Community is...

...enduring unsatisfactory mugs and glasses.

Behold a selection. On the right we have two specimens that I cannot get my hand (wrapped in a tea-towel) into to dry. Next a mug with an inside profile that is nigh impossible to clean witness the brown ring. On the left a mug with a - well I do not know what it is - on the rim. Thankfully not quite where one puts one's mouth. A tall glass that even stuffing a twisted tea-towel inside will not touch the bottom thus nigh impossible to dry.

And I have seen worse specimens. Thankfully mostly owned personally so rarely seen on the kitchen shelves. For example the sort that have a glazing issue on the inside. Those that have an unclean-able dimple on the inside opposite the handle. Or trick mugs with a frog inside.

Why can't all mugs, cups and glasses be sensible and easily handled, washed and dried (like me) ?



Killiney run, just over 6 miles

I took a friend to a hospital out patients' appointment and had a few hours waiting, so donned my running stuff and set out to explore Killiney. The obvious starting point was the coast, and the obvious culmination was the Obelisk on Killiney hill .

Looking north towards Dalkey Island

Looking south towards the sun!

Can't avoid railways

Evidently some sort of maintenance train

I ventured into ankle depth

Here's where I left the shore

Over the line and up Killiney hill

The Obelisk

Stunning view over Dublin

and to Dalkey Island

and to the south


Beerwah and modern technology

1/4 way up Beerwah

A few minutes ago my daughter Facebook'ed me from a quarter the way up Beerwah, one of the Glasshouse Mountains. And yesterday she sent this sunrise picture from the top.

Dawn at summit
She had to get up at some unearthly hour to achieve this. You will appreciate that she has a craze about mountains as her blog testifies.

Pretty amazing that the average person (although K is hardly average) can send a photograph in real time across the globe and right into my lounge. To suggest such a feat no more than 20 years ago would have been science fiction and hardly believable.

I didn't quite catch what you said

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

If deteriorating eyesight and hearing means that I am old, then so be it. Ali has finally convinced me to get a hearing aid. We found a local company that has very reasonable prices and so now I (sometimes) have a Widex Dinamico 15 in each ear, and I can return them for full credit within 6 weeks if I don't get on with them. And I don't get on with them yet, but I have been told to persevere. Whenever else have I persevered, I ask?

Without doubt these yokes make things louder, and there's the rub. Not only those folk with feint voices, but also the kids screaming and the dishes clanging.

What nobody (including the "MSc qualified audiologist" who kindly tested my hearing "for free") seems to appreciate is that, for me, loud noises become distorted, and that only makes things worse and indeed verging on painful. When I have the hearing aids turned on it's OK as long as folk are not noisy. But that's a tall order in a community of 30 or so people including young children.

The other day I was running to the chalet to do some repairs and one hearing aid almost fell out: that could have been a very expensive loss. I am more careful now but it also means I do not use them when I am running or any sort of building work. Which means that the times I do use them are getting fewer.

The jury is out...


Is violet found in the rainbow?

We are taught that Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain and for this gem we have to thank Isaac Newton who also had a whacky theory of how colour related to music. Whilst we can credit Isaac with some understanding of colour theory, his seven named spectral colours have been grossly misused over the centuries since.

Isaac's colour wheel

And so Johnny is taught in school that the rainbow has seven discrete colours. He is also falsely taught that the primary colours are red, blue and yellow. As a child I quickly learned from experiment the falsehood here. You try getting a decent purple by mixing red and blue paints! It would be more correct to say that the primary colours for additive mixing are red, blue and green (but c.f.) and that the colours you get from mixing these in equal proportions, aka secondary colours, namely yellow, cyan and magenta, are for this very reason the primary colours for subtractive (paint) mixing.

In our school room here we have a colourful set of of containers which I have pictured below, Which of the container colours shown are not found in the spectrum of white light?

A friend JHA recently gave an dissertation on blue and red, as in the colours of the rainbow. He excluded purple and did not mention violet thus implying that the ends of the visible spectrum are red and blue. I consider this a gross injustice, I feel as though I have been robbed. Whilst I can do away with indigo because the truth is that the spectrum is a continuous variation in colour, to say the rainbow ends in blue is a blatant lie. But the truth of the matter is not so clear. I thought JHA would go on to talk about green as the third "primary colour" and thus disprove the law of the excluded middle but the point he was making was somewhat different. But whatever he was talking about, he very definitely did not mention spectral violet.

