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How Do I Know So Much About Breast Feeding …?

peter donegan

I must have the most varied career I have ever known. Definitely in the context of the great outdoors…. Here’s some of what I did for the year 2009. Anyhow….

Last week I got a phone call asking if I would speak at a conference.

J: Hi Peter its Jenny can you talk…?

P: Yeah sure Jen how are you and the garden and all that…?

J: Yeah good. Listen I put your name forward to speak at a conference. It’s for the….

P: Excellent stuff, thanks Jenny, thats great, really appreciated. What is the Leche League anyway…?

J: Well its a group thats been on the go since….. breast feeding….. and you know…. breasts and feeding and breast feeding…..

Fair enough that’s not what she said…. but it was all I could hear.

I admit I am of the male sex. I was born pre 1980. You know. Boys out room – the girls need to talk sort of genre. I still walk on the outside of the road. I didn’t know my Father had a voicebox until I was 32. Back to it…

P: So you want me to speak to all the Mothers about…..

J: Eh Peter no…

P: I mean I could do a sort of

J: Peter…

P: Well the last time I did a talk I did a…

J: Peter! It’s more for the children …of the mothers like 30 – 40 children about 8-12 years of age…

P: Sure… yeah Jen that’d be great….

I had put it to one side. Not ignoring it. Far from it. More I guess I didn’t realise forgot that a small country [in amount] of women are so far better organised than the U.S. Army.  That is a compliment by the way 😉 On Saturday when I got this email in. I rang Jane after and signed my name down.

Hi Peter,
The La Leche League Conference is on this year on Saturday the 6th and Sunday 7th of March in the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
La Leche League ( la leche means, The milk) is a voluntary organisation founded in 1956 that is dedicated to providing information and encouragement to breastfeeding mothers. We are a worldwide organisation with over 3,000 groups. Ireland currently has over 100 accredited Leaders and 38 active Groups.
The conference is a family affair and while Moms and Dads attend the various sessions on this years exciting programme the children need to be kept entertained too.
This is where you come in.
I have perused your website with much interest (I love the video of pink boat) and your sheer enthusism for gardening, (and life) is wonderful. I love the story of you growing plants under your bed at 5 years old, you certainly knew what you wanted to do from such an early age and now you are living the dream, you are truly blessed.
We would be absolutely delighted if you could come along and do an hour and a half session with the 7 to 12 year olds on Saturday afternoon.
One of the La Leche League Philosophys is “Good nutrition means eating a well balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible”.
It would be so good for the children to hear your story and then learn how to plant up little containers and grow their own fresh, organic herbs at home on a window ledge.
Hopefully there will be more then just “herb seeds” planted on the day, would’t it be brilliant for the “seed of enthusism” for gardening to take root in the children.
See you then
Joan Broe
As always, I am all organised. And some how or another I can see this making the list of all the things I did for the year 2010 😉 Intersting gig…. looking forward to it.

Some Irish Birds…

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The weather outside is absolutely freezing… it has been for some time now and today the snow fell in Ballyboughal heavy enough to concern me. With that in mind I had reckoned I should do a post on some things frost[y] related.

In what I can only describe as a sincerely very welcome press release [and I get a lot…] …it’s especially for you guys and it’s all about birds. Got an apartment, balcony, a billion acres of garden or not then read on.

As you can gather the weather is causing havoc for a lot of of our wild birds such as the sparrow, the thrush and the Goldfinch and BirdWatch Ireland [I had mentioned the Bird Watch boys previously] are on a mission to encourage people to put out food for the birds that visit their gardens. According to Oran O Sullivan [this is the press realease bit…. 😉 ]

Cooked household scraps as well as peanuts and mixed seed all provide a vital source of energy for garden birds, particularly important as daylight hours are short and frozen ground affects garden birds ability to hunt for prey items. Remember to keep feeding regularly through the winter months, putting out food in early morning. It is also important to provide fresh water as many normal water sources are frozen over.

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I myself  like to buy a big bag of feed [both types] nuts and seed. The seed is so the little ‘uns get something [the bigger birds cant get their beaks through the gauze].

When I was growing up we always left out some stale bread and water milk for them… but then I have two dogs and four hens…. not really enough waste to around I guess 😉

Anyhow… it’s good fun and depending on what you put outside for them… it’s also free.

