Tuesday, 17 January 2017

On Meditating- sort of

Most of you are probably, like me, in the throes of breaking New Year Resolutions.
I didn't make many and I started late.
Drink more water,eat more veggies, fruit etc
Decrease sugar, caffeine, alcohol consumption....the usual type of thing.
This year I added YET again,,,,  Practise Meditation.
I have been trying to do this for a very long time and I still fail miserably
but I think the most user friendly inspiration on this subject comes from Pema Chodron.
See links.
How to Meditate

And here's a short poem on the subject.

On Meditating

I squat in half - lotus
sort of
count the out- breaths
up to ten
and then again
eye gaze-lowish
upright torso
hands relaxed
watching the thoughts
cloud by cloud
wave by wave
what's for dinner?
remember to ring Helen
back to the out- breath
one to five
fuschia boxing the wind outside
a poem in that
three stanzas in
back to the breath
label thoughts "thinking"
think about shopping and parking
and spending and saving
the gong...

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Christmas Visitor

I put it down to Planet Earth 2. 
My daughter spent the Christmas holidays watching and rewatching prowling night panthers, roaming hyena packs and baby turtles going astray; confusing the moon with city lights they end up on highways instead of the foreshore.

It was these turtles in particular that so fixated my daughter’s imagination that when she saw a minuscule creature scurrying dangerously in suburban byroads she did a U turn. The fugitive turned out to be a kitten which happily jumped into the car when she opened the door. And so we spent St Stephen’s day looking for an owner and a vet. For kitty on further observation, had damaged his/her eye.

A trawl about the internet and the neighbourhood threw up no clues as to kitty’s identity. A chance encounter in Spar yielded the name of a vet who was actually open. We whisked the fugitive off to this surgery where we were generally misinformed and told to bring kitty to the DSPCA. This charity, however, was closed until further notice and no joy on that website regarding rescue options in case of Christmas emergency.  A cat shelter in Aughrim, Co Wicklow offered to rescue kitty but asked me to check out the eye injury with a reputable vet first.

The fugitive settled in happily, dismantling Christmas tree, bullying our 4 year old setter, cracking eggs and creating general mayhem. A visit to my own vet yielded the fact that the eyeball was perforated, probably by a scratch from a sibling, that kitty was a 12 week old male, would never recover its sight, but was otherwise healthy.

 No prospective owner has darkened our door so kitty looks likely to stay. The Aughrim lady has enough cats to rescue and our setter, while looking back nostalgically to kitty free days…seems to have accepted the one-eyed visitor as a possible long term lodger.

I Highly recommend the generosity, quick response and integrity of Catriona Leahy of Aughrim Cat Rescue. See site if you want to help out or adopt a kitten.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Empire of the Sun

Crawling out from beneath the covers of a sick bed I reached for a book. Any book.
Someone had discarded a copy of Empire of the Sun,J G Ballard's winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize 1984.

A serious undertaking but I didn't have the  energy to go rummaging for anything else.

According to the author the book draws on his experiences in Shanghai, China during the Second World War, and in the Lunghua C,A,C, (Civilian Assembly centre) where he was interned from 1942-1945

This is no light read but I did try to skim read the early chapters, ignoring detail, until somewhere along the skim..... I fell into the text.

As well as his passion for aircraft, the main protagonist Jamie Graham is curious about just about everything.  And placed in an extreme situation, where the safe, structured world he known is falling apart, survival depends upon exactly that- attention to detail.

The fear and emotion in such a crisis would cripple most people, certainly it would floor me, but Jamie manages to transcend his fear and focus on the minutiae of his new existence. Restless, eccentric, considered unhinged by both fellow prisoners and guards, the boy's vigilance, resilience and adaptability are inspirational.

My recent discomforts were certainly booted down to the end of the misery-chain by this big read.

A challenging read
An informative read
And a reminder of the importance of curiosity.



Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Attended launch of Baubles-short story collection in Camden. Hearing the stories read aloud was great. You can follow the Bridgehouse blog at
http://bridgehousepublishing.blogspot.ie/ and sample the stories from now to Christmas.

It had been over 40 years since I was in London. Visited the Globe on arrival, a lively tour delivered by entertaining actors. Walked along the Embankment and saw London Bridge in the distance, the Shard and London Eye.
A quick visit to the National Gallery, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Walked through Harrod's accessory department... depressingly expensive!
Oxford Street lit up for Christmas, windows animated with puppets and seasonal characters.
221b Baker Street- a Must -See for me.Adore Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock! Was hoping for a sighting of the great detective.Bought a deerstalker hat of course.
The Wallace Collection tucked away behind Oxford St and a great location for tasty lunch served in a beautiful court yard.
Stayed at Leonard's Hotel close to Marble arch, secluded and peaceful haven.
My partner dipped his hand in the lake water at the Lido and, though a seasoned Forty Foot all- year- round swimmer, he marvelled at the cold water of the Serpentine lake at Hyde Park.
Imbibed English cider at The Duck and The dog.
No evening shows for us.....but very sore feet.
Missed loads of tourist attractions.
Too much to see in the Great Metropolis.
Need to re-visit and maybe catch sighting of that elusive deerstalker ......

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Letting Go

The older I get
the more I know
what I don't know

And when I've said
that doesn't help

And done
I can do

And finally

of saying
or doing

Then I know
I'm getting

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill is a courageous book that addresses the difficult subject of the effects of a mother’s illness on her teenage boy.

Hard to imagine, but the tone of this romp is hilarious

Philip Wright’s school escapades, his infatuation with school mate, the Goddess Lucy, his confrontations with school bully, the Yeti, his broken specs and hapless adventures will endear him to you.

You will be strongly rooting for him and his Mum as they engage with the Big C.

Proverbial as the saying goes…….It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.

The writer is also the author of B is for Breast Cancer … and she has drawn on her own personal life story to create these memorable characters.

A powerful read and an empowering one- for adults and teens.