Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cold But Good

Not long back from Christmas skite into the West. First stop was the hilly wilds of County Sligo and Finn's Dad's big round house. Finn was working the day before Christmas Eve so we left in the Christmasmobile late that night. The car was strewn with tinsel and the singing Santa head went in the back with the stuffed cat. We had hot punch in a flask, mince pies and chocolate treats, and sang along with the carols on the tapedeck. Yeah, we're Christmas bunnies (or is that reindeer? elves?) It was a good journey up and we arrived in time for soup and bed. Christmas Day itself was great - lots of guests, food, charades, and watching of films (Mama Mia & Once). We relaxed St Stephens's Day and then headed further west and south for Ballyvaughan, County Clare. Here's a photo of window of house there and the Burren hills beyond. Not long back. There's a new year's party and then it's down to work. I've a ton of it for 2009 - books and film projects. More about that on my Book Blog. HAVE A GOOD ONE, Y'ALL!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dorky Christmas Songs

Jaze, the Christmas tree is starting to look a little wilted. That's Finn's fault. She makes us get it early. I'm wrapping the last of my presents and listening to various seasonal albums. Some thoughts on the lyrics of same:
1) I wish it could be Christmas every day. Really? Ham and turkey and pudding and custard every day? Spending more money that you've got every day? Cooped up with your family every day? Hmm.
2) There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas. Duh. And since the song is part of Bandaid's 'Feed the World' one would think that no snow would be a good thing for, say, refugees in tents who are used to subtropical weather.
3) He (a spaceman) hung in the sky like a star. Whoa. Should we put ET figurines in our crib scenes along with the Magi? (Are angels really aliens?) Skip the Birth of Christ, the big story here is the alien with a message that goes "nah nah nah nah nah nah nah."
4) Keep the vampires from your door. And this is on a Christmas album why?
5) How did Christmas Day become "Saviour's Day." Not that St Cliff can do any wrong. Didn't he write that song "Our Father"?
Okay, enough seasonal cynicism.
That's a wrap.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Solstice

Heading off for Solstice Celebration tonight at Le Chéile in Newcastle. There will be meditation, shamanic drumming, a bonfire and maybe some dancing. It's an all nighter with sunrise by the sea and then communal breakfast. Looking forward to it though I am exhausted with Christmas shopping (so is my bank account!). Nearly done. Meanwhile here's a lovely photo that came with my University of Toronto Alumni Newsletter. Red bird and red berry were caught on camera outside the Benson Building. Oh, lucky Canadians, you have snow! (Photo credit: Caz Zyvatkauskas)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Silly Season

Yes, I am well into the Christmas madness, though keeping calm for the most part. (Meditation, methinks.) The tree is up, there
are lights sparkling in the window, an old-fashioned crib scene in the porch window (I'm a Christian Buddhist, go figure), 'winter magic' oil burning in the snowman scenter, decorations all over the place, turkey ordered, plans confirmed for trips to Naas (Finn's granddad in nursing home) and then Sligo for Christmas in the Gyreum (http://www.gyreum.com/). Hope it snows, but not before we get there! I confess I am not doing cards this year. Will get back to them next year. Sorry about that folks, but something had to give! Here's a pic of the ginger bread house Finn and her cousin, Alice, made last year. They'll be making another one this year.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Actually, the American bizarro got cut from the film (good editing) and it is quite an excellent documentary. Though it is clearly dealing with the nightmare of a motorway being ploughed through the valley of Tara, the film is not a straightforward protest piece. Instead, the Director explores the bigger questions of control and domination of sacred territory, the archetype of male kingship dominance over female goddess landscape, historical patterns in the will to power over Tara, and so on. The layers show how the ancient northern kings of the Ui Neill, Daniel O'Connell the Catholic Liberator, the British Israelites, Maude Gonne and the Celtic Renaissance, Eamonn De Valera and the Irish Republican movement, all used Tara as a focal point for their efforts to influence the Irish nation. And who is now wielding control over our holy ground? A Spanish consortium and EU funds. As the film shows, this road and the destruction of Irish heritage comes straight from Brussels. The doc is mostly in Irish - hurrah! - but there are English subtitles. I think you can view it online if you go to TG4's website. It's a wonderful production using clips from old movies and news reels as well as interviews and lots of on site action with the protestors. Very sad though. Modern Ireland is a mess. Hopefully the recession will bring the uglification of this beautiful land to a halt.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Teamhair trailer.mov

Here's a peek at Finn's Dad's film on Teamhair/Tara which is being broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday, Dec 3. Don't know why he starts out with an American bizarro, but I'll find out tomorrow when I attend the launch in Dublin. The film is about the history of Tara and the motorway being ploughed through its sacred valley this very minute. More to come after tomorrow's viewing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Robin (The Hooded Man)

Ah, just found this on youtube, thanks to one of my sisters! The television series was a family favourite. The theme music is by Clannad, of course. I am actually working on a similar series, an action adventure set in ancient Ireland with mystical undertones. Early days, yet.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

San Antonio, Texas

Quick post as there are others waiting to use the PC here at NCTE Central. San Antonio is fabulous, I have already seen the Alamo, will post pics when I get home. Eating my way into an altered state. Another luncheon coming up! See my Book Blog for more writerly update.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Worrying Animal

"We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creatures the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still."

