Tiger

I’ve always followed golf with gusto and have huge admiration for golfers who can rise to the top and hold their nerve to win Majors. There’s so little between the top 200 golfers and most of it seems to be in the head and heart rather than in actual talent, ability and practice.

While I obviously have a very soft spot for golfers from the island of Ireland and we tend to punch above our weight in this sport, Seve, Tiger and Ian Poulter are heroes of mine.

Tiger’s recent accident was an absolute shocker and I truly hope that he can come out of it without too much ongoing pain and distress.

I thought Rory McIlroy’s comments were very humane when he said that the main thing is that Tiger survived the accident and that his kids still have a father. Also that golf isn’t at the core of this equation when taken in its full perspective.

Yes, Tiger, like us all is a flawed character but his golfing ability is truly awesome (not a word I normally use!).

His ability to comeback after so many back operations has been inspirational but if he doesn’t make a comeback after these latest injuries, we are very fortunate to have lived to see such a talented, determined golfer and hopefully he will stay very much within the game as he has so much to give from his vast experience.

I wish him all the very best and thank him for the host of memorable moments watching him play over the years.

Way Back When in Ireland

Photo: Frank Tubridy

This was one of the ‘beauties’ I found in one of Dad’s tins of old photos. He generally concentrated on landscapes and seascapes but was a sucker for people concentrating on all sorts of activities.

I have no idea where this was taken but it was clearly in the 1960s, given the cars and the haircuts and fashion.

Times were a lot simpler then, as I can even recall, and how I’d love to see the other end of the rope and who and how many were involved in the fun and games.

Kitchen Tableness

Kitchen tables have huge significance in my life. They have tended to be at the absolute heart of life no matter where I have lived.

They were a real place of family gathering and routine when I was a kid and setting the table, eating at it, doing homework there, chatting, laughing, debating, listening to the radio news were all inherently associated with it. There were also the baking sessions that had the kitchen table at their centre – from me ‘helping’ Mother to roll out pastry, make gingerbread men, stir the Christmas cake mixture, lick the gooey spoons and beaters ….

Or, the pair of us shelling peas or topping and tailing blackcurrants or gooseberries for jam or me getting jam pots organized, the kitchen table held it all together.

So many late nights later on, sitting at the kitchen table in our designated chairs discussing grown-up stuff and drinking endless cups of tea.

Nowadays, the kitchen table has become more and more my domain, especially in the early mornings when I sit here having breakfast, listening to the radio, blogging, doing crosswords, talking to Puppy Stan who lies underneath it, looking out the kitchen window, past the pot plants to the ever-changing tall trees in the garden, the birds flying about and the mesmerizing sky.

Our kitchen tables have always been fruit-laden and wordy, creative places that play host to mugs at all hours of the day and night. They have seen all the lists, recipes, newspapers, daily post, messy homework, tears of every emotion – joy, sorrow, frustration, onion cutting …

A kitchen table needs to be solid and soothing to shoulder all this.

Momentum

I have become a bit obsessed about the concept of momentum. I think it’s because of the pandemic and the fact that movement, in whatever realm of life, tends to need nurturing and watching so that it doesn’t grind to a halt, spiral out of control or go mad in some of a vast array of ways.

It is all too easy to start something and then get diverted or disheartened and soon it can all become, ‘sure what’s another day?, ignoring the activity that needs a bit of a shove.

I started doing computer courses with exams at the beginning of the pandemic – voluntarily – and have found that even a day away from doing a bit leaves me thinking, Ah, sure I’ll get back to that tomorrow.

The same kind of thing is at issue with my exercising. The sprained ankle put a major spanner in the works and it has been very hard to get what seemed like a ‘natural’ momentum back. Momentum is very seldom ‘natural.’ We have to push on or the grind to a halt is pretty much inevitable.

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I was in full flow writing this the other day when hubby, who is currently doing his bit for the pandemic by staying at home, came into the kitchen where I was engrossed in looking up quotes about momentum. I had wandered on from momentum to progress and read out two particular quotes to him which had caught my eye:

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”

Oscar Wilde

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

Alan Turing

Hubby agreed that the quotes were great and then said:

‘How about we realise a Utopia and get cracking on spring-cleaning the kitchen. There’s plenty that needs to be done from what I can see. It’s all about momentum, isn’t it?’

