Category Archives: Loose Consortium Blogging


Some people stack books widely in haphazard fashion beside their beds with volumes they would like to find time to read, while others spend time daydreaming of the best way to store and display their prize volumes of the printed word.

The heading above is fifth of ten points, that PD James offered by way of advice for would-be writers, in an interview with Alison Feeney-Hart for the BBC.

She suggests that people should read widely.
Now, I have been known to do just that – read very widely that is!

1/7 reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry, an historical record created in 11th century, it is the only masterpiece of its kind in the world. An embroidery on a linen cloth using wools of various colours, it is over 70 metres long and 50 centimetres high and retraces the history of the conquest of England by William the Conqueror.


Since my post for the LBC last week (which was actually written in September) I have made a decision – To retire from the group and not take part in future weeks.

When I was invited to join the group at the inception of the Consortium back in July 2009 I dithered. Why? I take all commitments seriously and for me, this one was as important as any other. Do the work and show up on time, come hail, rain, drought or thunder!

Yes, I dithered quietly to myself for a couple of days: Would I find the words or even know the words, to convey my thoughts on the topics chosen by the wordsmiths Conrad, Ashok & Ramana? I was supposed to follow those lads, and the four of us post our efforts at the same time every Friday. We worked in that order for the first few months.

Conrad set the ball rolling with Creativity. C R E A T I V I T Y!

Yes, my internal butterflies proved correct. The three boyos each presented a thesis worthy of an academic degree and I wrote about sewing!

At that stage, the topic for the following week was chosen only after the previous one had time for the paint to dry.

Holy mother of Vestal Virgins. Week two and I was ready for the hills or to dive off the cliff at the end of my garden. That young buck, Ashok, all the way over in Bangalore, chose Stereotyping! I jumped. Not off the cliff, just outside the box. (Alas, I cannot provide you with a link to the early posts.)

Sometimes the prompter forgot until close to the date for publication, that it was their turn to throw in the topic. I panicked! I needed time to think because my mind works best in slow motion. Thus the topic list came into being.

The LBC family began to grow faster than an Irish family in pre central heating days! Over time we had eighteen members. Everyone had their opportunity to throw in ideas. Then people began to drift. Family situations, health issues, work, broken computers or lack of time or enthusiasm, took them away. Some resigned, some evaporated, but the core held on. I have to admit that I found writing on topics chosen by people who had disappeared or moved on, very uninspiring. I missed reading how they would approach or present their particular topic.

In the past year I have struggled, really struggled to stir my pot of enthusiasm across the board of my blogging. I want to make changes – perhaps post randomly for three days a week for a little while.

I know that if I pull the plug completely on the blog at this stage, I would not come back. That would be unfair to Elly, Darren, Anto and Phil and maybe others who have voluntarily given time to work on bringing my old blog of almost three thousand posts, up to date and try merging it with over 800 posts written here.

Out of respect, I wrote to the regular contributors to let them know that I wished to retire. I figured it would be simple and accepted. It was never my intention to disrupt the flow of the group, or pass on my waves of unrest to others. Unfortunately
Delirious, at Life on a Limb, has already written a post of resignation, she wants to take her blog back on the path she had originally chosen.

I was but a tiny cog in the wheel of the Loose Bloggers Consortium and as with all life, the LBC will go on without me and flourish. I wish the LBC members all the best for the future and may their words flow easily!

Now out of respect for Shackman who chose the topic of What is your favourite book (Bible excluded) to tickle the brain cells this week, I reproduce this one:


I did it!
I did it!
Come and look
At what I’ve done!
I read a book!
When someone wrote it
Long ago
For me to read,
How did he know
That this was the book
I’d take from the shelf
And lie on the floor
And read by myself?
I really read it!
Just like that!
Word by word,
From first to last!
I’m sleeping with
This book in bed,
This first FIRST book
I’ve ever read!
~ David L. Harrison ~

Conrad Ashok Ramana Grannymar Magpie 11 Marianna Maria/SF Maria/Gaelikaa Judy Ginger Anu Delirious Padmini Will Knott Paul Rohit Shackman Maxi

To all the members, present and past, I thank you for your friendship and all the wisdom I gained from your writing. I will continue to drop by and catch up with you and wish you well for the future.

