A Little Love

I feel the need to write a Valentine’s Day post. Not sure why, because I pretty much believe Valentine’s Day is commercially exploited to make people believe love is proven by a trinket.

For an optimist, I can be such a cynic.

For a collector, I can be such a hypocrite.

A recap of my thoughts on Valentine’s Day can be found here – Can’t Buy Me Love and Socks and Underpants.


My absolute favourite things my husband has given me often reflect how well he knows me. One year for my birthday, he gave me this card:


On the inside it says,

‘Celebrate like someone forgot to lock the gate’

Underneath that, he wrote:

‘Some may say the gate has been unlocked for some time.’


Happy Love Day.


Cross Your Heart

We visited Ireland two years ago and it felt like home.

I could say it was my Irish ancestry, but my last ancestor set foot in Ireland four generations ago – it’s not like I have relatives beckoning me back. I could say it was my vague Catholic upbringing, but it seems I only attended church (and Sunday School) to please my grandmother and The Church because my mother had to prove she’d denounced Protestantism. Pretty much like my Protestant grandmother did in the previous generation.

Hypocrisy aside. I’m getting off track.

Australia is home too, but Ireland resonated with me in a way I cannot easily explain.

As readers here probably know, I’m not especially religious, in that, I no-longer attend church. And while religion plays a part here, this post is mostly about people. Random people who briefly shared a moment of their lives with us when we visited Ireland.

1166 Rock of Cashel 08

The Rock of Cashel

In Kilkenny, I followed an older woman down the street carrying two grocery bags, one in each hand. As she walked, she shifted the groceries from her right hand to her left. She crossed herself and returned the bag to her right hand. We’d walked past a church.

I don’t know why I loved this so much. It was so real and honest and an action I’d never witnessed outside of church.

I have always loved churches. They’re like buildings of made of peace. History has shown us, of course, religion has caused much conflict. But churches for me are sanctuary, bundled by walls and pews. I’ve always found them to be peaceful, beautiful places.

I lingered around the entrance of a church in Wexford and wondered if I should enter – could I take photos? A woman bustled up beside me. She dabbed her hand into the font at the entrance, crossed herself and went in. I followed her. She lit a candle and rested it, flickering amongst the others. She said a prayer.

I crept around to the aisle of the church – my camera a heavy thought at my side. I marvelled at the windows and the architecture. With old habits I crossed myself and took a pew and noticed others already had – their heads lowered in thought, or prayer.

I mentally confirmed with myself it wasn’t Sunday.

Then I had another thought: People are actually using this church.

It made me feel so areligious. Australia is so full of empty churches.

I sat there. I took a moment.

I didn’t take any photos.

While in Wexford, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast. It was unlike any other B&B we’d stayed in, simply because the owners had made little attempt to separate their business from their house. Essentially, we were boarding. We’d had an awkward introduction because minutes before we’d arrived, our host had received unexpected guests looking for a bed. We were ushered to our room, which wasn’t quite ready.

‘Weren’t you arriving on the 4 o’clock ferry?’

The next morning, our host was calmer, but frustrated because the other guests had decided to sleep in for breakfast. Which was a shame, because it was delicious.

We returned to the B&B after a day’s touristing, but struggled to get a park. Once inside, our host had prepared some salmon for us. She knew Seamus, who knew Peter, who knew a fisherman. She asked about my Irish roots and the places we’d been in the day, adding comments like, ‘you would have seen Eamon’  or ‘you must eat at Patrick’s’. Our host was a living street directory.

There was a knock at the door.

Our host’s neighbour’s neighbour greeted her. ‘Oh, I’ve just come from Siόbhan’s, I don’t know if there’s more I can do.’

They entered the kitchen and my husband and I were sitting there, munching on salmon. Introductions were made, but their conversation continued.

‘I’ve just taken around a casserole.’

‘I went around and did the dishes.’

‘You’re a good woman, Caitriόna.’

An elderly woman in the street had passed away. Everyone knew her. She had five children and several more grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The street was in mourning and a funeral procession was expected in the coming hours.

