Sunday Stills : White

I just got back from my daughter’s wedding in Valletta, Malta so of course there was a lot of white – especially the beautiful bride!  There was also a lot of partying, under sunny blue skies and with blue and turquoise seas, but for now, here are a few white boats we came across.

Linked to Sunday stills

Scatterlings of Africa



This  song was written by a South African singer, Johnny Clegg, and tells about the many people who were born in Africa, or  who, like me,  lived there for a considerable time, and are now scattered all over the world.

I was born in Ireland, but moved to Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia) in the 70s when I was newly wed and looking for adventure and a new life.    My four children were born there, and I stayed in Zimbabwe until 2002, almost 30 years.  We lived in a peaceful country with a great climate, in a country with lots of natural beauty, and with lots of wildlife and amazing scenery, sunrises and  sunsets like no other.   Life was good, we watched our children take their first steps, starting their own big adventures, learning to walk, learning to run, but always within the comfort of home and within arms reach for cuddles and comforting when they fell down.  Then there was kindergarten, nursery school, junior school, senior school, with everyone still living at home, and being part of the family.



Then came 1993, and the day our oldest girl got accepted into Cape Town University, over two and a half thousand kilometres away, in another country.  We took her to the train station, and off she went with several friends also on their way to university in South Africa, all of them full of excitement for the new adventure ahead, while we stood and waved and smiled, all the time with a little tear inside for the loss of our first child as she moved on with her life.  I remember thinking, this is it, she is growing up, and things will never be the same again.   Still, think of the long holidays, when she will be home again, and the new place we get to visit……

A few short years later, she was graduating and coming back to teach in her old school for a year, and even better still, living at home, (if only for a short while), before she spread her wings again and moved to London, then Kenya, back to London, and right now teaching in Norway.   More new places we get to visit….

Then it came time for our second girl to leave senior school, she decided to stay in Zimbabwe and do her university education there, so there was not much trauma or parting this time round.

In the late 90s the country was changing and going through a tremendous hyper inflation period, goverment was starting to go off the rails, and there was a lot of political unrest, corruption, and unemployment in the country.   A  lot of people were talking of leaving Zimbabwe, especially those with teenage sons and daughters, as the education system was not looking as bright as it had been.   Slowly we said goodbye to family and friends, as they left Zimbabwe to scatter to all corners of the world, on many occasions not through choice, and became ‘the scatterlings of Africa’.

How far would you like to go?

How far would you like to go?

The year 2000 was a particularly bad year in Zimbabwe, with a lot of political unrest, and many farming families evicted from their farms, some of them brutally beaten or even murdered by the ‘farm invaders’.   Many books and articles have been written on this subject, but it is a time in our lives that will never be forgotten, and today if you travel to any of the neighbouring African countries, or even to Australia or New Zealand, you will be bound to come across someone who once farmed, or had connections to farmers, from Zimbabwe.

That period was a traumatic time for me also, in 2000 my older son turned 18 and came to live in Ireland so that he could complete his education and go to university, luckily he was able to stay with family over here, and in 2002 I finally took the plunge and came back home as my youngest son turned 18 and wanted to go to university here also.  My marriage broke up, I faced an uncertain future, and the hardest thing was packing up and leaving my daughter behind while the boys and myself started a new life in Ireland.   More new places to visit…..

Watching the sun set.

Watching the sun set.

Now over 40 years since I said goodbye to my own family and friends as I left for Zimbabwe, I have people and places to visit – a daughter in Zimbabwe, a daughter in Norway, a son in Dubai, and this weekend I have just said goodbye again – this time my older son and his partner leave Ireland for their new life and new careers in London.   Now I am childless in my own country, the wheel has come full circle, and as I smile and wave, and shed a tear,  I think of all the goodbyes over the years, and the reunions to look forward to, and of course the new places to visit…

And we are scatterlings of Africa
Both you and I
We are on the road to Phelamanga
Beneath a copper sky
And we are scatterlings of Africa
On a journey to the stars
Far below we leave forever
Dreams of what we were





Wordless Wednesday :Merry Christmas from Africa



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Photo 101 : Day 13 – Moment

A moment in time to celebrate a special birthday – sip it and enjoy the bubbles, they are gone in a moment!

