Little heart to post much these days as I deal with tragedy. It has been a strange Big C year: first my tests, thankfully clear; then my daughter's procedure to remove early abnormal cell growth; and now my mum with full blown disease. Not much more to be said right now.
So this is bizarre. As one commenter here said "if the Irish Ambassador to Canada tackled a native Canadian protestor at a ceremony in Ottawa, would he not be recalled immediately?" The fact is Ambassador Vickers shamed the Irish police who were there. It was their job to deal with the situation, not his. The protestor was shouting, he was not violent, and the Ambassador's manhandling of him was, in legal terms, an assault and in social terms, a gross and reckless over-reaction. Ambassador Vickers was undoubtedly a hero in Canada but this act was not heroic. If, as Prime Minister Trudeau says, he was acting spontaneously as a former policeman then he is not fit to be a diplomat. They are required to be diplomatic! Ambassador Vickers needs to do the right thing and resign, saving the Canadian government further embarrassment by having to recall him.
Just finishing up my first year of an intensive Art & Design course which included metalwork, woodwork, textile art & print, drawing, painting, ceramics, desktop publishing, maths and communications. Phew. It has been fabulous. Brain food. Creative inspiration. Mad fun. And, god, making things is so much more interesting and rewarding than bloody writing. (Should I be saying that?) Here are a few things I made from scrap metal, using metal lathe, welding iron, angle grinder and enamelling kiln - and from blocks of wood, using wood lathe to turn, spindle and off-centre turn. Note: the beautiful paintings which inspired the lamp are by Y.M. Whelan, my brilliant sister. You can find her gallery in Toronto here: www.yumart.ca.
A friend of mine recently told me about his experiences working in a call centre in India. As most of us know, the centres set up sections to look like the country they deal with - posters, maps etc - and one works in a particular country. My friend worked in Canada and he said it was such a pleasant experience despite the fact people were annoyed and having problems with their service. In fact, they tended to apologise for complaining! Well done, Canada. Contrary to that, I'm afraid, was the experience of his friends who worked in the American section. (Sorry, America but this is a true story.) They suffered constant stress from the abusive nature of the calls they received. Now perhaps Americans might think this makes Canadians push-overs. But, you know, people give you better service when you treat them like human beings.
A few photos from the St. Patrick's Day parade in Bray today. Have to say it was the best I've ever seen and there was a huge turnout of spectators. It was the Mermaid Art Centre who gave us the gorgeous costumes of iced buns, girls in pink and the piano key twirlers. The other photo is my mum and me. Mum is the one on the right! Jaze, we look like sisters. At 92, she's definitely ageing better than me ( yes I spelled ageing right, that's the European version). It was a great day, cool but sunny. As is tradition, all the family met on the corner of Florence Road and Main Street to enjoy the parade and then we retired to mum's house for Irish coffees, snacks, chats and a singalong. My niece Elise was a star singing "The Foggy Dew" and accompanying herself on the guitar. Her mum, my sister Lorraine, made the Irish coffees. My daughter Finn is still in the West but will be home Monday for a few days, hurrah.
Or is it just me? I've been undergoing tests at my doctor's request due to some early warning signs and the fact that one of my sisters had it (but she's all right now, hurrah). I've mentioned the situation, along with references to hospital visits, MRIs and what not to family and various friends and the degree to which they've either made a vague enquiry promptly forgotten or have totally ignored the news is astonishing. Except the sister who had it, of course, who immediately skyped me to find out what was what. Is that it? Except for those who have had it, are people so terrified by the Big C that they simply cannot countenance the very thought of it and go immediately into denial? Well I hope that's it ... as opposed to me being surrounded by people who could care less!
So here's me (frizzy blonde) setting off with my sister Geni, her husband Paddy, my brother-in-law James and his daughter Elise for the last big march against water charges and austerity before the election next week. And the second pic shows Sharon Briggs, running for the People Before Profit party in my riding in Bray. She'll be getting my number 1. We were about an hour at the Garden of Remembrance waiting for the thousands to come down Parnell Square. The numbers were amazing. I couldn't see the beginning ahead of me nor the end behind me. When we turned at Christ Church and headed for Dame Street we could see down the side streets to where thousands more were marching who hadn't reached the turn yet! A fantastic feeling of democracy in action. I felt I was back in the 70s when people knew they could influence the ruling elites. I couldn't believe the Irish Times reporting "several thousand" attended. Why do the media need to lie? Or is it simply that they are so lazy they don't even investigate and just repeat what the powers-that-be tell them. I knew the Irish Independent is nothing more than a mouthpiece for its owner Denis O'Brien but I've now lost all respect for the IT as well.
I was born in Ireland and grew up in Toronto, Canada with my seven sisters and two brothers. Left home at seventeen to live in a commune, then headed off across Canada with my pal, Carole, and we hitch-hiked around California for months, then back up to Vancouver(Van as we called it then) and across Canada with two more pals, Linda and Peggy. A year later, headed off to Malaysia and Borneo with Jeunesse Canada Monde/Canada World Youth for a year. Baik-lah! Back home, went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto (posh blokes) while also joining the Canadian Naval Reserve as an Officer Cadet. Trained on the east and west coasts of Canada every summer. Great fun. Then what? Hmm. Started to write books, dodgy personal life (that's personal but let's just say it's been a long time between drinks) started to wander around the world, had a darling daughter, settled down in Ireland, wrote more books.