From the Minute to the Massive

The last day of August was also the last “official” day of summer in the northern hemisphere. It was bright enough to allow an hour or so’s stroll on the beach. As Senior Son was playing a cricket game close to Bull Island we dropped him off before the game and went on to have a look-see. Junior Son and I wandered about along the dunes and on the beach, looking for butterflies and birds but also looking for anything else of interest to snap away at.

Twirls on the beach... North Bull Island, Co Dublin, Ireland...

The image above had me wondering? Small swirls and strings delicately deposited on the sand. Could it be a species of sand dwelling mollusk leaving it’s mark? The minute grains of sand and shell held together until the next tide washes them away. Then, when one lifts the head one sees my two old friends towering massively over the surrounding countryside…

The Poolbeg Chimneys as seen from North Bull Island, Dublin, Ireland


There you have it… from the massive to the minute and back again… all to be seen in an hour’s time on beach…       

Posted in Dublin, Dublin & Leinster Architecture & Other Interesting Sights, Factual Opinion, God's Straight Lines, Ireland, Local Places, Photography, Travel, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dublin Street Views – Misery Hill

I was hunting in the winter folders for a daffodil photo when this photo presented itself. Taken on the 13th of March 2013 when I was still working in town. I’ve walked passed that spot on countless occasions and never noticed the street name. Misery Hill. It sure conjures up images and inspires some ideas for future posts or short stories.

So, how do I get from an old photo of a street name to future short stories? Convoluted yet easy. Pop Misery Lane into the Big G search and let your mind free. From ghosts to leprosy to pubs to revolution… one topic follows another. History, myth… magic, imagination… thoughts, ideas… all sparked by a random sighting of a photo taken more than 18 months ago.

Misery Hill, on Dublin's Grand Cabal Plaza, Ireland

Misery Hill – In medieval times, this was the last refuge for those Lazar Hill pilgrims bound for Saint Iago de Compostella who could not afford to stay in a hospice. It apparently derives its name from an age when the corpses of those executed at Gallows Hill near Upper Baggot Street were carted here and strung up to rot as a warning to other would be troublemakers.

Thanks to Turtle Bunbury… I was lucky enough to find this very descriptive paragraph on his page. I think you’ll have to agree with me… there are tales to be told!

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Dialogue – WPhotoC

I pondered long and hard on this week’s challenge. Creating dialogue between photos as Frédéric Biver has done is not always easy but do have a look at his post to see how he achieves what he’s after. He shares a few tips:

  • Photos of the same subject from different perspectives.
  • Photos with similar colour palettes, textures, or geometric shapes.
  • A before-and-after or cause-and-effect composition.

These tips generated a few thought processes… one of which was the dialogue between the camera and it’s master. I was fortunate to meet a professional on Friday afternoon in Dublin. Quite spontaneous and rather pleasant the chat we had. I watched as Hugo was setting up his camera. There was a definite dialogue between him and his trusty tool. A bit of this… a bit of that…

Dialogue between photographer and camera...

He was more than happy for me to watch, in fact… he called me over to explain as he went along. So many stops here, a graded filter, the aperture setting… a panorama frame so he could do the timed exposures and then adjust the camera 15 degrees to get the next shot… and so on.

In between Hugo’s dialogue with his camera he was freely engaged with his explaining. Dialogue on two levels… well, maybe three because I was in my own way trying to create dialogue between my camera and what was happening along Dublin’s Liffey.

We chatted on once Hugo’s camera was ready for his panorama shoot. He was from Portugal, traveling in Ireland. After Dublin he was heading toward Galway in the west… there he is likely to get some wild Irish scenes along the cliffs… stormy Atlantic coastal landscapes.

We chatted a little about Portugal and my love for his country. He mentioned the Douro in the north… the wine region. Yes, I mentioned that we’d once flown into Porto but that we’d driven down to a little seaside village north of Lisbon… São Pedro de Moel. His eyes lit up! It’s his hometown and boy, he seemed so happy that he’d actually met someone here in Ireland who knew where he was from! I passed on one of my last cards before going my way… I do hope he mails me. I felt good coming away from the accidental meeting… shows you how Lady Serendipity can trow a bit of random dialogue in our direction… for our edification!

