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.

 

25 de octubre de 2014

 

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.

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

Pebbles On A Beach

This morning on a craft group which I follow on social media a member made the suggestion of drilling holes into flat beach pebbles to use as unusual buttons.

I immediately recalled my grandniece, 3 years of age after a walk along our pebbled beach.  We had thrown pebbles in the sea, chosen many pebbles which she had entrusted to her older cousin to mind.  But when we came to the end of our walk she insisted that all the pebbles had to be returned so that other children could throw pebbles in the sea.

Out of the mouths of babe….

Sometimes it is the pebbles on the beach which make that particular beach so beautiful.  Those pebbles are needed to soothe the souls: to make the unique sound of the sea washing over them: to provide that feeling one gets no matter what age when throwing them back into the sea.

So perhaps if you contemplate taking pebbles from the beach as a memory, or for use in an art project perhaps pause and ask yourself if you really need it?

New Year Resolutions

via Daily Prompt: Confess

 

I confess that I am not a fan of making resolutions at a particular time of the year. I do like to set challenges for myself which are achievable. Life may intervene and these challenges can sometimes be deferred. However I prefer to set these challenges at a time which has been determined by me and not foisted on me.

In the northern hemisphere generally academic years begin in September and October so for me starting something new in Autumn feels right. Starting something new or setting new targets at Easter for some reason also sits well with me.

I like winter but starting something new just seems to jibe with me. Starting something new in January just seems a little forced or is it perhaps that I am not ready for these resolutions?

No I just don’t like all the hype about new year resolutions. So no I won’t be making any new year resolutions. I will not be looking back on 2017 to see what I have not accomplished. I will remember and toast family and friends and be exceedingly thankful to have them in my life. However New Year Resolutions will not be part of the start of 2018 for me.

Christmas

It is Christmas morning. A rainy mild Christmas morning. No one is stirring and there is a stillness about. Perhaps it is to do with the fact that this is an adult house now.

It is lovely to savour this slower beginning.,to remeber some of those warm precious memories of other Christmas mornings.

On this mild Christmas morning it is wonderful to have the time to be thankful.  To be thankful for the memories others have provided over other Christmases.

As a friend said to me one ” to be able to savour an experience is something very precious”. And she was totally right.

I hope you are able to savour this day and add it to your memory bank.

Traditions

 

Have you found Christmas Traditions have changed over the years?

 

If you have been fortunate like me to have become a parent then those traditions most certainly have changed.  A few years ago, I would have been sad about those changes but now at this stage I am glad that those changes have occurred.  It shows that life is being lived and for that I am very thankful.

 

However, there are still somethings which still herald Christmas.  Preparing and making the Christmas puddings, Christmas cake and the Christmas mincemeat are signals that Christmas is coming.  The first indication I have that Christmas is very near is when I post those first Christmas cards.  The next indication is when I arrive home with Christmas purchases.  These are small items which are either made or bought then wrapped and put under the Christmas tree for distributing among friends and family.

I met someone recently who told me that she detests January and February as the weather is usually awful, people are grumpy as they have little to look forward to and she has named them the BLAH months.  Last year she changed things and started making Christmas items which could be given to various friends and charities.  For her it extended the feeling of Christmas giving.  And in a very practical way it relieved the Christmas stress that she was normally under.  Next year as Easter is early, April 1st 2018, she intends to use her three least favourite months of the year to make Easter gifts.  A new tradition for her.

 

I like the idea of new traditions and I have to agree with her that very often people seems to be rather glum in January so perhaps extending the gift of giving to Easter is a good idea.  Those charities which we may support at Christmas I am sure need support during the rest of the year. Perhaps its a tradition which more of us could embrace?