Saturday, 21 January 2017


A freezing cold Saturday afternoon at Lough Melvin while waiting for my Mum to finish an appointment. 

There was no skill whatsoever required in capturing this photo today - Nature did it all - what a beautiful sunset  and if the old rhyme is right we'll have another great day to look forward to tomorrow and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights tonight - I just might wait up for that.

January is coming near an end and I'm only just starting to feel like the New Year is starting - the bug I picked up before Christmas is still lingering leaving me with some days of absolutely no energy and other days fired up and ready to go.  Hopefully it'll be more of the latter as we head into February.  Now the other half has it too so we're in a very quiet, not very productive house at the moment - and I suppose that's the way things should go around Winter's darkest days - a good excuse for hibernation.

I wish you a lovely Sunday and an excellent week to come.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Hello 2017

Happy New Year dear blogger friends ... 
We started the New Year off with sun and blue skies here after a very quiet family holiday with my mother visiting for the first time in years.  It was lovely to have her with us, recovering from a big operation and determined to be out walking and getting back to driving before her 90th birthday!

Since we left her home it's been a very slow start to the year - I feel like I need at least another week to get my mojo back, but slowly slowly we'll get there.

What a strange year 2016 has been - from my first meeting with a fellow blogger early in the year - great to meet Denise from Denise's Planet in Dublin in February - to our trips to Australia, Germany and Scotland, not to mention all the political and social turmoil around the world.
Denise and I on Grafton Street in February 

Now it's time for planning and restructuring and seeing where we go from here.
Life changes year to year; demands change; health changes; situations change and I love this time of year to refocus and take a fresh look at things.

I've never been one for making resolutions - usually I couldn't last more than a day or two - but I love new beginnings - whether that's the start of the year or the start of a month, or even the start of the week.

Blue skies at the White Beach this morning

The new crescent moon has been beautiful these nights, sitting over the mountain with the evening star looking like it's trailing the moon behind her tied by some invisible thread.  It made me think of this song from Sting with beautiful images included from the person who posted the video on You Tube.

I wish you a wonderful start to the Year and look forward to keeping in touch as we move forward into this next adventure.  Blessings to you all.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Tis Winter Now

Although the temperature has gone up a bit again, and there is no real sign of snow yet, we are having the most beautiful Winter sunsets, all quite fitting to go along with a long bout of flu and a delay in all my Christmas preparations.  Hence my absence from reading and commenting on blogs over the past while.  For ages I"ve been longing to have a day in bed to catch up on reading - be careful what you wish for - I had 8 days in bed and wasn't fit to read a thing.  And still feeling very precarious.   However, there's been lots going on around here, and now that I've finally got the Christmas tree up , I feel a bit more festive.  Time to bring in more greenery over the next few days. 

Around Here - the Holm Oak

I write often about stuff going on in the village here - and our latest escapade has been the Tree of the Year Competition.   Remember I asked you to vote for our Holm Oak a few months back?  Well on Channel 4 on Saturday night, it won the Northern Ireland heat - and now goes forward to the European Tree of the Year competition ... so I'll be back looking for more votes :)
Our Holm Oak won the Northern Ireland Tree of the Year on Saturday night.
Photo Courtesy of Light 2000 Community Group

The First Christmas Card

Amy from Love Made My Home organised a Christmas card swap back in November and I was delighted to be paired up with Tracy from Sunny Corner Farm. And this lovely card arrived in right at the start of month bring some sunshine into proceedings.  I love receiving mail from around the world and still send lots of Christmas cards, so it was a delight to hear from her and to hear a bit about her family.  
Amy has also been doing a crafting countdown to Christmas and has lots of really cool simple ideas on her site ... Had I been even vaguely fit, I'd have been trying more of them - as it is I think lights are going to be my limit.  

These delightful koala bears came all the way from Australia
for my first Christmas card of the season.

Happy Holidays 

In case I don't get a chance to post again over the holiday season, let me take the opportunity to wish each and every one of you a gentle, peaceful holiday season - it can be a lonely time for many people and for others it is a time of great devotion.   For me, it's the mid Winter season - the lull before the light starts to come back, the time to rest and reflect and to enjoy the pleasures of winter - cosy fires, the scent of pine trees and spices, soppy movies and time with friends and family.   
I cannot convey how much you all mean to me, those of you who read and comment on these ramblings of mine - I love hearing from my cyber penpals around the world.  

Some music

Let me leave you with some music - first a laugh - I just adore this little girl - I'm sure you've all seen her before but it's worth repeating ...

And finally a carol - in Irish and English 
Oiche Chuin, Silent Night
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Eleanor Shanley, Geantraí Na Nollag TG4 2009

Happy Holidays.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Some good news stories and songs

I've been finding it difficult to find my centre these past few months - lots of pressure coming from different angles aren't leaving me with much time for contemplation or creation, just for getting done the absolute necessities of each week.  Hence my absence from getting around to commenting on your lovely blogs or posting many of my own.
So we've taken ourselves off for a week to an artist retreat to concentrate on writing.  I'll have pictures next week.

Our world is so full of fear these days.  My thoughts go out particularly to all my American friends who have this very divisive election coming up tomorrow.  The politics of fear seems to be rife everywhere in the world at the minute.

