Monday, 22 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Reflection Week 2

Kindness Challenge Week 2.   Self Compassion.  

I've been thinking about compassion all week.  It's a strange word, compassion.  Even considering compassion in relation to another person, to me it brings up thoughts of religious life, of forgiveness, benediction and of suffering.  People guilty of a crime ask compassion of their accuser, leniency in carrying out the sentence.  Not to be brutal and unforgiving.   It comes from the Latin and literally means to suffer with.

In Niki's Kindness Challenge for Week 2 she asked us to look at compassion for ourselves and posted a wonderful video - it's worth checking out.  Putting ourselves first is not wrong, in fact the opposite is true.

This week I've had plenty of opportunities to practice kindness to myself and build on week 1.  And to me self compassion has to involve patience.  As well as getting rest and some sunshine.  It's been about being forgiving towards myself and accepting limitations.  It's been about realising that you'll never be perfect but there's no harm in striving to be better and it's about practicing what I preach - in my case that's about daily practice in my music and singing - when I give that up due to illness or distraction or depression or self doubt, then everything collapses and your worst fears are realised.

One of the frustrating things I find in our life here is finding uninterrupted stretches of time to focus on finishing up songs or projects - at the moment that's about focussing on the new album.  It is so hard to do at this time in our lives.  A few weeks back we had 5 recording days, broken up with one sick day, then 4 days looking after my mother taking her to appointments, then various other appointments of our own, a funeral, classes to teach, another 2 day Mum visit, a day in Dublin - and the upshot is that it has taken us a full three weeks to get back to where we were at.  It has been frustrating and keeping me awake at night.   But time passes and there's not a lot you can do about it, especially when energy is low.

As Niki suggests, I've  been trying to consider how I would speak to a friend were she in this situation and I'd be saying this:
Things happen in the right time and in the perfect order.  Relax and let things go at their own pace and at the moment that pace may be slower than you'd like, but you know what, it'll all work out ok in the end.  Everything will get done and you'll look back and wonder why you were worrying.  
So, I'd better pay attention - no choice in the matter :)

Niki  also suggested making an affirmation, or recording a tape of things that would stop the endless chatter in our heads.  I use affirmations on and off and realise that I had forgotten the practice in recent months.   So while I didn't record myself saying positive statements, I did remember to give myself some positive talk where I could.  Thanks for the reminder Niki.

How was your week?
Are you taking part in the Kindness Challenge?  It is very interesting.  There's still time to sign up and play along if you'd like.  You can sign up at the link above and also read the reflections of others taking part.

So, on to week 3.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Five on Friday - Colours changing

 I love how the colours start to change at this time of the year .... the bluebells are nearly gone and the pinks are starting to take their turn .... even the May, the hawthorn blossom, has shades of pink in it.  But still a lonely pansy is hanging on from last Autumn, showing its pretty face and keeping the link between Spring and Summer.  And I have to keep a little bit of blue...

So for my Five on Friday this week, here's some of the colour this evening.  Thank you to Tricky and Carly at F.A.S.T. for hosting this lovely blog hop - take a look over there to see some of the other Fives..

An early rhododendron ... we cut them back hard last year.

The fuchsia will be around for several months now .. love, love, love them
This mass of white at our back garden against an almost blue sky
is saying summer is not here yet ... but soon.  

The hawthorn, so delicate.... I had to put in an extra one. 

Aren't pansies so sweet - no matter the season
Selena, in pinks and purples and this striking blue ... I like having some blue to carry over.

Joining up with the folks in Spain - F.A.S.T. - for this week's Five on Friday.  
Have a lovely weekend.  

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Singing Tips: an easy and essential warm up exercise

Warming Up

Why do we bother to warm up our voices?  We don't need to warm up when we are talking... No, but we all sound a bit croaky in the mornings, especially as we get older, and it takes a while for me anyway to be talking full throttle as it were.  

Like runners getting ready to go out for a jog, it pays to do a little bit of stretching to get the muscles gently moving.  

Here's my favourite ...

Lip Trills 

It sounds comical - like blowing a raspberry -  don't try doing it if you're laughing :)   And it looks even worse, believe me.   We never get through more than 3 or 4 of them in choir warm ups.   

It has the effect of letting your vocal chords loosen, not shaping a word.   If you're a teacher, or if your voice is a bit tired, a minute or two of doing this will make your voice feel fresher again.  

So, here's a video of a Nashville vocal coach, Cari Cole, demonstrating how to do lip trills - she looks a lot prettier than I would do with the same thing - expensive camera and better lighting!! Ha!!

