Friday, July 31, 2015

Down on the Farm.

One of our traits as an Irish nation is the connection we have to the land. This was the theme of John B Keane's masterpiece "The Field".

"Bull" McCabe: There's another law, stronger than the common law.
Father Doran: What's that?
"Bull" McCabe: The law of the land. When I was a boy, younger than Tadgh there, my brothers and sisters had to leave the land, because it couldn't support them. We wasn't rich enough to be priests or doctors, so it was the emigrant ship for all of them. I were the eldest, the heir. I were the only one left at home. Neighbours were scarce. So my father and I, we had our breakfast, dinner, and tea, working in that field without a break in our work. And my mother brought us the meals. One day, one day my father sensed a drop of rain in the air and my mother helped us bring in the hay before it was too late. She was working one corner of the field, and I was working in the other. About the third day, I saw her fall back, keel over so to speak. I called my father, I run to her. My father kneeled beside her. He knew she... he knew she was dying. He said an act of contrition into her ear and he asked God to forgive her her sins. And he looked at me, and he said, "Fetch a priest." Fetch a priest... And I said, "Let's - let's bring the hay in first. Let's bring the hay in first." My father looked at me with tears of pride in his eyes. He knew I'd take care of the land. And if you think I'm gonna face my mother in Heaven or in Hell without that field, you've got something else coming. No collar, uniform, or weapon will protect the man that stands in my way.

If you ask any Irish farmer how many acres he has or how many cattle are in his herd, he will never give you a direct answer. After all that is an indication of how much money they are worth, and that would never do! But there is one thing I know for sure. There is no Irish farm that comes close to the size and scale of a Canadian one.

Daralee brought us on a tour of her family farm. 

I remember summer days spent on Grandda Lynam's farm. I got to relive those days as I clambered onto any piece of machinery I could find!

"So now, how do I parallel-park this baby?"

"Could you at least turn your head this way for a minute?"

"What's your one doing with that camera? You'd swear she'd never seen a cow before.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Question: Who would win in a contest between firemen and cowboys?

Our first port was call was Canada. Calgary to be exact, just in time for The Stampede.
To be honest, when I first heard the title I thought it was where cattle rampaged down the street. Then I realised that was "The Running of the Bulls" in Spain! My geography was a bit off.
We were just in time for the world's largest rodeo, which could only mean one thing....COWBOYS!

But of course we were really there for the culture so our hostess  with the mostess, Daralee brought us to the Heritage Park Historical Village on the first day. It was fantastic, like stepping back in time.

"Would you have any tissues, please?"

"There's a what behind me?"

Daralee gets her first proposal of the day. Bless, he even made the ring himself!

"I suppose a ride would be out of the question?"

"No problem!"

Talk about a busman's holiday...

I'll be needing that by the end of this holiday.

And just like the Mounties, I always get my man!

All this sightseeing was thirsty work, so we headed off to Ranchers, a 100% genuine cowboy watering hole.

Not so sure about the banner over our heads!

We had been there for a while when we heard a commotion outside. When we were told it was the annual auction of Cowboys VS Firefighters in aid of local charities we felt it our moral duty to go out and support a good cause. What we saw was traumatic! Those poor young men got up on stage before an audience of wild hollering women. They gyrated and posed while removing items of clothing in order to get a higher bid. I felt it was the most demoralising thing I ever saw.

For some strange reason I was unable to concentrate long enough to focus my camera!

 I felt so sorry for the men that I felt it my duty to go up to them and give them a big hug....just to help them get over their ordeal!!!

Answer: Firemen

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Signs you're in America

Here are a few of my favourite signs that I've spotted in the past few weeks.

This was on the entrance door of a pub. If they need to post that on the door, then I figured it really wasn't my kinda place!

Ah yes, as if I needed any encouragement.

This needs no further explanation...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Life-work Balance me a#*!

Teachers have great holidays!
No one is going to deny that. However, if during school term you need to take a day off due to wedding, funeral etc it is very difficult to get time off. If we do a professional development course for a week during our summer holidays we can get three days off during the year.
This year, because I'm heading away for the month I couldn't to a face to face course so I applied to do an online one. I got a bit of a shock when the details came back. I had to have 20 hours online done and assignments completed by 31 July. We usually have to the middle of August. As I'm only back on 28th I tried to get as much done before I left.
My travel plans meant flying to Heathrow yesterday, a six hour layover and then onto Calgary. I had a few hours to kill before I met up with my partner-in-crime Jen.

How do I pass the time in an airport?
I know! I'll finish my online course!

I found a computer dock and started my final module.
The Importance of a Life-work Balance.
So there I was in Heathrow airport, about to start my summer adventures, writing  about how important it was to switch off from work while on holiday and to leave it all behind and relax!
Bet I get an A+ for that assignment.
Got it finished and now I'm freeeeee!