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…..


Ah, that cup of…

Do you ever find that a coffee shop or restaurant will linger long in your memory? I have two such coffee shops.   While it is nearly 8 years since I have eaten in one the other was only a few months ago.

The first is Samovar tea room in Yerba Buena Gardens San Francisco, U.S.A.    The visit to the U.S.   to see the Irish Rugby team, play the U.S.    Eagles in Santa Clara led to trip to San Francisco.   San Francisco was everything I thought it would be and more.   Friendly hospitable and so much to see and do.

A visit to the Samovar Tea Room was an oasis in a very busy schedule.   There is no possible way that one can hurry through a meal there.   The first thing which literally hits you on entering are the aromas.   Although there are hundreds of blends of tea and with the Tea Rooms catering to a number of gusts the aromas seem to blend to give a warm welcome.

It was great the way various different types and blends were suggested so as to enhance the food.   The staff were friendly and had the patience of job as we took forever to choose after plying the staff with so many questions.   What really impressed me was, at the time we had a young teenager and he was accorded the same respect as the rest of the party.

So, if you are heading to San Francisco pre-book a table at the Samovar Tea Room.    It is an experience to be savoured and enjoyed but not hurried.

The Second place is yet another tea room which is strange as I am a confessed coffeeholic.    It is the Glencar teaShed beside Glencar Waterfall in County Leitrim, Ireland.    (Please remember that waterfalls in Ireland are not very tall but are very pretty).   This tea shop has a wide selection of speciality teas but for the coffee lovers there is a wide selection of coffees.

It is a very calm tea room served by exceptionally friendly staff.   It is nestled beside the waterfall with stunning views over Glencar Lake.   What I was delighted to see was that this tea shop catered for the needs of those who can’t eat gluten.   Take your time to sample the soda bread just soft and extremely moreish.   The ethos of the tea room is to keep it fresh, local and provide a wonderful environment.    Which is exactly true.

The current owner’s great aunts ran a tea room in the early 1900s.    there are artefacts from the original tea rooms to be seen.    The poet W.B.  Yeats visited Glencar Waterfall and the old Sibery Tea Room.    His poem “The Stolen Child” was inspired by the beauty of the waterfall.

So, if you are visiting the Wild Atlantic way in Ireland take a detour and visit the teaShed nestled beside Glencar Waterfall.

Inspiration or Lack Of

Previously I mentioned that I love to paper craft.  However, during the last few weeks I have found that I have lost inspiration for card making.  That spark, that enthusiasm just seemed to have disappeared or at least went on holiday without leaving a replacement.  In fact, it has left me with a feeling of being in limbo and this feeling unfortunately has seeped into other areas of creativity.

So, as I was blog wandering, as one does, I came across this blog post.Painting – Tips to Trick Your Fickle Muse (www.livingcodependent.com)

Hey Presto here was a way to get inspiration.  Although it was primarily for painting this post gave a starting point for anyone who needed a direction for their inner muse.  the last suggestion was to take a break which is exactly what I did.

This morning I woke up and realised that at 4.30 a.m.  it was still dark.  Lights on, kettle on some freshly ground Ugandan coffee and that aroma just brought a smile to my face.  A few minutes later sitting in the back garden with my hands wrapped around a warming mug of coffee it suddenly hit me.  Summer was coming to an end.  Oh yes.  now if anyone happened to be watching they would have seen a grey haired 60-year-old doing a little dance around a garden table with a mug of coffee held aloft.

I was an extremely happy bunny.  Summer was coming to an end.  No more nights that barely got going.  No more hibernating inside.  Oh yes there was so much to celebrate.   Taking my time over my morning cup of coffee I savoured the freshness and coolness of this wonderful early morning.   Coffee drunk, dance over it was time to hit a journal and make lists.  Yes, at long last I had finally found creative interest again.

A new journal and started on first list which was “presents for friends” but quickly changed that to “presents for? “.  You see I initially may set out to make a present for one person however half way through I could decide it was for someone else.  A myriad of ideas created a frenzy of writing.  I could barely keep up.  The brain was ticking over furiously.  Before I knew it, I had numerous pages filled not only with written lists but also images which I downloaded from One Note.  Those images which I had gathered when sleep had so often eluded me have been transferred into “presents for?” journal.

Looking at the journal I now think a new cover is called for.  Perhaps.  Or…then again….  so many ideas





An Unexpected Find.

How do you choose a book? Invariable when returning my borrowed library books there will be a recommendation based on previous reads from the librarian. A librarian’s wealth of literary knowledge is amazing.  Then again perhaps a book cover will catch my eye inviting me to take a pew and pause. The bold colours of a dust jacket with angular lines, the gentle tone of soft summer colours on another or even the placement of a title on a monochrome background can entice me. Sometimes the title just jumps out.

