Comparison

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I was sent this today and it is so true. There are so many times when we compare ourselves to others. Sometimes we don’t say it out loud but saying it privately to ourselves can be even more destructive.

It is the last line which has struck me as being very powerful “Gratitude turns what we have into enough”.

Wow, just take a second and think about it…..

 

A not so traditional pub meal

I have just returned from spending a great holiday with my husband.  Choosing a location was easy enough, in the sense that as airports are not our favourite places it was a holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England.

England won the toss and deciding on a journey from the ferry of not more than 3.30 hours led us to the county of Shropshire and the town of Ludlow.  Well we ended up staying in the village of Claynham about 3 miles outside Ludlow.

The house we rented was just beautiful.  It was a converted byre which was stunningly restored.  The original beams were retained.  modern décor throughout which highlighted the oak beams and showed off the oak floor throughout.  But the modern kitchen was just a dream.

One of my biggest worries when away is where to eat and trying food.  I don’t fancy being ill so by renting a house and cooking in, I have found a way of enjoying a holiday.  However, it is not always feasible and sometimes I just do not want to cook.

So, when I find an eating establishment which serves good food, well cooked I love to talk about it.

“Inn at Shipley” (http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/innatshipley)

It is an old pub which has been tastefully renovated.  There are airy areas as well as small nooks.  The toilets are spacious.  What I also liked was the photographs which gave you a little piece of history.

It has a great menu that is traditional but with modern twists.  The staff are extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  One word of warning if you do not like dogs in food establishments then avoid the inn.  While there, we decided on a selection of starters rather than a main course.   Chicken Liver Pate with carrot and apricot chutney; homemade Black Pudding with poached egg and shallot puree; a selection of granary breads; Beetroot humus and portion of traditional chips.  I can honestly say that every plate was practically wiped clean the food was so delicious.

Although this is just one of many in the Brunning and Price Pubs it is very unique and well worth a visit.

A Little Unexpected Learning

 

I was scrolling through comments on a group I have recently joined  on social media.  I came across a comment and thought that like me someone had typed too quickly.  However, on reading further I realised that no this was a word I had never heard before.

Off to my trusty dictionary, yes, I am old school; dictionaries before Google every time. Our son added a “Bloomsbury English Dictionary” to the “Reference Library and I just love it.  It has encyclopaedic features which for me just adds to the dictionary.

Yes, I have gone off on a tangent yet again.  Back to why I was searching in the dictionary.  The word I was looking for was “persimmon”.  I can hear so many of you laughing wondering how she could never have heard of a “persimmon” but there you go I never had.

Just in case there is a slim chance that there is someone else out there who has never heard of “persimmon” let me give you the definition:  “a juicy smooth-skinned orange-red fruit that is sweet only when ripe”. 

Really, I had never heard of this fruit which led to further investigation.  Whenever I have a query regarding plants it is to The Farmer’s Almanac that I turn to.  Persimmon is a berry which is also known as “The Divine Fruit”.  What a wonderful name.

According to folklore if you open the persimmon seed it will forecast what type of winter is to come.  A fork shaped seed indicates a mild winter.  A knife-shaped seed indicates it will be bitingly cold and “cut like a knife”.  A spoon-shaped seed indicates a large amount of snow.  How accurate this forecast is I am not too sure?

There is even a “chocolate” persimmon.

I didn’t realise that today I would be learning about an exotic fruit which originated in china, is widely grown. In the is U.S.A. it is grown in areas from Florida to Connecticut and Iowa to southern Texas.  The two main areas in Spain are Valencia and Huelva.  It is grown in New Zealand and as their harvest is a few weeks in advance of the Californian harvest they now export to California for that short period. It is grown in Japan, Korea and China.

The saying that education never ends is certainly true. So I am on the lookout for “persimmon” in my local greengrocer an eagerly waiting to try one!!!!!!

The Perfect Present

except make that coffee or a glass of wine!

I have to agree with C.S.Lewis. I have been trying to find a cup or a mug large enough to last a chapter of a book never mind a complete book.  However, the shape was wrong, or the pattern was wrong, or it wasn’t china which for me is a prerequisite for any cup of tea. Fussy?  Yes totally.

Then I got a present from another tea loving friend.  Yes, a mug which I can wrap my hand around: the tea stays warm in it and it is CHINA.  How lucky can one get?  Then there is the little extra.  When I get to the bottom of a wonderful mug of tea there at the bottom of the mug is the question “Another cup?”  Now that is what I call a thoughtful present.

Do you find there are people who have this uncanny knack of choosing just the correct present?  They seem to know what would stir the heart.  They have this uncanny knack of picking up something which you didn’t even know you would like.

Now I could spend months thinking about the gift, but I don’t really think I get it right or if I do it really is a fluke.  I do however like the process of trying to figure out a good present for someone.  I have concluded, that having put the time and thought into the gift, irrespective of how it is received, is more important to me.  This way it is not a chore but a delight.

So are you the perfect present chooser?

What is Time Telling You?

 

I certainly am one of those people who over thinks situations.  Does it help?  Like heck it does.  It just sends my mind into a whirlpool of uncertainty.  I thought this was an aspect of my personality I had under control but just like the weeds in the garden I had forgotten to keep a wary eye out for falling back into an old thinking habit.

I suppose it is like everything else in life there is a constant need to keep practising good routines.  Although it is said after 12 weeks of making a new habit it will start to become part of one’s life, when I am changing a habit which has been part of me for sixty years then getting reminders is not just a help but a necessity.

This afternoon an email popped up from a blog I follow and the following is what greeted me.

 

How do you know when it’s time?

Time to go Or time to stop

 

How do you know when it’s time?

Time to fight Or time to give in

 

How do you know when it’s time? Time to listen Or time to speak

How do you know? How?

Only time will tell 

 

charlottescornerblog.wordpress.com

 

What a brilliant poem.  Time is telling me to stop the second guessing. What is time telling you?

A Small Gesture

What are the little things which give you a lift? What are those things which make you stop and feel thankful? Now I am not talking about those grand gestures I am talking about those small gestures.

I was in the middle of the clean up  getting ready for the weekend and all those household chores just had to be done.  It was an ideal morning for it.  The sky was grey but with a hint of blue.  The sun hasn’t really got it heat going yet so the house was cool ideal for getting those floors cleaned.  Everything was ready for cleaning.

Andy Williams accompanying me as I set to in the shower room.  The washing machine was given the bass beat as it came to the end of the first wash of the day.  The kettle and teapot, however, were calling to me that I needed a break, but I like to get the work done before breakfast.

While lugging out the hoover I heard the letterbox click.  Although there were no up coming birthdays, anniversaries and no celebrations in the offing there was always the hope that the post might, just might, include something other than bills.  It was my lucky day. Among the bills nestled a hand-written envelope for me with a foreign stamp.  Now that is what I call post.  I put the letter into my pocket and returned to the house work.

Suddenly mopping the floor wasn’t so bad.  Dusting the skirting boards wasn’t going to be ignored as it was just another little job.  Then I found myself with my steps clearing out the top of the china cabinet.  Singing along with Andy.  It was a good day.

Two hours later, chores completed, clothes washed  and hung out, hoover put away for another day and steamer stashed neatly away; the tea was made, and the tray brought out to the garden now that the sun was giving off some heat and it was time to open the letter.  The anticipation is part of receiving a letter in the post. IMAG1051

I slowly opened the letter and I was soon transported to Washington State through the letter writing of a new friend.  So, for me a little piece of heaven was to receive a hand-written letter.  It totally brightened up my day.  It totally gave me a lift.  I felt so thankful that someone thought enough of me to take the time to hand write a letter and then post it to me.  I felt special.

I hope you have experienced something similar and I would love to hear what it was which lifted you up.

Goals or Dreams

This is my last post with the theme “goals”.  Perhaps the use of the word “dreams” rather than goals maybe more appealing  to some.  However, for me dreams are intangible.  They cannot be touched and so cannot come to fruition.

But when I began to think about the goals I have set for myself I realised that they started when I noted down, without any rules , those funny, impossible, madcapped, and personal dreams in my trusty journal.  They were outlandish, they were trite perhaps to others, they seemed impossible or some were just wishful thinking.  BUT they were my dreams or aspirations.

 

“Keep your heart open to dreams.  For as long as there’s a dream there is hope, and as long as there is hope there is joy in living”.  Author unknown

 

The dreams were personal but once they were there in front of me having been given colour they began to become achievable.  Well, perhaps not all of them.  Yes, I still have those dreams that I will never see come to fruition but hey that’s fine with me.  I still enjoy the dreams.

I will give you an example.  One of my dreams which has become a constant in my journaling is to dance.  Now let me explain, I may have the rhythm in my head, but it never actually reaches my toes.  It is official that I have two left feet.

This doesn’t stop me loving and admiring the beauty and strength of ballet; the rhythm, costumes and history of national dances: imagining myself dancing on Strictly come Dancing or Dancing with the Stars; watching young people performing modern dance with such innovative moves; trying to do the moves from Hairspray on the Wii; or imagining me attending a 1940s themed dance and dancing the jive, the jitterbug  or the swing.

(I am sitting here typing amid tears of laughter as  my dream of dancing the swing ends in me standing on my partners toes, missing the swing totally and bringing everyone around me crashing to the floor.)

