Blogger’s Block ~ 12 Quick Remedies

Slippery Slope

I keep coming across people who say that they have ‘hit the wall’  with blogging and find it next to impossible to motivate themselves to write any kind of a post.

Here are my thoughts on how to beat ‘bloggers block;’

  1. Bear in mind that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ post;
  2. Keep a note of possible post topics (ideally in the Drafts Folder with a Working Title) that hit you at the oddest times;
  3. Aim to post frequently ~ even short, short posts ~ as blogging is rather like fitness and the more you train the easier it is;
  4. Remember that what might seem absolutely mundane to you could be quite extraordinary and fascinating to your readers;
  5. Get out and about for inspiration rather than trying to draw it from the Internet;
  6. Write about things that YOU feel passionate about rather than setting out to ‘please’ your readers;
  7. Look at the Search Terms that have brought people to your Blog and identify a question that you would like to address/answer;
  8. Take a pile of photographs and write about an aspect of one of them that appeals to you;
  9. Write a post and ask your readers what they would like you to write about;
  10. Invite other bloggers to contribute to your blog;
  11. Write a post about blogs you really enjoy;
  12. If all else fails, write a post telling the world about your blogger’s block. You’d be amazed how much support, practical advice and inspiration you’d get!

I’d love to hear YOUR tips for dealing with ‘Blogger’s Block.’ 

Fresh Angles

Fresh Angles


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Mount Congreve: A Garden beyond Words

There is no doubt that places one knows and loves deeply have their own special way of conversing. Mount Congreve Gardens certainly fall into that category for me and I can best describe the feeling through this short poem:


I don’t take your words
Merely as words.
Far from it.
I listen
To what makes you talk -
Whatever that is -
And me listen.
Shinkichi Takahashi
(Translated from the Japanese by Lucien Stryk and Takahashi Ikemoto) 


At present, Mount Congreve is full of colour and the Astilibes, especially, are blooming in glory:


However, what spoke loudest to me when I was there were hearts of all descriptions. I think seeing a painting ( I don’t know by whom yet!) of  the late Ambrose Congreve in the delightful little coffee shop set the tone for me.

Here was the man who had devoted so much love into developing Mount Congreve into the gardens that we enjoy today:

Ambrose Congreve

Ambrose Congreve

So, it was a walk defined by thoughts of heart, hearts, and heartfulness and one during which it seemed that Mount Congreve was speaking and listening by turn.


Posted in Co. Waterford, Connections, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Come Walk with Me from Annestown to Dunhill Castle

Annestown town to Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

Annestown town to Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

Sunday was special like so many of the Sundays of my childhood. We used to go for walks on country roads, just like the road from Annestown to Dunhill Castle, here in Co. Waterford.

Childhood walks were always fun, but now that I look back on them, I can see that our parents, more subconsciously than anything else, brought us to places that would be educational in all sorts of ways.

Mother had a passion for nature, especially trees and wild wildflowers and Father was very keen on history as well as landscape photography.

I didn’t really mean to go for a walk on Sunday but found myself in the little village of Annestown with swimming on my mind. My eyes were drawn, as always to Dunhill Castle, which is about two miles up the Anne Valley from Annestown.  The castle has a long, long history, which is well summarised here. In short, the site stretches back to pre-historic times but the first castle was built by the hugely influential la Poer (Power) family in the 1200s.

The ruin that stands guard over the Anne Valley today is very imposing and it is intriguing to think that the castle and the remains of an old church and graveyard were once centre pieces of a whole village. It is also quite amazing to think that the sea used to flow right up to the Castle whereas now there is but a narrow river.

My walk on Sunday had me thinking of the battles that raged between the Powers of Dunhill and the City of Waterford in the 14th century, but it also brought me back to Summer Sundays when Mother would delight in lifting us up to smell honeysuckle, pick juicy blackberries, play with buttercups and daisies, climb gates, run through bracken, listen to grasshoppers, watch fish jump in the river, blow dandelions, pick long grasses and gently press the seeds to sail in the breeze …..

That road from Annestown to Dunhill has hardly changed since I was a kid and here’s how it was as I walked from the beach at Annestown up to the Castle and the ruins of the old church and back again…..

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Irish Thatch ~ Examples from Co. Waterford

Thatched houses are one of the most beautiful features of Ireland and we are very fortunate  here in Co. Waterford to have many fine examples.  I suspect that this is in large part due to the fact that we have a Master Thatcher, Hugh O’Neill, living in the area.

Here are some of the thatched houses in Co. Waterford that I find most appealing:

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Thatched pubs tend to be very picturesque and evocative. I am always saddened when I pass one particular thatched pub that I used to frequent which has now fallen into disrepair. It clings to its former glory and shows the extent to which thatched buildings need to be maintained:


Here are some of the thriving thatched pubs in Co. Waterford that have special meaning for me:


Posted in Co. Waterford Ireland, Connections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Flashes of Ireland in Summer

I was out and about yesterday here in Co. Waterford and these are a few of the sights that compelled me to pause and and ponder …..


I often wonder what catches other people’s eyes as they travel along either these roads or the ones near their home places, wherever in the world they may be.

