Happy Mother's Day.......

A bunch of pretty flowers and a thoughtful card with an inspiring verse. It may not not seem like much but sometimes it is just enough. A perfect Mother's Day present, for someone who can't have much and is grateful for so little.

It was the verse that spoke to me the most (albeit a tad cheesily), that pulled at the heartstrings and said all I wanted to say....


I learned so much from you Mum
  When I was just a child
You taught me to respect myself
  And stopped me running wild.

You taught me to be patient
             To be strong in heart and mind
To be thoughtful and forgiving
     Understanding too and kind.

You taught me all these things Mum
Just by being you
By the way you live your life
                By the things you say and do.

You've been the light that guides me
   You've been the brightest star
If it wasn't for your love

  I never would have come this far.

So thank you from the heart Mum
  For your love and guidance too
No fortune could repay
   The debt I owe to you.

(from Loving thoughts by Carmen)


It was a good day to deliver the card and flowers. A day that saw her looking well, in wonderful form and knowing exactly who everyone was. A visit so precious that you hope it doesn't slip away with the sands of time. She may not be able to read the card, or to understand it's sentiments, but I know she'll carry both her Mother Day's cards around with her, in her infamous red handbag, for the weeks and months to come!

My Mam has been a wonderful Mother and thanks to her we are the people we are today.

If I do half as good a job with my boy I will be a very happy Mum indeed. Although, I may have to wait a very long time before I get a card like this. Or indeed any kind of card at all.

Mother's Day does not feature highly in the house of 'Hallmark Day' detractors and ASD-ness. It's a Sunday just like any other, when Gaming and Golfing trumps all. Or so it seems.

A Mum is many things you know; she is thoughtful and caring, worrying and fretting over issues of concern, all the while ensuring that her family is nourished, with both food and love.

She is also no fool and is always  resilient and well prepared.

And if Mother's Day doesn't come to the Mamma, then the Mamma will have to make it her own.

She can throw a bit of a strop - some revenge tantrumming maybe? - and gain herself a hastily picked bunch of tiny flowers from the garden in her favorite colour - yellow, just so you know; that currently sit prettily, in a very glamorous white egg cup!

And there is nothing wrong in pre-empting things by treating yourself to a little something from Marks and Spencers - a spot of Vichy products too perhaps? - in the week leading up to the day now, is there?

And a trip to a local restaurant on the day with your secret date of yore - who has grown up quite a bit since then - can't do any harm at all now, can it? The fact that they serve wine is just an added bonus.

Besides it's the unexpected showering of hugs, the impromptu moments of gratitude, the open and positive relationship you have, being trusted implicitly and being the one they turn to in their hour of need, on any day of any week, that makes it all worth while.

And the best gift of all today was seeing my mam in such good form.

Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful Mums out there. 

I do hope that your day was special. Or that you found a way to make it special :-)


#Listography: My Life in Books

Reading has always been a favourite pastime of mine, I was quite the bookworm as a child and was often found with my nose buried deep within the magical pages of a book. How wonderful to follow in the adventures of others, to travel to mystical faraway lands, all the while curled up under the comfy bedclothes or wrapped up in a favourite chair. My books of choice were not the genius, intellectual kind I'm afraid. Apologies if I offend your literary sensitivities! However I did persevere with some classics such as Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women' and Charles Dicken's 'Oliver Twist' (the dancer in me preferred the musical!) and I  really was intrigued by 'What Katy Did'.... and what she did next too. 

These days I mainly immerse myself  in the dark, intriguing world of psychological thrillers, although I do steal myself away from this genre from time to time to enjoy other interesting reads. 

I will now attempt to list my 'Life in (5) Books' while steering away from my preferred genre....

 1. My life-long love of reading began with a present of a 'Rupert the Bear' annual when I was a very young child in hospital for a tonsillectomy. How I loved that book, I read it from cover-to-cover many, many times. It had a distinctive scent, a faint wisp of which still comes to mind whenever I think of it.

 And how I adored that yellow-tartan trousered bear, who ultimately led me to other literary wonders.

2. The wonders of the Enid Blyton kind to begin with, with The Famous Five being my absolute treasured favourite. I do believe that 'Five on a Treasure Island' was my first read, or one of the first anyway.

