Last Tuesday, November 29th, was one of those heart-wrenching days. It was the 20th anniversary of the death of my nephew who died tragically, aged 24 in 1996. Twenty years may seem like a long time but time has certainly not erased my memories of the chatty little boy I watched grow into an extremely handsome young man who was full of love, curiosity, creativity and a passion for the sea.

November 29th is also the anniversary of a young boy, called Daniel, whom I’ve read about on Tric’s blog, My Thoughts on a Page. Daniel died three years ago, aged 13,  from leukemia and it’s very clear that he, too,  left a huge legacy of love to all his family and friends.

When I realised last year that Daniel and my nephew shared the same anniversary, it seemed like one of those extraordinary coincidences. There is a poignancy, yet a comfort, in knowing that both young men are especially remembered on the same day … though clearly they are never far from our minds.

I’ve felt since last year that my nephew is somehow looking out for young Daniel and that they have built a special bond with each other. This feeling has emerged in spite of the fact that I am an out and out atheist.

Last Tuesday was a gorgeous day here and as sunset was approaching, I made my way to the beach to cast two stones into the sea in memory of the ‘boys.’ Here are the stones that I chose ~ one bigger than the other:

Memory Stones 

I threw them into the sea which was all blue and lovely. The tide was coming in and it seemed to be carrying gentle love and solace:

It seemed only right to wait for the sunset and there was a warmth in that too which dazzled me and sent me home perfectly reassured that our precious young men are at peace and happy to know that we remember them with love.

The Glow of Love

Weaving Waves

I was out at the beach around lunchtime today when the tide was making her way in ever so gently. The sea wasn’t rough but the waves were going in all directions ~ rather like the legs of newborn lambs.

It made me think of lace, intricate crochet, and well-worn hands knitting Aran Sweaters without any need to even glance at a pattern.

I carved the word wave in the sand and, as I was watching the sea come in to gently wash each letter away, I thought of the many ways in which we use the word: wavy hair; waves of grief; a wave of the hand; waving goodbye, crashing waves; whispering waves…




How Could It Happen?

How could it happen? is a question I could ask about many things but all my attention this morning was on the sea.

As a sea baby, I sometimes fall into the nonsensical trap of thinking that I’ve seen every possible mood of the ocean in and around Tramore. I’ve seen a fair few variations and I make a point of going in search of them ~ high tides, low tides, sunrises, sunsets, storms, calm, choppy, dancing, splashy, wild, ferocious, powerful, terrifying, bliss, seaweedy, jellyfishy, transparent, blue, grey, Turneresque …..

Well, this morning in the space of about an hour and a half, I saw my sea make the most remarkable changes and I’m talking about places that I feel I know like the back of my hand.

Here’s how it all unfolded:

The Wave at Newtown Cove

Newtown Cove is at the bottom of the wood where I usually take Puppy Stan for his first walk of the day. It’s also a place that my late father took about a million photographs of in his time and there is one special one of his that I have hanging in our hall that he and I referred to as ‘The Wave.’ Even if I say it myself, I think this wave that I encountered this morning would give Dad’s a good run for its money and I’ve been having a secret competition with his for years now!

I couldn’t resist dropping by the Doneraile Walk in Tramore which was the place where Mother and I used to walk most days. (She walked there everyday while pregnant with me and as my birthday is on Tuesday I felt very drawn to it this morning as I thought about her waiting for me to arrive.)

Brownstown Head from the Doneraile Walk, Tramore

The ‘Don,’ as Mother and I called it, gave me an October smile as I was pushing against a rainy gale on my way back to the car:

Fuschiad Doneraile back towards the Metal Man, Tramore

That patch of blue out by the Metal Man gave me a yen to see Garrarus in what I thought would be mad wildness with maybe a little bit of sun breaking through. Garrarus is about seven or eight minutes drive from the Doneraile and what I saw when I got there is still baffling me.

Watercoloured Garrarus. 

So, tell me about your ‘How Could It Happen?’ moments. I’d love to hear about them.

My lessons from today are:

#1. Assume Nothing

#2. Be Humble

#3. Lean into Nature

#4. Never Give Up

#5. Expect the Unexpected

#6. Death of loved ones is not THE END


It all started a few days ago when I was out at the beach. There on the standline was a pink rose bud looking so out of place that it made me stop, pick it up and hold it as gently as you’d hold an injured bird.

I wondered how it had got there; had it been washed in with the tide or had someone brought roses to the beach ~ maybe a romantic or maybe a grief-stricken soul.

Stranded Rosebud

I peeled away a few of the petals and the faintest rose-scented fragrance was discernible. Somehow that smell was fraught with poignancy and made me think of William Blake’s  poem, The Sick Rose.

I contemplated bringing the rose home and pressing it in one of the heavy books that lives for that purpose in my my study. But, I felt that the rose belonged to someone else; that it had a story and was meant to be there on the beach, even though it didn’t fit it with the seaside garden.

To my surprise, it was there for three or four days ~ getting more and more battered and clearly being bashed by the high tides that are around at this time of year.

I was almost relieved not to be able to see the rose on the fourth day when the beach was serenely empty inviting me in for my swim:
Rose on Beach 3.jpg
Garrarrus Beach, Co. Waterford

As I was leaving after my dip a mother and two young kids passed me. The children had buckets and the little group was gathering stones and shells. The mother reminded me of my mother, back when we were small. She was as interested as the kids were in the adventure and was examining the children’s choices with a tenderness you don’t see all that often.

The rose may have been missing that day but it was been replaced by the pink hat of a little girl  whose mother exuded love and the ability to make magic out of simplicity.



Pause, Paws and Mischief

Me and Jean went to the beach today. The tide was miles out and, if I’m honest about it, so was Jean’s mood.

She was raging over some horrible stuff she said she was eejity enough to read on Twitter, whatever that is.

Anyway, it was nasty comments about people who aren’t white and she said that they may as well be kicking me, in all my blackness, around the place too.

It seems potty to me that someone could think that a white dog is somehow ‘better’ than me, based just on our colours.

I’m not going to take this too seriously cos I have friends who are all sorts of colours and I know that colour has nothing to do with whether they are kind-hearted or good fun or anything really.

I couldn’t resist having a go at painting the beach red but I look like an odd kind of red setter perched on my rock:

Redder than Red

So, I’m going back to my blackness and the ‘moody’ kinda pic that Jean likes.

Black Me!



How Long to Write a Blog Post?

I sat down well over two hours ago to write a post and got so engrossed in what I was doing that time ran out on me as I have to dash off and do some taxi-driving!

Got me wondering, though, how long people generally spend writing their blog posts?

Pondering Time: Photo by Son, Harry

Satin Evening in Co. Waterford

Gentle Garrarus

What a perfect evening here in the South-East of my beloved Ireland! Garrarus Beach called and the sea just had to give one little sparkle and I was captivated and lured into the mystical waters.

Swimming in the coppery stillness, I felt nature holding me in her soft arms soothing away my worries, just like my mother did when I was a child. Could one ask for more?