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Niall Mellon Table Quiz Dec 3rd Malahide

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And so just back from South Africa… [how have ye all been… 😉 ] I had managed to fall short of the €5,000 required to make the trip. The very kind people of the Trust had given me a little extra time to make the difference up.

With that in mind…. My sister Jackie [one of four of a rare yet beautiful species and previously a red head in a former life 😆 ] and her hubby-2-b Ciarán 😆 have decided to do this table quiz for me. [thanks Jackie] Also on the list is Quiz Master extraordinaire Michael Nugent… thanks Mikey 🙂

To book online:

BUMPER RAFFLE PRIZES:

I’ve uploaded all of my 2009 blitz images/ photographs here

A great overview of the entire week can be read on the official Niall Mellon Township Trust blog – click here – you should also visit here if you are interested in travelling next year.

To visit my charity website and book your tickets – click here

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Wallacedene & the garden of hope team 2009

update: table quiz dec 3rd malahide…?

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To read post number one of the journey – click here

They say the gardening team were a special bunch. I’m unsure whether some meant that with a touch of humour…. 😉 But the truth is we were are. The reality is though that that humour is so necessary. When I think to one of last years highlights, that of Gerry taking the tv remote to work rather than his mobile phone… the milage 70 odd adults got out of that. Child like, maybe, but necessary.

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With that in mind, it also summises the one thing you must bring with you on your trip and equally as important the one thing you must leave as home…

This year some of us agreed to lay amongst the random dappled paving *ahem approximately 3 metres of just pink and the white….  the laugh it got and I still smile when I see Adrian break out laughing followed by Betty asking who is that man…? as she nods toward head foreman Dermot. It lasted us the entire week…

If you were thinking of travelling across and you were on your own… you’re not. Everyone rooms in with someone. It was my room mate Padraic’s first trip. I never saw him until the Thursday 😆

On the gardeners first night that everyone was in Cape Town dinner was organised for us by one of our pink [t-shirt] ladies Rosetta. On the third night a karaoke inter team showdown was organised…. which the gardeners [jointly] won! It really is very much a case of as long as you have a name badge on you are not alone.

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After hearing some of the school children sing happy birthday followed by It’s a long way to Tipperary to Anne Marie for her birthday… the highlight of the week for the gardeners[in my opinion] has to be Sluggers annual awards ceremony [the bit in the vid where we’re all in the school desks]. There were awards for best builders bum, legs, crappest workmanship, best excuse…. the list goes on. I won one of my two medals [yet again] for best chat up line… I have to thank [?!!] Niamh for this one 😉 It was just after 6am… or at least thats my excuse… 😆   

Jees you’ve got lovely hair Elvis

The day starts generally with breakfast at about 6.15 – 7am depending. From there a coach brought us on a 20 minute jouney to the township from our hotel. Everyone is scanned in from the name badge. All t-shirts are colour coded. We had a morning break at about 10am and the lunch at about 1pm. From there is was straight through less a 3pm cuppa until 5, sometimes later. The coach then returned us to our hotels.

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During the day, people were brought on a visit to a shack. I did this in year one. One meets a family who may be getting a house. One meets their family… gets an insight. If ever you doubted why you were there… that moment disappears within seconds of this. It is such an important part.

The work is hard. It is tough. I make no bones about that. Physically and mentally. One is away from home. One misses their loved ones, naturally. But what everyone takes from this is life changing and worth every sacrafice  second of it. There are medics assigned to each team and believe me no stone in the preparation is left unturned. That said if you only came out to rub sun cream on builders legs, hand out bottles of salted water or plant one tree you have made a difference.

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I remember on our final night. The rap party as it is called. Niall told the story of a man who went to the beach every day and threw a washed up starfish back into the sea. After some days of doing this every day, a man approached and asked why he bothers to do this…. after all they just keep on getting washed back up. What difference would it make? The man replied that to that one starfish, it makes a difference.  That story is told by a man who every year I have gone has welcomed every single volunteer, individually off the plane from Ireland to thank them for coming.

To those of you who helped me out along the way… either by donation or just a helping hand while I was gone. To those of you who I had the honour of meeting while I was there and to those who are not mentioned here…. thank you, thank you and thank you so very much. I hope this goes a little to show my appreciation. You did make a difference.

