The Foreigners….

Do you ever notice how we behave in any given situation. How treat, react and respond to people and things. How, at times, we have a sense of entitlement and ownership and will do whatever is necessary to get what we want, no matter how big or small, or who we may trample on. Even the silly things, can turn us into competitive monsters!

authors own…

The shuffling, the whispers, eyes flitting, one way then the other. Hushed voices. Observing each other with the suspicion of a Russian spy, and with such curiosity that it could well lead to what happened to the cat!

Contemplation of their own moves, their own tactics. I can hear the cogs turning in their minds, even my own, guessing which one will succeed. Some look up, heavenward, some look away, trying to be nonchalant, undeterred, unaffected.

They pretend they are not playing the game, but i’ve been watching them closely. It’s easy when you’re on the other side of the fence.

Human behaviour…. Sure don’t we think we are civilised, superior, dignified and righteous? At times we are. Just see how we meet and greet our neighbour, the local shop keeper, the milkman, the priest. Look at the great deeds some do for others. So caring, so selfless, so civilised.

But, put us amongst the different nations, put us in a different country, a hot country. A hot country with a pool! Well, civilisation is at it’s finest….There, early in the morning the queue forms. People waiting anxiously for the man with the key. They are beginning to twitch and sweat under the heat of the sun and the weight of their towels, their many, many, many towels, which they are going to relieve themselves of when they lay claim to THEIR sun loungers, poolside, shade side, sunny side.

Just where the hell is the man with the key to the door, the door to paradise, the key to the sacred sun lounger area beside the pool?

Ahhhh, here he comes, eyeing the growing crowd, he slows his step and looks at them with confusion, fear, horror! They inch even closer to the gate, muttering and mumbling, elbows at the ready to nudge their neighbour out of the way, trample on them if they must, in the stampede that is about to erupt…

But, key man, the keeper of their focus and desire stands there bemused, confused, belwidered, not knowing what to do next. The energy is electric, the tension is palpable but like any brave solder, he ploughs through the malevolent crowd, makes his way to the front, unscathed and watches, in jubilent amazement and wonder at the idiotic, half-witted behaviour of the foreigners……

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The Long Sleep

Sad times can evoke and trigger such good times through memories. I count myself lucky that I have so many happy memories of a life lived and shared with loved ones…..

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It was strange passing by the doorway

Knowing you no longer occupied the room

The first time I went in, after you died

I cried

I looked around at the remnants of you

The hospital bag, clean pyjamas, slippers and

Unwrapped sweets

Wurthers originals, your favourite,

The same initials as your name W. O

William O’Reilly

all I could do was stare at it all

The picture on the bedside cabinet of padre pio

Your ‘pal’, sure didn’t he always look after you

Your holy medals, always kept in your breast pocket

Next to your heart, to keep you safe

and your easy start, the ‘inhaler’ has given you  

your Last breath, its last puff

and now all this stuff in this 10 ft. sq. room

will no longer will be touched by you

But you cannot be wiped clean from them

You are engrained and sustained in it all

and the holy Medals, in the palm of my hand

will still withstand life and death and I will never forget

your laugh, your smile, your funny ways, you.

They come with me on my journey

And I keep them safe and they keep me safe

Knowing you are at the heart of them

The smell of cigarettes filled the air and the stub in box

Of your cardigan pocket, a lasting legacy of your last

Kiss, where your lips wrapped around its filter

And you drew in the nectar of your addiction

No contrition or remorse or feeling bad

They were your comfort, your solace, and I get that

I loved them too, before I finally gave them up.

Now, more than two months on since you passed

as I stand in your room

No sign of you, no sight nor smell,

the paint and paste swallowed it up

but my mind can recall it all

the ghosts of this room

once my own, spent teenage years in a new life,

a new house, a new bedroom, and yours

was down the hall then

almost 40 years have passed since

I last slept in there

I remember it so well

Me and Jackie, giggling and talking

All night, until morning broke

when sleep finally muffled our chatter

and found us

So much joy and laughter contained

Within the walls

Yet so much sorrow, but

Now, as I slip in between the sheets

And darkness falls on the room

I remember the ghosts of both you and her

I drift and dream of great times

Good and happy memories

and as the long sleep takes me

on a sea of peace and calm

happily, I sail away with the

ghosts in my heart

Father’s Day

There’s a first time for everything. Sometimes its very difficult, other times, not so bad. It is inevitable that special occasions, also have a 1st time, with or without….

