One of Life’s Pleasures

A mug of coffee or tea and a good book are not just life’s pleasures but a necessity. I don’t think I could survive without a book. There are many book genres which I enjoy but a “who done it”  with a cuppa? A definite yes.

A book where the “baddy” is caught by a believable sleuth, justice is served, without any blood and gore details, is the basis of a good mystery book.  The sleuth can be a lady of indeterminable years, a young lady, a police detective, a retired detective, a librarian, a cook; it doesn’t matter as long as the writing is good and lures me into the story.

I was introduced to a mystery book while attending the children’s public library in Rathmines, Dublin by my good friend Úna and 50 years later she is still introducing me to new authors. During the years I have been enthralled by authors such as Ruth Dudley Edwards, Miranda James, Kate Ellis, Deborah Crombie, Ann Cleeves, Ann Granger, and of course Agatha Christie together with Colin Dexter and his Inspector Morse series.

Unfortunately, a “cozy mystery” is not a popular genre or so the publishers would like us to think. So many book shops do not stock them. In fact, it is hard to find them in general. Thank goodness for the independent book shops where they are more than happy to order these books. Dubray Books in Bray http://www.dubraybooks.ie/ being one such shop with their knowledgeable, friendly staff. Really what more could you ask for.

It is great to come across a new author. A new addition to my author’s journal is Lilian Watts, http://lilianwatts.com. She is an Australian author who has a theatrical series set in U.S.A. which is really enjoyable. So, if you are looking for a cozy mystery read try her out.

Thanks to Úna I have been enthralled, entertained and visited numerous countries through the “cozy mystery” genre.

 

Poetry

 

Pen paper and mugs are part of my life but words are an integral part. I enjoy reading poetry as opposed to studying and learning poetry as had to be done in school.

During those many sleepless nights I  have come across some wonderful websites all to do with poetry. I am just amazed how a poet can put a few words together and conjure up images that are as vivid as an artist’s painting. It is pure alchemy.

I came across a contemporary poet Eileen Carney Hulme. Her poetry seemed to just lift off the page. She was born in Scotland of Irish/ Scottish descent. Here is just one I would like to share with you. It is from her poem The Letters

 

I wonder if you keep

 the letters still,

spidery and blotted

now, like old days

I remember sunlight burst

that inspired

Those winged words

Post

There is something magical about the clatter of the letter box and the hope there is something there other than a bill.  Generally, nowadays bills are online so it is mainly unsolicited mail or rubbish.

However, do you remember the anticipation hearing the postman and hoping there was something just for you.  I love to get post.  I especially like to get a letter or a card when I am least expecting it.  There is something really exciting to see a coloured envelope which has a hand-written address.  Wow to think someone has taken the time to write to me.  I find it humbling, exciting and just the very thing to accompany that “mug of ..”

If you are of a similar generation to me you will probably remember the blue “air letter”.  It was a sheet of flimsy paper which was folded in on itself forming its own envelope.  It was amazing just how much information could be squeezed onto one A4 sheet of paper.

 

Image result for aerogramme paper

I had a friend in the 80’s working in India and those “air letters” were great.  I remember the lady in the post office near to where I worked telling me that she had a note pad of them that would work out cheaper for me! That was how Ger and I kept in touch.

Very often these pages or air letter were surrounded by the country colours.  The Irish air letter had a border of green, white and orange.  Air mail must have seemed so much quicker than surface mail which had for so long the only way of getting information across the miles.  Not forgetting the different class of stamps depending on how fast you wanted or could afford to post a letter.

I was just trying to think over my morning pot of tea just when was the last time I received a chatty letter.  I actually couldn’t remember.  It is normal to receive what I term as a “catch up” letter with some Christmas cards but excluding those I honestly can’t remember the last time I received a letter.  That got me thinking as to when I had last sent a letter.  Again, I was stumped.  Excluding a note with a card it is a long time since I sent a letter.  I would send cards regularly to people just to say hello but it would be very seldom when I would enclose a long missive.

