Tag Archives: photography

Puss in Pants


Greta makings use of the lower half of last year’s scarecrow. Have a fabulous Thursday everyone. 馃檪

eat fish pie as dusk dusts over the days end

Not too long聽ago we spent a beautiful few days and evenings with the visiting family of some island living friends.

Amazing weather makes amazing memories and on this night the swimming, dining, and fishing all at the Kilronan pier offered some fine photo opportunities. 聽Click on any picture to start a wee slideshow.

eat fish pie

as dusk dusts over

the days end

I think any of the pictures could represent this week’s photo word ‘strength’ for many different reasons. 聽Does one say ‘strong’ more than the others聽to you?

Haiku fun brought to us by Ronovan Writes, thanking him for the two cool words, ‘pie and dust’.

I hope all who read this are well and so are those you love.

Melissa Xx

It’s a Good Day to Have a Good Day

Every day won’t be the best ever, but there’s a best part to each and every day. 聽It may not be what you hope or expect. 聽In fact, better on these less than best (hard) days to stop expecting and instead wait with optimistic anticipation for the completely unexpected joys that appear out of seemingly nowhere from unlikely people, places, and things.

If there’s something ostensibly big keeping you from your joy, focus your attention on something small. 聽There are little miracles everywhere in nature just waiting to distract us from our thoughts of ourselves and our worries…

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Native sean n贸s singing on Inis Mor

native 脡ire sean n贸s,

winding聽melismatic tunes-

a fresh sound聽to most


Irish dance is world renowned, but it’s counterpart in song, sean n贸s,聽hasn’t quite reached the same global recognition. 聽Translated from Gaelic to English, sean n贸s mean ‘old style or old way’ and rightfully so as it’s used to describe this purest form of Irish music.

Each song is unique to the singer and is聽made up of聽very technical aspects of performance such as intonation, ornamentation, and tempo. 聽In many ways it reminds me of Indian/Hindi music. 聽Seemingly, it’s sung while also breathing, as long verses are expressed with barely a break for air; difficult is an understatement, though when they are well practiced, it flows聽with apparent ease.

This excerpt from Wikipedia–

Decorative elements common in sean-n贸s singing include:

  • Highly ornamented where the voice is placed near the top of the range
  • Nasalisation
  • A second form of nasalisation, used in the south, produces an “m”, “n” or “ng” sound at the end of a phrase
  • One syllable in a word can be sung to several notes
  • Brief pauses initiated by glottal stops, “slides” or glissandi (predominantly when sung by women)
  • Very long extended phrases
  • A tendency to draw breath after a conjunction or linking words rather than at the end of a phrase
  • The ending of some songs by speaking the finishing line instead of singing it
  • Varying the melody in each verse

A live experience is magically hypnotic. 聽A whole room immediately shushes when someone starts singing– always from their seat, no standing and performing (unless it’s a competition), just wherever they are at the time. 聽Though others may join in the song or offer encouraging words, the attention remains on the singer. 聽And some songs can be six or seven minutes in length. 聽That mightn’t sound like very long, but this can go on and on as a new singer starts just after one ends. 聽I’m always touched by聽how so many people who are gathered but not together can remain so respectful and attentive and enthralled.

The songs are passed down from generation to generation and as I have difficulty understanding the content of the songs, I have another Wiki excerpt to describe the meanings of the song lyrics:

Many of the songs typically sung sean-n贸s could be seen as forms of love poetry, laments, or references to historical events such as political rebellions or times of famine, lullabies, nature poetry, devotional songs, or combinations of these.聽聽Comic songs are also part of the tradition.

Not everywhere in Ireland practices this tradition, but in the Gaeltachts (Irish speaking regions) the natives are raised with it. 聽We’re fortunate enough here on The Aran Islands to have sean n贸s singing taught in the schools starting聽at the age of five years old at latest, but most children are exposed to it from the crib by family members. 聽Two of my children have won awards for their participation in sean n贸s singing competitions–there is a video of my eldest daughter聽on my Youtube page.

The above video is an Aran native who frequents the hotel for some conversation, a bit of craic, and song. 聽I videotaped him earlier this week. 聽Other fine examples of sean-n贸s singing, sung by several phenomenal talents, may be heard here.

Snapshot 2 (14-06-2016 23-36)

A snapshot from my video for my photo entry.

This post was inspired by the photo word of the week ‘native’ and Ronovan’s haiku words ‘fresh & wind’. 聽I love sharing this bit of my world with you and hope you enjoyed it too.

Cheers, Melissa Xx

Wholesome Work

Can you read my messy writing? 聽My far from complete聽‘can’t wait to-do list’… 聽I was going to rewrite it聽neatly, but decided to spare the waste聽and instead trace the pen in rainbow colours to brighten it up for this post.