Let me know how you get on.

Joining in for the first time with Wednesday Around the World

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 2

The world is in need of more kindness at the moment.   Everywhere I look I see fear and tears ... and a lot of the time it feels like we're powerless to do anything about it, in the face of corruption, big business ruling the world, hackers, governments that seem to have little or no connection to the people and pain, war  and poverty all around.  

So when Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life invited people to take part in a 7 week kindness challenge  I thought it'd do no harm and hopefully I'd learn something.  We're moving on to Week 2 now, but it is still not too late to join in .  Here's the Theme for Week 2.  
If you fancy joining in, read on.   

Week 2 Theme | Self-Compassion

Having compassion for others entails sympathy or empathy for their discomfort and suffering. This week we’re going to work on showing ourselves compassion. For some of us that might mean not being so hard on ourselves, not holding ourselves up to standards of perfection, or easing up on the negative self-talk. Many struggle with being their own worst critic, this week we are going to strive to be warm, understanding, and encouraging with ourselves.  Read the full blog post here

If compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. -Jack Kornfield

Week one of this challenge has been very interesting - you can read reflections of people taking part in it and some wonderful tips and ideas at Niki's site.

Come and play along.  The world certainly could use more kindness. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Reflection Post Week 1

I''m joining in with Niki at for her second annual Kindness Challenge  where she has invited us to focus on Kindness for the next 7 weeks following a different prompt each week.   You can follow that link to see what others are reflecting on and maybe join in yourself if you aren't already taking the journey along with us.

It's been very interesting keeping this challenge in mind throughout the week.

Self Love is something I have tried to practice and am getting (slowly) better at, but, like self protection, I find it very easy to forget when the are others demanding attention or in difficult situations.

But I"ve had several opportunities this week to be mindful of it and it has been very useful taking part in this challenge right now.

We took the decision to cancel another tour due to both our healths not being up to par and the added stress of elderly relatives needing us. I could have pushed through - but it would have been a disaster.   We'd have come back in a heap and then have to push through finishing the album and by July things would be even worse.

So I chose kindness.   Being kind to myself.

Added to that I had a curious incident with a company that asked me to write a blog about a promotion they're doing.   5, 6 weeks ago I said ok, but then things started to get in the way and after a week or two I wrote back politely and told them I couldn't participate.   But the girl would not accept no for an answer.   I started to feel guilty that I was letting her down.   This stranger.  Who was invading my space.   Eventually after 3 weeks of trying to ignore her pushy emails I sat down the other night and put her in the picture properly without mincing my words.  Go away or else .... and there's been silence for a couple of days.   Hopefully that's got rid of her.   I'll think more carefully before saying yes next time....

Reflecting on it afterwards - whether it's my nature, or the society I've been brought up in,  I don't like to offend.  Even at a cost to myself.   You know the saying - somebody's ** to a fault?   Well that'd be me... To a fault ... So again, another opportunity to choose kindness myself.  And I slept a lot better as a result of finally writing the email that I"d been going over for weeks in my head.

Then to end the week a friend died whom we hadn't even known was ill.  We are all so shocked.   But it was an eye opener.   Last time I saw her, I was feeling really poorly and just called out 'hello' and moved on.   I wish I had stopped just a moment longer.  But we need these events to pull us up ... to say 'take care, take time and be kind' ... and by taking the time to be with others is being kind to ourselves too.

I didn't write a mantra - things were a bit out of focus, but I felt it was enough to have something to pay attention to in the background.   Thank you Niki.

How was your week?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Five on Friday 5 goings on.

It's been a while since I last joined in on a Five on Friday, so long in fact that it has now moved house from Amy at Love Made My Home to it's new home with Tricky and Carly at FAST

And as I thought I'd use the 5 as a bit of an update of what's going on around here.

1. Music/Studio 

We've a good bit of the foundation work done for the new album now.  This weekend, now that the sun's gone away, we're finishing writing two more songs and that'll be the line up complete.  I am very excited about this project - it's been wonderful working with guitarist Steve Cooney who has embellished my own playing beautifully.  Although we've had to cancel another tour, this time to the Continent - neither of us are back to fit yet - but still we can be getting on with this sort of work.
In case you'e wondering, I'm not singing in a wardrobe, but close lol.   We live in a small cottage and when we need to separate the vocals and guitar, then Tom has mikes in practically every room of the house.   We once did an album in a friends' studio and the vocal booth actually was inside the wardrobe - that's where the best natural sound in the room was.   At that time I had illusions about going in to one of those big studios you see on TV, like Abbey Road - this is closer to reality for most musicians.   I'll try and get a pic some time with the house on cabled up.

