Jungle River Trip ~ Costa Rica

 

We took a jungle boat trip down a river in Costa Rica, and were fortunate enough to see a  Great Blue Heron!  At over a metre and half in height, the Great Blue Heron is a very majestic sight. This stately bird, with its subtle blue-gray plumage, often stands motionless (as seen in the photo), while it scans for prey or wades belly deep with long, deliberate steps. Although these birds seem to move very slowly Great Blue Herons can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap up a poor gopher. Other exotic creatures we saw included several iguanas and a lovely lazy sloth! After the trip my husband went ziplining through the jungle, but I decided to give that one a miss…

After the boat trip my husband went ziplining through the jungle, but I decided to give that one a miss…

P1000281

P1000297

P1000301

P1000283

P1000305
Spot the Sloth?

P1000285

 

Havana ~ The Highlights

Cuba is very popular at the moment, with restrictions being lifted in the near future for American tourists, travel articles the world over are urging us to visit the “real” Havana before its unique qualities disappear under the weight of the mighty American dollar. But how fast could this actually happen? Islanders seem to think this is gross misrepresenting the situation as nothing ever happens quickly in Cuba; probably due to a crumbling infrastructure and the sheer scale of improvements needed to renovate this once beautiful city to its former glory.

There is no doubt the place is amazing, charming and very special, the islanders seem so friendly, but some of the living conditions and levels of poverty that you witness can take your breath away. I was told that the main income of the island is already extremely focused on tourism, ( approx 1.2 million tourists in the last year), but there is still a long way to go for this semi-isolated island to be able to offer anything that approaches the luxurious standards that most of us expect these days…

Still an injection of cash could help raise living standards, but as always with commercial tourism – at what price to the islands cultural heritage? Overdevelopment can be as damaging as underinvestment. How this once staunchly Communist Island will cope with the imminent changes will be interesting to watch; not from just an economic viewpoint, but for those of us who have seen the “real” Cuba in all of its crumbling glory and uniqueness.

 

 

Hemingway’s Hangout in Havana!

Currently travelling in South America – and visiting Cuba has always been my dream. Here in Havana a place which has exceeded my expectations, at the moment I am visiting La Floridita, Ernest Hemingway’s favourite bar and on an eventful Friday night, and the place is bouncing; the bar is packed and the live music is fabulous!

Having a blast … after a few drinks that the gorgeous, bronze statue of the man himself, takes on a life of its own, and I swear n that “the man of the sea” has a special twinkle in his eyes for his fellow writers, (not so hard to find in a place like this!) lovely friends , lovely night.

Please excuse the brevity of this post, my internet connection is sketchy at best, I hope my photos get out to you – they were taken during the day when the bar was full of tourists , but at night it was a very different atmosphere, with the salsa , the daiquiris and lingering cigar smoke…

 

insideoutsidesign

Durty Nelly’s ∼ One of the Oldest Pubs in the Republic of Ireland

A wonderful old tale of whisky and intrigue at this gorgeous pub in Bunratty, Reblic of Ireland! (please note this old story contains its original spellings)

Who was Durty Nelly?

Many, many moons ago, in the misty past of Cratloe’s rolling countryside, there lived a buxom lady, tall in stature, but shapely and appealing to all.  She was known simply as Durty Nelly, a name that puzzled all who had the good fortune to meet her – but soon became apparent!

Times were hard in Ireland but the wily Nelly always found a way to make ends meet. She was keeper of the toll-bridge over the river Owengarney, which flowed outside her window on its way to join the Shannon.

All visitors who sought to cross the bridge had to pay their dues to Nelly – those who could not pay in cash paid in kind with the presentation of a chicken, a few eggs, a piece of home-cured bacon or even, legend has it, a bit of ‘comfort’ for the lady herself.

Durty Nelly was a woman of considerable charm, known to the virile men of the day from Galway to Cork, Dublin to Limerick. Nelly’s hospitality to the many travellers coming across the bridge gained her a place in many a man’s fond memories, and the legend of Nelly has been handed down through the centuries.

Durty Nelly was also renowned for her little shebeen – a special corner of the house overlooking the river where she kept a jar of whiskey, to warm the bellies of the tired and exhausted journeymen.

