Friday, 13 October 2017

beach finds

When treasure means fossils, sea smoothed bone, a spoon, the delicate beauty of a hawk's feather and a whale* tooth...

*we're open to correction on the whale tooth identification, in fact Mide thought it would definitely be better if this was a dinosaur tooth but hey, let's be realistic here. Not pictured: the dead jellyfish and several crabs claws, legs and bodies which we all agreed were best left on the beach.

Monday, 2 October 2017

hello October

hello October with all your 
blue skies, foggy walks, berries, wood stacks, cobwebbed gorse
sunrises, sunsets, woollen jumpers, 
smoke scented air, fires, 
pears, apples, pumpkins, soup, fruit cake, damson jam
& leaf swirling goodness!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Captive voice

During the summer holidays we went to Guth Gafa (meaning captive voice) held at Headfort House in Kells. It's an independent documentary film festival showing films from all around the world on a wide variety of subjects. Although it's been on the go for a number of years the festival has the feel of something low key and gentle. There was food, music, cakes and coffee but obviously the focus are the films themselves. We split up - Kevin took the the younger boys to see The Eagle Huntress while Hugo and I watched The Island and the Whales in the ornate surroundings of the Adam room. It was fun seeing the boys' eyes open to the possibilities of differently led lives, lives not shaped by western conventions and expectations. We saw a little flash of another world and it provoked a lot of excitement and wonder in all of us. It's important to remind ourselves that there are other ways of doing things, other ways of being and that the world is full of possibilities.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Antrim Coast holidays

We're not long back from two weeks of coastal living with the sea on our doorstep and sunshine almost everyday. There were days of adventure and days of lolling around with not much going on - a good blend, I'd say. Highlights were crossing  the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (ironically that's all my nightmares right there- heights, falling, crowds but still I loved it) and the stunning cliff walk on Rathlin Island which we followed with a well deserved Prosecco and lunch at the Manor House. We also stomped over familiar ground revisiting the walled garden at Glenarm Castle, the beach at Cushendun and Dunluce Castle, as well as going to some new places in Belfast - the Titanic Experience and the Zoo. 

And now we are home, back to blackberries and berry laden hedgerows, the call of rooks and crows and apples ripening on our four small trees. Somehow Autumn seems to be here - but thankfully there are still a few more days of holiday left before school and routine take over again.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

this week


There is an autumn touch to the air. The boys ate their first blackberries this morning and the weather has been so inclement that the stove and candles have been lit in the evening on more than one occasion. But there are still blue skied days and breakfasts in the sunshine and walks in meadows. There is also the prospect of August holidays by the sea and the pile of summer reading for those lazy moments when jobs are done. I'm halfway through The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor but I have to admit to being distracted - there's The Handmaid's Tale, Anna and the Swallow Man and Ginny Moon waiting for me too... thank goodness the days are still long.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

July reading

I am just about finished this and I keep flicking on ahead and reading paragraphs in the hope that I can devour it quickly and slowly at the same time - the agony! On the back cover of the 1972 copy I'm reading a critic said 'It will keep thousands of people dithering with excitement' ~ ha, yes I'm all a dither and consequently I keep having to sneak off, away from children, to try and gulp down more in between feeding time at the zoo, refereeing squabbles and laundry baskets which seem to have their own life force.

Thursday, 13 July 2017



A scant half pound of gooseberries were picked from the bushes which are tucked into our boundary hedge. A little too much for a fool (as in gooseberry fool, eye roll) but not enough for jam. So to the cookbooks for a pleasant half hour or so until a recipe for gooseberry curd catches my eye. And now, with two little glass jars full of luscious gooseberry goodness cooling in the kitchen, I'm thinking of scones and cream or perhaps vanilla sponge filled with curd and raspberries...

Monday, 10 July 2017


peanut butter cookies
garden guitar
 pink and lime green
 peek-a-boo bovine
safe dangling
danger dangling

Saturday, 8 July 2017

last week

Last week the two younger boys (and myself) attended a creative writing and Lego making summer camp. It was held in our local library each morning. We learnt how to plan and write a story and then, using Lego figures and an amazing app (Lego Story Visualizer), transform them into a comic strip with proper backgrounds and speech bubbles and all the wham! whizz! bam! and sock! you can handle.
Mide did some quite detailed drawings of his character - Spaceman Skiff who fights with aliens and space pirates. And then ideas were transformed into comics...
William wrote about a gang of baddies, led by the aptly named 'Slasher', who were determined to envelop the city in a toxic gas cloud... It makes me so happy to see them engaged in such a creative way and also work alongside one another which doesn't always happen. Mide overcame his massive anxiety at experiencing new things and decided it was worth giving it a go and William had two of his favourite things right there - Lego and writing - so he was delighted. Thank goodness for the library!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

winning too

It is so damp and grey that I light the candles before we eat. The steady drip, drip, drip of the rain is the soundtrack to the evening. We light the fire and set up a board game in the sitting room. The boys choose Trivial Pursuit. It's the family edition which makes it easier for their diverse age ranges and Mide and I play as a team. It sounds relatively simple to play a game together but for us it's not. Autism makes it hard to understand turn taking, it makes the unpredictability of the role of the dice agony, it makes not knowing the answer to a question tricky to acknowledge and guessing the answer just plain awful. However having said all that Mide managed well and actually enjoyed it! So much work, patience, understanding has gone in to getting him to this place ~ the first time he has played a family game with us all the way through to the end without having a tantrum or leaving the room in anger. Also, he happened to win. And slowly I feel that we are winning too.

Sunday, 2 July 2017


The day started with sun and a few puffed white clouds. On my walk I admired the sleek, glossy flanks of the little black cows tucked behind the hedges. Sunlight was in the fields, glinting off the sea of grass. Home to a sink full of breakfast dishes and homemade granola, coffee and yesterday's paper. Now the rain has come and books are the order of the day. Sounds of squabbling from deeper in the house ~ the two younger ones, all shorts and grazed knees, are bickering and I hold my breath, wondering if I should intervene. Silence again, dispute resolved and I turn back to My Cousin Rachel. The sun is struggling through the clouds, now it's time for tea, some cake maybe. The peace of a Sunday in July.