On Our Own Riviera

East Pier Dun Laoghaire from the library - Office Mum

We run along the path, glimpses of blue bobbing up and down in time with our steps. Down we go to the edge of the road, then we wait for the green man to stop the slow-moving but determined traffic. Across, and they keep running, but I stop for a moment, because there it is, stretching out ahead. ...

Breathing In All The Spaces

I promised myself (not just an in-the-air promise – an actual written down promise) that the next time I had a lull, I’d take a morning for myself. And here I am – almost all current deadlines met, book edits on the way but not here yet – doing just that. I’m getting my hair ...

Love at first sight

Marina di Venezia - Office Mum

The voice in my ear gives me the go ahead – I’ve completed my self-imposed time running on roads and forest paths, now Runkeeper says I can go onto the beach. I turn and run towards the gate. “Buongiorno,” says the security guard. “Buongiorno,” I reply, in my Irish accent. I keep my Italian accent for ...

On Top of The World

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We go off-road before we even start. Clara rushes across the grass, shrieking at the others to follow. They're going to climb a tree they say. We follow, a little behind. Watching three small figures running down the hill - I hear the opening bars of Little House on the Prairie in my head. I resist ...

Childhood Christmas Memories – There Was Almost Always Snow

Office Mum: snow covered garden

The smell of one-sided toast with melted butter - it was always done on just one side under the grill, crisp and melty. Tea for the grown-ups, milk for us. Sitting by the fire that my grandmother had set when she got up at half six, as she did every morning. The smell of turf; ...

Sun through clouds

Poolbeg chimneys Office Mum post

Driving along the coast road, the September sun is filtering through the white sky. Mixed weather is what the forecasters call it. Silence from the back; a Saturday football roundup on the radio. Tired after running all day, three small faces are watching but not watching. The sea stretches out beside us and the red and ...

Same place, different century

Office Mum: beach St Jean de Monts

Twenty-six years ago, my parents took the ferry to France and made their way down to St Jean de Monts, with four of us rattling around in the back-seat. The roof-rack that held our suitcases was covered in water-proof tarpaulin, secured with rope. My parents found their way by following a big, unwieldy map; cracked in ...

To my September girl

You stepped silently down the stairs, gliding almost, and quietly joined us in the kitchen. The skirt that grazed your ankles a year ago when you first wore a uniform is now swishing around your knees. You slipped wordlessly into your seat, entirely focused on breakfast to the exclusion of all interruptions it seemed. Including ...