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


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!




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:


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?




Back to Books ~ Week 1

There was a time when I always had at least two books on the go and had to have a few lined up so that I’d never be without.

This was a habit that was with me from very early childhood up to about ten years ago ~ and at that point I was addicted to Audio Books so got my literary fix. In recent times, for reasons I’m not too clear about, both real books and audio books have slipped off the locker by my bed and it’s something I have come to regret hugely.

Reading is an addiction; there’s no doubt about that and I intend to get hooked again. I know that when I lost the sight in one of my eyes for a few months in 2003-4, I thought it was the end of the world and couldn’t imagine a life without reading. So how on earth have I slipped into this non-bookish phase?

Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I’m glad to report that books are back. I made my way to the library ~ just like I did every Saturday when I was a kid ~ and rummaged around looking for books that tickled my imagination. There were many as a child and there were hundreds and hundreds today.

I had a browse in the literature section and scolded myself about all the great works that I’ve never read. But, this return to reading isn’t about beating myself up; it’s about getting back into the enjoyment of reading.

The book that I simply had to borrow and that I’ve gobbled up in the last few hours is one that made me laugh out loud as I was getting the tea ready.


For those of you who have never heard of Terry Wogan, he was an Irish man who had a glowing career on radio and television in Britain.

My real introduction to him came in October 1974 when I used to get a lift from Drogheda to Dublin early on Monday mornings during my first year at university. Terry would be on the radio and I fell in love with his voice, laugh, wit and sense of fun. I wanted those journeys to go on forever!

Here’s a few of his quotable quotes that had me pondering, chuckling and half swooning as I raced through the book:

Beauty, physical attraction, eyesight, knees, hair, all fade with time. Only kindness matters …


The most popular person at a party is the listener – particularly at an Irish party.


Talk only if you must. Keep it short and to the point. You don’t want people to think you’re a politician. Nobody wants a conversation in a lift, on the Tube, on a bus, on a plane, at the top of a back-swing, reading or writing, or when your mouth’s full – button it. Pretend you’re meeting with the Queen; speak only when spoken to…


Never sent a tweet in my life.


(Are you listening, Donald?)

If you wish to infuriate your friendly neighbourhood Irishman, call him ‘Paddy’ and describe his conversation as ‘Blarney.’ Only numpties and tourists hang by their ankles to kiss the Blarney Stone, a lump of a rock in an Irish castle, liberally covered in saliva and lipstick.


If you’re a success, never forget how much of it you owe to luck. I remarked on this to a captain of industry, who was affronted at the idea, He thought it was all due to him. It’s a game of chance. and if the chips fall your way, pick them up and count them. Along with your blessings …

And finally, this one, with the accompanying cartoon:

Nobody’s good at everything – you could be a late developer. I’ll bet Albert Einstein never got a birdie in his life …


Ah yes, I’m back to books. Thanks Terry!

Details: Terry Wogan (2014) The Little Book of Common Sense …or Pause for Thought with Wogan, London: Orion Books. 

A Hankering for Bookends

I hadn’t thought of bookends for years but, for some unknown reason, they came flooding into my memory today.

The ones I had were china with dogs on them and they guarded my precious books in the various houses that we lived in. Once the bookends and my books were in my room, as well as a green bedspread that I still have somewhere in the house here,  I felt I was where I should be.

While the bookends were very precious, having been given to me by my grandmother, Jean, one Christmas when I was about 7, I gave them a rough time over the years expecting them to hold firm on the edges of bedroom mantelpieces that were part of the bedrooms of bank houses that we lived in. (Yes, there were fireplaces in the bedrooms of the bank houses ~ we were never allowed to light fires in them, though. I wish now that I’d lit at least one fire in all those years but …)

I have spent the last while searching for images of bookends that were like mine and this pair are the nearest match I can find:


My love of bookends always stood in stark contrast to my feelings about book endings. I couldn’t but be a young reader, given the family I grew up in. I was the youngest and the others always had their heads stuck in books. Readie-bones, readie bones … I would nag and nag until one of them eventually put their book down and played with me.

But, deep down, I knew what it was to love reading and to become immersed in the worlds of books like Little Women, What Katy Did, The Nancy Drew Series, anything written by Enid Blyton ….. I would read the same books over and over and over again and I never wanted them to end. In so many ways, it was as if I wanted books to be circular in the same way that I wanted my bookends to somehow manage to hold the ever-increasing row of books on those mantlepieces without  ever falling and breaking into smithereens. .

The bookends did their best to survive but eventually I pushed them too far ~ even Dad’s strongest glue couldn’t fix them.

Like many a dog owner, who has lost a dog, I couldn’t face having new bookends as the pair I’d had seemed to be irreplaceable and I couldn’t see that maybe I would fall in love with a new pair in a different kind of way as I watched them doing their work from my comfy bed with the green bedspread.

I wonder is it time to think about getting a new pair or is it too late?

What Page Are You On?

It’s 4pm on Sunday afternoon, August 16th,  here in Ireland and I’ve just been reclining after a lovely walk around Tramore Beach.

I always have a pile of books to hand and my choice today for a relaxing read was this particular favourite:


While reading is a solitary activity, my mind often wanders to what books other people are reading as I’m reading mine. So this is the question I put to you, dear friends.

How fortunate we are to be able to read ~ in terms of both being literate and having the necessary eyesight!

The particular page I’ve been reading is 325 and this  gem:

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

(Derek Walcott)