HEART KINDLING

Little things that feed the flame


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How Long Is Ten Years?

I first met him eighteen years ago at a seminar for those working with children where he attended as an assistant tennis coach. Tall, wide shouldered, with dark long hair he was hard not to notice. I was a few months short of fifteen though, and, at least to me, he looked much older than his nineteen years. I can’t remember if I even talked to him then. I wonder what would my reaction have been if somebody told me then: ‘See this one here? You know nothing about him now, but he is the man you will be married to for 10 years and counting‘. Unsurprisingly, nobody did.

I did not see him for the next few years after that. Continue reading

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A Bit of Frost in the Summer

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In my little corner, many many years ago…

I should probably start this by saying this is a bit of a cheeky post title. The summer here is uncharacteristically beautiful, light, and weightless. There isn’t any actual frost, but rather… Robert Frost. For some reason, one of his poems just keeps popping back in my head over the last few days. It is a poem that I had printed out and hung above my desk in my college dormitory room. One of the many little details to make the place my own, to cheer me up and brighten my days. And that it did. There is some force and vitality in that poem, deep, strong, and vivid as only youth can be, I suppose…

Only yesterday, I found some old photographs in my email, Continue reading


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Tickle My Soul. The Sacred Innocence in The Photographs of Alain Laboile

His subject is the ordinary days of family life. And yet his photographs capture something so deeply beautiful and vulnerable it hurts a little.

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Photography by Alain Laboile

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Photography by Alain Laboile

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Photography by Alain Laboile

Alain Laboile is a French photographer I have discovered very recently, and I am absolutely smitten by his work. Living in an old house in rural France with his wife, six children, and no telly, he skillfully captures the fleeting beauty of childhood, the simple happiness of being together, the quiet connectedness to nature.

As I look at his pictures, I feel Continue reading


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A New Girl in Our House

Naming is a tricky business. At least for me, the aim is not only to pick something that sounds pleasing, but also to capture the essence¬†of the ‘namee’. I remember a time in my childhood when my dad suggested playing pirates and asked me to pick a name for myself. ‘Rosalia’, I declared after giving it some thought. I was pleased with myself for coming up with something so unusual, distant, and exotic. Something very fitting of a female pirate ūüôā

My daughter, on the other hand, does not seem that interested in the task of naming. Not yet. She has two dolls called ‘baby’ and one called ‘dolly’. So, when a new girl arrived at our house, I thought I would try to get her a more unique name.

Sparrow*, do you like your new dolly?

Yes, – she says, clutching a beautiful handmade girl to her chest.

What name will you give her?

She looks at me, pauses to think, and then victoriously announces: Continue reading


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Liebster Award for Me + a Chance of Self-Promotion for You

HeartKindling¬†has received an award. Well, not so much an award as a peer recommendation. Liebster¬†award nomination is essentially a friendly pat on the back by another blogger. This basically means that someone was asked to name 11 small blogs and came up with HeartKindling¬†among them. Thank you, Donielle,¬†for thinking of me. Do go and check Donielle’s blog¬†InTheLupus¬†for stories from her life with this tricky autoimmune disease.

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Since there is no committee or a set criteria other than the chain-letter-like expression of love towards other bloggers, the Liebster rules seem to be rather fluid Continue reading


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Local Fun on Our Doorstep: Newbridge Traditional Farm

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As we climbed back into a hot car and turned it homewards, the conclusion was unanimous – we had had a most enjoyable afternoon. ‘And we did not have to go anywhere far’, my husband, always the driver, rejoiced.

Indeed we didn’t: Newbridge House and Demesne is a meager 2 km away from our house, so virtually on our doorstep. It is natural for us, humans, to be enchanted by far away places, to fall under the spell of things new and unfamiliar. And yet, it is so true that it sometimes makes us overlook pretty cool things right under our nose. It is not a bad idea to play tourist in your local area now and again, to rub your eyes and open them up with some wonder and… attention.

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Let the fun begin!

In our case, we have been enjoying the Newbridge park and playground for a good while now. We knew the house had a traditional farm, but were waiting for our dear Sparrow to grow up a bit to be able to enjoy it before we splashed 14 euros for it (entrance fee for the three of us). Last Wednesday – a lovely sunny day in the midst of what seems more like November than May – seemed like a good time to finally enjoy our local attraction. Continue reading


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Spring in the Garden with a Child

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At long last, spring is finally here. Or something like that. If one had no calendar to check upon, it would be really hard to tell the season. Forget ‘four seasons in one day’ – it is more like 12 of them in a day here, each of the seasons getting a few rounds as a day goes by. Thermometer is not of much use either, because thirteen might mean gentle warm sunshine, or a cold northern breeze, or a lashing rain that will leave you soaking in no time. Today only, as an example, started with an astounding sunshine begging you to get out, however, it was not that warm once you did. As soon as I got my laundry out on the line, it had to start drizzling, of course. But I know this Irish weather by now – taking everything inside would be a big mistake, because the rain would stop the very same instant as you stepped into the house. So I defiantly left the clothes hanging in the drizzle, which, sure enough, ended soon, causing no real damage. Only when the skies got dark – and I mean really dark, the kind of dark that you are stopped in whatever you are pottering about in the house and think to yourself ‘what time is it? has the day really gone?’ – only then did I run out to collect my half-dried belongings. And so it lashed, persistently knocking on all the doors and windows, big heavy raindrops against the glass. And then it was sunshine again, and it rained, and it was sunshine again… And it was time for hail and.. did I hear thunder there? Continue reading