Italy or Holland

 Many years ago, a parent of a Special Needs child addressed the Parents Association of our school. Her child was transitioning to Secondary school and she wanted to explain why “inclusion” in the local school was so important to the little girl and to her family. It was a very moving address, particularly the poem she quoted by E. P Kingsley about the dramatic life changes a parent of an SEN child needs to make.

In recent days I heard the same poem quoted in a very different but equally relevant context by a person who had a life changing illness. The ultimate message of this poem is that things don’t always go to plan: there are things we can’t change; But we can try to accept, to adapt; the alternative is to be miserable.

 A Trip to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability — to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans… the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, Gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.

You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland!” “Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.

So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. And Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, ” Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.


Copy of article that appeared in The Irish Times: Fri, Jun 29, 2018 written by
Mary Hannigan

From banjoed to wojous: The Brian Kerr World Cup phrase book

RTÉ co-commentator’s unique contribution is so informative – and richly entertaining

The research hasn’t been entirely scientific, a random chat here and there, but it would seem that the country will not rest until Brian Kerr fits all of this in to one sentence:
“The knicky-knacky redser was right to have a ging from there, but it was a wojous effort, hit the ’keeper straight in the mush and now he’s gone down banjoed.”
If you’re a tourist in Ireland at the moment and you’ve been tuning in to RTÉ, this might have left you asking “what?”– so we’re going to try and help you out below.
But be assured, the man in question is the man of the tournament thus far. Never mind your Luka Modrics and Harry Kanes.
Some co-commentators are informative, some are entertaining, you rarely get it all in one package.
Which is why we say: Brian Kerr, we salute you.

The top 20 essential Kerr-isms: A guide for RTÉ-watching tourists

(1) Wojous: “That was a wojous attempt.”
After an effort on goal by Poland’s Kamil Grosicki almost ended up in Lithuania. Rubbish.
(2) Banjoed: “Looks like he’s banjoed now alright.”
After Morocco’s Noureddine Amrabat was floored by an Iranian shoulder. Wrecked.
(3) Helter Skelter: “I’d say we’ll have a bit of helter skelter around the goal now.” The likelihood of a mad scramble taking place in the penalty area as the attacking side desperately try to score.
(4) Dunt: He gave him a right dunt there.”
Bump, shove, thump.
(5) Rattle: “He’s gonna have a right rattle at this.”
In this case, when Ivan Rakitic stepped up to take a free-kick for Croatia. Give it the mother of all whacks.
(6) Knicky-knacky: “Peru have a couple of knicky-knacky players.”
Tricky, skilful, that kind of thing.
(7) Makie-uppie: “It looks like that was a makie-uppie one. They never practised that on the training ground. Just bang it in there and hope for the best.” When a Nigerian corner was so wojous it was highly unlikely it had never been rehearsed.
(8) Linkie-uppie: “Nice linkie-uppie play there.”
When a team puts together a string of very lovely passes.

(9) Ging: “Ah, he had to have a ging from there!”
When Iceland, needing a goal, opted not to attempt to score one. A shot.
(10) Blem: “Ah go on, have a blem!” We were going to say ‘see ging’, but during a heated debate in the office one faction insisted there is a subtle difference between a ‘ging’ and a ‘blem’. We still have no clue what it is, though. So, see ‘ging’.
(11) Rag Order: “Tunisia are in rag order there at the back, they’re all over the place.” Not defending with a tremendous amount of shape or discipline.(12) Mill: “It looked like the goalie was gonna mill yer man out of it.”
To send an opponent in to the middle of next week.
(13) Wingery: “He looks more like a wingery type of bloke, but he’s playing in midfield.” In this case, on an Iranian player with a physique more suited to playing on the wing.
(14) Mush: “It hit the keeper right in the mush.” Face, as in when the ball struck Peru’s Pedro Gallese in the mush.
(15) Banger: “Peru are kind of lucky to be there, in the group they were struggling early on, but then Bolivia played a banger in their match, so the result was overturned.”
RTÉ: ‘Brian Kerr’s Word of the Day – ‘Banger’, noun. An ineligible Dublin soccer player, usually an older player in a younger group age.’

