Wednesday, June 29, 2011


As we mentioned yesterday, had a lovely day out with Eleanor yesterday - she is now nine months old - hard to believe that means we've been here for that time!

ready for action!

Hillsborough Fort

the church from within the ramparts

Hillsborough Church

I'm loving this day out!

go for it

Eleanor at 9 months

The International Space Station and the Docked Space Shuttle Endeavour

It's sad to think that the Space Shuttle will soon be no more - consigned to museums.

Sounds like the green contradiction it is I know, but having been weaned at my Father's side on the Science Fiction Book Club, it's hard not to be seduced by the courage, romance and optimism of Space exploration.

The Secret Garden, Hillsbrough

We were out with Eleanor today, went around Hillsborough Castle and Fort - lovely.

Find of the week however was the Secret Garden in Hillsborough.

a truly enormous walled garden - one of many here!

As it says on the Hillsborough Village Website:

One of Hillsborough's best-kept secrets is the aptly named Secret Garden. Situated in what was once the kitchen garden of Hillsborough Castle. This delightful little Cafe is a real treat. Run by staff and trainees from Praxis their home made soups are a pleasure. Sandwiches and Paninis made fresh to order. Home made scones and cakes compliment the taste experience. All this combined with reasonable prices make this the place to stop for tea, coffee or lunch
We spent some time wandering the gardens, had really good coffee tea and scones, and enjoyed the welcome and service from the friendly staff - and came home with a very striking hanging basket!

Check out the Praxis Care website for more on what they do

Monday, June 27, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunset over the Mournes

The Mourne Wall  casts strong shadows in the light of the setting sun. The first time we've had a sunny sunset since the Solstice

the wall from Slieve Bernagh down to the Hare's Gap


Tractors Galore!

Last week it was vintage cars in Mount Stewart.
Today the theme continued with around 150 tractors passing our gates on the Marie Curie Tractor Run!
The line of tractors was a sight to behold, it must have been 3 miles long.
We hope much money was raised for this great charity who provide vital care to those most in need of our help.
Congratulations to all who put in the hard work and made it the success that it was!
In the lead - Marie Curie truck

a beautiful grey Fergie

some old hands!

big and bold

a rare one

I'm loving this!

and they just keep on coming

the apprentice!
still running - along the Lighthouse road across the valley

a rake of blue Fords

so long
tail enders

that was fantastic - when can I get one?

Before and After

I was printing out a before and after shot of the Turnip House so thought I'd put it here too:
taken when we were just scouting around - didn't notice the turnip cutter lying against the wall to the left

taken this morning the turnip cutter is still there!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Down The Garden Path

Thanks to the flail last week, and a proper grown up lawnmower that we acquired form Wilson's of Annsborough, the garden paths are shaping up,

Here is a quick journey in pictures:

top of the hill, in the Turnip House Courtyard

the path leads off from the lawn

down past the thorn trees

a choice of path 

distant glimpses, with foxgloves

down to the bogland

the far seat

the view from the seat : Slievenaboley
on past the river

moving up again

along the middle of the garden

the grasslands

looking back

the far seat below Donard

the Picnic Lawn - soon to host it's first croquet match - watch this space!

back to the Turnip House - coffee is waiting!

The benefits of rain!

since we're now well into flaming June, and the rain keeps on coming, it's time to console ourselves with it's good side - that's why we're The Emerald Isle; it really is the stuff of life, and we can sit and watch the rain, imagining our well filling up! It has not run dry.

inside, looking out - nothing else for it, will have to do some knitting!

the mountains glistening with water

it's really good for the plants

we planted these back in March, they now reward us with an intense splash of colour at the door of the workshop

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice Sunshine

Torrential rain all night and drizzle this morning - not much to wake up to on the longest day!

Still, just after noon GMT we were blessed with sunshine, enabling us to mark on the shadow of Tom's Stone almost at it's zenith.

This is the highest the sun will reach this year. 

We are going to create our own sundial to mark the time of day, and season of the year.

the shortest shadow - on the shortest day!

marked with a metal spike

no mountains today

Tom's Stone - where it was found, and lifted up by our good neighbour Tom (we couldn't lift it!)

Don't think that our dial will ever be a complex as this!

check out the Queen's College Cambridge sundial