Why, Thank You for Your Permission!

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We buy toilet paper. TP. Loo roll. Bog roll. Bum wad. Or my new favourite: shit tickets.

Isn’t that great? Shit tickets. I’m so using that next time we run low. “Hey, honey? Buy some more shit tickets next time you are out!”

“Hey, honey? I used too many shit tickets and blocked up the jacks again!” [Jacks being the Irish term for the toilet – of which there are wayyyy too many slang terms for me to list.]

I bet you buy TP, too! Unless you steal it from work. I’m not judging.

What I bet you don’t have is specific instruction on what to do with your new purchase.

  
I’d never have figured it out on my own. Whew, I can poop now! Thanks!

I’m Way Behind, But So Are My Flowers

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I just can’t seem to post as much as I’d like to. After taking the first week of August off work, I also let my blog-reading slide. Sorry! I’m all caught up now with that, but I have so damn many pictures I wanted to share. I guess I’ll get to it!

   
New lilies! 

 
The colour looks really weird here, but it hasn’t been putzed around with, I promise.

  
Not looking fab – the rain took out most of the petals the first day these opened. Bah.

  
That’s a bit better! All of the above are ALDI “pixels mix” bought this year as bare bulbs, so I will forgive them for looking scraggly. I like the top one best. You can tell that this yellow one is way taller than the orange one, too.

   
 I have roses like crazy. I’m glad – the white ones smell fantastic and scent the entire back garden on still days.

  
The new rudbeckia (black eyed Susan) ‘chocolate orange’ from seed this year. Not as advertised – but clearly I have it in a too-small pot as you can’t even see the pot in this picture. Replanted today. Poor thing.   

I can’t remember what this is! Grown from seed last year, and again this year – and it also self-seeded in random places. Help?

The crocrosmia dug out of wasteland a few years back – looking great!

   
Hosta flowers – the white, closed

 The white, open

 
The purple, from the non-variegated leaf hosta. My neighbour told me she didn’t grow Hostas because they don’t bloom… Again I must have the magic touch.

  
I wish they didn’t look so bad when they wilt, though. Quite ugly, like rotting used tissues.

Couldn’t end without some tigridia. This is a side view – don’t think I’ve taken this angle before.

  

I’ve caught up to August 15 now! Woot.

I Left Ireland – for the Giant’s Causeway

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My luvvies, I got to have an adventure two weeks ago! iDJ and I took the first week of August off, just because we had unused holiday time. There was also a birthday in that week, but that is of no consequence.

What is of consequence is that he asked me on Sunday if I wanted to go see the Giant’s Causeway. Well, yah! I’ve been in Ireland over 10 years and not seen it yet. He’s been here his whole life and not seen it yet!

After many debates and checking of every weather-app we have, we settled on a day that was ‘meant to be decent up North’, which turned out to be that very next Tuesday. Two whole days to prepare to go to another country. Of course, we can drive there, and it “only” took four hours one way.

So: through counties Mayo, and Sligo, and Letrim. Through Donegal and Derry and into Antrim – where you can actually see Scotland on a clear day (it wasn’t a clear day). A long drive on rough roads, and bad weather for most of it. The usual, then!

We have a Garmin sat-nav. Of course, we rarely trust it. So we followed the road signs and ended up taking the coastal route, which was prettier anyway. We found an odd place that we really wanted to explore, but were too pressed for time: Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demense. Maybe next time.

   
 These two photos are stolen from Himself as my only picture was rubbish. Clearly they were making hay while the sun shone.

We continued on to Dunluce Castle. While it is quite large, we didn’t fancy paying the entrance fee so took pictures from outside the castle.

   
 It was hard to avoid getting other tourists in the shot – and I also truly hated the wire fencing at the base of the castle that was keeping the erosion down. Shame they couldn’t find a more natural way to contain falling rock.

Finally, we made it to the Causeway. About 5 hours after we left home! We were already tired. Getting old sucks. 

This is the first picture I took – you have a good downhill walk to get to this part, and the causeway hasn’t even started yet at that wee hill. Still, we were tempted to climb it, like these people did.

   
Very eroded rocks. But I still feel and see the lava that created them.    
I found a tidal pool! Yay! It helped because there were SO DAMN MANY PEOPLE around. 

 

I went right to the edge. I was feeling a bit claustrophobic with the crowds, so I did my best to escape them. Hubby went another direction, and I did worry I’d lost him – several times.

   
It was very hard to get pictures without strangers in the frame. People had come from all over our planet to see this natural wonder. This is the widest people-free shot that I managed to take – and only because I’d walked way out toward the ocean. Families were much less likely to let their kids near the water, and no one wanted a selfie. It pays to be anti-social sometimes!

 Beautiful and amazing at once.

  

The basalt columns are all on an angle. Had to get the horizon in this shot to prove it! 

 I love rocks.

 
More rock detail. Each one of these is just about the right size for a human adult’s foot. Made climbing up and down quite easy – like a huge but wonky staircase.   
 We didn’t have time to walk to this part. You will have to click and zoom in to see how tiny the humans are compared to these massive inland columns. What you have to imagine is that the entirety of the land you see here is made up of the volcanic columns I was stumbling around on, on shore.

