Sunday, June 30, 2019

Bookin' Through Another Month

And so we come to the end of June. We have not been experiencing the hellish temperatures that some places in continental Europe are coping with, but summer did arrive earlier this week, with temperatures in the low 20s and sun. That's enough to cause problems for me and I muddled through the other day in spite of the headache, brain fog, and nausea. It was better yesterday and today and I can function through the usual summer tiredness. I know I had a reprieve throughout May and most of June, when I slept well and even comfortably wore a jacket a few times! Now it's just time to grit my teeth and move through July, which I always dread more than any other month. Last year, it seemed endless. But it wasn't and I must admit that autumn, deep sleep, deep breaths of crisp air, rain, and comfort always seem so much sweeter after the discomforts of summer. It's like Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote--we don't appreciate not having a toothache until we've had a toothache and it goes away.

Speaking of Thich Nhat Hanh, he led off my June reading list, which was, as usual, eclectic. Here's the first part:

Love Letter to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book is a reminder, from the perspecive of a Buddhist monk that we are inextricably connected to the natural world, but that we forget this connection, take a great deal for granted, and harm ourselves in the process.

Death in a White Tie by Ngaio Marsh
I’d finished the physical book I’d brought when we went away for a few days, so turned to my e-reader, picking up where I’d left off in Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn series. I finished one of those books and started this one, finishing it after we got home. In this book, women are being blackmailed and Alleyn enlists the help of a friend of himself and many of the other people involved to help catch the culprit. At a dinner dance at one of the society houses, the friend does this, but does not make it home. This one is personal for Alleyn and most of the other people involved.

Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life by Andre Naffis-Sahely
I check the poetry collection in the e-book section of the library periodically to see if there is anything new. Upon reading this description, I decided to borrow the book:
‘Flitting from the mud-soaked floors of Venice to the glittering, towering constructions of the Abu Dhabi of his childhood and early adulthood, from present-day London to North America, André Naffis-Sahely's bracingly plain-spoken first collection gathers portraits of promised lands and those who go in search of them: labourers, travellers, dreamers; the hopeful and the dispossessed.’

True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart by Tara Brach, PhD
I used to listen to this woman’s podcasts years ago, but then stopped. I recently came across the podcasts and started listening to her again as I work on some creative blockages in my life. When I was looking her up, I saw a blurb about this book, so did a library search, found it, requested it, and waited for it to arrive at my local branch. What I liked best about the book was the personal stories that she used to illustrate her points. Bill and I used to teach life story classes and help people preserve their stories, so I recognize the power they have to teach the teller and the listener/reader the power of the possible.

Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge
I learned of this book when a friend sent me an article in The Guardian about the author’s latest book, which is about walking. In that article, they mentioned this book and I requested both. This one came in first.

By silence, Kagge does not mean only the absence of noise, although that’s part of what he writes about. He also writes about art, science, class, nature, wonder, curiosity, distraction, being overly busy, boredom, and the inability of many people to sit quietly with themselves. He discusses one experiment in which people were given an electric shock so they would understand how painful it was. everyone agreed it was very painful and something they would want to avoid. Then they were placed alone in a room with nothing to do. The only way they could stop being alone was to press the button and give themselves the electric shock they said they would try to avoid. Most people gave themselves the shock, deciding that was preferable to any more time alone with themselves.

This is a slim volume and he does not go into great depth about any of his thoughts. Rather, he muses about one thing and then moves on to the next. He draws on some of his own experiences, exploring the Arctic and Antarctica, doing some urban exploring with a friend in the New York City sewer system and under bridges, and other such journeys. He does provide a lot to think about and I am so glad I found out about this book. It’s worth the read.

blooming in spite of the obstacles

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Things That Made Me Smile Today

On our way out this morning, I stopped to admire the tiny flowers peeking out of the green.
We called into the charity shop and it was Bill who alerted me to the small basket of yarn--I hadn't even noticed it. I blame this slippage on the sun, which obviously affected me on the walk there 😉 It's not like me to walk right by yarn without noticing, especially an excellent find like this. Good thing Bill was with me for yarn-spotting back-up!
I knew the cone and the ball are wool and I was pretty sure the hank is, too. I did the burn test when we got home and it is. There was no price on any of them, so I took them and waited to see what she would charge me. We looked around the shop and Bill found a pair of pants and a book. We walked up to the counter to pay and were both shocked when she charged us only €5 for everything.

