Tag Archives: friendship

The Sweetness of Unexpected Pleasures

Photo lens filters, packages in the post, fortuitous flowers, spectacular sunsets and helping hands all have in common that they’ve recently come to bring me unexpected joy.


First, a recent photo of our smallholding. I took the photo standing upon the wall at the top of the road using my Samsung phone and a €1.50 fisheye lens. I never dreamt the filter would work so great. It came in a €3 package, marked down from €8, along with a macro lens.

Here are a few photos of elderflowers, soon to be elderflower cordial, that I gathered and photographed with and without the macro lens attached. I have to play around with this lens to figure out how to use it better but it definitely has potential.

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The next unexpected pleasure arrived at my doorstep as a result of Nuala landing herself in a lower leg and ankle cast for three weeks. It wasn’t broken thankfully and the cast was just removed. When Sandra heard of her accident she said she was going to mail Nuala a card. Super surprise and big excitement when the postman dropped off a package of homemade goodies and fun and love addressed to Nuala and the entire family! I was surprised by how great it felt seeing her handwriting on a card as all our correspondences have been over the computer. A million thanks to her for such thoughtfulness.

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Three flowers have grown in our garden this summer that we didn’t plant. The orange and pink poppies I’m certain of, but the purple one I can’t identify. My guess is that they’re all gifts left behind by birds. No matter how they arrived, these fantastic florae are welcome to stay and put down forever roots on our smallholding. Their blooms are lovely and I admire their independence and determination.

A generous and loving family who are holidaying on Aran for the week stopped by to buy fresh vegetables. After talking a bit about the this and that of our garden, they agreed to a barter of time for food and returned the next day to help lighten our load. 245 garlic bulbs were dug up then laid to dry and a bed of rocket was cut down in order to regrow a second time. These overdue garden jobs were completed in not much more than an hour– so quickly that there was time to spare for playing, relaxing and sharing a meal together. It’s a day we won’t soon forget.

Whether intended or unintended, I’ve no doubt that the surprise element of these lovely gifts- quality, friendship, generosity, beauty, selflessness and time- made receiving them even nicer. It’s said that little things mean a lot. I think they mean even more and are even sweeter when they’re unexpected.

p.s. The (unfiltered) sunset photos are from 4th of July. Turning around and seeing our blue shadows cast on the side of the house was another beautiful moment of surprise which I was fortunate enough to share with a good friend.

Friends Helping Friends

With the help of friends and cooperation from Mother Nature, we at last got our new plastic on our enlarged polytunnel. In chilly weather with many helping hands,we had the work done in record time.  It’s a wonderful feeling to accomplish such a large and necessary task with the cooperation of so many, each knowing instinctively when to lead, when to follow, and when to stay out of the way.

in shivering air

with so much work to be done

friendship warms the heart

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The photo challenge word of the week is ‘friends’ and Ronovan’s haiku challenge words this week are ‘friend & shiver’.

True friends are among the greatest of all blessings….feeling appreciation for all my friendships, near and far.

p.s. Apologies for not answering comments sooner!  Busy days keeping me from doing so…neglecting my cyber friends feels horrible, but I’m steadily balancing the scales of work and home.  Thanks for your continued understanding and wonderful advice about managing it all.

Melissa Xx

Equally Unique & Special


immense balance and

concentration clearly guides

young attention span

Fun and games.

Has anyone else modified the traditional egg and spoon race to potato and spoon?  That’s how we do it here on the island; a very Irish substitute indeed.

Does it matter that one child might have a smaller-than-other’s potato which is easier to balance on a larger-than-other’s spoon? Continue reading

The Rainbow IS the Pot of Gold


Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!
~ Old Irish Blessing

This beautiful photo was taken and shared with me by a friend yesterday. It’s the view from the front door of The Aran Islands Hotel where we work together.

While it’s impossible to get to the end of a rainbow (it’s an optical effect that moves as you approach it), the proverbial pot of gold is all around us, ready to offer the intangible rewards received when being aware and present.

With rain being a typical forecast here in Ireland, rainbows are easy to take for granted. And even more so here on the Aran Islands where we see them often in our wide open skies.

So maybe it was because of the double rainbow that she stirred from her work to capture it. More likely it was the child-like exuberance that is such an endearing part of her personality that drew her out of doors. Either way, this is a grand example of what I believe to be true;

The rainbow IS the pot of gold.

“The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow,
But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.”
~ Old Irish Saying

May your day be full of peace, love, & joy,                                                                                                                         Melissa Xx

p.s. And keep your chin up cuz that’s where the rainbows are!

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