2. Knitting 

- on the needles at the minute I have two projects running as well as lots of small trial bits as well - my head's buzzing with ideas there as well as in my music.  But the main ones are a summer cardigan in a crazy multi coloured wool called Bamboozle from King Cole which I found at the Knit and Stitch show in Dublin last October ... It is such fun and really quick to knit up.   And a wonderful green wrap that I'm slowly trickling away at - in Cascade Heather - lovely wool.   

3. Reading

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.
I've had this book on my shelf for years and for some reason didn't get around to it.      OMG - wonderful - suspense without violence and fabulously written.  In fact it won The Orange Prize for Fiction in 2002.   I loved, loved, loved this book - couldn't put it down.  It would make a marvellous film I thought and then when searching for a pic on line today I spotted that it was made into a film back then, starring Julianne Moore.   The book was inspired by the Chilean hostage crisis of the mid 90s.

From Goodreads - In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.  Read more 

4. In the garden/by the sea

Nearly gone now .... But still worth a pic ... Bluebell time and the bluebell wood at Warrenpoint has been in full bloom for nearly 3 weeks - this woodland stretches for about half a mile alongside the motorway and is simply stunning.  I wrote a song called I Still Think of You for my father, passing this bluebell wood several years ago and this is the first time I've managed to actually get in and walk around it.
We have some wild bluebells at the bottom of the garden as well and between them and the birds pairing up and the rabbits bouncing around, there's been plenty to keep me amused without having to go very far from home.  Tom reckons that he needs another half dozen rabbits and then won't need to be mowing the lawn.  

5. Watching

Danny Collins - I really enjoyed this feel good film starring Al Pacino based on a true incident that happened to a wonderful English folk singer whom I've known vaguely for years - Steve Tilston.   A letter was discovered written to him by John Lennon 40 something years after it had been written.   The letter had John and Oko's home phone number on it, along with an invite to call them and discuss the argument about whether or not being famous would change your creativity.

The film of course is a Holywoodised version and is not heavy watching by any means, but we thought it was great fun and it has a wonderful soundtrack of John Lennon music.   Well worth the watch.

And just as a bonus, here's a link to Steve Tilston himself, who is still one of the stars of the folk circuit.

Thanks to the folks at FAST for hosting Five on Friday bloghop

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Kindness Challenge 2017

I'm looking forward to joining in with the annual Kindness Challenge organised by Niki at the Richness of a Simple Life blog starting on Monday and running for 7 weeks - there's still time to join in if you'd like to.

To start with Niki has asked us to set an intention.  Intention setting is something I'd like to experience more of in my life - I tend to run at life and then wonder why I feel so overwhelmed or dragging behind, so this is a lovely way to start this challenge.

I suppose my intention is to be kinder to myself, to consciously spread more kindness around me and to contribute to bringing more joy to the world.  I consider myself a kind person to start with, but there's always room for more.

The going's been tough over the past few months and as a result we've had to take some hard decisions to cancel work and change plans which I'm not happy about.   So I"m looking forward to following along to help buoy my spirits and to not add to the overwhelming onslaught of negativity everywhere we turn at the moment.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Misreading posts

Every dog has its day, isn't that what they say?   And I suppose it was only a matter of time, until wool or yarn got its day as well:)   Today, or so I thought - is World Yarn Day - and who am I to argue with that one?  But when I reread the drool worthy newsletter that came in, I realised it was Yarn Shop Day for that particular brand...  Good job I don't live in Yorkshire!!!!
Duh!!   However, my basket of brightness still looks good in the sunshine streaming through the window this morning and is keeping my head from running off with all the things I need to be getting on with this week before heading to Germany next weekend.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Scavenger Photo Hunt April 2017

I've been terribly slow getting back into taking photos so it's lovely to join back in with Hawthorn's Scavenger Photo Hunt (albeit a few days late).

1. New

Starting work on our new CD - so excited to be playing with these guys.

2. Rust

My rusty old gate is certainly looking better with the new clematis I planted last year.

3. Box

My box for the last couple of days  - singing behind that screen, tucked in-between all the drums and listening to Steve playing guitar in the other room through the headphones

4. Ingredients

The perfect ingredients for an afternoon off

5. Begins with ... D

We had a couple of very misty nights a while back
and I was struck by the trees through the window of our front door.

