This photograph which I took a few days ago brings me to Claude Monet and from him to Dad.
See, it was during Summertime when I was 7 or 8 that Dad first introduced me to The National Art Gallery in Dublin. We used to swap houses with his sister, who lived in Dublin, and that was when we tended to visit places that Mother and Father loved.
It was Dad who was into art galleries and I adored going to them with him. Whenever he came to Dublin in the years that I lived there we would head for The National Gallery, view the art and then dine at leisure and chat contentedly.
He loved that he had passed on his enjoyment of art to me and could more than understand how I savoured going on guided Gallery tours on Sunday afternoons and taking a year long evening course in art history.
Every New Year’s Day for years and years, I gave him an Impressionist calendar which had its special place in his bolt hole.
How can one ever thank a parent enough for sowing the seeds of love for such precious things as creative arts and sport?
I guess one way is to try and pass on the love to future generations in a non-pushy way and hope that it will take root.
In the context of all that’s going on in the world, I know that this post may seem a bit unnecessary but I am feeling extremely upset having heard over the weekend that the lovely little wooden bridges in my local wood are to be replaced by shiny metal ones. Unfortunately the new bridges are already made and ready to install as soon as we come out of this current top level Lockdown.
The wooden bridges are beautiful and have been there as long as I can remember. I even have a photo somewhere that Dad took years back of a slightly different style of wooden bridge but they were wooden.
I have spent hours and hours and hours out in these woods and the highlight for me are the wooden bridges and their lovely design. They allow one to cross a tiny stream that runs down to the sea which is about a five minute walk down or even less. The woods were planted many years ago and have little paths and lots and lots of wild flowers and an array of different trees.
Wooden Bridge of Newtown Wood, Tramore, Co. Waterford
The little bridges have fallen into a bit of disrepair in recent times and need attention but I simply can’t understand how anyone could think that metal bridges should replace these little gems that have such a place in the hearts of so many generations of people from Tramore and further afield.
It’s hard to know what can be done to stop a process that has gone so far but it seems important to try when such beauty and sense of place is at stake.
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.
There’s a support centre in Waterford City for people impacted by cancer. It’s called The Solas Centre, and they have an annual fundraising Run/Walk for Life every October.
My first foray in the event was in 2009 a few months after my mother died and I walked the 13 miles slowly but got there in the end and felt extremely emotional at the finish, as my father was at home bursting to know how it had gone. He had always been my walking mentor as a kid.
Anyway, this year it is virtual and spread over the weekend. I am bet from walking but picked some of my very favourite places to take on the challenge.
Cancer came knocking on our family door a few years back and really put the frighteners on us. I must have thought of phoning or dropping in to The Solas Centre a thousand times but never did. Just knowing I could meant the world.
Knowing there is a listening ear, empathy, advice, support is so, so important and knowing that it is just a heartbeat away is wonderful, no matter how bad a situation is.
The virtual event is great because I am meeting fellow participants decked out in our orange T-shirts in the most unlikely places.
Today, it’s about waiting for the tide to ebb so I can do my last lap for one of Waterford’s greatest treasures.
I spent a good deal of my blogging break getting stuck into trying to research our family tree.
I have loved every minute of it but my big regret is that I didn’t ask my late parents half enough about their families and their memories of times spent with them.
I know I learned a lot from them about their relatives but I also let a fair bit sail over my head and they loved sharing this information with me.
Now that we have so much down time, I would urge anyone who is fortunate enough to have older relatives to ask them about the family. It is something that can definitely lead to hours of interesting chat for all parties and can be done from a distance.