Primrose Spotting

When the stretch comes in the evenings in January, primroses are always on my mind and my  eyes speed read every possible ditch, in search of that joyous yellow with the velvety scent.

You don’t expect to find primroses on working harbours like Dunmore East, here in Co, Waterford, but lo and behold I found one there yesterday ~ albeit navy and white!

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Floating ‘Primrose’ at Dunmore East

My heart missed a beat when I saw her and then went on to miss another when I found that she was from Drogheda, the town of my youth and schooling in the North-East of the country that is built on the Boyne Estuary.

So, so many times, we went looking primroses back then, especially Mother and me. She would clamber up onto all sorts of ditches, beating back briars, in the kinds of places that primroses flourish. She used to laugh at me and say that I was a pessimist who lived in fear of  seeing a dead rat in the ditches rather than glowing primroses. I have to admit there was quite a bit of truth in her opinion of me back then.

But, we can change, especially if led by example!

Spurred on by Primrose from Drogheda, I was fired up to find even the first signs of wild primroses today and my journey wasn’t in vain. Co. Waterford served up her first primrose of my year out on the ‘road to the sea.’

Spring has definitely sprung!

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Precious Primroses

And I must tell you that while I was driving along, I got to thinking about the relationship between shadows and reflections. I still haven’t worked it out fully but clearly the sun has a lot to do with it.

Here’s how Dunmore East was reflecting yesterday with the Lighthouse, built in 1824, looking magnificent both above and below water:

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The Harbour, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford.

Poetry Prism

George Gordon, Lord Byron was born on this day ~ January 22, 1788 ~ and he has been very much on my mind since early morning.

He was a poet who was much loved by my late mother who often quoted lines from his work. She had been introduced to him early in her life and it always gives me great pleasure to read an English composition which she wrote in 1934, when she was 13, comparing his life with that of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here is a short extract:

Both were wonderful poets, both hated tyranny and wrote of freedom. But with such a difference! A comparison of portraits emphasises it more even that a comparison of poems.  Shelley, mournful, longing for a better world, with a melancholy face and a grave outlook on life. Byron, handsome, extravagant, impulsive, thoughtless and dissipated.  Of the two, I infinitely prefer Byron, both his poems and his portrait, even taking his faults into consideration.

I often wonder how many portraits of Byron Mother ever got to see and which ones.

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Portrait of Lord Byron by Richard Westall

 

I’ve no doubt that she had probably read all his poetry but these are the  lines that she tended to quote the most:

There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
(George Gordon, Lord Byron 1788-1824)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woof, Woof, Woof …

Hi Everyone,

People talk about ‘a dog with two tails,’ and today I kinda feel like I’m a ‘puppy with three tails’ cos it’s three years today that I left my Mama and Dada and all my brothers and sisters on the farm in Co. Wexford and came to live in Tramore.

The time has flown by ~ just like those birds that I’m always racing after on the beach. You never catch up with time or birds from what I can see.

Would you believe that Jean put up a thingy on Twitter about me today and it’s gone zooming around the world. Here’s what she said:

Sometimes love comes with black spaniel ears, soft brown eyes and a heart of gold.

and there was this photo of meesy:

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Well I got Harry to help me to get a photo of Jean to give her a surprise today  and this is the one he chose out of the collection I showed him cos he agreed that she ‘s kinda multi-layered and always keeping her eyes on us.

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‘We See Through You’

This is the photo that Harry chose of me and didn’t know what Jean was thinking of with the Twittery one ~ even looking at that word has me thinking about those birds that tease me all the time:

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Looking out to Sea

Now, I just have to wish the Stan I was called after bestest luck in the Australian Open last 16 tomorrow. Here’s hoping he can win the whole tournament just like he did three years ago.

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Stan Wawrinka

I’ve ‘doogled’ Stan W and I think Jean will be a bit surprised to hear that he’s a Samuel Beckett guy too cos he has this tattoo on his arm:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better (Samuel Beckett)

(I wonder if I could get a tattoo just like this one cos it just might help me to grow wings or maybe the three tails will help me to take flight after those birds …..)

Love ya to bits, Jeanio,

Your Puppy,

Stan

P.S. Sorry about ripping your furry boot to bits this morning. It was all the excitement of it being today and me and Harry were having a game of ‘catch the boot’ while we were planning this post.

P.P.S. The pieces are under the sofa if that’s any good.

 

Back to Reading ~ Week 3

I’m addicted to books of wit and wisdom so I pounced on this little gem, created and produced by Teapot Press Ltd,  and published in 2016

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It is quite unusual in that it draws together quotes and Irish sayings and proverbs on a wide range of topics and also has short biographies and quotes from ten famous Irish people: Brendan Behan, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Lady Augusta Gregory, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Sean O’Casey and William Butler Yeats.

Here’s a few of the quotes that have I’ve loved:

Words are the clothes thoughts wear. ( Samuel Beckett)

 

Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness. Comedy and tragedy step through life together, arm in arm, all along, out along, down along lea. A laugh is a great natural stimulator, a pushful entry into life; and once we can laugh, we can live. It is the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living. ( Sean O’ Casey)

 

You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against the barrack -square wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell your slaves could ever build. (Sean O’Casey)

 

The truth is rarely pure, and never simple. ( Oscar Wilde)

 

The way most people fail is in not keeping up the heart. (Lady Augusta Gregory)

 

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. (William Butler Yeats)

 

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. (George Bernard Shaw)

 

If you love her in rags, your love will last. (Irish Proverb)

 

Money does not make you happy but  it quiets the nerves. (Samuel Beckett)

This is definitely a book for anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them or an interest in getting a feel for how we Irish carry on!

