Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marrakech photos

Post-hols, post-deluge, the normal rhythms of life are gradually reasserting themselves.

Some photos from Marrakech are online: over here on facebook. It was a wonderful experience, with much art and conversation and chilling and exploring. And chameleons :-)

Oodles of wonder-filled moments, but lying under the canopy of stars in the Sahara, talking about life matters, that was probably my highlight. Extraordinary.

Thanks to Sara for being a fab travelling companion.
And for not selling me :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Orlaith in Marrakech

Ah, we have arrived...  quick post from our hotel, post-swim and nap :-)

Marrakech keeps unfolding delight after delight: the medina with its snake charmers and healers and craftsfolk and henna artists and ten zillion salesmen. We made our way through herbs and spices and apocatheries... past ceramic shops, metalworking studios, wool dying workshops... everyone eager to talk, to sell. One man looks at us, declares 'Fish and Chips'.
No, we say, not English.
Another seller joins in, 'Australian'.
Nope. We move along, and keep walking as the avenue of sellers shout after us: 'German. French. Polish. American...'
We cave in with one man, and say that we're Irish.
'Ah,' he nods. 'Roy Keane.'

Today's super-treat was going to Yves Saint Laurent's garden, which was actually established by a painter called Majorelle in the 1920s, but YSL saved it after Majorelle's death. And treasured it, clearly.

Such colours and light and life. A place that manages to be serene and vibrantly life-affirming at the same time; a truly romantic setting.
Alrightey, out into the evening for us :-)
Cafe in the Medina
Wool dying

"It is so lovely with your eyes..." the salesman insists :-)

Off to visit Saint Laurent's garden

Garden Majorelle - designed in the 1920s

Lovin' that blue

water lillies and turtles and frogs oh my...

Blue + blonde

Blue + pomegranates

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The last week has been a whirlwind, and with this weekend shaping up to be an Annual-Report-a-thon, I am grabbing the spare moment while I can!

A friend asked today how my weekend had been.

Me: "Good. Yeah, busy, but good. I learned to woodwork. Made a coffee table. Drove to West Cork to help a friend emigrate. Got shortlisted for a great Vodafone thing, and had to prep a presentation, which was kinda major. Little sleep. Anyhoo, we drove up, made it to the interview in time; he left for a teeny bit of French territory beside Canada this morning..."

Friend: "I knew you wouldn't let me down. I'm off to my office now to think about what I did this weekend. I'll let you know later."


For those who asked, my little whittled-with-love coffee table looks like this:

I *loved* the wood course - easy-paced learning in an idyllic sunshiney wood, with a young horse called Summer looking on with interest. At lunch we talked pre-Columbian artefacts and I think I actually heard my mind stretch a little :-) *And* while chatting with the other person on the course, I realised that his father happened to be up in Dublin, on my street, working on the cottage opposite mine.

Small world.

The weekend's keywords were emigration and Presentation Prep -- thanks for all who helped, with ideas and care and support and photos and deeeeelicious lemon meringue cake and a variety of coffees. So busy that I didn't even make it to the shore to look for mermaid's tears... And yet, Baltimore cannot but delight: there was a sublime birthday party to share in, and brief-but-lovely catch-up with friends, and a friend's art to explore, and some stretchy yoga to the sound of a beautiful heavy rain shower.

And then we whirled on, to Dublin and interview and Job the First and Job the Second.

I'm tired just typing that!! Time for candles and curling up :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011


My walk home from town sometimes takes me past this door. From a distance it looks like a blur of white graffiti. It takes me a second for her form to appear...

I love her pose, folding forward... a graceful presence in an ordinary side road.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What lies beneath

This was top of my list for Bridge Photos: I noticed it first on Fr Mathew Bridge, but I think it repeats on a few :-)

Crossing to Job the First of a morning, with the river at an ebb, the thought of a troll hunched under stone and metal, finding its balance on seaweedey rocks - love it!

I had to look up the name of the bridge (in my mind it's called The Bridge that goes across to Church Street). Apparently it's called Father Mathew (yes, with only the one 't') Bridge - named after a superabstemious teetotaller.

I'll raise a glass to that :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cross with care

I love over-water-bridges, from a little stepping stone slab to the massive Mackinac bridge that disappears into mist before your eyes can make out the other side. Love the idea of them as things that join, that traverse... a place of boundaries over a constantly moving channel.

They're just fab.

Anyhoo, there are oodles of photos I have been meaning to take of Dublin's bridges. The following were not on the list - they came by surprise. Earlier today while I was walking home in light rain, I decided to cross at the Ha'penny Bridge. And noticed something different about it.

