Little things that feed the flame

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Local Fun on Our Doorstep: Newbridge Traditional Farm


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.


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



Great Expectations, But Whose Are They?..

It was the Easter Sunday morning. The night before, a magical bunny had hopped around our back garden with a torch in hand hiding away chocolate eggs. I had plans for the day. We would go looking for eggs, she would be all excited, we would play games, then make cupcakes, some cinnamon cake, and have a day full of fun and sunshine. Instead, at nearly midday, I was sitting on the couch, wrestling a sobbing stubborn three-year-old in a fit of a tantrum, feeling exhausted, frustrated, and deflated. So much for my expectations of a great day…

Expectations are normal. Even necessary. After experiencing something in the same way for a few times, we conclude this is how the world operates and expect it to be this way the next time. We build on what we know and then go forward. Only we cannot experience everything ourselves. Sometimes we are just faced with the new and have no past references to fall back to. How do we know what to expect then? Who do we turn to?

That is where complications begin. There are always established pathways of the people before us or the people around us. It is not always wiser to take the path less travelled. The problem is that nowadays the people who have made the more trodden paths for you to fall onto often turn out to be absolute strangers who neither know you nor care about you. Media is one major incarnation of those influences. We are presented with photoshopped unrealistic bodies of celebrities along with ‘instruction manuals’ to replicate them. We are told, ‘This is what is expected of you’.ziemuze1-1c Continue reading


The Best Thing About Night Shifts

Some people dread them. Others love them. I do not mind night shifts too much. At my current stage of life, I do prefer working days. However, one thing that I absolutely love about night shifts is travelling back home in the mornings. Not so much because I can go home and rest when everybody else has to work (though I know this to give much pleasure to some regular night-shifters). In the evening, I will go back to work when others rest and the balance will be restored. It is more about going against the common pattern, about falling out of the giant turning wheel and going the other way.
Because I travel by train, I meet crowds of people coming into the city for yet another day at work. When a train pulls in at a central station, people burst out of it mindlessly. Having rehearsed the drill thousands of times before, they seem to move on autopilot. Continue reading

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Writing Challenge: A Day in Verbal Snapshots

It so happened, that I bought a new cell phone on Monday. My first smart phone. I have resisted the silent pressure until now. However, now that I have a phone that can do this and that and the other, the weekly challenge – announced on the very same Monday – is, of course, to put it away. To feel the world with all of our senses, to live, and to capture the moments with words, rather than camera. Luckily, I enjoy taking mental images, storing sights, sounds, smells, and emotions on paper. I sort of already started this without prompting, as you might remember.

So, here goes, one day in verbal snapshots. (I actually managed to take a few real ones in the evening, with camera, as you might have seen in this post.) Continue reading


The Mystery of Rufus Wainwright

Music. I guess I should start with a disclaimer that I was never really that much into it. Not like some people. I do love music and it would be awkward to imagine life without it. It’s just that I have never seen it as a sort of life philosophy or identity vehicle as many young people often seem to do. I am not what I listen to. I never was the one to hunt down new names, discuss musical discoveries with friends, or even hang posters of bands on the walls. (Not that there is anything wrong with it. For some reason, music simply did not take that role in my life.)

Of course, I did have favourite artists or styles and these preferences changed over years. Some events or stages in my life will forever be glued to certain songs or musicians. I think I actually experienced time travelling – right back into the days when I was 16 – at a Roxette concert a couple of years ago. Hearing Bryan Adams or Leonard Cohen live in concert was as much a trip down memory lane as it was a terrific experience in its own right (growing up in a small post-communist state where stars would come on tour only towards the sunset of their careers, if ever, the thought of seeing those guys live did not even actually cross my mind before I moved to Ireland).

So yes, music certainly does have a place in my life. Continue reading