I was 'George', of course. Although I did like the girly 'Anne' too, mainly because I always wanted an older brother. The complete facts of the birds and the bees story hadn't quite registered with me back then!
As I grew older my interest switched to the Swallows and Amazons series.
Although my interest was to ultimately grow into the more gritty and psychological kind, I do believe that through both of these series the seeds of my love for thrillers was born. Like I say, the intellectual kind of reader I was not!

3. 'Cry Freedom' by John Briley. As much of my young adulthood was spent dancing in many shows on many stages, there wasn't much time for reading. However, this book really broke through the myriad of rehearsals and dance bags of lycra and legwarmers to grab my attention.  I was totally absorbed by this inspirational story of Steve Biko and it really sparked my interest in Nelson Mandela too. Of course the movie had to be watched also. This book came to mind recently when the Nelson Mandela movie 'Long Walk To Freedom' was released and I was delighted to see that finally a copy of the book of the same name had miraculously found its way into my Christmas stocking this year! I absolutely devoured that book too. It gave such insight into the fascinating character of that legendary man.

4. 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini. This was such a wonderful read. The thought provoking and powerful tale of two young friends in Afghanistan, beautifully written and interwoven with historical facts. I struggled with the betrayal of one of the boys, yet ultimately felt sorry for him too.

5. 'The Dancer Upstairs' by Nicholas Shakespeare. This wonder I found quite by accident. One of my 'lucky dip' choices when I go to the library and  pick a book that is outside my thriller comfort zone. I guess it was the title that appealed to me, although the blurb on the cover left me in no doubt that it was more than just about a dancer. The story is woven around the capture of the elusive Peruvian guerilla leader Ezekiel by a determined policeman. It is an intriguing tale of subversion, betrayal and adultery laced with horror and...... ballet. Fantastic read.
And a far cry from 'Rupert the Bear'!

This is for Kate Takes 5 Listography . I really enjoyed doing it; the memories it has sparked and the determination to read more from Khaled, Nicholas and many others. I am definitely off to check some others choices in this week's Listography.

Happy reading.....


St Patrick's Day 2014

As a child, attending the Dublin St Patrick's Day Parade was an annual rite of passage. Like consuming cabbage and bacon as our National Day's feast. 

I quite liked the parade - the waiting around wasn't too bad and it was quite fun despite the cold - but the bacon and cabbage? Not so much.

It's been many years since I've been to a parade in our Capital city and it's changed a lot. From the snippets I've seen on TV it's become more glamorous, culturally inclusive, vibrant and spectacular. It's also attracted many more visitors! It's a shame that my child has never been, but with all that waiting around for hours and the crowd being 20 deep at the barriers, it's just too uncomfortable.

Over the years we've had alternative ways to view the parade and have attended other local ones too.

The local St Patrick's Day Parades can be quite 'entertaining'!  It's been a while since we've been to one of those either and today we decided to see what Bray had to offer us this year.

There was a bit of waiting around and the crowd only built up at the last minute, so far so good. 

It began with the great fanfare ...... of emergency vehicle sirens! Lead by the army and followed by the Civil Defense.

And of course it's not a parade without a tractor...

But it wasn't  a load of bull...

There were some very cool vintage cars too 

There followed the usual mix of sport and various youth activity groups etc., .... out for a nice walk.

It was lovely to see the children joining in but I was missing the music. And some...... pizazz!

Some groups made the effort to perform. Like the first group of Irish Dancers and the Bray Twirlers

The Tallaght Band were great!

And the Junior Musicals group added some colour with their costume and performance

The  Brittania Coconut Dancers were..... 'interesting'!!!

There was also of course a mix of charity groups like Bray Lakers, The Open Door and Bray Cancer (for example) using the parade as an opportunity to highlight their organisations. Precisely as they should and great to see them there. Some groups also put some effort into highlighting their upcoming fund raising events.

There is quite a community of Chinese and Filipino people living in Bray and it's environs, and they have added some colour and spectacle with their performances in previous parades. I do hope they bring that along next year because I did miss it.

The parade was brought to a fiery finale with 2 fire-eating females!