6. Mechanical

The tuning heads on my guitar have been driving me crazy for the past two days
Off to the doctor with them tomorrow ... that's what passes for mechanics in my world at the minute.

7. Something seasonal

Oh love of my life - bluebells.  At the wood at Narrowwater Castle outside Warrenpoint

8. Recently finished

Terrible picture, but I have recently finished this shawl!! 

9. Begins with ... R

I've had this RED tulip in a vase on the windowsill for over a week and it's getting more translucent with each day - fabulous colour. 

10. My own choice

Bundoran, Co. Donegal

So, that's it for this month... Check out Hawthorn's list for May - it's up already- and join in next month if you have time.  

Monday, 1 May 2017

Blessings of Bealtaine - Beannacht Libh

Bealtaine is the 2nd major festival of the Celtic Calendar marking the start of Summer, although here it's actually colder now than it was at Christmas.
I've written more extensively about the mythology here (The May Morning Dew) and here (Bealtaine).

Today I just wanted to send you blessings and joy of the season.   Beannacht Libh (blessings on you, literally in Irish).

The primroses and bluebells are splendid and Spring has been a joy to watch and all feels well with the world when you turn off the television and the news.

My blogging friend Denise at Temenos of the Blessing Light often talks about joy and blessings and in her recent series for the AtoZ challenge I was struck by one of the words she featured - Benison - an old word for blessings.   Her blogs are a joy to read - so today I'm sending you benisons, blessings, benediction, beannachtaĆ­.

And a song for the day that's in it.  This is heart wrenching - Isla Cameron singing One Morning in May from the film Far from the Madding Crowd.

Friday, 28 April 2017

How the spaceman helped the autistic boy

I love this story from Limavady near Derry.

It's about a young autistic boy who had hardly spoken and never managed to string a sentence together until the age of seven when he watched Tim Peake take off to the International Space Station and joined in the countdown much to his mother's surprise.

Since then, Grayden hasn't stopped talking, is fascinated by Space and has even met Tim.   Read more about it here.

Joining in today with the We Are The World Bloghop - spreading good news to balance out all the negative stuff in the world today.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Happy Easter

The bunnies are out in our garden again although I can't get them to sit still long enough for a photo! But this little chap sat quite happily last year.

Have a lovely break whether you celebrate Easter or Passover or perhaps you're preparing for Bealtaine the following week.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Spring in the air

Hi everybody - I've been away for a while - sort of keeping an eye on some of your posts, but not quite getting my mojo back to post regularly just yet.  In fact, I'm going through a bit of an indecisive interlude - I can't quite see where my blog is going... no doubt something will come up soon and inspire me again.
These primroses seem really odd to me - several blooms on one stem.  Have you ever seen ones like them? 

In the meantime spring is slowly taking hold which means it's nearly time to get back out on the road again.  To start our year's gigging we're heading over to Yorkshire for a folk club concert in Skipton the week after  Easter, then up to Scotland for a couple more - one outside Glasgow and then the third at the Edinburgh Folk Club which will be a very sad occasion for us, as the organiser there, Paddy (Eberhardt) Bort, whom we've known for nearly 30 years, passed away suddenly a few weeks back.  But it will still be lovely to get back to see old friends, revisit Edinburgh for a couple of hours and have a few days up in Fife afterwards before coming back home for a mad couple of weeks running around and then off to the Continent.

And, drum rollllllll, we've started work on a new CD of original songs which I quite foolishly have committed to launching at Fiddlers Green Festival at the end of July!   Deadlines focus the attention mightily .... I hope lol   My energy is still not back on par -  one late night and I'm half dead for two days and my other half's not a lot better at the minute - so we're going to have to be ultra careful for these next couple of trips.

Anyway the spring colours and the blasts of afternoon sunshine over the last couple of days, and the sounds of the birds as they look for nests is enough to brighten the heart.

More traditional

I hope you're having a smashing weekend wherever you are and a good week to come.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St Patrick's Day

The Winter's nearly over when St Patrick's Day comes around - there's blossom on the trees and the whin bushes are in their full glorious yellow.  Today it's not sure whether it's Winter or Spring, but warmer days are on the way for sure.

I'm only just recovering from the pneumonia that flattened me although I have been getting out a little bit each day for the past week.  Normally I'm a terrible patient and will not stay in bed, but this time I was very willing..  On the bright side, it's been a great way of getting through the winter - it feels like it's flown by!!  Hibernation has a lot going for it lol.

