Sunday, 6 April 2014

What I Read in March

I had such good intentions for March. I had planned on reading three books as part of The Year In Books hosted by Laura of Circle of Pine Trees  but it turned out to be such a busy month that I only managed one.
'City of Fate' is the second historical novel for teenagers by Irish author Nicola Pierce, and is published by The O'Brien Press of Dublin.
I don't normally read  teenage fiction, and indeed there was no such thing as teenage fiction when I was a teenager, but a review copy landed on my desk at work so I decided to read it.
The book opens as Yuri celebrates his 14th birthday by swimming in the river Volga with  his friends. As they splash in the water, the drone of planes fill the sky and sirens warn citizens of an air-raid. After months  of threats, the Germans are finally bombing Stalingrad. Yuri spends the next two weeks hiding in the cellar of his home with his mother and baby sister, as the relentless bombing of the city continues.
After she leaves with the ailing baby, Yuri is left to fend for himself, before befriending first, five year old Peter, and then Tanya. Together they live on their wits in a city invaded by the enemy.
Far off in the countryside, Vlad and his classmates are forced to join the Russian army and march to defend Stalingrad. Those who try to turn back are shot on the spot so they have no choice but to advance to the front. 
 They must quickly lose their boyish innocence as they take part in one of the most decisive battles of the Second World War.
Although written for  younger readers, 'City of Fate' pulls no punches in its descriptions of the brutality of war. Telling the story through the eyes of children, it focuses on their resilience in the face of horror. 
I found it a most interesting read and it would certainly be useful to any teenagers studying European history.
As March was a hectic month, I only managed to start the second book on my list - 'A Star Called Harry' by Roddy Doyle, and  I've also started reading 'French Women Don't Get Facelifts' by Mireille Guiliano. I'll tell you what I thought of them at the end of April. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

March Scavenger Hunt

Another month of fun looking for images to match the words set by Greenthumb for the Scavenger Hunt.

M is for
Musical Instrument

My husband's new vintage banjo.


Normally I'm switching on my computer at work at 9am but as I had a few days holidays in March, I thought this photo of our neighbour's sheep would make a nicer picture.


I don't know what these berries are called but obviously the birds don't like them as they have survived the winter.

Lit Up

Dundalk's Town Hall was lit up with green light for St Patrick's Day


I love my Ikea cheese grater -it makes grating cheese a doddle


Like my people I give out about my job from time to time but I wouldn't like to have to hold an advertising poster for a living.


This brickwork proved irresistible to graffiti artists in Limerick city.


Vintage style cutlery from the Caroline Donnelly Eclectic range at Dunnes Stores.


I'm loving all the spring flowers especially these 'Firecracker' Polyanthus which were a Mothers' Day gift.


How do  you like crisps? On their own, in a sandwich, or in a bar of chocolate? These limited edition Tayto bars are sought after but don't appeal to me at all.


A collection of tickets are reminders of holidays, concerts and sporting events.

A Coloured Door

The bright yellow door of the Galway jewellery shop where the Claddagh ring was first made.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

March in Pictures

March has been a busy month. Spring arrived, first the flowers, then the lambs. There have been days when it was warm enough to venture out into the garden and I'm pleased with the colourful results of my autumn planting.
We've had St Patrick's Day, birthdays, and trips across the country to bring the teenager and his portfolio to a number of art colleges. A banjo was bought and I've been spoiled this Mothers' Day.
Life should settle down in April when hopefully I'll catch up with regular blogging again.
This is my 100th blogpost and I'm grateful to everyone who reads and comments on my blog.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Daffodil Day

Daffodil Day is the Irish Cancer Society's biggest fund-raising day of the year. It takes place at the end of March when the cheery yellow daffodils are plentiful.  Volunteers take to the streets of Irish cities, towns and villages selling daffs and some shops, schools and businesses  add their support by holding coffee mornings and competitions.
The town of Drogheda is to the forefront in supporting Daffodil Day with numerous shops and businesses decorating their windows in a bid to turn the town yellow. This initiative has been running for a number of years now and was featured on national television this year.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

St Patrick's Day Parade in Dundalk

I've been so busy of late that I  haven't had any time for blogging but I did want to share some pictures from the St Patrick's Day parade in Dundalk before it's ancient history.

There were marching pipe bands...

and men in kilts

and girls in glasses

Little folk….
and little fiddlers.

Irish dancers 

And Samba dancers

Dog walkers and

Martial artists
Tiny cyclists looking forward to the Giro D'Italia
and rugby players celebrating our Five Nations win.
There were Irish cailins 

And our new townsfolk who brought their colourful costumes on a dull day

There were fast cars

And slow cars.

Old fire engines 

And no Irish parade would be complete without some vintage tractors.