Just stop….

How easy it is to bring the house down

Bystanders watching, the carnage, profound.

Shifting the blame and pointing the finger

Hide behind lies while the terror still lingers

People displaced, lives torn apart

Not knowing, just how, they can make a new start

Loved ones are missing, some trapped behind

Explosions, confusion, distorted war crimes

Children are dying and running for cover

Is this how humatity should treat one another?

I wish they’d just stop with this senseless regime

Stop with the bombs, the bullets, the screams…

My Valentine and me

Valentines day – a day of appreciation, a day to show thanks, gratitude and to feel blessed. With it is with a sweetheart, a friend, a family member or even a stranger, remember, it is not just about chocolates and flowers….

Authors own – Hiking on Arroo Trail, Co Leitrim

Loves young dream, my man and me. We have been together now for 32 years. It has not, of course, been all plain sailing. There have been trials and tribulations. There has been love and hate. There have been many ups and downs in this roller coaster relationship, but, for better or for worse, we are still here, still in love and still enjoying each others company.

He can still make me laugh until I almost pee myself and he can incite such rage in me that I want to ‘knock his block off’. The course of true love never runs smooth though, isn’t that what they say.

We are trying to get out and about more, for two reasons. 1. my dear old husband is recovering from heart surgery and needs to try build up his strength. 2. Having moved to this new County, we need to explore it and see what it has to offer.

Yesterday we decided to go for a hike up the Arroo Trail in North Leitrim. It was a bit of a damp day, but we said, sure what else are we to do on a Sunday! We layered up, packed our back pack and off we went.

The scenery en route from Mohill, where we live to North of the County is just beautiful. We pass through little villages like Keshcarrigan, Lough Allen and a bigger town called Manorhamilton, to get to this Arroo Trail.

Having parked in the car park we started on our way on the trail along the road and then slowly up through the mountain trail. We had lots of sheep to entertain us en route and though it was spitting rain, we were warm and toasty in our waterproofs.

The views as we ascended were just spectacular, even if my camera couldn’t do them justice. We took our time, given that my other half is gradually trying to get back to full health and we didn’t want to put too much pressure on his poor old heart. It was quite a steep incline, but good under foot, with gravel and rocks.

Looking back down the trail we could see the coast, which must be Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. On a clear day it would look even more spectacular.

From the car park to the end of the trail is just over 4 km and you go back down the way you came up.

We chatted, ohh-ed and ahh-ed at the beauty, the elevation, and how, at times it was a bit difficult on our poor thighs, as they are not used to such a work out. We stopped and drank our water to replace salts, lost through our sweating and I even welcomed the rain to cool me down and took off my hat and gloves to feel it on my skin.

Getting down was alot quicker as it was all down hill and the view was truly beautiful.

‘We should come back on a clearer day’ I say to him, ‘but not on a hot day, or we will melt althogether’.

Spending time together, doing new things together like hiking, and discovering this new place we call ‘home’ has been and I hope will continue to be, a really lovely experience.

Being ‘just us’ again has given us a new lease of life, literally.

So it is not always about the chocolates and flowers, Valentines, it is about spending quality time together and appreciating what we have, like a new healthy heart and a new perspective and to feel grateful and blessed with the little things in life that matter.

http://treehouse? Authors own….
the green grass road – authors own
authors own
authors own http://hiking
authors own
authors own
see the sea? Authors own
authors own leitrim
done! authors own
authors own. end of trail.
Dolly, dilly and daisy…authors own image

Happy valentine Day !

From one life to another, A walk in the park……

Moving to a new place can be scary, disorientating and beautiful at the same time, but discovering it, is amazing….

image, authors own taken @ Tullylacken loop, Leitrim leitrimtourism.com leitrimtourism.com/treasured-landscapes/sliabh-an-iarainn/

It’s not always easy moving. Whether it is moving home, moving jobs or moving from one stage of life to another. Just because it’s not easy, doesn’t mean that it is not good for us, that it is not better for us. Most often it is better to move than to stay stuck. In staying stuck, nothing changes.

How many times do we say, I wish it were different. I wish this was better, he was better, she was better, my job was better etc etc etc. In order for things to change something must happen. We must DO something.

During my life I have moved many many times. From one area to another and from one country to another, more than once. Each time there was an element of pain, washed in with an element of excitement and wonder.

