Friday, 28 April 2017

How the spaceman helped the autistic boy

I love this story from Limavady near Derry.

It's about a young autistic boy who had hardly spoken and never managed to string a sentence together until the age of seven when he watched Tim Peake take off to the International Space Station and joined in the countdown much to his mother's surprise.

Since then, Grayden hasn't stopped talking, is fascinated by Space and has even met Tim.   Read more about it here. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-39672693



Joining in today with the We Are The World Bloghop - spreading good news to balance out all the negative stuff in the world today.


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Happy Easter



The bunnies are out in our garden again although I can't get them to sit still long enough for a photo! But this little chap sat quite happily last year.

Have a lovely break whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or perhaps you're preparing for Bealtaine the following week.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Spring in the air

Hi everybody - I've been away for a while - sort of keeping an eye on some of your posts, but not quite getting my mojo back to post regularly just yet.  In fact, I'm going through a bit of an indecisive interlude - I can't quite see where my blog is going... no doubt something will come up soon and inspire me again.
These primroses seem really odd to me - several blooms on one stem.  Have you ever seen ones like them? 

In the meantime spring is slowly taking hold which means it's nearly time to get back out on the road again.  To start our year's gigging we're heading over to Yorkshire for a folk club concert in Skipton the week after  Easter, then up to Scotland for a couple more - one outside Glasgow and then the third at the Edinburgh Folk Club which will be a very sad occasion for us, as the organiser there, Paddy (Eberhardt) Bort, whom we've known for nearly 30 years, passed away suddenly a few weeks back.  But it will still be lovely to get back to see old friends, revisit Edinburgh for a couple of hours and have a few days up in Fife afterwards before coming back home for a mad couple of weeks running around and then off to the Continent.

And, drum rollllllll, we've started work on a new CD of original songs which I quite foolishly have committed to launching at Fiddlers Green Festival at the end of July!   Deadlines focus the attention mightily .... I hope lol   My energy is still not back on par -  one late night and I'm half dead for two days and my other half's not a lot better at the minute - so we're going to have to be ultra careful for these next couple of trips.

Anyway the spring colours and the blasts of afternoon sunshine over the last couple of days, and the sounds of the birds as they look for nests is enough to brighten the heart.

More traditional


I hope you're having a smashing weekend wherever you are and a good week to come.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St Patrick's Day


The Winter's nearly over when St Patrick's Day comes around - there's blossom on the trees and the whin bushes are in their full glorious yellow.  Today it's not sure whether it's Winter or Spring, but warmer days are on the way for sure.

I'm only just recovering from the pneumonia that flattened me although I have been getting out a little bit each day for the past week.  Normally I'm a terrible patient and will not stay in bed, but this time I was very willing..  On the bright side, it's been a great way of getting through the winter - it feels like it's flown by!!  Hibernation has a lot going for it lol.

And now something a little different for St Patrick's Day
Meet the Gaelic singing Muslim cleric
I'd like to introduce you to Sheikh Muhammed al Hussaini who is an imam and a singer of traditional Irish songs.
He is a fellow in Islamic Studies at the Westminster Institute in London, from where he has frequently criticised the actions of Islamic extremists, and at some personal cost.
Muhammad Al-Hussaini fell in love with Irish music a few years ago and has been singing ever since. He is an Irish speaker and sings in the sean nos style and also plays fiddle and whistle.

Here is a clip of him singing on Channel 4 news last St Patrick's Day.  Once upon a long ago when I lived in Dubai, I felt there were a lot of similarities between the Arab and Irish languages - Muhammed's voice is a natural in singing in Gaelic (sean-nos literally means 'old bones' and is a very traditional, highly ornamented style of Irish singing).


Muhammed is part of an international peace think tank based in England and recently he spoke in court in defence of a fundamentalist Christian preacher, Pastor McConnell, from Belfast who preached from the pulpit on the evils of Islam.  In Muhammed's view and that of most other lay and religious people, the man should be allowed to say what he wants, even if we disagree with him and this imam was prepared to speak on behalf of the man who had demonised his own religion.  To him and to other peace activists, freedom of speech is the most important thing.

