Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm a Stylish Blogger - or so the Award says!

I was chuffed when I got this award recently - it's been a couple of weeks ago but better late than never, Stylish Blogger no less! - from Laura in California who blogs at Our Scented Cottage, well worth a visit. Thanks a lot Laura!

I will now tell you what the Award sharing entails, for those of you who will receive it from me - if you wish to share with your fellow-bloggers just follow the guidelines below. I don't think this one is too onerous; I have refused to pass on Awards in the past that were too difficult or intrusive, so it's entirely up to you what to do. It's all a bit of fun, not something to agonise over accuracy or factual verification thereof - even if you're using a bit of poetic/artistic licence to embellish it's not a hanging offence!

To Accept The Award Requirements: Thank and Link Back to the Blogger Who Awarded You With The Award and Share 7 Things About Yourself. Award 15 Recently Discovered Great Bloggers and contact the bloggers, inform them of the award.

Right - here goes - Seven things about me (that you were afraid to ask?!)

1. I love reading - I am in a real-world book club and an online Bloggers' Book Club - which is worth checking out and much thanks to Lily for setting it up. I am not always great at reading the required books as I am always short on time - but I try. I enjoy sharing the reviews and seeing other people's opinions on a favourite read.  Our house is full of books - hubby keeps wondering where we're going to fit any more and yet there's a certain elasticity in our bookshelves! I am always reading some book or other, usually multitasking it with something else like knitting (see 2 below!)

My latest socks project - ribbed wool socks
2. My current favourite hobby is knitting - small projects like socks (See photo) which can be done anywhere - in the car, the coffee shop, watching TV, waiting around for people, hospital appointments - it makes the wait tolerable and combined with No. 1 above is the perfect relaxation. I do enjoy crochet but I am not as good at it as I once was so I defer to my daughter-in-law-to-be who has become a whiz at it since I showed her how to make a pot-holder a few short months ago - now she's teaching me her wonderful projects! Check out her Facebook Group (Jany's Cozy Crochets) for her work. Also the advent of YouTube tutorials on knitting and crochet make it accessible to the masses and the plethora of wonderful crafty books now available have reawakened interest in these terrific pastimes.

Sofia's No. 1 Cake!
3. I have always loved baking since learning the craft from my late mother as a child - I also had a friend whose grandfather had a bakery and she taught me how to make yeast bread, something not very common in Ireland - home of the Soda Bread (brown bread made with buttermilk and with Bread Soda (Soda Bicarbonate) as the raising agent. No waiting around for proving or rising and knocking down, it's a simple fast mixing method - can be wet or dry as wished, depending on whether you want to bake in a loaf tin or shaped round or whatever you fancy. Now I mostly bake cakes, buns (cupcakes) and tarts and pies. And I have a Facebook Group (Cakes, Bakes and Tasty Treats) which showcases some of my favourite recipes, all of which I've blogged about. My most recent was Sofia's First Birthday Cake which you can see here - we celebrated the big day yesterday!

4. I never travelled outside of Ireland until I was 17, when I went overland on a youth pilgrimage to Lourdes in southern France, the famous Marian shrine. I was a helper to a disabled girl, as were a a number of classmates who'd signed up for a bit of adventure, which was in short supply in the Black and White TV days of the early 70s! We had a blast - something not usually associated with pilgrimages, but perhaps there's a clue if I say the pilgrimage  was led by that notorious party animal Bishop Eamon Casey. He was quite the man-about-town then, little did we know then what we knew twenty years later - that he was a father in more than the religious title, which was disclosed by the mother of his then 17 yr old son, a handsome American lad, whose mother had fallen for the popular Bishop's charms all those years earlier. Sadly, he was vilified by the church and sent into exile in the South American missions, in contrast to all those paedophile priests whose crimes came to light years later which were covered up by the institution all the way to the Vatican. If ever there was a case for married priest and an end to compulsory celibacy, Bishop Casey epitomised it. He was a coward of course, in that he ditched Annie Murphy and embezzled diocesan funds to pay maintenance for the kid, and he never acknowledged him until Annie Murphy went public. But theirs was a consenting adult relationship, and as such should have been acknowledged by the hierarchy. 

5. I never flew until I was 22, when I went to Tenerife on my first and only package holiday after I'd finished my midwifery. Nine of us went, all girls, all just-qualified midwives, and we were ready to party. I remember being more excited by the flight than the holiday destination - until I arrived. I had little experience of sub-tropical climes to then, and revelled in two weeks of glorious sunshine in a then largely unspoilt island just discovering its tourist potential. We climbed Mount Tiede, the highest volcano/peak in Europe (not the mainland of course, but the Canary Islands are part of Spain so they are European even though they lie off the coast of Morocco, near the Western Sahara end.

