In defense of adverbs   7 comments

It’s all the rage in the writing world these days to eschew adverbs. All the ‘How to Write Books’ books talk about it. We’ve got some folks in my writers’ critique group who just red pen every one willy-nilly. ‘Use better verbs!’ goes the battle cry.

I get it. Adverbs can be the crutch of the lazy, qualifying dull verbs that can’t carry the message on their own, or of the terminally over-descriptive, drowning the reader in too much goopy excess. (Eye-shift.)

I really do get it.

But it’s being taken to ridiculous levels.

Instead of pruning judiciously (yes, I plugged that in, even Stephen King says you can use one if you just can’t stand the sentence without it), more and more what I’m seeing is just replacing a perfectly good adverb with an inappropriate adjective.

That’s not good writing. That’s bad grammar.

And it’s friggin’ EVERYWHERE. Not just in ad copy, where decent grammar fled the scene long ago. Not just in newspapers, who no longer bother running a story past a good editor. But even in books, good books, by good authors, who presumably have good editors.

Maybe I missed something. I beat the war drums against my long-time nemesis, the split infinitive, until my friend Jess (who is a librarian and uber-tough grammarian) convinced me of both the futility and the lack of foundation for it.

I was rigorously eddicated in the British school system and it’s hard to give up what was driven so deeply into my pscyhe.

But I can learn. I can grow. I can grasp new concepts. Eventually.

What I can’t get past is ‘Run fast,’ ‘Breathe deep’, ‘Sing loud,’ ‘Type slow’, ‘Drive reckless,’ ‘Pat gentle’ and the like.

Just chopping the ‘ly’ off the gorram adverb does not make it okay.

Using a noun qualifier to qualify a verb is incorrect.

I’m also tired of ‘It sounds funny’ being the reason behind changing grammar.

Yes, language is alive, and it grows and changes and morphs. This is a good thing. But changes to grammatical rules should occur thoughtfully and with due consideration, not simply that the vernacular (which changes rapidly and wildly) doesn’t grasp it.

We may rarely respond to ‘Who’s there?’ with ‘It is I,’ any more, but there’s really no excuse for ‘Me and Dad are going to the tractor pull’ or ‘I was so thrilled when they gave the prize to Mary and I’. Not in the written word. Not even in the spoken word, except as the exception. We don’t need to be grammar Nazis in casual conversation, but I simply cannot countenance lying down for the gross and careless in our published works, even when the publication is a newspaper or online article.

Words are sacred. Treat them as such.

Or expect me to gouge out your eyeballs all vicious like.



Posted October 25, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Mabon ’17   Leave a comment

10626645_10152403902861546_5917634191121240414_n.jpgWell, the photo is from a couple of years ago in the Grand Tetons, but you get my drift.

It’s Mabon, and the last day of posting to the Gratitude Project 2017. Now that it’s time for me to finally quit whingeing about the early end of summer (and face it, I DID get robbed this year), I can sink into the joy that truly is autumn.

As a pagan priestess, I believe that the seasons come when they come, and not when the calendar says they come. And this autumn started a month ago, despite the surprising and delightful heat of the last week.

But today is when Helios balanced Himself adroitly on either side of the day, and it was palpable.

And I’m grateful. Not just for the oncoming joys of autumn, but for what is right now, today.

Tyr and Oberyn both have little Apaloosa spots of autumn color, Tyr’s yellow and Oberyn’s orange-red. Murbella’s feet are deep in her shed dark purple leaves. Berkana is well into the molt, but Freya is still in her summer garb. The woods beside the front field are already thin, and the thick still-lush grass under them crunchy with brown leaves. But the back woods are still towering and green, with only hints of autumn in their high crowns. They, and Ruby in the grove, turn last.

The hummingbird feeder sits neglected and droopy after the frenzy. But soon it’ll be time to start making homemade suet cakes, and my woodpeckers will come out of the woods and greet me every morning.

At night the cool grass is alive with faery lights. The fireflies are no longer writing mysterious runes for me in the trees. Instead they give me a labyrinth to walk as I follow along, light by fading light, through the orchard, past the shrines, to the faery grove. There were many of them around Hekate’s spot when I took the deipnon out the other night. Saying goodbye to them is so sad, and so poignantly lovely.

