The Pumpkin Man

Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

Hook Head Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

There are some sights that you just don’t expect in Ireland and a Pumpkin Man is one. But, yesterday on a visit to magnificent Hook Head Lighthouse in Co. Wexford, I met with Charles Colfer who grows pumpkins at Aldridge Farm in nearby Duncannon.

Charles Colfer

Charles Colfer

The pumpkins range from medium to giant and they were an absolute sight to behold ~ pure pumpkin!

This is Charles’ second year growing pumpkins and he now has a few acres devoted to them at Aldridge Farm. He imported the seeds from America but these are Wexford pumpkins through and through.

Blazing Pumpkins

Blazing Pumpkins

The seas were very wild and the trawlers moored at Duncannon Harbour drew my attention on the way home.  The two boats that immediately caught my eye were Wayfinder and Provider. What better words to describe the Pumpkin Man!

Duncannon Harbour, Co. Wexford.

Duncannon Harbour, Co. Wexford.

Should you wish to buy the best looking pumpkins in Ireland, get in touch with Charles Colfer on 086-8436362

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Festival of Bridges #2 ~ Heart-Heart

Today’s contribution to The Festival of Bridges brought me to a complete standstill and brought tears streaming down my face. It comes from Joan, who has the blog Earthabridge. Joan is the woman who wrote the post that I identified as the highlight of my blogging career a few months back.

Here is the email Joan sent in relation to The Festival of Bridges:

Ingram Bridge

Ingram Bridge

This is Ingram Bridge on #3 Highway, the Crowsnest, where it crosses the Kettle River between Rock Creek and Midway, British Columbia, about a kilometre north of the international boundary.

After my mother died in 1993, I fell apart. I abandoned my job and my home and moved here, to a little blue trailer just on the other side of the bridge, behind the snag.

I made business cards titled ‘At Ingram Bridge,’ set up my computer, and began to write.

The trailer was on a corner of the ranch where my mother had grown up, near the ranch house where her brother still lived. I went there to heal, in an obvious but unconscious attempt to be near her still. I learned several years later that it is also the spot where my brother had taken her ashes, to send her home.

Many, many thanks, Joan, for sharing this very special bridge with us. I suspect it will touch many, many hearts.


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Festival of Bridges ~ Grand Opening

I would like to thank everyone for their birthday wishes and for your interest in my Festival of Bridges which is running from today until October 31.

Sandy, from the great blog Hoarder Comes Clean, sent two stunning photographs to set us on our way.

Railroad_bridge_west_of_town_IMG_1994 (1)

Old Railroad Bridge in Missouri

Here’s what she says about this one:
This the old railroad bridge is just west of my hometown in northwest Missouri. The Missouri bridge is one we used to play on as kids, and walk out on the rafters. The trains don’t go through anymore, so the old railroad tracks have been taken up and it’s just a walking path where they were. This is the only bridge left.

And here’s her second amazing contribution from a trip to Alaska a few years back.

Skagway_bridge_Alaska_2012_0964 (1)

Skagway, Alaska

I’m absolutely enthralled by these photographs and love the idea that they’ve come from places and in weather so different to Tramore here in the Sunny South-East of Ireland.

I am really looking forward to being able to bring contributions about bridges, loosely defined ~ in words, art, photography, music,  or a combination of same ~ to the world through this Festival of Bridges over the coming weeks. Please email me at with the bridges that matter to you!


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Come Join my Festival of Bridges!

Today, October 18 at 12.20 am, is my birthday and I’m in celebratory mood.  It’s hard to believe that I’m 57 but somehow this year feels extra special because I was born in 1957.

I’ve been perusing old newspapers, photographs, memories, books, poetry, music ….. and the dominant thought has been about connections and bridges built, crossed, burned, admired, dreamed about, determined to see ……

'East View of Waterford' by Thomas Sautelle Roberts. December 19th, 1805. Source: Waterford City Council

‘East View of Waterford’
by Thomas Sautelle Roberts.
December 19th, 1805.
Source: Waterford City Council

This painting is one that I love because it includes the first bridge crossing, known locally as ‘Timbertoes,’  in Waterford City

I’m talking about all sorts of bridges ~ and I’d be so thrilled if you would join with me in celebrating BRIDGES  from now until the end of October.

To take part, please email your contribution ~ be it writing, photography, artwork, poetry, music ….. to me at and give me some insight into the reason for your choice/s.

Here’s one of my favourite songs from 1957 to take you back to that era ~ it just has to be Elvis!!






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Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford

Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford

 crossing the seasons
brings tender hesitation
of kissing colours
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The Comfort of Nature and Poetry

After yesterday’s post, I felt the need to connect with nature in all her beauty.

I took to the woods with Stan:

Contemplative Stan

Contemplative Stan

From there for a deep cleanse in the sea as the sun was setting.

Soothing Garrarus Beach

Soothing Garrarus Beach

And home to hot juiced apples with cinnamon and, of course, poetry:


A state you must dare not enter
with hopes of staying,
quicksand in the marshes, and all
the roads leading to a castle
that doesn’t exist.
But there it is, as promised,
with its perfect bridge above
the crocodiles,
and its doors forever open.

(Stephen Dunn: from Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley, Bloodaxe Books).









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The Horror of being Molested


The horror of  molestation came surging back to me a few weeks ago when I was out for a walk with puppy Stan. Stan was out of sight and I was hunkered down taking a photograph of some fallen leaves.

The first I knew that there was anyone around was when I felt someone tapping on my shoulder and a voice from behind asking: Is there anything interesting there?

I jumped up, swivelled round, and heard myself saying to the man standing far too close to me: My dog is just over there! (I was praying that Stan would emerge like a wild animal and not a playful puppy!)

Years and years ago, when I was about seven, I had taken our strong Dalmation for a very short walk and just as I was about to turn at the place where my mother had drawn  the end line, a red van pulled up beside me and a greasy looking man started asking me for directions and told me to get into the van to show him the way. I clung to the lead; warned him that my dog would bite him and ran the few hundred yards home like the hammers of hell.

A few years on, a so-called friend of my father’s lured me into a back room and mauled me. It still makes me feel sick. Nothing horrendous happened but it completely shattered my trust in men and made me realise that it wasn’t only greasy guys in dirty red vans that were potentially problematic.

On again, and fury of furies at a boss’ audacity in coming into my office on Week One of a new job, locking the door and attempting to maul me as if I was some sort of innocent abroad. He was a nasty, slimy little man with eyes I will never forget. I was a lot taller than him and hit him a right belt that did the job in getting shut of him. I also threatened a few of the strong men of my life on him which got him running scared. (Probably no huge coincidence that I got the boot out of the job not long after!)

I confided in my mother about all these episodes as they happened and it transpired that she too had suffered quite a bit from unwanted male attention, especially when she was new to the workforce in the 1930s.

It seems to me that this horror is part of our society. It’s not something that one is inclined to talk about to anyone outside of very close friends or family.

I’d like to think that things have changed but I’m not a bit sure that they have?  



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