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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sharon's Little Sunbeam Award


A little while ago Diane from Always Crave Cute entered a post in which she said with regret that she would not be participating in awards or link ups in future.  Diane expressed what a lot of bloggers seem to feel - that there is nothing more exciting and thrilling than being nominated for an award, but that the conditions attached to accepting are often complicated and time-consuming.  Often people are also a bit uncomfortable offering up some of the personal information that the questions attached to the award ask.

Most awards also require the recipient to nominate a list of other blogs to pass on the award to.  I must confess that when I've done this in the past I'm never sure if my invitation is a pleasant surprise, or cause for irritation.  
One of the comments left on Diane's post mentioned the idea of a personal award kept permanently on the blog sidebar.  The award is given once a month and there are no requirements or strings attached in accepting.

I thought this was a lovely idea and so I have decided to adopt it in my blog.  The recipient does not have to answer any questions or pass the award on.



It is, instead, my way of acknowledging the other great people who make up my bloggy world.


As my blog is not a very big or influential one I have decided to call my award 'Sharon's Little Sunbeam' and I will shine it on a blog I feel enhances my blogging experience.  As Diane was the inspiration behind the idea her blog is the first recipient.

After Diane I am in a bit of a quandary as there are a handful of other blogs that I would like to give the award to simultaneously for different reasons.  Because of this I have decided to change the recipient once a week instead of once a month - and for the first few weeks please be advised that the blogs I'm choosing are all held in equal esteem!


I have one question that I'm hoping everyone will give their opinion on.  I don't know whether to contact the recipient on each occasion (bearing in mind that the whole thing is supposed to be hassle free and low-key on both sides) or leave it as a surprise.  The people I'm choosing will, on the whole, be regular visitors to my blog.  Would you think it a nice surprise to see your blog nominated when you pop in to visit, or would youi feel uncomfortable with a link to your blog that you were not aware of?




All illustrations in this post are by Libico Maraja (1912-1983), taken from the story of 'Sleeping Beauty' in 'The Splendour Book of Ballet'.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things to Make and Do (1965)


When I was a child much of my entertainment was book and paper based.  Puzzles and games books were very popular and this one was my favourite - it gave me endless enjoyment.

I desperately wanted this toy theatre but was still too young to be able to make it with any dexterity.  I also wanted it to look exactly like this illustration but did not yet have the skill to replicate the pictures accurately and any concept of copying an illustration was the stuff of science fiction.

Although my parents gave me a wonderful array of toys and books to play with, the general idea at the time was that as children we would then entertain ourselves.  My parents had busy and active lives and we would never have thought to ask them to make something for us like this in the same way that I would spend hours constructing something for my son if he expressed any interest.  



There were a number of staples in these books.

Pages to decipher with pictures and numbers . . .
  

A maze was an absolute must (and there would have been more than one in the book) . . .


A page full of different types of puzzles . . .  


There were always pages where you had to spot the deliberate mistakes . . .


Pages where you had to find things . . .


And game ideas that could be taken outside . . .



Of course there were always pages of pictures to colour . . .


I think I was quite avant garde with this one, turning it into a sunset scene instead of the traditional sunny day!


All of these scans come from 'The Jack and Jill Book of Games and Puzzles', printed in 1965, described inside as 'the merriest book of the year!'
   



Friday, March 23, 2012

Daffodil Day (Irish Cancer Society)


Today is Daffodil Day - organised annually by the Irish Cancer Society.  All over town volunteers were selling daffodil related items - bunches of fresh flowers, silk daffodils to pin onto jackets, diaries and key rings.  For the last four years I have chosen to buy these little pins (they are very small in reality) - perhaps they don't have the same impact as the silk flowers but I though they would make a cute collection.  This year the make-shift stalls were also decorated with yellow balloons so everything looked very festive.

It was lovely walking back to the station and seeing so many people (men and women) walking around carrying bunches of flowers and with little silk daffodils pinned to their clothes.



Last year we lost a work colleague unexpectedly to cancer.  It was a terrible shock as it happened very quickly and without much warning.  She was only 45 years old and left behind a husband and two young children. In this day and age we don't expect death to swoop so suddenly and claim someone like that through illness.

