It’s not all writing, writing, writing

I have chosen to live in a beautiful, countryside village so that I can enjoy the wonderful natural surroundings and the warm sense of community. I love cities, but I love country life too, and after years of city living, I’ve happily adjusted to my life in rural Ireland.

Although writing is part of my everyday life, so is enjoying the beauty around me. I make sure that I take walks every day; I watch the patterns as seasons change, the habits of birds, the cloud formations. And I also try to make use of the space and resources the best I can to stay balanced and grounded in a world that’s full of technology and social media.

Since signing a book deal, watching the physical book take shape and the sending it out into the world, a lot of my posts have focused on my writing. So, seeing a sI think balance is so important, here’s a brief escape from words and a return to the natrural world.

country garden ireland

Plenty of seed dug up, ready for next year

gardening ireland

Outdoor lettuce looking healthy enough, along with rhubarb (& weeds!)

making apple cider

Lots of sweet apples, windfall & picked, for making cider. Currently fermenting…

gardening in ireland

The onions did well again this year – we have a whole wall to last through the winter

greenhouse growing

Lack of sun meant that the chillies and peppers are way behind. Just starting to fruit now! I’ll be amazed if we get any but I’ll keep trying 🙂

autumn leaves

Autumn is definitely here.

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Spring is late but there are signs!

You may have heard the rumour that spring is here but after such a tough winter, it may not feel like it. So here’s some proof of spring’s arrival. It may be slow but when the buds burst open and the flowers rear their beautiful heads, we’ll all be delighted and forget all about the storm damage. I promise!

Schull, West Cork

View from near Sailor’s Hill, Schull

 

west cork walks

A morning walk in Caharlaska, West Cork

 

West Cork villages, schull

Village flowerbeds starting to blossom

Blarney castle, Cork

Sunny day at Blarney Castle, Cork

 

Cobh mudflats Cork

Mud flats between Cork and Cobh

 

West Cork spring

Butterflies searching for the sun

 

snowdrops

Snowdrops!

 

Loch Hyne West Cork

One happy pup in Loch Hyne woods

 

 

 

Amazing skies

stunning West Cork landscape

Collecting gorse to spark up the fire

This is a brief post today – and more about living rurally than writing. You’ll see why in a minute. It might even take your mind off this freak cold weather for a moment.

Living rurally, we’re lucky to have the opportunity to make our lives as self sufficient as possible. The other day, myself and my husband were out collecting gorse for kindling. It was a lovely bright and warm day when we set out, but as you probably know, Ireland is prone to some weird weather habits.

Firstly, we were showered with hail, even though there was an incredibly bright sun. We could see dense clouds in the distance, and Cape Clear was getting a battering, but there wasn’t a hint of cloud near us.

Incredible West Cork sunset

Such elegant shapes…

Distracted for a moment, we watched the dark skies sweep across Atlantic, before carrying our bundles home. However, we couldn’t resist returning as night fell…

Just look at these amazing cloud formations and colours! The perfect example of how your environment can inspire your work or your motivation to work. I couldn’t resist sharing. There are no filters or camera tricks involved, I promise…

Sunset, West Cork

…and dramatic colour.

West Cork, sunsets

You can see the hail cloud clearly here

gorgeous skies, west cork

Isn’t the orange stunning?

Watching the sky change was an incredible experience – something we do frequently, but probably not frequently enough. After all, thanks to these skies, these views, this fresh air, I manage to write with a clear mind and happy heart. What more could I ask for?

What encourages you to keep writing?

A truly romantic true story!

Not a pirate in sight…

Today is my first wedding anniversary and although it’s not a big day for anyone else, I think the story of how it all happened is worth sharing.

In case you’re i the mood to hear a very romantic story – sometimes, I still can’t believe all the effort he went to –  here’s a re-post of how my husband proposed.  As the title suggest, complete with treasure maps and trowels…

Treasure Maps and Trowels: X Marks the Spot

It went something like this… Clamber into the punt, whizz around West Cork’s beautiful Goat Island and whistle for the goats, get up close to some wild seals, watch the gannets dive, circle Long Island and stop to catch a mackerel. Head to Long Island pier, visit one of the Islanders for tea and get given a cabbage three times the size of my head. Carry the cabbage the length of the island to Westerland strand, rescue some stranded jellyfish and barbecue the mackerel. The End.

Or so we thought…

Click here to read the full story…

June in photos

Waiting for the tomatoes to ripen

Rain helps flowers bloom

Writers’ Week wore out my shoes!

Cutting grass for silage

Sea mist covers the land

Tiny runner bean, just growing

Crawford Gallery reading room (Cork)

Cow in mud after excess rain

Listowel – home of Writers’ Week

Skeleton of a 1940’s fishing boat