• photographs

    robot serendipity

    Thinking about yesterday’s blog post about items in one’s home that have meaning, it reminded me of a funny incident that happened to me back in 2010. I was on my way to London, and stopped in a café (which is no longer in existence) to get a decent meal into me before the cavalcade of airport security, waiting rooms, flight, collecting luggage, train journey, and bus jaunt that would deliver me to my destination. The café was one of those cool joints with books and nifty knick-knacks arranging in pleasing ways, and I spotted this diorama of objects. (This has subsequently become of my favourite photos, so I was…

  • photographs

    adorning our lives

    Over the years I’ve become increasingly careful about what new items I bring into my home. I’ve spent several years paring back book collections and ornaments to remove anything I don’t truly appreciate. I established my simple formula before Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy became a revolution, but from what I understand (as I haven’t read the book) it gels quite closely to her system. I ask myself is the item 1) functional or 2) beautiful? If it’s both it’s unimpeachable, but it should hit one of these criteria. What is lovely to one person is hideous to another, therefore this is a wholly personal exercise. I’m not entirely without sentiment,…

  • photographs

    Spring Blossoms

    The drab days of winter are behind us, and in-between indifferent Spring weather, we do catch a few glorious hours during which garlands of fragrant blossoms glow in the sunshine. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js Today has seen a stretch of magnificent weather which stirs the senses and brings with it a burst of energy. I spotted this tree in blossom as I was heading to a cafe. I pulled over the car, jumped out, and snapped off a couple of shots in the hopes that something would arise from it. The worse thing about sunshine is how hard it is to take photos using a screen. But, I’ve learned the fine art of…

  • photographs,  Thoughts

    Stark visions

    It struck me recently that I’ve been a member of Flickr, the image-hosting web site, for 10 years this year. At this point I’ve a cache of over 3,000 images online. I’ve taken at least ten times that many, but I don’t just dump everything I take online. I like to be selective. In some ways it’s an extension of writing: I’m crafting a narrative, and to achieve an interesting result it requires editing. I’ve been looking at this selection of photographs again and pondering the variety, so for the month of April I’m going to dip in and out of these images and talk about them a little on…

  • photographs

    persistence and endurance

    It’s the summer solstice, and the weather has proved diffident. But where is it written that on the longest day in Ireland we shall be gifted with sunshine? An island buffering the Atlantic’s whims is never granted predictability. Yet, towards the evening the continuous clouds thinned in places so I ventured into the woods, in search of beauty. I was not rewarded with a triumphant, sunny breakthrough, but there were dramatic skyscapes. Conventionally pretty? Perhaps not, but arresting nonetheless. The woods were dotted with one of my favourite summer flowers, which returns each year to a glad welcome by me: dactylorhiza fuchsii, the common spotted orchid. We tend to associate…

  • photographs

    keep flying

    I took this picture in Galway city, down by the Spanish Arch and looking across the River Corrib, at the weekend. We’d been experiencing bouts of sleety downpours, but in between there were blasts of sunshine. I lucked out with this shot of a seagull frozen as it passes across my view of the sun. A moment of freedom, in between wintry squalls.

  • nature,  photographs

    some lights lengthen, as some go dark

    It’s the equinox, traditionally the day when Spring really kicks off (although some parts of the world are still iced under). Today we’ve had a proper Spring mixed bag – a tantrum of angry hailstones tossed about on moody winds, followed by sunshiny winsomeness. The gorse is in full bloom now and its coconutty fragrance is being wafted in the woods by the Spring gusts. I snapped this photo the other evening, when the light was a sleepy orange. For me it captures the joys of the lengthening days. Yet, life is fickle, and this morning I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of the author Lucius Shepard.…

  • nature,  photographs

    daffodil season

    I’ve never had much time for Saint Patrick’s day since I became an adult. When I was younger I used to march in my town’s parade, as I was part of the marching band in primary school. Later on I participated as a Girl Guide. My memories of the parades are usually about the weather: numb fingers stiffly trying to play along to the beat, getting drenched by rain whipping in at just the moment we were due to head off, and figuring out inventive ways to wear layers of clothing under the uniforms so to stave off hypothermia. I’m less fond of being in a crowd watching a parade,…

  • nature,  photographs


    Anyone who has ever watched birds flocking will understand where Daphne du Maurier got the idea for ‘The Birds’ (or why Arthur Machen was inspired to write ‘The Terror’). There is something both hypnotic and intimidating about their aerial manoeuvres and tight-knit fellowships. They form tribes. And so often, people don’t. Quite regularly a parliament of rooks assembles in the trees behind my house at dusk. Often, hundreds of them show up. In the winter their evening get togethers are very noticeable on the stripped branches. They flap in like a raucous gang, settle on their perches, gossip about their day’s antics, and seem to eye us up as potential…