A closer look shows the subtleties of the colours and textures.

This afternoon, I dumped some frozen strawberries, a couple of bananas, and a splash of milk into the blender and we had smoothies--yum! Very refreshing, especially because we were still uncomfortably warm from our walk in the summer sunshine.

I'm trying to focus on positive things instead of my summer discomfort and the little things above did make me smile. I also remind myself that we are lucky to not be experiencing the extreme and potentially deadly deadly heat that is affecting parts of continental Europe. I don't even like 20 (68F) degrees, never mind 45 (113F)! Here's hoping they get through this heatwave with no serious injury, illness or any loss of life.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Outdoor Laundry Facilities

Over the past few years, these have been popping up outside of petrol stations.

They may have laundromats in some parts of the country, but we haven't seen any in the places we've lived. They have launderettes, which seem to be places where people drop off laundry to have someone else take care of it, but I've not been inside one, so I'm not sure exactly how they work.

We've spent a lot of time over the years looking at rental properties on various websites and one thing we noticed pretty quickly was that they (almost) all have washing machines in them. These are small, under-counter machines, usually in the kitchen, but sometimes tucked away in a bathroom or other spot. There may or may not be a dryer. Again, this may be different in more densely populated areas, but I only have experience with small rural towns, both in terms of where we've lived and where we've looked.

We've lived in four different dwellings here. All have had washing machines and two have had dryers. We never used the dryers. All have had laundry racks--sometimes called a clothes horse or air dryer here. We were happy to discover that these air dryers were part of the furniture, small appliances, kitchenware, etc that comes with rental properties. We'd planned to buy one, so were glad when we didn't have to. We stopped using a dryer over 35 years ago, except for the times we were camping across the US and didn't have a place to hang clothes to dry. From looking at the suggested drying times on the front of these dryers, I'm glad I never felt the need to use them--they both suggested 3 hours of drying time for a load of cottons! This may be one reason why clotheslines are so popular here. Only one of the places we've lived has had no clothesline available, and I could have rigged one up if I'd wanted one. I didn't, because the rack was easier, especially when I consider the fact that me hanging out laundry seems to be a signal that it should rain. I love rain, but not on my drying laundry. As soon as I dash out to bring it in, the sun comes back out. I hang the stuff on the rack and walk away.

As we've ridden around on buses, I've seen a lot of clotheslines with metal roofs over them. Electricity is expensive here, so that may be one reason why clotheslines are so popular. And really, three hours of drying time for one small load would be another incentive to hang the clothes and leave them.

So people have washing machines in their homes, but they're small, so big bulky items won't fit. I guess that's where these machines come in handy. They may also be useful for tourists. They seemed to start popping up a couple of years ago. This one is in Ballyshannon and someone was using it when we were there. There's one at the petrol station on the outskirts of town here and also at a station on the edge of Donegal Town--the latter has two such set-ups. I don't recall ever seeing those in use, but maybe I've simply not been going by at the right time. It seems like a good thing to have available in the event that a large item needs to be laundered.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Beautifully Blue in Ballyshannon

Yesterday we went to Ballyshannon to do an errand. This was completed quickly, so we had time to walk around a little bit and to eat the picnic lunch we'd brought. We'd been to Ballyshannon before, but only for a short time and in a limited area, and we've ridden through it on the bus many times, so it was nice to finally be able to wander around a little bit instead of just moving through.

River Erne, as seen from the pedestrian bridge
marker alongside the road to Bundoran

the view from beside the roadside marker

i took this as we sat at the picnic table where we had our lunch--it was quite windy and cool
The area where we had lunch is called Mall Quay. There's a grassy area with one picnic table and several benches scattered around. On one side is the River Erne and the photo above shows the estuary. Some people came and sat in their car nearby for part of the time we were there, but otherwise, we had the place to ourselves, at least until a swan arrived to have his/her lunch.
There is a slipway here, built in 1775. During the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, Ballyshannon was an important port, in spite of a dangerous sandbar in the estuary. Killybegs was, at that time, a minor port, but it was able to handle large ships, so goods were often offloaded there and brought to Ballyshannon on smaller boats.

There are a few memorials here.

This bench is tucked away around the side and not visible from the main part of the quay. There's a narrow 'path' consisting of some flattened grass, which allows one to access it and the one that's tucked away out of sight.
We had a nice day. The breeze/wind was very welcome and kept things comfortable in spite of the abundant sunshine, so I could enjoy the many shades of blue offered up by the sky and the water without feeling yucky.
Happy Solstice!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


I've been eating salads from our container garden for 5 or 6 weeks now, I suppose. One of the things I used to love about being a part of a CSA in Maine was the salad I used to make throughout the season. These salads were nothing fancy and mostly consisted of many different kinds of leaves and herbs with a simple, freshly made balsamic vinaigrette. I added other veggies, too, but I do love a bowl of freshly picked leafy things. We have different lettuces, mixed mustards, herbs, scallions, spinach, baby beet greens, radish microgreens (and radishes), and chard.

The spinach is perpetual spinach and the more I picked, the more it would grow. I couldn't keep up with it for salads alone so today, I picked most of it, blanched it, and stuck it in the freezer. Now it has plenty of room to grow.

In the garden we had a couple years ago, the spinach did not do well at all--it bolted really quickly. We didn't mind, because the chard was abundant. This year, they're both doing well so far and I expect I will eventually have some of both for the freezer. Incidentally, the small containers are perfect for freezing and refrigerating leftovers or other small bits--they stack well and I can see through them. They originally held hummus. I often make hummus, but when we're out and about for a day or a few days, hummus is a good lunch/supper food to pick up in the grocery store. I save the containers and reuse them for this purpose.

Hopefully, we'll have some beans for the freezer eventually, too, but I'll have to freeze them in something else.
one of two bean boxes
In addition to being delicious, some of the veggies are pretty, too.
a few small courgettes in there

colourful lettuces--we have another box of a different kind of lettuce further down the wall

assorted mustard greens--I have some of these inside, too
The chards and the beetroot are also lovely, with the red, yellow, and white stems and the dark green leaves.

I thought maybe the abundant rain would sog everything out, but everything seems to be pretty happy and that makes me pretty happy, too!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Gorgeous Button: A Small Piece of Art All By Itself

My friend sent me this gorgeous glass button.
I love it--it takes my breath away! I considered putting it on a garment, but if I did that, it would live in the wardrobe most of the time and I wouldn't be able to see it. I decided to make something that I could wear when I wanted to and hang on the wall to enjoy the rest of the time. It took a while, mainly because of the thread. I wasn't finding the right colours of crochet thread and perle cotton isn't much of a thing here. I decided on embroidery floss, but that is also not found in abundance here and there is not the wide array of colours and shades that I used to see in craft shops in the US. The only craft shop near here is in Donegal Town and while it's a great wee shop which has a little bit of everything, it's just that--a small selection. But I found some floss at an Irish yarn shop online that matched two of the colours in the button and made a simple kongo gumi braid with that, using my kumihimo disk. I needle-felted an oval shape, quilted the felt with the same floss, snipped a hole in the centre and stuck the shank of the button through, sewing it on securely. Then I finished off by sewing the braid to the felt and button.
 I've been wearing it today and I have to say, it makes me very happy just to look at it. I hope there is something making you happy today, too. 😀

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Random Stuff in Letterkenny

After we went to the museum yesterday, we walked around for a while, before going back to the bus station and getting the bus back home. It was a nice day for walking--cool, breezy, and no sun. Letterkenny is very hilly, so we were up one hill and down another. We called in at the library, where there was a cart of books for sale. Like at the library in Donegal Town, these had been pulled from the library system. I found an older book about women and politics, which seemed appropriate, given that we'd just been to the museum exhibit on that very topic, and a couple of books about art and artists in Ireland. The bus rides are pleasant as we ride through some beautiful scenery. I particularly love the Barnesmore Gap. Here are a few random things that caught my eye as we walked along.
the toucan says...

the fake scenes in the ground floor windows made me chuckle


manhole cover

sculpture in front of courthouse
The above sculpture was created during a 'forge-in.' You can read about this and see some detail here.