Lán grá


When I was Young Part 2

No. Not me this time, but another LBC member’s post worth sharing.

For the second time today, I draw your attention to a blogger friend that I met, had a drink with and danced around the room. This was followed up a few days later when we shared another wonderful day together.

I won’t spoil it, just click on the link above and read a real Christmas story – AND – You can be part of it!

When I was young

When I was a very young child in holy catholic Ireland, parents had dreams for their children. Some families had more children than the beads on their rosary. Mind you it was back in the days before television for distraction and the only central heating was between the sheets!

With each new child the parents found another opportunity to fulfil an unlived dream.

The sons they saw as a priest, a doctor, a lawyer and a policeman. If there was a farm, well that went to number one son – whether he wanted it or not. If he chose a wife she was expected to come in and play second fiddle in the kitchen. Is it any wonder the phrase ‘God between us and small farms!’ became so popular!

For the girls it was a nunnery, a nurse or a teacher. For those considered less academically inclined, Pittman’s shorthand and typing was the route to a permanent and pensionable job. The youngest daughter might be encouraged not to run the roads, but stay home to take care of the parents in their old age.

In secondary school, my class mates spend may hours dreaming about a certain Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain), a young intern at Blair General hospital, in a 1960s television series. Many of my pals were prepared to run under a bus if Dr Kildare was around to sort out their scrapes and sooth their fluttering hearts. We didn’t have a television back then, but I had plenty of babysitting opportunities that gave me the chance to catch up.

Alas, I was not impressed. Dear Dr Kildare was a wimp to me. I knew plenty about tall dark and handsome men. Our house was always full of them. With each one came half a dozen shirts that needed washing, starching and ironing, apart from the smelly socks and sweaty underwear. Romance how are you!!!

Singer Lena Zavaroni was born just over a year before I left school. A tiny girl with an enormous voice, at the age of 10, she appeared on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks and went on to win the show five times in a row. At 16, with a trail of appearances in variety, summer shows and pantomimes behind her, she was rushed to hospital in Glasgow with anorexia. An illness from which she was to suffer for the rest of her short life.

Lena and I had something in common. Our skeletal frames. I was that thin! A layer of fine pale almost white skin blotched with large dark freckles covered my bones. I was taller, although I had not reached my full height of 5 ft 7 inches.

Lena had a Big voice.

I had BIG hair.

I awoke each day looking like a dishevelled upside down floor mop. Tangles were my morning agony, I sang as the unruly tresses were unlocked and combed into control. My song was “Ouch! That hurt me, you are pulling too hard!” I was never going to reach number one in any chart with that, was I? Even I was not fond of the music!

When schooling was over, homework complete and the chores done, we were free to run down the garden and over the wall to play. On a good evening the group might reach twenty with some of the fathers, uncles & cousins and occasionally aunts, swelling the numbers further.

There was banter, teasing and the odd battle of wills or punch-up. These battles never lasted long…. Any older person present would step up to the plate and restore order. If someone was not happy to drop the argument and play on, then they were sent home for the remainder of the evening’s play.

Any parent or older member of the neighbourhood gang was able to correct us for bad behaviour, pick us up when we fell, carry us home if a fall needed further treatment, and we never had reason to question them. All our parents were grateful for the care given.

  • We had freedom.
  • We had fresh air.
  • We had the opportunity to use our imaginations.
  • We had plenty of exercise.
  • We had the freedom to grow, to learn to play, be part of a team and to interact with people of all ages, sexes and several religions.

Children of today, in many parts of the world have freedoms we never knew of or heard about. They have cell phones, computers, Xboxes, and many another electronic contraption with the only barriers being a poor internet connection or lack of battery power.

Then there is the invisible fence around them. Some of these gadgets and games are for use and playing with IN THE HOME.

