Wishing Stone Time

New Year’s Eve is coming close and hence it’s time for me to get ready for our Wishing Stone ritual.

For those who are new to this bridge of mine, The Wishing Stone Ritual began at least ten years ago when son and I went to Newtown Cove out the road and cast stones into the waves with wishes for the year ahead and thoughts of precious people of the year just ending. That first year the moon was full and the sea was all aglisten.

Newtown Cove, Tramore, Co. Waterford

It has become our annual event and not even Covid restrictions can stop it.

It you would like us to cast a Wishing Stone for you, let me know in the comments or via my email: jeantubridy@aol.com.

I know that there are lots of wishes just waiting to be made and we have zillions of lovely stones to choose from.

So, please join us in this magical event.

People Watching

Yesterday son and I were down the Prom here in Tramore, sitting in the car drinking coffee, and watching the people walking up and down. That’s one of many things people do in Tramore!

Anyway, two of my late mother’s sayings came back to me and they really got us going on focused spotting.

1. Men fall into two categories: greyhounds and teddy bears.

2.  Which would you rather, rather would you be? Legs to the belly or belly to the knee?

So, roars of ‘greyhound’ when a tall, lanky man came striding along mixed with ‘legs to the belly.’

The first teddy bear that came had a roundy, smiley face; was eating a large 99, and had an ambly kind of walk. Pure teddy bear, I said with glee.

In the middle of it all a mixum gatherum of a dog with a big body and spindly little legs came trotting by. He was certainly belly to the knee.

Coffee downed, we walked the Prom ourselves and I couldn’t but wonder what the watchers were saying to each other about us!

The Prom, Tramore, Co. Waterford.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tide

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Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

I am incredibly fortunate in that I live by the sea and my days revolve very much around the ebb and flow of the tide.

Simple questions like when is the tide going out so that the vast beach will be there to walk on in all its freshness. And when will the tide be just right for a swim.

These are in-built questions that need just a little addition day after day or a glimpse down to the beach while taking the dogs for their morning constitutional.

Yes, beyond fortunate!

 

The Bypass

I have it in for bypasses – those ring roads around cities, towns and villages. I feel that they have half killed many lovely places and have knocked their hearts out with the building of out of town shopping complexes and the like.

Yes, I know they have eased traffic jams but …

Anyway, one of my walks that pretty much fits the Covid19  ‘no more than 2km from your home restriction’ is a loop that includes a chunk of Tramore’s bypass.

I never walk on it normally but we’re not talking ‘normal’ at present. I hadn’t quite worked out what exactly I had against it as a walking spot until yesterday when I went in the opposite way to usual and started with the old part of the town. That brings me passed my late parents’ house and the zillions of memories associated with them; across the top of Main Street, which always has me gazing down the steep hill to the beach; across Priests’ Road, with its looming church and houses I have known since I was tiny. It also includes a former sweet shop which makes me think of the day when I was three and waiting so excitedly to see Dad driving Mother home from hospital in our Morris Minor after a very close encounter with death.

On around the corner and there’s the entrance to Love Lane and the tennis club that was such a part of my life.

Up the steep Newtown Hill with its beautiful old walls and the place where there used to be a caravan site with terrific views of the sea.  Mother and Father rented a caravan there every Summer in the early years of their married life as they had to vacate their rented house. They adored the caravan, even though I never saw Father as a caravan type of person as he was big into organising his own space.

As I head up the hill, there’s thoughts of all the roads to my favourite beaches on out the coast but alas it’s time to turn onto the bypass. So, yesterday, I saw how the walls changed from the shapely old stone walls to concrete blocks. The bypass is straight with no twists and turns to keep you wondering.

It backs onto gardens so there’s no keeping on eye on how plants are coming along; just the odd glimpse of clothes flying high on washing lines.

About half way along is a roundabout that makes you think everyone should have at least five pairs of eyes. One of its roads heads to what seems like one of the new town centres. All modern and ‘busy, busy …’

The last lap brings me back to near our place. It includes newish houses and some that have been there for my forever.

This is the key, I think, the bypass holds no memories for me. It isn’t a road of my life as it will be for kids of today who will remember having their first cycle there or a first kiss.

I guess few of us move entirely with the times when it comes to place. Rather, we see familiar places in the guise that evokes the most for us.

If I live long enough, maybe, just maybe, the bypass, now about 20 years old, will become etched into my heart and mind’s eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of Kenny Rogers

The announcement of the death of Kenny Rogers yesterday made me feel sad and nostalgic.

He was one of those singers who was a key part of my growing up and I listened to an LP of his over and over and over again on our first record player in the 1970s.

Towards the end of the 1970s I got to see him in concert in the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin.  He was touring with a very young Crystal Gayle and the magic of that night remains etched in my heart.

It may seem strange but every single time I get towards the end of the three mile long Tramore beach when the tide is out, I think of Kenny’s Islands in the Stream because of the way the beach is like a big archipelago. As I jump over the little rivulets onto the sandy islands, I find myself singing a duet with Kenny. (It’s a place where you find solitude most of the time!).