Soon it will be father’s day and it keeps popping into my mind.  It is only 6 days away now and usually by now I would be looking in the shops, looking at the cards, carefully choosing which one to buy.

I don’t like one that is too sloppy, or ones with a picture of golf clubs or racing cars on them.  My dad was never into golf or racing cars.

Choosing a card is often very difficult when you are choosing it for someone you love, because you ‘know’ them.  Their likes, their dislikes, their little idiosyncratic ways, so getting the right card, must reflect that, right?

Sometimes the right picture has the wrong verse and sometimes the right verse has the wrong picture, but still, I keep looking, if not in that shop then another and another until, I get the one that is ‘just right’.  Like goldilocks with the porridge and the bed.  It has to feel right.

The gift, was always easy….. Smokes, fags, ciggies, cigarettes; and money inside the card to buy more cigarettes, or scratch cards, where the excitement would be mighty if he only won 2 euro to get yet another scratch card and say ‘ah I might win the big one on that one’ and he would laugh.  

The kids would usually give him scratch cards, but I would give him the ‘few bob’ to go buy more ciggies.  Sure he’d been smoking most of his life, since he was 5 he said.  Picking up his parent’s butts off the hearth and drawing in the toxic smoke, deep into his lungs till he coughed and spluttered and coughed some more.  It wasn’t a deterrent, he kept going, till he got himself rightly hooked.

At 29 he collapsed with pneumonia and was taken to hospital.  I was about 7 years old then.  Gosh, that is 50 years ago!  ‘’If you don’t quit smoking, you won’t see 40” the doctor had told him, but what did he know?

Ah, he tried quitting a few times, that I remember.  He tried the pipe.  The smell was nice, I remember that, it was a bit like smelling food cooking on a bar b q, you want to eat it and the smell of the pipe, would make me want to ‘taste’ it.   I thought he looked funny, like Sherlock Holmes, puffing away on it.  It didn’t last, gave him headaches he said.  Back to the cigarettes it was then.

The doctor was wrong.  He did see 40, and 50 and 60, 70, 80…… but at 81, I guess it was his time to go.  He died 9 weeks ago, unexpectedly.  He had got pneumonia again, like he did last year also and the year before.   This time though, it was his heart that gave up on him while he was in hospital.  We were expecting him to come home again, after being pumped with antibiotics and steroids for the pneumonia and make another full recovery, but it wasn’t to be.  For him I am glad it was quick.  He always said he’d like a nice quick ‘belt in the chest’ when it was his time, and so his wish was granted.

As I type this, a photograph of him, smiling at me, I will wish him peace and blessings and tell him, that I miss him, and that I am glad the doctor got it wrong when he was 29. 

So this year, there will be no browsing or buying a father’s day card.  No cigarettes or money to be given.  No scratch cards to excitedly scratch in anticipation of ‘the big one’.   So instead of cigarettes, I’ll light a candle for him and watch the smoke as it flickers up to the heavens…….

Wellbeing….

When going for a walk is more beneficial than you may have realised…get off the couch and get out in nature

authors own.. ‘take off’ me and my shadow

What does a walk in the park do? Clears the head, calms the soul, fragrance lifts the mood and the sight of the flora and fauna bring a sense of peace, no matter what the stresses of daily life.

I read a couple of books called ‘The Salt Path’ and ‘The Wild Silence’ by Raynor Winn a couple of years ago. Her husband had been very poorly, they had lost their house and their income. They decided to go walk the South Western Coastal Path, about 630 miles of coastline starting in Somerset and finished in Cornwall or Dorset.

They pitched a tent, where ever they could and lived on very little means. These books inspired me so much, and made me realise that really, we need very little in life to be happy and free.

A good realtionship, one, where one trusts that the other always has their back, two, that money doesn’t really matter that much, it just buys things and, three, how looks are deceptive and how we are viewed and judged by others.