I have enjoyed the process of trying to turn those dreams into attainable goals.  Researching how I can do something and through that research perhaps realising that the goal is not something I need or want.  Sometimes the research has led me down a totally different path which has proven to be far more enjoyable and enlightening.

One thing I have learnt is that I agree with the quote from C.S Lewis “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

These dreams or goals do not have to come to fruition; sometimes just starting the journey is enough.

 

Goals or perhaps….?

The recent post on Goals dated August 7th has led to me receiving more emails than for any  other blog post.  I was amazed and humbled that people would take the time to post a comment or to send me an email.  It was a surprise to me that the topic was engaging with so many.

Three different emails voiced their concern over the use of the word goals.  It is a word I have and difficulty with myself.  For some people the word goal sends shivers down their backs and it certainly used to with me.  Goals can sometimes seem to be these insurmountable objectives  or aims which cannot possibly be achieved.

There have been many times when the goals I have set for myself have not been achieved and I have beaten  (verbally) myself up over  the failure.  However many times those goals were not my goals but goals which others thought I should be aspiring to.  One lady always perceived the word goal as being a “male” word.   She doesn’t know why but it has led her to ignore the word and use the word “objective” instead.

Yet another lady wrote how once she substituted  the word project  for the word goal and since doing that she has achieved much more.  While another lady  uses a journal to tease out what she would like to achieve.  She usually starts this in September and uses word picture and together with actual pictures to set up what she would like to TRY and achieve.  She states that it is the trying that is so important to her.

Now I must admit I really like the way this lady thinks.  I like the idea of word pictures but I must say I really like the idea that it is the journey that is so important.  Many times I have found myself deviating from the goal I had set and finding something so much more enjoyable or something more important to me even though I hadn’t realised when starting out.

One email had me laughing right out loud.  This lady wrote that at age 60 she retired and only set one criteria for herself.  That was, that she was having a year without setting targets, goals or whatever.  She is now 72 years of age and still doesn’t set any goals  but on reflection has achieved so much that she ” couldn’t possibly list”.  She is busy, lives life which has included hospital stays and burying her partner but she states ” that I will never be confined again by goals.  I am a happier person without them.”

All the correspondence I have been privileged to receive, has shown me that first and foremost we are all different.  Secondly, goal setting is not the prerogative of any one age group.  Thirdly the title “goal” has different meanings for different people.

The Oxford Thesaurus  gives the following variations to the word goal: “object”, “aim”, “purpose”, “end”, “objective”, “target”, “ambition”, “ideal”, “aspiration”.

The last suggestion has led me to the word “aspirational” which according to Bloomsbury English Dictionary means ” a desire to achieve something especially self-improvement”

Thank you for reading. A special thanks to those who have posted comments on my blog or who have emailed me directly. Thank you.

Goals Again

I received an email from a lady who follows this blog. This is the first time I have received an email from her.

Her email refers to my recent blog on goals and she queries how I can possibly say that goals are for everyone irrespective of age. I quote with her permission “ how can you possibly infer that goals are for everyone. I can honestly say that goals are only for the young in order to make the most out of their lives..”

She saw goals as huge life changing ideals. They were to be set, worked upon and accomplished in order to progress in one’s career. There was no need for anyone to make goals otherwise. She did not see how retirees or stay at home mums, could possibly have goals to make, as these people were “not contributing to society”.

I was taken aback by this email. Firstly , that goal setting was the prerogative of the young. Secondly, the idea of stay at home parents could not possibly have a contribution to make to society  nor could retirees which is an idea I totally reject. Where did these ideas come from?

Wow, I was flabbergasted. After exchanging a few emails I learnt a few things about this lady. Firstly, she is articulate with a great turn of phrase. Secondly, she is a retiree of two years having been a teacher for over forty years. Thirdly what I would have thought of as setting goals she saw as mere trivial dreams. She also concluded that I must have more time on my hands if all I could really blog about was dreams but she would still continue reading my blog.

I think I will keep to my goal settings and just show the world I can do it even if I am a retiree having been a “stay at home” Mum. 😊

What do you think? Are you a goal setter? Do your goals help you to get the best out of life? Or perhaps you don’t need them. I would love to hear what you think.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Image may contain: text                                                                                                                     courtesy of Sue Gaskin.

Did I Really Miss It?

How did I miss it?   August 9th was National Book Lovers Day.  I mean I love books, adore reading, have some perfect places in which to read.  I have the snuggler for when it is cold and of course have the tea-tray with all the accoutrements for the perfect cuppa.

So how did I miss it?  i totally forgot to note it on my calendar!!

If you are a book lover I hope you enjoyed your day.  I hope you had time to read.  I hope you enjoyed the book.  I hope you are enjoying your reading if you are still reading your book.

What book do you have on hand?  At the moment, I am reading a series of books by P. F. Ford.  They are a British Police detective series and which I am thoroughly enjoying.

 

 

Where My Books Go

By W.B.Yeats

 

All the words that I utter,

And all the words that I write,

Must spread out their wings untiring,

And never rest in their flight

Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,

And sing to you in the night,

Beyond where the waters are moving

Storm-darkened or starry bright.

Goals

I don’t know about you, but I have the habit of noting down sayings, adages or words which evoke a response.   It may be years months or days before I reread them or even remember them.   Then there are the quotes which keep on appearing in various reading locations.

I found the following quote when I found a journal buried in the bottom of my Christmas fabric box.   The quote I had written on the first page, but I had also found it written on numerous other pages in the same journal.   Obviously, it had resonated with me years ago and it is really resonated with me today.

Don’t let others define you.

Don’t let the past confine you.

Take charge of your life with confidence and determination.

There are no limits to what you can do or be.

(Michael Josephson)

Can you imagine what a world we would have if we could instil this into our young people?   Can you imagine what the next generation could achieve?  However, I believe that this idea is something any person could take on board at any stage of their life.   That this quote could enhance the quality of anyone’s life.

I really like the line; “take charge of your life with confidence and determination”.   Wow that is so powerful.   Taking charge of my life is something I have been trying to do but to do it with confidence, now wouldn’t that be something else.

Confidence grows with accomplishments.   Instead of setting impossible goals I have set goals which I know I can achieve.   In fact, this year on reflection I have set and achieved numerous goals.   And yes, my confidence has grown in the sense that I know that I can accomplish goals which are important to me and not to anyone else.

I do not need others to endorse what I have achieved but with every goal achieved the confidence which leads to the determination to set more goals.   Personal goals have ignited passions within me and together with the determination I have scrapped some goals.   And that is liberating.

Sometimes we may set goals based on what others think they should be rather than being true to ourselves and the goals which we know are good for us.   Sometimes we need to have the confidence and determination to listen to our inner voice and ignore those who really don’t know what ignites our passion.  “Don’t let others define you”.

Sometimes it is difficult to let go of the goals which were set 20, 30 even 40 years ago.   I have found  the goals of years ago which I had  set but had not achieved had been hanging around me like this big ball and chain.   This year I realised that one goal in particular was not going to define me.   I actually admitted to myself that I had felt a failure for not having achieved it.   However , on reflection I realised that it hadn’t really been my goal but instead I had thought that it should be and it would give me a sense of worth.   The relief of finally saying that I didn’t need to take on someone elses goal was immense.  It was also liberating.

It is good to set goals but it is even more rewarding when the goals are one’s we set for ourselves and follow through with confidence.  Sometimes as we grow older we forget that goals are not just for the young.  Setting personal goals keeps us going. It adds spice to our lives and enriches our lives.

 

 

 

 

Imperfections

 

 

The beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections”

What a great thought.. by keeping this thought in mind it immediately removes the pressure of “having to make something perfect”.

A few months ago, I purchased a bundle of fat quarters.  I wouldn’t normally but I decided that the colours would make a lovely quilt.

Before I go any further let me explain what a fat quarter is.  Fat quarters are pre-cut pieces of cotton, which are taken from a yard of fabric which has been cut in two length ways and each piece cut again width ways.  Each fat quarter measures approximately 46cm by 56cm or 18 by 22 inches.

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I decided I would make a quilt top by sewing eight fat quarters together and then I cut those fat quarters into strips.  Any blogs or books which I have read on quilting constantly talk of measuring three times and cutting once.  So, this time I followed that rule!!

The first cuts went great and I joined up those strips and everything looked pretty good.  I returned to the quilt top a few days later and cut those strips up to form narrower strips and again joined them up.

Now I haven’t a clue what I did but I ended up with a quilt top that did not have one matching square, but I did have a few marching rectangles.  How I got rectangles I have absolutely no idea.  It certainly was not what I had intended.

I was very disappointed as I thought I had been very careful with the cutting.  What I have now is a unique lob sided quilt top.  It is very quirky.  Now could I gift to any one?  I honestly don’t think so.

I don’t mind that corners don’t match.  What am I saying? There is absolutely nothing which matches never mind the corners.  So, I have decided that this will make a great reading quilt.    1531125420651

A reading quilt is one of those throws which one needs during winter, when one becomes engrossed in a book and one needs to be cosy.  If the skies are grey outside this quilt will bring a bit of colour indoors and enhance the reading experience even more.

Saying all that I must admit I love my wonky, lob sided quilt top and need to quilt and bind it in readiness for those hours of reading during the winter.So for me the quote ” the beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections” is very apt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Early Morning Dance

Standing on the back step, underneath an umbrella, mug in hand watching the rain.  It was a beautiful scene.  The wooden garden furniture had taken on a different hue.  In the rain the wooden seat seemed to glow as it was washed by the rain.

