Wednesday, 16 April 2014

CD Splurge- Rackhouse Pilfer

Love and Havoc- Rackhouse Pilfer's new album!

Rackhouse Pilfer's new album is ace!
Yes I was very bold and bought it for myself...
Yes, I still need shoes but until someone wants to interview me for a job what do shoes matter?
Yes, I've been playing it so loudly that the people in the office across the landing haven't needed to buy their own copy because they can listen to mine 24/7...or even 27/4...
WHAT?! You haven't heard of Rackhouse Pilfer? VERY famous bluegrass country band who hang out in a pub two streets across?
Well, the only thing better than being a fan already is having that treat in store for you!!
Hey! Did ya get the message that I like Rackhouse Pilfer's music- A LOT?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Escape v. Perspective

Life never runs either smoothly or according to plan, does it? Neither physical life nor inward life. Often the two do not even run in tandem, and when outsiders think one is sailing through a calm, organised, 'together' patch, one's mind can be an utter battlefield of indecision, insecurity, demons, problem wrestling and the like, or vice versa. I suppose that is just as well as a calm outer shell gives one time to think, but would it not be just wonderful if outer calm matched inner certainty of purpose a bit more often?

And then there are the times when outer and inner lives are equally chaotic and it is difficult to keep hold of reality at all. Such has been my last few months, so naturally I ground to a halting heap of bleating ineptitude. Now I am wrestling a new bull having decided to apply to do a year's course in Dublin, applied, mark you, nothing definite...also no funding and nowhere to live- minor inconveniences, hmm?

One friend has several times pointed out that going to Dublin will not solve any problems, leaving all the mess of the marriage in one town whilst moving to another will not make it go away, or fix it, or end it: running does not help.

Another friend showed me an article by Oliver Burkeman which advocates distance and perspective as a means of getting to grips with problems. Well that's the gist of it. Her theory is the use of mental holiday mode in that getting away can make you see more clearly changes which need making, or worries which are unimportant, or even that maybe things are just fine as they are.

Which returns me to taking a year out to do a course in Dublin. I know that I need to sort things legally but I have to wait for other events to pass; I know that one piddly little course won't change my life; I know that finding somewhere I can afford to live in Dublin (rents are rocketing) is going to be a bother; funding for the course will also be a bother as will living expenses; and that solutions are worked at rather than arriving in blinding flashes.

But the alternative?

I have no job and no likelihood of a job as I have nothing to offer that a hundred young folk can't offer better and more cheaply (recessions voiding the attribute of experience over cheapness), I am well used to living on the smell of an oil rag, to say nothing of the wing and prayer method, and is it so bad to want to escape the judgement and censure of people here for leaving my marriage? I would like to be able to walk down a street unafraid to lift my eyes for fear of meeting someone who is not speaking to me and not afraid to cut me dead or make nasty comments to me. You think separation and divorce are acceptable in 21C modern world? Think again, my friends, they are not, well they are for men, but not for women it would seem...figure that at your leisure...

So is distancing oneself to gain perspective a different concept to running away? I suppose it depends upon whether one returns to act on any insight one may have gained and for that only time may tell. Is running away from unpleasantness any way to solve a problem? They who judge have made their attitudes my problem, I never asked them to take sides and indeed they know nothing of my situation since I am not prepared to demean myself by broadcasting details. Being a 'nobody' in a large city for a while would surely be a mental holiday from being a 'wicked female' in a small town and give me headspace to decide what is important and what is not.

Although Ireland being what it is, no one is ever a 'nobody' for more than five minutes! Island life, I ask ya!

So, sorry about the bitchfest, I do generally attempt to keep posts bitch-free but I get so tired of being the wicked one and trying to hold my head up. I think I need a break from living, pity one can't do that...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Just An Observation

How many of us get up in the night and use the bathroom without switching on the light?

I do.

How many of us are silly enough to do the same in a friend's place?

I am...

Not only is it quite disorienting to shut the door and find oneself in pitch blackness with no notion of the location of the loo, but it is even more unsettling when one thinks one knows where to rest one's naked backside only to either fall off the edge of the seat due to miscalculation, or to miss it entirely and hit cold tiles...

Yes well.

I'm staying at a friend's place just now as you can probably tell...

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Gortnarowey Walk

Benbulben approach, should be before previous photo.

Along the northerly side of Benbulben.

Further north.

Looking out across the Bay to Streedagh Beach,
Cassiebawn Castle (blip on the headland) and towards Donegal coast.

South westerly aspect of the Bay and one of those streaks of surf is Innismurray Island,
about seven miles off shore, but looks to be hardly an island from this distance.
On Tuesday afternoon, in need of some cobweb blowing and demon vanquishing, a friend took me up Gortnarowey, one of the local Coillte walks. The photos are rather muzzy as it was quite overcast but the views and scenery are just fabulous. I had been up the back of the mountain in the past but one tends to be wary of going too far off track onto private land, partly for fear of disturbing livestock, and partly from fear of trespassing. Land-owners around here are very territorial. Coillte walks are great as they are well signposted and public so no fear of wandering where one is not welcome.

I will have to go back again on a clear day to take better photos, but also to take the girls. As my friend pointed out, between scenery, mountain and deep forest it is real 'Lord of the Rings' territory and I know Middlest and Youngest would get a huge kick out of walking the route!

It is so pristine up there that there were whole swathes of frogspawn in the ditches- I haven't seen that amount of frogspawn in years. Its protected now, of course, but when we were children one of the highlights of springtime was friends bringing jars of frogspawn into school. We got to watch it grow from tadpoles to frogs in washing up bowls, accidentally letting the frogs loose in the classroom whenever we needed a diversion, until the teacher had had enough and carted the whole lot away to dump in a stream. Now the children bring in bunches of daffodils, which are certainly pretty, but not nearly as breath-taking as frogspawn!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Janus in March

The month of January was named after Janus, I forget what he was the god of, Roman I think, but he was noted for having two faces, one looking back and one forward- back to the old year, and forward to the new. I've always liked the notion that in January I can pause and that it is alright to look back and think before facing into the new.

But this is March, sez you!

For one reason and another my girls are doing quite a bit of looking back and thinking at the moment, perhaps its a part of coming to terms with change- a combination of their parent's separation and Middlest getting married this summer with a lousy example of marriage to build on.
Whatever the reason, the girls have been looking back at the way they grew up, in East Africa and Ireland, two vastly different places with disparate mores and conventions, to say nothing of moral codes. I always tried to keep communications open and as a result have heard many admissions of hijinks, some of which I knew at the time but pretended ignorance as I felt lessons had been learned, and others I did not know! In East Africa we were lucky to live alongside several African families. I know that sometimes other adults kept my girls in check and also that they had far more freedom because they were with African children who were wise to local ways. We lived in some odd places, the Aberdare forest for a while, and on two coffee farms, one small and fairly urban and another a huge coffee farm surrounded by bush and Kikuyu cultivation. Eldest and Middlest had the sort of childhood freedom that children in western countries have lacked since maybe 1950s or before. They realise their good fortune and I believe it has made them stronger characters. (Youngest was six when we moved here so was still tied to my apron-strings.)
Their dangers were monkeys larger than themselves, hippos in the dam at the end of the garden, cuts that would go septic within hours, snakes, misusing machetes and losing a foot or finger, forgetting to bring a dog along (which was their early warning system for trouble), being within the compound by sunset no matter what fun they were having, getting off the grass airstrip when they heard Oscar Golf (the farm owner's plane!) coming in, finding their way home...a far cry from small West of Ireland when they were teenagers!
And that was with a careful mother!
My problem was always to figure what dangerous thing they would dream up next and forbid it without giving them ideas! Tough path to tread. But at the same time to give them freedom to explore their place and learn to be strong, independent and able to extract themselves from whatever trouble they get into- which was a lot! Among our friends were Settlers and ex-Pats and I know for a fact that some of the latter were horrified by the freedom and mischief the girls got into. The African mothers too believed that white girls should be brought up far more restricted. How can a person 'own' their time and place, as well as knowing their own strengths and weakness, if they have not been allowed the freedom to discover for themselves?
In Ireland they had other dangers to contend with, people rather than hippos, responsibility for others as opposed to independence, urban problems instead of bush survival. It came hardest to Eldest but they have adapted and despite the fact they would count themselves Irish I hope that the inner strength they developed in childhood stands them in good stead as they go on.

So, looking back in times of change in order to face the future with integrity, I think they are wise to take the time for this. Besides which, it is such fun listening to their stories of mischief and mayhem. Last week Middlest and I  spent a hilarious tea-time telling Car-Boy some of the awful things she had done as a child. Car-Boy's face was a picture and eventually he thumped his fist on his knee exclaiming: 'Our children will be very well-behaved!'

In one voice, Middlest and I shrieked; 'Good luck with that!'

I really don't think he grasps just how wild Middlest can be...

PS The post I began to write was nothing like this but I guess the old grey matter is entitled to occasionally dictate direction!

Sunday, 23 March 2014


The sun was shining today so we went for a bit of a walk down the Point. The sun was actually so bright that I could not see the image on my camera properly to adjust it, which is why the photos look dark instead of bright- what a complaint to have!!
So, not great photos but such a lovely afternoon.

Looking toward Coney Island.

Rosses Point beach with Benbulben.

Oyster Island and across the estuary to Strandhill.

Lighthouse on Oyster Island with Knocknarea to left.

Benbulben across part of the golf course.

'Waiting on the Shore' in memory of those lost at sea.
Rosses Point used to be a fishing village, then a holiday spot for those from the town. But now it is a ten minute drive and most of us locals have grown up spending summers swimming off the beach and winters walking on the beach. During the long grey winters we forget how lucky we are having such beauty on our doorstep, and then the sun shines and we wonder how we overlooked it.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Of Butt Cheeks and Razzle Dazzle

If you are
polite or
have delicate sensibilities or
have a particularly lurid imagination

This should be an embarrassing story but, due to my regrettably reprehensible sense of humour, I giggled when I realised what I'd done...which is not a personal recommendation.

This morning I had quite a few errands to do around town including a visit to the Welfare Office, the Post Office and the Bank, so not a shy retiring sort of outing as it meant zigzagging around town for about an hour and a half of busy-ness.

I got everything done no problem.

When I got home I noticed a hole in my jeans had 'grown' so used the mirror to investigate
...when what to my wondering eye did appear...
TWO large holes in the seat of my jeans, you know, at butt cheek level?

Oh bummer! (literally not figuratively)

AND THEN I saw that not only was my bum hanging out (not a good look for fat'n'fifty)
but my white cotton granny knickers were also hanging out... the last wash I had bleached all my grungy grey knickers back into their original dazzling whiteness.
So the knicks weren't just hanging out, they were making a howling statement.

So much for a boring Tuesday: I wonder how long it will be before this story comes back to bite me...???


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