Category Archives: Healthy Living

On Growing Old

In my previous post on Retirement: Smelling roses, enjoying brandy and learning to spit, I quoted the Jenny Joseph poem When I Grow Old.
My friend Chris has crafted her much more elegant and stylish aspirations into a thoughtful poem for the distant day when she arrives in that time in her life.  I think it’s a beautiful poem that deserves to be widely read!

WHEN I GROW OLD…

WHEN I GROW OLD….
When I grow old, I will not long for youth,
rather I will celebrate what has gone before
and look forward to what each day brings.
I will enjoy the company of myself, as well as that of family and friends..
of new discoveries, of revisiting old interests and developing new ones.
I will revel in choosing yes or no or maybe.. without guilt or reason.
I will enjoy friendships, both near and far….
I will take time to watch butterflies flit among the flowers
and listen to bird song every day…
I will drench myself in summer showers..
and sing in the moonlight…
I will write what I wish and read all I can…
Silken threads will be my palette
as I create simple things of beauty…
I will surround myself with roses and violets and daisies
I will bake at midnight if I wish
and eat fruit and cream for tea…
When I grow old, I will be me…
 (c)Crissouli Jan 24, 2016
Inspired by the post of my friend… Angela…
Thank you Chris!
You can read more of her musings at The Back Fence of Genealogy .

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Filed under Ageing in Ireland, Healthy Living, Ireland, Older & Bolder, Older Generation, Retirement Age, Seniors

A walk on the wild side: Ireland’s Greenways

2013-06-06 12.04.54Here in Ireland’s Mid-West region we are privileged to have some of Ireland’s most beautiful unspoilt countryside. Not only that, we are doubly privileged to have a dedicated walking  and cycling track right in the heart of that lush green landscape. This is the  jewel of the South West, the Great Southern Trail Greenway.

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The trail winds along the route of the now defunct Limerick to Tralee railway line that linked Limerick and Newcastle West in 1867 and then Newcastle West and Tralee in about 1880. The line finally fell into disuse in the 1970s and through the extraordinary efforts of a small group of local people down the decades, this has now become 40 kilometers of magnificent country  walks.

Feb13 417This is Ardagh station, with the long platform gradually being claimed by vegetation. Station houses were traditionally made of beautifully hand cut limestone, such as can be seen here.

Ardagh Station

Ardagh Station

Deserted railway stations have a particular fascination  for me, as I was born in one such beautiful building, the home of my grandparents, in Newtownforbes Co Longford seen below.

Microsoft Word - Newtownforbes LAP.docStation House, Newtownforbes, Co Longford where I was born and the track I walked with my grandfather.

I spent many an hour walking the railway line with my grandfather, jumping from sleeper to sleeper, trying to keep up with him,and helping him to pull the great big levers that changed the direction of the tracks, sending the engines to the store.  Telegraph lines traditionally ran alongside the railway  line  and my grandfather would lift me up so I could press my ear to the pole and hear the lines ‘singing’.

It was not until several years after I came to live in this area that I discovered that my grandfather’s brother Alfie Clinton, had served  as station master  in Newcastle West  in the early 1950s which made the opening up of the trail of extra special interest to me.

newcastle house

The beautifully restored and modernized Station House in Newcastle West, Co Limerick.

 

Feb13 413 Feb13 406The beautiful cut limestone is also used in the bridges, platforms, and tunnels that lie along the trail.  Apart from these lovely examples of our built heritage the trail offers a unique close encounter with nature in all her glory.

These photos are from a walk on the stretch between Ardagh and Newcastle West in the month of May, when Ireland is  at her prettiest with the branches of the white Hawthorn  weighed down by heavily scented white blossom.

Feb13 405

Deliciously scented Hawthorn

The meadows at either side of the line are filled with Spring flowers and the occasional cow peacefully grazing.

The hedgerows along the line have their own microclimate and are populated with copious wildflowers.

Sometimes you have  to look very closely to discover the tiniest of little flowers…

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The Great Southern Greenway is one of many such trails being developed on disused railway lines in many parts of Ireland. Each is unique. The award-winning Great Western Greenway that runs along the Atlantic from Westport to Achill Island in County Mayo, with its stunning scenery; the Deise Greenway between Dungarvan and Waterford in Co Waterford with its spectacular arched viaducts; the recently begun Burtonport  Old Railway Walk which traverses some wild Donegal scenery – to name but a few.

