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Intro

BunnyNick helps his big sister Judith move house. This is what good brothers are for!

She's moving from Gloucester to Ballineen, Co. Cork, Ireland.

This is a diary of her move.

All images are clickable. Click here to view the entire diary on one page.

This diary also has several extra pages. They are linked to within the diary text, but are listed here for completeness:

Sunday, September 8, 2002

Judith's farewell at Gloucester Cathedral

Goodbye Number 10Today was Judith's last Sunday at Gloucester Cathedral. She preached and presided at the 10.15am Eucharist with Bishop David in attendance.
 
PresentationWest End of Gloucester CathedralAfterwards Judith was presented with a picture of the West End of Gloucester Cathedral. very many friends were present at a buffet lunch in the Chapter House with food prepared by Peggy Theaker and her merry band!

 

Michael's ring blessing

Judith performs a duty for Mike, our cousin. Michael, Judith and I troop off to the South Ambulatory Chapel. Judith blesses the ring.

We attend her last evensong as cannon at Gloucester. Psalm 108 has the curious phrase Moab is my washpot.

Goodbye to the Forest

Judith with very own rainbowSevern
Mist near Speech HousePond
water liliesWe enjoy a meal at Speech House.

I help pack up computer etc. I know a thing or two about computers!

I return home. I'll be back Tuesday to carry on helping with the move.

Monday, September 9, 2002

Loading up

The weather is not so good - it rains.

Van interiorVanJudith chose Pickford's to do the heavy work.

"Granddad", Ken and Brent, the lad, pack boxes and start to load up their van.

The day is planned so that most the loading will be today; Judith will have enough belongings for the night; final packing in the morning.


My sister enjoys a farewell booze at the Tailor of Gloucester pub with friends and neighbours at 20:00.
 
Packing upThe cats and their mistress spend their last night at No 10. 

Judith comments how strange it is to be just left with a bed. "A bit like dying - at the end all we need is a bed!"

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Gloucester

GloucesterI return to Gloucester, packed and prepared for Judith's move. 

Final Packing

hallSitting roomThe last couple of rooms, the cellar and Judith's bed are emptied.

Packing is completed by midday.
Sitting room empty apart from Cheese plantThe last items to be packed are the houseplants.
Pickford's VanBrent being an apeThe Pickford's van leaves the cathedral close for the ferry port at Swansea.

The Journey Begins

The cats are dosed with Valium, prescribed by the vet. They seem quite lively on it. Judith is also using 'Happy Spray' - a cat pheromone aerosol which has a calming effect, apparently.

The cats have brand new and very large carriers. Maud is driven with Judith, Sebastian with Nick.

We leave in good time to get the overnight ferry from Swansea to Cork. This alternative is shorter by road, and we feel is kinder for the cats. The boat departs from Swansea at 21.00 and arrives in Ringaskiddy, Cork tomorrow morning at 07.00.

We enjoy sunshine - a lot better than yesterday's rain. We drive through the Forest of Dean and on to Wales via the M4. 

Sebastian's meowing doesn't annoy me - I can't hear him over the "music" some rancid teenager left in my CD player. The meowing cats have a stop at the first motorway services we come to.

We're at Swansea docks by 15:30, good and early. A "revitalised" area of urban decay.

Superferry

Room for one van and one car?We watch the dock ramp being set to match tide as the ferry docks. "It's like a millpond." comments the ramp operative.

The Superferry, registered in Kingston, Jamaica, is operated by Greeks. This must be miserable for them, plying between Wales and Ireland. The Mediterranean is so much nicer!

Ferry docksSeveral years ago our friends Nick (BS) and Emma had an unpleasant time on this boat. The food was not good.

They recommended: "Bring your own! - It's not like those nice Norwegian ferries!"

I would concur.

Cheap and adequate food is offered on the help yourself middle deck restaurant. We couldn't face the pretentious Acropolis bar. It's less of a disappointment when you can see the food your obliged to eat before you've paid for it.