So what is the truth? All sources agree that human eyes are trichromatic and thus possess three types of colour sensor or "cones" which have peak spectral responses around blue, green and red, and this is why colour TV and film can reproduce most colours using pigments of these colours aka primary colours. Although some folk, 10% of men I am told, only have two types of cone and are thus "colour blind". There is even the suggestion that some women might even have a forth type of cone which I regard as wholly unfair.  So far so good.  But hereafter theories differ.

There are those who deny that there is a problem at all. Until I hear him recant I must place my friend JHA in this category. For such people violet cannot exist in the rainbow.

Some say that the the "blue" cone is a misnomer because it actually has peak response to what we call violet spectral light. Spectral light of slightly longer wavelength actually tickles both the violet cones and to a lesser degree the other cones, and this combination we perceive as blue. And thus the sky is actually violet.

Others (and here) say that in fact the "red" cones have a secondary response in the violet area and thus light of this wavelength tickles both blue and to a lesser degree red cones and we perceive this mixture as violet.

Both parties agree that the eye perceives other mixtures of red and blue as variations of the purple / violet / mauve / magenta colours some of which are rather poorly defined.

In the second and third theories violet is definitely a spectral colour as distinct from blue, so that the only reason scientists might talk about the blue and red ends of the visible spectrum is because blue is an easier concept than violet. After all the first meaning of the word is a small wild flower.

One more (at least!) point that needs to be made is that, even in the rainbow, we are typically not looking at pure spectral colours, by which I imply monochromatic light. You'll get a better sensation of monochromatic light aka pure saturated colour by looking down a spectrometer, a device that splits light into a rainbow of colours e.g. using a prism but uses lenses and a slit to ensure that the eye is looking as only a very narrow angle of the emitted spectrum. As most of us do not have access to a spectrometer, try looking directly at a prism splitting white light. A chandelier crystal will do.

Colour film and TV can never do full justice to the eye's ability to see colour. Indeed the eye itself can never do full justice to the colours actually implicit in the spectrum. In either case the issue is firstly that the eye is trichromatic and secondly that the red, green and blue cones each respond to a broad range of colours and thus, apart possibly from the extreme ends of the visible spectrum, any particular spectral colour is bound to stimulate more than one type of cone and thus results in reduced saturation. This effect is progressively more evident as you move away from the centre of an oil film spectrum as captured in my recent photo.  Here you will see colours verging on brown, a colour no-one to my knowledge has ever claimed was in the rainbow.


The evils of light

I know I've posted about light pollution before, but the other day at lunch the two women sharing my table were lamenting how hard it was to see along the road at night now that the neighbours had not had their outside lights on recently. I could hardly help myself interjecting how, for me, such lights actually made it harder to see. One of them said it was amazing when I pointed out I could see better without the lights.  Does this mean my visual purple is much better than average? I can hardly believe this. This morning I was taking my breakfast at around 0730 as it was starting to get light outside. Quite light enough for me to consume my cereal and tea. Shortly after I am joined by another community member and, wham, on goes 6 glaring ceiling spot-lights. Why? I asked - because it's dark and I cannot see, he says. Can this really be true? Do They really prefer the harsh, brilliant artificial light to dawn?

And so I was please when this morning's BBC-news offering included this article listing various evils associated with increasing light pollution across the globe and writing "Human vision relies on contrast, not the amount of light, so by reducing contrast outdoors - avoiding glaring lamps - it is actually possible to have improved vision with less light."


The Kings River

Through king Turlough's land I flow
Snakelike, shaping as I go
Upon my bed rest ancient stones
Washed crystal clear, as my body runs
Changed to shine in different forms
When kissed by rays of golden sun
Sparkling natural gems are born

I earthly years some say I'm old
Some shy from me when summer's gone
For fear of catching winter's cold
Great pity them, for missing out
On my hypnotic tranquil sounds

Oh come, sit down by my side
And hear me sing, in beautiful tones
Songs of beauty old and new
I am a river fit for the king
Majestically my waters flow
Forever on in timeless mode

Johnny Carroll, October 2017

Johnny, a friend of mine, is into poetry in a big way. He claims to write a poem a day, or more, a feat that is quite alien to me. Poetry rarely tickles my fancy but this one caught my ear mainly, I suppose, because it is about something I love.  Naturally I wanted to find out more about the poem's allusions.

