project : LEARN

Prompted by the lovely Dee over at Greenside Up, and her recent post ‘Grounded’, I decided that I’d better put my own thoughts on the matter down before January becomes February, and nobody wants to know/think/talk about all the wonderful things that they had decided they were going to steadfastly stick to in the New Year.

I’m talking about resolutions!

I’m not really a resolution kinda girl. I can’t remember ever actually making any – and if I have, well then I obviously failed miserably at my attempts hence the lack of recollection. There seems to be a design flaw with them. They seem to be made up of all the negative things you want to change in your life or yourself (not drinking, not smoking, losing weight are the usual suspects springing to mind), and then you try and change  – and its very difficult – because you’re changing deep habits in yourself, and then you falter which is followed closely by guilt, and finally you just give up because it’s all too much, so you fail. I’m generalising of course, but it’s mainly what I’ve observed.

But how about we change all that. I’ve decided this year to focus on the more positive aspects of resolutions. I’ve decided to choose a word, just a simple yet meaningful word that I’ll use as a mantra throughout this year. And my word of 2014 is Learn. That’s it. Learn. So this year, I’m going to put that word to use and I’m going to Learn. Oh the possibilities and the positivity that this could bring.

So in no particular order of preference, this is what I plan to do….


Google Image search

This is the camera I have. And this year I’m going to learn how to use it. I must have it three years at this stage, and in fairness having a super camera and not knowing how to work it is akin with have a laptop with no internet connection. So I’m going to read the manual and begin to take pictures without using the auto function.

Next, and as much as I’d like to learn how to be Imelda May, I’m aiming slightly lower by hoping to learn how to play the Bodhran! I love it, the heavy beating sounds, the quick and slow ones, the sensations that it evokes. I’d love to play drums actually, but I don’t think any cool rock bands out there are looking for a drummer so I’d never get the practice in. So Bodhran it is.


Google image search

I’m going to learn Irish. Not book or school Irish, but spoken Irish. The same language that my five years old switches to without even a thought when speaking to anyone from the island. Such a beautiful blas he has. I want to be just like him.

Yep, I’m gonna start spinning me some wool. I’m going to learn to spin. I’ve a black sheep up at O’Briens Castle just waiting to give me 3 bags full (of wool) this year and I want to spin it and maybe knit something too…a scarf most probably.


back garden

I’m going to learn all there is to know about my garden. I’ve dabbled in growing my own over the last few years, some things worked, so most definitely did not, but this year is going to be different. I’m going to learn about my soil, about permaculture, about biodiversity, about growing things that are supported by this elemental island and about growing things that are native to it, to support it right back.


Google image search

And lastly but by no means least, I’m going to learn to accept things for what they are. To learn to accept that more than likely this list may take me longer than the year to complete. That maybe some of these things might not even happen at all. That by deciding that ‘Learn’ is going to be my ‘project’ rather than a resolution already leaves it open for ultimate success, whenever that may be, and as New Year plans go, that’s not too shabby at all.

Go on and choose your word for 2014!



This is what folk were at this morning on our beach…..

DSC_0049let the clean up commence……DSC_0051DSC_0056jazz hands baby……DSC_0057DSC_0059DSC_0060DSC_0062having a rest, union rules …..
DSC_0067DSC_0068DSC_0071DSC_0077DSC_0080DSC_0083‘roll it there Colette’DSC_0086DSC_0087and finally, this little guy, no help whatsoever on the beach, but offered vocal support throughout!DSC_0091Reclaiming!


remains of the day……

After popping two Spotted Dicks into the oven, myself and little miss, and of course Spikey and Willow decided to take a stroll before it got too late. Stepping outside you could tell it had been a cool crisp day, but the deep almost tangible chill that only falls in the evening was starting to wrap itself around us. It was going to be a quick stroll! The sky was a bright bright blue and a blazing setting sun lit up the rain heavy clouds, giving them a gold lining. You could see numerous rain showers falling all across the skyline, but none got us. The boat had left the pier and was heading towards Rossamhil, and I watched as it took home with it two much loved visitors that had been here for a few days. Then there were the various signs of works in progress dotted all along our walk. Temporary roads had been made, some holes filled, with some still needing a bit more work.Lobster pots gathered in proper order. Nothing like a shovel leaning against a wall to let you know its been a busy day! And as serious discussions were being had over rebuilt walls, and as the moon revealed itself from behind the darkening sky, we came to the beach, where the image of the skeletal remains of a shed and the skeletal remains of our trá filled my remaining thoughts in the remains of this day.

she’s the boss…..

Irony is not lost on me, as I follow on from my last post with one from the entire other end of the spectrum – but such is life. Over the last five days, Inis Oirr has been hit with a storm. Not any old storm, but one that coincided with extraordinarily high tides and howling gale force winds. A storm of which the likes has not been seen on this island in twenty years. The islanders have discussed this among themselves, as I’ve no doubt they will do for a long time to come, as they’ve stood together watching what could only be described as utter destruction as the sea thundered her way onto the island! The Plassy was pounded so hard that her bow as good as caved under the pressure.Stone monuments were swept away. Roads were no longer roads, but heaps of boulders and rocks, and strewn with an awful amount of rubbish and plenty of lobster pots. The lake spread herself into adjoining fields, a lone metal shed moved across the road, pushed by an invisible force, stone walls were knocked and the ground looked like it had been bulldozed! It was indeed a sight to behold. It was beautiful, it was scary, and it was sad.

Over the following days everyone seemed to converge in the hotspots that had been affected by the storm. The beach, the Plassy, the Lighthouse – whose own back walls were also knocked and the doors and windows of the two little old houses that stood beside it were also smashed in. Some folk took photographs of the surging waters, some discussed the twenty year milestone, and others just stood there, watching, thinking.

The second part of the storm – which had by then been named ‘Christine’, was due on Sunday night. Some tried to rebuild walls while others used sandbags in order to try and contain it. And then she came.

The fallout from that visit didn’t seem to be as shocking even though almost all the walls had been got at by that stage, the road ploughed up and the beach looked completely destroyed. The high tide Monday morning was a sight to behold with the pier submerged under huge crashing waves carried by a heaving swell. I watched from a distance. I was in awe.

Whilst out on my walk this morning I came across a neighbour standing in his garden, all the walls down around him, no doubt wondering where exactly to start.

On asking him how he was getting on after the last few days, he replied, without a second thought –

“Sure what can you do, She’s the Boss, and whatever she decides, goes”

How very true. Maybe more people should start to realise that its best not to mess with Mother Nature!

I hope you enjoy the pictures of what happened this last weekend on Inis Oirr.