Thursday, 31 December 2015

BEST PHOTOS of 2015 !

TANAISTE Joan Burton and Minister of State Environment Ann Phelan take an involuntary bathe while on a visit to Thomastown, Co Kilkenny to inspect the flood damage !

Could not have happened to more suitable pair of politicians.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

An Adventurer Returns

I often hear nocturnal noises that are beyond the sleeping room, as if my ears are parked behind the door and so the other night I was awoken in the early hours by a shrill noise coming from the front garden.  As I became fully conscious I heard a scratching at the front door followed by a thump and then low snores.

I awoke her Ladyship to tell her what I had heard, together we opened the front door and peered out. Her Ladyship on seeing the sight that was before us, said

“I think I’ll get the camera, this is worth recording!”

A very relaxed Hazel

After she had taken the photo I very carefully picked him up and brought him into the warmth of our home.

“Well, Hazel what have you been up to ?” I asked him the following morning.

After a moment he spoke …

“ I was so thrilled to get a new suit of clothes that I took myself off to the river to bathe. While I was there the water sprites told me there was to be hurling match at Sheean, between our lads and the Redcaps from Cornwall, followed by a Ceilidh.

So I crept home, put on me gear and went up to the match. It was a fierce do altogether, for the hurls of both sides were flailing like swords at a battle and it was more than the puc (ball) that was the target!
On they went up and down pitch, as one player was flailed, another took his place. I kept meself well to the rear, the last thing I wanted was to ruin me new clothes. Then all of a sudden a cock crowed and the game stopped.

I interrupted Hazel to ask him “ Who won the match ? ”

“ I knew you would ask that. Nobody won the match. You see for us it is all about playing the game which is important - not winning or losing”  he replied.

Then Hazel continued his story.

The Faery Mound Sheean

“We all went down under the rath for the ceilidh. It was some party, the fiddlers started first and later we danced jigs and reels. Then pipers and bodhran players  started up. When they rested singers, chanters and poets took over. There was plenty of food with gallons of whisky for all. Too soon it was time for the Cornish to return home. As I stood, I tripped and fell on the ley line, only to awake up inside a much larger rath!
There was another party going on but I said to myself “ never mind, I’m with friends.” So I carried on enjoying meself.

I was dancing away with my lively companions, when one of them said “Why hello Hazel, my darling, it’s so good to see you again after all these years. You do remember me don’t you ? I’m Parsley.”

Well, she had caught me on the hop. I scratched me old head trying to recall who Parsley was … then the penny dropped.
“Ah Parsley yes of course, how could I ever forget you?”

“It’s well for you that you have returned Hazel.
I think now is the time for you to take your responsibility seriously”
replied Parsley.

Hazel at The Hurler Stones, Cornwall

“After a few days of partying in the Hurlers’ Rath I decided that it was time to return to Ireland and that a slower journey would be better. So meself and Parsley made our way over to Boscastle where we used a slow, little used ley line over to Lundy Island. There we met with old friends and it was on the island that I took up my responsibility. Parsley and I finally said our goodbyes and I returned home.”

“So” finished Hazel, taking a deep breath, “here we are.”

I said “Pardon me, Hazel, you said ‘We’. So who else is with you ?”

Hazel went to the widow and pointed to the garden as we peered out.

“ That is my daughter Catkin ” he said proudly.


Monday, 21 December 2015


This year The Winter Solstice is on 22nd December

Times given above are for Dublin only
                                              Sunrise      Sunset       Daylight
20 December 2015, Sunday 08:37 16:07 07:30
21 December 2015, Monday 08:38 16:08 07:30
22 December 2015, Tuesday 08:38 16:08 07:30
23 December 2015, Wednesday 08:39 16:09 07:30
24 December 2015, Thursday 08:39 16:10 07:30

My Winter Solstice contemplation takes me on a journey to the land which lies between the soles of my feet and the top of my skull,
into all that I am.