How intriguing is that...

And on the other side...

And when I went to cross into Temple Bar, it turned out that the enigmatic little messages weren't limited to the bridge at all:

I have no idea of the who or the why. I do love them though - little sparks of thoughtfulness and wonder in the most everyday of settings.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Storage Solutions

Over this lovely weekend, I met up with a friend I hadn't seen since Michigan days: we exchanged about two sentences before she said "Oh my God you haven't changed *at all*. Did you watch Eerie Indiana? Foreverware..."

And there we were, straight back into our regular pattern of chat. A treat.

Ah, Foreverware: "Vacuum-seal yourself for 8 hours a day and keep the wrinkles away..." Eerie Indiana was so kooky-with-gusto.

And it had Elvis in it. Can't beat that.

Meanwhile, amongst the chatting, a little girl took some pictures with my camera. There were oodles of faces (none of whom I asked permission to use their photos, so all of those omitted for now). But humans aside, I enjoyed her more random shots of life above and below and around. Nice colours & textures :-)

I'm resisting the urge to start streaming Eerie Indiana in earnest. Back to my day's To Do Guide...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sweet thoughts

Caller: "You're the nicest person in the world. And you spell your name right."

Me: "Well, I can't really take credit for that. My parents filled out the form..."

Caller: "You're wonderful. They've done such a good job of raising you. Tell your mum and dad that when they die they'll go straight to heaven. You're the proof of the pudding."

(And quite apart from the myriad reactions to that...)

It got me thinking: if I was a pudding, what pudding would I be... 

Tough call. Something chilled certainly - unless I was a delectable profiteroles served the warmed chocolate sauce... maybe a slice of zesty key lime pie or a dish of raspberry & mango sorbet; a serving lemon cheesecake perhaps...

Hungry now. Ready for something decadently treaty!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Colours

Loving the non-humid weather... energy boom! After the oddly autumnal couple of weeks, little pockets of flowers around the Cottage encourage belief in summer :-)

I meant to post this a few weeks back: the dramatically lovely stage curtain from Noel Coward's 'Hay Fever' in The Gate. Never have I been so happy for intermission to continue...

And this, the single chilli that my little chilli plant produced this year. That little bundle of heat spiced up some zesty lemon & coriander hummus :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Life soundtracks

The EverFab Beatles demonstrating why music matters :-)

Been a nestley day in (as in, day of nestling, rather than a day associated with Nestlé). Little black cat is getting around on three paws, and seems 'herself' except for the limping. I'm concentrating my efforts on trying not to fuss over her.

I think I'll nip out now and get her some treaty milk. In a nonchalant kinda way...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First class

One of my favourite images from Sunday's March for Marriage in Dublin. Such sassiness; such pride. Delightful.

Monday, August 15, 2011

All that glitters...

Photos from the weekend's course in jewellery making, run by the fab Clare & Laura over at

Day One was about getting used to the basics. We started out sawing and drilling copper - mine ended up being a little plaque that will hang outside someday and go a lovely verdigris. Yes, the design is made up of those random swirls I doodle all the time, teased outwards to create nice curves.

We played with some effects: if you put metal sheet through the Squodging Machine with some netting or material, the resulting textures are lovely. I did a little triptych which took on a lovely effect after going through the Squodginator with some plastic netting. (The idea is that it will be threaded with copper wire and will hang from some worn, textured little old branch).

And we tried our hands at soldering: this ring was a rectangle of copper Squodged with plain muslin cloth.

Day Two was going to be all about silver. I was trying to figure out what to do, and it happened to be a full moon... which made me think of a pair of moonstone earrings that I never wear...

Apparently, it's called Upcycling :-)

I made a ring and a pendant: cutting out silver circles and hammering them into cup shapes with little wave edges; making teeny settings for the moonstones and soldering on.

It was an easygoing learning environment with great teachers and lovely company. And sparkley results - boy, when that ring catches the light, it's a little glow-ball!

Delightful :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Courtesy of the Harvard science folks: order turning to seeming chaos to order to chaos... It's all a complex, beautiful dance; we just sometimes can't discern the pattern  :-)

You can read the background over at:

Monday, August 8, 2011

And I had just bought ham for my cat. She deserves a treat, I thought.

It takes me hours to put it together.

I come home, and there's a little downy feather on the sofa. At some point later, I notice a downy feather in the kitchen. As I unroll my yoga mat, a couple of feathers glide along the floorboards, and come to rest by a pile of feathers.

