Last day of the Easter holidays... a picnic at Castleroche and a walk up Slieve Gullion. I say that breezily but I'm not a natural mountaineer (apparently it was a hill I was climbing as Hugo kept annoyingly pointing out but it truly felt like a mountain) and even though I was encouraged to channel my inner mountain goat I fully insisted on not doing that, but instead used my small reserves of energy for complaining. Kevin wondered did I not feel a sense of accomplishment? I looked up from my 'yay, I haven't had a heart attack on a mountain-side' bar of restorative chocolate and said no, no sense of accomplishment just do not ask me to do that again. Needless to say the boys loved it and, with a sinking heart, I began to feel very out-numbered...
Monday, 24 April 2017
Saturday, 22 April 2017
Easter ~ hazel tree branches with glass eggs and paper chickens, cakes and tulips at Burtown House, walking along the River Barrow in the sleepy village of Graiguenamanagh with my sister, magical Huntington Castle, egg hunting and coloured bunting, home to the garden and weeding and planting.
Spring ~ a time for growth, not always easy because sometimes growth means moving away from what you knew before and going in a different direction where perhaps the way ahead is less clear, and possibly even difficult, but somehow better for you. Have the courage to grow, even when it's hard.
Monday, 10 April 2017
I love the work of Debbie George - her paintings are quiet and peaceful and always beautiful. Her spring flowers are just perfect - there are plenty of crocuses in our garden and the primroses are making an appearance in the banks along the lanes but I've yet to see any cowslips. This reminds me so much of posies picked by tiny hands, one or two flower heads to be put into the smallest of vases or perhaps an egg cup, a small token of love.
You can buy Debbie George's work here
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Friday, 10 March 2017
Not for the first time I have wintered well due to books. We have far more than we read, to be honest. But it's such a comfort to have a bookcase full with ones that are dear friends and others that are not yet known to me. I have just finished Thin Paths by Julia Blackburn. It's a lyrical meandering tale of life in the mountains of Northern Italy, part reflection on life, part nature writing, part travel writing. The tales of village life are captured beautifully and simply, although what is being recounted (hardship, poverty and atrocities of the second world war) is not easy reading. I'd first come across Julia Blackburn on Radio 4 reading Murmurations of Love, Grief and Starlings, her poem of loss written after the death of her husband, Herman. Thin Paths makes her life with him come alive and shows that our paths intersect and weave alongside others' paths, creating beauty even in the simplest of lives lived.
I am always trying to understand our son's autism. I want to understand his brain, how he thinks, how he processes information. Of course I can't do this anymore than I can with my other boys, or my husband, but there is always that hope that somehow by reading all that I can about autism I will get in there. I read a lot, ranging from the serious, academic stuff to the practical advice giving blogs. In the beginning after receiving the diagnosis that changed our lives forever I did an enormous amount of reading as though words, explanations and theories would somehow soothe and calm me. In fact it did the opposite. I quickly became overwhelmed by all the information when all I wanted was to fix things. There is no 'fixing' this but there is understanding and now I choose much more carefully what I read. Oliver Sacks' book An Anthropologist on Mars is a series of essays about people with different neurological conditions (including autism) and opens a door into that wonderful thing - the brain - and the complicated beauty of life.
Which brings me to Gratitude. Not 50 pages long here are four short essays written by Sacks as he faced illness, old age and death. Sometimes I find comfort when I'm not looking for it. And here it is, on the last page... "And now, weak, short of breath, my once firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life - achieving a sense of peace within oneself."
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
There are signs of Spring for sure. Today has been the warmest yet. Blue skies and none of the damp grey drizzle that had seemed to settle so firmly over the hills. Hellebores, crocuses and the dwarf tulips are out and the daffodils aren't too far behind. The wild garlic is doing well and we're already looking forward to making pesto with it. However March being March means that the fires are still lit everyday and the wood pile must be tended to as there's still that chance of frost and winter weather. Today though we are in Spring, and glad of it.