Thursday, December 30, 2010

Greetings from Scotland

Hiya folks,

When we last left our blog, it was Christmas eve. Christmas eve was...shall we say....a bit raucous (see photo below):
This photo is one of the more sensible ones but the Russian hats did feature throughout hte evening's proceedings. It all got a bit silly as the night wore on. We had quite a few to drink & there was a fear late in the evening that we woudn't have enough wine to last us on Christmas day. Rachel even got on the phone, at one point, to call the local taxi driver to get him to buy more alcohol. Thankfully, he didn't answer.

We woke to a beautiful sunny & crisp day on Christmas: the temperature at 10.30am was -11 degrees. We had a big breakfast fry up mid-morning, took a bit of a break before sitting down to lunch at abut 4.30pm: roast turkey, roast lamb, roast vegetables & sweet potato mash with mashmellows (yum !!)

With our bellies full from the hours of eating, we retired up to the Sitting room (on the third floor) where we spent the rest of the day & evening sitting around the fire. As the group who were staying at the Coach House made their way back to bed, the wind had started to pick up & it felt a little bit wamer.

When we woke on Boxing Day, all the snow, frost & ice was gone: it had rained overnight; the rain & wind had blown the winter wonderland away. It was a bit of a freak out to suddenly see all this green surrounding the castle grounds. It had also warmed up to 9 degrees.

Our last full day at the castle was spent packing, eating our way through the huge amounts of leftovers & having a bit of a party with the owners of the castle. We finally got to eat the pudding that had been cooking for the last two days (see photos below).

We are now in Edinburgh where it's been a hell of alot warmer (we had a maximum of 5 degrees the other day). We've been hitting the shops big time & generally taking it easy. It Hogmanay tomorrow night & the town is getting ready.

We'll be going to a party nearby so we're really looking forward to it. Can I just say that the early sunsets (at 4.30pm) are really messing with our body clocks (just thought I'd share)

Well...I'll leave it at that for the time being.

Catch you on the next post.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It really is a Winter Wonderland

Hiya folks,

Sorry for not updating the blog for the last few days but we don't have great reception out at the castle.

The castle has been great. Tania & I have been staying up on the top floor room. That's been good (we're developing buns of steel) but it's been a killer on the knees & ankles. The trouble with a 17th Century castle is: no elevator !!!!
Here's how cold it's been !!

The weather has been good (no snow) but it's been freezing. The maximum temperature hasn't been over 0 degrees celcius. Driving around the countryside, we're driving with an average temperature of about -7 degrees. The worst so far has been -11 degrees.

Here's the castle at sunrise (ie: 9.30am)

Here we are at the Cliffs of Moher. It was a beautiful, sunny day
but the whole countryside was covered in snow.
We also did a trip up the Burren. While looking for the Burren Perfumery, I swear we must have passed into Narnia at one point: it had that sort of feel to it.

We're getting ready for Christmas now: It'll be a mid-morning breakfast followed by a late lunch, followed by staying up late to watch the start of the Boxing Day test match.

Well....I'll leave it at that for the moment. Tania & I wish you all a wonderful Christmas (wherever in the world you are). Stay safe if you're travelling.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some other photos of our time in Ireland

Here's some more photos of us before we got to Clonmacnoise. Hope you like them.

Back in Ireland

Hiya folks,

Just a quick one to let you know that we made it to Ireland safely (& before the snow caused chaos with flights into & out of the UK).

We're currently doing it tough in Galway, having a bit of a "chill day" (figuratively & literally). I think it got up to a positively balmy 0 degrees here today.

The countryside really is a winter wonderland: it's all white !! We drove from Drogheda to Galway yesterday, taking a side trip to Clonmacnoise along the way. Clonmacnoise is a monastic settlement set on the River Shannon.

I've seen it in the sun, I've seen it in the rain (& we're taking horizontal rain here !!) but in the snow, it gave it an extra peaceful feel. It was soooo quiet & beautiful there. Heading back to the main (& snow-free) road, we saw five white swans (Tainia reckons they were geese) flying a V formation over the top of the car. Simply magic !!