Doubtless the king in the first line is Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair aka Turlough Mór O'Connor, King of Connacht (1106–1156) and High King of Ireland (ca. 1120–1156). I can, however, find no evidence that the name "Kings River" refers to this king in particular, although there is a Turlough Hill close to its source. But the hill was named Turlough quite recently and in any case the name is common and means a low-lying area which becomes flooded in wet weather, a description that could apply to a large percentage of Ireland. That's OK, I'm not complaining - I don't mind a bit of "poet's licence".

As far as being "crystal clear" the river is, as most are in this area, peaty brown but is otherwise clear and with a quality of "pristine nature" as testified by this report by the EPA. And I love to swim in it and clamber on the many rocks it flows around.  In the summer, that is.

I thoroughly identify with "great pity them" - I wonder that so few people really appreciate the Kings River. Spurred on by this poem I have made a mental note to do more exploring next summer (if we have one) like starting at Ballinagee bridge and rock jumping all the way to its source.

In the unlikely event that my reader is as besotted with Kings River as I am, the best mapping I can find is by Bing (much better aerial photography than Google maps in this area). Here you will see that the source of the river is on the western slope of Tonelagee towards Stoney Top.


Convection run

My route, 9.84 miles

Saturday afternoon run in between convention meetings, steady light rain but fairly mild (about 9'C) and the lake fairly low at the moment.

Access to the lake close to Poulaphouca

Loch Ness has nothing on this!

Strengthening works along this section close to the N81

Then back along the Blessington Greenway, across the Baltyboys bridge then along the lake shore to the Valleymount bridge.

On the road back home - superb example of interference


Community is...

... hosting a convention once a year.

Although our convention is somewhat smaller than this!

Folk visit from far and wide and our home is inundated for a while. I keep telling myself it is good to be sociable, good to share, but am not sure that my alter ego has got the message yet.

Convention is a time to get together, a time to re-focus, a time for God to speak. I hope so.


Community is...

...finding lights left on unnecessarily.

And electric room heaters, radiators, the commercial toaster, computers, chargers, and the hot water tap running... Things that cost money but not immediately. Things that are splitting hairs to some folk but to others, those that have perhaps been brought up more frugally, a crying waste. Of course it is always Other People who leave things turned on - it doesn't count if I do it myself.

At least we are gradually replacing our lamps with low-energy equivalents.

Light pollution: my morning runs are sadly now in the dark. I can see perfectly well enough providing there are no bright lights. I stop and shield my eyes when a car passes (I wear a hi-vis jacket and aim my flash-light at the driver), but I can hardly stop when passing Certain Houses that are flood-lit - why waste all that electricity, I ask?

Come Christmas it gets worse, with brightly lit trees et cetera to avoid, and Christmas lasts as least a month for such purposes. Why leave them on all night? Do people have money to throw away?


Spiritualising scripture and UFO's

Paul writing to the Corinthians:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example [or model or pattern], but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

Clearly Paul reads more into the Old Testament text than the history it records. In saying "the Rock was Christ" he has what is called "spirtualised" the text. Which is all very well because we believe in a God outside time who has orchestrated the Whole Deal so such patterns in history or, indeed, in nature as in "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" are to be expected. Which is all very well... up to a point...

It's just that, if you try hard enough, you can read just about anything into a given text. Especially if you are prepared to misuse Greek or Hebrew lexicons, take passages out of context, give questionable significance to numbers or their various factors and other dubious mathematical tricks or read the description of a bloody battle without any thought for the fate of the combatants. The process is nicely caricatured in this site in which a girl Marvel was on her exercise bike praying and listening to inspirational music. At exactly seven p.m.—seven being the number of perfection—God revealed to her, by the spirit, that Jerusalem is Schenectady, New York.

Anyway I think "spiritualise" is a misnomer for this eeking out hidden meaning. I'm suspicious when certain passages are spiritualised whilst others are taken at face value, the choice seeming to me to be somewhat random. I'm even more suspicious when a passage is spiritualised to the dismissing of its face value.

Which brings me onto UFO's. And is the apostrophe correct here? Most people think alien UFO reports are bogus but some folk seriously regard them as fact. The pattern is not so different from things of the "spirit", and anyway does this word describe another plane of existence or just the innermost workings of the human ego? You'd have thought that humans would have things like this sussed by now, but this is not the case. Try Googling "define spirit"!

