An Answer

I know you are poised on the edge of your seats to see what the object in the photo was earlier today. There were some interesting suggestions and it gave me an idea for future posting!

The correct answer was this:

The earlier photo was taken yesterday as the sun filtered in through the blinds. My keyboard was covered with dust and that was the image I tried unsuccessfully to capture. Not to be outdone I cropped it and we all had some fun from my hopelessness! 😆

So watch for images taken from an unusual angle in the future.


Is it in the Bag?

If you visit my blog on a regular basis the name Darlene will be familiar as a regular commenter. She lives in Tucson, Arizona and joined the world of blogging last July. So what is so unusual about that? I hear you ask. Nothing really unusual I agree, until you read her bio:

I am an 83 year old widow living alone.

How many other folk at 83 years of age do you know that set up and run a blog? Why am I telling you about Darlene? Think about it… with all those years of living behind her, what wonderful stories and experiences she has to tell us.

One post in particular is very well worth reading in these days of world recession. I realise, that to many young people the idea of scrimping and going without may seem a little like science fiction. I remember life in the fifties, a time of make do and mend. A time when ‘Credit’ and ‘Debt’ were considered as deadly as cancer and aids, we scrimped and saved for weeks, months and sometimes years before buying luxuries.

Now go and visit Darlene and read her piece about the Great Depression and the years that followed. I hope we don’t ever have to go back to that way of living, but can continue on as normal.

My good friend Rowan asked a question earlier in the week: What is normal? His quotation from Ellen Goodman voiced my thoughts more eloquently than I ever could.

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.

Does Ellen have it in the bag?


So my final attempt at creating spot colour in my photos for p4oi stays with the bag theme. I have to admit this spot colour idea proved much more difficult than I first imagined and I doubt that it will become a favourite pastime. Worth a try though.

“Mum! Have you……?”

The voice trailed down the stairs to where I was sitting in the bright new kitchen.

Well it can’t be a bus fare that she wants, since she has a car sitting at the door. Would it be a needle and thread? She never has a needle and thread when she needs it. I heard the quick putter-pat down the stairs and with a warm rush of air she was there across the table from me. I looked up with the unvoiced question on my face.

“I was just thinking….” said she.

When my Elly is thinking it is time to start worrying. She has done a fair bit of thinking over the years and you never know where it will lead.

“What were you thinking? I asked eventually.

“What do you want to do with your blog?” She asked.

“Why, what is wrong with my blog? I said looking worried.

“Oh, there is nothing wrong with your blog”. She said. “I mean…. I mean, have you decided what you want to happen to the blog?”

“Excuse me!” I said almost choking on my coffee. “What do you mean – happen to my blog? Sure you just told me it was fine as it is.”

“No mum, I mean afterwards…. When you are gone…. When you cock your toes!”

See! I told you her thinking was dangerous!

“Well I suppose you could put up a short post, to tell everyone that Grannymar has gone to Toyboy heaven and close the comments. There would be no point in keeping it going when I am gone.”

What do you want to happen to your blog? I bet you never thought about it!

Where is she?

¿¿ɹɐɟ sıɥʇ oƃ oʇ ǝʌɐɥ ǝɥs sǝop ʇnq

˙˙˙uoıssǝɔǝɹ ɟo sǝɯıʇ ǝsǝɥʇ uı ʇןnɔıɟɟıp ǝɹɐ sƃuıɥʇ ʍouʞ ı

¡sɐǝpı ɹǝɥ ǝʌıƃ ʇɥƃıɯ ʇı

<—sıɥʇ ǝǝs oʇ ɹǝɥ ʇuɐʍ ʇ,uop ı ¿ʎןןǝ ʎɯ sı ǝɹǝɥʍ

Darren asked…

Darren was on the phone to a work colleague and she teased and enquired when he would give her the opportunity to buy a new hat. It is a phrase I heard many a time and often when I was young. It set Darren thinking, so he wrote a piece about Love And Marriage and asked for our thoughts.

I come from the dark ages. My father saw a woman’s place as in the kitchen. A third level education was seen as a waste for me as I would only go off and get married! Back then I had no interest in marriage because it only meant drudgery and work and I had plenty of that already with my father and brothers. Why would I ever willingly take all that on?

My working life started in the Civil Service. Back then girls working in the Civil Service in Ireland were required to resign from work on marriage.

I know that my own mother would have liked to keep on working after she married. She had a good head for figures and indeed earned ‘a Man’s Wage’ back in 1941. My father announced that “No wife of mine will go out to work” and so my mother became a full time wife and mother.

Time passed and along came Jack and changed the whole canvas of my thinking. He was old enough to be my father, a widower, from a different religion and ‘English’! It may only be across the water to the next island but it was seen by my family as a very different culture. Heads nodded and tongues wagged, it was sure to be a disaster. We were more than expected to fall at the first hurdle.

While out with my mother one day shortly after we became engaged, I met a friend of mine. My friend was delighted and excited for me and said as much to my mother. To this day I still remember my mother’s reply “I hope she doesn’t miss out; he is a lot older than her you know!” There was no warmth or affection in the remark. Perhaps the way my mother uttered those words was the best thing she ever did. I knew that if I stumbled along the way, there would be no point in going home to mother! I would have to stay and work it out.

I didn’t expect to stumble and in fact never had any doubt that I was making the correct decision.

