happy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

the first days of our holiday

At last the summer holidays are here and how we have been enjoying them so far. Released from the monotonous school run, the endless packed lunches and clock watching. Bedtimes are more relaxed, routine and rhythm are determined by us not the calendar.  The kid's time is well divided between myself and Andy, which also gives me time to myself and alone with Garry. I feel we have a great balance at the moment.

We're enjoying days out...
warm days on the beach, 



and not so warm days on the beach...


chilly picnic

flying kites



sailing little cork-and-feather boats in puddles
 time indoors, baking, crafting, playing...
baking gingerbread
beading

squares
black playdough
 we have also had fun trips out, swimming, visiting friends and to the Model Railway Village
 we've eaten well, having time and space to cook what we want when we want together
bbq on a rainy day eaten cooked outdoors but eaten inside
our happy-end-of-term cake
dinner at our fabulous new table
 As I mentioned I've had lots of time without the kids too. I usually start this time with a run and am really enjoying having regular times in the week to be outside running along the estuary. If Garry is not working we do something together; taking walks or having lunch somewhere and if he is at work then I use my time filling my Under Rainbows orders.
custom order fairy doll
 My art classes finished last week too for the summer and I am eagerly waiting for them start back again in September, I've really enjoyed it.

fushia in water colours
 So far we've had a wonderful time and we are so excited about the coming few weeks with so many adventures planned.

But something did happen this week....
 We were visiting with a neighbour. I was sitting in the garden with her and I thought the kids were in the living room. But Joa wasn't. He had gotten into her car, parked outside on the road, and released the handbrake sending it rolling backwards down the hill with him in it. It crashed into a telegraph pole about halfway down the hill. Oh the shock, it was awful! Thankfully, very thankfully he was completely unhurt, just scared and shaken and very sorry. My neighbours have been amazing about it and so concerned about Joa and so understanding. I am so grateful to them for their attitude and so very grateful to who or whatever was minding this little boy and allowed him to walk away un-hurt. I've had so many mixed emotions and thoughts about the whole episode and coming to terms with it all has taken a while, but I have learned from it and I hope Joa has too.