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The Days, They Will Get Longer Now

Manhattanhenge      (NBC photo)

Herself, who likes the shorter days, shall not be enthralled with this day I assure you. Oh she of the belief that when it is dark one goes to bed and as the sun rises so does one’s self. Do not even get her started on her opinion of Daylight Savings Time, what a waste of time that is. (No pun intended)

Several years ago we were blessed with the opportunity to spend time in Ireland in the town of Kilkenny on this very short day. Herself had become the American mother of sort for a son (we shall call him Eddie) of Ireland. This of course was quite appropriate as her maternal roots travel back to County Donegal on the Emerald Isle. Herself and this lad of the land of the green spent a number of years together behind bars. Herself’s sentence was 23 years, he is still serving his sentence but is obviously off for good behavior at the moment. We are both envious of their present geographical location.

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theRooster, Kilkenny, IE December 2015

Of late we have been following our adopted family on Face Book as they are in Kilkenny as my fingers hit these keys. I mention Ireland because of Newgrange and its ancient history and the relationship to The Winter Solstice.

I share with you Bill Ervolino’s most recent article on this shortest day.

 

The winter solstice — also known as Yule, Midwinter, the Shortest Day of the Year and the Longest Night — occurs at 11:28 a.m. ET Thursday.
But this short, little day with the great many names also may be the worst day of the year, according to astrologers. The reason? Saturn.
Apparently, the sun will appear to pass in front of the constellation Capricorn hours after Saturn does likewise. This will cause both of these orbs to line up for the first time since 1664, according to London astrologer Neil Spencer, who writes for The (London) Observer but first wrote about the alignment on his blog.
He insists that starting something new on this day is “ill advised” and will have long-term consequences. And anything you try to do Thursday will be more difficult than usual, take more time and be more frustrating.
► Tuesday: Thursday’s winter solstice marks the longest night of the year
► December 2016: Winter solstice: It only gets better from here
► December 2015: Monday’s winter solstice marks the longest night.

Perhaps that’s why the president probably won’t sign the tax bill Thursday — that and Congress has its paperwork to process — even though Spencer said the establishment, patriarchy, big business and property will be front and center in the cosmos.
Toss in all that holiday traffic — it is a gridlock alert day just about everywhere, according to Inrix, a company that analyzes transportation data — and it may be a good idea just to stay home.
“Saturn in Capricorn is a very useful placement, denoting one tough individual, but on a macro level, it doesn’t promise much in the way of fruitful change.”
Neil Spencer, astrologer
“Patience will not be a priority, especially if we are told that we ‘have to’ (do something) by our superiors,” Lunar Living astrology website says. “We may be perceived as (in)subordinate. Be ready to deal with the repercussions of the rebellion.”
Yet you can take solace in the winter solstice celebration at Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland, which is being streamed live to the world from 3:30 to 4:15 a.m. ET Thursday.
The entrance to the monument, which has a retaining wall made of quartz cobblestones, is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice. As the sun comes up between 8:30 and 9:15 a.m. in Ireland, sunlight pours in through an opening in the roof (called a “roofbox”) and floods the chamber with light.
News shows likely will carry some of the footage. After you watch it, you might want to get back under the covers.
Follow Bill Ervolino on Twitter: @billerv

 

A Month Gone By.

How do I not post something for a month, busyness is the answer. Graduations, confirmations and obligations filled the bill. Passing miles beneath our tires as we make multiple trips to Connecticut sharing time with family and friends is part of the equation.

On the slim occasion I’d haul out the Mac to check email, blogs, weather and news, I’d get that look. I’m sure there’s a few of you out there that know what that look is, right? The look is usually accompanied with that one word, “really.” Just amazing how one word can say it all. Back goes the computer into the bag and it’s social interaction time. Not time for a Blog Rooster.

Speaking of Rooster, not me mind you, but the faithful protector of our flock for the past nine years. Casper was his name and he has passed to that great chicken coop in the sky. Casper was the most gentle of all our roosters over the years. He would alert the girls when trouble circled in the sky or lurched outside the fence line. He was pampered and lived the good life here on God’s little acre. Old age finally caught up with the old guy.

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Casper

We have a grandson entering the National Guard, delaying college for a year and earning the education incentive$. Another grandson graduated from College. He is now a Creative Media graduate working in NYC. We have a set of twins going in diverse directions, Oregon and Delaware for higher learning. The twins are adopted grandchildren. They have a brother whom I’ve mentioned in the past and he will be a senior at the Air Force Academy this year. Another road trip coming up in May of 2018. I have a brother who got engaged, congratulations Rick. A granddaughter busy with a traveling softball team and another who is a gymnast who does gourmet baking, that’s just in Connecticut.

