Madrugada

Don’t you just love that word? It’s so musical. It’s actually not an English word at all but Spanish slang for the early hours between midnight and dawn. The original title was actually completely different but it didn’t fit. To tell the absolute truth, nothing fit about the writing this summer. I went through my usual cyclical phase of Will I shut down this blog? Can I write? What’s the point? Who am in all of this? Is it time to leave Zany Mountain forever? But in the middle of all of these questions and fogginess and let’s face it, a crisis of confidence, one thing continued to happen. The stories kept coming, the lines kept forming, my poor battered journal still had the scribblings of some might call a mad woman-words would come and I would jot them-little ideas, notations, doodles, snippets of conversations. At this juncture I would like to seriously thank my writing pals who kept encouraging-“keep writing Kat, doesn’t need to be published, just KEEP writing!” -so I did, not matter how little it was -actually when stuck for paper and a phone one day I jotted down a lovely new word on the back of my hand-which I have actually tried to incorporate into this blog. Anyway, I usually write in the season as it were but not this time as while this piece of writing would not let me go, I also struggled with the post-so it is retrospectively set against the backdrop of what I call the Great Irish July Heatwave of 2021.

2.40 am. It’s a fitful night in mid July on the Meath border. There is not a breath or a rustle of a leaf-the heat is powerful. I’m not a heatwave person-I’m a mountain woman-more suited to mist and cold hewn rocks. Without any hope of sleep I decide to do what the experts tell you, get up. I grab a bottle of water and slip out the back. For a minute I sit and pause. It is a truly wondrous night. A golden, ionic calming full moon suspended over the suburban fences. Fairy lights twinkling across gardens and sheds. An inky, yet glowing night sky. Could you capture that particular shade of blue I muse ? Surely not, it’s designed by heaven itself. The air is thick and soupy- so dense you could nearly grab handfuls of it. Even in this moment of peace my heart faintly throbs with human anxiety. Do you learn to eventually live with anxiety I wonder or is it just the case for some people, it hums even at a low frequency always in the background?

The door creaks open and out softly pads Minnie. The small dog. Unlike her companion Harley who is bumbling and hapless in his eternal puppy affections, Minnie is more intuitive and considered in her love. She hops up on my lap, I stroke her fluffy head and run my hand down the length of her back. She looks at me, eyes half closed, content, sighing. I wonder about the geneaology of this breed of dog-the Shih Tzu. An ancient breed, bred by Tibetan monks for Emperors and royalty. I consider the nobility in Minnie’s line-it’s the elegant way she sits, walks, watches. A true little lion.

Our silent reverie is broken by a rustling on the lawn. I know by the speed and bumbling pace it is a hedgehog. I wonder how it got into our completely enclosed back garden -what little secret little tunnels and thriving kingdoms must exist between all our gardens for it to land at this spot? Is it the same hedgehog as the one out the front, who we have imaginatively christened Hedge? Minnie, normally becoming a true and very loud fierce lion at the hint of enemy outsider invasion, uncharecteristically is silent and watchful.

Then something extraordinary happens. The hedgehog joins us at my feet and stops and watches calmly. Suddenly it is just the three of us beings, looking at each other, human, canine and hedgehog. The earth stops spinning, the air thins, the anxiety stops throbbing-everything just feels as it should be on this earth right now in this gentle minute. And in a strange way, every thing and every feeling in the background disappears to nothing.

I shake my head and the momentary spell is broken. The hedgehog turns and coddiwomples off, MInnie gives a low growl, the smell of cigarette smoke wafts from a doorway nearby, the fairy lights burn bright again. A little over come, a tear slips down my cheek and I brush it away-“you’re so silly sometimes Kat” I admonish myself

I was thinking of this moment the following day. My knowledge of twentieth century psychologists is scant. I searched in my mind-was that momentary suspension what Freud called a nodal moment? No that as it turns out is something different. And then I came across Maslow in my quest to explain my experience. I think what happened was what he refers to as a moment of perfection, a peak experience as it were, where everything inexplicably falls into place or dissolves into the moment, where the Universe, all of it, seems truly in harmony, it’s hidden meanings revealed. Rare as these moments are, they do happen, and when they do they need not be understood, but cherished, to remain tucked in away in your soul forever.

I wonder why I cried after it happened. And then I thought to myself, “you’re not silly at all Kat”. For in this time of longing, loss, love and loneliness, in that Madrugada, I know what I felt.

It was peace.

Til next time mo chairde,

All my love and more

Kat

So now, what’s next?

Left, right and centre I see my international friends being vaccinated. To see every last friend no matter where they roam with this little piece of armour, makes me happy to see them protected. It means we are all closer to meeting in person, again soon.

I’ve given out at length at the slow roll out of vaccinations here in Ireland. It is very slow-but somehow it struck me-has it given us time to think about how will we emerge back into society? Everyone else in the world seems to have suddenly been thrown in.

I’ve had an incredibly mixed experience through this-I was one of those out and about people in the world. A person for whom a chat with a stranger and an interest in people was my life basically. A working woman, balancing kids and work-with an ease that now seems extraordinary.

People confuse extroversion as being loud and totally out there. I’m actually quiet and shy (yes really; the reason I set up the blog was to improve my confidence)

But I get my energy from others-discourse, craic, the bus, the shop, the fellow dog walkers-basically. My interactions have been so limited because of all of this-I have noticed-I have slumped into a a different version of myself. I’ve become a lot more timid and sort of lost and almost afraid of the outside world-14 months of Lockdown has definitely done a number.

My point in all of this-is this has been more humanly hard that we can even admit. It’s probably the hardest thing some of us have done. And it’s ok to not dive back head first. I feel a degree of agrophobia-the Covid thing has not gone away.

My feeling is take time to reorient yourself, it’s not going to be at all easy-at all, I just know it.

We might need to learn to be Irish again-

We will

Til next time

Kat

The Bookshelf

I confess I’ve gone a bit -as the Dubs say-“aul wan” lately. I can’t read an actual book -I love a physical book but my recent eyesight -well it just does not allow for such flipparies (did I invent a new word-anything is possible, here on the mountain)

Anyway since I don’t own a castle and books take up space-I did a massive clear out and now I’m on Kindle and Kindle App-it’s great craic -I can magnify words at will. Seriously my millennial friends-if ye haven’t arrived here-it’s all ahead of ye…

In my abandonment of physical books-something happened me- it was almost mystical -there were some I just could not let go of. I felt so guilty about abandoning books, I could not look at the bookshelf for years. But last week I looked at the bookshelf, really looked at it and here is what I found…..and here’s the thing I saw the jigsaw pieces of my life. and my instinctive need to keep not only books but memories..

So here we go….there are 200 books on the Blasket Islands-literally every last book written on the place, I have it-well with a surname like O’Sullivan-where would you be going. I have an original copy of Twenty Years a Growing with it’s beautiful hard cover and it’s map of Great Blasket-Kerry and Limerick forever-my soul places. A strange yet very grounding feeling to know your soul places..

An ancient and yellowed copy of Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel-could a story ever give much happiness and love-pagan and catholic Ireland wrapped up in a simple and joyous story.

Cookbooks-tomes of them -my tendency to worry has been tempered by love of cooking-the chop of vegetables soothes my ever racing mind -ole faves- Darina Allen, Hugh Fearney Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, thumbed and stained, the mark of a good recipes

A Daphne Du Maurier fine and sturdy glossy and green hardback called The Parasites-this is the book I grabbed in a fire-when my parents moved home I wanted to keep something of my Mam who is an english teacher-it’s not my fave Daphne story -(that would be The Birds) but there is something solid and reassuring about that book with it’s beautiful green hardback and gold lettering.

Every last book written by Marian Keyes and all signed -you know I want to be the next Marian Keyes!

A travel book from every place I ever visited and I did see the world.

A few whimisical stories for my whimsical, romantic, flighty self-The Food of Love and Remembering Light and Stone.

Art books about Rembrandt, Michaelangelo and Van Gogh-purchased by my mother on her trips as a young girl around Europe.

An animated version of Animal Farm-well thumbed-my very first introduction to questioning and wondering about how the world works.

Lord of the Rings- and Harry Potter-books that change and expand the mind….with wonderful story telling.

In the middle of it all I found a little photo album from 30 years ago-there was I and my sisters-glowing and smooth of skin

I’m so glad I kept them every one of those books-they are the pieces of my life-and I marvel at how instinctively I knew what to keep.

We think we don’t know ourselves at all but really we do in the end.

Til next time

Kat

Spring Edit

Oh my God since they day I set up the blog-all of hitting for seven years now-I’ve wanted to use the word edit, in a seasonal post. It seems so cool, fasionable, so vogueish and then you remember…..you’re not one bit cool at all (actually is cool still a term?)

I don’t know kids if it is-so here is, at the risk of creating fads around the world is the 2021 Spring-oh joy- Zany Mountain -edit.

The highlight of my day has become replacing the bird feeder. I’ve started to become mithered if it empties down. Are they ok I wonder? it’s got to the point whereby there are no wild birds in the garden anymore. They used to scatter. Now they don’t give a feck- they just wait and look and give an odd weary side eye -even they are bored. They don’t even flap away-no siree-can’t be arsed. (It’s surprisingly nice-we’re all getting along, nature, human, birds dogs) Minnie still feels protection is needed against the magpies. Wood Pigeons are fine. For now.

I ordered a pair of leopard skin slippers on the internet. I repeat. I ordered a pair of leopard skin slippers off the net. I’m turning into an aul wan. The order was in before I realised what I was doing.

I’m starting to refer to the entire Limerick hurling team as young fellas. Therein lies ruin.

I get down on the floor and tickle the three year old dog who looks like the auldest fella in dog form of all times and realise that-oops not as easy to get off the floor as it used to be

And then it happens-“hey girlfriend-you have the most beautiful skin” And we’re off, talking about skin products like we are on fire.

And don’t you just love that-in our ups and downs we find ways to self deprecate, to worry, to mither and yet in all of this in, our spring days there is someone who goes-Jesus girl-those legs! That hair! that skin!