There came an unfortunate night when one of those travellers, a rogue from Kilrush, crept in during the night and stole poor Nelly’s savings, all the gold coins she had collected at the bridge.

The following evening, she went to bed broken-hearted and after a night of fitful sleep, awoke with a start. Occupying her mind was a clear impression of a new recipe for whiskey.  She set to work straight away, filling four of her best earthen jars from her distillery in the woods.  As she labored over the concoction, she became more and more convinced that there was magic to this brew.

Only a short time later, she came across an old Irish Wolfhound, on his last legs outside her front door. He was weak and feeble and was not long for this world. Nelly poured a drop of the poteen (her home-made whiskey) from one of the urns and carefully rubbed it into the dog’s muscles.  She left the dog to rest and took her place on the curved wall where she waited daily for the tolls. In the heat of the midday sun, she started to drop off.
Two or three hours later, she was disturbed from her slumber by a warm wet feeling in her palm: with a shock, she realised it was the Wolfhound, licking her hand.  He raced across the bridge exuberantly, showing no sign of his previous malaise.

This extraordinary occurrence had not gone unnoticed by Nelly’s neighbours in Bunratty, and news quickly spread that she had a special potion, one which would bring the gift of new life.

And so they came in droves from all over the country seeking “the cure” for that lame horse, the sick piglet, the slowing greyhound or the muscle-bound athlete.  Each visitor left with a renewed vigor, cured of all ills.

The Little House by the bridge grew with the increased trade and became a landmark in Munster for the high quality of its refreshment – both food and drink.

One day, a young woman from Rineanna (now Shannon International Airport) came to see Durty Nelly with a broken heart. She was married for three years but sadly remained childless.  She confessed to Nelly that she believed it was because her husband lacked any warmth in his attentions. She wanted to try the cure on him, to see if he too could be brought ‘back to life’ within their marriage.

From the first sip of the smooth liquid, the woman’s husband was a changed man. His wife could never complain of his powers as a loving husband. His virility thrilled her and resulted in the birth of 3 sons and 2 daughters within six years – and she still retained her beauty in body and charm.

News of the miracle brew spread far and wide across Ireland and Durty Nelly’s ‘cure’ found a place on the shelves of her hostelry as the drink to cure all ills – with a tot of the powerful drink, men became virile and strong, thrilling their women and gaining triumph in all battles.

Durty Nelly had discovered one of Ireland’s best-loved secret brews, famed for its purity, strength and health-giving powers – poteen.

Times have changed and poteen is no longer a legal drink in Ireland. Because of its unusual power and danger if consumed to excess, it had to be ‘officially’ outlawed.
But to this day, it is distilled among the hills and valleys of the land. It continues to relieve pain and restore new life – there is a many a champion hurler, footballer, athlete – and even racehorse – whose rubdown is well-laced with poteen.

Down through the years, the house of Durty Nelly has thrived. It has brought refreshment and comfort to many a weary traveller and it has remained the noted gateway to the stunningly beautiful West of Ireland.  Men and women who saw plantations, penal laws, great hunger and countless battles over time have traversed this famous bridge and stopped for a quick drop in the comforts of this famous tavern.

Durty Nelly’s hospitality, warmth and generosity of spirit have remained in this most welcoming of public houses for centuries since her death.  When you stop by some afternoon, think of her and toast her memory with a tot of the ‘good stuff.’

Nelly’s Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your field sand until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Nelly’s Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your field sand until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 

Click to find out more about Durty Nellys.

Point of Infinity

t seas1

Point of Infinity

♦ 

You told me you saw,

The sea in the windows of

My beautiful house –

And I believed you.

Yet; you leveraged my love,

Beyond the point of infinity,

Past the horizon, where,

All seas collide

And passion dies.

Never for me

That perfect moment

Under the cherry tree,

Which flowers but once

Every hundred years;

You told me you saw

The sea in the windows of

My beautiful house,

But, I no longer believe you.

