Saturday, 28 December 2013

Words, words, words.

My first published book of poetry

During the time between writing the last blog and now, I have written, no, started composing many others in my head, none of which ever came to fruition. For on each occasion the desire for a slice of cake, a laced coffee or even a small tot of cherry liqueur slipped into my mind and as you probably know a well fed mind that has no hunger within loses its’ desire to create. 

The next day and thereafter the process was repeated; not though today. 
For last night into my mind came nine words - a metaphor - which is like a long lost solitary piece of a jigsaw puzzle and it is still echoing in the recesses of my being. As yet I have neither inspiration nor inclination to do anything with it. That line will be entered in a page of a notebook which has other lost lines and like the others it will grow neither fat nor slim, until one of them drops like magic into a rightful place. Hopefully I shall get started soon and start scribbling away.

At this time of the year, during mid winter we listen to the radio far more than at other times of the year (no TV by choice). 
During my late teenage years I realised that listening to the radio was far better than watching the attention seeking one eyed monster in the corner of the lounge, because at the very least I could paint or read a book at the same time.
So when I reached the age of maturity my decision was not to have a TV. 

Writing about that non-sensical box has revived memories of the letters that I would receive annually from the TV licensing authorities and of the great delight I had when making my polite replies. All of that altered [the politeness - that is] when they changed their previous format and started their letter with a threat to prosecute me, to which I replied with extreme vehemence.
I told them how dumb they were in not noting the contents of my previous sixteen letters and of how they needed to keep a register of non-conformers like myself which would save both of us the cost of postage etc.

Since becoming a pensioner however, the powers that be have granted me a free TV licence for life and I no longer get any letters. That too has its drawbacks as I can no longer vent my spleen annually and rid my self of my accumulated angst !

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Season of Goodwill

Obscenity is not just pornography or even provocative photo's of the human body. There are other types of obscenity. One of which is the portrayal of photo's on blogs and words describing their pre- christmas fare gluttony !I have just visited one blog that said that on the following morning that the author was so stuffed from the meal of the previous day that all they had was a slice of toast for breakfast. Well whoopee for you I thought!

Then I thought again about the five million people in the UK who are suffering from food and fuel poverty, also of the half million and more in Ireland who are in a similar situation. Well who cares - who actually cares ?

One might name a charity, almost any charity. 

Ah'yes! But be careful that they are not just in the Business of Re-distribution. For example the other day a national Irish newspaper published a list of forty-one well known charities of which there was only one in which the CEO took no salary. Of the other CEO's who did their salaries ranged from €80,000 to over €100,000 per annum.

That one single charity whose CEO receives nothing is Br. Kevin Crowley of the Irish Capuchins see

We stopped sending Seasonal Greeting cards a couple of years ago, instead we make a donation to an organisation that cares for people who are in great need, the numbers of which are growing daily. This year it will be to the Capuchins.

Whether you have a religion or a belief or not or are simply a pagan like myself. My wish for you is that you are warm, free from hunger and surrounded with Love.

Monday, 2 December 2013

One of My Pleasures!

We took ourselves off to Dublin the other day. For Mrs H it was a chance to window shop ( yes, I have her trained!) Actually she was accompanying me to the famous pipe manufacturer's Peterson's of Dublin, whose retail outlet is in Nassau Street at the bottom of Grafton Street. We had fun getting there for I insisted on staying on the bus a lot longer than what we should have. No matter the walk was good for us and by way of recompense. I out of the goodness of my heart pointed out the Dail (The Irish parliament building) to her.

Peterson's have a fine array of pipes on display however, many of them were well beyond price range and in any case their seconds accommodate my wallet far better and give a good service.

The last time that I visited them was about five years ago and the shop assistant recommended to me pipe which he felt that I would appreciate. He was absolutely correct!
For here we were, for me to buy pipe another of similar design.

The new pipe with the trade name of Killarney.
It is a gem to hold as well as to smoke plus it
has the unique characteristic of sitting down.

My previous pipe which sits well in the hand,
as well as sitting nicely on the desk without
spilling any ash.

The stem of each of the above pipes can be used
with a replaceable filter - I change the filter every two days.

A Driskule
This little fellow is a conical wired cage that
sits in the bottom of the pipe bowl and prevents wastage
of tobacco as well as keeping the bottom dry.

My favourite tobacco of which I smoke
about 50 grammes a week.

For many years now the bent pipe
has been my favourite.

I purchased this old timer in Germany
in 1958 and only very rarely do I use it.

'The Meerschum'

This takes pride of place in my tobacco cabinet.
The head is that of a bear.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Funeral of Olivia Melian Robertson - co founder F.O.I.

