Thursday 3 August 2023

Hallowe'en Pup


                                                    A great old gentleman - Toby

Did I  tell you that poor old Toby died in 2021 aged 21?  He was a grand old dog and a great friend to us. His former owner, Jim, lived along the road here and because of his ill health he asked us to take in Toby. An Old English Sheepdog / Collie cross, Toby was about eight years old and a very timid creature when he came to live with us. He was frightened by many things but especially people throwing or bouncing balls or holding large sticks. When I pickked up the poker to riddle the fire, poor old Toby would cringe and it took awhile for him to understand that my action wasn't a threat to him. Over the years he relaxed, helped by regular meals, love and a warm stove to curl up beside. His passing brought us many tears but also many happy memories and we still talk about his adventures.  


                                        Seánie when we met him & in his new home

After some time I felt that the energy of our grief could be channeled in a good direction so we talked about homing a new dog. I looked on-line at various dog adoption sites until my eye fell upon a Labrador cross Collie pup in County Tipperary. I showed the photo to Jane and her eyes brightened. A phone call was made and questions answered until we had an address and a date to meet the pup. The journey was almost torturous, as it took us up steep, hilly and narrow roads with sharp bends. We persevered and eventually arrived at a Hill Farm in darkest Tipperary to meet with the Farmer who had the pups in the shed of a neighbour on deeply filled straw floor. Half a dozen pups scampered around and I pointed out the one that we  wanted and the farmer scooped him up into his arms and carried him down to the car.

                                                           Seán Gilmartin RIP

We named him Seánie after a great friend of ours, Seán Gilmartin, who had passed away very nearly the day on which Seánie was born at Halloween. I am no stranger to dogs and have had quite a few of them, however, Seánie being mainly a Labrador in nature as well in looks was a bit of a handful! More than once I threatened to send him to the Dogs' Home. Fortunately this did not happen as slowly over time his behaviour has greatly improved and thus our fondness for him is now of a great magnitude! I'm so glad he is our pup, part of the family and the best boy in the world.

                                                      Seánie, almost 2 years old 

Friday 21 April 2023

Bord Na Mona

I felt shame the other day when a visitor to this green land of Ireland pointed out to me the disgraceful sights that they had seen on several disused peat bogs owned by Bord Na Móna. 

So I researched what the BNM company policy is regards to waste…

Bord na Móna Recycling is our waste management business, collecting 450,000+ tonnes of waste from 135,500+ customers every year. Bord na Móna is currently making waste collection greener through the electrification of its trucks.

We’re restoring and rehabilitating Ireland’s bogs to help meet climate and biodiversity goals.”

Oh right then, so why is it that at several ex-working peat bogs that I have visited recently on which large amounts of black plastic or white plastic can be seen scattered around ?

There is also an abundance of old machinery, tractors, trucks and large oil storage tanks, rusting away. 

Is it, I wonder some bizarre notion of laying down bits of 21st century industrial waste to become the archaeology of the future?

As we are doing our best to help the climate by no longer burning turf or coal, recycling our waste and composting etc., Bord na Móna, who collect & recycle for their paying customers, appear to be oblivious to the state of the bogs that they are supposedly “restoring and rehabilitating”.


Monday 6 February 2023

 I seem to be a bit lost on here, I am getting confused with the operations of my two blogs, the poem was intended solely for Words of a Rambling Mind it popped up on here - now that was a surprise ! I think that I will leave it here lest I get into more trouble.

So what's been happening with Heron do I here you say ? Well have been busy on Facebook and recently on Instagram both of which are very different operations to blogging, not sure that I like either actually.

On the personal front I am now a junior octogenarian since early January and my pension went up by a tenner a week not much, but every little helps 😆 

We have a new dog, Seanie, a black Labrador who is settling in very well after having spent the first 12 months rearranging our soft furnishings, thus no longer do we have any cushions! Other than that he is a delightful little chap to have as a companion and a bit expensive on iPhone covers am now heading towards a fifth!

Poor Toby slipped away in January 22, he was about 21 years old. In his later years he became both blind and deaf but very loyal right up to the end. He is and always will be a treasured memory.

Well that's about it for now folks I catch you later and will be back soon - I promise 


Sunday 5 February 2023

 I am changing my diet.

From meat to grain

both fed by sunshine

Similar yet different

a connotation under stood.

Swift silent stiletto 

sheared a friendship.

When first line misunderstood

The portcullis is fixed down

and I am without… alas, alas.

Gone now into emptiness

words and phrases shared.

For what was their worth

those well meaning words.

Now that all is destroyed.

I am changing my diet…

Yet again !

©MRL Feb2023

Wednesday 16 March 2022

I Am Back !

 As the title says I am back blogging and hopefully more regularly than once a year. 

As many of you are aware I have had a bit of problem with the bladder. Well, it now seems to be righting its self. The tumour which was a T2 and has now shrunk to a T1 and perhaps by the time they take another look in June it might not even be there. For sure the symptoms that brought my attention to the fact that all was not as it should be have long gone!

Clinical suggestions were that the bladder needed to be removed however, after looking at the pro's and con's, also taking into consideration my age 79. I decided not to have that done because I want quality of life not quantity. 

I did though agree to have a short course of Chemotherapy. What an eye opener that was ! 

I shall not to go into details, other than to say it was one of the most miserable experiences of my life and would not wish it upon my worst enemy. A week or two after the course I received a phone call from the senior Oncologist who informed me that there was no cancer in my body other than what may remain in the bladder. I was walking on air for several days afterwards !

