Fling Care to the Devil …

January 29 means just one thing to me and that’s Mother’s birthday. She was born in 1921 and had a grand total of eighty eight birthdays.

She grew up on a farm in Co. Meath and adored nature more than anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve been thinking about her a lot today and was thrilled to see that the first daffodil in my garden bloomed forth over night to join the snowdrops which were always such a symbol of her birthday.

I loved hearing stories about her youth and especially how she and her big brother spent endless hours out riding their ponies. They were inseparable and shared all sorts of passions, including poetry. She used to tell me of how when they were supposed to be going to sleep, they would be whispering the lines of poems to each other through their open bedroom doors. This is one of the verses that she would burst into from those days:

When sorrows come sobbing

To clutch at the breast,

When trouble comes robbing

The heart at its rest,

When cash columns addle

The brain as they may:

Swing into the saddle,

To horse and away!

To horse and away

To the heart of the fray!

Fling care to the Devil for one merry day!

( From Galloping Shoes: Verses by Will. H. Ogilvie, 1922)

It wasn’t until after she died that I found this photograph from her childhood. It was tiny and the fact that it was a picture of Mother and her brother on horseback with their parents in the frame only revealed itself when I managed to enlarge it.  I’d say Mother was about seven or eight when it was taken.

Happy Day in the 1920s!
Happy Day in the 1920s!

It’s a photograph that makes me smile and hope that if by some chance there is a heaven that Mother has been able to spend today running in the woods among the snowdrops and riding her beloved Jock with her big brother as they recite every line of poetry they ever knew.


Lessons Mother Taught Me

Mother and Me
Mother and Me

It’s January 29th and that means just one thing to me: Mother’s birthday. She was born in 1921 and lived to the fine age of eighty-eight.

We were fortunate to have an extremely close relationship and I was thinking this morning of all the treasured sayings and passions that she passed on to me. Here are a few:

# Love of words, reading, writing,  rhyming, poetry

# Rudyard Kipling’s If

# Never forget how hard women had to fight for their rights so battle on.

# Passion for nature: trees, woodlands, dogs, horses, the sea, the moon, perennial flowers, especially carpets of snowdrops and gorse;

# The importance of birthdays

# Love of sport, particularly tennis, ‘proficiency at tennis is a passport to making friends, having fun, meeting new people.’

# The importance of saying ‘thank you’

Do not be a litter lout

Love is elastic 

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

# The deliciousness of freshly-picked fruit and vegetables

# Be gentle when making sponge cakes

# Remember that every place has something to offer and you have something to offer every place 

# The importance of nurturing relationships

# Change out of wet shoes and socks

# Work hard but not too hard. Remember about the horses in the French Revolution that worked for 10 days without a break and dropped dead.

Better a dinner of herbs and peace therewith than roast ox and contention

Don’t be an impossible person

#Be gracious in defeat

# A little help is worth a lot of pity

# The importance of honesty

Chin Up

# The generation gap is only a cod

# Never forget how to smile!

# And there are rainbows

Happy Birthday, Mother! The snowdrops are out for you, as always.