September … ‘mber

I’m well aware that there is a strong movement away from going to the well of our memories in favour of striving to ‘live in the moment.’

While I’m all for living in the moment, I feel that our present moments are often framed by our pasts and I love nothing more than to bring my bucket to the deep well that lives in my heart and let it pull up a fine glass of memories that were made years ago.

The end of September is always a nostalgic time and it’s interesting that it is the first month of the year that carries with it the word, ‘mber’ that so often starts conversations about the old days. ‘mber the time …?’ 

Well, the memories that are with me tonight are walking trips that Dad used to bring me (or one of the others) on. I’m talking 1970s  and he was a big, strong, fit man for whom walking meant striding out for maybe twenty miles before lunch!

The walking trips were to wild places and a couple of cameras were always part of his luggage, as well as clean white cotton hankies, a strong black umbrella and his toothbrush. He was ever so careful, even vain, about his teeth in spite of being addicted to all things sugar.

The September song that brings me back to those times is this one sung by Nana Mouskouri, who I was fortunate enough to hear in concert in Dublin around 1975.

In September 1974, Dad and I went on a walking trip to his native Co. Clare ~ the place he loved more than anywhere in the whole world. Back then, the Cliffs of Moher hadn’t been commercialised and were wilder than wild. Dad must have taken thousands of photos of the The Cliffs during his lifetime and this is one that he took during our visit that year:

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The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare ~ Photo by Frank Tubridy

It was on those expeditions that I got to know about my father’s youth and heard lots of stories about how it was to grow up in the West of Ireland in the 1920s and 30s. I’m so glad now that we had those shared times as they give me a sense of my background too. They also make me smile as I think of his urgings to ‘step on it’ if he caught sight of  a black cloud heading our way! For me, ‘stepping on it’ meant jogging along beside him as his stride lengthened and lengthened …

Hasta La Vista

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My Garden of Eden, Mount Congreve, is closing on Sunday for the Winter. As regulars here on Social Bridge will know, the world famous garden, which is just a few miles out the road from Tramore, is a precious haven of mine.

I’m very fortunate to have been able to visit Mount Congreve every week throughout the season and savour its ever-changing colour and light.

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Today was bliss but tinged with a sense of melancholy as I wandered through the walled garden and then the glorious woodlands. Much has happened in the period since the Gardens opened back in March and I’ve done a lot of contemplating, celebrating and pure ‘being’ in this place that never, ever fails to bring colour, calm and awe to my mind and heart.

Here’s a glimpse of what drew my eyes out there this morning on one of those ‘pet’ days that you always hope for as September draws to a close in Ireland:

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My Go To Woman ~ Dorothy Parker

There’s days when I need Dorothy Parker to entertain me and this is one of them. No matter what, she’ll change the subject, bring a smile, a shake of the head or pure wonderment.

Honesty means nothing until you are tested under circumstances where you are sure you could get away with dishonesty. (Dorothy Parker)

 

Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye. (Dorothy Parker)

 

Time may be a great healer but it’s a lousy beautician. (Dorothy Parker)

 

There’s a hell of a difference between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words. (Dorothy Parker)

 

That woman speaks eighteen languages and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them. Dorothy Parker).

 

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Hillary, Donald and the Simple Things

I spent half the afternoon watching last night’s US Presidential Election Debate on You Tube. I’m a political animal and would have stayed up half the night but had been up almost all night the night before so sleep won.

It  was very strange to be sitting in my kitchen here in the South-East of Ireland, watching Hillary and Donald do battle. I had made a point of not listening to any analysis of the debate until I had seen it for myself.

It was intriguing viewing and I couldn’t keep myself from thinking about the human beings that lay behind all the talk. Nor, could I stop myself from wondering if anyone in America would have the remotest interest in watching a Presidential type debate (or a Prime Ministerial one) from Ireland. I can’t imagine how that would come across to an American audience!

Yes, the human stuff!  How nervous were they?  To what extent did they feel an ironic sense of being in the same boat. After all, even though they are on absolute opposing sides in political terms, they had a lot in common last night as they ‘shared’ that stage being watched by millions and millions of people from all over the world.  In overall terms, I felt that had I been unaware of the background to this debate and just arrived from Mars, I would have thought they were both pretty articulate, civilised human beings. (I never, ever thought I would be writing such a thing!).

The debate certainly dealt with BIG ISSUES ~ world matters; stuff that marks a moment in global history.