Lewis Thomas (1913-1993)
American physician and writer

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I have finally found a meditation group to join. They meet every Thursday at Gorse Hill, the lovely centre on the side of Bray Head which I have mentioned in other posts. The women who run the group are students of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen Master and Peace Worker. I only knew of him vaguely but have become very interested in his teachings. The bell is used for meditation, also walking (indoors and out) and CDs by the gentle-voiced teacher himself. There is also sangha (community) sharing. It's so much easier to meditate in a group. The mind wanders less, as if it is anchored by the presence of others. [photo credit: www.plumvillage.org]

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en

Hee hee hee. I know I used this last year, but it's too good to waste. (My author photo always reminds me of the wicked witch of the west.) I'm all set for the night. The porch has candles lit, a ghost hanging in the window, and a scary figure sitting in the chair holding the chocolate bars, lollipops, and bowl of coins that I throw into bags. Already got two customers. Later my friend Jenny is popping over and we are heading out to view the bonfires and the fireworks that mark Oíche Shamhna (The Eve of Samhain) over here. More on my Book Blog as this is a very special Celtic Festival. In fact, it's New Year's Eve and a time when the world of Faerie (also the Land of the Dead) crosses with our world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Findhorn Now

Here's my dream. I want to end up living in this community. I'll garden, meditate, do workshops, maybe put on writing workshops if they want me to, and also write my books and films. I can't go right away as the time isn't right, but I see it shining like a beacon in my future.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

US Elections

I rarely make political comments on my blog which is strange as I am actually a strong politico. Always have been. One of the reasons I don't is that I am quite cynical about politicians and political parties. It's so obvious that there are good and bad people in every camp. Also, quite frankly, any major established party is heavily backed by business and other monied and powerful interests, so ultimately that is who they serve, not the people who elect them. That said, I would love to see Barack Obama as President of the United States; but whether he can or will bring real change remains to be seen. One thing's certain though, McCain and that crazy woman won't.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hobbity House

Here are some pics I took of the eco-friendly house my friends Marcus and Kate live in with their kids Tíroin, Roisín, and Caspar. I love going to visit them. If I go in the right season, I get to pick berries in the wild berry garden and eat Kate's famous seasonal fruits bread pudding (which I can make, too).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

For Cat Lovers

I have a toy cat that sits on the back of my car seat in place of a noddy dog. (Though, I confess, I really want a noddy dog.) Every time my cat, Emma, gets into the car she jumps up on the back of the seat and wreaks revenge on her rival. Sometimes she bats it to the seat or the floor and other times she pushes it aside and takes over the central position, emphasizing how superior she is. Isn't that hilarious?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

For My Daughter Who Has Left Home

Remember. Home is where you come when it all gets too much, when you are feeling overwhelmed or defeated or unhappy or alone. Here you will be hugged and fed and wrapped in a soft blanket. And as soon as you are feeling strong and confident again, off you may go, without a backward glance, knowing that you are loved. For this is how it should be and always will be for as long as I am here. But remember this also. Years and years from now, when I have passed beyond, and you are feeling overwhelmed or defeated or unhappy or alone; just go inside yourself and I will be there. And you will be hugged and fed and wrapped in a soft blanket. And as soon as you are feeling strong and confident again, off you may go, without a backward glance, knowing that you are loved. For this is how it should be and always will be for as long as you are here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Andrew sings Pie Jesu

Okay, I confess I do love to watch these talent shows from time to time simply because the most amazing gifted people do show up out of nowhere. Like this young man. I mean, you really don't see this angelic voice coming. I'm right there with the ladies weeping in the audience.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tutty's Bar, County Wicklow

This video is from last year's Music Under the Mountains Festival held annually in Hollywood, Co. Wicklow. I went over the mountains via Glendalough on Saturday to enjoy a fine sunny day and great trad music at this year's festival. It made me homesick for Kinvara. Tutty's Bar and the Hollywood Inn and the friendliness of everybody was just like the sessions I used to go to when I lived in the West of Ireland. Craic agus ceol.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I am changing the hosting for my website so it may do down for a few days and thus affect this blog. But don't worry. All will be sorted shortly!

Monday, September 15, 2008

MacCrimmon's Lament - Martyn Bennett

I'm a little in shock here as I have just discovered that this brilliant young man - whom I listen to all the time in the car when I am travelling - died three years ago! How tragic. He is playing in the old style here, but he was also a techno-piper, plugging his bagpipes into electronic gadgets with amazing results. Oh I am so sad. He was only a little while upon the earth. Ochón. Ochón.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Tudors

Lucky me, I was on the set of The Tudors yesterday. It is, of course, being produced in Ardmore Studios, right here in my home town of Bray. Had lunch in the canteen with Kathleen, who is the script supervisor and then we toured some of the sets - the Tower of London prison where poor Sir Thomas More was kept, the King's throne, Prince Edward's little golden cradle (Season 3 is being filmed now), also the main hall where the balls are held. I was in heaven. I love the magic of film sets and I particularly love this series. Outdoor sets include Kilruddery House (around the corner from me) and Powerscourt, a short drive away.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sa Ding Ding - Alive (Sanskrit Version)

Here's who I went to see at the World Culture Festival last weekend. She was STUNNING in every way - her voice, her movements, her costumes, her show, her dancers. She sings in Tibetan, Sanskrit, Mongolian,Chinese, and her own very shamanic language. I understand she is only 23 years old! A rising star. And this video is so magical.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ice Music: Moon Magic

Here's something amazing a friend told me to look at. We were thinking of what kind of music we wanted for a film we are doing together. (No, I can't say anything else about it. Too soon!)Incroyable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Buddhist Bliss

Spent a wonderful weekend at Jampa Ling, my favourite Buddhist Centre, where I go to restore and refresh my body and soul. It was a work weekend so I headed out to toil happily in the garden for two days, weeding the path. (Ah, yes, one must always weed the path of life.) There were morning pujas - I got up at 7:00 a.m.! - and afternoon meditations on the misconception of self, and evening pujas of the White Tara. ("Look with compassion on those of us who are drowning in the ocean of suffering.") Also some magical Tai chi with Romy and Spanish poems from Hera and chats with Des and Bonnie and Theresa and William and Vishnu and Sarah. Also, profound words from Ani-la. Now I'm back at my computer writing and writing. Only three chapters to go!!! (Photo credit: Sarah Wood)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Alice's Rabbit

Dashing about, looking at my watch, more than half-way through book, must keep going. I'm late! I'm late!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Magical Book Sculptures

I posted some of this artist's work over on my Book Blog, but couldn't resist showing some more. She is utterly amazing. Her name is Su Blackwell and here's the link to see more of her work and read all about her: http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=905. That leads you to Stainless Steel Droppings, a magical site. Here's her own website: http://www.sublackwell.co.uk/index.php. You know, I'm thinking of writing to her and asking her may I send her a copy of one of my fairy books. I'd love to see what she would do with it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Roving Soles

