My earliest childhood memory

I was listening to Paula MacSweeney on Today FM this morning (worth getting up early for) and she was talking about her earliest childhood memory and listeners were texting in theirs. Anyway it got me thinking.

My earliest memory is very clear. I was in my cot and got frightened by a sound outside (which I now know was an electric milk truck). I could see my window and there was some light coming in and I could make out a silhouette of a giant bear. I remember crying because I was so scared and my mum came in and picked up the bear and put it in the cot with me – it was bigger than I was! She didn’t pick me up or speak, she just gave me the bear. It’s so vivid it’s almost like a movie. The bars of the cot, the net curtains, the bear and my mum – all in the early light of the morning.

What’s your first memory?



The difference a year makes

This photo was taken last year. I look happy and well but it’s amazing how a smile hides the pain. I wasn’t in a good place when this was taken. I was depressed and very anxious, suffering from panic attacks and struggling to fix myself. Physically I was in good shape, as in I was a size 10, I wasn’t eating much though. I was on medication including antidepressants and sleeping tablets and I was very low in B12.

Fast forward to this year:

I’m off the meds, I’m relaxed, I’m not depressed, I still get a bit anxious occasionally but nothing like before. I’ve discovered what a lot of my triggers are so I choose not to subject myself to them. I’m still learning. I realised this week that a late night in a noisy pub isn’t a good place for me. I also realised I’m really not good at all in crowds sometimes and that’s OK. I’m not happy with the weight but I’m unable to lose it even though I’m trying. It’s a small price to pay though. I’d rather be happy and heavy than thin and miserable.

I suppose the aim of this post is to reach out to those who might not be in a good place. If someone told me last year that things would get better I wouldn’t have believed them. It can and does get better though. Look after yourself if you aren’t in a good place. Do what works for you. You can’t mind others until you mind yourself first.

Thanks for reading.

Wheely Great News

Happy days as Jono got a wheelchair today. That’s going to make life so much easier for him and we are delighted. He also got an out- patient appointment through for Dublin for the beginning of next month. It’s great that things are finally moving forward and thank you all so much for your lovely words and support.

Everything else is grand, I got such a great response to the Galway memories post so I’ll probably do another few similar posts. It’s interesting looking back, I’ve had a varied life and haven’t written about most of it so that might be the direction I do down with the blog now. It’s much easier now that most of the Sligo topics are covered by Sligo Hub – which is doing so well and I’m delighted about that too.

So happy days all round. I hope you are all keeping well.


Holy Dog!

There I was walking the dogs this morning and minding my own business when Puggly slipped his lead and ran off. I legged it after him until I lost sight of him. It wasn’t until I realised that Mass was in full swing and a feeling of horror came over me. He hadn’t had he????

As I stood for a moment in the church porch I heard the priest telling the congregation about a special visitor they had and how he was very welcome. Oh no, he really had! I poked my head in the door and a lady nodded at me and pointed in the direction of the altar.

I did my best mission impossible attempt at flying down the aisle and I couldn’t look at anyone. I followed the sounds of giggles and Puggly ‘purring! I grabbed him and we moved as quickly as we could. I’m completely mortified and would like to apologise to the church goers.

Puggly, on the other hand, is oblivious and I think he quite liked his morning out. There’s never a dull moment.

Sunday Thoughts – The Galway Years

A bit of a different direction with this blog post. I’m not usually one for reminiscing but sometimes I look back and delve into this box of memories in my head and thought I may as well write about them.

My parents were both born in Galway and moved when they were in their early 20s to the UK where I was born. This was before the days of cheap flights and Ryanair so planning a visit back to Ireland was like a military outing. My dad couldn’t sit still when we came back so there was always a building project or other tied in to the visit – much to my Nans horror.

My dad would scour car boot sales for DIY stuff to bring over and he’d fill his car top to toe with it – inside the garage. On one occasion we were rushing to catch the ferry and dad went like the clappers reserving and took the bloody garage door with him. That got sorted about after what seemed like weeks of driving around the Welsh Mountains we arrived at the ferry port. We must have look a bit of a sight; a laden down car, ladders, wallpaper and half a garage door hanging off the roof-rack. The customs decided to look in the car and found clear packets of a white substance….so dad was marched off for a ‘chat’.  I suppose no would understand that it was wallpaper paste bought from a car boot sale…….

