High Taling

Sense and Sensibility

Puppy Stan Here!

Hi Everyone,

My very favourite time of day is my walk in the woods with Jean early in the morning. We’re together but we kinda do our own thing. I mean she’s not sniffing around in the grass or chasing birds ~ at least not usually! Yesterday, I thought she had turned into me when we saw a duck ~ yes a duck ~ walking along the path on the way to the wood.

She told me not to bark or even think about jumping out of the car but next thing I see her walking right up to the duck and then doing a sort of  little hunker down to take this photo of it:

Look at those legs!

I thought I’d burst watching this whole performance but I’m slowly learning that patience pays off and that I can’t ALWAYS have what I want. That’s an awful hard lesson and I was thrilled when I saw the duck flying off with its friend who I could see hiding in the ditch.

The wood was all shiny and shadowy. I can’t explain very well but this photo might help you understand what I mean:

Skipping Rope of Trees

You know the way Jean is always going on about bridges, well I take every chance I can to  cross over the little wooden bridges out in Newtown. See, I know she’ll want to take photos  and I hope that she won’t notice if I sneak off to have a sniff around or even make for the fields that lead off from the top path.  I don’t understand but she always seems to have me in her sights even if her eye is stuck right up against the camera and it’s like she has a hold over me without even seeing what I’m at ….. could she be able to see me when she’s not looking at me ~ that’s hitting me now and throws a whole new light on the meaning of bridges and connections that she’s obsessed with:

Caught in the Act!

You wouldn’t believe how much the wood changes from one day to the next. I mean, these leaves appeared out of nowhere. They look like umbrellas to me but then I’m under them:

The Magic Umbrellas

What’s different about Newtown and all the other woods we go to is that the sea is waiting at the bottom of Newtown and you never know what it’s going to be like. Don’t tell anyone but I’m a bit afraid when the waves are big and bubbly but you’d have to admire them all the same ~ from a distance:

Our Sea

We always stand together and watch the waves even if Jean is in a mad rush and she always says ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to the sea like it’s a very old friend. I might start to do that in my own way too one of these days.

One More Last Sniff

You know, I think I’ve a fair chance of getting Jean to start sniffing around like I do. I wish she would cos she can’t possibly know how much she’s missing.

Can anyone tell me how people can complain about ‘having to go for a walk?’ It’s my idea of heaven, happiness, healthiness and USness all thrown into one. How can there be a problem with that?

How Do We Smile; Let Me Count the Ways

Rainbow Smile
Rainbow Smile

I got an email from a virtual friend the other day and I responded to it by saying that it had made me smile. What I didn’t say was that it had made me smile through tears ~ or what I think of as a rainbow smile.

There are just so many kinds of smiles:

#1. Nervous smile ~ well displayed at job interviews.

#2. Wistful smile ~ waving goodbye to friends as they disappear out of sight in a car or on the train.

#3. Cheeky smile ~ the little guys who come to the door looking for their football that has landed bang in the middle of the rose bed.

#4. Lover’s smile ~ the adoring gaze when eyes meet eyes and lips watch lips

#5. Sympathetic smile ~ makes me think of my father’s smile when he was trying (and failing) to teach me fractions when I was a kid.

#6. Pretend smile ~ that mask we don when we feel we should be smiling and force one onto our faces

#7. Stranger’s Smile ~ the little nod and smile at a stranger as we bid them ‘Good Day.’

#8. Beaming Smile ~ when you radiate happiness, especially on hearing good news.

#9. Eye Smile ~ when twinkling eyes do all the smiling.

#10. Blogger’s smile ~ when you find yourself smiling through the computer screen having read a blog post or a fun-filled comment.

Always remember that Smile also says ‘Miles’ and Smiles certainly can reach across the world like the biggest social bridges imaginable.

Go on, think of all the smiles that I’ve missed and tell me about the smiles that mean the most to you. 



Celebrating the 1,000th Post on Social Bridge

Head and Heart
Head and Heart

I realised the other day that the thousandth post here on Social Bridge was looming. I was going to ignore the fact but somehow it feels like a pretty big deal now that it’s here.

When I set up the blog back in 2011, the one thing I wanted was for it to be a place of connection. I had this vision of people meeting on my bridge and taking time to stop, chat and exchange ideas. I’m thrilled to say that I feel this has happened and now there are regulars, who feel like old friends, who stop frequently. It’s also great to see newcomers stepping onto the bridge to take a look around.

This is a place where the subject matter is pretty broad. I wanted to have it that way because there are lots of diverse areas of life which are very close to my heart and I felt a need to bring them together in one place. I know this is a little unorthodox in the blogging world where specialisation tends to dominate. I used to be a rather compartmentalised type of person but I’ve come to crave a sense of integration and love the way in which aspects of life that can seem poles apart can, in fact, bring a lot to each other.

Social Bridge was born at a time just after my parents had died and their influence on it has been huge. When I come here I can’t but feel their presence and the extent to which they gave me a love of writing, social issues, nature, poetry, humour, sport, the sea, photography and a deep love of Ireland, especially my native Co. Waterford but many, many other places too.

Diaries and journals were a part of my life from when I was tiny and I like the idea of incorporating journalling in my blogging. However, this is an open book and I truly appreciate all the entries from those who visit. Comments are every bit as important as the the posts themselves and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has taken the time to comment over the years.

A Thousand ‘Thank Yous’ to everyone who has travelled this path with me.

Path of Dreams
Path of Dreams

Ruling the Page


The sky was blue as blue yesterday morning and the telegraph wires glinted merrily like inviting lines on a page.

So much to be said about lines ~ writing them; reading them; reading between them …..

The words that has been begging me to be placed between the lines are these:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
(Albert Camus)

What word, lines, thoughts do the lines in the photograph evoke in YOU?