I have recently done it again. I have moved to a different County. For the last 25 years I lived in County Wexford, Ireland, affectionately known as the sunny south east.

I had lived there for 5 years as a teenager too. That was a struggle as I had been a ‘City Girl’, born to Irish parents in the UK. I loved Ireland. I loved to visit my grandparents in Ireland, more precisely. When I knew I was coming here to live at age 14 I was horrified. I was not a County Girl AT ALL, nor did I want to be.

Spending my teenage years here however, though strange, confusing, difficult and lonely at times also had it’s benefits.

In our village, there was one bus a day into town and out of town. It was the school bus and if you missed it, for me, there was no other way into school because my mother didn’t drive and my dad would have already left with the car to go to work. Bonus, if I didn’t fancy going to school any given day!

As I had to leave all my friends in the UK, my brothers and I were allowed to go to the big pub/lounge a few miles down the road. It was a family friendly place and everyone from all over would go to it. It was called the Un Yoke. It hosted many big Irish named bands, like the Wolfe Tones, Joe Dolan, Philomena Begley as well as local bands. We loved it there and, having made a couple of friends on the School bus, went every weekend. It was my salvation from the loneliness.

Fast forward I returned to the UK aged 19 and then bounced back again to Ireland like a y0 y0 25 years ago to my native Co Wexford. Here we built our own house, something we never could have done in the UK. Raised our children, welcomed our grand children and got busy with work and life as everyone does.

The work life balance wasn’t balanced though and then came ill health which if nothing else, puts life into perspective. So Last year I said ‘lets throw in the towel, let’s sell up and go again on a new adventure. There is just us left now, the kids have flown.

Our initial plan was to go to France for a few years and see how that went, but serious ill health put that on hold. So we looked around this beautiful island of Ireland to find the right house, in the right setting for our needs, now.

We ended up in County Leitrim, fondly known as ‘Lovely Leitrim’. When we would tell people we were going there, aghast they would say ‘Leitrim, what the hell is in Leitrim’…….

I was shocked at this reaction. Some would say, ‘the people in Leitrim would move to live in Wexford, not the other way round’.

I agree, Wexford is a beautiful county, full of history and historical sites and beautiful beaches and a lovely quay front to walk along. It is a bustling town with some fab place to eat and drink, but it doesn’t hold the trump card on all that and so I am going to be exploring this beautiful little County in the North West and document just what it has to offer.

It is referred to as Ireland’s Hidden Heartland and I agree, from what I have seen so far, it has truly beautiful scenery, lakes, mountains, trails and even boasts the SMALLEST coastline in a County in Ireland in the little village of Tullaghan https://leitrimtourism.com/towns-villages/tullaghan/

Image authors own at Tullaghan beach….smallest coastline in Ireland

swans at Tullaghan beach, Co Leitrim.. Authoris own photo

Yesterday, my husband and I did our first looped walked around Tulllacken loop. We decided to do the moderate blue walk. We took our time and took it all the beauty along the way. The weather was on our side for the most part, with only a couple of small rain and now showers.

For someone recovering from heart bypass surgery (my other half), it was just what the doctor ordered. The trail was not too steep or too difficult. The views were beautiful across to the snow capped mountain and many many little streams and small waterfalls along the route were a welcome sight.

The rush of the yellow river running by our side was just beautiful to listen to along with the diversity of the tress, the rocks and splashes of colour along the way and also a bunch of curious sheep…..

I welcome our next trek or trail and will post more about the beauty of this beautiful little County.

authors own pic
authors own photo
authors own photo
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rainbow days… authors own image
curious sheep…. authors own image
A sheepish marathan…… authors own image….
authors own image….

The minutes…

The Minutes…….

And as times slips by

And they don’t see me cry

They think all is well inside

But the thing is with loss

You pay a high cost

You just bury it deep down to hide

When they’re far removed

From the love that you knew

They don’t understand, they abide

So the tears now are silent

And hidden from view

But all the minutes of the days

Are still full of you.

Enthusiastic January…

New Years resolutions….. full of hope for a new and better year…..

reflections…. authors own photo

January, a time of hope, promises and resolutions, whether we say it out loud or quietly to ourselves….. a new year is always a source of contemplation. Before the year ends, we make promises that ‘in the new year’ we will do this, or that, give up this or that, be more healthy, change jobs, give more time to loved ones, give more time to ourselves, take up a new hobby, leave something or someone behind.

We go into the Christmas period with a measure of excitement and a measure of dread, for many and varying different reasons, and some can’t wait for it to be over, so that the ‘new year’ can begin and we can begin, afresh, renewed, awakened.

We look back and reflect and ask, what is it I want to do, to be, to have, to start to end, to give up etc etc. Some years may be the same thing as the previous year and we began with gusto, enthusiasm and motivation, only to dwindle, falter and be left with a sense of failure and nothing more than procrastination in that, next year, it will be different…..

Still, we look forward and we try. Does it matter that we may not complete and accomplish it, whatever ‘it’ may be? Isn’t it the ‘giving it a go’ that matters. Even if that ‘giving it a go’ is to just put one foot in front of the other and make our way downstairs and face another day.

For some people the previous year could have been so challenging, so devastating, so traumatic, that to just do that, go downstairs and flick on the kettle is the biggest achievement that they can muster, and isn’t that great! They did it, they made it, they didn’t give up.

When we pass people by in the street, in the shops, in our places of work, looking ‘put together’ and getting on with life, we assume that all is good, all is well with them. Of course they are all putting their best side out. We are all putting our best side out and for some, it is a real struggle.

So this January, no matter what your path, lets all be enthusiastic, that we made it. We can reflect, we can look forward, but lets not forget to be present, and to acknowledge our own unique achievements, no matter how big or small……

Home = House, Place, Feeling?

what makes a house a home or who says a home is a house? Is ‘home’ a building, a place or a feeling?

authors own photo

Almost 3 months ago I received this card from a friend, and it was a lovely surprise to have something posted through the letterbox to my new address.

From actually getting the keys, to moving in to this new house, however, was 3 long months. So much has happened in those 3 months.

This house was to be a fresh start, our ‘grown up’ house, as the children have all finally, flown the nest and we had outgrown our ‘family home’ or it had outgrown us!

At the time between selling our family home and getting the keys for the new house my other half was waiting to have major heart surgery. He had the surgery 10 days after getting the keys and is recovering, slowly but surely.

We were worried and anxious about the surgery beforehand, which is normal, I guess, but one day before getting the keys to the new house I received the devastating news that my best friend had terminal cancer and her time was very short,

This news superceeded everything else going on in my life, including my other half’s surgery.

She was due to come here, to stay here, as she lives in another country. I was looking forward to her coming, to seeing her, as it had been two years since we last saw each other in person due to Covid and restrictions.

This will never happen now. We had been friends for 45 years. We were like sisters and her death, two weeks after being given the news of her cancer, has had a profound effect on me.

When you think of people you go through all the memories, the shared moments and experiences. I visualise things and see her/us together in all sorts of places, school, shops, holidays, hospitals, pubs, clubs and our homes. It makes me smile and it is a bitter sweet feeling, knowing that I will never see her here, in this new house, this new home that I am trying to create.

When I left my old house, I said, ‘it is just a house’ the memories come with you, and they do. So ‘home’ isn’t necessarily a house is it? In creating and decorating and getting this house ready to live in, I take all my memories with me from all the people that I love. My family and my friends.

The day I came up here, after my other half had his op and my friend died the ‘New home’ card was on the mat in the hall. As I opened it and walked into the living room there, flying around was a butterfly. To me, it was my friend waiting for me and greeting me, letting me know, that she was there.

The first thing I did when I did move in was to plant a tree for her and to put up some garden ornaments and tree spinners, to create a garden in her memory, somewhere, where I can sit and talk to her and make new memories in this home.

The sadness of grieving her is still there, but I have to carry on and continue to make this house a home for my other half and I and for our children and grandchildren when they come and visit.

I think it is the people in our lives that make a house a home, whether they are with us, near us or have passed over across the great divide. So long as we love them, cherish them and feel blessed to have them beside us and in our hearts, then we can feel at home.

authors own
authors own

Even though I have moved away, to a new area, a few hours drive away, this ‘grown up’ house will be made into a ‘home’ while we count our blessings for the life and health that we continue to have, and we will welcome old and new friends and look forward to discovering this new place, that we can come to call home.

What now?

There are no guarantees of being a success, of finding ‘the one’ of being fulfilled. No guarantees of reaching your goals, living to a ripe old age or attaining your dreams.

What is it then, within us to continually seek to try, to find, to hope and to keep going, even in the face of adversity. Is it all our intrinsic resources that push us on, or are there extrinsic factors at force?

It must be both but, even with the best will in the world, sometimes, it seems like a hard battle to fight or difficult mountain to climb, and then we feel defeated.

Then, sometimes out of nowhere it seems, that all is not lost, there is another way to climb the mountain, once rested, and not all battles need to be won in order to succeed and feel a sense of hope again.

Adapt, be absent and acceptance are the three ‘A’ s that will help pull you through the rough times. Accept that there is a difficulty, stay absent, for a while, from the usual routine or the usual people around you, and soon you will find a way to adapt to the changes that you must face.

There is no guarantee that things will always stay the same. There will be ups and downs. There will be losses and gains there will be love and pain but all will not be lost and something of value will be taught.

I lost a very dear friend recently. My heart was broken, for her, her family and for me. She is a huge loss and leaves a massive void.

We won’t grow to be old ladies together. I had never even contemplated that…. She died too young, but she had a good life and she enjoyed her life to the full. She lived with love and shared her love amongst her family and friends.

So in this sorrow, in this grief and hurt and pain there has to be acceptance and life must adapt without her physical presence. Making ourselves absent, giving ourselves time and self love, to come to terms with the loss and remember the good times is crucial in the process.

There is no time limit, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. For me, I believe she is present, all around us. I talk to her, pray for her, look out for signs of her. I keep her alive in my heart, even though I miss her and the rest of the life, she should have had. Yet I’m grateful for the time we did have….

So what now? One step at a time. One day at a time, we move forward. It’s all we can do. We live, we love, we hope, we pray, we dream. We must stay humble and grateful for the time and love we shared and for all our loved ones lost to us, live on with them in our hearts…. Until we meet again…..

Authors own

Celebrity… Tosh?

Where do they get off, so called celebrities, with their view of ‘tosh’.

Clarkson, Morgan, love to rant, but feel the Prince shouldn’t, or can’t?

A tell all memoir of his life, of course, there’s lots who’ll blame his wife!

Opinions, opinions, view points and all, but isn’t he the one, that can recall it all?

I’m neither a Royalist nor celebrity struck, but I’m sick and tired of reading such muck.

How can a celebrity think his path is right, and people should support them, in their ‘toshful’ plight?

Horses for courses in the lives that we lead. What right has a celebrity, to preach how to succeed.

Their life is their life, only they can live it. Not perfect, not wholesome, and could change in a minute!

What happened to the message that we all should ‘be kind’. Then what gives you the right, to speak out your mind?

Were you born into royalty and told what to do. A flash in your face, media following you?

From the day you were born, they just won’t relent. You’re expected to conform and you have the intent.

To do as your told, for the sake of the crown, but even the mighty have to fall down.

Break free from the chains and get out of the game, like an animal that’s wild, and doesn’t want to be tamed.

But wants to roam free, walk his own winding path, and show to the world, the life that he had.

So many will tell him what a ‘privilege’ he had, but if he doesn’t want it, does that make him bad.

He’s scorned if he does he’s scorned if he doesn’t, told to do this, told that he mustn’t.

Let the man be to live his own life, a person, a father a husband to his wife.

Who are we all to court contraversy, just let him speak, if it sets him free.

How many celebs have written a book, about their own lives and want us to look?

To see their life, from their own side, some of it shameful but balanced with pride.

We are all just people, walking this planet, born in to circumstance, we none of us planned it.

Stop casting aspirations on what he should do. Keep guarded your counsel on what YOU should do.

Stop with the shouting, the words of disdain, pointing the finger and causing such pain.

Keep your opinions in your own little minds and remember the message to ‘please be kind’

How can we know if people don’t tell, how it was for them, whether heaven or hell.

Perspective and context, only they really know. So big mouthed celebrities just ‘let it go’

You were born a nobody just like me. Be wise be humble, with an ounce of dignity!

The place where I live….

Itchy feet again…… Perspective is everything and as we develop and grow, what we didn’t like can change to what we do like and visa versa, but does that mean we have to stay still or is it good to keep moving, keep seeking and trying new things, including places to live……

image authors own…..

‘We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.’  Anais Nin

Currently I am in the process of selling my house, which I built 23 years ago in this north Wexford village, called The Ballagh, I was 32 when I moved back to Ireland and subsequently built this house a couple of years later, on the outskirts of the village. 

‘Not for a million pound a week would I live there again’, I said, when I left this village at aged 19.

