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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Traffic carnage: China’s roadkill

According to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) only just over 200 pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and others people died every day last year on China’s roads (The World Health Organization’s approximation is close to double this figure).  Even the minimum 73,484 deaths (out of 265,204 officially investigated traffic accidents) in 2008 (compared to just under 82,000 road kills in 2007) as published by the PSB is equivalent to the population of my home town of Dun Laoghaire being wiped out three times over.  That’s quite a sobering thought.

90,000 people died in the Sichuan Earthquake.

The most common accident scenes in a city like Hangzhou are of a crumpled bicycle / electric bike and rider lying under a car (invariably a taxi) or bus. My, first impression regarding the accident shown in the photos below, which I witnessed yesterday, was that there were no fatalities because I didn’t see an ambulance. Actually, the cyclist was removed in an unmarked van…. straight to the mortuary.

On the motorways the culprit is usually a truck (fuel tanker), while in the countryside an accident scene is likely to involve a packed long-distance sleeper bus.

And the outlook…? 

  • China accounts for 10% of global car sales and is the fastest-growing market in the world
  • 19 out of 1,000 Chinese drive a car, whereas in America some 780 people out of 1,000 do
  • There are 30 million cars in China today. By 2020, that figure could rise to 140 million cars alone (that is a lot of carbon monoxide).
  • There are over 165 million licensed motor vehicles in China, 90% of which were cars and motorcycles.
  • Over 18 million cars were privately owned.
  • Beijing has close to 3 million cars. Every day over 1,000 new vehicles appear on the streets of Beijing. To cope with the rising car numbers 1,000,000 more parking spaces are needed.
  • China had no motorways in 1988; it now has 41,000 km, the second-largest network in the world after the United States.

….. With such breakneck motorisation the outlook looks grim.
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Autumn is here and winter is approaching… So says the red-breasted robin

Was cutting the grass at the front of the house this afternoon when out of the bush appeared a plump bird with fine, large eyes, a bright orange-red breast, face, throat and cheeks edged with grey, a whitish belly and brown upper parts – the Robin Red-Breast. This sweet, cheering friend has been nesting in the holly bush for three consecutive years. She is quite protective, and I guess the clamor of the lawn-mower had her checking out what I was doing.  Known as the gardener’s friend, robins are quite unafraid of people and like to come close when anyone is digging the soil in order to look out for juicy earthworms and other food freshly turned up.

….and so autumn is here….

The first deceased leaves, soon to be falling all around in golden splendour, are already dry and crisp underfoot; darker evenings are drawing in, and a cool breeze portends the arrival of autumn. Yet, none more so then the jolly music of the Robin Red-Breast, the autumn singer.

While in spring and summer her voice is lost in the cacophony of other birds, it is in autumn that her sweet song is clear.  It is also in autumn when the robin recovers her shedded red breast, a gesture to the approach of winter.

Robin Red-breast

“Good-bye, good-bye to Summer!

For Summer’s nearly done;

The garden smiling faintly,

Cool breezes in the sun;

Our Thrushes now are silent,

Our Swallows flown away,

But Robin’s here, in coat of brown,

With ruddy breast-knot gay.

Robin, Robin Redbreast,

O Robin dear!

Robin singing sweetly

In the falling of the year.


Bright yellow, red, and orange,

The leaves come down in hosts;

The trees are Indian Princes,

But soon they’ll turn to Ghosts;

The scanty pears and apples

Hang russet on the bough,

It’s Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late,

‘Twill soon be Winter now.

Robin, Robin Redbreast,

O Robin dear!

And welaway! my Robin,

For pinching times are near.


The fireside for the Cricket,

The wheatstack for the Mouse,

When trembling night-winds whistle

And moan all round the house;

The frosty ways like iron,

The branches plumed with snow, —

Alas! in Winter, dead and dark,

Where can poor Robin go?

Robin, Robin Redbreast,

O Robin dear!

And a crumb of bread for Robin,

His little heart to cheer.

                                                                                    By William Allingham (1824-1829)

[William Allingham, born at Ballyshannon, Ireland., published and edited verse from 1850 to his death in London on November 18, 1889.  He was buried in St. Anne’s Church cemetery, Ballyshannon]

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