I am lucky to have female friends who just no matter what, no matter who-no matter how, pick out the positives-even in a pandemic

So let’s be honest here-in the presence of ungainly ankles and too tall for my own skin gracelessness-yes I do have good skin-and my 2021 secret is…

Nivea-I’ve used nothing else for years-I know this is a thing because people ask me all the time about my skin-(but not about the rest of me lol)

So my tip for the spring Edit 2021-is you know what, cling onto the good bits. Accept the bad bits. Hauld onto the pals and the ones you can say to -“do you know what-I feel fecking terrible or not great”

Those who listen to that refrain; hold onto them for they who are the ones who will stay with you forever.

And that’s a promise

Til next time Kat x

The Hope.

My Lockdown mornings are the bleakest of the bleak. I wake at 4 am -and twist and turn until 7 am. In these early Irish February days -the dawn or even the light of day does not rise easily. I lie and twist and think. Will the girls be ok? What about that mess of a utility room? Am I eating properly? Did I make that work deadline? Am I ok? The ennui and overwhelm threatens to descend like a cloud-a grey and threatening thing. The birds are not singing yet and we can’t hear the normal hum of trains and traffic. The rain pours interminably and everything seems washed of colour and joy. The colour of air; of nothingness. The silence reverberates-no children play on the green-traffic does not move, neighbours do not socialise as we did so easily.

“What’s wrong with you” my fellow county neighbour friend of old asks as we put out the bins. He’s the only other person outside my own household I’ve met since before Christmas. He stands back- a little hesitant-I have to force myself to not say to one of my oldest and most faithful friends -“have you mixed with anyone lately ?” No he says-no one but me and the wee dog. Maybe we can form a bubble-does the dog count?” he looks sad- for a normally cheery, upbeat persona -his face is clouded. I just want to put my hand on his shoulder and say “it’s ok lad, the hurling will be back before long” But I can’t. It’s not back.

I don’t know what counts anymore-does putting out the bins count? Does a sad friend count? Do I count?. I’m eternally confused by guidelines and quarantines and isolation and mixed messages. There are days when I can’t take another online meeting-they are a poor substitute for the nuances of the the real thing.

It’s a Thursday and I go to the Supermarket-I am masked and hatted. I feel a tiny bit faint-the heat is incredible. I don’t feel right-I’m off balance, I feel it in my head and feet. I see a young mother with two young daughters-they giggle and laugh and point out things in the way of small children. I smile behind my mask and their mother smiles back-“I miss those days, when they were that age” I say . We bump into each other a few times around the aisles and smile again. I miss that-that tiny interaction with a stranger. I miss it more than I know.

The next morning I take the dogs for a walk. We go by Phibblestown House-the remains of a big estate by here. Passing the old walled garden-and having not met one person on this grey day, low lit day. I have to sit down. I trace the frozen black earth with my boot . I feel my own grey grief rise-slowly, I try and supress it-never works. The dogs snuffle and smell-pleased and oblivious in their innocent freedom

I sit and think of it all. And suddenly I look to the left from my perch on this old ruined wall of this once grand old estate, I imagine all who walked and lived here, and who planted the old apple trees and wild rhubarb. And who tended that old pond-someone had to. And the tears spill up for all we had and all we are and all we will be.

I wipe my eyes and straighten myself up after my indulgent moment of melancholy. I look to my right and there it is.

A crop of tiny snowdrops

And suddenly in this sheltered and ruined place and in our bleak world, I felt hope.

Til next time

Love to you all

Kat

Yes, You Over There

Yes, you over there-I see you

I see you working mother worried about homeschooling

I see you wondering about your anxious first year child

And anxious you-I see your heart beat out of your chest at the thought of another day of this

I see you who throws up before a work Zoom call as you can’t handle the tech and wonder why does every one else seem to know what they are doing

I see you who hasn’t hugged your eighty something Dad in a different county for a year

I see you lonely remote worker whose only social outlet was the office

I see you who wishes they had any job, even a remote one

I see you, who hasn’t experienced a hug or kiss in the longest time

I see you with your racing mind and heartbeat at 3 am on what was it again -a Tuesday morning -or was it Wednesday, who knows these days

I see you-former social butterfly who won’t even leave the front door for fear of catching this invisible thing

I see you- the best friends who fell out over whether or not to take the vaccine-you know I miss you more than you know-you know that, yes I see you

I don’t really see myself anymore in these crazy days

But I see you

And this is enough

Til next time

Kat

Endings and Beginnings

Up here on the mountain-I thought I’d write an end of year post about the lessons 2020 have taught us-and then I shook my head. How mawkish, almost sentimental, I thought. And then I thought again -stop being a fecking eejit. And then I thought even again- actually, do we ever stop learning? Ever like?? Does a human ever relax-I can tell you a human writer never does.

This year taught us none of us have it sussed out. And even if you think you do-you don’t. That’s a promise.

We thought we knew everything, and we had everything and we were grand.

But the thing is -pandemic or not-we don’t have it sussed out. We don’t know what the next day brings or really what the choices of our ancestors have brought us to this point in time -because that’s the point-life is random. We have no idea really where we will turn up or where we will end up or who will saunter in and make you question everything. How even the very essence of love and human interaction can change and evolve and adapt.

Life is random-it always was and will continue to be and for this 2020 gives us a lesson. There are many things beyond our control.

And in a strange way- this is liberating. Here. Now. Us.

Til next time

Kat x

County Lines

Hurling. hurling, hurling, bloody uplifting, heart attack inducing, ancient hurling.

The hurling was off this year. Covid turned everything upside down. The championship-played from May to August, was gone. Now if anyone does not know what hurling is-it’s one of three national sports in Ireland. This one (ok all of them) are riven with passion and heat. Hurling requires warriors at all levels, be it club or county. We have 32 counties on the Island-each with it’s own strength and beauty and to be an Irish person, truly to be an Irish person- is to identify with your county. The one by birth usually is first, (home, home as we refer it to) . You can of course feel the love for your adopted county or the love for your partner’s county or for where your Gran came from.

I’m from deep hurling country. The tiny squiggly bit in Limerick surrounded by Tipp and Cork. I live in Dublin. Dublin is football country. When my girls were small they used to know distinctively they were in Limerick-why? because they would see lads walking down the street cradling the hurley sticks like a third arm. Natural, like. I’m also from an Island community-what I mean by that is I am from a place that does not have a Dublin Road-a place, that’s a destination. This dear readers is a very good place to come from-why? We were a proper community and what did we bond over? Hurling.

This year-the GAA decided to hold the hurling championship, behind closed doors in winter. Winter, like-and winter in Ireland can be savage. Rain, wind and muck-this is what Ireland gives and heaves up in winter. Tough conditions. Many of us Irish people are so grateful for this decision. There weren’t the passionate crowds-and the roads around the stadiums was eerily empty. But around our TV sets we gathered and we shouted and roared and lost out minds and hearts.

I left Limerick 30 years ago. I’m in Dublin now and this place-well it gets to me how much I love my adopted town, because it is an actual love affair. But my heart beats for Limerick and I’m sure if you tapped my veins-the blood would run green and white. It’s hard when you don’t live where you are from-it takes a certain embrace to love where you end up living, not to mention the challenge of building up a network of friends and a community around you. . And that fecking homesickness-a sickness for which there is no cure. I love my Dublin people. My heart sings with a memory in 2018-when in work for the City-a few Dublin folk told me they were raising the Limerick flag on the Quays and come out and see it. It was a moment of shining pride when I had to work very hard to be not overcome by the emotion of it all.

In the the year of 2020; my heart is in Limerick-it always will be

Thank you GAA, Thank you Limerick. Thank you Dublin

Thank you every single county who lined out in 2020.

Til next time

Kat

This post is dedicated to the Limerick and Waterford hurlers, All Ireland finalists 2020.

How Technology, Science and Creativity need to work in Harmony for the Future of Humanity

Fierce mouthful isn’t it, but bear with me.

I’ve a burning confession to make. In January 2020, I first heard of Zoom meetings. I nodded along and pretended to know what my more esteemed and informed (ok, more techie) colleagues seemed to know. Yayy I thought to myself, finally we have discovered a way of having of having speedy meetings! As per usual when it comes to technological advancements, when I heard what it actually meant I was like- in the back of the head. “If we must, for Feck Sake……”

You all know I’m joking-of course we do need technology and as I pretend to be a bit Jen (IT Crowd-if you haven’t seen it- your Netflix binge is sorted for four days) about the whole thing-I do have a six year old blog with fancy features and all. Let’s face it. like, now for ya, as they say in Limerick.

How could I have been more wrong about the whole Zoom/Teams thing though. Holy Jaysus. One year later, we are talking, meeting and indeed solving problems in online meetings like we are actually in the same room. In fact they actually work. I’ve even, proudly have had some Zoom fails. Harley accidentally stood in for me at an online meeting. Christ that dog is worth every last dog treat. Way to go Harl-you might earn your keep yet.

I digress of course-I do have belief in the merit of robust and strong IT systems. I do also have a belief in science and logic. However-I am a a feeler and an intuitive person . This leads to my first point in my summary of 2020; we need both approaches. I love people similar to me, the poets, the feelers, the artists, the dreamy creatives. I do also realise at the end of 2020 that -I also love people the very opposite to me. The rational, the logical, the scientific. You have taught me more than I could ever thank you for-the ability to see outside of myself and see other views. No more has this been magnified in 2020. If you are curious of mind-find those opposite, but compatible with you and truly you will learn so much and how to take a collaborative view. I believe going forward the merging of creativity, feeling, logic and science are the way forward for innovation and indeed humanity.

Sounds deep? You bet it is. But it is also curious, creative, engaging, inspiring, challenging and not one bit easy. What, you expected easy?

Let’s work together in our curious ability to learn and progress in all our view points and talents.

Til next time

Kat

A Prayer to the Universe

I said a prayer the other night

I’m not sure to who or what

All I know is

I said a prayer

for you and me

and us and them

And the City Girlfriends

And the Country Boyfriends

And the lads down South

And the gang up North

And the Dublin 15 witches.