Nowadays children must be accompanied everywhere they go. For some children that means being driven right to the school gate – and to hell with any other traffic needing to get in the space while ‘Jayden or Kaylee” are set down on their tender little feet with only a yard or two to walk to the school door. Pity the school was not more thoughtful with a ‘drive through’ method of entry!

What brought this on? Well I read a blog post in September and it almost made me cry.

K8 the GR8, is about Elly’s age, a young mother of three children, I know her, met her and her parents, and she has been an award willing blogger. K8 tells it how it is.
Freedom how are you.

I suggest you go read it.

Confession time. I wrote this post early one morning in September, while sitting up in bed in Buffyland. Suddenly realising that it fitted with an LBC topic, I went to check my list. Sure enough When I was young had been suggested by me, so I scheduled this in back then. It is allowed. The Loose Blogging Consortium have no rules other than we all blog about the same topic on the same day. It does not have to be written while the morning coffee is percolating. Now that my coffee is ready and poured, why not join me on my rounds to see what gems all the other active members have produced this week.

Road Rage

Ella was vocal. Very vocal!

She ranted at a long line of slow heavy rush hour traffic.

Cyclists and motorbike riders were not spared the rough edge of her tongue either.

Cars changing lanes without indicating, or any drivers who dared to cut into the small space in front of her windscreen were treated to a long stream from her litany of language more suitable to the gutter, than the front seat of an upmarket Mercedes-Benz A-Class with a twin-turbo V8 engine.

Perhaps if she had been ready to leave at the pre arranged time, things might have been better.

Ella WAS NEVER ON TIME. You might say she liked to make an entrance. Arriving at a theatre or concert hall with everyone milling around, would mean she would go un-noticed. Arrive late and the whole place was aware of her entry and walk right through the auditorium to take her seat in the middle of the second row!

This behaviour went on for years.

Holey Buckets! She ranted with more passion and conviction than Kate, singing I Hate Men from Kiss Me, Kate

Her husband Ralf, was by comparison, a dormouse.

His great passion in life was his car. This time, the A-Class Merc. Ralf washed and lovingly caressed it with a chamois until dry, each evening before driving it into the spacious garage to rest overnight. Some friends teased that it was clean enough to sit in the middle of the living room floor!

Ralf loved his Ella. He must have. Listening to her broken record on repeat ranting, on a daily basis for thirty five years, warranted more than sainthood.

He was dressed and ready, in fact Ralf had been ready for the previous two hours.

A leisurely breakfast was enjoyed, the daily newspaper read and the crossword completed. The beloved car stood to attention in the driveway. The windows and lights all gleamed like crystal, even under the bonnet had a little run over with a duster.

Now as he finished another cup of coffee he heard the size two footfall on the stairs. Involuntarily he tensed. The ranting (at him) began before the door to the room opened. He half wished he had given in to the sudden childish whim to hide behind the window drapes. He didn’t.

They were ready for off.

“I wonder if Ella remembered the marathon was on today?” thought Ralf. He was sure she had forgotten that half the roads in the centre of the city would be closed for the duration. They were not going into the city as such, but needed to drive through it in order to reach their final destination. Never worry, he had a plan.

Traffic was heavy on the motor way and always slowed down as it approached the city. He had planned to take a circular route and avoid the closed off area. Of course, this was all planned a few hours earlier as he read the newspaper and saw the route the marathon would take. Ella was busy upstairs with girly stuff – hair, make-up, and which of her fifty pairs of shoes to wear. They had not spoken since Ralf had taken the breakfast tray up to her a few hours earlier. Ella liked breakfast in bed. Ralf liked that too. It meant a calm quiet start to his day as he sat to eat alone at the kitchen table.

“You are in the wrong lane!” bellowed Ella. “You should be over there, in that one.” The ranting had begun, and it continued. The higher the rant the slower the traffic moved, until it finally slid to a halt. Nowhere to go.

At this stage Ralf was behind an articulated lorry, in the rear view mirror he could see a wall of lorries approaching. One stopped behind him, and another two drew up along each side, They were completely surrounded. Ella did not like being closed in, she was claustrophobic at the best of times, the ranting reached a crescendo.

Ralf flipped.

