Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Easter to Lambs,Hens and a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

After a year on Twitter in March last I was reviewing my humble blog dalliances and noticed that my Little Bo Peep (sheep followers) blog was the most popular during the last year. However, despite still attempting a passable take on John Ford in ‘The Sheepman’ western who kept trying to bring his herd of sheep to town only for the cattlemen to turn him back, I have indeed lost a few stray sheep myself during this period. However, as it almost time for the Easter Parade, as it were, I feel that it is now time for me to concentrate more of the welfare of my little lambs rather than my sheep. In this respect therefore, I hope you will bear with me a moment and allow me to indulge my affection for my two grandchildren without raining on my parade. In the pantheon of lovely lambs, these two little grandsons, that I refer to as Fanboy and Chum Chum (to protect their identity in cyberspace) are surely the most precious of all. That it why I have been out in the garden ‘designing’ (I didn’t quality as an architect for nothing) and constructing a mini golf course where they can play with their plastic clubs/ golf balls. Even if both are not quite seven years old yet, I feel that Rory McIlroy will soon have to contend with competition from two new Masters.

Easter is of course a very productive time for our six hens and most days we have an egg from each, leading to my wife and I having to offload some free range eggs on our neighbours. I include a few proud photos of our hens and their eggs but also some photos of chocolate eggs courtesy of Liam & Maire Payne of the Olio & Farina shop in Galway. You really have to credit that Italian company with both the quality and presentation of their lovely confectionery. Yum, Yum! Finally, I should for my daughters sake also pay tribute to our ‘ancient’ cat called ‘Catouille’, who greets me first thing each morning and sits beside me in the sun when I am out gardening. You could not have a nicer companion while you work but alas as soon as my wife returns in the car she hopes up on the bonnet to best gain advantage from the warmth of the engine. In her affection for sunbathing on the metal car bonnet, I feel that even Tennessee Williams might not mind me referring to her as a ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.

Let me end therefore by genuinely thanking all those who have followed my twitter site during the last year and particularly those who have tweeted me or left messages on my comments column. At a time of significant stress in my professional life, you have been a source of great amusement, acute observation and kind human contact. Thank you and may you all enjoy a Happy and Healthy Easter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Up off your Aras if you want to become a Roget's Thesaurus

There are some whose greatest ambition is to occupy the Presidential Aras,

But for me my fondest wish is somehow to become a Roget’s Thesaurus.

I realise for many this is banal, trite and even perhaps extremely absurd,

But even they have to admit that I then would never be lost for a word.

At present I labour to finish the crossword whether Simplex or Crosaire,

But as a Thesaurus I could find a ready solution without pause or care.

No more expletives would issue leading to calls to the local constabulary,

As my ever present wordy options would help increase my vocabulary.

I could confer verbal charity of expression like a linguistic Chuck Feeney,

And could aspire to matching a poetic master like one Seamus Heaney.

Moreover, these verses would not as at present lack rhyme or reason,

But would have multiple choices for words appropriate to every season.

I know some are still sceptical and consider this just so much babble,

But they must admit that I could be very effective in winning at Scrabble.

So I do not need to just differ with you, and feel I should now take a bow,

Because the Thesaurus me could also bicker, disagree, quarrel and row.

I feel that I would soon acquire a name for being insightful, cultured and erudite,

And this despite the fact that plebs among you may well profess to not giving a sh*te.

Words like magnetic, magnification and magnificence will simply slip of the tongue,

And I will introduce new words like dollop, dolour and dolorous really just for fun.

But wait, a sudden thought, concept, belief, musing, or idea has entered my brain,

Which if it goes unchallenged or unquestioned could mean I would be acting in vain.

Perhaps not the number of words but there application is the secret of literary fame,

So simple usage of an ever increasingly variety will not in itself win me the game.

Alas mere recourse to a wide language facility could occasion gibber, gibberish and gibes,

A reflection upon which one should give serious thought before one swallows or imbibes.

Yet an extensive and comprehensive literary usage is an asset when all is said and done,

So let’s raise a glass and give praise to the dictionary, glossary, wordbook and lexicon.

Note: Aras means residence in Irish as in 'Aras an Uachtarain' meaning the Presidents residence.

This is a purely fictional verse written for amusement only.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ghost Light reflections with Georgia on my Mind

We are fast approaching the may fly fishing season in the West of Ireland when hundreds of intrepid fishermen descend annually on the famous Corrib Lake hinterland seeking specimen trout and salmon during the hectic fishing period associated with the short life of the famous little may fly. So in order not to be caught unprepared and unpractised for this event, I set off recently to my own favourite fishing spot near to the ‘Quiet Man’ fishing bridge made famous in the old John Wayne movie. However, much to my chagrin, I could not persuade even the smallest of the little trout to rise to my carefully presented tasty offerings and so after a few hours of fishing failure I set off for a stroll around the lake edge and include here some photos taken at the time. It is strange during this period of calm reflection how the very process of capturing these images on a mobile phone can recall recent and indeed past experiences in a vivid way. For example, the skull of the dead sheep in the bog recalled to me the paintings and indeed the Ghost Ranch of the famous artist Georgia O’Keefe which I had visited in Abiquiu, New Mexico many years ago. The ghostly theme also brought to mind the wonderful book by Joseph O’Connor called ‘Ghost Light’ which I am currently reading and which I can highly recommend. It is a work blending fact and fiction based around the character of J.M. Synge, the Irish playwright and his romantic association with one Molly Allgood. It is magnificently written and captures in a very clever and humorous way the evocative magic of a lost era. If ever I were to aspire to write a book of this quality then attempting to match this work of fiction would surely represent the pinnacle of my ambition. Indeed while I was walking around the lake, I noticed a fishing boat partly submerged in the bog water and could not but recall the words of the novel quoted below:

“There was a day many years ago, in Connemara or Kerry, when you happened upon an old rowboat that had been dumped in a bog. Cross-bench crushed and buckled, rotting tiller wrenched askew, it had sunk to its oarlocks in the oozing, black peat.”

I also walked along part of the line of the old Clifden railway and took some photos of the ghostly images of the stones and aqueducts which are all that remain of this historic line. Thus, despite the absence of fish, perhaps my day was not without rewarding personal stimulation from the wild rugged landscape of lovely Connemara and its fond memory associations.