Happiness is a summer swim

Happiness is a summer swim
In the green isle’s icy seas
A rush to free milk bottle bodies
When it piques 19 degrees.
Tentatively, I hold the rusty rail
Oh no! It’s almost at my waist
I suck in and prepare myself
For the familiar salty taste.
By now, my thighs tingling
The water cuts like glass
A naked man passes to my left
A daily ritual, the sea his mass.
Courage built, I dunk my head
Tickled by seaweed
My eyes are stinging, nose is stuffed
But oh! My soul is freed!
Lighter, brighter, colder,
I’m totally destressed
Smug, I leave the water
It’s time to get re-dressed
The smile, wiped a little
Damn! I forgot my pants!
I wrap in my damp towel,
Begin the awkward dressing dance.
There’s banter in the shelter
Older women dress without shame
Body parts hanging loosely
It’s all part of the game
Jeans chaffing my salty skin,
I head straight for the chipper
Hardy swimmers nod with a smile
Damp kids in line bicker
Last stop is for a 99
I save the Flake for last
Soon to comfort of the couch
I’ll check tomorrow’s forecast…
Happiness is a summer swim,
In the green isle’s icy seas
Re-new, rejuvenate, awake
It will not fail to please!

Seldom is Spring without cold (Is annamh earrach gan fuacht)

So, I had my first bad day. A fish out of water, unable to understand nor make myself understood as I attempted to make a medical appointment. Somehow, ‘me pones dos cervezas’ did not cut it with the medical staff.

Alas, fast forward 24 hours and Joe, a fleeting but fortuitist friendship, is feeding me watermelon on the roof as we contort ourselves into the most fabulous poses for the Kiki dance as the sun sets to sleep. This lone fish now has a flapping buddy. Hurrah!


Another 24 hours later, my ever kind flat mate has bought me a book. A most welcome gift as a priority for these months is to consume; media, books, art, music, culture, food; to widen my knowledge base and points of reference. On average, I listen to 4 podcasts a day, I read two books a week, I’m learning Spanish, am actively engaged in improving my Irish and I have stopped putting tomatoes in a fruit salad (#wisdom #lol)

Perhaps it’s ironic that the book my housemate has given me is a memoir focused on the North Korean Regime. And funnily enough, I had just finished another book on the same subject that very day. It’s ironic in that, I have never experienced such freedom as I have here. And not only freedom in the sense of free travel and open borders but this move has been, to some extent and without overstating, a liberation. I’m lighter, I’m brighter and my shorts are getting tighter (whoops…how many calories are in a cerveza?).



I’m not beholden to anyone or anything. Upon discovering a male companion’s professional involvement in the escort industry at a photo shoot for a food tour company last week, and with that not aligning with my own moral values, I simply left with an ‘adios amigos’, never to see them again.


Rather I spend my time being nourished by a more wholesome bunch; we do yoga in the park, we cook together, we play cards, exchange idioms, books and belly-hugging smiles. We have a culture of sharing; ‘mi casa es su casa’, ‘mis amigos son sus amigos’, ‘mi tinto es tu tinto’ and not ‘mi naggin es mi naggin’. Carlo, a carnivore, eats nothing that we do not share; cute and romantic…until he orders cold soup.

And when we do cook for one another, it’s to please, not to impress.


Life is fulsome, wholesome and rides that bit more easy. I will set my first alarm of five weeks on Sunday…and that is to wake up for the beach. Today, the electricity is gone, and so what? No pasa nada! I’ll read until it comes back. Maybe I’ll write a poem. Or pluck my eyebrows. The opportunities are endless.

On Tuesday, Speedy Gonzales here ran into a car and landed on its bonnet. And what of it? My elbow and knee are bruised but my stress levels are reduced to such an extent here that my ‘fight or flight’ response was merely a ‘thumbs up and half shrug’. I kept running.

So, my first bad day is over, my basil plant is still alive and Kim Jong Un is due to meet Trump next month. Is there a moral to this story? Qui sait? Ach nach maith an scéalaí an aimsir!



The Polite Irish

The Irish are inherently awkward and embarrassingly polite. Preoccupied with social acceptance, we are willing to risk almost anything in order to avoid ‘being a bit of a nuisance’ – God forbid!

Here is a ditty playing on this theme.


World Brain Day

Yesterday was World Brain Day. A lot of people with brain disorders and brain injury live under an invisible cloak of darkness and pain; their anguish hushed and their experience ignored.

Below is a ditty for those suffering and their allies.



Blowing Raspberries


Mama and Dada were busy blowing berries on Bernard’s belly,
And when it came to my turn, I was told to whisht and watch the telly.

And this, it seems, was routine since Baby Bernard had come home
So I snuck out to the garden to blow some berries of my own.

Now it didn’t tickle quite as much as I remembered, or as I wished
But boy did I give quite a laugh as the bunch of berries squished!

And soon the oozing berry juice had spread across my tummy,
And as I blew the deep pink hue, I heard a shriek from Mummy.

As Mam and Dad ran to my side, Dad slowly stopped his weeping,
And now we’re laughing on the grass, blowing berries as Baby Bernard’s sleeping.


Chronic Migraine

This is convergent from Didge’s Ditties often lighter posts, but life is multi-faceted and pain an equal reality to happiness . Conversation may not cure but perhaps it eases symptoms.

Read article attached for my experience with chronic migraine.

“Don’t Make Me Validate My Pain” | A Struggle with Chronic Migraine



Photo: ‘Migraine in the Desert’


Fix the leak

Sometimes people don’t hear or chose not to listen . Sometimes it is hard to remain patient. Sometimes we should not remain patient perhaps.

It can be easy to spot a leak and walk on by; to chose to ignore the leak or pretend it isn’t there. How often leaks are self-correcting?  Next time you see a leak, say it! And say it again. Gather a group and say it to them. And tell them to say it. And then together fix that leaking pipe.


Ní neart go cur le chéile!




Developing our own independent thoughts is an important and exciting part in our formation as individuals. It is a key step in the growth into adulthood. The expression of a personal opinion can be equally fearful and powerful. While it can be important to develop and trust a strong set of values and morals that inform your decisions, it is necessary to recognise the need of flexibility; to question, doubt, listen, hear and to consider alternate views. My interaction with others stands on a bridge of empathy ; I may not always sympathise with their cause but will endeavour to understand, at least, the source of their opinion and why it ripples so.

Today’s ditty springs from this well of thoughts – let your thoughts be stimulating but not stationary !



The Colours In Between

There have been many heart-felt tributes shared today upon the passing of David Bowie. A mutli-faceted, creatively-driven man who will leave behind him a lasting legacy and a well of inspiration for many. The areas of admiration for this star could field a galaxy, but for me, Bowie sparkled in ‘finding the colours inbetween’ ; the beauty hidden between the beauty, the beauty forgotten in the banal, the beauty clouded by the dark and the dust.

This ditty below, I wrote a few months previous but it resonated with me today upon the death of this icon.