23 September 2012


Fragrant woodsmoke drifting through the damp air, a crackling fire, an old left-hand-drive green army truck, tents and canopies, a small group of men--young and middle-aged--doing 'manly' things. A clearing in a German forest? A Canadian campsite? Nope: 10:15 on a Sunday morning near Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, in a small area of protected native woodland (complete with 'No Camping, No Fires' notices, but this is Ireland...). Farther along the river, two other men were settling in to pan the river, presumably hoping to find gold washed down the Dargle river from the Leinster granite. I don't think they'll have too much luck (it has never been found in great quantities in Wicklow) but I hope they'll enjoy the looking. To be honest, they didn't look like they were having a great time, there was a lot of splashing and wading and the odd loud curse, and when I put on my best Maeve smile and hailed a cheery "Panning!?", I was met with a rather glassy stare from one of them. Oh well.

That particular walk is very appealing to one mini schnauzer and on one of the paths she found her own nugget of gold this week in the form of a burst football (left over from another manly pursuit in a forest clearing perhaps?).

Out in the woods wasn't the only activity away from office and home this week - we (and many others) enjoyed Culture Night on Friday. What a great idea this is: countless galleries, buildings, libraries and societies of all sorts open their doors to all, for free, on this one Friday night. The city was buzzing with people of all ages, from tiny tots to septuagenarians, all reclaiming a vibrant city for themselves. One of the lovely spaces I particularly enjoyed was the restored Georgian garden of the Royal Society of Antiquaries. BvG has taken some gorgeous photos there and throughout Dublin. You can see them here.

Back in the garden at home, the reds of autumn are emerging: berries and leaves and the harvest of a poor summer. Rose hips, honeysuckle and cotoneaster berries will all be welcomed by the birds in the coming months. It's going to be a rough winter for birds - the cool damp summer has meant that crops of nuts and berries are very poor on these islands. The hawthorns on the edge of the nearby playing fields have only a hint of their usual crop, and many of the blackberries below are small, hard 'crigs' (as my Da used to call them).

It's two years this week since my father died. The fading light (the Equinox has passed and as the Met Éireann person announced this week, from here until 21 December, there'll be increasing darkness each day...) and the colours of autumn are all tinged with an extra sadness now.

Have a good week all.

Rosa glauca, lipstick-red hips
Lonicera, Honeysuckle
Cotoneaster, Red berries will be welcomed by the birds later in the autumn
Dwarf Cherry
Acer petioles turn red in anticipation of the main show in a few weeks
Vaccinium, blueberries; the fruits are just about gone, the leaves glow red before winter
Red onions from the allotment have been drying off on a greenhouse shelf
Welcome red in the greenhouse
Fun is where you find it


  1. Did you know in the Chakra system, red is the base, ground colour ie if you love red you are a very 'grounded' person.

    Graineweile ahs just come back from 3 whole weeks in the world of 'white' - polar bears (a bit off white'), icebergs, glaciers, white arctic foxes, pure white arctic hares...travel will never be the same again..Graineweile...

  2. welcome back grá! so-o-o looking forward to hearing the traveller's tales.