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21st Mar, 2017



Yesterday, Vera Lynn celebrated her 100th birthday. Congratulations, Vera. After 100 years you still haven't grown too old to dream!

We'll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, There Will Always Be an England, When I Grow Too Old To Dream, Land of  Hope and Glory, Anniversary Waltz, You'll Never Know. Etc.

What a wonderful collection.


Tell me I may always dance
The 'Anniversary Waltz' with you
Tell me this is real romance
An anniversary dream come true
Let this be the anthem
To our future years
Through millions of smiles
And a few little tears
May I always listen to
The Anniversary Waltz
With you

Women in Wexford in 1600

I have been reading an interesting early document about County Wexford, published in 1807. It is called Notes and Gleanings relating to the County of Wexford in its Past and Present Conditions. by Martin Doyle (1787-1875)

A Colonel Richards, in describing the physical appearance and customs of people in south Wexford about 1600 AD says:

"The men were of low stature, yet well set, thick and strong, very crafty and deceiptful enuffe. The women also being of mean stature, very thick-legged, but indifferent cumlie and handsome, jocose and pleasant, yet very chaste. In one particular excelling all their sex in the kingdome, they so revere the male sex, man, beasts, birds, and fishes, that if the master of the house be from home, his son, if any, or if none, then his chief servant present, though but a poor plough-driver or cow-boy, shall have the first mess of broath or first cut of meat before the mistress or her female guests, if she have any, this I know ; but I have heard it affirmed that if there be no man or boy in the house, they will give the first bit to the cock or the dog, or any male creature".

20th Mar, 2017


(no subject)

Survey: Почему россияне читают мои сообщения?


I am aware, of course, that this is not Advent, but Lent is also a period of expectancy and waiting, and this is a short prayer geared towards the "old and bare".

we walked in the woods...
and the trees were dark
and their branches were bare.
I put my arms around a tree
and listened
and I could hear the tree,
for the time when God
will bring it back to green. Do
you do that for us, too, Lord,
when we grow old and bare?

By Madeleine L’Engle, Anytime Prayers
(Harold Shaw Publishers)

19th Mar, 2017



A Sky News investigation has found children as young as four working in Congolese mines where cobalt (lithium-ion) is extracted for smartphones. The mineral is an essential component of batteries for smartphones and laptops, making billions for multinationals such as Apple and Samsung. 60 percent of the world’s cobalt originates in Congo — a chaotic country rife with corruption and a long history of foreign exploitation of its natural resources.

With little regulation requiring companies to trace their cobalt supply lines, the chances are your smartphone contains a battery with cobalt mined by children. There are thousands of unofficial, unregulated, unmonitored mines where men, women and children work in what can only be described as slave conditions. Exposure to cobalt and breathing in its dust fumes can cause long-term health problems.

18th Mar, 2017



During the last few years we have heard  much in the media about sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church. Why don't child sex abuse scandals involving the UN get similar publicity?

They are happening today.  Cases have exposed a glaring weakness in a world body that considers human rights one of its three main pillars: It has no specific guidelines on how to handle allegations of child sexual abuse, and no requirement for immediate, mandatory reporting. That sounds exactly like the Catholic Church up until a few years ago. A  United Nations whistleblower who was suspended for exposing the sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers has resigned over the organisation’s failure to hold senior officials to account.

Those who believe in the UN hang on in there despite the myriad scandals that have engulfed that organisation. Why? Because they believe in its ideals. For its strongest supporters, the UN represents the dream of eventual peace and unity in the world, the universal reach of human rights law. The UN is every bit as universalist in its ambitions as Christianity. But it has been beset by every possible scandal, including the sexual abuse of children by so-called 'peacekeepers'. Do those people who believe in what the UN stands for walk away from it because of its many (and under-publicised) scandals? They don't. The best of them seek to reform it and make it better. The worst of them cover up the scandals, just like the Church.

In 2015 The UN chief  ordered an external investigation into how it handled allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic, saying the world body hopes to ensure it "does not fail the victims of sexual abuse, especially when committed by those who are meant to protect them".

A year after the UN first heard accounts by children as young as nine of French soldiers giving them food or water in exchange for sodomy or oral sex, no arrests have been made. Confidential statements by the UN's top human rights officials show they were distracted by budget cuts and other issues and didn't follow up on the allegations with the French for more than half a year.

17th Mar, 2017



A Celtic Blessing

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.

May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you and those
who see and receive your work.

May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment,
inspiration and excitement.

May you be present in what you do.
May you never be lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May the dawn find you awake and alert, approaching
your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

- from "Anam Cara": Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World
by John O’Donohue

15th Mar, 2017


La, ci darem la mano

Surely this version of Mozart's duet, sung by Bryn Terfel and Rennée Fleming, must be the most beautiful. I love it.

La, ci darem la mano.  (summary)

G. That little house is mine and there, my jewel, we will be married.

G. Give me thy hand, oh fairest,
    Whisper a gentle 'Yes',
    Come, if for me thou carest,
    With joy my life to bless.

Z. I would, and yet I would not,
     I dare not give assent,
     Alas! I know I should not...
     Too late, I may repent.

G. Come, dearest, let me guide thee

Z.  Masetto sure will chide me!

G. Danger shall ne'er come nigh thee!

Z. Ah ... that I could deny thee!

G. Let's go! Let's go!

Z. Let's go!

Both.   With thee, with thee, my treasure,
            This life is nought but pleasure,
            My heart is fondly thine.

14th Mar, 2017



I understand that Paris is considered (2017) the dirtiest capital city in Europe and that the authorities there are taking serious steps to improve matters. It reminds me of the state of Dublin streets and alley-ways.

Some years ago while living in the suburbs of Dublin I hated seeing papers, plastics, cigarette butts, drug needles, and even dirty nappies, scattered on the roadside. So I regularly set out with my plastic bag and brush to clean it up. One day a teenager, passing on his bicycle, shouted at me: "Get a life". It made me think. What is life really about?

In general, the great ideal that people work for today is the self-made, self-sufficient, autonomous person who stands alone, not needing anyone and not beholden to anyone for anything. This is how we "get a life" for ourselves, how we discover our identity.

Individualism permeates almost everything we do. But individualism is psychologically, socially, politically, economically, spiritually and ecologically destructive. The effects of individualism appear to include alienation, loneliness, lovelessness, unhappiness, and an inability to maintain relationships.

On the other hand, in the past, inter-dependence, social coherence, and reliance on one another were the values that were appreciated. We became a 'person' through other people, our identity depended on family, friends and the community we related to and who related to us. Have we forgotten who we really are?

13th Mar, 2017



What has happened to our youth and their behaviour, we ask?

An inscription on a 6000-year-old tomb in Egypt: "We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self-control.

Plato, 340 BC: "What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets, inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?"

Socrates 390 BC: “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

Aristotle 384-322 BC : "Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing".

Peter the Hermit (1274 AD): "The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. . . . . . As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behaviour and dress."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): "Even if the world progresses generally, youth will always begin at the beginning, and the epochs of the world's cultivation will be repeated in the individual".

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