I had done this post previously on birds in my garden.

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Nollaig Shona

If you didn’t get a Christmas card from me this year. Don’t be offended. I didn’t send any. My reason…

I took the money for this and gave it to a friend of mine called Amy. When you read what she has to say…. you’ll understand.

Amy explains it so well….

I have decided in a moment of madness to brave the Irish seas on December 25th in the name of charity…… I will be trying to raise a few bob for St Francis Hospice Raheny who provided palitive care for my beloved Gogs (Grandad) and invaluable support to my whole family! My Gogs passed away in February 08 and our last Christmas with him was very tough as he was very frail and ill. This has left Christmas in ours a little sad.. so asides from raising money I hope to bring some cheers to the house!

Funny thing is my Grandfather [pop] also passed away there….. Such a kind man that I loved and still miss very much. That said, I’m so happy to have really known him and Christmas will never be an unhappy one with such happy and fond and happy memories of him. If you read my 101 amazing facts – you’ll know why 😉

Back to it…. Heres to Amy, Carol and Jenny and Gog and all those at the St Francis Hospice who I know will be doing only their finest on Christmas Day.

Have a really happy one. And I’ll see you in the new year.

Peter

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101 Amazing Peter Donegan Facts

I had written some time ago a list of ten things you did not know about me. But recently I was reading the weblog of Eolai Gan Fheile and found he had done 101 which I found so much more interesting…. I realised I should do something a little more indepth.

