Very interesting morning. I’ve been thinking about doing things with pebbles for a while. Two things actually. One, drilling holes in them in order to string them together, either as sort of hanging cairns or interspersed with drift wood, as wall decorations or mobile hangings. And two, carving designs into them (see below).

So, this morning, despite a rather severe hangover*, I took myself off to Killiney Beach where I knew there would be lots of pebbles of all shapes and sizes. Lovely morning, at about 10am anyway.

I didn’t spend all that long there, but I got a good haul of suitable stones.

(*The hangover, by the way was entirely my own doing. In Casino Royale, James Bond makes up a cocktail that he later calls a Vesper, named after his love interest in the book. It’s made up of 3 measures of gin, 1 measure of vodka and a half measure of Kina Lillet. I rather took the measurements too literally and ended up with a glass full of very strong alcohol. I don’t like wasting booze, so I drank it. It was lovely but I paid for it this morning.)

My next port of call was Killiney Hill Park. I entered by the Victoria Hill gates

and walked up to the obelisk (built in 1742) noting, en passant, how unfit I felt.

I took in the air and the views and started down the other side of the hill towards the car park.

Dalkey Island, Muglins, Sorrento Terrace and, in the distance, the Kish Lighthouse
The lead mines in the distance

For several years I’ve had a piece in my head. It’s a carved wooden ladle and in the bowl of the ladle are coloured stones, set in something that looks like liquid, that’s spilling from the ladle. I have the stones. I know how to simulate the liquid (epoxy resin, this information gleaned from a model railway website) and so I’ve been looking, but not that hard, admittedly, for a suitably shaped piece of wood from which to carve the ladle. This thing in my head is quite a large piece. So my visit to Killiney Hill Park had a purpose.

On my way down the hill, I was just starting to think that there didn’t seem to be much in the way of fallen wood, when I spotted a bough lying on the ground that fitted the type of size and shape I was looking for. I had brought a camping saw and so I cut the bough into manageable pieces and returned to the car. On my way down towards Killiney Hill Road, I looked at the path I was on and reflected that it was paved with the same concrete that my childhood feet had walked on about 50 years ago. So I spent a moment with my childhood self and then walked on.

Morning wood

Seeing as how I was in the Killiney area, I thought I’d pay a visit to Jane, my step-mum who I’ve mentioned before in this blog. I gave her a buzz just to make sure that she was home and that she’d be OK with me popping in (she was both) and I drove to her house. Over a cup of tea we caught up with each other’s news, activities, plans, reading activities and so on.

I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned this but, on the bus into town on New Year’s Eve, Christine and I …

… met a woman who was on her way to a ukulele event. The woman showed us her ukulele and taught me a couple of chords. (Turns out that they were the easiest chords – C and Am, each involving just one finger.) She told us about a regular ukulele event called Ukulele Tuesday, held in the Stag’s Head pub each week. I was kind of sold.

Last year, Jane bought herself a ukulele, planning to teach herself to play it. Unfortunately, an arthritic finger (yes, that one) hampered her plans and her beautiful ukulele has been sitting in a spare bedroom, unplayed, for a few months. With characteristic generosity, Jane offered me the use of it if I wanted to pursue the Ukulele Tuesday idea, with the possibility that it might become a birthday present. I accepted her kind offer and so, the ukulele is now in my attic space. I had a little go on it today, and managed to struggle through a verse of House of the Rising Sun. My sausage-like fingers are going to be challenged to fit onto what is a very small fretboard. But I’m going to have fun trying. Thank you Jane.

The other project I’m going to work on (not forgetting the Chinese brush painting and all the other stuff that I will keep on doing) is gently restoring a couple of French 19th Century bayonets that I kind of inherited from my mother. They are Gras bayonets, both dated, and both in good condition, save for some significant rust on the scabbards and the handles. They are not all that rare, or valuable, but I think they’ll look a bit better without rust. So, I’ve done a little research and I’ll de-rust them gently over the next while. (I’ve started on one already.)


Oh, and this. Well, it’s a start.

Moving on a bit