The rain drops were dancing on the glass table, making a dance as they tapped their way along to the edge.   A bucket had been placed strategically to catch the encore of the dance.

Looking up at the seomra or man shed a spider’s web glistened in the early morning light.  The gossamer web was bejewelled with drops of rain.  There was magic all around as this suburban garden was dressed by the rain.

The air smelt so differently.  It was so fresh and clear.  It was as if the rain has rejuvenated everything.  There was a richness abounding this oasis.

It reminded me of a blog post I read recently written by Honey Barapatre which talked of being rich https://inspireart.in/2018/07/15/being-rich/.

I realised that this morning I was so rich with the sights, sounds and smells brought by this shower of rain.  I have always loved the rain but perhaps because of the long hot dry summer which Ireland has been experiencing this shower of rain was even more special.

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Encouragement

A few years ago, I was introduced to machine quilting.  Let me say from the outset it wasn’t something I would have chosen for myself and I will always be indebted to my husband for purchasing the machine for me.

Quilting will always go hand in hand with the concept of encouragement. In fact, it is not the concept but the reality of encouragement.  Firstly, my husband, getting the proper advice for the sewing machine; secondly the encouragement from two friends to book quilting rather than sewing classes; and finally finding the right location for those classes.

Four, two-hour classes and I had a lap quilt, having learnt how to cut with a rotary cutter, to thread, sew, change bobbins and importantly not to be afraid to make mistakes.  Since then the most important tool I have is a Jemima.  Jemima is a ripper so as this ripper has a name it just shows how often I use it!!!

I have begun to understand how friends have been so absorbed in occupations and hobbies fabric related.  It is so tactile.  From choosing the fabric, treads batting to the actual making of the quilt top each step is tactile.

However, I have digressed here from writing about quilting and encouragement.  Every step along the way I have been encouraged. Roisin telling me get a piece of old fabric and sew.  “Put the foot to the pedal and sew”.

Then there was the utter magic of those four quilting classes with three ladies whom I am telling you have the patience of Job.  Honestly it amazes me when looking back how they survived me and kept their cool.

So, who were these angels?  They inhabit Appletree Crafts in Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow.  Their names? Marie, Sinead and Trina.  Now neither their halos nor wings are visible but believe me they are quilting angels who constantly encourage.  Their shop is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of fabric.  So, if you are visiting the garden of Ireland drop in, even if quilting is not your thing. Or, on the web http://www.appletreecrafts.ie

I have continued to try new adventures in this my 60th year.  I am writing this overlooking the Aughrim river on a sos beag (small break) from a Quilting Retreat.  Yes, I am attending my first Quilting Retreat.  It is an absolute blast.  A retreat led by Trina, Sinead and Marie from Appletree Crafts and attended by ladies who have offered nothing but support to each other .  The tips and generosity of spirit has been so special and uplifting.

Friendship

 

Friendship can mean many things.

Friendship can be transient as our life develops.  Sometimes friendships fade as our lives take us apart.  That is ok.  Those people came into our lives for a short period and gave the gift of friendship when it was needed.

Friendship can be a gradual process.  Sometimes it flows and ebbs like the tide but there is the knowledge that with a letter, card phone call even a text that friendship will still be there.

Some friendships have lasted decades and have seen us though happy, ordinary and devastating times of our lives.  It is as if, those friends have been a part of our lives since forever.

Some friendships have developed when we least expected them to.  Perhaps through the joining of a group perhaps from a shared interest. Perhaps going through a difficult time. Perhaps at a time of happiness.

Some friendships develop despite age differences.  It is the age difference which adds to the friendship and gives a different perspective on life.

Some friendships developed in the time of pen pals

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while some friendships have developed in the digital age.

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

Each friendship adds to our lives.  Each friendship is unique.  Each friendship is special.  Each friendship is unique because of what we put into it.

This poem was written by Robert Frost, has always reminded me that time with friends is special.

 

 Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Where Have I heard that Line?

Do you ever find that a poem, piece of writing, a song lyric will resonate with you one day and on another day will have no impact?  A word, a phrase, a memory will trigger a need to read the entire poem, read the entire passage or listen to that song.

 

“Sing and the hills will answer:

Sigh it is lost on the air;”

 

These lines have been reverberating in my mind for the last few days until last night when I decided to start a search to find the poem from which they come.  This time I didn’t want to use a google search.  I don’t know why but it seemed important to browse through poetry books and books of “sayings and quotes” to find the source.

It was an inexplicably comforting thing to do.  It didn’t feel as if I was the only one wide awake and on a search at 2.43am when I began my search.  It felt just right.  There were many stops along this search when I was reacquainted with long forgotten poems.

I found “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann again.  This was a popular prose poem when I was in secondary school in the 1970’s do you remember the opening lines? “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

The sun had risen and with a mug of coffee sitting on the back-door step I started browsing another book of poetry.  This book was given to me to celebrate my recent 60th birthday by a friend who knows how I love to hop in and out of poetry books.  She gave me two books.  “A Poem for Every Day of the Year” edited by Allie Esiri and its sister book “A Poem for Every night of the Year”.  Anne chose well and through her I have become reacquainted with some old forgotten poetry but also, I have been introduced to new poems and poets.

It was in one of these books that I found it.  I found from where those few lines came from.  I had found“Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

Solitude

Laugh and the world laughs with you:

Weep, and you weep alone;

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;

Sigh, it is lost on the air;

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing care.

Ironing During Summer Hibernation

So, it’s official Ireland is in the middle of a Heatwave.   Temperatures reached 30C yesterday.   Now this hasn’t happened in a long time.   So many young people in Ireland have not experienced a long period of dry weather never mind a heat wave.

Still the chores needed to be done.   The mound of ironing had morphed into a mountain and the world cup was calling to me so ironing in front of the TV worked well.

That was until the final scores when Senegal were knocked out of the tournament.   They had played well although yesterday their finishing let them down.   I was delighted that Japan had got through.

I then watched the Japan v Poland match.   What a shock to see so-called professional footballers passing the ball to one another with no attempt to play it in the oppositions half for a full 15 minutes.   It was obvious that the teams had decided, that if the score remained as it was with Poland having won by a single goal, then Japan would go through to the final 16 and there was no need to actually play football.

How dare these so-called professionals do this?  Do they not know, that their supporters would have had to save for perhaps a year to travel and purchase tickets for the World Cup?  Do their supporters not deserve to see their national team playing until the final whistle?  I would have been ashamed if the Irish Republic’s team had played in such a manner.

Thank goodness I didn’t scorch any clothes while I ranted and raved.   But it was a very disappointing way to end a football match no matter what the reason.

Summer Hibernation

 

Yet another hot summer day is over.  It feels rather strange to be constantly seeing blue skies.  Eight o’ clock in the evening and the sun is not just shinning but still has heat.  I am glad of our shaded back garden.  Paper, pen and a glass of cool water is a nice novelty.

This afternoon I spent hibernating from the sun and totally enjoyed the time.  A beautiful lunch followed by the world cup in the company of my son.  Now I was sure that Germany was going to win and had a book ready to hand just in case.  The book remained where it was.

The game was great to watch.  Having German friends and just recently back from a short break in Wurzburg I was up for Germany.  In fact, I was sure they were going to win as I think most people were, except perhaps the Korean team.  Korea played football from the very first minute.  It was great to see.  They ran at the German team.  They played as a united team with the determination not to be intimidated by the World Cup holders.

At the same time Sweden were playing Mexico.  Until this tournament Mexico would not have been one of my favourite teams all because they put us out of the World Cup 1994 in the USA by beating us 2 goals to 1.  This year though, they have played great football especially in the match against Germany.

So today I have had mixed emotions while watching the football; sad to see Germany departing while at the same time admiring the way the Koreans played.  I was delighted to see Mexico through  though today they didn’t play well and if they continue in the same vein they will not progress much farther.

 

Image result for mascot of the FIFA World Cup 2018

 

Today’s hibernation took a different root to what had been planned but….

Summer

 

I am not a summer person.  I think I spend more time inside during the summer than at any other time of the year.  This year has been so warm that I have hibernated and enjoyed my hibernation.  Books, books and more books interspersed with football, rugby and the odd film.  The anticipation of Wimbledon and the World Cup followed by the Tour de France it is just a pleasure to hibernate.

 

Now, I do have to admit that there are some lovely aspects to a dry hot summer.  It is wonderful to be able to sit out in the garden in the evening with sun gone and the air still warm.  It is wonderful to be able to go for a walk in the evening without having to carry an umbrella or coat.  No need to plan for those showers of rain.

 

A sound which epitomises Summer for me is the sound of bees. There is a hedge in the back garden which attracts the bees. It is covered in tiny flowers at the moment and the bees just swarm around it. There is also woodbine in the hedge and the sound of bees is just magical.

 

Honey Bee

This photo was taken by my husband John showing a honey bee in the garden hedge.

 

However, what I enjoy the most is being able to wash the clothes, peg them out and know that they will be dry in a few hours.  There is a different smell from clothes which have dried in the air.  And what about getting those duvets dried? Sheer bliss.  A little piece of heaven when folding those winter duvets after drying in the sun.  That smell of sunshine seems to linger.