  1. I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers
  2. My Mothers father [my ‘Pop’] was a furrier by trade
  3. When I was 6 years old he told me he blew up Hitler with a grenade
  4. He was a pioneer [never drank] for life
  5. My father has been in the wine trade all of his life
  6. My Mother was only 2lbs in weight when she was born. ‘Thats 2 bags of sugar…’
  7. I wasn’t allowed go to a disco until I was 14.
  8. My first home was in Leixlip.
  9. In one year in school I played on the following teams table tennis, hurling, rugby and athletics.  I also played gaelic football.
  10. I had to write an essay about myself in 6th class. My Mother made me write that I was unique as the closing line. The teacher wrote after this ‘how very very true…’
  11. I had an action man who eyes used to move. His eyes looked dirty so I cleaned them with bleach. This removed the blue and looked quite scary. So I cut off his fingers with a pliers.
  12. He refused to marry my sisters barbie. That caused an argument.
  13. I have not taken a summer holiday since I started horticultural college at the age of 17
  14. I still call my younger sister Jackie ‘snotser’
  15. I used to wear camouflage clothes and crawl around the garden thinking nobody could see me.
  16. The first seeds I ever grew were radish. I was 4
  17. The first bulb I ever grew was a hyacinth. It cost 17 pence. I was 5
  18. The first cuttings I ever took were geraniums. I was 11
  19. I used to own a grifter [bike]
  20. I thought myself how to play guitar when I was 14. I still play
  21. I once busked on Grafton Street and made £1.74 – one pound of that was in sterling
  22. My Dads Dad [my grandfather] was in the special branch
  23. I never met my Dads Mom [my grandmother]
  24. I was born on March 2nd 1976
  25. When I was ‘small’ my favourite snooker player was Terry Griffiths. My brothers was Steve Davis
  26. I used to cut grass for pocket money
  27. I was in the cubs and the scouts.
  28. Me and my brother disassembled a Bastille Day rocket bought for my oldest brother and set it alight on the window ledge. As we closed the window the curtain netting got caught outside and burnt. We fixed it with white thread and tipp ex.
  29. I am God Father to my best friends [John & Siobhán] child
  30. I have two dogs. Whitey – who is black; and sparky who is not very intelligent
  31. I take a size 13 shoe
  32. My first car was a Citroen AX 1.1. It cost £2,000. The insurance cost £2,119. I was 22.
  33. I owned an MGB GT for 8 years. I sold it for €1 this year. It was previously owned by a man called Jack Taylor.
  34. The first house I bought was a one bedroom dormer bungalow in Balbriggan.
  35. Because there are so many children in my family… when we were being called for dinner each name was shortened to one syllable. Peter became Pee. Which is what my close friends call me.
  36. My Dad once told me he’d cut my fingers off. In fairness I did take most of his tools apart…. to see how they worked. I now know he was joking.
  37. When I was 8 my brother Fran told me that the only way to get hairy arms like my Dad was not to wear a jumper and that my body would grow hair to keep me warm. I think it worked.
  38. I once ate an entire Vienetta ice cream cake in one day. My older brother and sister got the blame. The week before I had been given Sunday ice cream in a bowl that previously had ham in it. I don’t like salty ice cream to this day.
  39. My Grandmother had false teeth. I still think she can hear me when I speak about her.
  40. She bought me a key ring that said ‘worlds best gardener’ on it. I was 9.I still have it.
  41. When I was younger I wanted to be a stand up comedian. My teacher in school told me: ‘stand up and everybody laugh at you’.
  42. My favourite team is Arsenal. I once wrote to David O’ Leary. But he never wrote back. I hope he reads this.
  43. The first country abroad I was ever in was France. Carnac to be exact.
  44. My family used to have a caravan in Arklow. We lost the key to it and used to have hoosh my brother through the bedroom window.
  45. I don’t like horror films. I do like funny ones. My favourite are The Marx Brothers.
  46. I used to have long hair. It goes curly when it get long.
  47. Once I went to sleep in the back of a neighbours truck. I have also slept in a hedge. The hedge is warmer. It was a griselinia.
  48. The most dinners I have ever eaten in one day is 8. I was in Clonmel.
  49. The first song I ever thought myself to play on guitar was The Rolling Stones Paint it Black
  50. The first Band I ever saw in concert was The Hothouse Flowers
  51. The first [vinyl] record single I ever bought was George Harrison. The first vinyl album was David Bowie ‘The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
  52. 3 of my sisters are originally red heads. When I don’t shave I get a tiny blotch of approximately 1″ square of red come through my beard
  53. I have never bought myself aftershave
  54. I have never asked a girl to dance.
  55. In my leaving cert mock German exams I got 19% intentionally. I had a German girlfriend at the time
  56. In the April – May of my first year in business it rained for 5 weeks solid. I was living in a rented room. It was the first time I had cried in a long time.
  57. For the craic once, I went into a police station and asked for a big mac and large fries
  58. I went to electric picnic this year only on the Sunday. Apart from the clothes I was wearing I only brought €150, a roll of toilet paper and a roll of sellotape. I slept in a plastic bag.
  59. I used to write Jake on my knuckles in black marker.
  60. The most times I ever watched the blues brothers in one sitting was 12
  61. The last time I was in a fight I was 14.
  62. When I was 6 my Dad gave me his old briefcase to use as a school bag. One morning I put mine in the place where his was. He arrived at my school to exchange shortly after.
  63. I once used a  bin lid as a frisbee and threw it through the kitchen window. My brother was meant to catch it.
  64. I was sent to bed for a week when I was 7 for letting the hand brake off my Moms Citroen 2cv. It rolled out of the drive way and hit the pillar on the far side of the road with me in it.
  65. I was thrown out of piano lessons after 2 years. We didn’t own a piano.
  66. After reading the Random Acts of Kindness book I bought everyone in the café on Westmoreland Street coffee and a cookie anonymously.
  67. I do not wear pyjamas.
  68. I am afraid of flying. But I still do.
  69. I ran the womens mini marathon 2 years ago under the pseudonym of Petra Donegan
  70. I used to have an Italian girlfriend called Petra when I was 15. We broke up after 3 weeks when she returned home.
  71. I still turn the first middle cigarette of every box upside down for good luck. I have only not done this once when I was 14. I got caught with cigarettes by my Mom that day.
  72. I still bang my right elbow after I bang my left by accident. My sister also told me this was for good luck. Now after I bang my right elbow, by accident, I bang my left twice and then my right once more. She told me this one when I was 8.
  73. The most donuts I ever ate in one go was 25.
  74. I want to grow my hair long again.
  75. I prefer red wine to white
  76. My favourite drink is Guinness
  77. I have only owned 3 pairs of black shoes since I was 20
  78. When I moved to Scotland, Aberdeen [Stonehaven]. I decided on a Wednesday. I had nowhere to live. I had never been there before. I moved there on the Friday. I had a job organised but nothing else. I found home on the second day in an apartment over The Queens Hotel.
  79. When I lived in London my address was Clonmel Road, London. It’s near the seven sisters tube station. I had just left Clonmel Co Tipperary.
  80. I don’t mind wearing odd socks.
  81. I once smoked pot pourri to take the smell of cigarettes off my breath.
  82. I think all politicians should be made have a real job as mandatory before they are allowed get elected.
  83. I own a mandolin, 6 guitars, a tin whistle, a harmonica and 3 sets of bongos.
  84. I have never received social welfare as an individual or a grant in any format as a business
  85. I like to close my eyes when it rains softly so it tickles my tongue
  86. I did a business plan when I was 19 for a garden centre with a coffee shop. The bank manager told me if I got rid of the coffee shop part [he thought the idea ridiculous] he’d loan me the money.
  87. I would like to be a member of the band The Riptide Movement
  88. I still speak in Irish. [As Gaeilge]. My name in Irish is Peadar O Donagáin.
  89. I used to have a weekly column in the farmers journal newspaper.
  90. I don’t like beans on my breakfast.
  91. I prefer coffee over tea. I like it when its made from real coffee beans. But I hate watery coffee. I like watery tea.
  92. When  I first moved house [from Leixlip] I wondered the next morning how the beds moved too. I also wondered when we were going back to our real home. My Dad told me this today.
  93. My favourite fruits are grapes and bananas
  94. The Beatles poster now framed in my living room has been in every home I have ever lived in since I was 17.
  95. I only have 3 chairs at my kitchen table. One of them is odd. They used to be my parents. The kitchen table used to be my sisters.
  96. I like art. I like art that I start to day dream at when I look at it. I have only ever bought one painting. I bought this in the Dominican Republic.
  97. I think I’d be a great Dad. I haven’t really spent much time thinking about it though.
  98. I was extra in the film ‘A Tigers Tale’. I have never seen it. I never told anyone. My friends said they saw me in it.
  99. I like to sing in the shower.
  100. I need a new maximum minimum thermometer. I bought my first one when I was 19
  101. My eyes are blue.