 

 

 

Going With the Flow

I wrote about Mahon Falls up in the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford a little while back and the River Mahon has been on my mind ever since.

Here is the river gushing down at Mahon Falls;

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Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford

and in this next photograph you can see the river (on the left of the winding path) making its way down towards the sea.

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View from Mahon Falls

The River Mahon rises up in the mountains and eventually enters the sea at Bonmahon which is on the Copper Coast. I was drawn to Bonmahon today to capture the river as it enters the sea.

Just before it turns its last corner, it serves as a place where a few boats are usually moored ~ boats that always catch my eye with their colours and reflections:

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Reflections

Down by the point where the river meets the sea, a beer bottle in a crevice in the rocks was glinting merrily. I couldn’t imagine that it had been put there by human hand and wanted to think that there might be a message in it:

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And, here’s a glimpse of the how the ocean and the River Mahon greet each other in Bonmahon:

Daisy Chains of Life

When I was trying to focus on the daffodils the other day, a little daisy kept catching my eye with her yellow blending in with the yellow of the daffodils.

She’s been playing on my mind ever since because this common flower ~ or weed, as some are bold enough to call her ~ evokes so many thoughts and memories.

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He loves me, he love me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he … Hot Summer days lying on the grass plucking the petals off poor daisies with my sister as we looked toward the horizons of heady romance.

***

That Summer’s night in 1979 when the love of my young life, who was later to die from cancer when I was in my early twenties, jumped out of the car and gathered daisies to make me a daisy chain. It remains one of my treasures, pressed in a huge book with other special flowers that have bedecked my life.

***

And what of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby ~ how I envied her!

***

There was my embarrassing innocence on my fist day as a researcher in a Cheshire Home for people with physically disabilities and chronic illnesses in England. I was introduced to a man in his thirties who had multiple sclerosis who was asked by the guy in charge to fill me in on life in the Home. We had a long chat, with plenty of laughs, but in the middle of it, he said something about how he’d soon be ‘pushing up the daisies.’ I hadn’t a notion what he meant and he saw my puzzlement and came straight out with the shattering disclosure that he probably only had a couple of years left to live. He is a man I will never, ever forget as he was the first person to show me the human side of disability ~ something that influenced many of my decisions in pursuing research into the experiences of people with disabilities for many years after that.

***

In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy hit the screens in Ireland and it remains one of my all time favourite films. Yes, it was very American, but its messages about racism and stereotyping, connections and ageing are as pertinent today, if not even more so, than they were back then.

***

The humble daisy has much to teach us if we let her. What a difference there is between being defined as a wildflower and a weed …..

 

 

 

 

 

It Only Happens Once a Year

The first sighting of daffodils each year makes my heart sing and evokes the fondest thoughts of my late mother and father, both of whom adored the flowers, and the poems associated with them.

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Mother with Daffodils Photo: Frank Tubridy

Well, today was the day of days. I was driving from Passage East into Waterford City and there on a bank on the side of the road the gleam of yellow had me enthralled, with all thoughts of the political crisis in Northern Ireland, Brexit and the coming of Donald Trump disappearing from my cluttered mind.

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Daffodil Road

I’m not sure if anyone can see daffodils without finding themselves quoting line after line of William Wordsworth’s The Daffodils. I certainly can’t as it is a poem that has embroidered my heart since I was a tot and the yellow threads grow deeper each year:

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

(William Wordsworth)

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Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixth Anniversary of Social Bridge

I was gobsmacked to hear from WordPress that today marks the 6th Anniversary of my blogging life.

I feel like I could write a tome about the lessons I’ve learned about blogging since January 2011 but what I want to do tonight is thank every single person who has interacted with the blog over the years.

I deeply appreciate the many friends I have made through Social Bridge. I find that you are with me on my daily round as well as here online. Hardly an hour goes by that I don’t think of how one or more of you would respond to a particular situation.

Maybe I’ll be bold and ask if there has ever been a time that I’ve suddenly crossed your radar as a result of something I’ve written either on my own blog or in response to one of your posts?

So to sum up six years of blogging in six words.

#1. CONNECTION

#2. EMPATHY

#3. FUN

#4. INSPIRATIONAL

#5. CATHARTIC

#6. FRIENDSHIP

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Tramore, Co. Waterford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memory Makers

Tramore Beach is a place where young children have been introduced to the sea for many, many years now. I was once one of those kids and I always love to see the tradition being carried on, as it was by this man with his youngster at sunset last night.

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Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

While moments like this make me a little nostalgic, they also remind me that my memories are not necessarily rose-tinted. I remember the sea being golden and Dad bringing me right to the edge of the waves and then lifting me high into the air as the water came in. I saw the exact same thing happening before my very eyes last night and all the while the Metal Man was watching out in the distance, just as he was back when I was tiny.

Oddly enough, it was only while I was watching this pair playing with the waves that I realised that the memories were not just being created for the child but for the man as well. I wondered if he had once been the child that I was and was remembering his father as well as living in the moment with his own child.

All the while, lines of poetry kept wandering in and out of my head.

How can we know the dancer from the dance?  (W.B. Yeats)

and

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams. 

(Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy)

Yes, memory is crucial to  connectedness in the world and our sense of having a place within that:

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilisation, no society, no future. (Elie Wiesel)