The point I am making (trying to) is that, instead of becoming more and more sure about what I believe is true as one would expect of a maturing adult, I find myself instead becoming less sure. Many of the the things I was taught as a child and used to accept without hardly a question I now find myself questioning. Don't get me wrong: I want to believe in a God who only wants my good and I daily seek evidence of this. And, true, I have been blessed. To have been born into a society that values freedom of life, born to loving parents, enjoyed an education freely given to me, for my wife and children, for the loving community I am part of...

We humans, funky creatures, each need a reason to live. Otherwise we wilt. Some find their reason in their hobbies - I know someone who makes custom vehicles, another who traipses all over Ireland on hikes, another who spends every spare moment in running or cycling competitions. Others have their belief systems of which some are wackier than others.

The preacher has it fairly well sussed, though not always helpfully, in judging all is vanity. But he does add, somewhat more helpfully: Enjoy life with the wife whom you love and there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man.

And finally, just when you thought, hakuna matata style, that was all there was to life, he adds: Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter... fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. 


A different past

I was living in a large house in spacious grounds. Early one morning I went out for my run, as is my want, and noticed a girl from the community carrying a wide basket and picking up litter, a task I complemented her about. We walked together and soon joined another community member on his morning walk. Initially the path we took was well known to me, one I often ran barefoot. And so on leaving the property we turned left onto the main road and then after a while turned right onto a side road. I found I was seeing stuff around me that, when running, I had not noticed. Soon we turned right onto a stony track that, hitherto, I had avoided as a barefoot runner. The track I supposed ran parallel to the main road but continued for several miles before looping back to where it started.

A few days later the experience was repeated but without turning onto the stony track. I thought I ought to have known the road so was surprised to find a stretch of water on my right terminated by an old mill building where a few men were up to their thighs harvesting some sort of vegetable that grew in the water. They each had a large-brimmed hat and these and what old-looking clothes they wore were the same dull green colour as the building behind them. They told us what it was they were collecting - it sounded something like mangroves or mongoose. I thought I would help them from the side but accidentally slipped into the water where I was greeted as if I were one of them. After some merriment I decided we should return as I was getting cold.

When eventually we got back home, all had changed. The road our home was on was now only a narrow, flower strewn path between cottages and I recognised from my childhood days a chapel on the right. I entered and found it familiar yet somewhat decrepit and predating the improvements and additions I had witnessed as a boy. We met an old church friend who, on hearing my story, suggested I should walk up the road to my house where I would meet my wife. Sure enough, on entering what I supposed had been my home, seated at the meal table were Ali and several others including known to me. One person I did not recognises introduced himself as my uncle.

It transpired that I had re-entered my existence on an alternative time-plane, one in which I existed together with my peers but in which our surroundings were perhaps 100 or more years historic. One in which this relation of mine had not died in childhood.

It was, of course, a dream. But such a prolonged dream. During it I woke twice to empty my bladder, returned to bed, thought I was taking an age to get back to sleep only to find myself immediately re-immersed in the dream. And such a vivid portrayal of landscapes, such detail and depth of colour, my eyes feasting on the scenery and able to almost zoom into areas of interest.

On waking I was made aware in an instant of a kaleidoscope of events in my life, things ranging where I have been so, so blessed to areas of abject failure and utter depression.


God has no country

Donal Courtney in "God has no country"

Last Friday we went the Smock Alley theatre to see a dramatisation of Hugh O'Flaherty and the one-man performance was superb. To quote: The drama tells the story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, an Irish cleric in German-occupied Rome who used his Vatican connections to harbour Jews and escaped prisoners of war during World War II. Ultimately, he saved more than 6,500 lives.

The true story has also been dramatised so well in the 1983 film The Scarlet and the Black.

In the play Hugh explains how he knows injustice when he sees it, and hates it whether coming from the British oppressors earlier in his life, or from Germans or the Allies in the war. He says "what else could I do but save these people who came to me?".

But there is one other and a much easier and safer thing Hugh could have done - nothing! And I wonder which I would have done, coward that I am.


Community is...

... sharing a common vision?

In our circles the question is asked "what is your vision?" the implication being that God has given the community some specific raison d'être.

