WINDSTILL

There is a strange quietness about tonight

It is the quietness of the absence of wind

And in this land so close to the wild Atlantic Ocean ~ that is rather unusual

We know of the stillness before a storm

Or the quietness we experience on some rare days when not a blade of grass is stirring

Or the stillness after a thunderstorm when only the blackbird sings

and nothing moves

But tonight it is a quietness all of its own

it woke me up

EXCITING TIMES

Saturday the 31st of August saw Ian and myself tying the knot, we were surrounded by our children and grandchildren, sisters and brothers, and a few close friends. It was a very beautiful ceremony led by Helen Grubert who is an interfaith celebrant here in West Cork. It is a day to remember fondly for a long time to come.

Slowly life returns to normal routine. I do have lots of material, other than our wedding to write about and lots of photos too, and soon I will be back into my blogging mood. Until then I wish everyone of my dear friends and fellow bloggers a great start to a good autumn (or spring as the season might be).

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND FOOD FAIRS

This past week has been very busy for the people and businesses of Skibbereen. The yearly food fare has been in full swing. The Taste of West Cork festival, which is a week during which Artisan foods produced in West Cork are highlighted. Today’s event was a street market, closing off the main street of the town, lots of food stalls, among which locals and tourists were alike were enjoying the ambience, the more so as the sun was shining over us all. Some of the stalls would be quite familiar to those attending the local market on Saturday mornings at the Fair Green, but there were other stalls too and one could get quite a good oversight of what is available food wise locally, and what West Cork in particular is known for. It was lovely to see so many children and adults enjoying themselves. We were listening to the music and enjoying the dancing provided by the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, an organisation which promotes Irish music and culture. We enjoyed some excellent songs and among others, a brush dance by a young lad which I found very entertaining.

This morning over our usual breakfast conversations, my partner and I were, once again, discussing rural development, it is a subject close to my heart. We do live rural, on the outskirts of a town with a population of about 2000. In recent years many people, especially young people have had to emigrate due to lack of work. Many businesses have closed, but the town is still surviving and with the recent addition of a larger Art Centre, there is a lot going on in this town. Cultural events, different courses being run, societies and organisations, theatre groups, concerts, festivals, local colleges, library activities, a splendid voluntary Tidy Towns group, sport clubs, a fantastic river, a community garden, and much more.  Despite all this  I can still see room for improvements in and around the town. I can see pedestrian areas, better parking so as to clear the cluttered streets and make the town more people friendly. I could go on. It is up to us all to do something about our towns and areas, and develop our communities.
Small towns in rural Ireland are very healthy places to live in and around, rather than see them go down. Many of us are now not even bothering to go to the larger cities to do our Christmas or other shopping as we like to support our local shops.
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Looking towards the new Art Centre, and area that would be very suited to pedestrian walk way.  A little tributary of the Illen river, it’s called the Caol Stream.

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Irish dancing by the members of the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.  And a Garlic food stall.

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More music by members of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.  And something for the children to enjoy too.

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Artisan cheeses produced in several places in West Cork, and very tasty too.

A BLESSING

Something happened today, in the garden, something that I won’t forget for a long time to come and for which I will always be very grateful.

A little Robin came to sit about a meter away from me, Ian and I were taking a rest while working in the garden. The Robin sat and looked me straight in the eye, and then, of all things, he started to sing the most beautiful song, as Robins do! I was overawed, could not believe my ears! Ian couldn’t either. It was absolutely wonderful, an amazing blessing, and a very uplifting experience. It was singing so joyfully and I am sure of the fact that it was grateful too, for the lovely sunshine, and for a garden full of tasty little morsels.
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GRANDMOTHER ONCE MORE

And this morning it happened, my daughter gave birth to her fifth child. After a long night of labour a beautiful little girl was born. Willow will be her name. They are both doing well and one by one the other children are being introduced to this little one. Tomorrow I will see my new grandchild and I am surely looking forward to that. My blog will have to take second place for a while as I will be on granny duty 🙂
What a nice way to start a new season, spring time when everything is renewed is an ideal time to be born, having everything to look forward to, the lovely scent of flowers, the sprouting and growth of new vegetables in the garden, the trees getting their fresh green summer foliage, birds singing early in the morning, sun shining till after six o’clock before it goes down and takes the light with it.
It sure is a good day today.
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PAINTINGS IN FRAMES

My four year old grandson who has DS has a great talent for beautiful painting, he does this mainly at playschool and enjoys it a lot. The other day he brought some home with him when I collected him, and I was so impressed that I decided to take photos of them, to keep a record, and I thought they would look nice in a frame, so that done I wanted to share them on my blog, because my grandson has figured in my blog before, during the growing season he likes to help me in the garden, he even grew radishes last summer, putting in the seeds himself, watering them, and then harvesting lovely big produce. I’m real proud of him.

Please do not copy as they are not my own work, and don’t belong to me.
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WICKLOW MOUNTAINS IN THE DISTANCE

Our journey to County Wicklow during the week was initially almost called off due to a promise of snow and stormy weather, however, at the last minute we decided to go. It was well worth it, a most beautiful area to visit, though disappointed that there are no snow except on the mountain tops. We attended a wedding in Manor House hotel. One of the features of these old houses are the ancient trees on the land, and I had to opportunity to take a walk and photograph some of them. Among the native trees there were the large and ancient Oaks, tall and beautiful Beeches, and many other trees. So very impressive and beautiful. And among the trees brightly Wild Garlic is growing, also coming up were Daffodils. On one of the trees I found a large fungus. I was able to identify those trees by the leaves found underneath, or in the case of the Beeches, the nut cases that were still plentiful on the tree branches.
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Though I was looking forward to taking photos of snow, we only saw snow on the tops of the mountains, it was still very beautiful.
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A large branch of the ancient Oak tree hangs low and heavy and supports all the thinner branches that reach the ground.

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Ivy climbs up some of the trunks and branches, as do lichens, and mosses.

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Wild Garlic (I smelled it)  and young Daffodils among the leaf litter underneath the trees.

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I thought that these tree trunks looked affectionate together.

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Oak leaf

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One of the magnificent Oaks.  Thank you owners of these large estates many years ago for planting these wonderful trees so that we can enjoy them now.  Food for thought and encouragement for us to plant trees also for the enjoyment of generations to come.

THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

My partner and I always have a sit down leisurely breakfast, it’s that time of the day when both of us are in a philosophical mood, and have long conversations. The conversation this New Year’s Day morning centred on kindness, and the fact that when all is said and done most humans have actually have got kind hearts.  This came about because of two situations in the last two days.

The first was a program we watched on TV about an organisation to help special needs people, called ‘Enable Ireland’, where expert teams endeavour to work with individuals and their families, from childhood to adulthood, planning for each life stage.  They have centers in 40 locations in Ireland.  Anyway, this TV program showed the story of one of these centers which needed a facelift very badly, and it went on to show how people from all over Ireland came to voluntary help make this place real special giving of their time and resources, many business people donated the materials and even the appliances.  It was so very impressive and heartwarming to see the reaction of the recipients of all this work, these special needs people, all young and all trying to do the best with the hand they had been dealt with were so very happy and appreciative with the work done.  It was beautiful to see, and the volunteers themselves felt so nourished by the whole experience, some of the big sturdy, and hard working men were in tears, so touched by the happiness they caused in those young people.  It was very heartwarming to watch this, you see so many of these same or similar situations where people will help people, and very importantly it leads to thinking that humankind, even with all its flaws have got kind hearts, and that the world despite all the horror stories we hear, of war and crime, still is not such a bad place to be.

The second situation took place the night before last.  I had to go to the emergency department of hospital in the big city, this was because of a slight accident which befell me and which the local doctors could do nothing about.  So my partner drove me all the way to the nearest city which is about 80 km away, and this at night.  When we arrived there was a very long queue, this is normal in Ireland.  We were sitting on a chair for several hours (5.5hrs) before I was put on a trolley in a cubicle.  It was another few hours before I got treatment, but meanwhile I had been monitored by nurses and seen a doctor.  What has struck me once again about this whole episode, is how friendly and caring people are around here, the nurses could not have been kinder, the doctors were also very friendly and focused.  But even the people in the waiting room smiled at you and most people talked to each other, though total strangers.  I’m all right since, but I have carried away another assurance that basically human beings are kind, and kindness is such a blessing.

And so I want to start this new year with this thought in my mind, that not only am I planning to take more notice of other people’s kindness, I am also going to try and put it on top of my own planning in awareness and action.

And with this in mind I would like to wish each and every one of you, my new friends and followers, a new year full of blessings and goodness, and kindness.  I look forward to reading many stories in your enjoyable and beautiful blogs.

HAPPY NEWYEAR!

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