I took the last three pictures through the bus window on the way home. So much green!

It was a pleasant day all around. When we got home it was suppertime, so I went outside and picked some veggies for salad, heated up some leftover potato-parsnip mash, made some grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and onion, and made some balsamic vinaigrette. Yum! 

I hope your day is pleasant, too!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Donegal County Museum Exhibit: Women and Politics in Ireland

We spent today in Letterkenny. We went there to look at the exhibit at the Donegal County Museum about women and politics. It was very informative, with information available in text, audio, and video. There were photos and artefacts on display as well. The one drawback was that it was quite warm inside and we were soon roasting. Still, I'm glad we went.

I took some pictures, but there was glare from the lighting and some didn't come out.  Here are the ones that did.
freedom fighters

finally, success--this is a very young country
1946--Ireland was neutral during what was called The Emergency here, but there was still rationing afterwards
In 1990, Mary Robinson was the first woman elected to the office of President of Ireland. She served for almost 8 years and was succeeded by Mary McAleese. After leaving office, Ms Robinson became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position she held for 5 years. She continues to work on various human rights issues and last year, published a book called Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, which I highly recommend. I wrote about the book here.

There are still not enough women in politics here, but more are starting to get involved and one of the major parties here, Sinn Fein, has a woman for leader and as the deputy, who is the head of the party in Northern Ireland.

After we left the museum, we went to grab some lunch. The little hole-in-the-wall burrito place we tried last time we were in Letterkenny has moved to a much larger space. The food is just as good. The poor young man who finished off our burritos was having a hard time wrapping them, so we knew we'd need forks. We come prepared, keeping a fork and spoon in each of our backpacks--comes in handy when we're out and about and lets us avoid the plastic ones. Single use plastic is on its way out here, and I know there are some disposable items that say they're compostable, but I am skeptical. I worked for a time in a so-called sustainable goods store and the owner sold what was marketed as compostable plastic silverware. One day he admitted to me that when the manufacturers tested this, they first used an industrial grinder to break these things down into tiny bits. Anyone who doesn't have an industrial grinder and just buries the stuff in the back yard was in for disappointment. So I'd rather bring my own regular utensils, purchased at a charity shop for the purpose, than use the plastic, even if it says it can go in the compost. My fork is washed and ready to go back into the pack for the next jaunt.

And now, I'm off to make a cup of tea! It is chilly for June and I LOVE that!

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Weekend in Doggerland: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Beautiful Writing

A few weeks ago, I was listening to an episode of the Open Book Podcast from BBC Radio 4. The show opened with two authors who had written books about Doggerland, a now submerged area of land that connects England to mainland Europe. One book is a work of speculative fiction and one is non-fiction; both have things to say about climate change, as you'd expect. Before the segment had ended, I had looked them both up and requested them from the library. I picked them up last week and happily spent the weekend with them, finishing the non-fiction book this afternoon.

Time Song: Searching for Doggerland by Julia Blackburn
 This book is an interesting journey with the author as she goes in search of information about Doggerland. The journey has added poignancy because her husband had recently died. Since not much is known about Doggerland, her scope is wider than that alone and encompasses ideas about how people might have lived there before it was submerged. She speaks to experts about the area, archaeologists, anthropologists and enthusiasts. She goes on field trips with some of these people and with friends. She observes and muses. She reads about the lives of hunter-gatherers in different parts of the world at different times, often creating poems, which she calls ‘Time Songs’ that provide a synopsis of what she has read. The book includes artwork created by a longtime friend. Rather than a linear narrative, the book is almost like a record of her process as she learns more--she tells us what she is doing, who she talked to, what she experienced, what people said to her, how they reacted to her and what thoughts she has in the process. She takes the reader along with her as she searches for Doggerland. This is a very fine book and I am so glad I read it.