Oliva Melian Robertson

13th April 1917 - 14th November 2013

St Fiaacs Church

C of I


Co. Wexford

Olivia's coffin carried from Huntington Castle by six female relatives

The mourners follow the hearse on foot

Led by a Piper the funeral procession walks through Clonegal

In the blue robe is the hierophant priest Paudrig O'Rahilly and to his far left
in the grey robe high priestess Patricia Griffin who are now the elders.

The Vicar of St. Fiaac's Church The Reverend Michael Stevenson at the top of the steps.

Post funeral gathering in Osbornes for songs and refreshments.
From the left on the bodhran is Lydia Lyte, standing is Marian Smiles, with the guitar
is Julie Felix and singing with arm outstretched is Chello.

All coloured photographs are the copyright of Seán Gilmartin © 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

Into the Heart of ISIS

Partly re posted from :

Official announcement on behalf of the Fellowship of Isis from Cressida Pryor, Olivia's niece, Caroline Wise and Linda Iles of FOI Central website. Sad news for the Fellowship and the wider Goddess community in the world, 96 years of age Olivia died 14th November on Thursday night at 9.15pm. It was peaceful and she had her family with her. Her family ask that their privacy is respected at this time. A really great and original figure has left us, Many blessings.

Lady Olivia

For Olivia's biography please visit :

I have composed a poem or dedication to Olivia please view

Monday, 11 November 2013

An Old Singer !

This seventy-six year old lady is still working well. In fact after having being given a good dousing of three in one oil recently on her moving parts. Her owner declared that she is better than ever.

Her Singer number is EB 326703 from which I was able to ascertain, that her birth was at
Kilbowie, Clydebank, Scotland in June 1937.

Mrs H bought her for £20 in London about thirty plus years ago. Inside the 'green box is a
Singer counterfoil (possibly the original) however, unfortunately the figures are ineligible.

I personally view this machine as a piece of art work and greatly admire the gold decorations that it has, them and the decorative cover plates which I think are absolutely splendid.

The Singer Sewing Machine model 28k

Shewing cover plate at business
end of machine.

An inverted pear shaped cover

I obtained details of year and place of manufacture from and from them they have this to say :-
"Singer Sewing Machines were first manufactured in 1851. The manufacture dating provided here on our Web site is reproduced from the original Company register number log books. Because we have not been able to locate the log books, serial numbers for the years 1851 to 1870 are not available at this time. 
Serial numbers on Singer sewing machines manufactured prior to 1900 are numbers only. After 1900, the machine serial numbers have a single or two-letter prefix."

Thursday, 31 October 2013

31st October HALLOWE'EN

Today the 31st October is known as Hallowe'en which is a religious festival that is celebrated differently by christians, wicca-folk and lots of young people.

For the christians Hallowe'en is properly known as All Hallows Day or All Saints Eve and tomorrow, 1st November, is All Saints Day. The wicca folk interpret it differently calling it a Witches' Sabbat and their activities are many and varied. 
For young people it is a night of bonfires, fireworks, dressing up in a variety of costumes and calling to neighbours in the hope of receiving a gift of sweets or money.

Among the things it is not the ancient festival of SAMHAIN,nor is it the end of summer or even the pagan new year. These misconceptions were brought about mainly by ignorance and the adjustment of the calendars.

So here is web site that shows the various dates for pagan rituals and explains how they are calculated.

The calendar in English and Irish

September....Meán Fómhair
October......Deireadh Fómhair

As can be seen above three of the four names of the cross quarter days are also months of the year and Imbolc is missing.  
Also, the current month names in Irish are a mixture of Irish and obviously Latin-derivations; there weren’t specific month names in Old Irish, more seasonal divisions.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


I have just been reading of the tragedy that is facing people on our neighbouring island and of the cash strapped families that will be forced to turn to the British Red Cross for help this winter for the first time in nearly 70 years, as millions face crippling cuts to their household budgets.

The rises in basic food prices and soaring utility bills have helped push more than **Five Million People** in the UK into deep poverty.

The British Red Cross said it was about to launch a campaign in supermarket foyers asking shoppers to donate food to be distributed to the most needy through the charity FareShare; This in a country where for a variety of reasons ploughs back into the land 40% of what it grows!

Yet I recall that their Prime Minister Mister C was proposing to virtually go to war in Syria until his idea was voted down.

Strange is it not that they have enough funds to wage an army and yet not enough to cater for the welfare of their people ?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A PARK - for All Ages

The other day, finding ourselves with time on our hands, we visited the newly opened park at Dún na Sí - The Heritage Centre and Amenity Park, Moate, Co. Westmeath.

