Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

All a flutter

Lovely weekend: lazy breakfasts with crosaires, theatre (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), family, yoga, books (reading, buying and gazing upon in the Chester Beatty Library), gardening, flumping and to finish up: I began learning how to fold origami butterflies :-)

Good fun.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Those who must not be named

I went to a talk in Trinity last night by Kieran Hickey (he of Five Minutes to Midnight: Ireland and Climate Change fame).

Last night, he offered a preview of his new book, about wolves in Ireland: earliest records, medieval folkore, evidence for packs (from Schull to Kilmainham), Cromwellian bounties (£6 for a female head, £5 for male, 10 shillings for a cub) and their eventual dying out (everyone claimed the last wolf, but Carlow is most likely the spot of the final killing, and proud of it!).

As in so many other cultures, wolves were powerful totems (if you ate a dish of wolf's meat, it would stop you seeing ghosts) - although Ireland seems to have more than its fair share of werewolf lore. And there was also some discussion about Reintroduction (probably not the best idea, all things considered. Even if you don't believe in werewolves).

Kieran talked about the language used to represent wolves, which was picked up in the Q&A afterwards: academics chipped in early words for wolf in Old Norse and Indo-European languages. Someone suggested that the Old Irish word for wolf - way back when - might have been ulc - the same as for evil. And in a superpowerful Voldemort kinda way, a taboo grew around even uttering this word, about naming the wolf, and so we pussyfooted around it by developing euphemisms like mac tíre (son of the country) or faolchú (evil hound). Fascinating. Looking forward to reading the book.

Anyhoo, all wolf-lored up, I enjoyed an exquisite wander home. Lovely music drifting along Grafton Street (which turned out to be The Shoos), and St Patrick's park was its usual teeny self, but quite resplendent.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Off the road again

Gorgeous day: catching up with Baltimore friends (just back from a Yurpean tour) from the wee hours, then lazy breakfast, sneak preview of their new album, goodbyes and off to work. Sheer loveliness.

And right now - after work and more charity work - it's time to flump the great flump. Dubh is eating leftover smoked salmon, and is looking very pleased with herself. Despite the oily whiskers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Petit Outdoors

Evenings are longer, milder. The honeysuckle and clematis are climbing like crazy; my new teeny acer is settling in, and oodles of seeds - coriander, basil, morning glory, lavender and sunflower - are sprouting into being.

A nourishing time of year :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Keeping tabs

While gardening-in-miniature today, I noticed that someone else was interested in progress made on the potting-up :-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Walking home the last few days, I've been struck by how green the city's looking. Perhaps it's as a contrast to all the grey (and before that, white), but that piercing green of fresh shoots and leaves is brightening up the whole town, animating all kinds of spaces between the architecture of the capital.

Along I strolled home today, my gaze going from lush vibrant green to lush vibrant green, and then turned the corner to see a little park close to home, decked out as a banquet of blossoms. Flamboyant and vital and breathtaking.

Anyhoo, I need to put that smorgasbord of colour out of my mind! My remaining time this afternoon shall be spent painting something that might suggest a sapphire sky. Then it's off to see how Family Day planning is progressing (free to all, 15 May in Iveagh Gardens - save the date!).

And after Family Day catch-up, it's the first meeting of our new Dublin writers' group. Yippee yippee yippee!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crossing Folk

My morning walk to work takes me past a few schools. The route is peppered with Lollypop Ladies and Gents, who help all pedestrians - teeny students or not - to navigate rush hour traffic. I reckon we should have them for evenings as well :-)

On my day off, I saw a group of them late morning, heading out from Lollypop Base Camp to take up positions around the area. Six or Seven bedecked Lollypop Folk, strolling with their signs along a wide pavement.

Like an Ocean's Eleven shot in day-glo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Catch Up: the conclusion

Skipping a bunch of other miscellaneous, the other lovely thing in recent weeks was a weekend in Baltimore. Oodles of warm friendship moments - the Drama Group's latest production was stellar; everyone was in rare form; much chilling out and catching up, from Baltimore to Clon. One catch up was brief: a friend paused as they passed by - "You should come down more. This is home, now." Lovely :-)

And I got to lie down at the Beacon on a calm day, and listen to the sea and admire the flourishing of lichens and mosses.

*And* I got to try a baby guinness - which contains no guinness and is not fit for babies :-)

Great weekend :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Catch up: St Patrick's Day

Late, yet better than never!

Over the years, I've avoided many a St P's celebration - particularly when abroad, where things can get Oirish quicker than you can say leprechaun costume. This year, a little group of us were invited (through our charity work) to the President's St Patrick's Day reception. Unexpected!

The first thing that happened was that I got the Ferrero Rocher ad stuck in my head. Most unfortunate.*

The second thing was that I put it all out of my mind entirely. And so, on the morning of St Pat's, there I was: curled up, watching Murder, She Wrote, when a friend texted:

What are you going to wear?

A worthy question, as it turned out.

I pause the sleuthing Jessica; head upstairs. I stare at my little wardrobe, reasoning that if I'm going to Áras an Uachtaráin on St Patrick's Day, I should at least wear Irish clothing.

I wonder if Dunnes Stores counts.


Most semi-formal stuff that I own is black: probably a smidge sombre for a daytime, celebratory thing. Even if they're not serving Ferrero Rocher.**

Which leaves one dress that is (a) Irish-designed and (b) a colour.

Now, the whole visionary ensemble of the dress was that it went with a lovely (black) shrug, which is currently away from me. I meander around (as much as one can in a teeny cottage) wondering what to wear with it...
...and glanced at what was hanging on the wall.

And lo, I didst bless the name of Sharon Rose, and her multi-functional designs :-)

A wall-hanging by morning, a wrap by afternoon -  one that probably looked familiar to the President, since she had complimented Sharon Rose on one of hers back in January.

The day was fab, without a nutty chocolate in sight. Poetry and music and dance, and a couple of lovely speeches. Afterwards we milled around the Áras, taking pictures on historic sofas against a backdrop of historic art in various rooms of the historic variety. And then life went back to normal :-)

*Even if you happened to like Ferrero Rocher nut-infested chocolates.
**Which I would never never eat. Nuts. Gakkarama.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Everyday Play

When I finally downloaded my photos, I had oodles of shots of this year's cherry blossoms (which I've typed twice now as 'cheery blossoms', perhaps with good cause). Trees that I pass on the walk to work, on the way to visit friends or family, on little meandering walks; blossoms blossoms everywhere.

Before the last one gives up its petals to this blustery weather, I thought I'd mark this fleeting, Pablo Neruda time of year:

"I want to do with you what Spring does with the cherry trees."

Quite sublime. From Neruda's Every Day You Play.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Catch Up: the beginning

Yikes, what a hiatus!

Okay, I finally downloaded photos from my camera, and realised the woeful lack of attention I'd given my poor little blog of late. I blame having a part-time job entirely. Or the St Pat's time warp... :-)

Anyhoo, in terms of catch-up: the first bit is about thanks. To the lovely Sharon Rose for all the goodies, now hung with delight in the cottage (keep the pink hanging in mind for later photos); to the Glebe folk for the supertasty basket; to GP for so many delights, although I do think that wearing gloves to drink limoncello out of the ice glasses is cheating. (Speaking of which, thanks for the ice glass mould S&S - they work great!!)

And to Molls, for by far the most delightful post I've had in weeks. You are scrumptious.