I said a prayer for the Limerick Hurlers

And the Dublin footballers; Mayo too

I said a prayer for the work from home crew;

The colleagues old and new

And for the security guards

The facilities lads

The Tribe

The writing mentors

I said a prayer for the deer in the Phoenix Park

The burst of starlings of an October evening

I prayed for the robin in the back garden

I prayed for the dragonflies

The tiny insects no one sees

I prayed for the seagulls and swans

On the River Liffey

I prayed for them and watched my prayer spread like St Bridget’s cloak on a February day

I saw the rusty leaves flow down the River

I even prayed for them

I watched them flow out to Dublin Bay

To meet the horizon

I prayed for the moment the sky meets the horizon

And I followed my prayer into the sky

Beyond the clouds

Above the atmosphere

Past the moon

And Venus

And Mars in opposition, burning

I prayed until I reached the black outer reaches of existence

Until I reached nothing

And in that inky darkness

I held myself and my own breath

Suspended for hours

In that vast and empty silence

There was nothing; absolutely nothing

Until

The Universe whispered back. ever so softly…….

I said a prayer for you.

Til next time

Kat

Derry and the Zoom Call.

Derry wakes at 5 am. You’d know it was near the height of Summer-those fecking birds and the racket. He hasn’t seen that little robin mind you that used to hop in the back door and look at him from the back step expectedly. Where is she gone he thinks—Sometimes he wonders was she a sign from Mary.  They say that about robins around here. He lumbers downstairs-and puts on the tea.-3 sugars. She used to give out to him for that.  

As he sups he wonders where will I go today? Maybe I’ll collect my auld neighbour  Ritchie and bring him on a spin to the Glen of Aherlow for a pint-we could even swing by Kilfinane and visit that beautiful church.-light a candle and say a prayer. Revel in the silence of the mountains and a holy still echoing place. You’ll always meet someone in that place.  They’ll all chat to you up there. 

Then he remembers. Cocooning. Ah well he sighs; sure Richie will be on in the morning and maybe Judy at the bottom of the road will swing up and talk to him through the window-she’s a great young girl-always asking if she can get the messages or the prescription. Mary was very fond of her altogether. 

The mist lifts and the day reveals itself as sunny and bright. He settles down-he’s after recording the Sunday Game. They are showing the re- runs of old matches-yes; he thinks the Limerick/Cork Munster final from 2019-might as well pretend he doesn’t know the result.  

The phone rings-that will be Richie he thinks. The conversation follows the same pathway as it has for months now. “Any news?” “No news Derry-the hurling is off” “Teresa is driving me mad” Richie says. Derry chuckles-if Mary was here now she’d be driving him insane with the cocooning too. “C’mere” says Ritchie- “I’ve learned about this fantastic thing called Zoom” Ritchie says “listen Derry  we’ve been on to the kids and all- Angela above in Dublin and the grandkids in Sydney and Liam over in London” Jaysus that sounds great Derry thinks-he’ll ask Judy when she lands up.  

They end the phone call with a wave out the window  and the usual “Maybe we’ll get to see Cork play again” he says “God you’d miss the hurling alright” says Ritchie.  

Christie rings-she has that good job in Dublin. Good jobs in Dublin, he thinks-all you’d want for your kids. “Have you used Zoom yet” she asks.  “Maybe we can have a chat on it Dad-it would be great, you could see me and the girls and Thomas and all. “Of course I have” he says, lying.  He tells her that Clare rascal, Mattie across the road-he sent one of those An Post Cards they were giving out for free with a dig about the Cork hurling team. He hates to say it-but he loved the day it dropped in the post. He wouldn’t have sent it if he had to pay for the stamp. That tight fecker Mattie.

Ah the lads, Mattie, him and Richie, they used to have the craic and the banter up at O’Malleys or even down here in the sitting room watching the Sunday games. Sometimes that mad Limerick blow in Mary would join them. Jesus the arguments they used to have.  You couldn’t make a cup of tea or anything in case you got a puck in the arm  in the middle of the match and it went everywhere. Hmm he thinks watching out the window. Would there be anything you want more at our age than fun and craic and a hurling match.  He shakes his head-the sadness and loneliness –that grey aching thing-threatens to rise. He gulps it down-he’s too old to let it rise, not now, not anytime. Especially while cocooning alone. 

 Judy pulls up in the silver Fiesta-that gracious friendly girl. She demonstrates Zoom through the window.  It takes ages and it mightn’t work. He listens intently. He writes it all down.  He hasn’t one fecking clue what he is doing but sure might as well chance it.  She’s good pals with that Mikey-the Limerick hurler. Jesus he’d  love a chat with him. He tells Judy when she asks “who would you like to talk to Derry?” ” Mikey Foley” he says without hesitation

 He takes out his medals, Under 16, Minor Cork. He waits.    

He lines up the laptop and the medals. He presses the Zoom app, almost shaking. And suddenly he is there-Mikey –long of limb, pale of skin, athletic-a true Limerick hurler. He almost glows. Derry says, almost shyly “hiya Mikey-Judy just set us up there on this Zoom yoke of a thing. I’ve always admired you even though you play for Limerick” Mikey laughs-hurling is nothing in Munster without a bit of banter. “It’s lovely to speak to you Derry-since I’ve moved over the border, I hear you were a hurling legend in your day” they die laughing-at the irony of it-him a North Cork champ; Mikey a limerick  All Ireland finalist.   

Derry shows him the medals and Mikey goes “well done Derry-sure none of us would have picked up a hurley stick without the likes of you keeping it going”. Derry feels not the grey  ache of loneliness  but the warm rise of affection. 

They sign off after a long chat and Derry, former King of North Cork club hurling says on Zoom of all places-”Thank you Limerick”-and Limerick whispers back ever so softly. “Thank you Cork” 

No borders now.

PS. Mikey and Derry continued their Zoom calls and managed to meet in real life down the town and even had a pint in O’Malleys.   Their unlikely friendship may not last through the 2020 championship…..well we’ll see… 

Thoughts on Dragonflies.

I actually am trying to write a post on robins-I’ve so many stories about them; I’ll get it out yet-like a lot of things at the moment-things are delayed, frustrated. Not flowing. Sometimes I think it’s me; but from chatting to all of my good friends from all walks of life; it’s us. Globally, we are suffering. We are tired. People who never snapped at each other in a million years have snapped at each other.

Here’s the thing-if you are snapping at someone who is in your life and you are still friends-even by a thread-the reason why they are your friends is because they made it safe for you to be yourself; even if they want to bury you and frankly shove a hurley up your arse.

So we need to evolve-and start thinking outside ourselves. I’ve become a bit self absorbed when I’m stressed-I’ll admit that. And folks-I am stressed.

If at the moment you are going in and out of work as an essential worker-you are taking things into your own hands. It’s grand for a while and if you have a sense of duty, you’ll do it. BUT you are taking things into your own hands. Life is bleedin’ hard enough without this. I know-we all fecking know. The other day I was so tired-I had to grip the desk, haul myself up and plaster on a smile. Every cough and sniffle-makes you scared. Anxiety anyone?

What has this do with dragonflies? Everything. I was on the famous 39 A after a tough day-in a daze. I was so, so tired. I’ve a sort of a childish angle to myself, where I have to sit on the front seat-and there it was. A dragonfly-dipping, diving, following the bus, free as anything. It followed me to my bus stop. I got off and did my twenty minute walk. And then again-one zipped by me by the time I got to the house.

I’m not sure if it’s the same one. I’m not sure if I’m cracking up. It’s possible. I’m not sure if there is anything going on in the breeding world of dragonflies.

And here’s the thing-I’ve a fear of flying creatures.

Let’s face our fears gang-and mind ourselves. Ok?

Until next time

K

Mossie.

Mossie slopes to the door-he’s slowed down now. The auld hip is hurting him. 82, now, getting on. But at 5 am every morning he opens the cottage door. The sea air rushes in-constant; no matter what the season. He looks at the sea washing over the bay. He thinks as he has always done, tide ever changing.

Every morning, he feels the same regret. He thinks of Mairead. She’s down in Dooradoyle in Limerick -in the nursing home. He hears of her now and then. He pulls the regret into his lungs and breathes it out again. 62 years of of failed chances. Sure they were told they were never good enough for each other.

He puts on the tea and looks at the broken trailers at the front of the house. There is a bit of streaming green damp down the gable end. He thinks to himself-he was always a great man for mending things, he still is. The young fellas come to him from around the county. “Fix the tractor Mossie if you don’t mind” they’d ask. He was always delighted to see them. “Will you have a can of Guinness before you’d go-he’d shout back” “Thanks Mossie, but no” they’d yell back.

Sometimes he’d wander down the pier to to talk to Eamonn. Eamonn is a busy man in fairness-he’ll say hello but you can’t be bothering him-he runs the boat trips under the cliffs.

There’s a fancy seafood restaurant next door-it’s a pub though really; at least it once was. The locals congregate there at the counter. He wanders up-canvas trousers; Massey Ferguson cap. At least you can share your regrets into a pint of Guinness with the lads who never left. Only three of them remain-Mikey and Paddy and himself, having the craic on the surface. Supping silently into their pints with sadness in their eyes, but still remaining constant.

Lockdown has fecked things up for this seaside village. Where are the distractions Mossie thinks. The braying privileged golfers. The fragrant pretty Limerick women with their white wine in blue and white linen. He wandered up to the fancy seafood restaurant that was once a pub. It’s closed. He tell’s himself it’s the virus-he can see the glaring yellow sign.

Mossie wanders back-there might be a can of Guinness in the fridge. He looks at the broken down furniture and the yellowing pile of newspapers. The 14 year old Jack Russel-Mahon wanders in and nuzzles him. Even he looks faded and old.

His day brightens up when one of the young fellas from Kilfenora rocks in. It’s that good looking young fella, Shay. Kind. Time for others outside himself. “I’m heading to Aldi in Ennistymon-I’ll get your messages for you Mossie” he says. Mossie asks-“Can I come with you”. “Ah no” Shay says-“social distancing rules”.

