Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This post is about endurance.....the endurance of nature,
the endurance of friendship
and the endurance that life brings out in us.
This flower (which I think is a poppy?) bloomed for the first time this year from a seed planted 9 or 10 years ago. It bloomed between flagstones on my patio, not in the flowerbed where I planted it.
You're probably wondering where friendship comes into this? Well, it refers to my dear friend Cie, who I've been friends with since our teens. We went to college together, then we worked together, we sometimes shared flats, went on holiday together, all of that.
Then Cie moved to Hong Kong, but our friendship endured. In the pre-email days, we wrote long letters, had an odd phone call (expensive!) and Cie came to Ireland once a year. Our letters charted the births of our children, early motherhoods days, buying new homes, the lot.
Back to the flower! On Cie's annual visits, each June, we would take off for a day trip to craft places around Kilkenny, leaving Dublin early am, and returning late that night. Calls to pottery workshops and glass blowers were interspersed with many cups of coffee. And along the road, the poppies were always blooming, so we'd stop and pick a few to plant in the garden. They never grew, probably because it would be a few days later when I'd get around to planting them, and at that stage they would be dried out!
Cie moved back to Ireland, with their two children, then gave birth to two little girls, and all the while we kept up our annual visit to the Craft Trail of Kilkenny, always gathering more poppies that never grew.
Then, 9 years ago, the family moved to Brussels..
This time, it's much easier to keep in touch, which is probably just as well, cos neither of us have the time now to sit down and write long letters. But we have email, phone (much cheaper than Hong Kong!) and text.
The endurance that life brings out in us? Cie's 14 Y/O daughter recently had surgery that left her paralysed. I wrote about it here.
Ais started Rehab 4 weeks ago, and this week she WALKED 5 STEPS.
On her own.
That's endurance! And that's what I think of each time I see this flower!
This post is my entry for The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. The prize is a hamper of Green and Blacks organic chocolate, so I had to enter!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

Yet another one from Rouen

Some of the shop displays in this city are amazing- this shop had some furniture items, along with garden stuff (lanterns, plants etc) AND clothes. You can see, as well as the little RUBY chair, which was outside, an orange jacket - that was actually inside the shop!
I took a few quick photos, but never got time to go back for a proper browse.
Ah well, my bank account will thank me for that!
For more Ruby finds, click on the slippers at the top, and they will magically bring you to Mary T, who kindly hosts RT.

Mellow Yellow Monday

And why not?

For more MYM pics, click on the link above and go to Drowsey Monkey, who kindly hosts this meme.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Stock Sunday and Winter in Summer

Last January, when we had those weeks of snow that Dubin only gets once in a decade, I would look out the bedroom window at the mountains and think "that looks just like a ski slope".

But now, comparing the two photos, I can't believe the difference in foliage in the trees.

To me, that's far more striking than the mountain vista, and I wouldn't have expected that. What do you think?

And this was taken on a less sunny, or more cloudy, day today. I like the purple hues of the mountain heather.

This is the "Winter in Summer" meme which the lovely Zuzana is doing over at Life Through Reflections. Pay her a visit to see her amazing beach photo contrast.

And for more Summer Stock pics, click on the icon at the top of this post. Robin of Around the Island hosts this meme.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tag and Followers

Stephanie V is a patient woman - that's official.

Stephanie tagged me on 29th January, I was very enthusiastic to do the tag, but just couldn't seem to post it.

But here it is, the 5 best things that happened to me in the past year:

1. Family- we have our health, and we're surviving the recession. That may sound corny to some people, but it is very important to me.

2. Getting to see Toronto and Niagara Falls. Our family holiday last year was a long-awaited trip to Florida, but the cheapest flights were via Toronto with a 10 hour stopover.

At first, I was not enthusiastic, but then I viewed it as an opportunity. So on the outward journey we went to downtown Toronto and did the bus tour, while on the homeward stretch we rented a car and drove to Niagara.

Two great destinations, both of which I loved. I hope to back there for a longer visit another time.

3. Joining a new orchestra. Sometimes, when you wish for something and put it out to the universe, it happens. I'm so happy that this has happened for me. Continuing to play the French Horn is challenging, sometimes downright frustrating, but oh sooo fulfilling!

4.My eldest daughter turning 18. This is her (vegan) birthday cake, so it must be true. It really is a turning point, for both of us. Ok, she's still my baby (don't tell her) always will be, in my eyes, but I know that she's now legally an adult, can vote, take out a loan, and many other things. It's great to see her growing (grown?) up, and become her own person. I love you, Naoise, with all my heart, and having you in our lives is wonderful.

5. Planting vegetables. When we had the rabbit, rhubarb was about the only thing we could grow, but since his demise, it has given me back the garden, and I had forgotten how much I love growing food.

So now we have apples and plums,(well we did have those when Crash was here too!), lettuce, mangetout, purple sprouting broccolli, blueberries,celeriac, potatoes and a herb box. I get so excited watching them grow, and the pleasure of picking something to eat is worth all the work.

There you have it! I found it difficult to single out 5 things, cos life is such a rich tapestry, and there is so much to be grateful for, most of all health and happiness. I've recently reached the conclusion that nobody gets a smooth ride forever, and the past year has been challenging in many ways for me and for some close friends. That's why it's all the more important to appreciate the nice things in our lives.