We order peas, fish and chips; sit down, and consume our reheated frozen food. The boat silently moves out, ten minutes early at 20:50.

Paddy's bar on the boat is a comfortable place for a pint. The barman has an irritating habit of arbitrarily ringing a large brass bell.

Cabin GPS

Our cabin, number 309, has 2 bunk beds but no water for washing.
 
I whinge to a member of staff hiding in a kiosk full of keys.

"You must be from 309. Hasn't the plumber fixed it yet?" the key master asked me.

"Apparently not." I reply.

We are allocated the neighbouring cabin 311. This is bigger, four berth room, with fully working disabled access toilet. The steward helps us move our bags. He stops. He's seen my Global Positioning System receiver.
"Would that work in Poland?"
"Yes. The G in GPS really does mean global."
I give him a demonstration - well it passes the time. 10 minutes later he is relieved to be allowed to go.

That'll learn him.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

By 04:00 the millpond has become a vomit ride. The GPS registers our speed fluctuation 16 .. 24 mph. We're on a corner of the vessel - exacerbating the movement.

The smell of cheap tobacco smoke and talking neighbours is literally nauseating.

At 04:20 Judith throws up. "That's better!" she says 10 minutes later. (She's travelled widely and this is the very first time she has been seasick in her 53.6 years.)

We leave our cabin at 07:00 and enjoy a full fat Irish Breakfast!

We rejoin the cats imprisoned in the cars. We await our instructions/clearance to drive off the boat.

It is raining!

Road Signs

We follow signs to N71. Seems there is Irish humour or stupidity afoot.
We're in some new housing estate. No signs of the N71. I guess most people do this just for the fun of it. This is our introduction to road signs in Ireland. Complete garbage to our ignorant English eyes!

I have my GPS pre-programmed with the grid reference of the Rectory at Ballineen. I follow the GPS's arrow. Judith follows me. We soon pick up the N71.

Arrival

SignWe're at the Rectory by 09:30. It's still raining.

The cats are released into a small bedroom, made comfortable and the door securely shut.
Ballineen Rectory - FrontBallineen Rectory - BackKen and Brent arrive. They unload. 

I provide coffee at regular intervals. Judith directs. 

Ken comments that its a pleasure to have stress free customers. Judith has it all planned. I'm a visitor, so there are no arguments from me about where things should be put.

Brent gets verbal abuse from me. Best thing to do when young people are being polite and getting on with things.
The "men" quit at 16:00. All the boxes and furniture have been unloaded.

Hotel

HotelPetrified Tree TrunkJudith and I release the cats into the house, and head off for the Celtic Ross Hotel at Rosscarbery on the coast 15 miles away.

We booking in with duff room keys: the receptionist was so overwhelmed by my carma that she forget to program them!

We are soon in the bar enjoying a pint of real Guinness. A respectable Irish gent called Jim talks to us He gives us his potted life history.

"Dour Irish." Live with them and they're not the happy jovial people the world expects.

"That's an act for the tourists." he adds.

After the good food at the restaurant we take a short walk along the causeway. We retire early at 21:30 and sleep well.
There are no meowing cats to annoy us.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Morning

Celtic Ross HotelSwans RosscarberyWe rise and have breakfast at 08:00. 

The sky is clear the sun is shining. Totally different to yesterday. Intending to make the most of it, we walk around the hotel grounds, and over the causeway. 

Wild swans are enjoying the sun too.

A cattery is spotted on the road from Rosscarbery to Ballineen.

Moving in

We're back at the rectory at 09:30. Maud greets us. Sebastian doesn't: he has escaped; he has done a runner: a window had been left open.

"He'll turn up" says Judith optimistically.

The removal men arrive to unpack. By 13:00 they are done. We say goodbye to our English friends. The next friends we meet will be Irish!