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

 

Just one word of warning, if you are washing pillows please check that no minute tears have mysteriously formed before washing pillows.  I did not take adequate time to check and ended up with an empty pillow and a washing machine full of fibres.  Such is life.

 

So yes, I suppose I do enjoy summer but in my own way which perhaps is not the norm.  then again  who says what is the norm? Enjoy your day wherever you may be.

 

Possibilities

Have you ever received a birthday card/ greeting card and just read the inside of the card without registering what was on the outside? I certainly have.

During the last 12 months I celebrated a significant birthday and the other morning I was struck by one card I received.   The greeting said “Happy birthday! Wishing you a year of endless possibilities.”

I started to look back over the months since receiving this card to see what I had done but stopped myself.   This card was all about possibilities from now not for looking back.   Now that is so positive.   Possibilities are endless.   It gives permission to try things.   To have more and more possibilities in one’s life.

So, it was back to my trusty journal, fountain pen and list.   Lists help me to focus but this list was slightly different as I put the word “possibility” into the centre of a clean new page and from there using different coloured pens let my mind have free rein.   Then closed my journal.

Today I looked at the word list and I was amazed.   What I was looking at was a totally positive list which was bright cheerful deep and different to any list I had made before.   The difference this time was that I hadn’t allowed myself to edit.   I hadn’t allowed myself to think what could prevent… I hadn’t shared it with anyone.   Sometimes I have found that sharing my ideas has led me to scrapping those ideas.   Yes, and I have so regretted giving away those opportunities.

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But this is not a time for lingering on “what might have” been.   This is definitely, a time for possibilities.  This list now requires further lists.  Oh yes.  I took one possibility and again using a fresh page and coloured pens and worked how it could be achieved or in one case how I could get information in order, to start the process.

My journal is now expanding into pages of possibilities.  Brightly coloured pen pictures with some very dubious art work.  Artwork! I never use art work but yes, my style of artwork is decorating many a page wow.  I never knew.  No that is not quite right I never allowed myself which is totally different.

I am so glad that I decided to hang up each birthday card I received in my room and to keep them there for the year.  One never knows just when or where inspiration will find one.

 

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Thanks Nonie for reminding me to open up new possibilities.

 

 

 

A Forgotten Memory

 

I have been experimenting with dairy free cake recipes.  Some have been successful and some not so.

My biggest problem is that I do not take note of ingredients I use, telling myself I will remember the next time.  Yes, you may laugh.  As I have a head like a sieve it is most unlikely I would remember a recipe accurately.

During the night when sleep once more eluded me I decided to read through some old recipes which I have collected over the years.  Some go back to the 1970’s some even further back.

Would you believe there in front of me, decorated with many spillages was a recipe for Sultana Loaf which uses neither dairy nor eggs.

It was given to me by my boss in my first “office ” job. She had had major surgery. Subsequently she had to adhere to a very strict non dairy diet. This was in 1975 when the alternatives to dairy was very limited. I remember her saying that her sister would send her the oil as she could not purchase it in Ireland.

I had totally forgotten about that job and the people who worked there.

 

Sultana Loaf

225g/8oz Self Raising Flour

75g/3oz Castor Sugar

125ml/4fluid ounces Coconut Milk

4 tablespoons of Orange Juice

100g/4oz Sultanas

50g/2oz desiccated Coconut

150ml/5fluid ounces Olive Oil or whatever oil you prefer to use

 

Set oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Grease and line a 900g/2lb Loaf Tin

 

Mix sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl.

Beat in milk, followed by orange juice until combined.

Beat in oil.

Fold in sultanas and coconut.  Mixture should fall off a wooden spoon easily however if the mixture is too moist add in more coconut.

Pour into loaf tin.

Bake for 45 minutes in oven until loaf is golden in colour.

Leave to cool in tin then turn out onto cooling rack. 

Enjoy warm or cold

 

Enjoy warm or cold.

Keeping Warm

 

Tea is a universal beverage which warms the body, heart and mind.  It is strange how in the winter a cup of tea can warm a person and during a hot day it seems to cool a person.

 

Then there are the different methods of making tea.  The strength of the tea is very personal.  The variety of tea perhaps depends on the time of day.  Now one can have an infusions of fruit teas. In Ireland, some people have their preferred brand of tea.

Tea is such a personal taste. In the morning my preferred tea is an Irish Breakfast Tea. It has a strong definite taste and I have a preferred brand – “Lyons Breakfast Tea”. Much of the tea would be grown in plantations in Kenya and Indonesia for this particular brand.

There are many ways, to make tea but it all starts with boiling hot water.  It is so essential that the water is boiled and the tea infused immediately to allow the flavour to develop.

But how to keep the tea warm for that second or third cup?  At home I have a tea cosy which surrounds the teapot leaving the handle and spout free for pouring.  It was one of my earliest quilting projects long before tea became part of my every day.

My sister prefers a tea cosy which covers the entire pot and is lifted off to pour the tea.   A friend prefers a knitted tea cosy as she firmly believes that it is the only way of keeping the tea at the correct temperature.

Now my friend Christl, who lives in Wurzburg,  Franconia in Germany uses a totally different method.  Once the tea has been made in the tea kettle, it is placed on a trivet containing a tea light.  This keeps the tea at the perfect temperature.  It is an amazing utensil and so very practical.

It is called “Stovchen” in German.

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Perhaps this will be my new method for keeping tea at just the correct temperature? Thank you Christl.

Be Present

Be present, it is the only moment which matters

I do not know where I got this quote or to whom it can be attributed to. It is one of those quotes which has been with me through many journals.

Every so often it comes to mind and makes me stop. It is good to stop and savour that precise moment.

This morning I was busy with lists and the things I “HAD to do.  It was the only thing I could think of.  You may know that feeling, when the rush of life overtakes?

I was hanging out the clothes and suddenly stopped.  It hit me that I was so lucky to have a place to hang out the clothes after washing them.  I was so lucky to be physically able to hang out those clothes.  I was lucky to have clothes to hang out.

I found myself carefully hanging out those clothes and being aware of what I was doing.  It was a surreal experience.  From the mundane to something special. Too often I am caught up in the things or jobs which must be done, without experiencing the joy of being able to accomplish those jobs.

Sometimes, it is good for the spirit, the soul, the person to take time to notice what it is we are doing.

To savour that moment and appreciate it.

Her Garden

The day began to appear and with it a gradual warmth which eventually would raise the temperature to record heights.  But now at six in the morning, with her hands wrapped around the first cup of the day, the early morning hours were hers alone.

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She looked at her garden with fresh eyes.  It was as if she hadn’t really seen the garden before.   Nothing had changed from yesterday.  It was still the same garden.  Or was it?

She wasn’t a gardener.  In fact, she actively detested “looking after “the garden.  It was a chore.  What would be worse than tending the garden? There were few chores which in her mind were worse than tending a garden.  At that moment in time she could think of none.

Her distaste of gardening didn’t take away from the fact that one of her favourite places in the city was the National Botanic Gardens.  An oasis of beauty no matter what the season, what the weather or what mood she was in.

 

She was a city gal even at sixty years of age.  Holidays spent in the country as a child were never ending.  The highlight being mass on the Sunday with a visit to the shops to get the Sunday Paper and a bar of chocolate.  The open spaces of farm lands always felt threatening.  There had been too much open space and certainly not enough buildings for her.

To this day the thought of having a holiday entirely spent in the countryside sent a shiver down her spine.  A planned day trip had to have a stop in a town.  It didn’t need to be a large town, but a town was a must have.  She liked to see and feel hard core concrete.  There is a beauty in the myriad of textures and colours of concrete.

Looking at her garden in the early summer morning sun she realised that the garden had become her garden with the introduction of breeze blocks, concrete slabs, rusty bicycles, tin buckets and even car tyres. IMAG1066

 

 

 

The garden had become her garden with a design which had grown over the years through the inclusion of hard, harsh, beautiful concrete.

With the cup of tea now finished and the list of “things to do” calling to her, she smiled and realised that at last she could now relax her garden but perhaps a few more raised beds of breeze blocks might be a good addition. IMAG1065

 

 

 

 

With a smile she made her way inside to wreak havoc on that “to do “list.

Paper Inspiration

Do you ever get that feeling?  You know the one where you have a card to design, a very specific occasion for a specific person and the mind just goes blank?  You do?

What do you do to get inspiration when nature, photos you have accumulated and books just don’t help you fill the blank?  Or when it is something very specific you require?

I have a few specific blogs which I turn to.  If it is , what I call a fussy card or which most paper crafter would call, shabby chic then it is to Yvonne I would turn to. http://cardartblogkilcoole.blogspot.ie  Yvonne has also included some wonderful recipes on her site.

Another blog which constantly inspires me is https://cardsandcompany.wordpress.com   Lorraine gives great directions and added to that she gives a glimpse into the city of Ballarat, in Victoria, Australia.

On YouTube  Geraldine on little snippets  is just full of wonderful ideas and again with straight forward directions. https://www.youtube.com/user/littlesnippets1

Now I will freely admit that I love Pinterest and it is a great resource, especially at 3.00 a.m. when sleep is elusive.  It is just amazing the wealth of ideas which abound there.   A word of warning though, you may find that you spend hours rather than 10 minutes on it.

However, I have two special crafting buddies to whom I turn to time and again. Invariably they come up with some great ideas.  Anne my paper crafting buddy who is my expert on die cutting.  What she can do with a die cutter is just amazing.  The other is Mary, who taught me how to make my first greeting card.  She has great ideas.  She is a great artist.