Jasmine’s winter coat is almost all the way in, which makes the hot days harder for her. But she has her fan, and the vigorous late season flies have a harder time getting through her pale furriness. They feast on her sleek dark gunmetal blue summer coat.

My first baby is getting married in just a week. I’m so happy for him, and for the beautiful girl he’s marrying. Then I go to my beloved Utah for a week of bliss. The quakin’ asps will be shimmering gold, and the orchards full of pumpkins and apples. The mountains will smell wild and sweet.

When I come home it will be time to put away the summer things and get out the tub upon tub of Halloween stuff. Maybe my younger and his fiancee will come home and help me. They usually do. That’s another Happy Thing. If the fine weather holds I might have time to start on my planned faery gardens by digging some wandering trenches and filling them with bulbs, and maybe buy a couple of shrubs to tuck in before the winter sleep.

My witch and I wove some good magick at our Mabon. It’ll be interesting to see how we manage to manifest it as we go down at Samhain.

It’s time to greet Persephone.

All hail the Queen.


Posted September 23, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

spider time   2 comments

10259983_10152083686661546_6502648281315963197_n.jpgearly onset autumn is making me a little melancholy.

not a LOT. i mean, life is good, and it is still summer.

but the signs are rampant.

when i got up pre-dawn today the still-fat moon was wreathed in mist. when i went out to fill the bird feeder in the pearly light, the grass was swathed in hundreds and hundreds of the tiny delicate spiderwebs that presage autumn.

the big spiderwebs were strung across the manure pile. to get in and dump my load i had to carefully pinch off a judicious thread, here and there, to give me access without destroying all the masterworks. i didn’t see any occupants, but an interested mosquito hung about, so i guess the spiders are eating well.

jasmine is still a sleek and glossy gunmetal blue, but the first hints of her pale winter coat just came through. just this morning. i swear they weren’t there yesterday.

the ol’ man and i suddenly realized yesterday that we’ve only had the Goldberry out ONCE this summer. we haven’t gone tubing with the kids at all.


the calendar says it’s still summer, even though i haven’t been able to swim for days. my hummingbirds haven’t left yet, although they’re beginning to swarm. my flowers are bright and thick. the pastures need to be mowed. the fountains are tinkling merrily.

but the spiders say that autumn is coming early this year.



Posted August 10, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Last Day at Gramarye Cottage…..   Leave a comment



and incidentally, the last Ireland post (since I blogged earlier about our actual last day.)

And the title’s a little misleading, since we didn’t actually spend the day at the cottage. But there you go. It was still our last full day at our beloved little temporary Irish ‘home’, and a fine day it was.

Not fine in the weather sense, of course. Not as relentlessly rainy as the day before, which was probably the worst weather day of them all, but it still rained, and the sun only put in occasional glimmers.

Slept better than the night before but still not particularly well, and went briskly through our morning routine (amazing how much faster it goes with no inTrawEbZ to distract me) and we were off to Parke’s Castle in County Sligo.

Like Enniskillen, Parke’s is a very nice castle in a very *managed* sort of way. I enjoyed it more, perhaps simply from being better rested. We got in for free, which was nice, because a large part of the castle was shut off for renovations, which was a pity. There was a fairly lengthy video to start with, and a lovely old well in the courtyard, and fine big battlement walls and an overgrown moat, and some nice dioramas and gorgeous woodwork in the castle, and a stormy grey sea billowing in the rain outside.

But Sligo Abbey was a gem. Just magnificent, ruined glory, SO much fun to scramble around. David liked it even better than Boyle, and I get it. Sligo is less fussed-with. Its stones lie where they fall, and there are marvelous obscure creepy subterranean chambers with broken bits of sarcophagi just begging to be tripped over, and dark doorways into dank places that drip, and graves EVERYWHERE. I love Boyle for its many and various and strange and Pagan-esque carvings, but Sligo’s slow decay is mesmerizing, especially set as it is right smack in the middle of a very busy, bustling town. We crawled over every inch of it and took so many pictures I’m afraid my phone will melt down when I try to upload them all.