Maud gets stuck up a tree - almostWe take a lunch break in the garden. 

Maud joins us. She hears a neighbour's dog and climbs a tree for safety. Getting down is a bit slow and clumsy. Her drugs are still wearing off.

We hear Sebastian meow from the undergrowth. He's around. Best not alarm him by chasing after him.

The beds are made, curtains are put up. The bedrooms are usable.

Everything we do we are accompanied by a sleepy Maud. She wants to sleep, but doesn't want to loose sight of Judith. She mews pathetically when alone. (Fear not. The normally robust Maud is restored in a couple of days.)

Ballineen

I walk around the village. The shopkeepers are very talkative! 

I entered one shop. An item of plumbing had taken my interest. 
After half an hour I leave. We had discussed several of the world's major troubles but nothing to do with plumbing. 

This is my first taste of the local Irish people.

Evening

DrombegWe take the evening off: Judith wants to see the oceans waves. We head via Rosscarbery to the stone circle at Drombeg. (17 stones).

Good food is enjoyed at the Marine hotel at Glandore.

We return to sleep in Judith's new home. Our first night.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Sorting out the kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the house. Modern "transmission line" lights are fitted, and the washing machine plumbed in. The TV is connected. 

TV - a digression

An unofficial "community relay" is used on Band 3 and UHF. There's a digital service, Chorus that appears from a terrestrial SHF source complete with Sky 1. Chorus uses a peculiar Multipoint Microwave Distribution System.

Judith's lucky that her UK Television can handle VHF as well as UHF.

Bantry Bay

Bantry BayBantry BayThis evening we go west to Bantry Bay, about forty minutes drive.

We park a short way out of Bantry and walk in to the centre. You could have a very good pub crawl here!

Judith has a Cork Gin and I have a Guinness in a pub filling up with smart young people. 
PotsEveningMussels and scallops are served in a nearby sea food restaurant. Very nice thank you.

Judith likes a model Rector Rabbit amongst the many tourist trinkets. This is noted.

Towards Sheep's HeadWe drive part way along the peninsula to Sheep's head. The landscape is more mountainous than the rolling terrain at Ballineen.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Cork

We travel to Ireland's second major city, Cork. Maps and an ISDN modem are purchased. Lots of shops! Large usual shops as found in the UK: Virgin, HMV, Waterstone's, M&S and well as lots of small competing local shops. 

The English Market is recommended. It's a fish and meat market with restaurants.

In St Fin Barre's Cathedral there are kneelers with "Kneel and Pray" embroidered. The one in the Bishop's pew had been replaced by "Stand and Think".

Lots of Judith type shops:

  • weird furniture
  • herbal
  • arty
  • aromatic

Cat Search

We decide to search for the missing cat. An hour's rummaging through the shrubbery and walking around the neighbouring field - no result. We assume Sebastian wants his freedom. Judith is strangely optimistic about his return. Maud enjoys the extra fuss.

Part of my cat searching takes me to the village football ground. The local lads are playing football. I hear a song based on "Brown girl in the Rain". I won't print the adapted words here - nor a hyperlink to them - I don't want to traumatise the surfer's fragile mind.  Nice to know that Irish lads are quite broadminded.

Evening

Kinneigh TowerI navigate Judith to the round tower at Kinneigh. The local roads are a maze, quite difficult to follow from the map.

We decide that we need to set aside a day to visit all of Judith's churches

I can navigate and pilot the labyrinth, while she drives.

The pub near Ballineen was not doing food this evening.
"We have had bikers in all day and the staff have been let off." says the landlady. 
"Try Bandon"

Bandon

The Indian in Bandon is distinctly average. South Indian Thali turns out to be a couple of breakfast bowls of curried vegetables. The waiter is friendly enough - smiling when he cannot understand us. He smiles all the time.

