I often wonder what the seagulls find so funny, but I love to hear them, just as I love to hear the rooks shouting and arguing like souk stall-holders.
It was not thus yesterday.
We awoke to wind and rain, and the day had that settled look that doesn't bode well when it's wet.
It was Bank Holiday Sunday, and over our bacon, eggs and marmalade we relinquished our gardening and wall-mending plans and debated whether or not to give in to the weather and curl up beside a fire with books and movies.
But then I remembered that a friend had posted about a craft fair on Facebook.
We piled into the car and set off.
It was being held in the Museum of Country Life's hallowed precincts in Co Mayo.
I admit with shame that despite having lived here for the last two decades, I've not previously visited the Museum. I've driven past it on numerous occasions, but only en route to somewhere else.
It occupies an old country house, and the new building housing the bulk of the exhibits, has been beautifully designed to fit as minimally as possible into the grounds.
|A stray grass stalk spoiling the view of The Museum of Country Life|
We had a great afternoon.
The grounds contain a small lake, a lovely greenhouse, a garden with herbaceous planting alongside a second lovely greenhouse, some handsome trees and a few interesting sculptures.
|My camera pretended to take some nice pictures of the rampant flowers in the greenhouse|
I took lots of photos in the gardens, but unfortunately my camera battery was on its last legs and it turns out that it was just pretending to take pictures, something I only discovered when we got home and it was too late to take them all over again. I must have spent a good hour clicking away in happy oblivion. Mercifully it did finally resort to the black screen of death.
Luckily the In-Charge had his camera too, but he'd disappeared soon after we'd arrived. He's better at museums than I am, and was doing the rounds - methodically.
#2 Son and I headed to the Craft Fair in a marquee behind the house, and had a great time chatting to the different stall holders. Two friends were there, Liz Courtie who makes jewellery and buttons and ceramics and Jane Dunn who is an artist and sells prints and cards of her work.
|Liz Courtie's ceramics and Jane Dunn's paintings and prints|
We admired some felting and bought some goat's milk soap from Carra's Garden, and spent a long time chatting to Ella, a potter from Poland who had a range of stuff glazed with blue glass that sang to us. Her pottery is called Mood Designs.
|Gorgeous blues, birds, felt and soap from Mood Design and Carra's Garden|
Afterwards we joined the In-Charge on his tour of the museum. At least, we tried to, but once again he proved to be so elusive that we started to wonder if he'd actually accompanied us after all.
The museum was full of people, and was interesting, but I get a bit claustrophobic in museums, so, although I did the full tour, mine was, well, on the quickish side.
Eventually we all met up in the cafe and ate large wodges of cake, and then I borrowed the In-Charge's camera and went off to take a few photos - alas, not of the gardens.
As we were driving away, we paused to admire the bird boxes amongst the trees along the drive - there were lots of them.
|An array of bird boxes in the grounds|
I am very into bird boxes, especially having read that 12 wrens saved their lives by huddling together inside a nesting box during the very cold winter a few years ago.
I'm not sure that birds would nest in the Museum's boxes - I've a feeling birds are very particular about front door size and things like that - but they looked very pretty, and you never know.
While I was admiring the bird boxes, I walked through the trees to the edge of a large hollow. It was very steel sided and deep, and at the bottom a few lines were strung between the branches, with towels hanging on them.
The Museum's washing? An Installation? Campers?
I'm still wondering what that was all about.
|The Museum's washing? An Installation? Campers?|
It was a great afternoon, and not at all what we'd expected, looking out on the dismal torrents at breakfast.
I guess every now and again the rain is just a blessing in disguise.
|One of the sculptures in the grounds.|