Gate Lodge: Past and Present

I received a great letter this week. It was simply addressed to “Selina Guinness, (author and lecturer), Tibradden.” The fact it arrived at all was one of the nicest accolades my book has yet received.  My correspondent had inherited a silver teapot awarded to his grandmother, Mrs. Sheil, by my great-great grandmother, Mary Guinness, for keeping ‘the tidiest cottage’ when her husband was farm steward here in and about 1902.  The clipping he enclosed suggested his grandmother was a redoubtable woman. She lived to the age of 105 despite her great interest in Irish politics, proudly boasting that she had never once failed to cast her vote.

Today the exterior of the gate-lodge received its first white undercoat.  I like to think such a house-proud woman would be pleased to see her former home shining brightly again, almost ready to welcome its next residents.

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Calliteara Pudibunda

Calliteara Pudibunda

I found this caterpillar inching through beach leaf litter on the drive of Larch Hill early this morning. In reality, it was a much more startling shade of lemon yellow with serried tufts along its back – a jockey’s livery aboard a copper leaf. I think it’s a pale tussock moth, local in Ireland, common in the UK. If there are any lepidopterists out there who know more, please comment!