When leaving we see the smiling Indian is being physically accosted by a woman on the door step.
"What's going on?" I ask.
"I'm a healer - he hurt his back lifting a sack of rice. Watch!"
She massaged his lower back, flicking her hands as she cast out the pain, invoking the name of Jesus and Mary.

Judith was most interested.

Dessy's Bar

I try Dessy's Bar in Ballineen. The large lounge is empty. The bar full of middle aged drinkers watching greyhounds racing in Lycra on the TV. Only slightly surreal. Guinness is fine!

Sunday, September 15, 2002

ISDN modem

I install an ISDN modem in Judith's computer. It's a Trust ISDN PCI Internal, Model 11537. This new type of modem will work twice as fast as her previous dial up modem she used at Gloucester.

The diagnostics work, now we need an Internet Service Provider to connect to the internet. This will be a task for tomorrow.

Coast trip

We drive down to the coast via Clonakilty. This will be a nearby shopping town for Judith. A vet's is spotted for Judith's remaining cat.

CoastCoast Along the coast eastward is Simon's cove. Rock pavement. Derelict house/ restaurant. We see in the distance the Seven Heads cliffs and headland.


We pass the ruinous Franciscan abbey at Timoleague. The Pink Elephant restaurant is nearby. We stop there for lunch. Leek soup and salmon - very good!

Kinsale

KinsaleKinsaleKinsale is tourist ville. However it is very pretty and Judith likes the shops!

Good shops! Several sheep mugs were collected.

The restaurants look good. 

Kinsale is a gourmet centre. We settle for a couple of humble hot chocolates at the Hole in the Wall pub.

Judith, et al, on boatWe take a harbour cruise, a 50 minute trip round the bay. Very good introduction to the place. We see James Fort and opposite Charles Fort near Summercove.

Off the Old Head of Kinsale, the Germans killed 1198 people by torpedoing the Lusitania. A catalyst for America's involvement in WW1.

Rectory

Back at the Rectory we put up some curtains and a lamp in the kitchen. Judith resumes unpacking boxes.

Maud takes tea with us in the garden. We think she is totally happy that she's the only cat. She enjoys some vigorous ninja stroking. The horses look on. Maud and the foal have made friends

Monday, September 16, 2002

Internet Service Provider

I organise the ISP. All we need to get Judith's computer to connect to the internet is 3 items of information:

  • The number to dial
  • An account name
  • An account password.

These are obtained. We elect to use the cheapy Eircom ISDN subscription, free access is not provided for ISDN customers!

"It should work in about a half to one hour's time," the Eircom sales person said optimistically.

It actually took an hour and a half and a phone call to ask what was happening!

Judith reminded me we were in Ireland. "Time runs slow! Don't try to think that you're in England."

Now we have a 64k connection!

I test it with a site in the States - 59.1 kbps. Not bad.

The House

We organise furniture in the study and sitting room. I repair a bookcase - going over the top with wood planes and lots of glue. Judith continues with her boxes.

Judith now has a "Whirly Gig" clothes drier. 'Guess who' says he will concrete in the post hole! Well she is cooking dinner.

CLONAKILTY

Shopping at the local town of Clonakilty is easy. There's a supermarket on the N71 bypass.

Maud only uses the finest stench aborbing kitty litterKitty litter seems to be a bit of a rarity here.
"Don't Irish cat pooh?" I ask an innocent local stocking up a shelf.
"Yes"
"Where's the kitty litter?" I enquire. (Maud only uses kitty litter. Digging in bare earth is fine and a thing she really enjoys but as the garden is all grass there is nowhere for her right now.)
"We don't have any. May be tomorrow."
"OK." I pick up a roll of Sellotape and say to Judith, "We'll need a cork too."
A couple of minutes later the innocent local finds us and hands us a pack of Thomas Cat Litter.

Maud

MaudMaud has caught 2 mice today. This is the first time for 5 years that she has caught a mouse.

The first was caught and dispatched, and left as a gift for Judith.

