GLENVIEW GARDENS IN WEST CORK

Seeing it was the last week of the holidays, we took my grandchildren for a visit to yet another fabulous garden in West Cork.  This one is very child oriented and the children, of which the eldest is 11 and the youngest 3 enjoyed themselves for hours on end.  For ourselves it was interesting too with so many different plants, trees – some quite exotic, and different garden landscaping ideas.  The children enjoyed the hobbit house and promptly started to play ‘house’ wanting to move in and stay there forever…. they also enjoyed the huge circular lawn and seeing it was a real warm day they went lying on the grass and rolling and frolicking like there was no tomorrow.  At every turn among the foliage and shrubs the children found fairy houses and other novelties which they loved.   I myself noticed several butterflies among which was a peacock, only my second one this summer.  There were some exotic birds and for the children there were young goats and rabbits.  Plenty of benches, situated in ideal and peaceful settings made it so that anyone could enjoy this garden and I was glad to notice that.  And even though it was now at summer’s end, there were still some lovely flowers in bloom, such as bright yellow Rudbeckia, dark red Dahlias, and other colourful blooms.  I also noted the variety of fir and pine trees, including some lovely Larches.  Some of the trees were marked with name labels.  What I personally like very much too were the statues, giving the garden an old time feeling.

It was our last outing before school started today and I am sure that it will be a lovely memory for all of us.  We absolutely love the gardens of West Cork, rain or shine!  This time it was actually very warm and dry – but in West Cork you never know what to expect weather-wise, so we were lucky and delighted.

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MEMORIES IN PICTURES

Yesterday my sister left Gozo to return home to Lier in Belgium. We enjoyed two weeks of chat and sightseeing, though I must admit a lot of our time was spent enjoying coffee and cake in a variety of places around the island. Nevertheless we did manage to fit in walks and visits to various sights, but mainly we soaked up the spring feeling, the massive amount of wild flowers and the charm of Victoria’s historical narrow streets. As there is only one year between us we grew up quite close and shared a bedroom most of our childhood years, at night my sister would tell me stories which at the time fascinated me, they were of adventures we would find ourselves in. She still always brings me books, and much of our chats would evolve around book discussions, the love of reading we both share. We also both spent our working lives with books and people, she as an editor working for a magazine catering for libraries, and I as a branch librarian in a small town in Ireland.  Both have been very rewarding and enjoyable jobs.
20180304_143113-EFFECTS.jpgAmazing to see the banana trees on Gozo, Josefine could not believe her eyes.

Two sisters, Josefine and myself among the Mimosa flowers which are now opening.

St.Georges square where we spent time drinking coffee and listening to the bell ringing.

Tower of St.Josephs in Qala, and an example of a roundel found on a house in Ghajnsielem.

The fig tree already showing fruit and opening its leaves, poppies are flowering now too making the meadows very colourful, and a hoverfly on a lovely sunny day.

This Gozitan lady working her lace in the doorway of her house, a lovely sight.

More wildlife, this on a narrow pathway at Mgarr.

The narrow alleyways in Ir-Rabat never fail to charm anyone.  Josefine too loved them and we spent quite some time walking them, every time you do you discover more things of interests.

It’s quiet now around here, Ian and I going about our various tasks and peacefully enjoying the life.  The excitement of Josefine’s visit is over, a space is now empty, but memories will stay and lots of thoughts remain of our various chats and discussions.  A rewarding time it was, that is for sure.

SERRA DA ESTRELA IN CENTRAL PORTUGAL

Some years ago Ian and I spent a few weeks in Central Portugal.  In memory of all the forest fires which destroyed so much trees plants and animals (and most of all human life) that was lost there over last summer, I have decided to enter a few thoughts, photos, and words from my journal of those days.  It will show the fresh beauty of the place, and like many I hope that the land will recover in all its glory.

We were staying in a small village called Orca in the centre of Portugal, close to the town of Penamacor and Castello Branco.  It was very hot already during our stay even though it was only towards the end of April.  One day we decided to travel to Covhila which lies on the foot of the Serra da Estrella Natural Park and mountain range.  Here is a little of what I noted down at the time.

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Journal entry of April the 28th ~ INTERESTING ROCKS AND MAGNIFICENT VIEWS
We made a day trip to the Serra da Estela mountain range, the highest mountains in Portugal, while we were staying in a lovely little hotel in the historical centre of Covilha. It was possibly one of the most amazing days we spent in Portugal. The beauty of the landscape, plants and rock formations, topped up with actually being able to hold snow in my hand, while we had been baking in temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius in the valley below, was lovely. There were interesting stones and flowers to discover. We drove down into the Glacial Valley where the village of Manteigas was to be found, the views leading up to discovering this village were wonderful.  It is a trip I would advice anyone to take when visiting central Portugal.

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LOOKING DOWN TO THE GLACIAL VALLEY

This was not only a fantastic view, it was also very interesting of geological interest.   This U-shaped valley was gouged out by a glacier during the last Ice Age. Manteigas is a very lush and quite large village surrounded by mountains, it lies bathed in the sun and water streams down to it from all sides. This assures a good supply to make everything grow well and look very green and fresh. We had a lovely traditional Portuguese soup there with Spinach in it, after a generous helping of fresh Olives and bread. We finished off the meal with a nice desert made of layers of coffee ice-cream and pastry, delicious!

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Granite rock formations

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You are climbing up to nearly 2000 meters high, a very good road, the views magnificent!

AMAZING SCENTS AND A WELCOME COOL BREEZE

The scents all over central Portugal are just so sweet and lovely, so much so, that you breathe with pleasure. The heat does help with this, but even high up on the Serra da Estrela I experienced these lovely scents. I wish that I could bottle it and bring it home, but meanwhile I did breathe with pleasure.

MAGNIFICENT VIEWS

SNOW AT A HEIGHT OF 1750M

Well I have enjoyed this little journey into my past.  I’ve got lots more that I will share.  At the moment I am going through many photos of the past few travels, on some of my memo sticks.  I’m taking at least a year off Facebook and it is amazing how much time more time I have to spend on other things.  Wading through thousands of photos is no mean task, but it is enjoyable.  I hope that you have enjoyed my journey into the past too.

MEMORIES FROM BOSTON

Architecture of the nineteen seventies – architect Ieoh Ming Pei.
JF Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The Pavillion
Archecture at JF Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The sailboat Victura and the exterior of the library.
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If one would like to catch up with some historical and biographical information on John F. and Robert Kennedy, then it would be a good idea to visit the
J.F.Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum at Columbia Point in South Boston.

Apart from getting a good oversight of the life, the presidency and history of that period, a visit to the building itself is definitely worth it.
The building was designed by Chinese born American architect, I.M.Pei, and was build during 1977-79.
As you walk towards this massive construction, you see a stark contrast between its white concrete exterior and its black steel and glass façade, an unornamented expression in abstract shapes, a monument to modern American architecture.
Pei also designed other great buildings in Boston; like the extension to the
Boston Public Library, the West wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hancock Tower.

I was particularly impressed to see how well old and new architecture can be together, this is shown over and over in the city of Boston, Boston is probably a good example to show how architecture has changed from the American Renaissance, to the Modern, in the 20th century, with the more modern buildings making a clear statement of what they are meant for, attracting visitors from afar, to not only look at the external building, but also see what is to be found inside, and what the buildings are used for.

It was interesting to learn that Pei was also the architect that designed the great pyramid shaped entrance and addition to the Louvre Museum in Paris, a piece of work that I have always admired very much.

Looking back I enjoyed very much taking photos of this building. And of course also learning a little bit about J.F.Kennedy. The friend who was with me was very knowledgeable on the history of all America’s presidents and he guided me around.
I have very many good memories of my stay in Massachusetts and Connecticut, especially visiting David Henry Thoreau’s and Walt Whitman’s Concord, and the Florences Griswolds museum in Old Lyme. I am looking at some of my photos and notes and hope to share more in future.

A SCATTERING OF MEMORIES

At mid winter time

a fresh new cone on our little Korean fir tree

a snowy landscape during one of the colder winters some years ago

a star coming straight from India

dear friends all over the world

the library where I worked

our once delightful cat ‘Goldberg’ licking the cream, a special  treat

our bird table under snow

and candles in the fireplace.

Great memories, lots of people in there too, times spent with my family, in India with the children of the orphanage, with friends, always wishing for a more peaceful world.  Enjoying walks in nature, exchanging gifts, listening to beautiful music, and just generally having a wonderful time.  Mid-winter is a magical time, it’s lovely when it comes around.

So I would like to wish all my dear friends, followers, and everyone, Peace, Joy, and happiness at this time and always.

Blessings all year round.

TREES SO MAJESTIC

Trees are among the more beautiful, majestic and interesting wonders of nature. I have always had a good relationship with trees. My first memory ever was of walking or being pushed in a pram along a wall, and what I could see were trees, it was winter so the branches were stark, and I heard the bark of a dog. It is a good memory. While going to kindergarten I remember running across a yard lined with trees, it was a little scary at that time. After that our family moved into a street that was lined with wild chestnut and poplar trees, this was wonderful, we kids would use the leaves in our daily play, not only leaves were used but any pine cones or conkers we would find too, these were lovely natural items to use for play, I’m happy we had those. Another scare happened when a huge branch of a poplar tree fell through the roof of our bungalow during one winter’s storm, I was shaking with fright. Quite a few years later my sister and I went to school in Antwerp city, again a strong connection with trees was made in the inner yard of the convent school, beautiful trees. And it is in autumn that trees seem to come into their own, the scents of the leaves, the colours, the wind blowing through the branches and the leaves falling and falling. After coming to Ireland eventually, I got to know the awesome ancient oak trees in Glengarriff forest. I would not walk in that forest on my own then as I felt such a strong presence of the trees, too powerful.

During my life so far, trees have enthralled me, scared me, fascinated me, given me much joy, and I have loved them always.

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PICTURES OUT OF THE OLD BOX

Many years ago when the digital camera became affordable for me I started with photography as my hobby, before that I used to paint water colours. Today as I was looking through some old CD-ROMs I came across some pictures that I used to like at the time, and seeing that I did not do much else today I thought that I would make them the subject of today’s blog entry.
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This sunset I took on my way home from work one winter’s day, the water is Bantry Bay which is always good for a nice sunset.

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This snap I took while on an early Sunday morning trip around the area here to take photos of wild flowers, I noticed this idyllic farm setting and loved it, so peaceful.

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I found this one among my ‘cat’ photos, his name is Goldberg and he was an amazing cat, always wanted to be close to me, and here I was trying to look over my notes of a course I was doing.

TOADSTOLES

While on a forest walk with a friend who knew about edible mushrooms I came across this tree branch full of (inedible) toadstools, I thought that it was such a nice picture and a lovely find.  We did go on to find a lot of Chanterelles which are very much liked here by people in the know.  (I’m not and don’t trust myself to identify them properly)

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This photo is just of a cow on a winter’s morning, for a while I was put on mobile library duty here in West Cork, I enjoyed it immensely as it was lovely to interact with the wonderful country people and to see all the wonderful nature on the sometimes long journeys around the peninsulas.  It used to be very cold on the old library bus, but there was always the little gems I used to come across.