Friday, June 28, 2013

Just one last time....until next time!

This is a bit of an epic pictorial post. It's also all about our very last side trip which included Limerick, Waterford, Dublin, Brighton, London, and Thurles.

We started off on a very early Saturday to visit the Milk Market in Limerick in the hopes of finding vintage lace curtains. No luck but we found plenty of other lovely treats:)

I really couldn't resist taking a pic of this advertisement. Say what?!

So much fish.

These two were having a lively debate on a recent match. Hurling maybe? Yes, I'm an eavesdropper. 

These little flags are every where. I love the festive feel of them. 

Why I didn't get myself one of these, I do not know. But we did enjoy a slice of pizza from a portable stone oven around the corner. 

I bought a few bits and pieces from a fabric vendor and then pastries and eggs for our breakfast the next morning.

We carried on to Waterford solely to take a tour at the Waterford crystal factory. It was a great tour. We did not buy anything though. I have one lovely piece of crystal back home. That's enough for me. 

These men start their apprenticeships when they are 16 or 17 years old.

Here is where they make computer generated markings on the crystal before it is cut. Off to the side is a man setting up the computer program where the design is held.

Crystal waiting to be cut.

This man only works on special commissioned pieces...

Like this one. Which was my favorite. A bowl of the four seasons. So beautiful!

We stayed the night in New Ross at a very interesting place called the The Ferry House. Why I did not take pictures I don't know. Living in the moment I guess. The grounds and building where converted stables that the owner's grandmother used to own. Really beautiful and simple accommodation. We were only charged €40 for the night and then much less when the owner and I had a really lovely conversation about Scripture Union. Scripture Union, back in the late 90's is what brought me to Ireland. As it happened the owner used to go to camps too at Avoca where we were headed next. While there I started planning all kinds of family trips with my family or Jubal's family or both. It's a really great space and I hope we can go back. 

We headed up to Avoca from New Ross to visit Ovoca Manor and Avoca Handweavers.

I wasn't actually prepared for how I would feel when I drove up. I hadn't been back to Ovoca Manor in 14 years. I had some really wonderful and very enriching experiences there back when I was 20 and 21. It was empty of people and changed a little bit. But when I walked in the side door and made my way around, I was flooded with memories of families chatting, mingling, kids every where, the smell of the Tuck Shop, worship songs, late night tea breaks (super), calling my mom from the phone box under the stairs, sausage rolls for lunch, so much buzz and happy energy that happened there for weeks and weeks. 

I took a trip all the way upstairs knowing the attic had changed. No more brightly colored decades old afghans hand crochets (or knitted?) no more long rows of beds. No more little sinks. Instead a much cleaner updated bunch of smaller rooms. I was sad not to see the attic as it was but really happy at the same time to see updates to this really special house. I'm so happy that it seems to be thriving with the continuation of camps and family weeks. 

As I found myself spilling such sentimental tears I was so happy I was able to see Ovoca Manor again and what's more but to show Jubal. It was a place where during the day I looked after little ones as their parents had fellowship together. I'd say I learned much more from them than I taught them. And at night I walked to town with friends for chips, had long philosophical conversations about our spiritually and Father Ted and the differences between the variations of American and Irish vanaculars. 

Our other objective was to visit one of my favorite spots in Ireland.

Since my last visit in 2007, they've added a lovely show room in the mill.

Once upstairs, you can take a free tour of the mill. There is always at least one person on to show the hand looms working.
I had a nice chat with the man weaving. I told him about my visit in 1999 when I had asked if they sold their yarn. They didn't but they gave me a box of warp ends and told me I could have it. My friend, Cáit and I gasped with disbelief and then giggled all the way back on our 2 mile walk to the manor. For two weeks my friends at the family camps helped me sort and roll all the chenille and boule into balls. Just as I got done saying to the man that surely I didn't have any room this time in my luggage, he hopped up with out saying a word and filled a bag for me. Quietly saying to me I think, "now, this is a good bit here (stuffing bobbin ends into the bag) and here's some nice pink for you. How about some purple... These colors here will be discontinued and we'll through them out." He was very sweet. And made my day. Later that afternoon I showed up at Cáit's house with the bag full of yarn.

