Donegal 2020 part 1

We have always enjoyed Donegal and stayed in many areas in cottages which are so homely and ideal when you have a dog. It was even more ideal this year with the pandemic. I cooked and baked and made sure we had everything for the week so we did not have to go into a shop. It freaks me out how careless people are about basic infection control now that the government insist on masks which the public have no idea how to manage and actually appear to pose more of a risk.

It always takes Smudge a day to settle in, sniffing out every nook and cranny and then she is happy when she sees she is not being left alone and fully included with lots of treats.

What an amazing beach to explore with the wreck being the main attraction and the wild Atlantic way crepes on hand where to die for, strawberry, cream and white chocolate.

Monty road trips

Smudge riding in luxury with a quick visit to her nanny’s garden and local garden centre.

Having Monty means we can holiday any day we wish and with all the pandemic nonsense it is safe. Since masks where pushed by our local government incidentally or not the Covid virus has increased again. We aim to stay clear of all masks wearers as in the hands of the majority of the public they appear to be a greater hazard. Having medical knowledge can cause anxiety just being in a street or shop with folk as they are so careless.

Lough Neagh, Oxford Island

I grew up less than 10 miles from here but as we had no transport it might as well have been 100 miles away. On the few times I had been before as a child all I had remembered was midges everywhere and bites to prove it. It really is very beautiful even the weeds growing up around the trails.

Portavogie not far from home but on a good day you could be anywhere in the world

Portavogie beach

Ice cream, coffee and your own home cooking -what more could you ask for. oops watch out for the jelly fish that seem to be getting bigger in this warmer weather.

Monty goes to Glenariff.

Despite the fact J said I had been here twice before I have absolutely no recollection. It is on a coastal route but it is the forest and waterfalls that are the attraction. Relaxing sound of the water and although minute in comparison it brought me back to memories of a visit to Niagara Falls many years ago when we joined another couple and we were the only four viewing the site. It was that strange time at the beginning of April in Buffalo New York when you can sunbathe one day and be in your snow boots the next.

The camp site here at Glenariff appears very up to date not that a second camping trip gives me the experience to be critical but I would be back. No signal though if you are hoping to communicate with the outside world or watch TV.

The waterfall walk is less than 3 miles so even our 11 year old Westie could manage it but there are longer routes for those up for it. Whilst she enjoyed the walk she is slow but that gave us time to relax and look around us. I do not ever think I have seen the tiny wild strawberries before or so much shamrock. This particular walk is not suitable for buggies or wheel chairs.

I also worked on my sock making whilst enjoying the scenery.

One tired dog at the end of the day.

But at the end of our weekend she refused to leave Monty and wanted to stay on the road.

Sock obsessed

In my era at school we made TV slippers which many folk would have absolutely no idea what I am talking about. They were very short socks and had a Pom Pom on each one. Rather hideous but I enjoyed making anything and still do. I started knitting myself a pair of socks after buying yarn in a bargain bucket which came with a free pattern about five years ago. I only finished them last year.


Whilst I was still working during lock down I did not waste so much time travelling because when on the road no one else was or I was working from home so decided to use up some stash and in the midst of it all was more sock yarn. I discovered Winwick mum and got my four needles out to try her lovely Lacey pattern with some yarn I had as a gift from a friend a year or so ago and just love the result. The camera is not great with blues so the darker colour is more true.

i had never crocheted socks before but remembered my friend Jill had and thought I would give it a go as crochet is generally quicker and I do have a lot of stash so she lent me a wonderful book and I ended up purchasing a copy. New methods for crochet socks . I made a pair for my self and as my hubby was feeling left out I made him a pair too.Mine are made from stylecraft all sports red pop.

Although the crochet is quicker I started another pair on my four needles. I find using them therapeutic and never did like circular needles and some baby and toddler socks.

so the yarn stash has gone down dramatically and I needed a treat, one that does not put on weight and I discovered Vicki Brown and joined her sock club. She dyes her own yarn and designs patterns. In the process with my first pair so watch for future instalments.

Mesmerised by the Sea

There is nothing I enjoy or find more relaxing than a stroll on the shore, or if the weather is poor to sit and listen to the rain as it competes with the noise of the crashing waves. I grew up inland and it is in the last 30 years I realised how much life would have been better by the sea. I am making up for lost time. Every visit is different, buoys appear from nowhere, sea anemones left behind in rock pools and sea glass peeking out between shells and stones.

I enjoy crochet and have completed many crochet alongs (cal) but Eleanora Tully’s beachcomber was amazing and reminded me of all the things I enjoy about the sea. It has pride of place in “Monty” my travelling beach house and as much as I love him, ideally I would prefer a little static home by the sea. Talking of Eleonora, she recommended a book by Rosamunde Pilcher called “The Shellseekers”. I managed to get it on the US audibles so I could listen rather than read as I prefer to multi task. I have read short stories of her’s before but I could hardly bare to turn this one off. I found it whisked me away to Cornwall, somewhere I have never been but read about so much. Now that is where I would like my little home by the sea but one can always dream. Whilst dreaming it can feel like the real thing and the book is so well written it brings me straight there so that I can forget I am in a Northern Irish town with the Irish Sea on one side and Strangford Lough on the other.

The book brings you back to war time, another era I enjoy reading about as people made the most of difficult times. It is about art, love, beauty and every day life and from the beginning to the end “The Shellseekers” painting exists and ties the family together in more ways than one. Penelope, the main character also means a lot to me having the same name as my sister who was two years younger than myself. I have a memory of her being, her existence but since she died within a few weeks of birth she also feels like a non identity.

Poem by a far out relative of mine, George William Russell, first published 1897.

The Voice of the Sea

THE SEA was hoary, hoary,
Beating on rock and cave:
The winds were white and weeping
With foam dust of the wave.They thundered louder, louder,
With storm-lips curled in scorn—
And dost thou tremble before us,
O fallen star of morn?