Claire & Derek

The adventures of Clairek: Traveling through Europe and Asia

Month: October, 2012

Scotland Yard

About a week ago we arrived in Gairloch, a beautiful town in the northwest of Scotland. We are staying with a lovely couple, Bill and Fiona. They have a new and growing gardening business. Fiona is a Scotland native (this is undeniable with colloquialisms like “wee cup o' tea”) that has spent 20 years working as a midwife – she even spent time working at a Pakistani hospital in the labor ward. She now works a couple of midwife shifts a week at a hospital in Inverness, the nearest city. Bill is yet another of the traveling English that we have met through HelpX. He is a jack of all trades, skilled at handyman work, winemaking, and cooking among other things. We so happen to be helping Fiona and Bill with their yard, as well as other people's gardens. The wonderful thing is that Bill and Fiona live on the coast, as do the rest of their clients The yards of Scotland all happen to have an ocean view, which of course we like to explore.

 

When we aren't exploring, building polytunnels and raised beds, raking and cutting back ferns, or transplanting trees to create a wind block against the sometimes 80+ mph winds…we find ourselves having long conversations over tasty food about our relationship stories, the joys of home cooked meals (we have all shared some of our favorite recipes this week) and homegrown veg, the beauty of the Scottish countryside, wine. Every conceivable type of wine. Bill is a home brewer and upon arrival to the house you can't help but notice the bottles of brewing wine, the already bottled wine, rose petal and elder flower and rhubarb wine… I think we have tried about four or five different types and they are all delicious! I sense a new hobby in the future…

 

 

Scotland Yard

About a week ago we arrived in Gairloch, a beautiful town in the northwest of Scotland. We are staying with a lovely couple, Bill and Fiona. They have a new and growing gardening business. Fiona is a Scotland native (this is undeniable with colloquialisms like “wee cup o' tea”) that has spent 20 years working as a midwife – she even spent time working at a Pakistani hospital in the labor ward. She now works a couple of midwife shifts a week at a hospital in Inverness, the nearest city. Bill is yet another of the traveling English that we have met through HelpX. He is a jack of all trades, skilled at handyman work, winemaking, and cooking among other things. We so happen to be helping Fiona and Bill with their yard, as well as other people's gardens. The wonderful thing is that Bill and Fiona live on the coast, as do the rest of their clients The yards of Scotland all happen to have an ocean view, which of course we like to explore.

 

When we aren't exploring, building polytunnels and raised beds, raking and cutting back ferns, or transplanting trees to create a wind block against the sometimes 80+ mph winds…we find ourselves having long conversations over tasty food about our relationship stories, the joys of home cooked meals (we have all shared some of our favorite recipes this week) and homegrown veg, the beauty of the Scottish countryside, wine. Every conceivable type of wine. Bill is a home brewer and upon arrival to the house you can't help but notice the bottles of brewing wine, the already bottled wine, rose petal and elder flower and rhubarb wine… I think we have tried about four or five different types and they are all delicious! I sense a new hobby in the future…

 

 

Guinness’s are Galway’s better

We just left Annie, the harpist's, nice little apartment in Galway, the culture center of Ireland. We had a wonderful time eating, resting, eating, listening to music, sleeping, rinsing and repeating.

Claire played the harp with Annie on the first night. It was delightful for me to listen to two wonderful harpists “jam” together.

Cathedral
Scrap yard
City center

 

Burrened out

So we have had a couple requests of our blog. More frequency and more pictures of cities.

So, though we posted a few minutes ago, we shall post a short one again.

We went to the Burren and “hill walked” along the coast. We walked 35 kilometers, or about 21 miles. The crazy part was that we walked 15 of it in one day. The first night, we slept in a beautiful flat area surrounded by lush green pastures and brown mush manures. We were in a cow grazing area. The second day, we decided we really wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher. So we booked it 15 miles that day. In the night, we slept in a cow dock. Or something like that. Basically it was this empty building where cows were herded into from the fields nearby. The fields nearby were so muddy that when we stepped in it, we sank a few inches down.

Unfortunately, the winds really picked up that night. All night we could hear the sound of our rainfly swatting at our tent. I reckon we had 3 hours of sleep that night. So we woke up at 5:30 am and walked in the dark over towards the cliffs. We finally saw it about 7am when the sun was coming out.

 

Look how pretty…

 

 

Doin’ the Dub-lin Step, Playin’ the Feakle Fiddle

We arrived in Dublin at 5:55 AM on October 2nd…to this amazing view. After catching a couple of trains starting at 9 PM on the 1st, we were the last passengers to arrive for our ferry to Ireland. We slept like babes on the boat and then spent our few hours in Dublin wandering the canal to take pictures like these:

…taking a nap at the National University of Ireland, grabbing lunch at a genius salad/sandwich/wrap restaurant (MYO, or “Make You Own”), drinking a pint of Erdinger at Dublin's Oktoberfest, and then catching a bus on to our next destination mid afternoon.

That next destination and our current one is Feakle, Ireland – a hidden gem of beautiful rolling hills, musical and artsy inhabitants, and the answers to your eco-living questions. We are staying with Saul, Damhnait, Ishka, Grainne, Flapjack the cat, and a couple of ducks – Sasha, Alesha, and the drake. We have our own space in a small, one room eco hut that was hand built by Saul and other helpers. It has a nice little heater, futon, books, and a beautiful view of the countryside.

Talk about sustainability in action, the fam has got it down! From the composting toilet to the polytunnel and extensive garden to the absence of refrigerator and dryer to the newspaper-insulated floor, this little haven far from the reaches of big city offers a plethora of lessons on what you can feasibly do to reduce your negative impact on the environment. While here we've taken on a few different projects. The first is seed collecting – both alder and hazelnut. Saul collects native seeds that he is then able to sell to a nursery. There is a quota for each type of seed that he strives for and we've worked to help reach that – roughly 200 kilos for alder and 300 for hazelnut. On the days we haven't been searching for prolific trees, we've helped build a cob wall. It's pretty fun. First you have to make the cob. you would put 2 buckets of clay on a tarp, and then 3 buckets of sand. Jump around and do a little football dance. Flip it over and repeat the dance. Add a but of straw, dance some more. Then you have squished/ mixed what happens to be the makings of a wall.

We also went to a harvest festival for the seed collectors. We met a lot of woofers and think we have converted some to be boxers. We met one who was mentioning her dream of starting an inner city farm in the free land of Detroit. Learned a bit about biodynamic farming, which apparently uses astrology somehow.

Love,

Clairek

 

We will post soon

Hello,

We are borrowing our hosts computer to use the internet. ¬†We can’t post pictures and don’t want to be on here too long, but we will make sure we continue blogging and post when we get the chance.

Cheers,

Clairek

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