Monthly Archives: December 2010

Saints and Other Holy People

The final Episode of LBC Posting for this year comes to us courtesy of Maria from Silver Fox Whispers.  The topic she has chosen for today is:

Saints and Other Holy People

A man does not have to be an angel in order to be a saint.
Albert Schweitzer

I never met a Saint.

I do know some holy people….

But they are more holy than a colander!



Ω α Ω α Ω α Ω α Ω





Acceptance & contentment in 2011

are my wishes for one and all!

Thursday Special ~ Out of the mouth…..

My mum had been getting on my little sisters about not picking up their clothes.

I was sitting in my room, and heard my mum say, “Who left all this underwear all over the floor?”

As innocently as an angel, my sister Anne replied, “The Panty Fairy came and left us presents”!

After putting her children to bed, a mother changed into old slacks and a worn out blouse and proceeded to wash her hair.

As she heard the children getting more and more boisterous, her tolerance grew thin. At last she put a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with severe warnings.

While leaving the room, she overheard her three-year-old say with a shaky voice, “Who was ‘that’?”




Thanks to Stephanie and I hope she has many more stories to share in the new year!


I am sitting listening to the news in Northern Ireland.  About 40,000 people are without running water in their homes across the Province today.  Many have had no water for over a week, and it may continue for several days more.  The extreme weather of the past couple of weeks has played on every weakness in the water mains and pipes.  For some Stores the Boxing Day Sales were a wash out (pun intended), as staff were greeted with floods within the shops when they arrived to open up for the day.

Stand pipes and water distribution centres are the order of the day in many places with queues of people lined up with bottles and containers in order to fill them.  Council run leisure centres are allowing people to use the shower facilities free of charge.

I have listened to so many people complaining about the third world conditions they are facing, having to stand in queues for water IN THIS DAY AND AGE!

What planet do they live on?  It may well be the 21st century but there are many places in our world today where people have no running water at all, never mind hot showers at the press on a button.  They have to stand in line every day and in many cases walk miles in order to do so, before the long trek home with a full container balanced on their heads.

So far I am one of the fortunate ones with water, but how do I deal with the situation when the water stops running?  I manage!

I am old enough to remember the days before Electric showers, plumbed in washing machines and dishwashers.  In my young days Saturday night was ‘Bath night’!  Oh, wait now a minute!  We were not left dirty all the week.  Each in turn were sent to the bathroom morning and evening for a jolly good scrub at the wash basin.  You washed down as far as possible, up as far as possible and didn’t forget possible either!

Scrambling up the stairs the dulcet tones of mammy followed us : ” Don’t forget behind your ears and the backs of your knees!”  Once finished we had to come down for inspection and if the job was not up to standard you were sent back to begin all over again!

Used water was saved for loo flushing.

In my parents time you had to boil all the water for washing both the body and the clothes.

Jack often spoke of the house where he was born.  In the kitchen was a sink with one tap – cold water – and that was where his father shaved and washed every morning before going to the pit (coal mine).  A tin bath was placed in front of the fire for his bath each evening, there were no pithead baths and the water had to be heated, and all the food cooked, over the fire.

We forget we don’t own the earth, we are but tenants and we are not doing a very good job of looking after this place for future generations.

Food Monday ~ Holiday Hash

Smoked Salmon Hash

1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
400g leftover boiled potatoes, roughly diced
Pinch of paprika or chilli
1 egg very lightly beaten
3-4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
150g smoked salmon, torn into pieces

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the potato.  Cook until beginning to brown.  Keep the potatoes moving round the pan so that they do not burn.  Add more oil if needed.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir through the paprika or chilli.  Add the egg and continue stirring to mix through, add the tomatoes and when they begin to soften, mix in the smoked salmon.  Remove from the heat and check for seasoning.
Serve immediately.

A Tour of Ireland ~ Episode 16

Sligo, Leitrim and a gentle touch on Donegal

Sligo is the County Town situated on the banks of the Garavogue River, connecting Lough Gill to the Atlantic Ocean.  It is the largest town in the Northwest.  The busy town has good shops, traditional pubs, thriving art galleries and theatres.  Benbulben forms a dramatic backdrop, flat-topped and rugged-faced it is constantly changing with the light.

William Butler Yeats called Sligo ‘The Land of Hearts Desire’ and its beauty, archaeology and folklore filled his early poetry. Throughout his youth he returned from London for holidays with his maternal grandparents and his cousins, from whose homes at Ballysadare, Rosses Point and Sligo town, he was free to roam and dream.  Today, much of what inspired him remains and a day trip around Yeats’ Country illuminates the poet’s words while you discover just how powerfully those same words celebrate his beloved Sligo.

On Hyde Bridge in the town, the Yeats Society’s headquarters houses the offices of the International Summer School, the Sligo Art Gallery and a photographic exhibition on the Yeats family and Sligo – all worth a visit. Just over the bridge, outside the Ulster Bank stands a striking contemporary sculpture by artist Rowan Gillespie of the poet ‘wrapt in his words’ erected by the people of the town to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death in 1989.

An excellent site from Sligo Tourism has several short videos covering all aspects of the county.

Close to Sligo is Rosses Point, a pleasant resort with a championship golf course.  The Metal Man Light, erected in 1822 to mark the deep channel of Sligo Bay, points incoming ships away from Sruth na Mile (the thousand streams) and into the channel to Sligo. Oyster Island is parallel to the village and the larger Coney Island (which gave its name to the more famous one off New York) can be accessed by causeway from the Strandhill road during low tide.

At Drumcliffe, where St Columba founded a monastery in the 6th century, a magnificent 11th Century High Cross and the remains of a Round Tower still stand. Yeats’ great-grandfather was Rector here and a memorial beside the altar in the restored church commemorates him. In one of his best known poems, Yeats made his final wishes known.

Under bare Ben Bulben’s head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid. An ancestor was rector there Long years ago, a church stands near, By the road an ancient cross. No marble, no conventional phrase; On limestone quarried near the spot. By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by!

Yeats, after a lengthy and celebrated infatuation with Maud Gonne, later married Georgina Hyde Lees. George, as she became known, revitalised his life and poetry and also gave him a son and a daughter. George too lies buried at Drumcliffe.

Alas Lissadell House is now closed to the public, such a pity, hopefully the situation can be resolved and the house opened once more for all to enjoy. It was home to the Gore Booths since 1834. Yeats, an emerging, successful poet, met Eva and Constance, daughters of the house and was delighted to stay here in 1894. Eva was a poetess herself while Constance (later Countess Markievicz) was a leader in the Rebellion of 1916 and became an icon of revolutionary Ireland.  She was the first woman to be elected to Westminster, although she never took her seat.

Creevykeel Court Tomb is a very fine, excavated tomb lies immediately E of the noisy and busy main road from Sligo to Bundoran.  A Harvard Archaelogical expedition found four cremated burials, as well as decorated Neolithic pottery and stone weapons.  These are now held in the National Museum in Dublin.
Bunduff Lake, near Creevykeel, is a saltwater marsh, where whooper and Bewick swans, Greenland white-fronted geese and many species of duck spend the winter.

Bundoran (Co. Donegal) is well-known as a popular seaside resort.

Kinlough Co Leitrim at the north end of Lough Melvin, an attractive village is a good places for anglers, with excellent opportunities for coarse and salmon fishing.  The ruins of Rossclogher Abbey stand on the shore, and on an artificial island are the remains of the MacClancy Castle – known as Rossclogher Castle, where nine survivors of the Armada were given refuge

Manorhamilton is an unassuming village, the ruins of Manorhamilton Castle have been renovated transforming it into a tourist attraction. The Castle was erected in 1634 by Sir Frederick Hamilton who was granted land in North Leitrim by the English government. Manorhamilton Castle Heritage Centre hosts a permanent exhibition and offers guided tours of the Castle ruins and grounds.

Glencar is a beautiful lake with towering landscapes gouged by glaciers 12,000 years ago, a thundering waterfall driven back into the air by the prevailing westerly winds. While picnicking at Glencar Waterfall with his aunts, Yeats wrote:

“Where the wandering water gushes From the hills above Glen-Car, In pools among the rushes That scarce could bathe a star, We seek for slumbering trout And whispering in their ears Give them unquiet dreams”.

Keep to the upper main road (N16) and just when you think you have gone too far, turn left down to the lakeshore and the Waterfall. Reached by a paved walk, it’s easy for young and old.  A spectacular circular walk takes you from the Glencar lake up a mountain road into Swiss valley, a steep-sided cleft, surrounded by peaks.  It then takes you back to the point where the waterfall drops to the lake below.

Lough Gill (or Loch Gile in Irish) is a lake mainly situated in County Sligo, but partly in County Leitrim. It is about 8 km (5 miles) long and 2 km (1 mile) wide and drains into the River Garavogue near Sligo Town. The picturesque lake is surrounded by wooded hills and is popular with birdwatchers. It is overlooked by the fortified manor house, Parke’s Castle. The present castle was built in the 1600s by Captain Robert Parke on the site of the former stronghold of the O’Rourke (Uí Ruairc) clan.

The lake contains about 20 small islands, including the romantic Lake Isle of Innisfree made famous in a poem by W.B Yeats.  Lonely in London and hearing water tinkling in a fountain, the poet vowed

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:”

Only when you have heard “lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore” in this quiet place can you appreciate just how powerfully Yeats used language. Half Moon Bay on the shores of Lough Gill is part of the Hazelwood Demense. It has forest trails and a unique series of outdoor sculptures from Irish and International artists, a quiet picnic area and beautiful lakeside views.
Dromahair an attractive village was once home to the hospitable O’Rourkes of Breffini and the remains of their Banqueting Hall can still be seen. The Castle, which has been beautifully restored, has a very interesting audio visual presentation on the entire heritage of the region and is well worth a visit.

Dooney Keeping the lake on your left you soon reach Dooney Rock. This was a favourite spot for dancing and romancing and Yeats would have seen a blind fiddler who regularly played here on Sundays. “When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, Folk dance like a wave of the sea.” The panoramic views from the top of Dooney are well worth the stiff flight of steps, and show the magnificent prow of Benbulben in the straight distance, and to the left, Knocknarea. “The wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knocknarea, And thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve can say.”

Driving south from Sligo a trip around Knocknarea by Strandhill and Culleenamore is rewarding. “The old brown thorn-trees break in two high over Cummen strand, Under a bitter black wind that blows from the left hand.” If you are fit, a walk to the top of Knocknarea and the mythological burial cairn of Queen Maeve is comparatively easy and the whole of the Land of Heart’s Desire is displayed below you.  I climbed Knocknarea many times as a very young child and regularly came home with a bag of mushrooms for our breakfast next day.  I was staying in Sligo at the time.

At nearby Ballysadare village Salley rods were grown for basket making etc, and Yeats once heard a tinker woman sing the ballad he later reworded so delicately:

“Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet; She passed the salley gardens with little snow white feet. She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree: But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.”

I got it!

I didn’t dream about it.

I didn’t wish for it…

But I got it!

This is how it looked this morning

It started on 25th November, I’m hoping it is well gone before 25th January.

Happy Melting!

Just Plain Wackiness

Welcome to the LBC Christmas Special.  Our Topic today was chosen by Magpie 11

Wacky Ideas: Just Plain Wackiness

The Crumbles lived at 87 The Keys, a large cavernous and dark warren  Despite all the windows the vista was gloomy.  Life was often brightened by the sound of the chat that twirled and twittered, pouring like sunshine through the Skypelight.

Doc Crumble was Header of the family and an International Explorer. He had a large office in the basement.  On a table in rows as if within hidden gridlines, were tools & paints, a calendar, calculator, ruler and maps all symbols of his work.

Behind the door hung his crumpled and well worn macintosh.  In the left hand pocket was a dog-eared and paint stained ‘mac-book’. The old notebook was given that name as it lived permanently in the coat pocket. This old notebook had coded notes all in the hand of old man Crumble.  Like the raincoat it travelled everywhere with him.  I am sure that without it he would be totally lost.

The mound of notepads, folders, pages, templates and diagrams that sat on his desktop, were evidence to years of research.  A collection of paragraphs that needed to be previewed, customised, sorted, modified or saved and merged into a large document map were also piled high.  Mousie Crumble son and heir, was the office assistant and responsible for these tasks.  Alas, despite all the hours that Doc Crumble  spent training him, Mousie was more interested in play than real work.  Mousie spent his day jumping out and blowing bubbles from behind bundles of files wearing a big grin and frightening all the old characters in the shared workspace.  Their task was to search for & sort inconsistencies giving feedback to Old Doc on the last Friday of each calendar month.

Mother Crumble felt as old as Mrs. Methuselah and was bored living in the background.  Her work was never done.  When it rained, the moisture tricked down through the roof, a sticky sweet brown liquid that stained everything it touched.  She could not swear to it… but it seemed to follow a spluttering coughing sound followed by uncontrolled laughter.  She was also a martyr to pounding headaches.  The pounding – no thumping is the word, at times was heavy and rapid like bullets that someone was tumbling out before their thoughts were lost forever in the mists of time.  Occasionally the sound was slow and gentle, like a young child picking out the notes on a piano and scared to damage Grand Aunt Martha’s milky white keys.

A chat with her sister Mozilla always lifted Mother Crumble’s spirits and today was no different.  They each sat with a glass of wine talking about all things family or seasonal, envelopes and letters dropping through the mailbox, the options for food on the big day and how they would decorate the house.  With a new found enthusiasm together they decided to forge ahead and begin decorating the house for Christmas.

Wait now a minute, since it is Christmas and the season of sharing, why am I doing all the work here? I invite you to play your part in decorating the Crumbles home.

How would YOU go about it…..


Captured with my Nokia X6-00, these 50cm icicles outside my bedroom window last Sunday morning.  By nightfall they were joined by many more, but I had no intention of hanging out the window or venturing outside.