Image result for free clipart of friendship

These two ladies have one thing in common – they have the patience of Job.  They remain calm and will explain things over an over again.  Which is just as well for me.  Thanks to you both. You are amazing ladies.

 

 

Where are you now?

 

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I came across a similar quote to this quote a few years ago. Today I found this quote and it resonated with me.

Personal growth is so important but not something that perhaps we put enough effort into. Life happens and we can get caught up in the minute of everyday living. That is grand.

However, there is a need to give time and space for ourselves and for our growth. Assessing where we are at, and perhaps finding that one is in  the exact same spot as a year ago can be very demoralising.

Now I am not talking about monumental changes but changes that aid our personal well-being both mental and physical. There is a need to take stock. In my very first blog post I wrote about my five-year  clear out. It has been very cathartic. However the need to look at me personally needed a yearly “look at”.

Like  Kerry over in http://fabuliciousfifty.com who has written about “Word of the Year” I also used to choose a word for the year. However Kerry has brought it to a higher level. http://fabuliciousfifty.com/category/word-of-the-year/

For the last few years I have chosen my word of the year and the first day of each journal begins with the word for that year. The words have ranged from courage to smile, from start to accomplish. and so many other words in between.

By focusing on one word I have found that I have developed on a personal level. I can honestly say that the above quote is not me anymore. I am definitely not in the place I was this time last year nor this time 10 years ago.

Having the courage to change and the stamina to go with that change is incredibly empowering and once started on this journey there is no turning back.

 

Dance

Today April 29th is International Dance Day.

I enjoy watching people dance.  It is magical to see people effortlessly glide across a dance floor, or dancers performing intricate choreographed moves of a ballet.  The national dance of a country can inspire a sense of belonging.

I still am mesmerised when I watch a film with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.  So many musicals have wonderful dance sequences and usually I am left just dumb struck after watching them.

Let me tell you a story.  Many moons ago I attended a dance workshop.  A London West End choreographer was taking the workshop.  The workshop was based around the musical “The Boyfriend”.  The first day was difficult in fact that was an understatement. It was impossible but I persevered.  First thing on the second morning we were divided up. I was put into a group which started to work on the very first dance we had learnt. The steps were modified but the work rate was still intense.  It was exhausting but exhilarating when finally we were able to get through the dance routine.  However, as the day finished I was taken aside and the choreographer told me that I epitomised the term “two left feet”.

Naturally I was disappointed but truth be told I knew that although I had the rhythm in my head for some unknown reason it never quite reached my feet.  I think it is knowing that my dancing is pretty terrible that I am in awe when I see spectacular dance moves or see a couple effortlessly gliding around a dance floor.  I also know that what seems effortless is in fact many hundred of hours of practice and more practise.

Knowing that technically I can’t dance doesn’t prevent me from dancing in the kitchen when a certain piece of music comes on the radio.  Or when that foot tapping music starts which just invites one to dance.

 

 

Dance – Poem by Tatianna Rei Moonshadow

I’ll dance all night
I’ll dance the pain away
I’ll dance until the morning sun
Graces us with day

I’ll dance until I’m numb
Until I don’t feel anymore
I’ll dance until I’m gone
And don’t remember what I’m dancing for

I’ll dance until you love me
I’ll dance the rest of my life
I’ll dance until you return
By the moon’s gentle light

I’ll dance to the music
Of my shattering heart
I’ll dance until it doesn’t hurt
As you tear me apart

Suburbian Summer

A picture perfect azure sky with not a cloud to be seen heralded the first truly summer’s day of the year.  The temperature already was climbing into the 20’s and it was still early in the morning.

A small blue tit  is busily  having an early morning dip in the yellow bucket oblivious to the neighbour’s cat who is greedily eyeing it.  But, with a shake of his feathers the blue tit departs before the cat can even think of pouncing.  Disgusted the cat creeps back underneath the shade of the of the overhanging roof to await the next bird who would dare enter the garden.

Image result for free images of cat taking the shade

 

Neighbouring children are out playing, released at last from the confines of their houses.   Their imaginations running riot and soon they have found treasure or scored a goal in the world cup they are playing in.  Some have turned into princesses while others have moved Lego into the outdoors and continued to build what they have seen in their imagination.

Image result for free images of a vegetable garden

Another neighbour is working hard preparing garden plots for the new arrivals which he has ordered and are due to be delivered.  These plots will turn into a veritable dinning table of vegetables.  Peas climbing up bamboo poles, marrows grown for autumn harvest, carrots tenderly looked after to give that sweet taste and smell to summer dinners.  The soft fruit bushes have been protected from the winter frosts and are starting to bloom, with the promise of jam in the offing.

There is the sound of music.  It is not a radio.  The music is not familiar.  A beautiful bass voice begins to sing.  Yet again the language is unfamiliar.  The chords initially sound Image result for free images of music notesdiscordant but as the music continues, it gradually weaves itself into the life of garden suburbia.  Does this music come from central Europe?  Perhaps the Baltic?  Then again it could be eastern mediterranean.  It doesn’t really matter, it is part of this summers day.

Sitting beneath a large heavy linen parasol, hands  holding one of a number of daily cups of tea the sounds cast a soothing spell.  The stresses ease as the familiar and not so familiar sounds drift on the air. Yes, a summer’s day in suburbia can be just perfect.

 

 

Forward Planning

 

Do you have that friend or acquaintance who just oozes confidence.  Nothing fazes her (of course it could be him but for convenience I am going to stick with her).  She has a presence.  She is able to articulate herself and nothing seems to throw her off her stride.

I know someone who just epitomizes the word confidence and I met her for coffee recently.  After catching up on what had been happening in our own lives and our families lives we turned our attention to our working life.

She told me that my recent post “A Change of Title”, which discussed the feeling of being invisible, really resonated with her.  Since she has become a retiree she has totally lost her way.  She had started to withdraw from social activities as it was less stressful.

I realised, that yes, I hadn’t seen her as much in the last year to eighteen months but had never realised that this was due to a lack of confidence.  I was flabbergasted.  Here was a woman who a few years ago would have chaired meetings, talked in front of a hundred delegates and never once believed she couldn’t achieve things.

Since becoming a retiree she had begun to realise that without her job she felt useless and that gradually her confidence had been eroded.  She had no sense of identity.  She had gradually withdrawn from social events.  She had become an avid reader and was a weekly visitor of her local library.

It is so easy to lose one’s identity whether it is on retiring, becoming a mother or father, loosing a job, or a myriad of other reasons.  The effect is still the same.  One’s self-confidence begins to disappear.

As our conversation developed we each admitted to being very apprehensive about forthcoming events which each of us had to attend.  Suddenly I had a buddy who wanted to help me and at the same time I wanted to ease the social evening for her.

Angela never moves without her tablet so, as I had to attend a large meeting she checked Luas time-table to see how long it would take me.  Then Angela suggested googling the hotel where the event was being held.  A large percentage of hotels now have virtual tours so one can get an idea of the various function rooms.  Now that is a tip I will keep in mind for future reference.  We also discussed where I would sit.  An aisle seat would suit as I was giving myself permission to leave at any time while at the same time I wouldn’t be disturbing anyone.

Next we looked at Anne’s social night, where she would know the hosts but no one else. Again we checked out the venue then we looked at conversation topics which Anne could read up on in advance.  Then we looked at outfits.  By the time we had finished, both of us while not being excited about the forth coming events, found we were no longer totally apprehensive about them.

Definitely, a little bit of forward planning was going to make  the experience far less daunting and it is something I would totally recommend to anyone who is apprehensive about a forth coming event. It will ease the situation and more importantly ease the stress levels.

Misinterpretation of Words

Did you know that saying or having thoughts about being invisible to others is seen as a sign of depression?

I was not aware of this until recently, when it was pointed out to me. The person I was in conversation with asked me bluntly if I was feeling suicidal or depressed? I was taken aback but the person continued, that it was a sign of being depressed.

Yet again I was glad that I had not called my blog “Dear Invisible”. It has doubly reinforced for me, that just because I may have been overlooked or spoken down to, it is not the same as being invisible.

It has also shown me that expressions may be misinterpreted and that words even spoken as a throw away comment, can be very misleading.

Words can have so many meanings. It is important for each of us to realise that how we use words is our responsibility and once uttered cannot be retracted.

Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out. Auliq Ice.

A Change of Title

For a long time, I had felt invisible but in the last few years it had become even more noticeable how I had become invisible to others.

A few years ago, I read an article about Sinead Keane, a marathon runner, who happens to have impaired vision.  In 2015 the organisers of the Women’s Mini Marathon, which is held annually in Dublin, would not let her running guide take part as he was male.  She challenged that decision and won.  A sentence in the interview with her kept reverberating in my head It’s about making invisible visible

This led me to remembering three Dunne’s stores workers who went on strike  in 1984 in Dublin after  refusing to handle south African produce due to Apartheid. When I spoke to them at the time, they talked about supporting  women in South Africa who were invisible.

While researching further into the whole idea on invisibility I came across many organisations who work for those who are invisible in our societies.  From those who are homeless, to those who use the law to secure equality and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide.

Initially I was going to call this blog Dear Invisible but after my research I found I couldn’t.  There are many who are truly invisible.