During their walk, once other walkers realised they were actually ‘homeless’ and not just walking a bit of the ‘path’ for recreational reasons, they looked down upon them and viewed them as vagrants…. how rude!

What they discovered, along the way, was that her husband’s health was actually improving. His mobility and mind (you will have to read the book !) all much improved and much better. So what was it? Well, in the book (the second one) she refers to a small study that a university lecturer spoke about where ‘Secondary Metabolites’ that plants emit to protect themselves from the environment’ may be the reason why there was a CHEMICAL CHANGE in people who exercised in the natural environment. Facinating!

So we all know that going for a good walk can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, soothes our pain and restores a sense of balance and well being , but knowing that whatever it is that is emitted from the plants, may be responsible for the Chemical change, is more reason why we should get out more often, and look after our well being.

The first image is a picture of me and my shadow, Banksy style, holding on to the Red Robin to help lift my spirits as well as the sound of the actual robin as I walk by the lake, in the wonderful grounds of the Lough Rynn Estate..

Jubilant

Hunters & Gatherers come in many forms. It began as a need to survive, then when you look at the imbalance in the modern world, it just became greed

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

I hear them scuffling, scurrying

through the long grass

hunting, gathering

and overhead, singing

the tunes for the dead

ducking and diving they wait

and watch

then, in a flurry

they swoop down

and like those before them

they too scuffle & scurry

poke and peck

Juilant

their feast tucked tightly in their beak

they scarper, in a flap

like a guilty thief

back to their lair

Poison

Too good to be true…The laburnum tree is truly beautiful and I loved mine but we learned first hand, its toxicity….. Be cautious of it and things that seem too good to be true…..

authors own… Laburnum

She is beautiful

striking in her full splender

unwittingly, she commands attention

Spectacular specimen that she is

she knows no bounds

she will trick you, invite you, entice you

to touch her

beware, be warned

She will cause more harm than good

for she is poison

Her beauty short lived

do not be fooled

golden pendulum

hypnotic

toxic

Golden rain

Voices from the past

We don’t have to see them, to know they are there, beside us. But when we still hear their voice, it makes the heart sing.

They say you forget, after a while, what someone looks like or sounds like, after they have passed away. Photos are always a reminder of their faces and in this day and age, we all have so many photos, thanks to our smart phones.

Voices are another matter, unless we have voice messages or video clips to physically hear them. However, today, after unpacking more of my boxes since my move I came across my old letters.

These letters are one my prized possessions. I have had them since I was 14 years old…..quite a long time ago. I knew they were packed away safely in storage but whilst they were there, my dear dear friend Jackie died. We had our last facetime in September, the night before she passed, and said our goodbyes.

Today I re-read her letters which she had written to me back in 1980. As I read them I could hear her voice, her expression, her tone, her giggle, her humour and her warmth. It was truly wonderful. In reading them she brought me back to my teens when we were full of angst, emotion, humour, confusion, sorrow and love….pretty much the same as I feel now, so nothing changes!

To Dear Jackie,

I still miss you, but thanks for it all. Keep talking to me.

Love you always x

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Months mind thoughts….

Authors own

Hello God, remember me
I used to write you, when i was wee
A little child so innocent,
I write to thank you, and to vent.
You were my friend when i felt afraid,
You kept me going whenever i strayed
I couldnt see you, but knew you were there
Listening and watching and answering my prayers.
So now dear God ive a favour to ask,
Take special care of my dear dad,
He’s left us now, gone back to you and its hard to feel happy when I feel so blue.
I know i miss the sound of his voice
And all the times that we’ve enjoyed
Please dont let him feel afraid
And tell him that the love has stayed.
Thank you dear God, for always being there
Even when life,, just doesn’t seem fair…..

Drama

like night and day, sun and rain, one will follow the other and its our response and attitude that helps us survive

I love the drama of this tree. Its, been striped of leaves, its provided shelter, its been battered and bent, twisted and straight. Its reaching up and dancing in the rain… Its survived and continues to grow…. Gotta respect resilience and endurance…