I have heard myself complaining about the closures of post offices however if the majority of people are like me and don’t write letters then is it any wonder that post offices are being closed?  But that is for another day.

I think it is time to re-invent the letter.  How? Every month I am going to write a letter to someone different.  I know I am going to find it strange.  A mug of tea and I will start the letter.  It is Image result for letter imageseasy to forget how one can get lost in a letter but if you haven’t written in a while like me then it can seem like a large.  Finally, off to the post office and pop it in the box.

 

Now I know, some of those who know me are now laughing out loud.  Why? Just today I found a get-well card for someone who is back at work after undergoing an operation which they underwent over three months ago.! Yes, I made the card, made up a verse for the insert, popped in a note, addressed the envelope stamped it and totally forgot to post the letter.  I have a friend and in our teens and early twenties we corresponded by post.  Well the number of bulk letters which Mags received was embarrassing to say the least.  So my penchant of not remembering to post the letter is going to be the biggest hurdle of all.

Please if you have any hints on how not to forget to post the letter please, please let me know.  If you are a letter writer I would also it would be good to hear from you.  Perhaps you are still corresponding with friends using a pen and paper? If you are would I would love to hear about it.

Take care.

A Lunch…..

A while back, I met a wonderful lady.  I met her at a lunch which was given by a mutual friend.  This lady, I will call he Kate, after introductions she apologised that she didn’t know why she was invited to this lunch as she had nothing in common with anyone there.  She said “I am not a university graduate and only finished secondary school so I have nothing to contribute but I would love to hear about your work”.  I was stunned.

Eventually I think I closed my mouth and gradually found out that Kate was a craft artist, mother, home provider, parent carer, volunteer, voracious reader and still sane.  How she managed to do all she was doing, was beyond me.  Back in the day the buzz word in companies was time and motion management, now it is called work study.  Well Kate had a PhD in it without the certificate to prove it.

How could this lady be so demeaned by society even though she was a primary carer, educator, financial manager, caterer, cook, maintenance manager, craft master and artist oh and a volunteer?  When did the criteria for being a worthwhile person start with the premise that one needed to be a graduate?

After many years of getting to know Kate, I asked her one day why she had apologised about her education qualifications when we met.  She said the number of women who had dismissed her as insignificant because she wasn’t working or hadn’t a degree had led her to a deflecting strategy and allowed her to get through these social events.

You may think that this is a scenario from the 70’s or maybe 80’s but unfortunately not.  It happened within the last 5 years.  There may be inequality between men and women as I know there is but if women cannot respect and support each other there is no way that equality between men and women will ever happen.

 

 

Daily Prompt: Educate

 

“All of life is a constant education” ….  Eleanor Roosevelt.  I came across this quote in one of my journals and it has set me thinking.  What does “educate” mean?  “To give knowledge to or develop the abilities of somebody by teaching” Bloomsbury English Dictionary.  But is education solely learning by teaching?

Andrew Carnegie said that his education came through books rather than formal education.  Is todays image of education restricted to the image of a teacher standing in front of a class or is that an antiquated image? Although there may be whiteboards or tablets in use in schools.  The school is still divided in classrooms with a teacher.  Looking at it another way by having the basics of education taught in such a way it opens up the whole world of learning and that is a wide and varied world.

I have to agree with Andrew Carnegie to a great extent.  Books are a great wealth of knowledge and in many instances a free source of education.  The Public library system and free E books can open up the world of learning.  However, I think it is when we actually realise how we as individuals learn that education comes alive.

For me I still need paper and pen to take notes to write to edit and through these steps I learn.  For others, the arrival of you tube has opened the door to another aspect of education and learning.  Watching rather than reading enables these people to learn in a way that is beneficial to them.  Even if I am watching you tube I invariably have to take notes.