I prepare by disconnecting the phone, limiting the amount of food I eat and drinking sufficient water.
I allow myself to move around, sit or stand but never to lie down, as I do not want to fall asleep. 
If it is warm enough I might go out into the circle or use a quiet room, sitting upright on a wooden chair.
I sit in total darkness for then there is no visual distraction.
As I deepen my focus an inner voice questions me:
“Why have you come here ?”  
And my response is always the same, “I have come to learn.”
 The voice continues.
“I am the darkness, I am also the deep dark recess of your mind. I come this long night with questions.
The gifts that you have received – Have you shared them freely?
Have you shared them wisely ?
Have you shared them with love ? ”

As I sit memories of the past year rise to the front of my mind. 
We all have things that need to be considered and dealt with, items to be discarded, others perhaps to be used as seeds that can flourish into new beginnings, projects, ideas or thoughts. 
This contemplation takes as long as it takes and I have found it better to give myself plenty of time. 
Trying to cut the process short doesn’t allow for a sudden remembering or the rise of something important that is buried deep.

When I am absolutely certain that the session has ceased I imagine the first glimmer of a new dawn approaching, then light a small candle. 

© media-cache-c0

I stay for awhile watching the flame, recenter myself and return to the world refreshed.
A poem Winter Solstice 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015


As many of you are aware I am not a Christian and the path which 
I walk is that of a Druid. In a few days time on the 22nd December (this year) it will be the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Daylight will increase on the following day making our days longer but we will still be in winter and temperatures will drop.

I am very aware that these cold days are a burden and make life a lot harder for people who are without the basic necessities of life; shelter, warmth, food and enough clothing. 

Many druids and pagans exchange gifts and send cards at Solstice but rather doing this I donate money to a worthy cause which will help people who are in need.

Today I made my annual donation to Brother Kevin at the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People in Dublin. This year the Centre has seen a huge increase in people needing help.
Brother Kevin is well known here in Ireland, always taking time to listen to others in a non judgemental and accepting way.

However you celebrate at this time of year may you have warmth, good food and
the companionship of friends.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Hazel's New Clothes

For some time now her Ladyship and myself have been dropping hints to Hazel about his unkempt appearance and how we thought it was about time he paid a visit to the gypsy tailor for a new outfit. Of course he ignored the hints and carried on wearing his favourite, grubby but comfortable, old clothes.

Now one morning this week, when we awoke, Hazel was nowhere to be found, except for  a pile of discarded clothes laying on the floor. Of the man himself there was no sight nor sound, he had simply vanished into thin air.

Her Ladyship grabbed hold of his clothes and holding them with outstretched arms away from her nose, put them into the washing tub and cast  a magic spell over them.
I am not privy to her secret work and so I can only share with you that part of her chant
that I heard as I walked away it had something to do with ‘hubble, bubble, soaps and suds’.

About half an hour later I noticed that a Blackbird was flying to and fro between the washing tub and the drying line. Slowly a line of Hazel’s old clothes, now freshly washed, 
appeared before my very eyes. Soon after that is started spit with rain, within minutes there was a great storm lashing down and I heard her Ladyship say to no one in particular
"Hazel’s clothes will never dry now!”

I thought it best to make tea and soon the kettle was fair skipping on the stove. I threw three large spoonfuls of Lyon’s loose tea into the teapot and poured a pint of boiling water over them, putting the pot on the edge of the stove to let it draw. Her Ladyship does like a good strong cuppa along with a dash of milk and no sugar in her favourite cup.
I thought to myself "This will soothe her frayed nerves”

We were just on the point of finishing our afternoon tea and eating up the last of the caraway seed cake when her Ladyship said “Oh did you hear someone singing just then ?”
 “ Do you think it might be Hazel coming home ?” I replied.
So we both went to the window to look out and there was a very smart looking Hazel dressed in a new set of clothes complete with a waistcoat, muffler, a new hat and boots to match.

“Oh welcome home Mr Hazel and my goodness you certainly look smart!” cried her Ladyship.
As Hazel preened in front of the mirror I complimented him on his new look and asked, “Why the change of heart about the new outfit?” 
 “I have it in mind to find myself a wife” whispered Hazel. 
Then with a smile and a wink he disappeared.

We are getting worried now because Hazel has still not returned home !

Thursday, 10 December 2015


December 10 is Human Rights Day, a United Nations (UN) campaign that calls for people to know and push for their rights no matter where they are in the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted between January 1947 and December 1948. It aimed to form a basis for human rights all over the world and represented a significant change of direction from events during World War II and the continuing colonialism that was rife in the world at the time. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered as the most translated document in modern history. It is available in more than 360 languages and new translations are still being added.
The UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France, on the December 10, 1948. All states and interested organizations were invited to mark December 10 as Human Rights Day at a UN meeting on December 4, 1950. It was first observed on December 10 that year and has been observed each year on the same date. Each year Human Rights Day has a theme. Some of these themes have focused on people knowing their human rights or the importance of human rights education.