Within a week of the engagement my father produced a list! It was a first draft of wedding guests. It numbered 70 and that was only our side. I tore it up and said that we only wanted immediate family to share in our day. I had no desire for relations that only came when they needed feeding, to dance at my wedding. I in fact went on to say “Anyway, what is wrong with having the wedding out there in the back garden that you are so proud of”! I have no idea where that came from, but once uttered I began to really think about it and like the idea. A friend of mine was a chef and I asked him to look after the catering for us. He did. Every cup, glass, plate and chair was imported for the day, and he produced a mouth-watering buffer for us. A friend of one of my brother’s worked in a pub and organised to have the Guinness on tap for the boys (it was a great hit) we bought the wine wholesale.

My outfit cost £75 pounds and was way less than a traditional wedding dress. Jack wore a suit and we asked our witnesses to wear whatever they were comfortable in. My Godmother, a florist provided the flowers and I gave a couple of rolls of film each, to my eldest brother and my cousin and told them to just click away. No formal groups required. My Uncle officiated at the ceremony.

The sun shone brilliantly on the day and for most of the time thereafter. Marriage is not always a bed of roses; you only get out of it what you put in. It is a work in progress and we learn to change and move along with life’s seasons. You learn to live with the toothpaste being squeezed in the middle, the cushions being fluffed up the second you stand up from a chair, or the hours spent washing and polishing a car. Having a soul-mate to start the day, share worries and joys, kisses and cuddles, before snuggling close to as evening draws to a close is worth all the tea in China, as my grandmother used to say, or indeed all the modern day technology! A kiss or cuddle does not depend on broadband or electricity to work!

As someone who was married until death did us part, I know that the love and strength of my marriage has carried me through the black abyss of bereavement. In the dark days of Jack’s illness I regularly repeated silently to myself the words of the wedding vows I had made many years earlier and thought of how I felt about Jack when we first fell in love. It helped!

Sadly not all have a marriage like mine and I have watched with great pain while some have crumbled before my eyes. Nowadays there are so many distractions and modern working hours are no help. Laptops and mobile phones surgically attached are a curse of the highest order. No good saying I wish… when a marriage is over or a soul-mate has died. The time to do something is NOW!

I remember many decades ago, Gay Byrne had a Jesuit priest on the Late Late Show, talking about marriage and its problems. His advice (to the horror of all the little ‘Holy Marys’ round the country) was two hours on the couch twice a week! Best advice I ever heard.

Now close up that Laptop, switch off the mobile and tell your soul-mate how much you love them!


On the move

I’m leaving on a jet plane by car this morning to head back home.  It is not easy leaving all these toyboys behind.  Don’t whisper a word to Elly … I’m meeting another one on my way for a coffee and a chat.  If I never appear again, my last will & testament is behind the clock!

I will be glad to get home, if only to rest my arms.  They ache like hell.  It happens every trip.  Now I wonder if it has anything to do with hugging Toyboys?

All these journeys start with hugs.  Last night I bade farewell and hugged my son-in-law, this morning I was hugged so many times by Elly that I began to get worried… was I going to come back again?

I began to think of all the farewells from my mother as we approached the front door on our way to school.  We walked to the door, two or three of us leaving at the same time.  ”Have you got your bus fare and your lunch?” was a usual question.  Then followed the ritual of her dipping her finger in the tiny Holy Water font beside the door and blessing each one of us with the sign of the cross.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, take you there and bring you home safe!

What rituals did you have before leaving home?

How Yiz Doin?

Good morning from a sunny Dublin.  I am actually wearing a summer top because it is so warm.  Summer has arrived in earnest.

So who wants to know how I am ❓

To be truthful I am feeling rather confused…

I am a Mammy and I have a daughter.  I got that right didn’t I?  Somehow the roles have changed when I wasn’t thinking or looking or listening.  It is all very confusing and upsetting really and for a ‘lady’ of my mature years, not good at all.

Yesterday when I arrived I was dispatched to the shops for a message and then when I got back I had to sit still and be QUIET because she was working.  Needless to say I kept my mouth shut tight but danced up and down like inelegant elephant just to get my own back.

Today I thought that peace would reign since she was going into the office.  Alas, as I was sitting enjoying the lovely coffee that George made for me (not a bad lad that fella!) when along comes little miss with a pen and paper.  Yes I did say PEN & PAPER!  When that happens you know things are serious.  ”I taught that girl well!” I said to myself…. make a list of all that you need to do and that way you won’t forget them.

It was when she started talking and writing like an old fashioned school ma’am that I began to get worried.

The paper was for a list of chores; to be done…..   BY ME!

You should see the list it is as long as your arm.  One item has 2pm after it!  Talk about time and motion.  At this rate I’ll have no energy for Toyboys tomorrow!

I would eat the list but for the fact I don’t like the taste of paper.  I can’t throw it up on top of a wardrobe ’cause they all go to the ceiling.  There is no fireplace to burn it, so I need your help!

How can I get rid of the list and what should I do to get my own back?

If you wait long enough

If you wait long enough, you will find the answer!

Back at the end of August I asked if anyone knew the name of this tree. It was the shape that confused me.

Well I don’t like to be beaten so I kept digging! Eventually I discovered that The Landscape Centre at Donegore had the contract for the IKEA site. I phoned and a very nice gentleman informed me that the trees that so fascinated me were Pollarded Salix Alba.

Salix Alba or white Willow is common in the UK. They are fond of wet ground and often flank rivers and streams. The tree above was pollarded (cut off at just above head height) several times to give a rounded shape.

White willow is a traditional basket-making material and was also woven for sheep hurdles. Cricket bats are made from a cultivated derivative of the white willow.

So now you know!