Mossie stands at the cottage door the following morning. He watches the horizon and boats. A car pulls up. “I’ve your messages Mossie” says the young Polish girl from Lidl. She’s with Shay. Mossie doesn’t know what to say, but his face beams. “Come in lads, I’ve made tea”. And they both say something beautiful but powerful. “We will”.

Just for One Day

Wakes up at 6.11 am Every damn morning. Actually woke up at 1.11am and 3.41 am and 5 goddamn 51 am, but that’s another story. Knows one has to pull oneself together to face the day. Never works, these days. Somehow has to pull something out of somewhere, any where, deep down to get up, face commute and day. Prays he won’t mention Covid stats. Actually says a prayer to the Universe. Doesn’t work. Gets blow by blow account of Covid stats and daily unblessed Trump update. Dublin, Limerick and Kildare. Home counties you could nearly say. Good to know. Turns on shower. Shower not working. immersion is fecked, Forgot to turn on heat. Still cold water is better than no water. Coconut shampoo- love that particular smell, reminds one of not tropical isles but of that yellow sweet gorsey smell from the Ballyhoura mountains. Realises no coconut shampoo left and that it has been actually super hard to procure these days. Wonders is this another supply issue because of Covid-who the feck, as they say, knows.

Waits at 39 a bus stop. Chat with the commuting buds. No talk of anything but Covid. Still, good natured and full of chat. Gets on 39 a. Not one bit of social distance in evidence. Tells commuting bud of 10 years standing am getting off at next stop as much as I like their company; I’m not standing within an inch of them in these times. Two metres would be no problem. In a supreme risky manouever for a D15 commuter, gets off the 39a on the 39, the slow coach to China (don’t mention China!!!)-sorry Innes Quay.

Arrives at Innes Quay. Takes off stupid purple mask with annoying elastic with abandon-needs to gasp in some air from the sea. Caffeine urge. Pours coffee from automated machine in corner shop and slight reddening, heated panic rises- checks pockets-where the fuck is the mask. Approaches Sunni at counter, protected behind glass so thick no diamond could ever scratch the surface. Relies on smile; points to face-sorry , bud-forgot. As gracious and polite, pandemic or not, he gives back his winning smile and says, no worries Zany-you always wear one. Notices out of corner of eye, annoying mask on Ormond quay, being tossed around with abandon by that bloody grey resident gull. Wonders to self as a person who animals and children usually like what fecking went wrong with seagulls? Maybe one was a gull egg robber in a previous life.

Crosses O’Donovan Rossa Bridge. Salutes O’Donovan Rossa and all who have Dublin bridges named after them. Dawn to the east and sparkling water. No time for reprieve, hurry, hurry. Says hello to security guard, always smiling. A bit of a banter about the new face shields-not too much mind you-we know there were days of freedom before this. Pumps the sanitiser. Notes to self, one prefers the foamy as opposed to the watery sanitiser. Dries more quickly. Wonders how one has become the kind of person who discerns about, let’s face it, sanitiser.

Day passes-busy out. Some workplaces are still open, even public sector ones. Lunchtime arrives. No one to have lunch with. Goes to neatly socially distant canteen. Feels a tiny bit exposed so returns to temporary desk to eat joyless sandwich, alone. There are only a few in. It’s lonely.

Takes the slow coach home, all smiles, dogs going mental, Behind the bedroom door, lets out silent scream, for a few minutes. Goes down stairs and makes an announcement, Tonight, just for tonight there will be no talk of Covid. No numbers. No NPHET. No nasty comments on newspaper articles. No reading of articles, no Mehole or Varadkar or bleedin Ronan. No Facebook debate. No country versus city. No effing Six One news. No talk of Lockdown. In celebration of this announcement, eats 3 twirl sticks dipped in hot chocolate, followed by half a pack of strawberry sherberts and buffallo Hunky Dorys for dinner. It feels great. We watch the stupid but most lovable dogs play with a bath towel. The kids laugh and giggle. Autumn shafts of evening sunlight bathe the wooden floor, dust particles suspended in glitter. For a minute all is golden and forgotten. Harley peeks out from under towel and looks like a cloistered nun or Yoda or a Franciscan Monk by turns. Both dogs get the zoomies hearing their humans laugh-it has been a while after all.

Wakes up the next day. Feels curiously refreshed. Before it all starts again.

It was good to bury the head in the sand. Just for a few hours.

This is hard folks. Bury your head in the sand now and then. We need to preserve our sanity, in even the smallest ways.

Dedicated to all on the frontline.

My love as always,

Kat

The God of Tiny Joys.

In 2015, I wrote this post The God of Small Irritations. It’s actually one of my most popular posts. Oh God how innocent it seems, when small irritations were the bane of life.

Before I start and as a digression, I’ve been back at work as an essential worker on top of other usual job, since the 30th of June, in Dublin City Centre, in the middle of a pandemic, like. As you do. In bleedin’ 2020, the year when anything can happen. We don’t do anything by halves on Zany Mountain, oh no. I’ll talk a little bit more about what working in Dublin looks like in a pandemic in a later post, but I hope it goes in some partial way of explaining my absence from the writing.

Ah what am I saying. Tell the truth lads, ye’ve seen through it already, haven’t ye. It wasn’t the pandemic. It wasn’t the back pain. I lost my confidence with the writing. I’d proclaim with great enthusiasm and abandon-I’ve just had a great idea for a post for the blog, lads!!!!. I’d put it on the FB page. I ‘d think it was a great theme altogether. I’d start formulating it and then…..nothing. I couldn’t physically move the pen to the page. My ideas were half formed; disappearing into ether and frankly the colourless flow of nothingness. The colour of blank, decaying air. And all around me my beautiful creative friends were creating and writing and doing amazing things and me? looking at a blank page. Immobile. Deadened, almost.

Was it no wonder I thought to myself -sure Zany, you’re back in the thick of it in a pandemic. You’ve had an injury. You’re an essential worker.

But really- they were just excuses my friends, excuses. Really, the doubts crept in and I started to think I wasn’t good enough for even Zany Mountain itself. That tiny voice. Think you can write Limerick? You haven’t a hope, prayer or clue-ya silly auld eejit.

But in all of this in the tiny part of my creative spirit left-subconciously, I was creating. I started taking photographs. Now I have no bloody idea about the technicalities about photography and I have a reconditioned Iphone 6, the height of technology in my eyes, but laughable to others. I did realise something. I do have an eye for a subject and colour and a story and I love sharing with the world, via words and imagery.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Thanks for sticking this far folks-pints of black on me once the pubs have opened (Think am joking-think again!)

While I spoke of the small, yet first world irritations in 2015, in 2020, I want to speak of the tiny joys. Yes, we are in a pandemic. Yes we are terrified. But when I scroll back through my photos which I shared on FB-I spot the most beautiful things. The green copper domes on redbrick buildings in Dublin. Have you ever looked up and noticed them? Penney’s on Henry Street; start there. Top of the Four Courts too with their statues of liberty and justice-have you seen them silhouetted against a Dublin dawn? The way the Liffey, muddy and silted and wild but still some days looks like a glass mirror? The markings on a seagull on the wall of a river-if you look closely enough there are wild variations on their feathers. Dublin bridges. My favourite being Grattan, with it’s lilac planters. Whoever planted them, I assume a colleague, took such care to make them so beautiful, a splash against the grey.

And there are other things-each smaller but more beautiful than the next. The faded, slightly scruffy door on Manor Street, with the trace of the most beautiful remnants of turquoise paint-that colour, in itself, that you resolve to trace down. The colleague who brings you a cappucino or a bar of chocolate as they know you’ve been flat out and you have that particular caffeine want. The peculiar skin of a russet apple, accidentally growing in the garden in Meath; the coo and subtle soft blue grey colour of the wood pigeon at dawn. The scent of hops on the wind and lavender dying back on an August evening.

You see this is what I’ve learned. These are tough times. But in it there are the most amazing tiny signs of joy and beauty. If you look for negativity and ugliness and fear-you will find it. It has a habit of breeding. No matter what era we are in. But thus, by this formula, so does beauty, love, colour, joy and creativity. I know which one I need to choose and so do you.

Til next time,

Solidarity to you all

Kat.

My world Suddenly Shrunk to the Size of a Pea

My good friend and neighbour posts a status update. His back is gone. Out of action. More locked down than you could possibly believe. I exclaim back-me too! We are the exact same age and demographic.

Lockdown was always going to be problematic for the likes of me. My job relies on human interaction, social nuances, networking and reading people. Very little of this can be achieved in a makeshift home office in Clonee. Psychologically of course- I’m a free spirited extrovert-valuing my family but also my independence. I never signed up for at home working-it was never what I wanted. But of course needs must and we do what we have to do.

That was bad enough in itself-until about 6 weeks ago I developed a nagging pain. A few days later I awoke in agony. A deep shivery kind of pain. But of course believing I had a high pain threshold, labour anyone?-I kept going for another week. Until Mr Zany Mountain suggested-we might have to go to the GP as I couldn’t actually drive or lift an actual cup without wincing. I knew it wasn’t muscular-this was too deep. My first visit to GP was actually horrendous. I couldn’t drive myself. I was in so much pain in the waiting room I couldn’t start a chat with anyone, which is my usual way-I just remember trying to focus on not crying in public on one of those socially distanced chairs.
An efficiently organised (and terrifying-for me) MRI revealed very bad wear and tear on my shoulder and neck area. The result probably of teenage years being spent flung of horses, stress and several years sitting at a desk. A tall person’s affliction also mentioned.

My world, so expansive and free and active- suddenly shrunk to the size of a pea on the double.  Lockdown on the double. My two meter distance confined to my height and personal bubble. My circuit of life reduced to the sofa, bed,  bathroom and oh the GP’s surgery.

I coped by exercising my imagination -writing fiction with one hand. I coped with social media and messages with friends from all walks of life and all over the world. I coped with watching the birds in the garden. There are a few characters there for sure-the hopeful blackbird, the cheeky starlings, the peaceful pair of wood pigeons and that damn bully magpie who the robins just ignore. Good for them.

Things are improving and I know there are people much worse off than me. I have tried to remind myself that sitting still is not such a bad thing in this crazy world after all

So over the next few weeks-I will publish on the blog-the short stories one by one. I hope you love my characters as much as I did.

Very many thanks to all who sent good wishes and kept in touch . Zany Mountain sends every good wish and healing vibe back 100 fold.

But you all know that-

Til next time

Kat

The Wonderful Joy of Poetry

Before I start-I’m not really a poet. I struggle enough to keep up with the blogging-and my recent foray into fiction. My first writings were poems though. I am the daughter of an english teacher-my mum Bridget-gave us a love of poetry and language and meaning . I’m the only one of my siblings without an english degree. Lucky us-gifted with the joy of words and poetry. I even love poems in other languages-Irish poetry has this beautiful romanticism that is almost other worldy.

One of the joys of Zany Mountain? The creative chain-I write something-someone shares-another person pings back and shares their work. It is of endless joy to me to see new work; we often become friends.

Lately-poetry has poured in-from all over the world. I’m possibly biased-I’ve actually got to admit I read and collect poetry as a hobby.

My favourite poet of all times-Patrick Kavanagh-my favourite poem? Epic. That line “God’s make their own importance” Nobody captures rural Ireland like Paddy Kavanagh. And then there is dreamy but realistic Yeates. “Tread softly as you tread on my Dreams” I mean is there not a more perfect line.

And how can anyone resist the Kubhla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge -what a fantastical piece of imaginative, twisted work.

Everything I refer to is of times past.
But how the poetry has rushed back and in to fill the empty cracks of our modern deflation and anger. The true poets capture loss, joy, love, agony, nostalgia, romance, rage and place.
It captures it simply -the words are few. The impact is mighty and often global.

How I am loving the rush of poetry.

My oldest daughter is named Dervla. Irish translation “Daughter of the Poet”.

I rest my case. Please keep sending me your poems-I am delighted to promote this simple, beautiful writing. Happy to be friends of many talented poets.

PS Pictured-a pencil sketch present from an artist friend Maura-with a line from Seamus Heaneys’s poem-Postscript.

My Very First Week of Writing Fiction and How it Looks.

Hello-Mossie, Judy, Derry, Christie, Padraig, Mikey, Paddy, Meath Man-Patrick. I salute you Jimmy, Jackie, Richie. You might not be part of my life but I am part of yours.

Have I left anyone out- I have conceived you out of thin air. Except I didn’t really.

All week I’ve been weaving your stories out of nothing. I’m locked down and in severe pain-absolute double disaster. So on one hand I have tried to keep myself sane by writing short character based stories. Just to forget myself and this fecking pain. I find to write a character you need to love them and feel sympathy and go backwards from there. They might be different and nothing to do with you-or so opposite you have no idea how to take them. It doesn’t matter-feel love or empathy and they will jump off the page into a story.

The aforementioned are all here and I’ve adored writing them all up and making them real.

It’s Irish based for now but will expand.I need to practice in my own familiar environment.

Blogging is easier but to create characters- that’s a lot of work but worth it. I felt them-every last one. And going forward-to my next stage fiction-which I’m still afraid of-I’ll treat each character with respect and individuality.

Til we meet again

Kat

A Discourse on Physical Pain

I don’t know where I am-I’m on so many pain meds. I’m not your cranky woman who feels pain. I’m from the mountains-we play hurling there-like it’s one of the most isolated places in Ireland. There is no Dublin road-but still, still we play hurling. We are tough as a breed like. I’m tough.

But physical pain-now that’s a whole new story to this book of chapters. I’ve had two children-I understand what physical incredible pain feels like. Let’s not dive around and keep it a secret-labour is painful and hard. But you as a woman knew there was an answer-a reprieve-it was not going to be chronic-but acute-a few hours or days long-and then over with a beautiful result.

The problem with pain is when you don’t get an answer as to it’s end. I had a dry socket infection in 2010 following a tooth extraction -three weeks out of work. Three weeks of dulling, darkening painkillers and wondering if jumping out the window is an option. It was very severe. No idea when it would end-but it did.

Fast forward to now. I type with one hand. I’ve damaged a nerve in my shoulder. Fabulous timing-locked down in lock down. The pain is severe. I’m used to being an independent woman-free out. You all know this. And here I am double locked down -unable to move. Helped in and out of shower like an invalid. It’s so tough I want to cry and shake my hands at that cursed God in the sky. But I can’t-it is too fecking painful.

I’m not sure when this pain is going to end-and therein lies the rub.

If I could be given a date I’d be grand.

But I will defeat it and come back from this-and that’s a promise-I’ve come back from worse. Like a Limerick hurler.

Wishing none of my readers will ever go through this

X Kat.

The Zany Mountain Guide to Ireland.

A little bit of a kick happened on Zany Mountain-normally the blog is solid Irish and American. Well over all it’s very Irish. but lately the place has developed a few fans from the Southern Hemisphere.

I’m always delighted to welcome each and every reader-sure ye all know this.

So hello the house from wherever you are-our curiosity of our different cultures can only be good for us all world wide. Especially now.

If these questions seem patronising-they are absolutely and resolutely not-these are genuine questions asked via the blog.

So here we go

“What is the weather like in Ireland”

Well the weather is incredible lately-as in it is dry and sunny. It never gets too bad here-neither too cold or too hot. Our average temp is 16 degrees celcius. That’s over the year. There are many, many rainy, stormy and breezy days and sometimes we can’t see ourselves for the fecking rain. When we get snow or heatwave-it’s known as a weather event. In other words-we have a temperate, mild climate. It can feel freezing in winter as it is damp. Equally the dampness can make it feel humid in Summer. Overall-it’s bearable

“Why Do Western People Marry so Late”
We don’t have arranged marriages. Women are encouraged to have degrees and careers, we also like to have fun in our twenties-people are marrying even later now. Housing is expensive-and this is an issue.

“Is Ireland Progressive?”
Yes it is-but we do have an oppressed history, via attempted colonisation and the Catholic church. We had to fight through this for human rights-and we did. Same Sex marriage is recognised as an example. Irish people are genuinely accepting but questioning.

“What is your culture like?”
We have a strong indigenous culture-we have our own sports-hurling and gaelic football. We have an incredible ability to write, storytell, dance and sing. Basically we have a strong cultural identity that’s all our own.

“Why do you have pets?”
Basically we were once originally agricultural people-so feel an affinity with animals-our pets provide us with comfort and companionship.

“What’s the craic?”
It’s when you are out with good friends and the fun, banter and slagging starts to flow easily. How do you know you are friends with an Irish person? They will gently rib and insult you.

I’m sure there is more-ask away and will attempt to answer.

Best of love in whatever time zone you are in

XXXXX K

How Zany Mountain Expanded my Universe

Six years of talking and dreaming and quoting. Six years of spouting about nature and seasons and bringing people along on the wild ride that is not really wild at all but very conventional in some ways.

How has it been so long?

I marvel at the people who have come into the orbit of Zany Mountain-it’s named by the way from the mountain -Sliabh Riadh-behind my parent’s house. You want magic-no problem-it’s there. And the Zany bit is my own unconventional spirit.

I want to write fiction some day-it’s escaping me this far. Zany Mountain is a labour of love-tough to write but somehow internal and loved and about community.

So let me tell you what it has brought to me. Endless new and creative friendships and a lot of love-the proper caring kind. Natural friendships that cross geographical, socialogical and political divides.Postcards, letters, endless conversations. Introverts and extroverts. Limerick and Cork. America, Ireland and Australia-Northern and Southern Ireland.

You are all there-and I am here-and you’ll never move Zany Mountain.

Dedicated to my kind friends-dotted everywhere on the planet x

Normal.

I’m typing this with one hand as the left side of my body has stopped working. Yayyyy-on top of everything else.I’ve slipped a neck disc-as you do. My normal, energetic athletic side is out of action.

I’ve just finished Normal People. The series. Yes it’s an epic love story-but the big thing for me was the description of depression at Episode 10. Connell-his pain and shame and bloody blaming himself for what he was not responsible for.

I’ve never seen it more accurately described. The bleak. The blaming .The shame. The dearth of joy, sadness -grief-that bloody lowering.

I’ve written about my depression-thought it was defeated -but here in Lockdown-as am back-out of my routine for so long-wrestling the black dog yet again.

I’m here for you if anyone feels same.

And I mean that

Kat x

Feelers and thinkers

Oh er-doesn’t that sound a wee bit saucy-thought it was just me. I’ve a lot of very incredibly smart logical friends. I’m married to one.I love them as they sort of anchor me-they are reasonable, smart, not blinded by emotion. But yet kind and loving-how the feck do ye do it?

Me? I’m a smart chick in a different way-I’ll weave a story out of the bog and the sky and Zany Mountain. I’m the woman who walk into the room and go “whoa-bit of tension here” I can read the temperature of a room or a group in absolute seconds.

I am sharply naturally attuned to mood and conflict and team dynamics. And my logical friends will constantly ask me -where is the proof, eh? And while my logical side wants to burst out-I’ll be going-I don’t know it’s an instinct, can’t explain it in your terms, it’s a feeling.

But at times I need to be pulled back into the world and accept detail and process-just like some of you need to be pulled outwards into trusting the instincts and a little bit of providence and faith.

Trust me-we are beautiful together or at least a lesson or two will be learned.
No harm on either side. We always continue pushing forward and learning from each other. I hope.

Til next time

K

What’s Helping During a Pandemic

To be honest nothing is-but here is a little shout out-to the ones who are helping in a small way!
Army guys-Ollie Ollerton and Foxy
Minnie and Harley-dogs like and sweet creatures.
Old friends-the friends from way back when -special place-reserved for you.
Ex colleagues-I love you guys the most -we went through it.
Claudia and Dervla for keeping it together.
Stephen for putting up with me on a loop!.
D15 crew- fine women.
Niall Horan
Niall Horan
Did I mention the Nialler
Work Spouse Julie.
Mad Mary and Maria.
Me auld faithful Jude Law.
Crazy neighbours-Sinead, Sam and Limerick Dave
Mark Burn’s radio show
Old Tribe
Anne McDonald’s humour
David’s songs.
My nerd friends.
Padraig from Cork for that bit of banter.
And the Limerick gang-they never dial it down (plus hunky men!)
Oh yeah and Parks and Recreation, specifically the philosophical Ron Swanson.

You know what-thanks gang x

Other Creative People are my Oxygen

I’ve been a bit panicked by the pandemic. You like that turn of phrase? I like it myself. I’m only kidding around. Trying to lighten the day for myself as much as you dear reader.

One thing I have noticed is that I have a lot of practical, logical friends. My best friend of all times is a professor of chemistry. I went to an engineering university (hey that was some fun being one of the few humanities types by there-great in fact). I like these types-because they are opposite to me. I love their minds and attention to detail-they tend to love my fun, emotional, deep side. It works. And there is a great curious learning  and a sort of grounding in being around those so different from you.  And I seriously respect my nerd, tech, engineering, science friends. But you know this as I keep telling you all! By the way it’s not mutually exclusive -some of my funniest, warmest, kindest and most imaginative and long term friends are these types.

And then there are the incidental friends-the ones you collect along the way and you stay with them as they are just there when you need them. The true ones stay no matter what and there is no agenda-just friendship and you can’t explain-they are just there. 

But a whole new level of friendship are the creative friends. What amazed me is that earlier in this Lockdown-they all went quiet. I was like “where are you guys?” You are quiet-these days”. I mean these are the bohemian, chance anything, fling yourselves under the car crowd. The magical thinkers. The ones that slip their skin and show the world. The crowd that lived. The crowd that wear their heart on their sleeves and throw their thoughts out there.  Adaptive, you might call it . Surely this is the space for us to breathe and create the world? I was puzzled.

There wasn’t  a sign of life . And then I realised-the old free creative  spirit- was locked down. Muted. And it took a few weeks to adjust.

But adjusting  is what us curious creative types do-when we stop reeling from the shock.

And now we’ve adapted and the creativity is rushing back in-like a river. We are sharing songs, blogs, poems and essays like no tomorrow. The last few day-no words. I’ve been sent some amazing stuff. I’ve edited a friends essay at 2 am in the morning. I’ve blogged and written like a fiend. I’ve listened to amazing  radio, audio and visual. I’m pretty staggered to be honest.

And why? The creative world is a different one to the ordinary world -it’s a world of bravery, imagination, emotion, rich human experience  (and yes at times- flights of fancy). And to be perfectly honest-I got a little bit real world there for a few weeks.  And in my normal life in normal times-I struggle to bridge that gap-the gap between the logical and the creative world. I know some of you will identify. It has been worse the last few weeks.

But the creative world in the end is a terrifically free and inspirational and curious world.  A world of acceptance/ of being a bit different.  

I’ll be honest-I was a bit in the real world there for a while-it was grand and all-but now I need to spend time in the creative world-just for a bit.  So-creative friends-continue to send me your essays, poems, songs, blogs. I’m incredibly always delighted to share, review, edit, chat. It’s part of  the mission of Zany Mountain to encourage creativity. It’s where I am happiest.

And logical/real world friends- don’t you go disappearing either-I need you too. But ye know that right?

This post is dedicated to my creative friends-sure ye all know who ye are.

Love to all my friends-not matter what world you inhabit.

 

Kat x

 

 

 

It’s Complicated

I’ll have to be honest. I’m freaking the feck out of it here. The majority of my friends are appearing to manage this thing very dandy. It’s all-I’m managing this well/ actually it’s grand/yeah no bother,cooking-yay !-the kids are great!!!!!  My social media feed is filled with baking and art and let’s go through it together. That’s  great. Why am I not feeling this though ? Why am I -sensible soul just not getting the message.? I have been told on an endless loop that everyone is OK -say Kat why are you not OK?

I’m not talking about masks and that-I’m talking about managing. Not walking up to a day of existential dread. I’ve come to hate the space of walking up and going-yayy-everything is fine-to ugh-yet another dystopian day -the space between those moments is magical-but the reality is a killer.

There are very many people out there who are coping very well with this-so they say.

I applaud them- I’m not one of you.

I realise I’ve to take it for the team-it’s my way of being…..but false positivity on how you are coping?

No thanks.

Kat

On Resiliance….

It’s become a bit of joke, me messing around about fancying army guys-caveat- I’m one for joking and messing. It’s hardly going to change now at this hour of my life, is it.

Actually if you do one thing-check out the army guys-Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton-because amazingly-they are tough but have worked the line and describe a process that is both honest and healing.

Yet, here on Zany Moutain the sunshine, laughs and craic-prevails. Until the shadow darkens on the side of  the mountain and it  doesn’t prevail any more. I’m struck by the images of people working on the frontline and I can’t bear to look. An ER doctor in New York commits suicide as does a paramedic. My heart stops for them.

I can’t bear to look at them twice- or even think of them. I worked the frontline for several years in a totally different capacity-homeless services in Dublin-in a difficult working situation.  I was able until I wasn’t able anymore. At first enthusiastic, firing all the guns at it-until one day I woke up so dead and empty I knew I  could never ever work in this manner again. To this day I suffer, haunted,  I’ve recovered but quite honestly I don’t think I will ever unsee the pain or the trauma. It stalks me, silently, behind my smile.   That’s the trouble with a game like this. I realise it’s no way as difficult as what  frontline workers are going through now- my story was more psychological -much milder than those  confronted by a deadly virus that can kill.

In our frontline workers I can  see it in their faces and their  fallen comerades. That burn. The haunt. The way they look intensely and emerge so wrecked.  We are the types to set ourselves on fire until to keep others warm. Please I beg-don’t follow my example- if you are on the line-use those beautiful, human, kind, warm skills-you are born with-but remember mind your own precious souls and hearts and your body.

Before it is too late and that deadly coldness and restlessness  settles in.

I’m with you guys. I remember.

Dedicated to those working in crisis (and the Capel St crew)

K

 

The Difference Between Us.

Oh you know this funny old Lockdown-forcing some of us to examine who we are. Like we’ve never had to do this before. Before anyone starts -I’m a person who analyses things. But you  knew that-(I mean Zany Fecking Mountain Like).

And here is the another step that is fascinating and almost a gift in this Lockdown-I personally as an extrovert was so busy hustling and chatting and chasing shiny things-that I forgot about how people with different perspectives could teach me so much.

So here is a little tribute to the people so different from me who are teaching me to open up and think in different ways. I salute you for engaging my curious mind.

To the American friend who in the middle of this virus thing- happened to have a tornado (literally) happen on their front porch. I can only imagine. On top of everything. America is different to Ireland.  But yet, yet to see your culture is amazing and your  stoicism-no matter what is happening-it rises and curves around your hardship. No words.

To the lads who’ve lost their dads, I don’t know such bereavement-I haven’t been there-it will become a thing at some point in my life-yes thank you for describing it and making it so human.

To my introvert friends who are managing this way better than my extrovert self- thank you for your tips and continued calm friendship-you are a fecking deadly bunch and like a balm. I’ll get you back for your greatest nightmare- few pints and a laugh. You’ll have to indulge me.

To my Northern Irish buddies- you know what-up until all of this I thought you were all very different to us down South-and now I realise-there is the same ironic sense of humour- a bit of spice and spike. The craic basically.

To Cork people-sorry can’t find anything in common-but surely we can learn to coexist (joking)

To the Dubs-well thank you for accepting the token Limerick person in the room.  And flying the auld flag on the Quays and cheering when we won the All Ireland. And for just being Dubs-I can’t wait to be back in town again with you all.

Actually-hey-thanks for humanity and my wonderful friends and family. And in the words of Dermot Kennedy-“Some summer night-I hope I see you again”.

Us humans are really not that different after all, eh?

Til next time-all my love and more

Kat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Learned to rediscover Humanism in a Pandemic

You write a blog. It’s a small one, carved out of the mountain. Carved out of Sliabh Riaidh and Kilfinane  and even Dublin in fact. A source of magical, yet practical thinking. You get an idle text from a friend -and a fun message from another. They contain undercurrents  of despair.  And you remember-that strange, beautiful yet philosophical side that comes with growing up on a mountain….

And the memory stirs  -with the snap of the  fingers-the philosophy that made sense to you. comes to mind.  You’ve flirted with catholicism, buddhism and even paganism (I’m not quite done with paganism yet-country people never are)

Humanism though -has a secret trick. It believes in the agency of humans.  A thing we have forgotten. It believes in the human  capacity  to solve problems. It believes in the ability to take risks, to innovate and create. It believes in the ability to invent, fail, try again and fail again. It believes in the potential of humans to get the fuck off the floor and just find a way through it all.

We need that very philosophy now

Watch Leo Igwe on Ted Talk and tell me differently

Kat

 

There is a Sadness in You.

A friend  tells me there is a sadness behind my bright smile. We have a row and fall out. I’m sick of matters-tetchy. Yes I am sad.. I try to big it up. Truth is though-it’s impossible.

There is no hurling-the life blood. No Eurovision, I’d even trade a hurling match day for gaelic football day -more fool me.-those Kerry lads…might even have a chance after all.

We are doing the right thing-we do know it comes against our nature-we understand this.

And underneath every bright  smile and Tik Tok dance and gif and skit-there is a sadness-and it’s a hard thing to shake-it is literally a shadow

And it is tough out as we say in Limerick.

We keep going-what else is there.

Keep going lads

 

kat x

 

 

 

We need to Talk About Why It is Difficult to be a Creative Person…

Not easy is it? Not easy to craft something from your own mind and throw it out there. Some people think it as a dice carelessly thrown…… except it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Imagine squeezing your eyes as you hit publish. Imagine that fear and anxiety-that leap in you chest-so violent it feels like a heart attack.

But you do it as nothing feels more urgent or aligned.

I’ve given up trying to explain things. There is no explaining but the stir of the blood and the heart.

When you create something new and different-it takes scale on a precedence unknown. I struggle with it daily my friends-every time I write -something leaps into my throat and chokes me and wrestles me to the ground. That voice always says “Are you sure buttoned up, Middle Class Limerick Girl?” “You really wan’t to write?” ” Know your place!”