I’ve uploaded all of my 2009 blitz images/ photographs here

A great overview of the entire week can be read on the official Niall Mellon Township Trust blog – click here – you should also visit here if you are interested in travelling next year.

To visit my charity website click here 

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kirstenbosch national botanical gardens

cape town, south africa

designer: Professor Harold Pearson
owner: South African National Biodiversity Institute
style: 20th century botanical garden in parkland
size: garden 89 acres; park 1,305 acres
climate: mediterranean
location: cape town, western cape
[source: 1001 gardens you must see before you die]

I was in Cape Town for very different reasons than to visit gardens of any sort, but, with a a little spare time available – this year I managed it.

To say I was blown away and left mesmerised is an understatement. This is the ultimate in relaxation, garden enthusiast or not. That said, I cheated-ish, well… An eight seater golf cart pulled into the front car park just as I was buying my ticket – and so I got the guided tour. I could have walked, but it was easier to sit and learn. As a by the way, it costs 32 Rand [approximately €2.50] to take the guided tour by cart 😉

The back drop is of course the amazing table mountains. The Camphor [Cinnamonum camphor] tree avenues are equally superb and stood out to me as they were the answer to a question in a recent pub quiz 😉 and outside of that the Strelitzia’s especially the much raved of ‘Mandelas Gold’ variety is there in abundance. The photographs will show some of these wrapped in chicken wire – this is to capture the seed by the way [I did listen… 🙂 ]

I did it in one hour – it’s all I had time for – I could have stayed there forever. I loved every second.

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south africa, 2008, gardens & the niall mellon township…

is it worth it....?
is it worth it....?

Thursday 27th November I will go to Cape Town for the second time until the 8th December to work as part of a garden team of over 100 people to build community gardens.

The gardens are only a part of what will happen in Cape Town as this year [again] over 2000 people, mainly from Ireland, will have raised and/ or donated a minimum of €5,000 each to travel to South Africa for almost 2 weeks to build homes [in my case gardens] with The Niall Mellon Township Trust.

We may say things are not so good in Ireland. Some may even say ‘we’ have just entered tough times. I disagree and this is simply just another reason as to why I still say life is good… sorry, life is very good 🙂 We are so so fortunate and this simply makes me appreciate more as to why I feel so good [and should…] about life.

To those who helped out in any way [no matter how small you believe it was] from the bottom of my heart thank you, it is really so very much appreciated.

All south africa garden posts are here. If you would like to know more about The Niall Mellon Township Trust – click here.

*you* made the difference.
*you* made the difference.

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I want to thank you…

'your money' does so much...
‘your money’ does so much…

I want to thank all of you who raised, donated [no matter how much] or simply gave me your couple of spare shillings, for my second journey with The Niall Melon Towship Trust. This will be my second year travelling to Cape Town. Thank you all. If not to me for the charity. Bulaidh bós – you deserve applause!

To this I must and should thank those who helped me. I had to raise €5,000. This is how it was done, with *your* help.

There was of course the ladies who did the mini marathon for me and raised over €710. Ladies, from my heart, I thank you.

niall mellon township capetown
niall mellon township

There was also a client who, on her behalf, Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd donated the entire paid invoice. This raised €2750.

There were those who purchased tickets for the Gardeners Ball, an amazing night, made more special by those who I spent it with. We really had ‘a ball’ at that one! Half the money from the ticket price of €250 went towards my journey. This raised €750.

There were those who gave me VIP tickets in exchange for a very large pink boat. I bought these myself for recently married friends [i couldn’t get a higher bidder]. This raised €790, the balance of the account.

All that’s left to say really is… thank you [all] for being a friend

Individuals: Helen & Noel O’ Dwyer; Derek O’ Dwyer; Sean & Frances Gordon, Siobhan & John Farrell; Liz Matthews; Mary & Lilly Yu [my niece]; Jackie Donegan; Kathleen & John Friel; Noel & Stephanie; Michael & Nicola Nugent; Paul & Emer Kenny; [little] Sarah O’Dwyer [if there is anyone else please email me and i’ll add you to the list]

Companies: Packing Machine Solutions; Niamh Butler Architects; Electric Picnic c/o Pod Concerts Ltd; the staff of Iarnród Eireann and the staff of Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd.