Saturday, January 10, 2009

Frosty, Fluey January days

This week has been exceptionally cold in Ireland, and here in West Waterford we have had some really freezing days, when the white hoar frost stayed on the ground all day where the sun didn't thaw it, and the clear sunny few days compensated for the bone-chilling cold. While this is cold Irish-style, I realise it is probably a warm day for people in countries where you get proper winter weather, snow and ice and a real demarcation between the seasons. The trouble with Irish weather is that you can get the four seasons in one day in the same place, and the fluctuations this week have been from -6 degrees Centigrade on Monday and Tuesday, to double figures above zero towards the end of the week. No wonder we're all weather-obsessed and it forms the basis of much casual conversation - a sort of ice breaker, you could say (in a dreadful pun!) Photo: A frosty sunrise in the garden in Lismore

Ben looking sad in the cold!

I was back to work this week after being off for a week over New Year, and I didn't do a lot of going out as we had a New Year's Eve party (see the blog post New Year Reflections), and then the house became an offshoot of work with an outbreak of flu, mostly the new variant gender-specific Man-Flu, which made for some sleepless night duty! Luckily a lot of paracetamol, ibuprofen, hot tea, iced water and tons of TLC later, and the patients were on the mend. I had the flu vaccine at work and it seems to thus far be warding off the virus, which (all jokes about man-flu aside!) is pretty awful this winter. It's known as the Brisbane H3N2 strain, and is at epidemic level in much of Europe and probably further afield.

Some frosty leaves and grass
The week began with a foggy 3a.m. journey to Shannon Airport to bring Shayne and Jany to the Girona Ryanair flight. They had been here for a month, and we were sad to see them go, sick and flu-ridden after a miserable last few days. Thankfully they are both much better now, a few days later. Shannon airport at 6a.m. was a bit like the airport in that Stephen King film, The Langoliers, deserted and dreary, with not a cup of tea or coffee or a functioning dispenser to be found until the cafe opened, which it did eventually but not before they'd gone through security. We got home at 8.15a.m., not long before the Girona flight landed, and I just had to take some photos of the frost as the day dawned clear and sunny.

The view over Dungarvan Bay from Ring
I went back to work on Tuesday and took the camera with me as it was one of those days in a million when the countryside and especially the coastline in my work area looked spectacular - as long as you were viewing it from the warm car and well wrapped up! The photos show the southern coastline of Co. Waterford heading west from Dungarvan towards Ardmore, along Helvick Head and the Old Parish coastline towards Mine Head Lighthouse, which is the highest lighthouse in Ireland, perched on a 200ft high clifftop. It is no longer functioning, and is on private land so not easily accessible, but is visible from a distance.

Two views over Helvick Head: looking eastwards... ...and westwards, from lay-by above Ring

When you are seeing a place every day it becomes almost mundane and taken for granted, and though days like this are rare they are worth capturing for posterity. I hasten to add that I wasn't just taking photos all day, but actually did a day's work as well -it's just lucky that my work entails a lot of driving through such lovely countryside!

I hope you enjoy the photos of a beautiful part of the Irish coastline, and it is even more lovely in summer - when we get one! Maybe this year will be our turn for some fine weather, and then who needs the Med!

Dungarvan Bay with the Cunnigar sandspit... ...and looking eastwards past Clonea to Stradbally


FoodFunFarmLife said...

Thanks for sharing these beautiful photo's of your landscapes and garden scenes with us. I must say that it looks very chilly though ! We spent 6 weeks last Christmas/'07 in the UK & it was the coldest I'd ever been in my life, we usually visit the UK in the Summer & that will be our first & last winter trip ! Anyway, I'm sending you some warm African sunshine for the week ahead .... (P.S. The 'flu bug sounds nasty, I have heard about that new strain in the news over here too)

La Tea Dah said...

What beautiful scenic views. And sunshine! We haven't had sunshine for weeks now and I'm missing it so much!

I'm hoping the flu stays away from our community this year. So far, so good. . .

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Oh, what glorious pictures. Your countryside is absolutely lovely. I found your blog through Lynda's Food, Fun & Farm blog. I live in northeastern Oregon state in the US, and it's such fun to see different parts of the world through blogs. Thanks for all your hard work!

Years ago, my great-great grandparents emigrated from Ireland, but like many immigrants they were determined to "fit in" and that included sort of forgetting the past. So I don't know anything about the part of Ireland they came from.

Anyhoo ... long comment, fun blog! kristin