And the thing is I don’t know my place-but I know one thing-I’m born to write and as tough and as ugly this will get-my certainty is immobile and unchanging about this gig

And here is creativity-roughly hewn out of jagged  and uncertain rocks.

Never question. Just write

You’ve all got this

All my love and more-Kat x

 

Can you Write Your Way out of Anything?

A friend of mine said to me the other day-I bet you could write your way out of anything. I was in that pandemic, confused, where am I phase. Oh wait-am still in that confused ,  pandemic where am I phase. You too reader? I  have spent the last two weeks,what am I saying- four weeks  not knowing if I am coming or going. So can I write my way out of this-well let’s see and hopefully you will relate too as I narrate.

A mere what is it-3 weeks or 4 weeks ago- I was crossing O’Donovan Rossa Bridge-of a Monday-thick as you like with the prospect of a working week ahead-tired, yet as I looked left the sun sparkled. Spring was coming-the light danced off my beloved Liffey. and somehow in that Monday, weary heart, I felt the normal hope of a new season. A slight skip of step and a loosening of the scarf.  A tiny ease off that savage winter East river breeze.My only worry reaching that clock in time. Normal time. Before Covid.

Four weeks later, in my south facing garden, everything is  seemingly perfect-blue skies, willow trees, blooming, the heat is rising. How perfect is the month of April. But I haven’t crossed that O’Donovan Rossa in weeks and it doesn’t seem right. Everything jars, the masks in the supermarket, the Gardai checkpoints, those damn blue ugly gloves – us culchies with culchie  registrations-we joke about  plates-and what county  is  likely to be waved through. I must have a bold face because I’ve been stopped so many times, at this point. I actually said “how are you today” to the same Guard who stopped me on Sunday. He was as calm and reassuring as the other day.

My neighbour of 20 years (at a safe social distance) says to me-stop  pacing the garden  Kat. In an unusually abrupt and sharp  fashion I turn on him and say I’m not pacing-I’m only walking.  He shrinks back a tiny step.  A few minutes later I shout at beloved dog Harley to stop following me. He looks at me-confused, liquid brown eyes, practically shimmering. Tail down, he retreats- into the corner-unfamiliar with this new tense version of me. I instantly feel guilty for snapping at both.  What’s wrong with me.

This is tension. Now tension is a different animal in the zoo to anxiety. Anxiety is uncontrollable racing fear. Tension is more of a rigid, simmering anger. I can feel tension in the grit of my teeth, the furrow of the brow and my caged in gait. I feel like I can stretch my finger tips until they snap. And I do, I flex my fingers on my right hand against the  blue sky of the willow tree until they can stretch no more.

Something releases  before this moment and it makes me stop and I fall back, slowly into anything resembling the moment. And for seconds-the release is immense. Until I remember.

And  then I realise there is no writing your way out of this one.

Wishing safety and health to all from the mountain.

 

Kat

 

Tiny Devastating Memories

Remember this. Remember the parents dropping you to college-trying to stop the tears. They knew it was over-you were gone. Only 18-so young and excited for a taste of freedom. It was only the county city-but you came from a place that it took a commitment to get back to in the 90’s.  Remember the sunlight shafting through the windows of the Stables Bar -was there sawdust on the floor? Maybe not but there was a cranky bar man and the Cranberries on Thursdays- if you were lucky.

Remember the County Limerick boys-they were the athletic ones, obsessed with hurling and the Limerick City girls who you were slightly intimidated by as they seemed to know everyone. They always knew where the best bands were. Sometimes they were in the best bands. The Limerick city fellas were all about the rugby-still a puzzle to me. The Cork Crew-quick as flash with the joke and wit. The Kerry lads were always the most assured-but that’s the way of Kerry folk.

Remember the cute funny guy at the back of your class who caught your eye in that stupid elective you had to take. Remember the discussions with the county crew about where the best town was late into the morning. Was it the one up in the mountains or the one at the foothills. We never reached agreement on that-oh wait we did-it was the one up in the mountains!

Remember Friar Tucks and the Lobster Pot-who had the best chips again? It’s a little foggy. Remember Silk Cut fags and pints of Carling. And the bloody way you were the person nominated to schlep up to the Hurlers  by the housemates to get the morning after the night before hangover cure. Taytos and full fat Coca Cola. Sometimes you had to schlep up to the corner shop where the proprieter ripped you off with a smile so they said.

Remember Eldorado and Heidleberg where you stayed in rented houses with funny street names. Were you ever as freezing in your life-I doubt it-it was new depths of winter cold. The Limerick City crowd loved to stay over-because we all had the best house parties.

Remember having the biggest laughs of your life and the friends you kept for decades.

Tiny devastating memories-braided together in your heart forever. Except they weren’t devastating times at all.

We’re just never going to get them back. And that’s devastating.

To the college crew

Love

Kat

View from Zombie City

It’s a beautifully soft, sunny Friday afternoon. Myself and the Malshis are out for walk. We pause for a mindful moment. Innocently they snuffle among the dazzling white crocuses tails wagging. As happy and free as any living creature can be. For a moment I feel bathed in a warming sunshine, the first I’ve felt since November last. For a minute things feel normal. and light. Remember normal?

Remember a few short weeks ago complaining of packed buses and trains?

Remember hopping off the 39 A on Inns Quay- only carried along with the tide of humanity, feeling happy to be part of the hustle of the world?

Remember tripping down the steps of the office with abandon, for a coffee grab-at break time, circling the quays, pausing for a little moment on the Ha’Penny Bridge to watch the swans and pools of light?

Remember casually without a second thought organising coffee dates and lunch dates, nights out with the girls at the Market Bar and afternoon pints with the mates in rain slicked Dublin?

Remember bumping into old friends, hugging and kissing-remember for the love of God-handshakes.

All it took was a few short weeks for it all to change.

I shouldn’t have started playing with words or allowed a word in, yet again. Back a few weeks ago I was joking with a few friends about the word discombobulation. Somebody said I should try and work it into a blog post. You know that word? Almost musical isn’t it? It perfectly describes a feeling of being off balance. Sometimes happens me and I suspect you too. Often for inexplicable reasons. But how now dear readers, we live in very discombobulating times. And what is striking how very global the reach of this thing is. A shared human experience, for better or worse.

There has been a lot of discussion about how to manage mental health during this crisis. And I can hear a lot of people describing something which is new to them-the feelings of anxiety. I suffer from anxiety anyway on and off-which I’ve spoken about in other posts-so a feeling of an episodic sense of impending doom is pretty normal to me. I’ve accepted it as part of the way my mind works-so strangely I am adapting well to the crisis apart from one or two choking heart jumpers as I call them.

If these feelings are new to you-I can tell you what works for me if it helps. For me the number one strategy is to be out in nature -it can be as simple as a walk. Like a Mayo man who will never refuse a cup of tea, my dogs Harley and Minnie will never refuse a walk. And as these are strange times I’ve been practising on said walks a loving kindness meditation-this is a principle of Buddhism and it works. Simple as smiling at people you pass-you won’t meet many, and virtually all smiled or waved back, this morning. I’ve noticed that strangers are talking to each other more too.

Write stuff out if it is your thing. Get your hobbies and interests on track again. Read. I’m occupying the worried part of my brain by learning Spanish-it really helps distract me and to focus.

I wrote this post https://viewfromzanymountain.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/the-ache-and-the-void-of-loneliness/ a few weeks ago and in a way it frightens me. Loneliness was the word that stalked me back then. How very prescient, because this could severely become an issue for many people. And also I sort of talked about the fact that social media can be occupied by lonely people. How we need our social media communities and online friends now!

But yet out of all of this, good things have happened. Feeds and neighbourhood chat groups are filled with offers of help, to pick up food, clear gardens, check in with a phone call. Office workers, many working from home for the first time in their lives (including me) are checking in with encouragement, Spotify suggestions and tips. I’ve even got a new  dedicated writing corner as result-it usually was the corner of the battered leather sofa. People are having great craic online-some of you are mad wild you know, it’s great!

On Patrick’s Day , the Irish not known to ever let an opportunity to use their imagination or to have the craic, came up with ingenious ways to celebrate. There was the emotional one piper man parade in Limerick, the Dubs (mad as ever) doing a socially distant skit parade with St. Patrick banishing the virus; the neighbours out in their front gardens having a beer and playing their trad instruments and laughing raucously

You know I spent an eerie day in Dublin City Centre earlier in the week as I had to collect some work. I went in on an empty bus, wandered a deserted Temple Bar. I felt curious void  and hollowness  all day. On my return home I picked up a fluttering piece of paper in the garden. And then I noticed it-a simple flowering bud on the Golden Gage tree. A marvel of nature. And a thought struck me. Humanity, we’re going to be alright. Eventually.

Til next time dear readers.

Stay safe and do check in on the View from Zany Mountain FB page from time to time-where I post little snippets on day to day living and creating. Link to the right of the front page of blog.

Love as ever, Kat xx

Sunshine and Shade on Zany Mountain

Sometimes I hate this blog with all my heart. It has sent me so many people and thoughts and ideas, not to mention beautiful art, writing and songs. I almost feel I can never express enough gratitude for it all; I feel guilty- it’s overwhelming. So for anyone who has ever sent me anything-from the one word to the stories and essay and songs, I love and hate you in equal measure- I wonder am I too thin skinned, aware, emotional for it all. Some of you are so very talented it sends me diving for the corner-trying to catch my breath. How is there so much untapped talent out there? How????

Sometimes I love this blog with all my heart. I love it’s expansive skies, twists and turns, it’s open heart. The people and places. Sometimes I marvel as to where it has brought me and how it has brought me here. I love the fact there is a space called Zany Mountain that is mine and yours too dear readers. I’m certainly never going to stop writing here, and that’s a promise.