One of my favorite things to see was James ______’s grave. His last name, his birth and death dates, and even his dear old mum’s name were all ruthlessly expunged, leaving only the mystery as to why this poor fellow had been so badly dissed after his expiration. What did he do to warrant being X-ed out like that although not (presumably) exhumed and evicted? Also the engraving reads ‘Here lies the boby of James….’ giving rise to the supposition that the engraver was illiterate. I myself think he may just have been a poor speller.

When we finally tore ourselves away we decided to lunch in Sligo, and remembered that my brother Richard, who came to Ireland with his wife a couple of years ago, told us that he’d had the best lasagna of his entire life while in Ireland. And since Richard is my much much much older brother, so old and wizened and desiccated and gnarled as to be absolutely fabulous, he may actually have something useful to say about lasagna.

On the other hand he’s a vegan and lasagna is cheesy, so it’s very suspect, but he confesses to indulging in the creamy goodness of cheese when he was there. And he was right- we went to an Italian restaurant where David got a calzone the size of a small baby and I got the best lasagna I may have ever had. Then we wandered briefly, snapping the shot of the pretty bridge at the start of this post, before heading off for our next adventure, the Megalithic Cemetery just outside of Sligo.

Next to ruined abbeys and castles, stone circles and prehistoric grave sites are pretty much my favorite thing in the world. I had no idea that this site was so huge, and so very very very packed full of ancient stoney burial things- dolmens and circles and capstones and one gigantic hollow herm. People brought their dead, and the offerings that went with them, to this place for thousands and thousands of years, going back 5700 years, older than Gilgamesh. We know nothing about the rites they performed, the prayers they sent up, the dances or religious plays they may have enacted, the music they played, the tears they wept. All of the details are lost in the mists of time, and the stones and the eternal grass hold their secrets and do not surrender them, but even across the lost millennia we can hold onto something they passed down to us along with our DNA and our upright posture- the strong call to honor and pay cultus to our beloved dead.

Rising magnificently behind the rolling fields of this cemetery is a hill topped by another burial mound, known as Maeve’s Nipple. Maeve was a legendary queen with tales much like King Arthur’s, with the expectation that she’ll ride out of her barrow with her warriors when Ireland has need of her. I imagine there have been a lot of folks pleading with her to make her grand return in recent centuries.

I felt no ghosts, and heard no whispers. I always hope I will, but I didn’t expect to and that’s good. I can’t honestly say whether it’s because there were a lot of tourists milling about, or that the site is so very ancient that all the spirits have long moved on, or if because my ancestry isn’t very Irish that I couldn’t hear them, or if I would need to be in ritual space, cleansed and prepared, in order to do so. But we were nonetheless moved and entranced and delighted and awed.

Didn’t hurt that there was a riding stable right across the road, and pastures full of beautiful horses and placid cows all around the acres and acres of peaceful dead.

Back in Leitrim County we decided to try and get into a lovely ruined church we’d passed many times near the cottage, but for which there didn’t seem to be a parking lot or any information. We just parked in front of the forbidding iron gates, and were pleased that there was a stile sort of arrangement that let us in. Like Sligo the main purpose of this one, called Fenagh Abbey, is apparently to be a cemetery, but this one is modern. We couldn’t get into the building itself, but through the cast iron gates we could see very neat and well-tended graves, obviously fairly recent, as well as a mix of old and new graves in the yard around the church. We poked about happily for a little while, took a few pictures and headed out. When we exited the gate we saw another car parked just a few feet from ours with a gentleman standing outside it. He didn’t speak or give us a dirty look or anything, but his presence was very clear- ‘Wot are you Americans doing poking around our cemetery? Clear orf, nah!’

And we did.

Back home for a nice tea by the waterfall, and a final early evening walk through the faery gardens. I loved seeing how drawn David was to the deep dark under the trees. He has Druid in his blood, I have no doubt.

David packed when we came in. I tried but wasn’t feeling it, so took my farewell offerings around the gardens in the deep dusk, candies and strawberries and cream. I knew the morning would be busy, so took my time and lingered in the most numinous spots, sending love and thanks.

