Saturday, 6 June 2015

Of Things Ancient

On the one evening this week that we had a temporary burst of sunshine I took myself a-walking along a less frequented road below where I live. It was a lovely evening but cold and as usual, I stopped to talk to anyone who crossed my path, a rural Irish habit I have never managed to break no matter where in the world I am. One meets the most interesting people this way.

One person I met was a local farmer, born and raised and lived all his life in the house by the yard where we were standing. Yes, there are still people like that. Was I local? From across the bay, sez I, and pointed, because as you can see from the photo, up here on the mountain one can easily see across the bay. Takes less than half an hour to drive there. Ah, sez he, I was never across that way more than maybe three times in my life, no need to, you know? And town? Well now isn't there everything I need Grange-way? And the hay? Well now its a fierce wet time of it we're having. Interesting and interested.

I know the locals put on the bumpkin Irish for the tourists; I've been guilty of it myself, and, what's more, got a reprehensible amount of enjoyment from winding people up. But when you're local talking to locals you do receive all sorts of information and local folk knowledge just by chatting. A sense of place? Connection? Like minds? Whatever it is it gives me thinks to think.

On the way back I looked for and found the ancient enclosure I had noticed on the map. On the photo above, in between the two parallel field walls there is a transverse wall, like the cross bar on a rugby post. It is the back wall of an ancient enclosure which loops around in a semi-circle, but the rest is too fallen down to be seen clearly. (sorry, phone camera). An ancient enclosure, built more than a thousand years ago, still used as part of the field system. And outsiders wonder why our sense of history is warped, how yesterday can be five or ten generations ago and why we still tell the stories and muddle the 'when's'.

In East Africa I visited Olorgesailie a few times and there I found the same time warp that is all around us here. There were many ancient places like that in East Africa where the past and the present merge, which is partly why the Leakeys found so much in the way of artefacts, and why the Rift Valley is so well documented.

Interesting, huh?

Monday, 1 June 2015

Of Triffids, Sand and Rhododendrons

It is an indication of the long, light evenings that I never noticed this triffid growing since it has obviously been growing for some time! Actually it is jasmine and has been flowering since late November on the inside window ledge. Considering it sulked for about two years I do think I am getting the value from it now!
Triffid- aargh!
On Streedagh during the week the wind was so strong that the sand was in constant motion. It is difficult to see but all those white streaks are lines of moving sand. It doesn't always happen in the wind but when it does it feels like walking in a snowstorm, or how I imagine shifting snow might look, bit warmer though! We are still getting ground frosts at night here, and that is very rare.

Travelling Sand
The rhododendrons are coming into flower, along with the May and the end of the bluebells. Everything is so out of sync as the May and bluebells ought have been over weeks ago. Today we are enjoying gale force winds and pouring rain so no flowers would stay still for photo ops! The cuckoo has been here for the last fortnight, to me the sound is so old world rural, seasons have always turned at the sound of the cuckoo. It is quite rare to hear the cuckoo now, I believe, but perhaps people do not always have the time to listen.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so lucky to live where I do. It is a privilege to have the opportunity and the time to watch the seasons and scenery. Of course there are down sides, rural living is not all dreams and daisies, and some of the frustrations are more 1890s than 2015 but for me it is worth it...preferable to living over a pub in the centre of town, although at the time that too was ok in its way.

P.S. Have you ever realised how loud a snail's chewing sounds in the middle of the night? I'm telling you I thought I had a cow in the room and it was only a snail which had managed to find its way on to the spathyphillum on the bookcase.



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