This outing was not his idea of fun, he would have much preferred to potter about at home for the day. He switched off the engine – they were going nowhere. They could not, even if they wanted to.

Slowly, calmly and silently, Ralf opened the driver’s door and got out. He put the keys in his pocket, closed the door and turned without a backward glance and walked away.

He had had enough!

Road Rage was suggested by Padmini, who I am sure is a perfect passenger and would never rant while her husband was driving. She has re appeared from the shadows to rejoin us, despite being busy with family commitments and other pursuits. I look forward to reading what she and all the other active member have to say on the LBC topic, for this week.

In to the night

On Sunday last, we officially reached the end of British Summer Time (BST) and reverted to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC ) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as we commonly know it.

The time of year we turn back the clocks by one hour, kidding ourselves that we get an extra hour’s sleep in the mornings.

As a result of this change, there will be more daylight in the mornings for a few more weeks, weather and cloud cover permitting. Alas evenings will unfortunately, become darker much earlier. And soon, without realising it, we will feel like we have slipped in to the night – getting up and going back to bed in darkness.

It’s that time of the year for winter walks wrapped in layers of warm woollies topped off with bright hats, scarves and gloves. A time to crunch with each footfall over crisp dry leaves and branches, singing together and watching our sound travel on our visible breaths before us.

Returning home rosy cheeked, to snuggle close to a glowing fire with a glass of hot chocolate or Glühwein, served warm to bring relief to hands that cuddle the cup or glass, and the bodies that drink it.

Feeling that “Aah . . . that’s better!” moment, while sinking deep into a comfortable well used arm chair.


to continue working on a jigsaw puzzle

to continue working on a jigsaw puzzle

Or perhaps, toasting English muffins or large fluffy marshmallows by the fire. A time to think, plan and look forward to the festive season not far around the corner.

In to the night was chosen as our LBC topic this week by Will Knott, before he stepped back from blogging with us, due to blog problems. I do hope he finds time and a way to draw up to the fire with a glass of Glühwein and see how the other active members tackle the topic.


Retribution is something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment.

The anger that causes us to seek retribution can so quickly become a cancer of bitterness.

If we dispense or exact punishment from someone for doing something we consider wrong, are we not as diseased as we assume them to be?

The topic Retribution was brought to the LBC table this week at the suggestion of  Maria/Gaelikaa, for our consideration. I look forward to reading what she has to say on the subject!

Mobile telephony

The science of translating sound into electrical signals, transmitting them, and then converting them back to sound; that is, the science of telephones.

We have come along way from the days of a telephone that weighed a tonne, was attached to the cable carrying the incoming signals and placed on a special table a few feet from the main entrance of fortunate homeowners who had such a device.

Like the early Model T Ford motor cars, you could have any colour you wanted, so long as it was black!

Our phone from the 40s,50s and 60s was like this. In fact my sister still has it somewhere at home.

Our phone from the 40s,50s and 60s was like this. In fact my sister still has it somewhere at home.

Today the term telephony is used frequently to refer to computer hardware and software that performs functions traditionally performed by telephone equipment. For example, telephony software can combine with your modem to turn your computer into a sophisticated answering service.

Voice mail, text messages and e-mail, are other popular telephony applications, meaning we can be reached at any time from any point on the globe, 24/7.

In the technological world of today we now have mobile phones weighing little more than 100g and measuring about 5 x 124 x 8 mm.

Most children have their own mobile phone by the age of 12 or when they are starting secondary school. Some children as young as five, have their own phone.

We are worlds away from the middle 1960s, when working as a telephone operator, sitting in the Main Telephone Exchange, on the first floor, over St Andrew’s Street Post office in Dublin, Ireland, I was asked to connect an incoming caller to a number in Garristown.

Telephone Exchange Operator

Telephone Exchange Operator

Garristown was/is a village just twenty miles north of where I was sitting, yet a world apart. It was the days before STD – NO! Not STDs. I am talking about Subscriber Trunk Dialling.

I had to call the operator in Garristown Post Office and ask to be connected to the number. In those now far off days, the operator usually lived on the premises. You could hear her turn the handle to connect to the house required.