If you really read all of that, consider seeing a therapist.

For the record there is no significance in the order, and they do not include the things I regard as the most important.

Cape Garden Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

cape-garden-centre-cape town

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Whilst building the garden in the Wallacedene Township in South Africa, I would first like to note that I was a part of a team. A very large team. And I simply played a part.

To that there where so many really good people I met out there. One in particular was a really good guy Peter and not forgetting his foreman Garreth.

Btw Peter insisted he take this photograph of me… 😆

Back to it… Peter owns The Cape Garden Centre that I passed on my way everyday to work. On the final day of the build plants whilst laying out plants and running back with Garreth to get some more I got about 20 minutes to take a look around his place whilst waiting for plants to be loaded.

I had spoken to Garreth and Peter abut the operations and working side but…. To say I was blown away by his setup, the garden centres layout, the displays, the restaurant, the list is endless…. is an understatement. As my first ever garden centre review I am so proud that this is first on the list.

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Peter spoke to me about how they used what was the bark from a [weed] tree that needed clearing from the land to make what we know as willow like screening and features for the garden.

I noticed how no member of the public was left unattended and at all times there was a staff member nearby ready to help or give advice.

The door of their design studios were open for all to see into. Being really honest the people, the customers seemed really happy. It had a very feel good feel about… I sat down at one point for about five minutes and watched the people stroll by… It was phenomenal. And to think that in the midst of all of the mayhem that was happening not so far away, that I had left for just a moment… even I was beginning to relax… then Garreth bipped the horn on the bakkie [open back jeep/ truck] and it was back to it 😉

I loved the family areas, the play areas, the pet area, the garden displays…. [breath] the fact that almost any variety of plant could be seen in a setting or at the varying stages of growth and moreseo that it was for sale in abundance at any of those sizes. There wasn’t a hair out of place… Throw in the individual craft and art shops and the indoor and outdoor furniture places… it was like a little village with too much to do. I loved every second of it.

I’ll be reviewing in the next days some of the plants you may know, you may have seen or may not have that are more common to the Cape Town climate…


 

 

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