Jubal and I browsed the shop long enough to unfold every blanket deciding on which one should come to live on Peaks. We happily settled on a large mohair in many bright colors. Big enough to wrap around the both of us! We enjoyed a nice lunch with cake afterwards in the Avoca cafe. We had to! 

We headed back into the village where I told Jubal all about Ballykissangel, the TV seriers that was filmed here. Trying to convince him we had to watch it together when we got back. The first time I walked into the village in July of 1998 with my college I had traveled over with, we saw right in frnt of the pub, a show being filmed. The one where a new satellite dish is installed on the side of the pub and Donal keeps walking into it with a ladder messing up the reception.  

If you head off to the right of the pub up the road, you'll see where the copper mines used to be. I could have spent much longer here just exploring. We headed up to Dublin where we spent a day or so.  Got to see another old time Scripture Union friend, Steve, and it was such a great visit! We also met another old friend of mine in Power's Court for tea. Pics below. 

Tuesday morning we headed to the airport and flew to Gatwick. From there we took a train to Brighton for the night.

Found a really wonderful old book shop. Everything inside was dark brown and gold. Really rich colors. Including this stair case.
I snatched up this little book that was printed in the 1800's. I've become really fond of reading really old and obscure books. Also stumbled into a charity/ antique shop where I found some linen and a silk scarf for nuno felting :)

I was just a little excited to eat at Jamie's Italian Restaurant  in Brighton. Just a little bit. I had the crispy squid, and an amazing dish of ravioli with spring peas, asparagus, mint and basil. And a cocktail called the bramble. I've been watching his cooking shows since he first started back in 2000? I'm a really huge fan and admirer or all the work he's been doing. His recipes also are really great and easy. Always fresh. I have two of his cookbooks too. 
After dinner we walked around and found the Lanes of Brighton. So much fun and so interesting. Really old buildings all kind of squished together and these interesting nooks and crannies. We stopped in another place for a second cocktail and vowed to come back in the morning. 

So this place we stayed in, I'm not joking is called Motel Schmotel. And they serve you breakfast in bed if you want it. A tiny tiny room but a really nice stay. I would go back there. The breakfast was amazing and they leave you tea making supplies along with penguin biscuits. They had me with the penguins. 

The next day we took the train into London where we stayed with some much extended family of Jubal's. It was quite a treat!! Their apartment is an old tea warehouse converted into lofts. It's the very spot where tea was delivered into London on the River Themes. The park across the street used to be a grave yard for those who died in the plague. In the '70's they where moved out and a park was created which is around the time that this area, Wapping was being updated into artist studios and cleaned up more. It's a lovely area and I highly recommend a visit to Wapping. At least to see the architecture. Our first night we had dinner at a very busy Italian place down the street from their apartment. It was SO good. Such an interesting neighborhood. 

London Bridge.

Potter's Park where we had a very nice nap on a bench amongst the baptistia. 

After emerging from St. Katherine's Docks, we stumbled into this street where this stream ran through. It is so beautiful and such a pleasant feature to find in a city. It was constructed to serve as a memory for another smaller river that ran though the city. 

London, we found, is (although so crazy busy and loud) is so interesting and fascinating to me because there are layers and layers of old constructions. The Roman wall still exists in some spots. Where there is land in some spots, there used to be water underneath until it was filled in. I had been to London 2 other times but I had not had an experience quite like this one. Our host was very gracious and very knowledgable about the city and just poured information into us. Stuff I never knew about London. Jubal knew he wanted to return. Me.... because it was so loud and busy I wasn't so sure at first. But now that I've had time to digest how it is there, I can prepare myself better for our next trip. Like better shoes and clothing and lots and lots of caffeine:) It will be great! 

There's a gurken peaking out behind these building. Can you see it?
St. Katherine's Dock

As our host guided us to the Tate Modern from the bus, when we stumbled out, we saw this. St. Paul's Cathedral. Now back home several years ago now, I use to attended St. Paul's Episcopal church in Brunswick Maine. It made me miss my old church. 

We found Buckingham Palace as well. But what I found more interesting then the palace was the monument in front. There's Queen Victoria (she may be my favorite English Queen. If I had to choose one. And you should know I'm basing it on the fact that I know she was a spinner.) sitting to the left. We see her left profile. But it's the mermaid fountain that I really like.
We also managed to find a yarn store not too far from the Tate Modern. We walked 10-15 minutes into Waterloo to find I Knit London. Sorry, forgot to take pictures. Sometimes I just need to put the camera away and soak it all up with just myself. There was so much yarn to look at. We walked in, Jubal found a chair, there where about a dozen people there for a knitting group chatting, two tiny dogs roaming around. And just so much lovely lovely yarn!!!! I bought one sale item of kid mohair in a sky blue and one hand dyed merino in multiple purple dyed in Italy. Not on sale. But about what we pay for hand-dyed sock weight in the states. I think a shawl is happening. 

Our last morning in Wapping, bright and early, we got to witness the changing of the pianos. A baby grand was delivered to the second story and small upright was taken away. It was quite the event. It was a wonderful stay with Jubal's extended family. Their two animals where especially precious, Vanilla and Muffin. 

Big Ben.

Westminster Abbey.
We took in a few more sites before heading to the airport to return to Dublin.

We made it back to Dublin safe and sound (despite Ryan Air's crazy restrictions). This photo was from before we left for London. Cáit and her husband Rob were our second home away from Doolin. We stayed with them a few times while traveling east and they were such wonderful sweet hosts! We were both so thankful to them for putting up with us! It's not goodbye Cáit! You just HAVE TO come see us in Maine and I'll have the blueberry gin on ice oxoxo

I also got to see my old friend Bernadette while in Dublin. It was such a treat to catch up with her. I got to know Bernadette while at family camps back in 1998 and 1999. Staying with her family back in 1999 was one of the highlights of my 5 month trip back then. I was so happy to see her and to catch up!

While staying with our friends in Dublin, Jubal and I would take a bus into the city for sight seeing. A few pics of our walk in and from Lucan Lane. 

After leaving our friends in Dublin on Saturday morning, we headed to Thurles in Co. Tipperary for one last stop. To visit Cáit's parents who I also stayed with in 1999 for a few days. It was so great to see them. We had a lovely long chat which sandwiches, cake, whiskey and Guinness. I could have stayed much longer talking and talking. Such a great visit. We intended to drive straight home to Doolin that evening but exhausting suddenly hit and we stopped over in ....somewhere between Thurles and Doolin and stayed the night. Once back home, I slept and slept. I think on Sunday I slept almost the entire day. It's funny how we can be so tired and not know it until we realize Oh! I've been napping for 7 hours and now its time to go to bed again! It felt great though and I was good as new just in time for our next venture. 

On Monday we headed up to Roscommon to visit my new friend Michelle and her boyfriend Donal whose a sheep farmer. Donal so kindly gave us some instructors on on sheep shearing. It went really well too. 

I was so relieved to find that my fear started to fade and confidence replaced it. I stood there with the sheep folded at my feet and Donal about to give me the shears and me almost panicking thinking, I don't know if I can do this. I recognized this as fear and then kicked it in the arse and got on with it. Though it took a bit for me to process that day, I found it so uplifting in many ways that we had that experience. And so thankful to both Donal and Michelle oxoxox!!!!

Jubal did very well too. He's a natural of course! We've been enjoying our conversations about what kind of shears to get in the very near future. 

And now it's time to go home. When we set out on this journey on April 8th, we were both excited and knew it would be great.
These three months have done some pretty amazing things to us both. Individually and as a couple. Was it the air? The music? The cream? The new and old friendships? It was everything. There is so much that I could never explain just how much our wedding event and this trip did for our hearts and for our souls. All the old connections I made and the new ones too. SO so thankful and my heart is SO FULL! As I told my dear friend Cáit as I left her in Dublin last Saturday morning, "it's not good bye it's TILL NEXT TIME!"