‘Will you go?’

‘Probably,’ our host nodded, ‘You?’

‘I don’t know, I don’t like an open coffin…’

Conversation circled like this for a while. Talk of life and death and family. We asked questions which were answered honestly.

The sense of community was overwhelming.

We saw many wondrous things during our travels through the UK and Ireland.
These unexpected and beautiful moments were among my favourites.

Do you have an unexpected, wondrous moment to share?

Husband’s Repartee

I’m trying to sleep.

My husband is breathing evenly beside me and his nose starts whistling.


I try to ignore it, but it’s like a mosquito.

“I can hear your nose” I said.

In the darkness my husband replied:

“I can smell your ears.”



nanopoblano2015darkDay 21 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

And today, I’m trying to make Ra smile.


Eurovision 2016

This isn’t going to be an epic blog post. I’ve had a really long day, and I’m tired. And I just said to my husband that maybe I’d write two blog posts tomorrow night instead.

He raised his eyebrows.

This went on for a bit. And here I am.

Today, though, in the middle of horrible world news, I learnt that Australia is participating in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Yay!

*releases party poppers*

We love the Eurovision song contest although the music isn’t particularly to our tastes. We never buy the album, but we love it, we love the joy and spectacle of it. We play drink-along-a-Eurovision where you have a drink every time certain things occur – like a key change, or a wind machine or a costume reveal. Actually, I think you’re meant to have glass when these things occur, but we just take a sip because, quite honestly, you’d be drunk before the first song ends.

Anyhow, Australia is competing even though we’re not even in the eurozone. I don’t even care how we managed this.

This world needs more joyousness.

Come on, Eurovision 2016. Bring it.

nanopoblano2015darkClick on the link to visit the team of Tiny Peppers. It’s Rarasaur’s version of NaBloPoMo and it’s called Nano Poblano.  Or, as I’ve been calling it lately Nano Problano.

We’re blogging every day in the month of November! I think I’m actually getting the hang of this.


Denial Is a Form of Optimism

Denial is an interesting word with many guises.

It can work in your favour. It can save you pain. It can delay the inevitable and it can block a memory. But it can work against you. The inevitable remains assured and memories can resurface.

While denial can be born from ignorance or stupidity, it is also about self-preservation and I maintain my belief in its optimism. It serves to protect us a little longer from harsh realities or inconveniences until our minds are better ready to deal with them. As we can’t seem to remove this filter (and certainly, some people possess bigger denial-filters than others – and indeed some never reach awareness), we’ll never know if this system is in place for better or worse, but it is optimism nevertheless.

There’s a video somewhere on the internet. It’s grainy CCTV store footage of people shopping and/or browsing and a fire starts. A light-fitting gets too hot and ignites some fabric. Customers continue to shop. More people walk into the store to browse. The whole video is quite surreal.

This brings me to ice skating last evening.

It was my idea. Neither my friend or I had been for ages so I thought we’d have an evenly matched skill level. I was wrong. Apparently she used to roller skate in her childhood so she was better from the outset. She pulled me a long for a few laps and we watched professionals casually spinning and skating backwards with such grace that when their phones received text messages they answered them without losing rhythm while skating. As time went on I began to get some confidence back, I stopped clinging to my friend or the handrail and my toes stopped gripping the inside of my shoes (which my brain obviously felt would help me grip the ice). After a time my friend and I began to skate a little more equally and we started to chat. And laugh, we laughed a lot. And my friend fell over. She laughed herself off her skates. It wasn’t a sliding fall, she flailed forward, over-corrected, flailed backwards with skates spinning cartoon-style and took a solid fall to the ground.

I gave her ten points for execution, but first I asked her if she was okay.

Sure. I’m Fine. I reckon I’ll be sore tomorrow. So we skated a couple more laps and I asked her again. Yeah, I’ll be fine – I’m such a klutz. After a few more laps I asked her if she wanted to go. My elbow is hurting a bit.

We headed back to her place, got some ice onto her arm and got out a board game. We played a couple of rounds with our conversation drifting back to her injury from time to time. I’ll be fine. I can still move my fingers. It’s just a sprain.

As I went to leave, she went to stand. Ow, ow, ow. Wow, it really hurts.

I said it couldn’t be broken because everyone who’d I known to break a bone felt sick and thought they’d faint.

Um.  Actually, initially, I thought I might.


I drove her to Emergency. She’d broken her elbow.


nanopoblano2015darkClick on the link to visit the team of Tiny Peppers. It’s Rarasaur’s version of NaBloPoMo and it’s called Nano Poblano.  Or, as I’ve been calling it lately Nano Problano.

We’re blogging every day in the month of November! I think I’m actually getting the hang of this.


While trying to work my way around all the Little Peppers’ blog posts, I found this one at Part-Time Monster. It made me ponder what I have lost and how much there is to lose. Then I felt fortunate that I haven’t lost more. Sometimes we have no control over it and other times, maybe we are careless. I guess it is all relative. Some things I’ll never get back, others, I might yet see again.

Like that gift voucher that expires early December.

I’ve lost both sets of grandparents. Which makes them sound like salt and pepper shakers that I left in a car park somewhere. Lost is a strange euphemism for death. But, while the ache of loss never leaves you, I stopped feeling angry that they died and felt  privileged that I knew them to an age where I was old enough to remember them. Old enough to have meaningful relationships with them. Old enough to understand what it meant to lose them.

I’ve lost a dog and two cats and the tree outside my bedroom window.

I lost Billy Goat Gruff when I was three. I took him as a shopping companion with Mum and he never came home. Strangely, I can’t remember what he looked like but I vividly remember my distress when he went missing.

Every year, we gave up some of our things to charity. Technically, that doesn’t classify as ‘lost’ except, I gave up MonkeyMonkeyMoo and regretted it. My aunt knitted him for me when I was in hospital. I kept other things she knitted that were smaller and easier to store.

I’ve lost friends to nothing more sinister than different paths. I lost a book to one of those friends, but I believe the book is better with her.

I lost my favourite dangly earring one winter.

I lost my purse on Christmas Eve and got it back five days later with everything still in it.

I’m losing hair and skin cells and youth with every passing year.

Hopefully I have lost misconceptions and ignorance and fear.

I’ve lost my internet connection and found nanopoblano2015darkit.

Perhaps I have lost religion but found faith.

Perhaps I have lost my mind but found sanity.

So much to lose, but still so much to find.


skipRarasaur is so full of enticing challenges I can rarely keep up!

This one is a list, an ever growing list of things that remind me of who I truly am.

  1. Leaves
  2. Stripy socks
  3. Puppets and muppets
  4. Small things that fit in your palm
  5. Wallyism
  6. Autumn
  7. Storms
  8. Jonquils
  9. Pictures
  10. Organisation
  11. Alphabetical order (and the temptation to order this list accordingly)
  12. Cat whiskers
  13. Cat peets (paws+feet)
  14. Word invention
  15. Standing in the rain
  16. Over thinking
  17. Skimming stones
  18. The tortoise, not the hare
  19. Making something from nothing
  20. The beauty of imperfection
  21. Incidental Music
  22. Stationary
  23. Paper and Parchment
  24. Pencils, pens and paints
  25. The history of objects
  26. Collecting/hoarding
  27. Churches
  28. Dogs and cats
  29. Handwritten Letters
  30. Joy hidden in the mundane
  31. Libraries
  32. Words
  33. Procrastination
  34. Half finished projects
  35. Graveyards
  36. Skipping
  37. Pianos
  38. Cartoons and animations
  39. Clocks
  40. An open fire
  41. Window seats
  42. Markets
  43. Cinnamon
  44. Happy hands
  45. Green and ochre
  46. Old books
  47. Attic rooms
  48. Stars
  49. Feathers

Anything I’ve missed? Anything you relate to?