Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Old Bridge

Fancied a walk with Charlie in some woods. so went down to the Old  Bridge in Clarkhill Wood, about 4 miles away

No more snow, but plenty of drama in the skies:

looking along the Oldbridge Road to Newcastle

I'm not sure how old it is, but the bridge is a striking structure, with asymmetrical arches and a sloping roadway:

The Old Bridge

The Clarkhill River

Charlie: in his element!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Our best present this morning was a temperature rise above zero degrees!

Eleanor's first Christmas, much fun for all, particularly Mum and Grandparents

small, but perfectly formed

Christmas Girls

The Star

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nightmare Before Christmas!

This morning we drove the very icy and foggy 12 miles to Tesco Banbridge for more essential supplies - actually just a cover for getting John / and all of us 'Annie Lennox - A Christmas Cornucopia' a brilliant CD released for Christmas. 

The tracks are as you would expect, beautifully produced with a spine tingling blend of spirit, nostalgia, melancholy, and joy. 

A must have for this time of year - you could still download it! 

The journey was as nothing compared to the pandemonium that met us in Tesco. They are open 24 hours today, and yet with all the pushing, shoving and general grumpiness you would have thought that this was the last shopping event ever. I guess that the combination of ice and snow plus impending holiday festivities had pushed some people over the edge!

Still it was well worth it, to get the music of Annie Lennox, and for the frosty scenes.


Very Treacherous off the main road

spectacular trees weighed down with days of accumulating frost

A Thrush, very tame and hungry

Corbet Lough. Closed for fishing!

Corbet Lough

Your spirits lift heading home out of the fog 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Shortest Day

An eventful day for being so short. 

We were just getting ready to venture out into the white wild world  to get (yet more) provisions and post the very last Christmas parcel, when John thought he would have a slice of toast (just in case we ended up in a snowdrift and breakfast in town was postponed!) 

Down went the slice into the toaster - followed by a loud click - and off went the heat. The trip no doubt. This is not a rare event, and easily fixed by a 'trip' to the electricity box. Not today, the trip would not stay down; it's minus 10 outside, and we have no heat. At this point the prospect of 'decamping' looms large. We are very lucky to have kind friends who have offered us all places to stay over Christmas, we are touched by their generosity, but really want to be HOME for Christmas. 

After much quiet panic and drama (mainly from John), and careful advice over the phone from Robert, who knows about these things, the thing was fixed. Hooray! another night in the freezer beckons!

Kate and Eleanor safely tucked up in the van, Charlie in charge of security, we went off into Newcastle to do our Yuletide duty and get the 'stuff'.

Came back to a glowing sunset heralding another beautiful and record breaking night - sitting at the blog now with a bottle of Guinness whilst Top of The Pops Two plays in the background. Who says there isn't a Santa Claus !

A couple pictures from Kate:

One of three robins about today - I'll be looking for a blank space on our Christmas Cards!

The sinking sun bookends another eventful day; the journey to spring and new life begins here

21 December 2010

It was minus 14 degrees C last night, our coldest so far. Water pipes not frozen though thanks to getting up at 4am to run them through - going to take the car out today, whilst they are white with snow and ice, the roads seem passable. We have seen the dizzying volume of 5 cars this morning already! With (only) 2 miles to go to get to Leitrim and the 'luxury' of gritted roads all should be OK!

Dawn on the shortest day - it's all going to get better from here!

It's a race between the freezing fog and the sun, at this point, the sun is just ahead

Monday, December 20, 2010


The Sun's dying rays shine on the mountains on the eve of the shortest day

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Frozen Turnips!

As I type this, the sun has gone down an hour ago and it is -8.3 degrees C outside.

This is quite challenging and we are treating very seriously this 'cold snap' and what it could do to us. We have not been out in the car since Thursday, but luckily we did heed the weather warnings, and did a very big shop on Wednesday, including things for Christmas Day (although we hope we are not snowbound until then) so we have enough provisions in, which takes the pressure off.
We are also blessed by very good neighbours, who from far and wide have checked in on us and offered assistance - really touching considering we are only newcomers.
There are no gritter or snow machines out here to clear the roads, however a massive 'Tonka Toy'  loader came up yesterday and dumped a big pile of salt and grit for us to self administer on the roads.
In the Mobile it is possible to get warm enough - especially when there is a big roast in the oven- a great excuse!

