Friday, October 30, 2009

To my auld Ma

Edit- I posted this Friday 30th October, Irish time, and didn't notice that the time on my blog is different..what's that about? I've now changed time settings to GMT- something new learned today!

This morning, at 3.15 am or so, my Mum is 22 years dead.

These were two of her favourite little poems/sayings:

1. When e're I pass a church

I always pay a visit

So that on the day when I'm wheeled in

The Lord won't say "who is it?"

2. Think of the wants of others

Think of them before your own

See all the good in others

See that and that alone.

She wasn't perfect, but she was perfect enough.

Her funeral was on All Saints Day, and at the ceremony, the priest said some words that I will always remember. "Saints are ordinary people who do their best at the ordinary things they do, and who bring good into the lives of others." He went on to say that my mother was a saint- he knew her well.

I'm so proud to have had a saint for my mother.

This morning I'll visit the church where she always insisted on visiting when she came to Dublin shopping. Often, I saw this as a waste of good shopping time, but I see it differently now. I'll light a few candles, and say a little prayer for her. Not that she needs it, she's a saint after all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One Brave Lady

My friend's Mum was burgled last week.
Two young lads called to her house looking for directions, which she gave. They thanked her and left.
A few minutes later her doorbell rang again, and they were there, hoods up. Quick as lightening, she tried to push the door closed, but they were quicker still, and pushed in the door.

The pushed her about, shouted at her, and dragged her from room to room looking for money. She gave them what she had, but they wanted more. They looked for jewellery, but all her jewellery was taken in another burglary a few years ago. At one point, she became breathless and thought she was going to die, so they shoved her onto a couch and gave her water to revive her.

Eventually, they shut her in a room and left.

This woman is 84 years old. She has a heart condition and many other medical complaints.

But I take my hat off to her, she stayed on her own a few nights later. They took her money, but she will not let them take her independence.

What a very brave lady. What cowardly young lads, to pick on her.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Ok, I know it's half way through Wednesday, but I've been meaning to share this RT pic for a while.

I took it one morning on my journey to work, while stuck in traffic. I did get some funny looks as I stuck my camera out the window, but no effort is too great for my blogging friends!

For once, I looked beyond the obvious, and noticed the dream catcher in the window, above the red door, to the left of the P sign.

I hope you'll be able to enlarge the pic to see it too. If not, and if someone knows how to put that in a post, please do comment to me, and I'll edit it. The bag of rubbish on the ground just about completes the picture- depending on how long that was hanging around, you might have great need of a dream catcher! For more RT pics, or to participate, click on the link below, which will take you to Mary at Work of the Poet, who kindly hosts RT.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

The Front

There's a shop called Easter in Salzburg that has these amazing painted eggs for all seasons. They are real eggs- the centre is sucked out mechanically and sent to a bakery, then the shells are painted as a "cottage industry" by people in their homes. There's a whole Christmas section upstairs, and, I swear, I wanted to buy one of each! But restraint prevailed and I selected my favourites.

The Back

This one is a gift for a friend who loves Hallowe'en- I hate it, but I loved this little ghost- he reminded me of Casper The Friendly Ghost. He's actually needlepoint, stuck onto the egg! How clever!

The Side

And I just had to show you the side of the egg- all glitter and glamour, even for scary Hallowe'en! They had multi-pronged branches attached to the wall, on which you hang these, varying eggs with the season. I'm hoping to try this at home!

Drowsey Monkey hosts this fun meme, so just click on the MYM link at the top for more!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

That was a great holiday.

I’ve been on a school trip this week.

Even though I never went on a school trip abroad when I was in school, I really believe this is a fantastic learning experience for kids, and that all of them get something from the trip, no matter how well travelled they are. And I think their teachers get to see them in a different light, away from the classroom and the pressure of getting through the curriculum.

The children who I teach have special needs- I won’t go into the exact nature of the “special” here. So all of what I said above applies even more to them. Here are just a few of the areas of growth that I see from a trip abroad- Geography, Science, History, Culture, Money Management and Currency, Social Skills, Timekeeping, Negotiation, Team Work, Patience, Adventure, Independence... Basically, I suppose I’m saying that travel broadens the mind. I’d be delighted if anyone wants to add to this list.
This is also true for the teachers, and again it applies even if they are well-travelled.

But I really feel today that I might never go on another one. When we arrived back in Dublin at 11.00 at night, having been away for 4 days, having had a 4.00am start on the day of departure, having taken charge of these children 24 hours a day for all of that time, some of the parents were late to collect, and NOT ONE of them said “thank you” for the trip. Honestly, they just took their child’s hand in one hand, their suitcase in the other, and sailed off! The children were lovely, really appreciated everything that we did for them, but where are those parents coming from? Did they think that we had a free holiday?Or that eating every meal with many interruptions of “I need xxx” was dining out? Did they think that negotiating for 2 hours to prevent some of those kids from beating each other up was a fun way to spend a night? Did they think that leaving our own families behind for that time was fun? Did they not think we were dying to get back to them? And that standing around at the airport for an extra hour was just too much?

