A real, proper, in-the-car-and-out-of-here day off.
Being something of a a rare event, I expect my demeanour was that of a kid going to the seaside.
Last year I heard about a 'Garden Festival' in Claregalway, and as my gorgeous young French friend, Chloe, was visiting, we decided to go and see what it was all about.
We had a fab day.
|My gorgeous friend, Chloe|
It wasn't quite what I'd expected - there weren't show gardens to look at, or anything like that, but we enjoyed the whole expedition thoroughly and came back with lots of delicious additions for the garden.
So this year I made sure to put in on my calendar, and took my friend, the New Yorker, with me.
|The restored tower house in Claregalway|
Claregalway is a couple of hours drive south, and not somewhere that I'd been to before last year. The festival is held in the field attached to the restored tower house, and although it is mostly about plants and gardeny stuff, there are other things to see and do, too.
In the courtyard beneath the tower they have a band - several bands in fact, over the course of the day, so there's all kinds of music as you mooch around the grounds.
You can sit and have a coffee and listen to the music.
And when you've got your strength back, you can head back into the mêlée.
Last year, there were people re-enacting battles, with someone telling you the interesting and gory bits while you watched.
|The gory bits|
There was a jester last year who had stepped straight out of the past to cause mischief and botheration. You could tell by the look on his face that he'd done it before - professionally. He was particularly keen on paddling people's backsides when they weren't looking. I could do with one of those sticks.
This year there were two live hobby-horses also causing mischief and botheration and neighing fit to bring the ISPCA out. There was also a poor little chicken called Free Range who laid an egg for me.
She got very shy when I chatted to her.
Last year it was so hot that the seats in front of the bandstand were full most of the time, but eventually Chloe and I found a gap and collapsed for a breather while we enjoyed the band. We watched small children become entranced with the music, others be overtaken by its rhythm, and were thrilled when one couple got up and just danced. It was perfect.
No one danced this year, but the New Yorker and I sat and ate some cheese and charcuterie and wondered if anyone queueing for the loo had noticed who was peering down at them from above.
I fell in love with a heron last July, but sadly he is now living beside another pond, not mine.
Seeing him now makes me wish all over again that he was in my potager.
But I did buy some ingenious little cane toppers which look a gas in the garden and make canes a joy rather than an eyesore. (No pun intended, but I have poked my eye with a cane before now, so..).
I hurried back to buy another quota this year, and was delighted to find the potter, Baurnafea Ceramics, there once again. Even more delighted when the lovely New Yorker bought me a present from his stand - how kind is that!
|Cane toppers and ceramic orbs for the flower bed - quite episcopalian|
We had a delicious lunch, sat and listened to the band, paid many visits to the plant crèche and viewed all that was on offer inside as well as out.
It was a fabulous day, and by the time we left there was barely room in the car for us.
Definitely one for next summer's calendar.