Cheers, Happy Birthday

Cheers, Happy Birthday

Photo 101 : Day 11 – A Pop of Colour

For today’s challenge we are asked to show a pop of colour in an otherwise dull landscape, and while looking through my photos taken over the past few days I came across this perfect photo.    I was visiting my grandchildren over the weekend, and my 5 and three quarters year old grand-daughter  (the three quarters is very important) ‘borrowed’ my camera to take some shots of her Barbie, and the results are indeed very  colourful – Barbie outside (as shown), doing the laundry, putting on make up, making dinner etc.,so thank you Caitlin for helping me out today with my homework!

A Bright Pop of Colour

A Bright Pop of Colour

Photo 101 : Day 5 – Solitude

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

Here are my entries for ‘Solitude’, one from West Cork, overlooking Bantry Bay, and my second photo is a beautiful sunset in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe, both great places to stop and admire the beauty of nature.

Time to stand and stare

Time to stand and stare

Sunset at Mana Pools

Sunset at Mana Pools

And I couldn’t resist this winter shot of my granddaughter in the first snow of the season last year, though she is probably checking out the best place to build a snowman, rather than enjoying the solitude!

First times!

First snow…fun times!

Photo 101 : Day 4 – Bliss

A cuddle and a cuppa

A cuddle and a cuppa

Today is not a very nice day in Cork, it’s wet and windy and so I have been looking through my photo stacks for ‘blissful’ photos, and what could be better than having my grandson sitting comfortably on my lap while I enjoy a nice cup of (Barry’s) Tea!

Silhouette : Weekly Photo Challenge

My photos for this week’s challenge were all taken on a family holiday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe last year.    While staying at Camp Amalinda, we climbed up on a kopje (little hill) to have a sundowner and watch the sunset, and our host took these photos of us enjoying  the surroundings.

Linked to WPC

Weekly Photo Challenge : On the Move…By Boat

Before airlines, and cheap travel, the main means of transport from one country to another was the boat, or liner (I wouldn’t call them cruise liners as we know them today, as these liners were far from luxurious)

The last port of call for most of these liners before they crossed to America, was Cobh in County Cork (formerly known as Queenstown), and from the 1900s, hundreds of thousands of Irish people went to seek their fortune in America, and most of them never returned home, or saw their parents or family again.   This port saw an awful lot of sadness and tears.   Can you imagine what it must have been like, saying goodbye to your children, knowing that you might not see them again.   The children were off to a strange land, probably not knowing anyone, and as well as trying to make a living for themselves in a new country, they also did their best to send a little money home to their old parents left behind.    Once the parents died, there was no one to take care of their house or few acres of land, and perhaps that is one of the reasons you come across so many ruins and abandoned houses around Ireland.

Even up to the 60s, there were very few telephones in private houses, each village probably had a telephone in the post office, and the main form of communication in those days was the letter, which would take about 6 weeks to get from America to Ireland, or – usually if there was bad news – the dreaded telegram.

I grew up on a farm with my grandparents, and I remember in the mid 50s one of my aunts was leaving to join her husband in New York.  We had a  party in the house, called a ‘hauling home’ and all the neighbours called and brought a simple little gift, maybe a prayer book, or a little card, something for her to remember them by.   I suppose we were luckier than some families, as my aunt’s husband worked for an airline (TWA) so they did manage to come home every few years, but there were many others who never saw their children again.

Old pub sign

Old pub sign

On a lighter note, the boat below is one that gives a lot of happiness to children as they put their money in the slot and ride the waves!

2013-11-15 13.46.42


Linked to Weekly Photo Challenge : On the Move    and

A Word a Week Challenge :  Boat



Wordless Wednesday : Doing a Little Decorating



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