6. I lived without electricity or running water for over a year - in the African bush in the mid-80s when we worked withTutsi refugees from Rwanda near Lake Burigi, the most beautiful place between Lake Victoria and Rwanda. We drew water from the river and in the rainy season collected rainwater in a tank. That was our most basic living ever - we had a small generator which would run a light bulb or two but if you put on the cooker it would dim the lights. I cooked on charcoal and got very creative - anyone who knows those little charcoal jikos or stoves knows they're slow to fire up and can be temperamental, but I ended up baking bread with two African cooking pots - like a bastable oven, one had the bread, the other sat on top with more hot coals in it, and that baked perfect bread. Murder on the tin pots though, as the heat of the charcoal on a dry pot burnt it away after a couple of uses. Happy days, the kids were small and it was pretty idyllic for them, aged 4 and 1, and I was 8 months pregnant with no. 3 when we left for the relative civilisation of Wales and a study break.

7.  I was taught Irish for 13 years in school and I still don't speak it comfortably or anywhere near fluency. This is probably a damning indictment of the school system in how it teaches Irish as a compulsory subject which was foisted on us, as it still is. In fact, it was so forced that if you failed Irish in the Leaving Cert you failed the whole exam, regardless of the rest of the exam - straight As or not. That requirement is now gone, but the baggage it carries for my generation is irreparable. I work in an Irish-speaking area and did a conversation course a few years ago which showed  me how  much I could recall and it was a fun way to learn. I see kids going to Gaelscoileanna where they're taught everything through Irish and they seem fine with it, and there's a resurgence outside Gaeltacht areas. I think future generations will be okay with the language but the teaching has to change and be relevant to everyday life. I speak near-fluent Dutch, am very comfortable in Kiswahili after years in Tanzania, and could even cope with some Lao, a tortuously difficult script and tonal language (like Thai)e that would make Serbo-Croat look like a walk in the park! 

So that's some random things to share - I tried to get a different perspective than in a previous  list for the Versatile Blogger Award I got from Mimi last year, so I hope I achieved that. I will now forward it to the following bloggers I enjoy and who won't mind being tagged with an award - I will not send it to any award-free zone! 

It's been fun to do and I hope you enjoy it too, pass it on and hopefully bring a lot more readers and followers to your blog - which is always nice. Though I write this because I enjoy the process of writing an open diary - as I see a blog - and it documents my life in a way I'm happy to share in the blogosphere. 

And the Award goes to.....
  1. Mimi @ MimiinDublin 
  2. Rudee @ A Knitting Nurse
  3. Ann @ Inkpots n'Quills
  4. Alycia @ The Curious Pug
  5. Susan @ Joyous Flowers
  6. Brownieville Girl @ Brownieville Girl
  7. Corry & Heleen @ Dutch Sisters
  8. Michelle @ MichelleTeacress
  9. Peggy @ Organic Growing Pains
  10. ShannonAnn @ One Size Knits All
  11. Lilly @ Stuff I make, bake and love
  12. Barbara @ Tanzania 5.0
  13. Maeve @ The Delights of Tea and Other Things 
  14. Kitty Cat @ Red Lemonade
  15. Barbara @ From my Kitchen Table 


Laura said...

Hello Catherine,
I am happy you posted the award because I think you deserve it! What an interesting life you've had! I envy your knitting skill, perhaps I should take a class.
A wonderful week to you,

Stephanie V said...

Congratulationson the award! I loved learning more about you. What an interesting life you've had.
I especially noted the Irish language discussion. Reminds me of the French language situation here in Canada. Most of us can read some - or a lot - but not so many can speak with any fluency at all. It is a requirement for any federal government jobs, though, so that's motivation.

Susan said...

Congrats on your award, Catherine, & thank you for mine!! :) I'm not sure how you manage to bake & write & knit & read & learn and remember all those languages, and then also do all the other regular tasks in life, but I do admire it!! Whew! Well done :)

Mimi said...

Catherine, thank you!
I enjoyed reading about you, and find that I agree with you on all that church stuff.
I'll enjoy doing the requisite bits of this award next week, when it's mid-term break.
See you then!!

Mimi said...

oops, forgot to say "congrats on your award, you are a stylish blogger".

Brownieville Girl said...

Congratulations on the well deserved award Catherine.

I also learned very little Irish in school - probably learned more doing my children's homework with them!

Really appreciate you thinking of me :-}}

MTeacress said...

Oh, you big sweetie. Thank you for thinking of me. You have cheered me up. I'll be sure to pass it on. :)

Catherine said...

Thanks for all your kind comments - I hope that those of you selected for the award will be happy to do the list of things about yourself!
Laura - I hope you do take up the knitting challenge! I will keep posting photos to inspire you!

Stephanie V - yes I can imagine the Irish Language debate is like the French one only here you don't need it for a job in the Civil Service except at exam level - to get into some Universities you need a pass. Creates resentment outside of the pockets where it is the native language - highly supported areas.

Susan C - I dunno where I get the time, I multitask badly I think, lots of started but not many finished projects! But I try to pack a lot into life. It's too short not to!

Mimi - agree about the church, there's too much oul' nonsense, latest guff about the revised language in the mass to make it more sacred, more inaccessible to the common man and will alienate even more is my thinking on it. Look forward to checking with your blog when you post your list!

Brownieville girl - I think I learnt more Irish doing homework some years ago than in my own schooldays too. Enjoy the list-making!

Michelle - thanks and enjoy your task! Hope you're having a good spring in nicer weather than the constant drizzle we have here!

Bye for now all - keep me posted when your awards list goes up!

Catherine xxxx