The second was caught, tortured, and parts eaten. We suspect that there are remains somewhere upstairs in the Rectory.

Judith heard a rabbit being horribly murdered last night. Is this Sebastian making his first big kill in the wild?

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Unpacking

Pictures go up in the front sitting room. Another room is now sorted. More boxes emptied.

Concrete

I need concrete for the wretched "whirly gig". Try getting bagged pre-mixed concrete in Ireland.

"Two 25kg bags please of your finest ready mix please."

I'm given a funny look and a 50kg bag of sand and a bag of cement.

Paddy

Sam MaguirePaddy, in charge of the neighbouring town of Dunmanway, visits. He is sort of Rural Dean. He gives Judith more low down. 

People don't die here - they are buried. Be gentle, never abrupt.

He gives a potted history of  local famous people Sam Maguire and Michael Collins

A new statue to Sam Maguire was unveiled a couple of days ago in Dunmanway.

Tour of Judith's Churches and Schools

We tour Judith's new patch. I navigate, Judith drives.

We visit:

  • The school at Ballimoney
  • The ruin near Ballimoney
  • The retired church at Ballimoney. This is to be sold as a private residence.
  • The church at Kilmeen
  • The site of the old church at Murragh, only the graveyard exists. (Still maintained and recently mown)
  • The reopened church at Murragh (Farrenthomas) at Newcestown.
  • The church and round tower at Kinneigh.
  • The church and school at Desertserges. This takes some finding as "Desertserges" is not on the map. Look for Knockmacool, south east of Enniskean.

[A year on an Judith has a web site organised for the Kinneigh Union of Parishes.]

Clonakilty

We enjoy lobster with creamy sauce and apple pie with cream at Sugan's pub in the local town on the coast. No more cream for Nick - the bulk is getting excessive!

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Mr Fixit

Has Drill will Travel puts up more things that need screws. (Judith continues with boxes, she is quite an expert by now.)

South West

GlandoreLong IslandNick roams of to the splendid south west. 

Driving between 17:00 and 18:00, rush hour time, I do not notice any jams. The roads just do not get as congested as they do in England.

Skull, Glandore, Ballydehob, Skibereen, Drimoleague, Dunmanway. The coast is very picturesque with the setting sun and rising moon.

The roads signs are inadequate. However, with a GPS and a set of OS maps, life is quite easy. 

Rehearsal

Judith is away. It's her Institution rehearsal at Kinnagh this evening.

Pint or two

We meet up and have a pint at Dessy's bar. Served by Una, the wife, and chat with Dessy himself. The Guinness, as always, is excellent!

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Work

A sunny day.  We concentrate on getting the house organised: there will be several guests turning up tomorrow.

The morning sees more shelves being put up. Boxes continue to be unpacked. We have quite a stack of collapsed boxes in the garage to be taken back to England - but the rest of the rubbish accumulated is burnt on a rather rapid bonfire in the garden.

Telephones

I attempt to wire Judith's old BT phone/ fax / answering machine to the Irish Phone system. The connectors are RJ45 4 way, 2 wire circuits. The UK bell circuit "third wire" is obsolete in Ireland. There is no "master socket" installed in the house. I could dig out a .1F 400V capacitor I suppose. (Forgot to bring one with me!)

I guess Judith needs to buy a new phone!

Water FeatureBandon

Lunch at Bandon. Shepard's pie, with potato, with more if we want it.

This is a working town, out of the tourist trap of the coast. A pleasant enough place.

The Chapel Steps Restaurant has been recommended to us. This has yet to be tried.

The afternoon sees the back sitting room with two new curtain rails and curtains. This room is now habitable.

Judith organises her library in the study. She thinks she ought to prepare a sermon for her first service on Sunday. Ireland is too relaxing to rush into things.

Dinner

RabbitWe spend a couple of pleasant hours over dinner with David, a good soul from the parish where he is the local Reader. He likes the rabbit welcoming him at the Rectory front door. 