Have joined a second hill-walking group as I like the idea of quick hikes into the mountains during the long evenings of summer sunlight. We did the Glencree Valley last night, walking for about two hours until 10:30 p.m. It was still bright at that time. Next Tuesday we head up the Sugar Loaf. Will post the photos when Pat gets around to emailing them to me. I can't use my camera as I have lost the battery recharger. Drat. I'm sure it's somewhere in the house but who has time to look for it? As to why I am so busy ... you will have to check out my Book Blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Circuit of Lough Dan

Well, since I broke my word and blogged on the Book Blog might as well follow suit here. Just got these photos in from Ger Blake, the fearless captain of my hill-hiking group. This was our June walk around Lough Dan in the Wicklow Mountains (more of The Light-Bearer's Daughter territory). That's me crossing the river in white and my sistah, Pat, in front.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Break Time

Taking a break from blogging. My head is full of the two books I am writing with nothing left over for reflective thought. Hoping to go on a little skite around Ireland in the coming weeks which will be my summer holidays (the only possibility right now given too much work and too little money!) Have a good summer y'all, wherever you be.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mythological Ireland

Driving northwest, heading into Roscommon and Sligo, this is what suddenly appears on top of a hill overlooking the highway. I love when art, and public art in particular, calls up the ancient mythology and communal archetypes of a nation. I always get a thrill when I see this. The metallic sculpture by Maurice Harron is called "The Gaelic Chieftain" and is in memory of the 16th century Battle of Curlew Pass.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Seaweed Bath

Not long back from a flying visit to Sligo and Roscommon to see friends. Annie Espana and I headed off to Strandhill for seaweed baths, thanks to a Christmas voucher from Colum. Check out the place: www.voya.ie. Great for a detox and relax if you are ever in the area. You get your own steam room and then you climb into a big bath of hot water filled with the kind of sea wrack and bladder wrack you see in this picture. The water feels absolutely gorgeous, soft and oiled. We were also in Boyle, where Annie used to run a coffee shop before heading off for Alicante with her family. As the town was one of the settings in The Hunter's Moon, I've posted some pics over on my Book Blog.

Monday, June 16, 2008

People of Europe, Wake Up!

Your leaders and your media will tell you that the Irish voted NO because we are ingrates and xenophobic and anti-Europe. You know these are lies. We teach your languages in our schools so that our children can speak with you. We visit your countries and we welcome you to ours. Indeed many of us voted NO on your behalf because we were apalled that you were not given the right by your own governments. We are a pro-Europe nation, but we are also a fiercely independent-minded nation. We fought for hundreds of years to gain our sovereignty. Because our constitution protects our sovereignty it triggered off a fail-safe clause that forced our government to hold a referendum. The Lisbon Treaty was not a treaty. It was a new constitution for Europe. That piece of obfuscation alone tells volumes. In fact, it was the same constitution - somewhat reformed - which the people of Holland and France rejected in their referenda. Did they get a chance to reconsider the reformed version? We are the ONLY people in Europe who had a public debate on this new constitution - and bigod we debated it! - and we are the ONLY people in Europe who had a vote on it. The German and French leaders are already threatening to throw us out or to go ahead without us. This again underscores the lack of democracy in the process.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lisbon Treaty Dilemma

Here I am, two days before the big vote and, like so many Irish people, I am wavering back and forth. I want to vote YES because I support a United States of Europe. I believe this is the best way forward into the 21st century. As someone who grew up in federalist and multicultural Canada, I know this can work. A strong Europe is needed to help balance the power in the world and to confront global warming, global corporations, and global security issues. However, I am genuinely and gravely concerned that the Irish people are the ONLY people in Europe who have the right to vote on this turning point in history! That every other European country has refused its people the right to have a say in the matter makes my nostrils twitch (is there a rat in the room?) and urges me to vote NO. I swear, I can see myself in the polling both, my hand wavering over the two boxes, praying for inspiration.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Derelict Dublin

Here's an interesting blogsite that Swedish Paddy (as I call him) has featured: www.derelictdublin.blogspot.com. It comes under the "horrors of modern Ireland" theme that I began with my Architorture One (more to come, honestly). I'm hoping this blogger won't give up the cause, though I note the last entry was in April. What is being shown is the ugly side of the Celtic Tiger - developers, government corruption, greed, land speculation, fragmented communities, and people losing their shirts and their homes.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Silk Purse

Okay, did I do it or what? (For sow's ear see below.) I think it is truly a thing of beauty and in retrospect, the way I stayed sane - well, reasonably - leading up to my daughter's ordeal. I finished it over the weekend but had to wait for the sun before I could photograph it. I think it has a rather Greek island look, instead of the Spanish and/or Mexican I was going for, but I love it all the same. Now on to the garden itself and the back of the house. A woman's work is never ...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It Has Begun

My daughter set off this morning, along with 49,999 other students to begin the great Irish rite of passage called the Leaving Certificate. These are 3-hour state exams in 8 subjects, following 2 half-hour oral exams in her two languages (Irish and French) and 2 major practicals in geography and art - she made an amazing rod puppet that was really two puppets. Findabhair has been preparing for this for an entire year, working hard, studying hard, and spending long hours in the library. Having gone through the Canadian system, I really have no concept of this barbaric and objectionable approach to education - yes, you can see how I feel about it; is it not difficult enough to be a teenager in this modern world? - but her Dad tells her that the nightmares end at around 35 years of age. She ordered a special breakfast this morning (like the condemned) - a bowl of strawberries and blueberries followed by fried tomatoes and mushrooms with toast and strong tea. As coach and mother, these are the various ways I have encouraged and supported her in the final days of this year-long ordeal:
1) hair tint
2) full body massage by the amazing Sherron
3) Rhodiola (a root extract given to soldiers on the Russian front and London medical interns)
4) Rescue Remedy
5) good luck card with 50 euro (she also received cards from grandmothers, father, and godfather)
6) exemption from all housework.
7) chocolate brownies.
It begins with one exam this morning in English. I'd say she is well able for it as, only half awake, she corrected my use of the word panacea. "Don't you mean placebo, mum?" That's my girl.
Go n'eirí an t'adh leat, a stór!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Neglecting the blogs. Up to eyes in deadlines and Finn's Leaving Certificate ordeal. More anon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Hate Microsoft

