A Stitch in Time …

I didn’t quite tell the whole story when I wrote recently about wanting to return to knitting.

It all came about when son was talking about hand knitted hats and how he was looking at ordering one online. He is a hat man supreme.

Before I knew it, I heard myself say, ‘Sure I could knit you a hat in a few hours.’

The more I was looking at yarns and needles on Irish knitting sites, the more I was convinced that I would be knitting Aran sweaters in no time.

The parcel arrived with a pair of needles and a big ball of chunky wool. I had a pattern at the ready, thanks to all your help.

I sat down at the kitchen table with Puppy Stan eyeing up the ball of wool and my look of mystification.

I had forgotten how to hold the needles, cast on, follow the most basic pattern. A complete blank.

My boasting screamed at me and this felt like the worst own goal of the season, so far.

I picked up the needles and saw them as daggers – I once fell down the stairs as a child and got stabbed in the tummy by a needle in a sock I was using to turn a heel – yes I could turn heels when I was eight but that’s a lifetime ago.

I could hear son’s jaunty footsteps approaching and put on my most confident face. A stitch cast itself on somehow and became 74.

‘Oh you’ve started? , he said picking up the wool to check its texture.

‘Ah yeah, knitting memory, ‘ I said. ‘Just like riding a bike, you never forget. What was that you said the other day about muscle memory?’

It’s taking shape when there’s no one around and memories are flooding back like an unravelling of every stich I every knitted.

Puppy Stan may end up wearing the hat but I did say the first one would be a warm up!

Eye Candy

The term ‘eye candy’ is one that I came to late in life but I’ve always been a glutton for colour.

Mother had a big thing about ‘eye appeal’ when it came to food and always had a pot of herbs on the go to ‘garnish’ plates that she felt needed a bit of a lift. I loved being the one to dash out the back and bring in a sprig of parsley, some chives, feathery fennel or maybe a mixture of everything and watch her transform plain to picturesque.

These memories of Mother are like interlopers on what I intended to write. Funny how that happens. I guess it’s because she appreciated the little things and life is made up of tiny, tiny moments which we need to appreciate as they are so precious.

So, I will just savour this moment and I hope you stop and appreciate a tiny memory from your day, week, life or loved one who has died but certainly not without leaving lots of shared moments to treasure.

Perennial Astilbe



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.

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)


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)


Heightened Sensitivity

May 23rd is one of my ‘heightened sensitivity’ days as it is the day before our son’s birthday. He was born in 1995 and will be 19 at 9.25 tomorrow morning.

As he is an only child, there is a real sense in which I see my life as being divided between the time before and the time since his arrival. As I was having an elective C-Section, I was in hospital this night 19 years ago and tossed and turned all night as if mirroring the transition that was unfolding.

I was looking through my photographic archives to find the photograph that I most associate with May 23rd and it has to be this one of the Rhododendron at the bottom of our garden that  unfailingly comes into bloom in the run up to the birthday.


It served as the backdrop for his birthday parties when he was small; survived all the footballs and sliotars that he and his friends ‘accidently’ lashed against it; was among the first things that he ever photographed; and always reminds me to be intensely grateful for the precious, precious gift that transformed my life forever and who remarkably now stands at 6ft 3in!

How time flies! But, how well one remembers the significant crossings.