Family

A letter to my granddaughter

A letter to my granddaughter

[When I travelled to China a little over two years ago to meet my grandson Dermot Gao O’Neill for the first time, I wrote him a letter before I met him in person. Now I am making a similar journey via Dubai to Sydney to meet my first grand daughter Caitlyn who was born to my daughter Claire and her husband Mike on 7th April. It feels really important to say these things to her before I am overwhelmed by the scent of her and the feel of her...

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Two years on… a blog post about Blogging

Two years on… a blog post about Blogging

As I write I am sitting on the balcony of a little apartment in a residential part of Alghero in Sardinia. The sounds of families at their evening meals echo around the courtyard below, the clatter of cutlery and tables being set, towels being beaten off balconies and hung out to dry, the bells of several churches pealing the Angelus in a strange kind of harmony, the more distant sound of mopeds and traffic and children playing football in a...

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Twilight Zone

Twilight Zone

Somewhere in the skies over Asia I hover suspended between worlds. Around me the cabin lights are dim, just an occasional splash of moving colour from tiny seat-back tv screens. The flight is half empty and passengers are sprawled full length across rows of seats, dozing fitfully. Earphones, emitting soothing classical music, mask the throb of jet engines. An occasional jolt of turbulence reminds me that I am airborne and high above the Indian...

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Saying goodbye to the Gao O’Neills… for now

Saying goodbye to the Gao O’Neills… for now

(written on 20th January, 2014) I’m writing this through misty eyes while Dermot potters around finding the most dangerous thing in the room to play with and Shane and Shan try to whittle down their wedding photos to those to be included in their album. Their difficulty choosing photos echoes mine as I sift  the memories of the past five magical weeks. Tomorrow it’s officially over. Tomorrow Shane, Shan and Dermot return to China to...

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Shan, Shane & Dermot’s Special Day – 28th December 2013

Shan, Shane & Dermot’s Special Day  – 28th December 2013

Christmas is over. We’ve packed the last box of decorations into the attic. Claire and Mike have arrived back in Sydney where they are grappling with jet-lag and a welcome return to summer heat. Shan’s family are in an icy Beijing en route to Xinjiang Province for the Chinese New Year. Shane, Shan and Dermot will follow them there in a few weeks time. It’s a time for getting the house back in order after playing host to 17...

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A Buffet with Bling and Chinese Dumplings – the perfect start to 2014

A Buffet with Bling and Chinese Dumplings – the perfect start to 2014

Sometimes life has a way of turning full circle. Last New Year’s Day I remember remarking on the beautiful morning in Duncannon and the start of a “shiny new year”. Within three days we had lost Derry’s mother and within a few weeks his younger sister Deirdre. Both deaths were unexpected. Suddenly the new year didn’t seem so shiny any more. But you get through things and you get on with it and baby Dermot arrived on...

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