Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Mail Out: The Christmas Post.

[Christmas greetings ready to be posted]

What a busy time of year Christmas must be for the post! Perhaps the only time that many people send snail mail wishes.

The postal service always seems to rise to challenge, though, with the delivery of mail being much faster at Christmas time than at any other.

I always look forward to this time of year and the arrival of cards to decorate the mantel: A kind of snail mail shrine.

Written correspondence has been a hobby of mine for a long time, & Monday Mail Out is a weekly feature whereby I can share my love for the lost art of letter writing. I hope my experiences will encourage others to send out letters on Monday too, and have them rediscover the joy of sending and receiving mail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meeting the Other Crowd by Eddie Lenihan

Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden IrelandMeeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland by Eddie Lenihan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame".
~ William Butler Yeats

I'd like to start this review by making it clear how much I absolutely L-O-V-E-D this book!

Meeting the Other Crowd is made up of faerie (Sidhe) stories collected by traditional Irish seanchai, Eddie Lenihan. The stories focus on the interactions between humans and the faeries, and many are not as old as you might expect: Many Sidhe encounters recorded in this book have taken place within the last 100 - 150 years.

This book examines common themes about what faerie contact might mean for a human; why the faeries either seek human contact or do not wish for it; faerie traditions; human superstitions; how the church has influenced the current understanding of the faerie world; and why, with the increasing influences of the modern world, the instances of faerie encounters appear to be dwindling.

Every story in this book held me spellbound: From faerie Kings and Queens, to changelings and the mysterious existence of vessels such as Biddy Early, it was almost impossible to put down. Well-written and easy to understand, I highly recommend this to anyone interested in Irish folk and faerie lore. It is a topic I am eager to learn more about.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An appreciation for simple things...

[Mail out: 3 letters, 1 postcard, & a book]

No mail went out yesterday. Can you believe it? I still cannot comprehend how I managed to go through the day and not make it to the post office. I'm blaming it on a morning appointment that ran overtime. By a lot. And an evening meeting at work that took longer than expected.

But of course I spent a portion of my weekend writing mail: It wouldn't have been a weekend without it! The mail just had to go with this morning's post instead.

[Bailey-dog chasing geckos - Entertainment for hours!]

After a hot week, closing with a scorcher on Friday (41*C), it was such a relief to wake Saturday morning to the sound of rain. Rain, might I add, that hung around all day and gave the garden a good soaking. It never ceases to amaze me how much plants prefer rain water to the stuff from the bore.

[Laundry on the line]

The weekend also included a Christmas dinner with my work colleagues: An hilariously fun evening packed with good food and good company, a great way to start the festive season.

[Chopped veg ready for a casserole]

But most of all the cool change was a great opportunity to enjoy the simple things: Spending time outside with Bailey-dog, the birds and the lizards; tending to the garden; doing the household chores; writing mail; and utilising the oven for some hearty, home cooked meals.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Mail Out: Partial to parchments...

[Gentleman note paper from LaPapierre]

"What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp".  (Author Unknown)

My stationery orders from Etsy arrived on Friday, so of course I wanted to write a bundle of letters over the weekend using my new stock of pretty, pretty writing paper. But then Sunday afternoon was spent babysitting my nephew (he is 8 years old), so only one letter went out in today's post. I don't mind, though: My nephew, SJ and myself had a wonderful afternoon of playing cards ~ games such as Go Fish!, Snap!, and Sausage (SJ and I not having played Sausage before had to learn from my nephew: It was quite the hoot!).

[Handmade stationery sets from Lizzlebugg]

With this morning's mail I also sent a First Day of Issue MaxiCard to Brittan. I hope she likes it!

I have another MaxiCard here for StoneZebra, but am unable to contact them, so StoneZebra, if you're reading this, please drop me an email: sorcha (dot) sidhe (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will get it in the post for you straight away!

Written correspondence has been a hobby of mine for a long time, & Monday Mail Out is a weekly feature whereby I can share my love for the lost art of letter writing. I hope my experiences will encourage others to send out letters on Monday too, and have them rediscover the joy of sending and receiving mail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In the Garden: Post-tempest.

[Corn & Cauli]

[Tomatoes on their new trellis: SJ is full of surprises!]