I will never forget the spirits of this beautiful, beautiful place.

Posted July 7, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Northern Ireland and Rain   Leave a comment



Woke up Sunday morning to relentless rain after my first poor night’s sleep in Ireland, not a great combo. I had a cup of coffee which did almost nothing to revive me, but did manage to doze a little more on the couch. By the time we set out for our Northern Ireland day (in the relentless rain) I was still feeling pretty draggy.

Good drive up in spite of the weather, and I drove for a fair bit of it so David could sightsee. We finally drove through some actual mountainous areas, not seaside cliffs or big hills, and if there had been even a smidge of sun I’ll bet we would have stopped to take a zillion pictures and gasp. But as it was we just chugged straight on through to Enniskillen, just over the border (which is still wide open, pending Brexit complications.)

N.I. looks, obviously, like the Republic, since geography don’t care nothin’ about politics and boundary lines. But it’s different too, what with the signs being shown without the Gaelic (which is always listed first in Ireland) and the speeds in MPH, which was somewhat of a relief except that by then I was acclimated to Ks. But the roads are also wider and better paved, and with more visibility. I welcomed this, although the more groomed aspect overall didn’t please my Inner Wild Child as much as Ireland’s overgrown tangled opulence.

We made our way to Enniskillen Castle, our putative raison d’etre for making the drive, but I tell you true, I was just a little underwhelmed (possibly due to the relentless rain and poor sleep.) It’s a very nice castle, mind, but more of a museum, really. Very NICE museum, with interesting info and artifacts about the pre-literate history of the inhabitants of region, and some good dioramas about wars. But I tell you true, for me the highlight was the exquisite tea and cakes we had in the cafe.

I found a stone circle only 20 minutes from the Castle, and a stone circle was very much on my Things I Want To See list, so David obliged and we headed off, in the relentless rain. Enniskillen is a biggish town, but like the rest of Ireland, it ends so abruptly that it seems cut off with a sword, and you’re back out into the countryside again. A few miles of smallish roads (but not the nightmares around the Cottage which we now consider ‘home’) we found our stone circle, which we had all to ourselves due to the relentless rain. It was a fascinating circle, although there was little info on the site about it other than that some neolithic potsherds ┬áhad been found there. The wind was strong and bitter, and the rain relentless, so we walked around briefly and took some photos, but didn’t stay to listen for whispers, or for me to do a nice little EBR the way I was able to in the Lake District of England.

Next on our agenda was the Lough Ryan Castle, right nigh to our Cottage in Mohill, so back home we drove, and were treated on the way to the odd slice of sunshine slanting through the clouds and lighting up a mountainside, which just thrilled us.

You can see why people ask us what we’ve been up to and we just gaze blankly at them. It can’t be quite normal to be that dang tickled about a sunbeam. In our defense, the rain had been relentless.

Lough Ryan Castle promised, according to the handy brochure, a druid altar (spelled alter in the brochure, Gods give me strength) and dolmen. Well, we drove round and round and up and down and found not a friggin’ thing except a huge tarted up trophy resort. We finally flagged down a waiter in a parking lot, who looked blank and then told us where to go to find it, but said it was so overgrown that it was probably impossible to locate. And he was right.

Boo hiss to Lough Ryan Castle for having a druid altar and not bothering to maintain so much as a footpath to it with a wee sign.

This disappointment after a day of relentless rain sent us home slightly despondent, so we built a fire and snuggled in blankets in front of it. Then David fixed a dinner that couldn’t be beat, and when we finished the sun burst through, briefly but miraculously. We cheered and went out for a post dinner walk, for miles, through fields of splendor on lanes paved with magic. Thus the day ended brilliantly, and we tucked ourselves in happily for an early night.

Posted July 6, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

When there’s a pony involved, Suz is happy   2 comments



So you can see what the highlight of MY Saturday was!

But we’re not there yet. Since these bloggedies are for me to enjoy when I forget I’ve written them and come back to re-read in ten years, let’s go back to the start of the day with yet another good night’s sleep (most of my Ireland sleeps were lovely) and woke to grey skies. Managed to get out t he door earlier, and lo and behold, for the the first time since we arrived at Gramarye Cottage the sun burst out as we drove off, and we left in sparkling sunshine, which was magnificent. It didn’t seem possible for our little slice of heaven to be even more magical, but Ireland keeps on giving in that department.

