Friday 28 April 2023

Paddle yer own

 Still waters run deep. Our nearest neighbour but five lives about 500m further West up our valley. That family were the first blow-ins and built a wooden house at the top of a 2 acre site purchased from one of the local farmers. Over the next 30 years trees grew up on the slope, so that from across the valley, especially with wisps of fog, the house looks like it escaped from Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. And when I say built a wooden house it was Paddy the Dad who sawed, morticed and tenoned the whole edifice himself. Paddy then engaged on a quixotic project to build a large sailing boat by the road side of his property without giving much thought to how to transport the vessel to the sea which at its nearest is 40km away! 

All that was resolved, done and dusted before we (second blow-ins) arrived for our own quixotic adventures involving tots, diapers, chooks, lambs, John Seymour and firewood. Several years later/ago his adult daughter Gwen returned home and put together a wooden kit house from Scandinavia.  We were here, they were there: we didn't visit on the regular but acted neighbourly when we'd meet them out walking.

The apple falleth not far from the tree! It turns out that Gwen has been on an aw'fy big adventure through the Coronarama years. Shen built her own modest water-craft and has spent the time paddling through Ireland. And she's written a book To The Waters and The Wild - the trials and tranquilities of a journey on Ireland’s waterways by Gwen Wilkinson is published by Merrion Press. I must secure an autographed copy!

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