Tuesday, July 29, 2014

summer time(s)

Good times are being had here I tell you! 
Last weekend I went off all alone to have a reunion with the people I went on my gap year between school and university (15 years ago). Although our numbers were rather sadly depleted we had a wonderful time.
i made that fire all by myself

cooking breakfast

We spent several wonderful days together, talking, eating, talking, drinking, talking, walking, talking. The setting was gorgeous and the weather just heavenly. It was so odd being without the kids and what a lovely thing travelling without children is, I read a whole book!! 

I did miss them though and Garry of course so I was very happy to arrive back home again on Sunday evening. But the camping fun didn't end there...
 A couple of weeks ago Garry found us a very bargainous trailer tent. While we were away he set it up in the garden and the kids have been sleeping there ever since.

The Courtmac summer festival is on at the moment so we have enjoyed being out and about, meeting with friends and joining in the fun.
kids arts and crafts workshop

Rebe's clay lion

sandcastle competition

sand armadillo
 We have also had lots of trips to various beaches around here. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such gorgeous, clean beaches!
The kids have been doing lots of Plasticine what we picked up at the supermarket last week...
another lion by Rebe

Elvis for Garry
 Life is good and fine and happy. The garden is growing well, I must get my camera out there soon and show you. We're enjoying salads and berries daily and might even eat our first ripe tomato this evening.
 Joa has been great. He can be a little difficult to handle at times (see car incident) so we came up with a way to encourage him to be kind and helpful and above all to listen. We drew a race track on some card and stuck it to the wall then with bluetac we attached one of his 'winner cars'. Every day he behaves well we move his car forward one place and today he got his car all the way to the trophy. Rebe and Benny came and applauded him and he, delighted, gave thumbs ups and fist pumps :-)

Other than all of that I have been working hard. Over the last few months I have been getting the CE certification for my dolls. This shows that my dolls meet European Safety Standards. It has felt at times like a mountain of red tape and I bet I will never need to show any of the work I have done to anyone, but it feels so good to have achieved it and I felt very proud tying my fabby new labels onto this doll's hand.
 I hope you are having a lovely summer too :-)

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.
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!)

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


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.
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.
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!