Michael D opens 2011 Cruinniu na Mbad festival in Kinvara

Five thousand people greeted our new president Michael D Higgins in Galway city on Sunday. And there are a lot of smiling faces in Kinvara .

Halloween went well, if you judge it by the mountainous pile of sweets the girls managed to accumulate trick or treating. They dressed as a witch and her cat. My seven year old wore her rosary beads with the witch costume, which I thought was edgy (and got a few disapproving looks).
‘It’s my death power’

When my son was 15 he wanted to go and hang around the village with his friends on Halloween night. It’s a tricky age, too cool to trick or treat but too young to party in the pubs. None of the parents would allow it, they had got in trouble with bangers the year before, so the four boys were collected and ended up sulking in our house.
‘Why don’t you watch a scary movie?’

‘Boring’…moan moan…’

‘This is rubbish’…grumble grumble.

Then they had the bright idea of going to sleep down the field in a single skin tent. It was actually a kind of garden gazebo, totally useless in windy, wet, late October. They probably wanted to sneak  into the village when we were asleep. 
I sent our neighbor Sean a text 

‘The boys are in a tent in the field across from you, go and freak them out’

He took up the challenge with great gusto dressing up completely in black with a long white ghoulish mask.
He sneaked over the wall. He could see the light of a torch in the tent and hear the boys on their mobile phones acting cool. 

‘Yeah…. we’re in a tent….’ 

Sean tossed a stone onto the roof. They fell silent

‘What was that?’

‘Probably just a bird shiteing…’ 

Sean crouched down beside a rock, hiding his head.

My son appeared out of the tent with a dim torch.

‘Hey lads it’s a badger’

They crept over towards him, peering at the ground.

Then he threw the torch at Sean (lucky it wasn’t a rock)

Sean lifted up his head and started dragging himself across the ground towards them, moaning.

They screamed and four black silhouettes were last seen running as fast as they could over the horizon.
My mobile rang ‘Mum, mum’ pant, pant, ‘someone was at our tent’ 

They all agreed it was ‘legend’

A proper scare at Halloween.

Planning was granted for the nature center. We can’t believe our luck. I rang the appeals board on what I thought was the last day and asked if anything was in. They said that an appeal was in the inbox that morning (our objector always leaves it until the last day to drag out things as much as possible) but that the appeal period had ended at 5.30pm the previous day, so it was being sent back as invalid. We can’t believe our luck. Its back to the enterprise board tomorrow. They funded the original feasibility study in 2007, hopefully there might be some support available.

The Berwick and Whooper swans are coming in from Greenland to overwinter on the turloughs. Its lovely to hear their wings whooping above as they fly low, and look up to see their beautiful long necks stretched, searching for a nice calm stretch of water to land