The cover is a picture of the flattened bog bodies of a couple that were found in 1904 by bog cutters. The author says, ‘A policeman was summoned and he rolled them together as you might a carpet and tied them on the back of his bicycle and took them (into) the town, where they ended up in the local museum. Whenever I look at them I seem to be looking at me and my husband walking through a landscape,  lost in conversation or in silence, our walk continuing in spite of time and the fact of death.’ (p 280)

Absence plays a big role in this book, as the author's husband had died not that long before she embarked on this project. At one point, she says she remembers some of the abundant wildlife she used to see as a child and tries not to notice that the populations of these creatures is diminishing, because it makes her sad. But she recognizes that we have no choice but to accept this. In another section of the book, she is comforted by the fact that the earth will go on, with or without us. I also find comfort in this thought, when I consider my own feelings of grief and sadness about our destruction of our beautiful home.
 Before I started Time Song yesterday, I read
Doggerland by Ben Smith
I started this book one night, then picked it up again the following afternoon, thinking I’d read a bit more. I looked up two hours later as I closed the back cover. I hadn’t moved during that time, except to turn the pages. This is a wonderful book.

Boy and Old Man live on a rig in a wind farm in the North Sea. Land is only a memory. Boy is there because his father had taken a job on the rig, but had tried to escape at some point and was never heard from again. Because of the father’s contract, The Corporation, which seems to be in charge of everything, sent the boy to take his place. We never learn what life is like on whatever land remains. The book takes place completely on the sea. Old Man goes out and tries to fish up artifacts from that time. Boy wants to fix things, which is his job, but Old Man is more lackadaisical and takes parts from the turbines and saves them for when Pilot comes to bring supplies. He can trade things for stuff he wants. A comment by Pilot makes Boy determined to find out what happened to his father. Whereas before, he had asked Old Man and was frustrated by his lack of answers, Pilot’s comments spur him to action and the story unfolds.

Interspersed through the narrative are descriptions of the prehistorical land mass that is Doggerland. I read a couple of reviews that argued that these were misplaced and added nothing to the book. I could not disagree more. I loved them. The writing was gorgeous (the author is also a poet and this is his first novel) and in my opinion, these short interludes enhanced the book a great deal. For one thing, they reminded me that we have a sense of importance about our place on the planet, but we’re really a blip. Mother Earth was doing her stuff well before we evolved and will continue to do so long after we’re extinct. Also, in the story, there were times it seemed that Boy and Old Man were doing tasks that were pointless. For example, as they cannibalized parts from the turbines, the output was going down, down, down, yet no one from The Corporation seemed to notice or care. I think the sections that described Doggerland as it arose from the ice and then was submerged again thousands of years later, reinforced that, in a way. The fields (as the wind farm is called in the book) are there now, but the sea is gradually destroying them and they will not be there forever. At some point, the sea will reclaim them, too, no matter what Old Man, Boy, and anyone else does.

I'm not sure what I will choose to read next, but for now, I'll just keep my head in Doggerland and Julia Blackburn's gorgeous writing for a little while longer.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Conversation in the Book Room

We went to do an errand yesterday afternoon and called in at the charity shop on our way home. Of course, I made a beeline for the book room. I was thrilled to find this:
When I took the elastic off to look at the accompanying box, I wondered whether there was much paint left in the tubes.
I figured if there was a decent amount of paint, I'd buy it. They weren't even open!
 I've dabbled in watercolour and use it for cards, backgrounds, and soon will be using it for collage, so this will be perfect. And there's the book in the kit and the book the charity shop sold with the kit, so all in all, an excellent find. We also found a few other books.

As I was starting to leave the book room, a woman was coming in and she struck up a conversation. She sort of swept her arms out to encompass the room and said, 'This is heaven. I bought kindles for all of us and I still can't help myself.' I told her about Project Gutenberg and her eyes got wide and she smiled. I told her that it's a great place to get older books and classics and she said, 'That sounds perfect. I read everything.' I don't know whether she found anything in the book room, but I hope she found a treasure that made her day as I have at various times. You never know what you'll find in the book room/section at a charity shop!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Last of the May Books

These are the last few books I read in May.

Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future by Kate Brown
In April, I read Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I’d read a review in The Guardian that included both that book and this one, so I requested both of them. They work well together, although I am glad they came in a month apart--it’s not light or happy reading, so it was good to have time in between. Where Higginbotham focuses primarily on people and circumstances that led to the disaster, how it happened, and then, to a lesser extent, on what happened to the people involved, Kate Brown looks more at the impacts of the disaster on people and nature. She also broadens out to look at how nuclear testing has harmed people and the environment and how countries like the US have attempted to cover up the results. She argues that the international community had incentives to downplay the harm caused by regular exposure to radiation at lower doses, to play along with a misleadingly low official death toll, and to assist in the cover-up. Also, she illustrates how flawed the thinking was as people were trying to calculate damage and exposure limits. Most of these calculations were based on a study of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, but that longitudinal study did not even begin until 5 years after the bombs were dropped and the situation was different. The bombs provided a massive dose of radiation, while Chernobyl was a continued contamination. Different areas outside the exclusion zone had far more exposure than officials were willing to admit, so continued to live in contaminated areas, eat contaminated food, process contaminated wool, etc. There are reports about how well nature is doing in the contaminated areas, but her research shows that this is not at all the case. This was not a fun book to read, but it is an important work that is well worth reading.

 When I Walk Through That Door, I Am: An Immigrant Mother's Quest by Jimmy Santiago Baca
Reading this was difficult and sad, but I think it’s a very important work. I came across it in the e-book section of the library website. Here is the description:

    Jimmy Santiago Baca sends us on a journey with Sophia, an El Salvadorian mother facing a mountain of obstacles, carrying with her the burden of all that has come before: her husband's murder, a wrenching separation from her young son at the border, then rape and abuse at the hands of ICE, yet persevering: "I keep walking/carrying you in my thoughts," she repeats, as she wills her boy to know she is on a quest to find him.
    “This slim, salient volume will open readers’ eyes wide to the true human stories behind blaring headlines about immigration policies and debates.” —Booklist, Starred Review “Jimmy Baca’s new book brilliantly reimagines the epic poem—and reshapes the epic hero as a young immigrant woman struggling to escape violence and find the child that has been torn away from her. A work that speaks strikingly and passionately of our times.” —Richard Blanco “[Baca] writes with unconcealed passion . . . both an intense lyricism and transformative vision.” —Denise Levertov “[Baca’s] voice, brutal and tender, is unique in America.” —Ilan Stavans, The Nation “What makes [Baca’s poetry] a success is its honesty, a brutal honesty, as well as his original imagery and the passion of his writing.” —Gary Soto, The San Francisco Chronicle

There is also a powerful author’s note at the end.

The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories by Camilla Lackberg and translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally
I found this slim volume in our local charity shop and picked it up with the intention of bringing it on a trip and leaving it for someone else. I read it on our trip to Creeslough and left it on the exchange shelf in the Happy Camper Cafe. The book opens with a novella that comprises most of the book. I found that to be a bit long. The remaining three stories were much better and had some good plot twists right at the end. I’d not read any work by this author before, but I would try out more of her books now.

Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh
I finished the physical book I’d brought with me when we spent a few days away, so turned to my e-reader. I decided I might as well continue on with Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn series. In this one, Alleyn is on his way back from New Zealand, where the last book was set. On the ship, he encounters an artist, Agatha Troy. Their meeting is an awkward one, with both making incorrect assumptions about the other. She ends up doing a sketch of Alleyn, which he gives to his mother when he goes to spend a few days with her before going back on duty at Scotland Yard. As it happens, Troy, as she is mostly called, has a large house nearby that is used as a kind of artist community, with different people coming and going at various times. These people are all at a different skill level and some want to improve under the instruction of Troy. When the hired model, who is also staying in the house, ends up dead, Alleyn is called in. His mother played more of a role in this book and she is a fun character. I enjoy these books and characters.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Library Run, Detour, and Books

We planned to do a quick run to Donegal Town today so we could go to the library and pick up the books that came in last week while we were away and the ones that came in this morning. We had about an hour to pick up some groceries and check the charity shop before the library re-opened after lunch. I found a small cone of navy blue wool and Bill spotted a basket with a few freebies. I picked up a necklace with a really nice pendant and some small beads. One of the cords is broken, but that's no matter, since I'm going to cut it apart anyway.

