Memories, New and Old

a little stroll does the heart good in more ways than one….. making and remembering memories

Drumleague lock, Co Leitrim
Drumleague Lock, Co Leitrim

Today we decided to do the canal walk beginning in Drumshanbo at Acres Lake, walking down to Battlebridge Lock and back again to where we started.

I had walked a piece of this walk a few years ago whilst visiting Leitrim, but I remember it was raining that day.

Today, the weather was fine, dry and sunny and we met a few other people along the way, getting their steps in and enjoying the stroll.

It is a nice flat walk and not too taxing at all. Along the walk we pass through Drumleague Lock, and the sight of it brought me right back to October 1979, when I was still a girl, living in the UK.

I was on a barge trip with the school for our school tour over the course of a week, from Coventry Canal basin to Birmingham. I remember it being such great fun and my best friend, Jackie, and I had aches in our tummy from laughing. We would hop on and off of the barge at times, as it was moving and run to the Lock to open it.

One evening Jackie was washing her hair over the the side of the barge and I went to fetch clean hot water from the stove to rinse it. I also picked up another empty saucepan and unbeknown to I leaned over the side, filled it with icy cold canal water and proceeded to pour it over her head…….Well, the screams and effing and blinding were enough to wake the dead, as she ran holding her poor cold head running the length of the barge, while I was bend over double laughing and pleading with her that I was sorry and had some lovely warm fresh water to clean her hair with.

Of course she forgave me and we often used to laugh about it. Those were the days…..

Today was about making new memories with my hubby, but I love it when the ordinary things in everyday can transport us back to another time and we can relive that again and talk about it, and smile at the thoughts of it. It brings everything alive and gives a warm heartfelt feeling.

Continuing on from the lock, a bit further down the pathway was a lovely house nestled into the landscape making great use with their big windows out across the canal. To our surprise part of the walkway is also used by cars, not many, thankfully as it would be a very tight squeeze if there was two way traffic with either the car or the walkers ending up in the canal!

We came to the road at Battlebridge Lock and to the right of it was the river Shannon running fast under the bridge. Beside the bridge, a lovely quaint but welcoming pub, called Beirnes of Battlebridge sits to the right. We called in here and had a bowl of delicious homemade soup served with guinness bread and rested a little after the 8km walk, before heading back.

River Shannon to the right of the canal
Home made soup @ of Battlebridge

We finally made our way back around the loop and and now with the canal to the right of us the expanse of open fields to the left giving rise to a beautiful mountain straight ahead.

We talked and chatted and took a leisurely walk back to Acres Lake, where we started and were planning where we should go next on our discovery of this area.

The sounds of the birds singing on this journey was a joy to hear. We saw blackbirds, finches, a little wren and the beautiful Robin. The Robin always makes me smile and I am always pleased to see it, because it lets me know that my beautiful friend, Jackie, is there with me on the walk and on this journey of discovery.

the singing robin….

We saw lots of frogs spawn in the little pools branching off along the sides of the walkway, but alas, my hubby was disappointed to not see any other wildlife or frogs taking care of their spawn….. Perhaps they were hiding away from our chitter chatter.

All in all, I would recommend this walk to everyone, young and old. It is even great for cycling or for children if they have a scooter. It is a bit gravelly, a little muddy in places, but good under foot and nice and flat.

Acres lake

Downsizing….. What it means

Sometimes we just have to let go, feel the fear and do it anyway. When we let go it is exciting, exhilarating and liberating

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

It’s nearly completion date and that can only mean one thing….. time to start packing and sorting and selling off/giving away what I no longer need, the ‘stuff’ that is surplus to requirements.

We all have it,’stuff’ even if we don’t mean to have it, but the ‘stuff’ piles up, in our homes, our cars, our bags, everywhere.

We accumulate over the years. We change our cars, our furniture, our decor and style, and our homes.

Now I am changing my home, yet again, but this time, for a smaller home. I have lived in small before.

When I first left home at age 16, I lived in a bedsit, tiny room, shared bathroom and shared kitchen. I owned very little, as it was furnished. I owned easily removable things, like my record player and records. Some pictures and a few ornaments.

Over the years my properties have got bigger and bigger and so has the amount of stuff and furniture. This one is the biggest, the one that I am about to leave. This one I designed, on a piece of paper, handed it to an architect and then proceeded to build it. From start to finish, it was my project, my taste, my style, my design.

It has housed my husband and I and our children for 23 years. We have fostered 13 children and have 4 grand children who have all walked the floors of this house, slammed the doors, laughed and cried within the walls and played out in the garden.

The decor has been changed numerous times. The rooms have been re organised many times and we have ran a couple of businesses from it over the years.

We have accumulated a lot of stuff in the process and now I have to undo the doing, because now, we are going smaller again, but big enough to still be a down size….

Will I miss my house? yes of course. Do I feel emotional about it? certainly, but the time is right for our next adventure.

The only thing is, most of my stuff is too big for the new house, or the wrong style. I have a very eclectic taste and I have some wonderful pieces of furniture, from Edwardian to Victorian to very modern.

When we decorate rooms we always feel better about them and are pleased with the changes we made, but eventually, we tire of it, well, I do anyway, and so we change it again.

We do the same with cars and clothes and they seem much easier to shed and to move on without any major emotional distress, right?

That is what I keep telling myself now, about shedding this house, and all we have done here, with all the aforementioned people that were here with us.

I keep telling myself, ‘it is just stuff, you take the memories with you’. But I do feel a little bit attached to some of the stuff too.

Then I think, but someone else can get the pleasure out of that beautiful piece of furniture and I can get excited about sourcing a new piece for my new house. I get a buzz from finding ‘nice things’. A new project, a new beginning, a new style, a new neighbourhood. Exciting, daunting, liberating, all at the same time.

The sorting and packing and picking and choosing, now that is the real dilemma, but it has to be done and so today I made a start.

I cannot tell you how many times I changed my mind about things, but then said, just let it go, like Anna, in Frozen, time to let go.

My pictures, my paintings, my bits and bobs, they can be easily packed. My books, now that is a different matter, I would nearly need a small van for those alone, I cannot let go of them quite so easy….

The procrastination has come to an end and the ‘sorting’ has begun. It is with mixed feelings, but ultimately, happy and excited ones about the change that we are heading into as we progress to our downsizing.

Were going from 6 beds to 4 beds from 3000 square feet to 1600 square feet and from an acre garden to a quarter acre and can finally get rid of the ride on lawn mower and cut down on the mowing!

I look forward to a smaller house to clean, to paint, to decorate, to garden in and to have new walks, new views, new people to meet, new places to discover, a new place to make and call home, for our family to come and visit and enjoy with us.

So it’s full steam ahead and on the home stretch now, into completing the transaction for our new home! Watch this space……….