(16) Stick That In Your Pipe And Smoke It: “He stood on his mate’s toe a minute ago, so he stands on his and says ‘there’s a hard tackle back for you, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.” Used to indicate that the person addressed will have to accept a particular situation, even if it is unwelcome. In this case, Mario Mandzukic being flattened by Nicolas Tagliafico in revenge for his challenge on Nicolas Otamendi.

What was I up to in APRIL 2018

I put great store in blogging at least one a month, keeping a site up to date with some bit of news or trivia!!!! – but somehow or other April escaped me. My excuse – I was busy attending night classes in  Web Design using Word Press and I certainly learned a lot. Our tutor set us up with a “play site” each where we could practise the various elements of web design. She also encouraged us to work on  a “real site” and so I used the site I manage for the Kildare Retired Teachers organisation as well as this one to hone my skills. My April entry on the Kildare teachers’ site was about the annual outing.

My entries on the play site were all to do with the class/home work. Here’s what I wrote about “pages”:

There’ll be lotsa talk about PAGES on this course and I need to get it straight in my head – So THIS is an example PAGE. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in my site navigation hopefully (in most themes).

It’s the home page – so it should explain why I am here?

In 2013 a parent established a Web Page for school. I started doing a bit of blogging on the site but the set-up and the format had been established for me. I merely had to come up with content and fill it in as if on “a template”.

THEN I got a present of a blog – I’m a diary keeper – so this was just another way of keeping my musings – those that I didn’t mind people reading. AGAIN A GREAT EXPERIENCE but very little technical know-how….got there by luck rather than design!

Made eye contact when a blog was required for Retired Teachers’ group  and found myself with a job. As I had some experience with the ‘wordpress template’ I went online and tried a “do it yourself” setup with wordpress. Got so far and then had to call on my expert.


Now I want to know a bit more – why and how things happen – so HERE I AM



Mothers Day 2018 – Mam and Gran

Mother’s Day quotes

“A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.” Princess Diana

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” Unknown.

“If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” Stevie Wonder

“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.” James Joyce

“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” Jodi Picoult

“God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.” Jewish Proverb

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” Oprah Winfrey








An interesting GRANNY poem read in the hairdressers today.


When I’m an old lady, I’ll live with each kid,
and bring so much happiness, just as they did.
I want to pay back all the joy they’ve provided.
Returning each deed! Oh, they’ll be so excited!
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids)

I’ll write on the wall with reds, whites and blues,
and I’ll bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.
I’ll drink from the carton and then leave it out.
I’ll stuff all the toilets and oh, how they’ll shout!
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids)

When they’re on the phone and just out of reach,
I’ll get into things like sugar and bleach.
Oh, they’ll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
and when that is done, I’ll hide under the bed!
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids)

When they cook dinner and call me to eat,
I’ll not eat my green beans or salad or meat,
I’ll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table,
And when they get angry. I’ll run, if I’m able!
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids)

I’ll sit close to the TV, through the channels I’ll click,
I’ll cross both eyes just to see if they stick.
I’ll take off my socks and throw one away,
and play in the mud till the end of the day!
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids)

And later in bed, I’ll lay back and sigh,
I’ll thank God in prayer and then close my eyes.
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
and say with a groan, “She’s so sweet when she’s sleeping!”

— Author Joanne Bailey Baxter, Lorain, OH

My little robin

  • The-north-wide-doth-blow_img-1024x488The North wind doth blow And we shall have snow And what will poor robin do then Poor thing? He’ll sit in a barn And keep himself warm And hide his head under his wing Poor thing.


He never leaves – maybe hides away for a day or two, probably finding better fare in another garden and then he’s back: my little robin.


Usually we meet in his world…as he explores newly turned soil…or roots through freshly mown grass…but today he flew into mine…following me from the garden through the patio doors. Initially he seemed surprised at this new indoor world, maybe even a little panicked as he flitted back and forth close to the ceiling. But he soon calmed and landed atop the door…viewing the strange surroundings ….preparing to explore this new “room”scape.


At this time of the year of course he is as my gardening aficionado, Diarmuid Gavin (Irish Ind 31/12/2017) says, one of the special symbols of the festive season…. quite the celebrity, with portraits emblazoned across Christmas cards, calendars and gift wrap and effigies of them balanced on Christmas trees”.

