Monday, 5 February 2018

Ireland Is

What does Ireland mean to me ? 
To answer this question I must use an analogy, it is if I was an orphaned child seeking its Mother before I came here.

Prior to my first arrival in the Belfast area, in 1986, and then later that year after travelling down to Cork in July, there occurred what I can only describe as a mystical experience. She, who I call Mother Ireland, stepped silently into my inner core, where she still resides and continues to nurture my very essence for which I am very grateful.

I can tell you that there have been a few times since living here when I have been very ashamed of my birth country England because of its inhumane actions and deeds towards Ireland and the Irish people.

Such have been my experiences that I no longer have any desire to visit England and nor do I have any pride of place towards it. 
For Ireland is my home. I do acknowledge that England is the country of my birth and I was educated there from childhood to be discerning.

So today this migrant looks back at England and the changes that have taken place over the years. That I see a nation skewered by authoritarianism and indignation that knows not how to care for all of its citizens. There appears to be no love or tolerance. These gifts seem to be so rare and generally misunderstood, instead there is a dichotomy of fear and punishment pervading the land of my birth. Perhaps it has always been present and I failed to recognise the fact?

If you are a migrant do you feel truly at home in the country of your choice ?

Monday, 15 January 2018

Gremlin On My Shoulder


An unseen gremlin at work

There is a glitch, an anomaly, occurring on-line when I try to leave a comment on some peoples’ blogs. 

This is something which is most annoying and beyond my capabilities to fix. No matter which way I send in the comment, even though my words appear on the blog, they disappear as soon as I log out !

Now, for some reason this problem is not affecting all of the blogs that I correspond with on a regular basis, only some of them.
And I am not alone in this for several of my friends have the same problem when trying to leave a comment on my blog.

Personally it is like having a gremlin on my shoulder who is making decisions for me without making any consultation!

I have tried to contact Google about this problem but all to no avail and my guess is that they are far to busy to make a reply.

So if you my blogging friends have not seen a comment from me in a while it is not that I am ignoring you, it is that my comment has been stopped by the Google Gremlin :)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

75th Birthday

The Ninth of the First is my birthdate and this year it was my seventy-fifth birthday. The celebrations started early on Sunday 7th with a long awaited visit from a friend of longstanding. We met each other in Newtownards in Co. Down in the 80's and little did we know then of how are lives would intertwine over the coming years, or the respect that we have for each from our own perspectives.

Photo taken at 07.10 on 9/1/2018
I thought it only right to circulate this to the majority of my friends and relations
just to let them know that I am a Happy Man !

After breakfasting on a banana each, Mrs H and I set off for points west to Gort in Co. Galway. There we visited our friends who live in a small townsland in a very alternative home. So alternative that they sit next to an unlit fireplace and feel the warmth... !

as do the two small dogs.

Our next port of call was to Kinvara, where we dined on a light lunch in the Gentian Cafe, situated very close to the harbour and which serves great food at reasonable prices.

Then our eyes fell upon a small Gallery and Gift Shop and so being of good cheer and inquisitiveness
we entered. We had fun looking around, admiring the numerous products made by the local crafts people.

We are a Happy Pair

One of my main reasons in visiting Kinvara was to have a paddle in the sea. 
Strangely however, I only ever remember that when I arrive back home. Ah well... may be next time I will remember to do so.

So here I am stood at the harbour side welcoming you all
to one of my favourite haunts

A unique Kinvara Fairy !

On our journey home I received a missed call from an unknown number, which I called back, wondering who it was. "This is Yvonne the florist are you Mel ? " asked a voice.
I said "Yes, but we are on the road, in the middle of a torrential rain storm so won't be home until
a few minutes after five pm."

On our arrival there was the delivery vehicle parked outside and as I stepped towards it out popped this very cheery lady who said "Happy Birthday Mel, I have flowers for you." And then she was gone into the dark rainy night.

Flowers from my friends in Co. Wexford,
the perfect end to a perfect birthday.

Thursday, 4 January 2018


We all have dishes that we are fond of and sometimes only rarely manage to consume.
Mine is to simply have something, which when I was a lad, was commonplace on our family menu.

Home made fruit scones
with a topping of strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream. 

One of the many culinary skills of Mrs H is the ability to quickly make light and tasty fruit scones.
We were fortunate in that a friend of ours was visiting Ulster and knowing my desire for clotted cream, happened to be in Sainsbury's when they saw and purchased a couple of pots of RODDA'S
Cornish Clotted Cream just for me !

Unfortunately, it is not available in this part of Ireland which is I think a great shame.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Our First Adventure of the New Year

The day was bright, the sun low in the sky and the road surface was wet, making driving conditions difficult for our first adventure of the year. Despite passing over my peak cap to give some extra shade, Mrs H was dazzled but keen to be on our way!