While the photo is all about my work that is creative, fun, and without strict boundaries, the accompanying haiku refers more to the laborious aspects of working to provide food for our family…

working the body

harvesting diamonds and pearls

feeds autarkic聽souls

The diamonds I refer to are those we聽harvest from the ground, the pearls being what we garner from the sea and shore. By now, you know that those aren’t the only gems provided by聽the earth, our little island, our neighbors, and our homefarm; we harvest, gather, barter, and recycle.

No surprise, it’s not always easy聽living聽out a聽dream. 聽We do it not only to聽support our family’s food needs and desires to聽be self-sufficient, but because we genuinely love the physical demands and the creative challenges that come along with choosing this lifestyle. 聽It nourishes聽our soul as well as our bodies.

The process of providing for one’s self and family聽gives an energizing rush– though, ironically, we’re often working while feeling sleep deprived. 聽We feel this rush when physical and mental boundaries are stretched to working out of our comfort zones, or sometimes it’s when we find creative/inexpensive solutions by putting our ideas together and trusting聽one or the聽other’s better judgement.

I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t admit聽that there are failures and disappointments, injuries and losses, timelines not met, plans that don’t turn out as expected (or, ugh, never even get started).聽聽We get frustrated with ourselves, each other, the community, and the weather. 聽I’d rather talk about the blessings though, not the problems. 聽I prefer to write about the problems after we realize the lessons learnt from them.

Finding the balance between the planning and the trusting, the listing and the letting go, the doing and the just breathing, is something we are getting better at. 聽Like gardening, some things are meant to be learnt over a lifetime, one experience聽at a time.

Thanks to my friend Ronovan for his inspiring haiku words, ‘diamonds & pearls’, and to the four fab photo friends (myself included) who’s word ‘work’ is the theme of my photo and this post. 聽

I hope all reading this are feeling balance between head and heart聽in all to do with聽work and life.

Melissa Xx

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. 聽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聽air

with so much work to be done

friendship warms the heart

20160325_123745 (2)

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! 聽Busy days keeping me from doing so…neglecting my cyber friends feels horrible, but I’m steadily balancing the scales of work and home. 聽Thanks for your continued understanding and wonderful advice about managing it all.

Melissa Xx

Writing Letters By Hand

stationary photos

When I stumbled upon the stationary section at TK Maxx (Europe’s聽equal to North America’s聽TJ Maxx) I was in paper heaven, so I not only got a stationary and note card set, I purchased thank you and hello cards, colour therapy postcards, and a pack of mixed design coordinating papers to make my own cards and envelopes (pictured with my paper cutter). 聽Also on my 16 for 2016 list is hand written letters so now I’m ready to answer some overdue correspondences as soon as I return from my holiday next week (which is also on my list!).

scintillating thoughts;

hand hugs pen, words woo聽paper-

a slow dance ensues

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll catch up upon my return.

Melissa Xx

Home For Nine Points

home scrabble home

in the game scrabble,

smooth is worth eleven points,

milk ten, and home nine


The scrabble ‘HOME’ cubes are a few years old now, an irresistible buy as the game is a big part of our family and home life. 聽The scrabble game itself is mine from the late 80s and has wooden tiles and holders.

The family name collage is from two years ago as is the picture of Nuala. 聽The other two pictures are of our family room and taken this week. 聽I’ve never liked the blue wall paint, thinking that it makes the room feel cold. 聽I spent this past week painting the interior of the hotel where I work聽and now see our聽small room as聽nothing to tackle in comparison.

Painting our family room is not all聽I considered聽from a new perspective this week. 聽I had to聽do a bit of creative thinking to make Ron’s haiku words ‘milk & smooth’ work. 聽The 聽photo ended up being a collage as I struggled聽to pick just one to represent this week’s photo word ‘home’.

Have a super weekend everyone!

Melissa Xx

A Fresh & Frosty Morning

We had frost earlier this week on the island and I聽couldn’t resist the urge聽to go out and see it up close. 聽It’s聽rare here and it made me a bit homesick. 聽I didn’t pay it nearly as much notice when living back in Maine where it’s a normal part of winter.

Why does frost make the air feel fresher? 聽Does it kill off lingering germs from a聽cough and flu like I imagine? 聽Are carrot fly and slug larvae defeated before the warmer seasons incubate them? 聽It definitely improves the flavour of some vegetables still in the garden. 聽These random thoughts聽went聽through my mind while on an early morning dog walk, happy for the sunshine, but also racing to beat it to the frosty foliage…


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