So, I had really shot myself in the foot and there was nothing for it but to jump up and say: ‘Right O, let’s get cracking, we may as well do it to music.’

Hours later, with a pristine kitchen and a delighted hubby, I was absolutely worn out and swore to never, ever read out half written blog posts again or maybe even fully written ones.

I am definitely more of an Oscar and hubby is an Alan in the quotes department!

The Seat

Backstrand, Tramore, Co. Waterford

A couple of years ago, this little wooden seat was installed on the Backstrand in Tramore. It’s something I pass regularly on my walks around our lovely beach and it always sets me off thinking about the conversations that have taken place on it as well as potential conversations.

I day dream about it being a social bridge where I could meet people and chat to them about their lives. These people could be famous, like Billie Jean King; local heroes like Waterford hurler, Austin Gleeson; bloggers I feel I know but would love to meet in person, like Sue Vincent ….

I hope that one day I will make this project come to fruition and that the little seat continues to inspire.

Damp Jeans

My father had a phobia about damp clothes because he spent a very long year in his early teens battling pneumonia which almost killed him.

His phobia was extreme and Mother, who was the opposite, used to regale us with stories of how he would want to shelter for hours from rain rather than get wet, even if it was freezing cold and likely to rain for days.

One of my lasting memories was a night I went out when I was about seventeen. That was a ‘gap’ year for me and I made the very most of it.

I slipped out of the house after tea and somehow Dad got to hear that I was wearing a pair of jeans which had been washed earlier that day. He got into a frenzy and as good as had a hospital bed booked for me.

He had no way of contacting me as I was mobile but there were no mobile phones. (I still like to leave mine at home if I get a yen to be ‘free’ and off the leash, so to speak.)

Anyway, nothing would do him but to drive around looking for me to get me home and out of the damp jeans.

He couldn’t find me and when I eventually sneaked back home, he was waiting with a look of concerned madness.

I tried to explain that I had put the jeans into a dryer thingy called The Flatley which ate electricity and was only meant for emergencies. That was crime enough but to him a helluva lot better than a dose of pneumonia.

I could see he wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth as The Famous Flatley was so out of bounds and also shrank damp clothes and I seemed to be fitting into the jeans.

What he hadn’t witnessed was the 15 minutes of agony trying to squeeze into the bell bottoms that I thought were beyond cool. It was a real case of: Pride knows no pain, trying to walk in those two sizes too small jeans.

But, a few hours on the razzle dazzle had softened them out and they were back to normal when he saw them.

My going-outs didn’t get back to my normal for quite some time and it wasn’t because I had pneumonia!

P.S. I have no idea why this episode came flashing into my mind this morning. Maybe it’s because I have never got over the fact that Monday is washing day even though I don’t adhere to that as every day seems to be washing day in this house anyway.

Ray of Light

Chasing sunsets is one of my many addictions and has become even more heightened during this era of Lockdowns.

I think this is because sunsets offer certainty in a wobbly world. The sun will set at a specific time, even if you can’t see it because of clouds.

Also, sunsets can be supremely dramatic but are never, ever the same.

I particularly liked this recent one because it offered a great sense of hope right to the very end and I feel that is something we all crave.

Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Another of Dad’s

Photo: Frank Tubridy

I was rummaging in a box of Dad’s old photos, which he had cast aside as ‘poor’ and found this one which brought me back to family holidays in the West of Ireland which was his native heath.

It has me thinking of picnics, buckets and spades, swimming togs, homemade kites, trying to escape sunscreen, Dad’s camera cases and tripods having better seating arrangements than me, colourful deck chairs, word games, donkeys, sandals, running races, local farmers full of chat, hours of sea air, delicious tiredness, falling into bed longing for tomorrow.

Galloping Hooves

There is something very special about the sound of galloping horses, especially when they emerge out of the mist on the sandy beach.

This is one of my precious moments from this recent Lockdown.

Tramore Beach was shrouded in mist and the sea was only whispering gently as the tide was way out.

I thought I heard hooves but wasn’t sure if I was imagining or dreaming of other times and places.

The noise grew louder and a pair or race horses came thundering into sight with the beauty that only horses can bring:

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford