Where I was born and brought up – moved away age 22 after graduation from Queens University. I am fortunate with friendships, but like others of a fair age, know that there are now very few people who have known me well for most of my life. When I arrive back here, I remember this. However at the moment I am with the two people who have known me best and longest, my sisters. We are gardening… and other stuff. Today we took a break and went to Castle Espie Wetland Centre. A wander through woodland and wildlife areas bordering Strangford Lough, and home to more ducks of more different kinds than I have ever seen anywhere else. We were also lucky, the tide was out, the lough shore stretched far away across the flats covered in eel grass, and the weather was kind.
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As well as ducks, and geese and swans, and other birds, Castle Espie lands hold the remains of a 19th century lime kiln and a brickyard with a “Hoffman” kiln. My sisters and I grew up knowing about bricks and the Hoffman kiln – that was what our father did, manage the making of bricks in one just like this. We had a lot to talk about.