Sometimes you just hit the jackpot. You hit one of those moments when all your stars are aligned and everything seems just perfect. You’re in a cosy bar, in good company. The barman is handsome and chatty (even if he is half your age!) And you are sipping on the most sublime drink you’ve ever tasted.Continue reading “Bacon Schnapps?! Yes, please!”
We all travel our own road. Even when we travel with partners or groups, we each take different things from the experience. We enjoy quiet moments away from the group or playful moments with a friend. We notice different details – a stick that might entertain a dog, a feather that might adorn our hair, a pretty pebble at the water’s edge. These are our own personal moments – the moments we will keep with us long after our travels have ended.Continue reading “Nemo Girls [Nemo Mergikės]”
The weather has turned distinctly autumny over the past few weeks. We went from blazing heat every day for most of July to wind, rain, mist and chilly temperatures just as August began. While a bit of respite from the heat is welcome, I’m not ready for autumn just yet!Continue reading “Autumn comes too early”
I am as drawn to wildflowers as I am to wild animals. I find them intoxicating, dizzying, especially when they grow together in great numbers. They are feisty and strong, pushing their colourful heads up in the wildest of places. They nod gently in the breeze or sway violently if the wind blows strong. Somehow, they hold their feet and return to their tender dance when the wind subsides.Continue reading “Flowering Rushes”
There’s something about sand that brings out the child in all of us. The moment your toes hit the warm sand, you are transformed – you are free! Free to kick and dig and run and dive. Free to bury your friends, or yourself. You are a kid again!Continue reading “Big kids, little kids!”
‘Already, I feel different, calmer, freer.’The Irishwoman who moved to Lithuania.
June Molloy from Wexford is travelling the length of Lithuania’s longest river this summer.
You can read the full article here.Continue reading “My article in today’s Irish Times”
The soul of an evening is in the sky. That’s where the drama unfolds, if there is to be drama. Or the serenity, if she’s in a tranquil mood. Clouds drift softly, or fold themselves gently around the setting sun. At other times they move quickly, or form thick blankets that create a tapestry of colour in the sky. The vista is ever-changing. One moment, you see the perfect sky. Five minutes later, it is even more perfect. And so it continues until the last drop of light fades and darkness slowly falls.Continue reading “Sunset Boulevard”
Thirty years ago this year, I walked into Dublin’s catering college for the first time, nervous and excited. It was a goal I had worked towards for many years and I couldn’t wait to see what the coming years would bring. New skills, adventure, self-discovery and, of course, friendship. I had a wonderful time at college and am happy that I’m still in touch with many of my cohorts. Thanks to the internet, we are always connected, but we also make the effort to meet in person every few years. The group gets smaller and smaller each time we meet, but the comradery is always the same. It’s like we left college last year, not twenty-six years ago!Continue reading “Old Friends”
Life is difficult sometimes. We make choices and think we’re on the right path, but then life throws us a curve ball that knocks us off our path. A failed relationship. An unfulfilling career. Illness or injury. Or a global pandemic that keeps us away from friends and family and prevents us from doing the things that we love. They all take their toll.Continue reading “Revive your spirit on the Nemunas”
It’s hard to describe the peace and tranquility of floating on water, on a beautiful raft, down a beautiful river. Watching the bank slowly moving past, the wildlife undisturbed by the silent boat. The gentle bubbles on the surface of the water where it rolls over stones. The blue sky above, occasional clouds offering respite from the hot sun. It is heavenly.Continue reading “And We’re Off!”
On this day eight years ago, I set sail from Rosslare in Wexford (Ireland) on a huge adventure – to travel through Europe in a small camper van, seeking out delicious food and wonderful scenery. That trip took me through England, France, Spain, Portugal, Switerland and Germany before arriving here in Lithuania. What was meant to be a short break to fix the air conditioning in the camper turned into a whole new adventure as I bought a small house and set about renovating it to create a cosy homestead.Continue reading “My Summer Plans – Sailing the Nemunas!”