Well, the shed is definitely looking terracotta but needs more work, so I won't post a pic till it's beautiful. Meanwhile, I have just about recovered from that computer disaster on Tuesday. I had worked away on Chapter 13 - note the number - a half-day's writing, the first fully written layer down and saved, when I tried to transfer it to a disc. It disappeared. All my work. Gone. It wasn't on the disc nor was it in the file. I searched for it everywhere. There was no warning, no -"are you sure you want to do this?" - nothing. Just poof. Work gone. And I was left with the original file of rough notes. I HATE MICROSOFT. I am definitely getting an Apple for my laptop. I don't care if it entails difficulties transferring files from one to the other. Eventually I will have an Apple desktop as well. I swear, I actually kicked the hard drive I was so pissed.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's All Working Out

Little miracles everywhere. I'm up to Chapter 12 in the new book, Finn has completed two practical exams in art for the Leaving Cert, and the back yard shed is slowly but surely being attended to, i.e. I have finally bought the paint and will get cracking on it this weekend. As you can see by the picture here, it really needs a make-over. I meant the shed. I've bought terracotta for the stone and a lovely brilliant blue for the door and window panes. Will post pic of the finished job, hopefully by Monday!!! (I am always, if anything, an optimist.)

Friday, May 09, 2008


While having breakfast with Finn today - she made croissants with a banana and nutmeg sauce, yum - I somehow ended up talking about Topo Gigio, a little mouse that I loved when I was a child. He appeared from time to time on the Ed Sullivan Show (where I first saw The Beatles too!). As I tried to describe him I suddenly realized I could probably find him on youtube. And here he is!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Labour Day Weekend

It was gorgeous and sunny, but we didn't go away as Finn is studying for her state exams. So I knuckled down too and got going on the back yard. I have a plan for that stone shed which has been staring at me reproachfully for years. I'm thinking a Mexican adobe hut sort of look; terracotta and then bright blue for the door and the paned windows. The whole thing had to be cleaned first - years of cobwebs, spiders' larders (dead bugs), rusty nails, and rotten wood. That's done. Next job: the undercoat. But first I must do some work on my new book. For update see Book Blog.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fairy Amphitheatre

I've been blogging over on my Book Blog about doing creative writing workshops this week at Killruddery House, a beautiful stately home just around the corner from me (!). It's where Lord and Lady Meath live. When you are on the estate - which is open to the public from May to September, see http://www.killruddery.com/ - you have no idea there is a town nearby. It's as if you are out in the middle of the countryside. Here is one of the many fabulous elements of the vast garden. It is a natural amphitheatre where they put on plays. I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream there years ago. You bring a mat or blanket and a little picnic and you sit on the grassy banks and watch the play unfold on the lawn. Utterly magical!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On the Boardwalk

Here's another pic from my Green Earth Book Award trip to Maryland, USA. It's from the day I spent on Assateague, a beautiful conservation area with wild ponies (next blog) and a fabulous beach (see below). This is the boardwalk leading to the beach. I'm using this pic at the moment for my PC screen background. I think it's rather good if I do say so myself.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Living House

Here's an amazing sight I spotted on the outskirts of Berlin, Maryland (quaint town where Runaway Bride was filmed). It has become its own garden, growing trees and weeds and plants out of its body! The flat bit in the front is where the porch simply collapsed. There's something magical here, demanding to be put into a story one day ...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hey Sailor

Spent my last day in Maryland in Annapolis, a lovely quaint city-town that is also the home of the US Naval Academy. Being an old navy gal myself, I really wanted to see the place. Here's the huge gym. Wonderful to see all the young cadets in their black uniforms walking smartly about. I also enjoyed the exhibition that featured a NASA display. You know, I can't understand why the Star Trek franchise hasn't done a spin-off series set in Star Fleet Academy. It's such an obvious winner - teens in school stuff plus military plus outer space and aliens. I mean, what could be more exciting?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Braving America

Had a fabulous time picking up my Green Earth Book Award in America. Will be blogging loads about it here and on my Book Blog. Met so many amazing people. Also got out and about in beautiful Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia). Here's me walking along the Atlantic Ocean - I'm usually on t'other side. Spent the day with Prof Patti Dean of Salisbury U and Pam Spencer Holley, a well-known figure in the American kidslit world. They brought me for lunch at the Atlantic Hotel in the quaint little town of Berlin, where Runaway Bride was filmed. Here's the big bowl of mussels we shared before tucking into our salads. The sauce was sweet grain mustard and chili cayenne, delicious. Thank you Pam and Patti for a great day! (Photos: Patti Dean and OR Melling) See more pics over on my Book Blog.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Delayed Response

Sorry for lack of posting. Dealing with a death in the family. Hope to be back at work next week.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Off to America

... to get my Green Earth prize. May blog from there if time allows!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Canadian Seal Slaughter 2008 - GRAPHIC FOOTAGE

All right, here's the video. I've watched it and it's not as horrific as some of the other ones on youtube which document the seal "hunt." The point is we have to face what we are doing to animals. This is not for food. It is senseless and inhumane slaughter for fashion and fashion accessories.

Shame on Canada!

Yesterday was the beginning of the annual Canadian seal "hunt." I put that in quotations because you can hardly call smashing in the heads of baby seals as they lie on the ice beside their mothers hunting. Despite scientific evidence that the increased quota for the killing of harp seal pups - as young as 3 weeks old! - is endangering the species, the Canadian government continues to approve this cruel and unnecessary slaughter. Ignoring the reality of a diminishing market for seal pup fur, not to mention both country-wide and international outrage, Canadian politicians bow to powerful hunting lobbies and the ridiculous notion that this is somehow a 'manly,' outdoorsy, Canadian event. Belgium and the Netherlands have already banned all seal products while Germany, Italy, and Austria are considering doing the same. Hopefully all of Europe will soon follow suit. The seal fur industry is already in crisis, with a saturated market and the price of seal pelts halved; yet the Canadian government insists on propping up this immoral trade. I could have included a video here of the slaughter that began yesterday, but I just can't. It's too sickening. And this has nothing to do with being a wuss. This is the soul's reaction to the senseless slaughter of young animals, all 275,000 of them. The Canadian seal slaughter is the largest annual killing of marine animals in the world. It is also specifically singled out for its cruel and inhumane methods of inflicting death. For more information go the IFWA, International Fund for the Welfare of Animals, www.ifaw.org and click on Canada.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Rising