So what is all this whataboutery about you may ask? I blame Tommy Tiernan. Firmly. I love Tommy-I have always considered him a peer. And I’m very interested in what my ole Generation X peers have to say. He sizes up people, and crucially listens -he is super talented in fact.-both as a comic, writer and interviewer. Last weekend he interviewed uber confident singer Roisin Murphy, He announced in the middle of this interview as a performer, he has doubts. I sat bolt upright in the chair, spilled my wine. What??????? Tommy has doubts? It’s not possible in this world!

And then I remembered some messages I got on the mountain. How they ask can you write so confidently and openly about topics like you do? How can you write with all that heart, yet doubt yourself?

I need to be honest with you here readers. Sometimes I write and share stuff and instantly regret pressing send. Sometimes my heart beats out of my chest, wondering who is going to read the posts and what are they going to think of me. Sometimes I want to run for cover and cower in the corner after publishing-with nobody talking to me. Ever again.

And other times it feels light, and right and golden. You see in every creative journey there is this dichotomy. The balance between honesty and pretence because to create properly, it takes damn courage. Half the time it feels like stepping off a cliff. Sorry, let’s revise that most of the time it feels like you are jumping off a cliff. You are opening yourself up. Exposing yourself to the world. And it’s bloody hard. Under my sometimes apparent shining surface there is a shadow-look closely at my posts and you will see.

But-if it’s what you are meant to do, it’s what you are meant to do. And here is my advice-understand and accept your duality. Embrace it-let the tension simmer in your blood. It will make everything you create even better. I am as a person, both introvert and extrovert-both light and shade. So are all of you. Forget what others say -it’s your heart beating and your journey. Don’t expect it to be easy-but do expect it to be one of the most meaningful paths you’ll ever take

And as I’m about to publish I am now diving into the corner, changing my identity, covering my ears, running for the hills.

Wishing you courage dear friends

All my love as always.

Kat

 

Everything Ordinary is Blue

I couldn’t remember where it really began, but that’s not strictly true. I didn’t want to remember where it all began. Until I wrote this post here – The Past is a Foreign Country.  After writing this post I realised there is a part two or perhaps maybe the prequel to this story.  So I need to honour it further, here.

It started when somebody-a friend I like to have a laugh with-casually passed a remark that I seemed to be carrying a weight on my shoulders. My face burned-I thought I had become adept at hiding the heaviness I had been feeling. And curiously it was like that. I had been feeling an exhaustion, so deep I couldn’t name it. The only thing I knew is that it had become normal. My head felt strangely blocked  as if my thoughts were seized. Sometimes I would shake my head and the thoughts would fall like confetti, only to lodge below my eyes in a painful throb.

Saturday mornings were the worst -I couldn’t move out of bed. until way past noon. Not only was I recovering from the week, but I felt a strange overwhelm at the thought of the day ahead. It was a curious  day of the week to feel such a thing. But I suspect a lot of that was rooted in my dead heaviness and knowledge that I wasn’t living my best life . I was living life, but not my best life. And the resting did me no good anyway, I used to experience waves of adrenaline so vivid it catches my lungs to even think of them now. I’d cling to my pillow like a life raft to make them stop. I now understand those to be anxiety surges and I was fighting for my life, my very breath  every time one struck.

And then things took a further step and I can pinpoint exactly where. I was in Ceann Sibeal in Dingle on holidays. The weather was beautiful, stunning but  I was driven cowed indoors into the shadows.  A curious shakiness had descended. I rattled all over. One day I couldn’t put on my pendent, my hands shook so badly. I looked in the mirror and begged myself to tell me what was happening. I could find no answer. Food had also started to taste like cardboard.  How was it in my beautiful place, my safe place, my soul  place, was I feeling like this?  How was I unable to engage with my puzzled child who only wanted to play a game of catch in the sunshine with her toy dolphin? In Ceann Sibeal where the air is light and  golden-it seemed heavy and oppressive. The very rocks, coves and islands-forbidding and sinister.

But then it got even worse. I got numb. Me, an empath, a sensitive person, an open person.  I experienced a numb joylessness  that I might as well have been smothered. I experienced no feelings at all. The colour of everything became flat blue.

I isolated myself when I could. And the worry of it all is I existed as many people do. It’s a dangerous space to find yourself in. I painted on a smile. I clocked in. Nodded at all the right words, mopped the floors, filled the washing machine. I couldn’t write a word though.

And one day a friend took me aside and whispered to me me-“you’re not right, I’m begging you to do something, anything to get back to yourself, you used  to laugh, like” And finally the floodgates opened and  I cried and cried  for days’ week.

But I straightened myself up and took a few steps. I went to talk it out with a therapist. I took the meds. I went on a mindfulness course and  learned to look around at everything again. I started to write-everything and anything. And slowly my thoughts lightened and unclicked. I started  to go on long walks by myself-listening to classical music as I had started to find it so exquisite. Eventually one day some said to me you can’t unsee what you have seen in a coffee shop in Dublin and I surrendered to all of that.

One day I was walking and somebody sent me a really stupid joke. And I stopped in my tracks and roared laughing. Suddenly I went oh-there it is the -joy, the lightening was back.

I don’t  know why the descent happened but I was under very severe pressure at the time. The reasons really don’t matter. And I know that a lot of you will understand  this because you’ve told me your story. I’ve met you . And you’ve been open and generous in that space, so here is my story as a thank you back.

If any of this resonates with you. Take heart. Take steps. And I promise if you do you’ll get up off the floor. You’ll be pushing forward.  You’ll start to see again, dappled hearts in the Liffey and the crystal full moon. You’ll  have the craic and giggles over afternoon pints in some old man’s pub in Dublin in the rain. You’ll chase your silly old dog who still thinks he is a puppy to your favourite hip hop tunes  and there will be nothing there but that singular moment.

Finally I’d like to thank the people who encouraged resistant  me to write this post. I’ve tucked you all into my heart forever in my gratitude. Even the one who told me in an exasperated fashion  to “just write the fucking, blog post” Especially you.

Joy to all

Kat x

Of Dreams and Spring

I’m out replacing the bird feeder-and the chaffinches are particularly lively-they chirp and cheer and put their heads on their side as if to say-Kat what do you mean. They have names at this point along with the Pigeons. Don’t talk to me about them -the randiest of all bird species ever-it’s the wood pigeon. They never stop. Ever. It’s swinger club central with the pigeons in Clonee. And when then the magpies arrive-if a magpie -was a human he’d be Trump-they bully and push like no tomorrow

The Blue Tits to be honest just want the craic they are out of there at a hint of trouble. The Blackbird pairs-we have two-well they are loyal and sing their very hearts out.

My love is reserved for the starlings-they are like the Limerick hurling team-we are nothing without each other…

And yes crows -they squawk and hold court and are very judgemental altogether. Was not surprised to hear they hold court and funerals.

But the toughest of them all is the robin-that tilt of the head and brown eyed stare-yep the robin is the most majestic and wise of all.

Dear God-I’ve become a bird watcher.. and you know what-I love it.

Kat

Say, Harl

‘Mere Harl- do you know the way we climb on the window cil and watch the sunset. Oi hold on a sec-have you difficulty climbing up? Blame those short legs and too much ham.

‘mon-here’s my paw. For feck sake you’ve gone a little heavy. Heave it up pup. Sorry need to break for a minute-we’ve an upcoming threat-I need to resume sniper duties-

Sorry about that Harl here are not one but two wood pigeons in the garden. And as for that robin-he’s going to steal that motorbike if it’s the last thing he does. My eyes to his eyes-he’s a tough one. He thinks he can unblink me. He’s got another thing coming. And as for Cormac the postman-well he might be all “hail fellow, well met” and nice to human herself with a thumbs up and a cheery hello- but I’ll tell you one thing-the biggest enemies disguise themselves as friends is all I’ll say.

Say Harl- aren’t our humans a bit mad? It’s a bit like the cavachon goes at the retriever goes at the collie down Hartstown Dog run. And you know how diverse that place can be.

Say Harl-do you know what I love about you-the way at the end of the day you sit in amiable companionship with me watching the sun go down. I love to put my paw around you and to give you a hairy auld kiss. Most of all I love the way we accept life in that moment and watch that auld southern sky.

Say Harl-we are lucky really, you and I and so are they and they don’t even know it.

Til next time

K

The Zany Mountain Rule Guide to Kris Kindle

Yes-we might not be in actual offices-but here is what to do or not what to do as the case may be.

Rule No. 1

NEVER EVER let anyone under 5 wrap your present. I made this fatal error. Too busy to wrap, I left the youngest at it. I happened to get a senior male colleague. She decided to include my number on a post it, a sparkly hat and a card full of I love Yous. True story. luckily I was from the same part of the country-could have gotten tricky that one. However-it was kind of worth it as I still cry laugh at the memory

Rule No.2

Know your audience.

Don’t do what my very good friend did. Joined a new team in December. Christmas lunch. Gifts exchanged. Realises that very lovely gifts are being exchanged-like gloves and scented candles and chocolates. Heat rising. Her gift was a willy stopper, last to be revealed. Enough said.

Rule no. 3 Culchie versus Townie

Culchies love boxes of Tayto and cans of Dutch Gold or Guinness. The end. Hint-I am a culchie.

Rule no 4

Mad Dublin fellas love a bit of craic-one of our lads back in the frontline days was referred to as triage. Cue nurses outfit from neighbouring sex shop. The laugh was everything.

Rule no 5

Mad Dublin huns love the following- Dublin fire brigade calendars, glitter, chocolate willies and silver nail polish. Trust me. I’ve witnessed it.

Rule no 6

GAA fellas and girls will love anything referencing the GAA glory days when they made the Under 14 club and dreamed of senior county. Hairy Baby is your man here-after all tisn’t many who would have made county…I’ll say no more.

Rule no 7

Follow the naughty but nice rule.

One part nice to one part naughty. Never fails.

Rule no 8

If you are stuck a nice book or mug or dec never fails or a bottle of drink. Lads, men ye fall down a bit here though-the gals are better at being creative in KK land anyway. And no-feck off -ye are not too busy either.

Rule no 9

Failsafe-get a mug that says “Will this day ever fucking end” Yep, every worker bee in the world will get this one.

Happy Christmas

X K