The same has happened on every trip I've gone on, over many years, with just an odd exceptional parent who says "thanks". It's not that you expect any big deal, just a plain and simple "thanks" would be perfect. And even though you're doing it for the kids, not the parents, a bit of manners wouldn't go to loss.

The mind boggles!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

I'm going over the top today, and giving 2 shots from my collection! Usually I spare them, so I always have one, but these are definitely a pair. They were taken in a fairly run-down area of Dublin, but they certainly brighten up that street. It's a haven for charity shoppers, there must be about 25 charity shops there. There are some fruit and veg stalls too, a few foodie shops, and, of course, some good pubs. It wouldn't be Dublin without them, would it?
Drowsey Monkey hosts this fun meme, so if you'd like to see more pics or to take part, just click on the link below, the yellow one!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm convinced the recession is over

This is just a short post, a filler-in.
I don't know whether it's post-party exhaustion or what, but honestly I can't get the time or the energy to even do a decent post. I apologise- it has just been one of those weeks that at the end of it, you go "Phew, glad that's over, but actually where DID those 7 days go?"

Now, back to this title, I really am convinced.
Last night, Hubby and I went off out for our tea, and popped into a local little restaurant/café.
Us: "Do you have a table for 2 please?"
Them : "Do you have a booking?"
Us: "No"
Them: "Sorry, we have nothing till 9.30". Full to the brim.

Now, that is a good sign, isn't it? ( Apart from the "do you have a booking" question which drives me mad- I always want to say "if I did, I would have said so"!)

Then today, I went to the shops and it took 15 minutes to get into the car park of the shopping centre! Packed! Queues at all the checkouts! Nearly like Christmas.

But please, whatever you do, don't tell either Brian Cowen or Brian Lenehan this- they are currently drafting what's billed as the worst budget in decades, with cuts all round.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My feet are killing me!

Just a quick update on the Willow Manor Ball.

What a night! We drank lots of champagne, we danced, we ate, we ditched high heels, though not early enough to avoid sore feet. Just look at the state of them- I'm putting those heels on ebay!

The Manor looked splendid, and Willow was a fabulous hostess. She even had a door prize, which was really very generous. The Ball is definitely a date for my diary for next year.

Colin was very badly behaved, kept disappearing, and eventually I found out why!
He had "escorted" not just me but 2 other women also.
Now, Colin is just a friend, but I've told him that if he ever does something like that again, I will not bring him to another Ball. He has promised.
Some friends dropped in for a "Hair of the Dog" today- here it is.

And now, very tired, I bid you good night. Back to normal in a day or two.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Invitation to a Ball!

I'm going to a ball!

I'm just about ready to leave now. Would you like to see my ball gown? It's a Royal and Light Blue, with a jewel piece at the waist. I hope I won't be too cold in it, Willow Manor can be quite chilly at times.

I got killer heels to wear with it- they give me that extra bit of height I need!

I'm worried that I won't be able to dance in them, and I'd better not drink too much of Willow's champagne or I might keel over. I shall, instead, indulge in lots of her delicious desserts.

Willow really knows how to throw a party! There will be lots of celebrities there- in fact, I'd say it's probably the event of the year.

Gotta go, don't want to miss all the fun!

P.S. Come on over and join us if can. Just click here - but be quick, it's already started!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

I wasn't going to post a Ruby Tuesday this week, having done Mellow Yellow Monday, and what with being busy and all that...

Then Mary announces she's having a giveaway, so my arm is twisted..

Here it is:

This house is in the same park (I DO occasionally visit other parks!), and, apart from the red bricks, it has lovely red flowers in the front garden.

Now, why don't you go over to Mary's and get yourself into a free draw- the prize is wonderful! Just click on the ruby slippers at the top.

Mellow Yellow Monday

Hope you all had a nice weekend.
Today's offering is from the same Dublin park- St. Stephen's Green.
It's taken from the same bridge, just the other side. I like the yellow reflections in the water, and the activity of the ducks.

And do you recognise the same bridge in this next photo of a photo? So you can see why I love this bridge and this park so much- every time I walk through it, the memories of this wonderful day come flooding back. I cropped Hubby out, as he wouldn't want to become famous!

You can see more Mellow Mellow images by clicking on this badge, which will bring you to Drowsey Monkey, who hosts this meme.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What a day!

I was at an aromatherapy conference near Birmingham yesterday.
The only outgoing flight that would get us there on time was at 6.30am, which involved a 4.30 start.
Bad enough, but the only flight back was at 23.05pm!
That also was bad enough, but when we got back into Dublin, we couldn't find the car! We spent an hour searching, searching searching. Level 1, 2 and 3. We had to be in Section C because we had booked online. So after an hour, and it was now 1.15am, we called the car park supervisor for help. He assured us that according to their system, our car hadn't left the car park.