The robin’s presence is not by chance at this time of year. Christian folklore tells the tale of how a little robin flew to comfort a dying Jesus. A thorn from Jesus’s crown pierced the robin and hence his distinctive orange-red face, throat and breast. I told this story many times to many children over the years.

Another gem of wisdom from Mr Gavin tells that in Victorian times, the first postmen who delivered plenty of seasonal greetings were known as “Robins” due to their distinctive red w

My garden companion, in winter or summer, I have only to take a walk to the end of the garden and pull a weed or two and he’s there beside me, waiting to see what spoils I’ve unearthed. He hops about excitedly anticipating some juicy earthworms and any other delicious insects that might be unearthed. I certainly don’t consider myself a gardener but I do enjoy encouraging this little fellow to join me whenever possible.

Slugs and snails are my No. 1 enemy but Robin love to hoover these up. So why not encourage birds into your garden? Food, water and shelter are their basic needs and it costs little to provide a food sources all year round. Plants with berries will provide sustenance over the hard winter months. It’s a relationship that benefits the plant as well – the birds will digest the flesh of the berry and excrete the seed elsewhere, assisting with dispersal. This is obviously how my second hawthorn appeared.


Native plants such as ivy are rich in berries midwinter. Haws from the hawthorn can remain on the tree right through to March. Bruised apples from the fruit bowl can be thrown into the garden rather than the compost bin and will be devoured by birds.


The robin redbreast is one of the few birds who can still be heard singing away in midwinter. How wonderful to find a book for my grandson illustrating in picture and sound the songs of six of Ireland’s songbirds- his dad was great to encourage bird life into this and his own garden.

So they should have some fun watching for “little robin redbreast” and listening for his distinctive song.

December has been very cold, temperatures falling into the minuses. So it’s important to provide food and water for robins and other birdlife.

It is very easy to make your own feeder and can be a fun project to do with your kids. Just get an old plastic bottle or milk carton, wash it out and cut a hole in the side which will give access to the seeds. Pierce a few drainage holes in the bottom, fill with bird seed and hang with wire or string from a tree branch.

robin feeding

You can buy seed mixtures and bird cakes or make your own using sunflower seeds, peanut granules (not roasted or salted), flaked maize, uncooked porridge oats, grated cheese and soft fruit. And always leave out some water as it can be particularly difficult for birds to source when ponds are frozen over.


This trip was made Sep 2017 but I forgot to load account onto Blog.

During the year I had researched some craft courses that are available around the country. Because of my interest in textile arts and in island communities the following notice captured my attention immediately:

Hand weaving and spinning courses in Beth Moran’s Ballytoughey Looms, on Clare Island 2017.

A weekend Sept 2nd – 4th course covering the basics of spinning, weaving and natural dying. As always the course will be tailored to suit the individual or group needs in term of focus and content. The course runs from 10A.M. to 4:30 P.M. first two days and finishes at lunchtime on the third day. Cost is €240 including materials and lunch.

A comprehensive list of accommodation was provided but as I worked my way through the list, I discovered that a Film Festival was also occurring that weekend so there was almost “no room at the inn”. Luckily Oliver and Marie Agnes O’Malley had one room left in their Cois Abhain B&B. They recommended Taxi (and bike) hire from Briget O’Leary but also promised lifts to and from the course in association with Beth.

20170901_174145Bookings were made and I hit off to Roonagh Pier for my first solo island experience! I made sure that all Dublin memorabilia was hidden as I hit into the land of the Red and Green. Naturally I did a spot of shopping in Westport when I stopped for lunch but I still made the 5 o’clock ferry. Lovely clear and calm crossing.


Brigid’s (taxi) daughter took me to the Sailor’s Bar. Luckily I had booked for every evening as it was the only place to eat and it was booked out by the film crowd!!! Nice dinner, bottle of wine and chat with locals and then, as promised, Oliver collected me. Naturally the B&B I had booked was the other side of the island but as walking was not on the agenda, it mattered little.


As it turned out there were only two weaving students for the course and both of us were staying in Cois Abhainn. So after breakfast each morning, Oliver brought us as far as the church where Beth was waiting for the rest of the trip to the Looms.