I’ve always loved ties ~ I mean the kind that men wear.  But over the years I’ve come to see that ties are about far more than those lovely items of clothing that I tend to give precious  men of my life as presents.




Professional identities

Uniformities, conformities



Winching casualties

Tugs towing calamities


Sharing complexities

Blending individualities

Melting hearts




Jean Tubridy,
October 2009
ties 3






Festival of Bridges #4 ~ Rooms with a View

Today’s heartfelt contribution to The Festival of Bridges comes from Joanne, who writes most eloquently about the way in which bridges have been a significant thread weaving through her life, which has strong Irish-American connections.   She has just bought a new apartment and her email starts with the role of a bridge in that regard:

What sold me on the place I’ve bought is the view.  I’ll have this unencumbered view of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from my living room and bedroom windows of my new apartment, beginning next week.  And the Verrazano, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, will be celebrating its 50th birthday next month.

Living Room View
Living Room View

Funny, over the years, I’ve collected some artwork, mostly landscapes, and without deliberately setting out to do so, I’ve ended up with about six or seven paintings and prints of bridges, some famous and some not.

I have a print that my parents bought when they first married  here in New York City in 1934. It shows a stone bridge over a stream and a tiny cottage beyond. My mother told me they bought it because it reminded them of Ireland and they were both so homesick for Co. Kerry.

When I was very small, I used to gaze at this print and make up stories for my dolls about it – what was on the other side of the bridge, who we might meet, who lived in the cottage, where the rowboat would take us, etc.

A subconscious theme that has followed me throughout my life: What will happen if I cross that bridge?

Many thanks, Joanne, for a beautiful bridge-related insight into past and present and may you have happy, happy days in your new abode.

The Festival of Bridges runs until October 31st and I would be delighted if you would send YOUR contribution from wherever you are in the world. What’s your take on ‘bridges’ and which ones are significant in your life? 

Simply email me with words, images, music ….. to  jeantubridy@aol.com. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Come Join my Festival of Bridges!

Today, October 18 at 12.20 am, is my birthday and I’m in celebratory mood.  It’s hard to believe that I’m 57 but somehow this year feels extra special because I was born in 1957.

I’ve been perusing old newspapers, photographs, memories, books, poetry, music ….. and the dominant thought has been about connections and bridges built, crossed, burned, admired, dreamed about, determined to see ……

'East View of Waterford' by Thomas Sautelle Roberts. December 19th, 1805. Source: Waterford City Council
‘East View of Waterford’
by Thomas Sautelle Roberts.
December 19th, 1805.
Source: Waterford City Council

This painting is one that I love because it includes the first bridge crossing, known locally as ‘Timbertoes,’  in Waterford City

I’m talking about all sorts of bridges ~ and I’d be so thrilled if you would join with me in celebrating BRIDGES  from now until the end of October.

To take part, please email your contribution ~ be it writing, photography, artwork, poetry, music ….. to me at jeantubridy@aol.com and give me some insight into the reason for your choice/s.

Here’s one of my favourite songs from 1957 to take you back to that era ~ it just has to be Elvis!!








Today has been a day when the word Understand has been playing over and over in my mind. It all started  when I playfully said to puppy Stan “You’re the Stan in ‘Understand” on a walk a while after I found him chewing his way through a hardback book of poetry from Ireland called A Fine Statement. (I’d have been raging with any other animal or person who had torn the book to shreds, but I blamed myself for leaving it within his reach and also admired his taste in poetry!)

But what about Understand? What does it mean; what can it mean?

Here’s my latest effort at defining it:


And in case you’re wondering about the photograph of the leaf which I took in Mount Congreve yesterday, it made me think of the much loved hands of my late Mother, who adored trees,  as she grew more and more fragile, yet ever more insightful and understanding.

Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford
Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford


The Power of Peace

Alan Henning Source: www.thetimes.co.uk
Alan Henning
Source: http://www.thetimes.co.uk

The news of the horrific murder of  Alan Henning, the British aid worker who had travelled to Syria to to distribute food and clothing to stricken civilians, begs so many deep and dark questions about the meaning of life and the nature of humanity.

This has to be a moment to pause and think of the fruitlessness of war, the power of peace; the power of talking …..

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me

and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(Wendell Berry)


Blog Names

Newtown Wood, Tramore, Co. Waterford

I’m absolutely fascinated by the names of blogs must confess that I can’t resist having a look at those that tickle my imagination.

I spent forever coming up with the name Social Bridge as I wanted to be just that: a connector, a linker. To tell the truth, I thought the concept of social bridge would take off like wild fire and get the whole world thinking along the same lines as me about people, places, events that have been, and continue to be, bridges in both public and personal life.

(The latest social bridge I was talking to was the ‘lolly pop lady’ who guides the small school kids across the road just round the corner from us. She always has a big smile and told me the other day that she reckons she gets more hugs than anyone else in Tramore. I stood there and witnessed quite a few and suspect she is probably right.)

Even though I’ve been disappointed, I still love the idea of social bridges and cling to the hope that its power as a concept will catch on and change the world.

The  Viaduct, Drogheda, Co. Louth
The Viaduct, Drogheda, Co. Louth Photo: Frank Tubridy

Today, September 30th, feels like a social bridge to me as we cross into October. September 2014 will never be here again; we had our chances with it and our experiences of it.

Crossing into October, I look forward to Autumn tints, chestnuts, lighting the fire, my birthday, seizing as many opportunities as I can to swim in the sea, planting bulbs that will present the first signs of Spring and identifying,  seeing, hearing about and  meeting all kinds of social bridges along the way.

So here’s to social bridges and their potential as we step into a new month and a whole new season!