Eleanor's well-being is of course our focus, and thank goodness, she is continuing to thrive, and delight us all.

I'm sitting on Grandad's knee, and I've got Furby as my very own hot water bottle!

I'm in safe hands

Sunday Walk 19 December

Flight across the snow.

Did not need to go far to get fresh air and snowy views today! It was a gentle slither up the Dromara Road, actually much safer and more restful than normal. without the traffic.

Like it must have been 100 years ago!

The New Turnip house - waiting for action

Icicle on Frank's barn like dragons teeth

Our house looks almost habitable with snow on the roof!

The junction of the Lighthouse Road - pretty tricky stuff

We had an audience

Moonrise over Benraw

Winter Shadows

Friday, December 17, 2010


Well the forecasts were right, we have had about 6 inches of snow last night - we only just got home from Elaine's Tap Dancing Demonstration in time.

We woke up today to (another) winter wonderland

we're up for more snow fun!

But it takes a lot to dampen our spirits, we were out trying to make a snowman, but the snow is so cold that it is perfect powder but will not compact enough - yet.

The animals are not so impressed think

Molly at the gate - where have you BEEN?

What do you mean no carrots?

Our three ponies!
The birds are all around the feeders - no chance of getting much else at the moment

snow sculpture

As ever, it's impossible to go inside- the spectacle is incredible


a pair of Red Kites you can see the foremost one calling to the other one

Relaxation - Tiggy Style

Meanwhile, Kate saw Tiggy taking advantage of the sunshine in her own inimical way:

I may be very shy, but when you see me, it's always a treat!
Just as well bearing in mind what we were due for - again

Rowallane Yuletide Market

A date for your diary next year. Usually the penultimate weekend before Christmas, Rowallane Yuletide Market is the perfect blend of Outdoor exercise shopping and good food - all with Christmas in prospect!

For us, over the 20 odd years that we've been doing it, it has represented  the gateway to Christmas, being usually the last craft fair that we do before finishing all our orders and getting ourselves set for the festivities. 

Rowallane: The gateway to the courtyard, where you will find a cornucopia of crafts, foods  - and even Santa!
It did not disappoint this year, with a welcome respite from the weather making it cold and crisp.

Of course, Rowallane is a great place to go at any time of year 

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Snow?

It's gone green again here, but apparently only for a few days, still not getting above 3 degrees C during the day. But a chance to regroup and have a good weekend in Rowallane - pics when I find the camera in all the Craft Fair stuff. Meanwhile a picture of Molly in the recent (and perhaps future) past:

What am I Thinking - suggestions please!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The High Line New York: A Year in Pictures

A Year in Pictures

We haven't travelled the world a lot - mainly because of our choice to work and live as we do. In some ways that is a regret.

One place we did get to in 2005 was New York - so different from our 'rural idyll' yet so appealing. A delight and inspiration, which was a surprise! I have been following the developments of the high line - a really amazing adoption of space by people. If you want to see more, look at this slideshow and the website.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Slieve Donard and Commedagh

Sean Lennon on John Lennon: 'My dad was one of a kind' | News | NME.COM

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

I was a student at Leeds University living near to the Headingley Cricket Ground, in a house of 13 students and 'associates'.

I remember waking up to the news. It was particularly poignant and immediate as he had been so high profile with the radio 1 interviews and the upcoming release of his first album in ?? years.

We all just went to the bar. The world was never the same.

Sean Lennon on John Lennon: 'My dad was one of a kind' | News | NME.COM

Monday, December 06, 2010

Winter Animals

Like most of the UK winter has a grip on the land.

This morning we woke up to temperatures of -5 C and the sun was beaming brightly. I've not seen such a day since I was in Austria 35 years ago.

Our various creatures are doing their best to get what they need to survive.

One of two robins share the garden

Molly in a winter wonderland - I don't think she is all that impressed!

Furby: "I'm cold and I want in NOW!"

A Great Tit garnering much needed energy from the peanuts

A Blue Tit sits in the queue!

I know there's grass here somewhere

The ground has been frozen for over a week now;
the ice crystals have grown so big they look like diamonds sown across the field

Charlie: I can be a pony too!