As I ponder this question I am of course aware of our links with certain other Christian communities across the world. A Google trail will turn up some good but mostly negative opinions of these communities, the negative ones being fairly obviously written by folk who have left with a large chip on their shoulder. Personally I do not identify with this sort of "vision". Back in Oxford days I agreed to be the OICCU "Rep" for our college for one year, but in order to do this I was told I had to sign my agreement to their Statement of Faith and this I refused to do on principle. Later, in my BBC Research days, I attended a baptist church and wanted to help out with young people's meetings. I was told I had to first become a "church member" and to do this I had to sign an agreement to their Statement of Faith. They would not budge on this requirement so I signed under considerable duress. Although since then I have not been asked to repeat this signing business, I hope you will surmise that I strongly resist and abhor being constrained into someone else's belief pattern.

When I consider the individuals in our community I do not find strict adherence to any particular denomination or movement in spite of the fact that every year we invite ministries from the aforementioned "links" for our annual convention. True, a common denominator is our Christian faith and obviously a desire to express this in our living together, but beyond that we are all different. Some have thought this a weakness but I rather think it is a strength. Although at the same time I wonder if there is enough cohesion to keep our community from self-destruction, which cohesion has to be that agape love that transcends human differences.


Community is...

...being thankful for meals that are other people's favourites but not my own.

Don't get me wrong - the cooking in this community is awesome: we have some very talented cooks. It has also become multi-cultural with a decided emphasis on Mexican. But the meal I am thinking of could not be described as foreign. It is certainly not my favourite, and yet I overheard someone observing that it was their favourite. There's no accounting for folk!


Where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us?

I feel a bit like Gideon must have. There are many needs that I thought God had placed on my heart and I have prayed for these for what I thought was earnestly and for a long time, yet I do not see the answers I expect. Even so, I am not yet going to stop asking: God isn't going to get off the hook that lightly! I know about the importunate widow.

William Blake - the angel of revelation

Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites (who were oppressing Israel).  And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valour." And Gideon said to him, "Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian." And the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?"

Gideon continues to be hesitant but ends up leading an army and saving Israel from her oppressors. You can read the rest of the story in Judges 6.

I too am weighed down by the apparent present day lack of the sort of "wonderful deeds" we are told that Jesus and the early church performed.

The difference for me is - where is the angel? 

Besides, I find myself reappraising many of my "Christian" ideals. Songs I sing with lyrics that now grate, like the hymn "I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus - since I found in him a friend so strong and true...". A lovely tune, and such endearing words, but I have become unsure about this "personal relationship" bit. Sure, I still pray for folk in need, still constantly ask God to make himself real to me, but I wonder about those times I thought I had "heard" God. Like: where is the angel? Don't get me wrong, I haven't trashed everything - I believe in God, etc. and that there was a man Jesus who made the supreme sacrifice for folk like me, and am happy enough to call him my Lord and would dearly love to hear his voice and know him as a friend - just that - where is he?

Having survived the morning meeting, had lunch and done various odd jobs I ran, barefoot as usual, not too far; swam briefly, possibly the last swim of the year; and stood, alone, on the shore and revelled in the beauty of the lake and the mountains on the far side. How thankful I am for this safety valve.


Why I cannot hear what you are saying

Several months ago, egged on by Others here, I submitted to a free hearing consultation in Newbridge. The man was thorough enough with his tests and concluded that I had considerable hearing loss and needed one of his hearing aids for five or six grand. He let me try one and showed that it improved my ability to hear quiet sounds. No brainer. But I was and still am not convinced that it would help much in a noisy situation which is where I suffer most.

Since then I purchased a small battery-powered gizmo - basically a microphone, amplifier with volume and tone controls, and earbuds. I improved the latter by purchasing the noise isolating kind that reduce ambient sound.

I suffer from tinnitus, which means that I hear constant "noise" in the higher frequencies. I'm in the lounge at the moment: Ali is sitting opposite me and talking to Caroline on the side. There is no-one else in the room. The level of my tinnitus noise is a little below that of their conversation, and I can make out what they are saying with no problem. But if they were speaking more quietly I might not because the tinnitus noise would mask theirs. Without doubt my gizmo would help in this case, even though its own electronic noise is quite audible to me.

