Graffitti In The Gazebo

Graffiti In The Gazebo

We shall not cease from exploration.

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started,

And know the place for the first timeT.S. Eliot ‘Little Gilding’, Four Quartets


There is a gazebo at the end of the garden. It overlooks the estuary. When the tide is in, sea water pools around seaweed covered rocks below. The sound is peaceful, meditative. I drink an early morning coffee in here, listen to little birds sing their songs and watch a spider spin his fragile life between timber beams. Pressing the point of a cheap bic biro into the soft wood of a weathered wooden desk, left behind by previous owners, I carve my initials. I have never felt compelled to leave my name anywhere before, the mark is faint, maybe I will use something sharper, later.

Beyond the hedge, a rolling mist drifts in from Hook Head, devours a cargo ship on its way to safe harbour in the Port of Waterford. Like a lost soul, the muffled sounds of engines trail far behind. High tide swells urgently now. The mist is lifting. The sun is just above the horizon and rising.  The estuary shimmers and sparkles like a crystal pathway beneath a fishing boat on its way to open sea. A small thing moving slowly towards its goal.  Reluctantly, I leave the Gazebo and its world of quiet contemplation.

Purifying Water


A week after my decision to become a non drinker, I was in England for my sister’s wedding, staying overnight at ‘The Bull Hotel’ in the very lovely English Cotswold village of Fairford, Gloucestershire. We enjoyed a delicious meal with other wedding guests and I can unreservedly recommend the steak. My resolve to remain a non drinker, though really tested, remained intact. The Bull Hotel, in the centre of the market square in Fairford, is dated around the 15th century when it used to be a Monk’s Chanting house.  During recent improvements, a secret tunnel was discovered from the hotel to the 500 year old St. Mary’s Church.  The other part of the hotel is thought to have been a 16th century hall for a merchant or trade guild. There are  stories of ghosts that have been seen in the older part of the building but fortunately, I slept well and wasn’t disturbed by any bumps in the night. There is a relaxing old worlde atmosphere to this quirky place, I really felt at home and would definately stay there again.

For more about The Bull Hotel, look up

A stone’s throw from the hotel is  the very upmarket Allium Restaurant where the wedding reception was held. Champagne was offered by friendly waitresses as soon as we arrived.  I love Champagne,  perhaps I could indulge this once. After all, I’ve managed to last a whole week without my usual tipple with my evening meal, far longer than any previous attempts which have lasted no longer than three days. My system is surely cleansed. I am really tempted; just for today. HOLD ON. How easy it was to convince myself. How weak my will. I scold that voice inside my head.

Ok, it replies, let’s just hold the glass for a while. It feels nice doesn’t it. Champagne suits you, all those dancing bubbles, it makes you feel good just looking at it. It’s such a happy drink, maybe you should stick to champagne from now on, it’s probably better for you than wine anyway.

I try to convince myself that I won’t give in, but aware that I could so easily take a sip without even thinking, glass in hand equals automatic reaction to drink. What then?  I am on the edge here, I need help.  From somewhere unbeknown to my tempting voice, a stronger will emerges and I return the glass of sparkling champagne to the waitress and ask for a glass of water instead.  My lovely daughter does the same, she is my strength today.  We are in this together. The waitress looks surprised. So am I. She pours water into two clumsy tumblers which we quickly exchange for champagne glasses, and the two of us enjoy a memorable five course meal without any alcohol whatsoever, though reluctantly refusing white wine, red wine, and more champagne, but enjoying the company and happiness that is so evident on this wonderful day, when my little sister got married to David.  It was the best week-end I had in a long time and I remember everything about it.  Cheers dears







Geronimo is a cat but he thinks he is a dog. He loves Ruairi.  They sleep together often, except for when Geronimo sleeps on the red velvet curtain, folded into a deep windowsill of the little cottage window. The window is above a radiator and is a warm place for a cat to be. He licks his paws, claws spread wide, pausing every now and then to look at something beyond the glass. He stretches, his body arched like a tunnel, his front legs lowering at full stretch until his shoulders are almost down, his rear follows the same movement and when all four paws are tucked beneath him, he sleeps, face towards me, eyes closed, his blackness complete.

Geronimo was missing all day yesterday; he didn’t come back for his dinner in the evening. I imagined him tucked in somewhere dry and warm, perhaps in the stable next door, on top of a bale of straw and far away from the cloud of soaking rain that quickly developed into waves of the softest soak.  There are blue skies and sunshine today but still no sign of Geronimo.  Ruairi has finished his three course breakfast, a whole red apple, two handfuls of mixed ovals and a rawhide chew, leaving a soggy mess of dribble and bits of apple on the kitchen floor.  Minou, a white cat with no ears, drank half a pint of full cream milk . They follow me out to the garden, sit and watch as  I turn on the outside tap. The tap connects to a hose that is fed through the louvred glass of the greenhouse, conected to a very simple sprinkler. The tomato plants appreciate the long drink, water pours out from gaps between glass and concrete until a bright stream trickles over the shingle path to the washing line. When it is done, I turn off the tap and open the door.  Out runs Geronimo, freshly showered, his fur sparkling with water drops.  His protest is small, his relief is huge.

Some sights and sounds of July


Sand, shells, rocks, seaweed, quiet tide.

On the beach this morning, a soft water wash in all shades of grey. Seabirds calling to a reluctant tide.  Footprints in wet sand.  Brambles and long ropes of ivy that tumble over the cliff edge.  I meet neighbours returning from their morning dog walking exercise. Feargul says my Irish Wolfhound Ruairi, reminds him of an elderly gent on holiday in Nice.  Back home again, in the garden, feathery grasses bask in the shelter. Globe thistles outlined against the sky are dying to be photographed, swallows swoon, glide and feast on summer insects. The sound of Ruairi’s panting and the silent presence of clouds that reveal deep blue holes of other worlds beyond.