One day out (at the Museum of Country Life) and that's it - the In-Charge and I have downed tools, gone on strike and walked out.
Our work lies abandoned where we left it and we have been taking days off, one after the other, on the trot.
I'm not sure that we needed one, but we have had a teensie little excuse for such idleness.
A painful, messy, and - well, revolting excuse.
The In-Charge burst his finger open. I think his endless stint on the roof and then weeks mending the wall have taken their toll.
It was, inevitably, gory, and eye-wateringly painful.
A large stone slipped, squashing his hand onto another stone and one of his fingers bore the brunt. About 3 inches split open to the bone.
It wasn't pretty.
Being a man, he refused point blank to go to A&E, and as I didn't have half a dozen Bouncers and a lot of rope handy, there was nothing I could do to enforce a visit.
Instead, an alcohol wipe was briefly passed over the extreme surface, a squirt of dry antiseptic was sprayed in the direction of the wound, as many butterfly stitches applied as possible and painkillers administered.
You may now address me as Matron (a starched hat is in the post).
My immediate prescription was lots of R&R, so we have, unexpectedly had what you might call a bit of a holiday.
And mercifully, although it's been a tad breezy, and we've had some heavy bursts of rain, the weather hasn't been too bad.
The first few days he lay in the sun - arm propped high on cushions - and for a short while, I even drove him around. But that didn't last long. You know what men are like.
And we've sallied forth on lots of outings.
|The Models with #2 Son on our favourite beach|
We went to our favourite beach, walked to the far end and got utterly drenched on the return journey.
Thank you, Hurricane Bertha.
|SuperModel taking off|
Even the Models were a bit taken aback by the overwhelming overwhelmingness of the rain. SuperModel suffers from a rare and very sad affliction. She dissolves in the rain, so it is imperative that she stays well away from any but the lightest of showers. (Luckily, she doesn't 'absolve' in the sea as well. Or the lake. She's OK in water that she chooses, but that definitely doesn't include hose-pipes, bathroom showers, rain etc etc. That kind of water is very, very dangerous indeed.)
So, on the beach, as soon as the car was dimly visible (a distant speck - she is a Sight Hound after all) she just bolted. Bullets and guns come to mind.
The In-Charge and #2 Son eventually caught up with her. She was huddled in the lee of the car, shivering and completely unable to understand what had taken them so long.
Even my faithful Model Dog finally left my side as we neared our destination and, with an apologetic backward glance, turned and ran for the cover of the open car boot.
Fortunately, a good rub down and - in the case of the two-legged members of the party - a hot shower soon revived us all. (The In-Charge has perfected a method of showering/washing that doesn't involve his right hand. I think he takes it off and leaves it outside the door.)
Since then we have really caught the holiday-bug.
On Sunday, we went to Carrick for the day. A friend told me there is an indoor market (of the junk rather than the food variety) next door to the weekly car-boot sale, so we piled the dogs into the car and set off first thing.
We had a great time - and a sunny one withal.
We bought a pair of cast iron legs that will make a perfect table for the garden, once we decide which of three table tops to award them to.
I bought some beautiful phlox from a German chap, two large baskets of shells (for an as yet unidentified project in the garden), a pretty little dish which caught my eye and a gorgeous paperweight that the In-Charge thoughtfully brought to my attention.
Meanwhile, the dogs lapped up a serious amount of flattering attention, behaved immaculately and - as always - served as an introduction to all sorts of people.
|We bought a paperweight, lots of shells and a little plate|
On our way home we popped into Strandhill People's Market, but sadly it must have rained there a good bit, as the stall holders had all gone home by early afternoon, when we arrived. The In-Charge bought a delicious sausage in a roll from the only remaining stand and then we too headed home for tea and a lazy evening. On our journey we listened to a programme about the Irish Wolfhound in which they quoted the most perfect description I've ever heard of those - and all - hounds: 'A lamb in the house, a lion in the chase'.
By Monday, we were up and ready for the off, the dogs dancing at the door.
All we had to do was decide where to go.
As we needed to visit a wood yard for several items, we decided to go to Sligo. We haven't been out that way for ages, since the end of term in May.