It stood in stark contrast to a chance meeting I had this morning with a man who comes to stay in Tramore for the summer months each year. We stopped to have our usual chat and I was sorry to hear that he’s packing up to go back up country this weekend. He’s a fine cut of a guy; well into his seventies and looked a million dollars in a pair of shorts, bare tanned top, and a his wide brimmed sun hat.

He’s known hardships in his life but is always on for a laugh, as well as down-to-earth honesty. After our ‘hellos’ he pointed out to the dancing sea and then up to the beaming sun and just said: It’s the simple things …’ 

I’ve been thinking about his words in the context of all the hullabaloo about the US Presidential debate and, what I’ve found very odd, is that I haven’t been able to identify anything that I feel I could call ‘simple.’

I was looking through a heap of photographs to find an image of ‘simplicity’ and this is the one that keeps pressing forward but I hesitate to agree with it!

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‘Solitude’ up the Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness with Puppy Me

This was meant to be all relaxez-vous and lig do scith (that’s ‘relax’ in Irish) but I’m in a total dogfaddle cos I think I’ve banjaxed Jean’s phone and I may have bagsed up the blog by sticking my big nose into stuff that’s not really mine.

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See, they were all out for a while and I got a bit bored, especially when the sun spot I was snoozing in went all shady and chilly.

I was dying to have a look at pics Jean took out in the woods this morning and managed to get phone down from the kitchen table (with a box of bikkies). I was all sugared up and found myself downloading and uploading like nobody’s business. Only thing was I was deleting and crumbing up all sorts of stuff, including some VIPs ( very important photos).

How am I going to explain?  Maybe she’ll see this video and be all calm before she tackles me – if she can find me.

I’m going to need every bit of calm I can muster so let’s all sit back and breathe nice and easy and just ‘be.’

Talk sometime, maybe.

Stanny x

 

Misunderstandings

Surely everyone has a few words that had them flummoxed for years. One that got me from Dad’s insistence that we listened avidly to the weather forecast from when we were about three days old was isolated. 

Isolated showers confused me completely. How come they were icy some of the time ~ sleet, hailstones, just plain freezing driving rain, and other times they fell in soft gentle, even lukewarm raindrops?

There’s a bit of a double whammy with the one that got my mother when she was a child. She would be at Church chiming in with the prayers and coming from a farming family, her version of  ‘Thy little one doth keep,’ was as I thought until I checked it out a few minutes ago ‘My little Wine Dot keep.’ I always knew she had visions of the hens in the haggard  but being a townie, I didn’t realise that what she was thinking was: Thy little Wyandotte keep.’ 

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Silver Laced Wyandotte Hen:   http://www.wyandotte-nation.org

 

So, go on, tell me about the word/s that play/played tricks on you. Don’t be even the slightest bit shy about it!!

 

Rose-Worthiness

It all started a few days ago when I was out at the beach. There on the standline was a pink rose bud looking so out of place that it made me stop, pick it up and hold it as gently as you’d hold an injured bird.

I wondered how it had got there; had it been washed in with the tide or had someone brought roses to the beach ~ maybe a romantic or maybe a grief-stricken soul.

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Stranded Rosebud

I peeled away a few of the petals and the faintest rose-scented fragrance was discernible. Somehow that smell was fraught with poignancy and made me think of William Blake’s  poem, The Sick Rose.

I contemplated bringing the rose home and pressing it in one of the heavy books that lives for that purpose in my my study. But, I felt that the rose belonged to someone else; that it had a story and was meant to be there on the beach, even though it didn’t fit it with the seaside garden.

To my surprise, it was there for three or four days ~ getting more and more battered and clearly being bashed by the high tides that are around at this time of year.

I was almost relieved not to be able to see the rose on the fourth day when the beach was serenely empty inviting me in for my swim:
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Garrarrus Beach, Co. Waterford

As I was leaving after my dip a mother and two young kids passed me. The children had buckets and the little group was gathering stones and shells. The mother reminded me of my mother, back when we were small. She was as interested as the kids were in the adventure and was examining the children’s choices with a tenderness you don’t see all that often.

The rose may have been missing that day but it was been replaced by the pink hat of a little girl  whose mother exuded love and the ability to make magic out of simplicity.

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Regeneration

 

Autumnal Wendings

Today  is our 25th Wedding Anniversary so it’s a day of reflection on the flow of life as we push into our Autumn together:

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Winding Ways

 

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Gliding Along
pondering
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Togetherness

And how could I not include this dog-eared quote from one of Dad’s many books of Humorous Quotations? (After all, he and Mother lived to see 60 years of married bliss!)

Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to the restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays. (Henny Youngman)