The tourist potential of these Greenways is enormous and it is to be hoped that they will continue to be funded – not just to attract tourists, but for the benefit of local communities that work so hard to get these recreational amenities up and running.

Some sites of interest with some stunning scenery!

Great Western Greenway in County Mayo

Deise Greenway in County Waterford

Burtonport Old Railway Walk in County Donegal

Great Southern Trail in Limerick/Kerry

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Filed under Healthy Living, Ireland, Irish Countryside, Living in Ireland

Young at heart? Why not OLD at heart!

“Aging…Not everyone gets here. We, all of us who looked battered and weathered, are more beautiful than we know.”so says Jan Wilberg on a wonderful piece of writing on her blog at   Red’s Wrap. 

It only takes a moment to read   – but it  will  be hours in your head!

Read on  here 
My thanks to Social Bridge  for reblogging this wonderful piece of writing from Jan Wilberg’s  blog.

 

 
http://redswrap.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/youre-asking-the-wrong-question/

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Filed under Ageism, Healthy Living, Older Generation, Social Policy

Extraordinary Ordinary Women

iwd_long
Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 when thousands  of events occur all over the world in celebration of  the achievements of women.

The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was in March 1911. It had its origins in America a few years earlier where women had come together to protest against poor working conditions, resulting in a National Women’s Day being declared by the Socialist Party of America. Subsequently at an International Conference for Working Women in Copenhagen, attended by delegates from 17 countries, and including the first 3 women elected to the Finnish Parliament, a proposal to have a special day each year to focus on women’s issues was met with unanimous approval. International Women’s Day has evolved into a global day of celebration of the achievements of women, socially, politically, and economically. Women’s rights campaigners highlight inequalities and raise money for Charity and  Celebrities the world over associate themselves with the day.

iwd_theme

Inspiring Change

The United Nations  recognized International Women’s Day in 1975 and for the past 19  years it has designated a global theme for the day. Their  theme for 2014 is ‘Inspiring Change’.

The need for change has been very much highlighted by the publication this week of a European Union wide report on violence against women. This report, reveals the startling statistic that one in 3 women across  28 member states of the EU  has experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.

It is interesting to note that the United Nations has returned to the need to stop violence against women as a theme for International Women’s Day time and again as can be seen below.

Year       Theme

1999       World free of violence against women

2007      Ending impunity for violence against women and girls

2009      Women and men united to end violence against women and girls

2013       Time for action to end violence against women.

Some groups, countries and organizations select their own theme for IWD. It is not surprising therefore to find that the EU has adopted as its theme ”Preventing Violence Against Women – a Challenge for all”  for IWD in 2014. This is their Poster .

On International Women’s Day  we rightly celebrate our ”celebrity women” who have made a difference to the lives of many, but we must not forget the ordinary women such as the 1 in 3 who suffer abuse who are the most extraordinary of all.

womendayHappy Women’s Day to all my readers!

Further reading/references:

E U Report 2014

The Guardian Report

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Filed under Healthy Living, International Women's Day, Ireland, Social Change

Balls of Flour – the joy of new potatoes

It has been a long, long wait!  The awful cold and wet spring weather has held everything up. Finally, after a few false starts,  I have enjoyed the first ‘balls of flour’ of 2013.The term ‘balls of flour ‘will mean nothing to anyone who has not been born and bred in Ireland.  It refers of course to the eagerly awaited early crop of new potatoes . Potatoes! To many people outside of Ireland  the very word conjures up images of Famine. The reality is that when the new potatoes arrive each year , it is in fact a fabulous feast!

My own earliest encounter with the expression was way, way back in the mists of time.  My father rented a small field each year for the sole purpose of growing potatoes. In early days it was a number of drills in a big field in Drumnamona,outside Carrigart, but the plot I remember best was in Tirlaughan, beside an abandoned stone house, up on a hill. The plot was small and my memory is of it being  warm and sunny. Early  in the year seed potatoes were put into boxes to develop eyes. On Good Friday each year, sprouted seed potatoes were inspected, and if they had ‘eyes’ they were good to plant. Big ones were cut in half.