The Music of Healing - A higher form of disagreement

We're Catholics and we're Protestants
We're Muslims and we're Jews
And we're some who are none of the above.
But we've gathered here together in Rostrevor by the sea
By decree of humanity and love.
- Tommy Sands

In the past week, alongside my good friend Tommy Sands, both Muhammed and Pastor McConnell spoke at a Music of Healing event here in the village and the following day joined with thinkers, victims of the Troubles, and heads of various religious congregations in Ireland - Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, to come up with a declaration for a higher form of disagreement.  Representatives of local monasteries and the integrated school were also present as were members of the non religious section of our community.  I'm so sorry to have missed the public concert, but the village has been  buzzing with discussion about all that was said.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Music of Healing listen here to Tommy being interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster about the event.  This is an annual event - a mixture of debate and music - which Tommy has been hosting since before the Good Friday Agreement 19 years ago, giving a space to (mainly) politicians from opposing sides of our divided community a platform to speak in peace and to have a higher form of disagreement.

By the way, the song "The Music of Healing" (trying to find a recording of it to share with you but my system is not having any of it - but you can check it out on iTunes or Spotify if you have either)it was co-written and co-performed by Pete Seeger and Tommy Sands.
Pete Seeger and Tommy Sands

So Happy St Patrick's Day to you and yours and may peace and tolerance be the main focus of all our lives in the coming months and years.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Bread and Roses

Happy International Women's Day

And a big shout out to all my lovely women friends around the world.  This day of solidarity has had so much significance over the years but is only starting to grow in my awareness
in recent times.  I've been off classes for ages now, so I've made a special effort to start back tonight and have some special songs to sing for the day that is in it.

This is Bread and Roses - It originated from a speech given by Rose Schneiderman; a line in that speech ("The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.") inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. 

Isn't that a timely reminder in these days of plenty for many of us and of more equality for more of us, that we need to look after our spirit as well as our bodily needs.

This clip is taken from the film Pride about the Miner's Strikes - a terrible terrible time in England.  Although this song originated in a women's cause, it has become one of the most poignant protest songs anywhere in the world and has been sung in many languages.


Best wishes to you all.





Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Yarn Along: Reading and Making

Reading and knitting - two of my favourite pastimes.

I used to think I was a good knitter.   Well, I am ... a good knitter - I've always got something on the needles, usually more than one thing.   But I've recently discovered that I know very very very little about the subject.  One of the plus points of being laid up in bed for an extended length of time is that I've had loads of time to look around short reads - i.e. blogs - and I've found so many great knitting blogs and it has really recharged my interest and enthusiasm.

So I'm joining in the Yarn Along today, run by Ginny at Sweet Things for the first time.  The point of this blog hop is to share what you're knitting and what you're reading.   Some of these other knitters are quite amazing and there are some good ideas for reading as well.


So this is my first attempt at knitting socks - it's been slow going over the past few weeks,  but thanks to the brilliant instructions of Winwick Mum and her Sockalong, I've finally nearly got my first pair of hand knit socks.  Woohoo..  I love the wool too - Regia sock yarn self striping wool.  I was shamed into this by the lovely Amy at Love Made My Home who, although she is a fabulous crocheter,  started knitting by knitting socks!  You what?!  So, finally caught up.

Reading, I've finally slogged my way to the end of Edith Wharton's "Age of Innocence".   She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature with this novel in the 1920s.  I'm sure at the time it was scandalous and a great look behind the scenes of the New York elite, and the descriptions are superb and suitable claustrophobic and paranoid, but I found it hard going and frankly boring.  However against my usual rule of if it doesn't hold my attention leave it there, I ploughed through to the end and I'm glad I did, sort of - there's a different rule for classics isn't there?  Although I confess that I diverted for a day in the middle to read the first Dr Siri Mystery which was brilliant - more about him at a future date.


Monday, 20 February 2017

European Tree of the Year competition

Dear Friends,
There is still time to help us out and vote for our Holm Oak which won the NI tree of the year and is now in the competition for European Tree of the year.   You have to give 2 votes when you register and even if you give us your second vote it will help us tremendously. Voting closes on 28th February.  

The Holm Oak in Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor won NI Tree of the Year.
It is now one of the contenders for European Tree of the Year,
 the winner of which will receive money to help protect the old tree and shore it up.  
We are all very proud of our corner of the world and there's an amazing energy in the village to promote tourism.   For many years the North of Ireland was starved of tourists due to our troubled past.   Now gradually the number of visitors is increasing and here it seems that everyone is involved in one way or another in doing things to help out.  Promoted by Light 2000, this tree initiative, in an area of outstanding beauty, is yet one more way to put us on the map.   Please help out.  

I wrote about the Holm Oak, from Old Homer's own perspective here.  

You can vote HERE or at the link at the bottom of the page.  

