Monthly Archives: May 2011


Life is short,
Occasionally Bend the rules,
Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly,
Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably,
And never regret anything that made you smile.

ʕΘʔ ʕΘʔ ʕΘʔ

Life is short, the older we grow the shorter it gets.  I think.  What year is it?

Occasionally Bend the rules, ahem!  Please don’t tell anyone that I am eating a sticky bun for breakfast, 😉

Forgive quickly, I try to, but if you continually offend then I leave you to it, and walk away.

Kiss slowly, ah the memories!  Kissing my own hand somehow is not quite the same! 😆

Love truly, When I give my heart it will be completely!

Laugh uncontrollably, thankfully, I laugh long loud and often.

And never regret anything that made you smile.  Move on and keep smiling.

Food Monday ~ Pan Roasted Duck with Cherry Sauce

Pan Roasted Duck with Cherry Sauce
Preheat the oven to 200ºC

4 duck breasts
400ml white wine
4 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoon caster sugar
4 tablespoon cornflour
24 cherries, stones removed
salt and pepper

Rub the duck breasts on both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place them in a frying pan skin side down.  Cook for five minutes.  Pour off any excess fat, turn the duck breasts over and cook for 15 minutes.

To make the sauce:

Place the cherries in a pan and cook with the sugar and the wine.  Blend the cornflour with a tablespoon of water until smooth then add to the cherries in the pan and continue to cook for I further minute.

Art in the Garden 1

Last Sunday I promised to share with you some of the sculpture I saw at Art in the Garden.

Bronze with granite plinth

Orla de Brí

Orla de Brí has been working from her studio in Co Meath for the last 16 years.

Cocoon detail

She is comfortable with many materials, which include: bronze; steel; and stone.

There is a fluency in her handling of metal that suggests a particular affinity.
de Brí’s sculptures are social animals. They are quite likely to occur in groups. Within these groups the individuals interact – they observe and vie with each other and they compete. Her solitary stylised figures often commune with abstract shapes or elements from nature. Throughout her work there is always communication and interaction.

Human evolution and development are of great interest to her. How we analyse ourselves, relate to other people, and how we connect with our surroundings is always explored in de Brí’s work.

She has had six major solo shows, and has exhibited in many group shows. de Brí has completed 17 large scale site-specific public sculptures. Her work is in many public collections, including: Bank of Ireland; Aer Rianta; American Airlines; Dublin City University and Office of Public Works. She is also in many significant private collections both nationally and internationally.

Orla has pieces in many private collections both nationally and Internationally.

Crow’s feet

Speccy was talking the other day about reviewing  a beauty product.  Of course I had to add my tuppenceworth  to the comments.

I’m with you on the testing lark.  I broke my own rules and tried a new product that was given to me recently as a gift.  Within 12 hours my skin looked like crumpled tissue paper, felt like sand paper and after two days had raised red bumps like mole hills.  I thought I would need to go to A&E. 🙁

I should have listened to what I preach: ‘Stick with what you know and trust, even if it is goose grease’.  The important thing is to use your chosen cream regularly.  It might last longer in the jar or tub, but that does not help the face or body.  A high price is no indication that a product will work.

Alas, we cannot purchase miracles.

The High prices have to cover wages of staff who waltz about the beauty departments dipped in layers of ‘product’, chit chatting for the first fifty weeks of the year and are then suddenly rushed off their feet selling the large fancy boxes that contain very little, in fact if the truth be told, I am sure half those items end up in landfill.  Then there are display stands with magic lighting that makes the world look wonderful… you know the lights I mean… jewellers use them to make pieces of glass look like precious diamonds.  Some of those so called diamonds would not cut butter never mind cut glass.

Don’t go by the pictures of models you see in magazines they are all airbrushed.  Everyone including the cat knows how to use Photoshop these days.

Enjoy the laughter lines, they tell the world we have lived.  They give expression to our faces.  Botox might look good at a distance, but who wants to walk around looking like a wax work all day long, unable to smile or frown?

The eyes are the pathway to the soul, and that is where the true beauty of a woman lies.


Today I offer Céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) to Akanksha or anki at The Student Diaries, who hails from Bihar in India, and joins our Loose Bloggers Consortium.  Anki has been advised by some of the group that I am the youngest – well of course I am – I come from Tír na nÓg and that explains why I never have my feet on the ground! 😆

Delirious from Life on a Limb chose our topic this week.


I am not the best of sleepers, in fact nowadays I consider three consecutive hours as a good nights sleep.  Perhaps that has some baring on why I have no recollection of dreaming.  I do day dream – Plenty!  As I go about household chores I allow my mind to wander and at times I am fascinated by the direction it takes.

  • I might plan what to have for dinner by listing the ingredients I need.  The mention of onions can take me back to my mother’s kitchen and the aroma of a pan full of onions sweating down before being added to her dish of the day.
  • A soft breeze through an open window can take me to a country walk in early springtime or to friends I used to go rambling with.
  • The colour of a garment on my ironing board might whisk me off over the years to an evening dress of a similar colour that I enjoyed making and wearing… and to the beau I danced with all evening.

I wonder……

That is how it always begins.

“I wonder where s/he is now or how s/he is doing”?

“Why?”  I wonder has that person come into my mind just now, way out of the blue.
If I do nothing, the person’s face, voice or memories keep returning.

One day, while listening to the radio and dancing the dust waltz, a song from a popular musical began, changing my tempo and mood… I was back thirty eight years, at the theatre and watching a work colleague singing his heart out on stage.  We worked in the same department, his office door not far from mine was always open.  The sound of his singing drifted my way most days.  I kept his team on their toes and he in turn made sure they kept me up to date with all that was going on.  When I married and moved away, we lost touch.  A couple of weeks after the dust waltz, I was talking to a girlfriend who worked with both of us all those years ago.  She told me that our singing friend had died as the result of a freak riding accident a couple of weeks earlier in South Africa.

That is one example,  I have many.  Far too many times I have let it run only to hear, read or somehow learn that they are very ill or have died.  I have learned to try and make contact with the person that I am thinking about.  If I do make contact then everything will be fine and life continues as normal.

Nowadays if I say to Elly “Have you talked to (insert a name) lately?  Her immediate reply will be “Were you dreaming about them?”.  Usually she comes back to me within the day to say “You can Relax (insert a name) is fine”.

“YOU ARE A WITCH!”  Jack said as he walked through the door.

I was standing at the kitchen counter up to my oxters (Celtic for armpits) in flour making wheaten bread at the time.  My look said “Please explain”.

It all had to do with a conversation we had a few weeks previously.  He was talking about XX who worked with him.  I said I wouldn’t trust XX.  When Jack asked me why, I said that I couldn’t just put my finger on it, but that he didn’t ring true for me.  In my book he was a ‘know it all with a big mouth’.  Down the years I have discovered that people who shout the loudest are actually trying to convince themselves.  If you believe in your message, an audible whisper will convince an audience large enough to fill the Carnegie Hall or the Royal Albert Hall.

I do have plenty of similar stories to tell.  One I shared yesterday with a good friend brought the response of “Good Lord!”

Oh by the way, If you are pregnant and want to keep it a secret, don’t look me in the eye.  I can read that in a woman’s eyes, sometimes ever before she realises it herself!

Now I have a happy story too. It would have fitted perfectly with the topic today, alas, I need to wait for my next visit to Dublin for the final link.  I will post it as soon as I can and promise you it will be a pleasant surprise for all in the LBC!

Active LBC Members are:

Some may be distracted by work, play, love and or family, so their post may be late in appearing.

Thursday Special ~ From A Travelers Guide To Bargaining

My wife and I were travelling by car from Liverpool to Shetland.  Being Seniors, after almost seven hours on the road, we were too tired to continue, and decided to take an hotel room in Dundee .. But, we only planned to sleep overnight and then get back on the road. When we checked out next morning, the desk clerk handed us a bill for £250.00.

I exploded and demanded to know why the charge was so high. I told the clerk although it’s a nice hotel; the rooms certainly aren’t worth £250.00 for just an overnight stop without even breakfast. The clerk told me that £250.00 is the ‘standard rate’ so I insisted on speaking to the Manager.

The Manager appeared, listened to me, and then explained that the hotel had an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference centre that they were available for us to use.

‘But we didn’t use them,” I said.

”Well, they are here, and you could have,” explained the Manager.  He went on to explain that we could also have taken in one of the in-hotel shows for which the hotel is famous. “We have the best entertainers from Edinburgh , Glasgow , and Aberdeen performing here,” the Manager said.

“But we didn’t go to any of those shows,” I said. “Well, we have them, and you could have,” the Manager replied.

No matter what amenity the Manager mentioned, I replied, “But we didn’t use it!”
The Manager is unmoved, and eventually I gave up and agreed to pay.
I wrote a cheque and gave it to the Manager.  The Manager was surprised when he looked at the cheque.

“But sir, this cheque is only made out for £50.00.”

”That’s correct. I charged you £200.00 for sleeping with my wife,” I replied

“But I didn’t!” exclaims the Manager.

I said, “Well, too bad, she was here, and you could have.”




Thanks to the old rascal Ramana for the story today

This Green And Pleasant Land

“Is féidir linn”


“Yes we can”

The little Island of Ireland made me very proud in the past two months.   Three State Visits and a State Funeral.

First there was H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock, former South African Olympic swimmer, who attended a reception in Farmleigh House* on the second day of the state visit.

Then we had ”A Uachtarán agus a cairde.”  The opening words of HM Queen Elizabeth II in her Banquet Speech At Dublin Castle during her four day State Visit.  It was the first visit by an English Reigning Monarch for 100 years.  The link is just a shortened version of the speech. There were many poignant moments during the visit, many fences were mended and politicians from both sides of the border were in attendance at the dinner.

Tensions were high before the visit and the public were kept well away from the routes being used, unfortunately it meant that the royal party met very few of the ‘ordinary’ people who walk the streets on a daily basis to and from work or for leisure purposes. I heard reports of people being stopped at barriers for anything up to three hours at a time until a cavalcade passed.  There were few complaints.

As a side note, the white evening gown worn by #BettyIE (the fondly humorous hashtag used on Twitter during the visit ), had 2,000 lace shamrocks embroidered in high relief on the bodice and sleeves.  The brooch was a silver Harp.

The State funeral for the well loved Dr Garret FitzGerald was held on Sunday.  Twice taoiseach and a true statesman.  President Mary McAleese described him as a man steeped in the history of the State who constantly strove to make Ireland a better place for all its people.

May he rest in peace.

Mondays of the Ireland long ago were wash days…  Come hail, rain or snow the women across the land washed anything and everything that moved!  Yesterday there was little washing done.  The winds blew up a storm and the rain pounded, but nothing could wash the smiles off the faces in Ireland as they proudly welcomed home a son of the soil.

Air Force 1 landed at Dublin Airport ahead of time, due to the prevailing wind.  Down the steps and onto hard tarmac, if not Irish soil, came Barack Hussein Obama 11 the 44th and current President of the United States and his wife Michelle.  They quickly made their way to meet President Mary McAleese and her husband at Aras an Uachtarain and to plant a tree in the garden. From there they moved to Farmleigh House for a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

After lunch at the American Embassey there was an Oopsie moment, before they headed to Moneygall, the birthplace of the President’s ancestors.  All thirsty work, so the Guinness was supped, people met, shopping done and back to Dublin to talk to the people.

Barack Obama’s Speech in College Green, Dublin, Ireland

Alas, due to a volcanic eruption at Grimsvotn in southeastern Iceland, forecasters were predicting that ash would encroach on local airspace on Tuesday, so the departure was brought forward.  The Obama Roadshow left last night

*Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, an 18th century Georgian house, which was the former home to the Guinness family, was bought by the Irish Government in 1999 specifically to provide accommodation to visiting dignitaries, among others.  At a cost of €29m, and a further €23m was spent by the Office of Public Works refurbishing the property.  It sits on an 80-acre site in the heart of the park.

Near neighbour is Aras an Uachtarain, the official residence of the President of Ireland.

Food Monday ~ Banana & Toffee Brûlée

Banana & Toffee Brûlée
Serves 4

Letting a packet of biscuits fall is one way to develop a new recipe!!

75g Caramalised Biscuits, crushed
150ml toffee yogurt
2 bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Preheat the grill to hot.
Divide the biscuit crumb between 4 x 150ml ramekins and press down.  Spoon over half the yogurt, then layer with bananas and cover with the remainder of the yogurt.
Smooth over the top and sprinkle with sugar.  Place on a baking tray and out under grill for 1 or 2 minutes till sugar caramelises – don’t leave any longer or the yogurt will overheat.  Leave to cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

A Sculpture Walk

I was on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills during the week.

Not that Hollywood.

Our Holywood, with one ‘l’, overlooks Belfast Lough and across to the County Antrim coastline.  For once, I was more interested in my immediate surroundings.

Originally, Culloden Estate was built as an official palace for the Bishops of Down, in 12 acres of beautiful secluded gardens and woodland and is only 6 miles from Belfast City Centre.  Culloden Estate and Spa is now a 5 star hotel.  It was built in 1876 and took two and a half years to complete, and most of the stone came from Scotland by boat, arriving in the County Down fishing village of Portaferry and being brought to the site by horse and cart.

Not sure I would like this guy outside my front door.

Ninth Life

This bronze sculpture was the work of Barry Callaghan, it was commissioned by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1992 and made available to Culloden Estate & Spa.

I am hoping to have a few more lives left before I reach my ninth!

In this life, my reason to visit was for ‘Art In The Garden‘, the first event of its kind in Northern Ireland.  In association with the Culloden, Gormleys Fine Art were hosts of the event.  A veritable feast of over 100 sculptures – some life size and others suitable for indoor display.

Every corner you turned or every pathway you followed provided a veritable feast.

The marquee was the display area for the smaller items.

Over the next few Sundays I will focus on some of the pieces.