Auntie Nancy finally goes down aged 104


The man behind the song: Where We’ll Never Grow Old

I had to smile this morning as I heard my wife, A, shouting up the stairs to K, as our daughter thumped around her bedroom shoving the last bits and bobs into her already bulging schoolbag.

“Do you want rocket or iceberg lettuce with the ham in your sandwich?”

‘What would Auntie Nancy have thought?’ I wondered.

We buried my Auntie Nancy yesterday.

At the age of 104 — yes, 104 — Nancy Reidy, nee Sheppard, had finally stooped to fate and rejoined the two great Jims in her life, husband and eldest son, in the family grave in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

Leaving behind her a dynasty and a legacy of fortitude and spirit.

Her remaining son and daughter, Sean and Mary (her other daughter Alicia died a few years ago), and sprawl of nephews, nieces, son and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren, including the latest, a red-cheeked toddler girl in a buggy, strained to see as the priest said the last words at graveside.

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Will the son rise? Nobody knows!

GoldmanSince I decided in October 2017 to post a new blog piece each Monday, I have watched with satisfaction and relief as my viewing stats have grown, mostly, week by week.

Since I decided in October 2017 to post a new blog piece each Monday, I have watched with satisfaction and relief as my viewing stats have grown, mostly, week by week.

I admit to my rising delight as I check nervously again on the latest piece, and it and those lingering others push upwards in likes and — the ultimate show of appreciation — comments. Likes lovely, comments, “Yes!!!”

And I frown in silent despair as a particular set of stats slows, starts billowing smoke, and soon putt, putts out altogether.

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Stop the world, I want to get on

stop world 2I don’t know about you, but my night-time world can get a bit crazy sometimes. Or maybe it’s more that crazy can seem perfectly normal when I am lying there, neither awake nor asleep.

Am I the only one who feels at times that I only put my world back together after I wake up? Not everything slots back perfectly into place, but it all fits, kind of.

It’s like waking up is a kind of muzzy rearranging of the cosmic furniture, only I am often left with the uncanny feeling that everything isn’t exactly the way it was. It might explain why we end up with so many odd socks in our house.

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Who knows where the time goes?

You’re so far away from me

So far I just can’t see

You’re so far away from me

You’re so far away from me, all right

So Far Away Dire Straits


Ellie — some say Samoyed, we say home movie superstar

Only the other day my oldest niece, A, was grabbing on to my elbows and shrieking with delight and mischief, her tiny slippered feet balanced on my lumbering insteps as I walked her across the kitchen floor of my old family home. I must have looked like the Yeti. A laughing Yeti.

Or Boo Radley freed from his domestic prison and goofing around now in his bumbling way with the irrepressible Scout.

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We love our dog as much as we love you


Bella this morning resting on her cushioned throne

So if Aslan, the lion, can sing about protecting a baby in this Crazy World, why can’t a Cat sing lovingly about a dog — and mean it?

Ah now, Ted, you’ve really lost us there, you say …

Okay forget the lions and the babies, surely you knew the very first song released by Cat Stevens, nowadays Yusuf Islam, was I Love My Dog, back in the dawn of history, or 1967 to you?

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Our little boy walks to school and beyond


fleetwood_mac_thunder_only_happens_2So there I was performing what must have looked like some weird CPR procedure as I force-palmed a bunch of newspapers into the already brimming green bin at the side of our house. I looked up and my own heart could have done with some extra ventilation as I spotted my son O loping down the long straight stretch of path that leads to  phase one of our housing estate.

The pang in my chest felt as real as any ailment as I watched our 12-year-old, his back to me, long strawberry blond hair glistening and swaying in the low winter sun, all the way to the corner where he turned down the avenue. He was on his way to school, and beyond.

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“Get Dad, he knows”


One boy and his dog: Bella and O chill after O’s return from school

“Where’s Bella?” asked a sleepy O, pushing his blonde mop back from still-closed eyes,  when Mom came in to call him again for school.

Mom didn’t know.

 “Get Dad, he knows …”

So, where was I just then … which of my many morning jobs was I engaged in  … maybe I was putting on Mom’s egg, and the kettle was nearly boiled for her coffee.

Hah, you see, they don’t know all the stuff work-from-home Dad is doing, especially when they are just getting themselves sorted for school and my wife for her work, until things go wrong, or something ruffles the surface of the morning school day routine in our house. Continue reading