Then it was off the the library to collect my goodies.
The librarian still had the table up with books that have been pulled from the library system. They've been selling them. In the past, he's said he is always glad to see the book people come in, because they can't resist. We don't disappoint him, since we usually leave with a few books, as we did today. I got a couple short story collections and a couple Irish history books.
Then we got the bus. That's when things got weird. We were about 10 minutes from home when we stopped. The road was closed due to an accident. We saw an ambulance leaving the scene and another arriving. People started turning around and heading the other way. The bus driver was trying to figure out which way to go. This was complicated by the fact that one person needed to get off at the village just beyond the accident. This young man moved to the front with his phone, got a map, and navigated around the narrow back lanes. Others had the same idea and those lanes saw more traffic than they're used to! It was a little tricky when cars were coming the other way--these were 1-lane roads with grass growing in the middle, with occasional wider spots. Everyone was very considerate, though and pulled over when possible, or backed up until they could. We took a 45-minute detour through some lovely countryside. Best of all, the driver had on Highland Radio, a Donegal station, and on the news bulletin, they reported that there were no serious injuries in the accident. Hopefully the people who went in the ambulances will recover quickly.

Here are a few more of the books I read in May.
Gardening Women: Their Stories From 1600 To the Present by Catherine Horwood
I found this book in our local charity shop. It’s a really interesting history of women and gardening in its many aspects. She includes upper class gardens and various fashions through time, kitchen gardens, gardening advice for women, the enthusiasm people had for collecting flowers and other plants from all over the world and bringing/sending them back to Britain, the professionalisation of gardening as it pertained to women, and more.

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
A friend recommended this book to me after her librarian recommended it to her and she liked it. Hanna Casey, who grew up in a (fictional) village in Ireland, moved to London and married young. When she discovered her husband had been having an affair for years, she divorced him and moved back to Ireland with her teenage daughter, living with her widowed mother. When the story opens, the daughter is grown and living in France, but she comes to visit. Hanna is working as a librarian, but holds herself back from becoming too involved with any local people. She has a reoutation for being aloof and standoffish. Then she gest word that the branch library she runs is going to be closed. As the fight to save the library begins, people have to band together. Unlikely partnerships are formed, ideas show up, and new friendships are made. This was a good read and I found out that it’s a series, which is currently on book 5. My librarian is looking for the next one, which was supposed to be on the shelf, but was not immediately apparent when I was there looking for it. The third is a Christmas one, so I might wait a while to read that one. reading Christmas stuff during summer, my most difficult time of the year, depresses me. But come late September or October, I’ll be happy to jump in.

New and Selected Poems: Volume 2 by Mary Oliver
I regularly check the poetry offerings in the ebook section of the library website to see whether anything new has become available. I came across this and have enjoyed Mary Oliver’s poetry in the past (although I wasn’t keen on a collection of essays I read), so I checked it out.

Joyride to Jupiter by Nuala O’Connor
A collection of short stories that I found when scrolling through the e-book section of the library website. The title story, the first in the book, has a sucker-punch sort of ending. This is a nice collection of stories, some very short (a page or less) and some longer.

Woman’s Part: An Anthology of Short Fiction By and About Irishwomen 1890-1960 Janet Madden-Simpson, ed
Several months ago, I was looking for something else on the library website, when this title popped up. I am particularly interested in short stories written by women and Irish women’s writing, so I requested it. At the time, it was checked out, but due a couple of weeks later (30 January). Then it was renewed until 13 February. That’s where it sat until mid-May, when suddenly it was on its way. I’m glad I got to read it!

Happy reading!