Monday, August 28, 2006


Finished book Friday just in time for the Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures, THE BEST ANNUAL FESTIVAL IN IRELAND BAR NONE.
Here's who I saw:
On the mainstage, Papa Gee and Colours Afrobeat Foundation - the latter were the most beautiful women with the biggest bottoms I have ever seen! And Trans-Global Underground with the Trio Bulgarka. While bopping around like a maniac to these guys, I had one of those epiphanic moments. Noticed the gang in front of me were in their teens and thought for a sec, "jaze, am I bit old for this lark?" and then of course I looked up at the stage and who were we all groovin' to? Bulgarian grannies!!!
On smaller stage: Lasairfhíona, hottest new thing on Irish-language and Irish music scene. A voice of honey. Will do a separate blog on her.
Workshop/talk: Sounds Ancient - about ancient Irish musical instruments beginning with stones with holes in them (hey, if you blow in them, it sounds like a sea gull's cry while three holes gives you a mini-flute!), Bronze Age trumpets, a replica of the Wicklow pipes - dated to 2600 B.C, found in 2003 AD near Bray - giant panpipes made of yew wood with complicated mouth pieces. Amazing.
Here's what I bought: beaded bracelets, shell earrings, a green wraparound skirt, mango tea, a gourd shaker.
Here's what I ate: falafel with tabouleh plus lemonade with mint, potato rosti with homemade salsa, and a crunchy Indian snack from Mother Amma's stall.
Here's the information stalls I visited: Concern's village, Mother Amma, and Médecins Sans Frontieres. The latter are my heroes. If I had any kind of skill that was useful to them, I would volunteer, but I don't, so all I can do is support them with money and advertising. Will do a separate blog on them shortly.
FINALE. Out clubbing to Sudanese gospel rapper, Immanuel Jal. Will blog him separately also. I was mesmerized and traumatized by what this amazing young man had to sing and say. He was a boy soldier at 8 years of age. Here's his CD: Ceasefire (2005). I'm going to buy it tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Got my mouth wired yesterday for some serious teeth improvement. It involved buckets of anaesthetic (asked the dental surgeon to freeze my head as I'm a wuss. He obliged, almost.) a scalpel that felt like a saw, and a leprechaun's jackhammer. I keep thinking, "actually, it's not so bad,"until the painkillers wear off. This is just the beginning of a long painful process that will see a dream fulfilled. Check out the bockety smile in the profile pic and you'll see what I mean. Meanwhile, only 4 more chapters and the book is finished! Yahoo.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Quick post as I am knackered from overwork and must sleep before doing it all over again tomorrow. End in sight but somewhere next week. Did take a break from the deadline to go hillwalking on Sunday. A glorious day of sunshine and wind and great chat with fellow hillwalkers - pics to follow - but the greatest laugh was discovering the true name of one of the mountains we climbed. Tonelagee. Tón le gaoth. "Arse to the wind." Ah, the Irish. You can't beat them for a great place-name.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quam Ob Rem

Which means "for what reason." Okay, the truth. The veritas. I have a box of Latin vocabulary cards on my desk and I like to do a word or two a day. Keep the lingua fresh in my mens. (Must find out if such a thing exists for Irish.) And the reason I was thinking about Loretto is that one of my old school chums, Ellen, now called Elena, sent me an email. This is the fabulous thing about the Web. People are contacting me out of the blue; my past keeps washing up on the shores of my life, bringing all kinds of interesting things. I am going to get together with a bunch of my high school buddies the next time I am in Toronto. That will be November this year. I'm doing readings and talks at St Michael's College (U of T), McGill in Montreal, and some libraries and bookstores. Will post dates and venues closer to the time on my Bookmark Book Blog.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ama et Fac Quod Vis

Yes, Latin is my lingua dilecta, favourite language. Well, after Irish. Ama et fac quod vis. "Love and do whatever you wish." That was the motto Mother Elaine, my Latin teacher, gave us back in Loretto College, Brunswick Avenue, Toronto. I still don't really understand what it means. If you have love in your heart, you can do no wrong? If you love what you are doing, the sky's the limit? As long as you love, you can do whatever the hell you want? Needless to say, the latter interpretation was the one I chose back in high school but I thought it rather odd advice from a nun. Now I know loads of people had nightmarish experiences with the Catholic clergy back in the pre-Vatican II days of Roman Catholicism and many consider themselves "recovering Catholics." I have a few bones, myself, to pick with my old church, but I have no complaints whatsoever against the order of Loretto sisters. They were fabulous. Most of them were young, pretty nuns with great intellects. They were feminists quite early on and made a point of telling us "make your mark in the world, girls, you are not only here to be wives and mothers." Quite a different message from what the rest of society and the Catholic Church at that time were saying, let me tell you. I have the fondest memories of all my teachers, both nuns and lay persons, in that school. I loved being there.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

All is Well

Just blogged on my Book Blog how well things are going with the new book. But as I enter the last week before my deadline I must keep the head down and write write write. However, here's a little pic of me as Gwendolena (Mrs Merlin) dancing on a huge stage in front of over 1,000 people (yee gods). Not bad for an Isadora Duncan imitation. Face could have done with a bit of theatre paint, though. Thank you Brenda Sutton of Mythic Journeys for sending this. (See And thank you to the wonderful photographer, Beth Gwinn. It was great meeting you, Beth!