Two particular calls to Garristown come to mind.

The first attempt must have taken thirty five minutes – the time it would now take to travel the distance by road – There were several episodes of the handle whirring, before the ‘Voice of Garristown’ (that would waken the dead, never mind a neighbour half way up Main Street), announced: “They must not be getting the ring, I know they are at home, so hold on while I run up and see why they are not answering”!

Thankfully, my caller was patient and prepared to wait. It seemed an age before the breathless voice announced. “I’ll put you through now”!

On another evening, around 7.30 pm, I tried to connect a caller to another number (all single or double digit numbers) when the ‘Voice of Garristown’ announced “You will have to call back later, you will not get them now, the mission is on. The priest this year is very long winded, so they’ll be gone for about two hours”! The annual two week Mission/Retreat was being held in the local church and everything stopped for the duration!

With the arrival of computers and the transmittal of digital information over telephone systems using radio to transmit telephone signals, Our lives have changed.

International or other long-distance calls are much less expensive than through the traditional call arrangements. We now have the ability to send voice messages along with text, chat or e-mail instantaneously to any part of the world, without the aid of a ‘Voice of Garristown’ character in the middle of it!

With a miniscule mobile phone device surgically attached to our hips, (metaphorically speaking), we leave constant signals of our travels. Recent stories of missing persons have shown how those very signals helped in finding the area where a victim has last been heard from.

The aftermath of the 7/7 bombings in London, found another use for mobile phones. Amongst the carnage several mobiles were found scattered about. On a few occasions these phones were the only way of knowing who had been lost in the horribleness of the day.

Can you conceive the difficulty the emergency and police services had in finding out the owners names or in trying to notify their families?

Imagine the scenario: “Hello, Do you know the owner of this phone……?”

Do they scan down the list of contacts for an entry for ‘next–of –kin’?

Look at your list of contacts, Who should they call…

  • Loverboy,
  • Boobiebaby or
  • Snugglebug?
  • Would it be Dad- not knowing he is a heart attack about to happen,
  • Mum in the early stages of dementia, who never remembers to switch the phone on?

We should ALL be using ICE. It is not only for our drinks!

Following the above mentioned disaster, the emergency services suggested that we all add an ICE number to our list of contacts.

In Case of Emergency – The name and number of the person you want contacted should you be run over by the proverbial bus, collapse in the street, or a disaster of major proportions occur.

You need to think well about the person you select. You need someone level headed and dependable.

A person who knows more about you than your name. They need to know if you have any major health issues, take medication and if possible the name of your doctor or the practice you attend. Please be sure to ask their permission or at least tell them you are listing them as your ICE number.

It could save your life!

Now while you are at it, if you have elderly parents, children, or grandchildren with mobile phones, why not talk them through adding an ICE number to their phones.

It could save their lives!

I have a touch screen phone, so my ICE number is visible on the screen and easy to access. Yes, It is Elly.

I entered it as follows:

First name: ICE 1 Elly Parker (having a short name makes it easier)
Last name: Daughter (this way they know the relationship of who they are calling)
Mobile phone number: xxx xxx xxxx
Landline number: xx xxx xxx xxxx
Email address. ————–

At the back of a passport there is a page to give the details of a Next-of-kin, so why not on a phone? We all carry phones these days , but not everyone has or carries a passport everywhere they go.

It might save our lives!

This interesting topic Mobile telephony was brought to us this week at the suggestion of Ramana. I hope you find it helpful.

My greatest fear

Fear of what?

  1. Going grey – Half way there already.
  2. Wrinkles – I prefer to call them my character lines.
  3. Putting on weight – With a body mass index of 21.31, I have no need to worry about weight.
  4. The dark – Living on the edge of a small town, I am surrounded by light of some degree 24/7.
  5. Spiders – I am way bigger than them so no need to worry.
  6. Mice – See answer to no 5.
  7. Falling – Why worry, I have little left to bruise or break.
  8. Dying – Why fear it, we are all going the same journey, at different speeds or modes of transfer.
  9. Death – When it happens, I will know nothing about it.

So, no I have no fear, great or small.