Easter is not only a religious festival in Ireland, it also marks a major political anniversary. The 1916 Easter Uprising was the start of the final and successful battle for Irish independence from England. Two brilliant modern films deal with the times that were in it, Michael Collins (with Liam Neeson) and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (with Cillian Murphy). Here is Sinead O'Connor, accompanied by the Chieftains, singing The Foggy Dew, which tells of the Dublin rebellion. Actually the revolution itself was a failure, but the British were really stupid and executed the leaders, mostly school teachers and poets, which created a groundswell of support that eventually led to the War of Independence.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Here are some lovely bluebells to celebrate the day that's in it, compliments of the woods outside my favourite Buddhist Centre, Jampa Ling in County Cavan (mixing my religions here, but hey, the Divine is the Divine). I'll be off to a family do later at my sister Geni's and her husband Paddy's place. There'll be an Easter egg hunt in their big back garden - yes, the adults participate, in fact, we are the worst at scrabbling for the goodies - then lots of eating and drinking and chat over the potluck buffet. I am not doing my usual pasta dish this year but have opted for a glorious dessert: giant organic medjool dates stuffed with creamy mascarpone cheese, each topped with a pecan, then drizzled with maple syrup. You have to taste it to believe it: simple, gorgeous, and about a gazillion calories a bite.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


What did Yeats say? A terrible beauty is born. Well, in modern Ireland, it's the opposite. A terrible ugliness is breeding. We've got motorways ploughing through the sacred lands of Tara and we've got utterly bizarre and inappropriate buildings sicked up here and there. Case in point: this cube. My jaw dropped when I saw it. No points for guessing the architect of this bit of architorture was a Star Trek fan. But who let him - I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that a man did this - inflict his little fantasy on the landscape? I'm not saying it isn't an interesting building, but look at what it faces:
A row of houses where people live. I mean, can you imagine waking up every morning and looking out your window at that? We are the Borg. Your uniqueness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile. And what exactly is this institution, you may ask? None other than the IADT - Insitute of Art, Design, and Technology of Dun Laoghaire. Yep. They are breeding even more architects of architorture in that cube. People of Ireland, you have reason to be afraid. Very afraid. You will be assimilated.
And it's not as if you can't put institutional buildings in residential areas. Here's the local fire station just down the road from the Cube. Amazing to consider, apparently this structure was actually built before the houses in the area, i.e. when the landscape was all fields. One can only assume that the architect - okay, he was probably a man too - took into account that houses were likely to be built here at some point. With that roof, the colour of the brick and so on, the station suits a residential area. Instead of architorture, this is architecture: functional, graceful, elegant.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The King Call

Reliving my youth here with Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy (which I thought for ages was 'Tin Lizzy' because of the way all the Irish people I knew pronounced it!)I've posted him over on my Book Blog as Finvarra and here he is singing about another king along with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. But just look at those legs. They go on forever! They should be in the Guinness Book of Records.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Beannactaí Lá Phádraig!

Nothing like a bit of classic video for St Paddy's Day. The day the world changed for Irish dancing! It reminds me that when I was a kid we did loads of Irish dancing gigs around this time of the year. Only in Canada could that include St Patrick's Day celebrations in the Orange and Masonic Halls! (We also marched in July 12th Parades.) Roll on the day we see that in Northern Ireland too.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Olympic Shame

Here are some facts about the country where the Olympic Games are about to be held. These are facts reported by two well-respected Canadians: David Matas, an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg and the Hon. David Kilgour, a former Crown Prosecutor and Secretary of State for the Government of Canada. Their report presents the soul-sickening truth that the Chinese Government harvests organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. As the two Davids state themselves: "When we began our work we had no views whether the allegations were true or untrue. The allegations are so shocking that they were almost impossible to believe. We would have much rather found the allegations to be untrue rather than to be true. The allegations, if true, represent a disgusting form of evil which, despite all the depravities humanity has seen, are new to this planet." Here is the full report if you can stomach it (I could not): http://www.organharvestinvestigation.net/. Regarding the Chinese Communist government in general, the report points out: "China violates human rights in a variety of ways. These violations are chronic and serious. Besides Falun Gong, other prime targets of human rights violations are Tibetans, Christians, Uighurs, democracy activists, and human rights defenders." If all that is not horrible enough, here are two incredible facts included in this report: The Communist regime of China has already killed more innocents than Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia combined. It executes more people than all the other countries of the world combined. And this is the country which is hosting the Olympic Games? Well done to Prince Charles of England for boycotting the games!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Democracy is Precious

Those of us who live in free societies can hardly imagine that doing something as simple as shouting "Free Tibet" could lead to imprisonment, rape, torture, and even death. Yet this is precisely what has happened and still happens to Tibetan monks, nuns, and civilians in Tibet whenever they even attempt to speak up against the Chinese occupation of their country. Yesterday was the anniversary of the uprising of the Tibetan people against the Chinese invasion of 1949. All over the world - wherever they were allowed, that is - exiled Tibetan communities reminded people of what their country has suffered and continues to suffer. In Ireland, we stood out in the usual pouring rain on O'Connell Street before the historic GPO (General Post Office) in Dublin. As always, the Irish public expressed their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama by beeping horns and letting out cheers on their way to work. You know, I never thought I would live to see the day when there would be peace in Northern Ireland, when the countries of the Eastern Bloc would be free of the Soviet Union, when the Berlin Wall would come down, when a woman and/or a black man would be on her/his way to becoming President of the United States. But here I am, not even retired yet, and all these things have happened. This gives me hope that, before I die, I will see a free Tibet.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lest We Forget

I wanted to blog this heartbreaking photo my brother sent me showing the funeral of a Canadian serviceman. I've never forgotten my time in the Canadian Armed Forces and I have always been proud that Canadian troops, like Irish troops, are engaged in peacekeeping duties in many countries in support of the United Nations and world peace.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Free Tibet

