Last weekend I went for a walk along the river Clodiagh in the Curraghmore estate to take pictures for this blog dedicated to the last butler of Curraghmore and his lovely wife who finally retired and left for Portugal this summer.
Who says you cannot change your career and your whole life at the age of 50+? “Born and raised” in Transvaal, South Africa”, Basil Croeser moved to Ireland in 1998 and got a job as butler to 8th Marquess of Waterford. Good old times when the notorious “work experience” was not required: there were no butlers in South Africa, not at that time anyway.
Basil served as butler for 12 years. Some of his duties included “seeing to His Lordship’s general well being; preparing and serving light meals; maintaining stock and equipment; maintaining and winding 17 antique clocks”. When His Lordship’s health started to deteriorate, Basil retired from his butler’s duties, and a new, younger butler was hired. Basil was offered the role of a tour guide in the Curraghmore estate.
Old Lord Waterford passed away in 2015, and is remembered as a good and kindly neighbor. Current Lord Waterford doesn’t have a butler. That era is gone.
I have been in the House before, and I know the script, but that was a special day, and sadness was in the air as the last butler took us on his farewell tour.
Basil’s tours and his unique knowledge will be missed.
The bags were already packed, as well as twenty years of memories. I wish them both a long and happy retirement!
These photographs I took for Basil and Colleen with a huge thank you for all they have done! 🙂 I came there early, less than an hour after the sunrise last Sunday, and parked outside the gate. The air was crisp and the sun just showed up from behind the forest.
Suddenly the mist started to rise, first from the river, then from just about everything!
In front of my eyes, the rippling steam rose from the grass. It was so thick that the sun rays couldn’t get through it.
The tree branches covered with moss started steaming too!
The sun rose higher and lit the tree tops.
What a magnificent morning!
I crossed the bridge and walked along the river. A strange object caught my eye. It’s a tail! I quickly checked my settings.
Red squirrel run too far and too high from me, but I noticed a big sweet chestnut in his mouth. I only know one such tree nearby, but it is on the other side of the river. What a brave little fella.
Young pheasants are having a double date. There are hundreds of them in the woods.
This one started to walk towards me – for a treat or for a fight?
He stood just a few steps away, looking at me with one eye then the other before slowly walking away across the road.
I walked across the bridge again to see the sweet chestnut tree ( and may be another squirrel) and visit the House. The other side of the river looked warm and welcoming.
The pale yellow Ferns seem so fragile.
The sweet chestnut tree provided me with a lot of entertainment and some fifty pictures of its cute fruits. No squirrels though.
The House is closed for public tours until the Easter 2019, but you can try to make an appointment.
I turn to the road that would take me to the King John’s bridge. I still don’t give up hope to get a picture of Kingfisher, but apparently not today as a young couple with an off-leash dog turns into the same road. I let them pass, and dive into the dark side path that takes me in the opposite direction. A natural arrangement of sun-lit leaves in the puddle draws my attention. When I look at the picture, I am very pleased to see a hovering tiny bonus Syrphid fly and its shadow.
The path is quite dark, and I am not surprised that the only sunny spot is occupied. Young pheasant female doesn’t consider me a threat and makes herself cozy in the sun.
No Kingfisher in sight, but a plump Dipper with a bright white bib looks over his shoulder at me with disapproval. Sorry, pal, my camera does make loud noises.
The next stretch is a bamboo ‘forest’. After I finally emerge from the greenery, I step on my favorite ‘fairy path’ 🙂 It is all for today.
Hope you all enjoyed the morning in Curraghmore as much as I did.
Here are more links to the Curraghmore stories : The Stag and the Dragon I ; The Stag and the Dragon II ; The Tower ; Lady Florence ; Clonegam There are many other related stories in this blog.
Have a wonderful weekend!