Monday, August 30, 2010


We had our first 'sleepover' on Saturday night Elaine Kate and John. We fund a big iron lid to make a fire pit, and assembled the barbecue. Very civilised and much fun, despite the rain. We did put the tents up inside the Turnip House though, so not quite wild camping,- more slightly annoyed actually!

Morning mists precede a stunning, sunny day

3 Cats

Our strays have become regulars now - despite dog visits, large vehicles and many humans invading their territory. Still very shy - looks like mother and two kittens:

Mother (very like Elsa, one of our most favourite cats) Kitten, like Thomas, Kitten, the image of Jaffa

Thursday, August 26, 2010


3 kittens have come to join us! Only one caught on camera so far


there was a metal door covered in grass and cow muck at the edge of the field - this was the well, the only source of water at the moment. We set about uncovering it without great expectations, but were amazed by what we found - a very high spec concrete lined well, 20 foot deep with 3 feet of clean, cold water.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pictures from the past

We've been given these fantastic snapshots of the house and garden from over 40 years ago!

The front of the house - that door is still there - check out the previous post
The front garden - so open The laurel by the gate is now as high as the house!
What an opportunity to see into the past to what was there. At the moment the debris of decade covers the ground to a depth of at least 6 inches. We are slowly making our way through it though, and once on site, will be able to do more.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tea Break

Doors and Gates

You'd think there were better things to do, but we counted all the doors and gates yesterday and found 35!

Here's a selection:

Front Door - only just rediscovered.
See the newer post for what it looked like in it's heyday!

piggery doors - we've loads of these beauties
front gate detail - hand wrought

After The Storm

We had a big thunderstorm yesterday - the mountains completely disappeared only to return in magnificence half an hour later:
The Mournes after thunder

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gates - and doors

Having come back to Newcastle, looking at the pictures, I realise that we are now the proud owners of an incredible variety of doors and gates, in many vernacular styles.

Tomorrow I'll present an inventory, in the meantime, Elaine has uncovered the front gate to the garden:

uncovered for the first time in decades

nearly half way to the front door!

Charlie not too keen on being stuck on the outside

New Friends

We met our new neighbours across the road today. A more kindly and generous couple you could not hope to meet. We count ourselves very lucky to have been welcomed so readily and look forward to growing a long friendship with them.


We had a visit today from Helen and her family - to survey the wreckage and supply moral support!

the (extended!) family group

and one stargazer

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Secret Garden

We've been at the house today - beginning to uncover just what is there.
In front of the house is what looks to be a traditional cottage garden - at some 45 feet square it is pretty substantial. It is so overgrown that it has begun to take over the house, with ivy rising over the roof.It's really hard to get a feel for the size of it from the outside, and impossible to get into it.

There are three garden gates, one in each wall We have started to fight our way in.

We didn't think much would have survived the overgrowth of 33 years of neglect, but amazingly, plants are staring to appear!

We have roses, laurel, ornamental grasses, and more - a list will follow!

It is so exiting to work our way through

the jungle

a glimpse

still preserved: the formal path edges

like a sleeping beauty

hidden away - a secret garden

more to discover!


less than two miles away is Legananny Dolmen; one of Ireland's finest prehistoric monuments.It has been standing for over four thousand years.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The New Beginning

We are delighted to report that we now have bought our new renovation project; the home to the new Turnip House.

It will need a new roof to begin with - of course!

We are on the Dromara Road out of Leitrim Village in County Down. Still in the Mournes AONB, and only a few miles from Castlewellan Forest Park.

In the foothills of the Dromara Hills, Slieve Croob rises behind us, giving some of the best views in Ireland.

There's an awful lot to be getting on with - which was the point really!

Keep an eye out - we will be blogging our journey toward the new Turnip House

Here are a few tasters:

The House from the road -
 yes we are on the road this time - no long lane to negotiate!

From the back - what a sight!

The Views!

 Charlie in the yard - in clover!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Charlie: Back in Newcastle

Well, we're back in Newcastle again for a little while, whilst the acquisition of our new project proceeds at a snails pace.

Still, with the weekend just gone, it cant's be said that we're not in the best place to kick our heels.

Sunday Morning Murlough:

Red Arrows over the Mournes

What a fantastic weekend here in Newcastle!
The centenary of the first official powered flight in Ireland, made by engineer and inventor Harry Ferguson across the sands from Dundrum to Newcastle was marked by a festival with the Red Arrows flying in a perfect summer sky.

read the story in the Mourne Observer