In the praise in our meetings with its loud accompaniment (grand piano, drums, bass, trumpet, guitars), or at community dinner time (think 30 people with small children in a room with a low ceiling) another effect kicks in - my ears start to distort the sound to the point that it can become uncomfortable. When I use my gizmo it amplifies this cacophony and only makes it worse. QED. Even with the noise isolating earbuds which, frankly, do not isolate ambient noise very much.

Distortion is exacerbated when there are many sounds together, because the distortion mixes them up. Technically speaking the non-linearity of distortion can, from two sounds at different frequencies, create new sounds at the sum and at the difference of those frequencies - so two sounds become four, and four become... It is those additional sounds, I think, that make it so uncomfortable.

In the praise in our meetings I find I can actually hear better with a finger in each ear, because it reduces the level below that at which it distorts.

The undamaged human hearing is amazing. It can can distinguish about 10 graduations per semitone over 10 octaves (20Hz to 20,000Hz), and can safely detect sound levels over a 130dB range - that's a ratio of 1 to 10,000,000,000,000 times. And, of course, it is stereophonic so that it can spatially locate sounds.  In contrast the dynamic range of my hearing is severely limited especially at higher frequencies - I can't hear sounds substantially below the threshold imposed by my tinnitus, and sounds louder than an upper threshold distort and become uncomfortable. Which is strange recompense for someone who has commented on the present day departure from hi-fi.

For what it is worth, I believe my legendary Aunt Mary suffered in the same way - she used to plug her ears with cotton wool to reduce the discomfort.

Whilst people try to be understanding, there is without doubt more of a stigma over wearing any sort of hearing aid than, for example, wearing glasses. Kind of on a par with wearing no shoes. People say things behind you back, or give odd glances. Which is why I don't go around with a pair of ear defenders on (except when doing building work).


Minimalist running and Wicklow Gap

The beauty of running minimalist (no shoes, minimal clothing) is that I can be running along a beach or mountain track and, if an expanse of water affords, transfer to swimming and back to running without the tiresomeness of having to carry stuff, get dried and or change clothing.

For anyone wishing to emulate, I should add that running or cycling for too long in shorts that are wet with salt water will make the skin sore, and that drying oneself by running is inadvisable if the wind-chill adjusted temperature is below say 5'C unless you are much hardier than I am!

Which reminds me of my temperature scale:
below 0'C - freezing
0'C to 5'C - cold
5'C to 10'C - fair
10'C to 15'C - warm
15'C to 20'C - hot
over 20'C - tropical

This afternoon, after various duties, I cycled to the Wicklow Gap and back in record time in order to be back to enjoy a most excellent curry followed by plum crumble with Ali, and am now feeling suitably replete and worn out.


Corriebracks barefoot

The last time I tried Corriebracks was 5 years ago and I didn't make it to the top. Perhaps this defeat was what caused me to try again. Not that it is much of a challenge at 531m, except that you do have to get there if, like me, starting from home. And you do have to get back home afterwards, and it does have to be along a different route, and does have to be barefoot...

My track - 15.1 miles - anticlockwise

Corriebracks on the left, Church Mnt on the rights

Looked like it wanted photographing

The path over the gap starts as a narrow road

But becomes a track

Looking back, our lake in the distance

Looking forward, Church Mnt to the right

At the top of the gap looking down towards Donard

Top of Corriebracks looking East

Top, looking North towards home

Top, West towards Church Mnt

Cool sky and skyline

Cool Me

On the way down, same thingummyjig as in 2012 ascent

Perhaps foolishly I chose to return home via the King's River and lake shore. This entailed fording the river in order to avoid a nasty non-barefoot-friendly fence, and the river came up to my upper chest whilst wading smart-phone in one raised hand.  But the lake is very beautiful.

Back along the lake shore

Looking back


Community is...

...sharing the shower.

One of the folk here visits Kenya and Uganda several times a year to encourage the church there - he ministers not only in preaching but also in practical areas and reported after his last visit some of the needs - like people not being able to even afford soap. And yet when I step into our shower I have to negotiate vast numbers of shower-gels, shampoos, conditioners, women's under arm razors, those horrible fluffy wash poofs. Personally, in the shower I use water and soap, period, and anyway I like the shower enclosure to be free of ancillary stuff, more room for Me. I would not dream of leaving my shaving stuff in a communal bathroom: I can only imagine the cries if I did!