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Edge – Ailsa’s WTT

It was still drizzling when I went out to get a few pics of our one and only thistle. Yes, this is the only one to have made it this year. I was only after getting the colours and drops on the tendrils but I soon realised there was a little fella living on the edge… well, the way he was clambering around on all the edges seemed to suggest he was far better adept at living on the edge than what I’ve been most of my life. I’ll leave you to ponder how you’d get on if you faced all those rough edges as part of your daily routine…

Whose edge??

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Live as if You Had Cancer!

I’ve borrowed the title from an article I read recently. It is not mine so firstly, I’ll suggest you click here to visit Jim McCarthy’s post on LinkedIn. I’ve wanted to write something about health issues for some time now. Last year, at this time, I was in trouble. Some of you may recall I was diagnosed early on in June to be suffering the severe side effects of long-term Statin use.

It took months for me to regain most of my mobility and lose the pain. Pain, I may add, that was so bad some days I was literally chewing prescription only, scheduled pain killers and anti-inflammatory’s at more than twice the prescribed rates. It also took months for me to realise just how fortunate I’d been with this escape. The doctor’s words, when he made the connection between the pain and the resultant muscle breakdown caused by the tables, were something to the effect of…

“You do realise you heart is a muscle and that it will also suffer in the long run?”

Indeed… if all things are taken into consideration, it wasn’t only the muscles that affecting mobility that were suffering, it was the muscles actually keeping the vital organs vital that were being impacted.

Today, I shudder to think how close I may have been to heart failure because of muscle degradation. I shudder to think how my dependence on pain killers and anti-inflammatories was masking the damage being done. The tablet literature’s fine print warns of irreversible damage and more than a year on I’m sure there are still side effects.

How? Well, I tire a lot quicker than before the episode and yes, I have taken into account that I have aged in the interim. I am most definitely weaker and most definitely have carry-over effects like an elbow that seems to ache at will.

However, I will again stress that the drugs are great for the purpose they were initially designed for. It’s been proven that heart attach victims benefit from the use of Statins after the attack. I’m not disputing that. What I stress is that long-term use can have adverse side effects! Do research and question your medical professionals. It seems to me as if there is a general lethargy in questioning the negative impact drugs can have on long-term users. It’s evident when I speak with folk who use Statins. Very few doctors will acknowledge the dangers. Very few!

Ask questions, don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be browbeaten because the learned folk don’t want to admit that things may not quite be what they’ve been taught. Most of all, pull out the information leaflet and educate yourself! If the manufacturer is cautioning you then surely the doctors and other medical professionals must start taking heed?

I will repeat that first blog title I used when writing about the dangers of long-term Statin use…

Poisoned by Good Intent… or Ignorance? 

That’s for you to decide… however, don’t take things at face value, especially when the small matter of your health or life is added to the equation! Most of all, make sure you value every day and are grateful for every breath you take. Only when you read articles like the one that prompted this post and reflect on all the great things in life will you realise just how fortunate you really are!

Note: – This post went out prematurely a few weeks ago. I pulled it because I wasn’t quite happy with the content. Now I know the reason why it was not meant to go live. I found this amazing post on a fellow blogger’s site… do click here to read the amazing words of a 12-year-old girl who was robbed from life by cancer. It left me very close to tears…

The Daffodil... a symbol of HOPE!!

The daffodil… to me a symbol of hope. The Irish Cancer Society use the daffodil as it’s logo

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Rest Day?

Yesterday, I waffled on for what seemed an eternity. I often wonder how many folk actually have time to read all my drivel but then, I won’t hold my breath for an answer or three. Today I’ll amuse you with a short look at the canal shark. Yes, the pike is the top of the food chain in fresh water in Ireland. This little fella was no longer than 6 inches yet he has attitude, don’t you think? One day he may grow to about a meter in length… that’s if he can find enough fish in the canal to satisfy his ever growing appetite. 