Edith Hamilton an U.S.  educator and author, spoke of how little stress was put on the pleasure of learning.  A friend of mine in her 80s reads the Sunday Newspaper from cover to cover because she enjoys being up to date with current affairs but also enjoys learning about the world of which Ireland is only a small dot.  She loves to learn but also can impart that knowledge.  I really enjoy the debates we have and also the unusual snippets she has gleaned in the newspaper.  A cuppa with Peggy brings me right up to date.

 

via Daily Prompt: Educate

A Community?

 

How are you this evening?

All today I have had a craving for chips.  Not homemade oven chips but honest to goodness chipper chips.  So in order to banish the thoughts I had the usual prom walk but then instead of the cuppa and a biscuit I put on a walking video.  I made sure to have plenty of chopped fruit and veg for those snacks which for some reason seem to be still in the fridge.  It didn’t help.  I found myself just an hour ago crossing over the threshold of the chipper.

The aroma was wonderful: that heady mixture of salt, vinegar and spices.  My mouth was salivating.  A few minutes reading that enticing menu but all along I knew when my time came I would say “Onion rings and chips please” My shoulders relaxed, the pain my neck eased.  And now, for the next part of a trip to the chipper the act of people watching.

I love people watching and there was so much to see and hear.  The majority of the customers were known by name.  Was I envious? Definitely.  To be part of a community is a necessity.  Did the people here realise that they were part of a community and that others would be envious of them? Maybe or maybe not.  Did it really matter?

Every age group was represented here.  “Redser” a small ten-year-old had a list as long as your arm memorised.  It seems it was different to his normal order and Joe who owned the chipper was quick to check just in case.  “Me bleedin cousins are here” Redser told us all.

Two young men came in having rung in their order as they were on their way to watch the match. Kitted out in the Irish Jerseys and scarves, they told Joe Ireland was going to win by the single goal.  “Darren Randolph will have a clean sheet”.  I hadn’t even realised that Ireland were playing.  I’d better remember to check out the score later or perhaps catch up on the I player.  They all dissected the team and the opposition and  all the while Joe took orders as new customers came in.

At the same time, there was an ongoing conversation being had by 4 teenagers “We need bulking out if we want to make any sort of an impression.” Ah obviously, they wanted to impress some girls I thought.  “How are we ever going to get onto the senior cup team”? Ah well I was way off the mark there.  They continued talking about buying protein supplements and extra training sessions.  Then the image was spoiled when the order of “2 quaterpounders and chips” for each of them was called together with the diet coke. Just priceless to listen to the serious discussion on nutrition and for the image to be shattered by the reality of the order “2 quaterpounders and chips” for each of them together with the diet coke. It was hard not to laugh.

Before I knew it my order was ready and all my thoughts were on getting home as fast as possible and curling up to watch Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple and slowly enjoying every last one these delicious golden nuggets.

Image result for images for an Irish Chipper

Definitely a little piece of heaven……

 

A little explanation for those not from or living in Ireland.  A chipper is a shop where potatoes are cut into chips, deep fried and sold wrapped in paper.  Deep fried fish, burgers and onions are also sold.

 

A Little Sun

Another beautiful early Autumnal morning.  There is a totally different smell to the early mornings and the morning light seems to gradually appear without any pomp.  Each of the seasons is so different and very similar here in Ireland. I heard a comment recently which described Ireland as beautiful green expanses under a sky that has every tone of grey imaginable. Which is very true.

For many the absence of sunlight here can be draining.  I have avery good friend who adores sunlight and heat. As soon as the sun appears she is there gathering strength form it.

 

I came across this poem a short time ago and after rummaging through one of my journals.  I hope you enjoy this extract.  It is by Marshall Gebbie Australian born but lives in New Zealand.   He states he is “a poem writer for the average Joe”. He certainly speaks to me. I found this poem on https://hellopoetry.com/poem/201060/warmth-of-autumn-sun/

 

Warmth of Autumn Sun

Turquoise in the morning light
The treetops are alive
With the myriad of birdsong
As the swirling mists arrive
And the shaft of brilliant sunshine
Penetrates the greenish gloom
To illuminate the craggy ridge
In a honeyed, golden bloom…..