Throughout the treatment I had no hair loss which was just as well because I don't have much anyway! And the only effect I noticed was that my finger nails are now slower to grow.


On the home front our old dog Toby, aged 18 was put to sleep last month as he had lost the use of his legs; its was not sudden for we had seen him steadily weakening over the last while. 

A dark cloud of grief hung over us for a few weeks and then came the decision to get another dog. We chose a Labrador cross Collie, black with a white star on his chest with a few small bits of white on his body; we have named him Seànie. |He was born at Halloween in Tipperary and is now virtually house trained too! He has filled that empty sad place in our hearts and is very well behaved as well as having some puppy traits like chewing the odd shoe but not anymore for we have tidied up and put them beyond his reach.

Well my friends it is time to call a halt on my ramblings and I wish you all

A Happy St Patricks Day

So stay safe all of you !


Thursday 20 May 2021

In and out of a Dark place

 In the latter part of 2019 I was diagnosed with cancer in my bladder and since then have had two courses of BCG treatments. Each of which was six weeks long with a three month break and numerous other procedures in-between.

BCG is a type of immunotherapy drug. Immunotherapy drugs encourage the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. For bladder cancerBCG is given directly into the bladder (intravesical). This can make the bladder react in a way that makes the immune system get rid of cancer cells.

Well ! What can I say except that I went into a dark place for awhile... until I reached an understanding within that there were a few other times that I came close to losing my life. I shall not enumerate them here; except that one was when I nearly drowned and saw as, I sank to the bottom my oxygen bubbles going upwards in the green silent water.

A few weeks ago we (Mrs H and I) met with the Urology Consultant of Tallaght University Hospital a teaching hospital in County Dublin, Ireland, whose academic partner is Trinity College Dublin. He informed us that my cancer has now invaded the muscle bladder and that the best thing to do is to remove the bladder along with the prostrate - this surprised me because I have never had a problem with it. Ah' well that's the way the cookie crumbles.

This week we had a meeting with actual Consultant who will be removing the offending organ. He detailed the various procedures that will be performed during the operation and detailed the recovery care afterwards etc. 

Prior to the removal I shall be having a meeting with the Chemotherapy Professor who will access my suitability and then pass me forward to the Anesthatist - I feel that I should share with you all that the very first time that the surgeons removed foreign bits from the bladder the effects of the anaesthetic left me HAPPILY hallucinating for two days afterwards and I recall standing on the roof of Tallaght Hospital and seeing Mrs H driving along the approach road, I was so floaty ! 

I think that I ought to cease now just in case I relapse into that space again. So take care all you and I will catch up with you all later xx

Monday 17 August 2020

I stared enthralled

Recently while I was drinking coffee outside of the Russell Gallery at New Quay, Co. Clare I had a lucid experience of a strange happening on the far shore of Aughinish, between sea caves in the cliff and the ruins of a derelict farm house close to the pebbled beach.

Being so moved I decided to write a poem about my experiences.

I stared enthralled

I stared enthralled

as miller’s grit- shards

shimmered streamed

clothed a rivers air

My mind ran free seeing

Figures of every age converse

convivially move as before.

Silent souls, opaque beings

on death’s opposite shore.

©MRL August 2020

Sunday 12 April 2020


Once again I am sharing with you a recent painting of mine of the Co. Clare coastline - the time of day is sunrise and the month was May. Almost a year has gone by of since I took note of the colours and made pencil sketches of that clear and silent early morning.

My medium is as always oils, for I appreciate the stretch and plasticity that enables me to blend and build up the layers until my desire is achieved.

Reflected Dawn on canvas 60 x 20 cm

We have the use of a holiday home off the beaten track that sits almost on the waters edge, high enough up to be safe in a storm and close enough that none can build in front of us. It suits all of our requirements like no other property could.

Unfortunately due to this wretched global virus our next visit may not be until September; I realise that there are many who are alive today that possibly may not be so in a few weeks time and that truly saddens me. I cannot help but liken the number of fatalities world-wide to the war time conditions that prevailed in WW2 (I was born early January 1943).

The heroes of this crisis are surely the medical staff and ancillary workers of every hospital and facility that is dealing with the casualties. There is and will be much counselling to be done among the relatives and close friends of the victims.
I am cocooned here at home in the heart of the Irish countryside and wish you all the best of health. Stay safe.

As ever I am still unable to reply to your comments yet rest assured 
that I do read and welcome your words !

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Not in any order.

Sitting here in splendid isolation the silence is deafening as I hear the grass grow and the crackles of trees as leaves start to pop out in an un-peaceful rural way.


On seeing this 
obliquely answered

"I prefer to be my wayward self sitting here under a mottled sky watching the birds fly..."


and to an anonymous question I said

"Rather over weight for its colour and it needs more flexibility in the girth"

Sunday 22 March 2020


I have lost all enthusiasm in blogging and  even reading those of others ! Yet I am loathe to close down a herons view lest I change my mind at some future time.

My attempts at writing poetry has left me high and dry too however, I have returned to my brushes and oils to past the time with and enjoying myself immensely.

Below one of my recent paintings

Sunset over East Galway from West Clare
© MRL 2020

Please Note I am unable to respond to any of your comments, all of which are very welcome and it is not my fault or even that my O.S. the problem is either Google and or one of their subsidiaries = such as Blogger !