It is a place where the fabulous sculptures and art pieces by our friend, community artist, Patsy Preston in conjunction with local Third Year students and their teacher James Hatton, have uniquely decorated a wonderful local amenity.
The sculptor Ann Meldon Hugh designed the impressive bronze and stainless steel statue of Grainne Óg which stands on a mound near the entrance and welcomes visitors. 

Despite some light rain we spent hours wandering the paths, discovering art and learning about turloughs and wildlife.
When summer arrives next year we hope to visit again when the 
fairy thorns will be covered in blossom and the bare earth will be green and lush.

Patsy Preston

Grainne Óg

The Triskle - a place for any age!

The Centre Piece of the Triskle

 At the edge of the turlough is an ornate observation screen
from which the bird life can be seen through viewing ports
of various heights and sizes.

One of the side screens.
A Turlough: is a vanishing lake that fills up in Winter
and then disappears over a few days or weeks in the Springtime.
Over the Summer, there remains only a small permanent wetland
and the rest of the lakes basin is grassland. The name 'turlough' comes
from the Irish 'tur loch' meaning 'dry lake'

I could not resist the Heron!
The black pole is an exercise toy
for aged people.

These plaques were made by the third level students, depicting various legends and myths,

Every bench end had a completely different
design on them and they are very attractive. 
(Would make an interesting feature in my 
front garden!)

A butterfly has landed!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Only in the USA

© National Geographic

A 3,500-acre wind farm in in northern California may become the first renewable energy project in the US to be issued a permit to kill eagles under a proposal by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan would allow the Shiloh IV Wind Project’s 50 wind turbines to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period in exchange for taking measures to protect large birds, including retrofitting power poles to avoid electrocutions. "The bottom line is a permit will help preserve eagles," said Scott Flaherty, the deputy assistant regional director of external affairs for the Fish and Wildlife Service. The report will now go through a 45-day public comment period.

Q: Sounds like double talk to me ?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Autumnal Equinox

Sunday 22 September 2013

today's weatherToday's Weather
Another warm and humid day today with the weather varying across the country from sunny skies to patches of cloud, fog or drizzle.
Highest temperatures ranging from 17 to 24 degrees.
Tonight's Weather 
Mild, close and humid overnight with patches of mist, fog and drizzle.
Temperatures not falling below 12 to 16 degrees.
today's weatherTomorrow
Mist, fog and drizzle will clear all but some coastal and hilly areas tomorrow morning with warm sunny spells developing generally.
A very warm and humid day with highs of 18 to 25 degrees.
3 Day Outlook
Mild or warm at first, but fresher later and turning more changeable also.
Monday Night: Mild and misty overnight with patches of fog. Lowest temperatures of 11 to 14 C.
Tuesday: Warm and humid on Tuesday, dry in many areas with some hazy sunshine, but some showers will break out over parts of Munster and Connacht in the afternoon and evening and some coastal fog is likely. Warm with afternoon highs of 18 to 21 C., highest over parts of Leinster and south Ulster. Humid and misty overnight with fig and showers becoming widespread and heavy and possibly thundery in places. Lowest temperatures of 12 to 14 C.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

English and Irish

We have two official languages in Ireland and the video below
gives great clarity on the matter.

The enthusiasm shown by these young people
to entertain in their own language will surely  keep 
the Irish language alive.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

I do worry...

I do worry at times about Ireland's weather forecasters and their educational standards especially when I read this on Met Éireann -The Irish Meteorological Service this morning that :

"Temperatures will recover a little on Monday, reaching the mid to late teens by afternoon"

I can only presume that the writer's mind was caught up with a teenage problems at the time and what they meant was 'mid to high teens'

The same grammatical error was copied by RTÉ Weather's journalist and presumably no checks are ever done....

Thursday, 5 September 2013


1. I had a letter last week from my phone provider informing me that the name of the internet product was changing to something else but I would still receive the same service.
It was addressed to NELVIN L…. which is not my first name and nor is it any of my names, it is though a poor corruption of my first name which is MELVYN. For about six years or more I have been informing various employees of the phone company about the correct spelling,all to no avail; as they are now changing the name of a product, there is a hope that they will change mine. I have now written to the Sales Manager pointing out the correct spelling - we shall see !

2. This morning I had a letter from LLOYDS BANK (our connection ceased 22 years ago) informing me that they are dropping the TSB - which will trade as a separate bank. So hence forward they are reverting to their former status, LLOYDS BANK. 
I can only wonder at the worthiness of these manoeuvrings and what all of this actually costs the customers and investors. 