It was a breezy day still, but Bertha having plumped for places further south, it was mostly just sunny and warm. Sligo is very busy this week, and all wrapped up in the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, so we left it singin' an dancin' and headed out to Half Moon Bay, to Hazelwood for a lovely, peaceful walk.
|Hazelwood House, picture taken from the internet|
It is heartbreaking that such a house has slithered into rack and ruin, instead of being put to some latterday use. It was built in the 1730's - Richard Cassells was the architect - and owned by the Wynne family, but they ceased to live there donkey's years ago. Let's not go into the whole sorry, sordid Saehan occupation of the site, but if someone doesn't rescue the house soon, it will probably be too late. It may already be too late - who knows when this picture was taken? But imagine if it could be used to benefit the whole community.
We noticed a For Sale notice on the gate, but I didn't see exactly what was for sale.
Let's hope the Save Hazelwood House society can, indeed, save it.
(Click here if you want to know more.)
|Map taken from Sligo Walks - Hazelwood|
At least the woods, surrounded practically on all sides by Lough Gill and the Garavogue River, remain and are open to the public. We didn't follow the well known sculpture trail, we just enjoyed the scenery. From Half Moon Bay you can look across to Cottage Island and Church Island on Lough Gill. We stood for a long time staring out across the water. Back in the mists of time, we used to go to both those islands in the little boat with the In-Charge's father. We'd load up with fishing rods, rugs, picnic baskets, the dogs, and the Volcano, that marvellous contraption for boiling water almost instantly over a campfire, and we'd set out for a blissful day messing about in boats.
'What's it like on the lake, Sammy?' my father-in-law would ask the old black lab.
'Ruf, ruf,' he'd bark his own reply.
It's a perennial joke, but it reminds me of him.
The days that used to be.
We left Hazelwood and popped into McHale's wonderful wood yard nearby to get the pieces we needed. I quite fancied a mosey out to Dromahair, but by then the car was rather laden, so we went down towards Doorly Park to find the scaffold-board man instead. We wished we'd had the foresight to bring the trailer at that point, but we'll go back another day.
Yesterday, we again got up bright and early and went off to The Organic Centre in Rossinver.
Sadly, once there, we couldn't think of a way of passing the Models off as Blind Dogs, so we had to leave them in the car, parked under some shady trees with the windows open. They were, to say the least, extremely put out, but there you go.
It was a quiet day at Rossinver and unfortunately the cafe wasn't open, so no coffee for the In-Charge. But we looked in all the polytunnels, ate the warm, aromatic tomatoes straight from the vine that were offered to us, admired the wonderful home-made benches, the imaginative fence posts and the willow sculptures.
|The Organic Centre has lots of things to admire|
After that we drove up to Enniskillen, on to Omagh and then back via the Atlantic route, stopping to picnic, look at things and walk the dogs in between several gusty rain showers. In Ballyshannon we were too late to find a cafe, so drank coffee and ate ice cream in the car on the deserted little harbour below the town, and stared out at the cross, grey waves snapping at the squally rain. In the distance lay a gleaming sand bar, lit up by a stolen ray of sunshine, but we were too tired to go and find it, and in the event, it too was swallowed up in mist by the time we left.
This morning we haven't gone anywhere.
The In-Charge's new toy has arrived. He has bought a Bosch 'silent' vacuum cleaner, so that he can clean around Hobbes without waking him up - like they do on the ad.
He got it on-line, super-duper-ultra-reduced because it was shop-soiled or something.
I tried it, but it wasn't on silent mode and Hobbes leapt up and ran out in disgust.
The In-Charge was also disgusted. I had taken the first 'go' on his new piece of kit, a presumption of the first order and not to be tolerated. However, I've apologised profusely, willingly agreed to re-sign the pact that forbids me from using the vacuum cleaner - ever, and peace has been restored.
He is away now, cleaning the house in blissful silence, without needing ear-defenders for once.
Judging how long it's been since the old vacuum died, he could be gone some time.
The Models are consequently sulking in their beds.
It looks like our Walk-Out is over, for the time being anyway.