We drove to Leitrim Village and found the canal Eugene had suggested. He hinted that we might see otters, which we didn’t, but other than that it was wonderful, one of those little humble hidden gems that people aren’t going to divert to from doing the Big Attractions, but totally rings our weird little introverted chimes. We opted for the longer walk, the 10k, and set out still enjoying brilliant skies and wildflowers that positively seemed to glow.

There are paths on both sides of the canal, and in some places water on both sides of the paths so there were zebra stripes of water and path, splashing and chuckling and being all wet and lush and all shades of green and flowery and ripply and spectacular. Occasionally we’d pass stands of woods so dark they seemed to lead to another dimension, and which breathed out air 20 degrees colder than that on the warm sunny path. Ireland magic being what it is, few of the photos we took of the Dark Realms came out showing anything close to what they looked and felt like in the Outside World. But the legends of pookas and kelpies take on a new resonance when you stop and peer into one.

We were lucky enough to come upon a lock just as boat was waiting to go through. A lovely young man who had passed us in his car, presumably when he got the call from the boatman, was closing the water gates and opening the sluices, and we got to watch the whole shebang. Living on the C&O Canal, one of the world’s best, means we’re no strangers to towpaths and locks, but the ones by us are charmingly defunct (and I like them that way, don’t get me wrong) so it was nice to see one operating as locks have for lo these many years. A young man sat nearby in a silver Mercedes smoking cannabis.

By the time we got back it was, of course, raining lightly but still pleasant. We sat on a picnic bench in the parking lot and ate the wraps I’d packed for us, and chatted with an Irish couple who were vacationing in their Winnebago from County Meath, and whom we’d watched kayaking more or less on our route.

Weird Suz note- they offered us a ‘nice fresh cup of tea’ and I went into Unprepared Introvert Panic, stammering something about having to be somewhere and fleeing for the car. I asked David later if I’d been rude and he said yes and that it would have been nice to have tea and chat with them. And of course it would. But I shrieked that he needs to step in when he sees me making social faux pas and rescue us both, I just can’t be relied upon to behave rationally when People are involved, now, can I?

We WERE still in search of an internet cafe for our doomed quest to download our Baking Show, so after escaping the terrifying social situation I took a rare turn at the wheel and got us to Drumshanbo, where we indeed found a cafe, but no wifi. But we had really good coffee, and baked treats (David’s vanilla cupcake was great, my G/F S/F caramel square was super disappointing, what did I expect, duh?) We also tried to get some more euros from a bank machine which rejected us rather snidely, and surprisingly, since Capital One had told us we’d have no problem using it. And to be clear we never did have a problem buying stuff, but it never did give us cash. We were a little concerned as we still had several days ahead and our cash stash was dwindling.

But little woes were easy to put aside, because this took us up to the time for my much-anticipated trail ride. We got there early (how could I stay away when we were right there?) and my horse was being used in kid’s birthday party, so David settled in the car with my hotspot to have a nice technology catch-up. I picked out a helmet and sat in the office bouncing like a 7 year old, and when two girls like unto my Younger Self offered to show me around the barn I practically skipped after them. The talkative one had an accent my poor old ears just could NOT decipher (and possibly a speech impediment) so luckily for me the other one quietly translated when it became clear that I wasn’t going to get it. But the bottom line was that we all spoke Horse and it was just too fun. Lovely horses, but much like the Warwick Riding School of my childhood, standing on concrete with no bedding. The manure was mounded into astonishing hills, they must have trucks come cart it away. The school horses are mostly field kept, I gathered, so the only ones who live in are the boarders and the one school horse on ‘box rest’, which I suppose isn’t much of a treat. Finally it was time, and the very nice and kindly instructress got me mounted on my lovely piebald Gypsy horse, Curly. As it happened, both the girls who were showing me around said Curly was their favorite, but that he could be ‘a wee bit lazy’ and liked to eat grass a lot. Also that they had both ridden him in their lessons earlier that day, so while I did find the poor fellow pretty lazy, he was actually probably just plain worn out. But oh oh oh, how marvelous it was to sit in a saddle, fiddle with the stirrups, find the rhythm, and look at the world from the vantage point of a long neck and two ears.