[Where the Wild Peach tree once stood]

[Agapanthus still standing tall in the flowerbed]

Despite Mother Nature giving us a nasty whipping these past two days, there has been no major damage to house or garden, aside from the loss of one Wild Peach tree (thankfully the other 4 are fine).

I was prepared to be devestated, so can hardly believe our luck!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string". - Anne Shirley, Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery was first published in 1909, and is the second book in the author's Anne of Green Gables series. It continues the story of Anne Shirley, the fiesty, redheaded orphan, now aged 16 and schoolma'am of the local Avonlea School. It also sees the return of characters from the first book, including her adoptive mother Marilla, Mrs Lynde, her best friend Diana, and school chum Gilbert, as well as a host of new ones: Mr Anderson, the twins Davy and Dora, Paul Irving, and the endearingly charming Miss Lavendar.

Anne is of the age that bridges childhood and adulthood: Not as short-tempered and silly as she once was, she is still curious and imaginative and maintains her love of the make-believe. There are many new adventures on the horizon for Anne, with surprising new priorities and emotions, and the very adult task of making life-determining decisions. The period of Anne's life covered in Anne of Avonlea reveals to the reader an Anne that is constantly growing and changing as she steps into her adult self. It is a wonderfully easy novel to read; a story of the enjoyment to be found in the simple things, and of the surprising new beginnings brought about through life's experiences.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Mail Out: A Postal Disappointment & a Giveaway!

[First Day of Issue MaxiCards]

"A Letter is a Joy of Earth -
It is denied the Gods".
~Emily Dickinson, 1885

There was no Monday Mail Out last week as I didn't write any letters. Yes, it's true! Such a rare event, I must admit, and completely out of routine!

It was SJ's 31st birthday, and the quick getaway we took to the beach was in celebration of it, and there was simply no time for letters when I was flat-chat busy sitting on the beach with a book in my hand eating cake, and doing a whole lot of nothing (often referred to as "relaxing" - or so I am told).

Therefore I felt I needed to be extra diligent the weekend just passed, ensuring I returned to my usual routine and write three letters, all of which were to be posted this morning. But as "Monday Luck" would have it, they're still sitting on the mantel piece in our dining room. Of course I realise that no one can read their letters if they are sitting above our fireplace, so I'll have to make a special trip to the post office this evening instead.

I have been writing letters for more than half my life (seriously, I started when I was 7yo), and during that time I've have the odd correspondent disappear off the radar, either by choice or just through a bit of bad luck, but I've never probed for reasons and so have never been told. Despite this disappointment, letter-writing as a whole has been a wonderful experience that I still enjoy immensely, and I honestly could not imagine my life without it. I am constantly learning about the world and the people in it, have met some truly amazing people, and have made many long-lasting, irreplaceable friendships as a result.

However, one of the letters I spent a significant amount of time writing over the weekend will not be going out at all, as when I got into work this morning and checked my emails I had a message from its intended receiver explaining that she was "taking a break" from letters and could no longer write me, which has roused in me a ponderment:

How does one respond to being "dumped" as a correspondent? Should I be angry and hurt, or sympathetic and understanding? Do I take it personally and wonder if I am boring and unlikeable, or do I fob it off as just "one of those things"?

I figured I needed cheering up. So, I toddled off down to the post office in search of some postal goodies, and ended up deciding on the First Day of Issue MaxiCards pictured above, the price of which includes postage to anywhere in the world. I take this to be a sign that I should send them to people, so I will: If you'd like to receive one of these cards with a little note from myself on the back, please leave a comment. I will send one card to the first 3 people who leave a comment, regardless of location.

I'm feeling better about myself already!

Written correspondence has been a hobby of mine for a long time, & Monday Mail Out is a weekly feature whereby I can share my love for the lost art of letter writing. I hope my experiences will encourage others to send out letters on Monday too, and have them rediscover the joy of sending and receiving mail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Beach.

[Jedi Master Bailey-dog]

[Sunset Gold]

[Calm before the storm]


[The Coast]


"Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll. Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain. Man marks the earth with ruin, but his control stops with the shore". ~ Lord Byron

Two days at the beach: A small escape.

Time spent watching the waves roll in; breathing the clean, salty air; of waking in time to see the sunrise and admiring it as it set each evening; spying dolphins and seals in the surf, and of getting sand in absolutely everything.