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.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day

Wishing everyone a Happy St Patrick's Day to all my readers in Ireland and overseas.

March 17th is a special day for the Irish to celebrate  the feast day of our national saint, St Patrick.

No other national feast day is celebrated around the world like St Patrick's Day, but I sometimes think those living abroad have more fun than those of us at home. I hope you have a great St Patrick's Day, wherever  you are.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

It's Spring

I've been busy of late and there are a couple of blog posts waiting in the wings - the photos are taken and the words are in my head but I just haven't had time to write them.
In the meantime, I just had to share a couple of pictures of the lambs which arrived in our neighbour's field today.Aren't they just the sweetest things you ever saw?
We all have signs which tell us when Spring is here. The lengthening of the day, the crocus and daffodil bulbs pushing out of the earth and opening into bright colourful blooms, the blossoms on the prune and cherry trees. 
I know that Spring has really arrived when the lambs appear. I  love watching how the ewes keep a careful guard over their babies, how the lambs quickly become confident enough to wander away from their mums' sides to graze and play. And how they play! I could watch for hours as they run and chase and jump. I fill memory cards with images of cute lambs, clutter up my hard drive with wonderful woolliness.

Monday, 3 March 2014

What I Read In February

Once again I'm joining in with Laura of Circle of Pine Trees for The Year In Books. I actually managed to read three books in February,  partly because I was ill at the start of the month.

First off, I read 'A Street Cat Named Bob' by James Bowen. Mostly, I'm drawn to literary  fiction, but sometimes when I see a book with a dog (as in 'Marley and Me') or a cat (as in 'Dewey - the Small Town Library Cat that Touched The World), on the cover, I just can't resist.  'A Street Cat Named Bob' is the heart-warming story of how a stray cat helped recovering drug addict and street musician James Bowen turn his life around. After James gives Bob, the ginger tom with a big personality, a home his fortunes change when Bob goes busking with him in London. It's no masterpiece but an enjoyable read.

While I've watched the Wallander  series on television, I hadn't read any of the detective novels by Swedish writer Henning Mankell as I'm not into crime fiction.
However, a work colleague gave me the loan of 'Italian Shoes', promising me that I'd enjoy it - and enjoy it I did.

Mankell is a master at capturing the bleak Swedish countryside,  where on a tiny island,  Fredrik Welin has taken refuge in the house which belonged to his grandparents. Alone save for his aging dog and cat, the only person he sees is the hypochondriac postman, who calls even if he has no mail to deliver. His self-enforced solitude is broken when he sees a figure making her way across the ice  one morning. It's Harriet, the only woman he ever really loved and who has now come to ask him to keep a promise made long ago. They begin a journey through the winter landscape to where Fredrik was taken to a secret lake in his childhood and he is forced to confront his past.

The book deals honestly with aging and death, but also touches on other issues such as how Sweden deals with immigrants  and those living on the edge of  society. 

The same colleague, who shares my fondness for books,  gave me 'The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared' as a Christmas present. Not for Christmas 2013 but 2012 and sadly it sat in the bookcase as I spent too much time on line.

 It's by another Swedish author, Jonas Jonasson, but there all comparisons with my previous read end. I'm not sure if it's a book I would have picked for myself but once I started reading it, I was  hooked.

Centenarian Allan Karisson hops out the window of the old people's  home as preparations were being made for his birthday party.  He makes his way to the bus depot, steals a suitcase, and boards the bus for the start  of an awfully big adventure. Big and all as that adventure may be (and it's big involving criminals and drug dealing gangs, the Russian mafia, bumbling policemen, and a blond and an elephant), it's nothing compared to his previous 99 years which saw him meet world leaders including Franco, American Presidents Truman, Johnson and Nixon, Mao Tse-Tung, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, Stalin, and Brezhnev.

The book's charm lies party in its black humour and partly is Karisson's outlook on life. If people are nice to him, he will help them, especially if there's vodka involved. He's not concerned with politics or even the consequences of his actions. He bases his philosophy for life on his mother's words of 
wisdom:"Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be."

A thoroughly enjoyable book which might help us look at old people in a different light. 

For April I'm hoping to read 'City of Fate' by Irish author Nicola Pierce, 'A Star Called Henry' by Roddy Doyle, and 'The Accidental' by Ali Smith. The first, which is aimed at teenagers landed on my desk for review, while the other two were charity shop purchases.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Shortest Month

February is over and I have to say I'm glad. It may be the shortest month but it brought some terrible storms and bad weather to Ireland.
Gradually, the early spring flowers began to appear, the evenings got brighter and there was even time for some exploring and photography.