Posts

niall mellon township building blitz 2009

update: table quiz dec 3rd malahide…?

950 Volunteers – 1 Week – 200 New Houses

...

...

Wallacedene, Cape Town, South Africa.

My third year to travel with The Garden of Hope Team, this year was always going to be yet another amazing project. As most of you know by now, I travel not to build houses but as part of a team of gardeners to, this year, build a community playground, football pitch and vegetable and fruit gardens.

What we didn’t bank on was the rain…. and by God did it fall.

But the options were….? We did have one half day of rain stops play… we then worked through as it got worse to make up the lost hours. And in the end it did work out. The sun started shining. It was always gonna happen 😉

...

...

I’ve had to pause here writing this post…. It’s upsetting to be honest. My voice is gone. My bones are sore. There’s a pride inside me for what I as part of a team did… and then I think that maybe I could have done more. I’ve tears in my eyes. I’ve turned on the heating and type on my laptop and I’m trying, really trying not to write a sad post. Maybe to speak of the families and children with HIV and on housing lists for over 20 years…. when the rain came down one of the guys was telling me of a man they met with a frying pan trying to keep the water from his shack. I doubt he slept that night. But the people are so happy, friendly and polite. The children still smile. To see them dancing in middle of the water feature… that was the moment I took. Maybe I’ve numbed slightly to it after 3 years…

...

...

I heard of one lady. Originally from South Africa. She works in a pub in Ireland and for the last five years has saved her tips. This year she done the trip. She paid €5,000 to come to South Africa to work. The same as all of the Irish did. I worked with ladies in their 60’s and 70’s who laboured as myself and Colin lay cobbles. I met people who had lost loved ones so recently. Those who had no jobs to return home to in Ireland…. I’ve just thought of them too.

I’m gonna sit and have a cuppa now. The vid is done. I have some writing done here and a blog post to thank you all so much for your support. In garden terms… I think you’ll agree the volunteers made the best of it and kept the smile sunny side up… More than that – I know you will agree that our new friends in Wallacedene love it.

Thank you all for everything…. see you in a little.

to read post no. 2 of the journey – click here

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 hereReblog this post [with Zemanta]

I’m going to compete in the Irish Conker Championships

conkers...

conkers...

yes you read it correctly… 😉

This coming October bank holiday weekend sees the Irish Conker Championships, now in their 10th year take place in Freshford, County Kilkenny.

I spoke with Main Orgainser Brenda who explained to me that whilst some may find the event a little on the trivial side… there are those who do take it quite serious. I explained to Brenda I was one of the more serious. Brenda laughed slightly and asked how long I had been in training for….? hmmmm

The area where the competition takes place is surrounded by 52 conker trees so its perfect for the event. It is from here the local primary school, will start in about 2 weeks time collecting conkers every day after school and at weekends. In total about 25-30,000 conkers will be used.

conker - image courtesy of http://www.louieswords.com

Brenda also explained that to avoid any ‘tom-foolery’ all and only conkers supplied by the association along with leather laces supplied by local shoe maker Michael Rossiter can be used on the day.

The holes are then drilled by some of the 70 volunteers on the Saturday and then laced on the Sunday ready for the competition starting that day at 12pm.

I’ve formed a picture in my head of the 118 50 kind of Flahavans 1980’s type tracksuit complete with cotton sweatband of course…. I’m wondering also if I need a Rocky Balboa group of trainers to stand in my corner and a nick name for when I am announced entering the ring…. 

Either or… I’ve been off the competitive conker circuit for close on 21 years now and I need to get into training…. 😉

If you want to find out more visit the Irish Conker Championships website. Also on the weekend will be about ’80 musicians and the Kilkenny Flower Show along with the usual fares, stalls and stands. It costs €6 for an adult to enter and €1 to use the practice arena.

Any thoughts or advice for me – leave a comment. I need all the help I can get 😉

Could this be a nice opportunity to raise a little sponsorship for a good cause…?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

how to bloom in the park 2009

**bloom in the park 2009 – to read my review – click here

c...

...

Show times and dates:

  • thursday 28th May  11am – 6pm
  • friday 29th May 10am – 6pm
  • saturday 30th May 10am – 6pm
  • sunday 31st May 10am – 6pm
  • monday 1st June 10am – 6pm

Recommended to do and see:

  • 27 show gardens
  • don’t forget the engaging spaces gardens
  • recreation of US First Lady Michelle Obama’s Whitehouse Kitchen Garden
  • free childrens craft workshops with The Craft Council of Ireland
  • Ladys Day – Saturday 30th May
  • sit on the lawn and enjoy the live entertainment
  • go see the floral pavillion
  • a must is the conservation area at the back of the coffee shop
  • loved the food market last year
  • the playground is genius

How to get there:

Do and Don’t:

  • have a chat with the show garden people
  • don’t bring the dog
  • bring an umberella and wellingtons and sun cream
  • bring Grandma & the kids
  • bring a camera – don’t be afraid to take snaps
  • buy a programme and use the map!!
  • get there [very] early traffic last year was mental
  • use public transport if possible
  • say thank you if you had a great time!!
  • if you’re going – let me know – we can have coffee
  • let me know what you thought!

Good People for you to meet:

  • In the garden tent – Pat Fitzgerald is there. The brains behind the MyPlant range if you ever wanted to meet somone who breeds their own plants…. how do you invent a new plant….? Go ask Pat. He also helped out on this little matter with a few hundred plants and then with The Niall Mellon Garden when he was passing by…. lovely guy 😉  [Pat is on twitter as @patfitzgerald ]
  • In the engaging spaces…. is the Niall Mellon garden… brilliant stuff. Genius people. Make you think… head on over and say hello.

related posts:

see you there...

see you there...

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

i’ll do anything for charity #1

I’m trying to get to south africa with the Niall Mellon Township for the 3rd year in a row. I need to raise €5,000. Sounds like a lot but it’s not when you get lots of small amounts…

I’ve a couple of ideas in the pipeline….

My first is this. It’ll make you smile. You leave a comment. Donate a small amount of pocket money. Nothing too big…. and then have a good mick take at my expense. Easy!!

The minimum is €2 [two yo-yo’s] – it says €20 – but just delete that….. and have a bit of craic!!

Go on this picture is ample ammunition… g’wan ahead and knock yourself out  😆 Donate online here. If you don’t want to see my hairy white legs – then click here and put your name down for a few bob. Got a better idea? just contact me 😯

.....gimme some yo yo's !!

.....gimme some yo yo's !!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

i’m a gardener get me out of here….

In 2008  I and a group of over 100 people [2,000 in total] on a gardening team went to south africa with the niall mellon township trust to build gardens. My 2008 story is here [click it…. go on… click it]!!

This year I need to raise some dosh. money. spondulas… go on stuff some dollars in an envelope and send it to ballyboughal play the video above first.

I have a few ideas. But nothing really organised. I could use your brains, your hands, your thoughts, your old crap and your ideas…… not stuff you don’t want  like the vase that Auntie Mary bought you for your wedding that *he’s* always hated….If you can’t gimme diddly well then…. eh?

I’m up for a challenge…. I will do it…. dare me, go on I dare you. Dare me to do something….. I’m really cheap *and* I’m damn good value for money 😯

groovy track on this song by the way….

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]