Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Holiday 2014 Part 1: Breezy Ballyronan

Family Portrait by Hannah
I've just returned from a short break in Northern Ireland.  A couple of days for me and teenager in the Lisburn area visiting my sister and her family: the big boy cousins on holiday from university who sleep til lunchtime and then emerge to eat huge bowls of Shreddies on the sofa while skyping or messaging distant friends.  Shreddies are often the only food in the house since this sister is no domestic goddess and rarely shops for food or eats anything more than M&S pre-packed salads. We had a good time though - twin boy nephews aged 5 and their big sister, the portrait artist, were also over from England and the small boys enjoyed torturing the big boy cousins and the cats, Jensen and Rossi.  Their dad and I shopped and cooked spag bol. for everyone while sister was at work. So we ate that and then we played Monopoly, one of our favourite board games when we were children, though this time she didn't rob the bank as she used to.  I was very disappointed as this was a souped up version of the game and instead of building hotels in Pall Mall you had to build things like piers on 'Vista Beach'.  We played in pairs and sister and I did well at first but eventually went bankrupt because of the devious and ruthless actions of the biggest boy cousin: I predict future business success.

All three sisters then went back to Dad's house in Ballyronan which is now empty apart from the spiders. Cobwebs in your face as you open the door for no one has been here since my last visit at the beginning of June.  It was sad at first, but soon the children had created chaos and it felt more like home.  We didn't go far - it was freezing in NI.  We put the heating on and I'd had to purchase a furry hoodie as I hadn't brought enough clothes in my Easyjet permitted hand luggage. So we caught up with extended family - cousins my age visited and we had the old photos out reminiscing.  We pulled weeds in the yard and examined the state of the garden.  The greenhouse is choked with weeds and there are lots of broken panes of glass.  No tomatoes this year - the twins were disappointed.   There were lots of plums though, slightly underripe, but very good in the crumble I made after Sunday's roast dinner.



Our only outing was to the marina down the road with the younger children and my daughter to feed the ducks and play in the playground.  There was a weather warning in place, and it was more like winter so brother-in law was a bit chilly in his shorts.  Good fun for the children as a flock of Canadian geese had taken up residence and the children enjoyed chasing and being chased by them.  Only my teenager showed any fear, even when one of the boys had his finger nipped by a particularly greedy goose.



On my trip I made a rather shocking discovery.  It seems that some people I actually know read this blog. Although I now have had over 10,000 page views according to Blogger stats, I assumed that most were people who came across the blog by accident when looking for something else, not bothering to read.  My all time top post is about Michael Kors handbags, for example.  I suppose if I put Ballyronan in the title, then I'm bound to attract local readers. It's not that I mind people reading really, but I am a little concerned that I may have offended someone with my half-formed views on events in NI etc.  So please forgive me, reader, if that is you.  And if you are an ex-Rainey pupil of my era, yes, I was that slightly mousy one you didn't really talk to much.

11 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed your wee trip back home. The weather is much cooler - I'm freezing today in work where they still have the air condioning blasting out cold air. And that let's you know I'm reading your blog while in work!!

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    1. Hoping it's warmer in France - we're off there tomorrow.

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  2. This is so funny: the other night I dreamt about people I know tellling me that they read my blog. Yikes: that was really scary! Isn't it interesting how we often feel more comfortable (voicing our opinions) in the company of strangers. xxx

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    1. Yes - I think I may self censor after this discovery. A pity really but then it's good to have readers.

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  3. I'm glad to hear that you had a good time Doris, even if the weather wasn't too special. It's been very mixed here too. I'm going to have to check out that Michael Kors post of yours now!

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  4. I know what you mean, I felt mildly embarrassed one day recently when my husband read my blog for the first time! He seems to regard it as a benign manifestation of dotty middle age. Oh well. X

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    1. My daughter and husband read mine occasionally, but mainly so they can tease me about it.

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  5. I love the family portrait x

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    1. She just loves doing things like this and spent also spent ages with my teenager making a 'Hello Kitty' magazine. Both of them had fun - 14 year old not too grown up for stickers and drawing yet.

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  6. I too love the colourful portrait. And I had a lump in my throat when you describing brushing the cobwebs aside visiting the house at Ballyronan. Trips home must be bittersweet. Enjoy yourself in France.

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  7. Like Mairead I found the cobwebs sad too. Our family home is currently rented so it's not an option for me to stay there. I wish it was. Agree the portrait is great.

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