In Northern Ireland
Two campaign groups: The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) and Justice for the Forgotten have jointly published :-

They said it is a “sign of the anger, frustration and bitter disappointment felt by over 150 bereaved families at the abject failure of the politicians and British Government to implement the legacy proposals set out in the Stormont House Agreement (SHA)”.

They added: “Families, whether Catholic or Protestant, from both communities, are angry and grieving.”

The groups said: “With goodwill, common sense and respect for international legal standards, the legitimate wish of families to the truth that they so earnestly desire, and deserve, can be achieved."

Friday, 4 December 2015

Males and Mails

© 2010 H.Rufus

On a day of deep snow I was taken by a 4x4 to the nearest train station to travel to Dublin.
On my way to the carriage door I glanced to see how many others were travelling and there in a window seat sat a familiar face. Little did I realise then that the well known personage was to become the next President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

Uachtarán na hÉireann

My journey continued with a a wait of several hours in Dublin airport before catching my flight to Birmingham International and onwards to meet my one and only grandson Oliver who was then just three weeks old.
I often wonder what he will make of himself and of what his journey through life will be ?


Our post travels everywhere!
© 2015 J. Brideson

One request from myself: if anyone has a spare iPhone ? If you post it to me now it will arrive before Christmas.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Brian Boru and Old Magic

Cashel town

On Saturday morning we were up early (for us) to drive down to Cashel in Tipperary in order to meet with some friends. They were also driving down from somewhere in Cork.

Has that confused you ?

Here in Ireland no matter where you live or in what direction you are going the phrase used is ‘going down to’, people who live on the south coast will 'travel down to’ places in the north.

For a few days I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts to see what we could expect.
On Saturday morning there was an orange alert for a high, west wind and heavy rain with a variable temperature of 4 to 7 deg C. 
"Damn to hell" I thought that can’t be right, "ah’ we will give it a go anyway."
So we did.  As we left home the temperature was 5.5 deg C but after a few miles it rose to 7.4 degrees. I sat in the front passenger seat and in my mind kept focussing on seeing blue skies over Cashel.

When stopped for a while in Urlingford to have a sandwich we had sleet falling on the windscreen. That did not deter me though as I kept on focussing on fine weather. We arrived at our destination, the temperature had risen and it was dry but with a chill wind. We finally met our friends and repaired to a pub.We sat in a window seat chatting away and drinking coffee. Nothing stronger as alcohol during the day makes me sleepy and I recall, when I was a 'dry’ driver, how annoying the fumes of strong drink could be.
Towards the end of our meeting a burst of sunlight shone through the window and as I looked up the sky was blue. “Ah-hah the old magic still works” I thought to myself.

The Rock of Cashel

Outside the pub we said our goodbyes and returned to the car park in a strong biting wind, we were very glad of the shelter that the car provided. 
On leaving the town I asked her Ladyship to pull over so that I could take a photo of The Rock of Cashel from whence the town of Cashel gets its name.

In the 5th century, the Eóganachta dynasty founded their capital on and around the rock and many kings of Munster have reigned here. In 977 the Dál gCais usurper, Brian Boru, was crowned here as the first non-Eóghanacht king of Cashel and Munster in over five hundred years. His great-grandson, King Muirchertach Ua Briain, gave the place to the bishop of Limerick in 110, denying it forever to the MacCarthys, the senior branch of the Eóganachta. 
The bishops once had a famous school in Cashel and from there sent priests all over the continent.They even maintained their own monastery, called Scots Monastery, in Regensburg, Germany.

These days Rock is under the care of Heritage Ireland whose scaffolding can be seen over Cormac’s Chapel.
The project underway currently involves conserving the chapel, built from sandstone, which has deteriorated to such an extent that it is letting in water. 
A notice on their web site explains that access to the Chapel is limited from May till September each year for bus tours until the work is completed. Visitors are admitted in small groups for 10 minutes maximum.

