A game of pirouettes and that dazzling ‘back-heel flick’

That time of the year again…. 6 Nations Rugby Championship time!!

The best time of the year - RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship
The best time of the year has arrived – Six nations rugby championships

Wales versus Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park has to be one of the most wonderfully entertaining matches I’ve ever seen: 277 tackles!!!… But what about Ireland winger Simon Zebo’s extraordinary back-heel flick? Sheer magic!

Ireland winger Simon Zebo's dazzling 'back-heel flick'
Ireland winger Simon Zebo’s dazzling ‘back-heel flick’

Oh… and the best bit? Wales 22 : Ireland 30 .

Irish Winter Scenes

Outside, the clinging chill of an Irish winter.

Inside, the warmth of an Irish winter’s hearth.

‘The Tiger’, by William Blake

Tiger Tiger burning bright - william blake

The Tiger

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?


And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand and what dread feet?


What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? What dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?


When the stars threw down their spears,

And water’d heaven with their tears,

Did He smile His work to see?

Did He who made the lamb make thee?


Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake

Where Mum and Dad’s Journey Finally Ends and Sweet Eternity Begins

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft star-shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there;  I did not die.

 Mary Frye (1932)

How many loved your moments of glad grace

Directions - Grave # 149-JO-St Brigid

Paws for Thought ~ Part 1

Queen Muffin II

Wrapped in Gold

No matter driving rain, howling gale, bitter cold, or blazing sun, walking the length of Dun Laoghaire Pier I am conscious no one values the very unique brilliance of my thoughts and words as much as Muffin does. Behaves gracefully in all situations and circumstances. She never asks why, just sniffs the ground to keep abreast of where we are, wags her tail and pulls forward.  Wonderful!

“…beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity; and all the virtues of man without his vices.

– Lord Byron, ‘Epitaph to a Dog’ (1808)

China – Under The Hood: Bewitching – The Four Beauties of Ancient China

China Under The Hood - The Four Beauties of Ancient China

  1. Yang Gui Fei 杨贵妃(719-756, Tang Dynasty), said to have “a face that would make all flowers feel shameful
  2. Wang Zhao Jun 王昭君 (c. first century BC, Western Han Dynasty), said to be “so beautiful as to make flying geese fall
  3. Xi Shi 西施 (c. seventh to sixth century BC, Spring and Autumn Period), said to be “so beautiful as to make swimming fish sink
  4. Diao Chan 貂禅(c. third century, Three Kingdoms Period), said to have “a face that would make the full moon hide behind the clouds

Now every man, whether single or married, would do well to learn the four wonderfully descriptive sentences used to describe the Four Beauties of Ancient China, which can be summed up in four words: ‘Chen yu luo yan‘ 沉鱼落雁 (“Sinking fish. Falling geese”).  

Certainly, girlfriends and wives would be thrilled to hear their man whisper such words over a candle-lit “Best Burger in Hangzhou” dinner at McDonald’s.

‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’ by William Butler Yeats

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by William Butler Yeats

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

                                                   William Butler Yeats

Summer Garden Splendour In Ireland – Restoring The Five Senses

Listen to the silence of this truly beautiful garden in the early evening where the sun strokes everything with a hue of gold.

Pause and listen.

The silence, only enhanced by the humming of bees and the chirping of birds, will lead you to close your eyes and feel the magic.

A gentle breeze.

Breath in the delicate sweet scents drifting in the air.


A garden of free thoughts, quiet contemplation, joyful anticipation and beautiful dreams: The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, the soil and the sky.

To cultivate a garden is to cultivate a soul.

My Mother’s garden.

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The Fireplace: The heart of the home

Outside yields to Winter’s evening grip.

To the right, a steaming mug of tea; to the left, the Sunday newspapers.

Behind me, the wall mirror, gold, spreading wide, reflecting the reflected, flickering shadows playing the end of the day.

In front of me, the Fireplace; a framed oil of shaded Capri on a hot summer’s day mounted above a mantelpiece counted with decorative jugs, and that plate.

Coals in the fire hug together keeping the flame aglow: deep-burning, unquenchable.

The spluttering logs near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart for breathing room

More shimmers of light on the old brass handled assortment of fender, poker, tongs, shovel and brush.

The curtains are drawn. An evening beside the radiant fireplace beckons. The all-calming quiet stillness of the flames: Mesmerised.

The simplicity of the fire-side chat: “Blow on the coal to keep it alive”.

Any one who knows what the worth of family affection is knows there is no greater happiness than spending evenings by the fireplace:  Snug.