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

Kenny will live on through his music and all the joy he brought to generations.

May he rest in glorious peace with all the music he could ever want.

Tramore Helicopter Tragedy Remembered

It was on the first Friday in July in 1999 that Rescue 111 crashed in dense fog in the sand dunes of Tramore Beach. That year the first Friday was July 2 but this year it’s today.

The four crew who lost their young lives that night live on in our memories here in Tramore and we continue to live in awe of their bravery.

Tonight, I really want to salute the four men who perished that terrible night and send fondest wishes to their families, friends and colleagues.

Sgt. Patrick Mooney, aged 34

Capt. David O’Flaherty,  aged 30

Capt. Michael Baker, aged 28

Cpl. Niall Byrne, aged 24

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Memorial to Rescue 111 on Tramore Promenade, Co. Waterford

Sadly, 2017, which marks the 18th anniversary of the loss of the crew of Rescue 111 is also a year which has seen the deaths (March 14) of all four crew members of Rescue 116 in Co. Mayo. This tragedy is still very, very raw and has underlined, yet again, the extent to which those who work in Search and Rescue and risk their lives for the rest of us deserve to be recognised as true heroes and thanked by us all from the very bottom of our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

Playing into Night

As the days lengthen, Tramore Beach draws lots of families with young children for some before-bed play time.  Often you just see fathers and sons or maybe it’s just me that sees fathers and sons because when son, Harry, was young, he and his father used to go down to the beach and play hurling until it was beyond dark.

Hurling is a BIG sport in Co. Waterford and the beach is a great place for ‘pucking around.’

The other night I spotted this little chap with his father and I wondered if I will be cheering him on to All-Ireland glory with the rest of Waterford in a few years. Even if he doesn’t make the big time, I’ve no doubt that these nights will give him an enduring love of hurling, sea air and a sense of endless dusk that is part of childhood:

 

Hurler
Happiness is …

 

From Glory Days to This …

Every single day I pass Newtown House in Tramore and it’s like it just doesn’t want to be noticed any more or, worse still, photographed.

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Newtown House, Tramore, Co. Waterford

 

It dates back to the 1750s and is described in An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Waterford as follows:

… Newtown House (c.1750), Tramore, a substantial five -bay house with enclosed porch….. This attractive, substantial house of solid massing is historically associated with the Power family; a wing was added in the mid twentieth century and accommodates a private chapel.

One of the lovely features of Newtown House is its location. It has stunning views of Tramore Bay and there are remnants of a walled garden which is now used as a soccer field.

It was converted into Bed and Breakfast accommodation around the 1970s and has falling into complete disrepair, especially after a couple of fires, in the last decade or so.

Deep within the abandonment of the house lies some hints of its past:

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Fireplace in front hall

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Archway over Remnants of the Staircase

Beating one’s way around the back through briars, there are some fairly intact windows that draw ponderings about the former inhabitants and how they must have loved the views of the the Bay when they opened the shutters:

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Window to the Past

Something that matters hugely to me is that it was the O’Neill -Power family from Newtown House who were responsible for planting my precious Newtown Wood in the early 19th Century when they opened an avenue from the Metal Man landmark to Newtown Cove.

I live in hope every evening when I see Newtown House at sunset that it will experience a new dawn that will see it rise again from its abandoned state.

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Sunset over Newtown House …

The Slip at Sunrise

It was very frosty this morning but there was a tint in the early morning sky that drew me down to the beach here in Tramore.

There’s no where in this world that feels more like ‘my’ place and being there brings me back to childhood days with buckets and spades; summer days when it’s packed with regulars and visitors all mingling with the salty air, scent of coconut suncream, happy screams of kids as they splash in the waves; old-timers with white sun hats and a passion for ‘The Tramore Air.’

Today, there was just me, the sea and the gulls. Same place but a new day, seen through eyes that never tire.

The sea was calm but playful:

And all the while, I knew that Tramore was smiling down on me from her haunts up on the hill:

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Tramore Town from the Prom

 

Colouring Days

There’s an awful lot of things I don’t understand and I’m not sure that I need to understand them, especially as I’m a puppy dog and no one expects me to be contemplating stuff.

What has me awesticken today is the way my wood kept changing depending on the time of day and where we were in relation to it.

This was this morning:

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Morning Glory

Then, this evening, we were there when it was getting a bit dark and some of the leaves were all crumpled up and ready to fall. I love walking on paths of leaves but I feel sad looking at the ones that are sort of clinging on for dear life:

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Last Gasp

Jean disappeared onto a cliff when the sun was setting to take some photos of her old friend the Metal Man:

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The Metal Man

I wondered if I’d ever see her again cos the cliff is awful steep and she gets a bit careless at sunset time.  To take my mind off that worry and fretsomeness, I gazed and gazed at the way our little wood was all decorated by the sunset. You’d never think it had any crumpled leaves, would you?

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Our Novembery Wood

I wonder will that leaf have fallen by tomorrow. If it does fall, I hope it has a nice, soft landing. That’s something everyone needs, I think.

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Love and Care

Talk soon,

Puppy Stan