I pull back the sofa to reveal a mass of feathers. And their Owner.


How she wangled that bird through the cat flap is beyond me. Anyhoo, time for Disposal Duty.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Sandmen

Sand Swallow
Walking through the courtyards of Dublin Castle the other day, we came across a group of men sculpting enormous sand sculptures. As ya do.

Duthain Dealbh (which translates from Irish as 'Fleeting Sculpture') work in sand, ice and snow, and seem to come to Dublin Castle every few years to transform its environment.

Their work is a beautiful conversation between dynamic strength and super-transitoriness. You take it in, glancing overhead to see if there's ruthless rain threatening...

They had some images up of earlier shows: in 2009 they did 'The Four Elements' in Dublin Castle; this lady must have been amazing to see coming into form...

Antique Earth
Surprising, thrilling, wacky. And very treaty.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Daisies and Lavender and Chester

Yaaaaawnny stretch... another delightful restorative yoga session.

Well, this week has just zipped on by.

At Chester Beatty

In a backpack somewhere is a little camera waiting to be downloaded, but for now, here's a couple of iPhone pics from a very lovely Saturday. Me at the Chester Beatty library (note to self: a Queen of Sheba fridge magnet also awaits in that backpack). And below, a lavender margarita in NoName Bar (which I consider to be named 'The Sign of the Snail'). The photographer's caption was 'Waiter, there's a picture in my Margarita!'

Those photographers don't miss a trick!

I had a gin daisy after that, but by then we were talking tech and not playing with it.

Alrightey, time to curl up :-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reflected glory

I love the way still water can contain skies and landscapes, and sometimes - some gently stirring copper-hued grasses. Gardening, upside-down :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Infinity Now

Detail from Hollow Brook Gardens
The world this morning is all quiet and post-rain glistening... which somehow brought to mind William Blake's Auguries of Innocence:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Alrightey, onwards to start the working day!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scented pleasures

Although this summer's sweet pea have been scanty flowerers, they've produced more than enough to have a permanent presence in the home.

I've loved creating little miniature arrangements: one or two blossoms in a teeny shot glass, perched on my bathroom sink, close enough to wonder at the beauty of their colouring.

And their scent is transformative!

Anyhoo, it is a glorious sunshiney day in Dublin. Heading out to walk by the seashore :-)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend blooms

Now that I'm reunited with my camera cord, and before the vortex of another work week draws me in, some piccies to share from two visits to June Blake's garden over the last few weeks.

Beautiful planting and setting :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From red to red

It would appear that someone:

- manoeuvered her way through a pile of wool
- opened the (sealed) plastic bag of red wool
- removed one ball
- took said ball over to the sofa; discarded label; enjoyed some playtime
- wove the wool off the sofa, around the chair legs...
...under the fridge, around the shopping...
...then executed a neat turn in to the bathroom, where a colour-coordinated rug beckoned.

And I thought my day had been productive :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Appetite for destruction

"After that Phorbas, the son of Metion from Syene, and the Libyan Amphimedon, who were both eager to join battle, slipped and fell in the blood with which the ground was warm and sodden all around. As they tried to rise, Perseus' sword prevented them; for he drove it through the ribs of Amphimedon, and through Phorbas' throat. Erytus, son of Actor, whose weapon was a broad-bladed axe, met a different fate. It was not with his hooked sword that Perseus struck him, but instead, he lifted in his two hands a huge drinking-cup, weighty and massive, with decorations in high relief, and brought this crashing down on his opponent. Erytus vomited up a stream of scarlet blood and..."

Alrightey then, that's Ovid off the Lunchtime Reading List.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Got kin?

Curled up with little black cat, idling through poems by Hafiz this morning:

I Got Kin

So that your own heart
Will grow.

So God will think,

I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and

Because this is a food
Our starving world

Because that is the purest


Course, I am now contemplating how mightily tasty a freshly-baked cinnamon twirly roll would be right now...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Make no bones about it

Superquick post between work and Writers' Group (both very lovely outlets for me).

I had promised photos of a little work excursion yesterday. Background: our theme for Pride this year was 'Still Waiting' (for gender recognition). We marched with the lovely (skeletal) Lydia to make the point. This was Lydia last Friday, finishing up the workweek...

Anyhoo, yesterday we took Lydia out for a stroll around Smithfield to get some publicity shots: Lydia waiting in the Motor Tax Office.

Lydia outside the Four Courts.

Lydia heading home, to fight another day.

She's slumped against my desk at the moment. I couldn't take her to the Gresham with me for Writers' Group.

Could I??