This is a piece from the Newry and Mourne Tourist Board. 
Did you know in ancient Greece the leaves of the holm oak were used to tell the future and they were also used to make crowns to honour people...?  
If trees could talk we know he'd say, please vote for the #holmoak in Rostrevor! He can't vote himself though - he needs us all to take a moment and vote for him. We could have the best tree in Europe here in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.  
Please share this plea for votes and ask your friends throughout the world to support our campaign. Thanks ðŸ˜ƒ 
Voting closes 28 Feb! #Europeantreeoftheyear #treeoftheyearwww.visitmournemountains.co.uk/Europeantreeoftheyear

Many thanks for your support.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Five Windows

I jinxed myself putting up my last post about colds - I'd been feeling poorly for a few days and couldn't get my head into thinking of anything to write and that was the only post I'd ready to go.   Well.  I've been in bed since ... the same thing as before Christmas - it looks like a lung infection which hasn't cleared - so back on yet another course of antibiotics and I must confess I am starting to feel marginally brighter this evening but still not enough energy to talk much.

With no real concentration for reading I'd been looking through some photos to see what we were at in February for the past few years (for 3 consecutive years I've been away and sick - really will have to look at this)  - but I found these that will give me a Five for Friday.  I'm joining in today with Amy's weekly blogshop - at Love Made My Home.


I've always loved windows.  Here are some from our travels.

1. Oradour sur Glane
I wrote about this martyr village in France a few years ago - the link will take you there if you're interested.   De Gaulle insisted it was left exactly as it was to remember the atrocities of World War 2.  The most moving place I've ever been or seen.
Rusted and left to remember

2. Castle Caldwell in Co. Fermanagh.
This old castle is near to where I grew up, on the shores of Lough Erne.  The owners were the founders of Belleek Pottery.  Today it is lovely park to walk around, full of bluebells in spring.  These windows make me think of Maid Marian and Robin Hood, although it's not nearly as old as that (late 1700s I think)

Abandoned from another era

3.  Now where would you think I was here?  :)  Two Februarys ago wandering around Scotland, I took this first picture purely because I love that shade of blue - if memory serves me correctly it's in Stranraer.  But when I was looking back on photos it made me think of how much a name can suggest a place.
Shades of blue


I couldn't choose between these two .... The tourist shop below leaves no doubt as to place.  I couldn't resist it - the colours were magic in it - even though I can't stand tourist shops.
Buy a memory

4. Autumn in rural Germany
At our friends house in Neuwartensleben.
5. The cool of the shade
In Dubai museum - a traditional Arab home

Thankfully I have a few more days before I need to be fully on again - and another 10 days before the next gig - so I'm going to lie low to see if I can crack this thing - actually there's no choice in the matter - energy is still appallingly low.   They're sending me for a CT scan because the last two X-rays have shown something up on my lungs - but that'll take a couple of months at least, so it can't be too urgent and hopefully this second antibiotic will do the trick.

Have a lovely week ...

Monday, 13 February 2017

Dealing with a cold on the road

This is the season for colds and flus - and there's a really nasty virus doing the rounds as well, giving people sore throats and awful coughs - and it just won't go away (this from personal experience).

Getting a bad cold at any time is horrible - we've all been there.

But what do you do if you need to sing (or talk) when you have a cold?

Well for me, warm ups are the thing - and rest - and fluids.

To warm up, I start early in the day just humming - and gradually expanding through my range - doing 5 minutes every hour or so - very gently so that someone 3 or 4 feet away from me could barely hear me.    I then progress to Lip Trills - the traditional singer Tommy Makem who found fame with the Clancy Brothers, always swore by these - he would do 15 minutes of lip trills before every gig .... There are lots of examples of how to do a lip trill on You Tube - This is one of the better ones I've found.  From Cari Cole who is a Nashville vocal coach - I probably should prepare one of these videos some time myself, but .I wouldn't look nearly as pretty as her lol



Coping with colds and jet lag when you're performing is not easy.   It's not always possible to get the rest and quiet time that's needed to recover.  Most singers carry a virtual pharmacopeia with them but in recent years I have stopped doing this as I've found it made me feel even worse, anticipating feeling bad.   However some sage sweets or honey and lemon to make a soothing drink can be picked up most places.  Throat sweets are usually very sickly and sticky so they can make matters worse, unless your throat is very sore and raspy in which case that sweet stickiness can be very soothing.

If the cold is a bad chesty one then you will probably need to change the key of songs to sing a bit lower but if there are other members of the band get them to shoulder a bit more of the singing.   Tom has been great on tours where I've had a problem, doing a few extra songs to let me rest.

I hope that helps.   Just keep warm and watch your voice - it's a great indicator of how your whole body is doing.

Do you have any great cold cures?  I'd love to hear about them.   Stay well this Winter.




Friday, 10 February 2017

Five bits of Music Trivia

I'm joining in today with Five on Friday run by Amy at Love Made My Home.

I love useless information :)

I came across some lists a while back in a second hand book shop somewhere and I thought I'd share some of them here ...  So for today's Five on Friday, here's 5 unusual inspirations for well known songs.

This first one made me groan a bit - cover your eyes if you're a vegan

Mother and Child Reunion, Paul Simon
Inspiration:  A chicken and egg dish on a Chinese restaurant menu!!
How ridiculous but brilliant.


Who'll Buy my Memories - Willie Nelson
Inspiration:  The loss of $16 million back taxes to the IRS
That'd make your eyes water - I don't think I'd have any inspiration for a year after that.


All Shook Up - Otis Blackwell
Inspiration:  A bottle of Pepsi
The best known version of this is by Elvis but here's the original



Mony Mony - Tommy Jones and the Shondells,
Inspiration:  The neon sign of the Mutual Of New York insurance building
Love it



Running on Empty:  Jackson Browne
Inspiration: An empty petrol tank
That just makes my heart race but Jackson is one of my all time favourite song writers.


I had to add just one more ....

To Know Him is to Love Him : Phil Spector
Inspiration:  Words on his fathers gravestone.
My favourite version of this song is by Dolly, Linda and Emmylou - heavenly harmonies - But this is the original by the Teddy Bears which was Phil Spector's band - the song went to Number 1 in 1958.



Have a lovely week - I'm taking some time now to look at what everyone else has put up for this week.  If you have time, check out some of the other people participating in Five on Friday or better still, join in.  Thank you Amy for putting this together.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Do you use Spotify?

Recently we took out our record player again and dusted off some old LPs ... the sound is definitely much richer than CD.  Although in the past few years I find I'm not even listening to CDs much - just loading them in to my computer, transferring them to iTunes and have them on my phone to listen to in the car - and everything goes onto shuffle.   Same with my podcasts and radio programmes.  


The music business is certainly changing.   

We spend so much of our time looking after our digital profiles.  In the past week we have done updates to our website,  to our You Tube channel, created a You Tube channel to specifically focus on the Songbirds TV work we did  in another lifetime (it was too confusing keeping it all together).  I've been on here on Blogger, added stuff to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and next I need to check out our Soundcloud account.    At what point do you get time to practice or write says you?   


And finally, there is Spotify.   Do you use it?   If you do and you have an account, you could help us out.  We need to have 250 followers in order to be recognised as artists on Spotify.   Here's the link to our music page - you'd be doing us a huge favour if you went there and then clicked the follow button.   Many thanks.  Ok, one more job done lol


A new artist

I feel sorry for young performers trying to make a living - where do they even start?   A lot of the time they even have to pay for a chance to play a gig.   But there's one lovely young girl here in the village that was too shy to get out and perform, even in front of her parents.   So she decided to film herself singing songs by her favourite artists and put them on to You Tube.  Fast forward a year and she got approached by a company in London to see if she'd like to enter a competition for You Tube performers and another year on she is now working in London in a music business office, has been writing with some of the best writers in Nashville and has already had 2 singles released.   Her name is Catherine McGrath and you can watch her videos  here - maybe buy her single or like her on Facebook to help her out?   Or let your teenage daughters check her out.  




So how do you listen to your music nowadays?   Have you any favourite LPs?  Or like me, do you still have some cassettes lying around the place?  I'd love to hear... 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Moving into Spring

I'm joining in today with Five on Friday run by Amy at Love Made My Home

We celebrated another anniversary last weekend - 29 years on the 29th - it amazes me sometimes that we're still here and that more than half of my life has now been in this marriage - and we haven't killed each other yet lol

But our plans to go away were thrown out a bit when my mum had a turn and had to be taken to hospital... She lives just over 100 miles from me.  The stress of that phone call is unbelievable - I had to get out of the car for a while to settle myself.   Happily it was nothing too serious and after two days of observation she was out again.  

I started a photography class last week so I thought I'd share some pics from it for my Five this week (had to sneak in a couple extras).  I'm really enjoying being a student for a few weeks (it's a short course) and finally figuring out how to use my camera.  In the office, we're mid way through an update of all our online stuff - web, social media, You Tube etc - as well as booking next year's tours, so it's lovely to have something to take my mind away into another realm for a while.

Reflections 
After leaving Mum at the hospital on Saturday to head back to her house, we drove along the shores of Lough Erne down in Co. Fermanagh.  The water was flat calm although it was freezing cold walking along the shore.   As children, we were always told that there were 365 islands on Lough Erne - there are two of them at the top of this picture. (I've since discovered that most children are told that about their local lake!)  The most famous are of course Kathleen's Island (Inis Ceathlain) on which the town of Enniskillen stands (Enniskillen means Kathleen's Island) and then there is Devenish Island which has lots of old standing stones and relics of pre Christian times.   I've never been out there - perhaps this summer.

Lough Erne in Co. Fermanagh

The colours of the sky were so beautifully reflected in the water.
The reflection on the water had me in thrall
Belleek where I grew up is at the mouth of the lake, where Lough Erne turns in to the River Erne - Beal Leice, the Irish name of the village, means mouth of the lake.
Again the reflection was stunning.  Just past the eel weir along the line of those trees in the background, the river flows to the right and down into Ballyshannon and the Atlantic Ocean.  As with here in Rostrevor, the border is smack in the middle of that piece of water - the left bank is in the Republic (or in the South as we say) and the right bank in the North.
The eel weir at Belleek, Co. Fermanagh
The hotel Carlton which is sadly closed now with the eel weir on the left.  



The birds
This is not a great photo but I had to laugh - this fellow was shouting his head off the other day - we've been keeping watch on the birds more in recent weeks as the RSPB have been doing a Birdwatch plus the Winterwatch has been on the Beeb, so nature is very much to the forefront.  He stayed there for a good 5 minutes - he'd shout, I'd answer and away he'd go again - brilliant.
Blackbird singing in the dead of .... murky morning

The garden
I love garden statues and would love to own some really nice ones.   This wee lady has been with us for a long time and keeps guard at our front door.  She's only about 18 inches tall.
Several years ago while touring in the north of England we spent a Sunday morning at a big car boot sale a few miles south of Newcastle - there was a guy selling imperfect garden ornaments - in spite of glares from Tom I managed to come home with a small Buddha, but if he had only looked the other way for half an hour I think I would have managed to squeeze another one in.   One of these days I'll afford a bigger one - or some contemporary garden art - to hide somewhere in the garden
Not feeling the cold at all
Sunset
Up until Tuesday last we had a great run of cold crisp weather.   This shot is on Carlingford Lough.  I was about 5 minutes late for catching the most beautiful blue under that orangey pink part of the sky, but still I thought it was worth capturing.
Low tide

I hope you've had some break from routine this week too.
If you have time, check out some of the other people participating in Five on Friday and as always thanks to  Amy for putting this together.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Brigid's Day


Happy Brigid's Day everyone.

This is the Celtic holiday of Imbolc, St Brigid's Day and the first day of the Celtic Spring.

Last night I got a lovely text from my friend Joanna about a tradition around St Brigid that I'd never heard of before....  She wrote:
On St Brigid's Eve, don't forget to put out the Bratóg Bríde (Brigid's little cloak) (Bríde pronounced breed) overnight.  It's a piece of cloth, scarf or ribbon which St Bridget would bless in passing.  The bratóg would help wearers with headaches and sore throats throughout the year to come.

I didn't manage to get out yesterday to gather rushes to make a Brigid's Cross for today - perhaps I'll still do it later in the day.   It was a very strong tradition when I was growing up and many in this area are keeping the tradition alive.   I loved the symbol of that cross, the symbol of the cycle of the year, continuing regardless.

Brigid was the goddess of the hearth, fertility and creativity among many other things.   Her presence and power was so strong that she was adopted as a Saint by the Catholic Church as Christianity spread through Ireland in the 5th and 6th centuries.  Now there are many festivals around the country that celebrate all aspects of the woman, the goddess and the saint.

I was looking for a piece of music I'd once heard to share with you but came across this lovely video instead .... posted by a blog which no longer seems to be active -  nefaeriaofetsy.blogspot.com
The music is beautiful - a mix from Loreena McKennitt and some other voices - but there is lots of information about Brigid the Goddess and her place in Celtic Mythology, about Brigid the Saint and her place in the Christian church and lastly about Imbolc.   If you're interested in folklore you might find this an entertaining read.  At the end it also gives a list of sources for the information.



Have a great month of February.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Five on Friday - Catching up on reading

I'm joining in today with Five on Friday run by Amy at Love Made My Home.

