Spring in the air?

Find myself obsessed with the weather forecast lately. Because some days a walk can be a life saver. Today was one of those days. I have had very little sleep over the last few nights (yes…seems the growth spurt is never ending…feeding every two hours last night), Mia was bit off form and Ava is eventually getting tired of her bouncer (can’t blame her…she has spend most of her days over the last few months sitting in the chair on top of the kitchen table watching Mia having fun…it’s time now for her to join in rather than to be expected to be quiet and watch). We were all ready to snap!

After checking the forecast on my phone about twenty times this morning and looking out the window at least as often, I risked it and got the girls ready for a walk in the afternoon. Feeding, changing nappies, putting on jackets, hats and scarfs took me just under twenty minutes today (yes, I actually timed it), but it was well worth it as we managed to be outside for two and a half hours. It was cloudy, but the rain stayed away. There was even a touch of Spring in the air.

River Lee, near Blackrock Village.

 Took a few snap shots while walking.

Double Buggy - Double Fun.

We walked as far as Blackrock Village. I had my Decaf Latte and Mia and myself shared a chocolate chip cookie!

Spring is in the Air.

On the way back, into the Marina Park to admire the daffodils and say hello to the ducks.

Young Swan in Marina Park.

The last two pictures are taken in the Marina Park, next to Páirc Uí Chaoimh. We are living very close to the park and love taking the kids there for walks. And as they’ll grow up, we’ll be using this facility more and more. I imagine this will be where they’ll learn to cycle their first bike. Where they’ll have a run around when the garden feels too small. Where they’ll meet up with friends when they’re a bit older.

A new sub-regional park was planned to develop the area around Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but the City Council now want to re-zone the bulk of it so they can be given over for additional GAA parking and a new all-weather pitch for use by the GAA alone. The location of this second pitch – rumoured to have 4,000 seats- is right in the middle of the prime part of the proposed park. This re-zoning would rob the citizens of a jewel and would do more besides. It would effectively sever the Marina Park in two, creating two smaller parks at either side of the all weather pitch. As Cork doesn’t have enough public parks, I fully support the recently set up residents action group to object the re-zoning. More info can be found on http://www.savemarinapark.com.

First Sunday outing as a family of four!

Ava's first cultural outing!

After been stuck inside the house for almost two weeks, we had our first Sunday Afternoon outing as a family of four! With the assistance of Oma! To get the logistics right. Two buggies, enough nappies, spare clothes, ….Initial plan was to go to the playground in Fitzgeralds Park before going to the Glucksman Gallery, but as it started lashing just as we got out of the car, we had to skip the playground. Into the cafe instead for a bit of lunch and some culture after. And don’t think Mia minded missing out on the playground, as she got a chance to have a run around and stretch her legs in the gallery instead! Who needs a busy shopping centre on a wet Sunday Afternoon, if you have an empty gallery with big open spaces to explore?

Mia having a run-around in the Glucksman Gallery!

Saturday Morning in Town

So we’re not having an 11.11.11 baby. With the date that was in it, the full moon and the horrible weather, I was all set to go into labour yesterday. But our little princess has other ideas. I am only due on Wednesday and it looks as if she’s going to use her right to be nice, comfy and safe inside as long as she’s entitled to…and maybe even a bit longer…who knows? So all we can do is sit back and wait. And enjoy our time as a family of three.

As we were all up early this morning and the autumn sunshine was very enticing, we went to town for an early stroll and some food shopping in the English Market.

Cow up a Tree. Early in the morning.

It was still early when we passed Emmet Square and we were lucky enough the be able to have a first glimpse of the “Cow up a Tree”art installation. They were still in the process of putting it together, but Mia was already deeply impressed. “Koe” she said. “Koe”, “Koe”. And when we explained the Cow was up a Tree, she asked “Birdies”? How do you explain to an 18 month old, that not only birdies, but sometimes even cows end up on a Tree? After we finished our shopping we had to go back for another look, as she kept asking about the “Koe”. She’s gone to her nana now, with papa. To tell her all about the “Koe”.