Back in Maryland we have a granddaughter who returns to Mississippi for her senior year @ MSU, a grandson entering Salisbury University and a granddaughter who just finished her first year of teaching.

Although we have not spent time with them of late, we have our eldest granddaughter, the USAF Captain and her Captain husband and four great grandchildren out in OKC. Time with them gets spent Face Timing via electronic media.

As any parent and grandparent knows, we swell with pride for those who grow after us. In all we’ve been blessed with three children, nine grands and four greats. We are so fortunate.

Once back home in May from VT and planted on the sand of the Eastern Shore we had the great Irish wedding of our good friends Ed and Alexis O’Leary as they married off their daughter Maddie to John Vilkus. I previously put out a post on this event. That was two weeks of the entire clan here on the shore visiting from such places as Kilkenny and Galway in Ireland and the Queens own London. They are a wonderful lot, an entertaining group full of song, fun and frolic. It’s never all about you, it’s always all about all of you. The Mrs and I have been fortunate in the past to share their family home in Kilkenney in years gone by. It was nice we could offer up a bed or two for this grand occasion. They and some tag along’s even spent an afternoon with us picking crabs and partying late into the night while being entertained with song by the one and only Famous Seamus. Our extended family is loved by us all.

Then there was the 4th of July, which in our little community is a large event with a parade, food, fun and games. HOT is the normal weather occurrence. The event has been taking place in the village for over thirty years. When the organizers say “You all come,” they all do. The local Boy Scout Troop color guard leads it off, followed by all those politicians leading our county and state representatives, sheriffs & troopers, Those running in local elections always make an appearance to garner votes in upcoming elections.

 

We have kids on bikes and every other mode of transportation, 4x4s, mopeds, getting pulled in wagons and just walking and looking patriotic in their Red, White and Blue. The Buffalo Soldiers always make their appearance and this year a local car club entertained us with a host of tricked up cars. Farmers and their equipment, so vital to this economy, roll out to show their stuff. Some of the tractors were from generations past. Horses and pets also grace the parade route.

 

And no parade would be without the local Fire Company showing off their pride. As the blare of the sirens echoed and those watching were greeted with tossed candy and Tootsy Roll lollipops, pride swelled in us all. This was America, and this is Allen and it’s our birthday. Thanks to the Lions, the Allen Asbury Methodist Church our Fire Company and all who volunteer from our community for a another great Birthday celebration.

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Mother Hen, Chics and Grandchick in their parade viewing attire on the 4th.

After the parade everyone gathers at the Community Hall for hot dogs, burgers, home-made ice cream and good old down home eating and socializing. A baseball game usually occurs across the street. The wee ones will enjoy the bouncy house and someone is always selling one thing or another. Eventually the crowd will dwindle, folks will head off to other celebrations and perhaps go into the big town of Salisbury for Fireworks.

When the sun sets, and the lights are turned down low, the far off sound of sky rockets at night bursting in the air reminds us all that we are one.

Oh, I totally forgot to mention that the garage, turned into a workshop, which became the Annex and hosted many gatherings is now a guest house and has a new porch which was finished last week. Been busy, please excuse the absence. We even have indoor plumbing.

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Image result for the russians are coming

This is purely political satire and does not represent the views of this writer in any direction other than great vacations on Cape Cod. Thanks to Metro Goldwyn Meyer for a great movie.

Kate Smith said it best,

 

 

British and Irish forces in historic joint mission to United States.

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A wedding event on the Eastern Shore of Maryland uniting a Vilkas and O’Leary would land five Irish born O’ Leary’s in the USA together for the first time with their Mudder. A total of twenty two children and adults in all would make the trip from Ireland and England.

Eighteen months ago we were welcomed into the O’Leary homestead in Kilkenny for a far too short visit. We were treated as family and have since considered ourselves part of the clan. Through the damp chill of the December air, we felt nothing but warmth from this extended family.

A special “Thank You” to Rita and Bella for being our first guests in the almost completed guest cottage, formally the Annex. Come back any time.

On the invasion for the Maddie O’Leary and John Vilkas’ wedding we got to once again feel the kinship of our Irish brothers and sisters. We were hosts for a feast of crabs, chicken, burgers and dogs with all the proper trimmings during their stay. Much thanks goes out for all the help from, Jeff, Kathryn, Greg, Sarah, Rachael, Abby and Tommy to help pull off this event.  We could not have done it alone. Evo’s keg of Lot #3 was the gift that kept on giving. Thank you for nine hours of entertainment, the party was supposed to be from 3:00 – 5:00.