Sprouted Seed Potato. Image WikiMedia Commons

Sprouted Seed Potato. Image Wikimedia Commons

They were planted in drills – backbreaking work for youngish children – and later they were ‘earthed up’ to exclude all light. On the morning of  June 29th, (the Feast of St Peter & Paul, and coincidentally, also the  annual sports day in Cranford)  we went off with my father, carrying  the grape (a two-pronged fork) and a bucket. The grape was plunged deep into the black earth  under the leafy green plant, and the first new spuds came up – with many of various sizes attached to the roots of each plant, eliciting ‘oohs ‘ and ‘aahs’ from all of us as the earth was shaken off and the potatoes fell to the ground.

Drills of potatoes. Image Wikimedia Commons

Drills of potatoes. Image Wikimedia Commons

They were inspected, tested to see if the thin skin would just ‘rub off’, placed in the bucket and off we went with our treasure .  In  a couple of hours, (in these days dinner  was the mid day meal) they were on a huge plate in the middle of the table, ready to be devoured. If they were declared to be ‘balls of flour’ it was the ultimate accolade and a promise of a great meal to follow.

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Great Balls of Flour!

With almost the same intensity as we think of them at Christmas, our emigrants are uppermost in our thoughts at this time. Wherever they are, whether it be USA, Australia, Canada, the UK or Europe, or any place else – chances are, they are missing the balls of flour at this time of year. The Irish taste for dry floury potatoes is not shared by others, whose preference is for waxy varieties. I recall being unable to eat the potatoes in England when I first went to live there, as the texture was so unappealing to me. Similarly in Australia last year, the offering of a so-called potato was underwhelming!

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A dish of Queens

For a few weeks we will enjoy this beautiful early crop, steamed ( not boiled) , skins removed and served with a knob of butter and a grind of black pepper.  Heaven!

Royal Feast - Skins removed, with a knob of butter  on top

Royal Feast – Skins removed, with a knob of butter on top. A dinner fit for Queens.

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August 13, 2013 · 12:39 pm

How We Teach Our Sons To Rape

Very powerful, insightful and shocking blog post about why men rape – WHY do we teach our girl children not to be raped, yet we don’t teach our boy children NOT TO RAPE girls? Why?

 

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Filed under Healthy Living, Social Justice, Social Policy

Bealtaine:Celebrating change,celebrating age

Bealtaine is almost upon us again here in Ireland. With lengthening days, the last of the trees are allowing their lime green leaves to unfurl and the wind has made beautiful pink swirling carpets of cherry blossom petals on the  footpaths to cheer our still chilly mornings. The pink-tinged buds of the magnificent white hawthorn blossom are swelling and  the great swathe of gorse on the top of the hill behind my house is beginning to show promise of the sulphur yellow spectacle to come when it opens its tens of thousands of  flowers to the warmth of the sun. Together they will create the awesome spectacle that is Ireland in the month of May.

The entire top of this hill will be aglow with millions of sulphur yellow blossoms in a few days time.

Bealtaine (the Irish word for May) is the time of the ancient Festival of Bealtaine, an ancient fire festival heralding the transition between the seasons. Bealtaine heralds change – an appropriate time then for the internationally acclaimed Bealtaine Festival in Ireland celebrating and enjoying the talents  of older people.

A year ago I wrote about this joyful  celebration here and how it has been emulated in other countries.  Over 120,000 Irish people took part in this celebration of age last year.  2012 is European year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations so this year the focus will be on bringing generations together to explore the question : What kind of old do you want to be ?  On May 8 – 10th a major global conference will take place in Dublin with the theme of ‘ Creating  New Old’.

The  Bealtaine  Festival is spearheaded by Age and Opportunity  –  a non-profit organization working to promote participation by older people in various aspects of society, with the Bealtaine Festival concentrating  on greater participation by older people in the arts.  Libraries, museums, theatres, cinemas, active retirement groups , care centres, beaches, and woods will resound to sounds of the celebration of being older during this wonderful month of change in Ireland. A list of events taking place in all counties of Ireland can be seen here .

References

Age and Opportunity

Bealtaine

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Filed under Ageism, Healthy Living, Loneliness, Older Generation, Retirement Age, Seniors