Thursday, April 15


I think that I will make Thursday - poetry day
I was a war baby, born in 1943. So a lot of early memories were of my staying close to mum.
She sent me at the age of 5 to study with the most amazing teacher in Belfast, Mr. Graeme Roberts.He lived with his wife and sister- in- law in the Georgian Crescent near the university area. I was with him until I was in my eary 20s. Quite a privelige.The Irish tradition was always the oral one of poems and songs and stories of the ancients.So here is the first dedicated to the memory of my lovely mum.

Tuesday, April 13

Largy Cottage Donegal

I had three glorious days at Rosie's holiday cottage last week. It's situated on the sea side of the road and although houses have been built where there were none when she bought it, the view is still to die for. Celts have a saying that  some places " are thin". I take that to mean that we are at a place in between the seen and the unseen.

The journey there takes you over wild country with few houses and narrow roads.

The only thing to do when you get to the cottage is make a cup of tea with the pure spring water and gaze out at the amazing view. Rosie is saying ,"Don't take one of me ", but the whole scene looks so good it needs to be recorded!

A new cafe and craft centre has opened close to the village of Tellin. the coffee is "Illy" and  the crafts are good. Tellin harbour is a magic place. An inlet from the Atlantic surrounded by the Donegal mountains. Before we get there ,[down the track which is actually a main road, apparently!]  we stop off to see the salmon leap.

People come to see the spectacle from all over Ireland. The air is so clean, the noise of the water wonderful.

Tellin Harbour still has fishing boats and men still go out into the Atlantic. Years ago when Alan and I came on a trip we met French fishermen with their boats who had come to spend the summer in Donegal. They had just come in with a catch and the basket was full of the most exotic fish I had ever seen
From this harbour in the C5th monks set out across the Atlantic to sail to Iceland to start a christian settlement there. This bronze plaque commemorates the sail. 
My mum was an amateur landscape painter [ amateur meaning one who loves what they do!] She often took her ideas from the Irish artist Paul Henry. Anyone who knows his work will recognise the cloud formation in this photo as it rolls in from the west and settles between the mountains.
I wish I had told her more often how great her work was.

Monday, April 12

Easter in Belfast

Back again in the northwest after eight days with the Irish family. Cooing over new twins, greeting long lost relatives and generally having craic!! We went to the nature reserve at Strangford that is regularly on Spring Watch. Castle Espie is on the wetlands at the head of Strangford Lough.
We went with my brother Ian, his wife Valerie and my younger sister Rosie. You can see more of Rosie on her website
Every where are ducks and geese. I would like to say that I could identify and name them. Enough that I took the photographs. So if you can name them, let me know.
Along with the wild life, the centre are interested in the early british communities and how they lived .

Just as we have always been interested in what can be achieved with what we find available around us, at The Potters House, so it was wonderful to see these various tools for fishing etc.made from the different local wood.and what a great way to keep the hoi poloi out of your premises than by winding bramble stems over the top of the fence.

Oh and of course they have a good cafe serving what is always known as "Ulster Fare"