Photo © David Rice

Pictures for mindfulness

Kath's camera June 08 106

Ever see a FOG BOW ?

Hello everyone

Today the whole of Killaloe was shrouded in the thickest imaginable freezing fog. Everyone looked frozen and miserable. So I simply drove up into the hills right behind us, and twenty minutes later emerged into blue skies and sunshine so warm that I had to take off my jacket.It was like moving to a different country. I had an absolute ball looking down on the valley, and photographing it. It simply was an ocean of white fog, with the occasional hill or mountain peeping through like an island.

But it was when I was coming back down, just about to move back into the fog,  that I saw something I have never seen before in my life — a pure white rainbow. But there was no rain – only fog. It was a stunning sight. I got out my camera and tripod, and here it is.

When I got home I went straight to Wikpedia, and typed in “Fog Bow”, just hoping there was such a thing. And there it was. Go there and check for yourself — it’s something about fog droplets being smaller than raindrops, so they don’t break up the white light into colours, as happens in a rainbow. Hence a white bow — a fog bow!

PS Over the next few days I’ll post some of the other fog pictures I got today.





2015-02-08 test shoot - 317-EditFogbowblog - Copy


On national radio !

Hi All
Just to let you know that the Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing was featured on Tuesday’s John Murray Show on RTE 1 national radio, and the phone never stopped ringing for two days. Our 7 Feb Memoirs workshop was so booked out that we had to schedule a second one for 14 Feb. Now it’s booked out too. So we’ve scheduled a third one for 3 October, and there are a couple places left on that. There are also a couple of places left on the other three workshops — Start your Novel, 7 March; Non-fiction Book, 11 April; and Write for Magazines, 9 May. The €80 fee includes lunch. All details on

RTE are holding a competition in conjunction with us — send in the first paragraph of your memoir, and the prize is a free place on the Memoirs workshop, plus two nights for a couple at the Lakeside Hotel here. If you want more details, contact the John Murray Show at

All the best, and thanks for all your support. It means so much to Kath and me.

~ David

Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing is back

thumbs_wmk-25-oct-for-web-299Hi Everyone

Good news for the New Year. People have been asking when we are going to re-open the Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing. As you know, we suspended operations last year as we had too many other projects in hand – in particular,  those books that we published.

Well, the good news is that the Hedge-School is back, with one-day €80 workshops, for beginning writers, in each of the following:

Get Started Writing (10 Jan)

  • Write a Memoir (7 Feb)
  • Start that Novel (7 March)
  • Write a Non-Fiction Book (11 Apr)
  • Write for Magazines & Papers (9 May)

You can find full details on our website Or you can call Kathleen at (061) 375.217. Gift vouchers are available. By the way, there are now almost 100 books published by our workshop ‘alumni’, including bestsellers.

Just pass the word along to anyone you think might be interested.

And now, a Happy New Year to every one of you. Let’s hope it brings all of us success and fulfilment in our endeavours.  Do please stay in touch.

~ David

Beware of bad companions

thumbs_thumbs_untitled-19-14Hi y’all

Kathleen says I can’t write poetry. She says my stuff is doggerel. Unfortunately all our writers’ group agree with her. The last time  I read out a poem there was this terrible silence. And then one kind friend said, ‘David, stick to the day job!’ (The day job, by the way, is prose.) Anyhow, there is one poem I am dying to share, doggerel or not. Y’see, it tells the truth about my wicked past, which I have to confess. So here goes.




Bad  companions


Beware of bad companions

They told us one and all;

Stay clear of bad companions

Said Sister Mary Paul


Bad companions teach you

What you should never know,

And bad companions lead you

Where you should never go


Where are these bad companions

I simply had to know;

In search of bad companions

I hunted high and low.


I guessed that bad companions

would surely make life go,

But ne’er a bad companion

Just ever seemed to show


So all these bad companions

I never got to know;

And all my seeds of wickedness

I neever got to sow


Till one day angry parents

Told Teacher much annoyed

That I’m the bad companion

That nice boys should avoid




The year’s first snow

Snow storm on our nearby mountain, Moylussa



The Gap Road in the Clare Hills

AS I write this, the winter’s first snow is falling from a darkling evening sky, strangely haunting in the pale light from my window. And the brief beauty of it is working its magic on me once again.

Snow is like a bad marriage. It starts with gentleness and softness and grace and purity and loveliness. Yet all too soon it turns to ugliness, coldness, slipperiness, harshness, frustration and impatient longing for it all just to end.

Yet year after year snow works its early charm, long enshrined in Breughel’s paintings and Dickens’s Pickwick and Christmas Carol, as in so many of our Xmas cards and calendars.

Tonight has a rare kind of snowfall, for there is absolutely no wind. Thus the snow is coming down gently, quite vertically, with never a flurry. If it continues, morning will see a fairyland for, undisturbed by wind, each tiny twig in every tree will bear its slender burden of white. Leafless oaks and beeches will become transformed. And maybe, if we are very lucky indeed, this beauty will meet bright morning sunshine and a clear blue sky. Such a conjunction seems to take place only about once every 15 years but, if it does, for a few morning hours the land will be OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa sightseer’s heaven. And a photographer’s too. Millions of branches, each topped with a narrow line of snow, seemingly balanced there with infinite care, will sparkle against a deep blue heaven, and the sun will drive through and light up the translucent clustered snowflakes like unearthly, unseasonal white blossom – the ‘midwinter spring’ that TS Eliot spoke of.