Posted in Co. Waterford Ireland, Connections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The High Point in my Blogging Career

I can say, without hesitation, that finding the link to this post by Earthabridge in among the comments to Social Bridge has been the highlight of my blogging career to date.
The very idea that a woman at the other side of the world had ‘read’ me so well both here and on Facebook ( that’s where I share my love of Van Gogh!) and had gone to the trouble to write about me, was amazing.
In so many ways, I suppose this is what I had hoped for when I started Social Bridge. Is there anyone among us who doesn’t wish to meet ‘kindred spirits?’
Anyway, I’ve copied the blog post from Earthabridge, because it lives on Blogger, but please drop over and read it (and lots more) there, if you wish to get the authentic feel!
Thanks so, so much Joan!

Kindred Spirits

Sometime, call it luck, call it preparation, call it synchronicity, the universe sends you a little present. You know, a surprise gift which overwhelms you? Such is my reaction to the discovery of the blog Social Bridge (WordPress)  by Jean Tubridy from Tramore near Waterford, Ireland.
Like me, this Jean loves poetry and gardens and Van Gogh and art in general. She loves the ocean while I, a prairie girl living in the mountains, am a triple earth lover, with an exaggerated fear of water. That may have something to do with being a fire sign. Although the beaches she writes about seem to be near some of the genealogy research I’ve been doing, around Kinsale. And on the bus tour I took last summer which included Belfast, Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, I took a picture of the Norman tower in that last city (where our stop seemed mainly focused on a souvenir shop). Jean’s passion for Yeats I also share, although the poet of my dreams is Leonard Cohen who I first heard sing at a concert at university my first year.
Jean writes about losing aged parents. I moved from the prairie province of Manitoba to BC when my mother was ill. Within four years, she was dead. One of my first finds in my new home was this framed copy of someone’s calligraphy exercise, of “Crossing the Bar,” Tennyson’s famous poem about grief, which Jean’s mother asked to be read at her funeral. This piece of art, black ink, teal blue and gold paint, still hangs on the wall in front of my computer.
Crossing the Bar
I’m not sure exactly how I stumbled upon her blog. I do check out “bridge” references. This blog is called Earthabridge. And I have been doing weeks and weeks of Ireland research for my latest fiction project. The three saints, especially Bridget (which must be part of Tubridy.) Searching for Art. Genealogy. History. Sacred stones. Sacred wells. Sacred sites. Yeats and Heaney. Geology as it relates to eskers and bogs. The name Tubridy even came up again in a research paper on a specific esker which appears in my story.
I don’t know this woman but I wish I did. And in many ways, I feel as if I’ve known her all my life. Finding her blog, like I said, feels like a gift from the universe, a link to the other side of the world. As if a crack has opened up and let light into my life.
J.M. (Joan Margaret) Bridgeman
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Crazy Mixed-Up Kid

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

(Pablo Neruda  July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973)


I’m in one of those ‘all over the place’ moods and I make no apology for it!

It’s been a good week so far BUT it was all a bit strange because my camera was banjaxed for most of it and I came to realise how much I think Oh, I just have to take a pic of that!  Mercifully, I had it sorted in time to catch this one of the Astilibes in Mount Congreve yesterday:

Mount Congreve Garden, Co, Waterford

Mount Congreve Garden, Co, Waterford

I’m the youngest ‘child’ of the three in our family and Tuesday brought the opportunity to spend the day with ‘big bro’ who has been pretty much everything to me ~ hero; giver of my fringe when I was still in my cot; practice and mixed doubles partner in tennis since I was three and he six; chaperone;  advisor on men ~ beware the intentions of all men from age 14 to 114; grammatical/spelling corrector ~ he’s an English teacher and writer and not so long ago noted that it would be a help if I knew how to spell grammar correctly ~ I was absolutely certain there was an towards the end; the person who has always known how to make to laugh ’til I get a pain in my cheeks; reminder of Mother and Dad ….. as we parted at the South End of the Quay in Waterford I watched him walk away with Mother’s knowing look and Father’s words: It’s a mile from one end of the Quay in Waterford to the other ….. 

'Big Bro' and Me

‘Big Bro’ and Me             Photo: Frank Tubridy

Yesterday, I met a friend and she talked of all the rowing that had occurred between her and her sibs when they were young. I only ever had one row with ‘big bro’ and that was when he (accidently) broke one of my precious records ~ I can’t remember now which one it was ~ but it was the era of Quick Joey Small which was HIS and which was No. I in the Irish Charts in January 1969.

The reason I remember this row so well was because my screaming and roaring were so loud that Father, who was with a customer downstairs,  came thundering up the stairs of the bank house where we were living to find out if the place was on fire or something. By that time, I had got my revenge by cutting  tiny snips in ‘big bro’s’ favourite ties.

I don’t know about you, but I think that one’s place in the family order matters hugely. I don’t think I’ll ever see myself as anything other than the youngest. Nor do I think I’ll ever be completely at home being  a grown-up when my sibs are around.

The Three of Us

The Three of Us           Photo: Frank Tubridy









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