Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Love in a Wet Climate

Snowboard Cross at Sochi. Pic taken from the Internet

When I was at school, athletics was like outdoor maths to me.
A recurring blight on my weekly calendar - something to be avoided at all costs, or else endured with gritted teeth. Oh, how I loathed them both.
I think that's probably why the Summer Olympics just don't do it for me.
I know it's not all athletics, but there seems to be an awful lot of running involved in summer sports.

Despite what people may tell you, running is not fun.
Believe me - I know from all those ghastly afternoons on the track.
The only thing worse than athletics at school (apart from maths, of course) was Cross-Country running.
Ye gods and little fishes! Running, combined with cold, wet mud.
What is point?
I took the bus once. I was last (surprise, surprise) - I didn't think anyone would notice. Detention, detention, detention, not least because I obviously hadn't been properly attired:  girls out of school in public places had to be wearing that hideous accessory, the passion-reducing School Hat.

To this day, I never run.
Apart from anything else, 'it makes the ice in my glass chink.' (A wonderful line from a birthday card)   My sister runs - even, as far as I can make out, in the dark, after work.
Mad fule, as Molesworth would say.
If you need to get somewhere in that much of a hurry, hop in the car.
(I daresay she will live to be 94 and I'll keel over in about a fortnight, but there you go.)

Lovely Yulia skating - pic taken from the Internet.

Anyway, I digress.
I may spurn the Summer Olympics, but the Winter Games are wonderful, and I'm currently in the throes of withdrawal symptoms from Sochi.
All that figure skating, and snowboarding and ski cross. It was all brilliant, it was wonderful, it was completely enthralling. I even got into curling, which in previous years I have eschewed as Pointless, Aimless, Feckless and Graceless (rather like Adam Lambsbreath's cows).

Team GB. Pic taken from Internet

It was all terrific, and a great way to forget about our own dreary winter.
I did a bit more forgetting on Saturday night. My clever friend, the TalentuiGoddess had dreamt up a plan, and together with another mutual friend, DodoWoman, they put on a Roaring Twenties Speakeasy for our Market regulars and friends.

The TalentuiGoddess

DodoWoman pouting 20s style

Our lovely old Beltra Hall was transformed for the night, the place was packed, Gin Rickys and Woo Woo cocktails flowed and everyone was dressed to kill. I don't suppose the old place has ever seen so many beads and feathers, or molls and gangsters for that matter, and all to the strains of 20s music and live jazz.

Old silent movies played on a screen on one wall

The bartenders had guns in their belts and handcuffs on the bar - obviously expecting trouble

The place wasn't busted by the cops - it was busted by the nuns instead! Two of them came marching through the door exhorting the assembled company to repent, do away with the hooch and moonshine and go home. No one paid much attention - they'd all got used to nuns at school - and in the end the two stayed and had a cracking good time. One of them even set up a card table and took on all comers at Black Jack - and no one managed to break the bank, even if was only Monopoly money.

A mean hand at Black Jack, our party-loving Sister

The evening was a fundraiser for Headstrong, the Irish National Centre for Youth Mental Health, a much needed organisation in Ireland where teenage suicide is frighteningly common these days. They raised €1000 - a fantastic sum, and everyone had a fabulous evening.

Now, thank goodness, February is almost over, and hopefully so is the constant wind, wet and sog.
I lay in bed last night and listened to the rain on the roof and the windows - a constant lullaby these days - and when I woke this morning, it was still coming down. At least we aren't flooded, even though half the garden is a marsh.

I went out at lunch time, when the sun finally appeared. As I came to the vegetable garden, I could hear splishing and splashing in the pond, and see the water surging about in little waves. It's like that every day at the moment. The first time I saw it, I thought one of the cats had fallen in, and was frantically thrashing about, trying to get out.
It turned out to be frogs - or are they toads? - having what can only be described as an orgy.

Love in a wet climate

Usually they dive out of sight as I approach, but today the sunshine was too beguiling, or perhaps they were just enjoying themselves too much.

Very smart striped legs - or are they his bathers?

The frog spawn has been spreading exponentially over the pond weed the last few weeks. Now I know why. I counted 27 huge frogs, their heads all sticking out like some weird sort of Stargazey pie, some of them chortling to each other in their ecstasy.
In the clear water below, the fish were circling lazily, no doubt fat with feasting, and with the delicious promise of endless more banquets to come.
How ever many they eat, there will still be a bumper harvest of tadpoles.

I left the frogs to their romancing.
Icy water and bitter winds obviously have an appeal that has inexplicably passed me by.


  1. Outdoor Maths - I love that - it was the same for me :-)

  2. Hi Lorely! I would have loved to be there with my camera. But my camera and me were busy in Tasmania for more than 3 weeks....
    Missed your blog!

  3. Lovely amphibians, and bravo with the fundraising.
    I am less conviced by Winter Olympics, but, as you know, I loved London 2012.
    Thank goodness we never had cross country at my school. It would have been up and over the Hogsback or somewhere equally steep and chalk slippery in wet weather. Ghastly.


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