Thinking of Dad

Dad would have been 101 today – born in 1919.

He lived to the grand age of 90 and had great insights into the Ireland of yore.

Crazy stuff like driving from his hometown in the West right across the country when he had never driven a car before; going to the pictures 6 0r seven nights a week; having to spend Christmas minding a bank house as he was the youngest in the office; running back into a burning building to retrieve a box of golf balls when they were extremely scarce here during World War 2; listening to aspiring politicians addressing massive crowds from the backs of lorries; American Wakes – saying sad farewells to people emigrating to American who had no hope of ever coming home….

But most of all it’s a few little sayings of his that are playing around in my head. The main one is:

What’s your preference?

He used to pose this especially to Mother when it came to where they/we might go for a walk or a Sunday drive.

The bit that makes me smile about this is I always knew where I would find them walking if they weren’t at home when I popped in. Two possibilities: both looking out over the ocean.

I wonder what time he was born and how his Mama was feeling this time 101 years ago as her second child and first son was set to make his mark on the world…





Man and Dog

There’s something very appealing about men who clearly care greatly about their dogs and are hardly ever seen without them.

I was walking around the beach the other day with son, H, and we came upon a man sitting in the sun with his husky. I simply said: “Now there’s ‘man and dog,’ and dog-loving son agreed.

Next thing we saw the man root in a shabby looking rucksack and pull out a soft brush. As we pressed on, he was lovingly brushing the dog whose tail was wagging at a million wags a minute.

A glorious sight on the side of the sunny sandhills.


While you’re Resting for Supper

There was always a saying in our house: While you’re resting for supper be sweeping the yard. Essentially, don’t waste time.

It has stuck with me and I often think of it when I am waiting for something or somebody and feel that I should be doing something useful.

I heard of a woman a while ago who installed a piano in her hallway and practiced musical pieces while hanging around waiting.

The two things that are key for me are deadheading flowers in the garden or doing Spanish on my phone App.

I especially love deadheading as it’s outdoors and really gives me a sense of giving hope to plants.

The Spanish is going very nicely but I feel now that I need to find somewhere to put it into action in a real Spanish speaking place. So that sends me into reveries about the vast areas of the world where Spanish is spoken.

No doubt most people have a few ‘while you’re resting for supper’ activities. What are yours?

On the Subject of Hugs

I was a bit taken aback the other day when one of my readers highlighted the point that a positive comment on a blog post felt like a hug to him.

So, of course, I started thinking beyond how we normally define or think of hugs.

The hugs that came to me included:

1. Smiles

2. Eyes melting eyes

3. Puppy Stan wagging his tail so wildly in greeting that he spins like a spinning top

4. The soothing touch of a soft sea wave in Summer.

5. The floating scent of fragrant flowers in the garden.

6. The warmth of an open fire

7. The comfort of boiling water pouring into a tea pot.

8. The sound of a loved one coming home – familiar creaks or the key in the door.

9. The sound of a beloved voice at the other end of the phone.

10. Fingers barely touching fingers.

What counts as hugs for you?



For some reason, I found myself thinking about the alphabet this morning and wondering why the letters are in the order they are.

But then I moved on to the matter of favorite letters and decided that S is way up there for me. Our three dogs are S-names and I also love words like sensuous, season, soft, serendipitous, sand, sea, savour, stream, skimming, swirling, sleeping …..

What’s your favorite letter is this a silly question.

Secret Places


Mother (Photo: Frank Tubridy)

I have been spending a lot of time over the last few years, while I was away from here, sorting through my late father’s photographs.

They bring me all over Ireland and to some other European countries. They bring me more pleasure than I could ever describe and I hope that there are still many more years worth of photos and slides to ponder on.

This one of Mother was taken on the farm where she grew up and where we used to visit my grandmother up until the house and farm were sold when I was about ten.

This particular shot makes me smile as Mother hated having her photograph taken in any kind of formal way so one of her taken from behind is just perfect.

It also reminds me of a day when I wandered off on the farm and found what was like a little fairy house. I knew I was gone beyond my boundary but just had to tell Mama all about my adventure. She got me to tell her every detail and listened intently. Then, she said that she had spent endless hours reading in that little house in the woods when she was about my age and that she was delighted that I loved it just like her.

Right up to the end of her life, she used to remind me of that day and how radiant I was when I was telling her all about my discovery.

I guess we all have secret places but I’m not sure how many of us are lucky enough to share the same ones with our mothers.










This photograph that I took a few years ago near Hook Head Lighthouse in neighbouring Co. Wexford tends to haunt me.

Depending on the circumstances, it evokes different feelings and thoughts.

Today, it has me thinking about lovers and my late mother’s theory about there always being a lover and a loved within relationships. I think she had a point but I also think that there can be musical chairs between these roles depending on circumstances.

What do you reckon?