Monday, 17 May 2010

Sunshine and rain

We got back on Sunday after having a couple of days away on the east coast of Co. Down. It was a lovely weekend!

When we arrived on Friday evening the sun was still warm and the shadows were long -

That evening we ate (and drank) in Grace Neill's -

"Grace Neill’s is listed as ‘the oldest pub in Ireland’ in “The Guinness Book of Records”, it was almost four centuries ago in 1611 when “The King’s Arms” first opened its doors for business in Donaghadee, Co. Down."

It was very comfortable, with excellent service and the food was great. I felt as if I had decided to have a meal in the TARDIS. The front entrance is tiny and the little bar just inside holds three people (four if everyone breathes in), but as you walk back through the building, there seems to be more and more space. It was a very relaxing experience, just what we needed to start the weekend.

The sunset was golden and wonderful

On Saturday morning I went for a walk along the beach, which was 100 yards from where we were staying. The sun was bright and the sky was blue; there were about four people (including me) on the beach. I had a lovely walk for an hour and got back loudly demanding breakfast!

In his poem MCMXIV Philip Larkin wrote of the men and boys shown in the photographs of the lines outside the recruiting offices at the outbreak of the 1st World War:

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

They had no idea of the horrors that they were going to have to face. On Saturday afternoon we visited The Somme Heritage Centre, commemorating a battle that was bloody (5,500 men died on the first day) and sadly unneccessary, one which my grandfather survived and in which my husband's great uncle died (he had lied about his age and was probably around 16).

The tour is well organised and very informative, ending with filmed footage of the battle and images of men and boys who fought and died at the Somme. The bravery shown by these men was unimaginable, given the horrors that they were living through. It was a very emotional experience, especially as we could have been seeing our relatives in the battle footage - we can never know.

On Sunday morning, I was back walking on the beach. Once again the sun was shining, although this time there were a few more clouds around, as showers had been forecast and as we all know, the weather forecast is never wrong!

There were less people on the beach this time, although there were a couple of added onlookers, just chillin', thinking about the cud and whether they would chew some.

The clouds were gathering as the promised showers made their way towards us

and yes, it all ended in rain!

That didn't matter though, because we had a lovely, relaxing weekend throughout which we could take our time and didn't have to hurry on to the next task. And to make it complete, we arrived home to find that our teenage son and his friends had not only left the house intact, but had actually tidied it!! Sometimes everything goes your way :)


  1. I am so envious of your time in Ireland, Griselda. My hope is to visit there next May, God willing and the creek don't rise (I was there the first and only other time back in 1989). I especially love the image of the cows. Just this past weekend I took pictures of sheep here in Holland in a similar pose. So fun. :)

  2. Hi - love your pictures - the cow picture made me smile.

    It much have been so emotional to see the film footage - what a terrible time to have been the mother of sons!! - puts my own concerns into perspective -

    I hope you are enjoying the Shutter Sisters - I'm hoping to join in a bit more

    Have a good day


  3. Lovely photos!
    Although the Memorial Museums like you describe are harrowing places I think we have to keep the memories before us or we'll fall into further war. And each generation has to understand this.
    Otherwise it sounds like you had a cheerful time!!
    Thank you for joining me at my place- lovely to meet you!