We had a great day out and by the time we had returned the temperature had risen to 10 deg, which proves that it is unwise to believe everything that the experts tell us.
Our next adventure will be ……. ah you will have to wait and see :)

Friday, 20 November 2015

A Bird in the Hand

Mr Chaffinch © GettyImage

Yesterday morning when I was sitting at my desk working quietly away I heard a loud bang on one of the front room
windows. Hearing nothing more I continued with what I was doing.
About ten minutes later her Ladyship dragged me out to go on a fuel run and as I was walking to the car she said
“What is that behind you on the path ?”
I turned and lying beneath a window was the crumpled form of a small bird that looked quite dead to me.
My first thought was to scoop it up and throw it into a hedge, but not wanting to waste time in getting a shovel, I stooped down and picked him up in my hands. It was then I noticed that the bird was warm on it’s right hand side and quietly said,
“ You poor little sod.”
The small bird moved feebly in my hand and I placed him gently on the lawn and got into the car.

After about twenty minutes we were home again and unloaded the car of it’s peat briquettes. 
I stepped outside to see if the bird had flown off, but no it was still there. 
I spoke to the bird and he turned his head, opened an eye and looked at me.
Once again I picked him up and held him in both of my warm hands for a few minutes talking away to Mr Chaffinch
and believing that he understood me. I told him that it was was time to take flight and immediately, as I opened my palms, he took off, flew high into the air and disappeared from sight.

Next time that I see a bird lying still on the ground I will check for life before disposing.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

France: Canine Casualty


“Diesel, a seven-year-old Belgian Shepherd police dog from RAID, was killed by the criminals/terrorists during the operation in Saint-Denis,” said a statement by the French national Police.

One Twitter user wrote:
“This dog certainly had more humanity than these barbarians,”

Diesel had been with the unit for five years and is the first dog to die on active service. He was due to retire from Raid in the spring next year.
“His role was to open the way for the rest of us. He uses all his senses to detect if anyone is present and if he can get to them, to go and bite them. If not, he stands and barks to indicate where the person is hiding,” said the handler.
“I had absolute confidence in him, and him in me. Both of us knew how the other would behave in the situation.”
Russia has sent a puppy named Dobrynia to show its “solidarity with the French people and police in their fight against terrorism”.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Witch in Training

Over the Hallowe'en weekend Lady H quietly disclosed a secret to me.

It appears that Granny has discovered that Ollie, despite his tender age,
is developing certain family traits.

As you may be aware
Lady H, especially when wearing the appropriate costume,
displays certain magical abilities.
Here she can be seen hovering above the ground.

Young Ollie is now learning his craft.

Calling on the local Faeries to lend their assistance....

and help Granny sprinkle her magic dust.

Lady H tells me that Ollie is a natural
and I say ' yes, but he'll have to loose that skeleton costume.'

Sunday, 1 November 2015

A Double Celebration

Only our friends are aware of Lady H's annual double celebration and of the joy that warms her heart as soon as she sees the shops selling their Halloween Witchy wares.

Lady H on Hallowe'en at her scary best!

I used to believe that it was an insult to call a woman a witch. I have though since learnt
over the years, that there are some who are proud of the term and know well their Craft.

November the 1st Her Birthday
Lady H sits beneath her painting WISE WOMAN 
with a glass of her favourite tipple
namely Bailey's Irish Cream.

Friday, 30 October 2015


The other day our visitors from England treated Lady H and myself to a tour through three
counties to one of our favourite destinations The Chocolate Garden in county Wicklow 

We each felt very undecided in making a choice from the menu board, thus our selection seemed to take a good deal of time. Lady H chose for herself an Ice Cream Sundae, I went for a slice of chocolate Fudge Cake accompanied by a vanilla ice cream and the other two had slices of Carrot Cake and fresh cream. All with a mug of Hot Chocolate each.

Following on from a surfeit of chocolate Lady H and I became quite giddy, high would be another description anyway, we spotted this bijou cottage and wondered whether to down size.
As you can see it comes complete with all of the necessary domestic equipment and we would very much appreciate your thoughts ?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Noble Toby & Garden Workers

Toby keeping watch .

Looking after my people

Is That Biscuits ?

Garden workers from the UK moving the logs

At play with Granny

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Prevalent Attitudes

I do not call myself a Christian, a humanist is as close as I can get. 

Recently I have found my self feeling absolutely disgusted with the very shameful attitude of the settled community of the Rockville Drive residents in Carrickmines who opposed the emergency halting site; this towards their fellow citizens namely The Travellers.  

So I was glad to read the following on the RTE web site because it needed to be voiced. 