At this stage I had visions of thieves putting paper over our number plate, or even fitting a false plate, and leaving the car park.

Mr. Supervisor came down and we began searching. Within 5 minutes, he pointed and said "it's there" matter-of-factly. We had somehow wandered (driving) into section B in the morning! We eventually got home at 2.00am! 22 and a half hours after we had woken up. Lesson learned- always take down the space number when you park. Or don't book flights that leave at 6.30 am!

The conference was brilliant. We met lots of aromatherapists who work in many different situations, from private practice to clinics to teaching universities.

One of the sessions particularly impressed me, and taught me once again just how individual plants are. There were 4 different unidentified oils on the table, and we smelled each one, just registering characteristics and how it made us feel, not looking to name any of the oils. Most of the 12 people around the table agreed on most of the characteristics and effects.

The facilitator then divulged that all 4 oils were Lavender, just grown in different places. One was at high altitude, another near a sea, another at very low altitude, and another in Provence. They were distinctly different, and have different healing properties, even though they all come from the same plant family. Depending on the season, the age of the plant and other influences, the chemical make-up of the oil obtained varies from batch to batch.

I suppose it's similar to people- even though we come from the same "people family", we are different to our siblings, and we have different talents. And we change with the seasons and with our age and our influences.
It's interesting, isn't it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

This is St Stephen's Green in the centre of Dublin, a lovely park where, on sunny days, people often take their lunch and eat on the benches. I loved the reflections of the autumn hues of the trees on the water this day.

Drowsey Monkey hosts MYM, and you can see more images by clicking on the image below:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Poor Broken Horn- PSF - photo story

Sorry, I couldn't think of a witty title to this post. And although it's supposed to be posted on a Friday, I'm going to break that rule! Because I feel like it!

See some blue in this pic- well, it shouldn't be there. It's actually Blue Tack, holding this together.

This is my French Horn, and last Sunday I noticed that the bridge was loose. Enquired from expert at band what to do- they're wonderful people, and they always know where to send you, and how to fix these things.

The recommended repair guy guided me through the steps that he needs to take... before beginning to solder it back together, he has to wrap the entire instrument in wet rags, to absorb the heat of the solder and not damage the instrument. The entire procedure will take 3 days, and right now, there are not 3 consecutive days when this instrument is not needed! On Tuesday, it will go to FH casualty. Wonderful, but in the meantime, we're relying on the "power of the blue"!

And this is a cute little "French Horn Charm" that eldest daughter made for me a few years ago when I started to play. I never play a concert or do an exam without it. That sounds good, especially as I only play in about 2 concerts a year! If you look closely at the piece on the right, it has a fancy scrolled "M" for Mimi! Isn't that just so sweet!

And finally, here's my French Horn in all its glory- this image has been cropped, yes cropped! My Photoshop skills know no limits!!

Post of the Day now become Weekend Winners!

Following on my last post, another lovely feature of David Mc Mahon's Authorblog was the "Post of the Day".

It led me to blogs that I never would have found, and treasured posts that brightened my days and extended my outlook and circle of friends.

Well, the good news is that Suzanne over at Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness has decided to keep up this feature, in her own inimitable way.
Here's the announcement in Suzanne's own words:
"One of the most fantastic parts of David's blog (for me anyway) was his Post of the Day award. He surfed the net finding wonderful blogs across disciplines and interests,cherry picking them for our reading pleasure. I counted on it! I don't have the heroism to be able to do that every day, but I can do it once a week.. and so I've decided to! On Fridays I will announce my choices for Weekend Reading. There will be a "Best Read" as well as honorable mentions."
And Suzanne has created (courtesy of Penniwigs) a lovely new logo for this feature, here it is below, with a link to her blog.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sunday Roast

I don't know if any of you ever followed David Mc Mahon's Authorblog. David is a Melbourne-based journalist and internationally-published photographer. His blog, at the last count, had 930 followers! For a reason:

I've been an avid follower for a while, and David always had interesting posts, one of which was the weekly Sunday Roast.

David has hung up his boots (I'm still hoping it's only temporary) and offered the baton to Eddie Bluelights, whose blog is a bundle of laughs.
I'm glad to say that Eddie has agreed to take up this huge challenge, and I quote:

I have accepted David's very kind and generous offer on one condition and that is, if David ever decides to return to Blogland I will return it to it's rightful owner still intact and not compromised in any way. I shall make sure the project is run exactly as David would wish. I know I have sufficient time to administer this and I intend to devote considerable initial effort to get the show on the road for us.

The Sunday Roast is an interview with a blogger of choice, and, in my humble opinion, makes for excellent reading. It's also a lovely way of networking in the blogosphere. I've lost count of the really interesting and diverse blogs I've been led to via Sunday Roast.
It's a bit like taking a walk in a wood with many, many paths. You want to go down all of them, but you can't. You are, however, very glad that there's not just ONE path.

There you are, the rest of the adventure is up to you.