I'll be heading into Dublin this Monday, March 10, for a peaceful protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. It begins at the Spire on O'Connell Street at 9:30 a.m., for silent prayers and waving of flags, then on to the Chinese Embassy on Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge. I'll probably get a major spam attack from China for announcing this. It happened last time, when I did a post about my friend Siofra's book on Tibetan exiles in India. My webmaster told me I was bombarded from three sources in China, including an official government one! Jaze, it'll be like the Battle of Helm's Deep. Hope my firewalls hold against the dragon. The Dalai Lama was in Canada when I was there before Christmas. The Chinese government sent a 'counter-delegation' to give their side of the story. In a press conference, they insisted that the situation was the same as Quebec in Canada: that only a few Tibetans want to be free and the majority are happy under China. "Have you held a referendum of the Tibetan people to confirm this?" asks a Canadian journalist, because of course there have been referendums in Quebec and the separatist Parti Quebecois has even ruled that province. Their answer? Total silence. Then an abrupt end to the press conference. Sad to say, though, the Chinese government may well hold a referendum in the future, after they have resettled hundreds of thousands of Chinese in Tibet. Meanwhile the world does nothing about this unjust invasion and occupation: why? Because Tibet has no oil or anything else the West wants and we are all doing business with China. For more information and neat pics see: www.tibetancommunityinireland.com.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Humorous Abandonment

Billy Connolly used to be my favourite commedian but I have to say Tommy Tiernan now owns my funny bone entirely. There's something wild and a bit dangerous about him. You never know what he's going to say next but you can be sure it will probably be politically incorrect. He's definitely not 'harmless.' I'd love to see him cast as the leprechaun or the cluricaun in film versions of my books. He'd bring an edgy hilarious anarchy to the stories. Roll on that day, me bucko.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mea Culpa

Sometimes you don't know you have a prejudice until it surfaces out of the blue and slaps you - or more likely someone else - right in the face. I have no idea why I described Seasick Steve as "trailer trash" in an earlier post and I am not happy about it. I'm going to delete that post - like washing racist graffiti off the wall - and re-do it, but at the same time I'm not going to pretend it didn't happen. Face the shadow. Deal with one's character defects. It's definitely my own stuff, as I grew up in some pretty rough areas myself in the early days of our immigration to Canada. But what a dreadful thing to say about such a lovely man! You hear the words of his songs and you realise that, though he suffered terribly, he refused to become bitter and twisted about it. He has so much heart and soul he deserves better than my throwaway nasty remarks. Of course, as with all offensive behavour, it says a lot more about me than it does about him. I am heartily sorry and rather ashamed of myself. So there it is. Sorry about that, Steve, you're only gorgeous in every way!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Insomnia Rules

One of the compensatory things about insomnia is those nights when you head downstairs, get a bowl of cornflakes, and turn on the television. There's usually something strange on, especially now when I only have the four Irish channels faintly received by my half-assed indoor antenna. I often find myself in the midst of some weird film like that gruesome one about the young space soldiers fighting giant bugs (I felt sorry for the bugs, it being their planet afterall) or that strange Lovecraft movie I watched to the end without ever understanding it, or that old RTE black-and-white production of Ulysses with Cyril Cusack as Bloom peeking through the keyhole as his wife Molly had sex while shouting out her famous soliloquy (given the soap opera crap RTE churns out these days, it was an amazing production! made in the 50s, I think). Sometimes it's reruns of The Panel (love dem lads) or Cold Case which I also love though the story-lines are oh so lame and she definitely got a face lift by the second season. Last night turned up this gem. RTE redeeming itself with a programme called Other Voices. It's music from the outer fringe. At first I thought I was looking at archives from the 60s/70s what with the reconstituted hippies and the young old-rock boys. But nope, it was 21st century footage.Sinéad O'Connor was brilliant, but Seasick Steve, coming into his own in his sixties (hup ye boyo!)was definitely the best. Here he is in all his glory. If you want to see the whole show go here: www.rte.ie/tv/othervoices/archive.html.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Japanese Gas Attack

I'm nearly finished Murakami's Underground, about the poison gas attack on the Toyko subway system in 1995. It's mesmerising, but also deeply upsetting and unsettling. The Aum cult was based on a form of Vajrayana Buddhism which 'speeds up' awakening or enlightenment through various practices. That means the people in the cult were supposedly dedicated to a philosophy and spiritual path which cherishes life. Instead, the cult deteriorated into weapon stockpiling, poison gas manufacture, mind control through drug use, imprisonment and torture of dissidents, and finally murder and terrorism. When reading Murakami, you get the sense that the truth has not been fully revealed. Before the attacks on the subway, the cult had murdered an anti-cult lawyer and his wife and child, and had already released sarin gas in another area in an attempt to murder three anti-cult judges. Had these incidents been properly investigated, the gas attack on the subway would not have occurred. In fact, it appears the police were prevented from fully investigating the earlier crimes. Call me a conspiracy theorist (oh yes), but it looks as if the cult was - and still is - protected by powerful people in the Japanese government. Because here is the weirdest thing of all about it: though they killed all those innocent people and are banned in Europe and North America as a terrorist group, they are still operating in Japan under a new name, Aleph!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sinking Ship

Growing older (read: growing old) is like that simulated exercise we did in the navy, where water kept flooding the room while me and my buddies screamed and swore and sawed planks of wood and shored up openings wherever we could find them. But sure enough, as soon as we got one area secured, another leak gushed forth. Yes, that is how I feel about the onset of old age. I mean I'm doing a great job, assisting excellent genes (both my parents always looked ten years younger) with organic food, organic skin care, supplements, yoga, Tai Chi, walking, and regular visits to the gym; but still, it's creeping in, no doubt about it. And even as I shore up one trouble spot - colour in the hair, a good push-up bra - another area falls. Bit like the Roman Empire, come to think of it, but I don't want to mix my metaphors. There will come a day when I will surrender. Like Colette's Léa in The Last of Cheri (based on herself methinks), I shall just give up the battle, eat pastries and chocolates, and become a little fat old lady who laughs all the time. But not yet. Not today.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jumpin' Jehosephat

