Margo and the Snakes

Margo and the Snakes

Margo, our innkeeper, wanted to talk about snakes. This was at breakfast, in Galax, North Carolina. In fairness, the Canadian woman, Lori, brought them up. She and her husband, Glen had a close encounter the previous day when cycling on a trail.

At the inn, you have breakfast with other residents. 8am. Breakfast on the table. Continue reading “Margo and the Snakes”

Strange and Wonderful Sights in the US of A

Strange and Wonderful Sights in the US of A

A young man walking down Haywood Street in Asheville, NC, with a snake wrapped around his arm. He looked pleased with himself, to be shocking passers by – the man, not the snake. The snake was maybe five or six feet long and hung its head out from his hand, sniffing. I wondered what it was thinking. Mind you, the snake looked better than some of the tattoos we’ve seen on people here. Ó, mo léir. Continue reading “Strange and Wonderful Sights in the US of A”

Sporting Moments Number 2304, Johnny Sexton Drop Goal or Why We Watch Sport

Sporting Moments Number 2304, Johnny Sexton Drop Goal or Why We Watch Sport

We watch sport, and we participate in sport, because of emotions. Because we want to feel and to show emotions and sport facilitates that – it permits that. Which is no mean feat, especially when it comes to men showing their emotions.

Where else do you see people gasp and shout and scream and laugh and cry themselves hoarse and not a person around them bats an eyelid? Continue reading “Sporting Moments Number 2304, Johnny Sexton Drop Goal or Why We Watch Sport”

Listen to the robin

Listen to the robin

As I write this, the robin is singing outside. The sun is slanting up over the hedge. I can hear a rook on the roof.

I heard a lot of robins in Dublin too last weekend.

It’s time. The days are lengthening. We have daffodils and snowdrops and crocuses. It’ll be Lá Fhéile Bríde in a few days.

Listen to the robin. It’s worth your while. Continue reading “Listen to the robin”

The Winter of The Blackbird

The Winter of The Blackbird

This has been the winter of the blackbird. I haven’t been out and about much for one reason or another but I seem to be seeing and hearing blackbirds wherever I go.

I haven’t seen a redwing or a fieldfare yet, maybe they’re not around, or maybe I need to get out more. Well, that’s definitely true, I do need that. Continue reading “The Winter of The Blackbird”

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 6

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 6

I love maps. I just love them. It’s the certainty of them, I think. And the comfort that when a map says this road goes here – then it does. And this mountain is here, it’s this high and there’s a cliff there. This valley is this low, and if you take this path, you can cross the stream… here!

And so you do. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 6”

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5

They go low, so we go high.

We drove south past Laruns into the mountains up to the Lac de Bious-Artigues at 1400m altitude. We were shocked, shocked I tell you, to find the car park by the lake full, with well-equipped and, worse – fit-looking – hikers setting forth. We were most aggrieved, having had the forests and mountains to ourselves the previous two days – well, except for the cattle and horses, but they didn’t clog up the paths, they weren’t smugly thin and they didn’t have hiking poles and expensive walking gear. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5”