Little darling... canal shark? This junior pike already has attitude...

There you have it… I’ll give you a rest today… only a few lines to read and one little fish to admire!

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Colour Contrast! – The Shortlists!!

Earlier this month I told you about the summer’s premature departure. Yes, August is usually still warm and bright around these parts but I’m afraid, the weather gods must have been plotting revenge on this little green island again, after all, they’d allowed a relatively good summer… and that on top of the great one we had last year. 

There I was yesterday morning… sulking my way to work. We’d woken to a damp, cool grey dull morning. The train arrived, after 2 days of strike action the service was again operating. I’m honest if I say I wouldn’t have been too surprised if it had been very late or hadn’t arrived at all… such is the public’s confidence in the service these days. Anyhow, I digress. I found my way onto the train and as my seats of preference one and two were both occupied I slumped into the best available third rate option.

The sulk deepened just a tad but to counter the gloom I whipped out the laptop and proceeded to get it booted up for the day’s activities. Then, as I opened the browser pages the good news slowly revealed itself. The blog awards category shortlists were newly published and as I scrolled down I was pleasantly surprised to see that this blog had made the shortlist in the Great Outdoors category. A further lift was seeing the cricket blog also on the shortlist in the sports category.

WoW!! A double whammy!! A double dose of shocking pink to wake me up fully. So, there you have it… how to drive the grey away on a dull day… get two of these babies!!  

The great outdoors!! In Ireland you must take your chances as they come. We were not long here when someone said something along the lines of…

“When you wake up in the morning and it’s bright… get outside and do something!”

We thought the advice a bit dramatic. We, from South Africa, we’re used to a bit of weather. Yes, it rained and along the coast the wind blew… hard! But generally we could call a few friends a few week’s in advance and make arrangements for a braai in two weeks time. Generally outdoor activities weren’t called off because of the weather. Here though, it’s wise to heed the words. Get out quickly and do something.

The great outdoors. Mmmmmm… here not usually that great but still the outdoors. I need space. I’ve been known to mutter that I’m a boy from the vast African plains who needs his space. That leaves me with a slight problem. If I had to wait for the bright mornings of a weekend I wouldn’t get out that much. You may notice how many photos on this blog have grey skies. Many! That leaves me with little choice… get out irrespective of what the weather has on offer… summer, autumn, winter or spring!

So what can I offer you as a photo? How about a pic I was going to use and title the post Tranquility. It was taken the last time the GLW and I visited Howth. Yes, the skies aren’t too bright but the outdoors is the outdoors and on the day we weren’t rained on and later in the day we braaied the fish and prawns we’d collected while in Howth. Yes, life waits for no man so if you want to be part of it then get out into the great outdoors… otherwise you’ll just whinge and whine about how bad it is and when you look again life would have passed you by!

Tranquility... yes, get into the great outdoors and live the word! looking north west from Howth in the direction of Malahide, Co Dublin, Ireland

OK… before I go… thanks again to all of you for supporting all my blogs and thanks also to the judges who have found a place for Ouch My Back Hurts and NK Cricket on the shortlists!!!

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Frivolous Phone Fun…

OK… after yesterday’s wee rant I’ll calm down to a more respectable level of rage… or better still, happiness… but only until the next strike inconveniences the sorry commuting suckers again. This pic was taken while the GLW was trying her best to scare the common blue away. They are pretty little butterflies and don’t often sit still long enough to get a good picture. This one, however, sat still so long that the GLW could stalk it with the mobile phone in hand… allowing me to get a snap of them both in action…

Pick your target! A Common Blue as sen through my lens... in the company of the GLW... as seen through her phone's lens!

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Dear Irish Rail – How Pathetic!!

