Scatterlings of Africa

Memories of Africa from a post I wrote two years ago, hope you enjoy.

Retirement and beyond

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…

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A Trip down Memory Lane

Who remembers these old tin advertising signs?    We came across these ones in a bar at a wedding venue recently, they are very quirky and a good talking point over a few beers!

Cigarette anyone

Cigarette anyone?

I never smoked, but I remember Gold Flake cigarettes, they didn’t even have filter tips, and I am sure were very strong smelling, as well as having almost pure tobacco in them…..wouldn’t even be allowed in today’s health conscious world.


I can remember these exact sandals from my childhood, same colour, same design.   I wonder if they are still being made today?   Sometimes if you were very lucky, you got them in red leather…what a treat!


Who remembers Reckitts Blue, a little square of blue that our mothers added to the weekly wash to make our whites whiter!   It really worked, and I have read that it was a similar product that our grandmothers used as a ‘blue rinse’in their grey hair!  If you are too young to remember, you can read about this magic solution here.

And last but not least –



I love the caption on this one ‘LAUGHS at danger from disease’  Hahaha!  It was probably something like Jeyes Fluid, foul smelling and a danger to human skin!   The small print says it can be used on dogs and other animals (but not cats)    Might have been slightly toxic!

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these old signs, have you come across any of these?

Leaving Cork

This piece was written by a fellow Corkwoman, and I have felt the same every time I left Cork to go back to my ‘other life’ in a far away country.

The Cork Woman

My first piece ever, was published in The Irish Examiner.bus 3

Leaving Cork is something I’d expect to be getting used to at this point.  I’ve been doing it seriously for 21 years now. That first time was the worst.  Right before leaving for the airport my Dad and I took a walk down a country boreen by his house in Waterfall, and I waited for him to ask me not to go.  I would have changed my mind so easily then.  But he didn’t.  Instead he talked about the power of youth and opportunity, and the importance of being brave with your life.  That was all very inspiring of course, but what I really wanted him to say was, “Leave? Don’t be ridiculous.  Come back inside and we’ll have a cup of tea”. He didn’t though, and I sobbed and sighed all the way to Shannon, and then heaved my…

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A Nostalgic Walk around the City

Some of the old buildings around Cork City have been around for ever.    A lot of them I remember from my school days, though sadly most of them are not used for the same purposes they were in those days.    Still the old names remain, to bring back memories.

The Savoy Cinema, was probably one of the first cinema houses in Cork, and I remember the excitement of going there every year when the Cork Film Festival was on, and us teenagers stood at the side of the red carpet and watched in awe as glamorous  film stars alighted from the limousines and the camera bulbs flashed…our own taste of Hollywood or Cannes!   I can’t remember what film stars we saw, I am sure they were rich and famous at the time, though.  The Savoy building still stands, with shops on the ground floor, and discos and live bands still appear there, but sadly no more red carpet or movie stars.

Savoy Cinema

Savoy Cinema

Across the road from the Savoy were two of the biggest shops in Cork – Cashs (now Brown Thomas) and Roches Stores (now Debenhams), everyone in Cork city and county, and in many surrounding counties, came to the city specially to meet up and shop in these shops.     Along with the Munster Arcade and the Queens Old Castle, these were the 4 main department stores at the time.

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Then there were the hotels, the Imperial on the South Mall and  the Metropole on McCurtain Street, both still going, and the Victoria Hotel on Patricks Street, now closed, but the name is still there

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And in those days of high unemployment, I am sure everyone remembers the Labour Exchange, where you had to sign on every week to get a few bob.    I don’t know whose offices are there now, but it is in good condition, if only those walls could talk, they saw a lot of people going through the doors every week.

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Weekly Writing Challenge : Moved by the Music

A Song that Triggers a Memory

The song/music that triggers a huge memory for me is Riverdance, which was played for the first time as the interval entertainment during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest which was held in Dublin.   Look how famous it has got from that first performance.

In 1994 I was living in Zimbabwe, and we had recently acquired a satellite dish.   Mind you this dish was not the piddly little type that you see on the side of houses nowadays, but a great big enormous 6m dish, guaranteed to pick up anything, provided it was pointing in the right direction.   When it was being installed, we had to hire a great big crane to lift it over our garage and some trees, because, apparently, that was the best place to get a signal!   Needless to say when we moved house we didn’t bring the dish with us.  It was an analogue dish, and had to be controlled by the remote control, you scanned up and down like an old transistor radion, till you found something you liked, and then fine tuned to get rid of the snow and interference, it was not a job for the faint hearted!

On the night in question I was up late after everyone else went to bed, and was trying to find the Eurovision broadcast,  eventually I hit on a station, just before the interval, and watched Michael Flatley and Jean Butler perform their dance.   Like everyone else, I sat mesmerised and all I could say at the end was ‘WOW’ I still get goosebumps today whenever I hear or see them perform.    Many performers have come and gone since then, and Michael Flatley has formed his own group, and  Jean has given her role to someone else, but I think nobody will ever compare to those two stars, who will ever forget the beautiful Irish cailin, Jean Butler, and Michael Flatley with his flowing locks and flying feet.

Enjoy the memory.  Did you see the first performance almost 20 years ago, and were you enraptured by it?

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