Saturday, 28 February 2015

the ordinary

Now that the mornings are finally brightening it is time to get back to early morning walks. Between 7.00 and 7.30am I stumble outdoors to feed the dogs and then we set off for our walk which takes us along quiet lanes sometimes dusted with snow, sometimes under grey clouds, sometimes under blue skies. We hear the raven's throaty call, see ducks rising from the marshy wooded roadside, listen to the singing of the frogs. We walk this walk, the dogs and I, each morning with footsteps taking us past all the familiar sights. The fields, the drumlins, the wind stubbed trees, the tumbling stone walls, the hedges, the bubbling stream, the simple, the ordinary, the peace, the peace, the peace.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

wintry reading

I finished I Capture the Castle and totally, totally loved it! What to read next though? Well, bearing in mind we'd had a recent fall of snow and it's still very wintry feeling I decided to go with The Snow Child. I'd read reviews on blogs ages ago and since I am not an early adapter it has taken me this long to get round to reading it. It can be a problem when you hop from one book to another that you have the wispy reminiscences of your previous companion caught in your mind as you start your new relationship but I have to admit I am now deep in the wooded landscape of frozen Alaska in the 1920s waiting to see how this fairy-tale will play out...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

kitchen aid

Comfort in the cold - freshly squeezed juice, morning light on the (very messy) dresser and the spindly winter trees. It's been cold and wet here with the odd dusting of snow. Enough for us to know that we are still in the firm grip of winter. The dogs are filthy, the house is filthy, the roads are potholey, we wake to the drum of rain and we climb into bed to the drum of rain. Yes, it's winter. But that can only mean one thing. Spring isn't too far away.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Have you seen Richard Linklater's Boyhood yet? Filmed over 12 years it follows the life of a young boy, Mason, and his ever changing (blended) family. It is an epic in every sense but it also focuses closely on the mundane too. You watch these children (Mason and Samantha, his sister) grow in front of your eyes and you get the sense that childhood- that sweet, special, protected time is fleeting - Harry Potter and Gameboys give way to drugs and drinking but more importantly you understand that the boy shapes the man, that those experiences and impressions from their tender years form the adolescent and that adolescent becomes an adult. I felt quite sad coming out into the freezing night air and some of my girlfriends I was with said they were going home to hug their kids while they still could... Kevin often says to me 'subh milis ar an doras' which is a slight bastardisation of a line from an Irish poem which reminds us that all those messy, jammy fingerprints left by children will fade fast and one day everything will be clean but the little hands which made the mess will be gone. Worth remembering.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

rainy days

Oh, what to do on a rainy afternoon? The day had started so nicely too. The only thing is to light the fire and try not to feel guilty about settling down to watch a favourite film. Now Margaret Rutherford may not be everyone's idea of a screen goddess, but she is mine (I relate very completely to the double chin and her sartorial style). So while the roast lamb is cooking I'm going to sneak away and hope that the boys don't realise I'm missing - Murder Ahoy awaits!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

on love

"Phoebe Wahl, senior in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. Creates  tiny magical worlds." ❤ Her charming art
illustration by Phoebe Wahl
May your weekend be filled with people and things you love - have a gentle St. Valentine's Day!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

badly needed

After a very tough day we went to see The Decemberists play in Vicar St. in Dublin. It was such a good night- they brought the house down, playing a mix from old and new albums and ended with a mighty performance of the Mariner's Revenge Song (watch this it's long but fantastic!) which required lots of screaming on the audiences part as the whale ate the sailors. Lucky old UK - they get lots of shows and then they move on to Europe before heading back to the States. Being able to scream and jump and listen to some of your favourite music is very life affirming - a human need.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

february light

Oh the light at this time of year! Amazing fiery sunsets, foggy mornings when you'd believe the whole world was tucked in a blanket of softest grey and maybe the light will never get through again. Fizzy bright skies and a tangle of brambles guarding a field touched by the sun. And perhaps the nicest light of all - the glow of candlelight as evening falls.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

the female mind

Oh so cosy Scandinavian log cabins
image from pinterest
Having read the Moomins to my children and several of Tove Jansson's adult books (although I really do feel the Moomins have a lot of sage advice that most grown-ups would benefit from) I'm hankering after small spaces. Warm, cosy, nesting spaces. My needs would be simple. A wood stove, a coffee pot, a cast iron cooking pot or two. A wood supply and a comfortable bed would be nice. A hot shower. Books and bookshelves (of course). A fairly limitless supply of chocolate. By fairly limitless I mean totally limitless. Somewhere for the dogs. Somewhere for the children. Oh no, I can't move in here... it's too crowded...I need space, endless frontier-like space... and chocolate.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


I have been just a bit bookish lately. I finished A Meal in Winter (haunting and sad) and was going to start Testament of Youth but, oops, I accidentally bought a little pile of books and I fell into I Capture the Castle instead. From the opening line "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."  I have been swept along to a ramshackle English castle in the 1930s where the Mortmain family are sliding into genteel (but actually horrid) poverty. Narrated by Cassandra Mortmain, a girl on the edge of womanhood, it has been a charming, eccentric and at times hilarious read. I'm half way through and am anxious not to finish it too quickly. That's what I love about books - all so different, all so good.

Lovely book cover illustration by Eden Cooke