However, that doesn’t take away the fact that many a person feels invisible. I initially believed that it was only as one got older that one felt invisible.  With the onset of wrinkles, grey hair, sagging chins, and other parts of the body, that then the sense of being invisible really manifests itself.

However, is this really so?  Or is it perhaps that one learns to feel invisible?  Perhaps we allow ourselves and give ourselves permission to be invisible? I don’t believe this.  I think the feeling of being invisible is linked to confidence or the lack of it.

It is amazing how over a number of years on one can loose self confidence or the feeling of self worth for whatever reason.  Regaining self-confidence is difficult and requires courage.  It is an ongoing process but once one starts it is an intoxicating feeling.

Taking on board Sinead Keane’s quote “it’s about making invisible visible” moving from a lack of self confidence to gaining in confidence enables the feeling of being invisible gradually disappear.  Like anything which is important it requires work and it needs constant help but it is so worth it.

It takes courage to stop feeling invisible.  In order to regain self-confidence, one has to move outside one’s comfort zone.  Even if it only baby steps one takes it taking that first step is that is important.

Feel empowered.  If you start to feel it, then your voice will be heard and you will never go back Mary Robinson.  This quote is so true and so inspiring.  Finding and feeling good about oneself is a very powerful feeling. i keep this quote with me where ever I go. I put it on the first page of each journal.

Taking those first steps and rewarding oneself is essential.  Recently I attended a course knowing absolutely no one.  A year ago, I would not have even contemplated attending.  But by preparing in advance I did attend.  What gave me the confidence was that I went to the venue in advance and knew exactly where I was going.  I googled the key note speaker.  I emailed the organiser with questions I had.  On the morning of the course I was able to walk in with confidence and attend.  It was still difficult especially when it came to coffee breaks but I made myself talk with two other attendees.

By putting into place things which helped me to feel confiden, allowed me to attend the conference and enabled me to speak.  I was visible and although at times the feeling of being invisible started to creap in. However,  I stopped the feeling from developing.  It was exhausting day but so worth it.

I found a saying recently I am currently under construction and that is me at the moment.

 

I will try this book genre just one more time.

 

I love to read. I enjoy finding a new book on perhaps a subject I haven’t really looked at before and being drawn in.

There are books however that over the years I have detested.  Yes a strong word but aptly describing my feeling towards fairy tales.  Yes, fairy tales.  I can remember fairy tales being read to me, later reading them for myself and always being frightened by either the tales themselves or the illustrations.

Thinking back to those tales still sends a shiver down my spine.  I can remember receiving a book one Christmas entitled “The Stolen Child and Other Stories” by Sinéad Bean DeValera.  Although these were Irish based I was still scared.

Recently, I was given a bag of children’s books some first published in the 1970’s.  In among them  was a book ” Great Fairy Tales of Ireland” compiled by Mary McGarry.  After numerous pots of tea I finally finished the book but I never relaxed into the book.

I think I can safely say that I will not be reading any more fairy tales however, I would recommend any of the books by Sinéad Bean DeValera if you can find them.  Also “The Lucky Bag” a book of Irish children’s stories by various authors.

Another series of children’s books, set in County Wicklow and written by Cormac Mac Raois are “The Battle of Giltspur, Dance of the Midnight Fire, and Lightening over Giltspur”.  These are adventure books with gripping tales centred around three children Niamh and Daire Durkan and their cousin Rónán.  They are books which can be enjoyed by a reader of any age, yes even a sixty year old!

For those who are nature lovers then the trilogy “Run with the Wind“, “Run to Earth” and “Run Swift Run Free” by Tom McCaughren are beautifully crafted books with descriptive passages which immediately evoke images of the Irish countryside.

I am halfway through this wonderful bag of books and thanks to Marie, Sinéad and Trina I have many more hours of enjoyment ahead of me.

 

Scone with a Twist

 

I love scones. I love light fluffy scones.

Those big heavy scones do nothing for me.  In fact if they are too big I find I am just put off.

I decided to try something new and work on a dairy free scone.  I substitutd almond milk for my normal dairy milk and used a sunflower oil based spread.  Here are the results

 

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I am afraid there was very little rise and the texture was rather dense.  So Wicklow ICA ladies, you have nothing to fear from me when it comes to the scone baking competition.

 

 

 

 

These scones turned out more like biscuits and perhaps with the inclusion of grated citrus rind they make a good biscuit.  So a happy accident as I now have a new recipe for biscuits.

Library and Craftsmanship

As you know by now paper is important to me together with pens.  Places where the two come together hold a fascination for me.  So it is one of the reasons I love libraries.

Do you ever find that each library has its own unique atmosphere.  Okay I know if I was working in them day after day I suppose I wouldn’t be wafting on about atmosphere.  But from a purely visitor’s view so far each library I have visited is unique.

I had a return visit to one this week.  Can you imagine a library set in a house on seventy eight acres of land surrounded by  farm, sunken gardens, a lake, and a veiw stretching out to the mountains and still in a city?

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Farmleigh House, Dublin is the guest house for visiting dignatries and gusets of the Irish Nation.  It is an Edwardian Period house originally purchased by Edward Cecil Guiness of the famous Guiness dynasty on his marriage to his cousin Adelaide Guinness in 1873.  The Iriah Government purchased it in 1999.  It has since been restored and refurbished by the Office of Public Works.  The craftsmanship in the restoration has been so high.

There are many wonderful rooms to view on the tour of the house.  However it was the library which stole my heart away.  The Benjamin Iveagh Library, to give it it’s official title, is stunning.

It is a wooden pannelled room  filled with books some with exquisite binding.  It has a hidden stairs to access the upper library shelves.  And no the public cannot access the books.  Although normaly my hands are itching to pick up a book this was a time when I just gazed in raputure at the workmanship of those bindings.

In this rrom you can see the work of suthors dating back to 1280.  The work of amazing binders each binding adding to the work of the author.  Then the work of the carpenters to allow for the storage of these valuable and read works.

This room like so many other libraries ackowledges the work of so many. Yet another library very much worth a visit.

Generations

I was sent a short video to mark International  Women’s Day and it showed three young women who basically blamed all their ills on the previous generation. It was brilliantly put together and very funny.

However it set me thinking. Was this the way, that women who gave up paid employment in order to look after their family full-time were in fact being judged?

Since becoming one of those women back in the 1990’s, I found that society but to a greater extent working women saw me as something to be derided, belittled or totally ignored. I was told that “I was a pariah on society, taking without giving” .

I have been privileged to have met so many women mainly in the 50 plus age limit who are strong women. These women cared for elderly relatives, reared children, were and some still are active in their churches, started voluntary bodies which have since been taken over by state bodies, supported schools and worked unpaid for all their adult lives.

They have enabled others to have choices and they are still supporting their families with many of them taking on the childminding roles for the next generation. Some are finding  a new source of education through the next generation.

I was talking with a seventy year old lady recently. Dympna was inspired by a young twenty year old woman who communicated, read, interacted all through her mobile phone. Dympna now uses her mobile for everything from emails, to bill paying to basic phone calls. In turn she is now teaching it.

I am firmly of the opinion that there is so much to learn from every generation. No one generation is better than another but just think what can be done when the minds of different generations come together with respect.

 

 

 

 

Saint Patrick’s Day

Tomorrow March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day.  It is a national holiday here in Ireland.

Each town and city will hold a parade show casing community organisations.  Children involved with every pastime imaginable will march behind every type of band or music group.

Communities within the towns will parade celebrating the diversity and the commonality of the area.

It is amazing that Saint Patrick’ Day will be celebrated in so many parts of the world, with parades and even buildings going “green”.

Shamrock Vectors, Photos and PSD files | Free Download

 

For some the day will start with a religious ceremony.  Saint Patrick is actually only one of the three patron saints of Ireland.  The others  being St Brigid and Saint Columcille.

 

The day itself has become known as Paddy’s Day however, it is a huge mistake to call it Patty’s Day.

No matter where you are can I wish you a very happy

                                     Saint Patrick’s Day. 

 

 

 

Fountain Pen + Notebook =

Have you ever realised that having a pen and paper can be very rewarding?

It is amazing what is to be seen or heard and having that pen just enables me to remember those moments.   I have always thought of writing as being very solitary but I have learnt otherwise.

I was sitting recently in a restaurant waiting for my order to be served, took out a lovely small brown leather-bound notebook.  A great present from my son, as it holds my new fountain pen snugly in the spine and they both fit into my pocket.  Christl thanks for the fountain pen which goes everywhere with me.

My coffee arrived in a large bulbous mug.   The mug was so apt for a coffee.   It invited me just to wrap my hands around it and to savour that little moment.   And yes, the coffee lived up to expectations.

I drew my notebook to me and started to write just snippets, random thoughts.   I was soon lost to my writing and the thoughts which had been buzzing around my head.   I like to use word pictures as a quick way to get my ideas down before I totally forget.   Forgetting ideas seems to be happening more and more.

The coffee shop had got busier while I had been occupied and soon I was joined by two young ladies who turned out to be from Michigan in the USA.   After a brief conversation I returned to my scribblings but felt I was being watched.   It’s a feeling I don’t like so I quickly looked up to find one of these ladies staring intently at my fountain pen.  IMAG0940[1]

It turned out this young lady, had never seen a fountain pen.  She had heard about them but had never actually seen one.   Talk about being amazed.   I mean I know I was born in the last century but not to have seen a fountain pen!  Soon there was an engaging conversation on ordinary useful objects which had become obsolete or if not obsolete very seldom used.

To see their faces when they googled fax machines, 1970 computers, early mobile phones, telex,  their faces were a picture of total astonishment.   As for the Teas Maid the shrieks of laughter drew glances from a few other customers.

One never knows just where a pen, paper and a mug can lead one and what stories emerge never mind the memories which can be created or rekindled.  A simple fountain pen brought different generations together for a short while amidst much lughter.

Excitement Gathers

Good Morning on a bright sunny cold and frosty morning in Ireland.

Today is the second part of a time when I take over the TV controls. This happens every two and four years. Yes The Olympics and Paralympics Games.

The closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea was the 25th February and now it is only hours away to the opening ceremony of the Winter Paralympics 2018 in Pyeongchang , South Korea. I am so excited.

Let me introduce you to Bandabi. He is the Mascot of the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games.  He is part of Korean culture and folklore.

 

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Ireland has never competed in the Winter Paralympic Games and it will be sad not to have any Irish athlete taking part.  It is different watching without an Irish interest but it also means that I can enjoy the games in a different way.

I have always been amazed how sportspeople strive and push themselves to do better, to keep trying to achieve the next standard irrespective of sport.

However, I just love to watch winter sports.  Biathlon would be my favourite sport to watch, followed by cross-country skiing.  And before anyone asks..No I cannot ski.  I have tried it, but having no balance it was a total disaster.  I suppose knowing how difficult it is just leaves me in awe of all these winter athletes.

And so for a little bit of history.

In 1944 a spinal injuries centre was opened in Stoke Mandeville hospital in Great Britain for service men and women injured in World War Two.  Sport was used in rehabilitation there. In 1948 on the same day as the opening of the London Olympics Dr. Guttmann organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for wheelchair athletes.

Four years later ex -service men and women from The Netherland took part.  These games later became the Paralympic games.

The first Paralympic Games took place in Italy in 1960 with 400 athletes taking part.  1976 saw the first Winter Paralympics taking place in Sweden and 198 athletes took part.  Since the Summer Olympics of Seoul in 1988 and the Winter Olympics of Albertville in 1992, The Paralympic Games have been hosted in the same cities and venues.

The International Paralympic Committee was founded in September 1989  to act as the global governing body of the paralympic movement.

The name Paralympics comes from the Greek prepositionPara” meaning alongside and “lympics” referring to the Olympic movement.  It means the Paralympics are the parallel games to the Olympics.

So If I don’t answer those emails quickly enough,  those texts replies are delayed or whatsapp isn’t answered you now know why. Apologies now.

Roll on the Games and good luck to all competing.

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day

Thursday March 8th is International Women’s Day

So much will be written, talked about shared on this day and in the days leading up to it.

I would ask that this year women would respect each other.

To respect the differences as well as the similarities.

It is these differnces which make us unique.

It is the differences in thinking which lead to new ideas.

However without respect for each other the work and role of women is demeaned.

Education Ongoing

 

My knowledge of animals could be written on the back of a postage stamp.  I am not an animal person, never was and I don’t think I ever will be.  (Never say never though.)

I know cats are curious creatures by nature but I was always under the impression that cats hated water in all its forms.  Today I have been educated.

May I introduce to you Maggie, Ezra, Buttons and Bambi.  As you can see from these images these cats have proven me wrong. I was totally amazed while laughing at their antics.

 

My imagination went into overdrive………

 

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“What is this white mass?” thought Maggie as she disdainfully surveyed her domain.  “She was the white goddess. Who had allowed her domain to be covered by this magical, white, soft slightly damp covering?  Where had it come from? Who dared to change her world?”, she fumed.  “Those humans were interfering again but, perhaps for once they have actually got it right.  But I will not let them know that,” as she smiled to herself.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Ezra.  “That stupid tabby” Maggie thought as she watched him trying to catch the snowflakes.  She wanted to try and catch snowflakes herself but there was no way she would allow anyone see her trying.  “A lady must have her standards” she mused.

Ezra meanwhile was having the time of his life.  He would get in some practise then invite the lads over for a game of Snowflake.  Some more time here on the steps then he would show them all tonight.  Ryecroft Rovers would trounce Hollybrook United and not before time.  Must round up the lads but first sustenance then a snooze.

Buttons stirred, whiskers twitched, something was just not right.  “Wake up Bambi something is definitely not right around here” as he prodded his sister.  Instantly alert Bambi looked around.  An eerie light was coming into the hallway.  “He’s right” she thought.  “It’s still night time” as she noticed the snores were still coming from the humans.  Stealthily the pair made their way down the stairs, through the kitchen and out into……

“What is this stuff” mewed Buttons while taking a sample.  “Not bad as he sampled a snowflake.  With just a look passing between the two cats they decided to make their way across the garden and up onto the food table where they would be able to survey their world. 

They took a step and suddenly the ground gave way. The two cats were covered by a cold wet soft ticklish something.  Bambi started to sneeze while Buttons butted at it, but to no avail.  They caught each other’s eye and started to laugh.  Trying to hit this white stuff was fun and rolling in it was making their coats turn white.  A fresh flurry of snow tired these two out. So, they crept back to the kitchen step shook their coats clear and silently made their way back into the warmth of the house: unaware that a little boy had been laughing at their antics and hoping that he could play with them tomorrow.

 

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Warmth, Vanity or Just

“Baby it’s cold outside” as the song goes and today it is bitter.  We have had an unusally cold winter here in Ireland.  Perhaps in comparison to other countries it is not bad but for us it has been cold.

At the moment there is a severe orange warning for the country with below zero temperatures and snow forecast.  I am sure two of my friends one in Greenland and one in Germany are finding this very funny.  Especially when I think of the temperatures they both endure and the volume of snow that recently enveloped Greenland.

There is however a plus side to this weather.  Clothes shopping I see as a necessary chore.  In fact give me house work any day.  Now there are exceptions to any rule and for me hats, bags and occasionally shoes break that shopping chore.

While in Boston many years ago I splurged on a “Dr. Zhivago” type hat.  Then a few years ago I had hat made for me by Sarah McGahan, milliner,  in sheepskin.  Prior to this winter these hats were just too warm but now I have a choice of what hat to wear.

It is amazing how a hat can make one feel.  It is similar to that feeling one has while wearing those special shoes.  Suddenly I walk with a straight back, feel as if I can conquer the world and generally feel good.

 

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With my Dr. Zhivago on  I am on top of the world.  My red Finish hat and I want to laugh and smile.  My Sarah Mc Gahan hat and I am an explorer heading out looking for adventure.  My blue closh hat and thanks to Úna I feel like a lady from the Art Nouveau period.

Being 60 has empowered me to wear the hats I love, even though to many hats are a thing of the past.  Together with the change in climate my love of hats can develop even further.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

Today I really noticed that Mother’s Day cards were abounding.  Ads for what to get “your Mother” are everywhere to be seen.

Mother’s Day is such a complex day.  Ok, on the surface it celebrates the roles of mothers with cards perhaps lovingly made in schools and a handmade present.  Perhaps the Dad or another relative has reminded the teenage child that a card is essential.  Perhaps they all cook a meal and celebrate the day together.

Perhaps for some women who have never experienced the privilege of motherhood, Mother’s Day is a day for curling up underneath the duvet and indulging in chocolates while allowing the tears to flow freely for those hopes and dreams which were never to be.

Perhaps Mother’s Day is another reminder of the child who is missing.  The hopes for the future again unanswered.  Perhaps a child has distanced himself, mentally/ physically or both.

Perhaps for the mother whose child has died, Mother’s Day is a public reminder of  the void that can never be filled in her heart.

Perhaps Mother’s day  is a reminder to a mother, that because of illness she is no longer able to be a mother and sometimes her child has to be her carer.

Perhaps the mother doesn’t recognise their child as a result of illness.  The laughs which would have been shared can never be shared as the mother retreats from the world.

Perhaps Mother’s Day is a reminder to a child, even an adult child, that the mother who should have nurtured, cared for and protected never existed  for that child.

On the morning of Mother’s Day, I always raise a cup to those mothers who are suffering that little bit more because of the day that is in it.

Perhaps we as women could go a little farther this year? Perhaps we could send a card, ring or call to a mother who is hurting on this year’s Mother’s Day.

Is It Bread Or Is It Cake?

4.15 a.m.  still wide awake and this tossing and turning is really not exercise.  So off to my writing space and firstly those lists.  I like lists.  I especially like lists when I am crossing off what I have accomplished.  Is it vain to want to pat myself on my back and say well done another job accomplished? Vain? No, definitely not.  It is just a good feeling.

So, the “to do list” for today which is very, very, very long as I was away for a few days was completed.  The next thing was a cuppa.  Kettle boiled, mug warmed, coffee jug ready and NO BREAD.  Yikes not good.  There are some mornings when only a slice of soda bread and jam will do.  This was one of those mornings.

Soda bread and scones would take me no time at all to make. I don’t need a recipe for either.  Changing my normal routine, I decided on scones first then the soda bread as it takes longer to bake.

Measured out the ingredients for scones and decided to measure out the flour for the soda bread while I was at it.  Butter milk out for the bread and while I was taking out the flour I came across the last spoonful of Christmas Mincemeat.  Yes, that would go lovely with the scones.

