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.