After years on Nik I found it odd to have to use my legs that much, and a fair bit of the ‘tickle stick’ as the trainer called it too. He had a nice walk and trot, but died out as soon as he could possibly manage it, and no fault to the hardworking fellow either. I rode a little in the nice indoor under the watchful eye of the instructor, and was thrilled beyond measure that a) I hadn’t totally lost it and b) my knees and the rest of me too didn’t scream with pain. I’ve never forgotten how horrified I was to get on April after years of not riding and not being able to post, and I was pretty sure it would happen again, but no! The video David took of me didn’t even look half bad at all.

A somewhat sullen young woman called Amy got on a chestnut, and the two of us headed out. I was pretty thrilled to be the only one on the trail ride, and once Amy figured out that I could ride reasonably well she warmed up a little. We trotted along a small road and out onto the main road, and through a roundabout, all of which had my Little Girl squeeing with joy as this was the sort of trail ride I took so many, many times as a kid, with the traffic courteously letting us by, and me feeling like a queen, aboard a nice pony. We made our way through some new construction and then onto a lovely, lovely green path by a river, with the trees arching over us in leafy Irish bowers. There we bumped it up to a canter, which also felt comfortable, familiar and (under the circumstances) positively thrilling. Amy’s horse was slower than mine so old Curly kept dropping out into a trot, but I was still on Cloud 9.

Which was, incidentally, the name of *my* pony at WRS. So I wasn’t actually on my long lost and much beloved Cloud 9. But you get the picture.

Then we went back to the barn and past it to an upland trail through a nice field (muddy, but everything in Leitrim County is muddy) and had a few really nice canters, with the clouds skirling above us, the grass blowing around us, and mud flying up into my face, just like the Olden Days. I was in heaven. It was raining by the time we made it back to the barn, but I still had 10 minutes or so, so I joined in the kids’ lesson going on and did Round the World, to my own surprise and the amusement of the instructor. Then I tried to get Curly to give me a last canter around the ring, but he was so not into it and I didn’t have the heart to get after him, since he’d just given me a literal dream come true.

I dismounted and walked him back to the barn in the middle of the kids. The owner came out and asked how the ride was, and pointed out that my helmet being on backwards wasn’t a great sign. I was embarrassed, and so were Amy and the instructor for not picking up on it, but I tossed it off with ‘it started off right but the ride was so wild and wonderful it blew my helmet around!’

I was thrumming with delighted joy the whole way home, where I cooked us a splendid feast of roasted Irish potatoes and steamed broccoli with butter and cheese, and soda bread.

Then a night of writing by the fireside, a hot bubble bath and lots and lots of reading.

I’m not sure you can have a day much better than that.

Posted June 29, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

All’s Well That Ends Well   Leave a comment

The next day, Friday, tried to be that one obligatory blah day that even the best vacations often get, but it finished up marvelously in spite of itself. Started off luv’ly, a late sleep with the now-standard vivid dreams. I was thrilled to see the faery gardens flooded with brilliant sunshine, especially after last night’s magical FM ritual, but alas, it didn’t even last until I’d finished my first cup of coffee, and that was the last we saw of it the entire day.

Even without the internet to distract me it took me an hour to drink my coffee, have breakfast and do my obligatory morning puttering (which seems to be a necessity even when I’m not at the farm.)

David wanted to go the Folk Museum in Ballinamore, but I really wanted to get my ride in before the weekend crowds, or at least get it scheduled, so we got ourselves together and headed off to find the Hayden Equestrian Center in Barnacoola, one of the places mentioned on the many convenient brochures left for us in the cottage. I had tried to call, but our phones didn’t work in Ireland (yes, AT&T and I have had Words about THAT fiasco) and there was no reply to the text I sent, but I wasn’t sure if it had gone through. Next step- just go there, right?