20170903_164644We got down to work immediately – I decided to make a linen table runner, and following choosing of yarn texture and colour, was assigned to my loom. there was some discussion on warp and weft but most of the instruction was incidental and while the skill aspect was important, there was great emphasis on creativity! The days flew: weaving and the catering was excellent as was the company and while the emphasis was firmly on the process it was great to have a finished product before returning home.

20170903_164705  20170902_120116  20170904_151728



We also got a chance, one of the afternoons to attend the Film Festival – some short films- and be photos for their web page!!!




I stayed a day extra and did a tour of the island with Brigid’s daughter – she had some great history tales as well stories of current life on the island.



Rough crossing the next morning – but good to experience – some sight seeing on the way home – Croagh Patrick and the Famine exhibition.



Stopped in Westport again and purchased “a French lady’s book case” and in Longford where I spotted a book “Dánta na Céide” which featured one of Sr Fintan’s poems.


Great trip!




20170916_172004We met at the Annesley, many of us filled with trepidation for the day ahead and the media hype that almost negated that there was another team. But THE SANER AMONG US  saw the dangers and while the initial order of the day was to secure tickets for all, some of us were prepared to remain outside and bear heartbreak away from the crowds if/when it came.


The tickets materialised and it mattered little that they were spread all over the grounds. We made our way to Croker through confident seas of red and green – Dublin supporters few and far between saying little!

My Cumann ticket was “down at the front”, I could have been an umpire if needs be I was so close to the Canal end line! And almost behind the goal! I thanked God for the Big Screens as that’s where I viewed most of the play!!!

The minor game was underway and the few supporters there were cheering on Kerry who were absolutely flying. Talk of good games rattle around but in the end any victory will suffice – wide or narrow margins if it’s a win.

IMG-20170917-WA0008The grounds filled and for those who imply that Croker is a “home” venue for the Dubs, it was now transformed into McHale Park – red and green the order of the day and their voices completely overshadowing “Cmon you boys”.

Compelling. That’s the only word to describe the first half. It wasn’t the best football in the purest sense, but you couldn’t take your eyes off the intense action. Mayo have shot themselves in the foot so often on the biggest of days and they seemed to have done it again as they conceded an utterly avoidable goal as early as the second minute. Johnny Small hit a 20-yard pass to Con O’Callaghan on the turn. The Young Footballer of the Year elect just kept on going and when he was in range stuck it in the back of the net past David Clarke.


Mayo didn’t panic though and 35 minutes later they trotted up the tunnel leading by one 1-05 to 0-09. They limited the Dubs to just six scores, four from play, in the first half and made the defending champions look decidedly ordinary and out of ideas at times. We were worried!!!!



Dublin exhibited far more composure at the start of the second half, with Gavin making two big changes. Without much fuss we slid in to a two point lead, Jason Doherty squandering a great goal chance for Mayo when one-on-one with Cluxton. Mannion had a chance for Dublin too but it was saved!

All IrelandBoth teams went down a man just past the three quarter-hour mark  Small picked up a second yellow. But stupidly, Donal Vaughan weighed in with an elbow on Small and got a straight red – had he held his head Mayo would have had a numerical advantage. The tension didn’t relent and Mayo’s Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan raised the green flag for the second year in-a-row.

But the Dubs clung on. The talk in the build-up was that Dublin’s bench would win it and so it proved. Diarmuid Connolly came on and kicked a point and won the free which Rock slotted over. He will go down in the history books as the man who kicked Dublin to a three in-a-row. The Ballymuner stood nervelessly over the free six minutes into stoppage time. It all rested on this kick and he sent it sailing over the bar at the Canal End, joyous fans nearly shaking the roof down at the old ground.

There were two more minutes of play, but the Boys in Blue managed to play keep ball and run down the clock. They are now up there with the greatest teams in the annals of Gaelic football. Sam Maguire will stay in the capital for the third winter in succession – the first time this has happened since 1921-23.

I had to sympathise with the Mayo supporters around me …. It had to be pure torture for them. It’s hard to admit but they were every bit as good as Dublin, there’s even a strong argument to be made to say they were the better team for long stretches. But the only stat that counts at the end is the final score and once again they came up short.


Back to the Annesley for a night of song and celebrations! 3 in a row – might never see it again!! More to the point would I ever have the stamina for it again????




The younger ones took of to Coppers and some were even seen around the town the next day!


Another generation can take up the fight!!!!