We decide to name the rabbit Bartholomew Bunny. This is the present dedication at the church at Kinneigh. It used to have a Celtic saint's name but in the 1800 a rabid evangelical changed it to Bartholomew. Judith would love to find out the original dedication and restore it. However Bartholomew - the 'Unknown Saint' may have some relevance.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Pictures

Pictures go up in the downstairs rooms and hall. The Rectory now looks lived in. Boxes are becoming more rare.

Dunmanway

We take a break from putting up pictures and explore the nearby town of Dunmanway for lunch. The restaurant on the north side of the market square is to be recommended. Proper Irish food is served. This is not a plastic tacky modern place.

Judith's Institution and bash. 

Judith's institution as Rector of the Kinneigh Union of Parishes by Paul, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

Judith's friends join us for this evening's tricks. A group from Gloucester and other friends join us for the occasion. 14 bodies in all plus Maud. Seems to be an excuse for them to have a holiday in Ireland as well.

The friends arrive at 16:00 at the Rectory for a pre-service buffet and a good look around the house. All are amazed to see how much we have both achieved!

The Institution

Judith's Institution was held at Kinneigh church. This small isolated church was full. I'd estimate over 200 congregation, 20 clergy (multi-denominational), one bishop, one bat. 

The Institution was within the context of the Eucharist for the eve of St Matthew, presided by Bishop Paul Colton. Nick Bury, Dean of Gloucester gave an excellent and witty sermon.

Juith and Bishop PaulBatThe Bishop did a lot of beaming, whilst a bat, trapped in the church, flew around throughout the service. This provided a welcome distraction during the more boring bits.

The Bash

BashBashThe post Institution bash was held at the Ballineen and Enniskean Development Association community centre (the B.E.D.A. Hall, also known as the 'bidet hall' which reminded Judith of the bidet or B'day group of friends at Gloucester Cathedral.) The centre is very convenient for the Rectory - only 100 metres or so away.
Table laden with foodDavid the ReaderA lot of effort was put in by the good people in preparing food. Lots of sandwiches. Lots of cake. An excess of scones.

 

 

David the Reader

The room is full. We listen to speeches from:
  • The Bishop
  • The BEDA president
  • The Roman Catholic Priest
  • The Headmaster
  • The Methodist Minister
  • Finally, Judith

More sandwiches for me.

The Irish do have a good sense of occasion. If there's something going on - do it well.
 

 

Speech
Speech
Speech
Speech
Speech

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Ring of Kerry.

Andrew and Laura visited the Ring of Kerry a couple of years ago.
"Quite pretty. We saw the sea etc. Only problem is that you can meet coaches coming round and there isn't really room to pass. I think you are all supposed to go around the same way, but this could just be Irish humour!"

Kerrymolls gapWe'll drive to Kerry, just over an hour away via Bantry Bay. We drive a short stretch (arc?) of the ring between Kenmare and Killarney, stopping off at Moll's Gap and at Windy Gap. Sheep mugs and T-shirts are for sale at Moll's Gap.

The ring would take a couple of leisurely days to complete properly. We'll leave this for another visit. There's absolutely no point in rushing a leisure drive.

We take a more direct route back to Ballineen: the N22 via Macroom.

 

Evening meal at Ard Na Greine

Nick Bury invites us to his guest house for an evening meal. Norma, the host and proprietor, provides abundant food. There's a good choice on the menu. So good that I've put a hyperlink to her guest house here.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Judith's First Sunday

10:00 Eucharist Kilmeen.
55 communicants (with 7 from Gloucester)

She and Reader David did rally driving between the two services. Judith at the wheel.

11:30 Eucharist Farrenthomas.
48 communicants and 9 children.

Judith's first Sermon.

A bright sunny morning - the English contingent no longer believe it rains in Ireland!