A side trip to Docktails at the Wicomico Yacht Club would serve as another highlite to the invaders. Jeffrey, you’re a great host.

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The two Matriarchs observe the goings on from the safety of the USS Government Funded.

To he who sings like the Energizer Bunny, (The Famous Seamus,) the neighbors are forever grateful for your departure.

They would invade once again after a short text from the water’s of the Wicomico during a boat ride with Captain Jeff later in the week. The text would read “Tea and Scones for 14 in 30 minutes.” Arrive they did, scones and cookies – gone, week’s worth of ham, cheese and bread – gone. Any left over beverages from the crab fest – gone. And it was said once that Ireland suffered from a famine. The O’Leary clan is making up for the past, they returned to the other side of the pond like fated calves. Should you ever visit Kilkenny, you will return to this side of the pond in the same way.

May God Bless you all, We Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!! Return Often!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Sealed with a Kiss. Maddie and John Vilkas.

 

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Irish all. At the reception, Green Hill Yacht and Country Club.

 

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The Larchfield Six – L to R – Conner, Mark, Liz, Mudder, Ed & Seamus

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The crab is supposed to come out of the pot red, not he who dines.

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Applying the Old Bay.

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One last meal for the dearly departing.

 

PEI & Nova Scotia Ferry

The Ferry Boat

Here’s the Rooster once again, back to you with some PEI action and from Nova Scotia. We have felt like we were in Ireland once again. Halifax is one neat active city. Very eclectic, very European through our eyes. There were two cruise ships in port while we there, one ship was the Anthem of the Seas. The ship had poured close to 5,000 people into this hustle and bustle city. The other ship in port was the Veendam, it would only spit out 1,300 passengers into the city.

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The Anthem of the Seas sits dockside in Halifax Harbor. It is the largest passenger ship ever to dock in Halifax.

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The Theodore Too brings happiness to those much younger than us.

Somehow we were fortunate to get a seat at Five Fishermen on day one and Durty Nellies on day two. At each venue the little woman ordered Fish Chowder. Now 3 Bowls full after skippers in Moncton, she rates Nellie’s #1, Five Fishermen #2, and Skippers #3. Just to let you know, Skippers was voted #1 Chowder in Moncton by their Foodie Votes. Some great bowls of warm you up in these neck’s of the NE woods. At Nellie’s we went all in for Irish. I had the Lamb Shank with great Root-Veggies, washed it down with a Harp Lager by the way. The Mrs had Sheppard’s Pie after the customary bowl of  chowder, and we washed it all down with Coffee & Jamison after while listening to some fine Irish fiddles. A grand evening it was.

We took the ferry from Wood Islands, PEI over the waters to Nova Scotia. For you folks in the Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey area, 75 minute crossing on a Quad deck vessel, quite similar set-up to the Cape May Lewes Ferry. They also have COW ice-cream on board.

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Four decks of parking space on this big girl.

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It was a gorgeous day to make the crossing. While we awaited our ship to come in, an Irish trio entertained us. We were back to our days in Dublin and Kilkenny where we spent time this past December. Our ride into Halifax was uneventful as the city was emptying out from their work-day and we had clear sailing on the way in.

We would walk most of Thursday morning along the entire River Walk, seeing all there was to see. I’m guessing I got more steps in on this day since I was in my thirties. We went on a Whale Watch trip, no Whales, just a Seal, Dolphin and lots of Seagulls. Our guide, a College senior, dual major in Marine Biology and Statistics provided a wealth of information. One tidbit, largest Lobster taken from the waters off PEI, 44 pounds. It’s been said a Lobster grows 1 pound for every four years of age. That equates to approximately 176 years old. That old boy was with us back in the 1840’s as a youngster. What was happening back then, the Great Famine in Ireland for one. You want the rest, well here you are.

Prior to leaving Charlottetown, PEI we got some steps in downtown. They have a walking story book tour and here are two photos from it.

A few more pics of Charlottetown. Northern Watters Knitwear makes their own. Fishes on the Roof rang close to home, (some will get it.) Husband Day Care is a great idea and a moment of thanks in the Lords House for this wonderful opportunity was expressed.

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The worker Bees spinning their yarn @ Northern Watters.

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St Peters Cathedral (Charlottetown)

Enough banter for this night. The bride’s asleep, my eyes are having a want to close, I’ll catch up later. Thanks again for following us on our journey and you folks on the Eastern Shore, as Jim Cantore says, “batten – down.”

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I Know I’m Irish and a Writer

I awoke this morning at 0550, which is in the usual time frame of when I arise daily. On this day I knew I must be Irish. As I glanced out the window, clouds and rain were present once again.  The 53 degree temperature outside had made the house cool, especially when one is in drawers and a Tee shirt.