What about you?

I wonder what Delores, at Life on a limb had in mind when she chose the topic My greatest fear for us to chew on. We have reduced the LBC list (in the side bar) to those who are writing with us on a regular basis. As others return, I will add them to the list.


Ego – The False Center, is how Osho describes it, in From Beyond the Frontier of the Mind.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.
~ Robert Louis Stephenson.

I have travelled hopefully all my life, alas recently there have been times where I either did not arrive, or arrived in a different place or condition. Before you ask:- No drink was involved on any of these occasions!

I think it was Pope Francis who said: “egoism” has grown much more than “love of others”.

I think it is time for us to take lessons from the animals of our world….

Mrs Peggy Mangan, 65, suffered from Alzheimer’s.

She left her home on Mount Tallant Avenue in Terenure, Dublin, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning 22nd September, to walk her King Charles spaniel. She didn’t return home and the family notified the Gardai.* The Gardai sought the help of the public through all social media outlets, volunteers rallied and a search began.

Mrs Mangan’s body was found under a tree in grassy wasteland beside Ikea shopping centre in Ballymun, on the north side of Dublin, in the late afternoon of Saturday 26th September. FOUR days after she left home.

Casper, her pet King Charles spaniel was found standing over the body when police made the discovery. The dog was taken to an animal rescue where it was diagnosed as starving and dehydrated.

Casper died a few hours later.

I was walking Buffy on the occasion of my last fall. Buffy is always ready to make an escape to explore the world around her. As I hit the ground the handle of her lead left my hand. Hearing the sound of the handle hitting the ground, Buffy turned to see what had happened. She returned to my side immediately and stayed beside me until a man arrived to help me to my feet and take me back to Elly & George’s house. Buffy led the way.

For the remainder of my stay Buffy never left my side. She followed me about the house, but never walked across my path or got in my way. She was minding me.


Our unconditional LBC leader, Conrad, had the choice of Ego  for us to play with today. He has been rather swamped with work (a good way to be in these difficult times) and family commitments, in recent months. I do hope he finds a small window to joins us this week. The links to all the Loose Blogging Consortium members are over in the sidebar, alas not all are active these days. Do you think some of them have fallen asleep?

* the Gardai or ‘An Garda Síochána’ to give it the full official title, translates as “the Guardian(s) of the Peace”, is the police force of Ireland.

Can men cook daily meals?


I was once told that anyone who could read, could cook!

OK, if they follow the steps in the recipe they should be able to produce a decent meal, but it takes time and experience to learn about texture, taste, aroma and presentation!

I have male friends who confide that their wives will not allow them in their kitchens!

My late father was a typical Irish husband of his time, he never set foot in the kitchen. His head might appear round the door to enquire “What time will the dinner be ready?”, but he never offered to help.

When I got married, it was rather a shock to find Jack at my elbow when I was preparing a meal. Did he not trust my cooking skills? Did he think that I would kill him off? No!

One day while preparing a chicken for roasting, he stood silent, intently watching my every move. I asked if he was worried that I might poison him, but he assured me that he was there to learn. In his time as a widower, he had a limited number of dishes in his repertoire, but never bought a chicken. It was thirty six years ago, long before chicken portions or goujons, and he did not know what needed to be removed or left in the chicken cavity before cooking.

As I put a prepared meal in the oven one day, Jack turned and said to me, “I think I now know how to do that recipe, so next time we are having that dish, I’ll make it!”

He did. With time his culinary skills increased and he often offered to make our meals!

He had one rule: If I prepared and cooked the meal, he cleared up after it! In fact on most days he had the preparation dishes washed and away before we sat to the table! He was my dishwasher – fast, portable, no need for electricity, and his whistling was tuneful!

Some of the best cooks I know ARE MEN.

Padmini from This and That, There and Here, asked the question: Can men cook daily meals? I know all the male members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium can cook, but have yet to enjoy a meal at their tables. Now there is an idea… A tour of all the LBCer’s kitchens…. While I dream about that, why not join me on my weekly jaunt to see what delicious tidbits they have on offer for us to share this week.