Perhaps because of this I have been more aware of Daffodil Day this year and the good cause the society supports.



My ex-neighbour gave me this bunch of daffodils as a house warming present when we moved.  I thought they looked like a bowl of sunshine and brightened up the kitchen.



Last year for Daffodil day I posted this paper doll with her pretty daffodil dress,  You can find the whole paper doll book at the post called Mother Goose Paper Dolls.

I don't know if Daffodil Day is specific to Ireland or if it is organised globally.  If you also had Daffodil Day where you live today please let me know.
  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Equinox


Today is the Spring Equinox (Northern Hemisphere).  To celebrate I took some photographs during my lunch hour at Dublin Castle and in the park next to St Patrick's Cathedral.  The day was a bit dull but the flowers were lovely and bright. 



I can see these trees from my office window.  They have been beautiful this year,   


This tree (the first picture is a close up of it) is directly in front of my desk.  I see it from behind though so I don't get to enjoy looking at the pretty seating area.


This is the view from my desk overlooking Dublin castle.  I love it as it changes with the seasons and I can watch people coming and going (mainly tourists) as they enjoy the castle garden,

The following photographs are all of the little park next to St Patrick's Cathedral.









Sunday, March 18, 2012

In Which we Move to the Wicklow Mountains


So - here we are living in the Wicklow Mountains - where the air is crisp and clear and the night sky is pitch black and spangled with stars.

I've mentioned before that this blog is not really meant to be about me and my family, but the fact that we are living here is actually quite remarkable.  Until the end of last year we had a very different plan in mind - but somehow every time we tried to put any of it into action we were thwarted at every turn.

When we went on the walks I chronicled at GlendaloughCrone Woods and Devil's Glen, I never thought for a moment that I would find myself living here.  What I was aware of was a deep sense of joy and contentment during those walks.  My spirit seemed to reach out to the landscape in a physical way and I could feel it resonating through every nerve ending.


It almost seems as though it wasn't so much us deciding to live here as the house and surrounding countryside choosing us instead.  I feel as though an elaborate plan has somehow been put into action beyond my comprehension and that I have been gently but firmly manoeuvred into place.  

And so here we are at the edge of a forest, deep in the mountains, where my soul sings and I can feel the enchantment crackling in the air.   


The forest comes right up to the fence that borders the garden.  It is a real fairytale wood, but it is also a working one - so one day it will be cut down and then left to re-generate itself again.


I have two greenhouses to play in - and there are fruit trees - apples, gooseberries and I think a plum.


The forest is even etched into the front door!


When I get it sorted out this is going to be my study.  I think I will spend more time gazing out of the window than actually doing anything!


I've brought all my containers with plants along.  The garden is just starting to come into bud and I can't wait for all the dead looking growth to come back to life.  I just love drystone walls - I'm assuming these were made by collecting material from the surrounding hillside.


This is our road.  (The sheep don't belong to us.)  In a country setting like this the road doesn't even have a name.  Just hills, trees and lakes as far as the eye can see!
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patrick's Cathedral - Dublin


Some photographs of St Patrick's Cathedral (in honour of the saint's special day) which is also situated very close to where I work.  I have posted these pictures before but felt I couldn't let the country's national day pass without making an effort to put together some sort of post even though I'm still quite disorganised after moving home



In recent years some restoration work has been done to the exterior of the cathedral and the stonework has been cleaned.  It looks lovely and gleams like new in the sunshine.




The interior of the church is well worth a visit as well but there is a charge to go inside.  (Presumably attending a service does not have an entry fee!)


In St Patrick's Close next to the cathedral is Marsh's Library - the oldest public library in Ireland built in 1701.  It is one of few buildings that is still used for its original purpose.


Unfortunately my scanner is only A4 size so I had to scan separate copies of these pages from yesterday morning's Metro Herald (the great free newspaper I read on the train to work.)  They had a fabulous Where's Paddy? double page spread that I thought was a lot of fun so I'm including it (albeit in fragmented form) here.  




Happy St Patrick's Day!

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