I have some time off work this week - so a rare opportunity to do some of the things I enjoy - and among them another blog entry!
A couple of days ago we decided to explore the area beyond the stream at the bottom of the garden. The country lane we followed is privately owned and closed to the public with a gate, but the owner had said it was ok for us to wander around if we wanted to. The road leads to a lovely old Georgian house at the top of the hill and although I photographed it and was tempted to include a picture here, I decided not to as it is a private home.
We stepped back in time to a gentler age and found ourselves in a beautiful sylvan setting. My son's first words were 'its just like the secret garden!'
But I'm showing you these photographs for another reason as well. Everything you see here was destined for destruction a few years ago. Although the owner of the Georgian house also owns the road, this area adjacent to it belonged to someone else. It was sold to two well known Irish celebrities and property speculators and the intention was to build yet another housing estate on the land you see here. (Ireland is currently littered with badly built ghost estates left over from the irresponsible building frenzy of a few years back.)
The land was sold as the boom was coming to an end. The people who bought it failed to confirm first whether there was any public access and the owner of the road refused them permission to use it (just brilliant!) To keep the plan on track the elderly couple who lived in the house where we are now were offered a million Euros for the property (way over the market rate even in those days). The intention would have been to raze our house (even though it is a 300+ year old forge) and use the garden as a driveway.
The elderly couple refused the offer. At their time of life a much loved home had far more value than any amount of money. Not long afterwards they died - within months of each other - but by then the boom was over and the speculators were forced to move on. Our house was put on the market and could have been snapped up for far less than a million, but those reckless days of over-spending were over.
So this tranquil setting remains untouched (for now) - gently casting its spell in the summer sun. Butterflies and birds flit amongst the branches and leaves and ancient woodland guardians keep watch - the echoes of their protective magic reverberating through the air.
This cute little gatehouse stands at the point where the road crosses the stream. It has clearly been renovated fairly recently and although empty at the moment would make a cozy home.
Our garden is to the right of the road in this photo as you approach the gatehouse.
Roses on my gatepost. I decided not to pick any of these as I think they look lovely tumbling over the way they do.
I'm probably mentioning something that is well known to the rest of the world - but I have just discovered a favourite new lunch! A few days ago I picked some salad leaves and herbs to make a mixed salad and then my husband asked me to leave the few tomatoes we had as he wanted to use them for something else. So I substituted strawberries for tomatoes. This part of Wicklow is well known for its strawberries and I've managed to grow lovely sweet ones this year due to the exceptionally warm weather. Now I'm hooked - especially when I discovered how nicely strawberries go with fresh basil. So my lunches at the moment consist of strawberry salads, cheese and olives (I have to buy those) and a crisp fresh roll hot out the oven with butter and honey. Yum!!