First published in Contemporary Literary Horizon in English and Romanian 2014

Exotic Destinations – Far East

For many, travelling is much more than a mere physical experience, it is an opportunity to sample different cultures, broaden horizons and extend personal knowledge; developing a sense of awareness of the infinite variety of life on our planet. The Far East offers an abundance of exotic destinations which are both physically enticing and spiritually rewarding. If you are seeking something extraordinary; here is our Status selection…

THE FORBIDDEN CITY, CHINA
In the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City was once the ceremonial heart of the Chinese empire; the symbol of power during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Surrounded by a broad moat, which reflects the stunning array of buildings, which include the Palace of Supreme Harmony, where the emperor was crowned and held court upon the gilded Dragon Throne. The Forbidden City is a vast imperial palace complex and the world’s largest group of persevered wooden structures, containing some superb art works from both dynasties. The Forbidden City remained China’s political centre until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912, although the imperial court remained in residence until 1924, when China’s new rulers converted it into the Palace Museum...Read More

Exiles Guest Blog: Exiles – The short story behind the short story by Sonia Kilvington

Exiles is free today at Amazon!!

PAUL D. BRAZILL

Exiles cover preview (1)Being a very willing exile living in Cyprus, I was delighted to be asked by Paul D. Brazill to join the ‘Exiles’ gang with a short story for the exciting, new noir crime collection. In time, I have encountered many different types of exile, some who have chosen to escape from unworkable or painful situations, others who feel they have been subjected to a type of banishment, both geographical and social, which has been unwillingly thrust upon them.  I have also discovered that state of self-imposed exile quite often occurs as a reaction against a dysfunctional family situation, as it does in my story, ‘Disappearing Act.’

Generally there are parallels between my characters and myself, although at first glance they are not always obvious, even to me! My character in the story ‘Disappearing Act’ is a woman who has spent her life struggling to be appreciated…

View original post 216 more words

Dreaming of You

images (1)images

Is there such a thing as Poetry Noir? 

Dreaming of You 

I needed to be

Bonnie and Clyde,

All guns blazing

Someone at my side,

To judge the stakes

And take the risks,

I had already

Suffered myself –

Putting it on the line,

Like a two dollar,

Fantasy crime, novel,

I’d rashly bought,

A shabby bargain,

At cost price.

When you traded in

Our loyalty;

Abandoning me,

With nothing more

Than telling the sorry tale

Of your selfish

Betrayal,

In the shattered light,

And jagged fragments of night,

Your love destroyed,

Every sense

It touched,

Torching it to the ground.

Stranded in the shadows

Of dark afterglow,

I dreamt of

Our last stand, and

The sweet violence, still

Smouldering in the fire;

In my burnt out shell,

I still fantasize,

Of the bond

Between us;

Reality insists on

A tragic ending – and yet,

I’m still dreaming of you…

Sonia Kilvington

First published in Contemporary Literary Horizon 2014 in English & Romanian

Rogue in Print!

Looking forward to reading this one!!

Graham Wynd

Rogue Bonkers in PhoenixHey kids! Near to the Knuckle’s Rogue collection is out in paperback now for those of you not into the whole digital business. Get 22 knuckle-dusting tales that will knock the stuffing out of you:

The book you’re holding in your hands, flipping across your screen or pirating, is a bold statement by a group of authors who are committed to controlling their own literary destinies. To representing themselves and their stories the way they want to. To producing quality literature without constraints, or middle-management foibles, or decisions based on what will appeal to this demographic or best reflect that group. To give you raw, uncompromising stories from the depths of their filthy imaginations. More punk than Cowell-esque candy pop, this collection captures a group of writers, writing in a spectacularly diverse myriad of styles at the very top of their game. You can feel the enthusiasm for the project…

View original post 99 more words

Dangerous Love!

After many years of writing poetry, my first collection in English and Romanian has been published as part of the ‘Bibliotheca Universalis’ one of of 50 bilingual poetry, essay and short story collections. I believe my own book, Dangerous Love, is number 25 in this impressive collection of work from around the world, including – Mexico, America ,Argentina, UK, Italy, Spain and Romania – to name but a few! The collection has been developed, nurtured and created by the editor in chief of ‘Contemporary Literary Horizon’, Daniel Dragomirescu, who’s literary journal aims to offer  “All the world in a journal” and indeed it does!
Cover Poetry For further information on “Contemporary Literary Horizon’ and a glimpse of the new copy for May/June

visit  http://contemporaryhorizon.blogspot.com/

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: