Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dark Days

I for one will be glad to turn my back on January.  It's been a pretty dreadful month.  Cold weather, snow, rain, storms and floods.
More doom and gloom on the economic front with shop closures and job losses.
And then, the terrible, shocking, heart-breaking murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, gunned down as did his duty in the community he loved.

These have been dark days for us here.
If there's been any solace to be gained, it's been from the out-pouring of love for his family and colleagues, from the support for the Gardai, and for the total condemnation of those responsible for this murder.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

When Evil Visits

 We live in a small closely knit community where nothing much happens.  Now we've been  catapulted into the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Evil visited us last night.  A husband, father, brother, and guardian of the peace was shot dead as he went about his work protecting our country.
A big  guy with a big heart, he was extremely well liked in our community where he had made his home.
He was shot by armed robbers during a raid at the local credit union, across the road from where his two young children go to school. He didn't stand a chance and his colleague, while uninjured, is traumatized, as no doubt are the credit union staff.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about this horrific evil deed since the news broke last night.  My
heart goes out to his wife, also a member of the Gardai Siochana, and family, to his colleagues, friends and neighbours.
The outpouring of condemnation and sympathy is heartening as the Gardai don't always enjoy wholehearted public support. But people have been universal in condemning this brutal murder and
have rightly questioned why the Gardai are having resources cut at a time when violent crime is
on the increase. Lets hope the perpetrators of this awful crime are brought to justice.
RIP Adrian.

Friday, 25 January 2013

The No Show Snow

It's been a wee while since I posted here.  I thought I'd be sharing images of the Irish countryside covered by a blanket of snow, but it wasn't to be. There was  snow to the north, south, west, and if you crossed the Irish Sea, to the east of  us but none here. We live close to the shore, below the ' snow line'. While the hills were covered with snow, we got rain, sleet, more rain, and cold, cold days and nights.
Laid low by a virus, I snuggled under the blankets, thankful that I didn't have to venture outside, guilty
that I was leaving colleagues in the lurch.  Days flitted by in fitful sleep and hours of reading - was it me who was fevered or Pi Patel cast adrift with a tiger for company?
I emerged to cold days and laden skies.  It seemed foolish to drive to the mountains in search of snow and I hoped that further falls would bring the whiteness down to the sea. Instead the rain came again, and I gave  up on my winter day dreams and bought some spring  from the supermarket shelves.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Waiting for Spring

I am growing inpatient with January. The Christmas decorations are  long packed away and I want to draw back the curtains, clean the windows and welcome Spring into my world.  But the Irish winter is long and mostly dreary.  Winter, in my books, should be all about crisp bright days, clear blue skies, and a world made magical by snow or frost.  This rarely  happens in Ireland, so although the weather has turned cold with some wintery showers forecast, I'm not holding my breath for such a winter transformation.
Instead, the other day, I went searching for signs of Spring. As we've had a relatively mild and quite wet winter, and there are lots of signs of the approaching season.
I found buds ready to burst forth, new leaves,  green shoots and even some pretty flowers.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Welcoming the Light

'As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens' my parents were fond of saying of the early days of the year.  I am more than happy to trade a bit of colder weather for brighter mornings and evenings.
Although we're not yet even a month past the solstice, the days are already slowly lengthening, most noticeably  in the evenings when there's still an afterglow of light in the sky as I'm leaving work. At least that's the case when it's not raining, but the past week has been so wet, dull and dreary that it was impossible to tell.

I finished work earlier today and got home in time to go on a dog walk up the road to the shore.
The sun was already starting its descent and it was a race to get to the coast in time to see it sink
below the horizon.

As the sun disappeared behind the houses, shops and factories of town, a lonesome fishing boat returned to port.

The mudflats were deserted, save for a symphony  of feeding birds.

We turned for home, my quest for light satisfied.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Beginning Anew

I stopped making New Year resolutions years ago. I am resigned to the fact that I will never be size ten again, speak French or play a musical instrument.
But there's something about the beginning of the new year, like the beginning of a new day, which tempts one to make plans, to try to squeeze the most out of that measurement of time, to strive to be happy and to do better.
For the past few years, I have set a goal to appreciate how precious life is, to enjoy it to the full, sipping its simple pleasures and being thankful for the wonderful gift of family and friends.
I like the idea mentioned by Catherine over on Foxglove Lane of picking a word as a theme or source of inspiration for a year. She has chosen LIGHT, a very good word for one in love with life and photography.
If I have to select a word it will be ENDEAVOUR.  I will endeavour to enjoy life, to make the most of what skills and talents I have, and to learn new ones.  Our house will be one filled with endeavour this year, as our son is in his final year at school, with one phase of  life ending and another beginning.