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Thank you


The Grand Old LADY with the Colgate Smile

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I’d like to introduce you to Snuffy, the Grand Old Lady of our house. My poor long suffering husband has a lot to contend with.  He is the only male in a household of  that consists of wife, four daughters, mother-in-law, two cats and a dog. He has no male support,  even the animals are female. This might lead you to believe he lives a very pampered existence but it is quite the opposite. While my mum and the dog vie for position of seniority in the house, I”m afraid Snuffy wins hands down.

Snuffy reaches the grand age of fifteen this summer. Using the rule of thumb that you multiply by seven to get her age in people years, she is the grand old age of 105, leaving my Mum and the dog Piper as mere babes at 84.
My four year old nephew was visiting for St. Patrick’s weekend and enquired what age was Piper.Mum explained that she was 12,  in dog years that was the equivalent of 84, the same age as herself. His reply was that Piper was very old and would die soon ……..and so would she!!


Now to get back to my old lady, she is beginning to feel her age……like the rest of us. Even my daughters, in their twenties are shocked to find themselves  rapidly approaching thirty. Until recently, Snuffy has startled many an overnight guest who left their bedroom windows open at night.
She had perfected the art of jumping up onto the roof, in the window and from there straight into the middle of the bed. She likes her comfort! Thsis is all rather terrrifying if you are the one fast asleep in bed and she lands smack in the middle of your stomach. It is only by the  grace of God and remembering to warn people to keep their windows closed that we didn’t have to summon an ambulance in the middle of the night to whisk our visitors off to hospital suffering from a  massive heart attack.
Snuffy came to us on my youngest daughter’s ninth birthday . She is her cat and you would know it. Snuffy will let her turn her upside down and inside out and still cuddle up to her.  She turns her back to the rest of us.She knows she was chosen. I told my daughter that I was bringing her for a surprise on her birthday. Can you imagine her horror when the car turned into my friend’s house, who just happened to be her teacher.”But Mammy you said it was a nice surprise …..this is my teacher’s house.” she exclaimed in horror.  I was soon forgiven when she was introduced to three kittens and told to take her pick. That was almost 15 years ago now.
These days, we have been very worried about Snuffy because she has had repeated infections and we thought, the dreaded cat flu. She has been feeling very sorry for herself.  Have you ever tried to give a cat liquid antibiotic. We have given it to her in pill form, hiding it in sardines or chicken.. She managed to find the pills and eat all around them so it was back to wrapping her in a towel to keep those nasty claws under control and try and administer the dose. The end result of this is that if she sees me with a towel in my hand she runs, she has developed a taste for real meat and turns up her nose at cat food. She sits in front of the fridge and stares at you, saying “where is my chicken?”
Anyway, to get to the point of my story, she has had repeated infections  She would take her antibiotics, get better and then two days later would be sneezing and coughing again. Back again to the vet,who diagnosed sinusitis, not cat flu as originally thought. Now she really had my sympathy  (I have suffered with sinusitis for years, a real pain in the face) It kept recurring because she has plaque on her teeth. The only way to remove it was to have them cleaned under aneasthetic!
So this week, she was put in the cat box, brought to the vet and job is now done. For 24 hours afterwards, she would not come near us and hid under the table if we came near. However, as she is getting better she has forgotten the trauma… can see the touches of blonde in her hair:-)
She is getting more needy as she gets older, something that, perhaps, happens to people too. When I’m typing, she wants to sit on the keyboard and her favourite place to sit high up on my chest so I can’t see what I’m doing. She wants undivided attention, all the time.
Tony Attwood  said that cats are dogs with Aspergers Syndrome. Well, not this grand old lady.

Third Wish

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In fairy tales the first wish is foolish, the second is used to correct the damage done by the first one. The third wish is the one that must be used wisely and well and usually with the help of your friends!

I regularly wish for peace and quiet. And now this wish was about to be granted, a weeks holidays on my own. Many people ask me what will I do for the week, wouldn’t I be lonely? My difficulty is finding time to myself. Therefore when I find it I make the most of it. So what had I planned for this week? Apart from preparing the house for Mum’s visit in April, I was planning to catch up on my reading.

I had bought “The Red Tent” an excellent book by Anita Diamont for a friend for Christmas. Unfortunately she had read it. I asked her what she likes to read. She likes novels set in other countries. I immediately thought of  the quadrilogy “The Jewel in the Crown” which I had read some years ago. I went on the net to look for it and got distracted by a poem I used to have on the wall of my classroom years ago ” Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. This in its turn lead me to the author’s online journal. I really liked his writing and then I discovered he had written a novel “Third Wish”

Third Wish is a 5 volume 2 book novel that comes with a CD of original music. Robert Fulghum writes that “music is an elemental dimension of being human. The music we carry in our minds reveals much about us” Therefore the music in the lives of the characters of the novel was included on a CD to reveal more of their humanity. We are asked to pay as much attention to the music as the written word. The novel starts at a table in a taverna in Crete and winds its way to Japan, France, England Seattle and back to Greece. It is a journey, not only through countries, but through the minds and relationships of the characters.  The themes are slowly, witness and surprise. Not only does the book come with its own music but it has over 150 illustrations. The book begins with this poem.

Instructions For Wayfarers

They will declare: Every journey has been taken.
You shall respond: I have not been to see myself.
They will insist: Everything has been spoken.
You shall reply: I have not had my say.
They will tell you: Everything has been done.
You shall reply: My way is not complete.
You are warned: Any way is long, any way is hard.
Fear not. You are the gate – you, the gatekeeper.
And you shall go through and on . . .
—Alexandros Evangelou Xenopouloudakis,

I tracked it down on and read the first few pages online. I was intrigued and decided to buy it for my friend……and also for myself. I could not wait for her to finish it. Amazingly,  considering the size and the CD, the book was not expensive, but the postage was. Anne was not in a hurry for the book so I ordered it, with standard postage. It would take over a month to arrive. Unfortunately, a few days later I got an email telling me my order was cancelled. The book was out of stock!

I ordered it from 5 different suppliers and  each time they cancelled the order, giving the same reason, out of stock. I was getting more and more frustrated! Eventually I ordered it from itself and by now I decided to have it sent by priority shipping. I was growing impatient. The two copies of the book cost €13.11 and €44.78 for the postage. Each copy weighs 3kg!

I managed to keep my hands off the book and keep it for my holiday. I must be crazy because it was 3kg of my 20kg baggage allowance. I hoped to finish it in the week. I read it in two and a half days.  Everytime I thought I knew what happening next there was another surprise waiting for me. It was worth the wait, the weight and every penny of the postage!

Images of Frankfurt

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The “Pencil” – the second tallest building in Europe. 
Romer Platz

Arch near Romer Platz

Old building near the river

Main Train Station – the Hauptbanhoff

People strolling along by the river Main

The Beer Bike- You can cycle around to work up a thirst!

St Paul’s Church

Open for business

Enjoying the nice weather.

A weight on their shoulders

The Hammering Man.


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Mor Gabriel Monastery Midyat.

Door Handle Bodrum Castle

Photography is my one of my hobbies. Like with most things in my life I’m an enthusiastic amateur! I recently got a new camera, slightly more complicated than the last. It is taking me a while to get used to it so some of my more recent photos are not quite in focus. So please bear with me.
I’m not good at photographing people, my friends often wonder if I holiday on my own! There are rarely people in my holiday shots. I’m constantly telling my poor long-suffering husband to move out of the way, he’s spoiling the shot.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Inlaid Mother of Pearl Topkapi Palace

A recurrent theme in my photos is   doors and doorways. I find them fascinating. Doors, tall, small, ornate, plain, wooden, metal,
PVC,  locked, ajar,  house or
garden, battered or new, every
colour under the rainbow I wonder about the hidden lives behind them , who has passed through them, what stories they could tell.

Everyday we pass through doors, physical and metaphysical. Whether we choose to open or close these doors determines our future. Doors beckon us in to new experiences  new opportunities, open new chapters  in our lives and allow us to close the door on the past.

Here are a few of my favourites.

River entrance to Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul
Topkapi Palace Istanbul
Bathroom Door Topkapi Palace
Old Door Mardin
Kervanseray outside Kayseri

Multiple Doors Goreme
Street Doors Uchisar
Hotel Doors Goreme

Only inhabitant of Becin Kalesi, Milas
 sits at her door

Low door at stone age dwelling
Wexford Heritage Park
Main door Trinity College Dublin

Traditional Irish half door Glendalough
Georgian door Dublin
Sunday Morning at Mosque in Mardin
Door with vine Mugla
Old door in Mugla
Entrance door, windmill Gumbet
In Budapest


Spring has Sprung!

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I woke up the other morning to find the sunshine streaming in my window and the sound of the dawn chorus. I jumped out of bed (for a change) and pulled back the curtains. There was a beautiful white frost covering the fields but we had blue skies. A wander through the garden and there were the first crocii and miniature daffodils in bloom. It has made me aware of just how much the sunshine, birdsong and spring flowers affects my outlook. And I’m not alone. There is a Coca cola glass full of budding daffodils in the centre of the staff room table and as the week has gone on they have opened. Everyone comments on them and the wonder of these spring days. 

Three Monkeys

Last night BBC4 showed Uç Maymun, Nuri Bilge Ceylans film Three Monkeys. It is an excellent  but dark film. It follows the lives of three people, a husband wife and son and how their life unfolds after the husband agrees to take the rap for his employer’s crime.
 It is a tale of deceit and greed. Like the other two Ceylan’s films, Distance and Climates it is a slow moving film. What struck me most is Ceylan’s cinematography, his close up shots of the characters faces as their emotions shift, and the panoramic shots inside the apartment as well as outside.Again I’m struck by the violence shown to the female character, by her son, husband and lover.
Ceylan won Best Director at Cannes Film Festival 2008 for this film. Well worth the watch