Half an hour and lovely drive later (albeit down the now-familiar-but-still-terrifying tiny tiny country roads) our GPS guided us smartly- smugly even- to the stable. We passed a school on the way, which still blows my mind. There were houses scattered along all the roads, we really never saw anywhere in Ireland that was devoid of humans, but it didn’t seem NEARLY enough for a school, and you couldn’t get a mom van let alone a school bus down that freakin’ road. What do they do, parachute them in? Everyone drives? Kids – gulp – WALK to school? From miles around? Through fields? Surely children aren’t allowed to walk on those roads where the speed limit is 80k and the visibility 6 feet if you’re lucky?

It’s an unsolved mystery, as is Hayden Equestrian Center. The facility looked lovely from outside the big, firmly-closed iron gates. I got out to see if there was a bell or intercom, which there wasn’t, but as I poked about the gates woke up and slowly creaked open for us.

So you’d assume that someone saw us and let is in, right?

The barnyard was deserted, and there was no sign of anyone at the house near the gates. I got out and was immediately accosted by two tiny aggressive furiously yapping dogs. The white woolly one desperately wanted to bite me and kept bumping my leg with his nose, while the Jack Russell-y one contented himself with yelling madly from four feet away. A sign said ‘Office’ so I followed it, leaping and making futile screeches at the dogs, but it was locked and no one responded to my knocks.

I made vague gestures to David which were meant to say, “No answer, I’m going to look around” and which he pretended to understand.

I note that he didn’t get out and rescue me from the dogs. Just want to put that out there.

Call into the equipment shed. No answer. Nor at the very nice indoor arena. Half a dozen or more heart-stoppingly beautiful faces looked at me from a pen in the barn area, mostly of the white Connemara-ish variety, but they gave me no information on how I could climb aboard one of them.

Finally I got sadly back in the car, shaking my pants free from the wretched dogs, and we set off on plan B (or is it C?), the Moorland Equestrian Center, putatively half an hour away.

Or so we thought.

The GPS dumped us in the middle of Drumshanbo, where there was clearly no Equestrian Center, and pretended it was okay. We tried to call, but again our phones were of zero use. So we parked and thought we’d have some lunch and ask the locals for directions, but after we’d walked a block there was a big sign with an arrow. Excited (well, I was excited) we got back in the car and followed the arrow, but there were no more signs or arrows or anything vaguely resembling an Equestrian Center, other than a very gross and off-putting stockyard that looked like the last lap for any animal unfortunate enough to end up there. David saw a road he thought might be it, but there was no sign and we blipped past it and drove on. And on. And on.

It was gorgeous country we were driving through, but my inner 9 year old who had been SO excited at the prospect of getting on a pony was utterly broken-hearted. But what could we do? We finally admitted defeat and turned around to have that lunch we’d thought about back in Drumshanbo. Maybe at least we could find somewhere with wifi and persuade the Great British Baking Show to download to my Ipad. (That never happened the entire trip.)

At the sandwich shop the waitress told us were ‘about a minute’ away from Moorlands (we were in the middle of a dang town!!), so heartened by this news and some thumping good club sandwiches and chips we set off again, this time on foot, and you know what comes next, right? Sure enough, it was down the road David had thought it was on. The first thing we saw were two fat glossy golden Halflingers in a field of knee-deep emerald green grass. Next thing you know I had a reservation for 5 the next day for a trail ride with walk, trot and a ‘wee canter’, and I was literally as happy as a little girl.


Not EVERY horse there is a piebald gypsy horse, but an awful lot of them are, including Curly whom I was to meet the next day.

Next we went (finally) to the Folk Museum, which is actually NOT in Ballinamore, but Ireland is casual with directions. The Museum was simply delightful, not just for its displays but because we got the sole attention of tour guide Eugene, who was one of the few folks there who exuded the affable easy charm I was expecting of the Irish people. I’ll refer you to FB for the pics we took of it. Wish we’d taken more than one of Eugene.

Then it was home for tea by the waterfall, a walk around the Faery Woods, dinner by David, and I took a solo walk in the rain after dinner, as it was still full light at 9:30 at night.

And Bob’s yer uncle, we’ve made it to the weekend!

Posted June 24, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized