Happy September!


Dahlia at Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford.

The arrival of September has long  felt like a major turning point ~ especially from the times it marked the return to school after the Summer holidays.

In recent years, it is a month that I find difficult as my father died on September 1oth, 2010.

Speaking of father, I can’t  but think of  his absolute love of the light, high tides and colours of  September. It was the month he always chose to go on holiday in Ireland after he had taken early retirement.

So, this is a month during which you can expect to see a lot of colour and mixed emotions here on Social Bridge.

Where does September bring you in terms of thoughts, moods and memories? 


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Dear Seamus Heaney …


Seamus Heaney Source: New York Times, July 12, 2006


Dear Seamus Heaney,

I suspect you wouldn’t care how I addressed you but when I wrote, ‘Dear Seamus,’ it just didn’t feel right so I’ll go with Seamus Heaney, if that’s okay.

Your first anniversary has been very much on my mind for weeks now. It never seems to be the anniversary that ‘gets’ me but the time around it and the end of August is a time that tends to be full of bittersweetness anyway ~ a time of endings or should I say ‘new beginnings?’

I guess you’d go for somewhere in the middle. Your poetry catches me all the time with places of the heart and mind that it identifies – places that resonate totally, and describe exactly,  but for which I had never found a name.

While you died on August 30th last year, your poetry lives on with a freshness that I didn’t think possible. I was afraid that it would somehow fall with the Autumn leaves and never come back.

How could I have been so foolish? You were so tuned into the seasons of life; the twists and turns of the year; the everyday and the forever.

More than anything, I’ve been struck in the last year by the way you, more than any other poet I’ve read, captured sound in your work. While I know I will never hear your unique reading voice  live again, I find the sounds that ring through your poems ever-comforting and present. I think of so many poems here but The Forge is a special favourite.

I wonder how you’d like to be remembered on your anniversary tomorrow. It seems that you paved the way for others ~ as in Changes with lines like:

So tender, I said, ‘Remember this.
It will be good for you to retrace this path
when you have grown away and stand at last
at the very centre of the empty city.’
(from: Changes by Seamus Heaney)


I doubt you’d want tears, or at least many of them. Would you like people to read your poems?  (I doubt many will be able to resist!)  Maybe you’d like people to try writing some lines of their own?

My absolute inclination is to go and pick blackberries in a wild, wild place  with all my senses open to nature, words and lines you wrote:

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

(from: Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney)

Your presence will be all around in this wild place:

Between heather and marigold,
Between sphagnum and  buttercup,
Between dandelion and broom,
Between forget-me-not and honeysuckle,
As between clear blue and cloud,
Between haystack and sunset sky,
Between oak tree and slated roof,
I had my existence. I was there.
Me in place and place in me. 
Where can it be found again,
An elsewhere world, beyond
Maps and atlases,
Where all is woven into
And of itself, like a nest
Of crosshatched grass blades?
(from: A Herbal by Seamus Heaney)


With all my love and thanks,









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The Natural Look


Having read recently that 70% of women visit a beauty salon before going on holidays and even just perusing magazines with all sorts of lipsticks, eye-shadows and goodness knows what, I suspect that I belong to a tiny minority who never, ever wear make-up of any description.

Maybe, I’ll get cracking on it one of these days and shock the living daylights and nightlights out of all who know me!

For now, though, it’s the ‘natural look’ for me in keeping with the seashore which has an amazing capacity to throw up colourful surprises everyday.

So, tell me how you are about make-up?  Are you someone who feels undressed without it or over-dressed with it? Needless to say, I’d love men’s opinions on this subject too!

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August Sunset on the Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

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Have a Sit Down!



I’ve been passing this seat on the side of the road a few miles from Tramore for years now and have long meant to take a photo of it.

I’d love to know what its history is, and indeed, what purpose it’s serving now.

It reminds me of a wreck of a HUGE trampoline in our back garden that anyone in their right senses would wonder about.

The trampoline had glory days and was a birthday present for son (19) when he was twelve. He got endless hours of trampolining on it and half the kids in the neighbourhood would be in jumping on it  ’til after dark. When it started to fall to pieces, it became a place where son would lie in the sun or jump with great gingerliness while chatting to pals on the phone.

You wouldn’t hardly know now that it was ever a trampoline but I can’t bring myself to dump it as the dogs have made it their own. They lie on the untorn bits in the sun and sort of bob up and down. Or,  they take shelter beneath when they’re too hot or if it’s raining. So how, could I possibly remove such a useful eyesore that has a whole new life now?

So, to come back to the chair on the side of the road, I’ve no doubt that it had glory days, too, doing what these kinds of chairs are meant to do and probably saw afternoon tea in the garden with homemade cakes and doilies. But what does it do now?

PS. To ‘have a sit down’ about something is a term that I’ve only heard from one person over the years. In her house, it meant to have a family confab about something that was deemed important ~ be it an everyday thing like what to do about a leaky pipe or a more substantial question like whether or not to get a dog.


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101 Ways to Cope with Losing Elderly Parents #16 ~ Flowers


Sunflowers on the Tramore-Annestown Road, Co. Waterford

Flowers can be highly symbolic both during life and as a comfort after the passing of a loved one.

I totally associate sunflowers with my late father. He introduced me to Van Gogh’s great paintings of these bright, cheerful flowers and he loved to take photographs of them.

I bought him a huge big bunch for what I knew would be his last birthday in June 2010 and later that Summer brought him photographs of some beauties which people grow by their gate way on the road which he loved between Tramore and Annestown.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the progress of those sunflowers over the last few weeks and headed out there this morning in the mist to see if they were in full bloom.

The whole experience gave me such a strong sense of connection to Dad and I can only smile as I write this and think of the delight in his eyes when he saw me arriving with the bunch that day on his birthday.

It’s well worth finding out your parent’s preferences about  flowers ~ if you don’t already know them ~ and weaving them into your relationship with them.  They can have such a calming effect and it’s always great to know that the flowers will continue to bloom year after year and appear in all sorts of different places, such as poetry and art.

Sunflowers Vincent Van Gogh Source: Wikimedia

Vincent Van Gogh
Source: Wikimedia






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Fun with Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker, who is one of the people I most admire for her brilliant wit, was born on this day in  New Jersey in 1893.

Dorothy Parker Source: Wikipedia

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
Source: Wikipedia

No matter what’s going on, a dip into the quotable quotes of Dorothy Parker always makes me chuckle. Here are  a few of my favourites:

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.”

“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

“What fresh hell is this?”

“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”

“That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them.”

“Women and elephants never forget.”

“She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.”

A world without Dorothy Parker would have been so much duller.  Tell me about your favourite quote from her. 

P.S. The quote that was a constant part of my growing up was ‘What fresh hell is this,’ which my late mother would whisper with a glint in her eye when a knock would come at the door just as we were starting a meal or in the middle of watching something special like The Grand National!




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