And now something a little different for St Patrick's Day
Meet the Gaelic singing Muslim cleric
I'd like to introduce you to Sheikh Muhammed al Hussaini who is an imam and a singer of traditional Irish songs.
He is a fellow in Islamic Studies at the Westminster Institute in London, from where he has frequently criticised the actions of Islamic extremists, and at some personal cost.
Muhammad Al-Hussaini fell in love with Irish music a few years ago and has been singing ever since. He is an Irish speaker and sings in the sean nos style and also plays fiddle and whistle.

Here is a clip of him singing on Channel 4 news last St Patrick's Day.  Once upon a long ago when I lived in Dubai, I felt there were a lot of similarities between the Arab and Irish languages - Muhammed's voice is a natural in singing in Gaelic (sean-nos literally means 'old bones' and is a very traditional, highly ornamented style of Irish singing).

Muhammed is part of an international peace think tank based in England and recently he spoke in court in defence of a fundamentalist Christian preacher, Pastor McConnell, from Belfast who preached from the pulpit on the evils of Islam.  In Muhammed's view and that of most other lay and religious people, the man should be allowed to say what he wants, even if we disagree with him and this imam was prepared to speak on behalf of the man who had demonised his own religion.  To him and to other peace activists, freedom of speech is the most important thing.

The Music of Healing - A higher form of disagreement

We're Catholics and we're Protestants
We're Muslims and we're Jews
And we're some who are none of the above.
But we've gathered here together in Rostrevor by the sea
By decree of humanity and love.
- Tommy Sands

In the past week, alongside my good friend Tommy Sands, both Muhammed and Pastor McConnell spoke at a Music of Healing event here in the village and the following day joined with thinkers, victims of the Troubles, and heads of various religious congregations in Ireland - Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, to come up with a declaration for a higher form of disagreement.  Representatives of local monasteries and the integrated school were also present as were members of the non religious section of our community.  I'm so sorry to have missed the public concert, but the village has been  buzzing with discussion about all that was said.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Music of Healing listen here to Tommy being interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster about the event.  This is an annual event - a mixture of debate and music - which Tommy has been hosting since before the Good Friday Agreement 19 years ago, giving a space to (mainly) politicians from opposing sides of our divided community a platform to speak in peace and to have a higher form of disagreement.

By the way, the song "The Music of Healing" (trying to find a recording of it to share with you but my system is not having any of it - but you can check it out on iTunes or Spotify if you have either)it was co-written and co-performed by Pete Seeger and Tommy Sands.
Pete Seeger and Tommy Sands

So Happy St Patrick's Day to you and yours and may peace and tolerance be the main focus of all our lives in the coming months and years.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Bread and Roses

Happy International Women's Day

And a big shout out to all my lovely women friends around the world.  This day of solidarity has had so much significance over the years but is only starting to grow in my awareness
in recent times.  I've been off classes for ages now, so I've made a special effort to start back tonight and have some special songs to sing for the day that is in it.

This is Bread and Roses - It originated from a speech given by Rose Schneiderman; a line in that speech ("The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.") inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. 

Isn't that a timely reminder in these days of plenty for many of us and of more equality for more of us, that we need to look after our spirit as well as our bodily needs.

This clip is taken from the film Pride about the Miner's Strikes - a terrible terrible time in England.  Although this song originated in a women's cause, it has become one of the most poignant protest songs anywhere in the world and has been sung in many languages.

Best wishes to you all.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Yarn Along: Reading and Making

Reading and knitting - two of my favourite pastimes.

I used to think I was a good knitter.   Well, I am ... a good knitter - I've always got something on the needles, usually more than one thing.   But I've recently discovered that I know very very very little about the subject.  One of the plus points of being laid up in bed for an extended length of time is that I've had loads of time to look around short reads - i.e. blogs - and I've found so many great knitting blogs and it has really recharged my interest and enthusiasm.

So I'm joining in the Yarn Along today, run by Ginny at Sweet Things for the first time.  The point of this blog hop is to share what you're knitting and what you're reading.   Some of these other knitters are quite amazing and there are some good ideas for reading as well.

So this is my first attempt at knitting socks - it's been slow going over the past few weeks,  but thanks to the brilliant instructions of Winwick Mum and her Sockalong, I've finally nearly got my first pair of hand knit socks.  Woohoo..  I love the wool too - Regia sock yarn self striping wool.  I was shamed into this by the lovely Amy at Love Made My Home who, although she is a fabulous crocheter,  started knitting by knitting socks!  You what?!  So, finally caught up.

Reading, I've finally slogged my way to the end of Edith Wharton's "Age of Innocence".   She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature with this novel in the 1920s.  I'm sure at the time it was scandalous and a great look behind the scenes of the New York elite, and the descriptions are superb and suitable claustrophobic and paranoid, but I found it hard going and frankly boring.  However against my usual rule of if it doesn't hold my attention leave it there, I ploughed through to the end and I'm glad I did, sort of - there's a different rule for classics isn't there?  Although I confess that I diverted for a day in the middle to read the first Dr Siri Mystery which was brilliant - more about him at a future date.

Monday, 20 February 2017

European Tree of the Year competition

Dear Friends,
There is still time to help us out and vote for our Holm Oak which won the NI tree of the year and is now in the competition for European Tree of the year.   You have to give 2 votes when you register and even if you give us your second vote it will help us tremendously. Voting closes on 28th February.  

The Holm Oak in Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor won NI Tree of the Year.
It is now one of the contenders for European Tree of the Year,
 the winner of which will receive money to help protect the old tree and shore it up.  
We are all very proud of our corner of the world and there's an amazing energy in the village to promote tourism.   For many years the North of Ireland was starved of tourists due to our troubled past.   Now gradually the number of visitors is increasing and here it seems that everyone is involved in one way or another in doing things to help out.  Promoted by Light 2000, this tree initiative, in an area of outstanding beauty, is yet one more way to put us on the map.   Please help out.  

I wrote about the Holm Oak, from Old Homer's own perspective here.  

You can vote HERE or at the link at the bottom of the page.  

This is a piece from the Newry and Mourne Tourist Board. 
Did you know in ancient Greece the leaves of the holm oak were used to tell the future and they were also used to make crowns to honour people...?  
If trees could talk we know he'd say, please vote for the #holmoak in Rostrevor! He can't vote himself though - he needs us all to take a moment and vote for him. We could have the best tree in Europe here in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.  
Please share this plea for votes and ask your friends throughout the world to support our campaign. Thanks šŸ˜ƒ 
Voting closes 28 Feb! #Europeantreeoftheyear

Many thanks for your support.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Five Windows

I jinxed myself putting up my last post about colds - I'd been feeling poorly for a few days and couldn't get my head into thinking of anything to write and that was the only post I'd ready to go.   Well.  I've been in bed since ... the same thing as before Christmas - it looks like a lung infection which hasn't cleared - so back on yet another course of antibiotics and I must confess I am starting to feel marginally brighter this evening but still not enough energy to talk much.

With no real concentration for reading I'd been looking through some photos to see what we were at in February for the past few years (for 3 consecutive years I've been away and sick - really will have to look at this)  - but I found these that will give me a Five for Friday.  I'm joining in today with Amy's weekly blogshop - at Love Made My Home.

I've always loved windows.  Here are some from our travels.

1. Oradour sur Glane
I wrote about this martyr village in France a few years ago - the link will take you there if you're interested.   De Gaulle insisted it was left exactly as it was to remember the atrocities of World War 2.  The most moving place I've ever been or seen.
Rusted and left to remember

2. Castle Caldwell in Co. Fermanagh.
This old castle is near to where I grew up, on the shores of Lough Erne.  The owners were the founders of Belleek Pottery.  Today it is lovely park to walk around, full of bluebells in spring.  These windows make me think of Maid Marian and Robin Hood, although it's not nearly as old as that (late 1700s I think)

Abandoned from another era

3.  Now where would you think I was here?  :)  Two Februarys ago wandering around Scotland, I took this first picture purely because I love that shade of blue - if memory serves me correctly it's in Stranraer.  But when I was looking back on photos it made me think of how much a name can suggest a place.
Shades of blue

I couldn't choose between these two .... The tourist shop below leaves no doubt as to place.  I couldn't resist it - the colours were magic in it - even though I can't stand tourist shops.
Buy a memory

4. Autumn in rural Germany
At our friends house in Neuwartensleben.
5. The cool of the shade
In Dubai museum - a traditional Arab home

Thankfully I have a few more days before I need to be fully on again - and another 10 days before the next gig - so I'm going to lie low to see if I can crack this thing - actually there's no choice in the matter - energy is still appallingly low.   They're sending me for a CT scan because the last two X-rays have shown something up on my lungs - but that'll take a couple of months at least, so it can't be too urgent and hopefully this second antibiotic will do the trick.

Have a lovely week ...