One of the most marvellous aspects of living where we do is that we live beside a wood. It’s very much a working wood where pine trees are planted and subsequently felled by Coillte, our local forestry commission. The land beneath the trees is peat and commonly termed as bogland, bog being the Irish word for soft. It’s lovely to walk on as it is so bouncy. I once walked with a friend from Romania through the bogland and she started to get rather worried as she thought that she was feeling tremors from an earthquake.
My visits to the wood punctuate my day. When I am home I am there each morning, evening and night time. The night before the summer solstice I was standing on a high bank of turf gazing at the beauty of the full moon before me, the sunset behind me and the huge swathes of bog cotton and wild orchids below me. Soon this was all to be history as the following day the continued hot spell of weather caused the wood to catch fire and create devastation for the plants and wildlife within it and wreak havoc, mayhem and terror for all of us who live around it.
Obviously our greatest concern was getting the animals to safety while the fire fighters and helicopter crews worked slavishly away at the impossible task of getting the fire under control. The alpacas were in a field of smoke. Their eyes were watering from its effects. It was such a relief for us, but incredibly scary for them, when my cousin arrived with a trailer and brought them to the safety of the building where I work which has a large field attached to it. They were delighted to see acres of long grass before them and leapt out of the trailer with glee.
I had hoped that they would be back home by now but the fires are still smouldering and only two days ago we needed more visits from the helicopters and fire the local brigade. While going into work on weekends and over holidays is no fun I am so grateful that Bootsy and Albs are safe and hopefully they will come home soon.