Thrift

April Showers

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My studio is in my house, which is on the side of a hill overlooking the Atlantic.  The ocean is about 3 miles away as the crow flies, and when it is clear I can see the coast, from the road past Coosheen near Kilkee, Doonbeg and Doughmore Bay, Quilty, Mutton Island and up towards Spanish Point.

There’s a crucial phrase in that last sentence – “when it is clear”.  Being so close the edge of Ireland – the edge of Europe! – it means that it is a very elemental way of living.  The weather is felt very intensely. Take today for instance.  I set out for my morning walk at 9am in sunshine.  It was bright but cold, with a sharp, north westerly wind.  I could clearly see down to the coast.  Most of our weather here blows in from the ocean, so if I can see the coast, I can fairly reliably enjoy a dry walk.  I turned away from the sea and walked east up the hill from my house in the dry.

Threatening clouds
Threatening clouds

At the point where I turn around, I look back down west towards the coast.  Looming above me were HUGE grey clouds, and I could see the veils of heavy, showery rain falling from them as they approached me. I started for home at a speedy pace, hurrying the dog from her usual relaxed sniffing of smells. The rain hit just as I was going down the first hill towards my house.  It was icy cold and sheeted down my face, off my coat and soaked me through to my skin on my legs.  Note to self: get some waterproof trousers.

But within a few minutes, and as I climbed up the slight rise towards the house, the rain stopped.  And hill fog descended. So the visibility dropped from over a kilometre to less than 200m in the space of 2 minutes.  The fog was driven at speed by the strong north westerly wind, and as I crested the hill and looked in the direction of the coast, I could see a blurred line on the horizon below which I could begin to make out the coast.  The fog lifted by the time I was home, and as I turned into my driveway the sun broke through. And all that happened within 40 minutes.

Every day that I take this morning walk, I take pictures of the weather, the clouds, the flowers I see on the walk.  I tweet them at my Twitter account @sallyannsbags, and also post more photos on my Instagram account @sallyannshandmadebags. I use the hashtag #morningwalk on my pictures.  If any of you also take morning perambulation, please tweet me the pictures – I’m always curious about where people are and what their everyday walk is like.

A couple of days before it was bright sunshine, yet I could hear hail falling.  I looked to the field next to the house and could see the hail storm approaching across the field.  The hail stones were as big as large peas, and bounced more than 12 inches off the ground, such was the force they fell with.  Here’s a brief clip of video for you to show I genuinely am not exaggerating! Five minutes after the hail stopped, the sun was out again and the weather returned to calm sunshine.

Some days I have to go to the nearby town, Miltown Malbay, and on days like that, I put the dog in the car and head to the White Strand beach near Miltown.  There is a headland there which offers a fabulous walk out to the very edge of County Clare.  The waves can be crashing, the wind howling, and you feel your head clearing and exhilaration sets in.  It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, that walk will always send you home with a grin on your face.

Daisy in the Rockpool
Daisy in the Rockpool

Daisy the dog loves to swim in a large rockpool right near the furthest point of the headland.  It must be about 2-3m deep, and yesterday in bright sunshine it looked like a tropical pool.  The colours were amazing. And talking of colours, the rock pools were teeming with brightly coloured sea anemones and seaweeds.

Amazing colours in a rockpool
Amazing colours in a rockpool

All along the walk there are flowers – right now there is a profusion of dandelions and thrift, or sea pink as it is sometimes known. Thrift is one of the most amazing plants. It seems able to grow, and thrive, in rocky crevices where it is hard to imagine there is any soil or nourishment.  For a brief period in April and May, the thrift erupts in a riot of colour right down the edges of the cliffs in a  truly inspiring sight.  Close up, the plants are just as amazing…

Thrift
Thrift

As a type, today’s heavy showers, hill fog and low clouds are a thing of the past.  There is bright blue sky and strong April sunshine.  Truly a day of April showers.

On the bag making front, I am returning to the Milk Market in Limerick on Saturday for the first time in AGES. I’ll be in the craft section, sharing a stall with a couple of Limerick Craft Hub suppliers.  Since I stopped having a stall in Cruises Street I have missed the hustle and bustle of Limerick’s markets, so this will be a great chance to re-aquaint myself with new and old customers.  The stall is open from 8am until 2pm, so hopefully I will see a few of you there.  I’m back to Chapel Lane Market in Ennis on 30th April.

Enjoy the April showers, and as the old saying goes round here, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

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