I had first moved to the Ballagh in 1979 when I was 14 years old.  Having come from a fairly large city in the UK it was a complete culture shock to me, leaving the hustle and bustle of a city life, my friends, and my independence of hopping on a bus anywhere, practically from outside my front door, for the deafening quiet of rural country living.   

The Ballagh was a very sleepy village back then, with a shop which was also a bar attached and outside a petrol pump if you needed to fill your car.  There was another pub down the road, a post office a church, a national school and a run-down community centre, with very little activity.   

Outside of the post office was the iconic green and cream public phone box and it was my link to the outside world, out beyond the Ballagh.    There was no bus service, except for the secondary school bus which passed through, twice a day, once to take us to school and the next to bring us home.

I had been known to miss the bus, on occasion, in the morning, knowing there was no other way to get to school…. 

Back then I felt totally trapped in this little village and the only way to get anywhere was to stick out my thumb and hitch a lift.  This was a complete no no in the city from whence I had come, but here, in the country, it was an acceptable and encouraged part of everyday life.

I would love it when I would go into Wexford Town, 20 minutes away.  There was more ‘life’ there down along the main street and the quay front, and the view looking out across the water filled me with joy.  There were people, lots of them, just milling around doing ordinary things, shopping, browsing and crowds of kids hanging out. There was a good vibe about the town, and I longed to be a part of it. 

Now and in the last 23 years, this little village, had expanded somewhat with new one off houses popping up everywhere and a few new housing estates.  The post office completely renovated and expanded to give us a much needed supermarket, but alas the iconic phone box has long gone.

The shop with the bar has also been expanded, well the pub part of it, and it also gained a function room, but lost the petrol pump.

 Back in the day, if it was a function room you were after, it was the Un Yoke, down the road, and everyone, from all over, flocked to it

 Now that was a great place, and at the time, it was my saviour because every week-end I got to go there and enjoy the hustle and bustle again, dance to the local bands such as Theresa and the Stars or indeed the big bands like Joe Dolan and the Wolfe Tones. 

 Sadly, it burned down many years ago, but the car park is now used for the very popular Car Boot Sale, on a Sunday morning.

The national school has been extended twice in the last 23 years to accommodate the ever expanding population and the secondary school bus still comes but twice a day.

The Ballagh may be known more specifically for its GAA than anything else as it has produced some great hurling and camogie players over the years, even winning the All Ireland back in 1996, the year before I moved back here.  It’s full title of course being Oulart the Ballagh, as our two half parish’s make a whole. 

This village is more than GAA however, it has a good community spirit.  The new and improved community centre has many uses, from running a boxing club, youth club, active retirement group and a preschool, to name but a few.

We have a lovely forest walk just outside the village at Kilbride and another up Ballyboy Hill.  We have cool named roads to walk such as the Fairy Lane and Tea Pot lane.  But do not dare to walk the Fairy Lane past midnight or you will be stuck there until Sunrise!  After that enjoy the fairy lane walk to the village and back and your steps for the day will be covered.

 Before Covid put a halt to things, our annual field day would be held in the school grounds and is always a winner and great day to be had by all, young and old, with the whole community coming together to donate, participate and confabulate.

The many fundraisers held by the local people, giving up and dedicating their time freely to help further on desperately needed projects, like improving the church, the community centre, the GAA or helping those that are sick.  

We have builders, carpenters, hairdressers, beauty therapists and bakers to name but a few of the tradesmen and craftsmanship that goes on here.  We have a community Facebook page to ask, advise and advertise anything and everything you wish.

The two pubs, Bob’s Bar and the Sawdust Inn, both family friendly and welcoming and not only can you get a good Céad Míle Fáilte there, you can eat drink and be merry.  Dance the night away to the varied entertainment they put on, and you can also do so in the knowledge that at the end of the night, if you are stuck for a lift home, the owners are only too happy to oblige.

As much as I didn’t like living in this village when I was a 14-year-old ‘blow in’ and swore, I would not I live here again, I am glad that I did, with a renewed appreciation for country living.

I raised my family here, and was happy to do so.   But now, I guess I am seeking another new life and meet other new souls, perhaps in a new state and maybe a bit more hustle and bustle. 

It just feels like my time here has come to a natural end with the end of raising my children, who are off on their own discoveries. 

I hope that the people that come to live in my house, not only appreciate and enjoy the house but the village that it is in and all it has to offer.