Back to Reading ~ Week 3

I’m addicted to books of wit and wisdom so I pounced on this little gem, created and produced by Teapot Press Ltd,  and published in 2016

pocket-wit-and-wisodm

It is quite unusual in that it draws together quotes and Irish sayings and proverbs on a wide range of topics and also has short biographies and quotes from ten famous Irish people: Brendan Behan, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Lady Augusta Gregory, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Sean O’Casey and William Butler Yeats.

Here’s a few of the quotes that have I’ve loved:

Words are the clothes thoughts wear. ( Samuel Beckett)

 

Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness. Comedy and tragedy step through life together, arm in arm, all along, out along, down along lea. A laugh is a great natural stimulator, a pushful entry into life; and once we can laugh, we can live. It is the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living. ( Sean O’ Casey)

 

You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against the barrack -square wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell your slaves could ever build. (Sean O’Casey)

 

The truth is rarely pure, and never simple. ( Oscar Wilde)

 

The way most people fail is in not keeping up the heart. (Lady Augusta Gregory)

 

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. (William Butler Yeats)

 

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. (George Bernard Shaw)

 

If you love her in rags, your love will last. (Irish Proverb)

 

Money does not make you happy but  it quiets the nerves. (Samuel Beckett)

This is definitely a book for anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them or an interest in getting a feel for how we Irish carry on!

 

 

 

Going With the Flow

I wrote about Mahon Falls up in the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford a little while back and the River Mahon has been on my mind ever since.

Here is the river gushing down at Mahon Falls;

mf
Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford

and in this next photograph you can see the river (on the left of the winding path) making its way down towards the sea.

mf3
View from Mahon Falls

The River Mahon rises up in the mountains and eventually enters the sea at Bonmahon which is on the Copper Coast. I was drawn to Bonmahon today to capture the river as it enters the sea.

Just before it turns its last corner, it serves as a place where a few boats are usually moored ~ boats that always catch my eye with their colours and reflections:

img_20170119_145738
Reflections

Down by the point where the river meets the sea, a beer bottle in a crevice in the rocks was glinting merrily. I couldn’t imagine that it had been put there by human hand and wanted to think that there might be a message in it:

Bottle.JPG

And, here’s a glimpse of the how the ocean and the River Mahon greet each other in Bonmahon:

Daisy Chains of Life

When I was trying to focus on the daffodils the other day, a little daisy kept catching my eye with her yellow blending in with the yellow of the daffodils.

She’s been playing on my mind ever since because this common flower ~ or weed, as some are bold enough to call her ~ evokes so many thoughts and memories.

daisy

He loves me, he love me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he … Hot Summer days lying on the grass plucking the petals off poor daisies with my sister as we looked toward the horizons of heady romance.

***

That Summer’s night in 1979 when the love of my young life, who was later to die from cancer when I was in my early twenties, jumped out of the car and gathered daisies to make me a daisy chain. It remains one of my treasures, pressed in a huge book with other special flowers that have bedecked my life.

***

And what of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby ~ how I envied her!

***

There was my embarrassing innocence on my fist day as a researcher in a Cheshire Home for people with physically disabilities and chronic illnesses in England. I was introduced to a man in his thirties who had multiple sclerosis who was asked by the guy in charge to fill me in on life in the Home. We had a long chat, with plenty of laughs, but in the middle of it, he said something about how he’d soon be ‘pushing up the daisies.’ I hadn’t a notion what he meant and he saw my puzzlement and came straight out with the shattering disclosure that he probably only had a couple of years left to live. He is a man I will never, ever forget as he was the first person to show me the human side of disability ~ something that influenced many of my decisions in pursuing research into the experiences of people with disabilities for many years after that.

***

In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy hit the screens in Ireland and it remains one of my all time favourite films. Yes, it was very American, but its messages about racism and stereotyping, connections and ageing are as pertinent today, if not even more so, than they were back then.

***

The humble daisy has much to teach us if we let her. What a difference there is between being defined as a wildflower and a weed …..

 

 

 

 

 

It Only Happens Once a Year

The first sighting of daffodils each year makes my heart sing and evokes the fondest thoughts of my late mother and father, both of whom adored the flowers, and the poems associated with them.

D2
Mother with Daffodils Photo: Frank Tubridy

Well, today was the day of days. I was driving from Passage East into Waterford City and there on a bank on the side of the road the gleam of yellow had me enthralled, with all thoughts of the political crisis in Northern Ireland, Brexit and the coming of Donald Trump disappearing from my cluttered mind.

daffodil-road
Daffodil Road

I’m not sure if anyone can see daffodils without finding themselves quoting line after line of William Wordsworth’s The Daffodils. I certainly can’t as it is a poem that has embroidered my heart since I was a tot and the yellow threads grow deeper each year:

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

(William Wordsworth)

bloom
Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixth Anniversary of Social Bridge

I was gobsmacked to hear from WordPress that today marks the 6th Anniversary of my blogging life.

I feel like I could write a tome about the lessons I’ve learned about blogging since January 2011 but what I want to do tonight is thank every single person who has interacted with the blog over the years.

I deeply appreciate the many friends I have made through Social Bridge. I find that you are with me on my daily round as well as here online. Hardly an hour goes by that I don’t think of how one or more of you would respond to a particular situation.

Maybe I’ll be bold and ask if there has ever been a time that I’ve suddenly crossed your radar as a result of something I’ve written either on my own blog or in response to one of your posts?

So to sum up six years of blogging in six words.

