I am a great believer that things happen for a reason, what’s for you won’t pass you by and so on. I’m all for it.
So, when things come up on my calendar that are perfectly in line with my ethos of nostalgia and positive associations to landmarks, objects or words – I jump at them.
That includes this weekend the Armagh food and cider festival.
Normally we are a family who make the most of Culture night in Belfast. Our eight year old has attended since he was a year old and we love the buzz.
This year however we will just take in the late afternoon Culture night activities before my husband and I head down the familiar M1 road to my late Granny’s house where we will dump our overnight bags (my cousin now resides in her home) and walk the nostalgic path to Crannageal house where we will indulge in local Armagh cider and delicious food in the Nicholson’s orchard.
To say I am excited and a little emotional is an understatement. The house also happens to be the road my Granny’s church is on Cranagil methodist. The last time I walked that path was with my family as we walked Granny in her coffin on her last trip to her grave alongside Granda in their plot at the graveyard.
We are a pretty large family and being the youngest of the cousin clan I still like to bill myself as the “baby” of the family even though I have three kids of my own and there are a ton of other grand and great grandkids!!
I ran the same orchard that Michael and I will eat in with my cousins, we picked strawberries from the green house at the bottom of Granny’s lane that had the broken pane of glass in it. I have so many sunshine filled memories associated with my time as the “baby” of the family in county Armagh.
As mentioned many times before, my blog is named after my Granny Edna. She was so gorgeous and a woman who worked hard initially as a nurse cycling to Armagh hospital during the war. She didn’t drive hence the walking to church with her every Sunday when we stayed at her house. Her home was modest and I really want to paint it if, between all of us cousins we can source a good picture of it. This image shows one of the three windows along the front of the house.
Granny wasn’t precious or demanding and she never looked for anything other than time with the family and serving us and others.
At her funeral we spoke of the time she walked in the snow to set up a freezing Cranagill church for communion. Her commitment to Jesus and to her community was real and so admirable. Yet she never sought recognition or thanks.
This image is Granny outside Cranagill church at my cousin’s wedding.
She made apple crumbles using the apples from the orchard and somehow made food stretch for two people or ten of us not a bother in her tiny kitchen of a simple stove and a tin roof.
As the festival is based around food and drink I can’t feel any more pleased to be immersed in the warmth and culture of Armagh once more. I miss those weekly drives to that part of the country.
Granny would tell me I will become diabetic drinking the local sugary cider (!) but she would have stood at her front door as she always did, even when her dementia was at it’s peak to welcome me and Michael in. No doubt she would also have cared for our three lads and let them eat the treats out of her handbag and the cupboard above her fridge.
So, here’s to memories and the chance to revisit familiar places and people.
My armagh apple notebook (seen in the header) never seemed more appropriate to include in a post!
My online art print shop is packed with nostalgic locations around Northern Ireland so it is lovely to be able to experience some of what you, my customers feel as you see my art on your walls.
Here are the details for the weekend if you want to experience some of what Armagh has to offer. The food trail sounds amazing.
After all I have described about the beauty of the land in Armagh, I adore the sound of a sundown market on Saturday.