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
From “Walden”, by Henry David Thoreau (condensed)
Spring came late in Lithuania this year. Winter didn’t start in earnest until January, but it found its feet quickly and dug in hard. Snow fell on top of snow and temperatures held at about -19 C (-2 F) until the end of February. It was beautiful to behold, even if it cost a small fortune in heating bills! Continue reading “Wildflowers”
I envy animals sometimes. They live life in the moment. If they feel like eating, they eat. If they feel like sleeping, they sleep. And while they’re alert for danger and will bolt if they feel the need, they return to their relaxed state very quickly. No need to dwell on that last danger. No need to worry about the next danger until it presents itself. They are blissfully unaware that their world is full of danger, and that tomorrow might never come. Continue reading “Living in the Moment”
“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…🎼”
“Not again, Robert – WE’RE NOT REINDEER!” Continue reading “Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen…”
I find snow very soothing. It dulls sounds, softens light, quietens the mind. Having a dog is great for getting you out of the house and into the fresh air, even when the temperatures have fallen well below zero. I walk about 4 km each morning, and even though I regularly take the same route, I always experience something new – ice crystals sparkling on fine branches, the way the light plays with the shadows, the crunch of the snow underfoot. The pale morning sings. Continue reading “Pale Morning Sun”
One of the greatest joys of writing books for kids (or for any audience, to be honest) is getting positive feedback from readers. It takes a long time to write a book, and even longer to get it published, so hearing that people have read and enjoyed your work is extremely gratifying. Continue reading “Ask the Author – Millie’s Questions”
I know lots of people are feeling “stuck” right now, with all the travel restrictions that are in place. I managed to make it to the seaside a few days ago. It was the first time I’d ever seen snow on sand and slushy ice at the water’s edge. Between the sky, the sea and the clear air, it was magical. If I have to be stuck somewhere, I’m glad I’m stuck here. Continue reading “Stuck in Colder Weather”
It was a swift ending to a long and fruitful life. One minute, she stood strong, leaves shivering in the gentle breeze, the next minute she was gone. Broken. Lifeless. All in about 15 seconds. Continue reading “So long, and thanks for all the fruit”
I’ve been watching the ducks down at our local pond since the start of April, following their journey. I think there are four drakes and three ducks. I certainly saw plenty of mating action in April and was really looking forward to seeing the ducklings emerge. I had spotted a few broken eggs on the path near the pond and was worried that eggs were being eaten by predators, so I was absolutely delighted to see this female with a brood of nine healthy-looking ducklings. Aren’t they just beautiful?! Continue reading “Mallard with Ducklings”
I’ve waited so long to take these pictures. I know they’re not perfect, but when one of your favourite animals strolls out from the trees a few metres away, you take whatever photos you can get, regardless of the strong shadows. Red deer feature prominently in my middle-grade novel, Guardian of Giria, and I have been seeking them out for about two years, mostly to no avail. This hind posed nicely for a moment, then trotted off across the road and disappeared back into the trees. I had just put my camera down when I realised she was being trailed by her newborn calf – the tiny creature on spindly legs looked like it was only hours old. I had no time to focus, so please excuse the blurry shot. I still think it’s cute as can be! Continue reading “Red Deer Hind with Calf”
A gorgeous male chaffinch. It’s a pity there is a branch partially blocking him, but there is still some lovely colour and feather detail. Beautiful birds. Continue reading “Male Chaffinch”
There are days when I go out to take photos and seeing nothing of interest. Perhaps a few roe deer that run off as I approach or a fox skulking by a distant hedgerow. I regularly see birds, but most are small and skittish and have moved on before I can lift my camera. Once in a while, though, I get to see a true spectacle. Continue reading “Bean Goose Migration”
Driving through the countryside at the moment, the air is filled with the song of these tiny little birds. I scan the skies, I scan the fields, but they are so hard to spot. Finally, I see one. I sit and watch. I listen. It is magical. Continue reading “Skylark”
Now that spring is here and the snow has finally melted, I am reopening my school & library visits. If you would like me to visit your school or library (here in Lithuania), please contact me and we can arrange a date. The presentation typically lasts for about one hour, but we can adjust this to your specific needs. I give a short introduction to my novel, Guardian of Giria, followed by a presentation on the wildlife featured in the book. The presentation appeals to kids of all ages but is particularly suited to those aged between 10 and 16. Continue reading “School & Library Visits: Now Reopening”
Between the mists and the snow, the roads look endless. Oh, to drive forever on such roads, the crunch of snow beneath my wheels, the cold air pouring through the open windows as I dare not miss a single sight. The countryside is already beautiful, but under a thick blanket of snow, it is magical. Continue reading “Snowy Lanes”
Oh, the joy! Oh, the sweet, sweet joy! Finally, after years of searching and waiting, I got to see a wild boar in the flesh. But not just one boar – a whole sounder (group) of sows and piglets! And the experience was everything I hoped it would be! Continue reading “Wild Boar Feeding Project, Tauragė (Lithuania)”
I’m delighted to announce that “Guardian of Giria” is now available from Vaga bookshop in Tauragė!
Su dideliu džiaugsmu pranešu kad nuo šiandien, “Guardian of Giria” galite įsigyti knygyne “Vaga” Bažnyčių gatvė 6. Tauragėje. Continue reading “Vaga Bookshop, Tauragė”
A common buzzard (paprastasis suopis) soaring above my garden. Look at that sky for the last day of October! Continue reading “Common Buzzard Soaring”
It appears our area is a congregation site for common cranes (grus grus) – thousands of them gather each autumn in the fields around our village, getting ready for the long flight south. They are a little skittish, so getting close can be tricky, but they are a magnificent sight to behold.
Continue reading “Cranes in the Mist”
Strictly speaking, this is a common frog, but that seems like too plain a name for a creature so beautiful, and one who looks so at home on the forest floor, surrounded by moss, twigs and other detritus. So I’m calling him a forest frog!
Continue reading “Forest Frog”
It was very misty this morning and I didn’t have a great sleep last night, so when I saw this guy on the garden fence I was certain I was seeing things. Unfortunately, he flew off before I could grab my binoculars. But later, when I went out to the bin, I spotted him again and managed to grab my camera before he flew off. I think this is the most beautiful bird I have ever seen “in the flesh”! Continue reading “Hoopoe (Kukutis)”
“I think you should drive,” Arūnas said.
“No, no – I’ll walk. It’s just around the corner,” I replied. The weather was sweltering and I had just stepped out of my non-air-conditioned, sauna of a car – I had no desire to get back in. Besides, the market really was just around the corner. I was still on the phone to Arūnas when I got there. It was a four-minute march, tops. Continue reading “Tauragė Vegetable Market”