Seven Days in DIY Heaven

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love Woodies. It is my favourite shop. So last weekend I spent some time there and found inspiraton for my poem



 While you were gone on holiday for the week;

I thought I’d do some work about the house

DIY stuff; the work you hate . . .


So on Monday I cut the grass out the back and watered

The rose bushes. The red one you bought me last February was

In full bloom and it made me think about you and smile.


On Tuesday I vacuumed the house from the bedroom

All the way down to the hall, ‘cause you hate the noise from

The vacuum cleaner while you’re watching football.


On Wednesday I cleaned the windows . . .

I know you promised you’d get around to them last winter

But it’s summer now and the sunbeams show up  the dirt


On the glass, not to mention the moss on the path . . .

But I scrubbed that away on Thursday. And then

On Friday I painted the bathroom. And


I got the electrician to fix the broken bulbs.

You thought you’d get around to that before you left

And I understand you had to pack . . .


But I hate to shower in the dark.

It was Saturday before I fixed what I think was

A loose wire on the door-bell. Because


You’re mother phoned to say she’d called

Once or twice. But I swear I didn’t hear a thing

Never heard that doorbell ring.


On Sunday just before I left to pick you up at the airport

I checked on-line and saw your flight was delayed.

Your ETA was showing ten o’clock.


And would you believe

That was when I seized the opportunity

And changed the locks.


(C) Eithne Reynolds









Romeo and Juliet Take 2


 A recent trip to Italy was inspiration for my blog today.

Romeo and Juliet Take 2

“See yonder, that balcony, Sir
Is it not as the one in Romeo and Juliet

And why not!
Are we not in Italy

Though never in Verona … sadly …
And you unfortunately are no Romeo.”

“. . . Nor you, my sweet love,

Maybe tomorrow . . .

Erma Bombeck once said that if a woman ever needed a few hours to herself after the hectic festive season, all she had to do was say aloud:

“I think I will take the Christmas Tree down.”

According to Erma you only have to say it once and the house will magically empty within minutes. I thought about it yesterday and just as we were all going to bed I announced that I would take the Christmas tree down in the morning and Hey Presto this morning I am sitting alone writing my Blog. The Christmas lights are on and winking at me. Santa is smiling, and my beautiful furry snowman is still sitting at the piano.

Truth is I find it hard to take down my decorations. I love them. My favourite day of the year is the day I dress the house for Christmas. I venture up to the dark attic and pull out the boxes filled with my Christmas decorations. I love to open them  and re-discover each year the little ones I’ve totally forgotten about and the ones I inherited from my mother that bring to mind such memories. She too loved her Christmas decorations.

So everyone will return this evening expecting the house to be back to normal, whatever that is. But I silently wish that this was normal; being surrounded by little toys and lights that bring such delight to everyone who comes into the house.

So maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take them down. But at this moment there is a tiny Santa train running around the base of the tree and I haven’t the heart to stop it. Besides the Three Wise Men have just arrived at the manger and I think it would be very rude of me to pack them off so soon after their long journey.

My Favourite Antique

Antique Gramaphone - illustration of antique gramaphone on...

It takes 100 years for something to be termed antique and gain value. So my mother-in-law informed me over dinner last Sunday.

We were sitting at the table and out of the blue she says, “I’m almost an antique.” She is 98 years old.

She said if she was an old chair or a cabinet we’d be fighting over her. “Keep me for another two years and I will be an antique.”

I don’t think she noticed the shock on my face. Two years … I was finding this two hours hard going.

I looked at my husband. He was trying desperately to ignore the conversation.

“We’ve enough antiques,” I say. “I’m more a fan of Ikea stuff myself.

He looked at me puzzled. “I really don’t think we were  talking about furniture there. I thought we were talking about …”

That’s when I interrupt him. “I’m talking about anything that’s nearly 100,” I smile. “I can’t mind anything that old … requires too much minding and looking after… too precious.

“Are you sure we’re talking about furniture here?” he repeats.

“Of course, darling,” I say, “you know you really should pay more attention.”

A Tale of Two Parrots



I’m here in sunny Nice in France, and hubby and I decide to visit the Parc Phoenix-Nice which is absolutely superb. I actually thought it was just the Botanical Gardens of  Nice, but it houses small animals, reptiles and birds as well.


So we’re walking through one of the Palm houses when I notice a magnificent white parrot inside a cage enclosed by glass, which I find upsetting to say the least. I’m not fond of zoos at the best of times, but I can admit they have their place, and I can handle aviaries somewhat. But a parrot in a glass exhibition box! That’s too much for me.


“Why?” I keep asking hubby as we continue to walk around.


“But why?”


He eventually stops and looks at me and says,

“Et, you’re beginning to sound like the bloody parrot.”

Guess who’s not talking now!

Bringing Paul Durcan to Mass

 Notre Dame de Bon Voyage

I heard Paul Durcan read his poetry four years ago at Fighting Words the Creative Writing Centre in Dublin established by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love. It was an inspirational evening for me listening to his use of language, his imagery, his different forms and methods of expression. I laughed at his Raymond of the Rooftops. It could have been my story. His beautiful poem Going Home to Mayo, Winter,1949 brought me on a journey that night and  each time I read it since. They are both in his collection A Snail In My Prime.

I fell in love with his poetry that night and I suppose it is not surprising therefore, that I eventually wrote my own poem about Paul Durcan. I had taken his poetry book to France with me. I didn’t intend to write a poem about him. It simply unfolded as I think most poems do. The title of the poem Is Bringing Paul Durcan to Mass and this year The Fermoy International Poetry Festival honoured it as the Irish winning poem in the Festival, which allowed me to spend two lovely days in Fermoy reading and listening to poetry.


Bringing Paul Durcan to Mass

I went to half ten mass, la grande messe.

Grand in every sense.

Sunday morning sitting in sweltering heat

Listening to a sermon I couldn’t understand

Didn’t seem to be my cup of tea.

I said some silent prayers for everyone

I could think of, and anyone I had forgotten,

But the French priest was loud

And eventually silenced my silent prayers.

Well, I had Paul Durcan in my handbag,

And when I went to get some money for the collection

He tempted me to read.

Was it blasphemy, I wondered,

To read Paul Durcan

In the middle of la grand messe,

Or any other mass for that matter?

But it was my personal bible,

The book I opened to find inspiring words,

Words of wisdom, playful words – prayerful words,

A bible that could bring to mind

My mother, my father–

That I needed to get the roof fixed when I got home –

That I was far from home.

I will never bring Paul Durcan to mass again

Have you ever tuned into the voice of a Mayoman? He asked,

And instantly, I tuned out from the voice of the Frenchman.


(c) Eithne Reynolds