Sunday, July 26, 2015

Townlands Carnival 2015

After the success of last year's festival we were super excited when the day finally arrived and we set off for the Townlands Carnival, a music festival held relatively locally.
To be honest getting ready was stressful. 
We planned to go for 4 nights, with the trailer tent, a new baby and an extra child. I felt like we spent the week before preparing, days of washing and packing and checking lists. 
I felt anxious about camping with Ena, knowing it would be fine really, but a fear of the unknown. 
Finally we were ready though and set off. 
We decided to arrive the day before the festival and leave the day after it finished minimizing the stress as much as possible also making the most of our time away. It was a good move. We left home much later than we had expected and arrived around dinner time, tired, hungry and still with lots of unpacking to do, none of which I could help with as Ena needed me. 
Still I was glad we did it that way because it meant we were set up and ready before the festival began and we could relax and enjoy it.
It was so full, every moment filled with excitement and adventure and newness. We made so many new friends and tried new things. Heard great music and danced in the mud. 
There were pockets of calm, lying in the tent with Ena and Joa, reading stories or playing. There were lovely moments around the campfire toasting marshmallows. There was the camaraderie in our little group of tents, huddled under awnings and around the campfire, sharing meals and washing up and child care. There was much laughter, and play, and friendship, and dancing and rain and shouting and smiling and eating, too much to even remember all in one go.
So I will let the pictures jog our memories...

Alan and Steve

our camp




communal meals

pocket money

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devil sticks

friends and circus


festival baby

blue-tonged skink


wishing line

Sibin Stage


waiting for pizza

pizza and pimms
and then the camera ran out of batteries and my phone ran out of batteries, so I will use single words instead to jog more memories...
Alan, sausages, devil sticks, sparklers, candle making, puppet show, rain, wind, porridge in cups, dancing competitions, stilts, parade, umbrella jelly fish, horrible loos, nettle rash, meeting old friends, funny little dog, blacksmith, Alan, raincoats, Heavy Billy, marshmallow burns, fetching water with the wagon, face paints, rain....Alan

It was great, Ena was a brilliant festival baby. At times I felt a little jealous of the beers being drank and found it difficult needing to sit in the tent at times to shelter and rest with her while others were out partying. But it was better than I thought it would be and easier than I feared it would be and we made wonderful memories and had great experiences and made brilliant friends. It would have all been easier if the weather had been on our side, but thanks to slings and babywearing raincoats and the helping hands of everyone around us, we truly enjoyed it.

captain ~ my man's best friend

On the 4th of July Captain was 10 years old.
We decided to spend the day doing something he would love, so we all piled into the van and drove over to the other side of the estuary. The tide was out so we could walk all the way onto the sand bank opposite our house. We walked for hours. The wind was strong but the sun was also strong warming the water in the pools, making it a delight to walk through barefooted. In fact so inviting that Joa lay down to play. The dogs ran for miles, so did the kids.
We had bought carrot cake from the local market that we cut with a tiny pen knife and ate by the chunk. And because dogs can't eat cake when we got home again we made Captain a cake of his own from dog food and bread.
Captain is Garry's dog. His love for Garry is so plain on his face. He will listen only to him and quite often looks at me with an expression that says 'Who do you think you are? I only have one human, and it's not you!'
He is a lovely dog, gentle and so, so patient with the children (and our other dogs). He is happy to just do his own thing, never being needy, but always giving his love and attention.
I am so grateful we have him in our lives and I am so grateful to him that he has been a constant in Garry's life for so long. I am grateful that he was there for Garry, in his strong and steady way, at the end of the day, no matter what had happened, and that he has loved him unwaveringly for the last 10 years and will continue to do so.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

the kitchen, the garden


scones with jam, coconut cream and strawberries

vegan fruit flapjacks and spelt soda bread

calendula for salves


comfrey for massage oil


onions and cabbage

captain and spartacus

lifeboat steaming out on a shout

towing casualty back to harbour
Now that school is finished we have had a few days of setting the house straight(er) and getting back into the kitchen and garden properly.

In the kitchen we have made bread and biscuits, fish cakes and nut cutlets, elderflower cordial and lots of meals.
In the garden there are: cabbages, cauliflower, salads, chard, onions and scallions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, courgette, lots of herbs of all sorts, peas, beans, strawberries, gooseberries, currants, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, potatoes and lots of wild flowers.

It feels so good and nourishing to be able to provide for ourselves in this way. Good, happy food.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

an infinite capacity for cake

 In this past week I have discovered that I have an infinite capacity for cake. There have been so many celebrations (most of them involving cake of at least one kind) and I have enjoyed each and every one of them...celebrations that is...and of course the cake!

Joa turned 5.
We didn't get to spend much of his day with him as he was at pre-school and then at his dad's house for the day, but we all got up early to sing to him and watch him open his presents. Then in the evening after I picked him up we had a surprise beach party for him with some of our friends from the village. We ate bbq sausages and treats and played together in the sand and the sea.and we had cake...

 Then a few days later his pre-school had a little graduation ceremony for the kids leaving to go to big school this year. The class performed a wee show, singing 'He's got the whole world in his hand' and dancing to 'Uptown Funk' which I thought was a hilarious mix and so very cool. Each child was congratulated in turn and then there was cake.

Rebe and Benny had a school celebration on the same day, they buried a time capsule and raised flags the school had won. It is a fantastic school and I am so happy that the kids go there. We got to look around the work they did this year...and there was cake.
medals rebe and benny won at sports day
rebe's letter to go into the time capsule

 And then it was Benny's Birthday.
I can't believe he is 7! I remember his baby snuggles like it was yesterday. We have been talking about 7 being a big age; the end of being a little boy and the beginning of being a big boy. It feels like a milestone of sorts.  We had a lovely day out at the Model Railway Village. Garry gave Benny a coin so that he could throw it into the pond to make a wish. He wished that he would have a Happy Birthday and at the end of the day he said that his wish had come true.

 After the little trains we went to the beach for an hour to try out the gift we gave him of snorikle (how Benny says it) and flippers...

 It was so awesome and then we had cake.

On Sunday it was Father's Day. Garry's first Father's Day so it was very special for him. The older kids were with Andy but they had left cards and gifts for him to open in the morning.

Ena's caul preserved: a gift from her to him.
After breakfast Garry, Ena and I went for a drive and we found our way to Drombeg Stone Circle. There was a beautiful strong, positive energy there. People were still there meditating for the solstice. It was so nice to take the time and quietly reflect on how lucky we are. How happy I am that Ena is here and how special my life is with these wonderful people in it.

Although all of these celebrations were lovely, it was pretty exhausting having them all in the same week. Making sure that each was marked in it's own way and that everyone felt special and celebrated. But now we can rest. Today the kids finish school for the summer: 9 glorious weeks of relaxation and rest, adventures and fun....and probably a few more slices of cake :-)