3. I have been taking a look at this blog's statistics. What I have learnt and should have known, is that blog post titles are important if you want to attract visitors. An innocuous blog I did about my new sign for the cottage has had 6,500 hits, among whom were those dreadful anonymous spammers; who nearly caused me delete that particular posting namely 'A New Sign'. The vast majority of viewers to A.N.S. were and still are from the USA, which begs me to wonder exactly why?
As this post is titled 'A sign of the times' it will be interesting to see how many hits it generates :) 

4. I have posted up a new poem on my blog which you might like to read

Monday, 2 September 2013


I was sorry to hear of the deaths of two eminent 74 year olds at the weekend.

Firstly the poet laureate of Ireland and Nobel Prize winner of Literature 
Seamus Heaney.

A short quote from RTE:
A master poet and family man, a Nobel laureate and friend, a guest of royalty and farmer's son: Seamus Heaney had a life which was a smooth blend of the ordinary and extraordinary.
Reaching the headiest heights of literary genius, the ever-modest everyman insisted his poetry was just part of a chain.
"A written chain; we'll call it a human chain," he said when he gifted his manuscripts and notes to the National Library of Ireland.
Heaney's glistening career won him global recognition and a place among Ireland's literary heroes like WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw.
But talked about in the same company, the unassuming teacher from the 50-acre Mossbawn farm in Co Derry would liken himself to "a little foothill at the bottom of a mountain range".
Both a major talent and a decent, down-to-earth individual, the affable Heaney could smoothly move from dining with the political elite to playful weekends at his Dublin home with his grandchildren.
Born into a nation divided, some of his work was heavily influenced by The Troubles. Yet he never allowed his need to write about political violence to colour his patriotism.

Second eminent gentleman being Sir David Frost.

Short quote from The Guardian Newspaper:
At the outset, the very success of this man in a stupendous hurry proved somewhat alarming to some – as the author and translator Kitty Muggeridge said of him in 1967: "He has risen without a trace." Worse than that, he was nicknamed the "bubonic plagiarist", for allegedly appropriating Peter Cook's gags and sketches from Beyond the Fringe for his television show That Was the Week That Was, and so piggybacking on the achievements of others.

No matter. In the decades that followed, Frost became a media personality and comedian, as comfortable cross-examining the most heavyweight political figures of the day as hosting Through the Keyhole, the show typifying the fatuousness of celebrity culture, in which panellists were given a video tour of a mystery famous guest's property and asked to identify the owner from the evidence.

Frost could never be accused of being a stuck-up or patrician broadcaster. He was a bon vivant, smoker of big cigars, dapper dresser, chum of the rich and famous, and so much of a jet-setter that, for a while, he was Concorde's most frequent flier, travelling from London and New York an average of 20 times a year for 20 years. No wonder he told one interviewer that he was "not driven, but flown".

May they both rest in peace

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Return to the Kingdom

Last weekend we took a trip down to Cahersiveen in County Kerry to stay for a few days with a friend and while she worked and worked, we took photos and holidayed.

looking seawards from Mount Beentee

Cahersiveen looking inland

Behind the blue facade lies little France in Ireland. For here we breakfasted on delicious almond and raisin croissants served with such wonderful coffee; that I half believed that I was back in La France again!

On mentioning delicious food stuffs, we also visited an independent chocolatier trading as SKELLIGS. Mrs H said that it is the best chocolate she has ever tasted and I know that she is correct. So please visit

A beach between Waterville & Cahersiveen

A shoreline seascape typical of this area.

We cannot ignore visiting ancient wells
St Finnian's Well

Back to Mount Beentee a well named
The Well of the Fair Women
or in As Gaeilge
Tobar na mBan Fionn

Here the heavenly scents are shared!

You might like to visit Mrs H's blog and read her words on the same subject,
because I'm not feeling very wordy today :)

Monday, 12 August 2013

Lughnasadh 2013

Toby informed you all that I was a bit busy or at least he should have done ???

We had been asked by a film company if we would mind them making a documentary showing my druid grove celebrating Lughnasadh at a local site.

So am pleased to tell you that all went off terribly well and that I will post up a link when the film goes public.

In the meantime here are a few behind the scenes photo's of us having fun.

All photo's are the copyright of Colin Russell © August 2013

The centre piece of the circle

The Well Dressing

Druids relax while camera man sets up

Mrs H had just bonked me on the head with the wand because I had been a bit flirtatious with a red head!

Some of the group taking a well deserved rest in between shoots and that is not a pencil dangling from Mrs H's lips !

For research on Lugh and Lughnasadh please visit