Monday, March 30, 2009

Scotland the Brave

Just back from my Experience Week at Findhorn. See my Book Blog for a pic of the beautiful place where I stayed. I will write more about that amazing experience in future blogs. Right now I am recovering from the 'Winter Vomiting Bug' which is as awful and dramatic as it sounds! Managed to get it right in the middle of the week, ugh. However, I was amongst seriously good people and I was well looked after. Lovely Scottish nurse at the local hospital where I was taken said "yae just want tae dee, don't yae?" And omigod, I LOVE Scotland. I have had an obsession with that country since I was a little girl. Truth to tell, I wanted to do Scottish sword dancing - not Irish dancing - but my parents said it wasn't right as we weren't Scottish! Songs about Bonnie Prince Charlie make me cry, I've read umpteenth books about Mary Queen of Scots, the bagpipes send me into ecstasy, and I love a man in a kilt. Hoot mun, I will return.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The High Road

Off to Findhorn, Scotland for Experience Week: This is research for a book I am working on (one of the characters is a gardener at Findhorn) and also an adventure I have dreamed about for years. I was a short-term visitor, i.e. two days, twelve years ago and can't wait to return. I doubt I will be blogging there but will tell all about it when I return.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beannactaí Lá Phádraig!

Hah, took a while to find this, but finally did. (Brother-in-law told me where it was.) Yeah, it's an ad, but it's brill.

Monday, March 16, 2009

From Here to Clare

Just back from County Clare where I attended the exhibition launch of my friend Frank Golden, poet and visual artist extraordinaire. Had a fabulous time. Drove across Ireland on the Limerick Road and then north to Quin via the lake district of Killaloe. Beautiful scenery. Reminded me of Loch Lomond and the Isle of Skye. The exhibition was in Ennistymon, the town with the picturesque falls. Here's the pub we went to afterwards. A must-see if you are in the area. The owner is Eugene himself, plus his dog Toby, and the interior is even more amazing that the exterior: stained glass, antique posters, photographs, paintings, pictures, fine wooden counters and tables and chairs, and best of all, friendly County Clare atmosphere where everybody chats to everybody else. I stood mesmerised looking at a poster of the first Lisdoonvarna festival which I attended as a sprog in 1978. Ah, the memories of the big white tent, the rain, the muddy field, the queues for food and toilets in the village, and best of all, the MUSIC: Paul Brady, Gay & Terry Woods, Midnight's Well, Miko Russell, De Dannan, Chieftains, Furey Brothers, Christy Moore, Stockton's Wing, Mick Hanley and more. Oh what a blast from the past looking at that poster was. And the woman sitting in front of it had been there, too. In fact, she was at every single one of the festivals including the one with the drownings (tragic) and the one with the riots (!) in 1983. Needless to say, that last one put an end to a fine tradition. Apparently they went from folk to rock. Go figure. The next day a gang of us headed up to Bell Harbour to see the building site of Frank and Berry's house, then off to New Quay for a walk along the Flaggy Shore and lunch at Linnane's fine pub and eatery. We all ate crab - I had 'hapes' of it on a plate with salad, brown bread, and tea. Then home I went via Kinvara, my old haunt and the village I dream of returning to one day. Now that was a fine weekend.

Monday, March 09, 2009

In Treatment

Omigod, I've just discovered the most amazing television series posted on youtube, starring Gabriel Byrne (Irishman of course). The writing is superb and the acting is out of this world. There is hardly any action whatsoever, it's all characterisation and dialogue, yet it is compelling beyond belief. My eyes are bugging out, I've just watched eleven episodes (!) and I have had to pull myself away so I will go to bed. Incroyable.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I'm not religious per se - or is it that I am poly-religious? - I just like getting into the spirit (ahem) of things. When in Rome (ahem ahem) ... So I decided to give up crisps, a serious weakness of mine. There I was in Tesco, Ash Wednesday, and I forthrightly marched past the aisle where the crisps were, all pleased with myself and my willpower. Then it happened. Just past the aisle was a devious stand offering 'buy one, get one free' for a six-pack of Walkers crisps. I was vulnerable, as I had just won the previous skirmish and was cocky and offguard. (You know, when you reward yourself with a cigarette for not smoking all day?) I went down, man, I went down. It took me two days to eat the 12 packets (Finn helped). Filled with remorse and long lost Catholic guilt, I added chocolate to my Lenten fast in penance for my sins. Will I make it? So far, so good. But I baked a clementine cake yesterday and almost ate the whole thing in one go. Hey, I didn't give up cake ...