I haven't been out taking many photos over the past while, so I thought I'd focus on some recent reads - here are 5 I've really enjoyed.

The winter months are great for catching up on reading and I have been bingeing - both on my Kindle and in the lovely big juicy properly printed versions.  So here's a few  to mention in case you're looking for some reading ideas...

I have taken the synopsis on each book from Goodreads.



All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

I thought this was a superb book and I really enjoyed it.  A very detailed account of  some parts of World War II told from the point of view of two young characters both of whom were very well rounded and very human.  5/5





The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

This book was so moving ... and gripping..   I couldn't put it down.  A story about consequences - can't recommend it highly enough.  5/5





Peaches for Monsieur le Curé by Joanne Harris
When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she allows the wind to blow her back to the village in south-west France where, eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop. But Lansquenet is different now: 

This follow up to Chocolat by Joanne Harris was a great read - a bit of a soap opera, not too taxing, and most enjoyable .... I wish now that I had read Chocolat rather than just watching the movie - Joanne has a great way of describing food - I've read several of her books over the years and they always make me hungry!!  This one is a very timely look at the divisions of immigrants and natives .... 4.5/5





The Reader on the 6.27 by Didier Laurent
An irresistible French sensation - Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore meets Amelie - The Reader on the 6.27 explores the power of books through the lives of the people they save. It is sure to capture the hearts of book lovers everywhere. Guylain Vignolles lives on the edge of existence. Working at a book pulping factory in a job he hates, he has but one pleasure in life ...Sitting on the 6.27 train each day, Guylain 
recites aloud from pages he has saved from the jaws of his monstrous pulping machine. 
A thoroughly enchanting read - I loved the characters and the snapshots of the stories he reads .... Lovely .. 4.5/5


Hello Is This Planet Earth? by Tim Peake
 This is a great coffee table book.  I bought it for Tom for Christmas although really I wanted to look at it myself.  It was so exciting to follow Major Tim's journey to the Space Station and back last year - he's such a likeable man and his enthusiasm for all he saw and did comes across in this collection of photos from the Space Station.   With the added bonus that all his proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Princes Trust to help young people get some of the opportunities he had in his early life.  And it was just announced that he's heading up into space again ... excellent.  5/5

Have a lovely week and if you have time, check out some of the other people participating in Five on Friday.  Thank you Amy for putting this together.



Saturday, 21 January 2017

Weekend

A freezing cold Saturday afternoon at Lough Melvin while waiting for my Mum to finish an appointment. 

There was no skill whatsoever required in capturing this photo today - Nature did it all - what a beautiful sunset  and if the old rhyme is right we'll have another great day to look forward to tomorrow and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights tonight - I just might wait up for that.

January is coming near an end and I'm only just starting to feel like the New Year is starting - the bug I picked up before Christmas is still lingering leaving me with some days of absolutely no energy and other days fired up and ready to go.  Hopefully it'll be more of the latter as we head into February.  Now the other half has it too so we're in a very quiet, not very productive house at the moment - and I suppose that's the way things should go around Winter's darkest days - a good excuse for hibernation.

I wish you a lovely Sunday and an excellent week to come.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Hello 2017

Happy New Year dear blogger friends ... 
We started the New Year off with sun and blue skies here after a very quiet family holiday with my mother visiting for the first time in years.  It was lovely to have her with us, recovering from a big operation and determined to be out walking and getting back to driving before her 90th birthday!

Since we left her home it's been a very slow start to the year - I feel like I need at least another week to get my mojo back, but slowly slowly we'll get there.


What a strange year 2016 has been - from my first meeting with a fellow blogger early in the year - great to meet Denise from Denise's Planet in Dublin in February - to our trips to Australia, Germany and Scotland, not to mention all the political and social turmoil around the world.
Denise and I on Grafton Street in February 


Now it's time for planning and restructuring and seeing where we go from here.
Life changes year to year; demands change; health changes; situations change and I love this time of year to refocus and take a fresh look at things.

I've never been one for making resolutions - usually I couldn't last more than a day or two - but I love new beginnings - whether that's the start of the year or the start of a month, or even the start of the week.

Blue skies at the White Beach this morning

The new crescent moon has been beautiful these nights, sitting over the mountain with the evening star looking like it's trailing the moon behind her tied by some invisible thread.  It made me think of this song from Sting with beautiful images included from the person who posted the video on You Tube.


I wish you a wonderful start to the Year and look forward to keeping in touch as we move forward into this next adventure.  Blessings to you all.