So, not to add more to it, today I wanted to share with you some music and stories that have passed through the periphery of my vision over the past few days and have brought a smile or a tremor of joy.

Firstly this most wonderful rendition of Here Comes The Sun featuring James Taylor.  A lot of the comments to the video were castigating the changes made, but I adore it.

To my shame I didn't know who the dignitary was sitting beside Michelle Obama - so after a bit of research I found it was Yo Yo Ma, the Chinese American Cellist.   So here's a piece from him - the Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 - this moves me to tears every time I hear it, and he plays it beautifully.

Lastly, there have been several posts on Facebook over the past few weeks, about the first person with Down's Syndrome to qualify as a pre school teacher - how absolutely wonderful.   This story comes from Argentina, and there's another one from Gaza - both young woman had so many adversities to overcome.   Surely a lesson for us all.

I hope your week is full of wonder and joy as the nights get darker and the days shorter up here in the Northern Hemisphere and as you pass into the season of sunshine and warmth down in the southern regions of this wonderful planet.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Rostrevor Folk Club

I'm delighted to be passing on the information that Rostrevor will have its very own folk club starting next Monday, 7th November - running initially fortnightly and then monthly in the new year.  

Crawfords Bar is a beautiful intimate venue, perfect for acoustic concerts. To make the evenings even more special, numbers will be limited, there will be no sound system and the bar will be open before, in the break, and after the performances.   Get up close and personal with some of the finest touring artists on the folk scene.  
The first artists are as follows:

Monday 7th November - Lisa Gutkin
Lisa"One hot fiddler!" - Cyndi Lauper; "Hauntingly emotional vocals"L.A. Times;  "Genius!" - Pete Seeger
Best known from The Klezmatics, LISA GUTKIN steps out on her own on "From Here On In," her first CD of six warm and wonderful songs featuring her vocals, fiddle, and tenor guitar. The Brooklyn native was a founding member of the downtown Celtic group Whirligig with Cillian Vallely (Lúnasa). Playing klezmer to Celtic, Appalachian to blues.
Tickets £10, available in advance or at the door from the Rostrevor Inn 028 417 39911.

Monday 21st November - Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne
Niamh and Graham"Describing Niamh Parsons' singing is like to trying to describe color to a blind person." -Jamie O'Brien
Niamh Parsons has come to be known as one of the most distinctive voices in Irish music.  Dubliner Graham Dunne is a well-known guitarist in the Irish Traditional music scene. He is known for his sensitivity of touch as an accompanist, and his fiery ability as a soloist.  Together "neither Niamh nor Graham wastes a single note or nuance in their matchless renditions of predominantly traditional songs" Dave Kidman
Tickets £10 - early booking advised.  Phone 028 417 39911 or call in to book tickets

Monday 5th December - Avalon Quartet
AvalonA special pre Christmas folk club featuring the gorgeous traditional and classical sounds and songs of the Avalon quartet featuring the vocals and uilleann pipes of Brendan Monaghan.   Not to be missed. 
Tickets in advance £10  from The Rostrevor Inn, Bridge Street, Rostrevor - phone 028 417 39911.  

More details can be found on the Rostrevor Inn Facebook and

I'm so excited to see the quality of acts that are scheduled - in the new year you can look forward to Brian Willoughby, ex guitarist with the Strawbs with his wife Cathryn Craig and also to one of Ireland's top songwriters, Mick Hanly and many more to be announced shortly.  

See you there. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Celtic New Year

Beautiful journey through Co. Armagh
Such an unexpected pleasure having the extra hour in bed with the time change this weekend - I can never remember whether we gain or lose an hour when the clocks fall back, so it was nice to find we'd gained it.

Coming in to Ederney
This has been the most beautiful Autumn I can remember for a long time - the colours are just fabulous - last time I saw a prolonged colour like this was in New England.   But we've had dry crisp gorgeous weather and the leaves are hanging on and glowing.

On my journey west from Co. Down to Co. Fermanagh and back again the views just kept getting better and better.
Sunset over Lough Erne

Well it's Celtic New Year again.
I wrote about the traditions of Samhain here  but for this Halloween I thought I'd share this lovely Van Morrison song with you.   People either love or hate Van - I think he's a great creative force out of Belfast and always has a song for every occasion.

"If I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through the window" - a great local saying.   It's a bit like "pick your window, you're leaving!"

Blessings of the season to you.

Monday, 24 October 2016


Rostrevor Community Choir has a new name ... Singmarra .... what do you think?

I suppose we could guess that it means Songs of the Sea, or Sing about the Sea - but actually it's just a play on words from a beautiful Aboriginal song called Lingmarra that Therese Virtue at the Boîte World Music Cafe in Melbourne taught me when I visited earlier this year.   Her choirs all sing it and it's a sort of non specific native language that means Welcome Everybody  

Rostrevor Community Choir has been going now in various guises for nearly 6 years and for most of that time I've been thinking "we should have a name!, we should have a name!"   So finally we have.

The artwork is an original painting by one of our members, Susan Farrell, who is also chair of the local art group.  I love the lightness of her paintings.  You can see more of her work here

We meet on Wednesday nights in Rostrevor, so if you happen to be in the area on holiday and fancy joining us for a sing for an evening, you'd be more than welcome.  Membership is closed now until after Christmas but we'll open it again for a few weeks to take on the New Year's Resolution singers.