I forgot to say how that brilliant day ended. On my way back home through the mountains, I stopped at my friend Sherron's house. She wasn't home, but two of her boys - Kai and Indie - were playing out the back on their trampoline, doing fabulous somersaults and everything. "Hey!" they shouted to me, "Are you coming to play?" For a moment I hesitated, as the poopy old adult in me thought of the long drive back to Bray and all my responsibilities etc etc. But thank goodness the kid quickly got the upper hand and there I was pulling off my shoes and clambering through the net and jumping good-oh. "Do a somersault!" they yelled. Well. Save that for another day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Brilliant Day

It began with a fat cheque arriving for Public Lending Rights and just kept going up from there. Finn received a parcel of French newspapers from her Dad, who's in Paris at the moment, so she decided we had to have croissants and café au lait for petit déjeuner (mais oui!). Then I headed off over the mountains for my annual visit to Tom Bombadill and Goldberry a.k.a the fabulous writer Herbie Brennan and his fabulous herbalist/crystal healer/writer wife Jacquie Burgess and their eight darling cats. As always, there was a scrumptious lunch beginning with a spicy root soup, green salad with rocket, smoked salmon on brown bread, hummus and tapenade. The piece de resistance (very French today) was a savoury pie cooked in the Aga - carmelised vegetables covered with a puff pastry and then flipped when done. (I'll get the recipe, it was superb.) Couldn't manage the chocolate biscuits with my coffee as I was about to burst!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Jewel, My Daughter

My daughter turned 18 today. I honestly don't know what to say about that. She's the best thing that has ever happened to me in this lifetime of mine. A godsend, a blessing, a stroke of sheer good fortune, a gift. She's beautiful. On the inside and the outside. Since the day she arrived, she has never ceased to amaze me. In the early weeks of her birth, she used to sleep on my chest, like a kitten. One night I woke up, aware that I was being watched. There she was, wide awake, her huge eyes gazing at me. I gazed back. In that look, these thoughts were exchanged: isn't this amazing? isn't this hilarious? that I am here as your baby and you are my mother? And we both started to laugh, real belly laughs, baby and mother, at the great cosmic joke of it. Then I fell back asleep again. There have been many more laughs since. As a toddler, as a tweenie, and now as a teenager, she had and has a brilliant sense of humour, plus that Irish knack for mimicking. I am often in stitches. Only last year we fell around the kitchen laughing, after a brief chat about the Irish national anthem. She knows it in Irish and I, in English. But when I mentioned the phrase "some have come from that land beyond the waves" and commented on what an oblique reference it was to the ancient enemy, England, her eyes widened. "What? I thought it was about Tír na nOg! And the fairies coming to Ireland." Well, we were sick laughing. Only an Irish kid would think that fairies would be mentioned in their national anthem. Mind you, she can be Canadian, too, and likes to play it up with her friends. She has the accent down pat, and is fluent in French as well as Irish. Okay, now I am bragging. Happy Birthday, a stór!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Post Valentine's Post

One of the great things about St Valentine's Day is the chocolate. Apparently there was a survey somewhere that said the majority of women prefer chocolate to sex. Hmm. I'd like to see the demographics for that, i.e. age, marital status, income etc Here's a pic of my chocolates - sorry, the crinkly paper caused a bit of flashback. These are, I tell you, the yummiest chocolates I have yet to taste. Avoca, hand-made, not an orange or strawberry cream in sight. The best was definitely the crispy truffle, that's the one with the little round cap on it. I tell you, it was almost as good as ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Is my favourite meal of the day, except maybe brunch, but that's just breakfast after a lie-in. Okay, maybe brunch is my favourite. Here are the things I like to eat for this meal: toast, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, a big fry of tomatoes, mushrooms, bocksty (potato cake), beans, and egg, porridge with apple, raisins, and cinnamon sprinkled with roasted sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds (oh and when cooking, stirred with the hand-carved spirtle my friend Dave gave me for my birthday - a neat thing and a new word, could it get any better?), French toast with crispy bacon (the latter when I fall off the vegetarian wagon), warm-out-of-the-oven croissants made by Finn and served with a mashed banana, nutmeg, cinnamon and honey sauce, freshly brewed coffee (Fair Trade, organic) or hot Earl Grey Tea (Fair Trade, organic). Latest addition, thanks to my friend Frank and his travels in Algeria: cold cous cous served with pineapple, blueberries, banana, grapes, pear (or any fruit you like) topped with yoghurt and maple syrup. YUM.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mountain Gals

Out in the mountains today hiking with the Second Sunday Hiking Group. We climbed Mullacor through the mist, stopped for lunch by a great pine forest, crossed paths with the Wicklow Way and headed for the beautiful Glenmalure. More pics on Book Blog as this is Dana's territory in The Light-Bearer's Daughter. The dog is Nancy who came with us. She belongs to Kerenza of the fabulous Cathleen ní Houlihan hair. We are the stragglers I'm afraid and the rest of the hikers, including Mike who took the photos, are a good bit ahead of us! (Photo credit: Michael McGovern)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Coyote Girl

I was pointed to this blog by a comment on the 'wolves' post on my Book Blog: http://www.dailycoyote.blogspot.com/. This beautiful young woman - photographer, writer, cowgirl - lives in a one-room cabin in Wyoming and has reared a baby coyote along with her tom cat (you have to see the pics!). What an amazing story, what amazing photographs, and what an amazing human being! (Photos: Shreve Stockton)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Shrove Tuesday (yesterday)

Yes it was and yes we had pancakes. Finn made her usual fabulous banana pancakes adapted from a Delia Smith recipe. You cannot go wrong with Delia Smith. They are always thin as crepes and you roll them up like scrolls, sprinkle them with brown sugar, add a squeeze of lemon, and then drizzle with maple syrup (Canadian, of course). A pot of redbush tea is the perfect complement. So this is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In mediaeval times it was a serious event, like Ramadan for Muslims. Now instead of fasting you give up something for the duration. In Ireland it means going off the drink, yes total abstinence, with a dispensation for St Patrick's Day and then back to the drought. Funny oul race.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Happy Dog