In a first world, free economy, supposedly capitalist country we are today subjected to a rail strike. Yes… the good folk who have been employed right through the bad times are now forcing their displease with their bosses upon the paying commuter public! Where do the bleeding heart union bosses suppose a vast majority of workers were while they clung to their cushy jobs during the recession? On the dole queues… unemployed, suffering… making sacrifices while they and their members were still reaping the benefits of their over inflated pay packets!

It’s common knowledge, that after years of recession, public service wages in this country are still ahead of the equivalent European benchmark. Yet this magnanimous government, propped up by labour representation, is allowing this inconvenience to continue. Where are the leaders of the country? How can a few union bosses and their lackeys hold the whole country to ransom? Especially considering that Irish Rail is bankrupt.

But look on the bright side… let’s say a few hundred thousand folk in the country have paid well in advance for their season tickets… if there are no costs during the days of strike then Irish Rail have pocketed a cool pot of money… at our expense! Shrewd collaborative plot? However, worst still… I bet not a single union boss will loose a wink of sleep or a cent of pay while we, the paying commuters have to find alternative ways of getting to work… to keep industry going so the government can earn more taxes to fund Irish Rail!

No Irish Rail, a new coat of paint won't fix all the problems beneath!! They're old... the management needs a shake-up... the unions need to be kicked out!!

Union bosses… take your socialist crap and shove it where the sun don’t shine! I hope the resultant constipation causes such excessive bloating that you explode and spray your sorry, smelly mess all over your fellow union members!

PS – There are many good folk who work for Irish Rail. I do feel for them but none the less, get off your collective posterior and make the company work for those who are paying your wages… stop letting the unions run your lives!! It’s not as if Irish Rail is in pristine condition. It’s an aging service in desperate need of improvement… so, start by kicking out the union supernumeraries… that will signal positive intent for improvement!!

PSS – Yes… I’m opinionated. I loath communism and all it’s off shoots!! As I’ve been know to say in the past… more folk have been killed for and by the evil scourge than have been killed in all the combined other atrocities!! There is no joy in any of the dogma foisted upon the masses by the leaders of unions… after all, they have their true home in labour which in turn has it’s foundations truly rooted in socialism or communism. 

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Fray – WPhotoC

Interesting. I was looking all over for something to use for this week’s challenge. Fray. Fray… my nerves were getting a tad frayed because I thought it was rather unfair of john to use such a simple four letter word to mess with my head. I thought of the frayed edges of a flag or dish towel… a butterfly at the end of it’s life… the wings are often tattered and torn… frayed beyond repair. 

However, something in the subconscious told me I’d captured a few photos in Phoenix Park of a deer with fluffy antlers… frayed? No… that surely wasn’t a way to go? Until I looked into the matter a tad further. Yes, deer tend to loose their antlers’ velvet as their manhood wanes. Yep, apparently the annual rut takes so much out of them that as the testosterone levels decrease the velvet comes away. I promise… I kid you not! This line of research made me wonder, a few things… including if the stuff on my head is velvet and if after many years of abuse that’s why it’s now fraying?

OK… I’ll stay off the frayed and messy path. My next line of defense was to place the word fray into the Big G’s search bar… and man, was I mildly surprised! I dare you… only the singe four letter word… maybe you get the same result… 

Fray as per Big G search!!

If ever I knew I was onto a winner then it was at that precise moment. I have proof!! Look at the fella who’s loosing his velvet… it’s almost all gone yet the others still have all theirs. Does he look a bit tired? Why are all the others lying down while he is up? Simple… he’s the boss man. Tired he must surely be… he’s expended almost every drop of testosterone… and if I may say so, probably had the summer of his life!! Lucky lad… 

The one standing tall... yes, his velvet is frayed!! Why? Testosterone abuse... ask the ladies, they'll agree!! So will all his offspring... next year!!

Mind you… now I’m wondering even more… the deer get to have a fresh pair of antlers every year… of their adult lives, that is. They get lots of testosterone to share about… my alter-ego is asking, would that not be better? Every year a fresh lot of velvet to lose… after all the ladies have been visited? Interesting. Tell you what, it surely can’t all be bad to be boss man… even if it makes you tired!

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