"A priest has criticised many settled people for failing to empathise with what he called their Traveller brothers and sisters following a fatal fire at a halting site.

Father Dermot Lane was speaking after the remains of five of the people who lost their lives in the fire in Carrickmines were brought to the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Balally, Co Dublin this evening.

Fr Lane, who is the parish priest of Balally, not far from Carrickmines, urged everybody to become involved in a new consultation process embracing local authorities and the settled and Traveller communities.

He prayed that what he called the national tragedy which struck eleven days ago may become a turning point in the difficult tasks of healing, reconciliation and mutual trust that lie ahead.

Fr Lane greeted the Connors family and hundreds of other mourners at the church after five hearses bearing the coffins of Thomas and Sylvia Connors and their children Jim, Christy, and baby Mary arrived for their removal service.

Fr Lane said the grief of the Connors family is also the grief of Balally Parish because they were, and are, an important part of the local community.

Describing them as well-known and respected in the parish, he said they worshipped in its church where Thomas and Sylvia, conscientiously as parents, presented their five children for baptism over the past seven years. 

He recalled having the privilege of baptising Michael and Thomas Connors, the family's only survivors.

He said important lessons are to be learned from the national tragedy that claimed ten lives 11 days ago and which "has disturbed the consciences of us all".

Unaware of the resolution of the impasse over the local authority allocating the grieving families accommodation, which coincided with the church service, he urged that they be offered an appropriate place to live as soon as possible. 

He told the congregation: "We must learn, above all, to walk in the shoes of the other if we are to develop genuinely inclusive and pluralistic societies."

And he observed that many settled people had "failed to walk with empathy in the shoes of our brothers and sisters in the Traveller community".

Dismissing blame-games about the tragedy as unhelpful, Fr Lane urged everybody to move beyond mis-understanding, standard stereotypes and caricatures.

"If we are to move forward," he said, "all must be involved in a new consultation and a new conversation, and that means bringing together local authorities, local communities and the Traveller Communities."

Fr Lane prayed that the tragedy - which he repeated was national in character - may become a turning point in what he called "the difficult tasks of healing, reconciliation and mutual trust that lie ahead".

He said  the tragedy has raised serious questions about our priorities as a society, and searching questions about the responses or lack of responses by successive governments to a variety of reports going back 50 years, to the mid-1960s.

He said these questions touch on a number of very serious issues for all of us about the provision of adequate sites and housing for the Traveller community; about the persistent reality of social inequalities between the Traveller community and the settled community; and about deeply ingrained cultural prejudices.

In the meantime, he said, the Connors family must be allowed to grieve and to mourn the death of their loved ones.

The funeral Mass for the Connors will be celebrated in Balally at 11.30am tomorrow and they will be buried together on Friday in Wexford."

An article worth reading can be found here

Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Inner Child

The small boy inside of myself always asks simple questions to the man on the outside.

He asked me yesterday "Why is the sky blue on a cloudless day ?”

I told him that I would find out and the best answer is :

"Sunlight reaches Earth's atmosphere and is scattered in all directions by all the gases and particles in the air. Blue light is scattered in all directions by the tiny molecules of air in Earth's atmosphere. Blue is scattered more than other colors because it travels as shorter, smaller waves. This is why we see a blue sky most of the time.”

That boy then told me that he knew why the black sky never falls down and he said it that it was nailed up  and I asked him how did he know that it was nailed up ?

He said he had seen thousands of bright shiny nail heads when he looked up at the black sky at night.

Nail headed sky

So what questions does your inner child ask of you ?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Samhain means 'summers end' and is followed by the start of Winter. This year the festival of Samhain is on 7th November.   
The ancients knew a three season year, spring, summer and winter.
I have no idea who is to blame for introducing the idea of an autumn to Ireland.
The grass is still growing and this will continue until the daylight temperature drops to below 10 degrees Centigrade.
Today the temperature is slightly over 14 degrees which means that Heron will have get the mower out of the shed and tidy up the garden. He might also cut a few newly grown nettles for Mrs H’s promised veggie stew.

So it being bright and sunny I took a few photos for you to view.

Our road still green

Ripe Blackberries

The Fuchsia still in bloom

Dancing ladies :)

Yellow Rose

The old Red Rose

Small yellow bloom ?

Just like the plant above the label fell off
and I have no idea what they are called :)