Mar 15

Only happy when it rains!

Boggy cliffs against the sea, Co Mayo, Ireland We’re in Ireland and it’s raining, it’s why the Isle is called Emerald I suppose and goes with the territory. Although this area is mainly brown due to the boggy landscape it goes beautifully with the moody grey skies. Anyway, you’d think all this rain would dampen our spirits (sorry), but it doesn’t. You see it didn’t really rain in Spain, despite what they say in the rhyme, and we needed it to. Here’s the science bit: Rain makes things grow, and here, it means that the goats and neighbouring cows have a plentiful supply of grass to munch on. It also means that we have to keep running out to put them (the goats not the cows) back in their shelter, but that’s another video in the making!

Chickens and goats, Donmar Cottage, Ballycastle, Ireland Sitting in the dry confines of Donmar Cottage, watching the rain falling outside, I can clearly see the blue sky coming in from the sea. The weather forecast says “a couple of showers” and it’s right if you’re talking hourly. The rain goes, the blue skies come, the sun peeks through, then it rains again. Just enough time to run out, muck out the chickens, feed the ducks, check for eggs, chase the cat out of the house, kick a ball for the dog. This has become our temporary life, punctuated regularly with disagreements with the goats who always want to do exactly the opposite of what you want them to do. It’s hard work, it’s chaotic, but overall it’s fun. Also, there are proper teabags, cheese and custard creams as a reward. What more could a girl want?

Ducks, Donmar Cottage, Ballycastle, Ireland

So, time to meet our brood. We’re looking after 16 hens and two cockerels, I’ve been counting them regularly, that’s not easy I can tell you; six almost inseparable ducks, three of each sex; three eating machines, I mean goats, two does (Penelope Cruz who is pregnant and Scarlett Johansson) and a buck (Al Pacino aka Billy); the most adventurous and hungry cat I’ve ever come across, Marmalade; and last but not least there’s James, a mixture of collie and chihuahua, yes that’s right, basically a mini sheepdog who loves to help with the herding and will go anywhere for a stick.

James, Donmar Cottage, Ballycastle, Ireland

Right then, the next break in the clouds is approaching, better see what needs doing. And where’s that rainbow I’ve been promised, we could use that crock of gold? I’ve a funny feeling one of the goats may have eaten it!

Penelope Cruz, Donmar Cottage, Ballycastle, Ireland

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