By noon the sun will have burnt the snow from off the twigs, or the breeze will have lifted  it away. Like all lovely things, this strange blossom blooms for but a brief time. Like the cherry blossom in spring beloved of the Japanese.

Snow is one of the few things that truly transforms our world, if only for a pitifully short time, and it transforms it for all the senses.

The world becomes quieter. Footfalls are muffled. The air smells richer, sharper – like wine. I remember when I was a kid how the bedroom glowed strangely bright when I wakened, and I knew there was snow even before I ran to the window. The world even feels different, with that incomparable crunch of new snow under your boots, and the exquisite pain of the first snowball between your fingers. And there is a sense that everyday things are no longer so important, indeed thing like school and work many even (hopefully) have to be foregone for a day or two.

As I grow older I am more and more tempted to see snow only as a nuisance, which it certainly can be, with its threat to driving, its sheer inconvenience, its disruption of everyday activities. But I hope I will never fully give in to that temptation, for everything has aspects of beauty and ugliness and I can choose which to see. If I choose the ugly, I am saying something about what has happened to myself.

Some years ago, on a university campus in Southern Illinois, I saw something that has made me appreciate snow just a little more., It was November, and the first snowflakes of the year were falling. A young woman, newly arrived on campus from central India, was standing with me, watching the falling flakes and shimmering  grass. She had never before seen snow.

Her eyes were wide. She stretched out her hand and caught a snowflake as it fell, and just gazed upon it as it melted into her palm,. Then she raised her eyes to the gray metallic sky, as if to discover where the flakes were starting from.

What I saw in that upturned face was sheer wonder, and it was a truly splendid thing to see.




~ David

I wish I had a tail


074Hi everyone

Know what? Sometimes I think whoever designed us got it a bit wrong. I mean, why don’t we have tails? They’re very useful to monkeys. They come in pretty handy for scorpions too. But what set me thinking was a doggie I met today. I was out walking on the back road to Nenagh and this little doggie spotted me from inside his gate. He jumped up on his garden wall and followed me all along until he came to the corner pillar, where he sat wagging his tail. The wagging was just so charming that it was clearly an invitation to go over and do a little patting and back rubbing. Which I did. Doggie didn’t have to say a word: the tail wagging did it all. Now imagine what we could do with a tail. Strong silent types (like myself) wouldn’t have to utter a word. Just wag a tail to say, ‘Hey, I really like you.’ Or swish a tail in anger, like a pussy cat or a tiger, to express silent disapproval. Far easier than frowning or raising an eyebrow. Any thoughts on this, friends? One thing, of course: jeans would have to be redesigned for tails. And getting a pair of pants on would be a little trickier than it is right now.


~  David

I watched a sunset tonight

169Hi everyone

Haven’t been around for a while — but I’m back now and plan to stay around. Today was one of those absolutely brilliant winter days with a blazing blue sky and not a cloud up there. For some reason the low sun always seems more dazzling in winter than in summer. Does anyone know why? Anyhow, after a day at the computer working on my new book (I Will not Serve), I took off up along the lakeshore of Lough Derg to one of my favourite spots — a tiny inlet where no one ever seems to go. There, all alone,  I watched the sun setting. It was magic. It was even more lovely after the sun had gone behind the hill across the water from me. For then the sky arranged itself in that marvellous dark blue descending to green, then yellow, then orange. And the little wavelets moving to the shore took up those colours, with the orange touching their blue. The silence was absolute. Then suddenly a bird sang — but I cannot share that here. I wish I could. Here is one of the pictures I took this evening.


~ David

Pining and longing

all-pix-for-blog-108-of-1303-nggid03170-ngg0dyn-350x250x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010Hi everyone

A friend of mine had a husband who was dying of cancer. He had worked hard all his life, planned for the future, read his newspaper and watched his television. She took him for one last trip in their open-topped MG around the Ayrshire coast. At one point, looking out over the ocean towards Ailsa Craig, he sighed and said, ‘Imagine having to leave all this.’ He had only noticed the beauty around him when he was about to depart it forever.

Apparently this is not unusual. According to psychologist Rollo May, ‘When people are on the verge of death they think, strangely enough, about beauty. Many of these thoughts are about how beautiful is this earth that they are about to leave.’ Oscar Wilde caught poignantly this awareness of beauty before death, in his poem Ballad of Reading Gaol, about a man waiting to be hanged:

I never saw a man who looked

With such a wistful eye

Upon that little tent of blue

Which prisoners call the sky,

And at every drifting cloud that went

With sails of silver by.

Writer and theologian Matthew Fox comments on all of this: ‘How wonderful it would be if we incorporated this awareness daily into our lives before we die.’ For awareness we can read Mindfulness.


~ David






What that tetrapod looked like


Remember thost tetrapod footprints I uploaded a few days back? Well, people have been asking what might the critter look like. So here is a rough sketch I made from some pictures I found on the in2014-10-14 2014-10 Tetrapod drawing - 030-Editternet. It looks a bit like a lizard or a newt, if you ask me.


~ David

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