Baking in the oven, washing up completed, counters cleaned down, a quick scan of the local free newspaper which turned into a toal read of the said newspaper. Yes you’ve guess it I totally forgot about the scones.

I took the baking out of the oven and this is what I had……Scone and Soda Bread all in one!!!!!  Don’t ask.  I had managed to put all the ingredients together.

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It actually tastes grand even though it doesn’t look great. In fact I think that’s an understatement. It looks pretty miserable.

Perhaps I have come up with a new recipe? Perhaps it will take off and I will become know as the woman with the daft bread. Anyone who would like the recipe just give me a short while to try and remember what I actually used.

Perhaps I should have had that coffee or even gone back to bed before I started baking.

Then again perhaps I have given someone a laugh. I hope so.

Have a good day.

Found

My post yesterday entitled “Smile” featured an image of a sketch depicting a girl with an umbrella.  It was a very happy uplifting image but I hadn’t been able to find the artist’s name

Thanks to a friend of mine Kay I have now found out that the artist is Molly Hahn.

Molly Hahn is a catoonist based in California and she is known for her daily comic “Buddha Doodles”

She began these sketch doodles as a daily daily meditative practice and gradually found that people wanted to see more of them.  So she started posting “Buddha Doodles”on line at http://www.buddhadoodles.com

Molly Hahn has published a number of books including Buddha Doodles Gratitude Journal : Cultivate Love and Buddha Doodles Gratitude Journal: Shinning Your Light.

Even though it seems I am very late in getting to know Molly Hahn’s work , I am thankful to have found another inspirational artist. Where would we be without them?

 

 

 

Smile

 

I came across this beautiful picture but unfortunately could find no refernce to the artist. So if anyone can direct me it would be great.

 

I also came across a quote ” when others rain upon your parade open an umbrella and carry on”..unknown

What a powerful uplifting message.

Have a good day and follow your dreams.

 

Umbrella

 

Today is National Umbrella Day.

When I read this I was delighted.  I really enjoy using an umbrella.  I own a number of them.  Why I hear you ask?  Surely I only need one?

Rain Umbrellas

No not really.  I have a silver one which I purchased in Oxford while on holiday and the inside depicts the constellations of the northern night skies. I would never have chosen it myself but my husband found it and re introduced me to the night sky.

I have a red polka dot umbrella given to me as a birthday present and whenever I use it, which is often if you are living in Ireland, I always find myself twirling the umbrella and singing to myself.  On any grey wet windy day beside the sea it is a splash of colour.  The only draw back to this umbrella is that it doesn’t fold up.

So that meant that I had to keep an eye out for a fold up umbrella for my bag.  There are the basic ones which will do the job but…..A few years ago while on a visit to the National Art Gallery in Dublin, I came out to a down power.  The Gallery shop had umbrellas, books, more books so many items that by the time I had chosen and purchased the umbrella the sun was shinning when I came out.

The umbrella is based on a Monet design and I have to tell you that nine times out of ten when I have that umbrella in my bag it does not rain, but then again there is that one time when it is invaluable.

It was the Chinese who developed the waxed leather umbrella for use by the nobility to protect from the rain in the 11th century B.C.   While parasols were used in Egyptian and Roman empires the custom fell into disuse after the fall of the Roman Empire.  I was amazed to find out that the umbrella dated so far back.

 

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This painting by Des Brophy is one of my favourite paintings.

 

History Through Taste

I have been reading recently about food fusion and hearing about it on food programmes.  Surely this concept has been around since Adam was a boy.

Perhaps we use the style of cooking which we are used to, then move to a new location where ingredients are different but we use the cooking techniques we know, to cook with the new ingredients.  Surely people have been doing this for hundreds of years.

There are cook books abounding with the fusion concept.  The concept is not new but if it draws people into cooking for themselves I for one am all for it.

I really enjoy reading cook books especially second-hand ones.  I like to imagine those other food lovers who have read and used the recipes within.  However, it is the books which have been both loved and used which I cherish the most.

Some of my reading memories are to do with cook books and tonight not being able to sleep I started to read a cook book which had belonged to my mother-in-law Sheila and which was recently given to me.

The book is only 9 inches long by 5 inches wide with less than a hundred pages.    The cover is intact but the spine will need repairing and it is obvious that this book was used over and over again.    It is called “the Tricity cookery book”.    It is a very straight forward cook book with only 4 colour plates.    There are a few sketches but this book is all about the recipes.   Some pages were used more often than others and I love the fact that it isn’t in pristine condition.   It was a book which was used.

Right beside it on my cookery shelf, I found “A taste of Ireland in food and pictures” by Theodora Fitzgibbon.  A friend of mine Rhona, who knows how much I love cookery books, gave it to me prior to moving to Charlton near Banbury in the United Kingdom to run The Rose and Crown.  If you get a chance to visit just try the superb food there.

Again, this is a small cookery book but it has a wealth of history together with the recipes.  The edition I have ,was published by Pan in 1971.   One odd thing about the recipes is that the quantities are not only given in imperial measurement as was used in Ireland at the time but also in U.S.  cup measurements.   However, on the back of the book there is an endorsement by the Irish Tourist Board. Perhaps this book was intended for the tourist industry mainly and that would explain the use of U.S. measurements.

The black and white photographs which accompany each recipe give more information on the times and evoke a sense of times past. The recipes cover everything from toffee to cruibíns. If you ever come across this book it is well worth a read especially if you are interested in social history or cookery.

Resonating Image

 

 

Have you ever come across a saying or a quote which exactly sums up numerous thoughts which you have? Not only does it verbally say exactly what you want said but it immediately conjures up an image.

 

A few days ago, I “visited” Appletree Crafts via Facebook.  Appletree Crafts is a one stop shop for everything quilting.  A question was posed “What is the favourite part of your sewing routine?” among the many replies one just stood out for me………

” Learning new techniques feels like adding to my utility belt of skills.”

 

Wow what a brilliant image.  It really resonated with me.  I could so visualise the concept.  Learning a new skill is so exciting and mastering it is when I dance around the craft table.  What about dancing around with a utility belt…….

 

This sums up for me what crafting is all about.  Gathering new skills, learning new skills, enhancing established skills and adding them to this belt with pockets where one can dip into as the need arises

 

I have been playing around with the idea.  When it comes to fruition I will share but until then I hope this will suffice.

 

Abby, I hope you approve.

In Anticipation of Spring

For those looking forward to the days lengthening and the coming of spring. This poem was written by Paula Meehan.

SEED

The first warm day of spring
and I step out into the garden from the gloom
of a house where hope had died
to tally the storm damage, to seek what may
have survived. And finding some forgotten
lupins I’d sown from seed last autumn
holding in their fingers a raindrop each
like a peace offering, or a promise,
I am suddenly grateful and would
offer a prayer if I believed in God.
But not believing, I bless the power of seed,
its casual, useful persistence,
and bless the power of sun,
its conspiracy with the underground,
and thank my stars the winter’s ended.

 

Gladden the Heart

 

I remember when I was quite young I heard the expression “to gladden the heart”.  It was years before I actually understood what it meant.  The first time I read this poem I was reminded of that expression.  When I came across the poem again this morng  it lightened my spirit once more.

 

 

Smiling is infectious

You catch it like the flu

When someone smiled at me today

I started smiling too

 

I walked around a corner

And someone saw me grin

When he smiled I realised

I had passed it onto him

 

I thought about a smile

And realised its worth

A single smile like mine

Could travel round the earth

 

So if you feel a smile begin

Don’t leave it undetected

Start an epidemic and get the world infected.

Spike Milligan

Cricket balls or Scones

England to me has always conjured up afternoon teas and scones.  I still do not know why.  While recently in Shropshire I spent a week of being totally disappointed by the quality of scones.  Invariably they were heavy, doughy, totally lacking in flavour and in most cases the scone could have been substituted for a cricket ball in a cricket match.

On our return journey to the ferry we decide to spend some time in the Jackfield Tile Museum one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums.  As we  finished we noticed signs for Maws Craft Centre which turned out to be only a short amble down the road.  What a find!  A courtyard surrounded by craft shops and a café.  Each and every shop is different but each worth a visit.IMAG1358

Lastly we visited  “The Tile Press” a beautiful café.  It is located in the building where the tiles used to be made hence the name.  It is bright and airy with plenty of space between tables.  In one corner are sofas so, if it is a “sink in and get comfy” cuppa you are looking for they are ideal.  In another corner is a large table which would easily seat 10 people comfortably.  Then there are tables for two or four people interspersed around the floor.

As we approached the counter I spied a tiered display of scones!  Real scones; none of those mass-produced cricket balls.  We quickly ordered scones with tea and coffee.  I found myself with a silly grin on my face after eating these scones.

They were light as a feather and incredibly moreish.  I found out that Claire is the baker and it was the first day to have scones on the menu.  Weren’t we lucky to find this goldmine?

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The glass fronted cup boards were home to delicious cakes, cup cakes and larger cakes which were equally as tempting.  Each display was more enticing than the previous one.

Now for those who prefer savoury there was the smell of carrot and coriander soup wafting its way which was equally as tempting. Together with beautiful breads and seasonal salads The Tile Press was catering for everyone.

From the bright airy feel of the café, to the perfect cup of tea, to the enticing aromas, to those tempting cakes, and light as a feather scones this is a café not to be missed.  The icing on the cake ~( if you will forgive the pun) was the welcome.