Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week Three: Chelsea

Hello again! As we have been settling in, there seems to be less time for things like this. Or rather, we are finding other things to do other than spend our time on the internet. Like walks along the river looking at honeybees and mushrooms.

Irish weather has settled in, and yesterday we experienced gale-force wind combined with medium rain. I thought there was thunder... it was the wind sucking up air in the stove vent. One of the small houses claimed that they were going to be blown away. With the time change this weekend it is completely dark by supper time. I feel like knitting and hunkering down for the winter, but snow will never really come!

In the weavery I am learning a whole lot. I have only really done about an hour of weaving, since there are lots of other people who can do this part. Otherwise I have been doing finishing work, learning how to set up a loom, and learning how to create a pattern for people. One of the women I live with, Jill, is a fantastic weaver. She works very quickly on this gigantic loom to make shawls, rugs, and tablecloths. Most people follow a pattern that is designed for certain shafts to be lifted on the loom at certain times, but Jill has a natural knack for a modified tweed, and that is what she does for her cloth. It is lovely work, and the general feel of the room is quite calming on me.

Jeff and I have been making a point of trying to go somewhere when we have a day to do so. Last week we went to Derry, a.k.a Londonderry, which is in the very north of the island about an hour by bus from here. It is a walled city with a very torrid history, and was the site of Bloody Sunday. For the first time since we have been here, I was very aware of my Catholic background. What I did not know about the country is that a lot of the troubles were based on the civil rights movement of the US. In Derry Catholics (and some working class Protestants) protested the housing and employment situation in many different ways, both peacefully and not. Derry and Belfast were centers for this activity, or at least that is what the info in Derry told us. All over Derry there are murals and graffiti, some from the time of these struggles and some from, I do not know, maybe last week. Striking to see such open conflict. Anyway, you are all capable of finding out what happened if you are interested. But from our end, it was very strange being there. A very modern city, with big issues four hundred years ago as well as big problems in my lifetime. After all of our walking around we went to a pub where Jeff had his first Guinness, and I had a baked potato with "no meat"... which apparently translates to a can of tuna. Woops.

This week many people go on "holiday" for the long weekend, so at the house it will just be Jeff and I, Dessie, and Theimo (a farmer also attached to Rainbow). We will have a little break from the normal schedule, which Jeff and I hardly need at this point. Afterward we will have two days to ourselves to go visit Dublin. More to come!


  1. Wonderful pictures from Derry! I was there in '97 just before the last cease-fire ended. I second your feelings that it is a very strange experience to know that these things happened in what seems to be such a peaceful and lovely country.

    On a happier note - have a great holiday!

  2. ah yes
    the irish conept of "no meat"
    sounds like fun- you guys are stirring up my wanderlust...