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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.