So thank you, Stephanie, for the tag, and most of all for your patience.

I won't nominate anyone to do this tag, but if and when you want to...please go ahead.

One last thing- I see I've got 49 followers, and the child in me dearly wants to round that off.
Mmmmmmmmmmm....what would I do to get one more follower?
Anyone open to a chocolate bribe? Anyone know anyone who's open to a chocolate bribe?
Or maybe I could start a new blog and follow myself?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This is just where I want to be right now, my feet would love to lie down there, having brought me on a long walk today.
It's not my bedroom, mine would be way, way more tidy than that!

Visit Wordless Wednesday to see what else people aren't saying this week.

Ruby Tuesday

Hubbie and I went walking in Dun Laoghaire recently, and I got some Ruby finds!

Rain clouds gathered ominously as we set off down the pier, it is Ireland after all!

But it didn't deter these hardy sailors

And it didn't deter us!

And, as luck would have it, just as we reached the car again after a lovely walk, we felt the first few droplets of rain. Good timing!

For more Ruby Tuesday pics, or to join in, just click on the slippers at the top- they will magically bring you to Mary T, who kindly hosts this meme.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

From a cake shop in Rouen, don't they look delicious? Sorry about the reflection of the building in the first one, just couldn't get it without.

They were! It took a lot of walking to work off those calories, but they were so worth it!

For more Mellow Yellow pics, visit Drowsey Monkey, who kindly hosts this meme.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Stock Sunday

I love the summer harvest, with its promises of jam, tarts, salads.
The fact that trees have gone from this...

to this..

All these guys need is a little more sunshine, then we'll have the preserving pot out, and all systems go! They ripen only to yellow, but they are sweet, especially when you add jam sugar!

I'm not sure what this purple-sprouting broccolli needs, I haven't seen one floret yet, although I have been eating some of the leaves.

I love the flowers on this mangetout,

but wonder does the "tout" include the flowers?

I have munched some pods, and they were delicious.

But I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that these are my favourites...

and that I'm SO thrilled with the little terracotta label I found in a diy store.

I know, the only thing blue about these berries is the pot, but they are beginning to ripen, we had 4 blue ones so far, and they tasted great. The birds got most off one bush, but this little 2 y/o is doing well.

This is the first year we've had apples on this tree, do you think they're eating or cooking apples? Its sister produced a few last year, and they were cookers. I'm hoping these are eating apples, but I'm up for making a few tarts if not.
Robin of Around the Island hosts Summer Stock Sunday, you can click on the picture at the top to join in or to view other contributions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Donegal Crash

(Photo from The Irish Times)

Donegal is a beautiful county. It has a rugged, wild, beautiful, sometimes bleak landscape, on the edge of Europe, bounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The people there are friendly, fun, unique.They stick together. There is nowhere in the world quite like Donegal.

The worst road accident in Irish history happened on Sunday night in beautiful Donegal. Eight people were killed in a two-car collision. Seven of them were aged between 19 and 23.

In one car was a 66-year-old pensioner, Hugh Friel, who was returning home from his weekly bingo session.

The young men who were killled were all travelling together in the other car, having watched the World Cup final together. They were Paul Doherty (19), Ciaran Sweeney (19), Mark Mc Laughlin (21), PJ Mc Laughlin (21), Damien Mc Laughlin (21), Eamonn Mc Daid (22) and James Mc Eleney (23).

The scene in this picture (courtesy of Irish Times) will be repeated 8 times in total this week, as families lay their loved ones to rest, and mourn those lives cut short.
While many questions remain to be answered as to how this crash took place, not least why 8 people were in a car with only 5 seat belts, right now, our thoughts are with the 8 families whose lives have been turned upside down in one instant.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

This is another picture from that lovely bookshop in Rouen, Le Thé Majestique.

It's an interesting way to arrange lamps, what do you think?

For more Ruby posts, click on the slippers, which will bring you to Mary T who hosts RT.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Yard Art on Thursday

These plant holders were on the streets all over Rouen.

I thought they looked lovely, for the plants in them, and also for the message engraved on them. Wouldn't mind a couple of them in my yard!

For more Yard Art, click here, it will take you to Mary T who kindly hosts this meme:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

As promised, here's another picture from Le Thé Majestique in Rouen.
The window with the Ruby Poppies was the cafe window.

From here,

you can look right across Place de la Calende, as you sip your tea, eat your cake and read your book. Happiness is... (and do you notice the "camera ready to capture images for the blog").

And here's the lunch menu

For more Ruby Tuesday treasures, head over to Mary at Work of the Poet, who kindly hosts this meme.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

This little treasure of a bookshop in the centre of Rouen became a favourite haunt for me while on our holidays. Can you see yellow in the picture, and some yellow in the books on the shelf- this was the English language section.

I believe that bookshops should always have a coffee shop, then you can browse and read in comfort.

But this little café also served the most delicious lunches- simple, good food, quiches with delicious salads. And the cakes?.....yum!

I'll post some more pictures of this little place tomorrow for Ruby Tuesday.

Drowsey Monkey hosts Mellow Yellow Monday, so go there to see some more lovely yellow stuff.