  
I spent a lot of time looking down. Sometimes I looked up.

 I know these aren’t the most symmetrical of Causeway rocks. I love them regardless. I’ve never been to the New Mexico badlands – but somehow I expect to see the same sort of rocks there.

  
Another part we didn’t have time to explore. Damn. Aparently there is a rope-bridge and I was curious to see if I’d finally defeated my fear of heights or not.

All in all – go see it. Next time I will drive up, spend the night close by, and have plenty of time to explore the next day. It is on par with any natural wonder you might be close to. But give yourselves a lot of time to wander and explore, and bring some water with you as there is a lot of walking uphill! 

Kingfisher

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I found this poor boy yesterday. He was perfectly positioned as if he was resting. But a bird like this does not stop to rest on the asphalt right outside of a busy warehouse’s open roll-up door.

 Yes, he was dead. But I picked him up anyway. I touch a lot of nasty things in my job – a dead bird was never going to bother me.

He fit right into my hand, my palm cupped perfectly. And still looked so very vibrant and alive. No broken neck. No sign of death by another animal. Not riddled with parasites or even bird-lice. 

I took him to a few of my co-workers: ‘Look what I found! Isn’t it beautiful? What is it, do you think? Looks like a kingfisher to me, but I thought they were bigger?’ Some agreed that he did look like a kingfisher. Most of the lads just exclaimed on how beautiful he was. Or made jokes about me learning taxidermy. Love my coworkers, I really do.

I wrapped him in bubble wrap, put him in a box, and brought him home with me. I wanted to have a better look, identify him for sure, and take photos.

  

  
My Irish Wildife book confirmed he was a kingfisher – Alcedo atthis – or Cruidín in Irish. They are 16-17cm long (about 6.5in), and this one was 17cm so an adult. They aren’t endangered, just hard to spot despite the bright colouring.

  
Most stunning is the bright turquoise stripe. Incredibly vivid and bright!

  
Wing and foot detail.

  
Detail of the back feathers. They almost seem to move.

While I am very sad he is dead, I am still happy that I was able to get so close to one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen. A bird that is now in my freezer… yeah, I’m weird. I might find a taxidermist after all. 

They’re Baaaacck!

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My first tigridia of 2015! Just the one so far.

Interesting to see that the first bloomer is one of my grown-from seed last year. They didn’t bloom last year, they were too young still. These are in pretty terrible recycled buckets and out the back of the house, where the sun probably lasts a bit longer. All my older plants are in proper ceramic pots and out front – and the house faces mostly west. Hmm.

I went back in time (did you hear the “woosh?”) and found that last year, my first post about tigridia was on July 26, 2013 – and last year I started bombarding you with pics on July 17! Very much proves how our wet and dark and windy ‘summer’ has delayed plant growth.

Well, they are here finally. And I’ll enjoy every bloom for the single day I get to see it!

Gadzooks! Gazania!

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I have a new flower-favourite (until my tigridia start to bloom)! 

Please meet my very first Gazania – Gazania rigens. The sub-species I have is unknown as the seed packet we bought didn’t bother to specify. Lazy sods.

They are also known as the Treasure Flower, or African Daisy. I definitely consider them a treasure.

I started these from seed way back in April, and this is the first one to open. There are nine other blooms waiting to show their lovely faces, if the sun will just come out to play.

first gazania Ireland from seed

 Himself took this on 25 July, the first day it opened. (Fancy pants camera)

The same bloom has been shut tight ever since, which has annoyed me to no end. Not only because it is evidence the weather has been shite, but because I really wanted to see it again before the bloom withered.

  
(iPhone pic) Today, there was enough warmth for the new wan to have another look at the sky. I’m in love! These flowers are  brushstroke of glowing paint in my soggy, windy world. I hope the rest of the buds have a chance to see the sky, too. 

Not Creepy but Still Kinda Icky

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Ready to find out what the weird Creepy? photo was of? 

Maybe this will help!

  
Yes, nothing more than a random bird-splotch on my car’s windscreen.

I saw an alien skull, maybe partially rotten or damaged, with one eye melted or broken and tentacles instead of teeth. I do tend toward the dark side.

A few of you also saw skulls, spiders, and the dark side. Welcome, evil ones!

I think Sled got nearest to guessing what it actually was with her comment of ‘A gluey fingerprint on a window.’ So very close!

I had several people guess it was a swarm of critters in the distance. Not bad! But it does prove that what your eyes see isn’t anything like reality. Points for seeing something organic, though – that is correct!

Imagination does take over: my favourite for sheer creavitivy was JustMe’s:  a steampunk airship. Wow. I love it.

Steve saw something I still cannot imagine – a woman with a ponytail. Anyone else see that?

Grannymar had several good ones: a parachuting skydiver, or a helmet, or an airborne plastic bag. Lots of thought went into her ideas!

A Potter-esqe Dementor was NotAPunkRocker’s vision. I actually think this is most likely, even if untrue.

Phil gets the most humouous award, however! ‘Alien Jellyfish! (searching for peanut butter chips in order to be complete)’ 

Her comment actually makes me think of the Portugese Man o’ War, which it does resemble!