Meant to mention in post below. On Sunday I also popped by Eddie the gardener's house to visit Bruce. He remembered me! I hugged him and kissed him and he wagged his tail like mad and licked my face and slobbered all over me and I was just bursting with happiness to see him settled and happy in his new home. He didn't seem so huge in the big warm living room and the girls told me stories about him (he was listening the whole time, delighted), about how funny and affectionate he is. When Eddie was sick, Bruce stayed by his side the whole time. When anyone lies on the floor to watch TV (there are six kids in the house and they all adore him and he adores them), he lies down beside them. The littlest girl sometimes climbs into his great bed and lies down beside him! It's a happy ending to a sad story and I am so glad to have been part of it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Year of the Earth Mouse

Yesterday, I headed off to Jampa Ling in Co. Cavan with my trusty sidekick Dave. We went for Losar which is Tibetan new year and the day when all Tibetans (and, also, Mongolians) celebrate their birthday. It began with a fire puja outside the big house. Rinpoche said prayers as the boughs of cedar burned. In circumambulation around the fire, we walked through the clouds of white scented smoke (for purification), chanting OM DUM SWAHA, OM AMRITA AYUAR DADE SWAHA, the mantra of Ush Nish Vijaya, Goddess of Victory. We also tossed cedar into the fire ourselves and threw rice into the air. Then there were prayers in the shrine room and everyone gave Rinpoche khatas (silken scarves). Then we ate the food offerings of sampa, dried fruit and nuts, and these yummy curly bread twists. After that, we had a big feast in the dining room - everyone brought food to share - and there was a proper Irish hooley, with musicians and people singing and children dancing. Here's what I bought from the shop: a blessing to hang in my car, Folk Tales of Tibet by Norbu Chophel, gorgeous silver earrings for Finn (for her upcoming birthday), and a red-and-gold box of Lhasa incense. It was a great day!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Web Heroes

The Internet is so brilliant, especially in David versus Goliath situations. Canon have a built-in obsolescence trick in their printers where, after a certain length of time or useage, their machines send up an "Ink absorber almost full" and then "Ink absorber full" message. If you ring them about it, they tell you to buy a new printer. Meanwhile, if you go online, all these great fixit guys tell you how to reset your printer and get it working again. Hurrah for the little guys and boo to the corporation! I've just done it and I'm back in business with a perfectly fine printer. (As you can tell from the post below I am having techno difficulties these days. It was a lot easier when I just worked on a typewriter, but then again, a lot slower.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Security Warning: Norton!

I've just wasted three days trying to download an extra Norton product - Norton Security Works - which they don't warn you involves uninstalling your entire Norton Security system first! And despite various efforts to do the latter, even with technical advice from their chat lines, I did not succeed. So finally I requested a refund for this useless item and they tell me, no, you can only have a refund for the whole thing, i.e. your renewal subscription and the useless thing. That, of course, was the last straw. So I've cancelled all of it and I am going McAfee. Not that I ever wanted Norton in the first place. I requested McAfee when I purchased my Dell computer but I guess they have some arrangement with Norton. Right now, I am pissed off with all of them.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Golden Eagle Chick

Here it is, a pic of the first golden eagle born in Donegal in over a hundred years! And the first sign of real success for the Golden Eagle Reintroduction Project in Ireland: http://www.goldeneagle.ie/. The golden eagle was hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Apparently they were bred for a time in the 1950s, then disappeared again. This project, now 7 years old, has been bringing young golden eagles from Scotland to live and breed on the great cliffs of the Donegal coast. I've named the project as the environmental group which will receive prize money from the Green Earth Book Award. (See my Book Blog for more details.) This little dote was born in December 2007. Here's hoping more chicks will be born in 2008. (Photo: Lorcan O'Toole)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

St. Germain - Rose Rouge(live)

Sometimes you have to kick over the traces and go wild, just to remind yourself you are alive! Went dancing last night at the Bel-Air Hotel in Ashford, then off into the mountains for an all-nighter, partying like a madwoman till dawn. We were celebrating the wrap of Kathleen's first film as director. GO, WOMAN! Here's some of the music we were dancing to. Love these guys.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Me Brains are Freud

Here's an interesting little tidbit a friend passed on to me. Apparently Sigmund Freud said this of the Irish: This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever. Now is this a compliment or no? And what exactly does the good doctor mean? Do we blather too much for 'the talking cure'?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Post Christmas Post

Haven't blogged much lately. It seems to take ages to get the house and head back in order after Christmas. But all is almost running smoothly now and I am working away on the new book. Saturday night saw me trance dancing in Newcastle. That's not as wild as it sounds. The newly formed Wicklow Dance Co-operative is a collection of odd sods and bods who love to dance, but can't stand the noisy clubs full of cider-crazed youths. Yeah, we're old and new hippies. But the music is fabulous, the lighting is candles, we start in a circle and say hello to everyone, then dance as we wish. People take turns being the DJ. I'm waiting for Edwin's playlist. It was amazing.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pullman, the Movie

Went to see The Golden Compass on the weekend. I was very excited about going and anticipated a visual feast after the trailer, but must confess to being disappointed. Yes, it was beautifully produced with some gorgeous scenes, but the patchy all-over-the place nature of the story-line worked against the production values. There was a dreadful amount of exposition - always a sign of poor scripting and even worse direction - and far too many bald one-liners to keep the viewer up to scratch. When the umpteenth one was expressed I thought, "oh for godsake, we aren't that slow!" Is it the nature of the book or the movie-maker that makes this such a poor film? Difficult to know. Certainly Pullman's work involves more philosophy and intellectual breadth than Lord of the Rings, though both are of equal epic scope. Perhaps it simply couldn't be translated properly. Let's see how the second one goes.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Duibh

That's Happy New Year to ye's in Irish. Count the consonants. Here's how you pronounce it: aath-vleen fwee vawsha dee-uv. And here's a kind of ballparkish translation into English from my Gaeilgeoir daughter: "change of the year under blessings to you." And in keeping with my own little blog tradition, here are my resolutions for 2008:
1) support Finn through her Leaving Cert (barbaric Irish rite of passage)
2) take night courses in Digital Camera and Tai Chai
3) get down to business with new book
4) do the wonderful thing I can't talk about yet (see Book Blog where I can't talk about it also)
5) spend another small fortune on my teeth
6) have more fun
7) get ready to move to the West of Ireland - wa-hoo!
*Oh and check out my new website design on www.ormelling.com!*