Loosely Locked Down: Day 60

I say “loosely” locked down, because we can travel 5km from our home now, and by next Monday certain shops will be open. I might be able to buy a vital piece of plumbing paraphernalia, which would mean I would be able to commission my en-suite bathroom (all the white ceramic bits – the sink, loo, bidet and shower – were bought years ago). However, I will miss the creative ways husband Marcel berates son Paddy for excessive bathroom occupancy. My favourite was when Marcel said something particularly outrageous: when Paddy came out he went back to his room saying, “This one’s getting a cartoon strip!” I swelled with pride. “My work here is done,” I thought.

Thursday 14th May

It’s a beautiful day. To celebrate our 5km, I suggest we go to Moran’s and have a picnic. Moran’s is a seafood restaurant on the far side of the river behind our house, and while we love going there, it’s been closed for months. If you walk past Moran’s you are very quickly on a green road (unmetalled path) that runs alongside the river, climbing higher until you are on a steep bank from which you would sustain serious injury should you fall. Then it falls again, veers away from the water slightly and you are flanked on either side by fields of cattle, horses and sheep depending on the time of year. At the end of the green road, the road becomes a very narrow grassy path, with elderflower bushes and masses of wild flowers stroking and poking you as you pass with their rudely healthy tendrils and twigs: in shorts you have a good chance of being scratched. All of a sudden, the path stops, and you come to the sea.

Liv (15), Paddy (18) and I took sandwiches and ice cream and found ourselves at the seashore. The shore comprises stones and seaweed and it smells of anoxic seaweed and mud, an acquired taste, for sure. But despite the vaguely sewage-y smell, it is very clean and you will see lots of wildlife: herons, cormorants, egrets, tiny crabs, mussels and lots of seagulls. “Watch your step,” said Paddy, “there are logs everywhere.” Despite being a grown-ass man, Paddy still adores lavatory humour, and the logs to which he referred were the guano of geese who hang about on the shore, in particular on the grassy promontory where we decided to spread our picnic rug (in a log-free patch).

We ate our sandwiches and Reuben the fluffy white terrier barked and yowled at rocks, as is his wont. “The next dog we get will have to be auditioned,” said Liv. “We’ll bring a rock with us in the boot of the car, and see if the puppy has a meltdown when it sees it. If it does, we shall politely decline.” I began to sketch, and Reuben very much wanted to join us on the picnic rug. Paddy is fastidious and may have had visions of goose logs stuck to dogs’ paws; he kept batting Reuben away from the rug. This meant rapid twisting and turning and made my sketching rather a challenge. He cared so much more about Reuben getting onto the rug than my sketch being a success. Never mind: Liv dozed in the sun as we listened to life-lessons from Kevin Hart on audiobook, and other than patting Reuben occasionally with the hand I was trying to draw, she made a far more cooperative subject. See that foreshortening? Nailed it! Paddy…not so much.

I’ve been sewing since early this morning. I love sewing, especially if it’s a small, crafty, easy thing like a face mask or these little pouches. Since my workshops have been put on hold, and my teaching cannot take place in the usual way, I must find other ways to earn an income these days. I do what I know: I continue to teach through Zoom, I write books and I sew things I believe are beautiful and useful. I use my own specially designed fabric. There are two designs: Sketchbook Safari, which has an elephant in a circle, and Barbershop, which is a collection of my own urban sketches done while I waited for Paddy to have his haircut over the course of a few years. Sketchbook Safari is the name of my sketching holiday business. The slogan is “Never Forget” (hence the elephant, geddit?) because when we sketch, we remember everything in our sketchbooks vividly. I haven’t yet thought of a way to include the slogan in my design. Hmmm. I’m thinking…. So, as well as my Barbershop face masks (available very soon!) these pencil pouches will be available on my website. They are lined and squidgy and boxy and are perfect for pencils, or for use as a cosmetics case: sadly, they’re going to get mucky either way.

Good news!

The Arts Council of Ireland asked artists to come up with their personal response to the Covid-19 crisis. They offered funding for our time in bringing such a project to the public. When I heard about this, I was already 25 days into my daily “Lockdown Blog”, and so I thought I was in with a chance. Well…I guess I was. I was one of 324 lucky Irish artists to be awarded this funding, which is worth €3000. Someone asked me what I intended to do with the money: with my workshops postponed for the foreseeable future, I’m afraid it’s less likely to be spent on frivolities and more likely to be spent on food (and maybe a bottle or two of wine, it must be said).

Allow me to take this moment to thank you for reading my blog, and for your lovely comments. Without them I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to apply for the award. Receiving it feels wonderful. It is the first time I have been recognised by my own country for what I do. Yes, I have a (small but perfectly-formed) following from around the world, but the recognition by your fellow countrymen means a lot. If they get you…it’s not because they have an interest in Ireland, or something different…if they like you, you’re doing something right. It’s a genuine affirmation and I am delighted.

I hope you continue to read and hopefully enjoy my corner of Ireland in words and sketches. I aim to please.


  1. Gina Glot

    May 15, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Congratulations Roisin, it’s well deserved. I love reading your blog. Can’t wait to get your new book in December. 😊

    • Róisín Curé

      May 15, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you Gina. I am so very pleased you have been enjoying it. X

  2. Annah Knight

    May 14, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    Congratulations Róisín, that’s wonderful news, and so well deserved I’ve loved your blog so much, and it was weird seeing its day 60. Time is so surreal these days.
    I’m so looking forward to the limited palette and taking some time to draw this weekend, I’ve been physically joined to my sewing machine day and night…..

    • Róisín Curé

      May 14, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      Thank you Annah. I hope you are getting some kind of government support for all the sewing, if not private support. We may love sewing but it can be very tiring! I’m glad you’ll have two hours on Saturday to go to a totally different place…see you then!

      • Annah Knight

        May 14, 2020 at 11:58 pm

        Hi Róisín, no Government support, I’m volunteering to make masks and scrubs, but I’m also making masks to sell, boys to feed and take care of. Some nights I’m still at my machine at midnight…..could do with a massage…..

        • Róisín Curé

          May 15, 2020 at 5:48 am

          Great that you’re finding a way to support your family. I’ve been selling masks since the very start of this thing and I cannot understand why Ireland is being so slow to tell everyone to do the right thing for each other and put a mask on. I’m full of admiration for your hard work Annah. Be good to yourself. X

  3. Geri Dunne

    May 14, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Congratulations from one of your “world followers”…. well deserved recognition from your countrymen.
    Um… hate to admit but I’m with Paddy on the logs in the paws😂😂
    We had a great meal at Moran’s when we stayed in Ballyvaughan .
    The blogs have been such a bright spot in this otherwise dismal lockdown.

    • Róisín Curé

      May 14, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      Isn’t Moran’s great? I can see it from my upstairs window, and when I’m in my studio teaching through zoom, it’s just across the river behind me, so you know exactly where I am when you’re in class! And thank you Geri, you’re so good xx

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