Morning

TurbinesWhilst Judith is being good and holy I'm looking at wind turbines. I take a trip to Milane Hill wind farm, near Dunmanway.

Lunch

Judith and I have Sunday dinner at the Celtic Ross Hotel at Rosscarbery. We say goodbye to Judith's English friends.

Castletownshend

NagWe drive to the remote village of Castletownshead on the coast. A little bit of England. The house styles aren't so Irish. The last time Judith was here was on holiday 23 years ago.

Toe End

CliffsCliffsA remote cliff lined headland. Sunny - the weather is such that a clear patch of blue sky stays over head, whilst inland it is 9/10 cloud. I take a walk while Judith snoozes in the sun. I guess it's been a busy few days for her.

Union Hall

Casey'sWe walk around the harbour and causeway. The tide is rushing in. We guess it may be a spring tide as there was a full moon last night and we're near the equinox. Casey's Bar serves us Guinness, Prawns, battered cod. Very good!

Monday, September 23, 2002

Goodbye

We decide to take some photos of the Rectory for posterity. We have not been idle!

I say my farewells to Judith. She now has parish to look after. I'll be back. Soon!

Crosshaven

CrosshavenCrosshaven is near the ferry port at Ringaskiddy, Cork. This is an ideal place to abide one's time waiting for the ferry back home. 

The village has all you need to prepare for the ferry journey. 

  • There's a general store to buy bottled water and chocolate biscuits. The nice butcher there makes a Irish breakfast bread sandwich. (I don't have to buy anything on the ferry!)
  • The chemist sells pills to prevent seasickness. 
  • The pub sells Guinness. 
  • There's a walk with views of Cobh and Cork Harbour.

Superferry

The ferry left at 21:00pm. 

In the restaurant I chose authentic food: Greek Salad. Very good. Made for Greeks by Greeks.

The reason for the intermittent ringing of the bell in the bar is determined: tip the barman and he rings the bell. Seems to me like a very good reason for not tipping the man.

The journey is smooth and uneventful, docking at 07:00 the next day.

Conclusion

The Irish. What a friendly bunch!

Sebastian

For the passionate lovers of the cats amongst you: some will think we didn't do too much about Sebastian when he disappeared.

Judith did call him a lot, especially at night. A notice went out and neighbours alerted etc. In fact the local Garda are now on the look out as well as the Dog Warden. 

Soon he will be a national/international concern.

But lovely weather and lots of mice.....what more could a country cat cooped up in a city for five years want? 

Maud's killing an enormous mouse as I write this! She is so pleased with herself.

Update - February 2003

Judith emails me:

1st Feb

Guess who I found on my walk this morning? I hear this cat meowing loudly calling at me, but didn't think it was Sebastian. I tied up the dog and approached the bushes where the crying was coming from (a place the dog and I walk past most mornings, towards the BEDA Hall.)

I then saw a thin tabby looking cat with no markings on the sides. 'Just like Sebby' I thought. Then as he came up to me obviously recognising me and happy to see me, purring, I could see it was him, but only half the weight he was. He is terribly thin but well and surprisingly confident -  probably driven by hunger. Loads of scratches on his nose but otherwise OK. He is wandering around the house exploring everything and being highly vocal.

Maud hates having him back and swears at him if he comes anywhere near her. She has enjoyed being the only cat and so she is disgusted at his return!

Sebastian is not impressed by finding a dog present - but at least he didn't run away from Mogue - but then Mogue is under strict command not to make a lunge.

Very strange!  Where has he been all this time?

8th Feb

He is now putting on a bit of weight. The first few days he would wolf down anything - even the dog's dinner had he had the chance. I have never seen such a ravenous cat. (No sign of worms or other illness at all.) He then began to have some very loose stools - bit like humans who over-eat at Christmas. I am now regulating his diet and he has enjoyed a couple of lightly boiled eggs which seem to be working and doing the trick.

All images N G Hubbard September 2002