Super Blue Moon’ Jan 30, 2018


A rare phenomena occurred last night and what is probably rarer is that I managed to photograph it – a Super Blue Blood Moon. Although the forecast was for the moon to be visible from 5pm yesterday until 8am this morning, the skies above Naas were quite cloudy except for an hour around midnight.

A ‘Super Moon’ is simply a moon that is closer to the Earth than normal. As a result, it appears bigger and brighter in the sky.
A ‘Blue Moon’ is also simple and means the second full moon in a calendar month.

Although we use the phrase “once in a blue moon” to indicate rare occurrences, blue moons are not quite as rare as the famous phrase suggests: the next Super Blue moon is due to appear on March 31. However, the next one after that is October 2, 2020.

Last night’s moon was also be classed as a ‘Blood Moon’

which is when sunlight passes through the atmosphere above the Earth, casting a dark colour across the surface of the moon and happens thanks to a total lunar eclipse across Australia, Asia and parts of the USA. As is the case with all total lunar eclipses, the Earth will cast a darkened red-tinted shadow across the face of its natural satellite, hence the term “blood moon.”

This is quite a rare phenomena as the last ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ happened in 1866, and according to Astronomy Ireland’s David Moore it won’t happen again until 2037.

We in Ireland witnessed the Super and the Blue aspects of the Moon last night but the Blood aspect was not visible to the Irish observer

Great to get some photos as the moon appeared through the clouds over the trees out back.


The Blood Moon-27 July 2018

I’ve always been fascinated by the planets and stars although I never pursued the interest past reading or TV programmes. However, I do watch out for forecasts of “extra-terrestrial” events. In January of this year I actually managed to photograph the Super Blue Moon.

Last night however the Blood Moon was the focus. Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at the University of Cambridge, explained the “blood moon” phenomena in today’s paper:

It’s called a blood moon because the light from the sun goes through the Earth’s atmosphere on its way to the moon, and the Earth’s atmosphere turns it red in the same way that when the sun goes down it goes red.

The longest eclipse of the 21st Century!

The promise of a glimpse at Mars, travelling closer to Earth than it has done since 2003, and looking like an orange-red star prompted a plan to drive to Mayo designated as “a dark sky reserve” to watch the spectacle.

But by Thursday the weather forecast was for clouds and I felt that Kildare offered as much of a chance of a gap in the clouds as anywhere and the trip west was cancelled.

After weeks of glorious sunshine and clear blue skies, Friday started very dull and very overcast: not a break in cloud cover at all. By evening it had started to rain. So instead of Mayo, I hit for the Curragh.

I drove the motor way to Newbridge – exiting at each bridge to see if the view skywards unhampered by buildings would yield any glimpse of the reddening sky! No Luck! Onto the Curragh where I stood alone as sheets of rain drenched me (our Mediterranean Summer didnt encourage having rain gear!). There was no other sky gazer to be seen. However, undaunted I stayed until 11.30 when the phenomena was to finish and drove home to download images of what was invisible in Ireland

The next lunar eclipse of such a length is due in 2123.

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.