Cow up a Tree. Two hours later. Installation nearly complete.

Marketa Irglova

Just before Mia was born, Denis and I went to a Josh Ritter gig in the Savoy, Cork. Although I can’t remember exactly how close it was to due date, I do know that at the time I was having false labour pains. Because it was our last night out as a childless couple, I will always remember that evening. And Josh Ritter’s music will some way or another always be linked to Mia’s birth.

So when we saw the gig announcements for the new Triskel Arts Centre in Cork and Marketa Irglova lined up for last Friday, ten days before my new due date, I was very keen to book tickets and have one last date night with Himself before princess number two arrives.

We booked a table in the Electric Bar, for a quick bite ahead of the gig. We were there once before for lunch. It’s a great place I must say. Immaculate service, great food, nice ambiance. I was well impressed. We ordered some bread and dips to start with. Chicken breast with in goose fat roasted vegetables for myself, duck for Denis after. Very tasty, pity I couldn’t finish it all.

One of the things that used to annoy me when I just arrived in Ireland, was how gigs in Irish venues always seem to start much later than what it says on the program. I know it’s probably a way to get people to drink more, but I prefer to enjoy a gig and go for a few drinks after rather than hanging around waiting. Triskel Arts Centre seems to be one of those venues that is breaking with the trend. When we arrived at five past eight, the supporting act Sean Rowe had just started. So we quickly took a seat on one of the old church benches and sat back to listen to his amazingly strong voice. The venue is only recently renovated and it’s brilliant for intimate gigs. The church benches felt like little snugs like the ones you see on old Irish pubs. I was warned beforehand that the seats weren’t very comfortable, but all by all it wasn’t too bad. The state I’m in, I don’t think any seat would have been comfortable for me anyway. The church had a very intimate feel about it. The lighting was just perfect for the mood of the gig. And Sean Rowe’s supporting act was a good taster of things to come.

After a short interval following Sean’s gig, it was time for Marketa Irglova to impress us. And did she do just that! I was really looking forward to her gig and was expecting an evening of mellow music, mainly herself and a piano. Himself was slightly reluctant when we booked the tickets, as he thought it might turn out to be a little too mellow for his taste. Was he wrong! From the first song going, it was clear that we were going to experience one of those evenings you only experience once in a blue moon. Marketa brought along three other musicians, including an Iranian singer Aida Shahghasemi. Her input in the gig changed the whole dimension of the evening. Where I was expecting a traditional singer-song writer’s kinda gig, it turned out to be like a world-music experience. I’m a big fan of world-music and have been a loyal Sfinks World Music Festival goer at home. The gig on Friday transferred me back to those days. The Iranian hand drum Aida played really added to Marketa’s songs. Marketa herself was very impressive. I felt she really owed the music she was playing. I think in the Swell Season it was Glen Hansard who dominated the music and the gigs. Sometimes it felt to me like she was just the girl with the pretty voice, playing the piano. Not at this concert though. Marketa really led her band through the gig, her voice sounded much more powerful and all in all she looked much more confident. There was moments, where the music sounded so “together”, that it was like listening to a cd. But better. They played a good selection of songs of her new album Anar, but also a few covers, including Into her Arms from Nick Cave and a Neil Young song. One of the more intimate moments of the gig was a solo from Aida on the drum. And a Farzi song about pomegranates. Marketa and Aida reworked the Swell Season song and accompanied by Marketa’s piano, Aida sang an Iranian Psalm over it. The last song they played was Falling Slowly in which Sean took on part of the vocals together with Aida. Brilliant. I am a big fan of Glen Hansard and The Frames, but I just have to admit that I think Glen Hansard could have not have done a better job. Fair play to Marketa. I’m definitely converted. And am already looking forward to more albums. And more cd’s!