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The view this morning out the window.

 

I would go to the living room and get a fire going in the fireplace. Thanks to modern technology I had only to click a button on the starter gadget to get the propane to fire and bring instant warmth were you to stand in front of the flames. Twenty eight yers ago I would have been stoking a fire in the old Nashua cast iron stove in Connecticut.

In a month’s time we have had twenty-two days of measurable precipitation and our mean temperature’s have been 58f for a high and 48f for a low. One morning we awoke to a frost covered lawn and  35f. Oh yes, it’s Ireland, just 3,239 miles east of Galway is all. Please, let me experience some sun. Oh to sit outside in the garden and have a pint.

I consider myself a writer. I’ve been blogging since 2008. I started on Google, http://thefidd.blogspot.com/ was my moniker for the first seven years. Lots of stuff posted about family, friends, travel and such back then. It’s all retrievable should you care to take a look. Learn who El Jefe is and where he spends his time in this shrinking world of today.

I’ve branched out a bit since moving here to WordPress last year. I guess, thanks to the weather and the feeling of my living in Ireland that would make me feel like an Irish writer. Nothing to the tune from the likes of Beckett, Yeats, Joyce or Ian MacPherson from this hand, although I wish. I do add words to paper, ok, it’s the Mac, but that makes me a writer, right?

I’ve been to Europe on several occasions, Germany and Ireland to be specific. I’ve gotten to Ireland twice, most recently, not as an “Accidental Tourist.” “The Accidental Tourist” was an American film featured in Baltimore, MD, my home state and adapted from the novel of the same name written by Anne Tyler. The film came out in 1988, my first year to blog, thus the significance. Means nothing of course.

Our most recent trip to Ireland by my me and the wife was this past December. We traveled with a dear friend by the name of O’Leary who’s mother hosted us for a week. No touristy stuff, we were village people. The town was Kilkenny, we had mist and rain, cold and blustery and it felt like Maryland in May. The house we stayed in was warm, had a fireplace, a wonderful hostess and five pounds gained of great food. Marios is a great place for Fish and Chips if you’re ever in Kilkenny. Yep, I’m  Irish and a writer and I eat like one and enjoy a pint now and then .

While in Kilkenny we shopped one day at a pottery, “Nicholas Mosse” is the name. Bennett’s Bridge is where Nicholas Mosse calls home. It sits along the river Nore, just down the road a piece from the town. It seems our host’s wife Lexi has a love for this pottery and has numerous pieces about their home. It being the Christmas season, why not get some shopping in says our host.

 

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Me wife, standing in the rain. I just noticed, she was spending her euros also. Notice the bag.

 

Since I’m not much into pottery, or shopping for that matter, I would find an alternative means of occupying my time. Located on the second floor of the pottery was a quaint little Cafe. Some coffee, a sweet roll and a table by the window would serve me well. I’d read the local paper and gather material for the next blog. While the shoppers shopped, the writer researched. In Ireland on a rainy blustery day I might add a few words to a future best seller. Oh the dreams that exist. The coffee was fantastic and so was the view by the way. I’m really in Ireland and I’m writing.

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The Rooster reading the local tabloid.

Yes, in one respect as far as I’m concerned, and the Weather God has made it such, I’m an Irish writer, even on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Ireland has her Cliffs of Moher. Maryland has her Calvert Cliffs.

Ian MacPherson has a new book out. The only one living of the lot I mentioned.

You can get it here. >   blaise-cover-website

The dedication inside the cover reads like this.

For Maggi

my one wish –
that we die together
at the age of 96
making love

with all our children

at the bedside

That’s the dedication. Isn’t it truly, truly beautiful?
And they say great poetry is dead!

THE BOOK OF BLAISE
‘He is a standup comedian with an acerbic wit, leaving you breathless with laughter at the sheer absurdity of life, and his life in particular. To say that his act is based on things going wrong is like saying that Genghis Khan was a warmonger. It gives you the idea, but does not indicate the sheer scale of the enterprise. And The Book of Blaise is the Everest of absurdity.’
FOR THE JOY OF READING

‘Kick Myles Na GCopaleen into the next century and you’d get something like Ian Macpherson – the same eye for absurdity, the same ear for wordplay’
David Robinson: Emeritus Literary Editor – The Scotsman

‘The Book of Blaise is the unapologetically personal account of one man’s struggle with the superiority of women, specifically his wife Blaise. It’s the funniest book I’ve read since… his last one.’
NORTHWORDS NOW

Thanks once again for stopping by. The temperature, just to let you know is 58 degrees F., or should it be F’n degrees?               Semper-fidelis

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