Saturday, 31 August 2013

Grow, Eat, Make, and Read

This week, these grew in the allotment:

There are not very many veggies this year but the flowers are abundant.
We baked these yummy peppermint squares:
They are a little bit crumbly, a wee bit misshapen and they need more minty icing but for a sheer taste of my childhood they cannot be beaten. My kids have great smears of chocolate across their grubby little faces.  For me, these retro beauties have a wonderful Proustian quality, they transport me right back to my Granny R's fragrant kitchen. I found the recipe in an old recipe book also from another lifetime but there are a myriad of recipes to be found online.
I have been reading:
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier's delicious gothic novel is next months book club choice. I am looking forward to our discussion already. I know he has a lovely mansion in beautiful Cornwall but isn't Maxim De Winter a useless husband! I treated myself to the wonderful Hitchcock film adaption too and had always thought the book was a treatise on the difference in class and age between Mr and Mrs de Winter (II) however now I suppose Du Maurier is writing about identity and the consequences of the absence of a strong sense of oneself.
I have been trying to teach myself moss stitch:
Moss stitch continues to be a mystery to me, I think I have managed somehow to knit in seed stitch. It is supposed to be a wee pair of slippers for my daughter from this pattern. Anyways the type of stitch doesn't matter so much. More alarming is the fact that I started off with 6oz of wool and have nearly knitted the whole amount. What the other foot?! I have never tried to knit something before, only a patchwork of knitted squares. I think I will keep going to see what that a good idea?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

In Search Of Amhairgin

This week, I went to a compelling lecture by Kevin Barton from Landscape and Geophysical Services and Conor Brady, Lecturer in Archaeology at DKIT. (Dundalk Institute of Technology). This was hosted by the Old Drogheda Society, in the Governors House on Millmount, explaining the exciting new 'geophys' project which seeks to uncover the secrets of one of Drogheda's most striking landmarks

Known colloquially as 'The Cup and Saucer' Millmount dominates the skyline of Drogheda and its strategic position has led to almost continuous use since the twelfth century as each generation reinvented and rebuilt the mound to their own specific requirements. It's romantic history plots significant points in Irish history from the Anglo-Norman invasion when it was a motte- and-bailey attributed to Hugh De Lacy; in medieval Drogheda it was the site of the newest technologies - a windmill. In 1649 as Cromwell led siege to Drogheda, the stone fortifications on the mount were an important part of the towns (albeit unsuccessful) defence strategy.

The British also appreciated the strategic importance of Millmount and established a military barracks there, and the present day so-called Martello Tower dates to this time. During the Irish Civil War, the tower was heavily shelled and was beautifully restored and opened to the public by the Drogheda Corporation. The Tower is open to the public and the other buildings on the site include a museum, artists studios and The Tower restaurant (hopefully next week I shall be trying out the hospitality of 'The Tower' and shall be able to tell you all about it!).

The significance of the mound is strongly reflected in folkloric and the oral histories of Ireland, said to be the burial place of the legendary Amhairgin inventor of music and song. It was said to be a fairy-hill, a handy place to chase the fairy changeling found like a cuckoo in your baby's cot. Some of the older generation of Drogheda remember playing in tunnels underneath Millmount. Local historian Brendan Matthews has written a lovely book detailing all the history of the complex.

Given the situation of Millmount within the wider context of the incredible Megalithic landscape which includes Bru Na Boinne, Knowth and Dowth, The Hill of Tara and The Hill of Slane; any new discoveries which could unearth a Neolithic context could be enormously significant for the area and indeed for the pre-historic narrative of the whole Island of Ireland. This exciting project is running for a year and the results will be highly anticipated. (Thanks to Mr S for the final photo!)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Beautiful Blogs

This summer I have fallen in love with some beautiful blogs and very soon began to covet one of my very own. The blogs I follow are hopefully listed under the appropriate section and I would like to thank every one of these authors for their inspirational writing. For my own blog, I hope to find my own voice and capture a snapshot of my life and interests at this time and to take a moment to pause and appreciate on all the good things that come my way.

As this week is the last full week of holidays, we were supposed to have an adventure day. This involves packing up a picnic, grabbing the dog and venturing to parts of our town as hitherto yet unexplored. However, the postman brought delivery of a big cardboard box and my children disappeared into the Land of Imagination, blithely ignoring me thus leaving me to happily construct my blog. I hope you will enjoy. x