We journeyed at a safe speed, allowing for sunlight conditions, passing the looming remains of O’Moore’s Castle on the Rock of Dunamaise.

The Rock of Dunamaise, a site of many battles, was an important fortification throughout Ireland's history. It was plundered by the Vikings in the 9th century, became a Norman stronghold in the 13th, was rebuilt by the O'Moore's in the 15th and was finally destroyed by Cromwell's guns from the east in the 17th century.

We stopped in Carlow for some freshly made sandwiches and coffee as break-fast had only been a single banana each, insufficient to travel on for long. 
Our destination was to visit to Clonegal, an attractive village that sits on the boundary of Counties Carlow and Wexford. Our last visit was in 2013, so it was good to see the changes that had taken place since then.

Where I was disappointed by not having my thirst pint of the year!

I had hopes of having a glass of stout in Osborne’s but unfortunately it was closed, probably for them to rest up after the previous nights New Year’s Eve celebrations.  My thirst was quenched by Adam’s Ale (water) instead.

The smallest building in Clonegal known as The Weigh House

 The 1916 Memorial

The Derry River which always attracts me and so good to see the new railings.

Looking up  The Derry river and the garden with the protective stone bank.

Number one is one of the three stone pigs that sit next 
the Weigh House.

Number two is the sleepy pig who ate too much perhaps over Christmas ?
And number three 
is missing because he got away !

We shall return in May when the blossom is out to visit the gardens of Huntington Castle, a place where I spent many a happy hour in the company of Olivia Durdin Robertson and her associates in the Fellowship of Isis.

This shop is in the small town of Stradbally in Co. Laoise,
we often pass it on our journeys. It is the large ice cream cone that attracts me.
This time we stopped because Mrs H wanted a mineral drink and I an ice cream,
The message that she returned with made me laugh.
For she said that the man in the shop said that there was no ice cream to be had and
that there was only a cone on the roof because he was unable to take it down...
So I had a pipe of baccy instead.

Finally, I wish you all a very happy New Year and the courage to face up to the many changes that may come your way.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Winter Solstice Rose

©MRL 2017

All blessings on you my lady
Great praise Irish Rose
For your blood red blooms
Unfolded birthed divine
A New Sun for days to lengthen
Love to dance in Light!
©MRL 2017

Monday, 18 December 2017


I am generally a very good sleeper and rarely get disturbed however, there are two or three times a year when I sleep with one ear cocked up as it were. At those times this old cottage becomes alive with odd nocturnal noises and perfumes which assail the nostrils.

The front door is frequently rapped as if a visitor has arrived and would like to be to be admitted. These sounds I ignore, for who at four in the morning makes a visit without calling out to the occupier ?

The perfumes vary from that of subtle flower blossoms to those of
exotic concoctions best found in dance halls and not the sort that the country women wear or at least not daily.

Last night, or to be specific early this morning, I was roused from sleep by the sound of tip, tip tapping, as if many feet were dancing on a board and the shrill sounds of merriment. 

I arose quietly and quickly from my bed and crept rapidly along the hall and down, down the ladder to the front room to spy on the merry-makers. Unfortunately I made the mistake of switching on the light and immediately all noise stopped.

The Suspects

Dancing Boards were very common in the Irish towns-lands many years ago and were low stage like structures made of wood and situated on wide roadside verges often near crossroads for people to dance on.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Seasonal Weather Unwelcome

We awoke this morning to an all-over whiteness everywhere, snow lay like a lovely, smooth velvet, that draped itself over our rural scene. 

Mrs H fed the birds who hopped here there and everywhere so the white mantle became pock-marked by their little feet or claws,alas !

We took photos, mine from indoors with the window wide open and then quickly closed again, as I enjoy fresh air but at a temperature that is above freezing. Mrs H, not hardier, just younger and more full of vigour, braved the outdoors. 

Well, we hope that you enjoy our photos.

Below is the worst winter that I have ever experienced, the Winter of 1963 when I was a youth working in the Teignmouth shipyard [Devon, England]; when the sea froze and there were large snowdrifts on the beach that the tide took simply ages to melt away and on Dartmoor fires were lit under lorries to thaw out the diesel which had waxed up.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Anyone For A Cuppa ?

We purchased a loose tea strainer the other day or perhaps you could call it a steeper - strainer. It is very efficient, easy to use and clean and cost very little.

I do not drink black tea and on the advice of my doctor I have recently stopped drinking coffee because it was raising my BP. My preferences now are for organic infusions and mainly Rooibos or Green tea (thank you Rachel)

Our new strainer is made by a German company Finum who call it a brewing basket. They also make a lot of other interesting applicators.

See for yourselves at

I think my fresh brew is now ready
to enjoy, so bye bye for now Heron.