Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Friday, 23 August 2013

Summer holidays 2013

We've spent the last week relaxing and taking a few day trips with the kids to mark the end of the Summer holidays (back to school soon!)

I have been trying my best to get to Pen Corner in Dublin for a browse for such a long time.  Every time in the past few years I have been in town it has been a Sunday and the shop is closed.  So all I could do was paw and drool at the window displays.  Last Saturday, my wonderful hubby decided we would take a trip to Dublin specifically for me to get to the shop and have a look around.  

Everytime I go in, I do the same thing (as I think nearly everyone else does!) and that is head downstairs to see the papers and notebooks.  I knew what I wanted before I set foot inside so the kids weren't too bored as I scooted around and picked up what I needed.

Upstairs, the kind gentleman (and he was a gentleman) behind the counter helped me with some questions I had on a troublesome pen I had brought with me.  My Cross Century 2 fountain pen is a nice writer but only for a certain length of time, after that it becomes scratchy and skips and becomes a pain to write with.  The gent kindly checked the feed and said that all was in good working order, but the problem I was experiencing was from the exposed feed at the back of the nib and the fact that air was needed in the converter to replace the lost ink used when writing.  If I would rest the pen horizontally every now and then it should fix the problem.  I was delighted to get such one to one attention and he was very thorough.

I tested out a few pens (Parkers - didn't actually feel as nice as I thought they would) drooled a bit over the gold nibbed Lamy's and finally decided to pay for my purchases, namely a Rhodia pad and notebook and some turquoise Waterman ink.  

The gent then surprised me (actually he knocked me completely off my feet) with a pen he said was of no use to him and he would love to see it going to a good home.  He then packaged up a little champagne coloured fountain pen and a pack of pelikan ink cartridges for me and popped them in the bag.  I was almost dumbstruck with gratitude and excitement!

He seemed to think that the pen might not work, but afterwards I inked it up and started to scribble, hoping against hope that it would work.  Amazingly the pen is a beautiful little writer, a little on the wet side, but smooth and even and very comfy to hold. 

The pen is a Rotring Dublin fountain pen and I can find very little information about it online.  I think they were mostly made for corporate gifts and came in silver or chrome (which I have) and have a black rubber grip which makes for a very comfortable writing experience.  I love it and I'm delighted with such a wonderful surprise gift!

I of course had  to buy yarn and when we took a trip Belleek to see the porcelain showrooms and take the factory tour we stopped in Grandma's Attic shop (which is very well equipped with yarn, notions, accessories and dolls houses!)  It's Araucania Botany Lace in a gorgeous purple/violet/blue.  I haven't decided what to make with it yet, but it's such a fabulous yarn to work with I'm sure I'll come up with something.

Of course, after a 2 year hiatus, we had to go to the zoo as well.  We have missed it so much and there have been so many changes in the past 24 months.

There are 3 new lions and they now have a much better enclosure where you can see them better.  Glorious animals, I have loved them ever since I read Born Free as a child.

The Siberian Tiger was a little shy and the glass in front of the enclosure was packed so I could only get a partial photo.

The orang-utans weren't as cheeky this time, less stone throwing at the public and more relaxing!

The star of the show was definitely the Amur Tigers.  When we walked up, there were very few people about and there the three tigers were, lying right up against the glass having a midday snooze.  To be so close was utterly amazing.

I could have spent all day staring at them.

Luckily the day was dry and warm with a pleasant breeze, so lugging around the rucksack with snacks, drinks and rain jackets belonging to everyone else, wasn't too traumatic.

We took our time wandering around, with the kids in charge of the map and also taking photo's of their own.

As it has been in previous years, we were very lucky with the animals and visibilty.  I got a mountain of photo's from each enclosure and nearly 99% were usable.

The gorilla's also have a new enclosure and look so much happier.  The newest little babies are at a very playful and fun stage.  Frolicking and clapping hands like happy toddlers.

This was also the first year that we'd seen the elephants up close.  

It was a perfect day out and the best day at the zoo we've ever had.

Happy summer holidays 


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