Friday, 15 August 2014

Liebster Award - Part 2

For the second assignment associated with the Liebster Award,  I am answering the eleven questions posed by Doris from Inspired Follies


1. When do you write your blog posts and how long does it take you?
I have to admit to being a most disorganised blogger and, of late, had been thinking of abandoning it until Doris nominated be for this award. I usually write it in the evenings, after work. The photographs will have been taken in the preceding weeks (or even months) and I wish I could say I spend ages honing and crafting my sentences but I never seem to have time for that.

2. Which television programme/s do you watch regularly?
I watch very little television apart from the news.  I did watch 'Last Tango in Halifax' and 'Portlandia' recently on Netflix and enjoyed both.

3. Describe the last meal you cooked.
Yesterday's dinner.  I'm teaching my son how to cook before  he goes to college so have been looking up inexpensive and simple recipes. I married two recipes 'All-in-one baked sausages with lentils' from Sainsbury's 'One Pot' cookery book with the poser sounding ' Toulouse sausage pul lentil' stew from Donal Skeehan's 'Homecooked'. Basically, it's good quality sausages and chopped  bacon, browned in a pan, and then cooked with chopped carrots, celery, pepper, onion, puy lentils garlic, dijon mustard, red wine, stock, bay leaves, and theme, and seasoning. Very tasty.

4. What is your favourite item of clothing?  The yellow aran cardigan which my mother knitted me when I was a teenager.  It no longer fits me but it means a lot to me.


5. Your all time favourite book and why you have chosen it? That's  like asking a parent of a large family to name their favourite child! I have so many books that I like.   But if I had to choose one (and possibly because I happen to have a photo of it on my computer!) I'd pick 'To Kill A Mocking Bird'.


6. Describe your usual sleep pattern - i.e time to bed up, how many hours, any middle of the night wake ups etc. I usually go to bed around midnight and get up around 8am. I am a sound sleeper although our cat Toffee sometimes wakes me up as he meows outside our door looking for food during the night.

7. Which line from a poem/book/play or famous speech appeals to you most? '
The opening lines of 'A Tale of Two Cities' which still seem relevant today.
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only

8. The city/town you have enjoyed visiting most? My favourite town to visit is Ballycastle on the north Antrim coast while for city it's a tie between Paris and Rome.

Ballycastle, Co Antrim
9. What is the last film you went to the cinema to watch?
It was so long ago that I can't remember, although I'm guessing that it was the first 'Lord of the Rings'.
We now watch films on tv thanks to Netflix and Apple tv.

10. My current favourite nail polish colour is silver.  If you paint your nails, what colour do you usually choose? Pink

11. If you could award your own Oscar or Bafta to an actor/ tv performer, who would you choose and why?
The Irish actor Brendan Gleeson who brings a wonderful presence to his performances and who also has a great sense of social justice.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Liebster Award - Part 1

Doris at Inspired Follies very kindly  nominated me for a Liebster Award. The Liebster Blog Award is a blogger- to- blogger nomination system which promotes blogs with less than 200 followers. 
The award takes three parts: 
For the first I have to write 11 random facts about myself, then I have to answer the  11 questions which Doris has posed for her nominees and lastly I have to nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions. I already  know that I won't be able to find 11 qualifying bloggers who haven't already been nominated but here goes with 11 facts about me.

1. I grew up on a diary farm and I loved cows so much that when I was 8 years old it was my ambition to marry a farmer with a 100 cows.

2. I failed  on that one as I married a former city-dweller.

3. I am tone deaf and am a total  crow - I don't even sing in the shower but I love music.

4. The first book I read on my own was 'The Secret Island' by Enid Blyton.

5. According to Irish folk lore I have the cure for chicken pox as my mother had the same surname as my father before they got married.

6. My favourite cuisine is Italian.

7.  I cannot imagine living without pets - at the moment we have a Labrador called Fudge and a cat called Toffee.

8.  I can speak Irish, Ireland's native language, although not as well as I'd like as it's not widely spoken outside The Gaeltacht areas.  I also studied Italian at school and although I've forgotten most of it, I have enough to get by on holidays.

9. My favourite place to holiday abroad is Italy while my favourite place for holidays at  home is the north Antrim Coast.


10. I haven't  kissed The Blarney Stone and have no desire to do so.

11. Photography is a passion and I rarely go out without a camera. Of course, when I do, I usually  spot a great missed photo opportunity! I do a photo a day (almost) project  on the photo sharing site Pbase.com 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Catching Up

Summer has been most delightful so far this year.  Lots of sunshine, warm days and bright evenings. It's  been the ideal summer for holidaying at home, for enjoying the Irish countryside, for spending time in the garden and going for evening walks.
I've been neglecting my blog because it seems a shame to sit  indoors at a computer when I could be enjoying the warm sun outside or relishing those special long summer evenings.
So here is a quick collage to catch up with both June and July.

In June I enjoyed the excellent Co Louth Agricultural Show which was held just down the road in Bellurgan Park, we discovered the beauty of Connemara on a short trip to the west coast (which really deserves a post of its own) and the garden began to bloom.
As the warm weather continued in July, I loved spending time in the garden, taking my breakfast out before going to work in the mornings.
The perfect summer evenings enticed crowds to Gyles Quay where local teenagers had great fun jumping off the pier.
Even those days with showers brought their own beauty with rainbows.
The teen is learning to cook in preparation for  leaving home and going to college in September - he treated us to a delicious meal of turkey and mozzarella meatballs.
Doris, who has a very interesting blog over as Inspired Follies  has kindly nominated me for a Liebster Award, even though I've only been an occasional blogger of late. I'm deeply honoured by her nomination and will fulfill the tasks in the coming days. If you  haven't read Inspired Follies, I suggest you pop  over there and have a look.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Chasing Rainbows



I haven't gone away. I've been chasing rainbows.  Finding beauty in a glorious Irish summer, enjoying warm days and bright evenings, spending time in the garden. And just when I think 'this is perfect', I remember that, for countless others, life isn't perfect.  My heart is sad for those families who lost loved ones when the plane went down over Ukraine, sad for the families living under siege in Gaza,  sad for the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria, for the Christians forced from their homes in Iraq, sad for the Irish families who lost children in tragedies of unbearable sadness.
Yet life goes on. And there is still beauty to be found in the rainbows which follow the rain. I hope those who are struggling to survive will one day be able to enjoy such beauty once more.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

May I?

May I? Catch up with May, that is. May really whizzed by and I should have had so much to share but life kept me away from blogging for a while.
Having been away for what seems like ages, I'm not sure where to start.
May was something of a mixed bag weather wise (you see, us Irish always like to talk  about the weather) with warm sunshine and heavy rain. The flowers really appreciated this and the garden
looked lovely with a profusion of apple blossoms on the old trees and heavenly scented lilacs.
May was the  month that Dundalk turned pink as the town welcomed the Giro D'Italia Big Start.
For weeks beforehand, shops, restaurants, and pubs turned pink in preparation for the famous race passing through town.
May was also the month that our son finished his art course and had his work included in the end of year exhibition - he's off to art college in September.