Friday, April 16, 2010

Little boy's toys

"Be not afeared.

"The isle is full of noises sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt now.

"Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears and sometimes voices that if I then had waked after long sleep will wake me sleep again; and then in dreaming the clouds me though would open and show riches ready to drop upon me that when i waked i cried to dream again."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Great democratic spaces

Have you considered how many spaces you actually have no right to be in? Shopping malls, for example.

In the old days you had the right to stroll around your town, look at the world, stare at the world over a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

But not in a shopping mall or your supermarket or its car park or ... well you get the idea.

Try this: go into your shopping mall and start taking some photographs.

See how long it takes for a chap with a plug in his ear to come and tell you to stop.

Try this: sit on the floor and read the paper. Ditto.

Or try taking your family and friends for a roof top picnic. What could be better ... crunchy bread, warm merlot, lovely cheese ... overlooking your gorgeous town?


Not only don't you have the right to be there ... but someone or other actually employs someone or other to move you on, harass you, or have you and your family taken to the underground car park and beaten.

It's a generation now since someone pointed out that graveyards and cemeteries are some of the few remaining (haha) public spaces where one can wonder about without fear of arrest.

(Unless of course you're a 14year old with a bottle of diamond white. In which case you should also be hung. This is called irony.)

So anyway. Here are two pictures of St Stephen's Green in Dublin. They're not great pictures but it is a great democratic space.

Now i accept that the authorities probably have a whole set of bylaws under which i could be arrested. Eating the tulips on a good friday.

Or using it as a base from which to occupy the Shelbourne hotel. But it IS a public right of way (I think).

And it is - dead good.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Caption competition ...

I thought about a reference to that horrible dead South African chap trying to ruin the world cup from the grave .... or Rio Ferdinand slowing down in the Man Utd defence. But help yourself.

Consider the lesser species

We found a lovely big scallop shell while we were strolling on the beach.

The tide was far out - Newfoundland, i think - and we walked for miles across the sands and round the ragged rocks.

Then there was the scallop, complete and with seaweed attached; the kind of shell you buy on holiday, with a photograph of Elvis or the pope inside.

"Is it dead?"

And so it joined us on our walk.

"There's something inside it."
"Elvis?... "

"It's very heavy..."
"It was his diet"

"Might be alive..."
"He fell in the toilet."

And so we put the scallop back in the water.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Feet in Connemara

I've always liked my feet. They're two of my better features.

Today they got an early-season treat.

And so, dear readers, do you.

Today in Connemara

Friday, April 9, 2010

Untitled wall

Because i'm well-miseducated i know a chap called John Ruskin wrote some books called the Stones of Venice.

These are not they.

A lovely day

I have a theory.

When the human race first put its foot out of Africa it headed for Connemara. For a summer break perhaps.

Or soup and toastie.

Or maybe it got lost, found itself in Killarney, got fed up of all the coaches, gave Kerry a miss, came across on the Tarbert ferry, had a bowl of stew in Doolin and then ... and then ..

Not much of a theory and i know it kind of misses out a few million years - and a couple of all-important ice ages.

Richard Leakey would pick holes in my theory but in my view it has romance and a spiritual truth. And that's important.

There is, of course, some evidence. I didn't just make it up out of thin air. Take for example the ancient megalithic tractors that still litter the landscape. Not exactly Lucy I know. But rust is rust.

Annie West's prints

I have no idea how we met Annie West. That's one of the delights of Twitter. But we did and here are some jpgs of the prints we bought from her. Much better than those screen pics i used last night.
There are three things you need to know about Annie
  • she's a hoot
  • she worked on Super Gran
  • err ...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Carna Bay hotel - Connemara

Oh, years ago it was.

Like lots of the best things in life - i have no idea how it happened. But we ended up in Carna Bay. And we plomped down in the Carna Bay hotel.

Some days you just get lucky.

Now we return each year or so - chiefly on our own but sometimes with my mum and dad.

Tonight as i write this, sipping a glass of Paddy, there's a local birthday.

They had a 'do' in the restaurant and now they're in the bar, singing.

Some in English, mostly in Irish, all of it solo. All of it better than i would ever dare to hope to sing.

Great long lines of songs, with huge lungs of breath. A beautiful tune and then gentle, loving applause.

This is worth £50 a ticket in any one's money. But it's free and freely given among the family and friends with whom we are privileged to share the evening.

A song ends. People are babbling and then a new voice comes through - with another song or another story - and the chatter falls away.

Another song. Another story.

And another song.
Don't stop.


It's a funny thing Twitter: i really like it, though heaven knows why anybody puts up with me.
At its best it's full of passion, delightful bad behaviour and hilarious quick-witted folk who one never meets and don't know from Adam. (There was no Adam.)
But somehow, i have no idea how, i came across a lass called @anniewestdotcom who it turns out is also who it turns out also lives in Drumcliffe, Sligo and who it turns out is great fun and a cartoonist.
So somehow, in a rainstorm, we washed up on her shore and had a great afternoon eating cake, drinking tea and admiring her loo seat.
We also bought some of her prints. We would have bought them all but she said she wanted to save some for posterity. And rich Americans.
These are just quick pics of Annie's web site. (Sorry Annie). We bought these two.
Go and have a look at her smashing web site ... or if you're in Dublin next month go see her new exhibition.

What kind of school?

I've never been very keen on school; harsh, uncomfortable, dreary places. They've never seemed to have much to do with children, childhood and happiness.
At least for me.
But if we have to have schools then i think we should at least put them somewhere nice.
Why put them in towns and cities when you could put them on a warm, white beach with a turquoise sea?
I have no idea whether this little school in Roundstone in Connemara is full of smiles and creativity. Maybe it is. It would be nice to think so.

Roundstone - Connemara

Carna Bay - Connemara

We're in Ireland for a few days.
I'll tell you later about some chums and adventures. But for the moment have a look at why we come here ....