It was the title “When Books Went to War” by Molly Guptill Manning which attracted me one day. Such an unusual title. Normally a book jacket with a soldier would turn me off but the title was intriguing and unusual. This is the story of the armed services edition of books which was authorised by the U.S. government during world war 2. The U.S. government supplied over 120 million free books which were read and reread, borrowed shared, read aloud, read silently and provided an oasis to all those serving. This was the polar opposite to Nazi Germany where the government ordered the burning of books and the destruction of many more in libraries across the countries as they invaded. The bill led to books becoming more accessible through paperback editions.

However, this would not have been possible without the work of librarians. When they realised that the Nazis were destroying books, they launched a campaign whereby free books would be sent to US troops. They collected over 20 million hard covered books all free donations. The Publishing industry and the Government then joined forces to provide free books.

Many books which would not be read today except for this amazing programme. “The Great Gatsby” was rescued and the author of another wonderful book “a Tree Grows in Brooklynn” became a national hero. The comradery which developed through reading lasted long after the war was over.

“When Books Went to War” is a wonderfully written and engaging book. It could have been a dull read as so many reference books are but this book captured me and kept me engaged throughout. This book showed how a book could be educational, instructive, comforting, engaging and through the idea of passing on a book reinforcing the strength of comradeship. This is a gem of a book.

In a very practical way this book epitomised how a book can be extremely powerful.




A favourite Read



I know it has been said that there should be no favourite reads but one of my favourite series is “A Cat in the Stacks Mystery” by Miranda James.

Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows librarian Charlie Harris-and his Maine coon cat named Diesel that he walks on a leash.

It is set around a librarian by the name of Charlie Harris and his Maine coon cat Diesel.

So, if you enjoy a mystery set to a background of books or with a cat being a main character this is the series for you.

An excedingly enjoyable read with twists.

The Generosity of One Man

I don’t know about you but I love to read.  Books were and still can be expensive so for me the Public Library has always been a source into the world of books.

I have been a member of a public library since I was a small child.  There was the anticipation of the weekly trip to the library and the thoughts of two books for reading when homework was completed and household chores done.  During the long school summer holidays having two visits in the week.  So, double the number of books and if you had a friend living near who was also a bookworm you had the chance of swapping books.

The first membership I had was in the children’s library in Rathmines, Dublin.  This library was opened in 1913 through a grant from the Carnegie foundation.

Andrew Carnegie who set up the Carnegie Foundation was a Scottish emigrant whose family settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania in 1848.  He started work at 13 in a cotton mill but soon got a job in a telegraph company and taught himself how to use the equipment from there he got a job with the railroad.  Colonel James Anderson a prominent citizen in Allegheny opened his private library to all working boys and Carnegie took full advantage of that rare opportunity.  Books would provide his education throughout his life.

Andrew Carnegie was a famous US industrialist.  In 1901 when he sold his steel business for $480 million he set out to distribute his wealth by setting up the Carnegie Foundation.   “It was from my own early experience that I decided there was no use to which money could be applied so productive as to the founding of a public library” Andrew Carnegie (www.carnegie.org) By 1905 he pledged $39 million for 1200 libraries in English speaking countries.  That figure rose to over 2000 libraries.  In Ireland 66 libraries were built and 62 of those remain to this day.

Many people may have heard of Carnegie Hall in New York City or seen it while visiting New York.  It was also built from funds given by Andrew Carnegie.  It was the culmination of a crusade for a building which would be able to accommodate the New York Symphony Society.  The proposed building would have three separate performance spaces.  The reviews from the opening nights performance concentrated on the building rather than the performance.  TheMusic Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie” was an overwhelming success.   (www.carnegiehall.org)

Rathmines LibraryRathmines Public Library was the first public library in Ireland to have a dedicated children’s library.  It also has a stained-glass window by the famous English designer William Morris.  I have so many memories queueing up beneath that window as it cast its shadows on the warm wooden steps.  It seemed to add to the adventure of the trip to the library.  It was only many years later that I realised how privilaged I had been to have seen the craftsmanship that was on show.

My local library is now in, Bray, in county Wicklow.  It is also a Carnegie Library It was built in 1911 on land donated by a local land-owning family, the Quinn Family.  All the material was sourced locally and it was built by local craftsmen.  We are fortunate with the expansion of the town we also have a second library in the town which was opened in 2000.

The public library even in today’s world of eBooks is still an essential part of the community.  It is a treasure throve of treasures which now can be accessed by all.  It is amazing that the generosity of one man is still being felt nearly 100 years after his death.  His legacy is giving is still giving so much to so many.

Now all that remains is to decide whether to brave the rain and head to the library or to download a book via the library website.  Decisions, decisions, decisions!



While meandering and browsing poetry sites I came across this poem on https://hellopoetry.com.

It seemed to resonate with my thoughts on “a mug of”



Sitting, drinking tea while watching the rain come wandering down
a smile brought on by cool breeze on misted skin
steam rising from the cup in front, the fragrant herbs steeping
and cascading come memories of other times
of once close people and far away places
and endless cups of tea

No matter where i wander, be it deserts cold or mountains rugged
there are always memories of those left behind in time
bring they a smile, a grin or a tear to flow my face
i will find joy in seeing them again
even if only inside my mind
and over a cup of tea.


Tomas Denson Jan 2015