Tag Archives: fun

pretty pictures

Not only did I discover new-to-me bloggers the other day, but I was introduced to a whole new-to-me world of photography. EleanorC  posted images by Gray Malin, and I fell in love.

Gray Malin’s aerial beach photography

Icebergs Bondi Beach

À la Plage, by Gray Malin.  http://maisongray.com/blog

Gray Malin - Praiano, Amalfi Coast

Gray Malin: Bondi Surf Lifeguards Triptych

Wait, there’s more…

Maison Gray | The House of Gray Malin Photography


Gray Malin in Antarctica. Words fail me.

Bermuda Flamingos by Gray Malin

Gray Malin

I can’t show you all the fun pictures I found; there were many. I had such fun, thanks Eleanor!


All Gray Malin images taken from Pinterest. If you have plenty of money, you can buy prints or other fun items.


preparing to leave

I love being on holiday. Time with no expectations, space to muddle along  and let life just happen.

Preparing to go on holiday, however, is a different thing.

X days = Y outfits.

Is there a washing machine?

Don’t forget the underwear and the pyjamas and the wetsuits and the body boards and the skateboards.

Shampoo, people. And oodles of conditioner.

Of course you need to bring a coat.

Warm things.

Picnic bag.

Did anybody pack the swimsuits?

Doggy bed, doggy food, doggy medicine.


It starts off sensibly and before we know it, there’s no room in the car. Nothing seems superfluous, but there’s only 4 of us. Spurs Fan packs the car. It’s like a 3D jigsaw, a Krypton Factor puzzle. He manages to leave enough room for the last minute make up bag/ hair straighteners/ cuddly toy, but if you want something else bulky, you have to sit on it.

There’s only one thing that keeps him sane in the process. The holiday playlist/ CD/ mixtape.

There’s nothing haphazard about these- they are themed. There’s a Scotland CD, so that we come off the boat to Simple Minds and by the time we get to East Lothian, we can see Sunshine on Leith. We were in Co Clare, so we had west coast songs.



Clare is a beautiful county, busy in the summer months with holiday makers and tour coaches. Narrow roads, wide buses, wrapped up visitors.

Because of our holiday music we ended up doing a little tour guide performance every time we saw a bus. It never got old.

“On the left, we have stone walls. And if you look to your right, you’ll see that the grass is green.”

We are easily amused.

on building a community

It’s coming up to election time (local councils and European Parliament). Politicians are doing their things- some doing the same old same old, some aiming to look radically different. There’s a whole lot to be said about how Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions uses ‘identity’ and ‘culture’ and ‘community';  our mate @domsball says it well- Future Learn course Identity, conflict and public space: contest and transformation. He can be quite sensible when he puts his mind to it.

It’s interesting to consider aspects of my own identity. When do I feel part of a ‘community’? ‘Community’ is a warm, fuzzy, inclusive word- does it always feel like that? ‘Community’ can be political, exclusive, sectarian. We all know about personality differences, contrasting ways of working, conflicting expectations that challenge even the most well meaning of associations.

So what do we do, on a small scale, to support others, to build a community of interest rather than disparate, competitive wee groups? Strategic thinking, hard work, determination, conviction, lack of interest in own status, cunning plans, relentless positivity, networking, experience, listening, finding solutions. Knowing each other’s interests, strengths and concerns. Valuing all the voices. Daring to work differently.

Three years ago, a group of people gathered together to consider whether there was any value in working together. Did we have any issues in common? Could we have a greater impact working together on those? We had; we thought we could. We did research; we made connections. We formed a company, we obtained charity status. We kept listening and talking and reaching out.

Watch our community in action- from the Rare Disease Day event in February (warning- includes the NI Health Minister). Watch Ditzy and Auntie Sadie and I’m only slightly and Chairperson and Michaela and PSP families and S- just some of the rare disease community I’m fortunate to have around me.


The whole event is available on youtube- you didn’t have to be there.


It was a sunny day, and despite all the hard work and angst, I was playing with my friends.