#1. CONNECTION

#2. EMPATHY

#3. FUN

#4. INSPIRATIONAL

#5. CATHARTIC

#6. FRIENDSHIP

img_20161101_165404
Tramore, Co. Waterford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memory Makers

Tramore Beach is a place where young children have been introduced to the sea for many, many years now. I was once one of those kids and I always love to see the tradition being carried on, as it was by this man with his youngster at sunset last night.

picsart_01-14-09-11-40
Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

While moments like this make me a little nostalgic, they also remind me that my memories are not necessarily rose-tinted. I remember the sea being golden and Dad bringing me right to the edge of the waves and then lifting me high into the air as the water came in. I saw the exact same thing happening before my very eyes last night and all the while the Metal Man was watching out in the distance, just as he was back when I was tiny.

Oddly enough, it was only while I was watching this pair playing with the waves that I realised that the memories were not just being created for the child but for the man as well. I wondered if he had once been the child that I was and was remembering his father as well as living in the moment with his own child.

All the while, lines of poetry kept wandering in and out of my head.

How can we know the dancer from the dance?  (W.B. Yeats)

and

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams. 

(Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy)

Yes, memory is crucial to  connectedness in the world and our sense of having a place within that:

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilisation, no society, no future. (Elie Wiesel)

 

Back to Reading ~ Week 2

I’m a poetry person, as you probably realise by now, but I was a little dubious about even borrowing my book for this week from the library as I had a pre-conceived idea that it might be all religious and just not my cup of tea.

Here it is and the title was what put me off most:

twenty-poems

I’ve been dabbling in it all week and have loved the style in which it is written ~ with chapters about the intricacies of ‘marriage’ interwoven with reasons for the choice of the twenty one poems.

I love being introduced to poems I’ve never read before and while I’d met many of the included poets on other occasions, almost all the poems were new to me. And it wasn’t all holy, holy. In fact, it was more a collection of love poems than ones that were specifically about marriage.

If you are into poems about relationships, this book will open doors to places in your heart that you never knew how to even acknowledge before.

It’s written in a very accessible way and Roger Housden has a series of ‘twenty poems’ books. After reading this one, I simply have to get my paws on some of the others.

And let me say that this little effort at getting back to reading has been one of the better things I’ve done in a while. I think I’m getting hooked again and now have a whole stack of books lined up like back in the day.

I’m still resisting moving from real books with proper pages to turn to a Kindle. Maybe I’m missing something but I think I’d miss the feel of books too much if I went all hi-tech. What do you reckon?

 

 

 

Boat Watching

I’ve had a thing about boats that goes back to boats in the bath when I was tiny; sailing homemade boats down stream under bridges as a child; watching the big ships sail passed our school on the River Boyne up the estuary towards the Irish sea when I was a teenager; sailing to places like Wales, England and France when I got a bit older; cruising on the River Shannon; yachting in Brittany; reading Treasure Island over and over to son, Harry, when he was a youngster; and perhaps, more than anything, walking around harbours and cliff tops just watching boats and listening to all the sounds associated with them, especially the clinking.

The other day when I was out in Dunmore East, the main fishing centre in Co. Waterford, it was so relaxing to watch the comings and goings of colourful boats and wonder where they were going.

boats4
Leaving Dunmore East Harbour

When I was high up on the cliffs with no one around, I suddenly saw that I had company as a fishing boat came into view below me:

boats1
Colourful Companion

Sometime later, the Lifeboat came into view, pressing hard against the waves. While it was a lovely sight, it made me think of the dedication and courage of those who volunteer to work to help save lives at sea. Can we ever thank such people enough?

boats3
Dunmore East Lifeboat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puppying Up

It’s three years today since Jean’s beloved King Charles, Sophie, died and I suddenly realised that I have an awful lot to thank her for. She was with Jean for nearly fourteen years and was her constant companion and bestest doggy friend. See, if Sophie hadn’t found her way into Jean’s heart she would never have wanted to get another dog ~and that dog happened to be me!

I’ve heard from Harry’s dog how Sophie and Jean were a strong female team in a house full of males and they understood each other inside out. Even I can see the special bond that they had from this photograph:

Me and Soph
Jean and Sophie

I’m a three year old puppy now and it all hit me today that Sophie would want me to be as kind as I possibly could be to Jean. I wonder am I growing up or what?

Anyway, I’ve tried my puppy-best to be as loving as I possibly can be today. (I suppose I should try and be like that everyday but that’s another matter.)

We went to the beach this morning and I tried to show her every ounce of beauty, even in blackness.

picsart_01-11-07-21-59
The Beauty of Blackness

Talking of colours, you won’t believe this but the other day when I thought Jean was going off without me she suddenly said: Do you want to come with me. I’m going in search of a rainbow.’ I hadn’t a clue what a rainbow was but I decided to take my chances and go with her. Here’s what we saw and it’s one of those moments that I think may have brought us even more together than ever. I hope she doesn’t mind me showing it to you but really and truly it was something to behold:

rainbow
Our Rainbow

There’s pots of gold at the end of rainbows in Ireland, in case you didn’t know. (I didn’t know ’til Jean told me).  I think we’re probably talking pots of gold at both ends and I know now, for sure, that the pot of gold at the end we saw was Sophie smiling at us and passing on some of her wisdom to me.

Just want to let you know Sophie that I’m trying as hard as I can to be how you’d want me to be. And thanks for keeping that little doggy door open for me in Jean’s heart.

Love,

Puppy Stan xxx