28 March 2009

Weekend Celebrations

We're having a dinner party tonight.

One of the advantages of travelling to far off climes is the delight of meeting friends again. There is so much to discuss, so many new recipes to share and such a lot of gossip to catch up on.

As a result, a pause from blogging is, yet again, in order.
However, the photos will continue to rain down as often as I can manage.

Relax... Enjoy...

Striped Tulip

26 March 2009


Yesterday found me firing on all pistons.

For years now I have attended the Civilex exhibition at the RDS.
It helps to keep up with new ideas and technology and this year's exhibition
seems to have reflected what is so sweetly called "the current economic climate".
There seems to have been a more muted, almost philosophical, tone to the conversations I had with the various stall holders. Apparently the first day had been relatively quiet, but yesterday saw many intense conversations on the subject of climate change and water conservation.

I came home with a bag of documentation to study and, a sign of the times, very few little plastic pens and mementos which used be a feature of less lean days.

Anybody who is interested in civil engineering, landscaping and the environment would do well to write this event into their diary for next year. Some of the most pleasant people I meet attend and are full of insight into the most everyday aspects of life... from street lighting design to tree survey in public places.

A must...

25 March 2009

Once the Rows Start

... I know that I am well and truly home.

Having spent time in Victoria, where bush fires had caused the governnment to declare a state of national emergency, the fussing that goes on in Ireland is an increasing source of mystery and, I have to admit, high hilarity.

Everywhere I go I find people on the verge of revolution.
I was much cheered by the lively sales assistant who encouraged me to complain to the government about a new plastic bag tax. Up to last week or so, only large, offensive looking bags that might cause environmental melt down were subject to payment at the check-out. Now the tiny, flimsy bags that used be available for free cost 22 cents. This meant I was happy to carry my meat in the original (presumably free?) bag, confident that by keeping it away from the rest of the groceries I was still behaving in a hygenic and modern way.

Such problems are definitely the very stuff of civil unrest...

There Is So Much in Singapore to Photograph

...that I'm still spinning from all the new experiences, sights and sounds.

On our sixth visit to this incredible island state, I found myself explaining happily that
"we always break our journey to Australia by spending at least two nights here".

This time I dragged my husband to "Beauty World", a large, multi-storeyed shopping mall near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It was far from the mall near the Botanic Gardens, which seems so Westernised and not unlike what I am used to at home.

There is a great photo processing shop there and I emerged with five rolls of film scanned to CD, of which more later. An effort to capture the colours and designs in Beauty World took quite some time and this photo was taken with a Nikon digital camera, for a change.

At the Bonsai Garden Shop in Singapore's Beauty World

Necromancing, Bumping and Generally Wondering What All the Fuss is About

Netiquette rules indicate that, when posting to a chat room, an old thread should be presented with much pomp and circumstance, if at all.

A few months into my Internet initiation, I learned to "Bump".
It is a polite way of reintroducing a topic that has been lying fallow on the site for some time and that may, or may not, be dead.

The only way to find out if a thread it truly old hat is to bump it and to see what happens.
It is a practice that rarely goes un-noticed and today capital letters were used to indicate a certain displeasure by one poster who wondered at the value of trying to recussitate a topic that did not seem to hold much interest for them in the first place.

I have to admit I find all this bowing and scraping to people one will never meet a bit rich.

I find myself wondering about who thinks up the rules...
and even more intriguing, why so many people have internalised them so rigidly.

Perhaps this thought process is a hang over from years spent teaching and realising that any group dynamic has layers of interaction that are virtually imperceptible.

Until something unexpected happens, that is, and many forces, often unconscious and based on firmly held beliefs that seem to come from nowhere, emerge to find an often vigorous expression.

People are passionate.

I certainly shall think twice before "bumping " again soon...

But could this be a subtle erosion of freedom of speech?

Silver Apples of the Moon

23 March 2009

For Anybody in Dublin who Loves Rhododendrons...

The fine rhododendrons that bloom so contentedly in the moist Irish climate
are in full bloom these days.
I constantly encourage friends to visit Fernhill Gardens in Sandyford to enjoy
a woodland walk where time seems to have stood still. The established trees are now in full bloom and I have a series of photos that will be uploaded on Shortsights once
I have taken another walk this week. Somehow yesterday was just a gentle saunter, where I snapped some general images. Going back with a macro lens is going to be a very inspiring experience, as studying the centres of these fabulous flowers should take several hours.

If you have a chance, do not miss this garden, as it is World renowned.