Onwards to Galway along the lumpy, bumpy roads at the time, tired and miserable and when we arrived was there a welcome? No my Nan was at mass. In fact most of the time she was at mass.

One Christmas when I was quite young my mum decided we’d spend Christmas with my Nan so that ‘Santa’ would visit. It’s probably the strangest Christmas I ever had. Santa left the presents but I could open them because Nan was mass, when she came home her sister went it mass….the day continued like this with some kind of relay to the Church. I was thinking they must have been very religious but in the evening they took out little notebooks and swapped information on who was there, who was the priest, what was said etc etc… I finally got my presents at around 7pm after quite a long day of a turkey and salmon boiling together on the range cooker (ew).

My Nan lived right in the centre of Galway, in a little terraced house, there were very little mod cons, just a range for heating, no bathroom, an outside toilet and a scullery. There was no fridge and no television. One year we took over a tiny black and white television into the house which she called the devil and didn’t want it put on..or so she said until she found out about the news. The telly was a firm fixture after that.

If, and it was a very rare occasion, she wanted a bath the tin bath was pulled out in front of the range. Most times she preferred TCP – it covered a multitude of sins.

She was happy in her ways though and I think she’d have been happier if she was left to her own devices instead of being made to have all these ‘new-fangled’ gadgets  such as a fridge.

I liked going to visit Galway, it was like travelling back in time compared the UK. I was able to hop and a bike and go cycling for miles around narrow lanes with stone walls and holy shrines. You knew all the people in the area, I even got invited to a birthday party – that was a bit of an eyeopener – tomato sandwiches and the death notices on the local radio….but that was the way it was done. No cake, no party hats or pass the parcel, very different.

I remember the excitement when the roller disco opened, I think it was somewhere near the GPO. I spent many, happy, hours there. All on my own  but skating away to the disco music. I also remember when Quinsworth (now Tesco) opened at the Galway Shopping Centre. They used to have a make your own pizza section – it was brilliant! It made such a nice change from boiled salmon.

I remember splashing about at Salthill, the sun always seemed to be shining, I’d have my packed lunch which by the time I got round to eating it tasted sweaty and covered in sand.

I remember the congregation of stray cats that would gather on the landing window and feeding them when no one was looking.

I remember sharing a bedroom with my great aunt and having to pretend I was asleep when she needed to use the chamber pot in the middle of the night.

I remember trying to hide the Sacred Heart picture by hanging my dressing gown over it. The blood trickling down his face used to frighten me. I also remember trying to get my Nan to like me. She never did. She didn’t like my mum either. We weren’t lads you see. She only had time for the lads. My dad or my brother could do no wrong in her eyes but I suppose that’s what it was like for a lot of people back in those days.

My Nan had a hard life, she got married young to a man who was 13 years older than her. I heard my Granddad was a lovely man but he died before I was born. He fought in the First World War and spent much of his life after that working in the barracks in Renvyle. My Nan had 6 children, one died after birth, one at the age of two, one at the age of five, one at 32….how do you recover from that? She never spoke about them except for Paddy who was the 32  year old and Teresa who was 5 when she went on holiday to Connemara and never came home. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

My Nan died when she was 89.

So that’s a bit of a walk down memory lane for me today.

At The Model

I was thrilled to have one of my photos chosen to be in the Cairde Visual Exhibition at The Model Art Gallery, Sligo. The opening night was last night and I was in two minds all the way along as to if I should go or not.

A friend of mine said she would go with me which I was very grateful for because one of my biggest issues is walking into a crowded room on my own. I also got a call from another friend to say she was there too. This made such a difference to me and I was grand going in.

The exhibition is wonderful, so many different pieces to look at including dinosaurs! It was a really busy evening there so I’m going back when it’s quieter to have a proper look.

I’m glad I went to the opening because otherwise I’d have been at home wondering how it was going but I don’t think I’d go again. I can’t get over this ‘not worthy’ feeling. Like I shouldn’t be there with all those talented artists and I don’t know if there’s any way that I can change that. To me it’s ‘just a photo’ and then I see all these amazing pieces of art. Anyway that’s just me.

On a positive note I met a few lovely people and I went with my friends for dinner afterwards which was just lovely. We sat in the sunshine along by the river and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out to dinner with friends, hopefully I’ll meet up with them again soon.

If you get a chance do call in to see the exhibition, it’s on until August 19th at The Model, Sligo.