And the float containing road barriers that followed them was the damp squib of a cue that the parade had come to an end!! 

It felt like an hour's wait for 20 minutes of a parade but it was actually 45 minutes long.

I'd love there to have been more music and performance from the groups taking part. Even the local radio station wheeled on by without a tune playing! There may have course been an MC on the seafront but something was needed on the main street too, to give the proceedings a lift.

It was good to get out of the house for the first time this weekend though!

Happy  St Patrick's Day to you all :-)

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit go léir.

And may the road rise with you....and all that 'jazz'!



There I was, strolling down a very full and vibrant Grafton Street early one Saturday evening recently, inhaling the exuberance of the shoppers bustling and the buskers performing as I went. There was hope of the early Spring that was sure to soon embrace us in the air, and contentment abounded. The only thoughts floating through my mind were the lovely scene unfolding before me and the anticipation of the girly theatre night out ahead.

But then a stray thought cut through the pleasantness....... 'What if something extraordinary were to occur and this sea of bustling shoppers and performing buskers had to immediately evacuate this lovely street? What then?'


Until I remembered that it had happened me once before. A long, long time ago, on a different shopping street.....

Back in the 1970's when I was a young girl, about my own son's age, Dublin City Centre was not all that safe to visit. This was due to the Monaghan/Dublin bombings on 17th May 1974. I was a safe 5 miles away, playing with a small group of pals on my street at the time. Sitting on the kerb, bouncing a ball, if I remember correctly; when we heard a very loud, yet strangely dull 'noise'. I ran home but it was to be a while before the horrific reason for this 'noise' was revealed.

For many years after that there were many bomb scares in Dublin city, many of which I was to experience when I grew up and gained employment in a Department office on O'Connell Street - Dublin's main thoroughfare. A Department that lost a valued member of staff on that fateful day in 1974, as had other Civil Service Departments. A lot of people lost their lives that day.

Of course at the time I was blissfully oblivious to the seriousness of the events, and on what was to come to pass in my working life.

As I got older my best friend and I developed a favourite Saturday afternoon treat. We would travel alone by bus into town. There we would window shop, on the far more affordable Henry Street. We would spend our meagre savings on a little top in Pennys (Primark in the UK - yes, it is around that long!!) and a cream cake from The Kylmore Bakery - that we would happily munch as we contentedly roamed around. Carefree as floating butterflies, not a worry in the world.....

One Saturday afternoon we were accompanied by my mother. In fact she probably accompanied us on a lot of these trips, especially the initial ones. I just remember the freedom of shopping on our own! When we reached Henry Street we went our separate ways; my mam into Dunnes Stores and my friend and I to get our traditional cream cake!

In time we calmly emerged from the shop with coveted cream cake in hand - and landed right into an ocean of bustling shoppers running for their lives. Straight at us!!

We were terrified. What to do? Swiftly turn around and join them was our obvious, immediate and uncommunicated response. Minding the cake as we ran, naturally. We could taste the fear and the panic as we ran, hard and fast. The street was entirely covered by people on the move. With the exception of one tiny pocket of space; containing a very worried mother, frantically looking for her daughter and friend. We two seamlessly became three and continued to flee.

The scariest thing of all was not knowing from what exactly we were fleeing.

We finally came to a stop on O'Connell Street, close to the historic G.P.O.  My mam and some women got talking; it transpired that someone had seen something in a clothing display in Dunnes Stores, shouted 'Bomb' and that had started the stampede. It turned out to have been a small fire.

We were very relieved but our shopping day was curtailed.

We strolled back to the bus stop, eating our comforting cakes as we went.

I'm  not so sure that much has changed in Dublin, and the world in general since then. The dangers may differ somewhat but they still exist. Especially as we afford our teenagers some latitude for travelling with friends to a local busy town, or shopping mall.

The message is clear though.

Stick with your friends ...... and mind the cake.


Morning Sun

Trees sway like dancing limbs
Leaves flutter in time,
Sun twinkles brightly
Her rays sparkling through the foliage .

My face warms in the glow
Exhalations are in harmony,
My heart flutters gently
As I stretch luxuriously.

Tranquility reigns,
As the Morning Sun 
Shines brightly,
     Right through to my soul....