• personal

    downtime

    I captured this incredibly display yesterday: It didn’t last long, but it was beautiful while it did. Later there was more rain, as is the way in Ireland in January. You really have to enjoy it while you get it at this time of the year. I’m going to be offline for most of the day as there is a scheduled interruption of my electricity service, ‘in order to renew the network in your area’. I guess its palm flower crystal is blinking… Renew! Renew! All my devices are charged up, I’ve a Thermos flask of hot water filled, and I have pens and paper. It’ll probably be a good…

  • personal,  photographs,  Thoughts

    dogs and shoes

    When I was in Dublin this week I was fortunate to stay with Lynda Rucker, and her housemates Liz and Charlotte. Liz has a fabulous dog called Coco who is a sweetheart. As I’ve mentioned before my dog Minnie is not one for PDAs, but Coco is a total extrovert with her affection. I couldn’t resist taking a snap of her with my mobile phone. Minnie gave me a glad welcome when I arrived home, and a proper sniffing. I wonder if she was thinking ‘The cheek of her! Spending time with another mutt.’ I snuck into a few shops in Dublin, and spotted this incredible Lady Gaga-esque pair of…

  • personal,  Thoughts

    by the light that never goes out

    Last night I made the mistake of starting the update process on my Android phone rather late in the evening, or early in the morning depending on your point of view. It meant I had to leave my laptop and phone whirring away by the bed for a while as Martin and I were settling down for the night, and as a joke I warbled a couple of bars of “By the Light of the Silvery Laptop”. Inevitably, this resulted in a search on my newly-updated phone of YouTube videos for the original ‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon‘, which is lyrically quite appropriate for playing in bed. Except,…

  • personal

    thanks Mom

    Today is the 100th anniversary of the first International Women’s Day. The idea for it was proposed by German feminist and socialist Clara Zetkin in 1910 at the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen, and it was implemented the following year. Here’s what the IDW web site says about Zetkin’s aims: She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s…

  • personal,  Thoughts

    bye bye 2010

    I snapped this sunset over a week ago when Ireland was tucked up under a blanket of snow and ice. The extreme weather brought with it a couple of problems for us and other people we knew, but we pulled through and were luckier than many. Overall I had a quiet, enjoyable holiday with my husband and parents. I’m grateful for the fine hospitality and good company we experienced. 2010 is pulling away from the station and I’m waving my hat at 2011. Every day, no matter the date, is an opportunity for change. I hope you enjoy all your wished-for changes, and cope with any daunting surprises during 2011.

  • personal

    the kindness of strangers

    It’s the last Sunday before December 25th so Galway city was thrumming with people and vendors earlier. The above picture was taken of the Galway market by St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church with an almost-full moon adding illumination. Smoke from a wood-burning stove lends atmosphere to the shot. The mood in the city was upbeat, if a bit manic in some of the shops. I’ve finished my holiday preparations, and now it depends on the whims of the weather if I can make it to my parents’ house for Christmas. When I’m out and about I tend to attract oddball characters who decide to befriend me. Today, as I was slowly…

  • personal

    sky confetti

    Just before I landed last night Galway threw down some sky confetti to celebrate my return, which was a lovely thought but unnecessary. As we were in our final approach the plane had to pull up as the runway failed its ‘braking test’, and we soared back into the night skies. I admired the lights of Galway and pondered how they were going to help the runway pass its test again. I assumed there was a mighty grind session, or at least grit scattered about. It seemed to work as the plane was able to stop so we could disembark. Much to my surprise my bag was already waiting for…

  • personal

    getting in the spirit

    In the past I’ve been more of Bah, humbug! kind of girl when it comes to the holiday season. There are a lot of reasons for that, most of them to do with memories of Christmases past. I haven’t even decorated my house in previous years. This year because of the ice and cold weather, and the economic glum and doom, I reckon a little cheering up is in order. So, last night we broke out the few decorations we own, along with a couple of new purchases, and placed them around the house. I hummed ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ as I did so. The starlights are a set…

  • Fiction,  personal,  Thoughts

    Mise en abyme

    This is a set of Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, I bought recently at the craft fair in Galway (they are from Minsk). I’ve always wanted at least one set, because there is something about the self-similarity aspect of the dolls that appeal to me a great deal. I was introduced to the concept of fractals by Martin, quite soon after we met. Martin was an engineering student at the time, and loved the elegance of fractal mathematics and the Mandelbrot set in particular. When I saw the recursive patterns printed as images it immediately reminded me of the artwork by M.C. Escher. When I was a kid a…

  • personal

    Remembering Rob

    Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Rob Holdstock. It’s still hard to believe that’s he’s no longer with us. The above picture, which I’ve called ‘Elysium’, was taken a few days ago in Coole Park in Galway. As soon as I saw it I though of Rob. I miss him. The good news is that £3,761 was raised for the ‘Rob Holdstock Memorial Fund‘, and an acre of woodland in Victory Wood will be dedicated to the memory of Rob’s life and writing. Early in the new year a bench and plaque will be placed on the site, and people will be able to go there and…